초록 close

. The present essay deals with aspects of a foiled plot against King Henry IV in early fifteenth-century Essex. Widespread rumours of the survival of the previous king, Richard II, deposed and supposedly deceased in 1399, persisted well into the reign of the new king and formed at least part of the rationale for several attempts to overthrow Henry. Such rumours were encouraged by the Scottish crown, promulgated in England and Wales by former members of the Ricardian household, and invoked in several attempted armed risings against Henry IV. In 1403 Maud de Vere, countess of Oxford, was the instigator of a plot to supplant Henry and restore Richard. An English rising was planned, supported by French troops who would land in Essex, sanctioned by several prominent local abbots. The conspiracy collapsed and the ringleaders were taken into custody and examined. The original records of both the first investigations in Essex and the later testimony submitted to the King’s Bench in London have survived, including several detailed confessions in the English language. This essay describes the events of the plot, the participants, and their subsequent fates, using both the historical chronicles of the fifteenth century and the plotters’ own words in their confessions. The original Middle English texts are edited in the Appendix.