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Perkin Warbeck and his Jewish Master

Cecil Roth

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Perkin Warbeck and His Jewish Master. By Cecil Eoth. The part played by individual Jews in the history of England during the period that intervened between the Expulsion and the Readmission is negligible. We hear of names like Joachim Gaunse the metallurgist, and Roderigo Lopez the physician, and Philip Ferdinand the Hebraist; but these touch on English history only at its very fringes and (with the exception of the second) hardly receive mention even in works of the greatest detail. Yet if we were to follow the majority of the historians of the Tudors, one figure of the greatest prominence and interest would have to be included in our list. The reign of Henry VII. was continually disturbed by the activities of various pretenders to the throne; and of these none threatened his security so greatly as a youth of the name of Perkin Warbeck, who claimed to be Richard, Duke of York, son of Edward IV., and younger of the two princes murdered by Richard III. in the Tower. His meteoric career is one of the most familiar episodes in the history of that period. With nothing to recommend him beyond a handsome face and engaging manners, he spent six years (1492-7) travelling about the courts of Europe, everywhere finding credence and support. In France, in Burgundy, in Scotland, in Germany, he was received with open arms as the White Rose of England ; and it needed all the resources of Henry's diplomacy to obtain the abandonment of his claims and his expulsion from those countries. It was only when he was captured during an unsuccessful raid on the Western Counties that Henry again felt secure ; and before long his action brought him to the scaffold. That his claims were the purest pretence there can be no doubt; but his true parentage remained till recently clouded in obscurity. Now it has been shown that his father was a burgess of Tournai; yet some of those who judged him more leniently were long in</page><page sequence="2">144 PERKIN WARBECK AND HIS JEWISH MASTER. clined to believe that be was a natural son of Edward IV. From many of the older writers, however, we would gather a different tale ; for it is not altogether a modern phenomenon that the birth of any unpopular personage is ascribed to one particular race. It was long believed that Perkin was of Jewish birth : " Your father was a Jew Turned Christian merely to repair his miseries " 1 is the charge which Ford puts into the mouth of one of the characters in his drama. In this he follows Speed's History: " This youth was born (they say) in the city of Torney and called Peter Warbeck; the son of a converted Jew whose godfather at baptism King Edward himself was." The whole question has however been carefully gone into, and it has been shown that Speed has merely misinterpreted the source of his information.2 This is Bernard Andre, the court chronicler to Henry VII. As a contemporary his information ought to be re? liable : and he merely tells how " they pretended that a certain Peter, a native of Tournai, who had been brought up thereabouts by one Edward, once a Jew but afterwards laved in the sacred font by King Edward, was the younger son of Edward IV. . . . For he used to recount and to recall readily to mind the times of Edward IV., and would speak of his friends and his servants, just as he had been taught and had learnt from youth." 3 Or, again, in the somewhat artificial confession which he puts into Perkin's mouth, " And whatsoever I told you so readily of bygone signs or times, I kept all that in mind as a youth when I was in the service 4 ... of one Edward, a Jew, 1 Perhin Warbeck, act ii. scene 3. 2 For all this, see " The Story of Perkin Warbeck " in Gairdner's Richard III. Cf. also Madden in Archaeologia, vol. xxvii. p. 163, and his footnote : " If the Privy Purse expenses of Edward IV. should hereafter be discovered, they might perhaps afford some entry respecting this baptism of the Jew to confirm Andre's statement." 3 Memorials of Henry VII., Gairdner, R.S., pp. 65-66. 4 " In England " says Andre ; but he obviously did not know who the Jew was, and this is probably a slip. He is not consistent?note that he says that the Jew " brought up " Perkin in the first passage, and " was his master" in the second. And does not' * thereabouts "?in hac regione?point to Tournai ?</page><page sequence="3">PERKIN WARRECK AND HIS JEWISH MASTER. 145 and godson of the aforementioned King Edward: for my master was on terms of the greatest familiarity with King Edward and his sons.*' 5 It is obvious, therefore, that Speed made a slip, and said that Perkin was the son of a Jew instead of that he was brought up by one ; }ust as Bacon, following Speed but erring still further, asserts that it was Perkin himself who had King Edward for godfather.6 In addition, the mistaken report that Perkin's father was a Jew has even been pressed into service as evidence for the existence of Jews in England during the fifteenth century. By the simple expedient of reference to the original authority the whole tale is thus disproved.7 Perkin Warbeck, then, was not a Jew. But the interest of the question in Anglo-Jewish history does not disappear. We have lost the doubtful credit of having produced the pretender: but who was this Edward, the converted Jew and godson of King Edward, in whose service the pretender had been and who gave him the information about the court of his pretended father which proved of such value to him in his adventurous career ? Now while Perkin was in captivity, he wrote a confession giving remarkably full details of his early life. No doubt it was written at the royal instigation?perhaps, almost at dictation?but there was no need for anything but the truth in this opening part of it: " fiirst it is to be known that I was born in the Town of Turney, and my ffaders name is called John Osbeck; which said John Osbeck was controller of the Towne of Turney. And my moders name is Kateryn de ffaro." Thereupon he gives some account of his family and of his' early life, which he describes with considerable minuteness. He was early sent to various places in Flanders to " learn the language " ; and he describes all of his different masters and lodgings even for as short a space of time as two months. He spent a considerable time in the employment of a merchant named Berlo, until, in 1487, " the said Berlo set me w* a merchant at Midde borough to service for to learn the language, wt whom I dwelled from Cristmas unto Easter; and then I went into Portyngale in the Cumpany8 of Sir Edward Brampton's wif in a Ship which was called 5 Memorials of Henry VII., Gairdner, U.S., p. 72. 6 Reign of Henry VII. 1 The discovery in Toumai of the records of Warbeck's family, and of a copy of a letter which he wrote to his mother, have put the question beyond all doubt. See Gairdner's Richard III., p. 329. 8 I.e. Train. VOL. IX. L</page><page sequence="4">146 PERKIN WARBECK AND HIS JEWISH MASTER. the Quene's Ship. And when I was eomen thider I was put in seruice to a Knight that dwelt in Lusshebourne9 which was called Peter Vacz de Cogna, w* whom I dwelled an hole yeare, which said Knight had but one eye. . . ."10 Perkin does not specifically mention that Sir Edward Brampton was on the ship as well, but he does not exclude the possibility. It was not common or likely in those days that a lady should go on such a voyage alone. Bacon, indeed, suggests that it was " on some privado of her own." But Bacon was confined to the same sources that we have before us, so it is clear that this added detail is a mere piece of elaboration on his part. The trip was not undertaken for the sake of the excursion ; and we may safely assume that even though the two did not travel together (though most probably they did) they must have met again at Lisbon. In attendance on his lady, therefore, Perkin must have been in the service of Sir Edward Brampton. Now in the long and detailed list of his employers there is no other mention of anybody else who was named Edward. Sir Edward Brampton must therefore have been that same " Edward, once a Jew, but afterwards laved in the sacred font by King Edward."11 This would indeed be slender evidence on which to base the identification. But it is not all. Some two years later, a pardon was issued to this same personage ; and in it he is styled " Edward Brampton, Knight, alias of Portingale . . . alias godson of the most illustrious prince, Edward IV." 12 Of his being a Portuguese there can be no question. He is referred to repeatedly as such, once in such specific terms as " born in the realm of Portugal/' But every Christian was baptised in earliest infancy ; and at that period it was supremely impossible for King Edward to have acted as his sponsor. In the first place, he was never in or near Portugal: and, if that is not sufficient disproof, we find Brampton in 1472 an active man en? trusted with a responsible command, who could hardly have been younger than twenty years of age and was probably older. Edward 9 I.e. Lisbon. 10 Vitellius, ed. Kingsford, p. 219. 11 There is in the confession no mention of any Jew and no indication that Brampton was one. But was it not natural for Perkin to gloze over his connection with a man who appears to have been, whether wittingly or unwittingly, his accomplice ? 12 Patent Bolls, Henry VII., p. 274.</page><page sequence="5">PERKIN WARBECK AND HIS JEWISH MASTER. 147 at the time was no more than thirty. Was it probable that a boy? unknown as he was then?of less than ten years of age should already have taken upon himself the moral responsibilities of a godfather ? It is obvious therefore that Brampton was baptised late in life, and after his departure from his native land. He could not in that case have been born inside the pale of the Church : he must have been either a Moslem or a Jew. To find a baptised Moslem wandering about in Western Europe would have been very strange : nor did Mohammedans figure to any noticeable extent among the population of Portugal. It is not rash therefore to assert that Brampton had been born a Jew. Thus the two pieces of evidence confirm one another. Nor is this all: though it is sufficient to establish the point. In 1468 there appears in the records of the Domus Conversorum one Edward Brandon. He is last recorded as having drawn his pension in 1472. In the same year, Edward Brampton is first mentioned as entering upon public life. The first came most probably?like almost all the inmates of the Domus at this time?either from Germany or from the Peninsula ; his name?if it was his originally?points to the same origin. It is therefore quite probable that he was a Portuguese : he certainly was a converted Jew : and was godson? like all the " Conversi "?-of the reigning monarch Edward IV. The other was certainly a Portuguese : certainly a convert?most probably a converted Jew : and was godson of the same sovereign. The career of the one abruptly commences just where the career of the other abruptly ends. Were therefore the surnames completely different there would be every reason to presume that the two personages are identical. But the names are very similar ; and the difference is not one which mediaeval orthography would find it difficult to surmount. Once, indeed, we find a reference under the intermediate form Brampdon.13 This is phonologically an impossible spelling. If the -don is retained, the previous consonants must be softened to suit it, and the name would resolve itself into Brandon. If the mp is retained, the d must harden and the form become Brampton. There may indeed have been reasons of policy for the change, as will 13 Rolls of Parliament, vol. vi. p. 92a. See below.</page><page sequence="6">148 PERKIN WARBECK AND HIS JEWISH MASTER. be indicated; but there is a yet simpler explanation. Both names are found in England. Brampton, however, is distinctively English, whereas Brandon is found on the Continent as well.14 What could have been more likely than that the newly arrived immigrant in the semi-foreign atmosphere of the Domus Conversorum should have retained the name by which he was originally known ; while when he issued forth into the world the Court scribe should have called him by the more familiar and specifically English form ? In support of this it may be noted that there are two Edward Brandons?one a Knight?referred to subsequently who must be left absolutely isolated and unknown figures if they are not to be identified with Sir Edward Brampton : and both of these are in French accounts.15 It is natural, therefore, to suppose that Brampton and Brandon were two different forms?the one more English, and the other slightly foreign?of spell? ing the same name.16 Finally, in 1488, the name of an Edward Brampton appears as having received support in the Domus Conversorum. Who was he ? It would be very strange to find an inmate returning after so prolonged an absence as sixteen years ; and it would be more remarkable still that one who had risen to a knighthood should have been readmitted without special note being made of it. But on the other hand, if this was not an earlier inmate, now returned, there is something yet stranger to be explained. The " Conversi " were almost invariably godsons of the reigning monarch and assumed his name. This might indeed have been an exceptional case; yet who, while hoping to enjoy the bounty of King Henry VII., would have been so foolish as to go out of his way to adopt such a name as Edward, with its Yorkist associations, at the very moment of the triumph of the Lancastrians ? It must assuredly therefore have been one of the old inmates under Edward IV., now returned after some period of 14 Especially among Jews : cf. Jewish Encyclopedia, sub voce. The original would no doubt have been Brandao. 15 See below p. 161. 16 One of these two accounts is adduced by Professor Pollard in his standard work, The Reign of Henry VII. from Contemporary Sources, as is also the mention of Sir Edward Brampton in Warbeck's Confession. With no corroborative evidence and with no thesis to prove he suggests, in his index, their identity. One who has both may be pardoned in being so rash as to accept his conjecture.</page><page sequence="7">PERKIN WARBECK AND HIS JEWISH MASTER. 149 absence; and who could it be other than Edward Brandon, who had gone out into the world and prospered as Sir Edward Brampton, and was now returned to the Domus for a space under his new name ? This episode forms indeed a further link in the chain of identity. If in spite of all this, and in spite of all that has been adduced above, these were all three different personages who must be carefully kept distinct, then the long arm of coincidence has overreached itself. It is on the more probable assumption that they are identical that the sketch which follows will be based. Some time in the early years of the reign of Edward IY. there arrived in England a young Jew from Portugal. For his leaving the land of his fathers there was excellent reason. The position of the Jews of the Peninsula had been steadily deteriorating from a qualified freedom into a precarious toleration, and an attack upon the Jewish quarter of Lisbon a few years before had given a sanguinary foretaste of the horrors of the Expulsion. Why, however, he chose England as his new home it is more difficult to see. No part of Europe had thrown out the Jews so completely as this country, and the memory of their expulsion was still tenaciously kept alive. The conservative legal mind still identified certain properties by the names of their Jewish proprietors of two centuries before, or as being in the King's hands through the expulsion of the Jews.17 Nevertheless, for those whose religious scruples did not weigh upon their consciences, England possessed one great attraction. Though as Jews there was everything to repel them, as renegades they could be sure of a welcome. The Domus Conversorum, or Home for Converts, had been founded in 1233 by the most pious of English kings for the especial benefit of such, and its leisured ease contrasted most favourably with the fierce outbreaks against the Nuevos Christianos which took place periodically in countries of greater toleration. And so the institution was never empty. From time to time there would enter baptised Jews from Flanders or Germany or Southern Europe, to live on a sufficient pittance at the royal expense ; nor was there hardly ever lacking a sufficient number to make up?if they still wished it?the necessary quorum 17 See Patent Polls for this reign, passim.</page><page sequence="8">150 PERKIN WARBECK AND HIS JEWISH MASTER. of three for grace.18 It was therefore very likely this institution which attracted our subject, for we find him first mentioned within its walls. He became known as Edward Brandon. The first was with? out doubt his baptismal name, which he received in honour of the King ; for it was customary for each of the converts to go through the ceremony of admission to his new faith with great pomp, and to have the reigning monarch as his sponsor. The origin of the second name is more doubtful. Brandon is not an uncommon name among Jews of Spanish and Portuguese origin ; but, on the other hand, it was well known in England too. Sir William Brandon was a prominent figure among the Lancastrian supporters of this time, and his descend? ants attained half a century later to the dignity of Dukes of Suffolk and produced a claimant to the throne in the person of Lady Jane Grey. Whether, therefore, the name was his own or adopted, as was frequently done in honour of one of his patrons, we cannot say : any more than we can what was its bearer's previous life, when and why he came to England, and how he first employed himself. The first fact that we know about him is that in 1468?after, no doubt, a State baptism?-he entered the Domus Conversorum.19 In the midst of the stirring events going on around, it must have been a very spiritless sort of existence for an ambitious young man. The circle of converts at this period numbered no more than four, and their pittance of three half-pence a day, though sufficient, was hardly abundant. It is not surprising, therefore, that after a short period of residence he disappears from the records for a space : no doubt pushing his way in the outside world.20 Yet this first attempt could not have met with much success, for before long he was back in the Domus again. This was the period of the brief restoration of Henry VI. through the aid of Warwick, and London became the scene of exciting events. No doubt the convert followed with con? siderable interest the political fortunes of his royal godfather? 18 Rev. Michael Adler, " The Domus Conversorum," J.H.S. Transactions, vol. iv. 19 Ibid. 20 Is this to he associated with the purchase of the ship Martin Garcia from Portugal in 1470 ? There is a strange coincidence between the name of this vessel, the Garcia which is met with subsequently, and le Garce of which Brampton after? wards had command.</page><page sequence="9">PERKIN WARBECK AND HIS JEWISH MASTER. 151 displayed mock rejoicing, with the rest of London, at his temporary fall: and real rejoicing at his return. It may be, to judge from the somewhat extravagant language subsequently used of his services to the Crown, that he fought for Edward in the ranks of the Yorkist forces at Barnet and Tewkesbury, or perhaps performed espionage service for him during his exile. In 1472, a year after the Restoration, he again disappears from the records of the Domus Conversorum. Very likely he was employed in negotiating the treaty with Portugal in the March of that year, or accompanied Earl Rivers thither on his embassy in April. At all events, he soon began to make himself prominent in a public capacity, though from now the form Brampton is used for his name. Perhaps the change in spelling denotes nothing more than his departure from the semi-foreign atmosphere of the Domus Conversorum ; for the new form is more distinctively English. But it is interesting to note that, on entering the service of the Yorkist sovereign, he ceases to be known by the same name as the Lancastrian Brandons?now proscribed exiles?and adopts the form of a loyal Yorkist house who remained loyal to Richard III. till the bitter end. It is a strikingly modern feature that he followed in his nomenclature the stars which were in the ascendant. In June 1472, he received his first post of trust. Together with certain others he was appointed to the command of an armed force " which the King is sending to sea to resist his enemies and rebels,"21 for the Channel was at this time swarming with predatory hostile shipping, both English and French. For some time he continued in his naval capacity, and did well enough to be entrusted after a short time with an independent command. In the November of the next year he was granted a commission to take mariners for a ship called " ? le Garce' going to sea to resist the King's enemies." 22 Again we have no idea of what he did, though indiscriminate privateering rather than real warfare is likely to have been what happened. But in any case his services must have given satisfaction. In October 1472, before he received his independent command, he was granted by Letters Patent for his " good service to the King in many battles " 21 Calendar of Patent Bolls, Edward IV. and Henry VI., p. 340. 22 Ibid., p. 409.</page><page sequence="10">152 PERKIN WARBECK AND HIS JEWISH MASTER. certain " messuages, tenements, rents and possessions in the City of London without rendering anything to the King and without fine or fee."23 At the same time there were issued letters of denization for " Edward Brampton, born in the realm of Portugal,"24 and on January 14 following he performed the ceremony of homage to the King at Greenwich.25 He is thus one of the first Jews by birth to be naturalised an English subject, just as he is the pioneer in receiving specific mention in an Act of Parliament. For, in the Act of Resumption of 1473 among the 221 clauses of exemption was one that it " should not extend nor in any wise be hurtyng or prejudiciall to our trusty and well-beloved servaunt Edward Brampdon Squier. . . ,"26 It must have been at this period that he entered upon those "terms of the greatest intimacy with King Edward and his sons " which were to be of such importance later. Thus established as a citizen and property holder, Brampton set about advancing his position in a more peaceful manner. There were wide estates in Northamptonshire held in dower by Isabel, the widow of Sir William Pecche, knight, and already in 1465 a grasping court favourite had obtained a prospective grant of them after the widow's death.27 There was, however, a more immediate method of gaining control, and on this Brampton seized by marrying the fair owner. By 1474 he was using the estates as his own, for we find him in that year actually availing himself of the right of presenting to the living of Hasilbeche, which was part of his wife's estate.28 But he did not enjoy his wife's society for long, though he was more fortunate with her lands. In 1480 he was granted for life the manors of Great Houghton and Hasilbeche in Northampton, together with other properties both there and in London " late of Isabel Peche his late wife " of the total yearly value of ?21.29 The sum seems to 23 Calendar of Patent Rolls, Edward IV. and Henry VI., p. 357. 24 Ibid. This, though written after, is (presumably ante-) dated before, the grant of land. 25 Warrants for P.S., file 64, Series I. No. 48. 2 6 Rotts of Parliament, vol. vi. p. 92a. 27 Patent Rolls, Edward IV, p. 430. 28 Bridge, History of Northamptonshire, vol. ii. p. 37. 29 Patent Rolls, Edward IV. and V. and Richard III., p. 194.</page><page sequence="11">PERKIN WARBECK AND HIS JEWISH MASTER. 153 us insignificant. In modern standards of value, however, it would be something very much more considerable, and anyhow it compares very favourably with the income of lfeL a day with which he was accredited only eight years previously in the Domus Conversorum. And so Edward Brampton was comforted after his wife, and within a few years we find him married again. Nor was marriage his only source of increment. His higher social status was in those days no bar to engaging himself in trade. The proudest of the nobility intrigued for mercantile privileges, and Edward IY. distinguished himself by engaging in commerce on a large scale and considerably eking out thereby his income as King. And so we find Brampton carrying on commercial relations with the land of his birth ; the denizen of England and " trusty and well beloved servant33 of its King, had opportunities which the despised Jew could in all probability not have obtained. Before long he too received trade privileges. Certain Spanish merchants had a claim for 5,000 crowns of gold against Henry VI. which King Edward took it upon himself to satisfy " for the preservation of the peace between the King's house and the house of Castile and Leon." Brampton, whether as a speculation or through compulsion had paid ?700 of this out of his own pocket, and in 1481 he was given a grant to " ship wools in the ports of London, Sandwich, and Southampton, and to take them by the Straits of Maroc quit of customs and subsidies at the rate of four marks on each sack 33 until his claim against the crown was satisfied.30 In the following year, when an Act of Parliament was passed for the appropriation of customs, dues, &amp;c, for the pay? ment of the expenses of the Royal household, a special clause was again inserted to exempt these grants to Sir Edward Brampton from its provisions.31 He must have been a well-known figure about the streets of London in these days, this adventurous convert, pushing his fortunes 30 Patent Polls, Richard III., p. 248. The names of these merchants were Saincus de Vribarri, Inicus Martinus, Dominic de Amesqueta, Stephen de Ribadeo, Didacus de Soto, Peter Juanes de Samaripa, Peter Alfonsi, Inicus de Jauregui and John Periz. Are any of them distinctively Jewish to a sufficient extent to illustrate the mediaeval Jewish international commercial nexus ? 31 Polls of Parliament, vol. vi. p. 2026.</page><page sequence="12">154 PERKIN WARBECK AND HIS JEWISH MASTER. now by intrigue, now by trade, now by a lucky match, and now by hard fighting?a somewhat incongruous character in the brilliant court of Edward IV., but apparently none the less favoured for all that. We may picture him to ourselves, if we please, attracting rather more attention than he cared from the burgesses as he rode past on his way to Westminster, or quickening his pace self-consciously as he turned aside to visit the property in Holborn " without the bars of the Old Temple," which he inherited from his wife : for on his way he must have passed perilously close to the Domus Gonversorum in Chancery Lane, and he could not have relished the possibility of a friendly salutation in the open thoroughfare from one of his old companions?his god-brethren, if we may so call them. The next mark of royal favour brought Brampton back from the commercial to the political world. In August 1482 he was appointed to the high office of Captain, Keeper and Governor of the island of Guernsey with its appurtenances.32 But this honour was the last that he received from his old benefactor and friend, for in the following April Edward IV. died. This, however, did not interrupt the flow of Brampton's good fortune. In the factions which ensued on the accession of the infant Edward V., he had the good fortune to attach himself to the winning side?that of the Duke of Gloucester, the late King's brother, as against the Woodvilles, the family of the Queen Dowager. In the first month of the child-king's reign, Edward Brampton with two others received a commission to go to sea with ships to take Sir Edward Woodville.33 Thus we have the diverting spectacle of a king's brother-in-law being chased about the seas by a converted Jew. The pursuit, however, was unsuccessful. Woodville escaped and joined Henry of Kichmond in France, and Brampton returned to support Gloucester in his bold bid for the throne, which he ascended within a few weeks as Richard III. Without doubt 32 Patent Rolls, Edward IV. and V. and Richard III. In this and the follow? ing documents he is referred to as " esquire of the body." There is also here the curious provision that he should not" meddle with any lands, rents, and possessions pertaining to the Priory of St. Michael in the Vale in the island." It might be thought that the Prior objected to having the possessions of the Church put under the control of a convert. The same clause, however, appears in the Patent of appointment of John Dichefeld on February 11, 1473. 33 Nichols, Grants of Edward V. (Camden Society Publications), p. 3.</page><page sequence="13">PERKIN WARBECK AND HIS JEWISH MASTER. 155 Brampton assisted him putting down the revolts against his power which immediately followed?notably, that of the Duke of Buckingham which Shakespeare has made so familiar. Rewards were showered on him for his services. In the first month of the new King's reign he was made a grant of ?350 from the " customs and subsidies on any goods and merchandise of his in the ports of London, Sandwich, and Southampton."34 In the following year " for his services against the rebels " he was raised to the knighthood and granted on knight's service a very extensive estate in Northamptonshire extending over no less than twenty places and comprising three more whole manors in addition.35 Thus he was the first man of Jewish birth to be made a knight since that rank had developed from a method of feudal land tenure into a dignity; and it was not till nearly two centuries had elapsed that another Jew, in the person of Sir Augustine Coronel, followed his example?unfortunately in more respects than one. Shortly after, the new knight became master of a further valuable manor formerly belonging to the Duchess of Somerset,36 but the next grant was the most surprising of all. In consideration of " services to be rendered according to certain indentures 99 he and another person named Christopher Colyns were each awarded an annuity of the then very considerable sum of ?100 a year for twenty years.37 What those mysterious services were which Richard did not wish to make public, but for which he was willing to pay so dearly, must remain a matter of conjecture. They can but give rise to grave suspicions. He had just succeeded in procuring the expulsion of Henry of Richmond from Brittany, but he could have no peace while his rival was alive. A monarch who had made away with his predecessor can have had no scruples in ridding himself of one who bade fair to become his successor. For the government of Richard III. was tottering to its fall. In little more than a year from this date, Richard fell upon the fatal field of Bos worth. The name of Sir Edward Brampton is not given in the list of those who fought in the battle ; perhaps his secret instructions had led him abroad. For some time he disappears from the scene. He was superseded in his office as Governor of 34 Patent Polls, Edward IV. and V. and Richard III., p. 366. 35 Ibid., 416. 38 Ibid., p. 479. 37 Ibid., p. 481.</page><page sequence="14">156 PERKIN WARBECK AND HIS JEWISH MASTER. Guernsey, and his estates?largely the confiscated property of Lancastrian supporters?were taken from him by the Act of Resumption of Henry's first Parliament. A single turn of the wheel had reduced the prosperous court favourite into a proscribed exile. It is as such that we next meet him. No doubt he had joined the band of Yorkist adherents in the Low Countries. But there was no hope of an immediate restoration, and his mind turned again to the land of his birth. With his family he embarked at Middelburg for Lisbon in the spring of 1487, and before his departure he took into his employment a servant of one of the local merchants as a page or other attendant for his wife.38 The knight, perhaps somewhat garrulous by nature, would dearly love to chat about the days of his prosperity in England, at the Court of his friend and patron Edward IV.; not suspecting that the good-looking youth who was so eagerly drinking in every word would know more of Courts than ever he had done, and in after days would use every detail he had garnered to show his own familiarity with the same Court and to prove himself the son of the same King. At Lisbon they parted? the boy for a year's more service, after which he was to embark upon that amazing career which nearly won him a throne, and the master to pursue a very different sort of life from that he had led in the country twenty years previously. Eor there was nothing to tempt him to return to the faith which he had abandoned. What had previously been a dangerous possibility had now become an imminent peril. The Inquisition had already been introduced into Spain, and the shadow of the Expulsion had fallen athwart the Jewries of the Peninsula. The name and style of an English knight, even though an exile, was less hazardous than that of a native Jew, even though a converso. But most desirable of all was to be back in England again. And so, although no doubt he set up his establish? ment in Lisbon, he returned to London to spy out the land. It was dangerous, however, to show himself too prominently, and what place could be so free from suspicion as the Home for converted Jews ? Whether this was the reason for choosing it as his refuge or not, he was certainly living there during the year 1488. The proud knight, 38 For this see supra p. 145.</page><page sequence="15">PERKIN WARBECK AND HIS JEWISH MASTER. 157 intimate of kings and erstwhile Governor of Guernsey, was again reduced to the old pittance of three half-pence a day among his old associates. But apparently his visit was without result, and after a short stay he again returned to the land of his fathers. Yet still he did not give up hope of pardon and restoration.39 In May 1489 an embassy from Henry VII. arrived at Lisbon, and there they found the English knight, Sir Edward Brampton,40 pleased to receive them, " who," says the chronicler, " during the time that they were in the said city accompanied them about and did them all the honour which was in his power, and entertained them at his house twice or thrice most honourably." 41 One wonders what they talked of together, the envoys and their obsequious friend. Brampton must have been very interested in Don Isaac Abravanel, who was now at the height of his fame at the Spanish court; or as a seafaring man his attention must have been attracted by the newly published nautical calendars of Abraham Zacuto. But it is to be feared that his talk was of matters more mundane, and one has a shrewd suspicion that something more tangible passed between them than mere words. It is certainly a strange coincidence that on August 21, 1489, rather less than a month after the return of the embassy to the King at Windsor,42 there was issued under the privy seal a general pardon, with restitution of lands and possessions? provided that sufficient security were forthcoming?to " Edward Brampton, Knight, alias of Portingale, alias of London, merchant, alias gentilman, alias godson to the most illustrious King, Edward IV."43 And so Sir Edward Brampton received his second chance in England. There are very few subsequent references to him by which 39 Rev. Michael Adler, op. cit. In the documents (Exchequer Accounts, Bundle 253) he is not mentioned (No. 5) in the accounts from Michaelmas (2 Henry VII.) to February 22 (3 Henry VII.); but he is accounted for (No. 6) as Edward Brampton for the complete year February 22 (3 Henry VII.) till February 22 (4 Henry VII.) ?i.e. almost the year 1488 O.S. The accounts for the next year are not existent. It is strange that Brampton's residence should have commenced precisely on the first day for which the new accounts were presented. No doubt the Keeper allowed himself a little latitude. 40 " Misr Eduar Brandon." 41 Journals of Roger Machado, printed in Gairdner's Memorials of Henry VII., R.S., p. 195. 42 It had reported to him only on July 28. 43 Patent Polls, Henry VII., p. 274.</page><page sequence="16">158 PERKIN WARBECK AND HIS JEWISH MASTER. the record of his life may be pieced out; but he apparently was received again into favour, thus retaining the good-will of all the four successive sovereigns. It seems that he set up a family in England, for in 1500 the son of " Sir Edward Brampton, merchant, of London and Portugal " was knighted by the King at Winchester ;44 and eight years later a Knight of St. John named Sir Edward Brandon met the French ambassadors at Dartford in Kent.45 But with his return to England the connected records of Brampton's life abruptly end, and we cannot tell what was the subsequent fate either of himself or of the family which he established. Yet this brief twenty years of his career which it is possible to trace is certainly not devoid of interest, and in some ways not devoid of importance. When a baptised Jew could attain such eminence in the country, public opinion could no longer be scandalised at the idea of a few unbaptised Jews living quietly and without disturbance. In this very reign we find the few isolated Marranos creeping in who developed into the crypto-Jewish com? munity of the next century. Thus there was taken by a convert the first step which led towards the Resettlement. Nor is this all that the tale teaches. It shows us that the mine of Anglo-Je wish history may still yield many a rich vein to the inquirer. It affords us an excellent example of the adaptability of the Jew to any circumstances, and of his capacity for success in a foreign land and amongst a wholly alien race. It gives us an insight into the life of one who, but for the downfall of the dynasty to which he attached himself, might have become a precursor of Benjamin Disraeli. And, finally, it affords a picturesque type of the vagabond adventurer in which Jewish history ?to its credit but also to its loss?is usually so completely deficient.46 May 21, 1920. 44 Shaw, Knights of England, vol. ii. p. 32. 45 Letters of Richard III. and Henry VII., R.S., vol. i. p. 371. 46 The writer of this paper hopes to find an opportunity of making further research into the history of Brampton, with the object of possibly discovering documentary evidence in support or refutation of the identification suggested.</page><page sequence="17">PERKIN WARBECK AND HIS JEWISH MASTER. 159 APPENDIX. Calendar of Patent Rolls, Edward IV. and Henry VI. P. 340. 1472, June 26. Westminster. Appointment of John Kyryell, esquire, Richard Haute, esquire, Philip Dymmer, esquire, Edward Brampton, John Cole, and William Fetherston to the command of an armed power which the king is sending to sea to resist his enemies and rebels. P. 357. October 8. Westminster. Grant to Edward Brampton and the heirs male of his body, for his good service to the king in many battles, of all messuages tenements rents and possessions late of John King, clerk, within the city of London which John Tunley lately had of the grant of Henry IV. to hold from Midsummer last without rendering anything to the king and without fine or fee. By P.S. October 1. Letters of denization for the said Edward Brampton, born in the realm of Portugal. By P.S. P. 409 (401). 1473, November 10. Commission to Edward Brampton, Thomas Philip [and William Ungle] to take mariners for a ship called ' le Garee ' going to sea to resist the King's enemies. Edwabd IV. &amp; V. and Richard III. P. 194. 1480, May 2. Westminster. Grant for life to the king's servant Edward Brampton, esquire, of the manor of Great Houghton, co. Northampton, not exceeding the value of 4Z. yearly, the lordship or manor of Hasilbeche, co. Northampton, not ex? ceeding . . . 82., lands in Rothewell (10 marks), a messuage in Hardewych and lands in the same town (205.), and a messuage and two tenements in Holboorn without the bars of the Old Temple, London (305.), late of Isabel Peche his late wife, and in the King's hands by the forfeiture of Thomas Tresham, knight, attainted of high treason ... to hold by fealty only. By P.S. P. 248. 1481, December 23. Grant to the King's servant Edward Brampton, esquire, who has paid the sum of 700/. of his own for the king to Saincus de Vribarri, Inicus Martinus, Dominic de Amesqueta, Stephen de Ribadeo, Didacus de Soto, John Periz, Peter Juanes de Samarifa, Inicus de Jauregui and Peter Alfonsi,</page><page sequence="18">160 PERKIN WARBECK AND HIS JEWISH MASTER. in part satisfaction of the sum of 5,000 crowns of gold granted to them by letters patent dated 7th July last, that he or his executors after his decease or their factors or attorneys may ship wools in the ports of London, Sandwich, or Suthampton and take them by the straits of Marok quit of customs and subsidies at the rate of 4 marks on each sack to the said sum of 700Z. Mandate in pursuance to the customers or collectors in the port of Suthampton. By P.S. P. 318. 1482, August 24. Appointment for life of Edward Brampton, one of the esquires of the body, as captain, keeper and governor of the island of Guernsey with its appurtenances of Orney, Sark, Orme and Gethoo, and grant to him for his fees and expenses in the custody and defence of the island and all castles and fortresses in it, qf all manors lordships lands rents services reversions customs and issues in the same, provided that he do not meddle with any lands rents and possessions pertaining to the priory of S. Michael of the Vale in the island. By P.S. (Richard III.) P. 366. 1483, July 25. Grant to Edward Brampton, esquire, that he or his factors or attorneys may receive the sum of 350?. from the customs and subsidies on any goods and merchandise of his in the ports of London Sandwich and Suthampton. By P.S. P. 416. 1484, March 6. Grant to the king's servant Edward Brampton esquire of the body and the heirs male of his body for his good service against the rebels of 15 messuages 18 tenements 11 cottages 3 crofts 3 tofts 8 gardens 5 virrgates of land 6 acres of meadow 11 acres of pasture and 20s. Ad. rent in Northampton, the manors of Rusheton, Great Houghton, and Sewell and all other lands etc. in (20 names) county of Northampton late of Thomas Tresham knight to hold with knight's fees sords marriages reliefs advowsons etc. by knigMs service and a rent of 31 yearly. By P.S. P. 479. 1484, August 11. Grant to Edward Brampton knight of the body and the heirs male of his body for his good service against the rebels of the Manor of Faunston co. Northampton late of Margaret Duchess of Somerset of the yearly value of 201._by knight-service and a rent of 30s. yearly. By P.S. P. 481. August 20. Grant to Edward Brampton knight of the body in consideration of services to be rendered by him according to certain indentures of an annuity of I00Z. from Easter next for twenty years from the subsidy of 3s. in the tun and 12$. in the pound in the port of London. By P.S.</page><page sequence="19">PERKIN WARBECK AND HIS JEWISH MASTER. 161 Henry VII. P. 274. 1489, August 21. (Cf. also Brewer, Material for History of Henry VII., R.S.) General pardon with restitution of lands and possessions to Edward Brampton, knight, alias of Portingale, alias of London, merchant, alias gentilman, alias " dicto Edwardo Brampton flliolo "?(godson)?" illustrissimi principis Edwardi IV." provided that the said Edward produce sufficient security in the King's chancery for bearing himself as a faithful liege should bear himself towards the King's person and majesty. By K. (Journals of Roger Machao printed in Gairdner's Memorials of Henry VII., R.S. p. 195.) Henry VII. had sent an embassy to Spain and Portugal. " Et le xxxme jour (= 30th May 1489) ily sont venus ? la cite de Lixbonne . . en la dicte cite les dictes embassadeurs ont trouve misr Eduar Brandon, le quell durant la temps quilz ont estes en la dicte cite les a accompaignies et leurs fait tout l'onneur qu'il a peu faire et les a festiones en sa maison par deux ou trois foys molt honnorablement. ..." Ibid., p. 2026. 1482. (Act of Appropriation of Customs dues etc. for expenses of Royal House? hold.) Provided always that this Acte of Resumption made or hereafter to be made in this present Parlement extend not nor in any wise be prejudiciall unto Edward Brampton Squier to or for any Graunte by the Kyng unto him made by his Letters Patentes, concerning the shifting of certain Wooles through the Straits of Maroc. (Bernard Andre, ed. Gairdner, pp. 65, 66, Memorials of Henry VII.). Petreyum autem quemdam Tornacensem ab Eduardo quondam Judaeoy postea a rege Eduardo sacro lavato fonte, in hac regione educatum, regis Eduardi Quarti minorem filium effinxerunt. . . , Explicabat enim et ex prompta memoria repetebat omnia Eduardi Quarti tempora, omnesque illius famili?res ac domesticos, uti fuerat instructus et a parvulo noverat, memoriter recitabat. . . . Ibid., p. 72. (In the confession put into Perkin's mouth.) Et quicquid olim signorum aut temporum vobis callidus retuli, totum illud quum parvulus Eduardi quondam Juda?i ac antememorati regis Eduardi filioli in Anglia servulus eram memoriter retinui: erat enim ille patronus meus regi Eduardo ac suis liberis familiarissimus. VOL. IX. M</page><page sequence="20">162 PERKIN WARBECK AND HIS JEWISH MASTER. Rolls of Parliament, VI. 92a. 1473. (Act of Resumption.) " Provided alway that this Acte of Resumption made or to be made in this present Parlement, extend not nor in any wise be hurtyng or prejudicial! to oure trusty and well-beloved servaunt Edward Brampdon Squier, for any Graunte or Grauntes by us unto hym by our Letters Patentes by whatsoever name or names the said Edward be named and specified in the same. [The phrase " by whatsoever name or names" cannot be taken, as might be thought, as showing that grants had been made to Edward Brampton before his assumption of that name, and consequently before his conversion. It is a stereotyped formula occurring in every clause.]</page></plain_text>