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He was the eldest son of Richard Flamank or Flammock of Boscarne, by Johanna or Jane, daughter of Thomas Lucombe of Bodmin. The family is of great antiquity at Bodmin, having held the manor of Nanstallon in uninterrupted succession from the fourteenth to the nineteenth century (1817). In early times the name appeared as Flandrensis, Flemang, Flammank, and in other forms Thomas Flamank was the chief instigator of the Cornish rebellion of 1497. At the time Henry VII was attempting to collect a subsidy in Cornwall for the despatch of an army to Scotland to punish James IV for supporting Perkin Warbeck. Flamank argued that it was the business of the barons of the north, and of no other of the king's subjects, to defend the Scottish border, and that the tax was illegal. Working with another popular agitator, Michael Joseph, a blacksmith, he suggested that the Cornishmen should march on London and present a petition to the king setting forth their grievances, and urging the punishment of Archbishop Morton and Sir Reginald Bray, and other advisers of the king who were held responsible for his action. Flamank and Joseph modestly consented to lead the throng until more eminent men took their place. Rudely armed with bills and bows and arrows, a vast mob followed Flamank to Taunton, where they made their first display of violence and slew ‘the provost of Perin,’ i.e. Penryn.[clarification needed] At Wells, James Tuchet, 7th Baron Audley, joined them and undertook the leadership. They marched thence by way of Salisbury and Winchester to Blackheath. London was panic-stricken; but the rebels had grown disheartened by the want of sympathy shown them in their long march. Giles Daubeny, 8th Baron Daubeny, was directed to take the field with the forces which had been summoned for service in Scotland. On Saturday, 22 June 1497, Daubeny opened battle at Deptford Strand. At the first onset he was taken prisoner, but he was soon released, and the enemy, who had expected to be attacked on the Monday, and were thus taken by surprise, were soon thoroughly routed. Each side is said to have lost three hundred men, and fifteen hundred Cornishmen were taken prisoners. Audley, Flamank, and Joseph were among the latter. Audley was beheaded at Tower Hill. Flamank and Joseph were hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn (27 June), and their limbs exhibited in various parts of the city. Most of their followers were pardoned.
Flamank married Elizabeth, daughter of John Trelawny of Menwynick, and had a daughter Joanna, wife of Peter Fauntleroy.
An Gof before his execution is recorded to have said that he should have "a name perpetual and a fame permanent and immortal". Thomas Flamank was quoted in 1497 as saying "Speak the truth and only then can you be free of your chains".
In 1997, the five-hundredth anniversary of the Rebellion, a commemorative march ("Keskerdh Kernow 500") was held, retracing the route of the original march from St. Keverne in Cornwall to London. A statue depicting An Gof and Flamank was unveiled in St. Keverne and a commemorative plaque was unveiled on Blackheath Common, and another, en route, at Guildford at the location of a preliminary skirmish.
References and sources
- "Thomas Flamank". Cornwall-calling.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-09-25.
- Cf. Visitation of Cornwall, 1620, (Harleian Society; 71)
- Maclean (1872)
- Francis Bacon, History of Henry VII
- Thomas Gainsford, History of Perkin Warbeck, 1618, in Harleian Miscellany, 1810, xi. 422–7
- John Stow, Annals, s. a. 1497
- W. C. Boase and W. P. Courtney, Bibliographia Cornubiensis p. 1181
- Sir John Maclean Parochial History of Trigg Minor, i. 44, 279–84, ii. 518
- Richard Polwhele, History of Cornwall, iv. 53–4
- William Hals, History of Cornwall, p. 24.
- Thomas Flamank 1497
- Mychal Josef an Gof "The Smith"
- The Battle of Deptford Bridge (Blackheath) 1497
- The Cornish Rebellion
- "A name perpetual and a fame permanent and immortal"
- The Black Heath Rebellion
- The Black Heath Rebellion, 16 June 1497
- Thomas Flamank
- Michael An Gof, the Cornish Blacksmith