189 The Most Untrue Creature

Richard sought to start the reconciliation of the factions in the realm. But despite his triumphant progress through the Kingdom to York, trouble was brewing – including from the most unlikely quarter

189 The Most Untrue Creature


You can see this article below and short descriptions of other major players on a page on this website – just visit 'Major Players in 1483'. 

Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham

Henry StaffordHenry Stafford (1455-1483) was the senior Stafford line. In 1458 his father died, and then his grandfather, great pillar of the Lancastrians, was killed at the hands of the Yorkists in 1460. Buckingham made his peace with the Yorkist regime, marrying Catherine Woodville, sister of the Queen. With income of £3,000 a year, Buckingham was as rich as any other magnate, and after the Readeption was for a while a close member of Edward's household. 

Buckingham had a particularly fine heritage. He was descended from both John of Gaunt, and Thomas of Woodstock, the latter being the fifth son of Edward III. So he had royal blood, a claim to the throne if a suitable number of people popped their clogs. There’s a rather famous point in 1483 where Buckingham reportedly says that he’d forgotten his royal lineage until John Morton reminds him. Unlikely.

In 1483, Buckingham had some gripes. One was his claim on the Bohun inheritance. There had been two famous heiresses Mary and Eleanor. Mary Married Henry IV, and sister Eleanor had married Thomas of Woodstock, and her half of the lands had come down to Buckingham. So, when the Lancastrian line came to an end at Tewkesbury, Buckingham claimed the balance. This was a dispute never resolved -as far as edward was concerned, the land was irretrievably part of the royal lands. But the main problem was his distance from the power and influence that as a royal duke he would have expected. But in 1475 he appeared to fall out of favour with Edward IV, sent home early from France, and from then was excluded from real political power under Edward, despite a brief re-appearance as High Steward to oversee

Although Buckingham was married to a sister of queen Elizabeth, he had been married when he was but 10 years old, and when Catherine was 14; from there he'd spent his wardship in Elizabeth Woodville’s household. For some reason, Dominic Mancini reports that Buckingham was livid at having been made to marry a Woodville, such an appallingly lowborn person; so low born she’d not bought a dowry with her. This assertion is rather difficult to deal with; we have absolutely no other evidence to support the claim; he and Katherine have plenty of off spring, there’s no obvious sign of estrangement. There’s a titchy bit of support for the statement in the fact that Katherine wasn’t at the coronation of Richard in which Buckingham played such a leading role.

Nonetheless, Buckingham appears to have seen Gloucester as the main route back to the limelight in 1483, and to have been keen to  see the Woodvilles unseated from power and influence. 

In terms of his personal characteristics, it is of course hard to judge. But volatile might be one; the suspicion he flared up and stormed off in France and wasn’t forgiven. He appeared to find it difficult to hold on to loyalties and inspire confidence, but none the less appears to be a good and persuasive speaker. But these are just stabs in the dark – we can’t be sure. 

If you want to know more,there's a very good article here


Leave a Reply