Sir James Tyrell (c. 1450 – May 6, 1502) was an English knight, a trusted servant of King Richard III of England. He is known for 'confessing' to the murders of the Princes in the Tower under Richard's orders. However, his statement may have been taken under torture, so the confession might not be genuine. (Nevertheless, William Shakespeare portrays Tyrrell as man who organises the princes' murderer in Richard III.)
Tyrrell was the eldest son of Sir William Tyrell (c. 1415-February 22, 1461) and Margaret Darcy (c. 1425), married in 1444. Like his father before him, a loyal Yorkist, James was knighted in 1471. He married Anne Arundell on March 9, 1483. They would later have a son also named James Tyrrell.
James was in France in 1485 and played no part in the Battle of Bosworth Field which signalled the start of the Tudor dynasty.
In the following year, he returned to England and was pardoned by King Henry VII, who reappointed him governor of Guisnes (in the English possession of Calais). However, in 1501, Tyrrell lent his support to Edmund de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, now the leading Yorkist claimant to the English throne, who was in voluntary exile. When Henry heard of this, Tyrrell was recalled, accused of treason, and tortured. Thomas More wrote that, during his examination, Tyrrell made his confession as to the murders of Edward V and his brother Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York and implicating two other men; despite further questioning, however, he was unable to say where the bodies were, claiming that they had been moved. He was beheaded on May 6, 1502.
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