So-called King Henry




So often historians make their accounts of the life of HenryBolingbroke, usurper king Henry IV,  the usual white-wash of a regicide which is much the standard line we were taught in school.  That victors rewrite history we well know and Henry IV certainly rewrote much and (probably) destroyed more as anyone who has looked for primary sources on the reign of Richard II, the king whose crown he stole, will testify.

My main point of contention with this view is that Henry kept Church and State in harmony.

I would like to ask then was this before or after he had the Archbishop of York executed without trial outside the walls of York?  Was it before or after Henry’s hunting down of the followers of Wyclif who merely wanted to read the Bible in their own language?  And was this ‘harmony’ before or after the first public burning in England for heresy with the brutal killing of Sir William Sawtre at Smithfield?  Some harmony!

These apologists for Bolingbroke give the impression that they approve of regicide and an all-round murdering usurper – whom the French continued to call ‘so-called King Henry IV’ – and who incidentally set back the Reformation a hundred years until Luther called time on the pope.

When blindly going along with the accepted view sometimes it’s a good idea to pause, step back a moment and ask for evidence.  Then take a look at what your hero actually did.  Actions speak volumes, even when they occurred six hundred years ago.

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