The Deposition and Death of Richard II (1399)

From the Brut or Chronicles of England

And in the same yere deyed Sir John of Gaunt, the Kinges uncle, & Duke of Lancastre, in the bischoppes Inn in Holborn, and was brought fro thennes to Saint Poules and there the King made & held his terement [burial] welle & worthily with all his lordes, and there he was beryed besyde Dame Blaunch his wiff, that was doughtur & heyre to the gode Henry, that was Duke of Lancastre.

[The Fight between Bolingbroke and Norfolk stopt.]

And in the same yere ther fil a discencion and a debate betwene the Duk of Herford & the Duke of Norfolke, in so moche that thay waged batayle & cast doun her gloves; & thanne they were take vp and seled, and the day & the place of batayle assygned at Coventry. and thedir come the King and alle his lordes at that day, and was sette in the felde; and than these ij worthi lordes comyn in to the ffelde, clene armed and wel arayed with alle her wepon, and redy to do her batayle, and were in the place redy to fight at the vttrest.

But the King bade hem cese, and tok the quarel in-to his honde, and forthwith, there present, exiled the Duk of Herforde for the terms of x. yere, and the Duke of Northfolk for evyrmore; and Sir Thomas Arundel, Archebischop of Caunterbury, was exiled the same tyme for evyr, and deposed of his see, for malice of the King. And anon these iij worthi lordes were commaunded and defendid the Kinges Reme; & anon thay gat hem schippes of riche men throughout the Reme [realm] ...

[Richard undertakes an expedition into Ireland; while he is gone, the banished Bolingbroke returns.]

While that King Richard was thus in Irelonde, Sir Henry of Bolingbroke, Erle of Derby, that the king hadde made before Duk of Herforde – the which Duk, the King had exiled out of this lande – was come ayen in-to Engelond, for to chalange the Duchery of Lancastre as for right & trewe heritage. And he come doun out of Fraunce by londe to Calais, and there mette hym Sir Thomas of Arundel, that was Archebischop of Caunturbury, that was exiled out of Engelond; and with hym come the Erle of Arundell sone, & his heire, the which was in warde and in kepyng of Sir John Selly, knight, sum tyme with the Erle of Huntyngton, and with the Duk of Excestre, the which was in the Castell of Rygate in Suthsex; and there he stale away from Shelly, & come to Calais; & there he was kept welle and worthily til this other ij lordes were come to Calais.

And than this worthi Duk, & the Archebischop of Caunturbury, Arundel, schippid in the havene of Caleis, and drow his cours Northewarde, and arrived in Yorkschire, Rauensporne, fast by Brydlyngton; and there he come, and entrid the londe, & these ij lordes with hym, and hir meyne [company]. And thanne moche pepil of the Reme, that wist of his comyng and where he was, anon drowyn to hym, and welcomyd these lordes, and socurred hym in alle maner thyngis, and passed forth in the londe, and gadryd myche peple.

And whanne King Richard wist of this, & herde that these ij lordes were come ayen in-to Engelonde, and were londed, thanne the King left alle his ordynaunce in Irelonde, and come yn-to Engeland-warde in alle the haste that he myghte, & come in-to the Castell of Flynt; and there he abode for to take his counsell, and what myght best be do; but to hym com non.

And thanne Sir Thomas thercy, Erle of Worcestre, that was Pe Kingis Steward, when he wiste and knew this, anon he com in-to the halle among alle the pepil, and there he brake the yerd of the Rial Kingis housholde; and every man went his way, and forsoke his maistir & sovereyne lorde, and left him alone: and pus was King Richard brought adoun and destroyed, and stode alle alone, without counsel, confort & socour of eny man. Allas! for pite of this ryal King!

And anon come tydynges that Harry of Bolyn-broke was up with a strong power of pepill, and that alle the Schyreves [sheriffs] Of Engelond reysed up the Schires in streyngthing of him ayens King Richard; and thus sone he was come out of the Northcuntre to Bristow, and there he mette with Sir William Scrope, Erle of Wilschire and Tresorer of Engelond, and with Sir John Busch and Sir Henry Grene, and John Bagot, but he ascapyd from hym, and went over the see in-to Irelonde; & these oper ij knyghtea were take, and her hedis smytyn off; & thus thei deied for her fals covetise.

And thanne was King Richard ytake, & brought unto the Duk; and anon the Duk put hym in safe warde and strong holde, unto his comyng to London.

And thanne was there a Rumore in London, and a strong noise, that King Richarde was come to Westmynistre; and the pepil of London ranne thider, and wolde have don moche harm and scathe in hir wodnesse, ne hadde the Mayre and the aldermen, and other worthi men, cecid ham with faire wordes, and turned hem hom ayen unto London.

And there was Sir John Slake, Dene of the Kinges chapel of Westmynstre, take, and brought to London, and put in Ludgate; and Bagot was take in Irelonde, and brought to London, & put in prisone in Newgate, there to be kept and abide his answere. And sone aftir, the Duk brought King Richard privyly to London, and put hym in the Tour, undir sure kepyng as a prisoner. And thanne come the lordes of the Reme, with alle hir counsel, unto the Towr to King Richard and saide to hym of his mysgouernaunce and extorcion that he hadde do, made, and ordeyned, to oppresse alle the commyn pepil, & also alle the Reame; wherfore al the commyn peple of his Reme wolde have hym deposed of his kingdom; and so he was deposyd at that tyme in the Tour of London by alle his lordes counsel, and by the common assent of al the Reme.

And than he was put fro the Tour unto the castel of Ledis in Kent, and there he was kept a while; and than was he hadde fro thennes unto the castell of Pomfret in the Northcuntre, to be kept in pryson; and sone afterward right there he made his ende.

Whanne King Richarde was deposed, and hadde resyngned his croune and his kingdom, and hym self kept fast in holde, than alle the lordes of the Reme, with the commyns assent, and by one accord, chosyn this worthi lorde, Sir Henry of Bolyngbroke, Erle of Derby, Duk of Herford and Duke of Lancastre by right lyne and heritage; and for his mightful manhode that the peple founde in hym, before al other they chosen hym, & made hym King of Engelonde.


Of Sir Henry of Bolingbroke, Erle of Derby, that regned aftir King Richarde, the which was the fourth Henry after the Conqueste. Capitulum ccxliij:

And aftir Kinge Richarde the secunde was deposed and put out of his kingdom, the lordes & the commyns, alle with one assent, and alle other worthi of the Reme, chosen Sir Henry of Bolyngbroke, Erle of Derby, sone & heire of John a Gaunt, Duke of Laneastre, for his worthi manhode that ofte tyme hadde be founde in hym, and in dede previd; upon Saint Edwardes Day the Confessoure, he was crouned King of Engelond at Westmynstre, by alle the Remys assent, next aftir deposyng of King Richard.

Thanne he made Henry, his eldist sone & his heire, Prynce of Walis, Duk of Cornewayle, and Erle of Chestre; and he made Sir Thomas of Arundel, Archebischop of Caunturbury ayen, as he was before; and Sir Rogerl Walden, that King Richard had made Archebischop of Caunturbury, he made Bischop of London, for that time it stode voyde; and he made the Erles sone of Arondel, that come over the see with him from Calais into Englond, he made him Erle of Arundall and put hym in possession of alle his londes; and there he made homage and feaute unto his lieae lorde the King, as alle oper lordes hadde do.

And thanne anon deied King Richard in the castell of Pountfret in the Northcuntre, for there he was enfammed [starved] unto the deth by his keper, for he was kept into iiij or v. dayes fro mete and drynke; and so he made is ende in this worlde. Yet moche pepil in Engelond and in other landes saide that he was alyve meny yeres aftir his deth; but whether he were alyve or ded, they helde hir fals opynyons and beleve that thay hadde; and moche pepil afterward comyn to myschif and to foule deth, as ye schulle here aftirwarde.

And whanne King Henry wist and knew warly that he was ded, he lete sere [embalm] hym in the best maner that he mighte, and closed hym in linnen cloth, alle save his visage, and that was left open that men myght se and know his person from alle other men; and so he was brought to London with torchis lyght brennyne, unto Saynt Poules, and there he hadde his masse and his dirige, with moche reverence and solempiiite of servise.

And fro Poules was brought into the Abbey of Westmynstre, and there hadde alle his hole servise ayen; and fro Westmynstre he was ladd into Langeley, and there be was beryed: on whose soule God have mercy! Amen!


From (text lightly regularized) The Brut or Chronicles of England, ed. Friedrich W. D. Brie, EETS, London. 1908 [Widener 11422.131.5].