Anglo-French Relations The Cloak of Secrecy A personal voyage of detection

King Richard the Third's Secretary of State: A son of Jean de Foix, Earl of Kendal?

After him the next Earl was John Beaufort who was also created in 1443 Duke of Somerset, but he died in 1444. He was the grandson of John of Gaunt (Duke of Lancaster) and one set of arms that he used was ‘argent, two bars gules, in a canton gules, a lion passant guardant, or’.

The next Earl of Kendal creation was for Jean de Foix in 1446. I cannot see that he used these arms, and those in his Garter Stall are the French de Foix arms with a label of five points for a difference. After him there were no new creations, because the French de Foix family retained the use of the names Candalle or Foix-Candalle and probably the title, until Bernard d’Epernon died in 1661. Then in 1666 the short lived son of James, Duke of York was made Duke of Kendal.

I then looked at the ‘argent, three bars, gules’ variation and found no Kendall use, but a Bussey. Next to it was also Bussey ‘argent, three bars, sable’. Bussey was the same name as Busli, and Busli was the brother or brother-in-law of the first English Albert Grelley. They too had been granted Lancaster properties, some shared with Albert de Grelley. The early Grelley presence in the county of Lancaster provides some logic for the grant to Jean de Foix of the Earldom of Kendal. The fact that Jean de Foix did not himself choose to use the Kendal arms in England might signify that they were therefore open to the use by a son of his resident in England.

King Edward IV had displaced Henry VI, and on Edward’s death, his brother Richard III assumed the throne. His tenure was short and he died on Bosworth field. Henry VII then assumed the throne based on a tenuous Tudor claim. His mother was Margaret Beaufort, who had a Lancastrian claim by virtue of her descent from John of Gaunt. Her father was John Beaufort, Duke of Bedford. Henry’s father, Edmund Tudor, was the son of Owen Tudor who had married Catherine de Valois following the death of Henry V. This together produced a claim that Tudor publicity and executions did much to support.

Both Edmund Tudor and his brother Jasper were wards of another of William de la Pole’s sisters (and Margaret Beaufort had been a ward of William himself). Following the death of Edmund, his son Henry and Jasper exiled themselves to the Court of the Duke of Brittany during the reigns of Kings Edward and Richard.



  1. Since King Richard’s will is of such importance these days in the debate about where he intended to be interred, do you have a source for your statement that he changed his will to appoint his nephew John de la Pole as his successor? Some people argue that we cannot know Richard’s intention in that regard since he left no will, while others are of the opinion that Richard, like other medieval men going to battle, certainly left a will, but that it was probably destroyed by Tudor’s men after Bosworth.

    1. Thank you for this. I do not have a primary source but secondary sources are many eg:
      William Toone’s The Chronological Historian (1828) Vol 1 p.110
      James Anderson’s A genealogical History of the House of Yvery (1742) Vol.1 p294
      The Works of Francis Bacon (edition 1854) Vol 1 p.739
      King Richard’s appointment of John de la Pole as his successor is what gave rise to the claims of the ‘White Rose’ please see Desmond Seward’s book of that title.

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