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The Clopton Chronicles

A Project of the Clopton Family Genealogical Society

 

 

 

Saint Crispin’s Day

 

 

Regarding

 

William Clopton, Knt., & His Uncle,

Thomas Erpingham, K.G.

 

 

By John Henry Knowlton, J_H_Knowlton@email.msn.com, &

Suellen Clopton Blanton, bblanton@fast.net [1]

 

 

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.

For he today that sheds his blood with me

shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,

this day shall gentle his condition.

And gentlemen in England now abed

shall think themselves accursed they were not here,

and hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks

that fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Henry V - William Shakespeare[2]

 

Delectable Valleys

 

It is truly a beautiful thing to behold

one or two thousand tame swans

upon the River Thames. 

 

 

            The last half of the fourteenth century saw the Cloptons migrate from their ancestral English environs of Wickhambrook,[3] and began to imprint the indelible mark of the family upon the history of East Anglia.  It was a thrilling time as countries locked in battle for control of England; kings were murdered and deposed, armies marched and old noble names were ruined while rising dynasties seized power and lands.

                The Black Death[4] of the fourteenth century left in its wake a large proportion of England’s inhabitants dead, entire villages abandoned.  With less competition, many survivors were able to grow rich beyond their wildest dreams.  Peasants were now able to negotiate cash wages in return for their labor.  This cornucopia did not go unnoticed.  The Italian scholar Polydore Vergil,[5] was impressed by what he saw.

 

 

            [In England is found] delectable valleys, pleasant, undulating hills, agreeable woods, extensive meadows, lands in cultivation, and the great plenty of water springing everywhere.  It is truly a beautiful thing to behold one or two thousand tame swans upon the River Thames.  The riches of England are greater than those of any other country in Europe.  There is no small innkeeper, however poor and humble he may be, who does not serve his table with silver dishes and drinking cups.

 

 

There were many who wished to have the glittering gem as their own, none so impassioned than the French.  At the same time, Henry V[6] longed to renew Edward III’s claims to the throne of France.[7]  Not only would victories abroad restore England’s somewhat tarnished prestige but they would also give the people confidence in the Lancastrian dynasty.

 

 

King Henry V

 

 

And that is how Sir William Clopton,[8] would find himself along side his uncle, Sir Thomas Erpingham[9] on a cold and wet morning in 1415 facing the flower of French chivalry.

                Following an unexpectedly long march in an attempt to find a practicable ford over the Sommes, during the mid-point of the Hundred Years’ War,[10]  an exhausted army of 6,000 Englishmen, led by Henry V, was caught at Agincourt.[11]  The French force, numbering between 20,000 and 30,000 men, under the constable Charles I d’Albret, blocked the road to Calais.

 On October 25, Saint Crispin’s Day, 5,000 archers stood waiting at Agincourt.  King Henry V called to him the husband of Joan Clopton, the distinguished marshal of his army, Sir Thomas Erpingham.  Sir Thomas brought them into position.  The elderly knight tossed his baton into the air and cried 'Nestrocque,"[12] his command answered with roars which echoed across the gentle countryside soon to be drenched in blood. And thus began one of the most famous battles in history, the Battle of Agincourt.[13]

It would be the skills of the English archers,[14] under the command of Sir Thomas, that would prove the decisive factor.

 

 

An Unforgiving Weapon

 

The French were so packed together

that many could not raise their arms to use their weapons.

The bodies began to pile up

until they had to climb up to get at the English.

It was a bloodbath.

 

 

Understanding the military advantages of the longbow, King Henry II[15] mandated that men with a net worth of two to five pounds or more should own and practice with a longbow[16] to defend the nation.  Churches were required to set aside a butt, or target, in a marked area for archers to hone their skills.  For archery was an art that took practice.  A great deal of practice.

The English longbow was an unforgiving weapon.  Anyone could pick one up and fire an arrow, but the key was being able to hit the target consistently and to be able to fire rapidly.  A good archer could fire from six to twelve arrows[17] a minute.  This was critical when one considers facing a charging knight on horseback.  The more arrows fired the better the chance of hitting the knight or his horse and surviving the encounter.

The armor[18] that the knights wore on their torsos and heads was thick enough that arrows would have a difficult time piercing it.  But the armor on their arms and leg was thinner.  The horses had less armor and could be brought down, thus dismounting the knight.  At Agincourt, the English archers had another advantage.

 

 

 

Sir Thomas Erpingham was one of the highest ranking officers at the Battle of Agincourt.  This painting is based on his statue atop The Erpingham Gate, Norwich Cathedral Norwich, County Norfolk.   It must be understood that unlike his nephew, William Clopton, Sir Thomas did not actually engage in battle.  He observed and commanded the archers in a relatively safe location throughout the engagement.  Photograph from The Armies of Agincourt by Christoper Rote.  Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of the publisher, Osprey Publishing, Limited.

 

 

At first the French would not attack the English.  After sitting for four hours in battle array, King Henry gave the order to advance to within three hundred yards of the French,  maximum range for the longbows.[19]  Henry V ordered Sir Thomas to inspect his men to insure that they were in order and that they had their bows strung and arrows ready.[20]

Sharpened stakes were driven in front of the archers to protect them from the French knights charging on horseback.  Sir Thomas then gave the order to fire the first volley of arrows.  This was all it took to spur the French to action.

The French leaders tried to restrain their knights but to no avail.  The mounted French knights, who had been placed on the flanks of the French army, impulsively charged.   Their horses churned the ground into a mire.  It had been raining for two weeks prior to the battle and the ground was saturated.  King Henry had positioned his troops in such a way that the initial advance of the French was across marshy ground, and he kept his own armored cavalry in reserve until the charge of the French cavalry had been thrown into confusion by his archers.  The field at its best places was ankle deep in mud.  In the worst places there were reports of the mud being up to the bellies of the horses,  waist deep on a man.[21]  The French knights would fall from their disabled mounts and become mired in the mud.

The English archer's arrows brought down the first ranks.[22]  The noise of horses and riders screaming in pain covered the battlefield.

The following ranks could not see what was happening and rode on top of the fallen men and horses and were killed also.  Rider less horses ran in panic through the French infantry advancing behind the knights.  The archers of Sir Thomas were pitiless and poured the arrows into the tightly massed ranks of French infantry.  The French infantry slogged forward with their heads slightly down because they knew if they looked up an English arrow would come through the eye slit in their helmet.  Men were falling as arrows penetrated their leg armor and other lightly armored areas of their bodies.  The entire length of the field was a killing zone.

 

 

 

A kneeling statue of Sir Thomas Erpingham is in a niche in the center of the tall flint-faced gable of the Erpingham Gate at Norwich Cathedral.

 

 

The French infantry came to the piles of dead and dying knights and horses and began to climb over them.  All the time they saw their comrades falling around them hit with English arrows.  The impact of the French infantry drove the English line back several yards but it held.  The French were so packed together that many could not raise their arms to use their weapons.[23]  The bodies began to pile up until they had to climb up to get at the English.  It was a bloodbath.[24]

The French died in the thousands of arrows, weapon strikes by English men-at-arms, and of falling and being suffocated by the weight of their own comrades trying to climb over them.  The archers joined the men-at-arms in the butchery that followed.  The closely packed French knights and infantrymen that were mired in the mud were killed without pity.[25]  The French faltered and then fled.  Over 2,000  prisoners were taken after the French attack disintegrated.[26]

Then the French second wave began to advance and King Henry ordered the killing of the prisoners.  The second wave faltered and fled but not before a number of prisoners had been killed.[27]  The prisoners were worth ransom money and therefore more valuable alive than dead.

As the English looked across the battlefield they said it looked rather odd because in places the feathered ends of the arrows that they had fired were so thick it appeared there was snow on the ground.

They had done their work too well.  The field was now covered with over 5,000 French dead.[28]  The English losses were negligible.[29]  The English longbow was a death instrument in the hands of the experienced English yeomen archers.  All the bravado in France could not ignore the fact that Sir Thomas and his yeomen archers had destroyed a generation of French nobility on that muddy field near Agincourt.

 

 

A Good Old Commander

 

May the Dedicated Service of William Shakespeare;s

“Good Old Commander” and most kind Gentleman

Ever Be remembers and his Soul Rest in Peace.

 

 

 

 

Norwich Cathedral

 

                Sir Thomas’ role at Agincourt was immortalized not only in history but also in fiction.  In William Shakespeare play, Henry V, 4.1.17, on the eve of the battle, Sir Thomas rejects King Henry’s suggestion that his “good old commander,” is too elderly to sleep on the hard ground.  Sir Thomas replies that he enjoys being able to say, “Now Lie I like a king.”  King Henry then congratulates him on his spirit, thus contributing to the episode’s emphasis on the high morale of the English army.[30]

                Sir Thomas is buried on the north side of the presbytery at Norwich Cathedral with his two wives, Joan Clopton and Joan Walton[31]   A plaque reads:

 

 

SIR THOMAS ERPINGHAM, K.G.

 

1357 – 1428

 

A GALLANT SOLDIER AND GENEROUS BENEFACTOR LIES BURIED WITH HIS TWO WIVES NEAR THIS SPOT.  In 1399 HE WAS ONE OF THE COMMISSIONERS TO WHOM RICHARD II SURRENDERED HIS CROWN AND IN 1415 AS MARSHALL OF KING HENRY V’S ARMY AND COMMANDER OF HIS ARCHERS, HE PLAYED A PROMINENT PART AT THE BATTLE OF AGINCOURT.  LOCALLY HE FUNDED THE REBUILDING OF THE DOMINICAN FRIARY NOW KNOWN AS ST. ANDREWS AND BLACKFRIARS HALLS AS WELL AS THE ERPINGHAM GATE LEADING INTO THE CATHEDRAL CLOSE AND WAS LARGELY RESPONSIBLE FOR NORIWCH OBTAINING ITS MOST IMPORTANT CHARTER.

 

MAY THE DEDICATED SERVICE OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S “GOOD OLD COMMANDER” AND MOST KIND GENTLEMAN EVER BE REMEMBERED AND HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE.

 

 

 

 

 

Opposite the west door of the Cathedral is the Erpingham Gate, given about the year 1420 by Sir Thomas Erpingham, whose chantry is in the Presbytery.  It is very richly cared on the outside, with statues of the apostles and of female saints set in canopied niches in the arch mouldings.  The Clopton arms are replicated dozens of times, either by itself or with Erpingham impaling Clopton.  An attractive paving was laid from the gate to the west door in 1968-71.

 

 

 

 

Detail showing Erpingham impaling Clopton.  In other words, the left half of the shield is Sir Thomas’ arms and the right half, the arms of Joan Clopton’s father.

 

 

 

 

 

            Sir William Clopton would return to Long Melford following the battle, however, any joy he may have felt was short lived.  It is thought a plague visited the countryside, and in 1420, his first wife, Margery Drury, their son William, and two daughters died.  His second wife, Margery Francis, would died in 1424.[32]

 

 

 

        1.  Walter7 Clopton, Lord of Chiperley Manor  (William6, Walter5, William4, Walter3, William2, Guillaume1 Peche, Lord Of Cloptunna and Dalham)1 died 1327 in Poslingford, County Suffolk, possibly, and believed to be buried at The Church of the Blessed Mary, near Chipley Priory2.  He married (1) Alice FitzHugh3, daughter of Warin FitzHugh.  She died Aft. 1289 in Poslingford, County Suffolk, possibly, and believed to be buried at The Church of the Blessed Mary, near Chipley Priory4.  He married (2) Anwett or Ivetta Weyland5.  She died Aft. 1338 in Poslingford, County Suffolk, possibly, and believed to be buried at Chipley Priory, Clare6.

       

Children of Walter Clopton and Alice FitzHugh are:

+      2                 i.    William8 Clopton, Knt., Lord of Toppesfield Manor, died Bet. January 22, 1375/76 and January 14, 1376/77 in England and buried in Babwell Friary.

+      3                ii.    Thomas Clopton, Knt, of Kentwell Estate, Suffolk, died Bet. March 8, 1381/82 and October 12, 1383 in Long Melford, County Suffolk, and buried at the Church of the Blessed Mary, near Chipley Priory.

 

       

Child of Walter Clopton and Anwett Weyland is:

        4                 i.    John8 Clopton, of Chiperley Manor, died Aft. 1338 in Poslingford, County Suffolk, possibly, and believed to be buried at Chipley Priory, Clare.

 

 

Generation No. 2

 

        2.  William8 Clopton, Knt., Lord of Toppesfield Manor (Walter7, William6, Walter5, William4, Walter3, William2, Guillaume1 Peche, Lord Of Cloptunna and Dalham)7 died Bet. January 22, 1375/76 and January 14, 1376/77 in England and buried in Babwell Friary8.  He married (1) Amitia or Ivetta Grey, of Buckenham Castle9, daughter of Thomas Grey, Knt., of Buckenham Castle, Norfolk.  She was born in England.   Buckenham, County Norfolk, is about 8 miles southeast of Norwich.  It is reported that her daughter Johane, was born at Paston, Norfolk, about 22 miles north of Norwich.  None of this has been confirmed.  He married (2) Mary Cockerell, of Toppesfield Manor, Hadleigh10, daughter of William Cockerell, Knt, of Toppesfield Manor. 

       

Children of William Clopton and Amitia Grey are:

        5                 i.    William9 Clopton, of Hawstead Manor11, died in Hawstead Manor, County Suffolk, possibly, about 4 miles southwest of Bury St. Edmunds and may be buried at All Saints, Hawstead.  He married Chewyt; died in Hawstead Manor, County Suffolk, possibly, about 4 miles southwest of Bury St. Edmunds and may be buried at All Saints, Hawstead.

        6                ii.    Walter Clopton, of Toppesfield Manor, Hadleigh12, died Aft. May 5, 1413 in Toppesfield Manor, probably, and possibly  buried at Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford, County Suffolk13.  He married Elizabeth Peccott14; died in Toppesfield Manor, probably, and possibly  buried at Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford, County Suffolk.

               The 1612 Visitation of Essex refers to Sir Walter as a Knight of the "Roodes."  States he was the third son by the second wife.

        7               iii.    Edward Clopton, of Newnham Hall, Ashdon, Essex15, died 1389 in Newenham Hall, Ashdon, County Essex16.  He married Blanche FitzEustice.

        8               iv.    Johane Clopton, of Toppesfield Manor, Hadleigh17, born in Paston, County Norfolk, possibly, about 22 miles north of Norwich.  She married (1) Walter Walcote, of County Norfolk.  She married (2) Roger Beauchamp, 2nd Baron Beauchamp of Bletsho1819; born Abt. 1363 in Bletsoe, County Bedfordshire, about 24 miles west of Cambridge, County Cambridgeshire20; died May 3, 140621.  She married (3) John Cavendish, Knt.22.

               Johane married into one of the most eminent and powerful families, the Beauchamps.   A companion in arms of the victorious William the Conqueror, the family was represented by the Earls of Warwick and Albemarle, and, the Barons of St. Amand, Barons of Bletsho, Hache, Kydderminster and Powyke.  Counted among her direct descendants are most of the Kings and Queens of England who have held the throne since Henry, VII.

        9                v.    Joan Clopton, of Wickhambrook & Norwich23, died 1404 in England and buried on the north side of the presbytery at Norwich Cathedral, County Norfolk24.  She married Thomas Erpingham, K.G., Lord Marshall of England25 Aft. 138026; born 1357; died 1428 in England and buried on the north side of the presbytery at Norwich Cathedral, County Norfolk27.

 

 

The opposite side of the Erpingham Gate is very plain, with diagonal buttresses and the gable plastered and Sir Thomas’ arms as the only ornament.

 

 

       

Child of William Clopton and Mary Cockerell is:

        10               i.    Thomas9 Clopton, of Toppesfield Manor28.

 

 

        3.  Thomas8 Clopton, Knt, of Kentwell Estate, Suffolk (Walter7, William6, Walter5, William4, Walter3, William2, Guillaume1 Peche, Lord Of Cloptunna and Dalham)29 died Bet. March 8, 1381/82 and October 12, 1383 in Long Melford, County Suffolk, and buried at the Church of the Blessed Mary, near Chipley Priory30.  He married Katherine Mylde, of Clare, Suffolk3132, daughter of William Mylde, of Clare, County Suffolk.  She died Bet. February 24, 1402/03 and June 18, 1403 in Tendring Hall, Stokes-by-Nayland, County Suffolk, about 6 miles southwest of Hadleigh, and buried The Church of St. Mary the Virgin, before the altar in the South Chapel33.

        After Sir Thomas' death, Dame Katherine took as her second husband Sir William de Tendring of Stoke-by-Nayland.  Through this marriage she became the distant grandmother of three queens of England: two of the unfortunate wives of Henry the VIII, Ann Boleyn and Catherine Howard, and Queen Elizabeth I. Dame Katherine, who died in 1403, is buried at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Stoke-by-Nyland, Suffolk. Their memorial brasses are among the finest in England.  The Clopton Arms:  ermine spot on the bend in base may be seen on the mantle of the depiction of Dame Katherine.  The descendants of William Clopton and his wife, Ann Booth, are direct descendants of Guillaume Peche and Alfwen, his wife, by both the Clopton-Mylde marriage and the Mylde deTendring marriage.

See "Place of Lutons."

 

       

Children of Thomas Clopton and Katherine Mylde are:

        11               i.    William9 Clopton, Knt., of Long Melford34, born in Long Melford, County Suffolk, England35; died August 1446 in Long Melford, County Suffolk, England and buried in the North Aisle of the Clopton Chancel of Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford36.  He married (1) Margery Drury, of Rougham37; born  in Rougham, County Suffolk, about 3 miles southeast of Bury St. Edmunds and possibly baptized at St. Mary38; died June 19, 1420 in England and buried Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford in the North Aisle of the Clopton Chancel39.  He married (2) Margery Francis, of County Norfolk40 Bef. 1423 in County Norfolk, probably; died June 12, 1424 in Long Melford, County Suffolk, England and buried Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford and buried in the North Aisle of the Clopton Chancel41.

        12              ii.    Thomas Clopton, of Long Melford, Suffolk42, died Aft. 138243.

 

 

Endnotes

 

1.  Walter Clopton of Wickhambrook, 22 E. 1, when he bought lands in Chipley, &c. See deeds, Harleian Manuscript 380.

2.  Hervy, The Visitation of Suffolk 1561,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 23, Their son, Sir Thomas Clopton, stated in his will that he wished to be buried between his mother's and wife's [first wife, possibly) grave in the Church of the Blessed Mary of Chipley Priory.

3.  D'Ewes Collections, Harleian Manuscripts No. 380, "Walter de Clopton soone and heire of William de Clopton of Wikhambroke, married to his first wife Alice, the daughter and coheire of William, commonly sirnamed Fitzhugh, sonne of Hugh de Warrenna.  Hee died temp. E. II."Arms:  -- Clopton, impaling on a cross five escallops.

4.  Harleian Manuscript No. 380, British Museum, A deed of partition of lands dated Wednesday after the Feast of the Apostle James, the 17th Edward I (1289) between "the same FitzHugh between Robert de Sevlisho and Mabel his wife of the one part, and the said Walter de Cloptone and Alice his wife, sister of the said Mabel, of the other part."

5.  D'Ewes. Harleian M.S. 10, See also Harleian Charter, 51 A. 48; and D'Ewes, Harleian Manuscript 639.

6.  Harleian Charters 51 A. 48, British Museum, Bearing the date 11th Edward III (1338) a deed refers to Anwett, "once the wife of Walter Cloptone and her son John."

7.  Hervy, The Visitation of Suffolk 1561,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 22, 23, States he was called Sir William Clopton.  "Breviary of Suffolk," as does the Visitation 1561, associates Cockrell with Cloptons.  Cockrell - Ermyn on a fesse azure 3 lions rampant or.

8.  Hervy, The Visitation of Suffolk 1561,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 22, His will was dated January 22, 1376, proved in Norwich January 14, 1377.  Stated he was "William de Clopton, son of Walter de Clopton of Wykhambrok, cormorans in Wykhambroke, miles."  see Cur. Ep. Norw. 1376.

9.  Hervy, The Visitation of Suffolk 1561,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 22, She was the daughter and co-heir of Sir William Cockerell, of Toppesfield Manor in Hadleigh.

10.  Hervy, The Visitation of Suffolk 1561,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 22, States she was the daughter and co-heir of Sir William Cockerell, of Toppesfield Manor in Hadleigh.  Cites Copinger, "Manors, III. p. 164; "Proc.S.I.A.," XI. p 212-3.

11.  Hervy, The Visitation of Suffolk 1561,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 22, He was left property in Hawkedon in his father's will.

12.  Hervy, The Visitation of Suffolk 1561,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 22, States he was left the Manor of Toppesfield in Hadleigh in his father's will.

13.  Hervy, The Visitation of Suffolk 1561,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 22, His will was dated May 5, 1413.

14.  Hervy, The Visitation of Suffolk 1561,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 22, Citing Woodforde, "Norwich School of Glass-Painting in the Fifteenth Century," p. 126:  "Remains of wife's portrait in Melford church glass, 'her face is very fragmentary.  Her robe is of red glass.  Her mantle bears the arms of Clopton with two annulets interlaced on the bend.  Beneath, Uxor Walteri Cloptn filie Johes Peceot ml.'"Erwin, Ancestry of William Clopton," page 252 states Elizabeth is "probably dau. Sir John Peecot," but cites no source nor give further evidence.And Harleian Manuscripts 1103 and 1560, states she is the "dau. of . . . Pygott."  An old inscription on the parapet of Melford Church describes the daughter of Sir John Peecot as wife of Walter Clopton, son of William Clopton of Wickhambrook and Amitis Grey.

15.  Hervy, The Visitation of Suffolk 1561,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 22, His father left him the Manor of Newenham in Ashdon, County Essex.

16.  Parker, History of Long Melford,  (Courtesy of William Purcell Clopton), Clopton Pedigree.

17.  Weis, The Magna Charta Sureties,  (Copy located Clopton Family Archives, courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 57,  64, 89, 93.

18.  Complete Peerage,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), Volume 2 p. 45, The surname is spelled De Beauchamp in Burke's Dormant and Extinct Peerages, page 33.

19.  Reyce, Suffolk in the XVIIth Century,  (Courtesy Martin Wood, LL.B., M.A. & Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 218., Reyce connects the Beauchamp family with the Clopton family of Long Melford.  "The Complete Peerage" and "Burke's Dormant and Extinct Peerages" record the marriage.  "Claiborne of Virginia," page 727, cites Frederick Lewis Weis, "Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America before 1700 " (7th ed., with additions and corrections by Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr.; Baltimore, 1992).  Bank's "Baronia Anglica Concentrata also recognized the marriage and specifically notes William Clopton as her father.  The 1612 Visitation of Essex Bendish pedigree notes that Alice Clopton, daughter of Walter Clopton, Johane's brother, married Thomas Bendish, Esq., the son of Edmond Bendish and Alice, daughter and heir to John Banington, and Isabell Beauchamp, daughter and coheir to John Beauchamp of Herford.

20.  Complete Peerage of England,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 45., "He was aged 17 in 1380, and made proof of his age (1374) 7 Ric. II, when he had livery of all his lands, viz. Bletsoe, co. Bedford, Bloxham and Spelsbury, Oxon, and Lydiard Tregoz, Wilts.  He was a knight."  In 1395 he attended the King into Ireland."

21.  Complete Peerage of England,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 45..

22.  Parker, History of Long Melford,  (Courtesy of William Purcell Clopton), Clopton pedigree.  Does not list any other marriages nor give further information about this marriage nor any evidence.

23.  Hervy, The Visitation of Suffolk 1561,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 22, States:  two women, both named Joan Clopton, are generally stated to have been sisters of Sir William Clopton and to have married, respectively, Sir Thomas Erpingham, K.G. (A.;B.; Blomefield.  IV.  38-9 and VI. 413-8) and, 1st, Sir Walter Walcote, of co Norfolk and, 2nd Sir Roger Beauchamp.

24.  Records of the Society of the Friends of St. George's & The Descendants of the Knights of the Garter, Courtesy of Mr. D.H.B. Chesshyre, L.V.O., M.A., F.S.A., Clarenceux King of Arms & Secretary of the Order of the Garter.

25.  Hervy, The Visitation of Suffolk 1561,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 252, He is co-heir with his sister, Jullian upon his father's death August 1, 1370.

26.  Records of the Society of the Friends of St. George's & The Descendants of the Knights of the Garter, Courtesy of Mr. D.H.B. Chesshyre, L.V.O., M.A., F.S.A., Clarenceux King of Arms & Secretary of the Order of the Garter, As a member of the retinue of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, Thomas' indenture dated September 13, 1380 stipulates he should receive 50 marks during peace time, and during war, 20 pounds, for  himself and a servant, the usual "wages of a batchelor of his sort."

27.  Sansbury, An Historical Guide to Norwich Cathedral,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 28, A window opposite Sir Thomas Erpingham's chantry is known by his name because it once displayed him and his two wives.  Church records state he is buried with both of his wives.

28.  Parker, History of Long Melford,  (Courtesy of William Purcell Clopton), Clopton Pedigree.

29.  D'Ewes Collections, Harleian Manuscripts No. 380, "Sr. Thomas Clopton, Knight, 2d sonne of Walter de Clopton & Alicia his wife, married Katherine the sole daughter and heire of William Milde, esquire, who as is conceaved brought vnto this Familie the Mannor Kentwell and other lands in Melford.  This Sr Thomas died a^ 6 R. II, having lived temp. E. II and E. III."Arms: - Quarterly, 1 and 4, Sable, a bend Ermine, between two cotises dancette Or; 2 and 3, on a cross four escallops, Weyland, impaling Argent, a lion rampant Sable, over all a fess coutner compony Or and Azure, Mylde.He is mentioned in Lady Katherine's codicil, dated February 24, 1403, as Thomas Clopton, "my late husband."  Harleian Manuscript 10 fo. 158 Brit. Mus.

30.  Hervy, The Visitation of Suffolk 1561,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 23, His will was dated March 8, 1382, proved in Ipswich October 12, 1383, as 'Thomas de Clopton, Melford, miles'   States he is "To be buried in St. Mary's Chippeleye in choir between my mother's and wife's graves; residue of goods and chattels to wife Katherine for her and her children, and I make her executrix.'   It is assumed he refers to the grave of a first wife, although her name is not known.  Will located British Museum, Harleian Charter, 58. H. 22.

31.  Hervy, The Visitation of Suffolk 1561,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 23, Refers to their portraits in Long Melford Church.  He wears a tabard of Clopton with an ermine spot on the bend, she wears a kirtle of Mylde and mantle of Clopton with the ermine spot.Also, "The Cloptons of Suffolk," quotes:  "Katherin, d. of Mylde, brought wth her the mannor of Kentwell, in the countie of Suff., to Sr Thomas Clopton, Knight, being her husband."

32.  Knott, Holy Trinity Church Guide to the Stained Glass,  (A photograph of this window is located Clopton Family Archives, courtesy of William Purcell Clopton).

33.  Engleheart, The Church of St. Mary the Virgin,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 8-9, The monumental brasses of both Sir William  de Tendering and Katherine Mylde are found in the south chapel of the church.  They are considered among the finest in England.  Sir, Williams brass, in full armour, resting his head on his helm, bears a crest of feathers.  Citing Weaver's "Funeral Monuments" Written in 1631, the brass is described:  "Upon the Pavement before the high Aultar lyeth an auncient Gravestone, having thereon the figure of a Knight in compleat Armour, resting his Head upon his Gauntlet, with this circumscription:  'Hic iacent Tumulati, Dominus Willelmus Tendering, miles, et Katherine  Clopton uxor eiusdem:  obierunt anno Domini 1408."  Engleheart notes the incorrect death date of 1408.  Possibly Weaver misread the date and assumed they both died in that year.  Unfortunately, many publications have used this date of 1408 which is incorrect on both accounts.Also, in her will dated February 24, 1403, proved June 18, 1403, she states she wishes "to be buried in the Chapel of the Church of Stoke Neyland on the south side of the church before the altar of said chapel."

34.  Hervy, The Visitation of Suffolk 1561,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 23, It is noted he is "usually called a knight"   D'Ewes refers to him merely as "Esquire."  His effigy is clothed as a knight, see note regarding his death.  However, the inscription on the brass of his daughter, Alice, refers to him as "W'mi Clopton armigeri que obijt"Harleian Manuscript 1103.

35.  Lady Katherine's Codicil, dated February 24, 1403:  "My son William Clopton to have the Manor of Kentwell Hall if he do not contest my will.  And to have all lands and tenements called Lutons with a charge of ten marks yearly for ten years. . ."  He is mentioned several times throughout the will.  He and John Howard are to superivse the executors, "Master Henry Thompson and William Thompson and Wm. Brook."  Harleian Manuscript 10 fo. 158, British Museum.

36.  Hervy, The Visitation of Suffolk 1561,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 23, Citing "Chorography of Suffolk. 98.; Chitting Manuscript; facsimile. Conder. plate IX, states he died in August 1446, buried in Melford Church.  "Melford Against the North windowe is a fayre raysed tombe on it laying an armed k't at his feete an hound couchant of alablaster over him these coates 1. Clopton 2. or a lyon ramp. sable debruised with a fesse counter compony or and azure. 3. p'pale Clopton & Drury 4. Clopton empaled with gules a saultier entre 4 crosletes or at his feete in brasse these verses:..."Harleian Charter, 58 G. 28.

37.  D'Ewes Collections, Harleian Manuscripts No. 380, And undated will, which was made before her death by her husband, states:  "My wife margery to have profits of my Manor of Kentewll, but ony 9 marks yearly if she remarry."   .... and "My wife t have all my lands for her life in Chippeleye, Polyngforde, Stradesylle, Wykhambrooks and Atteltone. . ."

38.  Birch, Suffolk Parish Churches,  (Courtesy of Bert Hampton Blanton, Jr.), p. 126, States there is within the church a "fine large brass in N aisle to Sir Roger Drury 1400 [?] and wife Margery 1405 [?]."

39.  Muskett, Suffolk Manorial Families,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 142, Cites D'Ewes Harleian Manuscript 380.  "The Visitation of Suffolk, 1561," p. 23, cites "Chorography of Suffolk. 98." quotes "Melford...another stone fayrely arched on it the pourtrayture of a woman over hir head Clopton empaled with Drurye, this circumscription.  Hic iacet Margeria Clopton filia Rogeri Drury militis que obijt 19 die mensis Junij a'o D'ni 1420." and Chitting MS, "...que obijt 11 Junij 1420.

40.  D'Ewes Collections, Harleian Manuscripts No. 380, "William Clopton of Melford, in the Countie of Suffolk, Esquire, sonne & heire of Sr Thomas Clopton, Knight, married Margerie, sole daughter & heire of Elias Francis, Esquire.  He lieth buried in the north isle of ye chancell of Melford Church.  He died a 25 H. VI, and lived temp. R. 11. II, H. IV, and H.V.""The Cloptons of Suffolk," p. 105,  quotes: "Sr. Wm Clopton of Kentwell, Knight, sonne and heire, maryed the daughter and heire of Hellyas ffrauncis of Norff., and by her had yssue John Clopton, Esq.; a daughter maryed to Harleston; another to Denston".Arms: - 1 and 4, Clopton, the bend charged with an ermine spot; 2 and 3, Mylde, impaling Gules, a saltire between four crosses pattee Or, Francis.Crest: - Out of a ducal coronet a wolf's head Or.

41.  Muskett, Suffolk Manorial Families,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 142, Cites Harleian Manuscript 384, fo. 135.  "The Visitation of Suffolk, 1561," p. 23, citting "Chorography of Suffolk, 98.; and Conder. plate XII), notes 'Melford On a stone not farre from this tombe [that of Sir William] fayrely arched is the pourtrayture of a woman, on her gowne p'pale Clopton & gul. a saultier between 4 crosses or on eche corner of the stone an escotcheon.  1. Clopton 2. Clopton empaled with Fraunceys as before upon hir gowne 3. Fraunceys as alone 4. as the second.  Under the pourtrayture Hic jacet Margeria Clopton nuper uxor W'mi Clopton ac filia et heres Eliae Fraunceys armigeri que obijt 12 die Junij a'o D'ni 1424."D'Ewes.  Harleian Manuscript 384, fo. 135.

42.  Hervy, The Visitation of Suffolk 1561,  (Courtesy of Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton), p. 23, Refers to a second son, Thomas,  who married a Eustace.  However, to date, there is no other evidence of this son.  Erwin's "Ancestry of William Clopton," does not mention a second son."The Cloptons of Suffolk, Visitations of 1561," quotes:  "Sr Thomas Clopton of Kentwell, married Katherine daughter and heire of Mylde of Clare, in the Countie of Suff., and had yssue --- Clopton, sonne and heire, weh maryed wth the daughter of Eustace of, ---- and had yssue Sr Wm Clopton, Knight."

43.  Harleian Charter No. 48 D. 3, Indenture of Thomas de Cloptone, Knt. to Dom. Robert de Bockyngg and others, holding his land in Suffolk, to put Katherine his wife and Thomas his son, in possession after his death of the said lands:  viz. lands and tenements called Luytones in Melforde, Schymplyngg and Appleton; also the Manor of Kentewelle, and lands in Chyppeleye, Poselyngworth, and other places.  Dated at Melforde, Friday before the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, 6 Richard II.

 

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[1] Saint Crispin’s Day is an excerpt from The Clopton Chronicles, the Ancestors and Descendants of Sir Thomas Clopton, Knight & Dame Katherine Mylde, and is the property of the Clopton Family Genealogical Society which holds the copyright on this material.  Permission is granted to quote or reprint articles for noncommercial use provided credit is given to the CFGS and to the authors.  Prior written permission must be obtained from the Society for commercial use.

John Henry Knowlton is a member of The Clopton Family Genealogical Society & Clopton Family Archives and serves on the Society’s Editorial Advisory Board.

Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton is Founder and Executive Director of The Clopton Family Genealogical Society & Clopton Family Archives.

The Society wishes to thank Bert Hampton Blanton, Jr.; Mr. D.H.B. Chesshyre, L.V.O., M.A., F.S.A., Clarenceux King of Arms & Secretary of the Order of the Garter; Douglas Elmy, Honorable Secretary, The Society of Archer-Antiquaries, North Humberside, England; Brian Jones, author of “The English Longbow, With a Short Historical Background,” http://www.gci-net.com/users/w/wolfsoul/medieval/longbow/the-longbow.html; Peter Knevitt; and, Martin Wood, LL. B., M.A., author and historian living in Groton, County Suffolk, England, who serves on the United Kingdom Editorial Board, The Winthrop Papers, A Project of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Also thanks to Clopton descendants Wallace Chandler Clopton; William Purcell Clopton;  and, Isabel Lancaster (Clopton) Steiner.

[2] King Henry king makes a speech reflecting the pride the English took in the memory of a glorious victory, and, by connecting the Battle of Agincourt with a holy day, helped reinforce the popular belief that Providence played a role in England’s fortunes during that historic battle.

[4] Actually a series of epidemics beginning about 1346.  It is estimated that about 1 million people died between 1349 and 1377.  The deaths of so many people from every rank permitted those who survived and were ambitious and wise to accumulate wealth and advance themselves socially.  See Disease and History, Frederick F. Cartwright in collaboration with Michael D. Biddiss, Barnes & Noble, Inc., New York, 1991.

[5] Polydore Vergil, The Anglica Historia of Polydore Vergil, AD 1485-1573, translated and edited by D. Hay, Camden Series, 1950.  Papel envoy to the court of Henry VI, Piero da  Monte, wrote that England, was “a very wealthy region, abounding in gold and silver and many precious things, full of pleasures and delights.”  It seems a bit doubtful, however, that even the “poor and humble” innkeepers used silver vessels.

[6] Henry V, ‘of Monmouth,’ son of Henry IV and Mary Bohun, ascended the throne in 1413 and reigned until his death August 31, 1422.  See Antonia Fraser, The Lives of the Kings & Queens of England, University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles, 1995, p. 125-131

[7] Edward III (1312-1377) claimed the throne of France by descent from his mother Isabelle, Princess of France, (1292-1358),  the daughter of King Philippe IV of France (1268-1314).

[8] The son of Thomas Clopton, Knt, of Kentwell Estate and his wife, Katherine Mylde, an abbreviated genealogy follows.  Sir William fought under the banner of the Duke of Gloucester.  Humphrey Plantagenet, The Duke of Gloucester (1390-1447, the son of Henry IV, and his wife, Mary de Bohun.

[9] The husband of Joan Clopton, daughter of William Clopton and his wife, Amitia or Ivetta Grey, an abbreviated genealogy follows.

[10] In the 14th and 15th centuries England and France fought the Hundred Year’s War, a conflict in which the English lost all their French possessions, except the port of Calais, and France was ravaged by the pillaging and dislocation of war.  And yet each country emerged stronger at the end.  The aftereffects disrupted England and led to the dynastic Wars of the Roses between the House of Lancaster and the House of York.

[11] Azincourt in the Pas-de-Calais.

[12] Although some scholars have made educated guesses of what this word means, no one really knows.

[13] Christopher Rothero, The Armies of Agincourt, Osprey Publishing Limited, p. 14.

[14] Christopher Hamme, The Miracle of Agincourt, Was Henry V’s Great Battlefield Victory or the Inevitable Result of Circumstance? http://www.thehistorynet.com/BritishHeritage/articles/2000/0200_text.htm.  Prior to Agincourt, most archers held their bows horizontally while drawing the arrows back to the waist.  This method greatly reduced the bow’s range and effectiveness.  At Agincourt Henry’s archers employed the superior technique of holding their bows vertically and drawing the arrows back to the their ears.  The English bowmen could shoot nine arrows per minute and hit targets at 400 yards.  Their proficiency took the French completely by surprise.

[15] 1154-1189

[16] For a detailed study of the longbow, see Robert Hardy, Longbow:  A Social and Military History, Privately Published by the author, 1992; and, Robert Wilkinson-Latham, Phaidon Guide to Antique Weapons and Armour, Prentice-Hall, Inc., New Jersey, 1981.  See also History of the Longbow by Robert Sanderson at http://gondolin.french.liv.ac.uk/~azaroth/university/longbow.html;  The Agincourt Honor Roll http://www.familychronicle.com/agin_ae.htm;  The Battle of Agincourt http://www.aginc.net/battle/index.html; The English Longbow http://www.gci-net.com/users/w/wolfsoul/medieval/longbow/the-longbow.html;  The English Longbowmen http://www.gci-net.com/users/w/wolfsoul/medieval/longbow/longbowmen.html; The Medieval English Longbow by Robert E. Kaiser, M.A. http://snt.student.utwente.nl/~sagi/artikel/longbow/longbow.html; and, The Battle of Agincourt:  Sources and Interpretations, Anne Curry, Editor, Boydell & Brewer, Inc., 2000.

[17] The archers carried a number of different types of arrows designed for different purposes such as armor piercing and horse killing.

[18] Contrary to popular opinion , some scholars maintain that the armored knight was not a helpless turtle when he fell from his horse.  In  The Battle of Agincourt, http://www.aginc.net/battle/index.html , there is an interesting analysis of the armored knight.

 Knights who were in good physical shape were very nimble in their battle armor.  They took great pride in their strength and ability to fight in the armor.  They did not need assistance in getting on their horse and could easily get up if knocked down.  Uninformed writers and scriptwriters have created these myths about knights in armor being immobile. 

[19] Maximum range varied from archer to archer.  Skilled strong archers could shoot effectively out to 450 yards.  It is obvious that Henry V wanted to not only reach the first ranks but beyond to strike throughout the entire French force and goad them to attack.  Many sources called the large number of arrows fired an “arrow storm.”

[20] John Keegan, The Face of Battle, Viking Press of New York, 1976, p. 90.

[21] Allison Weir, The Wars of the Roses, Ballentine Books, New York, 1995, p.64-65/

[22] The forward impetus of the mounted knights was so great that many impaled their horses on the sharpened stakes.  See Keegan, The Face of Battle.

[23] The French crossbowmen and cannoneers could not fire in fear of hitting their own men.

[24] The majority of the casualties at Agincourt were in the French infantry, men-at-arms.

[25] The English yeomen archers were bare footed and in most cases bare legged.  They easily moved through the sucking mud that held the armored French knights and men-at-arms.  The archers swarmed around the flanks of the French columns pulling French infantrymen down and killing them as quickly as they could with swords, knives, and mallets.  A hit to the back of the head or knee knocked them down then a quick thrust through the eye slit or  a gap in the armor plate dispatched the helpless Frenchman.

[26] Reports of the number of prisoners taken and the number executed vary from source to source.

[27] In Face of Battle, John Keegan analyzes the circumstances of the killing of prisoners.  The order was not obeyed immediately because the prisoners were the prisoners of individual captors and not the King.  The captors were reluctant to sully their honor by killing prisoners against the law of chivalry.  Also there was the ransom value of the prisoners that the captors did not want to loose.  Henry V had to detail 200 archers to carry out his order.  The archers were not under the law of chivalry and therefore had fewer reasons not to carry out the kings order.  All this took time so the real amount of time available to kill the prisoners was quite short, considering that the order was immediately canceled when the French did not attack.  Close to 2000 prisoners were taken back to England to be ransomed.

[28] The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume 1, Micropaedia, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., Chicago, 1987, p. 148.  The French lost 13 members of the highest nobility, about 1,500 knights, and approximately 4,500 men-at-arms.

[29] Charles Boyce, Shakespeare A to Z, The Essential Reference to His Plays, His Poems, His Life and Times, and More, A Roundtable Press Book, Dell Publishing, New York, 1990, p.721.  The only nobleman killed was Edward, Duke of York, who had commanded the right flank of the army during the battle.  Although Shakespeare, in his play, Henry V, paints the Duke’s death as heroic, he was a big man and very overweight, and it was reported that he either suffocated to death in his armor or suffered a heart attack in the press of fighting.  His corpse was put in a huge cauldron of water and boiled all night so that the flesh dissolved and the bones could be transported back to England where they were buried in the collegiate church at Forthinghay.

[30] Boyce, Shakespeare A to Z, p. 180.  The historical Erpingham supported the King’s father, Henry Bolingbroke, later King Henry IV, when he deposed King Richard II (enacted in Richard II), and later served as his chancellor.  Sir Thomas was about 58 years old at the time of the battle, rather long in the tooth for that period.

[31] See An Historical Guide to Norwich Cathedral, by Ethelreda Sansbury, Dean and Chapter of Norwich, 1994, and Norwich Cathedral, A Guidebook.  Joan Walton’s first husband was John Howard, the son of John Howard, Knt., Sheriff of Essex & Hertford and his wife, Margaret Plaiz.

[32] See Black Death