Another abduction and forced marriage aided and abetted in high places….


And here we have ANOTHER case of a man who fancied stealing a woman to enjoy her fortune…and then getting away with it because of a male protector in very high places in 14th-century England! This time Henry of Bolingbroke, the future Henry IV!

“…John Pelham in Search of a Wife…

“…John Pelham may have come from humble origins in Sussex. But he was a pushy type. In 1376 he was brought to trial for an alleged trespass on the land of a royal clerk at Brede and for assaulting a carpenter…

“…However, he had some friends in high places which helped his subsequent rise to public prominence. His relations in Cambridgeshire provided one source of support, the influential de Vere family. He also had the patronage of Henry of Bolingbroke who was to become King Henry IV in 1399…

“…In 1387 Pelham laid siege by night to the house of Sir John Shardelowe at Fulbourn in Cambridgeshire and gained entry by placing ladders against the walls. Once inside he abducted Shardelowe’s step-daughter and son’s widow Margaret. He subsequently married his captive. She was the principal heir of the estates of her late father, Sir Roger Grey, which came under his possession…

“…His action was seen as a crime. But he was able to obtain a royal pardon for this crime in 1389 two years later, thanks to the intercession of Henry of Bolingbroke…”

Nice one, boys! Look after each other and to hell with the unfortunate victim!

The Pelham/Shardelowe case is actually well known , but I’ve been reminded of it. Sir John Pelham became an MP. A really trustworthy chap, right? Well, he was if you were another bloke, I suppose. To read more about his dealings with the Shardelowes, go to this site.

I’ve used the illustration above, although I can’t say Pelham beat his victim as is happening to the unfortunate woman in bed. But as he was prepared to do everything else, I doubt he’d be too fussy.

As for Henry of Bolingbroke, well, my opinion of him has always been at rock bottom. Now it’s positively subterranean.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: