William Willoughby, 5th Baron Willoughby de Eresby

Born: Unknown

Died: 1409

Willoughby in History

There is very little known about the historical William Willoughby. He was a member of the prominent Willoughby family of Lincolnshire. His father was John Willoughby, and his elder brother (whom he inherited his titles from in 1396) was Robert Willoughby. William was one of many men to desert King Richard II and join the forces of Henry Bolingbroke, the future King Henry IV in 1399. He is said to have remained unswervingly loyal to the new king and fought in several battles against the rebels in Wales and northern England (i.e. the Percies). William died in 1409, and his titles were inherited by his son, Robert, who went on to become a distinguished soldier and Knight of the Garter.

Willoughby in Shakespeare

Appears in: Richard II

Lord Willougby appears only briefly in Richard II. He is seen discussing the tyranny of King Richard along with Lord Ross and the Earl of Northumberland. At the end of the scene, Willoughby and Ross both agree to join Northumberland (who has just informed them that Henry Bolingbroke has returned from exile) in rebellion against the king.


Hicks, Michael. ‘Willoughby family (per. c.1300–1523)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/52801, accessed 19 Oct 2009]

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