Page 435

An. Reg. 3 RICHARD THE THIRD 435

he came to the earle of Richmond with all his companie; which were of no great number. After him the same daie came Iohn Morgan with his men.

The erle sendeth secret word to his mother and other his freends that he meant direct passage to London & their conference.

Then the earle aduanced forward in good hast, making no repose or abode in anie one place. And to the intent to passe forward with sure and short expedition, he assaulted euerie place where his enimies had set anie men of warre; which with small force, and lesse difficultie, he brieflie did ouercome & vanquish. And suddenlie he was by his espials ascerteined, that sir Walter Herbert, and Rice ap Thomas were in harnesse before him, readie to incounter with his armie, and to stop their passage. Wherefore like a valiant capteine he first determined to set on them, and either to destroie or to take them into his fauour, and after with all his power and puissance to giue battell to his mortall enimie king Richard. But to the intent his freends should know in what readinesse he was, and how he proceeded forward; he sent of his most secret and faithfull seruants with letters and instructions to the ladie Margaret his mother, to the lord Stanleie and his brother, to sir Gilbert Talbot, and to other his trustie freends; declaring to them that he being succoured and holpen with the aid and reliefe of his freends, intended to passe ouer the riuer of Seuerne at Shrewesburie, and so to passe directlie to the citie of London.

Rice ap Thomas sweareth fealtie and seruice to the earle of Richmond.

Wherefore he required them, as his speciall trust and confidence was fixed in the hope of their fidelitie, that they would meet him by the waie with all diligent preparation; to the intent that he and they, at time and place conuenient, might communicate togither the deepenesse of all his doubtfull and weightie businesse. When the messengers wer dispatched with these commandements and admonitions, he marched forward toward Shrewesburie: and in his passing, there met and saluted him Rice ap Thomas with a goodlie band of Welshmen, which making an oth and promise to the earle, submitted himselfe wholie to his order and commandement. For the earle of Richmond two daies before made to him promise, that if he would sweare to take his part and be obedient to him, he would make him chiefe gouernour of Wales: which part as he faithfullie promised and granted, so (after that he had obteined and possessed the realme and diademe) he liberallie performed and accomplished the same.

In the meane time the messengers, that were sent, diligentlie executed their charge, and laden with rewards of them to whom they were sent, returned to him the same day that he entered into Shrewesburie: and made relation to him that his freends were readie in all points to doo all things for him, which either they ought or might doo. The earle Henrie brought in good hope with this pleasant message, continued foorth his intended iournie, and came to a little towne called Newport, and pitching his campe on a little hill adioining, reposed himselfe there that night. In the euening the same daie came to him sir Gilbert Talbot, with the whole power of the yoong earle of Shrewesburie then being in ward, which were accounted to the number of two thousand men. And thus his power increasing, he arriued at the towne of Stafford, and there paused.

The lord Stanlies deuise to auoid suspicion of K. Richard and to saue his sonnes life

There also came sir William Stanleie accompanied with a few persons. And after that the earle and he had communed no long time togither; he reuerted to his souldiors whom he had assembled togither to serue the earle: which from thence departed to Lichfield, and lay without the walles in his campe all the night. The next morning be entered into the towne, and was with all honor like a prince receiued. A daie or two before, the lord Stanleie, hauing in his band almost fiue thousand men, lodged in the same towne. But hearing that the erle of Richmond was marching thitherward, gaue to him place, dislodging him and his, and repaired to a towne called Aderstone, there abiding the comming of the earle. And this wilie fox did this act, to auoid all suspicion on king Richards part.
For the lord Stanleie was afraid, least if he should seeme openlie to be a fautor or aider to the earle his sonne in law, before the day of the battell, that king Richard,