The Entry of Richard & Bolingbroke into London

The Entry of Richard & Bolingbroke into London


Henry IV

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Henry IV, also called (1377–97) earl of Derby or (1397–99) duke of Hereford, byname Henry Bolingbroke or Henry of Lancaster, (born April? 1366, Bolingbroke Castle, Lincolnshire, England—died March 20, 1413, London), king of England from 1399 to 1413, the first of three 15th-century monarchs from the house of Lancaster. He gained the crown by usurpation and successfully consolidated his power in the face of repeated uprisings of powerful nobles. However, he was unable to overcome the fiscal and administrative weaknesses that contributed to the eventual downfall of the Lancastrian dynasty.

Henry was the eldest surviving son of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, by his first wife, Blanche. Before becoming king, he was known as Henry Bolingbroke, and he received from his cousin Richard II the titles earl of Derby (1377) and duke of Hereford (1397). During the opening years of the reign of King Richard II (ruled 1377–99), Henry remained in the background while his father ran the government. When Gaunt departed for an expedition to Spain in 1386, Henry entered politics as an opponent of the crown. He and Thomas Mowbray (later 1st duke of Norfolk) became the younger members of the group of five opposition leaders—known as the lords appellants—who in 1387–89 outlawed Richard’s closest associates and forced the king to submit to their domination. Richard had just regained the upper hand when Gaunt returned to reconcile the king to his enemies. Bolingbroke then went on Crusade into Lithuania (1390) and Prussia (1392). Meanwhile, Richard had not forgiven his past enmity. In 1398 the king took advantage of a quarrel between Bolingbroke and Norfolk to banish both men from the kingdom. The seizure of the Lancastrian estates by the crown upon John of Gaunt’s death (February 1399) deprived Henry of his inheritance and gave him an excuse to invade England (July 1399) as a champion of the nobility. Richard surrendered to him in August Bolingbroke’s reign as King Henry IV began when Richard abdicated on September 30, 1399.

Henry IV used his descent from King Henry III (ruled 1216–72) to justify his usurpation of the throne. Nevertheless, that claim did not convince those magnates who aspired to assert their authority at the crown’s expense. During the first five years of his reign, Henry was attacked by a formidable array of domestic and foreign enemies. He quashed a conspiracy of Richard’s supporters in January 1400. Eight months later the Welsh landowner Owain Glyn Dŵr raised a rebellion against oppressive English rule in Wales. Henry led a number of fruitless expeditions into Wales from 1400 to 1405, but his son, Prince Henry (later Henry V), had greater success in reasserting royal control over the region. Meanwhile, Owain Glyn Dŵr encouraged domestic resistance to Henry’s rule by allying with the powerful Percy family—Henry Percy, earl of Northumberland, and his son Sir Henry Percy, called Hotspur. Hotspur’s brief uprising, the most serious challenge faced by Henry during his reign, ended when the king’s forces killed the rebel in battle near Shrewsbury, Shropshire, in July 1403. In 1405 Henry had Thomas Mowbray, the eldest son of the 1st duke of Norfolk, and Richard Scrope, archbishop of York, executed for conspiring with Northumberland to raise another rebellion. Although the worst of Henry’s political troubles were over, he then began to suffer from an affliction that his contemporaries believed to be leprosy—it may have been congenital syphilis. A quickly suppressed insurrection, led by Northumberland in 1408, was the last armed challenge to Henry’s authority. Throughout those years the king had to combat border incursions by the Scots and ward off conflict with the French, who aided the Welsh rebels in 1405–06.

To finance these military activities, Henry was forced to rely on parliamentary grants. From 1401 to 1406 Parliament repeatedly accused him of fiscal mismanagement and gradually acquired certain precedent-setting powers over royal expenditures and appointments. As Henry’s health deteriorated, a power struggle developed within his administration between his favourite, Thomas Arundel, archbishop of Canterbury, and a faction headed by Henry’s Beaufort half brothers and Prince Henry. The latter group ousted Arundel from the chancellorship early in 1410, but they, in turn, fell from power in 1411. Henry then made an alliance with the French faction that was waging war against the prince’s Burgundian friends. As a consequence, tension between Henry and the prince was high when Henry became totally incapacitated late in 1412. He died several months later, and the prince succeeded as King Henry V.


Your guide to the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381

In spring 1381, a group of rebels marched on the city of London, attacking houses and towns on their way to confront the teenage king Richard II. Historian Helen Carr explores what happened and answers key questions about the episode known as the Peasants’ Revolt, from the reasons for the unrest to the identity of Wat Tyler

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Published: April 28, 2021 at 7:45 pm

When was the Peasants’ Revolt?

The Peasants’ Revolt took place between 30 May–15 June 1381.

What happened in the Peasants’ Revolt?

The uprising began in the counties of Kent and Essex and snowballed from there as both rebel groups marched on London, attacking towns and villages as they went. They specifically targeted the homes of the nobility and even attacked fortifications like Rochester Castle, where they released all the prisoners held inside. At Canterbury, they demanded that the archbishop – whom they saw as an instigator of their oppression – was replaced.

As they marched, the rebels accumulated huge support, in part due to fear – they threatened to destroy people’s homes unless they joined – but also due to a collective anger against the government. They reached London around 11 June and attacked suburbs of the city such as Lambeth, where they destroyed huge quantities of government records.

Richard II, who was only 14 at the time of the revolt, sent a message to the rebels asking the reason for their furious backlash at the crown and the country’s officials. According to the Anonimalle Chronicle, they responded that it was their desire to “save him and destroy the traitors to him and the kingdom”. Richard agreed to hear their grievances at Blackheath the following day, the Eve of Corpus Christi (12 June). As it became clear that the rebel force – growing by the day – was a threat to the safety of the king, Richard took refuge in the Tower of London along with the terrified treasurer, Robert Hales, and the archbishop of Canterbury, Simon Sudbury both men were also targets.

Peasants’ Revolt timeline: what happened when?

November–December 1380 | The third Poll Tax in four years is agreed by Parliament in Northampton.

30 May 1381 | Riots begin in Kent and Essex.

7 June 1381 | Wat Tyler is appointed leader of the rebels in Kent.

7–12 June 1381 | The rebels march towards London through Rochester and Canterbury.

12 June 1381 | The rebels demand entry into the City of London.

13 June 1381 | Richard meets the rebels at Rotherhithe, but soon flees. The Savoy Palace is destroyed.

14 June 1381 | Richard meets the rebels at Mile End and agrees to their terms for the first time. Meanwhile, rebels break into the Tower of London and execute Simon Sudbury and Robert Hales.

15 June 1381 | Richard meets the rebels again at Smithfield and urges them to depart. William Walworth, the mayor of London, fights Tyler and kills him. With Tyler dead, Richard rides forward and tells the rebels to go home, and their requests would be heard.

23 June 1381 | Richard II withdraws all of the charters that had been agreed with Wat Tyler.

5 July 1381 | The pacification of the rebels begins, and executions are ordered.

13 July 1381 | John Ball is captured. After being tried for treason he is hanged, drawn and quartered on 15 July 1381.

As Richard’s barge approached Rotherhithe to meet with the marchers, he was faced with thousands of armed rebels – an intimidating spectacle. On one side of the river were 50,000 Kent rebels and on the other side, another 60,000 from Essex. Unprepared for such a massive confrontation, the king’s councillors implored Richard to retreat – and the royal barge fled.

The rebels were furious, and Richard’s hasty departure only added fuel to the fire. On 13 June they set about to do the most damage as had been seen in their campaign so far, destroying property – most significantly, the Savoy Palace of John of Gaunt, the third son of the deceased Edward III and the uncle of the current king Richard II. They also murdered foreign people – particularly the Flemish – and those dressed in livery, mounting their severed heads on spikes.

Richard eventually agreed to meet with the rebels again to hear their terms at Mile End, but as he left the Tower of London, a band of rebels made their way in. They dragged Simon Sudbury and Robert Hales from the Tower, along with Brother William Appleton, a physician in the employ of John of Gaunt. All men were brutally executed on Tower Hill. There was one survivor, however the young Henry of Bolingbroke, Gaunt’s son, who had allegedly been hidden in cupboard as the rebels stormed the Tower. (If he had been caught, it is unlikely he would have ever become King Henry IV 18 years later.)

Eventually, at another parley on 15 June in Smithfield, the rebellion ended after an altercation between one of its leaders, Wat Tyler, and the mayor of London, William Walworth. After a skirmish, Walworth killed Tyler and the rebels disbanded, only to be pursued and made an example of in the weeks and months that followed.

Who were the leaders of the Peasants’ Revolt?

John Ball and Wat Tyler were the most well-known leaders of the revolt.

Ball, a socialist priest, was described in the Anonimalle Chronicle as “a chaplain of evil disposition”. He was a clergyman and a prophet-like figure to the rebels, stating to them that “now was a time given to them by God”. Ball counselled them with the belief that “there be no villeins not gentleman, but that we may all be united together and that the lords be no greater masters than we be”.

‘Watt Teghler’ emerged from the Kent faction of rebels as the rebellion’s head. He was a tiler of houses and represented the labouring people who took part in the revolt. There was also another leader called Jack Straw, from Suffolk, but there is speculation over his role, or even if he and Tyler were the same person. It is important to remember that, despite the name of the rebellion, it was not just ‘peasants’ who revolted in fact, this is an incorrect description of the rebels. There were members of the clergy, ex-soldiers, landowners, women, bailiffs as well as serfs or ‘peasants’, all demanding justice and equality.

What caused the Peasants’ Revolt?

The origins of the revolt lie in the Parliament held in 1380 at Northampton. Tensions had already been high between John of Gaunt and the citizens of London , after he threatened the bishop of London and involved himself in city and mercantile affairs. It was for this reason that Parliament was held in Northampton, rather than Westminster.

Here, it became clear that the crown was in a precarious financial state. The French and Spanish intimidated the coastline, and funds were urgently needed to defend both the country and important military garrisons such as Calais. It was decided that another tax would have to be implemented – and it was the labouring classes that would have to bear the brunt. The tax was raised to three times its normal amount three groats to any person over the age of 15.

Initially, this was due to be collected in two waves: the first in the early spring and the second in the summer. But the treasurer Robert Hales pushed for a single, brutal collection. This inevitably resulted in clashes and abuse – there is even evidence of collectors investigating young girls’ virginities. Eventually, it faced so much backlash that bailiffs were known to flee towns, or even refuse to collect in fear for their lives.

A more formal backlash began in the town of Brentwood in Essex, as the people threatened a collector, John Bampton, who ran for his life back to London.

What did the ‘peasants’ do in the Peasants’ Revolt?

The Kent faction, led by Wat Tyler, torched a brothel run by Flemish women on London Bridge. Once they were admitted into the city, they gathered more recruits and stormed Fleet Prison, Temple, and the property of the master of the Hospital of St John in Farringdon.

The most damage they did in London was to the Savoy Palace, the home of John of Gaunt , who was one of their main targets. Fortunately for Gaunt, he was not at home at the time and was instead negotiating with the Scots in Berwick. Although the rebels targeted Gaunt, he actually had no involvement in the raise in tax, for during the 1380 Parliament he had been on his way south from Scotland and only arrived after the arrangement had been agreed. However, this was the common people of London’s opportunity to get their revenge for his treatment of them in the past.

Much of the damage done during the revolt was enacted by opportunists. London rebels broke into the Savoy and formed a pyre of Gaunt’s belongings, igniting a huge inferno. The point of the destruction was to show the wealthy the limits of their power, but some rebels unfaithful to the cause sought to fill their pockets. As they tried to sneak away laden with riches, they were struck down by their contemporaries and immediately executed for not staying true to the cause.

As the damage ensued in the Great Hall, a party of around 30 rebels went exploring in the cellars, where they came across Gaunt’s supply of wine. Delighted with their discovery, they had a party and became more and more drunk. Meanwhile, two barrels were rolled onto the pyre in the Hall. It was believed the barrels were packed with gold. But, in fact, they were filled with gunpowder that, once ignited, ripped through the palace, crumbling its walls and destroying the building completely. To the horror of the rebels, the pyre exploded into a furnace that could be seen throughout London.

This type of destruction was typical of the revolt. But there was also a human cost. Foreign people were caught and killed, particularly Flemings who were closely connected to the cross-Channel trade network (therefore associated with Mercantile wealth). According to the Annonimalle Chronicle, a proclamation was made stating that everyone who could lay their hands on “Flemings or any other strangers of other nations might cut off their heads”. It has been suggested that some 150 or 160 foreign people were murdered in various places. A particularly barbaric attack resulted in 35 Flemish people being dragged out of the church of St Martin in the Vintry, and beheaded on the same block.

A ny person who was wearing Lancastrian livery – pertaining to Gaunt – also suffered the same fate. The collection of heads on spikes would have made an intimidating spectacle to terrified onlookers. The most notable victims were the two king’s councillors, Simon Sudbury and Robert Hales. Both were beheaded, and Sudbury suffered eight bloody blows before his head was finally severed from his body.

What was the result? Did the Peasants’ Revolt change anything?

After the death of Wat Tyler on 15 June, the rebels dispersed at the request of the king.

But it was not over, and Richard was keen to make an example of the rebels. The remaining ringleaders were hunted down and executed. Richard visited Essex where the rising began and ordered a pacification of its people. Uprisings were quashed outside of London and the bishop of Norwich, Henry Despenser, took it upon himself to execute rebels in his domain, without trial.

After the revolt, government were cautious about imposing further tax and it was decided that the country’s war effort would need to be frugal, rather than chasing multiple opportunities.

John of Gaunt never rebuilt his palace and his personal situation dramatically changed. He was left vulnerable and in fear for his life, and lived under the protection of the Scots (who were still enemies of the crown). He even ended his long-term love affair with his mistress Katherine Swynford, due to the animosity exercised towards him during the revolt. Generally, peace in the realm was considered to be the priority in the aftermath of the Peasants’ Revolt.

Did the Peasants’ Revolt end feudalism?

The revolt didn’t end feudalism, but it paved the way for its decline. In the decades that followed, there were fewer people bonded to their lords in serfdom and landowners were fearful of their workers rising against them. This in turn lead to fairer treatment of the working classes and their wages – which had been capped in the aftermath of the Black Death – were less regulated.

How did the Peasants’ Revolt change King Richard II?

After the death of Wat Tyler, Richard bravely and impulsively rode up to the rebels and stood before them. He told them to depart for their homes, that the rebellion was over. He performed the role of a benevolent king, merciful to his people and bade them to leave peacefully. He swore that he would grant their wishes and no harm would come to them.

This was a major and decisive moment in his early kingship and confirmed his sense of self-importance. Up until this point, he had relied heavily on his uncle, John of Gaunt, and the guidance of his councillors, but after 1381, Richard began to act of his accord and of his own will. This self-confidence, arrogance and sense of entitlement led to another rebellion, by his own lords, that would eventually end his reign.


The Entry Of Richard Ii And Bolingbroke Into London, After The Painting By

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Isabella of Valois, Queen of England

The Hundred Years War was started in 1337 by King Edward III of England, grandfather of King Richard II. The constant fighting was taking its toll on England and France. Both King Richard and the French King Charles VI were looking for a truce, if not a complete cessation of hostilities. Richard’s wife, Anne of Bohemia had died in 1394 and it made sense for him to marry a French princess to cement any agreement. Talks began shortly after Anne’s death of a marriage between Richard and Princess Isabella of Valois.

Isabella of Valois was born on November 9, 1389 at the Louvre in Paris. She was the eldest child of King Charles VI of France and Queen Isabeau of Bavaria. King Charles suffered from bouts of madness which may have been made for some frightful moments for the young princess. Queen Isabeau kept her small children close to her until they were weaned from their wet nurse. When she left Paris, many times she took her children with her. When the Queen was separated from her children she would visit them and bring gifts and write letters to them.

A document exists from 1404 conveying an agreement between Queen Isabeau and the Celestines de Notre-Dame de Paris to construct a gate allowing herself and her children access to the order’s gardens and vineyards as well as the church and monastery for worshipping purposes as well as for pleasure. We can just imagine Isabella and her sisters wandering and playing in these pleasant gardens.

Isabeau purchased devotional books for her daughters demonstrating her interest in educating them. An entry in her account books indicates the purchase of little brooms and a golden mill with pearls for Isabella. Other purchases for Isabella and her sisters included pets, parrots and turtledoves, birthday presents, toys and clothes. While Isabella’s upbringing until she married may not have been ideal due to her father’s illness, her mother appears to have tried to ensure the days were filled with the usual childhood pursuits and education.

In 1394, when Isabella was five years old, King Richard II of England’s beloved first wife Anne of Bohemia died of plague. Soon afterwards, Richard went on campaign in Ireland. Already offers were coming in for new brides for Richard from the King of Aragon, the Duke of Bavaria and the King of Scots. Charles VI of France was anxious to prevent an alliance with Spain and maintain peace between France and England. Charles’ uncle, the Duke of Burgundy also wanted to strengthen his authority in Flanders by safeguarding his trade relations with England. In May of 1395, Charles sent envoys to Ireland to propose a marriage with his daughter Isabella. Charles commissioned a treatise by Philippe de Mezières stating all the advantages of the marriage. Mezières argued that by having control of Isabella so early in her life, Richard could educate and mold her as he wanted.

In the summer of 1395, Richard sent the Archbishop of Dublin, the earl marshal and several others to Paris to negotiate. When the earl marshal met Isabella he asked her what she thought of going to England and marrying the King. The chronicler Froissart reports her as saying she would be happy “For I am told that then I shall be a great lady”.

Richard’s envoys demanded from King Charles two million gold francs as Isabella’s dowry. The amount was negotiated down to eight hundred thousand francs with a down payment of three thousand. If the match was broken off, the French would be responsible for paying the English three million francs and Charles was obligated to pay for Isabella’s journey to Calais, the last port in France before she sailed to England. If Isabella died before she was thirteen, Richard was to marry one of her relatives, possibly one of her sisters and keep four hundred thousand francs. If Richard died before Isabella was twelve, she would receive five hundred thousand francs and a dower settlement of £6,666 per year. Any jewels in her possession were to be returned to France with her. Included in Isabella’s trousseau were dolls trimmed with silver utensils.

On March 9, 1396 a twenty-eight year truce between England and France was concluded and a proxy marriage was performed at the Sainte-Chappelle in Paris three days later. In October, Isabella and her father left Paris with a large retinue and by October 26 they met Richard at Ardes. A few days later, Isabella, dressed in a blue gown and jeweled crown, curtsied before Richard as he kissed her. Her father formally handed her over to Richard’s care.

King Richard II of England sitting in the Coronation Chair

This was Richard’s first formal international embassy and neither party wanted to be out shown by the other. There was a city of tents erected with elaborate pavilions for the monarchs. A steady stream of sumptuous gifts passed between the pavilions and Richard wore his most extravagant fashions. This display would be repeated again during the reigns of King Henry VIII and King Francis I about one hundred years later at the Field of Cloth of Gold. The entire spectacle cost Richard between ten thousand and fifteen thousand pounds but the expense was considered worth it as it highlighted his royal prestige.

On All Saints Day, Isabella was carried in a cloth-of-gold litter to the church of St. Nicholas in Calais for the wedding ceremony. Isabella was given into the care of the duchesses of Gloucester, Eleanor de Bohun and Lancaster, Katherine Swynford. She would spend the rest of her married childhood between their two households. Isabella also had her own French governess, Margaret de Courcy.

Two days later Richard and Isabella sailed for England. Some of the ships were wrecked on the way. They landed at Dover and then journeyed through Rochester and Canterbury to Eltham where they stopped to await Isabella’s entry into London. When Isabella arrived in London, there was a terrible crush of people on the bridge between Southwark and Kennington and several people were killed.

On January 3, 1397, Isabella spent the night in the Tower of London before her coronation. On January 4th she rode in procession before ladies and knights in red gowns with the white hart badge of her husband. She met Richard at Westminster and was crowned the next day. Two weeks of celebration and tournaments followed. As happened with the marriage of Richard to Anne of Bohemia, people grumbled about the expense of the proceedings. Isabella was seen as an unsuitable bride for their king due to her youth and inability to provide an heir any time soon. Also, many nobles were against the truce with France and the marriage and Isabella received a discourteous reception from some of them.

Because of Isabella’s youth, she had no political influence for the next three years. Isabella and Richard went on pilgrimage to Canterbury in February of 1397 and they were together during Christmas of 1397 at Lichfield and attended the opening of Parliament in January of 1398 at Shrewsbury. Shortly after this Richard, who had been in political trouble with his nobles and his cousin Henry Bolingbroke before, was becoming increasingly tyrannical and paranoid. He sent Bolingbroke into exile and instituted a “pleasure” fine in violation of the Magna Carta. He collected thousands of pounds in forced loans and his court became increasingly magnificent.

While all this was unfolding, Isabella spent most of her time at Eltham under the tutelage of Margaret de Courcy. She was well treated and became devoted to her husband. Letters between Isabella and her parents were transmitted by Pierre Salmon. In the spring of 1399, Richard visited her at Windsor where a tournament was held in her honor. Richard was going on campaign in Ireland again. Before he left, he played with Isabella, held her hand and kissed her, promising he would call for her to join him in Ireland soon. His real plan was to send Madame de Courcy back to France and he probably never intended to bring Isabella to Ireland. In fact, this was the last time she saw her husband.

While Richard was in Ireland, Bolingbroke came back to England and raised thousands of troops. Richard’s uncle, Edmund, Duke of York who was in charge of the kingdom while Richard was gone, was forced to choose between Richard and Bolingbroke and he chose Bolingbroke. Richard made his way back to England with a small company but they soon deserted him. He was taken to Flint Castle where Bolingbroke had him arrested.

Richard was forced to abdicate and Parliament declared Richard deposed. Henry Bolingbroke was crowned as King Henry IV at Westminster on October 13, 1399. Richard was purportedly murdered at Pontefract Castle in February of 1400. There was a requiem held in Old St. Paul’s Cathedral in London which King Henry attended.

In the meantime, Isabella was awaiting news of her husband at Donning in Berkshire. She was not allowed to see her husband and at one point her house was stormed and her attendants’ badges were torn from their livery. In December, the earls of Kent and Salisbury visited her and informed her Richard was free and it was an imposter in the Tower of London. We can only imagine how frightened Isabella must have been during all this turmoil. When she finally realized Richard was dead, she plunged her household into deep mourning.

Isabella’s position was tenuous. She hadn’t reached the age of canonical consent and she wasn’t technically a queen dowager. All of her dowry had been paid and the French were demanding it be returned. King Henry sent an embassy to Paris to discuss the marriage of Isabella to his son Henry, now Prince of Wales. The Prince did eventually marry Isabella’s younger sister Catherine. The English didn’t have the money to return the dowry and they couldn’t afford to endanger their truce with France.

After Richard’ deposition, Isabella’s parents were frantic to have her returned home. They were diligent in their negotiations. Documents reveal the ambassadors were instructed to confirm with Isabella that her parents were working on her rescue. She was urged not to marry anyone that King Henry might recommend. She most likely refused to marry the Prince of Wales out of loyalty to Richard. If the ambassadors were allowed to speak to Isabella alone they were to assure her that her parents wanted to see her and were doing everything in their power to return her to France as quickly as possible.

In May of 1401, a treaty was signed at Leulinghem whereby King Henry agreed to return Isabella to France with her jewels and property. She was accompanied by the Earl of Worcester and handed over to the Count of St. Pol at Calais on July 21, 1401. Isabella returned home to her parents to their great joy. She reentered her mother’s household but of course her status was not as important there as it was when she was Queen of England. But her mother did make sure she was surrounded by ladies of higher rank than she had before she went to England.

In May of 1406, Isabella was married to her cousin Charles of Orleans, son of Duke Louis of Orleans. When Louis was murdered in November of 1407, Charles became the new Duke. This marriage may have been seen by Isabella as a source of humiliation as her new husband was only the son of a Duke and she had once been a Queen. Records indicate Isabella visited her mother in April of 1409 when she was pregnant. She would die on September 14, 1409 after giving birth to her daughter Joan. Isabella was buried in Blois at the chapel of the abbey of St. Laumer, now the church of St. Nicholas. In 1624, her remains were moved to the Orleans chapel in the church of the Celestines in Paris where she had played as a child.


Richard II and the Peasant's Revolt

The Peasant's Revolt
In Edward III's dotage, John of Gaunt (Ghent, in modern Belgium) was virtual ruler of England. He continued as regent when Richard II, aged 10, came to the throne in 1377. Four years later a poll tax was declared to finance the continuing war with France. Every person over the age of 15 had to pay one shilling, a large sum in those days. There was tremendous uproar amongst the peasantry. This, combined with continuing efforts by landowners to re-introduce servility of the working classes on the land, led to the Peasant's Revolt.

The leaders of the peasants were John Ball, an itinerant priest, Jack Straw, and Wat Tyler. The revolt is sometimes called Wat Tyler's Rebellion. They led a mob of up to 100,000 people to London, where the crowd went on a rampage of destruction, murdered the Archbishop of Canterbury, and burned John of Gaunt's Savoy Palace.

The End of the Revolt
Eventually, they forced a meeting with the young king in a field near Mile End. Things began amicably enough, but Wat Tyler grew abusive and the Lord Mayor of London drew his sword and killed him.

At this point Richard, then only 14, showed great courage, shouting to the peasants to follow him. He led them off, calmed them down with promises of reforms, and convinced them to disperse to their homes. His promises were immediately revoked by his council of advisors, and the leaders of the revolt were hanged.

In 1399 Henry Bolingbroke, the exiled son of John of Gaunt, landed with an invasion force while Richard was in Ireland. He defeated Richard in battle, took him prisoner, and probably had him murdered. Henry's claim to the throne was poor. His right to rule was usurpation approved by Parliament and public opinion.

Henry IV (1399-1413) had a reign notable mainly for a series of rebellions and invasions in Wales, Scotland, France, and northern England. He was followed by his son, Henry V (1413-22), whose short reign was enlivened by attacks on the Lollard heresy which drove it underground at last. He also resurrected claims to the throne of France itself. After spectacular success at the Battle of Agincourt (1415), Henry married Katherine, daughter of the mad Charles VI of France. Henry died young, leaving the nine-month-old Henry VI (1422-61) to inherit the throne.


Early years

Richard was the younger and only surviving son of Edward, the Black Prince, and his wife, Joan of Kent. Because his father died prematurely in 1376, Richard succeeded his grandfather Edward III as king in June 1377.

The king’s early years were overshadowed by the Hundred Years’ War, a prolonged struggle with France. The heavy cost of the war led to the introduction in 1377 of a novel, and highly regressive, tax, the poll tax. In November 1380 Parliament granted permission to impose the tax for the third time at a flat rate much higher than before. The tactless attempts the government made in the following year to enforce collection of the tax led to the outbreak of the Peasants’ Revolt. Richard’s role in ending the revolt was rightly acclaimed, but it should not be supposed that he was influential in making policy. Almost certainly, the confrontation with the rebels at Smithfield was engineered by a hard-line group of his counselors.

In the years after the revolt, Richard’s interest in the affairs of state intermittently increased. According to the chronicler Thomas Walsingham, a contemporary of Richard’s, the choice of Anne of Bohemia, the daughter of the Holy Roman emperor Charles IV, as his bride in 1381 was very much Richard’s own. By 1383 his personal initiative showed in the choice of his friends and counselors, including two figures of particular importance—Sir Simon Burley, his former tutor, and Burley’s ally, Sir Michael de la Pole, chancellor from 1383. Richard was also on close terms with some ambitious younger men, notably Robert de Vere, earl of Oxford, and the knights Ralph Stafford and James Berners. These younger men were deeply jealous of the power and prestige of John of Gaunt, the duke of Lancaster. Their repeated criticism of the duke and their involvement in an attempt on his life led to an atmosphere of rancour and suspicion at court. By 1385 Richard’s relations with the higher nobility were quickly deteriorating.

In October 1386 there was a major crisis in Parliament. In the wake of Lancaster’s departure for Spain in July with a large fleet to pursue his claim to the Castilian throne, the French planned an invasion of England. De la Pole, hastily organizing the coastal defences, sought an unprecedentedly large grant of taxation from Parliament. The massive scale of his demand provoked resistance, and the House of Commons clamoured for his resignation. Richard, stung by the Commons’ effrontery, retorted that he would not remove one scullion from his kitchen at their behest. Eventually, however, he had to give way. De la Pole was replaced as chancellor and put on trial, and a commission of government was appointed to hold office for a year.

Richard reacted to the Commons’ assault by retreating to the Midlands to rally his supporters. At Shrewsbury and Nottingham in August he received vigorous reaffirmation of his rights from the royal courts. News of the judges’ opinions frightened the king’s critics, who reacted by bringing an accusatio, or formal appeal, against his allies of treason. The Lords Appellant, as they were now called—the duke of Gloucester and the earls of Warwick, Arundel, Nottingham, and Derby—mobilized their retinues in self-defense. Richard dispatched his friend Robert de Vere southward with an armed force, but de Vere was defeated at Radcot Bridge on December 20, 1387. A few days later London was occupied by the Appellants. Richard returned to his capital humiliated.

In the aptly named “Merciless Parliament” that followed, the Appellants purged the court. Two of Richard’s main allies were executed, and others were dismissed from office. By the following spring, however, the Appellant tide had subsided. At a council meeting at Westminster on May 3, 1389, Richard formally resumed responsibility for government. He dismissed the Appellants’ ministers and appointed new officers of his own. At the same time, he published a manifesto promising better governance and an easing of the burden of taxation.


The Entry of Richard & Bolingbroke into London - History

Richard II is one of English monarchs, mostly known as the young king, who dealt with the Peasants’ Revolt, led by Wat Tyler, in 1381. He was born in Bordeaux in 1367 and inherited ‘the throne from his grandfather in 1377, at the age of 10’ (Bremner, 2011). He is also known as ‘the first king that we know for sure what he looked like, in part because of his own conscious attempts to raise the personal place of the monarch, through the active use of imagery and artistic representation’ (ibid). Meanwhile, he was also one of the English monarchs, who inspired William Shakespeare to write a history play based on his own deeds, called The Tragedy of King Richard the Second. However, Shakespeare’s play doesn’t mention neither the Peasants’ Revolt nor any other important elements relating to his reign i. e., the impact of the Black Death prior to his reign nor the Lollard Movement led by John Wyclif. Instead, the play only focuses on the final years of his rule, effectively, from January 1398 to February 1400. This blog entry, first of all, would like to examine the opening scene of the play that provides the dispute between two powerful lords Henry Bolingbroke and Thomas Mowbray, with making comparisons with real history. This will automatically lead it to examining of Duke of Gloucester’s death and his relationship with, not only the lords mentioned above, but with the king himself as well. Subsequently, it will also have a look at the story line that follows the opening scene, again comparing with historical facts. Finally, it will focus on a couple of incidents that took place after Richard’s reign a failed plot against the new king Henry IV in January 1400, from which Shakespeare created a family comedy in Act 5 and the death of Richard in the following month.

Shakespeare begins his play with describing a bitter quarrel between Henry Bolingbroke and Thomas Mowbray that takes place in front of King Richard II (Act 1:1). In which, Henry accuses Mowbray of following three accounts (1) he ‘hath receiv’d eight thousand nobles / In name of lendings for your highness’ soldiers, / The which he hath detain’d for lewd employ-ments’ (Craig, 2005), (2) an allegation that ‘all the treasons for these eighteen years / Complotted and contrived in this land, / Fetch from false Mowbray’(ibid) and (3) he ‘did plot the Duke of Gloucester’s death… And consequently, like a traitor coward, / Sluic’d out his innocent soul through streams of blood’ (ibid). Against these accusations, Mowbray disputes with providing his side of defences as for (1), he says, ‘Three parts of that receipt I had for Calais / Disburs’d I duly to his highness’ soldiers / The other part reserv’d I by consent, / For that my sovereign liege was in my debt / Upon remainder of a dear account, / Since last I went to France to fetch his queen’ (ibid), as for (2), he at least admits that he did ‘lay an ambush’ (ibid) against Henry’s father, John of Gaunt, who is also present in the scene, however, he explains, ‘But ere I last receiv’d the sacrament / I did confess it, and exactly begg’d / Your Grace’s pardon, and I hope I had it’ (ibid), and as for (3), he simply denies his involvement by saying, ‘I slew him not but to mine own disgrace / Neglected my sworn duty in that case’ (ibid). Now, it would be worthwhile to examine what actually happened in real history and what sort of background was behind the dispute between these nobles, who belonged to the same generation Henry Bolingbroke, son of John of Gaunt – born on 3 rd of April 1367, Thomas Mowbray, son of John de Mowbray – born in c. 1366, and Richard II, as already mentioned earlier, who was born in 1367.

In real history, things known about the quarrel between Bolingbroke and Mowbray are relatively limited and could be summarised in the following way: ‘during the second session of the parliament of September 1397, held in January 1398, Henry Bolingbroke raised with Richard the accusation that Mowbray had stated privately to him that Richard would seek vengeance on both of them in the way that he had taken vengeance on Arundel, Gloucester, and Warwick. The matter was made a formal charge of treason against Mowbray in a parliamentary committee that met after the end of the session (31 January 1398). The matter could not be resolved through evidence which meant that Bolingbroke and Mowbray would settle the matter by means of a duel on 16 September 1398′ (Marx, 2003). As Shakespeare depicted in Act 1 scene 3, on that day, ‘Richard intervened to stop the duel and exiled both parties’ (ibid). As quoted above, it seems that the nature of actual quarrel had been more complicated and more serious than what was later staged in the Elizabethan theatre. Along with Gloucester, whose name was also mentioned in Act 1 scene 1, the allegation includes names of other lords as well namely Arundel and Warwick, to whom, it is regarded that King Richard had taken vengeance. Now, it would be worthwhile to examine what had happened before things got to this stage, especially concerning the death of Gloucester.

Duke of Gloucester was born Thomas of Woodstock on 7 January, 1355. He was the ‘seventh and youngest son of the English king Edward III’ (http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/thomaswoodstock.htm). Despite he was ‘made Earl of Buckingham by his nephew, Richard II, at the coronation in July 1377’ (ibid) and was created Duke of Gloucester, as ‘a mark of favour’ (ibid) from the king in 1385, to cut the long story short, by 1397 Gloucester was at odds with his nephew, Richard II, to the extent where, ‘it has been asserted that the duke was plotting to seize the king. At all events, Richard decided to arrest him’ (ibid). On 11 July 1397, Gloucester ‘was arrested by the king himself at his residence, Pleshey castle in Essex’ (ibid) and ‘was taken at once to Calais’ (ibid), where he died on 9 September, 1397, at the age of 42. Now, unlike Shakespeare’s historical play, it became clear that in real history, Richard had more role to play regarding the arrest and the death of Gloucester. Before delving into more details, it would make sense to examine what about the other key figures’ involvements.

Despite Henry Hereford once ‘supported his uncle Thomas, Duke of Gloucester, in his armed opposition to Richard II and his favourites’ (http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/henry4.htm) in 1387, he later changed his sides ‘probably through his father’s influence’ (ibid) and the situation in ten years later was that Henry, along with his father, John of Gaunt, was still on the side with ‘the king against Gloucester, and in 1397 was made Duke of Hereford’ (ibid). In the meantime, Thomas Mowbray’s involvement was allegedly more directly. He had been appointed to captain of Calais by Richard II, a few years before 1397 and not only ‘He was present when Gloucester was arrested at Pleshey’ (http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/thomasmowbray.htm), Gloucester ‘was entrusted to his keeping at Calais, and in September 1397 he reported that his prisoner was dead’ (ibid). As long as Gloucester didn’t die from natural causes, it would be plausible to speculate that Mowbray ‘was probably responsible, although the evidence against him is not conclusive’ (ibid). Nevertheless, others argue that ‘it is probable that he was murdered by order of the king on the 9th of September’ (http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/thomaswoodstock.htm), with more details to follow:

‘At the beginning of September it was reported that he was dead. The rumour, probably a deliberate one, was false, and about the same time a justice, Sir William Rickhill (d. 1407), was sent to Calais with instructions dated the 17th of August to obtain a confession from Gloucester. On the 8th of September the duke confessed that he had been guilty of treason, and his death immediately followed this avowal. Unwilling to meet his parliament so soon after his uncle’s death, Richard’s purpose was doubtless to antedate this occurrence, and to foster the impression that the duke had died from natural causes in August. When parliament met in September he was declared guilty of treason and his estates forfeited’ (ibid).

To assess the situation and background of Gloucester’s death, it is quite important to trace back some related historical events for about a decade, especially focusing on the relationship between the king and the parliament.

In 1384, facing to critical conflicts against France and Scotland, Richard summoned feudal levy ‘for the last time in the Middle Ages’ (Bremner, 2011). This, and the result of the battle against Scotland, caused Richard to face with a parliamentary backlash, in which, the Parliament ‘won the sacking of Chancellor de la Pole’ (ibid) and his impeachment. In the following years, in 1386-7, the Parliament ‘ended up examining royal finances and putting the Duke of Gloucester in charge. Expenditure was cut and grants to favourites reduced. The king’s authority had been fatally undermined as the narrow power base of his administration had nothing to fall back on’ (ibid). Nonetheless, Richard ‘sought advice from leading judges’ (ibid), who gave judgements favourable for the royal prerogative, saying ‘no minister could be impeached without the crown’s agreement and that it was treasonous to limit the royal power’ (ibid). This encouraged Richard, who now ‘charged his opponents with treason’ (ibid). The king’s opponents are known as the Appellant Lords, who ‘represented the traditional noble houses that Richard had always scorned’ (ibid), and Duke of Gloucester was one of the most prominent figures among them. The situation changed dramatically when Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford ‘raised the men of Cheshire in defence of the king’ (ibid) in later 1387. The Appellant Lords defeated de Vere in the battle and ‘then marched on London, met the king in the Tower, possibly removed him from the throne for a few days and then tried his leading councillors. The ultimate humiliation came with the execution of four of Richard’s favourite knights’ (ibid). However, the Appellants failed to rule sufficiently and as a result, ‘the Commons became disillusioned and the king’s popularity increased’ (ibid). When a couple of Appellants Lords defected to the king, it meant that ‘in 1389 the king, now aged 22, could declare his own majority and will to rule of his own. The remaining appellants were removed from office as Gaunt returned to bolster the crown’ (ibid). Nevertheless, Richard’s various reforms ‘failed to address all the financial problems and the king still spent more than he earnt, due largely to his extravagant personal expenditure. In 1397 he gained a taxation grant without there being the requirements for war, for the first time a dangerous precedent for the king to rely upon’ (ibid). Meanwhile, Richard’s wife Anne of Bohemia, with whom, he had ‘actually fell in love’ (ibid) and married in 1382, died in 1394. On one hand, her death contributed Richard to go for another foreign involvement in Ireland, on the other hand, it also helped Richard to secure ‘A 28 year truce with France in 1396, sealed with Richard’s betrothal to a French princess’ (ibid) Isabella, daughter of King Charles VI. Unlike Shakespeare’s adult character, when the marriage took place in 1396, Princess Isabella was ‘not quite seven years old’ (University of London, 2007). Regarding this marriage, it would be worth to mention that Duke of Gloucester rather ‘disliked the peace with France and Richard’s second marriage with Isabella’ ( http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/thomaswoodstock.htm).

Furthermore, it is argued that the loss of his beloved queen, who ‘may have provided a restraining influence’ (Bremner, 2011) could explain Richard’s reign in the following years, which ‘are traditionally described as a period of tyranny with the government levying forced loans, carrying out arbitrary arrests and murdering the king’s rivals’ (ibid). As for the latter, the king always had ‘resentment against the Appellants’ (ibid) and when he arrested three senior Appellants, in 1397, Gloucester was one of them along with Earl of Arundel and Earl of Warwick. Despite evidence of a plot against the king was ‘unclear’ (ibid), Warwick ‘was sent to prison’ (ibid) while ‘Arundel was executed’ (ibid). As for Gloucester, as already argued above, it is said that he ‘was probably murdered by Nottingham’s men in Calais’ (ibid). As a result of these brutal revenges, Richard ‘now handed out a slew of titles and land making, amongst others, Nottingham [Mowbray] the Duke of Norfolk and Derby [Bolingbroke] the Duke of Hereford’ (ibid). In addition, the former also ‘received most of Arundel’s lands in Surrey and Sussex’ (http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/thomasmowbray.htm).

As it has been mentioned earlier, Shakespeare set the opening scene of his Richard II at this historical point, with depicting the three main characters, regarding the death of Gloucester, in the following way: Bolingbroke accuses Mowbray of plotting his death Mowbray denies his involvement but acknowledges his neglect whilst there is no implication of possible involvement of the king himself. In addition, accusation on Mowbray is further emphasised in the very next scene, where the widowed Duchess of Gloucester blames her husband’s death as ‘Mowbray’s sin’ (Craig, 2005). Nonetheless, the plot of the play after the opening scene is basically in tune with what actually happened in the final few years of the fourteenth century

(1) dispute between Bolingbroke and Mowbray was decided to be settled by a single combat, which was to be held in Coventry, however, ‘when on the 10th of September 1398 everything was ready for the fight Richard interposed and ordered both combatants into banishment’ (http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/thomasmowbray.htm). Then, ‘within fifteen days Henry, Duke of Hereford, was ordered to leave the realm, not to return for ten years, unless ordered by the King, on pain of death. He was, however, given a yearly income of £2,000. This was small comfort, for the secretary had one more announcement for him: his estates were to be confiscated. As for Mowbray… he was to leave the realm and never return, upon pain of death. He was given a yearly income of £1,000, and his property was confiscated. Both were then summoned to stand before the King and swear an oath that they would not continue the argument. This they did’ (McGrory, 2013). In addition, whilst Henry’s exile was ‘reduced by his father’s pleading by four years’ (ibid) before his departure, Mowbray ‘is said to have died of melancholy in Venice – though some sources say it was of “pestilence”, or plague’ (ibid) in September, 1399

(2) John of Gaunt died in February 1399. Before his death and his son’s exile, it is argued that ‘fearing for their position, Gaunt and his son made the king promise to uphold their inheritance if either died’ (Bremner, 2011). Nevertheless, Richard ‘confiscated his vast estate, Henry’s birthright, and announced his exile was for life’ (McGrory, 2013)

(3) ‘Early in July, whilst Richard was absent in Ireland, he (Bolingbroke) landed at Ravenspur in Yorkshire… and Richard, abandoned by his friends, surrendered at Flint on the 19th of August’ (http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/henry4.htm). As for Henry’s intention when he launched the invasion, whilst Shakespeare emphasises on his noble cause – to bring back his duly inheritance – through his character’s words in Act 2:3, saying ‘It must be granted I am Duke of Lancaster… personally I lay my claim / To my inheritance of free descent’ (Craig, 2005) and even though it is argued that ‘It is true that Henry gave out that he was only returning to recover his own confiscated property’ (Miller, 2003), in reality, it would be more plausible to presume that ‘Henry must have learnt from previous experience that such a rebellion could never be undertaken for limited purposes only’ (ibid), and probably with the the king’s unpopularity in his consideration, Henry actually ‘did nothing to quench the ardour of his followers for the removal of a hated government, and allowed himself to be carried along on the popular tide which required the removal of King Richard II’ (ibid).

(4) ‘In the parliament, which assembled on the 30th of September, Richard was forced to abdicate. Henry then made his claim as coming by right line of blood from King Henry III… Parliament formally accepted him, and thus Henry became king’ (http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/henry4.htm). This was followed by (5) a failed plot against the new king Henry IV in January 1400, which ‘reminded Henry of Lancaster how great a liability the live Richard II would be’ (Bremner, 2011) and, consequently

(6) the death of abdicated Richard in the following month.

As for the failed plot took place in January 1400, Shakespeare mentions this incident through a family comedy in Act 5, which is attributed to Duke of York, his wife and their son Edward, who is described, in Scene 2, as Duke of ‘Aumerle that was / But that is lost… And, madam, you must call him Rutland now’ (Craig, 2005). This reflects the historical facts that Edward ‘was created Earl of Rutland’ (http://www.shakespeareandhistory.com/richard-ii.php) in 1390 and was ‘created Duke of Aumerle in 1397’ (ibid) by Richard II’s favour. However, ‘He was stripped of his title of Duke of Aumerle and several other offices’ (ibid) by the new king Henry IV and ‘was not punished for his possible involvement in Gloucester’s death’ (ibid). Interestingly, in relation to Shakespeare’s dramatisation, some argue that ‘When a group of lords planned to murder King Henry in early 1400 it is said that it was Edward who warned the king of the conspiracy (although some chroniclers claim he was involved to an extent)’ (ibid). Despite it is unclear whether he was involved in the plot and to what extent, after this incident, history tells us that ‘Edward continued to be a faithful servant to the crown during the reign of Henry IV and… he succeeded to the title of Duke of York upon the death of his father in 1402’ (ibid).

Finally, as for the death of abdicated king Richard, whilst Shakespeare made up a character called Exton to be accused of murdering the once anointed monarch by his successor, Henry IV, in real history it is said that ‘By the end of February 1400, Richard of Bordeaux had starved to death… Initially buried in Kings Langley, Henry V later placed Richard’s body in the tomb that he had designed for himself in the Confessor’s chapel of Westminster Abbey’ (Bremner, 2011).

Thus, this blog entry mainly focused on examining the background history of the opening scene of Richard II, the play by Shakespeare, which presents a dispute between Henry Bolingbroke and Thomas Mowbray. In doing so, it examined the real dispute took place between the lords in question and found the source event in a parliamentary committee met on 31 January. 1398, which dealt with a formal charge of treason against Thomas Mowbray. This automatically led it to examine the death of Duke of Gloucester and it found out that while Shakespeare’s play tends to depict the murder as solely ‘Mowbray’s sin’, in history it was Richard II himself, who arrested Gloucester and ordered him to be sent to Calais, where he died on 9 September, 1397. It also argued that the arrest and death of Gloucester took place as a part of Richard’s personal revenge against the so-called Appellant Lords, which also brought downfalls of Earl of Arundel and Earl of Warwick and, on the contrary, those who gained from these series of events were Bolingbroke and Mowbray. Subsequently, it shifted its focus to the storyline that follows the opening scene and confirmed that the entire flow of the play basically agrees with actual historical events. Finally, it looked at a couple of incidents that took place after the abdication of Richard. As for the failed plot against Henry IV in January 1400, it looked at the role of Rutland in the real history and concluded that it is unclear whether or not he was involved and to what extent. As for the death of Richard, it pointed out that he was not murdered by a fictional character called Exton, who appears in the final scene of the play, but was most likely starved to death in February 1400.

Bremner, Ian (2011), The Reign of Richard II, 1377 to 1399, BBC – History – British History (electronically accessed 26/01/2015)

Craig, W. J. (ed) (2005) The Tragedy of King Richard the Second, by William Shakespeare, AbsoluteShakespeare.com (electronically accessed 11/02/2015)

englishmonarch.co.uk (2005), Anne of Bohemia (11 May 1366 – 7 June 1394), English Monarchs – Plantagenet (electronically accessed 12/03/2015)

Friedman, Ofir (2015), Thomas de Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk, Geni.com (last updated 30/01/2015, electronically accessed 16/02/2015)

Jokinen, Anniina (ed.) (2013), Thomas Mowbray, Luminarium: Encyclopedia Project – The Hundred Years War, excerpted from Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11 th Ed, Vol. XXXIII, Cambridge University Press (1910), last updated 01/08/2013, electronically accessed 04/02/2015

Jokinen, Anniina (ed.) (2013), Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester (1355 – 1397), Luminarium: Encyclopedia Project – The Hundred Years War, excerpted from Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11 th Ed, Vol. XII, Cambridge University Press (1910), last updated 30/07/2013, electronically accessed 06/02/2015

Kingsford, Charles L. (2013), Henry IV (1367 – 1413), Luminarium: Encyclopedia Project (electronically accessed 02/2/2015, last updated 30/07/2013)

Marx, William (2003), An English Chronicle 1377 1461, A New Edition, Aberystwyth National Library of Wales MS 21608, and Oxford, Bodleian Library MSs Lyell 34, Medieval Chronicles, The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, Google Books (electronically accessed 18/02/2015)

McGrory, David (2013), Bloody British History: Coventry, Google Books (electronically accessed 27/03/2015)

Miller, Michael D. (2003), Wars of the Roses, An Analysis of the causes of the wars and the course which they took – Chapter 7: Henry of Bolingbroke rebels (electronically accessed 18/05/2015)

Shakespeareandhistory.com (2009), Duke of Aumerle Aumerle in History (electronically accessed 09/02/2015)

University of London (2007), Isabelle of France, Richard II’s Treasure – Treasure – Sources (electronically accessed 12/03/2015)


How the plague spread around the British Isles

Most historians are willing to agree that the Black Death killed between 30-45% of the population between 1348-50.

  • 1317: Great Famine in England
  • May 1337: Declaration of the Hundred Years War by Edward III.
  • June 1348: Black Death arrives at Melcombe Regis (Weymouth)
  • Aug 1348: Black Death hits Bristol
  • Sept 1348: Black Death reaches London
  • Oct 1348: Winchester hit - Edendon's 'Voice in Rama' speech
  • Jan 1349: Parliament prorogued on account of the plague.
  • Jan-Feb 1349: Plague spreads into E. Anglia and the Midlands.
  • April 1349: Plague known in Wales.
  • May 1349: Halesowen hit.
  • 18th June 1349: Ordinance of Labourers.
  • July 1349: Plague definitely hits Ireland.
  • Autumn 1349: Plague reaches Durham. Scots invade northern England and bring back plague with them.
  • Spring 1350: Massive outbreak of plague in Scotland.
  • Sept 1350: First pestilence dies out.
  • 9th Feb 1351: Statute of Labourers.
  • 1361-64: Second Pestilence: 'The Plague of Children'.
  • 1367: Birth of Richard II in Bordeau.
  • 1368-69: Third Pestilence
  • 1371-75: Fourth Pestilence (variously dated 1371 or 1373-5)
  • 1381: The Peasant Revolt

The plague returned in a series of periodic local and national epidemics. The plague only finally stopped at the end of the Seventeenth century.


Watch the video: Blake Ritson. Henry Bolingbroke. Richard II - And All Our Dreams Will End in Death. BBC Radio 4