Social and Economic

Commission of oyer and terminer held at Pontefract Castle

Commission of oyer and terminer held at Pontefract Castle

On 21st September 1474 Richard Duke of Gloucester, acting to impose and preserve his control of the region, opened a commission of oyer and terminer. The commission, which lasted until 25th September 1474, was intended to bring a peaceful solution to a feud. Two of the north’s most powerful lords, Sir John Saville, and Sir John Pilkington had become embroiled in a bitter feud. It had become violent and was threatening the stability of the north.

Limited impact of the hearing?

Richard’s intervention had limited impact, clashes continued until the death of Sir John Pilkington in 1479.

It is often said that the north was stable and peaceful under the lordship of Richard. Whilst administratively it was much better managed, and the great northern magnates remained at peace with one another, that was not always the case within the lower nobility and gentry.

Problems in the North

The Ducal Council was also asked to intervene in a dispute between Gerald Salvin of Croxdale and Thomas Fishburn. Additionally, arbitration was needed to settle matters between Richard Clervaux and Roland Place. The chief difference between Richard Duke of Gloucester’s tenure as ‘Lord of the North’ and earlier means of dealing with problems was that the issues could be, and were, dealt with at an early stage. This limited the risk of the great magnates being drawn into feuds and, whilst not perfect, improved the prospects of peace and prosperity in the region.

Links on Richard duke of Gloucester and the North

To what extent did Richard III’s reputation differ in the North from that elsewhere? From one of my other websites.


Richard, Duke of Gloucester and the North. Demilitari. Article by Michael Hicks.

Northern properties and influence. Richard III, Rumour and Reality.

The Council of the North. Richard III, Rumour and Reality.

An Indenture between Richard Duke of Gloucester and the Scrope Family of Masham and Upsall
Lorraine C. Attreed

Lord of the North. Murray and Blue.

Image Credit

Alexander Keirincx: View of Pontefract Castle circa 1640-1641. Via Wikpedia.


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