Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland

VRTI Research Fellow Dr Elizabeth Biggs publishes feature in History Ireland

VRTI Research Fellow Dr Elizabeth Biggs has published a feature in last month’s issue of History Ireland — “Irish Lords and English Rulers” — related to much of the work in our new Cultures of Conquest research strand.

First page of Elizabeth Biggs, “Irish Lords and English Rulers” in History Ireland, xxxi, no. 5 (2023), pp 18–21.

Richard II arrived in Waterford on 19 October 1394 as the first English king to visit Ireland since the reign of John almost two hundred years earlier. He brought with him his household and an army of c. 8,000 men. It was the largest English army to serve in Ireland in the later middle ages. For the next six months, he would fight, feast and negotiate with English magnates and Irish kings across the island.

Elizabeth’s piece describes various ‘materials of diplomacy’ (such as oaths of loyalty, submission and support, indentures and seals) that come from King Richard II’s journey.  More information can be found in our curated collection “Irish Kings and English Rulers” and in this image gallery, also curated by Elizabeth.

“The ceremonies of submission played out before their audiences, and then fixed by writing them down and archiving copies, were important occasions that could be referenced in the future, but they also reflected political aspirations that might quickly change and were hard to enforce. In the longer context of the fifteenth century, Richard II’s agreements look more all-encompassing but also more fragile.”

“Oath of the citizens of Youghal to Henry VII” — 1 parchment membrane containing an agreement between an Irish lord or town and the English chief governor. Photo taken under UV light (TNA E 30/1565).

Congratulations to Elizabeth!

Main image: Wikimedia Commons, BAL7872 Portrait of Richard II ‘The Westminster Portrait’, 1390s (oil on panel) by English School, (14th century); Westminster Abbey, London, UK.

Monday, 13 November 2023, 5:14 PM

Jean-Philippe SanGiovanni