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King Richard II’s Courtroom – Historic Britain Weblog

Richard II makes Thomas Mowbray the Earl Marshal, BL Cotton MS Nero D VI, f.85r.

Plainly in some unspecified time in the future in each reign, political factions grew up across the king. Typically they had been minor annoyances and could possibly be ignored. Typically they turned poisonous—particularly when a baron began to throw his weight round. Sometimes the overmighty baron was a member of the royal household, as within the case of Richard II, and he was capable of appeal to highly effective associates. As the good historian Kenneth McFarlane put it*: “The nuisance of the overmighty topic was in actual fact a characteristic of the rule of weaklings and vanished with the accession of those that had the private authority to cope with it…To Edward III, Henry V, and Henry VIII the issue didn’t exist; to Edward II, Richard II, and Henry VI, it was insoluble.” This appears harsh, however I can’t argue with it. The courtroom was extra harmful to King Richard than it was to his topics.

In fact, through the first ten years of Richard II’s reign the nation needed to cope with his minority; that didn’t assist issues. There was no regent—solely a continuing council. How can a testy teenager achieve management over his opinionated uncles? In the course of the early a part of his reign, Richard mistakenly noticed John of Gaunt as his major antagonist—really, Gaunt had managed to rub virtually all people the mistaken approach till he gained some humility after his debacle in Spain. As soon as Gaunt had left the nation to chase his crown of Castile, his youthful brother the Duke of Gloucester stepped ahead, and Richard discovered himself challenged by an much more unscrupulous opponent. That is when the true hassle started.

Up till then, King Richard was content material to encompass himself with a tight-knight group of associates and confidants. That in itself won’t have rankled, besides that he shut himself away from those that thought of themselves his correct advisors. The younger Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford emerged as the obvious scapegoat; Richard was very connected to him and it was rumored there may need been some unsavory habits, paying homage to Edward II. Additionally, that commoner Sir Simon Burley, Richard’s chamberlain, stored a agency management over entry to the king’s inside chambers. The overmighty barons felt excluded. One thing needed to be accomplished.

So in these important first ten years, the faction in opposition to the king gained floor, and people devoted to Richard remained a pitiful minority. The Duke of Gloucester joined forces with the irascible Earl of Arundel and the Earl of Warwick; quickly they gathered their retainers collectively and marched on London. Though they insisted that Richard eliminate his dangerous advisors, the king demurred whereas Robert de Vere tried to boost a military to defend him. This perceived betrayal was sufficient to influence Henry Bolingbroke and Thomas Mowbray to affix the Lords Appellant, as all of them turned recognized.

The Lords Appellant before King Richard II
Arundel, Gloucester, Nottingham, Derby, and Warwick, Earlier than the King Supply: Wikimedia

On the time, the king had no standing military; he was completely depending on his nobles to do his combating for him. Who would have been on his aspect? Already Robert de Vere’s military had surrendered virtually and not using a battle; the Earl of Oxford had no expertise in warfare. The Duke of York, Richard’s different uncle, was notoriously ineffectual and will solely provide ethical help. John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, was in Spain. That’s it for the Dukes; there have been solely three—all Richard’s uncles. How in regards to the earls? Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland was far within the north; he didn’t become involved. John Holland, Earl of Kent and Richard’s half-brother, was with Gaunt in Spain. Roger Mortimer, Earl of March was in Eire. Michael de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, was on the run. The final 4 earls had been Appellants. That’s it. Richard was alone.

After making quick work of de Vere, the Appellants closed in on Richard who had taken refuge within the Tower. There was no approach out; the king was their prisoner. It was their second of triumph and so they didn’t hesitate to threaten his crown. What might he do? Richard was compelled to bend to their will, sacrificing all his supporters. Burley was executed, together with at the least eight others, together with Chief Justice Tresilian and ex-mayor Nicholas Brembre. Queen Anne begged on her knees for Gloucester to spare Burley, however to no avail. Servants and knights of the chamber had been imprisoned or exiled. The Ex-Chancellor, Michael de la Pole, was the fortunate one. He discovered refuge on the Continent and was joined by Robert de Vere. By the point Richard’s authorities had been purged, the king had nobody to show to besides his spouse.

Execution of Robert Tresilian
Execution of Robert Tresilian from Jean Froissart’s Chroniques (Wikimedia)

The desolate King Richard spent a yr licking his wounds earlier than daring to step ahead. However step ahead he did. In spite of everything, he was twenty-two, and nobody might deny it was time to declare his majority. By then, the Lords Appellant had misplaced curiosity in governing. In spite of everything, that they had achieved their objective and their consideration was demanded elsewhere. The transition to Richard’s full management was clean and easy, and the king had discovered his lesson—or so it appeared. For the following seven years, England skilled a uncommon stretch of peace and prosperity.

But it surely was not destined to final. Richard had discovered a good higher lesson from the Lords Appellant. He decided that by no means once more would he discover himself alone and defenseless. It was time to retain some males of his personal, and he began with the Cheshire Archers. Oh, pricey. It was not going to finish effectively…


*McFarlane, Ok.B., THE NOBILITY OF LATER MEDIEVAL ENGLAND, Oxford on the Clarendon Press, 1973, p.283.



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