Henry VI





The Minority Council. Scotland

The Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of Burgundy.

Gloucester’s Return. Parliament. Taxation

The Duke of Gloucester and Henry Beaufort.

FRANCE: An Army for France. The Siege of Le Mans.

Campaign in Champagne. The Duke of Bedford Leaves France.






The Duke of Gloucester abandoned Jacqueline of Hainault and returned to England. Parliament met and Gloucester concentrated on re-establishing his authority as Protector. 

The major event of the year was Gloucester’s quarrel with Chancellor Henry Beaufort, which was sufficiently serious for the Duke of Bedford to return to England.

In France the Duke of Bedford and the Earl of Salisbury  focused the war on a campaign in Champagne and the conquest of the County of Maine.

The Minority Council

Seventeen Council meetings are recorded for 1425. Four in February, five in March, four in May and one in June while Parliament was in session, one in October at the Duke of Gloucester’s house in London, and two in November, one of them at the Dominican Friars in Guildford.


The most common money of account in England was the mark. It was worth 13s 4d or two thirds of a pound sterling. A pound sterling (£) was worth twenty shillings. A shilling (s) was worth 12 pence (d). The livre tournois was the most common money of account in France. Nine livres tournois equaled £1.

In February a core of  Council members agreed that Chancellor Beaufort should receive an additional 2,000 marks a year in consideration of his consanguinity to the king, ‘and the great labour which he sustained’ until the Duke of Bedford or the Duke of Gloucester (as Protectors)  returned to England, but that this was not to set a precedent (1, 2). Beaufort was rich, but he had no objection to becoming richer at the crown’s expense.

Henry V’s Legacy

The Council continued to sort out King Henry V’s legacies in 1425. In May John Stafford, as Treasurer, Lords Cromwell and John Scrope (as witnesses?) confirmed that John Burnham, keeper of Henry V’s books had delivered certain volumes to John Dependen, warden of the free chapel and leper hospital of St Giles, Little Maldon (1, 2). Burnham may be the same as the John Burnham who indented to serve in the army for France in May (see France below).

In June the Council issued a quittance for Robert Gilbert, a former dean of the royal chapel for vestments and other church accessories delivered to the Abbey at St Denis and the church in Le Mans as bequests from Henry V (3).

(1) PPC III, p. 168 (Henry V’s books).

(2) CPR 1422-1429, p. 256 (Dependen).

(3) Foedera X, p 346 (bequests to churches in France).

Henry Beaufort, Chancellor

Henry Beaufort became Chancellor of England in 1424 shortly before the Duke of Gloucester left for Hainault (see 1424). In February 1425 a core of Council members agreed that he should receive an additional 2,000 marks a year in consideration of his consanguinity to the king ‘and the great labour which he sustained’ as Chancellor until either the Duke of Bedford or the Duke of Gloucester (as Protectors) returned to England, but that this was not to set a precedent (1, 2). Beaufort was rich, but he had no objection to becoming richer at the crown’s expense.

(1) PPC III,  pp. 165-166 (Beaufort’s wages).

(2) Issues of the Exchequer, p. 395 (Beaufort’s wages).

Henry VI’s Household

In June 1425 the Council made arrangements to enlarge the king’s household and supply him with companions. Heirs of magnates who were minors and the king’s wards should join the royal household, bringing with them one master each, to be maintained at the king’s costs. (1).

(1) PPC III, p. 170 (minors to join the king’s household).

Poynings and Leventhorpe, a private dispute

A dispute between Robert, Lord Poynings and John Leventhorpe, a long-time servant of Henry IV and Henry V and an executor of Henry V’s will, came before the Council at the end of February. It was agreed that Bishops Beaufort, Langley, and Worcester, and John, Lord Scrope, would act as arbitrators.

The reason for the dispute is obscure. It centres on Lord Poynings’s claim that Leventhorpe had unjustly, or unfairly, acquired (or held on to) the inheritance of John Waleys, which had passed into King Henry’s V’s hands and then to Henry VI on the deaths in quick succession of John Waleys, his widow Joan, and their eldest son, John the younger, who was still a minor when he died. He was survived by his four sisters, Beatrice and Joan who were of full age, Agnes and another Joan who were minors. 

The Proceedings does not give Poynings’s grounds for his challenge and the synopsis in Chronological Abstracts (p. xxvi) is misleading.  Poynings was not disputing the ‘detention’ of John Waleys, but the retention of his inheritance by John Leventhorpe whose standing as an influential Duchy of Lancaster official probably tipped the scales against Poynings (3). Especially as Poynings was absent in France for much of 1424, he fought at Verneuil.

John’s son Robert Leventhorpe, and one William Holgrave, were granted the keeping of the Waleys lands together with the marriages of Agnes and Joan. The fee was £100 unless the value of the lands exceeded £54 annually when additional payment would be expected.

(1) PPC III, pp. 165–166 (dispute arbitrators).

(2) CFR 1422-1429, p. 97 (settlement dated 1 March 1425).

(3) ‘John Leventhorpe’ in www.historyofparliamentonline.org (Only one sentence in the lengthy entry refers to the dispute: “Thomas (sic) Lord Poynings challenged [John] Leventhorpe’s right to the custody of a royal ward.”

Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March

Edmund Mortimer died of plague at Trim in Ireland on 25 January 1425 (1).

“And that yere dyde the Erle of Marche in Irlonde, the xviij day of Janyver, in the castelle of Trynne.”         Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 158 

 Richard, Duke of York was Edmund Mortimer’s heir, but as Richard was still a minor, parts of the Mortimer estates passed into the king’s hands. In February Queen Katherine was granted a house in London that had belonged to Mortimer (2). On 1 May Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter received custody of Mortimer estates in East Anglia and Hertfordshire (3) and on 22 May the Council granted the remaining Mortimer lands still in the king’s hands to Duke of Gloucester (4, 5).

(1) Otway-Ruthven, Medieval Ireland, pp. 363-64

(2) Foedera X, p. 342 (grant to Katherine).

(3) CFR 1422-1430 p. 85 (Thomas Beaufort custodian of Mortimer estates).

(4) PPC III, p 169 (grant to Gloucester).

(5) CFR 1422-1430, p. 103 (grant Gloucester).

The Archbishopric of York

The Council’s quarrel with Pope Martin V over the Archbishopric of York dragged on (see 1424). The temporalities had been administered by a committee of royal officials headed by Lord Cromwell (see 1423).  At the end of February the Council agreed to farm the temporalities to Cromwell, John, Lord Scope and Sir Walter Beauchamp for an annual rent of 2,000 marks until a new archbishop could be consecrated (1).

(1) PPC III, p. 166 (temporalities of archbishopric).

Wardens of the March

In May the Council agreed that the same assignments negotiated by the Earl of Northumberland for his wage in keeping the East March should be extended to Sir Richard Neville for his wages and arrears as Warden of the West March (1). The Earl of Northumberland had negotiated with the Council in May 1423 for £3,000 as wages an arrears for the East March (2).

(1) PPC III, p.170 (Warden of the West March).

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

John, Duke of Bedford

At the end of October the Council granted John Duke of Bedford custody of the Powis lands, together with the marriage of the heir. No reason for the grant is given, presumably Bedford requested it.  Joan, Lady of Powis was the daughter and heiress of Sir Edward Charleton of Powis and widow of Sir John Grey of Heton, whom Henry V had created Count of Tancarville. Her son Henry, born in 1420, was a still minor when she died on 17 September 1425 (1).

(1) PPC III, pp. 177–178 (Powis lands to Bedford).


Almost all the entries in the Foedera for 1425 relate to Scotland: the payment of King James’s ransom, the exchange of Scottish hostages and truce violations.

Payment of James’s ransom was eagerly anticipated. At the end of 1424 the Council had instructed Chancellor Beaufort to be ready to issue receipts ‘from time to time, for such sums of money as should be received by the treasurer on account of the 40,000 marks.’ (1).

King James was to pay his ransom of 40,000 marks at 10,000 a year over four years.

See Year 1424 Scotland, Ransom and Truce.

A payment of 450 marks was received in February, and a further 2,000 marks in June 1425. The 450 marks were assigned to Richard Buckland, Treasurer of Calais (2). The 2,000 marks went to the Earl of Northumberland as part payment of his wages as Warden of the East March in accordance with the indenture signed with him in November 1424 (3, 4).

 (1) PPC III, p. 164 (Chancellor to issue receipts).

(2) Foedera X, p. 342 (Calais, 450 marks).

(3) Foedera X,  pp. 344-345 (Northumberland, 2,000 marks).

(4) PPC III, pp. 162-163 (Northumberland indenture).

Scottish Hostages

The Parliament of 1425 enacted the criteria for any exchange of the twenty-seven Scottish hostages held as guarantees for the payment of King James’s ransom. The act stipulated that the value and status of replacement hostages was to be assessed by the Council and the Wardens of the March: they must be of equal value to those being released. The exchange of two for one, i.e. two hostages for one replacement, might be permitted but only in special cases as an act of royal mercy and not as of right (1). 

In March 1425 safe conducts were issued for the servants of twenty of the hostages to come to London (2) and Henry Lounde was to requisition horses to transfer hostages from the Tower of London and Knaresborough Castle to Durham (3). In July Lounde was ordered to escort fourteen prisoners from the Tower of London to the sheriff of York (4).

Nine hostages were released: Thomas, Earl of Moray, Robert, Lord Keith marshal of Scotland, Duncan Campbell of Argyll, Walter Haliburton, Alexander Seton, Thomas Boyd, John Lindsay, Robert Lisle, and David Ogilvy.  

The remaining five, David, Master of Athol, Alexander, Earl of Crawford, Patrick Lyons of Glamis, George Campbell, and David Menzies remained in custody, presumably because the Council or the Wardens of the March did not consider the replacements offered wealthy enough (5). 

Sir Richard Hastings Constable of Knaresborough Castle was ordered to transfer Sir Robert Erskine and James Dunbar into the custody of John Langton, sheriff of York. Langton was instructed to receive them into his custody and convey them to Durham (6).               

(1) PROME X, pp.  235-237 (terms for exchange).

(2) Foedera X, p. 342 (Scots servants to come to London).

(3) CPR 1422-1429, p. 279 (Lounde to provide horses).

(4) Foedera X, p. 345 (14 hostages to be transferred).

(5) Foedera X, p. 348 (hostages released, five not included).

(6) Foedera X, pp. 346, 348 (Sheriff of York to receive and conduct them).

Truce violations

Claim and counterclaim of truce violations on both sides of the border were a constant theme in Anglo-Scottish negotiations. 

In June 1425 a delegation of Scottish ecclesiastics received safe conducts to travel through England on their way to visit Pope Martin at Rome (1). John Hales, Abbot of Balmerino, stopped off, on King James’s instructions, to complain to the Council of truce violations by the English (1).  

In July the Council appointed Thomas Langley, William Alnwick, Lord Cromwell, Lord Scrope, Sir Robert Umfraville, and Sir William Harrington to hold a March Day at Berwick on 15 August (2).

March Days was an ancient custom, dating back to the thirteenth century for thrashing out, and occasionally settling, accusations of border raiding and acts of piracy during the intermittent periods when there was a truce between England and Scotland. English and Scottish representatives met on agreed days, designated well in advance to allow both parties time to reach the usual meeting places at Reddenburn or Haddenstank close to the border.  March Days, usually attended by one English Warden of the March, is a reference to the East and West Marches with Scotland. They were held at irregular intervals in any given year, not always in March.

Sir Robert Umfraville delivered a letter from Thomas Langley, Bishop of Durham, to King James setting out the English position and raising ‘certain other materes touching the conservation of the said trewes’ (3).  

Langley complained that Scottish Wardens of the March failed to meet with their counterparts as often as they should, and their deputies had not enforced the terms of the truce. The Scots had claimed that the English did not respect the boundaries of the land surrounding Berwick and Roxburgh, used by soldiers of the garrisons to gather hay for their horses, for fuel, and pasturage for their cattle, provided for under the terms of the truce. Langley dismissed the Scots’ claim as false. He offered written depositions from eight local men that the garrison were acting within their rights but the Scots had refused to accept their evidence. Langley accused the Scots of harassing the soldiers at Berwick and preventing their free access to this land. He requested King James to order Scots inhabiting Berwick and Roxburgh to respect English rights.

When no agreement could be reached the talks were shelved until the following year when Sir Robert Umfraville was again sent to meet with Scottish commissioners.

See Year 1426 Scotland, Truce violations for Umfraville.

(1) Foedera X, p. 344 (Scottish bishops visit England).

(2) Foedera X, p. 347 (Langley and others appointed).

(3) PPC III, pp. 171-74 (Langley’s letter).

William, Lord Douglas

Nicolas printed a petition in the Proceedings from William, Lord Douglas as a typical example of truce violations. He dated it to1425 (1).

Douglas claimed that immediately after the ratification of the truce and the release of King James in 1424, Sir Robert ‘Tuyllyoll’ [Tyrell?] led a raiding party from Cumberland and Westmorland into Eskdale and rustled 1,000 oxen, cows, and other young cattle, 1,000 sheep and horses, and stole booty to the value of £20.

The Scots rode to recover their property and were ambushed by Sir Thomas Lucy (Sir William in Nicolas’s preface).  Lord Douglas complained that Tuyllyoll and Lucy were habitual marauders, they and their men from Cumberland and Westmoreland had repeatedly ravaged Douglas’s lands in daylight and undercover of darkness. Thomas Lucy had sheltered the night raiders in Lochmaban Castle. Douglas’s people had been robbed and taken prisoner for ransom and the damage inflicted amounted to some £5,000. 

Douglas admitted that his people had retaliated although he never led a raid into England personally; on the contrary, he had offered reparation for any injuries inflicted by his people; he had even offered Tuyllyoll £20 to respect the truce, but Sir Robert had refused. Douglas’s petition is an appeal to King Henry and the Council for justice and redress.

(1) PPC III, pp. 353–354 and Preface, pp. xxvi–xxvii (Douglas).

The Countess of Douglas

Stevenson seriously misdated a letter from Margaret Stewart, Countess of Douglas to the Dauphin Charles to 1425.  It is dated 14 May but with no year (1). It cannot be 1425.  From internal evidence it must date to after King James I’s death in 1437. The countess refers to the king as her nephew. James I was her brother, James II was her nephew. She entrusted the letter to James’s chancellor le sire de Crychtoune.  William, Lord Crichton became Chancellor of Scotland in 1439 (2).  He went with the Scottish embassy to King Charles VII in 1448 to arrange marriages for James II’s sisters.

The countess was the widow of Archibald, 4th Earl of Douglas, whom Charles had created Duke of Touraine and who died at the Battle of Verneuil in 1424. She claimed her dower ‘for the time past and future’ as Duchess of Touraine. The letter was a reminder to King Charles VII that she was still alive and had a claim on a third of the rents and revenues of the Duchy of Touraine. Margaret died in 1450/51. Her grandson William, 6th Earl of Douglas was the last to hold the title Duke of Touraine until he was murdered in 1440.

(1) L&P I, pp. 20–21. (Countess of Douglas’s letter).

(2) C. McGladdery, James II,  p. 26 (Crichton Chancellor).

(3) Beaucourt, Charles VII vol. IV, p. 369 (embassy of 1448).

The Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of Burgundy

Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, calling himself Count of Hainault, and his wife Jacqueline. Countess of Hainault, Holland, and Zeeland had left England for Hainault with an army in October 1424 to reclaim her patrimony. Hostilities broke out in December 1424 when English troops under the command of the Earl of Norfolk crossed the border into the Duchy of Brabant. John, Duke of Brabant was Jacqueline’s former husband.  The Duke of Burgundy hoped to add Brabant to his other territories in the Low Countries, and he had declared in 1424 that in the event of a conflict he would support Brabant. He called out his feudal levies to be ready to march in the New Year.

The Duke of Gloucester was at first bewildered and then outraged when he learned that Burgundy had declared war. Burgundy was England’s ally, why should he object to Gloucester governing Hainault?  Gloucester had expected to deal with the weakling Duke of Brabant, but he had not reckoned on the mighty Duke of Burgundy.

See Year 1424 for Gloucester’s expedition to Hainault.

The New Year 1425 opened badly for the Duke of Gloucester. John of Bavaria, Jacqueline’s uncle,  died on 6 January 1425. He had ruled Holland and Zeeland while Jacqueline was in England, and he had named the Duke of Burgundy as his heir.

More in sorrow than in anger, Gloucester addressed an extraordinary letter to Burgundy, although in view of his earlier claim in his letter to the pope, that he, Bedford and Burgundy wanted peace, perhaps one should not be too surprised. Gloucester expressed astonishment that Burgundy could have assembled an army against him. He simply did not believe that the duke would issue such an order. He reminded Burgundy that his marriage with Jacqueline made his kinship with Burgundy closer than Burgundy’s with Brabant.  Jacqueline’s mother was Burgundy’s aunt. John of Brabant was only Burgundy’s cousin. 

He protested that he had been willing to reconcile with the Duke of Brabant, despite the fact that the conditions laid down by the Duke of Bedford as Regent of France  and the Duke of Burgundy were not in his best interest, but Brabant had rejected them.  

Gloucester referred to a treaty of peace between himself and Burgundy (did he mean the Anglo-Burgundian alliance?) and that he had not infringed it, on the contrary, he had taken great care when his army passed through Artois and across Burgundian territory that none of Burgundy’s subjects should be harmed in any way. His honour would never permit him to allow an attack on and ally and he was sure that Burgundy was of the same mind.

Gloucester claimed that he had not come to Hainault to acquire any territories but those to which he was entitled as Jacqueline’s husband. As Count of Hainault he was willing to accommodate Burgundy, but he if had to he would fight to the death to defend ‘his’ county. The fault of provoking a war would not be his. He reiterated that he could not believe the reports he had heard and he hoped Burgundy could be persuaded to change his mind. He would then do everything in his power to assist Burgundy in whatever way he could (1).

Did Gloucester believe what he said? All his life he remained blinkered when it came to comprehending any position but his own, and he was not above lying to achieve his ends, but he may genuinely never have considered or understood Burgundy’s ambitions.

Burgundy’s reply refuted every accusation Gloucester had made. He called Gloucester a bare faced liar and declared that Gloucester had insulted him and impugned his honour. Unlike Gloucester, he had done nothing underhand and had spoken nothing but the truth. Burgundy challenged Gloucester to settle their differences under the laws of chivalry to avoid a war and the shedding of Christian blood, by meeting in single combat (2).

A challenge to single comabt was a recognised move in the diplomatic game of chess played by kings and rulers. Henry V had issued just such a challenge to the Dauphin Charles when he invaded France in 1415 (3). But such encounters were never intended to take place, and in fact they did not. It is therefore all the more the surprising that Burgundy appeared to be in earnest (4).

What little enthusiasm the Hainaulters felt for Gloucester as their count waned in March when a Burgundian army under the Philip Count of St Pol, the Duke of Brabant’s brother,  crossed the border into Hainault and laid siege to the town of Braine-le-Comte half way between Mons and Brussels.  Gloucester was at Soignies only few miles southwest of Braine but returned to the safety of Mons and made no attempt to rescue Braine. After a siege lasting eight days Braine surrendered and was sacked and burned by St Pol’s troops (5).

From Mons at the end of March Gloucester dispatched a bombastic reply to Burgundy, accepting the challenge and naming St George’s Day, 23 April, as the day of combat, with the Duke of Bedford to act as judge (6).

The University of Paris wrote to the Minority Council warning of the dangers to peace if the confrontation between Gloucester and Burgundy was allowed to escalate (7) and the Council sent Garter King of Arms to Gloucester ‘upon certain especial causes and matters,’ presumably to learn his intentions (8).

The Duke of Bedford was angry with both belligerents but throughout the critical period from January to March 1425, he did his best to persuade them to settle their differences. He sent his councillors Raoul Roussel and Raoul Le Sage to Hainault to reason with Gloucester. They travelled through Abbeville and across Picardy, hoping to obtain information on Burgundian troop movements, before returning to Rouen. He also sent Gilles de Duremont, Abbot of Fécamp as his personal envoy to the Duke of Burgundy. Duremont was a client of Burgundy as well as Bedford’s councillor; he had been one of the envoys sent  to offer settlement terms to Gloucester in the previous November. Duremont made several fruitless journeys to Dijon, ‘for certain great matters and affairs for the appeasing of Gloucester and Brabant.’(5).  Gloucester was not the only one refusing to listen to Bedford’s pleas.

Gloucester had discovered that it was far easier to launch a campaign than to win it. He did not possess the military genius of Henry V or the diplomatic skills of John of Bedford, he was tired of Hainault, and of Jacqueline. His escapade had all the ingredients of a minstrel’s tale, and was of little importance, except that it angered Burgundy and infuriated Bedford.

(1) Wavrin III, pp. 92-96 (Gloucester’s letter).

(2) Wavrin III, pp. 96-100 (Burgundy’s letter).

(3) Foedera IX, p. 313. (Henry V’s challenge).

(4) Vaughan, Philip, pp. 38-39 (Burgundy’s challenge).

(5) Wavrin III, pp. 107-110 (sack of Braine-le-Conte). 

(6) Wavrin III, pp. 100-103 (Gloucester’s second letter).

(7) L&P II, ii, p 386 (letter to Council, Misdated to 1424).

(8) Issues of the Exchequer, p. 390. (Garter King of Arms to Gloucester).

(9) L&P I, Preface, lxxxiv-lxxxv (Roussel and Le Sage) and lxxxii-lxxxiii (Fécamp).

 Gloucester’s Return


  The Duke of Gloucester providentially remembered that he was Protector of England. He had neglected his duties for long enough and to no avail. The Duke of Burgundy’s   challenge was a heaven-sent excuse for Gloucester to return to England, ostensibly to prepare for a challenge he never intended to face.

 In April, accompanied by Eleanor Cobham, one of Jacqueline’s ladies, who had become his mistress, Gloucester abandoned Hainault and returned to England, leaving Jacqueline   behind (2).  It was not a happy homecoming. He put a brave face on it, but he had been humiliated in Hainault and had discovered that while he was away his uncle Henry   Beaufort as Chancellor, had usurped his dominance of the Council.

 “Also in this same yere the Duke of Gloucestre with his wyfe the Duchesse of holand wente ovyr the see into Henaude forto take possession of his wyfes heritage . . . . But withyn shorte tyme after it happed so that he myght not abide there but retourned home ayen and lefte his lady beyynde hym with all the Tresoure that he brought into that lande”

         Great Chronicle, p. 136

English chronicle accounts derive from a common source. They are heavily glossed to imply that Gloucester had no choice but to return to England.

Chronicles:  Three Fifteenth Century Chronicles (Short English Chronicle), p. 59 ; A Chronicle of London, (Harley 565), p. 113 ; Chronicles of London, (Julius B II), pp. 75-76, and (Cleopatra C IV), p. 129 ; Brut Continuation D,  p. 431.

Gloucester in London

The news that the Duke of Burgundy had taken up arms against the Duke of Gloucester did not go down well in England. Gloucester was popular with the Londoners, he was ‘their  own duke.’ Anti-Flemish feeling had existed in the capital for years, and Burgundy was Count of Flanders. Collectively Londoners were xenophobic. They disliked foreigners in general and the Flemings in particular as their rivals in the woollen cloth and carrying trade, merchandise being shipped in ‘alien’ rather than English ships.  

Bills were posted up all over the City after dark, on the gates of Chancellor Beaufort’s palace in Southwark and on the gates of other bishop’s residences, probably members of the Council, threatening Flemings resident in London.

 “And that yere, the xiij day of Feverer at nyght, were caste many byllys in the cytte and in the subbarbys agayne the Flemyngys, and sum were set in the byschoppe ys gate of   Wynchester, and othyr bischoppys gatys.”                     Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 158  

As soon as he reached London Gloucester set about reasserting his rights as Protector. He stated his intention to take up residence in the Tower of London, which could be construed as a threat and was certainly provocative, since he had a perfectly good house in London at Baynard’s Castle where he habitually stayed. The Tower of London housed the royal ordnance, the mint, the king’s great wardrobe as well as valuable French and Scottish prisoners. Gloucester had agreed before he  left for Hainault that security at the Tower should be strengthened, but,caught up in the preparations for his expedition, had neglected to make the necessary arrangements.   

“ . . .  in the presence of my said lord of Gloucestre before his comyng into his Cuntrey of henaude, for causes such as were thought Resonable yt semyth thoo behofull that the Toure of london shulde have be notably stuffed, vytailled and kepte how where it was not forth with executyd.”                               Great Chronicle, pp. 139–140

 The Council had become unease at the restlessness in the capital even before Gloucester returned. was uneasy.  Cancellor Henry Beaufort and the Council decided to entrust the Tower should be entrusted to the Duke of Bedford’s chamberlain, Richard Woodville. As Captain of Caen and a soldier of proven ability, Woodville was an ideal choice and the Council appointed him 26 February 1425 “on account of certain urgent causes and imminent dangers.” (1).

“And in the morowe the Byschoppe of Wynchester sent Richarde Woodevyle, squyer, to kepe the Towre of London with men of armys as thoughe hyt hadde bene in the londe of warre, and so induryd tylle the feste of Symon and Jude nexte aftyr folowynge.”                                    Gregory’s Chronicle, p 158

“And for the more sure keping off the said Toure Richard Wodeville, squyer, so trust with the kyng oure soverain lord that deed ys, as well is knowe, And also Chamberleyn and counseilling unto my lorde of Bedford with certeyn nombre of defensable persones assigned vnto him, was depute by the assente of the kynges counseill beyng that tyme at london, forto abyde theryn for sauf garde theroff, and streytely charged by the seyde Counseill that duryng that tyme off his said charge, he ne shuld ne suffre no man to be in the toure strenger thanne he, withoute especiall charge or commandement of the kyng and be the avis of his counsaill.”                                                                              Great Chronicle, p. 140

Woodville would not have been chosen without the Duke of Bedford’s knowledge and consent (and possibly his instructions). It is no coincidence that Woodville was in London at this time. He was there on Bedford’s orders to act as Bedford’s eyes and ears and report promptly on any indication that the Council was considering sending military aid to Gloucester in Hainault.

Richard Woodville refused to allow Gloucester to enter the Tower. He had twenty men-at-arms and forty archers under his command (3), a considerably smaller force than Gloucester’s retinue, and his instructions were to allow no one ‘stronger than he’ to enter the Tower.  Gloucester later claimed that these instructions were issued by the Chancellor ‘ayenst the State and Worship off the kyng’ and of himself as Protector.

“ . . . he beyng Protectour and Defendour off this londe desireth the Toure off London to be opned vnto hym and to logge hym ther Inne, Rich. Wodeville, squyer, havyng that tyme the charge off the kepyng off the seyde Toure, refused hym his desire And kepte the seyde Toure ayenst hym vngoodly and ayenst Reson by the commandement off my seyde lorde off Wynchestre; and afterward in comprovyng (approving) off the seyde Refuse.”                                                 Chronicles of London (Julius B II),  p. 77 ; Great Chronicle,  p 138

“. . .  Wodevyle come unto hym [Beaufort] to aske his advys and counseill of loggeyng off my said lord of Gloucestre in the toure, to avise hym and charge him that bifore than he suffred my said lord of Gloucestre or eny other persone logge there yn strenger than he, he shuld purvey him a sufficiant warrant therof of the kyng by the advys off his counsaill.                     Great Chronicle, p. 141

Gloucester used the Tower incident to cast himself as the defender of  London. He proclaimed publicly that the Chancellor’s motivation in entrusting the Tower to Woodville was to threaten the City’s liberties and the citizens’ right to protest against the presence of aliens in their city, as well as other injustices done to them.  Gloucester claimed that the Londoners, who were loyal to the king, had been ‘ryght evil paid,’ during his absence, but now that he was home he would protect them.

“ . . . upon the comyng of my said lord of Gloucestre into this lande ffrom his Cuntrey of henawde, the said lordes off the kyngeis counseill weren enfourmed that my seyde lorde off Gloustre  grucched with the seyde maner of  enforcyng of the toure, and lette say to hem of London that he hadde well understonde that they hadde ben hevely threted for the tyme off his absence, and of other wyse thanne they shuld have and he hadde be in this lande. . . .    Considering good equytall and trouthe that they hadde alwey kept unto the kyng, offering hym therupon remedie yf they wolde.”       Great Chronicle p. 140

Thwarted by Woodville, Gloucester ordered Robert Scott, the lieutenant of the Tower, to release Friar Randolph into his custody. Randolph was in prison on a charge of necromancy. He had been in the household of Queen Joan, Gloucester’s step mother, when Henry V accused her of witchcraft and deprived her of her liberty (3). Robert Scott protested  that he had explicit instructions not to release Randolph to anyone without a direct order from the Council, and he asked Gloucester for a copy of the Council’s order. Gloucester replied that his warrant was sufficient and the unfortunate Scott had no option but to obey. He  reported to Beaufort in some trepidation, but Beaufort reassured him that he would not be held responsible for releasing Randolf.

Gloucester had demonstrated that as Protector he would issue orders despite the Council, and his orders would be obeyed, but to flout the Council was provocative and any dealings with a necromancer were guaranteed to cause alarm.  

“. . .  Richard Scotte, lieutenaunt of the Toure, by the commaundement of my said lord of Gloucestre brought unto hym Frere Randolf the which hadde longe by fore confessed treson done by hym ayens the kynges persone that deed ys [Henry V]  . . . . the said Scot to kepe hym streytely  And nat to lette him oute off the seyde Toure with oute commaundement of the kyng be the advys of his  Counsaill. 

The which said Frere Randolf my said lord of Gloucestre kepte thanne with hym self not wytyng the said Scotte as he declared unto my said lorde of Winchestre sone after that he hadde brought the said Frere Randolf unto my lord of Gloucestre  Seying unto my said lord of Wynchestre that he was undone but he helped hym . . . . And seying more over that whan he desired of my said lord of Gloucestre . . . .   sufficiant warrant for his discharge, my said lord of Gloucestre answered hym that his commaundement was sufficiant warrant and discharge for hym.”    Greart Chronicle, p. 140-141 

Gloucester had demonstrated that as Protector he intended to issue orders and insist they were obeyed. But to flout the Council was provocative and any dealings with a necromancer were guaranteed to cause alarm. 

Two days before Parliament assembled on 30 April Queen Katherine brought the the three-year-old King Henry from Windsor to attend a thanksgiving service at St Pauls. They were  met at the church door by Henry’s guardian, Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter,  and byHumphrey, Duke of Gloucester. King Henry walked into the church and was carried up the steps to the altar. After the ceremony he was put astride a horse and the cortege rode through the City to display the child, and his uncle of Gloucester, to the citizens. The political manoeuvring around the king’s person had begun.                                      

“Also this yere after Esterne the kyng hylde his parliament atte Westmynster which beganne the laste day of Aprill and the kyng come to london the xxviij day of Aprill which was upon the saturday with his moder in here Chare fro Wyndesore unto seint Powles. And at the west durre he was take oute of the Chare by his uncle the Duke of Gloucestre.  And by his bele uncle the Duke of Excettre.  And he wente up on his feet fro the west durre up to the stayers up into the quere.  And than he was borne up and offered.  And after he was sette upon a Courser and rode so forthe Chepe and london unto kenyngton.  And the kyng helde his see diverse dayes in the parliament.”  Great Chronicle.  p. 132                               

 (1) PPC III, p. 167  (Woodville’s appointment).

(2)) Griffiths, Henry VI, p. 90, n. 45 citing NA E 403/669 m 14. (Woodville was allowed 30 men at arms and 50 archers for three weeks and 20 men at arms and 40 archers until the end of October 1425).   

(3) A.R. Myers, ‘The captivity of a royal witch,’ in Crown, Household and Parliament, pp. 94-95 and 127-28.


Parliament assembled on 30 April and sat until 14 July 1425. It was prorogued for five days from 25 to 31 May for Whitsuntide.

An inordinate amount of time was taken up in the early sessions of Parliament by a precedence dispute between the Earl of Norfolk, and the Earl of Warwick  (1). Precedence was a status symbol more important even than money, and jealously guarded.

John Damport, a king’s messenger, was paid 6s 8d to travel from London to Haxey on the Isle of Axholme in Lincolnshire to deliver a writ under the Great Seal to summons Norfolk to be in London by 1 May to attend Parliament (2).

John Mowbray, Earl of Norfolk, and hereditary Earl Marshal of England claimed precedence as a direct descendant of Thomas of Brotherton, half-brother of King Edward II. Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick claimed precedence by right of usage and custom. The Earls of Warwick were the premier earls in England and had been named before the Earls of Norfolk in summonses to parliament under King Richard II.  

Every conceivable argument was examined at excruciating length. Roger Hunt the member for Huntingdonshire and an experienced attorney, presented Mowbray’s case: the Norfolk title had been held by Margaret, a daughter of Thomas of Brotherton, but she, as a woman, could not be summoned to Parliament. The title passed to her son, Thomas, whom Richard II created Duke of Norfolk. He was subsequently stripped of the title and exiled, so that he, too, could not attend Parliament. His son Thomas, Earl of Norfolk, was executed for treason by Henry IV in 1405 but he not attainted, so the earldom passed to his younger brother, the present earl. 

Sir Walter Beauchamp put the case for his kinsman, the Earl of Warwick. The Duke of Gloucester testified that Warwick had been given precedence in the summons to Parliament of 1414. Roger Hunt replied that this had been on Henry V’s orders, not those of Parliament.

It has been suggested that Gloucester influenced the judgement in Norfolk’s favour because Norfolk had accompanied him to Hainault in 1424. But Norfolk’s part in the Hainault expedition was anything but heroic and Gloucester was quite capable of holding him responsible for the military debacle. Richard Beauchamp, on the other hand, had always been a close friend of the Lancastrian family, and especially Henry V. Gloucester spoke in favour of Warwick.   

See Year 1424 for Gloucester and Norfolk in Hainault.

Precedence was usually settled by the Lords in Parliament, but in 1425 the Lords could not make up their minds and the justices and sergeants-at-law declined to break the impasse. In the end, to avoid wasting more time and risk an escalation of the dispute, a clever lawyer (or lawyers) in the Commons came up with a solution: 

Richard II had created the dukedom of Norfolk., Henry IV had the title annulled by Parliament so the earlier creation by Richard II was not affected and Mowbray was commonly recognised as ‘born to the style.’ The Commons therefore sensibly suggested that John Mowbray was Duke of Norfolk and should be acknowledged as such in Parliament. Chancellor Beaufort pronounced the judgement on 14 July 1425 the day Parliament was dissolved (3, 4). For once both parties were satisfied: Mowbray got his dukedom and the Earl of Warwick was recognised as the premier earl in England.

“And in that Parlyment the Erle Marchalle was made Duke of Northefolke.”   Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 157

The acceptance of Mowbray as Duke of Norfolk confused the compilers of The Brut Continuations D.  

“And in this same tyme the Kynge of two Erles made two Dukes: þe Erle of Cambrige he made the Duke of Yorke, & þe Erle Marshall Henaud, þe Duke of Northefolke.”    Brut D Appendix,  p. 441

“And in that same parlement [the Leicester Parliament of 1426] the kynge made two Dukis: my Lord Sir Richardis sone of Caumbrigge, Duke of Yorke, and Sir Iohn of Mombray, Erle Marchall, Duke of Northeffolke,”            Brut Continuation D,  p. 433

The chroniclers’ reference is to Richard, Duke of York. His father was Richard, Earl of Cambridge who was executed for treason in 1415 and the title was forfeited. His mother was Anne Mortimer, sister of Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March. Edmund died childless in January 1425 and Richard Duke of York became Earl of March through his mother. Richard had been Duke of York since 1415. He never became Earl of Cambridge.

(1) PROME X, pp. 216-232 (the dispute in exhaustive detail).

(2) Issues of the Exchequer, p. 392 (Norfolk summoned). 

(3) J. Enoch Powell & K. Wallis, The House of Lords in the Middle Ages, pp. 453–454.

(4) R. E. Archer, ‘Parliamentary restoration: John Mowbray and the dukedom of Norfolk in 1425, ed. R.E. Archer & S. Walker Ruler and Ruled in Late medieval England, pp. 99-116.


John Holand, Earl of Huntingdon

The Earl of Huntingdon was still in France, a prisoner of the Count of Vendôme. He petitioned Parliament in 1425, as he had in 1424, to expedite his release and requested that the Duke of Exeter should be his proxy to arrange payment to Sir John Cornwall of Jean d’Estouteville and Raoul de Gaucourt’s ransoms of 5,000 marks. The Duke of Orleans, the Duke of Bourbon and the Count of Eu would stand surety that the prisoners would honour their obligation (1).

See Year 1424 ‘John Holand, Earl of Huntingdon’ for the ransoms.

          *********** ***********************************************************

(1) PROME X, pp. 251-253 (three petitions to Parliament on behalf of the Earl of Huntingdon).

(2) M. Stansfield, ‘John Holland, Duke of Exeter and Earl of Huntingdon and the costs of the Hundred Years War’ in M. Hicks, ed. Profit, Piety, and the Professions in later Medieval England, (1990).


Elizabeth of Lancaster

Huntingdon’s mother, Elizabeth, Countess of Huntingdon, died in London at the Cold Harbour in November 1425 before her son returned to England. She was the daughter of John of Gaunt and sister of King Henry IV.  Her first husband, Sir John Holand, Earl of Huntingdon, was created Duke of Exeter by Richard II, but stripped of his title for rebelling against Henry IV in 1399. He was executed in January 1400.  Sir John Cornwall was Elizabeth’s second husband.  

 “Ande the same yere, the xxviij day of Novembyr, deyde the Countasse of Huntyngdon at the Colde Herborowe, in London, and she ys buryd at the Fryer Prechowrys at Ludgate.’  Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 161.

Sir John Radcliffe 

Sir John Radcliffe, appointed Seneschal of Gascony in 1423, came home in 1425 and appeared in person in Parliament on 23 May to petition for a discharge from his duties. He requested that his petition be entered on the parliamentary rolls, but this was not done, and no answer to his request is recorded. 

Radcliffe asked to be excused from all responsibility as seneschal for the custody of the English held castles and fortified towns in Gascony. He had recovered most of them by his own efforts between 1420 and 1425 but he had no faith in the Minority Council’s ability to sustain them, and he said that ‘if it happened that God allowed any mischance’ to befall them he was not to blame and he should not be held responsible (1, 2).

See Year 1423 Gascony: Castles and Towns for Radcliffe’s campaigns.


(1) PPC III, p. 170 (Radcliffe’s petition).

(2) PROME X, Appendix, p. 274 for an English translation. 



Despite Chancellor Beaufort’s plea in his opening address, the Commons refused to grant additional taxes. They extended the wool subsidy for three years at the same rates as before, 33s. 4d. on every sack of export wool and every 240 wool fells shipped by English merchants; and 53s. 4d for foreign merchants. At the same time, they protected English mercantile interests. Any English merchant who suffered losses through piracy or ships sinking were not to be held liable for the subsidies. If they had already paid them, they could ship uncustomed goods of equal value.

The imposition of tunnage and poundage on alien merchants, enacted by Parliament in 1422, 3 shilling per tun of wine, and 12 pence on other imports, was extended to English merchants. This caused controversy and acrimony between the Lords and the Commons. The Lords acquiesced the Commons resisted. They only consented to impose it on condition that alien merchants should be ‘put to hoste’ – i.e. be lodged in English houses where their activities could be monitored.  If the government failed to enforce the regulations the Commons would withdraw the grant of tunnage and poundage (1, 2, 3).

“And at that Parlymente was grauntyd that alle maner of alyentys shulde be put to hoste as Englysche men benne in othyr londys, and ovyr that condyscyon was the tonage grauntyd; the whyche condyscyon was brokyn in the same yere by the Bysschoppe of Wynchester, as the moste pepylle sayde, he beyng Chaunseler the same tyme, and there-fore there was moche hevynesse and trowbylle in thys londe.” 

                                                      Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 157

Gregory’s statement that the hosting condition was broken by Chancellor Beaufort, causing widespread anger and resentment, is hindsight. Parliament passed the bill in July 1425; Beaufort could hardly have implemented its provisions immediately. The Leicester Parliament of 1426 confirmed that the tax would stand whether or not the condition was met (4). By that time events and Gloucester’s animosity had over taken Beaufort and he ceased to be Chancellor. 

(1) PROME X, pp. 235-35 and 262-64 

(2) Roskell, Speakers, p. 186.

(3) Great Chronicle pp. 132-133 (details of taxation matching PROME).

(4) PROME X, p. 297 (taxes to stand).

The Duke of Gloucester and Henry Beaufort

Not surprisingly Gloucester’s armed combat with the Duke of Burgundy never took place. Pope Martin issued a papal bull on 24 April 1425 expressly forbidding it now or at any time in the future (1). Parliament refused to sanction it; whatever the outcome the consequences would be detrimental to the peace and stability of England. And since the king was too young to exercise the royal right to prohibit it, Chancellor Beaufort was instructed to issue letters under the Great Seal investing the Duke of Bedford with the power to forbid it.   Queen Katherine and her mother, the almost forgotten Queen Isabelle of France, were named to act as intercessors and peacemakers, in the traditional, if theoretical, role of a queen. When the king came of age an appeal to royal justice could be made, or the two parties could accept that by forbidding the duel, justice had been done (2).

Parliament had instructed the Council to send envoys to the Duke of Burgundy (and to anyone else who might influence him!) explaining that it was a unanimous decision, taken by the ‘three estates of the realm’ in the king’s name and asking him to accept it.  Garter King of Arms was sent to Flanders, ‘upon certain secret and especial matters.’ (3).  

Parliament dealt kindly with Gloucester. There was no hint of condemnation over his clash with the Duke of Burgundy; there may even have been a grudging admiration among the members which was not shared by the Duke of Bedford. The Commons ‘compensated’ Gloucester with a loan of 20,000 marks, to be paid over four years, ‘for his various needs’ (diverse necessities) (4).  He had to pay the soldiers he had brought back from Hainault, and he needed money to extend his patronage and to attract support within and outside Council.

(1) L&P II, ii, pp. 412–414 (papal bull).

(2) PROME X, p. 237 (duel prohibited by Parliament).

(3) Issues of the Exchequer, p. 392 (Garter King of Arms to Burgundy. His journey cost £5).

(4) PROME X, p. 262 (loan to Gloucester).


London was tense and expectant after Parliament was dissolved in mid July. It was common knowledge that the Protector and the Chancellor of England were at each other’s throats. The author of Gregory’s Chronicle was so distressed that he ended his account with the words “and that Parlyment hade an evylle faryng ende, to shamefully for to be namy[d] of any welavysyd man.” The situation was so disgraceful he forbore to recount it. What was it that made him ashamed (or afraid) to record it? It is tempting to speculate that as Parliament drew to a close, tensions boiled over and resulted in a slanging match between Gloucester and Beaufort.  

Gloucester’s retainers  had a ready-made audience in the taverns and streets of the City to spread inflammatory rumours among the excitable and volatile Londoners. Bills slandering Beaufort were widely distributed. It was said that the Chancellor employed a young informer to give false evidence against innocent citizens so that Beaufort could arrest them on charges of treason, although Gregory’s Chronicle is careful to stress that this was hearsay, adding “as many men noysyde and sayde; yf  were trewe or no I remytte me to Gode” (1).

A crowd gathered at the Crane Inn near Crane Wharf in Vintry Ward shouting that if they could lay hands on Beaufort they would throw him into the Thames to teach him a lesson he would not forget. 

 “Also in the tyme off the seyde parlement dyuers persons off lowe estate off the citee off London, in grete nombre assembled on a day vpon the Wharffe at the Crane In Vyntre wysshed and desired that they hadde ther the persone off my seyde lorde off Wynchestre; seynge that they wolde haue throwen him in Temyse to haue tauht him to swymme with wengis;  ffor wiche billes and language off sclaundre and manasse caste and spoken in the seyde cite caused by my seyde lorde the Chaunceller to suppose that they that so seyde and dydde, wylled and desired his destruccion, how were yt they hadde noo cause. 

                    Chronicles of London (Julius B II)  pp. 81-82 

 The demonstration was sufficiently large and unruly to unnerve Beaufort. He took refuge at his palace in Southwark and fortified it with men-at-arms and archers. He feared that the London citizens whom Gloucester had roused against him might try to burn down his residence just as they had burned down his father, John of Gaunt’s, palace of the Savoy during King Richard II’s reign.

 The Duke of Bedford had sent Sir Ralph Butler over from France to urge the Council to defuse the growing animosity between Gloucester and Beaufort. Butler and members of the Council visited Gloucester and asked him to explain his antagonism towards Beaufort. Perhaps, with a little good will, it could be resolved. Gloucester said he had very good reasons for his anger, his ‘heavy heart,’ towards his uncle, but he would consider submitting his complaints to the Council.

“. . . after the comyng to london of sir Rauff Botiller and maistre [Lewes –omitted in MS, added by Kingsford from Edward Hall’s chronicle] sent fro my lorde of Bedford, the remenaunt of the lordes of the counseill enfourmed that my said lord of Gloucestre bere hevynesse to my said lord of Wynchestre [they] come to my said lord of Gloucestre to his Inne, the sonday next byfore All halowen day  And there moved (shewid in Julius B II) unto hym that they hadde understonding of the said hevynesse, praying hym to lete hym [them] wete, yf he bare such hevynesse ayens my said lord of Wynchestre, and also the causes therof.  Atte which tyme as my said lord of Wynchestre was enfourmed afterward that my said lord of Gloucestre affermed that he was hevy toward my said lord of Wyncehstre And not withouten causes peraventure as he wolde putt in writing.                                   Great Chronicle,  pp. 141-142

Gloucester had turned London against the Chancellor, but that was not enough to get Beaufort dismissed. Botiller’s visit may have precipitated what followed. Impetuously Gloucester took precipitate action.  On 29 October, the inauguration day for the mayors of London,  the new mayor, John Coventry, was hosting the traditional celebratory feast with the aldermen and leading citizens he received an urgent summons to attend on the Duke of Gloucester.

It was commonly believed in London that the Chancellor had sent to Lancashire and Cheshire for northern men, known and feared as ruthless fighters, to fortify his residence in Southwark. Gloucester warned the mayor that Beaufort’s northern men posed a grave if hitherto unsuspected danger. Beaufort would use them to force his way into the City and set up his own government. London’s liberties were under threat. Sensibly, the mayor ordered that a strict watch should be kept overnight.

The next morning, 30 October, Gloucester’s men roused London with the news that the Duke of Gloucester’s life was in danger. The response was all Gloucester hoped for: the Londoners shut up shop, armed themselves, and answered his call to assemble at the north end  of London Bridge. Gloucester also summoned members of the Inns of Court, the finishing school for young gentlemen as well as for lawyers in training, to join in the defence of the City.

Beaufort’s worst fears had come to pass. The Londoners were preparing to storm his citadel. He sent his men to draw chains across the road at the southern end of the bridge to impede passage, and he had  archers positioned in the windows of the nearest houses to repel any attempt to reach him.

The mayor deployed the city’s milita to guard both the bridge and the ferry crossings of the Thames, thus making a physical encounter impossible. He ordered the gates of London Bridge to be closed and manned at each end so that neither party could cross and come to grips with the other. Credit for keeping the protagonists apart until cooler heads could prevail belong more to the mayor, the aldermen and the city officials than to anyone. They could not refuse to answer the Protector’s call, but there is no indication that the leading men of the City were on Gloucester’s side, despite the bias of the London chronicles which reflect public opinion and are all pro-Gloucester.

  1. “And the same day at evyn and all the ny[gh]t ffolowyng whas strong and grete wacche. And the morowe next ffolowyng moch peple of the cite of london, in savyng and kepyng the kynges pease, arayed hem in sufficient harneys to stonde be the Duke of Gloucestre, protector of Englond, and be the Mayer of london, and in defence of the [cite] ageyne the Bysshop of Winchestre and the peple that with him were withholdyn of the countes of lancastre and Chestre, and of other contrees; but thankyd be god ther whas no harme done in nother party.     Chronicles of London (Cleopatra C IV) p. 130.
  2. “And in the iiije yere of Kynge Henryis regne the vje, there aros a grete debate betwene Sir Vmfrey, the Duke of Gloucestre, and Sir Henry Beauford, Bisshop of Wynchestir; and this Henry bare tho heuy herte ayens the pepull of the Cite of London; And þis debate bygan on þe day of ϸe Meyris tidynge of London, whanne thei come to Westminster paleis; and the Meyre of London that tyme me callid John Couentre, mercer.

        “And on the nexte morow folowynge, the Bisshop of Wynchestre hadde gaderyd a grete pepull in Soughthewerke, of men of armys and archeris; and they of the Cite kept tho strongly London Brygge-               gate  with men of armys [&] archeris, that no man myght in, nothir oute, for to kepe the pees in bothe partyes.  And anon, vpon viij of the clokke in the mornynge, alle the Cite was vp with her wepyn,               and shette in her howsis, and drew hem dounward to Temyseside, and wold haue apassid ouyr the watir, forto  haue taken the Bisshop.                                Brut Continuation D, p. 432.

       3. “And that yere the same day that the Maire rode to Westmynster to take his othe that is to say the xxix day of Octobre whan he come home to his mete with his Aldermen And with his good comuners,                 or  they hadde fully ete the duke of Gloucettre sente for the Maire and hise Aldermen that they shuld come speke with hym. And whan they come he charged the Maire that he shuld kepe well the Citee               that nyght And made good wacche And so ther was all that nyght. For my lord of Gloucestre and the Bysshop were no grete frendes as in that tyme.

      And in the morowe next after certeyn men kept the yates of the Brigge by commaundement of my lord of Gloucestre and of the Maire.  And betwene nyne and ten of the clok come certeyn  men of the              Bysshops of Wynchestre and drewe the Cheynes of the stulpes atte the Brygge ende in Southwerk side the whiche were bothe knyghtes and squyers with a grete meyne of archers.  And they enbatelled             hem and made defence of wyndowes and pipes as thogh it had be in londe of werre as they wold have fought ayenst the kynges peple in brekyng of the pees.

     And thanne the peple of the Cite herde therof and shitte theire shoppes and come downe to the yates of the brigge in keping of the Cite and savacion of the toune ayens the kynges enemyes.  For all the               shoppes in london were shitte yn oon houre.”                                 Great Chronicle, pp. 136-137

The confrontation recorded in almost identical words in the chronicles. It was copied from a lost source. The exact sequence of events they recount  is confused.

Note the copying error in Gregory’s Chronicle and The Great Chronicle:

“And the same yere the Byschoppe of Wynchester sende to Wyndsore for certayne men of the kyngs howsholde, and lefte the kyng but with a fewe men, and for alle the prentys of Courte, unto Westemyster; and there they come in there beste a-raye; and thenne he sende for the Mayre of London and hys aldermen.  And there he restyde many worthy men of the cytee.”       

                                                       Gregory’s Chronicle, pp.  157-158. Great Chronicle, p. 136

King Henry was not at Windsor and Beaufort did not summon the king’s household men. The words “the Inns of” are omitted before the word “Courte,” but it was Gloucester, not Beaufort who went for them. Likewise, it was not Beaufort who summoned the mayor and aldermen of London. Nor did he arrest ‘worthy men in London,’ this must refer to earlier allegations that he had done so.

The outcome was a standoff. Prince Pedro of Portugal, Duke of Coimbra was pressed into service as a neutral and a relative of both parties. Pedro had come to London at the end of September and taken up residence at the Bishop of London’s palace in the City. As a younger son of King João of Portugal and John of Gaunt’s daughter, Philippa of Lancaster, he was warmly welcomed by everyone. Pedro was Henry Beaufort’s nephew and Gloucester’s cousin. Only the day before, on 28 October, the Council had agreed to redeem two gold pots studded with jewels and valued at £702 from Duke of Exeter as an appropriate gift for Prince Pedro (2, 3).

“And aboute Mychelmasse the same yere the kynges sone of portyngale come into Englond which was worthely resceyved of his uncles the Bysshop of Wynchestre and of the duke of Excettre.  And of his Cosyn the duke of Gloucestre and of all the Rialles of the Reaue bothe spirituelx and temporelx.”            Great Chronicle, p. 136

The Council appointed Henry Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury and John Stafford, Bishop of Bath and Wells, to persuade Gloucester and Beaufort to disperse their forces. Pedro and the two bishops spent an uncomfortable day riding back and forth across London Bridge, eight times according to the chronicles, until an uneasy truce was at last agreed. The citizens dispersed, Beaufort’s men withdrew, and relative calm was restored.

 “But the Erchebissop of Caunturbury, Sir Henry Chichele, and the Bisshop of Bathe, Sir Iohn of Stafford, and the Prynce of Portyngale – that in the same tyme were in the Cite of London – went betwene hem and the Cite, that all was cessid and set in reste by none; blessid be God!”         Brut Continuation D, p, 432

(1) Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 158 (parliament’s evylle faryng ende).

(2) PPC III, pp. 178 (Pedro’s pots).

(3) Issues of the Exchequer, pp. 394-395 (Pedro’s pots).


The Council met at Gloucester’s London residence on 31 October, a considerable concession, but Gloucester may have refused to come to them. No record of the meeting survives. The discussions would have been sensitive, and possibly inflammatory, but the only entry in the Proceedings is an authorization for the payment of 2,000 marks to Duke Louis of Bavaria as arrears for his annuity (1).  

Henry Beaufort had been thoroughly frightened. He did not doubt that if the Londoners had been able to reach him they would have threatened to kill him. On the same day as the Council meeting at Gloucester’s residence he wrote an urgent appeal to the Duke of Bedford to come home. Beaufort told Bedford that Gloucester was out of control, that he was trying to start a civil war, and that unless order was taken to him he would do so even yet.  “. . . haste you hyder. For be my trouthe and ye tary we shull putte this llonde in adventure with a felde. Suche a brother as ye have here, God make him a good man.”  Beaufort knew that Bedford was angry with his brother over the fiasco in Hainault, that he did not trust Gloucester and would be inclined to believe the accusation (2, 3).  Beaufort  played on Bedford’s anxieties by reminding the duke that the successful prosecution of the war in France depended on stability of supply from England and by implication his financial support. He apologised for the delay in sending Bedford’s envoys back to France but said that he and the Council wanted to be sure that John Estcourt and Sir Ralph Botiller were in full possession of the facts. Botiller carried Beaufort’s letter to France and undoubtedly furnished Bedford with a detailed account of the state of affairs in London.  

Gregory’s Chronicle records that on 5 November, five days after the standoff, Gloucester, accompanied by Prince Pedro and members of the Council escorted King Henry from Eltham to London (4). If they did it was a triumph for Gloucester since it demonstrated that the City and the king were now safe in the Protector’s charge. But this account is open to question: there was a council meeting at Guildford on the same day.

(1) PPC III, pp. 178-179 (Council meeting October 31).

(2) Great Chronicle, p. 137 and A Chronicle of London (Julius B I) pp. 166–167 (the full text of Beaufort’s letter in its chronological setting).

(3) Chronicles of London (Julius B II) p. 84 places it as part of Beaufort’s rebuttal at the Leicester parliament in 1426, ending with the words, “suche a brother as ye have here” and omitting the rest of the letter.

(4) Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 160 (King Henry to London).

The Council met in the Dominican Friary at Guildford on 5 November.  The Proceedings does not record if Gloucester was present. The Council authorized a payment to Gloucester of 5,000 marks from the tax of a tenth granted to the king by Convocation 1). Like the loan made to him in Parliament it was generous: Gloucester was not obliged to repay it until King Henry reached his fifteenth birthday, i.e. not until the end of 1436. (9).

Was it a bribe, or a reward? The timing of the  loan is intriguing. Throughout the summer of 1425 the Duke of Burgundy had pursued his policy of acquiring Hainault as though Gloucester no longer existed. He had besieged Mons and captured Jacqueline and had her confined in Ghent to await, or so he claimed, a decision from Pope Martin V as to the validity of her marriages. 

“ . . . . they that wern in the forsaid toune [of Mons] becomen false And they delyvered the lady to here enemye the Duke of Burgoyne.  And he sente here to Gaunt there to be kept And as god wolde in shorte tyme she escaped thennes in mannes clothing to a towne of hire owne in Selande cleped Serise. And fro thennys into Holand. Where with helpe of hire frendes that wern there she withstode the duke of Burgoyne and all his malice.”

                         Great Chronicle, p. 136     

Brut Continuation G, (p. 498) adds “And fro þens she went to A town in Holand called þe Ghowde, & þer she was strong enough & withstode þe said Duke of Burgoyn.”

 Gloucester was aware that abandoning Jacqueline had dented his popularity. He may have requested the loan to ‘rescue’ Jacqueline,  a request that the Council was likely to grant. As an afterthought to the more important question of forbidding the duel between the Duke of Burgundy and Gloucester, Parliament had instructed the Council to request Burgundy to release Jacqueline (2).

The ever-resourceful Jacqueline had escaped in disguise to Zierikzee in Zeeland, and then to Gouda in Holland from where she continued to resist Burgundy with some success. In October she raised an army and inflicted a defeat on Burgundian troops at the Battle of Alphen (3).

There was no question that Gloucester would return to Hainault to bring Jacqueline to England. That was the last thing he intended to do. But when word of her victory at the Battle of Alphen reached England  Gloucester seized the opportunity to send aid to Jacqueline and humiliate the Duke of Burgundy further by inflicting another defeat on him. It would cost Gloucester nothing but it would add considerably to his prestige and to his popularity.

Gloucester commissioned Walter, Lord Fitzwalter to raise an army. Early in 1426 with about 1500 men Fitzwalter reached Zierikzee. He had the misfortune to encounter a Burgundian army led by the Duke of Burgundy himself.  Fitzwalter’s small force and Jacqueline’s troops were soundly defeated at the Battle of Brouwershaven on 13 January 1426 and Fitzwalter fled back to England with what remained of his army (4).  After that Gloucester lost whatever interest he may have had in Jacqueline’s fate.

(1) PPC III, p. 179 (loan to Gloucester).

(2) PROME X, p. 237 (Jacqueline’s release).

(3) Vaughan, Philip, p. 40–42 (Burgundy and Jacqueline).

(4) Vaughan, Philip, pp. 42–44 (Duke Philip’s triumphal account of Brouwershaven).

An Army for France

The annual effort to raise an army for France got underway early in 1425. As usual there was insufficient money and loans had to be raised. Loans to the crown by council members (and others) usually for the costs of the war in France occur regularly throughout Henry VI’s reign, the king was never free of debt. 

 Chancellor Beaufort’s loan was by far the largest. although McFarlane pointed out that the figure of £11, 032 16s 4d in the Calendar of Patent Rolls is an error which was later corrected in the Exchequer. The correct sum was £9,933 6s 8d (1). It was still the biggest contribution and Beaufort was permitted to retain a gold crown pledged to him by Henry V and given a gold collar studded with precious stones as security (2).

The Common Council of London loaned £3,000 ‘for the defence of the realm (3), Florentine merchants resident in London loaned £500, and Venetian merchants loaned 500 marks (4).

A memorandum dated 3 March 1425 finalized a list of council members pledging loans to the king for his ‘great necessities,’ with the usual provisions for repayment: Henry Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury loaned 1,000 marks. Bishops Kemp, Morgan, and Wakering (a month before his death) loaned 500 marks each. Lords Hungerford, Tiptoft, Cromwell, and Scrope also loaned 500 marks each. The Duke of Bedford’s legal representative contributed 250 marks, John Stafford the Treasurer, 200 marks and William Alnwick Keeper of Privy Seal, 100 marks.  Lord Poynings although not a council member, loaned 500 marks. His dispute with John Leventhorpe was under review by the Council (5).

Twenty- one war captains indented to serve with an army of about 1500 men. Sir Godfrey Hilton brought the largest retinue, 40 men at arms and ninety archers, Sir John Popham and Nicholas Carrington contributed 30 men-at-arms and ninety archers each. The lowest contingent was John Burnham with two men at arms and six archers (actually only one, as the captains were counted as men at arms) (6). 

One of the earliest indentures was with the Stanish brothers Roland, Alexander, James, and Thomas for six men at arms and twenty- seven archers. They were paid £122 7s 6d for six months service (7, 8, 9). 

(1) McFarlane, ‘At the Deathbed of Cardinal Beaufort,’ in England in the Fifteenth Century, pp. 124-125 (Beaufort’s loan).

(2) CPR 1422-1429, pp. 293-294 (Beaufort’s loan).

(3) CPR 1422-1429, p. 293 (London).

(4) CPR 1422-1429, p. 286 (Italians).

(5) PPC III, pp. 167–168 (Council loan).

(6) CPR 1422-1429, pp. 299–300 (lists of war captains, men at arms and archers). 

(7) Issues of the Exchequer, pp. 392-392 (Standish).

(8) CPR 1422-1429, p 302 (Standish brothers listed in muster rolls of 20 May 1425).

(9) A. Marshal, ‘James Standish and the Standish Family,’ in ‘The Role of English War Captains in England and Normandy,’ MA thesis University of Wales, University College, Swansea (1974), pp. 298-301.

The Siege of Le Mans

The major campaign of the summer was the conquest of the County of Maine which lies along the southern border of  the Duchy of Normandy. Maine belonged to the House of Anjou. Yolande, the widowed Duchess of Anjou was the Dauphin Charles’s mother-in-law and a strong supporter of his cause. 

Thomas Montague Earl of Salisbury, William de la Pole Earl of Suffolk, Lord Willoughby, and Lord Scales, veterans of the Battle of Verneuil, laid siege to Maine’s capital, Le Mans in July 1425 (1) Their army equipped with heavy artillery. Salisbury was an exponent of the relatively new use of artillery in siege warfare (2).

Adam Chatelain, Bishop of Le Mans and its leading citizens surrendered to Salisbury on 2 August 1425 to avoid the destruction of the town.  Salisbury imposed the same terms as he had for the surrender of Meulan in 1423  (3, 4):

Le Mans was to be delivered into his hands within eight days if the Dauphin’s forces did not come to its relief. All artillery and military ordnance was to be surrendered and the French gunners (artillery men) who had fired on the English during the siege were to be turned over to Salisbury to be dealt with as he saw fit.

Anyone not wishing to swear allegiance to Henry VI might leave the town within eight days, taking all their goods with them, provided they obtained Salisbury’s permission.  Everyone in Le Mans who was willing to swear an oath to the king of England, and to submit to the Regent Bedford and the Earl of Salisbury, could remain and retain their possessions. The exceptions were any English, Irish, Welsh or Gasçons who had previously sworn allegiance to Henry VI and then turned traitor.

English captives being held for ransom were to be set free without their ransom being paid. Le Mans was to raise 1,000 livres tournois for the repair of the fortifications damaged in the siege and to pay compensation where appropriate. Twenty-four leading citizens, clergy and laity, were to be given as hostages. Anyone who broke the agreement would be deprived of the benefits offered; the citizens to report any breaches of the conditions and offenders would be punished.  

The surrender terms did not extend to anyone who had been complicit in the murder of the Duke of Burgundy’s father John the Fearless  in 1419, or in the kidnapping in 1420 of the Duke of Brittany by Olivier de Blois, Count of  Penthièvre. 

See Year 1426 The Duke of Brittany and the Counts of Penthièvre.

The chronicles report with pride that the English took thirty-six towns and castles before capturing Le Mans.

“Also the same yere the erle of Salysbury, the erle of Suffolk, the lord of Wylughby, and the lorde Scales, with there meyne leyden a sege to the cite of Mauns, the whiche citee was yolden up to them withinne schort tyme, with manye othere stronge townes and castells to the nowmbre of xxxvjti.”  A Chronicle of London (Harley 565) p. 113. Chronicles of London (Cleopatra C IV) p. 130.

The Brut Continuation G (p. 498) adds a patriotic detail:  Normandy and parts of France as far south as Orleans were under English rule, but the rest of France was in bad shape!

(1) L&P II, ii, pp 411-412 (list of war captains from a 16th century transcript. For ‘Anjou Domini M.cccc.xxv’ read Maine).

(2) L&P II, p. 42. In November 1425 Robert Cotes, Bedford’s master of ordnance, issued a receipt for six score crowns of gold (120) and 220 livres tournois from the Earl of Salisbury to pay for ordnance used at the siege at Meulan and at the battle at Cravant (see 1423). Salisbury was to claim reimbursement for this amount.  

(3) Great Chronicle, pp. 133–135 (full text of the surrender terms).

(4) Wavrin III, pp. 126–127 (short version of the terms).

Campaign in Champagne

The County of Champagne in northeastern France bordered Burgundian territory, with Picardy and Artois to the north and the duchy of Burgundy to the south. Henry V had conquered parts of Champagne, but important strongholds were still in French hands when Henry died (1).

The Regent Bedford had named the Earl of Salisbury as temporary governor of Champagne in 1423 and put him in command of military operations there. The Duke of Burgundy coveted Champagne and hoped to be awarded it as part of the Anglo-Burgundian alliance. He encouraged the English to ‘recover’ it on his behalf. Salisbury saw Burgundy as a rival rather than an ally (2).

The city of Rheims, where the Dauphin hoped to be crowned and where Bedford intended to crown Henry VI as king of France was in Champagne. The hilltop fortress of ‘Moynier’ [Moyen, Mont Aimé] in the south east corner of Champagne lay on the route from Paris to Rheims. In 1425 Moynier was held for the Dauphin by Eustace de Conflans.

Bedford sent Jehan Milet and Pierre de Fontenoy to Moynier in June, to assess its strength (3). With the approval of the Grand Counseil in Paris, he levied an aid on Rheims, Chalons, Troyes, and the Langres to raise men-at-arms to besiege Moynier.

Philippe de Morvilliers, the first president of the parlement of Paris, and Louis de Luxembourg, Chancellor of France met Bedford in Rouen at the end of July. The visit lasted a week.  The reason for the visit is not given, it may have been in connection with the siege of Moynier (4).

Jacques Braulart, president of the chamber of inquests of the parlement of Paris, accompanied by Jehan de Pressy, one of the Duke of Burgundy’s councillors, set out in September for Rheims, Chalons-sur-Mer, and Épernay to collect it. They were also to take the musters of the army to besiege Moynier. The job done, they returned to Paris on 15 October (5).

Moynier was a touch nut to crack. In October the Earl of Salisbury went to take over the siege, accompanied by Pierre Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, Pierre de Fontenoy ‘and others’ (6). Moynier was still holding out in December when Bedford prepared to leave for England (7).  It finally surrendered to Salisbury in February 1426.  

(1) A.M. Lobanov, ‘The Outposts of Lancastrian France in Eastern Champagne,’ Vestnik of Saint Petersburg University. History, vol 64, issue 4, (2019).

(2) M. Warner, ‘Chivalry in action: Thomas Montague and the War in France,’ Nottingham Medieval Studies, vol. xlii (1998).

(3) L&P II, pp. 56-57 (Milet, Fontenoy. They received four livres tournois a day).

(4) L&P II, pp. 59-61 (Morvilliers was allowed eight livres tournois a day). 

(5) L&P II, pp. 62-65 (Braulart and Pressy Braulart received four and Pressy six livres tournois a day).

(6) Bourgeois of Paris, p. 211 (Moynier).

(7) L&P II, pp. 62-63, footnote 2 (Salisbury and Cauchon).

The Duke of Bedford Leaves France

The Duke of Bedford and Duchess Anne left Paris on 1 December 1425 and made their way via Amiens to Calais from where they crossed to England (1).

Bedford anticipated a long stay in England. At a meeting of the Grand Conseil in November, he decreed that the Duke of Burgundy was to preside over its meetings, but if he was not available (which was probable) then Louis of Luxembourg, Bishop of Thérouanne would preside as Chancellor, with the right to appoint to vacant church benefices.  

Thomas Montague Earl of Salisbury, William de la Pole Earl of Suffolk, and Richard Beauchamp Earl of Warwick were to continue the war in his absence: Salisbury in Normandy, Anjou, Maine, the Vendômois, Chartrain, and Beauce. The Earl of Suffolk in Lower Normandy along the border with Brittany, and the Earl of Warwick in the Vermandois, Champagne, Brie, and the Gatinais (2). 

NB: So in Stevenson, but it should be noted that these place names do not correspond with the areas in which the three men are known to have operated. Warwick was the senior peer and he campaigned in Normandy. Salisbury campaigned in Champagne and Brie.

Pierre Surreau, Receiver General for Normandy, was to collect taxes and ensure the smooth administration in the duchy.  In January 1426 Surreau issued a receipt to John Deveau of Pont Audemar for  280 livres tournois, 14 sols (shillings) and 7½ deniers (pence), as the second instalment of the tax voted by the Estates of Normandy in 1423. John Chamberlain delivered the money and signed the receipt (1).

(1) Bourgeois, p. 211 (Bedford left Paris).

(2) L&P I, preface p. lx, note 3 (Bedford’s appointments).

(3) L&P I, pp. 22–23 (taxes).

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