Henry Scrope, 3rd Baron Scrope of Masham
Died: August 5, 1415
Southampton, Hampshire, England (Age c. 39)
Scrope in History
There is very little known about the early life of Henry Scrope of Masham. He served King Richard II on several foreign campaigns and seems to have been a loyal subject of his. There is evidence, however, that Scrope had sympathies for certain enemies of the king's (primarily Thomas of Woodstock, the king's uncle, who had most likely been murdered under his orders). For this reason it is not surprising that Scrope switched his allegiance to Henry Bolingbroke when he ultimately deposed Richard and crowned himself as King Henry IV in 1399. During the reign of Henry IV Scrope built up a reputation as a military man, fighting against Owen Glendower's Welsh rebels and also taking part in the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403 (and sharing in the spoils of the rebels after wards). He was made a Knight of the Garter in 1410 and served as treasurer of England for the next two years.
After the accession of Henry V in 1413, Scrope continued to play an active role in politics, being sent on several important diplomatic missions to France by the new king. By 1415, he was preparing to join the king in France after the Hundred Years War was renewed. At this point, Scrope was surprisingly implicated in the Southampton Plot, a conspiracy that involved murdering the king and placing Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March, on the throne (March had a significant claim to the throne though his descent from Lionel of Antwerp, second surviving son of Edward III, and was apparently named as heir to the childless Richard II before he was deposed by the future Henry IV). Scrope was arrested for treason along with Richard, Earl of Cambridge, and Sir Thomas Grey. It appears that the Earl of March was involved at first but backed out of the plot (which he most likely felt was doomed) and informed the king, saving his own life. All three conspirators were promptly executed. Scrope's motives for participating in the rebellion are by no means clear. They may, however, be connected to the execution of his uncle Richard Scrope, Archbishop of York, in 1405 by Henry IV. He also seems to have had family ties with the other conspirators. It is rumored that Scrope planned on informing the king about the plot but was beaten to the punch by March. Unfortunately, Scrope would pay the ultimate price for his actions, despite all his previous loyal service to the crown.
Scrope in Shakespeare
Appears in: Henry V
Scrope only appears in one scene of Henry V with his fellow conspirators Sir Thomas Grey and Richard, Earl of Cambridge. By the end of the scene, the men are informed that the king already knew of their plot to murder him and that they were bribed by the French. They are all sentenced to be executed for treason.
Vale, Brigette. ‘Scrope, Henry, third Baron Scrope of Masham (c.1376–1415)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/24959, accessed 16 Nov 2009]