The King Edward IV died on 9 April 1483 and was succeeded by his 12-year-old son Edward. The new king, Edward V, was under the guardianship of his mother's brother, Earl Rivers. As often happened when a king was a minor, rival factions formed rapidly around the new king, each striving for control and suspicious of the others. On 22 June, the day Edward was to be crowned, his parents' marriage was declared illegal and he and his brother deemed illegitimate. His father's brother Richard quickly proclaimed himself king and was crowned on 6 July. The two princes, Edward V and his younger brother, lodged in the Tower of London, were never seen again. Richard III was killed at the battle of Bosworth on 22 August 1485.
The strategic position of the castle and lordship of Conisbrough made it an important place to secure during the fifteenth century Wars of the Roses between the Yorkists and Lancastrians. The estate was already held by Edward IV, as duke of York, when he became king. It then remained in crown ownership until Elizabeth I granted it to a kinsman in 1561.
In 1483 it happened that the manor court met in Conisbrough on 9 April, the day Edward IV died. At the next meeting of the court, 30 April, there appears to have been uncertainty about the kingship: the name of the king and the year of his reign are left blank on the roll for this session. By 28 May certainty has been restored; the date is the first year of Edward V. Interestingly, on 20 June 1483, two days before Edward V was declared illegitimate and had been due to be crowned, the court session is dated the first year of Richard III. Rather than prescience, this probably indicates that the scribe wrote the fair copy some time after the session had been held. Another indication that the Conisbrough rolls in this period were written in fair copy after some delay is the habit of recording the spring court leet immediately following the court leet of the preceding autumn, out of chronological sequence.
The court roll for this year continues to provide details of the stages in litigation between individuals. The length of time it could take for a case to be settled can be observed through the case of John Spencer against Thomas Dolle, or Dolly, in a plea of debt. Thomas was summoned on 28 January to appear; he failed to appear at the next court on 19 February and was attached. He was repeatedly distrained at each court, down to and including that of 23 September, except for 28 May, when John was essoined. The case had appeared at twelve separate courts. It then disappears from the record until 12 May 1484, when an inquisition had found that Thomas Dolle owed John Spencer two sets of iron spikes or pins.
This roll includes the enjoining of penalties, and it can be seen that these were placed sometimes on individuals and sometimes on all tenants and that the amount payable for failing to comply was fixed at the time of enjoining. In 1483 the penalties recorded regulated the cutting of timber, cleansing water courses, repairing fences and the highway, and an obstructed footpath. Other presentments are dominated by offences against the assize: brewing, baking and butchering.
Some additional employment opportunities are indicated in this roll by the renting of quarry rights and ferry rights. Both were rented for a limited period, two years for the quarry and six for the ferry. The ferry right carried with it a tenement and meadow; ferrying, like most occupations, would have been carried out as a by-employment along with farming. The letting of the rights, of course, produced further income for the lord of the manor.
The election of graves indicates that two graves were by this stage required for Conisbrough graveship. The fact that graves could be held responsible for any arrears in the accounts owing to the steward at the year end is shown in the case of the grave of Braithwell who had served from October 1482 to October 1483. At the session held on 12 November 1483, the new Braithwell grave, Robert Justice, was ordered to seize lands and tenements of the old grave, Brian Vyncent, who was in arrears. At the court held on 7 September 1484, the Robert Justice reported that the lands had been seized and that they were worth 20d per year.
closeing of land into the court for transfer seems in this roll to have been more commonly done through a third party than through personal surrender. Some transfers involve land held by women or children, but others may be "death-bed transfers", made at the same time as the will leaving chattels and any freehold land. The land holdings surrendered by John Webster are described in greater detail than any in the 1349/50 roll.