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?

On his return to France Jean de Foix bought back his father’s Gascon properties from Dunois and his cousin, Gaston Foix-Grailly (these had been sold to them in 1451 with an option to repurchase). In May 1462, with the disliked King Charles dead, Jean bit the bullet and, with Henry VI’s consent, swore loyalty to Louis XI ‘against all but the King of England’, and was confirmed by Louis in his Gascon estates: Captalat de Buch, Cadillac, Langon, Castillon-de-Perigord, Lamarque, Cussac, Sansac, Mouton, Bonnegarde, Doazit, Gensac, Chalais, Montguyon, and others including it appears Castillon-de-Medoc. This recovery was registered by the parliament of Bordeaux in 1477 and registered by the Chambre des Comptes in Paris the following year.

He was also granted by Louis a payment of 6000 livres over six years for compensation for the loss of his property in England and a pension of 4000 livres (that was actually paid). At that level of payment one must assume that some support had been presented to evidence the existence of property rights in England. It is the evidence of English grants, holdings and forfeitures that I have not been able to find. These may have been in his wife’s name or in the name of a nominee. Seeking to avoid problems with Jean’s cousin Gaston de Foix-Grailly, Louis also appointed Jean Lieutenant-General of the recently regained territory of Roussillon. Pere Anselme (who in the 1600’s produced the main genealogical guide to ‘who is who’ in France) mentions that Jean de Foix may have had other children beyond those mentioned by him in his main text, and one of these, Guillaume, it seems was granted property in Roussillon.

In June Louis met Henry VI’s wife Marguerite d’Anjou. She made him an offer that he could not refuse; so not wishing to openly offend the new King Edward IV, he entered into a secret treaty where he lent her 20,000 francs to support her effort to recover the throne for her husband, in return for the grant to Louis of Calais, England’s last remaining property in France, if she succeeded. If she did succeed, then they undertook that either Jasper Tudor or Jean de Foix would be appointed Governor to effect the handover. It may be fortunate that this did not come to pass, and as Louis lost his investment, he was not over generous with a pension to Margaret when she was eventually exiled to France.



  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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