Wednesday, 31 December 2014

100 Years War - Shakespeare’s Buffoon V

Battle of Formigny
The End of a Dream
In 1448 Fastolf advised Edmund Beaufort[i] to protect the coasts of English France;

‘Item, that of the ports of the sea there, as Harfleur, Honfleur, Le Crotoy, Cherbourg, and others, being in our obedience, be purveyed a navy of ships to help resist against your enemies when it shall need………..the sea be well kept because of conveying of victuals, and for coming over the sea of soldiers when it shall be necessary.’[ii]
As so frequently before, the government saw fit to ignore Fastolf’s wise advice, possibly financial considerations played a part in this decision; the upkeep of a navy would be a drain on the nation’s coffers.
The 11th April of 1450 saw the Battle of Formigny; a decisive victory for the French. Fastolf, although he was not present, later criticised the army’s commander Thomas Kyriell in a memorandum submitted to the great council in his role as their special adviser, writing of Kyriell as
‘Negligently tarrying in Normandy, and sped him not to go spedly to [Somerset].’[iii]

Chateau de Vire
Fastolf set about raising another army but the French turned south to Vire and captured it and the commander Lord Scales in a six day siege. Avranches followed not long after and that the French besieged Caen, which held the majority of the remnants of the English army and its leader the Duke of Somerset. The Bastard of Orléans took only seventeen days to bring about the defeat of the besieged forces and Charles VII made his triumphal entry into the town on 6th July 1450.
These calamities meant that Fastolf’s army was not required. Further victories at Falaise and Cherbourg resulted finally on 11th August English rule in northern France coming to an end. Seven days later John Paston’s servant wrote;
‘This morning it was told that Shirburgh is goon, and we have not now a foote of lande in Normandie.’[iv]
Keeping the Peace
In the June of 1450, as if the troubles abroad were not enough, one Jack Cade and his supporters, assembled on Blackheath, called for Henry to abdicate or for his advisers to be replaced with more competent men. The coastal regions of England were now subject to harrying by the French and little seemed to be done by the authorities to deal with the troubles of the common man.
Fastolf. was seventy years old and seemed to be keeping his wits about him. He sent one of his servants, John Payn, to get hold of Cade’s demands;
‘To take a man and .ii. of the best horse that were in his stabyll with him and ride to the commons of Kent to get the articles that they came for……I get th’ articles[v] and brought them to my maister.’[vi]

Once they reached London Cade’s control of his supporters failed and the rebels attempted to loot the city, despite having undertaken to commit no acts of lawlessness. The Londoners fought back on London bridge; ousting the rebels. To obtain a peaceful end to the rebellion Henry VI issued Cade and his men with pardons and they disbursed. Cade himself was captured on his return journey on 12th July by one Alexander Iden;[vii] he died in the skirmish.
Involvement in a Family Dispute
Henry VI
In 1454 Fastolf was caught up in in-fighting between the Duke of York and the king. The disagreement between the two was first made public in February 1452, when York tried to ‘bully’ the king with an ‘armed demonstration’ at Dartford in Kent. Henry had his uncle arrested and he was forced to swear never to rebel again.
On 19th August 1452 Fastolf made his will and transferred control over all his lands to his trustees in expectation of a long voyage that never took place, possibly planning to pledge his loyalty to Henry. Henry was touring the west country at the time and suppressing dissent. In December Fastolf loaned York monies[viii], secured by jewellery left in Fastolf’s possession. There were further loans.
In 1453 parliament was called at Reading and one Robert Collinson alleged that Fastolf and Lord Grey of Ruthin had been involved in organising York’s demonstration of armed force at Deptford. The two men were summonsed to appear and on 6th September 1453 Fastolf was required to put up the sum of £1,000[ix] in recognisance for good behaviour. The obligation was later cancelled;
‘For that [Fastolf] did so appear before the lords of the council on 6th November……..and made his excuse, wherefore he was by them reckoned as excused, and dismissed from further appearance.’[x]
The first real fighting of the Wars of the Roses took place on the streets of St Albans on 22nd May 1455; amongst others the dead included the Duke of Somerset. This first battle of St Albans was effectively a Yorkist victory and it benefitted Fastolf indirectly.
Old Age

Plan of Caister
Fastolf was becoming concerned about the management of his properties, writing in 1450 to his agent Thomas Howes[xi];
‘I hear oftimes many strange reports of the governance of my place at Caister and other places, as in making profit from my chattels, my wines, the keeping of my wardrobe and clothes, my coneys at Hellesdon[xii] and in my lands……..that you suffer no vicious man to abide at my place of Caister but only well governed and diligent.’[xiii]
Paston and Thomas Howes obtained the wardship of Thomas Fastolf, a young relative of Fastolf’s. Thomas was the son of John Fastolf of Nacton. This wardship was to cause dissension between Fastolf and the Duke of Suffolk[xiv]. Suffolk’s associates Philip Wentworth and John Andrew disputed the wardship, which did not reach a successful conclusion until after the battle at St Albans.
Arms of the Duke of Suffolk
Suffolk carried on a war with the Paston’s and Fastolf, who in 1450 wrote;
‘I often suffered damage at the hands of the Duke of Suffolk’s officers in Lothingland[xv], on account of their great exorbitant extractions, in the distraining of my belongings and in other ways.’[xvi]
Suffolk’s reign of power ended in abruptly in January 1450[xvii] when he was arrested for high treason, impeached and banished. Suffolk was murdered by the crew of the ship taking him to France.
 It was not until 1454 that Fastolf moved to live in Caister permanently. It had cost £6,000[xviii] to build. In 1456, now well ensconced with the ageing soldier, John Paston was appointed one of the feoffees of Fastolf's lands. Paston was Fastolf’s most trusted councillor and man of business. Paston also made friends with Fastolf’s secretary Worcester.
Death of a Benefactor
Illustration from De re militari
In June 1459 Fastolf made a will which provided that his ten executors found a college in Caister. Fastolf spent much of his later years planning a chantry college. He was also a collector of books; he is known to have brought home at least one from France; the Epistle of Othea by Christine Pisan.
By the time he died Fastolf owned at least twenty-five books, many of which were on the subject of war; a life of Julius Caesar, Livy’s histories of Rome,  a volume of Josephus, and the De re militari by Vegetius. He also possessed a scientific encyclopaedia by Bartholomew the Englishman, a medical treatise by Aldobrandinus of Siena, along with religious works and volumes of Cicero, Aristotle and Justinian’s Institutes and a book on gardening by Pietro de’ Crescenzi.
Fastolf also commissioned books; he had Stephen Scrope translate the Epistle of Othea around 1440. In his introduction Scrope extolled the virtues of the Duc de Berri and the actions of Fastolf in France;
‘And God, who is sovereign chieftain and knight of all chivalry, has ever preserved and defended you in all your said labours of chivalry to this day.’[xix]
Fastolf died on 5 November 1459 after 158 days of ‘hectic fever’ and he was buried next to his wife Millicent in St Benet's Abbey in a specially built aisle on the South side of the abbey church, which fell into ruins after the dissolution of the monasteries.
Magdalen College
After Fastolf’s death John Paston claimed that Fastolf had made a nuncupative will on 3rd November, giving Paston exclusive authority over the foundation of the college[xx]. The will  provided for, after payment of 4000 marks, Paston was to have all Fastolf's lands in Norfolk and Suffolk. The Paston family moved quickly; John Paston’s brother William, a lawyer[xxi], wrote to John on 12th November;
‘On Friday last in the morning Worcester and I had come to London……….I spoke to the Lord Chancellor and I found him well disposed in all things and you will find him right profitable to you etc…….He desired me to write you a letter in his name and to entrust you to gather the goods together……….and have all his [Fastolf’s] out of every place of his….and lay them secretly where you thought them best at your choice.’[xxii]
Relying on the November will and the Lord Chancellor’s goodwill Paston took possession of the Fastolf estates and resided at times at Fastolf's manors of Caister[xxiii] and Hellesdon. The bulk of Fastolf's fortune passed to Magdalen College, Oxford.
The Hundred Years War – Alfred H Burne, Folio Society 2005
The Real Falstaff – Stephen Cooper, Pen & Sword Military 2010
The Reign of King Henry VI – RA Griffiths, Sutton Publishing 1998
The Fifteenth Century – EF Jacob, Oxford University Press 1997
John Talbot & the War in France – AJ Pollard, Pen & Sword Military 2005
The Illustrated Letters of the Paston Family – Richard Virgoe (ed), Macmillan London Ltd 1989

[i] Third son of John Beaufort and now Duke of Somerset in his father’s stead
[ii] The Real Falstaff - Cooper
[iii] The Hundred Years War - Burne
[iv] Ibid
[v] Now in the archives of Magdalen College, Oxford
[vi] The Reign of Henry VI - Griffiths
[viii] Most of the nobility were land rich and cash poor
[ix] In 2013 the relative: historic standard of living value of that income or wealth is £690,600.00 economic status value of that income or wealth is £20,950,000.00 economic power value of that income or wealth is £342,100,000.00
[x] The Real Falstaff - Cooper
[xi] William Worcester’s uncle by marriage
[xii] Now a suburb of Norwich; Fastolf’s death led to a fight between his relatives, the Paston’s and the Duke of Suffolk
[xiii] Illustrated Letters of the Paston Family – Virgoe (ed)
[xiv] Married to Chaucer’s granddaughter Alice and the power behind the throne. In the 1430s Fastolf purchased an estate from Suffolk to help pay for his ransom, but they later fell out
[xv] The hinterland of Lowestoft
[xvi] The Real Falstaff - Cooper
[xvii] The title was reinstated by Edward IV and granted to Suffolk’s son
[xviii] In 2013 the relative: historic opportunity cost of that project is £4,079,000.00 labour cost of that project is £33,350,000.00 the economic cost of that project is £2,039,000,000.00
[xix] The Real Falstaff  - Cooper
[xx] Which was never formed
[xxi] The father of the two men was William Paston who had been Justice of the Common Pleas
[xxii] Illustrated Letters of the Paston Family – Virgoe (ed)
[xxiii] Although this was soon taken by the Duke of Norfolk, Paston’s ancient enemy with the assistance of Yelverton

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

100 Years War - Shakespeare’s Buffoon IV

John, Duke of Bedford
An Attempt at Peace
In November 1432 Fastolf, although decidedly not a diplomat, attended a conference in Auxerre, called by Cardinal Albergati; Fastolf was Bedford’s representative. Bishop Langdon[i] also attended and the Duke of Gloucester sent Thomas Bekyngton[ii]. The English attendees were empowered to treat for peace with ‘Charles of Valois’. Parliament ordained that;
‘It is not suitable or fitting, nor in accordance with God’s will nor that of the world, for a Christian prince to refuse peace offered with reasonable conditions nor the resulting treaty…..also considering the burden of the war, and how grievous and heavy it is to this land; and therefore how beneficial peace would be for it.’[iii]
The French arrived late and immediately upon their arrival dissension broke out and the conference fell apart. The English refused to consider the release of Charles, Duke of Orléans and other prisoners taken at Agincourt. And the French were not prepared to make any territorial concessions.
Bedford had recently failed to take the town of Lagny and the revenues of Normandy had been diverted to pay for the siege. One of the consequences for Fastolf was that his men in Caen and Fresnay-le-Vicomte were not paid. Two years later, when a mob of people from Bayeux surrounded Caen, Fastolf brought aid to Sir Richard Harrington who was commanding the castle.
Peace Breaks Out
A further peace conference, again organised 
Cardinal Albergati
by Cardinal Albergati, was held in
Arras[iv] in August 1435. Bedford was too ill to attend but asked Fastolf to file a memorandum to the conference. The French were demanding that Henry VI give up his claim to the French crown, to which Fastolf took exception.
‘It seemeth that it [neither] [be]longeth nor sitteth to the said persons to touch nor to speak of so high and great matters, saving only by the commandments of my lords of the king’s council……….the king should pursue the rights he is possessed of in France with all his power, regardless of any outcry and of the devastation of the country.’[v]
Fastolf suggested that the English return to the strategy of Edward III and lay waste to the countryside rather than wasting time besieging towns; taking the offensive rather than static defence. Fastolf further recommended that the wool trade with Flanders be protected. His advice was ignored along with his proposal that the government of Normandy be anglicised.
‘That the king ordeine in this lande sufficient counseille of Englisshe menne, expert and knowing them in the were………and not it to be demened so moche be the Frenshe conseile as hit be done heretofore.’[vi]
The conference was bound to fail, not least because Gloucester and Bedford disagreed on strategy[vii]. The English walked out, but Charles VII and Philip the Good came to an agreement; Charles apologised for the murder of Duke John in 1419 and Philip renounced the Treaty of Troyes. England now faced a double foe and Gloucester’s concerns about Calais became ever more based in reality.

Changing Times
Pays de Caux coast
In 1435 there was a serious rebellion in the Pays de Caux, where Fastolf owned extensive estates, and the peasants took Fécamp, Valmont, Tarcarville, Lillebonne, Montivilliers and Harfleur. The French commander sent in the troops and by the beginning of 1436 there were 2-3,000 French soldiers in the area and only Caudebec was left in English hands.
During 1435 the French made great advances in the Paris region and many of the Burgundian leaders transferred their allegiance from the English to the French. The city itself fell to Charles VII in April 1436 and Fastolf, along with many other English warriors, lost their properties in Paris.
The English ability to counter these advances was wounded by Bedford’s death in September of 1435. The Duke of York[viii] was appointed Lieutenant of Normandy in the following May. Fastolf became one of the inexperienced duke’s advisers and continued to sit on the Grand Conseil, but he was also involved in the administration of Bedford’s estate.

Richard, Duke of York
York appointed his own Grand Master and took over the captaincy of Caen from Fastolf. York favoured Talbot over Fastolf and made him Marshall of France on 8th May 1436. Richard Beauchamp, the earl of Warwick[ix], took over the lieutenancy in June 1437; Fastolf commented that Warwick was;
‘Full farre from the ease of [his] years.’[x]
His death in April 1439 saw York become Lieutenant again.
A Reduced Bailiwick
By early 1437 the English were reduced to keeping watch outside the gates of Rouen, the capital of the duchy. Although the end of English rule in France was still over a decade away, Fastolf’s generation were giving way to new men such as Talbot, Scales and Sir Thomas Kyriell[xi].
St Martin's, Jersey
Before returning home Fastolf served in Jersey as Gloucester’s Lieutenant Governor from 1437-8. He indented for repairs to his ships;
‘Item, to various expenses and stock for two ships called ballingers……on a voyage to the islands of Jersey and Guernsey, according to the accounts of the ostler and filed in two books – 73s 2d[xii]
Item, to various repairs made on the ballinger called The George, at Yarmouth, after the voyage to Jersey and Guernsey - £7 8s 5d[xiii].’[xiv]
A Man of Substance
Caister Castle
In 1434 Fastolf used some of his new found wealth to start a project that was to take twenty years in the completion; the building of a brick castle at Caister. He also owned a house at Southwark in London and the Boar's Head Inn.

One of Fastolf’s neighbours in Norfolk was John Paston, with whom Fastolf had friendly relations. He also placed his trust in another neighbour William Yelverton, a Norfolk judge[xv]. In the late 1440’s negotiations began for the marriage between Fastolf’s fifty year old stepson, Stephen Scrope and Elizabeth Paston
‘See whether Scrope, if he were married and fortuned to have children, if those children should inherit his land or his daughter who is married……….Scrope said to me that if he be married and have a son and heir, his daughter that is married shall have of his livelode fifty marks[xvi] and no more.’[xvii]
Despite this lure the negotiations dragged on until 1454 when it was becoming clear to the Paston’s that negotiations were unlikely to come to any positive conclusion.
In 1447 Fastolf lent £100[xviii] to Thomas Daniel, a squire in the royal household[xix], to commission privateers to help clear the North Sea of pirates. Fastolf was of course looking to turn a profit but, despite winning a battle at sea against the Germans, it seems as though the enterprise failed in Fastolf’s purpose, if not the king’s.
In 1454 Fastolf put in a claim to the court for the monies loaned. He was also forced to go to Chancery, accusing Daniel of malicious falsehood as Daniel was claiming that he was Fastolf’s heir.

Dissension Among the Garter Knights
Arms of Sir John Fastolf showing Garter and pilgrim's scallop shells
Fastolf’s quarrel with John Talbot, who probably saw himself as a model of chivalric behaviour, originated in Talbot’s denunciation of Fastolf’s decidedly un-chivalric behaviour at Patay; Talbot’s bitterness was probably exacerbated by the knowledge that his fortune would not have been depleted if he had not been taken prisoner at Patay. Then there would have been no huge ransom to pay as a result of Fastolf’s cowardice.
Talbot renewed the claim of cowardice when he was released from imprisonment and in the spring of 1442 the chapter of Garter Knights was convened to consider the matter. William Worcester had travelled extensively obtaining evidence on Fastolf’s behalf and eventually judgement was given in Fastolf’s favour[xx].
From 1454 onwards Fastolf failed to attend the meetings of the Garter Knights and in 1454 it was recorded that he was;
‘So very old and weak that he could neither go nor ride without very great danger of his health.’[xxi]
Even in his later years, in common with many of his fellow commanders in France[xxii], Fastolf was making claims to the government in the sum of £11,000[xxiii] in respect of unpaid wages for his troops.

The Hundred Years War – Alfred H Burne, Folio Society 2005
The Real Falstaff – Stephen Cooper, Pen & Sword Military 2010
The Reign of King Henry VI – RA Griffiths, Sutton Publishing 1998
The Fifteenth Century – EF Jacob, Oxford University Press 1997
John Talbot & the War in France – AJ Pollard, Pen & Sword Military 2005
The Illustrated Letters of the Paston Family – Richard Virgoe (ed), Macmillan London Ltd 1989

[i] Bishop of Rochester
[iii] The Real Falstaff - Cooper
[iv] Part of the domains of the Duke of Burgundy
[v] The Real Falstaff - Cooper
[vi] John Talbot and the War in France - Pollard
[vii] Bedford’s strategic interests were focussed on Normandy while Gloucester was more concerned about Calais, now being threatened by the Duke of Burgundy, and its safety.
[ix] Talbot’s father-in-law and therefore not approved of by Fastolf
[x] The Real Falstaff - Cooper
[xi] Who died on the scaffold  in 1471
[xii] In 2013 the relative: real price of that commodity is £1,987.00 labour value of that commodity is £19,800.00 income value of that commodity is £64,360.00
[xiii] In 2013 the relative: historic standard of living value of that income or wealth is £4,030.00 economic status value of that income or wealth is £130,600.00 economic power value of that income or wealth is £2,077,000.00
[xiv] The Real Falstaff - Cooper
[xv] Both men were to be among the executors of his will
[xvi] In 2013 the relative: historic standard of living value of that income or wealth is £34,740.00 economic status value of that income or wealth is £978,000.00 economic power value of that income or wealth is £16,060,000.00
[xvii] Illustrated Letters of the Paston Family – Virgoe (ed)
[xviii] In 2013 the relative: historic opportunity cost of that project is £59,520.00 labour cost of that project is £568,600.00 economic cost of that project is £29,220,000.00
[xix] Later a Justice of the Peace, tax commissioner, sheriff and ‘guardian of the seas’
[xx] In 1460 Worcester made a claim on Fastolf’s estate to the sum of 100s (In 2013 the relative: historic standard of living value of that income or wealth is £3,432.00 economic status value of that income or wealth is £102,000.00 economic power value of that income or wealth is £1,633,000.00 relating to his work arising from the Garter dispute.
[xxi] The Real Falstaff - Cooper
[xxii] John Talbot for one
[xxiii] In 2013 the relative: historic standard of living value of that income or wealth is £7,788,000.00 economic status value of that income or wealth is £221,300,000.00 economic power value of that income or wealth is £3,645,000,000.00