Rebel Army Lands in Furness
Biased by the place of the Tudor dynasty in our national mythology we can too easily see them as somehow above all threats, solid and in control. This was rarely the case, however, and particularly so in the early years of Henry VII ’s reign. He had a very contestable claim to the throne compared to various potential challengers. Just as he had seized the crown at Bosworth , so could his enemies have taken it from him.
John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, had been Richard III ’s heir, but after Bosworth he briefly gave allegiance to Henry VII. Soon he turned on the Tudor king, harnessing the forces around the pretender Lambert Simnel (whose masters claimed him to be the young Earl of Warwick, though the real Earl still lived). On June 4 1487 de la Pole and his ally Lord Francis Lovell landed a rebel force largely composed of Flemish mercenaries at Piel Island at the very tip of the Furness peninsula in what was then Lancashire . They had miscalculated the national mood though, gained few English supporters, and their cause was thus doomed. At the Battle of Stoke less than two weeks later de la Pole was killed, and Lovell may also have died, though his body was not found, and stories abound of his survival as a hermit or in hiding.
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