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Notes   King Henry IV (reign:1399-1413)


  Henry IV  founder of House of Lancaster
Henry's claim to the throne was based on his descent from Edward III. He was the son of King Edward's fourth son, John of Gaunt (and Blanche, daughter of the Duke of Lancaster), Henry's claim lay in the male lineage. (However, on previous precedent a claim could be made through the female line making Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March, a stronger claimant - as great grandson of Edward III's second son, Lionel, Duke of Clarence, via his daughter Philipa, Countess of Ulster).




  Under the reign of Richard II, Henry Bolingbroke had been appointed one of the Lords Appellant and had been instrumental in forcing the King to reaffirm his coronation oath. Following from this, Richard had Henry exiled and seized his inheritance when his father, John of Gaunt, died.

In 1399 Richard was campaigning in Ireland Under the premise of reclaiming his rightful inheritance, Henry returned to England with an army of 300 men and headed South to London. His numbers grew and Richard, returning, took up hiding in Wales.

Upon Richard's return to London, Henry was in a strong enough position to have him jailed in the Tower of London. Richard was deposed by Parliament (September 30, 1399).


September Henry Bolingbroke ascends as Henry IV (30 September).
October Coronation of Henry IV at Westminster Abbey (13 October).
  Richard II imprisoned in Pontefract Castle.
February Richard II executed, reputedly on Henry IV's orders (14 February).
1403 Owen Glendower declares himself Prince of Wales starting an uprising against English rule.

The Percys - former allies of Henry IV - rise in rebellion, claiming insufficient reward for their previous support. They rally around the claim of Edmund, Earl of March. Henry Percy ('Hotspur'), son of the Earl of Northumberland is defeated at Shrewsbury.

1405 The Percy rebellion continues. Thomas Mowbray and Richard Scrope, Archbishop of York are captured and executed for their involvement.


1406 The Percys, Glendower and Sir Edmund Mortimer agree to split England amongst themselves if they are able to defeat Henry.

Henry begins to develop chronic illness.

February Rebellion is finally crushed at Battle of Bramham Moor. The Earl of Northumberland is executed.
1409 Harlech Castle captured - Glendower forced to hide in caves.
1411 - 1412 Rumours circulate that Henry IV's son, Prince Henry is plotting to take the throne placing a strain on their relationship.
March An ailing Henry IV collapses at the shrine of Edward the Confessor at Westminster Abbey. Is taken to the Abbot's House where he receives last rites in the 'Jerusalem Chamber' (fulfilling and earlier prophecy that the King would die in Jerusalem). Henry dies (March 20).

Information of this page has been researched from Charles Phillips 'The Complete Illustrated Guide to the Kings & Queens of Britain'



Born 3 April 1367
Reigned 1399-1413
Died 20 March 1413
Mary de Bohun 5 February 1381
Joan of Navarre 7 February 1403

King Henry IV
King Henry V
King Henry VI
King Edward IV
King Edward V
King Richard III

King Henry VII

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