RepositoryLambeth Palace Library
LevelFile
Alt Ref NoMS 506
Extentff. 76
TitleWILLIAM WORCESTER. DOCUMENTS ILLUSTRATING THE DUKE OF BEDFORD'S REGENCY OF FRANCE
DateMid 15th century-sixteenth century
DescriptionA collection of (copied) documents designed to illustrate the administration of Normandy and the other provinces of English France under John (1389-1435), Duke of Bedford and Regent of France. The documents, which were copied by a number of hands from originals in the possession of Sir John Fastolf (1389-1459), a soldier and administrator in the Duke of Bedford's service, were selected and annotated by William Worcester (1415-c.1480), Fastolf's secretary. The whole collection was conceived of as an appendix to Worcester's 'Boke of Noblesse', a cri de coeur intended to persuade first Henry VI, to whom it was originally dedicated, and subsequently Edward IV, to whom it was presented in 1475, to follow the example of their predecessors and reconquer the lost territories. The unique manuscript of the 'Boke of Noblesse' is British Library MS Royal 18 B xxii, printed by J. G. Nichols (Roxburghe Club, London, 1860; reprinted New York, 1972); the present manuscript was printed, somewhat unsatisfactorily, by Joseph Stevenson in his 'Letters and Papers illustrative of the Wars of the English in France during the reign of Henry VI', 2 vols. in 3 (Rolls Series, 1861-4), vol. 2 part 2, pp. 521-607. Worcester's son, also called William, added a dedicatory preface to the collection of documents, which he described as a 'litille codicelle' (f. 2v), in order to present the whole to Richard III. It would seem, however, that his preface is an imperfectly adapted composition of his father's, since although it makes clear reference to 'my pore fadyr, William Worcestre' and 'your most nobille brodyr and predecessoure' (i.e. Edward IV), it also mentions 'the queneys moder, dame Jaques, ducesse of Bedforde' (i.e. Jacquetta of Luxembourg, Duchess of Bedford, mother of Elizabeth Woodville, Edward IV's queen) and speaks of the coming invasion of France in terms more suited to 1475 than 1483-5 (on this argument, see K. B. McFarlane, 'William Worcester, A Preliminary Survey' in Studies Presented to Sir Hilary Jenkinson, ed. J. Conway Davies (London, 1957), pp. 196-221 at p. 210). The contents are as follows:

1. ff. 2r-6v. Dedicatory preface of William, son of William Worcester; English (Stevenson, pp. 521-9). In the opening sentence, 'Moste hyghe myghty and excelente Cristen prince Richarde ...', a later hand has imperfectly scratched out the first half of 'Richarde' and substituted 'Edwarde', also underlining 'the thred' and writing 'fourth' in the margin. A flyleaf (f. 1) bears the title 'Declaracion de Johan Duc de bedford des ordonnancez de france', possibly in William Worcester's hand or his son's.

2. f. 7r-v. A table of contents possibly in the hand of Sir Robert Cotton. Folio references are to the older ink foliation, rather than the more recent pencil foliation used throughout the present description. Two blank ruled folios follow (not included in either foliation).

3. ff. 8r-11r. List of the retinue of the Duke of Bedford; Latin (omitted from Stevenson, who instead printed an English translation based on a collation of British Library Harleian MSS 782 and 6166, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century copies, respectively, at pp. 433-8).
4. ff. 11r-12v. List of the French who served under the Duke of Bedford; Latin (Stevenson, pp. 529-32).
5. ff. 12v-13v. Estimated receipts from the possessions of the English in France for the year extending from 1 October 1427 to 30 September 1428; Latin (Stevenson, pp. 532-4).
6. ff. 13v-14v. Estimated payments to be made by the regent of France from Michaelmas 1427 to Michaelmas 1428; Latin (Stevenson, pp. 534-6).
7. ff. 14v-15v. Payments made to officials and justiciars (officiariis et justiciariis ac aliis officiariis legum); Latin (Stevenson, pp. 536-8).
8. ff. 15v-16v. Payments made to captains of various garrisons in France from Michaelmas 1427 to Michaelmas 1428; Latin (Stevenson, pp. 538-40).
9. ff. 16v-20r. Enumeration of the troops in various garrisons in Normandy from Michaelmas 1433 to Michaelmas 1434; Latin (Stevenson, pp. 540-6).
10. f. 20r-v. Receipts arising from the Duchy of Normandy; Latin (Stevenson, pp. 547-8).
11. f. 21r. Expenses for the defence and safekeeping of Normandy; Latin (Stevenson, pp. 548-9).
12. f. 21v. Proceeds of the county of Maine from Michaelmas 1433 to Michaelmas 1434; Latin (Stevenson, pp. 549-50).
13. f. 22r. Lands given to the English for their good conduct at the battle of Verneuil (1424); Latin (Stevenson, pp. 550-1).
14. ff. 22v-23r. Expenses for the safekeeping of the county of Maine; Latin (Stevenson, pp. 551-2).
15. ff. 23r-24r. Annual value of the counties of Harcourt and Dreux and other lands in the hands of the regent; Latin (Stevenson, pp. 553-5).
16. f. 24r-v. Payments and expenses for counsellors of law and armed men; Latin (Stevenson, pp. 555-6).
17. ff. 24v-25v. Payments for pensions, wages, expenses, repairs etc.; Latin (Stevenson, pp. 557-9).
18. ff. 26r-27r. Expenses for the custody of Normandy in the year ending at Michaelmas 1434; French (Stevenson, pp. 559-63).
19. f. 27r-v. Ordinary gifts and presents; French (Stevenson, pp. 563-5).
20. ff. 28r-31r. Declaration of troops in the garrisons, castles and fortifications of Normandy; Latin (omitted in Stevenson). f. 31v blank.
21. ff. 32r-36r. Inventory of munitions of war found in the castle of Rouen upon the death of the Duke of Bedford; Latin (Stevenson, pp. 565-73).
22. ff. 36r-37r. Inventory of goods in the castle of Rouen belonging to the deceased Duke; Latin (Stevenson, pp. 573-4). f. 37v blank.
23. ff. 38r-43v. Sir John Fastolf's report on the management of the war in France following the conclusion of the Treaty of Arras (1435); English (Stevenson, pp. 575-85).
24. ff. 44r-47r. Instructions concerning the management of the war in France under Richard, Duke of York (1440); English (Stevenson, pp. 585-91).
25. ff. 47v-48v. Instructions addressed to Edmund, Duke of Somerset, for the government of France and Normandy (1448); English (Stevenson, pp. 592-4).
26. ff. 49r-50r. Instructions for the attempted relief of the Duke of Somerset, beseiged by the French within Caen (1450); English (Stevenson, pp. 595-7). f. 50v blank, followed by three blank unfoliated leaves, the last of which has (in a late hand): 'Sir John Falstoffe knight Baron of etc.' on the verso.
27. ff. 51r-54v. Demands of the French at the assembly at Calais, 1439, before Cardinal Henry Beaufort and other English lords; French (omitted in Stevenson).
28. ff. 55r-56v. Petition of the inhabitants of the county of Maine to Henry VI (1452); French (Stevenson, pp. 598-603).
29. ff. 57r-58v. Incomplete letter from the English council at Rouen to Henry VI, informing him of the state of affairs in France and Normandy; French (Stevenson, pp. 603-7). These leaves are misbound: the text begins on f. 58r, continues on 58v and then ends in mid-sentence on what is now f. 57r. f. 57v is blank.
30. ff. 59v-60v. Notes written by Worcester, including a list of the names of lordships in Normandy; Latin (omitted in Stevenson). Notes in the margin of f. 59v obliterated by galls. ff. 59r and 60r are blank.

The remainder of the book, a further eleven leaves, is of the sixteenth century and has been foliated 56-66. f. 56r-v is blank, and then follows:

31. ff. 57r-59v Abstracts in English, in tabular form (partly), of items 3-4, 21, 23, 27, and 24-5 above. ff. 60r-61v are blank.
32. ff. 62r-66v. Abstract in English, in tabular form, of the 'State of the Revenews of France, Normandy, and the Counties of Mayn, Harecourt & Druex In the tyme of John Duke of Bedford Regent of France...': this refers to items 5-8, 10-11, and 14-15 above.
FindingAidsNew description by Aaron Hope, September 2011. See also M. R. James, 'A Descriptive Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Library of Lambeth Palace: The Mediaeval Manuscripts' (Cambridge, 1932).
PhysicalDescriptionParchment, 155 x 260 mm, written space approx. 100 x 180 mm in several hands.
Old binding rebacked, bearing the arms of George Carew, 1st Earl of Totnes, (three lioncels passant, armed and langued) as the centrepiece on each cover. Clasps missing.
Collation: 1 flyleaf 1(8)-5(8) (wants 7, 8) 6(8) 7(8) | 8(6) 9(4) || 10(4) (wants 4) 11(2) 12(4) 13(2).
An older inked foliation, which is used by the table of contents and the sixteenth-century English abstracts, runs 1-54 on the modern folios 8-59 (plus blanks not included in the modern foliation).
CustodialHistoryOwned by George Carew, 1st Earl of Totnes (1555-1629), whose arms are on the covers (see Physical Description). No doubt acquired with the 'Carew-Sheldon' manuscripts, but not recorded in the Carew-Sheldon' catalogue (Bodleian Library, Tanner MS. 275a). These manuscripts were acquired by Gilbert Sheldon (1598-1677), Archbishop of Canterbury. All, or nearly all, were previously owned by George Carew, 1st Earl of Totnes (1555-1629). See M. R. James, 'The Carew manuscripts', English Historical Review, vol 42, 1927, pp. 261-267, and M. R. James, 'A Descriptive Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Library of Lambeth Palace: The Mediaeval Manuscripts' (Cambridge, 1932), p. 401.
CopiesMicrofilm: Lambeth Palace Library MS Film 1294

Available from World Microfilms Publications:
"Lambeth Palace Library: The Mediaeval Manuscripts" Section IV. Humanistic Studies. Reel 33 (with MSS. 493, 502, 503, 527)
RelatedMaterialBritish Library MS Royal 18 B xxii (see Description field). A seventeenth-century transcript is Society of Antiquaries MS. 41 (Pamela Willetts, 'Catalogue of manuscripts in the Society of Antiquaries', p. 20). British Library MS Cotton Nero C x, ff. 91v-92v, has some extracts said to be in the hand of Edward IV.
PublnNoteCrispin, Julia, Krieg and kunst (De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2018) [KC96.C75]
McFarlane, K.B., 'William Worcester, A Preliminary Survey' in "Studies Presented to Sir Hilary Jenkinson", ed. J. Conway Davies (London, 1957), pp. 196-221.
Pickering, O.S. and V.M. O'Mara, "The Index of Middle English Prose: handlist 13. Manuscripts in Lambeth Palace Library including those formerly in Sion College Library" (1999).
Robinson, P.R., "Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c. 888-1600 in London Libraries" (2003).
Sutton, A.F. and L. Visser-Fuchs, 'Richard III's Books: XII. William Worcester's Boke of Noblesse and his Collection of Documents on the War in Normandy', "The Ricardian", 9 (1991-1993), pp. 154-65.
Sutton, A.F. and L. Visser-Fuchs, "Richard III's Books: Ideals and Reality in the Life and Library of a Medieval Prince" (1997), pp. 292-3.
Tudor-Craig, P., "Richard III" (1973), no. 168.

Show related Persons records.

Show related Places records.

Related name records
CodeNameDates
DS/UK/4537John (1389-1435); 1st Duke of Bedford; Regent of France1389-1435
GB/109/15096Cotton; Sir; Robert Bruce (1571-1631); 1st Baronet; antiquary and politician1571-1631
GB/109/18616Fastolf; Sir; John (1380-1459); soldier and landowner1380-1459
NA2588Henry V (1387-1422); King of England1387-1422
DS/UK/4325Beaufort; Edmund (c.1406-1455); 1st Duke of Somerset; magnate and soldierc.1406-1455
GB/109/18991Worcester; William (1415-c.1485); topographer and author1415-c.1485
NA2587Henry VI (1421-1471); King of England and France1421-1471
NA2600Edward IV (1442-1483); King of England and Lord of Ireland1442-1483
DS/UK/3262Beaufort; Henry (?1377-1447); Bishop of Winchester and Cardinal; prelate and statesman?1377-1447
GB/109/14535Carew; George (1555-1629); Earl of Totnes; statesman1555-1629
GB/109/18888Richard III (1452-1485); King of England and Lord of Ireland1452-1485
Related place records
CodeSet
NA3345/Calais/Pas-de-Calais/France
PL164/France
NA3467/Normandy/France
PL43/Rouen/Normandy/France
    Powered by CalmView© 2008-2021