Bibliography for Further Reading

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Pollard’s Choice: “Further Reading” Section
from Richard III and the Princes and the Tower

(Copyright © 1991, A.J. Pollard: used with permission)

This bibliography is intended as a guide to further reading, chapter by chapter and topic by topic. It is not comprehensive; indeed it is highly selective. It concentrates on the more scholarly recent works which support and amplify the main text. It is hoped that it also provides enough information to enable the reader to take up and pursue aspects of the subject which have not been fully developed.

All works are published in London unless otherwise specified.


There are several surveys of late fifteenth-century English history available. Up-to-date and sound introductions are to be found in C. S. L. Davies, Peace, Print and Protestantism, 1450-1558 (1976); Anthony Goodman, The Wars of the Roses: Military Activity and English Society, 1452-97 (1981), which, as its title indicates, concentrates on the fighting itself, J. R. Lander, Government and Community: England, 1450-1509 (1980); A. J. Pollard, The Wars of the Roses (1988); and Charles Ross,The Wars of the Roses (1976). The principal modern academic monographs on Richard III are Charles Ross, Richard III (1981), which provides an excellent summation of research at that time, and Rosemary Horrox, Richard III: a Study of Service (Cambridge, 1989), which is founded on new research into politics and patronage. These works can be supplemented by the essays published in P. W. Hammond (ed.), Richard III: Loyalty, Lordship and Law (1986) and Rosemary Horrox (ed.), Richard III and the North(Hull, 1986). More popular works marking quincentenaries to note are Giles St Aubyn, The Year of the Three Kings (1983) and Michael Bennett, The Battle of Bosworth(Gloucester, 1985). Any reader wishing to explore many of the byways, as well as the main highways, of the subject of Richard III should consult The Ricardian, the journal of the Richard III Society, now with over 100 issues to its credit. A selection of articles published between 1975 and 1981 is to be found in J. Petre (ed.), Richard III: Crown and People (1985). R. Edwards, The Itinerary of Richard III (1983) usefully enables one to follow Richard’s movements as king; a companion volume for his years as duke of Gloucester is in preparation.

The principal printed sources are listed above under ‘Sources.’ They can be supplemented by A. F. Sutton and P. W. Hammond (ed.), The Coronation of Richard III: the Extant Documents (Gloucester, 1983); by A. F. Sutton and L. Visser-Fuchs, The Hours of Richard III (Stroud, 1990); and shortly by a new edition of the York House Books edited by Lorraine Attreed to be published by the Richard III and Yorkist History Trust.

Selections from the sources are to be found in K. Dockray, Richard III: a Reader in History (Gloucester, 1988); J. R. Lander, The Wars of the Roses (2nd edn., Gloucester, 1990); P. W. Hammond and A. F. Sutton (ed.), The Road to Bosworth Field (1985); Pamela Tudor-Craig, Richard III (National Portrait Gallery, 2nd edn., 1977). The last is a catalogue of an exhibition mounted in 1973 which also contains a detailed discussion of the surviving portraits.



Analysis and discussion of the quality and reliability of the sources and of the early histories are to be found in G. B. Churchill, Richard III up to Shakespeare (Berlin, 1900; reprint Gloucester, 1976); Antonia Gransden, Historical Writing in England: vol. 2, c. 1307 to the Early Sixteenth Century (1982); Alison Hanham, Richard III and His Early Historians, 1483-1535 (Oxford, 1975); Jeremy Potter, Good King Richard? An Account of Richard III and his Reputation, 1483-1983 (1983); A.R. Myers, ‘Richard III and Historical Tradition’, History, XIII (1968); and Ross, Richard III, ‘Introduction, The Historical Reputation of Richard III: Fact and Fiction’. For further discussion of the date and authorship of the Crowland Chronicle see the introduction to Pronay and Cox, Crowland Chronicle Continuations and the references therein; Daniel Williams, ‘The Crowland Chronicle, 616-1500’, in Daniel Williams (ed.), England in the FifteentCentury (Woodbridge, 1987), pp. 371-90; and the debate in The Ricardian, VII, No. 99 (December 1987). For More’s History see also the introduction by R. S. Sylvester to The History of Richard III, volume 2 of the Yale edition of the works of Sir Thomas More(Newhaven, 1963) and Alistair Fox, Thomas More: History and Providence (1982).

The pioneering discussion of Shakespeare’s vision of history was E. M. W. Tillyard, Shakespeare’s History Plays (1944). This should be supplemented by R. H. Wells,Shakespeare, Politics and the State (1986) and John Wilders, The Lost Garden: a View of Shakespeare’s English and Roman History Plays (1978). For the text and critical discussion of Richard III see the Arden edition, ed. Arthur Hammond (1981). Two recent explorations of the play in performance are J. Hanken (ed.), Plays in Performance: Richard III ( 1981) and R. C. Hassel, Songs of Death: Performance, Interpretation and the Text of ‘King Richard III’ (Nebraska, 1987).


Besides the general works cited above, for mid-fifteenth-century government, politics and society see A. L. Brown, The Governance of Late Medieval England, 1272-1461(1989); Chris Given-Wilson, The English Nobility in the Late Middle Ages (1987); J. R. Lander, The Limitations of English Monarchy in the Later Middle Ages (Toronto, 1989); K. B. McFarlane, The Nobility of Later Medieval England (Oxford, 1973); D. A. L. Morgan, ‘The King’s Affinity in the Polity of Yorkist England’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, fifth series, XXIII (1973); T. B. Pugh, ‘The Magnates, Knights and Gentry’, in S. B. Chrimes et al (eds.) Fifteenth-Century England, 1399-1509(Manchester, 1972).

York’s career and the politics of the 1450s are to be followed in R. A. Griffiths, The Reign of King Henry VI: the Exercise of Royal Authority, 1422-61 (1981), pp. 666-771 and P. A. Johnson, Duke Richard of York 1411-1460 (Oxford, 1988). For York’s claim to the throne see R. A. Griffiths, ‘The Sense of Dynasty in the Reign of Henry VI,’ in C. D. Ross (ed.), Patronage, Pedigree and Power in the Later Medieval England (Gloucester, 1979) and T. B. Pugh, Henry V and the Southampton Plot (Gloucester, 1988), pp. 134-5. The most complete documentation concerning Richard III’s boyhood is to be found in M. A. Hicks, False Fleeting Perjur’d Clarence (Gloucester, 1980), pp. 15-26 and A. F. Sutton, ‘And to be Delivered to the Lord Richard, Duke of Gloucester, the other Brother…’, The Ricardian, VIII ( 1988).

Warwick the Kingmaker and the Nevilles have been studied in R.L. Storey, The End of the House of ‘Lancaster (1966); R. A. Griffiths, ‘Local Rivalries and Northern Politics: the Percies, the Nevilles and the Duke of Exeter, 1452-55’, Speculum, XLIII (1968); C. D. Ross, Edward IV (1974); and, most recently, A. J. Pollard, North-Eastern England during the Wars of the Roses: Lay Society, War and Politics, 1450-1500 (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1990), chapters 10-12. The crisis of 1469-71 is elucidated in Ross,Edward IV, chapter 7. His account can be supplemented by Hicks, Clarence, chapter 2; A. J. Pollard, ‘Lord FitzHugh’s Rising in 1470’, Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, LII (1979); and P. W. Hammond, The Battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury (Gloucester, 1990).

Hammond, Barnet and Tewkesbury, now provides in Appendix 2 the most comprehensive discussion of the death of Edward of Lancaster. For the death of Henry VI see W.J. White, ‘The Death and Burial of Henry VI, The Ricardian, VI (1982).


For northern England see R. L. Storey, ‘The North of England’, in Chrimes (ed.), Fifteenth-Century England and, for a fuller discussion (and slightly different view), Pollard,North-Eastern England, Part I and Conclusion. The authoritative statement on the settlement of the Neville inheritance is M. A. Hicks, ‘Descent, Partition and Extinction; the Warwick Inheritance’, Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, LII (1979). This is supplemented by the same author’s Richard III as Duke of Gloucester: A Study in Character (Borthwick Paper, No. 70, York, 1986). I differ from Dr Hicks in my interpretation as to why Richard was left with a flawed title to his Neville estates. For Richard’s treatment of the Countess of Oxford see Hicks, ‘The Last Days of the Countess of Oxford’, EHR, CII (1988).

Full details of Richard’s retainers in the north can be garnered from Keith Dockray, ‘Richard III and the Yorkshire Gentry’, in Hammond (ed.), Loyalty, Lordship and Law, pp. 28-57; Horrox, Richard III, chapter 1 and Richard III and the North, pp. 82-107; A. J. Pollard, The Middleham Connection: Richard III and Richmondshire, 1471-1485(Middleham, 1983) and North-Eastern England, chapters 7 and 13; and Ross, Richard III, pp. 47-55. His relationships with the principal peers in the north are discussed by M. A. Hicks, ‘Dynastic Change and Northern Society: the Career of the Fourth Earl of Northumberland, 1470-89’, Northern History, XIV (1978); Michael K. Jones, ‘Richard III and the Stanleys’ in Horrox (ed.), Richard III and the North; and A. J. Pollard, ‘St Cuthbert and the Hog: Richard III and the County Palatine of Durham, 1471-85’, in R. A. Griffiths and James Sherborne (eds.), Kings and Nobles in the Later Middle Ages: a Tribute to Charles Ross (Gloucester, 1986), pp. 109-29.

Richard III’s relationship with the city of York is explored in Edward Miller, ‘Medieval York’, in P. M. Tillott (ed.), The Victoria County History of Yorkshire: the City of York(1961) and D. M. Palliser, ‘Richard III and York’, in Horrox (ed.), Richard III and the North. L. C. Attreed, ‘The King’s Interest: York’s Fee Farm and the Central Government’, Northern History, XVII (1981) concentrates on one particular cause in which Richard supported the city. His relationship with the clerical establishment is discussed by R. B. Dobson, ‘Richard III and the Church of York’, in Griffiths and Sherborne (eds.), Kings and Nobles, pp. 130-54. For Richard and Durham Priory see Mary O’Regan, ‘Richard III and the Monks of Durham’, The Ricardian, IV (1978) and Pollard, ‘St Cuthbert and the Hog’.

Anglo-Scottish relations and the war of 1480-84 are most fully considered in Norman Macdougall, James III: a Political Study (Edinburgh, 1982). The English perspective is explored in Pollard, North-Eastern England, chapter 9. Hicks, Clarence and Ross, Edward IV, discuss fully the ambiguities of Richard’s relationship with his brother George and his role in 1478. Doctors Hicks and Horrox have slightly differing views on the relationship between Edward IV and Richard, for which see Horrox (ed.), Richard III and the North, pp. 1-26. For the Woodvilles see M. A. Hicks, ‘The Changing Role of Wydevilles in Yorkist Politics to 1483’, in Ross, Patronage, Pedigree and Power; Horrox,Richard III, pp. 121-7; and D. E. Lowe, ‘Patronage and Politics: Edward IV, the Wydevilles and the Council of the Prince of Wales, 1471-83’, Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies, XXIX (1980-2).


The outline of events can be fleshed out in almost any account. Ross, Edward IV, is harder on Edward in holding him responsible for what followed after his death than Horrox,Richard III. Colin Richmond, ‘1485 and All That, or What Was Really Going on at the Battle of Bosworth’, in Hammond (ed.), Loyalty, Lordship, and Law takes the case against Edward further. Both Horrox and Ross, Richard III favour the conspiratorial interpretation of Richard’s seizure of power. Charles T. Wood, Joan of Arc and Richard III: Sex, Saints and Government in the Middle Ages (Oxford, 1988), chapters 8 and 9 and ‘Richard III, William, Lord Hastings and Friday the Thirteenth’, in Griffiths and Sherborne (eds.), Kings and Nobles, pp. 155-68, tend to favour the ‘cock-up’ theory of history. My wife’s view might be characterized as that of a cocked-up conspiracy. Recent discussion of the events has been befuddled by the debate over the date of Hastings’ execution launched by Alison Hanham in ‘Richard III, Lord Hastings and the Historians’, EHR, LXXXVII (1972), finally brought to an end by C.H.D. Coleman, ‘The Execution of Lord Hastings’, Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, LIII (1980) which demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that he did indeed die on 13 June.

The theological complexities of Richard’s case that his nephews were bastards are skilfully delineated by R. H. Helmholz, ‘The Sons of Edward IV: A Canonical Assessment of the Claim that they were Illegitimate’, in Hammond (ed.), Loyalty. Lordship and Law, pp. 91-103. This authoritative essay supersedes Mortimer Levine, ‘Richard III: Usurper or Lawful King’, Speculum, XXXIV (1959).

Richard’s reception in York at the end of the royal progress is described by Pamela Tudor-Craig, ‘Richard III’s Triumphant Entry into York’, in Horrox (ed.), Richard III and the North and the ecclesiastical welcome discussed by Dobson, ‘Richard III and the Church of York’. The account of the October rebellions in Horrox, Richard III replaces the reconstruction by A. E. Conway, ‘The Maidstone Sector of Buckingham’s Rebellion, October 18th, 1483’, Archaeologia Cantiana, XXXVII (1925) on which all previous discussions were based. Horrox’s interpretation is reinforced by I. Arthurson and N. Kingwell, ‘The’Proclamation of Henry Tudor as King of England, 3 November, 1483’,Historical Research, LXIII (1990). For the suggestion that Buckingham did indeed aim for the throne see Carole Rawcliffe, The Staffords, Earls of Stafford and Dukes of Buckingham, 1394-1521 (Cambridge, 1978), pp. 30-5. For participation of Henry Tudor see S. B. Chrimes, Henry VII (1972) and R. A. Griffiths and R. S. Thomas, The Making of the Tudor Dynasty (Gloucester, 1985).


The best point of departure now is P. W. Hammond and W. J. White, ‘The Sons of Edward IV: A Re-examination of the Evidence on their Deaths and on the Bones in Westminster Abbey’, in Hammond (ed.), Loyalty, Lordship and Law, pp. 104-47, superseding P. M. Kendall, Richard III (1955), Appendix 1, ‘Who murdered the “Little Princes” ?’. Helen Maurer, ‘Whodunit: the suspects in the case’, Ricardian Register, XVII (1983), offers a good review of all the alternative murderers. Anne Crawford, ‘John Howard, Duke of Norfolk: a possible murderer of the Princes’, The Ricardian, V (1981) effectively disposes of the idea that Howard was the murderer. Charles T. Wood, ‘Who killed the Little Princes in the Tower?’, Harvard Magazine, LXXX (1978) comes up with Jane Shore as jeu d’esprit. Audrey Williamson, The Mystery of the Princes: an Investigation into a Supposed Murder (Gloucester, 1978) sustains the Markham thesis that the children outlived Richard. Lorraine Attreed, ‘From Pearl Maiden to Tower Princes’, Journal of Medieval History, IX (1983) revalues medieval attitudes to children.

L. E. Tanner and W. Wright., ‘Recent Investigations regarding the Fate of the Princes in the Tower’, Archaeologia, LXXXIV (1934), as their title reveals, prejudged whose bones they were. Subsequent medical opinion of their report is to be found in Kendall, Richard III, pp. 497-8; Ross, Richard III, pp. 233-4; Hammond and White, ‘The Sons of Edward IV’, especially pp. 112-31; and T. Molleson, ‘Anne Mowbray and the Princes in the Tower: a Study in Identity’, The London Archaeologist, V, (1987). A detailed discussion by Helen Maurer of the discovery of the bones in the seventeenth century is to be found in two parts in The Ricardian, IX, 111 (Dec 1990) and 112 (Mar 1991).

After careful consideration I have concluded that the Downham Tablet, which purports to be a last message from the Princes in the Tower, is a forgery. See Colin Richmond, The Penket Papers (Gloucester, 1986), pp. 61-75.


The plantation of the south is discussed by W. E. Hampton, ‘John Hoton of Hunwick and Tudhoe, County Durham’, The Ricardian, VII (1985); Horrox, Richard III, pp. 178-205, emphasizing the household element; Ross, Richard III, pp. 55-9; A. J. Pollard, ‘The Tyranny of Richard Ill’, Journal of Medieval History, III ( 1977) and North-Eastern England, chapter 14. In the same chapter the political purpose of the Council of the North is emphasized. Earlier discussions of the Council, including R. R. Reid, The Kings Council in the North (1921) and Ross, Richard III, pp. 181-3 emphasize its administrative and judicial role. The case for Richard’s good intentions in the administration of justice is put in Anne F. Sutton, ‘The Administration of Justice Whereunto We Be Professed’, The Ricardian, IV (1976). His financial administration is assessed by Horrox, Richard III,pp. 299-309 and B. P. Wolffe, The Royal Demesne in English History (1974), p. 188 ff.

The most detailed development of the thesis that Richard was an enlightened parliamentary legislator is H.G. Hanbury, ‘The Legislation of Richard III’, The American Journal of Legal History, VI (1962). The context of comparative legislation is to be seen in Ross, Edward IV , pp. 341-50, 359-61 and Chrimes, Henry VII, pp. 177-84, 220-3. Parliamentary procedure is explained in R. G. Davies and J. H. Denton, The English Parliament in the Middle Ages (Manchester, 1981), pp. 109-84. For the Speaker, William Catesby, see J. S. Roskell, The Commons and Their Speakers in Parliament (Manchester, 1965), pp. 293-7.

The degree of support enjoyed by Richard is discused by Ross, Richard III; Pugh, ‘Magnates, Knights and Gentry’ and Horrox, Richard III, who stresses the role of the royal household. It is in Horrox too, in chapter 6, that the most detailed discussion of continuing opposition to Richard is to be found. Margaret Beaufort’s role as a conspirator is assessed by Michael K. Jones, ‘Richard III and Lady Margaret Beaufort: A Reassessment’, in Hammond (ed.), Loyalty, Lordship and Law, pp. 25-37. The history of the opposition to exile is to be found in Chrimes, Henry VII and Griffiths and Thomas, Tudor Dynasty. The support given to them by France is demonstrated by A. V. Antonovics, ‘Henry VII, King of England, “By the Grace of Charles VIII of France,”‘ in Griffiths and Sherborne (eds.) Kings and Nobles.

The conduct of Richard’s foreign policy is discussed in detail and found wanting by Ross, Richard III, pp, 191-203. For Scotland, see also Macdougall, James III. The particular importance of relationships with the Papacy is brought out by C. S. L. Davies, ‘Bishop John Morton, the Holy See, and the Accession of Henry VII’, EHR, CII (1987).

The high moral tone of Richard’s propaganda is stressed by Charles Ross in ‘Rumour, Propaganda and Popular Opinion during the Wars of the Roses’, in R. A. Griffiths (ed.), The Crown, Patronage and the Provinces (Gloucester, 1981). The cult of Henry VI is discussed by B. P. Wolffe, Henry VI (1981), pp. 351-8 and Roger Lovatt, ‘A Collector of Apocryphal Anecdotes: John Blacman Revisted,’ in A. J. Pollard (ed.), Property and Politics: Essays in Later Medieval English History (Gloucester, 1984).

Bosworth has been much debated in recent years. The site of the field itself has been a matter of fierce controversy since the publication of the essay by Colin Richmond, ‘The Battle of Bosworth’, History Today, XXXV (August 1985). His suggested resiting of the field was rejected by Daniel Williams in The Ricardian, VII, No. 90 (September 1985). Further discussion is to be found in History Today, XXXV (October 1985) and The Ricardian, VII, No. 92 (March 1986), No. 96 (March 1987), VIII, No. 105 (June 1989). A careful assessment of all the evidence, founded on a thorough knowledge of local topography, is to be found in Peter J. Foss, ‘The Battle of Bosworth: towards a Reassessment’, Midland History, XIII (1988). Almost as divisive has been the question of the extent of Richard’s support on the field. Ross, Richard III, basing his assessment on the ‘Ballad of Bosworth Field’, concluded that there was a high turn-out of peers and gentry on the king’s side. Pugh, ‘Magnate, Knights and Gentry’, supported by Richmond, ‘1485 and All That’, argues that it was low. In the specific case of the earl of Northumberland, Hicks, ‘Dynastic Change’, argues that Richard was betrayed; Horrox, Richard III,follows him in describing the earl’s ‘defection’; Ross, Richard III, suggests that it was impossible for Northumberland to engage. The behaviour of the Stanleys is more clearcut, although their precise dispositions are obscure. For recent consideration of the role of Sir William Stanley see Michael K. Jones, ‘Sir William Stanley of Holt: Politics and Family Allegiance in the Late Fifteenth Century’, Welsh History Review, XIV (1988).

For the debate over parliamentary sovereignty see W. H. Dunham and Charles T. Wood, ‘The Right to Rule in England: Depositions and the Kingdom’s Authority, 1327-1485’,American Historical Review, LXXXI (1976); J. W. McKenna, ‘The myth of Parliamentary Sovereignty in late-medieval England’, EHR, XCIV (1979); and Wood, Joan of Arc and Richard III, pp. 192-9. The latest discussion of Yorkist and early Tudor Monarchy is Anthony Goodman, The New Monarchy, 1471-1534 (Oxford, 1988). The significance of Richard III’s accession for the future development of royal authority in the north is expounded in Pollard, North-Eastern England. For Henry V as hero see G. L. Harriss,Henry V, the Practice of Kingship (Oxford, 1985), to which T. B. Pugh offers a welcome corrective in Henry V and the Southampton Plot, pp. 137-46.


Anne F. Sutton, ‘ “A Curious Searcher for our weal public”: Richard III, Piety, Chivalry and the Concept of the Good Prince’, in Hammond (ed.), Loyalty, Lordship and Law,approaches the question of Richard’s character from a similar standpoint to mine but comes to a different conclusion. Her footnotes supply a comprehensive bibliography. Ross,Richard III, chapter VII is a more conventional, and less friendly, assessment. Hicks, Richard III as Duke of Gloucester endeavours to understand Richard’s personality before 1483 from a register he kept of his grants of land and offices. The conclusion drawn is that he was proud, ambitious, aggressive, acquisitive and utterly self-absorbed. Not everyone would share Dr Hicks’ confidence that the document itself can provide a reliable insight into Richard’s mind.

For the fifteenth-century idea of nobility as well as chivalry itself, Maurice Keen, Chivalry (Newhaven, 1984) provides an excellent introduction. Richard’s books are the subject of detailed analysis in successive editions of The Ricardian by Anne Sutton and Livia Visser-Fuchs since 1986. The most recent general discussion of late-medieval spirituality and piety is to be found in R. N. Swanson, Church and Society in Late Medieval England (Oxford, 1989), chapter 6. Richard’s piety is reviewed in Sutton and Visser-Fuchs,Hours of Richard III, 79-85. For Richard’s patronage of Coverham and the cult of St Ninian see Pollard, North-Eastern England, chapter 7; for the highly plausible suggestion that the foundation in York Minster was intended to provide a mausoleum see Dobson, ‘Richard III and the Church of York’. Kendall, Richard III, recounts with approval Richard’s obsession with sexual morality; Ross, Richard III, more cynically questions his sincerity; Colin Richmond, ‘Religion and the English Gentleman’, in R.B. Dobson (ed.),The Church Politics and Patronage in the Fifteenth Century (Gloucester, 1984), p. 201 comments that to describe Richard as a genuinely pious and religious man is like calling Joseph Stalin a genuinely devout Marxist.

For divisions in York see Hanham, Early Historians, pp. 60-4 and Palliser, ‘Richard III and York’, pp. 62-73. For support for Richard’s cause after Bosworth see Ian Arthurson, ‘A Question of Loyalty’, The Ricardian, VII (1987) and W. E. Hampton, ‘The White Rose under the First Tudors’, ibid.; Keith Dockray, ‘The Political Legacy of Richard III in Northern England’, in Griffiths and Sherborne (eds.), Kings and Nobles, pp. 205-227; and Pollard, North-Eastern England, chapter 15.


The revisionist and Ricardian traditions are traced by Potter in the later chapters of Good King Richard? Buck’s History and Walpole’s Doubts are discussed by their modern editors. Materials for a fuller study of Ricardian novels and other manifestations of Ricardian enthusiasm in the twentieth century exist in the Barton Library, the library of the Richard III Society.

The question of a north-south divide, raised initially in Pollard, ‘Tyranny of Richard Ill’, is discussed more fully in North-Eastern England, chapter 1. See also Frank Musgrove,The North of England: a History from Roman Times to the Present (Oxford, 1990).