| Our Island Story|
|by H. E. Marshall|
|A child's history of England from earliest legendary times delightfully retold. Beginning with the stories of Albion and Brutus, it relates all the interesting legends and hero tales in which the history of England abounds through the end of the reign of Queen Victoria. Ages 9-12 |
HENRY VII.—THE STORY OF ANOTHER MAKE-BELIEVE PRINCE
 A FEW years after the rebellion of Lambert Simnel there was
another which lasted longer and was more serious.
A second handsome boy, even more handsome, gay, and princely
than Lambert Simnel, landed in Ireland. He was, he said,
Richard, Duke of York, the younger of the two little princes
who had been smothered in the Tower, by order of their uncle
It was quite true, he said, that his brother, Edward V., had
been killed, but the wicked murderers had not been cruel
enough to kill them both, and he had been saved. For seven
years he had been wandering about the world from place to
place. Now he had come to claim his own again and take the
throne from Henry.
This story was not true. The boy's real name was Perkin
Warbeck, but, like Lambert Simnel, he had been taught to
tell these lies by the enemies of Henry, who hoped in this
way to drive him from the throne.
Although the Irish had already been deceived once, they
believed Perkin Warbeck, and many people promised to help
him. The French king, who was quarrelling with Henry, invited
him to come to France. There he was kindly treated, and more
help was promised to him. But Henry, who always avoided war
when he could,
 made peace with France. And the French King,
although he would not betray Perkin to the English king,
sent him out of France.
When he was obliged to leave the French court, Perkin went
to Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy. This lady was a sister of
Edward IV., she hated Henry VII. So much that she was glad
to hurt or annoy him when she could. She had helped Lambert
Simnel, and now she welcomed Perkin as her nephew. She said
that he was very like his supposed father, Edward IV., and
she called him the White Rose of England.
Just as Henry had taken trouble to prove that Lambert Simnel
was a false earl, now he took trouble to prove that Perkin
was a false prince. He sent spies to the places where Perkin
had been born and had lived till now, and made sure that he
was really Perkin or Peterkin Warbeck. Then he found the two
men who had killed the Princes in the Tower. They confessed
to the murder, but they were not punished for it, perhaps
because Henry thought they had not been so much to blame as
Richard III. who had made them do it.
But in spite of all this, many people believed in Perkin.
The king of Scotland—not that King who had been kept
prisoner for such a long time in England—believed in him
so much that he not only helped him with soldiers, but
married him to his cousin, a beautiful lady called Catherine
Like Lambert Simnel, Perkin was crowned and his followers
called him Richard IV. The rebellion went on for about five
years. Battles were fought now and again, but Perkin was
never successful. His beautiful wife, Catherine, went
everywhere with him. She at least believed in him and loved
At last, hearing that the men of Cornwall were angry
 with the King because he had taxed them too heavily, Perkin
decided to try his fortune there. He landed in Cornwall,
left his beautiful wife at St. Michael's Mount, where she
might be safe, and marched to besiege Exeter. But the people
of Exeter were true to the King and would not yield. So
Perkin grew tired of besieging a town which would not yield
and he marched away to Taunton.
There, hearing that Henry was coming against him with a
great army, he took fright and ran away in the night.
Next morning, when Perkin's poor soldier's woke up and found
that they had lost their leader, they had no heart to fight.
Some of them ran away like Perkin, others gave themselves
up, begging the King to forgive them. They were all gathered
together in a churchyard at Exeter, their heads and their
feet bare and ropes around their necks. King Henry came to a
great window and looked down upon them. When the people saw
him, they all fell upon their knees begging for pardon.
There were so many of them that the King could not punish
all. So he spoke to them and, warning them not to rebel
again, said he would forgive them all except the ringleaders
who should be put to death.
Then with a great cry of rejoicing and thanks the people
threw the ropes from their necks and went to their homes.
Henry sent to St. Michael's Mount for the Lady Catherine,
Perkin's beautiful wife and when she was brought before him,
blushing and trembling and fearful of the rough soldiers,
the King felt so sorry for her that he treated her as a
royal guest. He gave her a guard of honour and sent her to
London to the court of his Queen Elizabeth.
 There she lived for many years, loved and admired for her
beauty and her gentleness. She was so lovely that she was
called the White Rose of England, the name which the Duchess
of Burgundy had given to her cowardly husband.
Meanwhile Perkin had taken sanctuary at a place called
Beaulieu. Henry would not seize him while he remained in
sanctuary, but he kept such a close watch that Perkin could
find no way of escape, and at last gave himself up.
Henry would not see nor speak with Perkin, but made him ride
in his train to London. When they arrived there, all the
people came out into the streets to see the wonderful man
who had pretended to be a prince, and who had made people
believe in him for so many years.
Perkin was even more fortunate than Lambert Simnel had been.
He was neither put in prison nor was he made a servant. He
was allowed to live at court like a gentleman, although
there were guards always with him who had orders never to
lose sight of him.
Perkin might have spent the rest of his life in peace but he
soon grew tired of being watched and one day he managed to
run away. But he did not run very far. Henry's soldiers were
too quick for him and once more Perkin gave himself up.
This time Henry punished Perkin by putting him into the stocks
for two whole days, first at Westminster and then at
Cheapside. He also made him read a paper aloud, in which he
confessed that the story he had told was not true and that
he was not the Duke of York.
In those days people were often punished by being put in the
stocks. They had to sit in a very uncomfortable position
with their feet through holes in a board. It was
uncomfortable and painful also, and was considered a great
 disgrace. Little boys, and grown up people too, used to hoot
and yell at those in the stocks and pelt them with mud,
rotten eggs, and other disagreeable things.
After Perkin Warbeck had been in the stocks for two days
Henry shut him up in the Tower. There he met the Earl of
Warwick—the real earl, not Lambert Simnel.
These two prisoners were allowed to talk together, and soon
they formed a plot to kill the Governor of the Tower, and
escape. But the plot was found out and that put an end to
Perkin Warbeck, for Henry, thinking that he was too
dangerous to be allowed to live any longer, ordered his head
to be cut off.
The poor Earl of Warwick was also put to death. This was a
needless and cruel act, for the earl alone was too simple to
harm any one. Indeed he was so ignorant of the world and the
things in it, that it was said he did not know the
difference between a hen and a goose.
Except for the wars which these pretenders, Perkin Warbeck
and Lambert Simnel caused, the reign of Henry VII. was very
peaceful. One reason for that was that Henry was greedy, and
he knew that wars cost a great deal of money. Once indeed he
got money from the people in order to make war against the
French, but as soon as he got it he made peace and kept the
money for himself. The people were very angry, but Henry as
a King was far more powerful than the Plantagenets had ever
been and the people had to submit.
One reason why the Tudors were such powerful kings was that,
during the Wars of the Roses, nearly all the nobles were
killed. The King took all the money and lands which had
belonged to these dead nobles, and so he became very rich.
Being rich he did not need to ask Parliament for grants of
money, so the people became less powerful. Indeed during a
great part of Henry's
 reign he called no Parliament, which
shows how much he had of his own way.
About this time two very wonderful things happened which
made a great difference throughout the world. One was the
discovery of printing. The other was the discovery of
Up to the time of Edward IV. books had all been written by
hand, and they were so dear that only a few rich people
could buy them. But, when a clever man called Caxton brought
the art of printing to England, books became cheaper, and
people began to think more about learning and less about
Then Columbus discovered America. That, too, made people
think less about fighting, for they gave up quarrelling about
little bits of the Old World and turned their thoughts to
exploring the wonders of the New World, as Columbus called
the land he discovered.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics