The Princes in The Tower: facts, theories and suspects
Who murdered King Edward V and his brother Prince Richard in the Tower of London? Was it their uncle, Richard? Henry Tudor? Someone else? Or could one of them have survived? We'll look at motive and opportunity as well as the available evidence.
To explore the facts and the myths surrounding the disappearance of the princes in the Tower with a view to exploring the trustworthiness of the available primary and secondary sources.
Who is the course for?
What topics will this course cover
We will look at the suspects, their motives and opportunities. We will consider the evidence and the rumours as well as what early writers had to say on the subject. We will consider the value and difficulties of the sources. We will make the acquaintance of Richard III, Sir James Tyrrell, Sir Thomas More, Brackenbury, the Duke of Buckingham, Henry Tudor, Margaret Beaufort, the Duke of Norfolk and Jane Shore. We will also consider some of the other possibilities from death by natural causes to one or more of the princes being spirited to safety. We will consider whether pretender Perkin Warbeck could have been telling the truth. Where possible we will use primary sources.
What will it be like?
WEA classes are friendly and supportive. You will be encouraged to work together with your fellow students and tutor. You will be asked to share your ideas and views in the class and work with the group to give and accept feedback in a supportive environment. The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you to be actively involved in your learning. You may be asked to undertake work to support your course outside of your class.
By the end of the course I should be able to:
List in chronological order events leading to the disappearance of the princes in the Tower. Identify the main suspects along with the evidence that is often cited as proof of their guilt. Choose three pieces of evidence and assess in terms of strengths and weaknesses. Discuss some of the alternative theories and express a considered viewpoint as to their viability. Discuss the way in which modern historians are seeking to find out what happened to the princes.
How will I know I'm making progress?
Discussion, question and answer, self assessment and through individual learning goals identified at the end of the day for individual study.
What else do I need to know, do or bring?
Handouts will be provided on the day. There is only a short break for lunch so you may wish to bring sandwiches and a drink.
Reading and information sources
There is no essential reading. A bibliography will be provided on the day. Alison Weir, The Princes in the Tower.
What could the course lead to?
Other History courses offered by the WEA in Calderdale. There are a number of local history organisations as well as other providers providing short courses and day schools.