Barons' Letter, 1301

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Barons' Letter, 1301, exemplar A

Barons' Letter, 1301, exemplar A
Letter A
Seals from Barons' Letter, 1301, exemplar A
Seals A

Barons' Letter, 1301, exemplar B

Barons' Letter, 1301, exemplar B
Letter B
Seals from Barons' Letter, 1301, exemplar B
Seals B

The Barons' Letter of 1301 was written by seven English earls and 96 English barons to Pope Boniface VIII as a repudiation of his claim of feudal overlordship of Scotland. It was, however, never sent. The letter survives in two copies, known as A and B, both held in the National Archives at Kew under the reference E 26. Historically they were held amongst the documents in the Exchequer, Treasury of the Receipt department.

The seals of the signatories to the letter survive in excellent condition. Although they are now detached from the document, they form the earliest contemporary group of true coats of arms, the rules of heraldry having only been established at around the start of the 1200s, and were stated for that reason by Lord Howard de Walden to be of very great value to students of heraldry.[1] Many of the armorials also appear in the near contemporary Falkirk Roll of Arms made before the Battle of Falkirk in 1298 and in the near contemporaneous stained glass shields in Dorchester Abbey, Oxfordshire.[2]

Purpose[edit]

The letter was written by English barons (mainly feudal barons and a few barons by writ) as a repudiation to the pope of his claim to feudal overlordship of Scotland, which he had expressed in a papal bull dated 27 June 1299 at Agnani. The bull was addressed to King Edward I and it was delivered by Robert Winchelsey, Archbishop of Canterbury at Sweetheart Abbey in Galloway, Scotland, on 26th or 27 August 1300. The bull is preserved in the National Archives at Kew under reference SC 7/6/10.

The king sought the advice of William of Sardinia, a former Dean of Arches to the Archbishop, as to what his response should be, and was presented with various options set out in a letter preserved in the National Archives (C/47/31/15). The bull had been delivered to the king at a sensitive moment, just after the hard-won English victory at the Siege of Caerlaverock Castle over the Scots. Following their defeat at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298 the Scots had appealed to the pope for his protection, yet the English had fought to subject their northern neighbour and were not about to release it from under their control, perhaps only to rise up again against them.[citation needed][clarification needed]

The French were the real movers of the pope's claim, having suggested the move to him as a means to effect protection of the Scots, then their allies under the Auld Alliance,[3] and were themselves allied with the Scots against the English. An English attack on a kingdom the feudal overlord of which was the pope would be virtually unthinkable in political and religious terms.[citation needed] There was thus no question of the English even considering the pope's claim, and the tone of the barons' reply to him is one of anger and open defiance, devoid of almost any of the diplomatic niceties with which the papal bull was replete.[citation needed]

In the event, the Barons' Letter was never sent to the pope, as events changed rapidly to such an extent that it appeared superfluous.[4] A letter to the same effect from the king had however been sent to the pope; it is now held in the Vatican Archives with a copy in the National Archives at Kew under reference C 54/118. It was stored away within the archives of the Exchequer, where the two copies of it remained for several centuries until transferred to Public Record Office under the custody of the Master of the Rolls before 1903[5] and more recently transferred to the National Archives at Kew.

Text[edit]

See full text on wikisource s:Barons' Letter, 1301) (English); la:s:Baronum epistola, 1301 (Latin)

Seals[edit]

The letter was composed and sealed at the parliament specially convened for the purpose of replying to the Pope's letter held at Lincoln between 13–20 January 1301.[6] To it were summoned 9 earls and 80 barons, yet 7 earls and 96 barons are recorded in the letter itself as co-authors. Those barons who did not answer the summons sealed the letter later.

The seals appended by hempen cords to Exemplar B were "tricked" (i.e. reproduced by drawing) by Lancaster Herald Nicholas Charles in 1611.[7] He also made a transcript of Exemplar B., which clearly was then in a better state of preservation than today.[8] Whilst his drawings provide much detail which is otherwise difficult to see in photographs of the seals themselves, some of his transcripts of the legends are inaccurate.[9]

In 1903 Lord Howard de Walden published Charles' drawings and a facsimile of his transcript, and also two sets of photographic images of the seals from Exemplar A; firstly of all the surviving individual cords of seals in colour (showing one face only of each seal), and secondly black and white images of each constituent seal on the cord, obverse and reverse (where existing). The number of surviving seals (series unspecified) is given as 95 by the National Archives catalogue entry, and as 72 (7 earls and 65 barons) by Brian Timms. Photographic images were published by Brian Timms on his heraldry website.[10]

List of the barons who sealed the letter[edit]

# Latinised name in letter; English translation; Standard identification; Legend (obverse/reverse) Cord (A series) on which affixed Seal (obverse, reverse), 1904 photo (A series); 1611 drawing (B series) Arms
1 Johannes Comes Warenne; John Earl Warenne; John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey; S(IGILLUM) JOH(ANN)IS DE WARENNIA COMITIS DE SURREIA / SIGILLUM JOHANNIS COMITIS DE WARENNIA
Cord 1
Barons' Letter, 1301, exemplar A
Blason Famille d'Auray.svg
2 Thomas Comes Lancastrie; Thomas Earl Lancaster;Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster; S(IGILLUM) THOM(A)E COMITIS LANCAST LEYCESTRIE ET DE FERRARIIS
Cord 1
Barons' Letter, 1301, exemplar A
Arms of Edmund Crouchback, Earl of Leicester and Lancaster.svg
3 Radulphus de Monte Hermerii Comes Gloucestr & Hertford; Ralph de Monthermer Earl of Gloucester & Hertford; Ralph de Monthermer, 1st Baron Monthermer; S(IGILLUM) (T?) RADULFI DE MONTE HERMERII COM(ITIS) GLOUERNIE ET HERTFORD / S RADULFI DE MONTE HERMERII COM(ITIS) GLOUERNIE ET HERTF
Cord 2
Ralph3.jpgRalph4.jpg
RalphDeMonthermer1301d.jpg
Monthermar.svg
4 Humfridus de Bohun Comes Hereford & Essex & Constabulari Anglie; Humfrey de Bohun Earl of Hereford & Essex & Constable of England; Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford;S(IGILLUM) H DE BOHUN COMITIS HEREFORD ET CONSTABULAR(II) ANGL(IAE) / S(IGILLUM) HUMFRIDI D3E BOHUN COMITIT HEREFORDIE ET ESSEXIE
Cord 2
Humfry4.jpgHumfry3.jpg
HumphreyDeBohun1301d.jpg
Blason Humphrey de Bohun, Comte de Northampton (selon Gelre).svg
5 Rogerus Bigo Comes Norff' & Marescallus Anglie; Roger Bigod Earl of Norfolk & Marshall of England; Roger Bigod, 5th Earl of Norfolk; SIGILLUM ROGERI BIGOD (seal of Roger Bigod) Circle - black simple fullpage.svg
NeverAffixedLacuna.JPGBigod.jpg
NeverAffixedLacuna.JPGRogerBigod1301d.jpg
Blason Guillaume le Maréchal.svg
6 Ricardus Comes Arundell; Richard Earl Arundel; Richard FitzAlan, Earl of Arundel; SIGILLUM RICARDI COMITIS DE ARUNDELL (seal of Richard Earl of Arundell) Circle - black simple fullpage.svg
Richard fitzAlan.jpgNeverAffixedLacuna.JPG
RichardFitzAlan1301d.jpgNeverAffixedLacuna.JPG
Royal Arms of England (1154-1189).svg
7 Guido Comes Warrewik; Guy Earl Warwick; Guy de Beauchamp, 10th Earl of Warwick; S(IGILLUM) GWIDONIS DE BELLO CAMPO COM WARREWYK/ S GUIDONIS DE BELLOCAMPO COMITIS WARREWIK (seal of Guy de Beauchamp Earl of Warwick) Circle - black simple fullpage.svg
8 Adomarus de Valencia D(omi)n(u)s de Moniniaco; Aylmer de Valence Lord of Moniniaco; Aymer de Valence, 2nd Earl of Pembroke;SIGILLUM ADOMARI DE VALENCE Circle - black simple fullpage.svg
NeverAffixedLacuna.JPGAymer de Valence, 2nd Earl of Pembroke.jpg
NeverAffixedLacuna.JPGAymerDeValence1301d.jpg
Blason Guillaume de Valence (William of Pembroke).svg
9 Will(elmu)s D(omi)n(u)s de Leyborn; William de Leyburn; William de Leybourne, of Leybourne Castle in Kent, son of Roger de Leybourne (1215-1271), Governor of Carlisle;[11] S(IGILLUM) WILLIELMI DE LEYBURN Circle - black simple fullpage.svg
NeverAffixedLacuna.JPGCircle - black simple fullpage.svg
NeverAffixedLacuna.JPGWilliamDeLeyburn1301d.jpg
LeyburnArms.JPG
10 Henricus de Lancastre Dominus de Munemue; Henry of Lancaster Lord of Monmouth; Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster Circle - black simple fullpage.svg
NeverAffixedLacuna.JPGJindrichLancaster.jpg
NeverAffixedLacuna.JPGHenryDeLancaster1301d.jpg
Henry of Leceister Arms.svg
11 Will(elmu)s le Latimer D(omi)n(u)s de Corby; William le Latimer Lord of Corby; William Latimer, 1st Baron Latimer Circle - black simple fullpage.svg
NeverAffixedLacuna.JPGWilliam Latimer, 1st Baron Latimer.jpg
NeverAffixedLacuna.JPGWilliamLatimer1301d.JPG
LatimerArms.JPG
12 Edmundus de Hastingg Dns de Enchimeholmok; Edmund de Hastings;Edmund Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings Circle - black simple fullpage.svg
Old French Escutcheon.svg
13 Johannes de Hastinges Dns de Bergaveny; John de Hastings, Lord of Bergavenny; John Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings Circle - black simple fullpage.svg
Old French Escutcheon.svg
14 Edmundus de Motuomari Dns de Wiggemor; Edmund Mortimer, Lord of Wigmore; Edmund Mortimer, 2nd Baron Mortimer; S(IGILLUM) EDMUNDI DE MORTUOMARI (seal of Edmund from "the dead sea") Circle - black simple fullpage.svg
NeverAffixedLacuna.JPGCircle - black simple fullpage.svg
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Mortimer.svg
15 Fulco filius Warini Dns de Whitington; Fulke, son of Warin, Lord of Whitington; Fulk IV FitzWarin of Whittington, Shropshire; SIGILLUM FULCONIS FILLII WARINI (seal of Fulk son of Warin) Circle - black simple fullpage.svg
NeverAffixedLacuna.JPGCircle - black simple fullpage.svg
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Blason Foulques FitzWarin (St George's Roll (Part 1)).svg
16 Henricus de Percy, Dns de Topclive; Henry de Percy, Lord of Topcliffe;Henry de Percy, 1st Baron Percy; SIGILLUM HENRICI DE PERCY /SIGILLUM HENRICI DE PERCI Circle - black simple fullpage.svg
Redvers.svg
17 Theobaldus de Verdon, Dominus de Webbele; Theobald de Verdon, Lord of Weobley;Theobald de Verdon, 1st Baron Verdon Circle - black simple fullpage.svg Theobald Verdon2.jpg Armoiries de Daun 1.svg
18 Robertus filus Walteri, Dns de Wodeham; Robert FitzWalter, 1st Baron FitzWalter (1247-1326) of Woodham Walter and Little Dunmow, Essex Circle - black simple fullpage.svg RobertFitzWalter1301d.JPG Blason fam uk FitzWalter.svg
19 Johes Dns de Sullee; John de Sudeley Circle - black simple fullpage.svg JohnDeSudeley1301d.JPG Old French Escutcheon.svg
20 Johannes de Sco Johanne, Dns de Hannak; John St John of Halnaker, Sussex Circle - black simple fullpage.svg
John st. John of Halnaker.jpgCircle - black simple fullpage.svg
JohnStJohnHalnaker1301d.JPGJohnStJohnHalSmall1301d.JPG
Arms of Viscount Bolingbroke and St.John.svg
21 Johes de Bello Campo, Dns de Hacche; John de Beauchamp Circle - black simple fullpage.svg Circle - black simple fullpage.svg Old French Escutcheon.svg
22 Johannis de Hudleston, Dns de Aneys; John de Hodleston Circle - black simple fullpage.svg
NeverAffixedLacuna.JPGCircle - black simple fullpage.svg
NeverAffixedLacuna.JPGJohnDeHudleston1301d.JPG
Armoiries de Daun 4.svg
23 Willus de Breuhosa Dns de Gower;William de Braose Lord of Gower;William de Braose, 2nd Baron Braose Circle - black simple fullpage.svg
William de Braose, 2nd Baron Braose.jpgCircle - black simple fullpage.svg
WilliamDeBraose1301d.JPGWilliamDeBraoseSmall1301d.JPG
William de Braose, coat of arms, Falkirk Roll.svg
24 Johannes Botetourte, Dns de Mendesham; John Botetourt Circle - black simple fullpage.svg
Circle - black simple fullpage.svgCircle - black simple fullpage.svg
Circle - black simple fullpage.svgJohnDeBotetort1301d.JPG
Old French Escutcheon.svg
25 Reginaldus de Grey, Dns de Ruthyn; Reginald de Grey Circle - black simple fullpage.svg Circle - black simple fullpage.svg Old French Escutcheon.svg
26 Johes de Moeles, Dns de Caudebury; John de Moels Circle - black simple fullpage.svg Circle - black simple fullpage.svg Old French Escutcheon.svg
27 Johes filius Reginaldi, Dns de Blenleveny; John FitzReginald; S(IGILLUM) JOHANNIS FILII REGINALDI (seal of John son of Reginald) Circle - black simple fullpage.svg
Circle - black simple fullpage.svgNeverAffixedLacuna.JPG
JohnFitzReginald1301d.jpgNeverAffixedLacuna.JPG
Old French Escutcheon.svg
28 Almericus de Sco Amando Dns de Widehaye; Almeric de Saint Amand
Cord
NeverAffixedLacuna.JPGCircle - black simple fullpage.svg
NeverAffixedLacuna.JPGCircle - black simple fullpage.svg
Old French Escutcheon.svg
29 Robertus filius Pagani, Dns Lammer; Robert FitzPayne; S(IGILLUM) ROBERTI FILII PAGANI (seal of Robert son of Payne)
Cord
NeverAffixedLacuna.JPGCircle - black simple fullpage.svg
NeverAffixedLacuna.JPGRobertFitzPayne1301d.jpg
Old French Escutcheon.svg
30 Thomas Dns de Berkele; Thomas de Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley
Cord
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NeverAffixedLacuna.JPGThomasDeBerkeley1301d.JPG
BerkeleyE CoA.png
31 Petrus Corbet, Dns de Cauz; Peter Corbet, lord of Caus, Shropshire; Sigillum Petri Corbet; Seal of Peter Corbet
Cord
NeverAffixedLacuna.JPGCircle - black simple fullpage.svg
NeverAffixedLacuna.JPGPeterCorbet1301d.JPG
CorbetArms.JPG
32 Henricus de Tyes, Dns de Chilton; Henry de Tyes
Cord
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Old French Escutcheon.svg
33 Robtus de Tatteshale, Dns de Bukeham; Robert de Tateshale
Cord
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Old French Escutcheon.svg
34 Johannes Lovel, Dns de Dacking; John Lovell
Cord
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35 Hugo de Vere, Dns Swainschaumpis; Hugh de Vere
Cord
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36 Robtus la Warde, Dns de Alba Aula; Robert de la Warde
Cord
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37 Johannes le Estraunge, Dns de Cnokyn; John le Strange
Cord
Circle - black simple fullpage.svgCircle - black simple fullpage.svg
Circle - black simple fullpage.svgCircle - black simple fullpage.svg
Old French Escutcheon.svg
38 Thomas de Multon, Dns de Egremont; Thomas de Multon
Cord
Circle - black simple fullpage.svgCircle - black simple fullpage.svg
Circle - black simple fullpage.svgCircle - black simple fullpage.svg
Old French Escutcheon.svg
39 Rogerus de Mortuo Mari, Dns de Penketlyn; Roger de Mortimer
Cord
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40 Robertus de Clifford, Castellanus de Appelby; Robert de Clifford
Cord
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41 Willus de Cantilopo, Dns de Ravensthorp; William de Cantelupe
Cord
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42 Brianus filius Alani, Dns de Bedale; Brian son of Alan, Lord of Bedale;Bryan FitzAlan, Lord FitzAlan
Cord
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43 Nicus de Carru, Dns de Mulesford; Nicholas de Carew
Cord
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44 Johes de Haveringes, Dns de Grafton; John de Havering
Cord
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45 Walterus de Teye, Dns de Standgreve; Walter de Teye
Cord
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46 Waltus de Bello Campo, Dns de Alcestre; Walter de Beauchamp
Cord
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47 Alanus la Zuche, Dns de Assheby; Alan la Zouche, 1st Baron la Zouche of Ashby
Cord
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Old French Escutcheon.svg
48 Eustachius, Dns de Hacche; Eustace de Hacche
Cord
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49 Wills Martyn, Dns de Camesio; William Martin, Lord of Cemais/Kemys; William Martin, Lord of Cemais
Cord
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Old French Escutcheon.svg
50 Johannes, Dns de Segrave; John de Segrave
Cord
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51 Wills de Ferrariis, Dns de Groby; William de Ferrers
Cord
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52 Robtus de Tonny, Dns de Castro Matill; Robert de Tony
Cord
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53 Adam, Dns Welle; Adam de Well
Cord
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54 Gilbertus Pecche, Dns de Corby; Gilbert de Pecche
Cord
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55 Wills Paynell, Dns de Tracyngton; William Paynell
Cord
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56 Simon, Dns de Monte Acuto; Simon de Montagu
Cord
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57 Petrus de Malolacu, Dns de Musgreve; Peter de Mauley
Cord
Circle - black simple fullpage.svg Circle - black simple fullpage.svg
Circle - black simple fullpage.svg Circle - black simple fullpage.svg
Old French Escutcheon.svg
58 Ranulphus de Nevill, Dns de Raby; Ralph de Nevill
Cord
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59 Radulphus, Dns de Grendon; Ralph de Grendon
Cord
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60 Johannes de Mohun, Dns de Dunsterre; John de Mohun
Cord
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61 Henricus de Pynkeny, Dns de Wedone; Henry de Pinkney
Cord
Circle - black simple fullpage.svg Circle - black simple fullpage.svg
Circle - black simple fullpage.svg Circle - black simple fullpage.svg
Old French Escutcheon.svg
62 Mattheus filius Jonis, Dns de Stokenhame; Matthew FitzJohn
Cord
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63 Thomas, Dns de la Roche; Thomas de la Roche
Cord
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64 Thomas de Chaurces, Dns de Norton; Thomas de Chaworth
Cord
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65 Robtus de Scales, Dns de Neuseles; Robert de Scales
Cord
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66 Thomas de Furnivall, Dns de Shefeold; Thomas de Furnivall
Cord
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67 Bogo de Knovill, Dns de Albomonasterio; Bogo de Knovill
Cord
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68 Fulco le Estraunge, Dns de Corsham; Fulke le Strange
Cord
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69 Hugo Bardolfe, Dns de Wirmegaye; Hugh Bardolph
Cord
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70 Ricardus Talebot, Dns de Eckleswell; Richard Talbot lord of Eccleswall Castle, Linton, Bringsty near Bromyard, Herefordshire, father of Gilbert Talbot, 1st Baron Talbot (1276-1346)
Cord
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Arms of Talbot.svg
71 Edmundus de Eyncourt, Dns de Thurgerton; Edmund Deincourt
Cord
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72 Emundus, Baro Stafford; Edmund de Stafford
Cord
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73 Phus, Dns de Kyme; Philip de Kyme
Cord
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74 Jones Pynell, Dns de Otteleye; John Paynel
Cord
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75 Walterus, Dns de Huntercombe; Walter de Huntercombe
Cord
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76 Wills Marescallus, Dns de Hengham; William Marshall
Cord
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77 Robertus de Monte Alto, Dns de Harwardyn; Robert Montalt
Cord
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78 Hugo Poyntz, Dns de Corimalet; Hugh Poyntz, Lord of Curry Malet
Cord
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79 Henricus Tregoz, Dns de Garynges; Henry Tregoz
Cord
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80 Wills Touchet, Dns de Leuenhales; William Touchet
Cord
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81 Johannes, Dns de Kingeston; John de Kingeston
Cord
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82 Robertus Hastang, Dns de la Desiree; Robert de Hastang
Cord
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83 Walterus, Dns de Faucomberge; Walter de Fauconberg
Cord
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84 Rogerus le Estraunge, Dns de Cnokyn; Roger le Strange
Cord
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85 Jones filius Marmeduci, Dns de Hordene; John FitzMarmaduke
Cord
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NeverAffixedLacuna.JPGCircle - black simple fullpage.svg
Old French Escutcheon.svg
86 Johannes le Breton, dns de Sporle; John le Breton
Cord
NeverAffixedLacuna.JPGCircle - black simple fullpage.svg
NeverAffixedLacuna.JPGCircle - black simple fullpage.svg
Old French Escutcheon.svg

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Howard de Walden, p.xi: "The Barons seals, forming as they do the earliest contemporary series of veritable coats of arms, are of the greatest importance from the heraldic standpoint, and as such are worthy of careful reproduction"
  2. ^ https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:ePn2jTGPhVkJ:ads.ahds.ac.uk/catalogue/adsdata/arch-787-1/dissemination/pdf/BAJ046_PDFs/BAJ046_A13_lamborn.pdf+armorial+roger+bigod+lion&hl=en&gl=uk&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESiRQvJUZTfpHxg4jp3k1b3tKSxWXcoNhdFZexPtO2Q_ehSDiv5KWcueqgMymj5XC6X4TDUuO-XMn8V_cr86wc88BMEKnrvOwi7VJKGfq_eM9ucN6C9enR5WV8X-BieNVweorEVX&sig=AHIEtbTxniahcGP2bTzhsxXx-DQWaIUMjA
  3. ^ Howard de Walden, Introduction, p.ix: "...claiming, on the suggestion of France, the feudal superiority, not for the Scottish but for Pope Boniface himself"
  4. ^ Howard de Walden, Introduction, p.x: "...Owing to the offence given by the French king at this juncture, the Pope's attention was diverted from Scotland, the position ceased to be acute and the bull together with the BL were conveniently shelved by the king"
  5. ^ H de W, p.xi, writing in 1903/4 stated that they were at that time in the custody of the Master of the Rolls, the precursor in function of the Public Record Office which later became the present National Archives at Kew, where the letters are now kept under ref E26, see sources
  6. ^ H de W, Intro., p.ix
  7. ^ Lord Howard de Walden, Some Feudal Lords and their Seals 1301, published 1903, reprinted 1984
  8. ^ Cotton MS Julius C, VII, f.228b, facsimile published in Lord Howard de Walden, Some Feudal Lords and their Seals 1301, 1903, pp.xxii-xxv
  9. ^ Howard de Walden, p.xi & note 1, who notes especially inaccuracies in the transcribed legends from the seals of de Tregoz, de Tony, Kyme, Le Breton and FitzMarmaduke
  10. ^ http://www.briantimms.net/seals/baronsletter/background.htm
  11. ^ Howard de W, p.25

Sources[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • The Barons' Reply to the Pope, English Historical Society.
  • W. de Hemingburgh, Chronicon, Vol. II. pp. 209–213*Rymer's Foedera, I. 926-7.
  • Walsingham's Ypodigma, pp. 230–231.

External links[edit]