AS the final series of HBO's epic series Game Of Thrones airs, and we say goodbye to characters who have been introduced and nurtured and unceremoniously slain, we at The Press thought we’d delve into York’s past to dig out a few times in the city’s history when life imitated art.

Richard le Scrope was a leading clergyman who led a rebellion - much like The High Sparrow in George RR Martin's epic series.

Scrope, who was born around 1350, was a priest in York in 1377 who later became Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, and in 1392 went on a mission to Scotland at the request of King Richard II and helped bargain a truce with the Scots in 1394.

When Archbishop of York Robert Waldby died in 1398, King Richard II urged the Pope to appoint Scrope in his place, and in 1399, Scrope and the Archbishop of Canterbury enthroned Henry IV as king. Scrope helped his new monarch secure funds while on expedition to Scotland in 1400, but fell out of favour with Henry shortly after.

Scrope took the side of the Percys – who led a rebellion against Henry IV in 1403 – whom historians suggest were significant benefactors to his church, and Scrope gave Mass in York Minster when the king came to the city, marking the first public seeds of dissent.

After handing out a scathing commentary on Henry’s monarchy to close friends and compatriots, Scrope believed he would be able to rally a force large enough to take on the King and posted the manifesto around York for all to read.

The Archbishop preached his manifesto in the Minster, with citizens coming from towns and villages around York to join his campaign. Scrope joined forces with Henry Percy, the Earl of Northumberland, and other lords, put on his armour and led an 8,000-strong army against the king under the banner of the five wounds – representing the five wounds of Christ.

At Shipton Moor, on May 27, 1405, at the edge of the forest of Galtres, the much larger Royal army was waiting, and a parlay was agreed. Scrope met with the Earl of Westmorland to discuss his manifesto, explained he wanted peace, not war, and the Royalist led him to believe his terms were acceptable – shaking hands and drinking with him before the rebel army, before it dispersed on May 29, 1405.

Once the men were gone however, Scrope and his companions were arrested and sent to York by the King, who was determined to make an example of them in a trial in the Great Hall of Bishopthorpe Palace, where Scrope was found guilty of treason and sentenced to execution by sword.

On June 8, 1405, Scrope was dressed in a crimson cloak and hood and led through York on a bare-backed horse to a barley field at Clementhorpe, singing Psalms and trying to cheer his fellow condemned. As his companions were killed, he prayed and told the crowd he would die for the laws and good government of England.

When his turn came, Scrope kissed his executioner three times and asked him to strike his neck five times to mirror the wounds of Christ.

Some said as his head fell from his body, and he became the first Archbishop to die a traitor’s death, they could see a smile on his face.

*Some information in this piece came from York Murder & Crime by Summer Strevens, available through