A Keighley man, Jimmy Vaughan, has traced his ancestry back to the Sir Thomas Vaughan who was executed at Pontefract Castle on June 25 1483 for opposing Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who was by right of his late brother’s request, Lord Protector of England. Of course, Sir Thomas was one of the multitude of three who lost their heads at Richard’s command. But then, if he hadn’t committed treason, his head would have been secure. You can read about it here.
Sir Thomas, along with Sir Anthony Woodville and Sir Richard Grey, were bringing Edward V back to London from Ludlow on the death of Edward IV. It would seem they were part of the Woodville plot to get the new boy king to the capital and have him crowned before Richard, then Duke of Gloucester, could assume his role (appointed by the dying Edward IV) as Lord Protector. The idea was to seize power for the Woodvilles through the new king during his minority . . . and beyond. Goodbye, Richard, Duke of Gloucester.
As we all know, Richard intercepted them, realised what was afoot, and dealt with them all. Why he should be damned through history as a virtual mass murderer for this is beyond me. It’s clear to everyone that his, Richard’s, days were numbered once the Woodville had power. Why he should be expected to treat them with kid gloves is a mystery. Off with their heads, and rightly so.
But I’m glad for Jimmy Vaughan of Keighley. It isn’t everyone’s privilege to be able to go to an actual site where one’s distant forebear can be placed on a specific day in history. It doesn’t really matter why that forebear was there, it’s the almost tangible link to the past that really counts.
Heaven knows who was among my forebears. Probably best not to know. Let me keep my fantasies!