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The Earl of Arundel, the War with France, and the Anger of King Richard II

  • Chris Given-Wilson
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

On January 25, 1386, according to a brief chronicle written at the Hospitaller priory at Clerkenwell in London, “there was a disagreement (dissencio) between the king of England and the earl of Arundel, as a result of which the said lord king struck him with his fist and knocked him to the ground.”1 This was probably the first time that Richard II had physically assaulted one of the great men of his realm, but it was not the first time he had tried to do so: about a year before this, while being rowed across the Thames in his barge, the king had passed the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Courtenay, coming the other way, and had quarreled so violently with him that, according to the Westminster Chronicler,

the King drew his sword and would have run the Archbishop through on the spot if he had not been stoutly resisted by the Earl of Buckingham, Sir John Devereux and Sir Thomas Trivet, with whom he was so angry that in their fear they jumped from his barge into the Archbishop’s boat.2

Keywords

Diffi Cult Anger Management Righteous Anger Draft Treaty Henry Versus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    Leonard C. Hector and B. F. Harvey, eds., The Westminster Chronicle 1381–1394 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982), 116–17. This incident occurred in March 1385.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Thomas Walsingham, The St. Albans Chronicle I, 1376–1394, ed. John Taylor, Wendy R. Childs, and Leslie Watkiss (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2003), 960–62.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Chris Given-Wilson, “Wealth and Credit, Public and Private: The Earls of Arundel, 1306–1397,” English Historical Review106 (1991): 1–26; Chris Given-Wilson, “Richard (II) Fitzalan, Third Earl of Arundel and Eighth Earl of Surrey,” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography On-line (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004–2011).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 6.
    Nigel Saul, Richard II (London: Yale University Press, 1997), 186–89.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    The most detailed discussion is in John Joseph Norman Palmer, England, France and Christendom 1377–1399 (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1972), 44–64, 142–50.Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    Jonathan Sumption, Divided Houses: The Hundred Years War III (London: Faber and Faber, 2009), 523–24.Google Scholar
  7. 18.
    Every parliament between 1380 and 1386 witnessed pleas (and some promises) to devote greater resources to the safekeeping of the seas and coasts around England: see PROME, 6 (Richard II 1377–1384), ed. Geoffrey Martin and Chris Given-Wilson, 188, 192, 200, 217, 221, 274, 291, 293, 313, 327–8, 345, 350, 384; and 7 (Richard II 1385–1397), 24, 26, 51. For the inadequacy of the government’s naval activity and the decline of the royal fleet in the early 1380s, see James Sherborne, “The English Navy: Shipping and Manpower, 1369–1389,” in War, Politics and Culture in Fourteenth-Century England, ed. Anthony Tuck (London: Hambledon Press, 1994), 29–39, especially 32, 35, 38; and Rodger, Safeguard of the Sea, 112–14.Google Scholar
  8. 21.
    Adrian R. Bell, “Medieval Chroniclers as War Correspondents during the Hundred Years War: The Earl of Arundel’s Naval Campaign of 1387,” Fourteenth Century England 6 (2010): 171–84.Google Scholar
  9. 22.
    Saul, Richard II, 169, states that it “dealt a mortal blow to French naval strength and delivered the realm from the threat of invasion for the remainder of the king’s reign”; according to Anthony Tuck, Richard II and the English Nobility (London: Edward Arnold, 1973), 114, Arundel’s campaign was “the most successful of the past decade.”Google Scholar
  10. 23.
    Walsingham, St. Albans Chronicle, 852–54; George H. Martin, ed., Knightons Chronicle 1337–1396 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), 528–29.Google Scholar
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    For these accounts of Arundel’s execution, see Henry Thomas Riley, ed., Johannis de Trokelowe Chronica et Annales (London: Rolls Series, 1866), 216–19; Chris Given-Wilson, ed., Chronicles of the Revolution 1397–1400 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1993), 59–60; Chris Given-Wilson, ed., The Chronicle of Adam Usk 1377–1421 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997), 28–31.Google Scholar
  12. 29.
    I am very grateful to Professor Bill Millar for his many helpful comments on an earlier draft of this section of my paper. The classic, and seminal, discussion of royal anger is that of John Edward Austin Jolliffe, Angevin Kingship (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1955), chapter 4 (“Ira et Malevolentia”), 87–109 (for King John and the Cistercians, see 101–02). For “bureaucratized” and “officialized” royal anger, see Stephen D. White, “The Politics of Anger.” In Angers Past: The Social Uses of an Emotion in the Middle Ages, ed. Barbara H. Rosenwein (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998), 127–52, at 146.Google Scholar
  13. 31.
    John Forster and Pascual de Gayangos, eds., The Chronicle of James I of Aragon (London, 1883; consulted via Library of Iberian Sources Online), 503–07.Google Scholar
  14. 33.
    PROME, 7 (Richard II 1385–1397), 313–18; Terry Jones, “Was Richard II a Tyrant? Richard’s Use of the Books of Rules for Princes,” Fourteenth Century England 5 (2008): 130–60, at 147–48.Google Scholar
  15. 34.
    The Iliad, Book 1, 1. i (Internet Classics archive: http://classics.mit.edu/Homer/iliad.html); Albrecht Classen, “Anger and Anger Management in the Middle Ages: Mental Historical Perspective,” Mediaevistik 19 (2006): 21–50, at 49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 35.
    Classen, “Anger and Anger Management,” 27–31; Lindsay Diggelmann, “Hewing the Ancient Elm: Anger, Arboricide, and Medieval Kingship,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 40, no. 2 (2010): 249–71, at 263; William V. Harris, Restraining Rage: The Ideology of Anger Control in Classical Antiquity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001), 404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 36.
    Froissart, Chronicles, ed. Geoffrey Brereton (London: Penguin Books, 1968), 88, 178.Google Scholar
  18. 38.
    George B. Stow, ed., Historia Vitae et Regni Ricardi Secundi (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1977), 166 (in domesticos multum iram attendens); Chronicles of the Revolution, 179.Google Scholar
  19. 42.
    According to Matthew Paris, Henry III came close to it in 1258 when, irate with Philip Lovel, his former treasurer, for abusing his position, he “seized him roughly by the arm,” stripped him of office, and banished him from court (Harry Rothwell, ed., English Historical Documents III 1189–1327 (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1975), 134, 137, 143). Edward I’s exasperation with the future Edward II went a step further: furious with his son for asking that the county of Ponthieu be granted to Piers Gaveston, he seized the Prince’s hair with both his hands and pulled out all of it that he could before throwing him out of the room. Then, calling his nobles to his presence, he decided, with their advice, to exile Gaveston from the realm in perpetuity (Harry Rothwell, ed., The Chronicle of Walter of Guisborough [London: Camden Series 89, 1957] 382–83). The way that Paris and Guisborough described these incidents suggests that in both cases they considered the King’s anger to be justified.Google Scholar
  20. 43.
    Christopher Fletcher, “Manhood and Politics in the Reign of Richard II,” Past and Present 189 (2005): 3–39, at 5–6, 36–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 44.
    John Theilmann, “Political Canonization and Political Symbolism in Medieval England,” Journal of British Studies 29 (1990): 241–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© R. F. Yeager and Toshiyuki Takamiya 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris Given-Wilson

There are no affiliations available

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