Our Island Story - H. E. Marshall


Richard was only a boy of fifteen when he faced the rioters at Smithfield so bravely, and afterward broke his promises so basely. It would have been better for England if he had always been brave as he was the day he faced the rioters, and never base as he was afterward.

It was not until Richard was twenty-one that he really ruled. Until then his uncles ruled for him.

'How old do you think I am, uncle?' he said suddenly to one of them at a feast.

'Your highness is in his twenty-second year,' replied he.

'Then I am surely old enough to rule. I thank you for your past help, uncle. I require it no longer.' And before his uncle could recover from his surprise, Richard had asked for the great seal and keys of office, and had proclaimed to the people that in the future he himself should rule. And for a time Richard ruled well. He made peace with France, and the taxes on the poor were made lighter. But this was not for long. It was soon seen that he intended to do exactly as he liked, and would take advice from no one. He banished and outlawed those who tried to keep him in check. As he was always in need of money, he seized the lands and money of these banished people, and did many other wicked and dishonest things. At last the King, who had been placed upon the throne amid so much rejoicing, came to be hated and despised.

One of the people whom Richard had banished was his cousin, Henry of Bolingbroke, the son of his uncle, John of Gaunt. Soon after Henry had been banished John of Gaunt died, and Richard, in spite of having promised not to do so, seized his land and money.

When Henry heard of this he came back to England to take possession of his own inheritance, he said, but really to try to win the crown of England. The people had always loved Henry, and had been very sorry when he was banished, and now they welcomed him back with joy, hoping that he would free them from their hated King. Henry came with only fifteen knights, but as soon as he landed, many people flocked to him.

Richard, at this time, was in Ireland, trying to put down a rebellion there. As soon as he heard that Henry was in England he hurried home. But he was too late. Henry was already master of the country.

Richard brought a large army with him from Ireland, but many of the soldiers deserted almost as soon as they landed and joined the standard of Henry.

At last, forsaken by all, in utter despair, without food or clothes, or even a bed upon which to sleep, Richard was forced to submit to his cousin.

They met at the castle of Flint in Wales. Henry knelt to Richard as to his king and kissed his hand.

'Fair cousin of Lancaster,' said Richard, looking down upon him, 'you are right welcome.'

'My lord,' replied Henry, 'I am come somewhat before my time.' By which he meant that he had a right to the throne after the death of Richard, but that he had not waited until then. 'But,' he went on, 'I will tell you the reason. Your people complain that you have ruled them badly these twenty years. Please God, I will now help you to rule them better.' And the poor, broken, spiritless king replied, 'Fair cousin, if it pleaseth you, it pleaseth me right well.'

But when Richard was left alone he burst out in furious rage, 'Would to Heaven that I had killed when I might this false cousin, this Henry of Bolingbroke.'

Amid the curses of his people, forsaken even by his favourite dog which left him for Henry, Richard II. was led a prisoner to the Tower of London. There he solemnly gave up his right to the crown, and Henry of Bolingbroke was made king. This was in 1399 A.D.

Richard was afterwards sent to Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire, where, it is believed, he was cruelly murdered.


Front Matter

Albion and Brutus
The Coming of the Romans
The Romans Come Again
Caligula Conquers Britain
The Story of Boadicea
The Last of the Romans
The Story of St. Alban
Vortigern and King Constans
Hengist and Horsa
Hengist's Treachery
The Giant's Dance
The Coming of Arthur
Founding of the Round Table
Gregory and the Children
King Alfred Learns to Read
Alfred and the Cowherd
More About Alfred the Great
Ethelred the Unready
Edmund Ironside
Canute and the Waves
Edward the Confessor
Harold Godwin
The Battle of Stamford Bridge
The Battle of Hastings
Hereward the Wake
Death of the King
The Story of William the Red
The Story of the "White Ship"
The Story of King Stephen
Henry II—Gilbert and Rohesia
Thomas a Becket
The Conquest of Ireland
Richard Coeur de Lion
How Blondel Found the King
The Story of Prince Arthur
The Great Charter
Henry III and Hubert de Burgh
Simon de Montfort
The Poisoned Dagger
The War of Chalons
The Lawgiver
The Hammer of the Scots
King Robert the Bruce
The Battle of Bannockburn
The Battle of Sluys
The Battle of Crecy
The Siege of Calais
The Battle of Poitiers
Wat Tyler's Rebellion
How Richard Lost His Throne
The Battle of Shrewsbury
Prince Hal Sent to Prison
The Battle of Agincourt
The Maid of Orleans
Red Rose and White
Margaret and the Robbers
The Story of the Kingmaker
A King Who Wasn't Crowned
Two Princes in the Tower
The Make-Believe Prince
Another Make-Believe Prince
The Field of the Cloth of Gold
Defender of the Faith
The Six Wives of Henry VIII
The Story of a Boy King
The Story of Lady Jane Grey
Elizabeth a Prisoner
A Candle Lit in England
Elizabeth Becomes Queen
A Most Unhappy Queen
Saved from the Spaniards
Sir Walter Raleigh
The Queen's Favourite
The Story of Guy Fawkes
The Story of the Mayflower
A Blow for Freedom
King and Parliament Quarrel
The King Brought to Death
The Adventures of a Prince
The Lord Protector
How Death Plagued London
How London was Burned
The Fiery Cross
The Story of King Monmouth
The Story of the Seven Bishops
William the Deliverer
William III and Mary II
A Sad Day in a Highland Glen
How the Union Jack was Made
Earl of Mar's Hunting Party
Bonnie Prince Charlie
Flora MacDonald
The Black Hole of Calcutta
How Canada Was Won
How America Was Lost
A Story of a Spinning Wheel
Every Man Will Do His Duty
The Battle of Waterloo
The First Gentleman in Europe
Two Peaceful Victories
The Girl Queen
When Bread was Dear
Victorian Age: Peace
Victorian Age: War
The Land of Snow
The Siege of Delhi
The Pipes at Lucknow
Under the Southern Cross
From Cannibal to Christian
Boer and Briton
List of Kings