Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 58.djvu/254

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the direct road to the capital, and, by a western movement, compelled him to make a circuit through Stow-on-the-Wold, and cut off his line of retreat to Chester by occupying Banbury, Chipping Norton, and Chipping Camden (Malverne, p. 111). On 20 Dec. he encountered the vanguard of the enemy under Arundel, between Whitney in Oxfordshire and the bridge over the Thames at Radcot (ib.) Oxford was flying the royal standard and the banner of St. George. There are some discrepancies in the accounts of what followed. According to Walsingham (ii. 168), Oxford lost heart and prepared for flight as soon as the enemy came in sight; but the continuator of Knighton (ii. 252) declares that he could not get his men to fight, and this agrees well enough with Malverne's account of the parley, in which Arundel persuaded his opponent's forces to abandon ‘the traitor.’ It is clear that there was practically no fighting; the main force of the lords appellant coming up, Oxford rode off to Radcot Bridge. He found it guarded and partly broken down. Throwing off part of his armour, he leapt his charger into the stream and got away on the further side in the falling dusk (ib. p. 112; Knighton, ii. 253). In his baggage were found a large sum of money and letters from the king promising to meet him and put to the hazard ‘son corps royal’ (Rot. Parl. iii. 235).

Oxford reached London disguised as a groom, and, after a hasty interview with Richard, went down to Queenborough and sailed to the Low Countries (Malverne, p. 112; Eulogium, iii. 365; cf. St. Denys, i. 498), where he is reported to have previously placed a large sum of money in the care of the Lombards at Bruges (Froissart, xii. 286). Capgrave says (p. 249) that he landed at Middelburg. This seems more probable than Froissart's story (ib.) of his flight through Wales to Edinburgh, whence he sailed to Dordrecht.

Failing to appear when summoned at the opening of the ‘Merciless parliament’ (February 1388) to answer the charge of treason brought against him by the five lords appellant, Oxford was outlawed, and all his possessions, save the entailed estates, were seized into the king's hands. The detailed indictment, subsequently laid before parliament, accused him, along with Michael de la Pole and others, of deliberately attempting to secure entire control of the king and exclude all good counsellors; of impoverishing the crown by grants to themselves, their relatives, and friends; of interfering with the common and statute law and unlawfully maintaining quarrels; of exciting the king to get the pope's consent to Oxford's being made king of Ireland; of prompting the king to refuse to recognise the parliamentary commission of reform, and to arrest and put to death the Duke of Gloucester and others who had procured it; and of seeking the French king's assistance against the lords appellant, and promising in return to surrender to him Calais and its march (Rot. Parl. iii. 230–6). Certain articles were pronounced to be treason, and Oxford was sentenced by the lords (13 Feb.) to be drawn and hanged as a traitor to the king and realm. Orders were sent to Ireland on 4 April to cease using his seal, banner, and pennons (Fœdera, vii. 577).

Oxford does not seem to have made a long stay in the Low Countries. He was joined by Michael de la Pole, who had also escaped, and, obtaining a safe-conduct from Charles VI, they made their way to Paris (Malverne, p. 172; St. Denys, i. 498). This does not leave much time for Froissart's story (xii. 287, xiv. 32) of his being expelled from the dominions of the Duke of Holland and Zealand, and finding refuge at Utrecht. Froissart, however, places his arrival in Paris, where he stayed about a year (ib.), not earlier than 1389. But this cannot be reconciled with his subsequent statement that Oxford was forced to leave France, where he had been treated with distinction in spite of the enmity of the seigneur de Couci, after the conclusion of the three years' truce with England, for this was signed on 18 June 1389. He may not have yet left Paris when De la Pole died in the following September, bequeathing such property as he had with him to his fellow exile (Malverne, p. 217; Walsingham, ii. 187).

At Oxford's request King Charles wrote to his aunt, the Duchess of Brabant, requesting her to give him an asylum, and he fixed his residence at Louvain, paying occasional visits to a neighbouring castle, which he borrowed from a knight of Brabant. Archbishop Neville, another exile of 1388, lived with him (Froissart, xiv. 32–4). He did not live to benefit by Richard's eventual reversal of the proscription of the Merciless parliament. In the course of a boar hunt in 1392 the animal turned upon Oxford and inflicted a wound which caused his death (Leland, Collectanea, i. 186; Otterbourne, i. 181). Walsingham (ii. 212) asserts that he died in great distress and poverty. Sir John Lancaster, who had shared his exile till his death, received a pardon in the parliament of January 1393 (Rot. Parl. iii. 249, 303). It was not until September 1395 that