Raymond Biswanger Slide Collection
William Shakespeare: 1597
Pontrefract Castle, situated in West Yorkshire, was the site of several political murders and executions. In 5.5 of William Shakespeare's Richard II , while imprisoned in the castle, Richard II is murdered in his cell by Sir Piers Exton. In 3.3 of Richard III Lord Rivers, Lord Grey and Lord Vaughn are executed at the castle.
(Richard II) Pontefract, West Yorkshire
After the historical Richard II was deposed by Bolingbroke, who crowned himself Henry IV on 13 October 1399, the House of Lords recommended that Richard be moved to a secret place from which no mobs could attempt a rescue. They sentenced him to life imprisonment, and on 28 October, he was taken in disguise from the Tower of London, and eventually to Pontefract castle in Yorkshire.
Richard II's imprisonment in Pontrefract is depicted in 5.4-5 in Richard II. The exact circumstances of Richard II's death remain unknown, but Shakespeare has him killed by Exton, who presumably acts upon a hint from Henry IV to do so.
Ruins of Pontefract Castle, West Yorkshire [22 April 1983]
Cell where Richard II was possibly held, Pontefract Castle, West Yorkshire [22 April 1983]