Hugh Calvilegh

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Warden of the Isles 1376-1393

Sir Hugh de Calvilegh




Very unusually for the 14th century, Sir Hugh Calvilegh appears to have had an unbroken appointment as Warden of the Isles for 17 years

Sir Hugh (his name is variously spelled Calverley, Caverle,Calvilegh, Calvelegh, Kerverley, Calverlee, Calvyle, Kalvele, Calviley, and Calvile) was an English soldier and commander, who took part in the Hundred Years' War, gaining fame during the War of the Breton Succession and the Castilian Civil War. He held various military posts in Brittany and Normandy and late in life served as a Member of parliament for Rutland.

Calveley was born the youngest son of David de Calveley of Lea, and his wife, Joanna. The family held the manor of Calveley in Bunbury, Cheshire. Estimates of the year of his birth range from 1315 to 1333. It is possible that he was a close relative, maybe even a half-brother, of Sir Robert Knolles.

Breton civil war

Along with many other Englishmen, the young Hugh Calveley served in Brittany, supporting Jean de Montfort's English-backed bid to become Duke of Brittany against the French-backed claimant, Charles de Blois, during the Breton War of Succession.

An anonymous Breton poet's account of the Battle of the Thirty in 1351 has "Hue de Caverle" as a knight fighting on the English side. One estimate of the date of his knighthood is 1346, though documents from 1354 do not refer to him as a knight, and there is some evidence that he was only knighted later, in 1361.

In 1354, Calveley was captain of the English-held fortress of Becherel. He planned a raid on the castle of Montmuran on April 10, to capture Arnoul d'Audrehem, Marshal of France, who was a guest of the lady of Tinteniac. Bertrand du Guesclin, in one of the early highlights of his career, anticipated the attack, posting archers as sentries. When the sentries raised the alarm at Calveley's approach, both du Guesclin and d'Audrehem hurried to intercept. In the ensuing fight, Calveley was unhorsed by a knight named Enguerrand d'Hesdin, captured, and later ransomed.

In 1359 Sir Robert Knolles and Calveley invaded the Rhône Valley. The city of Le Puy fell to them in July. The campaign ended when their way to Avignon was barred by the army of Thomas de la Marche, Deputy for Louis II, Duke of Bourbon, at which point both English commanders retreated.

At the Battle of Auray on 29 September 1364, Calveley had the command of the reserve division of the forces of Jean de Montfort, under the command of Sir John Chandos. Charles de Blois was killed at Auray, enabling Jean de Montfort to claim the Duchy without further conflict.

The Iberian Campaigns

After the conclusion of the Breton civil war, Calveley, along with many other soldiers, found himself unemployed. These soldiers, banding together in the Free Companies, continued to support themselves by raiding widely, causing a huge problem for the Kingdom of France.

The solution to the problem was found when Aragon, and the Papacy agreed to provide money to pay for the Free Companies to wage a campaign to support Count Henry of Trastamara's bid for the throne of Castile, which at the time was held by Enrique's half-brother, Pedro of Castile. Calveley signed up as the most prominent of the English captains on this campaign, in which he was involved from 1365 to 1367, ironically serving alongside Bertrand du Guesclin, his once and future enemy. For his services to Enrique, he was made Count of Carrion. He married one of the Aragonese queen's ladies-in-waiting, named Constanza, daughter of a Sicilian baron.

Pedro the Cruel, having fled from Castile, invoked his alliance with England. Calveley was called back to the service of England by the Black Prince, and now took prominent part in Pedro's counter-campaign, culminating in the decisive Battle of Nájera. At Nájera, Calveley was once again in the rearguard, sharing command with Count Jean I of Armagnac. The two commaders had the glory of delivering the final blow to the faltering enemy infantry by a cavalry charge. Enrique of Trastamara escaped from the battle. Though his title as Count of Carrion had been granted by Enrique, Pedro confirmed it upon reclaiming the Castilian throne.

In the spring of 1367, the Black Prince sent Calveley as an emissary to Aragon, to arrange the diplomatic isolation of the fugitive Enrique. Calveley successfully convinced Pedro the Ceremonious to renounce his support for Enrique.

Resumed war with France

When hostilities resumed between England and France in 1369, Calveley was once again involved, first in raiding the possessions of Gascon nobles who had defected to the French. He took part in at least three further campaigns in the period to 1374; notably, he was one of the joint commanders of the English army disastrously defeated by Bertrand du Guesclin at the Battle of Pontvallai, 4 December 1370, though he managed to escape.

From 1375 to 1378, Calveley was military governor of the important port of Calais. Thereafter, he became one of the two Admirals of the English fleet, taking part in several sea battles.

In July 1380 he was involved in a raid on Brittany led by Sir John Arundel, Marshal of England. On their return voyage, 20 ships and about 1000 men were lost at sea in a storm. Calveley was one of only eight survivors.

In 1383, he took part in the Norwich Crusade, preached by the Roman pope against his rival at Avignon, but this campaign turned into an embarrassing failure when France bribed a large number of the participants.

Late career

Calveley's final military engagement was in 1386, when he joined John of Gaunt in an unsuccessful campaign to secure the Castilian throne.

In July 1388 he joined the English Peace Commissioners negotiating a truce with France. In his later life, he also served as a Justice of the Peace, and a parliament representative.

Channel Islands

Calveley was Warden of the Isles from 1376 to 1390, a considerable time in that era, though given his other responsibilities is is unlikely that he spent much time in the islands, nor dealt with their affairs in person.

He was ordered by Richard II in 1382 to suppress the Ecclesiastical Court and banish the Dean.

Death and burial

Calveley died without issue on St George's Day, 23 April 1394. His tomb effigy is in St Boniface's church in Bunbury, Cheshire, though there is some doubt as to whether he was buried there. The effigy was likely commissioned by Sir Robert Knolles.

Sir John de Golafre

Warden of the Isles, 1393-1396

Born in about 1351, John Golafre was the illegitimate son of Sir John Golafre, of Fyfield in Berkshire, by his mistress, Janet Pulham. He was a trusted servant of King Richard II and was appointed Warden of the Isles in 1393 in succession to Hugh Calvilegh. It is unlikely that he had any real involvement with the islands because he was sent to Poland in 1394. He spent a year there and on his return he accompanied the King's troops to Ireland.

It seems that the Channel Island appointment must have gone hand-in-hand with the Captaincy of Cherbourg. His appointment by Letters Patent was dated 14 October 1393. The following 1 May two commissioners were designated to obtain possession of the islands for him.

He died on 30 November 1396 and was buried in Westminster next to the place where Richard II would be buried later. His widow married the King's nephew, Edward Count of Rutland, later to become Duke of York, and he was put in charge of the islands as the first Lord of the Isles since Otto de Grandison.

Jean Perraunt and Thomas Pykworth

Warden of the Isles, 1405

Edward, Duke of York, who was Lord of the Isles in the early 15th century, fell out with King Henry IV early in his reign and Jean Perraunt, who had earlier taken possession of the islands for warden Sir John Golafre, was again sent there, although whether or not he held the title of Warden is not known.

Later in 1405, on 11 May, Henry appointed Thomas Pykworth as Warden for Jersey and Jean de Lisle for Guernsey.

Virtually nothing is known about Perraunt, either in relation to his family background or his career.

Much the same is true of Pykworth, although there is a record of him accompanying Richard Bishop of Bangor; Thomas Lord Camoys; Sir Richard Aston, Lieutenant of Calais; Nicholas de Ryssheton, professor of law; Sir John Croft, and others to negotiate with the Ambassadors of Margaret Duchess of Burgundy and Countess of Flanders on 12 November 1404.

On 11 March 1410 Sir Thomas Pykworth, Sir William Bardolf, and Sir John Bagot were added to Sir Richard de Aston and his colleagues, for the prosecution of the cause of the Bishop of Rochester against the duke of Burgundy.

Richard, Earl of Cambridge

Warden of the Isles, 1409-1412

Richard was the younger brother of Edward, Duke of York who was Lord of the Isles during his appointment. Richard of Conisburgh was 3rd Earl of Cambridge (1375 -1415) the younger son of Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York and Isabella of Castile. His paternal grandparents were Edward III and Philippa of Hainault. He was born at Conisbrough Castle and was confirmed as Earl of Cambridge, which had been resigned by his brother, in 1414.

In about 1406 he married his cousin, Anne Mortimer, also a descendant of Edward III through his son Lionel of Antwerp. A papal dispensation was dated for 28 May 1406, making it most likely that the marriage took place in May or June. It was through her that the Yorkist faction in the Wars of the Roses claimed the throne. Their marriage produced a daughter, Isabel Plantagenet, and a son, Richard Plantagenet. The latter eventually laid claim to the throne, starting the Wars of the Roses.

He was discovered to be one of the fomentors of the Southampton Plot against Henry V immediately prior to departure on the French campaign. He was stripped of all his titles and estates and was executed on 5 August 1415 at Southampton Green, Hampshire before the fleet set sail on 11 August 1415.

Henry Muslo

Warden of the Isles, 1416

Little is known of Henry except that he was Lieutenant of the Tower of London in about 1409 under Edward, Duke of York, then Lord of the Isles, and that he came from Gedyngton.

Sir John Bernard

Warden of the Isles for two terms during the appointment as Lord of the Isles of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, Sir John may have come from the Bernard family of Iselham, Cambridge.

If so, his father would have been Robert Bernard, of Isleham, married to Elizabeth Lillyng.

John, Viscount Beaumont

Warden of the Isles, 1447.

The first person ever appointed to the rank of Viscount in England, John de Beaumont was so created on 12 February 1440. He was also Count of Boulogne and Knight of the Garter.

Born in Falkingham Castle, Lincolnshire on 16 August 1410, he was the son and heir of Henry, the 5th Baron of Beaumont, and succeeded his father at the age of four. He married Elizabeth Phelip and they had one daughter, Joan. He was summoned to Parliament as a Baron on 25 February 1432 and having greatly distinguished himself both at Court and in war he was created Count of Boulogne in France and then made a Viscount.

He was Constable of England from 1445 to 1450 and Great Chamberlain on 8 July 1450. He died on 10 July 1460 at the Battle of Northampton. He was Warden of the Isles jointly with Ralph Boteler, Lord Sudeley, for a short time in 1447, after the death of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, when the three-year-old Anne de Beauchamp inherited the title of Lord of the Isles.

Ralph Boteler

1st Baron Sudeley, Warden of the Isles, 1447

Ralph Boteler (1394-1473) was Captain of Calais and Treasurer of Englandfrom 7 July 1443). He was the youngest surviving son of Thomas Boteler of Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire and Alice ( -1443), daughter of Sir John Beauchamp of Powick, Worcestershire. Sudeley married twice. About 1418 he married commercial wealth, in the person of Elizabeth, widow of John Hende ( -1418), late Mayor of London. She died in 1462, and in the following year he married Alice ( -1474), daughter of John, Baron Deyncourt, and widow of William, Baron Lovel of Titchmarsh, Northamptonshire, who survived him. Sudeley left no surviving male heir from either marriage, for his son Thomas predeceased him, also without a male heir. Thomas' widow Eleanor was the Lady Eleanor Butler, known as the Holy Harlot, whose alleged precontract of marriage to Edward IV was claimed to have invalidated Edward's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, and so legitimized the usurpation of Richard III.

Channel Islands

Baron Sudeley was Warden of the Isles jointly with John, Viscount Beaumont for a few months in 1447 after the death of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, when the three-year-old Anne de Beauchamp inherited the title of Lord of the Isles.





Warden of the Isles
Predecessor Successor
Edmond Rose
1373-1374
Hugh Calvilegh
1376-1393
William de la Pole
1448
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