Depth 1 - The crises of 1399-1405


To what extent was Richard II responsible for the crises of 1399?

The reasons for Bolingbroke's seixure of the throne from Richard II

The long-term causes of the 1399 crisis

  • Son of loved parents - Edward the black prince
  • Child king - caused tensions between nobles - John of Gaunt, Thomas of Woodstock
  • 1377-81 - French attacks and high taxation 
  • 1381 - 'Peasants' Revolt' - hated poll tax - blamed evil councillors
  • Richard forgave them, promised improvement - later revoked pardons and executed them
  • 1347 Black Death - caused class tension - shortage of labour increased wages - nobles and gentry unhappy - 1350 Statute of Labourers passed to keep wages down
  • Marriage with Anne of Bohemia arranged by de la Pole and Simon Burley - people not happy as was expensive (£12,000) and no military assistance

Richard's failings as an adult monarch

  • Accused of favouritism - e.g. William de la Pole and Robert de Vere - disliked men who Richard gave lots of land and power
  • Generosity unsustainable - led to debt
  • Accused of pro-French lenanings - not into the war, grew up in France
  • Didn't lead military expeditions himself - tried for peace with France
  • Alienated Gaunt in Scotland - bottled attacking Edinburgh - Gaunt left for Spain

The 'Wonderful Parliament' of 1386 and its consequences

  • Parliament demanded de la Pole be reomved from office - Richard refused
  • Meeting between Richard and nobles - told him that parliament could dissolve and no taxation would come
  • Richard angry - threatened to seek help from French
  • Thomas of Woodstock and Thomas Arundel threatened to depose the king
  • Richard forced to meet with parliament and watch favourite fall. Also inquiry into royal finances
  • Richard angry - started moving round - de Vere made justice of Chester - looked for miltary and legal advice there
  • 'Lords appellant' (including Henry Bolingbroke) accused favoruites of treason
  • Battle at Radcot Bridge - de Vere/ de la Pole defeated - they fled
  • 'Merciless Parliament' 1388 - Richard's favourites tried for treason - Richard angry
  • Consequences limited - John of Gaunt returned to bring back some stability - sent Henry on trip round Europe - became great warrior

Richard II and the problems of the royal succession

  • Anne of Bohemia dead in 1394 with no heir
  • Technically heir was Roger Mortimer - however John of Gaunt had strong claim and support - Gaunt and Henry threats to Richard
  • Richard II refused to marry again - death of Anne made him unstable
  • Married Isabella (daughter of French king) - only a child so remained unconsumated - accompanied 28-year truce - controversial

The 'tryanny' of Richard II, 1397-99

  • Richard allied with France because more independant from parliament (no taxation) and could use their help to suppress nobles - very paranoid
  • July 1397 - arrested 3 of lord's appalent - Gloucester, Warwick and Arundel
  • Gaunt and Bolingbroke sided with king - Henry betrayed Arundel, Gloucester murdered
  • Gorwing unease of tryanny of richard
  • Bolingbroke begged pardon for 1387 and hosted feasts…


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