John of Pontefract (or Gloucester)

John of Pontefract, the illegitimate son of Richard III was appointed as Captain of Calais on 11th March 1485.

Pontedract Castle
Pontefract Castle

Richard III had two illegitimate children, both born before he married Anne Neville. Little is known about the mother of John, other than him being referred to as “John le Pountfreit Bastard” on documents relating to his appointment as Captain of Calais.

It is thought that John was aged 17 when this appointment was made. Records show that he had all of the powers usually associated with the position, except for the ability to make appointments. That right was to be granted upon his 21st birthday. John was not in the role for long. His father’s death at Bosworth and the beginning of the Tudor Age led to him being replaced.

He did not participate in any of the Yorkist rebellions though and Henry Tudor granted him an annuity. John fades from the record book except within the confession of Perkin Warbeck which says that the King has John in custody. It is not known when, or how, John died though there is a suggestion he was privately executed to stop him being used as a figurehead by rebels.

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