A. D Bayne.

Royal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) online

. (page 70 of 70)
Online LibraryA. D BayneRoyal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 70 of 70)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

and heir of the former duke, succeeded at the age of seventeen to his
father's title, having been in the lifetime of the latter created Earl of
Surrey and of Warrenne, by Henry VI. in 1450, as being lineally descended
from those earls. It does not seem that this nobleman took any part in
the distressing contentions of his time, as the only instance in which he
apppears was after the twelfth battle fought between the contending
houses at Tewkesbury Park, on May 4th, 147], when in his official
capacity as Earl Marshal he presided at the summary trial and condemna-
tion of Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Soinerset, and others of the supporters


o£ the house of Lancaster, who were all beheaded at Tewkesbury. On
January, 17th, 1475, the short-lived grandeur of this duke was suddenly
brought to a close, and he breathed his last in the castle at Framlingham.
This last of tho Mowbrays appears to have been frequent in his visits to
" our Lady of Walsingham," and two of his pilgrimages on foot arc
specially noticed in the Paston letters.

Tho male line of this noble family having become extinct, the Lady
Anne Mowbray, who was then about four years old, succeeded to her
father's estates. This infant lady, being the richest and most noble
match of the time, was on January 15th, 1418, when only six years old,
married to Richard, second son of Edward IV., Duke of York, who on
the eve of the alliance had received first the additional title of Earl of
Nottingham, next those of Duke of Norfolk and of Earl Warrenne and
of Surrey. He was also constituted Earl Marshal of England, and in
right of his lady he became Lord of Segrave, Mowbray, and of Gowcr.
His arms were France and England, a label of three points argent charged
with a canton, in the first file gules, most of which were to be seen in
various parts of the castle at Framlingham, Suffolk.

On account of the extreme youth of the parties, the castle and manor of
Framlingham were settled by Act of Parliament upon Thomas Bourchier,
Cardinal and Archbishop of Canterbury, and others, in trust for the
duchess and his heirs. The duchess died in very early lile, and before
the consummation of the marriage ; and the Duke of York, her ill-feted
husband, with his brother Edward V., were conveyed to the Tower, where
they were smothered in a dungeon at midnight by assassins obeying the
order of their barbarous uncle, the Duke of Gloucester, who thus com-
pleted his usurpation and became King Richard III. On the death of
these infants, their large inheritance descended to their cousins, John
Howard and William Berkeley, the sons of Margaret and Isabel, daughters
of Thomas Mowbray, first of that name Duke of Norfolk.


The Fastolff" family was one of the oldest in Norfolk, and flourished in
honourable distinction in different part of England before the Norman
Conquest. The first of this family who had any possessions in Norfolk was
Thomas Fastolff", Esq., to whom Oliver de Ingham granted in the seventh
of Edward II. his right in the manor of Rudham at Caister; and in
1356 John Fastolff", Esq., purchased the lordship of Yaux, which was
confirmed to Hugh Fastolff in 1363. John Fastolff" was lord of Yaux,
Rudham, and Caister manors, held of the Abbot of Holme, and was
buried in the chapel of St. Nicholas, in the church of Yarmouth, leaving
John, his son and heir, afterwards the famous Sir John Fastolff. He was


bom at Yarmouth in 1389, but liis father dying before he was of age, he
became the ward of a nobleman, and was trained up according to the
custom of the times in the Norfolk family. About the year 1401, Thomas
of Lancaster, afterwards Duke of Clarence, second son of Henry lY., was
sent as Lord-Lieutenant to Ireland, and it is supposed that Sir John
attended him, for it appears that he was with him in 1405 and 1406, when
Sir John was in the 25th year of his age. Two years afterwards he
married, in Ireland, Mehcentia, Lady Oastlecombe, daughter of Sir
Robert Tibelot, and rehct of Sir Stephen Scrope, a lady of great beauty
and fortune ; soon after which, being appointed to some posts of trust in
Gascony, he went to reside there. In 1415 Sir John was intrusted, in
conjunction with the Earl of Dorset, with the government of Harfleur,
and it appears that he was present with Henry V. at the battle of Agin-
court, where he behaved with great bravery. After the death of that
King, he was appointed by the Regent Bedford grand-master of his
household, and seneschal of Normandy. In 1423 he was constituted
Heutenant for the King and Regent in that province, in the jurisdiction of
Rouen, Evreus, Alencon, and the countries beyond the river Stine, and
also governor of Anjou and Maine. Afterwards he captured the castles
of Tenaye, Beaumont le Yicompt, and Silliele, the latter in 1425, from
which he was dignified with the title of baron. And in the same year,
this active warrior took also St. Ouen, D'Estrius, near Luval, and the
castle of GravjUe, with other places of strength, from the enemy, for
which services he was about the same time elected in England a Knight
of the Garter. In 1428 he gained great honour by his valour at the
memorable battle of Herrings, in which he defeated the French and suc-
ceeded in conducting a convoy of herrings in triumph to the English
camp before Orleans. On this signal victory a witty Frenchman wrote
the lines : —

God was wholly turned unto the English side,
And to assist the French the devil had denied.

In 1430 the Duke of Bedford, then regent, appointed him to the
Heutenancy of Caen in Normandy. Two years after he was sent ambas-
sador to the Council at Basil, and was subsequently appointed to nego-
ciate a permanent or temporary peace with the French. The same year.
Sir John, with Lord Willoughby, commanded the army which assisted the
Duke of Brittany against the Duke of Alencon. After this he was for
some time in England, but in 1435 he was again with the regent in
France, and the same year he was appointed one of the ambassadors to
conclude a peace with the French. The Duke of Bedford dying that year,
showed his regard for Sir John by constituting him one of his executors.


His successor in the regency, Ricliard'Duke of York, gave Sir John an
annuity of £20 out of his own estate for his good services and counsel.
After 143G he appears to have been settled for four years at his govern-
ment in Normandy. In 1440 ho returned home to Caister near Yar-
mouth. There he built the castellated mansion, part of which now stands
as a monument to the hero. He died on November 6th, 1459, and was
buried in a chapel erected by himself at the Abbey of St. Benet's in the
Holme, near Ludham. It appears that at the time of his death he was
extremely rich, and possessed estates in Norfolk, Suffolk, Yorkshire, and
Wiltshire, the greatest part of which ho bequeathed to charitable purposes.
While he lived at Caistor in Norfolk he was highly esteemed for his virtues
and great hospitality. He was a benefactor to both the Universities, and
bequeathed a large legacy to Cambridge for the schools of civil laws and
philosophy, and he was very liberal also to Magdalen College, Oxford.

A manuscript in the possession of Austin, formerly Garter King at
Arms, states that Sir John Fastolff having taken the Duke of Alencon
prisoner at the battle of Agincourt, the duke agreed, as a ransom, to
build a castle at Caister similar to his own in France, in consequence of
which agreement this castle was erected at his expense. The battle of
Agincourt was fought on October 25th, 1415, bl^t probably the castle Avas
not built till Sir John returned to his home at Caister. The mansion
enclosed a court, in figure a rectangled parallelogram, whose south and
north sides were larger than those in the east and west. At the north-
west angle is the tower ; the grand entrance was over a drawbridge on
the west side. A manuscript in St. Benet's College, Cambridge, written
by William de Worcester (who was officer of arms or herald to Sir John
Fastolfi"), says that " on the right hand on entering the great hall, which
measured forty-nine feet in length and twenty-eight feet in breadth,
adjoining to the tower, was the dining-room.'' The great fire-place is
still visible. Directly east of this, communicating by a drawbrido-e,
stood the college, encompassed by three sides of a square, whose area
was larger than that enclosed in the walls of the mansion. The west side
was bounded by a moat, having two round towers on the north-east and
south-east angles, and the great avenue was at the west end of the
north side.

The Worcester MSS. before mentioned says that this castle was twice
besieged in the reign of Edward IV., in consequence of the disputes
between Sir John Fastolff''s executors, and has preserved the names of the
assailants and defenders upon those occasions. Anthony Lord Scales
first took possession of it in the name of the King, under pretence that
Sir John Fasten was the King's villain (which was untrue), and destroyed
much of the furniture and goods -vNdthin the castle.


Sir John Fenii_, in a collection of letters relating to this obscure period
of Norfolk history,, preserved one from John Paston, Esq., to his
brother the knight, in which, referring to the siege, he says, '^ We were
sore lack of victuals and gunpowder. Men^s heart for lack of surety of
rescue were driven thereto to take appointment," by which it appears the
garrison suffered much inconvenience and distress during the siege. Sir
John Paston, however, was afterwards, through the favour of the King,
restored to his possessions, for on the 6th of July, 1466, the King granted
him a warrant to take possession of all the lands ot his late father, mother,
and grandmother, which lands had been seized by the King on evil sur-
mises made to him against his deceased father, uncles, and himself, of all
of which they were sufficiently and openly acquitted before his majesty.

John Mowbray, the Duke of Norfolk, next claimed the castle, under the
pretence of having purchased it and lands of William Yelverton; but
this act of the duke^s was illegal and contrary to the will of the founder,
who had ordered that it should not be sold, but kept as a college for
priests and an hospital for poor men. John Paston, jun,, acting as
governor of the castle on behalf of his brother. Sir John Paston, who was
absent, refused to surrender the possession, but the duke appeared before
the walls with 3,000 men armed with guns, and forced the surrender in
about a fortnight. The duke continued in possession of the castle from
September, 1469, till 1472, when John Paston, jun., presented a petition
for his brother. Sir John Paston, and himself, to be restored to the manor
of Caistor, from which they had been put out of possession more than
three years.

The towers and ruins of the college have been converted into barns
and stables ; and the whole building wears an air of melancholy and
deserted grandeur, forming a striking contrast to its former character for
magnificence and hospitality. It conveys to the mind an impressive lesson
on the mutability and uncertain duration of human labours.



4d\ pfKMWM

,n '



Online LibraryA. D BayneRoyal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 70 of 70)