Front Matter Early Times The Druids The Britons Caesar in Britain Queen Boadicea The Great Walls The Great Irish Saint The Anglo-Saxons Brave King Arthur The Laws of the Saxons The Story of St Augustine Three Great Men The Danish Pirates King Alfred and the Cakes Alfred conquers the Danes A King's Narrow Escape The King and the Outlaw The Monasteries An Unlucky Couple St Dunstan King Canute and the Waves A Saxon Nobleman Lady Godiva's Ride The Battle of Hastings The Conquest Lords and Vassals Death of William The Brothers' Quarrels Arms and Armour The "White Ship" Matilda's Narrow Escapes Story of Fair Rosamond Thomas a Becket Murder of Thomas a Becket Richard's Adventures Richard and the Saracens The Faithful Minstrel Death of Richard The Murder of Arthur The Great Charter The Rule of Henry III A Race Persecution of the Jews The Conquest of Wales A Quarrel with France The Coronation Stone The Insolent Favourite Bruce and the Spider Death of Edward II The Murderers punished The Battle of Crecy The Siege of Calais The Age of Chivalry The Battle of Poitiers The Peasants' Revolt Richard's Presence of Mind A Tiny Queen Henry's Troubles Madcap Harry A Glorious Reign The Maid of Orleans The War of the Roses The Queen and the Brigand The Triumph of the Yorks The Princes in the Tower Richard's Punishment Two Pretenders A Grasping King Field of the Cloth of Gold The New Opinions Death of Wolsey Henry's Wives The King and the Painter A Boy King Lady Jane Grey The Death of Cranmer A Clever Queen Elizabeth's Lovers Mary, Queen of Scots Captivity of Mary Stuart Wreck of the Spanish Armada The Elizabethan Age Death of Elizabeth A Scotch King The Gunpowder Plot Sir Walter Raleigh King and Parliament Cavaliers and Roundheads "Remember" The Royal Oak The Commonwealth The Restoration Plague and Fire The Merry Monarch James driven out of England A Terrible Massacre William's Wars The Duke of Marlborough The Taking of Gibraltar The South Sea Bubble Bonny Prince Charlie Black Hole of Calcutta Loss of the Colonies The Battle of the Nile Nelson's Last Signal The Battle of Waterloo First Gentleman of Europe Childhood of Queen Victoria The Queen's Marriage Wars in Victoria's Reign The Jubilee

Story of the English - Helene Guerber

Two Pretenders

Henry VII., who was crowned King of England on Bosworth battlefield, was the first of the Tudor kings. He belonged to the house of Lancaster; and as he soon married Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Edward IV., of the house of York, both parties were well pleased. But, fearing that the Earl of Warwick, Clarence's son, might claim the throne, Henry kept him a close prisoner in the Tower.

Marriage of Henry VII.


The new king was rather afraid of the few noblemen who had survived the Wars of the Roses, so he tried to restrict their power as much as he could. Knowing very well also that he had not the best right to the throne, and could keep it only as long as the people wished, he allowed Parliament more freedom than it had enjoyed under the preceding reign.

Henry was very fond of money, and as he fancied it would give him power, he tried to get all he could. With this end in view he encouraged commerce, and thus did much good to the whole country. His reign, however, was disturbed by two plots formed to drive him from the throne.

First, a priest named Simon trained a baker's son to make believe he was the Earl of Warwick. Now the Irish people had been very fond of Clarence, so they received this lad, Lambert Simnel, with joy, and proclaimed him king. But when Henry heard that a false Earl of Warwick was claiming the throne, he brought the real one out of the Tower and showed him to the people. In spite of this, the Irish still clung to Simnel, and, collecting an army, came over to England to place him on the throne.

Henry met and defeated the invaders at Stoke. The priest and pretender were both made captives. They were tried, and as Simon was found guilty of fraud, he was sent to prison for life. But, seeing that Simnel was not very intelligent, and had been forced to play his part, the king forgave him and made him a servant in the royal kitchen.

One of Simnel's stanch adherents, Lord Lovel, is said to have ridden away in haste from the battlefield. Nothing was heard of him for a long time, so it was generally supposed that he had been drowned in trying to cross the Trent River. But more than one hundred years after the battle, some workmen, pulling down one of his massive stone houses, discovered there a secret chamber. In it they found the skeleton of a man seated on a chair, his head resting on a table, and near him stood an empty barrel and jar. Hence it has been thought that Lord Lovel, having escaped pursuit, hid himself in this retreat, where he probably starved to death.

The other plot which disturbed Henry's reign proved more serious. A rumour suddenly arose that little Richard of York had not been murdered in the Tower, as was popularly supposed, but that he had escaped to France, and was living there under the name of Perkin Warbeck.

Many people believed this story; and when Perkin Warbeck, who was really the son of a merchant, was brought before the Duchess of Burgundy, she declared he was her long-lost nephew, and joyfully prepared to help him win the crown. Helped by the Duchess of Burgundy, the King of the Scots, and by several English noblemen who thought he was the real Duke of York, Perkin Warbeck invaded England, but was soon forced to retreat.

His friends then planned a second invasion from Ireland; but when Perkin landed in England, he was taken captive and put into the Tower, while his wife, a beautiful Scotch lady, became an attendant of the queen. It is likely that no further steps would have been taken against Perkin Warbeck, had he not made plans to escape with the Earl of Warwick. But this plot being discovered, both captives were condemned to death. The Earl of Warwick, being a nobleman, was beheaded on Tower Hill, but Perkin Warbeck was hanged like a common criminal at Tyburn.