Richard Harliston


Richard Harliston

Vice Admiral Sir Richard Harliston, born circa 1425 in Humberstone, Lincolnshire, and brought up in the household of Richard, Duke of York.

On the accession of Edward IV, Richard Harliston became a yeoman of the king's chamber and was made Vice-Admiral, in which latter capacity he came to Guernsey.

Three years previously the castle of Mont Orgueil in Jersey had been captured by a French noble, Pierre de Breze, Count de Maulevrier, who had since held half of that island against Philip de Carteret, Seigneur of St Ouen.

In 1468 Edward IV sent Sir Richard Harliston and his fleet to Guernsey, as part of a plan to invade France and recover Normandy. In Guernsey, Sir Richard learnt that this was a propitious moment to retake Jersey. He accordingly went quietly over to Jersey, secretly interviewed Philippe de Carteret, and immediate action was decided on before the French could get wind of what was to take place.

A body of Yorkist troops came ashore at Plémont, Jersey. A joint English and Jersey force then marched through the night to Mont Orgueil and began a siege of the castle. This lasted 19 weeks, but finally the garrison, which could not be supplied from the sea because of the presence of Sir Richard’s ships, surrendered and returned the fortress and the Island to English hands. Upon liberation, the people of Jersey chose Sir Richard to be their Captain General, but he shortly went back to England.

A patent dated the 13 January 1473, made him captain of the islands of Jersey, Guernsey, Sark and Alderney, he was first to bear this title of 'Captain in Chief'. Harliston held this office until 1486 and became very popular. In this time he added a tower to the Castle of Mont Orgueil which became the 'Harliston Tower'. It was said that at the time of the fall of Richard III, Harliston had thought to make himself "Lord of the Islands" under the protection of the French and the Duchess, Margaret de Burgundy, but had been prevented by the diligence of the inhabitants, not those who had wanted him for their Captain General, mostly the supporters of Henry Tudor.

By the irony of fate, Harliston was himself besieged in the Castle because, faithful to the House of York, he refused to hand over the keys to the emissary of Henry VII. He was forced to capitulate after a siege of six months and retired to Flanders.

He was one of those attainted for joining John de la Pole, 1st Earl of Lincoln in Simnel's rebellion, (Roll of Parliament vi 397-8). On the 4 September 1486 a General Pardon was granted him. In the pardon he was described as late of Jersey, esquire, (Materials illustrative of the Reign of Henry V11,ii.30,rolls ser).

Richard took refuge with Margaret of Burgundy and in 1495 was one of Perkin Warbeck's supporters who were attainted for landing at Deak in Kent, (rolls of Parl vi,504."late of London Knight"). He remained in Margaret's service till his death, whereupon she paid for his honourable burial. A probable place of burial was Mechelen in Flanders where Margaret had her court.

During the reign of Edward IV, Harliston is mentioned as being excepted from several acts of resumption, and is spoken of as the Yeoman of Our Chamber or Yeoman of Our Corone (ib,v 537.vi84,87).

His daughter Margaret, married Phillip de Carteret (d. 1500) grandson of his old ally and by him had some 21 children

nb. no record of his being knighted, by either Edward IV or Richard III, Duke of York.

External links

* [http://www.decarteret.org.uk/database/ps02/ps02_349.htm decarteret.org.uk Person Sheet]
* [http://www.oxforddnb.com/index/101012346/ short report on entry in index of national biography]


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