Neville, William, Lord Fauconberg and Earl of Kent

(d. 1463)
   Brother of Richard NEVILLE, earl of Salisbury, and uncle of Richard NEVILLE, earl of Warwick, William Neville, Lord Fauconberg, was a key Yorkist leader during the first phase of the WARS OF THE ROSES.
   Knighted by HENRY VI in 1426, Neville had become Lord Fauconberg two years earlier by right of his wife. From 1436, Fauconberg served on various military and diplomatic 184 NEVILLE, THOMAS, BASTARD OF FAUCONBERG missions in FRANCE, including the 1439 siege of Meaux and the 1442 peace negotiations conducted by Richard PLANTAGENET, duke of York. In 1449, Fauconberg was taken prisoner by the French and not released until the following year, when he served on an embassy to CHARLESVII.
   His association with York began during the duke’s FIRST PROTECTORATE in 1454, when Fauconberg was a member of the COUNCIL. He was with the royal army at the Battle of ST. ALBANS in May 1455, staying with Henry VI in the town square. He seems to have taken a minor role in the battle and to have quietly walked away after the Yorkist leaders, including his brother and nephew, had taken custody of the king. After 1457, Fauconberg served as Warwick’s deputy at CALAIS, holding the town in 1459 when the earl returned to England with part of the garrison to support the Yorkist uprising. When the Yorkist cause collapsed at the Battle of LUDFORD BRIDGE in October, Warwick, Salisbury, and Edward, earl of March (see Edward IV, King of England), were able to retreat to Calais, where Fauconberg readily admitted them.
   In June 1460, Fauconberg, accompanied by John DINHAM and John WENLOCK, seized Sandwich, giving the Yorkists a landing place for their invasion of England; in July, he fought with Warwick at NORTHAMPTON, where Henry VI fell again into Yorkist hands. On 28 March 1461, Fauconberg was instrumental in seizing the river crossing at the Battle of FERRYBRIDGE, and next day his expert handling of the Yorkist ARCHERS helped draw the Lancastrians out of their advantageous position at the start of the Battle of TOWTON. Fauconberg remained in the north after the battle, assisting Warwick in suppressing all remaining Lancastrian resistance. Fauconberg was soon after rewarded by elevation to the earldom of Kent. He was appointed admiral of England in 1462 and raided the French coast in an effort to disrupt Lancastrian invasion plans. Kent died in January 1463.
   See also Neville Family; all other entries under Neville
   Further Reading: Boardman, Andrew W., The Battle of Towton (Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: Sutton Publishing, 1996); Griffiths, Ralph A., The Reign of King Henry VI (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981); Johnson P. A., Duke Richard of York (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988); Ross, Charles, Edward IV (New Haven, CT:Yale University Press, 1998).

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

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