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?

I will set out below the collection of facts that support my conclusion. I found no direct evidence for this connection, nor did I expect to after all this time. What I did find was a series of facts representing circumstantial evidence. Taken individually I would not claim that they proved my case. However, taken together I believe that they irrefutably prove my conclusion.

It has been suggested to me that historians almost invariably seek direct evidence to support a proposition or conclusion. I have taken a brief look to see what norms are applied in civil and criminal law. Here evidence is and includes everything that is used to reveal and determine the truth. Direct evidence supports the truth of an assertion directly. Circumstantial evidence relates to a series of facts other than the particular fact sought to be proved. Circumstantial evidence usually accumulates into a collection. A person offering circumstantial evidence argues that this collection of facts is so closely associated with the fact to be proved, that the fact to be proved may be inferred simply from the existence of the circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence allows a Judge to deduce a fact exists.

In this article I propose that the facts that I have assembled offer sufficient circumstantial evidence, to prove my assertion that John Kendall, King Richard the Third’s Secretary of State was a son of Jean de Foix, Earl of Kendal.

There can have been few French families as loyal to England as the de Grailly/de Foix. Of special interest are Gaston de Foix and his son Jean de Foix, who were both, concurrently in 1446, Knights of the Garter. I set out below a brief background to that family and their connections in England. Of special note are the ties to the de la Poles and to the De La Warrs.

The Grailly were originally Savoyards who had established an English presence when Albert de Grelley arrived with William of Normandy in 1066, and he was granted extensive lands in Lancashire and the title, Baron of Manchester. This line died out and part of the substantial estate was inherited through marriage by the De La Warr family. Albert’s Savoyard relations continued a connection with, and loyalty to, the English Kings, and moved to Gascony where they were granted considerable estates.



  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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