Since thedeath of Edward III in 1377 the Lords Appellant held most of the power in Englanduntil Richard II, his 10-year-old heir, became old enough to rule. In November 1389 John of Gaunt returned from Spain and supportedRichard II with working in co-operation with the Appellant led by Edmund Dukeof York, and Thomas Duke of Gloucester. Richard also began togain the support of lower nobles such as Sir John Bussy and Sir William Bagot.These men had supported the Appellant actions of 1387-89, but now wanted toally with Richard.
During thistime temporary peace’s were concluded withScotland and France. Richard used this relative peace to his advantage andtried to assert English power in Ireland which had become reduced to a smallarea around Dublin called “The Pale.” Outside of this area Irish lordsruled and ignored the English authority. In October 1394, Richard II landed at Waterford with a large army, anddemanded the submission of all the Irish lords. Seeingsuch a large and well-armed force, the Irish ruched to pay homage to theEnglish crown. By May 1395 when Richard left, almost all of Ireland hadsubmitted to his rule. However Richard’s rapid departure left most of the Englishproblems unresolved, but the campaign was regarded as successful by the English,especially as it gave Richard a small army to call upon in a time of need.Howevereven during the period of peace abroad, there was still civil conflict betweenRichard and his Parliament’s, especially between him and the City of London.
By1397, Richard II felt secure in his position; his relations with John of Gaunt,his son Richard and the Dukes were strong. In summer 1397, he decided to attackhis opposing nobles Thomas, Duke of Gloucester, Richard Fitzalan, Earl ofArundel and Thomas de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. Thomas was arrested inPleshey Castle and sent to Calais, where he died, most likely assassinated. TheEarl of Arundel was beheaded in September 1397, and his brother, the thenArchbishop of Canterbury, was permanently banished along with Warwick.
Even thosewho supported the Appellants who were pardoned had to pay for the privilege.Richard gained the titles of these men and all the lands and riches that camewith them. By 1398 Richardneeded money for his extravagant lifestyle and he decided to continuecollecting money in return for Royal Pardons. On the death of John of Gaunt in February 1399, Richardseized his lands, removing Henry Bolingbroke’s (John’s son) claim to the throneand banishing him for life. This made Richard even richer but prevent Henryfrom becoming a major landowner in England and threatening Richard’s position.This was seen as very arrogant by other nobility and made them fearful of whatRichard could do so as soon as Richard left England in 1399 to fight an Irish rebellion, Henry Bolingbroke and his supporters marched onPontefract Castle. Richard II’s uncle, Edmund Duke of York, had been left incharge as keeper of the realm while Richard was in Ireland.
He soon submittedto Henry, and even ordered Bussy and other lords to surrender. A Parliament wassummoned and voted to depose Richard placing Henry on the throne as Henry IV.Richard was imprisoned in Pontefract Castle where he died in 1400 most likelyof starvation on orders of Henry IV.OverallRichard had a very strong rule until his demise and he followed the Oath ofKingship very well by expanding the English lands and finances however it washis extravagant and greedy lifestyle that led to his deposition and death.