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Hemyock Castle


People Power – The March to Democracy

These webpages are about Britain's long, slow, continuing progress towards democracy; particularly the contribution of people associated with Hemyock Castle.

Other webpages in this series:


Sir John Dynham (c1433 to 1501)

Smuggled Future King Edward IV to Safety in (English) Calais

In 1459, during England's Wars of the Roses, after their betrayal at the Battle of Ludlow Bridge; Edward, Earl of March, with Warwick and the Nevilles, sailed from South Wales... intending to join Edward's father Richard, Duke of York in Ireland. But instead, their ship was blown across to England's West Country.

Here, they were rescued by Sir John Dynham of Nutwell and Hartland. Sir John used much of his family's wealth in obtaining a ship and smuggling Edward – the future King Edward IV – and his party to the fortified port town of Calais. (Then in English hands.) They had to use a North Devon port, because all the usual ports on England's south coast were heavily guarded by Edward's enemies.

The Dynhams owned Hemyock. Quite possibly, the high-status 15th century pottery found at Hemyock Castle was used to serve the future King Edward IV when he was smuggled through Devon to Hartland, to board the ship at a north Devon port.

Background – Wars of the Roses (1455–1487)

The English civil wars, later known as the Wars of the Roses, started soon after the end of the Hundred Years War with France. They were about succession to the throne of England, fought between supporters of two rival Houses of Plantagenet, Lancaster and York. These wars are so called because Lancastrians (later) were said to favour the Red Rose, and the Yorkists to favour the White Rose.

King Henry VI was weak; Richard, Duke of York had been his heir, until the birth in 1453 of King Henry's son Edward of Westminster (aka Edward of Lancaster). Richard's claim to the throne of England, triggered the Wars of the Roses. On his death in 1460, Richard's claim passed to his son Edward, Earl of March, the future King Edward IV.

The power of the French Kingdom was ever present in the background, and not always friendly to England.

King Edward IV (1461–70 & 1471–83)

King Edward IV ruled from 4 March 1461 to 3 October 1470 and again from 11 April 1471 until his death on 9 April 1483; widely recognised as a "good king."

Sir John Dynham's Death (1501)

Sir John Dynham died in 1501 without heirs, having served three kings: Edward IV, Richard III and Henry VII. His property, including Hemyock Castle, passed to his four surviving sisters.


Other webpages in this series:


These webpages were created as part of a special exhibition at Hemyock Castle's 2019 Heritage Open Day.

Heritage Open Days are part of European Heritage Days, a Council of Europe initiative. They are co-ordinated by The National Trust with funding by players of People's Postcode Lottery.

Hemyock Castle receives no funding, and makes no charge for entry on Heritage Open Days. We welcome donations to The Blackdown Support Group & Musgrove Leukaemic Group Somerset.



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Hemyock Castle, Hemyock, CULLOMPTON, Devon, EX15 3RJ, UK.
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