Earl of Rutland (1390-1415)
Earl of Cork (1394-1415)
Duke of Albemarle (1397-1399, 1414-1415)
2nd Duke of York (1402/1406-1415)
2nd Earl of Cambridge (1402/1406-1414)
Born c1373? Died 1415

Also known as Edward of York and Edward, Duke of York

Edward was the eldest son of Edmund of Langley, Duke of York and born around the year 1373. In his youth he appears to have developed a close friendship with his cousin king Richard II; he was made Earl of Rutland in 1390, and accompanied Richard on his Irish expedition in 1393 where further rewarded in 1394 when he was created Earl of Cork and granted extensive estates in Ireland. He was later one of the king's ambassadors who negotiated Richard's second marriage with Isabella of Valois.

He was one of the key supporters of Richard II when he took action against the Lords Appellant in 1397 and for which he was rewarded by the king with the grant of the lands of the attainted Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, and awarded the title of Duke of Albemarle on the 29th September.

Edward did not however make much effort to defend Richard when Henry Bolingbroke returned from exile to challenge his hold on the throne and rapidly threw his weight behind the newly crowned Henry IV. Despite this Henry viewed him with some suspicion as he regarded him as being complicit in the earlier murder of his uncle Thomas of Woodstock, and therefore deprived Edward of his dukedom in 1399. But he was soon back in favour after his role in revealing the names of the conspirators behind the Epiphany Rising.

In 1403 was appointed as Lieutenant of South Wales, but whilst in that office appears Edward seems to have become discontented due to the delay in the payment of funds by the treasury, (Henry IV was notoriously short of money) and became involved with a plot to kidnap the king and replace him with Edmund Mortimer, 3rd Earl of March. Nothing came of this particular enterprise and Edward was imprisoned in the Tower of London between February and November of 1405 but was later pardoned and released and made a privy councilor, and permitted in 1406 to inherit his father's title and estates of York.

He subsequently became a loyal supporter of the Lancastrian regime, he assisted Henry IV in the suppression of the Welsh revolt and was present at the siege of Aberystwyth Castle in September 1407 and fought with Thomas Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence during his abortive expedition to France in 1412. Edward was later placed in command of the right wing at the battle of Agincourt, which is where he died on the 25th October 1415, supposedly crushed to death under a pile of bodies.

His remains were returned to England and he was buried at the Church of St Mary and All Saints at Fotheringhay in Northamptonshire.

Edward was married twice, firstly to Beatriz de Bourgogne, daughter of Fernando I king of Portugal in July 1381 but that marriage was later annulled sometime after 1382, and secondly to Philippa de Mohun, daughter of John de Mohun, the 2nd Baron Mohun. Neither marriage produced any issue and since his brother Richard of Conisburgh had been executed only a few months previously for his part in the Southampton plot, his title and estates passed to his nephew, Richard Plantagenet.


Edward was also the author of a manual on hunting, The Master of Game, first published sometime between the years 1406 and 1413, and the oldest known English book on the subject of hunting. Although this was in large part a translation from another work, Livre de chasse, by Gaston Phoebus, the Count of Foix, it was subject to some extensive revisions by Edward and the addition of five further chapters of his own composition.

The character of Edward appears in William Shakespeare's Richard II as the 'Duke of Aumerle' and in the play Henry V as the 'Duke of York'.

A note on the titles held by Edward of Norwich

Technically Edward succeeded to the titles of Duke of York and Earl of Cambridge on the death of his father Edmund of Langley on the 1st August 1402, but this inheritance was not officially recognised by the sovereign until 1406. Sometime before May 1414 he resigned his title of Earl of Cambridge which was then regranted to his brother Richard of Conisburgh.

As noted above he was stripped of his title of Duke of Albemarle in 1399 but according to one source he was restored to this title on the 1st May 1414, shortly before his death in the following year. In any event, the titles of Albemarle, Rutland and Cork all became extinct with his death at Agincourt; only that of the Duke of York passed to his nephew.


SOURCES

  • Charles Arnold Baker The Companion to British History (Longcross Press, 1996)
  • RoyaList Online at http://www.royalist.info/royalist/index.html
  • A genealogical survey of the nobility of Great Britain and Europe at http://thepeerage.com

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