Chapter 3 : What Happened to the Yorkists?
Henry, no more vengeful than necessity warranted, gave Simnel a job in his household. Starting in the kitchens, he rose to the prestigious position of royal falconer. He was alive in 1513, and may have been alive as late as 1534.
Less creditably, Edward, Earl of Warwick, was executed in 1499. He was accused of conspiring with a later pretender, Perkin Warbeck, but it was obvious to all that the plot, if such it was, had been stage-managed and Warwick dispatched to ameliorate the fears of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, reluctant to send their daughter, Katharine, to be married to Henry’s son whilst a credible claimant to the throne was still alive.
Lincoln was killed at Stoke. His parents remained in royal favour – his father assisting at Elizabeth of York’s coronation in 1487. On the Duke’s death in 1492, the second son inherited the dukedom, but Henry antagonised him by demoting it to an earldom. Edmund, perhaps spooked by the execution of Warwick, left England without permission and next appeared at Guisnes Castle, an English possession in Calais, whose captain was Sir James Tyrrell.
Henry persuaded Suffolk to return, but in 1501, he and his younger brother, Richard, fled once more, taking refuge with the Emperor Maximilian in Burgundy. In 1506, Maximilian’s son, Philip, Duke of Burgundy, and his wife, Juana, Queen of Castile, were ship-wrecked in England. Treated with every honour, it proved surprisingly difficult for Henry to find a ship to send them home in. Not until Maximilian had handed Suffolk over were the couple able to leave. Henry kept his word that Suffolk would be spared, but he was confined to the Tower.
In 1513, Henry VIII, less scrupulous than his father, had Suffolk executed lest he cause trouble during the King’s absence in France. The third brother, Richard, was welcomed at the court of France. He fought for François I in Italy, and was a useful tool for the French King whenever he wished to aggravate Henry VIII. Richard was killed at the Battle of Pavia in 1525.
Some sources mention another brother, William, and claim that he was imprisoned in the Tower by Henry VII, and died there in 1539. Against this, is the evidence that when Charles V wrote to Henry of the death of Richard de la Pole, Henry responded that ‘All the enemies of England are gone.’
Warwick’s sister, Margaret, was married to Henry VII’s cousin and supporter, Sir Richard Pole, who was a leading figure in the household of Arthur, Prince of Wales. The Poles had several children. After Sir Richard’s death, Henry VII treated Margaret shabbily, but she was restored to influence when Henry VIII ascended the throne, as a friend of his wife, Katharine of Aragon. Margaret was confirmed in her rights as Countess of Salisbury and her children found favour with Henry VIII in the first part of his reign.
The Countess’ eldest son, Henry, Lord Montagu was suspected of complicity in the alleged treason of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, but soon released from the Tower, whilst another son, Reginald, was educated abroad at Henry VIII’s expense. Reginald fell foul of Henry VIII during the divorce, and Montagu and Lady Salisbury were both executed on charges of treason in 1538 and 1541 respectively. Whilst Montagu’s grandson, the Earl of Huntingdon, was considered a possible successor to Elizabeth I, he remained her loyal supporter.