The Knights of the Garter at Agincourt

The Knights of the Garter at Agincourt

Photograph by Doug Harding. Copyright Dean and Canons of Windsor.

Sir Thomas Erpingham was one of eleven Knights who had received the Garter before the Battle of Agincourt took place; whilst a further fifteen knights who had served in the battle were appointed to the Order of the Garter after 1415. These KGs are listed below. The stall plates of eleven of these Knights can be seen in the Quire of St George’s Chapel although the remainder no longer survive, perhaps lost in the move from the original St George’s Chapel (on the site of present Albert Memorial Chapel) to the ‘new’ Chapel constructed by Edward IV from 1475. One of those still extant is that of Sir Thomas Erpingham [stall plate no. S17/14].

Thomas Erpingham, the son of Sir John Erpingham of Erpingham and Wickmere, Norfolk, was born in about 1355. As early as 1368, at the age of about thirteen, he is recorded accompanying his father on the military campaign in Aquitaine led by Edward, the Black Prince. By 1372 he had been knighted and had entered the company of William Ufford, Earl of Suffolk. He went on to serve John of Gaunt and Henry Bolingbroke, Earl of Derby, following Bolingbroke into exile in 1398 and playing a conspicuous role in his successful bid for the throne of England. In acknowledgement of his pivotal role in the defeat of Richard II, the newly crowned Henry IV promoted Erpingham as Chamberlain of the Royal Household, in addition to several other appointments including Constable of Dover Castle and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. In 1401, or thereabouts, the king appointed him to the Order of the Garter and he subsequently became a member of the Privy Council. Such appointments brought wealth and at the peak of his career, under Henry IV, his income from fees alone was reckoned at over £6,000 a year.

On Henry V’s accession to the throne in 1413, he immediately appointed Erpingham as Steward of the Royal Household. Erpingham joined the king on his 1415 expedition to France and played a prominent part in the military campaign. He was present at the siege of Harfleur, where he acted as one of the negotiators in securing the surrender of the town, and at the Battle of Agincourt he was responsible for deploying the archers who played a decisive role in the English victory. He returned to France in 1416 where, as Steward of the Royal Household, he played a part in welcoming the Duke of Burgundy to Calais. However, in 1417 he resigned from the post of Steward and, although he occasionally attended council meetings, he seems to have retired from life at court. Erpingham died on 27 June 1428 and was buried in Norwich Cathedral as he had requested. He left many bequests to religious houses in East Anglia, financed the building of a west tower at Erpingham church and paid for the construction of a gate at the entrance to the cathedral precincts in Norwich known as the ‘Erpingham gate’.

Erpingham gate, Norwich

There follows a list of those Garter Knights believed to have been present at the Battle of Agincourt[1], with the year of their nomination or installation as members of the Order of the Garter as recorded by Peter Begent [2]. However, it may not be a definitive list: secondary sources differ. Where stall plates survive, the stall plate references are given in square brackets.

Present at the battle

     1. Creations before 1415

Edward, Duke of York (d. 1415 at the battle). Nominated 1387. Garter no. 76

Sir Simon Felbrigg (d. 1442). Nominated c.1398. Garter no. 91 [N25/11]

Henry, Prince of Wales, later King Henry V (d. 1422). Nominated 1399. Garter no. 93

Humphrey of Lancaster, later Duke of Gloucester (d. 1447). Nominated c.1400. Garter no. 96

Sir Thomas Erpingham (d. 1428). Nominated c.1401. Garter no. 103 [S17/14]

Gilbert, Lord Talbot (d. 1418 at siege of Rouen). Nominated between April 1408 and April 1409. Garter no. 114 [S5/8]

Henry, Lord Fitzhugh (d. 1425). Nominated c.1409. Garter no. 115 [N9/10]

Sir Robert Umfraville (d. 1437). Nominated between 1409 and 1413. Garter no. 116 [Claimed by the chronicler John Hardyng to be on the campaign]

Sir John Cornwall (d. 1443). Nominated c.1409. Garter no. 117 [S25/9]

Thomas Montague [Montacute], Earl of Salisbury (d. 1428). Nominated c.1414. Garter no. 121 [N23/1]

Thomas, Lord Camoys (d. 1420-21). Nominated c.1415. Garter no. 12

     2. Creations after 1415

Sir William Harrington (d. 1440). Nominated c.1416. Garter no. 123

John Holland, Earl of Huntingdon (d. 1447). Nominated c.1416. Garter no. 125

Richard de Vere, Earl of Oxford (d. 1417).  Nominated c.1416. Garter no. 126

Robert, Lord Willoughby (d. 1452). Nominated c.1417. Garter no. 128

Sir John Blount (d. 1418 at siege of Rouen). Nominated c.1417. Garter no. 129

Sir John Robessart (d. 1450). Nominated c. 1418. Garter no. 130

Sir Hugh Stafford, Lord Bourchier (d. 1420). Nominated c.1418. Garter no. 131 [N19/8]

Sir William Phelip (d. 1441 as Lord Bardolf). Nominated c.1418. Garter no. 132 [N7/13]

Sir John Grey, Earl of Tankerville (d. 1421). Nominated c.1418. Garter no. 133

Sir Walter Hungerford (d. 1449 as Lord Hungerford). Installed 1421. Garter no. 134 [N19/14]

Sir Lewis Robessart (d. 1431 as Lord Bourchier). Installed 1421. Garter no. 135 [N15/10]

John, Lord Clifford (d. 1422 at siege of Meaux). Installed 1421. Garter no. 137

Sir John Radcliffe of Attleborough (d. 1441). Nominated 1429. Garter no. 146

Sir John Grey of Ruthin (d. 1439). Nominated 1436. Garter no. 151 [S13/8]

Sir Thomas Hoo (d. 1455 as Lord Hoo). Nominated 1445. Garter no. 161

 

Clare Rider

Archivist and Chapter Librarian

 


[1] Listed in A Farnath, Commemorating the 600th Anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt, Friday 25th October 1415 (2015)

[2] P Begent and H Chesshyre, The Most Noble Order of the Garter: 650 Years  (1999)

The Queen's Free Chapel. The Chapel of the Most Honourable and Noble Order of the Garter. The Chapel of the College of St George.