Little Bits of History

Pretender

Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 23, 2014
Perkin Warbeck

Perkin Warbeck

November 23, 1499: Perkin Warbeck dies. Little is known for certain about his early life. His own account is most certainly inaccurate. He presented himself to English Court as Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, younger son of King Edward IV. In 1497, he was captured and interrogated with King Henry VII in attendance. The captured man confessed, probably with additional inaccuracies, to have been the son of John Osbeck or Jehan de Werbecque. Osbeck was Flemish and comptroller of the city of Tournai. His mother, Katherine de Faro, was married to Osbeck. Research into municipal archives of Tournai show evidence of most of the people Warbeck claimed to be related to.

His mother brought him to Holland around age ten to learn Dutch and he was taught by several masters of the region before gaining employment with an English merchant, John Strewe. Warbeck longed for world travel and was hired by another merchant who brought the younger man to Cork, Ireland in 1491 and there he learned to speak English. Warbeck claimed that some Yorkists living in Cork offered him the honor of being a member of the Royal House of York as they were intent on gaining revenge on the King of England. They plotted to have Warbeck make his claim to the throne.

Warbeck’s first claim to the British throne came at the court of Burgundy in 1490. His back story was that his brother, Edward V had been murdered while the younger brother was spared because of his youth and innocence. He was forced at the time to swear himself to silence for “a certain number of years”. Between 1483 and 1490, according to his story, he had lived on the continent under protection of Yorkist loyalists with his main guardian being Sir Edward Brampton who returned to England and left the “Duke of York” free. In 1491 while in Ireland, Warbeck found little support and was forced to return to mainland Europe.

Eventually, Warbeck was officially recognized as Richard of Shrewsbury by Margaret of York, the widow of Charles the Bold and the sister of Edward IV. It is unknown as to whether or not Margaret truly believed the pretender or just wanted to support his cause. Warbeck landed in England in July 1495 and most of his small army were killed before he could get off his ship. He did receive support from James IV of Scotland. Warbeck once again tried to take England in 1497 but was again unsuccessful. He was arrested and initially treated well by King Henry. After his confession to being an imposter, he was released from the Tower of London. He was kept under guard at the King’s court and when he fled, he was quickly recaptured. Warbeck publicly confessed and was hanged at Tyburn on this date.

In the past, people were born royal. Nowadays, royalty comes from what you do. – Gianni Versace

Your part can be the king, but unless people are treating you like royalty, you ain’t no king, man. – Jeff Bridges

Upper class to me means you are either born into wealth or you’re Royalty. – Benedict Cumberbatch

When Religion and Royalty are swept away, the people will attack the great, and after the great, they will fall upon the rich. – Honore de Balzac

Also on this day: Healthy Hearts – In 1964, the first coronary bypass graft surgery was performed by Dr. Michael DeBakey.
Censorship – In 1644, John Milton wrote about freedom of the press.
Hijacked – In 1985, EgyptAir Flight 648 was hijacked.
Why Thespians? – In 534 BC, Thespis won an entertainment contest in Athens.

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