Front Matter Early Times The Druids The Britons Caesar in Britain Queen Boadicea The Great Walls The Great Irish Saint The Anglo-Saxons Brave King Arthur The Laws of the Saxons The Story of St Augustine Three Great Men The Danish Pirates King Alfred and the Cakes Alfred conquers the Danes A King's Narrow Escape The King and the Outlaw The Monasteries An Unlucky Couple St Dunstan King Canute and the Waves A Saxon Nobleman Lady Godiva's Ride The Battle of Hastings The Conquest Lords and Vassals Death of William The Brothers' Quarrels Arms and Armour The "White Ship" Matilda's Narrow Escapes Story of Fair Rosamond Thomas a Becket Murder of Thomas a Becket Richard's Adventures Richard and the Saracens The Faithful Minstrel Death of Richard The Murder of Arthur The Great Charter The Rule of Henry III A Race Persecution of the Jews The Conquest of Wales A Quarrel with France The Coronation Stone The Insolent Favourite Bruce and the Spider Death of Edward II The Murderers punished The Battle of Crecy The Siege of Calais The Age of Chivalry The Battle of Poitiers The Peasants' Revolt Richard's Presence of Mind A Tiny Queen Henry's Troubles Madcap Harry A Glorious Reign The Maid of Orleans The War of the Roses The Queen and the Brigand The Triumph of the Yorks The Princes in the Tower Richard's Punishment Two Pretenders A Grasping King Field of the Cloth of Gold The New Opinions Death of Wolsey Henry's Wives The King and the Painter A Boy King Lady Jane Grey The Death of Cranmer A Clever Queen Elizabeth's Lovers Mary, Queen of Scots Captivity of Mary Stuart Wreck of the Spanish Armada The Elizabethan Age Death of Elizabeth A Scotch King The Gunpowder Plot Sir Walter Raleigh King and Parliament Cavaliers and Roundheads "Remember" The Royal Oak The Commonwealth The Restoration Plague and Fire The Merry Monarch James driven out of England A Terrible Massacre William's Wars The Duke of Marlborough The Taking of Gibraltar The South Sea Bubble Bonny Prince Charlie Black Hole of Calcutta Loss of the Colonies The Battle of the Nile Nelson's Last Signal The Battle of Waterloo First Gentleman of Europe Childhood of Queen Victoria The Queen's Marriage Wars in Victoria's Reign The Jubilee

Story of the English - Helene Guerber

Henry's Troubles

Richard II. was the last of eight real Plantagenet or Angevine kings, and his successor, Henry IV., was the first ruler of the house of Lancaster. Although Richard had left no children, Henry could not claim to inherit the throne, because the seven-year-old Earl of March was next of kin. But Parliament then often gave the crown to any member of the royal family.

Henry IV. therefore became king through act of Parliament. His reign was not free from care, as you will soon see, for at first there were so many quarrels among the members of Parliament that as many as forty challenges were given and received in the House in one day. Besides that, a conspiracy was soon formed to depose Henry and replace Richard. To show that Richard's death was not owing to violence, his body was publicly exposed in London. But as only the face was visible, people never felt sure that his death had been natural.

Norman Gateway, Windsor Castle.


To prevent his enemies from trying to put the young Earl of March on the throne, Henry kept him a prisoner in Windsor Castle, and never allowed him to go out, except under safe escort.

As Parliament had elected him king, Henry was forced to respect its wishes and to grant many things it asked. He also tried to gain the friendship of pope and clergy, and to please them he allowed the Lollards to be persecuted, and even to be burned at the stake, as heretics or unbelievers.

Henry's conscience often troubled him sorely for the crime he had committed to secure the crown, and he lived in constant dread of seeing some one snatch the crown from him. He was also afraid of being murdered; for we are told that once, when about to get into his bed, he found in it a frightful instrument with many sharp blades.

Although Wales had long been part of the English realm, Henry IV. had to put down a rebellion of the Welsh, under Owen Glendower, a descendant of Prince Llewellyn. This Welshman pretended to be a magician, and the people, excited by the bards' ballads, gladly rallied around him. For seven years Glendower baffled all Henry's efforts to capture him, for he and his followers used to retreat to Mount Snowdon, where they knew every foot of the ground and had secret hiding places.

A war with Scotland also kept Henry busy, although it was carried on mainly by Percy Hotspur and his father. They won a victory over the Scots at Homildon Hill; but as the king would not allow them to sell their captives for a ransom, they revolted and joined forces with the Scots. Henry met the Percys and Scotchmen before they could join the Welsh army, and defeated them in the battle of Shrewsbury, where Percy Hotspur was killed. In this battle the king's eldest son, Prince Hal, showed great bravery; but the king himself, fearing to be recognized by his armour, had several noblemen dress like him. Strange to relate, all these knights were killed, while Henry escaped.

The Percy rebellion was scarcely quelled when Henry was called upon to put down another, led by Archbishop Scrope of York, who wanted to place the Earl of March upon the throne. His force, too, was defeated, and the priest himself was beheaded as a traitor, a punishment which had never yet befallen a member of the clergy. The common people fancied it was very wicked to execute an archbishop, even if he had sinned; and when Henry became ill soon after, they thought it was a punishment sent by Heaven.

Two years after the battle of Shrewsbury, Henry IV. succeeded in capturing the heir to the Scotch crown, who was on his way to France to be educated. By his order, this Prince James, the great-great-grandson of the famous Bruce, was brought to Windsor, and given so excellent an education that he afterwards became the best king who ever sat upon the Scotch throne, as well as a musician and a poet.