Perkin Warbeck

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Perkin Warbeck (c. 1474 – 23 November 1499) was a pretender to the English Throne who claimed to be Richard of Shrewsbury, one of the 2 princes in the tower, the other being Edward V (2 November 1470 - c. July 1483). They were presumably murdered by Richard III (possibly propaganda).

Due to the uncertainty as to whether Richard had died (either of some natural cause or from having been murdered in the Tower of London) or whether he had somehow survived, Warbeck's claim gained some support. Followers may have truly believed Warbeck was Richard, or may have supported him simply because of their desire to overthrow the reigning king, Henry VII, and reclaim the throne. Given the lack of knowledge regarding Richard's fate, and having received support outside England, Warbeck emerged as a significant threat to the newly established Tudor dynasty; Henry declared Warbeck an impostor.

Dealing with Warbeck cost Henry VII over £13,000 (equivalent to £10,301,000 in 2019), putting a strain on Henry's weak state finances.

He was well received by James IV (Overthrew James III at Sauchieburn in 1488) and James IV helped him attempt to claim the throne, he later wanted him gone so James provided him with a ship called The Cuckoo. Horses were hired for 30 of Perkin's companions to ride to the ship at Ayr on 5 July 1497. Perkin pawned a horse for cash in Ayr and sailed to Waterford in shame. James IV made peace with England by signing the Treaty of Ayton at St Dionysius's Church in Ayton in Berwickshire. Once again Perkin attempted to lay siege to Waterford, but this time his effort lasted only eleven days before he was forced to flee Ireland, chased by four English ships. According to some sources, by this time he was left with only 120 men on two ships.

Warbeck was initially treated well by Henry. As soon as he confessed to being an impostor, he was released from the Tower of London, and was given accommodation at Henry's court. He was even allowed to be present at royal banquets. He was, however, kept under guard and was not allowed to sleep with his wife, who was living under the protection of the queen.

After eight months at court, Warbeck tried to escape. He was quickly recaptured. He was then held in the Tower, initially in solitary confinement, and later alongside Edward Plantagenet, 17th Earl of Warwick; the two tried to escape in 1499. Captured once again, Warbeck was led from the Tower to Tyburn, London on 23 November 1499, where he read out a confession and was hanged. Warbeck's Irish ally John Atwater was also executed at Tyburn on the same day. The Earl of Warwick was beheaded on Tower Hill on 28 November 1499.