A War of the Roses character whose father was killed in 1455 at the first Battle of St Albans. John went on to lead the Lancastrian right wing at at the Battle of Wakefield (December 30th, 1460). The battle was a success for the Lancastrians. John was Knighted the next day. It was when he became notorious through history because of what is attributed to him during that time. After the battle the Yorkist cause believe he committed murder. Captured nobles and relatives usually at that time became ransomed but Edmund Rutland (17 at the time) a son of Richard Plantagenet (3rd Duke of York who died in the same battle) was executed on Johns orders and perhaps by John himself. Edmund was said to have been wounded and defenceless when he was killed. Attempting to escape the slaughter over Wakefield Bridge but was overtaken and killed. Gruesomely his head ended up on the gates of York along with his father and Uncle (Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury).
Perhaps it was revenge for the death of his father or all the battle adrenalin was still to leave Johns body that led to the execution but the result was vengance being sworn by Edmunds older brother the future King Edward IV (in wales during the battle). It may have been Edward who also gave John the friendly nickname 'the Butcher'. The aftermath of the Battle of Wakefield saw increased bitterness and revenge upon revenge. From that point onwards victorious sides executed opposing leaders. Perhaps no more ransom deals.
Fast forward to Dintingdale March, 1461, and its battle time again. John Clifford carelessly removes his gorget (neck protecting piece of armour). A fatal error which results in an arrow to the throat and another body thrown into a pit with many others.
Lancastrian Goon 1: "Hey Johnno. You really messed that kid up. Look at the mess! Eww! It's all bloody!"
Lancastrian Goon 2: "Jay you are so gangster. You really went Medieval on him."
Lancastrian Goon 3: "You are my new hero. This is really going to make them Yorkies so MAD!"
Anti-hero, rogue, ruffian? Well he was a leader of fighting men. He was at the center of a deed some considered most foul. What wargamer would not want a character in their force with the alias 'The Butcher'. A nickname given by his enemy as well. His Yorkist opponents certainly would have seen him as a villain and no hero. However the Lancastrians may have seen it as a point of pride to be fighting alongside 'the Butcher'. This real life violent man went on to be included in Shakespeare's, Henry VI.