Henry VI


The Minority Council. The Duke of Bourbon. London.

Foreign Relations. The Council and the Papacy. Scotland.

FRANCE: The Battle of the Herrings. Mont Saint Michel.

The City of Orleans. La Pucelle. The Battles of Jargeau and Patay.

Cardinal Beaufort’s Crusade. Cardinal Beaufort’s Army.

The Duke of Bedford and the Duke of Burgundy.

Paris. Henry VI’s Coronation.

Cardinal Beaufort and the Duke of Gloucester.

Cardinal Beaufort and the Duke of Burgundy.


1429 was a momentous year. Joan of Arc raised the siege of Orleans and the French army inflicted a heavy defeat on the English at the Battles of Jargeau and Patay. The Maid tried to take Paris but suffered her first defeat.

The Duke of Bedford invited the Duke of Burgundy to become governor of Paris for King Henry. 

Cardinal Beaufort’s army, intended to fight against the heretics in Bohemia was diverted to defend English possessions in France. In Parliament the Duke of Gloucester resigned as Protector of England and Cardinal Beaufort was reinstated on the Minority Council.

In November the eight-year-old Henry was crowned King Henry VI of England at Westminster Abbey. In London a wealthy widow was murdered by a man from Brittany, believed to be a spy.

In Scotland English and Scottish envoys negotiated an agreement intended to keep the peace along the Anglo Scottish border and to enforce border law.

The Minority Council

The Proceedings record thirty-four meetings in 1429, three in February, two in April, four in May, eight in June, five in July, four in October, three in November and five in December while Parliament was in session.

William Bruges, Garter King of Arms

William Bruges, Garter King of Arms was granted an annuity of £20 out of the fee farm of the city of Winchester after the Feast of the Garter in 1429. (1, 2).

King Henry V created the position of Garter King of Arms, named for the Feast of the Order of the Garter, as the senior Kings of Arms. William Bruges was the first Garter King of Arms. Born in 1375/76 Bruges was the son of Richard Bruges Lancaster King of Arms. He was Guyenne or Aquitaine King of Arms before becoming Garter. As Chester Herald he served Henry V as Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester and was employed by the prince on diplomatic missions (3).

Bruges’s status as Garter King of Arms gave him protection to travel freely as the King of England’s representative and he carried secret and confidential letters and messages to the courts of Europe throughout Henry VI’s reign. He died in 1450.

(1) Foedera X, p, 415 (Garter King of Arms annuity).

(2) CPR 1422-1429, p. 537 (Garter King of Arms annuity).

(3) Hugh Stanford London, The Life of William Bruges, the first Garter King of Arms, ed. A. Wagner (1970).

Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury

Richard Neville, the eldest son of Ralph, Earl of Westmorland by his second wife Joan Beaufort, claimed the title of Earl of Salisbury in right of his wife, Alice, Salisbury’s only daughter and heiress after Thomas Montague’s death at the siege of Orleans in 1428. Neville’s claim was put before a panel of judges who pronounced that Neville was entitled to so style himself since Alice “ought to be named and reputed as a countess, so ought he to enjoy the name of an earl.”  On 3 May 1429 the Council confirmed his right to a seat in parliament and in council as Earl of Salisbury (1).

“And the xxj day of Feverer Syr Rycharde Nevyle was made Erle of Saulysbury.”           Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 163

(1) PPC III, pp. 324-326 (Richard Neville became Earl of Salisbury).

(2) M. Hicks, ‘The Neville Earldom of Salisbury, 1429-71’ in Richard III and His Rivals, pp. 353-63.


John, Bastard of Clarence

The Bastard of Clarence had been granted £100 from estates in Ireland in July 1428.

See Year 1428 Minority Council for the grant.

A year later on 6 July 1429 he surrendered his patent and received the same amount from the same estates: Esker, Newcastle-on-Lyons, Cromelyn, and Tassagard with the addition of Keeper of Dublin Castle.  These estates would revert to Clarence when the grant of them to the current holders, Richard FitzEustace and John Cornwalsh, expired (1, 2), but this would not be until 1435.

(1) Foedera X, pp. 427–428 (grant to Clarence).

(2) CPR 1422-29, p. 543  (grant to Clarence).


The export of bullion from England as prohibited by statute. In June 1429 the Council ordered William Fitz Harry and John Ardern to enquire into the illicit smuggling of jewels, gold, and silver, to unnamed fortresses in Picardy (1). William Fitz Harry was captain of Marck Castle in the Pale of Calais.  He had joined King Henry’s household under the governorship of the Earl of Warwick in 1428 as a king’s esquire. John Ardern may have been the clerk of the king’s works but is more likely to have been the John Ardern who was clerk to Lord Hungerford, the Treasurer of England.

Richard Woodville, the Duke of Bedford’s lieutenant in Calais, the mayor of Calais and the mayor of the Calais Staple were commanded to assist Fitz Harry and Ardern (1). The involvement of the Calais officials may indicate that gold and silver was being removed from the Calais mint, or of course, it may have been an entirely private enterprise by English or foreign merchants to flout government regulations.

(1) PPC III, p. 329 (appointment of Fitz Harry and Ardern).


A charter issued by King John and confirmed by King Henry III, had exempted London merchants trading in Bayonne in the Duchy of Gascony from paying export duties and local tolls of quayage (docking), murage (wall repair), pontage (bridge maintenance) and paviage (road repairs).  In February 1429, a letter in Henry VI’s name reminded the mayor and officials of Bayonne of the charter and confirmed the London merchants’ privileges (1).

(1) Foedera X. pp. 411-412.


In October 1429 William Paston and John Cotesmore, sergeants at law, were appointed justices of the Court of Common Pleas; Thomas Rolf and Richard Newton became sergeants at law; John Wampage became a king’s attorney and William Babthorp, a king’s attorney in the Court of Common Pleas, became a Baron of the Exchequer (1).

Sergeants at law were qualified lawyers who had served a sixteen-year apprenticeship at the Inns of Court. They had a monopoly of appearing in the Court of Common Pleas where they pleaded special cases. A sergeant at law ranked as a knight. Justices were selected from their ranks and promotion was on royal authority by command of the Chancellor (2).

(1) PPC IV, pp. 4-5 (judicial appointments).

(2) J.A.F. Thomson, The Transformation of Medieval England 1370-1529, (1983), pp. 292-293 (sergeants at law).


Sir William Ashton and Richard Shirburn esquire of the county of Lancaster had appeared before the Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, William Babington, on a charge of disorderly behaviour and a failure to keep the king’s peace. They were bound over to appear before the Council and accept arbitration to settle their dispute, which they did and were discharged (1). On 4 June in Chancery, they each gave a mainprise that they ‘shall do or procure no hurt or harm to any of the people’ on pain of a fine of £100.’ (2)

The men of Cheshire were a turbulent lot.  At the end of 1428 a group of offenders from good Cheshire families, Laurence Fitton, John and Thomas Stanley, Peter Dutton and John Savage appeared before William Troutbeck, the chamberlain of Chester and were ordered to appear  before the Council by the end of March 1429. A second group Laurence Warren, Thomas Grosvenor, Ralph Mainwaring, Hugo Venables, Robert and John Davenport also appeared before the council. Each group had given a recognizance of £1,000 for their appearance and good behaviour. On 6 July the Council discharged them of their recognizances (3).

(1) PPC III, p 327 (Ashton and Shirburne).

(2)  CClR 1422-1430,  pp. 456-457 (Ashton and Shirburne).

(3) PPC III, pp 346-347 (men of Chester).

The Duke of Bourbon

Negotiations for the release of John, Duke of Bourbon in 1427 fell through when Bourbon could not fulfill the Council’s conditions, disappointing Henry Beaufort’s hopes for the release on exchange for his Beaufort nephews.

See Year 1427 The Duke of Bourbon and the Earl of Somerset.

The possibility of Bourbon’s release revived in 1429 when he agreed to pay liege homage to Henry VI as King of France, perhaps during the New Year festivities when Henry was at Eltham. Bourbon was nearly fifty and in poor health; he wanted to go home.

“And that same yere the Duke of Burbone was sworne Englysche in the kyngys manyr of Eltam besyde Grenewyche.” Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 163

The Council was optimistic: in March, in anticipation of a payment by Bourbon of 5,000 marks, shipping was requisitioned to transport him and his household to Calais (1). In July the Council assigned the money to pay the wages of the Calais garrison because the 10,000 marks from the King of Scotland’s ransom had not been received, but only £400 was available at the Exchequer for immediate transfer to Calais (2, 3).

Bourbon’s release was discussed in Parliament in October 1429. Bourbon had paid homage to King Henry and was now so infirm that he was unable to bear arms. The Commons were anxious to secure payment of the balance of his ransom and they urged the Council to expedite negotiations. They pointed out that it would cause great inconvenience to the king if Bourbon died before his ransom was paid! (4, 5).

On 1 December, on the authority of Parliament, Bourbon was removed from the nominal custody of the Duke of Bedford and transferred to the custody of Sir Thomas Comberworth (6).

(1) Foedera X, p. 413 (ships for Bourbon).

(2) PPC III, pp. 344–345 (£400 from Bourbon’s ransom assigned to Calais).

(3) Foedera X, pp. 426–427 (£400 from Bourbon’s ransom assigned to Calais).

(4) PROME X, p. 379 (Council to negotiate with Bourbon).

(5) Foedera X, p. 434 (Council to negotiate with Bourbon).

(6) PROME X pp. 384–385 (custody of Bourbon assigned to Comberworth).


A Breton Murderer

The chronicles offer a detailed account of the murder of Joan Wynkefeld, a wealthy London widow resident in Whitechapel. Testimony from various witnesses, and in the chronicles, is somewhat contradictory.  In one version Joan took a man from Brittany into her house as a servant out of Christian charity, giving him easy access to her possessions. He murdered her while she was asleep and escaped with her valuables.

In another version Joan caught Ivo Caret, a Breton and a brewer by trade, in the act of entering her house and stealing from her. Caret first bludgeoned her to death and then dismembered her body. He fled across the river and found sanctuary at St George’s Church in Southwark. The chronicles’ statement that he took the cross is misleading. It does not mean that he vowed to go on crusade. A man who had taken sanctuary was legally entitled to go abroad ‘abjure the realm’ within forty days. His journey from the place of sanctuary would be monitored and his person protected; as a penitent he walked barefoot wearing white sackcloth with a red cross printed on it and a crucifix in his hand, for ease of identification (1). It was, of course, how his attackers identified Caret.

Caret left sanctuary in the company of two constables, making for the coast. They crossed the Thames and passed through Whitechapel where he was set upon by a group of women, friends and possibly relations of the dead woman, led by one Margaret Conys. The women threw dung at him and stoned him to death. The enquiries instituted in the wake of the murder and the stoning ‘established’ that Caret was a spy who had been in England since 1425, passing information back to his native Brittany, as well as to the French and the Scots (2). It was an easy accusation to make; any Breton resident in London between 1425 and 1429, when England was at war with Brittany, would have been suspected of being a spy by the xenophobic Londoners, and this charge weighed more heavily with the authorities than that of murder.

(1) Bellamy, Crime and Public Order, p. 112.

(2)  Griffiths, K&C, ‘A Breton spy in London,’ pp. 221-225.


  1. “ this same yere betwen Estren and Witsontyd a fals Breton modred a wydewe in here bed the whiche fond hym for almasse withoughte Algate in the subbarbes of London and bar awey alle that sche hadde, and afterward he toke socour of Holy Chirche at seynt Georges in Suthwerk; but at the laste he tok the crosse and forswore the kynges land; and as he wente hys way it happyd hym to come be the same place where he had don that cursed dede, and women of the same paryssh comen out with stones and canell dong, and there maden an ende of hym in the hyghe strete, so that he wente no ferthere notwithstondynge the constables and othere men also, whiche hadde hym undir governaunce to conduyt hym forward for there was a gret companye of them and hadde no mercy, no pyte.”                                                          A Chronicle of London (Harley 565) p. 117 and Chronicles of London (Cleopatra C IV) p. 132
  1. “Also þis same yere a Breton murthered A gode widow without Al-gate, which wedow fond him for almesse; & he bare away al þat she had; And after þis he toke girth of holy church at Seynt Georges in Suthwerk, & þer toke þe crosse & forswore þis land. And as he went it happened þat he came bi þe place where he did þis cursed dede in þe subbarbis of London; & þe women of þe same parissh come out with stones and Canell dunge & slew & made an ende of him, nat-withstonding þe constable & many other men beyng present to kepe him; for þer wer many women, & had no pite.” Brut Continuation G, p. 500
  2. And in þe same yere a fals Breton betwen Ester and Witsontyde, mordrede a good wedowe in hir bedde, the which hadde found hym, for Almesse, withoute Algate, In the suburbes of London; & he bar a-way all that sche hadde, And after toke girth of holy churche at Saint Georges in Suthwerk; but at þe last he toke the Crosse & for-suore þe Kyng land. And as he went his way it [443] it happid hym to come by the same place wher he did that cursede dede; And women of þe same parish come oute to hym with stones & with canell dong & þere made an ende of hym in þe high streit, so þat he went no ferþere not-with-stondyng þe Constablis & oþer men also, which had hym in gourernaunce to convey hym forth in his way; for þere was a grete companye of them; & on hym thei had neither mercie nor pite; & thus this fals thefe endede his life in þis worlde, for his falsnesse.”

                                                Brut D Appendix, pp. 442-443

  1. “And that same yere there was a ryche wedowe i-slayne at Whyte Chapylle; and the same theffe that kylde hyr fledde to Syn Gorgys yn Sowtheworke; and the Fryday nexte folowynge he for-swore the londe; and he was a-syngyd the same way that he slowe the woman, and there wemmen mette with hym and slowe hym in the waye by twyne the Whyte Chapylle and Algate.”   
  2.                                        Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 164

A Thief

Gregory’s Chronicle also records that in June a thief named Bolton was hanged and that a friar and the ‘parson’ of the Tower were killed there, and that the price of wheat rose to 20 pence a bushel.

“And the same yere there was a stronge thefe that was namyd Bolton was drawe hanggyd and i-quarteryde.  Ande the same yere, the v day of June, there was a fryer i-slayne in the Towre of London, and the person of the same Towre with hym also.”

Foreign Relations


King Eric of Denmark’s war with the Count of Holstein over the Duchy of Schleswig proved to be very expensive.

See Year 1427 Minority Council, Eric King of Denmark.

Eric needed all the income he could get.  English merchants had gradually opened up trade in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and into Iceland, and in 1429 Eric complained to the Council that English merchants were disobeying his edict that all trade with his Scandinavian territories must pass through the staple at Norbarn (Bergen) where he could impose import and export taxes. English merchant received the same privileges, and protection, as merchants of the Hanseatic League on condition that they traded only through Bergen.

In May 1429 the Council ordered the sheriffs of thirteen English counties to issue a proclamation that the staple at Bergen in Norway was the only port through which fish and other merchandise could be traded; they were prohibited from trading in Finmark or any of Eric’s other dominions (2).

Denmark was an ally of England, and the Parliament of 1429/30 passed an act imposing forfeiture or fines on any merchants who evaded the regulations.  (3, 4). English merchants did trade through Bergen, but King Eric’s taxes were heavy The prohibition to trade elsewhere was difficult, if not impossible, to enforce. It could be ignored with impunity by the men who risked their lives and their ships sailing in the dangerous waters of the Baltic.

(1) Foedera X, p 416 (trade restricted to Bergen).

(2) PROME X p 400-401 (King Eric’s protest, Parliament’s prohibition).

(3) Power and Postan, English Trade, pp. 166-167 (English merchants trading to Iceland).



At the end of 1428 the Kingdom of Castile hovered on the brink of war with her neighbours, the kingdoms of Aragon and Navarre. In 1429 King Juan II of Castile’s council sent Sancho Esquerra [Sampson Esquier] described as ‘keeper and guardian’ of the king in the Proceedings, to request safe conducts for a Castilian embassy to come to England to discuss renewing the former alliance between England and Castile.  He received a gift of £20.

In February the Council granted a safe conduct for a bishop, a knight, a doctor of laws and a secretary to come to London with a retinue of forty persons to remain England until the beginning of November. A similar safe conduct was issued for Sancho Esquerra [Sampson Esquier] to be accompanied by eight people (1, 2).

A letter in the Proceedings in King Henry’s name to King Juan announcing that the safe conducts had been issued as requested is obviously a draft, with numerous sentences crossed through and some repetitions (3).  Presumably they did not come as in October safe conducts were again issued, valid until June 1430, for one count,  one baron, two knights, two doctors of law and clerks of the Castilian council to come to England with their retinues. (The Council apparently had no idea of who these Castilians might be and the invitation may have been for them to attend King Henry’s coronation).

(1) Foedera X, p. 411 (Castilian safe conducts).

(2) PPC III, pp. 319-320 (Castilian safe conducts).

(3) PPC III, pp. 320-321 (Henry VI letter to King Juan).

(4) Foedera X, p. 434 (Castilian safe conducts).


The Proceedings and the Foedera record a visit in October by Simon de Crema a representative of Gianfrancesco, Lord of Mantua. The House of Gonzaga had ruled Mantua, a small city state bordering Milan and Venice, since the end of the twelfth century. By the fifteenth century Mantua was reputed to have one of the most splendid courts in Italy.  Simon was awarded £40 and a silver cup ‘for his own use’  and given three gold collars, two of them enameled, as gifts to the Lord of Mantua from  the King of England, but the purpose of his visit is unknown (1, 2).

(1) PPC IV, p. 3 (Mantua).

(2) Foedera X, p. 433 (Mantua).


In June 1429 Thomas Spofford, Bishop of Hereford, requested permission to go on pilgrimage to Rome to fulfil a long-standing vow (1). At the same time Robert Fitzhugh, Warden of King’s Hall, Cambridge, the son of Henry V’s chamberlain, received £100 to proceed on an embassy to Rome for ‘urgent negotiations’ (2) but it was not until mid-July that Spofford and Fitzhugh, with Andrew Holes and Henry Herburg, were commissioned to treat with Alfonso V of Aragorn’s representatives in Rome on the same terms as those given to previous ambassadors (se 1424) (3, 4). Letters of protection for one year for Fitzhugh and his retinue (who are named) were issued on 15 July (5).

Why the Council continued to approach Alfonso is unclear. Possibly they were following Henry V’s diplomacy, in seeking an alliance with Aragon against France. Alfonso was at war with Castile and may have wished to prevent an Anglo-Castilian alliance but he had no real interest in England. As in 1428 the outcome of these negotiations, if they took place, is not known.

(1) CPR 1422-1429, p. 541 (Spofford pilgrimage).

(2) PPC III, p. 330 (Fitzhugh to go to Rome).

(3) PPC III, p. 348 (commission to treat with Aragon).

(4) Foedera X,  p. 433 (commission to treat with Aragon).

(5) PPC III, p. 347 (letters of protection).

The Council and the Papacy

Robert Fitzhugh became the king’s proctor to the curia on 29 June 1429, which was probably the initial reason for ordering him to go to Rome (1).

On the same day, the Council agreed that ‘Sir Milo’ (?) should become the king’s advocate at the curia and that an annuity of 50 marks should be awarded to the ‘Cardinal of Navarre. (2).

Ardicino or Hardesino della Porta, Cardinal of Ss. Cosmas and Damian of Novara in Italy was not Cardinal of Navarre as in the Proceedings and the Foedera.

See Year 1431: The Council and the Papacy for Hardesino,

John of Obizis [Opizzis]

He had been imprisoned in 1427 for bringing unacceptable papal bulls from Pope Martin into England. The Council then thought better of imprisoning the pope’s representative and Obizis had been released.

See Year 1427: The Council and the Papacy

To placate Pope Martin, and put a stop to his continual complaints about the treatment of his envoy, the Council agreed at the end of April 1429 that Obizis should be allowed to hold benefices in England up to the value of 200 marks, presumably to be provided to any suitable vacancy with Pope Martin’s approval (3).

Herman Dwerg

Although he was resident in Rome, Dwerg was to be allowed to accept benefices in England in the same form as that given to John Obizis, to the value of £100 for his ‘notable services’ to the king (3).

Dwerg was a doctor of canon law and a papal notary. Harvey describes him as the most influential German in the curia and ‘A famous member of the German community in Rome [who] had considerable diplomatic dealings with England.’ (4)

Dwerg settled a dispute between the Prior of St Oswald’s, Nostell in Yorkshire, and the prioress of St Sixtus in Rome in favour of the prioress, but this is unlikely to be the notable services to the king referred to in the Proceedings for which he was to be rewarded by permission to hold benefices in England up to the value of £100 (5).

(1) Harvey, England and the Papacy p. 13 (Fitzhugh proctor in Rome).

(2) PPC III, p. 339 (Sir Milo, ‘Cardinal of Navarre’, and Dwerg).

(3) Foedera X, p. 415 (Obizis to hold benefices in England).

(4) Harvey, England and Papacy, pp. 54 and 87 (Dwerg).

(5) Papal Letters VIII, pp. 170-171 (Dwerg settled dispute).

The Bishops

Thomas Brouns

John Rickingale, Bishop of Chichester, died on 6 July 1429 and Thomas Brouns was elected to replace him. The Council gave its consent and notified the pope in August (1). Pope Martin refused to confirm the election because he had not been consulted (2). Martin’s choice fell on Simon Sydenham, Dean of Salisbury Cathedral, whom he had rejected to become Bishop of Salisbury in 1427 under pressure from Cardinal Beaufort (see 1427).  Confusingly Brouns succeeded Sydenham as Dean of Salisbury.

See Year 1427: The Council and the Papacy for the bishopric of Salisbury.

Marmaduke Lumley

An even more contentious election took place towards the end of the year. William Barrow, Bishop of Carlisle, died in September and the prior and canons of the cathedral elected Marmaduke Lumley to replace him. The royal assent was given by the Council, and the pope was informed. This time it was not Pope Martin but the Duke of Gloucester who opposed the nomination.

Marmaduke Lumley was educated at Cambridge and became Chancellor of the University in 1427 and Master of Trinity Hall in 1429. There is no obvious reason for the canons’ choice of a Cambridge man for the northern see of Carlisle, or why the Duke of Gloucester opposed Lumley, except for his tenuous connection to the Neville family, and so to Cardinal Beaufort.  Lumley’s mother, Eleanor Neville, was the sister of Ralph Neville, first Earl of Westmorland who died in 1425. Gloucester may, of course,  have just disliked Lumley personally, we have no way of knowing.

The assumption that Beaufort promoted Lumley in 1429 and so roused Gloucester’s ire is an example of ignoring chronology and reading history backwards. Beaufort was not reinstated to the Council until the end of 1429, and Lumley’s kinship with the Nevilles was too slight a motivation for Beaufort to champion him. Of course Lumley became Beaufort’s adherent in Council after 1430 in opposition to Gloucester.

The dispute in Council was serious enough to be raised in Parliament, and on 30 November Parliament confirmed Lumley as Bishop of Carlisle (3).  The decision was recorded at a Council meeting on 3 December with Gloucester and Lord Scrope dissenting (4). All Gloucester got was Lumley’s life-long enmity. The assumption that Beaufort promoted Lumley in 1429 and so roused Gloucester’s ire is an example of ignoring chronology and reading history backwards. Beaufort was not reinstated to the Council until the end of 1429, and Lumley’s kinship with the Nevilles was too slight a motivation for Beaufort to champion him. Of course Lumley became Beaufort’s adherent in Council after 1430 in opposition to Gloucester.

(1) Foedera X, p. 433 (Brouns elected as bishop).

(2) Papal Letters VIII, pp. 215 and 217 (Brouns rejected by the Pope).

(3) PROME X, p. 385 (Lumley).

(4) PPC IV, p. 8 (Lumley).


King James and Cardinal Beaufort

The Minority Council had insisted at the end of 1428 that Cardinal Beaufort must meet with King James of Scotland to remind him that a treaty he had signed with the Dauphin Charles in 1428 to send a Scottish army to France violated James’s treaty with England of 1423 to remain neutral in the war in France, and that James’s obligation under the same treaty topay his ransom had not been met.

See Year 1428: The Council and Cardinal Beaufort

On 10 February 1429 the Chancellor was instructed to issue an authorization for Cardinal Beaufort to proceed to the Marches of Scotland, or into Scotland, if need be, to discuss ‘the faith of the church and the welfare and honour of both of Henry VI’s kingdoms’ (1, 2) This was a gloss on his real mission: to persuade King James not to honour his treaty with the Dauphin Charles for a marriage of his daughter Margaret with Charles’s son Louis and to deter him from sending a Scottish army to fight for the French.

‘The faith of the church’ meant that Beaufort had special licence from the Council to recruit Scots for the army he was trying to raise against the heretics in Bohemia, and incidentally divert Scottish soldiers away from fighting for France. ‘The welfare and honour of both of Henry VI’s kingdoms’ meant that the English Council would not tolerate James sending Scottish troops to France, although there was little they could do to prevent him, except by applying psychological pressure, Beaufort could threaten that the Council would view the departure of a Scottish army for France as act of war.

Beaufort met King James at Coldingham Priory, a Benedictine house just over the Scottish border (3). He was still there in mid-March when William Tryst, was authorized to purchase horses to carry messages to him (4).

There is no record of the discussions between the king and the cardinal, but Beaufort returned to London empty handed. James did not promise that he would not implement his treaty with the Dauphin.  In April the Great Council ordered ships to be put to sea to intercept the French navy which they believed would convey Princess Margaret and an army from Scotland to France (5).

In the event the crossing did not take place. James may have heeded Beaufort’s warning that sending an army to France could lead to war with England, something James could not afford. It is equally likely that James had promised the Dauphin Charles what he could not perform, he was good at it! To raise 6,000 Scottish mercenaries (for that is what they would have been) only four years after the last Scots army under Archibald Douglas had been decimated at the Battle of Verneuil was more than James could accomplish, and the careful Dauphin would not accept Margaret without the army.

John Stewart of Darnley, who had negotiated the treaty and was expected to take command of the Scots, was killed at the Battle of the Herrings in February News of this may have helped James to decide to hold his hand.

See The Battle of the Herrings below. 

(1) PPC III, pp. 318-319 (Beaufort’s terms of reference).

(2) Foedera X, p. 410 (Beaufort’s authorization. He was allowed 500 marks for his expenses).

(3) Balfour-Melville, James I, p. 168 (Coldingham).

(4) Foedera X, p. 413 (messenger to Beaufort).

(5) PPC III, p. 324 (ships to intercept passage to France).

James ‘Mor’ Stewart

The Council considered alternative measures to deal with King James. Murdoch Stewart, Duke of Albany, had a claim to the Scottish throne. James had arrested and executed Murdoch and his eldest son Alexander on treason charges in 1425, and Murdoch’s youngest son James (known as James Mor, the Fat) had raised a rebellion against the king with the support of his kinsman Finlay of Albany, Bishop of Argyll. Mor had attacked and burned the town of Dumbarton, killing King James’s uncle, Sir John Stewart of Dundonald and thirty-two members of the garrison. But he was unable to follow up his success and he fled to Ireland (1).

In May the Council commissioned William Troutbeck, Chamberlain of Chester, to go to Ireland to find Mor and offer him a safe conduct to come to England (2, 3).  Troutbeck had taken the musters of John Sutton’s army when Sutton sailed for Ireland as the king’s lieutenant in 1428, and was he was ordered to take the muster again in Ireland while searching for Mor (4).

The interesting question in all this is what use the Council hoped to make of James Mor? They certainly had no use for King James by 1429. Did they consider backing a rival for the Scottish throne? Or was it just a hare-brained scheme discussed in Council and then discarded?

Alexander, Lord of the Isles, had apparently hatched a plan to bring James Mor back to Scotland to challenge for the Scottish throne. Early in 1429 a fleet set out from the Isles to find James the Fat and “to convey him home that he might be made king” (5). It was too late. James Mor was dead by the end of April 1429 (6).

(1) Balfour-Melville, James I, pp. 121-122 (James Mor’s rebellion).

(2) PPC III, p. 327 (Commission to Troutbeck to go to Ireland).

(3) Foedera X, p. 415 (commission to Troutbeck to go to Ireland).

(4) CPR 1422-1429, pp. 469 and 546 (Troutbeck to take musters).

(5) Annals of Ulster in A. Cosgrave (ed), Medieval Ireland, p. 576 (Mor’s rescue).

(6) Brown, James I,  pp. 101–102 (Mor’s death).


In February, while Cardinal Beaufort was in Scotland, the Council authorized Thomas Langley, Bishop of Durham, William Barrow, Bishop of Carlisle, the Earl of Northumberland, Sir Robert Umfraville and Master Richard Arnold, a canon of York, to resume negotiations and raise yet again the perennial question of the non-payment of King James’s ransom, the Scottish hostages still in England, and the never ending truce violations, with this time a possible extension of the truce which was due to expire in 1430 (1).

At the end of May the Earl of Northumberland and Richard Neville, now Earl of Salisbury, as Wardens of the March, and William Barrow, were ordered to proceed to the Marches. The earls were to receive £50 each for their expenses, the bishop £20 (2).

Negotiations were scheduled for June. On 8 June, possibly as a threat to exert pressure on the Scots, Sir John Langton was instructed to send three Scottish hostages south to the Tower of London, for safe keeping.  Robert Stewart of Lorne, Sir Thomas Hay of Yester, and Andrew Ketly of Inverurie were in custody at York as part of the first exchange of hostages in August 1425 (3).

Safe conducts for Scottish representatives to come to Haddenstank, a customary meeting place for March Days on the border, were issued on 15 June to John Cameron, Bishop of Glasgow and Chancellor of Scotland, Alexander Vaus Bishop of Galloway,  Archibald, fifth Earl of Douglas, James Douglas Lord of Dalkeith, George, the Scottish Earl of March and his brother Patrick of Dunbar, Sir John Forrester Lord of Liberton, Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick, Master William Fowlis, and Master John of Scheves. (4, 5).

Northumberland, Salisbury, and William Barrow were joined by Sir Robert Umfraville, who had been an emissary to King James in 1426, and Master John Stokes a Doctor of Laws and an experienced diplomat. It was Bishop Barrow’s last service to the Council; he died in September 1429.

Border Law

The conference opened on at Haddenstank 12 July 1429. It proved more positive and more productive than earlier meetings. There appears to have been an agreement in principal that violations of the truce had gone on long enough and that strict guidelines, given the force of law. should outlaw border raiding with punishments severe enough to deter marauders.

Indentures for March Law (border law), setting out the penalties and procedures to be practiced by both sides were drawn up and authorized in the names of King Henry VI and King James I. The English Wardens of the March, and the Chancellor of Scotland had overall responsibility for implementing the agreement.

March Days to settle disputes would continue but a written record of all discussions and decisions must be kept.  Juries made up of lawyers and local men of good standing could be empanelled to advise on cases in dispute, but the English jurors would be selected by the Scots and the Scots jurors by the English, which can only have complicated proceedings. Forfeiture, in one form or another, and fines were the usual punishments.

Penalties to cover violations of the truce of 1424 by land and sea were outlined for specific offences, ranging from treason and murder through acts of mayhem, assault, and breaches of safe conducts, theft of animals or goods, and the unlawful pasturing of animals .

See Year 1425 Scotland for the dispute over pasture lands around Berwick.

A separate indenture in English signed by a different set of commissioners, Sir John Bertram, Sir Christopher Curwen, Master Thomas Vuldale, and William Lamberton for the English, Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick, Sir Patrick Dunbar, Master Thomas Roulle, and David Home for the Scots covered acts of piracy. Ships and their cargoes taken unlawfully at sea were to be restored to their rightful owners. Men unlawfully captured at sea were to be set free, but if lawfully captured they must pay their ransom.

The 1429 agreement was a valiant attempt to establish a code of conduct to modify and redress acts of violence that could be accepted in theory if not always in practice, by both sides (6). But border raiding was too engrained for the indentures to be effective. To establish laws and penalties was one thing, to enforce them was quite another. Complaints of truce violations and periodic treks north by English commissioners to treat with the Scots would continue throughout Henry VI’s reign.

On 15 October four commissioners from each side were authorized to meet by 12 November at Loghmabenstane and Reddenburn for the redress of injuries, but there is no record that the meetings actually took place (7).

(1) Foedera X, pp. 410-411 (English commissioners to Scotland).

(2) PPC III, p. 324 (English commissioners to treat with Scots).

(3) Foedera X, p.  416 (Scottish hostages).

(4) Foedera X, p. 417 (Scots safe conducts).

(5) PPC III, pp. 329–329 (Scots safe conducts).

(6) Foedera X, pp. 428–431 (Border law agreement).

(7) Foedera X, p. 435 (October meeting).


The Battle of the Herrings

The Earl of Suffolk maintained the siege of Orleans throughout November and December 1428 after the death of the Earl of Salisbury, and into the beginning of 1429. But wintry conditions took their toll.  Many of the men in Salisbury’s army, who indentures expired in December returned home. Besieged and besiegers alike suffered privations.

In February 1429 Sir John Fastolf  left Paris to escort several hundred carts carrying relief supplies to the besieging army.  The convoy was guarded by English and Norman long bowmen and a contingent of crossbow men. The Bourgeois of Paris was at pains to point out that the costs fell heavily on the Parisians (1).

Fastolf reached Rouvray, not far from the town of Janville when he learned that a French army was approaching (2). He ordered the wagons to form a defensive circle with two openings, one manned by the longbow men, the other by the cross bowmen.

Charles, Count of Clermont led a mixed force of French and Scots to intercept Fastolf. Clermont was the son of John, Duke of Bourbon who was a prisoner in England and one of the conditions for Bourbon’s release was that Clermont should change his allegiance. (Brut D mistakenly calls him Charles of Burgundy).  Clermont had no intention of doing so.

The Scots were commanded by John Stewart of Darnley, a professional soldier in the service of the Dauphin who had been with the victorious Scots at the Battle of Baugé in 1421. As the highest-ranking Scottish officer in France he is sometimes referred to as Constable of the Scots.

There was disagreement in the French ranks as to how best to engage the small English force protected by its wagon circle. Clermont favoured bombarding them with light artillery, but Stewart and the Scots considered this a cowardly way to fight. They dismounted, charged on foot, and were easily picked off by the English archers. Stewart and his half-brother, William, were killed. (The French chroniclers say it was one of his sons).

Clermont charged the wagons. His horses ran onto the stakes driven into the ground by the crossbow men and his force came under heavy arrow fire. He and what were left of the Scots, drew off, allowing Fastolf and his wagons to reach Orleans in safety. Many of the barrels containing foodstuffs, especially fish, since the men could not eat meat during the holy days of Lent, were broken open during the fight and their contents were strewn around the field, giving the encounter its name, the Battle of the Herrings.

 Cleopatra C IV, Harley 565 and Brut Continuation D, and Wavrin (but not Chartier) all claim that Jean de Dunois, Bastard of Orleans, half-brother to Charles, Duke of Orleans was at the battle (3, 4). Dunois was by far the most skilled of the French war captains, and he outranked Clermont. Had he been present he would have assumed overall command, and possibly claimed a victory.  Fastolf’s biographer hedged his bets: “Dunois did contrive to lead a contingent from inside the beleaguered city [Orleans] including some Scots” but he gives no source. Perhaps Dunois arrived too late to retrieve the situation.

The  chronicles include Sir Thomas Rempston in Fastolf’s company, but this is uncertain. He was with  John, Lord Talbot at the recovery of Le Mans in 1428 and he may have accompanied Talbot rather than Fastolf to Orleans. He was certainly there in May 1429. Gregory’s Chronicle  (p. 163) also names Sir John Salvain, bailli of Rouen, as being present.

“vii m1 of frensshmen and mo, with many Scottes, ffell vpon owre men as they went thederward  with vetayle besides a tovne that is called Yamvyle where sir John Steward and his brother, with mo than vijc Scottes that they were governorys of, lyten a foot and were slayn every modyr sonne by Sir John ffastolf,  sir Thomas Rampston, and other capteyns of oure side the wich hadde not passyng vc fytyng men with hem at all withoute carteys; but Charlys of Borbon and the bastard of Orlyaunce with all the ffrensshemen sittyng on horsse bak seyng this governaunce, trusshed her pakkes and went her way.”

                                                             Cleopatra C IV p. 132.  Harley 565, pp. 116-117.  Brut Continuation D, p. 435

(1) Bourgeois, pp. 227–229 (Fastolf’s army).

(2) S. Cooper, The Real Fastolf, pp. 53–55, makes a convincing case that the site of the battle was Rouvray Sainte-Croix not Rouvray-Sainte-Denis.

(3) Wavrin III, pp. 161-163 (for the battle).

(4) Chartier, Chronique I, p. 62 (for the battle).

Mont Saint Michel

King Henry V’s conquest of the Duchy of Normandy did not include the capture of the impregnable Mont Saint Michel which had been under intermittent siege by the English since Henry’s invasion of 1417.  Successive English attempts to capture it always ended in failure.

Bedford never gave up trying, Mont Saint Michel was a part of Normandy. He had requested an ‘aid’ from the Estates of Normandy in 1428 to help recover it and on 13 March 1429 Pope Martin V authorized Pierre Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais as a member of the Grand Conseil to levy a tax of two tenths on the clergy of Normandy to raise men at arms and archers for the siege of Mont Saint Michael (1).  The tax was resented and resisted; very little had been collected by the beginning of 1430 (2).

(1) L&P II, pp. 89–92 (tax for Mont Saint Michel imposed by the Pope).

(2) Luce, Chronique de Mont Saint Michel, pp. 278–280  and note 1 (tax for Mont Saint Michel).

The City of Orleans

The Duke of Bedford had informed the Council that the siege of Orleans had not gone well after the death of the Earl of Salisbury. Bedford needed at least 200 men-at-arms and 1200 archers to replace the men in Salisbury’s army who had returned home. Without replacements he could not guarantee to continue to siege.

Bedford also told the Council that the Grand Conseil in Paris, and Henry’s French subjects in general, wished Henry to be crowned King of France as soon as possible. A Great Council was summoned to meet at Westminster on 15 April to decide what was to be done. The risks and the expense of sending King Henry France would be considerable and could not be contemplated at this time. Henry had yet to be crowned King in England. (1, 2).

The Treasurer, Lord Hungerford, reported that the crown’s debts were rising, and that current expenditure exceeded income by about 20,000 marks a year. The Council voted to send 100 men at arms and 700 archers, about half the force that Bedford had requested, but there was no money in the Exchequer and the only solution was to raise more loans. Repayment would be guaranteed against the tax of a tenth voted by Convocation at Canterbury and the treasurer was ordered to issued assignment for payment in June drawn on the Convocation tax and on subsidies from the customs (3).

The Grand Conseil had convened in Paris to discuss the siege of Orleans and other military and political questions (4). The Duke of Burgundy arrived in Paris in February and was received joyfully by its citizens.

A delegation from beleaguered Orleans, led by the French war captain Poton de Xaintrailles, requested safe conducts from the Regent Bedford to visit the Duke of Burgundy with a novel suggestion to end the stalemate of the siege. This extraordinary proposition may have originated with Jean de Dunois, Bastard of Orleans who had worked tirelessly since 1415, with no help from the Dauphin Charles, to obtain his half-brother’s release.

The terms are outlined in a letter from a merchant in Bruges dated 10 May 1429 (5, 6). The city would be surrendered to the Duke of Burgundy who would become its custodian, appoint a governor, and hold it as neutral territory until there was a resolution to the war. The English would be free to enter it; half of the city’s taxes would be paid to the English king, but the other half must be reserved to pay the Duke of Orleans’s ransom; in effect the whole would go to the English crown. Had this been feasible why was it not offered after Henry V died, to expedite Orleans’s release? Bedford was to receive 10,000 ecus d’or ‘each year’ for war expenses, so the war would go on ­- for how many years?  This was not an offer of peace.

Burgundy was willing to accept. To become the temporary overlord of Orleans would increase his prestige and give him a foot in both camps. He put the proposition to the Grand Conseil using the same argument that had persuaded the Regent Bedford to sign a limited truce, an abstinence de guerre, with the Bastard of Orleans in 1427: the city of Orleans should not have been besieged, because the Duke of Orleans was a prisoner of war, and an attack on his principal city contravened the laws of war and chivalry, although this had not prevented Burgundy from contributing some 1500 auxiliaries to the besieging army after the Earl of Salisbury’s death (to be paid for by the Duke of Bedford).

Bedford was outraged. Orleans was part of France and subject to Henry VI as King of France, it could not be arbitrarily disposed of. Raoul Le Sage, speaking for he Norman members of the Grand Conseil, hotly supported Bedford: too much money had been spent and too much blood had been spilt for them to hand the city over to Burgundy whose contribution to the siege thus far had been minimal. On 22 April, after three weeks wrangling, Burgundy ordered the withdrawal of Burgundian troops from the siege of Orleans and left Paris in a huff (7, 8).

Michael Jones’s sophisticated argument that had Bedford accepted the offer the English “might have engineering a settlement for the whole of France based on the Treaty of Troyes” is twentieth and twenty first century modern (9). It does not take into account the thinking on war and peace by the protagonists.  Both sides understood and practiced abstinence de guerre but only for specific areas in France and only for limited periods as a breathing space before the conflict was renewed. The Treaty of Troyes (referred to as the Final Peace by the English) required the French nobility to abandon the Dauphin Charles and acknowledge Henry VI as king of France, something they would not do.

Peace, a total abstinence de guerre was impossible until and unless the English abandoned Henry VI’s claim to be king of France or until one side or the other won the war.

Jones also omits the crucial wording in his quotation from Brut G:

“And sith forth þat he was slayn English men neuer gat ne preuailed in Fraunce bot euer after began to lefe bi litel and lytel til al was lost.”  Brut Continuation G, p. 500

It was not the siege of Orleans that the chronicler lamented, it was the death of the Earl of Salisbury.

(1) PPC III, pp. 322-323 (Bedford’s requests).

(2) Foedera X, pp. 413-414 (Bedford’s requests).

(3) PPC III pp. 326–328 (loans for the army).

(4) L&P II, 92-94 (Robert Jolivet, Abbot of Mont St Michel was paid for attending the Grand Conseil, from mid-February to mid April. He was paid 450 livres tournois for a period of seventy five days travelling from Rouen to Paris and back to Rouen  in the company of Raoul Le Sage, 10 February t 25 April).

(5) H. Castor, Joan of Arc, p. 102 citing Morosini III,  pp. 16–23 (Xaintrailles offer to Burgundy).

(6) M.K. Jones, ‘Gardez mon corps, sauvez ma terre, p. p. 24 citing Morosini III,  p. 19 (terms offered to Bedford).

(7) Plancher, Histoire de Bourgogne IV,  pp. 127-128 (offer to Burgundy and rejection).

(8) Monstrelet I, pp. 551-552 (offer to Burgundy and rejection).

(9) Jones, pp. 24–26 (his argument for a missed opportunity).

 La Pucelle

The story of Joan of Arc has been told countless times in countless guises, but not by the English chroniclers. The contrast between their detailed accounts of the Battle of the Herrings and the paucity of their coverage of the relief of Orleans is instructive. As with modern media, they were selective in what they chose to record.

Gregory’s Chronicle (p. 163) confuses the bastard of Orleans, with the bastard of Bourbon. It mentions ‘the Maid’ only in passing: “in the monythe of May was the sege of Orlyaunce i-broke with the Pusylle, Bastarde of Burbon and othyr Armynackys.” Chronicles of London (Julius B II, p. 96) and Cleopatra C IV  (p. 132), A Chronicle of London (Harley 565, p. 118), and Brut Continuation D (p. 435) ascribe the French victory to the Duke of Alençon and dismiss it in one sentence: the “siege y-broke up by the duk of Launson and his power.”

Chronicles of London (Julius B I, p. 168), The Great Chronicle (p. 152) and A Short English Chronicle (p. 60) record erroneously that Suffolk, Talbot, and Scales were captured at Orleans.

Joan of Arc made her triumphal entry into Orleans on 29 April, followed on 3 May by reinforcements. The French commanders overran the garrisons at Saint Laurent and Saint Loup (1, 2). During the fight to recover Les Tourelles William, Lord Moleyns and Sir William Glasdale were killed. Accounts differ as to whether they were drowned when the bridge broke or whether they died in the fighting. (3).

After the loss of his outposts, Suffolk raised the siege on 8 May (4). His forces were now inferior in numbers to the French. The Duke of Bedford issued a general order in the king’s name to assemble men- at-arms and archers, leaving small garrisons to defend the towns, to join him at Pontoise or Mantes by 4 June.  Guillaume Breton, bailli of Caen circulated Bedford’s instruction to take musters and inform him immediately of their size. The order was reissued at Bayeux on 30 May (5).

(1) Devries, Joan of Arc pp. 72-92 (prints extracts from French sources).

(2) Burne, Agincourt War, pp. 237-244 (military reconstruction).

(3)  Giles, Chronicon, p. 10, records that Moleyns and Glasdale were drowned, ‘with many others;’ it also records mistakenly that Suffolk was captured by Alençon, that his two brothers were killed, and that Lord Talbot was captured.

(4) Wavrin III, pp. 171-174 (Suffolk raised the siege).

(5) L&P II, pp. 95-100 (Bedford raised troops).


The Battles of Jargeau and Patay

Instead of keeping his army together Suffolk elected to try to hold the other bridgeheads on the Loire at Beaugency and Jargeau, but this meant dividing his forces. Suffolk retreated to Jargeau, Lord Talbot and Lord Scales were at Meung and Beaugency.

Joan of Arc, accompanied by Dunois, La Hire and Poton de Xaintrailles (the three captains principally responsible for the recovery of Orleans) and the Duke of Alençon who due to his rank was in nominal command of the army, marched on the luckless Suffolk. Despite his extensive experience of campaigning in Normandy Suffolk was no solider. On 12 June he was routed and captured at the Battle of Jargeau, along with his brother, John de la Pole.  Alexander de la Pole, another of Suffolk’s brothers and Sir Richard Poynings were killed. Suffolk became Dunois’s prisoner (1, 2).

The victorious French marched on Beaugency. Lords Talbot and Scales, learning of Suffolk’s defeat, withdrew north to link up with Sir John Fastolf in command of a relieving force on its way from Paris.  Against Fastolf’s advice Talbot insisted that their combined armies should return to Beaugency and face the French. There may already have been bad blood between them, both had fiery and unpredictable tempers and a strong sense of personal honour. Bedford had replaced Fastolf with Talbot as governor of Maine in 1427.  The chronicler Wavrin was with Fastolf’s relief column and claims to have witnessed the acrimonious altercation between them, but his account is selective (3).

The French army drew up in battle array and Talbot was forced to concede that in the face of such superior numbers retreat was the best policy. It was a mistake. The French pursued and surprised the English army while it was resting at Patay some fifteen miles north west of Orleans. On 18 June 1429 the English suffered their heaviest defeat since the Battle of Baugé in 1421 (4, 5). Talbot, Scales, Sir Thomas Rempston (6) and Sir Walter Hungerford, eldest son of the Treasurer of England, were taken prisoner. Only Fastolf and a remnant of his command escaped (7, 8). It was a disaster comparable to the Battle of Baugé in 1421, but this time there was no of Earl of Salisbury to come to the rescue. Traditionally, the coming of Joan of Arc is believed to have turned the tide of war against the English, but it might equally be argued that the tide turned with the Earl of Salisbury’s death in 1428.

The English chronicles conflate the battle at Jargeau fought n 12 June, with the larger disaster at Patay, fought on 18 June.

“After that the Earl of Suffolk, Lord Talbot and Lord Scales still maintained the siege, but about the Feast of John the Baptist [24 June] they were all either captured or killed and the siege was abandoned.”              Benet’s Chronicle, p. 182

“And the x day of June the Erle of Sowthefolke brothyr and the Lorde of Ponyngys sone hys ayre, were slayne at a jornaye be-syde Orlyaunce and the Lorde Talbot, and the Lorde Schalys, and Syr Thomas Ramston were takyn and the erlys brother of Sowthefolke was slayne and many mo othyr &c.”      Gregory’s Chronicle, p.  164

“The Erle of Suthfolk, the lorde Talbot and the lorde Scales and mony other lordes knyghtes and squyers were taken and slayne ate the siege of Orlyaunce.  And the siege broken.   Great Chronicle, p. 152

(1) Barker, Conquest, pp. 120-21 (Battle of Jargeau).

(2) Chartier, Chronique I, p. 82 (Battle of Jargeau).

(3) Wavrin III, pp. 179-82 (Fastolf and Talbot).

(4) Burne, pp. 256-60  (Battle of Patay).

(5) Chartier I, pp. 85-87 (Battle of Patay).

(6) Bolton, ‘How Sir Thomas Rempston paid his ransom,’ in Clark (ed.) Conflicts, pp. 101-118.

(7) Cooper, Fastolf, pp. 63-66 (His account of the battle, based on Wavrin, is far from clear, but offers details of other accounts).

(8) Wavrin III, pp. 184-87 (Battle of Patay).

Cardinal Beaufort’s Crusade

On 17 April, with King Henry present in the council chamber, the enlarged Council had discussed a question, probably though not certainly, raised by the Duke of Gloucester. The Feast of the Garter would take place at Windsor on 23 April. Traditionally Henry Beaufort as Bishop of Winchester officiated at the ceremony, but should he be allowed to do so this year?

The Council had consistently resisted Pope Martin’s demands for a greater say in English church affairs and he had permitted Beaufort as a cardinal to retain his bishopric in commendam. This was against precedent in England; did it contravene the Statue of Praemunire?  In other words the Great Council was by no means sure they wanted Cardinal Beaufort to resume his former place in Council.

The councilors preferred to avoid confrontation and opted for compromise. They advised that Beaufort should not attend the Garter Feast that year. This decision was delivered to Beaufort by the seven-year-old King Henry, the first record in the Proceedings of Henry taking an active part in Council. On the following day Beaufort sought an audience with the king and challenged the Council’s refusal to permit him to officiate. He pointed out that as Bishop of Winchester he had presided at Windsor for the past twenty-four years.

It did him no good. Thirteen bishops and eleven lords reminded him that there was no precedent in England allowing a cardinal to retain his bishopric. They could not endorse his position without prejudicing the future rights of the king in church appointments when he came of age and assumed his personal rule (1, 2).

Beaufort backed down he realised he had been too precipitate; his wealth depended on remaining Bishop of Winchester, but he knew how to wait. He turned his energies to organizing his crusade. Success in a holy war would enhance his reputation and silence his critics at home and abroad.

Beaufort’s preparations were complete by the middle of June 1429. On 15 June, John Yerd and Stephen Lillebourne were commissioned to arrange lodging for him and his retinue in Kent.  On the same day the Council ordered three sergeants at arms to arrest shipping to take him overseas (3).

On 18 June Beaufort signed an agreement with the crown to lead an army to Bohemia. As a preamble to his indenture Beaufort recapitulated his request to the Council and the Council’s replies:

“Remembrance of the things that I, H. Cardinal and Legate etc., ask and desire of the king my souverain lord and of his noble council on the behalf of our holy father for the well sustaining [of the] defence and exaltation of our Christian faith” (4, 5, 6).

Beaufort reminded the Council that in May 1428 before he returned to England they had assured Pope Martin’s ambassador, Kunes of Zvolen (Cuntzo in PPC, Conzo in Foedera) of their support for a crusade against the Bohemian heretics (7). That he, Beaufort, had subsequently undertaken at Pope Martins’ behest, to raise and lead such an army and the Council had agreed that Beaufort could preach the crusade after his meeting with King James of Scotland (see Scotland above).

The Council accommodated Beaufort’s requirements with one important exception: he wanted an army of 500 men at arms and 5,000 archers. The Council pointed out that the state of the war in France made this impossible. He could raise 250 men at arms and 2,000 archers, and set his own rates of pay, provided he did not recruit men currently serving with the Duke of Bedford in France; the king’s commissioners would check these numbers and musters must be submitted to them in writing, but the king would not claim the crown’s traditional spoils of war.

The indenture permitted Beaufort’s agents to raise men and money throughout England, but both were to be strictly monitored. Donations of money must be collected by responsible men of good standing, who would account to the Council for every penny they received.  The money could not be used for any purpose other than the crusade without Council permission. No gold or silver was to be taken out of the country; donations could be used to purchase the necessities of war and the soldiers wages must be paid in England. No papal tax was to be levied to meet this need.

Beaufort’s constables and marshals would have the authority to impose martial law and military discipline. Likewise, his ‘admirals’ could press ships to transport the army and set the date and times of their assembly. The crews would be paid at the same wage as the king’s ships and Beaufort must prove to the Council that he could maintain them for the outward voyage and for their return passage.

Volunteers going without pay for the redemption of their souls were acceptable but not members of religious orders who might be unsuitable but tempted to join a crusade, but nor was it to shelter unbelievers. Volunteers would be under the same military laws as waged recruits, and both would be expected to contribute financially.

The king would sanction the expedition and offer the same protection of property to everyone who signed up, just as if they were going to fight in France. The army was not to be diverted to any other country, although Beaufort could take two hundred soldiers with him as an escort if he had occasion to visit Rome. Beaufort accepted these terms gratefully but asked that if any unforeseen contingency, not covered in the Council’s permission, should arise the Council would agree to include it.

Pope Martin’s contributed receipts from the crusading tenth he had imposed which were held in a special account in London. Beaufort received 14,000 florins from this source, about £2,750, enough for shipping and the first quarters wages (8).

Beaufort had stressed throughout all his negotiations with the Council that he was acting as the Pope’s instrument, which may not have been the best way to win over the Council.  Why did they permit Beaufort to raise a second army when the Duke of Bedford desperately needed reinforcements for France? To get him out of England once again?

This may have been Gloucester’s motive,  but the Great Council collectively did not wish to alienate the cardinal further after they had refused him permission to officiate at the Garter Feast. They were mindful of Beaufort’s past services, in particular his loans to finance the war in France. His financial support might be needed again, sooner rather than later. Perhaps a small army, for which they did not have to foot the bill, was a small price to pay for Beaufort’s future good will.

Beaufort was licensed to go abroad as captain of an army and he designated his nephew Edmund Beaufort, Earl of Mortain, whose career he was promoting, to command it.  A note that letters patent were also issued to Robert, Lord Willoughby is tacked on to the end of the document (9). Willoughby was a veteran of the wars in France, presumably he would share the command with the inexperienced Edmund.

Brut E is the only chronicle to name him: “And þe Lord Wylloghby was made Capten of hys werris.”   Brut E Appendix p.  454

(1) PPC III, pp. 323-342 (Beaufort denied the right to officiate).

(2) Foedera X, p. 414 (Beaufort denied the right to officiate).

(3) Foedera X, pp. 417–418 (accommodation and shipping for Beaufort).

(4) PPC III, pp. 330-338 (Beaufort’s petition and indenture for Bohemia).

(5) Foedera X, pp.  419–420 jumps to p. 424 (Beaufort’s petition for Bohemia).

NB: The pagination after pp. 419-420 is printed out of order in the Foedera. Page 424 follows page 420, then 422, then 423 followed by 421 then 425 and 426.

(6) Foedera X p. 422-423 (Beaufort’s indenture for Bohemia).

(7) Foedera X, p. 423 (Papal envoy’s visit in 1428 misdated to 1429).

(8) Harriss, Beaufort, pp. 185-186 (papal contribution).

(9) Foedera X, pp. 423 and 421 (Edmund Beaufort and Lord Willoughby).

Cardinal Beaufort’s Army

Ironically 18 June, the day of Beaufort’s indenture for Bohemia, was the day on which the Battle of Patay was fought and lost. Patay had far reaching repercussions. It doomed Beaufort’s enterprise from the start. The road to Rheims, where kings of France were traditionally crowned lay open, enabling the Dauphin Charles to be crowned King Charles VII there a month later on 17 July..

Every available man was now urgently needed in France. Cardinal Beaufort had to choose between abandoning Pope Martin and the crusade or turning his back on the House of Lancaster and the dual monarchy. The choice was never in doubt. The advantages, personal and political, of remaining loyal to his family and his country far outweighed the lure of service to Rome. And more important than loyalty, Beaufort would obtain what he wanted most, a return to his rightful place on the Council and the chance to re-establish his pre-eminence in governing England. The threat of prosecution under the Statute of Praemunire and the loss of his bishopric would vanish.

The Council issued orders on 26 June for the musters of Beaufort’s army to be taken (1).

On 1 July at Rochester Beaufort signed ‘articles of appointment’ to lead his army to France to serve under the Duke of Bedford for six months at a cost of £2,431 for the army’s second quarters wages. Beaufort’s personal reward was 1,000 marks. Even in this crisis the cardinal still charged the crown for his services (2, 3).

The Council accepted responsibility for funding the army and repaying the money expended by Cardinal Beaufort and Pope Martin to raise it. Their guarantee of repayment, one half by the end of February 1430 and the second half at the beginning of May, was to be put into Beaufort’s keeping (4).  Where this money and the second quarters wages was to come from was uncertain. Beaufort was to represent to the Duke of Bedford that the Council had already borrowed to fund John Radcliffe’s force and to suggest to the Duke that the second quarters wages should be paid from the Exchequer in Rouen as a charge on the Estates of Normandy.  The Treasurer, Lord Hungerford, was to put a freeze on the English exchequer  and not to make any payments or assignments other than meeting the costs of the king’s household until after the end of September (5).

Sir John Radcliffe, the reluctant Seneschal of Gascony who had been installed as a Knight of the Garter in April, had been persuaded to indent for six months service as captain of the force promised to the Duke of Bedford by the Great Council. Radcliffe was to receive a bonus of £200 for his services (6). On 26 June, the day the army mustered, the Council assigned Radcliffe £1,000 a year on the customs from the port of Melcombe until the debt to him as Seneschal of Gascony of the enormous sum of £6,620 could be cleared (7). It never was.

Radcliffe’s force was combined with Beaufort’s army. The change of destination was to be kept secret until the troops were safely in France. Letters of protection issued to Edmund Beaufort on 16 July specified the expedition to Bohemia (8). The Duke of Bedford would issue an edict to detain the army; no man was to leave France during the six months period of Beaufort’s indenture and any deserters could face death. Men who had signed up for a crusade might well be reluctant to become embroiled in the war in France. Cardinal Beaufort put his own spin on this possibility by explaining to Pope Martin that his men would not follow him to Bohemia because they insisted on obeying the king’s orders to go to France.

The Council undertook to explain to Pope Martin and the German princes that Cardinal Beaufort had not betrayed them. He had agreed to their demand to divert his army extremely reluctantly and only ‘the great and grievous adversities and fortune of were’ that the English had lately suffered in France’ had made him change his plans and accede to the king’s and council’s wishes. Predictably Pope Martin V was outraged. The Dauphin, now King Charles VII, protested to the pope against a ‘holy’ army being sent to fight in France and Martin V stripped Beaufort of his legatine powers and ordered him to stop using the insignia of his legation as leader of an army fighting against the French (9).


“Ande the xxij day of June the Caryndalle of Wynchester toke hys jornay and was purposyd into the londe of Beame; but he cam not there, but bode stylle yn Fraunce whythe the Regaunte that tyme.  And on Synte Petrys day aftyr Syr John Radeclyffe wentte unto Fraunce unto the Regaunte with a nothyr mayny.  Gregory’s Chronicle, p.  164

“ And in the same yere, at the ffeste of Mydsomyr, Sir Henry Beauford, Cardynall, and Bisshop of Wynchestir went ouyr the see into Fraunce for the Kyngis nedis; and Sir John Radclif, knyght, went ouyr the se that same tyme with a grete compeny of men of armis and archeris, to helpe and to strengthe John the Duke of Bedford and Regent of Fraunce and of Normandie and the Englisshe pepull that weren lefte there in the right of the Kynge of Engelond.”                       Brut Continuation D, p. 436

“And a-none in all þe hast þe Cardinall with hys meyne and Ser Iohn Ratclyff with hys meyne þat was purposed for to haue gone in-to Gyene went ouer in-to Fraunce to help and strengthe þe Regente, The Duke of Bedford, in þe Kynges rygt of Englond.”              Brut E Appendix,  p. 454

Brut Continuation H noted that Beaufort’s contingent of archers, the best that could be found anywhere in England, were waged at 9d. a day, (when the going rate was 6d. a day), and that his decision to aid Bedford had saved Normandy which would otherwise have been lost.

He “changet his purpose for þe wele and þe worshipe of al the Reame of Englond, and went into Normaundy with a notable meyny of Archers, the best þat couth be geton in eury place of Englond for ixd on þe day, euery archer ij or iij bawes in a cace.  And so, by his comyng theder, was savid all that lande;  and ells þat tyme it shuld haue ben lost.” Brut H, p. 568

(1) Foedera X, p. 421 (musters to be taken).

(2) Foedera X, p. 421 jumps to page 425 (Beaufort’s indenture for France).

(3) PPC III, pp. 339-345 (Beaufort’s indenture for France and payment to him).

(4) PPC III, pp. 345-346 (Council’s repayment obligations).

(5) PPC III, p. 348 (freeze on the Exchequer).

(6) PPC III, p. 326 (Radcliffe).

(7) PPC III, p. 339 (payment to Radcliffe).

(8) Foedera X, p. 432 (protection for Edmund Beaufort).

(9) Papal Letters VII, p. 38 and 39 (letters from Pope Martin).

The Duke of Bedford and the Duke of Burgundy

Strategically the next logical step after Patay, as the Duke of Bedford feared, would be an attack on Paris. Bedford needed the Duke of Burgundy’s assistance as never before and he invited Burgundy to attend the Grand Conseil in Paris in July (1).  Burgundy was popular with the Parisians who had tolerated but never entirely accepted Bedford as Regent of France, and the child he insisted was their king was totally unknown to them.

Philip of Burgundy had taken little or no part in the war in France during the past four years and his commitment to the Anglo Burgundian alliance was at best tepid, but it had ensured Bedford’s compliance with Burgundy’s campaign in the Low Countries against Jacqueline of Hainault. At the same time Duke Philip was quite capable of negotiating localized truces with agents of the Dauphin Charles to protect Burgundian territory while his attention was focused elsewhere. In one such truce, as early as 1424, he even referred to the Dauphin as ‘King of France.”  (2).

In Paris in July 1429 Burgundy reaffirmed the Anglo-Burgundian alliance and agreed to contribute troops to defend Paris, provided he was paid, but he stayed for less than a week (3).  As Duke Philip’s biographer puts it:  “It must not be imagined that the Duke of Burgundy paid for his own military expenses in France . . . .  when, in 1429, Bedford desperately needed Burgundian help, Philip insisted on full payment for all his services.” (4).

Bedford and the Grand Conseil agreed to furnish Burgundy with 40,000 livres tournois to raise troops to defend Paris. Pierre Surreau, Receiver General of Normandy, was instructed to carry 20,000 livres tournois and an assortment of jewels (which Burgundy could pledge to borrow the other 20,000), to Burgundy in Arras.  Jehan Abonnel called Le Gras, a Burgundian councillor, issued a receipt for the money on 28 July and Surreau returned to Rouen.

It was impossible for Surreau to take the musters of the Burgundian army which was to be recruited throughout the wide spread Burgundian domains and so verify that the money had been spent as agreed.  On 6 August 1429 letters in Henry VI’s name were issued to cover Surreau’s accounting and quit him of any claim of irregularity. Unfortunately this was not good enough for Sir Thomas Blount, the treasurer of Normandy and the clerks at the Exchequer in Rouen who refused to sign off on Surreau’s account. It had was not cleared until a further  payment for Burgundian troops, this time on Henry VI and Bedford’s orders directly to Sir Thomas Blount, was made on 11 August (5).

On 16 July, the day on which Burgundy left Paris and Charles VII entered Rheims, Bedford sent Garter King of Arms to the Council with specific instructions.  He was to urge that Beaufort and Radcliffe’s army be sent to him as soon as possible.  Charles VII’s armies were enjoying some success, towns were opening their gates to him, and he was about to be crowned in Rheims. After that his offensive would surely continue. The Council could rest assured that the Duke of Burgundy was totally loyal to England; he was leaving Paris for Artois to defend Normandy’s eastern borders. Bedford, likewise, was going into Normandy to marshal its defences. Garter was to urge the Council to send King Henry to France as soon as possible – his presence had been requested on two previous occasions by ambassadors and messengers (6).

On 21 July Bedford acknowledged the arrival of Beaufort’s army in Calais.  He sent Jehan Corbuissier to urge the Council once again to send Henry VI to France immediately with reinforcements ‘over and above the army which has already come hither.’ Corbuissier was paid seventy-four livres tournois for a journey of just over a month, crossing the channel alone cost nine saluts of gold (7).

At the beginning of August as a forlorn hope, the Council issued a proclamation to all men of whatever rank who held land in France or Normandy granted to them by Henry V or Henry VI, to go to France in person or by deputy to perform the military services for the defence of their holdings as required of them by their grants. The penalty for failing to comply was to forfeit their revenues, and outcome which might not have ben wholly unwelcome to the impecunious Council! (8).

After delivering his small force to Paris, Cardinal Beaufort had returned to the safety of Rouen. Pierre Surreau escorted him from Rouen to Vernon on 25 August for a meeting with Bedford and he returned to Rouen on 28 August (9). To defend Paris and safe guard Normandy stretched Bedford’s resources to the limit. In August he had established his temporary headquarter at Vernon, half way between Rouen and Paris and set about raising yet another army (did Bedford and Beaufort discuss where the money was to come from?).

On 27 August Bedford and ordered Michel Durant, the sheriff of Rouen to issue a public proclamation ‘by sound of trumpets’ in King Henry’s name to summon men from all over Normandy and the pays de conquête, English and Norman, to assemble and prepare to defend Paris  (10). He instructed Richard Cordon, a councillor,  Raoul Partrer, a royal secretary, and Pierre Baille Bedford’s treasurer, to take the musters and reject those unfit to serve. They were to send the muster list to the Receiver General of Normandy for the soldiers’ wages to be paid (11).

When Bedford learned that the French army had reached Saint Denis on the outskirts of Paris he sent a personal summons to Thomas Gower, the lieutenant of Falaise to join him with as many well arrayed men as he could muster, telling Gower that he planned to be in Paris to give battle to the French by the end of the first week in September.  He reassured Gower that the bailli of Caen would take the musters so that wages for a full month could be paid in advance, and that the men would suitably rewarded. Gower himself was to stay put to defend Falaise and Bedford warned him to beware of treason. Gower received this letter on 7 September which gave him, little enough time for him to respond  (12).

(1) Wavrin III, p. 189 (Burgundy invited to Paris).

(2) Vaughan, Philip, p. 20 (Burgundy truces with French).

(3) Bourgeois, p. 237  (Burgundy in Paris).

(4) Vaughan, Philip, pp. 16–17  (Burgundy paid by Bedford).

(5) L&P II, pp. 101-111 (payment to Burgundy).

(6) Foedera  X, pp. 432–433 (instructions to Garter).

(7) L&P II, pp. 120–121 (Corbuissier).

(8) PPC III, pp. 349-351 (order to grant holder to mobilise).

(9) L&P II, ii, Chron Abstracts, p. 536 (Surreau and Beaufort to Vernon).

(10) L&P II, pp, 111-114 (call up of troops from Bedford at Vernon).

(11) L&P II, pp. 115-117 (musters of troops at Vernon).

(12)  L&P II, pp. 118-119 (summons to Gower at Falaise).


The French army led by the Duke of Alençon and Joan of Arc launched their attack on Paris on 8 September. Thanks to Bedford’s preparations the city was well defended by heavy artillery as well as the presence of troops, and the French were beaten back.  Although wounded, Joan of Arc was all in favour of continuing the attack, but King Charles either lost his nerve or preferred to not antagonise the Parisians by inflicting damage and heavy losses on the capital. On 9 September he ordered a retreat (1).

Some historians have argued that Charles VII called off the assault for fear of antagonising the Duke of Burgundy whom he hoped would change sides. Other historians argue that it was Charles VII’s failure to take Paris that caused Burgundy to move back closer to Bedford. But surely it was more important for Charles VII to win the good will of his people and overcome the Parisians’ fear of ‘Armagnac’ reprisals than it was to placate the self-interested Duke of Burgundy.

Bedford had done all he could to defend Paris, short of giving battle. He had sent for reinforcements, he had ordered heavy artillery into the city to be mounted on the city’s gates, and he had appealed to the Duke of Burgundy for aid, but when the attack came Bedford was not there. Paris was defended by its citizens and a mixed English and Norman force under the captaincy of the Burgundian L’Isle Adam.

The successful defence of Paris halted the French advance, but for how long? The Battle of Patay had shaken Bedford’s confidence more than he was prepared to admit;  Normandy was far from secure.  He had borrowed 9,888 livres tournois from Cardinal Beaufort in September to pay the troops who defended Paris (2) and he took steps to reassure the captains (and the men) in garrison towns along Normandy’s frontiers that he suspected of dissatisfaction and wavering loyalty that their wages would be paid in ready money, just as he had reassured Thomas Gower in Falaise.

In October the council in Rouen sent specific instructions to Master Jehan Dorelle and the lieutenant of  Arques for the payment of the garrisons at Eu, Gamaches, Monceaux, and Neufchatal. These were assigned on local revenues, apparently with limitations, but if they proved insufficient the Receiver General of Normandy would make up the deficit, and a receipt would be issued by the sheriff of Arques (3).

If Paris was to be kept secure Bedford had to devise a way to counter Charles VII’s efforts to lure Burgundy from the Anglo Burgundian alliance. He invited Burgundy to return to Paris in October. Robret Jolivet escorted Cardinal Beaufort from Rouen to Paris to attend a meeting where the future governance of France and Burgundy’s relationship with Charles VII would be discussed (4). Burgundy had recently received offers from Charles VII and had negotiated a four-month truce with Charles to protect his lands north of the Seine, which incidentally did offer a measure of protection to Paris (5).

With the blessing of the university and the parlement of Paris (and probably to their relief) Bedford conferred the authority to govern Paris and the counties to the south and east on the Duke of Burgundy as King Henry’s lieutenant in France with the title ‘the king’s royal lieutenant in France,’ excluding the Duchy of Normandy. Bedford and Beaufort may reasonably have expected that this honour would keep Burgundy in Paris. It did not; he accepted the commission and left Paris almost immediately.  “His visit to Paris on that occasion was brief enough to show that he had no intention of taking his duties seriously” (6).

(1) Bourgeois, pp. 240-242 (French attack on Paris).

(2) L&P II, pp. 141-142 (Beaufort’s loan to Bedford).

(3) L&P II, pp. 122-123 (payment of garrisons’ wages).

(4) L&P II, p. 126 (Paris meeting, Beaufort present).

(5) Vaughan, Philip, pp. 21-22 (offers to Philip from Charles VII).

(6) Vaughan, Philip, p. 22 (Burgundy as king’s lieutenant).

NB 1:  L&P II, pp. 124-125: The letter to Pontoise from the council in Rouen dated 4 November was misdated by Stevenson to 1429. If the dorso inscription ‘a notre tres chier . . . ami, messier Richard [….] is correct it must date to between 1433 and 1435 when Richard Merbury (not Norbury as in Stevenson) was captain of Pontoise. The order to keep the garrison of forty men at arms and archers up to strength probably dates to the end of  1435 when French forces were closing in on Paris. Pontoise opened its gates to King Charles on 2 February 1436.

NB 2: L&P I, pp. 421-422: The undated petition of Thomas Hostell  a soldier wounded in Henry V’s wars, to Henry VI for a grant to relieve his poverty was included by Stevenson for no good reason under 1429. It belongs in 1423 (see 1423).

King Henry VI’s Coronation at Westminster

Exactly when the Council decided to put the child king through the arduous ordeal of the coronation ceremony is not known, although his age had nothing to do with it, the decision was based on political expediency amounting to political necessity. It may have been as early as April 1429 when the Duke of Bedford requested the Council to make preparations to have Henry crowned in France.  Obviously Henry had to be crowned king of England before venturing into France.

In October, while Parliament was in session, the Minority Council addressed a letter to the citizens of Ghent in King Henry’s name to inform them that he would come to France to be crowned soon after he was crowned in England (7).  Ghent was the wealthiest and most influential of the Four Members of Flanders and Henry, as King of France claimed the Flemings as his subjects.

(1) PPC IV pp. 5-6 (letter to Ghent).


On 5 November Henry rode into the City across London Bridge and was escorted to the Tower by the mayor and aldermen in their scarlet robes. That evening, continuing the custom inaugurated by his grandfather, Henry IV on the eve of his coronation, Henry VI created thirty-three (or thirty-six) new Knights of the Bath. Brut E Appendix (p. 454). names Thomas Courtenay Earl of Devon, John, Lord Beaumont, and ‘Lord Spencer’ (Henry Beauchamp the Earl of Warwick’s son, whose title was Lord Despenser, but he was only four years old).  Devon and Beaumont were supposed to be knighted at Leicester in 1426, but their names do not appear in the chronicle lists at that time, so they may have been knighted in 1429.

Brut Continuation K’s statement (p. 599) repeated in Waltham Annals, (EHL p. 351)  that a son of the Duke of Austria was knighted is difficult to verify. The Archduke Albert V of Austria, who would become Holy Roman Emperor as Albert II in 1438, had no son in 1429. Frederick IV of the Tirol was also styled duke of Austria; his only surviving son was born in 1427. Gregory’s Chronicle (p. 165). names Prince Pedro of Portugal as being knighted “on the morne aftyr in the Whyte Halle at Westemyster.” But Pedro, who appears to have arrived unexpectedly for the coronation, had been installed as a Knight of the Garter in April 1428.

The Council awarded fifty marks to Philibert Molanc ‘an esquire of France’ who had served Henry V and Henry VI and ‘had also come to England to attend the coronation.’ (1)

Henry of Windsor was crowned King Henry VI the third Lancastrian King of England and Lord of Ireland on Saint Leonard’s day, 6 November 1429 in Westminster Abbey, a month short of his eighth birthday while Parliament was in session. Gregory’s Chronicle  has the most detailed account of the coronation and is followed here (2).

Henry progressed through the City to Westminster escorted, as custom demanded, by the newly made Knights of the Bath, and the mayor and aldermen. There were pageants at London Bridge, and at Cheapside, and the city’s conduits ran with wine. Brut E recorded triumphantly that it did not rain!

The clergy entered the abbey carrying the sacred relics. The Prior of Westminster held the rod and the Abbot of Westminster the sceptre. The Earl of Warwick, escorted by the new Knights of the Bath led the solemn child into the abbey. He was conducted to a high dais and seated on a throne while Henry Chichele the archbishop of Canterbury called for the traditional acceptance and acclamation of the new king. The expected response of ‘Ye! Ye!’ echoed throughout the abbey.

Henry behaved stoically throughout. He was accustomed to attending Parliament and religious observances in St Paul’s cathedral, but he had never before been exposed to ceremonial on this scale. He may have been overawed and perhaps a little intimidated by the solemnity (and the length) of the proceedings, but it is fair to assume that his innate piety was strengthened by his anointing.

Henry prostrated himself no less than five time before the high altar, sometimes for long periods, while the archbishop of other bishops in full pontificals prayed over him, and anthems were sung. The litany was read by William Heyworth Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield and John Langdon, Bishop of Rochester.  Henry was undressed and reclothed four times, before and after his anointing, as a bishop in reverence for Holy Church, and finally as a crowned king in cloth of gold.

Archbishop Chichele anointed him with the holy oil of Saint Thomas Becket, believed to have been given to the saint by the Virgin Mary which had been used at Henry IV’s coronation. The golden eagle ampulla was taken from the Exchequer and delivered to John Merston, the keeper of the king’s jewels, on the morning of the coronation (3, 4).

Archbishop Chichele divested Henry of his scarlet robe and unlaced the taffeta undershirt, loosely tied in four places so that he could smear the sacred oil over the child’s head, breast, back, and  palms. Linen was twisted round Henry’s upper body to keep the oil in place and a linen coif was wrapped round his head. The oil had to be left on for eight days before being ceremoniously washed off with wine, which would have caused him some discomfort.

Henry was dressed again in his scarlet robe and seated on a throne before the high altar. Chichele lifted the crown of St Edward the Confessor high above Henry’s head and he was handed the spectre with its cross and the rod (verge) with its dove.  The bishops then swore homage and fealty to him on a sword which was sanctified at the high altar ‘in toyken that the vertu and power sholde come fyrste fro Hooly Chyrche.”  Henry was then dressed as a bishop with cope and stole, even down to the sandals! And the crown was held over his head by two bishops as it was ‘over heavy’ for him to wear.

The chronicler was not interested in, and did not record, when and in what manner the lords swore their oath of loyalty. The absence of information on the lords is the chief drawback to accepting Gregory’s account. King Henry presumably swore the same four-part coronation oath as Richard II and Henry IV (there is no record of Henry V’s coronation). Henry VI, crowned, sat on his throne while the archbishop sang a mass and ‘a nothyr byschop’ read from the Epistles; Thomas Poulton, Bishop of Worcester from the Gospels.

Henry left his throne before the high altar to make his oblation with bread and wine. His thanksgiving offering to God (via the abbey) was a pound weight of gold coins.  He mounted the dais for the Angus Dei and descended again to take the sacrament on his knees. Archbishop Chichele administered the sacrament and William Grey, Bishop of London, offered him wine from St Edward’s chalice. Henry remained kneeling until the end of the mass.

Cardinal Beaufort had returned to England in time for the coronation but Gregory is the only chronicle to note his participation in the coronation ceremony: ‘the Cardenalle of Wynchester and a nothyr byschoppe helde to hym the towelle of sylke.’ This was a large cloth traditionally held up to shield the king from watching eyes while he took a well earned rest, or possibly in this case for his final disrobing when the bishop’s dress was removed and he was arrayed ‘lyke a kynge in ryche clothe of golde.’

The crown designed for Richard II, also a child king, which was presumably somewhat lighter than King Edward’s crown, was set on Henry’s head for the procession from the abbey to Westminster Hall for the coronation banquet. Four swords were carried before the king as he entered the Hall, two sheaved, the swords of justice, and two naked, Curtana the blunt sword of mercy and Henry’s own sword, Lancaster sword, just as they had been carried at the coronation of Henry IV.  Unfortunately the chronicler did not name the sword bearers; they were probably the Earls of Northumberland, Stafford and Huntingdon, and possibly Lord Scrope, as lay members of the Minority Council

The Knights of the Bath, the Chancellor John Kemp in his robes as Archbishop of York and Cardinal Beaufort dressed in a red robe furred with white miniver with their crosses carried before them preceded King Henry as he entered the Hall escorted by Thomas Langley, Bishop of Durham and John Stafford, Bishop of Bath and Wells, followed by the lords. The Earl of Warwick carried Henry’s train.

The Duke of Gloucester as Steward of England was in charge of the proceedings at his own request. The writ appointing him, signed by seven members of the Council on 10 October 1429, was originally dated 10 April (5, 6).  His duties as Great Chamberlain were performed by deputy (7). Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury as Constable of England in the absence of the Duke of Bedford, and John Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, the Earl Marshal of England patrolled the Hall on horseback.

King Henry sat at the high table with Cardinal Beaufort was seated to the king’s right, but on a lower chair, with Chancellor Kemp and ‘a byschoppe of Fraunce’ to his left. This may have been Pierre Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, a client of the Duke of Burgundy and a friend and supporter of Cardinal Beaufort. Cauchon was on hand to welcome King Henry when he landed at Calais in April 1430, which could have been arranged beforehand, but this is speculation.

It was unusual for the Minority Council to interfere with or advise on appointments to ecclesiastical benefices in Normandy; this was the Regent Bedford’s prerogative. Yet in December the Council agreed to request Pope Martin to promote Cauchon to become Archbishop of Rouen in place of Jean de la Rochetaillé, Cardinal of San Lorenzo in Lucina (Rome) who was to be translated to become Archbishop of Besançon (8). Needless to say Martin would have considered this to be unacceptable meddling and Cauchon remained Biship of Beauvais.

Once again Gregory ignores the position and participation of the lords, but Brut Continuation E records the presence of Queen Katherine at the banquet:

“And þer was Quene Kateryne, moder of the Kyng, And a grete nombre of ladis and gentill-wemmen rially arrayed.”  Brut Continuation E and Appendix pp. 451 and 454

The Barons of the Cinque Ports and the Chancery clerks were seated to the right of the Hall, the Mayor of London, the aldermen and other ‘worthy’ citizens to the left. The bishops and the judges with knights and squires of appropriate rank were seated in the middle of the Hall.

John Merston, keeper of the king’s jewels, distributed sixty-one gold collars (of SS?) to the knights and gave an unnamed knight, an envoy of the Duke of Savoy the gift of a gold cup and a gold collar. to a total value of £100. The Earl of Warwick, as governor of the household authorized payment of 200 marks on ‘other expenses’ for the coronation (9).

Robert Rolleston keeper of the great wardrobe accounted in March 1430 for lengths of velvet cloth worth £30 to the knight of Savoy, another piece of cloth worth £16 16s to an envoy from the Duke of Burgundy and two cloaks of red cloth to two footmen (10). All in all it seems a meagre outlay for the coronation of a king of England, no matter how hastily prepared.

The heralds and kings of arms in full regalia occupied a high dais but before the first course of the banquet was served the heralds came down into the centre of the Hall to announce the arrival of Sir Philip Dymock, the king’s champion whose hereditary right it was to enter the Hall wearing full armour and mounted on a war hose like St Geroge. He faced the four corners of the Hall in turn proclaiming King Henry’s right to the throne and defying anyone to question it. Two days before the coronation Robert Rolleston, Keeper of the Great Wardrobe was ordered to deliver the traditional accoutrements to Dymock and his horse was supplied by the king’s master of horse, his armour by the sergeant  of the armoury at the Tower of London (11).

The edible tableaux served at the three-course banquet were made of pastries called ‘subtleties’ and were deliberately political (12, 13).  The first affirmed the righteousness of Henry’s inheritance as the legitimate descendant of the saint kings of England and France, St Edward the Confessor and St Louis. The second depicted Henry V and the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund as Knights of the Garter, signifying their martial prowess in defence of the true religion; they had suppressed the Hussites in Germany and the Lollards in England. Heavenly approval of the heir to these great kings was shown in the final tableau:  the Virgin, with the Christ Child in her lap, extended a gold crown towards the young king, who was flanked St George and St Denis, by the patron saints of England and France. Henry VI would be a champion of Christendom as his father had been. The explanatory verses have been attributed to the poet John Lydgate, the monk of Bury St Edmunds (14).

(1) PPC IV, p. 8  (Philip Molanc).

(2) Gregory’s Chronicle, pp. 164–168 (coronation).

(3) PPC IV, p. 7 (holy oil).

(4) Foedera X, p. 436 (holy oil).

(5) PPC IV, pp. 3-4 (Gloucester as Steward of England).

(6) Foedera X, p. 434 (Gloucester as Steward of England).

(7) Foedera X, p. 435 (Great Chamberlain).

(8) PPC IV, p. 10 (Cauchon).

(9) Foedera X, pp. 436–437 (gifts from keeper of jewels).

(10) Foedera X, p. 437 (gifts from great wardrobe).

(11) PPC IV, pp. 6-7 (Dymock).

12) The Great Chronicle, pp. 152–154 (banquet).

(13) Gregory’s Chronicle, pp. 169–170 (banquet).

(14) McCracken, Minor Poems of John Lydgate, pp. 622–24.

The Chronicles

A Chronicle of London (Harley 565 p. 118), Chronicles of London (Julius B II  p. 96 and Cleopatra C IV p. 133) derive from the same source. The Great Chronicle has the same opening sentence but continues with details of the coronation banquet.  A Short English Chronicle (p. 60) and An English Chronicle (p. 59) read ‘St Lawrence’s day (10 August) instead of ‘St Leonard’s day’ for Henry’s coronation.


Cardinal Beaufort and the Duke of Gloucester

A week after King Henry’s coronation an important constitutional and political question was raised in Parliament and a ‘diligent and full deliberation [took] place between the lords spiritual and temporal.’ Now that the king had been crowned should the Duke of Gloucester continue as Protector? (1).

Gloucester became Protector in 1422 and it was clearly understood at the time that England would need a Protector until King Henry came of age. An eight-year-old king, even though he had taken the coronation oath to protect and defend the realm, had not yet come of age and was no more able to protect his realm in 1429 than he was in 1422.

Who raised the question in Parliament that King Henry’s coronation altered Gloucester’s status? The probable, but not provable, answer is Cardinal Beaufort; he would voice the same objection to the Duke of Bedford retaining the title of Regent of France when King Henry took up residence in Rouen in the following year.

The Council and the Lords in Parliament endorsed the suggestion, partly because they had previously resisted Gloucester’s claim to special powers as Protector, and partly because, once again, they needed Cardinal Beaufort’s loans.

He had come to their rescue when Bedford faced defeat in France, and he had intimated that he and his money were at the Council’s disposal, provided of course, that he was reinstated to full membership.

This was accorded to him a month later on 18 December. Parliament excused Beaufort for being a cardinal and holding a bishopric simultaneously because of his close relationship to King Henry. The members thanked him for ‘his many labours  and advantageous services. . . especially on his late crossing to the regions of France . . . so he will be encouraged to expend such beneficial services . . . more fervently in future’ (3). Beaufort had waited, and he had won.

On 15 November, stating that he did so without prejudice to his brother of Bedford’s claims, Gloucester resigned as Protector (2).  The loss of the title would affect his unique position but not necessarily his influence since he was to remain as the king’s chief councillor.  For once Gloucester had the sense to grasp the substance and not the show.

On 23 December, after Parliament was prorogued, the Council agreed that from 6 November 1429, the date of the coronation, to the day (not yet established) that King Henry embarked for France, the Duke of Gloucester as chief councillor in the absence of the Duke of Bedford should be paid 2,000 marks to attend council. From the time King Henry embarked Gloucester would become custos of the realm as the king’s lieutenant in England and he would be paid 4,000 marks per annum for long as he should continue in that role. (4).

“And the Kynge by his good and wise councseill ordeyned and made his vncle Sir Vmfrey, the Duke of Gloucestre Leftenaunte of Engelond aftur his passage ouyr the see, for to gouerne and kepe the londe ayen his enymes of all partis and so see that right and lawe be mayntenyd in alle degreis in sauacion of his pepull and good kepynge of his Rewme.”   Brut Continuation D, p. 438

(1) PROME X, pp. 379-80 (Protector debate).

(2) PROME X, pp. 382-383 (Beaufort reinstated).

(3) Foedera X, p. 436 (Gloucester’s resignation).

(4) PPC IV, p. 12 (Gloucester as king’s lieutenant).

Cardinal Beaufort and the Duke of Burgundy

The court received an unexpected royal visitor at the end of November.  Isabelle, Princess of Portugal was on her way to Flanders for her marriage with Duke Philp of Burgundy when her ship was forced to seek shelter from a storm in English waters (1). Somewhat surprisingly this is not  mentioned in the English chronicles. She would have been received by Queen Katherine, and probably visited by her uncle Cardinal Beaufort who would not have missed the opportunity to make her acquaintance.

William Aleyn a clerk of the king’s household was paid £100 for the expenses of her visit (2, 3).  Bad weather continued to delay her arrival in the Low Countries, where Duke Philip was anxiously awaiting her. Isabelle landed at Sluis on Christmas day and the marriage too place at Sluis on 7 January 1430 (4).

Burgundy’s ambassadors Hugh de Lannoy and Master Quintin Menart arrived in England in December to discuss Burgundy’s future relationship with England and what Philip might expect to get out of it. Pace Harriss, who mistakenly calls Hugh de Lannoy ‘Jehan,’ it is unlikely that they came to discuss King Henry’s coronation in France – Duke Philip wanted nothing to do with it (5). Lannoy informed the Council of a projected peace conference between the Duke of Burgundy and King Charles of France which was to take place at Auxerre in April 1430 and he suggested that the Council should send a representative (see 1430). (6)

Lannoy received a gift of a gold cup worth £40 containing 100 marks; Menart received a gold cup worth £38 1s 8d.  Cardinal Beaufort was allocated £1,000 to return with the ambassadors to Burgundy to persuade Duke Philip to honour his commitment of military as well as a verbal support for the Regent Bedford. Beaufort was expected to be away for some time. The grant stipulated that the payment would be reduced if he returned in less than three months  (6, 7). In the event he did not leave England until February 1430.

Burgundy’s continued commitment to the Anglo Burgundian alliance was as important to the Council as it was to the Duke of Bedford. Their choice of Beaufort for this mission was much the same as their reason for sending him to King James. Burgundy would not negotiate seriously with anyone of inferior rank, but he was well acquainted with the Cardinal, who had been his guest in 1428 and present at the meeting in Paris when Bedford named Burgundy as the king’s lieutenant in France. Although it must be doubted that Beaufort had the kind of influence with Duke Philip suggested by Harriss, Burgundy preferred to negotiate with Beaufort rather than with the Duke of Bedford as Regent of France, whom he disliked.

(1) Monique Sommé, Isabelle de Portugal, Duchesse de Bourgogne, (1998), pp. 31-34.

(2) PPC IV, p. 9 (Isabelle’s expenses).

(3) Foedera X, p. 436 (Isabelle’s expenses).

(4) Vaughan, Philip, pp. 55-56 (Isabelle and Philip marry).

(5) Harriss, Beaufort, p. 196 (reason for Burgundian visit).

(6) Beaucourt, Charles VII, vol. II, p 418 (Lannoy’s visit).

(7) PPC IV, p. 9  (Burgundian ambassadors’ gifts  and payment to Beaufort).

(8) Foedera X, p. 438 (Burgundian ambassadors’ gifts and payment to Beaufort).

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