William Stanley (Battle of Bosworth)

William Stanley (Battle of Bosworth)

Sir William Stanley (c. 1435 [ODNB] - 10 February 1495) was the younger brother of Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby. Stanley fought with his troops in several battles of the Wars of the Roses.

He is best known for actions in the Battle of Bosworth Field, where he changed sides, securing Henry VII's victory and crown. After the Battle of Tewkesbury, it was he who captured Queen Margaret (Margaret of Anjou). For his intervention, the new king bestowed many favours on him. However, in 1495 Stanley was convicted of treason and executed for his support of the pretender Perkin Warbeck. He readily admitted to the crime as he thought that through a full confession he would escape execution. Indeed the King might have granted this, partly through mercy and partly to avoid upsetting Thomas Earl of Derby. However, the King feared that by doing this he would be putting himself in danger by encouraging others to undertake a similar act of folly. William was condemned and a few days later beheaded.


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