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Worcester, John Tiptoft, earl of

John Tiptoft Worcester, earl of (wŏŏs´tər) 1427?–1470, English nobleman. He studied at Oxford and was created earl of Worcester in 1449. He served as treasurer of the exchequer (1452–55) and lord deputy of Ireland (1456–57). In 1457 he went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and on the return journey stayed in Italy for two years. There he studied under Guarino da Verona and acquired a considerable reputation as a Latin scholar. He was one of the first Englishmen to become familiar with the learning of the Italian Renaissance. On his return to England, Worcester, who was a brother-in-law of the powerful Richard Neville, earl of Warwick, became (1462) constable of England under Edward IV. In this capacity he tried and sentenced to death many of the Lancastrian leaders. He again became (1467) lord deputy of Ireland and had the earl of Desmond executed—and, it is claimed, Desmond's two sons as well. He was appointed constable again in Mar., 1470, but when Warwick restored Henry VI to the throne in October, Worcester fled. He was captured, condemned by John de Vere, earl of Oxford (whose father and brother Worcester had sentenced to death in 1462), and executed. Hated by the Lancastrians, he was called "the butcher of England." His translation of Cicero's De amicitia was printed by William Caxton in 1481.

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Tiptoft, John, 1st earl of Worcester

Tiptoft, John, 1st earl of Worcester (c.1427–70). Unusually for a peer's heir, Tiptoft spent three years with a tutor in University College, Oxford, immediately before his father's death in 1443. His creation as earl in 1449 coincided with his (first) marriage to the widowed duchess of Warwick. He was treasurer of England from 1452 to 1454, and probably became a sympathizer with Richard of York. In 1458 he distanced himself by going to Jerusalem, afterwards touring Italy and studying at Padua until 1461; humanists enjoyed his patronage, and he collected books later bequeathed to Oxford University. Edward IV appointed him a councillor and constable of England. Tiptoft became notorious for his trials of traitors, allegedly by ‘the law of Padua’ but actually by the supranational law of arms. He was captured when Warwick restored Henry VI, tried, and executed.

R. L. Storey

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