Lambert Simnel and Edward V

I’m beginning to convince myself that the Lambert Simnel Affair might have been an uprising in favour of Edward V, not Edward, Earl of Warwick….



  1. If this reasoning is correct, which I think entirely possible, it would mean would mean that the old insistence that Richard III killed his nephews has been untrue all along. An uprising in favour of one or other of Edward IV’s sons could not take place in 1487 if they’d been murdered between 1483-85. I have never been able to accept that the likes of Lincoln and Francis Lovell would risk their lives in favour of an imposter. But in favour of Edward’s son? Maybe. Lincoln and Francis Lovell would surely believe the boy was illegitimate, but he was still a highborn Yorkist, and thus better than Tudor in every respect.

    An excellent article. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Agree with viscountessw. Sources quoted above tell a different story to the Tudor propaganda. Lincoln and Lovell would believe that the boys were illegitimate, but maybe they were just acting within the law of the time and Tudor had repealed TR so therefore the boys had been re-legitimised.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My opinion on the Lambert Simnel episode has always been two fold; either the rebellion was actually in the favor of Edward V or Richard of Shrewsbury with Simnel acting as a stand in to protect the life of the actual boy or Simnel was used as a stand in for Warwick until they could rescue the actual Warwick from the Tower and place him on the throne.

    The idea that Lincoln was using Simnel as a cover for his own aspirations for the throne has never made sense to me. Why hide behind an imposter boy when he could raise the rebellion in his own name if those were his intentions? He certainly had a better claim than Tudor (especially since Tudor didn’t base his claim upon his marriage to Elizabeth of York). Not to mention, if he had actually won at Stoke Field, what then? Was he going to murder Simnel and the actual Warwick, tell everyone that Warwick died in battle and then take the throne himself? That seems a bit hard to swallow. I can buy that his plan may have been to be the regent for the actual Warwick but to take the throne himself, nope.

    The possible participation of Elizabeth Woodville and her son Dorset in the rebellion has never made any sense to my either. The only way their participation makes sense is if at least one of the boys were still alive or if they somehow discovered that Tudor had killed them and they wanted revenge. I don’t buy into the idea that they would have taken such a risk just to make Tudor’s life miserable (and they certainly wouldn’t have become involved to help Lincoln or Warwick) and I think there is enough evidence to suggest that they probably were involved in the rebellion.

    Personally, I agree with Lewis, I think its definitely possible that Edward IV’s boys survived; so many of the most puzzling aspects/motivations of Richard III and Henry VII make sense if those boys left the Tower alive.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think this article – based on original contemporary sources – may dispel some of the confusion.

      As Archbishop of Armagh, Octavian was the senior church figure in Ireland. He would have been expected to crown Simnel.

      The Pope was not getting his information from Henry after the events, because Octavian was writing to him before Henry regained control.

      The only mention of Simnel’s claimed identity is that of Warwick – consistent with his being crowned as Edward VI. (When Henry sent someone to establish control, he gave orders that all acts in the name of Edward VI in the parliamentary rolls of Ireland should be struck from the record).

      Kildare was a man with a reputation for temper and violence. So the fact that he had to intervene to prevent Lincoln killing Octavian is significant – it is perhaps the only contemporary information we have concerning Lincoln’s character.

      So I think we can say that Simnel claimed to be Warwick and Lincoln is unlikely to shy away from eliminating his stooge.


  4. Hi David,
    I read the article you listed and found it very interesting, but I don’t think it necessarily proves or disproves anything in regards to Simnel since Octavian’s information was coming from Morton:

    “First, Octavian was sent a letter by John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury, which made it quite clear that the boy, Lambert Simnel, who claimed to be the last surviving Plantagenet prince, was in fact an impostor.
    This principal adviser of the king, with whom Octavian corresponded throughout this period, informed Octavian that the new Tudor king, Henry VII, had entirely discredited Lambert Simnel’s credentials by parading the real Earl of Warwick, then a prisoner at the Tower of London, through the streets of London.
    We know of the existence of this letter because we are informed by Octavian himself that at this point of the crisis he took the initiative of briefing Pope Innocent VIII about developments:

    ‘The clergy and secular are all distracted at this present with a king and no king, some saying he is the son of Edward, Earl of Warwick, others saying he is an impostor; but our brother of Canterbury hath satisfied me of the truth, how his majesty the king of England hath showed the right son of the said earl to the publick view of all the City of London, which convinceth me that it is an error willingly to breed dissension.’”

    Just because Morton advised Octavian that Simnel was posing as Warwick doesn’t make it true. Morton was firmly part of Henry VII’s inner circle, so his version of events would most likely toe the party line. Octavian himself says above that some people said that Simnel was Edward IV’s son, some said he was the Earl of Warwick, and others said that he was just an imposter. I don’t find the fact that Octavian chose to believe Morton surprising, especially since Morton recounted how Henry marched out the actual Warwick (what a trump card that was!) but none of this proves definitely that Simnel was claiming to be Warwick (just as Lewis’ article doesn’t prove definitely that he was claiming to be Edward V either). The fact is (as Lewis himself says) no one knows for sure and there are enough discrepancies between the traditional story of Simnel and various historical sources to make his theory plausible.


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