Woodville, Richard, Earl Rivers

(c. 1410–1469)
   Richard Woodville (or Wydeville), Earl Rivers, was the father-in-law of EDWARD IV and the head of a large and ambitious family whose advancement by the king in the 1460s helped provoke Richard NEVILLE, earl of Warwick, to rebel against the house of YORK. Born into a minor GENTRY family in Northamptonshire, Woodville was knighted by HENRY VI in 1426 and served in FRANCE in the 1430s. His surreptitious marriage in 1436 to JACQUETTA OF LUXEMBOURG, the young widow of John, duke of Bedford, Henry VI’s uncle, transformed Woodville’s fortunes and social standing. Although this shocking (for the time) mésalliance cost the bride a £1,000 fine and forced the groom to obtain a royal pardon, it also allowed Woodville to advance himself by drawing upon his wife’s family connections with the highest nobility of Europe. The match also helped Woodville rise into the PEERAGE as Lord Rivers, in 1448, and produced fourteen or fifteen children, a brood that later allowed the Woodvilles to marry into the leading families of England.
   In the 1450s, Rivers helped suppress JACK CADE’S REBELLION and served in CALAIS as a lieutenant of Edmund BEAUFORT, duke of Somerset. A partisan of the house of LANCASTER, Rivers was entrusted in 1459 with guarding Sandwich against an invasion from Calais by Warwick. When a Yorkist force swept down on the town in January 1460, it surprised Rivers in his bed and carried him and his eldest son, Anthony WOODVILLE, to Calais, where Warwick castigated them as traitors and parvenus. Having gained his freedom by unknown means, Rivers fought for Lancaster at the Battle of TOWTON in March 1461, but by August had abandoned Henry VI and submitted to Edward IV.
   In 1464, a second mésalliance, the secret marriage of his widowed daughter Elizabeth WOODVILLE to Edward IV, once again revived River’s fortunes. The king appointed Rivers treasurer, advanced him to an earldom, and married his children into the oldest and wealthiest noble families. The ambition and avarice of Rivers and his large family earned the Woodvilles great unpopularity and the enmity of Warwick, whose own political ambitions were threatened by the growing Woodville influence. When Warwick broke openly with Edward IV in 1469, he gave the king’s close association with lowborn counselors like Rivers as a primary reason for his actions. In July 1469, when the king became Warwick’s prisoner after the Battle of EDGECOTE, Rivers and his son Sir John Woodville were dragged from hiding and carried to Coventry, where both were executed by Warwick’s order on 12 August.
   See also all other entries under Woodville
   Further Reading: MacGibbon, David, Elizabeth Woodville: Her Life and Times (London: A. Barker, 1938);“Richard Woodville,” in Michael Hicks, Who’s Who in Late Medieval England (London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1991), pp. 328–329; Ross, Charles, Edward IV (New Haven, CT:Yale University Press, 1998);Weir, Alison, The Wars of the Roses (New York: Ballantine Books, 1995).

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Woodville, Anthony, Earl Rivers — (c. 1442–1483)    Through his control of the person of EDWARD V and his leadership of the politically powerful WOODVILLE FAMILY, Anthony Woodville (or Wydeville), Earl Rivers, may have unwittingly helped convince Richard, duke of Gloucester (see… …   Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses

  • Richard Woodville, 1. Earl Rivers — Richard Woodville, auch Richard Wydeville, (* um 1405 in Maidstone; † 12. August 1469 in Northampton) war ein englischer Soldat und Adliger. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Nachkommen 3 Literatur …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Richard Woodville, 3rd Earl Rivers — (birth unknown, died 6 March 1491) succeeded his brother, Anthony Woodville, as the third Earl Rivers. He was the son of Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers and Jacquetta of Luxembourg, and was the brother of Elizabeth Woodville, wife and Queen of …   Wikipedia

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  • Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers — Anthony Rivers, 2nd Earl Rivers (1442? ndash; 25 June 1483) was an English nobleman, courtier, and writer.He was the eldest son of Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers and Jacquetta of Luxembourg. Like his father, he was originally a Lancastrian,… …   Wikipedia

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  • Rivers, Richard Woodville, 1st Earl, Baron Rivers — ▪ English noble Woodville also spelled  Wydeville, Wydville, or Wydevill   died Aug. 12, 1469, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, Eng.       father in law of the Yorkist king Edward IV of England (reigned 1461–70, 1471–83). Nobles opposed to Rivers… …   Universalium

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