Royal Armouries

Henry IV in the Line of Kings

Images

Half armour from a small tournament garniture. English, Greenwich, about 1610

Half armour from a small tournament garniture. English, Greenwich, about 1610

  • Half armour from a small tournament garniture. English, Greenwich, about 1610

    Half armour from a small tournament garniture. English, Greenwich, about 1610

  • monochrome newspaper illustration of an armoured figure on horseback

    Figure of King James I in the Horse Armoury, The Penny Magazine, 1840

  • monochrome newspaper illustration of a line of mounted armoured figures

    ‘Interior of the Horse Armoury’, anon engraving, The Penny Magazine, 1836 © Royal Armouries 2013

  • monochrome pencil and ink sketch of a line of armoured figures on horseback

    The Horse Armoury, by an unknown artist, early 19th century

  • watercolour detail showing the figure of a king in armour on a horse holding a sword

    Figure of Henry IV in the Line of Kings, detail from 'The Horse Armoury' by Rowlandson and Pugin. 1809 (I.345b)

Half armour

Object Provenance: English, Greenwich, about 1610
Object Number: II.73

Henry IV in the Line of Kings

Description

Henry IV became king in 1399 after forcing the reigning king, Richard II, to surrender. Though he was not king for very long, Henry IV spent large parts of his reign putting down rebellions, combating Scottish border raids and fighting the French.

Perhaps due to his relatively short reign and lack of military accomplishments (aside from usurping Richard II), Henry IV’s figure was not mentioned much in the visitor accounts. It also seems to make only a brief appearance in the London guide, London and its Environs Described, published in 1761, where Henry is simply listed as a king within the Line at the Tower. This lack of interest is demonstrated in the Tower of London guidebooks as well, where there is no description given of the king’s armour or weapons. However, the figure of Henry IV is clearly visible in several early 19th century images.

We can identify the armour worn by the effigy of Henry IV, as it was later used for James I after Samuel Meyrick’s re-display. Meyrick was an expert in arms and armour and chosen to display the Line of Kings in the 1826-7. Meyrick recorded that he transferred the armour that had previously been used for Henry IV to the figure of James I.

Henry IV is not represented in the present Line of Kings display in the White Tower.

Half armour

Object Provenance: English, Greenwich, about 1610
Object Number: II.73

Related Objects

James I in the Line of Kings Click on the title link above to find out more.

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Line of Kings