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Thomas Mowbray

THOMAS MOWBRAY, 1st duke of Norfolk (c. 1366-1399), became Baron Mowbray and Baron Segrave when his elder brother John died in February 1382; about the same time Richard II. created him earl of Nottingham, a title held by his dead brother, and in 1385 made him marshal of England for life. For some years he enjoyed the favour and companionship of the king, but differences arose between them, and in 1387 Nottingham began to act with Thomas of Woodstock, duke of Gloucester, his own brother- inlaw, Richard Fitzalan, earl of Arundel, and the party of nobles who wished to deprive the king of his power. They routed the royal favourite Robert de Vere, earl of Oxford, at Radcot Bridge, and Richard was at their mercy. Owing partly to Nottingham's moderate counsels the suggestion to depose him was not carried out, but in the " merciless parliament " of 1388 his favourites were " appealed " of treason and were sentenced to death. For nearly two years the chief power was in the hands of the lords appellant, as Nottingham and his friends were called, but in 1389 the king regained his authority. He detached Nottingham from his colleagues and made him warden of the Scottish marches; later he became captain of Calais and the royal lieutenant in the north-east of France. Richard took him to Ireland in 1394 and soon afterwards sent him to arrange a peace with France and his marriage with Isabella, daughter of King Charles VI. But the earl's supreme service to the king was in 1397 when Richard took a tardy but severe vengeance upon three of the appellants. In their turn these lords were " appealed " of treason before the parliament, and as on the former occasion Nottingham was one of the accusers. He was present when Gloucester was arrested at Pleshey, and Froissart says that he actually beheaded Arundel himself. Gloucester was entrusted to his keeping at Calais, and in September 1397 he reported that his prisoner was dead. The duke had been murdered, and Nottingham was probably responsible, although the evidence against him is not conclusive. As a reward he received most of Arundel's lands in Surrey and Sussex, and was created duke of Norfolk. He now began to fear for his own safety, and took the duke of Hereford, afterwards King Henry IV., into his confidence. Hereford carried his words to the king, who summoned him to his presence, and at Oswestry Norfolk accused Hereford of speaking falsely. A court of chivalry decided that the dispute should be referred to the arbitrament of single combat and Coventry was the place appointed for the duel; but when on the 16th of September 1398 everything was ready for the fight Richard interposed and ordered both combatants into banishment. Norfolk was deprived of his offices, but not of his titles; his " heavier doom " was exile for life, and he was ordered to confine himself to Germany, Hungary and Bohemia. At once he left England for Dordrecht, and after passing some months in wanderings he reached Venice, where he died on the 22nd or 27th of September 1399. The concluding scene of the duke's life in England forms the staple material of act i. of Shakespeare's Richard II. Norfolk left estates in nearly all the English counties. His wife was Elizabeth (c. 1372-1425), daughter of Richard Fitzalan, earl of Arundel, by whom he had two sons, Thomas and John, and two daughters.

His elder son, THOMAS MOWBRAY (1385-1405), became earl of Nottingham and earl marshal on his father's death, but he was not allowed to assume the title of duke of Norfolk. He quarrelled with Richard Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, over the precedence of their respective earldoms, and left the court in anger when Henry IV. decided in favour of Warwick. At this time (1405) Richard le Scrope, archbishop of York, and other northern potentates were preparing to rise against the king. The earl marshal joined them, was taken prisoner at Shipton Moor, and was beheaded at York on the 8th of June 1405.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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