This Day in History: 1484-05-01

On 1st May 1484, a German Silesian knight and traveller, Niclas Von Popplau, passed or visited  Pontefract on a visit to King Richard III who was in residence at York. This visit may have been a diplomatic mission on behalf of Maximillian Duke of Burgundy, who was in conflict with the French king Louis XI who also claimed the Burgundian title.  This is a translation of the 15th century text of his visit by Niclas; “Ten miles from Doncaster as we travel towards York, there is a castle. In there the king keeps his treasure and all great gentlemen, also the kings children and the sons of princes, which are kept like prisoners. And the castle is called Pons Fractus as the king himself by the name of Richard King of England …. told me and explained to me. I arrived on the day Phillip and Jacobi, that is the first of May (1484) on Saturday, and graciously granted me audience on the next day.” It is interesting to speculate who the ‘children and sons of princes’ may have been. Much controversy has surrounded the deaths of the two princes in the Tower in 1483, but it worth noting what Popplau then goes on to say; ‘And King Richard who reigns now, had put to death the sons of King Edward, they say, so that not they but he was crowned. But many say (and I count myself amongst them) they still live and are kept in a very dark cellar’. Readers are invited to share their thoughts and comments and any evidence they have on this world – famous ‘murder mystery’, with us via the ‘Contact Us’ button on the right hand side of this page.