Summary Execution – an example from history

On 28 July 1399, William Scrope, Earl of Wiltshire, Lord Treasurer of England and King of Man, Sir John Bushey and Sir Henry Green were executed outside Bristol on the orders of Henry Bolingbroke (later Henry IV). They had a summary trial at best, and quite probably no trial at all. It is not at all clear what they are supposed to have done wrong.

Bolingbroke had no lawful authority to execute them as he he had been exiled by Richard II and held no Office under the Crown. He was not (for example) Lord High Constable or Lord Protector.

Sir John Russell, Master of the Horse to Richard II, would have shared the same fate, except that he was found to be temporarily insane. He was therefore reprieved, later recovered from his mental illness, and managed to survive.

If these men had been killed by Richard III, their names would be all over Facebook. However, as they were murdered by a (future) Lancastrian King, no one seems to mind. Funny that.



  1. Even Bolingbroke – was he titled or under attainder at the time – reprieved an insane defendant. The second “Tudor” made no such concession to Lady Rochford.
    Chop, chop.


  2. I don’t think Bolingbroke was ever too fussed about the rights and wrongs of anything. And he became another usurper who constantly started at shadows. The House of Lancaster always got away with murder. The House of York was always accused and shuddered about. Sod’s Law.


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