The book Kendall could write today (1) – Elizabeth of York

Paul Murray Kendall (1911-73) was a Professor of English, famous for writing three landmark historical biographies. Apart from “Warwick the Kingmaker” and “Louis XI”, his “Richard III” was published in 1955. Scientific and historical records are always developing and thus Kendall had the advantage of knowing things that Markham could not, just as Markham knew more than Halstead, Halstead more than Walpole, Walpole more than Buck and Buck more than Stow.
In nearly sixty years since Kendall’s first great tome arrived, things are even more clear. Were he writing towards a 2015 deadline instead, there are things he would know now.

Thanks to Barrie Williams in two issues of the 1983 Ricardian (, the Portuguese records have proven Richard’s plans,  being negotiated by proxy just two weeks after his Queen’s death, to marry Juana of Portugal, whilst her cousin Manuel of Beja was to become the husband of Elizabeth of York – a plan only scotched by the French invasion. Kendall (pp.393-5), faced with the ridiculous myth that Richard wished to marry his own niece, had no evidence save his own logic – that the case he was combating, written by “Tudor”‘s paid liars, had no evidence shows the degree to which the Cairo dwellers themselves to have inverted the burden of proof. We can be quite sure that copies of these documents were available in Richard’s own records during spring and summer 1485, before the Human Shredder could lay his hands on them.

Not least among the Cairo dwellers on this point is Hicks, whose biographies of, inter alia, Richard (2000) and Anne (2006) repeat the discredited myth despite post-dating Williams by two decades, freely using terms like “incest” and “paedophilia” although contrary evidence is once again available.

The publication years of Hicks’ opi – almost all after 1983:

By super blue

Grandson of a Town player.


  1. Kendall would indeed have a field day with all the ‘new’ knowledge we have now. But even if he found a signed, sealed document that revealed Richard’s every thought and deed, and had his fingerprints all over it, together with his DNA and “In his own write” stamped on the back, certain Cairo Dwellers would scoff. Kendall could blast it across the kingdom from the top of the Tower, and they’d still cling to the same old record groove.

    The fact is that they do not WANT to know the truth about Richard, only their preconceived, fabricated version of it, and in that they are truly Henry VII’s creatures. But Kendall is still read and still rated near the top. I am certain he is more widely appreciated and believed than the archaic reed boat desperadoes who persist in rowing up de Nile without a paddle. With luck the reed boat will become waterlogged and then disintegrate.

    I’ll chuck a few lotus flowers in to pacify Osiris for having to put up with them. We don’t want them coming back here!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I still recommend Kendall as a good biography of Richard III, as it covers his whole life. People often point out he is an English professor, as though that were some sort of disqualification for him to write on matters of history. The study of English (or any country’s) literature is very similar to the methodology of history. Original texts are preferred over translations or someone else’s gloss or paraphrase. Reading Chaucer in its original Middle English language was, for example, required in my English degree program. And an English student must also examine the author’s biases and experiences, and weigh his/her output in that light. But what is most important is *critical thinking* and sometimes that can be as easily missing in a history professor’s as an English professor’s.

    Now, frequently, the charge leveled at Kendall is that he sometimes goes into flights of narrative that make it seem like he is elaborating or speculating just for the sheer pleasure of creating a dramatic scene. However, I’ve read countless biographies from academic historians, and they do the same. They work with Facts A, B, and C, but fill in details based on their “flights of speculation” too. If this was not the case, then the only purpose of a historian would be to bring original sources to light, and leave them for the public to read. But they *always* go further than that, and insert their own little speculations and interpretations.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m heartened by Professor Kendall’s being a countryman of mine. America comes to Richard’s aid, just as Brent Carradine did in *The Daughter of Time*. (I wonder if Miss Mackintosh knew Kendall? Her last years conicided with the time Kendall was in England doing his research.)


  3. I should like to reiterate that Dr Arthur Kincaid first published details of the Portuguese marriage plans in his 1979 edition of Sir George Buc(k)’s 1619 defence of Richard, ‘The History of King Richard the Third’. It’s not always ‘The Ricardian’ that introduces historical facts to English-speaking readers. I’d also like to add that this week I am starting work on the publication of Arthur’s revised and updated edition of the same work, which should be in print by the end of this year. Arthur’s historical notes are worth the price of admission alone, including his revised/illustrated/expanded reading of Elizabeth of York’s famous letter. More news coming soon!


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: