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?

Richard then bestows ‘a rich variety of presents and perquisites on Kendall worth some 450 pounds a year’, and then he became ‘King’s Councillor’. In 1482 Kendall received a grant of ‘the office of Clerk of all the returns of writs in the castle of York within the city of York’. He received many other benefits.

Moving on from Mr Kendall, it seems that in 1484 John Kendall was in addition to his other duties, the ‘Controller of the Exchange and Assayer of The Mint’. In 1484 he further received 100 pounds out of the sum that had been realised from confiscated Breton goods, and he also shared with Thomas Metcalfe, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the considerable grant of 500 marks (335 pounds at that time) yearly during the King’s pleasure, from the temporalities of the Bishopric of Ely.

In 1484 Kendall was listed with Richard Charleton as living in Middlesex, and with John Howard, now Duke of Norfolk. All three were to die with Richard at Bosworth.

In February 1485 John Kendall was granted in survivorship the office of Keeper and Governor of the park of Hethensden, Kent and the office of Master of the Hunt. In May 1485 he received grants of the Honour of Havering at Bower in Essex; he being described as King’s Councillor and Secretary. The Palace at Havering was frequently used as a meeting place for a succession of kings, so this was an important (nominal) grant. There are many other gifts or appointments that he received.

The point that seems to be made by historians is that the importance of the role that he played in Richard’s administration, and the level of benefits and bequests was, for that period in history, unusual for someone who was not a peer with a territorial following.

At this time Richard’s main advisers included Richard Ratcliffe, Lord Stanley, William Catesby, John Kendall and Chancellor John Russell (he was Bishop of Rochester and then Lincoln, becoming a trusted minister for Edward IV and an executor of his will, before accepting the post of Chancellor and Privy Seal to King Richard. He survived into the reign of Henry VII). Francis Lovell and John Howard were active in military and naval matters.



  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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