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Yorkist Persecutions at Newbury
Rebel Town, 1460

During the weary struggle between the houses of York and Lancaster, known as the 'War of the Roses,' in which feudalism perished by its own hand, the town of Newbury was the scene of important transactions, and its inhabitants were conspicuous for the part they played in support of what they considered the rightful cause. The townspeople of Newbury had, throughout the contest between the contending factions, shown a steady attachment to the House of York. The Lancastrians who were, at least nominally, in power, were alarmed at the Yorkist activities of the Earl of Warwick and appointed commissioners to search throughout England for the adherents of the Duke of York. Thus, in pursuance of their orders:

"The Earl of Wiltshire, Treasurer of England, the Lord Scales and the Lord Hungerford went to the town of Newbury, the which belonged to the Duke of York, and there made inquisition of all them that in any wise had showed any favour or benevolence or friendship to the said Duke, or to any of his; whereof some were found guilty and were drawn, hanged and quartered, and all other inhabitants of the aforesaid town were spoiled of all their goods."

So far from being cowed into submission by these stern measures, the men of Newbury remained loyal to the banished duke, and the ghastly sight of one of the quarters of a partisan of Jack Cade, seems rather to have inflamed rather than discouraged the townsmen, who were opposed to the obnoxious administration of the country.

Edited from Walter Money's 'History of Newbury' (1905)

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