RICHARD OF YORK, 3rd Duke of York (1411-1460). Document signed (at foot 'R. York'), Denbigh Castle, 6 June 1449, a release and quitclaim for the manors of Crissege [i.e. Cressage] in Shropshire and Areley [Arley] in Staffordshire [now in Worcestershire], for which he had previously made a deed of feoffment to Ralph, [3rd Baron] Cromwell, Sir William Oldhall, William Boerley and his wife Margaret, in English on vellum, seven lines on one membrane, 115 x 430mm (light spotting), substantial fragment of seal on red wax, approx 35 x 52mm, pendant on vellum tag, framed and glazed.
Immediately before his departure to take up his post of lord-lieutenant of Ireland, the future Yorkist claimant to the throne strengthens his ties with a group of close retainers. Richard had been appointed to the position in July 1447; his much-delayed departure, in June 1449, may have been prompted by a desire to distance himself from the crises affecting the court of Henry VI, just as his dramatic return, in open rebellion, in September 1450, reflected a desire to impose his own solutions to those troubles. He was to be the most important political force in England for the remainder of his life, although his ambitions of kingship were ultimately fulfilled only through his sons, the future Edward IV and Richard III. Ralph, 3rd Baron Cromwell (1393?-1456), had fought at Agincourt, and was Treasurer of England from 1433-1443; in eclipse after his loss of this office and the decline of his patron, Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, Cromwell had been moving to attach himself to Richard of York during the 1440s. Sir William Oldhall (d.1460), a prominent participant in the French campaigns of the early 15th Century, became an advisor to Richard in France in 1441, and by 1445 was his chamberlain and overseer of his lands in Normandy, later becoming Speaker of the House of Commons through his influence; he is thought to have crossed to Ireland with the Duke in June 1449, and so may well have been with him at the issuing of this document.
A related grant by Richard of the manors of Cressage and Arley dated 20 December 1448 was sold at Christie's New York, 24 April 2001, The Helmut Friedlaender Library, part II, lot 231.