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Richard Fitzalan, 4th (11th) Earl of Arundel.
Richard Fitzalan, 4th (11th) Earl of Arundel (1346-1397)

RICHARD FITZALAN (III), Earl of Arundel and Surrey (1346-1397),1 born in 1346, was the son of Richard Fitzalan (II), Earl of Arundel, and his second wife, Eleanor, daughter of Henry, third earl of Lancaster. He served on the expedition to the Pays de Caux under Lancaster.2 In January 1376 he succeeded to his father's estates and titles. Though the petitions of the Good Parliament contain complaints of the men of Surrey and Sussex against the illegal jurisdiction exercised by his novel 'shire-court' at Arundel over the rapes of Chichester and Arundel,3 he was appointed one of the standing council established in that parliament to restrain the dotage of Edward III.4

Arms of Richard Fitzalan, 4th (11th) Earl of Arundel.
At Richard II's coronation he acted as chief butler.5 He was placed on the council of regency,6 and in 1380 put on a commission to regulate the royal household. In 1377 he was appointed admiral of the west. His earlier naval exploits were but little glorious, yet French authorities credit him with the merit of having saved Southampton from their assault.7 About Whitsuntide 1378 he attacked Harfleur, but was subsequently driven to sea.8 In the same year he and the Earl of Salisbury were defeated by a Spanish fleet, though they afterwards compelled Cherbourg to surrender.9

He next accompanied John of Gaunt on his expedition to St. Malo, where his negligence on the watch gave the French an opportunity to destroy a mine and so compel the raising of the siege.10 Arundel barely escaped with his life.11 The earl showed an equal sluggishness in defending even his own tenants when the French ravaged the coasts of Sussex.12 In 1381 he and Michael de la Pole were approved in parliament as councillors in constant attendance upon the young king and as governors of his person13 In 1383 he was proposed as lieutenant of Bishop Spencer of Norwich's crusading army, but the bishop refused to accept him.14 In 1385 he took part in the expedition to Scotland.

Arundel definitely joined the baronial opposition that had now reformed under Gloucester, the king's uncle. He took a prominent part in the attack on the royal favourites in 1386, acted as one of the judges of M. de la Pole,15 and was put on the commission appointed in parliament to reform and govern the realm and the royal household.16 His appointment as admiral was now renewed with a wider commission, rendered necessary by the projected great invasion of England, which brought Charles VI to Sluys.17 In the spring of 1387 he and Nottingham prepared an expedition against the French, which, on 24 March, defeated a great fleet of Flemish, French, and Spanish ships off Margate, and captured nearly a hundred vessels laden with wine.18 This brilliant victory won Arundel an extraordinary popularity, which was largely increased by the liberality with which he refused to turn the rich booty to his own advantage. For the whole year wine was cheap in England and dear in Netherlands.19 Immediately after he sailed to Brest and relieved and revictualled the town, which was still held for the English, and destroyed two forts erected by the French besiegers over against it.20 He then returned in triumph to England, plundering the country round Sluys and capturing snips there on his way. All danger of French invasion was at an end.

In 1387 Richard II obtained from the judges a declaration of the illegality of the commission of which Arundel was a member. His rash attempt to arrest the earl produced the final conflict. Northumberland was sent to seize Arundel at Reigate, but, fearing the number of his retainers, retired without accomplishing his mission.21 Warned of this treachery, Arundel escaped by night and joined Gloucester and Warwick at Harringhay, where they took arms (November 1387). At Waltham Cross on 16 Nov. they first appealed of treason the evil councillors of the king, and on 17 Nov. forced Richard to accept their charges at Westminster Hall.

When the favourites attempted resistance, another meeting of the confederates was held on 12 Dec. at Huntingdon, where Arundel strongly urged the capture and deposition of the king. But the reluctance of the new associates, Derby and Nottingham, caused this violent plan to be rejected.22 But Arundel continued the fiercest of the king's enemies. In the parliament of February 1388 he was one of the five lords who solemnly renewed the appeal [see Lords Appellant].23 He specially pressed for the execution of Burley [Sir Simon Burley, Warden of the Cinque Ports], though Derby wished to save him, and for three hours the queen interceded on her knees for his life.24

In May 1388 Arundel again went to sea, still acting as admiral, and now also as captain of Brest and lieutenant of the king in Brittany. Failing to do anything great in that country, he sailed southward, conquered Oleron and other small islands off the coast , and finally landed off La Rochelle, and took thence great pillage.25 Next year, however, he was superseded as admiral by Huntingdon,26 and in May was, with the other Lords Appellant, removed from the council. He was, however, restored in December, when Richard and his old masters finally came to terms.27

For the next few years peace prevailed at home and abroad. The party of the appellants began to show signs of breaking up, though Arundel still remained faithful to his old policy. In 1392 he was fined four hundred marks for marrying Philippa, daughter of the Earl of March and widow of John Hastings, Earl of Pembroke.28 A personal quarrel of Arundel with John of Gaunt marks the beginning of the catastrophe of Richard II's reign. The new Countess of Arundel was rude to Catharine Swynford [Duchess of Lancaster].29 Henry Beaufort, if report were true, seduced Alice, Arundel's daughter.30

In 1393, when Arundel was residing at his castle of Holt, a revolt against John of Gaunt broke out in Cheshire, and Arundel showed such inactivity in assisting in the restoration of peace that the duke publicly accused him in parliament of conniving at the rising.31 Arundel answered by a long series of complaints against Lancaster.32 Some of these so nearly touched the king as to make him very angry, and Arundel was compelled to apologise for what he had said. The actual English words that he uttered in his recantation are preserved in the Rolls of Parliament.

A short retirement from court now seems to have ensued,33 but Arundel soon returned, only to give Richard fresh offence by coming late to the queen's funeral and yet asking leave to retire at once from the ceremony.34 The king struck Arundel with a cane with such force as to shed blood and therefore to pollute the precincts of Westminster Abbey. On 3 Aug. Arundel was sent to the Tower,35 but was released on 10 Aug.,36 when he re-entered the council. The appointment of his brother Thomas as Archbishop of Canterbury may mark the final reconciliation.

After the stormy parliament of February 1397, Arundel and Gloucester withdrew from court, after reproaching the king with the loss of Brest and Cherbourg. It was probably after this, if ever, that Arundel entertained Gloucester, Warwick, and his brother the Archbishop at Arundel Castle, when they entered into a solemn conspiracy against Richard.37 Nottingham, who, though Arundel's son-in-law and one of the appellants, had now deserted his old party, informed Richard of the plot. The king invited the three chief conspirators to a banquet on 10 July.38 From this Arundel absented himself without so much as an excuse, but the arrest of Warwick, who ventured to attend, was his justification.

He was, however, in a hopeless position. His brother pressed him to surrender, and persuaded him that the king had given satisfactory promises of his safety.39 He left accordingly his stronghold at Reigate, and accompanied the archbishop to the palace. Richard at once handed him over into custody, while Thomas returned sorrowfully to Lambeth.40 This was on 16 July. Arundel was hurried off to Carisbrooke and thence after an interval removed to the Tower.

On 17 Sept. a royalist parliament assembled. The pardons of the appellants were revoked.41 On 20 Sept. Archbishop Arundel was impeached. Next day the new appellants laid their charges against the Earl of Arundel before the lords. He was brought before them, arrayed in scarlet. With much passion he protested that he was no traitor, and that the charges against him were barred by the pardons he had received. A long and angry altercation broke out between him and John of Gaunt and Henry of Derby, his old associate. He refused to answer the charges, denounced his accusers as liars, and when the speaker declared that the pardon on which he relied had been revoked by the faithful Commons, exclaimed, 'The faithful commons are not here'.42

He was, of course, condemned, though Richard commuted the barbarous penalty of treason into simple decapitation. The execution immediately followed. He was hurried through the streets of London to Tower Hill, amidst the lamentations of a sympathising multitude. Brutally ill-treated by the bands of Cheshiremen who had been collected to overawe the Londoners, he displayed extraordinary firmness and resolution, 'no more shrinking or changing colour than if he were going to a banquet.'43 He rebuked with much dignity his treacherous kinsfolk,44 and exhorted the hangman to sharpen well his axe. Slain by a single stroke, he was buried in the church of the Augustinian friars. The people reverenced him as a martyr, and went on pilgrimage to his tomb. At last Richard, conscience-stricken though he was at his death, avoided a great political anger by ordering all traces of the place of his burial to be removed. But after the fall of Richard the pilgrimages were renewed, and the next generation did not doubt that his merits had won for him a place in the company of the saints.45

Arundel was very religious and a bountiful patron of the church. So early as 1380 he was admitted into the brotherhood of the abbey of Tichfield. In the same year he founded the hospital of the Holy Trinity at Arundel for a warden and twenty poor men.46 Between 1380 and 1387 he enlarged the chantry projected by his father into the college of the Holy Trinity, also at Arundel. This establishment now included a master and twelve secular canons, and superseded the confiscated alien priory of St. Nicholas.47 In his will he left liberal legacies to several churches.

By his first wife, Elizabeth (d. 1385), daughter of William de Bohun, Earl of Northampton, Arundel had three sons and four daughters. The second son, Thomas, ultimately became Earl of Arundel. Of his daughter Elizabeth's four husbands, the second was Thomas Mowbray, Earl of Nottingham. Another daughter, Joan, married William, Lord Bergavenny. A third, Alice, married John, Lord Charlton of Powys. By Philippa Mortimer Arundel had no children.

1. Depending on the source and on how the barons are counted, he is called either the 4th, 11th, or 14th Earl of Arundel.
2. Nicolas, Scrope and Grosvenor Roll, i. 220.
3. Rotuli Parliamentorum, ii. 348.
4. Chronicon Angliae, 1328-1388, p. lxviii, Rolls Ser.
5. Rot. Parl. iii. 181.
6. ib. iii. 386.
7. Luce, Chronique des Quatre Premiers Valois, p. 263, ed. Soc. de l'Histoire de France.
8. ib. p. 273.
9. Walsingham, Chronicle of Richard II, ed. Riley, i. 371.
10. Froissart, livre ii. ch. xxxvi. ed. Buchon.
11. Chronique des Quatre Premiers Valois, p. 276.
12. Walsingham. i. 439; cf. Chron. Angliae, p. 168.
13. Walsingham. ii. 166; Rot. Parl. iii. 1046.
14. ib. iii. 155 a.
15. Walsingham. ii. 152.
16. Rot. Parl. iii. 221.
17. Froissart, iii. 47; cf. Wallon, Richard II, livre v. ch.iii.
18. Walsingham. ii. 164-6; Monk of Evesham's History of the Life and Reign of Richard II, ed. Hearne, 1729, p. 78; Froissart, iii. 58. The different accounts vary hopelessly; see Nicolas, A History of the Royal Navy, ii. 317-24.
19. Froissart, iii. 64.
20. Knighton in Twysden's Decem Scriptores, c. 2692.
21. Monk of Evesham, p. 90.
22. Rot. Parl. iii. 376.
23. ib. iii. 229; Knihhton, cc. 2713-2726.
24. Chronique de la Traison et Mort de Richard, Engl. Hist. Soc., p. 133.
25. Froissart, iii. 112, 113, 129.
26. Knighton, c. 2735.
27. Nicolas, Proceedings of the Privy Council, i. 17.
28. Rot. Pat. 15 Rich. II, in Dallaway's Western Sussex, II. i. 134, new edit.
29. Froissart, iv. 60.
30. Powel, History of Cambria, p. 138, from a pedigree of the Stradlings, whose then representative married the daughter born of the connection; cf. Clark, Limbus Patrum Morganiae et Glanmorganiae, p. 435.
31. Walsingham. ii. 214; Annales Ric. II, ed Riley, p. 161.
32. Rot. Parl. iii. 313.
33. Ann. Ric. II, p. 166.
34. ib. p. 169; Walsingham, ii. 215.
35. Rymer, Foedera, vii. 784.
36. ib. vii. 785.
37. Chronique de la Traison, pp. 5-6, though the date there given, 23 July 1396, must be wrong, and 28 July 1397, the editor's conjecture, is too late, one manuscript says 8 Feb.; Chronique du Religieux de Saint-Denys, ii. 476-8, in Collection de Documents Inedits, cf. Froissart, iv. 56. The statement is in no English authority, and has been much questioned, cf. Wallon, ii. 161, 452.
38. Ann. Ric. II, p. 201.
39. ib. 202-8; Walsingham, ii. 223.
40. Eulogium Historiarum iii. 371.
41. Rot. Parl. iii. 350, 351.
42. Monk of Evesham, pp. 136-8; Rot. Parl. iii. 377; Ann. Ric. pp. 214-19.
43. Walsingham. ii. 225-6; cf. Religieux de Saint-Denys, ii. 552.
44. Nottingham was not present, though Walsingham and Froissart, iv. 61, say that he was.
45. Adam of Usk, Chronicon Adae de Usk, ed. Thompson, 1876, p. 14.
46. Dugdale, Monasticon, ed. Caley, &c., 1849, vi. 736-7.
47. ib. vi. 1377-1379; Tierney, History of Arundel, pp. 594-613.

      Excerpted from:

      Tout, T. F. "Richard Fitzalan (III), Earl of Arundel And Surrey."
      Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. VII. Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, Eds.
      New York: The Macmillan Company, 1908. 98-100.

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Richard Fitzalan, 4. Earl of Arundel
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