The story of our family...for my sons

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sir Walter Devereaux

Sir Walter Devereaux is my 16th great grandfather on my fathers side. Sir Walter married Agnes Ferrers before 1446. Agnes was born in 1438. She was the daughter of Sir William de Ferrers and Elizabeth Bealknap. She died on 9 Jan 1468/1469 . They were married by 1446 (Anne being at most 7 years of age at the time of the marriage). Anne died on 9th January 1468/9, and Sir Walter remarried to Jane (family name unknown). Sir Walters father (Sir Walter) was appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland in 1449. His term was brief and likely uneventful. In 1451, Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland appointed his son, the 8-year-old Edmund, Earl of Rutland, as the new Lord Chancellor. Since Rutland was under age, his duties were taken over by Deputy Chancellor Edmund Oldhall.

Sir Walter was the 1st Baron Ferrers of Chartley, K.G., M.P., was born in 1432 and died in battle on 22nd August 1485 at Bosworth Field in the famous battle of the Roses in which Henry Tudor defeated King Richard III and succeeded to the English throne. Sir Walter sided with Richard III (Yorkists) - bad move! Sir Walter had assumed the title of Baron through his marriage to Anne Ferrers, whose father William, Baron Ferrers of Chartley had died without male heir.

The Battle of Bosworth Field (August 22, 1485) was Lancastrian Henry Tudor's defeat of Yorkist King Richard III, ending the Plantagenet dynasty to begin a new Tudor dynasty. Historically, the battle is considered to have marked the end of the Wars of the Roses, although further battles were fought in the years that followed as Yorkist pretenders unsuccessfully fought to reclaim the crown.

Henry Tudor had landed in Pembrokeshire, the county of his birth, on 7 August with a small force — consisting mainly of French mercenaries — in an attempt to claim the throne of England. Richard III had fought similar battles with Lancastrian usurpers in the past, and though Henry did not have his opponent's military experience, he was accompanied by his uncle, Jasper Tudor, 1st Earl of Pembroke (later 1st Duke of Bedford) and John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford, each of them being a brilliant and seasoned soldier. Henry gathered supporters in the course of his journey through his father's native Wales, and by the time he arrived in the Midlands, he had amassed an army of an estimated 5,000 men. The King, by contrast, could command nearly 8,000.

Richard reached Ambion Hill first and his troops were well-rested going into the battle, while Henry's men had trouble lining up on the rough ground below; it is unclear why. Richard might then have charged, slaughtering the disorganised Lancastrians, but he missed his chance. When Henry finally was ready, his men used cannon and arrows to force Richard to come down from his hilltop. When Richard did, he called for the Earl of Northumberland, who commanded the right wing of his army, to join in with fresh forces. But Percy refused, holding his forces back from action.

The decisive factor in the battle was to be the conduct of the Stanley brothers (more of our relatives) — Sir William Stanley and Thomas Stanley, 2nd Baron Stanley, the latter being Henry's stepfather. Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland, with Lord Stanley and Sir William Stanley and their troops, watched the beginning of the engagement as the rest of Richard's army fought Henry's French mercenaries and loyal exiles. The Stanleys seem to have taken up a position some distance away from the two main armies.

The two notorious vacillators were the young John Talbot, 3rd Earl of Shrewsbury, and the older more experienced Lord Stanley. They acted with a circumspection that bordered on deceitfulness, consistently holding back from final commitment to either side, and always keeping on good terms with the winners. Richard's commander, John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk, was slain, and the waiting armies of Lords Stanley and Northumberland still did not commit to any side.

Richard himself was rumoured to have been killed by the poleaxe of a Welshman, and even sources of a hostile slant agree that he died fighting bravely. Richard III (Duke of Gloucester) was the last king of England to die in battle. Richard III was the only English king with a strongly northern association and powerbase, and the last of the Plantagenet kings. The battle proved to be decisive in ending the long-running civil wars later to be known as the Wars of the Roses.

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