The Tudor Society

3 July – Pretender Perkin Warbeck lands

On this day in Tudor history, 3rd July 1495, the pretender Perkin Warbeck landed at Deal in Kent with men and ships. In the ensuing battle, the Battle of Deal, with Kentish men who supported King Henry VII, around 150 of Warbeck’s men were killed and over 160 captured. Warbeck managed to escape, fleeing to Ireland.

Who was Warbeck claiming to be? Whose support did her have? And what happened next?

Find out more about claimant Perkin Warbeck in today's talk.

You can find out more about Warbeck's background in my video from 23rd November:

Also on this day in Tudor history, Catherine of Aragon, first wife of King Henry VIII, had a bit of a bad day on this day in Tudor history, 3rd July 1533. Not only had she trodden on a pin and was suffering with a bad cough, but she was also told that she had to stop calling herself queen. Find out how she reacted to the news in last year's video:

Also on this day in history:

  • 1541 – Death of Girolamo Ghinucci, Italian papal administrator, Bishop of Worcester, papal nuncio and ambassador. He died in Rome and was buried in the church of San Clemente.
  • 1557 – Mary I bid farewell to her husband, Philip of Spain, at Dover as he set off for war with France.
  • 1579 – Death of Sir Edward Fitton, administrator and Vice-Treasurer for Elizabeth I in Ireland. His death was recorded as being ‘from the disease of the country’, which he had apparently caught on an expedition to Longford. He was buried in St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, beside his wife, Anne.
  • 1594 (3rd or 4th July) – Executions of Catholic priest John Cornelius, Thomas Bosgrave (a relation of Sir John Arundell) and two servants of the Arundell family at Dorchester. They had been arrested when Cornelius was found hiding in a priest hole at Chideock Castle on 14th April 1594.


On this day in Tudor history, 3rd July 1495, the pretender Perkin Warbeck landed at Deal in Kent with men and ships. In the ensuing battle, the Battle of Deal, with Kentish men who supported King Henry VII, around 150 of Warbeck’s men were killed and over 160 captured. Warbeck managed to escape, fleeing to Ireland.

Warbeck claimed to be Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, the younger of the Princes in the Tower, and with Yorkist support, and that of Margaret, Dowager Duchess of Burgundy and Emperor Maximilian, he had set about claiming the throne. You can find out more about Warbeck in my video from 23rd November, which I’ll give you a link to in the description. But here’s an account of Warbeck’s landing at Deal taken from Sir Frederick Madden’s 19th century work on Warbeck, which is based on contemporary sources.

“It was in the course of the summer immediately following, that Perkin having received from Maximilian, Philip and Margaret, the aid of ships and men, made his first attempt on the coast of England, and on the 3rd July, 1495, landed a portion of his troops at Deal in Kent. The time had been well chosen (having probably been previously concerted with some secret agent in England) for Henry was then engaged on a progress towards the north, and did not return till the middle of October. Had the adventurer indeed at this period been joined by any persons of rank, or his cause espoused by the people, as he had vainly been led to hope, the issue might have been very different. Finding, however, that the forces he had landed were received as enemies, and either slain or captured, he immediately altered his course, and steered towards Ireland, where with the assistance of the Earl of Desmond, he laid siege to Waterford; but having been compelled to raise the siege by an army under the command of the Lord Deputy, and having lost three of his ships, he retreated with precipitation, and returned again to Flanders, re infecta.”

A contemporary account is given in Edward Hall’s chronicle. In it, Hall writes that while Henry VII was on his progress to Lancashire, “there to recreate his spirits and solace himself with his mother the Lady Margaret”, Warbeck, who was in Flanders, “determined not to leave the hope and trust that he had conceived in his mad head to obtain the crown and realm of England”. Warbeck gathered what Hall describes as “a great army of valiant Captains of all nations”, which included Englishmen in exile, theives, robbers and vaganbonds, a “rabblement of knaves”, and departed from Flanders in ships provided by his supporters. Hall writes that he didn’t have a fixed place to land in mind, just “wheresoever the wind brought him”, and the wind drove him on the coast of Kent, where he cast his anchors. He decided “to make exploration and enquiry whether the Kentishmen would take his part and follow him as their captain”, as in the past they had shown themselves “not timorous or afraid of their own mind in troubleous seasons to move war against their princes.”

In the meantime, Hall explains, the Kentishmen had heard “that this feigned duke was come, and had heard that he was but a painted image”, and were considering what to do, whether to help him or support their kind. They considered “how small a profit” had been earned in previous rebellions and concluded that this pretender came “to spoil, destroy and waste the country” rather than “to conquer it for their wealth and commodity”, and he was also bringing strangers and foreigners with him. So, the Kentish men decided not to support Warbeck and, instead decided that they should lure his men off their ships “by fair promises and friendly words” and then fight them.

Warbeck was suspicious, so he decided to stay on board his ship until he was sure of their support, but he did allow his men to go ashore. Where, they were surrounded and attacked by the Kentish men, “& at one stroke vanquished and driven back to their ships, & there were take prisoners an hundred and sixty persons”. Hall goes on to state that the captured rebels were taken to London “railed in ropes like horses drawn in a cart”, tried and executed, some in London and some in coastal towns. Hall concludes his account of Warbeck’s landing by saying “Wherefore Perkyn failing of his purpose fled back into Flanders and there tarried, consulting with his friends until such time as he had better prepared for things to come more prudently then he had done before time.”

Warbeck landed for a second time in England on 7th September 1497, landing at Whitesand Bay, near Land’s End, in Cornwall. He challenged Henry VII’s claim to the throne by raising a rebellion in Cornwall after he was declared King Richard IV on Bodmin. However, the rebellion was squashed and Warbeck was captured and imprisoned. He was hanged at Tyburn on 23rd November 1499 after escaping twice from the Tower of London and being recaptured.

Leave a Reply

3 July – Pretender Perkin Warbeck lands