2nd October 1452
Richard of York born
Richard was born at Fotheringhay Castle. He was the twelfth of thirteen children born to Richard, 3rd Duke of York and Cecily Neville. As a child he would have been known as 'Richard of York'.
Authority in the north
30th December 1460
The Battle of Wakefield
The Duke of York leaves his stronghold at Sandal Castle and encounters the Lancastrian army under the duke of Somerset and Lord Clifford. Wakefield was a decisive Lancastrian victory during the War of the Roses.
29th March 1461
The Battle of Towton
The battle of Towton, North Yorkshire, was fought amidst the blistering cold and snow. The Yorkists fired arrows deep into the Lancastrian lines and, blinded by the snow, the Lancastrians were unable to respond, instead instigating indecisive hand-to-hand combat. Chroniclers contend that the fighting lasted longer than 10 hours, and after the battle England had a new king: Edward IV.
Gifts and reward
1st November 1461
Richard granted the Dukedom of Gloucester
After the coronation of his brother as Edward IV in June 1461 Richard was granted the title of Duke of Gloucester.
Childhood in Middleham
Following the death of his father Richard was put under the protection of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick and from the ages of 9-12 spent much time at Neville's castle at Middleham in Wensleydale, Yorkshire where he learnt manly skills such as sword-fighting and horse-riding.
Authority in the north
Authority in the northGifts and reward
12th August 1462
Richard begins to acquire a princely estate
Richard was granted the lordships of Richmond in Yorkshire and Pembroke in Wales, as well as estates in East Anglia.
2nd October 1462
Governor of the North
On his birthday Richard was appointed Governor of the North, and also Constable of Gloucester and Corfe Castles. All these gifts made him one of the richest and therefore most powerful nobles in England. As Governor of the North he represented royal interests in securing the loyalty of the North for Edward IV's new Yorkist dynasty.
Authority in the north
Authority in the northWarfare
November 1467
Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, changes sides
From the autumn of 1467 rumours began to spread that Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick was no longer a supporter of Edward IV.
April 1469
Robin of Redesdale's Rebellion
Popular discontent with Edward IV's government fuelled a rebellion in Yorkshire, almost certainly instigated by Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick and led by Yorkshire gentry.
Authority in the northWarfare
July 1469
Lancastrian plots
More plots were uncovered revealing Warwick's supporters in conspiracies to restore Henry VI to the throne.
July 1469
George joins the rebellion against his brothers, Edward IV and Richard
George, Duke of Clarence and brother of Edward IV and Richard, joined Warwick's rebellion and sailed with him to Calais where he married Warwick's eldest daughter, Isabel Neville. Returning to England they raised forces in the south to join the rebels in Yorkshire.
Authority in the northWarfare
August 1469
Edward IV imprisoned in Middleham Castle
After being defeated in battle by rebel forces Edward IV was imprisoned first in Warwick Castle and then in Middleham until continuing disorder led to his release in September.
17th October 1469
Constable of England
Following his recovery of power Edward IV began to build up his supporters. Richard was appointed Constable of England, and the following month, Chief Justice of North Wales
Gifts and reward
13th September 1470
The defeat of Edward IV
Attempts at a reconciliation between Edward IV and the Earl of Warwick failed. Warwick, together with George Duke of Clarence, fled to France. Once again Warwick used his powerbase in Yorkshire to stir up a new rebellion against the Yorkists and built a strong alliance to restore Henry VI to the throne.They landed in Portsmouth in September and succeeded in forcing Edward IV into exile. Henry VI was restored to the throne, but his government was controlled by the Earl of Warwick ('the Kingmaker').
2nd October 1470
Exile in Flanders
Edward IV and Richard, Duke of Gloucester, fled to the Low Countries.
Authority in the northWarfare
Authority in the northWarfare
11th March 1471
Return to Yorkshire
Edward and Richard set sail for England to retake the throne for Edward. Storms blew them off course and they landed at Ravenspur in Holderness (now lost to coastal erosion), East Yorkshire, instead of East Anglia which was a stronghold of Yorkist support. They were not allowed to enter Hull and were admitted to the City of York only after Edward claimed that he was only seeking to win back his title to the Dukedom of York, not the throne of England.
14th April 1471
The death of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick
After a short military campaign, in which Richard Duke of Gloucester acted as lieutenant to his brother Edward IV, Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick was killed at the battle of Barnet.
Authority in the north
4th May 1471
Edward IV restored
Edward, Prince of Wales, son of Henry VI, was killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury. The defeat of the Lancastrian forces was followed by the restoration of Edward IV to the throne and Henry VI was confined to the Tower of London.
18th May 1471
Restoration to Power: Lieutenant of the North
Edward IV rapidly set about expanding Richard's titles, wealth and authority by transferring to him many of the titles and land previously enjoyed by Richard Earl of Warwick. As Richard neared the age of 21 he was appointed to a series of military positions in the north and west of Edward's Kingdom as High Sheriff of Cumberland, Lieutenant of the North and Commander-in Chief against the Scots, and Warden of the West Marches. He was also appointed Great Chamberlain and Lord High Admiral of England.
Authority in the northGifts and reward
Authority in the north
February 1472
Richard and Anne Neville
Although apparently reconciled to Edward IV, George Duke of Clarence resented Richard's acquisition of former Neville lands and titles and opposed Richard's betrothal to his sister-in-law, Anne Neville. Anne had been held in virtual 'house arrest' by George after the death of her first husband, Edward Prince of Wales, at the Battle of Tewkesbury in May 1471. In February 1472 Richard 'rescued' her and proposed.
12th July 1472
Richard married Anne Neville
Richard married Anne Neville, the younger daughter of Richard Earl of Warwick, at Westminster Abbey. Through this marriage Richard was to assume much of the former Earl of Warwick's power base in the North including his magnificent castle at Middleham, where he had spent some of his childhood.
Authority in the north
Authority in the north
14th July 1472
Sheriff Hutton
Richard was confirmed in possession of the late Earl of Warwick's castles at Sheriff Hutton and Middleham in Yorkshire and Penrith in Cumberland.
May 1473
Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland
The Percy family were traditional rivals of the Nevilles in the north. In taking over the northern Neville lands Richard inherited this rivalry and perpetuated it in his acquistion of offices traditionally held by the Percies. The rivalry was halted however by an agreement imposed by the king's council and sealed when Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland became one of Richard, Duke of York's retainers. This astute move substantially strengthened Richard's position in the North.
Authority in the north
Authority in the north
June 1473
Securing the Middleham inheritance
Richard's mother-in-law, Anne de Beauchamp, left sanctuary to live in Middleham with her daughter and Richard. This strengthened Richard and Anne's claims to her parents' estates against other potential heirs including her cousin George, and her sister Isabel who was married to Richard's brother George, Duke of Clarence.
Dispute between Richard and George over Neville castles
Throughout 1471-5 the two brothers continued to quarrel over the division of the Neville estates, and especially over core strongholds such as Barnard Castle and Richmond.
Authority in the north
Authority in the northConspicuous piety
Durham Priory
Richard and Anne were admitted to the fraternity of the cathedral priory at Durham, reflecting both a veneration for St Cuthbert and an increasing reconcilation with the Bishop of Durham, another regional rival to Richard's authority in the North.
Richard acquires all the Neville lands in the North
After an attempt at the reconciliation of Richard and his brother George in their dispute over the Neville inheritance, Richard was confirmed in possession of all the Neville lands in the north, securing his dominance in the region.
Authority in the north
Gifts and reward
31st December 1476
Richard III given six swans and six pikes
This was one of the first recorded of many gifts given by the City of York to Richard: a sign that he was using his influence in the north to win the support of the City Council.
Richard III and Anne Neville join the Corpus Christi Guild
The Guild was one of the largest and most prestigious in the city of York, attracting members from across the city, the county and beyond. Richard's mother, Cecily, had joined in 1455. The guild played a prominent part in the annual Corpus Christi processions which were associated with the city's famous cycle of religious drama staged by the city's crafts (the mystery plays).
Authority in the northConspicuous piety
September 1478
Edward IV intends to repair the castle at York
As a recognition of its important role as a royal residence and gaol, as well as the city's strategic position, Edward IV declared his intention to repair the castle shortly after visiting the city in September 1478.
Campaigns into Scotland
When he led campaigns into Scotland in 1480-82, troops from York and the nearby Ainsty district formed part of his retinue. The last campaign, in July 1482, saw Berwick-upon-Tweed brought back into English hands after more than twenty years when the castle surrendered on 24 August 1482.
Authority in the northWarfare
Rumour, opinion, and criticism
24th June 1482
Rumour investigation of 1482
On 24 June 1482 a citizen claimed to have overheard someone say that Richard did nothing for the city.
14th February 1483
Rumour investigation of 1483
On 14-15 February 1483 there was an expression of defiance against Richard III's influence in mayoral elections.
Rumour, opinion, and criticism
Authority in the north
9th April 1483
Edward IV dies
Before his death Edward named his brother, Richard Duke of Gloucester, as Protector to his young son and heir, Edward. Edward IV was buried in the chapel of St George in Windsor Castle.
June 1483
Richard III requests military aid from York
Soldiers were sent from York to London in June 1483 following Richard III's request for help against those said to be planning his destruction, the queen and her family, shortly before he claimed the throne on 26 June
Authority in the northWarfare
Pageant and spectacle
6th July 1483
Coronation of Richard III
Richard III was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 6 July 1483.
7th July 1483
Royal progress northward
Soon after his magnificent coronation ceremony, Richard went northwards to be seen as king across his realm. The journey culminated in a spectacular reception in York, where the king and his entourage arrived on 29th August 1483.
Pageant and spectacle
Authority in the northPageant and spectacle
24th August 1483
Richard III's son created Prince of Wales
The king's son had been created Prince of Wales on 24 August 1483 by his father at Nottingham, less than a week before the royal family arrived in York. This was a traditional title held by a monarch's eldest son and so was a celebration of Richard III's position as king as well as the elevation of his heir.
28th August 1483
Richard III receives gifts on his royal visit to York
For his visit to York in 1483 citizens noted on 28 August the collection of £448 towards gifts for the king and queen, including 500 marks in a cup of gold for Richard and £100 of gold in rich plate for his wife.
Gifts and reward
Pageant and spectacle
29th August 1483
Richard III arrives in York
Soon after the magnificent coronation ceremony, Richard III undertook a journey north, culminating in a spectacular reception in York on 29 August.
7th September 1483
The Creed play staged to honour the royal visit
The Creed Play was staged on 7 September 1483 as a special honour to mark Richard's visit to York. The play included twelve biblical scenes, including God and Christ enthroned, the nativity, crucifixion and resurrection. Citizens of York paid for the play, which was performed by the Corpus Christi guild.
Authority in the northGifts and rewardPageant and spectacle
Gifts and reward
17th September 1483
Richard III reduces York's annual fee farm
During his visit to York, Richard III called leading citizens to an audience at the Minster chapter house on 17 September 1483 to declare a substantial reduction in the city's annual fee farm.
October 1483
Duke of Buckingham rebels
York's troops joined forces with those protecting Richard's throne against the rebellion of the duke of Buckingham in October 1483.
Authority in the north
July 1484
Council of the North residency at Sandal Castle
The Council of the North moved to Sandal in Yorkshire by July 20th 1484. In June 1484 Richard had visited Sandal and authorised the building of a new tower in the castle, and in October a new bakery and brewhouse.
23rd July 1484
Richard III commissions repairs at York Castle
Richard III agrees a programme of repair and rebuilding at York Castle, commissioned on 23 July 1484.
Authority in the northWarfare
Conspicuous piety
August 1484
Work begins on the Minster College
Work began on the Minster college probably in August 1484 and may have been a reaction to the death a few months earlier of the king's son, Edward, at Middleham.
5th April 1485
Richard III combats rumour and sedition
The danger of slander spreading was vigorously confronted by Richard III and he wrote to the city on 5 April 1485 to demand their adherence to his commands against sedition. Citizens were ordered to arrest anyone heard to spread negative words about the king and immediately take down any inflammatory bills and newsletters.
Pageant and spectacleAuthority in the northRumour, opinion, and criticism
19th August 1485
York sends last contingent to support Richard III
80 soldiers were sent to defend the king against Henry Tudor, leaving York on 19 August 1485 and probably arriving too late to fight at the battle of Bosworth on 22 August, where Richard was killed.
22nd August 1485
Richard III dies at the Battle of Bosworth
Richard III is killed at the battle of Bosworth on 22 August 1485.
Rumour, opinion, and criticismPageant and spectacle
14th May 1491
Rumour investigation of 1491
Open criticism of the former king remained contentious in York. An argument recorded on 14 May 1491 saw John Payntour accuse schoolmaster William Burton of calling Richard a hypocrite and crookback who had been buried like a dog in a ditch.

Theme articles

Authority in the North
Authority in the NorthAuthority in the North
In the time Richard spent in the north during his youth, he forged some close connections with members of the northern elite. However, he still had a considerable amount of work to do to extend his authority and security in the north as he entered adulthood.
Conspicuous piety
Conspicuous pietyConspicuous piety
Medieval monarchs were eager to be seen as pious and Richard III was no exception. Public worship and the endowment of religious institutions were the key ways in which this royal piety was expressed.
Gifts and reward
Gifts and rewardGifts and reward
The relationship between a monarch and his cities was enacted through the giving of gifts. Citizens contributed money towards presents as a way of persuading a local lord to act in their favour, or in gratitude for doing so. As a key noble figure in the north during the 1470s and later as king, Richard received numerous gifts from the citizens of York.
Pageant and spectacle
Pageant and spectaclePageant and spectacle
Richard spent three weeks in the city of York in August/September 1483 - a stay filled with welcoming speeches, pageants, gift-giving and feasting. The centrepiece of the royal visit was the investiture of his son as Prince of Wales, a lavish event that highlighted the importance of York to the king as well as his son's position in the north.
Rumour, opinion, and criticism
Rumour, opinion, and criticismRumour, opinion, and criticism
Richard III's death at the battle of Bosworth was noted by York's civic leaders with great sorrow. The city had nurtured a fruitful relationship with the king, welcoming him in splendid style, providing military support and receiving rewards in return. Yet his popularity across the wider city was ambiguous and glimpses of local views in the civic records highlight that opinion was divided.
Richard III's reign was established, protected and defended with the help of military backing from York and Yorkshire. The supply of fighting men was a critical aspect of Richard's relationship with the county, both as duke of Gloucester and as monarch.