Maps: 1455 Power bases of the Barons

These maps give you some idea of where the major families were based and held their main estates. You’ll remember that when the Conqueror parceled out his new possession, he made sure that the lords couldn’t get too powerful – by spreading out where they held land. There were a couple of exceptions – mainly the Marches, Northern and Welsh – where there were exceptions, where there were concentrated landholdings. These ‘Franchises’ were enormously valuable – for two reasons – economically, and military.

‘Franchises’ like the Duchy of Lancaster, or the Bishop of Durham’s Palatinate of Durham, were like mini kingdom’s, where the king;s writ did not run; and where the office holder was solely responsible to the king. That meant they gathered all the proceeds of justice; it meant their landholdings were consolidated, with all the military advantages that brought.

The franchise that’s sometimes forgotten is the Isle of Man. in the mid 15th century, it was held by Thomas, Lord Stanley, who styles himself ‘King of Man’.

Baronial landholding.

Here’s a basic map that shows the baronial landholdings during the Wars of the Roses – which obviously is a moving picture, but it gives an idea. It’s taken from information presented in ‘The Wars of the Roses’ by A.J. Pollard, and ‘The Hollow Crown’ by Dan Jones. It’s something of a mess, so I’ve tried a few other versions below to try to highlight particular families.

Estates of the Barons

Other views

Below are three versions; picking out:

1) The Lancastrian and royal position

2) The position of York

3) The Percies and Nevilles

Estates of the Barons Lancaster


Estates of the Barons York















Estates of the Barons Neville and Percy

9 thoughts on “Maps: 1455 Power bases of the Barons

    It’s funny – no matter how many times you hear someone’s name & you know their lands were not all in one clunp, it’s hard to visualize it & remember it. These maps are great – thank yiu!

  2. I was young & dumb once, now I’m not so young. I used to play the Milton Bradley ‘War Of The Roses’ board game. Then, right after college I designed my tour of England based on recollections of the map. There were three thing that came out of youthful stupidity:
    1) The city of York was a real pleasant surprise, since I had no idea what the present day town/city would look like.
    2) Distances are in Miles, not kilometers. . .
    3) Apparently rumors that Europe does not have speed limits does not include England. Did not learn that one the hard way fortunately.
    Now I need to go find a copy of the game again.

  3. These maps are fantastic! Thanks David. I honestly had no idea how scattered about the Barons lands were! I can understand why people where fearful of the Neville Affinity…He seems to have more parcels of land than the king.

    1. They are fun aren’t they? There are similar ones somewhere about how billy the Conq parcelled out land after the conquest. They rather put things in perspective.

    1. They must have spent their lives on the road! All derived from William I’s policy of splitting up the estates of his lords, to make sure nont of them had too powerful a ppwer bas in one spot

Leave a Reply