This Day in History: 1450-12-14

On 14th December 1450, Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal, and his brother-in-law Bishop Bourchier were appointed by Henry VI to lead a commission of oyer and terminer (judges of assize inquiring into all treasons, felonies and misdemeanours in specified counties) in Kent and Sussex. This year had seen two revolts (by Thomas Cheyne and Jack Cade) by these communities and Henry VI was anxious to identify the agitators and mete out punishment. This astute move by the king placed York in an invidious position as his failure to fulfil the role would undermine him at court but exacting the full force of the law against riotous perpetrators would lose York significant support in areas which had called for him to be more fully involved in state affairs.