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From the longer Wikipedia page [1]

William Collingbourne (c. 1435 - 1484) was an English landowner and administrator. He was an opponent of King Richard III - corresponding with his enemies and penning a famous lampoon - and was eventually executed for treason.

In June 1483, the Duke of Gloucester acceeded the throne as King Richard III. Soon afterwards, Collingbourne positioned himself in opposition of the new King. In October, he was most probably involved in the Duke of Buckingham's revolt in favour of Henry Tudor. Both Walter Hungerford and John Cheyne, who had served with Collingbourne on the commissions of 1478 and April 1483, were among the leaders of the revolt.[2]

Around 10 July in either 1483 or 1484, Collingbourne asked a Thomas Yate to contact Henry Tudor, the Marquess of Dorset and other opponents of Richard, "to declare unto them that they should very well to return into England with all such power as they might get before the feeat of St Luke the Evangelist [18 October] next ensuring" and[2] and furthermore to advice the French king, that negotiations with Richard were useless as the new King meant to make war on France.

The year of this correspondence is a matter of controversy: James Gairdner placed it in context of Buckingham's rebellion - during which Henry Tudor indeed tried to land at - and hence dated in July 1483. Gairdner argued, among other things, that Collingbourne's correspondence located Henry Tudor at Britanny (which he had left by 1484) and that Henry's attempt to land at Poole in Dorset in November 1483 corresponds with Collingbourne's message. Such an interpretation would put the letter in the immediate aftermath of Richard's coronation on 6 July and before the new King set out for his royal progress; this would make Collingbourne - in Gairdner's words - "almost the very first man to make any move against the usurper". Accordingly, Gairdner's interpretation has been contradicted by other historians, most notably Paul Murray Kendall, who dated the treasonous correspondence in July 1484 and thus in context of his lampoon. Kendall argued both the Marquess of Dorset's joining of Henry Tudor and negotiations with French amabassadors occurred only in 1484, whereas the mentioning of Britanny and Poole was not conclusive evidence.

Collingbourne was indicted not only for his correspondence with Henry Tudor, but also for "writing various bills and writings in rhyme", without specifying the rhymes. Robert Fabyan's chronicle, published in 1516, first relate that in July 1484, Collingbourne pinned the following lampoon to the door of St. Paul's Cathedral:

“ The Catte, the Ratte and Lovell our dogge rulyth all Englande under a hogge.”

The rhyme attacked King Richard and his three principal aides by referring to their names and heraldic emblems: the "hog" of course referred to King Richard, whose badge was a white boar, the "Lovell our dog" to Francis Viscount Lovell, who was Richard's closest associate and had a silver wolf as emblem. The "cat" and the "rat" made fun of the names of William Catesby, who furthermore had a white cat as his badge, and Richard Ratcliffe. The two-liner was latter embellished, amended with an explanation, supposedly by the author himself, and included into the Mirror for Magistrates.

The reasons for Collingbourne's enmity are not entirely clear. In 1892, James H. Ramsay suggested that the lampoon was written "in revenge for the loss of offices in Wiltshire". Collingbourne's name does not appear among the commissions of peace in December 1483. Furthermore, in a letter of 3 June 1484, by King Richard asked his mother Cecily Neville, Duchess of York that "my lord Chamberlain ... be your officer in Wiltshire in such as Colyngbourne had". This suggests that Collingbourne had been steward of the Duchess' Wiltshire lands and that both his correspondence and his lampoon were written in response to having lost this position. This loss may have been linked to his involvement in Buckingham's rebellion, either because he was dismissed or because he went into hiding.[3] If his post was eventually filled by the Lord Chamberlain, Francis Viscount Lovell, this would further explain Collingbourne's ire against Richard's closest associate.

Trial and executionEdit

In October or November Collingbourne was arrested together with a shipowner named John Turburvyle, charged with treason and put before a commission of oyer and terminer, which included the Dukes of Suffolk, Norfolk, the Earls of Surrey and Nottingham, the Viscounts Lovell and Lisle, three barons including Lord High Constable Thomas Stanley and five justices of the King's Bench, including chief justice William Hussey. The trial was held in early December at Guilhall; Collingbourne was convicted of high treason and sentenced to death, Turburvyle sentenced to prison, apparently on a lesser charge.

Collingbourne was subsequently executed at Tower Hill by hanging, drawing and quartering. A story by Tudor historian John Stow recounts his end: "After having been hanged, he was cut down immediately and his entrails were then extracted and thrown into the fire, and all this was so speedily done that when the executioners pulled out his heart he spoke and said, 'Oh Lord Jesus, yet more trouble!'"

Tudor author Edward Hall relates that he was executed merely "for making a small rhyme", a claim taken up by later authors, but historian Charles Ross pointed out, that Hall "carefully suppresses the fact that the real indictment against him was that he had been encouraging Henry Tudor to land at Poole".