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?