1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lovell, Francis Lovell
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Lovell, Francis Lovell
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Lovell, Francis Lovell, Viscount (1454–1487), supporter of Richard III., was son of John, 8th Baron Lovell. As a young man he served under Richard of Gloucester in the expedition to Scotland in 1480. After the death of Edward IV. he became one of his patron's strongest supporters. He had been created a Viscount on the 4th of January 1483, and whilst still Protector Richard made him Chief Butler. As soon as Richard became king, Lovell was promoted to be Lord Chamberlain. Lovell helped in the suppression of Buckingham's rebellion, and as one of Richard's most trusted ministers was gibbeted in Collingbourne's couplet with Catesby and Ratcliffe: —
“The catte, the ratte and Lovell our dogge
Rulyth all England under a hogge.”
He had command of the fleet which was to have stopped Henry Tudor's landing in 1485, but fought for Richard at Bosworth and after the battle fled to sanctuary at Colchester. Thence he escaped next year to organize a dangerous revolt in Yorkshire. When that failed he fled to Margaret of Burgundy in Flanders. As a chief leader of the Yorkist party he had a foremost part in Lambert Simnel's enterprise. With John de la Pole, earl of Lincoln, he accompanied the pretender to Ireland and fought for him at Stoke on the 16th of June 1487. He was seen escaping from the battle, but was never afterwards heard of; Bacon relates that according to one report he lived long after in a cave or vault (Henry VII., p. 37, ed. Lumby). More than 200 years later, in 1708, the skeleton of a man was found in a secret chamber in the family mansion at Minster Lovell in Oxfordshire. It is supposed that Francis Lovell had hidden himself there and died of starvation.
Collingbourne's couplet is preserved by Fabyan, Chronicle, p. 672. For the discovery at Minster Lovell see Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. i. and 5th ser. x.