Collingbourne’s nice little pad in Wiltshire….


Bradfield Manor, Hullavington, Wiltshire

I came upon this article, in Wales Online, not because of the gross over-claiming of expenses by certain members of the Welsh Assembly, but because one member of said Assembly happens to live in a beautiful and historic Wiltshire manor house.

Toward the end of the article you’ll find the following:

“….The historic building [Bradfield Manor, Hullavington] was once the home of Edward IV and later William Collingbourne, who conspired against Richard III in 1484 and was beheaded for writing a defamatory rhyme…the older wing of the home dates back to the 1400s, while the newer wing is 200 years old, linked by a medieval dining room….”

Well, we all know that Collingbourne was responsible for the scurrilous couplet The Catte, the Ratte and Lovell our dogge rulyth all Englande under a hogge (Various slightly different spellings and words are to be found, but this is the gist of it.)

It was anti-Richard III, who was king at the time of its writing. The “cat” is William Catesby (whose badge was also a cat), the “Rat” is Richard Ratcliffe, “Lovel the Dogge” is Sir Francis Lovell, Richard’s great friend. All three were among his most trusted confidants. He relied on them. The “Hogge”, of course, is Richard himself, whose badge was the white boar.

Collingbourne was eventually arrested, tried and sentenced to death by being hanged, drawn and quartered. Tradition (anti-Richard, of course) has it that he was executed merely for “making a small rhyme”, but the truth of it was that Collingbourne had been encouraging Henry Tudor to land at Poole and topple Richard from the throne. Now, that’s high treason by anyone’s standards, so Collingbourne deserved what he got, but traditionalist historians will always blame it on Richard’s over-reaction to a harmless little couplet!

Richard III didn’t often have people executed, in spite of the manufactured reputation he has acquired because of his enemies’ propaganda, so Collingbourne must have done a lot more than sit down one day and compose some cute little words.

Whatever, the fellow once lived in a beautiful house in Wiltshire!


    1. I wondered that too. Stayed there, maybe, but as for actually living there…I thought his whereabouts are fairly well documented. But then, he managed to marry EW without anyone knowing!


  1. Viscountessw, as you noted so much of the context is missing in these sensational claims and stories about R –

    (pps 117-8) …. in Louise Gill’s “Richard III & Buckingham’s Rebellion” (my edition is 1999) she wrote that Collingbourne came from “Friarmayne in Dorset and was related to Bishop John Morton whose hand was already guiding intrigue from his base in the Netherlands. Collingbourne, a serjeant of the pantry under Edward and an usher at his funeral, was sidelined under Richard. Quite possibly he was involved with Margaret Beaufort as his Wiltshire seat, Lydiard, was held by her. His kinsman, John Darrell, in exile with Henry, whose family also held Beaufort land, was perhaps the go-between. On 10 July he met with others in Portsoken ward, London, and arranged to send Thomas Yate to Brittany to entice Henry Tudor to invade England by way of Poole on St Luke’s Day, 18 October 1484, with 8 pounds ‘danger money.’ Allegedly, Yate was urged to plead a case for sending John Cheyne to Charles VIII (of France) to beg for his support of the invasion …”

    Matt Lewis adds (p. 338) that Colyngbourne/Collingbourne’s trial included quite a list of notables: aside from Suffolk, Norfolk, Lovell, earls of Nottingham and Surrey (all to be expected) but also Edward, Viscount Lisle (brother-in-law of QEW), Lords Audley, Stanley, Grey, Beauchamp, Scrope, also Ferrers, and Richard Hastings (younger brother of William), and the mayor of London. While Collingbourne was convicted and executed his associate Turberville was only imprisoned, presumably due to lesser charges.

    Looking at that lovely manor I just wonder, why was living there, unmolested, probably forgotten by R and his immediate circle, why was living there in happy retirement not sufficient? He was replaced by R as steward for some property for his mother, replaced by Lovell I think, but it hardly would have meant poverty for this man, was that the trigger? So many details in Gill, that I just passed over originally I now wonder about, was MB nudging this Collingbourne to make contact with Henry, as she did with her half-brother John Welles (summer 1483, leading to his attainder and mad dash into exile joining Henry)?


  2. I agree, there’s far, far more to this whole Collingbourne thing than we can possibly know to the full. I haven’t read Louise Gill, but she sounds very interesting. And if Matt Lewis says something is so, I’m always inclined to go with him.

    It’s infuriating, looking back, to think that MB was up to all sorts and yet, presumably because she was a woman, allowed to go relatively unpunished. She wasn’t even locked up, for pete’s sake! Her husband, Stanley, was entrusted with her. Ye gods, talk about a dumb action. Oh, Richard, Richard, you wrote your own destruction!

    MB’s Tudor offspring and descendants weren’t so lenient, that’s a fact – they had her example to go by! So in the century after Richard, women were just as likely as men to have their heads lopped. And yet HE is the one with the vile reputation! Not fair.

    TBH, when it comes to the Collingbourne conspiracy, for that’s what it was, I think anyone caught up in it on the wrong side should have been executed. Lessons needed to be taught and learned, but Richard stuck to the rules. If a Tudor had been on the throne, they wouldn’t have been left with their kittens and knitting in the balmy English countryside. So, were the Tudors more efficient? Or downright cruel beyond redemption? They were both!

    All I know is that once Henry VII had his bony bum on the throne, he managed to stay there until the day he died. One way or another he saw off a good few rebellions, and quietly got on with lopping heads when he saw the need. Is that good strong medieval kingship? By the then reckoning, it clearly was.

    Richard was too chivalric. Yes, he was goaded into taking a few heads, but there weren’t many…and NEVER a woman. The mere idea would have appalled him. As it would most of the kings who’d gone before, come to that, although a few of them did everything BUT actually lop female heads. Some punishments were appallingly callous and brutal. True female execution was a Tudor novelty. They had no chivalry whatsoever. I can’t begin to accept any of them until Elizabeth…and, damn it, she looks like Margaret Beaufort in jewels and a ruff! Merde!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Viscountessw, you rant like no one else 🙂 I may need to take lessons from you, in all deference, low curtsey.

    As to Gill, I read her for specific info, that I can’t find in such detail elsewhere, as in HS2dB (Bucky to his friends). Other than Carole Rawcliffe’s (presumably) seminal work on the Stafford earls and dukes of Buckingham, all I can really find in depth on our “beloved cousyn” is in Gill’s (often confusing accounting of the October 1483) rebellion.

    I suspect Gill had no real background with R, much as Scofield’s area was E4 and only knew the bare outlines of R’s life and then only where it intersected her narrative on E4. Since Gill is interested in how Buckingham found himself mired in R’s “usurpation” and then the rebellion her priorities are not about R the man but R who existed in 1483 but the More et al left us. As with everything, read with a jaundiced eye.

    I need details and specifics and they are hard to come by with HS2dB, in part due to destruction of his papers during and probably following the rebellion, possibly on his own orders? For Rawcliffe’s purposes (and later his son, ES3dB) this loss left a huge hole in what can be said about HS, ugh, so what else is new in Ricardian research?!

    As for MB … I too have thought, IF Richard had been like H& or H8, even Mary or Eliz, well, MB’s head would have been on the Gates of the Bridge overlooking the Thames! But I no longer think it is the “Tudor” part of the equation, they never used that name, never connected themselves to it as it meant, dynastically, anything of any use – their claim, was through Beaufort, the reason why it should probably be called not the War of the Roses but a nasty Beaufort Cousin spat. And the Beauforts’ did nurse grudges, maybe with reason.

    Whatever else we think of E4 (and I have changed my estimate of him, massively, over the last year) he could only have added more fuel to the raging fire between these cousins when he had Edmund (3rd? 4th? duke of Somerset) removed/dragged (?) from sanctuary at Tewkesbury, tried and executed just after the battle (6 May). Whether E4 was justified or not, with the younger Beaufort (John) already dead in that same battle, both without legitimate issue, and only enfeebled H6 huddled in the Tower, still living, by the end of May E4 had essentially extinguished the Beaufort line. Except for exiled Henry. That is how MB would likely have seen it.

    (Q: did E4 really need H6 dead? was anyone in their right mind going to mount an army, any army, to come rescue him and put him back on the throne? For what purpose? With what funds? H6’s heir was dead, he himself was weak, aged, half out of his mind on the best of days, heck, E4 could have left H6 in the care of his mother and not worry about the guy! That E4 wanted his cousin dead, apparently all of them – just tells me E4 was still in that enraged fury/relief/ shock that he came within a hair of losing everything, HAD lost everything, had been chased out of his own kingdom and pure bloody revenge was all he wanted. Just like H8, or even H7 or Eliz I (admittedly more calculating and restrained but nonetheless vengeful; Eliz could be maliciously petty as well) –

    So, I put it on the Beaufort feuding, I don’t put any of this on the Tudor, or whatever Welsh blood they may have had. The Yorks’ had a fair measure of Welsh bloodline themselves, if you come to it, via the Mortimers. To me, this ‘grande agoniste’ is all Beaufort!

    How much H7 ran anything that first year as king I’m not willing to say, I can’t imagine he did much more than observe – from MB, Morton, Bray, et al, the masterminds behind the coup, from funding, provisioning, to couriers and diplomacy, etc etc etc, and yet I’m quite sure H7 bristled enough of these insults to his MOTHER’s family that he had the acts of attainder against Henry Beaufort (2nd DofS), Edmund B, and Jasper all annulled asap, in his first Parliament (Nov 1485, ie. well before he married Elizabeth of York).

    If MB was lucky, it’s not – in my mind – that R was too chivalrous, just not a Tudor – but that he had in insufficient strain of Beaufort running through him! Clearly must have favored that Neville side – that he took care he of his Neville relations, especially the female relations, is proof enough, but any female who found herself vulnerable due to the vagaries of fortune to the men they often had been married too (just consider the truly disturbing fate Katherine Neville Bonville Hastings experienced EVEN before she was married to Lord Hastings!) was enough to encourage me to look deeper into that nonsense about Richard and the Countess Oxford (and it WAS nonsense). MB was a very lucky woman. Methinks she knew she was dealing with a Neville, in Richard, and not a fellow Beaufort cousin, as she was with Edward… just my crackpot theory of the week, Viscountessw.

    You do royall rants, I do crackpot theories!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Not so crackpot! There’s always good logic in there. As for my rants…you should see how my teeth are worn down from all the gnashing! 😬

    Liked by 1 person

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