Proclamation to tackle unrest, 1487

On 3rd June 1487 a Proclamation of Henry VII to cities stated that any person found to be spreading rumours was to be put into the pillory. Henry VII was quite nervous in June of 1487. His grip on the crown was far from secure. Imposing punishments on people who spread rumours, or news he did not want to be spread, was one way in which monarchs attempted to retain control when threatened with invasion, or revolt. 

Henry was fully aware that an army had been gathered for the Yorkist cause in Ireland. He would also be uncertain of the loyalty of some key subjects: the Percy family of Northumberland had, after all, stood against him at Bosworth.

With concern over growing support for any Yorkist invasion force in mind, he issued a proclamation that was sent to the larger cities within England. It was aimed at cutting out gossip, rumour and anything that might give rise to Yorkist sympathy.

So, with fear of cities such as York rising against him, he stated that city authorities were to send to the pillory any who:

feigned, contrived and forged tidings and tales.

Henry’s concern was based on previous events. His own invasion of 1485 been bolstered by sympathetic nobles. So too had that of Edward IV in 1471, Margaret of Anjou in 1471 and The Yorkists in 1460.

The fear was that the force gathering in Ireland could gain significant support in the North of England, an area with a considerable history of Yorkist sympathies. Given the Yorkist leaning sympathies of Burgundy, it was possible a second force could land on the East Coast.

The landing that he was expecting happened the very next day. It was led by the Earl of Lincoln. Perkin Warbeck was a figurehead, having been crowned as King in Ireland.

Related Content

The Invasion of 1487 landed at Piel Island.

The City of York in 1487. Supplying armies, controlling prices, keeping the peace.

Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland asks the City of York for assistance against rebels. June 1487. 

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