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Henry Bolingbroke ~ The Lincolnshire King ~ Henry IV

Henry Bolingbroke ~ Lincolnshire’s Very Own King of England
A small village in Lincolnshire gave the country Henry IV King of England !
Back to Medieval Lincolnshire and the overthrowing of a King !
A really interesting story and a Lincolnshire Hero . . .

Henry of Bolingbroke was born 15 April 1366 in the tiny village of Bolingbroke, an area known to me since boyhood and I find it’s almost 4 years to the week since I wrote about Bolingbroke Castle.
In 1399 Henry was crowned the 10th King of England - Henry IV of England and also, it was claimed, rightful King of France (quite right too)

He was a first cousin, and childhood friend, of King Richard II, though this did not stop him taking part in the Lords Appellant’s rebellion against the king in 1387,
though I suspect it may have protected him from subsequent punishment when Richard II regained control and starting dishing out punishment - our man escaped exile etc, though eventually the King’s patience would wear thin.

In the early 1390s he took part in a couple of Crusades, the second more successful than the first before going on Pilgrimage to Jerusalem, something that moved him so much he vowed to put together another Crusade and to “free Jerusalem from the infidel”! Though it never was to be.

Our Man from the Golden Shire fell foul of King Richard again and got himself exiled for it, though clearly not a man to be beat he continued with his machinations until his father, John of Gaunt, died in 1399.
Presumably out of spite Richard II cancelled the automatic inheritance of the estates to Henry and required him to personally ask King Richard for his birth right.

This was clearly too much for our hero’s pride so instead of grovelling to the King he set about overthrowing him!

He met up with a fellow exile Thomas Arundel, who was Archbishop of Canterbury before Richard booted him out, and together they made mischief.
Whilst Richard was away on a military campaign trying to deal with the ever troublesome Irish Henry began taking land in England, attacking those who opposed him and destroying much of Cheshire (no great loss ;) )

Before long he’d won enough support and declared himself King of England.
King Richard II found himself on the receiving end of Henry’s retribution and was imprisoned, whilst in prison he mysteriously died !?!?

One further achievement which consolidates him as a proper Lincolnshire Lad not some Home Counties Nancy Boy :)
At his coronation he became the first King since the Norman Conquest to make his address in English and not damnable French Aaaaargh French!
The English were back - all thanks to Lincolnshire ;)

So, there we go, a man from a tiny Lincolnshire village seizes a kingdom, probably commits Regicide and finally boots out the frogs!
What a man . . .

Yours in awe and admiration,


  1. History Hunter said,

    June 6, 2013 @ 12:04 am

    Please consider my hat well and truly doffed to the great one.

  2. Rod said,

    June 6, 2013 @ 6:21 am

    likewise - we need the likes of him around today :)

  3. v said,

    June 6, 2013 @ 8:39 am

    No, we don’t need the likes of him about today. What have we got here? A man who openly flouts the authority of the established and rightful king, and usurps him, imprisoning the king so he could gain control and having that king die a revolting death. ( I am no monarchist but this was the established system at the time. ) A traitor in fact.

    A man whose lust for power was the embryo of the Victorian-ly named War of The Roses, a terrible time In English History, which saw hundreds of death in civil-war style conflicts. Deaths of the ordinary folk who did not actually care about either side.

    You say…
    Whilst Richard was away on a military campaign trying to deal with the ever troublesome Irish…

    I believe whole heartedly in a nation’s right to Self Determination and Self Government if they so wish it.

    Fact; The English were ‘given’ Ireland by an English Pope against the Irish wishes. The English subsequently went in changed the language, eventually changed the religion, the place names, the laws, massacred the people, exiled the people, starved them at times. And the Irish fought back against the invading power; how very naughty and troublesome of them to object to all this happening in their own land.

    I am glad they objected because we would object if our neighbours the French came here and did exactly the same as England did in Ireland.

  4. Rod said,

    June 6, 2013 @ 7:17 pm

    sounds like a load of old waffle - let’s have Henry back - decision makers are what we need :)

  5. Nick M said,

    June 10, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

    v said: “I am glad they objected because we would object if our neighbours the French came here and did exactly the same as England did in Ireland.”

    —- But they did do, didn’t they: The Norman Conquest.

    And there are those historians who believe that subsequent conquests of Wales and Ireland by the Norman English, was simply an extension of the Conquest of England.

    And of course, the Normans themselves had first of all conquered western parts of France.

    Blame the Normans.

  6. v said,

    June 10, 2013 @ 4:41 pm

    yep blame the Normans. who were in fact Vikings. blame the Vikings :)

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