The Life of Lambert Simnel
Lambert Simnel was an important figure in the history of England during the late 15th century. He is primarily known for his role in the “War of the Roses,” which was a series of civil wars fought between the House of Lancaster and the House of York for control of the English throne. Lambert Simnel claimed to be the rightful heir to the English throne, and his story is one of intrigue and deception.
Lambert Simnel was born in Oxford, England in the late 1470s. Little is known about his early life, but it is believed that he was the son of a carpenter. At the age of around ten, he became a servant in the household of Richard Symonds, a priest who was also a member of the Yorkist faction.
The Claim to the Throne
In 1487, a conspiracy was hatched by several prominent Yorkists to overthrow King Henry VII, who had taken the throne after defeating Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. The conspirators believed that the rightful heir to the throne was Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick, who was the son of Edward IV’s brother, George, Duke of Clarence. However, the real Warwick was imprisoned in the Tower of London, so the conspirators needed to find someone to impersonate him.
Enter Lambert Simnel. The conspirators chose Simnel because of his striking resemblance to Warwick, and they trained him in the ways of the court and the royal family. They then spread rumors that Warwick had escaped from the Tower of London and was rallying support to reclaim the throne.
The plot culminated in June 1487 when the conspirators put Simnel forward as the real Warwick and gathered a small army of supporters. The Yorkist army met the king’s forces at the Battle of Stoke Field on June 16, 1487. The battle was hard-fought, but ultimately the king’s forces emerged victorious. Simnel was captured and taken to London.
King Henry VII, recognizing that Simnel had been used as a pawn in the larger conspiracy, showed mercy to him. Instead of having him executed, he put him to work in the royal kitchens as a spit-turner. Simnel eventually rose through the ranks and became a falconer, a prestigious position at court. He even participated in the coronation of Henry’s son, Henry VIII.
Simnel’s story ends somewhat mysteriously. It is believed that he died sometime around 1525, but there is no record of how or where he died.
Lambert Simnel is an interesting figure in English history because he represents the intrigue and deception that were so common during the Wars of the Roses. His story also demonstrates the importance of propaganda and public opinion in the struggle for power. While his rebellion was ultimately unsuccessful, it shows how easily the people of England could be swayed by rumours and stories.
Today, Lambert Simnel is primarily remembered as a footnote in English history, but his story serves as a reminder of the tumultuous times that preceded the Tudor dynasty and the importance of propaganda and public opinion in shaping the course of history.
The House of York during the Wars of the Roses (Article about the key figures in the House of York)
The House of Lancaster during the Wars of the Roses (Article about the key figures in the House of Lancaster)
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