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Richard Woodville Rivers, 1st Earl

Rivers, Richard Woodville, 1st Earl, d. 1469, English nobleman. He was knighted (1426) by Henry VI and acquired wealth and power by marrying (c.1436) Jacquetta of Luxemburg, widow of John of Lancaster, duke of Bedford. He served in the wars in France and helped suppress the rebellion (1450) of Jack Cade in England. In the Wars of the Roses, Rivers fought for Henry VI until the Lancastrian defeat at Towton (1461). He then transferred his loyalty to the Yorkist Edward IV, to whom he gave his daughter (see Woodville, Elizabeth) in marriage in 1464. He and his family soon received extensive royal favors, Rivers himself becoming treasurer and then constable (1467) of England. He was created earl in 1466. The favoritism shown the Woodville faction embittered Richard Neville, earl of Warwick, who rebelled in 1469. Rivers was captured and executed after Edward's defeat at Edgecot. His eldest son, Anthony Woodville, 2d Earl Rivers, 1442?–1483, accompanied Edward into exile (1470–71) and later served him in various capacities. In 1473 he was appointed guardian of Edward, prince of Wales (later Edward V). On Edward IV's death, however, Rivers was arrested by Richard, duke of Gloucester (later Richard III), and executed. A somewhat romantic and otherworldly figure, Rivers wrote translations of various French works. His Dictes and Sayengis of the Philosophres (1477) was the first dated book printed in England by William Caxton.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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