February 2017



 News & Views newsletter April 2015


Magazine of the Gloucester Branch of The Richard III SOCIETY

February 2017

First of all an apology:  I have realised that in the last few issues of N & V, I omitted to include my contact details, meaning that a couple of contributors have had to go through Keith to send things to me.  I am sorry for this inconvenience and will insert my contact details at the end of this issue.

The Battlefields Trust Guided Walk from Mortimer's Cross to Kingsland  - Lyn Sargent

Spot the Ricardian!

On 16th April we travelled through snow covered Gloucestershire and Herefordshire hills. The walk was planned by the Battlefield Trust and Mortimer Society who are aiming to raise awareness and funds for archeological research on the Mortimer's Cross Battlefield. 

There were perhaps fifty people divided into three groups. As Ricardians we were lucky to be in 'the history' group led by Anthony Rich. His portrayal of the historical context of the battle, hearing and seeing as we walked the northern and southern sites the directions armies were arriving from, why Edward had chosen that area to fight, which parts of the land were good for hiding men, horses, archers, what battle tactics he used and which local landmarks are still existing was extremely interesting. 

I started in the vanguard of the group, determined to listen to Anthony's knowledgeable commentary making the story of the battle come alive as we followed the hidden Medieval Aberystwyth to London road. In the photo we had just emerged onto the modern Mortimer's Cross to Kingsland road. Several local people in our group had seen a parhelion in this area, adding further historic credibility to our guide's evidence. My pace slowed and at the rearguard as scurrier (in charge of safety crossing roads, stragglers, wounded etc) was Jason, who kept up an equally enthusiastic, interesting commentary about battle re-enactments and equipment. He is the tall chap and I discovered he was carrying a precious collection of his arrowheads in that rucksack and to my chagrin, whilst I was wobbling over a stile, that he once jumped a five bar gate in full armour! 

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the day, I recommend booking on the next walk.

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Intrepid walkers on the Mortimer Society’s walk

Richard III and the Reivers - by Elizabeth Clarridge

One of the best parts of getting the “bug” which swept through the West Country in the Spring was that there was time to sit back and re-read some of my books!

I was looking again into “The Steel Bonnets” by George Macdonald Fraser, published by Harper Collins – most likely to be unobtainable now but probably to be found in second-hand bookshops like the one in Copse Road, Clevedon.  This book contains the story of the Reivers over the centuries, who were thieves and murderers who inhabited both sides of the borders between Scotland and England.  They were people who lived by crooked deeds, mounted on ponies, who raided farms, villages and pele towers and removed cattle, horses and sheep.  They probably murdered the owners, took prisoners as hostages and left blazing buildings behind them.  Borderers were constantly on the watch knowing that their livelihoods, families and animals were at risk and they could never plan ahead.

Richard III was a Warden of the West Marches and previous Wardens included John of Gaunt and Warwick the Kingmaker.  Richard must have absorbed, during his youthful education in Middleham and during his later time there and in South Wales, how to cope with similar situations.  Did this experience colour events during his all-too-short reign?

If a Borderer was robbed, local Border law enabled him to get up a posse and pursue straight away, allowing six days.  This was called “a Hot Trod”.  If the thieves were caught in the process of their crime, this was known to be caught “red-handed”.  Sometimes the thieves were hanged on the spot –  this was allowed in Border Law even though there was no court case.  If the thieves were caught six days after the raid it was known as a “Cold Trod” and was governed by strict local laws.

Some Wardens – three on each Broder – were local men with knowledge of the countryside which was bleak, windswept, undulating uplands filled, even now, with a feeling of fear and solitariness.  They knew about local battles between families or clans based on thieving or retaliatory murders going back generations.  Sometimes they were men who had been Reivers themselves.  They were responsible for the “Truce Days” when prisoners who had been caught raiding were condemned or those people with insurmountable problems between families were sorted out.  There were many other duties for which the Warden was responsible – checking on fortresses, choosing deputy Wardens, checking on armaments, keeping charge of prisoners, circulating laws, holding courts and keeping good rule.  Sometimes, they were not on speaking terms with opposite members and the Truce Courts went into abeyance so that crime went unchecked!

An effective Warden, therefore, had to be “a soldier, judge, lawyers, fighting man, diplomat, politician, rough-rider, detective, administrator and intelligence agent” and his efficiency was regulated by his personal characteristics.  Sometimes they came from wealthy families and had connections with royalty like Richard III.  Do all these categories fit in with events in the right of King Richard?

John Judde

As you know David Judd has been researching his family history and during the course of his investigations came across (inter alia) an interesting character – John Judde, about whom he gave an interesting talk last year.  This is part I of his story and next time, we will learn about Thomas Judde.

In the early days of my Family History research one of my first “finds” was in The Book of the Medieval Knight by Stephen Turnbull, [1] and a reference to a John Judde, who was described as a Merchant of London and appointed as Master of the Kings Ordnance in a Royal Warrant issued in 1456. This with other research at the time set me off on the hunt for more information. The following is what I have found on John Judde.

John Judde

John was probably born circa 1415. The references we have to him in the Calendar of Patent Rolls and Close Rolls referred to him as ‘of London’, an Esquire, and Citizen and Merchant of London. [2] In 1448 he is referred to as one of the King’s Serjeants at Arms and from 1449 onwards John is mentioned in further entries as being employed on the Kings business in maritime matters. He was commissioned in 1449 to take mariners and soldiers to serve on the sea, and during 1450 to arrest ships in the Port of London for the transport of Lord Rivers and soldiers to Aquitaine. [3] He also seems to have come to the attention of Cade’s rebels in 1450, being mentioned in a particularly critical political poem.  It is not clear what he had done to provoke the rebels’ ire, but it would seem he was marked out as an enemy of the rebellion! [4]

It is regarding his early career that the ‘Soldier Team’ were able to fill in further details.  They found a reference in the Issue Rolls (which record payments to soldiers serving for Crown pay).  This records a payment on 30 October 1453 to John Judde of London, Merchant, ‘who has lately set out to Bordeaux in the company of Lord Talbot, for 3 months service with 100 ‘hominibus defensiblibus’ (armed men)’. [5]  This would be the last time troops were sent to France, as following the defeat and death of Talbot in 1453 at Castillon, the Hundred Years War was effectively at an end.  It is therefore interesting to speculate whether Judde was with Talbot at this fateful battle, or was he perhaps part of a reinforcement party from England, and thus never made the battle? [6]

Whatever the case, it is clear that this service seems to have passed safely for John. In 1456 he was tasked with collecting Customs in the Port of Chichester. In December of that year he was made Master of the Kings Ordnance. [7] The French had used their artillery to great effect at the decisive battle at Castillon, three years earlier.  Judde’s presence in Gascony in 1453, either at the battle, or as part of reinforcements, suggests that he may have picked up the importance of gunpowder and weaponry from his own experience at the receiving end.  On his return to England, he specialised in this battle winning technology.

On 21 December 1456 a Royal Warrant appointing John Judde, King’s Serjeant and Merchant of London as Master of the Kings Ordnance was issued. This grant was for life. John attracted Henry VI’s attention by offering to provide 60 serpentines and twenty tons of saltpetre and sulphur ‘at his own expense and deliver them to the crown under certain reasonable conditions’. [8]   Within a year he had supplied 26 Serpentines. [9] These were field guns mounted on mobile carriages and had a calibre of between two and six inches and were between three and seven feet long. John also manufactured a Culverin. This was smaller than the Serpentine. All of these were transported to Kenilworth Castle. Three great Serpentines were also ordered by the King through his Master of Ordnance and he wanted assurance from John Judde that with these he would be able to subdue any castle or place which rebels might try to use against him. [10]  

John certainly fulfilled part of his Contract with the King for on 19 May 1457 he was assigned at the Exchequer £133. 8s. 5 ½d towards payment for 26 new Serpentines, with their apparatus for the field. Also included would have been various amounts of sulphur, gunpowder, saltpetre, a culverin, a mortar, and the cost of carriage and two carts to go from London to Kenilworth. [11]  

John was not just adept at manufacturing ‘modern’ gunpowder weapons, for on 25 February 1458 John Judde with Thomas Thorp, Thomas Bettes, William Jakes and Richard Eston were appointed to arrest the necessary workmen required for the Kings works to manufacture certain bows. [12]   Anyone who has knowledge of this period of history will know that archery played a major part in the winning of battles. In the conflict with France at the battles of Crecy, Poitiers and Agincourt, English archers played a vital role in winning the day. Keeping with this demand for archery equipment, on 10 April 1459 a Commission was issued requiring John Judde, Master of the Kings Ordnance with Robert Wylbram, Thomas Bettys and William Teyes to purvey bows, arrows and cords for bows with other things necessary to the office of the artillery and the offices ‘des bowyers, flecchers and stryngers, and carriage therefore, and to arrest the workmen and labourers necessary herein’, it is evident that master craftsmen were being sought out to procure the best. [13]

It seems that John was also able to use his earlier naval experience to assist the Lancastrian cause.  In the autumn of 1459 John was commissioned to assist in the fitting out of Ships for Somerset’s expedition to Calais and to seize armaments which had once belonged to York. [14]

Later in December 1459 at Coventry, John Judde, Esquire, received another commission to go out and seize ‘all the ordnance and habiliments of war, late of Richard, the late Duke of York, Richard the late Earl of Warwick and Richard the late Earl of Salisbury’, appointing him to ‘visit all castles, fortified towns and fortalices in the realm and to survey the ordnance and habiliments of war therein, repairing where possible those that are in-sufficient by indentures to be made between him and the Constables or Keepers thereof’. [15]

Perhaps in recognition of his good and loyal service, on 30 December 1459 John Judde, Kings Esquire and Master of the King’s Ordnance received a ‘grant for life with the wages of £50 yearly by the hands of the sheriffs of London from their receipts of the green wax and the subsidy on strangers dwelling in the city; in lieu of a grant thereof by letters patent, surrendered as invalid because the yearly wages are not specified therein’. [16]

In the following year, March 1460, John Judde with Henry Nevill, Alexander Norton, Robert Parker, John Carpenter and Dederic Tyle (recte, Pyle) were commissioned to take carpenters called ‘whelers’ and ‘cartwryghtz and other carpenters, stonemasons, smiths, plumbers, artificers and workmen for the works of the Kings ordnance and bombards, cannons, culvryns, serpentines, crossbows, bows, arrows, saltpetre, powder for cannons, lead, iron and all other stuff for the said ordnance and carriage therefore and horses called hakeneys’. [17]

Therefore, during the summer of 1460 John was obviously kept busy transporting these armaments and guns from the Tower of London to various Royal fortresses around the country including Kenilworth which had become the Kings residence for a while. It was while on one of these missions John was killed at St Albans on 22 June 1460. [18] A chronicle reports, 'And on the Friday (feria sexta) before the feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist a certain person called Judde, detested of men, passed through London towards the King with 30 cartloads loaded with canon, powder for them, lances, axes (malleis), and other ordinances of war. And on the following Sunday the same Judde was killed between St. Albans and Dunstapill' (Dunstable). One London correspondent or chronicler of the time, Robert Bale, described his fate as a ‘wretched end, as the caitiff deserved’. He described Judde as a man who had maliciously conspired and laboured to ordain and make all things for war to the destruction of the Duke of York and all the other Lords. [19]

From the outline of John’s career, provided above, it is clear that up until his death, he had been energetic in royal service to the Lancastrian King, Henry VI. 

The battle of Northampton took place on 10 July 1460 with the Kings forces taking up a defensive position at Northampton, in the grounds of Delapre Abbey, with their backs to the River Nene, with a water-filled ditch in front of them topped with stakes and now without the support of John Judde. The defending army was 10,000 to 15,000 strong, consisting mainly of men-at-arms. The Lancastrians also had a quantity of field artillery which had been previously manufactured and delivered by John Judde.

At two o'clock the Yorkists advanced. The men were in column, but the hard rain blowing in their faces somewhat hindered them. As they closed with the Lancastrians, Warwick was met by a fierce barrage of arrows; luckily for them, though, the rain had rendered the Lancastrian collection of cannon quite useless, so the late John Judde’s efforts were all brought to no effect. This proved a fatal blow to the loyal Lancastrians: after this, the battle lasted a mere thirty minutes. The defenders, unable to manoeuvre inside the fortifications, fled the field as their line was rolled up by attacking Yorkists. The Duke of Buckingham, the Earl of Shrewsbury and Lords Egremont and Beaumont all died trying to save Henry from the Yorkists closing on his tent. Three hundred Lancastrians were slain in the battle, the King was captured and once more became a puppet in the hands of the Yorkists.


This is the story I have been able to put together about my ancestor John Judde and it would be tempting to speculate what would have happened at the battle of Northampton, had he not been killed just 20 days earlier.  Indeed, could it be that the Yorkists sought out this loyal Lancastrian in order to remove his important support for the Lancastrian regime in forthcoming encounters? 

To date I have not yet been able to establish exactly where John Judde was murdered in St Albans, but it was obviously somewhere between St Albans and Dunstable, I am hopeful of one day locating something in one of the surrounding churches, even a plaque to commemorate his demise.

It is of interest to note the existence of other Juddes within the Soldier database, men such as John Judde, (archer); Richard Jude, (armed archer); Robert Judde, (man-at-arms); Stephen Judde, (archer); Thomas Judde, (man at arms); William Judde, (archer). [20]   It may also be that they are members of the same or related family.


[1] Stephen Turnbull, The Book of the Medieval Knight (Crown Publications, 1985), p. 163.

[2] Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1446 – 1452, p. 389 dated 30 Aug 1450, and H S Vere Hodge, Sir Andrew Judde (1953), p. 123

[3] Vere Hodge, Sir Andrew Judde, p. 123, and CPR, 1446 – 1452, pps. 265, 389.

[4] R. A. Griffiths, The Reign of King Henry VI: The Exercise of Royal Authority 1422-1461 (London, 1981), p. 639.

[5] The National Archives (TNA) E 403/795, m.3, dated 30th October 1453.

[6] A.J.Pollard, John Talbot and the War in France, 1427-1453 (London, 1983), pp.137-8, where he speculates that Talbot delayed at the end of June, perhaps waiting for reinforcements to be sent from England.

[7] Anthony Goodman, Wars of the Roses: Military Activity and English Society 1452 – 1497 (London 1981),  p. 160.

[8] Goodman, Wars of the Roses, p. 160.

[9] Turnbull, The Book of the Medieval Knight, p. 163.

[10] Bertram Wolffe, Henry VI (Yale, 2001), p. 315 citing TNA E 404/71/3/43.

[11] Goodman, Wars of the Roses, p. 160.

[12] CPR, 1452 – 1461, p. 416, dated 25 Feb 1458.

[13] CPR, 1452 – 1461, p. 485, dated 10 April 1459.

[14] Goodman, Wars of the Roses, p. 160.

[15] CPR, 1452 – 1461,  p. 527, dated 1 Dec 1459.

[16] CPR, 1452 – 1461, p. 536, dated 30 Dec 1459.

[17] CPR, 1452-1461, p. 605, 2 Mar 1460.

[18] Griffiths, The Reign of King Henry VI, pps. 858, 876n citing CPR, 1452 – 1461, p. 605.

[19] G. Baskerville, 'A London Chronicle of 1460', English Historical Review, volume 28, no 109, January 1913, p. 125, translation from the Latin by David Judd. John Gillingham, The Wars of the Roses, Peace and Conflict in 15th century England(London, 1981), p. 26.

[20] Found by searching for the surname ‘Jud*’ on the muster database at www.medievalsoldier.org

(21) Also to the reference “The Chronology of Jack Cades Rebellion, The Historical Literature of the Jack Cade Rebellion by Alexander L Kaufman” referred to on page one, many thanks.

A New Picture of the Battle of Bosworth – Margaret Lewis

There is currently an exhibition in the Museum of Somerset, Taunton, of the paintings of Victor Ambrus (the illustrator on The Time Team) who lives in Somerset.  Victor, who is now rather frail, has had a long career as an artist and not only done numerous historical illustrations but also illustrated many books.  One of his latest pictures is of the Battle of Bosworth which he was moved to paint when King Richard’s bones were found.

Questions and Answers

Monica asks:-

“Codex Sinaiticus” (a book in the British Library).  This was, perhaps, a very early record of information in book form – from the early 4th century A.D.  If this is correct, why didn’t books catch on until much later.  Scrolls were still used for a long time after and why are major documents e.g. Charters, Acts of Pariament etc, still produced today as scrolls?

Helena asks:-

whether this stone carving, which is purported to be part of Bishop Stillington’s Chapel at Wells Cathedral represents the Sun in Splendour?

Don’t forget the Tewkesbury Festival on 9th/10th July.  We shall be manning the Ricardian stall on the Sunday.  If you can help, please let Keith know.

Contributions for the next issue of News & Views by end of August please.  Contact me on margaret.lewism4@btinternet.com or 22 Pitts Close, Taunton TA1 4TP.