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on the


It is generally known that much ob­
scurity hangs over the common stories
relative to the death of Richard the
Second, and that Henry the Fourth
was greatly annoyed by reports of the
captive king having escaped to Scot­
land; reports which he, of course, in­
variably treated as false, and which all
our modern historians, both of Eng­
land and of Scotland, have been dis­
posed to consider fabulous : some con­
tenting themselves with a brief notice
that an impostor appeared under the
name of Richard the Second, and
others passing over the circumstance

In investigating this obscure part of
our history, it was lately my fortune
to discover some very interesting evi­
dence, which induced me to believe
that there was much more truth in
these reports than I was at first dis­
posed to admit. This led to an ex­
amination of the whole proofs relative
to Richard’s disappearance and alleged
death in England; and the result was

Chartier is well known. Finding this famous
poet asleep in the saloon of the palace, she
stooped down and kissed him—observing to
her ladies, who were somewhat astonished at
the proceeding, that she did not kiss the
man but the mouth which had uttered so
many fine things, a singular, and, as they
perhaps thought, too minute a distinction.
Menagiana, vol. ii. p. 130.

Eleanor, although equally fond of litera-
ture, confined herself to a more decorous
mode of exhibiting her predilection, by trans­
lating the romance of Ponthus et Sidoyne
into Grerman for tht amusement of her hus-

a strong conviction that the king ac­
tually dicl make his escape from Pon­
tefract castle; that he succeeded in
conveying himself to Scotland, where
he was discovered, detained, and sup­
ported by Robert the Third and the
Duke of Albany; and that he actually
died in that country long after his re­
puted murder in England. I am well
aware that this is a startling proposi­
tion, too broadly in the face of long­
established opinion, to be admitted
upon any evidence inferior almost to
demonstration. It is quite possible,
also, that there may exist, in the
manuscript treasures of the public
libraries of England or of France, ab­
solute proof that Richard was mur­
dered, or that he died in prison; and
one great object of these observations
will be attained if they have the effect
of directing the attention of the
learned to the f urther investigation of
a subject still very obscure. In the
meantime, I trust I shall succeed in
shewing that my hypothesis as to
Richard’s escape, for it pretends to no
higher name, is supported by a body
of direct as well as of negative evi­
dence, superior to that which could
be adduced upon many other histori­
cal facts, the truth of which has not
been questioned by the most fastidi­
ous and sceptical writers.

It is stated by Bower, or Bow­maker,
the continuator of Fordun, and one
of the most ancient and authentic of
our early historians, that Richard the


Second found means to escape from
Pontefract castle; that he succeeded
in conveying himself to the Scottish
isles; and, travelling in disguise through
those remote parts, was accidentally re­
cognised and discovered, when sitting
in the kitchen of Donald, lord of the
Isles, by a jester who had been edu­
catecl at the court of the king. The
same historian proceeds to say that
Donald of the Isles sent him, under
the charge of Lord Montgomery, to
Robert the Third, with whora, as long
as the Scottish monarch lived, he was
supported as became his rank; and
that, after the death of this king, the
royal fugitive was delivered to the
Duke of Albany, then governor of
Scotland, by whom he was honourably
treated; and he concludes this remark­
able sentence, which I have given
nearly in his own words, by affirming
that Richard at length died in the
castle of Stirling, and was buried in
the church of the preaching friars, on
the north side of the altar.1

In another part of his history, the
same writer, in describing the devasta-
tions committed by Richard in his
expedition into Scotland, alludes in
equally positive terms, and almost in
the same words, to his subsequent
escape into that country, and his being
discovered by Donald of the Isles ;2 and

1 Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 427. “ Isto
modo rex Ricardus fuit regno privatus et per­
petuis carceribus, cito deficiendus deputatus;
sed subtiliter abinde ereptus, et ad insulas
Scotiæ transvectus, et in coquina Dovenaldi
domini Insularum, a quodam fatuo qui in
curia Regis Ricardi dum floreret, educatus
fuerat cognitus et repertus, et a dicto domino
Insularum ad Regem Scotiæ Robertum Ter­
tium per Dominum de Monte-Gomorry trans­
missus, cum quo dum Rex Scotiæ vixerat
reverenter, ut decuit, procuratus, et post mor-
tem regis Duci Albaniæ gubernatori Scotiæ
presentatus ; cum quo regifice quoad statum
honoratus, tandem in castro de Strivelyn mor­
tuus, et in ecclesia fratrum ejusdem ad aquil­
onare altaris cornu ejusdem tumulatus.”—
“Hic Ricardus fuit filius Edwardi principis
Walliæ, filii Eduardi Windesor, qui rexit an­
nis viginti duobus; mortuus sine liberis.”

2 Ibid. vol. ii. p. 402. “Unde ad id deven­
tum est, ut ipse idem Rcx Ricardus II., qui
olim in florenti majestate sua, stipatus, tur­
mis militum, et multitudine clientum, Salo­
moni magno in expensis æquiparal)atur, tan­
dem carceres evadens, insulas Scotiæ petens,
cognitus est a quodam fatuo, qui in sua curia

again, in the passage in which he men­
tions the death of Robert the Third,
the same historian remarks that about
this time many persons fled out of
England from the face of Henry the
Fourth, and came to King Richard in
Scotland; amongst whom vvere Henry
Percy the elder, with his grandson,
Henry Percy the younger, who had
come a little before this, and being of
the same age with James the First,
had been brought up with him in the
castle of St Andrews. At the same
time, he continues, there came also
the Lord Bardolf, two Welsh pre­
lates, the Bishops of St Asaph and of
Bangor, the Abbot of Welbeck, and
other honourable persons; but, he
adds, King Richard would in nowise
be persuaded, either by the governor
or by any other persons, to have a
private interview with the Earl of
Northumberland.3 Lastly, under the
events of the year 1419, the historian
this brief entry:—“ In this year
died Richard, King of England, on the
Feast of St Luke, in the castle of Stir­
ling.” 4 These passages are sufficiently
direct and positive : and in estimating
the weight to which they are entitled,
it must be remembered that Bower
states them upon his own knowledge;
that he was a contemporary engaged
in the collection of materials for his
history at the period in question ; and
that, from his rank in the Church,
from his employment in responsible
offices of state, and his connexion with
those best able to give him informa-
tion upon this subject, his evidence is of

ante hoc educatus fuevat, et inventus in culina,
tanquam vilis elixa, Dovenaldi domini Insu­

3 Fovdun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 441. “ His
diebus fugerunt multi de Anglia a facie regis
Henrici IV., et in Scotiam ad regem Ricardum
venerunt. Venit enim Henricus Percy, senior,
cum nepote suo Henrico juniore qui paulo
ante venerat et cum principe nostvo Jacobo
I. coævus in Castvo Sancti Andreæ extiterat.
Venitque tunc temporis, dominus de Bardolf,
cum diversis honestis personis, et duo Epis­
copi Wallenses—viz., Dominus Griffinus Epis­
copus Bangorenus et alius episcopus,—viz.,
Assavensis et Abbas de Welbeck. Quo in
tempore rex Angliæ Ricardus non potuit in­
duci, neque per gubevnatovem nec alios quos­
cunque adhabendum familiave colloquium cum
Comite Novthumbviæ.”
Ibid. vol. ii. p. 459.



an unexceptionable kind. It is indeed
true that in the remote annals of the
country he may be convicted of error;
but with regard to events falling with­
in the range of his own personal ob­
servation Bower is entitled to high
credit; and he assuredly does not
throw out the slightest suspicion as to
the identity of the king.

But the Credit due to this passage
is much strengthened by the circum­
stance that he is corroborated in the
greater part, if not in the whole of
his story by another valuable original
writer, Andrew Winton, whose testi­
mony cannot be regarded as borrowed
from Bower, as we know that his
Chronicle was completed before the
history of Bower was begun.1 It is
stated by this historian, in a passage
of singular simplicity, of the contents
of which I now give a literal trans­
cript, “that after Richard’s deposi­
tion by King Henry the Fourth, he
was confined in the Tower of London; ,
they then,” says he, “brought him to
Pontefract, where he was delivered to
two gentlemen of rank and reputation,
named Swinburn and Waterton, who
felt compassion for him, and spread a
report öf the king’s death; after which
there arose a rumour that King Richard
was still alive.” Winton then proceeds
to say “ that he will tell how this re­
port arose, as he heard, although he
possesses no information as to the
manner in which the king effected his
escape from Pontefract. But,” says
he, “at this time a poor traveller ap­
peared in the Oute Isles of Scotland;
and it happened that he was met by a

1 Winton, by M’Pherson, preface, p. 22.
" It was at his request (Sir John of the Wemyss)
that he undertook his Chronicle, 1 Prolog. 54,
which was finished between the 3d of Septem­
ber 1420 and the return of King James from
England in 1424, as appears by Robert duke
of Albany being mentioned as dead, and the
prayer for the prosperity of his children, ix.
xxvi. 51.”—’’Bower was born in 1385. In
1403, when eighteen years old, he put on the
habit; he afterwards completed his theological
studies at Paris; and having returned to
Scotland, was elected Abbot of Inchcolm in
1418. After this, he was employed invari­
ous offices of trust under the government;
and at length, in 1441, began his continua-
tion of Fordun, whose Collectanea he had in
his possession.”—Goodal’s Preface to Fordun,
p. 3.

lacly of the family of Bisset, a daughter
of an Irish lord, who was wedded to the
brother of the Lord of the Isles. She
had before seen the king in Ireland,
and she immediately declared to her
husband that this traveller was King
Richard; upon which he called him,
and inquired whether this was true ;
but he denied it, and would not allow
that it was so. However,” continues
Winton, “ they sent this person to the
Lord Montgomery in haste, and after­
wards he was kept by Robert, king of
Scotland; then he was held for some
time by the Lord of Cumbernauld; and
lastly delivered to the Duke of Albany,
who kept him for a long time after this.”
The historian then concludes his no­
tice of this mysterious person by the
following observation :—" Whether he
had been the king or not, there were
few who knew for certain. He was
little inclinecl to devotion, and seldom
shewed a desire to hear mass ; from
the manner in which he conducted
himself, it seemed likely that he was
half mad or wild.” 2 Such is almost a
After describing Richard’s deposition,
Winton thus proceeds—vol. ii. pp. 387, 3S8,

“ Wythoutyn dout the court wes hard
Wyth this forsaid King Richard,
For in the Toure of Londone syne
Haldyne he wes a quhile in pyne :
And eftyre that on purpos set
Thai brocht hym north on til Powmfret;
Thare wes he delyverit then
Tyl twa wele trowit famous men,
Swynburn and Wattyrton,
Men of gud reputacioune ;
Thare he bade, and wes hard stade,
Gret pitè of hym thir gud men had,
The word in Yngland thai gert spred
That this Richard king wes dede,
Bot eftyr that thare ras tithand,
That this King Richard wes livand.
And quhon that rais, I will tel here
As I hard thare­of the manere.
Bot I can nocht tell the case
Off Poumfret as he chapit wase.

“ Bot in the Owt-Ilys of Scotland than
Thare wes traveland a pure man,
A Lordis douchtyr of Ireland
Of the Bissetis, thare dwelland
Wes weddit wyth a Gentylman,
The Lord of the Ilys bruthir than,
In Ireland before quhen scho had bene,
And the King Richard thare had sene,
Quhen in the Islis scho saw this man,
Scho let that scho weil kend hym thar,
Til hir Maistere sone scho past
And tauld thare til hym als-sa fast,
That he wes that King of Yngland
That scho be-fore saw in Ireland,


literal translation of Winton’s testi­
mony, who was prior of Lochleven at
the time of Richard’s appearance, and
must have had the best opportunities
of informing himself of the truth of
the story. He cautiously, indeed, de­
clines giving us his own opinion upon
the subject, contenting himself with
declaring that few knew for certain
whether this mysterious person was
the king ; but this, I think, may be
accounted for from his high admira­
tion of Albany, and his evident desire
not to reveal anything which might
throw a stain upon his government,
or that of his son, Duke Murdoch.

We know, from his own words, that
Winton regarded Henry the Fourth as
an unprincipled usurper, who had
unjustly dethroned the rightful king;1
and to have admitted that Albany
detained Richard in an honourable
captivity, whilst he recognised the
title of Henry to the throne, would
have little corresponded with the high
character which he has elsewhere
given of him. This disposition of the
historian is strikingly illustrated by
the manner in which he passes over
the murder of the Duke of Rothesay.
It is now established by undoubted
evidence that the prince was murdered
by Albany and Douglas; yet Winton
omits the dreadful event, and gives us
only a brief notice of his death.2 And
I may observe, that in his account of
the deposition of Henry, and the sub­
sequent escape of Richard into Scot­

Quhen he wes therein before

As scho drew than to memore ;

Quhen til hir Mastere this scho had tauld,

That man rycht sone he tyl hym cald.

And askit hym, gyf it wes swa.

That he denyit; and said nocht, Ya.

Syn to the Lord of Montgwmery

That ilke man wes send in hy ;

That ilke man syne eftyr that

Robert oure King of Scotland gat,

The Lord als of Cumbirnald

That man had a quhile to hald.

The Duke of Albany syne hym gat,

And held him lang tyme efter that:

Quhethir he had bene king, or nane,

Thare wes bot few, that wyst certane.

Of devotioune nane he wes

And seildyn will had to here Mes,

As he bare hym, like wes he

Oft half wod or wyld to be.”

1 Winton, vol. ii. p. 386.

2 Winton’s Chronicle, vol. ii. p 397.

land, he has introduced a remark
which is evidently intended as an
apology to the reader for the conceal­
ment of part of the truth. “Although,”
says he, “ everything which you write
should be true, yet in all circumstances
to tell the whole truth is neither
needful nor speedful.” 3

Yet although the cautious Prior of
Lochleven clicl not choose to commit
himself by telling the whole truth, he
states two remarkable circumstances
which do not appear elsewhere. The
first of these is the denial, by the
person in question, that he was the
king, when he was discovered by
Donald of the Isles: a very extra­
ordinary step certainly to be taken by
an impostor, but a natural one to be
adopted by the fugitive king himself,
for at this time Donald of the Isles
was in strict alliance with Henry the
Fourth.4 The second is the new fact,
that Richard was delivered at Ponte­
fract to two trustworthy and well­
known gentlemen, Swinbum and
Waterton. Such strict secrecy was
observed by Henry as to the mode
in which the dethroned monarch
was conveyed to Pontefract, and the
persons to whose custody he was in­
trusted, that neither in the state
papers of the time nor in the con­
temporary English historians is there
any particular information upon the
subject. But it is certain that Sir
Thomas Swinburn and Sir Robert
Waterton were two knights in the con­
fidence and employment of Henry, and
that Waterton, in particular, was
steward of the honour of Pontefract;5 a

3 Winton’s Chronicle, vol. ii. pp. 383, 384.
“ And in al thing full suth to say

Is noucht neidful na speidful ay.
Bot quhat at suld writyn be
Suld be al suth of honestè.”

4 Rotuli Scotiæ, vol. ii. pp. 155, 156.

5 Whitaker’s Loidis and Elmete, p. 269.
Waterton was Master of the Horse to Henry
the Fourth, who employed him in a foreign
mission to the Duke of Gueldres. Cottonian
Catalogue, p. 245. No. 88, also p. 244. In
May 7, 1404, Sir Thomas Swinborne was sent
on a mission to the magistrates of Bruges.
Ibid. p. 244. See also Fordun a Goodal, vol.
ii. p. 428. I have much pleasure in ac­
knowledging the polite and friendly attention
of Sir John Swinburn, Bart. of Capheaton, to
my inquiries upon this subject. From his in-
formation I am enabled to state, that although


circumstance which tends strongly to
corroborate the account of Winton,
and to shew that, although he did not
think it prudent to tell the whole
truth, he yet possessed sources of
authentic information. There is no
mention of Winton in Bower's ad-
ditions to Fordun—a strong proof, I
think, that this last author had never
seen his Chronicle ; so that we are
entitled to consider these two passages
as proceeding from two witnesses, who,
being unconnected with each other, yet
concur in the same story. Nor is it
difficult to account for the more par­
ticular and positive account of Bower,
if we recollect that this author com-
posed his history under the reign of
James the Second; twenty years after
Winton had completed his Chronicle,
when all were at liberty to speak
freely of the actions and character of
Albany, and time had been given to
this writer to investigate and discover
the truth.

In an ancient manuscript in the
Advocates’ Library, which I conjecture
to have been written posterior to the
time of Fordun, and prior to the date
of Bower’s Continuation, I have found
three passages which corroborate the
accounts of this author and of Winton
in a striking manner. The manuscript
is entitled “ Extracta ex Chronicis
Scotiæ,” and at folio 254 has the fol­
lowing passage :—“ Henry Percy, earl
of Northumberland, with his nephew
Henry the younger, and many others
of the prelates and nobles of England,
who fled from the face of Henry the
Fourth, came into Scotland to King
Richard, at this time an exile, but
well treated by the governor.” 1 In

in his own family there is no evidence, either
written or traditionary, on the suhject of
Richard the Second, yet in the family of the
present Mr Waterton of Walton Hall, the
descendant of Sir Robert Waterton, Master of
the Horse to Henry the Fourth, there is a
long established tradition, that his ancestor
had the charge of Richard the Second in
Pontefract castle.

1 “ Percy Henricus Comes Northumbriæ
cum nepote suo Henrico minore et multi alii
nobiles Angliæ ac prælati fugientes a facie
Henrici quarti Regis Angliæ Scotiam venerunt
ad regem Ricardum exulem, per gubernatorem
bene tractati.”—Extracta ex Chronicis Scotiæ,
folio 254. MS. Adv. Lib.

another part of the same manuscript,
the account given of the death of
Richard by Bower is thus briefly but
positively confirmed, with the valuable
addition of the monkish or leonine
epitaph inscribed above his tomb :—
“Richard the Second, king of England,
died in the castle of Stirling, in the
aforesaid year, and was buried on the
Feast of St Lucie the Virgin, on the
north side of the high altar öf the
Preaching Friars;” above whose royal
image there painted, it is thus written :

“ Angliæ Ricardus jacet hic rex ipse sepultus.
Loncaste quem Dux dejecit arte, mota pro­

Prodicione potens, sceptro potitur iniquo.
Supplicium luit hunc ipsius omne genus.
Ricardum inferis hunc Scotia sustulit annis
Qui caustro Striveling vite peregit iter
Anno milleno quaterceno quoque deno
Et nono Christi regis finis fuit iste.” 2

The church of the Dominican friars
at Stirling has long since been de­
stroyed, and other buildings erected
on its site. It existed, however, in
the time of Boece, who mentions the
inscription over Richard’s tomb as
being visible in his day.3 Such being
the clear and positive statements of
these respectable contemporary writers,
whilst, as I shall afterwards shew, the
accounts of the reputed death of the
king by the English historians were
extremely vague and contradictory,
and the reports of his escape frequent,
I certainly did not feel disposed to
follow Buchanan, and the whole body
of English and Scottish historians who
succeeded him, in treating the story
as fabulous, or in considering the
person whom Bower so positively
asserts to have been the king as an

Having proceeded thus far in these
researches, I began the examination of
that part of the Chamberlain Accounts,
which forms the continuation of those
valuable unpublished records, of which
I have already given a description, in
the Notes and Illustrations to the first
volume of this history. It contains the
accounts of the great chamberlains and
other ministers of the crown during the

2 Extracta ex Chronicis Scotiæ, fol. 263,

3 13oece, Hist. p. 1339.


government of the Duke of Albany;
and in examining them with that
deep interest which such authentic
documents clemanded, I came upon
the following extraordinary passages,
which I shall translate literally from
the Latin. The first occurs at the
end of the accounts for the year 1408,
and is as follows:—“ Be it remembered
also, that the said lord governor, down
to the present time, has neither de­
manded nor received any allowance
for the sums expended in the support
of Richard, king of England, and the
messengers of France and of Wales,
at different times coming into the
country, upon whom he has defrayed
much, as is well known.” 1 Again, at
the conclusion of Accounts for the
year 1414, the following passage is to
found :—“ Be it remembered also, that
our lord the duke, governor of the
kingdom, has not received any allow-
ance or credit for the expenses of
King Richard incurred from the period
of the death of his brother, our lord
the king of good memory, last de­
ceased. “ 2 The same memorandum,
in precisely the same words, is inserted
at the termination of the Chamberlain
Accounts for the year 1415;3 and
lastly, at the conclusion of the year
1417, there is this passage :—“Be it
remembered, that the lord governor
has not received any allowance for
the expenses and burdens which he
sustained for the custody of King
Richard of England from the time of
the death of the late king, his brother of
good memory, being a period of eleven
years, which expenses the lords audi­
tors of accounts estimate at the least
to have amounted annually to the
sum of a hundred marks, which for

1 “Et memorandum quod dictus Dominus
Gubernator regni non peciit neque recepit ad
presens aliquam allocationem pro expensis
suis factis super Ricardum regem Angliæ;
Nuncios Franciæ vel Walliæ diversis vicibus
infra regnum venient: circa quos multa ex­
posuit, ut est notum.”—Rotuli Compotorum,
vol. iii. p.18.

2 “Et memorandum quod dominus dux
gubernator regni non recepit allocationem
aliquam pro expensis regis Ricardi, a tem­
pore obitus bone memorie Domini regis
fratris sui ultimo, defuncti."—Rotuli Com­
potorum, vol. iii. p. 69.

3 Id. vol. iii. p. 78.

the past years makes m all £733, 6s.

The discovery of these remarkable
passages in records of unquestionable
authenticity was very satisfactory. I
considered them as affording a proof,
nearly as convincing as the nature
of the subject admitted, that the story
given by Bower and by Winton was
substantially true ; as establishing
upon direct evidence, which hitherto
I can see no cause to suspect, the fact
so positively asserted during the reign
of Henry the Fourth and Henry the
Fifth, that Richard the Second had
escaped into Scotland, and lived there
for many years after his reputed death
in England. That an impostor should,
as we learn from Winton, deny that
he was the king, or that, in the face
of this denial, a poor maniac should be
supported at great expense, and de­
tained for more than eleven years at
the Scottish court, seems to me so
extravagant a supposition, that I do
not envy the task of any one who
undertakes to support it. It was due,
however, to the respectable historians
who had adopted the common opinion
regarding the death of Richard in
1399, that the evidence upon which
they proceeded should be diligently
weighed and examined. This I have
done, with an earnest desire to arrive
at the truth in this mysterious story,
and the result has been the discovery
of a body of negative evidence, supe­
rior, I think, to that which could be
brought in support of most historical

And here I may first remark, that
there is no certain proof furnished
by contemporary English writers that
Richard the Second either died or was
murdered in Pontefract castle; the ac­
counts of the best historians being not
only vague and inconsistent with each

4 “ Et memorandum quod dominus guber­
nator non recepit allocacionem pro expensis
et oneribus quas sustinuit pro custodia regis
Ricardi Anglie, a tempore obitus bone me­
morie quondam domini regis fratris sui, jam
per undecim annos. Quas expensas annu­
atim dni auditores compotorum estimant ad
minus fuisse in quolibet, anno centum marcas.
Quæ summa se extendit pro annis præteritis
ad vii° xxxiii lib. vi sh. viii d. quæ summa
debetur domino duci.“—Id. p. 95.


other, but many of them such as can
easily be proved to be false by unex­
ceptionable evidence. So much, in­
deed, is this the case, that some
ingenious English authors have of late
years attempted to clear up the mass
of obscurity and contradiction which
hangs over the fate of Richard, and
after having done all which could be
accomplished by eruditiön and acute­
ness, have been compelled to leave the
question, as to the manner of his
death, in nearly the same uncertainty
in which they found it.1

Walsingham, a contemporary his­
torian of good authority, although at­
tached to the house of Lancaster,
affirms tbat, according to common re­
port, "ut fertur" he died by a vo­
luntary refusal of food, on the 14th
of February 1399. “ Richard,” says
he, “ the former king of England, when
he had heard of these disasters, be­
came disturbed in his mind, and, as is
reported, put an end to his life by
voluntary abstinence, breathing his
last at Pontefract castle on St Valen­
tine’s day.”2 Thomas of Otterburn,
however, who was also a contemporary,
gives a story considerably different:
for he informs us that the king, al­
though he at first determined to starve
himself to death, afterwards repented,
and wished to take food, but that in
consequence of his abstinence the ori­
fice of the stomach was shut, so that
he could not eat, and died of weakness.
“ When Richard,” he observes, “the
late King of England, who was then
a prisoner in Pontefract castle, had
learnt the misfortune of his brother
John of Holland, and the rest of his
friends, he fell into such profound
grief, that he took the resolution of
starving himself, and, as it is reported,
he so long abstained from food, that
the orifice of his stomach was closed ;
so that when he was afterwards per­

1 See the learned dissertations of Mr Webb
and Mr Amyot, in the twentieth volume of
the Archæologia.

2 Walsingham, p. 363. “ Ricardus quon­
dam rex Angliæ cum audisset hæc infortunia,
mente consternatus, semetipsum extinxit in­
edia voluntaria, ut fertur, clausitque diem
extremum apud castrum de Pontefracto die
Sancti Valentini.

suaded by his keepers to satisfy the
craving of nature, by attempting to
take nourishment, he found himself
unable to eat, and his constitution
sinking under it, he expired in the
same place on St Valentine’s day.”3

In direct opposition to this story of
death by voluntary abstinence, (a mode
of extinction which is pronounced by
an excellent historian to be inconsis-
tent with the previous character of
the king,)4 a completely different tale
is given by the author of a French
manuscript work, in the Royal Library
at Paris, who seems to be the first to
whom we owe the introduction of Sir
Piers Exton, and his band of eight
assassins, who murdered Richard with
their halberts and battle-axes. This
account has been repeated by Fabyan
and Hall in their Chronicles, by Hay­
ward in his Life of Richard, and, in
consequence of its adoption by Shak­
speare, has become, and will probably
continue, the general belief of Europe.
For a complete exposure of the false­
hood of this tale of assassination, I
shall content myself with a simple re­
ference to Mr Amyot’s paper on the
death of Richard the Second, which is
printed in the Archæologia.5

There is lastly a class of contem­
porary authorities which ascribe the
death of the king neither to voluntary
abstinence nor to the halbert of Sir
Piers Exton—but to starvation by his
keepers. The manuscript Chronicle
of Kenilworth uses expressions which
amount to this :—“ Fame et siti, ut
putatur, dolenter consummatus.” A
Chronicle, in the Harleian collection,
the work of Peter de Ickham, is more
positive :—“ A cibo et potu per iv. aut
v. dies restrictus, fame et inedia expi­

3 Otterburn, pp. 228, 229. “ Ricardus quon
dam rex Angliæ in castro de Pontefracto
existens custoditus, cum audisset infortu-
nium fratris sui Joannis Holland, et cete­
rorum, in tantam devenit tristitiam, quod
semet inedia voluit peremisse, et tantum
dicitur abstinuise, quod clauso orificio sto­
machi, cum ex post, consilio custodum, vol­
uisset naturæ satisfecisse comedendo, præ­
cluso omni appetitu comedere non valeret,
unde factum est, ut natura debilitata, defe­
cerit, et die Sancti Valentini, diem clausit
supremum ibidem.”

4 Turner, Hist. of England, vol. ii. p. 352.

5 Archæologia, vol. xx. pp. 427. 428.


ravit.” Hardyng, the chronicler, who
was a contemporary, and lived in the
service and enjoyed the confidence of
Hotspur and his father, repeats the
same story.1 Whilst we thus see that
the accounts of so many writers who
lived at the time are completely at
variance—one saying that he starved
himself, another that he repented, and
wished to eat, but found it too late,
and died; a third, that it took all the
efforts of Exton and his accomplices,
by repeated blows, to f ell him to the
ground; and the last class of writers,
that his death was occasioned by his
keepers depriving him of all nourish-
ment—the proper inference to be drawn
from such discrepancies in the various
accounts amounts simply to this, that
about this time the king disappeared,
and no one knew what became of

It may be said, however, that all
contemporary writers agree that the
king did die, although they differ as
to the manner of his death; yet even
this is not the case : on the contrary,
the belief that he had escaped, and
was alive, seems to have been enter­
tained in England by many, and those
the persons most likely to have access
to the best information, almost imme­
diately after his being committed to
Pontef ract, and apparently bef ore there
was time to have any communication
with Scotland. This can be very con­
vincingly shewn.

Some time after Richard had been
conveyed with great secrecy to his
prison in Pontefract castle, and previ­
ous to his reported death, a conspiracy
was formed against Henry the Fourth
by the Earls of Kent, Salisbury, and
Huntingdon.2 These noblemen, along
with the Bishop of Carlisle and the
Abbot of Westminster, were the chief
actors in the plot; but they had drawn
into it many persons of inferior rank,
and, amongst the rest, Maudelain, a
priest, who had been a favourite of
the king, and who resembled him so
completely in face and person, that it
is said the likeness might have cleceived

1 Chron. Harl. MS. 4323, p. 68. Archæolo-
gia, vol. xx. p. 282.
2 Walsingham, pp. 362. 363.

any one.3 Their design was to murder
Henry at a tournament which they
were to hold at Windsor, and to re­
store King Richard. After everything,
however, as they supposed, had been
admirably organised, the plot was be­
trayed to Henry by one of their own
number; and on arriving at Windsor,
they found that their intended victim
had fled to London. They now changed
their purpose, and marched to Sunning,
near Reading, where Richard’s youth-
ful queen resided, who had not at this
time completed her ninth year. Here,
according to the accounts of Walsing-
ham and Otterburn, the Earl of Kent,
addressing the attendants and friends
of the queen, informed them that
Henry of Lancaster had fled to the
Tower of London, and that they were
now on their road to meet King
Richard, their lawful prince, who had
escaped from prison, and was then at
the bridge of Radcote with a hundred
thousand men.4 The last part of the
assertion was undoubtedly false; the
first clause of the sentence contains
the first assertion of Richard’s escape
which I have met with; and I may
remark, that with the exception of the
two dignified ecclesiastics, none of the
conspirators, whose testimony could
have thrown light upon the subject,
were suffered to live. The Earls of
Surrey and of Salisbury were taken
and executed at Cirencester; the Lorda
Lumley and Despencer shared the
same fate at Bristol; the Earl of Hun­
tingdon was seized near London, and
beheaded at Pleshy; two priests, one
of them Maudelain, whose extraordi-
nary likeness to the king has been
already noticed, with another named
Ferriby, were executed at London;
Sir Bernard Brocas and Sir John Shelly
shared their fate; and others, whose
names Walsingham has not preserved,

3 Metrical History of Deposition of Richard
the Second, Archæologia, vol. xx. p. 213.

4 The expressions of Walsingham, p. 363,
are slightly different from those of Otterburn.
Walsingham’s words are, “Quia jam evasit
de carcere et jacet ad Pontem-fractum cum
centum millibus defensorum.” Those of Otter­
burn are, “ Qui jam evasit carcere et jacet ad
pontem de Radcote cum 100,000 hominum
defensionis,” pp. 225, 226.


suiTered at Oxford.1 Rapin has as­
serted that both the ecclesiastics who
were involved in the plot, the Abbot
of Westminster and the Bishop of
Carlisle, died almost immediately—the
abbot of a stroke of apoplexy, and the
bishop of absolute terror ;2 but this is
an error. The Bishop of Carlisle, who
was tried and pardoned, undoubtedly
lived till 1409. And although the
Abbot of Westminster appears to have
died of apoplexy, neither the cause nor
the time of his death agree with the
story in Rapin.3 It is quite clear,
however, that previous to Richard’s
reported death it was asserted that he
had escaped from Pontefract castle.

A contemporary French manuscript,
being a Metrical History of the Depo­
sition of Richard the Second, which
has been translated and published by
Mr Webb in the Archæologia, whilst
it confirms the story of Richard’s al­
leged escape, adds, that to incluce the
people to believe it, they brought Mau­
delain the priest with them, and dressed
him up to personate the king. The
passage, which is as follows, is amusing
and curious :—“They,” says this au-
thor, speaking of the conspirators,
“ had many archers with them. They
said that good King Richard had left
his prison, and was there with them.
And to make this the more credible,
they had brought a chaplain, who so
exactly resembled good King Richard
in face and person, in form and in
speech, that every one who saw him
certified and declared that he was the
old king. He was called Maudelain.
Many a time have I seen him in Ire-
land, riding through the country with
King Richard, his master. I have not
for a long time seen a fairer priest.
They armed the aforesaid as king, and
set a very rich crown upon his helm,
that it might be believed of a truth
that the king was out of prison" 4 I

1 Metrical Hist. of Deposition of Richard
the Second, p. 215. Archæologia, vol. xx.

2 Rapin, vol. i. p. 490. Fol. ed. London,

3 Godwin, p. 767.

4 Archæologia, vol. xx. pp. 213. 214. Trans­
lation of a French Metrical History of the De­
position of Richard the Second, with prefatory
observations, notes, and an appendix, by the
llev. John Webb. Mr Webb’s notes are

have given this passage from the me­
trical history, because I wish the reader
to be possessed of all the contemporary
evidence which may assist him in the
discovery of the truth; whilst I ac­
knowledge, at the same time, that the
additional circumstance as to the per­
sonification of Richard by Maudelain
the priest seems at first to militate
against the accuracy of the story as to
Richard’s escape. It ought to be re­
membered, however, that Walsingham
says nothing of this personification;
and his evidence, which is that of a
contemporary in England, ought to
outweigh the testimony of the French
Chronicle, which in this part is avow­
edly hearsay. Neither does Otterburn
mention this circumstance, although
it was too remarkable to be omitted if
it really occurred.

There is, however, another manu­
script in the library of the King of
France, entitled, “ Relation de la prise
de Richard Seconde, par Berry Roy
d’Armes,” which in some measure en­
ables us to reconcile this discrepancy.
According to the account which it
contains, it was resolved at the meet­
ing of the conspirators, which was held
in the house of the Abbot of West­
minster, that “ Maudelain was to ride
with them,to represent King Richard;”
but this plan was not afterwards car­
ried into execution. It appears from
the same manuscript that Henry him­
self, when marching against the con­
spirators, believed the story of Richard’s
escape. This, I think, is evident from
the following passage :—“ Next morn­
ing, Henry set out to meet his ene­
mies, with only fifty lances and six
thousand archers; and drawing up his
men without the city, waited three
hours for his reinforcements. Here
he was reproached by the Earl of War­
wick for his lenity, which had brought
him into this danger; but he vindi­
cated himself for his past conduct,
adding, ’ that if he should meet Rich­

learned and interesting, and have furnished
me with some valuable corroborations of the
truth of my theory as to Richard’s fate. In
the above passage, Mr Webb translates “ le
roy ancien" “the old king:" “the former
king“ would express the meaning more


ard now, one of them should die.’ "1
I do not see how Henry could have
expressed himself in this way to the
Earl of Warwick, unless he then be­
lieved that Richard had really escaped,
and was about to meet him in the

It was almost immediately after the
suppression of this conspiracy, and the
execution of its authors, that Richard
was reported to have died in Ponte­
fract castle; and we now come to the
consideration of an extraordinary part
of the story, in the exposition of the
dead body by Henry, for the purpose
of proving to the people that it was
the very body of their late king. Of
this ceremony Otterburn gives the fol-
lowing account:—“ His body was car­
ried and exposed in the principal places
intervening betwixt Pontefract and
London; that part, at least, of the
person was shewn by which he could
be recognised—I mean the face, which
was exposed from the lower part of
the forehead to the throat. Having
reached London, it was conveyed to
the church of St Paul’s, where the
king, along with some of his nobles,
and the citizens of London, attended
the funeral, both on the first and the
second day; after the conclusion of the
mass, the body was carried back to
Langley, in order to be there interred
amongst the Preaching Friars; which
interment accordingly took place, be­
ing conducted without any pomp by
the Bishop of Chester and the Abbots
of St Albans and of Waltham.”2 The
manner in which this funeral proces­
sion to St Paul’s was conducted is
minutely described in the following
passage, extracted by Mr Allen from
the manuscript in the Royal Library
at Paris, already quoted :—“ In the
year 1399-1400, on the 12th day of
March, was brought to the church of
St Paul of London, in the state of a
gentleman, the body of the noble king

1 Archæologia, vol. xx. pp. 218, 219. From
this curious manuscript, which belonged to
the celebrated Baluze, large extracts were
made by Mr Allen, Master of Dulwich College,
a gentleman of deep research in English his­
tory, and communicated to Mr Webb, from
whose notes I have taken them.

2 Otterburn, p. 229.

Richard. And true it is, that it was
in a carriage which was covered with
a black cloth,3 having four banners
thereupon, whereof two were the arms
of St George, and the other two the
arms of St Edward; to wit, Azure,
over all a cross Or; and there were a
hundred men all clad in black; and
each bore a torch. And the Londoner3
had thirty torches and thirty men, who
were all clad in white, and they went
to meet the noble King Richard; and
he was brought to St Paul’s, the head
church of London. There he was two
days above ground, to shew him to
those of the said city, that they might
believe for certain that he was dead;
for they required no other thing.” 4

This ceremony took place on the
12th of March 1399, nearly a month
after the king’s reputed death on the
14th of February; and it would
appear, from the expressions which
are employed, that the citizens of
London believed that Richard had
escaped, and was alive, and that the
exposure of the body was resorted to
by Henry as the most probable means
of putting down this dangerous report.
The question now immediately arises,
if Richard was alive, according to the
theory which I entertain, in what
manner are we to account for this
ceremony at St Paul’s, and for the
body lying in state at the different
churches between Pontefract and Lon­
don ? My answer is, that the whole
was a deception, ingeniously got up
for the purpose of blinding the people,
but when narrowly examined, be­
traying the imposition in a very pal­
pable manner. It is accordingly posi­
bively asserted by the contemporary
a,uthor of the French metrical history

3 " There is a curious representation of
this chariot in the fine illuminated Froissart
in the British Museum, from whence it ap­
pears that the carriage was drawn by two
horses, one placed before the other, as the
five horses were placed in the French car­
riage of Henry VII., as described by Ilall,
vol. iii. p. 800.”
Gough’s Sepulchral Monu­
ments, vol. iii. p. 166.

There is in the same MS. a portrait of
Richard the Second when going to arrest the
Duke of Gloucester at Pleshy. Archæologia,
vol. vi. p. 315.

4 French Metrical History. Archæologia,
vol. xx. p. 221.


of Richard’s deposition, that the body
thus exposed in London was not that
of the king, but of Maudelain the
priest. I give the passage in Mr
Webb’s translation :—“ Then was the
king so vexed at heart by this evil
news, that he neither ate nor drank
from that hour : and thus, as they say,
it came to pass that he died. But,
indeed, I do not believe it; for some
declare for certain that he is still alive
and well, shut up in their prison ;—
which is a great error in them ; al­
though they caused a dead man to be
openly carried through the city of
London, in such pomp and ceremony
as becometh a deceased king, saying
that it was the body of the deceased
King Richard. Duke Henry there
made a show of mourning, holding the
pall after him, followed by all those of
his blood in fair array, without re-
garding him, or the evils that they
had done unto him. . . Thus, as you
shall hear, did they carry the dead
body to St Paul’s, in London, honour-
ably and as of right appertaineth to a
king. But I certainly do not believe
that it was the old king; but I think
it was Maudelain, his chaplain, who,
in face, size, height, and make, so
exactly resembled him, that every one
firmly thought it was good King
Richard. And if it were he, morn
and night I heartily make my prayer
to the merciful and holy God that he
will take his soul to heaven.” 1

A late author, Mr Amyot, in an
ingenious paper in the Archæologia,
considers that the circumstance of
Maudelain having been beheaded ren­
derecl such deception impossible. To
the support of my ideas as to Richard’s
escape it is of little consequence whe­
ther Maudelain’s remains were ern­
ployed, or some other mode of decep­
tion was resorted to—all that I con­
tend for is, that the body thus carried
in a litter, or car, to St Paul’s was not
that of the king. Now, the more
narrowly we examine the circum­
stances attending this exposition of
the body at St Paul’s, the more com­
pletely shall we be convinced, I think,
that the French historian is correct,

1 French Metrical Hist. pp. 219, 220, 221.

and that it was not the true Richard.
Of the king’s person a minute descrip­
tion has been left us by the monk of
Evesham. “ He was of the common
or middle size, with yellow hair, his
face fair, round, and feminine, rather
round than long, and sometimes
flushed and red.” 2

Keeping in mind this description of
the person of the real Richard, and
comparing it with the manner in
which Henry conducted the exhibition
at St Paul’s, a strong suspicion arises
that he was not in possession of the
actual body of the king. Why was
his head entirely concealed, and the
face only shewn from the lower part
of the forehead to the throat ? Rich­
ard’s yellow hair was the very mark
which would have enabled the people
to identify their late monarch ; and so
far from being concealed, we should
have been led to expect that it would
have been studiously displayed. Had
the king, indeed, died by the murder­
ous strokes of Exton and his accom­
plices, inflicted onthe head, there might
have been good cause for concealing
the gashes; but it will be recollected
this cannot be pleaded, as the story is
now given up on all hands as a fable.

There is another circumstance,
which in my mind corroborates this
suspicion of deception :—Henry’s wish
was to do public honour to the body
of the late king. He attended, we see,
the service for the dead, and held the
pall of the funeral car; but no inter­
ment followed, the body was not per­
mitted to be buried in London at all,
although there was then a tomb ready,
which Richard, previous to his depo­
sition, had prepared for himself in
Westminster Abbey, and to which
Henry the Fifth afterwards removed
the reputed remains of the king.3 It

2 Vita Ricardi II. p. 169.

3 Richard the Second’s Will is to be found
published amongst the Royal and Noble Wills,
p. 191. The king there directs his body to be
buried in “Ecclesia Sancti Petri Westmonas­
terii—in monumento quod ad nostrum et in­
clitæ recordacionis Annæ dudum Reginæ
Angliæ consortis nostræ, cujus animæ pros­
picietur altissimus erigi fecimus memoriam.”
A description and engraving of this monu­
ment is to be seen in Gough’s Sepulchral


was conveyed, apparently, in the same
car in which it lay in state, to Langley,
in Hertfordshire, and there interred
with great secrecy, and without any
funeral pomp. “When the funeral
service,” says Walsingham, “was con­
cluded in the church of St Paul, the
king and the citizens of London being
present, the body was immediately
carried back to Langley, to be interred
in the church of the Preaching Friars;
the last offices being performed by the
Bishop of Chester, the Abbots of St
Albans and of Waltham, without the
presence of the nobles, and unattended
by any concourse of the people, nor
was there any one who, after their
labours, would invite them to dinner.”1
It must be evident to every one that
as Henry’s avowed object was to con-
vince the English people that Hichard,
their late king, was dead and buried,
the greater concourse of peopIe who
attended his funeral, and the more
public that ceremony was made, the
more likely was he to attain his de-
sire. In this light, then; the sudden
removal from London, the secret burial
at Langley, “ sine pompa, sine magna­
tum prœsentia, sine populari turba“
are circumstances which, I own, create
in my mind a strong impression that
Henry was not in possession of the
real body of the king ; that either the
head of Maudelain the priest, or some
other specious contrivance, was em­
ployed to deceive the people, and that
the king did not think it prudent to
permit a public funeral; because,
however easy it may have been to
impose upon the spectators, so long as
they were merely permitted to see the
funeral car in which the body lay
covered up with black cloth, and hav­
ing nothing but the face exposed, the
process of removing from the litter,
arraying it for the grave, and placing
it in the coffin, might have led to a
discovery of the deception which had
been practised. It is clear that the
evidence of a single person who had
known the king, had he been per-
mitted to uncover the head and face,
and to examine the person, would have
been itself worth the testimony of
1 Walsingham, p. 363. Ottftrburn, p. 229.

thousands who gazed for a moment on
the funeral car, and passed on ; and it
is for this reason that I set little value
on the account of Froissart, (whose
history of the transactions connected
with Richard’s deposition is full of
error,)2 when he asserts that the body
was seen by twenty thousand persons,
or of Hardyng, who relates that he
himself saw the “ corse in herse rial; “
and that the report was he had been
“ forhungred ’’ or starved, “and lapte
in lede.”

Another proof of the conviction of
the country that this exhibition of the
body of Richard was a deception upon
the part of Henry is to be found in
the reports of his escape which not
long afterwards arose in England, and
the perpetual conspiracies in which
men of rank and consequence freely
hazarded, and in many cases lost their
lives, which were invariably accom-
panied with the assertion that Richard
was alive in Scotland. It is a remark­
able circumstance that these reports
and conspiracies continued from the
alleged year of his death, through the
whole period occupied by the reigns
of Henry the Fourth and Henry the
Fifth. The year 1402 absolutely
teemed with reports that Richard was
alive, as appears from Walsingham.
A priest of Ware was one of the first
victims of Henry’s resentment. He
had, it seems, encouraged his brethren,
by affirming that Richard was alive,
and would shortly come forward to
claim his rights; in consequence of
which he was drawn and quartered.
Not long after eight Franciscan friars
were hanged at London for having
asserted that Richard was alive, one
of whom, a doctor of divinity, named
Frisby, owing to the boldness and
obstinacy with which he maintained
his loyalty, was executed in the habit
of his order. About the same time,
Walter de Baldock, prior of Launde in
Leicestershire, was hanged because he
had published the same story. Sir
Roger de Clarendon, a natural son of
the Black Prince, and one of the

2 Webb’s Translation of the Metrical Hist.
of the Deposition of Richard the Seconu, p. 7.
Archæologia, vol. xx.


gentlemen of the bedchamber to Rich­
ard the Second, along with his armour­
bearer and page, were condemned and
executed for the same offence.1 In
these cases there appears to have been
no regularly-formed conspiracy, as in
the instances to be afterwards men­
tioned. The Franciscan friars, it is
well known, were in the habit of
travelling through various countries,
and were in constant intercourse with
Scotland, where they had many con­
vents.2 They had probably seen the
king, or become possessed of certain
evidence that he was alive, and they
told the story on their return.

Of these reports, however, we have
the best evidence in a paper issued by
Henry himself, and preserved in the
Fœdera Angliæ.3 It is a pardon under
the privy seal to John Bernard of
Offely; and from it we learn some
interesting particulars of the state of
public belief as to the escape and
existence of Richard. Bernard, it
seems, had met with one William
Balshalf of Lancashire, who on being
asked what news he had to tell, an­
swered, “ That King Richard, who had
been deposed, was alive and well in
Scotland, and would corae into Eng­
land upon the Feast of St John the
Baptist next to come, if not before it.”
Balshalf added, “ That Serle, who was
then with King Richard, had arranged
everything for his array and entrance
into England, and that they would
have timely warning of it; whilst he
reported that Henry the Fourth, in
fear of such an event, had collected
great sums of money from his lieges
with the intention of evacuating the
kingdom, repairing to Brittany, and
marrying the duchess of that country.
Bernard then asked Balshalf what was
best to be done,—who bade him raise
certain men, and take his way to meet
King Richard; upon which he went
to John Whyte and William Threshire
of Offely, to whom he told the whole
story, and who immediately consented

1 Walsingham, p. 365. Otterburn, p. 234.
Nichol’s Leicestershire, vol. iii. pp. 260, 305.

2 Quetif et Echard, Scriptores Ordinis Præ­
dicatorum, pp. 10,11.

3 Rymer, Fœdera, voL viii. p. 262. a.d.
1402. 1st June.

to accompany him to Athereston, near
the Abbey of Merivale, there to await
the king’s arrival, and give him their
support.” This conversation Bernard
revealed to Henry, and having offered
to prove it on the body of Balshalf,
who denied it, the king appointed a
day for the trial by battle, which
accordingly took place, and Balshalf
was. vanquished. The consequence
was a free pardon to Bernard, which
is dated on the 1st of June 1402, and
in which the above circumstances are
distinctly stated. The person of the
name of Serle here mentioned as being
with Richard in Scotland was un­
doubtedly William Serle, gentleman
of the bedchamber to Richard the
Second, and one of the executors of
his will.4 He was infamous as one of
the murderers of the Duke of Glou­
cester, and was soon after engaged in
a second plot to restore the king.
These transactions took place in 1402,
and sufficiently prove the little credit
given by the people of England to the
story of the king’s death, and the
funeral service which was enacted at

Next year, in 1403, occurred the
celebrated rebellion of the Percies,
which ended in the battle of Shrews­
bury and the death of Hotspur. Pre­
vious to the battle the Earl of Wor­
cester and Henry Percy drew up a
manifesto, which was delivered to
King Henry upon the field by two
squires of Percy, in which Henry was
charged with having caused Richard
to perish by hunger, thirst, and cold,
after fifteen days and nights of suffer­
ings unheard of among Christians.
Yet, however broad and bold this ac­
cusation of murder, the principal per­
sons who made it, and the only ones
who survived its publication, after­
wards altered their opinions, and em­
ployed very different expressions.
This manifesto was drawn up in the
name of the old Earl of Northumber-
land, although he had not then joined
the army which fought at Shrewsbury,
and it was sanctioned and approved
by Richard Scrope, archbishop of York.

4 Richard’s Will, in Nichols, p. 200. It is
dated 16th April 1399.


It commences, “ Nos Henricus Percy,
comes Northumbrie, constabularius
Angliæ; “ and Hardyng the chronicler,
who was then with Hotspur and Wor-
cester in the field, as he himself in-
forms us, adds, “that their quarrel
was be goode advyse and counseill of
Maister Richard Scrope, archebishope
of Yorke.” Now, it will immediately
be seen that two years after this, in
1405, Scrope and the Earl engaged in
a second conspiracy against Henry;
and in the articles which they then
published, the positive statement in
the manifesto as to Richard’s death
is materially changed.1 I may here
again use the words of Mr Amyot, in
his paper on the death of Richard
the Second. “ On turning,” says* he,
“from this letter of defiance in 1403
to the long and elaborate manifesto of
Archbishop Scrope and the Yorkshire
insurgents in 1405, we shall find a
considerable diminution in the force
of the charge, not indeed that one
single day is abatecl out of the fifteen
allotted to the starvation, but the
whole story is qualified by the dilut­
ing words, ’ ut vulgariter dicitur.’ So
that in two years the tale, which had
before been roundly asserted as a fact,
must have sunk into a mere rumour“ 2
The accusation of the Percies, there­
fore, which is the only broad and un­
qualified charge brought against Henry
by contemporaries, is not entitled to
belief, as having been virtually aban­
doned by the very persons to whom
it owes its origin.

This conspiracy of Hotspur having
been put down in 1403, in 1404 Henry
was again made miserable by new re­
ports proceeding from Scotland re­
garding the escape of Richard, and
his being alive in that country. These
rumours, we learn from Otterburn,
not only prevailed amongst the popu­

1 We owe the publication of this curious
and interesting manifesto to Sir Henry Ellis.
Archæologia, vol. xvi. p. 141. “Tu ipsum
dominum nostrum regem et tuum, proditorie
in castro tuo de Pountefreite, sine consensu
suo, seu judicio dominorum regni, per quin-
dccim dies et tot noctes, quod horrendum est
inter Christianos audiri, fame, scitu, et frigore
interfici fecisti, et murdro periri, unde per-
juratus es, et falsus.”

2 Archæologia, vol. xx. p. 436.

lace, but were common even in the
household of the king.3 Serle, one of
the gentlemen of Richard’s bedcham­
ber, who, as we have already seen, had
repaired to Scotland, returned from
that country with positive assertions
that he had been with Richard, from
whom he brought letters and com­
munications, addressed under his
privy seal to his friends in England.4
Maud, the old Countess of Oxford, a
lady far advanced in life, and little
likely to engage upon slight informa­
tion in any plot, “ caused it to be re­
portecl,” says Walsingham, “ through­
out Essex by her domestics that King
Richard was alive, and would soon
come back to recover and assert his
former rank. She caused also little
stags of silver and gold to be fabri­
cated, presents which the king was
wont to confer upon his most favourite
knights and friends, so that by dis­
tributing these in place of the king
she might the more easily entice the
most powerful men in that district to
accede to her wishes. In this way,”
continues Walsingham, “she com­
pelled many to believe that the king
was alive, and the report was daily
brought from Scotland that he had
there procured an asylum, and only
waited for a convenient time when,
with the strong assistance of the
French and the Scots, he might re­
cover the kingdom.”5 Walsingham
then goes on to observe that the plot
of the countess was not only favoured
by the deception of Serle, but that
she had brought over to her belief
several abbots of that country, who
were tried and committed to prison;
and that in particular a clerk, who
had asserted that he had lately talked
with the king, describing minutely his
dress and the place of the meeting,
was rewarded by being drawn and

It is stated by Dr Lingard, in his
account of this conspiracy,7 on the

3 Otterburn, p. 249. “ Quo mortuo cessavit
in regno de vita Regis Ric : confabulatio quæ
prius viguit non solum in vulgari populo sed
etiam in ipsa dominis regis domo.”

4 Walsingham, p. 370.

5 Ibid. 6 ibid. pp. 370, 371.
7 Vol. iv. p. 398.


authority of Rymer’s Fœdera, and the
Rolls of Parliament, that Serle being
disappointed of finding his master
alive, prevailed upon a person named
Warcle to personate the king, and that
many were thus deceived. Although,
however, this personification by Warde
is distinctly asserted in Henry’s pro-
clamation, it is remarkable that it is
not only omitted by Walsingham, but
is inconsistent with his story; and the
total silence of this historian, as also
that of Otterburn, (both of them con­
temporaries,) induces me to believe
that the story of Thomas Warde per­
sonating King Richard was one of
those forgeries which Henry, as I shall
afterwards shew, did not scruple to
commit when they could serve his
purposes. What became afterwards
of Warde cannot be discovered, but
Serle was entrapped and taken by
Lord Cliffbrd, and according to Wal­
singham, confessed that the person
whom he had seen in Scotland was
indeed very like the king, but not the
king himself, although to serve his
own ends he had persuaded many
both in England and in Scotland that
it was Richard.1 It would be absurd,
however, to give much weight to this
confession, made by a convicted mur­
derer, aud spoken under the strongest
motives to conciliate the mind of the
king and obtain mercy for himself.
To obtain this, the likeliest method
was to represent the whole story re­
garding Richard as a falsehood. It
may be remarked also that in Otter­
burn there is not a word of Serle’s
confession, although his seizure and
subsequent execution are particularly

The conduct of the king immedi­
ately after this is well worthy of re­
mark, as we may discern in it, I think,
a striking proof of his own convictions
upon this mysterious subject. He
issued instructions to certain commis-
sioners, which contain conditions to
be insisted on as the basis of a treaty
with Scotland,3 and in these there is
no article regarding the delivery of

1 Walsingham, p. 371.

2 Otterburn, p. 249.

3 Rymer, Fœdera, vol. viii. p. 384.

this pretended king, although his pro­
clamation, as far back as the 5th June
1402,4 shews that he was quite aware
of his existence, and his constant in­
tercourse with that country must have
rendered him perfectly familiar with
all the circumstances attending it. Is
it possible to believe that Henry, if he
was convinced that an impostor was
harboured at the court of the Scottish
king, whose existence there had been
the cause of perpetual disquiet and
rebellion in his kingdom, would not
have insisted that he should be de-
livered up, as Henry the Seventh
stipulated in the case of Perkin War-
beck? But Warbeck was an impos­
tor, and the seventh Henry never
ceased to adopt every expedient of
getting him into his hands, whilst
Henry the Fourth, at the very mo­
ment that he has put down a conspi­
racy which derived its strength from
the existence of this mysterious per­
son in Scotland, so far from stipulat­
ing as to his delivery, does not think
it prudent to mention his name. This
difference in the conduct of the two
monarchs, both of them distinguished
for prudence and sagacity, goes far, I
think, to decide the question, for, under
the supposition that he who was kept
in Scotland was the true Richard, it
became as much an object in Henry
the Fourth to induce the Scots to keep
him where he was as in Henry the
Seventh to get Perkin into his hands,
and a wary silence was the line of
policy which it was most natural to

There is a remarkable passage in
Walsingham regarding an occurrence
which took place in this same year,
1404, which proves that in France,
although Henry at first succeeded in
persuading Charles the Sixth that his
son-in­law, Richard, was dead, the de­
ception was discovered, and in 1404
the French considered the king to be
alive. “ The French,” says this writer,
“ at the same time came to the Isle of
Wight with a large fleet, and sent some
of their men ashore, who demanded
supplies from the islanders in the
name of King Richard and Queen
4 Rymer, Fœdera. vol. viii. p. 261.


Isabella, but they were met by the
answer that Richard was dead.” 1

An additional proof of the general
belief in France of Richard’s escape
and safety is to be found in a ballad
composed by Creton, the author of the
Metrical History of the Deposition of
Richard the Second, which has been
already quoted. We see from the
passage giving a description of the ex­
position of the body at St Paul’s, that
this author inclined to believe the
whole a deception, and gave credit to
the report, even then prevalent, that
the king was alive. In 1405, however,
he no longer entertains any doubt upon
the subject, but addresses an epistle in
prose to the king himself, expressing
his joy at his escape, and his astonish-
ment that he should have been able
to survive the wretched condition to
he had been traitorously re­
duced. I am sorry that the learned
author, from whose notes I take this il­
lustration, enables me only to give the
commencement of the epistle, and the
first stanza of the ballad; but even
these, though short, are quite decisive.
His epistle is thus inscribed :—“ Ainsi
come vraye amour requiert a tres noble
prince et vraye Catholique Richart
d’Engleterre, je, Creton ton liege ser­
viteur te renvoye ceste Epistre.” The
first stanza of the ballad is equally

“ 0 vous, Seignors de sang royal de France,
Mettez la main aux armes vistement,
Et vous avez certaine cognoissance
Du roy qui tant a souffert de tourment
Par faulx Anglois, qui traiteusement
Lui ont tollu la domination ;
Et puis de mort fait condempnation.
Mais Dieu, qui est le vray juge es saintz
Lui a sauvé la vie. Main et tart [cieulx,
Chascun le dit par tut, jeunes et vieulx.
C’est d’Albion le noble Roy Richart.”2

Not long after the plot of Serle had
been discovered and put down in 1404,
there arose, in 1405, the conspiracy

1 Walsingham, p. 370. “ Gallici,” says this
writer, “circa tempus illud venerunt ante
Vectam insulam cum magna classe, mise­
runtque de suis quosdam qui peterent nomine
regis Richardi et Isabellæ reginæ tributum,
vel speciale subsidium ab insulanis. Qui
responderunt regem Richardum fuisse de­

2 Metrical History of the Deposition of
Richard the Second, with notes by Mr Webb.

Archæologia, vol. xx. p. 189.

of the Earl of Northumberland and
Archbishop Scrope, to which I have al­
ready alluded. In their manifesto, pub­
lished before the battle of Shrewsbury,
they had accused Henry in unqualified
terms of the murder, whereas now,
in the “Articles of Richard Scrope
against Henry the Fourth,”3 the addi­
tion of the words “ ut vulgariter dici­
shews, as I have already observed,
that the strong convictions of Henry’s
guilt had sunk by this time into vague
rumour; but the Parliamentary Rolls,4
which give a minute and interesting
account of the conspiracy, furnish us
with a still stronger proof of North­
umberland’s suspicion of Richard’s
being alive, and prove, by the best of all
evidence, his own words, that one prin­
cipal object of the conspirators was to
restore him, if this was found to be true.

It appears from these authentic
documents that in the month of May
1405 the Earl of Northumberland
seized and imprisoned Sir Robert
Waterton, “ esquire to our lord the
king,” keeping him in strict confine-
ment in the castles of Warkworth,
Alnwick, Berwick, and elsewhere. The
reader will recollect that, according to
the evidence of Winton, Richard was
delivered to two gentlemen of the
name of Waterton and Swinburn, who
spread a report of his escape ; and ifc
is not improbable that the object of
Northumberland, in the seizure of
Waterton, was to arrive at the real
truth regarding this story of his escape,
to ascertain whether it was a mere
fable, and whether the king actually
had clied in Pontefract castle, or might
still be alive in Scotland, as had been
confidently reported. It is of conse­
quence, then, to observe Northumber-
land’s conduct and expressions regard­
ing Richard, after having had Water­
ton in his hands; and of both we have
authentic evidence in the Parliamen-
tary Rolls. He, and the rest of the
conspirators, the Archbishop of York,
Sir Thomas Mowbray, Sir John Fau­
conberg, Lord Hastings, and their
accomplices, sent three commissioners,
named Lasingsby, Boynton, and Bur­

3 Wharton’s Anglia Sacra, p. 362, pars ii.
4 Rolls of Parliament, vol. iii. p. 605.


ton, into Scotland, to enter into a
treaty with Robert the Third, who
died soon after, and at the same time
to communicate with certain French
ambassadors, who, it appears, were at
that time in Scotland; and the avowed
object of this alliance is expressly de­
clared by Northumberland in his let­
ter to the Duke of Orleans. It is as
follows :—“ Most high and mighty
prince, I recommend myself to your
Lordship; and be pleased to know
that I have made known by my ser­
vants, to Monsieur Jehan Chavbre-
liack, Mr John Andrew, and John Ar­
dinguill, called Reyner, now in Scot­
land, and ambassadors of a high and
excellent prince, the King of France,
your lord and brother, my present
intention and wish, which I have writ­
ten to the king your brother. It is
this, that with the assistance of God,
with your aid, and that of my allies,
I have embraced a firm purpose and
intention to sustain the just quarrel
of my sovereign lord King Richard, if
he is alive, and if he is dead, to avenge
his death; and, moreover, to sustain
the right and quarrel which my re­
doubted lady, the Queen of England,
your niece, may have to the kingdom
of England, and for this purpose I
have declared war against Henry of
Lancaster, at present Regent of Eng­
land.” This letter, which will be
found at length in the note below,1

1 Rolls of Parliament, vol. iii. p. 605.
“ Tres haut et tres puissant prince, jeo me
recomance a vostre seigneurie ; a laquelle
plese asavoir que jay notifie par mes gentz, a
Monr. Johan Chavbreliak, Meistre Johan An­
drew, et Johan Ardinguill dit Reyner, ambas­
satours de tres haut et tres excellent prince
le Roy de France, vostre sieur et frere, es­
teantz en Escoce, mon entencion et voluntée,
laquelle je escriptz au roy vostre dit sieur et
frere ; laquelle est, que a l’aide de Dieu, de
le vostre et des plusours mes allies, j’ay en­
tencion et ferme purpos de sustener le droit
querelle de mon soverein sieur le Roy Rich­
ard, s’il est vif, et si mort est, de venger sa
mort, et aussi de sustener la droit querele
que ma tres redoubte dame le Royne d’Eng­
leterre, vostre niece, poit avoir reasonable-
ment au Roiaeme d’Engleterre, et pur ceo ay
moeve guerre a Henry de Lancastre, a pre­
sent regent d’Angleterre; et car jeo foy que
vouz ames et sustenuz ceste querelle, et
autres contre le dit Henry jeo vous prie
et require, que en ceo vous moi voilles
aider et soccorer, et ausi moi aider eius

is written from Berwick, and although
the precise date is not given, it appears,
by comparison with other deeds con­
nected with the same conspiracy pre­
served in the Fœdera and the Rotuli
Scotiæ, to have been written about the
10th of June. The Parliamentary Rolls
go on to state that, in this same month
of June, Northumberland and his ac­
complices seized Berwick, and traitor-
ously gave it up to the Scots, the enemies
of the king, to be pillaged and burnt.

It is of importance to attend to the
state of parties in Scotland at this
time. The persons in that country
with whom Northumberland confede-
rated to sustain the quarrel of King
Richard were the loyal faction opposed
to Albany, and friends to Prince
James, whom that crafty and ambi­
tious statesman now wished to sup­
plant. Albany himself was at this
moment in strict alliance with Henry
the Fourth, as is shewn by a manu­
script letter preserved in the British
Museum, dated from Falkland on the
2d of June, and by a mission of Rothe­
say herald, to the same monarch, on
the 10th of July.2 Wardlaw, bishop
of St Andrews, Sinclair, earl of Orkney,
and Sir David Fleming of Cumber­
nauld, to whose care, it will be recol­
lected, Winton informs us Richard of
England had been committed, opposed
themselves to Albany, and having de­
termined, for the sake of safety, to
send Prince James to France, entered,

le tres haut et tres excellent prince le Roy
de France, vostre dit sieur et frere, que
les choses desquelles jeo lui escriptz, et dont
vous enformeront au plain les ditz ambassa-
tours, preignent bone et brief conclusion,
quar en vite, en tout ceo que jeo vous pourra
servier a sustener de par decea les ditz quer­
elles encontre le dit Henry, jeo le ferra volun­
tiers de tout mon poair. Et vous plese de
croiere leo ditz ambassatours de ceo qu’ils
vous dirront de par moy ; le Saint Esprit tres
haut et tres puissant prince vous ait en sa
garde. Escript à Berwyck, &c.

“ A tres haut et tres puissant prince le Duc
d’Orleans, Count de Valois et de Blois,’et Beau­
mond et Sieur de Courcy.” No date is given,
but it immediately succeeds June 21, 1405.

2 Pinkerton, Hist. vol. i. p. 82. In the
Cottonian Catalogue, p. 498, No. 114, I find a
letter from Robert, duke of Albany, to Henry
the Fourth, thanking him for his good treat­
ment of Murdoch, his son, and the favourable
audiences given to Rothesay, his herald,
dated Falkland, June 4,1405.


as we see, into a strict alliance with
the Earl of Northumberland, in his
conspiracy for overturning the govern­
ment of Henry the Fourth.

The events which followed imme­
diately after this greatly favoured the
usurpation of Albany. Prince James
was taken on his passage to France,
probably in consequence of a concerted
plan between Albany and Henry.
David Fleming, according to Bower,1
was attacked and slain on his return
from accompanying James to the ship,
by the Douglases, then in alliance with
Albany; and the old king, Robert the
Third, died, leaving the government
to the uncontrolled management of his
ambitious brother, whilst his son, now
king, was a prisoner in the Tower.
Meanwhile, Sinclair, the earl of Ork­
ney, joined Northumberland at Ber­
wick;2 but the rebellion of that potent
baron and his accomplices having en­
tirely failed, he and the Lord Bardolf
fled into Scotland, from which, after a
short while, discovering an intention
upon the part of Albany to deliver them
into the hands of Henry, they escaped
into Wales. We know, from the
Chamberlain Accounts, that imme­
diately after the death of Robert the
Third Albany obtained possession of
the person of Richard. In this way,
by a singular combination of events,
while the Scottish governor held in
his hands the person who, of all others,
was most formidable to Henry, this
monarch became possessed of James
the First of Scotland, the person of
all others to be most dreaded by the
governor. The result was, that Al­

1 If we believe Walsingham, pp. 374, 375,
however, the chronology is different. Flem­
ing was not slain till some months afterwards,
and lived to receive Northumberland and
Bardolf on their flight from Berwick; after
which he discovered to them a plot of Al­
bany’s for their being delivered up to Henry,
and, by his advice, they fled into Wales, in
revenge for which Fleming was slain by the
party of Albany.*

2 John, son of Henry, says, in a letter to
his father, (Vesp. F. vii. f. 95, No. 2,) that
Orkney had joined Northumberland and Bar­
dolf at Berwick. The letter is dated 9th
June, in all appearance 1405, says Pinkerton,
vol. i. p. 82. The circumstances mentioned
pvove that it was, without doubt, in 1405.
* Ypodigma Neustria, p. 566.

bany and Henry, both skilful politi­
cians, in their secret negotiations could
play off their two royal prisoners
against each other; Albany consenting
to detain Richard so long as Henry
agreed to keep holcl of James. The
consequence of this policy was just
what might have been expected.
Richard died in Scotland, and James,
so long as Albany lived, never returned
to his throne or to his kingdom ; al­
though, during the fifteen years of
Albany’s usurpation, he had a strong
party in his favour, and rnany attempts
were made to procure his restoration.
It seems to me, therefore, that this
circumstance of Albany having Rich­
ard in his hands furnishes us with a
satisfactory explanation of two points,
which have hitherto appeared inex­
plicable. I mean, the success with
which the governor for fifteen years
defeated every negotiation for the re­
turn of James, and the unmitigable
severity and rage which this monarch
on his return, and throughout his reign,
evinced towards every member of the
family of Albany.

Even after this grievous disaster of
Northumberland in 1405, the reports
regarding Richard being still alive re­
vived, and broke out in the capital;
and Percy, the indefatigable enemy
of Henry, along with Lord Bardolf,
made a last attempt to overturn his
government. “At this time,’' says
Walsingham, speaking of the year
1407, “ placards were fixed up in many
places in London, which declared that
King Richard was alive, and that he
would soon come to claim his king
dom with glory and magnificence ; but
not long thereafter the foolish in­
ventor of so daring a contrivance was
taken and punished, which allayed the
joy that many had experienced in con­
sequence of this falsehood.”3 Who
the person was whom Walsingham
here designates as the inventor of these
falsehoods does not appear from any
part of his own history, or from any
of the public papers in the Fœdera or
the Parliamentary Rolls; but we may
connect these reports, on good grounds
I think, with Percy and Lord Bar­
Walsingham, p. 376.


dolf, who, in 1408, proceeded from
Scotland into Yorkshire, and after an
ineffectual attempt to create a general
insurrection in that country, were en­
tirely defeated, Northumberland being
slain, and Bardolf dying soon after
of his wounds. The reader will recol­
lect, perhaps, a passage already quoted
from Bower,1 in which this historian
states that, amongst other honourable
persons who fled with Northumber-
land and Lord Bardolf into Scotland,
was the Bishop of Bangor; and I may
mention it as a striking confirmation
of the accuracy of this account, that
the Bishop of Bangor, according to
Walsingham, was taken in the battle
along with Percy, and that, as the
historian argues, he deserved to have
his life spared because he was unarmed.
His fellow-priest, the Abbot of Hayles,
who was likewise in the field, and had
changed the cassock for the steel coat,
was hanged.2 When Bower is thus
found correct in one important parti­
cular, I know not why we are entitled
to distrust him in that other limb of
the same sentence which mentions
the existence of Richard in Scotland.

It was originally my intention to
have entered into an examination of
the diplomatic correspondence which
took place subsequent to this period
between Albany, the governor of Scot­
land, and Henry the Fourth and Fifth;
in which, I think, it would not be
difficult to point out some transactions
creating a presumption that Albany
was in possession of the true King
Richard. The limits, however, within
which I must confine these observa-
tions will not permit me to accomplish
this; and any intelligent reader who
will take the trouble to study this
correspondence as it is given in the
Rotuli Scotiæ will not find it difficult
to discover and arrange the proofs for
himself. I must be permitted, there­
fore, to step at once from this con­
spiracy of Northumberiand, which took
place in 1408, to the year 1415, when
Henry the Fifth was preparing for his
invasion of France. At this moment,
when the king saw himself at the head

1 Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 44l

2 Walsingham, p. 377.

of a noble army, and when everything
was ready for the embarkation of the
troops, a conspiracy of a confused and
obscure nature was discovered, which,
like every other conspiracy against the
government of Henry the Fourth and
Henry the Fifth, involved a supposi-
tion that Richard the Second might
still be alive. The principal actors in
this plot were Richard, earl of Cam­
bridge, brother to the duke of York,
and cousin to the king, Henry, lord
Scroop of Marsham, and Sir Thomas
Grey of Heton in Northumberland;
and the only account which we can
obtain of it is to be found in a confes­
sion of the Earl of Cambridge, pre­
served in the Fœdera Angliæ, and in
the detail of the trial given in the
Rolls of Parliament, both papers evi­
dently fabricated under the eye of
Henry the Fifth, and bearing upon
them marks of forgery and contradic-

According to these documents, the
object of the conspirators was to carry
Edmund, the earl of March, into Wales,
and there proclaim him king, as being
the lawful heir to the crown, in place
of Henry of Lancaster, who was stig­
matised as a usurper. This, however,
was only to be done, provided (to use
the original words of the confession of
the Earl of Cambridge) “ yonder manis
persone, wych they callen Kyng Rich­
ard, had nauth bene alyve, as Y wot
wel that he wys not alyve.”3 The
absurdity and inconsistency of this
must be at once apparent. In the
event of Richard being dead, the Earl
of March was without doubt the next
heir to the crown, and had been de­
clared so by Richard himself; and
the avowed object of the conspirators
being to place this prince upon the
throne, why they should delay to do
this, till they ascertain whether the
person calling himself King Richard is
is not very easily seen, especially
as they declare, in the same breath,
that they are well aware this person is
not alive. Yet this may be almost
pronounced consistency, when com­
pared with the contradiction which
follows : for we find it stated, in al­
3 Fœdera, vol. ix. p. 300.


most the next sentence, by the Earl
of Cambridge, that he was in the
knowledge of a plan entered into by
Umfraville and Wederyngton, for the
purpose of bringing in this very “ per-
sone wych they named Kyng Richard,”
and Henry Percy, out of Scotland,
with a power of Scots, with whose
assistance they hoped to be able to give
battle to the king, for which treason­
able intention the earl submits himself
wholly to the king’s grace. It is dif­
ficult to know what to make of this
tissue of inconsistency. The Earl of
March is to be proclaimed king, pro­
vided it be discovered that the im­
postor who calls himself Richard is
not alive, it being well known that he
is dead, and although dead, ready, it
would seem, to march out of Scotland
with Umfraville and Wederyngton,
and give battle to Henry.1

The account of the same conspiracy
given in the Parliamentary Rolls is
equally contradictory, and in its con­
clusion still more absurd. It declares
that the object of the conspirators was
to proclaim the Earl of March king,
“ in the event that Richard the Second,
king of England, was actually dead;”
and it adds, that the Earl of Cam­
bridge and Sir Thomas Grey had know-
ledge of a design to bring Thomas
of Trumpyngton, an idiot, from Scot­
land, to counterfeit the person of King
Richard, who, with the assistance of
Henry Percy and some others, was to
give battle to Henry.2 It was already
remarked, in the account of the con­
spiracy of the old Countess of Oxford,
in 1404, that the assertion then made
by Henry the Fourth, in a preclama­
tion in Rymer, that Thomas Warde of
Trumpyngton “pretended that he was
King Richard,” was one of those
forgeries which this monarch did not
scruple to commit to serve his political
purposes; none of the contemporary
historians giving the least hint of the
appearance of an impostor at this time,
and Serle, in his conf ession, not having
a word upon the subject. Besides, we
hear nothing of Warde till 1404 ; and
we know, from Henry’s own proclama­

1 Fœdera, vol. ix. p. 300.

2 Parliamentary Rolls, vol. iv. p. 65.

tion, that Richard the Second was
stated to be alive in Scotland as early
as June 1402;3 whilst, in 1404, when
Warde is first mentioned, he eomes
before us as having personated the
king in England, or rather as then
in the act of personating the king in
England. Here, too, by Henry the
Fourth’s description of him in 1404,
he is an Englishman, and in his sound
senses; how, then, in 1415 does he
come to be a Scotsman, and an idiot ?
The truth seems to be, that Henry the
Fifth, in manufacturing these con-
fessions of the Earl of Cambridge,
having found it stated by his father
that Thomas Warde of Trumpyngton,
in 1404, pretended to be King Richard,
and that “ there was an idiot in Scot­
land who personated the king,” joined
the two descriptions into one porten­
tous person, Thomas of Trumpyngton,
a Scottish idiot, who was to enact
Richard the Second, and at the head of
an army to give battle to the hero of
Agincourt. Most of my readers, I
doubt not, will agree with me in think­
ing that, instead of an idiot, this gentle­
man from Trumpyngton must have
been a person of superior powers.

It is impossible, in short, to believe
for a moment that the accounts in the
Parliamentary Rolls and in Rymer
give us the truth, yet Cambridge,
Scroop, and Grey were executed; and
the summary manner in which their
trial was conducted is as extraordinary
as the accusation. A commission was
issued to John, earl Marshal, and eight
others, empowering any two of them,
William Lasingsby, or Edward Hull,
being one of the number, to sit as
judges for the inquiry of all treasons
carried on within the county by the
oaths of a Hampshire jury. Twelve
persons, whose names Carte observes
were never heard of before, having
been impannelled, the three persona
accused were found guilty on the
single testimony of the constable of
Southampton castle, who swore that,
having spoke to each of them alone
upon the subject, they had confessed
their guilt, and thrown themselves on
the king’s mercy, Sir Thomas Grey
Rymer, vol. viii. p. 261.


was condemned upon this evidence, of
which, saya Carte, it will not be easy
to produce a precedent in any former
reign; but the Earl of Cambridge and
Lord Scroop pleaded their peerage,
and Henry issued a new commission
to the Duke of Clarence, who sum­
moned a jury of peers. This, how-
ever, was a mere farce; for the com­
mission having had the records and
process of the former jury read before
them, without giving the parties ac­
cused an opportunity of pleading their
defence, or even of appearing before
their judges, condemned them to death,
the sentence being carried into instant

It is obvious, from the haste, the
studied concealment of the evidence,
the injustice and the extraordinary
severity of the sentence, that the crime
of Cambridge, Scroop, and Grey was
one of a decp dye; and, even in the
garbled and contradictory accounts
given in the Parliamentary Rolls, we
may discern, I think, that their real
crime was not the design of setting up
March as king, but their having entered
into a correspondence with Scotland
for the restoration of Richard the
Second, That the story regarding
March was disbelieved is indeed shewn
by Henry himself, who instantly par­
doned him, and permitted him to sit
as one of the jury who tried Scroop
and Cambridge ; but that Cambridge,
Scroop, and Grey, were in possession
of some important secret, and were
thought guilty of some dark treason
which made it dangerous for them to
live, is quite apparent.1

It seems to me that this dark story
may be thus explained : Scroop and

1 We have seen that Henry directs that
one of the two justices who are to sit on the
trial shall be either Edward Hull or William
Lasingsby; and it may perhaps be recol­
lected that William Lasingsby, Esq., was him­
self engaged with Northumberland, in 1405,
in the conspiracy for the restoration of
Richard, being one of the commissioners sent
into Scotland to treat with Robert the Third
and the French ambassadors. It is probable,
therefore, that he knew well whether Richard
of Scotland was, or was not, the true Richard ;
and his being selected as one of the judges
makes it still more probable that the real
crime of the conspirators was a project for
the restoration of the king.

Cambridge, along with Percy, Umfra­
ville, and Wederyngton, had entered
into a correspondence with the Scot­
tish faction who were opposed to
Albany, the object of which was to
restore Richard, and to obtain the re­
turn of James, Albany himself being
then engaged in an amicable treaty
with Henry, with the double object of
obtaining the release of his son Mur­
doch, who was a prisoner in England,
and of detaining James the First in
captivity. At this moment the con­
spiracy of Cambridge was discovered;
and Henry, in order to obtain full in­
formation for the conviction of the
principals, pardoned Percy, and the two
accomplices Umfraville and Wederyng­
ton, and obtained from them a dis­
closure of the plot. He then agreed
with Albany to exchange Murdoch for
Percy; but we learn, from the MS.
instructions regarding this exchange,
which are quoted by Pinkerton,2 that
a secret clause was added, which de­
clared that the exchange was only to
take place provided “ Percy consent
to fulfil what Robert Umfraville and
John Witherington have promised
Henry in his name.” Percy’s promise
to Henry was, as I conjecture, to re­
veal the particulars of the plot, and
renounce all intercourse with Richard.

This conspiracy was discovered and
put down in 1416, and the campaign
which followed was distinguished by
the battle of Agincourt, in which,
amongst other French nobles, the
Duke of Orleans was taken prisoner,
and becarne a fellow captive with
James the First. In July 1417, Henry
the Fifth again embarked for Norman­
dy; but when engaged in preparations
for his second campaign he detected a
new plot, the object of which was to
bring in the “Mamuet“ of Scotland,
to use the ernphatic expression which
he himself employs. I need scarcely
remark that the meaning of the old
English word Mamuet, or Mammet, is
a puppet, a figure dressed up for the
purpose of deception ; in other words,
an impostor. The following curious
letter, which informs us of this con­
spiracy, was published by Hearne, in
2 Vol. i. p. 97.


his Appendix to the Life of Henry the
Fifth, by Titus Livius of Forojulii:—
“Furthermore I wole that ye com­
mend with my brother, with the Chan­
csllor, with my cousin of Northumber-
land, and my cousin of Westmoreland,
and that ye set a good ordinance for
my north marches; and specially for
the Duke of Orleans, and for all the
remanent of my prisoners of France,
and also for the King of Scotland.
For as I am secretly informed by a
man of right notable estate in this
lond, that there hath bene a man of
the Duke of Orleans in Scotland, and
accorded with the Duke of Albany,
that this next summer he shall bring
in the Mamuet of Scotland, to stir
what he may; and also, that there
should be foundin wayes to the having
away especially of the Duke of Orleans,
and also of the king, as well as of the
remanent of my f orsaid prisoners, that
God do defend. Wherefore I wole
that the Duke of Orleance be kept
still within the castle of Pomfret,
without going to Robertis place, or
any other disport. For it is better he
lack his disport, than we were dis­
teyned of all the remanent.”1 With
regard to Albany’s accession to this
plot, it is probable that Henry was
misinformed; and that the party which
accorded with Orleans was the faction
opposed to the governor, and desirous
of the restoration of James. The
letter is valuable in another way, as
it neither pronounces the Mamuet to
be an idiot, nor identifies him with
Thomas of Trumpyngton.

There is yet, however, another wit­
ness to Richard’s being alive in 1417,
whose testimony is entitled to the
greatest credit, not only from the
character of the indiviclual himself
but from the peculiar circumstances

1 Titi Livii Forojul. Vita Henrici V. p. 99
This letter, also, is the first in that very in­
teresting publication of Original Letters,
which we owe to Sir Henry Ellis. Neither
this writer, however, nor Hearne have added
any note upon the expression the Mamuet of
Scotland, which must be obscure to an ordi­
nary reader. The letter itself, and the proof
it contains in support of this theory of
Richard’s escape, was pointed out to me by
my valued and learned friend, Adam Urqu­
hart, Esq.

under which his evidence was given—-
I mean Lord Cobham, the famous sup­
porter of the Wickliffites, or Lollards,
who was burnt for heresy on the 25th
of December 1417. When this un­
fortunate nobleman was seized, and
brought before his judges to stand his
trial, he declined the authority of the
court; and being asked his reason,
answered, that he could acknowledge
no judge amongst them, so long as his
liege lord King Richard was alive in
Scotland. The passage in Walsing-
ham is perfectly clear and decisive :—
“ Qui confestim cum summa superba
et abusione respondit, se non habere
judicem inter eos, vivente ligio Do-
mino suo, in regno Scotiæ, rege Rich­
ardo ; quo responso accepto, quia non
opus erat testibus, sine mora jussus
est trahi et suspendi super furcas at­
que comburi, pendens in eisdem.”2
Lord Cobham, therefore, at the trying
moment when he was about to answer
to a capital charge, and when he knew
that the unwelcome truth which he
told was of itself enough to decide his
sentence, declares that Richard the
Second, his lawful prince, is then alive
in Scotland. It is necessary for a mo­
ment to attend to the life and cha­
racter of this witness, in order fully
to appreciate the weight due to his
testimony. It is not too much to say
that, in point of truth and integrity,
he had borne the highest character
during his whole life; and it is im­
possible to imagine for an instant that
he would have stated anything as a
fact which he did not solemnly believe
to be true. What, then, is the fair in­
ference to be drawn from the dying
declaration of such a witness? He
had sat in parliament, and had been
in high employments under Richard
the Second, Henry the Fourth, and
Henry the Fifth, He was sheriff of
Herefordshire in the eighth year of
Henry the Fourth ; and as a peer, had
summons to parliament among the
barons in the eleventh, twelfth, and
thirteenth of that king’s reign, and in
the first of Henry the Fifth. He was,
therefore, in high confidence and em­
ployment, and co not have been
2 Walsingham, p. 591,


ignorant of the measures adopted by
Henry the Fourth to persuade the
people of England that Richard was
dead. He sat in the parliament of
1399, which deposed him; there is
every reason to believe he was one of
the peers summoned in council on the
9th of February 1399-1400, only four
days previous to Richard’s reputed
death; and that he sat in the succeed-
ing parliament, which met on the 21st
of January 1401. The exhibition of
the body at St Paul’s, where all the
nobility and the barons attended ; the
private burial at Langley, and the pro­
clamations of Henry, declaring that
Richard was dead and buried, must
have been perfectly well known to
him ; and yet, in the face of all this,
he declares in his dying words, pro­
nounced in 1417, that Richard the
Second, his liege lord, is then alive in
Scotland. We have, therefore, the
testimony of Lord Cobham that the
reputed death of Richard in Ponte­
fract castle, the masses performed over
the dead body at St Paul’s, and its
burial at Langiey, were all impudent
fabrications. It is, I think, impossible
to conceive evidence more clear in its
enunciation, more solemn, considering
the time when it was spoken, and, for
the same reason, more perfectly un­

I know not that I can better con­
clude these remarks upon this mys­
terious subject than by this testimony
of Lord Cobham in support of the
hypothesis which I have ventured to
maintain. Other arguments and illus­
trations certainly might be added, but
my limits allow me only to hint at
them. It might be shewn, for instance,
that not long after Sir David Fleming
had obtained possession of the person
of Richard, Henrythe Fourth engaged
in a secret correspondence with this
baron, and granted him a passport to
have a personal interview; it might
be shewn, also, that in 1404 Robert
the Third, in his reply to a letter of
Henry the Fourth, referred the English
king to David Fleming for some par­
ticular information; that Henry was
about the same time carrying on a
private negotiation with Lord Mont­

gomery, to whom the reader will re­
collect Richard had been delivered;
whilst there is evidence that, with the
Lord of the Isles, and with the chap­
lain of that pirate prince in whose
dominions Richard was first discovered,
the King of England had private meet­
ings, which appear to have produced
a perceptible change in the policy of
Henry’s government towards Scotland.
I had intended, also, to point out the
gross forgeries of which Henry had
condescended to be guilty, in his public
account of the deposition of Richard,
in order to shew the very slender
credit which is due to his assertions
regarding the death and burial of this
prince; but I must content myself
with once more referring to Mr Webb’s
Notes on the Metrical History of the
Deposition of Richard, from which I
have derived equal instruction and

In conclusion, I may observe, that
whatever side of the question my
readers may be inclined to adopt, an
extraordinary fact, or rather series of
facts, is established, which have hither­
to been overlooked by preceding his­
torians. If disposed to embrace the
opinion which I have formed after a
careful and, I trust, impartial exa­
mination of the evidence, the circum­
stance of Richard’s escape, and subse­
quent death in Scotland, is a new and
interesting event in the history of
both countries. If, on the other hand,
they are inclined still to believe the
ordinary accounts of the death of this
monarch in 1399, it must be admitted,
for it is proved by good evidence, that
a mysterious person appeared suddenly
in the dominions of Donald of the
Isles ; that he was challenged by one
who knew Richard as being the king
in disguise : that he denied it steadily,
and yet was kept in Scotland in an
honourable captivity for eighteen years,
at great expense; that it was believed
in England, by those best calculated
to have accurate information on the
subject, that he was the true King
Richard; and that, although his being
detained and recognised in Scotland
was the cause of repeated conspiracies
for his restoration, which shook the

1436.] JAMES II. 119

government both of Henry the Fourth
and Henry the Fifth, neither of these
monarchs ever attempted to get this
impostor into their hands, or to expose
the cheat by insisting upon his being
delivered up, in those various nego­
tiations as to peace or truce which
took place between the two kingdoms.
This last hypothesis presents to me
difffculties which appear at present
insurmountable; and I believe, there­
fore, that the chapel at Stirling con­
tained the ashes of the true Richard.
I entertain too much, respect, how­

ever, for the opinion of the many
learned writers who have preceded
me, and for the public judgment which
has sanctioned an opposite belief for
more than four hundred years, to ven­
ture, without further discussion, to
transplant this romantic sequel to the
story of Richard the Second into the
sacred field of history. And it is for
this reason that, whilst I have acknow­
ledged the royal title in the Notes and
Illustrations, I have expressed myself
more cautiously and hypothetically in
the body of the work.1

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