Inevitably Fortescue had to adopt new arguments for the defence of Henry VI. To this end he asserted that the Lancastrians now had a just title through divine and ecclesiastical approbation, popular consent and prescription, but the core of his case was a direct response to the Yorkist claim that they had a superior hereditary title to the throne.
This paper is an attempt to examine the role of what might loosely be termed formal and informal political ideas in the coup d’e´tat which brought Henry IV to power in 1399.
Modern assumptions about medieval justice still tend to see this process of amelioration as merely occasional and exceptional: mercy needed to be applied only where special circumstances made it inappropriate to apply the full rigours of the law. This, however, is seriously to misunderstand both the purpose and the pervasiveness of mercy in the operation of medieval justice.
The usurpation of Richard II by his cousin Henry Bolingbroke in 1399 was one of the most significant events in later medieval history.
In England, the role played on the continent by the castellanies would appear to have been performed by the county castle and the sheriff, a post that remained firmly under the king’s control in all but a few counties. Instead, a more subtle link between the castle community and political power will have to be found. It will be searched for in the appointment of constables to royal castles, and in grants of ownership of castles, royal or forfeited. It may be found in the building activity that was so common in this period, or in the marriage alliances that created many of the great castle owning estates.
The Nevilles were instrumental in Henry IV’s rise to power, and became the focal point of his subsequent efforts to stabilise the North.
In the early evening of Monday 14 August 1385, between 6 and 7 p.m., a crushing defeat was inflicted by a Portuguese army on a numerically far superior and better-equipped Castilian force.
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