Notes from a Peakland Parish

An Account of the Church and Parish of Hope in the County of Derby,
by William Smith Porter (1923)

Transcribed by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 1999-2000

Chapter IX.

THE AGINCOURT ROLL.

I HAVE already alluded to the statement, that Robert Eyre “fought at the battle of Agincourt under the banner of his father Nicholas Eyre of Hope.” In the Sheffield Reference Library is a copy of Heylin's 'Cosmographia', published in 1665, which was probably once in the possession of a member of the Eyre family, for there are several MS. pedigrees of branches of that family written on its leaves. In one, dealing with the parent stock at Hope, which bears evidence of having been written at the close of the 17th century, certainly not later than 1706, the following reference to the battle of Agincourt occurs:-

"Nicholas Eyre of Hope esqre. and Justice of Peace under K. Henry ye sixth. He was a considerable officer under K. Henry ye 5th at ye battle of Agincourt in France 1415; where he behaved himself right valiantly." There is no statement in this pedigree however, connecting his son Robert with the battle. The tradition that a Company of Archers from the Hope neighbourhood fought at the battle, under the command of one of these members of the Eyre family, has been very persistent; and it is usually coupled with the assertion that a Roll is in existence containing the names of those who constituted the Company, and that many of these names are borne by the inhabitants of the parish to this day.

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The Revd. Joseph Hunter, the historian of Hallamshire, as keeper of the National Records possessed special facilities for ascertaining the existence of an Agincourt Roll, and in 1850 was engaged in a search for documents bearing upon that battle. The result has been published, under the head of “The Agincourt Roll”, amongst his 'Critical and Historical Tracts'. He found certain documents or “Indentures”, but these were clearly only it few fragments which had survived centuries of neglect and indifference to the preservation of such records. He established the fact, however, that a complete Roll had once existed. He came across several references to this Roll, and in one of them Sir Robert Babthorpe, the Comptroller of the King's Household who had himself prepared the Roll, specifically referred to it as containing the name of every person present at the battle of Agincourt. Hunter's discoveries are of great interest and value, and furnish the names of many of the Commanders of high rank, and of some of their subordinates who were present in the campaign: but he writes that “all hope must, I fear, now be abandoned of ever recovering this Roll, though it is certain that such a Roll was prepared, was delivered into the Exchequer, and was committed to the charge of the King's Remembrancer to be for ever preserved by him.”

The names given in Hunter's list, extracted from the Indentures he discovered, are as I have said mostly those of Commanders with the number of their retinue. In no case is any place of residence mentioned, and there is no mention of any individual bearing the name of Eyre. Hunter himself admits that “though this tract may be safely appealed to as an authority for the fact that the person named was in the expedition, or at least covenanted to go, it cannot be accepted as

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containing proof of the negative, or that a person affirmed to have been in the expedition was not actually in it”.

Amongst the names which appear it, the list the only ones which would seem to suggest connection with Derbyshire and the Derbyshire borders are:

Sir Thomas Chaworth 7 lancers and 24 archers: Sir John Gresley 1 man at arms and 6 archers; Sir Ralph Shirley 5 men at arms and 18 archers; Sir William Talbot -- 3 men at arms and 12 archers; William Bradshaw -- 3 archers (the latter died at Harfleur, and his account for service was presented by Joan, his widow, and Elizabeth, his daughter, wife of Richard Harrington); Stephen Hatfield -- 1 man at arms and 6 archers. Ten Knights and Esquires of Lancashire covenanted to bring each 50 archers, amongst them Sir Ralph Stanley, John Stanley, and Sir Thomas Tunstall.

Hunter, referring to the Indentures upon which his tract is based, writes: “As to lists in manuscript at the Museum or the Herald's College, I take the liberty to pass them over, as being evidence of a class inferior to that on which I proceed. And as to other National Records of that period, I have made but little use of them, but I have looked into them so far as to become persuaded that there is for this purpose nothing at all comparable to the particular documents from which this list is compiled.”

The late Mr. Benjamin Bagshawe of Sheffield, who was a well-known local authority on matters pertaining to the history of Derbyshire, his native county, left amongst his papers a notebook containing notes made by him from the Add. MSS. at the British Museum. This notebook has been very kindly placed at my disposal by his son, Mr. E.G. Bagshawe. Under the heading “Add. MSS. 24707 -- Copy of the Muster Roll called the Agincourt Roll” is the following list of names, which the late

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Mr. Bagshawe had no doubt selected as names borne by Derbyshire families, though in few instances identified with names borne by families connected with the parish the of Hope in recent times. I have substituted the English equivalent for the Latin form in which the Christian names appear. The 'Monstratio' (or Roll) is stated to have been taken at Lymington and Beaulieu (ports in the New Forest near Southampton from which the expedition set out) in the presence of Henry de Houghton and Ralph Bostok:

“S.S.[1] Dominus de Grey de Codenore” (Lord Grey of Codnor. ob: 1428.)
(among others): John Grey, Edward Foljambe, John Cokayn, Robert Strelley, Alured Longford, Robert Wennesley, Richard Foljambe, William Gloshoppe, John Martyn, Richard Taillour, William Martyn, Thomas Staunton, William Dekyn (these were Lancers).
(The Archers were, amongst others): Richard Coup, John Dekyn, Ralph Bradshawe, Laurence Repyndon. (Repynden was an ancient form for Repton, a village in South Derbyshire.)

Peter Leche “miles.”
Peter Leche “miles” (? of Chatsworth), Ralph Leche, George de la Poole (Pole), Roger Barlee (Barlow). (These names are bracketed Lancers.)

(The following were probably Archers): John de Grendon, Robert de Lee, Roger Halgethorpe, William Halgethorpe, Adam Wylughby (Willoughby), Roger Thornhill, Richard Coke, Wilfred de Lee, John de Marpole (Marple), Roger Clough, Richard Abney, Hugh Bagshawe, John Staveley, John Halley, Thomas Ward, Thomas Wybbersley, Thurstan Halley, John Hide, Richard Botham, John Calton, Thomas

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Mellar, Richard Tailioure, Roger Tailhoure, Robert Wright, Oliver Bradshawe, Thurstan Godbehere, Dionisius Rylee, John Gretrakes (Greatorex), James Redyman, John Harper, John Halley, Fulke de Sutton, John Daukyn, Edmund Tailour, John de Hethecote, William de Glossop, Richard Heyre (Eyre), William de Hallows, Nicholas de Walton.

S.S. Shirley.
Ralph Shirley “miles”, Ralph Fowne, John Peche, Ralph Barlowe, Nicholas Fowne (Archers).

Earl of Warwick.
Thomas Harthall, Richard Coterell.

Sire John Blount.
Richard Danyell, Richard Stafford (both men-at-arms).

(Amongst the Archers are): John Furnyvale, Thomas Furnyvale, Henry Wardelowe,

In the absence of any indication as to the locality from which these soldiers came, and particularly the fact that neither Nicholas nor Robert Eyre figure in these lists (the solitary occurrence of the name of Eyre being that of Richard Heyre, an archer), the Hope tradition must remain a tradition and nothing more. It cannot be said to be disproved, when we consider that the documents from which these names were obtained represent but a fraction of the original roll, and that the rest has disappeared entirely. The antiquity of the tradition is a point in its favour, and if a company of archers was raised within the forest area some member of the Eyre family, which had for generations held in important official position in connexion with the Royal Forest of the Peak, would have been a most likely choice for the position of its Commander or Captain.

Notes on Chapter IX
[1] S.S. a prefix of honour. Probably an abbreviation of Sire, French Sieur.

OCR/Transcription by Rosemary Lockie in January 2000.

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