Thou shalt not spread porkies….


“….[A] proclamation to tackle unrest, 1487… stated that any person found to be spreading rumours was to be put into the pillory….  (from this  site )

Oh dear, Henry VII didn’t like doses of his own medicine! I speak of rumours and lies. What’s the word….? Um, calumny. That’s it. You know, the rumours and porky-pies Henry’s creatures spread so thickly about Richard. Well, what a surprise. Henry was displeased when his own reign was subjected to the same treatment.

Still, I suppose he would indeed fear calumny, because he and his secret police were past masters at heaping it upon Richard III. Oh, chortle, chortle, it was such fun and so damned successful! But, um, wait a tick, now the tables were being turned and that was entirely different.

In 1487, faced with the same variety of rumours and lies to which he himself had subjected Richard in 1483-85, out came a proclamation. A fairly mild one, admittedly. I’m sure that if he thought he could get away with it, he’d have executed everyone who spoke out of turn, but he wasn’t yet sure enough of his hold on the throne, so for the time being he doesn’t seem to have gone further than the pillory for the crime of spreading whispers.

In public, at least, he went no further. What went on behind the scenes is another matter. The Tudors ruled over nothing short of a police state! He eventually became more bloodthirsty publicly, of course, and did away with the likes of Richard’s son John of Gloucester, and George of Clarence’s son, the Earl of Warwick.

Of course Henry’s own horrific son, Henry VIII, outdid his father when it came to lopping off heads left, right and centre. He had a whale of a time and I don’t want to hear any sympathetic whining about a nasty accident, falling on his head, etc. He was just a vile tyrant. The Tudors were indeed an unpleasant lot, even refining the exceedingly unchivalrous art of beheading women. I imagine Henry VII’s mother felt decidedly uncomfortable, because she’d certainly conspired against Richard, who’d been a far greater man than her worm of a son. If Richard hadn’t been a greater man, her head too would have rolled into that bloody basket.

Throughout his reign Henry VII remained uncertain of his tenure of the crown. Good. He had no born right to it and was only king through treachery. Many Yorkists went over to the Tudor Dark Side, and some of them regretted it (I’m thinking Sir William Stanley) and lost their head accordingly, but Henry knew the realm was also seething with Yorkists who’d remained loyal to Richard. So of course the usurper had the jitters about rumours and good old porky-pies that pointed fingers at him.

It’s believed he suffered agonies of persecution and guilt. Good. I hope he never had another decent night’s sleep. And that when he went down to Satan’s lair, his existence was punctuated with endless sharp prods from a pitchfork.



  1. I agree about your wish for eternal torment & guilt for Henry VII. Also hope Henry VIII & Bloody Mary met the same fate. Not a big fan of Elizabeth I either but she looks good compared to the earlier rotten Tudors.


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