Richard II

Previous king: Edward III (grandfather)       Reigned: 1377-1399       Next king: Henry IV (cousin)

Richard II Richard II was only ten years old when he became king, so his uncle John of Gaunt ruled England for him until he was old enough. In 1381, the Peasants Revolt was led by Wat Tyler and Jack Straw. Groups of common people marched on London. The young king met them and promised that their demands would be met. They were not, and their leaders were killed.

Chaucer Geoffrey Chaucer (see right) worked for Richard. Chaucer also wrote the Canterbury Tales, fun stories told by a group of pilgrims on the way to Canterbury. These were written in English rather than Latin or French, which was rare at the time.

John Wycliffe wanted to reform the Church. His followers were called Lollards. John Ball, one of the leaders of the Peasants Revolt, was a Lollard. He preached against the rich, saying "When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?". John Wycliffe also translated the Bible into English.

Richard had no son. He also became unpopular as king. He exiled John of Gaunt's son, Henry Bolingbroke (later Henry IV). Henry invaded England, at first to get his lands back, but people wanted him to become king. Richard was captured, deposed as king, imprisoned and then died, possibly murdered.

Wikipedia (external site) for further information       -       Kings and Queens index