The Scropes and the Isle of Man


Sir Richard Le Scrope, First Lord Scrope, purchased the Kingdom of The Isle of Man in 1392 from William de Montacute, second Earl of Salisbury, for his son Sir William Le Scrope for 10,000. Sir William Le Scrope became Sovereign Lord of Man, with the style and title of King of the Isle of Man. In 1394 Sir William was appointed Vice-Chamberlain of the Royal Household under Richard II, and Lord Chamberlain in 1396. Sir William was created Earl of Wiltshire in 1397.

In 1397 Thomas de Beauchamp, the Earl of Warwick, was sentenced to banishment to the Isle of Man after being charged with treason. The events leading to this sentence were a result of Richard II's conflicts with the Barons. After Richard II assumed power, the Earl of Warwick, a governor of the young King, joined the Barons, who dominated the government. The Barons opposed the acts of Richard's favorite courtiers, led by Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford, and Michael de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk. In 1388, five Lords appellant, including the Earl of Warwick and the Earl of Hereford, accused the courtiers of treason and restricted the Kings power. The King, threatened with deposition, had to defer to the proceedings of the Parliament of 1388.

The Lords appellant ruled the country until 1389, when King Richard II quietly reclaimed his authority. Richard II had a more peaceful reign for the next seven years with the aid of John of Gaunt. Circa 1397–98, King Richard then suddenly took his revenge on three Lords appellant, including the Earl of Warwick, when they were accused of treason. The Earl of Warwick's sentenced execution was pardoned by the King, at the request of the Lords appellant and Commons, and the Earl was instead sentenced to banishment on the 28th of September, 1397.

The Earl of Warwick was imprisoned in the Tower of London, subsequently named Beauchamp Tower, and then banished to the Isle of Man. The Isle of Man was chosen as the place of banishment of the Earl of Warwick in 1397 possibly because Sir Richard Le Scrope played an active role in the impeachment of alleged traitors at that time. The Earl of Warwick was delivered to Sir William Le Scrope and his brother Sir Stephen, to bring and "safely keep" the Earl on the Isle of Man "without departing therefrom". The Earl was held captive on Saint Patrick's Isle in a prison subsequently named the Warwick Tower, a square building standing at the north side of Peel Castle and centrally located between two sailports.

The Earl of Hereford supported King Richard when he took his revenge on the three Lords appellant, and was made Duke of Hereford in 1397. However, Hereford was banished for 10 years by the King in 1398, following a quarrel with Thomas Mowbray, First Duke of Norfolk, whose confidence he betrayed to Richard.

Sir William Le Scrope was appointed to the high office of Lord Treasurer of England in 1399. He was appointed Guardian of the Realm by the King during his absence in Ireland. The Duke of Hereford, had Sir William Le Scrope beheaded without benefit of a trial, for charges of "defense of the realm". Sir William had played a major role in repealing the patent granted to Henry of Bolingbroke, Duke of Hereford and John of Gaunt's exiled son, securing his succession to John of Gaunt's titles, money and holdings if John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, was to decease while the Duke of Hereford was still in exile.

Upon the death of John of Gaunt in 1399, Richard II confiscated the Lancastrian estates, to which the exiled Duke of Hereford was heir. In 1399 the Duke of Hereford landed with an invasion force while King Richard II was in Ireland. He defeated the King in battle, took him prisoner, and presumably had him murdered. Henry's claim to the throne was poor, and his right to rule was usurpation approved by Parliament and public opinion. Subsequent to Henry of Bolingbroke's accession to the throne as Henry IV on the 30th of September, 1399, he had Scrope's sentence confirmed when he met with with his Parliament on the 13th of October, 1399. All of Sir William Le Scrope's possessions and titles, including those pertaining to the Isle of Man, were forfeited to the crown. The attainder of the Earl of Warwick was reversed, and he was restored to his estates.

Sir Stephen Le Scrope, third son of Sir Richard, was charged with imprisoning the Earl of Warwick on the Isle of Man. Sir Stephen, who was deputy to Thomas of Lancaster, the Kings son, in Ireland, was given a spectacular reference in a letter written from Drogheda on the 18th of February, 1401. At about the same time, Scrope wrote to ask for the monies owed to him, if not for 'A Grant of The Isle of Man, forfeited by my brother'.



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