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The records do not reveal the time or the occasion of his
knighthood. In the following year, 1438, he was associated
with Sir William Pyrton 3 .

Another who wrote his name in the annals of the time
sir Richard and in the literature of the land of his birth was
Gethin. g ir Ri c hard Gethin. He was a son of Rhys

Gethin, a native of Builth, although one authority describes

1 Nicholas ; Appendix, 60 ; and Dwnn's Visitations 1. 107, note.
See the list of Brecknockshire squires above.

2 Record Reports, 1885, 545-637 : William of Worcester's Itinerarium,
161 ; Stephenson, Wars of the English in France, 11. 437.

3 Record Reports, 1887', February-May, 1435-6; May-August 1437-8.



in] MATHEW GOUGH 47

him as of North Wales 1 . He fought at Crevant (1423) and
at Verneuil (1424) 2 . After Verneuil he was made captain
of St Cales, one of the towns captured by the earl of
Salisbury 3 . He was also captain of Hiemes in 1424. In
1428 he played a distinguished part at the siege of Orleans
with the earl of Salisbury, and four years later was raised
to the command of the important fortress of Mantes 4 ,
where, in 1433-4, he had under his command twenty-one
mounted lances, twelve foot lances, and one hundred and
forty-five archers. Guto'r Glyn commemorates in song his
elevation to this post, and elsewhere mentions a rumour
that he had been taken prisoner in Normandy 5 . The fact
affords additional evidence of the frequent and reliable com-
munications between the Welsh bards and their heroes abroad.
Of the rest 6 a few played a prominent part in the later
events of the period, notably Sir John Skydmore, and the
Wogans of West Wales. Sir John Skydmore received
protection to cross over to France with his son John, in the
king's retinue, on April 8, 1422. He was retained, as we
have seen, with ten lances and thirty archers for service at
Harfleur 7 . Later (May, 1435-6) he was in the retinue of
the duke of York 8 . Sir John Wogan was in the service
of the duke of Clarence in 1418 9 . He held a commission
to array the duke's troops in 1419 (August 9) 10 . In 1420
he appears in the king's retinue 11 . Owen Tudor was in
the retinue of Sir Walter Hungerford.

1 Stephenson n. 436. The poet Guto'r Glyn is more reliable. See
MSS. Cardiff, 2114/96.

2 Stephenson, n. 394, 543. * Hall, 127.

4 Quicherat, Procds, iv. 14, note 1 ; 17, note 2. Wavrin, 282.

5 Guto'r Glyn, MS. Cardiff, op. cit. 8 See Appendix I.

7 Ordinances of the Privy Council, Feb. 1422, 320.

8 Appointed to take the muster of the Earl Marshal etc. at Dover,
and of the duke of Exeter at London. May 28, 1423. Ordinances of the
Privy Council, 100.

9 Rymer, ix. 595. 10 Record Reports, 1885, 715, 314.

11 On Nov. 18, 1419, he was appointed guardian of the lands of John
Wogan, deceased, of Carmarthenshire, during the minority of the heir.
Record Reports, 1880. A John Ogan received a commission to array the
men of Gournay and Neaufle, March 27, 1420. Ibid. 1881.



48 WALES AND THE FRENCH WARS [ch.

None of his compatriots, however, and few of his con-
Mathew temporaries, achieved the fame of Mathew

Gough. Gough. The lustrous splendour of his deeds

shone in almost solitary brilliance in those sunless days.
The prominence given to him by the chroniclers of the
Tudor period, from whom Shakespeare drew the material
for his historical plays, is such that Gough may well have
inspired the dramatist in the creation of Fluellen. A native
of Maelor, in the lower valley of the Dee, he crossed to France
in the enthusiasm of youth. His father was Owen Gough,
bailiff of the manor of Hanmer, near Whitchurch, in North
Wales. His mother was a daughter of David Hanmer, the
nurse of John, Lord Talbot, afterwards earl of Shrewsbury.
It is not unlikely, therefore, that Gough from the first came
into close touch with that gallant soldier.

His name first appears in the list of the principal person-
ages who fought at Crevant and at Verneuil, where fell
two of his countrymen, Richard ap Madoc and David Lloyd 1 .
He may have joined the English forces in France with the
levies of the Earl Marshal which were mustered by Sir John
Skydmore in May, 1423 2 . This was the army which, rein-
forced by some Burgundians, gave battle to the French at
Crevant and routed them 3 . Gough distinguished himself in
the pursuit and capture of the Bastard de la Baume, a brave
Savoyard ally of the French. For this exploit the earl of
Salisbury gave him " a goodly courser 4 ." After Verneuil
we find him captain of some of the fortresses which had been
taken by the earl of Salisbury. He then played a prominent
part in the military operations which culminated in the
reduction of Maine and Anjou 5 .

In 1428 he was put in command of the important fortress
of Laval, on the border between those two provinces, which

1 Stephenson, 11. 385; Hall, 118, 121. William of Worcester, Itinera-
rium, 357.

2 Proceedings of the Privy Council, III. 66, 87, 101.
s Wavrin, 47-69. * Hall, 121.

6 Stephenson, 11. 411. Hall, 127. Issues, Easter, 1425.



in] MATHEW GOUGH 49

had been captured by Talbot in March of that year. At
this period the most trivial incidents in his life are not
allowed to pass unnoticed, an infallible symptom of growing
popularity or accomplished fame. During the military
operations in Maine in that year, he was sent out by Talbot
to reconnoitre the enemy's position on the borders of Brittany.
He set off in the dead of night, achieved his object by
consummate tactics, and returned with complete information,
having in the meantime " eaten only a little bread and drunk
a little wine to comfort his stomach 1 ."

In the same year he and his countryman, Richard
Gethin, accompanied the earl of Salisbury in his advance on
the Loire. On September 25, Salisbury captured the castle
of Beaugency, and pursued his advantage by laying siege
to Orleans. The relief of that fortress by Joan of Arc is
one of the romantic chapters in French history. Beaugency
had been placed in the keeping of Gough as Talbot's
lieutenant, but the relief of Orleans seriously imperilled
its safety. In June, 1429, it was completely surrounded
by the triumphant Joan of Arc. Gough's position became
precarious, and Talbot sent him an assurance that he would
immediately be reinforced.

Sir John Fastolf, realising the hopelessness of holding
the place against such odds, although it was defended by
" men of good stuff," advised the garrison to surrender 2 .
The impetuous Talbot, however, resolved to challenge the
supremacy of the French with a relieving force. But his
army was soon in retreat, and Gough had no alternative
but to sign articles of surrender. The French took pos-
session on June 18, the garrison being allowed to carry out
all their belongings. On hearing of this disaster, Talbot
and the whole army retreated towards Patay where he
was himself defeated and taken prisoner 3 . Gough then tried

1 Hall, 138, 143.

2 Wavrin, 287. " Gens de bonne estoffe."

3 Ibid., 294. Monstrelet. Kail, 141.



50 WALES AND THE FRENCH WARS [ch.

to stem the French advance at Senlis ; and while he was
there engaged, Laval was betrayed to the enemy by a neigh-
bouring miller.

The swelling tide of French advance rolled onward with
Gougha resistless force towards the Norman frontier,

prisoner. jfo e war n0 l on g e r provided material for heroism.

It had become a dreary succession of sieges and the
raising of sieges. After the loss of Laval, Gough en-
deavoured to raise a bulwark of defence in Maine. For
six weeks in the summer of 1432 he and Lord Willoughby
pounded fruitlessly at the citadel of St Ceneri. At the end
of that period, a French relieving force which offered
battle near Vivain on the Sarthe, opposite Beaumont,
was repulsed with considerable loss. On returning with
their spoils and a number of prisoners Gough and Willoughby
were unexpectedly attacked by another division of the
French army under Ambrose Delore. Gough was taken
prisoner, and the siege was abandoned in consequence 1 .

Great was the distress in Wales when news of his captivity
reached the circle of bards. Their solicitude found expression
in a chorus of grief, panegyric and appeal. Ieuan Deulwyn
soars to lofty heights of eulogy. Lewis Glyn Cothi sets him
up as a standard of valour. Guto'r Glyn appeals for funds
to ransom him. Gough was not long in captivity. He was
redeemed, and it is not impossible that he may have found
financial assistance in his native land 2 .

During the next few years the records are all but silent
with regard to his movements. When he does appear, he
is in the vortex of the storm on the borders of Normandy
and Maine ; now with Thomas Kyriel as captain of St Denis,
a place which was yielded to the French in June, 1435 ;

1 Wavrin, 46-50. Monstrelet, 1. 630. Hall, 165. Polydore Vergil 42.

2 At St Denis Gough was taken "by founderyng of his horse." Hall,
175. Polydore Vergil 79.

Bu ar gler bryder a braw

Ban ddaliwyd, beunydd wylaw. Guto'r Glyn. Hafod MS. 3.
" The bards were disconsolate, and there was universal sorrow when
Mathew Gough was taken prisoner."



in] MATHEW GOUGH 51

at another time as joint lieutenant of the important fortress
of Le Mans, under Sir John Fastolf, governor of Anjou
and Maine 1 . An official attestation of two indentures
relative to the custody of this stronghold enumerates his
personal bodyguard : sixty mounted lances, fourteen foot-
lances, and two hundred and twenty-two archers 2 .

Meanwhile, Joan of Arc, after the defeat of Talbot near
Patay, had met with a series of glittering successes. But
she failed in her assault on Paris and thereby lost prestige.
In 1430 she escaped from the French court, was taken
prisoner by the Burgundians, and in the following year
burnt by the English at Rouen. In 1435, at the Congress
of Arras, the English refused conditions of peace, and in
consequence lost the alliance of Burgundy. In 1436 they
were expelled from Paris. During the next fifteen years
the interest of the war was concentrated in Normandy.

In 1440 Gough assisted Somerset and Talbot in the
reduction of Harfleur which had been captured by the
French in 1435 . The French garrison made a gallant defence.
A relieving force was despatched to raise the siege under
Gaucourt, one of the most distinguished of those who took
part in the reduction of Normandy. Gaucourt 3 was lagging
behind when he was unexpectedly set upon by a body of
Welshmen under Griffith Dwnn, and taken prisoner 4 . The
reverse was such a severe blow to the garrison that they
were immediately forced to surrender.

In 1442 Gough was at Chartres, and was one of the
commanders to whom a large sum was paid by Dunois
touching the demolition of the two fortresses of Gallardon

1 Wavrin, 66, 88-93. Fabyan 608. Hall, 185. Wavrin. 274.

- Paston Letters, I. 37. September 30, 1435.

8 Blondel, Rednctio Normaniae, 277, 287-8, 375. Wavrin, 28, 222, 276.

4 Wavrin. 278-9. This was the Griffith Dwnn of the district of Kid-
welly, who, as we have seen, was denizened in 1421. The names are given
in Itinerarium, William of Worcester, 118-9. Homines lanceati Gryffith
Don armiger apud capcionem domini Gaucourt : Johannes Mabbe de
Kedwellylond, Johannes Whyte, Galfridus Doore, Geffrey Harrlete,
Johannes Davy, Johannes ap Gryffyth, Howel ap Gryffyth, Davy f rater
ejus, Jevan de Vawres (i.e. Ievan Vawr), Jevan Ragland.



52 WALES AND THE FRENCH WARS [ch.

and Tourville, the surrender of which had become the
military necessity of a languishing cause 1 .

English dominion in France now gasped fitfully to its
close. The need for reinforcements and a directing genius
had become an imperative necessity. Thus it was that in
June, 1441, the duke of York, having been appointed Lieu-
tenant and Governor-General of Normandy, sailed from
Portsmouth. He landed at Harfleur, and marched through
Rouen to take part with Sir John Talbot around Pontoise.
Amongst those who constituted his retinue were Sir Walter
Devereux and Sir John Skydmore, while Sir William ap
Thomas of Raglan was a member of his military council 2 .

Sir William ap Thomas was the father of William Herbert,
sir wiiiiam afterwards earl of Pembroke. He was a courtier
ap Thomas. an( j councillor rather than a warrior. We
have no record of his having achieved military fame.
The prowess of Mathew Gough was popularised in the odes
of an enthusiastic bardic circle. A curious tale of a later
day immortalised David ap Einon, the hero of Harlech.
Sir William ap Thomas can claim neither the real glory of
the one, nor the legendary renown of the other.

Early in the century, his family had cast their lot with
the English opposition to the rising of Owen Glyndwr.
David Gam, Sir William's father-in-law, had carried his
enmity to such lengths that he made an ignoble and malicious
attempt to assassinate the Welsh leader, a dark project
which almost succeeded. The renewal of the French war
by Henry V opened out for him a more honourable field
of enterprise which he and his immediate descendants
turned to considerable advantage. In the course of years,

1 Stephenson, 11. 331-2.

2 He held one knight's fee in Raglan in 1425 from Edmund, earl of March.
See Calendar Inquis. post mortem, 96, 141. Sir John Skydmore received
letters of attorney on going abroad, in February, 1440— 1 ; and Richard
Hore of Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, in February. Record Reports, 18S7.

Sir William ap Thomas was infeoffed of Bassaleg, in Gwent, by the duke
of York. For the close relationship which subsisted between them, see
Proceedings (1441) 136-7.



in] MATHEW GOUGH 53

the family regained their esteem in the public opinion of
Wales. Sir William ap Thomas was familiarly known as
the " Blue Knight of Gwent," while his wife Gwladys was
hailed as the lodestar of a new nationalism 1 .

Authentic details of his career are few and unimportant.
He served on a number of commissions in South Wales,
which throw a lurid light on the flagitious piracy that
infested the estuary of the Severn. In 1426 he was enrolled
among the thirty-six young gentlemen who were knighted
in honour of Henry VI's knighthood 2 . The prevailing
opinion that he was knighted by Henry V for his valour
in the wars of France is therefore erroneous 3 . It is con-
ceivable that his path to honour was largely paved by the
prowess of David Gam. We see no reason to refuse to
identify him with the person of the same name and title
who was sheriff of Glamorgan in 1440, a position which
was held by his more distinguished son, William Herbert,
some years later 4 . In 1450 he was joint ward of the lands
of the countess of Warwick. This is apparently the last
recorded notice of him in published records.



1 Lewis Glyn Cothi, i. i. 3. Dwnn's Visitations, 1. 292-3. Proceedings,
v. In 1420 he served on a commission in South Wales with Maurice ap
Meurig, John ap Howel ap William, and John Dansey " to arrest Thomas
Wykeham." Also on a commission concerning the acquisition by John
Havard from William ap Thomas of the royal lordship of Talgarth. Also
in 1432 with Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, " for the keeping of certain
monasteries " ; also with Gloucester, Sir Edward Stradling, and Griffith
Dwnn " for the custody of St John's, Carmarthen," 1432. Also with Strad-
ling and others " to enquire as to the malefactors who took at sea a ship
called Le George of Sluys laden with wines and honey of certain merchants
of Flanders and Picardy, and brought her to Tenby, sold the ship
and distributed the wines " (1432). Also, in 1434, with Stradling and
Sir James Audley " to make inquisition concerning acts of piracy, the
goods having been carried to Cornwall and Wales and disposed of." In
1442 lie and a few others investigated treasonable proceedings in West
Wales. Cal. Pat. Rolls, passim.

2 Wardrobe Account, 1426, Q. R. Misc. Wardrobe. Hall, 138. Cal.
Pat. Rolls.

3 Collins, Peerage, in. 25 ; and Dwnn's Visitations, 1. 292, are both
misleading. The list of knights in Rymer, x. 357, is incomplete.

4 Clark, Glamorgan Charters, v. 1539, 1635-7, refuses to identify them
on the ground that it would be below Sir William's dignity. We need
only remark that a Neville was sheriff in 1450. Cardiff Records, v. 536.



54 WALES AND THE FRENCH WARS [ch.

To return to the war and Mathew Gough. In 1444,
a truce was agreed upon at Tours between
and the England and France to celebrate the betrothal

MaTn". of Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou. One of

the conditions of this marriage alliance was the
cession to the French of Anjou and Maine. The duke of York
endeavoured to reap personal advantage from the alliance
by a projected betrothal of his own son to a French princess 1 ;
and to enhance his prospects in that object he sent Gough
to assist the dauphin in an expedition against the Swiss in
Alsace 2 .

The negotiations for the cession of Maine did not find
Gough in any humour of acquiescence. His conduct on this
occasion exhibited a tenacity as inflexible as his patriotism
was fervid. It was a galling experience to so valiant a
captain to be summoned meekly to transfer to his enemy
a district through the conquest of which he had won for
himself undying renown ; and it did not fail to reveal in
him a resourcefulness worthy of a better cause 3 . He
doubted the expediency of such a surrender. The glory of
British arms had not shone brightly since Crevant and
Verneuil, and he dreaded the pernicious effects of a diplo-
matic check. Even Margaret, herself not devoid of com-
bativeness, was captivated by his vigour and zeal 4 .

The fateful promise to concede Maine was extorted from
Somerset in 1444. It had not been fulfilled a year later,
and the French began to press their demand. In December,
1445, Henry signed an undertaking to surrender Le Mans
and his possessions in Maine by the following April. Mean-
while a truce was agreed upon. Gough was now captain
of Bayeux 5 .

1 Stephenson, i. 79-86, 160, 169.

2 Escouchy, 1. 11 ; Vallet de Viriville, III. 47.

3 Stephenson, 363-8.

4 Letters of Margaret of Anjou, 109-10. In one of her letters to the
earl of Northumberland, Margaret evinces much concern for the safety of
Gough.

5 Record Reports, 1887, sub ami. 1446.



in] MATHEW GOUGH 55

In July 1446 it appears that he was in England 1 , perhaps
in connection with the surrender. In the following year the
question had already assumed an exacting predominance.
On July 28, 1447, he and Fulk Eyton were commissioned
to receive Le Mans from the hands of the earl of Dorset
(afterwards earl of Somerset) and deliver it to the repre-
sentatives of Charles VII of France 2 . They were to use
force if necessary. Gough adopted dilatory tactics and, far
from appealing to the sword, did not even present his demand
till September 23 s . When this was formally done, Osbern
Mundeford, Dorset's lieutenant in Le Mans, refused to
surrender on the technical ground that no letters of discharge
were enclosed for him.

On October 23, Henry VI wrote to Gough and Eyton :
" We have been informed of the diligence which by our
command you have done to have and recover unto our hands
the town and castle of Le Mans 4 ." But if Henry and his
advisers thus put a specious interpretation upon their
conduct, the king of France was nettled by their arbitrary
and fearless evasiveness.

On November 1 a conference was held at Le Mans between
the French and English representatives to discuss the
question of compensation. Gough and Eyton, who were
to have made the formal surrender, conveniently absented
themselves, and the cession was again postponed. French
authorities interpreted their conduct as deliberate shuffling.
Charles wrote to Henry complaining of their delay and
studied disobedience : " And seeing the subterfuges, pre-
tences, and dissimulations to which they resorted, we sent
our accredited messengers to your great Council at Rouen ;
and, in consequence of the wrong, we have been moved to
proceed against them 5 ."

On December 30, the Count of Dunois extracted from

1 Record Reports, 1887. He received letters of protection, July 5, 1446.

2 Stephenson, n. 696-7. 3 Ibid. 693-8. 4 Ibid. 702.
6 Stephenson, II. 361-5. Rymer, xi. 204, 216.



56 WALES AND THE FRENCH WARS [CH.

Gough a promise that he would surrender the town on
January 15, 1448. Gough again prevaricated. Conse-
quently Charles obtained from the English Council at Rouen
an undertaking that if the province was not delivered into
his hands by February 10, Gough would be held guilty of
treason. The French were now prepared to enforce their
demands at the point of the sword. On February 13, an
army under the count of Dunois appeared before Le Mans.
Gough was still stubborn, alleging that he awaited further
orders from Adam Moleyns. On March 16, however, he
yielded. He was allowed to march out with bag and baggage
and substantial compensation. On the previous day he
issued a protest in the king's name that the cession was
only made in consideration of a secure peace, and that
Henry did not resign the sovereignty of Maine 1 . Such
a protest did not weigh a feather with the aggressive captains
of France, but it revealed the bitter distress with which
a born soldier accepted a rebuff of the making of others.
It was sorry consolation to him that the Council issued a
proclamation that he had done his duty as to the delivery
of this rich province 2 .

The disbanded garrison of Le Mans endeavoured to
counterbalance this loss by establishing a new fortress at
St James de Beuvron, in Brittany. Charles protested, and
lengthy discussions followed. The question was still in the
crucible of debate when the English sacked Fougeres. In
the meantime Gough had tried to rescue Giles of Brittany, a
loyal ally of England, who had been cast into prison when the
duke of Brittany threw his influence on the side of the French 3 .
Charles of France, resolved on the complete expulsion of
the English from Normandy, suddenly put an end to this
travesty of a peace, and in July active war once more began.

1 Record Reports, 1884, 330. Mathew Gough signs his name " Matheu."
Stephenson, 11. 333.

2 Ibid. 1887, June 12, 1447-8. Stephenson, 11. 702-14. A John
Morgan witnessed the surrender.

3 Stephenson, I. 280.



in] MATHEW GOUGH 57

St James de Beuvron had been recaptured a few weeks
previously, the garrison being allowed to leave
becom™' with all their goods 1 . On the resumption of

JjbTec'ts. hostilities the English strongholds submitted

in rapid succession, among them La Roche
Guyon, an almost impregnable fortress in central Normandy,
situated on the Seine. Its captain was the Welshman,
John Edward, who had so far advanced his personal fortunes
that he had married a French woman of considerable
property, and a relative of the powerful French count,
Denis de Chailly. Perceiving that English dominion in
France was nearing its close, and being anxious not to
jeopardise his wife's property, Edward, with tender dis-
cretion, became a vassal of the French king, and surrendered
the fortress, " at the advice, prayer and entreaty of his
wife, on condition that he should enjoy his wife's lands,
and become a subject of king Charles 2 ." We may assume
that he was the same person who fought at Agincourt in
the retinue of the earl of Suffolk's son. There were doubtless
many other Welshmen who now transferred their allegiance
to the French king 3 .

St Lo surrendered on September 15. Gough, who was
Goughat at the time captain of Bayeux, was so in-

Bayeux. censed at the conduct of the burgesses in

admitting the French that he threatened to put their town
and its suburbs to the flames 4 . Carentan submitted to
the duke of Brittany on September 30. Gough shared the
command of this fortress with his countryman, William
Herbert. This, apparently, is the first, and one of the very
few authentic notices we have of the latter in connection
with French affairs 5 .

1 Blondel, Reductio Normaniae, 76, 621.

2 Blondel, 88-9, 277. Wavrin, 134. Stephenson, n. 621.

3 Stephenson, 1. 31 1-3. An Ap Madoc was among the French men-at-
arms in Normandy after the conclusion of the war.

4 Blondel, 95. Hall, 214-16.

5 Stephenson, n. 625. Herbert apparently crossed the Channel about
1440. See later.



58 WALES AND THE FRENCH WARS [ch.

Meanwhile, the duke of Alen9on surrounded Belleme, of
captain of which, too, Gough was captain and bailly.

Beiieme. j ne g arr ison, numbering about two hundred 1 ,

seeing that resistance was futile unless reinforcements arrived,
of which they had no hope, surrendered the town by
composition. They were allowed to leave with their goods


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