Joan of Arc, a Banquet, and Richard Beauchamp

The Household Book of Richard Beauchamp, 1431-1432.
Warwickshire County Record Office reference CR1618/W19/5

The Hundred Years War is a term applied to the intermittent hostilities between England and France during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. One such phase featured Joan of Arc and her brave attempt to destroy the domination of northern France by the English monarchy and their ally, the Duke of Burgundy. Allegedly inspired by the voice of God, she won victories at Orleans, Beaugency and Patay and triumphantly conducted the Dauphin to his coronation at Rheims in 1429. In response, the greatly weakened English hurried to bring forward the coronation of Henry VI. By the following year of 1430, he was resident in Rouen, the centre of English administration. Just weeks before his arrival there, Joan was captured by the Burgundians and imprisoned by the English in Rouen. Also resident in the city was Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. It was he who had brought Henry VI to Rouen and he also had personal associations with Joan during her incarceration in the castle there.

These relationships, born out of the dramatic events already outlined, all have a bearing on the journal of the household accounts kept by Richard Beauchamp during his stay in Rouen.

The Household Book of Richard Beauchamp, 1431-1432

Written in Latin, this volume records the daily expenses of the Earl’s household during his stay with Henry VI, together with the names of the people who attended for meals. Of particular interest is the entry dated Sunday 13 May 1431 and displayed here. Those who came to dinner numbered 59 and an even greater number of 110 came to supper. Many were royal officials and members of the English King’s Council. The Bishop of Beauvais who presided over the ecclesiastical court trying Joan was in attendance as was the chancellor of France, John of Luxembourg, who commanded the Burgundian forces. Many of this assembly were actively involved in Joan’s trial, and undoubtedly the English would have been keen to see a verdict of heresy and sorcery brought against her.

Possibly it was on this very day that Joan received a visit from Richard Beauchamp and others. He had been personally concerned with her as she was very weak from months of imprisonment. The earl had sent his own doctor to bleed her, but whether this was due to compassion is questionable; it was politically expedient to keep her alive for trial and execution. Just over a fortnight later, she was burnt as a heretic and witch. Notwithstanding such conjecture, those fortunate to attend for meals that Sunday were fed well.

Free translation of an entry in the Household Book of Richard Beauchamp, (1431-1432) dated 13 May 1431.

[The following people] came [to dinner and supper and left] Madame Talbot with 1 lady-in-waiting, 1 esquire. Haukenet, with 1 page; Master John Upton; Burgoynon; Master Jakes; Gombaude the Auditor; the Bailiff of Gamagais; John Denby.

Item [The following people] came [to supper and left] the Chancellor of France; the Bishop of Beauvais; the Bishop of Noyon; the Earl of Stafford;

Sir John Luxembourg; Sir William Porter; Lord Wells; the Abbot of Alavale; Sir William Peyto; Sir Rafe Butteler; 2 knights of Burgundy; Hampton; Richard Curson; Solas; Barowe; Gyles Thorneton and other various esquires and valets totalling 110 persons and left.

Various other persons [came] for drinks [and left].

Sunday, 13 day of the month of May

Pantry

Expended : 94 loaves from previous account. Provided :

  • three quarters of wheat which they made 720 loaves whereof was expended
  • 173 loaves.
  • Item Nayleston bought 3 cheeses, 9s.
  • Item 100 apples bought by the same, 5s.
  • Item expended on strawberries bought by the same, 5s.
  • Item expended on herbs by the same, 2s. 3d.

Butlery

  • Expended: 40 gallons red wine from previous account.
  • Item expended: 60 gallons of beer from previous account

Kitchen

  • Expended: one half of a sheep.
  • Item 1 whole ox bought from Master William Rothewell, price
  • £8. 5s whereof expended: 1 quarter, 2 ronds.
  • Item 5 sheep bought from Gylmyn the butcher, £6. 5s, whereof expended 4
  • Item 2 deer carcases bought from the same for 60s whereof
  • expended 1 and three-quarters.
  • Item expended on 12 marrowbones bought from the same 20s.
  • Item expended: 1 piece of bacon bought from the same 15s.
  • Item expended on white fat bought from the same 7s. 6d.

Poultry

  • Expended: 2 geese bought by Asshern, 15s.
  • Item expended : 3 piglets bought by the same,15s. 9d.
  • Item expended 1 lamb bought, 9s.
  • Item expended: 3 kids bought by the same,45s.
  • Item expended: 8 capons bought by Asshern, £4.00.
  • Item expended: 2 capons bought from hannam 27s. 6d.
  • Item expended:10 herons bought by the same, £8.00. whereof expended 8. Item expended: 6 pheasants bought by Asshern, £4.00.
  • Item expended:12 hens bought from hannam, 15s.
  • Item expended: 32 pullet bought bsy Asshern, 40s.
  • Item expended: 3 dozen chickens bought by the same, 42s.
  • Item expended: 5 dozen pigeons bought by the same, 60s.
  • Item expended: 30 [young] rabbits bought by the same, 40s.
  • Item expended: 24 quail bought by the same, 40s.
  • Item 600 eggs bought by the same, 30s whereof expended 450 eggs.
  • Item expended on cream bought by the same, 9s.
  • Item expended:6 gallons of milk bought by the same, 4s 6d.
  • Item expended on cheese bought by the same, 5s.
  • Item expended on I bushel of onions bought by the same, 4s.6d.
  • Item expended for herbs bought by Robert for provisions 9d

Wardrobe

  • Expended: 4lbs candles and 4lbs of wax from previous account.

Stables

  • Expended: hay and litter from previous account for 63 horses and expended on their provender 3 quarters of oats from previous account.
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