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I. Attainder and Forfeiture, 1453 To 15091

  • J. R. Lander (a1)

Attainder was the most solemn penalty known to the common law. Attainder for treason was followed not only by the most savage and brutal corporal penalties and the forfeiture of all possessions, but in addition the corruption of blood passing to all direct descendants, in other words, by the legal death of the family. Before proceeding to an examination of the effects of parliamentary acts of attainder in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries it is necessary first of all to define the scope of forfeiture for treason as it affected landed property. Bracton's classic definition of forfeiture had involved for the traitor ‘the loss of all his goods and the perpetual disinheritance of his heirs, so that they may be admitted neither to the paternal nor to the maternal inheritance’. Feudal opinion had always been very much opposed to the stringency of this conception and the Edwardian statute De Donis Conditionalibus, confirmed implicitly by the treason statute of 1352, had protected entailed estates from the scope of forfeiture, thus leaving only the fee simple and the widow's dower within the scope of the law. The wife's own inheritance or any jointure which had been made for her, because they ante-dated her husband's treason, as distinct from her right to dower which did not, were not liable to ultimate forfeiture—though a married woman could claim them only when ‘her time came according to the common law’, that is after the death of her husband when she ceased to be ‘femme couvert’. This equitable principle was confirmed by a statute of the Merciless Parliament of 1388 which, however, included for the first time the rule that lands held to the use of a traitor were also included in the scope of forfeiture. Thus, by 1388, of the lands held by a traitor (as distinct from the wife's inheritance and jointure), only those held in fee tail fell outside the scope of the treason laws. This loophole was closed by Richard II in 1398 when Parliament declared forfeit entailed estates as well as lands held in fee simple and to the use of a traitor, thus reverting with one exception to Bracton's view of forfeiture.

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2 Bracton, , De Legibus et Consuetudinibus Anglie, ed. Woodbine, G. E. (4 vols., 19151942), 11, 335, on tne heinousness of treason.

3 This article is limited to a study of attainders for treason passed by the English Parliament. Parliamentary attainders for felony and attainders for treason passed by the Irish Parliament, the common law courts and special commissions are not dealt with.

4 I.e. the wife's inheritance and estates settled on her jointly with her husband or otherwise. In the late fifteenth century the wife was entitled to them after the death of her husband and such estates could descend to her heirs not attainted, e.g. Rot. Parl v, 481–2.

5 For the general contents of this paragraph see Ross, C. D., ‘ Forfeiture for Treason in the Reign of Richard II’, E.H.R. lxxi (1956), 560–75.

6 Procedure in the treason cases of 1388 and 1397–8 had taken a different form. Acts of Attainder in the fifteenth century sometimes followed judgements in the common law courts or by special commissions (increasingly so under Henry VII).

7 Henry VII at first did not even consult the Commons but the judges held that their consent was necessary. Pickthorn, K., Early Tudor Government: Henry VII (1934), 119;Pollard, A. F., The Reign of Henry VII From Contemporary Sources (3 vols., 19131914), II, 19.

8 K. Pickthorn, op. cit.

9 Contemporary writers, where they mention the acts, usually state merely that revenge was taken on opponents and that they greatly enriched the exchequer, e.g. The Great Chronicle of London, ed. A. H. Thomas and I. D. Thornley (1938), 191, 198, under 1459 merely mentions the attainders and under 1461 states that many lords and barons were convicted and their possessions escheated. It mentions no other acts under Edward IV or Richard III. Polydore Vergil, however, implies (an implication which Bacon made explicit) that avarice was one of Henry VII's motives in pressing through the attainders of his reign. The Anglica Historia of Polydore Vergil, ed. D. Hay (Camden Soc. 1950), 126–9. The Somnium Vigilantis, dated c. 1459–60 and sometimes attributed, rather dubiously, to Fortescue, printed by J. Gilson, E.H.R. xxvi (1911), 512–25, stresses the intransigence of the Yorkists and the need for repression if orderly government was to be achieved.

10 The Paston Letters, ed. J. Gairdner(4vols., 1910), I, 535 (see also p. 522). Thomas Thorpe was a baron of the Exchequer and had been Speaker in 1453–4. For his notorious quarrel with the duke of York at that time, see Wedgwood, Biographies, 850. The group expected that they 'schuld be made for evir’ if their plans succeeded but ‘yf it turnyd to contrary wyse. it schuld growe to her fynal confusyon and ttyrdestruccyon’.

11 Plummer, C. H., The Governance of England (1885), 277. In fact during the 1470's attainders were notably fewer than during the 1460's and the sessions of the parliament of 1472–5 are more conspicuous for the reversal of old than for the passing of new attainders (see below, pp. 127–30).

12 For these opinions expressed with varying degrees of emphasis, e.g. H. Hallam, The Constitutional History of England, Henry VII to George III, (3rd ed. 1832, reprinted Everyman), 15; A. D. Innes, England Under the Tudors (1905), 7; C. Oman, The Political History of England, 1377–1485 (1910), 450, 472; K. Vickers, England in the Later Middle Ages (1913), 495; W. P. M. Kennedy, Studies in Tudor History (1916), 4; K. Pickthorn, Henry VII, op. cit. 93–6; S. T. Bindoff, Tudor England (1950), 29–30; A. R. Myers, England in the Late Middle Ages (1952), 115, 188, 193, 197–8, 209; J. D. Mackie, The Early Tudors, 1485–1558 (1952), 13, 15, 18. For a change of emphasis compare G. R. Elton, The Tudor Revolution in Government (1935), 33–34, and England Under the Tudors (1944), 7–8, 43–6.

13 Mainly in the Rotuli Parliamentorum and the Calendars of Patent Rolls, 1452–85.

14 See Table 1, nn. 5 and 6. Figures quoted in various notes to this article do not always tally exactly owing to the fact that a number of people were attainted twice and therefore figures vary slightly at different times.

15 It is probable that the Parliament Roll was destroyed by the victorious Yorkists and any acts which it may have passed were treated as null and void.

16 Henry gave his consent only on condition that he should be free to show mercy to any person he might wish to pardon. Three men had their lands confiscated, five were fined, but were spared the full consequence of attainder. Henry also rejected a bill for the attainder of Lord Stanley whose conduct during the Blore Heath campaign had been most suspicious. Abbot Whethamstede also testifies to the king's personal intention of showing mercy Rot. Parl. v, 346—50, 368–70; Whethamstede, J., Registrum Abbatiae Johannis Whethamstede (Rolls Ser. 1872–3), I, 355–6.

17 E.g. see his generous treatment of Sir John Fogge, ex-treasurer of the Household to Edward IV, of Lord Hastings’ widow, and his brother, Sir Ralph. The Second Anonymous Croyland Continuator lays great stress on the large number of attainders under Richard though this may be due to prejudice, and Gairdner states that the King's Bench Controlment Rolls show that there were numerous prosecutions for treason in that court. (J. Gairdner, Richard III (new ed. 1898), 98, 111, 199; Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1476–85, 460, 462, 496, B.M. MS. Harl. 433, fols. 108d—109, 159–160; J. Gairdner, Letters and Papers Illustrative of the Reigns of Richard III and Henry VII (Rolls Ser. 1861–3), I, 15, 46–8). Sir Thomas More stated that Richard with great gifts won for himself unsteadfast friendships. (The English Works of Sir Thomas More, ed. Campbell, W. E. and others (1931), I, 37.) B.M. MS. Harl. 433, fols. 282 ff., show the exceptionally lavish way in which Richard rewarded his adherents.

18 For pardons by letters patent in the 1460's (seebelow.pp. 123–4). Those granted in 1471–2, e.g. Dr John Morton, Sir John Fortescue, may have been complete in effect as they were reversed in the next parliament and none of their lands were granted away after pardons under the great seal had been issued.

19 The state of the law, both civil and criminal, at this time was so complicated that it was almost impossible to avoid technical offences. The Supplementary Patent Rolls contain many pardons, e.g. to executors and accountants, with no variations of phrasing, which can only have this significance. Like the privilege of freedom from arrest for knights of the shire and parliamentary burgesses the issue of general pardons was usually intended as a protection from the vexatious processes of the common law.

20 Supplementary Patent Roll, C. 67/45, ms. 47, 49- Similar clauses are found on the entries of all rolls up to 11 Edward IV, C. 67/46, 47 and 48. No formula is given on the roll of 12–17 Edward IV which is merely a list of names, C. 67/49. There are no rolls extant for 18—21 Edward IV. The formula appears again for 22–23 Edward IV, C. 67/50.

21 Some entries in the calendars, like the full text on the roll, mention attainder by parliament, others do not.

22 This phrase is used in the final parliamentary reversals of Sir Nicholas Latymer, Sir Thomas Tresham and Robert Bollyng (see below, pp. 139–41).

23 See the cases of Sir Nicholas Latymer, Sir Thomas Tresham and Sir Thomas Fulford(see below, pp. 127, 139–41). Robert Bollyng received a pardon in 1463 but some of his estateswere granted out between 1465 and 1468. Although no grant in his favour is enrolled hispetition for reversal in 1472 states that although his pardon did not restore his livelihood ‘by the King's grace he enjoys the same to the great relief of himself and his wife and their ten children’ (Rot. Parl, vi, 20; Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1461–7, 271, 476; 1467–77, 31, 46, 50, 479. Also Thomas Cornwaille, Rot. Parl. vi, 21–2. Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1467–77, 18, 45). Even in the case of Henry Percy IV whose restoration was so politically expedient, 1469–70, his estates were, restored by a separate grant not by his pardon. Bean, J. M. W., The Estates of the Percy Family 1416–1537 (1958), 109–10.

24 See below, pp. 139–40.

25 See below, pp. 134 ff.

26 Rot. Parl, vi, 526; vII, cxxi-cxxxi.

27 Still allowing, however, for the possibility of concealed bargains. Henry VII's act was not passed until 1504 but there were only two cases of complete reversal by patent before this date. The other pardons all contain specific limitations or other definite special features.

28 The figure usually given is about 133, see below, J. R. Green, n. 29; Sir J. H. Ramsay, Lancaster and York (2 vols. 1892), 11, 282–3. This is arrived at by adding the defenders of Harlech and a number of people ‘ provisionally’ attainted whom I have excluded. For reasons see the notes to Table 1. The Annales until recently attributed to William Worcester (see K. B. McFarlane, ‘William Worcester, A Preliminary Survey’, in Studies Presented to Sir Hilary Jenkinson (1957), 206–7), give 108 names ‘et xlij plures’ making a total of 150 (the author incorrectly gives a total of 154). J. Stevenson, Letters and Papers Illustrative of the Wars of the English in France (Rolls Ser. 1861–4), 11, Pt. ii, 770–1. Names found in these Annales but not in the Rotuli Parliamentorum have been ignored.

29 Green, J. R., History of the English People (4 vols. 18771880), 11, 27.

30 See J. R. Lander, ‘Council, Administration and Councillors, 1461 to 1485’, B.I.H.R. xxx (1959), 155–6.

31 ‘… for they grudge and sey, how that the Kyng resayvith sych of this cuntre, &c as haff be his gret eanemyes, and opresseors of the Comynes; and sych as haff assystyd his Hynes, be not rewardyt; and it is to be consederyd, or ellys it wyll hurt’ (Paston Letters, 11, 30, 16 July 1461).

32 The Fane Fragment of the 1461 Lords' Journal, ed. Dunham, W. H. Jr. (1935), 524.

33 Rot. Parl. v, 476–83, 511–12; VI, 320–1; Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1467–77, 98, 288; Cal. Close Rolls, 1461–8,167; Paston Letters, II, 111; William Worcester, op. cit. 791; C. L. Scofield, The Life and Reign of King Edward IV(2 vols. 1923),!, 180,292,313, n. 3. There is no means of determining the exact date of Bellingham's flight but he was with the Lancastrians in the Spring of 1464. The Paston Letters wrongly report that he was beheaded after the capture of Naworth. The attainder of 1461 had never been formally reversed but the act of 1465 states that he had received a pardon under the great seal. I have been unable to trace this pardon. He was dead by 1485 and the reversal was for his son, Roger.

34 Sir Ralph Percy submitted by Michaelmas 1461, early enough to avoid attainder in the parliament of November. He was put in charge of the key fortress of Dunstanborough for Edward. By the end of October 1462 he had gone over to Margaret of Anjou but in December Bamborough and Dunstanborough surrendered on condition that he was given the command of both fortresses. By mid-March he had the government's confidence to the extent that he was given authority to receive repentant rebels but at about the same time he went over to the Lancastrians again. He was killed at Hedgley Moor and attainted in 1465 (Scofield, 1, 204, 261, 264–5, 274, 287, 329–30, 365. Rot. Parl. v, 511–12).

35 Neville, with the Lancastrians in the North in 1461, was captured and imprisoned during the summer and attainted in November. In February 1462 he was pardoned all executions against him on account of his attainder and granted his life on condition that he would remain in prison during the king's pleasure. Escaping from the Tower he stirred up insurrection in the North in 1463 and in April a commission for his arrest was issued. In June he was received into the king's grace and pardoned all offences and most of his lands were restored. At the end of the year he fled again and joined Henry at Bamborough. In 1464 he surrendered Bamborough to Lord Montagu on condition that the garrison should be received into the king's grace. His life was spared but in 1465 he was again attainted. In 1468 he was stirring up rebellion in Northumberland and again in the North in 1469. He was then (1469) executed by Warwick and his second attainder was never reversed (Rot. Parl. V, 478—83, 511–12; Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1461—7, 122, 267, 269; Scofield, 1, 186, 220, 313–14, 329–30, 337, 365, 423 501, 503).

36 But prudently kept his brother Edmund as a hostage in the Tower.

37 Rot. Parl. v, 476–8, 511, 512; vi, 288; Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1461–7, 261, C. 66/505, m. 18 (the calendar does not refer to the attainder; the roll does); Gregory's Chronicle in Collections of a London Citizen, ed. J. Gairdner (Camden Soc. 1876), 219, 221, 223–5; Scofield, 1, 117, 120–1, 129, 132, 134–5, 145, 154, 165, 169, 188–90, 208, 209–10, 220, 231–2, 241, 253, n. 2, 261–5, 273–4, 292, 312–13, 315, 320, 329–34.

38 The only pardon I have been able to trace is one dated 28 January 1465, Supplementary Patent Roll, C. 67/45, m- 7. which has no political significance as it specifically excludes the reversal of attainder and therefore merely shows that Fulford, in spite of it, was living unmolested.

39 Rot. Part, v, 476–82; Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1461–7, 54, 227, 359, 372, 490–1; Cal. Close Rolls, 1461—8, 314—15. For details of Sir Thomas’ exploits and the reasons for the successive grants made to Staplehill see Scofield, 1, 53–4, 55–7, 61, 64, 145–6. 179, 200–1. Scofield, 1, 201, and C. L. Kingsford, Prejudice and Promise in the Fifteenth Century (1925), 60, seem to have over looked the grant of November 1464 to Fulford and therefore assumed that the attack on the house at Fulford was simply a case of violent dispossession.

40 Rot. Parl. vi, 231; Scofield, 11, 20; Cal. Close Rolls, 1468–76, 188–9; Cal. Pat. Rolls 1467–77, 303.

41 In 1475 he had to enter into a bond of £500 not to enter Devon nor maintain rioters nor prevent their arrest, in 1476 a bond of £200 to keep the peace and protect Staplehill from attacks by his servants and in 1477 a bond of 100 marks to pay Stephan Spycotte, St. Ledger's servant, £20 in recompense for wounding and beating (Cal. Close Rolls, 1468–76, 428, 440; 1476–85, 68–9).

42 Twenty people had their attainders reversed or were pardoned under letters patent by 1470, although in some cases they were subsequently condemned again.

43 E.g. Richard Tunstall and Henry Percy, earl of Northumberland. Tunstall had been attainted in 1461 and had carried on the defence of Harlech Castle until 1468. On the surrender of the castle he was pardoned his attainder under letters patent and a few months later served on an embassy. The attainder was reversed in Parliament in 1473 (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1467–77, 97, C. 66/521, m. 6). The calendar does not mention the attainder but the roll does (Rymer, Foedera, XI, 591; Rot. Parl. VI, 47–8). For Northumberland, see below, pp. 132, 143.

44 .E.g. Sir John Scudamore, the defender of Pembroke Castle in 1461, Edward Ellesmere, Margaret of Anjou's Treasurer of the Chamber (Rot. Parl. v, 483; VI, 29–30, 130–1, 327. Chancery Diplomatic Documents (Domestic), no. 945. Scofield, I, 197). Ellesmere came under suspicion again later and because of this failed to get all his lands back; a situation which he later attributed to the malice and false accusations of the king's physician, Jacques Frus.

45 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1467–77, 296; Rot. Parl. vi, 69; Plummer, op. cit. 72,78–9; Chrimes, S. B., Sir John Fortescue (1942), lxvii.

46 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1467–77, 261, 334; Rot. Parl. vi, 26–7. For his later influence see J. R. Lander, ‘Council Administration, and Councillors, 1461 to 1485’, B.I.H.R. 157, 161.

47 For More and Vergil, see Lander, J. R., ‘Edward IV; The Modern Legend and a Revision’, History, XLI (1956), 38–9, and the references there given.

48 The tradition starts with Warkworth who wrote c. 1474–98 and is therefore a reliable witness. J. Warkworth, A Chronicle of the First Thirteen Years of King Edward the Fourth, ed. J. O. Halliwell (Camden Soc. 1839), 21–2; R. Fabyan, The New Chronicles of England and France, ed. H. Ellis (1811), 662; ‘The Great Chronicle of London’, op. cit. (1938), 220–1, ‘ Such as were Rych were hangid by the purs, and the othir that were nedy were hangid by the nekkis’; Polydore Vergil,’Three Books of Polydore Vergil's English History…’, op. cit. 155; Three Fifteenth Century Chronicles, ed. J.Gairdner (Camden Soc. 1880,185). Commissions for Essex and the Cinque Ports, Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1467–77, 287–8. No commission has been found for Kent, Sussex and Surrey, but commissions certainly acted there, see the original reports sent into Chancery. Ancient Correspondence, LXVII, nos. 107–110 and 112. For the fines, see J. H. Ramsay, Lancaster and York, 11, 387–8 and 388, n. 1; the list of names of those who received pardons after making fine and ransom covers three and a half pages in Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1467–77, 299–303. For Arundel, Inquisitions Post Mortem Henry VII, 1, no. 30. Sums totalling £12,904 appear in the Tellers’ Roll, E. 403/844, as gifts during the autumn of 1471. These ‘dona’ include £3333 in money or securities from Arundel and the sums from Kent. It may be that more of the total really consisted of fines. (Ramsay, op. cit. 11, 390–1). A. Steel, The Receipt of the Exchequer 1377–1485 (1954), 298–9, suspected that not all these sums were paid at the time. This suspicion is confirmed by the Arundel Inquisition Post Mortem referred to above.

49 Rot. Parl. VI, 144–9.

50 Richard Welles was executed in 1470, Robert Welles and probably Sir Thomas de la Launde were killed at’Lose-cote’ Field, Robert Harlyston and William Godmanston were slain at Barnet, John Delves at Tewkesbury and Sir Thomas Tresham executed after the battle. Robert Baynton's attainder was reversed for his son. John Durraunt was still alive when his attainder was reversed. Robert Gybbon's case is doubtful (Rot. Parl. VI, 218–19, 259–60, 281–3, 286–7, 307–8, 317–18, 526–7).

51 Rot. Parl, vi, 101, 124–7; Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1467–77, 455–6, 486–7, 487–8. The marriages of Clarence and Gloucester had taken place in 1469 and 1472 respectively; Clarence, wishing to obtain all the lands himself, being vehement in opposition to his brother's marriage. Gloucester's only legitimate child, Edward, was born in 1473, and Clarence's son Edward, earl of Warwick, c. 21/25 February 1475 at the same time as the acts against Montagu's heir were passed. Any children which had been born previously no longer survived. In the conditions of the day the danger of the two duchesses dying without children surviving them was a real one. The oblique statement about attainder is for our purpose as important as the act itself, for it shows that the king's plans had changed under pressure. A statement of 18 March 1472 on the Patent Roll shows that Edward had at some previous time granted both the paternal and the maternal lands to Clarence (I have not been able to trace the grant itself) who had then been forced to disgorge a ‘parcel’ of them for Gloucester but had received the promise that he should not be deprived of the remainder by act of parliament or otherwise (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1467—77, 330). Clarence was created earl of Salisbury and earl of Warwick on 25 March 1472 (Cal. Charter Rolls, 1427–1516, 239–40). Clarence was clearly feeling insecure and all parties were well aware that any property settlements or grants made under any of the royal seals were automatically invalidated by an act of resumption unless exemption was obtained. The Resumption Acts of 1467 and 1473 expressly covered lands granted from the estates of the attainted. Clarence had obtained exemption from the act of 1467 but seems to have lost heavily in 1473. The Croyland Continuator comments on his resentment under the act of 1473 of the loss of the honour of Tutbury ‘ ac alias terras quam plurimas, quas ex Regia concessione prius obtinuerat’. Rerum Anglicarum Scriptorum Veterum, ed. W. Fulman (1684), i, 561. Gloucester was exempted from the 1473 act (Rot. Parl. v, 572, 578–9; vi, 71, 75). Possession of the Warwick lands by royal grant, following attainder, would therefore have spelt insecurity.

52 P. de Commynes, Mémoires, ed. J. Calmette and G. Durville (3 vols. 1924–5), 1, 202; 11, 333. Statements about the deaths of nearly all the nobles in the realm in Cal. State Papers Milan, ed. A. B. Hinds (1912), 1, 77, the ‘ First Anonymous Croyland Continuator’, Fulman, op. cit. 529–30, and the Italian Relation of the Island of England, ed. C. A. Sneyd (Camden Soc. 1847), 69, are clearly absurd.

53 Scofield, 1, 231–3, 366, 376, 480–1, 494–6, 521, 529–30, 536–7, 542, 544, 547, 560, 568, 571, 573—4, 579–80; 11, 29, 58–60, 85—9, 190–1, 213—14; G. Smith, The Coronation of Elizabeth Wydeville(1935), 18, 22, 23, 56, 61; Rot. Parl, v, 549–50; vi, 144–9. He, his two brothers and others of the garrison were promised their lives when the Mount surrendered.

54 This was confirmed by Richard III. There seems to have been no intention of depriving her permanently of her property; it would only be hers in law after her husband's death. She received general pardons in 1475 and 1479 (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1467–77, 507; 1467–85, 157, 254, 450). The needlework story is found in Fabyan, op. cit. 663. It is not mentioned in either the Paston Letters or the Howard Memoranda, the sources most closely connected with the Oxford family.

55 W. Dugdale, The Baronage of England (1675), 1, 343; Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1467–77,327, C. 66/529, m. 22. Hall tells the story that his father John, Lord Clifford slew the young earl of Rutland in cold blood after the battle of Wakefield. According to Holinshed the same Lord Clifford cut off the duke of York's head (he was killed in the battle) and sent it crowned with paper to Margaret of Anjou. The stories appear too late to be worthy of much credence. (C.P.)

56 She married St Ledger in 1472. For estates see Rot. Parl. v, 548–9; vi, 215–17; Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1461–7, 9–10, 486; 1467–77, 32–3, 137–8.

57 He was implicated in the treasons of 1468 and executed in 1469. John, the youngest and only surviving brother, was slain at Tewkesbury, 1471. The title was re-created for the heir male, Edward Courtenay of Boconnock, Cornwall, a descendant of Edward, earl of Devon (1377–1419), in 1485- (C.P.)

58 James, earl of Ormond, created earl of Wiltshire in tail male, 1449, was beheaded at Newcastle after the battle of Towton. He and his two brothers, John and Thomas, were attainted by the English parliament in 1461 and in Ireland in 1462. The attainders were reversed in Ireland in 1475, but not in England until 1485. The earldom of Wiltshire lapsed as it had been granted to John in tail male and he died without direct descendants. (C.P.)

59 For Edward's attitude towards Lord Hastings and the Central Midlands see Lander, B.I.H.R. op. cit. 154 and n. 5.

60 Lord Rougemont-Gray. Nor was this attainder reversed under the Tudors.

61 Lord Hungerford. Robert, Lord Hungerford and Moleyns, attainted (1461), was taken prisoner at Hexham and beheaded in 1464. His son, Sir Thomas, was convicted of treason in 1469 and beheaded. For the ultimate reversal of the attainder and the division of property between the heir general and the heir male see C.P.

62 Edmund, Lord Roos. Thomas, Lord Roos was executed after his capture at HedgleyMoor, 1464. His son, Edmund, was a child and therefore could not be considered in any way a political asset. He escaped overseas sometime before 1485 for his father's attainder of 1461 was reversed before he returned to England, but even then the lands were reserved during the king's pleasure. In 1492 he was found to be weak-witted and this may already have been suspected earlier.

63 Richard, Lord Welles and Willoughby. Leo, Lord Welles was attainted in 1461. His son Richard, in spite of the attainder, sat in parliament in his wife's right as Lord Willoughby in 1461, 1463—5, and 1468. This is all the more significant as she was dead by 1460. In 1464 he was given his father's chattels, in 1465 some of his father's lands were restored to him and the attainder was reversed in 1467. In the course of the Lincolnshire rebellion he was beheaded in 1470 and a formal act of attainder passed against him in 1475 (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1461–7, 357, 468; Rot. Parl. v, 617–18; vi, 144–9).

64 John, Lord Neville and Randolph, Lord Dacre (Rot. Parl. vi, 24–5, 43—5).

65 With regard to his attitude to their property, see below, pp. 134 ff.

66 The King wished (as he said) to keep all Englishmen obedient through fear…’ He emphasizes Henry's fear of riches in his greater subjects and Henry's own rapacity. Polydore Vergil, Anglica Historia, ed. D. Hay (Camden Soc. 1950), 126–9.

67 The Works of Francis Bacon, ed. J. Spedding and others (6 vols., 1858), vi, 183. Bacon speculates on the reason for this saying that Henry must have had cause for such variation and states that he probably distinguished between ‘ people that did rebel on wantonness, and them that did rebel upon want’ but admitted that this was mere supposition.

68 In 1485 ‘ Howbeit, ther was many gentlemen agaynst it, but it wold not be, for yt was the Kings pleasure’, The Plumpton Correspondence, ed. T. Stapleton (Camden Soc. 1839), 49. The Third Anonymous Croyland Continuator, Fulman, op. cit. 581, states that although the attainders were much more moderate than under Edward IV they aroused considerable censure in parliament. This seems to have been a spontaneous protest whereas that of 1473 had been inspired by Clarence and Gloucester. See also The Red Paper Book of Colchester, ed Benham, W. G. (1902), 64.

69 The figures are 1485–6, 28; 1487, 28; 1489–90, 8; 1491–2, 1; 1495, 24; 1504, 51. Viscount Lovell was attainted twice—in 1485–6 and 1495. The only parliament without attainders was that of 1497.

70 There was, however, a fair amount of disturbance and disorder in various parts of the country judging from commissions issued to various people to admit to grace those who had stirred up insurrections, e.g. Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1467–77, 515.

71 The greater number of reservations in petitions for reversal may possibly be due to petitioners including clauses safeguarding the interests of grantees with whom they had previously reached some agreement. On the other hand evidence from sources other than the Rolls of Parliament is also much less for the period before 1485. Under Edward IV I have found only three cases of reservation or bargaining (apart from the sales referred to in the reversals of Sir Nicholas Latymer and Sir Thomas Tresham, see below, pp. 139—41), two on the Rolls of Parliament (Thomas Danyell and John Delves) and one (Sir Robert Whittingham) elsewhere (Rot. Parl. vi, 104–5,218–19; Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1467–77, 329; Roskell, J. S., ‘William Allington of Bottisham’, Proc. Camb. Ant. Soc. LII (1959), 51–2). In none of these cases did the king himself benefit. It should also be added that we have no evidence from before 1485 in any way comparable to the Act of Authority of 1523 (Rot. Parl. vII, cxxi—cxxxi), which gave Henry VIII power to reverse by letters patent attainders passed under Richard III and Henry VII. Henry appears to have made very little use of the act (only one attainder was reversed under its powers) but appended to it are thirty-nine clauses exempting grantees from the consequences of reversal. Many of these clauses refer to attainders which had already been reversed and also reveal that several persons whose petitions for reversal contain no reservations had not succeeded in recovering all their property. The question could only be decided one way or the other by evidence of negotiations between parties carried on before the reversal of attainders but on balance greater difficulties after 1485 seem to be indicated. Although there were a few royal sales of land in both periods these seem to have been exceptional.

72 Walter Devereux, Lord Ferrers, reversed for his son John (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1485—94, 61; Rot. Parl. vi, 414–15; C.P.).

73 Cal. Close Rolls, 1485–1500, 34–5, 270; Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1485–94, 93, 96, 101–2, 129, 231, 315, 380; Rot. Parl. vi, 424, 484—5; vn, cxxiv-cxxv, cxxviii, cxxx. The five manors sold to Bray had been granted to him successively for life, in fee tail and in fee simple. Grants of Zouche's lands were made after the act of 1489, e.g. Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1485–94, 31s, 340–1.

74 The king married Anne, the Mowbray heiress, to his son, Richard, then aged six, and although she died almost immediately arranged for his son to keep the lands (Rot. Parl. vi, 168–71, C.P.).

75 That John Howard actually received possession of the lands is shown by the statement in Rot. Parl. vi, 478–9.

76 ‘… provided that he stand his trial if anyone implead him of the premises, and that it shall be lawful for the King to imprison him during pleasure….’ (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1485–94, 86, 27 March 1486).

77 See the epitaph in Weever, J., Ancient Funerall Monuments (1631), 834–40.

78 Weever, op. cit., says ten weeks, but he was not apparently sent north until after Percy's death which took place on 28 April.

79 It also provides for exemptions in favour of particular persons.

80 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1485–94, 314; Weever, op. cit. The Plumpton Correspondence, op. cit. 95–7. He severely punished the ringleaders but sued to the king for pardon for the rest.

81 For the restoration of title and lands, see Rot. Parl. vi, 410–11, 426–8, 448–50.

82 In 1507 Surrey was granted licence to enter ‘on lands of the inheritance of the said John (duke of Norfolk) or the said earl which Elizabeth late duchess of Norfolk held for life with remainder to the said earl’ (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1494–1509, 543). Elizabeth Talbot was the widow of the last Mowbray duke.

83 For cases of Surrey buying back estates or rents see Cal. Close Rolls, 1485–1500, 227,276, 362—3. In March 1490 the earl of Derby, to whom considerable estates had been granted, was sufficiently concerned at what was happening to take out an exemplification of the second act of 1489 in Surrey's favour (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1485–94, 318).

84 Together with very considerable additional grants of land (Rot. Parl. VII, xlv-xlvi, xlvii-xlix).

85 (1) Lord Fitz Walter, att. 1495, and later executed afterattempted escape from imprisonment in Calais. Under indentures dated 24 July 20 Henry VII his son Robert bound himself to pay the King £5000. It seems reasonable to connect this payment with the reversal of his attainder under letters patent the following November. He was allowed to pay in instalments of £1000 p.a. This did not mean complete restitution for grants were made from his property in 1506 and in 1509 he was granted the lease at a rent of £ 100 p.a. of the manors of Hampnell and Disse, Co. Norfolk, which had been forfeited under the act of attainder. He took the precaution of getting the attainder repealed in Henry VIII's first Parliament. At least two payments of £1000 each were made under the indentures (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1404–1500, 444–5, 454, 467, 483,-522; Letters and Papers Foreign and Domestic of the Reign of Henry VIII, I, nos. 341, 811, 4347; P.R.O. E. 36/214, 511; B.M. Lansdowne MS. 127, fol. 18d).

(2) Lord Audley, att. 1497. The act of reversal of 1514 for his son John exempts grants made to Lord Dudley and others. In 1523 John had still not recovered an advowsom granted away in 1508 (Parliament Roll, C. 65/132, m. 4; Rot. Parl. vII, liiii-lv, cxxvi-cxxvii; Cal. Pat Rolls, 1494–1505, 592).

(3) The de la Poles were, because of their royal blood and extreme unreliability, atypical. Nevertheless their treatment shows similarities to that of other families, e.g. the allotment in 1493 for £5000 to Edmund de la Pole of certain lands and manors as though his brother had never been attainted and his reduction from duke to earl. See Rot. Par!. VI, 397–400, 474–8; vn.cxxii; Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1494–1509, 259–61.

86 Rot. Parl. vi, 544–8; Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1494–1509,468. The pardon of 1506 was limited in its application. It only’ abled to the laws’. The attainder in this case was never apparently reversed.

87 Thomas Tyrell had to pay £1738 for the reversal of his own and his father's attainders (E. 36/214, 519; B.M. Lansdowne MS. 127, fol. 41d). Roger Wake, att. 1485, in order to obtain reversal in 1487, agreed to leave the king free to grant away certain of his lands and grants already made to Viscount Welles, Sir Humphrey Stanley and others were reserved (Rot. Parl. VI, 275–8, 393–4). Elizabeth Brews paid the king £500 for the lands of Sir Gilbert Debenham and a promise to get his attainder reversed at the next parliament (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1494–1509, pp. 238–9). For the hard conditions imposed on George, son of William Catesby (att. 1485), see Rot. Parl. vi, 275–8, 490–2. A priest, James Harrington, had to pay 80 marks (E. 36/214, 445).

88 E.g. the Cornish yeoman Thomas Polgreven paid £40 and six others paid £30 between them, see B.M. Lansdowne MS. 127, fol. 34d (entry on Thomas Gosworthdogga).

89 Latymer had manors of Howard's at farm, though they were not his own former manors. It is tempting to think (although there is no proof) that Howard, having obtained his pound of flesh, used his influence in the grant of 1466 and the reversal of 1468.

90 Wedgwood, Biographies, 527; Scofield, 1, 265; Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1461–7, 269, 525; Manners and Household Expenses of England in the Thirteenth and Fifteenth Centuries, ed. T. H. Turner (Roxburghe Club, 1841), 176, 177, 231, 251–2, 466, 468–9. It has to be remembered that these notebooks consist of jottings only and are by no means a complete record of Howard's financial transactions. William Worcester, op. cit. 780, incorrectly states that his lands were restored in 1462. The full text of his pardon shows that it was originally intended to restore his lands ‘…relaxavimus eidem Nicholo universa et singula forisfacta…’ (Patent Roll, C. 66/505, m. 10). His petition for reversal in 1468, Rot. Parl. vi, 230–1, states, ‘he hath bargayned and agreed with dyvers such persones as it hath lyked your seid Highnes to graunte his said lyvelode unto…; the which somes he hath content unto the seid persones by payment and suerte, to his importable charge.’

91 Rot. Parl. v, 616–17. By his pardon he had merely been ‘abled unto youre Lawes’.

92 There is less reason to doubt this statement than some of a similar kind for it was made after at least some of his property had been restored. Although his attainder was not reversed in Parliament until 1473 he had received a pardon which covered the attainder and the king had separately granted him some of his lands (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1461—7, 271, C. 66/505, m. 7).

93 Rot. Parl. VI, 275–8; Inquisitions Post Mortem, Henry VII, ii, no. 44; W. Campbell, Materials for a History of the Reign of Henry VII etc. (Rolls Ser. 1873–7), ‘. 542.

94 The widow of the second earl had a dower interest of £500 p.a. from her first husband Richard, Lord Despenser and settled estates worth £650-£700 p.a. She also had an annuity of £200 on the Yorkshire estates. The widow of the third earl held the Poynings’ inheritance worth £500 p.a. in her own right (J. M. W. Bean, The Estates of the Percy Family, 1416–1537 (1957) 83, 85, 91). For proof that the second earl's widow was still living in 1465 see Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1461–7, 455. For a general account of the incomes enjoyed by dowagers in the fifteenth century see Pugh, T. B. and Ross, C. D., ‘The English Baronage and the Income Tax of 1436’, B.I.H.R. xxvi (1953), 413, 26–8.

95 Isabel Home, 40 marks p.a., Catherine Arundel £100 p.a. (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1461–7, 7; 1476—85, 417). It was more usual, however, to place a small income or lands in the hands of reliable officers to be administered for their use, e.g. Elizabeth Fulford, Philippa, Lady Roos Elizabeth Tailboys, Eleanor, Lady Hungerford, Anne Hampden, Joan, Lady Zouche (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1461–7, 64, 87, 89, 181; 1485–94, 222, 223).

96 See remarks on public opinion and forfeiture (see below, pp. 145–6 and nn. 104 and 105).

97 When Thomas, Lord Roos’ estates were restored to him in 1485 after a quarter of a century in other hands he alleged that they had suffered great waste and destruction—a plausible enough complaint, for it is known that Lord Hastings (to whom most of his Midland properties had been granted) had stripped the lead from the roofs of Belvoir Castle c. 1475 and had left the building to tumble into ruin. Stoke Albany, another Roos property, is said to have suffered the same treatment (Rot. Parl. vi, 310—11; N. H. Bell, The Huntingdon Peerage (1820), 20).

98 E.g. the greater part of Sir John Fortescue's lands had been granted to Lord Wenlock who was killed in the battle of Tewkesbury in 1471, leaving no heirs, and they were therefore in the king's hands again when his attainder was reversed in 1473.

99 Wedgwood, Biographies, 792–3; Rot. Parl vi, 275–8; V.C.H. Worc, III, 125–6. Stafford's name is included in the act of 1504 (Rot. Parl. vi, 526) giving the king power to reverse attainders by letters patent but no reversal is enrolled on the Patent Roll.

100 The story, though very interesting, is too long and complicated to give in detail here. It was also somewhat confused by grants made to Jasper Tudor. The matter came before Parliament in 1495, 1504 and 1523 as well as being the subject of numerous discussions else where. In 1531 Lord Dudley sold the manor to Richard Jervaise, a London mercer (Rot. Parl. VI, 483–5, 487–8, 552–4; VII, cxxix; Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1485–94, 64, 83–4, 260, 266; 1494–1509, 59,224;Cal. Close Rolls, 1485–1500, 115–16; V.C.H. Worc, III, 194–5). Northfield and Welley were one manor though records often refer to ‘manors’. For other cases of reservation see Edward, duke of Buckingham and John, Lord Audley (Rot. Parl. vi, 43–4, 213, 285–6; vII, liv-lv).

101 In 1464 when the dowager duchess of Somerset was imprisoned for a time after her son's flight she complained that certain of her tenants were refusing to pay their rents (Scofield, I, 313; Scofield,’Henry, Duke of Somerset, and Edward IV’, E.H.R. xxi (1906), 300–2). In February 1461 Sir John Fortescue attempted to settle his wife's jointure. Because he was then ‘in trouble and jeopardy’ the conveyances were hastily and carelessly drafted and there was trouble and uncertainty about the settlement as late as 1480 (Cal. Close Rolls, 1476–85, 199). See also the cases of Hugh Moyne and John Fauntleroy (Rot. Parl. vi, 495–6; Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1494–1509, 88–9). For other allegations of wrongful seizure, Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1461–7, 231, 549–50; 1467–77, 127–8, 193–4, 200, 445–6, 453–4, 522–3, 584–5; 1476–85, 364–5, 508, 523, 523–4, 530, 539–40; 1485–94, 208, 307–8, 397–8, 399–400, 439—41, 473–4; 1494—1509, 208. In some cases those who had been attainted are alleged to have wrongfully occupied the lands. For the normal hazards of the fifteenth-century landowner see K. B. McFarlane, ‘The Investment of Sir John Fastolf's Profits of War’, T.R. Hist.S. 5th ser. VII (1957), 111–14, and P. S. Lewis, 'sir John Fastolf's Lawsuit over Tichwell 1448–1455’, Hist. Journal, 1 (1958), 1–20.

102 For the very complicated history of the Percy estates in the fourteenth century, see Bean, op. cit. 69–111. The manors formerly held in fee simple which were restored in 1470 were Shilbotle, Pennington, Guyzance and Beauley. Mr Bean suggests that the crown then lost sight of the distinction between the entailed estates and those held in fee simple; confusion partly due to the fact that in 1461 the third earl had been holding them on lease from the crown. Moreover, Henry Percy IV seems to have been able to bilk some of his father's creditors as the attainder of 1461 had extinguished certain of the financial dispositions made by the third earl (ibid. 134 and n. 4). Henry Percy IV made very considerable acquisitions under Richard III (ibid. 112).

103 Henry, duke of Exeter, Francis, Viscount Lovell (left only daughters), Thomas, Lord Rougemont-Grey. The other two were John de la Pole, earl of Lincoln, and Edmund de la Pole, earl of Suffolk. The last male representative of the family died c. 1539 or later.

104 Stubbs, III, 610. It may also be added that Stubbs’ opinion is given added force by the fact that the number of reversals passed in favour of collaterals is by no means insignificant. E.g. the following attainders were reversed for other than sons; Sir Robert Whittingham, John Floryl, Sir Anthony Notehill, Sir Walter Notehill, Sir Alexander Hody. The act of 1489 for the reversal of Sir Robert Brakenbury's attainder in favour of his sisters and co-heiresses even contained a proviso that if the co-heiresses died without leaving direct descendants his bastard son should inherit (Rot. Par!, vi, 27–8, 108–9, 175–6, 219, 433–4).

105 In 1423 it was declared in parliament that Henry V on his deathbed had been greatly troubled in conscience because he had granted away certain forfeited lands of Henry, Lord le Scrope of Masham which were asserted to be entailed. It was stated that the grantees were willing to surrender the lands if this were so. It was therefore decided that the question of fact should be tried at common law. In 1425 the case was settled in favour of John le Scrope, brother and heir of Henry (Rot. Parl. iv, 212–13, 287–8). There had been some vacillation as to what type of lands attainder covered. In the de Vere case, 1392–3, entailed lands were not to be forfeited by attainder (Rot. Parl. in, 302–3). The rebels of 1 Henry IV, the earls of Kent, Huntingdon and Salisbury, Thomas, Lord Despenser and Sir Ralph Lumley, were to forfeit all lands and tenements which they held in fee simple (Rot. Parl. iv, 18). On the other hand the forfeitures of those condemned in 1406 extended to entailed lands (Rot. Parl. iv, 604–7), but a declaration in parliament in 1439 confirmed restorations of lands held in fee tail but not in fee simple (Rot. Parl. v, 12). For the Percies see above, p. 143 and n. 102. There was a similar proviso in St. 9 Henry VI, c. 3, which confirmed the proceedings against Owen Glendower (Plummer,-op. cit. 278). The petition against William de la Pole in 1451 seems to represent the opinion of the landowner. It asks that his heirs should be corrupt of blood and unable to inherit any lands, tenements, rents, services or any other manner inheritance or possessions of fee simple as heirs to him. His goods and chattels were also to be seized (Rot. -Parl. v, 226). The petition does not mention entailed estates or estates held to his use. As late as 1453 a proviso exempting entailed estates was expressly introduced into the act of attainder against Sir William Oldhall (Rot. Parl. v, 265–6). The provisions of the acts of attainder from 1459 onwards for the confiscation of estates in fee tail were therefore flying strongly in the face of public opinion. When Edward IV returned in 1471, according to Polydore Vergil, none dared, for fear of Warwick, join him in his attempt to recover the crown. He therefore gave out that he sought only for his dukedom of York ‘ to thintent that by this reasonable and rightewouse request he might get more favor at all handes. And yt ys incredible to be spoken how great effect that feygnyd matter was of, suche ys the force of righteuousnes generally among all men; for whan they herd that King Edward mynded nothing lesse than to require the Kingdom, and sowght simply for his inherytance, they began to be movyd ether for pyty to favor him, or at the leest not to hinder him at all from thattayning of that dukedome’ (Three Books of Polydore Vergil's English History…, ed. Ellis, Sir H. (Camden Soc. 1844), 137).

106 The method was not new. Very similar measures had been taken under Edward II.See the case of Bogo de Knovill in 1326. Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1324–7, 333. I owe this reference to Dr E. B. Fryde. It may also be compared as a method of governmental discipline with the taking of hostages from feudal tenants under the Angevins and the enormous fines imposed (but generally uncollected) under King John.

107 Richardson, W. C., Tudor Chamber Administration 1485–1547 (1952), 12.

108 E.g. from Edward Ellesmere £2000, see above, p. 128, n. 44, Henry, duke of Exeter,£1100 (jewels and silver plate), Henry, duke of Somerset, £1000 (jewels and plate) (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1467–77, 121), William Tailboys (cash and debts), £108 (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1461–7, 295).

109 E.g. for part of the estates of the following, Henry, duke of Exeter, £4666. 13s. 4d.,(Ramsay, Lancaster and York, 11, 459); Clarence, £2000 (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1476–85, 212); Berkeley of Welley, £666. 13s. 4d. (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1485–94, 83–4). Sir Henry Bodrugan, £320 (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1494–1509, 503). Including 600 marks which Lord Audley paid to Edward IV to save his brother Humphrey's lands from forfeiture (Rot. Parl, vi, 127–8), £5000 paid by Edmund, earl of Suffolk, £5000 by Lord FitzWalter, £1728 by Thomas Tyrell and other smaller sums the total amounts to over £20,000 and it is by no means complete.

110 A list of sixteen estates (and the values of some of these are far from complete) gives a total value of nearly £18,000 p.a. Not all these estates, however, were in the crown's hands simultaneously. The figure includes the estates of Clarence and Gloucester, £3500 and c. £3666 net respectively. It seems legitimate to include these as the figures include the old Salisbury, Spenser and Warwick lands as well as royal grants. As the figures are only an approximation detailed references have been omitted to save space.

111 Those of the dukes of Exeter, Somerset, Suffolk, Viscount Lovell and Lord Rougemont-Grey. The figure is brought up to six if the Salisbury and Warwick estates are counted. These fell to the crown after the attainders of Clarence (1478) and Richard III (1485).

112 It is also improbable that attainders to any great extent permanently reduced the acreage of land in the hands of the aristocracy, though the distribution of lands between its various members may have been altered or diverted. E.g. the Howards, although they had to wait for many years, finally emerged with their lands greatly increased, including their moiety of the Mowbray estates and the grants made to Surrey from the Crown Lands after Flodden.

113 See my article, ‘Council, Administration and Councillors, 1461 to 1485’, B.I.H.R. op. cit. 153–6. I hope to deal more fully with this question elsewhere.

1 I wish to thank Dr E. B. Fryde for criticism and advice on this paper.

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