Saturday, 9 March 2019

"Lovell our Dogge: The Life of Viscount Lovell, Closest Friend of Richard III and Failed Regicide" available for pre-order

My book on Francis Lovell - "Lovell our Dogge: The Life of Viscount Lovell, Closest Friend of Richard III and Failed Regicide" is now available for pre-order. 

It can be found on amazon here:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lovell-our-Dogge-Viscount-Regicide/dp/1445690535/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=michele+schindler&qid=1552127644&s=books&sr=1-1-catcorr

And on Book Depository here: https://www.bookdepository.com/Lovell-our-Dogge-Michele-Schindler/9781445690537?ref=grid-view&qid=1552224413747&sr=1-1
Its publishing date is 15th July 2019.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Everything you know about John de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, is wrong

John de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, was born on 27th September 1442 to William de la Pole, then Earl of Suffolk, and his wife Alice Chaucer, granddaughter of Geoffrey Chaucer. Born some eleven years after they married, he was their only child.

The story of William de la Pole`s life is well known. Though high in Henry VI and Margaret Anjou`s favour, and reaping the benefits of this, which included an elevation to marquis and eventually duke, he was very unpopular for his involvement in several controversial government policies and his steep rise while being of comparatively humble background. This unpopularity eventually came to haunt him. On 28th January 1450 he was arrested, and subsequently he was impeached and accused of treason. He escaped the death penalty for this only through Henry VI`s intervention, and his eventual punishment was to be five years of exile. On his way to exile, however, his ship was intercepted and on 2nd May 1450, William de la Pole was murdered by beheading.

Following his father`s death, the then seven-year-old John succeeded to his father`s titles, though over the years of his minority, he lost several lands and privileges his father had held. He was one of the poorest of titled nobility at the time, at times not even having enough to support an earldom, let alone a dukedom, though he kept the title.

John`s wardship was not granted to another lord after his father`s death, but he remained in his mother`s household and under her care. In February 1458, when John was 15, Alice Chaucer arranged for her son a marriage to Elizabeth, the second daughter of Richard, Duke of York and his duchess Cecily. His new wife was almost to the day two years younger than John.

The marriage lasted until John`s death in 1492, and appears to have been very successful. They had eleven known children together, though there is some evidence there were more whose names and birth dates are no longer known.

Over the course of their marriage, John and Elizabeth not only became parents several times, they were also the guardians of at least four children: Francis`s cousin Henry, Lord Morley, who was married to their oldest daughter Elizabeth, as well as Francis himself and his sisters Joan and Frideswide. Francis seems to have been close to John, probably seeing in him a substitute father, and emulated him in many ways. Of John`s relationship to his other wards, not much is known, though it is possible that Frideswide called her first child after him.

Though John and Elizabeth`s son, John, Earl of Lincoln, has achieved a certain fame, and John`s father William is certainly (in)famous, John, Duke of Suffolk has not often excited the interest of historians and researchers by himself. The Victorian Henry Alfred Napier called him "under-researched", something that some 150 years later has not really changed. Though there are a few (very few) articles on him, there is no comprehensive study of his life, and when he is mentioned in other historical works, such mentions are often based on assumptions which are not entirely correct or plain entirely wrong. As a consequence, some claims about him have become "common knowledge" despite being either stripped of their context or just untrue.

Several of these claims are:

(1) He always kept out of conflicts for the throne and never got involved.

Though naturally, at the age of not quite 13, he was too young to become involved at the beginning of the conflicts now known as the Wars of the Roses, by early 1461, he was on the Yorkist side. Presumably this was not an indicator that he thought this side was the one in the right, but simply due to family connections through his wife. What his thoughts were on the conflict is unknowable, but he is reported to have fought on the Yorkist side at the second Battle of St Alban`s, as well as at the Battle of Ferrybridge and at the Battle of Towton. Strangely, despite this and the fact he was his brother-in-law, Edward IV did not grant him any rewards or special privileges for this. However, even so, John appears to have fought on his side again three years later, at the Battle of Hexham on 15 May 1464. However, at this battle something appears to have happened to him. Some three weeks later, on 8 June 1464, Margaret Paston wrote a letter to her husband John, in which she reported, among other things, "it is told that the Duke of Suffolk is come home, and either he is dead, or else right sick, and not like to escape". Sadly, she does not elucidate this any more, but given that she immediately afterwards, clearly in connection with it, goes on to explain about Sir John Howard and Lord Rivers`s activities about punishing those who did not come to Edward`s help soon enough, it is a reasonable assumption that whatever sickness John was afflicted with, it was connected to the battle.
Obviously, John survived, but after 1464, never fought again. Despite this, however, he never contemporarily acquired a reputation similar to for example Thomas Stanley`s, for sitting on the fence and waiting everything out, nor was he ever accused of cowardice. It seems likely that something happened at the Battle of Hexham that made him unable to fight later on, and that this was known contemporarily.
John does not seem to have been particularly interested in national politics, but it is simply untrue that he never fought, and in fact it might not even have been his fault that he stopped.

(2) He always did what those in power demanded of him and never drew attention to himself

Evidence suggests that while John  did not get involved much in national politics, this was not because he wanted to keep his head down but simply because he wasn`t interested. Certainly, he did not always do what was demanded of him. There are several instances of him refusing to come to court when it was demanded of him, under a variety of excuses. Early in Edward IV`s reign, he sent a response to Edward`s summons saying he could not come, he was too poor to keep up the status expected of him when coming to court. During the Lancastrian re-adaption, in January 1471, he asked his brother-in-law Thomas Stonor (husband of his illegitimate half-sister) to excuse him from meeting the Lord Chancellor, as many of his servants had been sent into Suffolk to be with his children there, and most of the rest had accompanied his wife Elizabeth on a recent visit there to her children, and he had too few servants to travel to London.
In 1487, only shortly after his oldest son John, Earl of Lincoln, had died in rebellion against Henry VII, John refused to come a festivity for the Order of the Garter, saying the celebration was not lavish enough for him to attend. There are other such instances, which clearly show not a willingness to please those in power at all costs, but, if anything, a complete disinterest in being involved in national politics.  In fact, there are some instances which clearly illustrate that if the sitting king gave orders which interfered with his own interests, John showed no inclination to keep to them. The clearest such example is when he swore, along with other lords, to Henry VII that he would not distribute livery or gather large retinues. Though he did not protest the oath at all, he apparently saw no reason to keep to it and continued distributing livery and gathering large retinues in his own name until his death.

(3) He always kept his head down

This is, of course, related to the points above, and it is equally untrue. John did not keep his head down when he considered something worth fighting for. His quarrel with the Paston family for several manors is legendary for a reason, and presumably the thing he is best known for. His actions there ranged from, as was quite normal in such quarrels, sending men to take a manor he considered his, to petty personal actions, such as visiting a manor he claimed as his own but which was held by Paston and eating as much fish as he possibly could so that there would hardly be any left for Paston should he visit there. During the course of these quarrels, he also did not hesitate to threaten Paston, and at least once in 1465, his men ransacked and ruined a manor Paston was holding, as well as robbed a church connected to it, though John denied knowledge of it and distanced himself from this.

(4) His actions, or lack thereof, in national politics were only for personal gain

Naturally, this would be hardly unnormal, and John was hardly uninterested in personal gain. However, if it was his plan to keep out of national politics so he would be rewarded for his apparent loyalty to whoever was in power, he not only went about it wrongly - see point (2) - it also failed spectacularly, and he would surely over the course of thirty years have realised that. Though he had more when he died than he had in 1461, he was comparatively poor all his life, and several instances of him needing money badly during these years are recorded. At times, his need for money was so bad he pawned jewellery to Edward IV, simply to keep up a certain lifestyle expected of a man of his status.

(5) He was a coward, afraid of his father`s fate happening to him

There is a zero indication he was in any way a coward, and surely refusing the summons of several kings on more or less flimsy excuses - see point (2) - and proceeding to do what he wanted to do would not be something a coward would do, nor someone who was desperately afraid of losing favour. There is also no indication his father`s fate informed any of his actions. It is probably safe to assume that it influenced him in some way, as it is only human nature, but that this is what caused his disinterest in national politics is at best sheerest speculation, and not borne out by his actions. All we know of John`s relationship to his father`s memory is that he did the traditional and expected thing and had prayers read for him. That`s all.


Saturday, 25 August 2018

Book announcement

Hello everyone!

I am sorry for the long delay since the last post, but I do have some good news. Amberley Publishing have agreed to publish my book about Francis!

Its name will be "Lovell our Dogge: The Life of Viscount Lovell, Closest Friend of Richard III and Failed Regicide", it will have 120,000 words and most likely be published in about a year.

The book will be about Francis`s whole life and illuminate the less well-known and famous parts of his life as well as the more famous ones. There will also be some focus on his family, his wife, his sisters, their husbands, and his in-laws.

I hope to spread some knowledge about Francis with this book, correct some misconceptions, and especially to arouse interest in him as his own person, not just "Richard`s friend". It will at least attempt to answer the question what sort of person he was, with the help of many primary sources.

As soon as more details are known, such as likely publishing date, I`ll of course immediately report them. 

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Frideswide Lovell Norris

As I have mentioned before, Francis had two sisters. One of them, Joan, was probably his twin sister. Very little is known about her, except the most basic facts of her life, such her approximate birth and death year, the year she married, whom she married, and when she had her children

A little bit more is known about her and Francis`s younger sister, Frideswide. Apparently significantly younger than her siblings, she was not born before 1463, and most likely in 1464. Therefore, she was still only a baby when her father died on 9th January 1465, and a toddler when her mother died a bit over a year later, on 5th August 1466. She appears to have spent her childhood and adolescence in the household of her brother`s parents-in-law. In 1470, when she was around 6 years old, the first contemporary mention of her is found in the pardon Edward IV`s government issued for Henry FitzHugh and all those in his household after Henry`s rebellion. Though only a child, Frideswide was mentioned as she was, together with her sister, her brother Francis`s co-heir. If Francis himself was even involved in the rebellion is doubtful, as he was just shy of his 14th birthday, but the pardon cleared him of any legal difficulties that could have arisen later from being in Henry`s household at the time he rebelled.

What Frideswide`s education looked like, we naturally do not know. Nor do we know where she stayed until she married in around 1480, whether she lived with Francis`s guardians until then, lived with her brother Francis and his wife Anne after they had started living together as man and wife in around 1476, or lived with her sister Joan after she married in around 1473. Perhaps she stayed with all of them at different times, but it is sheerest speculation.

When Frideswide was around 16, she married the 15-year-old Edward Norris, the oldest son of William Norris of Yattendon and his first wife Joan/Jane de Vere. Edward was the nephew of the Lancastrian Earl of Oxford, who was a close friend of the Lancastrian Viscount Beaumont, Frideswide`s uncle. This, however, was most likely not the cause of the connection, as neither Edward nor Frideswide can ever have seen much of their respective uncles before 1485. Why the marriage was arranged, and if it was done by Francis, by William Norris, by the king or even by one of Francis`s FitzHugh relations, we no longer know.

How the two felt about being married, we also don`t know, but they did their duty and in 1481, the teenage couple became parents for the first time, when Frideswide gave birth to a son they called John. If they named their son after Frideswide`s father, whom she cannot have remembered and perhaps therefore did not think of with as much repulsion as the rest of her family did, or after Edward`s grandfather or paternal uncle, who were both named John as well, or after John of Suffolk, or even an unknown godfather is sheerest guesswork.

Only a year after the birth of their first son, Frideswide gave birth again, to a second son. He was named Henry, most likely after Henry FitzHugh, as there were no other men named Henry in either her nor her husband`s close family. This could suggest that though she was only around eight years old when Henry FitzHugh died, Frideswide remembered him fondly. Henry Norris grew up to become (in)famous for being one of Anne Boleyn`s supposed lovers and was one of the five men executed for this.

Perhaps because they already had two sons and considered their duty done, perhaps for other reasons, the couple did not have another child for several years. In 1483, Frideswide received a "reward" of 50 marks from Richard III after he was crowned king. Perhaps it was this, her support and closeness to her brother`s close friend, that caused a rift between her and her husband, and the couple was divided over political opinions which they needed some time to overcome. Edward`s father William, who had originally supported the Lancastrian cause, had accepted Edward IV as king, but rebelled against Richard in autumn 1483. Edward Norris may have supported this, though he never acted against Richard, while Frideswide seemed to support Richard.

However, there is evidence from 1484 which throws a rather different light on Frideswide`s marriage and her relationship to Richard. While her "reward" from 1483 could well have been simply a gesture of friendship by the new king towards his closest friend`s sister, their interactions clearly did not stop there. In August 1484, Richard granted her an annuity of 100 marks, a rather large sum. While this has traditionally been assumed to have been because of her father-in-law`s rebellion, leaving her husband disinherited, this does not seem to have been the cause. None of William`s other children, nor his wife, was granted anything by Richard.

Naturally, it could be that Richard chose to favour Francis`s sister over the rest of her marital family, but this is contradicted by two facts: one, that the grant was for unspecified "services" to the king, not, as that to other traitor`s relatives, as a compensation, a generous gift by the king. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, is that a second grant of an annuity of 100 marks was made from the same venue, dating from 10th January 1485. This grant was not a confirmation of the first, but was added to it, meaning that Frideswide received 200 marks yearly from Richard, a sizable sum, more than the Countess of Oxford, or even his own mother-in-law, received.

The key to this may lie in the fact that the second grant was dated back nine months, and appears to have been made just after Frideswide gave birth to her third child, a daughter called Anne. Very notably, the grants to her, for unspecified services to the king, have the same wording as one to Katherine Haute, a woman often assumed to have been the mother of Richard`s illegitimate daughter Katherine, Richard made years earlier.

Equally notable is that Richard made grants to Francis on the same days as he made those to Frideswide, as a compensation for equally unspecified services, and that Frideswide appeared to have lived with her brother while pregnant.

That Henry Norris, in later years, appeared to not treat Anne as his sister, and that William Norris, Edward`s father, later favoured Frideswide`s sons, even apparently helping them become established at court, but not Anne, might also point towards the idea that there was at least a question mark over Anne`s paternity, and that she may have been Richard`s.

If so, Frideswide was in a bad position after Richard`s defeat and death at Bosworth only eight and a half months after her daughter`s birth. It seems, though, that she and her husband Edward made the best of it, and even reconcilliated. In around 1486, Frideswide gave birth to her last child, a girl called Margaret, presumably after Edward`s sister. From surviving documents, Margaret seemed much closer to her brother Henry and her grandfather William, again showing up a difference to Anne.

In 1487, Frideswide`s husband, as well as her father-in-law, joined Henry VII`s forces against her brother Francis and the Yorkist rebels, and defeated them at the Battle of Stoke. Edward was knighted for his services. It can only be speculated about what Frideswide thought about this, and what her feelings were about her husband fighting against her brother.

Edward, sadly, did not get to enjoy his knighthood for long, dying later in 1487, of causes unknown. He was only 22 years old, and left Frideswide a 23-year-old widow.

Very little is known about the rest of her life. She appeared to have helped taking care of her sister Joan`s children, and her younger son George eventually even named a child after her. Frideswide did not remarry, and died before 1507, when she is said to be deceased in her uncle William Beaumont`s IPM. When exactly she died, and what of, is sadly unknown.

Of her children, only Henry and Anne had issue, but through them, she has descendants alive even today.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

The birthdate of Joan Beaumont

In or around 1428, Francis`s maternal grandparents John Beaumont and Elizabeth Phelip married. He was 19 years old, she was approximately the same age. We do not know of their living arrangements, or how they felt about the match, but it was five years until they had their first child, a son called Henry after John`s father. This was traditional in the Beaumont family, and the lords Beaumont had been alternatively called John and Henry for over a century.

Whether or not Elizabeth fell pregnant and perhaps had miscarriages in the years following this, we do not know. Since John spent a lot of time at court and from all we know, Elizabeth did not often accompany him, it is perhaps not too likely. We do know, however, that soon after John returned from France, where he had been on a campaign with the royal court, in July 1437, Elizabeth became pregnant again. On 23rd April 1438, she gave birth to her second son, a boy they named William after her father William Phelip. John was present at the time and saw to it his son`s birth was properly celebrated.

In the following year, John again spent a lot of time at court, while Elizabeth seems to have stayed away, running his estates. While it is naturally possible that she visited him during that time and became pregnant,  there are no indications this was so. At no point did he ever leave court to be present at another birth, or to see a new baby, and no comment was made anywhere about another child being born to him. This might, of course, be because this third baby was a daughter and therefore of less interest than her brothers, but circumstantial evidence speaks against it, most notably that in February 1440, when he was made a viscount, John was not noted to be the father to a daughter, only to two sons.

In 1440, after being made England`s first viscount, John appears to have spent less time at court than in the years before. Why this was so, we do not know, but it is most likely that at the end of this year, his wife Elizabeth became pregnant again. By this time, they had been married for twelve years, and she had only given birth two times, not a lot for the time. Why this was so, we have of course no way of saying. Perhaps they had tried whenever they were together but had had difficulties conceiving, or she had had miscarriages. Perhaps they also did not try so often and were happy having two sons, but his new title had made them decide to try for more children.

Whyever it was then, and not earlier, Elizabeth appears to have become pregnant again in late 1440. She must have been around eight or so months along when her father William died on 6th June 1441. In his will, he left her "a bed of silk and one pair of sheets", but nothing to his grandchildren. He mentioned his daughters children, however, as his "heirs male" for the barony he held in the name of his wife, suggesting that at this time, she only had her two sons.

Between her father`s death, and 10th August 1441, Elizabeth died, perhaps from complications while giving birth to her third child, a girl who was named Joan after Elizabeth`s mother Joan. This may have been in the beginning or middle of July, for in a grant made to John Beaumont on 10th August 1441, he is said to have just been bereaved. Said grant gave him the rights to his late father-in-law`s lands and possessions during his children`s minority. It is the first time Joan Beaumont is mentioned. In both this grant, and in her grandfather`s Inquisition Post Mortem made in October 1441, she is said to be his heir, after her brothers, making it clear that no male entail had been created for his lands. This also suggests that when William Phelip spoke of his daughter`s children as his "heirs male" in his will, he wasn`t deliberately excluding Joan because she was a girl, but she simply had not been born yet.

She was therefore seven years younger than her oldest brother, three years younger than William. She was married at the age of 5, and first gave birth, to Francis and his sister Joan, when she had just turned fifteen.

Most likely, like her mother, she died in childbirth in 1466, just after her 25th birthday. 




Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Francis`s safe-conducts to Scotland

In the space of less than twenty years, Francis was granted two safe-conducts to Scotland, both curiously issued on 19th June, the first one in 1471, the second one in 1488.

The first one was organised by his father-in-law, Henry FitzHugh, during the Lancastrian re-adaption, for his family and wards, if strangely not for himself. Since Henry supported the Lancastrian side, it seems likely he hoped to allow his family to escape to Scotland should the then-exiled Yorkist king Edward IV return and be victorious against the Lancastrian Henry VI. Perhaps he feared that, having already been in rebellion against Edward in autumn 1470 and been forgiven, this would not happen a second time and both he and his family would be punished. Perhaps he definitely intended them to go to Scotland if it was possible in case Edward IV regained his throne, or he just wished that they would have the option to flee when it became clear that he might be punished. There is no certainty about it, as it never came to it.

We do not know when Henry applied for the safe conducts, but by the time they came, it may have already been too late for him to realise any of his plans, for by June 1471, Edward had already regained his throne and Henry VI was dead, probably killed on Edward`s orders. It is sometimes assumed that Henry FitzHugh did flee to Scotland alone, with a safe-conduct about which records have got lost, and died there in 1472, but there is no certainty about it. While his death in 1472 is a fact, where he was at the time of death can`t be said. If he did leave for Scotland, however, he took neither Francis nor any of the others he had applied for safe conducts for so they could join him, which also included his wife Alice, his oldest son Richard and their ward Richard, Lord Latimer, who was only three years old in 1471. Francis`s sisters, who at that time still lived in the FitzHugh household, are not mentioned, nor are any of the younger FitzHugh children, but this is most likely not because they were not meant to go along, but because they were not of enough importance to be mentioned, as they neither held any titles in their own name, nor were heirs/heiresses expected to hold titles in the future. 

Naturally, we have no idea what Francis thought of going to Scotland, but by the time he could have, he was most likely no longer in the FitzHugh household. Though his wardship was only granted to Edward IV`s sister Elizabeth and her husband John, Duke of Suffolk, a month later, he was presumably already living with them at this time, and would do so for around a year, by which time Henry FitzHugh was dead and any and all plans to go to Scotland appear to have been unnecessary and forgot.

Francis`s second safe conduct to Scotland was presumably organised by Margaret of York, after the Battle of Stoke was won by Henry VII`s forces and Francis was once more a fugitive. It was, however, only granted almost exactly a year after the battle, and Francis may well have been dead by then.

His fellow rebel, Thomas Broughton, appears to have taken his own safe conduct, granted at the same time as Francis`s, and stayed in Scotland until 1492. There is, however, no solid evidence Francis accompanied him, only one instance of hearsay by a "poor and simple man of York", which was recanted later. While there is some evidence of Broughton`s life in Scotland, there is none for Francis.

While it seems likely that in this instance, Francis supported the idea of a safe conduct, it doesn`t seem as if he ever arrived there. He may have been dead by the time it arrived, or been too ill to travel. Whether he had wanted to go there or seen it as a necessary evil, we don`t know, but it never came to fruition. It seems that despite having had two safe- conducts in his name, Francis never went to Scotland.


Saturday, 16 June 2018

The Battle of Stoke

On 16th June 1487, the last battle of the series of conflicts now known as the Wars of the Roses was fought at East Stoke between the forces of the then-sitting king, Henry VII, and rebel Yorkist forces, led by John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln and Francis.

Little is known about the actual battle itself, not even who was present. Strangely, though information about their motivations and especially the identity of the boy they fought for is scarce and has been lost and/or deliberately destroyed, more is known about who fought for the Yorkist rebels than who fought for Henry VII.

Apart from Francis and John, the Yorkists were supported by the Irish Earl of Kildare`s brother, Thomas FitzGerald, and a number of his men, as well as a German mercenary called Martin Schwartz and a company of his men. They were also joined by some English rebels eager to support their cause, most notably Francis`s associate Thomas Broughton. Henry VII`s forces appear to have been led by the Earl of Oxford. It is usually assumed that Henry`s uncle Jasper Tudor, Duke of Bedford, also took a leading part, but he is not mentioned in any contemporary source, though his absence would be hard to explain. It is equally unknown if William Beaumont, Viscount Beaumont, also an experienced fighter, was present, though in his case, an absence could easily be explained by the fact that at this point, his mental health was already failing.

If he was present, it would have meant he fought against his nephew Francis. Although it is hard to imagine either of them was much upset about this, as they can hardly have known each other, it is possible that William, already being somewhat unstable, was kept away from the battle so this situation would not worsen his state, and he would not be tempted to do something irrational.  This is sheerest speculation, though.

What is known is that the battle between those forces which were there took longer than the Battle of Bosworth some two years previously had done. It has been estimated that it lasted around three hours, and hung in the balance for a while. Eventually, however, the Yorkists were defeated and Henry VII`s forces won the day.

There has been much speculation why this was so. Polydore Vergil, writing years later for Henry VII and his son, claimed that one factor was that Kildare`s Irish forces had only old-fashioned weapons, which meant they were quite easily defeated by the more modern weapons of the royal forces and that without their support, the rest of the rebel forces were outnumbered and eventually defeated. It has also been claimed that in fact the opposite was the case, that the German mercenaries` modern firearms backfired a lot and many were killed by their own weapons, fatally weakening the Yorkist army.

Whether or not either of those theories is the truth, most of the rebel leaders were killed during the battle. Vergil claimed that they died bravely standing their ground in the face of defeat, but once more, the truth of who died when cannot be ascertained. It is a fact though that Martin Schwartz, Thomas FitzGerald, and John de la Pole died during or just after the battle. There is a legend that John de la Pole was found fatally wounded but still breathing under an oak tree after the battle, was killed with a stake through the heart by the enemy fighter who found him, and later buried on the spot that he had died. There is, however, no evidence to support this story, and it is perhaps a touch too dramatic to be truthful.

It has also been claimed that Henry VII was angry that John de la Pole had not survived and been brought to him so he could question him about his knowledge and reasons for rebellion, but again, there is no supporting evidence for this.

Of the Yorkist leaders, only Francis survived the battle, though his fate afterwards is unknown. The York Civic Records state that he was "discomfited and fled", but there is no further information as to what happened to him afterwards. According to legend he was last seen swimming with his horse over the river Trent, but as with so many stories about the battle, it cannot be ascertained in any way.

Shortly after the Battle of Stoke, it became known that the pretender the Yorkist forces fought for had been caught by Henry VII`s forces, but since he was only a boy of ten years old, pardoned. However, the identity of the boy has been doubted, and there are many theories that the boy who subsequently worked in Henry VII`s household was not in fact identical with the boy the Yorkists fought for. It has been postulated that this boy was in fact Edward of Warwick, as Henry VII`s government gave out he claimed to be, or even Edward V, son of Edward IV, who died in the battle.

Though there have been claims that the very fact Francis fled from the battle field after the battle was lost shows he regarded the boy as insignificant, this argument can easily be debunked. Since, if all happened as is claimed in the traditional narrative, the boy was already captured in the last moments of the battle, there would have been nothing Francis could have done for him, and any attempt to do anything would have only led to his own capture and execution without helping the young pretender any. If, however, the boy was in fact Edward of Warwick or Edward V, who had died in battle, there would have been no reason for him to remain and no one to even attempt to help. The argument, therefore, does not hold water and unfairly makes Francis look like a coward, when there is absolutely no evidence to support such an interpretation of him.

There are some indications that Francis was injured during the battle, and it is even possible he did not leave the battle field on his own but was carried away as he was unable to leave himself. Once more, it is speculation. However, there are some indications he may have died fairly soon afterwards, perhaps of complications of his wounds.

Since he had already been attainted in November 1485, he was not among the number of rebels for whom an attainder was passed in Parliament in 1487. However, for some reason, when Parliament sat in 1495, it was decided to rectify this, and despite the fact the 1485 attainder had never been lifted, a second attainder was passed for him.

However, by this time, Francis was almost certainly dead already, and it had been eight years since his last confirmed sighting.