The 14th of February 1400 is allegedly the day that Richard II, last of the Plantagenet Kings, died in Pontefract Castle. The cause of death is said to have been starvation.
Richard was born on the 6th of January 1367 in Bordeaux. He was the second son of Edward, the Black Prince, and Joan, later known as the ‘Fair Maid of Kent’. Richard’s grandfather, Edward III, and his father were renowned soldiers.
Richard’s elder brother died in 1371, by which time his father was already an invalid. The Black Prince died in June 1376, leaving Richard, aged nine, as heir to the English Crown.
By 1377, Edward III was also an invalid and declining into senility. He was unable to open the last Parliament of his reign in January 1377, and Richard stood in for him on the opening day.
Edward III died on the 21st of June 1377, and Richard was crowned just eleven days later. Richard swore the, by now, traditional oath to uphold the laws and customs of his ancestors, to protect the Church and the clergy, to do justice to all and, finally, to uphold the laws which the people would ‘justly and reasonably’ choose. He was carried shoulder high from the church and in the process lost a shoe. This was later described as a ‘bad omen’. Continue reading “On This Day – 14th February 1400”
On the 11th of February 1465, Elizabeth, the first child of Edward IV and his wife Elizabeth Woodville, was born at Westminster Palace, London.
Elizabeth already had two legitimate step-brothers; her mother was a widow when she married Edward, and possibly a few illegitimate siblings as well – Edward was a notorious womaniser!
Like most princess at that time, betrothals were made, and discarded to suit the political aspirations of the king. Unusually, Elizabeth’s first proposed match was with a Duke of the Realm, the Duke of Bedford. That was set aside, and Elizabeth was betrothed to the Dauphin of France, who broke off the arrangement when Elizabeth was about 16. Continue reading “On This Day – 11th February 1465 and 1503”
On the 8th of February 1555, Laurence Saunders, preacher and rector of All Hallows in London, was burnt for heresy in Coventry. He was the second of the 284 ‘Marian Martyrs’ to die between 1555 and 1558.
Some time between 2 and 3 on the morning of Saturday the 7th of February 1478, Thomas More was born in Milk Street London. He was the only surviving son of Sir John More, a lawyer, and Agnes Graunger. Thomas described his family as being ‘non celebris sed honesta’. Thomas was to change that…!
Thomas was educated at St Anthony’s school in Threadneedle Street, and at thirteen he was placed in the household of Thomas Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Chancellor of England. On the Archbishop’s recommendation, Thomas was sent to Oxford. Apparently Thomas’s father kept his son short of funds so that ‘he had no opportunity of neglecting his studies for frivolous amusements’. Some of us can’t imagine Thomas as being ‘frivolous’, but he was described as a ‘merry fellow’! Continue reading “On This Day – 7th February 1478”
On the 1st of February 1587, Elizabeth I, Queen of England, finally signed the death warrant for Mary Stuart, former Queen of Scots.
On the 19th May 1568, Mary landed at Workington in England. She had fled Scotland after an unsuccessful attempt to regain the throne that she had been forced to abdicate the previous year. Mary said that she sought the protection of her cousin, Elizabeth, but she probably also hoped that Elizabeth would help her regain her crown.
There was a slight problem: Mary had previously claimed Elizabeth’s throne, a claim she refused to renounce, and was considered by some English Catholics to be the legitimate heir. Mary was swiftly taken into custody and never released. Continue reading “On This Day – 1st February 1587”
On the 30th of January 1649, Charles Stuart, was beheaded at Whitehall, London.
Charles was the second son of James VI (of Scotland) and James I (of England) and Anne of Denmark. He was born in Scotland in 1600 and was unable to walk or talk until he was three years old. Charles became heir to the throne in 1612 after his older brother, Henry, died of typhoid. He ascended the throne in 1625. Continue reading “On this Day – 30th January 1649”
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