Lambert Simnel 1477 – 1534


Lambert Simnel, Pretender to the throneEarly Years

Lambert Simnel was born around 1477. It is thought that his father was either an organ maker, a joiner or a baker. Lambert was educated by Richard Symonds, a priest from Oxford who was a committed Yorkist. He also opposed Henry VII’s place on the throne. Richard Symonds thought that Simnel looked like Edward, Earl of Warwick and hatched a plan.

Pretender to the Throne

In 1487, the leaders of the House of York put Lambert forward as Edward, Earl of  Warwick. Warwick, the son of Edward IV’s younger brother, George Duke of Clarence, was imprisoned in the Tower of London. The Yorkists spread the rumour that Warwick had escaped to make Lambert’s claim plausable.


The challenge to the throne began in Ireland because the Irish traditionally supported the House of York. The Earl of Kildare was convinced that Lambert was the Earl of Warwick and supported his claim. Lambert was crowned King Edward VI in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin on 24th May 1487. Edward IV’s daughter, the Duchess of Burgundy, also believed Lambert’s claim and sent an army of around 2,000 to Dublin to support his cause.

Battle of Stoke

Lambert and his army, led by John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, landed at Furness in Lancashire on 4th June 1487. They marched towards London. Meanwhile, Henry VII mustered his army and marched north.

The two armies met at Stoke near Newark on 16th June. The battle lasted around three hours and although Lambert’s force had some early successes, they were no match for Henry’s army and were easily beaten. Nearly half  Lambert’s soldiers were killed.


Richard Symonds was sentenced to life imprisonment. 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 and died in 1534.



Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2019). Lambert Simnel 1477 – 1534 Available: Last accessed April 6th, 2020