Pole, Michael de la (1361?-1415) (DNB00)

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POLE, MICHAEL de la, second Earl of Suffolk (1361?–1415), was eldest son of Michael de la Pole, earl of Suffolk [q. v.], and was born about 1361. He was knighted by Richard II on 15 July 1377 (Fœdera, iv. 79, Record edit.). On 30 April 1386 he is mentioned as captain of men-at-arms for Calais, of which town his uncle, Sir Edmund de la Pole, was then captain. In the following year the Earl of Suffolk was disgraced, and, owing to his subsequent condemnation, his son did not succeed to the earldom at his death in 1389. Before September 1385 (cf. Testamenta Vetusta, p. 119) Pole had married Catherine Stafford, daughter of Hugh, earl of Stafford, and in 1391 obtained for his support a grant of 50l. a year from the customs of Hull. On 23 Sept. 1391 he had letters of attorney during his intended absence on the crusade in Prussia, being then styled Sir Michael de la Pole (Fœdera, vii. 706, orig. edit.) In 1397 he was restored to his father's dignities as Earl of Suffolk and Baron de la Pole, and was summoned to parliament in August 1399. But in the first parliament of Henry IV the acts of the parliament of 1397 were annulled, and those of 1388 confirmed, with the effect of reviving the attainder of 1388. However, on 15 Nov. 1399, the earldom of Suffolk was restored to Pole, but without the barony of De la Pole, which had been enjoyed by his father (G. E. C[okayne], Complete Peerage, iii. 43). At the same time restitution was made of his father's lands and castle and honour of Eye. The earl was a commissioner of array for Suffolk on 14 July 1402 and 3 Sept. 1403. On 27 Aug. 1408 he was employed by the king on a mission abroad. He attended the council on several occasions during the reign of Henry IV, and was present in the council which was held at Westminster in April 1415 to discuss the French war (Nicolas, Proc. Privy Council, ii. 156). On 21 July he was one of the commissioners for the trial of Richard, earl of Cambridge, Richard, lord le Scrope, Sir Thomas Grey, and was one of the peers appointed to decide on the guilt of Cambridge and Scrope on 5 Aug. (Rolls of Parliament, iv. 65–6). He sailed with the king on 11 Aug., and, after taking part in the siege of Harfleur, died before that town of dysentery on 18 Sept. (Gesta Henrici Quinti, p. 31, Engl. Hist. Soc.). He is described as ‘a knight of the most excellent and kindly reputation’ (ib.) His son in 1450 said he served ‘in all the viages by See and by Lande’ in the days of Henry IV (Rolls of Parliament, v. 176). Suffolk's will, dated 1 July 1415, is summarised in ‘Testamenta Vetusta,’ pp. 189–90. In accordance with his directions, he was buried at Wingfield, Suffolk. His own and his wife's effigies are engraved in Stothard's ‘Monumental Effigies,’ p. 84. He left five sons and three daughters. Of his sons, Michael was third earl and is noticed below. William, the fourth earl and first duke of Suffolk, is noticed separately. Sir John de la Pole was seigneur de Moyon in the Cotentin, served with distinction in the French war, was taken prisoner at Jargeau on 12 June 1429, and died in captivity; by French chroniclers he is called the Sire de la Poulle. Alexander was slain at Jargeau on 12 June 1429. Thomas was prebendary in St. Paul's Cathedral, and died in 1433 while a hostage with the French for his brother William.

Michael de la Pole, third Earl of Suffolk (1394–1415), the eldest son, served with his father at Harfleur, and, after taking part in the march to Agincourt, was killed in the battle there on 25 Oct. He is described as ‘distinguished among all the courtiers for his bravery, courage, and activity’ (Gesta Henrici Quinti, pp. 31, 58). Drayton makes special mention of him in his ballad of Agincourt—‘Suffolk his axe did ply.’ His body was brought home to England, and buried at Ewelme, Oxford. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Mowbray, first duke of Norfolk [q. v.], but left no male issue, and was succeeded by his brother William. Of his three daughters, Catherine became a nun, and Elizabeth and Isabel both died unmarried.

[Monstrelet's Chroniques, iii. 106, iv. 324 (Soc. de l'Hist. de France); Nicolas's Battle of Agincourt; Napier's Historical Notices of Swyncombe and Ewelme, pp. 313–17; Coll. Top. et Gen. v. 156; Dugdale's Baronage, ii. 185; Doyle's Official Baronage, iii. 434–5; other authorities quoted.]

C. L. K.