Plantagenet, Edmund, Earl of Rutland

(1443–1460)
   Edmund Plantagenet, earl of Rutland, the second son of Richard PLANTAGENET, duke of York, was slain with his father at the Battle of WAKEFIELD in 1460. The manner of his death further embittered relations between the contending families in the WARS OF THE ROSES.
   Born in Normandy in May 1443 while his father was serving in FRANCE as lord lieutenant, Rutland was named heir to York’s various Norman lands, an attempt by the duke to preserve his vast English inheritance intact for his eldest son, Edward, earl of March (see Edward IV, King of England). The loss of Normandy to the French in 1450 put an end to this scheme, and no further provision was made for Rutland (see Hundred Years War). In October 1459, the sixteen-year-old earl was present with his father and elder brother at the Battle of LUDFORD BRIDGE.When the defection of his troops forced the duke to flee the field, Rutland accompanied York to IRELAND, while March withdrew to CALAIS with his father’s allies, Richard NEVILLE, earl of Salisbury, and Richard NEVILLE, earl of Warwick.
   Rutland returned to England with his father in September 1460, two months after Warwick’s victory at the Battle of NORTHAMPTON put HENRY VI and the royal government under Yorkist control. The Act of ACCORD of October 1460 placed Rutland in the succession to the Crown behind his father and elder brother, and the accompanying financial settlement gave Rutland 1,000 marks per year out of the former revenues of the disinherited Lancastrian heir, EDWARD OF LANCASTER, Prince of Wales. On 2 December, Rutland was part of the armed force that his father and Salisbury led out of LONDON to quell Lancastrian unrest in the north (see North of England and the Wars of the Roses).
   Only seventeen, Rutland died on 30 December at the Battle of Wakefield, where he was killed on or near Wakefield Bridge by John CLIFFORD, Lord Clifford, whose father, Thomas CLIFFORD, Lord Clifford, had been slain by York’s forces at the Battle of ST. ALBANS in 1455. Although the slaying of Rutland at such a young age was later much romanticized, especially by the Tudor chronicler Edward Hall, who had Clifford refuse Rutland’s plea for mercy with the words, “By God’s blood, thy father slew mine, and so I will do thee and all thy kin” (Haigh, p. 75), the exact circumstances of Rutland’s death are uncertain. After the battle, the earl’s head was placed next to his father’s on the walls of York. Rutland was hastily interred with the duke at St. Richard’s Priory in Pontefract, where both remained until 1476, when Edward IV removed his brother and father to a splendid tomb at the house ofYORK’s family home at Fotheringhay.
   See also The Union of the Two Noble and Illustrious Families of Lancaster and York (Hall); other entries under Plantagenet
   Further Reading: Haigh, Philip A., The Battle of Wakefield 1460 (Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: Sutton Publishing, 1996); Johnson, P. A., Duke Richard of York (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988).

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

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