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?
  • Jean de Foix had been put into Richard Neville’s custody, and it was to Neville’s home at Middleham that I suggest the young de Foix son would have been sent – in 1460 he would have been about ten years old
  • The 1467 will of Peter de Tastar mentions that he was brought to England by George Neville, Archbishop of York, who was Richard Neville’s brother. George had been present at the Battle of Northampton, and was Chancellor of England until 1467. In 1463 he visited France. De Tastar had been Dean of St Saveur, part of Doazit by Bordeaux, a Jean de Foix property. I suspect that de Tastar was brought to England as a tutor to John Kendall.
  • It is clear that Kendall had legal training, and King Richard appointed him ‘Controller of the Exchange and Assayer of The Mint’, as well as his Secretary. George Neville was Chancellor for seven years, and hence was well positioned to provide Kendall with the training that he would need in these roles for King Richard.
  • A son of Jean de Foix might have been called John de Foix. However if he was to become an Englishman, the name de Foix would not suit at a time when the French were still regarded as the enemy. Earl of Kendal was Jean de Foix’s English title. In France the de Foix were referred to as ‘Candalle’ (see below). John Kendall would seem to me to be the name that a son of Jean de Foix would have used in England.
  • At Middleham from 1461-5, being educated and trained in knightly pursuits was Richard, Duke of Gloucester who would have been of a similar age to Jean de Foix’s son. A few years later Francis Lovell also came to receive training. John Kendall was with Richard at Bosworth – they died fighting. This means that Kendall was more than just a clerk or government officer and must have had some training in arms that had been kept up. (He was Richard’s ‘loyal servant to death’, as was George Kendalle for Robert Cecil – see separate article)
  • Richard Neville’s wife was Anne Beauchamp, and she had been a ward of William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk. The Neville daughters married Richard III and his brother, George Duke of Clarence.


  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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