Richard De La POLE

(5th E. Suffolk)

Died: 24 Feb 1524, battle of Pavia, Duchy of Milan

Buried: St. Augustine, Pavia, Duchy of Milan

Notes: The Complete Peerage vol.XIIp1,p.453-454.

Father: John De La POLE (2 D. Suffolk)

Mother: Elizabeth PLANTAGENET (D. Suffolk)

Asociated with: ?


1. Marguerite De La POLE

Fifth son of John De La Pole, 2nd duke of Suffolk (1442-1491), and Elizabeth Plantagenet, second daughter of Richard, duke of York, and Cecily Neville. She was also a younger sister of Edward IV. His eldest brother John De La Pole, Earl of Lincoln (c. 1464-1487), is said to have been named heir to the throne by his uncle Richard III, who gave him a pension and the reversion of the estates of Margaret Beaufort. On the accession of Henry VII, however, Lincoln took the oath of allegiance instead of claiming the throne for himself, but in 1487 he joined the rebellion of Lambert Simnel, and was killed at the battle of Stoke.

The second brother Edmund (c. 1472-1513), succeeded his father as third Duke of Suffolk while still in his minority. His estates suffered under the attainder of his brother, and he was compelled to pay large sums to Henry VII for the recovery of part of the forfeited lands, and also to exchange his title of duke for that of earl. In 1501 he sought Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, Tirol, and received from him a promise of substantial assistance in case of an attempt on the English crown. In consequence of these treasonable proceedings Henry seized his brother William De La Pole, with four other Yorkist noblemen. Two of them, Sir James Tyrell and Sir John Wyndham, were executed, William De La Pole was imprisoned and Suffolk outlawed. Then in Jul 1502 Henry concluded a treaty with Maximilian by which the king bound himself not to countenance English rebels. Presently Suffolk fell into the hands of Phillip, King of Castile, who imprisoned him at Namur, and in 1506 surrendered him to Henry VII on condition that his life was spared. He remained a prisoner until 1513, when he was beheaded at the time his brother Richard took up arms with the French king.

Richard De La Pole joined Edmund abroad in 1504, and remained at Aix-la-Chapelle as surety for his elder brother's debts. The creditors threatened to surrender him to Henry VII, but, more fortunate than his brother, he found a safe refuge at Buda with King Ladislas VI of Hungary. He was excepted from the general pardon proclaimed at the accession of Henry VIII. He became allied with Louis XII of France in the War of the League of Cambrai. Louis XII saw him as a more favourable ally and prospect for an English king than Henry VIII and when France went to war with England in 1512 he recognized Pole's pretensions to the English crown, and gave him a command in the French army. In 1513, after the execution of Edmund, he assumed the title of earl of Suffolk. 

During 1514, the stage was set for a Yorkist reclaiming of England under Richard. In 1514 he was given 12,000 German mercenaries ostensibly for the defence of Brittany, but really for an invasion of England. These he led to St Malo, but the conclusion of peace with England prevented their embarcation. Pole was required to leave France, and he established himself at Metz, in Lorraine, and built a palace at La Haute Pierre, near St Simphorien.

While at Metz, he was visited by Pierre Alamire, the German-Netherlandish composer and music copyist, as a spy for Henry VIII. However De La Pole employed Alamire as a counter-spy against Henry, and Alamire, on being suspected of unreliability by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey and Henry, never returned to England.

He had numerous interviews with Francois I, and in 1523 he was permitted, in concert with John Stewart, second Duke of Albany, the Scottish regent, to arrange an invasion of England, which was never carried out. He was with Francois I at Pavia and was killed on the field on 24 of Feb 1525.

Richard de la Pole was never known to have married, but he is known to have had a daughter by a mistress whose name is unknown. His daughter, Marguerite De La Pole, was lady of honour of the Queen of Navarre.

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