January 7th is the birthday of Thomas of Woodstock, born a Plantagenet in 1355 (i.e. 658 years ago) as the youngest child of King Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault; he is the subject of an untitled anonymous Elizabethan play prserved at the British Museum and referred to as Thomas of Woodstock. He was the 1st Earl of Buckingham, 1st Earl of Essex (a title inherinted from his father-in-law, Humphrey of Bohun, 7th Earl of Hereford,) and Duke of Aumale. He was imprisoned for treason by his nephew King Richard II of England and murdered at the age of 42
while awaiting trial, a point of contention in a dispute between two noblemen, Bolingbroke (the future Henry IV of England, son of John of Gaunt) and Mowbray
in the opening scene of William Shakespeare's play Richard II which foreshadows Richard II's eventual death.
The accusation (in Shakespeare's Richard II) by Henry Bolingbroke is the following:
Look, what I speak, my life shall prove it true;
That Mowbray hath received eight thousand nobles
In name of lendings for your highness' soldiers,
The which he hath detain'd for lewd employments,
Like a false traitor and injurious villain.
Besides I say and will in battle prove,
Or here or elsewhere to the furthest verge
That ever was survey'd by English eye,
That all the treasons for these eighteen years
Complotted and contrived in this land
Fetch from false Mowbray their first head and spring.
Further I say and further will maintain
Upon his bad life to make all this good,
That he did plot the Duke of Gloucester's death,
Suggest his soon-believing adversaries,
And consequently, like a traitor coward,
Sluiced out his innocent soul through streams of blood:
Which blood, like sacrificing Abel's, cries,
Even from the tongueless caverns of the earth,
To me for justice and rough chastisement;
And, by the glorious worth of my descent,
This arm shall do it, or this life be spent.
As for the anonymous play http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_of_Woodstock_%28play%29 , some scholars have argued that it is by Shakespeare and others have argued that it is by Samuel Rowley, John Fletcher (1579–1625) or Thomas Heywood (early 1570s – 16 August 1641).
http://www.jstor.org/stable/2868908 Richard II and the Woodstock Murder