The prologue tells the reader that this play is not about the character of Sir John Falstaff that Oldcastle has been so much associated with, but with the real life man, who is looked at as a Protestant martyr and a man completely loyal to his king.

Act 1, Scene 1 Setting: A Hereford Street

As the court of assize meets in Hereford, the Lords Herbert and Powis and their followers quarrel in the streets and are unable to be kept under control by the sheriff, the mayor or even the judges. The quarrel becomes so violent that Herbert is severely wounded, and Powis flees from the scene, leaving several of his men behind to be apprehended by the authorities. It turns out that the quarrel between the two lords was over religion: Lord Powis expressed views of an anti-papal nature (close to those made notorious by John Wycliffe in the previous century), while Herbert is a staunch orthodox Catholic. One of the men that Powis has also named as a defender of the reformed faith is Sir John Oldcastle, whom the judges feel is innocent of the crime of heresy. Nonetheless, they know that it is in the best interests of the kingdom that the riots be kept under control as the king prepares to depart for France to do battle.

Act 1, Scene 2 Setting: Eltham Palace, an Antechamber

The bishop of Rochester and Sir John, the parson of Wrotham, meet with the Earl of Suffolk and Butler to inform them about the growing issue of Protestantism within England that seems to be stemming from the influence of Sir John Oldcastle. Suffolk is skeptical of the accusations at first, because of the lack of evidence, but when Sir John informs him of the quarrel between Herbert and Powis at Hereford (supposedly started over Oldcastle's beliefs), that resulted in the death of Lord Herbert, the earl agrees that it is a problem and will inform the king. At this point, Rochester offers Suffolk a purse for his services, but it is refused on moral grounds. King Henry V then enters and, after briefly touching on the upcoming voyage to France, is debriefed on the current uprising against the orthodox Catholic church of England. However, once Oldcastle is accused of being the chief instigator, he is quickly defended by the king, who holds him in great favor and knows him to be a loyal and loving subject. The men continue to press Henry to allow them to proceed against the man they believe is a heretic, but the king insists on privately examining his friend first. If he finds that they are right in their accusations against him, then he is theirs to punish. After the king departs, Rochester is worried that he will be lax in proceeding against Oldcastle, so Sir John suggests that the bishop get a Sumner to remind him of his promise. Rochester agrees with this method and departs, leaving Sir John alone to deliver a soliloquy where he fully admits to being a corrupt churchman who keeps a mistress and who plans to steal the money Suffolk did not accept from Rochester.

Act 1, Scene 3 Setting: Near Lord Cobham's House, Kent

A group of poor soldiers and elderly men wait outside the house of Sir John Oldcastle, whom they know to be one who is more then generous towards the poor. Oldcastle and his servant, Harpoole, enter and are arguing over the fact that so many poor men come to beg there at the house. When Oldcastle sees all the beggars waiting for him outside, he is frustrated and reprimands Harpoole for leading them on. Harpoole then reprimands his master for lacking charity of late, forcing Oldcastle to finally, though reluctantly, submit and give whatever he can to the poor men. Lord Powis then arrives, in disguise, and informs Oldcastle of the quarrel between he and Lord Herbert that was begun over religious matters in which Oldcastle himself was personally named. Oldcastle is very upset to hear of his name being brought into such disputes (considering he is already under close watch for his religious practices) and that the Lord Herbert is near death (they know not yet that he has actually died), before he agrees to give shelter to Powis. Butler, who has just been robbed on his way to do his duty, then arrives with a summons from the king for Oldcastle to come to court, which he agrees to.

Act 2, Scene 1 Setting: Near Lord Cobham's House, Kent

The Sumner, who was sent by the Bishop of Rochester, arrives at Oldcastle's house to deliver a summons for the lord to appear before the court at Rochester. However, Oldcastle is not home, and the Sumner is treated rudely by Harpoole, who goes so far as to beat him and force him to eat the parchment he has brought with him. The Sumner departs and the constable arrives to inquire about a robbery that has recently occurred in the area. Harpoole suggests that he see if the ale man is harboring the thieves. When the ale man is asked about the robbery, he says he is only housing a priest, Sir John the parson, and a girl, Dorothy (or Doll), who he claims to be his niece, both of whom stay with him frequently. Doll comes out to meet the men, and a sexually charged conversation ensues almost immediately between her and Harpoole, prompting Sir John, who enters soon after, to engage in a fight with him. In the end, despite their violent quarrel, all agree to keep the peace and become friends.

Act 2, Scene 2 Setting: The Axe Inn, London

Sir Roger Acton and masters Bourne and Beverly meet with William Murley, a wealthy brewer, in an attempt to win him over to the Protestant cause and give money to them to fund their ambitious activities. The men tempt Murley with a knighthood and a command in the rebel army, which the brewer gives in to and offers to give five hundred pounds in support. However, this is not enough for the rebels, who then convince Murley to give ten thousand pounds, which he willingly agrees to do.

Act 2, Scene 3 Setting: Eltham Palace, an Audience Chamber

Oldcastle meets with Henry V and the lords in order to defend himself against the accusations of heresy being placed upon him by the church. The king tells his friend that he must give up his opinions on religion and submit to the orthodox church. However, as much as Oldcastle claims undying loyalty to the king himself, he claims it is against his conscience to follow in the ways of the Pope. Henry V respects Oldcastle's opinions but tells him not to instigate the situation by participating in any rebellions promoting the Protestant faith. Oldcastle agrees to this stipulation and is even able to convince the king to grant a pardon to Lord Powis for his earlier offenses. Rochester then enters and informs the king of Harpoole forcing the Sumner to eat the parchment. The king explodes at the bishop and reprimands him for not trusting his judgment and sending out a man to summon Oldcastle to court. Oldcastle then departs, and the Earl of Huntington arrives with news of a Protestant rebellion, led by Sir Roger Acton, not far from where they now are. He also claims that the men rebel in Oldcastle's name. The lords present are shocked and appalled by this revelation, but the king handles it calmly and says, if Oldcastle and the men are traitors, which he is still doubtful of, they will have their punishment.

Act 3, Scene 1 Setting: Near Lord Cobham's House, Kent

Lord Scrope, Gray and the Earl of Cambridge meet with Chartres, the French factor, to discuss an alliance amongst themselves to depose Henry V and place Cambridge on the English throne. Cambridge believes he has a better claim to the throne than the current king through his wife, who was descended from an elder son of Edward III than Henry V himself. The rebels have all the necessary documents drawn up and hope to get Oldcastle to join forces with them, a man whom they know to be somewhat of a political outcast because of his radical religious beliefs. When Oldcastle arrives, the men let him in on the plot, through a hunting analogy, and despite his shock and disgust of the matter, he agrees to go along with their plot (while secretly being against it). He makes all the men present sign their names to the document before agreeing to join with them. The men depart, and Oldcastle, almost immediately, decides to inform the king of the plot. Oldcastle's wife, Lady Cobham, arrives home with Lord and Lady Powis only to be told that Oldcastle has some urgent business at court, where he hastily departs towards.

Act 3, Scene 2 Setting: A Road Near Highgate

Murley talks with Tom and Dick, his men, who are preparing to rebel against the king tomorrow morning. The men are nervous about the consequences of their actions and that they are committing treason. Murley does his best to reassure them before Acton and his followers enter and inform the others that they have men ready to participate in their cause stationed throughout the country, particularly in London. They make plans to meet at Ficket field early in the morning where they hope to find Oldcastle, the man they consider to be the champion of the Protestant cause. All throughout the scene, Murley anticipates being made a knight, but no one seems to know who will perform this task.

Act 3, Scene 3 Setting: A High Road in Kent

Doll criticizes Sir John the parson for his jealousy over her before the priest says he will rob the next person who passes so they are better provided for.

Act 3, Scene 4 Setting: Blackheath

Henry V gives various orders to Suffolk and Butler to prepare for the upcoming rebellion, led by Acton, at Ficket field. To survey the situation, the king puts on a disguise and means to infiltrate Acton's camp. But, before he can depart, the disguised Henry is accosted by Sir John the parson, who means to rob him. The king plays along with the whole situation and gives all his money to Sir John, who then even goes so far as to ask for a pardon after Henry says he is a close associate of the king's. As the men talk, Sir John tells of the former rebellious behavior of Henry V and how he himself was once a thief when he used to associate himself with men such as Sir John Falstaff during the reign of his father, Henry IV. In the end, Sir John decides to give Henry back half an angel of the money he stole from him (as a sign of reassurance that they met and a pardon was promised), and after the king departs, he vows to visit the king's camp and make more profit there.

Act 4, Scene 1 Setting: King Henry's Camp, Near London

The lords assure Henry V that London is well guarded from the rebels and that he need not worry about the rebellion escalating to any great extent. At this point, the men take to playing at dice when they are encountered by Sir John the parson, who asks to join them. They agree to let him into the game and, as they wonder at how he has acquired such large sums of cash, being a mere priest, he proceeds to beat Huntington and Suffolk, before being beaten and losing all his money to the king, whom he does not know by his appearance. Henry V then tells Sir John the story of how he was robbed by a man in his travels. Sir John immediately knows that he is the very man he robbed, and he and the king are at the point of violence when Butler enters to stop the fight and reveal to Sir John that he has drawn his weapon on the king. Sir John is shocked by this revelation, and Henry orders him to be hanged for his robbery. However, the prelate is able to beg his way out of the situation, and the king agrees to spare his life if he mends his ways and even lets him keep the gold he had previously stolen from him.

Act 4, Scene 2 Setting: A Battlefield Near London

The royal party is successful against the Protestant rebels, and Henry V takes Acton, Murley and the other leaders of the rebellion prisoner. Acton and Murley do their best to explain their actions and implicate Oldcastle as the contriver of the rebellion. Furthermore, Rochester enters and brings further evidence against Oldcastle, prompting the king to allow him to bring the lord in to be examined. Oldcastle himself then enters and is immediately charged with treason by the king. However, both Murley and Acton reveal that they implicated Oldcastle with no real proof of his involvement in the rebellion. To further show his loyalty, Oldcastle then reveals the plot contrived by Cambridge, Gray and Scrope to the king, who departs owing Oldcastle a debt of thanks for his loyalty. Before he goes, however, the king orders the rebel leaders to be executed for their crimes.

Act 4, Scene 3 Setting: Near Lord Cobham's House, Kent

Rochester, the Lord Warden and the sheriff of Kent arrive at Oldcastle's house where they are examining Lady Cobham as to her husband's whereabouts, of which she knows nothing. The bishop is at the house because he was not present for Oldcastle's arrival at court, and did not witness him turning in the conspirators, and still believes that he is to follow the king's order to have him arrested and examined on charges of treason and heresy. Oldcastle and Harpoole then arrive and attempt to explain the situation to the bishop, but he will not listen and will not even allow Oldcastle to be brought before the king, who is at Southampton awaiting to depart for France. Therefore, Rochester has Oldcastle arrested and taken to the tower, despite objections from the Lord Warden and the sheriff. Harpoole is allowed to accompany his master, but Lady Cobham is forced to leave her house with only the clothes on her back.

Act 4, Scene 4 Setting: The Entrance to the Tower

Rochester arrives at the tower to examine Oldcastle, who is imprisoned there with Harpoole. After the bishop dismisses his servants and the lieutenant, Oldcastle and Harpoole bound him and steal his robes. They then begin their departure from the tower with Oldcastle disguised as the bishop and Harpoole continuously pressing him to be lenient with his master. Harpoole then becomes violent and is stopped by the servants, who believe he is ready to kill Rochester. Oldcastle then escapes and the bishop calls out from within and explains the situation to the lieutenant. In the confusion, Harpoole also escapes, and Rochester vows to track the men down by any means.

Act 5, Scene 1 Setting: Lord Cobham's House, Kent

Cambridge, Scrope and Gray sit in Oldcastle's house and conjure up ways to kill the king as Henry himself listens at the door with his lords. When the king comes forward and sarcastically gives them counsel on their various methods of killing him, the rebels are shocked and beg for mercy. However, the king is not able to forgive them for this heinous crime and orders them to be executed immediately, thanking Oldcastle for his loyalty.

Act 5, Scene 2 Setting: A High Road Near St. Albans

Sir John tells his mistress Doll that he has lost all the money he had previously stolen from the king and must find more. As Doll complains to him, the opportunity to gain more money comes when an Irishman who has just killed his master enters. Sir John threatens to kill the man as punishment for his crime if he does not give up all the money he has. The Irishman has no choice but to comply, and Sir John and Doll have the money they desired.

Act 5, Scene 3 Setting: A Carrier's Inn, St. Albans

The Irishman arrives at the inn and is generously given food and a place to stay in the barn. Club and Ostler then arrive and discuss certain matters of business.

Act 5, Scene 4 Setting: Carrier's Inn, St. Albans

Oldcastle and Harpoole arrive at the carrier's inn and are told that there is a lack of beds available. Therefore, Oldcastle will take the chamber bed, and Harpoole will sleep with the Irishman in the barn.

Act 5, Scene 5 Setting: A St. Albans Street

The constable and the mayor of St. Albans search the city for Oldcastle but are unable to find him. They decide to search one last place: an inn where carriers lodge where they also hope to find the Irishman, who is guilty of murder.

Act 5, Scene 6 Setting: Carrier's Inn, St. Albans

The men arrive at the carrier's inn and arrest the Irishman, who is dressed in Harpoole's clothing. They ask the man where Oldcastle is, of whom the Irishman of course does not know, and vow to torture him until he reveals his location.

Act 5, Scene 7 Setting: Carrier's Inn, St. Albans

Oldcastle and Harpoole, realizing the house is under siege, get ready to depart. Harpoole realizes that the Irishman has stolen his clothes and is therefore forced to wear the Irishman's clothes. Oldcastle and his wife then go to dress themselves as Club the carrier and his wench Kate. The constable and mayor arrive and, thinking Harpoole to be the Irishman, arrest him. Oldcastle and Lady Cobham then escape disguised as the carrier and his wench. As this is going on, Club and Kate enter dressed in Oldcastle and Lady Cobham's clothes, complaining that someone has stolen their own clothing. The constable and mayor realize what is going on and that Oldcastle has escaped them, but vow to hold on to his servant Harpoole.

Act 5, Scene 8 Setting: A Wood Near St. Albans

Oldcastle and his wife hide away in the woods near St. Albans and are content with their current, demoted social status. They set down to sleep when Sir Richard Lee and his men enter, hearing about a murder committed on his grounds. The murder victim, whom they find, turns out to be Lee's son, who had been away in Ireland and recently returned home, who was murdered by his own servant, the Irishman. However, the men find the Oldcastles sleeping right near the body with their knives drawn and assume that they are the murderers. Despite their denial of the crime, Lord and Lady Cobham are taken away to answer before the court.

Act 5, Scene 9 Setting: St. Albans

Rochester meets with Sir John and the Irishman, who is still dressed in Harpoole's clothes. The bishop does not know what to think of the situation, but Sir John informs him that, whoever the man before them may be, he is the one who killed Sir Richard Lee. Rochester then informs Sir John that he has business in London, and therefore cannot handle the situation, and orders the priest to take the Irishman to Hertford, where the assizes are being held. He also reprimands Sir John for stealing the stolen money from the Irishman, but knows that he will be pardoned for turning the murderer in.

Act 5, Scene 10: A Hall of Justice, Hertford

The Oldcastles and Harpoole are brought before the court of assizes to be tried for their supposed murder of Lee's son. Lord and Lady Powis are also present, being that they were guests of the mayor of St. Albans at the time, and vow to do whatever they can to help their close friends the Oldcastles, who are still unknown to those present at the court. As the court proceeds to interrogate the Oldcastles, and they to defend themselves, the constable and Sir John enter with the Irishman, the real murderer, and completely exonerate Lord and Lady Cobham. The judge orders the Irishman to be executed, and Lee apologizes to those he falsely accused. Also, the judge exonerates Sir John for his robbery of the Irishman and his lustful lifestyle, since it was he who brought the murderer to justice. The play ends with Lord Powis inviting Olcastle to hide himself away on his Welsh lands, away from the clutches of Rochester.

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