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Although in Book IV of his Chronicles Froissart is at times quite scathing about Thomas of Woodstock, this obviously did not impede his visit to the duke.
(34) The presence of this poem does not by itself prove that MS 831 was destined for Thomas of Woodstock. Given the close interconnections of the English aristocracy, there would have been a number of other possible patrons with a connection to either the Bohun or the Arundel families.
What does require some explanation is how the book might have come from Thomas of Woodstock to Richard Beauchamp and whether it could have done so via King Richard.
We have, then, a number of possible explanations of how MS 831, assuming it was Thomas of Woodstock's, might have come into the possession of Richard Beauchamp.
On balance, it appears that a line of transmission from Froissart to Thomas of Woodstock, from Woodstock's confiscated estate to King Richard, from Richard to Henry IV (or, if one is prepared to accept fauls as "destined," possibly directly from King Richard to his godson Richard Beauchamp), and finally from Beauchamp to Duke Humphrey as a gift is the likeliest possibility.
The hypothesis advanced above is that Froissart commissioned at least three manuscripts around the time of his trip to England: MS 830, prepared for some French patron; MS 831, prepared for Thomas of Woodstock; and the lost volume prepared for Richard.
Thomas Mowbray at the beginning of this play exclaims that Thomas of Woodstock's blood, "like sacrificing Abel's, cries / Even from the tongueless caverns of the earth / To me for justice and rough chastisement" (1.1.104-6).
The author of Thomas Of Woodstock is unknown but the play deals with events 10 years before Shakespeare's Richard II.
The following Friday an even rarer play, Thomas of Woodstock (or Richard II, Part 1), will be given a similar reading.
Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, youngest uncle of Richard II, is the character whose murder triggers the events of Richard II.
'I'm quite happy to be told I'm wrong, but I'm not aware that Thomas of Woodstock has been done since the 1590s.
Edward III is performed at The Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, this Friday at 1.30pm; Thomas of Woodstock is performed the following Friday, also 1.30pm.