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  1. Henry IV (April 1367 – 20 March 1413) was King of England from 1399 to 1413. He asserted the claim of his grandfather King Edward III, a maternal grandson of Philip IV of France, to the Kingdom of France. Henry was the first English ruler since the Norman Conquest, over three hundred years prior, whose mother tongue was English rather than ...

  2. Henry IV, king of England from 1399 to 1413, the first of three 15th-century monarchs from the house of Lancaster. He gained the crown by usurpation and successfully consolidated his power in the face of repeated uprisings of powerful nobles. Learn more about Henry IV in this article.

    • Birth & Family
    • Rivalry with Richard II
    • Seizure of The Throne
    • Rebellion
    • The Long Parliament
    • Death & Successor

    Henry was born in April 1366 CE at Bolingbroke Castle in Lincolnshire, the son of John of Gaunt (l. 1340-1399 CE), himself the son of Edward III of England (r. 1327-1377 CE) and so a claimant for the throne of Richard II (who was the grandson of Edward III and the son of Edward the Black Prince, l. 1330-1376 CE). John was a powerful but unpopular figure who had been passed over for the throne because he had supported corrupt nobles and officials identified by Parliament. Henry Bolingbroke's mother was Blanche of Lancaster, daughter of the Duke of Lancaster. The young nobleman was given the title Earl of Derby, the first of many he would acquire over his career. Henry married Mary of Bohun (b. c. 1369 CE) on 5 February 1381 CE, but she died during childbirth in 1394 CE. The couple's most famous son was Henry, future Henry V, born on 16 September 1387 CE. Henry, now king, married again on 7 February 1403 CE, this time to Joan of Navarre (l. c. 1370-1437 CE). Henry had a typical noble...

    By 1386 CE Henry Bolingbroke had risen to be one of the foremost barons in England, and he was a member of the disgruntled group of noblemen who took exception to the king's favouritism towards Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford. Richard had made the hugely unpopular de Vere the Duke of Ireland in December 1387 CE. The dissatisfied barons made their move by defeating de Vere and his supporters at the Battleof Radcot Bridge near Oxford. Henry was then one of the five Lords Appellant who called the 'Merciless Parliament' to take power away from the still young Richard II. The king would get his revenge, though, in 1397 CE when, older, wiser and more secure on his throne, he rounded up the conspirators and had them executed or exiled. Henry, the king's cousin, was, fortunately for him, in the latter category. Initially, it seemed Henry had survived the king's purge, but a quarrel between Bolingbroke and Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk - the two surviving Lords Appellant, which was engineer...

    Henry set off from Boulogne and landed at Spurn Head northeast England with a small army, perhaps only 300 men, and then marched south to press his claim in June-July 1399 CE. The timing of the invasion was excellent because Richard was then away in Ireland. Without their king, the royalist support faded away, perhaps, too, because Richard had never been all that popular with his odd choice of court companions and distinct lack of verve in taking the war to the French during the Hundred Years' War(1337-1453 CE). The war with the French had started fantastically well for England but by Richard's reign, Charles V of France, aka Charles the Wise (r. 1364-1380 CE), had ensured that the only lands left in France belonging to the English Crown were Calais and a thin slice of Gascony. French pirates were running riot in the English Channel and many English barons wanted a more direct war than the fizzled-out one they were currently witnessing. Richard failed in two of the most important ar...

    Henry faced an immediate crisis in September 1400 CE in Wales where Owain Glyn Dwr (b. c. 1359 CE) had declared himself the Prince of Wales. Even more ominously, the Welshman had the support of The Earl of March, whose son Edmund Mortimer, as the great-great-grandson of Edward III, was a possible claimant to Henry's throne. Also supporting the Welsh were the French taking, as usual, any opportunity to destabilise the English throne. Meanwhile, English barons were plotting a rebellion of their own in England. The group of discontents included such notable names as the Earl of Worcester, the Earl of Northumberland, and the celebrated medieval knightSir Henry 'Hotspur' Percy (1364-1403 CE). Henry first turned to the English problem and met in battle the rebellious barons on 21 July 1403 CE at the Battle of Shrewsbury. The king's army was victorious, Henry fought with courage, Sir Percy was killed and Worcester executed. The Earl of Northumberland, Earl of March, and other rebel barons...

    Another source of friction at court was the king's relationship with Parliament. The so-called 'Long Parliament' of 1406 CE sat an unusually long time from March until December as it deliberated over the ever-prickly issue of state finances. Parliament was not impressed with the lack of success against the Welsh rebels or the presence of French troops in Wales. The king's high taxes were not yielding any results on the field of battle, the court spending was considered excessive, and Parliament insisted that, at the very least, the king must listen to its concerns before endorsing a new round of taxes. Thus, the 'Long Parliament' was another small step on the long road to a constitutional monarchy.

    Henry IV died on 20 March 1413 CE. He was only around 46 and had been wasting away, wracked by disease - possibly leprosy or severe eczema - since 1406 CE. In addition, the king suffered multiple strokes at the end of his life and this when his mind had already long been troubled with remorse for his treatment of King Richard. He was buried in Canterbury Cathedral. Henry was succeeded by his 25-year-old son, Henry V of England who was crowned in Westminster Abbey on 9 April 1413 CE. Henry V became one of the great fighting monarchs of European history by defeating the French at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 CE and going on to capture Normandy and Paris. However, his reign would be brief, cut short by illness, and the ousting of the legitimate King Richard would come to haunt the Lancaster descendants as the two houses of Lancaster and York battled for the throne in what became known as the Wars of the Roses(1455-1487 CE).

    • Mark Cartwright
  3. › history › historic_figuresBBC - History - Henry IV

    Henry was born in Lancashire in April 1367. His parents were cousins, his father John of Gaunt, third surviving son of Edward III, his mother descended from Henry III. In 1377 Henry's cousin ...

  4. Jan 11, 2021 · King Henry IV. The first and founding member of the House of Lancaster, Henry had successfully overthrown Richard II and consolidated his power to become King Henry IV of England in October 1399. The son of John of Gaunt, he launched a successful comeback against the tyrannical rule of Richard II, securing his abdication and imprisoning him in ...

    • Relationship with Richard II
    • Reign
    • Titles, Styles, Honors and Arms
    • Seniority in Line from Edward III
    • Marriage and Issue
    • Legacy
    • References

    Henry experienced a rather more inconsistent relationship with King Richard IIthan his father had. They were first cousins and childhood playmates; they were admitted together to the Order of the Garter in 1377, but Henry participated in the Lords Appellant's rebellion against the King in 1387. After regaining power, Richard did not punish Henry (many of the other rebellious Barons were executed or exiled). In fact, Richard elevated Henry from Earl of Derby to Duke of Hereford. Henry spent a full year of 1390 supporting the unsuccessful siege of Vilnius (capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania) by Teutonic Knights with his 300 fellow knights. During this campaign Henry Bolingbroke also bought captured Lithuanian princes and then apparently took them back to England. Henry's second expedition to Lithuania in 1392 illustrates the financial benefits to the Order of these guest crusaders. His small army consisted of over 100 men, including longbow archers and six minstrels, at a total c...

    The previous ruler

    Henry's first problem was what to do with the deposed Richard, and after an early assassination plot (The Epiphany Rising) was foiled in January 1400, he ordered his death (very probably by starvation). The evidence for this lies in the circulation of letters in France demonstrating prior knowledge of the death.Richard died on February 14, 1400, and his body was put on public display in the old St Paul's Cathedral to prove to his supporters that he was dead. He was 33 years old.


    Henry spent much of his reign defending himself against plots, rebellions, and assassination attempts. Rebellions continued throughout the first ten years of Henry's reign, including the revolt of Owain Glyndŵr, who declared himself Prince of Wales in 1400, and the rebellion of Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland. The king's success in putting down these rebellions was due partly to the military ability of his eldest son, Henry of Monmouth, who would later become king, though the son (who...

    Foreign relations

    Early in his reign, Henry hosted the visit of Manuel II Palaiologos, the only Byzantine emperor ever to visit England, from December 1400 to January 1401, at Eltham Palace, with a joust given in his honor. He also sent monetary support with him upon his departure to aid him against the Ottoman Empire. In 1406, English pirates captured the future James I of Scotland off the coast of Flamborough Head as he was going to France. James remained a prisoner of Henry for the rest of Henry's reign.


    1. 1.1. Henry, surnamed Bolingbroke 1.1. 1.1.1. Earl of Derby and Northampton 1.1.2. Duke of Hereford—after the punishment of the Lords Appellant 1.1.3. 2nd Duke of Lancaster—Upon his father's death 1.1.4. King of England, Henry IV by deposition of his cousin Richard II


    Before his father's death in 1399, Henry bore the arms of the kingdom, differenced by a label of five points ermine. After his father's death, the difference changed to a "label of five points per pale ermine and France."Upon his accession as king, Henry updated the arms of the kingdom to match an update in those of royal France—from a field of fleur-de-lys to just three.

    When Richard II resigned the throne in 1399, there was no question of who was highest in the order of succession. The country had rallied behind Henry and supported his claim in parliament. However, the question of the succession never went away. The problem lay in the fact that Henry was only the most prominent male heir. This made him heir to the throne according to Edward III's entail to the crown of 1376 but, as Dr Ian Mortimer has recently pointed out in his biography of Henry IV, this had probably been supplanted by an entail of Richard II made in 1399. Henry thus had to remove Richard II's settlement of the throne on their uncle York (Edmund of Langley) and Langley's Yorkist descendants and overcome the superior claim of the Mortimers in order to maintain his inheritance. This fact would later come back to haunt his grandson, Henry VI of England, who was deposed by Edward IV, son of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, during the Wars of the Roses. The following are the senior...

    On July 27, 1380, at Arundel Castle, 19 years before his accession, Henry married Mary de Bohun and had seven children by her: 1. Edward (b&d. April 1382); buried Monmouth Castle, Monmouth 2. Henry V of England 3. Thomas, Duke of Clarence 4. John, Duke of Bedford 5. Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester 6. Blanche of England (1392-1409) married in 1402 Louis III, Elector Palatine 7. Philippa of England (1394-1430) married in 1406 Eric of Pomerania, king of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Mary died in 1394, and on February 7, 1403, Henry married Joanna of Navarre, the daughter of Charles d'Evreux, King of Navarre, at Winchester. She was the widow of John V of Brittany, with whom she had four daughters and four sons, but she and Henry had no children. The fact that in 1399 Henry had four sons from his first marriage was undoubtedly a clinching factor in his acceptance onto the throne. By contrast, Richard II had no children, and Richard's heir-apparent Mortimer was only seven years old.

    Henry's reign was a significant moment in English history. The fall of Richard created a rift among those who supported him and those who saw him as potentially a dangerous ruler who would strengthen the monarchy at the expense of the rest of the aristocracy. The problem would not be fully resolved until the Wars of the Roses. Henry was the father of the "hero king," Henry V of England.

    Buisseret, David. Henry IV. G. Allen & Unwin, 1984. ISBN 9780049440128.
    McNiven, Peter. "The Problem of Henry IV's Health, 1405–1413," English Historical Review100 (1985): 747–772. ISSN 0013-8266.
    Mortimer, Ian. The Fears of Henry IV: the Life of England's Self-Made King. Jonathan Cape, 2007. ISBN 9780224073004.
  5. Jul 06, 2017 · Henry IV was noted for: Usurping the English crown from Richard II, beginning the Lancastrian dynasty and planting the seeds of the Wars of the Roses. Henry also took part in a notable conspiracy against Richard's closest associates earlier in his reign.

    • Melissa Snell
    • History Expert
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