The Lords Appellant were a group of nobles in the reign of King Richard II, who, in 1388,  sought to impeach some five of the King's favourites in order to restrain what was seen as tyrannical and capricious rule. The word appellant — still used in modern English by attorneys — simply means '[one who is] appealing'. It is the older (Norman) French form of the present participle of the verb appeler, the equivalent of the English 'to appeal'. The group was called the Lords Appellant because its members invoked a procedure under law to start prosecution of the king's unpopular favourites known as 'an appeal': the favourites were charged in a document called an "appeal of treason", a device borrowed from civil law which led to some procedural complications. 
There were originally three Lords Appellant: Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, son of Edward III and thus the king's uncle; Richard FitzAlan, Earl of Arundel and of Surrey; and Thomas de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. These were later joined by Henry Bolingbroke, Earl of Derby (the future king Henry IV) and Thomas de Mowbray, Earl of Nottingham.
They achieved their goals, first establishing a Commission to govern England for one year from 19 November 1386.  In 1387, the Lords Appellant launched an armed rebellion against King Richard and defeated an army under Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford at the skirmish of Radcot Bridge, outside Oxford.  They maintained Richard as a figurehead with little real power.
They had their revenge on the king's favourites in the "Merciless Parliament" (1388). The nominal governor of Ireland, de Vere, and Richard's Lord Chancellor, Michael de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, who had fled abroad, were sentenced to death in their absence.  Alexander Neville, Archbishop of York, had all his worldly goods confiscated.  The Lord Chief Justice, Sir Robert Tresilian, was executed,  as were Sir Nicholas Brembre, Lord Mayor of London, John Beauchamp of Holt, Sir James Berners, and Sir John Salisbury. Sir Simon Burley was found guilty of exercising undue influence over the king and was sentenced to death.  Derby and Nottingham, together with the Duke of York, tried to win a reprieve for him, but he was executed on 5 May.
In 1389, Richard's uncle, John of Gaunt, returned from Spain and Richard was able to rebuild his power gradually until 1397, when he reasserted his authority and destroyed the principal three among the Lords Appellant.[ citation needed ][ specify ] However, in 1399 Richard was deposed by Gaunt's son, Henry of Bolingbroke, partly as a result of the royal confiscation of Gaunt's estate on his death. Bolingbroke succeeded him as Henry IV.
Richard never forgave the Lords Appellant. His uncle Gloucester was murdered in captivity in Calais; it was (and remains) widely believed[ weasel words ] that he was killed on Richard's orders. The Earl of Arundel was beheaded. Warwick lost his title and his lands and was imprisoned on the Isle of Man until Richard was overthrown by Henry Bolingbroke. The behaviour of the two junior Lords Appellant, Bolingbroke and Mowbray, probably influenced Richard's decision in 1398 to exile them both, and to revoke the permission he had given them to sue for any inheritance which fell due, as it did in relation to Mowbray's grandmother and, more significantly, of Bolingbroke's father, John of Gaunt.
Richard II, also known as Richard of Bordeaux, was King of England from 1377 until he was deposed in 1399. He was the son of Edward the Black Prince, Prince of Wales, and Joan, Countess of Kent. Richard's father died in 1376, leaving Richard as heir apparent to his grandfather, King Edward III; upon the latter's death, the 10-year-old Richard succeeded to the throne.
Henry IV, also known as Henry Bolingbroke, was King of England from 1399 to 1413. His grandfather King Edward III had claimed the French throne as a grandson of Philip IV of France, and Henry continued this claim. He was the first English ruler since the Norman Conquest, over three hundred years prior, whose mother tongue was English rather than French.
Thomas de Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk, KG was an English peer. As a result of his involvement in the power struggles which led up to the fall of King Richard II, he was banished and died in exile in Venice.
Thomas of Woodstock, 1st Duke of Gloucester was the fifth surviving son and youngest child of King Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault.
Robert de Vere, Duke of Ireland, KG was a favourite and court companion of King Richard II of England. He was the ninth Earl of Oxford and the first and only Duke of Ireland and Marquess of Dublin. He was also the first person to be created a Marquess.
Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of WestmorlandEarl Marshal, was an English nobleman of the House of Neville.
John Holland, 1st Duke of Exeter, 1st Earl of Huntingdon, KG, of Dartington Hall in Devon, was a half-brother of King Richard II (1377–1399), to whom he remained strongly loyal. He is primarily remembered for being suspected of assisting in the downfall of King Richard's uncle Thomas of Woodstock, 1st Duke of Gloucester (1355–1397) and then for conspiring against King Richard's first cousin and eventual deposer, Henry Bolingbroke, later King Henry IV (1399–1413).
Richard Fitzalan, 4th Earl of Arundel, 9th Earl of Surrey, KG was an English medieval nobleman and military commander.
Thomas de Beauchamp, 12th Earl of Warwick, KG was an English medieval nobleman and one of the primary opponents of Richard II.
Sir Thomas Erpingham was an English soldier and administrator who loyally served three generations of the House of Lancaster, including Henry IV and Henry V, and whose military career spanned four decades. After the Lancastrian usurpation of the English throne in 1399, his career in their service was transformed as he rose to national prominence, and through his access to royal patronage he acquired great wealth and influence.
Humphrey de Bohun, 7th Earl of Hereford, 6th Earl of Essex, 2nd Earl of Northampton, KG was the son of William de Bohun, 1st Earl of Northampton, and Elizabeth de Badlesmere, and grandson of Humphrey de Bohun, 3rd Earl of Hereford, by Elizabeth of Rhuddlan, daughter of King Edward I. He became heir to the Earldom of Hereford after the death of his childless uncle Humphrey de Bohun, 6th Earl of Hereford.
The Merciless Parliament was an English parliamentary session lasting from 3 February to 4 June 1388, at which many members of King Richard II's court were convicted of treason. The session was preceded by a period in which Richard's power was revoked and the kingdom placed under the regency of the Lords Appellant. Richard had launched an abortive military attempt to overthrow the Lords Appellant and negotiate peace with the kingdom of France so he could focus all his resources against his domestic enemies. The Lords Appellant counteracted the attempt and called the Parliamentary session to expose his attempts to make peace. Parliament reacted with hostility and convicted almost all of Richard's advisers of treason. Most were executed and a few exiled. Parliament was dissolved after violence broke out in Kent and the Duke of York and his allies began objecting to some executions. The term "merciless" was coined by Augustinian chronicler Henry Knighton.
The Wonderful Parliament was a session of the English parliament held from October to November 1386 in Westminster Abbey. Originally called to address King Richard II's need for money, it quickly refocused on pressing for the reform of his administration. The King had become increasingly unpopular because of excessive patronage towards his political favourites combined with the unsuccessful prosecution of war in France. Further, there was a popular fear that England was soon to be invaded, as a French fleet had been gathering in Flanders for much of the year. Discontent with Richard peaked when he requested a then-unprecedented sum to raise an army with which to invade France. Instead of granting the King's request, the houses of the Lords and the Commons effectively united against him and his unpopular chancellor, Michael de la Pole, 1st Earl of Suffolk. Seeing de la Pole as both a favourite who had unfairly benefited from the King's largesse, and the minister responsible for the King's failures, parliament demanded the earl's impeachment.
The Battle of Radcot Bridge was fought on 19 December 1387 in medieval England between troops loyal to Richard II, led by court favourite Robert de Vere, and an army captained by Henry Bolingbroke, Earl of Derby. It took place at Radcot Bridge, a bridge over the River Thames, now in Oxfordshire, but then the boundary between Oxfordshire and Berkshire.
Sir John de Beauchamp, 1st Baron Beauchamp of Kidderminster of Holt Castle in Worcestershire was an administrator and landowner.
Events from the 1380s in England.
Events from the 1390s in England.
Maud de Ufford, Countess of Oxford was a wealthy English noblewoman and the wife of Thomas de Vere, 8th Earl of Oxford. Her only child was Robert de Vere, 9th Earl of Oxford, the favourite of King Richard II of England. In 1404 in Essex, she took part in a conspiracy against King Henry IV of England and was sent to the Tower of London; however, she was eventually pardoned through the efforts of Queen consort Joanna of Navarre.
Sir Thomas Mortimer was a medieval English soldier and statesman who served briefly in several important administrative and judicial state offices in Ireland and played a part in the opposition to the government of King Richard II. He was an illegitimate member of the Mortimer family, who were one of the leading noble houses of England and Ireland, and he helped to manage the Mortimer lands during the minority of the family heir, his nephew Roger, earl of March. Sir Thomas was also a close associate of the Lords Appellant, the powerful faction of nobles who opposed the administration of King Richard II.