Henry VI



The Minority Council. London.

Scotland. Ireland.

A Peace Conference?

Cardinal Beaufort and the Duke of Burgundy.

The Duke of Bourbon.



Coronation Expedition Costs.

Council at Canterbury.

King Henry’s Coronation Expedition.

King Henry in France.

Campaigns of 1430.

The Duke of Burgundy.

The Council in England.

Foreign Relations.


Henry VI crossed to France with the largest army and entourage to leave England since the days of Henry V. He remained in Calais and then Rouen throughout 1430.

The Duke of Gloucester was left to govern England.

The English campaign of 1430 to recover territories lost to the French in 1429 strained relations with the Duke of Burgundy to breaking point.

Joan of Arc was captured at the siege of Compiègne.

Negotiations for a truce with Scotland continued and Spanish ambassadors were received in London.  

The Minority Council    

The Proceedings record forty-three meetings in 1430, four in January, six in February, four in March, four in April before King Henry left England, eight in May, two in June, six in July, one in September, one in October, six in November and one in December while Henry was in France.

After King Henry was crowned it was considered advisable to confirm the guidelines for conciliar government in the highest court in the land, that although the Protectorate had ceased to exist, England would still be governed by the Council in the same manner as before until King Henry came of age. On the last day before it was dissolved, eighteen ordinances were read out in Parliament in the king’s presence and the lords swore an oath to uphold them. They were similar in most respects to those promulgated in the Parliament of 1424 and at the council meeting at Reading in 1426 (1, 2).

                                                   See Years 1424 and 1426

(1) PPC IV, pp. 59–60 (minor variations in the texts are noted).

(2) PROME X, pp. 392-394  (in modern English).

John, Lord Talbot

John, Lord Talbot had been captured by Poton de Xaintrailles at the Battle of Patay in June 1429 (see 1429). In January he requested the Council’s permission for his servants to take 8,000 marks, or less, out of the country to pay part of his ransom. He needed Council authorization because it was illegal to take bullion out of the country (1).

Talbot was a war hero in England. In 1428 he had taken a French army by surprise in a dawn raid to recover Le Mans the capital of Maine. His subsequent success in recapturing other towns in Maine was widely publicised in England and contributed to Talbot’s growing reputation as a great war captain.

The amount of Talbot’s ransom is not known, but indignation at Xaintrailles’s excessive demand, which was considered ‘unreasonable and unbearable,’ was expressed in Parliament (2).

English indignation at the large ransom Xaintrailles demanded for his release was expressed in Parliament. The amount of Talbot’s ransom is not known, but it was considered ‘unreasonable and unbearable’ by Parliament (2). Charles VII purchased Talbot from Xaintrailles for £2,100.

A petition requested that the Duke of Bedford should arrange for Talbot and Sir Walter Hungerford, son of the treasurer, also captured at Patay, or just Talbot, to be exchanged for the French war captain equally well-known Arnaud-Guillaume Barbazon, who had surrendered Meulan to Henry V in 1420 and become Henry’s prisoner (3).

The exchange with Barbazon fell through in February 1430 when the French captured Chateau Gaillard and set Barbazon free. The Council allocated £9,000 to Talbot for his ransom, to be paid from the gabelle, the salt tax in Lancastrian France. Talbot never received the money because, as Henry VI put it disingenuously in 1443, of ‘the grete charges that we had in our said royaume and the litel revenues that we had to do ther with.’ (4).

(1) L&P II, p. 422 (permission to export 8,000 marks).

(2) Pollard, Talbot, pp. 17 and 113-114 (ransom).

(3) PROME X, p. 383 (Petition for Talbot’s exchange).

(4) L&P I, p. 435 (£9,000 not paid).

Thomas Montague, Earl of Salisbury

The Earl of Salisbury had left a bequest of £100 for the salvation of his soul to the Friars Minors of Mount Sion, a Franciscan Order whose headquarters were at Mount Zion in Jerusalem. They were the official custodians of the Holy Places, an honour conferred on them by Pope Clement VII in 1342.

Nicholas Upton, Richard Alred, John Hussey and Andrew Sperlyng were Salisbury’s executors. The foreign merchants in London whom they approached to handle the transaction informed them that there would be a tax of 2 pence on every noble (five shillings) of the exchange (1). The Council had agreed to waive the tax but the executors required confirmation under the Great Seal (2).

(1) Issues of the Exchequer p. 411 (imposition by Henry V of 2 pence on every noble).

(2) PPC IV, p. 15.

Anne, Countess of Stafford

The widowed Countess of Stafford spent many years pursuing her claim to her parents’ lands. He father was Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, and her mother was Eleanor Bohun daughter of the Earl of Hereford  (see 1423 and 1426).  Anne had not been entirely successful and in 1430 she decided to protect some of her estates by enfeoffment. She requested a licence to enfeoff lands and tenements held of the king to the annual value of £1,000, which was granted (1).  Anne was still a wealthy widow, ‘she retained some of her late husband’s richest and most conveniently situated manors.’ Two thirds of her son Humphrey, Earl of Stafford’s patrimony remained in her hands until her death in 1438  (2).

(1) PPC IV, pp. 28-29.

(2 Rawcliffe, Staffords, p. 104.

John Holand, Earl of Huntingdon

The Earl of Huntingdon, a member of the Council, had married Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March’s widow, Anne Stafford, the daughter of the widowed countess above (see 1427). In March the Council instructed Richard Hoore, receiver for the crown from the Mortimer estates in Wales to pay Anne’s dower of £348 to Huntingdon. He had been captured at the Battle of Baugé in 1421 and his ransom left him impoverished. He used his influence in Council to ensure that he received his wife’s dower in full. (1)

(1) PPC IV p. 30.

Sir William Harrington

Sir William Harrington, sheriff of Yorkshire, asked to be excused £80 in his accounts from 29 September 1428 to 29 September 1429 owing to the great costs and damages he had sustained in the execution of his office. Harrington claimed that pardons for similar arrears had been granted to the sheriffs of Yorkshire for the past seven years, from the last year of Henry V (1422) to the sixth year of Henry VI (1427). He lists himself, Robert Hilton, John Langton, Richard Hastings, and William Rither, as sheriffs during that period. The biannual sheriffs’ accounts at the Exchequer for money collected for the crown in their counties was often in arrears (se 1423).   (1).

(1) PPC IV, pp. 17-18.

Three women

Three women were nominated ‘by the king, on the occasion of his coronation,’ to places in religious houses. Margaret Stourton the Abbess of Shaftesbury was instructed to admit Joan Asshecombe. Christina, Abbess of Wilton, to admit Joan Thorp. And Margaret Swynford, Abbess of St Mary’s at Barking in Essex, to admit Goda Hampton, the daughter of John Hampton, a king’s esquire (1, 2).

(1) Foedera X, pp. 348, 445 and 48 (Asshecombe, Thorp, Hampton)

(2) CPR 1429-1436, pp. 45 and 86 (Shaftesbury), pp. 45 and 244 (Wilton) pp. 48 and 260 (Barking)

George Penshert

John Hawkhurst’s nomination by the Council as Abbot of St Augustine in 1427 had led to a dispute with Pope Martin (see 1427). Presumably Hawkhurst died or retired for in February 1430 the Prior of St Augustine, George Penshert, was elected abbot and Pope Martin was informed of the king’s consent to the election.  The dispute may not have been entirely resolved as the temporalities of the abbey were not restored to Penshert until June 1431 (5).

(3) Foedera X, p. 451.

(4) CPR 1429-36 p. 38.

(5) Foedera X, p. 494


Single Combat at Smithfield                  

John Upton had accused John Downe of plotting to kill King Henry at the time of his coronation. Both men came from Feversham in Kent a county notorious for its unruliness (1).

“And in this same yere was a batill doon in Smythffeld at London the Tewisday the xxiiij day of Januare betwene two men of the toune of Feurisham in Kente that on me[n] called maistir John Vpton notarye that was the appellaunte and that othir John of Downe, Jentillman the deffandaunte. And thei two ffoughten togederis, armyd at all poyntis to the vtterist; but the Kynge, of his riall power and grete grace kyrid ‘pees’ and toke it vp in his hand and yaf hem bothe fre grace; and this was the cause of her batill for this Maistur John Vpton put on John of Downe that he and othir moo of his compeny ymagenid and purposid the Kyngis dethe at the day and tyme of his coronacion: whom God kept and saue from all mysauenturis. Amen!”                                         Brut Continuation D, p. 436

An accusation or ‘appeal’ of treason by one individual against another could be adjudicated by single combat between the appellant and the accused (2). A ‘trial by battle’ was scheduled to take place at Smithfield on 24 January 1430, with the young Duke of York acting as Constable of England in the absence of the Duke of Bedford. (3).

It was customary for the king to be present. Henry halted the contest and pardoned both participants which may be an early example of Henry’s distaste for combat in any form, or his propensity to pardon offenders, but the king usually to put a stop to such engagements in a ritual act of clemency before anyone could be killed.

(1) Foedera X, p. 446 (combat at Smithfield).

(2) Bellamy, Treason, p. 146 (trial by battle)

(3) CPR 1429-1436, p. 38 (Duke of York constable).

Nothing is known about the man burned on Tower Hill as a heretic in January/February 1430 except his name and occupation: Richard Hunden was a wool packer. The execution is recorded in other chronicles but only A Chronicle of London (Harley 565, p. 118) gives a reason – he ate meat on Fridays.

“And in þis same yer & in þe yer of grace a-foresaid, Richarde Woll-pakker of Marc Lane þat was convicte a-for þe clergie & dampned of heresie, was led to þe Tour-Hill of London; & ther he was brent for his fals & cursed opynions þat he helde & mayntened in presence of þe Duke of Gloucestre & of þe Duke of Northfolk & þe Erl of Warrewik & þe Erle of Stafforde & oþer lordes & Jentilles, & afore all þe comuners  þat were there present of þe roialme a grete multitude.”       Brut D Appendix p. 443

The Duke of Gloucester, the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Warwick, and the Earl of Stafford were in London attending Parliament, and they witnessed the execution.

Two thieves 

Thomas Clement of London and a man from Chester named Fenables were convicted of ‘treason and theft.’ The exact nature of their offence is not specified, but it is more likely to have been misprision of treason (theft was a felony) rather than high treason; they were hanged in February and their heads were set on London Bridge.

“And in this same yere, þe Satirday þe XXI Day of Februarie one Fenables, a Jentilman of Chestre & Thomas Clement a Draper of London was dampnede atte Westmynster for treason & for þift þat thei had done to þe Kynge & to his liege peple, to be drawe fro þe Toure of London thorugh þe Citee to Tiborne & þere hangede & quartrede, And there hedes sett vpon London Brugge.             Brut D Appendix p. 443

A forger

Forging royal  seals seems to have been a common practice (see the man from Norwich in 1429).  Perhaps it was easier, quicker, and less expensive than obtaining the official seal through the law courts, whatever the reason, the penalty was death. In 1430 John Cole, a lawyer, forged the king’s (privy?) seal, and used it to issue a renewal of a patent that had been issued previously (1).

“And in that yere ther was man drawe and hongid him [whose] name whas John Cole a court man, and the cause whas ffor he sett a Seele of the kynge the wich hadde ben a patent more than a yere, and he set it vpon a new patent.”   Cleopatra C IV p. 133

(1) Amundesham,  Annales I, p. 48 calls him Henry Cole.

Two deaths 

“And the xxx day of May the Arche byschoppe of Burdowys  dyde in the wyntyr in London and he ys buryd at Whythe Freers in Flete Strete.

And in the monythe of Auguste the iij day deyde the Contasse of Urmonde by syde Schene, and the viij day of the same monthe she was brought to London and ys buryde at Syn Thomas of Acrys.”        Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 171

David de Montferrand was Archbishop of Bordeaux from 1413 to his death in 1430. John Stow, Survey of London, does not confirm Gregory’s statement that he was buried in the White Friars.

According to a footnote in the Gasçon Rolls Montferrand and been summoned to appear before Henry VI, i.e, the Council in 1429, which may account for his being in London when he died in May 1430 (1).

(1) https://www.gasconrolls.org/edition/calendars/C61_125/document.html

Joan, Countess of Ormond, was the daughter of William Beauchamp, Lord Abergavenny and Joan, daughter of Richard Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel.  She married James Butler, Earl of Ormond in 1413. Her eldest son was James Butler, later Earl of Wilshire. Her burial in the church of St Thomas Acon is confirmed by Stow, Survey I, (p. 269) but dated to 1428.


A Peace Treaty?

The success of the negotiations in 1429 to establish border law encouraged King James to consider the advantages of a peace with England.

See Year 1429 Scotland, Border Law.

The truce was about to expire, and he sent Thomas Roulle, his usual messenger to the Council in London.  His letters of 20 December 1429 are not extant, but they are referred to in the draft reply drawn up by the Council, probably on or about 24 January 1430 when English ambassadors to Scotland were named.

The Council was prepared to consider James’s proposals and the ambassadors on both sides were of higher rank and more impressive than the usual delegations dealing only with violations of the truce. Safe conducts for a large Scottish embassy were issued: James sent three bishops, including James Cameron, Bishop of Glasgow, four Scottish earls, two other nobles, four knights and four clerks (1).

On 16 February, Thomas Langley, Bishop of Durham, the Earl of Salisbury, the Earl of Northumberland, Lord Scrope, Lord Greystock, Sir Robert Umfraville, Sir Henry Brounflete, Master John Stokes, and John St Loo, received their instructions on how to reply to King James’s proposals (2).

They were to encourage the Scots to put their proposals on the table first. If they refused, then they were to be reminded that King James was not in a strong bargaining position: he had broken his oath given in the treaty of 1423/24 by which he had obtained his release.

See Year 1423 Scotland for the terms of the treaty.

If the Scots offered a marriage between King Henry and a princess of Scotland as a means to a final peace as James had suggested, the English commissioners were to reply that King James was still an enemy of England and as such King Henry could not marry his daughter – a final peace settlement would have to come first. Peace had been discussed in general in the past but without specific guarantees.

If the Scots insisted on a marriage, they were to be asked for details: what exactly was King James prepared to offer? Until this was settled the proposal could not be considered by the Council. The offer would have to be substantial as marriage with the King of England would be sought after by many other princes for their daughters. If the Scots made a detailed offer, the commissioners were to reply that they were not competent to deal with it, they must refer it to the Council.

Despite numerous reminders, James’s ransom, which should have been paid by 1428, was still outstanding. If the Scots requested a delay in payment as the price of a renewal of the truce, this was negotiable. Some money in hand would be better than no money! James must pay the 10,000 marks promised by Thomas Roulle in 1427.  If this was paid immediately, or as much of it as possible, the ambassadors were authorized to agree to the postponement, the ‘stallement,’ that James had requested, and to set new terms of 4,000 marks annually, less than half the original agreement for 10,000 marks.

James he had not sent hostages to England to replace those who had died, but despite his bad faith, King Henry had been patient; he had not sued James or any of his subjects who had given security for the ransom payments, and the hostages had been well treated.

A new truce, or the extension of the existing truce for ten years, would be acceptable since negotiations for a final peace and a marriage would require lengthy discussions and the settlement of all disagreements if the peace was to last (3).

Did the Scottish commissioners have the powers to pledge that the repeated wrongs done to the English in the past would be rectified? If the Scots offered concrete proposals, they must be referred to the Council. In other words, the English commissioners had full powers to treat for a prolongation of the existing truce, due to expire on 1 May 1431, or for a new truce, but not to conclude a peace or a Scottish marriage.

Stripped of their verbiage these instructions were essentially to buy time. King Henry was about to set out for France with all the military might that the Council could muster, they did not want trouble along the Scottish border. By offering to entertain King James’s proposals, but at a later date, the Council hoped that a truce would be sufficient to keep James quiet and secure the border, at least until King Henry returned to England.

Lord Scrope had been granted £50 to go as an observer and report the proceeding to the Council in Rouen (4). He went to France in July to inform King Henry and Cardinal Beaufort that the terms offered by the Scots were unsatisfactory. King James would agree to a truce by sea but reserved the right to send his subjects to France to fight for King Charles and he rejected the claim that his treaty with the English of 1423 prohibited this. At the same time the Council was well aware that the alternative to a truce, however unpalatable, was worse: if war broke out between England and Scotland there would be fighting on two fronts, something that King Henry V had been careful to avoid; he had secured the Scottish border before embarking on his French campaign (5).

Unsatisfactory diplomatic relations were not allowed to interfere with trade. While Scrope was in Normandy the Council issued a licence to Thomas Weston of the fishmongers’ guild and his partner, John Leman, a skinner of London who traded regularly with Scotland, to send a large cargo of assorted merchandise to  King James: twenty-three items ranging from wine, drinking cups, small weapons, horse harness, and saddles to assorted fabrics, in a ship called John of London. (6)

A Five-year truce

Truce negotiations were resumed at the end of the year. Lord Scrope was paid 100 marks, and Master John Stokes £20 for returning to Scotland (7, 8).  On 15 November the same English commissioners were empowered to treat with James for the payment of the balance of his ransom, to settle the question of replacement hostages, and to prolong the existing truce or agree to a new one which could lead, at some future date, to a final peace. The Scots ambassadors were only empowered to prolong the truce or negotiate a new one.

In the end, a truce to last for five years from 1 May 1431 to 1 May 1436, was signed on 14 December 1430 and proclaimed on 19 January 1431 (9).

The signatories are interesting: Gloucester, Warwick, Northumberland, Salisbury, Westmorland, Wilbghbi (Willoughby?) Dacre, Hungerford, Robert Umfraville, and the Admirals of the Sea and Wardens of the Marches. The Earl of Warwick and Lord Willoughby were in France, did either or both return to England briefly in December 1430?

King James got what he wanted: a general truce at sea but a limited one on land; the Council achieved their aim of prolonging negotiations with the Scots throughout 1430 before agreeing to the truce.

(1) PPC IV, Addendum, pp. 346-350 [Bibl. Cotton Vespasian F VII f. 54]

NB: The MS is undated, but it must date to January 1430 as Cardinal Beaufort is among the signatories and he left England in February before the instructions to the English commissioners were issued. It also refers to the English embassy of February/March 1429 when Beaufort was in Scotland.

(1) Foedera X, p. 446 (Scottish envoys).

(2) Foedera X, p. 447 (English envoys).

(3) PPC IV, pp. 19-27 (instructions to English commissioners).

(4) PPC IV, p. 16 (Scrope was paid £50 for his expenses).

(5) PPC IV, pp. 53-54 and 73-75. (Scrope to France).

(6) Foedera X, p. 470 (shipment of merchandise to Scotland).

(7) PPC IV, p. 68 (Scrope to Scotland).

(8) PPC IV pp. 70–71 (Stokes to Scotland).

(9) Foedera X, pp. 482-487 (truce from May 1431 to May 1436).

Council signatories, p. 486; terms, pp. 483–486; Scots signatories, p. 487.

Proclamation of the truce is the first entry in the Foedera for 1431, pp. 487-488.


Thomas Chace, Chancellor of the University of Oxford, was appointed Chancellor of Ireland on 26 February 1430 at the same time as preparations were made for King Henry to cross to France. He was included in the letters of protection issued for the king’s expedition as ‘about to go to Ireland.’ (1).  A further protection for him ‘staying in Ireland’ was issued on 11 May.

Also in May permission was granted for twenty men born in Ireland, two with their wives, to reside or continue to reside, in England. They each paid to the Hanaper between twenty and thirty shilling for the privilege (3).

(1) PPC IV, p. 39 (Chace included in letters of protection).

(2) CPR 1429-1436, pp. 49 and 56  (Chace in Ireland).

(3) Foedera X, pp, 467-468 (Irish residents).

A Peace Conference

At the end of 1429 behind the scenes intrigues and numerous diplomatic encounters facilitated by that indefatigable peace maker Amadeus VIII, Duke of Savoy, had resulted in an undertaking by the Duke of Burgundy to meet King Charles for a peace conference at Auxerre in April 1430. Pope Martin would send at least one cardinal to act as a neutral mediator (1).

Word of this worrying proposal reached the Minority Council, probably though not certainly, through Burgundy’s envoy Hugh de Lannoy when he was in England in December 1429. The leading members of the Council, the Duke of Gloucester, Henry Beaufort, Chancellor Kemp, John Stafford, and Lord Scrope took the possibility of a peace conference sponsored by the pope but excluding England sufficiently seriously to send an envoy to protest to Pope Martin.  It is worth quoting Nicolas’s translation in full:

On 5 January “credence was given to Master Nicholas Bildeston, Doctor of Laws to be declared to the Pope on the king’s behalf. Bildeston was instructed to declare that the king had received information that certain princes had determined to request his Holiness to send certain cardinals to France as mediators for the cessation of the wars and dissensions existing in that country and that to desire that in case he should assent to their request he would send such mediators as had not previously shown themselves to be favourable to the adversary of France: he was moreover to desire that Cardinal Beaufort who had for more than thirty years attended the king’s councils, and knew the state of the king and his realms, might be present in France as elsewhere during the treaty respecting the said pacification, either as a mediator or on the king’s behalf, as might seem most fit to his holiness; and that the Pontiff would not incline or assent to any petition which might prove prejudicial to the king or his realms, by releasing his subjects from their oaths of fealty and allegiance to break which the adversary of France had endeavoured to seduce them.”

“It was subsequently determined that Master Robert FitzHugh, proctor for the king at Rome, should execute the mission instead of Bildeston and that 100 shillings should be paid to Alexander Ferentyne who was to go to the said FitzHugh with these instructions” (2).

The peace conference at Auxerre did not eventuate in 1430. It was largely wishful thinking on the part of French and Burgundian councillors who favoured a reconciliation between King Charles and Duke Philip to present a united front against the English.

King Charles had suggested that the meeting should take place at a venue where English representatives could come and bring with them the French prisoners, the Duke of Orleans, Jean of Angouleme, the Duke of Bourbon and Charles d’Artois, Count of Eu take part in the discussions.

The custody of the Duke of Orleans was transferred from Sir Thomas Comberworth to Sir John Cornwall, and that of the Duke of Bourbon to Thomas Comberworth, late in 1429 on Parliament’s orders (3).

Comberworth submitted his account for Orleans’s maintenance from 1 May to 29 December 1429, but it was not until May 1430 that the Council authorized payment to Comberworth of the arrears for Orleans’s keep, from 1 May 1423 to 18 March 1427, at 20 shilling a day, amounting to 400 marks a year, with a deduction of the £40 he had received for bringing the duke to London in 1423 (4, 5).

See Year 1423: French Prisoners for Orleans visit to London in 1423.

Sir John Cornwall brought Orleans to London for an unknown reason for several weeks from 17 January to 25 February 1430, when the Council was considering King Charles’s suggestion that the captive French magnates should be invited to the peace conference. Assignments for Orleans’s maintenance were made to Cornwall for the period from 29 December 1429 to 17 January 1430, and again from 25 February to May 1430, but not for mid-January to February (6, 7). The peace conference did not eventuate, but had the Council considered allowing the French magnates to participate provided Cardinal Beaufort or some other English representatives was invited?

Safe conducts to come to England were issued throughout 1430, for servants of duke of Orleans, of his half-brother, Dunois, Bastard of Orleans, and of the Count of Angoulême, mainly in July while King Henry was in France; the Duke of Bourbon, the Count of Eu, and Lord Estouteville, earlier in the year (8).

(1) Beaucourt, Charles VII, vol II, pp. 413-414 (peace conference).

(2) PPC IV, pp. 12-15 (Council’s instructions on peace conference).

(3) PROME X, pp. 383-385 (transfer of Orleans and Bourbon).

(4) PPC IV, p. 51 (Comberworth arrears).

(5) Foedera X, p. 468 (Comberworth arrears).

(6) PPC IV, pp.  44-45 (Orleans brought to London January-February 1430).

(7) Foedera X, p. 461 (Orleans brought to London January-February 1430).

(8) Foedera X, p. 471(safe conducts to French servants).

Cardinal Beaufort and the Duke of Burgundy  

Cardinal Beaufort, now fully restored to the Council, was to return to Flanders for discussions with the Duke of Burgundy. Before he left, perhaps as the price of accepting the mission, Beaufort sought an assurance from the Council that they would honour their promise to reimburse him and Pope Martin V for the money they had expended on the Bohemian crusade before Beaufort diverted his army from Bohemia to France (see 1429). On 18 January 1430, the Council confirmed that the £2,400 and £483 6s 8d would be paid (1).

“And in the same yere the xxvij day of Januare, Sir Henry Beauford, Cardinall and Bishop of Wynchestre went ouyr the see to Caleis and so to Bryggis in Flaundris in embassitrie for Henry Kynge of Englond and of Fraunce vnto the Duke of Burgoyne and  also to se the mariage betwene the Duke of  Burgoyne and the Kynge of Portyngalis doughtir, that is cosyn to the Kynge of Engelond.”     Brut Continuation D, pp. 437-438

Beaufort crossed to Flanders in February; £28 4s was allocated for shipping for himself and his retinue (2). Duke Philip’s marriage to Isabelle of Portugal had taken place in January and Beaufort undoubtedly congratulated the Duke and renewed his acquaintance with the duchess, but his mission was to secure the Duke of Burgundy’s commitment to the upcoming campaign once King Henry arrived in France. This proved easier than Beaufort or the Council had expected. Duke Philip had reconsidered his options and decided that the imminent arrival of Henry VI with a large English army could be turned to his advantage (3). He shelved plans for a reconciliation with King Charles and gave the cardinal a cordial reception.

Philip of Burgundy was a past master at waging war to his own advantage and always at some else’s expense.  He agreed to supply 3,000 men to serve with the English army against the French for two months. His price was 50,000 gold saluts and the county of Champagne which he had long coveted. (4). It was granted to him with the Duke of Bedford’s concurrence on 8 March, although it was not currently in English hands (5). Burgundy expected the English to fight to recover it, and Bedford hoped, with Burgundy’s assistance, that they could!

Also in March Richard Woodville, the lieutenant of Calais, and Richard Buckland, the treasurer of Calais, were authorized to receive 12,500 marks from the Exchequer to be delivered to the Duke of Burgundy at Bruges or any other town he cared to designate (6, 7). They were to be paid 100 marks for their expenses. Burgundy issued a receipt for 25,000 nobles to Woodville and Buckland for the wages of 1,500 men (8, 9).

Obtaining Duke Philip’s promise of military aid was a diplomatic coup, but Cardinal Beaufort was a shrewd judge of character, and he may have doubted that Philip would fulfil his obligations should he receive a better offer from King Charles. While he was at the Burgundian court Beaufort enlisted the services of John of Luxembourg, by far the best of Burgundy’s war captains.  Luxembourg’s first loyalty was to the Duke of Burgundy, but he was not averse to accepting remuneration for his services any more than his master was.

Beaufort paid Luxembourg the large sum of £500 in cash (a considerable bribe) and in May the Council gratefully agreed to reimburse him, Luxembourg was well worth the price (10, 11).

(1) PPC IV, p. 16 (payment to Beaufort for Bohemian army confirmed).

(2) PPC IV, p 18 (shipping for Beaufort to Flanders).

(3) Vaughan, Philip, pp. 22–24 (advantage of alliance with England).

(4) Vaughan, Philip, pp. 17-18 (Burgundy’s terms).

(5) Williams, Bedford, p. 182 (Champagne granted to Burgundy).

(6) PPC IV. pp. 31-32 (Woodville and Buckland to convey money).

(7) Foedera X p. 454 (Woodville and Buckland to convey money).

(8) Foedera X, p 454 (Burgundy’s receipt).

(9) Vaughan, Philip, p. 17 (says that 15,565 nobles were delivered at Lille).

(10) Foedera X, p. 460 (Luxemburg to serve Henry VI).

(11) PPC IV, p. 44 (repayment to Beaufort for Luxembourg).

John Duke of Bourbon  

Negotiations for the release of the Duke of Bourbon, encouraged by Parliament in 1429, continued into January 1430. He had accepted the Treaty of Troyes and done homage to Henry VI. Bourbon signed an agreement with the Council in which, for the first time, he addressed Henry VI as King of England and France.

See Year 1429 Minority Council: Duke of Bourbon.

Bourbon undertook that his two sons, but especially his heir, Charles of Clermont, would do homage to Henry within one month after his return to France.  He would pay the balance of his ransom in instalments. He would arrange for the release of John and Thomas Beaufort and deliver them to Calais in part exchange for himself (1).

On the eve of his departure for France with King Henry, Cardinal Beaufort and Margaret, Duchess of Clarence negotiated with the Council to expedite the release of her son and Beaufort’s nephew, Thomas Beaufort, the younger of his two Beaufort brothers captured at the Battle of Baugé in 1421. On 21 April the Council agreed to remit 2,000 marks of the Duke of Bourbon’s ransom to be applied against Thomas Beaufort’s ransom of 7,000 marks. The Cardinal and the duchess bound themselves to repay the 2,000 marks to the crown if required when King Henry came of age, the same terms as those offered in the negotiations with the Duke of Bourbon in 1427 (2, 3).

See Year 1427 ‘The Duke of Bourbon and the Earl of Somerset and Year 1429 The Duke of Bourbon.

On the same day, 21 April, the Treasurer, Lord Hungerford was instructed to ascertain what sum was still due to Margaret, Duchess of Clarence as the executrix of the Duke of Clarence’s will. Among Henry V’s many debts, Clarence was owed wages for himself and his retinue for his second quarter’s service in the 1415 campaign to take Harfleur. Henry V had pledged the “Crown Harry” worth £6,000 to Clarence and it should now be redeemed (4). Did the Duchess bargain with the Treasurer for 2,000 marks to be applied to the Duke of Bourbon’s ransom in return for surrendering the crown?

The Duke of Bourbon fulfilled part of his undertaking: Thomas Beaufort was set free in time to swear fealty to King Henry at Calais in the summer of 1430. Henry created him Earl of Perche, undoubtedly at the request of Cardinal Beaufort. By August Thomas was in command of 120 men-at-arms and 360 archers at La Charité sur Loire (5).

To clarify the English position vis à vis Bourbon, a formal undertaking was drawn up at Westminster under the Great Seal on 26 November 1430 (6). It recapitulated the terms for Bourbon’s release and recognised that Thomas Beaufort had been set free. It promised en Parolle de Roi that Bourbon would be released as soon as he complied with the still outstanding conditions. Of these, the failure to pay the balance of his ransom appears to have been the sticking point. Bourbon remained in England until his death in 1434.

(1) Foedera X, pp. 438–45 (a recapitulation of Henry V’s agreement with Bourbon and the agreements of 1429 and 1430).

(2) PPC IV, pp. 42–44 (Thomas Beaufort’s ransom and release).

(3) Foedera X, pp. 456-457 (Thomas Beaufort’s ransom and release).

(4) PPC IV, pp. 42-44 (redemption of “Crown Harry”).

(5) Marshall, ‘English War Captains, p. 109 (Thomas Beaufort in France).

NB: The exact date of Thomas Beaufort’s creation of Earl of Perche is uncertain, but 1427, cited in numerous entries on the World Wide Web, is incorrect. Thomas Montague, Earl of Salisbury was created Earl of Perche by Henry V and he retained the title until his death at the end of 1428.

(6) Foedera X, pp. 478–481(council’s terms for Bourbon’s release).


Parisians had become accustomed to suffering food and fuel shortages but the winter of 1429-1430 was especially bleak. The Duke of Bedford had transferred his administration from Paris to Rouen after he appointed the Duke of Burgundy as governor of the city, but Burgundy did not remain in Paris.

The Bourgeois of Paris was pro-Burgundian and anti-Armagnac [French] and he recorded widespread distress: At Easter “it was very cold and prices high. . . . so was everything that supports life except apples, from which alone did poor people get any comfort. For lack of oil they ate butter in the Halles this Lent as if it were not a fast.”  Butter was animal fat and therefore prohibited during Lent while olive oil was not but was too expensive.

Discount, born of desperation, incited rebellion. In March 1430 an inept plot by a group of well to do bourgeois, believing in the rumour that King Charles would meet the Duke of Burgundy at Laon where they would be reconciled through the agency of the Pope (a garbled version of the aborted peace conference at Auxerre) planned to turn the city over to  King Charles. He would issue a general pardon to everyone and peace would follow.

The original plan was to incite a rising at the Porte Baudit [Boudet, Boudeer] in the centre of the city by posting bills on street corners and blowing trumpets to publicise King Charles’s offer a general pardon. A band of armed conspirators would then open the gates at Porte Saint Anthoine, in the city’s eastern wall, to admit the Armagnacs waiting just outside.

This plan was side lined when new comers to the conspiracy argued that an entry through Porte Saint Denis to the north of the city (the gate that Joan of Arc had tried and failed to take in the previous September) would be more effective, especially if a company of Scots, disguised as Englishmen bringing food to the city could gain access, kill the porters at the gate, and admit the Armagnacs. The conspirators would wait in taverns around the gate and rush out to join them.

The rising never took place. The conspirators could not agree on which of the city’s gates would be the easiest for the Armagnacs to gain entry. They drew up three ‘schedules,’ a long one on parchment, a short one on paper, and a third as a revision of the first two, for submission to King Chares and his council to decide which they preferred! The conspirators’ messenger was a Carmelite monk, but the king made it clear from the start that he wanted nothing to do with them.

The plot was betrayed, too many people with in the know, and arrets followed. Jehan de Calais, one of the original conspirators who was to have met the Armagnacs outside the Porte Saint Denis, using the cover that he was visiting his vineyard in the surrounding countryside, was imprisoned in the Châtelet, the office of the Provost of Paris.  He was promised a full pardon if he turned king’s evidence and he gave a full account of the plot. He claimed to be in great poverty and misery and only confessed because he had been promised a pardon. On 5 April a pardon was issued to him in King Henry’s name and sent to the Provost of Paris (1).

Although described as ‘of Calais’ Jehan was obviously a resident of Paris and a man of substance as the plotters met serval times at his house which was  staffed by servants. He named Jaquet Perdirel, a money changer, and  Guillaume Loir, a goldsmith, together with the Carmelite monk as the originators of the plot. They were joined by Pierre Morant, a proctor at the Châtelet, and Jacquet Guillaume who had a house near the Porte Baudit and who was confident that he could raise a large number of people in the neighbourhood. Jehan also identified Master Jehan de la Chappelle and Regnault Savin as co-conspirators.

The Bourgeois of Paris confirms that there was a rising involving members of the Parlement of Paris, officials of the Chatelet, and merchants in the city who were to wear an emblem of a white peacock’s feather so that the Armagnacs would not kill them. Jehan de Calais confessed that he had been told to wear one. The Bourgeois names the Carmelite as Brother Pierre d’Allée. He was arrested along with between one hundred and one hundred and fifty men and under torture named the other conspirators, six of whom were hanged (2).

(1)  L&P I, pp. 34–50.

(2) Bourgeois, pp. 246–247.


The Parliament of 1429/30 met on 22 September 1429. It had been scheduled to meet in October but in view of the decision to crown King Henry in November writs were re-issued for it to convene a month earlier. It was prorogued on 20 December to meet on 16 January 1430, and it sat until 23 February.

“And in the viij yere of Kynge Henryis regne the vje was hold a grete parlement at Westminster; and that beganne the morow aftur Michelmess day and it endured tille Shroftid.”               Brut Continuation D, p. 436

It is not certain if the coronation or Henry’s projected visit to France was the primary motivation. The need for money certainly was. Bedford was demanding reinforcements and the cost of the coronation would have to be met.

The Commons proved more generous in 1429/30 than at any time since 1416 when King Henry V was preparing his second expedition to France, it was their first grant of direct taxation in eight years. The members were optimistic that now the king had been crowned he would proceed to France at the head of an army, just as his father had done, to defend English possessions in Normandy and France.

“after his coronation & ende of his parlement holden at Westminster by the advise of all the lords & commons of England, was ordeyned in þis parlement a-forsaid þat þe kyng shulde wende ouer the see in to Fraunce for to resceyue the Crowne þere.”

Brut D Appendix p 443

Unusually the Commons voted two whole subsidies (two fifteenths and two tenths) in its first session and announced them on 12 and 20 December for collection in 1430 (1). The first was to be collected in a remarkably short space of time, by 14 January 1430, and the second by the end of December 1430.

“Ande that yere there was a Parlyment at Westemyster and that be gan the xxij day of Septembyr and hyt duryd unto the xxiij day of Feverer nexte folowynge. And in that Parlyment was grauntyde ij fyftenys to brynge thys yonge kynge in to Fraunce.”

Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 171

And in þis same yere on Saint Mathie day, Apostill, which was on a Friday, Kyng Henry the Sexte after his coronation & ende of his parlement holden at Westminster by the advise of all the lords & comons of England, was ordeyned in þis parlement a-forsaid þat þe kyng shulde wende ouer the see in to Fraunce for to resceyue the Crowne þere. 

Brut D Appendix, p. 443

On the last day of the second session before it was dissolved, 23 February 1430, Parliament added to the tax grant to finance the coronation expedition. The Commons renewed the wool subsidy until 1433 and brought the date for collection of the second lay subsidy forward from the end of the year to mid-November 1430 (2).

“And about Epiphany [6 January] the king received a fifteenth from the laity. Parliament continued until the Purification of the Virgin 2 February]. About Palm Sunday the clergy agreed to pay a tenth to the king, and every priest to pay a noble.”  Benet’s Chronicle, p. 182

Convocation had granted a whole and half subsidy in December 1429, including the half subsidy granted in 1428, and the graduated tax on stipendiary priests. It was to be payable on 1 May 1430. But Harriss overestimated Cardinal Beaufort’s influence with the Commons in the matter of taxation. Beaufort had been out of England for most of the last three years, and his elevation as a cardinal was not popular. He was in no position to handle, much less direct the Commons in the matter of taxation. Far from acting a Bedford’s agent and in his interest as Harriss suggests, Beaufort pursued his own independent line to strengthen his political position before venturing abroad once more (3).


But the tax would not be collected fast enough, and the cash flow problem was acute.  In March commissioners in thirty counties were appointed to solicit loans, ‘a notable sum of money’ from everyone who could afford it, for the king’s voyage. Security for repayment was guaranteed against the parliamentary tax. The Foedera names the commissioners for Kent: Archbishop Chichele and the Prior of Canterbury cathedral, Robert, Lord Poynings, John Darrell, Geoffrey Louther, and the sheriff of Kent (4, 5).

Distraint of Knighthood

The Council had also sought additional funds. In February they ordered the sheriffs in every county to issue distraints of knighthood (6). An old law dating back to King Henry III allowed the king to demand that anyone with an annual income of £40 or more from land should be knighted. But knighthood was an expensive business, the fee (or fine) was £40, and it was often avoided. Distraint of knighthood forced those who were eligible to accept.  The requirement was not popular, and the Council had to reissue the order in July (7).

(1) PROME X, pp. 378-381 (first two tax grants).

(2) PROME X, pp. 389-391 (wool subsidy and payment date brought forward).

(3) Harriss, Beaufort, pp. 912-194 (Convocation).

(4) Foedera X p. 452 (commission to raise loans).

(5) CPR 1429-1436, pp. 49-51 (commissioners and counties named).

(6) Foedera X, pp. 449–450 (distraint of knighthood, February).

(7) PPC IV, p. 54 (distraint of knighthood, July).

Coronation Expedition Preparations    

Preparations to send King Henry to France in a style and with a retinue befitting the dual monarchy began in December 1429. On 20 December letters in King Henry name, signed by Cardinal Beaufort, Henry Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury and John Kemp, Archbishop of York and Chancellor, were dispatched to Paris, Rouen, and the principal towns in Normandy announcing Henry’s imminent arrival in France (3). The letters stated that he was coming in response to numerous requests, because ‘his’ realm of France was in a pitiful state owing to the oppressions inflicted on it by ‘Charles de Valois nostre adversaire,’ Henry, despite his young age, would come to France with a powerful army, to impose peace and justice on the troubled realm (1).

John, Bastard of Clarence indented to lead a force of 49 men-at-arms and 700 archers to France. He was granted £100 as a reward on 27 November 1429 (2). He mustered on 12 December (3) and sailed in January 1430.

Two friars arrived in London in February 1430 with letters from the Grand Conseil in Paris. It seems probable that they had been sent to express the council’s anxiety at the delay and to ascertain, if they could, when Henry might be expected to arrive (4, 5).

(1) PPC IV, pp. 9-10 (Henry’s letter).

(2) PPC IV, p. 8 (reward to Clarence).

(3) CPR 1429-1436, pp. 41-42 (Clarence’s muster).

(4) PPC IV, p. 29 (two friars to London).

(5) Foedera X, p. 450 (two friars to London).


Shipping for the king was requisitioned on 24 February. John Hunt, sergeant at arms, and John Hert were ordered to arrest ships in Newcastle to be at Sandwich by 6 April. John Talbot, sergeant at arms, and John Lexham, were to do likewise in London and adjacent ports, and at Falmouth. (1).

On 26 February John Hotoft, treasurer of the household, who by tradition would become treasurer of war when Henry reached France, was allotted £666 13s 4 (1,000 marks) for household provisions. Robert Rolleston, keeper of the great wardrobe and John Merston, keeper of the jewels were to receive £200 each (2).

Master John Somerset, King Henry’s physician, his chaplains, Richard Praty and John Carpenter, were awarded 40 marks each, and John Walden, the king’s confessor £40 for their expenses to accompany the king (3).

Four surgeons petitioned the Council to be allowed to reside in royal household to assist William Stalworth at a wage of six pence a day each and for £20 to purchase medicines,  instruments, and other necessities belonging to their calling (4).

Thomas Burgh, the captain of Avranches, received £200 for going to France on the king’s service, although the payment was more of an advance than a wage since he was expected to repay it in June (5). It is not stated if his mission was in connection with the coronation expedition.

 John Hampton, Master of the king’s ordnance was awarded 100 marks in March for the labour and expenses of his office in England and in France for one year (6).

In April William Minors, the captain of Harfleur, and Richard Buckland the treasurer of Calais, were to deliver ordnance to Hampton in Calais: ‘bombards, large and small, and stones for guns, sulphur, saltpetre, gunpowder, leaden mallets, pavises (large shields) vangas (thick ropes) shovels, picks, baletts (small bales for transportation of goods) lances, gables (cables), great hawsers and other small ropes,  artillery, and other instruments of war, offensive and defensive’  but not so much ‘stuff’ as to leave Harfleur and Calais defenceless. Hampton was also to receive £2,212 17s 11d to provide more ordnance ‘for the use of the king in his wars.’ (7)

John Merston, keeper of the king’s jewels was to receive another £200 ‘for the private expenses of the king’s chamber as well in France as in England’ (8). He was instructed to deliver a silver gilt cup to one Francis of Paris whom King Henry had created Louvre Pursuivant at Canterbury. Merston was also to repossess a crown to be taken to France, but first it had to be redeemed. The Treasurer was authorized to pledge crown jewels to the Abbot of Westminster to recover it (9). Was it Saint Edward’s crown, or the lighter one of King Richard II?

(1) Foedera X,  p. 449 (shipping).

(2) PPC IV, p. 30 ;  Foedera X, p. 450 (household expenses).

(30) PPC IV, p. 30 ; Foedera X, p. 450 (physician, chaplains and confessor).

(4) Foedera X, p. 451 (four surgeons).

(5) PPC IV, p. 18 (Thomas Burgh to France).

(6) PPC IV, p. 31 (Hampton’s wage).

(7) PPC IV, p. 33 (ordnance and purchase of ordnance).

(8) PPC IV  p 33 (Merston, household expenses).

(9) PPC IV, pp. 34-35 and Foedera X, p. 455 (Merston gift and crown).

A Council meeting at Canterbury 

King Henry stayed at Eltham during Lent and moved to Canterbury for Easter to prepare for his departure for France.

“And on Seint Mathi day the Appostill as is aforne seide, the Kynge come fro Westeminster to London with his lordis and his pepul and come to Seint Poulis and there offrid and tok his hor and rode thorugh the Cite and toke his leue of all the Communalte of London; and so he rode to his maner of Eltham in Kente and there he duellid alle the Lenton till it was ayens Palme Sonday and thanne he rode to Caunterbury and abode there tille estur was passid till his retenewe was made and ordeynd that  shuld gon and passe ouyr the see with hym into Fraunce.”  Brut Continuation D, p. 438

Cardinal Beaufort

A series of last-minute council meetings were held at Canterbury between 16 and 21 April 1430.  Cardinal Beaufort was to accompany King Henry. The Proceedings and the Foedera record that Beaufort had to be persuaded by the Duke of Gloucester and the Council to agree to go, but this was Beaufort’s window dressing. He had every intention of remaining at the seat of power and this would be wherever King Henry was.

The Minority Council awarded Beaufort £1,000 to become a member of the council in Rouen, but only if he remained abroad for at least a year. He was to be allowed £1,000 for his expenses, the same as he had received on his mission to Burgundy in February (1, 2).  Only a few days later, on 20 April, amidst the preparations for the king’s departure, John Hotoft treasurer of the household, was ordered to pay the arrears of the wages of the clerks of the king’s chapel (£107 10s) from the money assigned to him for household expenses, and to claim reimbursement from the Exchequer. At the same time, he was to repay the £21 for the clerks’ wages that Cardinal Beaufort had advanced (3).

The Cardinal expressed his concern in council at the possibility of dissension between the magnates who would accompany the king and those serving the Duke of Bedford in France. He said that if they failed to work peacefully together, if there was ill discipline and faction fighting among them, he would return to England and report their behaviour to the Minority Council (4, 5).

The Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Warwick and the Earl of Huntingdon were going to France as council members and to participate in a campaign to recover territories lost to the French in 1429. They gave an undertaking that they would not pick quarrels among themselves or allow their servants to engage in brawls with the servants of the Duke of Bedford or the Duke of Burgundy.

It is probable that Cardinal Beaufort also raised the question of the Duke Bedford’s position while King Henry was in France. Parliament had decreed that the Duke of Gloucester ceased to be Protector of England after Henry was crowned at Westminster in November 1429. Should the Duke of Bedford cease to be Regent of France, not from the date of Henry VI’s French coronation, whenever that might be, but from the moment Henry landed in Calais?  The Council agreed, under pressure from the Cardinal, that Bedford could not be Regent, although he would remain Duke of Alençon, Maine, and Anjou (which were only partly in Bedford’s possession in 1430), Even this was provisional. The king, if he so wished, could redeem these territories from Bedford for the sum of 40,000 francs. Presumably Bedford was not consulted (6, 7).

Questions in Council

The lords who were to accompany the king required the Council to answer some pertinent questions: if the purpose of the expedition was to crown Henry King of France how was this to be achieved, and more importantly, at whose cost?

“Here folewyth the Articles in general that my Lordes &c., appointed to go into France desireth to be instructd of” (8, 9, 10).

Firstly: The size of the army to be sent to France for the king’s security and to continue the war: will it cross all at once, and if so when, or if at different times, in what order and when?

Reply:  Neither the Duke of Gloucester nor any member of the council can set a limit on the numbers considered necessary for the king’s security; nevertheless, the number of men-at- arms to be raised by taxes is known and will be advised to the lords, and also the times of departure.

Should King Henry proceed to Rouen ‘to take his crown’ even if the whole army was not with him?  If Henry was crowned in Paris, would it ensure the obedience of the capital of France and of his other French subjects?

Reply: Gloucester and the council were not in a position to judge if the king should be crowned in Paris or taken to Rheims (where kings of France were traditionally crowned). This decision must rest with the Duke of Bedford, Cardinal Beaufort, and the other magnates who accompanied Henry; they should be able to ascertain how this could be done. The precarious military situation in France was well known. The city of Rheims and great fortress of Louviers barring the way to Paris, were both in French hands; it would not be safe to take King Henry to Rheims or to Paris until they and the countryside around them had been secured.

If the Duke of Burgundy and/or the Duke of Savoy offered military aid, but only at England’s expense, how many men-at-arms might be contracted for and at what cost?  Would the money come from taxation, and what security might the dukes demand?

Reply: Gloucester and the council thought that any such offer should be accepted, but that any contract between them and the king should be negotiated as cheaply as possible. This decision must also be made by Bedford, Beaufort, and the magnates.

How much more money would be needed to maintain 600 men-at-arms, over what period were they likely to remain in France, and where was the money to come from?

Reply: Gloucester and the council somewhat haughtily replied that they had made verbal promises to Cardinal Beaufort and to the lords going to France to sustain the war effort, and they will keep their promises.

Military costs were not the only thing on the departing lords’ minds: administration costs in Lancastrian France would have to be met. Where was the money to pay members of the parlement of Paris, the chambre des comptes in Rouen and other royal officials to come from?

Reply: Money for these expenses must be raised from local fines, taxes, pardons, and other impositions, but the council suggested that it would be advisable to restrict the numbers of officials to a minimum to keep the cost as low as possible.

Would King Henry come home at the end of six months, or stay in France?

The response was predictable: it all depended on the cost, which would be considerable. The money would have to be raised partly in England and partly in Lancastrian France. The decision would rest with the Council in Rouen, but King Henry would have to be brought home if there was not enough money to maintain the military position that would keep him safe.

If and when he came home, what provision would be made to safeguard English possessions in France?

The Council, at Cardinal Beaufort’s instigation, had agreed that Bedford could not remain Regent as long as King Henry was in France. Would Bedford swallow the insult and agree to resume the regency when Henry left France? If he refused, how was France to be governed?

Bedford had always claimed the Regency by right of birth and as heir presumptive to the throne, would he accept a commission as Regent from the Council?  If he would not, who else might be granted what powers and what authority?

Reply: Gloucester and the council advised that if it was decided to bring the king home, a lieutenant must be left to rule France backed by the authority of a council, but only after every effort had been made to persuade Beford to resume the regency.  Whatever happened, some form of government with sufficient security to govern must be in place before Henry left France, and a magnate who was also a war captain would be the best choice.

Nicolo Albergati, Cardinal of St Croce was Pope Martin’s his special representative to initiate a peace settlement to end the war. If Cardinal Albergati approached the Council in Rouen what answer should be given to him?  Everyone agreed that it was impossible to conclude peace until King Henry came of age, the shadow of Henry V’s wishes still brooded darkly over the Council and the country, but on what terms could a truce be considered when the French had so far refused to discuss anything but peace on their terms?

Reply: Gloucester and the council favoured making Albergati welcome. He would have to be told that under present circumstances peace was not an option, but any proposals he might make for a truce should be given careful consideration, unless of course, the war went well, making a truce unnecessary!

Costs of the War

The fortified towns and castles all over Lancastrian France were very expensive to maintain. In theory they were funded from local taxes but in practice the soldiers were not paid and so they lived off the surrounding countryside, which contributed to the unpopularity of the English. Many of the fortresses were in disrepair and had been overrun by the French, which further undermined the English occupation. There was general agreement that while garrisons should be maintained in the strategic towns, many of the lesser fortress could be dismantled and abandoned before they fell into French hands.

 The general consensus in council was that England could not sustain the war indefinitely. War profits had long since dried up, but men who were prepared to wage war at their own cost, ‘yif eny suche may be founden’ should be encouraged and permitted to keep whatever lands they conquered.

Gloucester approved of this. He said that if the costs of the war could not be met by taxation in England or in France then land grants were the answer.  Men should ‘have hem and rejoyse hem as there oune,’ subject to the king’s authority, but they must exchange them for other lands of equal value if required.  The Duke of Bedford and Cardinal Beaufort should be consulted on this question.

Government by Two Councils

Cardinal Beaufort’s demand for reassurance that the lords would not fall to fighting among themselves led the Council to consider of how to maintain the smooth functioning of government under two councils, one in Rouen and one in England.

It was agreed that decrees of the council in Rouen relating to conditions in France would be accepted by the English Council, but otherwise each council would act independently although important decisions affecting both councils should be debated and agreed to by both.

No councillor or great officer of state should be dismissed without the approval of both councils. Appointments to bishoprics should be submitted for consideration by both councils before the pope was informed. When appointments were made to offices or benefices in the king’s gift, preference should be shown to applicants who had served King Henry’s father and grandfather. Letters patent issued under the king’s privy seal or signet must receive council approval.

The Council’s deliberations ended where they began: should King Henry be taken directly to Paris as this was what the Parisians wanted – or not? The reply was as before: Henry should be crowned in Rheims, but if this was not possible then he should be taken to Paris and crowned as soon as possible, provided nothing unforeseen happened to prevent it (8).

The debate encapsulates the double thinking of the Council long before Henry VI assumed his personal rule: on the one hand the war must be continued, on the other there was no money to pay for it. A truce with France should not be ruled out, but the persistent belief that of course English armies would be victorious, as they had been under Henry V, would make a truce unnecessary.  As far as it is possible to be sure, the Duke of Bedford, the Duke of Gloucester and Cardinal Beaufort favoured a continuation of the war which made it unlikely that any serious attempt would be made to end it; King Henry’s minority, while a valid factor, was also their basic excuse to continue what Henry V had started.


(1) PPC IV pp. 34 and 36 (Beaufort’s wage and expenses).

(2) Foedera X, p. 456 (Beaufort’s wage as councillor).

(3) PPC IV, p. 39 (wages of chapel clerks).

(4) PPC IV, pp. 35-38 (Beaufort’s terms).

NB: The terms of the agreement of 16 April were read and confirmed again a year later, on 7 May 1431 when Cardinal Beaufort returned to England.

(5) Foedera X, pp. 456-457 (Beaufort’s terms).

(6) PPC IV, p. 37 (Bedford to cease to be Regent).

(7) Wolffe, Henry VI. Pp 59-60 (Bedford to cease to be Regent).

(8) PPC IV, pp. 91-97 (questions in Council).

(9) Rotuli Parliamentorum V, pp. 416-41 (questions in Council).

(10) PPC IV Preface, pp. xxiii–xxviii. The copy in the Proceeding transcribed from MS Bibl. Cotton Cleopatra, F. iv, f. 54b was placed in 1431 by Nicolas but it obviously belongs in 1430 and the Council at Canterbury as set out in the Appendix to Rot. Parl. V.



King Henry’s Coronation Expedition  

The Duke of Gloucester as Warden of the Cinque Ports was ordered to provide four ballingers and their crews to convey the king to France (1).

The army followed. It took almost a month, until the middle of May for the soldiers to be transported as shipping became available. On 3 May the sheriffs of London were ordered to round up stragglers who had indented but not yet mustered, and the bailiffs of Rochester were instructed not to allow any men who had mustered to return to the town (2).

“And thann the Kynge come to Douyre, and on Seint Georges euyn, withynne nyght, the wethur and wynde was feyre and menabull, and the Kynge was brought to ship withoute Douyre in the roode.  And whanne tyde of passage come, thei toke the see, and passid ouyr and come to Caleis and landed there in the mornynge at vij of the clocke in Seint Georgis Day and that was on the Sonday; and the domynycall letter went by (wente þat tyme A).  And whanne he was landid the Kynge went to the Castell of Caleis; and there he abode tille all his retenewe and orydnaunce were come ouyr the see.  And withynn iij wikis aftur Estur aforne seid, all his pepull with alle his ordynauncis weren come ouyr to the Kynge.” 

                    Brut Continuation D, p. 439

The royal entourage, military and civilian, was impressive as it was designed to be. The army numbered between 4,000 and 5,000 men (3). Benet’s Chronicle (p. 182) which often inflates military figures, has 40,000 but this may be a copying error. They had indented to serve for a year rather than the customary six months in anticipation of the campaign to recover towns and castles lost to the French in 1429.

On 17 April the Keeper of the Privy had issued letters of protection of property, usually accorded only to men on active service, to the councillors and officers accompanying the king even though they had not indented to serve since they were not going in a military capacity (4).

The Great Chronicle (p. 154) lists Cardinal Beaufort, nineteen magnates and lords, three bishops and two household officials as accompanying the king. His entourage was, of course, far larger:

Richard, Duke of York, the premier peer in England after the Duke of Gloucester, with twelve men at arms and thirty-six archers was paid 1,000 marks. York was still only eighteen and in the king’s household under the governance of the Earl of Warwick who with other members of the Council authorized the payment (5, 6).

John Mowbray Duke of Norfolk (with 480 men), Richard Beauchamp, Earls of Warwick, John Holand, Earl of Huntingdon and Humphrey, Earl of Stafford (with 320 men combined) were members of the council who took part in the campaign in France (see below).

James Butler, Earl of Ormond came directly to France from Ireland (7). His son, the nine-year-old James Butler, who would become one of King Henry’s favourite courtiers is not listed in the Great Chronicle. He was in King Henry’s household and joined the king’s entourage with two men at arm and 6 archers (8).

Gaillard IV de Durfort, Lord of Duras and Blanquefort, a Gascon, is not listed in The Great Chronicle. He volunteered with a retinue of sixty men; letters of protection for him for one year were issued in February (9).

Edmund Beaufort, Earl of Mortain was already in France. He went over in 1429 with Cardinal Beaufort’s army and was captain of Neufchâtel en Bray from October 1429 (10).

Lord Grey of Codnor. Curry identifies him as John, Lord Grey who brought a company of 152 men. He died in September 1430.

John, Lord Beaumont, was just twenty-one. He had been knighted by King Henry at his coronation in London and may have still been in the royal household.

Thomas Courtney, Earl of Devon was fifteen and probably, like York, in the king’s household under Warwick’s care. He too had been knighted to King Henry’s coronation. He was paid £100 to accompany the king (11).

John de Vere, Earl of Oxford came of age in 1429. He is included in The Great Chronicle but omitted by Curry. He was in England in March 1431 as a commissioner to raise loans (12).

John d’Arundel, ‘who styled himself Earl of Arundel’ in his indenture. An irregularity in the indenture did not specify what wage he was to receive for his first six months service so an additional sum of £46 was to be paid to him for the second half  years’ service. (13). Arundel’s claim to the Earldom of Arundel was not recognised until 1433 (14).

Thomas, Lord Roos was already in France, he had crossed with the Duke of Bedford in 1427. He was killed in August 1430 (see below).

Lionel, Lord Welles. He had livery of his lands in 1427.

Henry Bourchier was the son of Anne, Countess of Stafford by her second husband, Sir William Bourchier, Count of Eu, the title granted to him by Henry V. William died in 1420. Henry Bourchier, styled Count of Eu, was twenty-five in 1430.

William Neville, Lord Fauconberg was the younger brother of Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury and son of Ralph Neville, first Earl of Westmorland by his second wife, Joan Beaufort.

Arundel, Roos, Welles Bourchier, and William Neville, Lord Fauconberg had all been knighted by Henry VI at Leicester in 1426.

Philip Dymock, the king’s champion at his Westminster coronation was also in France,  probably in the retinue of the Earl of Huntingdon (15).

John, Lord Scrope was not in the original entourage. He was sent to France by the English council in July to report on the unsatisfactory nature of negotiations with the Scots (see Scotland below).

James, Lord Audley and Walter, Lord Fitzwalter, listed in The Great Chronicle, did not arrive in France until a year later as captains in the second army raised by Cardinal Beaufort in 1431 (16, 17)

Lewis Robessart, Lord Bourchier and John, Lord Tiptoft accompanied the king as chamberlain of the household and steward of the household respectively.

Philip Morgan, Bishop of Ely and John Stafford, Bishop of Bath and Wells were to be the episcopal members of Henry’s council in France.  They had been granted 700 marks each in February to continue their duties as council members for six months at the same wage as John Kemp had been paid while as Bishop of London he had attended the council in  Rouen (18).

John Langdon, Bishop of Rochester did not cross to France in 1430. According to signatures in the Proceedings he attended  council meetings in England in May and in July. A muster list signed by the Duke of Gloucester includes the bishops of Ely and Bath, but not Rochester.  It also lists ten knights in the entourage (19):

William Philip

John Montgomery (see Compiègne below).

John Stewart, master of horse (see Compiègne below).

Robert Shotesbroke

Ralph Botiller, war captain, besieged Le Crotoy in 1423.

Richard Woodville, lieutenant of Calais.

John Feriby, comptroller of the household.

Richard Buckland, treasurer of Calais.

William FitzHenry, a knight of the body.

John Bryce [Bruce]

The coronation expedition army was the largest ever assembled during Henry VI’s long reign. It was comparable in size to that of King Henry V’s army in 1415.  The Foedera and the Proceedings name only the higher ranks (20).

(1) Foedera  X p. 455 (ballingers for the king).

(2) Foedera X pp. 459-460 (stragglers mustered).

NB: Dated 3 May but without a year, this order may date to 3 May 1431 and Cardinal Beaufort’s army of reinforcements. The heading added by Rymer does not occur in the text.

(3) A. Curry, ‘The ‘Coronation Expedition,’ and Henry VI’s Court in France, 1430 to 1432,’  pp. 29-52. (Her article is indispensable for details of Henry VI’s expedition not found in the Proceedings or the Foedera and not easily accessible from other sources).

(4) PPC IV, p. 39 (protection letters for councillors).

(5) PPC IV, p. 28 (Duke of York).

(6) Foedera X, p. 449 (Duke of York)

(7) CPR 1429-1436, p. 72 (Ormond).

(8) Curry, p. 33 (young James).

(9) Foedera X, p. 451 (Gaillard de Durfort).

(10) Marshall, War Captains, p. 261 (Edmund Beaufort).

(11) PPC IV, p. 30  and  Foedera X, p. 450 (Earl of Devon).

(12) CPR 1429-36, p. 124 (Oxford in England).

(13) PPC IV, p. 28 ;  (Arundel).

(14) Powell, House of Lords, pp. 463-464 (Arundel).

(15) PPC IV, p. 47 (Dymock).

(16) Harriss, Beaufort, p. 204 (Audley and Fitzwalter).

(17) CPR 1429-36, p. 119 (Fitzwalter).

(18) PPC IV p. 29 (bishops on council).

(19) Foedera X, pp. 458-459 (ten knights in muster list).

(20) Powicke, ‘Lancastrian Captains,’ in T.A. Sandquist and M.R, Powicke (eds.) Essays in Medieval History presented to Bertie Wilkinson  (1969), pp. 378-318 (for a complete list of those who indented to serve and the size of their retinues).

King Henry in France  

King Henry and his household reached Calais on the symbolic feast of St George, 23 April 1430. The Duke of Gloucester sent Richard Grygge in a small boat who ‘exposed himself to great danger at sea’ from Dover to Calais and back again to report the king’s safe arrival (1) A letter to the chambre des comptes in Paris announcing his arrival reached Paris on 4 May (2). The Duke of Bedford was not in Calais to welcome his nephew. He remained in Rouen. Bedford accepted that while King Henry was in France there could be no Regent of France.

King Henry stayed in Calais for three months. Although the route from Calais to Normandy passed through Burgundian territory it was not secure. King Charles’s success in recovering towns to the east of Rouen after his coronation in July 1429 meant that the English army had to clear the way to make it safe to move King Henry to Rouen.

His stay was costly. On 11 July the Council in England ordered a payment of £1,000 to William Aleyn, a clerk of accounts in the king’s household, to meet the king’s expenses (3, 4). Henry left  Calais on 17 July and entered ‘his’ capital of Rouen on 29 July where he was welcomed by its citizens as their king and showered with gifts.

“And þen Kyng Henry was brought from Caleys, þugh [458] Normandy to þe Cite of Roan,  with strenght of his lordes, and with men of armes and archers; and there the kyng abode and rested hym in the Castell and the Cite of Roan from Seint Iames tyde the Apostell vnto the secund day of Decembre.

And whan he come first into Rone he was receyued and welcomed for theire liege lord and Kyng, with all reuerence, solempnite, gladnesse and worship þat myght be ordeyned and made; and also they presented hym with ryche and roiall giftes and thanked God of his comyng.”                      Brut Continuation F, p. 458

“And the king went to Rouen where he was honourably received, and then to Paris. And the king remained in France for nearly two years.”  Benet’s Chronicle, p.182

Bedford accounted for the 9,888 livres tournois he had borrowed from Cardinal Beaufort in September 1429, for which he had pledge his jewels and plate. 5,000 livres tournois went to pay the troops (including Beaufort’s army!) who defended Paris. The balance of 4,888 livres tournois and 10 shillings was still outstanding on the Receiver General of Normandy’s books, to be repaid by the crown. Pierre Surreau and the chambre de compte in Rouen were not to be held liable for the repayment (5).

King Henry and the royal household resided in Rouen for sixteen months, from August 1430 to the end of November 1431. It was not safe for him to proceed to Paris until the army accompanying him could clear the way. The town and fortress of Louviers dominating the Seine half way between Rouen and Paris was in French hands blocking the road and river route. Until it was recaptured King Henry would remain in Rouen

During the Christmas festivities in Rouen in 1430 Anne, Duchess of Bedford presented the manuscript now known as The Bedford Book of Hours to the young king as a Christmas/New Year gift.  It had been commissioned by Bedford as a wedding present to Anne in 1423 and she gave it to Henry with Bedford’s permission, as noted in the manuscript itself by Master John Somerset, Henry’s physician and tutor (6).

(1) Issues of the Exchequer, p. 418 (payment for information on King Henry’s arrival).

NB: This is an example of an action in 1430 being recorded much later. Richard Grygge received £5 for his exploit in May 1432).

(2) L&P  II, p. 140 (letter announcing Henry’s arrival).

(3) PPC IV p 54  (£1,000 to Aleyn for household).

(4) Foedera X, p. 470 (Aleyn for household).

(5) L&P II, pp. 141–142 (Bedford repayment of Beaufort’s loan).

(6) L&P I, Preface, p. lxxxi (Bedford Book of Hours).

The Campaign of 1430   

What was the English plan of campaign for 1430, if there was one? Was it to use the army to clear the way for Henry to be taken to Rheims to be crowned? This was impracticable since most of the countryside around Rheims was in French hands. Or was he to be taken to Paris, as eventually happened?

“And in the tyme of his abiding in þe Cite of Roan there were many iourneyes done in dyuers partyes of Fraunce and Normandy, which be not titled in this boke;for y haue not full conusuaunce of theym, how, ne it what place nor where they were doon.”

Brut Continuation F, pp. 457-458

“And the Kynge anon aftur by his Counseill sent dyuerse lordis knyghtis and capitainys with her men of armys and archeris and ordynauncis to dyuers tounys Castelles and Garysonys of his in Fraunce and Normandie for keypynge and strengthynge of his liege pepull and kepynge of his titull and right.”            Brut Continuation D p. 439

The Duke of Bedford had begun to win back the towns in Normandy lost to the French well before King Henry left England. In November 1429 the Estates General of Normandy had granted him 140,000 livres tournois.

A letter in King Henry’s name sent out in February 1430 authorized Thomas Blount, Treasurer of Normandy, and Pierre Surreau, Receiver General of Normandy, ‘to tax, collect and receive’ by 8 April 60,000 livres tournois the last instalment of the 140,000 livres tournois levied on the Argentan, Exmes, Domfort, Saint Silvain ‘and other places’ to pay the garrisons’ wages and for men-at-arms and archers to recover Torcy, Aumale, and Conches; 8,000 livres tournois were assigned for men-at-arms to protect the workmen building bastilles at Torcy, Chateau Gaillard, Louviers, and Conches.

The Contentin was assessed at 2,000 livres tournois for 85 men-at-arms and archers for two months to protect Avranches and Vire and to attack and demolish any fortifications erected by the French.

Domfort’s  levy of 975 livres torunois dated 1 March 1430, was to be paid by 8 April. The clerks who handed the accounts would receive 26 livres tournois. The authorization, printed in Letters and Papers, is addressed to Nicolas Normant, the sheriff of Domfort, Bedford’s councillor and proctor, but similar letters would have been sent to other districts. (1).


In January 1430 the sheriff of Arques was ordered to pay the miners and other labourers employed at the siege of Torcy in Upper Normandy from taxes to be raised by Hugh Spencer, the bailli of Caux (2) (see below). The citizens of Torcy had opened their gates to King Charles after he was crowned at Rheims.

Hugh Spencer also authorized the sheriff of Arques to pay Robert Golduit sixteen livres tournois for six messengers ‘to make several journeys by day as well as by night’ from early April to June 1430, carrying letters and messages relating to the conduct of the war. The going rate was 20 sols for short journeys and 60 sols for longer journeys.

1. To Jehan Bourisier sent from Lillebonne to the captains of Harfleur, Neuville, Valmont, and other garrisons on 2 April to warn them to prepare for a summons from the Regent Bedford to join him whenever he should call for them.

2. To Raoul Fillaistre whom Spencer sent from Torcy to the sheriffs of Caudebec and Montivilliers to bring the money levied on the towns and parishes in their areas to pay the workmen at Torcy.  Fillaistre also travelled to Rouen carrying letters from John Brinkley and Spencer.

3. To Raoul Meriel travelling from Longueville to the sheriffs of Caudebec and Montivilliers to send carts, trucks, and carriages to assist in the repair of the causeway below Torcy which had been damaged.

4. To Pierre de Briliguy carrying secret letters from John Brinkley and Hugh Spencer to Calais concerning the siege of Torcy.

5. To Colin, the trumpeter of Granville, going from Torcy to Beauvais to gather information on the enemy’s movements.

6. To Eliot, a pursuivant, carrying letters from John Brinkley and Spencer to the king at Calais concerning the siege of Torcy. The last letter in the list dated 22 June and carried by the pursuivant was addressed to Cardinal Beaufort in Calais requesting him to remove some  English troops who were marauding in the area and send them elsewhere ‘on account of the ills they had committed.’ (3). It is an indication that by mid-June the administration of Normandy had shifted from the Regent Bedford to Cardinal Beaufort and was being badly managed.

Wavrin describes Torcy as ‘the finest and best built [castle] of all the country roundabout.” It surrendered to John, Bastard of Clarence in August (4)

Chateau Gaillard

Carpenters, masons and other workmen were also engaged at the siege of Chateau Gaillard. Thomas Rurasa (otherwise unknown) wrote to the council in Rouen, i.e. to Bedford, in early April to warn them that he and Thomas de Beaumont were convinced that unless the workmen, who had received no wages, were paid immediately they would abandon their task and looked for work elsewhere.

They reported that John Lunberry, the under marshal in charge of siege operations, had even paid the men out of his own pocket to keep them on the job. Ruras urged that sufficient funds should be entrusted to the bearer of his letter to be brought back to Chateau Gailard immediately or the siege might have to be abandoned. Bedford sent an additional fifteen men-at-arms and forty-five archers to the siege in March (5).

Chateau Gaillard was one of the strongest castles in France, built by King Richard the Lionheart  on a cliff overlooking the Seine fifty miles north of Paris. It was captured by the French war captain Etienne de Vignolles, known as La Hire, in February 1430, either by betrayal from within or by a surprise attack.  La Hire surrendered in June 1430 and Bedford was so incensed that it had been captured that he charged its captain, the long serving Sir William Bishopton, with gross negligence had him imprisoned in Rouen and heavily fined (6).

(1) L&P, pp.130–136 (Normandy tax and its use).

(2) L&P II, p. 128 (payment to miners and labourers at Torcy).

Footnote: Another mandate respecting the payment of the army before Torcy, dated 25 August 1430, occurs in Addit. Charter 3367.

(3) L&P II, pp. 144-148 (payment to six messengers).

(4) Wavrin III, p. 212 (John, Bastard of Clarence at Torcy).

(5) L&P II, pp. 136-39. (workmen at Chateau Gaillard).

Footnote: An acquittance for the payment of 15 men at arms and 45 archers serving at the siege before Chateau Gaillard occurs in the Addit. Charter 3656 dated 11 March 1430

(6) Barker, Conquest, p. 142 (Chateaux Gaillard capture and recovery).

Seventeen ‘journeys’   9 pages   18 notes

A Chronicle of London (Julius B I ) records seventeen ‘journeys or armed clashes of varying importance throughout 1430: “Journeis that were done after the kyng was landid at Caleis Some are difficult to elucidate where dates are not given and the chronicle records only English victories (1).

The first three ‘journeys’ concern Joan of Arc: she was put to flight, then defeated, then captured.

“The first Journey was at Pountnake: the Pucelle with a grete power put to flight.”

“The second Journey was in a wodde biside Compeigne: the Pucelles mayny ijc were discounfeited of xxx Englishemen and there were xj Armynake prisoneers.”

“The iijd Journey the Pucelle was taken at Compeigne and many of her mayny slayne and drowned.”

Joan of Arc Captured at Compiègne

The town of Compiègne on the river Oise north east of Paris lay in Burgundian territory. The citizens had opened its gates to King Charles in August 1429 and part of the deal between Cardinal Beaufort and the Duke of Burgundy was that English troops would serve with the Burgundian army to re-capture it. Their attempt met with stubborn and prolonged resistance. Duke Philip attended the siege in person, a reflection of how important its recovery was to his prestige.

Joan of Arc left the French court without the king’s permission to go to the aid of  Compiègne. She took part in a number of skirmishes around Compiègne until on 23 May 1430, she led a sortie from the town itself and was repulsed. She failed to retreat in time to safety inside the town’s gate and was captured.

“And in the same yere the xv day of May ther was made a Journey in Fraunce bisidis the toune of Compyne; and at that Journey were slayn of Frensshe men Armynakkis and Scottis the nombre of viij c of good mennnys bodyes; and there were take also of the Frensshe and of her compeny many Cote armuris.

And at that same Journey was take the wicche of Fraunce that was callid th[e] Pusshell; and she was take alle armyd as a man of armys; and by her crafte of sorserie alle the Frensshe men and her company trystid for to haue ouyrcome alle the Englisshe pepull.  But God was lord and maistir of that victorie and scomfiture and so she was take and brought and kept in hold bi the Kynge and his counseill all tymes at his commaunement and wille.”

                            Brut Continuation D, p. 439

It was the greatest stroke of luck to come England’s way for many a year and it came as an enormous relief. The Duke of Bedford and most English soldiers genuinely believed Joan to be a witch; she posed a far graver threat than any French army had ever done. Joan became the prisoner of John of Luxembourg, a vassal of the Duke of Burgundy who was in English pay, like the duke himself (see above). Modern accounts dramatize and romanticise Joan’s capture because of her subsequent fate, such is the enduring power of the legend of Joan of Arc (2).

The Duke of Burgundy hastened to associate himself with Joan’s capture; he wrote to  Henry VI to tell him the good news:

To my moost doubted lord the kyng

“My moost doubted lord I recommaund me to you as moche and as mekely as I may And please it you to wete my moost doubted lord that this day the xxiij day of May aboute vj after none youre adversaries and myne that were with grete power in the toune of Compeigne afore which toune I am logged with myne and with these that ye senden under governaunce of sir John Mongomory  and sir John Styward come oute with grete puyssaunce upon the vaunwarde which was next hem.  And with hem come she that they calle the pucelle with mony of here chief chevteyns and ageyn hem come anone my Cosyn sir John Luxenburgh and other of youre folkes and of myne which made right grete and sharpe resistance. And I come thider in myne owne persone. And founde that the said Adversaries were putte abakke. And by the pleasaunce of oure blessed creature it fill so And  god gave me such grace that she that they calle the pucelle was taken.  And with here mony Capitaynes knyghtes and squyers and other taken and drowned and dede whos names I knowe not [y]it.”              Great Chronicle, p. 155

Burgundy went to see Joan (out of curiosity?) but what he said to her is not recorded.  Monstrelet, coy for once in his usually vivid and detailed chronicle, says only “the duke . . . spoke some words to her; but what they were I do not now recollect, although I was present.” (3). Possibly Joan had the best of the exchange?

The prominence given to Joan’s capture obscures the number of men who were killed or captured at Compiègne. Brut Continuation D claims that 800 French and Scots were killed and a number of French gentlemen captured. Sir John Montgomery and Sir John Stewart, Henry’s master of horse, were wounded in the fight, Montgomery in the arm, while Stewart was struck in the thigh by a crossbow bolt.

“And at that Journey of Englisshe men weren Capitaynys Sir John Mountegomere and Sir John Steward, knyghtis of the Kyngis houshold with her retenewe.  And there was Sir John Mountegomere smyte his arme vn two; and Sir James Steward was shotte unto the thye with a quarell and yet God sent hem good hele and welfare and Scomfiture of all her enemyes: blessid be God!”    Brut Continuation D, p. 439

“the iiijth Journey the lord was the lord Wilby brent a chirch and vjxx men and boies therynne. The vth Jounrey the lorde Scales toke and slough of the dukes men of Launson iijc.”

The fourth and fifth ‘journeys’ name Robert, Lord Willoughby and Thomas, Lord Scales. Both were veterans of the wars in France.

Willoughby was already in France, although it is not known where, when King Henry arrived in Calais. The chronicle records that he burned a church with men it, which would have been standard practice at this time if they refused to surrender.

Lord Scales had been captured at the Battle of Patay in 1429 and the date of his release is not known. He is listed by Wavrin but not The Great Chronicle, as accompanying King Henry to France. Curry says he was in France when Henry arrived but gives no source (4, 5).  He would certainly have taken part in the 1430 campaign if he was free. According to the chronicle he encountered the Duke of Alençon’s men, killed 300 of them and captured others.

Alençon had not been with Joan at Compiègne, he was campaigning to recover those parts of his patrimony that he had been forced to sell or concede to the English to raise his ransom following his capture at the Battle of Verneuil in 1424.

“the vjth Journey the kyngs householde mayny biside Parys an Englisehe mile out of Boys seint Vyncent token a strong abbeie with tretis.”

The Bourgeois of Paris confirms that on 2 June English troops from Paris besieged the town and abbey of St Maur des Fossés seven miles from Paris on the other side of the Bois de Vincennes (6). The inhabitants negotiated a surrender and were permitted to leave. The English then ransacked the abbey and the town. They may have been ‘household men’ in the sense that they had been sent to Paris from Calais for the city’s defence.

“the vijth Journey the lord Chamberleyne distresssid La Here and slough and toke of his meyny into iijc and at the same Journey was slayne Sr Symon Filbrigges sone and his heire.”

Lewis Robessart, Lord Bourchier, was King Henry’s chamberlain. His encounter with La Hire is not confirmed by any other source. According to Wavrin Robessart was with the Earl of Huntingdon at Compiègne while La Hire was ravaging the countryside right up to the gates of Rouen in 1430 (7). I have been unable to identify ‘Sir Filbrigge’ or his son.

Robessart is reported to have been killed at Conty fifteen miles from Amiens, in an encounter with a superior Franco-Scottish force. The Compete Peerage II, (p. 248) dates Robessart’s death to 26 November 1431 but gives no source. This may be an error for November 1430 as a writ of diem clausit extremum was issued in respect of him on 26 January 1431 (8).

Gregory’s Chronicle  (p. 171) says he was buried in Westminster Abbey but not where, when, or how he died.

[Inserted in MS 1431-1432] this yere died Robsert lord bourchier & is beried att Westminster.       Great Chronicle, p. 155

‘Journeys’ eight, nine, and ten refer to the Earl of Huntingdon’s campaign to recover Compiègne for the Duke of Burgundy. Huntingdon intercepted a French convoy bringing armaments to Compiègne; he captured 120 men-at-arms and ‘vileyns many.’ (Wavrin mentions that the French employed ‘peasants’ to repair damage to roadways and fornications.)

“the viijth Journey therle of Huntyngdon toke gonnes quarrells and crosbowes comyng toward Compeigne the nombre of an c and xx men of armes and vileyns many.”

“the ixthJourney the seid erle of Huntyngdon and his compeigny token vi strengthes and chirches and brent many; and he gate a grete towne callid Crepynaloys. And thei praied hym that thei myght stand in the same forme that thei of Compeigne shulde, and therto thei sent hym ij m1 salves of golde for expenses.”

“the xth Journey the seid erle of Huntyngdon made a rode frome the duke of Burgoyne and met with a compeigny of Scotts distressid them and toke there capitayne.”

The town of ‘Crepynaloys’ is Crépy en Valois, situated between Senlis and Soissons. It  surrendered to Huntingdon and paid him a large tribute, 2,000 saluts. Huntingdon raided the surrounding countryside taking castles and churches (for their wealth). He plundered the church at Verberie and hanged the leader of the local resistance, but, more lucratively, he held others to ransom and exacted tribute, eventually returning to Compiègne with the spoils  (9).

Julius B I recounts two encounters with Scottish forces (the 10th and 16th ‘journeys’) in which the Earl of Huntingdon captured a Scottish captain. At some point, possibly on his way back to Compiègne from the Duke of Burgundy’s camp in August (Wavrin records that Burgundy took his leave of the earl) Huntingdon clashed with a company of Scots and captured their captain. The chronicle is the only source for this encounter.

“the xjth Journey ijc Englisshemen of the kyngs house were bifore seint Lis and token bestes and lx prisoners, whose capitayne was called Arnold of Gilias of Alaffert Baynarde, the whiche as men wende myght paie a m1 marc of golde, and another was La Heres brother.”

Senlis a fortified town on the River Oise, was attacked by two hundred men ‘of the  household,’ i.e. a contingent of the army of 1430. They captured the castle and took sixty prisoners including La Hire’s brother, Amado [Maddok] de Vignolles and the wonderfully named ‘Arnold of Gilias of Alaffert Baynarde’ who was rumoured to have paid 1,000 marks for his release. The name of the English captain and the date of the attack is not given, but the capture of La Hire’s brother at Senlis is confirmed in the Duke of Burgundy’s complaint King Henry and the council at Rouen in November 1430 (10).

“The xijth Journey the duke of Norfolk met with Lumbardes vjxx speres distressid them. and toke their capiteyne and many moo chirches abbeis and castells that were strong viij or ix and hangid them that were therynne and breke downe castells and chirches that were  right strong.”

The Duke of Norfolk campaigned in the Isle de France. He defeated 120 Lombard men-at-arms, presumably mercenaries in King Charles’s pay, and captured their captain.  He hanged inhabitants of the towns who resisted him, broke down their fortifications and ransacked their churches.

The Bourgeois of Paris records that twelve fortress were captured in June and July (11).  Wavrin says Norfolk ‘put many fortresses into the obedience of King Henry’ including Dammartin  recorded as the seventeenth ‘journey’ below (12).

“The xiijth Journey Castel Gailard was wonne.”  (see Chateau Gaillard above)

“The xiiijth Journey therle of Stafford gate Arlmarle and therynne was vjxx and vj men; of the which vxx were hangid and the remenaunt in the kings wille.”

The Earl of Stafford besieged Aumâle in July He captured 126 men, including André, Lord of Rambures.  and hanged 100 of them (13). The rest submitted! Monstrelet mistakenly wrote the Earl of Suffolk and said he hanged thirty men who had previously sworn allegiance to the English (14).

“The xvth Journey Sir Raffe Butler gate a pile and brake it downe.”

Sir Ralph Botiller was in the royal entourage as a knight of the body. He had served in France under the Duke of Bedford and successfully besieged Le Crotoy in 1423 (see 1423). There is no record of what ‘pile’ (building) he took and demolished.

“The xvjth Journey the first day of July, there were comyng towards Compeigny of Scotts and of Armynakes to the nombre of iiij m1 and in theire comyng thiderward therle of Huntyngdon met them and there toke the capiteyne of the Scotts and iiijxx other gret capiteyns; and there were slayne and taken xvc of Scottis and Armynakes.”

The 16th ‘journey’ records that the Earl of Huntingdon faced an army of 4,000 Scots and Armagnacs coming towards Compiègne on 1 July. He captured the Scots captain and  eighty other captains and killed or captured 1500 Scots and French. This account is not corroborated by Wavrin or Monstrelet. According to Wavrin Huntingdon and Lewis Robessart with 1,000 men were stationed at Vendette, a town on the River Oise not far from Compiègne in June.

The siege of Compiègne begun by the Duke of Burgundy in April was continued by John of Luxembourg and the Earl of Huntingdon with English and Burgundian troops after the duke left in August. At the end of October a French army, 4,000 strong (no mention of the Scots) entered the city and the siege was lifted. The Duke of Burgundy never recovered Compiègne.

Unwisely Luxembourg at Royaulieu on one bank of the river and Huntingdon at Vendette on the opposite bank had split their command.  Their plan to join forces and bring the French to battle before they could reach Compiègne foundered when the unpaid soldiers in both camps, weary of the siege and doubtful of the outcome, deserted their posts and fled towards Noyon. Luxembourg and Huntingdon decided that discretion was the better part of valour; they abandoned their baggage and artillery and retreated to Pont l‘Evêque (15).

Julius B I conflates Huntingdon’s presence at Compiègne with an earlier episode in his military career under Henry V, possibly to gloss over his ignominious flight: On 3 March 1420 “a force of French and Scots, which had left le Mans with the object of relieving Fresnay-le-Vicomte was ambushed by a detachment under the Earl of Huntingdon and cut to pieces, the marshal de Rieux and the war chest of the Scots being captured.” (16).

“The xvijth Journey the duke of Norfolk gate Dammartyn and two other grete townes; and the dolphin was that tyme at Jargowe v leges byonde Orliunce.”

Wavrin records that Norfolk took Dammartin, La Gouelle, La Chasse, and Mongay (17).

King Charles VII, still ‘the dauphin’ English accounts, was at Jargeau in May and June 1430 (18).

(1) A Chronicle of London, Julius B, I., pp. 170-171 (seventeen ‘journeys’).

NB: Cottonian MS Julius B I ends with the death of Edward IV in 1483 and so was compiled long after the events it describes.

(2) K, Devries, Joan of Arc a military history, pp. 169-176

(3) Monstrelet I, p. 472 (Burgundy visited Joan).

(4) Wavrin III, p 219 (Lord Scales with King Henry)

(5) Curry, p. 36, n. 39 ‘Scales did not cross with the king but was already in France.’

(6) Bourgeois, pp. 249-50  Saint Maur des Fossés

(7)  Wavrin III, pp. 220 and 215 (Robessart).

(8) CFR, 1430-1437, p, 2 (date of Robessart’s death).

(9) Wavrin III, pp. 221-222 (Huntingdon captures towns).

(10) L&P II, pp. 178-179  (La Hire’s brother captured).

(11) Bourgeois, p. 251 (Norfolk and Stafford campaigns)

(12) Wavrin III, p. 225 (Norfolk’s campaign).

(13) Wavrin III, p. 214 (Stafford’s campaign)

(14) Monstrelet I,  p. 566 (mistakes Suffolk for Stafford).

(15) Wavrin III, pp. 216–224 and 226-233 (detailed account of Compiègne).

(16) Wylie & Waugh III, p. 216 (Huntingdon in 1420).

(17) Wavrin III, p. 225 (Norfolk and Dammartin).

(18) Beaucourt II, p. 265 (King Charles at Jargeau).

The death of Lord Roos   

The Duke of Burgundy abandoned any pretense of governing Paris within weeks of the governorship being granted to him in October 1429 (see 1429). The Duke of Bedford, although he had moved his administration to Rouen, resumed responsibility and in August 1430 he appointed a new governor of Paris. His somewhat surprising choice fell on the twenty-four-year-old Thomas, Lord Roos, son-in-law of the Earl of Warwick. Roos was probably selected because he had volunteered to serve in France and had contributed a large retinue to the army accompanying Bedford from England in 1427.

Roos entered Paris ostentatiously on 16 August, with “four musicians going ahead of him with bugles and trumpets,” but the new governor did not enjoy his office for long (1). Two days later French raiders carried off sheep and cattle from outside the city walls (a common occurrence) and Lord Roos gave chase. The French marauders forded the River Marne but  in his haste Roos and some of his men missed the ford, plunged into the river, and were drowned. Sir John Botiller was among those killed in the pursuit. He may have been a relative of Sir Ralph Botiller who was in King Henry’s entourage (2).

Lewis Robessart, Lord Bourchier also died in 1430, but at Amiens, not with Roos on the Marne (see above).

“And about All Saints’ Day Lord Roos and Lord Bourgchier were killed.” Benet’s Chronicle, p. 183

[Inserted in MS] this yere died Robsert lord bourchier & is beried att Westminster. Great Chronicle, p. 155

“In the same year about the feast of St Michael [29 September] Lord Roos was drowned and Lord John Butler was killed” submerses Dominus le Roos et dominus Johannes Butteler occisus.      

English Historical Literature (A Northern Chronicle 1399-1430) p. 291

Humphrey, Earl of Stafford, who had campaigned successfully in Brie, replaced Roos as governor of Paris and became the English Constable of France (3). An order to John Gage, the receiver of Fécamp, issued in Paris on 3 September instructed him to deliver 16,000 francs to Etienne Braque ‘the king’s treasurer of the wars’ for payment to the Constable of France (4).

(1) Bourgeois, p. 251 (Roos entered Paris).

(2)  CFR 1430-1437, pp. 1–2. (Writs of diem clausit extremum for Thomas de Roos, knight were issued on 16 September 1430, and for John Botiller, Kt., on 14 October 1430).

(3) Bourgeois, p. 253 (Stafford governor and constable).

(4) L&P II, p. 150 (payment to Stafford).

Conduct of the war  

The army’s wages for the first six months had been paid in England, but from October the Exchequer in Rouen was expected to foot the bill for the second six months and payment became erratic. By the end of 1430 desertion in the ranks had become a major problem. The Duke of Gloucester issued an order to the sheriffs of London and five other counties, to the Constable of Dover and the Wardens of the Cinque Ports to arrest men who had returned illegally from France before their indentures expired.  Rymer’s heading to this order in the Foedera is unfortunate and inaccurate. Men did not desert because they feared the Maid, who had been captured and defeated, they deserted through boredom, homesickness, lack of pay, lack of leadership, and a sense that the war was going badly (1).

The Council in Rouen under Cardinal Beaufort’s influence collected outstanding taxes, subsidies and other revenue due to the crown wherever monies owing could be detected. Local clerks suddenly became ‘treasurers of the wars’ to collect what was due.  The examples in Letters and Papers are only two of the many demands which would have been sent out all over Normandy.

No delay or excuse for failure to collect was accepted. From Savigny, on a Wednesday at the end of September, Thomas de la Becque, clerk of Jacques Renart ‘treasurer of the wars’ instructed Raoul Campion, Receiver General of Lower Normandy, to transfer to Le Mans the 7,200 francs still owing out of the 11,200 francs assessed on his area, and to waste no  time in sending it. Becque himself would be at Le Mans on the following Tuesday to receive it. He commended himself to the royal officials in Caen if Campion should see them. This may not have been a threat, but it sounds like one (2).

A lapse of time was no impediment. In October the city officials of Rouen borrowed 40 livres tournois from Michiel Basin to make up the 12,000 saluts still owed by the city from its terms of surrender to Henry V in 1419!  (3).

(1) Foedera X, p. 472 (order to arrest deserters).

(2) L&P II, p. 152 (Lower Normandy’s debt).  (3) L& P II, pp. 154-155 (Rouen’s debt).

The Duke of Burgundy   

The Duke of  Burgundy laid the blame for his failure at Compiègne squarely and unfairly on King Henry and the council in Rouen. His letter to King Henry of 4 November 1430 and his instructions to his envoys of the same date form one long litany of self-righteous repetitive complaints: (1)

Burgundy said he had not wanted to fight at Compiègne (despite the fact that he had been jubilant when the Maid was captured there) indeed he had not wanted to fight at all, he had been persuaded by Cardinal Beaufort’s promises made on behalf of the English king and council. He had performed his part and kept his word, and as a result his lands in the County of Burgundy, in the Marches of Picardy, and in Namur had all suffered ‘in the business of your war of France.’

Cardinal Beaufort had promised him a subsidy of 19,500 francs a month as wages for his soldiers, plus the costs of his artillery. The envoys were to remind the Council that Burgundy had offered to accept custody of the Duke of Bourbon in part payment of what he was owed, and if the money for artillery could not be found, his offer still stood.  John, Duke of Bourbon was not as closely related to King Charles as the Duke of Orleans, but he was still a prince of the blood. He would have been an invaluable bargaining chip in any negotiations Duke Philip might chose to initiate with King Charles. Charles would not bargain with the English for Bourbon’s release, but he might with the Duke of Burgundy.

Payment was now two months in arrears and he had been forced to defray some of the costs himself, which not  part of the agreement. Despite his best efforts his men had deserted for lack of pay and so had the Earl of Huntingdon’s, which was why Compiègne was lost. Burgundy hoped and expected to receive the money owed to him as soon as his letter reached the king since it was by no means the first time he and his war captains had written to complain, and his officials had been waiting at Calais for months. Burgundy expected the money to come from England.

He issued a warning and a threat: he could not continue to maintain an army in the field unless he was paid promptly and regularly. The ‘enemy’ was gaining ground everywhere which meant that the English were losing it and unless a more concerted military effort was made they could end up losing the war, the implication being that if he withdrew (as he had at the siege of Orleans) this was a likely outcome. He had summoned reinforcements to assemble at Corbie by 10 November to resist French incursions and he hopes the Council planned to do likewise.

Burgundy’s instructions to his envoys, Pierre de Bauffremont and Jehan de Tressy are addressed to King Henry, to Bedford, to Beaufort, to the Earl of Warwick and the rest of the council in Rouen. They are more detailed than his letter although the theme is the same: the English have let him down.

The envoys were to state that the duke had agreed to take part in the war against his better judgment and the advice of his councillors, he had performed all that he promised and his lands had suffered heavily as a result. He had sent archers to secure towns along the frontiers and written to local officials to stand firm: his envoys could show the Council copies of his letters. The French had overrun the area between the Oise and the Seine and boasted openly that this was just the beginning. He had summoned reinforcements and he urged the English to do the same. They should make more of an effort to stem the French advance, after all it is their war, and they could not afford to lose it. He cannot be expected to continue to contribute troops without immediate payment. Thus far the instructions echo Burgundy’s letter.

Failure to pay the subsidy and the loss of Compiègne were not Burgundy’s only bones of contention with the Council. His envoys were instructed to raise further points at issue and to demand answers:

The envoys were to point out that Burgundian territories were surrounded by enemies, especially the County of Burgundy in the east, and that the ‘Dauphin’ was about to make alliances with the Duke of Austria and the princes of the German states who would be well placed to invade the County.

Burgundy had asked the Council to provide him with two, or even one thousand archers to defend his frontiers, and had received a provisional undertaking which had subsequently  been indefinitely delayed.  He has received reliable information that the ‘Dauphin’ is at Moulins in the Bourbonnais with a large army and that other French armies are massing along the frontiers of Burgundy in the Mâconnais and Auxerrois. The inhabitants there aree naturally anxious, they have sent to the duke for assistance. The Burgundian army has men- at- arms but is desperately in need of archers and the envoys are to request the Council to  appoint a reliable war captain and send him with archers to join the defence of Burgundy’s frontiers.

The envoys were also to suggest that it was time consider a negotiated settlement of the war (Burgundy had referred to shortening the war in his letter). They informed the Council that Pope Martin had selected two cardinals, the Cardinal des Ursins and the Cardinal of St Peter ad Vincula, to come to France (shades of the aborted meeting at Auxerre!) but not at papal or Burgundian expense. Cardinal des Ursins expenses should be paid by King Henry and Cardinal of St Peter ad Vincula’s by the ‘Dauphin.’ Burgundy believed that Pope Martin might agree to levy a clerical half tenth to pay for des Ursins, but as this would take time to collect and delay des Ursins arrival, immediate payment in ready money would be best.

Four Burgundian war captains, Jehan, Lord of Créquy, Jacques and Florimond de Brimeu,  and Waleran de Beauval had been captured by the French at Compiègne. They would undoubtedly be treated badly and possibly executed unless they were exchanged. This could be done easily: the English were holding André, Lord of Rambures, who had been captured at Aumâle by the Earl of Stafford and sent as a prisoner to England  and La Hire’s brother captured at Senlis(2). The Burgundian captains had served King Henry well and it was fitting that he should agree to the exchange and not release his prisoners for any other cause.

The people of Cassel, a castellany in Flanders, who had rebelled against the Duke of Burgundy unjustly and unreasonably, had the temerity to appeal to the parlement of Paris against Burgundy and the parlement had upheld the appeal despite King Henry’s order to them not to interfere (3).  Burgundy feared that the rebellion might spread to the rest of Flanders ‘which God forbid!’ and the envoys were to request King Henry to command the parlement and the royal officers in Amiens and Montreuil not to support or encourage the citizens of Cassel to continue their outrages.

The Council made a small gesture to propitiate the Duke of Burgundy’s ill humour. Sir John Montgomery had recovered from the wound he received at Compiègne and was at Calais in November.  He was ordered to join Burgundy with 17 men-at-arms and 207 archers for forty days service. He was to receive £229 13s 4d for their wages, at 8 pence a day and 6 pence a day respectively, with an additional sum of £643 for the grooms and pages in his retinue (4).

And to ensure that John of Luxembourg was not discouraged by the defeat at Compiègne, the English council authorized a second payment of £500 (possibly on instructions from Beaufort) under the terms of service negotiated with Luxembourg (see Beaufort and Burgundy above)  (5).

(1) L&P II, pp. 156-164 (Burgundy’s letter) pp. 164-181 (instructions to his envoys).

(2) Wavrin III, p. 214 (Rambures captured).

(3) C.A.J. Armstrong, ‘La double monarchie et la maison de Bourgogne,’ in England, France and Burgundy,  pp. 359-360.

(4) PPC IV, p. 72  (Montgomery and Luxembourg).

(5) Foedera X, p. 481 (Montgomery and Luxembourg).

The Council in England  

On 21 April two days before King Henry departed for France, the Duke of Gloucester was formally appointed as the king’s lieutenant ‘custos’ in England just as he had been when Henry V was in France to carry on the business of government with the chancellor, the treasurer and members of the council who did not accompany Henry. This suited Gloucester very well. Without Cardinal Beaufort’s constant presence Gloucester would find it easier to conduct council business without interference..

Gloucester had wide ranging powers to govern but only with the assent of the council. He could summon parliament, he could grant permission for cathedral chapters and churches to nominate a replacement if their bishop, abbot or prior died although their choice must confirmed by the council and the king was to be consulted which meant obtaining the concurrence of Cardinal Beaufort and the bishops in France (1, 2).

“And the Kynge by his good and wise counseill ordeynd 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 enemyes of all partyis and to se that right and lawe be mayntenyd in alle degreis in sauacion of his pepull and good kepynge of his Rewme.”  Brut Continuation D, p. 436

With King Henry in Calais, the Duke of Bedford in Rouen, and the Grand Conseil in Paris, it was vital to keep the sea lanes open and protect the channel crossing if regular communication between the councils was to be maintained. Two Friars Minor were paid £10 in June for bringing letters and messages to England from ‘the king’s council in Paris’ (3). Such messengers would have gone back and forth on a regular basis. Commissioners were appointed in June to take the musters for ships impressed in Exeter, Dartmouth, Plymouth, Southampton Fowey, Falmouth, and Bristol to keep the seas for six weeks. Robert Burton, one of the commissioners, was allotted 2,100 marks ‘for the victualing of the armed forces sent to sea against the king’s enemies.’ It was little enough, but it was all the government could afford (4).

Repayment of loans raised to send King Henry to France had been guaranteed against the second tax grant. In May the Council ordered assignments for the repayment of £6,666 13s 4¼d to the Mayor and Common Council of London levied on eight counties. A schedule of individuals and towns to be repaid for their loans in varying amounts, beginning with Sir John Cornwall, lists 141 names (5).

At the end of June payment or assignment was made on the tax voted by Convocation to  repay the 3,500 marks lent to the king by the Mayor of the Calais Staple for the men-at arms and archers sent to defend Paris before King Henry arrived in Calais. This may be the Bastard of Clarence’s army that left England in January (see above) (6).

(1) PPC IV, pp. 40-42  (Gloucester lieutenant of England).

(2) Foedera X, p. 468 (Gloucester lieutenant of England).

(3) PPC IV, p. 52 (Friars Minor and ships’ musters).

(4) CPR 1429-1436. p. 74 (ships’ musters).

(5) Foedera X, pp. 461–467 (repayment to London and 141 others named).

(6) PPC IV, p. 52 (repayment to the Calais Staple).

Prisoners in the Tower

The Council was still burdened with the expense of keeping prisoners taken in Henry V’s wars, as well as domestic detainees and Scottish hostages with their attendants waiting for King James to pay his ransom.

Philip Dymock, King Henry’s champion at his coronation, was the absentee lieutenant of the Tower of London in 1429. He was with the army in France when he sent a petition to the Council requesting payment to his attorney of the money owed to him for the maintenance of prisoners on whose upkeep he had expended over £200 of his own money between the end of February 1429 and April 1430.

Dymock’s petition is printed in the Proceedings (a modern transcript) without the schedule of prisoners to which it refers; it is endorsed 17 May 1430. The schedule is printed in the Foedera without the petition and without a date or a reference to Dymock. Rymer added the heading naming Dymock.  It matches the dates in Dymock’s petition for the period February 1429 to April 1430 but includes two entries for different dates (1, 2):

For John Upton from 11 November 1429 to 23 January 1430. Upton may have been a resident in the Tower, but he was not a prisoner. He was the king’s ‘appellant’ (defender) in the single combat scheduled for 24 January 1430.

See London ‘Single Combat at Smithfield’ above.

For Friar John Randolf, from 27 February 1429 to 5 June 1430 at 2 shillings a week. Randolf was the friar whom Gloucester ordered to be released from the Tower in 1425.  The date of 5 June is an error if the schedule was submitted in May.

See Year 1425: Gloucester’s Return, ‘Friar Randolph’

For Guychard de Cesse, captain of Meux, at 13s 4d a week.

For Brother John Grace, Thomas Dolle, John White, John Dokeland, and John Ydell at two shillings each a week.

For the attendants of Scottish hostages eight pence a day as John Langton (the sheriff of York) was paid when they were in his custody.

(1) PPC IV, pp. 47-48 (Dymock’s petition).

(2) Foedera X, pp 460-461 (schedule of payments).


Queen Katherine

From 1430 when King Henry left England Queen Katherine maintained her own household away from the king’s court. In May, less than a month after Henry’s departure, she remined the Council that she had surrendered the income granted her in dower from estates in Cornwall, Chester, Hereford and Essex in return for a yearly payment of £2,298 from the Exchequer. This had not been paid, and Katherine, well aware that assignments on the Exchequer were often not met, suggested that the sum should come from the more reliable source of Duchy of Lancaster lands, which accounted for the largest component of her dower, or from the Duke of York’s inheritance while he remained a minor. The Council agreed that the treasurer should ‘make such assignments as should seem to them expedient.’ (5). Katherine might have to wait a while longer for her income.

Also in May the Council granted an annuity of £20 to Joan, the wife of Sir William Troutbeck, the Chamberlain of Chester. It is worth quoting the patent rolls in full as the editor of the Proceedings mistakenly used the male pronoun in his translation of the grant: ‘for the good and gratuitous service which by the king’s command he had rendered to Queen Katherine (6).

“Grant by the advice of the council to Joan, wife of William Troutbeck, for her labour and charges in going to the king’s mother in foreign parts by command of his father, and for her services to her done and to be done, of £20 a year at the exchequer of Chester by the hands of the chamberlain there.”       CPR 1429-1436,  p. 81

In September Thomas Hille a yeoman of the queen’s cellar petitioned the Council for the corrody in Malmesbury Abbey left vacant by the death of Robert Lake (7).

(1) PPC IV, pp. 47-48 (Dymock’s petition).

(2) Foedera X, pp 460-461 (schedule of payments).

(4) Foedera X, p. 471(safe conducts to servants).

(5) PPC IV, pp. 48-50 (Katherine’s dower).

(6) PPC IV, p. 50 (grant to Joan Troutbeck).

(7) PPC IV, p 67 (corrody).

By the autumn of 1430 it had become obvious that more men and money would be needed in the New Year if King Henry was to proceed to Paris and that cost would fall heavily on the English Exchequer. The Council decided in October that Parliament must be summoned and further taxes sought. The council in Rouen agreed, and on 27 November ‘the king’s letters having been read in the Star Chamber at Westminster,’ William Alnwick, Keeper of the Privy Seal was directed to authorize Chancellor Kemp to issue a warrant for Parliament to convene in January 1431 (1).

Robert Rolleston, Keeper of the Great Wardrobe was instructed to issue the furred vestments customarily given to the judiciary, the judges, king’s sergeants at law, and king’s attorneys, at Christmas (2).

Money might be desperately short, but on 6 November the Council authorised payment to Cardinal Beaufort of £1,000 for his quarter’s wage for attending on the king as agreed at the council meeting on 16 April (3, 4). A loan from Beaufort to continue the campaign in France might be needed if Parliament proved recalcitrant.

Other debts had to be honoured: on 9 November the Council assigned 2,000 marks to John Hotoft, ‘treasurer of the household and treasurer of war’ to repay Pope Martin’s servant, Master Leonard. The money had been borrowed by the king’s council while King Henry was in Calais. Payment was to be made to John Obizis the papal collector (5).  Curry notes that on 24 November arrangements were made to repay the Calais Staplers loan of 3,500 marks made in the previous June (see above) (6).

A note of desperation or panic is reflected in the last of these orders to the Exchequer dated 2 December: the Treasurer and Chamberlains were to make whatever payments were necessary ‘for the king’s service.’ The sum of £10,000 should be sent before Christmas to John Hotoft, ‘treasurer of the household and of war’ but if  this amount could not be raised, then smaller sums were to be sent at the discretion of the Treasurer.  Two ships with 100 archers as well as the ships’ crews were to be impressed to carry whatever cash was available from Winchelsea to Dieppe (7).

(1) PPC IV, pp. 67-68 (Parliament to ne summoned).

(2) PPC IV,  p. 71 (vestments to judiciary).

(3) PPC IV, 68  (payment to Cardinal Beaufort)

(4) Foedera X. p. 472 (payment to Cardinal Beaufort).

5) PPC IV, p. 71  (repayment to Pope Martin’s representative).

(6) Curry, ‘Coronation Expedition,’ p. 39, n. 56 citing E404/47/149 (repayment to Calais Staplers).

(7) PPC IV, pp. 72-73 (money from the Exchequer for ‘the king’s service’).

Sir John Radcliffe

Sir John Radcliffe had resigned as Seneschal of Gascony in 1425. Since then, the Duchy of Gascony had been governed by the Council in Bordeaux but there was a good deal of unrest and uncertainty. In May they sent a clerk, Pierre de Luz to the Council in England with letters of credence to report on the state of the duchy (1).

The Council had not accepted Radcliffe’s resignation and continued to refer to him Seneschal of Gascony, but why did they not appoint someone else to go in his stead? He was undoubtedly the best qualified, his knowledge of military and diplomatic conditions in the duchy stretched back to King Henry V’s reign; but was he the only man who could, or would, undertake the office?

On 26 May 1430 the Council awarded Radcliffe £200 for his past services as seneschal, but if he continued to refuse to return to the duchy the money was to be applied against his arrears of wages (2). Radcliffe was owed £6,620 6s 11d for his services as seneschal and in 14290 the Council had assigned £1,000 a year on the customs from the port of Melcombe to pay off the debt. A month later, on 23 June, the Duke of Gloucester issued a blanket protection for all royal officers serving in Gascony (3).

In July as an incentive to the obviously still reluctant Radcliffe, the Council assigned the £6,620 6s 11d on the customs in the West Country ports of Melcombe, Exmouth, Dartmouth, Fowey, and Bridgewater. Radcliffe was to name one customs official in each port to look after his interests, but only if he met the Council’s conditions: he must undertake to go back to Gascony whenever he was required by the king and council to do so within a year from September 1430 under the terms of his indenture with the king (4, 5). The income from five ports, albeit small ones, offered Radcliffe the best chance he would ever get of recovering what was due to him; he accepted, but he delayed his departure for a year until July 1431.

(1) Vale, Gascony, p. 100 (Bordeaux’s report on Gascony).

(2) PPC IV, p. 50 (£200 to Radcliffe).

(3) Foedera X, p. 469 (protection for officials in Gascony). _

(4) PPC IV p. 53 (customs duties to Radcliffe).

(5) CPR 1429-1436, p. 69 (customs duties to Radcliffe and conditions).

Foreign Relations          

Diplomatic negotiations with the Spanish kingdoms took place at Westminster during the summer of 1430. Gregory’s Chronicle (p. 171) copied into the margin of The Great Chronicle (p. 155) says ambassadors from Spain and Portugal, but this is probably an error, as there is no record of a Portuguese embassy in England in 1430.


Sancho Esquerra, King Juan of Castile’s envoy, had come to England in 1429 to request safe conducts for Castilian ambassadors (see 1429). An alliance with Castile was of particular interest to the Minority Council because Castile was traditionally an ally of France. The Dauphin Charles had appealed to Castile for an alliance and military aid in 1426 and again in 1428, describing the English as their common foe, but Castile’s internal strife made it impossible for King Juan to respond to the request (1).

The Council ordered that a gilt cup valued at £10 and containing £20 in coin should be presented to the Castilian envoys, a doctor of theology and a knight, who were coming to England to prepare for the arrival of King Juan’s ambassadors (2). Safe conducts were issued in March 1430 to Juan Curralli [John de Corral], Fernando Manuelli de Lando, and a large embassy to be headed by a bishop (3). But King Juan did not commission Sancho Roxas, Bishop of Astorga, Sir Pedro Currillo [Peter Catrillo] of Toledo, and Juan Curralli until June 1430. They were authorized to treat for a truce, which should include Charles, King of France (4).

“And in þis same day & yere, Embassitoures of Spayne, þat is to say, a Bishoppe, with other grete & worthy clerkis, And an Erl with knyghtes & Squyers – & these people come to þe Kynge in to Westmynstre Hall the day aboue-saide.”    Brut D Appendix, p. 443

On 6 November the Council authorized William Alnwick, Keeper of the Privy Seal, Lord Cromwell and William Lyndwood, an experienced negotiator and diplomat, to treat with the Castilians (5). A truce on land and at sea for one year from 1 May 1431 was signed and confirmed by the privy seal on 15 November 1430 (6). It was not a great achievement, but it would prevent Castile from supplying ships to the French navy or harrying English supply lines across the channel while King Henry remained in France.

In November safe conducts were issued to Alfonso de Burgos, Fr. Juan de Currali, and F. Guidani  (7, 8) and in December £20 was paid to Friar Guidani coming from Castile (9). Possibly he returned to England to collect a copy of the ratification of the truce. A clause in the treaty stipulated that the English ratification would be delivered at Bayonne between Christmas and 1 March 1431. Ferguson noted that the ratification “sealed with the great seal in white wax and attested by the Duke of Gloucester as custos Anglie” is still in the Public Record Office” and may never have been delivered (10).

(1) Beaucourt, Charles VII, vol II, pp. 391-394 (Dauphin Charles and Castile).

(2) PPC IV, p, 30 and Foedera X, p. 450 (gilt cup to Castilians).

(3) Foedera X, pp. 452-53 (safe conducts for Castilian embassy in March).

(4) Foedera X pp. 468-69 (Castilian ambassadors commissioned in June).

(5) PPC IV, pp. 69-70 (authorization to treat with Castilian ambassadors).

(6) Foedera X, pp. 473-476 (treaty for a truce for one year).

(7) Foedera X, p.  496 (safe conducts issued to envoys in November)

(8) Ferguson, Diplomacy, pp 198-199 (Castillian envoys)

(9) PPC IV, p. 72 and Foedera X, p. 481 (payment to Guidani).

(10) Ferguson, Diplomacy, p. 46, citing E 30/439 (copy of ratification).

Aragon and Navarre      

English envoys to the papal court at Rome had attempted to meet with King Alfonso of Aragon’s representatives there 1428 and 1429 but without result. Alfonso had not been receptive, but the outbreak of war between Castile and the kingdoms of Aragon and Navarre revived Alfonso’s interest in an alliance with England. He sent a joint embassy from Aragon and Navarre which arrived in England at about the same time as the Castilians to pre-empt the projected Anglo/Castilian alliance. Queen Blanche of Navarre’s kingdom was ruled in her name by her husband, another Juan II, one of Alfons V’s brothers. (He would become King of Aragon in 1458).

The Aragon/Navarre ambassadors made a more positive offer than the Castilians but received a less encouraging reception. No commissioners were appointed to deal with them. The Council received their offer: an alliance to be sealed by a marriage for King Henry  with one of Queen Blanche’s daughters, Blanche or Leonora (Eleanor). The Council quite rightly declined to discuss marriage on the grounds that no decision could be made until Henry returned to England and his family, especially his uncles, had been consulted. Bedford and Gloucester, not to mention Cardinal Beaufort, would surely have been at one in rejecting a princess of Navarre as a suitable bride for the King of England and France.

The ambassadors, Jaume Pellegrini, Lluis de Falcs (a previous envoy from Aragon to England) and Charles de Beaumont, alferez (standard bearer) of Navarre were informed that any treaty with England must include Henry’s French subjects since Henry was king of England and France. But Henry and half his council were in France and the council in England did not have the authority to conclude such an alliance, and nor did the ambassadors from Aragon. King Henry and the council in Rouen would be informed of the proposals, and if the king agreed that an alliance was desirable, ambassadors would be appointed to resume the talks at Bayonne in Gascony by the end of November in 1431 (1). The terms of reference suggested are vague, apart from the insistence that the treaty was to be between Henry’s two kingdoms.

John Gentill, a Doctor of Laws (unaccountably named Philip in Foedera) was to receive 100 marks to travel to Bayonne and meet with ambassadors from Aragon and Navarre (2, 3). A week later, on 16 November 1430, the Council appointed Guillaume Arnaud de la Borde, Bishop of Bayonne, Sir Thomas Burton mayor of Bayonne, and John Gentill to negotiate (4).

The Council’s  choice of commissioners is distinctly odd. Why choose the bishop and mayor of Bayonne as England’s representatives? Was the king’s council in Rouen consulted? John Gentill had been on a mission to ‘the Spanish kingdoms’ in 1425 but this hardly qualified him as a chief negotiator.

Alfonso’s ambassadors, Jaume Pelligrini and Mateu Pujades duly presented themselves at Bayonne in November. They were authorized to make a perpetual alliance with ‘Henry, by the grace of God, King of England and France’ (Henry’s title, but not quite the same thing as recognising Henry as king of France) against Castile. But there was no sign of John Gentill and the bishop and mayor could not begin talks without him. Alfonso waited until January 1431 to recall his ambassadors and he requested the mayor of Bayonne to inform him if the English ever arrived (5).

(1) PPC IV pp. 56–59 (Council’s reply to Aragonese proposals).

(2 Foedera X p. 473 and  PPC IV p 70 (payment to Gentill).

(3) Foedera X, p. 477 (authorization to negotiate with Aragon and Navarre).

(4) Ferguson, Diplomacy,  pp. 49-50.

Spanish ambassadors assaulted in London

An unfortunate incident involving Spanish envoys is recorded in Brut F. The chronicle does not differentiate so it could have been the Castilians or the Aragonese, but it was sufficiently serious to involve the mayor and civic authorities of London.

“And in this yere, and in the yere of grace M cccc xxx, John Ostillere, at the Crowne in Fanchirchestrete of London, debadet with the ambasssitours of Spayne, and rered blode of oon of theym þat was a gentleman ; wherfor the hosteler was arested and brought to the Countoure, and his wife bothe, for she beganne the debate; and then the Kyng and his consayle remeved hym from the Countoure and brought hym in the Flete prison.  And on the Monday next after, the Maire and bothe the Shirreffes of London, by the comaundment of the Kyng and his consayle, brought hym fro the Flete, fetered, colered, aand manacled with yron strongly, thurgh the Cite till they come to Leden-hall, for he shuld haue goon to the Toure to abyde his Iugement for the grete offence þat he had doon, brekyng of the Kynges sauf-condite, ayenst his peas and comaundment. And there these ambassiatours of Spayne mette with the Maire and his company in Greschirchstrete, as they were goyng toward the Toure, and prayed the Maire of grace for the man ; and so he was brought ageyne þat same nyght to Flete prison.”        Brut Continuation F, p. 456

The keeper of the Crowne Inn in Fenchurch Street fell into a heated argument with some members of a ‘Spanish’ delegation; egged on by his wife, who appears to have started the altercation, the inn keeper wounded one of the Spaniards. He and his wife were promptly arrested by the sheriffs and thrown into the Counters prison. Since this was a diplomatic incident the Council ordered the inn keeper to be transferred to the Fleet prison. From there he was to be sent to the Tower on a charge of breaking the king’s peace and violating the royal safe conduct. But the Spanish ambassadors, either those involved in the brawl or others intent on smoothing over the embarrassing occurrence, interceded with the mayor. The inn keeper was spared the Tower but was remanded to the Fleet.

Prussia and the Teutonic Order        

Paul von Rusdorf was Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights from 1422 to 1441. In 1430 he requested reparations for ‘injuries done by the English’ to Prussians and Livonians dating back to a treaty signed by his predecessor with King Henry IV to settle the complicated relations between England and the Baltic States, including the towns of the Hanseatic League, over trading privileges and English piracy. English ambassadors meeting Prussian representatives in 1407 agreed to pay reparations amounting to £10,800 to Prussia, Livonia, and the Hanse merchants of Hamburg for English piracy and the killing of citizens over a period dating back to 1400. Payment would be made in instalments between November 1409 and Easter 1412. About half the sum had been paid by the time Henry IV died in 1413 (1).

Henry V made no further payments and Rusdorf’s claim was for the amount still outstanding. The Duke of Gloucester, the Chancellor, Treasurer, Privy Seal, and Lord Cromwell, sent a diplomatic reply in King Henry’s name. Parliament had been consulted and had agreed that although Henry VI could not be held liable for his grandfather’s debts, he would willingly receive ambassadors from the Grand Master if he cared to send a delegation to England to discuss the matter, although any payments would have to come from the customs duties paid in England by alien merchants from the country covered by a treaty. It was the same reply that Henry IV had sent to Conrad von Jurngingen in1403 inviting him to send representatives to state his grievances (2).

Gloucester and his fellow councillors had the good sense to temporize rather than repudiate the Grand Master’s claim. No money would be forthcoming, but trade with the Baltic States was too important to jeopardise by rejecting the Grand Master’s claims outright.

(1) C. Given Wilson, Henry IV,  pp 338-339 (treaty with Grand Master).

(2) PPC IV,  pp 45-46 (reply to Grand Master).

Trade with the Netherlands 

In 1429 the merchants of the Calais Staple had initiated new regulations to control the sale of wool, woolfells and tin.  Purchasers would be required to pay in cash, i.e., in bullion, gold or silver. The traditional method of buying on credit or by deferred payment would no longer be allowed. The price of wool would be fixed by the Staplers, bargaining by individuals for a better or lower deal would be prohibited (1).

The Staplers’ ordinance was passed into law by the 1429/1430 Parliament. The Commons petitioned that ‘for the prosperity and well-being of this his universal realm as well as for the good policy, governance and maintenance of his staple at Calais’ that the provisions of the ordinance be upheld for three years from Lady Day [25 March 1430] (2).

In July the Council received a petition that for the good of the country, and for the safety of English merchants and their goods, trade with Flanders, Holland, Zeeland and Brabant should be regulated and that English merchants should be prohibited from trading in the markets of Brabant, and especially in Antwerp. They should not be permitted to import cloth from Flanders or Hainault, except in accordance with England’s trade agreement with the Four Members of Flanders (3).

The burgomasters of Ghent and Bruges (two of the Four Members) should be thanked for the help they had given to John Waryn, a London merchant, who had adhered to their terms of trade.

The Council wished to stem the flow of bullion out of the country and the petition was endorsed by Archbishop Chichele, John Kemp as Chancellor, the bishops of London and Rochester, and Lords Cromwell and Hungerford, the treasurer (2). But the embargo was signed by the Duke of Gloucester (4, 5). One wonders if he instituted the petition or just enjoyed agreeing to impose trade restrictions on countries that had rejected him as their overlord.

See Year 1424 ‘Gloucester in Hainault.’   


(1) Power and Postan, English Trade pp. 82-85 (Staplers’ ordinance).

(2) PROME XI, pp 426-427 (Petition to pass ordinance into law).

(3) PPC IV, pp. 55–56 (petition to restrict trade).

(4) Foedera X, p. 471 (embargo signed by Gloucester).

(5) CPR 1429-1436, p. 26 (embargo).



In November Doctor William Sprever and John Grimsby were commissioned to visit King Eric of Denmark to reiterate the Council’s commitment to the trade agreement establishing the staple at Bergen in Norway was the only port in Eric’s domains through which English merchants could trade. (1)

See Year 1429  Foreign Relations, Denmark

The mayor of Kingston on Hull was ordered to arrest a ship to be ready at the port of Hull for Sprever and Grimsby to embark for Denmark (2). Sprever received 100 marks for going to Denmark and to towns of the Hanseatic League (3).  He left England at the beginning of 1431; his account of his mission to Denmark dates from 6 February to 23 December 1431 (4).

(1) Foedera X, pp. 477–478 (Sprever and Grimsby’s instructions).

(2) CPR 1429-1436, p 129 (ship at Hull).

(3) PPC IV p. 71 and Foedera X, p. 481 (expenses).

(4) Ferguson, Diplomacy, p. 209 citing E101/322/42 (Sprever in Denmark).

Emperor Sigismund

Also in November William Swan was appointed to carry letters from the Council to the Emperor Sigismund who had only recently returned to his Germanic states from his kingdoms further east. The purport of the letters is not known; the Council may have been reporting their correspondence  with the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights. Swan was awarded 100 marks at the same time as Sprever (5) .

(5) PPC IV p. 71 and Foedera X, p. 481 (Swan’s expenses).

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