NOTES: ‘The Pretension of Richard IV”


NOTES: Make mention of John Atwater of Cork (described by Henry VII as “The First moving and half-inventor” of the plot) and John Taylor (servant to George, Duke of Clarence). Taylor was dedicated to Clarence’s son Edward, who was still imprisoned in the Tower (he even attempted to smuggle the boy out early in his life).

Perhaps add a scene with Maximilian I endorsing Richard, with word that Charles VIII of France does the same?

Edward V: a simple child, no initiative and needed everything explained to him. Briefly Richard III’s heir, he was disinherited when it became clear he was utterly incapable. Plots to put him on the throne were discussed in his presence with no input from him. (p79)

Margaret saw Queen Elizabeth (Henry’s wife) as illegitimate, “fallen from the royal summit.” She wanted a “male remnant” to restore the Yorkist throne, “usurped by this most iniquitous invader and tyrant.”


Act Two.

Scene One. The Pirates gossip of the ‘trussed up pig’ parading through town claiming to be a prince. Richard soon joins and carouses with them, showcasing his ability to win others over with wit and sympathy. In time he reveals that he is Richard IV, and is answered with laughter. He sings a lament to his older brother Edward (who should have been the Sixth), who died so he might live (“The Murder’s Mercy). The Pirates declare that they would rather have a Yorkist pig on the throne than a red dragon (Henry VII). They crown Richard king with a bundle of rags.

Scabby Jane cautions them against speaking ill of Henry VII. Richard leaves them in high spirits, declaring that they will invade England and set a white pig on the throne.


NOTES: Research Cork. Pirates parallel Edward VI’s “campaign” (p79 onward).

Henry VII legitimized Edward IV’s children (the princes in the tower) in order to marry his daughter Elizabeth of York. Because of this, Richard IV as legitimate (if he was who he said he was).

Sir Robert Chamberlain spirited Richard away in youth and “died for him.”


Act Three.

The Pirates attacking England.


Act Four.

We see Henry VII, now concerned about Richard’s attack. He remarks on their similarities (both princes in exile, raised as foreigners), but bitterly laments Richard’s acclaim as a popular native, especially among the commoners.





Red cross shields. St. George, coming to slay Henry VII, the red dragon

Teach a pig to dance, to do figures, to speak English, to rule

“Philip Sparrow.” A girl brings her sparrow back to life by embroidering him. On the final dip of the needle, the sparrow flinches and bleeds.

Cork. Harbor town in SE Ireland. Became an urbanized cultural hub after Vikings settled and integrated. Strong Yorkists during during War of Roses.

White Falcon? Richard appears to have no clear sigil of his own.

Maximilian I. Hapsburg line. Holy Roman Emperor. Great braggart, made up stories of narrow escapes. Stubborn, liked to surprise people and hold them in suspense. Supported Richard in exchange for inheritance: should Richard take England and die without an heir, England would pass to Maximilian. Max continued to back Richard despite all signs of failure, and despite urgings from all of Europe that England (Henry VII) be allowed to join a league in opposition to France.

First attempted to land in Downs off Dealing, in Kent. The Kentings, having recently been fooled with tails of Christ’s return, were not interested in the White Rose. They pretended to welcome them, but then fell upon the yeomen scouts and captured (or killed) them, bringing them back to London for interrogation.

After Richard’s first foray into England is soundly defeated, Maximilian is forced to stop overtly aided Richard (though he is clearly still on the White Rose’s side). Philip the Fair compels Margaret to give the Boy no aid, so she withdraws from her properties (but continues to support in the shadows). Richard loses his principle backers and most of his troops after his first real battle with Henry.

Richard’s “Court”: Robert Clifford, Harliston, Taylor (the Younger), Don Pedro Brampton, Sir John Kendel, Neville [if needed], Keating [if needed]

Henry’s “Court”: William Stanley (traitor/plotter), Stephen Bull (head of navy), Nicholas Hayes (chief messenger in the SE), William Fourness (clerk of ordinance),

Misprision: withholding knowledge of treason

Rencontre: engage

Malines in Flanders, Belgium (home of Margaret of York)

Philip the Fair (Philip the Handsome): Son of Maximilian, King of Castile, monarch over Margaret of York/Burgundy

Lady Catherine Gordon: Daughter of George Gordon, Earl of Huntly (Scotland). Richard supposedly wooed her, but she was given as wife by James IV of Scotland, who backed Richard’s invasion after his first failure (when Max essentially disappeared, and Philip forbade Margaret from sheltering him). After Richard’s fall, she is ‘taken’ by Henry VII and becomes a favored lady-in-waiting of his wife, Queen Elizabeth (of York). After Richard she has three more husbands, but no children surviving birth.

James and his army invaded Northumberland with Richard. No one came out to greet them as saviors, but holed up in local towers. James and his army, having received no welcome, set about pillaging. James and Richard had a big fight, and Richard went back to Scotland. He was soon to return (at James’ invite and insistence), but James continued to pillage. While Richard was horrified to spill the blood of his own people, James was fascinated by brutality, and sometimes paid his servants to let him bleed them or pull their teeth.

Richard and James retreated, then split up. Richard sailed around to Cornwall to attack from the west while James reentered from the North. Richard easily gathered up Cornish “savages” to his cause and attacked Exeter. There he was rebuffed (no seige engines). He was being pursued from the west by Giles Daubeney and from the North by the King. On the eve of their great conflict, he abandoned his army and fled to sanctuary (change: maybe Don Pedro nabs him and takes him to sanctuary?).


Have Richard learn about people-pleasing from a clown (Harry the Scot, Dick the Fool)


New Play: Joanna of Flanders: Jane the Flame

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