Archbishop Scrope Executed

Henry IV (source Wikipedia)

1405AD - 1405AD

In 1399 Richard II, a friend of York who had ruled for more than twenty years, was overthrown by Henry Bolingbroke, a nobleman of the House of Lancaster.

The new king, Henry IV, faced simmering resentment in the regions.  In 1403 he had to crush the Glendower rebellion in Wales.  In the following years the action moved to the North of England, whipped up by the powerful earl of Northumberland, Henry Percy, and his son 'Harry Hotspur' Percy.

The Archbishop of York, Richard Scrope, got deeply involved.  He openly supported the traitors' cause and preached against the King in the Minster. The people responded and 'almost all the citizens of York capable of bearing arms' joined the rebels.  At the end of May 1405, Archbishop Scrope found himself at the head of an army of 8,000 men, facing a large loyalist army on Shipton Moor.  Scrope disbanded his force in exchange for a truce but was immediately arrested.

The King himself travelled to the Archbishop's Palace near York for the trial.  Perhaps unsurprisingly the Archbishop was found guilty of treason.  He was executed by beheading in a nearby field.

Archbishop Scrope's tomb in the Minster became something of a shrine and some medieval writers saw Henry's poor health as punishment for killing an Archbishop.

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