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Anthony Woodville,
Earl Rivers (1440-1483)
Born: 1440 probably at Grafton Regis, Northants
Earl Rivers
Died: 25th June 1483 at Pontefract Castle, Yorks West Riding

Anthony, son of Richard Woodville, the 1st Earl Rivers, and Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford, was the brother of Edward IV's Queen. He first appears on record, in 1460, as fighting on the Lancastrian side during the War of the Roses, but transferred his allegiance and, after his sister's marriage, was loaded with wealth and honours by the Yorkist King. He was a curious product of that bloodstained age, for not only was he a considerable scholar and author, the earliest patron of Caxton and the translator of the first book printed in England, but also, in the last twelve years of his life, a devotee and an ascetic. He was incessantly going upon pilgrimages, and throwing up secular offices to do so, and, after his execution, a hair shirt was found next to his skin. On the death of Edward IV, he was at Ludlow with his nephew, Edward V, and, at once, started for London, intending to confront and probably to overthrow Richard of Gloucester who had become Protector; but that astute Royal Prince was too quick for his rival and, after an apparently friendly meeting, arrested the Earl and sent him to be beheaded at Pontefract in June 1483.

Edited from Emery Walker's "Historical Portraits" (1909).    Copyright ©2001, LLC