The Wars of the Roses/[From Susan Higginbotham ”In Their Own Words”/Letter of Richard III to His Mother, Cecily Neville Duchess of York

[Source: The Unpopular King: The Life and Times of Richard III by Alfred Owen Legge. The letter can also be found in Rosemary Horrox and P. W. Hammond, eds., British Library Harleian Manuscript 433. Gloucester: Richard III Society, 1979.]

 

This letter to Cecily, Duchess of York, was written on June 3, 1484. William Colyngbourne, named in the letter, later became famous for the treasonous rhyme, “The Cat, the Rat, and Lovel our dog / Ruleth all England under a Hog,” which he nailed to the door of St. Paul’s Cathedral on July 18, 1484. His chief offense, however, was to write to Henry Tudor to ask him to invade England. Colynbourne was tried and convicted in December 1484. For his execution, he was hung and cut down while still alive, after which his bowels were cast into a fire.

Madam,

” I recommend me to you as heartily as is to me possible. Beseeching you in my most humble and effectuous wise of your daily blessing, to my singular comfort and defence in my need. And, madam, I heartily beseech you that I may often hear from you to my comfort. And such news as be here my servant Thomas Bryan, this bearer, shall show you; to whom please it you to give credence unto. And, madam, I beseech you to be good and gracious lady to my lord my Chamberlain, to be your officer in Wiltshire in such as Colyngbourne had. I trust he shall therein do you service. And that it please you that by this bearer I may understand your pleasure in this behalf. And I pray God to send you the accomplishment of your noble desires. Written at Pountfreit, the 3rd day of June, with the hand of your most humble son,

 

“richard Rex.

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