Sir Edward Brampton: AN ANGLO-JEWISH ADVENTURER DURING THE WARS OF THE ROSES

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The extraordinary figure of Sir Edward Brampton, the Portuguese apostate who came to England during the Wars of the Roses and achieved the dignity of Governor of Guernsey under Edward IV, has been a subject for mild controversy among Anglo-Jewish historians during the last quarter of a century. To explain the origins and circumstances it is I am afraid necessary to embark into a highly personal account.

The earliest paper which I read before the Jewish Historical Society of England, as an Oxford undergraduate not long since returned from what we then naively considered the Great War, was entitled " Sir Edward Brampton : an Anglo-Jewish Adventurer during the Wars of the Roses 55. It was based on the assumption, supported by numerous documents, that Edward Brandon, godson of King Edward IV, who was an inmate of the Domus Conversorum in London in 1468-1472, was identical with Sir Edward Brampton, godson of King Edward IV, who later received a succession of military and naval commands and in due course had in his employ? ment the youthful Perkin Warbeck ; the latter making ample use of this training when, under Henry VII, he made his theatrical bid for the throne of England.

The argumentation was obviously tenuous though, as it seemed to me, irrefrag? able. It presupposed however that an undergraduate had noticed what his elders and betters had overlooked. H. S. Q,. Henriques, the eminent K.C., who was in the Chair when I read my paper, remained unconvinced. In the audience the Rev. Michael Adler, the greatest expert on the Domus Conversorum and everything connected with it (with whom my relations later on were so close and so cordial), was more than sceptical. Lucien Wolf, whom I had consulted previously, was neutral : Israel Abrahams told me later that he advised me not to add another mare's nest to the more than adequate supply in Anglo-Jewish historiography ; Hilary (not yet Sir Hilary) Jenkinson, who had been so helpful to me while I was pursuing my inquiries at the Public Record Office, now became hesitant. My slender armament could make little headway against this massed artillery. It was only, I believe, with great difficulty that the Council was persuaded to authorize the publication of my lecture, and even so only on condition that I changed the title to something rather less challenging (we ultimately fixed on Perkin Warbeck and his Jewish Master) and appended a note to the effect that " the writer of this paper hopes to find an opportunity of making further research into the history of Brampton, with the object of possibly discovering documentary evidence in support or refutation of the identification suggested." (I hope it is unnecessary to add that the phraseology was not mine.)

The study was thus published in due course in the Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society 2?my earliest serious contribution to historical research. Its recep-

1 Paper read before the Jewish Historical Society of England on 17th January, 1946.

2 Vol. IX, pp. 143-162. It is

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