Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Mowbray, Thomas (1386-1405)

MOWBRAY, THOMAS (II), Earl Marshal and third Earl of Nottingham (1386–1405), born in 1386, was the elder son of Thomas Mowbray I, first duke of Norfolk [q. v.], by his second wife, Lady Elizabeth Fitzalan, sister of Thomas, earl of Arundel (1381–1415) [q. v.] His younger brother, John, second duke of Norfolk, is separately noticed. At the time of his father's death at Venice in September 1399 he was page of Richard II's child-queen, Isabella (Ord. Privy Council, i. 100). Young Mowbray was not allowed to assume the title of Duke of Norfolk, though it was not expressly revoked (Rot. Parl. iv. 274), and that of earl-marshal, which he was allowed to retain, was dissociated from the office of marshal of England, which was granted for life to the Earl of Westmoreland (Fœdera, viii. 89; Chron. ed. Giles, p. 43; Wallon, Richard II, i. 405). A small income was set aside from the revenue of his Gower estates for the support of Thomas and his younger brother John, and he was married towards the close of 1400 to the king's niece, Constance Holland, whose father, John Holland, duke of Exeter [q. v.], was beheaded in the preceding January (Ord. Privy Council, i. 100; Kalendars and Inventories of the Exchequer, ii. 62).

Smarting under his exclusion from his father's honours, and perhaps urged on by his discontented Yorkshire neighbours, the Percies and Scropes,the earl-marshal joined in the treasonable movements of 1405 (Chron. ed. Davies, p. 31). On his own confession he was privy to the Duke of York's plot for carrying off the young Mortimers from Windsor in February of that year (Ann. Henrici IV, p. 399). But the king accepted his assurances that he had taken no active part in the conspiracy. Immediately afterwards he quarrelled with Richard Beauchamp, earl of Warwick. The latter claimed, in a council on 1 March, precedence of Mowbray as the holder of an earldom of elder creation (cf. Rot. Parl. iv. 267, 269). The king decided in Warwick's favour, and the earl-marshal withdrew in dudgeon to the north, where the Earl of Northumberland was already preparing for revolt (Eulogium, iii. 405; Ord. Privy Council, ii. 104).

Mowbray joined Archbishop Scrope of York in formulating and placarding over that city a list of grievances in English, in one form of which the king was denounced as a usurper (Anglia Sacra, ii. 362-8; Ann. Henrici IV, pp. 402-5; Eulogium, iii. 405; Walsingham, ii. 269; Chron. ed. Giles, p. 44). These articles hit most of the blots on Henry's administration, and some eight or nine thousand Yorkshiremen gathered round Scrope and Mowbray as they marched northwards from York towards Mowbray's country about Thirsk, where Sir John Fauconberg and other local knights were already in arms (Rot. Parl. iii. 604). They were probably aiming at a junction with Northumberland and Lord Bardolf. But the king's second son, John, afterwards Duke of Bedford, and Ralph Nevill, earl of Westmorland [q. v.], the wardens of the Scottish marches, dispersed Fauconberg's forces at Topcliffe, a Percy lordship close to Thirsk, and on 29 May intercepted the earl-marshal and Archbishop Scrope at Shipton Moor, five and a half miles north of York (ib.; Eulogium, iii. 405). It was against Mowbray's judgment that the archbishop consented to the fatal interview with Westmorland, when the latter, assuming a spirit of friendly concession, induced the archbishop to dismiss his followers (Ann. Henrici IV, p. 406). The leaders were then seized and hurried off to Pontefract, where the king arrived from Wales by 3 June. They were afterwards brought to the archbishop's house at Bishopthorpe, some two miles south of York. The king's wrath was fanned by his half-brother, Thomas Beaufort, and by the young Earl of Arundel, Mowbray's uncle, and he resolved that the prisoners should die where they had raised the standard of revolt (Stubbs, Const. Hist. iii. 30). Commissioners, among whom were Beaufort, Arundel, and Chief-justice Gascoigne, had already been appointed to try all persons concerned in the rebellion. On the morning of Monday, 8 June, the king called upon Gascoigne to pass sentence upon the archbishop and his fellow-traitors (T. Gascoigne, Loci e Libro Veritatum, ed. Rogers, p. 227; Anglia Sacra, ii. 369; Chron. ed. Giles, p. 45; Wylie, Henry IV, ii. 230-6). Gascoigne refused to sit in judgment on a prelate, and sentence of death was delivered in the name of the commissioners without form of trial by another member, Sir William Fulthorpe, a man learned in the law, though not a judge (ib.) He was supported by Arundel and Beaufort, who acted constable and marshal respectively (cf. Ann. Henrici IV, p. 409). The same day, the feast of St. William of York and a holiday in the city, the condemned men were led out to execution before a great concourse of the citizens in a cornfield under the walls of the town, which, according to one account, belonged to the nuns of Clementhorpe (Chron. ed. Giles, p. 46; Ann. Henrici IV, p. 409; cf. Murray, Yorkshire, p. 73). Mowbray showed some natural fear of death, but was encouraged by his companion to keep a stout heart. He was beheaded before the archbishop. His body was buried in the Grey Friars' Church (Wylie, ii. 242), but his head was placed on a stake and fixed on Bootham Bar. A legend grew up that when the king two months after permitted it to be taken down, it was found to have retained all the freshness of life (Ann. Henrici IV. 411).

[Rotuli Parliamentorum; Ordinances of the Privy Council, ed. Palgrave; Rymer's Fœdera, original edit.; Annales Henrici IV (with J. de Trokelowe), Walsingham's Historia Anglicana and the Eulogium Historiarum in the Rolls Ser.; Chronicon Angliæ incerti Scriptoris, ed. J. A. Giles, 1848; English Chronicle, 1377-1461, ed. Davies, for Camden Society; T. Gascoigne's Loci e Libro Veritatum; Anglia Sacra, ed. Wharton, 1691; Kalendars and Inventories of the Exchequer (Record Commission edit.); Dugdale's Baronage; Doyle's Official Baronage; Courthope's Historic Peerage; Ramsay's Lancaster and York, vol. i.; Pauli's Geschichte Englands, vol. v.; Wylie's Henry IV, vol. ii.]

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