Richard II 1367-1400, of Bordeaux, king of England, was younger son of Edward, prince of Wales (The Black Prince) [qv.], and Joan, widow of Thomas Holland, earl of Kent, the Fair Maid of Kent [qv.]. He was born in the abbey of St. Andrew at Bordeaux on 6 Jan. 1367, and was baptised in the cathedral three days later by the archbishop. James, titular king of Majorca, acted as his chief sponsor, and this, coupled with the possible presence of Peter the Cruel, and his birth on Twelfth day, no doubt gave rise to the story of the three kings presenting gifts to him (Thorn, col. 2142). The tragic close of his life added further legend, as that he was born without a skin and nourished in the skins of goats, and that he was no son of the Black Prince, but of a French canon. His nurse, Mundina Danos of Aquitaine, received a pension in 1378. Richard was taken to England in January 1371, shortly after the death of his elder brother Edward (1364-1371), and before he was six figured as nominal regent of the realm during the last French expedition of Edward III and his sons. The Black Prince's death in his father's lifetime (8 June 1376) introduced a contingency so novel and unprovided for that his titles did not descend to his son, and his next surviving brother, John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster [qv.], the real ruler of England during the Black Prince's illness and Edward III's senility, was generally credited with a disposition to dispute his nephew's claim to the crown. John contented himself, however, with attempting to secure the position of future heir-presumptive against the Earl of March by a proposal to bar succession through females. The commons insisted on having Richard brought into parliament (25 June) that they might see and honour him as the very heir-apparent. On their petition he was created (20 Nov.) Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, and Earl of Chester, and opened the parliament of 27 Jan. 1377 on behalf of his grandfather. His mother had charge of him
Richard's education had been entrusted by his father to two old companions of his campaigns, Sir Guichard d'Angle and Sir Simon Burley [qv.], both knights of the Garter. At the feast of St. George in April 1377 he was himself admitted into the order. Despite his tender years, Lancaster proposed to take him on an expedition into France, but the plan was frustrated by King Edward's death on 21 June 1377 and Richard's accession
The coronation was celebrated with great pomp on 16 July; it was the occasion of the first recorded appearance of the king's champion, Sir John Dymoke [qv.], and the Liber Regalis, preserved at Westminster, and reproduced by the Roxburghe Club, supplies the earliest and fullest account of the coronation ritual. The bishop of Rochester exhorted the nobles to stand loyally by their young and innocent king, and abandon the vices which would easily lead him astray and bring kingdom and people into peril. But, as Langland had only too truly prophesied some months before, there the catte is a kitoun, the courte is ful elyng (ie. miserable)
Edward III left to his boy successor a damnosa hæreditas. The nation was unnerved by deadly pestilences. In the first days of the new reign the victors of Cressy and Poictiers saw their own coasts plundered and burnt from Rye to Plymouth. The supremacy of the narrow seas for the time passed away from England. The greatly shrunken population groaned under the long strain of a war taxation which now spared none but beggars. Yet the luxury introduced with the spoils of France had not decreased. The upper classes were demoralised by the war, and law and order undermined by the extension of livery and maintenance fostered by the misgovernment of Edward's profligate dotage. A national protest in the Good parliament had just been stifled by Richard's nearest male relative, John of Gaunt. The agricultural population, who had been driven to the verge of rebellion by the attempt of the landowners to ignore the economic results of the black death, and enforce the obsolescent villein services, had adopted the revolutionary theory of power and property enunciated by Wiclif, whose chief protector was John of Gaunt. Richard's accession was considered a checkmate to his uncle's personal ambition, and the members of the new king's household, who had trembled for his succession, straightway instilled into him exalted views of his regal rights
Meanwhile, parliament claimed control of the executive, although it was not prepared to take full responsibility. Treasurers named in parliament (October 1377) were entrusted with the war subsidies, the great officers of state were to be chosen by parliament until the king was of age to know good and evil, and to be assisted by a small permanent council nominated in parliament. But the commons showed no appreciation of the real nature of the crisis. They exclaimed against the crushing war taxation, but would not consent to the sacrifices without which peace was impossible. The conduct of the war, indeed, absorbed large sums without averting the fear of invasion. But the commons did not lay the blame on the right shoulders. In the first moment of chagrin Lancaster had taken up a somewhat menacing attitude towards the new government, but soon contrived to resume a practical control over its action. The council, however, had to bear the responsibility for his and others' failures, and was abolished in 1380 at the request of parliament, its creator, on the ground that Richard was now old enough to dispense with any assistance save that of the five chief ministers of state. According to Walsingham (i. 428), however, they made Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, guardian of the young king. Lancaster's hand may possibly be seen here and in the disposition of the commons to attribute the financial crisis to the extravagance of the royal household, which produced commissions of inquiry in this and the previous year. When John Philipot [qv.], a London alderman, was driven to defend English commerce at his own cost, Lancaster's friends sneered at Richard as king of London. It was significant that in the great revolt of the peasantry in June 1381, provoked by an attempt to levy a tax of a shilling a head on every person over fifteen, the rebels, while avowing an intense hostility to John of Gaunt, made a very general use of the king's name, and even of his banner, but it would be rash to assume that Richard deliberately encouraged the outbreak (cf. Powell, Rising in East Anglia, p. 58). That he was now capable of taking a line of his own appears indeed from his admirable conduct at the most trying crisis of the rising. On Friday, 13 June, he went to Mile End to disperse the rebels there by offering them charters of freedom, and it was during his absence that another band was allowed to enter the Tower, insulted his mother, and murdered Simon Sudbury [qv.], archbishop of Canterbury. Next morning, accompanied by William Walworth [qv.], the mayor, and others, Richard met the main body of the insurgents under Wat Tyler [qv.] in Smithfield. Tyler's insolence so provoked those round the king that, though Richard urged them to humour him, he was struck from his horse by the mayor and killed. His followers cried out for their leader and drew their bows. At this critical moment Richard put spurs to his horse, and, riding up to the rebels, demanded whether they wished to shoot their king. I will be your captain, he cried, Come with me into the fields and you shall have all you ask. His presence of mind withdrew them from the sight of their slain leader, and gained time for Sir Robert Knollys [qv.] to bring up his forces and surround the rebels. Richard forbad any slaughter, and ordered the promised charters to be given them. At the end of the month, however, when the revolt had been everywhere suppressed, he accompanied chief justice Sir Robert Tresilian [qv.] into Essex, where it first broke out, to punish the rebels, and on 2 July revoked his charters. A fortnight later he witnessed the trial and execution of John Ball at St. Albans. On 13 Dec. he proclaimed a general pardon
The question of the young king's marriage had engaged the attention of his advisers from the beginning of his reign. An alliance with a daughter of Charles V of France had been suggested by the papal mediators in January 1378. But the outbreak of the schism, when France took the side of Clement while England adhered to Urban, broke off these negotiations. Bernabo Visconti then offered the hand of his daughter Catherine, cum inestimabili auri summa. But the refusal of Wenceslaus of Bohemia, the new king of the Romans, to follow his relative and traditional ally, the king of France, in his support of Clement placed a much more brilliant match within Richard's reach. The opportunity of drawing central Europe into his alliance against France was not to be missed, and Richard knew Charles V to be seeking the hand of Wenceslaus's sister Anne for his own son (Valois, i. 300; Usk, p. 3). Urban used all his influence in Richard's favour; the matter was virtually settled by the end of 1380, and in the following spring Anne's great-uncle, Przimislaus, duke of Tetschen, came to England and signed a treaty (2 May) of marriage and alliance against all schismatics. The price of this diplomatic success was a loan of 15,000l. to Wenceslaus for the urgent affairs of the holy church of Rome, the Roman empire, &c., of which 6,000l. was to be written off if Anne were delivered within a certain time. For this reason the marriage was not popular with the English. Anne seems to have reached Dover on 18 Dec.; the marriage took place on 14 Jan. 1382, and the queen's coronation eight days later. Vigorous efforts were made, in concert with the pope, to draw Wenceslaus into an open league against France, but without success
Richard had now reached an age of discretion. But parliament, controlled by the great nobles, was reluctant to surrender the strict control which it had exercised over the crown during the minority. Its persistence in keeping Richard in leading strings irritated him and strengthened his natural disposition to show undue favour to his immediate circle. Parliament could find no better explanation of the late rising than the extravagance of the court, and appointed Richard Fitzalan, earl of Arundel, a leading magnate, and Michael de la Pole [qv.], a tried servant of the crown, to govern and counsel the king's person and household. When Richard le Scrope, the chancellor nominated in parliament, very properly objected (July 1382) to the lavish grants Richard was making, the king forced him to give up the seals. Richard followed up this assertion of independence by appointing Pole chancellor in 1383, without reference to parliament. It was not a bad choice, for Pole had hitherto been on good terms with the magnates. He boldly warned parliament that, if they did not mean to abandon the French claims, they must put their whole strength into the war, and that law and order could not be enforced without the vindication of the royal authority. But they rejected Richard's offer to go in person to France on the score of expense, and elected to subsidise the bishop of Norwich's crusade against the French schismatics [see Despenser, Henry Le]. The news of the bishop's disastrous defeat reached Richard, who was making a progress, at Daventry. He started up from table and rode through the night to London, where he conferred with Lancaster. Lancaster's own crusade to Spain had been shelved for the bishop's, and he was no doubt responsible for the decision not to relieve the bishop in the face of a great French army.
In the spring of 1384 there was an ominous revival of the old charges of treason against John of Gaunt (cf. Cont. Eulogii, p. 369; Hardyng, p. 353). Richard accepted Lancaster's explanations, in spite of which his youngest uncle, Thomas of Woodstock, earl of Buckingham, threatened him with death if he charged his brother Lancaster with treason. Equally disquieting was the refusal of the commons to take any responsibility for the terms of the proposed peace with France, though they agreed that the country needed peace badly. As the year closed the political atmosphere grew thunderous; Richard was having ‘large warlike machines’ made in the Tower ‘for certain urgent and secret affairs’ (Issues, p. 227), and Lancaster retired to Pontefract in fear of arrest. The king's mother, however, effected a reconciliation. This may have been hastened by the landing of a French force in Scotland. To avert the threatened invasion, Richard in person led an army of over twelve thousand men into Scotland. But the Scots, as usual, avoided a battle, and, after burning Edinburgh, Richard returned. In the course of the expedition he created his uncles Edmund and Thomas dukes of York and Gloucester, possibly in the hope of playing them off against Lancaster. The elevation of his chancellor, Pole, a merchant's son, to the earldom of Suffolk provoked dissatisfaction. In the autumn Richard got rid of Lancaster by a grant for his long-delayed Spanish expedition, and, according to a not very trustworthy authority, decided against his aspirations to the succession by designating the Earl of March as heir-presumptive (Cont. Eulogii, p. 361).
Richard perhaps thought he had foiled any ambition of his uncles to keep him in tutelage similar to that of the young king of France, Charles VI. But Lancaster's departure left the leadership of the magnates to a more dangerous person, the king's youngest uncle, Gloucester. Great nobles like Gloucester and Arundel naturally resented the king's determination to rule through an upstart like Suffolk and a young courtier like Robert de Vere, earl of Oxford. The promotion of De Vere on 1 Dec. 1385 to be Marquis of Dublin¾the new-fangled title itself caused discontent¾with all the royal rights in Ireland, feudal superiority alone reserved, would doubtless have excited fiercer jealousy if it had not carried with it the obligation to complete the conquest of the island, and in two years convert a constant deficit into an annual contribution of five thousand marks to the English exchequer. But, to secure the support of the commons, Gloucester had to convict the minister of something more than ‘withdrawing the king from his magnates.’ The increased export of wool shows that the state of the country had slightly improved during the recent truces, and it was no fault of Richard or his chancellor if it was still at war, and now threatened with a great French invasion (Kunze, Hanseakten aus England, p. 360). Nevertheless the country's condition was still far from satisfactory, and the ignorant commons were only too ready to lay this at the door of the government. In the parliament which met on 1 Oct. 1386 Richard found himself confronted with a demand for the dismissal of the chancellor and treasurer. He retorted that he would not dismiss the meanest varlet in his kitchen at their bidding, and, after attempting to dissolve parliament, he retired to Eltham, and expressed his contempt for them by raising De Vere (13 Oct.) to the rank of Duke of Ireland. At last Gloucester and Thomas Arundel, bishop of Ely, went to Eltham, and induced Richard to return to Westminster by threatening him with the fate of Edward II. Suffolk was superseded by Arundel as chancellor (23 Oct.), and then impeached and sentenced to fine and imprisonment on charges that show he was made the scapegoat of Richard's policy. Enlarging upon precedents of 1379 and 1380, a commission of eleven magnates was appointed for a year with very extensive powers for the reform of the household and the realm. Richard was bound by an oath to stand by its ordinances. But this was far from his intention. A more prudent prince might have waited for Gloucester's ambition to rally moderate men round the crown, and the composition of the commission was not unfavourable to such a policy. But Richard was young and headstrong; the constraint put upon him, the threats used, were intolerably galling to one imbued with the highest notions of royal prerogative. Nor could he fail to call to mind the sequel of a similar episode in the reign of his great-grandfather, Edward II. He did not allow the parliament ‘that wrought wonders,’ as the seventeenth-century searchers for precedents called it, to disperse without a protest that nothing done in it should prejudice himself or his crown. Immediately after the dissolution he released Suffolk.
In the summer Richard made a progress into Wales, ostensibly to see De Vere off to Ireland, but really to arrange his revenge upon Gloucester and his supporters. He took counsel with the Duke of Ireland, Suffolk, Alexander Neville [q.v.], archbishop of York, and the chief justice, Robert Tresilian; and on 25 Aug. at Nottingham five of the judges, under compulsion they afterwards pleaded, gave it as their opinion that the commission was unlawful as infringing upon the royal prerogative, and that those who had procured it had rendered themselves liable to the penalties of treason; that the direction of procedure in parliament and the power to dissolve it rested with the king, and that the commons could not impeach crown officers without the royal consent. Richard committed the double mistake of prematurely driving his adversaries to bay and of rallying the commons round them by his uncompromising assertion of royal prerogative. The sheriffs declared it impossible to pack a parliament for him because ‘the commons favoured the lords.’ He made preparations for the arrest of the latter, and for armed support if needed.
Richard was welcomed back to London on 10 Nov. by the mayor and citizens, wearing his red and white colours. But Gloucester and Warwick, who had taken up arms, were already within striking distance of the city, and Richard failed to prevent the Earl of Arundel from joining them on 13 Nov. at Haringay, near Highgate. London refused to fight against them. The Earl of Northumberland told the king that he would not risk having his head broken for the Duke of Ireland; and if the royal party really thought of securing French support by the sacrifice of Calais, it was now too late. Richard admitted the three lords to an audience in Westminster Hall on 17 Nov.; they disavowed any evil intentions against himself, and laid a formal charge of treason against his five advisers. According to one account, Richard hotly reproached them, ‘non sine magno tædio auditorum,’ but promised that the accused should meet the charges in an early parliament. As soon, however, as he was relieved of the appellants' presence he allowed the five to fly. De Vere, who went to Chester, raised troops in the royal earldom, and by the middle of December was in full march through the midlands to join Richard. The writs for the forthcoming parliament ordered none but those who had taken little part in the recent struggle (‘magis indifferentes in debatis modernis’) to be returned.
The three lords met in great wrath at Huntingdon (12 Dec.), and determined, it is said, to depose Richard. They were now joined by two much younger men¾Henry, earl of Derby, eldest son of Lancaster, and Thomas Mowbray, third earl of Nottingham [q.v.]. Their rout of De Vere at Radcotbridge (20 Dec.) left Richard helpless. The day after Christmas they reached London, and the mob compelled the mayor to open the gates to them. On the 27th they obtained the keys of the Tower, and entered the presence of the hapless king with linked arms. He was confronted with letters taken at Radcotbridge proving that De Vere had acted under his orders, and that (it is alleged) he had obtained a safe-conduct into France. Gloucester showed him forces on Tower Hill below, and ‘soothed his mind’ by assurances that ten times their number were ready to join in destroying the traitors to the king and the realm. Richard spoke them fair, and agreed to meet them next day at Westminster. He begged them to sup and stay the night with him, but only Derby and Nottingham could be persuaded to do so. Some subsequent recalcitrance was met by a threat of deposition, and Richard finally consented to the imprisonment of such of the five favourites as had not escaped along with several other courtiers, pending the meeting of parliament. Arundel and Gloucester still dallied with the idea of getting rid of the king himself, and the records of Edward II's deposition were again inspected, but they were overruled by Derby and Nottingham. Parliament met on 3 Feb., and the five lords renewed their appeal against Suffolk, De Vere, Neville, Tresilian, and Brembre. Found guilty of treason, they were all condemned to death, except the archbishop. He and Richard's confessor, the Dominican Rushook, bishop of Chichester [q.v.], condemned for ‘performing certain secret affairs at the will of the king,’ were afterwards translated by the pope to worthless sees. Two only, Tresilian and Brembre, were in the appellants' power, and the sentence was forthwith carried out upon them. Four knights in the royal service, one of whom was Sir Simon Burley, met the same fate. Burley's case alone would have justified the epithet of ‘merciless’ which clung to this fatal parliament. Richard never forgot this vindictiveness. For the present he could only look on while the appellants promoted chancellor Arundel to Neville's archbishopric, and carried on the government in his name. They made some attempt to justify their promises of reform, but did not shrink from charging the shattered national finances with a grant of 20,000l. to themselves.
For nearly a year Richard made no sign, and when at last he broke silence his unexpected line of action showed that he had either learned the lesson of his past failures, or was guided by wiser advice. The recent success of Charles VI in throwing off the control of his uncles may have moved him to emulation (St. Denys, i. 560). On 3 May 1389 he asked the council how old he was, and, on their admitting that he was over twenty-one, he declared that he meant to exercise that independence in the administration of his inheritance which none denied to the meanest heir in his dominions. He would choose his own counsellors, and be a king indeed. Suiting the action to the word, he demanded the seals from Arundel, and handed them next day to the veteran William of Wykeham; Wykeham's old colleague Brantingham succeeded Bishop Gilbert of Hereford at the treasury; the judges substituted by the appellants for those banished to Ireland by the ‘Merciless Parliament’ were removed. But no attempt was made to recall the latter or the greater victims of 1388 who had found refuge abroad. Suffolk, Neville, and De Vere all died in exile. The new ministers had sat on the commission of 1386, and Bishop Gilbert himself presently returned to the treasury. Richard promised his subjects by proclamation (8 May) greater peace and better justice than had hitherto prevailed in his time, and disavowed any intention of taking vengeance for what had been done in the Merciless parliament. Certain abuses of his minority were admitted and redressed. The favourable impression thus created was strengthened by a three years' truce with France, Spain, and Scotland.
The most difficult element in the situation was the position of the appellants. Gloucester, Arundel, and Warwick hardly knew how far to trust the royal assurances; they were in disgrace, and Arundel's posts were given to Richard's half-brother, John Holland, earl of Huntingdon [q.v.]. Richard seemed disposed to discriminate between them and their younger associates, and almost quarrelled with his new council in his anxiety to heap favours on Nottingham. But Northumberland's mediation was seconded by John of Gaunt, who, at Richard's special request, hastened his return from Spain, where he had become a changed man. By the middle of December the three appellants were again in the council, though Richard is said to have disliked to see all three together in his presence (Cont. Eulogii, iii. 367). He even paid them the arrears of the 20,000l. they had extorted from the Merciless parliament (Issues, p. 239). For some years the evil past seemed on the whole to have been exorcised. The country was relieved from the strain of the war, taxation was lighter, and parliament passed useful legislation against the abuses of the papal power and the evils of livery and maintenance. But if Richard had for the time renounced revenge, he had not forgotten. Arundel, who had sinned more deeply against him than even Gloucester, never received any further public employment. Gloucester's position and popularity would have made any such exclusion in his case too marked. Yet signs of distrust between him and Richard were not wanting. He was appointed the king's lieutenant in Ireland early in 1392, but was suddenly superseded by the Earl of March in July. It was Arundel, rather than Gloucester, who seemed to keep the old wound open. He had incurred Richard's displeasure by marrying March's sister without license, and quarrelling bitterly with Lancaster. The latter accused him of complicity in the mysterious movement in Cheshire and adjacent counties against himself and Gloucester in the spring of 1393. The insurgents were apparently under the impression that Richard desired revenge upon the magnates (Federa, vii. 746). In the parliament of January 1394 Arundel complained of Lancaster's excessive influence over the king, with whom he went ‘en mayne et brace,’ while Richard and his retinue wore his badge. It was Lancaster's confessor, Richard Maidstone [q.v.], too, who about this time praised Richard's moderation in remarkable terms:
Nec habet ultrices Rex pius iste manus.
Quot mala, quot mortes tenero sit passus ab ævo,
Quamque sit inultus, Anglia tota videt.
Political Songs, i. 282.
Richard was too often reminded that he had injuries unavenged. The parliament received his proposal to recall the banished judges from Ireland so coldly, the commons expressing their fear of the penalties of the statute of 1388, that he went no further with it. While Gloucester received a large grant from the estates of De Vere, Arundel was banished from court. But Richard soon recalled him, and granted him a special pardon (30 April) for all his offences.
The sudden death of the young queen on 7 June proved a doubly unfortunate event, for it not only removed an influence which constantly made for peace, but indirectly aggravated the quarrel with Arundel. Richard's grief was so excessive that he had Sheen Palace, where she died, razed to the ground. Arundel was therefore extremely ill-advised in absenting himself from the procession which bore the body to Westminster on 2 Aug., and in making his appearance in the abbey next day, after the funeral service had begun, with a request to be allowed to retire. Richard so far forgot himself as to snatch a baton from an attendant and strike the earl across the head with such violence that he fell to the ground and his blood flowed over the pavement; the office for the dead had to be interrupted while the clergy performed the service for freeing the sacred building from the pollution of blood, and before they had done the night was far advanced. Arundel was sent to the Tower, but released a week later, on the eve of Richard's departure for Ireland.
The condition of Ireland had given great anxiety from the beginning of the reign. The turbulent septs of Leinster harassed the narrowed Pale. Art MacMurrogh [q.v.], chief of the Cavanagh sept in Carlow, Wexford, and Wicklow, assumed the royal title. The Anglo-Irish returned in large numbers to England, and while Edward III is said to have drawn thirty thousand marks a year from Ireland, it cost Richard that much to maintain it. Those who remained sent a request in 1392 for Richard's presence in person, and parliament in 1393 granted money for the purpose; but it was not until the following summer that he was able to go. He sailed from Haverfordwest at the end of September, and landed in Ireland on 2 Oct. He left the Duke of York as regent in England, Lancaster having gone to take possession of the duchy of Guienne, granted to him in 1390. Gloucester accompanied the king. There was little if any fighting. The presence of the English king for the first time since Henry II's day, and his imposing force, overawed the refractory chieftains, and after Christmas the four ‘kings’ of Meath, Thomond, Leinster, and Connaught were persuaded to come to Dublin and recognise Richard's sovereignty. They were instructed in the usages of civilised society by an Irish-speaking knight, who afterwards gave Froissart an amusing account of his experience, and on 25 March Richard knighted them in St. Patrick's Cathedral, and granted them pensions. The expenditure of the crown for the half-year ending at Easter 1395 reached the enormous total of 121,000l. (Issues, p. 258).
Richard's return was hastened by the arrival of Archbishop Arundel with news of a great lollard attack upon the church, encouraged by Sir Richard Story and other knights of his court. Swearing that he would hang them all unless they recanted, Richard hastened back in May, and frightened them into silence. The university of Oxford, the centre of the movement, was ordered to expel adherents of the lollards. Richard by no means shared the lollard views of some of his trusted counsellors. In 1385 he had met a proposal for the spoliation of the church with a declaration that he would leave it in a position as good as, or better than, he found it. He was a patron of the Benedictines and Franciscans, and his orthodoxy is attested by such a strong opponent of the lollards as Richard Maidstone. Nor is there any evidence for the supposed lollard views of his first queen. Froissart, on revisiting England in July 1395, after twenty-eight years' absence, found the king busy with still more thorny questions¾the refusal of the people of Guienne to receive John of Gaunt as their duke, and his own proposal to marry an infant daughter of the French king. The chronicler was informed by members of the royal council that Gloucester was urging the king to coerce the Aquitanians into receiving his elder brother, to leave the field clear for himself at home. But Lancaster was recalled early in 1396. Richard became less careful to avoid reviving the memory of old enmities. In the autumn of 1395 he had the embalmed body of De Vere brought over from Louvain, where he had died three years before, and solemnly laid it to rest in the chapel of the family foundation at Earls Colne in Essex; the coffin was opened that he might look upon the face and press the hand of his old friend. Moreover, Richard had again been urging the pope to canonise Edward II, supporting the request by a book of Edward's miracles (Issues, p. 259).
Richard's marriage to Isabella, daughter of Charles VI of France, increased the tension. The marriage treaty arranged by Rutland (eldest son of the Duke of York), Nottingham, and the chamberlain, William le Scrope, on 9 March 1396, was accompanied by the extension of the truce (which would lapse in 1398) for twenty-eight years. Richard went over to Calais on 27 Sept., taking with him Lancaster and Gloucester, with a crowd of other nobles, and met Charles a month later between Guisnes and Ardres, near the site of the Field of the Cloth of Gold. The four days' interview must have almost rivalled the later meeting in splendid extravagance if Richard, besides distributing nearly 7,000l. in presents, really spent 200,000l. He is said to have changed his dress every day, while his father-in-law wore the same throughout. But the French historian credits him with discouraging excessive splendour in dress (St. Denys, ii. 458). The marriage took place at Calais on 4 Nov., and three hundred thousand francs, or nearly half the dowry, were paid over.
Richard secured substantial advantages by the match, without surrendering any claims; but no treaty which did not restore lost territory could be popular in England. This indeed had the appearance of ceding territory, for Brest, which was to be held ‘until the end of the war,’ was restored to the Duke of Brittany, and it was whispered that Richard intended to cede Calais too. He was criticised for preferring a child of seven to the marriageable daughter of the king of Arragon, and his support of Charles VI's plan for ending the schism by the renunciation of both popes ran counter to the wishes of his subjects, who preferred the decision of a council (Usk, p. 9; St. Denys, ii. 448). Whether or not they suspected Richard of clearing the ground for an attack upon them, Gloucester and Arundel seem to have fanned this discontent. Rutland and Nottingham almost monopolised the king's confidence. Archbishop Arundel's translation to Canterbury in September may have relieved for a moment the growing strain of the situation, but it also enabled Richard to transfer the chancellorship to Edmund Stafford [q.v.], bishop of Exeter. The clouds gathered thickly in the January parliament of 1397. Richard's legitimation of the Beauforts, the natural children of Lancaster, in which he claimed to have acted as ‘entier emperour de son roialme,’ and his elevation of John Beaufort to be Earl of Somerset, were most distasteful to Gloucester, and only less so to Warwick, who had to yield precedence to the new peer. The recall of the banished judges from Ireland gave them even more uneasiness. If Richard had not already resolved to destroy his old enemies, Haxey's petition begging the commons to devise a remedy for the costliness of the royal household decided him; though emanating primarily from the clergy, he could not fail to regard the request as threatening a repetition of the coup d'état of 1386, and denounced it as a grave infringement of his ‘Regalie et Roial Estat et Libertie.’
The growing disquiet of Gloucester, Arundel, and Warwick must have been increased by the judgment which Nottingham now obtained against Warwick in their suit over Gower, the concentration of maritime offices in Rutland's hands, and the extraordinary jurisdiction in England which Pope Boniface conferred on the Earl of Huntingdon, with the title of ‘Captain and Counsellor of the Roman Church.’ Boniface was endeavouring with some success to detach Richard from the French plan for closing the schism by dangling before his eyes the prospect of succeeding Wenceslaus, who was threatened with deposition, as emperor. The three old appellants held aloof from court, and may have taken counsel together; but little reliance can be placed on the French story of their meetings at St. Albans and Arundel, where they decided on the perpetual imprisonment of Richard and his two elder uncles (Chronique de la Traïson, pp. 3-7). Their suspicions were probably only half aroused when Richard launched his thunderbolt. On 10 July he made a feast ‘like Herod,’ to which he bade the three, intending quietly to arrest them; but Gloucester, who was at Pleshy, his manor in Essex, excused himself on the plea of illness, and Arundel shut himself up in Reigate Castle. Warwick alone, more simple-minded or less conscious of offence, fell into the trap. Richard feigned cordiality, but as soon as they rose from dinner put him under arrest. He got Archbishop Arundel to persuade his brother to give himself up, assuring him with his usual oath, by St. John the Baptist, that no harm should come to him. The same evening Richard Whittington [q.v.], the lord mayor, received orders to call out the city trained bands, and Richard set off with them to Pleshy, thirty-five miles from London, which was reached in the early morning. Gloucester offered no resistance, coming out to meet the king at the head of the priests of his newly founded college; as he bent in obeisance Richard with his own hand arrested him, and, leading the procession to the chapel, assured the duke over his shoulder, ‘By St. John the Baptist, bel oncle, all this will turn out for the best for both of us.’ After breakfast Richard sent his prisoner to Calais, and returned to London. The arrests were received with consternation by all who had been concerned in the events of ten years before, but Richard disclaimed by proclamation (15 July) any intention of raking up these old scores. Their offences were more recent. A fortnight later he ordered the arrest of all who criticised his actions. Rutland, Nottingham, Kent, Huntingdon, Somerset, Salisbury, Despenser, and Scrope repaired to Nottingham, and there appealed the three prisoners of treason on 5 Aug.
Parliament was summoned for 17 Sept., and a spacious temporary hall, open at the sides, with a lofty throne for the king, was erected for the trial within the palace precincts. Arundel afterwards accused Richard of packing the parliament, and the unusual proportion of new members bears out the charge. London was overawed by armed force; at Kingston on the Saturday before the parliament, Richard reviewed a great body of ‘valets of the crown,’ and persons wearing his livery of the white hart (his mother's badge had been a white hind). Two thousand Cheshire archers formed a bodyguard attached to him by local loyalty. Richard carried matters with a very high hand. After the Cheshire men had once drawn their bows on the assembly¾some said they started shooting¾none dared resist the king's will. The clergy were frightened into appointing a lay proctor who should bind them to all that was done. The commission of 1386 was repealed as a usurpation of the royal power, along with the pardons received by the three accused. The Nottingham appellants, dressed in the king's colours, renewed their appeal, Lancaster as seneschal presiding, and the three lords were condemned to death as traitors. Arundel was beheaded the same day (21 Sept.). Nottingham, who, as captain of Calais, had custody of Gloucester, reported that he was dead. He had been ill when arrested, but there is strong presumptive evidence that he did not die a natural death. Warwick obtained mercy with unmanly tears. Archbishop Arundel, found guilty of treason, was banished to France. Sir Thomas Mortimer and the octogenarian Lord Cobham were also impeached for their share in the commission of 1386. It pleased Richard to declare the remaining members innocent. His uncle York and Bishop Wykeham fell on their faces and thanked him with tears of joy. Derby and Nottingham also obtained declarations that they had acted loyally in 1387. On the ground that those of the king's blood ought to be enhanced in dignity and estate above others, Richard advanced them to be dukes of Hereford and Norfolk, and made Rutland, Kent, and Huntingdon dukes of Albemarle, Surrey, and Exeter; ‘Duketti’ the people derisively called them. Somerset became marquis of Dorset, lords Despencer, Neville, and Thomas Percy earls of Gloucester, Westmoreland, and Worcester, and William le Scrope earl of Wiltshire. Richard divided the bulk of the forfeited estates among them, but annexed Arundel's lordships in the Welsh marches to his adjoining earldom of Chester, which he raised to the dignity of a principality (Ormerod, i. 707). He now, if not before, impaled the arms attributed to one of his patron saints, Edward the Confessor, with those of England, and empowered Nottingham, Exeter, and Surrey to impale them with their own.
The completion of the coup d'état was held over to a second session to be held in the safer neighbourhood of Shrewsbury. Before they dispersed, lords and commons had to swear on the shrine of St. Edward to uphold all that had been done. The oath was to be taken in future by all newly appointed prelates and newly admitted heirs. But London still seethed with excitement. Miracles were worked at Arundel's tomb, until Richard ordered it to be paved over. Men believed that he was haunted by the earl's injured shade, and dare not go to sleep without a guard of three hundred Cheshire men. Norfolk now took alarm, and informed Hereford that he had reason to believe that Richard, despite his oaths, would never rest content until he had undone them for their share in Radcotbridge. Hereford betrayed him to the king, and secured himself, as he thought, by a full pardon for the past. He thus provoked a deadly quarrel with Norfolk, whose fears proved only too well grounded. At Shrewsbury Richard had Wales and Cheshire at his back; the answers of the judges in 1387 were approved, the acts of the Merciless parliament annulled, and restitution ordered to the heirs of its victims. The amnesty granted to those who had sided against him in these years was clogged with disquieting conditions and reservations. The cowed estates parted with a great slice of parliament's power of the purse by confirming to Richard for life the wool subsidy hitherto only granted to him for terms of years, but they probably stopped short of ‘delegating all parliamentary power’ to a committee of eighteen of his creatures. In appointing this committee to deal with unanswered petitions, they were only acting on a recommendation of the commons in 1388, and the absence of any wider reference from two of the three original copies of the roll of this parliament raises a strong presumption in favour of the charge of interpolation afterwards brought against Richard. His object was doubtless to give a colour of parliamentary authority to his subsequent extraordinary proceedings against the two remaining appellants (Rot. Parl. iii. 256, 372). Popular opinion credited him with intending to dispense with parliament for the future, but he does not seem to have thought this practicable yet (Beckington, i. 286). Papal letters were obtained invoking the censures of the church on all who should seek to reverse what the ‘Great parliament’ had done, and Richard wrote exultantly to Manuel Palæologus that he had crushed the enemies of his prerogative ‘nedum ad corticem sed ad radicem’ (ib.).
It was decided that Hereford and Norfolk should settle their quarrel in single combat, ultimately fixed to take place on Gosford Green, near Coventry, on 16 Sept. On that day they appeared in the lists there in the presence of a vast assembly from all parts of England. But before they had joined issue, Richard, rising up from his ‘scaffold,’ took the battle into his own hands. The assemblage heard in a tumult of incredulous astonishment that, in virtue of the authority delegated by the late parliament, the king banished Hereford for ten years, and with more equanimity that the unpopular Norfolk was to go into exile for a ‘hundred wynter.’ The only reason vouchsafed for Hereford's banishment was the danger of conflict between his and Norfolk's followers. Various surmises were made by mystified contemporaries to explain this unexpected issue, but there can be no doubt that Richard, whether or not provoked by Norfolk's recalcitrance, had resolved to rid himself of the last of the old appellants. Norfolk was so strongly suspected of being his agent in Gloucester's murder that had he gone down before Hereford's more practised lance popular feeling would have hailed it as a personal defeat for the king. Nor could he then have got rid of Hereford with any colour of plausibility. Everything possible was done to give the latter's banishment the appearance of a temporary and honourable exile.
In little more than a month both had quitted the realm, and Richard's revenge seemed complete. He listened complacently to the flatterers who assured him that he was the happiest of conquerors to have taken so signal a vengeance upon his enemies without plunging his subjects into civil strife. Soothsayers told him that he would certainly become emperor and the greatest monarch of the world. The country was indeed rife with discontent, but he had reserved a weapon in the vague exceptions to the amnesty wherewith he thought to trample it out and at the same time replenish his treasury. He declared that ‘he might not ride surely in his realm for dread of men of London and seventeen shires lying round about,’ and by threats of using military force extorted from suspected persons ‘submissory letters,’ in which they acknowledged themselves ‘misdoers,’ and bound themselves to observe all that had been done in the Great parliament or by its authority since, as well as heavy fines known as Le Plesaunce. Individuals were everywhere compelled to put their names to ‘blank charters’ or ‘raggemans,’ and ‘no man wist what it meant’ (Gregory, p. 100). Unless he was afterwards belied, he terrified his lieges from seeking their just rights, ‘declaring, with a stern countenance, that the laws were in his mouth or in his breast, and that he alone could change the laws of his realm.’ Many charged with speaking ill of him were denied their right to trial by jury. His Cheshire guards treated the people with great insolence. On the death of John of Gaunt (3 Feb. 1399) Richard and the parliamentary committee took the fatal step (18 March) of quashing the letters patent granted to Hereford at his departure allowing him to receive inheritances by proxy during his absence, on the ground that they were given ‘par inadvertence et sanz convenable advisement.’ They went so far as to condemn Henry Bowet [q.v.] to death for assisting Hereford in obtaining them.
Richard must have thought that he had so effectually cowed his subjects that he might safely go over to Ireland to avenge the death of the Earl of March in the previous September. It was afterwards believed that he had not wanted warning of the coming catastrophe; a hermit admonished him in the name of ‘him whom it is dangerous to disobey’ to amend his ways, or he should shortly hear such news as would make his ears tingle. Richard demanded that he should prove his divine mission by walking on water, and cast him into prison. Nevertheless he was said to have fallen into deep despondency. Before leaving London he made his will (16 April), expressly providing for the contingency of his being drowned or slain in Ireland, and bequeathing a large sum of money to his successor on condition that he maintained the acts of the last parliament and its committee, failing which his executors were to spend it in upholding the said acts ‘to the death if need be.’ He celebrated the Garter feast at Windsor with exceptional splendour, and took an affectionate farewell of his child-queen, lifting her again and again in his arms with many kisses. As the month of May closed he crossed from Milford to Waterford, accompanied by upwards of a dozen peers and bishops, and carrying with him the regalia and his treasure. Jean Creton, a French esquire who went with the expedition, has left a vivid description in verse of the sufferings of the army in the dense woods of Macmurrogh's country, when even knights had no food for five days together. Macmurrogh granted an interview to the Earl of Gloucester, but on hearing his terms Richard, pale with anger, swore by St. Edward that he would not leave Ireland till he had him in his power, alive or dead. Advancing to Dublin in the first week in July, he proposed to renew the campaign in the autumn, when the trees were leafless. He is said to have intended to crown the Duke of Surrey as king of Ireland (Usk, p. 35).
About the time that Richard entered Dublin, the injured Henry of Lancaster landed in Yorkshire, but, owing to storms in the Channel, the news did not reach the king until past the middle of July. By that time Henry was in full march upon Bristol, where Wiltshire with Bussy, Green, and Bagot, the three knights left to assist the regent York, were anxiously awaiting Richard's return. The troops raised by York had shown no disposition to be led against Henry. Richard declared that Lancaster should die a death that would make a noise as far as Turkey, and sent Lancaster's son (afterwards Henry V) to Trim Castle for safe keeping. Rejecting advice to cross at once into North Wales with such a following as he had shipping for, he returned to Waterford and conveyed the bulk of his army over to Milford to join his supporters at Bristol, sending Salisbury from Dublin to raise Cheshire and North Wales. But on reaching Milford about the last week in July he learned that Henry was certain to reach Bristol first, and decided to make his way with all speed into North Wales. Finding it impossible to move his army rapidly through so difficult a country, he directed Worcester to disperse it. He himself stole away at midnight with a handful of followers and rode northwards through Carmarthen. But Henry, after executing Wiltshire, Bussy, and Green (29 July), reached Chester by forced marches through Hereford and Shrewsbury on 9 Aug. Richard arrived at Conway to find himself hemmed in. Salisbury's levies had already dispersed. Defections on the road had reduced his own small following to six (Traïson, pp. 282, 293). The unhappy king, tearfully bewailing his hard fortune, if we may believe Creton, wandered restlessly from castle to castle, Beaumaris, Carnarvon, and Rhuddlan, and back to Conway. At last Henry sent Northumberland and (in the English accounts) Archbishop Arundel to Conway, where they are said to have received his offer to resign the crown. He was taken to Flint, where Henry met him on 19 Aug. Henry treated his captive with outward respect, save that he mounted him for the journey to Chester on a sorry hack ‘not worth a couple of pounds.’
The journey to London commenced on the 21st, and at Lichfield, a favourite spot with Richard in happier days, he escaped through a window by night, but was retaken (Creton, p. 376). Between Lichfield and Coventry the army was attacked by bands of Welshmen. On 1 Sept. they reached London, where the mayor and citizens came out to congratulate Henry. Richard was taken to Westminster, and next day to the Tower. Pending the meeting of parliament summoned in his name for 30 Sept., a committee learned in the law reported that there were sufficient grounds for his deposition, but recommended that before he was deposed the resignation he was understood to be willing to make should be accepted. Adam of Usk (a member of the committee) being admitted to see him on 21 Sept., the second anniversary of Arundel's execution, heard him rail upon the fickleness of his country (Usk, p. 29). On Monday, 29 Sept., a committee of lords and others visited him to receive his resignation, and, according to the official account, he insisted on reading himself, and with a ‘cheerful mien,’ his renunciation of the crown, for which he declared himself wholly unworthy. He expressed a wish that his successor should be Lancaster, on whose finger he placed his royal signet ring. The lords of parliament assembled next day round a vacant throne in Westminster Hall, accepted his resignation, and decided that the thirty-three counts of accusation drawn up by the committee formed sufficient grounds for his deposition. Henry then seated himself in the vacant throne.
On the morrow Richard was informed of what had been done, and that ‘none of all these states or people from this time forward either bear you faith or do you obeisance as to their king.’ To which he answered that ‘he looked not thereafter, but hoped his cousin would be good lord to him.’ No voice had been raised for Richard; the famous speech of the faithful bishop of Carlisle, which Shakespeare has made so familiar, rests entirely on the suspicious authority of the ‘Chronique de la Traïson’ (p. 70), and the probabilities are all against its genuineness [see Merke, Thomas]. The peers who were consulted as to what means short of death must be taken to render Richard powerless for harm, advised strict confinement in some sure and secret place. He was first taken, disguised as a forester, it is said, to Archbishop Arundel's castle of Leeds in Kent, but soon conveyed to Yorkshire, and confined successively at Henry's castles of Pickering, Knaresborough, and Pontefract. Sir Robert Waterton and Sir Thomas Swynford, Henry's stepbrother, had charge of him at Pontefract. Richard's friends conspired to murder Henry on the day of the Epiphany, 1400, Richard's birthday, and the conspirators gave out that Richard had escaped from Pontefract to Radcotbridge. Creton (p. 405) asserts that they caused him to be personated by Richard Maudelyn, one of his favourite chaplains, described as in almost every respect the double of his master. The rising collapsed on 8 Jan.; by the end of the month Richard's death was reported in France, and admitted by Charles VI. But among the memoranda for the consideration of the great council which met on 9 Feb. is a recommendation that ‘if Richard, late king, be still living, as it is supposed he is, order be taken that he be surely guarded’ (Ord. P. C. i. 107). The council advised that, if still alive, he should be ‘mys en seuretee aggreable à les seigneurs du roiaume,’ but that if he were dead he should be shown openly to the people, that they might know of it. The terms of this minute and the extreme care with which it was drawn up seem significant (Usk, p. 159 n.). The view that the minute was a ‘murderous suggestion’ fits in only too well with the virtual consensus of the English chroniclers that Richard died on 14 Feb., and with the entry on the ‘Issue Rolls’ (p. 275) under 17 Feb. of payment for the carriage of his body to London. The ‘Rolls’ also contain evidence of hasty and secret communications between London and Pontefract. The official version seems to have been that, on hearing of the death of his supporters, Richard declined food and drink, and gradually pined away ‘for-hungered’ (cf. Annales, p. 331). Others asserted that the unhappy king was starved to death. If he was murdered, this was much more likely to have been the method adopted than the more violent one at the hands of an unknown Sir Piers of Exton, for which the ‘Chronique de la Traïson’ is the sole authority. The latter story was unknown to Creton in 1401, and is satisfactorily disproved by the modern examination of Richard's skull (Archæologia, vi. 316, xlv. 323). Creton's suggestion that Henry showed Maudelyn's body, and that Richard was still alive in some prison, prepared the ground for the story of Richard's escape to Scotland, which was started early in 1402, and supported by letters under his signet. It found some credence in England, especially among the friars minors, and even in the palace. According to the contemporary Wyntoun (ii. 388), a poor man, ‘traveland’ in the ‘out isles’ of Scotland, was recognised as the deposed king by a sister-in-law of the lord of the isles, who had met him in her own country of Ireland; but the details of the story vary greatly. The Scottish government certainly gave a small allowance for many years to a person, seemingly of weak intellect, whom they called King Richard, and who, dying in 1419 at Stirling, was buried in the Black Friars there, with a Latin epitaph still extant. But it is significant that this man's first appearance immediately preceded a Scottish invasion of England, and that he was always kept in the background by the Scots. The English government declared him to be a certain Thomas Warde of Trumpington, very probably an instrument in the hands of William Serle, a former chamberlain of Richard, living in Scotland, who had carried off or forged his signet. Little was heard of the pretended Richard after Serle's execution in 1404. The French satisfied themselves as early as 1402 that he was an impostor; Creton, who had hailed the news of his old master's escape in a balade and a letter to Richard himself, was sent to Scotland to make inquiries, and on his return urged Philip of Burgundy to avenge the murder of Richard (Archæologia, xxviii. 75). From time to time the ‘mammet’ of Scotland was still made a stalking-horse to attack the Lancastrian government; the conspirators of 1415 intended to make the Earl of March king, ‘provided Richard were dead,’ and Oldcastle in 1417 urged the Scots to send him into England. In modern times the reality of Richard's escape has been maintained, but not convincingly, by Mr. Tytler. Henry had buried Richard, not in the splendid tomb he had built in 1395 for himself and his first wife in the chapel of the Confessor in Westminster Abbey, removing the Bohun tomb for the purpose, but, without any ceremony, in the church of the friars preachers at his manor of King's Langley. Henry V, whom as a boy Richard had treated with kindness, removed his body to the tomb at Westminster. The characteristic epitaph, in which Richard describes himself as ‘animo prudens ut Omerus,’ must have been inscribed between 1397 and 1399. Richard's widow became the wife of the poet, Charles, duke of Orleans.
Richard's short life contains all the elements of tragedy. Neither by natural disposition nor youthful training was he well fitted to come through the troubles bequeathed to him by his grandfather. With the pleasure-loving temperament which he inherited from the ‘Fair Maid of Kent’ along with her physical beauty, Richard united a firmness of will and capacity for sustained action when roused which, under a more fortunate star, might have done England good service. He deserves the credit, at least, of seeing that her men and money were better expended in Ireland than in France. Unhappily, these qualities were diverted to schemes of revenge and arbitrary power, which lost him the allegiance of the nation. Abrupt and stammering in speech, hasty and subject to sudden gusts of passion, Richard's was a nature neither patient of restraint nor forgetful of injuries. The somewhat unmanly despair attributed by the French writers to Richard when brought to bay may not be out of keeping with his character; but it should be remembered that they professedly wrote to excite sympathy for his piteous fate. Richard carried to excess the pomp and show introduced by Edward III. Ten thousand persons, says Hardyng, were provided for in his household, which, at Christmas 1398, consumed daily some twenty-eight oxen and three hundred sheep. His master cook's ‘Forme of Cury’ (ed. Pegge, 1780) is one of the earliest English cookery books. He spent great sums on garments embroidered with gold and precious stones, and first began to embroider the arms or badge on the just-au-corps as well as the mantle. One of his coats was valued at thirty thousand marks. Just before his deposition Langland severely rebuked this extravagance in ‘Richard the Redeless’ (ed. Skeat). Richard was charged, in his later years at least, with turning night into day in drinking bouts, and with indulging in unnatural vice. But the latter allegation must be received with caution (cf. Jones's ‘Index to Records,’ under 1400-1). His affection for his first wife admits of no doubt. Richard was alleged to have had resort to divination. He was not without literary tastes. In 1379 there were bought for him a French bible, the ‘Romance of the Rose,’ and the romances of Percevell and Gawayn (Issues, p. 213). Gower dedicated the first version of his ‘Confessio Amantis’ to him, explaining that the king had met him on the river and bid him write ‘some newe thing.’ This was probably in 1392-3 (K. Mayer, Gower's Beziehungen zu Chaucer und K. Richard II, 1889). Froissart in 1395 presented him with a richly bound copy of his love poems. Chaucer was high in his favour for a time, but subsequently allowed to fall into poverty. Richard's expenditure was not always misdirected. He almost rebuilt Westminster Hall, as the numerous representations of his arms, and those of Edward the Confessor, and his device of the white hart, testify. He left a large sum to complete the reconstruction of the nave of the abbey church, which he had begun. His interments of Bishops Waltham and Waldby there began the practice which has made it a national mausoleum. Even Richard's enemies admitted that the church owed him some gratitude. The Franciscans supplied martyrs in his cause, and the Benedictines were not insensible of the special favour he showed them. He completed in 1385 Lord Zouch's Carthusian foundation at Coventry dedicated to St. Anne, and assisted the Duke of Surrey in that of Mountgrace, near Northallerton. Croyland Abbey and the Dominican friary at King's Langley assigned him the honours of a founder. According to the Monk of Evesham, Richard was of the common height; but his bones, when examined in 1871, were found to be those of a man nearly six feet high. His yellow hair, thick and curling, fell in broad masses on either side of his face, which was round and somewhat feminine; his complexion was white, but frequently flushed. The double-pointed beard often worn at the time was represented in his case by two small tufts on the chin. His moustaches, which were small and sprang from the corners of the mouth, accentuated the weary and drawn look which begins to appear on his face as early as 1391, and is so striking in the effigy on his tomb. His skull was much distorted behind, and was of less than average capacity.
Besides the admirable effigy on his tomb, taken from the life in 1395 (engraved in George Hollis's ‘Sepulchral Effigies’ and elsewhere), illuminations and other representations, Sir George Scharf enumerates seven portrait paintings, only two of which, however, can claim first-rate importance. The earlier is the well-known diptych by an unknown Italian or Bohemian artist, apparently painted to commemorate Richard's confirmation of Bishop Spenser's crusade in 1382. The young king appears kneeling and in profile. It is at Wilton House, and was engraved by Hollar in 1639, and chromolithographed by the Arundel Society in 1882. Some nine years later (1391) is the full-length tempera portrait showing Richard enthroned, more than life-size, which hung in the choir of Westminster Abbey until its removal to the Jerusalem Chamber in 1775. It is figured, as freed from later accretions in 1866, in Scharf's ‘Observations on the Westminster Abbey Portrait of Richard II’ (reprinted from the ‘Fine Art Quarterly,’ 1867). Authentic representations of Richard's appearance in the last year of his life are afforded by the beautiful illuminations in Harleian MS. 1319 of Creton's metrical history made by 1402 (Archæologia, xxviii. 88). They are all reproduced in outline in vol. xx. of ‘Archæologia,’ and most of them in colour, but less accurately, in Strutt's ‘Regal Antiquities.’
The Rolls of Parliament are very full for the reign; the Records of the Privy Council Proceedings (ed. Nicolas) begin, though as yet incomplete, and the first volume (1377-81) of a full Calendar of the Patent Rolls has just appeared. To these documentary sources must be added Rymer's Federa (orig. edit.), Devon's Issue Rolls, and the Ancient Kalendars of the Exchequer. The fuller St. Albans Chronicle, included down to 1392 in Walsingham's Historia Anglicana, and from 1393 in the Annales Ricardi II, printed with Trokelowe, both in the Rolls Series, supplies the most detailed history of the reign. The Vita Ricardi II, by a monk of Evesham (ed. Hearne), follows it pretty closely down to 1390, but then becomes independent, and gives the best account of the parliament of 1397-8, from which, or a common source, Adam of Usk (ed. Maunde Thompson), though an eye-witness, appears to have copied. But he has elsewhere many details peculiar to himself, and there is internal evidence (p. 21) that he wrote earlier than his editor supposes. The Leicester Chronicle (to 1395) of Knighton (or his Continuator), edited by Lumby in the Rolls Series, supplies a valuable independent account, embodying original documents. The Continuation of the Eulogium Historiarum (Rolls Ser.), written after 1404, is anecdotic, and rather wild in its dates. All the above have a Lancastrian bias. With them may be classed Langland's Richard the Redeless (ed., with Piers Plowman, by Skeat), Gower's Chronica Tripartita, and the later additions to his Vox Clamantis and Confessio Amantis, probably made after 1399. Hardyng (ed. 1812), a retainer of the Percys, is more impartial; but the only English authorities decidedly favourable to Richard are Maidstone's poem on his reconciliation with London in 1392, the first dedication to Gower's Confessio, and the fragment of a Cheshire Chronicle in the Appendix to the Chronique de la Traïson. Gregory's Chronicle (Camden. Soc.), Fabyan (ed. 1811), and the Continuation of the Croyland Chronicle (ed. Fulman, 1684) give incidental help. Froissart (ed. Kervyn de Lettenhove) is better informed than usual about the rising of 1381 and the events of 1394 and 1395, in which latter year he visited England. The French accounts of Richard's last days, being written to bring odium on Henry IV, have to be used with caution. Creton's metrical relation of these events, in many of which he took part, written in 1401 (ed. Webb in Archæologia, vol. xx.), is far more trustworthy than the Chronique de la Traïson et Mort (ed. Williams for Engl. Hist. Soc.), partly based upon it, but composed with less sense of responsibility in 1402, after the French had definitely charged Henry with Richard's murder. There is some reason to believe that its author was Creton himself (Pref. p. li). Its narrative was embodied in the official Latin Chronicle of the Monk of St. Denys (ed. Bellaguet). For discussions of the vexed question of Richard's death see Archæologia, vi. 314, xx. 282, 424, xxiii. 277, xxv. 394, xxviii. 75, xlv. 309; Revue des Deux Mondes, iii. 47; Fox's Hist. of Pontefract; Tytler's Hist. of Scotland, iii. App.; and Riddell's Lennox Question, and Tracts, Legal and Historical, Edinb. 1835. Wallon's Richard II (2 vols. 1864) is the fullest modern history of the reign, with careful analyses of the authorities, but gives too much weight to the French writers. The best short account is in Stubbs's Constitutional History (vol. ii.). Lingard (vol. iii.) and Pauli (Geschichte Englands, vol. iv.) are also useful. See also A True Relation of that Memorable Parliament which wrought wonders, 1386 (London, 1641, and Somers Tracts, iv. 174), Life and Reign of Richard II, by a Person of Quality, 1681, Reflections upon the Reigns of Edward II and Richard II, by Sir Robt. Howard, 1690. Other works consulted: Beckington's Letters (Rolls Ser.); Noel Valois's La France et le Grand Schisme d'Occident, 1896; Leroux's Relations Politiques entre la France et l'Allemagne (1378-1461); Pelzel's Lebensgeschichte Königs Wenceslaus, 1788; Lindner's Gesch. des deutsches Reiches unter König Wenzel, 1875; Aschbach Gesch. Kaiser Sigmunds, 1838; Sandford's Genealogical History of the Kings of England, 1677; Tanner's Notitia Monastica, 1787; Returns of Members of Parliament, 1878; Nichols's Royal Wills; Willement's Regal Heraldry, 1821; G. E. C.'s Complete Peerage; Ormerod's History of Cheshire, ed. Helsby; Beamont's Richard II, in Architectural and Archæological Society of Cheshire, 1870, p. 127.
Contributor: J. T-t. [James Tait]