Warkworth’s Chronicle

   A Chronicle of the First Thirteen Years of the Reign of King Edward the Fourth, popularly known as Warkworth’s Chronicle, after its probable author John Warkworth, is an important source of information for events in England between 1461 and 1474, and especially for the second phase of the WARS OF THE ROSES between 1469 and 1471.
   John Warkworth is a rather obscure figure. Believed to be a northerner, born perhaps near the village of Warkworth in Northumberland, he studied at Oxford and became chaplain to Bishop William Grey of Ely in the 1450s. In 1473, he became master of St. Peter’s College, Cambridge, a position he held until his death in 1500. In 1483,Warkworth presented his college with a handwritten copy of the Brut chronicle to which was appended, as a continuation, the only surviving copy of what became known as Warkworth’s Chronicle. Whether Warkworth actually wrote the chronicle, or simply caused it to be written for his use, is uncertain. Although covering the reign of EDWARD IV,Warkworth’s Chronicle has a distinct Lancastrian bias. The chronicle is sympathetic to HENRY VI, whose restoration in 1470 is described as giving great joy to “the more part of the people” (Three Chronicles, p. 33), and it is critical of Edward IV, who is particularly condemned for his financial exactions. The chronicle also mentions the dissatisfaction of Richard NEVILLE, earl of Warwick, with Edward’s 1464 marriage to Elizabeth WOODVILLE and roundly condemns John TIPTOFT, the Yorkist earl of Worcester, who for his exeWARKWORTH’S CHRONICLE 291 cution of Lancastrian sympathizers is said to have been “greatly behated among the people” (Three Chronicles, p. 31). The chronicler also hinted that Richard, duke of Gloucester (see Richard III, King of England), Edward’s brother, had some responsibility for Henry VI’s death in the TOWER OF LONDON in 1471 (see Henry VI, Murder of).
   Warkworth’s Chronicle also displays an unusual and therefore valuable northern perspective. It provides information on the Lancastrian resistance that centered on the northern castles of ALNWICK, BAMBURGH, and DUNSTANBURGH between 1461 and 1464, and it is a major source for northern rebellions, such as the ROBIN OF REDESDALE REBELLION in 1469 and the WELLES UPRISING in Lincolnshire in 1470. The chronicle also describes the Battles of BARNET and TEWKESBURY; the 1471 assault on LONDON by Thomas NEVILLE, the Bastard of Fauconberg; and the 1473 seizure of St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall by John de VERE, the die-hard Lancastrian earl of Oxford. Although frequently confusing and often incorrect in details, Warkworth’s Chronicle is a useful source for the earlier years of Edward IV’s reign.
   Further Reading: Three Chronicles of the Reign of Edward IV, Introduction by Keith Dockray (Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: Alan Sutton Publishing, 1988); the text of Warkworth’s Chronicle is also available on the Richard III Society Web site at http://www.r3.org/bookcase/warkwort/worthi.html.

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

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