Tyrell, Sir James

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Tyrell, Sir James (d. 1502). Reputed to have been the murderer of the two princes in the Tower. His grandfather Sir John Tyrell had been Speaker of the House of Commons in Henry VI's reign. Tyrell fought on the Yorkist side at Tewkesbury in 1471 and was knighted after the battle. Richard, duke of Gloucester, made him a knight-banneret in 1482, and after Richard's coronation Tyrell became master of the horse. He is said to have supervised the murders when the constable of the Tower, Sir Robert Brackenbury, refused. When Richard died at Bosworth, Tyrell was at Guisnes, where he was constable. Henry VII employed him and he was granted pardons in June and July 1486. But in 1501 he surrendered Guisnes to Suffolk ( Edmund de la Pole), a claimant to the throne, was arrested, and was executed at the Tower in May 1502. He is said to have confessed to the murders before his death. The validity of this confession, if ever made, is a key element in the controversy about the fate of the two princes.

J. A. Cannon

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