Britain 1487-1489

In depth study into Britain 1483-1529.

This section is on

  • Threats to the throne
  • Pretenders
  • Rebellions
  • Lambert Simnel
  • The Lovell rebellion
  • The Battle of Stoke

Pretenders, threats and rebellion

Threats to Henry VII

  • The new King had no choice but to be reliant upon undependable nobles
  • Intervention of foreign powers meant threats could be disastrous
  • After all, Henry VII himself had been a usurper
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Yorkist threats

  • Yorkists Henry VII was concerned about were
    - John de la Pole (Richard III's heir)
    - Elizabeth of York's siblings
  • Henry VII was also concerned about foreign support for Yorkists
  • Foreign superpowers could have a lot to gain from supporting Yorkist threats
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The Lovell rebellion

  • The Lovell rebellion lasted the Easter of 1486
  • Minor nobles, who had prospered under Richard III, led the rebellion
  • These nobles were
    - Viscount Lovell
    - The Stafford Brothers
  • They had reemerged from sanctuary to overthrow Henry Tudor
  • The rebellion was unsuccessful however
  • Humphrey Stafford was executed
  • Thomas Stafford was pardoned
  • Viscount Lovell fled to Flanders
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Impact from Lovell's rebellion

  • After Lovell's rebellion Henry VII changed the rules of sanctuary
  • Sanctuary was now not possible in cases of treason
  • Yorkists also learnt that to overthrow Henry VII a Yorkist Prince was needed
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Lambert Simnel

  • Lambert Simnel was taught in Oxford by Richard Simons
  • During the end of 1486 and into 1487 he posed as a threat to Henry VII
  • Lambert Simnel was a pretender claiming to be Edward VI
  • Anglo-Irish nobles accepted this claim and crowned Lambert as King Edward VI in Dublin
  • The Earl of Kildare was originally Yorkist position and so Lambert Simnel found support from him in Ireland

(NOTE: The Earl of Kildare at this time was Gerald Fitzgerald)

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The King's response to Lambert Simnel

  • Henry VII was aware of the young pretender before his coronation in Ireland
  • Upon hearing of his coronation though, Henry VII paraded the real Earl of Warwick in London, proving Lamber Simnel was a fake
  • Elizabeth Woodville had estates taken from her and sent to a nunnery to ensure her loyalty to the Tudor King
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The Earl of Lincoln

  • Lincoln was an important member on Henry VII's counsel
  • The King had not suspected that Lincoln was a traitor
  • Before The King could find out, the Earl fled to Burgundy to join other Yorkist nobles
  • In Burgundy, Yorkist, English nobles had fled to safety under Margaret of Burgundy
  • Margaret of Burgundy was sister of Richard III and Edward IV and was anti-Tudor
  • She gave support and sanctuary to the Yorkist nobles and helped form a rebellion
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The Battle of Stoke

  • The Lambert Simnel pretender threat developed into an open rebellion
  • The Earl of Lincoln and other Yorkist/Ricardian nobles, such as Viscount Lovell, advanced to the Battle of Stoke after the coronation of Lambert Simnel
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The rebels advance to the Battle of Stoke

  • The rebels landed in the North
  • Henry VII had been able to predict this
  • Landing in the North and travelling South meant that the rebels could pass through Ricardian/Yorkist towns and recruit supporters
  • They avoided hostile towns and sent letters to important nobles in York, asking for support
  • The Earl of Lincoln had decided on a battle plan
    - Keep the rebel forces moving at all times
    - Keep morale high amongst the rebels
    - Avoid resentment amongst nobles
  • However this battle plan left no time for recruiting enough supporters
  • The Earl of Lincoln had already pre chosen a battle ground that would benefit his smaller army
  • The rebels therefore, advanced in a way that lead the King's army straight to it
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Early defeat

  • Lancastrian nobles had positioned themselves with armies, ready to fight of the advancing nobles
  • However, no Lancastrian noble was able to defeat the rebels
  • When news of these Lancastrian defeats reached York, York declared their support for the pretender
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Henry VII's response to the rebels

  • Henry VII had also decided upon a battle plan
  • The Duke of Bedford (Jasper Tudor) commanded the King's army
  • The Earl of Warwick commanded the King's Vanguard
  • The Stanley's commanded the King's reserve
  • Both Bedford and Warwick were trustworthy and loyal to Tudor
  • However, the Stanley's loyalty was unclear
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Before the Battle

  • Henry VII was unaware of the size and power of the rebel army
  • It had been reported that the King was so unsure of victory, he almost anticipated certain defeat
    - He feared that Lincoln had made secret pacts with members of the Tudor nobility
    - He feared that the Stanley's would command the King's reserve in favour of the Yorkists
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The King's Army

  • Consisted of
    - 15'000 men
    - Important nobles
    - Minor nobles
    - Experienced Knights
    - Billmen
    - Skilful archers

(NOTE: Billmen were warriors trained to used a bill which is similar to a pike or javelin)

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The rebels army

  • Consisted of
    - 8'000 men
    - Irish soldiers
    - Major Yorkist nobles
    - German Mercenaries
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The Battle of Stoke

  • 16th of June 1487
  • Victory was Henry VII's because
    - The King's army were equipped with more advanced weapons
    - The King's commanders (especially Earl of Oxford) were more experienced and able to hold off attacks
    - The Irish majority of the rebel army were under-equipt, easy to attack and used predated tactics
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After the battle

  • The Earl of Lincoln and the Irish Earl of Kildare were killed during combat
  • Viscount Lovell was also presumed to have been killed, although his body was never identified
  • The pretender Lambert Simnel was captured
  • German mercenaries were deported
  • Socially insignificant English nobles were hung
  • Any surviving Irishmen were hung
  • Important noble rebells were spared and ordered to pay bonds instead

(NOTE: A large sum of money was agreed between the offender and the King. The money did not have to be paid if the offender stayed loyal and behaved well.)

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