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Richard Scrope
(1350-1405)

Bishop of Lichfield
Archbishop of York
Died: 8th June 1405 at Bishopthorpe, Yorkshire West Riding


Richard Scrope - fourth son of Henry, Baron Scrope of Masham, a cousin of Richard, Baron Scrope of Bolton, Chancellor of England under King Richard II and the builder of the great castle of Bolton, in the North Riding - was the "Archbishop of York " of Shakespeare's 'Henry IV.' He was educated at Cambridge and, afterwards, in France and Italy. In Rome, he became a distinguished " advocate " in the Papal Court and, up on his return to England, was, for some time, Chancellor of the Kingdom. In 1386, he was raised to the See of Lichfield, whence he was translated to York in 1398.

The Archbishop had been indebted to Richard II for all his preferments and joined the Mowbrays, Percys and others of the great Northern Barons who rose in arms against his rival, Henry IV, in 1405. They were led to disband their forces by a stratagem of the Earl of Westmorland. The Archbishop was, however, seized and taken to the King at Pontefract, whence, he was brought to Bishopthorpe and, together with the Earl Marshal, was condemned to death in his own hall by a certain knight named Fulthorpe. Henry IV, who was present, had commanded Chief Justice Gascoign to pronounce sentence on them; but Gascoign (himself a Yorkshireman) firmly refused on the plea that the laws gave him no jurisdiction over the life of the prelate. The Archbishop was beheaded, on 8th June 1405, in a field between York and Bishopthorpe, protesting that he "never intended evil against the person of King Henry." He was buried in his own cathedral in York, where offerings were long made, at his tomb.

Edited from Richard John King's "Handbook to the Cathedrals of England: Northern Division" (1903).

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