Death of Richard I

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History on 6th April


Salt March Ends

The Declaration of Arbroath

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Death of Richard I

The 6th of April 1199 AD

How very British to have as one of our national heroes a king who barely spent 12 months in England, nearly bankrupted the country (he famously claimed he would have sold London had he found a buyer), reputedly spoke no English; and died in useless combat abroad.
Richard was in the Limousin region of France, mainly to combat a revolt against his authority, but almost certainly with a view to income generation: his brother John may have gone into history as Lackland, but Richard rather than Coeur de Lion might better have been called Overspent. This accounts for his siege of an otherwise strategically useless castle at Chaluz or Chalus-Chabrol, where it was thought Roman gold had been found.
Showing his bravery (or perhaps idiocy) by walking near the walls, Richard was wounded by a crossbow bolt on March 25 1199; it became infected, and he faced death again with bravery. He had the captured crossbowman – in fact a mere boy – brought before him and rewarded with money, Richard ordering his soldiers to let the child go. But when he died on April 6 1199 the boy was flayed alive and hanged.
John , who had nearly taken the throne in Richard’s absences, became king upon the warrior’s death.

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All significant truths are private truths. As they become public they cease to become truths; they become facts, or at best, part of the public character; or at worst, catchwords. - T S Eliot
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On this day:
Coronation of King George I - 1714, First Edition of Sunday Times - 1822, Battle of Navarino - 1827, Big Ben Winched into Place - 1858
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