The ‘Very Odd Invasion of Scarborough’ at Easter, 1557, was the subject of the talk given to Pocklington Probus Club on Wednesday 12 October.
Speaker David Rumbelow was introduced by club member Mr David Nuttall.
Mr Rumbelow told the club that the invasion was led by Thomas Stafford, who had sailed from Dieppe on 18 April.
On 23 April, two ships appeared off Scarborough – arriving on market day. Stafford and around 30 men occupied the half-derelict Castle, which was not heavily defended, and stayed for three days.
Stafford, himself descended from royalty on both sides of his family, announced that the strongholds here and elsewhere in England were about to be surrendered to the Spaniards under King Philip II.
David explained how Stafford had declared himself Protector of the Realm, denouncing the marriage of Mary Tudor to Philip II and promising to return the crown to the ‘true English blood of our natural country’.
Three days later, Henry Neville, the Duke of Westmorland recaptured the castle and Stafford and his companions were arrested.
Stafford was convicted of treason and beheaded on 28 May at the Tower of London, along with 32 of his followers.
There was much speculation as to who was behind the invasion with Mr Rumbelow suggesting it might have been Mary Tudor, by then aged 37 and desperate to produce a Catholic heir to prevent her half-sister Elizabeth gaining the throne.
The vote of thanks was given by Julian Tremayne.
In a short business meeting preceding the talk, Malcolm Smalley, the chairman, reminded members of the forthcoming social outings which were arranged for club members and their wives.