The city of Norwich, chapter 22: Of the city in Richard III's time

Pages 172-173

An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 3, the History of the City and County of Norwich, Part I. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1806.

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Of the city in Richard the third's time.

Richard Duke of Gloucester seized the crown as aforesaid, June 23, 1483, and having secured himself (as he supposed) by the murder of his two nephews, thought he should meet with none that dare oppose him; but far was he out of his calculation, for he never enjoyed any ease in his whole life, after he was King.

The Duke of Buckingham and his party were the first that rose against him, upon which he sends for aid to most of the principal places of the realm, and among others to this city; and they dispatched their chamberlains to Sir Tho. Howard, who was just created Earl of Surrey, and was then at Ashwell Thorp, with his half sister Catherine, (fn. 1) married to John Bourchier Lord Derners, who lived there, with 40 pounds in gold, which Ric. Farrour, the mayor, made a present of to the city for that purpose; this the Earl received, and the King accepted, and indeed the city seems to have done the utmost they could for this King during his reign, which might not proceed from fear, as it did in many other places, but from the interest of Sir John Howard, whom he had created Duke of Norfolk on June 28, who, as well as his son, the Earl of Surrey, was much respected here, and they both being advanced by him, could not in gratitude avoid doing him all the service they could: with these assistances he got an army together, and having taken the Duke, without any judgment passed, he cut off his head at Salisbury; and as soon as he had finished in the west, went for Kent, where 5000 were got together in favour of the Duke of Buckingham, but dispersed soon after they heard of his death, and the King's approach; Sir Geo. Browne, Sir Rog. Clifford, and four other of the principals, were taken and hanged, with Tho. Ram and Tho. Sentlegar, who had married the Dutchess of Exeter, the King's own sister.

I believe the King was at Norwich this year, for at an assembly held on the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, Sept. 8, it was agreed that 160l. should be cessed on the citizens, against the first coming of the King to this city, (fn. 2) and that there should be grand pageants (fn. 3) made against his coming, in the same manner as those were at the first coming of King Edward IV.

In 1484, the assembly elected four aldermen and ten commoners, with the chamberlains, to provide stalls and booths, and pens for cattle, against the free marts, for the supply of all merchants and strangers; and the sheriffs assigned Rob. Machon, their under-sheriff, to be steward of the pie-powder courts belonging to these fairs.

In 1485, on the 22d day of August, this monstrous usurper, by the just punishment of God, was slain in the battle of Bosworth Field, by Henry Earl of Richmond, who was there proclaimed by the name of King Henry the Seventh; with him fell John Duke of Norfolk, (fn. 4) and many others; his body, naked to the skin, not so much as a clout about him, was trussed behind a pursuivant of arms, like a hog or a calf, his head and his arms hanging on one side of the horse, and his legs on the other, thus all sprinkled with mire and blood, he was brought to the Gray-Friars at Leicester, and there laid a miserable spectacle, as a demonstration to all men, of God's justice, for the murder of good King Henry, his two innocent nephews, his sister's husband, his own brother, (if it be true as historians say, that he also hastened the Duke of Clarence's death,) and his own wife, who it is thought died by poison; and there he was homely buried after he had reigned two years, two months, and one day. (fn. 5)

Mayors and Sheriffs.

1484, John Cooke. John Ebbes, Will. Curtis.
Rob. Machon, under-sheriff.
Jeffry Spurling, town-clerk or court-holder.
1485, Hamond Claxton. John Tills or Tillis, John Swayn.

Burgesses in Parliament.

1 Ric. III. Parl. at Westm. Rob. Thorp, Gent. John Marleburgh or Marleberg, Gent.


  • 1. Vincent against Brook, fo. 354, 339.
  • 2. Lib. Cong. 1 R. 3, fo. 121. b.
  • 3. Triumphal arches.
  • 4. Tho. Earl of Surrey, the Duke's son, was taken and committed to the Tower, where he remained prisoner a long time. Fabian, 468.
  • 5. Stow, 471. Hol. 760. Hol. 712, and 751. He bare a fierce wild boar for his cognizance, which was pulled down every where by the populace, in despight of him, and as it were to erase his memory.