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Before I move onto Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, I would like to finish telling the story of his father, Richard of Conisburgh, 3rd Earl of Cambridge, husband of Anne Mortimer

Southampton Plot

In the Parliament of 1414, Richard was created Earl of Cambridge, a title formerly held by his elder brother, Edward, 2nd Duke of York, who had earlier ceased to be Earl of Cambridge either by resignation or deprivation of the title.

Richard’s creation as Earl of Cambridge in 1414, however, brought with it no accompanying grant of lands, and according to Harriss, Cambridge was ‘the poorest of the earls’ who were to set out on Henry V’s invasion of France.

As a result, he lacked the resources to equip himself properly for the expedition. Perhaps partly for this reason, Cambridge conspired with Lord Scrope and Sir Thomas Grey to depose King Henry V and place his late wife Anne’s brother, Edmund Mortimer, 5th Earl of March, on the throne.

On July 31 Edmund Mortimer, 5th Earl of March revealed the Southampton Plot to the king. Later, he served on the commission that condemned the Earl of Cambridge to death.

Although the Earl of Cambridge pleaded with the king for clemency, he received none and was beheaded on August 5, 1415 and buried in the chapel of God’s House at Southampton (now St. Julien’s Church, Southampton). The fleet set sail for France a few days later, on August 11, 1415.

Richard’s brother, Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York, himself was not implicated in the conspiracy, and he departed with the army for France. He was present at the Siege of Harfleur, where he made his will on August 17, 1415, then he commanded the van on the army’s march through northern France.

The 2nd Duke of York commanded the right wing at the Battle of Agincourt on October 25, 1415, during which he became the highest-ranking English casualty. According to some witnesses, he rushed forward to save King Henry V who had been assisting his younger brother, Humphrey of Gloucester, and had been assailed and wounded by the Jean, 2nd Duke of Alençon.

The Duke York’s intervention saved the King’s life but cost the duke his own. His death has been variously attributed to a head wound and to being ‘smouldered to death’ by ‘much heat and pressing’. York was buried in the Church of St Mary and All Saints, Fotheringhay, where he had earlier established a college for a master and twelve chaplains.


Although the Cambridge’s title was forfeited, he was not attainted, and his four-year-old son Richard was his heir. After the Earl of Cambridge’s elder brother was slain at Agincourt, the Earl of Cambridge’s four-year-old son Richard Plantagenet eventually inherited his uncle’s titles and estates as well as his father’s.

In the parliament of 1461, King Edward IV had the sentence that had been passed his grandfather, Richard, Earl of Cambridge, annulled as ‘irregular and unlawful’.