POLE, JOHN de la, second Duke of Suffolk (1442–1491), born on 27 Sept. 1442, was only son of William de la Pole, first duke of Suffolk (d. 1450) [q. v.] On 27 Nov. 1445 he was made joint constable of Wallingford and high steward of the honour of St. Valery, offices to which he was reappointed in 1461. In 1455 he was restored by Henry VI to the dukedom of Suffolk. None the less he joined Henry’s Yorkist foes, and married Edward IV’s sister. In February 1461 he was with the army which went under Warwick against Margaret’s northern host, fresh from Wakefield, and he fought at the second battle of St. Albans on 7 Feb. 1461. On 28 June following he was steward of England at the coronation of Edward IV, and two years later he was re-created Duke of Suffolk. In 1463 he was a trier of petitions. He bore the queen’s sceptre at the coronation of Elizabeth Woodville or Wydeville. In his own county, according to a letter from Margaret Paston to her husband, he was far from popular (Paston Letters, ii. 83), but it must be remembered that he was involved in disputes with the Paston family (ib. ii. 203). In the troubles of 1469 and 1470 he took Edward’s side, and appears as a joint commissioner of array for several counties (cf. ib. ii. 413). When Edward was restored Suffolk was made a knight of the Garter (1472). In 1472 he became high steward of Oxford University. When Edward went to France in 1475, Suffolk was a captain in his army, and took some minor part in the negotiations which led to the treaty of Pecquigny. In 1478 he made various exchanges of lands with the king, which were duly confirmed in parliament. From 10 March 1478 to 5 May 1479 he was lieutenant of Ireland; he also held the office of joint high steward of the duchy of Lancaster for the parts of England south of the Trent.
Suffolk had enjoyed many favours from Edward IV, yet on his death he at once offered his support to Richard III. He bore the sceptre and the dove at Richard’s coronation on 7 July 1483. When, however, Richard was dead, Suffolk swore fealty to Henry VII, and was rewarded (19 Sept. 1485) with the constableship of Wallingford, a sole grant, doubtless, instead of a joint grant, such as he had had previously. This, however, he did not keep long, for on 21 Feb. 1488–9 the office was regranted to two more distinguished Lancastrians, Sir William Stonor and Sir Thomas Lovell [q. v.] Suffolk seems to have been trusted by Henry, for, in spite of the defection of his eldest son John, he was a trier of petitions in 1485 and 1487, and chief commissioner of array for Norfolk and Suffolk in 1487. In 1487 he refused to come to a feast of the order of the Garter because Lord Dynham had not made proper provision. Others did the same, and the feast had to be postponed. On 25 Nov. 1487 he bore the queen’s sceptre at the coronation of Elizabeth of York, and on 6 March of the next year he witnessed a charter to her. At the end of 1488 he was commissioned to take muster of archers for the relief of Brittany. In 1489 he had a grant from the king’s wardrobe. He died in 1491. He had married before October 1460 (cf. Paston Letters, i. 521) Elizabeth, second daughter of Richard, duke of York, and sister of Edward IV. By her he had three sons—John, Edmund, and Richard—all separately noticed.[Doyle’s Official Baronage, iii. 438; Burke’s Extinct and Dormant Peerage; Ramsay’s Lancaster and York, ii. 245; Rot. Parl. v. 470 n., vi. 75 n.; Paston Letters, vols. ii. and iii. passim; Materials for the Hist. of Henry VII, ed. Campbell (Rolls Ser.), i. 26, ii. 325, &c.; Grants of Edward V (Camd. Soc.), xxi.; Warkworth’s Chron. (Camd. Soc.), p. 11; Gairdner’s Richard III; Cal. Pat. Rolls Ed. V and Ric. III (Rep. Dep.-Keeper of Public Records).]
Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 46
Pole, John de la (1442-1491) by William Arthur Jobson Archbold