The Minority Council. The Council and the Magnates.
The Council and the Church. The Council and the Papacy.
London. Lawlessness. Scotland. Calais.
The Duke of Bedford and the Council. The Duke of Bourbon and the Earl of Somerset.
The Duke of Bedford and Henry Beaufort. Beaufort and Bohemia.
The Duke of Gloucester and Jacqueline of Hainault.
The Duke of Gloucester and the Earl of Salisbury.
The War in France: Pontorson. Montargis.
Duke John of Brittany. Jehan de Bonval
The Minority Council insisted on its supreme authority. The Council’s relations King James of Scotland, King Eric of Denmark and foreign merchants. Lawlessness, the case of William Wawe. Abortive negotiations for the release of the Duke of Bourbon and the Earl of Somerset. The Duke of Bedford returned to France. Henry Beaufort became Cardinal of St Eusebius and joined the papal crusade against the Hussites. The Duke of Gloucester and Jacqueline of Hainault’s plea for assistance. The Earl of Salisbury came to England to raise an army. In France the Earl of Warwick besieged Pontorson. Duke John of Brittany signed a treaty with England. The story of Jehan de Bonval, a citizen of France.
The Minority Council
Thirty-six council meetings are recorded for 1427. Three in January, seven in February and seven in March before the Duke of Bedford left England. Seven in May, seven in July, one in November, and four in December.
Duchy of Lancaster
In May John Stafford turned over to the Council the ‘great book containing the records of the Duchy of Lancaster’ which had been in his possession as Treasurer, to be committed to the new Treasurer, Lord Hungerford. Income from the Duchy was the private possession of the Lancastrian kings, and its accounts were kept separate from other sources of royal income although all three Lancastrian kings relied heavily on duchy resources to meet their ever-increasing debts (2).
Remuneration for their services, first established in 1424, continued to occupy the councillors’ minds (see 1424). In March 1427, the Council issued a lengthy recapitulation of the 1424 agreement, listing the original councillors’ names and adding new ones (3). The Exchequer was ordered to pay John Kemp 200 marks annually as a council member, backdated to 20 December 1425 (4).
In December the Council agreed that John Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk should receive 300 marks annually for attending council, that the bishops, (as previously established) should receive 200 marks, and that the Earl of Salisbury should receive 200 marks yearly dating from July 1427 when he joined the Council. Another new comer, William Grey, Bishop of London, would also receive 200 marks (5).
(1) PPC III, p. 243 (repairs to the Tower).
(2) PPC III, p. 290 (Duchy of Lancaster records).
(3) PPC III, pp. 154-158 (wages established 1424).
(4) PPC III, pp. 265-267 (the order in the king’s name is given under the privy seal a Leycestre le xv jor de Marcs lan de nre regne quint making it 1427. This is possibly an error for 1426 when King Henry was at Leicester and Kemp was appointed as Chancellor).
(5) PPC III, p. 278-280 (Mowbray, Salisbury, and Grey).
Henry V’s Legacy
King Henry V’s debts continued to burden the Council.
Henry had customarily pardoned the sergeants (heads of department) of his household, at the end of each year, of all irregularities in their accounts and allowed them to begin a new year with a clean slate.
As he lay dying he had requested the Duke of Exeter to see that this practice continued. But the sergeants had not received their pardons, despite submitting their accounts. Owing to an administrative muddle occasioned by the king’s death, three treasurers of the household, John Rothedale, (who had died in France), Walter Beauchamp and William Philip had lost or retained only incomplete accounts, and the pardons had not been issued.
The sergeants of the scullery, poultry, caterer, spicery, pantry, larder, confectioner, saucery, bakery and avenary (stables) and one ‘above stairs’ servant, Thomas Scarlet, sergeant of the hall and chamber, submitted a petition to Parliament in October 1427, and Parliament granted the petition and issued a pardon.
Four women executrixes of household servants who had died were also pardoned: Elizabeth Tame, executrix of John Hardgrove, Catherine and Alice Burcester, widows of Thomas and Nicholas Burcester, and Alice Lacy, widow of Nicholas Lacy.
The names of the servants listed in the Foedera and the Calendar of Patent Rolls are the same, the first name being Thomas Rothwell of the scullery. The list in PROME differs, Thomas Wesenham of the pantry (third in the Foedera list) is the first name in the parliamentary pardon (1, 2, 3).
Sir Henry Noone’s widow and executrix, Katherine Noone, petitioned that ‘the treasurer might be intrusted to account with her’ for the horses’ harness and other materials, including cloth of gold for repairing and adorning the late king’s saddles, supplied to her husband by Robert Rolleston, Keeper of the Great Wardrobe. These had been captured at sea off the coast at Le Crotoy, presumably in 1418 when Henry V was attempting to run the French blockade. Henry Noone had been Henry V’s Master of Horse at the time. It is not clear from the wording whether Katherine was requesting that the Noone estate should not be held liable for this loss or if she was requesting reimbursement of money expended by Noone on these articles (4).
NB: Wylie & Waugh in their exhaustive study of King Henry V’s reign do not mention Noone or the loss of a valuable cargo off Le Crotoy.
Sir William Clifford’s widow and executrix Anne Clifford had married Sir Reginald Cobham of Sterburgh and at the end of 1427. The Council authorized payment or assignment to him of the £1,322 10s 10d still owing to Clifford, as Constable of Fronsac (5). Clifford had been Constable of Bordeaux and Captain of Fronsac in Gascony under Henry V. He died in office in March 1418 (6). His allowance for Fronsac was 1,000 marks per annum for eight years (7).
(1) Foedera X, pp. 379-380 (Henry V’s household).
(2) CPR 1422-1429, pp. 463- 464 (Henry V household).
(3) PROME X, pp. 344-346 (Henry V’s household petition).
(4) PPC III, pp. 249-250 (Noone).
(5) PPC III, p. 281 (payment to Cobham).
(6) Wylie & Waugh I, pp. 123-124 (Clifford).
(7) Vale, Gascony, p. 247 (Clifford).
Louis, Count Palatine
In October, Louis, Count Palatine of the Rhine and Duke of Bavaria commissioned his attorneys, Otto de Lapide and Valdius Frederic de Mirta, to receive the annuity granted to him by Henry V (see 1423). In November they issued a receipt for 2,000 marks (two years annuity) to Treasurer Hungerford (1, 2).
(1) Foedera X, pp. 379 and 383 (Louis’s annuity).
(2) PPC III, p. 253 (Louis’s annuity).
Eric, King of Denmark
Eric, King of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, known as Eric of Pomerania, was engaged in a war against the Counts of Holstein over possession of the Duchy of Schleswig in which the Hanseatic League sided with the Holsteins.
It is not surprising that the King of Denmark looked to England for mercenaries, trained in the wars of Henry V, but it is surprising that the Council granted permission and issued letters patent to ships captains to convey them to Denmark (1) at a time when the Regent Bedford needed men in Normandy, and the Earl of Salisbury would shortly come to England and attempt to raise a large army. On the other hand, Eric would pay the wages of the men he hired, while Salisbury’s would be a charge on the Exchequer. There would be no diplomatic or trade repercussions for Englishmen fighting the Holsteins, but England had trade treaties with the Hanse.
(1) PPC III, p. 270 (Denmark).
Paul, Count of Valache,
In July the Council granted 40 marks annually in King Henry’s name to Paul, Count of Valache, who had come to England from Greece, to maintain his estate because he was of noble blood. He claimed to be destitute, having lost everything when the Turks, ‘the enemies of God’, attacked his homeland; he claimed he had to rely on the charity of ‘good Christians’ in order to survive. He received £6 1s 4d in October for the period 8 July to 29 September 1427 (1, 2).
(1) Foedera X, p. 374 (Valache).
(2) Issues of the Exchequer, pp. 401-402 (Valache).
Pierre de Rieux
Three servants of the Breton Pierre de Rieux had received safe conducts for four months at the end of 1426. These had expired and were reissued in May 1437 for the same three men: Robert de Preanne, John Delesen, [de Lesyonet] and Colin le Conte, with a fourth, Olivero Joveaux (1).
(1) Foedera X, p. 374 (safe conducts).
The Council and the Magnates
The Duke of Gloucester
On 10 May, at the first recorded council meeting following the Duke of Bedford’s departure for France, the Duke of Gloucester was appointed Justiciar of Cheshire and North Wales, the office to be performed by deputies (1).
(1) PPC III, pp. 267-268 (Gloucester appointed).
The Earl of Westmorland
Ralph Neville, Earl of Westmorland had died in 1425. His estates were in the king’s hands because his son John predeceased him. He was succeeded by his grandson, also Ralph, who would not come of age until 1429. In December 1427 the Council agreed to farm his share of the Westmorland inheritance to Ralph for £200 annually for the remaining years of his minority (1).
(1) PPC III, p. 281 (Westmorland lands).
The Earl of Huntingdon
John Holand, Earl of Huntingdon, married the widow of Edmund Mortimer Earl of March, without royal licence, probably for the same reason as Mortimer, to strengthen his ties to the Lancastrian line. He was Henry V’s nephew and first cousin to Henry VI.
Anne Stafford was the granddaughter of Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, the youngest son of King Edward III and sister to Humphrey Earl of Stafford. Huntingdon got off lightly. He was ‘pardoned’ in March 1427 and fined only 1200 marks for his illicit marriage. Mortimer had had to pay 10,000 marks to King Henry V for the same privilege (1).
(1) PPC III, p. 252–253 (Huntingdon marriage).
The Duke of Exeter
Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter died at the end of 1426. Two petitions were presented to the Council in February 1427. The first was from John Derham, now a clerk, who sought the council’s ratification of his manumission (1). Derham (and presumably his father Richard before him) had been a serf on Exeter’s estate at Wyrmegeye [Wormegay, co. Norfolk]. In May 1414, while he was Earl of Dorset, Exeter had made Derham a free man. Confirmation of his freedom after Exeter’s death was important enough for Derham to pay a half mark (6s 8d) to the Hanaper for its enrolment (2).
The second petition was from Charles, Duke of Orleans, requesting permission to give a bond for 4,000 crowns to Exeter’s executors, William Alnwick, Walter Hungerford, William Phelip, Thomas Walbere, William Morley, Richard Ashton, and John Bertram (3). Since Orleans was a state prisoner and his ransom had not been paid, he needed Council permission to assign money elsewhere.
The bond related to an old debt which Exeter’s executors were attempting to collect. Exeter, then Earl of Dorset, had been second in command of an expedition to France in 1412 led by Thomas, Duke of Clarence to aid the Duke of Orleans and the Armagnac party against John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy. Clarence’s appearance proved embarrassing, and the Armagnacs bribed him to take his army out of France. Clarence’s war captains were entitled to a share of the French bribe. Thomas Beaufort, Earl of Dorset, later Duke of Exeter was Clarence’s second in command. Exeter’s executors claimed the 4,000 crowns still owing to him.
See Year 1434: Sir Thomas Rempston’s Ranson for Clarence’s expedition.
(1) Foedera X, p. 371 (Derham manumission).
(2) CPR 1422-1429, p. 391 (Derham manumission).
(3) PPC III, p. 250 (Orleans’s bond to Exeter’s executives).
The Council and the Church
William Dyolet, clerk, was granted a third of the parish church of Crokeholme [Crewkerne] in the diocese of Bath and Wells on 24 January 1427 (1). Crokeholme, was an inheritance of the Courtenay Earls of Devon, in the king’s hands because Thomas Courteney was a minor.
On the following day Chancellor Kemp declared that although the presentation was in his gift as Chancellor, he had not intended to present it to John Dyolet (almost certainly a mistake for William) without council approval (2). William Dyolet’s name appears in the Calendars of the Close Rolls and in the Calendars of Ancient Deeds, John Dyolet’s does not.
To add to the confusion, in November 1427 Walter Colles, parson of Crokeholme, was authorized to make an exchange of Crokeholme with Thomas Hendyman to the prebend of Heiges (Hays, also a Courtenay inheritance) in the diocese of Exeter (3).
(1) CPR 1422-1429 p. 386 (grant to William Dyolet).
(2) PPC III, pp. 229-330 (Kemp’s statement).
(3) CPR 1422-1429, p. 452 (William Colles).
Abbey of St Mary Graces
The Cistercian Abbey of St Mary Graces, founded in the fourteenth century by King Edward III, was situated east of the Tower of London. It was found to be impoverished and dissolute and in February 1427 the Council committed its care and restoration to the Duke of Gloucester, Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, Philip Morgan, Bishop of Ely, the Earl of Stafford, Lewis Robessart (all council members), to William Salbury, Abbot of Beaulieu, and Richard, Abbot of Boxlee in Kent (1). Probably only the last two named were required to take action.
An investigation was carried out, and in May Abbot William (no known surname) admitted that owing to the mismanagement of his predecessor Abbot Paschal, who had taken the position by force, the abbey’s jewels were no longer in the abbey’s possession. They had been pawned and were in the hands of the mother of one Roger Monne who lived in a house near St Botolf’s Wharf. Furthermore, a house belonging to the abbey had been made over by Paschal to an esquire named Kighley, presumably for his own profit (2, 3).
(1) CPR 1422-1429, p. 394 (St Mary Graces committal).
(2) PPC III, p. 269 (abbey’s jewels).
(3) http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/london/vol1/pp461-464 (St Mary Graces).
The Council and the Papacy
The Council continued Henry V’s policy of requesting papal endorsement for royal appointments to bishoprics while not allowing the pope to nominate a candidate who was unacceptable to the crown (see 1424).
In January the Council endorsed the election of John Hawkhurst, a brother of the order, as Abbot of St Augustine’s, Canterbury but St Augustine’s was subject to the court at Rome and did not fall under the jurisdiction of any diocese in England (1, 2). Pope Martin promptly denied King Henry’s right to nominate Hawkhurst but compromised by issuing a papal bull confirming Hawkhurst as abbot. ‘The king’ accepted Hawkhurst on these terms. Neither side lost face. Hawkhurst’s fealty was taken, and the temporalities of the abbey were restored to him in July 1427 (3).
Hawkhurst’s predecessor Marcellus Daudelyon, presumably the pope’s nominee, had been found guilty and fined for receiving casks of pirated wine (see 1426). Hawkhurst may have been, of necessity, his replacement.
(1) Foedera X, p. 369 (Hawkhurst elected).
(2) CPR 1422-1429, p. 386 (Hawkhurst elected).
(3) CPR 1422-1429, p. 411 (Hawkhurst confirmed).
Pope Martin V was determined to have the Statutes of Provisors and Praemunire that restricted his power and authority in England rescinded (see 1423). Martin never understood English politics or the strength of resistance in England to papal interference in ecclesiastical matters.
In 1427 Martin accused Henry Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury of disloyalty to Holy Mother Church for not supporting papal authority, and pronounced him unfit for office. He issued papal bulls depriving Chichele of the status of legatus natus which Chichele held as primate of England (1). Chichele was in no position to secure the repeal of the offending statutes, even if he wished to, which he did not. The pope was right in believing that Chichele opposed the nomination of foreign clerics to English benefices.
Martin’s bulls were never published in England. The Duke of Gloucester as Protector acted precisely a Henry V would have done to negate papal pretentions. John of Obizis, the papal nuncio, was arrested by the Constable of Dover on Gloucester’s orders as soon as he set foot in England and imprisoned in the Tower of London. Pope Marin complained to Gloucester that Obizis was only carrying out his orders, but paradoxically he also declared that he did not hold Gloucester responsible for the arrest (2). Mistakenly, Martin expected Gloucester’s support in his attempt to have the offending statutes repealed, Gloucester had professed to be a ‘good son’ of Holy Church and he was still awaiting the pope’s judgement on the validity of his marriage to Jaqueline of Hainault.
In May the Council thought better of such severe action against a papal envoy. Even Chichele thought it unwise to antagonise the pope unnecessarily. The bishops petitioned for the unfortunate man’s release on bail, but other members of the Council were still incensed: Lords Cromwell, Tiptoft, Bourchier, and Hungerford insisted that Obizis must find Englishmen willing to put up sufficient security that he would not abscond or break the law.
Obizis was brought before the Council in the Star Chamber where he undertook not to do anything contrary to the statues of the realm (i.e. try to publish the papal bulls) before 24 June, the Feast of St John the Baptist when he would again appear before the Council. On these conditions Gloucester, Huntingdon, Stafford, and Lord Scrope sanctioned his release (3).
(1) Harvey, England and Papacy, p. 144. (Pope Martin and Chichele).
(2) Papal Letters VII, p. 36 (Martin V to Gloucester).
(3) PPC III, p. 268 (Obizis or Opizzis both spelling occur).
Bishopric of Salisbury
John Chandler, Bishop of Salisbury died in July 1426 and under the Duke of Bedford’s influence the Council nominated Robert Neville, Henry Beaufort’s nephew as the next bishop, a promotion described by Gerald Harriss as one of Bedford’s doucers to conciliate Beaufort after his forced resignation as Chancellor (see 1426).
Robert was only twenty-two and still at Oxford. He was not acceptable to the chapter of Salisbury. In September they proceeded to elect their Dean, Simon Sydenham. Pope Martin refused to endorse either provision since neither was his chosen candidate.
In May 1427, after Bedford had left England, Gloucester, the Earl of Stafford, six bishops on the Council, and Lords Cromwell, Tiptoft, and Hungerford gave their consent to Sydenham’s request to pursue his claim to the bishopric at the court of Rome (1). Henry Beaufort did not have the sympathy of the Council.
Beaufort wrote to Pope Martin in June urging him to accept Robert Neville, and since Martin had made Beaufort a cardinal and was looking to him for future support he could hardly refuse (5, 6). He provided Neville, and the Council caved in. Robert became Bishop of Salisbury and Sydenham remained Dean of Salisbury until 1429 when he became Bishop of Chichester (see 1429). This was the first but by no means the last time in King Henry VI’s reign, that Beaufort/Neville influence would decide appointments to the episcopate.
(1) PPC III, p. 269 (permission to Sydenham to contest).
(2) Harriss, Beaufort, p. 173. (Beaufort’s letter to the pope).
(3) Papal Letters VII, pp. 32–33.
John Arderne, clerk of the king’s works, was granted £200 in February to undertake much needed repairs at the Tower of London and the palace at Westminster (1).
The first stone for the tower on London Bridge was laid by the Mayor, John Reynwell.
“And that yere the towre on the draught brygge of London was be-gonne. And the Mayre layde the fyrste stone, and mo othyr aldyrmen with hym.” Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 162
“The Tower on London Bridge at the north end of the drawbridge . . . . was begun to be builded in the [mayoral] yeare 1426.” Stow, Survey of London I, p. 25
(1) PPC III, p. 243 (repairs to the Tower).
Foreign merchants trading in England, known as ‘aliens,’ were required to pay customs duties imposed by Parliament on all imported goods.
In July 1427 the Treasurer Lord Hungerford, was instructed to appoint a time and place for the payment of customs duties by ‘certain foreigners.’ On 20 July Hungerford was authorized to negotiate a respite for ‘certain foreign merchants’ on the customs and subsides due on wool and ‘other merchandise’ (1). The wording in the Proceedings is vague, and it is impossible to be certain to whom they refer, but the Council periodically permitted German merchants of the Hanseatic League, extensions of time to pay what they owed.
A ship from Catalonia had just been arrested off the port of Sandwich on the orders of Sir Henry Inglose, the Duke of Bedford’s lieutenant as Admiral of England, presumably for attempting to land his cargo illegally. He was required to put up a bond of £2,000, a considerable sum. The Council issued a licence to the master of the vessel to dispose of his merchandise and ‘proceed wheresoever he pleased’ i.e., leave England as soon as possible (2).
(1) PPC III, pp. 270 and 275 (payment of customs duties).
(2) PPC III, p. 275 (ship of Catalonia).
The Wine Trade
‘Sweet’ wines were imported from Spain and Italy; the most highly prized being the sweet wines of Cyprus (1). Duties on sweet wines was set at a higher rate than on French wines: 6s. the tun against 3s. the tun, which made them more expensive: 12d. a gallon as against 6d. a gallon for Rochelle or Gascon wine (2).
Complaints of malpractice by ‘alien’ merchants trading in London were common throughout Henry VI’s reign. The City authorities set rigid standards for all merchandise offered for sale, and were quick to take action against anyone, especially foreigners, who violated their regulations. In 1427 the ‘Lombards’ (Italian merchants) were accused of selling bad wine. The mayor, John Reynwell, ordered the offending casks to be broken open, allowing the wine to spill out into the gutters. Wines were stored in casks or pipes and were apt to turn sour, ‘go bad,’ if the casks were not filled properly and a layer of air was left at the top.
“And in the same yere were founde many false vessels of Romeney, the whiche were made by gadered Galgenet, into the nombre of vj buttes, which the hedes were smyt oute of in diuerse places of the Cite; the falsest gode that euyr any man see.” Brut Appendix E p 453
“And that yere was smytte owte many buttys of Romnaye of Lumbardys makyng in dyvers placys of the Cytte, for they were corrupte and also they very pyson, &c.”
Gregory’s Chronicle, p 161
“The Lombards corrupting their sweete wines, when knowledge thereof came to John Rainwell, Maior of London, he in diuerse places of the Citie commanded the heads of the buts and other vessels in the open streetes to be broken, to the number of 150, so that the liquour running forth, passed through the Cittie like a streame of raine water, in the sight of all the people, from whence there issued a most loathsome sauour.” Stow, Survey of London I, pp. 240-41.
(1) Postan, Medieval Trade, p. 96 (wines).
(2) Power and Postan, English Trade, p. 328 (wine tax).
Lawlessness was inevitable during Henry VI’s minority. The Council and the crown did not have the resources or the personnel for effective policing. Complaints of lawlessness and the Council’s failure to bring lawbreakers to justice for “the better keeping of the peace” occur frequently in the parliamentary rolls and in the Calendars of the Patent Rolls. Men could be outlawed for failing to appear before the courts to answer a claim for debt or a charge of trespass, but outlawry was not the same as conviction for a serious crime. Outlaws who laid low and kept out of further trouble could purchase a pardon from the impecunious government for a small fee. Others went into hiding or formed themselves into gangs and supported themselves by further criminal activity.
Wawe was a major malefactor with a long history of theft, extortion, and highway robbery; even his name was probably not his own. He had been outlawed as a felon and a thief under Henry V. He escaped from the Marshalsea and gathered a sizeable gang of followers, initially in Hertfordshire but spreading to other counties. His name became a by-word for ruthlessness. He and his gang preyed on travellers and rich merchants, and even ransacked church property (1) .
In March 1427, following numerous complaints, the Council put a bounty of £100 on Wawe’s head as an inducement for his fellow marauders to inform against him. The sheriff of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire was ordered to arrest him on sight. The offer is worth quoting in full: (2)
“a certain son of iniquity named William Wawe convicted of many treasons and felonies, having escaped from the Marshalsea prison and joined other felons had robbed many churches and nunneries and had committed and still continued to commit, various depredations on the king’s highways.”
[The sheriff was commanded] “to make proclamation in all the fairs and markets within his bailiwick that if anyone should arrest the said William or produce his body or his head alive or dead before the Council he should receive a reward of £100; that if he should be taken by any person guilty of any crime excepting treason the taker should receive a free pardon and 100 marks; that if taken by the commonality of any city, borough, town, or hamlet the inhabitants thereof should be discharged from the payment of toll, and if they were already free there from, should receive some privilege of equal value; and that no one should give him food or lodging under pain of incurring the penalty in such case provided” (2).
Wawe was named in a petition to Parliament involving a complicated dispute between three executors entrusted with administering a wealthy man’s estate: two of them accused the third, John Colles, of embezzlement; they claimed that they had been unable to recover the money due from him, but they could not administer the estate without his concurrence. “In order to recover from his great penury and misdeeds, [Colles] has recently joined the ranks of William Wawe and other felons” with the intention of having one of the executors murdered (3).
The Council commissioned Sir John Radcliffe, who was in England trying to collect his wages as Seneschal of Gascony, to apprehend Wawe, possibly because one of Radcliffe’s servants had joined Wawe’s gang. Wawe took sanctuary in Beaulieu Abbey in Hampshire where Radcliffe ran him to earth. He was forcibly removed and imprisoned in the Tower to await trial. A year later, in October 1428, Radcliffe was paid £40 for capturing Wawe, considerably less than the bounty originally offered (4).
Wawe was indicted in the Bishop of Winchester’s diocesan court in April where heresy was added to the other charges. Wawe pleaded that Radcliffe had violated sanctuary and therefore his arrest was illegal. But a convicted criminal was not protected under the laws of sanctuary and nor was a heretic so Radcliffe was within his rights (5). As Griffiths puts it, “next to Oldcastle and ‘Jack Sharp’ the most notorious lawbreaker to whom contemporaries attributed heretical proclivities was William Wawe [although he] displayed greater zeal in robbing ecclesiastics, nunneries, travellers, and merchants than in embracing eccentric religious beliefs. His followers resembled the retinue of a lawless layman” (6).
The court of King’s Bench found Wawe guilty on all counts. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn in July 1427 and his head was set on London Bridge. Members of his gang were hunted down and arrested, both before and after Wawe’s execution.
“And in this same yere was Will Wawe take for an [a]rannt þeef, and was brought to London to þe Kynges Bench, & so brought to Westmynster a-fore þe kynges Justices, & ϸer Jugede toϸe dethe. And so he was brought again from Westmynster to Suthwerk, & þen he was put in a carte, stanndyng, & faste bounde; & so he was cariede thorugh þe Cite to Tiborne, that all men myght see hym & knowe hym, And so he was caried the thirde day of Juyll, And there hangede for his trespass. Brut Appendix D, pp. 441-442
(1) Griffiths, ‘William Wawe,’ in King and Country, pp. 227-32.
(2) PPC III, pp. 256-59 (sheriffs’ orders).
(3) PROME X, pp. 337–38 (Wawe named in Parliament).
(4) PPC III, p. 312. (Wawe arrested and tried).
(5) Bellamy, Crime and Public Order, p. 107.
(6) Griffiths, Henry VI, p. 131.
Disturbing the Peace
Two minor cases of disturbing the peace were referred to the Council by the justices of assize in July 1427.
George Hethe had appeared before William Babington and William Westbury, justices of assize at Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. He gave a bond of 1,000 marks to keep the peace towards Robert Mordaunt and to present himself before the Council at Westminster after the quinzaine of St Michael (13 October). Four men of Suffolk stood surety for Hethe and he duly appeared and was discharged on 25 November 1427 (1).
Hugh Hasilden appeared before the same justices in Bedfordshire on 30 July, charged with disturbing the king’s peace. Hasildon gave a bond of £100 to present himself before the Council at Westminster also on 13 October and in the meantime to keep the peace towards the mayor and town council of Bedford, i.e. not to cause any further disturbances in the town. He appeared before the Council was discharged on 2 December (2).
John Hope, the Mayor of Chester, and the town’s council, were ordered to send an attorney to the Council at Westminster in May, presumably to state their case for claiming some special privilege or exemption and for defying royal letters. They were required to produce proof of such privileges if they existed (3).
(1) PPC III, p. 277 (Hethe).
(2) PPC III, pp. 280-281 (Hasilden).
(3) PPC III, p. 269 (Mayor of Chester).
King James I of Scotland obtained his release in 1423, after eighteen years in captivity by a treaty promising to pay a ransom of 60,000 marks or £40,000, over six years in annual instalments of 10,000 marks and to send Scottish nobles to England as hostages that he would keep his word.
In 1427 the Minority Council sent William Bruges, Garter King of Arms, to raise three points of contention with King James. The first was the non-payment of James’s ransom. The second was that James had not sent hostages to replace the six who had died in English custody since 1424. The third point was that violations of the truce by the Scots were on the increase but despite James’s promise that he would make reparations, nothing had been done (1).
See Year 1423 Scotland for the treaty and truce.
NB: Nicolas notes that the councillors’ signatures are autograph and that the writing in the instruction to Garter is similar to that of the Chancellor, John Kemp, who was also Archbishop of York. Unusually the Earl of Northumberland’s signature comes before that of the Duke of Bedford, perhaps because Northumberland was Warden of the East March.
Three instalments of the ransom totaling 30,000 marks were due, but only 9,500 marks had been received. James’s envoy, Thomas Roulle, had informed the Council that the 10,000 marks for 1427 were ready for delivery. Garter was to request immediate payment.
At the end of 1427 sixteen members of the Council signed a letter to James in King Henry’s name complaining that Thomas Roulle’s undertaking had not been kept (2). James was unimpressed and unintimidated, and money was not paid.
(1) PPC III, pp. 259-265 (Garter King of Arms instructions. He received £10 for expenses).
(2) Foedera X, pp. 384-385 (ransom unpaid).
Garter was to stress that the six hostages who died did so of natural causes, and not through violence, neglect, or cruelty by their gaolers. On the contrary, they had been given liberty to leave the Tower precincts to visit local merchants and purchase goods for their own use. It was no use James complaining that they should have been moved out of London when plague was in the City. The Dukes of Bedford, Gloucester and the Council had not been evacuated, they met regularly at Westminster, and in any case the difficulty of prevailing on James to send replacements far outweighed any advantage of allowing the hostages to die.
Garter pointed out that although King James had sent Thomas Roulle with a list of fifteen names as replacements at the end of 1426 Roulle left London before their suitability could be checked, so delay was inevitable until the checks could be completed to the satisfaction of the Wardens of the March (1).
The exchange of hostages took up most of 1427. The Council authorized the release of Gilbert Hay from the Tower of London, and of Patrick Lyon, James of Kinnymonde, Sir William Borthwick. and Sir William Erth from York Castle (2).
On 8 March the Chancellor issued a licence for the five hostages to leave England provided their replacements, David, Lord of Lassell, Sir Hugo de Blare, Robert Logan of Restalrig, William Dishington, and Patrick, Lord of Graham were acceptable to the Wardens. The Earl of Northumberland, Warden of the East March, was among the nine councillors who signed the release (3, 4).
Robert Passmere, a sergeant at arms, was paid ten marks to escort Hay north (5). Peter Cawode received 20 marks to provide six horses for Hay, his servants and his household goods to travel to York. Cawode was to convey all five hostages from York to Pontefract Castle where Sir John Langton, the former sheriff of York, and Sir Richard Neville, Warden of the West March, were to receive them (6).
Peter Cawode tried to deliver them but Richard Neville refused to accept them because no suitable replacements had been provided and Cawode had to keep them for a further two months at his own house in Yorkshire (7).
In July John Clink, a sergeant at arms, was ordered to deliver nine more hostages into the custody Sir Richard Neville, and take their replacements to Pontefract: the Earl of Crawford, Lord Robert Erskine, James Dunbar of Fendraught, and George son of the Earl of Dunbar, Adam Hepburn of Hailes, Norman Leslie, William of Erth, and James Kinnymonde (8).
Peter Cawode tried to deliver them but Richard Neville refused to accept them because no suitable replacements had been provided and Cawode had to keep them for a further two months at his own house in Yorkshire (11). The final exchange of hostages in 1427 was not completed until November when the nine hostages were licensed to leave England (9, 10).
Sixteen Scots remained in custody(1). It says much for the loyalty of his subjects to King James that they continued to accept the exchanges even though they surely knew that James would not pay his ransom to obtain their release. They had a greater sense of honour than he had.
(1) PPC III, pp. 357-358 (Roulle, hostages and replacements).
(2) PPC III, pp. 254-255 (hostages first release).
(3) Foedera X, p. 372 (licence to leave England).
(4) Documents Relating to Scotland IV, pp. 205-206 (first hostage exchange).
(5) PPC III, p. 265 (Passemere).
(6) Foedera X, p. 369 (hostages to be released).
(7) Foedera X, p. 373 (Cawode).
(8) Foedera X p. 376 (second hostage exchange).
(9) Balfour-Melville, James I, p. 294, (list of replacements).
(10) Foedera X, pp. 381-382 (final release).
(11) Balfour-Meville, James I, p. 148 (for details of the exchanges).
Violations of the truce along the Anglo/Scottish border were endemic, both sides continued to blame the other while carrying on the age-old tradition.
Commissions of array were issued in March 1427 to the Earl of Northumberland, (who was attending council meetings at Canterbury) Sir Richard Neville, the sheriff of York, Sir Thomas Tunstall, Sir Edmund Hastings, plus three local men from the North Riding and five from the East Riding of Yorkshire to suppress disturbances and deal with truce violations (1). This was standard practice but it was rarely successful, as both sides were equally guilty.
In July William Grey, Bishop of London and Sir William Harrington travelled to the Marches of Scotland in July to treat with their Scottish counterparts. Grey and Harrington were awarded 100 marks and £20 respectively for their expenses (2).
See Scotland 1425 for March Days.
The commissioners had no common grounds on which to reach agreement. They had no control over a situation which was impossible to resolve. There would always be raids, rustling, and robberies along the Anglo-Scottish border. The only thing they could do was to discuss reparations which might or might not be implemented (3).
The Council wrote to King James in November touching a specific violation of the truce. Tenants of Sir Hugh Lutterell had been captured while fishing off the Irish coast and detained by William Carnys at Bothwell Castle. William was probably related to Alexander Carnys, a secretary to Archibald, the Black Douglas who owned Bothwell Castle (4).
Hugh Lutterell was the MP for Devon and Somerset from 1404 to 1415 and thereafter he served in France under Henry V. He was a commissioner of the peace for Devon and Somerset from 1423 to 1427 and, as a loyal supporter of the crown, he was active on inquisitions to maintain law and order. In 1426 he was a commissioner to raise a loan in Somerset for the king. He was also an associate of the Duke of Gloucester in a property transaction. Lutterell was well worth the Council’s help, but it was short lived, he died in 1428 (5).
(1) Foedera X, p. 372 (commissions of array).
(2) PPC III, p. 275 (English commissioners).
(3) PPC III, p. 358 (reparations).
(4) Foedera X, p. 382 (Lutterell).
(5) CPR 1422-1429, pp. 354, 400, 562, 569 and passim. (Lutterell).
NB. Foedera X, pp. 376-377 dated 19 July is completely misplaced. The King of Scotland is King James IV, ‘the king’ is Henry VII. Andrew Stewart was Bishop of Moray from 1482 to 1501. Columba Dunbar was Bishop of Moray in 1427.
King James’s failure to honour his commitment to pay his ransom caused the Council financial and political embarrassment. In February Richard Buckland, the Treasurer of Calais, John Shirley, a servant of the Earl of Warwick, with John Halle representing the garrison, met with members of the Council in the chapter house at St Pauls to lodge the perennial complaint of non-payment of the garrison’s wages (see 1423).
They were told that 10,000 marks of King James’s ransom, due to be paid at Middleburgh, had been assigned to them, but if, as was all too likely, the payment was late, would the garrison accept a further assignment of 13s. 4d. on every sack of wool shipped, in addition to the 13s 4d they were already receiving? Buckland agreed to this (1).
The Mint at Calais
Henry V had re-established a mint at Calais in 1422 as part of his reformation of the coinage to maintain an official standard of value for English coin. Purchasers of wool at the Calais Staple were required to make payment in English money. Bartholomew Goldbeter was master of the mint at Calais (see 1423).
Stephen and John Marcel, masters of the mint at Rouen, were authorized to export fifty fodders of lead for use at the Calais mint (2). The design of the silver groats issued for Henry VI’s reign were changed in 1427, and lead from the mint at Rouen would have been used to cast the new dyes.
(1) PPC III, pp. 242-243 (Calais wages).
(2) PPC III, p. 270 (lead for mint at Calais).
The Duke of Bedford and the Council
The Duke of Bedford was preparing to leave England at the beginning of 1427. The Council was grateful to Bedford, and a little in awe of him. They had rewarded him generously. He received the same salary as Protector while he was in England as the Duke of Gloucester received. He was granted custody of the Powis estates after the death of Joan, Lady of Powis, with the wardship and marriage of her son and heir Henry Grey (see 1425). He also received custody of the estates of John, Earl of Oxford, with certain exceptions, from the time of the death of Oxford’s guardian, the Duke of Exeter, until Oxford achieved his majority (1). Bedford was to receive all the profits from the gold and silver mines in England for ten years (2). Mining in Devon and Cornwall was a valuable crown asset.
On 26 January 1427 the Council agreed to pay the expenses for Bedford, his wife, and his retinue to return to France, and in February they would award him £2,000 ‘for his labours and expenses in coming from and returning to France’ (3, 4).
On 28 January eleven councillors requested Bedford to meet them in the Star Chamber at Westminster: Chancellor Kemp, supported by Henry Chichele Archbishop of Canterbury, John Stafford, Bishop of Bath and Wells the former Treasurer, Philip Morgan Bishop of Ely, and William Alnwick Bishop of Norwich, Keeper of the Privy Seal. Humphrey, Earl of Stafford, John Holand, Earl of Huntingdon, and Lords Cromwell, Scrope, Tiptoft and Hungerford, the Treasurer. These men formed the backbone of the Council which would govern England in Bedford’s absence.
The Duke of Gloucester had declared that “he would not answer for his actions to anyone except the king when Henry came of age” and “let my brother govern as he will while he is in England, but after he returns to France I shall govern as I see fit” (5). Such language was unsettling.
The councillors freely acknowledged the special position of the Protector, but they sought assurances that they would be able to govern England without interference or fear of retribution and that ultimate authority lay with the Minority Council and not with the Protector.
The councillors presented Bedford with an ultimatum: he must endorse their terms for accepting the responsibility of governing England during King Henry’s minority or they would be forced to resign. Bedford was suspiciously eager to fall in with their demands. He thanked them in almost fulsome terms, declared his support for them without any reservations, and he swore an oath on the bible to uphold their authority.
The Duke of Gloucester was not present. He claimed to be ill. On the following day, 29 January, the councillors attended on him and presented Bedford’s acceptance of their ultimatum. Bedford, as Protector, had signed and sworn; Gloucester, who would become Protector as soon as Bedford left England, had no option but to follow suit. He gave his promise, but not his oath (6, 7).
It was all too neat. Was the councillors’ petition Bedford’s last, carefully stage-managed effort to keep Gloucester in check and so ensure that he would not have to return to England a second time to settle disputes engendered by his erratic brother?
Another important question was discussed in Council at this time: the direction of the war in France. What had been King Henry V’s intentions when he instructed Bedford to hold the Duchy of Normandy at all costs? Had he meant in addition to extending English conquests in France, or if Normandy was threatened, was Bedford to defend it and the pays de conquête at the expense of a further expansion of Lancastrian France? It was of vital interest to the Council who would be expected to raise the money if the war was to continue.
The Council called on its members who had been in France when Henry V died to state their recollections of what the king had actually said. William Alnwick, Humphrey Earl of Stafford, Louis Robessart Lord Bourchier, and Lord Hungerford were reluctant. They claimed that the deep sorrow they had experienced at Henry’s death made it difficult for them to remember the sad event in any detail.
“Nevertheless, as faithfully as they could remember the king’s intent and the meaning of the words he said, it was ‘that my Lord Bedford should draw him down into Normandy and keep that country as well as the remnant [remaining parts] of his conquest . . . . with the revenues and profits thereof and do there as he would do with his own.”
Bedford had answered that he understood it was the king’s will for him to do this until the present king came of age, and Henry V “said he understood no otherwise” (8).
This answer did not resolve the question of the extent to which the war should be pursued. With Bedford present the Council was reluctant to suggest in so many words that Henry V may have recognised at the end of his life that without him the kingdom of France could not be conquered. Bedford was committed to the dual monarchy, and for once Gloucester would have shared his brother’s stance.
Bedford’s year in England had taught him that whatever his earlier conviction, he could not be both Protector of England and Regent of France, the task was beyond one man, no matter how dedicated or hard working he might be. Bedford may even have wondered if he would return to England again.
He had petitioned the Parliament at Leicester in 1426 to be relieved of the custodianship of Berwick; he said he did not wish to be held responsible if it was lost. But typically, he did not relinquish all control; he requested and was granted the right to appoint his successor, although there is no indication on the parliament roll or in the Proceedings that he named anyone (9).
Prince John of Lancaster, as he then was, had become Warden of the East March and custodian of Berwick Castle at a very young age when he served as his father’s lieutenant in the North. He resigned the wardenship early in Henry V’s reign but remained the nominal custodian of Berwick even though he had not visited the town for many years. Berwick was the responsibility of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland as Warden of the East March (see 1424).
Berwick Castle was believed to be the key to the defence of the Anglo-Scottish border. Its importance to contemporary Englishmen is demonstrated by Bedford’s decision to abrogate liability for maintaining it, even though he had been content to remain its absentee custodian. Was he afraid that Gloucester and the Council might lose it? The Earl of Northumberland was often away from the north attending council meetings in London. In February 1427 on the eve of his departure Bedford requested his petition should be entered on the Chancery rolls (10).
(1) PPC III, p. 246 (Oxford’s estates).
(2) Foedera X, p. 370 (Gold and silver concession).
(3) PPC III, p. 230 (Bedford’s expenses).
(4) PPC III, pp. 247-248 (£2,000 for coming to England).
(5) PPC III, p. 241 (Gloucester’s declared intentions).
(6) PPC III, pp. 231-36 (Council’s ultimatum). Nicolas notes that the signatures JOHN and H. GLOUCESTER are not autograph, they are supplied from another MS.
(7) PPC III, pp. 237-242 (a fuller copy of the meetings).
(8) PPC III, p. 248 (Henry V’s instructions to Bedford on Normandy).
(9) PPC III, pp. 245-246 (Bedford’s request re Berwick).
(10) PROME X, p. 296 (Bedford’s request re Berwick).
The Duke of Bourbon and the Earl of Somerset
At a Council meeting in Canterbury on 10 March 1427, just before he left England, the Duke of Bedford requested that for urgent reasons and the good of the realm consideration should be given to allowing John, Duke of Bourbon, captured at Agincourt, to return to France.
King Henry V had set the terms for Bourbon’s release in 1420: Bourbon must accept the Treaty of Troyes (euphemistically called the Final Peace) making Henry V heir to the throne of France. Bourbon’s ransom was 100,000 écus (crowns), 60,000 of which must be paid by August 1421; Bourbon would then be set free. The balance of 40,000 écus was to be paid within six months after that (1). Despite a contribution of 100,000 livres tournois by the Dauphin Charles, these terms were not met within the time limit specified, and Henry V’s death intervened. The Duke of Bourbon remained in England.
Bedford’s ‘urgent reason’ for requesting Bourbon’s release was part of his effort to reward Henry Beaufort for his compliance in resigning the chancellorship in 1426.
See Year 1426: The Duke of Gloucester and Henry Beaufort.
Beaufort was worried that the Beaufort line might die out. Childless himself, the future lay with his nephews, John, Thomas, and Edmund, the sons of John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset, who died in 1410. All three were still young, but they were unmarried and without issue, and two of them were in captivity (2).
The young John Beaufort had been titular Earl of Somerset since the age of fourteen after his elder brother, Henry, died in 1418. His mother, Margaret, had married Thomas Duke of Clarence as her second husband and Clarence took his step sons, John and Thomas, with him to Normandy in 1420. They were captured at the disastrous Battle of Baugé in 1421 where Clarence was killed.
The Dauphin purchased John Beaufort from his Scots captor for 40,000 écus in 1423 and transferred his custody to Marie, Duchess of Bourbon to facilitate a possible exchange for the Duke of Bourbon. The duchess reached an agreement with England’s ally the Duke of Burgundy to keep her husband’s lands neutral in whatever fighting might take place (3) which, after his generosity cannot have pleased the Dauphin. But their son, Charles Count of Clermont was one of the Dauphin’s staunchest supporters.
John Beaufort came of age in 1425 and received livery of his lands as Earl of Somerset, making him the highest-ranked and most valuable English magnate in French hands (4).
The Council agreed to Bedford’s request for his release but only provided he fulfilled Henry V’s requirement to endorse the Treaty of Troyes making Henry VI King of France; and force his heir, the Count of Clermont, to do likewise. In addition to the 40,000 écus (crowns) of his ransom he must put up the money for the Beaufort brothers’ ransoms or give security for the amount. The Beauforts would repay it, but not until 1437 when King Henry VI came of age, and only then if it was demanded of them (5). Bourbon could not meet these terms and he remained in captivity.
See Year 1429 and 1434: The Duke of Bourbon for further negotiations.
(1) Wylie & Waugh III, p. 287 (Henry V’s terms).
(2) Harriss, Beaufort, p. 161 (Beaufort lineage).
(3) CClR 1422-1429, pp. 240-231 (livery of lands to Somerset).
(4) Beaucourt, Charles VII, vol. II, p. 8, n. 2 (Duchess of Bourbon).
(5) PPC III, pp. 255-256 (Council’s terms).
The Duke of Bedford and Henry Beaufort
Henry Beaufort left England in March. He was given permission to export 800 sacks of wool for his expenses, to be sold at Calais or Cherbourg, provided he paid the customs duties on them (1). This was not exactly robbing Peter to pay Paul, but it came close since repayment of Beaufort’s loans was assigned on the customs (see 1423).
His loan of 1425 had been repaid, but that of 1424 had not, and he still held the king’s crown as surety for the debt (see 1425). On the eve of departure, he delivered the crown to the Council in the Star Chamber at Westminster to be placed for safe keeping in the custody of the Treasurer and Chamberlains at the Exchequer (2).
(1) PPC III, p. 253 (wool export).
(2) PPC III, p. 250 (king’s crown).
The Duke and Duchess of Bedford and Henry Beaufort crossed to Calais. As soon as they arrived, on 25 March, Bedford performed the ceremony in St Mary’s church making Henry Beaufort a cardinal. A scarlet cope lined with grey squirrel fur was draped over his shoulders and he sang the mass. The coveted cardinal’s red hat had been placed on the altar by a papal envoy, possibly the pope’s cousin, and after the mass Beaufort knelt before the altar while the papal bulls making him a papal legate and confirming his right to retain the bishopric of Winchester were read out, in violation of English law. The Duke of Bedford then lifted the red hat from the altar and placed it on Beaufort’s head. The duke stepped back and bowed to the new cardinal.
Beaufort’s elevation would have far reaching political consequences. Cardinals and papal legates out ranked the Archbishop of Canterbury, the primate of England, and they were universally disliked and distrusted everywhere in England. Gloucester would make full use of this antipathy to sustain his quarrel with Beaufort.
The London chronicles, deriving from a common source, give maximum coverage to the creation of Henry Beaufort as a cardinal. Brut D is almost identical with them. Brut H derives from a different, less accurate source; Beaufort did not go to Rome to receive his cardinal’s hat.
“This same yere abow[gh]t Shroftyde the Duke of Bedforde with his lady passid ouer the see to caleys; and a lytell be fore passid the see allso to caleys herry Bisshop of Wynchestre and vpon owre lady day the Anunciacion, anno Domini millesimo iiijc xxvii, the bysshop of Winchester whas [made] cardinall in seynt mary chirch of caleys ffull solempnely, where were the same tyme the duke of Bedford, Regent of ffraunce, and the duchess;
and beffore or the mass whas begon, wich the bisshop of Wynchestre schuld do, the Popis cosyn brought the cardinallys hatte and with grete Reuerence set it vpon his auter. And ther it stood all the masse tyme, and whan the bysshope hadde don the masse and whas unrevessed, ther whas don vpon hym an abite in maner of a ffrerys coope of ffyne scarlett ffurred with puryd.
And than, ther knelyng vpon his knees by fore the high auter , the popys Bullys were red to hym, and the ffirst bulle whas his charge, and the seconde Bulle whas that he schuld have an reioyse all the benefyces spirituell and temporell that he hadde had in Englond. And whan this whas done the Regent of ffraunce, Duke of Bedforde, went vp to the high auter, and toke the cardinallys hatte, and sett it vpon the bysshopis hede of Wynchester, and bowyd and obeyed to the bysshop, and toke hym before hym.”
Chronicles of London, Cleopatra C IV, p. 131
“In the vjte yere of his regne, Henry, Bisshope of Winchester, went ouer see to Caleys, and so forth to Rome, where-as þe Pope hym made Cardynall, and gave to hym þe cros, to be born before hym alway where he went.” Brut Continuation H, p. 568
Chronicles: English Chronicle (Marx), p. 54; Short English Chronicle, pp. 59-60; Chronicle of London, p. 115; Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 161; Great Chronicle, pp. 149-150; Chronicles of London (Julius B II), pp. 95-96; Brut Continuation D pp. 433-434; Brut Continuation G, pp. 499-500; Annales p. 760; Benet’s Chronicle, p. 181
The Duke of Bedford’s books
Bedford celebrated his return to France in his own way. In August one John Thomas, a clerk ‘dwelling in Paris’ claimed payment for having copied two books at Bedford’s command. One, in Latin prose copied onto parchment was entitled “La Pelerinage de Lame,” costing 12 livres tournois. Another book in French verse entitled “Le vif de Confession” costing 10 livres tournois. Thomas acknowledged receipt of the 22 livres tourois from the sheriff of Beaumont le Rogier (1).
(1) L&P II, ii, pp. 415-416 (Bedford’s books).
Cardinal Beaufort and Bohemia
Pope Martin’s quid pro quo for creating Henry Beaufort a cardinal at Bedford’s request was for Beaufort to aid the pope in his crusade against the heretic sect in Bohemia known as the Hussites. The Hussite leader, John Hus had been burned at the stake in 1415 for preaching doctrines deemed heretical by the Catholic Church and this had led to a widespread revolt against the authority of both church and state in Bohemia. Hus’s followers raised armies of resistance and the Hussite Revolution of 1419-20 had temporarily freed Bohemia from obedience to both the Emperor Sigismund and Pope Martin. Martin’s ‘crusade’ against the Hussites had proved disastrously ineffectual.
Martin designated Cardinal Beaufort as legate a latere for Bohemia, Germany, and Hungary, lands in the Holy Roman Empire subject to the Emperor Sigismund. Sigismund was not crowned Holy Roman Emperor until 1433; until then he was technically King of the Romans, the title of the heir to the Empire. But Sigismund styled himself ‘Emperor’ long before 1433, and he is commonly referred to as the Emperor Sigismund as early as King Henry V’s reign. He was the son of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. He was also King of Hungary, Croatia, and Bohemia, and from 1410 ‘King of Germany’ which did not exist.
Thanks to King Henry V the martial prowess of the House of Lancaster was recognised throughout Europe and their orthodoxy was unquestioned. Henry IV, before he became king, had fought with the Teutonic knights against heretics. Surely his half- brother, a prince of the church, would be willing, and able, to do the same. Martin wrote to King Henry VI, the Council, and the Duke of Bedford announcing Beaufort’s appointment and exhorting them to give him all the encouragement they could (1).
Beaufort reached Nuremberg in July 1427 and joined Frederick of Brandenburg at Tachov. The German princes were as divided as the territories over which they ruled. In August a Hussite army put the German forces to flight and Beaufort did not take kindly to defeat. He despised the German princes’ inability to make common cause against a common enemy, men whom he dismissed as rabble: in his own words “the infidels of Bohemia are not nobles.”
He is reported to have said that if he had 10,000 English archers the outcome would have been very different (2, 3). Surely an exaggeration (if he said it) for 1,000 archers. Even Beaufort’s wealth could not have provided 10,000 English archers!
After the defeat at Tachov Cardinal Beaufort exercised his authority as legate a latere to summon the German princes to a diet (meeting) of the imperial estates at Frankfurt in September. It was poorly attended but the delegates agreed to meet again in November 1427. Beaufort persuaded them to impose a tax to launch another crusade; after that no further action was taken (4). Exasperated by a lack of success in his attempt to unify the German princes behind a crusade, Beaufort left Germany in March 1428 to seek aid from the states of Western Europe (5).
The Emperor Sigismund sent ambassadors to London towards the end of 1427. On 1 December the Council decreed that £40 should be paid to Bartholomew de Pisis and 20 marks to Antonio Guido (6, 7). The purpose of their visit is not specified, could it have been connected with Cardinal Beaufort’s presence in Germany?
In July 1428 English ambassadors on their way to Rome for negotiations with King Alfonso of Aragon were instructed to pay a visit to Sigismund, with “full powers to negotiate a league with King Sigismund” (see 1428). This may have been in response to the imperial envoys’ visit.
(1) Papal Letters VII, pp. 30-32 (Beaufort as legate a latere).
(2) Wavrin II, p. 325 (Wavrin claimed he was present with a contingent from the Duchy of Savoy. He is the source for Beaufort’s exclamation).
(3) L. Visser-Fuchs, History as Pastime, p. 462 points out that Wavrin’s account is included in the printed versions of his chronicle under 1420, but this is an error as the campaign of 1427 is clearly indicated by the reference to Cardinal Beaufort.
(4) Ferguson, Diplomacy, pp. 112-113 (meeting at Frankfurt).
(5) Harriss, Beaufort, pp. 174-175 (Beaufort left Germany).
(6) PPC III, p. 280 (Sigismund’s ambassadors).
(7) Ferguson, Diplomacy, p. 212, includes their names in his list of ambassadors from the Empire to England but gives no details in his text.
The Duke of Gloucester and Jacqueline of Hainault
The Duke of Gloucester had abandoned his wife, Jacqueline of Hainault, in 1425 and returned to England.
See Year 1425 for Gloucester and Jacqueline.
Throughout 1426, with the help of her loyal adherents, Jacqueline had courageously resisted the Duke of Burgundy’s efforts to defeat and capture her. As soon as she learned that the Duke of Bedford, who was implacably opposed to sending aid to her, had left England for fear of offending the Duke f Burgundy, Jacqueline wrote to the Council from Gouda where she had taken refuge begging for assistance.
She sent Louis de Montfort and Arnault of Ghent to England to plead her case and to inform the Council of ‘the monstrous outrages, oppressions and injuries’ done to her by the Duke of Burgundy. During the past two years he had chased her from one town to another, making war on her and her subjects. She beseeched the Council to inform the Duke of Gloucester her ‘redoubted lord and husband’ that she could not hold out for much longer without English aid. She hoped that the Council would take pity on her ‘grievous suffering’ and respond to her pleas without further delay (1, 2).
William Lyndwood and John Tyrell had set out in March to make contact with her but they did not reach her until May, possibly because they did not know where she was. She wrote to the Council at the end of May acknowledging their arrival and again at the beginning of June, reiterating her request for help (3).
John, Duke of Brabant, Jacqueline’s first husband, died on 17 April 1427. The legality of Gloucester’s marriage with Jacqueline was still undecided and Gloucester preferred to keep it that way. Jacqueline had consistently repudiated the Brabant marriage, she always referred to Brabant as her cousin and to Gloucester as her husband. She may have hoped that Brabant’s death would validate her second marriage.
Gloucester was on the horns of a dilemma. The Council and public opinion expected him to rescue Jacqueline, but this was the last thing he wanted to do. His situation and his outlook had changed radically since 1425. He had no intention of returning to Hainault and he had no desire to fight the Duke of Burgundy. His focus was on reestabhling his authority as Protector now that he had got rid of Henry Beaufort as Chancellor and the Duke of Bedford had returned to France. He did not want Jacqueline to come to England, but he could not ignore the groundswell of sympathy for her indefinitely.
Gloucester temporized. On 23 June he requested an advance on the 20,000 marks voted to him by Parliament in 1425 and gave a bond for its repayment. On 9 July the Council authorized a payment to him of 5,000 marks, and a further 4,000 marks as half his annual salary as Protector. The money was to be raised from customs duties, Duchy of Lancaster revenues, and feudal dues such as wardships and marriage, all of which were already over committed. In the end ‘the said sum [was] borrowed from divers persons, as well spiritual as temporal, and from the Mayor and Commonality of the City of London’ (4).
The Council was as anxious as the Duke of Bedford to avoid a war with Burgundy and they hedged the loan with contradictory safeguards: it could only be used to pay the wages of men-at-arms who garrisoned the places in Hainault and Holland still in obedience to the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, or to escort Jacqueline back to England. There must be no to attempt to recover any of Jaqueline’s patrimony now in the Duke of Burgundy’s hands without the explicit consent of Parliament (5, 6).
But even if the English only garrisoned Jacqueline’s towns, assuming they could reach them without encountering Burgundian forces, they would be forced to fight to defend them. Burgundy would certainly interpret the arrival in Hainault and Holland of even a small body of English soldiers as an act of war. The Council hedged its bets by issuing a blanket protection for any envoys the Duke of Burgundy might wish to send to England (7).
The Council had overlooked one important point in their deliberations: Jacqueline had not requested to be ‘rescued’ and brought to back to England, to the husband who had abandoned her. She wanted English reinforcements to continue her campaign to recover the territory she had lost. The wily Duke Philip used a cogent argument to persuade the Hainaulters to accept him as governor for Jacqueline and as her heir: there could be no peace in Hainault as long as Jacqueline continued to invite unwelcome Englishman to invade their county (8).
The Council wrote to the Duke of Bedford in some trepidation to justify the loan to Gloucester, citing pressure of public opinion in Jacqueline’s favour. They asked Bedford to intervene and persuade the Duke of Burgundy to stop hounding Jacqueline (9).
Bedford was predictably furious. He had taken the trouble to visit Duke Philip at Lille in June to persuade him to modify his campaign in the Low Countries, not out of any sympathy for Jaqueline, but because Burgundy had ceased to contribute much needed contingents to the war against the Dauphin. Duke Philip had agreed to allow Burgundian troops to be hired for service with the English, and reluctantly promised that a force under John of Luxembourg would be made available to Bedford (10).
Bedford wrote a scathing rely to the Council at the end of July pointing out the dangers, not just in France but to England of undoing all his careful diplomacy. They risked shattering the Anglo-Burgundian alliance – what were they thinking of? He reminded the Council that the validity of Gloucester’s marriage to Jacqueline, on which his claim to Hainault rested, had still not been settled and would be decided by the pope in Rome, not by a campaign in the Low Countries. The Council had the authority to curb Gloucester, and they should make use of it (11).
Despite his exasperation with his incorrigible brother, Bedford wrote to Gloucester in conciliatory terms promising to use his influence with Burgundy to reach an honourable settlement of Gloucester’s dispute with Duke Philip if he would only avoid engaging in any military expedition into the Low Countries (12).
Whether or not Burgundy believed, as the Duke of Bedford did, that Gloucester would risk leading an army against him, he nevertheless warned the citizens of Mons to raise men-at-arms and archers for defence against Gloucester (13).
Bedford and the Council misread Gloucester completely. He was only too happy to accept his brother’s offer. He sat tight in London. he had been authorized to name receivers of the loan he had requested to begin recruiting. On 29 July the Council issued a writ to John Iwardeby and Thomas Stockdale to raise an army ‘to proceed into Holland for the purposes specified in the said grant’ (14). No army was mustered, and in December Iwardeby and Stockdale, William Baron, and John Poutrell were paid £13 6s 8d for their expenses in remaining at Westminster throughout the autumn of 1427 (15).
Pope Martin let Gloucester off the hook in January 1428. He issued a papal bull declaring Jacqueline’s marriage to Duke John of Brabant was valid (16). Gloucester breathed a sigh of relief and married his mistress, Eleanor Cobham.
(1) Cartulaire des Comtes de Hainaut de L’Avènement de Guillaume II a la mort de Jacqueline de Bavière, vol. IV,1137 a 1436 (Brussels, 1889) pp. 579–582 (Jacqueline’s first letter of 8 April. Original French).
(2) Vaughan, Philip, pp. 46–47 (Extracts from Jacqueline’s letter in English).
(3) Cartulaire IV, pp. 590–593 and 597–601 (Jacqueline’s second and third letters).
(4) Issues of the Exchequer, p. 402 (source for loan to Gloucester).
(5) PPC III, pp. 271–274 (conditions of the loan).
(6) Foedera X, pp. 374–75 (loan and conditions).
(7) Foedera X, p. 377 (safe conduct for Burgundian envoys).
(8) Cartulaire IV, pp. 602-604 (Burgundy accepted by Hainaulters).
(9) Cartulaire IV, pp. 622–624 (Council’s letter to Bedford).
(10) Williams, Bedford, p. 150 (Burgundian troops to join English armies).
(11) Cartulaire IV, pp. 624-625 (Bedford’s letter to the Council).
(12) Cartulaire IV, pp. 635–636 (Bedford’s letter to Gloucester).
(13) Cartulaire IV, p. 632 (Mons ordered to raise men at arms and archers).
(14) PPC III, p. 276 (recruiters appointed).
(15) Issues of the Exchequer, p. 403 (recruiters’ expenses).
(16) Cartulaire IV, p. 648 (papal bull).
The Duke of Gloucester and the Earl of Salisbury
Amid the speculation over Gloucester’s intention to invade Hainault, Thomas Montague, Earl of Salisbury came home to recruit a large army for the war in France, and to persuade Parliament to finance it. He became a member of the Council on 15 July 1427 (1).
See Year 1428: The Earl of Salisbury’s Army
“Ande that same yere, the xiiij day of Juylle, cam the Erle of Saulysbury in to London owte of Fraunce”. Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 161
Brut D confused the Earl of Warwick, who was besieging Montargis in July, with the Earl of Salisbury: “And þan þe Erle of Warrewik come In-to Englande again.” Brut Appendix D, p. 441
The coincidence of his return and the widespread belief that Gloucester would raise an army to invade Hainault engendered a misconception in the mind of Pierre de Fenin, Prevost of Arras, who included it in his memoirs (2). It was picked up by the Burgundian chronicler Jean de Wavrin. He affirmed that Gloucester and Salisbury formed an alliance against the Duke of Burgundy in 1427 (3). It was no secret that Salisbury, like Gloucester, was a sworn foe of the duke. Salisbury had objected to the attentions that Burgundy had paid to his wife, Alice Chaucer, at a wedding in Paris in 1424 and he had refused thereafter to serve with Burgundy.
Later historians, aided by hindsight and building on Wavrin’s statement, have postulated that Salisbury allied with Gloucester to undermine the Duke of Bedford’s authority and that he offered Gloucester support for the expedition to Hainault (4). Ramsay goes so far as to state that Salisbury offered to take command of the expedition! (5).
But Salisbury was as committed as Bedford to furthering the conquest of France. Despite his personal animosity towards Burgundy, the last thing Salisbury had in mind was to see valuable English manpower diverted from his army for France to fight Burgundy in the Low Countries in which Salisbury had no interest. He would not have encouraged Gloucester or the Council to send men and money to defend or recover Jacqueline’s patrimony.
(1) PPC III, p. 274 (Salisbury councillor).
(2) Fenin, Pierre de, Mémoires II, ed. L.M.E, Dupont (1837), p. 624.
(3) Wavrin III, p. 139 (Gloucester and Salisbury).
(4) Harriss, Beaufort, p. 169.
(5) Ramsay, Lancaster and York I, p. 376.
The War in France
Arthur de Richemont had fortified and garrisoned the town of Pontorson on the Norman/Breton border just west of St James de Beuvron in an effort to recover his military reputation after his defeat at St James de Beuvron in 1426 (see 1426).
In January 1427, on Bedford’s orders, (1, 2) the Earl of Warwick laid siege to Pontorson with about 600 men at arms and 1800 archers (1, 2) In February Pierre Surreau Receiver General of Normandy paid John Harbottle, master of Bedford’s ordnance, 200 livres tournois for the wages of gunners, masons, carpenters, and others to be employed at the siege (3, 4).
The choleric Arthur de Richemont proclaimed loudly that he would come with an army to rescue Pontorson. There was a rumour that the Breton navy would land troops at Cherbourg and march down the Contentin peninsula for its relief.
Lord Hungerford was Captain of Cherbourg; his son Robert, had crossed to Normandy in 1426 and may have warned his father. Hungerford requested the Council’s permission to raise reinforcements to defend Cherbourg (5). He was understandably worried that if Cherbourg was lost, even temporarily, he would be blamed by the Duke of Gloucester whose greatest military exploit under Henry V had been to capture Cherbourg in 1418.
The Earl of Warwick believed an attack was imminent. He had heard an even more disquieting rumour: a combined French and Breton army, led by the Dauphin Charles, Duke John of Brittany, and Arthur de Richemont would arrive at Pontorson before the end of March. Fifty men at arms and archers were detached from Sir John Fastolf’s retinue to join Warwick (6) but this was not enough. One wonders if the inclusion of the Dauphin Charles’s name was an exaggeration on Warwick’s part or if Richemont was a better rumour monger than he was soldier.
Warwick instructed John Salvain, bailli of Rouen to order the Captain of Pont Audemar, to rush reinforcements to him. Salvain forwarded copies of Warwick’s letters, dictated at Pontorson on 17 March, to the officials in Pont Audemar with orders to commission and array all able-bodied men not members of the garrison and have them march by night and day to join Lord Scales at Avranches by no later than Sunday, 24 March when the attack was expected (7).
Thomas Lord Scales was on convoy duty, bringing supplies of food and other necessities from Avranches to Warwick. The Breton lords defending Pontorson made a sortie and attempted to ambush Scales on the beaches between Mont St Michel and Avranches, but Scales was one of the most experienced of the English war captains, and he easily defeated the Bretons who suffered serious losses. Jean de la Haye Baron de Coulonces, who had fought at St James de Bevron, Gilles Tournemine Lord of Hunaudaye, and the Lord of Chateaugiron were killed. Alain, Lord of Rohan was captured (8, 9).
Richemont did not march on Pontorson. He turned aside to meet his brother, John, Duke of Brittany. in Duke John’s opinion Pontorson was not worth risking a defeat by the English and Richemont’s planned attack was aborted (10).
The mixed garrison of Bretons and Scots held out in Pontorson. Warwick maintained the siege until the Duke of Bedford returned to France and sent additional troops under Lord Talbot to join him. The defenders finally surrendered on 8 May. Warwick and Talbot became temporary captains of Pontorson until Lord Scales was appointed its permanent captain in 1428 (11, 12).
(1) L&P II, p 70, note : “In the archives of Paris there is a writ of Henry VI dated 11 January 1427 respecting the siege of Pontorson.”
(2) Chronique de Mont Saint Michel I, pp. 253-255 (copy of the writ of 11 January).
(3) L&P II, p. 70, note (payment to Harbottle).
(4) Chronique de Mont Saint Michel I, pp. 263-264 (Quittance by Warwick to Harbottle).
(5) PPC III, p. 230 (Hungerford and Cherbourg).
(6) Chronique de Mont Saint Michel, p. 257 (50 of Fastolf’s retinue).
(7) L&P II, pp. 68 and 71-76 (Warwick to Salvain).
(8) Chartier I, pp. 59-60 (Bretons killed).
(9) Monstrelet I, p. 541 (Bretons killed).
(10) Beaucourt, Charles VII, vol. II, pp. 25-26 (Richemont and Duke John).
(11) Pollard, Talbot, pp. 12 and 72.
(12) Marshal, ‘English War Captains,’ p. 268 (captains of Pontorson).
After Pontorson Warwick joined the Earl of Suffolk with an army estimated at 3,000 men and they laid siege to Montargis a strategic town and fortress held by Armagnac forces on the river Loing seventy miles southeast of Paris.
Montargis held out for two months until the beginning of September when the Dauphin sent a relieving force of about 1,600 men under Dunois, Bastard of Orleans, and La Hire. Warwick had encircled the town and built bridges over the river for ease of communication. Dunois ordered the sluice gates to be opened to flood the bridges and the riverbanks. One of the bridges gave way and the men retreating across it were drowned. Many of Warwick’s men were killed in the fighting outside the town.
Warwick abandoned the siege, his baggage, and his artillery, and fled back to Paris with the remnants of his army, much to the Duke of Bedford’s chagrin (1, 2). Bedford offered a reward of 10,000 gold crowns to anyone who could recapture Montargis (3) but it remained in French hands until 1433.
See Year 1433: The War in France, Montargis.
(1) Monstrelet I, pp 536-537 (Montargis).
(2) Wavrin III, p. 141-144 (Montargis).
(3) Williams, Bedford, pp. 153-154 (Montargis).
The Duke of Brittany
The fall of Pontorson frightened the Duke of Brittany. Would the victorious Lord Talbot lead an army across the Breton border?
The Duke of Bedford put out feelers to Brittany to entice him back to his English alliance. Bedford declared a three-month truce and in July 1427 English envoys were authorized to conclude a treaty, to be followed by a peace, between England and Brittany. Richemont’s influence was not strong enough to sustain Duke John’s allegiance to the Dauphin Charles, especially as Richemont’s own influence with Charles was waning.
An undated document in the Foedera appears to be part of a longer document since it refers in its opening to a date already stated. It is an incomplete record of the decision by John of Brittany, his sons Francis and Richard, and other Breton notables to change sides once again (1).
“And on 8 September Duke John put his signature to a document which reaffirmed his support for the Treaty of Troyes both for himself, his heir the Count of Montfort, the Estates of Brittany and leading Breton nobles; at the same time, he renounced all contrary allegiances” (2).
“On 8 September 1427 the Duke signed a treaty with Henry VI of England” (3).
“In May a truce was concluded between the duke and the English. On 3 July a treaty was signed by the Breton Chancellor Jean de Malestroit. On 8 September the duke declared his adherence to the Treaty of Troyes and undertook to do homage to Henry VI. On 8 and 9 September some Breton nobles approved of the duke’s declaration” (4, 5).
The renewed alliance was proclaimed in England on 28 January. The sheriffs of London, Devonshire (because of piracy?) and ten other counties were ordered to proclaim that “John, Duke of Brittany had renounced all alliances prejudicial to the King of England and is sworn to observe the final peace (i.e. the Treaty of Troyes) between England and France” (6).
(1) Foedera X, p. 378 (incomplete record of Brittany’s decision to change sides).
(2) Williams, Bedford, p. 153 and p. 268 n. 11, citing E. Cosneau, Le Connétable de Richemont, Artur de Bretagne 1393-1458 (1886), pp. 137138 (The document in Foedera does not mention the Treaty of Troyes).
(3) Vale, Charles VII, p. 40 citing Cosneau p. 148 and G.A. Knowlson Jean V duc de Bretagne et l’Angleterre (1399-1442) (1964), pp. 137-138.
(4) Beaucourt, Charles VII vol II, p. 27, n. 5, citing Dom Lobineau, Histoire de Bretagne, 2 vols (1707) vol I, pp. 571 and 573, and vol II cols 1004 and 1006. Morice, Mémoires pour server de preuves á l’histoire écclesiastique et civile de Bretagne, 3 vols (1742-1746) vol. II, cols. 1198 and 1200-1201.
(5) Ramsay, Lancaster and York I, p. 374, (copied Beaucourt’s dating).
(6) Foedera X, p. 385 (public proclamation of alliance with Brittany).
The Grand Conseil
The Grand Conseil, based in Paris, routinely received petitions, and issued pardons, in Henry VI’s name. It was the instrument through which the Regent Bedford governed Lancastrian France outside the Duchy of Normandy. Bedford appointed French and Burgundian councillors, to acknowledge the Anglo-Burgundian alliance, but the decisions taken by the councillors were dictated by Bedford (1).
Jehan de Bonval, a citizen of France
Stevenson included one such pardon in the Letters and Papers as typical of appeals to the Grand Conseil, one of many granted on the premise that thefts or unlawful actions taken against ‘the enemy’ and not against King Henry’s subjects should be pardoned. It was part of Bedford’s policy for retaining the loyalty of the inhabitants of the pays de conquête.
Jehan de Bonval, a citizen of Noyan and a tailor by trade petitioned for a pardon for thefts he had committed four years earlier as at time when his district, around Laon and Soissons, was ravaged by war and there was no work to be had (2).
Bonval joined a company of free booters under a war captain nominally in the army of John of Luxembourg. Bonval is careful to emphasise that he and his companions were loyal to King Henry and the Duke of Burgundy: they attacked and stole only from ‘the enemy,’ the Armagnac adherents of the Dauphin Charles. For the most part they committed petty theft for food. Although in time of war it was lawful to kill the enemy, he had never harmed anyone except for stealing their possessions.
As conditions in the countryside improved, Bonval had returned home and resumed his trade, but the provost of Laon had threatened to arrest and imprison him unless he paid a bribe. Bonval claimed he was a man of good reputation who had never committed or been convicted of any serious crime. But he was so frightened by the provost’s threats that he felt compelled to leave his home again unless he could obtain a royal pardon.
A pardon and protection in King Henry’s name were issued by the Grand Conseil in September and sent to the bailli of the Vermandois with orders to ‘silence’ the provost of Laon, and to all judicial officials to leave Bonval in peace. If anything had been taken from him, it was to be returned.
(1) Rowe, ‘The Grand Conseil under the Duke of Bedford 1422-35.’
(2) L&P I, pp. 23–31 (Jehan de Bonval petition and pardon).
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