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The Arms of John de Mowbray (1415-1461)
John Mowbray, 3rd Duke of Norfolk (1415-1461)

JOHN MOWBRAY (VI), third Duke of Norfolk, hereditary Earl Marshal of England, and fifth Earl of Nottingham (1415-1461), was the only son of John Mowbray V and his wife, Catherine Nevill. He was born on 12 Sept. 1415. Before he was eleven years old he figured in a ceremony designed to mark the reconciliation of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, and Bishop Beaufort. On Whitsunday (19 May) 1426 he was knighted by the infant king, Henry VI. He was still under age at his father's death in October 1432, and his estates were in the custody of Humphrey of Gloucester until 1436. Nevertheless, he was summoned to the council in November 1434. In August 1436 he served under Gloucester in the army which had been intended to relieve Calais, but arrived after the Duke of Burgundy had raised the siege, and made an inglorious raid into Flanders.

The onerous post of warden of the east march towards Scotland and captain of Berwick was in March 1437 entrusted to Norfolk for a year, and at the end of that time he was appointed a guardian of the truce concluded with Scotland. In 1439 he was one of the English ambassadors in the great peace conference near Oye, between Calais and Gravelines. In the summer of 1441 he was ordered to inquire into the government of Norwich, in consequence of disturbances in that city. The disturbances were renewed in the following year, and the populace, irritated by the exactions of the prior of Christchurch, held the town against Norfolk. When the riot was quelled the civic franchises were withdrawn, and Norfolk, by the royal command, installed Sir John Clifton as captain of the city. The council, on 6 March 1443, specially thanked him for his services. Two years later (11 March 1446) Norfolk's ducal title, which had received parliamentary recognition in 1425, during Henry's minority, was confirmed by the king's letters patent, and precedence was assigned him next to the Duke of Exeter. In October 1446 he obtained permission, then rarely sought by men of rank, to go on pilgrimage to Rome and other holy places. He returned in time to join an embassy to France in July 1447 to treat of the surrender of Maine.

At the beginning of 1450 popular opinion accused the Duke of Suffolk of keeping Norfolk in the background:

The White Lion is laid to sleep
Thorough the envy of th' Apè Clog.

Later in 1450 Richard, Duke of York, came over from Ireland, after the murder of the Duke of Suffolk, and entered into a rivalry with Edmund Beaufort, duke of Somerset, for the direction of the royal policy. York's wife, Cecily Nevill, was the youngest sister of Norfolk's mother, while Norfolk's wife, Eleanor Bourchier, was sister of Viscount Bourchier, who had married York's sister. Norfolk at once became the chief supporter of York, who was thus connected with him by a double family tie. He may have been aggrieved, too, that the dukes of Somerset had been expressly given precedence over himself on the ground of 'highness of blood and great zeal to do the king service' (Ord. Privy Council, v. 255).

About the middle of August, before York's actual return, Norfolk went down to his chief seat, Framlingham Castle in Suffolk, whither he summoned 'certain notable knights and squires' of Norfolk, to commune with him for the 'sad rule and governance' of that county, 'which standeth right indisposed' (Paston Letters, i. 139, 148). In the first days of September it was rumoured in Norwich that, along with the Earl of Oxford, Lord Scales, and others, he had been entrusted with a commission of oyer and terminer to inquire into the wrongs and violences that prevailed in Norfolk. He met his 'uncle of York' at Bury St. Edmunds on Thursday, 15 Oct., and, after being together until nine o'clock on Friday, they settled who should be knights of the shire for Norfolk in the parliament summoned for 6 Nov. Only one of their nominees, however, was returned.

A week after the meeting at Bury Norfolk ordered John Paston to join him at Ipswich on 8 Nov. on his way to parliament, 'with as many cleanly people as ye may get for our worship at this time' (ib. p.162). About 18 Nov. he and York arrived in London, both with a 'grete multytude of defensabylle men,' and he supported his kinsman in the fierce struggle with Somerset which ensued. In March 1451 he held sessions of oyer and terminer at Norwich, and in July he and York were ordered to meet the king at Canterbury. He does not appear, however, to have joined York in his futile armed demonstration of February 1452. Yet he thought it necessary to take advantage of the king's Good-Friday amnesty, and sued out a pardon on 23 June. At the instance of Somerset and Queen Margaret he dismissed some of his advisers 'who owed good will and service unto the Duke of York and others' (ib. pp. 243, 305). In Norfolk, where he declared his intention of bearing 'the principal rule and governance next the king,' and was addressed as 'your Highness' and' Prince and Sovereign next our Sovereign Lord', his interests were in some cases opposed to those of the friends of York (ib. pp. 228-80, 248).

On Henry's becoming insane in the autumn of 1453, Norfolk demanded an inquiry into Somerset's administration. But by January 1454, if not earlier, his influence with York had been overshadowed by that of the Nevills; he did not obtain any office on York's becoming protector, and was not called to the council until 16 April. Even after that he was rarely present. In July he was ordered to be prepared to prove his charges against Somerset on 28 Oct. following. He was not present at the first Battle of St. Albans (22 May 1455), but is said to have come up the day after with a force of six thousand men. The number can hardly be correct. York having summoned a parliament for 9 July, Norfolk nominated his cousin, John Howard, afterwards Duke of Norfolk himself, and Sir Roger Chamberlain to be knights of the shire for Norfolk, and the duchess wrote in their favour to John Paston, who had again aspired to the position, urging that her lord needed in parliament 'such persons as long unto him and be of his menial servants' (ib. p. 337). Though some objected to Howard as having 'no livelihood or conversement' in the shire, he was duly elected (ib. pp. 340-1).

Whether or not Norfolk was kept in the background by the Nevill influence, we hear nothing more of him until November 1456, when he made a pilgrimage on foot from Framlingham to the shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham. In the August of the following year he asked and obtained permission to go on pilgrimage to various holy places in Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, Picardy, and Cologne, and to the blood of our Saviour at Windesnake, as well as to Rome and Jerusalem, for the recovery of the king's health. This seems to suggest that he was now leaning to the court party. There is no record of his having performed his vow, and he was summoned to a council in January 1458. He does not appear to have figured in the 'loveday' procession of 25 March 1458, when the leaders of the rival factions were paired off with each other. When York, Warwick, and Salisbury again took up arms in 1459, Norfolk kept aloof from them, and in the Coventry parliament which attainted them after their flight he took (11 Dec.) the special oath to the Lancastrian succession. Early in the following February he was commissioned, along with some undoubted Lancastrians, to raise forces in Norfolk and Suffolk to resist an expected landing of Warwick there. Immediately after he was appointed a guardian of the truce with Scotland.

When the Nevills returned from Calais in June 1460 and turned the tables at Northampton, Norfolk again adhered to the Yorkist cause; but he may very well have been one of the lords who in October refused to transfer the crown to the Duke of York. He seems to have been left in London with Warwick, when York and Salisbury went north in December to meet their death at Wakefield, and he shared Warwick's defeat by Queen Margaret's troops at St. Albans on 17 Feb. 1461. Escaping from the battle, he was present at the meeting of Yorkist lords at Baynards Castle on 3 March, which decided that Edward, duke of York, should be king, and accompanied him next day to his enthronement at Westminster. Shortly after he went north with the new king and fought at Towton (29 March), 'like a second Ajax' says the classical Whethamstede. A younger contemporary who wrote, however, after 1514, and was connected with the house of Norfolk, asserts that the duke brought up fresh troops whom he had been raising in Norfolk, and turned the scale at a critical point in the battle. The concurrence of contemporary testimony makes very doubtful Hall's statement that he was kept away from the battle by sickness.

Apparently he returned south with the king, for on 5 June he was at Framlingham, and on the 28th officiated as Earl-Marshal at Edward's coronation. He was rewarded with the offices of steward and chief justice of the royal forests south of Trent (11 July) and constable of Scarborough Castle (12 Aug.). But Edward refused to recognise Norfolk's forcible seizure from John Paston of Sir John Fastolf's castle of Caistor near Yarmouth, to which he had no shadow of right. Paston appealed to the king, and in a few months Norfolk was obliged to withdraw. He did not long survive this rebuff. He died on 6 Nov. 1461, and was buried at Thetford Priory.

Norfolk married, before July 1437, Eleanor, daughter of William Bourchier, earl of Eu, and Anne of Gloucester, granddaughter of Edward III, a sister therefore of Viscount Bourchier and half-sister of Humphrey Stafford, first duke of Buckingham. She bore him one son, John Mowbray VII (1444-1476), whom she outlived.

Tait, James. "John Mowbray VI, 3rd Duke of Norfolk."
The Dictionary of National Biography. Vol XIII. Sidney Lee, Ed.
New York: The Macmillan Company, 1909. 1119-1122.

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This page was created on April 13, 2009. Last updated April 24, 2023.

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Edward II
Isabella of France, Queen of England
Piers Gaveston
Thomas of Brotherton, E. of Norfolk
Edmund of Woodstock, E. of Kent
Thomas, Earl of Lancaster
Henry of Lancaster, Earl of Lancaster
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Roger Mortimer, Earl of March
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Hundred Years' War (1337-1453)

Edward III
Philippa of Hainault, Queen of England
Edward, Black Prince of Wales
John of Eltham, Earl of Cornwall
The Battle of Crécy, 1346
The Siege of Calais, 1346-7
The Battle of Poitiers, 1356
Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence
John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster
Edmund of Langley, Duke of York
Thomas of Woodstock, Gloucester
Richard of York, E. of Cambridge
Richard Fitzalan, 3. Earl of Arundel
Roger Mortimer, 2nd Earl of March
The Good Parliament, 1376
Richard II
The Peasants' Revolt, 1381
Lords Appellant, 1388
Richard Fitzalan, 4. Earl of Arundel
Archbishop Thomas Arundel
Thomas de Beauchamp, E. Warwick
Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford
Ralph Neville, E. of Westmorland
Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk
Edmund Mortimer, 3. Earl of March
Roger Mortimer, 4. Earl of March
John Holland, Duke of Exeter
Michael de la Pole, E. Suffolk
Hugh de Stafford, 2. E. Stafford
Henry IV
Edward, Duke of York
Edmund Mortimer, 5. Earl of March
Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland
Sir Henry Percy, "Harry Hotspur"
Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester
Owen Glendower
The Battle of Shrewsbury, 1403
Archbishop Richard Scrope
Thomas Mowbray, 3. E. Nottingham
John Mowbray, 2. Duke of Norfolk
Thomas Fitzalan, 5. Earl of Arundel
Henry V
Thomas, Duke of Clarence
John, Duke of Bedford
Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester
John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury
Richard, Earl of Cambridge
Henry, Baron Scrope of Masham
William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk
Thomas Montacute, E. Salisbury
Richard Beauchamp, E. of Warwick
Henry Beauchamp, Duke of Warwick
Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter
Cardinal Henry Beaufort
John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset
Sir John Fastolf
John Holland, 2. Duke of Exeter
Archbishop John Stafford
Archbishop John Kemp
Catherine of Valois
Owen Tudor
John Fitzalan, 7. Earl of Arundel
John, Lord Tiptoft

Charles VII, King of France
Joan of Arc
Louis XI, King of France
Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy
The Battle of Agincourt, 1415
The Battle of Castillon, 1453

The Wars of the Roses 1455-1485
Causes of the Wars of the Roses
The House of Lancaster
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The First Battle of St. Albans, 1455
The Battle of Blore Heath, 1459
The Rout of Ludford, 1459
The Battle of Northampton, 1460
The Battle of Wakefield, 1460
The Battle of Mortimer's Cross, 1461
The 2nd Battle of St. Albans, 1461
The Battle of Towton, 1461
The Battle of Hedgeley Moor, 1464
The Battle of Hexham, 1464
The Battle of Edgecote, 1469
The Battle of Losecoat Field, 1470
The Battle of Barnet, 1471
The Battle of Tewkesbury, 1471
The Treaty of Pecquigny, 1475
The Battle of Bosworth Field, 1485
The Battle of Stoke Field, 1487

Henry VI
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Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York
Edward IV
Elizabeth Woodville
Richard Woodville, 1. Earl Rivers
Anthony Woodville, 2. Earl Rivers
Jane Shore
Edward V
Richard III
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Ralph Neville, 2. Earl of Westmorland
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Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick
Edward Neville, Baron Bergavenny
William Neville, Lord Fauconberg
Robert Neville, Bishop of Salisbury
John Neville, Marquis of Montagu
George Neville, Archbishop of York
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Henry Beaufort, 3. Duke of Somerset
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Margaret Beaufort
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Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham
Humphrey Stafford, E. of Devon
Thomas, Lord Stanley, Earl of Derby
Sir William Stanley
Archbishop Thomas Bourchier
Henry Bourchier, Earl of Essex
John Mowbray, 3. Duke of Norfolk
John Mowbray, 4. Duke of Norfolk
John Howard, Duke of Norfolk
Henry Percy, 2. E. Northumberland
Henry Percy, 3. E. Northumberland
Henry Percy, 4. E. Northumberland
William, Lord Hastings
Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter
William Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel
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John de Vere, 12th Earl of Oxford
John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford
Thomas de Clifford, 8. Baron Clifford
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John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester
Thomas Grey, 1. Marquis Dorset
Sir Andrew Trollop
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Edward Plantagenet, E. of Warwick
John Talbot, 2. E. Shrewsbury
John Talbot, 3. E. Shrewsbury
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Richard de la Pole
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Ralph, 4th Lord Cromwell
Jack Cade's Rebellion, 1450

Tudor Period

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Lambert Simnel
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King Henry VIII
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King Edward VI
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The Battle of Flodden Field, 1513
James V, King of Scotland
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Mary Tudor, Queen of France
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The Battle of the Spurs, 1513
Field of the Cloth of Gold, 1520
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
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The Siege of Boulogne, 1544

Cardinal Thomas Wolsey
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Thomas, Lord Audley
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Edward Stafford, D. of Buckingham
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Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk
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John Russell, Earl of Bedford
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Henry Grey, D. of Suffolk
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George Talbot, 4. E. Shrewsbury
Francis Talbot, 5. E. Shrewsbury
Henry Algernon Percy,
     5th Earl of Northumberland
Henry Algernon Percy,
     6th Earl of Northumberland
Ralph Neville, 4. E. Westmorland
Henry Neville, 5. E. Westmorland
William Paulet, Marquis of Winchester
Sir Francis Bryan
Sir Nicholas Carew
John de Vere, 15th Earl of Oxford
John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford
Thomas Seymour, Lord Admiral
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Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury
Henry Pole, Lord Montague
Sir Geoffrey Pole
Thomas Manners, Earl of Rutland
Henry Manners, Earl of Rutland
Henry Bourchier, 2. Earl of Essex
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Henry Radcliffe, 2. Earl of Sussex
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Henry Courtenay, Marquis of Exeter
George Neville, Baron Bergavenny
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Sir Anthony Browne
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Sir Richard Southwell
Thomas Fiennes, 9th Lord Dacre
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Henry Norris
Lady Jane Grey
Sir Thomas Arundel
Sir Richard Sackville
Sir William Petre
Sir John Cheke
Walter Haddon, L.L.D
Sir Peter Carew
Sir John Mason
Nicholas Wotton
John Taylor
Sir Thomas Wyatt, the Younger

Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio
Cardinal Reginald Pole
Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester
Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London
Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London
John Hooper, Bishop of Gloucester
John Aylmer, Bishop of London
Thomas Linacre
William Grocyn
Archbishop William Warham
Cuthbert Tunstall, Bishop of Durham
Richard Fox, Bishop of Winchester
Edward Fox, Bishop of Hereford

Pope Julius II
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Pope Pius V

Pico della Mirandola
Desiderius Erasmus
Martin Bucer
Richard Pace
Christopher Saint-German
Thomas Tallis
Elizabeth Barton, the Nun of Kent
Hans Holbein, the Younger
The Sweating Sickness

Dissolution of the Monasteries
Pilgrimage of Grace, 1536
Robert Aske
Anne Askew
Lord Thomas Darcy
Sir Robert Constable

Oath of Supremacy
The Act of Supremacy, 1534
The First Act of Succession, 1534
The Third Act of Succession, 1544
The Ten Articles, 1536
The Six Articles, 1539
The Second Statute of Repeal, 1555
The Act of Supremacy, 1559
Articles Touching Preachers, 1583

Queen Elizabeth I
William Cecil, Lord Burghley
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury
Sir Francis Walsingham
Sir Nicholas Bacon
Sir Thomas Bromley

Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester
Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick
Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon
Sir Thomas Egerton, Viscount Brackley
Sir Francis Knollys
Katherine "Kat" Ashley
Lettice Knollys, Countess of Leicester
George Talbot, 6. E. of Shrewsbury
Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury
Gilbert Talbot, 7. E. of Shrewsbury
Sir Henry Sidney
Sir Robert Sidney
Archbishop Matthew Parker
Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex
Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex
Penelope Devereux, Lady Rich
Sir Christopher Hatton
Edward Courtenay, E. Devonshire
Edward Manners, 3rd Earl of Rutland
Thomas Radcliffe, 3. Earl of Sussex
Henry Radcliffe, 4. Earl of Sussex
Robert Radcliffe, 5. Earl of Sussex
William Parr, Marquis of Northampton
Henry Wriothesley, 2. Southampton
Henry Wriothesley, 3. Southampton
Charles Neville, 6. E. Westmorland
Thomas Percy, 7. E. Northumberland
Henry Percy, 8. E. Northumberland
Henry Percy, 9. E. Nothumberland
William Herbert, 1. Earl of Pembroke
Charles, Lord Howard of Effingham
Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk
Henry Howard, 1. Earl of Northampton
Thomas Howard, 1. Earl of Suffolk
Henry Hastings, 3. E. of Huntingdon
Edward Manners, 3rd Earl of Rutland
Roger Manners, 5th Earl of Rutland
Francis Manners, 6th Earl of Rutland
Henry FitzAlan, 12. Earl of Arundel
Thomas, Earl Arundell of Wardour
Edward Somerset, E. of Worcester
William Davison
Sir Walter Mildmay
Sir Ralph Sadler
Sir Amyas Paulet
Gilbert Gifford
Anthony Browne, Viscount Montague
François, Duke of Alençon & Anjou

Mary, Queen of Scots
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell
Anthony Babington and the Babington Plot
John Knox

Philip II of Spain
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William Camden
Archbishop Whitgift
Martin Marprelate Controversy
John Penry (Martin Marprelate)
Richard Bancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury
John Dee, Alchemist

Philip Henslowe
Edward Alleyn
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First Fruits & Tenths
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The Stuarts

King James I of England
Anne of Denmark
Henry, Prince of Wales
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George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham
Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset
Arabella Stuart, Lady Lennox

William Alabaster
Bishop Hall
Bishop Thomas Morton
Archbishop William Laud
John Selden
Lucy Harington, Countess of Bedford
Henry Lawes

King Charles I
Queen Henrietta Maria

Long Parliament
Rump Parliament
Kentish Petition, 1642

Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford
John Digby, Earl of Bristol
George Digby, 2nd Earl of Bristol
Thomas Fairfax, 3rd Lord Fairfax
Robert Devereux, 3rd E. of Essex
Robert Sidney, 2. E. of Leicester
Algernon Percy, E. of Northumberland
Henry Montagu, Earl of Manchester
Edward Montagu, 2. Earl of Manchester

The Restoration

King Charles II
King James II
Test Acts

Greenwich Palace
Hatfield House
Richmond Palace
Windsor Palace
Woodstock Manor

The Cinque Ports
Mermaid Tavern
Malmsey Wine
Great Fire of London, 1666
Merchant Taylors' School
Westminster School
The Sanctuary at Westminster


Chart of the English Succession from William I through Henry VII

Medieval English Drama

London c1480, MS Royal 16
London, 1510, the earliest view in print
Map of England from Saxton's Descriptio Angliae, 1579
London in late 16th century
Location Map of Elizabethan London
Plan of the Bankside, Southwark, in Shakespeare's time
Detail of Norden's Map of the Bankside, 1593
Bull and Bear Baiting Rings from the Agas Map (1569-1590, pub. 1631)
Sketch of the Swan Theatre, c. 1596
Westminster in the Seventeenth Century, by Hollar
Visscher's View of London, 1616
Larger Visscher's View in Sections
c. 1690. View of London Churches, after the Great Fire
The Yard of the Tabard Inn from Thornbury, Old and New London

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