Post-classical history


Epilogue 1396–1399

On 25 September 1396 the last great crusading army to leave western Europe for the east was wiped out by the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid at Nicopolis on the Danube together with its Hungarian and Wallachian allies. The French contingent represented only part of the forces of the Christian coalition and the overall command belonged to the Hungarian King, Sigismund. But the French heavy cavalry had insisted on leading the attack before the rest were ready and without properly reconnoitring the enemy’s positions. They bore the brunt of the fighting and acquitted themselves with extraordinary courage and endurance. But they were defeated by superior tactics, discipline and force of numbers. Jean de Vienne was killed defending the standard of Notre-Dame in the heat of the battle. Many died with him. Thousands more who survived the battle were killed by the pursuing Turkish spahis. Others were drowned in the Danube as they tried to escape or were massacred in the prisoners’ pens when it was all over. All the leaders of the French host were captured and held for ransom: John, Count of Nevers, Gui de la Tremoille, the Constable Philip, Count of Eu, Marshal Boucicaut, Enguerrand de Coucy, Henry of Bar and Jacques de Bourbon, Count of La Marche. Sigismund was more fortunate. He abandoned his treasury and his army on the field and escaped by boat with the Grand Master of the Hospitallers, eventually finding his way home via the Black Sea with the aid of the Venetians. When the kings of France and England met with their uncles and ministers on the march of Calais they were still completely ignorant of the catastrophe that had overcome the army more than a month before. It was not until the beginning of December that the first refugees from the battlefield found their way back to France with the news.1

In England the Duke of Gloucester could scarcely contain his delight. The heavy casualties were bound to weaken France militarily. The outcome, he told his intimates, confirmed what he had always said about ‘those French shits’. They were no good at fighting when they allowed themselves to be tested in battle. Philippe de Mézières, whose life’s work was undone by the defeat, came to a curiously similar conclusion. The ‘desconfiture lacrimable’ of Nicopolis, he thought, was God’s punishment of the chivalry of France for its moral failings. They had been destroyed by the same sin of pride which had brought French armies to destruction at Crécy and Poitiers. The shock transformed the political mood in western Europe. It put an end to the brief moment of moral anguish which had turned so much of the knightly class against the Anglo-French war in the 1390s. And it removed a fruitful area of co-operation between the two nations. There would be fresh calls for crusading armies from the west over the following years and some small-scale expeditions to reinforce the defence of the beleaguered city of Constantinople. But there was no more talk of the great Anglo-French army which would liberate Jerusalem after the Turks had been swept from eastern Europe. What remained were the crude political and strategic realities which had always existed.2

The first test of English public opinion came with the opening of Parliament at Westminster on 22 January 1397. Unfortunately the Parliament roll appears to have been heavily edited to exclude overt evidence of opposition to the King’s policies. But the record, even in its truncated form, shows that there were serious misgivings about Richard’s diplomacy. The traditional opening address was delivered by the new Chancellor, Edmund Stafford, Bishop of Exeter. It was more than usually anodyne. The real business of the session was not explained until two days later, when both houses were summoned to what seems to have been a closed meeting in the refectory of Westminster Abbey. There they learned from the Chancellor about Richard’s plans to send an army to support the ambitions of Charles VI in Italy. The King wanted a fresh Parliamentary subsidy to pay for it. The Commons were visibly dismayed. When they withdrew to consider the Chancellor’s demands there was evidently a good deal of hostility. Word of this reached Richard’s ears and provoked an outburst of rage of a kind which was now becoming familiar. On 25 January the Commons came before the King in full Parliament to deliver a barbed apology. They declared that they had not presumed to criticise Richard’s Italian plans, which were entirely a matter for him. But for their part they would have nothing to do with them. If he wanted to invade Italy with the King of France he could pay the cost himself. Richard, instead of replying through his Chancellor, responded in person. He told them why he had undertaken to join in the Italian campaign. After years of misery and destruction arising from the war, he said, England needed a long and secure peace. This was most likely to be achieved by the closest possible alliance with France. The Italian expedition would increase Charles VI’s affection for him and for his realm. It would encourage him to come to Richard’s assistance if one day he should need it. Besides, he said, in an apparent reference to the war between Milan and Florence, as two of the ‘most worthy and valiant Christian princes’ the rulers of England and France had a moral duty to protect the weak against tyrants. He acknowledged that he could not make them contribute to the cost but he was entitled to direct his own retainers and employ his own money for whatever purposes he pleased.3

In February 1397 Charles VI of France relapsed once more into madness and the Italian project was put off indefinitely. The news, which must have reached Richard during the sittings of Parliament, may well have come as a relief. But Richard was busy cementing his relations with the French court on other fronts. As soon as he returned from Calais he opened negotiations with the Duke of Brittany for the restoration of Brest. Agreement was reached on 16 March 1397 to abandon the place in return for an indemnity of 120,000 francs (£20,000) on the sole condition that it was not to be used as a base for offensive operations against England or English shipping. Brest was finally delivered up to the Duke’s representatives in June, after more than half a century of military occupation. Reports circulated in England that Calais would be next. These were almost certainly untrue but they found ready audiences among the growing number of people who were dismayed by Richard’s craven policy towards France. Meanwhile, in April, the joint Anglo-French embassy in which Richard had promised to participate set out on its hopeless mission to Avignon and Rome with an ultimatum calling on the two claimants to the papal throne to abdicate.4

For all his lauding of the benefits of closer relations with France Richard II got very little in return for his concessions. Once the French King’s ministers had achieved their own objectives they naturally lost interest in the negotiations for a permanent peace, on which the English had been counting to achieve theirs. The conference between the royal dukes on either side, which was to have occurred on 1 April 1397, was postponed at the request of the French for ‘various reasons’. Richard sent the Earls of Rutland and Nottingham and Sir William Scrope to Paris to press for a fresh date by June at the latest. They were brushed off with excuses: the Duke of Berry had not been consulted; ministers were preoccupied with other urgent business. The conference never met.5

The Duke of Gloucester, already disgusted by the King’s marriage and convinced that Richard had been duped by the French, was shocked by the surrender of the Atlantic barbicans on the coast of France. They represented in his eyes the best guarantee of England’s ability to return to the strategy of destructive chevauchées in France when the English recovered their self-confidence, as they surely would. At the beginning of July 1397 the garrison of Brest returned to England full of bile against the government. The last captain of the town had been the royal favourite John Holand, Earl of Huntingdon, an absentee like his predecessors who had allowed their pay to fall into arrears. Under the terms of Richard’s deal with the Duke of Brittany they had also lost their lucrative patisin western Brittany. The men conducted embarrassing demonstrations in the palace of Westminster and rioted in the streets of London until they were cleared away to billets in the suburbs. The Duke of Gloucester publicly took their part. Froissart quotes a long rant of the Duke, addressed to his retainer Sir John Lakenheath, which is so lifelike that it is tempting to believe that the chronicler had heard him speak like this.

By God, if I live for two more years in good health this war will be fought out again. If I have anything to do with it we shall be done with all these truces and suspensions of arms, these covert understandings … If we only had a real king in England, someone who would fight the French for the heritage which they have tricked out of him, that man would find 100,000 archers and 6,000 men-at-arms behind him ready to put their lives and substance at his service across the Channel. But No, we have don’t have a king like that here in England. If only we did he would not hesitate to show himself in France. There has never been a better time to invade France than now. If we attacked them now they would fight back. The people of this realm love a good battle. They would throw themselves boldly into the fray for the fat lucre to be had from it, just as they used to do in the time of my father and my brother the Prince of Wales. I am the last-born of the royal princes of the house of England. But if only I were able to make my voice heard I would be the first: the first to go back to war, the first to right all the wrongs which in our silliness and softness we have let them do to us. Our lord the King has actually allied himself by marriage with his enemy. That’s no way for a true warrior to behave. No, not on your life it isn’t. The man’s arse is too heavy to be shifted. All he ever wants to do is to eat, drink and sleep, dance and caper about and laugh the hours away with women. What sort of life is that for a man of action? For a man who is serious about honour and arms, or has any vigour left in him … What we want is battle. Battle and victory are the only things that are going to make us rich and allow us to recover what is ours. But instead we will just have to languish on as we do now and have done ever since my nephew became King of England. Things cannot go on like this. Surely the country will sooner or later wake up to what is happening. This King is levying heavy taxes on merchants. They are very angry about it. Yet no one knows what he does with the money. He dishes it out to men who do him rotten service while his people suffer. I tell you that before long we will see a great uprising in this country. People are already starting to complain. They are not going to put up with all this business much longer … You’ll see if I am not right about that, Lakenheath, you mark my words.6

The Duke of Gloucester spoke like a man standing alone, deserted by his former allies. Richard’s calculation that he could circumvent English hostility to a formal treaty by agreeing a long truce seemed to be working. Gloucester tried to stir up opposition to Richard’s foreign policy among the Londoners. But London was cowed by recent disputes with the King and weakened by a severe depression in the wool trade. Gloucester tried to frighten them with reports of the imminent loss of Calais. Richard was able to persuade the city’s representatives that nothing of the sort was intended. According to Froissart the Duke tried to interest the Earl of March, arguably the heir presumptive to the throne, in the idea of serving as the figurehead for a coup to be organised in conjunction with the Earls of Arundel and Warwick. But the young man took fright before Gloucester had a chance to develop these proposals. How much substance there was in these rumours is impossible to say. Froissart probably got his information from French diplomats at Richard’s court such as the Count of Saint-Pol, who had often supplied him with material for his chronicle. Like other councillors of Charles VI Saint-Pol was becoming concerned about the stability of Richard’s government. Gloucester, Arundel and Warwick were bitter men. But no hard evidence was ever discovered of a plot against Richard’s government. The probability is that the reports reflected nothing more than Gloucester’s tendency to talk big.7

Richard II, ever paranoid about hidden treasons, took them at face value. Conferring with a small caucus of his closest advisers he resolved upon a pre-emptive strike. On 10 July 1397 the King held a banquet in the Earl of Huntingdon’s mansion at Coldharbour in the city. Gloucester, Arundel and Warwick were all invited. Only Warwick appeared. On the surface all was friendship and reconciliation but at the end of the meal he was arrested. Arundel had smelled a rat and stayed away. He shut himself in his castle at Reigate but Richard, using the Earl’s brother the Archbishop of Canterbury as a go-between, persuaded him to give himself up. As for Gloucester, his protestations of illness were quite genuine. He was lying bedridden at Pleshey. Richard, remembering the events of 1387, believed that his uncle must have assembled a large force of men-at-arms around the castle. He hastily gathered an army of his own, consisting of his household knights, retainers of the peers who had been present at the banquet and a large number of Londoners recruited at short notice by the Mayor. They marched through the night and arrived before dawn at Pleshey. The old Bohun castle stood on a motte overlooking the river. All was quiet. Most of Gloucester’s household were away on leave. There was no sign of the great armed camp that the King had expected to find. The Duke, roused from his sleep, came out to meet him, accompanied by his distraught wife and surrounded by the canons of the nearby college. Richard went up to his uncle, took him by the arm and arrested him in person. According to the Canterbury annalist, Gloucester begged for an assurance that his life would be spared. ‘You shall have the same mercy as you showed to Simon Burley,’ Richard replied. All three noblemen were initially taken to the Tower of London. Shortly afterwards Warwick was sent to the Earl of Rutland’s castle at Carisbrooke on the Isle of Wight. Gloucester was taken to the citadel of Calais, probably the most secure place in Richard’s dominions and far away from curious eyes and wagging tongues.8

Richard had arrested the three former Appellants because he believed that they were plotting to reverse the settlement with France. Even when it became apparent that Pleshey was not an armed camp and that neither Warwick nor Arundel had the strength or following to contemplate rebellion, the King persisted in the belief that evidence of a plot would be found. He issued a proclamation reassuring his subjects that he was not trying to settle old scores. Yet once it became clear that there was no plot Richard had to find other grounds for keeping them in custody. Inevitably this meant raking over the embers of the crisis of the previous decade. It was a dangerous course politically. Hundreds of prominent men in London and the counties had supported the Appellants at the time. Men feared for their lives and property if the events of the previous decade were now to be reopened. There was a serious risk that they would be propelled into armed rebellion. Processions and public prayers for the prisoners were organised throughout the realm. Yet the King had no choice unless he was to take the even greater risk of releasing his enemies to lead a new opposition to his rule. So on 13 July, two days after the arrests, he summoned 2,000 archers from Cheshire. Some ten days later he withdrew to the security of Nottingham castle. There, in the great hall, he met his closest political allies on 5 August 1397 to decide what to do with the prisoners. The outcome was a decision to prosecute them before Parliament in September for various acts of treason committed between 1385 and 1389. Charges were drawn up. In another echo of the earlier crisis, the procedure selected was an ‘Appeal’, the same as the one which the three lords had devised for use against the King’s ministers a decade before. Its main advantage had been demonstrated then: it allowed the accused to be summarily condemned to death with almost no opportunity to be heard in their defence.9

This was a convenient solution in the case of Arundel and Warwick. But the public trial of the King’s uncle, even by this cursory procedure, posed grave problems for Richard as he shortly began to realise. John of Gaunt would be expected to preside, as Lord High Steward of England. It was far from clear that he would be prepared to condemn his own brother. Even if Gloucester could be arraigned he would no doubt defend himself with his usual eloquence. He had many supporters, especially in London. He might make a considerable impression on his hearers. The whole affair could easily turn into an inquest into the conduct of the King’s foreign policy. So, in about the middle of August, Richard and his cousin Rutland determined to murder him. They told Mowbray, who as captain of Calais had Gloucester in his custody, to see to it. What happened next came to light as a result of a judicial inquiry at the beginning of the following reign. Mowbray departed for Calais. At about the end of August the King, assuming that his orders had been carried out, had it announced throughout England that Gloucester had died on the 25th of the month of natural causes. In fact Mowbray had had cold feet. He returned shortly afterwards from Calais and shame-facedly admitted that he had not been able to bring himself to do the deed. The King was furious. Mowbray was terrified of his revenge. He went back to Calais, resolved to put Gloucester to death ‘for dread of the King and eschewing his own death’.

At about the beginning of September 1397 the Duke of Gloucester was persuaded to make a confession, presumably by promises of royal mercy. Sir William Rickhill, one of the Judges of the Common Bench, was woken from his sleep in the middle of the night at his home in Kent by a royal messenger and told to go at once to Calais, where Mowbray would give him his instructions. Rickhill arrived at Calais castle early in the morning of the 8th and was admitted to Mowbray’s presence. Mowbray gave him a writ, sealed in London some three weeks before, ordering him to record what the Duke had to say. Gloucester dictated a document in English to his chaplain in the course of the day and delivered it to the judge that evening. It was a remarkable statement. He admitted all that was alleged against him. He had taken the leading role in the events of 1386–8. He had ‘acted wickedly and against the King’s estate and regality’. He had come armed into the King’s presence and abused him in the hearing of his subjects. He had briefly, in December 1387, deposed him from his throne. For all of which crimes he threw himself upon the King’s mercy and begged to be spared. Shortly after Rickhill had left with the document Gloucester was taken from the castle to an inn in the town where one of Richard’s household staff was waiting for him in a back room. He had with him some servants of Rutland and Mowbray. They told him that the King had ordered him to be killed. They gave him time to confess his sins to a priest. Then they held him down and smothered him with a feather mattress.10

Parliament met at Westminster on 17 September 1397. Richard was later accused of having used the sheriffs to fix the elections and there is some circumstantial evidence that he had. A great many royal retainers, pensioners and office-holders sat among the Commons together with many clients of the King’s friends and ministers. The rest were overawed by the King’s attendants and business managers. A great gathering of armed men was held in Richard’s presence at Kingston on Thames just before the opening of Parliament. The kernel of the army was the King’s corps of Cheshire archers, rough countrymen, says Thomas Walsingham, who clattered arrogantly along the roads knocking down those who got in their way and swaggering through the streets of London. Since Westminster Hall was being rebuilt the assembly was held in a large marquee in Palace Yard with open sides through which the ranks of soldiers could be seen flanking the building. When the Chancellor, Bishop Stafford of Exeter, rose to deliver the opening address, he took as his theme the words of the prophet Ezekiel. ‘There shall be one King over all of them,’ he intoned, ‘and they shall not be two nations any longer.’ There followed a remarkable oration on the plenitude of the King’s power and the subject’s duty of obedience, which said almost nothing about the business for which Parliament had been summoned. The Commons signalled their complaisance on the following day. They elected as their speaker one of Richard’s most trusted ministers, the eloquent, manipulative and sycophantic Sir John Bussy. He managed most of the proceedings that followed. On Bussy’s proposal the enactment establishing the Commission of Government in 1386 was repealed. The pardons which the King had been induced to grant to the Appellants at the conclusion of the Merciless Parliament of 1388 were revoked. The additional pardon which had been granted to the Earl of Arundel in 1394 was also revoked. The assembly then declared to be treason any case in which a man plotted the death or deposition of the King or ‘rode against the King to wage war within his realm’.11

These preliminaries set the scene for the trial of the three prisoners and of Archbishop Arundel, who had served as their principal adviser during the crisis of 1386–8. The proceedings were brutal even by the standards of the Merciless Parliament on which they were modelled. The Earl of Arundel’s case was dealt with first, on 21 September 1397. His old enemy the Duke of Lancaster presided. Gaunt had the accused stripped of every mark of status and hectored him as he tried to defend himself. The Earl responded with vigour and dignity. But he had no defence except for his pardon and that had been revoked, by ‘King, Lords and us, the faithful Commons’ as Bussy interjected. ‘And where are the faithful Commons?’ Arundel famously retorted. It did him little good. He was sentenced to death after a hearing which cannot have lasted more than a few minutes once the charges had been read. He was beheaded on Tower Hill on the same day. Three days later his brother the Archbishop was condemned unheard and banished from the realm for life. The Pope was later prevailed upon to remove him from his see and appoint the King’s treasurer in his place. On 24 September the Lords embarked on the posthumous trial of the Duke of Gloucester. The forms were nicely observed. Mowbray, summoned to produce the prisoner, declared that he could not because he was dead. On the following day an edited version of Gloucester’s confession was read out in Parliament. He was then declared to have been a traitor and his whole estate forfeited to the King. The Earl of Warwick came last. Brought before the Lords on 28 September, he made a wretched spectacle. Now aged about sixty, he had lost all interest in politics. ‘Sobbing and whining’, he admitted all that was charged against him and begged for his life. He was sentenced to death but reprieved and banished to the Isle of Man.12

After Warwick’s condemnation Parliament was adjourned until the new year. When the proceedings reopened, on 27 January 1398, it was in the small provincial town of Shrewsbury, far away from the tensions of London and close to the palatinate of Cheshire, where the King’s armed strength was concentrated. The whole proceedings of the Merciless Parliament were now declared null and void and the proscriptions renewed against the lesser supporters of Gloucester and his friends. The selection appears to have been fairly arbitrary. The main victims were Sir Thomas Mortimer, Sir John Cheyne and John, Lord Cobham, all of whom were victims of obscure grudges. Mortimer’s offence was to have killed one of De Vere’s lieutenants at the battle of Radcot Bridge. He had taken refuge in Scotland and was beyond the King’s vengeance. Cheyne was an old soldier who had fought in France and was probably arraigned because he had been a retainer and councillor of the Duke of Gloucester. Cobham, a long-standing servant of the Crown now more than eighty years old, was arraigned for having been a member of the Commission of Government of 1386–7. He defended his conduct in a series of sharp exchanges with the King and the Duke of Lancaster. Condemned like the others, he refused to thank the King for commuting his death sentence to lifelong banishment to Jersey. ‘I had hoped to enjoy eternal life rather sooner,’ he said. As for the former Appellants’ followers, who were many, Richard had announced that with the exception of fifty men they would all have pardons, provided that they came forward to admit their offences. But the King refused to identify the fifty men in what was clearly a deliberate attempt to sow insecurity and fear among those who had crossed him in the past or might think of doing so in future. Over the following year more than five hundred men sued out for their pardons, paying substantial fees for the privilege. For Richard these events marked the release of the suppressed hatreds of a decade but they also polarised English opinion and destroyed the unspoken compromise on which English politics had been based since 1389. As Richard later wrote to the Byzantine Emperor, he had ‘collected the might of his prowess, stretched forth his arm against his enemies and by God’s grace and his own valour had trodden on the necks of the proud and arrogant and ground them down like plants underfoot, not just to the bark but even unto the root.’13

The verdicts against the former Appellants and their friends were the prelude to a deliberate reinforcement of the King’s powers and an assertion of central control over the counties which even at the time men called Richard’s ‘tyranny’. Richard rewarded his friends and supporters in a lavish distribution of honours which was designed to make them (in the words of their letters patent) ‘the strength of the King’s sceptre’. No fewer than five new dukes were created by promotions from the existing peerage. Mowbray became Duke of Norfolk and Rutland Duke of Albemarle. The King’s half-brother John Holand, Earl of Huntingdon, became Duke of Exeter while Holand’s brother Thomas, Earl of Kent, became Duke of Surrey. John of Gaunt’s son Bolingbroke was raised from Earl of Derby to Duke of Hereford. Gaunt’s son by Catherine Swynford, who had only recently been legitimised and raised to the peerage as Earl of Somerset, became Marquess of Dorset. Three of the King’s closest friends entered the peerage for the first time: Sir William Scrope, one of the chief authors of the trial of the former Appellants, became Earl of Wiltshire; the King’s long-standing adjutant, Sir Thomas Percy, became Earl of Worcester; and Thomas, Lord Despenser, became Earl of Gloucester. Ralph Neville, the chief rival to the Percys on the northern march, was made Earl of Westmoreland. The wealth of the condemned men, including the vast domains of Warwick and Arundel, was distributed among the promoted dukes to support their new dignities. Richard undoubtedly believed that his destruction of his enemies would bring internal peace to England after the divisions of the past two decades. Outsiders were more sceptical. There is a good deal of evidence that the new regime was disliked and resented and that far from closing a violent chapter in England’s history the King’s revenge had reopened all the old wounds. According to Thomas Walsingham Arundel’s execution was watched by a sympathetic crowd on Tower Hill. Miracles were reported at his tomb in the Austin Friars’ church in the city. The new promotions were widely derided as ‘duketti’.14


Gloucester’s views about the relative strength of France and England were absurd but he was plainly right about the King’s marriage and the long truce with France. No experienced diplomat can have been surprised by the French government’s refusal to resume negotiations for a permanent peace once they had got a binding cessation of hostilities. Indeed, Richard himself seems to have resigned himself to the fact by the summer of 1397. The issue was quietly dropped. But, although the French change of front produced an inevitable cooling in relations with France, both sides remained committed to the truce. Measures were taken to enforce it on the Gascon march, where the perennial anarchy of the region continued to generate violent incidents. A joint diplomatic campaign was undertaken to extend it to Castile and Portugal, where a desultory border war had continued ever since John of Gaunt had made his peace with John of Trastámara; and to Scotland, where an ineffective government struggled to maintain control and the border lords would only sign up to the truce from year to year. Relations between the French and English courts remained correct, even cordial. The forms of friendship were observed. A regular flow of visitors passed across the Channel in both directions. But after the French broke off negotiations for a permanent peace Richard II was no longer willing to identify himself with their wider European ambitions. There was no more talk of sending an English army to join Charles VI in Lombardy. In July 1397, when Charles VI briefly recovered his reason, the French tried to revive the project and sent Renaud de Trie to England to ask for English support. But Richard would have nothing to do with it. In the following year he even made overtures to Gian Galeazzo Visconti.15

Richard proved equally changeable on the subject of the schism. Having undertaken to the Duke of Burgundy to press forward with the voie de cession, he did nothing more to promote it after the summer of 1397. According to Charles VI’s ministers, when the joint Anglo-French embassy reached Rome to present their ultimatum to Boniface IX, the English clergymen on the mission, far from joining in French attempts to push Boniface off his throne, spent much of their time canvassing for ecclesiastical promotion. In May 1397 an English embassy attended the meeting of the German Diet in Frankfurt, ostensibly to drum up support for the French government’s plans to deal with the schism. But their main objective seems to have been to recruit allies for England among the German states and to promote a fantastic scheme, devised by two of the electors, to present Richard II as a candidate for the German throne. In July 1398, after a council of the French church had deliberated for more than a month in Paris under the eyes of Charles VI’s ministers, it was announced that France would withdraw unilaterally from the obedience of the Avignon Pope and would recognise no claimant until there was one whose rights were incontestable. Shortly afterwards a French army arrived in Avignon to lay siege to Benedict XIII in his palace with the support of the college of cardinals and the population of the city. The French pressed Richard for similar action against Boniface IX. But Richard did nothing and ultimately he made his own terms with the Roman Pope.16

The scarcity of documents for these years makes it hard to reconstruct the French ministers’ attitude to Richard’s wayward and changeable diplomacy. But it is clear that even if they could not have Richard II as an ally they were determined that he should not be an enemy. France’s growing ambitions in other directions depended on the maintenance of the truce with England. Genoa received a French governor in 1397. The Queen and the Duke of Burgundy pressed on with their attempts to challenge Gian Galeazzo Visconti’s dominance of the north Italian plain even after it had become clear that the King would be incapable of leading an army across the Alps with or without English assistance. Further south Louis of Anjou struggled to hold on to the kingdom of Naples with intermittent French support, as the revived power of the house of Durazzo gradually overran his territory and penned him into his capital. Some 1,200 French troops were sent in 1398 under Marshal Boucicaut to support the defence of Constantinople. All of these ventures depended on France remaining at peace with England. But the main priority of the French government in these years was to enable the Duke of Burgundy to close his grip on the vast jigsaw of principalities of the German Low Countries lying east and north of Flanders, territories which he was in the process of acquiring for his family by treaty, inheritance or political pressure: Brabant, Hainault, Holland, Zeeland, Limbourg, Luxembourg and the semi-autonomous episcopal cities of Tournai and Cambrai. The whole of this region would fall under Burgundian control in the early fifteenth century. Philip was counting on the long-term acquiescence or at least the passivity of Richard’s government in the face of what on the face of it was a rapid and threatening expansion of France’s reach in northern Europe. In March 1398 Philip’s spokesman, laying out his master’s claims to the government of the duchy before the Estates of Brabant in Brussels, made no secret of this. The sheer scale of Philip’s territorial interests, he said, was the best guarantee of their security against their enemies beyond the Rhine. ‘If needs be my Lord and his heirs will have all the strength of France and England behind him.’17

The Dukes of Berry and Burgundy had another reason to be tender towards Richard II. The truce with England made it possible for them to divert large sums of money from the King’s revenues into their own coffers. The occasion for war taxation had gone in the 1390s but the taxes had not. The aides and the gabelle continued to be collected after the truce of Leulinghem albeit at a somewhat reduced rate. The taille, which was probably the most resented of French taxes, was revived. A taille was levied in 1396 and another in the following year. The revenues of the French state remained exceptionally high for a country at peace, while war expenditure fell to the lowest levels since the 1330s. The Duke of Burgundy, who was the main beneficiary of this policy, doubled his pension from the King within a few weeks of resuming power in 1392 and more than doubled it again by 1397. By the end of the decade he was taking an annual income from the royal Treasury of nearly 80,000 gold francs (about £13,000) in addition to gifts and loans worth at least as much again. These funds enabled Philip to maintain his magnificent state and to pursue his political ambitions beyond France’s eastern and northern frontiers while sheltering his Flemish and Burgundian subjects from the high levels of taxation which prevailed in France. The receipts of the other princes were smaller but still impressive. They enabled the Queen to acquire an ample landed endowment in the Île de France; the Duke of Berry to fill his mansions in Paris, Berry and Auvergne with treasures; and the Duke of Orléans to acquire great landed domains in the Loire valley and Champagne. A river of pensions, gifts and subsidies flowed into the purses of their clients among the court nobility and the higher officials. The magnificence of these years is reflected in the banquets, the buildings, the painted manuscripts, the fabrics and jewellery which dazzled the impressionable Richard II, drew craftsmen, adventurers and professional gamblers from across Europe and made Paris at the end of the fourteenth century the centre of European fashion and luxury.18


What disturbed the comfortable calculations of the Duke of Burgundy was a dramatic breakdown of Richard’s relations with a significant fraction of the English baronage and a fresh crisis in the relations between Louis of Orléans and his uncles.

After the Westminster Parliament of September 1397 Richard II stayed away from Westminster, leading his court in an itinerant existence in the Midlands and the west of England. The enormous dowry of his wife, the confiscated assets of the former Appellants, the proceeds of the sale of pardons and a variety of financial expedients filled his coffers and made him for the time being independent of Parliamentary taxation. Over the following months the King set about consolidating his power. He installed friends and clients in the sheriffs’ offices. He built up a body of retainers of his own in the counties. Meanwhile the day-to-day government of the realm was carried on through a small council consisting almost entirely of permanent officials: the three officers of state, all of them ecclesiastics cast in the compliant mould of the English Church; the King’s old friend and collaborator William Scrope, now Earl of Wiltshire; the lawyers Lawrence Drew and Ralph Selby; and the notorious trio of Sir John Bussy, Sir Henry Green and Sir William Bagot. Walsingham famously described Bussy as ‘brutal beyond measure, overweeningly ambitious and covetous of other men’s property’ and thought that Bagot and Green were no better. Richard’s cousin the Earl of Rutland became the pre-eminent royal favourite. According to Sir William Bagot the King even mused about abdicating in his favour.19

The peerage both old and new was largely excluded from the King’s counsels. Most of them were viewed from Richard’s small circle of friends with suspicion and distrust which at times verged on paranoia. In a private conversation with the King shortly after he had been ordered into exile on the continent Archbishop Arundel told him that he expected that ‘other lords’ would follow him before long. To the Archbishop’s astonishment Richard replied that this was quite possible and that he himself could well be expelled from the realm by his subjects. It is plain that the King believed himself to be in constant danger of an aristocratic coup. He maintained a personal bodyguard of three hundred unruly Cheshire archers, a small standing army which followed him everywhere, with several hundred more in reserve. Walsingham called them ‘rustic brutes … who in their home country would have been thought unworthy to pull their masters’ boots off’. The King’s Cheshire guard was only the most visible symptom of his intense insecurity. ‘Sleep securely while we wake, Dick, and dread nought while we live,’ the captain of his guard was heard to say one day to the nervous King. In March 1398 Richard even instituted a system of censorship by which in theory all letters leaving the country (apart from those dealing with purely commercial business) were to be laid before the Council together with all incoming letters addressed to ‘lords and great men’.20

How far were Richard’s fears justified? In 1397 there was probably very little risk of a coup but sooner or later Richard’s ambitions and methods were bound to generate tensions which would be difficult to contain. Since the twelfth century no English king had succeeded in ruling for very long without the support of the higher nobility. In a society in which wealth and influence were founded on the possession of land, the distribution of the holdings among the major aristocratic families was a matter of great sensitivity. The current pattern of landholding in England, which dated from the tumults of the reign of Edward II and the early years of Edward III, had subsisted for two or three generations. But Richard appeared to be intent on a major redistribution in favour of the Crown and a new nobility which shared his own exalted idea of the Crown. The Earl of Warwick had been dispossessed of the great lordship of Gower in south Wales by a judgment of the King’s Bench in 1396 which bears all the marks of political manipulation. The forfeiture of the entire Beauchamp and Fitzalan estates followed with the fall of Warwick and Arundel the next year. There was more to come. The young Thomas Despenser, the King’s friend and ward whom he had raised to be Earl of Gloucester, was encouraged to claim the vast inheritance confiscated from his ancestors on the fall of Edward II seventy years before. When the young Earl of March was killed in a skirmish in Ireland in 1398 Richard was able to lay hands on the whole Mortimer inheritance in England, Wales and Ireland, including the great Welsh lordship of Denbigh. It is no accident that much of the land that changed hands in these upheavals was in the Welsh march, a region of large, consolidated lordships, yielding valuable revenues and large numbers of soldiers, whose proprietors exercised a degree of personal control that was unusual elsewhere. Richard, who already controlled Chester and Flint, seems to have been consciously trying to enlarge his ‘citadel’ by building up the domains of the Crown and its allies on the march of Wales and the adjacent parts of north-western England. But even in other regions, where the patterns of landholding were more fragmented, Richard’s indifference to long established titles, his ruthlessness in revoking earlier pardons and settled judgments and his determination to revenge himself on those who had been responsible for the humiliations of the 1380s, left few men in England who could feel that their lives were entirely safe or their property secure.21

Richard II’s peerage promotions of September 1397 concealed profound divisions even among those whom he counted as his friends. Some of them completely associated themselves with Richard’s revolution from conviction or ambition or a mixture of the two. Others had more equivocal loyalties. Two of the new dukes, Mowbray and Bolingbroke, had themselves been among the Appellants of 1387. They had received a fresh pardon for their offences, but Mowbray for one doubted whether such instruments were worth much. He had agreed to take part in the prosecution of his former colleagues but had become increasingly uncomfortable about it as the time approached. He had resisted the King’s orders to murder the Duke of Gloucester for as long as he could. He had failed to appear on the first day of the proceedings against Arundel and Warwick. He had publicly objected to the proposal to annul the acts of the Merciless Parliament. Henry Bolingbroke was in some ways in a different position. Richard had never liked him and had never drawn him into his inner circle of advisers or employed him on diplomatic business or other great matters of state. According to Sir William Bagot at his trial in 1399, Richard once told him that Henry ‘was a worthless man at heart and always will be’. But he was the heir to the richest and most powerful noble house in England and second in the line of succession to the throne after his father. He also had a considerable personal following, not only among the many retainers and clients of the house of Lancaster but among a wider public attracted by his charm and his reputation as a jouster and crusader. The truth was that Richard was afraid of him. One day Bolingbroke would come into his father’s inheritance and would be entitled to play a prominent role in public affairs whether as friend or enemy. The King entertained real fears that his cousin would become a focus of opposition to his rule. For his part Bolingbroke is most unlikely to have approved of the Duke of Gloucester’s murder or to have been under any illusions about who was responsible for it. Nor can he have felt confident that Richard’s growing appetite for forfeitures and his sustained assault on the great aristocratic estates would not one day be turned against the house of Lancaster. The atmosphere at court was poisoned by the King’s capricious hatreds, his insecurity and suspicions and terrible outbursts of rage, and by the craven obeisance of those around him. ‘Which of you if Richard had wanted something would have refused to comply or dared to cross him?’ his councillor Sir William Bagot asked his accusers at his trial in 1399.22

It was almost certainly Bagot who proposed a scheme to destroy the house of Lancaster not long after the adjournment of the Westminster Parliament. The plan was to arrest Lancaster and Bolingbroke while the court was at Windsor and put them to death. A compliant Parliament would then be prevailed upon to annul the seventy-year-old statutes which reversed the attainder of Thomas of Lancaster in 1322. Since these statutes were the legal foundation of the Lancastrian estate the result would be to revest the whole of John of Gaunt’s vast landed domain in the Crown. Few things revealed more about the shattering of ancient loyalties than this volte-face by a man who had been a retainer of John of Gaunt, had served in Bolingbroke’s household and years later would be buried beneath a brass showing him wearing the liveried collar of Lancaster. According to Mowbray, who had been privy to the discussions, Bagot’s plan was actively supported by the King, egged on by Scrope and some of the more ambitious new peers who hoped to share in the spoils. The scheme was dropped partly because of opposition from some of Richard’s courtiers, including Mowbray himself, and partly because Mowbray told Bolingbroke about it. The two men met by chance on the road from London to Brentford in December 1397. ‘We are both about to be undone,’ Mowbray said. ‘Why?’, asked Bolingbroke. ‘Because of Radcot Bridge,’ the other replied. Then he disclosed the whole affair. Bolingbroke said that he could not believe that the King was capable of such treachery. Had he not sworn by St. Edward to be a good lord to him? ‘The King has said many things to me on God’s body and I do not trust him any better for that,’ Mowbray replied.23

Mowbray’s words on the Brentford road set off a chain of events which has become famous through the pages of Shakespeare’s Richard II. Bolingbroke reported the encounter to his father, who confronted the King in the new year and demanded an explanation. Richard, caught out while his designs on the house of Lancaster were still half-formed, was forced to abandon them. He denied everything and cast the blame on Bagot, a convenient and loyal scapegoat who was in due course pardoned for his offence and required to enter into bonds undertaking never to propose such a thing again. Richard blamed Mowbray for the debacle and set out to destroy both men. He summoned Bolingbroke before him and demanded to know what Mowbray had said. Bolingbroke produced a ‘bill’ or memorandum recording the encounter. Mowbray’s language, if Bolingbroke had correctly reported it, was certainly slanderous and arguably treasonable. Richard professed to be outraged that anyone should think him capable of compassing the death of the Duke of Lancaster and his son. He directed that the matter should be referred to the adjourned session of Parliament, which was about to meet at Shrewsbury.

Mowbray had evidently not expected this. He had disclosed Bagot’s scheme to Bolingbroke because he regarded him and his father as potential allies against the King. He now concluded that they were determined to ruin him. He laid an ambush for John of Gaunt as he travelled to Shrewsbury and by his own admission would have killed him if Gaunt had not been forewarned and altered his route. He then fled, leaving Bolingbroke to lay his allegations before the Shrewsbury Parliament unanswered. Richard dismissed Mowbray from his service. He stripped him of the offices of Earl Marshal and Admiral of England and ordered his arrest. A special commission, presided over by the Duke of Lancaster and filled with Mowbray’s enemies, was created by statute to deal with the matter after the assembly had been dissolved and was vested with all the powers of Parliament for that purpose. Shortly after Parliament dispersed Mowbray gave himself up and was imprisoned at Windsor castle. The Commission heard out both men. Bolingbroke expanded his allegations against Mowbray, accusing him of having treacherously neglected the defence of Calais and embezzled the King’s funds. Moving into territory which he must have known was exceptionally sensitive for the King, he added the charge thatMowbray had been responsible for the murder of the Duke of Gloucester. Mowbray denied everything. The Commission, unable or perhaps unwilling to take evidence on these matters, ordered the issues to be tried ‘by the laws of chivalry’. A judicial duel was to be held at Coventry on 16 September 1398. Since the charge was treason the occasion was likely to end with the death or execution of one or other combatant.24

On the appointed day the two champions appeared before the Constable and the Marshal of England at Gosford Green beneath the walls of Coventry. They entered the lists encased from head to toe in armour manufactured by Europe’s foremost armourers. The two men announced their names and stated their quarrel. Each swore to the truth of his own version of events. The King watched from a stand, surrounded by the members of the Parliamentary commission and by a crowd of courtiers, officials and dignitaries. Their numbers were swollen by men who had travelled from Scotland, France, the Low Countries and all over England to witness the spectacle of the age. The duel was to be fought on foot in accordance with the usual practice. When the heralds gave the signal Bolingbroke advanced towards his enemy, making a sign of the cross and holding his lance against his thigh.Mowbray stood motionless waiting for the attack. But, unknown to most of those present, Richard had already decided that he could not risk a fight to the finish. A victory for Mowbray would have revived controversy over the responsibility for the murder of the Duke of Gloucester, while a victory for Bolingbroke would have boosted the political standing of a dangerous rival. Before the two combatants came to blows the King rose from his seat and cried ‘Ho’. Everything stopped. The contestants’ weapons were taken away. They were conducted back to their seats.

For two hours nothing happened. Then the Brittany herald appeared and called for silence. Sir John Bussy, reading from a long roll, announced that the King had resolved to take the resolution of the dispute upon himself. By the authority of the Parliamentary Commission he condemned both men. Bolingbroke was declared guilty of no offence, but Richard banished him from the realm for ten years ‘for the peace and tranquillity of himself, his kingdom and his subjects’. There was an immediate uproar from the crowd, most of whom were Bolingbroke’s supporters. The herald had to call for silence again before Bussy could be heard announcing that Mowbray had been found guilty of repeated acts of disloyalty towards the King. For these he was banished for life to fight on the marches of Christendom in Prussia, Hungary or the middle east for the rest of his days. ‘We might as well have gone to the Parliament at Shrewsbury after all,’ Mowbray was heard to say to his followers as they left the field, ‘if we had, we should both have been put to death like the Earl of Arundel.’25


The dispute between Mowbray and Bolingbroke had been followed in France with fascination and dismay. Charles VI’s Council was fed with regular news and gossip by French diplomats visiting England and by members of the young Queen’s French household. Isolated in a foreign country, surrounded by a people who regarded them as schismatics and enemies, these people took a profoundly gloomy view of the future of their adoptive country. Pierre Salmon, a clerk in Isabelle’s household, was afraid to travel in the English countryside without an escort because of the collapse of law and order and the unpopularity of the French. In Paris there was mounting concern about the situation. At the time of the Shrewsbury Parliament a delegation of French knights had been present in England charged with the delivery of gifts and messages of goodwill to Richard and his Queen. They returned in the spring of 1398 with reports that the whole country was ‘shaken by discord and rebellion and threatened by black storms’. The Duke of Berry wondered out loud about the implications for the truce. The declining yield of the aides troubled him, he said, ‘in view of the way that the English are carrying on their affairs’. In August, shortly before Bolingbroke and Mowbray were due to fight their duel, the French royal Council sent one of their number, Nicholas Paynel, to England to discuss current issues between the two governments. He was instructed to raise the question of the duel with Richard as a matter of urgency. Charles VI, he was to say, was distressed by the prospect of a fight to the death between two men so closely related to the King, especially as the occasion for it seemed so trivial. ‘Hurtful words are sometimes lightly uttered by decent men whose loyalty can at bottom be relied upon. In such matters a King may be wise to show a little flexibility and worldly indulgence.’ The Count of Saint-Pol, who had so often acted as an informal go-between, was sent to England, presumably with a similar message. He was with the King at Coventry. The Duke of Burgundy was surely responsible for their instructions. How little he understood Richard’s complex, brooding personality. The English King’s response is not recorded.26

In October 1398 Bolingbroke sailed from Dover for France, followed by a large household and a considerable baggage train. He settled in Paris, where he could remain close to English affairs. Bolingbroke was a well-known figure in France. He had jousted with the paragons of French chivalry at Saint-Ingelvert and fought beside them in Prussia. He was warmly received at court, feasted by the King’s uncles and installed with his household in the deserted grandeur of Olivier de Clisson’s mansion. From here he set about finding allies among the French princes. He made a confidant of the Duke of Berry. Within a short time of his arrival he was negotiating with the Duke for the hand of his daughter Marie, the widow of the Count of Eu who had died at Nicopolis. Reports of Bolingbroke’s reception in France and his possible engagement caused much irritation at the court of Richard II. The Earl of Salisbury, who was in the French capital to discuss the instalments of Queen Isabelle’s dowry, was instructed to protest. The Duke of Burgundy intervened to avert a diplomatic row with England. The offer of Marie’s hand was withdrawn.27

On 3 February 1399 John of Gaunt died at the age of fifty-nine at his castle at Leicester. The chroniclers barely paused to reflect on the disappearance of a man who had dominated English politics for most of the past twenty-five years. His death was quickly overtaken by more dramatic events. On 18 March 1399, just two days after Gaunt’s funeral in St. Paul’s, Richard declared before a Great Council at Westminster that Bolingbroke’s banishment was extended to the rest of his life and that all the possessions of the house of Lancaster were forfeited to the Crown. The men gathered to hear this announcement swore to uphold the decision. Even the Earl of Rutland, who was one of the main beneficiaries of the deed, observed that it would ‘astonish the world’. The victim of the King’s decree was the first man in the realm. It was a direct affront to universal notions about the security of property rights. It was promulgated without any form of legal process. No justification was ever asserted for it. Richard claimed the authority of theParliamentary Commission. But he was obliged to tamper with the record of the Shrewsbury Parliament in order to confer powers on the Commission which had never been envisaged when it was created. Richard’s motive was no doubt the same as the one which had impelled him to banish Bolingbroke in the first place: fear of an opponent and potential rival. But there was also a large element of territorial empire-building. The duchy of Lancaster and the three Lancastrian lordships in Wales were major building blocks in the King’s expanding ‘citadel’ in the Welsh march and north-western England. At the same time Richard took steps to exclude Bolingbroke from the succession to the throne. Even as a disinherited exile Bolingbroke would always find ambitious men to support him if he was likely to be the next King of England. The only other person with a colourable claim was the infant heir of the Mortimer Earls of March, whose right was derived from the daughter of Edward III’s second son Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence. Richard had once toyed with the idea of promoting the claims of the Mortimers but in 1399 his preferred successor was his cousin and favourite Rutland. Richard never formally designated an heir but in his will he made it clear that he expected to be succeeded by Rutland’s ageing and ineffective father Edmund Langley, Duke of York, whom Rutland would sooner or later succeed.28

Sir William Bagot was one of many in England who was frightened by the turn that events were taking. Determined to hunt with the hounds and run with the hare, Bagot wrote a private letter to Bolingbroke in Paris with an oblique warning of what was about to happen. The King, he said, was his sworn enemy. There was no other course open to him now but force. The news of Bolingbroke’s dispossession reached the French capital a few days after this missive, probably at about the end of March. Bolingbroke resolved to assert his right to his father’s inheritance by force. He had some able professional soldiers with him in Paris. They included Sir Thomas Erpingham, who had fought with John of Gaunt in Scotland, at Brest and in Portugal and Castile, and had accompanied Bolingbroke’s crusade in Prussia in 1390; and Sir John Norbury, another veteran of the Prussian crusade with nearly three decades of soldiering behind him who had been one of the captains of the English troops at Aljubarotta. Bolingbroke made contact with his friends and retainers in England. He approached Archbishop Arundel, then in exile in the Dutch town of Utrecht, who came to join him in Paris. The Archbishop brought with him his nephew Thomas Fitzalan, the heir of the executed Earl of Arundel, who had recently escaped from custody in England. What he needed was a port of embarkation on the French coast and allies in the French government, who would allow him to pursue his preparations undisturbed. The business of Marie de Berry had shown that he could not expect any help from the Duke of Burgundy. The Duke of Berry, never a man to challenge his brother’s views, merely urged caution and resignation on his English protégé. So Bolingbroke turned to the Duke of Orléans.29

After years of finding his ambitions thwarted and his voice unheard, Louis of Orléans had recently embarked on an overt campaign of opposition to the government of his uncles. Louis forged personal alliances with the Emperor and the German princes which cut across Burgundian policy in the Low Countries. He resisted the attempts of Burgundy and Berry to force Benedict XIII from his throne and secretly reached an accommodation with the beleaguered Avignon Pope. He became a persistent contrariant, opposing whatever the Duke of Burgundy favoured. Tempers frayed in the royal Council. ‘Hatreds, jealousies and quarrels’ were reported between Louis and the Duke of Burgundy. The pacific Duke of Berry was harangued by his nephew with a violence of language which shocked the older man’s attendants. For much of this time Charles VI was ‘absent’ behind the closed doors of his apartments in the Hôtel Saint-Pol. But in February 1399 the King recovered his senses after nearly a year of illness and remained intermittently sane for several months. Shortly afterwards a virulent epidemic of bubonic plague hit the capital, causing most of the princes to flee to their suburban mansions or distant domains. It was a critical moment. Louis stayed in Paris and made his bid for power. He worked on his enfeebled brother in his intervals of coherence. Charles’s official correspondence described the two men as ‘inseparable’. Shortly Louis acquired a degree of ascendency over the King which enabled him briefly to take control of the machinery of government. For a few months Louis took over the conduct of French diplomacy. He also set about entrenching his position for the future, partially refashioning the administration and putting his own clients into critical departments, especially the financial departments hitherto dominated by protégés of the Duke of Burgundy.30

Louis of Orléans’s attitude to England was as complex as anything else in his impulsive life. To some extent his hostility to Richard II was the mirror image of Philip of Burgundy’s support for him, but there was more to it than that. Richard himself had deeply imbibed the anti-Orléanist propaganda of Philip of Burgundy’s circle. He took it as fact that Louis was bent on usurping the French throne and that Charles’s illness had been caused by his experiments with sorcerers. He had openly spoken about it at the summit meeting with the French King on the march of Calais. For his part, Louis had no reason to think well of Richard II or the deal which France had done with him in 1396. It had been Philip’s deal, designed to protect Philip’s interests. In Louis’s mind it was associated mainly with the scheme for a joint Anglo-French attack on his father-in-law, a venture which was aimed indirectly against himself. In 1398 the land-hungry Duke of Orléans found another quarrel with Richard II when he began to interest himself in the provinces of the Gascon march. Louis became the King’s lieutenant on the march and took over control of the French garrisons there. He was probably behind the French invasion of Périgord in that year, which resulted in the expulsion of Archambaut VI, the last of its independent counts. He was certainly responsible for Archambaut’s dispossession by order of the Parlement, which occurred while he was in power in Paris, and for procuring the grant of the county to himself shortly afterwards. The Counts of Périgord had had a guarded understanding with Richard’s officers in Bordeaux for some years. Archambaut at once made his way to England to find help.31

Louis of Orléans had assiduously courted Henry Bolingbroke ever since his arrival in Paris. He gave a great banquet in his honour. He supported his attempts to marry Marie de Berry even after the project had been vetoed by her father and uncle. The two men exchanged gifts of horses and jewellery. Bolingbroke was popular at the French court and widely regarded as the victim of a gross injustice. In May 1399 Richard clumsily added to the number of Bolingbroke’s supporters. He dismissed his Queen’s governess, Margaret Dame de Courcy, together with most of her French attendants, whom he accused of extravagance and indiscretion. At the same time he transferred Isabelle’s household from Windsor to the dismal fortress of Wallingford in Oxfordshire. The news of this action caused outrage in France. It may well have cost Richard the support of the Duke of Berry and the King himself. On 17 June 1399 Louis of Orléans entered into a secret alliance with Henry Bolingbroke by which each of them bound himself to support the other against his enemies. In point of form the English King was excluded from the enemies against whom the treaty was directed but this was a sham, as both parties knew. Later, when the two men had fallen out, Bolingbroke declared that he had told Louis at the time about his plans to invade England and had received the French prince’s promise of support. The evidence, such as it is, suggests that this was true. But Bolingbroke seems to have told Orléans that he planned a rebellion, not a coup d’état. When other councillors of Charles VI expressed their misgivings he swore that he had no intention of trying to topple Richard from his throne.32

In an act of uncharacteristic self-confidence or perhaps of hubristic folly, Richard II chose this moment to fulfil a long-standing commitment to return to Ireland and complete the subjugation of the Irish chiefs which he had begun four years before. On 29 May 1399 the King sailed from Milford in Wales, accompanied by a small army which incorporated the whole of his Cheshire guard; and by most of his closest friends among the nobility including Rutland, Salisbury and the new Earls of Worcester and Gloucester. He also took with him Bolingbroke’s eldest son Henry of Monmouth (the future Henry V) as a hostage for his father’s good behaviour. As soon as the news of Richard’s departure had reached Paris Bolingbroke and Archbishop Arundel left the city with their companions. They paused at the royal abbey of Saint-Denis to receive the blessing of the Abbot and the community upon his enterprise, a courtesy arranged for him by the Duke of Berry. The Abbot clearly knew what Bolingbroke was about for he asked him to arrange for the restitution of one of the abbey’s confiscated priories in England. The English party then made for Boulogne. About 300 men-at-arms had gathered there by the water’s edge. Some ten or twelve English merchant ships were commandeered in the port to embark them. Bolingbroke gave out he was bound for Castile. But it is unlikely that anyone was deceived. No one lifted a finger to stop him. The garrison of Boulogne looked on impassively.33

In England the government had been left in the incapable hands of Edmund Langley, Duke of York. With him was a small group of Richard’s councillors: the new Earl of Wiltshire, William Scrope, assisted by Bussy, Bagot and Green. They had no inkling of what was happening until 28 June, when the first reports reached Westminster of hostile forces gathering in Picardy. The sheriffs were ordered to raise troops urgently in their counties and send them to gather under the Duke of York’s command at Ware in Hertfordshire. By that time Bolingbroke’s fleet had already sailed. The ships hovered for a time off the south coast. A detachment was landed at Pevensey on the Sussex coast to seize the Lancastrian castle there. The Duke of York ordered the recapture of Pevensey. Then, believing that the rest of Henry’s fleet had headed west, he set off after them. In fact Bolingbroke had sailed east from Pevensey, passed through the Channel and landed on about 30 June at the mouth of the Humber in Yorkshire. Most of the confiscated castles and estates of the house of Lancaster were concentrated in the north. Within days their stewards and keepers had rallied to their former master. Bolingbroke made first for the Lancastrian castle of Pickering and then for his father’s castle of Knaresborough. By the middle of July he had occupied the immense Lancastrian fortress of Pontefract. Lancastrian retainers came to join him from across the northern counties.

On 16 July 1399 Henry met the Earl of Northumberland and his son Hotspur in the Augustinian house at Doncaster. Henry went to great lengths to draw the Percys to his cause. He disclaimed any intention to depose Richard or seek the crown for himself. He declared that he sought no more than the inheritance of his father. He laid out a moderate programme for restraining the government of the King, reforming his household and dismissing his Cheshire guard. Weakened and impoverished by the relative calm on the Scottish border and stripped of their traditional authority in the north, the Percys were natural allies of Bolingbroke. Like other noblemen, they could see that they might be the next victims of Richard’s destruction of solid titles to land. They threw in their lot with the invader. Their example was followed by much of the baronage of the north. By the end of July Bolingbroke’s army had swollen from the original 300 men to about 3,000, almost all from the Midlands and north of England. The rest of the country held its breath and waited to see which side would gain the upper hand.34

The Duke of York’s messenger reached Richard II at Dublin on about 10 July 1399 with news of the landings. There was a scramble to return to England, which was frustrated by shortage of shipping. Most of the fleet which had brought the King to Ireland in June had withdrawn and there were no ships of any size available in Ireland. So an advance party was formed and put under the command of the Earl of Salisbury. Salisbury was appointed governor of Cheshire and north Wales. His orders were to take what few ships were available and make for the royal fortress of Conway on the north Wales coast. There he was to recruit fresh forces in the principality and use them to secure Cheshire for the King. Salisbury left on his mission on about 17 July, leaving the King to find his own way across the Irish Sea. The delay proved to be disastrous to Richard’s cause. Rumours spread that he had fled or died. As a result many of his natural supporters gave up or acknowledged Bolingbroke. The Welsh companies who had been summoned to meet Salisbury at Conway had been led to believe that they would find the King there. When they discovered their error they melted away. ‘We will not fight for you,’ they told the Earl.35

The only other forces available to confront Bolingbroke’s swelling army were those recruited by the Duke of York. About 3,000 men had answered York’s summons at Ware. By the middle of July they had reached Oxford. The Duke of York, who had no idea where or when Richard would return, held a council of war. It was decided to split the army into two in order to cover the most likely eventualities. One force was sent with Scrope, Bussy and Green to occupy Bristol. York himself marched west with the rest, apparently making for south Wales. When these movements were reported to Bolingbroke he set out in pursuit. York seems to have learned of Bolingbroke’s approach somewhere near Gloucester. At this point his nerve failed him. Bolingbroke’s army was considerably larger than his own. So he turned south to join Scrope at Bristol. On 27 July Bolingbroke caught up with him at Berkeley castle. The two men met in the nearby parish church under a flag of truce. York’s heart was not in the campaign. He had never been close to Richard. He is unlikely to have approved of Richard’s methods of government, still less of his forfeiture of the Lancastrian domains. He was no soldier. His forces were divided and his troops were beginning to desert in large numbers. So he agreed to throw in his lot with his nephew. The two of them marched on Bristol with their combined forces. The constable of the castle opened his gates to them. Sir William Bagot managed to escape and find a ship bound for Ireland. But Scrope, Bussy and Green were found in the castle and arrested. They were summarily tried on the following morning, 29 July, and beheaded outside the castle gates before an enthusiastic crowd.36

Richard II sailed into Milford Haven on about 26 July 1399. He was accompanied by Rutland, Despenser, the Holand brothers and most of the army which had been with him in Ireland. By the time that Richard finally landed his cause was lost. He headed east towards Carmarthen and installed himself in Whitland Abbey, not far from the town. As the successive tidings arrived of Bolingbroke’s triumphant advance, his men began to desert in large numbers. Despenser was sent to find more troops among his tenants in Glamorgan. None of them would fight for him. Shortly, the news arrived of the Duke of York’s desertion and the surrender of Bristol. Richard no longer trusted anyone. Doubting the loyalty of his troops and believing that he was about to be betrayed to his enemies, he lost his nerve. He thought of fleeing to Gascony and then dropped the idea. Finally, in the first few days of August, he fled in the middle of the night disguised as a priest and accompanied by only fifteen companions to join the Earl of Salisbury at Conway. When Sir Thomas Percy, the steward of his household, found him gone the next morning he wept uncontrollably, broke his rod of office and told the King’s followers that they were free to go.37

Richard arrived at Conway to find that the army which Salisbury was supposed to have recruited in north Wales did not exist. Salisbury controlled nothing beyond the walls of the castle and its twin fortress of Beaumaris across the bay. Neither place was properly victualled or garrisoned for a siege. Meanwhile Bolingbroke had effortlessly occupied Chester. Richard sent the Holand brothers there to protest at his acts and, perhaps, to explore the scope for a compromise. But they were at once arrested and confined in Chester castle. The Frenchman Jean Creton, a valet de chambre of the Duke of Burgundy who was serving in Salisbury’s household, remembered their ashen, tearful faces and their inability even now to accept that all was lost (‘I will summon men from all of Wales’). In the second week of August 1399 Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, who had now emerged as Bolingbroke’s principal lieutenant, advanced on Conway castle with a substantial force of men-at-arms and archers. Holt, Flint and Rhuddlan, the only substantial fortresses between Conway and Chester, surrendered to him with little or no resistance. Leaving his army encamped a few miles from Conway, Northumberland approached the castle by boat with a handful of attendants. He was admitted and brought into Richard’s presence.

What happened next is obscured by the conflicting propaganda of the two sides. It is, however, very likely that, whatever his original intentions may have been, Bolingbroke had by now decided to depose Richard and seize the crown for himself. It would have been too dangerous to leave Richard on his throne to choose his moment for revenge. Although Northumberland would later deny it, it is inconceivable that he was not privy to Bolingbroke’s plan. According to the most plausible account Northumberland tricked Richard into leaving the protection of the castle. He offered him a deal under which he would retain his throne on three conditions: that Bolingbroke would be allowed to receive his inheritance; that a Parliament would be summoned to Westminster at which five of Richard’s leading councillors, including the Holands and the Earl of Salisbury, would be tried for treason; and that Bolingbroke himself would preside at their trial as hereditary Lord High Steward of England. Richard reflected on these proposals for several days and finally accepted them. Before leaving the castle he made Northumberland swear on the consecrated host that no deceit would be practised on him. The truth was that each of them was intent on double-crossing the other. Northumberland knew that the days of Richard’s reign would be numbered once he fell into Bolingbroke’s hands. Richard for his part assured his attendants that he had no intention of abiding by the agreement he had made with the Earl. ‘Rest assured that whatever assurances I may give him he will suffer death for this outrage … believe me, there will be no Parliament at Westminster on this matter.’ Northumberland escorted the King with every outward mark of deference to the castle of Flint, where Richard had a brief and frigid interview with Bolingbroke. He was then taken to Chester. Any pretence that he was a free agent was now abandoned. He was locked in a turret of Chester castle and then brought south to London, where he was lodged under guard in the Tower.38

Richard II finally sealed the instrument of abdication in the Tower in Bolingbroke’s presence on 29 September 1399. According to a sympathetic chronicler he insisted to the end that he would not resign his crown to his rival but only to God, from whom he had received it. At the conclusion of the interview he took it from his head and placed it on the ground. The instrument was presented to Parliament on the following day. Unusually for a medieval ruler, Richard was fascinated and obsessed by the past. He was well aware of the tradition of aristocratic rebellion of which he was the latest victim and knew a good deal about the history of King John, Henry III and Edward II. ‘What a strange and fickle land this is,’ he told the chronicler Adam of Usk who visited him in his prison, ‘which has banished, killed or ruined so many of its kings, rulers and great men and has ever been tarnished with strife and envy.’39

Bolingbroke was crowned at Westminster as King Henry IV on 13 October 1399. On this occasion there was very little retribution against the defeated party. Several of Richard’s closest counsellors were already dead. Mowbray, who had left England for the Holy Land a year before, had died of disease on his way back through Venice a week before the abdication, apparently ignorant of all that had happened in his absence. The acts of Richard’s last Parliament were formally reversed and the confiscated estates of Gloucester, Arundel and Warwick were restored to their heirs. John Hall, a lowly servant of Mowbray’s who had stood at the door as the Duke of Gloucester was suffocated, was tried in Parliament and condemned to be drawn, hanged and quartered ‘since the Duke of Gloucester was so great a man’. Sir William Bagot, who had escaped to Ireland when Bristol fell to Bolingbroke, was brought back in irons but was saved from the same fate by his eloquence and his past connections with the house of Lancaster.40

The six surviving peers who had presented the Appeals against Gloucester, Arundel and Warwick in 1397 and connived in the forfeiture of the Lancastrian estate were tried in Parliament in an atmosphere of anger and emotion which revealed more than anything else how far the last two years of Richard’s reign had aroused antagonisms within the political community. They were stripped of their new lands and titles but their lives were spared and they were allowed to retain what they had had before 1397. Four of them, Salisbury, Despenser and the two Holands, were lynched by mobs the following January when they tried to start a rebellion against the new regime and restore Richard II to his throne. Their folly cost them not only their own lives but Richard’s. Few deposed kings of the middle ages survived long into the reigns of their successors. Their continued existence offered a rallying point for rebellion which was too potent to be ignored. The deposed King was taken to the Lancastrian castle of Pontefract at the beginning of January and was dead within days of his arrival. There was no judicial inquiry into Richard’s death as there had been into Gloucester’s. But the weight of the evidence is that he was starved to death by his jailers on the instructions of Henry IV. The new King had his body carried processionally to London with his face exposed in an open bier so that all would know that he was truly dead.41

The first news of events in England reached the French court through Flemish and Italian merchants. Then, during October and November 1399, the Dame de Courcy arrived in Paris with her entourage from Wallingford, followed by a trickle of other French refugees who had served in English royal and noble households. They brought with them fuller accounts, spiced with the embellishments of Richard II’s friends and supporters. Many came back with tales of the hatred of the English population for France and its people. ‘I would not want all the wealth of England if I had to spend my life there, so much do they resent the French,’ said one of them, who had worked as a clerk in Bolingbroke’s household. Some of the returning exiles wrote up their experiences into rhetorical histories of the revolution, overtly designed to stir up sympathy for Richard II. The Earl of Salisbury’s French valet Jean Creton, who had witnessed the dramatic events at Conway castle, venerated Richard as the man who ‘loved the French people with all his heart’. He returned to France to write a prolix narrative in verse of Richard’s martyrdom. Another Frenchman, serving in the household of Richard’s friend John Holand, Duke of Exeter, penned a tendentious account of the last two years of Richard’s reign under the title of The Betrayal and Death of Richard II. These accounts were widely read outside England and almost universally believed. They fed a generalised hostility to England and its people which found its way into the final pages of Froissart’s chronicle and the verses of Eustache Deschamps.42

The sense of shock which is palpable in French accounts was due in part to outrage at the idea of deposing an anointed king, something which the English had now done twice in the past century but which the French never contemplated even at the lowest point of their mad King’s fortunes. ‘O detestabile monstrum’, cried the official chronicler of Saint-Denis. But an even more important factor in French minds was the widespread misconception that Richard had been deposed because of his support for peace with France. The charges levelled against Richard in Parliament in fact made no allegations about his conduct of foreign policy but in France men were convinced that he was accused of abandoning Brest and Cherbourg to their former owners and of entering into the twenty-eight-year truce without the consent of his subjects. Charles VI’s ministers had for years regarded Richard II as the solitary barrier against the tide of English francophobia. They were obsessed by the English King’s dispute with the Duke of Gloucester, which had received extensive publicity in their country. They assumed that Bolingbroke’s supporters must have hated Richard for the same reasons as Gloucester had. For many years the received opinion on the continent was that the deposition of Richard II was a declaration of war. So, when the news of Henry IV’s coronation was confirmed, the French King’s ministers at once reinforced the garrisons on the marches of Calais and Aquitaine. The Duke of Burgundy sent his brother Berry a summary of the latest reports from across the Channel. He found them so troubling that he insisted that Berry should burn it as soon as it had been read. ‘Truth to tell, my dear brother,’ Berry replied, ‘it is a great tragedy and a signal misfortune for our country. For as you well know, Lancaster governs by the will of the English people and the English people like nothing better than war.’43

Royal House of England

(not complete)

Royal Houses of Castile and Portugal

(not complete)

II Aquitaine

III Paris

IV Brittany and the Cotentin

V Flanders and the Low Countries

VI The Scottish border

VII Castile, Navarre and Portugal


1 Atiya, 82–99; Froissart, Chron. (KL), xv, 330–2; Paviot (2003), 40–2.

2 Froissart, Chron. (KL), xvi, 2; Mézières, ‘Épistre lamentable’, 444, 446–7, 451–2, 454, 458.

3 Parl. Rolls, vii, 312–13 (7–11).

4 Chron. r. St.-Denis, ii, 532. Brittany: Jones (1970), 137–9; Lettres de rois, ii, 282–3; PPC, i, 66–7; Foed., vii, 852–3; John IV, Actes, nos. 1097–1100. Calais: Froissart, Chron. (KL), xvi, 15. Embassy: PRO C76/81, m. 4; E364/32, m. 4d (Holme); E364/34, m. 4d (Retford); E364/36, m. 1 (Sturmy).

5 Foed., vii, 850–1; Chaplais, Eng. Med. Dipl. Practice, no. 58.

6 Chron. r. St.-Denis, ii, 476; Chron. traïson, 1–2; Froissart, Chron. (KL), xvi, 2–5.

7 Froissart, Chron. (KL), xvi, 7–8, 15–20.

8 Walsingham, Ann., 201–6; Eulogium, iii, 371–2; Hist. Vitae, 137; Chron. traïson, 7 (Coldharbour); CCR 1396–9, 197; CPR 1396–9, 241.

9 Walsingham, Ann., 207; Foed., viii, 6–7; PRO CHES 2/70, m. 7d; Parl. Rolls, vii, 403 (2), viii, 82 (4), 83 (6), 84 (8).

10 Parl. Rolls, vii, 411–14 (7), viii, 43–7 (92), 87 (11–15), and Bagot’s ‘bill’ of 1399 in Great Chron. London, 76. The full version of Gloucester’s confession is at Rot. Parl., iii, 378–9. For the announced date of death, see Lincolnshire inquisition (the only one to be returned during the session of Parliament): Cal. Inq. P.M., xvii, no. 1036.

11 Parl. Rolls, vii, 341, 344–9 (1, 8–13), viii, 19 (36); Walsingham, Ann., 208, 420; CCR 1396–9, 210; Foed., viii, 14; Hist. Vitae, 140; Usk, Chron., 22–4. Membership: Hist. Parl., i, 197–208.

12 Parl. Rolls, vii, 403–16 (1–8); Eulogium, iii, 374–7; Hist. Vitae, 141–5 and Usk, Chron., 26–32, 34 (drawing on a common source); Walsingham, Ann., 214–16, 219–20; CPR 1396–9, 211. On Bussy: ibid., 209, 210.

13 Parl. Rolls, vii, 363–4 (47), 417–20 (9–10); Usk, Chron., 20, 38, 40; Hist. Vitae, 138–9, 142, 144, 147; Walsingham, Ann., 224–5; Eulogium, iii, 376; PRO C67/30; Official Correspondence of Thomas Beckington, ed. G. Williams, i (1872), 285–7. On Cheyne: Roskell (1981–3), ii, 79–81.

14 Parl. Rolls, vii, 358–9 (35); Walsingham, Ann., 216–19, 222–3; Eulogium, iii, 377; Saul (1997), 388–90.

15 Gascony: Foed., viii, 43; Le Bis, ‘Pratique’, no. 4 [7–14]; PRO DL28/3/5, fol. 11; Castile, Portugal: *Daumet, 207–9. Scotland: Chaplais, Eng. Med. Dipl. Practice, no. 58 (p. 85); Foed., vii, 850, viii, 17–18, 35–6, 50–1, 54–7, 65–6, 69–70, 72. Italy: Arch. Stat. Lucca Reg., ii.2, nos. 1810, 1855, 1872, 1895; Bueno de Mesquita, 634–6, *637;Cal. S.P. Milan, i, no. 2; Bouard, 231 (confused chronology).

16 *Perroy (1933), 416–18, 384–7; Valois (1896–1902), iii, 150–84, 190–200. German throne: Walsingham, Ann., 199–200; Foed., vii, 854–6; Perroy (1933), 342–3, 382–3; Bueno de Mesquita, 631–4.

17 Italy: Chronographia, iii, 149–50; *Moranvillé (1888), 357; Bouard, 213–14, 219–20, 224–6, 227–30, 233–8. Constantinople: Livre fais Bouciquaut, 132–5; Chron. r. St.-Denis, ii, 690–2; Delaville le Roulx, i, 359–64. Low Countries: Laurent & Quicke, ch. III, V, VII–X; Vaughan, 100–11; *Froissart, Chron. (KL), xiii, 342–5, esp. 343 (date:Itin. Ph. le Hardi, 272; Cartellieri, 84–5).

18 Rey (1965), i, 392, ii, 437–42, 454–7, 467–8, 472–86, 579–604, 608–12; Nieuwenhuysen, i, 194–5, ii, 372–83 (his figures do not include gifts in kind or direct payments on ducal projects such as the new castle at Sluys); Pocquet (1939)[2]; Pocquet (1940–1); Vaughan, 230–2; Nordberg, 20–22; Avout, 62–3; David, 55–71, 148–55.

19 Foed., viii, 281; Parl. Rolls, viii, 18 (30), 19 (35); Walsingham, Ann., 209, 222–3; Given-Wilson (1986), 135, 214–26; Saul (1997), 383–4; Tuck (1973), 198–9.

20 Parl. Rolls, viii, 23 (50); Davies, 268–9; Gillespie (1979), 19; Walsingham, Ann., 208, 237; *Clarke, 163–4; CCR 1396–9, 288.

21 Glamorgan County History, iii, 253–5; Parl. Rolls, vii, 381–7 (62–6), 388–9 (71–2); Dunn (2002), 166–9; Davies, 257–64.

22 Parl. Rolls, vii, 354–5 (27), viii, 424; Walsingham, Ann., 304–5.

23 Parl. Rolls, vii, 369–70 (53), 420–2 (11) (Mowbray’s account to Bolingbroke), confirmed in its essential respects by CPR 1396–9, 285, 317; CCR 1396–9, 291, 292; Walsingham, Ann., 308 (Bagot’s admissions at his trial in Oct. 1399).

24 Eulogium, iii, 379; CPR 1396–9, 285, 317; CCR 1396–9, 249, 281–2, 291, 292; Parl. Rolls, vii, 369 (53), 389 (73), 392 (79); Usk, Chron., 48; Chron. traïson, 12–17.

25 Parl. Rolls, vii, 421–5 (11); Chron. traïson, 12–23. Armour: Froissart, Chron. (KL), xvi, 95–6; cf. PRO DL28/1/6, fol. 43.

26 Salmon, ‘Lamentacions’, 65; Chron. r. St.-Denis, ii, 668–72; Vote de soustraction, i, 53; *Le Bis, ‘Pratique’, no. 4[2–5]; Chron. traïson, 19.

27 Chron. r. St.-Denis, ii, 674–6; CCR 1396–9, 339; Foed., viii, 48–50; Froissart, Chron. (KL), xvi, 115, 132, 141–51; AN KK253, fol. 80; Creton, ‘Metr. Hist.’, 374–5. For Salisbury’s mission: Foed., viii, 52; PRO E364/32, m. 5 (Bp. Carlisle).

28 Parl. Rolls, vii, 398–400 (87, 89), 428; viii, 81–3 (3–6); Great Chron. London, 76; Foed., viii, 77.

29 Great Chron. London, 77; Chron. r. St.-Denis, ii, 676, 704–6; Walsingham, Ann., 241–2. Companions: Given-Wilson (1986), 190. Erpingham: Curry, 60–2. Norbury: Hist. Parl., iii, 844–6; M. Barber, 66–8.

30 D. of Burgundy: Juvénal, Hist., 135; Chron. r. St.-Denis, ii, 564–70; Choix de pièces, i, 140–2; Nordberg, 152, 157–8, 163–4, 166–7. Papacy: Vote de soustraction, 51–2; Alpartil, Chron., 88–91; Lehoux, ii, 413; Ehrle, ‘Neue Materialen’, vii, 93–4. Louis’s takeover: Chron. r. St.-Denis, ii, 678, 684, 692; AN J517/2A (memorandum of ca. Sept. 1399); Lehoux, ii, 416–17, 418–19; Salmon, ‘Lamentacions’, 47–8; Nordberg, 44, 53–4, 55–6. Itineraries at Itin. Ph. le Hardi, 286–93; Lehoux, ii, 416n1, iii, 487–9; Troubat, ii, 813.

31 Richard’s views: Salmon, ‘Lamentacions’, 55–6; Coville (1932), 337–8. Périgord: Gall. Reg., iii, no. 13375; BN Fr. n.a. 20027/194; Lalande, 77–81, esp. 78; Chron. r. St.-Denis, ii, 648–50; Dessalles (1847), 301–7, *77–93. The formal grant was not made until Jan. 1400: ibid., *93–6.

32 Jarry (1889), 227–8; Choix de pièces, i, 157–60; Monstrelet, Chron., i, 46–66, esp. 49–52, 54–5, 59; Juvénal, Hist., 141. Queen’s household: Chron. r. St.-Denis, ii, 704; Chron. traïson, 24–6; Froissart, Chron. (KL), xvi, 89–90; Foed., viii, 83.

33 Chron. traïson, 28–9; Walsingham, Ann., 238–9, 242, 247–8; Dunn (2003), 73; Chron. r. St.-Denis, ii, 706; Usk, Chron., 52.

34 CCR 1396–9, 518, 596; Foed., 89–90; Chron. traïson, 38; Kirkstall Chron., 121–2; Hardyng, Chron., 349–50; Walsingham, Ann., 242–3; *Walker (1991), 75–6; Given-Wilson (1993), 252–3. Dates: PRO E101/42/12 (summons to Ware); PRO DL28/4/1, fol. 15 (landing).

35 Walsingham, Ann., 245; PRO CHES 2/73, m. 1; Creton, ‘Metr. Hist.’, 312–18.

36 Walsingham, Ann., 243–7; Hist. Vitae, 153–4; Chron. traïson, 38–40. York’s strength: Given-Wilson (1993), 247–51.

37 Creton, ‘Metr. Hist.’, 318–27; Usk, Chron., 58–60; Walsingham, Ann., 248–9; Hist. Vitae, 155; Chron. traïson, 42–5.

38 Creton, ‘Metr. Hist.’, 328–78.

39 Sayles, ‘Lancastrian narratives’, 264–8; Parl. Rolls, viii, 11–15 (10–17); Usk, Chron., 62–4, 66–8.

40 Walsingham, Ann., 303–6, 308–9, 321; Usk, Chron., 48–50, 60, 74–6; Kirkstall Chron., 122. Mowbray: Cal. S.P. Venice, i, no. 128; Cal. Inq. P.M., xviii, no. 264.

41 Parl. Rolls, viii, 80–9 (1–16); Great Chron. London, 77–83; Walsingham, Ann., 306–8, 309–11, 313–20, 323–9, 330–1; Usk, Chron., 86–90; Hist. Vitae, 160–1; Eulogium, iii, 385–7.

42 Froissart, Chron. (KL), xvi, 211–12; Creton, ‘Metr. Hist.’, 382, 410; Deschamps, Oeuvres, vi, 133–4, 184–5.

43 Chron. r. St.-Denis, ii, 716–20, 738; Creton, ‘Metr. Hist.’, 410; Juvénal, Hist., 141–2; *Cartellieri, 152. Received opinion: see Jean Juvénal des Ursins, Ecrits politiques, ed. P.S. Lewis, ii (1985), 152–3; El Victorial, ed. J. de M. Carriazo (1940), 182; Robert Blondel, Oeuvres, ed. A. Héron, i (1891), 258–9, 272, 439–40, 456–7; Débat des Hérauts d’Armes de France et d’Angleterre, ed. L. Pannier (1877), 49. Garrisons: BN Fr. 32510, fols. 338–338vo. Cf. ‘Ann. Arch. Datini’, xv, 33; Froissart, Chron. (KL), xvi, 212; Juvénal, Hist., 142.

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