Perkin Warbeck

From An Illustrated History of Ireland by Margaret Anne Cusack

« start... Chapter XXIII. ...continued

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In 1488 Sir Richard Edgecumbe was sent to Ireland to exact new oaths of allegiance from the Anglo-Norman lords, whose fidelity Henry appears to have doubted, and not without reason. The commissioner took up his lodgings with the Dominican friars, who appear to have been more devoted to the English interests than their Franciscan brethren; but they did not entertain the knight at their own expense, for he complains grievously of his "great costs and charges." A Papal Bull had been procured, condemning all who had rebelled against the King. This was published by the Bishop of Meath, with a promise of absolution and royal pardon for all who should repent. Edgecumbe appears to have been at his wit's end to conciliate the "rebels," and informs us that he spent the night in "devising as sure an oath as he could." The nobles at last came to terms, and took the proffered pledge in the most solemn manner, in presence of the Blessed Sacrament. This accomplished, the knight returned to England; and on his safe arrival, after a stormy passage, made a pilgrimage to Saint Saviour's, in Cornwall.

It is quite impossible now to judge whether these solemn oaths were made to be broken, or whether the temptation to break them proved stronger than the resolution to keep them. It is at least certain that they were broken, and that in a year or two after the Earl of Kildare had received his pardon under the Great Seal. In May, 1492, the Warbeck plot was promulgated in Ireland, and an adventurer landed on the Irish shores, who declared himself to be Richard, Duke of York, the second son of Edward IV., who was supposed to have perished in the Tower. His stay in Ireland, however, was brief, although he was favourably received. The French monarch entertained him with the honours due to a crowned head; but this, probably, was merely for political purposes, as he was discarded as soon as peace had been made with England. He next visited Margaret, the Dowager Duchess of Burgundy, who treated him as if he were really her nephew.

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