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Corona Monastica

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Louis Lemoine
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Bernard Merdrignac

Troisième partie. « Et le verbe s'est fait chair » : Bretagne, histoire et religion

The English Career and Connections of William de Sonde, Treasurer of Brittany (d. 1368)

Michael Jones

Texte intégral

  • 1 Michael Jones, Catalogue sommaire des archives du fonds Lebreton, Abbaye Saint-Guénolé, Landévenne (...)
  • 2 Le baron de Wismes, « Le Trésor de la rue des Caves à Nantes », Revue de Bretagne et de Vendée, v (...)
  • 3 The earliest fragments come from accounts of Jean Rolland, receiver of Muzillac, for the period fr (...)

1A few years ago frère Marc Simon kindly encouraged me to catalogue the rich collection of original documents bequeathed to the abbey of Saint-Guénolé, Landévennec, by Dr Louis Lebreton.1 Among the finds which particularly excited my own personal interest were some records from the medieval Breton Chambre des comptes. Most were both extremely fragmentary and in a poor state of physical preservation, since they were among those dramatically rescued from oblivion by Arthur de La Borderie and the Baron de Wismes in 1857 when they came across itinerant workers in the Rue des Caves, Nantes, busily destroying them by turning them into covers for modern civil registers of births, marriages and deaths.2 But even in mutilated form, they form a valuable supplement to similar records now scattered in several public repositories, as well as to those remaining in the Archives départementales de Loire-Atlantique, Nantes, having survived the Commission du triage in the 1790s as well as the depredations of later generations, like the workmen discovered in 1857 subrepticiously completing the Commission’s task. Among the earliest fragments at Landévennec are some accounts from the period when John IV, duke of Brittany (1364-99), was re-establishing his authority in the duchy after six years of exile in England (1373-79).3 It is, however, to the very earliest days of the Chambre des comptes at the start of John IV’s reign and to the rather surprising career of the first known treasurer of Brittany, William de Sonde, or as he has usually been styled by modern authorities, Guillaume de Soude, that I would like to direct attention in this short tribute to frère Marc.

  • 4 Copies of the ‘Catalogue prosopographique’ are deposited in the departmental archives (AD) of Côte (...)
  • 5 ‘Catalogue prosopographique’, i, 5 and cf. L’État breton, i, 273, 345 ; ii, 712, 713, 715 and 767.

2It is perhaps appropriate that until now knowledge of Sonde’s life has itself been as sketchy as those earliest records from the Chambre des comptes. Virtually all that is known about him was summarised by Jean Kerhervé in the immensely valuable but unpublished ‘Catalogue prosopographique’ which he compiled for his definitive work on ‘Les gens de finances des ducs de Bretagne 1365-1491’, presented as his thèse pour le doctorat d’État in 1986, and published as L’État breton aux xive et xve siècles ; les ducs, l’argent et les hommes, 2 vols. Paris 1987.4 The main points are :5

  • ‘– Trésorier de Bretagne le 2 juin 1365, [Guillaume de Soude] disparaît des sources après le 27 mai 1368.6 Il ne fut peut-être pas remplacé dans son office, que [Thomas] Melbourne cumula sans doute dès lors avec la recette générale.7
  • Il était au service de Jean IV dès 1361 8 … et membre de son conseil le 2 octobre 1363. Le 21 mai 1367 il tenait les accomptz en compaignie de Jean Le Barbu 9 et du Doyen de Nantes.10
  • Messire Guillaume S. était clerc et probablement d’origine anglaise.’
  • 11 London, British Library, Additional Charter 43463, kindly brought to my attention by Dr Philip Mor (...)

3Thanks to the discovery of William de Sonde’s will,11 it can now be confirmed that he was indeed an English cleric and that he died in London between 16 and 20 July 1368. The will also highlights the hitherto unsuspected double career which William lived for some years as both treasurer of Brittany and rector of the parish of East Tilbury (diocese of London), as well as providing information on his family circumstances and wealth. It is printed in the Appendix below, and the rest of this tribute is a commentary on it.

  • 12 E. Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names, 4th edition, Oxford, 1960, p. 431 (...)
  • 13 George Ormerod, The History of the County Palatine and City of Chester, 2nd ed. by Thomas Helsby, (...)
  • 14 William left money pro reparacione reddito sua in Wyco Mabano, Lich[efeldensis] diocesis, which Dr (...)

4To date no information on Sonde’s origins has come to light. His surname almost certainly derives from an Old English place-name : the strongest possibility is the modern Sound, Nantwich Hundred, Cheshire. This occurs as early as 1274 as Sonde, a West Midland form of the Old English sand, ‘sand, sandy soil’.12 Conveniently, it provides the surname for one known local family to which William may have belonged even if we currently cannot place him in it.13 His will mentions possession of a manor of Sonde. This was currently being farmed for him by Robert de Sonde, tenenti suo, apparently not a relative ; there is also the suggestive information that William possessed property in Nantwich itself, where an earlier William de Sonde was a householder in 1295-6 and Thomas, son of William de Sonde, paid a fine in 1316-1317.14

  • 15 A point kindly made by my colleague, Dr Alison McHardy, to whom I am grateful for other advice and (...)
  • 16 Ormerod, iii, 419. John, son of Robert, son of Ralph de Sonde, held premises in Nantwich in 1365-6 (...)

5But if we may assume Cheshire origins, we do not know when William was born, the names of his parents, nor anything about his education. The use of the title Messire in some documents connected with his work as treasurer, the vernacular equivalent of Dominus used for clerics named in his will, including William himself, is sometimes taken to imply university training, but its meaning here is better conveyed by the modern English clerical title ‘reverend’.15 The fact that his mother was still alive at the moment he drew up his will, and that he had a niece who was still to be married, suggest that he was a man of middle age in 1368, perhaps still in his forties or early fifties, hence born a few years either side of 1320. The other members of his immediate family named are a brother, Thomas (probably already dead, since he received no specific legacy), and his daughter, Matilda, a sister, Joan, and her children, William and Anabel, whilst John the Clerk, one of his executors, is styled kinsman (consanguineo suo). A Thomas, son of Robert de Sonde, obtained a tenement at Sonde, Cheshire, in 1331-2, probably the same Thomas who with his wife, Letice, got additional tenements there in 1342-3 ; is he the Thomas of the will ?16

  • 17 Registrum Simonis de Sudbiria, Diocesis Londoniensis, A.D. 1362-1375, ed. R. C. Fowler, C. Jenkins(...)
  • 18 Victoria County History, Essex, ii (1907), 9. There were only ten such churches with similar arran (...)
  • 19 See above n. 8. William can be traced in Brittany between 2 October 1363, when he was at Guérande, (...)
  • 20 Reg. Sudbiria, i. 253.
  • 21 Reg. Sudbiria, ii. 181. This chapel, which used to stand close to the manor-house of Aveley, was p (...)
  • 22 The Chancel was tiled in Morant’s day (Morant, i, 235) but the church had allegedly lost its tower (...)
  • 23 Morant, i, 235 notes that a chantry founded by Sir Thomas Corbyn c. 1328, provided for one chaplai (...)
  • 24 Probably to be identified with Richard Beltryng de Peckham, Fellow (1338) and Sub-warden (1351-52) (...)
  • 25 Emden, ii, 982 provides details on the career of William de Humberston, Fellow (1329-41) of Merton (...)
  • 26 Further details on some careers are provided in the annotation to the will below : no fewer than t (...)
  • 27 John Clerk and William de Bromley had each, for example, lent William 10 marks (£6 13s 4d).

6When William first comes to notice in surviving documents, he was already Rector of St Catherine’s, East Tilbury, situated on the north bank of the Thames about 20 miles downstream from the city of London in the county of Essex ; on 13 October 1361, he presented the chaplain Thomas Chesterton to its vicarage.17 These administrative arrangements have been called ‘highly unusual’ since the benefice was divided between the rector and a vicar who were both formally instituted.18 There is no doubt that William continued actively as rector until his death in 1368, though how much time he spent in his living between 1361 and 1368 it is impossible to establish : it was also in 1361 that he can first be linked with the future John IV, whom he almost certainly accompanied to Brittany in 1362.19 On 18 November 1366, he again presented to the vicarage of East Tilbury, when John Hanyper, priest, was appointed, presumably to perform whatever services were required in William’s absence.20 Three weeks earlier, on 31 October 1366, perhaps during a visit to London on ducal business, William had informed his diocesan, Simon Sudbury, that his living was taxed at 22 marks (£14 6s 8d) and that he also held the free chapel of Aveley in Chafford Hundred, Essex21 William left legacies to both these churches as well as expressing a wish to be buried in the chancel at East Tilbury.22 The church of West Tilbury was also to receive a share of the candle wax remaining after his burial service. Among other charitable gifts, we can note the legacy of one mark (13s 4d) to Sister Alice and sorori sue domo sancte Katerine… ut orent pro ipso.23 There was also a group of fellow clerics who were legatees, including Master Richard de Pecham,24 William Courtray, the Rector of West Tilbury, Master Simon, chaplain to the duchess of Brittany and Master William de Humberston ;25 other clerics may remain among those who are named in the will without further description.26 Some had certainly been creditors to William, occasionally lending him money.27 Pecham, Humberston, John Clerk and Master John de Ludlow were to act as William’s executors. They, we may presume, were his closest English friends and acquaintances.

  • 28 Thomas de Raclow, John Gilles, William Pulesdon, Daukyn Porter and William son of Beymoraunt ; I h (...)

7The will also makes clear that William had good contacts in the city of London, where he stayed on more than one occasion : among legatees are Peter Skinner and his wife hospitibus suis London’ as well as William Courtray, Rector of St Andrew’s, Holborn, who received a payment pro expensis suis in domo eius ; their servants also benefited from William’s generosity. It was certainly to London that William was sent from Brittany to obtain an interesting list of goods on behalf of John IV and his wife to which further reference is made below. But he also had many contacts in and around Tilbury as well as more generally in the county of Essex. Amongst his moveables were livestock and some crops : the will makes provision for the distribution of no fewer than 11 cows, 94 ewes, six quarters of wheat and six of barley. Three carts, probably farm carts rather than more elaborate carriages for private transport, with their teams of oxen or horses, are also mentioned, two of which were given to Felicity, daughter of William atte Wode, together with 4 cows and 12 ewes. Most of the livestock, indeed, appears to have been left to women who are well represented in the will, while laymen and clerics were more likely to receive a monetary gift. The poor of East Tilbury were specifically to receive the quarters of wheat and barley, whilst other paupers as well as the tenants of his manor of Sonde were to get monetary payments. Among household goods that are specifically mentioned, as is usually the case in medieval wills, two beds figure most prominently, Master Simon being allowed to choose unum lectum suum de Worstede dupplicem vel unum viridem while William Coppele was to have another. Otherwise, William’s major benefaction of personal belongings was of his wardrobe : William de Wode de Britannia was to get a third of it, while the rest of what remained in Brittany itself went to five named legatees.28 William clearly believed that his estate would certainly provide enough money additionally to pay out no less than £135 16s in coin to his own family, friends, former colleagues and sundry creditors.

  • 29 Cf. comment in n. 36 below.
  • 30 See below n. 47.

8Finally, for his career as treasurer of Brittany, a number of clauses, following immediately after his instructions regarding his burial, at the start of his will provide important information. These concern the receipt of 800 francs from John IV to purchase various items in London, some of the first evidence we have on the domestic circumstances of any duke of Brittany. It would appear that the goods were still in William’s hands at his death. They included horses (duobus ambularibus et tribus trotteres London’ emptis), cloth, bed linen, silk, furs, precious stones, plate, cutlery and arms. Some, notably the silk and plate, were for the duchess and her damsels, and most were clearly of high quality, luxury items that were not easily obtainable in Brittany itself at this point. The acquisition of a considerable consignment of ermine skins is perhaps significant because of the heraldic importance of ermine to the Montfort dynasty, though furs were traditionally much used in the apparel of the aristocracy.29 A reminder of the recent troubled past of the duchy and provision against future contingencies was the purchase of 21 large barbed arrows, perhaps for use with springalds. Of the original 800 francs delivered to him, 100 were allowed for his expenses, and 100 had been delivered to Dame Petronilla, wife of Sir Thomas Bradewell, both of whom served the duke and duchess in various capacities over a long period.30 This list and the will as a whole deserves further analysis (it is unusual in form, for example, by being expressed in the third person), but space does not permit more comment here. Nevertheless, it is hoped that this short account has helped to illustrate an interesting career –part priest, part secular– linking both sides of the English Channel at a critical point in the establishment of the Montfort dynasty under John IV, the duke who first brought me to Brittany and thus eventually to Landévennec and a long-lasting friendship with frère Marc.

Annexes

Appendix

Will of William de Sonde, Rector of East Tilbury, 16 July 1368 (London, British Library, Additional Charter 43463, 295 x 280 mm., formerly sealed on double parchment tag through turnup)

In dei nomine amen. Decimo sexto die mensis Julii anno domini millesimo ccc lxviijo Dominus Willelmus de Sonde, rector ecclesie parochialis de Estillebury, Londoniensis diocesis,31 suum/32 testamentum ordinavit et fecit in hunc modum :

In primis legavit animam suam Deo omnipotenti, beate Marie Virgini et omnibus sanctis, corpus que suum ad sepeliandum in can/cello ecclesie sue antedicte.

Item dixit et recognovit dictus Dominus Willelmus testator se habuisse et recepisse de domino Duce Britannie33 viijc frankes pro rebus/ et parcellis infrascriptis London’ emendandis, in primis pro quinque equis, videlicet duobus ambularibus et tribus trotteres London’ emptis.34

Item pro uno panno integro de/ scarlato et j alio panno nigro integro.35

Item xiiijor tymbris de Ermyn.36

Item iij cellis, una videlicet alba et alia rubea.37

Item pro ij cultellis ad opus dicti domini/ London’ emptis.38

Item xxi sagittis magnis barbatis.39

Item pro domina ducissa Britannie 40 iiijc petris vocatis garnetes in auro positis et centum in argento positis/ et deauratis.41

Item dicte domine ducisse iiijor libris et dimidia de serico diversis coloribus.42

Item pro eadem domine octo unceis de plates argentis ex duabus partibus earumdem/ deauratis.43

Item xij unceis et dimidio de plates argentis deauratis ex una parte.44

Item quatuor unceis et dimidio de plate deaurato per orfoude.45

Item eadem ducisse/ et ipsius damisell’ ix unceis auri et argentis, que omnia et singula premissa dictus testator voluit tradi et liberari dictis domino Duci et Ducisse loco et nomine vjc/ frankorum quos dictus dux eidem domino Willelmo in partibus Britannie, pro dictis rebus London’ emendandis tradidit et liberavit, de quibus et viijc frankis idem dominus/ Dux prefato domino Willelmo, pro expensis suis versus Anglie,46 centum frankos donavit, et centum frankos domine Petronille Bradewell,47 per ipsum testatorem tradi manda/vit quas ut idem testator firmiter dixit domine Petronille memorate liberavit.

Item legavit ad distribuendum pauperibus in vita sua decem solidos et si/ contingat ipsum mori legavit ad distribuendum pauperibus quinquaginta solidos.

Item legavit matri sue et sorori sue cuilibet earum vjxx frankos.

Item legavit/ Willelmo filio Johanne sororis sue xx marcas.

Item legavit Anabilie filie sue pro maritagio suo xl marcas.

Item legavit pro reparacione reddito sua in Wyco Mabano, Lich[efeldensis]/ diocesis,48 xm marcas quas liberavit Johanni le Clerk, consanguineo suo.49

Item legavit eidem Johanni xcem marcas quas sibi accomodavit.

Item legavit pro reparacione manerii/ sui apud Sonde 50 xm marcas quas accomodavit Willelmo de Bromley.51

Item legavit Roberto de Sonde tenenti suo et alii Roberto commoranti in manerio suo de Sonde/ cuilibet eorum xxti solidos.

Item legavit aliis tenentibus suis cuilibet eorum vjs. viijd.

Item legavit Margarete de Rideby viginti solidos.

Item legavit domino Ricardo/ de Peccham xem marcas quas sibi accomodavit.

Item legavit Philippotto valetto suo xl solidos.

Item legavit uxori sue et sorori uxoris sue cuilibet earum/ viijo solidos.

Item legavit Matilde filie Thome de Sonde fratris sui viginti solidos.

Item legavit David de Worthull’ et uxori sue xxxiij solidos iiij d./

Item legavit Petro Skynner et uxori sue hospitibus suis London’ ultra ea que eis debuit xiij s. iiij d.

Item legavit Willelmo Courtray pro/ expensis suis in domo eius xxxta solidos.52

Item legavit Agnete famule dicti Willelmi xl s. pro maritagio suo.

Item legavit famulo dicti Petri Skynnere et/ uxoris sue hospitum suis vj s. viij d.

Item legavit filie Alicie hospitis sue xl denarios.

Item legavit Beatrici de Bressy xl s.53

Item legavit/ sorori Alys et sorori sue domo sancte Katerine xiij s. iiij d. ut orent pro ipso.54

Item legavit uxori Berdefeld unam vaccam et vj oves matrices.

Item/ legavit firmario suo de Alvethale55 duas vaccas et xij oves matrices.

Item legavit uxori de Colchestr’56 unam vaccam et vj oves matrices.

Item/ legavit Blaunche atte Tye unam vaccam et vj oves matrices.

Item legavit Alicie Harcourt duas vaccas et xij oves matrices.

Item legavit/ ad distribuendum pauperibus in villa de Est Tillebury sex quarteria frumenti et vj quarteria ordei.57

Item legavit rectori ecclesie de West Tillebury vque marcas./

Item legavit Thome Golde caruectam suam cum bovibus et equis.

Item legavit Felicie filie Willelmi atte Wode ij carrettas suas, iiij vaccas et xij/ oves matrices.

Item legavit Willelmo atte Wode de Est Tilbury xl s.58

Item legavit vicario suo xl s. ut oret pro ipso.

Item legavit Willelmo atte/ Wode de Bromhale xl s.

Item legavit Willelmo de Wode de Britannia terciam partem garderobe sue.

Item [legavit] Thome de Raclow et Johanni Giles,/ Willelmo Pulesdon et Daukyn Porter et Willelmo filio Beymoraunt omnia residua garderobe sue in Britannia.

Item legavit domino Simoni capellano/ dicte domine sue59 Ducisse unum lectum suum de Worstede dupplicem vel unum viridem quem voluerit eligere, et Willelmi Coppele unum aliud lectum

Item legavit pro reparacione/ capelle sue de Alberle60 et domorum euisdem xl oves matrices.

Item legavit sexaginta libras cere fore emendandas ad faciendum torcheras et ij mortaria, unum ad/ capud et aliud ad pedes suos ardenda, quorum torcherarum legavit post sepulturam suam duos ad ecclesiam de West Tillebury et alios duos capelle de Alve/thele et residuum dictorum torcherarum et mortariorum legavit ecclesie de Estilbury pro anima sua ibidem remansurum.

Item legavit garcioni suo modo servienti sui/ apud Estillebury vj s. viij d.

Item legavit Willelmo Bryketon’ vj s. viiij d.

Item legavit domino Willelmo de Humberston’ si omnis huius testamenti subir’ voluerit xl s.61 /

Item dictus testator de residuo bonorum suorum legavit matri sue et sorori sue et liberis suis quinquaginta marcas, et si quid de dicto residuo remanserit,/ prefatus testator legavit fore distribuendum pro anima sua per manus executorum suorum infrascriptorum prout eis melius viderint expedire Deo placere et saluti/ anime sue proficere, huius autem testamenti suos ordinavit fecit et deputavit executores, videlicet dictum Dominum Willelmum de Humberston’, Dominum Ricardum de Peccham,/ Dominum Johannem de Lodelowe,62 Johannem Clerk, consanguinem dicti testatoris, et Willelmum Boure, dictum atte Wode, de Tillebury, ut ipsi dona predicta habere et ea/ omnia premissa bene et fideliter impleant et exequantur in periculo animarum suarum. Datum London’ die et anno domini supradicta.

Dorse : Probatus fuit hoc testamentum coram president’ cons’ London’ xiij Kalendis Augusti anno domini infrascripto,63 et pro ipsius testamenti probati littere pronunciat, et commissa/ est administracio omnis bonorum defuncti infrascripti infra jurisdictionem Londonien’ existencium Willelmo Boure, dicto atte Wode, de Tillebury, exec/utorem in testamento nominato in forma juris, Dominus Ricardus Peccham et Johannes de Lodelowe, executores tam infrascriptos, coram dicto presidente composicionibus tam omnia/ administracionis bonorum predictorum in forma juris admittere recusantibus expresse et facultate omni administracionem dictorum bonorum domino Willelmo de/ Humberston’ et Johannei Clerk, executoribus et infrascriptos, in forma juris conditionis omni venerunt omnia administracionis bonorum huius receptur’ nobis/ vel nostro in hac parte commissarios reservatos, in cuius rei testimonium nos officii London’ sigillum officii nostri presentibus apposuimus.64 Datum London’/ die et anno domini supradictis. Subsequente videlicet X Kalendis Novembri anno domini m. ccc lxviijo 65 comparuit Johannes Clerk, executor infrascriptus,/ omnia administracio al’ fuerat ut prefertus reservata coram dicto presidente et commissa est ad ipsius peticionem administracio omnis bonorum defuncti supradicti/ infra jurisdictionem nostram predictam existenciam eidem Johanni Clerk in forma juris auctoritate dictum officium memorati.66

Résumé

Voici près de vingt ans, Jean Kerhervé publiait son étude définitive sur la Chambre des comptes de Bretagne et l’identification de son personnel. La carrière de Guillaume de Sonde, premier trésorier connu du duc Jean IV, demeurait cependant passablement obscure, en raison du petit nombre de documents le concernant. Son testament, récemment découvert, confirme l’hypothèse voulant qu’il s’agisse d’un clerc anglais, qui continua sa carrière ecclésiastique en Angleterre alors même qu’il était trésorier de Bretagne. Il mourut à Londres en juillet 1368. Ce testament permet aussi d’étudier de façon plus détaillée son arrière-plan familial et ses relations personnelles et sa fortune, de même qu’il éclaire les relations entre l’Angleterre et la Bretagne peu de temps après la bataille d’Auray et l’organisation de la maisonnée de Jean IV.

Notes

1 Michael Jones, Catalogue sommaire des archives du fonds Lebreton, Abbaye Saint-Guénolé, Landévennec, Nottingham, 1998.

2 Le baron de Wismes, « Le Trésor de la rue des Caves à Nantes », Revue de Bretagne et de Vendée, v (1859), 152-61 and 311-35. I have brought the story uptodate in ‘Membra disjecta of the Breton Chambre des comptes in the Late Middle Ages : Treasures Revisited and Rediscovered’, in War, Government and Power in Late Medieval France, ed. Christopher Allmand, Liverpool, 2000, p. 209-21.

3 The earliest fragments come from accounts of Jean Rolland, receiver of Muzillac, for the period from January to July 1380, and those of Alain du Boais for a fouage imposed on the barony of Fougères and lordships of Vitré, Châteaubriant and elsewhere c. 1381-1382 ; the latest relate to a fouage levied in the diocese of Cornouaille in 1602 (Landévennec, Fonds Lebreton, 4A no. 1 and 2 ; 4B no. 224). JONES, Catalogue sommaire, p. 77-97 for a full annotated list of the fragments at Landévennec.

4 Copies of the ‘Catalogue prosopographique’ are deposited in the departmental archives (AD) of Côtes-d’Armor, Finistère, Ille-et-Vilaine, Loire-Atlantique and Morbihan, as well as in some municipal archives like those of Rennes.

5 ‘Catalogue prosopographique’, i, 5 and cf. L’État breton, i, 273, 345 ; ii, 712, 713, 715 and 767.

6 Recte, 27 mai 1367 (Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS Nouv. acq. française 5216, no 7).

7 For the career of Thomas de Melbourne, Receiver-general of Brittany from 1365-73, see Kerhervé, ‘Catalogue prosopographique’, i, 4-5 and L’État breton, i, 273, 274, 288, 290, 291, 295, 317, 594, 596, 712-15, 764, 767, 789, 800, 837 and 882. Prebendary of Ketton in the diocese of Lincoln from 1371, Melbourne died shortly before 29 November 1388 (John Le Neve, Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae, 1300-1540, i, Lincoln Diocese, compiled by H. P. F. King, London, 1962, p. 70).

8 In April 1361 as dominus he was buying horses for John de Montfort’s journey to St-Omer to negotiate with Charles de Blois (London, Public Record Office, E101/314/16 m. 4).

9 ‘Catalogue prosopographique’, iii, 687 for Le Barbu as member of the Chambre des comptes from 1366-72.

10 Guillaume Paris, sometimes said to have been Chancellor of Charles de Blois, dean of Nantes from 1358, served John IV from at least 1366-71, returned to his service after 1379, and died c. 1391 (cf. ‘Catalogue prosopographique’, iii, 687-8).

11 London, British Library, Additional Charter 43463, kindly brought to my attention by Dr Philip Morgan, University of Keele, who has also constructively commented on this brief article.

12 E. Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names, 4th edition, Oxford, 1960, p. 431. I am very grateful to Dr David Parsons and Dr Paul Cullen of The English Place-Name Society for their help and advice with regard to both personal and place-names.

13 George Ormerod, The History of the County Palatine and City of Chester, 2nd ed. by Thomas Helsby, 3 vols. London, 1882, iii, 419. It is probably significant that several of the same forenames (William, Robert, Thomas) occur in Ormerod’s account of the Cheshire family of Sonde and our William’s will.

14 William left money pro reparacione reddito sua in Wyco Mabano, Lich[efeldensis] diocesis, which Dr Philip Morgan helped me to identify as Nantwich, held at Domesday by William Malbedeng/Malbanc and his successors, barons of Wich Malbank (cf. Ormerod, iii, 290, 419, 421 et seq.). Dr Morgan also pointed out the presence of other wellknown Cheshire family names mentioned in William’s will (Bressy, Bromley, Pulesdon) and the fact that it is found in a collection of other charters relating to Cheshire (London, BL, Add. Charters 43065-44283) as further indications of Sonde’s probable origins.

15 A point kindly made by my colleague, Dr Alison McHardy, to whom I am grateful for other advice and references.

16 Ormerod, iii, 419. John, son of Robert, son of Ralph de Sonde, held premises in Nantwich in 1365-6 but appears to have been the last of a senior branch of the family that survived in several collateral lines (ibid.).

17 Registrum Simonis de Sudbiria, Diocesis Londoniensis, A.D. 1362-1375, ed. R. C. Fowler, C. Jenkins and S. C. Ratcliff, 2 vols. The Canterbury and York Society, xxxiv (1937) and xxxviii (1938) (cited as Reg. Sudbiria, i and ii), i, 226. The lord of the manor of East Tilbury was the patron of the living ; in 1321 and 1327 Joan, widow of the late Edmund Kamseck, exercised her rights to present the Rector, as did a successor, Sir Henry Coggeshale on Sonde’s death in 1368 and again in 1371 (Philip Morant, The History and Antiquities of the County of Essex, 2 vols. London, 1763-8 (reprinted Wakefield, 1978), i, 233, 235).

18 Victoria County History, Essex, ii (1907), 9. There were only ten such churches with similar arrangements in Essex, and at East Tilbury these were ended shortly after Sonde’s tenure when the rectory and the advowson of the vicarage were appropriated by John, lord Cobham for his College at Cobham, Kent (ibid.).

19 See above n. 8. William can be traced in Brittany between 2 October 1363, when he was at Guérande, and 29 November 1367, when he was probably at Vannes (Recueil des actes de Jean IV, duc de Bretagne, ed. Michael Jones, 3 vols. Paris and Bannalec, 1980-2001, no 29, 33, 79, 103, 108, 110, 111, 1206). On 7 september 1366 he delivered a general quittance to the duke for everything owing to him to date (ibid., 1212), perhaps at the point of leaving for England, where he appears to have been in October (see notes 20 and 21 below) ; he ceased acting as treasurer between 29 November 1367 and 22 January 1368 (Recueil, no. 101 and 117 ; AD Loire-Atlantique, E78/11). Had he acquired his financial expertise before entering John’s service ? If so, given his connections with both the city of London and the Thames estuary (see below), had this been acquired in the English custom service (a suggestion I owe to Dr McHardy) ?

20 Reg. Sudbiria, i. 253.

21 Reg. Sudbiria, ii. 181. This chapel, which used to stand close to the manor-house of Aveley, was probably a thirteenthcentury foundation (Morant, i, 84) ; it certainly existed by 1316 and its last known chaplain was appointed in 1435 : VCH, Essex, viii, 5, a reference I owe to the kindness of Dr Jennifer Ward, who also valuably commented on this paper.

22 The Chancel was tiled in Morant’s day (Morant, i, 235) but the church had allegedly lost its tower to Dutch bombardment in 1667 (a matter treated sceptically in VCH, Essex, ii, 289 n. 4). A full modern description can be found in the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England) volume, Essex, iv, London 1923, 40. A flint and ragstone-rubble building, with some reused Roman bricks, dressed with Reigate stone, its main features are a twelfth-century nave, north arcade and aisle, with alternating octagonal and round columns, some with carved and scalloped capitals and moulded bases, and a chancel rebuilt and enlarged in the early thirteenth century. Among fittings there is a brass indent in the chancel showing a small figure, probably a priest with an illegible inscription plate ; could this be a memorial to Sonde ?

23 Morant, i, 235 notes that a chantry founded by Sir Thomas Corbyn c. 1328, provided for one chaplain to perform daily services at the altar of St Catherine and was worth £12 4s 4d at the Dissolution. Did Sister Alice and her companion also look after this chaplain or were they attached to the hospital, which had been established at East Tilbury as early as c. 1200 by Geoffrey Fitz Peter, earl of Essex ? (cf. VCH, Essex, ii, 191).

24 Probably to be identified with Richard Beltryng de Peckham, Fellow (1338) and Sub-warden (1351-52) of Merton College, Oxford, MA, BCn and BCL by 1351, subsequently Warden of the Hospital of SS Peter and Paul, Maidstone, Kent (1351-7), Rector of Wootton, Kent (1357-62) and then of Hunton, Kent (1362-73) (A. B. Emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500, 3 vols. Oxford, 1957-9, i, 163-4).

25 Emden, ii, 982 provides details on the career of William de Humberston, Fellow (1329-41) of Merton College, later Vicar of Embleton, Northumberland, but it is unlikely that he is Sonde’s friend.

26 Further details on some careers are provided in the annotation to the will below : no fewer than three Williams atte/de Woods (of East Tilbury, Bromhall and ‘Brittany’) are mentioned !

27 John Clerk and William de Bromley had each, for example, lent William 10 marks (£6 13s 4d).

28 Thomas de Raclow, John Gilles, William Pulesdon, Daukyn Porter and William son of Beymoraunt ; I have discovered nothing about any of these men who presumably formed part of William’s household.

29 Cf. comment in n. 36 below.

30 See below n. 47.

31 East Tilbury, Barstable Hundred, Essex.

32 Obliques indicate end of lines ; the text is written continuously but I have separated each item for ease of consultation.

33 John IV, duke of Brittany, 1364-99.

34 Two ambling and three trotting horses.

35 One scarlet broad-cloth and one black.

36 ‘Timber’, a bundle of furs, usually 40 in number, hence 14 x 40 or 560 ermine pelts.

37 One white and two red bed canopies.

38 Two knives.

39 Twenty one large barbed arrows.

40 Joan Holland, duchess of Brittany (1366-84), second wife of John IV.

41 Four hundred garnets set in gold, and one hundred gilt in silver.

42 Four and a half pounds of silk in various colours.

43 Two gilt plates weighing eight ounces.

44 Gilt plate weighing twelve ounces.

45 Sic for orfreum ?

46 Sonde was certainly in Brittany on 21 May 1367 (BNF, Nouv. acq. fr. 5216/7) and also in October and November 1367 when he was put on a commission and sent an order from Nantes (Recueil, nos. 107 and 111 ; AD Loire-Atlantique, E232).

47 Petronilla, wife of Sir Thomas Bradewell. He was to accompany Edward III to France in 1355 when he received horses, among other things (London, BL, Add. MS 24,512, f. 22r). In 1361-62 various payments were made by the king to John IV by Bradewell’s hands (PRO, E 403/407 m. 26 ; 408 m. 10 ; 410 m. 7) and in 1366 further payments were made by him on behalf of the king to the duchess (ibid., 422 m. 14 ; 425 m. 9 and 427 m. 11). On 15 October 1371 Pope Gregory XI granted Sir Thomas and Petronilla the right to a portable altar (Lettres communes de Grégoire XI, no. 10846). In 1373 Bradewell received a protection to accompany John IV to France (PRO, C 76/56 m. 11) ; in 1374 he was one of the pledges with the duke for payment of the ransom of Sir John Bourchier (BL, Add. Ch. 7909 ; Recueil, ed. Jones, no. 231) and as late as 1390 he had a licence to go on pilgrimage to Rome (PRO, C 81/513 no. 6069).

48 Ormerod, iii, 421 et seq. for an account of the barony of Wich Malbank, diocese of Lichfield (absent from I. J. Sanders, English Baronies. A Study of their origin and descent 1086-1327, Oxford, 1960). As Dr Morgan reminded me, Nantwich (Welsh for ‘white wich’), takes its name from the famous salt deposits of this area of Cheshire.

49 Given a plethora of John Clerks appearing in late fourteenth-century records relating to John IV, identification is problematic.

50 For the problems of identifying this location, see notes 12 and 14 above.

51 In 1337-8 a Walter de Bromley held land in Wich Malbank (Ormerod, iii, 330).

52 William Cautrey, Rector of St Andrew’s, Holborn, in the city of London, presented John Beddo, priest, on 4 January 1367 (Reg. Sudbiria, i. 253). He had obtained St Andrew’s by exchange for his former living of Horton, diocese of Rochester, on 8 October 1362 (ibid., i, 19), taking acolyte’s orders on 25 February 1363, with permission to study for two years anywhere in England, becoming a deacon on 16 February 1364 and priest on 23 March 1364 (ibid., ii, Appendix II, 14 and 24).

53 Probably a member of the closely allied families of Bressy of Wistanston and Wistanston, Nantwich Hundred ; perhaps the same as Beatrice, widow of Hamo de Wistanston, who sued Roger, son of Richard de Braddewall in 1391-92 (Ormerod, iii, 331).

54 Cf. n. 23 above.

55 Aveley, Chafford Hundred, Essex.

56 Presumably the widow of someone whose name was Colchester..

57 Six quarters of wheat and six of barley.

58 He acquired half an acre of land in perpetuity in East Tilbury (Feet of Fines for Essex, iii, 162).

59 sue interlined.

60 I. e. Aveley, Essex.

61 A William de Humberstane was admitted to acolyte’s orders with the living of East Bradenham, diocese of Norwich, on 18 December 1361 ; he became a subdeacon on 12 March 1362 (Reg. Sudbiria, ii. Appendix II, 2 and 3). He is probably the same man as William de Humberstane the younger, rector of East Bradenham, Norfolk, in 1366, who was priested on 19 September 1366 (ibid., 39, 41 and 44). In October he informed the bishop of London that he had acquired the living of Walton-on-Trent, diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, worth 14 marks (£9 3s 4d) in tax, along with the prebend of the magne misse majoris altario in monasterio monialium de Malling (Malling, Kent, diocese of Rochester), which was not taxed but was worth around 10 marks (£6 3s 4d), and was expecting to receive a prebend in the cathedral of Lichfield but had yet to receive papal letters (ibid., Appendix V, 155). Was this the same William who was rector of Harlow, Middlesex archdeaconry, in 1381 (London Record Society, 13 (1977), no. 325) ?

62 Emden, ii, passim, provides details on the careers of various Oxford graduates with the equivalent of the modern surname Ludlow but none appear to fit this man’s profile.

63 20 July 1368.

64 Although the tag survives, the seal does not.

65 23 October 1368.

66 There is also a partly illegible (sixteenth-century ?) endorsement : A testament … in London.

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