Introduction and overview.
Although Henry IV is famous for deposing Richard II, not much else happened apart from folk who said Henry IV should not be king.
One of the good things about Henry (The IV) was because his reign was so busy and turbulent he thoughtfully divided himself into Parts I (1399 to defeat of rebels at Shrewsbury 1403) & II (the rest to 14the March 1413) thus making the task easier for historians.
As it will be recalled from Chap 8 Richard (the II) Henry (to be the IV) became king because;
Richard had killed off some of Henry’s relatives
Richard had had Henry’s bollins broke
Richard had exiled Henry.
Richard was doing similar things to lots of other nobles.
Because Henry was sturdy, handsome, good at jousting, not had the chance to do mean things to nobles they thought he would be a better king than Richard, who Henry eventually captured and imprisoned. At this stage it is not sure whether Henry had Richard starve or Richard being just plain awkward didn’t eat anything, anyway he died horribly, but because Henry was sturdy, handsome etc most folk let him get away with it.
During this turbulent time, he let himself be convinced he would be a Good King.
To make sure everyone did not confuse Henry with any previous Henry, he said he was from a house in Lancaster which had belonged to his mother Blanche and also he was the first King of England to not properly understand French and so would be a Good English King.
This might have been a promising start but several folk, who had either done well for themselves in Richard’s reign or didn’t like Henry as a IV were wont to plot and scheme.
Henry a Part I- A Successful Succession and A Coronation (and Some Plots)
Henry and his new friends said his claim to the throne was right because his father was John Gaunt. Although John (Gaunt) was but the 4th son of Edward III, all the others had died off, and only Edward (oldest and of black armour, who died of campaigns and not washing hands) had had a son Richard II (fancy clothes, washed his hands, died of Henry IV), but Richard didn’t have a son, only a behest which was not the same thing.
Henry now quite the IV went to be coronated, but because he had lice the crown kept falling off, since Henry had an army the clergy decided to overlook The Lice. This only served to cause discontent and rebellions, as listed below
The Epiphany Rebellion (1399) Some of those lords who’d done quite well out of Richard II and might not have had lice, planned to slaughter Henry at a joust, and free Richard (who was still alive and thus II). Henry didn’t turn up. They fled west, were not much supported and were beheaded both officially and unofficially. Richard II died.
Owain Glyndwr-A Welsh Rebellion- This started out in the usual way with an argument over land. Owain defeated his English neighbour and one thing led to another. He decided the welsh declines of the previous century should be stopped and learning that lots of English didn’t like Henry for being a IV turned this into a proper rebellion. The revolt was so successful and Owain so inspirational a leader even folk from South Wales joined him, thus forcing Henry IV Part II to take part. In 1405 the French thought he was a safe bet, but didn’t do anything much. Unfortunately, the English started being unfair by not fighting but blockading, as there were more English than Welsh this resulted in large well-fed (and fattish) armies defeating small and hungry gallant armies. Although Wales was finally defeated Owain slipped away, vanished and thus became a legend. As some of his supporters who were from the Tudor family History had not however seen the last of The Welsh….
Scots Wars (1400 – 14something or other)
Although Richard II had tried to be sort of reasonable with Scotland, Henry IV was not inclined upon this and adopted New king, New rules policy thus both started raiding each other. English won at Homildon Hill in 1402, but both sides kept on invading each other some for some. The English captured a scots king James I but Henry IV wouldn’t give him back. Whether James caught lice has not be recorded.
The Rebellious Percys
The Percy family owned a lot of the north, the rest being owned by The Nevilles, when they weren’t fighting each other, they fought those Scots who weren’t fighting each other. One Percy also called Henry felt Henry IV owed him gold or land for helping defeat some Scots, Henry IV felt Henry Percy should have fought for him as King. Henry (The Percy) got quite angry and hot about his spurs and since Owain (in Wales) was rebelling thought it a good time to join in. Some Percys and of course some of those (surviving) nobles who had done well out of Richard II, got as far as Shrewsbury where they were defeated in 1403. This was a confusing battle as both leaders were called Henry and both were thought to be killed. Henry IV had more men and so won. Many rebel leaders were killed in battle, others captured and beheaded or fled to Scotland (with or without lice). Henry IV at this stage decided to solidify his rule by being Part 2.
Henry Now a Part 2 (more rebellions and health issues)
Henry apart from the lice continued to have other problems, such as
who was a Percy and a Bishop thought Henry IV was not a good king, and helped a few lords who had managed to survive to rebel in 1405. Although they assembled an army Henry (IV) tricked them into thinking he would forget the whole thing. He then captured and beheaded them, including Scrope (it was a rule of the 15th Century that any king who captured a Scrope could to have him beheaded). As bishops were not supposed to be executed, only exiled or imprisoned Henry was excommunicated by a pope, but another pope said due to a printing error it didn’t count and unexcommunicated Henry (and his lice) in 1407.
In 1408 Henry Percy’s father,
also Henry who was Earl of Northumberland who had previously fled came back and confusingly invaded his own land of Northumberland, though since he had scots allies it probably counted. He marched as far as Bramham in Yorkshire however unlike his son he was not nobly confronted by Henry (IV) but by local men led by a sheriff (and no doubt some lice), as he was armed with Scotsmen who were used to be gallantly slaughtered by English archers, he lost and died in battle.
Probably because of having to put down rebellions (and lice) Henry (still a IV) accumulated lots of diseases which would be of interest to medicine in this era, but wasn’t much fun for him. What made things worse was lots of sanctimonious clergy were saying it was because he had beheaded a bishop. He spent his declining years arguing with his son Henry (eventually to be a V) and dying.
In March 1413 he said he was going on a crusade to Jerusalem and having made a pious statement promptly died, leaving no room for a Part 3.
Although there were other folk who reckoned they could be king, no one was going to argue with Henry IV’s son Henry V.
A True History of The Isles Vol II Chapter 8 – The End of the 14th Century and Richard II (well also his beginning too)