Reblogged from A Medieval Potpourri


The Last Stand of Martin Schwartz and his German Mercenaries at the Battle of Stoke Field 16th June 1487.  Unknown artist Cassell’s Century Edition History of England c.1901.

Dublin, Ireland 24th May 1487.    A young lad is crowned King of England and France and Lord of Ireland in Christ Church Cathedral by the last remaining diehard Yorkist rebels and leading Irish nobles.  As the coronation regalia was out of reach at Westminster, London, they enterprisingly utilised a crown from a statue of the Virgin Mary.  From the very get go there is confusion as to whether he was crowned Edward V or Edward VI but the consensus of opinions lean towards the latter.   Who this young lad was has baffled historians ever since not helped by the fact that the very people that crowned him annoyingly changed their minds over who they were actually crowning – was it Richard of Shrewsbury or Edward Earl of Warwick?  Perhaps Richard can be ruled out swiftly because the heralds of the time addressed the Dublin King as Edward. However there is no confusion as to whom the actual  ‘suspects’ in the case were though being :

Richard of Shrewsbury, youngest son of Edward IV

Edward,  Earl of Warwick, George Duke of Clarence’s son

Edward eldest son of the late Edward IV, who had been for a short time Edward V.

 Lambert Simnel the young boy whom the rebellion became named after.  Let’s take a look at them one by one.  


The choir Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin scene of the ‘Dublin King’s’ Coronation..Photo with thanks to Diliff – own work.  


It was Richard, born 17 August 1473,  who for a while was first named as the new king.  He was of course the youngest of Edward IV’s sons and had disappeared in 1483 with his brother, Edward V, from the Tower of London.  Their story has been told many times and is so well known I won’t  go into it here.  It being put forward that Richard was  the new king  was speedily abandoned and Warwick named in his stead.  Can we rule out for sure that Richard was not the newly crowned king?  Probably but nothing is entirely certain in this foggy story much of it written in the early reign of the first Tudor king.   Did Richard survive the cataclysmic outcome of Stoke  and make his way  to Burgundy to the safe haven that was the court of his aunt, the indomitable Margaret of Burgundy? Did he then go on to morph into Perkin Warbeck to try yet again to gain the throne that had been lost to the Tudors?  

Edward, Earl of Clarence.

 Edward b.25 February 1475, replaced Richard as being identified as the new king.  In the aftermath of the death of his mother, Isobel Neville,daughter of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick,  on the 22 December 1476, his father George,  Duke of Clarence,  may have taken off to Ireland for several weeks (1). He had put the death of his wife and their baby son squarely down to their having  been poisoned.   He was later accused, in the Act of Attainder against him,  of instructing friends and allies namely Abbot John Strensham of Tewkesbury, one of his son’s Godfathers,  John Tapton and Roger Harewell to aid him in getting the two year old out of England and to safety,  Ireland being one of the very places thought of as a possible haven.  This was to be achieved by the three men bringing a small boy to Warwick Castle to take the place of the true son of Clarence. Meanwhile another man, John Taylour was instructed to collect the real Edward in preparation of getting him out of England.    Tapton and Harewell under interrogation, whatever form that took, would deny that they had handed the child over.  Well they would wouldn’t they and their denials in the circumstances really don’t amount to much.  It is not known whether Taylour too denied whether he had carried out his part of the plan and indeed may have even been out of the country and not available for questioning (2).

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