‘The lineage of her house of York’ Margaret of Burgundy was guiding and educating Warbeck of his family ancestry, he was to understand the Yorkist rebellions and the perspective in England if he is to be a convincing threat of opposition. ‘Their recent disaster’ Cornish rebellions had been appalling, the revolts of the peasants against the new King had failed. Warbeck knew of the uprising to strike again and saw this as his perfect opportunity to attack alongside, with such support he could easily have worried Henry.
Document B shows evidence that Warbeck had little support in Scotland and was loosing it within Ireland, possibly due to the bonds and act of attainder. Henry had previously had the nobility sign. He learnt of a forthcoming attack from the Cornish, and so made his way to help them in their battle. It is not suggested that he was invited or that he even had support, until he was ashore. Document C suggests that he must have been invited because he had so little men and once in port had the aid of over 8,000 peasants. It is in Cornwall that he was acclaimed King Richard.
Document D appears to paint a similar picture but yet different perspective to why Warbeck left Scotland. It states that Warbeck ‘was the cause of the whole war between the Scotch and English’. With this in mind, and the idea of the problem Warbeck could pose for Scotland, it is possible that he was enforced to look for support elsewhere rather than cause a battle. Document A impresses the reader with Warbeck’s strong qualities and his participation on the duping of King Henry VII. He is both willing and strong-minded and partakes in the education Margaret of Burgundy provides for him on his ancestry and his role within England.
His actions suggest he is comfortable with portraying on opposition to the King, despite his threat being false. With this in mind, the evidence in Document E is contradictory in its approach. It should be noted that this source is written by Warbeck himself and might have been writing to depict a used and exploited young man, rather than the strong character he was thought to be. Document E describes in detail the ordeals Warbeck was dutiful in, but the tone implies his actions occurred against his will. Looking at both Documents, it is apparent that both relay a chain of events.
However, the fact that both have different perspectives suggests that further resources are needed to analyse the character of Warbeck and therefore show the reliability of the extracts. “Perkin Warbeck was a serious threat to Henry VII only because of the backing he gained outside England. ” Warbeck found foreign support when the British people failed to assist him in his attack on the crown. Henry had previously placed bonds and acts of attainder of the lords of England and offered pardons to rebels as a way of ensuring that when there was trouble, there would be a lack of support.
Margaret of Burgundy chose to support Warbeck as she had previously done in 1486-1487 with Lambert Simnel, in hope to regain her status over the King, who had killed her brother Richard of York. Warbeck also had support from Charles V of France, who had lost support from England and had disputes over Brittany. However, when Henry and Charles agreed to resolve their differences, and sign the Treaty of Etaples, which stated that rebels could not be concealed, Warbeck was dismissed. Warbeck then returned to Margaret, who had given the control of Burgundy to Archduke Philip.
When Henry protested of the harbouring of Warbeck, Philip ignored him, this resulted in a trading ban from England. Warbeck also had support from Maximillian, who he promised could be his claimant if he should die before reaching the crown. Despite all his foreign backing, which was probably the most important reason he was such a dangerous threat, the support Warbeck received within England itself was equally as major in possibility. In 1494 Henry learnt of conspiracies within his own Government. The discovery that Sir William Stanley had been conversing with Warbeck reminded Henry that inside help was still a problem.
It also became apparent that English authority within his kingdom needed addressing. Stanley had been almost second in command. Henry tightened his reign and lost all confidence and trust in those who surrounded him. An English supported attack was also visibly dangerous, as it would have been easier for Warbeck to gather together troops and supplies. Warbeck’s threat lasted between 1491 – 1499, which could suggest he was either a large threat or a relatively small one who simply couldn’t form enough support to attack the King.
From the evidence in the Documents, Warbeck moved from country to country, city to city suggesting that he never had a firm base of support in any particular place. Document C is the only source, which seems to imply English support, and this was from the Cornish who were already rebelling. Therefore Documents A, B, D and E, back the proposal that Warbeck’s main threat came from his foreign support. However, Henry over came this by his Treaties and Truces. The execution of Warbeck demonstrated to both the English and foreign leaders that Henry was secure upon the throne and remained so until his death in 1509.