King Richard II and York

Richard II portrait at Westminster Abbey c1390 (source wikipedia)

1377AD - 1399AD

Richard II (1367 - 1400) visited York on a number of occasions and granted the city greater freedoms and privileges.

Most importantly, in 1396 he gave the city its most significant royal charter, which promoted it to the status of a county in its own right: ‘the county of the city of York’.  The last of the sheriff of Yorkshire’s powers over the city were ended . Two annually elected sheriffs, controlled by the mayor, replaced him.

In 1387 Richard had given a sword of state to the city, instructing that it could be carried point upright in procession, or pointing down when the king was present.  The 1396 charter also allowe a mace to be carried.  The ceremony continues to this day and both the sword and the mace are often represented in the city's Coat of Arms.

Richard II also created the title Duke of York, first bestowed on his uncle in 1385.  The king was usurped in 1399 by his cousin who became Henry IV.  Such was Richard’s popularity that the Archbishop of York, Richard Scrope, later led a rebellion against Henry and was executed as a consequence.


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