Henry VI



Henry VI, a Pius King.

Parliament met in October and the two- year- old King Henry made his first public appearance when he was brought to Westminster by his mother to attend it. The London chronicles testify to his piety even at that early age.

King Henry VI’s Household

The nucleus of a household for Henry VI was established, although he continued to live under Queen Katherine’s care.

The Minority Council

The Minority Council gradually came to grips with the administration and responsibility of governing. They grappled with the burden of King Henry V’s debts and made provision for Henry VI’s first household. They controlled patronage, wardships and marriages and decided on foreign policy.


Many of Henry V’s grants were confirmed, including customs officials. Justice of the Peace, sheriffs, and escheators were appointed throughout England.

The Exchequer

The Exchequer, presided over by the Treasurer, Chamberlains and Barons of the Exchequer was responsible for receiving, accounting for, and disbursing the crown’s income.

The Judiciary

The principal law courts at Westminster were King’s Bench and Commons Pleas.

 The Council as Judges

Members of the Council and judges could ‘sit in chancery’ more informally than in the main law courts. They heard cases outside the jurisdiction of the common law. Litigants were summoned by writs issued by the Council.

 Henry V’s Debts

King Henry was massively in debt to just about everyone when he died. The Council inherited the responsibility for meeting them.

Prisoners of War

Prisoners of war of all ranks from Henry V’s campaigns were held in the Tower of London and other prisons throughout England.


Richard Whittington, Mayor of London, and the rebuilding of Newgate prison.

The Hanseatic League

The Hanseatic League, a consortium of German towns, maintained a permanent trading post in London at the Steelyard on the banks of the Thames.


Paris was in English hands. Envoys from the Grand Conseil in Paris visited London in January and again in November.

Aragon and Portugal

Ambassadors from the Kingdoms of Aragon and Portugal came to London in March.

 The Duchy of Gascony

Sir John Radcliffe became Seneschal of Gascony. Thomas Barneby became Constable of Bordeaux. The judiciary and royal officers in the duchy were recommissioned. Jean, Count of Foix was appointed the king’s lieuteant for Gascony.


Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter became Justiciar of North Wales. Chamberlains were appointed for North and South Wales.

The King’s Lieutenant in Ireland

Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March was appointed as the king’s lieutenant in Ireland.


A truce with King James I of Scotland was signed at the end of the year whereby he was released from captivity.  

Wardens of the March

Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland was Warden of the East March towards Scotland. Sir Richard Neville, the son of Ralph, first Earl of Westmorland was Warden of the West March. 

Council and the Church

The Council exercised the royal prerogative of appointment to church benefices, and to grants affecting the crown’s rights over church property. They did not have jurisdiction over spiritual matters. Bishops, usually members of the Council, presided in ecclesiastical courts to punish heresy and other spiritual sins.

Council and the Papacy

Pope Martin V had a stormy relationship with the Council over the papal claim of the right to appoint bishops in England and Wales without the king’s consent.

General Council of the Church at Pavia/Siena

Pope Martin V called a General Council of the Church. It met at Pavia in April but was transferred to Siena in July because of plague. It was so poorly attended that the pope dissolved it in 1424.


The Pale of Calais was an English enclave stretching for twenty miles along on the coast of France surrounded by Burgundian territory. Merchants of the Wool Staple in Calais held a monopoly on wool exported from England; it had to be bought and sold through the Staple where customs duties on it were collected. The garrison at Calais was vital to the defence of the port and its precious wool but there was never enough money to pay the soldiers.

The War in France

The Siege of Meulan

Meulan was a strategic bridgehead on the Seine, twenty-five miles north of Paris. It was taken by a French force in January 1423 but recovered almost immediately by the Earl of Salisbury.

Treaty of Amiens

The Treaty of Amiens initiated by the Regent Bedford and signed by Bedford, and the Dukes of Burgundy, and Brittany on 17 April 1423. It was a defensive agreement between three individuals, a personal bond to last for the duration of their lives. not a treaty between three states.

The Duke of Bedford’s Marriage

The Duke of Bedford married Anne of Burgundy.

The Estates General of Normandy

The Duke of Bedford summoned the Estates General of Normandy to vote a tax ‘to safeguard Normandy.’

 An Army for France

The Minority Council raised and sent armies to Normandy and France annually from 1423.

The Siege of Le Crotoy

The great fortress port of Le Crotoy at the mouth of the River Somme in Picardy, was held by the French. It was too strong to be taken by assault, it had to be starved into submission.

The Battle of Cravant

A mixed French and Scots army laid siege to the town of Cravant on the bank of the River Yonne near Auxerre in Burgundian territory. The Earl of Salisbury led a mixed force of English and Burgundians to its relief. A battle was fought under town’s walls, and Salisbury had the victory.




Henry VI, a pious king

Parliament met on 20 October and sat until 17 December in 1423. It was convened by the Duke of Gloucester as Protector on conciliar authority (1, 2). It was prorogued to meet again on 14 January 1424.

See Year 1424: Parliament for the second session.

“This yere the xxj day of Octobre was the Parlement holden at Westmester.  And the xxvj day of Novembre the kynge was brought in to the Parlement.  And the same daye the kynge remevid to Waltham, and the Parlement was engorned in to the xx day after Cristmas.   Short English Chronicle, p.  58

And in that yere the King was brought fro Windesore in a chare to London, and his modre the Quene sitting in the same chare, and he in her armes, and so he was brought to Westminster and on the morue bigan the parliament.    Brut E Appendix 452

Ande that same yere there was a Parlyment at Westemyster, and that be-ganne the xxj day of October.  Gregory’s Chronicle, p.  157


(1) Foedera X, p. 310 (Gloucester)

(2) PROME X p. 76 (Gloucester).


Parliament was in session for nearly a month when, on 13 November, Queen Katherine and the two-year-old King Henry set out from Windsor for Westminster.

They spent the night at Staines but were unable to continue their journey on the following day, a Sunday, because the child threw a tantrum and refused to be lifted into the carriage. He quietened down when he was taken back indoors. On Monday he raised no objection and the royal party proceeded peacefully to Kingston.

Henry VI’s well-known refusal as an adult to travel on Sundays is encapsulated in this apocryphal story, unique to the London Chronicles, establishing that his piety began at a very young age.  

“In the same yere the xxj day of Octobre Anno ijo byganne the parliament atte Westmynster.  

And the kyng and the quene his moder upon the saturday the xiij day of Novembre removed toward london from Wyndesore. And atte nyght was logged atte Stanes. And upon the morowe that was sonday he was borne toward his moder chare and he cryed and shrilled and wold not be caried firther. Wherfore he was borne ageyn into his Innes and there abode the sonday all day. And on the monday he was borne to the Chare and was thanne blythe and gladde and atte even comen to kyngeston and there restyd all nyght. And upon tuysday they comyn to kenyngton.

And upon the Wednesday with a gladde chere sat in his moder lappe in chare and rode thrugh the Citee to Westmynster the xvij day of Novembre the yere of oure lord M1CCCCxxiij. And there was brought into the parliament.”

Great Chronicle, pp. 128-130 and Chronicle of London (Harley 565), pp. 111-112

Henry was driven through the City to Westminster on 18 November, sitting on his mother’s lap in an open carriage to display him to the Londoners before being presented to Parliament

The Speaker, John Russell, greeted Henry in a long, laudatory address which is recorded in the Great Chronicle (pp. 128-129) and Chronicles of London (J. B. I), pp. 280-281) although neither the king’s presence nor the Speaker’s address is entered on the parliamentary roll (1, 2).


(1) PROME X, Appendix, p. 202 (the Speaker’s speech in modern English).

(2) Roskell, Speakers, pp. 182–183 (Russell).


King Henry VI’s Household

King Henry was in the care of his mother Queen Katherine but as early as February 1423 the Council made provision for the formation of the king’s household and appointed officers to key administrative posts.

Robert Rolleston was Keeper of the king’s Great Wardrobe. On 21 February, the Council assigned £629 0s 1d at the Exchequer to Rolleston to meet the costs of clothing and wages for those who were entitled to receive them over the next twelve months (1). The first item in the first schedule of payments, £227 0s 7d, is for the expenses of the Feast of the Garter,

 In a second schedule £83 7s. 6d. was allocated for items supplied by the Great Wardrobe for Henry V’s funeral (see 1422) (2).

Rolleston petitioned the Council for payment in May (3).

In June he was ordered to arrange the delivery of items of clothing and beddings for six children of the chapel royal (choristers) (4).


(1) L&P I, pp. 384–385 (estimates of charges).

(2) L&P I, pp. 394–388 (itemized lists of recipients and costs).

(3) PPC III, p. 72 (Rolleston petition).

(4) PPC III, p.104 (children).


Household Appointments

Lewis John, a retainer of Queen Katherine, was appointed steward and receiver general of the royal Duchy of Cornwall (1). Income from the Duchy was applied to the expenses of the royal households. 

John Hotoft had been controller of Henry V’s household when Henry was Prince of Wales. He was appointed Treasurer of Henry VI’s household and remained in post until 1431 (2).

John Feriby was controller of the household and remained in post throughout Henry VI’s minority. He was granted the office of Parker of Witley in Surrey by way of reward (3).

John Snell, the king’s almoner, was instructed to enquire into the non-payment of deodands and to collect all outstanding sums due to the king. The income from deodands was used to defray the costs of the king’s alms giving. His warrant is addressed to all royal officers and civic authorities (4).

Deodands.  English law. Personal chattel which, having been the immediate occasion of the death of a person, was forfeited to the crown to be applied to pious uses.  A sum taken in lieu of the deodand.  OED

Robert Shiryngton was appointed Comptroller of the king’s works, with John Ardene as his clerk and surveyor, to repair and maintain royal residences (5).  

William Langton and ten other minstrels from Henry V’s household, now in Henry VI’s household were granted annuities of 100 shillings (£5) (6).

‘Divers silver vessels and other things’ valued at £1,466 13s 4d were purchased from Henry V’s estate on conciliar authority for use in Henry VI’s household, although the first instalment of £500 was not paid to the executors until November (7).


(1) PPC III p. 24 and CPR 1422-1429, p. 45 (Lewis John).

(2) PPC III p. 25 (Hotoft).

(3) PPC III, p. 25 and CPR 1422-1429, p. 80 (Feriby).

(4) Foedera X, p. 264 (Snell, almoner) and CPR 1422-1429, p. 47 (deodans)

(5) PPC III. p. 52 and CPR 1422-1429, p. 65 (Shiryngton).

(6) Foedera X, p. 287 and CPR 1422-1429, p. 102 (minstrels).

(7) Issues of Exchequer, p. 383 (silver vessels and other things).



                                                                                                                                           Star Chamber

The Minority Council

The Minority Council met several times a month throughout 1423, except in August and September, as its members came to grips with the problems facing them.

The Council asserted its authority over government administration and the main offices of state, the chancery, the exchequer, and the judiciary. For the next fourteen years until King Henry came of age, England would be governed by a council, made up of lords and clerics chosen by themselves.

Parliament had decreed in 1422 that a quorum of at least four members, not counting the three officers of state, should be present when decisions were taken. A majority must be present for matters affecting the realm; and, for important decisions which would normally be taken by the king, the Duke of Bedford, or the Duke of Gloucester must be consulted. Petitions were routinely addressed to the Duke of Gloucester and the Council, or in some cases to Gloucester alone as Protector.

See Year 1422:  Humphrey Duke of Gloucester

On 26 January the clerk of parliament read out in council a memorandum of the acts passed by Parliament in 1422 (1). He was instructed to submit it to the judges who would transcribe it and present those acts deemed to be statutes of the realm to the Lords for confirmation. Copies of acts affecting the Council were to be sent to Richard Caudray, the clerk of the council, to be written up and enrolled in Chancery ‘according to custom’ (2).

On the same day, 26 January, Sir Walter Hungerford and Ralph, Lord Cromwell were sworn in as council members (3).


(1) PPC III, pp. 22-23 (memorandum of Parliament’s acts of 1422). 

(2) PPC III, preface, pp. v–viii (Nicolas on statutes versus acts).

(3) PPC III, pp. 22 and 23 (Hungerford and Cromwell).


The Duke of Gloucester as Protector

Gloucester’s salary as Protector and chief councillor was confirmed at 8,000 marks a year (1, 2). Half of it would come from Duchy of Lancaster lands.

The remaining 4,000 marks would be made up out of the estates two minors which were in the king’s hands: 1,000 marks from Thomas Lord Roos, whose elder brothers had both been killed at the Battle of Baugé in 1421; and 800 marks from Ralph Neville, son of Sir John Neville, eldest son of the Earl of Westmorland, who had died in France in 1420.

The Exchequer would contribute 1,700 marks. Where the other 500 marks was to come from is not specified but the Exchequer would cover ‘all deficiencies and arrears’ (1, 2, 3).

Gloucester was granted the lordship of Guines in the Pale of Calais for 14 years, paying 900 marks yearly to the crown. Gloucester indented to serve with 50 men-at- arms and 50 archers on foot, ‘excepting himself’ (4).


(1) PPC III, pp. 26-27 (Gloucester’s salary).

(2) Foedera X, p. 268 (Gloucester salary).

(3) PPC III, pp. 51–52 (orders to Duchy of Lancaster receiver).

(4) PPC III, p. 69 (Lordship of Guines granted to Gloucester).


Grants by Gloucester

The parish church of Bradfeld or Brayfield in the diocese of Salisbury was in the king’s gift because Edward Langford the heir to the advowson, (right of gift of a parish church), was a minor. On 21 January it was granted to the Duke of Gloucester’s clerk, John Swanwich, following the death of William Curteys (1, 2). But on 17 February it was presented to the king’s clerk, William Bontemps (3). Swanwich resigned it on 4 December 1423 and it was presented to Simon Lambthorp (4). 

John Everdon was an auditor of receipts in the Exchequer. In May 1423 he petitioned the Duke of Gloucester for the prebend and cannonry of Wortlyng Nennefeld [Wartling Ninfeld] and Hoo in the Collegiate Church of Hastings. The petition is endorsed H. CHAMBELLAN D’ENGLETERRE (5).

Gloucester believed he had the right as Protector to issue grants independently, but the Council overrode his decisions whenever it suited them. An entry in the Calendar of the Patent Rolls confirms the presentation to Everdon, but he did not get it (5). In November 1423 it was presented to Thomas Bailly ‘by order of the king,’ i.e. the Council who overrode Gloucester’s grant.  Bailly was installed by the vicar general in the absence of Thomas Polton, Bishop of Chichester, who was in Rome (6).


(1) Foedera X, p. 264 (Swanwich).

(2) CPR 1422-1429, pp. 33 (Swanwich),

(3) CPR 1422-1429, p. 54 (Bontemps).

(4) CPR 1422-1429, p. 158 (Lambthorp).

(5) PPC III, p. 99 (Everdon)

(6) CPR 1422-1429, p. 104 (Everdon). (7) CPR 1422-29. pp. 139, 140 (Bailly).



To provide continuity and stability and to inspire confidence in the new regime, the Council confirmed that King Henry V’s grants ‘for good behaviour or for life’ would be renewed provided the holder was not deemed to be of ‘bad character’ or to have had any serious objection lodged against him. The King’s grants of annuities and offices ‘during pleasure’ would be reviewed on presentation by the recipients of proof of their grants (1).

The collectors of customs duties were confirmed (2) and justices of the peace, sheriffs, and escheators were nominated for every county in England (3).

Sheriffs were the crown’s principal administrative officers. Two sheriffs were elected annually for each shire; they took office at Michaelmas (29 September). They were expected to support the justices of the peace to maintain law and order, for summoning juries, for parliamentary elections, and for collecting the income from crown lands. They reported to the Exchequer twice a year to have their accounts audited and approved (4).

Sheriffs’ accounts were often in arrears due to difficulties of collection. In 1423 the Council instructed the Treasurer and Chamberlains of the Exchequer to pardon the sheriffs for any shortfalls, but only by ‘the smallest sum allowed to their predecessors’ (5).

William Lisle was sheriff of Oxford and Berkshire in 1420-1421 and 1422-1423. In May, the Council postponed payment of his arrears of 100 marks to February 1424, and in view of his long and expensive service to the crown, he was to be permitted to name a suitable reward, such as the lease (farm) of crown lands at a special rate (6, 7).


(1) PPC III, pp. 20-21 (confirmation of Henry V’s grants).

(2) PPC III, pp. 26–27 (confirmation of customs officials).

(3) PPC III, p. 25 (nominations for JPs, sheriffs, and escheators).

(4) Brown, Governance of England, pp.  122-128 (JPs), pp. 142–145 (sheriffs and escheators).

(5) PPC III, pp. 38-39 (sheriffs’ accounts).

(6) PPC III, p. 86 (William Lisle) 

(7) CFR 1422-1430, pp. 12, 52 and 85 (William Lisle).     


Remission of Rates and Local Taxes

The perennially impoverished northern counties often petitioned the Council for relief from the wool tax although they never escaped it entirely. They could make a better profit if their wool was not shipped via Calais and subject to taxation and price controls.

In 1423 the merchants of Newcastle on Tyne were licenced to ‘sell abroad’ one year’s worth of wool from Northumberland, Cumberland, and Durham once customs duties had been paid, because wool ‘grown’ in the north was of inferior quality.

The Earl of Northumberland, the Earl of Westmorland and Lord Cromwell were to audit the proceeding to ensure that the merchants did not ship more than the permitted allocation. (1).

In July, Ralph Neville, Earl of Westmorland was licenced to export 500 sacks of wool from Northumberland, Cumberland, and Durham through Newcastle on Tyne to Middleburgh and Bruges, probably because payments owing to him for services to the crown were in arrears (2).

The Council licenced the merchants of Berwick on Tweed to purchase wool and wool fells in their region for a period of six years and export them via Middleburgh or Bruges, at a reduced rate of 13s 4d for every sack of wool or 240 wool fells (hides) (3).

There was a strong demand in Italy for the finer and therefore most expensive wool. Italian merchants were by custom exempt from the requirement to ship wool via Calais. In March the Council licenced Florentine merchants to export 300 sacks of wool via Zeeland and Brabant. (4). Italian merchants paid substantial sums for special licences to export wool, and they were a welcome source of loans.  Crown borrowing from Italian merchants had been a standard practice since the days of Edward III (5).


(1) PPC III p. 43 (Newcastle merchants).

(2) PPC III, p. 115 (Westmorland).

(3) PPC III, p 39 (Berwick).

(4) CPR 1422-1429, p. 226 (Bristol).

(5) PPC III, p. 65 (Florentines merchants).


Local Taxes

The Council had the power to remit payment of local levies (rates), some of them dating back to time immemorial, ‘to maintain and repair walls, bridges, buildings and other public amenities.’ 

The Duke of Gloucester was Earl of Pembroke and lord of the port of Tenby in Pembrokeshire. He was present at a council meeting on 2 March 1423 when it was agreed to exempt the people of Tenby for ten years from paying quayage (tolls levied on goods or vessels landing at a quayside) murage (toll for repairing stone walls) pontage (toll for repairing bridges) paviage (toll for repairing highways and streets) and picage (toll for ‘breaking ground’ to set up a fair or market) in the town and port of Bristol (1).

Tenby had strong trading links with Bristol. A year later, in February 1424, the mayor and bailiffs of Bristol were granted the right to collect quayage for six years, except on merchandise belonging to the people of Tenby. The levy was to be used for the repair of Bristol’s walls and pavements and would be supervised by the Dean of Wells Cathedral. (2).


(1) Power and Postan, English Trade, pp. 43-44 (Italian wool trade).

(2) PPC III, p. 49 (Tenby).


Wardships and marriages

Fees from wardships and marriages were a lucrative source of income to the Crown. If the heir to lands held of the king was a minor when his father died, he and his lands passed into the king’s hands via the escheator to be held or regranted during the minority for a fee as the king saw fit. 

Escheators held inquisitions post mortem with a local jury on the death of a royal tenant to establish the extent, and the value of the deceased holdings in crown lands and they took forfeited lands into their custody.

The Council held the rights of wardship: estates were to be ‘let, sold or disposed of by the Council at the highest price without favour or any kind of partiality or fraud.’ (1)

Licences to marry for those who held lands from the king had to be paid for. The penalty for marrying without the king’s licence caried a hefty fine. Fines for licences (or pardons for failing to obtain one) were paid into the Hanaper, the department of the Chancery responsible for sealing official documents.

Thomas Clifford was eight years old when his father, John, Lord Clifford was killed at the siege of Meaux in March 1422. In February 1423 Thomas’s marriage was licenced to his mother and grandmother for a fee of 800 marks. His mother was Elizabeth Percy, his grandmother, Elizabeth, was the widow of Thomas Lord Roos who died 1391 (2). 

In June Elizabeth Courtenay, Lady Harrington, the widow of John, Lord Harrington who died in France in 1418 was licenced to marry whomsoever she pleased on payment of £100 (3).

Margaret, Lady Roos was the widow of John Lord Roos who was killed at the Battle of Baugé in 1421. She married Roger Wentworth without licence and in February 1423 she was fined £1,000. She paid it in December 1423 and received a pardon for herself and Roger (4).

Thomas Lord Roos’s two elder brothers, John and William, were also killed at Baugé.  The Council ordered the receiver of the revenues of Thomas’s lands, in the king’s hands because Thomas was a minor, to pay him 100 marks a year plus the arrears of the £40 annually that King Henry V had awarded him for his maintenance until he became of full age.

Parliament agreed that Thomas should be allowed to marry on payment of 1,000 marks and be granted the right to farm his inheritance until he came of age, on terms to be agreed with the Treasurer (5).


(1) PROME X, p. 27 (Council’s authority).

(2) PPC III, p. 36 (Clifford).

(3) PPC III, p. 103 (Harrington).

(4) PPC III, pp. 129–130 (Margaret Roos).

(5) PPC III, pp. 89 and 130 (Thomas Roos).


The Exchequer

The Exchequer, presided over by the Treasurer, was responsible for receiving, accounting for, and disbursing the crown’s income. Warrants from the Council in the king’s name to the Treasurer and Chamberlains (officers) of the Exchequer for payments were usually but not exclusively authorised under the Privy Seal. There was never enough money to go around, and most ‘payments’ took the form of tallies on the Exchequer to be paid when sufficient income was available, or by assignments on revenue yet to come in. Everyone had to wait their turn for payment.

On 15 January the salaries of John Stafford as Treasurer of England and William Alnwick as Keeper of the Privy Seal were set at 20 shillings (£1) a day each, with Stafford’s backdated to 1 September 1422 (1). As Treasurer he had the right to make appointments to offices in his gift and to let at farm low value crown lands worth ten marks or less (2).  Stafford was also awarded compensation for the seizure of his goods by a Breton pirate, although he would have to defend his claim to the cargo of a captured Breton ship in the Admiralty  court against any counter claim made by the Bretons (3).

Three men were nominated as Barons of the Exchequer in 1423. Nicholas Dixon in January, John Juyn, a justice of the Common Pleas nominated as Chief Baron in May (and granted 110 marks) and Thomas Bannister in November (4). 

Barons of the Exchequer were judges in the Exchequer Court (the Exchequer of Pleas). They were highly qualified lawyers, usually sergeants-at -law (5).


(1) PPC III, p. 19 (Stafford and Alnwick wages).

(2) PPC III, p. 24 and p. 69 (Treasurer’s patronage).

(3) PPC III, p. 19 (Breton ship).

(4) CPR 1422-1429, pp. 3 and 141 (Juyn and Bannister appointed).

(5) PPC III, pp. 22, 70 and 121 (Barons of the Exchequer).


The Mint

Bartholomew Goldbeter had been confirmed as master of the mint in the Tower of London and in Calais by the Temporary Council in October 1422 (1).

Goldbeter petitioned Parliament in December 1422 for a modification of the terms of his indenture, claiming that he could not afford the costs of ‘waste,’ as gold and silver bullion and plate were minted into coin. He requested to be discharged from office unless his request was granted (2). The Commons agreed to a modification of his terms until the next parliament met and this was endorsed by the Council in January 1423 (3). The Parliament of 1423/24 confirmed the previous parliament’s act: ‘the said exchange shall be continued and implemented according to the form and content of the act made thereupon’ (4).

An inventory of the gold and silver and ‘of the five forms of silver money minted between 1422 and 1423’ was held at the mint in June 1423 in Goldbeter’s presence, with the Duke of Gloucester, the three officers of state, other council members, and Barons of the Exchequer as witnesses (5).

A groat; a half groat; a penny; a halfpenny; a farthing). A groat was worth 4 pence.


(1) CPR 1422-1429, p. 1 (Goldbeter’s appointed).

(2) PROME  X, pp. 30–31 (Goldbeter’s petition 1422).

(3) PPC III, pp. 20–21 (Parliament’s act endorsed).

(4) PROME X, pp. 81-82 (Parliament’s confirmation 1423/24).

(5) CPR 1422-1429, p. 118 (June inventory 1423).


The Judiciary

The principal law courts at Westminster were King’s Bench and Commons Pleas

In May, the Council appointed William Babbington chief justice of the court of Common Pleas, with John Juyn and John Hals as judges ‘during pleasure’ (1).

William Pope had been appointed chirographer (recorder of agreements) at King’s Bench ‘for life’ by Henry V. He also granted Pope the custodianship of ‘an idiot.’ Pope brought the unfortunate man before the Council and ‘having been fully proved to be of unsound mind, [he] was redelivered to his keeper.’ The Council confirmed Pope as chirographer but only until the next meeting of Parliament (2). 

Simon Gaunstede, Keeper of the Chancery Rolls, died in 1423 and in October, while Parliament was in session, John Frank was appointed keeper, ‘with the usual fees and profits (3, 4).


(1) PPC III, p. 70 (Common Pleas appointments).

(2) PPC III, pp. 35 and 41 (William Pope).

(3) PPC III, p. 118 (John Frank)

(4) CPR 1422-1429, p. 139 (John Frank).


The Council as Judges

Councillors and judges could ‘sit in chancery,’ usually more informally and less time consuming than the main law courts. They heard cases outside the jurisdiction of the common law, such as prosecutions for piracy, cases of riot or disorder, and disputes arising from land ‘use’ where several people held land to the ‘use’ of someone else.  Litigants were summoned by writs issued by the Council (1).

(1) Brown, Governance of England, pp. 132-134 (chancery).

Six disputes brought before the Council in 1423 are recorded in the Proceedings.

Elizabeth Holand, the ‘deceased Lady Neville,’ was the youngest sister of the Earl of Kent. She was the widow of Sir John Neville, the eldest son by his first marriage of Ralph, Earl of Westmorland. Sir John was killed in France in 1420 and Elizabeth died in January 1423.

Her five manors, three in Yorkshire, one in Nottinghamshire and one in Surrey, were enfeoffed on her younger son John. She left nothing to her eldest son, Ralph, who was heir to his grandfather’s Earldom of Westmorland. Her feoffees came before the Council and deposed that in accordance with her instructions they had paid her debts and given 40 marks to her son John, £20 to her son Thomas, and an unnamed amount ‘at their discretion’ to her daughter Margaret (1). The reason for the dispute is not given, did Ralph contest the will?

(1) PPC III, p. 20 (Lady Neville).

In May William Cheyne, William Babington and John Tiptoft were commissioned by the Council to investigate a dispute between William de Hertford, Abbot of Waltham Abbey and his recalcitrant tenants in the manors of Waltham, Nazing, Epping and Loughton who were refusing to carry out their traditional services to the abbey. Waltham was a royal free chapel and therefore did not come under the jurisdiction of a bishop (1, 2).


(1) PPC III, p. 90 (Waltham).

(2) ‘Waltham Abbey’ in A History of the County of Essex, vol 2. Britishhisotoryonline


The dispute between Lady Elizabeth Trivet and Robert Chamberlain had been referred to Chancery in February. In July, Ralph Chamberlain, ‘the opponent of Lady Trivet,’ was ordered not to leave London without the Council’s permission (1). Robert was Ralph’s son; he was only eighteen in 1423 so the reference to Ralph as the opponent of Lady Trivet is probably correct. The Chamberlains were a family from Gedding in Suffolk.

Also in July ‘Thirlewynd’ was ordered to appear before Council to answer Sir John Boys, a commissioner for the peace for Middlesex, in a dispute that had been submitted previously to two justices, William Hankford and John Martin. The justices could not induce the litigants to agree to their judgement and so had referred the matter to the Council (2).

The burgesses of Great Yarmouth brought a bill before the Council against twenty (named) citizens of Lowestoft in Suffolk who had appointed Richard Caudray, Robert Palgrave, and John Westwood as attorneys to represent them. The reason for the dispute is not given (3).


(1) PPC III, pp. 36 and 113 (Trivet and Chamberlain).

(2) PPC III, p.112 (Thirlewynd and Boys).

(3) PPC III, p. 116 (Lowestoft).


The plea between [    ] Radcliffe and John Ripon Abbot of Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire was postponed by the Council from July to October. As no first name is given it is impossible to identify Radcliffe.  (1).

(1) PPC III, p. 112 (Radcliffe and Fountains Abbey).

King Henry V’s debts

Henry V was massively in debt when he died. Well might Gerald Harriss, write, ‘Let me make it clear at the outset that my subject is Henry V’s financial policy and not the state of his finances.’ A nice distinction!

Henry V’s legacy and his debts took up an inordinate amount of the Council’s time and resources. The members did their best to honour his wishes and his memory. They received petitions for redress throughout the 1420s and beyond. Cleansing the Augean Stables took Henry Beaufort and the feoffees who were still alive nearly twenty years of complicated financial juggling to discharge Henry V’s obligations.

From the time he inherited the throne in 1413 Henry V began borrowing to finance his dream of the conquest of France. Throughout his reign he raised money wherever and however he could, not always ethically as he himself acknowledged on his deathbed.

Henry’s largest land grabs had been at the expense of his own family. He wrested her dower lands from his stepmother, the Dowager Queen Joan in 1419 on a trumped-up charge of witchcraft. He repented, but only on this death bed, and the 1422 Parliament restored her income and estates in accordance with Henry’s dying wish (1).

Henry’s brother, Thomas, Duke of Clarence had enfeoffed some of his many castles, manors and lordships, but after Clarence’s death in 1421 Henry declared that Clarence did so without licence, and he seized the lands into his own hands.

In February 1423, the Council pardoned all those involved in the unlicensed enfeoffment on payment of a fine of 1,000 marks. The feoffees were instructed to surrender Clarence’s properties in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire to his executors, to be retained for forty years to pay off Clarence’s debts. After that the lands would revert to the crown. The rest of Clarence’s enfeoffed lands would be returned to his feoffees (2, 3, 4).


(1) PROME X, pp. 173–176 (Queen Joan).

(2) CPR 1422-1429,  pp. 59–60 (Clarence, 1,000 marks fine).

(3) PPC III, pp. 30–34 (Clarence, executors).

(4) PPC III, p. 45 (enfeoffed lands restored).


Henry V’s Will

Henry left his personal possessions, jewels, and other valuable items, to repay debt. He enfeoffed Duchy of Lancaster lands worth £6,000, the income to be used to discharge his debts and those of his father, and he ordered he sale of royal ships to meet his obligations. (1, 2).

In an over generous and totally unrealistic gesture the Parliament of 1422 had agreed to ‘purchase’ Henry’s moveable goods from his executors, for 40,000 marks. The executors were to meet the requirements of Henry’s will and render their final account at the next Parliament after which they were to be exempt from further processes of any kind in the matter; should any such an attempt be made, the chancellor or keeper of the great seal was to issue the necessary write of supersedeas. Of the 40,000 marks, 18,000 marks were to be paid to the executors of King Henry IV (3, 4).  

The Council authorized Treasurer Stafford to receive at the Exchequer such sums ‘out of the goods of the late king’ as he required to pay debts to individuals (5), but there was never any possibility that Stafford would recover 40,000 marks from Henry V’s possessions or that the Exchequer could raise such a sum in the time allowed.

Lord Fitzhugh, Sir Walter Hungerford, Sir Walter Beauchamp, Sir Lewis Robbesart, Sir William Porter and Sir Robert Babthorp, John Wodehouse and John Leventhorpe , were Henry’s executors. The Duke of Gloucester, Thomas Beaufort, Exeter, Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester and Thomas Langley, Bishop of Dirham and Chancellor were supervisors of the will.

Not surprisingly the executors took fright. At a council meeting on 15 February they refused to act until the king’s feoffees, led by Henry Beaufort, guaranteed that funds from the Duchy of Lancaster lands would be made available up to the amount of the 40,000 marks authorized by Parliament (6, 7).

An obscure entry dated 2 March in the Proceedings appears to grant permission to the executors and administrators to recover, or to deal with, the ‘distribution’ [the value?] of a cup in the keeping of one ‘Mapulton’ (there was a chancery clerk named John Mapilton) which for some reason did not fall within the limit of the 40,000 marks (8). 

Sale of the king’s ‘great ships’ got underway in March. They were to be sold only to Englishmen and not to any alien (foreigner) unless they were subjects of the king’s allies (3). It was a short-sighed policy that seriously affected England’s ability to patrol the seas during Henry VI’s reign (9).


(1) Strong, ‘Last Will,’ pp. 86–87.

(2) Somerville, Duchy of Lancaster, p. 199 (lands enfeoffed).

(3) PROME X, pp. 19–20 (purchase for 40,000 marks).

(4) CPR 1422-1429, p. 64 (instructions to executors).

(5) PPC III, p. 43 (Treasurer to receive money to pay debts). 

(6) PPC III, p. 34 (executors’ refusal). 

(7) Harriss, Beaufort, p.127 (Beaufort’s agreement).

(8) PPC III, p. 49 (cup).

(9) PPC III, p. 52 (sale of ships).


Thomas Beaufort Duke of Exeter

Thomas Beaufort, Henry V’s uncle was a close companion of the king and was with Henry when he died. Thomas received special mention by a codicil in Henry’s will. Henry left him a bed with tapestry hangings depicting hunting scenes (un lit d’arras de Hawkyng) together with other furnishing and fittings. A detailed schedule of the value of the items specified was sent to Robert Rolleston, Keeper of the Great Wardrobe, in Henry VI’s name for release of the bed (1).

As always with Henry V there was a financial fishhook: if the sale of his goods raised sufficient money to pay his debts Exeter would receive the bed as a bequest, but if they did not then Exeter was to be allowed to purchase it (hence the schedule).

On 5 March, the Council agreed that the bed should be delivered to Exeter on the above conditions. Exeter was present at the meeting; he agreed to accept payment of Henry V’s debts to him for his war services from the sale of Henry’s possessions. The treasurer was instructed to assign £600 to Exeter from this source and Robert Rolleston was ordered to deliver the bed, valued at £139 11s 8d, presumably as part of the payoff (2).  


(1) PPC III, pp. 57–59 (bed and hangings).

(2) PPC III, p. 60 (£600 to Exeter).


Crown Jewels

The Council made an immediate effort to recover crown jewels given as pledges.

In April Sir Walter Hungerford (an executor of King Henry’s will) was ordered to surrender the ‘pledges’ given to him by the late king. The Treasury would retain them until such time, if ever, as the administrators of Henry’s will paid him their true value (1). 

In May Treasurer Stafford, John [Feriby] and William Mares were instructed to turn over all the goods, jewels and chattels belonging to the late king now in their possession to Henry’s executors up to the value of 40,000 marks (2). The executors were authorized ‘to obtain possession of his goods in whosoever hands they might be’ (3).

In June John Feriby, as comptroller of the household, was ordered to deliver to the Treasurer whatever was left of Henry V’s war chest of 1,000 pounds of silver bullion (4).

In July the Council agreed that when the Treasurer had certified the names of those still in possession of the king’s goods, they would command them to be turned over, either to the Treasurer or to the king’s administrators (5). 

Treasurer Stafford did his work well. He called in all the jewels and valuable items pledged by Henry V still in private hands that he could trace. He reported to Parliament in October that he had obeyed the council’s order to turn over Henry V’s goods to his executors and he presented a full inventory of all Henry’s possessions that he had managed to recover. The total amounted to £18,404 4s 10d. Stafford, the executors and their heirs were indemnified from all future claims against them by any persons whatsoever (6).


(1) PPC III, p. 68 (Hungerford).

(2) PPC III, p. 89 (Treasurer to turn over jewels etc to Henry V’s executors).

(3) PPC III, p. 100 (executors to obtain goods).

(4) PPC III, p. 103 (silver bullion).

(5) PPC III, p. 115 (return of valuables).

(6) PROME X, 110–162 (Stafford’s report and inventory).


Foreign Commitments

Louis, Count Palatine of the Rhine (referred to as the Duke of Bavaria) had married Henry V’s sister, Blanche. Her dowry was set at 40,000 nobles, 16,000 to be paid at the wedding and the rest in instalments over two years. Henry IV had not made any further payments and in 1415 Louis claimed the balance owing even though Blanche had died in 1406 (1).

In 1419 Henry V turned the claim into an annuity of 1,000 marks a year, probably in return for military aid (Louis brought a contingent of 700 men to serve with the English army in 1420, although no copy of the agreement survives) (2).

The obligation did not end with Henry V’s death. Payment was reaffirmed by the Minority Council in December 1422 (3). In January 1423 Johannes Labanum Louis’s attorney, came to London to collect the arrears of 1,000 marks (4).

A further payment was authorized by the Council in May (5, 6), and in October, at Heidelberg, Louis commissioned three citizens of Cologne, Jon Pott, John Dahs and Ertmar Survartz coming to London, to collect the next instalment (7). The annuity was paid regularly until 1429, but irregularly after that.


(1) Ferguson, Diplomacy, pp. 70–72 (Blanche’s dowry).

(2) Wylie & Waugh III, p. 183, n 1 (Louis’s military commitment).

(3) PPC III, p. 12 (payment, December 1422).

(4) L&P I, p. 383 (January 1423, payment of arrears).

(5) PPC III, p. 77 (payment May)

(6) Foedera X, pp. 282 (payment May). 

(7) Foedera X, p. 312 (citizens of Cologne).


 Walter de la Pole

Henry V had sent Sir Walter de la Pole and Doctor Nicholas Bildeston to join Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln, on an embassy to the Emperor Sigismund and other German princes (1, 2). They were away from early March to mid-September 1422, by which time Henry was dead.

In February 1423 the Exchequer was ordered to reimburse Walter de la Pole for his expenses on this embassy. De la Pole reminded the Council in May that they had authorized the Exchequer to pay him. He included a claim for two earlier embassies, to the King of Poland and the Grand Master of Prussia for £39 13s 4d, and to the Emperor Sigismund for £33 13s 4d. The total amounted to £217 9s 10d.  The Council ordered that he should be paid (3).


(1) PPC III, p. 29 (Henry V’s embassy).

NB: The Editor’s note on p. 29 is incorrect. Richard Clifford, Bishop of London was dead by 1422. Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln and Doctor Nicholas Bildeston were de la Pole’s fellow ambassadors.

(2) Fergusson, Diplomacy pp. 110 and 210–211 (Henry V’s embassies to German states).

(3) PPC III, pp. 97-98 (De la Pole’s claim).


 Ghillebert de Lannoy 

In the euphoria of the signing of the Treaty of Troyes in 1420 King Henry V and Duke Philip of Burgundy had vowed to give thanks to God by going on crusade to rescue Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Burgundy’s commitment was genuine (1); Henry V’s vow was in keeping with his self-created image as God’s chosen warrior. Perhaps he did mean to go – at some future date.

Henry commissioned the experienced Burgundian traveller and diplomat, Ghillebert de Lannoy, who had visited the East once before, to go as an ambassador on an extensive military reconnaissance mission, and to distribute gifts from the King of England to rulers of the lands he passed through: Egypt, Syria, the Levant, and Jerusalem (2).

Lannoy left in May 1421 and was away for two years. By the time he returned to London in October/November 1423 King Henry was dead. The Council welcomed Lannoy in Henry VI’s name and awarded him £100, with 50 marks to John de la Roe who had accompanied him. They also paid John Killingham, Keeper of the Bell [Inn?] in Carter Lane £17 14s 8d for the hire of servants and horses for 28 days for Lannoy’s use while he was in London (3, 4).  


(1) Vaughan, Philip, pp. 268-269 (Philip as crusader).

(2) M. La Barge, ‘Ghillebert de Lannoy: Burgundian Traveller.’  No references, but a useful survey. Lannoy rates an entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

(3) PPC III, pp. 117–118 (Lannoy’s expenses). 

(4) Issues of Exchequer, pp, 383–384 (Lannoy’s expenses). 


 Domestic Debts

Edward, Duke of York died fighting at Agincourt and Henry V had his body brought home for burial in St Pauls. The hearse was made by a wax chandler, Simon Prentout, and he was owed £40 for his work (1). 

Sir Ralph Rochford had been granted property held by the alien priory of Newton Longueville in Buckinghamshire (belonging to the Abbey of Angers) and the manor of Spalding worth £40 by Henry IV in 1402 and re-granted free of all fees in 1412 (2).

Henry V had confirmed the grant until other provision could be made, and in 1423 the Council reconfirmed it in accordance a promise Henry V had made to Rochford at Dover in 1421 (3, 4, 5).

John Spencer had been controller of Henry V’s household when he was Prince of Wales, and he became Keeper of the Great Wardrobe on 1 October 1413 (6). Spencer was dead by February 1423 and the Exchequer was ordered to allow Spencer’s executors, John Tyrell and Spencer’s wife Catherine, [the value of ?] ‘all the parcels’ [items?] contained in a great roll’ from the time that Spencer was Keeper (7). 

John Merston, a household official, petitioned for an annuity of £12 from the farm of the Hundred of Dudeston, belonging to the Abbot of Gloucester, that had been promised to him by Henry V (8). The promise was witnessed by Louis Robessart, Lord Bourchier, Thomas Swynford, and Thomas Porter, but the king fell ill before he could confirm the grant (9).  Merston also had a pension of 100 shillings (£5) a year, granted to him by Henry V, which the Council had confirmed in December 1422 (10).

In June Peter Lowart was granted an annuity of £40 for his services to Henry V: £20 from the fee farm of the Prior and Covent of Barnwell in Kent, and £20 from the fee farm of the town of  Winton in Hampshire.  Four days later arrears of £200 were awarded to him (11).

Arnold Kent had been granted an annuity of £40 [60 marks] by King Henry IV.  It was confirmed by Henry V and reconfirmed by Henry VI. Kent was paid £10 by the Exchequer in February 1423; the 200 marks granted to him in June was presumably the balance due (12, 13).

Maud (Matilda) Clifford, Countess of Cambridge, the second wife of the disgraced Richard, Earl of Cambridge, had been granted £100 annually by Henry V. This had been confirmed to her in December 1422. In June 1423 Maud petitioned the Council to instruct the sheriff in Yorkshire to pay her £50 of the £100 due (14).


(1) PPC III, p. 118 (wax chandler)

(2) Given-Wilson, Henry IV, p. 75 (Ralph Rochford). 

(3) Allmand, Henry V, p. 209 (Rochford).

(4) PPC III, p. 40 (Rochford).

(5) therochfords.wordpress.com/biographies/Rochford-of-fenne-and-stoke-rochford/sur-ralph-rochford-iii/  (no bibliography)

(6) Wylie & Waugh I, p. 28 (John Spencer).

(7) PPC III, p. 34 (‘the parcels contained in a great roll’).

(8) PPC III, p. 75  (Merston annuity)

(9) CPR 1422-1429, pp. 94, and 110-111 (witnesses to annuity).

(10) CPR, 1422-1429,  p. 22 (Merston, pension).

(11) PPC III, p. 103 (Peter Lowart).

(12) PPC III, p. 108 (Arnold Kent).

(13) Issues of Exchequer, p. 377 (Arnold Kent).

(14) PPC III, p. 107 and CPR 1422-1429, p. 11 (Maud).


War Debts

Tallies for the Common Council of London’s loan of 2,000 marks expired on his death and new tallies were ordered to be issued on 21 October 1423, the day after Parliament met (1). 

The largest loans to finance Henry V’s wars came from Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, the only man in England rich enough to loan money on a vast scale.

Beaufort loaned £8,306 18s 8d in 1417 and £11,513 18s 3d in 1421. Repayment was guaranteed and assigned on the customs in the port of Southampton with the proviso that if these returns fell short Beaufort could claim the customs on wool in the port of London, which he did (2). On 8 February 1423, his patent was extended to include not only London but numerous other ports in the country (3).

On 15 February, Beaufort’s right to collect on the customs was challenged in Council, possibly by the Duke of Gloucester, on the grounds that the Commons in Parliament had assigned the customs specifically for the defence of the realm.

The judges and sergeants-at-law were consulted, and they ruled that since the loans had been made to enable Henry V to fight in France, they were for the defence of the realm. Repayment was lawful and not contrary to the act of parliament (4). Throughout Henry VI’s reign ‘defence of the realm’ would be the euphemism for requests to the Commons to grant further taxes.

These large sums were not the only loans made by Henry Beaufort. On 22 February, Treasurer Stafford was authorized to issue replacements for two tallies that had expired on Henry V’s death, worth a mere £2,000 (5).


(1) PPC III, p. 117 (Common Council, London).

(2) Harriss, Beaufort, pp. 123–124 (loans and repayment).

(3) CFR 1422-1430, pp. 18–20 (Beaufort’s nominees to collect customs in ports listed).

(4) PPC III, pp. 34–35 (challenge).

(5) PPC III, p. 42 (£2,000 tallies).



Smaller debts war service debts were redeemed by the Council in 1423:

In May Richard Rowe, master of the king’s ship, the Valentine de la Tour and another called Le Swan claimed the arrears of wages for himself and 35 members of his crew for services during the siege of Rouen, from 29 September 1418 to 25 January 1419, and for conveying the Count of Foix’s ambassadors  from Southampton to Bordeaux (sic) between 25 April and 1 July 1422 (1, 2).

See Duchy of Gascony below.    

Sir Thomas Rokeby petitioned for payment for four years’ service with his retinue in France and Normandy from 1416. The Council confirmed payment, but the amount is not given (3, 4). 

Menauton [Menaldo] de Saint Marie petitioned for 2,000 nobles for his services in Normandy for three and a half years with 10 men-at-arms and 50 bowmen. If this payment could not be met, he asked to be granted the Provostship of Saint Emelion in Gascony valued at 25 marks a year. The Council of Bordeaux was to be instructed to grant the provostship (5).  

In November Sir Thomas Carew petitioned for payment for his services at sea. He had been retained in 1416 to serve for six months with 315 men-at-arms and  632 archers. He had mustered at Dartmouth on 1 March 1416. He had not been paid because the muster roll made by Thomas, Duke of Clarence and Lord Fitzhugh had been lost.

He also claimed wages for himself and 39 men-at-arms and 80 archers from 1 September to 27 October 1417 when Henry V commanded him to transport Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March to Le Hogue in Normandy and back to England (6, 7).

 Sir William Talbot, younger brother of Sir John Talbot had been retained in 1415 to serve with four men- at-arms and two archers and given jewels as pledges for payment of £59 9s 9d. His petition for payment was granted (8).

Elizabeth, Lady Harrington the widow of John Lord Harington who died in France in 1418 had been granted a licence in June 1423 to remarry anyone she chose.

See Wardships and Marriages above

 Elizabeth preferred to collect the debt owed to her late husband. In November she and Thomas Broughton, her husband’s executor, petitioned for the £162 13s 4d in wages due to Lord Harrington from 1415 (he fought at Agincourt). He had held jewels and gold and silver plate as pledges of payment, but they had been reclaimed by the Treasurer. Elizabeth and Broughton were assigned the amount she sought (9, 10). 

A petition from Thomas Hostell, was probably one of many similar petitions. Hostell was an old soldier who had fought at Harfleur and Agincourt as well as at sea. He had been seriously wounded, for which he had received no reward. He was now old and had fallen on hard times, he petitioned for alms to relieve his poverty (11, 12).


(1) PPC III, pp. 82–83 (Rowe’s petition).

(2) Wylie & Waugh II, p. 371, n. l: ‘the Valentine de la Tour conveyed the ambassadors of the Count of Foix from Southampton to Bayonne with receipt dated April 25, 1422,’ citing Exchequer Accounts 49/27, with broken seal.

(3) PPC III, pp. 90-91 (Rokeby).

(4) Original Letters Illustrative of English History . . . .  ed. H. Ellis, pp. 96-97 (Rokeby’s letter). 

(5) PPC III, pp. 105-106 (Menauton).

(6) PPC III, pp. 125-127 (Carew).

(7) Wylie & Waugh III, p. 45 n. 6 notes that Carew’s muster roll was not lost, it has survived intact.

(8) PPC III pp 124-125 (Talbot).

(9) PPC III pp 127-129. (Harrington).

(10) Issues of Exchequer pp 385-86. (Harrington).

(11) L&P I, pp. 421–422 (misdated by Stevenson to 1429).

(12) Original Letters Illustrative of English History . . . .  ed. H. Ellis, pp. 95-96   (Ellis dates Hostell’s letter to 1422, but 1423 is more likely).


Prisoners of War

The French nobles captured at Agincourt remained in custody in England in 1423.Charles, Duke of Orleans, John, Duke of Bourbon, John, Count of Angoulême, Louis, Count of Vendome, Charles d’Artois, Count of Eu.  

See Year 1422: Prisoners


Charles, Duke of Orleans

Sir Thomas Comberworth was allowed 20s (£1) a day from 1 May 1423 ‘for as long as the Duke of Orleans should remain in his custody’ at Bolingbroke Castle in Lincolnshire (1, 2). Comberworth brought Orleans to London for a month in May, presumably to negotiate with the Council, but it was not until the following November that the Council assigned Comerberworth £42 13 4d for this jaunt and ordered an advance of £114 for Orleans’s custody (3).

Orleans owed money to a London goldsmith, John Whitwell, who had died sometime before May 1423. The Council released certain of Orleans’s pledges for his ransom, held by Richard Caudray clerk of the council, to pay Whitwell’s widow, Isabel. She and William Russe, another goldsmith, whom she subsequently married, were John Whitwell’s executors (4).

Safe conducts for three months had been issued at the end of December 1422 for the Duke of Orleans’s treasurer, James Boucher, his chancellor William Cousmont, Master Hugh Perrier, and other servants to come to England bringing an instalment of the ransom of Orleans’s brother, the Count of Angoulême  (5).

The safe conducts were renewed on 1 February 1423, but Orleans’s officials were not ready to set out until May. Orleans requested confirmation of their safe conducts as they were coming to negotiate for the release of Angoulême and the other hostages. The safe conducts were reissued on 21 May, plus one to John de Moncy who would carry the safe conducts to France (6).


(1) Foedera X, p. 289 (Comberworth for Orleans expenses).

(2) PPC III, p. 79 (Comberworth payment).

(3) Issues of Exchequer p. 383 (Orleans to London).

(4) PPC III, p. 100 (Whitwell).

(5) Foedera X pp. 262-65 (safe conducts Orleans / Angoulême servants).

(6) Foedera X, pp. 288–291 (safe conducts Orleans/Angoulême servants).


Louis de Bourbon, Count of Vendôme

Vendôme had been captured at Agincourt by Sir John Cornwall, but Henry V claimed him as a royal prisoner. As soon after Henry V’s death as he decently could, Cornwall had reclaimed custody of Vendôme.

Safe conducts for five months were issued in February and in March 1423 for four of Vendôme’s servants to go to France and return to bringing money, jewels and other valuable goods (1).

In May the Council ordered the lieutenant of the Tower to release Vendôme into   Cornwall’s custody, and the Duke of Gloucester, the Duke of Exeter, and Henry Beaufort met with Cornwall to discuss compensation (2).

Cornwall claimed 5,500 marks, the Council offered 3,000, to be paid over the next six years from the estates of the Earldom of Arundel, in the king’s hands because Arundel’s heir was a minor. The balance would come from taxation, provided the next parliament agreed.  If parliament objected, provision would be made to secure the whole amount and the arrears whether the heir [Arundel] died before it was paid or not. In the meanwhile, Cornwall was to retain custody of Vendôme (3).  

In June, Hugh de Voyre and Peter Gervayse received safe conducts to go to Hainault (to raise the ransom money?) and to return with gold, silver, jewels, and goods for the ‘expenses’ of the count. Safe conducts were again issued in July for Vendome’s servants to come from France to England (4).  

In November, the Council awarded Cromwell 600 marks for the cost of his suit to recover Vendôme and ‘delivered’ Vendôme to him with permission for Vendôme to go to France himself to raise his ransom (5). A safe conduct for Vendôme to cross to France was issued on 28 November 1423. He was to return to England by 15 July 1424 (6, 7, 8).


(1) Foedera X, pp. 265, 269, 291–292 (safe conducts Vendôme’s servants).

(2) Foedera X, p. 289 (release into Cornwall’s custody).     

(3) PPC III, pp. 108–110 (Cornwall, recompense).

(4) Foedera X, p. 291 (safe conduct to Hainault).

(5) Issues of Exchequer, p. 384 (Cornwall paid £400).

(6) Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records, 48, pp. 229 and 231 (Vendome’s safe conduct).

(7) Foedera X p. 260. (Where the licence is wrongly dated to 28 November 1422).

(8) Foedera X 297. (Where the safe conduct dated 15 July for Vendôme’s return is misdated to 1423).


 Richemont, Boucicault, Artois. and Gaucourt

Henry V had entrusted the custody of Arthur de Richemont, Marshal Boucicault (Jean le Maingre) and Charles d’Artois, Count of Eu, captured at Agincourt, to Sir Thomas Burton, the captain of Fotheringhay Castle.

Henry did not order payment for their maintenance while they were in Burton’s custody; it was not until November 1423 that the Council instructed the Treasurer to pay Burton at a rate of 23s. 4d. a week while they were domiciled, and 33s 4d a week when they travelled, a total of £178 10s 10d (1). But the payment was not made. Burton petitioned in January 1424 for the £178 10s 10d (2). 

Raoul de Gaucourt, captured at Harfleur in 1415, was also in Burton’s custody.  Burton was granted 50 marks for Gaucourt’s keep in February 1423 and in May he petitioned for an increase to 100 marks a year from the day of Henry V’s death for as long as Gaucourt remained in his charge (3).


(1) PPC III, pp. 118–121 (Burton arrears for prisoners).

(2) PPC III p. 132 (Burton petition in 1424).

(3) PPC III, pp. 37 and 85 (50 and then 100 marks for Gaucourt).


Richemont, Boucicault, and Artois were transferred to the custody of Sir Robert Waterton, Constable of Pontefract Castle in February 1420. Waterton was a trusted servant of Henry IV and Henry V.

Henry V released Arthur de Richemont on parole in the autumn of 1420 and Marshal Boucicault died at Methley near Pontefract on 29 June 1421, leaving Charles d’Artois Count of Eu in Robert Waterton’s custody.

Henry had assigned three tallies worth £150 to Waterton for the prisoners’ maintenance and for the four-year-old Richard, Duke of York, whom the king had placed in Waterton’s care at Pontefract in 1415 (1). The tallies had not been honoured before King Henry died.

Waterton petitioned the Duke of Gloucester for reimbursement, and for upkeep of two other prisoners, Perron de Lupé and Guichard de Sesse (Chissay) the Captain of Meaux, from 1420 to May 1423 (2). The Council allocated an additional £276 6s. 10½d to Waterton, mainly as arrears for the maintenance of the Duke of York between October 1417 and June 1422 (3). The Exchequer recorded an assignment to him of the larger sum on 21 June 1423, but the original £150 was not assigned until November (4).


(1) Wylie & Waugh I, pp. 534–535 (Duke of York).

(2) Foedera X, p. 290 (Waterton petition).

(3) L&P I, pp. 392–394 (Waterton, additional sum).

(4) Issues of Exchequer pp. 379 and 383 (Waterton, assignments).


Guy, Bastard of Bourbon

Guy, an illegitimate son of John, Duke of Bourbon, was not captured at Agincourt. He was an admiral of the French fleet in command of the nine Genoese carracks hired by the Dauphin to blockade the mouth of the Seine and prevent Henry V’s second invasion of France in 1417. Guy was defeated in a sea fight on 29 June 1417 by an English squadron under John Holand, Earl of Huntington.  Huntingdon scattered a combined French and Genoese fleet, and Guy was captured (1, 2).

Sir John Pelham was paid £173 6s 8d for keeping Guy for two and a half years in the great stronghold of Pevensey Castle (3, 4).


(1) Chronicles of London (Julius B.I.) p. 71 (sea fight).

(2) English Historical Literature, p. 307 (sea fight).

(3) Issues of Exchequer, p. 384 (payment for Bastard).

(4) L&P I, pp. 397–98 (payment for Bastard).


Sir John Braquemont

Braquemont was a special case. He had been captured in a sea fight off Harfleur in 1416 and sent to the Tower. Henry V had granted Braquemont’s ransom to Sir John Robessart in 1420, in payment for services rendered, but Robessart’s claim came under scrutiny by the Council and the securities that Robessart had given for Braquemont’s safe keeping were annulled.

On 1 February 1423, the Council required Robessart to give an undertaking to appear in chancery a month later, if summoned, to answer questions pertaining to Braquemont’s ransom, on pain of a 2,000 mark fine (1). On 7 March, Robessart petitioned for a safe conduct for eight months for Braquemont to return to Spain to raise his ransom (2).

Robessart’s services to the House of Lancaster stood him in good stead; in October 1423 he applied for denization which was granted and confirmed in Parliament, ‘to be done as desired, for a reasonable fee to be paid in Chancery,’ although it is not on the parliament roll (3, 4). Nothing more is recorded concerning Braquemont’s ransom. Did Robessart receive it?


(1) PPC III, p. 23 (Braquemont).

(2) Foedera X, p. 279 (Robessart safe conduct).

(3) Foedera X, p. 312 (Robessart denization)

(4) CPR 1422-1429, p. 229 (Robessart denization). Robessart’s original petition to Parliament is in the National Archives, SC 8/68/3394. He refers to his services to Henry V, Henry IV, and John of Gaunt.


Harfleur prisoners

Most of the prisoners captured at Harfleur in 1415 were not shipped back to England. “They were ransomed generally for quite small sums or allowed to leave on their parole or sold to ransom brokers” (1).  Only the more valuable prisoners were taken to England.  

In May 1423 the Council instructed the Chancellor, Thomas Langley, to order the Warden of the Fleet Prison to bring seven prisoners taken at Harfleur before him and to administer the oath of allegiance to Henry VI to them. Presumably they were the last of the Harfleur prisoners, except for Raoul de Gaucourt and Jean d’Estouteville, who were set free after taking the oath (2).


(1) Sumption, Cursed Kings, p. 466 (prisoners at Harfleur)

(2) PPC III, pp. 93-95 (Harfleur prisoners in the Fleet. The wording of the oath is in French, pp. 94-95).


Meux Prisoners

The siege of Meux was Henry V’s last campaign. Reducing the city took longer than he had anticipated, and it was at Meaux that he contracted the disease that killed him. Meuax surrendered in March 1422. “The haul of prisoners was very large” (1)

Henry Somer, John Scott, and John Yerde were instructed to transfer the prisoners taken at Meaux from the Tower to separate prisons and negotiate with them for their ransoms (2).

John Salghall, Constable of Harlech Castle petitioned the Duke of Gloucester in March for payment of £79 7s. for thirty prisoners taken at Meaux whom he had escorted from London to Harlech Castle and then back to London on Henry V’s orders (3, 4).

Sir John Bolde, Constable of Conway Castle had taken three French knights into custody in London in 1422 and escorted them to Conway. The Council authorized a payment of £11 3s. for his costs, but they thought that 4d. per day for six ‘valets’ (archers?) to guard the prisoners was excessive, and in May they ordered the Chamberlain of North Wales to discharge them (5, 6).

Bolde promptly requested to be released from his duty if they were not retained, and the Council compromised: three of the ‘valets’ could remain (7). The Chamberlain of North Wales was to pay Bolde for the expenses of the prisoners and the three ‘valets’ at the rate of 3s. 4d. per week from 1 September 1422 (8). 

In July 1423 safe conducts were issued to seven named prisoners taken at Meaux ‘and others,’ held by Robert Scott the lieutenant of the Tower of London, to go to France for six months to raise their ransoms (9).

Henry V had placed Robert Giresmen, bishop elect of Meaux, in the custody of Henry Chichele, the Archbishop of Canterbury. In February 1424, at his request, the Council authorized the transfer of Giresmen to the Tower of London (10).


(1) Allmand, Henry V, p. 168

(2) PPC III, pp. 23-24 (Meaux prisoners).

(3) PPC III, p. 61 (Salghall).

(4) Wylie & Waugh III, p. 351 and n. 10. ‘Two of the Harlech prisoners died soon after reaching the castle and two more during their journey back to London in the following December.’

(5) PPC III, pp. 27–28 (costs to take prisoners to Conway).

(6) Issues of Exchequer, p. 379 (‘In money paid to him by the hands of his son, Richard Bolde,’ £11 3s.’)

(7) PPC III, p. 81(three ‘valets’).

(8) PPC III, pp. 96–97 (Chamberlain of North Wales to pay).

(9) Foedera X, p. 297 (seven prisoners held in the Towers).

(10) Foedera X, p. 318 (Archbishop of Canterbury).




Weather and Food

The weather and its effect on crop production and the food supply was of perennial interest to the London chroniclers. Food was plentiful in the warm summer of 1423 but abnormally heavy rainfall from Midsummer until Christmas made it difficult to get the harvest in although there was no serious shortage of food until the 1430s.

“Also this same yere in the somertide was grete plente of all maner of cornes and frutes. But a litil before Mydsomer it be gan to falle moche water of Reyne which continued lesse or more every day for the moost partie, how so evyr the wynde stode unto viij days before Cristmasse so that men might not gader yn theire crone, and namely the Cdde corne. And zit ther was plente of corne i nough.”     

                                              Great Chronicle, p. 128.

 Richard Whittington, Mayor of London

The folk tale of Dick Whittington and his cat is known to every English school child, and beloved by pantomime audiences. Richard Whittington came to London as a penniless younger son and made his fortune as a member of the Mercers Company.

Initially Whittington failed to find work, but as he turned his back on the City in despair, he heard the bells of London ring out to him: “Turn again Whittington, thou worthy citizen, Lord Mayor of London” (1).

Whittington is the best known, and probably the richest, member of the merchant oligarchy who ruled the City of London. He became Mayor of London three times.  He died childless in March 1423, leaving his money to charitable works, including the rebuilding of the prison at Newgate (2, 3).

Newgate Prison

Newgate was the principal gaol for the City of London and Middlesex (4). Whittington’s executors petitioned the Council for permission to pull down the old gate and gaol, Whittington ‘having pity and compassion for the sudden and terrible deaths which occurred daily amongst the prisoners from bad air and other causes in the dilapidated and ruinous gate and gaol of Newgate’ left money for it to be rebuilt (5). Building began in 1423 and the new prison was finished by January 1431.

See Year 1431: London, Newgate

“Also the same yere Newgate was be gon to be made a Newgate by the executourys of that famos marchant and merser, Rycharde Whytyngdone.”

                Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 156

“This yeare the west gate of London was begun to be builded by the Executors of Richard Whittington.”  Brut Continuation E, p. 449

“Also the same yere that is to say of oure lord MCCCCxxiij Newgate was bye gonne to be make newe by the executours of Richard Whtytington.” 

            Great Chronicle, p. 128


(1) Barron, ‘Richard Whittington: the man behind the myth’

(2) Foedera X, p. 287 (money for new gaol). 

(3) Sharpe, London, Letter Book K, p. 19 (money for new gaol). 

(4) Bassett, ‘Newgate,’ p. 239.

(5) PPC III, p. 79 (Whittington’s executors petition).


The Hanseatic League

A consortium of German towns known as the Hanseatic League dominated trade in the Baltic region. Their merchants maintained a permanent trading post in London at the Steelyard on the banks of the Thames.

Successive English kings granted Hanse merchants special privileges and tax exemptions to encourage England’s trade to the Baltic. King Richard II issued a charter confirming these rights in 1380, and King Henry IV renewed them by treaty in 1409 (1).   

Hanse merchants, citing exemptions under their charters, refused to pay the tax of tunnage and poundage of ‘3 shillings on every tun of wine and 12 pence on every pound,’ imposed on ‘aliens’ by Parliament in 1422, the terms and conditions for payment to be set by the Council (2).

The Council, mindful of the importance of trade, allowed the Hanse merchants an exemption to the end of October 1423 (when Parliament was due to meet). They also reduced by 10 shillings the tax of 53s 4d on every sack of wool and 240 wool fells exported by alien merchants over two years, but for one year only (3).

They referred the question of the legality of the Hanse’s refusal to pay tunnage and poundage to the chief justices and the Chief Baron of the Exchequer. The judges handed down their verdict on 23 October: they had investigated the matter and found that since the tax was imposed by Parliament, and German merchants were ‘aliens’ and not denizens (Henry VI’s subjects), they were liable for payment (4). 


(1) Given-Wilson, Henry IV, pp. 336-337 (Henry IV’s charter).

(2) PROME X, p. 21 (tunnage and poundage).

(3) PPC III, p. 35 (wool tax reduced).

(4 PPC III, pp. 110, 111, and 117 (judgement).


London and the Hanse

The Mayor and Common Council of London had granted the merchants from Damme, a town in Lower Saxony, the right to reside and trade in the City, a privilege for which they each paid 50 marks a year.

In July 1423 John Burneux of Damme petitioned the Council and the judges that Nicholas Wotton, while Mayor of London in 1415/16, had compelled Robert Cok to pay £30. But under the terms of the agreement between London and Damme the charge did not apply in time of war when alien merchants did not have free access to London: 1415 was the year of Agincourt.

The Council ordered Wotton to repay the £30 and confirmed the rights of the merchants of Damme (5). This is an early example of the protection of foreign merchants by the Council that prevailed throughout out Henry VI’s reign in order to promote trade.

            (1) PPC III, pp. 113-115 (repayment).


Paris was the capital of Lancastrian France in 1423, but it was by no means secure and its citizens, who had endured real hardships during the French civil wars, were fearful of the future. It remained to be seen how the English would fare in France now that Henry V was dead.

“And in þat same yere, come Frenche bysshoppys oute of Fraunce; And oþer Frenche lordys and worthy knyghttes of Fraunce come to þe Kyng to do homage to hym as for heyre of Englond and Fraunce.”             Brut Continuation E, p. 449.

An embassy led by Louis of Luxembourg Bishop of Thérouanne, came to London from Paris in January seeking reassurance from the Minority Council that an army would be sent from England to protect Paris against the Dauphin Charles and the Armagnacs. According to the Burgundian chronicler Monstrelet the Council gave the required assurances (1, 2). 

Richard Rystone, a clerk of the Exchequer, was allowed £40 for their expenses, from 21 January to 9 March 1423, for ‘victuals, wines, carriage, porterage, expenses for boats, allowance for horses, and other things.’   

Rystone claimed a total of £248 4s. 7d. for this embassy; he combined it with the expenses for King James of Scotland who was at Westminster in February and may have taken part in whatever discussions took place (4).

Gifts to them proved costly: ‘£80 to Louis of Luxemburg £40; to Lourdin de Saligny £40; Master John de Mailly (later Bishop of Noyen), to certain doctors (of law) and Jean Rinel, the king’s French secretary, to each of them, gifts to the value of £20’ (3).

A second embassy, from the Duke of Bedford’s Grand Conseil in Paris, came to London in November. Pierre Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, Gilles de Duremont, Abbot of Fécamp, and Jean de Saint Yon.  

Ferguson confused their visit with Louis of Luxemburg’s embassy in January (5). The Proceedings records only that William Brewster, clerk, received money for their expenses, but no amount is given and there were no costly gifts such as those given to Louis of Luxembourg (6). 


(1) Monstrelet I, p. 492 (delegation from Paris).

(2) Wavrin III, pp. 5–6 (delegation from Paris).

(3) L&P I, pp. 389–392 (Rystone’s expenses).

(4) PPC III, pp. 21 and 35–36 (expenses and gifts).

(5) Ferguson, Diplomacy, p. 3, n 1 (citing E101/322/7 and E 28/43/8).

(6) PPC III, p. 123 (Brewster for expenses).


Aragon and Portugal

Ambassadors from the Kingdoms of Aragon and Portugal came to London in March.

Sir John de Falces brought an answer to an embassy sent to King Alfonso of Aragon by Henry V in 1421 (1, 2, 3). Henry had been seeking Aragon’s support at best, or neutrality at worst, for his wars in France. Falces received £40 for his expenses (4).

Sir Rothamagus Myndee, a Portuguese ambassador, received £46 13 4d and a cup worth £20 (5, 6, 7). The Kingdom of Portugal had strong trading and dynastic ties with England, King João I of Portugal had married Philippa, a daughter of John of Gaunt.


(1) PPC III, p. 54 (Aragon).

(2) Foedera X, p 270 (Aragon).

(3) Wylie &Waugh III, p. 289 (Henry V and Aragon).

(4) Ferguson, Diplomacy, p. 201 identifies him as Lluis de Falcs.

(5) PPC III, pp. 59-60. (Portugal).

(6) Foedera X, p. 270 (Portugal).

(7) Ferguson, Diplomacy, p. 203, dates Myndee’s embassy to March 1424, citing E 43/658/m. 14.



The Duchy of Gascony

The Duchy of Gascony (frequently referred to as Aquitaine) had been an inheritance of the kings of England since the twelfth century. It was all that was left in English hands of the great Duchy of Aquitaine, part of the Angevin empire of King Henry II and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine.

The entry in the Proceedings under 1 March 1423 was seriously misdated by the editor. It belongs in March 1413, the first year of Henry V’s reign not in 1423, the first year of Henry VI’s reign. It is a report by Sir Thomas Swynbourne (1).

There are numerous anomalies which should have altered Nicolas: Warrants were routinely issued by the Minority Council in Henry VI’s name, but not in 1423 with the endorsement ‘The K agreed.’ Henry Beaufort was not Chancellor in 1423.

The Council agreed subject to the king’s approval, that Swynbourne would be given 1,000 [?] to distribute to the garrison at Fronsac ‘to get the cust castel into the King’s hands.’ He was to be its captain for the next five years. Swynbourne was dead by 1423.

The king referred to is Henry V and the situation is that of 1405 and the next few years when Swynbourne was Mayor of Bordeaux and Captain of Fronsac Castle. The Duke of Orleans cannot be Charles, who had been a prisoner in England since 1415, it was his father, Louis, who campaigned in Gascony (2, 3). 

Joseph Stephenson in Letters & Papers accepted Nicolas’s dating without reading the memorandum carefully and perpetuated the 1423 dating (4).


(1) PPC III, pp. 46–48 (misdated).

(2) Vale, Gascony, pp. 50–51, and 183, n. 2 (Gascony 1405-1408).

(3 Sumption, Cursed Kings, p. 184. (Louis of Orleans).

(4) L&P, Chronological Abstracts, p. 523, n 2.


Gascons owed allegiance to the King of England as Duke of Guyenne (Gascony). The great southern French magnates, Jean de Grailly, Count of Foix, Jean, Count of Armagnac, and Charles d’Albret held territories in and around Gascony and made alliances and changed their allegiances from France to England and back again as the fortunes of war ebbed and flowed. Castles and fortified towns throughout Gascony formed a defensive network to guard the duchy, but as Vale observed, ‘castles held by captains avowing allegiance to England changed hands with kaleidoscopic regularity.’

(1) Vale, English Gascony, p. 6.


The duchy was administered by a council in Bordeaux representing the English crown.

The Minority Council recommissioned the judiciary and other royal officers in Bordeaux, Bayonne, and elsewhere. Letters for judicial hearings were to be issued to Gascons who petitioned for them (1).

Sir Lawrence Merbury was Chancellor of Ireland until 1423, when he fell foul of the Earl of Ormond, the king’s deputy lieutenant in Ireland (2).  The Council preferred not to get involved in Irish political infighting, and they put Merbury’s administrative and financial experience to good use by appointing him (6). Mayor of Bordeaux with the same wages and fees as his predecessor (3, 4). Merbury remained mayor until 1428. An earlier ill-advised appointment by the Council of a court official, Roger Fiennes, as Mayor of Bordeaux was not implemented (5).

An example of the Council’s attention to minutiae among more important matters is the instruction to the chancellor to confirm letters patent legitimizing Thomas Busshon ‘of the Duchy of Aquitaine’ so that he and his heirs could inherit legacies from his father (6).

Gaillard de Durefort, Lord of Duras and Blanquefort, requested and received confirmation of the office of Provost of Bayonne, the second city in Gascony, which had been granted to his father by Richard II and confirmed by Henry IV (7). Durefort was an ex-Seneschal of Gascony. Unusually for a Gascon, Henry IV had appointed him in 1399 and he remained in office until Henry V replaced him in 1415.

The custody of Bydos Castle was confirmed to another Gascon, Pons VIII, Lord of Castillon (8, 9).

In July, David de Montferrand, Archbishop of Bordeaux, received a licence to continue to sell wine from his lands at a special rate. Presumably, it was thought advisable to retain the archbishop’s loyalty (10).


(1) PPC III, p. 55-56 (royal officials).

(2) Otway-Ruthven, p. 359 (Merbury, Ireland).

(3) PPC III, p. 77 (Merbury).

(4) Gascon Rolls C61/119 (Merbury).

(5) PPC III, p. 52 (Fiennes).

(6) PPC III, pp.  51-52 (Busshon).

(7) PPC III, pp. 91–92  (Durefort).

(8) PPC III, p. 60 (Bydos).

(9) gasconrolls.org C61 119 (Bydos).

(10) Foedera X, p. 298 (Montferrand).


Seneschal and Constable

There was no king’s lieutenant in Gascony. The Seneschal of Gascony and the Constable of Bordeaux were the highest-ranking military officials, appointed by the English king. They were responsible for the safety and defence of the duchy.

Sir John Tiptoft was Henry V’s Seneschal of Gascony, but he was in England in 1423 and a member of the Minority Council.

Tiptoft petitioned for payment of arrears for his services to Henry V in France and Normandy, some of which had been agreed verbally, without written indentures. For his wages as Seneschal of Gascony: 4,000 francs (a franc = 2s 6d) and for his costs in repairing and garrisoning the castle at Bayonne with six men-at-arms at 12 pence a day, and fourteen archers at 6 pence a day from Christmas 1420. The Council issued a warrant for payment (1). 

At a meeting in March the Council appointed Sir John Radcliffe, the Constable of Bordeaux, to replace Tiptoft.

Thomas Barneby became Constable of Bordeaux in May (2). In October 1423 Radcliffe and Barneby were authorized to coin money at the mint in Bayonne (3). Barneby died in office in 1427. The Council’s original appointment of John Stokes, a Doctor of Laws, as Constable was rescinded (4).


(1) PPC III, pp. 62–63 (Tiptoft).

(2) PPC III, p. 89 (Barneby).

(3) Foedera X, p. 313 (coinage).

(4) PPC III, p. 52 (Stokes).


Sir John Radcliffe

Radcliffe indented at the end of April to serve as Seneschal of Gascony with 200 mounted archers (1). In May the Exchequer was ordered to pay him the arrears of his wage of 1,000 marks per annum for five years as Captain of the castle of Fronsac (2). In June shipping was pressed to take Radcliffe with his 200 men and horses, their trappings and stores, to Gascony. They would sail from Southampton (3).


(1) PPC III, p. 68 (Radcliffe’s indenture).

(2) PPC III, p. 70 (arrears, Fronsac).

(3) CPR 1422-29, p. 124 (shipping).


As Henry V’s Constable of Bordeaux, Radcliffe had initiated a campaign from 1420 to recover towns in Gascony that had fallen into French hands principally through neglect of their defences. The names of the towns and castles he recovered over a period of years are listed in Chronicles of London, (Julius B I), and in The Great Chronicle (1, 2).  Exact dating is difficult to establish and in some cases the names themselves are obscure.  

The towns of La Réole (or possibly ‘Rowele that stant on ϸe watere of Dordo[g]ne’) was taken ‘by scaling.’ Rions on the Garonne, ‘by composition.’ The castle of ‘Grounde’ may be the castle of Gironde but there are other castles on the Gironde River, Soulac, Blaye, and Bourg. The identity of Seincase or Seintase is uncertain, the editors of the Great Chronicle suggest the Chateau de Cazes à Saint Surplice de Guilleragues.

Charles, Lord of Albret, who owed allegiance to the Dauphin, broke a local truce (pati) and took Castets-en-Dorthe (Endorte) in the spring of 1424. Radcliffe personally conducted the siege to recover it (3).

Gensac, on the Dordogne was also held by d’Albret, and St Bazeille by Francois d’Albret, Charles’s cousin. François had promised to swear fealty to Henry V.

Castelnau de Cernes and Noaillon in the Landes surrendered in July 1424.

Castelmoron was taken by assault and burned.

Duras, Montsegur, Lavignac and Pellagrue in the area between the Garonne and the Dordogne known as Entre deux mers.

The town and castle of Meilhan and the castle of Fumel on the River Lot.

Radcliffe recovered Bazas first by siege and then by default in 1425 because the French declined to face him in the field. Marmande was not taken until 1428 after Radcliffe left Gascony.

 John Beauchamp captured the castle of Craissac and ‘Donel’ on the River Lot. He is presumably the Beauchamp who is reported as having served in Gascony with Sir John Radcliffe and others during the first years of Henry VI’s reign and is said to have campaigned heroically in and around Roergue and Montalban. Otherwise unidentified, he is described as ‘an esquire of great name,’ possibly a kinsman of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick? (4).


(1) Chronicles of London (Julius B. I.)  pp. 283–284 (list of towns).

(2) Great Chronicle, pp. 131–132 (list of towns).

(3) Vale, English Gascony, p. 190 (Castets-en-Dorthe).

(4) L&P II, ii, p. 438 (John Beauchamp).


Jean de Grailly, Count of Foix

The Count of Foix was the most militarily powerful of the southern French magnates. (1, 2).

Henry V wanted Foix’s allegiance or at least his neutrality. He offered Foix financial inducements, including a large sum in cash (which he paid) and territorial concessions (though not in Gascony) if Foix would take the oath to the Treaty of Troyes recognising Henry as Regent and heir of France, and make war on the Dauphin Charles. Henry appointed Foix as King Charles VI’s lieutenant in Languedoc, but before Foix took the oath King Henry died (3).  

Foix’s envoys came to London in December 1422 to inquire if his agreement with Henry V was still valid, and what Foix might expect from the new regime. The Exchequer was ordered to pay them £20, but they only received £13 6s 8d (4).

An alliance with Jean de Foix had much to recommend it. Henry V had been prepared to pay for it, and Henry never spent money lightly. Tacitly ignoring the fact that Foix had not taken the oath of allegiance to Henry V or Henry VI, the Minority Council confirmed Foix as lieutenant of Languedoc and Bigorre (5).

Foix was to require his brother, Matthew Count of Comminge, and the inhabitants of Languedoc to swear the oath of allegiance to Henry VI once Foix had established himself as the king’s lieutenant there (6). It would be no easy task. The Estates of Languedoc and the three principal towns, Toulouse, Narbonne, and Carcassonne were loyal to the Dauphin Charles.

The number of men Foix was authorized to raise, to be paid for by the English, was increased from Henry V’s 1,000 to 1,500, at Foix’s request. Officials in Gascony and the Landes would be ordered to give Foix every assistance, and Foix was to commence hostilities within two months of the new arrangements being ratified, the original start date of 1 June 1422 having passed (7, 8, 9).

Pierre Girault, formerly secretary to King Charles VI, handled the details of the negotiations; he was confirmed as Provost of Montpellier, first bestowed on him by Charles VI in 1418 (10).

William Barry and Master Peter, the English envoys to the Count of Foix, were awarded 40 marks each for their expenses. Two of Foix’s ambassadors got 20 marks each and John, Lord of ‘Tutteville’ received £10 for his stay in London (11).

The responsibility for compiling and verifying the muster rolls, the basis on which the soldiers would be paid and their captains’ wages calculated, was entrusted to Foix’s brother Gaston de Foix, Captal de Buch, Count of Longueville, together with Sir John Radcliffe, Thomas Barneby the Constable of Bordeaux, and Pierre Guirault (12).

This appeared to be a safe bet. The Captal de Buch was an hereditary governorship within Gascony and Gaston de Foix had entered Henry V’s service in 1419. Henry had bestowed the county of Longueville on him, one of only six lordships in France that Henry granted away from the crown, the other five were in Normandy and went to loyal Englishmen (13). 

The Duke of Bedford as Regent of France issued commissions identical to those issued by the Council in Henry VI’s name. One to Jean de Foix as governor of Languedoc and one to Gaston de Foix to take the musters. Foix’s army, although paid for by the English, would be raised from his own retainers and allies, there would be no drain on the manpower from England that Bedford needed to continue the war in the north (14, 15).

So much preparation for so few results. Bedford and the Council failed to realise that Jean de Foix had no intention of swearing featly to Henry VI as King of France; nor would he fight against his real overlord, the Dauphin Charles.

Foix did not keep his side of the bargain. In October the Dauphin simply offered him a better deal: Foix would become the French lieutenant general in Languedoc and  Gascony as far as the River Dordogne with a pension of 2,000 francs a month, a personal retinue of 125 men-at-arms during truce, and an army of 1,000 men-at-arms and archers in time of war. Foix did not need to conquer Languedoc in order to possess it, it was handed to him on a plate and at a handsome profit (16).


(1) gasconrolls.org C 61 119 (for Jean de Foix).

(2) Sumption, Cursed Kings, pp. 623–625, 680 and 760 (background to Foix).      

(3) Wylie & Waugh III, p. 372–373 (Henry V and Jean de Foix).

(4) PPC III, p. 11 (£20 to ambassadors).

(5) Foedera X, pp. 271–273 (confirmation of Henry V’s agreement).

(6) Foedera X, p. 275 (commission to Foix to receive the oaths of allegiance).

(7) Foedera X, pp. 273-274 (Foix’s terms accepted).

(8) Foedera X, p. 279 (seneschals to assist Foix).

(9) Foedera X, pp. 276 (Foix to begin the war immediately).

(10) Foedera X, pp. 276–277 (Guirault).

(11) PPC III, p. 55 (payment to envoys).

(12) Foedera X, pp. 278 (commission to Gaston de Foix).

(13) Sumption, pp. 609 and 645 (for Gaston de Foix).

(14) L&P I, pp. 1–10 (Bedford’s commissions to Jean and Gaston de Foix at Amiens).

(15) Ferguson, Diplomacy, pp. 4–7 and pp. 240–243 (Bedford’s instructions, dated by Ferguson to circa January 1423).

(16) Vale, Gascony, pp. 95–96 (Foix and Charles VII).



The Welsh were feared in England and suspected of disloyalty. Owen Glyndower’s great rebellion against King Henry IV was still a living memory.

There was no Prince of Wales in 1423. Henry V had been Prince of Wales, but Henry VI became king before he was old enough to become Prince. The principality of Wales comprised Caernarvon in the North and Carmarthen in the South. They were administered by two justiciars and two chamberlains appointed by the crown. As the king’s representatives they had vice-regal powers.

The Welsh Marches, along the borders between England and Wales were in the hands of marcher lords who held their estates from the king but who were independent of royal officers. The local lords were autonomous, they imposed taxes and dispensed justice through the lords’ courts. The Marches were always turbulent, and one of the first acts of the Temporary Council immediately after Henry V’s death had been to order the Talbot and Ferrers families to maintain the king’s peace and suppress lawlessness along the border.

Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter, Henry VI’s great uncle and guardian appointed Justiciar of North Wales in February 1423. Exeter would largely be an absentee, his duties devolving on the Chamberlain (1).

In June Richard Walkestede, a former Constable of Beaumaris Castle replaced Thomas Walton as chamberlain of North Wales (2). 

James Touchet, Lord Audley, was a local lord who held estates along the Marches and in Wales. He became Justiciar of South Wales in November and remained in post throughout Henry VI’s minority (3).


Henry V claimed half the extensive Bohun estates of Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, through his mother Mary de Bohun. She and her elder sister Eleanor were joint heirs of their father. Eleanor had married Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, the youngest son of King Edward III, and their daughter Anne, Countess of Stafford, claimed a share of the Bohun inheritance through her mother.

Henry V had agreed to surrender Brecon to Countess Anne not long before he died, but  as so often happened in legal battles over land ownership, exact rights to the castle and town of Bronllys, the manor of Alexanderston, the lordship of Cantref Selyf and part of Pencelli were left in limbo. Were they part of the Lordship of Brecon or not?    

Henry V named William Botiller, Chamberlain of South Wales and John Merbury, Botiller’s predecessor as chamberlain, and receiver for Brecon, as joint custodians of the disputed estates for two years from July 1421. 

 The legal wrangling dragged on, and in May 1423 the Council extended the custodianship of Botiller and Merbury for a further three years with payment for custody (unspecified) to be divided between the crown and the countess until the question could be settled (4).

Sir Edward Stradling replaced William Botiller as Chamberlain and Receiver of South Wales in December 1423 and he took over the custodianship of the Brecon lordship lands. Stradling’s tenure was a success, he managed to increase the crown’s revenues from South Wales and was still steward and receiver for Cantref Selyf in 1428 (5, 6).


(1) PPC III, p. 24 (Exeter justiciar).

(2) PPC III, p. 108 (Walkestede).

(3) PPC III, p. 123 (Audley).

(4) PPC III, pp. 69–70 (Botiller and Merbury).

(5) PPC III, p. 129 (Stradling).

(6) Griffiths, King and Country, pp. 172, and 182–184.


The King’s Lieutenant in Ireland  

Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March was appointed as the king’s lieutenant in Ireland with 4,000 marks a year if he went in person, 3,000 marks if he sent a baron as his deputy, and 2,000 if his deputy was a knight (1, 2). In April 1423, the wage for himself and his men (Mortimer was expected to have to fight in Ireland) was increased to 5,000 marks annually (3) “during the term of nine years to be fully completed, receiving yearly for himself and his men retained with him for the war and government of the said land during the nine years aforesaid; viz for each of the said nine years 5,000 marks for nine years.” (4).           

The appointment made political as well as diplomatic sense. The Mortimers were great Anglo-Irish landowners, and Edmund was Earl of Ulster. His father, Roger Mortimer, had been killed fighting in Ireland as King Richard II’s lieutenant. 

Southampton Plot

But the Mortimer name was tarnished and suspect. Edmund and his sister, Anne Mortimer, were descendants (through the female line) of Lionel, Duke of Clarence, the second son of King Edward III and so Edmund had a claim to the throne. In 1415, just as King Henry V was about to embark on his invasion of Normandy, Richard, Earl of Cambridge, who had married Anne Mortimer, launched a hare-brained coup to put Edmund on the throne. Edmund was privy to the plot but saved his life by betraying the Earl of Cambridge and his associates to Henry V. They were given short shrift and executed at Southampton before Henry sailed. Edmund then accompanied Henry to France and proved to be a loyal lieutenant (5).

One chronicler suggests that the reason for Mortimer’s appointment as lieutenant of Ireland was to get him out of England before a breach between him and the unpredictable Duke of Gloucester, who was jealous of Mortimer, could widen and became dangerous. Gloucester certainly distrusted Mortimer, he had not forgotten the Southampton plot. Mortimer courted popularity by maintaining a large retinue in London and keeping open house for anyone who cared to dine at his expense, while Gloucester was parsimonious (6).

“ [Latin]  Edmund Earl of March came to the parliament at London with a very large retinue; [he stayed] in the Bishop of Salisbury’s hospice and distributed victuals generously every day to anyone who came. Thus some of the lords were jealous of him, especially the Duke of Gloucester, because the late king [Henry V] had never permitted Edmund to have a larger retinue than Gloucester . . . The council, therefore, to avoid such jealousies, sent Edmund to fight in Ireland, but within six months he was struck down by the plague and died without issue.”           

                                          Giles, Chronicon Angliae, p. 6.

Mortimer accepted the appointment in May 1423; his indenture was to ‘date from the first day of his landing [in Ireland]’ (7, 8). On 20 May the Exchequer recorded his start date as 1 June and advanced him £400. Shipping was assembled in the summer of 1423 and again in February 1424 (9), although Mortimer did not leave England until the autumn of that year (10).

See Year 1424: Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March


(1) Otway-Ruthven, Medieval Ireland, p. 363. (Mortimer appointed).

(2) PPC III pp. 49 (Mortimer appointed).

(3) PPC III, p. 68 (wages increase).

(4) Issues of Exchequer, p. 378 (Mortimer’s wages).

(5) Pugh, The Southampton plot of 1415,’ in Kings and Nobles, ed. Griffiths and Sherborne.

(6) Griffiths, Henry VI, pp. 135-36 (Gloucester and Mortimer).

(7) Foedera X, p. 282 (May indenture).

(8) CPR 1422-1429, p. 96 (May indenture).

(9) Foedera X, p 319 (shipping). 

(10) Griffiths, Henry VI, p. 164 (Mortimer’s indenture).



James Stewart, the only surviving son of King Robert III of Scotland, was a state prisoner in England for eighteen years. Robert had sent the twelve years old James to France for safe keeping in 1406, but James was captured at sea. Robert died shortly afterwards and the boy became King James I of Scotland. Henry IV had him educated as a prince and Henry V took him to France in 1420 so that the Scots in the French ranks could be deemed traitors for fighting against their king (1).

In 1423 the Council decided that a truce with Scotland was essential, if only to aid the Duke of Bedford’s war efforts by stemming the flow of Scots into the Dauphin’s armies. An invitation for Scottish representatives to come to England was issued in February, but nothing came of it (2).  Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany had been Regent of Scotland during James’s captivity and he (like Henry V) had opposed James’s release. But Albany died in 1420 and his son Murdoch was an inept replacement.

In July 1423 Thomas Langley Bishop of Durham, Philip Morgan Bishop of Worcester, Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland and Sir Richard Neville, the Wardens of the March, with Lord Cromwell, Sir Thomas Chaworth, John Woodham Archdeacon of the East Riding, and Sir Robert Waterton were commissioned to negotiate with the Scots for a truce and for King James’s release (3).

Safe conducts were issued in May for Scottish envoys to come to Pontefract and on 19 August Murdoch commissioned the Chancellor, William Lauder, George, the Scottish Earl of March, James Douglas of Balvany, Patrick Callandar Abbot of Cambuskenneth, John Hales of Balmerino, Sir Patrick Dunbar, Sir Robert Lauder,  George Borthwick Archdeacon of Glasgow, and Patrick Houston to treat for King James’s liberation (4).

James was to be permitted to consult privately with the Scots if he wished, although he must return to London at the end of the negotiations. He travelled to Pontefract in style, as befitted his rank, accompanied by the Bishop of Worcester who was allowed £40 for his expenses (5, 6). James received £100 for his private purse (7, 8) and the Council authorized payment of £120 to John Everdon, who kept James’s household accounts, for necessary purchases, transport, and the wages of his household in transit (9, 10). William Welles was ordered to provide carriages and food for the party (11, 12).


(1) Balfour-Melville, James I, pp. 31 (capture) and 87–88 (to France).

(2) Foedera X, pp. 266 (invitation to Scottish representatives).

(3) Foedera X, pp. 294–295 (English delegation, instructions).

(4) Foedera X, p. 286 (Scottish representatives).

(5) PPC III, p. 116 (Morgan’s expenses).

(6) Issues of Exchequer, p. 381 (Morgan expenses).

(7) Foedera X, p. 290 (James private expenses).

(8) PPC III, p. 99 (James private expenses).

(9) Foedera X, p. 293 (travel expenses).

(10) Issues of Exchequer, pp. 380-381 (travel expenses).

(11) Foedera X, p. 296 (food).

(12) CPR 1422-1429, p. 112 (food). 


Ransom and Treaty

James was desperate to obtain his freedom and willingly endorsed the terms on offer.  Initial agreement was reached in less than a month. His ransom was set at 60,000 marks or £40,000, to be paid over six years in annual instalments of 10,000 marks. The sum was neatly disguised not as ransom but as the cost to the English crown of James’s maintenance during his years in captivity.

At the suggestion of Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter, 10,000 of the 60,000 marks would be waived on condition that James married an English lady. The Beaufort brothers, Henry and Thomas, had their niece, Joan Beaufort, in mind as the future queen of Scotland. She was the daughter of their elder brother John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset who died in 1410 (1).

Under the terms of the treaty Scots would be forbidden to serve in French armies.

James was to take an oath before and after leaving England to observe the terms of the treaty, and twenty-one Scottish nobles would be sent to England as hostages, to ensure that he would kept his side of the bargain.

James was to treat with his nobles at Brancepeth Castle near Durham by 1 March 1424  as to which of them would be willing to sacrifice their liberty for their king. They would be delivered into the hands of English commissioners to be escorted south to live at their own expense until the ransom was paid, although they could be exchanged for others of equal rank and wealth from time to time. If a hostage died in captivity a replacement must be sent (2). Safe conducts, valid until the end of April 1424, were issued on 13 December for nearly sixty of James’s subjects to come to come to Durham to receive him (3).

See Years 1424, 1425, 1426, 1427, 1431, 1432 for the Scottish hostages.

The treaty for James’s release was signed at York on 10 September 1423 by the bishops of Durham and Worcester the Earl of Northumberland and John Woodham as the English representatives (4).

The treaty was ratified by both parties at Westminster on 4 December 1423 (6). William Lauder, John Hales, Archdeacon George Borthwick, and Patrick Houston came to London under safe conduct. Philp Morgan, bishop of Worcester, John Stafford, the Treasurer, William Alnwick, Keeper of the Privy Seal, Lord Cromwell, Sir John Pelham, Sir Robert Waterton, and Doctor John Stokes represented the Council and the crown (5).


(1) Balfour-Melville, James I, pp. 93–99.

(2) Foedera X, pp. 307-308 (hostages).

(3) Foedera X, pp. 308-309 (Scots to Durham).

(4) Foedera X, pp. 299-30 (treaty signed September)

(5) Foedera X, pp. 301-306 (treaty ratified December).


Wardens of the March

Wardens of the March towards Scotland came into being in the fourteenth century when John of Gaunt was the king’s lieutenant for Scotland under Richard II.  Truces with Scotland were punctuated by intermittent warfare and the border had to be permanently guarded. The crown could not maintain a sufficient military presence in the north and Wardens of the March became a military necessity but maintaining them and their retinues was an expensive commitment. The responsibility devolved onto the great northern lords and wardens retained their own men, whose first loyalty was to their lord, not to the king.  

The Wardens’ responsibility was to preserve order, punish truce breakers and retore looted property. This was easier said than done. Even in times of truce border raiding between Scotland and England was endemic, it was a way of life. Local and temporary truces were negotiated at meetings on ‘March Days’ with wardens on both side but they never lasted for long.

The Warden for the East March commanded the great royal fortress of Berwick, and the Warden of the West March commanded the fortress at Carlisle.  Wardens were retained by indenture with the crown for a minimum term of one year at an agreed rate, which was not always met (1).

The wardens’ salaries were in arrears in 1423 and as they would be throughout Henry VI’s reign. Their tallies had expired on the death of Henry V and in February the Council ordered the Exchequer to reissue them, but full payment was rarely achieved (2).

The Percy Earls of Northumberland were traditionally Wardens of the East March, while the Neville family held the West March. Rivalry between the two greatest northern families went back to the fourteenth century. Ralph Neville became Earl of Westmorland under King Henry 1V.

Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland was Warden of the East March.  In May the Council awarded £3,000 to Northumberland to cover ‘old and new debts for the East March’ and a warrant was issued to the Exchequer three weeks later (3.

Sir Ralph Neville a former Warden of the West March, was the younger son of Ralph, Earl of Westmorland by his first marriage. He petitioned in May for four new tallies each worth £100 to replace those issued by Henry V in 1420 (4. 

Sir Richard Neville, the eldest son of Ralph, Earl of Westmorland by his second marriage was Warden of the West March from 1420. 

Ralph, Lord Greystoke was Constable Roxburgh Castle, a strategic border castle claimed by the kings of Scotland. He indented to continue as constable for two years on the same terms as he had under Henry V, with assignment for payment on the port of Hull (5).


(1) R.L. Storey. ‘The Wardens of the Marches of England towards Scotland, 1377-1489, English Historical Review, LXXII (1957), pp. 593-615.

(2) PPC III, p.  44 (tallies renewed).

(3) PPC III, pp. 69 and 100 (Northumberland).

(4) PPC III, p. 73 (Neville, tallies from 1420).

(5) PPC III, p. 41 (Greystoke).


The Council and the Church

The Council exercised the royal prerogative of appointment to church benefices, and to grants affecting the crown’s rights over church property.

St Marys Abbey York was the largest and wealthiest Benedictine house in the north of England. Its abbots wore a mitre like a bishop, and they were summoned to parliament. Abbot William Dalton died in December 1422 and on 14 January the prior and convent of the abbey were licensed to elect a new abbot. They elected William Wells (1, 2).

Two days later the Duke of Gloucester, the Earl of Warwick, Treasurer Stafford and William Alnwick, Keeper of the Privy Seal agreed that the temporalities while the abbacy was vacant should be ‘farmed’ i.e. collected by the prior and convent until they were confirmed to the next abbot (3).     

At a better attended meeting on 8 February, it was agreed that the prior and convent should not be required to pay more than £40 for the temporalities ‘because the abbacy had been vacant twice in one year’ (4). Abbot Thomas Spofford had become Bishop of Hereford and William Dalton had died.


(1) PPC III, pp. 18–19 (St Mary’s, licence to elect).

(2) CPR 1422-1429, p. 19 (Licence to elect). 

(3) PPC III, pp. 19–20 (temporalities farmed).

(4) PPC III, p. 25 (to pay no more than £40).



William Nesfeld, one of the Duke of Exeter’s tenants in the manor of Scotton in North Yorkshire. had willed £20 to St Mary’s to pray for his soul and give alms of 3d a day to three poor men.

In March 1423 Exeter requested a licence for the abbot and convent to acquire in mortmain the parish church of Hornsey in Yorkshire and to endow its vicar with 20 marks a year, which was granted (1). Exeter authorized an exchange of the £20 from Nesfeld for the parish church at Hornsey. Abbot William  Welles paid £80 to the hanaper for the licence to acquire Hornsey (2), but two months later, on 21 May when Exeter was present, the Council fined him 120 marks for appropriating Hornsey to the Abbey of St Mary without licence (3). The Council collected income for the crown whenever and wherever it could.

Mortmain.  Royal licence to alienate (transfer) lands to the church in perpetuity as gifts or in exchange.


(1) PPC III, 52–53 (permission to acquire Hornsey)

(2) CPR 1422-1429, pp. 97–98 (Scotton)

(3) PPC III, p. 100 (Exeter fined). 



William Prestwick, clerk, was appointed Dean of the free chapel of Hastings, Sussex, in January 1423 (1, 2). As a ‘free’ chapel Hastings was in the king’s gift, it did not come under the control of any episcopate. Prestwick remained dean until his death in 1436. He is probably the William Prestwick who became clerk of parliament in 1424. The two offices would not be incompatible.

William Bradley, Abbot of SS Mary and Kelm at Winchcombe in Gloucestershire died in 1422 and licence to elect his replacement was issued on 2 January (3). John Chiltenham, a monk of the abbey was elected, and on 26 January the prior and convent requested the Council’s recognition of the election, which was granted, the election to be enrolled in chancery according to custom (4, 5).

On 10 February, the new abbot swore fealty to Henry VI, and on the 12 February Philip Morgan, Bishop of Worcester, signified his consent and the temporalities of the abbey being restored (6).


(1) PPC III, p. 20 (Prestwick).

(2) british-history.ac.uk/vch/sussex/vol2/pp112-117.

(3) PPC III, p. 22 (SS Mary and Kelm licence to elect).

(4) PPC III, p. 25 (Chiltenham elected and fealty).

(5) CPR 1422-1429, p. 16, (Chiltenham).

(6 CPR 1422-1429, p. 47 (abbey’s temporalties restored).



In February, the Dean and chapter of Salisbury Cathedral were licenced to acquire property to the value of £50 a year to raise money to repair  ‘the stone belfry standing in the middle of the cathedral church’ and to pray for King Henry and all donors of the required lands (1, 2). John Chandler was Bishop of Salisbury, the Dean was Simon Sydenham.

Roger de Birne a clerk of the Exchequer was granted a corrody in Selby Abbey in Yorkshire in February (3). A corrody was a royal order to an abbot to supply a place of  residence within the abbey for the recipient to be housed, fed and clothed at the abbey’s expense. William Pigot was Abbot of Selby.


(1) Foedera X, p. 267 (licence to acquire property).

(2) CPR 1422-1429, p. 70 (licence to acquire property).

(3) PPC III, p. 25 (corrody).


The manor of Great Cressingham belonged to the bishopric of Norwich.  John Wakering, Bishop of Norwich and a member of the Minority Council, sought council authority to appropriate it and bring it under the jurisdiction of his Prior, Robert Burnham (1, 2). The order of service in the church at Great Cressingham was not strict enough for the bishop’s liking, and who better than his prior to administer divine worship according to the bishop’s precepts.

Nicholas Bubwith, Bishop of Bath and Wells was licenced, for £50 paid in the hanaper, to grant in mortmain to the Dean and Chapter of the cathedral church of St Andrew, Wells, the advowson of the church of Abbots Bokeleand, in Berkshire, in the diocese of Salisbury and to ‘authorize them to acquire lands not held of the king to the value of 40 marks annually’ (3, 4). The Dean of Wells was John Stafford, Treasurer of England. He would become Bishop of Bath and Wells in 1424.

The charter of the Knights Hospitaller of St John of Jerusalem at Clerkenwell was confirmed in King Henry VI’s name on 27 October 1423. It had been issued by King Richard I in 1194 for their services to him while he was on crusade and reissued by King Edward III (5). The Prior of the order was always summoned to Parliament as the first baron of the land. William Hulles was Prior in 1423.


(1) PPC III, p. 122 (Wakering, Great Cressingham).

(2) british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol6/pp94-107 

(3) PPC III, p. 124 (Bubwith).

(4) CPR 1422-1429, p. 168.

(5) Foedera X. pp. 313–315. (Knights of St John).


In December Elizbeth, Lady Botreaux and her son William, Lord Botreaux, petitioned for a licence to upgrade the church at North Cadbury in Somerset to a collegiate church, with seven chaplains and four clerks. One of the chaplains would be appointed Rector, and the new church would be named the College of St Michael the Archangel. Daily prayers would be said for the health of King Henry, and for Elizabeth and William during their lives, and for the souls of whole Botreaux family ‘and all the faithful departed’ after their deaths.

They received a licence to grant in mortmain the advowson of North Cadbury and two acres of land, part of the manor of North Cadbury next to the churchyard, held in chief, (i.e. of the king) for a manse to be built as a residence for the rector and chaplains (1).

The rector (when he should be established) could acquire property not held of the king to the value of 100 marks yearly, together with other legal rights. Three local men were licenced to grant pastureland not held in chief to the rector, in return for prayers for their souls. William Botreaux and the others involved in the transaction were licenced to release this land to the rector when he took up his position. The fee was 200 marks, paid in the hanaper (2).


(1) PPC III, p 130. (Botreaux)

(2) CPR 14292-1429, pp. 189–190 (Botreaux).



The Council did not have jurisdiction over spiritual matters. Bishops, usually members of the Council, presided in ecclesiastical courts to punish heresy and other spiritual sins.

William Taylor was a Lollard, a follower of John Wyclif (1320-1384) whose doctrines had been condemned as heretical by the orthodox church. As early as 1406 Taylor had preached a sermon at St Paul’s Cross in praise of Wyclif. and in 1417 he preached against the veneration of images; he declared that fasting on the eve of Saints Peter and Paul and Saint John the Baptist was an acceptable substitute for regular confession.

Taylor was brought before Archbishop Chichele in 1420 and he admitted that he had been excommunicated for fourteen years by the previous Archbishop of Canterbury. Taylor must have been a persuasive speaker, he claimed to have repented, and Chichele absolved him.  Nevertheless, he continued to preach, and in 1421 he was arrested again and brought before Convocation where he denied that his preaching was heretical.

He was condemned to prison for life unless he recanted, and once again he convinced his accuser, Philip Morgan, Bishop of Worcester, of his penitence. He was set free, but he did not alter his ways. In 1423 he was up before Convocation once more and this time he was condemned to death as a relapsed heretic (1).

The penalty was to be burned at the stake. William Taylor was burned at Smithfield in March 1423.  Londoners always enjoyed a public spectacle, whether a hanging or a burning, and his execution is noted in most of the chronicles (2).

“Also the same yere the first day of March was Maister William Taillour degraded of his ordre of preest hode. And on the morowe that was the second day of Marche he was brente in Smythfelde for heresie.”                                            Great Chronicle, p. 123

 “And in þis same yere,  Maister William Tailour, clerk of Oxenforde, was a-fore the clergie at Saint Paules in London, And þer he was convicte in heresie ; and aftir, by Temporall lawe he was brought into Symthfelde, & there was he brent for his heresie.”

                                            Brut D Appendix, p. 440.


(1) Thomson, Later Lollards, pp. 24–26.

(2) Gregory’s Chronicle p.149. Short English Chronicle, p. 58. Chronicles of London, (Julius B. II) p. 74. (Cleopatra C IV) p.128, and Chronicle of London (Harley 565) p. 111. Brut Continuation H p. 563. Brut Continuation E, p. 449, is the only account to place the burning in Norfolk.



The Council also controlled the licencing of ships to carry pilgrims to the shrine of St James de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. The numbers of pilgrims permitted to make the journey was strictly controlled. In May John Gower of Weymouth was licenced to convey 60 pilgrims in his barge La Lenard (7, 8).

See Year 1428: Pilgrimages


(1) Foedera X, p. 281 (pilgrimages).

(2) CPR 1422-1429, p. 85 (pilgrimages).


The Council and the Papacy

Cardinal Oddone Colonna was elected as Pope Martin V at the Council of Constance in 1417 with the support of King Henry V and the advocacy of Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester.

The Papacy claimed the right to provide to benefices (ecclesiastical positions) in churches throughout Europe.  Provision was the basis of the popes’ patronage and power; it was also extremely lucrative, papal favour had to be paid for. In England the Statutes of Provisors and Praemunire negated the papal claims. The 1351 Statute of Provisors denied the pope’s right to of appointment in England and Wales without royal consent. The 1353 Statute of Praemunire prohibited the clergy from seeking papal provisions without the king’s (and Parliament’s) consent, or of referring disputes over church appointments to the papal court at Rome, although papal endorsement of the crown’s nominees was still required.

Pope Martin wanted the statutes repealed. He tried and failed to persuade Henry V to agree, and after Henry death he resumed his demand, hoping to overawe the Minority Council. But the political importance and wealth of the bishops meant that it was imperative for the king to keep ecclesiastical appointments in his own hands. The temporalities (income) of bishoprics after an incumbent died were a source of income to the crown for as long as they remained vacant.  The Council’s nominations to bishoprics, and lesser positions in the church, form the background to the Council’s relations with Pope Martin and then with Pope Eugenius IV (1).

 (1) M. Harvey, England, Rome and the Papacy for the ongoing disputes between the Council and the Pope.

 William Barrow, Bishop of Carlisle

Roger Whelpdale, Bishop of Carlisle, died in February 1423. On 10 February, the ‘pension’ (empensio) due to the next bishop was allocated to Thomas Franks, a clerk in the Privy Seal office, undoubtedly for overdue wages, for good service to Henry V and Henry VI, (1).

The prior and convent of Carlisle had received licence to elect a new bishop on 5 March (2) but Pope Martin nominated William Barrow, Bishop of Bangor, and he was translated to Carlisle in April. Carlisle was not a rich see, and the Council may have decided it was not worth their while to resist the pope in this instance, but they delayed granting the temporalities to Barrow until 16 June (3, 4. They had granted the farm of the bishop of Carlisle’s lands in Lincolnshire during pleasure to John Henege and John Kyghley (5, 6), and on 8 June Reginald Lathbury was appointed to farm the temporalities in Derbyshire and Leicestershire (7).


(1) PPC III, pp. 25 (Thomas Franks).

(2) PPC III, p. 60 (Carlisle, licence to elect).

(3) Foedera X, pp. 292-293 (Barrow, temporalities granted).

(4) CPR 1422-1429, p. 112 (Barrow, temporalities granted).

(5) Foedera X, p. 291 (Henege and Kyghley).    

(6) CPR 1422-1429, p. 105 (Henege and Kyghley).  

(7) CPR 1422-1429 p. 103 (Lathbury).


John Wells, Bishop of Landaff

John de la Zouche, Bishop of Llandaff, died in April 1423. The cathedral chapter elected John Fulford to replace him, and the royal assent was signified to the Pope in May (1). Pope Martin rejected Fulford in favour of John Wells and Fulford was never consecrated. After an interval of nearly two years Wells did fealty to Henry VI, but the temporalities of Llandaff were not delivered to him until January 1426 (2).


(1) Foedera X, p. 286 (Fulford).

(2) CPR 1422-1429, pp. 97 and 318 (Fulford and Wells).


Branda da Castiglione

The Council’s most unusual ecclesiastical gift was to an Italian, Branda da Castiglione, Cardinal priest of Placentino. He was a protegee of Pope Martin and he had obtained the bishopric of Lisieux in Normandy in 1420 despite Henry V’s preference for John Langdon. It was a trade-off. Henry accepted Branda partly because he hoped to entice the pope to endorse the Treaty of Troyes, recognising him as King of France, and partly because Branda was reputed to be a friend to England, he had supported the rights of the English delegation at the Council of Constance (1, 2).

The Council appointed Branda to the prebend of ‘Swerdes’ in the church of Dublin.  The town of Swords fell under the jurisdiction of Richard Talbot, Archbishop of Dublin and Talbot was ordered to admit Branda, to assign him a stall in the choir and a seat in chapter (3, 4).

Branda never visited England, and certainly never set foot in Ireland. It appears that the Council, like Henry V, hoped to placate Pope Martin with this unusual ‘gift’ to an Italian,


(1) Harvey, England and Papacy, pp. 132–133 (Branda).

(2) Allmand, Henry V, p. 263 (Branda).

(3) PPC III, pp. 76–77 (Branda and Ireland).

(4) Foedera X, p. 282 (Branda and Ireland).


Council of the Church at Pavia/Siena

Pope Martin V called a General Council of the Church in accordance with the decree of the Council of Constance that church councils should meet regularly. Martin had to pay lip service to the need for church reform, but no pope could admit that decrees by a General Council were superior to his own. A General Council was not in the pope’s best interests. The Council met at Pavia in April but was transferred to Siena in July because of plague (1).

(1) The Cambridge Medieval History VIII, (1436), pp. 20-22

The Delegates

Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, Philip Morgan Bishop of Worcester, Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, Lord Ferrers of Groby, Sir John Tiptoft, Walter de la Pole, Robert Gilbert, and Nicholas Bildeston were named as delegates to the General Council (1). Their wages were authorized on 5 March but no amounts were specified (2). They were to be equipped with letters of recommendation to the princes of Germany and other towns and lordships they might pass through (3) but Pavia is poorly documented and there is no record that any of those named attended, except Nicholas Bildeston who did not leave England until June.  He was reimbursed in March 1425 for paying 50 marks to one of King Henry’s advocates at the Roman curia (4, 5), and John Whethamstede, Abbot of St Albans, whose name does not appear in either the Proceedings or the Foedera. He travelled to Siena and fell ill in Rome (6).


(1) PPC III, p. 42 (delegates).

(2) PPC III, p. 54 (wages authorized). 

(3) PPC III, p. 59 (letters of recommendation).

(4 Ferguson, Diplomacy, pp. 124-125 and n. 1 (Bildeston).

(5 Issues of Exchequer, p. 392 (Bildeston, 50 marks).

(6) Harvey, England and Papacy, pp. 59 and 85 (Whethamstede).


 Henry Beaufort had supported the election of Martin V (1) and he may have toyed with the idea of going to Pavia attended by the senior herald, Garter King of Arms. as the king’s representative, Letters of protection were issued for Sir Henry Husse ‘going to the general council in the retinue of the Bishop of Winchester’ (2). But Beaufort’s main interest in 1423 was to establish himself as a dominant figure on the Minority Council and it is unlikely that he seriously considered leaving England, especially as the status of an English delegation had yet to be confirmed. 

Similar letters of protection, but without mentioning Beaufort, were issued for Nicholas Frome Abbot of Glastonbury (3).


(1) Foedera X, p. 268 (Beaufort and Garter King at Arms).

(2 Foedera X, p. 279 (Henry Husse).

(3) Foedera X, p. 281 (Nicholas Frome).


Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland was a somewhat unlikely delegate. As Warden of the East March he role was to defend the northern border. But he was the only available magnate on the Minority Council. Westmorland was too old, Warwick was Captain of Calais, Exeter and Norfolk were proposing to go to France, and Edmund Mortimer was to go to Ireland.

As 1423 was a Jubilee Year Northumberland may have planned to combine the journey to Pavia with the obligatory pilgrimage to Rome. He was present at a council meeting in March when he was awarded wages of 66s 8d a day for an estimated six-month absence and the Exchequer advanced him £100 (1, 2, 3). He informed the Council that ‘he had debts incurred in the service of Henry V for which he wished to make provision,’ and he was licenced to enfeoff Percy lands in Yorkshire to the value of £300 to Thomas Langley, Bishop of Durham, and others (4, 5).

Did Northumberland go? If he did, it was not for long. Allowing for the time it took to go and return, he was back in England by the end of June at the latest. On 6 July he was appointed to negotiate with the Scots.  


(1) PPC III, pp. 60-61 (Northumberland wages).

(2) Foedera X, p. 271 (Northumberland wages).

(3) Issues of Exchequer, pp. 377–378 (Northumberland wages).

(4) PPC III, p. 44 (Northumberland enfeoffments).

(5) CPR 1422-1429, p. 127 (enfeoffments).


At the curia in Rome Thomas Polton, Bishop of Chichester, Henry V’s proctor at the papal court reappointed proctor for Henry VI (1) was instructed to request Pope Martin to translate Polton’s fellow delegate, Bernard de la Planche, Prior of Soulac to become Bishop of Dax (2).  As usual Martin was slow to act on any elevation he did not initiate, and Planche did not become Bishop of Dax until 1427.

Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln, Polton, and Planche, were instructed to clarify the tricky question of papal recognition for an English delegation. Pope Martin did not recognise Henry VI as King of France. Would delegates from the Dauphin be permitted to represent France? (3, 4). It may have been the unsatisfactory nature of the English position or, more likely, the prohibitive cost of sending a delegation to no purpose that decided the Council to quietly delay and then shelve the delegates’ departure.

The Council was so poorly attended that Pope Martin, who had not wanted to call it in the first place, was able to dissolve it in February 1424. It was the biggest non-event of 1423.


(1) Foedera X, p. 266 (Polton reappointed).

(2) PPC III, p 39 (Bernard de la Planche. His name in French is Bernat de Laplagne but he is always de la Planche in Eng(2) PPC III, p. 39 (Bernard de la lish sources (including the Foedera).

(3) PPC III, p. 43 (procuration to Fleming, Polton and Planche).

(4) Foedera X, p. 269 (commission to Polton and Planche).




The Pale of Calais was an English enclave stretching for twenty miles along the coast of France and six miles inland, with the fortresses of Oye, Marck and Hammes to the east, Guines and Sangatte to the west, and Balingham to the south, surrounded by Burgundian territory.

King Edward III had granted a monopoly to the Merchants of the Calais Wool Staple in 1363, and in theory all export wool had to pass through Calais and pay customs duties unless exempted by the crown.

The garrison at Calais was vital to the defence of the port and its precious wool but there was never enough money to pay the soldiers. The crown’s debt to the captain, officers and men of the garrisons stood at £28,718 in 1421 when Henry V died (1).  

The Council had allocated 2,000 marks to Calais in December 1422 and they increased it to £2,500 in January 1423, but the Exchequer did not meet the commitment (2). In February Sir Thomas Foxton, the Mayor of Calais, and some soldiers came over to England, to attest to the conditions and the unrest prevailing there. The Council awarded them £50 (3).

The Council then authorized a distribution of £5,000 to garrisons throughout the Pale of Calais, from the tax on wool and wool fells granted by Parliament in 1422. One mark (13s 4d) on each sack of wool and wool fells was allocated to Richard Buckland, the Treasurer of Calais. It was to be collected at all English ports except Southampton from 1 February 1423 to the next meeting of Parliament, as yet undetermined (4). The Southampton customs were earmarked to repay Henry Beaufort’s loans to Henry V.


(1) Harriss, Beaufort, pp. 121-122 (debt to Calais garrison).

(2) PPC III, p 40 (£2,000 and £2,500 for Calais).

(3) PPC III, pp. 49 (Foxton from Calais).

(4) PPC III pp. 49–50 (£5,000 allocated from taxation).



John Cappe, the lieutenant of Balinghem (Pale de Calais) and the garrison were to receive arrears from 4 February 1421 to 24 July 1422.

The garrison at Marck was to be paid from the death of its captain, William Swinbourne in 1422 until a new captain could be appointed.

Sir Thomas Levysham was to receive 6s 4d a day for his services in the Marches of Picardy from 5 April 26 June 1422. 

Thomas, Duke of Clarence, Henry V’s brother, had been Captain of Guines until his death in 1421 when Henry himself assumed the captaincy. The lieutenant and soldiers of Guines would receive the arrears dating from Clarence’s captaincy (1).

The Duke of Gloucester was granted the captaincy of Guines for fourteen years from September 1423, receiving 900 marks a year (2).

Richard Beauchamp Earl of Warwick had been Captain of Calais since 1414, but his indentures lapsed on Henry V’s death. In March Richard Buckland was instructed to pay Warwick for his two years’ service that was not covered by his indenture with the late king.  As soon as the garrison agreed to accept what the crown had to offer, new indentures would be drawn up (3).


(1) PPC III, pp 55-56 (captains of garrisons).

(2) PPC III, p. 69 (Gloucester and Guines).

(3) PPC III, p. 54 (Warwick Captain of Calais).



All this was well intentioned, but the soldiers of the garrisons had no faith in government promises. Payment was more likely to take the form of tallies or assignments on the Exchequer rather than actual cash. In April they resorted to the only protest open to them: they mutinied and seized the precious wool held in the Calais warehouses. The Proceedings puts it tactfully, ‘they caused the wool to be arrested.’ 

The Merchants of the Calais Staple, many of them wealthy Londoners, had a vested interest in keeping the garrison contented and the wool safe. The Council appealed to them for a loan, setting a precedent that would continue throughout Henry VI’s reign. They agreed to loan £4,000 for the garrison’s wages (1).

A letter in King Henry’s name sympathised with the plight of the garrisons and promised that £5,000 in money and assignments would be distributed among them (£4,000 to Calais, £1,000 to Marches) and that as soon as further funds became available the assignment for their pay would be increased (2).

In May the Council decreed that the inhabitants of Wales must pay what they owed to the crown by instalments over the next three years. This was easier said than done, but the Council optimistically ordered that arrears due to the crown from Wales were to be assigned to Richard Buckland for Calais (3)


(1) PPC III, pp. 67–68 (mutiny and Staplers’ loan).

(2) PPC III, pp. 95–96 (Henry VI’s letter).

(3) PPC III, pp. 76 and 89 (£4,000 from Wales).


The War in France

The Siege of Meulan

Meulan was a fortified town with a bridge spanning the Seine, thirty miles north of Paris. The bridge was strategically important as a crossing point on the main road linking Paris with Normandy, the thoroughfare for food and other vital goods to reach the beleaguered capital.

In January 1423 a force of about 500 supporters of the Dauphin Charles led by John de Graville launched a surprise attack on the English garrison at Meulan. They ambushed and killed the men of the garrison. The Regent Bedford sent his most experienced war captain, Thomas Montagu, Earl of Salisbury, to relieve Meulan while Bedford himself brought up reinforcements, including artillery.

The Dauphin promised that a relieving army would come to rescue Graville. According to the chronicler Monstrelet, when the defenders learned that the commanders had quarrelled and turned aside, they tore down the French banner and surrendered (1). This may be a gloss by the chronicler to explain Graville’s actions. Monstrelet lists him among the French who signed the treaty of surrender.

The Bourgeois of Paris, who disliked the Armagnacs, the adherents of the Dauphin, almost as much as he disliked the English, has a slightly different account.  John, Earl of Buchan, in command of a Scottish force, waited for Tanneguy du Châstel, Grand Master of France to join him with a French army before marching on Meulan.  Tanneguy failed to come up, Buchan retreated, and quarrelled violently with Tanneguy. The defenders in Meulan realising that they had been betrayed surrendered unconditionally. Bedford pardoned them because ‘most of them were of gentle birth’ but as soon as they were set free ‘they broke every promise they had made’ and went on to commit more atrocities (2).  

Jonathon Sumption offers a modern third version of the siege of Meulan and names John de Graville as Jean de Garencières, a Norman nobleman who had lost his lands to the English.  When the Duke of Bedford heard of the attack on Meulan he immediately withdrew 500 men from the force he had assembled in Picardy for the siege of Le Crotoy and he sent for reinforcements and artillery from other parts of France and Normandy. He then led them in person to relieve Meulan.

In the meanwhile, the Dauphin Charles had ordered an army of about 6,000 men to assemble at the town of Janville. The French under Tanneguy du Châtel were late in arriving at Janville.  Tanneguy disbanded his troops because there was no money to pay his men and they would not fight for him. The Earl of Buchan and his Scots had reached Janville on time and had advanced to Gallardon about 50 miles south of Meulan, but hearing of Tanneyguy’s withdrawal, he had to retreat, he could not risk attacking Bedford alone.

When Garencières learned that there would be no relief for hm and his men, who were at starvation point in that cold winter, he left his deputy in command and withdrew from Meulan. The deputy was killed by a cannonball, and on 1 March the captains remaining inside Meulan surrendered (3).


(1) Monstrelet, Chronicles I, (trans. Johanes), pp. 492-494 (siege of Meulan).

(2) Bourgeois of Paris, A Parisian Journal, trans. J. Shirley (1968), pp. 185–186.  (different version of French army).

(3) Sumption, Cursed Kings, pp.79-80.


Terms for surrender

“Also, the secounde day of March Powntmelayne was yolden to the gode Erle of Salysbury.”             Short English Chronicle p. 57

“And the for sayde secunde day of Marche wasse made the trety of the delyveraunce of Pounte Mylanke, that was take and longe tyme holdyn by the party callyde the Armonackys, and delyveryd as hyt in maner aftyr folowyþe:”    Gregory’s Chronicle pp. 149-153

“And the forsaid first day of Marche the same yere was made the treate of delyveraunce of Pount Melanc which was taken and longe holden by the partie called Armennakkes and delivered in maner as after foloweth:”           Great Chronicle pp. 123-126

The Earl of Salisbury, Sir John Fastolf, Richard Woodville, Bedford’s chamberlain, the war captain Sir Nicholas Burdet, and a councillor of the Duke of Burgundy signed the surrender in the Duke of Bedford’s name.  

Bedford promised to spare the lives of the defenders because they surrendered in the holy time of Lent. There were exceptions: any defender who was not French; any man who had previously sworn allegiance to Henry V or Henry VI; any man who had been implicated in the murder of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy in 1419. These were to abide by Bedford’s judgement.

The stores, military equipment, ordnance, victuals, valuables, and horses in Meulan were to be abandoned and not damaged, destroyed or hidden before the surrender was complete.  No one was to enter or leave Meulan without express permission from the Regent.  

No ransom would be levied on any man who agreed, upon sureties, to change his allegiance and fight for Henry VI as King of England and France.

Any defender who held the lordship of a town or fortress not in allegiance to Henry VI was to forfeit it.  All prisoners, regardless of nationality, being held therein were to be set free without ransom (1, 2, 3).

An entry in the Proceedings indicates that some at least of the Proceedings as we have them were copied, perhaps more than once, at a much later date: In 1423 the Council authorized a ship ‘laden with victuals, goods, and other things purchased for the use of Richard, Earl of Salisbury to sail for France without paying customs duties or subsidies while Salisbury was conducting the siege of Meulan. Richard Neville married Salisbury’s daughter and became earl in her right only after Earl Thomas’s death in 1428 (4).


(1) J. de Wavrin, Recueil des croniques III, (ed Harvey), pp. 6–11 (surrender terms and signatories).

(2) Great Chronicle, pp. 123-126 (full text of surrender of Meulan).

(3) Gregory’s Chronicle, pp. 149-153 (full text of surrender of Meulan).

(4) PPC III, pp. 20–21 (Salisbury misnamed).


The Treaty of Amiens

Philip, Duke of Burgundy was England’s ally in 1423, but the Duke of Bedford knew that John, Duke of Brittany had accepted the Treaty of Troyes, recognising King Henry V as heir to the French throne, only reluctantly. The independent Duchy of Brittany bordered Normandy to the west, and its duke preferred to stay out of politics whenever possible. But his alliance, and his recognition of the dual monarchy, was important to Bedford and in February 1423 he coerced Duke John into attending a tripartite conference and paid the expenses for a large Breton military escort. He sent a summons and a safe conduct to Duke John to meet him in Paris, or any other convenient city. The Duke of Burgundy also sent Brittany a safe conduct (1).

The meeting took place at Amiens in Burgundian territory. Bedford’s councillor Sir Raoul Le Sage received 164 livres tournois from Pierre Surreau, Receiver General of Normandy to go to Amiens and make the arrangements (2).

The Treaty of Amiens signed on 17 April 1423, initiated by Bedford as Regent of France was a defensive agreement between three individuals, not between three states, a personal bond between the Dukes of Bedford, Burgundy and Brittany, to last for the duration of their lives.

Under the terms of the treaty, worn to on oath in the cathedral of Amiens, the signatories undertook to support each other to a limited extent. They would faithfully report any rumours or slander (i.e., false accusations) against each other that came to their attention, but they would not give them credence.

They repeated the traditionally pious but hypocritical lip service to the plight of the poor, and pledged to alleviate the misery caused by war, and to maintain peace as the way to prosperity.  

These high-sounding affirmations left plenty of wriggle room for Burgundy and Brittany as they did not include a commitment not to receive overtures from the Dauphin Charles for peace or a truce (3, 4, 5).

The treaty was witnessed by Arthur de Richemont the Duke of Brittany’s brother, and Jean de Malestroit Bishop of Nantes. The Burgundians Jean de Harcourt Bishop of Amiens, and Jean de Thoisy, Bishop of Tournai. Joseph II Patriarch of Constantinople, and members of Bedford’s Grand Conseil in Paris: Jean de la Rochetaillée Bishop of Paris, Louis of Luxembourg Bishop of Thérouanne, Pierre Cauchon Bishop of Beauvais, ‘and many others’ (6).


(1) L&P I, pp. 1–6 (safe conducts).

(2) L&P I, pp. 6–7 (Le Sage).

(3) Wavrin, Recueil des croniques  III, pp. 16–19 (text of treaty).

(4) Great Chronicle, pp. 126–128 (text of the treaty, attested by Jean de Rinel).

(5) Foedera X, p. 280 (transcript of the treaty, attested by Robert le Jeune, Lord of Forest, bailiff of Amiens).

(6) L&P I, p. 7 (those present at Amiens).


The Duke of Bedford’s marriage

The Duke of Bedford married Anne of Burgundy to cement the Anglo-Burgundian alliance (1). 

Robert Jolivet, Abbot of Mont Saint Michel, Bedford’s Keeper of the Privy Seal, made three journeys in Bedford’s company in April and May:  [The third journey] “from Paris to Troyes [was] for the marriage of my said lord on which we were employed for the space of xxv days beginning on the iiij day of May” (2).

Jolivet had switched sides after the Treaty of Troyes. In theory he remained loyal to King Charles VI, but he offered his considerable administrative expertise first to Henry V and then to the Duke of Bedford. He became an important member of Bedford’s Grand Conseil in Paris as well as the council at Rouen (3). 

Anne was Philip of Burgundy’s youngest and favourite sister. Bedford married her  by proxy in April just before the Treaty of Amiens was signed, and then in person at Troyes in June (4).  Anne acted as peace maker between her brother and her husband for the next ten years, until her death in 1432. Duke Philip’s wedding gift to Bedford was 50,000 crowns and a promise of the county of Artois should Philip die without a direct heir (5).

In October the Council issued, and Parliament confirmed, letters of denization (naturalization) for the Duchess of Bedford (6, 7).


(1) Wavrin III, p. 20 (Bedford’s marriage).

(2) L&P I, pp. 7–9 (Jolivet’s journey).

(3) Barker, Conquest, pp. 59-60 (Jolivet).

(4) L&P II, p. 9, and II, ii, p 524. Stevenson’s note: “The exact date [of the marriage] is somewhat uncertain. The Benedictines ascribe it, erroneously, to 13 April (Art de Vérif. Les Dates, xi, 82). Dugdale (Baronage, I, 201) is silent. We know from Plancher (iv. 71) that Anne arrived at Troyes on 14 June; the marriage probably took place immediately afterwards.”

NB: Benet’s Chronicle p. 180 misdates the marriage to 1424, after the battle of Verneuil.

(5) Vaughan, Philip, pp. 9–10 (marriages and gift).

(6) PROME X, pp. 162-164 (denization).     

(7) Foedera X, pp. 311 (denization)


The Estates General of Normandy

The Duke of Bedford summoned the Estates General of Normandy to meet at Vernon in February 1423 to vote a tax ‘to safeguard Normandy.’ They met again in July and December (1, 2).

Robert Jolivet, Abbot of Mont Saint Michel pleaded for money to rescue ‘his’ abbey (which proved impossible) and other strategic towns and castles. The Estates voted 500,000 livres tournois (2).  Mont Saint Michel was virtually impregnable and was one of the few places that, try as they might, the English never managed to conquer.

Bedford appealed to the Estates again in July, and they voted 60,000 livres tournois, but the tax was resented. A letter in King Henry’s name had to be sent from Westminster expressing his confidence in the loyalty of the inhabitants of Amiens who had refused to pay the tax, reminding them of their duty to Henry as King of France (3).

The Estates met again in Caen in December and voted another 200,000 livres tournois for the war and for the suppression of brigandage which was rife throughout Normandy.

Bedford ordered Hamon de Bleknap, treasurer general, and Pierre Surreau, receiver general, of Normandy to collect 80,000 of the 200,00 livres tournois by 15 January 1424 to pay the soldiers’ wages. They are to appoint collectors of the tax, but the nobility, churches and the very poor are exempt  (5, 6).


(1) Beaurepaire, Les États de Normandie,  pp. 16-22

(2) Allmand, Lancastrian Normandy, p. 175 (three meetings of Estates).

(3) L&P I, pp. 395–396 (Henry VI’s letter to Amiens).

(4) L&P II, pp. 10–14 (authority to collect tax).

(5) Chronique du Mont-Saint-Michel,  I, ed. S. Luce, p. 132 (to collect 40,000 of the 80,000 livres tournois).


An Army for France

Early in 1423 the Council prepared to send an army to support the Duke of Bedford’s efforts to safeguard Normandy and extend Henry V’s conquests in France. The first intimation that recruiting was underway in a desultory fashion came in January when the Council agreed to issue letters of protection (an undertaking that the crown would protect the families and property of any man serving abroad in the king’s armies) to as many men as the king’s esquire William FitzHenry could raise (1).

Walter Hungerford

Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter would lead the expedition, and in February Sir Walter Hungerford undertook to accompany Exeter provided the Council discharged him from his duty under Henry V’s will to live continuously in Henry VI’s household. The Council agreed and promised that at the end of his service he would be given leave to fulfil certain religious vows that he had made, probably pilgrimages (2).

Hungerford was licenced to safeguard his estates by appointing feoffees (3). This was not an unusual arrangement for magnates planning to go abroad, it was a way of protecting their inheritance from escheating to the crown in the event of their death.

If any man died on active service while his heir was a minor, the heir would not become the king’s ward. He would be entrusted to his mother, or to executors, or to any other responsible person (4).

John Kemp

The Council decided that John Kemp, Bishop of London, Henry V’s last Chancellor of Normandy, should accompany the army and join the council in Rouen to strengthen Bedford’s administration. In February Kemp was granted £200 for his first three months and promised another £200 for the next three, to be paid from the exchequer in Rouen. If payment was not forthcoming, he would be recompensed by the English Exchequer on his return. In May the Council repeated the undertaking that the Exchequer would guarantee payment of the full £400 to Kemp, and he was awarded 100 marks for his expenses (5).

In April William Lyndwood, Doctor of Laws and Master John Escourt were appointed to go with Kemp. Lyndwood was awarded £50, Escourt 50 marks (6).


(1) PPC III, p. 21 (letters of protection).

(2) PPC III, pp. 25–26 (Hungerford).

(3) PPC III, p. 37 (enfeoffments).

(4) PPC III, p. 37 (protection for heirs).

(5) PPC III, pp. 41, 70-72 (Kemp’s wage and guarantee).

(6) PPC III, p. 66 (Lyndwood and Escourt).


The Earl of Norfolk

In March Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, agreed to advance the wages for an army under John Mowbray, Earl of Norfolk, Earl Marshal of England.  Beaufort’s loan would be repaid from Duchy of Lancaster estates allocated by Henry V for payment of his debts. Beaufort was the chief supervisor of the king’s will (1).

Norfolk indented to serve for six months from 30 April with a baron (Lord Willoughby) four knights, 120 men-at-arms, numerous esquires, and 360 archers (2).

At the end of April letters of protection were issued for Exeter, Kemp, Norfolk, Willougby and Hungerford (3).

On 14 May John Kemp, John Escourt, and Thomas Chamber were ordered to take the muster of Norfolk and Exeter’s armies. Norfolk would cross to Picardy, evidentially he was expected to join the siege of Le Crotoy (4).

See The Siege of Le Crotoy below.

On 15 May a letter in King Henry’s name thanked the Duke of Bedford for his services and informed him that Kemp, Norfolk, and Lord Willoughby were on their way but that Exeter, who had been ‘grievously ill’ and was now recovering, would not be with them. He would join the army in France as soon as he could (5).

Letters announcing the imminent arrival of the army under the Earl of Norfolk were sent to commanders in the field, the Earl of Salisbury and the Earl of Suffolk (6). 


(1) PPC III, pp. 60 (Beaufort’s loan, Norfolk’s wages).

(2) PPC III, p. 66 (Norfolk indented).

(3) PPC III, p. 67 (protection letters).

(4) CPR 1422-1429, p. 121 (army musters).

(5) PPC III, pp. 86–87 (Henry VI’s letters).

(6) Original Letters Illustrative of English History . . . .  ed. H. Ellis, pp 99-100 (Henry VI’s letters).


The Duke of Exeter

Exeter attended the council meeting on 28 May that authorized payment to Sir John Skidmore of 12 marks for taking the muster of Norfolk’s army at Dover and Exeter’s in London (1). Although he could not go himself, Exeter contributed a contingent to the army.

He was awarded £100 a year on 19 May for the expenses of John de Vere, Earl of Oxford whose father had died in 1417 when John was only nine and his wardship was granted to Exeter by Henry V (2).  

On 10 June, Treasurer Stafford was instructed to ‘account’ with Exeter concerning an indenture with Henry V for one year’s service from 8 July 1415 just before the siege of Harfleur. Exeter had been promised money for his first quarter’s service and given jewels for his second quarter. He retained the jewels which he considered to be his, not a pledge of repayment by the king, but the Council needed crown jewels as pledges for future loans, and Stafford was authorized to reach a ‘reasonable agreement’ with Exeter for their return (3).  

Exeter’s whereabout after 1423s is something of a mystery for a high-ranking magnate and King Henry’s guardian. Ill health may have caused him to retire from active duty. He was forty-six in 1423; his elder brother John, Earl of Somerset, had died at the age of forty-seven, and Exeter himself would die three years later, in 1426.

See Year 1426: Death of the Duke of Exeter


(1) PPC III, pp. 100-101 (Skidmore).   

(2) PPC III, p. 93 (Oxford wardship).    

(3) PPC III, pp. 101–102 (Henry V’s jewels).


The Siege of Le Crotoy

Noyelle-sur-Mer, Le Crotoy, and Rue form a cluster of towns at the mouth of the River Somme in Picardy, half-way between Dieppe and Calais. They were held for the Dauphin Charles by Jacques de Harcourt.  Harcourt raided into eastern Normandy, pillaging for food and, to the Duke of Bedford’s intense annoyance, financing his resistance by taking prisoners for ransom (1).

The great fortress port of Le Crotoy was a thorn in Bedford side. It was a haven for Breton pirates as well as French ships, but it was too strong to be taken by assault, it would have to be starved into submission. Bedford ordered William de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, Admiral of Normandy, to prepare ships for a blockade and Suffolk imposed levies on the coastal regions to meet the costs (2).

In May ships’ crews began to muster and troops were drawn from garrisons across Normandy. They assembled under the command of Sir Ralph Butler, the bailli of Caux. He captured Noyelle sur Mer, and Harcourt, realising that Le Crotoy was his real objective, hastily recalled the French garrison at Rue. They abandoned the town and fell back on Le Crotoy to strengthen its defences. Butler promptly occupied Rue as a base of operations.

The siege of Le Crotoy by land and sea began on 24 June 1423 and was expected to last for three months (3). The castle at Le Crotoy was strongly fortified and well stocked, but after four months of almost continual fighting neither side had gained the upper hand. Harcourt sent messengers to plead with the Dauphin for a relieving force but to no avail. The chronicler Wavrin excuses this by saying that Charles could not relieve Le Crotoy because he had sent his army to besiege Cravant (4).

See The Battle of Cravant below

Harcourt despaired of receiving assistance, his men had suffered heavy casualties, and his supplies were running low. In October 1423 he approached Butler and called for a truce. Harcourt agreed to surrender Le Crotoy to the Duke of Bedford in March 1424, provided Bedford accepted the surrender in person and met certain conditions. In the interim the siege would be lifted, and the fighting would cease; besieged and besiegers alike could move freely in and out of Le Crotoy (5).

See Year 1424: The Siege of Le Crotoy.


(1) Barker, Conquest, pp. 62–63. (Jacques de Harcourt).

(2) Newhall, English Conquest of Normandy 1416-1424,  pp. 297–298 and notes 171–174 (orders to Suffolk and Butler).

(3) Williams, Bedford, p. 107 (Bedford’s orders).

(4) Wavrin III, pp. 24–27 (detailed account of Le Crotoy).

(5) Wavrin III, pp. 51-54 (terms of surrender).


 The Battle of Cravant

The Dauphin Charles assembled a mixed army of French and Scots under Sir John Stewart of Darnley, Constable of the Scottish forces in France, and Jacques, Count of Ventadour. They crossed the Loire in July 1423 and laid siege to the town of Cravant on the bank of the River Yonne near Auxerre in Burgundian territory.

The Dowager Duchess of Burgundy called out Burgundian levies and appealed to the Regent Bedford for support. Bedford ordered Thomas Montagu, Earl of Salisbury, who was besieging the town of Montaiguillon in Champagne, to go to the rescue.

Salisbury joined forces with the Burgundians under their commander Antoine de Toulongeon, the Marshal of Burgundy at Auxerre. The English army under the Earl of Norfolk and Lord Willoughby had just arrived in France and Bedford sent Willoughby to reinforce Salisbury.

Salisbury’s order of battle combined the Anglo-Burgundian army into a single unit. He laid down strict conditions for the behaviour of the soldiers as they marched on Cravant.

The French besieging Cravant were deployed on the far bank of the river and the two armies faced each other for some time in the hot summer sun before Salisbury gave the order to advance and rode into the water. Lord Willoughby on his right flank took possession of the bridge over the river. The Burgundians inside the town sallied out to aid their compatriots (1, 2).

The battle of Cravant was fought on 31 July under the walls of the town and Salisbury won a decisive victory (3). The Scots and the French suffered heavy losses (4). John Stewart of Darnley lost an eye and was captured along with the French captain Jacques de Ventadour.

According to Jonathon Sumption, it was John Stewart, Earl of Buchan and a Scottish army who laid siege to Cravant and was in command at the battle. But it was Darnley not Buchan who lost an eye and was captured, making him miss the  battle of Verneuil in 1424 . Buchan was Constable of France, Darnley was Constable of the Scottish army in France (5) .

David Grummittis mistaken in stating that Louis, Count of Vendôme commanded the French and was captured at Cravant (6). This is a misreading of Wavrin, the Count of Vendôme for the Count of Ventadour.  Louis, Count of Vendôme was still a prisoner in England when Cravant was fought.

The English chronicles do not mention Cravant. Several of the Scottish commanders who were killed at Verneuil in 1424 had fought at Cravant and it seems probable that fragmented accounts of the battles in France at this time confused Cravant with the much better-known battle of Verneuil.

See Year 1424: The Battle of Verneuil


(1) Wavrin III, pp. 41-46 (Cravant)

(2) Monstrelet I, pp. 499-501 (Cravant)

(3) Burne, Agincourt War, p. 184–194 (Cravant).

(4) L&P II, ii, pp. 385–86 (names of combatants at Cravant).

(5) Sumption, Cursed Kings, pp. 94-200 (Cravant).

(6) D. Grummitt, Henry VI, p. 68 (Vendôme/Ventador).



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