Richard Duke of York was appointed Lieutenant of Ireland on 30 July 1447. The position provided for the duke to rule in the king’s stead in the English controlled parts of Ireland. Whilst a Lieutenancy is a senior position, this appointment is viewed as a snub of the duke of York, as it saw him removed from the more important Lieutenancy of France. The reasons for the switch have been debated by historians, with the duke’s opposition to the actions of other lords and key position holders seen as being motive enough to remove him to the posting in Dublin.
When Richard returned to England to answer a summons to Parliament, it is quite probable that he expected to be reappointed to the position of Lieutenant of France. Government there continued in his name, and, in England, he contributed to discussions about policy in France.
Much of his time was taken up addressing the finances of France and Normandy. Ostensibly at least, he was preparing for the proposed visit of Henry VI to his French lands. He also faced criticism from Adam Moleyns, the Keeper of the Privy Seal, a dispute that saw the Duke of York vindicated, though his reputation harmed.
The appointment to the Lieutenancy of Ireland was made on 30 July 1447. On the face of it, his selection was sound. Trouble had flared up between the Talbot and Ormond families, and a man of Richard’s stature would be ideally suited to addressing this issue and regaining lands from the Gaelic Irish.
The appointment suited Richard’s political opponents too. His ten-year appointment removed from London one of the most vehement opponents of the Duke of Suffolk’s policies.
Public opinion at the time certainly saw the appointment as a means of getting Richard out of the way:
“exsylde into Irlonde foe hys rebellyon as thoo a boute the kynge informde hym” Gregory’s Chronicle
“banished for certain years” Benet’s Chronicle