The “Lincoln Roll” and the desperate sandbagging of the Cairo residents

You have probably heard of the “Lincoln Roll”. It resides at the John Rylands Institute of the University of Manchester. It shows the strength of the de la Pole claim to the throne (John of Lincoln being of that family) and the weakness of the “Tudor” claim, having been featured in Dr. Thomas Penn’s BBC2 “Winter King” documentary last year.

You have also probably noticed the progressive and accelerating collapse of the traditional fairy tale about Edward IV’s sons but the denialists are trying to resurrect it. Just last year, Amy Licence tried to link Richard III’s visit to a shrine in Canterbury with a guilty conscience for a particular “crime”, forgetting Richard’s heightened religious mindset. So her headline was “Shock as deeply religious King visits shrine”, along the lines of “Dog bites man” and “Exclusive: Pope is a Catholic”.

The latest sandbag is the attempt by one David Durose, a soi-disant “Tudor”ist, to interpret the Roll to prove that Edward’s sons died in c. 1483. There are just a few problems here:
Sloppy or convenient (Armstrongesque) translations of the Latin – if I had sons of twelve and ten, it would be very premature to call them youths. It also bypasses them through their illegitimacy.
It is clearly written in two different hands, much like the Croyland Chronicle was by a succession of writers. Much of the second part post-dates Lincoln’s death in mid-1487, detailing Henry VII’s children (of whom only Arthur had been born) and possibly even citing Edmund of Suffolk’s 1513 execution.

The “Lincoln Roll” was surely drafted, quite possibly on the continent, to publicise the claim of his younger brother, Lord Richard, who planned an invasion from France in the years before his death at Pavia in 1524-5. One of Richard of Shrewsbury’s possible subsequent identities, “Perkin”, was long dead by then but neither he nor his brother were relevant to Lord Richard. Having said that, this is the same Durose who wrote of Catherine de Valois addressing Parliament about her “remarriage”, many years after she died and centuries before a woman actually addressed Parliament about anything.

Another sandbag fails. Back to square one?

By super blue

Grandson of a Town player.


  1. Oh, the importance of getting one’s facts right, before opening one’s mouth or flexing one’s fingers above a keyboard. Get it wrong, and you’re sunk. Right in the middle of de Nile.


  2. It’s absolutely typical of the Cairo inhabitants.
    The amount of self-styled experts in their camp is laughable.
    Amy Licence is not a trained historian, in the same way that Durose is not. She is a writer who writes about historical topics, among other things.
    A little knowledge is indeed a dangerous thing.


  3. David Durose’s argument, in his article on the Henry Tudor Society blog (26 Sept 2014), appears to have been based on mistakes in transcribing and translating the latin notes relating to Edward IV’s sons, Edward and Richard.

    (1) For Edward V, Durose transcribes the note as: “In iunie tute sine liberis decessit” Duroses’s translation: In June safely without issue deceased in childhood

    But the correct transcription seems to be: “In juventute sine liberis decessit”, which can be translated as, “The youth deceased without children”.

    (2) For Richard, Duke of York, Durose gives the correct transciption: “Etiam decessit sine liberis”. Again, his translation appears to be wrong: “Also deceased without issue in childhood” The translation could be simply written as: “Also deceased without children”.

    In other words, the chart says only that the two sons of Edward IV died without having children of their own to become their heirs, and gives no fresh indication of when Edward V may have died.


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: