|Lambert Simnel in Ireland|
Back in the 15th century communications were not as good as they are now and there was certainly no global news flashing information across the miles in seconds. For information on the events happening in these tumultuous years, we need to rely on the chroniclers of the time, many of whom were writing years after the event. It is also worth bearing in mind that history tends to favour the victors and these chroniclers were writing for a Tudor monarchy. There are several chronicles that cover this period of Henry VII’s reign and they all give out conflicting information about the youth crowned in Dublin, as some say he was a genuine pretender and some say he was an imposter. The chronicle written closest to the event was that of Jean Molinet in 1490 and Molinet stated that the Irish King was the real Earl of Warwick. The story of Lambert Simnel most commonly used today comes from Polydore Vergil’s ‘Anglica Historia’ written between 1503 and 1513 which puts forward the belief that Lambert Simnel was a counterfeit Earl of Warwick. Then Bernard Andre wrote a life of Henry VII in 1500 that stated that Lambert Simnel was an impersonator of Richard, Duke of York, one of the Princes in the Tower.
|Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin where Simnel was crowned|
Henry VII, who had already developed a good intelligence network, was made aware of these developments and started raising his army. Henry’s trump card of course is that he knew full well that the real Earl of Warwick was still alive and well in the Tower of London. As a grand PR stunt and to persuade his nobles, he had the Earl of Warwick released from the Tower. Warwick was then led in procession from the Tower to St Pauls and taken to the royal palace at Sheen where he could be seen regularly and conversed with by the members of the court. There is also conjecture that Lambert Simnel could have been the real Earl of Warwick and that the lad imprisoned in the Tower was the imposter. Warwick would not have been well known at Court as he had been kept at Sheriff Hutton Castle in Yorkshire before Bosworth and then kept in the Tower of London by Henry. Remember, in those days there were no photos to match people to and even painted portraits were not reliable likenesses. The Earl of Lincoln, who was related to the real Warwick, was thought to have been in contact with this supposed Warwick during his time at Sheen. It could be telling that it was after this meeting that Lincoln fled to Burgundy, as he would have surely recognised his cousin, and maybe he saw that this youth was not Warwick but an imposter?
|King Henry VII|