Lancastrian Monarchy

House of Lancaster

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

King Henry IV

King Henry IV:  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

King Henry V

King Henry V: 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

King Henry VI

King Henry VI: 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.

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Hundred Years War (2/3)

Edward the Black Prince

Edward the Black Prince

In 1355, after a pause in hostilities due to Black Death sweeping across Europe, the war was on again.  Edward the Black Prince, son of Edward III, landed at Bordeaux in Western France, and marched his forces through Southern France to Carcassonne.  His failure in capturing the walled city, led to the withdrawal of his forces, and back track to Bordeaux.

King John II of France, successor of Philip VI led an army against English forces, commanded by the Duke of Lancaster, who was forced to withdraw to coastal areas.  From their King John attacked the Black Prince, whose army advanced north-east towards Loire, pillaging the countryside as they went.

In September of 1356, King John reached Loire, just as the Black Prince, was turning towards Bordeaux.  On the 18th September, both forces met at the “Battle of Poitiers.”

Battle of Poiters

Battle of Poitiers

Cardinal Talleyrand de Perigord, tried to broker a settlement between these two armies, but it proved impossible.  The Black Prince offered return of his booty, and a seven year truce, an offer rejected by King John who wanted nothing less, than out right surrender.

The English army, an experienced force of archer’s and men-at-arms, were commanded by Sir John Chandos, Sir James Audley and Captal de Buche.  The Black Prince positioned his force among hedges and orchards.  Front line archer’s took up positions behind hedges.

The Scottish Commander; Sir William Douglas, advised King John, his forces should attack on foot.  For horses became vulnerable to the English archer’s.  King John took the advice.

The French forces, mounted their charge on Monday 19th September 1356, with 300 German forces, under the command of Baron Clermont and Baron Audrehem.  The attack proved to be a disaster, some knights were shot by English archer’s whilst others were dragged from their horses, killed or became prisoners.

Three divisions of French infantry advanced upon English forces, led by Dauphin Charles, Duc D’Orleans and King John.

The first French division under the command of Dauphin Charles was pushed back by the English.  Black Prince’s soldiers, Gascon men-at-arms, English and Welsh archers engaged the enemy.

As the second division advanced, confusion reigned as the Duc D’Orleans force, mingled with division one, the result, both retreated.

The third division, commanded by King John, along with divisions one and two, advanced against the English, a formidable force of knights and men-at-arms.

The French army came within sight of the English, beyond a hedgerow.  English and Welsh archers dropped their bows, joining English knights and men-at-arms, brandishing daggers and hammers.  The result; French army scattered, many slaughtered as they ran.

King John II of France, was captured by the English, along with his 14 year old son; Philip on the 19th September 1356 at the “Battle of Poitiers,” and remained a prisoner until November 1361.

The “Treaty of Bretigny” in 1360 saw the French recognize Edward as ruler of Aquitaine.  England also received Calais and a ransom of three million crowns for the captured King John.  The treaty also called for a nine year peace treaty.

In 1364 King John II of France died, and was succeeded by Charles V.

In 1369, Edward’s wife Philippa died, and the ageing King, fell under the influence of his mistress; Dame Alice Perrers.

In 1369, the peace treaty of Bretigny, which had been drawn up in 1360, calling for a nine year truce, collapsed.  For English and French, backed opposite sides in an internal dispute for the throne of Castile.

In 1370, Edward the Black Prince, massacred the people of Limoges, and in turn lost his credibility as a noble warrior.

The tide was turning away from the English to the French.  For it was in 1370, du Guesclin defeated an English army at Pontvallain, and in 1372 a Castilian and French fleet destroyed an English fleet off La Rochelle.

Charles pushed home the French moments of glory, by re-capturing much of the land granted to Edward, in the treaty of Bretigny in 1360.

John of Gaunt

John of Gaunt

By 1375, John of Gaunt had lost half of his army to disease and famine, along with large parts of Aquitaine in the process.

In 1376, Edward the Black Prince, son of Edward III died.

The Good Parliament of 1376 resisted the supply of money, for the continued Hundred Years War in France.  That same year Parliament called for the removal of Edward’s mistress; Alice Perrers, who was draining the royal coffers, to the tune of £2,000 a year.

King Edward became incapacitated by a stroke, and lost his life on the 21st June 1377.   Edward’s life had been spent striving against his foe, in an attempt to regain the lands of France, once English territories.  His grand illusions shattered.  English territories lost, with the exception of Calais, and a coastal strip between Bordeaux and Bayonne.

King Richard II

King Richard II

Richard II, son of the Black Prince and grandson of Edward III, aged eleven became the next King of England.  John of Gaunt, brother of the late Black Prince was appointed his Regent till he came of age to rule his kingdom.

In 1380, King Charles V of France died.  With French forces running out of steam, as the war dragged on, year after year, it was no wonder French warriors lost interest…

King Richard II of England and King Charles VI of France both suffered at the hands of scheming relatives, who ruled on their behalf.  Neither kingdom wanted to see the battle flag raised again.

In 1396 King Richard II of England married Isabella of France, daughter of King Charles VI.  This, one would have to say, was one of those political marriages.  The terms of the marriage led to a twenty-eight year truce.  The two monarchs; Richard II and Charles VI were unable to broker a peace treaty.

King Henry IV

Henry Bolingbroke – King Henry IV of England

In 1399, Richard II was deposed by Henry Bolingbroke, John of Gaunt’s son, who claimed the English throne, as King Henry IV of England.  He will be remembered as the King who started the Lancasterian dynasty.

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