The English Historical Review/Volume 37/The Earl of Warwick at Calais in 1460

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The Earl of Warwick at Calais in 1460

Though there is no date of the year in the letter here printed, the reference is clearly to events at Calais in June 1460. The incidents described, though not of importance, are novel, and illustrate the vigour with which Warwick was acting. The earl of Warwick, who held the town in the Yorkist interest, had returned thither from Ireland at the beginning of June. The Friday in Whitsun week, on which day his carvels had their fight with the French, was 6 June. Fauconberg crossed over, probably on 21 June, not to London, but to capture Sandwich in preparation for Warwick's own landing five days later. I have not traced any reference to the Burgundian herald on Corpus Christi Eve (11 June), but Warwick had, of course, friendly relations with the duke of Burgundy. The Thomas Thorpe to whom the letter was written can hardly have been the well-known lawyer of that name, who was a strong Lancastrian, since the letter is clearly written in the Yorkist interest. Yorkists of the name are the Thomas Thorpe who was given a jacket by Sir John Howard for the fight between Lord Scales and the Bastard of Burgundy in 1467,[1] and a Thomas Thorpe who had a grant (jointly with Thomas Howard) of Holbrook Park, Suffolk, in 1476, and was forester of Kingswood Heath, Essex, in the same year.[2] The writer does not give his full name, though he adds his mark—a cross in a circle; from his consistent use of 'v' for 'w' ('Vervyk, ver, ve, vreten') one may perhaps conjecture he was a Londoner. The only likely name which I have found is that of Simon Laweles, who was master of the carvel le Marie of Rye in the king's service in 1463 and 1470;[3] the writer's familiarity with the naval operations may favour his identification with Laweles. This letter is one of those which have been recently added to the bound volumes at the Public Record Office. Though previously to repair it must have been in a very frail condition, there are only a few words which cannot be deciphered.

C. L. Kingsford.

Public Record Office, Ancient Correspondence, lx. 43.
Right reuerent and worschipfull Syr and my full gode master, I recommaunde me to yow in the most humble vyse, and I mekely besechyng yow to haffe in mynd of … þt I gaffe yow in writyng, as my pore trust is in youre masterschippe. Therfor a ffriday in Whitsonweke my lorde Vervyke sent into þe see diuerse Caruelles and balyngers of varr, and afor donkyrke þet mette wt iij ffrench Schippes of ver, and þet hadde taken a holke laden wt mell and malte and Calfells and oþer merchandys, and anon as the frenche men aspide owr schippes þet fledde, and þen owr men toke a Spinnes[4] fro þem and the tothir Schippes fledd and owr men after þem to Bolen, and þer afor Bolen owr schippes fought wt þem tyll þe tyme þt men of Bolen bette owr men of wt gonnes fro þe Schippe, and þe holke þt the ffrench men toke owr schippes haffe taken hit and broght the holke in Cales hauen: and thus daily as my lorde hafe any knowlage of an enemye, anone my lorde makes his schippes þe see. And Syr, my lorde ffauconberge commes ouer þe see to London. Þe passage [will be soon][5] as ve say here and as I here tell. My lady Vervyk comys botte lytell a brode bot kepys her allway yn the Castell. Item, Syr a Corpus Xti even came to Cales the Capten of Ardre and a harrowde of þe dukis of borgon, whotte þere menyng is it sail be kende and ȝe sail haffe knowlage at þe nexte passage by þe grace of god, hoo haffe yow and alle yowris in his gracius kepyng body and soule. Worshipfull Syr, haffe me excuset of myn endytyng for I can do none other wyse bot as corse of merchandise askes.
Vreten at Cales the xiiij day of June
     By yowr pore bedeman
     Symonde L. 🜨

To my Right Worshipfull and … Syr and my gode master Thomas Thorpe in þe medyll Temple yn London.

  1. Paston Letters, iv. 279.
  2. Cal. of Patent Rolls, Edward IV, ii. 564, 586.
  3. Ibid. i. 302, ii. 217.
  4. pinnace.
  5. There is a mark for the insertion of an interlineation; but the words interlined—two or three—are illegible; 'will be soon' probably represents the intended meaning.