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(YT-273: dp. 260, 1. 101'; b. 26'; dr. 11'; s. 11 k.;
cpl. 19; cl. Pelleacue)
The third Tecumseh (YT-273) was laid down at Brooklyn, N.Y., on 31 August 1942 by Ira S. Bushey & Sons, launched on 30 December 1942; and completed and placed in service on 27 April 1943.
Tecumseh was assigned to the 3d Naval District and served in the New York Connecticut area. Reclassified a large harbor tug-YTB-273—on 16 May 1944, she continued her towing duties in that area through the end of World War II and into 1946. In March 1946, she was placed out of service, in reserve, and berthed at New London, Conn. The tug was placed back in service a little more than six years later in July 1952. She operated in the 1st Naval District until 1957 when she was transferred south to Charleston, S.C., and the 6th Naval District.
Tecumseh spent the remainder of her Navy career at Charleston. On 24 November 1961, she was reclassified a medium harbor tug and redesignated YTM-273. Less than five months later, on 5 April 1962, her name was changed to Olathe (q.v.). Following more than 13 years of service under her new name and classification,the tug was placed out of service. Her name was struck from the Navy list in June 1976.
The treaty of peace ending the American Revolution, signed by Britain and America on September 3, 1783, ceded all previously held British territories to the new American government, except existing British forts throughout the northwestern territories.
By this agreement, the United States acquired the entire Indian population as wards of the federal government, which necessitated the adoption of specific policies to deal with the Indians by establishing a governmental department to oversee Indian policy. Tribal governments were recognized as legitimate representative bodies of the Indian nations. Indian land ownership was acknowledged throughout the Northwest Territory. All white settlers, except those with diplomatic credentials or official business with the tribes, were banned from entering the Indian country.
The Indian Affairs Ordinance of August 7, 1786 placed the whole matter under the direction of the Secretary of War. By this regulation, the Indian territory was separated into two sections, north and south, with the Ohio River as the dividing line. The president appointed superintendents to supervise all tribal business, to license traders, and to regulate all white travel within the borders of their respective regions. However, problems remained in defining the extent of the Indian domain: How much land did the Indians actually claim? how would the government extinguish a claim held by an Indian nation? These issues established the context in which future Indian-White relations were pursued, and set the two races on a course of continuous confrontation.
As a result of the destruction of Indian confederacies during the Indian Wars and the growing westward expansionist desires of the American people, the Indians were gradually and systematically driven from the eastern seaboard further west.
By the 1780s, several tribes had been relocated to the Northwest Territory and had established themselves along the major rivers and tributaries, forming significant centers of population which confronted the westward migrating people during the years of settling the Indiana Territory.
Early life [ edit | edit source ]
Tecumseh (in Shawnee, Tekoomsē, meaning "Shooting Star" or "Panther Across The Sky", also known as Tecumtha or Tekamthi) was born about March 1768. His birthplace, according to popular tradition, was Old Chillicothe Ε] (the present-day Oldtown area of Xenia Township, Greene County, Ohio, about 12 miles (19 km) east of Dayton). As Old Chillicothe was not settled by the Shawnee until 1774, it is believed that Tecumseh may have been born in a different "Chillicothe" (in Shawnee, Chalahgawtha), which was the tribe's name for its principal village, wherever it was located. Tecumseh is believed to have been born in Chillicothe along the Scioto River, near the present-day city of Chillicothe, Ohio, or, maybe, in another village the Kispoko had erected not far away, along a small tributary stream of the Scioto, where his family moved just before or not long after his birth. Ζ]
When Tecumseh was a boy, his father Puckshinwa was "brutally murdered" by white frontiersmen who had crossed onto Indian land in violation of a recent treaty, at the Battle of Point Pleasant during Lord Dunmore’s War in 1774. Tecumseh resolved to become a warrior like his father and to be "a fire spreading over the hill and valley, consuming the race of dark souls." Η] ⎖]
At age 15, after the American Revolutionary War, Tecumseh joined a band of Shawnee who were determined to stop the white invasion of their lands by attacking settlers' flatboats traveling down the Ohio River from Pennsylvania. In time, Tecumseh became the leader of his own band of warriors. For a while, these Indian raids were so effective that river traffic virtually ceased. ⎖]
Tecumseh III YT-273 - History
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Yawp yôp n: 1: a raucous noise 2: rough vigorous language
"I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world." Walt Whitman, 1855.
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Sherman tank, officially M4 General Sherman, main battle tank designed and built by the United States for the conduct of World War II. The M4 General Sherman was the most widely used tank series among the Western Allies, being employed not only by the U.S. Army and Marine Corps but also by British, Canadian, and Free French forces. The M4 was employed in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, and western Europe and throughout the Pacific theatre. A total of 49,324 Sherman tanks were produced in 11 plants between 1942 and 1946.
When World War II began in 1939, the United States lagged far behind the major European states in the development of tank technology and armoured warfare doctrine. The fall of France in May 1940 awoke and alarmed the United States. The German army had defeated France in a matter of weeks through the use of a new operational doctrine based on fast-moving, massed armoured formations supported by air power. America’s leaders became convinced that the U.S. Army needed a new main battle tank at least equal to that employed by the Germans and that it had to adopt German operational doctrine. To that end, in July 1940 the War Department authorized the development of a new medium tank, and it also authorized the organization of the first armoured divisions. By the time the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, the United States had five armoured divisions organizing and training for war in Europe.
The first American main battle tank employed in combat in World War II was the M3 General Grant, named for the American Civil War general Ulysses S. Grant. The British fought with this tank in North Africa as early as 1941. The M3 was the result of a crisis atmosphere that was prevalent immediately following the fall of France. It is likely that no tank in history ever went from design to production faster than the General Grant. Its major defect was its gun mount: the 75-mm gun was carried in a sponson in the right front of the hull and could traverse only 15 degrees—a major disadvantage in tank battles. However, the M3 was only an interim measure. Production ceased in late 1942, when the M4 went into full production.
The prototype of the M4, named for Grant’s subordinate William Tecumseh Sherman, debuted in 1941 and was accepted for production that October. Its designers consciously emphasized speed and mobility, limiting the thickness of the armour and the size of the main gun, thereby compromising on firepower and survivability. The M4’s main armament was a short-barreled, low-velocity 75-mm gun, and its armour thickness was a maximum of 75 mm and a minimum of 12 mm (3 inches and 0.5 inch). The tank had a maximum speed of 38 to 46 km (24 to 29 miles) per hour and a range of 160 to 240 km (100 to 150 miles), depending on the series (M4 to M4A3E2). The M4 carried a crew of five—commander, gunner, loader, driver, and codriver/hull gunner. The vehicle weighed about 33 tons, depending on the series. A typical power plant was a 425-horsepower gasoline engine.
The M4 entered active service with the British in North Africa in October 1942. It was roughly in the same class as early versions of the German Pz. IV ( panzer), which at that time weighed 25 tons, had a top road speed of 40 km (25 miles) per hour, and mounted a 75-mm gun. Later-model German tanks were much improved, so that by the time of the Normandy Invasion in June 1944 the M4 was outclassed by superior tanks such as the Pz. V (Panther) and the Pz. VI (Tiger). The American penchant for mass production tended to stymie innovations in technology, and American doctrinal thinking tended to remain stuck in the prewar period, when the tank was seen as primarily an infantry support weapon. As a result, the M4 was not “up-gunned” until late in the war, and American, British, and Canadian tank crews consistently faced better German tanks. The M4 had a faster rate of fire and greater speed, but both the Panther and the Tiger had significantly greater range and accuracy. The German tanks were also more survivable. Consequently, it took superior numbers for Anglo-American forces to defeat German armoured formations. The most notable effort to break the Germans’ qualitative advantage was the Firefly, a Sherman equipped with a 76.2-mm long-barreled gun (a “17-pounder”).
For the Normandy Invasion and subsequent campaigns on the Continent, the M4 was retrofitted with special-purpose devices by both the Americans and the British. The British added flails (a system of rotors and chains) to clear paths through minefields, and American servicemen added jury-rigged plows for breaking through hedgerows in the bocage country of Normandy. Perhaps the most famous variation was the “ Duplex Drive,” or DD, tank, a Sherman equipped with extendable and collapsible skirts that made it buoyant enough to be launched from a landing craft and make its way to shore under propeller power. The M4 also was transformed into the M32 Tank Recovery vehicle and the M4 Mobile Assault Bridge carrier. Numerous devices of all sorts were fitted onto the Sherman’s versatile, reliable chassis, making it the workhorse of the Anglo-American armies of World War II.
Environmental Clean-up at Former Bethlehem Steel Site
On June 30, 2009, DEC and Tecumseh Redevelopment Inc. signed an Order on Consent (the "Order") to complete a Corrective Measures Section (CMS) for the facility. The Order also required that Tecumseh Redevelopment Inc. (Tecumseh henceforth) provide financial assurance for completing Resource Conservation and Recovery Act closure, post-closure, and corrective action requirements for the site. Read more to find information on the site, remedy, and investigation activities, along with insight and information on the following topics:
- The purpose of the cleanup.
- History of the Former Bethlehem Steel Site.
- Information on current activities and progress.
- The next steps to be taken regarding site clean-up.
- Community impact and a vision of what the site will look like when restoration is completed.
- How community members can get involved and where more information can be obtained.
Connect with DEC - We need your input!
Meet the DEC, DOH, and consulting teams - we need your input on any feedback, information, questions, or comments you may have for us!
Email us at [email protected], or
Call our hotline at the toll-free number 833-578-2019, or
Fill out our online form at https://bethlehemsteelcleanup.com/contact-us/ (link leaves DEC's website)
Visit our Public Availability Website & New Inquiry Hotline
Most Recent Fact Sheet/Newsletter:
Citizen Participation Plan & Bethlehem Steel Community Liaison Plan:
Statements of Basis for Public Comment: DEC and DOH (New York State Department of Health) issued on May 5, 2021 a proposed remedy for the site in documents called Draft Statements of Basis (SBs). This proposed remedy will be presented to the public for review and comment via a Virtual Public Information Meeting (link leaves DEC's website).
DEC will accept submitted comments abut the SBs for 45 days from May 5, 2021 through June 18, 2021. All comments must be submitted to Stanley Radon ([email protected])
Cleanup Goals and Objectives
DEC is committed to supervising a careful and thorough cleanup of the Former Bethlehem Steel Site. This investigation and cleanup will be completed to address potential exposure to contaminants above the NYS commercial/industrial soil clean up objectives (primarily arsenic, cadmium, mercury, lead, and semi-volatile organic compounds). Goals of the cleanup will be protective of human health and the environment, and allow for commercial/industrial development. As part of the cleanup, the DEC is committed to work with the community and Tecumseh to allow public access to areas near the Lake Erie Shoreline.
The site is currently partially fenced, gated, and has signage, which restricts public access. However, persons who enter the site could contact contaminants in the soil by walking on the site, digging or otherwise disturbing the soil. There are several surface water areas where persons may come in contact with contaminants on-site. People are not coming into contact with the contaminated groundwater because the area is served by a public water supply that is not affected by this contamination. Volatile organic compounds in the groundwater may move into the soil vapor (air spaces within the soil), which in turn may move into overlying buildings and affect the indoor air quality. This process, which is similar to the movement of radon gas from the subsurface into the indoor air of buildings, is referred to as soil vapor intrusion. Because the site is undeveloped or unused for outdoor industrial purposes, the inhalation of site-related contaminants due to soil vapor intrusion does not represent a current concern. Find out more about exposure (link leaves DEC's website).
The former Bethlehem Steel Corporation (BSC) property was used for iron and steel production since the beginning of the 20th century (iron and steel production by Seneca Steel began in 1902, and in 1922 it was purchased by Bethlehem Steel). Iron and steel-making operations were discontinued by the end of 1983, and by the mid-1990s, most of the steel-making facilities on the west side of Hamburg Turnpike (NYS Route 5) had been demolished.
In September 2001, BSC's coke production was terminated. While some buildings remain, most structures have been razed. The western portion, also referred to as the CMS Area that includes roughly two miles of Lake Erie waterfront, consists of approximately 489 acres of manmade land where iron, steel-making slag, and other manufacturing wastes from the production plant were deposited.
Buffalo Southern R.R. dumping slag (October 1943).
Past Investigation and Actions
An RFI was initiated by BSC in 1990. Site investigations were conducted primarily by BSC before that company filed for bankruptcy in 2001. The final site investigation report was subsequently completed by Tecumseh and submitted in January 2005. Based on the RFI results, areas of the former Bethlehem Steel property were identified as requiring remediation or further assessment. Tecumseh conducted further investigation and assessment of remedial alternatives in a CMS Report (2019). A supplemental Comprehensive Groundwater Quality Report (2019) was also prepared that summarized and assessed the groundwater data collected during both the RFI and CMS. The investigation identified approximately 40 areas on the Site that exhibited soil, fill, groundwater, sediment, and surface water contamination. Most of the Tecumseh property outside the CMS Area has been thoroughly investigated and remediated under the New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) and sold to other private and public parties (e.g., Buffalo and Erie County Industrial Land Development Corporation [ILDC]) for redevelopment.
The site is divided into multiple operable units (OU). An OU represents a portion of a remedial program site that for technical or administrative reasons can be addressed separately to investigate, eliminate, or mitigate a release, threat of release or exposure pathway resulting from the site contamination. A number of Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs), Areas of Concern (AOCs), and two Hazardous Waste Management units (HWMUs) in the CMS area have been designated as OUs due to their proximity to each other, the similar composition of waste material, and/or similarity of remedy selection.
Site figure showing Operable Unit areas.
Current Project Status and Remedy Selection for 2021
DEC evaluates potential remedial options against several criteria, the most critical of which are the remedy's ability to provide protection for human health and the environment and the remedy's compliance with environmental laws and standards. For remedies that meet these first two criteria, DEC also evaluates several "balancing criteria" in order to determine the best remedy, including the short- and long-term effectiveness and impacts of the remedy, the remedy's ability to reduce the presence of wastes, the implementability of the remedy, its cost, and the current and future land uses of a site under the selected remedy. The local community's acceptance of the remedy is also considered after the public comment period on the Proposed Statement of Basis (SB), also known as the Proposed Remedial Action Plan (PRAP).
Site investigations were conducted primarily by Bethlehem Steel Corporation before that company filed for bankruptcy in 2001. Tecumseh Redevelopment Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of ArcelorMittal USA, Inc., completed and submitted the final RFI report. Tecumseh conducted further investigation and assessment of remedial alternatives in a CMS Report. A supplemental Comprehensive Groundwater Quality Report was also prepared that summarized and assessed the groundwater data collected during both the RFI and CMS.
The Former Bethlehem Steel Site is subject to hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facility (TSDF) permitting requirements under New York State (NYS) hazardous waste regulations (6 NYCRR Part 373) and has RCRA EPA ID No. NYD002134880. Under this regulatory program, Tecumseh Redevelopment Inc. is responsible for implementing Corrective Action to address releases to the environment from SWMUs and AOCs (e.g., watercourses).
- On June 30, 2009, DEC and Tecumseh signed an Order on Consent (the "Order") to complete a CMS for the facility. The Order also required that Tecumseh provide financial assurance for completing RCRA closure, post-closure, and corrective action requirements for the site.
- On September 24, 2020, DEC, Tecumseh, and ArcelorMittal USA LLC signed an Order on Consent (the "Order") to complete comprehensive investigation evaluation and implementation of Corrective Measures/Remedial Actions, Closure and Post-Closure Care requirements of the Site to protect public health and the environment and to allow, when and where appropriate, the continued use of the Site and its redevelopment by Tecumseh and/or third parties.
The final OU-4 groundwater remedy consists of two independent groundwater collection, conveyance and treatment systems:
- The south system consists of 25 groundwater collection wells and treatment units.
- The north system consists of 27 groundwater collection wells and treatment units. The treatment units are housed in a single new building.
The combined treated effluent flows to infiltration galleries to recharge groundwater. The construction of OU-4 groundwater remediation facilities was substantially completed and began operation on March 13, 2019.
Based upon remedial systems performance documented during the first year of operation (2019-2020) of the OU-4 groundwater remediation system, additional investigations and engineering evaluations were performed to address identified issues and deficiencies. Recommendations were made in early 2021 to make modifications to the treatment system and to install 5 additional recovery wells and 2 additional monitoring wells (which could be converted to recovery wells in the future, if needed). It is anticipated that these treatment system modifications and well installations will be completed by late 2021.
How Restoration Might Look after Remediation
DEC supports restoration which helps achieve the goal of preserving and connecting the natural resources and resiliency features of NY's Lake Erie shoreline. Increasing waterfront access to Lake Erie is a key component of a sustainable economic development strategy.
Following the remedy selection process, the remedial design will inform the ultimate restoration of the site. However, DEC will require the development of a Sustainable Restoration Plan which considers the following:
- Reconfiguration of the on-site shoreline with approaches to soften the lakeshore impacted by past operations of the facility and prevent the migration of contaminated materials to nearby waterbodies
- Opportunities for public recreation
- Habitat creation, restoration and enhancement and
- Improvement of the habitat for fish and wildlife.
Based on the priorities identified in these plans and programs, specific ideas to consider for the nearshore, coastal and riparian areas within the site include:
- Expansion of nearshore cobble areas suitable for walleye and other native fish species such as white sucker and northern pike. This valuable fishery habitat is very close to the shoreline, where the slag stacks very steeply
- Enhancement of the coastal transition zone habitat, possibly terracing portions of the existing slag bluff and shoreline, combined with soil augmentation and re-vegetation appropriate for bank swallow and chimney swift habitat and
- Enhancement of the Smokes Creek riparian zone through the former Bethlehem Steel property with bank clean-up and stabilization for greater aquatic connectivity into the creek's headwaters.
Development of a Climate Resiliency Plan would also be required which includes at the minimum the following:
- Climate change vulnerability analyses and adaptation planning leading to increased remedy resilience
- Identifying potential hazards posed by climate change
- Characterizing the remedy(s) exposure and sensitivity to the hazards
- Considering factors that may exacerbate remedy(s) exposure and sensitivity, such as the size of upstream water
- Catchment, the size of adjacent floodplains, and land use in the floodplains
- Identifying measures that potentially apply to the vulnerabilities in a range of weather/climate scenarios and
- Selecting and implementing priority adaptation measures for the given remedy.
DEC has issued a community update describing the current status of the site and activities planned for 2021:
DEC held public meetings and availability sessions about the project in June 2006 and July 2009. Additional public meetings will be held at later stages of the project as necessary and will be announced here and on the DEC public availability webpage.
For any materials from previous community events, refer to DEC Region 9's DER webpage.
Receive Fact Sheets by Email!
DEC invites you to sign up with one or more contaminated sites email listservs.
It's quick, it's free, and it will help keep you better informed. As a listserv member, you will periodically receive site-related information and announcements for all contaminated sites in the county(ies) you select.
NYSDEC prepared the following Community Liaison Plan to further assist the public to stay informed: Bethlehem Steel Community Liaison Plan - April 2021 (PDF, 352 KB)
Document Access Information
Information regarding access to other pertinent documents not linked to this page is provided below.
NYSDEC Fact Sheets:
The links below provide access to Fact Sheets prepared by DEC:
Final Decision Documents, Work Plans, and Other Documents:
The links below provide access to Work Plans and other main Documents related to the site (the complete documents, and additional reports such as annual monitoring reports and superseded/interim documents, can be found here.
Complete copies of the documents listed on this web page and other documents pertaining to the Former Bethlehem Steel Site are available in hard copy for public review at the following locations:
- Lackawanna Public Library
560 Ridge Road
Lackawanna, NY 14218
- NYSDEC Region 9 Office Headquarters
270 Michigan Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14203
Call ahead for an appointment
716-851-7220, Mr. Stanley Radon
Related Program Sites
Tecumseh Redevelopment, Inc. - SteelWinds Brownfield Cleanup Program Site No. C915205
The Tecumseh Redevelopment, Inc. - SteelWinds Site is an approximately 29-acre parcel of property located west of Route 5 in the City of Lackawanna, Erie County. The narrow parcel is approximately 240 feet wide by 4800 feet long and extends north-south along the western edge of the former Bethlehem Steel Corporation (BSC) property, adjacent to Lake Erie. Currently the site is a gently-graded and vegetated parcel, vacant except for the addition of eight 2.5 megawatt wind turbines. In December of 2007, the remedial construction was deemed complete, an Environmental Easement was executed, and a Final Engineering Report and Site Management Plan were accepted. A Certificate of Completion was issued on December 18, 2007. The site is leased to Niagara Wind Power, LLC who currently operates and maintains the wind turbines and remedial components.
Steel Winds IA Brownfield Cleanup Program Site No. C915216 and Steel Winds II Brownfield Cleanup Program Site No. C915217
A Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) application was submitted to investigate, remediate, and redevelop the Steel Winds IA site and was denied. Subsequently, a BCP application was submitted for the Steel Winds II site and was approved the Brownfield Cleanup Agreement was executed on March 27, 2008. Due to failure to show progress the Brownfield Cleanup Agreement was terminated effective October 16, 2009. The Steel Winds II site has been addressed under the Tecumseh Phase III Business Park Brownfield Cleanup Program Site No. C915199 (see below). Additional site information can be found at the links below:
Tecumseh Phase I Business Park Brownfield Cleanup Program Site Nos. C915197 and C915197B through C915197K
The approximate 103-acre Tecumseh Phase I Business Park site is comprised of the following 11 sub-parcels located at 2303 Hamburg Turnpike in the City of Lackawanna, Erie County. The Phase I Business Park site is located on the former BSC property and bounded on the east by Route 5, on the north and west by Gateway Metroport, and on the south by Tecumseh Phase II Business Park. The site is zoned Commercial/Industrial and is currently vacant. Interim Remedial Measures (IRMs) consisting of excavation followed by off-site disposal or on-site treatment were completed on the Phase I Business Park to address petroleum-, tar-, and metals-impacted soil/fill. Remedial actions have successfully achieved soil cleanup objectives for commercial use via installation of a 1-foot cover system on sites I-1, I-3, I-5, I-7, I-9, I-10, and I-11. Residual contamination in the soil and groundwater for these sites is managed under a Site Management Plan. Decision Documents, outlining the required remedial actions (installation of a 1-foot cover) for the remaining Phase I sites were issued in February of 2012. The Buffalo & Erie County Industrial Land Development Corporation currently owns and maintains the Tecumseh Phase I Business Park site sub-parcels.
Tecumseh Phase IA Business Park Brownfield Cleanup Program Site No. C915218
The Tecumseh Phase IA Business Park site is an approximately 12-acre site located on the former BSC property in an industrial area at 1951 Hamburg Turnpike in the City of Lackawanna, Erie County. The site is bounded on the east by the Tecumseh Phase I Business Park, on the west and north by the Gateway Metroport, and on the south by the Tecumseh Phase II Business Park. The site contains three existing buildings historically used for support operations in the steel making process. The Site was recently purchased by Sucro Real Estate NY, LLC for redevelopment consisting of raw material import and future sugar refining. A Decision Document was released in March of 2021 outlining the required remedial actions prior to redevelopment.
Tecumseh Phase II Business Park Brownfield Cleanup Program Site Nos. C915918J and C915198B through C9151968L
The approximate 142-acreTecumseh Phase II Business Park site is comprised of the following 12 sub-parcels located at 2303 Hamburg Turnpike and 6 Dona Street in the City of Lackawanna, Erie County. The Tecumseh Phase II Business Park is located on the former BSC property and is bounded on the east by Route 5, on the north by Tecumseh Phase I Business Park, on the west by Tecumseh Phase III Business Park and on the south by the South Buffalo Rail Road Company. Smokes Creek bisects the Tecumseh Phase II Business Park. IRMs consisting of excavation followed by off-site disposal or on-site treatment were completed on the Phase II Business Park to address petroleum-, tar-, and metals-impacted soil/fill. Remedial actions have successfully achieved soil cleanup objectives for commercial use via installation of a 1-foot cover system on sites II-9, II-10, and II-12. Residual contamination in the soil and groundwater for these sites is managed under a Site Management Plan. Decision Documents, outlining the required remedial actions (installation of a 1-foot cover) for the remaining Phase II sites, with the exception of II-4, were issued in 2016 and 2017. A remedial investigation and alternatives analysis report for Site II-4 is under review. Sites II-9 and II-10 are developed with a 280,000 square foot manufacturing facility and attached 8,000 square foot office building that comprise the Time Release Sciences, Inc. development.
Tecumseh Phase III Business Park Brownfield Cleanup Program Site Nos. C915199 and C915199B through C915199J
The approximate 149-acre Tecumseh Phase III Business Park site is comprised of the following 10 sub-parcels located at 2303 Hamburg Turnpike and 2 Dona Street in the City of Lackawanna, Erie County. The Tecumseh Phase III Business Park is located on the former BSC property and is bounded on the east by Tecumseh Phase II Business Park, on the north by the Gateway Metroport, on the west by the former BSC site, and on the south by the South Buffalo Rail Road Company. Smokes Creek bisects the Tecumseh Phase II Business Park. Remedial actions have successfully achieved soil cleanup objectives for commercial use by the removal of impacted materials and installation of a 1-foot cover system on the Tecumseh Phase II Business Park sites, with the exception of site III-10. Residual contamination in the soil and groundwater for these sites is managed under a Site Management Plan. A Decision Document, outlining the required remedial actions (installation of a 1-foot cover) for the III-10 site was issued in August of 2015. Sites III-2, III-3, III-4, III-5, III-6, and III-9 are developed with solar energy farms. Sites III-7 and III-8 are part of the Welded Tube USA manufacturing facility and site III-1 is developed with a lumber transfer facility.
Bethlehem Shoreline Trail Brownfield Cleanup Program Site No. C915197L
The Bethlehem Shoreline Trail site is an approximately 6.7-acre site located in an industrial area at 2303 Hamburg Turnpike in the City of Lackawanna, Erie County. The site is one of 12 parcels comprising the Tecumseh Phase I Business Park, which is in turn part of a larger property that included the Bethlehem Steel Company. The site is bound to the east by Route 5, to the west by the Tecumseh Phase I and II Business Parks, to the north by the Gateway Metroport, and to the south by the South Buffalo Rail Road Company. In October 2018, nearly one mile of the Erie County Shoreline Trail was opened to the public, which sits east of the former Bethlehem Steel site and is a symbol that marks the redevelopment in the Lackawanna region. It connects the public to the Outer Harbor Shoreline, Woodlawn Beach, Tift Nature Preserve and Gallagher Beach. Specifically, designed signage and remaining infrastructure at the site provides the passing public a glimpse into steel-making process. The 10-foot wide asphalt bike path covers the length of the site, and areas not covered by the bike path consist of one foot of soil cover meeting requirements for cover material as per 6 NYCRR Part 375-6.7(d). Surrounding parcels include vacant former industrial land and shipping, storage and transport facilities. The site was formerly part of Bethlehem Steel Company's steel making operations (steel production at the site was discontinued in 1983). The site is mostly filled land with between two to eight feet of steel and iron-making slag and other fill material. Remediation at the site has been completed. Remedial actions have successfully achieved soil cleanup objectives for commercial use, and residual contamination in the soil and groundwater for these sites is managed under a Site Management Plan.
Today in History: Born on June 21
William Sydney Smith, British seaman during the Napoleonic Wars.
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Arnold Lucius Gesell, psychologist and pediatrician.
Rockwell Kent, artist, book illustrator.
Reinhold Niebuhr, Protestant theologian.
Jean-Paul Sartre, French philosopher and existentialist.
Albert Hirschfeld, illustrator.
Mary McCarthy, American novelist (Memories of Catholic Girlhood, The Group).
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Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
More on a Murder: The Deaths of the ‘Princes in the Tower’, and Historiographical Implications for the Regimes of Henry VII and Henry VIII
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.
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. It continues to be remarkable, nonetheless, for the way in which it emerged at the heart of his detailed narrative of the seizure of power by Richard of Gloucester, in a society which for several decades had possessed no coherent or even vaguely specific overarching account of those events. More provided precise circumstantial detail and responsibility for the death of Edward V and his brother Richard, the focal point of the crisis. More's account is all the more striking because central to it were several individuals who were still alive at the time he wrote: this was contemporary history of a truly imminent sort. This article explores the identity and experience of those at the heart of the story and their links to More – and thereby sheds some light, if not on its 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. This was not a regime confidently issuing ‘Tudor propaganda’ but a period of awkward silences over complicities in the events of the recent past. More wrote with direct access to the living testimonies of those involved in the murder, and his sources were now, in some cases, at the heart of Henry VIII's court.
However important the issue of the princes’ deaths might have been to some contemporaries, there was no documented speculation as to the specific responsibility for the killings until Polydore Vergil and Robert Fabyan identified Sir James Tyrell as the murderer. Vergil did this in his Anglica Historia, a work begun perhaps as early as 1506 and drafted in the period 1512–13.1 1 Polydore Vergil, The Anglica Historia of Polydore Vergil, A.D. 1485–1537, ed. D. Hay, Camden Society, 3rd ser., 74 (1950), pp. xx, 126–7. This discounts the allegations against Richard and the duke of Buckingham, for which see sects. II–III. Richard, he said, while at Gloucester, wrote to Robert Brackenbury, constable (‘præfecto’) of the Tower, ordering him to the kill the princes. Brackenbury having delayed carrying out the instruction, Richard gave the task to Tyrell, who, ‘heavy-hearted’, went to London and killed them. Vergil's assertion of responsibility remained vague: he indicated that ‘what kinde of death these sely chyldren wer executyd yt is not certanely known’ (‘quo genere mortis miselli pueri affecti fuerint, non plane constat’).2 2 Polydore Vergil, Anglicae historiae libri xxvi (Basel, ), p. 540 (Three Books of Polydore Vergil's English History, Comprising the Reigns of Henry VI., Edward IV., and Richard III: From an Early Translation, Preserved among the Mss. of the Old Royal Library in the British Museum, ed. H. Ellis, Camden Society, original ser., 29 (1844), p. 188) M. Hicks, Edward V: The Prince in the Tower (Stroud, 2003), pp. 186–9, notes the consistencies between Vergil and More's accounts, but also the contrasts, suggesting they may have been derived independently from different copies of a confession, or borrowed from one another. Possibly slightly earlier, in phraseology which developed over a period probably after 7 November 1504 and was finalised in 1512, Robert Fabyan in the ‘Great Chronicle of London’ attributed the deaths to Sir James, or to an old servant of Richard III whose name he left blank in the manuscript. The allegation remains relatively indirect: Sir James ‘was Reportid to be the doer’. There were, Fabyan indicated, many opinions on the manner of the princes’ deaths – ‘ffor some said they were murderid atwene ij ffethyr beddis, Some said they were drownyd In malvesy and some said that they were stykkid wyth a/Venymous pocion’.3 3 The Great Chronicle of London, ed. A. H. Thomas and I. D. Thornley (London, 1938), pp. 236–7. The section in which the passage occurs was completed in or after 1496, as Fabyan provided an index to all events to that point, but since he then turned to his ‘New Chronicles’, finished in 1504, and since that text did not include specific discussion of the princes’ deaths, it is likely the addition is after 1504: Robert Fabyan, Prima pars cronecarum: For That in the Accomptynge of the Yeres of the Worlde (RSTC 10659 [London], 1516/17) (usually known as the New Chronicles), fo. 228v. J. Boffey, ‘Robert Fabyan's two hats: compiling The Great Chronicle of London and The New Chronicles of England and France’, in M. Connolly and R. Radulescu (eds), Editing and Interpretation of Middle English Texts: Essays in Honour of William Marx (Turnhout, 2018), pp. 173–88, esp. pp. 182–5. Fabyan's responsibility for the works is clearly established: see M. T. W. Payne, ‘Robert Fabyan and The Nuremberg Chronicle’, The Library, 7th ser., 12 (2011), pp. 164–9, arguing in the face of the doubts of C. L. Kingsford, English Historical Literature in the Fifteenth Century (Oxford, 1913), p. 104 and M.-R. McLaren, The London Chronicles of the Fifteenth Century: A Revolution in English Writing (Woodbridge, 2002), pp. 26–8 eadem, ‘Robert Fabyan (d. 1513), chronicler’, in C. Matthew and B. Harrison (eds), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (60 vols Oxford, 2004), XVIII. 878–80. John Stow made the initial attribution, for which (though the author questions it) see A. Gillespie, ‘Stow's “owlde” manuscripts of London chronicles’, in I. Gadd and A. Gillespie (eds), John Stow (1525–1605) and the Making of the English Past (London, 2004), pp. 60–1.
The emergence of these allegations is usually associated with the arrest and execution in 1502 of Sir James in connection with the activities of Edmund de la Pole, earl of Suffolk. A trusted servant of Richard III, Sir James had been at Guînes in the Pale of Calais when his master was defeated at Bosworth. He was therefore able to transfer his service to the new king, and by 1488 he was again a knight of the body, and acting in an ambassadorial capacity. But in his position at Guînes in 1499 he received de la Pole as he fled England for Flanders, and although de la Pole returned home, he departed again in 1501, seeking the help of Archduke Maximilian to seize the English throne. Suspicion fell on Tyrell, and in the spring of 1502 Thomas Lovell arrested him, with his son and others. Sir James was convicted at the Guildhall on 2 May, and executed on 6 May.4 4 The arrest and questioning of Tyrell probably involved Henry VII, and this may have implied a particular significance to the subjects considered: T. Penn, Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England (London, 2011), pp. 82–5 J. Gairdner (ed.), Letters and Papers Illustrative of the Reigns of Richard III and Henry VII, Rolls Ser., 24 (2 vols London, 1861–3), I. 181. Cf. the emphasis placed on the king and queen's presence by David Starkey in the Channel 4 programme ‘Richard III: the princes in the Tower’ (broadcast 21 March 2015). The Chamber Book record in TNA, E 101/415/3, fos 92v–93v (April 1502) does not specify location, but Henry signed warrants for the Great Seal at the Tower from 27 April (TNA, C 82/231, with some dated at the Tower on 2 and 7 May), and Queen Elizabeth was there on 1 May (TNA, E 36/210, fo. 33). I owe discussion of this point to Dr Sean Cunningham of The National Archives. An important context, too, was the death of Prince Arthur just five weeks before the alleged confession, and perhaps the death nine months later of the queen: S. B. Chrimes, Henry VII (new edn London, 1977), p. 93. This was the apparent opportunity for a confession of responsibility for the princes’ deaths, although neither Vergil nor Fabyan specify as much, and the different emphases of their accounts weigh heavily against them having had any sort of direct or nearly direct access to one. Vergil's focus is on instruction, personnel and motivation Fabyan is unclear on personnel, makes no comment on motivation, and instead refers in detail to different options for the manner of death, something about which Vergil professes himself ignorant.
It is increasingly well recognised that previous assumptions about a Tudor ‘propaganda machine’ under Henry VII are misplaced. Cliff Davies in particular succinctly addressed the absence of coherent projection of narratives of the recent past, even in close court circles, under Henry VII.5 5 C. S. L. Davies, ‘Information, disinformation and political knowledge under Henry VII and early Henry VIII’, Historical Research, 85 (2012), pp. 228–53. He highlighted a deliberate refusal to address the fate of the princes as a core element of that absence. Davies suggested that this arose from a combination of the difficulties posed by the lack of physical remains to tie to the story, the embarrassment associated with Tyrell's continued status at Guînes since 1485, and more general issues posed by Richard's reign such as his challenge to the legitimacy of Edward IV and his children (one now being Henry's queen and mother of his heirs), given ongoing uncertainty about the succession, as well as Richard's recorded opposition to policies such as benevolences and heavy taxation which were politically sensitive under Henry VII, his son and Wolsey.
The absence of narratives about the years 1483–5 has also been related to the continued prominence in the years after 1485 of men whose fathers played a complex or even dishonourable role in the previous reign. The second duke of Buckingham's equivocal position first as leading supporter of Richard III and then rebel and initiator of the marriage between Henry and Elizabeth, given his son Edward's increasing role at court from the mid-1490s, and John Howard's role in perhaps even more embarrassing events such as the death of William, Lord Hastings, given his son Thomas's presence in the heart of Henry's regime and by the end of 1513 the victor of Flodden, are the most usually cited examples of this. As Denys Hay noted, John Howard's grandson was still alive when Polydore Vergil's history was first printed in 1534, and although his father Thomas had been thought worthy of a mention by name in Vergil's original account of the coup against Hastings this was an issue considered sufficiently sensitive to require an amendment to the text when it was printed even fifty years afterwards.6 6 Hay, Vergil, p. 197, app. iii, item I (pp. 204–5) that Vergil learnt the true story of the quarrel between Richard and Buckingham a fide dignis uiris is also in the MS but not the printed versions. In such circumstances as these, extensive treatments of Richard's reign, especially difficult issues such as the fate of the princes, did not make comfortable subject matter.
With this latter thought as to the sensitivity of recent events in regimes populated by survivors of the events of 1483 in mind, it is worth reviewing the way in which knowledge (or it might better be said half-informed speculation) specifically about the fate of the princes had been developing in the years before Tyrell's name emerged as an alleged murderer early in the new century. References to the fate of the princes in official and semi-official sources in and around the court remained allusive, other than in indicating that they were dead and Richard responsible. A distinctive reference to the killing of children was made when Richard and his followers were attainted in the parliament which assembled in November 1485, when they were accused of ‘treasons, homicides and murders in shedding of infants’ blood’7 7 The Parliament Rolls of Medieval England, 1275–1504, XV: Richard III, 1484–1485 & Henry VII, 1485–1487, ed. R. Horrox (Woodbridge, 2012), p. 107. and there were comments like those of court poets Pietro Carmeliano and Giovanni Giglis who suggested ‘he savagely did away with these boys, erroneously entrusted to him’ and that they had been ‘victims given up to the hideous God of the Underworld’, in 1486.8 8 Carmeliano: H. A. Kelly, Divine Providence in the England of Shakespeare's Histories (Cambridge, MA, 1970), pp. 317–24, at p. 319 (from B[ritish] L[ibrary], Add. MS 33736, fo. 4v discussed Davies, ‘Information’, pp. 244–5) (‘Hic [Edward IV] moriens, fratri natos commisit utrosque | Hos male commissos perdidit ille ferox’ ‘When he [Edward IV] was dying he handed over the care of both of his sons to his brother and he savagely did away with these boys, erroneously entrusted to him’) Giglis: Historia Regis Henrici Septimi, ed. J. Gairdner, Rolls Ser., 10 (London, 1858), pp. lviii–lix (from BL, Harl. MS 336) (‘Ultori scelerum cognato sanguine plenus | Ad Stygias dimissus aquas placat ille nepotum | Parvorum manes, tetro data victima Diti’ ‘He, steeped in the blood of his own family, having been dispatched to the waters of the Styx (i.e. killed), appeased the spirits of his small nephews – victims given up to the hideous God of the Underworld, the avenger of crimes’). Richard's tomb was created with official sanction in 1494–5, and his epitaph notably failed to mention the death of the princes.9 9 J. Ashdown-Hill, ‘The epitaph of King Richard III’, The Ricardian, 18 (2008), pp. 31–45 The Grey Friars Research Team, M. Kennedy and L. Foxhall, The Bones of a King: Richard III Rediscovered (Chichester, 2015), pp. 25–32. In around 1497 the author of ‘Les Douze Triomphes de Henry VII’, who may have been Bernard André, referred vaguely to the extent of Richard's wickedness, extending to his willingness ‘to destroy his own nephews’. Even in his Historia Regis Henrici septimi, c.1500, André restricted himself to saying that ‘the tyrant also gave orders for his unguarded nephews in the Tower of London to be secretly put to the sword’.10 10 Historia Regis Henrici Septimi, ed. Gairdner, pp. 133–53, at p. 138 (‘qu'il fust de sens si rebuté | De deffaire ses deux propres nepueux. | Ce fut à luy trop grande cruaulté’ translated pp. 307–27, at p. 312) Bernard André, ‘Vita Henrici VII’, in Historia Regis Henrici Septimi, ed. Gairdner, pp. 3–75, at p. 54 (‘Tyrannus in arce Londinia, post interemptos quos noverat fratri suo fideles dominos, nepotes quoque clam ferro incautos feriri jussit sicque mors morte, exitium exitio pensatum est’ ‘Following the killing of their guardians whom he knew to be loyal to his brother, the tyrant also gave orders for his unguarded nephews in the Tower of London to be secretly put to the sword and so death was paid for by death, and destruction by destruction’) D. R. Carlson, ‘The writings of Bernard André’, Renaissance Studies, 12 (1998), pp. 229–50. I am grateful to my father, David Thornton, and Mary Harris, for advice on translations.
There may not therefore have been an officially circulated narrative of the events, or even one informally cultivated in and around court, but those involved in political activity both during Richard's coup and in its aftermath do not seem to have been prevented from discussing the events among themselves and with others. Observers were soon clear that the princes were dead – but again, there was a remarkable lack of detail in virtually all reports. Dominic Mancini left London in mid-July 1483 and recorded that the princes had been withdrawn into the inner apartments of the Tower ‘usque adeo ut penitus desierint apparere’ (‘till at length they ceased to appear altogether’).11 11 The Usurpation of Richard the Third: Dominicus Mancinus ad Angelum Catonem de occupatione Regni Anglie per Riccardum Tercium libellus, ed. C. A. J. Armstrong (2nd edn Oxford, 1969), pp. 92–3. George Cely heard a rumour that Edward V might be dead (‘Yff the Kyng . . . wher dessett’) not long after the execution of Lord Hastings in June 1483 and before Richard III claimed the throne.12 12 The Cely Letters, 1472–1488, ed. A. Hanham, Early English Text Society, original ser., 273 (1975), pp. 184–5. On 15 January 1484, Guillaume de Rochefort, chancellor of France, told the Estates General at Tours that the princes had been murdered and the English crown given to the man responsible.13 13 Journal des états-généraux de France tenus à Tours en 1484 sous le règne de Charles VIII, ed. J. Masselin (Paris, 1835), p. 38. The probably contemporary or near-contemporary historical notes of a London citizen, written during the period 1483–8, attributed the killings to the ‘vise’ (advise/design) of the duke of Buckingham.14 14 R. F. Green, ‘Historical notes of a London citizen, 1483–1488’, English Historical Review, 96 (1981), pp. 585–90, at p. 588. One early record, which may represent rumours circulating at the time of the Buckingham rebellion late in 1483, suggests a date of death for the princes in June 1483, and more specifically that Edward was drowned: ‘interfectus fuit et corpus eius submersum fuit’.15 15 Philip Morgan, ‘The death of Edward V and the rebellion of 1483’, Historical Research, 68 (1995), pp. 229–32. The Crowland Chronicler, writing in the autumn of 1485, indicated that Princes Edward and Richard ‘by some unknown manner of violent destruction, had met their fate’, thereby avoiding specific allegations of responsibility, while also quoting a poem (which was not necessarily his own) that indicated ‘fratris opprimeret proles’ (‘he put down the offspring of his brother’), which does not quite categorically say the king had killed them.16 16 The Crowland Chronicle Continuations: 1459–86, ed. N. Pronay and J. Cox (London, 1986), pp. 162–3 M. Hicks, ‘The second anonymous continuation of the Crowland Abbey chronicle 1459–1486 revisited’, English Historical Review, 122 (2007), pp. 349–70, at p. 354. Crowland connected a general understanding of the princes’ fate with many people's choice to support the Oct. 1483 rebellions associated with Buckingham. On ‘opprimere’, see J. Potter, Good King Richard? An Account of the Richard III and his Reputation, 1483–1983 (London, 1983), p. 76. Diego de Valera told the Catholic monarchs of Spain on 1 March 1486 that Richard had been responsible for the poisoning of the princes during their father's lifetime: he ‘killed two innocent nephews of his to whom the realm belonged after his brother's life but for all that King Edward their father was waging war in Scotland, while Richard stayed in England, it is alleged that there he had them murdered with poison’.17 17 P. Tudor-Craig, Richard III (London, 1973), p. 68 Epistolas y otros varios tratados de Mosén Diego de Valera, ed. J. A. de Balenchana (La Sociedad de Bibliófilos Españoles, Madrid, 1878), pp. 91–6 E. M. Nokes and G. Wheeler, ‘A Spanish account of the Battle of Bosworth’, The Ricardian, 2/36 (1972), pp. 1–3 A. Goodman and A. MacKay, ‘A Castilian report on English affairs, 1486’, English Historical Review, 88 (1973), pp. 92–9, at p. 92 n. 3. In his treatise of 1486 on the ‘paradis terrestre’, the Burgundian chronicler Jean Molinet referred to England where there had been ‘fait sacrifice au dieu Mars des innocens enffans extrais de royale geniture’ (‘sacrificed to the god Mars innocent children drawn from the royal stock’).18 18 Chroniques, ed. G. Doutrepont and O. Jodogne (3 vols Brussels, 1935–7), I. 533–4 discussed A. Grosjean, ‘Les rois d'Angleterre dans les Chroniques de Jean Molinet, indiciaire bourguignon (1474–1506)’, Le moyen âge, 98 (2012), pp. 523–44, at pp. 536–7, and more generally in J. Devaux, Jean Molinet indiciare bourguignon (Paris and Geneva, 1996), pp. 340–57 (the occasion being Emperor Frederick III's visit in June 1486). Sometime very early in Henry VII's reign the Welsh bard Dafydd Llwyd also directly associated Richard with the deaths of the princes, as no less than ‘killing angels, Christ's own. An atrocity’.19 19 Gwaith Dafydd Llwyd o Fathafarn, ed. W. L. Richards (Cardiff, 1964), p. 69 Tudor-Craig, Richard III, p. 95 A. Breeze, ‘A Welsh poem of 1485 on Richard III’, The Ricardian, 18 (2008), pp. 46–53 (p. 47 for translation).
As the years passed after Richard's death, little detail was added to the growing number of these accounts. John Rous wrote in 1489 that Richard killed Edward ‘within about three months or a little more’ of receiving him at Stony Stratford, ‘together with his brother’, and an anonymous author in England or Wales early in the reign of Henry VII described Richard removing the princes ‘from the light of this world, by some means or other, vilely and murderously’, placing clear emphasis on the role of the advice of the duke of Buckingham.20 20 John Rous, Historia Regum Anglia (Oxford, 1745), p. 215 Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS Ashmole 1448, fo. 287 (‘eos de lumine hujus seculi, qualiter vel quomodo, nequiter et homicide abstrahebat’ W. H. Black, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Manuscripts . . . Bequeathed unto the University of Oxford by Elias Ashmole (Oxford, 1845), col. 1232) each translated in A. Hanham, Richard III and his Early Historians, 1483–1535 (Oxford, 1975), pp. 108, 120–1. Before his death in 1489, Jan Alertsz, recorder of Rotterdam, noted that Richard ‘killed two of his brother's children, boys, or so he was accused’.21 21 Ed. H. ten Boom and J. van Herwaarden, in Nederlandse Historische Bronnen ('s-Gravenhage, 1979–), II. 1–95 (translation from L. Visser-Fuchs, ‘English events in Caspar Weinreich's Danzig chronicle’, The Ricardian, 7/95 (1986), pp. 310–20, at p. 320 n. 28). Apparently before knowledge of the birth of Prince Henry in 1491 reached France, Philippe de Commynes characterised Richard as the man who had his nephews murdered, although he also associated the deed with the duke of Buckingham.22 22 Philippe de Commynes, Mémoires, ed. J. Blanchard (2 vols Geneva, 2007), I. 480–2 (cf. 49, 422). On 25 April 1496 Rui de Sousa, servant of the king of Portugal, testified that he believed that the princes were held in a fortress through which passed a lot of water, and ‘they bled them and while they were bleeding them, they died’.23 23 L. S. Fernandez, Politica Internacional de Isabel la Catolica, IV: 1494–1496 (Valladolid, 1971), pp. 526–9, translated in I. Arthurson, ‘Perkin Warbeck and the murder of the princes in the Tower’, in M. Aston and R. Horrox (eds), Much Heaving and Shoving: Essays for Colin Richmond (Chipping, 2005), pp. 158–69, at p. 167. In Danzig, in his chronicle concluding in 1496, Caspar Weinreich recorded that Richard ‘had had his brother Edward's children killed’.24 24 Visser-Fuchs, ‘English events in Caspar Weinreich's Danzig chronicle’, pp. 316–17. The court-patronised astrologer William Parron, in his predictions which he completed writing on 15 October 1499, was eager to emphasise the death of innocents, the princes, at a point which associated responsibility with Richard.25 25 C. A. J. Armstrong, ‘An Italian astrologer at the court of Henry VII’, in E. F. Jacob (ed.), Italian Renaissance Studies (London, 1960), pp. 433–54, at pp. 448–50 (from Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS Selden Supra 77 (De astrorum vi fatali), fos 17v–18v). The brief London city annals in the commonplace book of the merchant Richard Arnold have the distinction of being the first English historical reference to the events to appear in print, probably in 1503: but they quite simply say ‘the ij. sonnys of kinge Edward were put to silence’, and the implied responsibility for the murders is weakened a little by mention of Richard occurring after this passage, not before it.26 26 Richard Arnold, In this Booke is Conteyned the Names of ye Baylifs Custos Mairs and Sherefs of the Cite of London from the Tyme of King Richard the Furst . . . wyth odur Dyvers Maters (Antwerp, 1503?), sig. A.7. Probably no later than 1504, as we have seen, in what became known as his ‘new chronicles’ Robert Fabyan indicated that Richard ‘put vnto secrete deth the .ii. Sonnes of his broder Edward the .iiii.’, resulting in the rebellion of the duke of Buckingham, and very similar wording (‘he also put to deth the ij childer of kyng Edward, for whiche cawse he lost the hertes of the people’) appears in the London annals in Cotton Vitellius A xvi.27 27 Above, n. 3 Chronicles of London, ed. C. L. Kingsford (Oxford, 1905), p. 191. Even as Thomas More was writing his history of the events, the print publication of Fabyan's ‘new chronicles’ in February 1517 provided a fuller and more widely accessible account of 1483, but as has already been noted the text used there, which had been completed in 1504, did little to explain what had happened to the princes.28 28 Fabyan, Prima pars cronecarum, fo. 228 above pp. 2–3. For the dating, I assume Pynson's ‘M. CCCCC. xvi.’ represents old style, with 7 Feb. therefore falling in 1517 new style, an approach taken by Davies, ‘Information’, pp. 238–9, and Hanham, Richard III and his Early Historians, pp. 217–18 (and see Lotte Hellinga and J. P. Trapp (eds), The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, III: 1400–1557 (Cambridge, 1999), pp. 586–7, where a Pynson publication only makes sense in its sequence if old style was used by him). Starting in 1508, some printed texts gave 22 June as the terminal date of Edward V's reign this is at least as likely to be a slip for 26 June, the commencement of Richard III's reign (xxii for xxvi) as a deliberate attempt to locate the princes’ death: S. J. Gunn, ‘Early Tudor dates for the death of Edward V’, Northern History, 28 (1992), pp. 213–16, commenting on C. F. Richmond, ‘The death of Edward V’, Northern History, 25 (1989), pp. 278–80.
This general lack of precision in attribution of responsibility and description of the crime for nearly twenty years after Richard's death highlights the significance of the accounts of Vergil and Fabyan's ‘great chronicle’, and the one continental European source which shares many of their features. The Burgundian Jean Molinet, writing and revising his Chronicles before the end of 1506, suggested that the princes were killed about five weeks after they were imprisoned, that they were put to death by ‘le capitaine de la Tour’, that they were starved and suffocated in a dungeon, or smothered between two featherbeds (‘entre .II. quieutes’), during which the younger awoke and cried out to his brother, as well as appealing to the murderers to kill him and spare Edward, and then buried in a secret location, before being exhumed and given proper royal rites after Richard's death. Molinet's account even extended to sentiments expressed by the princes as death approached, Edward despairing as his brother suggested he learned to dance.29 29 Chroniques, ed. Doutrepont and Jodogne, I. 431–2. There has been a tendency to rely on the inferior earlier edition of J.-A. Buchon (5 vols Paris, 1827–8) which incorporates the more extensive errors of some MSS (e.g. in Hicks, Edward V, p. 187 P. W. Hammond and W. J. White, ‘The sons of Edward IV: a re-examination of the evidence on their deaths and on the bones in Westminster Abbey’, in P. W. Hammond (ed.), Richard III: Loyalty, Lordship and Law (London, 1986), pp. 104–47, at pp. 110–11) Doutrepont and Jodogne make it clear that Molinet correctly identified the elder brother as Edward, and only mistook the name of the younger, interestingly, as George. The process of writing and revising sections of the chronicle is considered in Devaux, Molinet, pp. 131–2 this passage is discussed in Grosjean, ‘Les rois d'Angleterre’, pp. 534–5.
As the second decade of the sixteenth century dawned, therefore, only three sources had given any sort of detail as to the circumstances of the death and in particular as to the identity of the killer: Molinet, Fabyan and Vergil. None of those three sources, however, indicate that a confession (by Tyrell, or anyone else) was the source of their information. There has been discussion of the ways in which these three accounts might be interrelated. Perhaps the most extensive of these reviews, by P. W. Hammond and W. J. White, suggests continental European rumour, captured by Molinet, found its way back into London, where it was recorded first by Fabyan and then by Vergil.30 30 Hammond and White, ‘Sons of Edward IV’, pp. 110–11. That is possible, but it is equally likely that a story told in England became current in the Low Countries soon after and was recorded in both Valenciennes and in London around the same time. What matters here is the potential access by More to these other accounts, and it is hard to discount the possibility that he saw Fabyan's work, given his background in the London legal and mercantile community around the turn of the century, and/or Vergil's, given the presence of both men around court at the point Vergil was drafting his work in 1512–13. More's work might spring in part from a reading of Vergil and Fabyan on the death of the princes, and those two predecessor accounts from a pool of more or less informed rumour also represented by Molinet. That body of rumour cannot be evidenced to have been available before about 1504, certainly in London and probably elsewhere, nor was it explicitly associated with one or more confessions, but it did have a degree of commonality to it.
Yet a coherent and detailed narrative of the murders, of personnel involved and orders given, emerged dramatically and fully formed in More's History of King Richard the Third only a few short years later. According to the version of his history which was eventually printed in 1557, Richard III sent one John Grene to the constable of the Tower, Sir Robert Brackenbury, with an order to kill the princes. When Brackenbury refused, Sir James Tyrell was selected by the king as the man to put into action his order to kill the boys, but he did not carry out the deed himself.31 31 Thomas More, The History of King Richard III, ed. R. S. Sylvester (New Haven, CT, and London, 1963), pp. 83–7, at pp. 263–5. See Thomas More, In Defense of Humanism: Letter to Martin Dorp Letter to the University of Oxford Letter to Edward Lee Letter to a Monk With a New Text and Translation of Historia Richardi tertii, ed. D. Kinney (New Haven, CT, and London, 1986), for introductory comments challenging earlier authorities on the priority of More's texts/editions and suggesting complex relationships between them, including even the possibility that More's text influenced Vergil (pp. 626–7), now further challenged by Alison Hanham, ‘The texts of Thomas More's Richard III’, Renaissance Studies, 21 (2007), pp. 62–84, and her ‘Honing a history: Thomas More's revisions of his Richard III’, Review of English Studies, 59 (2008), pp. 197–218. For that purpose, Tyrell appointed Miles Forest, ‘one of the foure that kept them’ to him he joined John Dighton ‘his own horsekeper, a big brode square strong knaue’. At the time that Tyrell was in the Tower of London, in 1502, for treason committed against Henry VII, [v]ery trouthe is it & well knowen’ that ‘bothe Dighton and he were examined, & confessed the murther in maner aboue written’. Although those confessions had not been mentioned previously, as noted in relation to the accounts of Fabyan, Vergil and Molinet, their contents could have influenced the rumour which, with some consistent features, appears in their work from c. 1504.32 32 See above, sect. I. It is not directly to the confessions, however, that More owed his specific knowledge. Rather, More says: ‘And thus as I haue learned of them that much knew and litle cause had to lye, wer these two noble princes . . . murthered’.33 33 More, History of King Richard III, ed. Sylvester, pp. 85–6. More in the 1557 text does not refer to any deliberate spreading of the confessions or news of them there is no indication of such a step until Bacon introduced this detail, without any apparent authority: S. E. Leas, ‘“As the king gave out”’, The Ricardian, 4/56 (1977), pp. 2–4. More tells us nothing more about the murderers themselves, other than to explain their fates: ‘Miles Forest at sainct Martens pecemele rotted away. Dighton in dede yet walketh on a liue in good possibilitie to bee hanged ere he dye’. Tyrell himself had been, as he reminded his readership, executed on Tower Hill in 1502.
The text of More printed in Richard Grafton's continuation of John Hardyng's Chronicle, published in 1543, and his continuation of Edward Hall's Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Famelies of Lancastre & Yorke, published in 1548, has an alternative description of Dighton's fate, saying that he ‘lyued at Caleys long after, no lesse disdeyned and hated then pointed at, and there dyed in great misery’.34 34 More, History of King Richard III, ed. Sylvester, pp. 87, 265. While it was printed earlier, elements of this text logically may represent a later authorial revision, and the reference to Dighton's fate could be an instance of such a revision Hanham has speculated that these revisions might have been made by More as late as after the final months of 1527.35 35 Hanham, Richard III and his Early Historians, pp. 209–19 eadem, ‘Honing a history’ eadem, ‘Texts of Thomas More's Richard III’. See however Kinney's observations noted in n. 31 above. If the 1557 text is, as Rastell claimed, the work of More begun in c.1513, and if it was continued in its first part down to about 1518–19, then More was apparently writing initially during a period when he confidently believed Dighton was still alive, at least thirty years after the princes’ deaths, but then during his process of continual revision became aware of Dighton's death apparently sometime between 1518–19 and the end of 1527.
This level of detail, after thirty years of (at best) imprecision, invites consideration of the historicity of More's account of the princes’ murder, and its implications. It is Miles Forest whose identification is most straightforward and uncontroversial and who would have been the most prominent in general consciousness when More wrote. James Gairdner long ago pointed to the fact that as well as being one of those given charge of the princes Forest was keeper of the wardrobe at Barnard Castle, a Neville lordship which had come to Richard through his marriage to Anne, daughter of Richard, earl of Warwick – although Gairdner acknowledged that it was unclear whether this grant of the keepership predated the period after Richard's accession when the alleged murders took place.36 36 J. Gairdner, History of the Life and Reign of Richard the Third: To which is Added, The Story of Perkin Warbeck, from Original Documents (2nd edn London, 1879), p. 164 he relied on a reference in BL, Harl. MS 433, fo. 187 (British Library Harleian Manuscript 433, ed. R. Horrox and P. W. Hammond (4 vols Gloucester, 1979), II. 160 (12 Sept. 1484).
In this instance, More's reliability seems to be reinforced by the plausibility of the man proposed as one of the princes’ keepers, and murderers. But if More's identification of a keeper, and murderer, of the princes is plausible in the case of Forest, it is in some ways at first glance less impressive because of Forest's fate. Forest was, perhaps conveniently, dead by the September of 1484, because it was then that the king made a grant to his widow Joan and his son and heir Edward of an annuity of five marks.37 37 Calendar of Patent Rolls 1476–85 (London, 1901) [hereafter CPR 1476–85], p. 473 cf. Harleian Manuscript 433, I. 216, II. 160 TNA, PSO 1/58/2963 C 81/900/710. The plausibility of the association is added to by the mutual connection with Barnard Castle of both Forest and Tower constable Brackenbury (who was from Denton in the parish of Gainford (co. Durham), about a dozen miles to the west). There has also been some notice of the other aspect of Forest's situation about which More comments, and which fits with this context. More's reference to Miles ‘at sainct Martens pecemele rotted away’ suggests a death in the sanctuary at St Martin le Grand. The collegiate church, a royal free chapel, lay just to the north of St Paul's in the city of London, and the effectiveness of its sanctuary had been proven even against the king in 1451 in the cases of William Caym and Sir William Oldhall.38 38 S. McSheffrey, Seeking Sanctuary Crime, Mercy, and Politics in English Courts, 1400–1550 (Oxford, 2017), ch. 3. For whatever reason, the grant of a small annuity to his widow and son might have been necessary because of the difficult situation in which Miles Forest had found himself at the time of his death, probably during the summer of 1484.
In the case of John Dighton, attempts to establish his identity have been more unsatisfactory. Historians have restricted themselves to the obvious printed record sources, which in their surveys extend to little more than one potential and another very unlikely John Dighton. The first received the stewardship of ‘Ayton’, i.e. Haughton in Staffordshire, on 7 March 1483/439 39 CPR 1476–85, p. 436. the second was a priest who was given the rectorship of St Nicholas’ church in Fulbeck (Lincolnshire) in May 1487 by Henry VII40 40 Calendar of Patent Rolls 1485–94 (London, 1914) [hereafter CPR 1485–94], p. 173 W. Campbell (ed.), Materials for a History of the Reign of Henry VII, Rolls Ser., 60 (2 vols London, 1873–7), II. 148. and may have held it until 1514, but who should easily be associated with the prominent family of Lincoln citizens of the name, and not the man potentially linked to Tyrell and the princes.41 41 For speculation on potential Dightons, see W. E. Hampton, ‘Sir James Tyrell: with some notes on the Austin Friars London and those buried there’, in J. Petre (ed.), Richard III: Crown and People (London, 1985), pp. 203–17, at pp. 208–10 (reprinted from The Ricardian, 4/63 (1978), pp. 9–22, at pp. 16–17). For Robert Dighton, mayor of Lincoln, see e.g. J. S. Brewer, J. Gairdner and R. H. Brodie (eds), Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII (21 vols in 37 London, 1864–1932), I. 438 (2 m. 25), 872 II. 1255, 4131, and more generally on the family, F. Hill, Tudor and Stuart Lincoln (Cambridge, 1956), pp. 34, 63. Even in the former case the reference to an otherwise unspecified ‘Ayton’ alone rather than the accurate modern form of the place-name was the limit of A. F. Pollard's exploration of Dighton's possible identity in his influential and otherwise painstaking discussion of the historicity of the More account.42 42 A. F. Pollard, ‘The making of Sir Thomas More's Richard III’, in J. G. Edwards, V. H. Galbraith and E. F. Jacob (eds), Historical Essays in Honour of James Tait (Manchester, 1933), pp. 223–38, at p. 234.
This is about as far as exploration of the identities of the alleged murderers has gone in the historiography of the last century and a half. Much of this examination has been from relatively partisan perspectives determined to suggest that the names were chosen more or less at random by More, or at least that they are so generic that More had consciously constructed a story around two men whose identities it was impossible to confirm. Paul Murray Kendall described More's account as ‘liberally sprinkled with names’, and having criticised what he called ‘inaccuracies and absurdities’ in the treatment of Brackenbury and Tyrell concluded that ‘there is no reason to suppose [More] is any more accurate or reasonable in [his] use of minor figures like Grene, Forest, and Dighton, about whom almost nothing is known’.43 43 P.M. Kendall, Richard the Third (London, 1955), p. 400. Clements Markham argued that the individuals concerned were identifiable but could not have been guilty of the crimes attributed to them.44 44 C. Markham, Richard III: His Life and Character, Reviewed in the Light of Recent Research (London, 1906), pp. 260–74. Other sceptics question the lack of corroboration for the murderers’ confessions: it was established as long ago as 1878 that there is no record of a John Dighton being in the Tower of London at the time of Tyrell's detention there.45 45 W. H. Sewell, ‘Memoirs of Sir James Tyrell’, Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and Natural History, 5/2 (1878), pp. 125–80, at pp. 175–6. Alternatively, but to a similar end, Jeremy Potter expressed surprise that Forest had not been convicted of any crime, apparently missing the point about his date of death, and that Dighton ‘yet walks alive’ – for him it was ‘so astonishing and lame a conclusion’ that More had to add his point about the likelihood of his hanging. Potter expressed disbelief that he would have been allowed to go free when he was the murderer of a king. He concludes that Dighton's ‘real role was to bear witness to a falsehood so transparent that it could not be safely publicised’.46 46 Potter, Good King Richard?, pp. 123–5. From a variety of perspectives, therefore, scepticism and caution reign in relation to More's account of the princes’ murderers.
Yet from the point of view of the credibility of the story and of its transmission the Forest connection had not lapsed into obscurity when More was writing. The grant of 1484 indicates that Miles's son was called Edward, and during the decade when More initially shaped Richard the Third an Edward Forest and his brother Miles who were very probably Miles Forest's sons were still alive. Although Forest is not an uncommon name, the coincidence of the name Edward and, in spite of the increasingly prominent career they pursued at court, their particular interest in Barnard Castle and parts of the North Riding of Yorkshire suggests the identification, as does the given name Miles for Edward's brother, which is relatively unusual and would be consonant with him being named as Miles senior's son.47 47 Scott Smith-Bannister, Names and Naming Patterns in England, 1538–1700 (Oxford, 1997), ch. 7. Edward appears for the first time as a Groom of the Chamber in February 1511, at the interment of the infant Prince Henry. 48 48 Letters and Papers Henry VIII, I. 707 cf. 988. He continues in that role 1514–16: TNA, E 36/215, fo. 424 BL, Add. MS 21481, fo. 211v Letters and Papers Henry VIII, I. 3554 II. 1470 The Great Wardrobe Accounts of Henry VII and Henry VIII, ed. M. Hayward, London Record Society, xlvii (2012), p. 247 (Dec. 1511). Edward was allocated to the service of the king's sister, Margaret queen of Scots, when she came to England, appearing in that capacity in May 1517.49 49 TNA, E 36/215, fo. 516 BL, Add. MS 21481, fo. 257v Letters and Papers Henry VIII, II. 1475. Miles Forest had already benefitted from a grant of a lease in Yorkshire in February 1516.50 50 Letters and Papers Henry VIII, II. 1589. In July 1518 he received further leases in the county, in Sheriff Hutton, demonstrating continuing connections with the area where Miles senior had previously served Richard of Gloucester. This generosity grew in the following year, when in March Miles and Edward, described as brothers, had a lease of the manor of Sherburn in the lordship of Sheriff Hutton.51 51 Letters and Papers Henry VIII, II. 4283 III. 154(22). In Aug. 1518 the brothers were able to purchase a ward, Thomas Cotton: TNA, E 36/216, fo. 172v Letters and Papers Henry VIII, II. 1490. Over the following years they also accumulated offices in the lordship of Middleham, including as bailiff there.52 52 Letters and Papers Henry VIII, III. 458(20), 2145(20), 2923(16). Edward was still listed as a Groom of the Chamber when Henry met the French king at the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520, and Miles was associated increasingly with Cardinal Thomas Wolsey around this time too, sometimes being specifically referred to as his servant, including when Wolsey's embassy came to Calais in 1521.53 53 Letters and Papers Henry VIII, III. 356, 704(3), 2446, pp. 1537, 1542 The Chronicle of Calais in the Reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII, to the Year 1540, ed. J. G. Nichols, Camden Society, original ser., 35 (1846), p. 98. TNA, E 36/216, fo. 101v, shows Edward riding between king and cardinal in 1520. Miles was a Groom of Wolsey's Chamber in 1524,54 54 Letters and Papers Henry VIII, IV. 107 and Edward was still listed as a Groom of the King's Chamber in 1526 and received a further grant, making him bailiff of the town and lordship of Barnard Castle in County Durham that year.55 55 Letters and Papers Henry VIII, IV. 1939(8), 2540. Miles had a joint grant in the vicinity of Barnard Castle in 1528: Letters and Papers Henry VIII, IV. 4313(22). Edward was closely involved with the intrigues around Henry's relationship with Anne Boleyn and its interactions with Wolsey in 1528.56 56 TNA, SP 1/47, fos 54–55v (H. Ellis, Original Letters Illustrative of English History, 3rd ser. (4 vols London, 1846), II. 131 Letters and Papers Henry VIII, IV. 4005). Miles made the transition to the king's service at the point of Wolsey's fall in November 1529, acted as messenger between Henry and James V of Scotland in the autumn of 1531, and had a grant further enhancing the brothers’ position around Barnard Castle at that time.57 57 Letters and Papers Henry VIII, IV. Appendix 238 N. Samman, ‘The Henrician court during Cardinal Wolsey's ascendancy c.1514–1529’, unpublished PhD thesis, Prifysgol Bangor University (1988), pp. 158, 240 Letters and Papers Henry VIII, V. 480, 535, 559(20).
In subsequent years, the brothers’ interests shifted south, along the Great North Road they would have regularly travelled, and especially around Peterborough and Huntingdon. Miles bought an interest in the lease of the manor of Barnwell (fourteen miles south-west of Peterborough) in 1517–18.58 58 TNA, C 1/407/34. Miles was leasing interests in Huntingdonshire from Merton Priory in 1526, and his preference for these more southern involvements is then clear given that offices in Bishop Auckland were considered for sale as being too distant and hence of small profit by him in 1527.59 59 Letters and Papers Henry VIII, XVII. 1258 (Alconbury rectory (Huntingdonshire), leased by Merton) Letters and Papers Henry VIII, IV. 3227. In 1540 Miles was described as ‘of Morborne, Huntingdonshire’, and received a grant of the manor and lordship of Morborne, and the house and grange of Ogerston there, formerly property of Crowland abbey, with other properties.60 60 Letters and Papers Henry VIII, XV. 144(22). The brothers appear to have been active in the area for some time previously, and they were soon consolidating other leases and grants in Huntingdonshire, and Miles appeared as a commissioner in the county from 1544 and served as escheator in 1547–8.61 61 Letters and Papers Henry VIII, XVIII/1. 981(97) XVIII/2. 241(35) (which also involves Miles's son Henry) XIX/1. 812(114) XX/1. 622, 623, 1081(58) TNA, E136/26/3. Miles continued in the royal service, being variously described as the queen's servant in 1544 and a sewer of the chamber in 1546. He was rewarded for his service to Henry VIII and both Edward VI and Mary in 1554, and recorded as being still a servant of the Chamber and Privy Chamber, and eventually died in 1558. The family became principally and honourably established around Morborne, with Miles's great-grandson Anthony achieving a knighthood and success in the service of William Cecil, although in the latter part of the sixteenth century a continuing connection with the parts of North Yorkshire and County Durham in which they had originated was represented by marriages into families from that area.62 62 Letters and Papers Henry VIII, XIX/1. 812(114) XXI/1. 1383(77) Calendar of Patent Rolls 1553–1554 (London, 1937), p. 310 (calendared as ‘Giles’) A. Thrush and J. P. Ferris (eds), The House of Commons, 1604–1629 (6 vols Cambridge, 2010), IV. 299–300 W. Page, G. Proby, H. E. Norris, and S. I. Ladds (eds), The Victoria History of the Counties of England: The County of Huntingdon (4 vols London, 1926–38), III. 188–90 TNA, PROB 11/41/239 J. Simpson, ‘Extracts from the parish registers of Glaston, co. Rutland’, The Reliquary, 25 (1884–5), pp. 43–8, at p. 45 William Camden, The Visitation of the County of Rutland in the Year 1618–19, ed. G. J. Armytage, Harleian Society, 3 (1870), p. 26 William Flower, The Visitation of Yorkshire in the Years 1563 and 1564, ed. C. B. Norcliffe, Harleian Society, 16 (1881), p. 268. TNA, REQ 2/11/86 (Edward Forest contesting with Thomas Rokeby early in 1560 for the herbage of the West Park of Middleham, etc. Victoria County History of the County of York: North Riding, I. 112). A poignant sign that these were the descendants of the man who had left the keepership of the wardrobe of a Teesdale lordship to serve Richard of Gloucester in the Tower of London in 1483 was a prominent bequest in Miles's will in 1558 – to ‘the poore folkes’ of Barnard Castle.63 63 TNA, PROB 11/41/239.
This evidence to support their being the sons of More's Miles Forest is reinforced by the indications we have of Edward and Miles's kin group. In Miles's will, he recognises cousins: Ralph and Thomas Rowlandson, and Ralph Rokeby of Lincoln's Inn. The latter connection was with a lawyer who was to have a distinguished career: he had been admitted to Lincoln's Inn in 1547, and was to be called to the bar in 1558 and the bench in 1566. Later in the 1560s he served in Ireland as Chief Justice of Connaught, and after returning to England as a member of the Council in the North and later as Master of Requests. The kinship connection arose from the marriage between one of the Forest family and an unnamed aunt of Ralph's (a daughter of Thomas Rokeby, of Mortham Tower in Rokeby parish), this being at the right generation for her to have been Edward or Miles's wife. Mortham Tower is about three miles from Barnard Castle. Thomas's heir had married one of the daughters of Robert Danby of Yafforth, who was killed at Bosworth Field, so this was an association with a gentry family from the north-east that had produced a Chief Justice of the Common Pleas and that showed a distinctive loyalty to the Nevilles and then to Richard of Gloucester.64 64 Flower, Visitation of Yorkshire in the Years 1563 and 1564, p. 268 The Visitation of Yorkshire, Made in the Years 1584–5, by Robert Glover, Somerset Herald: To Which is Added the Subsequent Visitation Made in 1612, by Richard St. George, Norroy King of Arms, with Several Additional Pedigrees, ed. Joseph Foster (London, 1875), p. 128 Ralph Rokeby, ‘Oeconomia Rokebeiorum’, BL, Add. MS 24470, fos 294–333 (T. D. Whitaker, A History of Richmondshire, I (London, 1823), pp. 158–80, at pp. 177–8) Wilfred Prest, ‘Ralph Rokeby (c.1527–1596)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online edn [accessed 3 March 2020] William Page (ed.), The Victoria History of the County of York: North Riding (3 vols London, 1914–23), I. 112 A. J. Pollard, North-eastern England during the Wars of the Roses: Lay Society, War and Politics, 1450–1500 (Oxford, 1990), pp. 133–4, 162 idem, ‘St. Cuthbert and the hog: Richard III and the County Palatine of Durham, 1471–85’, in R. A. Griffiths and W. Sherborne (eds), Kings and Nobles in the Later Middle Ages (Gloucester, 1986), pp. 114–23, esp. pp. 121–2 Norman Doe, ‘Sir Robert Danby (d. 1474), judge’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online edn [accessed 3 March 2020].
The identification of Edward and Miles junior as Miles Forest's sons depends in part too on their likely dates of birth. When the grant was made to Edward and his widowed mother in 1484, he was evidently still a minor. Edward Forest's son Edward is first encountered in July 1546, in a grant which would suggest he had attained his majority and which may be a recognition of Edward senior's death.65 65 Letters and Papers Henry VIII, X. 1256(45) XXI/1. 1383(77). If Edward senior was a young child when Miles his father died in mid-1484, then he was at least twenty-seven and probably nearly thirty when he appears in the evidence from Henry VIII's court, and at least sixty-two and probably in his mid- to late sixties at the point of that likely death in the 1540s. That is a not implausible chronology.
Miles junior, brother of Edward, died in August 1558.66 66 Will dated 7 Aug., burial 20 Aug.: TNA, PROB 11/41/239 Simpson, ‘Extracts from the parish registers of Glaston’, p. 45. If he was the son of Miles senior, by this time he would have achieved a venerable age in his mid-seventies. He had a son Edward who first appears in February 1538.67 67 Letters and Papers Henry VIII, XIII/1. 384(12)). If, further, this Miles was the younger brother, as would be indicated by the grant of 1484, then Edward senior was probably born earlier in the 1480s, at least if Miles junior was born around the time of his father's death, then he would have been fifty-four at the time of this 1538 grant. If this was the case, and he fathered Edward junior in his mid-twenties, then Edward junior would have been about 30 when he was joined in this grant. Twenty years later, Miles's will indicates that he then had at least two surviving sons: Robert (his heir), and Henry.68 68 Henry had previously been mentioned in a grant in Sept. 1543: Letters and Papers Henry VIII, XVIII/2. 241. There is no mention in the will of Edward junior who had received the 1538 grant. By 1558, Robert was himself old enough to have sired a son and heir Miles (whom we see in December 1572 marrying Elizabeth, daughter of Anthony Colly of Glaston (Rutland) and his wife Juliana (née Richardson, of Yorkshire) and another son Edward.69 69 Simpson, ‘Extracts from the parish registers of Glaston’, p. 45. Miles also records in his will daughters old enough to be married, to his sons-in-law Humphrey Orme and Christopher Wray. Evidently the next generation were well on their way by this stage, for Robert Forest and his wife are remembered by Miles along with several children: not just Miles, Robert's heir, but also Edward (who was not yet eighteen), Mary, Robert junior, and unnamed and unspecified sisters.70 70 Of the Ormes we have mention of Cecily, who may be Miles's daughter although she is not named as such (but she receives Miles's chain of gold which he says he promised her), and Robert, Edward, Miles, Humphrey, Cecily junior, and Elizabeth. A Fabyan and Anne are also mentioned although separately so we should not perhaps assume kinship in the same way. Miles's extensive family across several generations helps to support the possibility that he died at a very advanced age, and could have had a birth-date as early as the 1480s. As with the evidence for his brother Edward, there is nothing in these dates to undermine the possibility that these men were the sons of More's alleged murderer.
The Dighton connection holds just as great an interest, as John was according to More the sole survivor from among the murderers well into the reign of Henry VIII. Soon after Bosworth, John Dighton seems to have been displaced from the office into which he had been put by Richard. Haughton and its associated properties were long-standing holdings of the Stafford family. They had passed via Anne widow of Edmund, earl of Stafford (d. 1403) to Sir John Bourchier, Lord Berners, who was her fourth son by her third husband Sir William Bourchier. After his death in 1474, those properties were inherited by his grandson, John Lord Berners, but he was a minor, having been born c.1467, and (from 1484) probably a fugitive in Brittany with Henry Tudor, which is why they were in royal hands when Richard made his grant.71 71 W. Page et al. (eds), The Victoria History of the Counties of England: The County of Stafford (14 vols continuing London, 1908–), IV. 139 C. Rawcliffe, The Staffords, Earls of Stafford and Dukes of Buckingham, 1394–1521 (Cambridge, 1978), p. 191. Dighton's grip on Haughton did not last long: very soon after Bosworth, it was granted to one of the new king's servants, one John Gerveys, a yeoman of the guard. 72 72 CPR 1485–94, p. 16. Berners was aged seven at his grandfather's death in 1474, so in any case reached his majority early in the new reign.73 73 G. E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, ed. V. Gibbs (14 vols in 15 London, 1910–59), II. 154 Dighton may have gone to join Tyrell at Guînes after Bosworth, or he may even already have been there, having travelled with his master when Tyrell crossed the Channel, although he was not one of those who took out a pardon with Tyrell and fellow garrison members in July 1486.74 74 TNA, PSO 2/2. Such a move at some point in 1485 would, however, be entirely logical for Dighton, and leave him in a position to contribute to the development of the story, and more specifically More's account, as will be considered further below.
Of those associated closely with the murder, it is John Grene who has attracted particular interest recently, although More's original text is least helpful in his case in providing identifying details, and unlike with Forest and Dighton his survival or that of family or other connections is (consequentially – and significantly) least clear. He is simply ‘one Iohn Grene whom he [Richard] specially trusted’, sent from Gloucester to Sir Robert Brackenbury with instructions for the death of the princes.75 75 More, History of King Richard III, ed. Sylvester, p. 83. There has been extensive speculation as to possible identifications of this common name, including gentlemen with the Grene surname.76 76 Hampton, ‘Sir James Tyrell’, pp. 210–13. The most plausible implications of the special trust, and Grene's presence with Richard in Gloucester on the progress, are that this man was the yeoman of the chamber who was made receiver of the Isle of Wight, and of the castle and lordship of Portchester by Richard in November 1483 – in the grant he was referred to as ‘oure welbeloued servaunt’. A John Grene was made controller of the customs of the port of Southampton in December 1483, and was escheator of Hampshire from 6 November 1483 to 10 December 1484.77 77 Ibid., p. 210 (which indicates the yeoman of the chamber was also appointed commissioner of array in Hampshire in May and Dec. 1484 but see n. 78 below). Harleian Manuscript 433, II. 33 (undated, but amidst early Nov. grants) CPR 1476–85, pp. 403, 523 (shows him acting as escheator on 8 Dec. 1484) A. C. Wood, List of Escheators for England and Wales (List and Index Society, 72, 1971), p. 147. He acted as a commissioner of array in the county in December 1484, and the coincidence of geography means this is almost certainly the same individual.78 78 CPR 1476–85, p. 491 he was not on the May 1484 commission for Hants (p. 399). One John Grene was responsible for the fodder for the king's horses, and Pamela Tudor-Craig speculated on the possible transfer of the idea of horse-keeping from this Grene to John Dighton. Ian Arthurson has further developed discussion of this John Grene ‘courserman’, a member of the staff of the king's stables, identifying him with the Grene who was yeoman of the chamber and the officeholder in Southampton, Hampshire, and the Isle of Wight, and asserting his importance in renewed argument for the historicity of More's story of the princes’ deaths.79 79 Arthurson, ‘Perkin Warbeck and the murder of the princes in the tower’, p. 162 Tudor-Craig, Richard III, p. 53.
Like Dighton, Grene was a survivor into Henry VII's reign, if it was the servant associated with the stables who was in question: this man appears receiving payments in that role, as yeoman and purveyor of the avenary of the household, in October 1485, and May and November 1487.80 80 CPR 1485–94, pp. 25, 151, 174. Yet the Grene who held office in Portchester and the Isle of Wight as Richard III's ‘welbeloued servaunt’ was no longer in office almost immediately after Bosworth, and if the man who had posts in Southampton and Hampshire is the same man he was almost certainly displaced around the same time. The controller of the customs at Southampton had evidently been superseded in November 1486, by Thomas Thomas.81 81 Ibid., p. 158. Portchester Castle and associated properties went to Sir Edward Woodville very quickly after the victory at Bosworth, on 16 September 1485 and on the same day, Woodville received a grant of the Isle of Wight, to hold by fealty only.82 82 Ibid., pp. 112, 117. In the first few years of Henry VII's reign, therefore, Grene disappears, and More himself shows none of the continuing interest in him which he does in those whom he identifies more directly with the murders, Tyrell, Dighton and Forest.
Having established the survival and relative prominence into the early sixteenth century of some of those who carried the legacy of the alleged murders, what are the implications of this evidence for the recording of the story through the pen of Thomas More? When More was writing, both Edward Forest and Miles his brother were active at court and in circles in which he was involved. More's legal career led to him becoming one of two under-sheriffs for the city of London in 1510. In May 1515 he was commissioned, with others including Cuthbert Tunstall, to undertake an embassy to Bruges, to conclude a commercial treaty. This was the first of a series of government roles drawing on his expertise and contacts, and in that trip the ambassadors maintained contacts with the court and Wolsey using a range of messengers – including Miles Forest himself.83 83 TNA, SP 1/11, fo. 126 (Letters and Papers Henry VIII, II. 977). Once More was fully engaged in the king's service, he was closely aligned with Thomas Wolsey, and in that capacity he could not but encounter the Forest brothers, who served both cardinal and king. As Andrea Ammonio observed in February 1516 soon after More's return from Bruges, More haunted ‘those smoky palace fires’, and in a morning no-one wished Wolsey ‘good morrow’ earlier than him.84 84 The Correspondence of Erasmus: Letters 298 to 445, 1514 to 1516, trans. R. A. B. Mynors and D. F. S. Thomson, annotated J. K. McConica (Collected Works of Erasmus, III) (Toronto and Buffalo, 1976), p. 239. On Wolsey's rise and some of his contacts with More, see Peter Gwyn, The King's Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of Thomas Wolsey (London, 1992), chs 1–3. On 5 July 1519 More wrote to Wolsey that the king had commanded him to deliver to Forest (probably Miles), whom he describes as ‘your servant’, a complaint made by the men of Waterford against the town of New Ross.85 85 BL, Cotton MS Titus B. XI, fo. 391 (H. Ellis, Original Letters Illustrative of English History, 1st ser. (3 vols London, 1824), I. 195–8 Letters and Papers Henry VIII, III. 356). And the second embassy on which More was engaged, being commissioned towards the end of August 1517, was to Calais, when he assisted Sir Richard Wingfield and William Knight in dealing with disputes between English and French merchants, and whence he only returned in December.86 86 BL, Cotton MS Caligula D. VI, 317 (26 Aug. Letters and Papers Henry VIII, II. 3634) Letters and Papers Henry VIII, II. 3831. During the whole of the period from 1513 to 1519, and beyond, when More was at work on Richard the Third, he was therefore in touch with the sons of one of the men whom he said killed the princes. Further, More spent a significant proportion of that time on embassy in the Low Countries and in particular in Calais, thereby bringing him into the location where he was writing that the other – surviving – murderer, John Dighton, may well have been living.87 87 While in Calais, the tone of More's correspondence with Erasmus does not suggest he found official business either stimulating or over-demanding: The Correspondence of Erasmus: Letters 594 to 841, 1517 to 1518, trans. R. A. B. Mynors and D. F. S. Thomson, annotated P. G. Bietenholz (Collected Works of Erasmus, V) (Toronto, Buffalo and London, 1979), p. 106 (8 Sept. 1517, from Antwerp). It should be recalled that More described his sources for what happened to the princes not directly as the confessions obtained when Tyrell and Dighton were brought to the Tower in 1502, but what he had ‘learned of them that much knew and litle cause had to lye’.88 88 More, History of King Richard III, ed. Sylvester, pp. 85–6. What better way to describe the witness of the sons of Miles Forest, and perhaps of Dighton himself? This evidence opens up the strong possibility that Edward and Miles junior were the channel for information about the murders, passed either direct to them from their father Miles Forest, or at just one remove via their mother Joan, or that they represented a very immediate connection to others who had been associated with their father at the time of his activity in the Tower – a milieu of which More himself would have had some understanding, in any case, during his work with the City.
Since the 1930s it has become a commonplace to argue that More's history is ‘representational and dramatic in nature rather than simply expositional’, in the words of Alistair Foxe.89 89 A. Foxe, Thomas More: History and Providence (Oxford, 1982), p. 77 see also Pollard, ‘Making of Sir Thomas More's Richard III’ A. N. Kincaid, ‘The dramatic structure of Sir Thomas More's History of King Richard III’, Studies in English Literature 1500–1900, 12 (1972), pp. 223–42 Hanham, Richard III and his Early Historians, pp. 174–85. More's use of irony in particular highlights an underlying reality in events which belies superficial appearances. Without underestimating More's capacity to use the account of Richard's seizure of power to debate issues of political power and human nature, however, it is important to recognise the extent to which he was working at a time when major elements of the narrative of the reign had not been established. More's work was both fundamentally expositional in major aspects, and representational and dramatic.
All this highlights a more general characteristic of the story More was telling. There was a direct connection between the historian and his subjects.90 90 Thomas More, Utopia, ed. E. Stutz and J. H. Hexter (New Haven, CT, and London, 1965), pp. 58–61 R. W. Chambers, Thomas More (Brighton, 1982), pp. 59–64 R. Marius, Thomas More: A Biography (London and Melbourne, 1985), pp. 20–4 John Guy, Thomas More (London, 2000), pp. 22–3. This was seen in the experience of More himself as a young boy from the late 1480s in the household of John Morton, a central participant in the events of 1483, illustrated perhaps most vividly in his telling of the well-known anecdote of Richard's request for strawberries from Morton's Holborn garden shortly before the coup which claimed the life of Lord Hastings and saw Morton himself, Archbishop Rotherham and Thomas, Lord Stanley imprisoned.91 91 More, History of King Richard III, ed. Sylvester, pp. 47, 217. But it also impacted on More as one living and writing among people for whom memories of those times were strong and immediate. A. F. Pollard in 1933 suggested that More's sources importantly included a group of surviving witnesses of the key events of Richard's reign, and this aspect of the work has been reinforced in the subsequent analysis of Sylvester and others. They have detected in More's account the testimony and insight of men like Richard Foxe, William Warham, Christopher Urswick, Roger Lupton, and Sir Thomas Lovell – men who knew Henry VII and other key personalities in the drama of 1483–5 and in some cases had themselves directly experienced those events.92 92 Pollard, ‘Making of Sir Thomas More's Richard III’, pp. 226–9. Sometimes this approach is taken too far: R. Marius, Thomas More: A Biography (1st Harvard University Press paperback edn Cambridge, MA and London, 1999), p. 119, suggests the shaping influence of Catherine Woodville as by then wife of Richard Wingfield, diplomat – in spite of the fact that she was dead in 1497. These were of course the survivors and victors of the period, in many cases too the ‘new men’ who gave a particular character to Henry VII's reign.93 93 S. Gunn, Henry VII's New Men and the Making of Tudor England (Oxford, 2016), esp. pp. 321–4. But these personal accounts and influences are not as simple as they might appear at first sight, and that is one of the truths which are uncomfortably present everywhere in More's text. Some of the connections were very close to home: More's father John was a well-rewarded client of Edward, third duke of Buckingham,94 94 TNA, SP 1/22, fo. 79 on Morton and the 2nd duke of Buckingham during the 1483 crisis, see R. A. Griffiths, ‘Bishop Morton and the Ely Tower at Brecon: documenting intrigue’, Brycheiniog, 34 (2002), pp. 13–20. I am grateful to Professor Griffiths for discussion of this connection. and the dangerous currency during the 1510s of stories about 1483 is illustrated by evidence in the third duke's trial that Edward referred to his father's plan to assassinate Richard III in conversation with Charles Knyvet, his surveyor, in 1519.95 95 3rd Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records (London, 1842), Appendix II, pp. 231–2 M. Levine, ‘The fall of Edward, Duke of Buckingham’, in A. J. Slavin (ed.), Tudor Men and Institutions: Studies in English Law and Government (Baton Rouge, LA, 1972), pp. 32–48, at p. 37. Telling the tale of Richard III's reign could not simply be an exercise in victors’ history, or even survivors’ history. This was the history of a group of men (and women96 96 W. E. Hampton, ‘The Ladies of the Minories’, The Ricardian, 4/62 (1978), pp. 15–22 drawn on by e.g. A. Weir, Richard III and the Princes in the Tower (London, 2014), pp. 170, 245. ) whose lives had in most cases been deeply implicated in the complex politics of Richard of Gloucester's seizure of power, his rule and overthrow, and the compromises that demanded. This affected individuals who included some at the very top of society, like Thomas duke of Norfolk and Edward duke of Buckingham, but equivalent dilemmas were posed for people ranging across every rank. The days, months and years after Bosworth were not a period of easy resolutions, however much some historians have been tempted to see them as such.97 97 M. Bennett, The Battle of Bosworth (Stroud, 1985), pp. 123–32 (one of the more thoughtful statements on Bosworth's aftermath, but even he imagines a relatively simple process via an (unevidenced) ‘informal tribunal’ with threats and promises traded to re-establish relationships across the political nation). S. Cunningham, Henry VII (London, 2007), pp. 44–5, notes Henry's leniency and the limited guarantees of loyalty from ex-Ricardians. Nor did the remaining tensions after 22 August 1485 express themselves as simple choices of loyalty or disloyalty, in the stark drama of rebellion in 1487 or 1497, or conspiracies around Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck, or even an extraordinary confrontation like the murder in 1489 of the fourth earl of Northumberland by tax rebels, accusing him of treachery to Richard III while his household turned away.98 98 M. Bennett, Lambert Simnel and the Battle of Stoke (Gloucester, 1987) I. Arthurson, The Perkin Warbeck Conspiracy, 1491–1499 (Stroud, 1994) M. E. James, ‘The Murder at Cocklodge 28th April 1489’, Durham University Journal, 57 (1965), pp. 80–7 C. Skidmore, Bosworth: The Birth of the Tudors (London, 2014), pp. 368–75 (a nuanced account of the continuing impacts of memories of conflict). Writing history in such contexts as these is challenging for at least a generation, and probably two. John Foxe found this in the environment of an England that had already undergone dramatic religious change and was still in significant flux, as he wrote about recent events which often involved people who remained in powerful positions and whose personal histories were complex and not infrequently embarrassing. Those working in the aftermath of collaboration, resistance and liberation in Europe are learning similar lessons looking back from the vantage point of the first decades of the twenty-first century.99 99 D. Loades, ‘Essays: the early reception’ (John Foxe's The Acts and Monuments online), <https://www.dhi.ac.uk/foxe/index.php?realm=more&gototype=&type=essay&book=essay7> [accessed 10 Sept. 2019] G. Parry, ‘Elect church or elect nation? The reception of the Acts and Monuments’, in D. Loades (ed.), John Foxe: An Historical Perspective (Aldershot, 1999), pp. 167–81 H. Rousso (trans. A. Goldhammer), The Vichy Syndrome: History and Memory in France since 1944 (Cambridge, MA, 1991): an immediate aftermath of purge and amnesty, then ‘mourning’, with repression of memory through the cultivation of a myth of ‘resistancialism’ in which the whole nation became the Resistance, especially in the Gaullist view – only shattered from 1971. I am grateful for discussion on this point to Professor Steve Gunn. Thomas More wrote a history of Ricardian tyranny while serving closely alongside the sons of perhaps its most heinous killer, sons whose careers were as dignified as any at the court of Henry VIII – and among all of their peers.
This brought a sharp focus to the fact that his history was a history of men and women still living, and their fathers and mothers and kinsmen and women, for whom a detailed narrative of the events of 1483–5 was still overwhelmingly problematic to address. Henry VII had more or less consciously refused to allow a treatment of that history in other than the most simplistically evasive terms: there was no memorial chapel at Bosworth, no major commemoration, no detailed formalisation of historiography. The possibilities that showed themselves at the start of the new reign of Henry VIII, in very limited form in the (unpublished) writings of Vergil and Fabyan in 1512–13, or in the licence granted for a memorial chapel for Bosworth's victims at Dadlington in 1511, mirror a wider expansiveness in the use of print media for debate – but this was quickly rowed back on.100 100 Dadlington: Letters and Papers Henry VIII, I. 857(18) C. Richmond, ‘The Battle of Bosworth’, History Today, 35/8 (1985), pp. 17–22 Davies, ‘Information’, pp. 250–1 T. Thornton, ‘Propaganda, political communication and the problem of English responses to the introduction of printing’, in B. Taithe and T. Thornton (eds), Propaganda, Political Rhetoric and Identity 1300–2000 (Stroud, 1999), pp. 41–60, at pp. 48–9. The rarity of the 1517 print edition of the new chronicles of Fabyan has been much debated,101 101 John Bale suggested Wolsey had the edition burnt: Index Britanniae Scriptorum, ed. R. L. Poole and M. Bateson (Oxford, 1902), pp. 370–1. but whatever the precise reason for it, that scarcity signifies the doubts that quickly set in. Those doubts lasted into the 1540s, for it was only then, with the publication of versions of Vergil and More in Richard Grafton's continuation of John Hardyng's Chronicle (London, 1543) and his edition of Edward Halle's Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Families of Lancastre and Yorke (London, 1548), that a coherent narrative of Richard's coup and the death of the princes was widely published.102 102 Davies, ‘Information’, pp. 241–3. More's incomplete and unpublished History stands at the core of this deeply problematic historiography, and at the very heart of this lies the description of the fate of the princes itself.103 103 I am grateful to friends and colleagues for their advice on this article, and especially to Professors Steve Gunn, Ralph Griffiths and John Watts and to anonymous reviews for the journal. All errors remain my responsibility.
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