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  • Writer's pictureRM Anderson

Perkin Warbeck

There was once a young lad called Perkin. His dad John is an accountant and together with his mum Kate, they lived in Belgium. As a child he would wander the streets of Flanders wondering, could there be more to this life for a boy already 

shortchanged by being given the name 'Perkin'.

After some time he gets employed by a silk merchant who takes him to Ireland. Now whilst in Ireland and wearing his master silk clothes the locals there start to get a bit excited. They start to kick up a bit of a fuss. They tell Perkin something he can hardly take in. "You're not Perkin", they tell him. "You're Richard Duke of York", and well that's an improvement on Perkin, he thinks. But it gets better. Richard the Duke of

York was assumed to be dead, presumed to be killed along with his brother Edward by Richard III. "If you are the Duke of York, you're the rightful king!" "Well of course I am!", thought Perkin. "And if not, I'm going to give it a red hot go".

Assured of this he travels back to the continent to gather forces for the invasion of England. He convinced Charles iii of France, Maximilian the Holy Roman Emperor. King James iv of Scotland and even Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy (who is

Richard the Duke of York's aunt) "This is great!" thought Perkin. "I'm on a run here!"

He now had 14 ships and 6 000 men and decided to invade England by landing in Kent. Which he did. Well kind of. He arrived in Kent, got smashed and wasn't even able to get out of the ship. So off he scarpered off to Ireland to regroup, and then up to Scotland where he made good use of the time by marrying the king's distant cousin Catherine (again with the help of his beloved aunt). Now sufficiently rested he decided to invade England from the north, got four miles in and then legged it when an

English army approached from Newcastle.

He then set off to Ireland on a boat formidably named 'The Cuckoo' and tried to lay siege to Waterford. He was chased away from there before landing in Cornwall with only two ships and 120 men. But he managed to gain support amongst the Cornish who 

didn't really like the king either and entered Exeter with 6 000 brave and trustworthy men. Well,more brave and trustworthy than him at any rate as he panicked and deserted his army as soon as he heard King's scouts were nearby.

He eventually got captured in Hampshire, paraded through the streets of London

and locked in the Tower. But he was treated well by King Henry and when he confessed,

was released from the Tower and kept at Henry's court, even invited to banquets.

Eight months passed and soon he tried to escape. Immediately he was recaptured and then tried again. This time enough was enough and Perkin Warbeck was sentenced to death.

The good news - as a foreigner he couldn't be punished for treason (hung, drawn and quartered), the bad news - he wouldn't be allowed to work in the kitchen as a spit-turner for the rest of his life unlike the previous pretender to the throne (again with an equally compelling name) Lambert Simnel. Instead he was hung on the 23rd of november 1499.

But the name 'Perkin Warbeck' lives on in the video game 'Assassin's Creed Project Legacy'.

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