He was the son of Robert Vaughan of Monmouth and Margaret his wife. The assertion in History of Parliament (1439-1509) that he was the heir of Sir Roger Vaughan of Tretower must be rejected. He received denizenship (being a Welshman) by order of the Privy Council and at the instance of lord Somerset and Adam Moleyns, 30 March 1442/3. He was granted the offices of steward, receiver, and master of the game in Herefordshire and Ewyas, and steward, constable, porter, and receiver of Abergavenny, 15 June 1446. He was master of the king's ordnance for some ten years from 23 June 1450. At this time he was closely associated with Jasper Tudor, earl of Pembroke; he was granted a house in London, jointly with the earl in 1456, and was main-pernor for him, 21 April 1459. He was, however, strongly drawn towards the Yorkist party, and was accused of imagining and compassing the death of the king on 4 July 1459. He is said to have been with the Yorkists at Ludford, and is named among the dignitaries attainted by the Coventry Parliament at the close of the year 1459. Like the others, he was fined, 20 May 1460. He returned with the earls to London and by 14 August 1460 he was back in his former offices. On 1 September he was appointed keeper of Henry VI's great wardrobe. Before 28 November he was married to Eleanor, daughter of Sir Thomas Arundel, and widow of Sir Thomas Browne, who had been executed on 28 July 1460 for his part in the defence of the Tower of London against the earls. The estates and grants of Sir Thomas Browne were confirmed to him and his wife, and so he acquired much wealth and power in south-east England. Following the battle of S. Albans, 17 February 1461, when queen Margaret was threatening London, Philip Malpas, William Hatclyf, physician to Henry VI, and Vaughan took what treasure they could on a ship from Antwerp and made for Ireland. They and their treasure fell into the hands of French pirates. Queen Margaret vainly entreated Louis XI to hand them over to ker, but Edward IV, on becoming king, contributed towards their ransom, and secured their release. Vaughan was sent with lord Wenlock to arrange a commercial treaty with Burgundy, 24 October 1462. In May 1463 he escorted the Burgundian ambassadors from London to Sandwich. Soon afterwards he was with Louis XI at S. Omer, where he obtained compensation for the residents of Calais, who had been robbed by Frenchmen. He was appointed treasurer of the king's chamber and master of the king's jewels, 29 June 1465. Throughout the summer of 1467 he was in Burgundy in connection with arrangements for the marriage of duke Charles and the princess Margaret, Edward IV's sister, and was there with the bishop of Salisbury to receive her when she went over to be married in June 1468. He was commissioned to communicate the statutes of the Order of the Golden Fleece to Edward IV, and was one of the commissioners who were sent to Burgundy to invest duke Charles with the Garter, 4 February 1470. It is fairly certain that he accompanied Edward IV into exile, 1470-1. Upon their return he was appointed chamberlain to Edward, prince of Wales (born 2 November 1470). He was appointed a member of the prince's council, 8 July 1471, and it was in his arms that the infant prince paid his respects to his father's friend and benefactor, Louis de Gruthuyse, in September 1472. He was knighted, 18 April 1475, on the day of prince Edward's creation as prince of Wales at Westminster. Vaughan had built a magnificent house for himself and the prince at Westminster. When Edward IV crossed to France in July 1475, Vaughan remained at home as a member of the Great Council of England. He was again in Burgundy in December 1482. When Edward IV died, 9 April 1483, Vaughan and others of the prince's council were at Ludlow. It was intended to crown Edward V on 4 May, and for that purpose he and his council left Ludlow on 24 April. On reaching Stony Stratford the principal members of the council were arrested by Richard, duke of Gloucester, on a suspicion of plotting to retain the government in the hands of the queen-mother's family. They were sent north and there, sometime between 13 and 25 June, Vaughan was executed. In Shakespeare's tragedy King Richard III, his ghost is made to appear to the king on the night before the battle of Bosworth. There was a tomb in his memory in the chapel of S. Paul in Westminster abbey. Two children of his are recorded: Ann, who married Sir John Wogan of Wiston, Pembrokeshire, and Henry Vaughan, father of Sir Thomas ap Harry (died 1560), who was comptroller of the household to queen Elizabeth.
Published date: 1959
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