Plantagenet, Edward, Earl of Warwick

(1475–1499)
   After the death of RICHARD III in 1485, Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick, the son of George PLANTAGENET, duke of Clarence, and thus a nephew of EDWARD IV and a grandson of Richard NEVILLE, earl of Warwick, became the last Yorkist claimant to the throne in the direct male line and a natural focus for conspiracies against the house of TUDOR.
   Born in February 1475, Warwick lost his mother, Isabel NEVILLE, when he was not yet two, and his father when he was three (see Clarence, Execution of). Little is known of his upbringing, though he seems to have come for a time under the care of his aunt, Anne NEVILLE, Richard III’s queen. In 1483, Richard III, seeking to remove all the children of his older brothers from his path to the throne, declared Warwick barred from the succession because of his father’s ATTAINDER for treason in 1478. Although he knighted Warwick later in the year and briefly considered naming the earl his heir on his own son’s death in 1484, Richard confined Warwick in the northern castle of Sheriff Hutton. In August 1485, only days after he won the Crown at the Battle of BOSWORTH FIELD, HENRY VII had the ten-year-old Warwick conveyed from Sheriff Hutton to the TOWER OF LONDON. Almost immediately, rumors began to surface that Warwick had escaped, and the earl, although still confined, became a key component in various plots to restore the house of YORK to the throne. In February 1487, Warwick was paraded through the streets of LONDON in an effort to discredit Lambert SIMNEL, whose impersonation of Warwick instigated a Yorkist invasion that Henry defeated at the Battle of STOKE in the following June. In 1489, several men were hanged for participation in a conspiracy to free Warwick, and in 1499, Ralph Wilford, yet another Warwick impersonator,was executed. By the end of the 1490s, continual Yorkist plotting and the urgings of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain to secure the succession before they married their daughter into the house of Tudor convinced Henry VII to eliminate Warwick. The earl, who had been left ill-educated and naive by the circumstances of his life, was induced by a fellow prisoner, Perkin WARBECK, who had himself impersonated one of the sons of Edward IV, to agree to a plan of escape (see Plantagenet, Richard, Duke of York [c. 1483]). The scheme, which may have been laid by royal agents to trap Warbeck and Warwick, came to light, and both men were condemned and executed in November 1499. Several weeks later, in January 1500, the Spanish ambassador informed Ferdinand and Isabella that “not a doubtful drop of royal blood remains in this kingdom” (Chrimes, p. 284, n. 8).
   See also other entries under Plantagenet
   Further Reading: Arthurson, Ian, The Perkin Warbeck Conspiracy, 1491-1499 (Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: Sutton Publishing, 1997); Chrimes, S. B., Henry VII (New Haven, CT:Yale University Press, 1999); Ross, Charles, Richard III (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981). Plantagenet, Elizabeth, Queen of England

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

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