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?
  • As a result of this the Grailly family property in Savoie and Burgundy had to be sold to pay a large ransom that still had a sum outstanding.
  • Holding Jean de Foix, a Knight of the Garter, for ransom or as a prisoner, I would suggest, was not an honourable option in 1460.
  • As noted, he was granted a sum towards his ransom and on 7.12.1460 and the right to export 2000 sacks of wool, an indication of the high regard in which he was held.
  • Jean de Foix and his family enjoyed special rights and privileges in Bordeaux and he almost certainly had a role in persuading Louis IX to re-instate Bordeaux’s rights to free commerce in March 1461. Jean had a pressing need to derive profits to pay his ransom and improve his estates, and trade with England was the easiest route to achieve this. A son in England would eventually assist this goal.
  • Jean was given in custody to Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, with whom he went to Calais.
  • It should also be noted that from this point Richard Neville developed a strongly pro-French position, working hard with Louis XI (with whom de Foix was now on good terms) to try and achieve an alliance up until about 1468.
  • The deal that Jean de Foix had done with Charles VII in 1451 resulted in his eldest son being left in the care of his cousin Gaston de Foix-Grailly, and that son could choose whether he wished to be English or French when he came of age.
  • Two sons and two daughters are recorded for Jean by du Chesne and Pere Anselme (although Anselme records the existence of other sons) but neither records a further son remaining in England, however their listings are not infallible, and moreover they are focused on French interests.
  • The logic of de Foix leaving a son in England is that from the standpoint of the Yorkists, the Earl of Kendal would behave, and not support a Lancastrian revival; and from de Foix’s standpoint he would be continuing the Grailly/Foix tactic of establishing centres of territorial influence.


  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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