Earl of Warwick (Dictionary of World Biography: Renaissance)
Article abstract: Warwick’s activities during the Wars of the Roses proved that the accumulation of wealth and power in the hands of the nobles led only to chaos and destruction. New techniques of government—nationalism and diplomacy—were needed in a more modern world.
Richard Neville was born on November 22, 1428; he was the eldest son of Richard Neville, the fifth Earl of Salisbury, and his wife, Alice (née Montacute). The Nevilles were one of the oldest, most important, and wealthiest families in England and were descended from and related to kings. Cecily Neville, Neville’s aunt, was married to Richard, the Duke of York, who was heir to the English throne. Shortly before Neville’s birth, his mother’s father, the fourth Earl of Salisbury, had been killed while fighting in France. In his wife’s name, Neville’s father inherited Salisbury’s lands and title. As a consequence, Neville was reared to wealth and power.
As a child, Richard was married to Anne Beauchamp, the only daughter of the Earl of Warwick. In June, 1449, following the death of his wife’s brother, Richard inherited his father-in-law’s title and lands, making him the most powerful earl in England, with precedence over even his father. Not that his father minded; both his father and his grandfather had provided astutely for their numerous children. (Richard’s father had twenty-two full or half siblings.) They...
(The entire section is 2383 words.)
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