Touchet, James, Lord Audley

(c. 1398–1459)
   James Touchet (or Tuchet), fifth Lord Audley, was commander of the Lancastrian forces at the Battle of BLORE HEATH in September 1459.
   Although over sixty at the time, Audley had military experience, having been coleader of an English army sent to FRANCE in 1431 and one of the nobles who helped suppress JACK CADE’S REBELLION in 1450. Audley also served as justiciar of South WALES from 1423 to 1438, and as chamberlain of that region from 1439 until his death. An important landholder in Staffordshire, Shropshire, and Cheshire, and a strong supporter of HENRY VI, Audley was a natural choice for leadership of the Lancastrian forces ordered by Queen MARGARET OF ANJOU to intercept Richard NEVILLE, earl of Salisbury, as he crossed Staffordshire with his army in the autumn of 1459.
   Many of the men in Audley’s force were his own tenants, whom he had raised quickly on the queen’s summons. Audley’s support of the Lancastrian cause may have rested in part on a long-standing grievance involving his wife’s fruitless attempt to lay claim, as an illegitimate daughter, to her father’s estates, which had passed to Salisbury and to Richard PLANTAGENET, duke of York. At Blore Heath on 23 September, Audley led several assaults against Salisbury’s smaller force. In the midst of battle, Sir Roger Kynaston of Hordley, a RETAINER of York’s, slew Audley, whose army was eventually defeated and scattered.
   Further Reading: Griffiths, Ralph A., The Reign of King Henry VI (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981); Haigh, Philip A., The Military Campaigns of the Wars of the Roses (Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: Sutton Publishing, 1995); Swynnerton, Brian, and William Swinnerton, The Battle of Blore Heath, 1459 (Nuneaton: Paddy Griffith Associates, 1995).

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

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