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Standoff at St Michael's Mount

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'And in the same yere he was in the see withe certeyne schippes, and gate grete good and rychesse, and afterewarde came into westecountre, and, with a sotule poynte of werre, gate and enteryd Seynt Michaels Mount in Comwayle, a stronge place and a mygty, and can not be geett yf it be wele vytaled withe a fewe menne to kepe hit ; for xx. menne may kepe it ageyne alle the world.' Warkworth's Chronicle
Standoff at St Michael's Mount, 1474 - painting by Graham Turner Standoff at St Michael's Mount - original painting Ref: GT-STM

Having taken St. Michael's Mount in Cornwall on 30th September 1474, John de Vere, Earl of Oxford, proceeded to put to the test the idea that the 'stronge place and a mygty' was impregnable, for if well victualled 'xx. menne may kepe it ageyne alle the world.'

Obtaining victuals was the key though, and their need for supplies saw them sally out regularly. On one occasion this resulted in the death of Sir John Arundell, one of the commanders of the besieging force, and his body is here seen lying on the beach at the feet of Oxford, Viscount Beaumont and their men, who are daring anyone else to step forward and risk the same fate while their comrades take the valuable provisions back along the causeway towards the fortress, before the tide cuts them off once more.

Original gouache painting by Graham Turner - image size 18"x 14" (45cm x 35cm) Note: When framed with a mount, the overall picture size will be larger. Painting is priced unframed.

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Please read the paragraphs below about purchasing an original painting.

Price: 1,850.00

Excerpt from Graham Turner's book -

Another thorn to remain in King Edward's side was John de Vere, Earl of Oxford, who had managed to escape the battlefield at Barnet and remained at large. In 1462 his father and brother had been executed for treason but, fortunately for John, Edward's policy of reconciliation had allowed him to inherit his father's estates. However, in 1468 he was arrested for suspected treasonable plotting, a charge he managed to avoid, and then in 1469 he joined Warwick and Clarence in their schemes, enjoying a brief period of power under Henry VI's Readeption before it all collapsed with the defeat at Barnet. He succeeded in escaping to Scotland and from there to France, from where he harassed Calais and the Essex coast and engaged in piracy, capturing English and Burgundian ships and getting 'grete good and rychesse' by selling their cargoes.

On 30 September 1473 Oxford sailed to St Michael's Mount, off the coast of Cornwall, and managed to take possession of the fortified abbey that perched on its rocky crag, cut off from the mainland for 20 hours a day and only accessible by a causeway at low tide. He was accompanied by his brothers, George, Thomas and Richard, along with William, Viscount Beaumont, and Sir Thomas Clifford - all of whom had been with Oxford at Barnet and escaped with him - and around 80 men.

King Edward's first response was to commission Sir John Arundell and local gangster Henry Bodrugan, along with John Fortescue, Sheriff of Cornwall, to besiege the Mount and expel Oxford's impudent force.

In one of the many skirmishes that took place as the defenders sallied out to try to secure supplies, Oxford was wounded in the face by an arrow, and in another Sir John Arundell was killed; he was buried in the abbey. These violent episodes were interspersed with occasional truces, sometimes lasting two or three days after 'thei hade welle y-foughte'. It appears that the notorious Bodrugan identified an opportunity for personal profit and allowed provisions into the Mount, so in December, a frustrated King Edward replaced him in command with Fortescue, causing some division between them, and increased his efforts to dislodge Oxford by sending artillery from the Tower of London, together with four ships to blockade them in from the sea. Just before they were cut off, Oxford had sent his brother Richard back to France to appeal to King Louis for assistance, without success.

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS of The Wars of the Roses: The Medieval Art of Graham Turner.
Graham Turner's Original Paintings are offered for sale by the artist himself, rather than through Studio 88, which is our print publishing business. Consequently, payment directly to him is preferred. If you are interested in purchasing an original painting, please email Graham Turner at to discuss the purchase or to arrange to visit.

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Painting is priced unframed.

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Graham Turner's eagerly anticipated book about the Wars of the Roses is now available.

It includes over 120 of his paintings and drawings, many newly created, with supplementary images and a comprehensive and fascinating text that illuminates the complex, shifting course of events and the people who lived their lives through this tumultuous time.

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Standoff at St Michael's Mount print

High quality artist-signed prints are available reproduced from Graham Turner's painting 'Standoff at St Michael's Mount' - CLICK HERE FOR FULL DETAILS
Standoff at St Michael's Mount - Print from a painting by Graham Turner

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