Simnel cake


Lambert Simnel was a common born child who was crowned as pretender to the English throne on this day in 1487.  The Yorkists of the Wars of the Roses, were still unhappy with the ascent of Henry VII Tudor to the throne of England.

They trained up a young handsome boy to pretend to be Edward VI.  He was originally intended to be represented as one of the “princes in the tower”, sons of Edward IV.  In a late change of game plan he was presented as Earl of Warwick, son of the Duke of Clarence.

Lambert Simnel was “crowned” King Edward VI in Christchurch cathedral in Dublin.  Supported by Irish Lords (who have a tradition of backing the wrong side in English royal arguments) including the powerful Fitzgeralds of Kildare.

The rebellion was defeated at the battle of Stoke Field.  The local “support” never materialised.

Henry was forgiving to the 10 year old boy who was used as a figurehead for rebellion by the Yorkists.  He gave him a job as a spit boy in the kitchens of the royal palace.

Some people believed that he went on to invent “Simnel Cake”.  But this does not hold up under investigation.  Simnel Cake, a fruitcake decorated with layers of marzipan, was recorded up to 200 years earlier.  The name “Simnel” is thought to derive from the latin ‘simila’ meaning ‘fine”.  It is thought to describe the fine white flour used to make the cake.

Simnel cake is traditionally given by daughters to their mothers on Mothering Sunday as a treat during Lent.

Follows a Clerihew, written by the inventor of the form.  Funny four line poems that describe famous people in as absurd a manner as possible.

Lambert Simnel; by Edward Clerihew Bentley

True Lambert Simnel
Was not a habitual criminal,
But it really was hardly historic
To call himself the Earl of Warwick.


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