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image for Talk item typeRichard II & The Smithfield Tournament at Pontefract Castle

Historical talk, Sat 28 Mar 2020, £3

Richard II

Richard II


Castle Chain,
West Yorkshire,

Also at this Venue


It was during the summer of 1399 that Richard II was deposed by his cousin, Henry of Bolingbroke, and the latter crowned Henry IV. Richard was then transported from the Tower of London to Pontefract Castle. Pontefract became Richard’s prison and it was there that he died in 1400, possibly starving to death.

Reading the modern scholarship on Richard can often come across as if the disasters of his reign, as well as his deposition in 1399, were a foregone conclusion, destined to happen. However, this is not the case, there were times in Richard’s reign where he attempted conciliation with his nobility and projected a positive image of kingship. In 1390, Richard held the grandest chivalric event of his reign, this being the Smithfield tournament, which attracted knights from England and Europe to attend.

This talk will show how Richard deliberately attempted to use the tournament as a tool, and how he wielded it to unite the kingdom behind him, project an image of good lordship and kingship, and thereby extend and re-establish his royal authority. It was the early years of the 1390s that Richard’s authority was considered at its height, and the Smithfield tournament was one of the tools used by him to make that happen.

Adults only. Booking essential.

Coach parties acceptedCredit cards accepted (no fee)Disabled toiletsEducation/study areaFacilities for groupsFacilities for educational visitsGift shopOn-site light refreshmentsPicnic sitePublic toiletsRegional Tourist Board MemberAccepts groups

Disabled access

Event details

Dates Times
Sat 28 Mar 2020 14:00 to 15:00


Booking essential


Plan route to Pontefract Castle using Google mapsPlan route using Google maps

Map reference: SE 460222  Lat: 53.69421 Long: -1.30481

By Road:
M62 jct32
Continue onto Park Road (A639)
Turn left onto Southgate (A645)

For car parking:
Turn left onto North Baileygate. Car park located off Beech Hill. WF8 2JF

Disabled car-parking spaces are available at the Castle gates (approach via Spink Lane or Micklegate).

By Public Transport:
Nearest train station: Monkhill/Baghill Railway Station
Nearest bus station: Pontefract Bus Station

Walk from Pontefract town centre via Horsefair, Micklegate and Castle Chain.

Parking: free

Accessible by Public Transport: 0 miles from Pontefract, Monkhill station


  • Coach parties acceptedCoach parties accepted
  • Credit cards accepted (no fee)Credit cards accepted (no fee)
  • Disabled toiletsDisabled toilets
  • Education/study areaEducation/study area
  • Facilities for groupsFacilities for groups
  • Facilities for educational visitsFacilities for educational visits
  • Gift shopGift shop
  • On-site light refreshmentsOn-site light refreshments
  • Picnic sitePicnic site
  • Public toiletsPublic toilets
  • Regional Tourist Board MemberRegional Tourist Board Member
  • Accepts groupsAccepts groups
  • Disabled accessDisabled access