Category Archives: Duke of York

Howard and the Fall of the Monarchy

800px-Panorama_of_the_outer_curtain_wall_of_the_Tower_of_London,_2006
The Tower of London
Recently I had the honour and pleasure of attending the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. It takes place every night at the Tower, and has done since the 14th century.
Detroit_Publishing_Co._-_A_Yeoman_of_the_Guard_(N.B._actually_a_Yeoman_Warder),_full_restoration
Yeoman of the Guard
At exactly 9.53pm the Chief Yeoman Warder, dressed in Tudor uniform meets the TOwer of London Guard. Together, the Chief Yeoman Warder and the Yeoman Warder ‘Watchman’ secure the main gates of the Tower. On their return down Water Lane, they are challenged by the sentry:
Sentry: “Halt! Who comes there?”
Chief Warder: “The keys.”
Sentry: “Whose keys?”
Chief Warder: “Queen Elizabeth’s keys.” (identifying the keys as being those of Queen Elizabeth II, the current monarch)
Sentry: “Pass Queen Elizabeth’s Keys. All is well.”
The party then makes its way through the Bloody Tower Archway into the fortress, where they halt at the bottom of the Broadwalk Steps. On the top of the Stairs, under the command of their officer, the Tower Guard present arms and the Chief Warder raises his hat, proclaiming:
 

Chief Warder: “God preserve Queen Elizabeth.”
Sentry: “Amen!”

The keys are then taken to Queen’s House for safekeeping, and the Last Post is sounded.

The ceremony is an amazing spectacle, but I digress.

The reason I mention it is the chat I had afterwards, with one of the Yeoman Warders. We were talking about the ravens and I mentioned the legend attached to them, which says that the monarchy will fall if the six resident ravens ever leave the Tower of London.

The Yeoman Warder laughed and said ‘yes, everyone falls for that one’. Intrigued – and not a little miffed at him laughing at me – I asked him to explain himself.

III
King Richard III

He told me a very interesting story that begins in the reign of Richard III.

We all know of the wise woman who saw Richard on his way to Battle at Bosworth, saying that his head would soon strike the bridge where his spur had just struck. Well, apparently there was a little bit extra to that story that the Tudor propagandists decided not to share with the little people.

The wise lady said something that confused Richard immensely – she shouted to Richard that “the monarchy will fall if the Howards ever leave the Tower of London.”

Now, Richard, as we know, took no notice of this warning and John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk was one of the men who fell fighting for Richard at Bosworth – and Richard lost his crown.

henry7bust
Henry VII

After the battle, the same wise woman sought out Henry VII and managed to shout the same warning – minus the comment about heads and bridges – to the king, before she was bundled away and unceremoniously thrown on a dung heap.

At first Henry dismissed the wise woman’s words as “fantasy and delusion”, but the events of 1487 (the Battle of Stoke Field) and the arrival of Perkin Warbeck made him think again. Being spiteful and nasty, Henry VII believed that the wise woman had meant a Howard had to be imprisoned in the Tower – and he started looking around for a suitable candidate.

Of course, his only problem was that Thomas Howard 2nd Duke of Norfolk, was annoyingly loyal and he could find no reason to send him to the Tower. He did manage to make him Lord High Treasurer, which meant he had offices in the Tower, and hoped that would be enough. Of course, shortly after this Henry’s son and heir, Arthur, died followed by his beloved wife, Elizabeth of York.

Henry started panicking.

However, not wanting to send the Howards into hiding, he bought 6 ravens, clipped their wings and had the rumour spread that if they ever left the Tower, the monarchy would fall.

He then warned his new heir, the magnificent Henry – soon to be the VIII of that name – that he should do everything in his power to keep a Howard in the Tower as often as he possibly could.

200px-Henry_Howard_Earl_of_Surrey_1546
Henry Howard Earl of Surrey

As we all know, Henry took his father’s words to heart. He tried to find a permanent solution, by lopping off the head of his 2nd wife, Anne Boleyn (whose mother was a Howard), and burying her in the Church of St Peter ad Vincular in the Tower, hoping that was an end to it.

But then there was the Pilgrimage of Grace…..

So he tried again with wife no.5, Catherine Howard, and this seemed to work. But then Henry got ill and even more paranoid, and started worrying about his son and the succession. In order to ensure the smooth accession of Edward VI, Henry made certain by imprisoning Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk AND Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey – then died content.

Unfortunately Edward VI’s regents released Norfolk – and Edward’s reign was cut short. Edward did manage to pass on the secret to his sisters, Mary and Elizabeth.

But she didn’t believe him – Howard was, after all, a Catholic. And as a result, Mary’s reign was short.

240px-ThomasHoward4HerzogvonNorfolk
Thomas Howard, Elizabeth I’s prisoner

Elizabeth, on the other hand, took the legend to heart and regularly threw a Howard in the Tower. Everyone thought that it was ‘just because she felt like it’, but she was just being extra cautious.

At this stage of the story the Beefeater started laughing uncontrollably. “Of course,” he said “they went to all that murderous trouble for nothing”.

Perplexed, I asked “what do you mean”

“The legend had nothing to do with the Norfolk Howards – in fact it was not so specific as to even mean a surname. During the Gunpowder Plot we discovered, that so long as someone in the Tower had Howard somewhere in their name, all was good.”

So, now, it’s just part of the recruitment process for Yeoman Warders, they have to be ex-military – and have ‘Howard’ somewhere in their name.

300px-London_tower_ravens
Raven Howard and a friend

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to be extra cautious – one of the Tower Ravens is also named ‘Howard’ – just to be sure.

 

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Jeff R Sun got locked in the Tower of London after a quick trip to the loo follow the Ceremony of the Keys. Can someone please let me out?
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All pictures taken from Wikipedia
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Sources: Ceremony of the Keys taken from Wikipedia; http://www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon/stories/theravens; Horrible Histories; 1066 and All That; Yeoman Warder Howard Carter of the Tower of London.

Richard, Perkin and a genetic mutation.

Double History. Examining the similarities and differences of the physical characteristics of Perkin Warbeck, alleged pretender to the throne and Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York.

This article begins in a nondescript bar in a nondescript village on yet another nondescript island in the Mediterranean. I will not name the island as :-

I had no interest in actually learning the name of it or anything more than the way to the nearest hostelry

and

It is a small place and I want to spare the blushes and the reputation of the man I am about to describe.

Mrs JJ and I were on a ‘round the Med cruise’, eighty four islands in seven days or something like that, accompanied by the two small people who hang around our house. That day the liner had put into the harbour of a whitely painted, aloe planted, domed and pointed, picturesque kind of place. Mrs JJ took the boys, (or was one a girl? I was never quite sure,) to buy what she described as souvenirs and mementos and what I described as overpriced plastic mass produced cr*p, while I ambled about town trying not to make it look too obvious that I was headed for the nearest glass of, mug of, plate of, kind of place.

Instinct (or was it desperation?) soon led me to the sort of place I desired and gratefully I sank into an outside chair and scanned the menu. My eyes took a while to acclimatize to the dim light filtering through the rubber tree canopy of the Taverna but then I saw a fierce Backgammon game was in progress between the smallest man I had ever seen and a loud dark haired Islander. I tried not to stare but the small man, who was obviously winning the Backgammon match, was so striking in appearance with stark white, long hair, pale, pale skin and when he removed his aviator shades, and I saw his opaque eyes, one out turning, almost pinkish in colouring  and seemingly lashless, my eyes could not help but be drawn to him.

He looked familiar, but I knew I did not know him.

I ate my food and drank my drink and pondered the strange pale man and later, talking with Mrs JJ, she suggested that he may have been an Albino and may also have the condition Dwarfism.

Mrs JJ is clever like that.

I didn’t think too much more about the unusual man and several years passed, years of working and saving and eighty four more islands in seven more days and then I was asked to write an article about one Perkin Warbeck. Despite my university lectures I could not for the life of me remember who Perkin was and, like everyone else, my first stop was Google and second stop was Wikipedia…… and there I saw HIM! Not the man in the Taverna, but all the features were the same, overlarge head on narrow shoulders, light, light hair, pale see-through eyes – eyes looking in different directions.

.Perkin_Warbeck

My immediate thought was Perkin is an Albino Dwarf! and, although I know it is not the correct way to do research, I began to look for original evidence, hitherto overlooked, to back my supposition.

Of course, I did not find any chroniclers saying ‘that Perkin kid was a pale midget of a bloke’ but tantalizing

clues I found aplenty :-Capture IMP (3)

The ‘picture’ is a screen shot I took one day. Sadly I did not make a note of what I had snipped it from, but you will see from the varying descriptions that Perkin seemed to be a small, fey, almost ethereal sort of man

The word Imp, used by Fabyan, I find particularly telling. The word imp traditionally has connotations of  something IMPlanted or grafted on, as can be seen in the screen shot (below) from an 1836 dictionary and what could be more implanted than a lookalike Richard of Shrewsbury. In addition, the word IMP is used for a mischievous small person. This usage has faded and risen throughout the centuries but was in common usage (together with the alternate versions, impi and impa,) in mediaeval period.

.Double history. 1836 dictionary clip IMP

From the electronic Middle English Dictionary. (The print MED, completed in 2001, has been described as “the greatest achievement in medieval scholarship in America. I am not going to argue with that! I wish that all historical fact writers (particularly those with double barrelled names) would actually bother to look stray and strange words up in there rather than positing whole theses on one word incorrectly understood. )

Imp, impa, impi, impe (n.) Also imppe, himpe & (in place names) im-. Pl. impes, impen.

1.(a) A branch of a tree; a shoot, sprig; a sucker shoot; (b) a scion, a graft; (c) a young tree; a sapling, a seedling; also fig.; (d) a tree; (e) ~ garth (yerd), a garden or nursery where seedlings or graftings are grown or cultivated; ~ tre, a grafted tree, an orchard tree.

2.(a) The offspring of a noble family; (b) ?a representative

  1. 3. A small, fey and mischievous person of doubtful origin.

The more I looked at the facts the more the facts shouted back at me that Perkin was small and very pale. Everywhere he went he was looked at, stared at and pointed out for the fairness of his face and then it hit me. Not many people ever doubted seriously that he was Richard, the sixth child and second son of Edward IV and Elizabeth Wydeville.

That was when my mind froze. If Perkin was an Albino Dwarf then Richard of Shrewsbury must also have been an Albino Dwarf. Immediately I started sifting facts, looking through books, searching the internet and reference section of the library for any mention of Richard’s appearance, any contemporary picture – learning all about Dwarfism, Albinism, anything I could lay my hands on – noting, jotting, drinking tea and puzzling.

Albinism (from Latin albus, “white”; also called achromia, achromasia, or achromatosis) is a congenital disorder characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes due to absence or defect of tyrosinase a copper-containing enzyme involved in the production of melanin.

Albinism results from inheritance of recessive gene alleles and is known to affect all vertebrates. While an organism with complete absence of melanin is called an albino an organism with only a diminished amount of melanin is described as albinoid.

Albinism is associated with a number of vision defects, such as photophobia, nystagmus and astygmatism.

Dwarfism is a medical disorder. In men and women, the sole requirement is having an adult height under 147 cm (4 ft 10 in) and it is almost always classified with respect to the underlying condition that is the cause of the short stature. Dwarfism is usually caused by a genetic disorder; achondroplasia is caused by a mutation on chromosome four. If dwarfism is caused by a medical disorder, the person is referred to by the underlying diagnosed disorder. Disorders causing dwarfism are often classified by proportionality. Disproportionate dwarfism describes disorders that cause unusual proportions of the body parts, while proportionate dwarfism results in a generally uniform stunting of the body. Disorders that cause dwarfism may be classified according to one of hundreds of names, which are usually permutations of the following roots:

rhizomelic = root, e.g., bones of the upper arm or thigh

mesomelic = middle, e.g., bones of the forearm or lower leg

acromelic = end, e.g., bones of hands and feet.

micromelic = entire limbs are shortened

But what of Richard of Shrewsbury? Was there any evidence or hint that he could also be short? Did he also have pinkish eyes or white hair? There are no contemporary pictures of Richard but a stained glass window in Canterbury Cathedral does show him with bright gold hair and what appears to be a squint. He also looks unusually short against the lectern.Richard_of_Shrewsbury_Royal_Window_Canterbury

I searched in vain for a contemporary reference to his appearance, but as with Perkin, I found little concrete evidence to back my thesis and concluded that even the most outspoken and daring of chroniclers is unlikely to have put ‘King Eddie and Liz Double U’s second son was a bit of a squirt who could easily be mistaken in candlelight for a miniature ghost’.

Rui De Sousa, a nobleman who had seen him in 1482, later said of him, ‘he had seen him singing with his mother and one of his sisters and that he sang very well and that he was very pretty and the most beautiful creature he had ever seen…’

Then it hit me! (I was getting bruises from all of these things hitting me!) There was evidence but of a circumstantial type. Richard of Shrewsbury was still with his mother and sisters at an age when most strong and healthy young lads had been sent to do knightly training in another household. His mother had the principal say in his upbringing, unlike all other royal sons who had a living father or elder brother who were more paternally reared. Cloth for the clothes of ‘The Right high and myghty Prynce the Duke of Yorke’ are recorded in the Calendar of Patent Rolls, cloth whose measurements do not increase throughout the years as if the prince stayed the same size. (Similar records of cloth for growing children show a greater yardage year by year indicating growth in the child, but Richard’s yardages remain constant.) His ‘beauty’…….

I may never be able to find the one piece of evidence proving beyond all reasonable doubt that Perkin Warbeck and Richard of Shrewsbury were Albino Dwarfs, but I am satisfied in my own mind that this is at least a reasonable supposition.

Jeff ‘Jefferty’ Jeff is tired now and wants a cup of tea and a nice home made biscuit.

Happy 2015 to you all and happy reading.

Source material:

The Perkin Warbeck Conspiracy Ian Arthurson   The History Press, 2009

http://www.web-books.com/Classics/ON/B0/B869/TudorsC03.html

“Ocular straylight in albinism”. Kruijt B et al. 2011.

Clumber Spaniel Keeping, Showing and Breeding (1984)

Littell’s Living Age, Volume 75 edited by Eliakim Littell, Robert S. Littell

http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/perkin_warbeck_rebellion.htm

Fabyan’s Chronicle: Robert Fabyan (a cloth-merchant who liked colourful stories) Circa 1460- Circa 1512.

Bolognaise source/sauce

On the Tudor Trail (blog): Natalie Grueninger

“Saucy girls” Calendar: 1984

Hastings, the man, the myth and legend: Jeff Jefferty Jeff. (Manuscript still to be written.)

The Lost Prince: David Baldwin

A New English Dictionary of the English Language: A to K, Volume 1 1836 Charles Richardson

‘Onken’ family size yoghurt pot

The British Occupation of Iraq: Andrew Lycett

Henry the Seventh by James Gairdner (pub. 1899)

Five go Adventuring Again: Enid Byton

Mutation in and Lack of Expression of Tyrosinase-Related Protein-1 (TRP-1) in     Melanocytes from an Individual with Brown Oculotaneous Albinism: A New Subtype of  Albinism Classified as ‘OCA3’ Raymond E Boissy et al 2014

Smoking seriously harms you and others around you

Scouting for Boys (1939 edition)

The Burial of Edward V: Jeff Jefferty Jeff. (A work in progress.)

Cucumber sauce recipe: Delia Smith

Cumberland source

Anne Boleyn, the myth, the legend, the superstar. Jeff Jefferty Jeff. (Manuscript still to be written.)

Cumberbatch, Benedict

Richardson, Douglas (2011). Everingham, Kimball G., ed. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families IV (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City.

https://doublehistory.wordpress.com/category/duchess-of-york/  

The Maligned King: Annette Carson

© Jeff ‘Jefferty Jeff January 3rd 2015