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Battle of Stoke Field

The Battle of Stoke Field, which took place on June 16, 1487, marked the last dying breath of the Wars of the Roses. Henry VII of England now held the throne for the Lancastrians, and had gained the acceptance of the Yorkist faction by his marriage to their heiress, Elizabeth of York, but his hold on power was not entirely secure.

The best surviving male claimant of the York dynasty was the queen's cousin, Edward, Earl of Warwick (son of George, Duke of Clarence). This boy was kept confined in the Tower of London, but an impostor named Lambert Simnel came to the attention of John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln. Lincoln, although apparently reconciled with the Tudor king, himself had a claim on the throne; moreover, the last Plantagenet, Richard III of England, had named him as as the royal heir. Although he probably had no doubt about Simnel's true identity, Lincoln saw an opportunity for revenge and reparation. Accompanied by Richard III's loyal supporter, Lord Lovell, he had the pretender crowned "King Edward VI" in Dublin and the rebel army, a mixture of Burgundian mercenaries and inexperienced, ill-equipped rabble, entered England via Lancashire.

King Henry's army, marching towards Newark, met the rebels as soon as they crossed the river Trent, and the battle lasted longer than might have been expected, simply because the rebels outnumbered the royal army and the Burgundian contingent were experienced fighters. They inflicted heavy losses on the victors. Lincoln was killed in battle, and Lovell probably drowned in the Trent. Simnel was captured, but was pardoned by the king in a gesture of clemency which did his reputation no harm.