Viewing posts from September, 2014

Three Unusual Features of Richard Neville's Succession to the Earldoms of Warwick in 1449-50

The Warwick Inheritance dispute is a well-known story. The Beauchamp earldom of Warwick lasted from 1268 until 1449, when the direct line failed. The last such Beauchamp was the infant Anne (1444 -9), sole daughter and heiress of Henry Duke of Warwick (d. 1446). Her estates consisted of two conglomerations assembled over time: the Beauchamp inheritance itself, disputed by the four daughters of Earl Richard Beauchamp (d. 1439) born to his two countesses; and the Despenser inheritance of Isabel Despenser, countess of Warwick and Worcester (d. 1439), who left two daughters, one by each earl. There had been many settlements, re-settlements, enfeoffments and conveyances that are annotated in a roll of deeds and in Duke Henry's IPM [1. TNA SC 11/947; Exeter Diocesan Record Office, Chanter MS 22; CIPM xxvi. ] and appear fiendishly complicated to sort out, but the solution achieved was commendably simple. The sole daughter by both Earl Richard and Countess Isabel was Anne Beauchamp, who, though the youngest of these five women, successfully secured everything as sole whole sister of Duke Henry. In 1449 her husband Richard Neville, known to history as Warwick the Kingmaker, was admitted as earl of Warwick. Of course the other sisters and their heirs objected, taking advantage of each twist and turn in contemporary politics down to 1484, but it was nevertheless Anne's line that scooped the pool. [2. M. Hicks, Warwick the Kingmaker (Oxford, 1998); idem, ‘Descent, Partition and Extinction: The ‘Warwick Inheritance', Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research lii (1979), 117.]

Meeting of the Mapping the Medieval Countryside Advisory Board

The fourth meeting of the board was held at the University of Winchester on Monday 8th September 2014. Members received reports on progress so far. All 24 volumes of the calendars for 1236-1447 and 1485-1509 will be posted shortly on British History Online. Work on the interactive interface for 1399-1447 has been proceeding slowly – all parties underestimated the manual labour of semantic markup and the scale of the complex programming required – but progress has been speeded by use of some of the overheads for automation and to buy in extra researcher time. There was a demonstration of volumes 23 principally of person and places and this aspect of the project will be completed by the end date of 31 December. The board heard about the ongoing Richard III IPM project. They also looked forward optimistically to the next project (in hopeful anticipation that the Indian Summer of English Feudalism receives AHRC funding) and the next phase of the IPM project, funded or not. Of the current board, Prof. Bruce Campbell, Prof. Nick Mayhew, Paul Spence and Dr Mark Allen are standing down, whilst Dr Rebecca Oakes, Jason Sadler (both present), Stephen Mileson and Andrew Spencer will join the board.

The Second Inquisition post mortem conference

The Second Inquisition post mortem conference took place at the University of Winchester on Sunday 7th and Monday 8th September 2014. It was a small event of 22 delegates, all active in the field. The thirteen papers exploited new-found understanding and explored the potential of the source for all kinds of study. Four papers arose from project and the rest from other researchers in the field. Three papers by Christopher Dyer, Stephen Mileson and Matthew Tompkins looked at the economy and landscape; another three by William Deller, Katie Clarke, and Michael Hicks were based on the proofs of age. Matthew Holford added to our understanding of dower, Janette Garrett supplied a Northumberland case study, Gordon McKelvie considered IPMs in Scotland and Calais, and Jackson Armstrong dealt with naming practices on the Cumbrian borders. Simon Payling's paper was a wide-ranging critique of the biases obtained by fifteenth-century heirs. Finally Paul Spence of the partner institution King's College London located the project within the digital humanities and demonstrated how the interactive interface will work.