Perkin Warbeck

Topics: Henry VII of England, Edward IV of England, Perkin Warbeck Pages: 6 (2487 words) Published: April 14, 2013
What were the Cause and Consequences of Perkin Warbeck in 1489-99 in the reign of Henry VII and to what extent did it pose a problem or threat to the Crown. Perkin Warbeck was extremely interesting character, who’s period of as a pretender is looked at with much diversity. In a sense to understand him we have to look at many different areas and the different sections of his activities to see if he can be labelled a true threat. We are going to look at the true effect of Warbeck to the Tudor dynasty and analyse his different actions to see the consequences of him, and how he emerged in the first place. First we are going to look at how Warbeck managed to rise in the first place. As the story goes, he was working for a cloth merchant from Flanders and arrived in Cork where he was showing off the goods. When people saw how finely dressed he was, they immediately took upon him and told him that he was the ‘Earl of Warwick’, who was Edward IV’s great nephew. However knowing that this threat could easily be tackled by Henry VII who had the actual Earl of Warwick in the tower of London, he quickly changed his identity to Richard, Duke of York. This is where it becomes a threat to Henry, with a very weak claim to the throne himself, a Duke of York imposter would be highly difficult to disprove as the priest who had buried the bodies of the children was dead so could not justify their identity. In reality, the plot had probably been pre planned by Margaret of Burgundy, who looked to avenge Richard III, her brother. With it being established that Warbeck had a secure (In the minds of many people at the time anyway) claim to the throne, he could begin his conquests in attempt to take England from the Tudors. We must now look at the ever important aspect of his supporters. For any true Pretender, they must have a secure backing from other Kings if they wished to fund and organise any true rebellion. He initially had several different countries looking to support him. Charles VIII of France was looking to cause some disruptions in England so he called Warbeck and 100 York sympathisers gathered in France to discuss the potential use of Warbeck. However France was not completely dedicated and quickly lost interest with other projects in Italy in which he invaded. Also the Treaty of Etaples was drawn up and agreed in 1492 which eliminated the tensions between France and England. However the more significant supporter was Margaret of Burgundy. She was Edward IV and Richard III’s sister and regardless of the marriage between Henry Tudor and Mary of York, she still hated the Tudor dynasty and supported and Yorkist plot opportunities which rose, such as Simnel. When Margaret saw Warbeck’s potential she took her ‘nephew’ under her wing, and taught him the ways of being a Prince and informed him of all the essential things that Richard would know, such as events of his father’s court. At this point Perkin Warbeck had become a real threat to Henry because he had the main supporter of Yorkists, Margaret, supplying him with money and favour, which would give him the ability to rally other Yorkist supporters. With this support Warbeck was a serious threat to Henry’s throne. We can see how seriously Henry took this as in 1493 he cut off all trade with Flanders, which would show his hospitality to the action Margaret was taking. Margaret can be seen as the main cause of Perkin Warbeck because of the support she showed him and if Margaret had not funded him in the first place or taken him under her wing and used her influence, he many have never had any chance of threatening the crown.

Margaret also used her influence to win Warbeck supporters in other areas, including the recognition of The Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian, who was “on paper was the most powerful man in Europe”(historylearningsite), as he controlled large quantities of land. However he had been having problems with controlling his own empire so was in no real position to challenge...
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