THE SEARCH is on for descendants of a former Warwick resident who changed the course of English history.
Richard Neville, the 15th century Earl of Warwick, became known as The Kingmaker for his pivotal role in the Wars of the Roses.
Through fortunes of marriage and inheritance, Warwick emerged in the 1450s at the centre of English politics.
Originally a supporter of King Henry VI, a territorial dispute with the Duke of Somerset led him to collaborate with Richard, Duke of York, in opposing the king.
The political conflict later turned into full-scale rebellion. York was killed in battle, but his son later triumphed with Warwick’s assistance, and was crowned King Edward IV.
Edward initially ruled with Warwick’s support, but the two later fell out over foreign policy and the king’s choice of Elizabeth Woodville as his wife.
After a failed plot to crown Edward’s brother, George, Duke of Clarence, Warwick instead restored Henry VI to the throne.
Warwick – who was 42 when he was killed on the battlefield at Barnet – had two daughters, including a Queen of England in Anne, wife of Richard III, born at Warwick Castle.
But Warwick has no known direct living descendants, and family history website Ancestry has now teamed-up with the Castle in a bid to find any relatives.
An Ancestry spokesperson told The Observer “We’re analysing thousands of records on our site in an attempt to trace living descendants of one of the most important figures in English history.”
Melissa Paniccia, newly-appointed head of history at Warwick Castle, was delighted to be working with Ancestry to possibly add a branch or two to the Kingmaker’s family tree.
She said: “Finding out where your ancestors came from is great fun and it’s something most of our younger visitors are familiar with, as looking at and creating a family tree is often part of history lessons.
“It’s a great way to develop a personal link to events that, initially, might seem a very long time ago such as the First World War, the Industrial Revolution and even the medieval Wars of the Roses in which Richard Neville played such a pivotal part.”