Perkin Warbeck: A Story of Deception – The Fascinating Enigma as presented in Ann Wroe’s biography

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I wanted to write a piece about the man who we know as Perkin Warbeck or Piers Osbeck or Richard Plantagenet or King Richard IV or whoever he may have been if he was none of these other men after reading Ann Wroe’s excellent biography on this most appealing of enigmas.

Firstly I need to pay tribute to Wroe’s wonderful book which I found impossible to put down. Her writing is exceptionally beautiful and multi-layered, particularly in the first few chapters where the poetic and philosophical meet the straight historical narrative.

She begins with a very detailed description of the copy of the portrait which survives of the man who called himself Richard, Duke of York, son of King Edward IV. You could be forgiven for falling in love with him right there, not because of his strikingly gorgeous looks, his elegant poise or suggested sophistication but because of his vulnerability…

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  1. It is often said that Edward of Warwick was the sacrificial victim required for the marriage of Arthur and Catherine of Aragon to take place and his innocent blood was the curse laid on their union but I think Perkin’s execution was just as much part of the bargain too. Isabella and Ferdinand had made their own efforts to lure him to Spain in order to have him in their power and were unwilling to release Catherine until he was eliminated and many of his letters have survived in the Spanish State archive which attests to their interest in him.
    Thank you for expressing that possibility. I have long suspected that Warbeck, not Warwick, was the target. The Spanish don’t seem to have been concerned about Margaret, Warwick’s sister, although they too had female succession. Warbeck however, as possibly Richard, son of Edward, might have been more a danger to Arthur, and Katherine. Removing him was a necessity. I think Warwick was simply needed as a co-conspirator with Warbeck, no one else would act as such.

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    1. Henry didn’t seem to find females a threat, if they were safely married to his relatives. So while Henry married Elizabeth of York himself and her sister Cecily was married to Henry’s uncle John Welles, Margaret was married in 1487 to Henry’s cousin and supporter Richard Pole.

      At the time, a woman becoming a ruler in her own right was something that hadn’t happened yet in English history (the one time when someone attempted it, it resulted in a civil war). Besides, women were supposed to owe obedience to their husbands first and foremost, and these marriages were also a way to ensure control over the children of those women (since a male inheriting through the female line was never controversial in England).

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      1. Don’t forget that Cicely of York was ALREADY MARRIED at the time of Bosworth – to Ralph Scrope. Henry had that marriage forcibly annulled so he could marry her off more to his liking.


  2. Henry Tudor seemed anxious to consult the Spanish monarchs about what to do with Perkin after his arrest, during the period when he was being carted around with the court and the subject of taunts and gibes. I wonder whether Henry was almost asking them to take on the guilt if he had to be disposed of in order to secure the Anglo-Spanish alliance?


  3. One thing in this article is incorrect: “Perkin” never claimed that the lord who supposedly spared him was supposed to kill him “on the orders of his uncle Richard III”. He doesn’t name anyone who supposedly carried out or ordered the murder, and never blamed Richard III for the murder of his putative brother Edward V in any of his letters.

    He also described Richard III in his proclamation in 1496 this way: “though desire of rule did blind him, yet in his other actions, like a true Plantagenet, was noble, and loved the honour of the realm and the contentment of his nobles and people”, contrasting him to Henry VII whom he called “our mortal enemy”, wicked tyrant etc. While he didn’t say anything explicit about whether Richard III was responsible for Edward V’s death, this relative praise would be strange if he was simultaneously blaming Richard for his brother’s death and attempted murder of himself. The “desire for rule” that “blinded” him is likely to refer to the act of taking the crown, since “Richard of England”/”Perkin” naturally would consider/claim Richard III to have been an usurper, since he was claiming to be a lawful heir of Edward IV. A murderer of his nephews would, I think, deserve a bit stronger language, rather than being singled out as a more noble individual than Henry VII!

    Regarding the sketch of “Richard of England”/”Perkin”, maybe it gives us some idea how Edward IV may have looked in his youth and why he was considered so handsome? “Perkin” was said to look a lot like Edward IV – and one can see the similarity of features in their portraits, although “Perkin” was blond (the sketch apparently also had descriptions of colors of hair and clothes and noted that his hair was blond) whereas Edward IV had brown hair. It’s interesting that this sketch also gives “Perkin” heavy-lidded eyes, since this, I think, was mentioned as one of the notable physical traits of Elizabeth Woodville.


  4. Interesting point. Wroe’s account does suggest that Richard III was the most likely candidate when it came to the death of Edward in the Tower and the intended murder of his younger brother on p.65 but also in many other passages his involvement is heavily implied though she does also put a counter-argument which raises doubts about his guilt. From my reading of her book it seemed to be implied that ‘Perkin’ thought his uncle was behind his brother’s murder and that the lord who came to kill him too was acting on Richard’s order though again she does raise the possibility that Buckingham could have been acting in his own self-interest as well, however this may not be Wroe’s intention and she doesn’t say that Perkin explicitly blamed his uncle. She does emphasize though that Perkin’s account is muddied and opaque and that this is entirely possible if he really was the traumatized child who was recalling terrifying memories. Could a child know who had meant to kill him? Presumably he never asked the lord who he was acting for or if he was acting alone at the time but would have spent many hours trying to work it out if he had been Richard of York. The proclamation that you mention is very interesting but I’m also not sure that it does clear Richard III of any involvement in the alleged murder of Edward. As Perkin was trying to gain the throne in order to continue the Plantagenet and Yorkist bloodline he would have been at pains to stress the noble actions of his uncle against the tyrannical ones of the usurper Henry. No one would be more delighted than me if there was any piece of evidence which could exonerate Richard III once and for all over the mystery of the disappearance of the princes but I’m not sure the proclamation is enough to convince.


    1. “Perkin”, if he was really Richard and if his account was true, wouldn’t have known who sent the murderers and could only guess, like anyone else (and there’s certainly no consensus that Richard III must have been the one to order the murder if it happened and if it happened in the summer of 1483, even back in the 15/16th century Buckingham was considered a culprit in a few sources), so even if he had said anything one way or another, it wouldn’t either condemn or exonerate his uncle. My point is just that he was not publicly condemning his uncle and claiming that Richard III was the one who ordered the murder of his brother, he left the matter open. Of course, it may be argued that condemning him may not have been the best idea when his sponsor was Margaret the Duchess of Burgundy, and if he was hoping to draw support from all Yorkists, but also, he couldn’t know anything for sure anyway.


    2. Also, I would say that realistically I don’t see any way to “prove the innocence of Richard III without a reasonable doubt”, short of proving that both boys survived him by establishing the identity of some people who survived Richard III through DNA results and other evidence. Which seems very unlikely.

      If there was a murder/attempted murder in the summer of 1483, the facts that 1) Richard III was not physically present in London or anywhere near, and 2) when rulers and people in powerful positions do order secret murders and other crimes, they normally don’t issue such orders in writing, means that his guilt could never be 100% proven if he were guilty, but also not just that he would be always suspected, but also that, since such an order or alleged order would have come through/be assumed to come through the word of mouth of “reliable” persons, it would have been easy to lie that such an order came from the king, if you were a person in a powerful position who is thought to be in king’s confidence. Therefore Richard’s involvement could easily be faked both before and after the act. The reason nobody would normally suspect a lie is that it would, under normal circumstances, be suicidal to cross a king that way and usurp his royal authority, especially in such a matter. But that wouldn’t be the case when the person in question had really already decided to jump ship and start a rebellion against the king/ally himself with his enemies, as Buckingham did, in which case making Richard III look guilty would have been killing two flies with one stone.

      In short: if it’s proven that at least one of the boys was murdered in the Tower, I don’t think it will ever be possible to prove anything about the culprits, and people will continue arguing and speculating, since the only possible evidence would be (actual) direct witness accounts by people involved – which, even if reliable, are unlikely to be uncovered.


  5. This is a little confusing. I think that the praise for Richard quoted above is not from Warbeck’s proclamation, the text of which we have, but is from a reported speech made to the Scottish court. The reported speech has already been dealt with in Super Blue’s article ‘what Perkin Warbeck really said’.

    If the explicit naming of Richard in the speech is unreliable, then I see no reason to accept the praise as such.

    As for the naming of Buckingham, the earliest source I have that does this is the often-misquoted Philippes de Commynes. He names both men and makes it clear he believes Richard responsible. The possibilities that it was Richard and Buckingham are not mutually exclusive. In fact, their joint enterprise seems the most logical solution, since the rumours coincide with Buckingham’s defection.


    1. Well, the text of the proclamation that I was looking at is from one of the appendices of Diana Kleyn’s book “Richard of England” (which was in turn taken from the book called “L’imposture de Perkin Warbeck”, 1952). If that text is inaccurate and there is a different text online, please give me the link or a quote. I can’t open the Google Books one in the article by Super Blue because of computer problems. The text in Kleyn’s book includes the contrasting of Richard III and Henry VII (the proclamation is mostly a big rant against Henry), but says nothing about the supposed murder/attempted murder and escape. The story about the murder and escape is from the letter to queen Isabella, which, translated from Latin, is given in another appendix in the same book; that letter does not name anybody as culprit in the murder/attempted murder, and contains no mention of Richard III.

      Regarding the naming of Buckingham, de Commynes is not the only one who mentions him. The Dutch “Divisie Chronicle” (I’m not sure when it was written since it’s either mentioned to be “from around 1500” or “sixteen century”) explicitly mentions, after mentioning the rumor that the boys were starved to death (inspired by the fate of Richard II?), that “some others will say that the Duke of Buckingham killed those children hoping to become the king himself”. While there are others, like a fragment from the Ashmolean collection, that claim Richard III had the boys murdered “at the prompting of the Duke of Buckingham as it is said”, the above mentioned Divisie Chronicle clearly talks about Buckingham killing the boys himself for a different motive. There are also the anonymous “The Historical Notes of a London Citizen”, which claims that the boys were put to death in the Tower “by the vise of the Duke of Buckingham”. (Some have tried to argue that this was meant “advice” rather than “device”, but that doesn’t seem very logical to me: if you thought they were murdered at the orders of the king, their uncle by blood, wouldn’t that be the more important information to mention, before adding whose “advice” it was?). The private secretary to king Alfonso of Portugal writes something that could be taken either way: “after the passing away of king Edward in the year of 83, another one of his brothers, the Duke of Gloucester, had in his power the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York, the young sons of the said king his brother, and turned them to the Duke of Buckingham, under whose custody the said Princes were starved to death”.

      What we can get from such and other sources (David Baldwin’s “The Lost Prince” and Audrey Williamson’s “Mystery of the Princes” give an overview of various mentions from the 15th and 16th century) is that there were lots of various rumors circling around; some saying that the boys were murdered and blaming either Richard III, Buckingham or both, some saying that one or both boys survived and were transferred somewhere else, and the stories about the murder of the boys also vary in terms of the supposed means of murder: there’s everything from stabbing to strangulation to starvation. De Commynes being “sure” about Richard’s guilt doesn’t mean anything, since he really didn’t know any more than we do. Also, some of the sources that were “sure” about what happened and blamed Richard got the chronology of events and some other basic and commonly known information very obviously wrong. Guillaume de Rochefort, in his January 1484 in his speech, which was the first public accusation against Richard III of the murder of his nephews, seemed to be implying that Richard III murdered his nephews and then was offered the crown (the purpose of the speech mostly seemed to have been to rant against the English and how barbaric they are, but no doubt he also had an eye on the situation in France at the time, with the underage king Charles VIII and the struggle that had erupted between his sister and regent Anne and his cousin Louis de Orleans, later Louis XII). Caspar Weinrich from Danzig (Gdansk) wrote that “later this summer Richard the king’s brother seized power and had his brother’s children killed and his queen secretly put away” (sic). The medal however goes to Diego de Valera from Castille wrote in 1486 to Ferdinand and Isabella that is was “sufficiently well known” to the king and queen that Richard III had his nephews murdered, but he believed that Richard III had murdered his nephews while Edward IV was still alive – while “king Edward their father was waging war on Scotland”! (LOL He didn’t even get it right who actually led the campaign in Scotland…) (All this info comes from Baldwin’s book.)
      So, since these authors couldn’t even get the basic facts right, I’d say their credibility is suspect and that they don’t seem to have been well informed, let alone so well informed that they could know for sure what happened to the boys, and who, if anyone, murdered them.
      Others (including Thomas More) at least admitted they were simply reporting rumors.


  6. My feeling is that ‘Perkin’ was not Richard of York, but that’s just a gut feeling. I can’t prove it, and I don’t think we will ever be able to prove his identity one way or the other. He did have a strong likeness to portraits of Elizabeth of York ….maybe a bastard half-brother?
    It may be that that likeness, and his good looks generally, was responsible for ‘Warbeck’s” surviving as long as he did. Not suggesting anything untoward, but Henry, like most people, found it difficult to destroy beauty. He had to have Perkin beaten up before he could be executed. Besides, he may have identified with the Pretender, because he had been one himself.


    1. I tend to see his actions in more pragmatic light. Henry needed to prove that the pretender was nobody of importance, merely an impostor – which is why he was kept around as an object of ridicule, to show that he was not a threat. His execution, and the execution of Edward, Earl of Warwick, was a necessity for Isabella and Ferdinand to agree to the marriage of their daughter to prince Arthur. Henry ordered “Perkin” beaten up badly not because he was good-looking, but because it was better for people not to see his resemblance to Edward IV.

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      1. But he had been carrying that same face around the court, and around the realm,for months/years. Any resemblance would have been noted long before. That’s why I think it was more personal.
        And Henry seemed to alternate attempting to humiliate Perkin, and coddling him, for example buying him rich clothing.

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  7. The link to google books seems to be causing some problems on Apple, but shows up well on other equipment. It is rather long and is relatively late – so it assumes that the story of Warbeck’s escape – his cover story – is well known. It refers to his miraculous escape from the Tower by the grace of God.

    I am convinced by Arthurson’s book that Warbeck was who he confessed to being, because the details match the records in Tournai. But it was the involvement of Edward Brampton that causes the biggest cause for doubt. Edward IV had been his godfather and used him on secret missions (as would Richard later). Warbeck just happened to end up in his household; Brampton did not recognise him until he announced his identity when they landed in Cork. And he had definitely not been coaching him in matters of Edward’s court and Richard’s early life, honestly.

    There is another piece of evidence – his biography does not match the entry made for Richard in the de la Pole family roll, which says ‘also died without issue’. Warbeck married and had a child.

    I also think Margaret of Burgundy’s letter on Warbeck’s first appearance is also significant. She wrote of her surprise and said that everyone had told her they were dead. You have to ask where she was getting that story from. I am sure she would not be listening to Tudor propaganda, but the rebels of the Lambert Simnel rebellion had been at her court.


    1. We all know how the Lincoln Roll, as it was previously called, was edited over the years after the Earl’s death and how Sir Edward Brampton was absent on the Continent at the time of Bosworth, on an unknown mission. Wroe establishes how improbable the “Perkin” identity really is and reports how many people at the time believed him to be the ex-Prince.
      That is it, unless you have another long-dead Queen or unborn Bishop to quote?

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    2. What do you mean by “because the details match the records in Tournai”? Now, if that were the case, it wouldn’t really prove anything about the pretender’s DNA except that 1) the pretender remembered things about his life in Tournai, whether it was his biological family or people who took him in, or 2) Henry VII’s men had done their research well. (Henry had been calling the pretender “Perkin” and claiming that he was from the Low Countries for years before he captured him.)

      But the most startling thing about that confession is that it does NOT match the records at all – in the most important details, including “Perkin’s” supposed name itself. Nor does it, for that matter, match what Henry VII said about “Perkin” before and after. In the confession, he says his family name is OSBECK and talks about the Osbeck family. The man he was supposed to be was called in the Tournai records Pierre or Pierrechon de Werbecque. So which is it? Apparently, everyone just goes with the idea that these two names are the same, even though they seem obviously different; I’d like to see the reasoning how they are supposed to be the same, how that came to be, and why one would think they are the same. It’s obvious that “Perkin Warbeck” is an anglicized version of “Pierrechon de Werbecque”, but that’s not the case with Osbeck – Werbecque. Is there an explanation?

      And that’s not all – the confession also names his mother as “Kateryn de Faro”. But according to the Tournai records, the wife of Jehan de Werbecque and mother of Pierrechon was called Nicaise (“or Caisine” – as it says in the Appendix I to Kleyn’s book, the extract from the Archives of Tournai; I don’t know why her name is given in two versions) de Faro or Faroul. I’ve never heard of a name Caisine and Internet search is yielding no results, but Nicaise is certainly not any version of “Catherine”. “Catarina” is the Portuguese version of Catherine, “Nicaise” or “Nycaise” is a completely different medieval name (male and female), derived from the name of the Greek goddess of victory, Nike. Apart from both containing the consonant “K”, they aren’t even similar – one could just as well say “Edward” and “Richard” are the same name. Let’s say, maybe Caisine (if that was her name) and Kateryn could be different versions of the same name and “Perkin” preferred to give the “translated” version; that’s possible, but is there any evidence that this is actually the case? Or is it just that people hear two different names and conclude “well, they must be the same, because… this is the only way the official version makes sense, and the official version must be true”?

      What are we to make of these inconsistencies? I don’t know, but I certainly wouldn’t expect someone to use similarities between the confession and the Tournai records as an argument.

      The confession contains other strange statements, as well – such as the story that “Perkin” came to Ireland and was persuaded to start impersonating the Duke of York by some random Englishmen, who taught him English, as well as what to say and how to behave, over the course of what could have been a period of a few weeks up to a few months (?!). How exactly one can learn a language perfectly over such a short period, let alone without any foreign accent in spite of never having spoken or been taught that language as a child, is a mystery. The pretender clearly spoke English well enough to convince people he was a native speaker – not just foreigners, but the Irish, the Scottish and his followers in England as well. People need years to master a language perfectly, and even when they do, it’s very difficult to get rid of any traces of foreign accent if you hadn’t started learning the language as a child, or to perfectly fake a certain accent. It’s also hard to believe that a couple of Englishmen completely unconnected to the court could have taught him all about the court of England at the time of Edward IV. But OK, let’s say the version that Margaret of York had thought him that was true and he was lying to protect her (though it’s questionable how much she knew about it, since after her marriage she had only returned to England once and for a short period). That still doesn’t explain his quick acquisition of English to the perfect native level. Unless he was a true linguistic genius.

      In any case, a number of things said in the confession either don’t make sense, or are inconsistent with the facts (see above).

      I haven’t read Arthurson’s book, but I am really curious if it lists any evidence that “Perkin”/”Richard” was an impostor, because for now, it seems to me that historians simply accept it as a fact that he was because… well, essentially, because Henry VII said so.

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  8. What people ‘believed to be true’ is not proof. What they wrote in letters, or even in official documents, is not necessarily gospel truth. My belief – that PW may not have been a boatman’s son, but he wasn’t Price Richard – is my belief only, not a matter of fact, but it is based on the statistical fact that such pretenders are almost always fakes – Anastasia, the False Dimitrys, the Tichborne Claiment, etc. True, PW might have been the exception, but the odds are against it.
    But such cases are fascinating, aren’t they?

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  9. Henry’s treatment of him after capture does seem, on the face of it, to be strange. You could read it as a cat playing with a mouse. He allowed him a little liberty then humiliated him again, made him ride through London to be jeered and laughed at, then showed him off to ambassadors like a caged bird or a exotic monkey. He was with his wife but not permitted to be a couple. His son was taken away from them and his whereabouts may have been concealed or he could have been used as means of ensuring his good behaviour. I wonder whether he was also allowed to escape from the court as a reason for then placing him in the Tower and subsequently duped into the conspiracy to free Warwick. Henry’s letter to the Spanish asking their advice on what to do with Perkin might be seen as a genuine statement of uncertainty or as one monarch saying to another ‘you make the call and take the guilt of his death on your shoulders rather than me.’ The role of Elizabeth of York seems even more strange in all of this as presumably she could have been called as a witness to say once and for all tat he wasn’t her dead brother and she must have been curious about him.


    1. Maybe she didn’t want to know or face the possibility that he could be her brother? It would have been much easier to remain in support of her husband if she doesn’t allow the possibility or doesn’t know that the pretender is or may be her brother. And I don’t think turning against Henry was a real possibility. She had children with Henry, what would have happened to them if the pretender had won? Instead of heirs to the throne, her sons would be sons of the usurper and would be likely to get a place in the Tower instead of Edward of Warwick.

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      1. Yes, one novelist – Valerie Anand – suggests that she was kept from meeting PW by her own wish. She realized that if she recognized him as her brother, or recognized that he was not her brother, he was doomed either way.
        Don’t know if I buy that altogether. Unless she left court completely, it was nearly impossible for her to avoid running into him just by accident. And she could certainly talk to people who had talked to him. Catherine Gordon was one of her ladies, f’goodness’ sake! It must have been a hard choice to make, but no real contest.
        However, there are other possibilities. (1) She honestly could not determine if ‘Perkin’ was her brother or not, so couldn’t say. (2) She recognized that PW was, or was not, her brother, but refused to say so, even to tell her husband, for reasons of her own. All very mysterious.
        BTW, check out Ms. Anand’s series, especially the “Bridges Over Time” one. Very good, IMHO.

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  10. Is there any historical aource for the idea that Warbeck was beaten so he could not be recognised or that The Queen was kept from him? This does not appear in Arthurson. In fact, he recounts that members of Richard of Shrewsbury’s household including Dorset were brought to him in the West Country and that he could not identify them.

    It also seems that by 1498 even Margaret had given up on him and was applying to Henry for a pardon.

    Edward Brampton was absent on the continent on a secret mission, but we now know he was in Portugal.

    As regards the de la Pole genealogy, these items were not edited. They were commissioned and then added to. Since the document is dated 1484 and it goes to pains to state Lincoln was Richard’s heir we can take that as its basic content.


    1. David – the debate revolves around the translation of a word in one source which refers to Perkin’s appearance after his captivity in the Tower. Some read it was ‘altered’ and others as ‘disfigured’ so it is wide open to debate. It could mean that the Tower had changed his – as it did many others – or that he had been deliberately altered facially so that he no longer looked like Edward IV. I keep a totally open mind on this. I will look out the source for you but off to work right now.

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    2. Margaret of York was not in charge in Burgundy in 1498, or in 1496 or 1497. Her step-grandson Philip (“the Handsome”) was, and he decided to stop supporting the pretender in 1495, because the trade embargo imposed by England was really hurting Burgundian trade.

      Whether foreign governments gave up on him had little to do with who he was or who they thought he was. They had supported him for a long time, so if they believed he was Richard, Duke of York, they wouldn’t have changed their opinion just because of a forced confession from a prisoner. And if they didn’t believe it to begin with, then that would mean that they didn’t care. But in any case, there wasn’t anything to support when the pretender was a prisoner, and even less so when he was dead.

      The truth of the matter is simply that he gets remembered as an impostor because he lost. Had he won and become king, everyone would be saying he was really the son and Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville.


  11. Of course Warbeck’s cover story was designed to make people think that there was no possible way that he could know everything about the Yorkist cause unless he was Richard. However, in reality he was for some time prior to his appearance in Ireland in the houehold of Sir Edward Brampton. Brampton was very close to events in the Yorkist court.
    The following biography was posted by the Richard III Society FB page.


    1. As by “cover story” you presumably mean the story that he was Richard of York, that doesn’t explain anything about his confession, which was presenting the opposite story, that he was an impostor from Tournai named Osbeck. And instead of saying he learned English, manners and information about the court from Brampton, it says he learned it from a couple of random Englishmen over a short period in Ireland.


  12. Yes, I would think of Warbeck’s story that he was Richard as his cover story, together with the details of how he escaped the fate of his older brother. This needed also to explain where he had been in the meantime and why he had not made himself known before.

    It is a complex story and so it is necessary to file every fact that we think we know under a heading of whether it was part of the cover story, a generally known historical fact, Warbeck’s confession or the city records of Tournai.

    The version of the confession you quote above is not accurate. He says in it that he was sent away to Antwerp by his mother to learn English. He was in Brampton’s household. The small group he met in Ireland simply told him what to say.

    The Warbeck family tree as given in his confession exactly matched the Tournai records as unearthed by Gairdner. This was 300 years after the confession. So they can only have been more detail than was needed for Henry.


    1. I don’t know what you’re talking about. Please explain and give your sources.

      The confession I quote above is give in full in Appendix VII to “Richard of England” by D.M. Kleyn; it says “The original of this confession is, to date, undiscovered. This copy is taken from Library of Burgundy, Brussels, and dated 1497”. In it, he never says his mother sent him to Antwerp to learn English; he says she sent him to Antwerp to learn Flemish. He mentions going to Portugal with Edward Brampton, but he says that the two Englishmen he met in Ireland taught him English. The relevant quotes:

      “…and afterward I was led by my moder to Andwarp for to lerne flemmysshe in an house of a Cosyn of myne, officer of the said Towne, called John Stienbek, w whom I was in space of half a yere.”

      “And whan we wer there aryved in the Towne of Corke, they of the Towne, because I was arayed w some clothes of silk of my said Maisters, came unto me and threped upon me that I shuld be the Duke of Clarence sone, that was before tyme at Develyn. And for as moche as I denyed it there was brought unto me the Holy Euaungelist and the Crosse by the Mayre of that Towne, which was called John Lewelyn, and there in the presence of hym and the other I toke my Oathe as trouth was that I was not the forsaid Dukes son, nother of none of his blood. And after his came unto me an Englisshman, whose name was Steffe Poytron w one John Water, and said to me inswerying grete Othis, that they knew wele I was Kyng Richardes Bastarde Sone; to whom I answered w hie Othis that I were not. And then they advised me not to be afferd but that I shuld take it upon me Boldly, and iff I wold so do they wold ayde and assiste me w all theyr powr agayn the Kyng of England: and not only they, but they were well assured that therles of Desmond and Kildare shuld do the same, ffor they forsid not what party so that they myght be revenged upon the Kyng of England; and so agaynst my will made me to lerne Inglisshe, and what I shuld doo and say. And after this they called me Duke of York, the second son of Kyng Edward the Ffourth, because Kyng Richardes Bastarde Son was in the handes of the Kyng of England.”

      The confession also says that his family name is Osbeck, and that his mother’s name was Kateryn:

      “Ffirst it is to be knowen that I was born in the Towne of Turney (in Fflaunders) and my ffaders name is called John Osbeck; which said John Osbeck was Controller of the Towne of Turney. And my moders name is Kateryn de ffaro. And one of my grauntsires upon my ffaders side was was called Deryck Osbeck…”

      This doesn’t match the records of Tournai, given in Appendix I of the same book (it says that those are “The Archives of Tournai, 1893”), which mention no Osbeck with a wife called Kateryn, but a Jehan de Werbecque or Jehan Werbecque (son of Dieric or Thierry de Werbecque), who has a wife called Nicaise (or Caisine) Faroul or Faro; they had a son called Pierrechon or Pierre, and a daughter called Jehanne.

      What is the text of the confession you’re referring to, and what is the source?

      Liked by 1 person

  13. You are right of course. My version of the confession is the same. I had wrongly remembered the purpose of the visits to Antwerp. It was to learn Dutch – I had it as a probable exposure to English because Warbeck’s lodgings were very close to the English Merchant Adventurers’ Hall.
    My apologies.


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