Page 428

428 RICHARD THE THIRD. An. Dom. 1484

The name of Fortescue wherevpon it grew.

take or kill the earle or Oxford. The which the shiriffe did accordinglie, but that so feintlie and fauourablie, as he permitted the earle of Oxford (now in distresse) to reuittell the mount, knowing that there was no waie to expell the earle from thence but by famine. These things thus doone (the king not pleased, and the earle not displeased). one Fortescue (which surname is deduced from the strength of his shield, whereof that familie had first onginall) was with a stronger and faithfuller companie sent by king Edward to laie siege to the castell; which he did, and long eontinued. For it was not easie to be had, being (of it selfe) by nature stronglie set, by policie well vittelled, and by manhood valiantlie defended: which mooued the king to assay an other means therefore, and to see if policie might doo that which force could not.

Edw. Deuises to withdraw the earles power from him.

The earle of Oxford submitteth himselve & yeeldeth the castell into the kings hands.

For which cause, as Fortescue still continued the said siege; the K. supposed it best (if possiblie he might) to weaken the earles part, by withdrawing the strength and hearts of his people from him: which might not be doone but with rich promises and strong pardons. On which consideration he sent liberallie pardons to them, and in the end so secretlie wrought with the earles men: that if the earle (fearing the woorst, and iudging it better to trie the kings mercie, than to hazard the extreamitie of taking, in which rested nothing but assured death) had not wholie submitted himselfe to king Edward, he had beene by his owne men most dishonestlie betraied, and suddenlie taken prisoner. Wherevpon the earle comming foorth to Fortescue, did there yeeld himselfe and the castell into the kings hands. At what time (being the fifteenth of Februarie, which from the first entrance of the earle into that castell being the last of September, was about foure moneths and foureteene daies) the same Fortescue entred the mount, & tooke possession thereof, finding it yet sufficientlie vittelled to haue susteined an other siege more than one halfe yeare. After all things were thus quieted, the earle, the lord Beaumont, two brothers of the said earle, and Thomas Clifford, were brought vp as prisoners vnto king Edward. And now to our present historie againe.]

When the earle of Richmond saw the earle of Oxenford, he was ranished with an incredible gladnesse, that he being a man of so high nobilitie, of such knowledge and practises in feates of warre, and so constant, trustie and assured (which alwaie had studied for the maintenance and preferment of the house of Lancaster) was now by Gods prouision deliuered out of captiuitie and imprisonment; and in time so necessarie and conuenient come to his aid, succour, and aduancement; in whome more surer than anie other he might put his trust and confidence, and take lesse paine and trauell in his owne person. For it was not hid from him, that such as euer had taken part with king Edward before this time, came to doo him seruice, either for malice they bare king Richard, or else for feare to liue vnder his cruell rule and tyrannous gouernance.

Diuers English do voluntarilie submit themselues to the earle of Richmond in France.

Not long after, the French king returned againe to Paris, whome the earle of Richmond followed, intending there to solicit his matter to the conclusion. Wherevpon he besought king Charles to take vpon him the whole tuition and defense of him and his cause, so that he and his companie being (by his means) aided and comforted, should confesse and saie, their wealth, victorie, and aduancement to haue flowed and budded foorth of his bountifulnesse and liberalitie, which they would (God willing) shortlie acquite. In the meane season, diuerse Englishmen, which either fled out of England for feare, or were at Paris to learne and studie good literature and vertuous doctrine, came voluntarilie and submitted themselues to the earle of Richmond, and vowed & sware to take his part. Amongst whom was Richard Fox a priest, a man of great wit and no lesse learning, whome the earle incontinent receiued into secret familiaritie, and in breefe time erected and aduanced him to high dignities and promotions, and in conclusion made him bishop of Winchester.