I was really surprised to discover that John Clifford, 9th Baron Clifford was just twenty-six when he was killed the day before the Battle of Towton, in my mind he was an older man.
John Clifford was born on the 8th April in 1435 to Thomas Clifford and Joan Dacre at Conisbrough Castle in Yorkshire and we hear little of him until he was eighteen when he is recorded as siding with the Percy's against the Neville's in their ongoing private wars. He is mentioned again in 1458 as arriving in London in the Percy's retinue as one of the 'yong lordes whoos fadres were sleyne at Seynt Albonys.' Full of energy and fuelled by vengeance Clifford took up the Lancastrian cause.
On the 31st of December 1460, Clifford was knighted by the Duke of Somerset before the Battle of Wakefield. It was following this battle that he saw an opportunity to avenge his father's death by murdering the seventeen year old son of the Duke of York. For this, and his 'cruelty in battle.' John Clifford is immortalised, forever remembered as The Butcher, however, this name was only attributed to him in the 16th century in the writings of John Leyland and a century later by William Dugdale.
Clifford's on death came when he was struck in the throat by a headless arrow at the Battle of Ferrybridge in the March of the following year and his body, it is said, was thrown into a common burial pit.
Richard III and his son Edward of Middleham can be seen below praying in this lovely window of St Mary & St Alkelda Church Middleham in Yorkshire. We can imagine that Richard used the church as a place for contemplation and to give thanks for being blessed with a son.
Edward was born at Middleham's Castle, but within ten years the poor child would die there, an event that it is often thought to have occurred on the 9th of April 1484 - a strange date since it was the exact date of the death of his paternal uncle Edward IV the year before, and a date you might consider Richard's troubles began.
In 1485 it was written in the Crowland Chronicles
‘In the following April, on a day not far off King Edward’s anniversary, this only son, on whom ... all hope of the royal succession rested, died in Middleham castle after a short illness’.
History tells us it was in the second week of April that his parents received the tragic news, while they were in Nottingham, that Edward had died.
Sadly, there is no reference to where Richard had his son laid to rest.
Yesterday my research took me to Wales, via books and the internet sadly, to the castle of Pen-Pont that once stood on the bank of the River Usk. My interest in Wales is concerned with the Vaughan family of Tretower, I found some interesting stuff while I was rifling through some of my notes and it links nicely with my blog, "Vengeance in Mine" which I posted here on my website a while ago.
Here is what I found.......
Alice Bredwardine (the Bredwardine's were the ancestors of the Vaughans) was the mother of Sir John Scudamore who had secretly married the daughter of Owen Glyndwr.
The story goes that John and Alice had hidden Glyndwr after which he was never heard of again.
Interestingly, the Glyndwr legend is not unlike that of Cornwall's King Arthur, where it is said that he will one day appear to save his native Cornwall, Glynwr too is set to re appear to save his beloved Wales.
A statute had been passed which forbade any Englishman with an alliance with Glendwr from holding any office, so Scudamore was stripped of his titles. The Scudamore’s son, was Henry, it was this Henry who was captured after Battle of Mortimer’s Cross, along with John Throckmorton and Owen Tudor, although he and Throckmorton may have escaped execution at Hereford, Owen Tudor, was not so lucky, his executioner was Roger Vaughan, the great great grandson of the Bredwardines (not Alice's line I must point out.)
They say that truth (if this story is true) is better than fiction....I have to agree with that!
Here is a link to my blog if you wish to read where Henry Scudamore, Owen Tudor and Roger Vaughan fit in.
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Thomas Vaughan: An Introduction
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