Landais, Pierre

(d. 1485)
   Pierre Landais, treasurer of BRITTANY under Duke FRANCIS II, several times played a key role in Yorkist efforts to obtain custody of Henry Tudor, earl of Richmond (see Henry VII, King of England), the surviving Lancastrian heir. The first episode occurred in November 1476, five years after EDWARD IV’s restoration had sent Richmond and his uncle, Jasper TUDOR, earl of Pembroke, into exile in Brittany (see Edward IV, Restoration of). The duke surrendered Richmond to a delegation of English envoys, who had convinced Francis that the king intended to treat Richmond honorably and to marry the earl to his eldest daughter, ELIZABETH OF YORK. Escorted to St. Malo, where a ship waited to carry him to England, Richmond became or pretended to be ill, thereby delaying the ship’s departure. In the meantime, Francis, remembering his pledge to keep the Tudors safe, and pressured by advisors sympathetic to Richmond, who told him that the earl’s reception in England was likely to be much different than represented, dispatched Landais to St. Malo, where he argued with the ambassadors while Richmond slipped into SANCTUARY in a local church. The townsmen, horrified by the English willingness to violate sanctuary, prevented Richmond from being seized and he was soon able to return safely to the Breton COURT with Landais.
   In 1483, Landais’s assistance made possible Richmond’s descent on England in support of BUCKINGHAM’S REBELLION. Landais persuaded Francis to give Richmond ships, men, and money. He also convinced CHARLES VIII of FRANCE, who was seeking to make a friend of the powerful treasurer, to allow Henry to return safely to Brittany through Normandy after the failure of the enterprise. In 1484, Francis fell ill, and Landais had virtual charge of the Breton government. Embroiled in a bitter political struggle with a rival faction of the Breton nobility, and faced with a growing French desire to absorb Brittany, Landais believed that his survival and that of the duchy depended on the friendship of England. He therefore concluded an agreement with William CATESBY, RICHARD III’s representative, to surrender Richmond in return for an assurance of Richard’s protection. The plan miscarried when Bishop John MORTON learned of it from Breton agents in LONDON and dispatched Christopher URSWICK to warn Richmond, who promptly fled into France with his uncle Pembroke and a small band of supporters. Hearing of Richmond’s flight, Landais sent men to recapture the earl, who crossed the frontier less than an hour before his pursuers reached it. Landais’s actions so angered Duke Francis that he generously allowed the more than 400 English exiles left behind by Richmond to rejoin the earl in France. Because Landais had cost Brittany its most valuable device for ensuring English aid against France, the treasurer lost the support of the duke and fell from power in 1485. Having made many political enemies, Landais was hung from the walls of Nantes on 19 July.
   Further Reading: Griffiths, Ralph A., and Roger S. Thomas, The Making of the Tudor Dynasty (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1985); Jones, Michael, The Creation of Brittany: A Late Medieval State (London: Hambledon, 1988).

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

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