Edmund, Earl of Rutland

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Edmund of York
Earl of Rutland
Born (1443-05-17)17 May 1443
Rouen, Normandy
Died 30 December 1460(1460-12-30) (aged 17)
Wakefield, Yorkshire
House York
Father Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York
Mother Cecily Neville

Edmund, Earl of Rutland (17 May 1443 – 30 December 1460) was the fifth child and second surviving son of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and Cecily Neville. He was born in Rouen.

He was created Earl of Rutland by Henry VI probably some time before 1454. No record of the creation has been preserved; Edmund and his older brother Edward, then the Earl of March, signed a letter to their father on 14 June 1454 as "E. Rutland" and "E. Marche".[1]

Lord Chancellor of Ireland

In 1451, Edmund's father, who held the title of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, appointed Edmund as Lord Chancellor of Ireland. As Edmund was underage, the duties of the position were held by Deputy Chancellors. His first Deputy Chancellor was Edmund Oldhall, Bishop of Meath. His brother Sir William Oldhall was Chamberlain to the Duke of York and was likely behind that appointment. He acted as de facto Chancellor until 1454.

Olldhall was replaced by John Talbot, 2nd Earl of Shrewsbury, who also held the office of Lord High Steward of Ireland. He would continue serving as the de facto Chancellor until his death at the Battle of Northampton (10 July 1460).

His appointment and those of his Deputies were acknowledged by the Parliament of Ireland which at this time first asserted its independence. The Parliament declared that Ireland held separate legislature from the Kingdom of England and its subjects were only subject to the laws and statutes of "the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons of Ireland, freely admitted and accepted in their Parliaments and Great Councils".

According to Parliamentary decisions during his term, the Irish subjects were only bound to answer writs by the Great Seal of Ireland, held by the Lord Chancellors. Any officer attempting to enforce the rule of decrees from England would lose all of his property in Ireland and be subject to a fine.

The House of York in Ireland had won the support of Thomas FitzGerald, 7th Earl of Kildare, and James FitzGerald, 6th Earl of Desmond. Several allies of the FitzGeralds followed them in their loyalties. On the other hand the House of Lancaster found its main Irish supporter in the person of James Butler, 5th Earl of Ormonde.[2]


The Murder of Rutland by Lord Clifford by Charles Robert Leslie

Edmund died at the age of seventeen after the Battle of Wakefield (30 December 1460) during the Wars of the Roses. He had fought in the battle at the side of his father.

By the account given by Roderick O'Flanagan in his 1870 biography of Edmund:

Urged by his tutor, a priest named Robert Aspell, he was no sooner aware that the field was lost than he sought safety by flight. Their movements were intercepted by the Lancastrians, and Lord Clifford made him prisoner, but did not then know his rank. Struck with the richness of his armour and equipment, Lord Clifford demanded his name. "Save him", implored the Chaplain; "for he is the Prince's son, and peradventure may do you good hereafter."

This was an impolitic appeal, for it denoted hopes of the House of York being again in the ascendant, which the Lancastrians, flushed with recent victory, regarded as impossible. The ruthless noble swore a solemn oath: "Thy father", said he, "slew mine; and so will I do thee and all thy kin;" and with these words he rushed on the hapless youth, and drove his dagger to the hilt in his heart. Thus fell, at the early age of seventeen, Edmund Plantagenet, Earl of Rutland, Lord Chancellor of Ireland.

Edmund was thus executed on the orders of the Lancastrian Lord Clifford, or by some accounts, by Lord Clifford himself. His head was displayed on the gates of York, England, along with those of his father and of his uncle, Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury.[3]

In Shakespeare's play, Henry VI, Part 3, Rutland is portrayed as a young boy who is brutally murdered by Clifford after pleading for his life; the source appears to be Hall's 1548 history, which says Rutland is "scarce of the age of twelve years" at his death.

In the children's history book Our Island Story by H. E. Marshall, Rutland is also a young boy, but is named as one of Richard's sons, rather than the Earl of Rutland. He is escaping with his tutor when caught by a "rough soldier".

Edmund and his father were buried at Pontefract Priory. The bodies were reburied, with great pomp, in the family vault at Fotheringhay Castle on 29–30 July 1476.[4]

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Arms of Edmund, Earl of Rutland
Arms of Edmund, Earl of Rutland.svg
Edmund of York used the arms of the kingdom, differentiated by a label argent per pale lions purpure (for his grandmother, Isabel of Castile and León) and torteaux (presumably three each) gules (for York).[5]
Quarterly, 1st, quarterly, 1st and 4th, France ancien, 2nd and 3rd England, with a label of five points Argent the two dexter points charged with lions rampant purpure and three sinister points each with three torteaux, 2nd and 3rd de Burgh, 4th Mortimer.[6][7]
Both Edward (later King Edward IV) and Edmund quartered the arms of de Burgh and Mortimer, emphasising their descent from Lionel of Antwerp, on which Edward's Yorkist claim to the throne was based. These quarterings were used by his niece Catherine of York, Countess of Devon, and can be seen sculpted on the south porch of Tiverton Church in Devon.


Legal offices
Preceded by
Walter Devereux
Lord Chancellor of Ireland
with Deputies Edmund Oldhall (1451–1454)
and John Talbot, 2nd Earl of Shrewsbury (1454–1460)
Succeeded by
John Dynham


  1. Edward IV by Charles Ross (U. of California Press, 1974) ISBN 0-520-02781-7, p 14
  2. Weir, Alison, "Britain's Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy", Bodley Head 2002, p 134
  3. http://www.thepeerage.com/p10164.htm#i101636
  4. Charles Ross, Edward IV, p. 271
  5. Marks of Cadency in the British Royal Family
  6. Pinches, John Harvey; Pinches, Rosemary (1974), The Royal Heraldry of England, Heraldry Today, Slough, Buckinghamshire: Hollen Street Press, ISBN 0-900455-25-X
  7. http://www.richard111.com/house_of_york.htm

External links