Friday, 30 January 2009

Parkin Windbreak... Alianore Audley called him.

Yes, I know I messing up the orderly progression through the 15th Century by mentioning the fellow, but then again, I never promised that this Blog would be orderly, did I? Fact is I've been re-reading Anne Wroe's marvellous book, Perkin and I'd love to be able to say, 'Truly, this man was the Duke of York' or even, as second-best, 'Truly, this man was not the Duke of York.' But I can't honestly do either. I haven't a clue who he was, and frankly, I don't think Henry VII did either.

One thing that is clear though is that Sir William Stanley and John Ratcliffe, Lord Fitzwalter, believed it was possible 'Perkin' was Edward IV's son. Now these men were no fools or hot-headed youths, and certainly they had not been supporters of Richard III. Nor were they 'outs' in a political sense - Stanley for example, was Henry VII's Lord Chamberlain. They had a lot to lose, and they lost it all, by gambling on the chance that Richard Duke of York was alive and capable of toppling the government.

Another thing that occurs to me is that 'Perkin', if not York, must have been one hell of an actor. Even in these days it wouldn't be easy for a working class foreigner to pass convincingly as a British royal. In the 15th Century it would have been many multiples of times harder. I think at a minimum 'Perkin' must have been brought up in or around a court. As for the allegation he was 'forcibly' taught English while a stranger in Ireland - well, LOL is all I can say. I was 'forcibly' taught French at school, but I doubt anyone would mistake me for a French aristo.

A fascinating mystery...


Lynn Irwin Stewart said...

It is fascinating -- and something we'll probably never know for sure unless something surfaces which hasn't been seen before -- and I doubt that will happen...but it never know what folks have hidden in their attics!

Satima Flavell said...

Parkin Windbreak - I love it! Sheep on the Yorkshire Moors sheltering in the lees of walls built of heavy cake...

trish wilson said...


There is no mystery about Perkin Warbeck. He was just a pawn in the political chess game played by others.

You may not beware of it and I only recently picked up on it but Margaret of Burgundy made a return visit to England in 1480 and, therefore, would have had ample opportunity to meet the real Richard of York and learn all about him. I can't see that it would have been too much of a problem to coach Warbeck though I am of the opinion that her real aim given that Clarence was her favourite brother not Richard was to put his simpleton son on the throne with herself as Regent.

As for the rulers who promoted Warbeck, Charles, Maximilian and James, they all had axes to grind with Henry. Charles was annoyed at the way Henry was blocking his attempt to annexe Brittany, Maximilian had a fit of pique when his attempt to do the same hit the buffers when Henry backed down and James, well like all the other Scots he had a thing about Berwick.

Sir William Stanley was like Clarence, never satisified and had done a turncoat long before Bosworth when he switched from Lanaster to York. He was peeved by being denied a peerage and further peeved when Henry took issue with him over the way he was pushing his weight around and upsetting the neighbours.

John Foelster said...

For my money Perkin was obviously the real McCoy, since no one, anywhere, ever, would be so insane as to try and invade as a pretender not once, not twice, but thrice if he were a fake. I've maintained that for the last 15 years.

I also agree with Isolde Wigram that the King Edward produced by John of Lincoln for the battle of Stoke must have been Edward V.

Elizabeth Woodville's actions simply make no sense with any other interpretation. At least she must have believed the Stoke pretender was her own son.

It is of course possible that I'm a sucker for women named Isolde, since my secondary source for my Richard III play is Wagner Ring Cycle.

If the comment spam has not made it clear, I'm a rather eccentric person.

Joanne Lewis said...

Hi, I am new to this blog, really enjoying reading through it. I also read Ann Wroe's book on Perkin and at the end of it, I had to go back and re read parts again and totally agree with you in that I just don't know, whether he was Richard of York or not. I suppose we'll never know, but it was a great book to read