The Royal House of Lancaster consisted of three monarchs who would rule England and Wales between 1399: Henry IV – Henry V – Henry VI.
The house of Lancaster, was created from a branch of the Plantagenet Dynasty: King Edward III married Philippa of Hainault, and their son John of Grant married Blanche, the Duchess of Lancaster. Their first born, Henry Bolingbroke became King Henry IV of England, the first monarch of the newly created House of Lancaster.
King Henry IV:
Born: 4th April 1366 at Bolingbroke Castle, Lincolnshire
(1) Mary de Bohun
(2) Joanna of Navarre, daughter of Charles II of Navarre
Children: Henry (Prince Hal) who became Henry V, John, the Duke of Bedford, Thomas, the Duke of Clarence, Humphrey, the Duke of Gloucester, Blanche of England and Philippa of England.
Died: 20th March 1413
Henry of Bolingbroke was not in line, to become King at the time of his birth on the 13th April 1367. However, events changed when King Richard II was deposed by John of Gaunt, Henry’s father and former Regent to Richard II.
Henry’s cousin, King Richard II, son of Edward the Black Prince and grandson of Edward III, became a child King in 1377 aged just ten.
Henry joined the “Lords Appellants,” in 1386, they who outlawed many of Richard’s closest associates, forcing the King to accept counsel. By 1388, many of Richard’s friends and adviser’s had either been executed or exiled.
Richard sought revenge, against members of the Lords Appellants, watching and waiting to take his revenge. In 1389, Richard discharged his counsel, and ruled England as King.
In 1390 Henry joined the Teutonic Knights, and in 1392, joined the crusades to the Holy Land, before returning to Richard’s political court.
In 1398 Henry Bolingbroke questioned Richard’s rule and Thomas de Mowbray, interpreted it as treason, and challenged him to a duel. Richard stopped the duel, and banished Henry to France for ten years, seizing his lands, and exiled Mowbray for life.
In 1399, Henry’s father, John of Gaunt died, and Richard seized the family estates… Henry had been deprived of his inheritance. Richard had thrown down the gauntlet, if you want your inheritance, you have to come before me, and beg for what is yours.
Richard’s actions had dire consequences, for Henry Bolingbroke landed at Ravenspur in Yorkshire, with a French army. Richard was captured and confessed before Parliament of being unworthy to reign as England’s King, surrendering his crown in August 1399 to Henry Bolingbroke.
Henry was crowned on the 13th October, and his first issue, was what to do with Richard II. He was imprisoned in Pontefract Castle, and died of starvation on the 14th February 1400.
As Henry’s health began to deteriorate, a power struggle evolved between Thomas Arundel, Henry’s half brother and his son Prince Henry. The struggle led to arguments about France and the Civil War. Prince Henry wanted war with France, whilst Henry his father favoured peace.
On the 20th March 1413, King Henry IV died and was buried at Canterbury Cathedral.
King Henry V:
Born: 9th August 1387 at Monmouth Castle
Married: Catherine de Valois
Children: Henry who became Henry VI
Died: 31st August 1422 at Vincennes, France
Buried: Westminster Abbey
King Henry IV died on the 20th March 1413, and was succeeded by his son Prince Henry, who was crowned King Henry V of England on the 9th April 1413.
The first battle of his reign was in 1414, with Sir John Oldcastle and Sir John Acton, known heretics. Along with their band of followers, they made war against the Church, Priests, King and Kingdom. The rebels were seized close to Westminster, and crucified, as for their leaders they underwent days of torture, until death was a blessing. King Henry V had achieved victory against these heretics for Church, Priests and their faith.
On the 14th August 1415 Henry landed near Harfleur at the mouth of the Seine, where an encounter took place between English and French troops, where England was the victor.
On the 25th August 1415, one of the most famous battles took place, between the English and the French: the “Battle of Agincourt,” where the English became victorious over the French forces, thanks to the English longbow… Henry had demoralised the French, and laid the path for subsequent triumphs in France…
In 1420, King Henry V was officially recognised as heir to the French throne as agreed by the “Treaty of Troyes.” The treaty was cemented with his marriage to Catherine of Valois, daughter of King Charles VI.
The Treaty of Troyes placed Henry in control of France for the remainder of Charles VI’s life and promised that the English line would succeed to the French throne.
On the 31st August 1422, King Henry V died at Bois de Vincennes, and was buried in Westminster Abbey on the 7th November 1422.
King Henry VI:
Born: 6th December 1421 at Windsor Castle
Married: Margaret, the daughter of the Count of Anjou
Children: One son; Edward.
Died: 21st May 1471
Buried: St.George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle
Henry was born on the 6th December 1421 at Windsor Castle, to parents Henry V and Catherine of Valois. He ascended to the English throne, on the 1st September 1422, and was crowned King Henry VI of England on the 6th November 1429 at Westminster Abbey.
John, the Duke of Bedford was appointed his Regent of France, and Humphrey the Duke of Gloucester his Regent of England.
On the 29th April 1429, English forces at the Siege of Orleans, witnessed the peasant girl, Joan of Arc, leading the French forces, giving them the will to fight. On the 23rd May 1430, Joan of Arc was captured at Compiegne, put on trial and found guilty of witchcraft. Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake as a heretic on the 30th May. Joan of Arc legacy to her people, she had created a French army with the will to fight, and England’s position in France became increasingly precarious.
On the 16th December 1431, Henry became King of France, and in 1437, he took over power of England.
In 1453, the houses of Lancaster and York started a feud, and in 1454 Richard the Duke of York, is named Regent and Protector of the realm during Henry’s mental breakdown. He sees his chance, and makes a claim towards the throne.
Henry VI recovers from his illness, and it is left to his wife Margaret of Anjou to dismiss Richard, the Duke of York from Henry’s court. The Lancastrians aided by Margaret of Anjou had regained power.
The Duke of York raises an army in 1455 defeating the Kings Lancastrian army at the “Battle of St.Albans” on the 22nd May.
The Duke of Somerset, the Lancastrian leader is killed in battle as the Duke of York takes over England’s Government.
On the 10th July 1460, Yorkist army led by Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick clash with Lancastrian forces. King Henry VI is captured, and Richard, the Duke of York is England’s Protector once again.
In October 1460, the “Act of Accord” named Richard, the Duke of York as successor to the English throne.
Richard, the Duke of York is killed at the “Battle of Wakefield” by Lancastrian forces, and so it was, his son pressed home his claim for the English throne.
Queen Margaret and her Lancastrian army heads south, defeats the Earl of Warwick at St.Albans, releasing Henry VI.
Edward of York defeats Margaret’s Lancastrian forces on the 29th March 1461 at the “Battle of Towton,” and Henry VI and Margaret flee to Scotland, as Edward declares himself King Edward IV.
In 1470 a rebellion led by the Earl of Warwick, and the Duke of Clarence, failed forcing them to take refuge in France and make an alliance with Margaret of Anjou… The French supported an English invasion, led by Margaret, Warwick and Clarence.
King Edward IV fled as news reached him that the Duke of Clarence, had changed sides supporting the Lancastrians. On the 3rd October 1470, King Henry VI was reinstated as England’s King.
On the 14th April 1471 at the “Battle of Barnet” King Edward IV is triumphant, and King Henry VI is imprisoned in the Tower of London.
On the 4th May 1471, the Lancastrian line is all but destroyed, as Edward, the Prince of Wales is killed in the “Battle of Tewkesbury.” Queen Margaret and her daughter-in-law Anne Neville are taken prisoner.
On the 22nd May 1471, King Henry VI prisoner at the Tower of London is murdered, stabbed to death and buried at St.George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.