Michael Linton's Bayeux Tapestry: 1066 - A Medieval Mosaic and Puzzles
BATTLE ABBEY ROLL.
ACCOUNT OF THE NORMAN LINEAGES.
IN THREE VOLUMES.—VOL. III
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.
PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED,
STAMFORD STREET AND CHARING CROSS.
This electronic edition
was prepared by
Michael A. Linton, 2007
This victorious name, that has triumphantly withstood the "waves and weather of time," and shone in the baronial rank for more than seven centuries, is believed to have been borne by a branch of the Counts of Eu, and can thus be traced back to the royal house of Normandy. "The family originally bore Bendy of ten (the arms of the Counts of Eu being Barry of ten), and descends from Hugh Taleboth, probably a younger son of William, first Count of Eu (son of Richard I. of Normandy). He, about 1035, granted a charter in favour of Trinite du Mont, Rouen, which was witnessed by his brother Count Gilbert of Eu (Forester's Ordericus, iii. 452). William Talebot, his son, is mentioned in the foundation charter of Treport, Eu, by his cousin Robert Count of Eu, and was a benefactor to that abbey (Gall. Christ, xi. 15). This William Talbot came to England 1066, and had two sons, Richard, and Geoffrey."—The Norman People. Both "Ricardus" and "Gosfridus Talebot" are inscribed as under-tenants in Domesday; the latter held in Essex, the former in Bedfordshire under Walter Giffard, Earl of Buckingham. This elder brother was the founder of the great historical house of Talbot. He married a daughter of Gerard de Gournay, Baron of Yarmouth, and had two sons, Geoffrey, a zealous partizan of the Empress Maud, ancestor of the Talbots of Bashall; and Hugh, ancestor of the Earls of Shrewsbury, who was Constable of Plessey Castle in Essex, and, in his latter years, a monk of Beaubec in Normandy. From the beginning of Henry II.'s reign his descendants were seated in Herefordshire, where Eccleswell became the head of their barony; and fourth in succession to him we find Gilbert Talbot, in the middle of the thirteenth century, Governor of Monmouth and several other Welsh castles, and married to a Welsh princess, Gwendoline, daughter and eventually heiress of Rhys-ap-Griffith, King of South Wales, whose arms the Talbots thereupon adopted, and bear to this day. His grandson, another Gilbert, Justice of South Wales, who in 1331 had summons to parliament, was the first baron by writ; and each generation that followed added to the power and possessions of the house. His son Richard obtained Goderich Castle through his wife Elizabeth Comyn of Badenoch (the unfortunate woman who was kidnapped and kept in fear of death by the Despensers); and the fourth Lord Talbot not only acquired the barony of Blackmere by marrying the heiress of the Le Stranges, but succeeded to the whole vast inheritance of the Earls of Pembroke, in right of his great-grandmother, Joan de Valence, whose daughter and co-heir this Elizabeth Comyn had been. His son in consequence claimed the hereditary right of carrying the Great Spurs at the coronation of Henry V. This Gilbert, the fifth Baron, Captain General of the Marches of Normandy, was joined with Gilbert de Umfraville in 1415 to "subdue all the Forts and Castles to the King's obedience," and married two wives of Royal blood; Joan Plantagenet, daughter of Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, and Beatrix, the illegitimate child of John, King of Portugal. But he had only one daughter, born of the second marriage, Ankaret, who died in minority in 1431; and the brother who succeeded him was the celebrated Earl of Shrewsbury, the "victorious Talbot,"
"Whom all France, with their chief assembled strength,
Durst not presume to look once in the face."
The Talbots had always approved themselves stout and ready soldiers. They had shed their blood both by sea and land in the many wars of the three Edwards; and one of them, when challenging the right of a part of the Comyn estates, invaded Scotland on his own account with three hundred of his retainers, and won a complete victory at Gleddesmore. Another had attended John of Gaunt into Spain. But to this great captain was reserved a place in the history of England, and an eulogy in the pages of Shakespeare, that were to be the crown and glory of his house, and the pride of a long line of generations yet to come.
John Talbot, born in 1373, was summoned to parliament in 1409 as Lord Furnivall, in right of his wife Maud de Nevill, the eldest daughter and co-heir of the fifth Lord Furnivall, who brought him, with his barony, its great Yorkshire appanage. Five years afterwards, he was appointed Lieutenant of Ireland, from whence he was summoned to join Henry V. in France. On his way thither he deposited for safe keeping in the Tower a famous rebel chieftain named Donat Mac Murrough, whom he had subdued and captured. He attended the King on his triumphant entry into Paris, and was by his side throughout his victorious career but it was not till after its close, when he commanded in chief during the regency of the Duke of Bedford, that his great military genius found full scope. Then it was that he showed himself in good sooth the terror and "the scourge of France;" and that his name became a tower of strength to his soldiers, and a weapon of offence against their adversaries—
"So fear'd abroad
That with this name the mothers still their babes."
When, after a long series of successes, during which town after town had surrendered to his arms, he was at last defeated and taken prisoner at Patay by Joan of Arc in 1429, the discouragement among the English party was so overwhelming that several places at once fell off from their allegiance. He remained a captive four years, when he was exchanged for Ambrose de Lore, paying a heavy sum for ransom; and no sooner was he set at liberty than he took the field with fresh ardour, and achieved fresh triumphs. In 1442 he was created Earl of Shrewsbury (nomen et honorem comitis Salop): and in 1446, having been again sent to govern Ireland, he received, "in consideration of his great services, and blood spilt in the Warrs," the two Earldoms of Waterford and Wexford, "to the end that the said kingdom of Ireland might be thenceforth the better defended and preserved." With them he had a grant of the city of Waterford, with the castle, honour, land, and barony of Dungarvan; and the high office of Great Seneschal of Ireland in fee. He was by this time well stricken in years, yet ready as ever to buckle his armour on; and when his presence was needed in France, where the power and authority of the English were declining day by day, he promptly resumed his command, and once more met his enemies in the field. In 1451 he was appointed Admiral of the Fleet, and the year following Lieutenant of Acquitaine, having under him as captains of his men-of-arms and archers, his son (by his second wife), Lord Lisle, Sir John Hungerford, Lord Molines, Sir Roger Camoys, Sir John Lisle, and the Bastard of Somerset. He marched straight to Bordeaux, where "the bare fame of his approach frighted the French from the siege," put a garrison into the rescued city, and received the submission of many distant places, that hastened to send in their adhesion. For a moment it seemed as if the return of the terrible old captain was to bring with it a return of the old success, when, on his way to the relief of Chatillon-sur-Dordon, in 1453, he met and gave battle near that town to the French, and was unhorsed and mortally wounded by a cannon ball. His death turned the wavering fortune of the day, and with him for ever departed the old English dominion in France, for which he had so long and so valiantly contended. He had won no less than forty pitched battles and "dangerous skirmishes," and died, as he had lived, sword in hand, at the great age of eighty. Lord Lisle refused to leave his wounded father, and was killed by his side. Few passages in Shakespeare are more touching than the scene between the dying hero and the "young John Talbot," when the father entreats the son to fly and save his life—
"Shall all thy mother's hopes lie in one grave?"
and the son rejoins:
"Is my name Talbot? and am I your son?
And shall I fly? O, if you love my mother,
Dishonour not her honourable name,
To make a bastard and a slave of me;
The world will say,—He is not Talbot's blood
That basely fled, while noble Talbot stood."
On the day after the battle, the faithful herald who had worn his coat of arms all his life came to claim the body; kissed it, and, with tears trickling down his face, made his lament over his dead master. "Alas! is it you? I pray God pardon all your misdoings: I have been your officer of arms forty years or more, it is time I should surrender it to you:" then, disrobing himself of his tabard, according to the custom observed at all feudal funerals, he flung it over his master's body. The Earl had desired that his bones might rest in his native land, and they were brought home and buried at Whitchurch in Salop. When the church was rebuilt in 1722, an urn was discovered which contained his heart, embalmed, and wrapped in a crimson velvet cloth.
He was twice married; first to the Furnivall heiress, by whom he had John, who succeeded him as Earl of Shrewsbury, with two other sons; and secondly to Lady Margaret Beauchamp, the elder of the two co-heirs of the twelfth Earl of Warwick, who brought him three more sons and two daughters. She was the great-granddaughter of the last Lord Lisle, and in honour of this descent her eldest son John was created Baron Lisle of Kingston Lisle in 1443, and Viscount Lisle the year before he was slain. Thomas, second Viscount, who fell in a private quarrel in 1469, was the last heir male; and the barony passed to his sister Elizabeth, whose husband, Sir John Grey, was created Viscount Lisle.
The "great Alcides of the field" stands at the head of the longest existing roll of English Earls. Till now, no other house has rivalled the often vaunted illustration of the De Veres, who could count up twenty successive Earls of their own lineage; but in the present generation the title granted nearly 550 years ago to the victorious Talbot is borne by the twentieth representative of his name and blood, who takes rank in the peerage as Premier Earl of England. The elder line of his posterity ended with the eighth Earl in 1617, when the succession passed to the Talbots of Grafton, descended from a third son of the second Earl. Alathea, the heiress of his elder brother Gilbert, seventh Lord Shrewsbury, had previously carried away the whole array of ancient baronies—Talbot, Strange of Blackmere, Comyn of Badenoch, Valence, Montchensie, Furnivall, Verdon, and Lovetot (as used on his "lodging escutcheons," when he was sent Ambassador to France by Queen Elizabeth), to her husband the Earl of Arundel.
In the following century Charles, twelfth Earl, received a Dukedom. His father was the unhappy Earl Francis who was killed in a duel by his wife's paramour, Villiers Duke of Buckingham, while the shameless Countess herself stood by, in the disguise of a page, and held the Duke's horse. The son of this "wanton Shrewsbury" was "allowed to be," says Macaulay, "one of the finest gentlemen and finest scholars of his time. His person was pleasing, his temper singularly sweet; his parts such as, if he had been born in a humble rank, might well have raised him to civil greatness." He had early tendered his sword and purse to the Prince of Orange, and was among the principal promoters of the Revolution of 1689. Burnet relates that he "was one of the nobles whom William chiefly trusted, and one by whose advices he governed all his motions, and drew his declarations;" and no sooner were he and his wife proclaimed King and Queen of England, than the Earl of Shrewsbury was appointed one of their two principal Secretaries of State. "No man so young had, within living memory, occupied so high a post in the Government;" for he was then barely twenty-eight. "He seemed to be the petted favourite of nature and of fortune; but scarcely any other part of his life was of a piece with that splendid commencement." His temper proved weak and unstable; ill-fitted for the strain and stress of the time; he lost heart amid the vexations and responsibilities of office, and resigned the seals within the year. He wavered in his allegiance, and secretly tendered his services to James II: then repented and retracted: again took office in 1694 at the personal request of the King, who created him Duke of Shrewsbury and Marquess of Alton in the same year: once more resigned on the score of health in 1697, and finally left England in 1700. He was five years abroad, three of which were spent at Rome, where he fell in love with an Italian widow, whom he afterwards married. On his return home, though coldly received by his Whig friends, he was loaded with preferments by Queen Anne, who named him Lord Chamberlain, Ambassador Extraordinary to France, then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and during the political crisis that embittered her last days, delivered to him the white staff of the Earl of Oxford: "so that at the Queen's death he was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, High Treasurer of Great Britain, and Lord Chamberlain: three great employments never in the hands of one person before." He died in 1717, leaving no children to inherit his new honours, which expired with him. He was the first of his race that joined the communion of the Church of England, having abjured the tenets of Rome, on the discovery of the Popish plot, but at his death the Earldom reverted to a Roman Catholic heir, and so continued till the extinction of the elder line with the seventeenth Earl in 1858; when Henry, third Earl Talbot, established his right to the title and estates. He was the grandfather of the present representative of this renowned house, and the descendant of a great-uncle of George, ninth Earl, from whom came Charles Talbot, created Lord Talbot of Hensol on becoming Lord Chancellor in 1733. William, the next in succession, received the Earldom of Talbot on the accession of George III.; but it died with him, and was re-granted to his nephew and heir in 1784. The barony of Dynevor had been given to him in 1780 with special remainder to his daughter Lady Cecil Rice.
The Irish Talbots branched off from the English house at an early and uncertain date; but it must at all events have been subsequent to the twelfth century (the one given by Mr. Shirley), as they bear the golden lion of the Princess Gwendoline, first assumed by her husband Sir Gilbert Talbot, who died in 1274. The present head of the house is Lord Talbot of Malahide, whose Irish title dates from 1831, and his English peerage from 1856.
Of this stock was Richard, the youngest of the eight sons of Sir William Talbot of Cartown, who was created Viscount of Baltinglass and Earl of Tyrconnel in 1685, and Marquess and Duke of Tyrconnel in 1689 by James II. We first hear of him as the gay and handsome Dick Talbot, who "diced and revelled with Gramont," and married "the loveliest coquette of the brilliant Whitehall of the Restoration," Frances Jenyns, the sister of Sarah Duchess of Marlborough, and the widow of Count Hamilton. He was a man of savage and imperious temper, and very indifferent character, "of whom much ill has been written, and more believed;" but not the brutal bravo and bully represented by Macaulay. He had courage as well as wit, and remained unalterably faithful to the unhappy master in whose service he died. In 1687 he had succeeded Clarendon as Lord Deputy of Ireland; and while making preparations for the defence of Limerick in 1691 he was struck down by a fit of apoplexy, from which he never rallied. His honours were attainted; but he had left only two daughters, of whom one became Princess of Ventimiglia. His widow obtained permission to build a nunnery for Poor Clares at Dublin, in which she took the veil, and there, in 1730, La Belle Jenyns—once the petted and admired beauty of Charles II.'s Court—ended her days at the great age of ninety-two. There is a tradition that, at the time of her husband's death and forfeiture, she was left absolutely penniless, and not venturing to make her necessities known, gained her livelihood for some weeks as a sempstress. On the south side of the Strand then stood the New Exchange, originally built in the days of James I. from the rubbish of the old stables of Durham House, where long rows of shops were occupied by milliners and sempstresses, and the gallants of the day used to resort for a lounge in the afternoon. Here Pepys, among the rest, often came to gossip with the fair stall-holders; here Anne Clarges, afterwards Duchess of Albemarle, sold wash-balls, powder and gloves at the sign of the Three Spanish Gipsies; and here, it is said, Frances Jenyns, Duchess of Tyrconnel, disguised in a white mask, and always dressed in white clothes, kept a little shop, and became known as the White Milliner.
The now extinct elder branch of the Talbots originally held of the honour of Lacy in Lincolnshire, and were transplanted into Yorkshire 37 Hen. III., when Edmond Earl of Lincoln granted to Sir Thomas Talbot in fee the manors of Bascholfe (Bashall) and Mitton in Craven. Sixth in descent from him was another Sir Thomas, who betrayed King Henry VI. to his pursuers, and for this "good service" received from Richard III. in 1484 an annuity to him and his heirs of 40 a-year. In 1485 his three sons also had annual grants made to them. The story of his treachery is thus told by Holinshed. "King Henrie was taken in Cletherwood, beside Bungerleie Hippingstones, in Lancashire, by Thomas Talbot, sonne and heir of Sir John Talbot of Basshall, and John Talbot, his cosin of Colebrie, which deceived him, being at his dinner at Waddington Hall, and brought him toward London, with his legs bound to the stirrups." There was a tradition in the neighbourhood, recorded by Christopher Townley as current in his time, that the unhappy King, when betrayed by the Talbots, foretold nine generations of the family in succession, consisting of a wise man and a weak man by turns, after which the name should be lost. Something like these hereditary alternations of sense and folly—not uncommon in most families—may have happened; but I can only trace five generations that succeeded the traitor. The last heir—again Thomas—died in 1627; leaving two daughters, Elizabeth and Margery. Both were married—Elizabeth twice—but neither of them had children.
- ↑ It is not territorial, nor have I ever seen any explanation of its meaning, though it seems evident that, like Talmash or Taillebois, it must be derived from the French tailler—to shape or cut. In later times it was used to designate a mastiff (a "kinde of dogges called in Latine, canes sagaces, for the tenderness of their scent," says Gwillim); probably because the "beast" of the great Earl of Shrewsbury was "a silver running hound or talbot;" and he is called in a satirical poem of the fifteenth century "Talbot, our good Dogge." The feet of his effigy at Whitchurch rest on a talbot: and Sir Humphrey Talbot, t. Edward IV., had for badge a running hound silver, charged on the shoulder with a mullet.
- ↑ See vol. i., Dispencere.
- ↑"The cry of Talbot serves me as a sword."
—King Henry VI. 1st Part, Act II., Scene 1.
- ↑ On his sword was inscribed Sum Talboti pro vincere inimicos meos:—" a sword," says old Fuller, "with bad Latin upon it, but good steel within it, which constantly conquered where it came." It was found, many years after his death, in the River Dordon, near Bordeaux.
- ↑"II le baisa en la bouche, en disant ces mots, Monseigneur mon maistre, ce estes vous, je prie k Dieu qu'il vous pardonne vos mesfaits, j'ay este votre officier d'armes quarante ans ou plus, il est temps que je le vous rende, en faisant piteux crys et lamentations, et en rendant eau par les yeux tres pitousment, et alors il revestit sa cotte d'armes et la mit sur son maistre."
- ↑"Ther was great Hart Burning betwixt the Lorde Berkeley and the Lorde Lisle for the Maner of Wotton under Egge, in so much that they pointed to fight, and meting yn a Medow at a Place caullid Nebley, Berkeley's Archers sodainly shotte sore, and the Lord Lisle lifteing up the Visar of his Helme was by an Archer of the Forest of Dene shotte in at the Mouth and oute of the Nek: and a few beside beyng slayn Lisle Menne fled; and Berkeley with his Menne straite spoilid the Maner Place of Wotton, and kept the House. Berkeley favorid Henry the 6. Parte. Lisle favorid Edward the 4."—Leland.
- ↑ Douglas Jerrold has dramatized this story in his play of "The White Milliner," first produced at Covent Garden in 1840.
- ↑"Waddington Hall, the ancient seat of the Tempests, is now divided into cottages: but one room retains the name of King Harry's Chamber. It is well known that this is the house in which he was betrayed."—Whitaker's History of Craven. On finding himself in the toils, he escaped by one staircase while his pursuers were ascending the other, got out of a window, and succeeded in reaching the River Ribble, which he hoped to place between him and them. But here the Talbots came up with him, and captured him midway in the ford as he was crossing the water.