Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Top Ten Medieval Pretenders

Perkin Warbeck is the most infamous. I have never heard of some of the others. From Medievalists.net:
A more serious threat to Henry’s reign came in 1490, when a young named Perkin Warbeck claimed to be the real Richard of Shrewsbury. This man spent most of his time in mainland Europe, where he convinced the King of France and the Holy Roman Emperor that he indeed was the long lost son of Edward IV.

Starting in 1495 he made three invasions of England, including one with a Scottish army, but all of them failed quickly. In his third and final invasion, Warbeck managed to recruit 6000 men to his cause, but once he heard that Henry VII’s royal army was closing in on him, he abandoned his troops and was captured while trying to flee. He was eventually brought to London, where he was “paraded through the streets on horseback amid much hooting and derision of the citizens”.

Perkin spent a couple of years in the Tower of London, where he made a confession that explained he was actually Flemish. Some historians still believe that Perkin Warbeck was the real Richard of Shrewsbury, and that his confession (made under coercion at the very least) was false. Whoever he really was, he only survived until 1499, when he was hanged. (Read more.)

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