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"King Edward then came to Southampton and commanded the earl of Worcester to sit in judgement of the men who had been captured in the ships: and so 20 gentlemen and yeomen were hanged, drawn and quartered, and then beheaded, after which they were hung up by their legs and a stake was sharpened at both ends; one end of this stake was pushed in between their buttocks, and their heads were stuck on the other. This angered the people of the land and, forever afterwards, the earl of Worcester was greatly hated by them, for the irregular and unlawful manner of execution he had inflicted upon his captives."

- Contemporary chronicler.

George Duke of Clarence's marriage to the Earl of Warwick's daughter conincided with a pro-Warwick rebellion in the north of England, led by Robin of Redesdale. Robin almost certainly never existed, and it is now accepted that Warwick was behind this rebellion. Warwick was in Calais at the wedding party at the time, and King Edward IV demanded he return to help quell the rebellion. He refused.

Instead, on the 12th of July, he issued a manifesto declaring his intent to rid the King of his corrupt and inept councillors, and hence the Kingdom of high taxes, poor government and lawlessness. Like people before him, he dared only attack the King's "evil councillors" and not the King directly. Warwick asked his allies to meet him at Canterbury, while his ally Sir John Conyers marched a large army from Yorkshire to the Midlands.

Warwick arrived at Canterbury on 16th July and marched north to join the northern army. He did battle with the loyalists, led by the Earl of Pembroke, at Edgecote Hill on the 26th of July. The loyalists were defeated, and Warwick had the Earl beheaded for treason! There was no justification for this action.

When Edward heard of the defeat, he knew he was at Warwick's mercy with his main army shattered, and so let his supporters disperse. Warwick captured Edward and held him in custody in Warwick Castle and then Middleham. While Edward was his captive he attempted to rule in his name with Clarence's support. The Woodvilles would now know the wrath of the Nevilles - Earl Rivers and Sir John Woodville were beheaded, and Rivers' wife accused of witchcraft.

However, Warwick could not maintain his rule as he was unable to gain the support of lords or command the loyalty of Yorkist soldiers. A Lancastrian uprising in the north finally forced him to release Edward in return for an army to crush the rebellion in the north.

Edward returned to London where he was publically reconciled with Warwick and Clarence. Despite their actions Edward could not afford to maintain emnity - but Warwick could no longer expect any royal favour.

Another rebellion was engineered by Clarence in 1470, and this presented Warwick with another chance to achieve his objectives. The rebels were swiftly defeated at the Battle of Empingham before Warwick could provide reinfocements. The traitors fled to France and the protection of the wily Louis XI. Some men seized from ships at Southampton, including one which was destined to carry Warwick and Clarence to safety, were less fortunate. They received the full force of Edward's violent retribution, as described at the start of this piece.

Edward was no longer messing about.


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