Richard Neville Warwick, earl of, surnamed "the king-maker," eldest son of Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury, born soon after 1420, killed at the battle of Barnet, April 14, 1471. About 1449 he married Anne, daughter and heiress of Richard de Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, and on his death in that year was created earl in his place. Through the marriage of his father's sister with the duke of York he was first cousin of the earl of March, afterward Edward IV. He possessed enormous wealth, and his courage, intelligence, eloquence, frank and generous bearing, and liberality, won the affections of all classes. He first distinguished himself as a soldier in an incursion with his father and the earl of Northumberland across the Scottish border in 1448. He had the credit of the victory of the Yorkists over the Lancastrians at St. Albans, May 22, 1455, and was made governor of Calais, and later commander of the fleet for five years. In May, 1458, he attacked a fleet of 28 sail belonging to Lübeck, and captured six of them after a battle of six hours. The wars of the roses broke out afresh in 1459, and Warwick joined his father with a large body of troops at Ludlow castle. The surrender of the Yorkists in October cost him his naval office, but he kept possession of Calais by force.
With afresh army of 1,500 men he crossed over to England in June, 1460, and marched upon London. King Henry fled; 40,000 soldiers flocked to Warwick's standard; the city threw open its gates: and in the victory of Northampton, July 10, the Yorkists captured the king. (See Henry VI.) The Yorkist troops, defeated by Queen Margaret at Wakefield, Dec. 30, where Richard of York was killed and Warwick's father captured and beheaded, rallied under Warwick at Bernard's Heath, near St. Albans, Feb. 17,1461, and suffered another defeat. Henry was set at liberty, but Edward of York effected a junction with Warwick's forces and compelled the royal army to retire to the north. Warwick and Edward entered London in triumph, and the young duke was proclaimed king, March 4, under the title of Edward IV.; and on the 29th Warwick defeated Henry at Towton. In 1462 Warwick recaptured several fortresses from Queen Margaret; and his brother Lord Montacute finally defeated the Lancastrians at Hexham, May 15, 1464. In June, 1465, Henry was betrayed, and Warwick conducted him to the tower.
The Neville family meanwhile had governed the new king and the kingdom, Warwick being made chief minister and general, warden of the west marches, and chamberlain, his brother George archbishop of York and lord high chancellor, and Lord Montacute warden of the east marches of Scotland and earl of Northumberland. But the royal favors now began to flow in another channel. Edward had married in 1464 Elizabeth Woodville, the widow of Sir John Grey, and the Woodvilles soon supplanted the Nevilles in the confidence of the king. The royal marriage had given Warwick great offence; the marriage of Margaret, the king's sister, to Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy, gave still more; and Edward was equally displeased by the secret marriage in 1469 of his brother Clarence to Warwick's daughter Isabella. Just at this time an insurrection broke out in Yorkshire, ostensibly to resist an obnoxious tax. The Nevilles seized the opportunity to overthrow their rivals. The tax was soon forgotten, and the insurgents rallied under Warwick and Clarence, who defeated part of the royal forces at the battle of Edgecote, July 26,1469, captured and beheaded the father and brother of the queen, and led Edward prisoner to Middleham. The Lancastrians raised the standard of the red rose in Scotland, but Warwick defeated them.
Soon afterward Edward, released from prison, reappeared in London, pardoned Warwick and Clarence, and restored them to his confidence. Another quarrel and another reconciliation followed; and when an insurrection broke out in Lincolnshire in 1470, Warwick and Clarence, though they accepted the king's commission to subdue it, were secretly the instigators of the movement, designing to place the crown on Clarence's head. They soon threw off disguise, and, when hard pressed by the royal forces, escaped from Dartmouth on shipboard with many followers, and landed at Harfleur. In France Warwick met Queen Margaret, with whom, by the influence of Louis XL, he was reconciled, and arranged a plan for restoring Henry VI. to his throne, Clarence being guaranteed the next succession, in default of male issue to Henry. Louis furnished the means for the expedition, and Edward having been decoyed into the north by a pretended insurrection, the exiles landed at Plymouth and Dartmouth, Sept. 13, 1470, proclaimed Henry king, and marched upon the capital. Edward fled to Holland; Henry was taken from the tower, and the Nevilles were reinstated in their offices and honors, Warwick receiving in addition the post of lord high admiral.
In the mean time Edward had received secret aid from the duke of Burgundy, and landed on the English coast with 2,000 well armed Englishmen, March 14,1471. Clarence, with whom he had long had a secret understanding, came over to his side; he entered London without resistance, and the archbishop delivered to him the imbecile Henry, whom he again sent to the tower, where he died in May. Two days afterward he left the city, and attacked Warwick at Barnet, April 14. Enveloped in a thick mist, the two armies fought at random for three hours, Edward being successful on the right, and Warwick on the left. The field soon became a scene of hopeless confusion, the Lancastrians falling upon their own men as they returned from pursuing the enemy. Edward was victorious after 7,000 of his adversaries had lost their lives. Warwick and his brother Montacute were among the slain, and their bodies were exposed naked for three days on the pavement of St. Paul's, and then buried in the ancestral tomb in Bisham abbey, Berkshire.