Bonville, William, Lord Bonville

(1393–1461)
   Through his long and violent feud with Thomas COURTENAY, fifth earl of Devon, William Bonville, Lord Bonville, helped form the factions of rival nobles that ignited the WARS OF THE ROSES.
   Born into a Devonshire gentry family, Bonville rose to local and national prominence through talent, ambition, and two shrewd marriages. He was knighted in about 1417 while serving in FRANCE under Henry V. In 1423, Bonville was sheriff of Devonshire and in 1424 he again fought in France. By the mid-1430s, Bonville was widely active in West Country government, serving as justice of the peace for various counties and sitting on numerous royal commissions. In the late 1430s, Bonville came into conflict with Devon, who perhaps saw Bonville’s growing influence as a threat to the Courtenays’ traditional dominance in the region, or who possibly had some grievance over land arising out of Bonville’s 1427 marriage to his aunt. The dispute intensified in 1437 when Bonville obtained the lucrative office of steward of the royal Duchy of Cornwall. In 1438, Devon petitioned the king for the stewardship; HENRY VI, ignoring the previous grant to Bonville, assented to the request. Although the government sought to cancel Devon’s appointment, violence quickly erupted in the West Country between the adherents of both men.
   The COUNCIL intervened and imposed arbitration, but disorders continued until Bonville BONVILLE, WILLIAM, LORD BONVILLE 31 left for France in 1444 to become seneschal of Gascony. Returning to England in 1447, he was raised to the PEERAGE in 1449 as Lord Bonville of Chewton, a promotion that made Bonville an even greater threat to Devon. After 1450, the COURTENAY-BONVILLE FEUD merged into the national rivalry developing between the COURT party led by Edmund BEAUFORT, duke of Somerset, and the opposition faction led by Richard PLANTAGENET, duke of York. To counter Bonville’s alliance with James BUTLER, earl of Wiltshire, another royalist courtier with interests in the West Country, Devon associated himself with York. In 1451, Devon raised an army and besieged Bonville in Taunton Castle, but York intervened, and Bonville used his influence at court to escape without punishment for his role in the earlier disorders.With the support of the government, Bonville was predominant in the West Country until 1454, when the king’s illness and the establishment of York’s FIRST PROTECTORATE weakened the court party and strengthened Devon (see Henry VI, Illness of). However, in 1455,York’s alliance with the NEVILLE FAMILY alienated Devon, who drew closer to the king’s party, while Bonville, having lost his old patrons Somerset and Wiltshire in the aftermath of the Battle of ST.ALBANS, sealed his new loyalty to the house of YORK by marrying his grandson to a daughter of Richard NEVILLE, earl of Salisbury,York’s closest ally.
   In the autumn of 1455, Devon and his sons launched an assault on Bonville’s servants and property throughout the West Country. The Courtenays murdered NICHOLAS RADFORD for his association with Bonville, ransacked Bonville’s residences, and robbed the homes of his supporters. On 15 December, Bonville, having gathered a large force of RETAINERS, was defeated by the Courtenays in a bloody battle at Clyst. However, Bonville retrieved his position by appealing to York, who was then in control of the government (see Second Protectorate). Devon was imprisoned, and Bonville was restored to dominance in the West, his own transgressions being once more overlooked by the party in power. The Courtenay-Bonville feud subsided after 1456, thanks in part to Devon’s death in 1458 and to the aged Bonville’s semiretirement from public life.
   After the Lancastrian victory at the Battle of LUDFORD BRIDGE in 1459, Bonville muted his Yorkist allegiance, but rejoined the Yorkists after their victory at the Battle of NORTHAMPTON in 1460. Having escorted Henry VI to the Battle of ST. ALBANS in February 1461, Bonville stayed with him after the Yorkist defeat on the king’s promise that he would not be harmed. But Queen MARGARET OF ANJOU, encouraged by Thomas COURTENAY, sixth earl of Devon, ignored her husband’s pledge and ordered Bonville’s execution.
   Further Reading: Cherry, Martin,“The Struggle for Power in Mid-Fifteenth-Century Devonshire,” in Ralph A. Griffiths, ed., Patronage, the Crown and the Provinces in Later Medieval England (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1981), pp. 123–144; Griffiths, Ralph A., The Reign of King Henry VI (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981); Storey,R. L., The End of the House of Lancaster, 2d ed. (Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: Sutton Publishing, 1999).

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Margaret Grey, Lady Bonville — Margaret Grey Lady Bonville Spouse(s) William Bonville, 1st Baron Bonville Issue William Bonville Elizabeth Bonville Noble family Grey Father Reginald Grey, 3rd Baron Grey de Ruthyn Mother …   Wikipedia

  • Courtenay-Bonville Feud — (1450s)    The feud between Thomas COURTENAY, fifth earl of Devon, and William BONVILLE, Lord Bonville, spread violence and disorder across the West Country in the 1450s and helped create the political alignments that made civil war possible.… …   Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses

  • Tailboys, Sir William — (c. 1416–1464)    Although responsible for numerous crimes in his county and therefore a prime example of the local corruption and disorder that made HENRY VI’s government so ineffective and unpopular, Sir William Tailboys (or Talboys) was a… …   Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses

  • Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset — Infobox Person name = Thomas Grey, second Marquess of Dorset image size = caption = The remains of Thomas Grey s Bradgate House today birth date = 22 June 1477 birth place = death date = 10 October 1530 death place = education = occupation = peer …   Wikipedia

  • Courtenay, Thomas, Earl of Devon —    1) (1414–1458)    Through his long and violent feud with William BONVILLE, Lord Bonville, Thomas Courtenay, fifth earl of Devon, contributed significantly to the rising disorder in the shires that helped initiate civil war in the 1450s.… …   Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses

  • Cecily Grey, Marchioness of Dorset — Cecily Grey ( née Bonville), Marchioness of Dorset (c. 30 June 1460 – 12 May 1529) was an English noblewoman, the suo jure 7th Baroness Harington and 2nd Baroness Bonville, and Marchioness of Dorset by marriage. Family Cecily was born on or… …   Wikipedia

  • Devon (UK Parliament constituency) — Devon Former County constituency for the House of Commons County Devon 1290 (1290)–1832 …   Wikipedia

  • Lady Jane Grey — The Streatham Portrait, discovered at the beginning of the 21st century and believed to be a copy of a contemporary portrait of Lady Jane Grey.[1] …   Wikipedia

  • Liste der Ritter des Hosenbandordens — Herzog Ferdinand von Braunschweig Lüneburg in der Robe eines Ritters des Hosenbandordens Diese Seite enthält eine Liste der Ritter des Hosenbandordens (engl. Knights and Ladies of the Garter). Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset — KG (1457 ndash; September 20, 1501), known as Lord Ferrers de Groby between 1461 and 1471, and the Earl of Huntingdon between 1471 and 1475, was the eldest son of Elizabeth Woodville and consequently a stepson of Edward IV of England.Thomas was… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.