Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

Lambert Simnel, The Baker’s Boy Who Pretended To Be A King
by [?]

A scene of unwonted excitement was being enacted in Dublin. The streets were thronged with people, the houses were gay with flags, soldiers lined the paths, and nobles in their grand carriages went by in procession. The common folk shouted till they were hoarse, and pressed forward on every hand towards the great church of the city, to witness the ceremony which was taking place there.

Whence was all this excitement? How came the Irish capital into such a state of festivity and holiday-making? The story is a short one and a strange.

Some weeks before, a man in the dress of a priest, accompanied by a good-looking boy, had landed in Dublin, and made his way to the residence of the governor of the place, with whom he sought an interview. On being admitted, he much astonished that nobleman by the tale he told.

It was well known that Richard the Third had during his lifetime shut up in prison the young Earl of Warwick, his nephew, whose title to the crown was better than his own. The cruel uncle, who seemed unable to endure the presence of any of those whom he had so basely robbed of their inheritance, had already, as is well known, murdered those other two nephews whose claims were most prominent and unmistakable. The young Earl of Warwick, however, was allowed to keep his life, but remained a close prisoner in a castle in Yorkshire.

When Henry the Seventh took the crown from Richard and became king, he was by no means disposed to liberate a prince who was clearly nearer to the throne than himself. So he had him removed from Yorkshire to the Tower of London, where he remained almost forgotten amid the bustle of coronation festivities of the new king.

Now the story told by the priest was that this prince had succeeded in escaping from the Tower, and indeed was none other than the lad who now stood at his side, having made his way to Ireland in the company of his tutor and friend, to beg the aid of the Governor of Dublin in an effort to recover his lawful inheritance.

The Earl of Kildare (that was the governor’s name) looked in astonishment from one to the other, and bade them repeat their story, asking the boy many questions about his childhood and the companions of his youth, which the latter answered so glibly and unhesitatingly that the foolish governor was fully persuaded this was no other than the rightful King of England.

He caused the lad to be treated with all the honour due to royalty; he gave him a guard of soldiers, he showed him to the populace, who welcomed him with enthusiasm, and he set to work to organise an army which should follow to enforce his claim to the throne of England.

The boy took all this sudden glory in a half-bewildered manner, but adhered so correctly to his plausible story that none of those generous Irish folk doubted that he was any other than the disinherited prince he professed to be.

Had they only known that the youth about whom they were so enthusiastic was no better than a baker’s son, named Lambert Simnel, they might have been less pleased.

Well, in due time it was decided to crown the new king with all honour. And this was the occasion about which, as we have seen, Dublin was in such a state of festivity and holiday.

The boy was conducted with great pomp to church, amid the shouts of the people, and there crowned with a diadem taken from a statue of the Virgin Mary. Afterwards, according to custom, he was borne on the shoulders of a huge Irish chieftain back to the castle, where he lived as a king for some time.