This Day in History: 1474-09-21

On 21st September 1474, Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III), opened a commission of oyer and terminer (judges of assize inquiring into all treasons, felonies and misdemeanours in specified counties) at Pontefract Castle. The commission, lasting until the 25th of the month, was intended to resolve peacefully a bitter dispute between two of the North’s most powerful lords, Sir John Savile and Sir John Pilkington but, unfortunately, clashes continued until Pilkington’s death in 1479. Richard’s unsuccessful intervention in this case was, nevertheless, indicative of his overall ‘calming’ influence during his tenure as ‘Lord of the North’ which improved the prospects of peace and prosperity in the region.