1367 (6th January)
King Richard II was born the son of Edward, the Black Prince
and his wife Joan of Kent at Woodstock Palace. He was the couple’s second son, his brother, Edward had been born in 1364. Richard’s father was the eldest son and heir of King Edward III
Richard’s father, Edward the Black Prince, contracted dysentery while on campaign in Spain.
1370 (around 20th September)
Richard’s brother, Edward of Angouleme, died. This made Richard second in line to the throne after his father.
Edward the Black Prince was still suffering the effects of dysentery and returned to England.
1376 (8th June)
Richard’s father, Edward the Black Prince, died. This made Richard heir to the throne.
1376 (20th November)
1377 (23rd April)
Richard was created a Knight of the Garter.
1377 (21st June)
King Edward III
died following a stroke and Richard succeeded to the throne. Richard’s uncle, John of Gaunt
was made regent for the young king.
1377 (16th July)
Richard was crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey.
John of Gaunt, went to France at the head of a large army to try to take Brittany but the mission failed.
A new tax was introduced to help finance the ongoing war with France. It was called a poll tax and levied a fixed rate from everyone in the country. It was not popular with the people because the poor had to pay the same rate as the rich.
Pope Urban VI who was keen to gain support over the rival pope Clement VII suggested a match between Richard II of England and Anne of Bohemia
, daughter of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor.
The poll tax was raised to one shilling per person.
The people rebelled against the poll tax. As wages were still fixed at pre Black Death
levels by the Statute of Labourers this new tax left the peasants in a very poor situation and, encouraged by travelling priest, John Ball, they began to revolt.
John Ball was arrested and imprisoned in Maidstone.
Arrangements for the marriage of Richard II to Anne of Bohemia were finalised.
1381 (30th May)
Angry peasants in Essex, led by Jack Strawe, chased tax collectors away then marched to London. At the same time protesters in Kent, led by Wat Tyler, freed John Ball and then marched to London.
1381 (13th June)
The two groups of peasants reached London and joined at Tower Bridge. The mob, which had been orderly so far, turned violent and stormed the Tower of London. They murdered the Archbishop of Canterbury
, the Lord Treasurer and many others who had sought refuge in the Tower.
1381 (15th June)
Richard met the protesters at Smithfield and Wat Tyler was killed. The other protesters left on the promise of a pardon.
1381 (late June)
The pardon made by Richard was revoked. Uprisings against the Poll Tax were suppressed in St Albans, East Anglia and the South. John Ball was hung, drawn and quartered.
Following the problems caused by the Peasant’s Revolt, the Poll Tax was dropped.
Having begun to take control of the government of the country, Richard negotiated an alliance with Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor against France. However, a large sum had to be paid to to the Emperor to secure the treaty.
1382 (20th January)
Richard married Anne of Bohemia, daughter of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor.
1382 (21st January)
Tournaments were held to celebrate the marriage of King Richard II and Anne of Bohemia.
1382 (22nd January)
Anne of Bohemia was crowned Queen of England at Westminster Abbey.
Richard’s uncles John of Gaunt and Thomas of Woodstock expressed concern about Richard’s rule. They were unhappy that Richard was beginning to have favourites among his entourage.
A French army landed in Scotland to help the Scots invade England. Richard marched north at the head of an army and burnt Scottish border regions.
Richard created his uncle Edmund of Langley Duke of York and his uncle Thomas of Woodstock was created Duke of Gloucester.
Richard created his favourite, Robert de Vere, Marquis of Dublin. This gave de Vere control of vast lands in Ireland.
Questions were asked in Parliament about the power being given to Richard’s closest associates.
It was learned that a large French fleet was assembled at Sluys and it was believed that a French invasion was imminent.
Richard’s uncle, Thomas Duke of Gloucester spoke to Richard about his rule and the preferment given to his favourites.
1387 (14th November)
A group of influential noblemen – Thomas Duke of Gloucester (Richard’s uncle), Richard, Earl of Arundel, Thomas, Earl of Warwick and the Earl of Derby – known as the Appellants, accused a group of Richard’s friends of treason. Those accused included Chief Justice Tresilian and the King’s tutor Sir Simon Burley.
1387 (19th December)
Battle of Radcot Bridge
The Appellants were joined by Richard’s cousin, Henry Bolingbroke the Earl of Lancaster and Thomas Mowbray, Earl of Nottingham and defeated a Royalist force led by Richard’s favourite, Robert De Vere, Earl of Oxford.
The Merciless Parliament
Following the Royalist defeat at Radcot Bridge, Richard had no choice but to submit to this parliament which found many of his supporters guilty of treason. Chief Justice Tresilian and Simon Burley were executed and many others were imprisoned. Parliament set controls on the privileges enjoyed by the King and his household.
Parliament was dissolved.
Battle of Otterburn
The English led by Henry Hotspur, were defeated by the Scots.
Richard declared that he was going to rule without advisers. He pursued a moderate policy to appease those likely to oppose him but at the same time he was secretly forming militant groups around the country ready to rise against his opponents when the time was right.
1389 (18th July)
A truce was agreed with France.
1394 (7th June)
Anne of Bohemia died from the plague
. Richard was deeply upset by her death.
1394 (2nd October)
An expeditionary force was sent to conquer Ireland.
The English force in Ireland gained submission of Art MacMurrough and the other Irish rebel chieftains in return for full legal status under the English crown.
Thomas Arundel, a supporter of the Appellants, became Archbishop of Canterbury.
Treaty of Ardres
Richard negotiated a twenty-eight year truce with Charles VI of France at Ardres. The Treaty was to be sealed by the marriage of Richard to Charles’s daughter Isabella
1396 (4th November)
Richard married Isabella, daughter of Charles VI, King of France at St Nicholas Church, Calais, France.
1397 (7th January)
Isabella of France was crowned Queen of England at Westminster Abbey.
In revenge for the actions of the Merciless Parliament, Richard ordered the execution of Thomas Duke of Gloucester and Richard Earl of Arundel and the exile of Thomas Earl of Warwick and Thomas Arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury.
1398 (16th September)
Richard’s cousin, Henry Bolingbroke
, had quarrelled with the Duke of Norfolk and they had decided to solve the matter using trial by battle. However, King Richard II intervened, forbade the fight and banished both men.
1399 (3rd February)
Richard’s uncle John of Gaunt died at Leicester Castle. Richard seized all his Lancastrian lands and gave them to his friends.
Richard’s blatant disregard for the rights of inheritance and his use of the justice system in obtaining convictions against those who opposed him, made him increasingly unpopular among the Lords, the Commons and the Clergy.
Richard went to Ireland to crush a rising by MacMurrough. He moved his young wife, Isabella to the safety of Portchester Castle.
1399 (19th August)
While Richard was in Ireland, his cousin, Henry of Bolingbroke landed at Ravenspur in Yorkshire. With the support of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, and Thomas Arundel, exiled Archbishop of Canterbury he took the throne.
1399 (29th September)
On his return from Ireland Richard was arrested and imprisoned in Pontefract Castle. He was forced to abdicate the throne in favour of his cousin, Henry of Bolingbroke who became King Henry IV
Richard’s wife, Isabella, was placed under house arrest at Sonning Palace, home of the Bishop of Salisbury.
1400 (14th February)
Richard died possibly from starvation at Pontefract Castle, Yorkshire.
First published 2016; Updated and republished Feb 14 2021 @ 10:19 am – Updated – [last-modified]