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Perkin Warbeck

(1474—1499) impostor and claimant to the English throne


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B. 1474; d. 23 Nov. 1499.

Warbeck was brought forward in 1491, claiming to be Edward IV's younger son, Richard, duke of York. He received much help from Henry VII's enemies, including the king of France, the Holy Roman emperor, and James IV of Scotland. He was, in reality, the son of John Osbeck of Tournai, and had been carefully coached. His main attempt in 1495 was a landing in Cornwall, where he was hailed as Richard IV. Failing to take either Exeter or Taunton, he surrendered on promise of his life at Beaulieu in Hampshire. When, in 1499, he hatched a plot to seize the Tower in which he was imprisoned, he was hanged. His conspiracy incriminated the rightful earl of Warwick, who was executed. Warbeck's widow, a daughter of the earl of Huntly, whom he had married while in Scotland, was kindly treated by Henry VII and went on to make three more marriages.

Subjects: British History.


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