This Day in History: 1316-01-27

On 27th January 1316, Parliament opened in Lincoln, one of the towns of which Thomas, Earl of Lancaster and lord of Pontefract, held by right. Thomas, however, displaying his ‘power’ vis-à-vis Edward II, did not arrive until 12th February. At this time, Thomas had a retinue of over 700 men compared to the king’s household of around 500, and owned 400 horses. His gross annual income was around £11,000 (£5.9 million in today’s money vs most people earning from 1d to 3d per day). As Kathryn Warner states: ‘Although …richer than anyone in the country except his cousin the king…Thomas lived well beyond his means. Even by the standards of the time he was a despised, greedy and grasping landlord…’