death of Edward III in 1377 the Lords Appellant held most of the power in England
until Richard II, his 10-year-old heir, became old enough to rule. In November 1389 John of Gaunt returned from Spain and supported
Richard II with working in co-operation with the Appellant led by Edmund Duke
of York, and Thomas Duke of Gloucester. Richard also began to
gain the support of lower nobles such as Sir John Bussy and Sir William Bagot.
These men had supported the Appellant actions of 1387-89, but now wanted to
ally with Richard.
time temporary peace’s were concluded with
Scotland and France. Richard used this relative peace to his advantage and
tried to assert English power in Ireland which had become reduced to a small
area around Dublin called “The Pale.” Outside of this area Irish lords
ruled and ignored the English authority. In October 1394, Richard II landed at Waterford with a large army, and
demanded the submission of all the Irish lords. Seeing
such a large and well-armed force, the Irish ruched to pay homage to the
English crown. By May 1395 when Richard left, almost all of Ireland had
submitted to his rule. However Richard’s rapid departure left most of the English
problems unresolved, but the campaign was regarded as successful by the English,
especially as it gave Richard a small army to call upon in a time of need.
even during the period of peace abroad, there was still civil conflict between
Richard and his Parliament’s, especially between him and the City of London. By
1397, Richard II felt secure in his position; his relations with John of Gaunt,
his son Richard and the Dukes were strong. In summer 1397, he decided to attack
his opposing nobles Thomas, Duke of Gloucester, Richard Fitzalan, Earl of
Arundel and Thomas de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. Thomas was arrested in
Pleshey Castle and sent to Calais, where he died, most likely assassinated. The
Earl of Arundel was beheaded in September 1397, and his brother, the then
Archbishop of Canterbury, was permanently banished along with Warwick. Even those
who supported the Appellants who were pardoned had to pay for the privilege.
Richard gained the titles of these men and all the lands and riches that came
By 1398 Richard
needed money for his extravagant lifestyle and he decided to continue
collecting money in return for Royal Pardons. On the death of John of Gaunt in February 1399, Richard
seized his lands, removing Henry Bolingbroke’s (John’s son) claim to the throne
and banishing him for life. This made Richard even richer but prevent Henry
from becoming a major landowner in England and threatening Richard’s position.
This was seen as very arrogant by other nobility and made them fearful of what
Richard could do so as soon as Richard left England in 1399 to fight an Irish rebellion, Henry Bolingbroke and his supporters marched on
Pontefract Castle. Richard II’s uncle, Edmund Duke of York, had been left in
charge as keeper of the realm while Richard was in Ireland. He soon submitted
to Henry, and even ordered Bussy and other lords to surrender. A Parliament was
summoned and voted to depose Richard placing Henry on the throne as Henry IV.
Richard was imprisoned in Pontefract Castle where he died in 1400 most likely
of starvation on orders of Henry IV.
Richard had a very strong rule until his demise and he followed the Oath of
Kingship very well by expanding the English lands and finances however it was
his extravagant and greedy lifestyle that led to his deposition and death.