This Day in History: 1460-10-16

On the 16th October 1460, George Neville, as Lord Chancellor, presented a document to Parliament that detailed Richard Duke of York’s claim to be the rightful King of England. Richard – owner of Sandal Castle – did not make the mainstay of his assertion that he was descended from Edmund, Duke of York, the fourth son of Edward III, but that the lineage derived from his mother – Anne Mortimer – linked him directly to Lionel of Antwerp, Edward III’s second son. Henry he stated was descended from John of Gaunt, Edward’s third son. Therefore his claim was better, and he had been deprived of his birthright by Henry VI and the actions of his usurping grandfather, Henry IV. Salic law prevented a claim via a female line in France, but no such law existed in England. Indeed their was a precedent to Richard’s claim, in that Henry I had named his daughter Matilda as his heir following the death of his only son, although her cousin Stephen would beat her to the crown. Parliament was in a panic and Henry VI seemed to casually pass the buck back to the Lords, almost as ifs he didn’t care or no longer wanted to continue as king. The matter would be resolved by the Act of Accord issued on 25th October 1460.