City of York records dated 5 April 1485 show Royal Proclamations were made forbidding seditious talk suggesting that the King had poisoned his Queen, Anne Neville, to facilitate a marriage to his niece. Any sedition would be punishable by the civic authorities.
Proclamation forbidding sedition
“‘And where it is soo that diverse sedicious and evil disposed personnes both in our citie of London and elleswher within this our realme, enforce themself daily to sowe sede of noise and disclaundre agaynest our persone… to abuse the multitude of our subgiettes and averte ther myndes from us, if they coude by any meane atteyne to that ther mischevous entent and purpose, some by setting up of billes, some by messages and sending furth of false and abhominable langage and lyes, some by bold and presumptuos opne spech and communicacion oon with othre, wherthurgh the innocent people whiche wold live in rest and peas and truly undre our obbeissance, as they oght to doo, bene gretely abused and oft tymes put in daungier of ther lives, landes and goodes… fromhensfurth as oft as they [all officers and loyal subjects] find any persone speking of us… othrewise than is according to honour, trouth and the peas and ristfulness of this our realme… they take and arrest the same person… [or] answere unto us at your extreme perill.'”York House Book vol 1. p359-60
Rumour of Anne Neville being poisoned
A rumour was spreadjng that Queen Anne had been poisoned. It was, so went the rumour, to allow the King to marry his niece, Elizabeth of York. The origin of such tales is unknown, but they had a severe effect. So much so that Royal Proclamations were issued concerning such seditious talk.
Richard III denies rumours
On 30 March, Richard III had felt obliged to vehemently deny the rumours at a meeting of London Councillors. The sheriff had then been ordered to arrest those found to be spreading the rumour. It did not stop the gossip though, and a subsequent order had to be made in the City of York, a place where Richard was held in high regard.
Rumours, opinion, criticisms. From the Richard III Society.