King Richard II of England is deposed 1399

walwyn Thu, 08/04/2011 - 21:52
Sunday, September 29, 1399

On the 29th of September 1399 King Richard II of England tenders his resignation to parliament. The following day Henry Bollingbroke, son of John of Gaunt, is proclaimed king.1


Richard had come to the throne at the age of 10 when his grandfather Edward III died. During the early part of his reign the country had been governed by a regency council dominated by Richard's uncle John of Gaunt. In 1386, with John of Gaunt in Spain,  Richard had been opposed by a group of nobles and parliament who objected to what they termed was his tyrannical rule, and a committee was set up, known as the Lords Appellant, to govern the kingdom, originally this committee consisted of Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, Richard FitzAlan, Earl of Arundel, and Thomas de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. Later they were joined by John of Gaunt's son Henry Bollingbroke, and Thomas de Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk.


In 1388 the Merciless Parliament convicted and executed a number of Richard's favourites for treason. Including John Beauchamp of Holt.2


Richard regained some control when his uncle John of Gaunt returned to England in 1389, and he spent the next few years seeking revenge. In August 1397 he ordered the murder of Thomas of Woodstock who was being held in Calais3, however Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, captain of Calais didn't do it. Hopwever, following a meeting with a furious Richard, and fearful of Richard's vengence, he returned to Calais to carry out the murder.4 The other Lords Appellants were either executed or banished including Henry Bollingbroke.5


In 1399 John of Gaunt died and Richard confiscated his estates.6 This caused Henry Bollingbroke to invade England whilst Richard was in Ireland. Richard surrendered to the Henry Percy earl of Northumberland at Conway on the 19th of August, promising to abdicate. Then on the 29th of September in the Tower of London, Richard in the presence of Henry Bollingbroke signed the instrument of abdication.7