THE LANCASTRIAN KINGS, AND THE CLOSE OF THE HUNDRED YEARS' WAR
 HENRY IV., Henry V., and Henry VI.—father, son,
and grandson—were the Kings of the House of Lancaster.
The first reigned fourteen years, the second nine, and the
last thirty-nine; the first had difficulty in keeping the
kingdom he had won, the second added to it by conquering the
kingdom of France, and the third lost all through weakness
It was only in the last five years of his reign that
Henry IV. was free from rebellions against his rule.
 In the first year there was a revolt which was intended to
restore Richard II. to the throne. This was easily put
down, and a few months later Richard died suddenly in his
prison—put to death by order of the new King.
A more serious rebellion was the one led by Owen Glendower,
a Welshman, under whom the Welsh people made an effort to
recover their independence. Again and again the Welsh came
down from their mountain valleys, attacked the border
counties of England, and the returned to their mountain
retreats, whither the English army could hardly follow them.
The most serious rebellion of all followed, in England, as a
result of one of these raids in which the Welsh took
prisoner an English lord, named Mortimer. King Henry feared
Mortimer because he was the uncle of the young Earl of
March, the rightful heir to the throne; and so he took no
steps to ransom him. This conduct of the King angered the
powerful family of the Percies, who had aided Henry to gain
the throne, and had just won a great victory over the Scots;
for Mortimer was related to them also. Accordingly, Sir
Harry Percy, who was called "Hotspur" because of his quick
temper, went to the King and said:
"Shall a man spend his goods, and put himself in peril for
you and your realm, and you will not help him in his need?"
At this the King, in turn, grew angry, and said:
"Thou art a traitor! Wilt thou that I should aid mine
enemies and the enemies of the realm?"
"Traitor am I none," Hotspur replied, "but as a true man I
speak." And when the King drew his dagger upon him, and
would have attacked him, Hotspur cried:
 "Not here, but in the field!"
And with this, he left the King, and hurried home to raise
The Percies, with the Scots whom they had taken prisoners,
then marched southward to join Glendower. At Shrewsbury, on
the borders of Wales, they met King Henry, with his army.
 "Then there was a strong and hard battle," says a
chronicler, "and many were slain on both sides. And when
Harry Percy saw his men fast slain, he pressed into battle,
with thirty men, and made a lane in the middle of the King's
host, till he came to the King's banner. And at last he was
beset about and slain, and soon his host was scattered and
fled. And Sir Harry Percy's head was smitten off, and set
up at York, lest his men would have said that he had been
Battle of Shrewsbury
Percy's uncle was taken prisoner and beheaded. His father
was pardoned for a time; but next year he rebelled again,
and when at last he was captured, after three years of
wandering, he, too, was put to death. Glendower was never
captured, but was no longer dangerous to England.
One reason for the King's success, in putting down
rebellions, was that the people were prosperous during his
reign; and another was, that he kept on good terms with
Parliament. King Henry's title to the throne came from
Parliament, and his need of money made it necessary to
please them. The result was, that he appointed officers
whom he knew to be satisfactory to the members of
Parliament; he permitted them to examine into the uses made
of the money raised by taxes; he chose his Council from
among them; and he acknowledged that grants of money should
always be made first by the House of Commons.
In the year 1413, Henry IV. died—of leprosy, it
is said. Many people believed that his disease was a
punishment upon him because he had executed an archbishop
who rebelled with the Percies. The poet, Shakespeare, makes
him speak these words, on his death-bed, to his son and
successor, Henry V.:
"Heaven knows, my son,
By what by-paths, and indirect crook'd ways,
I met this crown; and I myself know well,
How troublesome it sat upon my head:
To thee it shall descend with better quiet,
Better opinion, better confirmation;
For all the soil of the achievement goes
With me into the earth. . . . . .
. . . . . Therefore, my Harry,
Be it thy course, to busy giddy minds
With foreign quarrels; that action, hence borne out,
May waste the memory of the former days."
Henry V. proved to be a conquering general, and became
the idol of his people. He is represented by Shakespeare as
having been a wild and reckless youth, who was so changed by
the responsibilities of power that he became an ideal King.
There is no proof of his wildness as a Prince, but as King
he certainly was sober, clear headed, and vigorous.
He followed his father's advice to "busy giddy minds with
foreign quarrels" by putting forth again the claims to the
French crown. He invaded France with an army, made up
mostly of archers. While he was making his way to Calais,
the French met him with an army which outnumbered his own
probably five to one. The battle was fought, at Agincourt
(October 25, 1415), and proved as great a victory as those
which Edward III. and the Black Prince had won in the
beginning of the Hundred Years' War.
"The ground," says an old chronicler, "was narrow, and very
advantageous for the English, and the contrary for the
French; for the latter had been all night on horseback in
the rain, and pages and valets and others, in walking their
horses, had broken up the ground, which was soft, and in
 horses sunk in such a manner that it was with great
difficulty they could get up again. Besides, the French
were so loaded with armor that they could not move. First,
they were armed in long coats of steel, reaching to their
knees and very heavy, below which was armor for their legs,
and above, armor for the head and neck; and so heavy was
their armor that, together with the softness of the ground,
they could with difficulty lift their weapons. The greater
part of the English archers were without armor, wearing
doublets, and having hatchets and axes, or long swords
hanging from their girdles; some wore caps of boiled
leather, or of wicker work, crossed with iron."
The French army was completely broken up. Their slain
numbered as many as the whole of the English army, while the
English lost little more than a hundred,
 all told. The victory was won almost entirely by the
bowmen. After the battle, the English marched to Calais,
and thence took ship for England, where they were received
with great rejoicing.
City of Rouen
Two years later, Henry invaded France a second time, and the
remainder of his reign was occupied with his conquests
there. The French had grown cautious since the battle of
Agincourt, and would not fight another great battle. The
advance of the English, therefore, was slow. They first
captured many castles in Normandy, and laid siege to Rouen,
the capital of that province. The rulers of the city, in
order to reduce the number of mouths to be fed, drove out a
large number of the poorer, unarmed inhabitants. King Henry
would not permit them to pass through his lines, so for
several weeks these poor creatures wandered between the
English line and the walls of Rouen, starving and
An Attack on a Castle
"War," said the English King, in justifying this cruel
policy, "has three hand-maidens ever waiting on
her—fire, blood, and famine—and I have chosen
the meekest maid of the three.
 The French, meanwhile, were divided into two great parties,
at war with one another. Their King, Charles VI., was
insane, and the control of the government was disputed
between his son, the Dauphin, and the King's uncle, the Duke
of Burgundy. At last, in 1419, the Duke of Burgundy was
murdered by one of the Dauphin's followers, in revenge for a
murder which Burgundy had himself caused.
This made the breach between the two French parties too wide
to be healed for many years. The new Duke of Burgundy went
over to the side of the English, and with him went the
French Queen, and the city of Paris.
Soon a treaty was signed, in 1420, by which Henry married
the French Princess, Katherine. The contest for the throne
of France was settled by acknowledging Henry as regent of
France during the lifetime of the insane King,
Charles VI., and agreeing that he was to become King in
his own right after Charles's death.
Marriage of Henry V and Katherine of France
The Dauphin and his followers refused to recognize this
treaty as binding. For the present this did not much
matter, for the English speedily drove the Dauphin's
followers south of the river Loire, leaving all the northern
half of France in possession of the English King. But, in
the midst of his victories, Henry V. died of camp
fever, in 1422, and the upholder of the English rights was
then his infant son by Queen Katherine—a babe nine
A short time after the death of Henry V.,
Charles VI. of France died. This left the crowns of
both England and France to the baby King, Henry VI.
The government was placed in the hands of Henry V.'s
brother, the Duke of Bedford, who was a man of noble
character and an excellent soldier.
 For several years, Bedford carried on the war in France with
great success. At last, the only place of importance held
by the dispossessed Dauphin was the city of Orleans, and to
this the English were laying siege. If this should fall,
the whole of France would pass into English hands.
 But now there occurred one of the most wonderful things in
history—the rise to successful leadership over the
French army of a young girl, named Joan of Arc.
Joan was of peasant birth, and like most peasants could not
read or write. She was a good, sweet girl, and very
religious; and she was deeply touched by the miseries of
France. She began to hear "voices" of the saints, which
urged her to free France, and to bring the Dauphin to the
city of Rheims to be crowned king. She long resisted the
"I am a poor girl. I cannot ride or be a leader in war."
In the end, her voices prevailed; and she came, in men's
armor, with a holy banner and a sword, to raise the siege of
Orleans. It was only with difficulty that she secured the
Dauphin's permission; but as soon as she appeared in the
camp, she put a new spirit into the French. The English
scarcely dared to oppose her, for they believed that she was
a "limb of the devil."
Joan of Arc
In a short time, Joan drove the English from Orleans, and
then led the French King to Rheims, where he was crowned.
Joan then said her work was done, but the French would not
permit her to return home. After
 some further fighting, she was captured by soldiers of the
Duke of Burgundy, who sold her to the English.
At the command of the English, she was accused as a witch
and a heretic. After a long and unjust trial, she was
condemned to death. She was publicly burned at the stake,
calling with her last breath upon the name of Jesus. One of
the English soldiers was so impressed by her courage and
piety that he exclaimed:
"We are lost! We have burned a saint!"
Joan of Arc had accomplished her work. She convinced the
French that, if they would unite, they could drive the
English from their land. Even the Duke of Burgundy finally
broke off his alliance with England, and joined in the
attack upon the common enemy. Just at this time, moreover,
the Duke of Bedford died. With their best general gone, and
the French united against them, the English were not able to
hold what Henry V. had won.
Matters did not mend for the English when Henry VI.
grew up to manhood. He had no taste for war or business,
and would far rather have lived the life of a monk. Fierce
quarrels broke out among the English nobles, and those who
secured power proved corrupt and unsuccessful in their
So, bit by bit, the English lost the lands which they held
in France. In 1450, Normandy was again taken from them.
Soon Bordeaux, on the Bay of Biscay, was the only place
which they held in southern France; and in 1453, after the
defeat of the English in a hard-fought battle, this too was
obliged to surrender. There then remained to them only one
place in France—the city of Calais, which
Edward III. had taken in 1347, and which England was to
hold for a hundred years longer.
The great civil wars, called the Wars of the Roses,
 were now coming on in England, so that nothing could be done
to recover the lost possessions in France.
Without any treaty of peace, the long Hundred Years'
War—which had lasted since 1337—was suffered
quietly to come to an end.