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Melville, Henry, A.M., LL.B., The Ancestry of John Whitney: Who, with His Wife Elinor, and Sons John, Richard, Nathaniel, Thomas, and Jonathan, Emigrated from London, England, in the Year 1635, and Settled in Watertown, Massachusetts; the First of the Name in America, and the One from Whom a Great Majority of the Whitneys Now Living in the United States Are

Descended (New York, NY: The De Vinne Press, 1896).

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                   CHAPTER III


The first Whitney in Parliament, 1313. John de Wytteneye, the monk
of Westminster, 1303. John de Wytteney, adviser of Edward II.,
1314. Sir Eustace de Whitney, Member of Parliament, 1351-52.  Sir
Robert de Whitney, in retinue of Duke of Clarence, 1368; Member of
three Parliaments, 1376, 1379, 1380; Sheriff of Herefordshire 1377.
Sir Robert Whitney, Commissioner to negotiate treaty in Flanders,
1388; Member of Parliament, 1391; Commissioner to France, 1393 ;
Knight Marshal, 1394; killed at "the capture of Edmund Mortimer,"

           Persons.                                   Events.
King Edward II. . . . . . . 1307-1327   Battle of Bannockburn . . . . . . . 1314
King Edward III.  . . . . . 1327-1377   Deposition of Edward II.  . . . . . 1327
King Richard II.  . . . . . 1377-1399   Battle of Crecy . . . . . . . . . . 1346
Edward, the Black Prince.               The Black Death . . . . . . . . . . 1349
Henry, Duke of Hereford.                Battle of Poitiers  . . . . . . . . 1356
Wat Tyler.                              First Work in English Prose . . . . 1360
Sir John Mandeville . . . . 1300-1372   Translation of the Bible  . . . . . 1380
William Langland  . . . . . 1332-1400   The Peasants' Revolt  . . . . . . . 1381
John Wycliffe . . . . . . . 1324-1384   "Piers Plowman" . . . . . . . . . . 1381
Geoffrey Chaucer  . . . . . 1346-1410   "Canterbury Tales"  . . . . . . . . 1334

THE Sir Eustace who was knighted in 1306 had
the honor of being the first of a long list of
Whitneys to sit in Parliament. It is recorded that
"Eustace de Whyteneye, Knight of the Shire, was
returned for Hereford to the Parliament at West-


52         The Ancestry of John Whitney

minster on the third Sunday in Lent, 18 March, 6
Edw. II." (1312-13).1
   This session only lasted fifteen days but another,
in which he was a member, was convened on the 8th
of July, 1313.
   This was the session just preceding and prepara-
tory to the second invasion of Scotland, in which,
doubtless, he led his vassals on that disastrous day
for English arms, June 24, 1314, at the battle of Ban-
nockburn, in connection with which the name of
another Whitney appears.
   Edward I., in preparing for the first Scotch war, had
saved up the then great amount of one hundred
thousand pounds. When this money, which had
been deposited with the monks of Westminster, was
wanted, it could not be found. To quote from Bray-
ley's "Westminster Abbey":2

   In the year 1303 the King's treasury, at that time some-
where within the Abbey, was robbed to the amount of
£100,000, which had been laid up for the service of the Scot-
tish wars. The abbot and forty-eight of the monks were
in consequence committed to the Tower and, notwithstand-
ing their protestations of innocence, twelve of them were
kept two years in prison, the depositions against them being
such as caused great suspicion of their having been con-
cerned in the robbery. At length, on Lady's Day, 1305, the
King, who had come to Westminster to return thanks for his
triumph over the Scot; gave orders for their discharge, etc.

   Our interest in the matter arises from the fact
that one of the imprisoned monks was "John de

   1 Parliamentary Writs (printed), part i, p. 84, No. 33.
   2 "Westminster Abbey," by Brayley, Ed. 1818, vol. i, p. 60.
   3 Rymer's Feodera, 31 Edw. I.  Patent Roll, 31 Edw. I., No. 122,
Record Office, London.

        Whitneys of the Fourteenth Century      53

   The Scots, under Robert Bruce, attempted to
throw off the English yoke. Edward, then an old
man, started against them, but died on the way, leav-
ing his son, Edward II., to carry on the war. In 1314
the latter felt himself ready, and marched north with
a magnificent army of one hundred thousand men.
   On June 24 he met the Scotch at Bannockburn,
near Stirling. Every schoolboy knows the result.
The English fled, leaving thirty thousand dead upon
the field. On Friday, June 28, King Edward, in
his retreat, reached English soil, and sent out a sum-
mons of which this is a translation:1
   THE KING to his well-beloved JOHN de WYTTENEY,
greeting. Because we wish to have your advice upon cer-
tain arduous matters touching us and the condition of our
kingdom, we command you, firmly enjoining that you be
before our council at Westminster in three weeks from the
day of St. John the Baptist last past, there to treat upon
the premises with our council and to give true advice. And
this do you in no wise omit. Witness the King at Berwick-
on-Tweed, the twenty-eighth day of June.
   Written to the undermentioned in that manner, to wit :

To William Servat         Henry Norman
   John de Bureford       William de Combermartyn
   Henry de Nasard        Thomas Vaughan
   Simon de Abyngdon      William de Doncastr'
   Thomas Beauflour       John De Wakefield of Ipswich
   John Priour            Richard Pelliparius of Spalding
   Robert de Callers      John Chesterton of Grantham
   William de Bedyk       John de Bliton of Lincoln
   Richard Stury          John Tumby of St. Botolph
   John de Lodelowe       William de Tickne of
   Roger de Lodelowe         Northampton
   Thomas de la Barre de  Ingebramus of Abingdon
      Hereford            Roger de Inkepenne of

   1 Close Roll, 7 Edw. II., m. 2d, in Record Office, London.

54         The Ancestry of John Whitney

   In view of what had just happened it is not sur-
prising that the King spoke of "arduous matters
touching us and the condition of our kingdom." He
had better have sought John de Wytteney's advice
before instead of after the battle.
   There is nothing to show where this John lived.
He may have been the monk of Westminster.
   Turning again to the Whitneys of Whitney, we
find that, pursuant to a writ tested at Clipston,
March 5, 9 Edward II. (1316), Sir Eustace was cer-
tified as "Lord of Pencombe, Little Cowarn, and
   As patron of Whitney he nominated, in 1345,
Thomas de Whitney, and, in 1349, John Rees, and,
when an old man, sat in another famous parliament,
summoned to meet on the 9th day of February, 1351-
1352, which enacted the Statute of Treasons and the
Statute of Provisors, the latter limiting the power of
the Pope in England, both landmarks in English
   His death occurred soon after, for in 1353 Robert
 de Whitney was patron of the Pencombe living.
   This Robert, the last of the family to write his
name with a "de," was apparently the first who
sought and gained favor at court. In 1368 he was
one of two hundred knights who went to Milan in
the retinue of the Duke of Clarence on the occasion
of the latter's marriage. We know this fact from
the record of a power of attorney which he secured,

   1 Parliamentary, etc., Writs, part ii, p. 125, No. 83.
   2 Up to this time many years frequently separated the assembling of
parliaments, and there had been no division into two houses. The
greater barons were specially summoned, and the others were repre-
sented by two of their number from each county, who were called
"Knights of the Shire."

        Whitneys of the Fourteenth Century      55

under royal sanction, in providing for the manage-
ment of his affairs during his absence, as follows:

French Roll, 42 Edw. III, No. 311 (date, 10 Febru-
ary, 1367-68).


   ROBERT DE WHITENEYE, who, in the service of the
King in the following of Lionel, Duke of Clarence, has set
out to the parts of Melan, has the King's letters of general
attorney under the names of Baldwin de Whiteneye, clerk,
and Richard de Hortesleye, clerk, alternatively to gain, etc.,
in any whatsoever courts of England, to last for one year.
These presents to be worthless if, etc. Witness the King at
Westminster, the 10th day of February.

   The Duke was born November 29, 1338, son of
King Edward III., and is best known as the patron
of the poet Chaucer, who at one time was a page
in his employ. By his first wife Elizabeth he had
one daughter, Philippa, who married Edmund Morti-
mer, third Earl of March, through whom was de-
scended King Edward IV. The Duchess died in
1364. Burke, in his "Extinct Peerages" page 434,
has this to say of the second marriage, in which De
Whitney was interested : "King Edward concluded
the terms of a marriage for his son, the Duke of
Clarence, with Violanta, or Jolantis, the daughter of
Galeas, or, as he was more classically called, Galea-
sius, Prince of Milan, and sister to John Galeas, who
subsequently became first Duke of Milan. The bar-
gain, for such it was in the strictest sense of the word,
was struck at Windsor, upon which occasion the
wealthy and munificent Prince Galeas paid down for
his daughter's dowry the sum of one hundred thou-

56         The Ancestry of John Whitney

sand florins.  This, however, was but a prelude to the
unbounded magnificence with which he received his
son-in-law and his small but chosen retinue of English
nobles,1 who in number amounted to about two hundred.
When the Duke married his affianced bride, the
luxury of the various feasts that followed upon the
nuptials, and the richness of the gifts presented by
Galeas to the bridegroom and his followers, were such
as fairly to confound the imagination. The whole
scene, as described by Paulus Jovius, is only to be
paralleled by the wild dreamings of some eastern
story. At one banquet, when the celebrated Petrarch
was present, thirty courses succeeded each other, all
composed of the choicest viands that the earth or
sea could supply, and, between each course, as many
rare gifts were brought in by Galeas himself and pre-
sented by him to Clarence.
   "But not five months after the Duke of Clarence,
not regarding his change of air and addicting him-
self to immoderate feasting, spent and consumed
with a lingering disease, departed this world at Alba
Pompeia, called also Longuevil, in the Marquisate
of Montserrat, in Piedmont, on the vigil of St. Luke

   1 "Peers and Baronets, and Landed Gentlemen, entitled to heredi-
tary Arms, form the Nobility of this country. For it must be remem-
bered that Nobility, a larger word than Peerage, is not exclusively
confined to titled families; and that a well-born Gentleman without
title has his own inherent nobility as truly as the Earl or Marquess al-
though he cannot pretend to the same rank or illustration."
   "In former times the untitled Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ire-
land were eligible to match with the daughters, sisters, and nieces of
Kings; they were admissible into the most illustrious brotherhoods of
Chivalry, gave Knights to the Rolls of tile Templars, were among the
founders of the most noble Order of the Garter, and have constantly
represented their Sovereign at foreign Courts."-- Burke, Introduction
to " History of the Landed Gentry."

        Whitneys of the Fourteenth Century      57

the Evangelist, viz., the 17th day of October, anno
   "The Duke was first buried in the city of Pavia, but
was afterwards brought over to England by Thomas
Narbonne and others of the retinue who had accom-
panied him in his nuptial expedition."
   De Whitney returned to England, possibly with
impaired digestion, and lived to enjoy many honors.
He is mentioned as a patron of Whitney in 1373, and
as a member of Parliament three times, in sessions
beginning as follows : January 27, 1376-77 ; April 24,
1379; January 16, 1379-80.1
   During the latter years of his reign Edward III.
became enfeebled in mind and body, and the gov-
ernment was managed almost entirely by the great
barons of the Royal Council. This usurpation dis-
pleased the barons of lower rank, answering to what
would now be called the "Commons," who had begun
to claim a more active influence in the work of leg-
islation. A crisis came in 1376, when, assembled in
what is known as "The Good Parliament," the lat-
ter embodied their grievances in one hundred and
sixty petitions. Their demands were supported by
the heir apparent, Edward, the Black Prince, but
opposed by his brother, John O'Gaunt, Duke of Lan-
caster. While the former lived, advancement was
made and legislation secured providing for annual
sessions, the discontinuance of arbitrary taxation,
the resistance of Papal encroachments, the protec-
tion of trade, and the free election of the Knights

   1 "Return of Members of Parliament," printed for House of Com-
mons, 1878. For the understanding of these dates, it is necessary to
remember that then, and long after, the year began on March 25
instead of January 1, as at present.

58         The Ancestry of John Whitney

of the Shire. The right of Parliament to impeach
the King's Ministers was also for the first time rec-
ognized. The death of Prince Edward, however, not
only checked these reforms, but caused much of the
ground to be lost.
   The parliaments of 1379-80, packed in the interest
of the great barons, were anything but "good," and,
among other iniquitous measures, enacted the poll
tax that led to Wat Tyler's rebellion.
   This Robert also was the first Whitney, so far as is
known, who became sheriff of Herefordshire, then
the greatest local distinction to which a man could
attain.1 There may have been others before him, but
the records, prior to about this date, have not been
preserved. We derive our information from "The
History of the Worthies of England," by Thomas
Fuller, 1662, where his name is mentioned as sheriff
in the first year of Richard II. (1377), and there is the
additional interesting information that his arms were:
"Az, a cross checky or and Gules." It will be noted
that these are the same that the family bore through-
out the rest of its history.
   Next came another Sir Robert,2 whose life, though

   1 "The word Sheriff, expressed in the Latin language by Vice
clearly points to the origin of the office. The Saxon Earl (Comes) en-
joyed very considerable authority in his particular province, and hence
a county was called comitatus. The original appointment of the Sheriff
appears, therefore, to have been that of an Assistant or Deputy to the
Earl in the discharge of his duties. They had anciently both the ad-
ministration of justice and the management of the King's revenue com-
mitted to them in their respective counties ; and when an Earldom was
made an honor of a more personal nature, the provincial authority was
vested in the Sheriff alone." Duncumb, vol. i, p. 139.
   2 Both the Whitneys must have been well acquainted with Geoffrey
Chaucer, who was high in favor at court under Edward III. and Rich-
ard II., and quite likely they heard from him the "Canterbury" and
other tales, and swapped for them some fairly good stories of their own.

        Whitneys of the Fourteenth Century      59

cut off in its prime, was most eventful  A courtier
like his father before him, he stood high in the con-
fidence of that unfortunate monarch, Richard II.,
who first knighted him and afterwards appointed him
to several offices of high honor.
   The first record we find, dated the 20th of May, 11
Richard II. (1388), is his commission, with other min-
isters plenipotentiary, to negotiate a treaty with the
Count of Flanders. It may be thus translated:

French Roll, 11 Richard II. (Roll No. 332), m. 6.


   Of treating with the Count of Flanders and others. The
King, to all those who shall see or hear these letters, greet-
ing. Know ye that we, fully trusting in the loyalty and
shrewdness of our beloved and faithful William de Beau-
champ, Captain of Caleys, our cousin, John de Say, Baron
of Wemme, Esmond de la Pole, Robert De Witteneye,
Knights, Master Richard Rouhale, Doctor of Laws, Roger
Walden, Treasurer of Caleys, Henry Vanner, Thomas
Neuton, John Gleucuant, Thomas Beaupeny, John Newerk
and John Ultyng, have ordained, constituted, deputed and
established them and do ordain, constitute, depute and
establish them of our certain knowledge by these our pres-
ent letters, our true and special messengers, commissaries
and deputies, for the deed of treaty, and we have given and
do give by these presents to the same, our messengers,
commissaries and deputies eleven, ten, nine, eight, seven
and six of them, special and general authority, power and
order, as well for us as for all our subjects, kingdoms,
lands, countries and places on this side and over the sea, to
assemble, treat and speak together with the Count of Flan-
ders, and the good people of three good towns of Flanders,
Ghent, Bruges and Ypre, and those of Frye and all others
having interest or sufficient power to treat for the country

60         The Ancestry of John Whitney

of Flanders or with their special messengers, deputies, pro-
curers and commissaries, having from them sufficient order,
jointly and severally, and to make, take, accord and re-
ceive a truce and suspension of arms for us and our sub-
jects and our country with the said Count of Flanders, the
people of the three good towns aforesaid and those of Frye
and the country of Flanders, jointly and severally, for a
term which can be agreed between them. And upon what-
ever shall be treated, spoken, transacted, composed, pacified
and agreed for us and our part to contract and give cau-
tions, obligations, sureties and promises the best they know
or can devise, the which we desire shall have such effect,
vigor and force as if we in our own person had given and
made them, and to make, take and accord all good peace
and agreement, and also all manner of liege alliances, hon-
est and reasonable friendships and confederacies with the
said Count and the gentlemen of the three good towns,
those of Frye and all the country of Flanders abovesaid,
jointly and severally, perpetual or temporary, in the best
way that they can be made, ordained and devised in that
part, and to take upon this all the best cautions, obligations
and sureties they know or can devise, and to make, execute,
expedite and accomplish for us and our part all whatso-
ever affair and matter that shall in such case upon all and
every of the articles aforesaid with the dependencies inci-
dent, emergent and connected suppose--which special order
shall be required. And we promise loyally and in good faith
to have and to hold always firm and agreeable and to accom-
plish and perfect whatever shall be treated, spoken, ac-
corded; pacified, composed, ordained, devised or done by our
said messengers, commissaries and deputies eleven, ten,
nine, eight, seven or six of them upon all and each of the
matters aforesaid. And to ratify, agree and approve all the
matters aforesaid, and each of them and their dependencies
which thus shall be accorded upon caution and obligation
of all our goods, present and future, without ever doing or
suffering, as much as in us lies, anything to be done at any
time to time contrary. Given by testimony of our great seal

        Whitneys of the Fourteenth Century      61

at our Palace of Westminster the 20th day of May, the
year of grace one thousand three hundred eighty and eight
and the eleventh of our reign.
                              By the King at his Council.

   On his return he became a member of the parliament
that met November 3, 1391, and in 1393 had another
foreign mission, of which the following is a record:

   French Roll, 17 Richard II., Roll No.338 (date, 27
October, 1393.)


   THE KING to his beloved and trusty Knight SIR ROB-
 ERT WHITENEY and to his beloved clerk John Melton,
greeting.--Know ye, whereas lately by a certain treaty be-
tween us and the Noble Prince Charles, late King of Navarre,
deceased, made by procurators having on behalf of each side
sufficient power for this purpose, the castle and town of
Chirburgh in Normandy were delivered to us to remain in
our hand for a certain time in the said treaty specified,
which time ended, by virtue of the treaty aforesaid, we were
held and are held under certain forms and conditions in the
same treaty contained to restore entirely to the aforesaid
King of Navarre or his deputies for himself and in his name
the castle and town aforesaid. And afterwards thereupon
our dearest uncles John, Duke of Aquitaine, then King of
Castile and Leon, Duke of Lancaster and Steward of Eng- .
land, Edmund, Duke of York, then Earl of Cambridge, and
Thomas, Duke of Gloucester, then Earl of Buckingham and
Constable of England, Edmund, Earl of March, Richard,
Earl of Arundel, Thomas, Earl of Warwick, Hugh, Earl of
Stafford, William, Earl of Salisbury, and other grandees of
our kingdom by their letters sealed under their seals by
their free will and assent were bound and sworn, upon the
holy gospel of God, and under pain that in any places what-
soever they might be considered perjured and untrust-
worthy, that they would promptly and entirely render and

62         The Ancestry of John Whitney

restore the said castle and town to the aforesaid King of
Navarre, or to those whom he in his life or his testament
should ordain, ceasing any excuses, fraud and evil intent in
form and condition aforesaid. And, whereas, thus it may
be that by the name of the magnificent. and powerful Prince
Charles, by the grace of God now King of Navarre as well,
as the eldest son and heir of the said late King of Navarre,
as by pretext of a certain clause contained in the will of the
aforesaid Charles, the late King of Navarre, the tenor of
which follows hereunder : "Also we ordain and will that our
cousins the King of England and his uncles, and the others
bound to us for the restitution of our castle and town of
Chirburgh, be held to render, restore and deliver our said
castle and town to Charles our heir and eldest son when-
ever that they shall be summoned and required on the be-
half of our said son." The procurators of the same, now
King of Navarre, having sufficient power under the great
seal of the same now King of Navarre, have requested us
and our said uncles and the others bound aforesaid to make
restitution of the castle and town aforesaid, themselves
offering to fill up in the name of the now King of Navarre
the prompt conditions contained in the said treaty. We,
considering the great faithfulness which always was found
in our progenitors, and desiring that as much faithfulness
should be found in our person against all whomsoever, at
the frequent instance and supplication of our said uncles
and of the aforesaid Earl of Arundel and Warwick and of
many of the "obligors" aforesaid, we have granted and
promised in saving of the honor of us and of our said
uncles and of other the earls and two of the obligors afore-
said, that the said castle and town shall be delivered to the
aforesaid King of Navarre or to his procurers as quickly as
it can be done conveniently. We have assigned you and
either of you to ask and in our name to receive the castle and
town aforesaid out of the hand of our beloved and trusty
Knight John Golafre, keeper of the same, or his lieutenant
there, and also victualling of the castle and town aforesaid
to the value of 1,000 marks, together with artillery there

        Whitneys of the Fourteenth Century      63

according to the effect of a certain indenture thereof made
between us and the aforesaid John Golafre by indentures
due to be made between you or either of you and the afore-
said John Golafre or his lieutenant, testifying those things
which the same John Golafre or his lieutenant so to you
will deliver. We have assigned also you and either of you
to deliver in exoneration of us and of the said obligors the
castle and town aforesaid to Charles de Beaumont, Alferiz
de Navarre, Martin de la Carre, Marshal of Navarre, and
to Peter Arnaud de Garro, knights proctors of the said now
King of Navarre, or to any of them, for and in the name of
the same King into their hand and possession without ob-
jection remaining, and to sell to the same proctors or to any
of them, for their money promptly to be paid, the victuals and
artillery aforesaid or parcel of the same as between you and
the proctors aforesaid can be reasonably agreed, or otherwise
to determine for them in the best way you know how for
our convenience. Moreover, we give to the aforesaid keeper
as well as to all and singular the soldiers of the castle and
town aforesaid, and to other our trusty lieges and subjects
there by the tenor of these presents firmly in command,
that you and either of you, in the premises to be done and
executing, shall be ready and intendant in all as it beseems.
We will, indeed, that you and either of you, for the delivery
of the castle and town aforesaid in form aforesaid, be dis-
charged against us and our heirs in every way. In witness
whereof, etc., witness the King at Westminster, the 27th
day of October.
                                   By writ of privy seal.

   French Roll, 17 Richard II., Roll No. 338 m. 14.
(date, 29 October, 1393).


                  OF PROTECTION.

   The King's beloved and faithful knight, SIR ROBERT
 WHITENEY, who has departed to the parts across the seas

64         The Ancestry of John Whitney

in the King's service, there to tarry upon certain the King's
affairs, has letters of protection of the King with "clausula
volumus," to last until the feast of the Nativity of our
Lord next to fellow, these presents, etc. Witness the King
at Westminster, the 29th day of October.
                                    By bill of privy seal.

   In 1394 we find that Sir Robert held, at the court
of the King, the office of "Knight Marshal," regard-
ing which a word of explanation is necessary.
   At coronations and all royal pageants, one of the
most prominent personages was the "Earl Marshal"
of England. Aside from thus making a show of his
gorgeous apparel his duties were nominal.  The
"Knight Marshal" was his deputy, and not only
formed part of the spectacular features of impor-
tant ceremonial occasions, but had practical employ-
ment as well.  He was most of the time in atten-
dance at court, where he dined at the King's table,1
and consequently came to be commonly known as
"Marshal, of the Household," and was superinten-
dent of the palace police and royal body guard.2
   Again he was sent out of England on public busi-
ness, this time to Ireland, but the nature of his er-
rand does not appear. The fact is known from the
following record of a letter of protection under his
seal, which was given to one of his subordinates :

   Welsh Records, Chester Recognizance Rolls. Roll
No. 67 from 20 July, 18 Richard II., to the feast of
St. Michael following. Mem. 1, entry 4 (1394).

   1 "The Marshal shall have a Knight under him, bearing a white
and sworn to keep the King's Counsel. The Knight shall dine and sup
in the King's Hall," etc. Harleian Manuscript in British Museum, No.
6064. "The Order and Office of the Marshal of England."
   2 "The Book of the Court," by William J. Thorns, London, 1864.

        Whitneys of the Fourteenth Century      65



   RICHARD, by the grace of God King of England and
France and Lord of Ireland, to all his bailiffs and faithful
subjects to whom these present letters shall have come)
greeting. Know ye that we have taken into our protection
and defense Richard de Wystanston, who has departed in
our service in the company of our beloved and trusty SIR
 ROBERT WHYTENEY, Knight Marshal, of our house-
hold, towards the land of Ireland--his men, lands, goods,
rents, and all the possessions of the same Richard, and,
therefore, we do command you that you maintain, protect
and defend the said Richard, his men, lands, goods, rents,
and all the possessions of the said Richard. Not doing to
them nor allowing to be done any injury, violence, damage
or harm. And if anything shall be forfeited from them that
you do cause them to be amended to him without delay.
   In witness whereof, these our letters we have caused to
be made patent, to last for one year, sealed with the seal of
our exchequer of Chester. We will also that the same
Richard meanwhile may be quit of all pleas and quarrels,
except pleas "de dote unde nihil habet," and "quare im-
pedit," and "assises of novel disseisin" and "last presenta-
tion" and "attaints," and except pleas which might happen to
be summoned before our judges itinerant in their journeys.
These presents to be worthless if it befell the same Richard
not to take that journey, or afterwards that he returned
into England from the parts aforesaid within that term.
   Given at Chester, the 27th day of July, in the l8th year
of our reign.
   By bill of the seal of ROBERT WHYTENEY, Knight
Marshal, of the King's household.

   As "Marshal," Whitney also, doubtless, was master
of ceremonies upon an occasion that changed the
course of English history.

66         The Ancestry of John Whitney

   The royal family, and the relationship of each
member to King Richard, can be seen at a glance
from the following diagram :

             KING EDWARD III.
    |           |             |           |
the Black    Duke of       Duke of     Duke of
 Prince.    Clarence.     Lancaster.    York.
    |           |             |
               mar.     Duke of Hereford,
              Edmund       afterwards
             Mortimer.   King Henry IV.

       |                  |
Earl of March,      MORTIMER (at
  died 1398.     battle of Pilleth).
Earl of March, heir pre-
 sumptive to the crown
   after Richard II.

   In 1389 Richard had suddenly shaken off the re-
straints of his council, announced himself of age, and
taken possession of the government. For eight years
he ruled in accordance with constitutional forms,
appointed good men to office, and in general was
prosperous; but in 1397 this policy was sharply re-
versed. Having secured peace with France, he con-
ceived the idea of making himself absolute, and of
governing without regard to the consent of the gov-
erned. One after another the men of influence op-
posed to him were cast into prison, and a packed
parliament voted their condemnation, repealed all the
reform measures, and vested all the legislative power
for the future in a committee made up of twelve

        Whitneys of the Fourteenth Century      67

peers and six commoners, all creatures of the King.
He then proceeded to levy taxes without regard to
right or usage, and, even by force, compelled wealthy
men to put their seals to blank promises to pay, which
the King could fill up with any sum he pleased.
   Finally he had killed, imprisoned, or exiled all the
men he feared except two--his cousin, Henry Boling-
broke, Duke of Hereford, and Thomas Mowbray,
Duke of Norfolk and Earl of Nottingham. As it
happened, these quarreled, and, after the custom of
the times, challenged each other to mortal combat
before the King. Shakespeare describes the event
and represents the "Lord Marshal" as playing a con-
spicuous part. This was probably the Knight Mar-
 shal Whitney, for such duties were appropriate to his
office. But, the question may be asked, on such a
great occasion, may not the Earl Marshal have taken
part? The Earl Marshal certainly was present, but
in the capacity of one of the contestants, for up to this
time in Richard's reign that office was held by
Thomas Mowbray.1
   Turning now to the pages of Shakespeare, in the
play of Richard II., act i, scene iii, it is interesting
to read the spirited lines, inserting Whitney in place
of "Marshal" whenever that word appears :

      SCENE III.--Open space near Coventry.

(Lists set out and a throne. Heralds, etc., attending.)

       (Enter the Lord Marshal and Aumerle.)

   Marshal. My Lord Aumerle, is Harry Hereford arm'd?
   Aumerle. Yea, at all points; and longs to enter in.

   1 "The Book of the Court," by Wm. J. Thoms, under title "Earl
Marshal." See also Burke's " Extinct Peerage," p. 386.

68         The Ancestry of John Whitney

   Marshal. The Duke of Norfolk, sprightfully and bold,
Stays but the summons of the appellant's trumpet.
   Aumerle. Why, then, the champions are prepared, and stay
For nothing but his majesty's approach.

     (Flourish of trumpets. Enter King Richard, who takes his
        seat on his throne; Gaunt, and several noblemen, who
        take their places. A trumpet is sounded, and answered
        by another trumpet within. Then enter Norfolk, in armor,
        preceded by a herald.)

   King Richard. Marshal, demand of yonder champion
The cause of his arrival here in arms:
Ask him his name ; and orderly proceed
To swear him in the justice of his cause.
   Marshal. In God's name and the King's, say who thou art,
And why then com'st thus knightly clad in arms;
Against what man thou com'st, and what thy quarrel:
Speak truly, on thy knighthood, and thine oath;
As so defend thee heaven, and thy valor!
   Norfolk. My name is Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk,
Who hither come engaged by my oath.
(Which heaven defend a knight should violate!)
Both to defend my loyalty and truth
To God, my king, and my succeeding issue,
Against the Duke of Hereford that appeals me;
And, by the grace of God, and this mine arm,
To prove him, in defending of myself,
A traitor to my God, my king, and me;
And, as I truly fight, defend me heaven!

     (He takes his seat. Trumpet sounds. Enter Bolingbroke, in
        armor, preceded by a herald.)

   King Richard. Marshal, ask yonder knight in arms,
Both who he is, and why he cometh hither
Thus plated in habiliments of war;
And formally according to our law
Depose him in the justice of his cause.
   Marshal. What is thy name? and wherefore com'st thou

        Whitneys of the Fourteenth Century      69

Before King Richard, in his royal lists?
Against whom com'st thou? and what 's thy quarrel?
Speak like a true knight, so defend thee heaven!
   Bolingbroke. Harry of Hereford, Lancaster and Derby,
Am I; who ready here do stand in arms,
To prove by heaven's grace, and my body's valor,
In lists, on Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk,
That he is a traitor, foul and dangerous,
To God of heaven, King Richard and to me;
And, as I truly fight, defend me heaven!
   Marshal. On pain of death, no person be so bold,
Or daring-hardy, as to touch the lists,
Except the marshal, and such officers
Appointed to direct these fair designs.
   Bolingbroke. Lord Marshal, let me kiss my sovereign's hand,
And bow my knee before his majesty;
For Mowbray and myself are like two men
That vow a long and weary pilgrimage;
Then let us take a ceremonious leave
And loving farewell of our several friends.
   Marshal. The appellant in all duty greets your highness,
And craves to kiss your hand, and take his leave.
   King Richard. We will descend and fold him in our arms.
Cousin of Hereford, as thy cause is right,
So be thy fortune in this royal fight!
Farewell, my blood; which if to-day thou shed,
Lament we may, but not revenge thee dead.
   Bolingbroke. O, let no noble eye profane a tear
For me, if I be gored with Mowbray's spear:
As confident as is the falcon's flight
Against a bird, do I with Mowbray fight.
(To Lord Marshal.) My loving lord, I take my leave of you;
Of you, my noble cousin, Lord Aumerle:--
Not sick, although I have to do with death,
But lusty, young, and cheerly drawing breath.
Lo, as at English feasts, so I regreet
The daintiest last, to make the end most sweet:

70         The Ancestry of John Whitney

(To Gaunt.) O thou, the earthly author of my blood,
Whose youthful spirit, in me regenerate,
Doth with a twofold vigor lift me up
To reach at victory above my head,--
Add proof unto mine armor with thy prayers ;
And with thy blessings steel my lance's point,
That it may enter Mowbray's waxen coat,
And furbish new the name of John of Gaunt,
Even in the lusty havior of his son.
   Gaunt. Heaven in thy good cause make thee prosperous!
Be swift like lightning in the execution;
And let thy blows, doubly redoubled,
Fail like amazing thunder on the casque
Of thy adverse pernicious enemy:
Rouse up thy youthful blood, be valiant and live.
   Bolingbroke. Mine innocency, and Saint George to thrive.

     (He takes his seat.)

   Norfolk. (Rising.) However heaven, or fortune, cast my lot,
There lives, or dies, true to King Richard's throne,
A loyal, just, and upright gentleman:
Never did captive with a freer heart
Cast off his chains of bondage, and embrace
His golden uncontroll'd enfranchisement,
More than my dancing soul doth celebrate
This feast of battle with mine adversary.
Most mighty liege, and my companion peers,
Take from my mouth the wish of happy years:
As gentle and as jocund, as to jest,
Go I to fight: truth hath a quiet breast.
   King Richard. Farewell, my lord: securely I espy
Virtue with valor couched in thine eye.
Order the trial, marshal, and begin.

     (The King and the lords return to their seats.)

   Marshal. Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby,
Receive thy lance ; and God defend the right!

        Whitneys of the Fourteenth Century      71

   Bolingbroke. (Rising.) Strong as a tower in hope, l cry--
   Marshal. (To an officer.) Go bear this lance to Thomas,
                Duke of Norfolk.
   First Herald. Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby,
Stands here for God, his sovereign, and himself,
On pain to be found false and recreant,
To prove the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray,
A traitor to his God, his king, and him,
And dares him to set forward to the fight.
   Second Herald. Here standeth Thomas Mowbray, Duke of
On pain to be found false and recreant,
Both to defend himself, and to approve
Henry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby,
To God, his sovereign, and to him disloyal ;
Courageously, and with a free desire,
Attending but the signal to begin.
   Marshal. Sound, trumpets; and set forward, combatants.

                  (A charge sounded.)

Stay, the King hath thrown his warder down.
   King Richard. Let them lay by their helmets and their
And both return back to their chairs again:
Withdraw with us: and let the trumpets sound,
While we return these dukes what we decree.

                   (A long flourish.)

(To the combatants.) Draw near,
And list, what with our council we have done.
For that our kingdom's earth should not be soiled
With that dear blood which it bath fostered;
And for our eyes do hate the dire aspect
Of civil wounds plough'd up with neighbors' swords;
And for we think the eagle-winged pride
Of sky-aspiring and ambitious thoughts,

72         The Ancestry of John Whitney

With rival-hating envy, set on you
To wake our peace, which in our country's cradle
Draws the sweet infant breath of gentle sleep;
Which so roused up with boisterous untuned drums,
With harsh-resounding trumpets' dreadful bray,
And grating shock of wrathful iron arms,
Might from our quiet confines fright fair peace,
And make us wade even in our kindred's blood;--
Therefore, we banish you our territories:
You, cousin Hereford, upon pain of death,
Till twice five summers have enrich'd our fields,
Shall not regreet our fair dominions,
But tread the stranger paths of banishment.
   Bolingbroke. Your will be done; this must my com-
                fort be,
That sun, that warms you here, shall shine on me .
And those his golden beams, to you here lent,
Shall point on me, and gild my banishment.

   Bolingbroke left England; carrying with him the
hearts of the men of Herefordshire, who, after this,
were all anxious for a chance to overthrow Richard.

   The Earl of Hereford was reputed then
   In England the most valiant gentleman;
.  . . . all the country in a general voice
   Cried hate upon him; and all their prayers and love
   Were set on Hereford, whom they doted on,
   And blessed and graced indeed more than the king.1

   The opportunity for revolt soon came. The ban-
ished Duke returned. They flocked to his standard,
seized Bristol Castle, and a little later aided in com-
pletely routing the royal forces. In 1399, as Henry
IV., their favorite became king of England.

   1 "King Henry IV.," part ii, act iv.

        Whitneys of the Fourteenth Century      73

   The fourteen years of his reign were one succes-
sion of plots, rebellions, and civil wars. The Whit-
neys were, however, loyal throughout; at what ex-
pense, the record quoted below well shows.
   The Welsh rose in arms under Owen Glendower.
Edmund Mortimer, uncle to the young earl of the
same name, who, by descent, had a better right than
Henry to the throne (see pedigree), led a force from
the Marches into Wales, and, as was charged, treach-
erously betrayed them to their enemies, causing their
massacre almost to a man.
   The battle took place at Pilleth, in Radnorshire,
on June 12, 1402, and was a hand-to-hand conflict,
bloody in the extreme. The English who fell, though
outnumbered and without a leader, resisted to the
last, and sold their lives dearly. Probably most of the
families in the Marches and western Herefordshire
were represented there by nearly all their ablebodied
men, and a sad day it must have been in Whitney
Castle when--

                   . . . all athwart there came
   A post from Wales loaden with heavy news;
   Whose worst was, that the noble Mortimer,
   Leading the men of Herefordshire to fight
   Against the irregular and wild Glendower,
   Was by the rude hands of that Welshman taken,
   And a thousand of his people butchered;
   Upon whose dead corpses there was such misuse,
   Such beastly, shameless transformation
   By those Welshwomen done, as may not be
   Without much shame re-told or spoken of.1

   Sir Robert Whitney, his younger brother, and most
of his relatives were among those who perished.

   1 "King Henry IV.," part i, act i.

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