Henry of Monmouth, Volume 1 - Memoirs of Henry the Fifth
by J. Endell Tyler
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[Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected. The original spelling has been retained.

Printer's error corrected: - Page 18: portophorium to portiphorium. - Page 27: applition to application. - Page 42: chace to chase. - Page 80: ' changes to ".

Definition: - D: Ditto.]










"Go, call up Cheshire and Lancashire, And Derby hills, that are so free; But neither married man, nor widow's son; No widow's curse shall go with me."








The gracious intimation of your Royal pleasure that these Memoirs of your renowned Predecessor should be dedicated to your Majesty, while it increases my solicitude, suggests at the same time new and cheering anticipations. I cannot but hope that, appearing in the world under the auspices of your great name, the religious and moral purposes which this work is designed to serve will be more widely and effectually realised.

* * * * *

Under a lively sense of the literary defects which render these volumes unworthy of so august a patronage, to one point I may revert with feelings of satisfaction and encouragement. I have gone only (p. iv) where Truth seemed to lead me on the way: and this, in your Majesty's judgment, I am assured will compensate for many imperfections.

* * * * *

That your Majesty may ever abundantly enjoy the riches of HIS favour who is the Spirit of Truth, and having long worn your diadem here in honour and peace, in the midst of an affectionate and happy people, may resign it in exchange for an eternal crown in heaven, is the prayer of one who rejoices in the privilege of numbering himself,


Among your Majesty's

Most faithful and devoted

Subjects and servants.


24, Bedford Square, May 24, 1838.

PREFACE. (p. v)

Memoirs such as these of Henry of Monmouth might doubtless be made more attractive and entertaining were their Author to supply the deficiencies of authentic records by the inventions of his fancy, and adorn the result of careful inquiry into matters of fact by the descriptive imagery and colourings of fiction. To a writer, also, who could at once handle the pen of the biographer and of the poet, few names would offer a more ample field for the excursive range of historical romance than the life of Henry of Monmouth. From the day of his first compulsory visit to Ireland, abounding as that time does with deeply interesting incidents, to his last hour in the now-ruined castle of Vincennes;—or rather, from his mother's espousals to the interment of his earthly remains within the sacred precincts of Westminster, every period teems with animating suggestions. So far, however, from possessing such adventitious recommendations, the point on which (rather perhaps than any other) an apology might be expected for this work, is, that it has freely tested by the standard of (p. vi) truth those delineations of Henry's character which have contributed to immortalize our great historical dramatist. The Author, indeed, is willing to confess that he would gladly have withdrawn from the task of assaying the substantial accuracy and soundness of Shakspeare's historical and biographical views, could he have done so safely and without a compromise of principle. He would have avoided such an inquiry, not only in deference to the acknowledged rule which does not suffer a poet to be fettered by the rigid shackles of unbending facts; but from a disinclination also to interfere, even in appearance, with the full and free enjoyment of those exquisite scenes of humour, wit, and nature, in which Henry is the hero, and his "riotous, reckless companions" are subordinate in dramatical excellence only to himself. The Author may also not unwillingly grant, that (with the majority of those who give a tone to the "form and pressure" of the age) Shakspeare has done more to invest the character of Henry with a never-dying interest beyond the lot of ordinary monarchs, than the bare records of historical verity could ever have effected. Still he feels that he had no alternative. He must either have ascertained the historical worth of those scenic representations, or have suffered to remain in their full force the deep and prevalent impressions, as to Henry's principles and conduct, which owe, if not their origin, yet, at least, much of their universality and vividness, to Shakspeare. (p. vii) The poet is dear, and our early associations are dear; and pleasures often tasted without satiety are dear: but to every rightly balanced mind Truth will be dearer than all.

* * * * *

It must nevertheless be here intimated, that these volumes are neither exclusively, nor yet especially, designed for the antiquarian student. The Author has indeed sought for genuine information at every fountain-head accessible to him; but he has prepared the result of his researches for the use (he would trust, for the improvement as well as the gratification,) of the general reader. And whilst he has not consciously omitted any essential reference, he has guarded against interrupting the course of his narrative by an unnecessary accumulation of authorities. He is, however, compelled to confess that he rises from this very limited sphere of inquiry under an impression, which grew stronger and deeper as his work advanced, that, before a history of our country can be produced worthy of a place among the records of mankind, the still hidden treasures of the metropolis and of our universities, together with the stores which are known to exist in foreign libraries, must be studied with far more of devoted care and zealous perseverance than have hitherto been bestowed upon them. That the honest and able student, however unwearied in zeal and industry, may be supplied with the indispensable means of verifying what (p. viii) tradition has delivered down, enucleating difficulties, rectifying mistakes, reconciling apparent inconsistencies, clearing up doubts, and removing that mass of confusion and error under which the truth often now lies buried,—our national history must be made a subject of national interest. It is a maxim of our law, and the constant practice of our courts of justice, never to admit evidence unless it be the best which under the circumstances can be obtained. Were this principle of jurisprudence recognised and adopted in historical criticism, the student would carefully ascend to the first witnesses of every period, on whom modern writers (however eloquent or sagacious) must depend for their information. How lamentably devoid of authority and credit is the work of the most popular and celebrated of our modern English historians in consequence of his unhappy neglect of this fundamental principle, will be made palpably evident by the instances which could not be left unnoticed even within the narrow range of these Memoirs. And the Author is generally persuaded that, without a far more comprehensive and intimate acquaintance with original documents than our writers have possessed, or apparently have thought it their duty to cultivate, error will continue to be propagated as heretofore; and our annals will abound with surmises and misrepresentations, instead of being the guardian depositories of historical verity. Only by the acknowledgment and application of the principle here advocated will (p. ix) England be supplied with those monuments of our race, those "POSSESSIONS FOR EVER," as the Prince of Historians[1] once named them, which may instruct the world in the philosophy of moral cause and effect, exhibit honestly and clearly the natural workings of the human heart, and diffuse through the mass of our fellow-creatures a practical assurance that piety, justice, and charity form the only sure groundwork of a people's glory and happiness; while religious and moral depravity in a nation, no less than in an individual, leads, (tardily it may be and remotely, but by ultimate and inevitable consequence,) to failure and degradation.

[Footnote 1: Thucydides.]

In those portions of his work which have a more immediate bearing upon religious principles and conduct, the Author has not adopted the most exciting mode of discussing the various subjects which have naturally fallen under his review. Party spirit, though it seldom fails to engender a more absorbing interest for the time, and often clothes a subject with an importance not its own, will find in these pages no response to its sentiments, under whatever character it may give utterance to them. In these departments of his inquiry, to himself far the most interesting, (and many such there are, especially in the second volume,) the Author trusts that he has been guided by the Apostolical maxim of "SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE." He has not willingly advanced a single sentiment which should unnecessarily (p. x) cause pain to any individual or to any class of men; he has not been tempted by morbid delicacy or fear to suppress or disguise his view of the very TRUTH.

The reader will readily perceive that, with reference to the foreign and domestic policy of our country,—the advances of civilization,—the manners of private life, as well in the higher as in the more humble grades of society,—the state of literature,—the progress of the English constitution,—the condition and discipline of the army, which Henry greatly improved,—and the rise and progress of the royal navy, of which he was virtually the founder, many topics are either purposely avoided, or only incidentally and cursorily noticed. To one point especially (a subject in itself most animating and uplifting, and intimately interwoven with the period embraced by these Memoirs,) he would have rejoiced to devote a far greater portion of his book, had it been compatible with the immediate design of his undertaking;—THE PROMISE AND THE DAWN OF THE REFORMATION.

* * * * *

However the value of his labours may be ultimately appreciated, the Author confidently trusts that their publication can do no disservice to the cause of truth, of sound morality, and of pure religion. He would hope, indeed, that in one point at least the power of an (p. xi) example of pernicious tendency might be weakened by the issue of his investigation. If the results of these inquiries be acquiesced in as sound and just, no young man can be encouraged by Henry's example (as it is feared many, especially in the higher classes, have been encouraged,) in early habits of moral delinquency, with the intention of extricating himself in time from the dominion of his passions, and of becoming, like Henry, in after-life a pattern of religion and virtue, "the mirror of every grace and excellence." The divine, the moralist, and the historian know that authenticated instances of such sudden moral revolutions in character are very rare,—exceptions to the general rule; and among those exceptions we cannot be justified in numbering Henry of Monmouth.

He was bold and merciful and kind, but he was no libertine, in his youth; he was brave and generous and just, but he was no persecutor, in his manhood. On the throne he upheld the royal authority with mingled energy and mildness, and he approved himself to his subjects as a wise and beneficent King; in his private individual capacity he was a bountiful and considerate, though strict and firm master, a warm and sincere friend, a faithful and loving husband. He passed through life under the habitual sense of an overruling Providence; and, in his premature death, he left us the example of a Christian's patient and pious resignation to the Divine Will. As long as he lived, he was (p. xii) an object of the most ardent and enthusiastic admiration, confidence, and love; and, whilst the English monarchy shall remain among the unforgotten things on earth, his memory will be honoured, and his name will be enrolled among the NOBLE and the GOOD.



[*] Those years, months, or days, respectively, to which an asterisk is attached, are not considered to have been so fully ascertained as the other dates.

1340* Feb.* John of Gaunt born. 1340} Earl of Northumberland, Hotspur's father, born, 1341} before Nov. 19, 1341. 1359 May 19, John of Gaunt married to Blanche. 1358} Owyn Glyndowr born, before Sept. 3, 1359. 1359} 1366 April 6, Henry Bolinbroke born. 1365} May 20,* Henry Percy (Hotspur) born before 30th Oct. 1366. 1366} 1367 Jan. Richard II. born at Bourdeaux. 1369* Blanche, wife of John of Gaunt died. 1371* John of Gaunt married Constance. 1376 June 8, Edward the Black Prince died. 1377 June 21, King Edward III. died. 1378 Nov. Hotspur first bore arms at Berwick. 1381 Bolinbroke nearly slain by the rioters. 1382 Richard II. married to Queen Anne. 1384 Dec. 31, Wickliffe's death. 1386* Bolinbroke married Mary Bohun. 1387 John of Gaunt went to Spain. 1387* Aug. 9,* HENRY born at MONMOUTH. 1388 Hotspur taken prisoner by the Scots. 1388 Thomas Duke of Clarence born. 1389 Nov. 9, Isabel, Richard II.'s wife, born. 1389* Nov.* John of Gaunt returned from Spain. (p. xiv) 1389* John Duke of Bedford born. 1390* Humfrey Duke of Gloucester born. 1390} Bolinbroke visited Barbary. 1391} 1392} Bolinbroke visited Prussia and the Holy Sepulchre. 1393} 1394* Mary, HENRY's mother, died. 1394* Constance, John of Gaunt's wife, died. 1394 June 7, Anne, Richard II.'s Queen, died. 1396 John of Gaunt recalled from Acquitaine by Richard II. 1396 John of Gaunt married Katharine Swynford. 1397 Arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury, banished. 1397 Sept. 29, Bolinbroke created Duke of Hereford. 1397* John Oldcastle, Lord Cobham, banished. 1397 Nov. 4, Richard II. married to Isabel. 1398* Henry of Monmouth resided in Oxford. 1398 July 14, Henry Beaufort consecrated Bishop of Lincoln. 1398 Sept. 16, Bolinbroke and Norfolk at Coventry. 1398 Bolinbroke banished. 1399 Feb. 3, John of Gaunt died. 1399 May 29, Richard II. sailed for Ireland. 1399 June 23, HENRY of Monmouth knighted. 1399 June 28, News of Bolinbroke's designs reached London. 1399 July 4, Bolinbroke landed at Ravenspur. 1399 August, HENRY shut up in Trym Castle. 1399 August, Richard landed at Milford. 1399 Aug. 14, Richard fell into Bolinbroke's hands. 1399 August, Bolinbroke sent to Ireland for HENRY. 1399 August, Death of the young Duke of Gloucester. 1399 Sept. 1, Bolinbroke brought Richard captive to London. 1399 Oct. 1, Richard's resignation of the crown read in Parliament. 1399 Oct. 13, Bolinbroke crowned as Henry IV. (p. xv) 1399 Oct. 15, HENRY created PRINCE of Wales. 1400 Jan. 4, Conspiracy against the King at Windsor. 1400* Feb. 14,* Richard II. died at Pontefract. 1400* Oct. 25,* Chaucer died. 1400 June Henry IV. proceeded to Scotland. 1400 June 23, Lord Grey of Ruthyn's letter to HENRY. 1400 Sept. 19, First proclamation against the Welsh. 1400 Owyn Glyndowr in open rebellion. 1401 HENRY in Wales, before April 10. 1401 April 10, Hotspur's first Letter. 1401* Sept. 13,* KATHARINE, HENRY's Queen, born. 1401* Nov. 11,* Restoration of Isabel. 1402 April 3, Henry IV. espoused to Joan of Navarre. 1402 June 12,* Edmund Mortimer taken prisoner. 1432 Sept. 14, Battle of Homildon. 1402* Nov. 30,* Edmund Mortimer married to a daughter of Owyn Glyndowr. 1403 March 7, HENRY appointed Lieutenant of Wales. 1403* May 30, HENRY's Letter to the Council. 1403 July 21, Battle of Shrewsbury. 1404 May 10, Glyndowr dated "the fourth year of our Principality." 1404 June 10, Welsh with Frenchmen overran Archenfield. 1404 June 25, HENRY's letter to his father. 1404 Oct. 6, Parliament at Coventry. 1405 Feb. 20, Sons of the Earl of March stolen from Windsor. 1405 March 1, Crown settled on HENRY and his brothers. 1405 March 11, Battle of Grosmont. 1405 May, Revolt of the Earl of Northumberland and Bardolf. 1405 June 8, Scrope, Archbishop of York, beheaded. 1406 June 7, Testimony of the Commons to HENRY's excellences. 1406* June 29,* Isabel married to Angouleme. 1407* Nov. 1,* HENRY went to Scotland. 1408 Feb. 28,* Earl of Northumberland, Hotspur's father, fell (p. xvi) in battle. 1408 July 8, HENRY in London, as President of the Council. 1409 Feb. 1, HENRY, Guardian of the Earl of March. 1409 Feb. 28, HENRY, Warden of Cinque Ports and Constable of Dover. 1409* Sept. 13,* Death of Isabel, Richard II.'s widow. 1410 March 5, Warrant for the burning of Badby. 1410 March 18, HENRY, Captain of Calais. 1410 June 16, HENRY sate as President of the Council. 1410 June 18, D. d. 1410 June 19, D. d. 1410 June 23, Affray in Eastcheap, by the Lords Thomas and John, his brothers. 1410 July 22, HENRY, as President. 1410 July 29, D. 1410 July 30, D. 1411 March 19, HENRY with his father at Lambeth. 1411 August,* Duke of Burgundy obtained succour. 1411 Nov. 3, Parliament opened. 1411 Nov. 10, Battle of St. Cloud. 1412 May 18, Treaty with the Duke of Orleans. 1412* June 30,* HENRY came to London attended by "Lords and Gentils." 1412 July 9, The Lord Thomas created Duke of Clarence. 1412* Sept. 23,* He came again with "a huge people." 1413 Feb. 3, Parliament opened. 1413 March 20, Henry IV. died. 1413 April 9, HENRY V. CROWNED. 1413 May 15, Parliament at Westminster. 1413 June 26, Convocation of the Clergy. 1413 Lord Cobham cited. 1413 Lord Cobham escaped from the Tower. 1414 Jan. 10, Affair of St. Giles' Field. 1414 April 20, Parliament at Leicester. 1414 HENRY founded Sion and Shene. 1414 Council of Constance. 1415 May 4, The Council of Constance condemned Wickliffe's (p. xvii) memory, and commanded the exhumation of his bones. 1415 July 6, John Huss condemned. 1415 July 20, Conspiracy at Southampton. 1415 Aug. 11, HENRY sailed for Normandy. 1415 Sept. 15, Death of Bishop of Norwich in the camp. 1415 Sept. 22, Surrender of Harfleur. 1415 Clayton and Gurmyn burnt for heresy. 1415 Oct. 25, Battle of AGINCOURT. 1415 Nov. 16, HENRY returned to England. 1415 Nov. 22, Thanksgiving in London. 1416 April 29, Emperor Sigismund visited England. 1416 May 30, Jerome of Prague burnt. 1416 Aug. 15, League signed by HENRY and Sigismund. 1417 July 23, HENRY's second expedition. 1417 Sept. 4, Surrender of Caen. 1417 Dec. Execution of Lord Cobham. 1418 July 1, Rouen besieged. 1419 Jan. 19, Rouen taken. 1419 May 30, HENRY and KATHARINE first met. 1419* July 7, HENRY's letter concerning Oriel College. 1420 May 30, HENRY and Katharine married. 1420 July, Katharine lodged in the camp before Melun. 1420 HENRY and Katharine, with the King and Queen of France, entered Paris. 1421 Jan 31, HENRY and Katharine arrived in England. 1421 Feb 23, Katharine crowned in Westminster. 1421 March 23, They passed their Easter at Leicester. {Between} 1421 {March &} They travelled through the greater part of England. {May, } 1421 March 23, Death of the Duke of Clarence. 1421 May 26, Taylor condemned to imprisonment for heresy. 1421 June 1, HENRY left London on his third expedition. 1421 June 10, HENRY landed at Calais. (p. xviii) 1421 Oct. 6, Siege of Meaux began, and lasted till the April following. 1421 Dec. 6, HENRY's son born at Windsor. 1422 May 21, Katharine landed at Harfleur. 1422 HENRY met her at the Bois de Vincennes. 1422 They entered Paris together. 1422 Aug. HENRY left Katharine at Senlis.

1422 Aug. 31, DEATH of HENRY.

1423 March 1, William Taylor burnt for heresy.




Henry of Monmouth's Parents. — Time and place of his Birth. — John of Gaunt and Blanche of Lancaster. — Henry Bolinbroke. — Monmouth Castle. — Henry's infancy and childhood. — His education. — Residence in Oxford. — Bolinbroke's Banishment. Page 1



Henry taken into the care of Richard. — Death of John of Gaunt. — Henry knighted by Richard in Ireland. — His person and manners. — News of Bolinbroke's landing and hostile measures reaches Ireland. — Indecision and delay of Richard. — He shuts up Henry and the young Duke of Gloucester in Trym Castle. — Reflections on the fate of these two Cousins — of Bolinbroke — of Richard — and of the widowed Duchess of Gloucester. Page 32

CHAPTER III. (p. xx)


Proceedings of Bolinbroke from his Interview with Archbishop Arundel, in Paris, to his making King Richard his prisoner. — Conduct of Richard from the news of Bolinbroke's landing. — Treachery of Northumberland. — Richard taken by Bolinbroke to London. Page 52



Richard resigns the Crown. — Bolinbroke elected King. — Henry of Monmouth created Prince of Wales. — Plot to murder the King. — Death of Richard. — Friendship between him and Henry. — Proposals for a Marriage between Henry and Isabel, Richard's Widow. — Henry applies for an Establishment. — Hostile movement of the Scots. — Tradition, that young Henry marched against them, doubted. Page 68



The Welsh Rebellion. — Owyn Glyndowr. — His former Life. — Dispute with Lord Grey of Ruthyn. — That Lord's Letter to Prince Henry. — Hotspur. — His Testimony to Henry's presence in Wales, — to his Mercy and his Prowess. — Henry's Despatch to the Privy Council. Page 88

CHAPTER VI. (p. xxi)


Glyndowr joined by Welsh Students of Oxford. — Takes Lord Grey prisoner. — Hotspur's further Despatches. — He quits Wales. — Reflections on the eventful Life and premature Death of Isabel, Richard's Widow. — Glyndowr disposed to come to terms. — The King's Expeditions towards Wales abortive. — Marriage proposed between Henry and Katharine of Norway. — The King marries Joan of Navarre. Page 108



Glyndowr's vigorous Measures. — Slaughter of Herefordshire Men. — Mortimer taken prisoner. — He joins Glyndowr. — Henry implores Succours, — Pawns his Plate to support his Men. — The King's Testimony to his Son's conduct. — The King, at Burton-on-Trent, hears of the Rebellion of the Percies. Page 129



The Rebellion of the Percies, — Its Origin. — Letters of Hotspur and the Earl of Northumberland. — Tripartite Indenture between the Percies, Owyn, and Mortimer. — Doubts as to its Authenticity. — Hotspur hastens from the North. — The King's decisive conduct. — He forms a junction with the Prince. — "Sorry Battle of Shrewsbury." — Great Inaccuracy of David Hume. — Hardyng's Duplicity. — Manifesto of the Percies probably a Forgery. — Glyndowr's Absence from the Battle involves neither Breach of Faith nor Neglect of Duty. — Circumstances preceding the Battle. — Of the Battle itself. — Its immediate consequences. Page 141

CHAPTER IX. (p. xxii)


The Prince commissioned to receive the Rebels into allegiance. — The King summons Northumberland. — Hotspur's Corpse disinterred. — The Reason. — Glyndowr's French Auxiliaries. — He styles himself "Prince of Wales." — Devastation of the Border Counties. — Henry's Letters to the King, and to the Council. — Testimony of him by the County of Hereford. — His famous Letter from Hereford. — Battle of Grosmont. Page 178



Rebellion of Northumberland and Bardolf. — Execution of the Archbishop of York. — Wonderful Activity and Resolution of the King. — Deplorable state of the Revenue. — Testimony borne by Parliament to the Prince's Character. — The Prince present at the Council-board. — He is only occasionally in Wales, and remains for the most part in London. Page 207



Prince Henry's Expedition to Scotland, and Success. — Thanks presented to him by Parliament. — His generous Testimony to the Duke of York. — Is first named as President of the Council. — Returns to Wales. — Is appointed Warden of the Cinque Ports and Constable of Dover. — Welsh Rebellion dwindles and dies. — Owyn Glyndowr's Character and Circumstances; his Reverses and Trials. — His Bright Points undervalued. — The unfavourable side of his Conduct unjustly darkened by Historians. — Reflections on his Last Days. — Fac-simile of his Seals as Prince of Wales. Page 232

CHAPTER XII. (p. xxiii)


Reputed Differences between Henry and his Father examined. — He is made Captain of Calais. — His Residence at Coldharbour. — Presides at the Council-board. — Cordiality still visible between him and his Father. — Affray in East-Cheap. — No mention of Henry's presence. —Projected Marriage between Henry and a Daughter of Burgundy. — Charge against Henry for acting in opposition to his Father in the Quarrel of the Dukes of Burgundy and Orleans unfounded. Page 252



Unfounded Charge against Henry of Peculation. — Still more serious Accusation of a cruel attempt to dethrone his diseased Father. — The Question fully examined. — Probably a serious though temporary Misunderstanding at this time between the King and his Son. — Henry's Conduct filial, open, and merciful. — The "Chamber" or the "Crown Scene." — Death of Henry the Fourth. Page 278


Henry of Monmouth's Character. — Unfairness of Modern Writers. — Walsingham examined. — Testimony of his Father, — of Hotspur, — of the Parliament, — of the English and Welsh Counties, — of Contemporary Chroniclers. — No one single act of Immorality alleged against him. — No intimation of his Extravagance, or Injustice, or Riot, or Licentiousness, in Wales, London, or Calais. — Direct Testimony to the opposite Virtues. — Lydgate. — Occleve. Page 313

CHAPTER XV. (p. xxiv)

Shakspeare. — The Author's reluctance to test the Scenes of the Poet's Dramas by Matters of Fact. — Necessity of so doing. — Hotspur in Shakspeare the first to bear evidence to Henry's reckless Profligacy; — The Hotspur of History the first who testifies to his Character for Valour, and Mercy, and Faithfulness in his Duties. — Anachronisms of Shakspeare. — Hotspur's Age. — The Capture of Mortimer. — Battle of Homildon. — Field of Shrewsbury. — Archbishop Scrope's Death. Page 337


Story of Prince Henry and the Chief Justice, first found in the Work of Sir Thomas Elyot, published nearly a century and a half subsequently to the supposed transaction. — Sir John Hawkins — Hall — Hume. — No allusion to the circumstance in the Early Chroniclers. — Dispute as to the Judge. — Various Claimants of the distinction. — Gascoyne — Hankford — Hody — Markham. — Some interesting particulars with regard to Gascoyne, lately discovered and verified. — Improbability of the entire Story. Page 358


No. 1. Owyn Glyndowr 385 2. Lydgate 394 3. Occleve 401





Henry the Fifth was the son of Henry of Bolinbroke and Mary daughter of Humfrey Bohun, Earl of Hereford. No direct and positive evidence has yet been discovered to fix with unerring accuracy the day or the place of his birth. If however we assume the statement of the chroniclers[2] to be true, that he was born at Monmouth on the ninth day of August in the year 1387,[3] history supplies many ascertained facts not only consistent with that hypothesis, but in (p. 002) confirmation of it; whilst none are found to throw upon it the faintest shade of improbability. At first sight it might perhaps appear strange that the exact time of the birth as well of Henry of Monmouth, as of his father, two successive kings of England, should even yet remain the subject of conjecture, tradition, and inference; whilst the day and place of the birth of Henry VI. is matter of historical record. A single reflection, however, on the circumstances of their respective births, renders the absence of all precise testimony in the one case natural; whilst it would have been altogether unintelligible in the other. When Henry of Bolinbroke and Henry of Monmouth were born, their fathers were subjects, and nothing of national interest was at the time associated with their appearance in the world; at Henry of Windsor's birth he was the acknowledged heir to the throne both of England and of France.

[Footnote 2: Monomothi in Wallia natus v. Id. Aug.—Pauli Jov. Ang. Reg. Chron.; William of Worcester, &c.]

[Footnote 3: At the foot of the Wardrobe Account of Henry Earl of Derby from 30th September 1387 to 30th September 1388, (and unfortunately no account of the Duke of Lancaster's expenses is as yet found extant before that very year,) an item occurs of 341l. 12s. 5d., paid 24th September 1386, for the household expenses of the Earl and his family at Monmouth. This proves that his father made the castle of Monmouth his residence within less than a year of the date assigned for Henry's birth.]

To what extent Henry of Monmouth's future character and conduct were, under Providence, affected by the circumstances of his family and its several members, it would perhaps be less philosophical than presumptuous to define. But, that those circumstances were (p. 003) peculiarly calculated to influence him in his principles and views and actions, will be acknowledged by every one who becomes acquainted with them, and who is at the same time in the least degree conversant with the growth and workings of the human mind. It must, therefore, fall within the province of the inquiry instituted in these pages, to take a brief review of the domestic history of Henry's family through the years of his childhood and early youth.

John, surnamed "of Gaunt," from Ghent or Gand in Flanders, the place of his birth, was the fourth son of King Edward the Third. At a very early age he married Blanche, daughter and heiress of Henry Plantagenet, Duke of Lancaster, great-grandson of Henry the Third.[4] The time of his marriage with Blanche,[5] though recorded with sufficient precision, is indeed comparatively of little consequence; whilst the date of their son Henry's birth, from the influence which the age of a father may have on the destinies of his child, becomes matter of much importance to those who take any interest in the (p. 004) history of their grandson, Henry of Monmouth. On this point it has been already intimated that no conclusive evidence is directly upon record. The principal facts, however, which enable us to draw an inference of high probability, are associated with so pleasing and so exemplary a custom, though now indeed fallen into great desuetude among us, that to review them compensates for any disappointment which might be felt from the want of absolute certainty in the issue of our research. It was Henry of Bolinbroke's custom[6] every year on the Feast of the Lord's Supper, that is, on the Thursday before Easter, to clothe as many poor persons as equalled the number of years which he had completed on the preceding birthday; and by examining the accounts still preserved in the archives of the Duchy of Lancaster, the details of which would be altogether uninteresting in this place, we are led to infer that Henry Bolinbroke was born on the 4th of April 1366. Blanche, his mother, survived the birth of Bolinbroke probably not more than three years. Whether this lady found in John of Gaunt a faithful and loving husband, or whether his libertinism caused her to pass her short life in disappointment and sorrow, no authentic document enables us to pronounce. It is, however, impossible to close our eyes against the painful fact, that Catherine Swynford, who (p. 005) was the partner of his guilt during the life of his second wife, Constance, had been an inmate of his family, as the confidential attendant on his wife Blanche, and the governess of her daughters, Philippa and Elizabeth of Lancaster. That he afterwards, by a life of abandoned profligacy, disgraced the religion which he professed, is, unhappily, put beyond conjecture or vague rumour. Though we cannot infer from any expenses about her funeral and her memory, that Blanche was the sole object of his affections, (the most lavish costliness at the tomb of the departed too often being only in proportion to the unkindness shown to the living,) yet it may be worth observing, that in 1372 we find an entry in the account, of 20l. paid to two chaplains (together with the expenses of the altar) to say masses for her soul. He was then already[7] married to his second wife, Constance, daughter of Peter the Cruel, King of Castile. By this lady, whom he often calls "the Queen," he appears to have had only one child, married, it is said, to Henry III. King of Castile.[8] Constance, the mother, is represented to have been one of the most (p. 006) amiable and exemplary persons of the age, "above other women innocent and devout;" and from her husband she deserved treatment far different from what it was her unhappy lot to experience. But however severe were her sufferings, she probably concealed them within her own breast: and she neither left her husband nor abandoned her duties in disgust. It is indeed possible, though in the highest degree improbable, that whilst his unprincipled conduct was too notorious to be concealed from others, she was not herself made fully acquainted with his infidelity towards her. At all events we may indulge in the belief that she proved to her husband's only legitimate son, Henry (p. 007) of Bolinbroke, a kind and watchful mother.

[Footnote 4: His wife's sister, Matilda, married to William, Duke of Holland and Zealand, dying without issue, John of Gaunt succeeded to the undivided estates and honours of the late duke.]

[Footnote 5: Froissart reports that Henry Bolinbroke was a handsome young man; and declares that he never saw two such noble dames, nor ever should were he to live a thousand years, so good, liberal, and courteous, as his mother the Lady Blanche, and "the late Queen of England," Philippa of Hainault, wife of Edward the Third. These were the mother, and the consort of John of Gaunt.]

[Footnote 6: For this fact and the several items by which it is substantiated, the Author is indebted to the kindness and antiquarian researches of William Hardy, Esq. of the Duchy of Lancaster office. These accounts begin to date from September 30th 1381.]

[Footnote 7: In 1387 the Duke of Lancaster, accompanied by Constance and a numerous retinue, went to Spain to claim his wife's rights; and he succeeded in obtaining from the King of Spain very large sums in hand, and hostages for the payment of 10,000l. annually to himself and his duchess for life. Wals. Neust. 544.]

[Footnote 8: There is an order, dated June 6th, 1372, to lodge two pipes of good wine in Kenilworth Priory, and to hasten with all speed Dame Ilote, the midwife, to the Queen Constance at Hertford on horse or in carriage as should be best for her ease. The same person attended the late Duchess Blanche.

The Author has lately discovered on the Pell Rolls a payment, dated 21st February 1373, which refers to the birth of a daughter, and at the same time informs us that his future wife was then probably a member of his household. "To Catherine Swynford twenty marks for announcing to the King (Richard the Second) the birth of a daughter of the Queen of Spain, consort of John, King of Castile and Leon, and Duke of Lancaster."

The marriage of John of Gaunt with Catherine Swynford took place only the second year after the death of Constance, and seems to have excited among the nobility equal surprise and disgust. "The great ladies of England, (as Stowe reports,) as the Duchess of Gloucester, &c. disdained that she should be matched with the Duke of Lancaster, and by that means accounted second person in the realm, and be preferred in room before them."

King Richard however made her a handsome present of a ring, at the same time that he presented one to Henry, Earl of Derby, (Henry IV.) and another to Lady Beauchamp. Pell Rolls.]

At that period of our history, persons married at a much earlier age than is usually the case among us now; and the espousals of young people often preceded for some years the period of quitting their parents' home, and living together, as man and wife. In the year 1381 Henry, at that time only fifteen years of age, was espoused[9] to his future wife, Mary Bohun, daughter of the Earl of Hereford, who had (p. 008) then not reached her twelfth year. These espousals were in those days accompanied by the religious service of matrimony, and the bride assumed the title of her espoused husband.[10]

[Footnote 9: In this same year Bolinbroke's life was put into imminent peril during the insurrection headed by Wat Tiler. The rebels broke into the Tower of London, though it was defended by some brave knights and soldiers; seized and murdered the Archbishop and others; and, carrying the heads of their victims on pikes, proceeded in a state of fury to John of Gaunt's palace at the Savoy, which they utterly destroyed and burnt to the ground. Gaunt himself was in the North: but his son Bolinbroke was in the Tower of London, and owed his life to the interposition of one John Ferrour of Southwark. This is a fact not generally known to historians; and since the document which records it, bears testimony to Bolinbroke's spirit of gratitude, it will not be thought out of place to allude to it here. This same John Ferrour, with Sir Thomas Blount and others, was tried in the Castle of Oxford for high treason, in the first year of Henry IV. Blount and the others were condemned and executed; but to John Ferrour a free pardon, dated Monday after the Epiphany, was given, "our Lord the King remembering that in the reign of Richard the Second, during the insurrection of the Counties of Essex and Kent, the said John saved the King's life in the midst of that commonalty, in a wonderful and kind manner, whence the King happily remains alive unto this day. For since every good whatever naturally and of right requires another good in return, the King of his especial grace freely pardons the said John." Plac. Cor. in Cast. Oxon.]

[Footnote 10: Thus, in a warrant, dated 6th March 1381, an order is given by the Duke for payment to a Goldsmith in London, of 10l. 18s. for a present made by our dear daughter Philippa, to our very dear daughter Mary, Countess of Derby, on the day of her marriage; and also "40 shillings for as many pence put upon the book on the day of the espousals of our much beloved son, the Earl of Derby." Eight marks are ordered to be paid for "a ruby given by us to our very dear daughter Mary:" 13s. 4d. for the offering at the mass. Ten marks from us to the King's minstrels being there on the same day; and ten marks to four minstrels of our brother the Earl of Cambridge being there; and fifty marks to the officers of our cousin, the Countess of Hereford! On the 31st of January following, the Duke lays himself under a bond to pay to "Dame Bohun, Countess of Hereford, her mother, the sum of one hundred marks annually, for the charge and cost of his daughter-in-law, Mary, Countess of Derby, until the said Mary shall attain the full age of fourteen years."]

We shall probably not be in error, if we fix the period of the Countess of Derby leaving her mother's for her husband's roof somewhere in the year 1386, when he was twenty, and she sixteen years old; and we are not without reason for believing that they made Monmouth Castle their home.

Some modern writers affirm that this was the favourite residence of John of Gaunt's family: but it is very questionable whether from having themselves experienced the beauty and loveliness of the spot, they have not been unconsciously tempted to venture this assertion (p. 009) without historical evidence. Monmouth is indeed situated in one of the fairest and loveliest valleys within the four seas of Britain. Near its centre, on a rising ground between the river Monnow (from which the town derives its name) and the Wye and not far from their confluence, the ruins of the Castle are still visible. The poet Gray looked over it from the side of the Kymin Hill, when he described the scene before him as "the delight of his eyes, and the very seat of pleasure." With his testimony, unbiassed as it was by local attachment, it would be unwise to mingle the feelings of affection entertained by one whose earliest associations, "redolent of joy and youth," can scarcely rescue his judgment from the suspicion of partiality. At that time John of Gaunt's estates and princely mansions studded, at various distances, the whole land of England from its northern border to the southern coast. And whether he allowed Henry of Bolinbroke to select for himself from the ample pages of his rent-roll the spot to which he would take his bride, or whether he assigned it of his own choice to his son as the fairest of his possessions; or whether any other cause determined the place of Henry the Fifth's birth, we have no reasonable ground for doubting that he was born in the Castle of Monmouth, on the 9th of August 1387.

Of Monmouth Castle, the dwindling ruins are now very scanty, and in point of architecture present nothing worthy of an antiquary's (p. 010) research. They are washed by the streams of the Monnow, and are embosomed in gardens and orchards, clothing the knoll on which they stand; the aspect of the southern walls, and the rocky character of the soil admirably adapting them for the growth of the vine, and the ripening of its fruits. In the memory of some old inhabitants, who were not gathered to their fathers when the Author could first take an interest in such things, and who often amused his childhood with tales of former days, the remains of the Hall of Justice were still traceable within the narrowed pile; and the crumbling bench on which the Justices of the Circuit once sate, was often usurped by the boys in their mock trials of judge and jury. Somewhat more than half a century ago, a gentleman whose garden reached to one of the last remaining towers, had reason to be thankful for a marked interposition in his behalf of the protecting hand of Providence. He was enjoying himself on a summer's evening in an alcove built under the shelter and shade of the castle, when a gust of wind blew out the candle by his side, just at the time when he felt disposed to replenish and rekindle his pipe. He went consequently with the lantern in his hand towards his house, intending to renew his evening's recreation; but he had scarcely reached the door when the wall fell, burying his retreat, and the entire slope, with its shrubs and flowers and fruits, under one mass of ruin.

From this castle, tradition says, that being a sickly child, Henry (p. 011) was taken to Courtfield, at the distance of six or seven miles from Monmouth, to be nursed there. That tradition is doubtless very ancient; and the cradle itself in which Henry is said to have been rocked, was shown there till within these few years, when it was sold, and taken from the house. It has since changed hands, if it be any longer in existence. The local traditions, indeed, in the neighbourhood of Courtfield and Goodrich are almost universally mingled with the very natural mistake that, when Henry of Monmouth was born, his father was king; and so far a shade of improbability may be supposed to invest them all alike; yet the variety of them in that one district, and the total absence of any stories relative to the same event on every other side of Monmouth, should seem to countenance a belief that some real foundation existed for the broad and general features of these traditionary tales. Thus, though the account acquiesced in by some writers, that the Marchioness of Salisbury was Henry of Monmouth's nurse at Courtfield, may have originated in an officious anxiety to supply an infant prince with a nurse suitable to his royal birth; still, probably, that appendage would not have been annexed to a story utterly without foundation, and consequently throws no incredibility on the fact that the eldest son of the young Earl of Derby was nursed at Courtfield. Thus, too, though the recorded salutation of the ferryman of Goodrich congratulates his Majesty on the birth of a (p. 012) noble prince, as the King was hastening from his court and palace of Windsor to his castle of Monmouth; yet the unstationary habits of Bolingbroke, his love of journeyings and travels, and his restlessness at home, render it very probable that he was absent from Monmouth even when the hour of perilous anxiety was approaching; and thus on his return homeward (perhaps too from Richard's court at Windsor) the first tidings of the safety of his Countess and the birth of the young lord may have saluted him as he crossed the Wye at Goodrich Ferry. So again in the little village of Cruse, lying between the church and the castle of Goodrich, the cottagers still tell, from father to son, as they have told for centuries over their winter's hearth, how the herald, hurrying from Monmouth to Goodrich fast as whip and spur could urge his steed onward, with the tidings of the Prince of Wales' birth, fell headlong, (the horse dropping under him in the short, steep, and rugged lane leading to the ravine, beyond which the castle stands,) and was killed on the spot. No doubt the idea of its being the news of a prince's birth, that was thus posted on, has added, in the imagination of the villagers, to the horse's fleetness and the breathless impetuosity of the messenger; but it is very probable that the news of the young lord's birth, heir to the dukedom of Lancaster, should have been hastened from the castle of Monmouth to Goodrich; and there is no solid reason for discrediting the story. (p. 013)

Still, beyond tradition, there is no evidence at all to fix the young lord either at Courtfield, or indeed at Monmouth, for any period subsequently to his birth. On the contrary, several items of expense in the "Wardrobe account of Henry, Earl of Derby," would induce us to infer either that the tradition is unfounded, or that at the utmost the infant lord was nursed at Courtfield only for a few months. In that account[11] we find an entry of a charge for a "long gown" for the young lord Henry; and also the payment of 2l. to a midwife for her attendance on the Countess during her confinement at the birth of the young lord Thomas, the gift of the Earl, "at London". By this document it is proved that Henry's younger brother, the future Duke of Clarence, was born before October 1388, and that some time in the preceding year Henry was himself still in the long robes of an infant; and that the family had removed from Monmouth to London. In the Wardrobe expenses of the Countess for the same year, we find several items of sums defrayed for the clothes of the young lords Henry and Thomas together, but no allusion whatever to the brothers being separate: one entry,[12] fixing Thomas and his nurse at Kenilworth soon after his birth, leaves no ground for supposing that his (p. 014) elder brother was either at Monmouth or at Courtfield. It may be matter of disappointment and of surprise that Henry's name does not occur in connexion with the place of his birth in any single contemporary document now known. The fact, however, is so. But whilst the place of Henry's nursing is thus left in uncertainty, the name of his nurse—in itself a matter not of the slightest importance—is made known to us not only in the Wardrobe account of his mother, but also by a gratifying circumstance, which bears direct testimony to his own kind and grateful, and considerate and liberal mind. Her name was Johanna Waring; on whom, very shortly after he ascended the throne, he settled an annuity of 20l. "in consideration of good service done to him in former days."[13]

[Footnote 11: Between 30th Sept. 1387 and 1st Oct. 1388.]

[Footnote 12: An item of five yards of cloth for the bed of the nurse of Thomas at Kenilworth; and an ell of canvass for his cradle.]

[Footnote 13: This is one of those incidents, occurring now and then, the discovery of which repays the antiquary or the biographer for wading, with toilsome search, through a confused mass of uninteresting details, and often encourages him to persevere when he begins to feel weary and disappointed.]

Very few incidents are recorded which can throw light upon Henry's childhood, and for those few we are indebted chiefly to the dry details of account-books. In these many particular items of expense occur relative as well to Henry as to his brothers; which, probably, would differ very little from those of other young noblemen of England at that period of her history. The records of the Duchy of Lancaster provide us with a very scanty supply of such particulars as convey (p. 015) any interesting information on the circumstances and occupations and amusements of Henry of Monmouth. From these records, however, we learn that he was attacked by some complaint, probably both sudden and dangerous, in the spring of 1395; for among the receiver's accounts is found the charge of "6s. 8d. for Thomas Pye, and a horse hired at London, March 18th, to carry him to Leicester with all speed, on account of the illness of the young lord Henry." In the year 1397, when he was just ten years old, a few entries occur, somewhat interesting, as intimations of his boyish pursuits. Such are the charge of "8d. paid by the hands of Adam Garston for harpstrings purchased for the harp of the young lord Henry," and "12d. to Stephen Furbour for a new scabbard of a sword for young lord Henry," and "1s. 6d. for three-fourths of an ounce of tissue of black silk bought at London of Margaret Stranson for a sword of young lord Henry." Whilst we cannot but be sometimes amused by the minuteness with which the expenditure of the smallest sum in so large an establishment as John of Gaunt's is detailed, these little incidents prepare us for the statement given of Henry's early youth by the chroniclers,—that he was fond both of minstrelsy and of military exercises.

The same dry pages, however, assure us that his more severe studies were not neglected. In the accounts for the year ending February 1396, we find a charge of "4s. for seven books of Grammar contained (p. 016) in one volume, and bought at London for the young Lord Henry." The receiver-general's record informs us of the name of the lord Humfrey's tutor;[14] but who was appointed to instruct the young lord Henry does not appear; nor can we tell how soon he was put under the guidance of Henry Beaufort. If, as we have reason to believe, he had that celebrated man as his instructor, or at least the superintendent of his studies, in Oxford so early as 1399, we may not, perhaps, be mistaken in conjecturing, that even this volume of Grammar was first learned under the direction of the future Cardinal.

[Footnote 14: "Thomae Rothwell informanti Humfridum filium Domini Regis pro salario suo de termino Paschae, 13s. 4d."—1 Hen. IV.]

Scanty as are the materials from which we must weave our opinion with regard to the first years of Henry of Monmouth, they are sufficient to suggest many reflections upon the advantages as well as the unfavourable circumstances which attended him: We must first, however, revert to a few more particulars relative to his family and its chief members.

His father, who was then about twenty-four years of age, certainly left England[15] between the 6th of May 1390 and the 30th of April (p. 017) 1391, and proceeded to Barbary. During his absence his Countess was delivered of Humfrey, his fourth son. Between the summers of 1392 and 1393 he undertook a journey to Prussia, and to the Holy Sepulchre.

[Footnote 15: The treasurer's account, during the Earl's absence, contains some items which remove all doubt from this statement: among others, 20l. to Lancaster the herald, on Nov. 5, going toward England; and in the same month, to three "persuivantes," being with the Earl, eight nobles; and to a certain English sailor, carrying the news of the birth of Humfrey, son of my lord, 13s. 4d.]

The next year visited Henry with one of the most severe losses which can befall a youth of his age. His mother,[16] then only twenty-four years old, having given birth to four sons and two daughters, was taken away from the anxious cares and comforts of her earthly career, in the very prime of life.[17] Nor was this the only bereavement which befell the family at this time. Constance, the second wife of John of Gaunt, a lady to whose religious and moral worth the strongest and warmest testimony is borne by the chroniclers of the time; and who might (had it so pleased the Disposer of all things) have watched (p. 018) over the education of her husband's grandchildren, was also this same year removed from them to her rest: they were both buried at Leicester, then one of the chief residences of the family.

[Footnote 16: King Richard II, the Duke of Lancaster, and his son, Henry of Bolinbroke, became widowers in the same year.]

[Footnote 17: That Henry cherished the memory of his mother with filial tenderness, may be inferred from the circumstance that only two months after he succeeded to the throne, and had the means and the opportunity of testifying his grateful remembrance of her, we find money paid "in advance to William Goodyere for newly devising and making an image in likeness of the Mother of the present lord the King, ornamented with diverse arms of the kings of England, and placed over the tomb of the said king's mother, within the King's College at Leicester, where she is buried and entombed."—Pell Rolls, May 20, 1413.]

The mind cannot contemplate the case of either of these ladies without feelings of pity rather than of envy. They were both nobly born, and nobly married; and yet the elder was joined to a man, who, to say the very least, shared his love for her with another; and the younger, though requiring, every year of her married state, all the attention and comfort and support of an affectionate husband, yet was more than once left to experience a temporary widowhood. And if we withdraw our thoughts from those of whom this family was then deprived, there is little to lessen our estimate of their loss, when we think of those whom they left behind. Henry's maternal grandmother, indeed, the Countess of Hereford, survived her daughter many years; and we are not without an intimation that she at least interested herself in her grandson's welfare. In his will, dated 1415, he bequeaths to Thomas, Bishop of Durham, "the missal and portiphorium[18] which we had of the gift of our dear grandmother, the Countess of Hereford."[19] We may fairly infer from this circumstance that Henry had at least one (p. 019) near relation both able and willing to guide him in the right way. How far opportunities were afforded her of exercising her maternal feelings towards him, cannot now be ascertained; and with the exception of this noble lady, there is no other to whom we can turn with entire satisfaction, when we contemplate the salutary effects either of precept or example in the case of Henry of Monmouth.

[Footnote 18: The portiphorium was a breviary, containing directions as to the services of the church.]

[Footnote 19: He bequeaths also, in the same will, "to Joan, Countess of Hereford, our dear grandmother, a gold cyphus." This lady, however, died before Henry. In the Pell Rolls we find the payment of "442l. 17s. 5d. to Robert Darcy and others, executors of Joan de Bohun, late Countess of Hereford, on account of live and dead stock belonging to her, February 27, 1421."]

His father indeed was a gallant young knight, often distinguishing himself at justs and tournaments;[20] of an active, ardent and enterprising spirit; nor is any imputation against his moral character found recorded. But we have no ground for believing, that he devoted much of his time and thoughts to the education of his children.

[Footnote 20: Soon after Henry IV's accession, the Pell Rolls, May 8, 1401, record the payment of "10l. to Bertolf Vander Eure, who fenced with the present lord the King with the long sword, and was hurt in the neck by the said lord the King." The Chronicle of London for 1386 says "there were joustes at Smithfield. There bare him well Sir Harry of Derby, the Duke's son of Lancaster."]

Henry Beaufort, the natural son of John of Gaunt, a person of commanding talent, and of considerable attainments for that age, whilst there is no reason to believe him to have been that abandoned worldling whose eyes finally closed in black despair without a (p. 020) hope of Heaven, yet was not the individual to whose training a Christian parent would willingly intrust the education of his child. And in John of Gaunt[21] himself, little perhaps can be discovered either in principle, or judgment, or conduct, which his grandson could imitate with religious and moral profit. Thus we find Henry of Monmouth in his childhood labouring under many disadvantages. Still our knowledge of the domestic arrangements and private circumstances of his family is confessedly very limited; and it would be unwise to conclude that there were no mitigating causes in operation, nor any advantages to put as a counterpoise into the opposite scale. He may have been under the guidance and tuition of a good Christian and (p. 021) well-informed man; he may have been surrounded by companions whose acquaintance would be a blessing. But this is all conjecture; and probably the question is now beyond the reach of any satisfactory solution.

[Footnote 21: The Author would gladly have presented to the reader a different portrait of the religious and moral character of "Old John of Gaunt, time-honoured Lancaster;" but a careful examination of the testimony of his enemies and of his eulogists, as well as of the authentic documents of his own household, seems to leave no other alternative, short of the sacrifice of truth. Godwin, in his Life of Chaucer, has undertaken his defence, but on such unsound principles of morality as must be reprobated by every true lover of Religion and Virtue. The same domestic register of the Duchy which records the wages paid to the adulteress, and the duke's losses by gambling, proves (as many other family accounts would prove) that no fortune however princely can supply the unbounded demands of profligacy and dissipation. Even John of Gaunt, with his immense possessions, was driven to borrow money. This fact is accompanied in the record by the curious circumstance, that an order is given for the employment of three or four stout yeomen, because of the danger of the road, to guard the bearers of a loan made by the Earl of Arundel to the Duke, and sent from Shrewsbury to London.]

With regard to the next step also in young Henry's progress towards manhood, we equally depend upon tradition for the views which we may be induced to take: still it is a tradition in which we shall probably acquiesce without great danger of error. He is said to have been sent to Oxford, and to have studied in "The Queen's College" under the tuition of Henry Beaufort, his paternal uncle, then Chancellor of the University. No document is known to exist among the archives of the College or of the University, which can throw any light on this point; except that the fact has been established of Henry Beaufort having been admitted a member of Queen's College, and of his having been chancellor of the university only for the year 1398.

This extraordinary man was consecrated Bishop of Lincoln, July 14, 1398, as appears by the Episcopal Register of that See; after which he did not reside in Oxford. If therefore Henry of Monmouth studied under him in that university, it must have been through the spring and summer of that year, the eleventh of his age. And on this we may rely as the most probable fact. Certainly in the old buildings of Queen's College, a chamber used to be pointed out by successive generations as Henry the Fifth's. It stood over the gateway opposite to St. (p. 022) Edmund's Hall. A portrait of him in painted glass, commemorative of the circumstance, was seen in the window, with an inscription (as it should seem of comparatively recent date) in Latin:

To record the fact for ever. The Emperor of Britain, The Triumphant Lord of France, The Conqueror of his enemies and of himself, Henry V. Of this little chamber, Once the great Inhabitant.[22]

[Footnote 22: Fuller in his Church History, having informed us that Henry's chamber over the College gate was then inhabited by the historian's friend Thomas Barlow, adds "His picture remaineth there to this day in brass".]

It may be observed that in the tender age of Henry involved in this supposition, there is nothing in the least calculated to throw a shade of improbability on this uniform tradition. Many in those days became members of the university at the time of life when they would now be sent to school.[23] And possibly we shall be most right in supposing that Henry (though perhaps without himself being enrolled among the regular academics) lived with his uncle, then chancellor, and studied under his superintendence. There is nothing on record (hitherto (p. 023) discovered) in the slightest degree inconsistent with this view; whereas if we were inclined to adopt the representation of some (on what authority it does not appear) that Henry was sent to Oxford soon after his father ascended the throne, many and serious difficulties would present themselves. In the first place his uncle, who was legitimated only the year before, was prematurely made Bishop of Lincoln by the Pope, through the interest of John of Gaunt, in the year 1398, and never resided in Oxford afterwards. How old he was at his consecration, has not yet been satisfactorily established; conjecture would lead us to regard him as a few years only (perhaps ten or twelve) older than his nephew. Otterbourne tells us that he was made Bishop[24] when yet a boy.

[Footnote 23: Those who were designed for the military profession were compelled to bear arms, and go to the field at the age of fifteen: consequently the little education they received was confined to their boyhood.]

[Footnote 24: "Admodum parvo."]

In the next place we can scarcely discover six months in Henry's life after his uncle's consecration, through which we can with equal probability suppose him to have passed his time in Oxford. It is next to certain that before the following October term, he had been removed into King Richard's palace, carefully watched (as we shall see hereafter); whilst in the spring of the following year, 1399, he was unquestionably obliged to accompany that monarch in his expedition to Ireland. Shortly after his return, in the autumn of that year, on his father's accession to the throne, he was created Prince of Wales; and through the following spring the probability is strong that his father was too anxiously engaged in negotiating a marriage between him (p. 024) and a daughter of the French King, and too deeply interested in providing for him an adequate establishment in the metropolis, to take any measures for improving and cultivating his mind in the university. Independently of which we may be fully assured that had he become a student of the University of Oxford as Prince of Wales, it would not have been left to chance, to deliver his name down to after-ages: the archives of the University would have furnished direct and contemporary evidence of so remarkable a fact; and the College would have with pride enrolled him at the time among its members: as the boy of the Earl of Derby, or the Duke of Hereford, living with his uncle, there is nothing[25] in the omission of his name inconsistent with our hypothesis. At all events, whatever evidence exists of Henry having resided under any circumstances in Oxford, fixes him there under the tuition of the future Cardinal; and that well-known personage is proved not to have resided there subsequently to his appointment to the see[26] of Lincoln, in the summer of 1398.[27]

[Footnote 25: On the 29th of the preceding September 1397, Richard II. "with the consent of the prelates, lords and commons in parliament assembled," created Bolinbroke, then Earl of Derby, Duke of Hereford, with a royal gift of forty marks by the year, to him and his heirs for ever. Pell Rolls. Pasc. 22 R. II. April 15.]

[Footnote 26: The Lincoln register (for a copy of which the Author is indebted to the present Bishop) dates the commencement of the year of Henry Beaufort's consecration from July 14, 1398.]

[Footnote 27: It is a curious fact, not generally known, that Henry IV. in the first year of his reign took possession of all the property of the Provost and Fellows of Queen's College (on the ground of mismanagement), and appointed the Chancellor, the Chief Justice, the Master of the Rolls, and others, guardians of the College. This is scarcely consistent with the supposition of his son being resident there at the time, or of his selecting that college for him afterwards.]

What were Henry's studies in Oxford, whether, like Ingulphus some (p. 025) centuries before, he drank to his fill of "Aristotle's[28] Philosophy and Cicero's Rhetoric," or whether his mind was chiefly directed to the scholastic theology so prevalent in his day, it were fruitless (p. 026) to inquire. His uncle (as we have already intimated) seems to have been a person of some learning, an excellent man of business, and in the command of a ready eloquence. In establishing his positions (p. 027) before the parliament, we find him not only quoting from the Bible, (often, it must be acknowledged, without any strict propriety of application,) but also citing facts from ancient Grecian history. We may, however, safely conclude that the Chancellor of Oxford confined himself to the general superintendence of his nephew's education, intrusting the details to others more competent to instruct him in the various branches of literature. It is very probable that to some arrangement of that kind Henry was indebted for his acquaintance with such excellent men as his friends John Carpenter of Oriel, and Thomas Rodman, or Rodburn, of Merton.[29]

[Footnote 28: The Author trusts to be pardoned, if he suffers these conjectures on Henry's studies in Oxford to tempt him to digress in this note further than the strict rules of unity might approve. They brought a lively image to his mind of the occupations and confessions of one of the earliest known sons of Alma Mater. Perhaps Ingulphus is the first upon record who, having laid the foundation of his learning at Westminster, proceeded for its further cultivation to Oxford. From the biographical sketch of his own life, we learn that he was born of English parents and a native of the fair city of London. Whilst a schoolboy at Westminster, he was so happy as to have interested in his behalf Egitha, daughter of Earl Godwin, and queen of Edward the Confessor. He describes his patroness as a lady of great beauty, well versed in literature, of most pure chastity and exalted moral feeling, together with pious humbleness of mind, tainted by no spot of her father's or her brother's barbarism, but mild and modest, honest and faithful, and the enemy of no human being. In confirmation of his estimate of her excellence, he quotes a Latin verse current in his day, not very complimentary to her sire: "As a thorn is the parent of the rose, so was Godwin of Egitha." I have often seen her (he continues) when I have been visiting my father in the palace. Many a time, as she met me on my return from school, would she examine me in my scholarship and verses; and turning with the most perfect familiarity from the solidity of grammar to the playfulness of logic, in which she was well skilled, when she had caught me and held me fast by some subtle chain, she would always direct her maid to give me three or four pieces of money, and sending me off to the royal refectory would dismiss me after my refreshment." It is possible that many of our fair countrywomen in the highest ranks now, are not aware that, more than eight hundred years ago, their fair and noble predecessors could play with a Westminster scholar in grammar, verses, and logic. Egitha left behind her an example of high religious, moral, and literary worth, by imitating which, not perhaps in its literal application, but certainly in its spirit, the noble born among us will best uphold and adorn their high station. Ingulphus (in the very front of whose work the Author thinks he sees the stamp of raciness and originality, though he cannot here enter into the question of its genuineness) tells us then, how he made proficiency beyond many of his equals in mastering the doctrines of Aristotle, and covered himself to the very ankles in Cicero's Rhetoric. But, alas, for the vanity of human nature! His confession here might well suggest reflections of practical wisdom to many a young man who may be tempted, as was Ingulphus, in the university or the wide world, to neglect and despise his father's roof and his father's person, after success in the world may have raised him in society above the humble station of his birth,—a station from which perhaps the very struggles and privations of that parent himself may have enabled him to emerge. "Growing up a young man (he says) I felt a sort of disdainful loathing at the straitened and lowly circumstances of my parents, and desired to leave my paternal hearth, hankering after the halls of kings and of the great, and daily longing more and more to array myself in the gayest and most luxurious costume." Ingulphus lived to repent, and to be ashamed of his weakness and folly.]

[Footnote 29: John Carpenter. This learned and good man could not have been much, if at all, Henry's senior. He was made Bishop of Worcester (not as Goodwin says by Henry V. but) in the year 1443. He died in 1476; so that if he was in Oxford when we suppose Henry to have studied there and to have been only his equal in age, he would have been nearly ninety when he died. Thomas Rodman was an eminent astronomer as well as a learned divine, of Merton College. He was not promoted to a bishopric till two years after Henry's death.

Among other learned and pious men who were much esteemed by Henry, we find especially mentioned Robert Mascall, confessor to his father, and Stephen Partington. The latter was a very popular preacher, whom some of the nobility invited to court. Henry, delighted with his eloquence, treated him with favour and affectionate regard, and advanced him to the see of St. David's. Robert Mascall was of the order of Friars Carmelites. In 1402 he was ordered to be continually about the King's person, for the advantage and health of his soul. Two years afterwards he was advanced to the see of Hereford. Pell Rolls.]

But whatever course of study was chalked out for him, and through (p. 028) however long or short a period before the summer of 1398, or under what guides soever he pursued it, it is impossible to read his letters, and reflect on what is authentically recorded of him, without being involuntarily impressed by an assurance that he had imbibed a very considerable knowledge of Holy Scripture, even beyond the young men of his day. His conduct also in after-life would prepare us for the testimony borne to him by chroniclers, that "he held in great veneration such as surpassed in learning and virtue." Still, whilst we regret that history throws no fuller light on the early days of Henry of Monmouth, we cannot but hope that in the hidden treasures of manuscripts hereafter to be again brought into the light of day, much may be yet ascertained on satisfactory evidence; and we must leave the subject to those more favoured times.[30]

[Footnote 30: Many ancient documents (of the existence of which in past years, often not very remote, there can be no doubt,) now, unhappily for those who would bring the truth to light, are in a state of abeyance or of perdition. To mention only one example; the work of Peter Basset, who was chamberlain to Henry V. and attended him in his wars, referred to by Goodwin, and reported to be in the library of the College of Arms, is no longer in existence; at least it has disappeared and not a trace of it can be found there.]

But whilst doubts may still be thought to hang over the exact time and the duration of Henry's academical pursuits, it is matter of (p. 029) historical certainty, that an event took place in the autumn of 1398, which turned the whole stream of his life into an entirely new channel, and led him by a very brief course to the inheritance of the throne of England. His father, hitherto known as the Earl of Derby, was created Duke of Hereford by King Richard II. Very shortly after his creation, he stated openly in parliament[31] that the Duke of Norfolk, whilst they were riding together between Brentford and London, had assured him of the King's intention to get rid of them both, and also of the Duke of Lancaster with other noblemen, of whose designs against his throne or person he was apprehensive. The Duke of Norfolk denied the charge, and a trial of battle was appointed to decide the merits of the question. The King, doubting probably the effect on himself of the issue of that wager of battle, postponed the day from time to time. At length he fixed finally upon the 16th of September, and summoned the two noblemen to redeem their pledges at Coventry. Very splendid preparations had been made for the struggle; and the whole kingdom shewed the most anxious interest in the result. On the day appointed, the Lord High Constable and the Lord High Marshal of England, with a very great company, and splendidly arrayed, first entered the lists. About the hour of prime the Duke of Hereford appeared at the barriers on a white courser, barbed with blue and (p. 030) green velvet, sumptuously embroidered with swans and antelopes[32] of goldsmith's work,[33] and armed at all points. The King himself soon after entered with great pomp, attended by the peers of the realm, and above ten thousand men in arms to prevent any tumult. The Duke of Norfolk then came on a steed "barbed with crimson velvet embroidered with mulberry-trees and lions of silver." At the proclamation of the herald, Hereford sprang upon his horse, and advanced six or seven paces to meet his adversary. The king upon this suddenly threw down his warder, and commanded the spears to be taken from the combatants, and that they should resume their chairs of state. He then ordered proclamation to be made that the Duke of Hereford had honourably[34] fulfilled his duty; and yet, without assigning any reason, he immediately sentenced him to be banished for ten years: at the same time he condemned the Duke of Norfolk to perpetual exile, adding also the confiscation of his property, except only one thousand pounds by the year. This act of tyranny towards Bolinbroke,[35] contrary, (p. 031) as the chroniclers say, to the known laws and customs of the realm, as well as to the principles of common justice, led by direct consequence to the subversion of Richard's throne, and probably to his premature death.

[Footnote 31: Rot. Parl. 21 Rich. II. & Rot. Cart.]

[Footnote 32: It is curious to find that when Henry V. met his intended bride Katharine of France, the tent prepared for him by her mother the Queen, was composed of blue and green velvet, and embroidered with the figures of antelopes.]

[Footnote 33: The Duke of Hereford's armour was exceedingly costly and splendid. He had sent to Italy to procure it on purpose for that day; he spared no expense in its preparation; and it was forwarded to him by the Duke of Milan.]

[Footnote 34: "Rex proclamari fecit quod Dux Herefordiae debitum suum honorifice adimplesset."—Wals. 356.]

[Footnote 35: The "Chronicle of London" asserts that Richard sought and obtained from the Pope of Rome a confirmation of his statutes and ordinances made at this time.]

Whilst however the people sympathized with the Duke of Hereford, and reproached the King for his rashness, as impolitic as it was iniquitous, they seemed to view in the sentence of the Duke of Norfolk, the visitation of divine justice avenging on his head the cruel murder of the Duke of Gloucester. It was remarked (says Walsingham) that the sentence was passed on him by Richard on the very same day of the year on which, only one twelvemonth before, he had caused that unhappy prince to be suffocated in Calais.

CHAPTER II. (p. 032)



The first years of Henry of Monmouth fall, in part at least, as we have seen, within the province of conjecture rather than of authentic history: and the facts for reasonable conjecture to work upon are much more scanty with regard to this royal child, than we find to be the case with many persons far less renowned, and still further removed from our day. But from the date of his father's banishment, very few months in any one year elapse without supplying some clue, which enables us to trace him step by step through the whole career of his eventful life, to the very last day and hour of his mortal existence.

His father's exile dates from October 13, 1398, when Henry had just concluded his eleventh year. Whether up to that time he had been (p. 033) living chiefly in his father's house, or with his grandfather John of Gaunt, or with his maternal grandmother, or with his uncle Henry Beaufort either at Oxford or elsewhere, we have no positive evidence. John of Gaunt did not die till the 3rd of the following February, and he would, doubtless, have taken his grandson under his especial care, at all events on his father's banishment, probably assigning Henry Beaufort to be his tutor and governor. But when Richard sentenced Henry of Bolinbroke, he was too sensible of his own injustice, and too much alive, in this instance at least, to his own danger, to suffer Henry of Monmouth to remain at large. One of the most ancient, and most widely adopted principles of tyranny, pronounces the man "to be a fool, who when he makes away with a father, leaves the son in power to avenge his parent's wrongs." Accordingly Richard took immediate possession of the persons both of the son of the murdered Duke of Gloucester, and of Henry of Monmouth, of whose relatives, as the chroniclers say, he had reason to be especially afraid.

John of Gaunt, we may conclude, now disabled as he was, by those infirmities[36] which hastened him to the grave[37] more rapidly than the mere progress of calm decay, could exert no effectual means (p. 034) either of sheltering his son from the unjust tyrant who sentenced him to ten years banishment from his native land, or of rescuing his grandson from the close custody of the same oppressor. Still the very name of that renowned duke must have put some restraint upon his royal nephew. The lion had yet life, and might put forth one dying effort, if the oppression were carried past his endurance; and it might have been thought well to let him linger and slumber on, till nature should have struggled with him finally. We find, consequently, that though before Bolinbroke's departure from England Richard had remitted four years of his banishment, as a sort of peace-offering perhaps to John of Gaunt, no sooner was that formidable person dead, than Richard, throwing off all semblance of moderation, exiled Bolinbroke for life, and seized and confiscated his property.[38]

[Footnote 36: See the Remains of Thomas Gascoyne, a contemporary writer. Brit. Mus. 2 I. d. p. 530.]

[Footnote 37: John of Gaunt died on the 3rd of February 1399, at the house of the Bishop of Ely in Holborn. Will. Worc.]

[Footnote 38: Two candelabra which belonged to Henry Duke of Lancaster, were presented by Richard to the abbot and convent of Westminster, 30th June 1399.—Pell Rolls. He also granted to Catherine Swynford, the late duke's widow, some of the possessions which she had enjoyed before, but which had fallen into the king's hands by the confiscation of the present duke's property.—Pat. 22 Ric. II. Froissart expressly says, that Richard confiscated Bolinbroke's estates, and divided them among his own favourites. He acquaints us, moreover, with an act of cruel persecution and enmity on the part of Richard, which must have rendered Bolinbroke's exile far more galling, and have exasperated him far more bitterly against his persecutor. Richard, says Froissart, sent Lord Salisbury over to France on express purpose to break off the contemplated marriage between Bolinbroke and the daughter of the Duke of Berry, in the presence of the French court calling him a false and wicked traitor. Ed. 1574. Vol. iv. p. 290.]

Though Richard behaved towards Bolinbroke with such reckless (p. 035) injustice, he does not appear to have been forgetful of his wants during his exile. Within two months of the date of his banishment the Pell Rolls record payment (14 November 1398) "of a thousand marks to the Duke of Hereford, of the King's gift, for the aid and support of himself, and the supply of his wants, on his retirement from England to parts beyond the seas assigned for his sojourn." And on the 20th of the following June payment is recorded of "1586l. 13s. 4d. part of the 2000l. which the king had granted to him, to be advanced annually at the usual times." But this was a poor compensation for the honours and princely possessions of the Dukedom of Lancaster, and the comforts of his home. No wonder if he were often found, as historians tell, in deep depression of spirits, whilst he thought of "his four brave boys, and two lovely daughters," now doubly orphans.

The plan of this work does not admit of any detailed enumeration of the exactions, nor of any minute inquiry into the violence and reckless tyranny of Richard. It cannot be doubted that a long series of oppressive measures at this time alienated the affections of many of his subjects, and exposed his person and his throne to the (p. 036) attacks of proud and powerful, as well as injured and insulted enemies. His conduct appears to evince little short of infatuation. He was determined to act the part of a tyrant with a high hand, and he defied the consequences of his rashness. He had stopped his ears to sounds which must have warned him of dangers setting thick around him from every side; and he had wilfully closed his eyes, and refused to look towards the precipice whither he was every day hastening.[39] He rushed on, despising the danger, till he fell once, and for ever. The murder of the Duke of Gloucester, involving on the part of the king one of the most base and cold-hearted pieces of treachery ever recorded of any ruthless tyrant, had filled the whole realm with indignation; and chroniclers do not hesitate to affirm that Richard would have been then deposed and destroyed, had it not been for the interposition of John of Gaunt; and now the eldest son of that very man, who alone had sheltered him from his people's vengeance, Richard banishes for ever without cause, confiscating his princely estates, and pursuing him with bitter and insulting vengeance even in his exile.

[Footnote 39: The chroniclers give us an idea of expense in Richard both about his person, his houses, and his presents, which exceeds belief. Both the Monk of Evesham and the author of the Sloane Manuscript speak of a single robe which cost thirty thousand marks.]

If his own reason had not warned him beforehand against such (p. 037) self-destroying acts of iniquity and violence, yet the signs of the popular feeling which followed them, would have recalled any but an infatuated man to a sense of the danger into which he was plunging. When Henry of Bolinbroke left London for his exile, forty thousand persons are said to have been in the streets lamenting his fate; and the mayor, accompanied by a large body of the higher class of citizens, attended him on his way as far as Dartford; and some never left him till they saw him embark at Dover.[40] But to all these clear and strong indications of the tone and temper of his subjects, Richard was obstinately blind and deaf. If he heard and saw them, he hardened himself against the only practical influence which they were calculated to produce. Setting the approaching political storm, and every moral peril, at defiance, he quitted England just as though he were leaving behind him contented and devoted subjects.

[Footnote 40: Froissart tells us that Bolinbroke was much beloved in London. He represents also his reception in France to have been most cordial; every city opening its gates to welcome him.—See Froissart, vol. iv. p. 280.]

Having assigned Wallingford Castle for the residence of his Queen Isabel, he departed for Ireland about the 18th of May; but did not set sail from Milford Haven till the 29th; he reached Waterford on the last day of the month. Though Richard[41] was prompted solely by (p. 038) reasons of policy and by a regard to his own safety to take with him to Ireland Henry of Monmouth, (together with Humphrey, son of the murdered Duke of Gloucester,) we should do him great injustice were we to suppose that he treated him as an enemy.[42] On the contrary, we have reason to believe that he behaved towards him with great kindness and respect.[43]

[Footnote 41: Froissart says that Richard sent expressly both to Northumberland and Hotspur, requiring their attendance in his expedition to Ireland; that they both refused; and that he banished them the realm. Vol. iv. p. 295.]

[Footnote 42: March 5, 1399, the Pell Rolls record the payment of "10l. to Henry, son of the Duke of Hereford, in part payment of 500l. yearly, which our present lord the King has granted to be paid him at the Exchequer during pleasure." Twenty pounds also were paid to him on the 21st of the preceding February.]

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