Ch.4 - 1389 to 1485
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THE ARDENS OF "PARK HALL", WARWICKSHIRE,
DURING THE REIGN OF RICHARD II,
THE LAST OF THE PLANTEGENETS
AND UNDER THE
HOUSES OF LANCESTER AND YORK (1377-1485).
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The Ardens of "Park Hall" Warwickshire,
under the Houses of Lancaster & York
IX. SIR HENRY de ARDEN = Ellen
Park Hall, Warw. |
d. ca. 1400 |
Geoffrey X. SIR RALPH ARDEN = Sybil
William Park Hall, Warw. |
d. 1420 |
XI. ROBERT ARDEN = Elizabeth Clodshale
Park Hall, | (See Chart IVA)
Warw. b. 1412 |
exec. as a |
Yorkist 1452 |
John = WALTER ARDEN
___| See Chart V
Groom of the Chamber
of Hen. VII
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William de Bishopden = ?
Sir John de Bishoden = Beatrice
M.P. 1327, 1331 |
Richard de Clodeshale = ? Roger Bishopden = ?
21 Edw. III | Staffs. |
| 19 Edw. III |
Sir Walter de Clodshale = Alice
Staffs. 5 Edw. III | Bishopden
Richard de Clodshale = Johanna, widow
24 Edw. III | of Robert de
| John Fishyer = ?
| Fishiden, Barsh. |
| Sir John Golofre = Elizabeth Fisher
| Cercedon, d. 1363 |
| Robert Golofre = ?
| Ralph Golofre = ?
| | William Brusley = ?
| | |
| | -----------
| | |
| Roger Golofre = Mary Brusley
John de Clodshale = Beatrix Golofre
47 Edw. III |
| Henry de Edgebaston = ?
| 39 Hen. II |
| Richard de Edgebaston = ?
| 22 Edw. III |
| Richard de Edgebaston = ?
| In Scottish wars of Edw. I |
| Henry de Edgebaston = ?
| 22 Edw. I |
| Richard de Edgebaston = ?
| 17 Edw. III |
| Richard de Edgebaston = ?
| 21 Edw. III |
Richard Clodshale = Isabella Edgebaston
3 Hen. V |
XI. ROBERT ARDEN = Elizabeth Clodshale
Park Hall, Warw.
CHART IV B
The Houses of York and Lancaster
EDWARD III = Philippa of
1327-1377 | Hainault, d. 1369
| | | | |
Edward, the Black | ----- John of Gaunt, ---- | Thomas. Duke of
Prince. d. 1376 | | Duke of Lancaster, | | Gloucester,
| | | d. 1399 | | d. 1397
| ------ Blanche of (I) = ---- --- = (3) Catherine | = ?
| | Lancaster, | | Swynford, | |
| | d. 1369 | | d. 1403 | V
| Lionel | | Edmund,
| Duke of Clarence, ------- -------- Duke of York,
| d. 1368 | | d. 1402
| | | | |
| | | | |
| | | | ------------------------
RICHARD II | | | | |
1377-99 | | | | |
----------- Mary = HENRY IV John Beaufort = ? Edward, Duke Richard. Earl of
| Bohun | 1399-1413 Earl of | of York, k. 1415 Cambridge,
Philippa = Edmund Mortimer, | Somerset | ex. 1415
| Earl of March | (legitimised 1397) | = Anne Mortimer
| d. 1381 | d. 1410 | |
| | ------------------ V (q.v.)
| | |
| ------------------------------------ ------------------------
| | | | | |
| | | | | |
Roger Mortimer = ? Owen (2) = Catherine = HENRY V (1) John, Humphrey, John, Duke of Edmund, Duke
Earl of March | Tudor | of France | 1413-22 Duke of Duke of Somerset, of Somerset,
d. 1398 | d. 1461 | d. 1432 | Bedford Gloucester d. 1444 d. 1455
| | | d. 1435 d. 1445
| | |
| | ------------------------------------
| --------- |
| | |
Richard, Earl = Anne Edmund Tudor, = Margaret Beaufort HENRY VI = Margaret of
of Cambridge | * * Earl of Richmond | d. 1509 1422-61 | Anjou, d. 1482 V
(q.v.) | d. 1456 | d. 1471 |
---------- (q.v.) | |
| | |
Richard, Duke of = ? Elizabeth = HENRY VII Edward, Prince of Wales,
York, k. 1460 | of York 1485-1509 k. at Tewkesbury, 1471
* * * | (q.v.)
| | |
EDWARD IV = Elizabeth George, Duke of = ? RICHARD III
1461-83 | Woodville Clarence. m. 1478 | 1483-85
| | |
Elizabeth = HENRY VII EDWARD V = ? Richard, Duke of = ?
d. 1503 | (q.v.) m. 1483 York, m. 1483
Note: The significant marriage on this chart is that of Richard, Earl of Cambridge (*), a son of Edmund, Duke of York, to Anne Mortimer (**), the great-granddaughter of Lionel, Duke of Clarence. This gave Richard Duke of York (***) a claim of a prior right to the throne over Henry VI since York's great-great grandfather was an older brother of (John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, from whom Henry IV, V, and VI were descended. Thus the War of the Roses.
Source: Churchill, The Birth of Britain (1956)
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CHAPTER IV. THE ARDENS OF "PARK HALL", WARWICKSHIRE, DURING THE REIGN OF RICHARD II, THE LAST OF THE PLANTEGENETS AND UNDER THE HOUSES OF LANCESTER AND YORK. (13771485)
IX. Sir Henry Arden (d. ca. 1400) m. Ellen
"Park Hall", Warwickshire
Park Hall. In 1374, three years before the death of Edward III and the accession of Richard II, Sir John Botetout, Lord of Weoligh Castle in Worcestershire, granted to Henry Arden certain land in Castle Bromwich (Aston Parish), Hemlingford Hundred, Warwickshire, northeast of the present city of Birmingham. Henry was released from all service to Sir John by reason of this grant except for one red rose to be yearly paid to Sir John and his heirs on the Feast day of the Nativity of St. John.
This was the location of "Park Hall" on a hill on the south side of the River Tame, which was to be the home of the Ardens for the next 300 years and 8 generations.
It is probable that the manor house was already built at the time that Sir Henry acquired it. At that time it was known as Le Logge juxta Bromwich, and it was only during the second year of the reign of Henry V (1415) that it became known as the Manerium de Park Hall. Records of the property itself
go back to 1291 when it was held by Roger de Somery. Sir John Botetout, the grantor of the land to Henry Arden, held it in 1366 when, in that year, he was charged with having hunted deer in the free warren of the Earl of Warwick. We know little about the manor house because it was demolished long
ago -- probably during the 18th century. We do know, however, that it was surrounded by a moat, the outlines of which were still visible in 1938. We
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also know that Sir John Arden enlarged the property during the second year of the reign of Henry VIII, probably converting it from a medieval "castle" into a comfortable Tudor dwelling. This John, however, got over-enthusiastic in his expansion, and in 1510, was involved in a law suit where it was charged that he had expanded his manor by 10 acres of land belonging to an adjacent 1/ manor called "Lady Crofts"!
As indicated earlier, "Park Hall" remained in the Arden family for 8 generations -- except for temporary sojourns as property of the Crown when it was seized after the execution in 1452 of XI Robert Arden as a Yorkist, and after the execution in 1583 of Edward Arden in connection with a plot on the life of Elizabeth I. It finally descended to one Robert Arden, who died unmarried in 1643, and from him to a brother-in-law, Sir Herbert Price, who sold it in 1637. (See Chart V). Since Dugdale refers to the Park Hall in 1730 as then
being owned by a Sir John Bridgeman who purchased it in 1704 from a descendent of Sir Herbert Price, and another writer refers to its ruins as late as 1830, we can assume that it burned, or was destroyed, sometime during the 18th century.
Let us now return to Sir Henry Arden, the first occupant of Park Hall in 1374.
In the preceeding chapter, we noted that Sir Henry's older brother John inherited all of the family estates. John, however, left no male heirs and the bulk of his property descended to Henry. Some of the
1 / We also know that Park Hall was initially surrounded by large trees. Robert Arden, who eventually repossessed Park Hall after its seizure following the execution of his father in 1583 (see p.173, infra), complained that Edward Darcy, to whom Elizabeth had temporarily given the property, had cut all of the trees down!
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properties, however, did descend to John's only daughter, Rose, who married one Thomas Pakeson. We are told that Thomas was attainted for felony in 43 Edw. III - the nature of his crime not being disclosed - and died in 2 R. II.
Rose, thereafter, in 4 R.II, granted her uncle Henry Arden all interest in the lands inherited from her father, including Pedimore, Curdsworth, Minworth, Sutton, and Morhill.
To these lands inherited from his brother and his niece, Henry Arden also added several manors by purchase, such as the manor of Sulgrave which he bought in 1371. We are also told that in 1 R. 2 (1377), he had a "special relation" to Thomas Beauchamp (1345-1401), then the 12th Earl of Warwick,
who obtained for him "in consideration of his good and acceptable service" a grant of several manors, including several in Worcestershire, "to hold for life paying only a Red Rose at the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist for all services", the same "payment" he made to Sir John Botetout for Park
Hall. Thus, except for the obligation of distributing roses once a year, Henry held vast estates during his lifetime!
In 48 E. III (1375), the year-alter he acquired Park Hall, Henry was Commissioner for Conservation of the Peace in Warwickshire.
In 1376 he was knighted, and the following year, 1377, the first year of the reign 1/ of Richard II, he was one of the four members of Parliament for Warwickshire, as he was again in 3 Rich. II.
The others were Thomas de Bumesfram, John Wyard, and John Rous.
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These were dramatic times. In 1376 Edward, the Black Prince, and eldest son of Edward III died leaving Richard, a child of 9. Edward III, then in poor health and completely in the clutches of a lady by the name of Alice Perrers, whom Churchill describes as a lady of "indifferent extraction", retired to Sheen
Lodge to die. Alice is recorded as removing the rings from his fingers shortly before Edward III's death, and, with other moveable property, retiring to a life of privacy! Following Edward's death, Richard ascended the throne under the
regency of his uncle, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster.
The principal event of the early years of the reign of Richard II, the last of the Plantagenets, was a great social revolt in which Sir Henry Arden played a prominent part. The Black Death, which had crept into Europe through the Crimea and had destroyed at least one-third of the population in Europe and
England, coupled with the economic effects of the Hundred Years' War, had fostered a rebellious spirit. Men were beginning to ask, for the first time: "When Adam delved, and Eve span, Who then was a gentleman?" In Kent, the peasants marched through Rochester and Maidstone, burning manorial and
taxation records. Then, under the leadership of Wat Tyler, they marched on London in which a large number of prominent persons were killed and the palace of John of Gaunt was burned.
1 / It is estimated that the population of England fell from 4 million to less than 2.1 million.
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Although Tyler's death broke the back of any organized revolt, local uprisings spread throughout the country. One of these took place in Essex. Before Whitsuntide, which in 1381, fell on June 2, the angry peasants rose under the leadership of a common priest, who took the name of Jack Straw, in support
of men hauled into court for failure to pay the poll tax. A number of court officials were killed and their heads carried on the ends of pikes in wild scenes of mob hysteria.
The resistance of the ruling classes was soon organized, however, and letters were sent out from Chancery to royal officials commanding the restoration of order. We are told that in 5 R. II (1382) Sir Henry Arden joined in a Commission with Thomas Beauchamp, the 12th Earl of Warwick, and, according to Dugdale, some other "perforns of the fuperior rank to fuppreffe the Rebells then in Armes", this "being the time of Jack Straw", and the "plebians" were routed.
Sir Henry died some time before 1400 in which year his widow, Ellen is recorded as owning 1/2 fee in Curdsworth. Sir Henry's life thus spanned the reign of Richard II and the usurpation of the throne by Henry IV (Bolingbrooke) (1399-1413). We do not know where Sir Henry stood in the quarrels between •
Richard H and Henry Bolingbrooke, but, because of the close relation between Sir Henry and Thomas Beauchamp, the 12th Earl of Warwick (1345-1401), noted above, we can assume that he at least tacitly supported Bolingbrooke. The story is as follows:
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By the time Richard II was 20, he had surrounded himself with favorites styled "rather knights of Venus than of Bellona" who had not the slightest interest in a war with France - the focus of the baronial party. In 1386 Parliament, in order to impeach Richard's advisors, appointed a Commission, called the Lord Appellant, among whom were Thomas Beauchamp, the Earl of Warwick, and the Duke of Gloucester, the King's uncle. They completely asserted their will over Richard, and most of Richard's advisors were killed. Richard's life itself was spared, it is said, by Henry Bolingbrooke, the son of John of Gaunt (see Chart IIIB), and the king's cousin, who urged a policy of moderation.
Richard nursed his revenge. On May 3, 1389, at a council meeting, Richard calmly asked how old he was - the response was 23 - and declared he was now of age to rule. The startled ministers, before they realized what they had done, turned over all power to him. Warwick, somewhat nervously, "retired" to Warwickshire.
For eight years Richard strengthened his position, bringing over to his side Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, and Henry, Gaunt's son. Then he turned in cold hatred upon his persecutors of 1386. He ordered the murder of Gloucester, his uncle. He invited Warwick to a banquet at Court in 1397, which Warwick was injudicious enough to attend, whereupon he was immediately arrested and imprisoned in apartments in the Tower of London thereafter known as Beauchamp's_Tower. He was not restored to his honors until the succession of Henry Bolingbrooke - as Henry IV in 1399.
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The final two years of the reign of Richard II have been dramatically portrayed by Shakespeare. The play starts out with a quarrel between Mowbray and Henry Bolingbrooke involving mutual charges of treason. Richard decided that "the swelling difference of your settled hate" shall be decided in a trial of combat "at Coventry upon Saint Lambert's day". (Act L sc. 1). Richard, however, frustrated everyone who had come expecting a good joust by stopping it before it started, accusing them both of "sky-aspiring and ambitious thoughts" and declaring that "we banish you our territories". (Act I, sc. 3). It is not too much to imagine that IX Sir Henry Arden, or possibly his son, X Sir Ralph Arden, attended this great event at Gosford Green, at Coventry, in Warwickshire, held in September, 138-9.
The following February, 1399, Gaunt died. Shakespeare has him expiring after delivering his mighty paeon to England - "This royal throne of King's, this scepter 'd isle" - and expostulating to Richard that "Landlord of England are thou now, not King", provoking from Richard the charge that he was "a lean-witted fool". (Act II, sc. 1). Richard thereupon seized "the plate, coin, revenues and moveables whereof our uncle Gaunt did stand possess'd" to assist him in his forthcoming Irish wars.
Banishment, coupled with expropriation, was too much for Henry Boling-brooke, now Henry of Lancaster. He landed in Yorkshire while Richard was in Ireland and gathered a sufficient force to extort an abdication at Flint Castle from a baffled Richard, who never quite understood how his kingdom had vanished. (A( III, sc. 3). Richard finally died at Pontefract Castle - the last English king
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whose hereditary right was indisputable - murdered, Shakespeare says, by Sir Pierce of Exton at Henry's invitation (Act V, sc. v), but according to the "official" report of Henry IV, the victim of voluntary starvation.
X. Sir Ralph Arden (d. 1420) m. Sybil Park Hall, Warwickshire
Sir Ralph inherited the estates of his father. In 7 Hen. IV he assigned the manor of Wapenham in Northamptonshire to his widowed mother, and after her death, to his brother Geoffrey, and his heirs male. He also assigned the manor Sulgrave to his mother, and after her death, to his brother William - but this time for life only.
Sir Ralph lived through the relatively short reign of Henry IV (1399-1413).
Shakespeare, in ring Henry IV, Part I, has described the events early in Henry's reign (1402-1403) when he confronted rebellion from a formidable alliance of Owen Glendower, the leader of the Welsh; the Percys (the Earl of Northumberland and his son, Hotspur) who had assisted in placing Henry IV on
the throne and who were angered at what they deemed ingratitude upon Henry's part; and Edmund Mortimer, whom Richard II named as his successor before his death and who was the husband of the daughter of the Duke of Clarence and,
therefore, next in line to the throne after Richard. (See Chart VB). Henry met Hotspur's forces at the Battle of Shrewsbury (July 21, 1403) and Hotspur was killed. Shakespeare dramatically has Henry V - then Prince of Wales - slay
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Hotspur after pointing out that "two stars keep not their motion in one sphere", H. IV, Pt. 1, Act V, sc. iv.
Henry IV, P. 2, covers the period from 1403 to the death of Henry in 1413. It records the defeat of the elder Percy, the Duke of Northumberland; the death of Glendower; and the defeat of the forces of the Archbishop of York, who bitterly fought Henry because of the execution of his brother - a loyal supporter of Richard - by Henry. None of these victories, however, brought true peace to Henry. Shakespeare paints a picture of a pathetic old man concerned over the "by-paths and indirect crooked ways I met this crown" refusing the compassion of his friend the Earl of Warwick - the son of Thomas Beauchamp discussed in the biography of IX Sir Henry Arden - and advising his son to occupy the people with "foreign quarrels" to take their mind off the legitimacy of the crown.
With the accession of Henry V at 26, and through his short reign until his death in 1422, at 35, a "gleam of splendour falls across the dark, troubled story of medieval England", as Churchill puts it. Shakespeare in Henry V covers the most dramatic part of his reign, from the opening of Parliament in 1414 when Henry first decides on his French war, through the magnificent victory at Agincourt, on October 25, 1415, and his betrothal to Katherine, the daughter of King Charles VI of France in 1420.
We do have a direct tie-in of Ralph Arden with this, one of the most dramatic periods of medieval England. Sir Ralph was of the retinue of Richard Beauchamp (1382-1439), the 13th Earl of Warwick and the son of Thomas Beauchamp referenced above with regard to Sir Henry Arden. This Richard, Earl of
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Warwick, was a trusted counsellor and diplomatist through the reign of Henry V. Shakespeare shows Warwick with Henry V at Kenilworth, in Warwickshire, when he receives the insulting tennis balls from the Dauphin of France (Hen. V, Act I, sc. ii), and later, after the victory of Agincourt, with Henry at the court of Charles VI (H. V., Act V, sc. ii). On his deathbed, Henry V appointed Warwick as his son's (Henry VI's) governor, and we later find Warwick presiding at the trial of Joan of Arc (1430).
When Henry V invaded France in August of 1415, he made Warwick captain of Calais, an English town on the continent captured after Crecy by Edward III in 1347. Henry himself landed at the mouth of the Seine,' and captured Harfleur in the middle of September. (Shakespeare, in a dramatic speech, has Henry V leading the assault. Act III, sc. i). The attrition of the s1ege and disease, however, left Henry no choice but to return to England. He sent several thousand sick home from Harfleur and, with but a thousand knights and four thousand archers, started off for Calais where his ships lay. The French, however, with twenty thousand men cut off the escape route at Agincourt. There on St. Crispin's day, the English defeated the French in what Churchill describes as the most heroic of all the land battles England has ever fought and which Shakespeare has immortalized in Act IV of Henry V.
We are told that Ralph Arden was with the Earl of Warwick at Calais during this campaign bringing with him one lance and two archers. Strangely enough, this information comes from the payroll to his men. It seems that Sir Ralph paid the lancer and one of the archers "xx li per annum and their diet", and the other archer "x marks without diet."
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Ralph Arden was knighted shortly before his death, which occurred a few years after Agincourt in 8 H. 5 (1420).
XI. Robert Arden (1412-1452) m. Elizabeth Clodshale
Park Hall, Warwickshire.
Robert was 7 years old when his father died and, therefore, Park Hall was left to his mother, Sybil, with a remainder to him. His mother must have been incapacitated in some form, however, because Joan Beauchamp, Lady Bergaveny, was custodian of Robert during his minority. The Lady Bergaveny
was then the widow of William Beauchamp, the second son of Thomas Beauchamp, the 12th Earl of Warwick (mentioned at p. 119 above in connection with IX Sir Henry Arden), and brother of Richard Beauchamp, the 13th Earl of Warwick
with whom Robert Arden's father, Ralph, served at Calais during the reign of Henry V. (p. 126 above). William Beauchamp, Joan's husband, was a colorful
warrior during the reigns of Edward III, Richard II, and Henry IV.
1/ For example, he attended John of Gaunt (Lancaster) in his campaigns in Spain and, it is recorded, when the troops were drawn up to give battle to the King of Castille, Gaunt turned to Beauchamp and said: "Sir William, behold your enemies. This day ye shall be a good knight or else die in the quarrel. "
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Robert Arden succeeded to Park Hall sometime around 1434, when he was 21 years old, at which time he is recorded as being one of the chief "Gentlemen" of the county "who, being constituted by Commission, did make oath for the observation of divers Articles determined and concluded on in the Parliament then held" (e. g. , swore to obey the laws passed by the Parliament during its session at Westminster in 12 Hen. VI) In 16 Hen. VI (1438) he was the Sheriff of Warwickshire and of Leicestershire.
Lady Joan Bergaveny arranged the marriage of Robert to Elizabeth Clodshale, the daughter of Richard Clodshale and Isabella Edgebaston, bringing with her the most distinguished lineage of any distaff Arden family up to this time. (See Chart IVA).
Richard Clodshale, a Sheriff of Leicester County in 4 H. Vi (1426), was from an old family at Saltley, in Warwickshire, bore the title of Esquire, and was one of the gentlemen summoned "to attend the king in the defense of the realm" in 7 Hen. IV (1406) during one of Henry's many campaigns against those who continued to resist his usurpation of the throne of Richard II. At his death, Richard Clodshale named John, Duke of Bedford, the uncle of Henry VI, as one of his executors, and directed that he be buried in the Chapel of Our Lady in the Church of St. Martin in Birmingham founded by his great grandfather, Walter de Clodshale in 4 Edw. III (1331), and to which his grandfather, Richard, granted land in 21 Edw. III (1348) to support another priest at the same alter.
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Walter Clodshale must have been an independent individual for, it is recorded, in 32 Edw. III (1359) he paid a fine for not coming in to receive his Order of Knighthood upon "proclamation made that all such as were possessed of lands or rents to the value of 40 sh. should appear for that purpose!" Walter clearly qualified because in 1332 he was reported as the largest taxpayer in Water Orton in Warwickshire.
By Robert's marriage to Isabella, a very large number of manors passed into the Arden family where they remained until 1643. Isabella was the heiress of her father, Richard Clodshale, whose family had lived in Warwickshire ever since the time of Edward III. It was already noted above that Richard's great grandfather, Walter, was an extensive land owner and Dugdale reports that Walter's male descendants increased their estates by the marriage of several heiresses and were reckoned "amongst the Gentlemen of the Superior rank of this Countie". In addition, Elizabeth inherited manors from her mother, Isabella Edgebaston, who was herself an heiress and the last of her name.
Of the seven children of Robert and Isabella we can only trace two --XII Walter, the subject of the lead biography in the next chapter, and John. Walter settled in the manor of Pedimore of his brother John and thereafter there ensued a lengthy law suit between the two. John's son Robert, was a Groom of the Chamber of Henry VII, and was rewarded with liberal appointments and land in Staffordshire.
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War of the Roses
Robert Arden's life from the time he succeeded to Park Hall in 1434, until his execution as a Yorkist in 1452, when he was 39 years old, was during the turbulent events leading up to the War of the Roses.
The genesis of the War of the Roses, of course, took place in 1399 when Henry Bolingbrooke, the son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, usurped the throne of Richard II. A glance at Chart IVB will indicate that the Mortimer family, descendants of Lionel, Duke of Clarence, an older son of Edward III, had a prior right to the throne than did Henry IV, the son of John of Gaunt.
This claim was strengthened even further when Anne, the great-granddaughter of the Duke of Clarence, married Richard, Earl of Cambridge, the son of the Duke of York, another of the sons of Edward III. Thus the House of York had a better claim to the throne through the Mortimer family, than did the House of Lancaster.
There have, of course, been many usurpations in English history which were quite successful and prior rights to the throne by birth simply became claims.
This was true of the claims of the Mortimer family during the reigns of Henry IV and V, the first two Lancastrian kings. Thus, Edmund Mortimer, the Earl of March, unsuccessfully claimed the throne during the reign of Henry IV (p. 124 above), and Roger Mortimer, the Earl of March, made a similar unsuccessful
claim during the early years of the reign of Henry V. However, when Henry V died, Henry VI was only 9 months old. This hapless, albeit saintly, monarch was so inept; his Lancastrian tudors were so venal and subject to internecine
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feuds; and his chosen wife, Margaret of Anjou, was so ambitious and reckless, that popular dissension and dissatisfaction breathed new life into the Yorkist claim to the throne - even after three generations of Lancastrian kings (Henry IV, V, and VI).
Perhaps the major causes of dissatisfaction was the manner by which, little by little, the Lancastrians around Henry VI managed to lose all of the great empire which Henry V had built up in France, although, to their credit, it must be said that seldom has any force been required to fight a foe with the extraordinary psychological lift which Joan of Arc brought to France. By 1453 all that was left to England in France was Calais, and it cost England nearly one-third of all of the revenue granted to the Crown by Parliament to garrison Calais.
Shakespeare, in Act II, sc. iv, of Henry VI, Part I, has vividly dramatized the choosing of sides in what was now to be the War of the Roses. The leader of the Yorkist faction was Richard, Duke of York. The leader of the Lancaster faction was John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, who was later to be succeeded by his brother, Edmund, Duke of Somerset. (See Chart IVB). (The Beauforts were descendants of the legitimatized bastards of John of Gaunt's third union with Catherine Swynford who, although barred from succession to the crown by Act of Parliament, were the dominant influence upon Henry VI during most of his life.) York, speaking to the assembled group, asks that those with him "from off this brier pluck a white rose with me". Somerset
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responds: he who "is no coward nor no flatterer ... pluck a red rose from off this thorn with me". One by one each of those present plucked a white or red rose. Of particular significance to the Arden family, Richard Neville, the 14th Earl of Warwick, plucked a white rose. Neville was the son-in-law of Richard Beauchamp, the 13th Earl discussed earlier. He had unsuccessfully tried to arbitrate between York and Somerset, but eventually sided with York. It was apparent that fulfillment of his ambitions lay with the Yorkists, and besides, he was related by marriage to them - Cicely Neville, the wife of the Duke of York, was his aunt. He eventually became known to his time as the "King Maker" - at one time having Henry VI locked up in the Tower and Edward IV (the son of Duke of York) in "restraint" at his castle at Middleham.
By 21 Hen. VI (1443) it was clear where the sympathies of Robert Arden lay - with Richard, Duke of York and Richard, Earl of Warwick. In that year it is recorded that he had been "designed to go" among with Henry Percy, the 2nd Earl of Northumberland, and General of the East Marches, towards Scotland which was constantly taking advantage of England's internal disorders to violate the frontier. It is also recorded that "for that purpose he had the King's special letters of protection to endure for one whole year", suggesting that Robert was so identified with the Yorkist movement that he needed letters of protection to travel about the country to save him from an overly enthusiastic Lancastrian judge! But it seems that he withdrew from Percy's service, and stayed in West-minister "whereof the King was informed and revoked his said protection".
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It may be that Robert decided he no longer wished to serve under Henry Percy, one of the strongest supporters of Lancaster. Henry V in one of the most generous - and political - actions of his career had restored the Earldom of Northumberland to the grandson of the first Earl of Northumberland, who, along with his son, Hotspur, had revolted against Henry IV. (See p. 124 above) In gratitude, the Percy family remained staunchly behind Henry VI. Henry Percy, the second Earl whose command Robert Arden left, was later to die during the War of the Roses under the Lancasterian banner at St. Albans, as was his successor, the third Earl.
Eight years later, in 29 Hen. VI (1451) Robert Arden served as one of the Knights of Warwickshire in the Parliament then held in Westminster where he strongly supported the Yorkist position. The situation, by then, had deteriorated rapidly. The Lancastrian faction, now under complete domination
of the Beauforts, had been responsible for the murder in 1445 of Humphrey,
Duke of Gloucester, the King's uncle and perhaps of all the King's advisors,
the most sincere, if inept. In 1448 the people of England were enraged to find that Suffolk, under the Beaufort's guidance, had secretly bargained away one of the English provinces in France for the marriage of Margaret of Anjou, as the wife of Henry VI. In June and July of 1450 an uprising took place in Kent, under the leadership of Jack Cade in command of several thousand discontented "ex service men", forcing Henry VI to flee to Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire.
By August of 1450 the whole of Normandy had been lost to the French. By August of 1451, the whole of Gascony, English for three centuries, had been
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recaptured by the French through the folly of the Lancasterian ministers. The country was lapsing into barbaric confusion.
Robert Arden represented Warwickshire in the Parliament of 1451 which was strongly Yorkist in sentiment. One of the members of Parliament, a man by the name of Young, boldly proposed that Richard, Duke of York, should be considered as heir to the throne, in view of Henry VI's childless position, an action which, presumably, Robert Arden heavily favored. This apparently roused the otherwise phlegmatic and saintly Henry to action, and he ordered Mr. Young into the Tower and made an open break with Richard, Duke of York. York was then galvanized into action, and, on February 3, 1452, he sent an address to the citizens of Shrewsbury in Shropshire, accusing Edmund Beaufort, now Duke of Somerset, of "labouring continually about the King's Highness for my undoing, and to corrupt my blood and to disinherit me and my heirs". Henry proceeded to march on London with several thousand men to oust Somerset.
York's action was premature, and this, his first attempt to secure the throne, failed. The Parliament of 1452 was strongly Lancasterian, as its preecessor had been Yorkist. Further, of the great nobles only the Earl of Warwick was strongly behind him. York, therefore, dismissed his troops, and submitted himself to Henry VI at Blackheath, where his life hung by a thread. But York survived; was appointed a member of the King's Council, and became the Protector of Henry when he became temporarily insane in August of 1543.
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Although York was able to survive his first, and unsuccessful, military action when he led his troops from Shrewsbury to London in 1452, Robert Arden did not. While raising soldiers for York in the proximity of his manor at Stockton, on the Shropshire border, he was captured by the Lancasterian forces. He was attainted of high treason by James, Earl of Wiltshire (a strong Lancaster supporter who was later slain by the Earl of Warwick at the Battle of Mortimer's Cross), Richard Bingham, and John Portington, the judges appointed to try him and others captured with him. He was executed "on Saturday next after the Feast of St. Lawrence the Martyr" in 1452.
 We also know that Park Hall was initially surrounded by large trees. Robert Arden, who eventually repossessed Park Hall after its seizure following the execution of his father in 1583 (see p.173, infra), complained that Edward Darcy, to whom Elizabeth had temporarily given the property, had cut all of the trees down!
 The others were Thomas de Bumesfram, John Wyard, and John Rous.
 For example, he attended John of Gaunt (Lancaster) in his campaigns in Spain and, it is recorded, when the troops were drawn up to give battle to the King of Castile, Gaunt turned to Beauchamp and said: "Sir William, behold your enemies. This day ye shall be a good knight or else die in the quarrel. "