Schwartz, Martin (DNB00)

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SCHWARTZ, MARTIN (d. 1487), captain of mercenaries, was chosen leader of the band of two thousand Germans which Margaret, dowager duchess of Burgundy, sent over from the Low Countries to aid Lambert Simnel in 1487. The Earl of Lincoln joined the expedition before it started, and they landed in Ireland on 5 May 1487. On 24 May Lambert was duly crowned, and set out shortly afterwards to gain his kingdom. The little army which Schwartz commanded was joined by a number of Irish under Thomas Fitzgerald (not, as is sometimes stated, the Earl of Kildare). On 8 May Henry VII settled down to await them at Kenilworth. Schwartz and his friends landed in Lancashire, where they had adherents, and then began to march south. Henry moved towards him, and the two armies met at Stoke near Newark, where Simnel's army was routed, and Schwartz among others was slain (16 June 1487). Polydore Vergil calls him ‘homo Germanus, summo genere natus, ac rei bellicæ scientia præstans.’ André compares him to King Diomedes. Schwartz's name is preserved in various popular songs of the period. A reference to ‘Martin Swart and all his merry men’ occurs in Skelton's poem ‘Against a comely Coystrowne,’ and also in an interlude entitled ‘The longer thou livest the more fool thou art.’ Scott quoted some of these in ‘Kenilworth’ (ch. viii.; cf. Ritson, Ancient Songs, p. lxi; Weber, Flodden Field, pp. 65, 182).

[Busch's England under the Tudors (Engl. transl.), pp. 36–7; Vergil's Angl. Hist. ed. 1546, pp. 573–4; Gairdner's Henry VII (Twelve Engl. Statesmen), p. 53; Memorials of Henry VII, ed. Gairdner (Rolls Ser.), pp. 52, 143, 317; Letters &c. of Richard III and Henry VII, ed. Gairdner (Rolls Ser.), ii. 294.]

W. A. J. A.