Friday, April 27, 2012

A Dreadful Fate

[April's Tree]
Sir Richard Venables, Knight and heir to Kinderton, was Sheriff in 1386, when Richard II was King of England. But Kinderton was in Cheshire, and Cheshire was hostile to Richard's successor, King Henry IV.

Sir Richard, my 17th great-grandfather, joined Thomas Percy and his nephew Henry Percy in their rebellion against the King. The resulting battle of Shrewsbury, fought July 21, 1403, was so hotly contested that for a time afterwards, no one knew who won. Both the king's side and Percy's side suffered grievous losses. But Henry Percy died in the battle and King Henry the IV lived.

His retribution was swift and terrible. Two days later, Sir Thomas Percy, Sir Richard Vernon, and my greatx17 grandfather Sir Richard Venables, were publicly executed. They were hanged, taken down while still living, drawn and quartered (and if you don't know what that is, I'm not going to describe it here, just too horrible to contemplate), and finally, beheaded and their heads displayed for all to see.

King Henry nearly lost his kingdom and his life. His son and heir, Prince Hal, (later to be King Henry V) commanding over two thousand archers, was permanently disfigured by an arrow in his face. Thousands of his faithful men at arms were killed, and more wounded. He needed to make a lasting example of the leaders who fought to overthrow him, (however justified they may have been in their complaints).

Sir Richard died age 38, leaving two sons and a daughter Joan, who is my 16th great-grandmother.

Ref: The History of the county Palatine and city of Chester,
by George Ormerod L.L.D., F.R.S. & S.S.A.
Vol III, page 104. Published 1819, London, England

Ref: Wikipedia: Battle of Shrewsbury,
Creative Commons share and share license

Ref: A Kingdom in Crisis: Henry IV and the Battle of Shrewsbury,
by Alastair Dunn, published in History Today Vol 53, Issue 8: 2003

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