More on a Murder: The Deaths of the "Princes in the Tower", and Historiographical Implications for the Regimes of Henry VII and Henry VIII

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Abstract

Sir Thomas More's account of the murder of the ‘princes in the Tower’ has been treated with varying degrees of scepticism over the past century and a half. More's History of King Richard III is notable, nonetheless, for the way it provides precise circumstantial detail and responsibility for the focal point of the succession crisis of 1483. More's account of those deaths is all the more striking because central to it were several individuals who were still alive at the time of its writing, survivors of the episode and their immediate families. This article explores the identity and experience of those at the heart of the murder story in the context of its creation in the 1510s, especially the man who may well have been the surviving murderer, John Dighton, and Edward and Miles, the prominent royal servant sons of his alleged partner in crime, Miles Forest – and More's contacts with them. In doing so, it sheds some light, if not on the history's absolute veracity, then at least on the first decades of its development in the England of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, and the implications for historiography and the nature of the contemporary regime.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-25
Number of pages22
JournalHistory
Volume106
Issue number369
Early online date28 Dec 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021

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