Monday, 25 August 2008

Richard II bibliography

We've pretty much come to the end of Richard II now. The process has reminded me I have a novel planned for him and Anne of Bohemia (one day!) and that in turn reminds me that instead of writing this guff I should be focusing on the present project - the Richard III novel I occasionally mention.

Anyway, I thought I'd offer a Richard II bibliography. It may be of interest to someone. Until quite recently I'd have said that there was too much focus on the Appellant era and not enough on the events of 1397-99, but Saul and Given-Wilson have sorted that problem.

Factual books.

Richard II, Nigel Saul. Highly recommended.
Chronicles of the Revolution, Chris Given-Wilson. Ditto.
Who Murdered Chaucer, Terry Jones. This guy is so pro-Richard II he makes me look like Bolingbroke's best mate. However, there are some interesting aspects in here and it's well worth a look if only to balance some of the negative stuff.
The Hollow Crown, Harold F. Hutchinson. A relatively positive account.
Richard II and the Revolution of 1399, Michael Bennett. Wider coverage of the reign than the title suggests and some interesting details that are not given in other accounts.
The Court of Richard II, Gervase Mathew. What it says on the tin. Mainly about court culture and politics.
The Age of Richard II, (ed) James L. Gillespie. Collection of interesting articles.
Richard II and the English Nobility, Anthony Tuck.
John of Gaunt, S. Armitage-Smith.
The Royal Household and the King's Affinity, Chris Given Wilson. This covers Edward III and Henry IV and is full of interesting stuff.
The Loyal Conspiracy, Anthony Goodman. Vital reading if you want to know about the Appellants.
The Deposition of Richard II: “The Record and Process of the Renunciation and Deposition of Richard II” (1399), (ed) David R Carlson. (Thanks to Dr Gillian Polack for mentioning this one.)

For anyone interested in the House of York in this era, your best bet by far is:

Henry V and the Southampton Plot, by T.B. Pugh. Otherwise it's a case of getting out the Patent Rolls, etc.


Within the Hollow Crown, Margaret Campbell Barnes. Rather old-fashioned but one of the few that is wholly about Richard II.
A Summer Storm, Jane Lane. Focuses on the Peasants' Revolt.
The Unravished Bride, Terry Tucker. Does not live up to its rather risque title. If I recall correctly it covers all Richard's reign and a lot is packed into a few pages.

There are quite a few novels set wholly or partly in the era. Most have Richard down as a villain. Some suggestions:

Katherine, Anya Seton. (If there's anyone out there who hasn't read it.)
My Lord John, Georgette Heyer.
The Crowning City, Jennifer Lang.
The Dice in Flight, Martyn Whittock.
Passage To Pontefract, Jean Plaidy.
Monmouth Harry, A. Maughan. (Mainly about Henry V but does feature Richard. To say nothing of 'Elizabeth of York' Edmund of Langley's otherwise unknown second daughter.
Within the Fetterlock, Brian Wainwright. (You thought I was going to write a list like this and not mention this one?? Yeah, right.)
The White Rose of Langley, Emily S Holt. Extremely Victorian in tone - may be read if you are really, really interested in Constance of York. Otherwise probably best avoided.
Under One Sceptre, Emily S Holt. Another Victorian novel with the same health warning, except this is for people with a burning interest in Roger Mortimer, Earl of March.

Henry IV's claim to the throne

If you read some of the Lancastrian accounts, Richard quite cheerfully abdicated; however even mainstream historians nowadays recognise this as propaganda, and it's pretty much accepted that he had to be 'persuaded', a process of wearing-down that took some weeks and apparently included such treats as visits from the Duke of York and his son, Edward. (If the account of this meeting is to be believed Richard was far from 'cheerful' and gave them a large piece of his mind.)

Richard tried to save the 'mystic' side of his kingship, which he claimed he could not resign if he wanted to, but eventually had to settle for the sole concession of being allowed to keep the lands he had earmarked as a source of funds for continual masses for his soul after his death.

In addition the Parliament was persuaded to depose him. This seems a tad superfluous given that he had supposedly abdicated 'willingly' but I suppose it gave the MPs something to discuss. A long list of his 'crimes' was drawn up, the overwhelming majority of which could have been offered as justifications to depose any medieval king. A commission was appointed to inform him of his deposition and withdraw homage.

Those of you who studied Chaucer at school may remember that Henry had a threefold claim to the throne - by conquest, inheritance and 'free' election. The greatest of these was inheritance.

You may think that he had definitely conquered England, and so he had, but if this had been accepted it would theoretically have put everyone's property into Henry's gift. Chief Justice Thirning pointed out this small detail to Bolingbroke, and said something in lawyer-speak that amounted to 'bog off'. Nor was there any election, and Henry wouldn't have wanted one either, as it would have implied he could be unelected.

So that left inheritance. You may recall from an earlier post that Edward III had issued an entail that supposedly gave the crown to John of Gaunt after Richard II, assuming the latter had no heirs. I just can't believe Gaunt did not mention this little gift to Bolingbroke one evening while they were roasting chestnuts together at Kenilworth. It's not the sort of thing that's likely to slip your mind, is it? The inheritance of a crown? People in families remember what Aunt Maud said in 1956 about which cousin should have her gold watch!

In the 1390s it was increasingly common to entail estates and titles on the heir male, and Bolingbroke was undoubtedly Richard II's heir male. If Henry had put this claim forward it would have been respectable, and at least arguable. The odd thing is he didn't. Instead (and apparently reading from a prepared statement like a modern politician) he claimed through his mother and her line back to Henry III.

It is usually said that this trumped the claims of Richard II and the Mortimers. Well so it does, if you really believe that Edmund, Earl of Lancaster was Edward I's elder brother. Otherwise it's pretty weak and (apart from implicitly discarding England's claim to France via Edward III's mother, Isabella) also recognises that the Crown can be inherited through a woman!

In other words, knowing what we know, Henry was declaring that the Mortimers were the rightful heirs to Richard II! It's incredible, but that's effectively what his claim implies.

Why on earth was Henry so chary of claiming through John of Gaunt? Well, some of you may know that back in the 1370s Gaunt had been slandered as a changeling - he was said to be the son of a Flemish butcher. It's an incredible tale, and let me be the first to say that I think it's total nonsense. However this tale was still remembered in the early 1400s. The equivalent, I suppose of the modern conspiracy theories, Diana killed by the Martians and so on. Is it just possible that Henry believed it himself? Surely not!

Yet it would explain why he came up with an hereditary claim that was a nonsense when he had a perfectly reasonable and viable alternative he could have used. It might also explain why he went to the trouble of explicitly excluding his Beaufort half-brothers and sister from the succession.

I apologise to the sane among you for the extreme speculation in this post. Alternative explanations for Henry's bizarre hereditary claim are welcome.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Some background I forgot.

I forgot to mention that Bolingbroke (at Flint and Chester) extended his protection to the men who had stayed loyal to Richard - in this sense at least, that he did not have them summarily executed a la mode Wiltshire, Bushey and Green. It does seem that some people even wanted to chop John Beaufort (who had been picked up with York at Berkeley) but Henry was particularly keen to extend a hand to his half-brother.

The one man excluded from Henry's bounty was John Montagu (or Montacute) Earl of Salisbury. Apparently when Henry first arrived at the French court he was well received, but when Salisbury appeared there as Richard's ambassador to give the French the full SP, the atmosphere chilled somewhat. Among other things it seems to have stopped Henry making a useful marriage. As a result he was more than a little cheesed off with Lord Salisbury and treated him with icy contempt. (Another factor may have been that Salisbury was a Lollard*. Henry, under the influence of Archbishop Arundel, was to prove himself very much more hostile to the Lollards than Richard had been.)

* See my post of 8 March if you're not sure what a Lollard was.

Another little thing was that at this time Henry was making use of the Duchy of Lancaster seal to appoint men to offices - for example Northumberland was made Constable in lieu of Edward of York. Technically such appointments had no validity whatsoever, as (legally) Henry held no office himself. The reality of course is that during a revolution naked force is the only law. Now he had Richard in his power, Bolingbroke was able to summon a Parliament in the King's name, and indeed issue various orders under Richard's seal.

Richard II as prisoner

Once he reached Chester it appears Richard II was treated less courteously. According to Creton he was confined to a room and attended by the sons of Arundel and Gloucester. There's nothing implausible about Thomas Fitzalan being chosen for this job, but most sources agree that Humphrey of Gloucester had been left behind (with Bolingbroke's son, the future Henry V) at Trim Castle in Ireland, where he died at about this time. It's just possible that Creton got mixed up with Thomas Despenser, Earl of Gloucester, which would put a slightly different slant on things, but it seems unlikely.

On at least one occasion on the journey to London the men of Chester (or the Welsh - take your pick) tried to rescue King Richard. It's the sort of thing that Robin Hood would have accomplished at the drop of a feathered hat, but these guys messed up and it just led to Richard being more carefully guarded.

It was about this time that Henry sent off for monastic chronicles, with a view to finding precedents for deposing the King. From subsequent evidence, it appears he was also hoping to find some backing for the absurd 'legend' that Edward I was not Henry III's eldest son! Henry affected to believe Edmund Earl of Lancaster (his ancestor on his mother's side) was the real eldest son, but had been passed over because of some imaginary defect. I need hardly add that this 'legend' was total poppycock, and if Bolingbroke truly believed it, he must have been deranged. I doubt he did, but perhaps thought the mugs might swallow it.

And to think some people say Richard III's claim to the throne was dodgy!

Richard III - again

There's been a week of discussion about the man over at Vulpes Libris and indeed quite a bit of heated debate. Well worth visiting if you're interested in the subject.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Bosworth Anniversary

I don't usually commemorate Bosworth in any way - it's a long time ago, and God has sorted out his own by now.

However, I feel like making an exception this year, and it's a lot cheaper than putting an advert in the Times.

King Richard III, passed over 22 August 1485.

Killed by a bunch of traitors and mercenaries.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

When did Henry Bolingbroke decide to take the throne?

This is an interesting question, and like most similar queries in history there's no incontrovertible answer. Only Henry could tell us for sure, but I'm not inclined to try to contact him by planchette, and he'd probably lie anyway.

Nigel Saul argues that he made the decision quite late in the process, indeed towards the end of August 1399. Ian Mortimer in his near-hagiography of Henry, Fears of Henry IV is confident that Henry had decided to take the throne before leaving France. (That reminds me, that book is still missing! Can the mice have eaten it? Is Henry's spirit playing tricks on me? Nah, he wouldn't have that much imagination or sense of humour.)

I incline more towards Saul's opinion, and that's the line I more or less followed in Within the Fetterlock. It doesn't mean I'm right of course, but here's my reasoning.

1. Henry subsequently quarrelled with his former ally, the Duke of Orleans over the matter. Clearly Orleans, who supported Henry's invasion, had been given the idea that Henry's ambitions stopped short of taking the throne. Orleans was outraged by Henry's accession.

2. Henry made a very public vow at Doncaster that he was not going to take the throne.

Now, you may say, Henry may just have been lying through his teeth all along. And you may be right. After all, if England had been selecting an Olympic Lying Team in 1399, Bolingbroke would have at least made the heats. But I have a feeling he was being honest as he saw it at the time. He didn't have a plan, but responded pragmatically to circumstances as they unfolded before him. (Rather as Richard III did in 1483, but that's a tale for another day.)

I think what changed his mind were the following factors:-

1. He was utterly amazed by the ease with which England dropped into his hands. This gave him an exaggerated impression of his own popularity. (He was soon to be cruelly disillusioned.)

2. The likes of Archbishop Arundel, who hated Richard II with a passion, were persuading him to take the throne.

3. He gradually realised (partly by being persuaded by the likes of the good Archbishop) that the only way to secure his own safety was to take the throne. Richard had a track record of making come-backs, and another of taking revenge. If Richard had somehow managed to regain power Henry would have been a dead man walking, and he wouldn't have been walking for very long.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Forms of Address

It's sometimes said that Henry VII imported the use of 'Your Majesty' into England. Reluctant as I am to acquit Henry VII of anything, I must acquit him of this. Nigel Saul has demonstrated (Richard II pp 340-341) that Richard II was in fact the guilty party.

You will note that in the last post Bolingbroke addressed Richard merely as 'my lord'. I doubt he was being disrespectful, it's just that forms of address at this period had not been codified. So alternate usage was permissible.

Fun at Flint

Richard II was taken to Flint Castle , another location that it's still possible to visit, even though the ruins are rather more knocked-about than those at Conwy. He apparently arrived here on the same day he left Conwy, and spent the night, word being sent on to Bolingbroke at Chester.

Next morning Richard rose early and lingered over his breakfast. (He's said to have had little appetite, but maybe by sitting long at the table he allowed his companions to eat at their leisure?) After hearing mass he climbed to the battlements and watched with some alarm as Bolingbroke's army (or whatever part of it was deployed) approached along the shore. Three men spurred ahead of the others - Archbishop Arundel, Edward of York and the Earl of Worcester (Thomas Percy). Richard met this deputation in the keep, but unfortunately we're not told what they said to each other. The transcript would be fascinating, but I think we can take it they didn't talk about the weather or the price of fish. Meanwhile, the Lancastrian forces disposed themselves around the castle, but did not enter.

At this point Richard climbed the battlements again and protested against the show of force. A bit late for that you may think, but it does sort of suggest he was expecting a peaceful settlement. Northumberland went out of the castle and persuaded Bolingbroke not to enter until Richard had eaten - so we can probably assume it was now dinner time. (That's to say round about noon or an hour or two earlier.)

Bolingbroke was literally standing outside the gate. Creton and his companion were introduced to him by Lancaster Herald. Henry told them to have no fear. 'Keep close to me, and I will answer for your lives,' he said. Interesting form of words. By implication, if they wandered about, they could get hurt.

A little later Henry got fed up hanging about and entered the castle. At Northumberland's request Richard, who had been eating in the keep, came down to meet him. Henry immediately bowed low to the ground, then bowed a second time, cap-in-hand, as the King came closer. Richard took off his hood, and welcomed him.

After this show of manners, Henry bowed yet again. 'My lord, I have come sooner than you sent for me and I shall tell you why. It is said that you have governed your people too harshly, and that they are discontented. If it is pleasing to the Lord, I shall help you govern them better.'

'If it pleases you, fair cousin, then it pleases us well,' said Richard.

This is a good example of how one should never take public speeches too literally!

This account is based on Creton, who was an eye witness, as reported by Nigel Saul in his excellent Richard II. The last few posts have also made use of The Royal Household and the King's Affinity by Chris Given-Wilson. For anyone interested in the 1397-1399 period I highly recommend Chronicles of the Revolution 1397-1399, also by Chris Given-Wilson.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

The broken vow of Conwy

So, we left Richard II at Conwy Castle with maybe twenty supporters. Conwy (a.k.a. Conway) is a formidable stronghold, but at this period it was probably being run on a care and maintenance basis, with just a caretaking staff and maybe a few archers. It's highly unlikely that it was stuffed with food and weapons, and even more unlikely that it had much in the way of furnishing.

In other words, a fairly uncomfortable lodging. Although, as I mentioned in an earlier post, there were ships in the harbour and if Richard had had a grain of sense he would have climbed into one and sailed away. There is no disgrace in running away when you cannot win - see the career of Edward IV for details.

Instead he sent off Surrey and Exeter to Chester, where Bolingbroke promptly imprisoned them. (The fact Exeter was his brother-in-law apparently cut no ice whatsoever.) The Earl of Northumberland was sent to Conwy to talk terms.

Northumberland was a good choice in many ways. He had been a moderate during Richard's reign, siding (until now) neither with the King nor his extreme opponents.

The terms Northumberland offered were quite generous, on the face of it. Henry wanted his lands back and a parliament held over which he would preside as Steward of England. He wanted treason trials for Salisbury, Surrey and Exeter, the Bishop of Carlisle and Richard Maudelyn. (Richard Maudelyn was one of Richard II's clerks, and probably an illegitimate cousin, since he strongly resembled the King and was to act as his double. He may even have been Henry's brother as his mother appears to have been Katherine Swynford's waiting-woman, Hawise Maudelyn.)

As an aside, it's interesting that what might be called the 'York connection' was quite safe on this basis, neither Edward of York nor Thomas Despenser being named.

After a day or so of consideration, Richard agreed to accept the terms, and Northumberland swore an oath on the sacred Host that they would be fulfilled and Richard allowed to continue to reign. In view of subsequent events, I think it highly likely Nothumberland was sincere; it's hard to believe such a man would risk damning his soul for Bolingbroke's benefit.

In all fairness I must record that it appears Richard had no intention of keeping faith with Henry - he was swift to tell his companions there would be no parliament, that he would mobilise Wales, and he would have his enemies put to a shameful death. He probably thought that given a year or two he could regain his power in roughly the same way he had after the Appellant episode.

Anyway, they set off from Conwy, and a little way along the road came across the bulk of Northumberland's men, who had been left out of sight. Richard balked at this, and wanted to return to Conwy, but Northumberland said there was no need to question his honour and, according to one source, repeated his formal oath.

However, with Northumberland's men around him, Richard was now a prisoner.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

The Tudors

I actually watched a bit of this the other night before switching in despair to a repeat of yet another Poirot. Call me a boring old pedant if you like - it's probably a fair description after all - but I just couldn't get past the costumes. They were so unutterably wrong. The equivalent would be a series set in 1905 with all the cast dressed in roaring twenties style. I can only think that the people responsible thought that Henry VIII era clothes weren't 'sexy' enough so decided to go for something a bit later.

Then there were modes of address. One minute a woman was Lady Elizabeth, the next Mistress Somethingorother. Lord above, she's either one or the other! She can't be (censored) both! And whichever she was, belonging to the court and all that, it's highly likely that she would wear something under the top half of her dress!!! To say nothing of something on her head, not least because she was supposed to be going to mass.

Even Anne Boleyn got addressed in this sloppy style, one minute Lady Anne, the next minute Mistress Anne Boleyn. FFS - Lady Anne Rochford!! She's the daughter of an earl at this point.

I could go on. Indeed I feel like sending the people responsible Alianore Audley's Guide to Court Etiquette. But as Hamlet said, my wit's diseased. And anyway, it's only making a mockery of the Tudors, so it's no big deal. If they did this to the Yorks, I'd be round there with my axe sharpened...

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

The Bedside Table

Discussing the charms of 'this vile politician, Bolingbroke' has taken me for a trip down memory lane. When I was writing Within the Fetterlock, I often found myself toning down Constance's rants about her dear cousin Henry, when I thought she was running on a bit too much. Sorry dear, you were right, I was wrong. We should have let the bugger have both barrels.

Anyway, thinking about Bolingbroke and his scummy tricks is doing nothing for my mental health, so I'm taking a hint from the excellent Lady Despenser's Scribery wherein it is suggested that bloggers might usefully describe the content of their bedside table. This sounds fun, so here's my write-up:

The Table:

It's a redundant TV stand, actually, wedged incongruously between our gigantic medieval-style bed and the desk where I write. Value 50p. Its main qualification for the duty is that it just about fits into the space available.

The Method:

I just grab a book and try to get comfortable, and read until I'm too tired to carry on.

The Books:

Reading at the moment:

A somewhat nominal statement. More true to say they are there. Some have been hiding!

The Three Richards - Nigel Saul
The Heron's Catch - Susan Curran.
Locomotives of the LNER- Tender Engines Classes J1-J11 - RCTS
The Poem of the Cid - (Trans. Hamilton and Perry.)
The White Rose of Langley - Emily S. Holt
The Church of St Mary, Burford - (Official Guide)
J.G. Robinson, A Lifetime's Work - David Jackson
Malory - Christina Hardyment

This is an extraordinarily eclectic collection, but it does actually summarise me quite well. (For anyone interested J. G. Robinson was locomotive engineer of the Great Central Railway, the best of our old pre-grouping companies. The White Rose of Langley is a Victorian novel about Constance of York, obtained for me at great trouble and expense in the USA by Rania Melhem, a debt I can never repay!)

Couldn't Put Down

Four books that absolutely gripped me and I would re-read again and again are:

The Heron's Catch - (See above). One of the most realistic and down-to-earth novels of the 15th Century I have read. And, trust me, I've read a lot!

The Reckoning - Sharon. K. Penman. Very bleak indeed at times, but possibly Penman's finest.

Drif's 1992-3 Guide to the Secondhand Bookshops of the British Isles - Drif Field. A surprise choice you may think, but one of the funniest books I have ever read.

The Scarlet Lion - Elizabeth Chadwick. An excellent novel.

Gathering Dust

Books I've not been able to get into for one reason or another.

War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy. I'm not proud of it, I know it's a great book and all that, but I've never got past page 150.

Having the Builders In - Reay Tannahill. I think it was meant to be funny. If so, it wasn't.

The Lords of the North - Bernard Cornwell. I usually like Cornwell's work, but the hero of this series cheesed me off, and I kept hoping he'd get an axe through his over-sized head. Unfortunately, he didn't.

Crown of Roses - Valerie Anand. Just didn't like it. Odd, as I've read other books by Anand that were just fine.

Secret Indulgence

A subscription to Model Railway Journal and an annual purchase of the latest Wisden. I'm not 100% medieval in my tastes!

Sunday, 3 August 2008

More Terrorism.

While Richard was enjoying the scenery of Wales, Henry with his vast army was marching north from Bristol, reaching Hereford by 2 August, Ludlow on the 4th and Shrewsbury on the 5th. (This was not a man who messed around!) Here he received a delegation from Chester headed up by the Sheriff of Cheshire, Sir Robert Legh, who offered the submission of the city. On 9th August he entered Chester, with processions of the clergy and so on...

However according to the Dieulacres and Short Kirkstall Chronicles, the non-tyrant Bolingbroke had no sooner crossed the Cheshire boundary than he declared 'havoc'.

'Havoc' for those of you who don't know, was a licence for soldiers to burn, steal, rape, kill, and generally do as they liked; it was normally practised when English armies were let off the leash in France. Even there it was used sparingly, because by its very nature it damaged discipline.

So, in an English county, they were 'trampling down...the corn and the meadows throughout most of the county...and having killed many of the local inhabitants and confiscated numerous goods from them, the Duke accomplished what he set out to do.' (Short Kirkstall Chronicle.)

Oh, and non-tyrant Henry also had Sir Piers Legh of Lyme beheaded for 'oppressing the people.' Well, you should know Henry boy, because you sure as hell were good at it yourself.

Can you imagine what historians would have said of Richard III if he had done something like this to (say) Wiltshire in the aftermath of Buckingham's revolt? There would be whole books written about it!

But Lancastrian kings can do no wrong. It was a bloodless revolution, apparently.

Richard blows it...

As mentioned below, Richard II landed in South Wales on 24 July and, according to Adam of Usk, sent Thomas Despenser off to muster the men of Glamorgan. An interesting decision, because it suggests that Richard did not plan to advance via South Wales. (Otherwise why not just advance the whole army to Glamorgan and do the recruiting that way?) Presumably the intention was to do a Henry Tudor, that is, to move along the west coast of Wales and cut in towards Shrewsbury. This would (hopefully) allow for a junction with Salisbury and the men of Cheshire.

The problem was this involved hanging around - by 29 July Richard was no further on than Whitland Abbey, still west of Carmarthen! Here he met some of York's messengers. It took him two days more to get to Carmarthen, and there he got word of York's surrender. It's possible he also had word of the fall of Bristol. Despenser had returned by this time, with little or no reinforcement.

At this point Richard completely lost his bottle. He fled at midnight, disguised as a poor priest, taking with him only fifteen companions. These included his half-brother, Exeter, his half-nephew, Surrey, Thomas Despenser, and the bishops of Carlisle, Lincoln (Henry Beaufort!) and St David's. He apparently believed there was a plot to seize him. He objective was to join Salisbury with his portion of the army in the north.

Among those left behind (and probably very cross!) were Edward of York, Duke of Aumale and Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester. These two were probably suspected of conspiracy, given their close blood ties to York and Northumberland respectively.

Worcester (Northumberland's brother) was the steward of the king's household. Weeping bitterly (if we are to believe Walsingham) he broke his staff of office and told the King's followers they were free to disperse. Then he and Edward (and probably quite a few others!) cut off across country to submit to Henry. What else were they to do?

Richard and his small band of brothers set off on a journey of about 200 miles across what was then very rough country indeed. Those of you who know Wales will be aware of the hills and estuaries in between Carmarthen and Conwy. Imagine that journey with no decent roads, no proper maps, and probably little local knowledge among the party. It took them a good 10 days, and when they got to Conwy it was to find that Salisbury had not been able to keep his men together!

At this point, Richard should have had an Edward IV moment. There were ships in the harbour and they could have sailed straight back to Ireland, where they had left 1500 men and most of the artillery in charge of the 16 year-old Edmund Holland, Surrey's brother. At worst they could have got from there to France and sought assistance. Instead, with absolutely no cards in his hand, Richard decided to negotiate. He sent Surrey and Exeter off to Chester, to parley with Henry.