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Castile, which he claimed in right of his wife; and the ambitious Duke of Gloucester took advantage of his nephew's unpopularity, to possess himself of the reins of government, by forcing him to appoint a commission to manage the business of the nation. Many executions took place of persons who were odious to Gloucester, and the king was under his yoke till his 22nd year, when he availed himself of a full council to resume the royal power. Gloucester was soon afterwards arrested and sent to Calais, where it is believed that he was murdered by his nephew's order. Richard now ruled with an utter disregard to law, and many of the nobles who had more or less joined with Gloucester, saw reason to fear for their own safety. Among them were the Duke of Norfolk and Henry Bolingbroke, duke of Hereford, son of John of Gaunt. It seems that Norfolk sounded the other on the means of averting their common danger; but was betrayed by him to the king, and accused of high treason. Richard decided that the question should be tried by wager of battle; and the combatants had actually met in the lists, when the king interfered, and banished both from England; Norfolk for life, and Hereford for ten years. During Bolingbroke's exile his father died, and when Henry claimed the lands which had belonged to his father, they were unjustly withheld by Richard, who seemed to think himself above all law. Enraged at this injustice, Bolingbroke landed at Ravensburgh, in Yorkshire, with sixty followers, and was joined by the Earl of Northumberland, together with his son, surnamed Hotspur, and many others. He had obtained assistance from the Duke of Bretagne, whose widow he afterwards married. On leaving their court he is said to have given its pleasing name to the blue flower which is commonly called "forget me not," by blending it in his badge or device with the French motto which he before had used for that purpose, and which is rendered by those words. When he landed at Ravensburgh, he gave out that he came only to claim his own, though doubtless he meant all along to possess himself of the crown. Richard, after much loss of time, returned from Ireland to crush the

5 A town near the mouth of the Humber, which has been washed away by the encroachments of the sea upon the land.

rebellion, and landed at Milford in Wales; but finding that his subjects deserted him, he surrendered himself to Bolingbroke, by whom he was brought to London, and persuaded to resign the crown. Henry declared himself king, in full parliament, A.D. 1399, by the title of Henry IV. He claimed the crown as heir to Henry III., on a groundless notion that Edmund, called Crook-back, from whom he was descended by his mother's side, was the eldest son of that king, and had been set aside on account of his deformity. This false pretension was admitted at the time, but Henry's unlawful title was the occasion of the wars between York and Lancaster, which afterwards desolated the kingdom.

The opinions of Wickliffe gained ground in this reign, and to take the most effectual means of spreading them, he translated the Bible into English. Adhelm, a Saxon bishop, had translated the Psalms into Saxon in the year of our Lord 706, and Bede had translated the whole Bible; but for a long time none but Latin versions of the Scriptures had been permitted to be used. Wickliffe's followers were called Lollards. Wickliffe himself was brought before the convocation, but escaped through the protection afforded him by the Duke of Lancaster. He died at his own rectory of Lutterworth, A.D. 1384. About thirty years after his death his remains were dug up and burnt, by a decree of the council of Constance.

Among the worthies of Richard's time may be mentioned William of Wykeham, bishop of Winchester. He rebuilt a large portion of the cathedral of Winchester, and founded a college there, and another at Oxford.

The word Lollard is probably derived from lullen or lollen, an old Dutch word, meaning to sing or chant. A passage in Chaucer would suggest its derivation from the Latin lolium, tares, as if the Lollards were the tares in the field of the Gospel.



Born at Bolingbroke. Buried at Canterbury. Reigned 14 From A.D. 1399 to A.D. 1413.


Archbishop of Canterbury.

Thomas Arundel, A.D. 1396-1413.

THE dethronement of a prince has generally been followed by his murder; and it is to be feared that the case of Richard is no exception to this statement. A conspiracy was formed in his favour, and its explosion was rapidly followed by his death at Pontefract castle. The most probable account of this deed of darkness is, that Sir Piers of Exton was sent with seven attendants to murder him; from one of whom Richard snatched a battleaxe, and killed some of the others, but was overpowered by numbers. His remains were interred at Langley, in Hertfordshire, and followed by Henry himself; who de tained Edmund, the young earl of March in confinement, as being the descendant of Lionel, duke of Clarence, and thus the rightful heir to the crown. This young prince was the son of Roger, earl of March, who had once been destined by Richard to be his successor; and on his father's death his claims also had been recognized by Parliament.

The reign of Henry is little but a succession of conspiracies. He was soon called to meet Northumberland and Hotspur in the field, who had been so forward in helping him to mount the throne. They formed an alliance with Earl Douglas, whom they had taken prisoner in a battle with the Scots at Homildon-hill, A.D. 1402; and also with Owen Glendower, a Welsh chieftain, who maintained a lawless independence among the mountains of Wales. The king defeated these conspirators in the battle of Shrewsbury, A.D. 1403; but this rebellion was only the prelude to others, which continually disturbed him in the possession of his usurped authority. It has also been said that he had great anxiety from the character of his eldest son, who gave indeed indications at times of the high qualities which he afterwards showed, but addicted himself to low companions and plea

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sures. This opinion has perhaps been the less questioned from the use which our great dramatist Shakspeare has made of it; but it has been combated with many weighty objections. It should, however, be mentioned, that the prince is said on one occasion, to have drawn his sword on Chief Justice Gascoyne, when that magistrate refused to release one of Henry's riotous companions. The judge committed the prince to prison, who submitted meekly to the sentence. It is added, that when the king heard of the affair, he exclaimed, “Happy the king who has a judge so resolute in executing the law, and a son so willing to submit to it!"

In this reign was passed a law to authorize the burning of heretics. It seems probable that Henry, who felt the weakness of his title, consented to this law in the hope of enlisting on his side the clergy, who lost no time in carrying out the statute. Archbishop Arundel was especially active in violent measures against the Lollards. His successor, Archbishop Chicheley, the founder of All Souls' college, Oxford, was equally averse to them; but he distinguished himself honourably on several occasions by the firmness with which he resisted the exorbitant claims of the pope to jurisdiction in England.

Henry made an ungenerous use of an accident which put the young prince of Scotland (afterwards James I.) in his power. He had been sent abroad by his father, to be safe from the plots of an uncle, and was taken by an English cruiser. Henry detained him as his prisoner, but saw that he was well educated.

The cares inseparable from royalty were in Henry's case embittered by remorse of conscience, and undermined his health. He died in the forty-sixth year of his life, a.d. 1413, and was succeeded by his eldest son.

7 See Memoirs of Henry V. by Rev. J. E. Tyler, B.D



Born at Monmouth. Buried at Westminster. Reigned From A.D. 1413 to A.D. 1422.

9 years.

Archbishop of Canterbury.

Henry Chicheley, A.D. 1414—1442.

THE accession of Henry V. was hailed by the whole nation with feelings of hope and joy. He removed the remains of Richard to Westminster, and himself attended as chief mourner. He set at liberty the young Earl of March, and restored the Percy family to their estates and honours. Whatever be thought of his conduct in early life, it seems certain that from this period he showed himself a sincere Christian; and though severe measures were taken against the Lollards early in his reign, through the mistaken zeal of the clergy, there is reason to think that Henry was averse to put in force the law that had been passed against those reformers. The principal victim of this false zeal was Sir John Oldcastle, lord Cobham. He was condemned, after a noble defence of his opinions before the primate Arundel and other bishops; but made his escape from the Tower, and his friends seem even to have attempted to seize the king at Eltham. The attempt failed, and led to many executions. Cobham himself was at length taken, and with great cruelty was hung as a rebel and burnt as a heretic. But Henry was himself then in France.

The king was eager to reconquer the possessions of his ancestors in France, which, notwithstanding the victories of Edward, had gradually been wrested from the English. His eagerness was shared by his subjects, and the distracted state of France, under Charles VI. (who was subject to fits of mental derangement), favoured his design. An army was assembled at Southampton; but some check was occasioned by the discovery of a conspiracy, ostensibly in favour of the Earl of March, but really formed by that prince's brother-in-law, Richard, earl of Cambridge, to forward his own ambitious views. The conspirators were condemned and executed; but, to the king's honour, the Earl of March,

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