Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Treaty of Westminster-Ardtornish, (1462)

By making EDWARD IV the ally of dissident Scottish noblemen, the 1462 Treaty of Westminster- Ardtornish sought to compel the Scottish government to abandon its support for the house of LANCASTER.

After their defeat at the Battle of TOWTON in March 1461, HENRY VI, Queen MARGARET OF ANJOU, and their chief noble supporters fled into SCOTLAND, where they were given protection by Queen MARY OF GUELDRES, who led the Scottish government as regent for her nine-year-old son, JAMES III. Allowed to use Scotland as a base for raids into England, the Lancastrians kept the northern counties in turmoil. To force the Scots to abandon his opponents, Edward IV allied himself with the Scottish king’s opponents. By the Treaty of Westminster-Ardtornish, John, the semi-independent Lord of the Isles, severed his links to the Scottish Crown and declared his allegiance to Edward IV. In return, Edward agreed to pay the Lord of the Isles a pension and to grant him northern Scotland, most of which was already under his influence, when the country was conquered by the English. The rest of Scotland was pledged to the treaty’s other signatory, James Douglas, ninth earl of Douglas, a Scottish rebel who had been resident in England as a pensioner of the Crown since 1455.

No attempt was made to put the treaty into effect, for the agreement was probably meant only to highlight the Scottish Crown’s vulnerability in northern Scotland and to convince the Scottish government to come to terms with Edward IV and expel the Lancastrian exiles. A truce was concluded in 1463, and Scotland thereafter ceased to be a safe haven for Lancastrian adventures. However, Edward IV remembered the ploy and resumed negotiations with the Lord of the Isles in 1479 when he was again at odds with the Scottish king.

Further Reading: Mackie, J.D., A History of Scotland, 2d ed. (New York: Dorset Press, 1985); Ross, Charles, Edward IV (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998).

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