Family tree for King Henry IV showing:
King Henry IV was born on 3rd April 1367 to John of Gaunt, third son of Edward III and Blanche of Lancaster at Bolingbroke Castle. He was known as Henry Bolingbroke after his place of birth. Henry’s mother died when he was a year old.
He was likely educated as befitted the eldest son of a nobleman. He would have learned to read and write in addition to schooling in horsemanship and military skills.
On 8th June 1376, Henry’s uncle, Edward the Black Prince, died. Henry’s cousin Richard, who was just three months older than Henry, became heir to the throne.
King Edward III died on 21st June 1377 and Richard, aged 10 years, became King Richard II of England. Henry’s father acted as regent for the young king.
At the time of Richard’s accession, England was at war with France and a new tax called a poll tax was introduced to finance the war. The new tax was very unpopular because everyone, rich and poor, had to pay the same rate.
In 1381 the rate of the poll tax was raised to 1 shilling (equivalent to around £40 in 2022). Encouraged by travelling priest John Ball, peasants in Kent revolted against the tax and marched on London. When John Ball was imprisoned, Wat Tyler took over as leader and freed the priest.
At the same time peasants in Essex, led by Jack Strawe had refused to pay the tax and were also marching to London.
When the two groups met in London in June 1381, the mood turned ugly and they became violent. They stormed the Tower of London and murdered those taking refuge there including the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Treasurer.
Richard met the protestors at Smithfield where Wat Tyler was killed. Richard offered a pardon if the protestors dispersed. However, the pardon was soon revoked and the uprisings were supressed by force. John Ball was hung drawn and quartered.
The Poll Tax was quietly dropped soon afterwards.
Marriage and Family
On 27th July 1380, at the age of 13 years, Henry married Mary de Bohun aged 12 years at Arundel Castle. Because of their age they were told not to consummate the marriage until Mary came of age. However, they disobeyed the order and their first child was born in April 1382. They had a total of seven children:
Edward – born April 1382, lived for four days
Henry – born 16th September 1386, became King after Henry’s death
Thomas – born 29th September 1388
John – born 20th June 1389
Humphrey – born 3rd October 1390
Blanche – born Spring 1392
Philippa – born 4th June 1394
Henry’s wife, Mary, died in childbirth on 4th June 1394. In 1403, Henry married Joan of Navarre at Winchester Cathedral. They did not have any children.
Fall from Favour
In 1398, Henry was exiled after falling out with the King. His eleven-year old son Henry was taking into King Richard’s service and accompanied him to Ireland the following year.
On 3rd February 1399 John of Gaunt died and Henry inherited the Duchy of Lancaster and also the titles Earl of Leicester and Earl of Lincoln. However, because he had been exiled, King Richard seized the lands for himself. Bolingbroke was furious and, supported by Henry Percy and Thomas Arundel invaded England, captured the king, imprisoned him in Pontefract Castle and forced him to abdicate.
King of England
After forcing Richard II to abdicate, Henry Bolingbroke took the throne as King Henry IV on 30th September 1399. He created his son, Henry, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, Earl of Chester and Prince of Aquitaine.
In the Spring of 1400 it was announced that Richard II had died. There is speculation as to whether he starved himself or was forcibly starved to death, or was murdered another way.
King Henry IV invaded Scotland in 1400 and placed Edinburgh under siege, but the siege failed. In 1402, the English successfully defeated a Scots raiding party. In 1405 the Archbishop of York led a rebellion against King Henry IV but was defeated and executed. In 1406 Henry IV managed to capture James the son of King Robert III of Scotland. Although he succeeded to the Scottish throne in April 1406, he remained a prisoner of the English until 1412.
King Henry IV gave control of Wales to his son, Henry, Prince of Wales. In 1400 the Welsh revolted and Owain Glyn Dwr proclaimed himself the true Prince of Wales. Prince Henry’s army was initially defeated by the Welsh, but saw victory at the Battle of Shrewsbury on 21st July 1403. Glyn Dwr made an alliance with the French and continued to resist the English. However, the English continued to defeat the Welsh and by 1409 had control after taking Harlech Castle and Aberystwyth.
Later Years and Death
In 1409, with his health failing, Henry made his son and heir, Chancellor of England.
On 20th March 1413, King Henry IV died in the Jerusalem Chamber of Westminster Abbey during a meeting of Convocation. He was succeeded by his son, Henry who became King Henry V.
Published Apr 03 2022 @ 11:34 am – Updated –
Harvard Reference for this page:
Heather Y Wheeler. (2022). King Henry IV Family Tree 1367 – 1413. Available: https://www.treesofblue.com/king-henry-iv-family-tree-1367-1413. Last accessed May 26th, 2022