125 Accusatio

By 1387, it was becoming clear that the Wonderful Parliament of 1385 had not solved the problem. Pressure had been building, and Gloucester, Warwick and Arundel were far from satisfied – and felt far from safe. The showdown came at the Merciless Parliament of 1388.

125 Accusatio

The military confrontation – the battle of Radcot Bridge

The Merciless ParliamentRichard tried to strike first – ordering Percy, the Earl of Northumberland, to arrest Arundel. He failed. At Waltham Cross, Gloucester, Warwick and Arundel, gathered their men and accused  (or Appealed – hence Appelants) 5 close councillors of the king as traitors and usurpers of Royal power. These were: 

  • Robert de Vere, Duke of Ireland and Earl of Oxford
  • Michael de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk
  • Judge Robert Tresilian
  • Alexander Neville, Archbishop of York
  • Nicholas Brembre, Merchant

Most (except Brembre) ran. But de Vere ran for Chester – not for safety, but to raise an army of Cheshire bowmen to rescue the king. He came south with 3-4,000 men – but facing desertions all the way, when he met the forces of Henry Bolingbroke at Radcot Bridge his forces melted away. Oxford escaped to Bruges. Richard was forced to call parliamenty to listen to the accusations against his friends. 

The political confrontation – the Merciless Parliament

The Apellants were now 5: 

  • Duke of Gloucester: Thomas of Woodstock, son of Edward III
  • Earl of Warwick: Thomas Beauchamp
  • Earl of Arundel: Richard Fitzalan
  • Henry Bolingbroke: Earl of Derby son of John of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster
  • Thomas Mowbray: Earl of Nottingham

They entered the parliament arms linked, and over the next few months brutally followed through on their threats. Brembre, though clearly innocent, was beheaded; Treslian was found spying on proceedings and despite his terrified pleas was also beheaded. And despite Richard's desperate pleas and those of his wife, Anne, his mentor Simon Burley also  went to his death. 

By the end of the parliament, it looked as comprehensive and vindictive a victory as any in the history of England so far. But Richard would not forget. 

6 thoughts on “125 Accusatio

  1. Just a quick question. Did you say 1988 the start of this podcast? I played it back 3 times and every time it sounds like 1988. Apologies if not.
    Love the podcast.
    Thanks very much for all your time and brilliant effort.

  2. Yes, I said 1988. Sorry about that. It’s a QC problem…
    And yes, Gene, the delay is a bit of a pain. essentially I publish the thing on Libsyn and then wait..I can ping all I like,m but basically I am at the mercy of iTunes….

  3. I too thought we were going to have Maggie Thatcher time-traveling. Haha.
    I am old enough to have caught the subtle Simon & Garfunkel lyrical reference. Excellent thespianism, as usual. However, there was a banging sound effect in there which coincided with my my backing my truck out of the driveway, so it gave me a bit of a startle. (Sounded coincidentally just like the bed of a pickup truck hitting a mailbox. Yikes.)

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