Lambert Simnel – pretender

It was only two years into the reign of Henry VII that the first pretender to the throneLambert_Simnel,_Pretender_to_the_English_Throne,_Riding_on_Supporters_in_Ireland appeared on the “scene”, somewhat ironically trying to put himself off – or rather, being manipulated by others to do so – as the young Earl of Warwick, the son of George of Clarence, brother of Edward IV and Richard III, the original intention had been to pass him off as one of the princes in the Tower. The man behind the scheme was John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln and nephew of Richard, and seemingly named as heir to the throne when his own son had died at a young age, even if this was never announced publically. Involved in the plot was also Bishop Stillington, who as a result of this – when all was said and done – would be kept in house arrest for the remainder of his life.

de la Pole had originally made peace with the Tudor regime after the battle of Bosworth, but only two years later he orchestrated the rebellion which had Lambert Simnel as its figurehead. Most likely it was the intention of de la Pole to take the throne himself, had the rebellion succeded. It seems a clergyman named Symond introduced de la Pole to Simnel, who appears to have had some resemblance with the real son of Clarence, who was in fact imprisoned in the Tower, and who had also lost the right to inherit the throne through the attainder against his father.

When it comes to the boy Lambert Simnel, very little is known by his background. It seems that the earlier mentioned clergyman had trained him in some courtly manners, but allegedly he was the son of a baker, and contemporary sources does not, before the actual events, refer to him as Lambert, but John, and in the attainder later passed against de la Pole, Simnel is described as the son of an Oxford joiner and organmaker.

At the time Lambert Simnel was crowned as Edward VI in Dublin and put forward as the rightful heir to the throne of England, he was not much older than ten years old, and could obviously not be “credited” with being the initiator of the rebellion that followed, a fact that most likely proved significant for his later fate.

de la Pole won the backing of the Irish lord Gerald FitzGerald, who was eager to return to the state of relative Irish self-rule that had been the case under the Yorkist kings. He also managed to convince Margaret of Burgundy that he had been part in aiding her nephew Warwick´s escape from the Tower – later she would also happily identify Perkin Warbeck as another one of her nephews, young Richard who had been put in the Tower together with his brother Edward – and she contributed to de la Pole´s rebellion with 2 000 Flemish soldiers.

The result of the rebellion was the battle of Stoke Field – considered to be the very last battle of the Wars of the Roses – which took place on June 16, 1487. The rebels had arrived in Lancashire on June 4 after which they grew to number around 8 000 men.

After a couple a skirmishes and a clash with Lancastrian troops on the 10th at Bramham Moor, when the victory belonged to the Yorkists, they finally met the army of Henry VII on the 16th. The royal army far outnumbered the Yorkists, and was also led by two skilled commanders, the king´s uncle Jasper Tudor and John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford.

John de la Pole was killed in the battle, which the Yorkists lost, and the boy Lambert Simnel captured. It is sometimes claimed that Henry VII made the process short with the pretenders to his throne, but Lambert Simnel put that claim to shame, as the boy was pardoned, most likely just because he was a boy who and been manipulated by adults.

He was given a position as a spit-turner in the royal kitchens, and later went on to be promoted to the king´s falconer. Just as there is little known about the first 10 years of Lambert Simnel´s life, very little is known about his later in life. He seems to have gotten married, and may have been the father of Richard Simnel, canon of St Osyth´s Priory in Essex.

Lambert Simnel died around 1525, at the estimated age of 48 years.



The Tudor Age – James A. Williamson

The Tudors – G. J. Meyer

Pole, John de la – Oxford Dictionary of National Biography/Rosemary Horrox

Lambert Simnel and the battle of Stoke – Michael J. Bennett

The Princes in the Tower – Alison Weir

The death of a king

After the death of his son an heir Arthur, and then his wife Elizabeth of York and their new-born daughter Katherine, itKing_Henry_VII can be said that the personality of Henry VII changed somewhat. He was never the charming and larger than life persona his son Henry came to be, his earlier reign was characterized by caution and a strong economic sense. But even so, he had been described as amiable and friendly even if dignified in manner. He was also described as highly intelligent. But after the loss of two children and a beloved wife, his personality was now characterized by avarice and outright suspicion. Shortly after the death of his wife, Henry himself got very sick and came close to death, only allowing his mother Margaret Beaufort to attend to him.

Arthur_Prince_of_Wales_c_1500When Arthur was gone, Henry arranged a papal dispensation for the marriage between his younger son Henry and Catherine of Aragon as they through the initial marriage had become to close in affinity, being viewed by church as brother and sister. The years leading up to the wedding to Henry was no picnic for Catherine, with Henry VII treating her rather harshly, but that´s a story for another post.
Henry VII himself made vague plans to marry Joan, recently widow Queen of Naples, and he sent ambassadors to her to find out about her physical attractiveness. With them, they had a list describing what kind of physical features Henry expected in a future wife, and it´s hard not be touched by the fact that they basically was a description of Elizabeth of York, something that to me effectively put to shame all current day suggestions that there was no love between Henry VII and his Queen.

At the end of February, Henry VII travelled to Richmond, maybe to prepare for his own death. He had been sick in tuberculosis for quite some time, and once at the palace, he stopped receiving the foreign ambassadors arriving, who instead had to curtsey to an empty throne of estate and thereafter be received by the young prince and heir to the throne, Henry. By late march, it was obvious that Henry the King was dying.
By the evening on 20th of April, Henry had begun fading, but according to his mother´s confessor, John Fisher he struggled to hang on, “abiding the assaults of death” for up to 27 hours. When the first Tudor king finally passed away, it is said to have been with what at the time was considered an exemplary death with his eyes firmly fixed upon the crucifix held up in front of him.

When he died, Henry left behind him a solvent and reasonable united England. His death was kept secret for two days, and on the 24th of April, a new king was proclaimed
He was buried at Westminster Abbey, beside his Queen Elizabeth of York, in the chapel he had commissioned for the purpose.


Source: The Winter King, The Dawn of Tudor England – Thomas Penn
Henry VII – Stanley B Chrimes

Wedding day – 529 years later

If we didn´t care about such things as time – which many of us history nerds don´t – then it would be time to celebrate a wedding anniversary today. The 529th

Today it´s 529 years since Henry Tudor – only 5 months earlier the victor at the battle of Bosworth Field and now king Henry VII married Elizabeth of York; the daughter of one king and the niece of another was now to become the wife and queen of a third king.

Elizabeth was to a very large extent the premise for Henry´s claim to the throne, and in any event she strengthened it as a princess of the House of York.

Henry´s own royal blood didn´t come from the fact that his paternal grandmother once had been a queen or in her own right had been a French princess, but from his mother Margaret Beaufort lineage from Edward III through his son John of Gaunt and his third marriage to his mistress Kathryn Swynford. Their children had been born out of wedlock, but were all declared legitimate after the marriage, and Henry was a descendant through their son John Beaufort. All though their children had not been excluded from inheriting the throne from the beginning, they were barred from doing so in 1406 by their half-brother who had been crowned Henry IV in 1399.

By the time Henry Tudor took the throne by conquest, all male descendants from John of Gaunt by his two previous wives were gone, which set the exclusion of the Beaufort line aside.

And here he was, Henry Tudor, anointed king and with a real princess as a consort. So how did the marriage turn out. It is often claimed that Henry VII was a cold and tight fisted person but there is in reality no evidence that supports that their marriage was unhappy. On the contrary, there are stories of how they together mourned the children they lost, and how Henry grieved when Elizabeth passed away.

Henry had however spent a substantial part of his life in exile, far away from the riches and the overflowing dinner tables his devoted mother no doubt thought was his right as she struggles to have his title as the Earl of Richmond restored to him (there is no actual evidence that she fought to have him declared king in the way that has been portrayed in certain novels). Point is that Henry spent a large part of his life in relative poverty, and no doubt that experience left its mark on him.

There would be seven children; Arthur, Margaret, Henry, Elizabeth, Mary, Edmund and Katherine.

Only three of them would reach what we today would consider adult age; at the time Arthur was considered an adult, if even a young adult.

Arthur died, not fully 15 years old, in Ludlow Castle, leaving the young widow Katherine of Aragon behind.

Margaret became queen of Scotland and paternal grandmother of Mary Queen of Scots.

 Henry, well, he became Henry VIII.

Elizabeth only reached the age of three.

 Mary became queen of France, widowed at a young age and returned to England where she married the man who had been sent to bring her home, Henry VIII`s best friend Charles Brandon, an act for which they were forced to pay a fine. Together they became maternal grandparents of lady Jane Grey, the nine days’ queen.

 Edmund, got to be only one. Eye witnesses told the story of how his death made his parents break down from grief.

Katherine only got eight days to make her mark on history, a mark which mostly depend on the fact that she brought her with her. Elizabeth died the day after her infant daugther, on 11 February 1503, on her 37th birthday.

Henry VII never remarried, even though it´s said that he for a while considered Katherine of Aragon for himself.


The Oxford history of Britain – Kenneth O. Morgan

 Winter King – Henry VII and The Dawn of Tudor England – Thomas Penn

 Britain’s Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy – Alison Weir


The Battle of Bosworth

Today must be said to be the absolute startingpoint of the Tudor era. The day wouldBattle_of_Bosworth_by_Philip_James_de_Loutherbourg start with Richard III on the throne, and by the time it was over, the king of England was Henry Tudor. It is today of course the anniverasary of the Battle of Bosworth, which can also be said to have been the last great battle of the Wars of the Roses.

The outcome of the battle is almost incomprehensible as when the present and the future king met close to Ambion Hill in Leicestreshire, Richard III was backed by approximately 10 000 and Henry Tudor around half of that.

King_Henry_VIIHenry Tudor had left his 14 year long perido as an exile by way of Harfleur and without any mishaps crossed the channel and arrived in England on the 1st of August and landed in Wales on the 7th. Being of Welsh descent Henry had expected more of a support, but he had been away for a long time and had also been not much more than a child when he left, and as a result his arrival was met to a large extent with indifference and silence.

Only a small number of his fellow Welshmen decided to join him on his march further into the country, the most prominent member of the following being Rhys ap Thomas who must be said to have been a leading person in the west of Wales. He had, as a reward for refusing to participate in a rebellion against Richard III, received the position as lieutenant over west Wales by the king, but was successfully courted by Henry Tudor and decided to join the slowly growing army.

The goal for Henry´s march was clearly London, but he didn´t immediately set course for the capital, but after crossing the border between Wales and England on the 15th or 16th of August, he rested at Shrewsbury and later continued eats to meet Gilbert Talbot – a knight who would later be a Knight of the Garter in 1495 and Lord Deputy of Calais in 1509 – as well as English allies and deserters from Richard´s army.

Richard had anticipated the arrival of Henry since mid-July, but when news of the King_Richard_IIIlanding reached him on August 11th , it still took him a couple of days before his loeds found out that the king was mobilising his forces and also was in need of them and their armies. The result was that the York army didn’t gather until August 16th, making Leicester their base.

Richard arrived on the 20th of August and joined Norfolk while Northumberland arrived the day after. After this the royal army moved west with the intention of cutting of Henry´s march on London. Richard III mad his camp on Ambion Hill* which he assumed would be of tactical value.

There were problems in the ranks of Richard´s army. One of his men, Thomas, Lord Stanley, was married to Henry Tudor´s mother Margaret Beaufort. Even though he had declined to participate in Buckingham´s rebellion, his wife´s envolvement had meant that he was under the eye of Richard who also eld his son Lord Strange as a hostage to assure himself of Lord Stanley´s loyalty. Loyalty would have been a tricky thing for Lord Stanley during these days; on one side the king to whom he had sworn obedience, on the other side not only his wife and her son, but also his own son. Stanley and his younger brother William brought 6 000 men to the battlefield in addition to Richard´s 10 000.

As the battle drew closer and the Stanley army was positioned on Dadlington Hill. Richard is said to have sent a message to Stanley to let him know that if he didn´t join Richard´s forces, his son would be beheaded. Stanley allegedly replied that he had other sons. Richard is said to have demanded an immediate execution but was advised to wait until after the battle, which was a stroke of luck for Lord Strange. When Henry Tudor in his turn sent for Lord Stanley, the answer he received was wavering, and when the two armies clashed, the Stanley´s remained in their positions and observed which way the battle was going. When it became obvious that Richard against all odds was losing, the Stanley´s finally joined the battle on the side of Henry Tudor. The Lord_Stanley_Brings_the_Crown_of_Richard_(wide)historians are all in agreement that Richard fought to the very last, and contrary to popular opinion, he didn´t shout “My kingdom for a horse”** (indicating that he was about to flee), but instead shouted “Traitor, traitor, traitor”.

Some people believe that it was the earlier mentioned Welshman Rhys ap Thomas who finally killed Richard III, but there really is no way to know this. Another popular legend is that Stanley found Richard´s crown in a thornbush where it had landed as the former king went down, and handed it to Henry Tudor as the new king who then became Henry VII.

Smaller battles and skirmishes would flame up for a little while longer, but in all, this battle put an end to the Wars of the Roses.

After his death Richard was brought to Leicester where he was put on display for two days to really bring it home to his supporters that he was dead. He was later buried in Greyfriar´s.

As the dissolution swept through the country, Greyfriar´s was destroyed in the 1530´s, and the grave of the last Plantagenet king seemingly lost to the word. In September 2012 the skeleton of a man with an obviously crooked spine was found under the tarmac during a dig in a parking lot where Greyfriar´s was believed to have been located. After many tests, including comparing DNA with now living descendants of Richard´s sister and, such as Michael Ibsen from Canada, it was in early 2013 established that the found remains did indeed belong to Richard III.


Update after original posting: Richard was reinterred in Leicester Cathedral on March 28th 2015, and event which drew visitors from all over the World.


*It is diffucult to, with 100 percents certainty establish wher the exact location for the battle would have been, as it didn´t leave any direct physical traces. In October 2009 the result of geological examinations in combination with archealogical excavations from 2003, suggested that the location of the battle may have been about 3 kilometres southwest of Ambion Hill.

**The quote about the horse is from the Shakespeare play Richard III, a work of art some people consider to be ”Tudor propaganda”, even if it´s never been quite established why Shakespeare would feel the need to create propaganda against Richard III after more than 100 years of Tudor rule.


Bosworth – Chris Skidmore

Bosworth 1485; Last Charge of the Plantagenets – Christopher Gravett

Bosworth Field and the Wars of the Roses – Alfred Rowse


Wikipedia except coffin of Richard III: courtesy of Leicester Cathedral

Henry Tudor/Henry VII

Henry Tudor föddes i Pembroke Castle den 28 januari 1457, som ende son till Edmund Tudor och Margaret Beaufort.

Hans krav på tronen kom via Margaret via hennes status som barnbarnsbarn till John of Gaunt, men ansågs som svagt då det dels kom via en kvinna och dels på grund av osäkerheten kring legitimiteten i relationen mellan John of Gaunt och Kathrine Swynford.

Deras barn förklarades och legitima vid två tillfällen, först 1397 av Richard II och sedan återigen 1407 av Gaunts son Henry IV, med det tillägget att de, eller deras ättlingar, aldrig skulle kunna ställa några krav på att inta den engelska tronen.

Detta till trots var Henry Tudor 1483, som resultat av mordet på Henry VI samt hans son Edward of Westminsters död i slaget vid Tewkesbury, den ende överlevande av Huset Lancaster som hade krav på den engelska tronen.

Under Rosornas Krig* växlade tronen ett par gånger fram och tillbaka mellan Henry VI av Huset Lancaster och Edward IV av Huset York.

*Rosornas Krig, med presentation av nyckelpersonerna kommer också att komma på bloggen

När Edward återtog tronen 1471 flydde Henry Tudor till Brittany där han blev kvar i 14 år.

Ibland har sagts att de ekonomiska svårigheter han levde under de åren var en bidragande orsak till hans starka ekonomiska sinne under hans regeringsår.


Huset Tudors början

Edmund TudorEdmund Tudor, även Edmund of Hadham och Edmwnd Tudur (den walsiska varianten av hans namn) föddes 1430 som son till Owen Tudor och Cathrine av Valois, änka efter Henrik V och tillika mor till Henrik VI, något som gjorde honom till Edmunds och hans bror Jaspers halvbror.

Det är omtvistat huruvida Owen Tudor och Cathrine av Valois var gifta och Edmund därmed legitim, en fundering som inte mist styrks av det faktum att han förklarades legitim av sin regerande halvbrors parlament 1453.

1436, när Edmund bara var sex år gammal, drog sig Cathrine av Valois tillbaka till Bermondsey Abbey där hon dog bara ett år senare, och Edmund och hans bror Jasper kom att uppfostras av Cathrine de la Pole, abbedissa av Barking där de kom att bli kvar till 1442. Därefter var de myndligar till olika präster, ett sätt på vilket de också fick sin utbildning. Därefter upptogs Edmund Tudor vid sin halvbror Henrik VI:s hov.

1449 adlades Edmund Tudor och introducerades till parlamentet som Earlen av Richmond 1452. Året efter blev han utsedd till förmyndare för den då 10 år gamla Margaret Beaufort, syssling till Henrik VI. Två år senare gifte sig Edmund Tudor med den 12 år gamla Margaret på Bletsoe Castle.

I november 1456 dog Edmund Tudor i fångenskap på Carmathen Castle i södra Wales som en krigsfånge i det pågående Rosornas Krig mellan huset Lancaster, vilket Edmund Tudor tillhörde, och  huset York.

Margaret Beaufort föddes 1443 som dotter till Hertigen av Somerset, John Beaufort och Margaret Beauchamp av Bletsoe. Hennes far var barnbarnsbarn till Edvard III genom hans tredje överlevande son, John of Gaunt, eller Johan av Gent, som han kommit att kallas på svenska. Det var genom denna blodslinje som hennes enda barn, sonen HenrikMargaret_Beaufort,_by_follower_of_Maynard_Waynwyk; Tudor senare skulle kunna komma att hävda en rätt till den engelska tronen.

Margaret Beaufort var bara ett år gammal när hennes far dog, sjuk och i onåd hos kung Henrik VI, som gav henne som myndling till Hertigen av Suffolk, William de la Pole. Medan hon var under 10 år, årtalen varierar, giftes hon bort med hertigens son, John de la Pole, ett äktenskap som kom att annulleras och som hon själv aldrig erkände, istället hävdade hon, bland annat i sitt testamente från 1490-talet att hennes äktenskap med Edmund Tudor var hennes första. När Edmund Tudor dog, 25 år gammal, var den 13-åriga Margaret Beaufort gravid i sjunde månaden med vem som kom att bli hennes enda barn, och den förste Tudor-kungen, Henrik (senare VII). Därmed får hon ses som upphovet till vad som jag väljer att kalla den mest spännande ätten den engelska konungaföljden har sett, Huset Tudor, och jag kommer att återkomma till henne i senare inlägg.

En ung kvinna kunde inte förbli ogift på 1400-talet och tre år efter Edmund Tudors död giftes hon återigen bort, denna gång med Henry Stafford, son till Humphrey Stafford, Hertigen av Buckingham. Henry Stafford gick bort 1471 och Margaret gifte sig en fjärde och sista gång 1772, denna gång med Thomas Stanley, Earl av Derby.

Margaret Beaufort dog den 29 juni 1509, bara dagar efter att hennes barnbarn Henrik VIII blivit regent.