This Day in History: 1484-07-24

On 24th July 1484, a memorandum was implemented by Richard III regarding Sandal Castle: ‘That the household begins 24 July 1484 and continues until 29 September 1485 and in as much as this assignment is not payable before the feast of Easter, the King’s grace has assigned £500 (£535,000 today) to be taken from his coffers towards the expenses and wages of the said household, whereof £100 (£107,000 today) is paid to John Downey, the treasurer, by Master Edmund Chadderton at the feast of Saint Lawrence (10 August 1484)…’ An ordinance accompanying these instructions makes for interesting debate and John Fox has surmised that one Item within this ordinance could indicate the survival of Edward IV’s sons, the famed ‘Princes in the Tower’: ‘my lord of Lincoln and my lord Morley be at one breakfast, the children together at one breakfast…’. Lincoln and Morley did not have children and Richard III’s nephew (Edward) and niece (Margaret) by his dead brother, George, should have been named, as also should any of Edward IV’s daughters released from sanctuary to Richard III by their mother, Elizabeth Woodville. Sandal Castle was a secure, comfortable and isolated location within which to house Richard’s nephews away from political intrigue. A further Item within the ordinance stated: ‘That no boys be in the household but such as be admitted by the council..’ leading Fox to suggest possibly that this was to prevent any news of the former Prince of Wales or Duke of York reaching the outside world. Coupled with von Popplau’s comments regarding ‘the king’s children and the sons of princes, which are kept like prisoners’ at nearby Pontefract (see the entry for 1st May 1484), the roles of Sandal and/or Pontefract Castles in tumultuous historical events is ready for even more serious investigation.