In July 1484 Tudor agent William Collingbourne tacked up a lampoon to the walls of St Paul’s Cathedral:‘The Catte, the Ratte and Lovell our dogge rulyth all Englande under a hogge.’That cat was Sir William Catesby, one of Richard III’s principal councillors and Chancellor of the Exchequer, executed after the Battle of Bosworth. The rat was Sir William Ratcliffe, knighted by Richard during the Scottish campaigns. And the dog was Francis Lovell – not only an ally of Richard III but his closest friend – and one of the wealthiest barons in England. Author Michèle Schindler returns to primary sources to reveal the man who was not only a boyhood friend of the king-to-be as a ward of Edward IV, but also linked to him by marriage: his wife, Anne FitzHugh, was first cousin to Richard’s wife, Anne Neville. Lovell served with The Lord Protector as Richard then was in Scotland in 1481. At Richard’s coronation, Lovell bore the third sword of state. In June 1485 he was tasked with guarding the south coast against the landing of Henry Tudor. His loyalty never wavered – even after Bosworth. He organised a revolt in Yorkshire and was behind an attempt to assassinate Henry VII. Having fled to Flanders, he played a prominent role in the Lambert Simnel enterprise. He fought at the Battle of Stoke Field in 1487 and was seen escaping, headed for Scotland. His final demise provides an intriguing puzzle that the author teases out.It is remarkable that no biography of such a central figure in the Wars of the Roses predates this one.
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About the Author
Michèle Schindler studied at Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, reading English Studies and history with a focus on mediaeval studies. At the same time she worked as a language teacher, teaching English and German as a second language. In addition to English and German, she is fluent in French, and reads Latin.