This Day in History: 1469-01-15

In January 1469, Edward IV’s youngest brother, sixteen-years-old Richard, lord of Sandal, headed a commission at Salisbury investigating charges against key figures accused of plotting with the exiled Lancastrians. Sir Thomas Hungerford and Henry Courtenay, heir to the earldom of Devon, had been arrested the previous November along with John de Vere, Earl of Oxford. Hungerford’s father had been executed in 1464; Courtenay’s younger brother was in Flanders being funded by Charles the Bold; de Vere’s father and older brother had been executed in 1462. Amongst the commissioners were the king’s brother-in-law, Anthony Woodville and the Devon noble, Humphrey, Lord Stafford. Their guilty verdict was a formality and Hungerford and Courtenay were hanged, eviscerated whilst still conscious, then beheaded. Oxford was released from the Tower with sureties imposed for his future good behaviour.