Today In History

Pontefract Castle
Pontefract Castle 16th Century
1595 On 9th December 1595, the earliest recorded performance of Shakespeare’s ‘the Tragedie of King Richard the Second’ (Pontefract Castle’s most famous prisoner) was made in Canon Row, London, at the home of Sir Edward Hoby. The play was performed at the Globe on 12th June 1631. Richard’s (dubiously violent) death is described in Act V, Scene V after Exton had presaged his murder on Henry IV’s orders: “And speaking it, he wistly look’d on me, And who should say, ‘I would thou wert the man That would divorce this terror from my heart;’ Meaning the king at Pomfret. Come, let’s go: I am the king’s friend, and will rid his foe.”