Lambert Simnel 1477 – 1534

 

Lambert Simnel, Pretender to the throneLambert Simnel, born in around 1477, was a boy of ten when he was put forward by the leaders of the House of York as Edward, Earl of Warwick, the son of Edward IV’s younger brother, George Duke of Clarence.

Simnel’s father may have been an organ maker, joiner or baker who had his son educated by Richard Symonds, a priest from Oxford, a committed Yorkist who opposed Henry VII’s place on the throne. It was Symonds who came up with the idea to try to have Simnel accepted as the Earl of Warwick after noting that the boy had some likeness to Edward IV. To improve the chances of the ruse being believed, Symonds put about the rumour that the Earl of Warwick had escaped imprisonment in the Tower of London.

Symonds decided that Simnel should begin his challenge to the throne in Ireland because the Irish had traditionally supported the Yorkists. The Earl of Kildare was convinced and Lambert was crowned King Edward VI in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin on 24th May 1487. Lambert was also supported by Edward IV’s daughter, the duchess of Burgundy who sent an army of around 2,000 to Dublin to support his cause.

On 4th June 1487 Lambert’s army, led by John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, landed at Furness in Lancashire and began to march towards London. Meanwhile Henry mustered his army and marched north. The two armies met at Stoke near Newark. The Battle of Stoke lasted around 3 hours and although Lambert’s force had some early success, they were no match for Henry’s army and nearly half of Lambert’s army were killed.

Richard Symonds, the orchestrator of the rebellion, was imprisoned for life. Henry knew that Simnel had been an innocent pawn in the scheme and put him to work in the royal kitchen. He later became Henry VII’s falconer. He died in 1534.

 

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