Traditionally, the north-west of England in the mid-fifteenth century has been seen as being under the total dominance of the NeviIles, the Earls of Salisbury and Warwick, and their successor in the north Richard Duke of Gloucester. This thesis aims to correct that impression by examining the political structures that operated in the counties of Cumberland and Westmorland in the period between c.1440 and 1485, and the relationships between the magnates in question and local society. In doing so, it finds an emphasis on continuity and co-operation within the local community that did not always go hand-in-hand with the magnates' expectations of service. The power-struggle at court eventually imposed factionalism on the region against its wishes. The magnates continued to emphasise the necessity of being served by men who had proved themselves loyal, and divided authority in the region by only extending it to men who had actively supported the Yorkists in 1459-61. After 1471, Edward IV showed more care in how he dealt with the region. Instead of allowing his brother the Duke of Gloucester carte blanche, he restricted his influence by using his own agent, Sir William Parr. Gloucester's interest was restricted to financial matters only until the Scottish war of 1480. After his usurpation the shallow base of his support in the region became apparent, and few men took part in the "northern plantations". Richard still had plans to conquer south-west Scotland and much of his patronage was geared towards this. His subsequent failure undermined his limited support in the north-west and, in 1485, the locality had little difficulty in adjusting to the Tudor regime
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