Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Combat between Sir John Anneslie and Thomas Katrington, squire, 1380

On the seuenth of Iune,A comb [...] [...]twixt [...] A [...] Thoma [...] [...]tring [...]. a combat was fought afore the kings palace at Westminster, on the pauement there, betwixt one sir Iohn Anneslie knight, and one Thomas Katrington esquier: the occasion of which strange and notable triall rose hereof. The knight ac|cused the esquier of treason, for that where the for|tresse of saint Sauiour within the Ile of Constan|tine in Normandie, belonging som [...]time to sir Iohn Chandois, had béene committed to the said Katring|ton, as capteine the [...] [...]o keepe it against the eni|mies, he had for [...] and deliuered it ouer to the Frenchmen, where he was sufficientlie proui|ded of men, munition and vittels, to haue defended it against them; and sith the inheritance of that fortresse and landes belonging thereto, had apperteined to the said Anneslie in right of his wife, as neerest cousine by affinitie vnto sir Iohn Chandois, if by the false conueiance of the said Katrington, it had not béene made awaie, and alienated into the enimies hands: he offered therefore to trie the quarrell by combat, a|gainst the said Katrington, whervpon was the same Katrington apprehended, and put in prison, but short|lie after set at libertie againe.

Whilest the duke of Lancaster, during the time that his father king Edward laie in his last sicke|nesse, did in all things what liked him, & so at the con|templation of the lord Latimer (as was thought) he released Katrington for the time, so that sir Iohn An|neslie could not come to the effect of his sute in all the meane time, till now. Such as feared to be char|ged with the like offenses staied the matter, till at length, by the opinion of true and ancient knights it was defined,that for such a forren controuersie that had not risen within the limits of the realme, but tou|ched possession of things on the further side the sea, it was lawfull to haue it tried by battell, if the cause were first notified to the constable and marshall of the realme, and that the combat was accepted by the parties. Herevpon was the day and place appointed, and all things prouided readie, with lists railed and made so substantiallie, as if the same should haue in|dured for euer. The concourse of people that came to London to sée this tried, was thought to excéed that of the kings coronation, so desirous men were to be|hold a sight so strange and vnaccustomed.

The king, his nobles, and all the people being come togither in the morning of the daie appointed, to the place where the lists were set vp, the knight be|ing armed and mounted on a faire courser seemelie trapped, entered first as appellant, staieng till his ad|uersarie the defendant should come. And shortlie af|ter was the esquier called to defend his cause in this forme: Thomas Katrington defendant, come and appeare to saue the action, for which sir Iohn Annes|lie knight and appellant hath publikelie and by wri|ting appealed thée. He being thus called thrise by an herald at armes, at the third call did come ar|med likewise; and riding on a courser trapped with traps imbrodered with his armes, at his approching to the lists he alighted from his horsse, lest according to the law of armes the constable should haue cha|lenged the horsse if he had entered within the lists. But his shifting nothing auailed him, for the horsse after his maister was alighted beside him, ran vp & downe by the railes, now thrusting his head ouer, and now both head & breast,The earle Bucking [...] claimeth [...] horsse. so that the earle of Buc|kingham, bicause he was high constable of Eng|land, claimed the horsse afterwards, swearing that he would haue so much of him as had appeared ouer the railes, and so the horsse was adiudged vnto him.

But now to the matter of the combat (for this challenge of the horsse was made after, as soone as the esquier was come within the lists) the indenture was brought foorth by the marshall and constable, which had béene made and sealed before them, with consent of the parties, in which were conteined the articles exhibited by the knight against the esquier, and there the same was read before all the assemblie. The esquier (whose conscience was thought not to be cleare, but rather guiltie, and therefore seemed full of troublesome and grudging passions, as an offendor alreadie conuinced, thought (as full well he might)Multamiser timeo, quia feci multa proteruè)
went about to make exceptions, that his cause by some means might haue séemed the sounder. But the duke of Lancaster hearing him so staie at the mat|ter, sware, that except according to the conditions of the combat, and the law of armes, he would admit all things in the indentures comprised, that were not made without his owne consent, he should as guiltie of the treason foorthwith be had foorth to execution. The duke with those words woone great commenda|tion, and auoided no small suspicion that had béene conceiued of him as parciall in the esquiers cause. The esquier hearing this, said, that he durst fight with the knight, not onelie in those points, but in all other in the world whatsoeuer the same might be: for he trusted more to his strength of bodie, and fauour of his freends, than to the cause which he had taken vpon him to defend. He was in déed a mightie man of stature, where the knight among those that were of a meane stature was one of the least. Freends to the esquier, in whom he had great affiance to be borne [...]ut through their assistance, were the lords Latimer and Basset, with others.

Before they entered battell, they tooke an oth, as well the knight as the esquier, that the cause in which they were to fight, was true, and that they delt with no witchcraft, nor art magike, whereby they might obteine the victorie of their aduersarie, nor had about them any herbe or stone, or other kind of experiment with which magicians vse to triumph ouer their eni|mies. This oth receiued of either of them, and there|with hauing made their praiers deuoutlie, they be|gan the battell, first with speares, after with swords, and lastlie with daggers.The esquire [...] ouer|throwne. They fought long, till final|lie the knight had bereft the esquier of all his wea|pons, and at length the esquier was manfullie o|uerthrowne by the knight. But as the knight would haue fallen vpon the esquier, through sweat that ran downe by his helmet his sight was hindered, so that thinking to fall vpon the esquier, he fell downe sideling himselfe, not comming néere to the esquier, who perceiuing what had happened, although he was almost ouercome with long fighting, made to the knight, and threw himselfe vpon him, so that manie thought the knight should haue beene ouercome: other doubted not but that the knight would recouer his feet againe, and get the victorie of his aduersarie.

The king in the meane time caused it to be pro|clamed that they should staie, and that the knight should be raised vp from the ground, and so meant to take vp the matter betwixt them. To be short, such were sent as should take vp the esquier; but com|ming to the knight, he besought them, that it might please the king to permit them to lie still, for he thanked God he was well, and mistrusted not to ob|teine the victorie, if the esquier might be laid vpon him, in manner as he was earst. Finallie, when it would not be so granted, he was contented to be rai|sed vp, and was no sooner set on his féet, but he cheer|fullie went to the king, without anie mans helpe, where the esquier could neither stand nor go without the helpe of two men to hold him vp, and therefore was set in his chaire to take his ease, to see if he might recouer his strength.

The knight at his comming before the king, be|sought him & his nobles, to grant him so much, that he might be eftsoones laid on the ground as before, and the esquier to be laid aloft vpon him: for the knight perceiued that the esquire through excessiue heat, and the weight of his armor, did maruellouslie faint, so as his spirits were in manner taken from him. The king and the nobles perceiuing the knight so couragiouslie to demand to trie the battell foorth to the vttermost, offring great summes of monie, that so it might be doone, decreed that they should be resto|red againe to the same plight in which they laie when they were raised vp: but in the meane time the es|quire fainting, and falling downe in a swoone, fell out of his chaire,The esquier fainteth. as one that was like to yéeld vp his last breath presentlie among them. Those that stood about him cast wine and water vpon him, seeking so to bring him againe, but all would not serue, till they had plucked off his armor, & his whole apparell,The knight is iudged the vanquisher. which thing prooued the knight to be vanquisher, and the es|quier to be vanquished.

After a little time the esquier began to come to himselfe, and lifting vp his eies, began to hold vp his head, and to cast a ghostlie looke on euerie one a|bout him: which when it was reported to the knight, he commeth to him armed as he was (for he had put off no péece since the beginning of the fight) and spea|king to him, called him traitor, and false periured man, asking of him if he durst trie the battell with him againe: but the esquier hauing neither sense nor spirit whereby to make answer, proclamation was made that the battell was ended, and euerie one might go to his lodging. The esquier immediat|lie after he was brought to his lodging, and laid in bed, began to wax raging wood, and so continuing still out of his wits, about nine of the clocke the next day he yéelded vp the ghost. ¶ This combat was fought (as before yée haue heard) the seuenth of Iune to the great reioising of the common people, and dis|couragement of traitours.

Raphael Holinshed Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland London, 1587 Volume 6, pp. 424-425

Holinshed closely follows Thomas Walsingham in this account.

No comments: