Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 39.djvu/130

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Mortimer
Mortimer
124

council and measures taken that they should be henceforth guarded with even greater strictness, especially during the absence of the king (Ord. Privy Council, ii. 106, ed. [Nicolas). In 1406 they were put under the charge of Richard de Grey (Rolls of Parl. iii. 590). In 1409 the custody of the earl (his brother Roger died about this time) was confided to Henry, prince of Wales, afterwards Henry V (Tyler, Henry V, i. 236-7 ; Monasticon, vi. 355). March still remained under restraint until Henry IV's death in 1413. ; At the time of the coronation of Henry V, revolts in favour of the Mortimer claims to the throne were still expected (Religieux de Saint-Denys, iv. 770, in 'Documents Inedits'). Nevertheless, Henry V felt his position so assured that he released March from confinement and restored him to his estates. (Lords' Report on the Dignity of a Peer, v. 170). In the next parliament March performed homage and took his seat. The day before Henry's coronation he had been made a knight of the Bath (Doyle).

March repaid Henry's generosity by fidelity that withstood the severest temptations. His friends urged him to claim his rights, and his confessors imposed penances upon him for his negligence in asserting them (Ellis, Original Letters, 2nd ser. i. 44-9 ; Nicolas, Battle of Agincourt, App. pp. 19-20). At last, in 1415, Richard, earl of Cambridge [q. v.], who had married Mortimer's sister Anne, formed a plot to take him to Wales and have him proclaimed king there (ib. p. 19). March's own relations to the plot are not easy to determine. It is clear that he was sounded carefully, and the confessions of the conspirators represent that he had entered to a considerable extent into their plans (Ellis, Original Letters, 2nd. ser. i. 45, 'by his owne assent;' Deputy-Keeper's Forty-Third Report, pp. 582-94). It seems at least certain that a dependent of his, named Lucy, who acted as a go-between, was implicated. But March's own account was that he refused to join the conspirators. Anyhow, he divulged all that he knew to the king, whether under pressure or spontaneously is not quite clear (Gesta Hen. V, Engl. Hist. Soc. ; Monstrelet, ii. 81, ed. Douët d'Arcq). Henry fully accepted March's protestations, and continued to regard him with high favour, putting him on the commission which on 5 Aug. condemned Cambridge to immediate execution (Rot. Parl. iv.64-6). Immediately afterwards March accompanied Henry V on his first invasion of France, appearing with a following of sixty men-at-arms and 160 horse archers (Nicolas, p. 373). During the siege of Harfleur March suffered severely from the prevailing epidemic of dysentery (Walsingham, Hist. Angl. ii. 309 ; Capgrave, Chron. p. 311), and was allowed to return home, though he is often said to have been one of those present at Agincourt. In 1416 March again saw service, being appointed on 15 Aug. as one of the king's captains at sea over the expedition sent to relieve Harfleur, under the command of John, duke of Bedford, and Sir Walter Hungerford. He served again in 1417 and 1418 in the army which invaded and conquered Normandy. He was at the head of ninety-three lances and 302 archers (App. to Gesta Hen. V, p. 266). In the spring of 1418 he made an attack on the Cotentin, and besieged Saint-L6, and was later joined by Gloucester, who took the town (Chron. Norm, in Gesta. Hen. V, pp. 231-2). After the capture of Cherbourg had completed the conquest of the Cotentin, March rejoined Henry V at Rouen at the end of November (ib. p. 241). On 12 June 1418 he was appointed atLouviers lieutenant in the marches of Normandy (Doyle, ii. 470), and in October 1418 lieutenant of the baillages of Caen and Coutances. On 27 Aug. 1419 he was further nominated as captain of Mantes (ib. ; cf. App. to Gesta Hen. V, p. 277). In July 1420 March was at the siege of Melun (ib. p. 144). He remained with Henry in France, until in February 1421 he returned with the king and his new wife, Catharine of France, to London, travelling from Rouen by way of Amiens and Calais (Chron. Norm, apud Gesta Hen. V, p. 257). On 21 Feb. he bore the first sceptre at the coronation of the queen at Westminster. In June 1421 March accompanied Henry on his third and last expedition to France. He took part in the siege of Meaux in January 1422, lodging at the house of the Cordeliers (ib. pp. 260-79). After Henry's death he returned to England and was nominated a member of the council of regency established on 9 Dec. 1422, and on 9 May 1423 was appointed, as his father and grandfather had been, lieutenant of Ireland, with power, however,to select a deputy (Fœdera. 282). That power he at once exercised in favour of Edward Dantsey, bishop of Meath, and remained in England. But troubles now beset him. His cousin (Grafton) or illegitimate uncle (Sandford), Sir John Mortimer, who had been arrested in 1421 as a suspected traitor, had escaped in 1422, but being recaptured in 1424 was attainted and executed. Even before this Humphrey, duke of Gloucester [q. v.], the protector, had become jealous of March for his keeping open house, and had violently quarrelled with him (Chron. ed. Giles, p. 6). The result was that March was now sent out of the way to Ireland. On