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General John Talbot, 17th Great Grandfather

May 13, 2014 , , , , ,

My 17th great-grandfather was the first Earl of Shrewsbury.  There is still an Earl of Shrewsbury in England today. He was a military man who died fighting for king and country.

The death of John Talbot at the Battle of Castillon.
John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury (1384/1390 – 17 July 1453) was an important English military commander during the Hundred Years’ War, as well as the only Lancastrian Constable of France.
He was second son of Richard, 4th Baron Talbot, by Ankaret, heiress of the last Lord Strange of Blackmere.
Talbot was married on 12 March 1406 to Maud Nevill, daughter and heiress of Thomas Nevill, 5th Baron Furnivall, the son of John Neville, 3rd Baron Neville de Raby. He was summoned to Parliament in her right from 1409.
The couple had four children:
Lady Joan Talbot
John Talbot, 2nd Earl of Shrewsbury (c. 1413 – 11 July 1460)
Sir Christopher Talbot (d. 10 July 1460)
Hon. Thomas Talbot (died before his father in Bordeaux)
In 1421 by the death of his niece he acquired the Baronies of Talbot and Strange.
2nd Marriage
He married, secondly, Lady Margaret Beauchamp, daughter of Richard de Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick and Elizabeth de Berkeley, on 6 September 1425 and had four children:
Sir Lewis Talbot
John Talbot, 1st Viscount Lisle (c. 1426 – 17 July 1453)
Sir Humphrey Talbot (before 1453 – c. 1492)
Lady Elizabeth Talbot (before 1453). She married John de Mowbray, 4th Duke of Norfolk.
Lady Eleanor Talbot (d. 1468) married to Thomas Butler and King Edward IV of England.
Early career
From 1404 to 1413 he served with his elder brother Gilbert in the Welsh war or the rebellion of Owain Glyndŵr. Then for five years from February 1414 he was lieutenant of Ireland, where he held the honour of Wexford. He did some fighting, and had a sharp quarrel with the Earl of Ormonde. Complaints were made against him both for harsh government in Ireland and for violence in Herefordshire. From 1420 to 1424 he served in France. In 1425, he was lieutenant again for a short time in Ireland.
Service in France
So far his career was that of a turbulent Marcher Lord, employed in posts where a rough hand was useful. In 1427 he went again to France, where he fought with distinction in Maine and at the Siege of Orléans. He fought at the Battle of Patay where he was captured and held prisoner for four years.
He was released in exchange for the French leader Jean Poton de Xaintrailles. Talbot was a daring and aggressive soldier, perhaps the most audacious Captain of the Age. He and his forces acted as a kind of fire brigade ever ready to retake a town and to meet a French advance. His trademark was rapid aggressive attacks. In January 1436 he led a small force including Kyriell and routed La Hire and Xaintrailles at Ry near Rouen. The following year at Crotoy, after a daring passage of the Somme, he put a numerous Burgundian force to flight. In December 1439, following a surprise flank attack on their camp, he dispersed the 6000 strong army of the Constable Richemont, and the following year he retook Harfleur. In 1441 he pursued the French army 4 times over the Seine and Oise rivers in an unavailing attempt to bring it to battle.
The English Achilles
He was appointed in 1445 by Henry VI of England (as king of France) as Constable of France. Taken hostage at Rouen in 1449 he promised never to wear armour against the French King again, and he was true to his word. He was defeated and killed in 1453 at the Battle of Castillon near Bordeaux, which effectively ended English rule in the duchy of Gascony, a principal cause of the Hundred Years’ War. His heart was buried in the doorway of St Alkmund’s Church, Whitchurch, Shropshire.[1]
The victorious French generals raised a monument to Talbot on the field called Notre Dame de Talbot. And the French Chroniclers paid him handsome tribute:
“Such was the end of this famous and renowned English leader who for so long had been one of the most formidable thorns in the side of the French, who regarded him with terror and dismay” – Matthew d’Escourcy
Although Talbot is generally remembered as a great soldier, some have raised doubts as to his generalship. In particular, charges of rashness have been raised against him. Speed and aggression are key elements in granting success in medieval war, and Talbot’s numerical inferiority necessitated surprise. Furthermore, he was often in the position of trying to force battle on unwilling opponents. At his defeat at Patay in 1429 he was advised not to fight there by Sir John Fastolf, who was subsequently blamed for the debacle, but the French, inspired by Joan of Arc, showed unprecedented fighting spirit – usually they approached an English position with great circumspection. The charge of rashness is perhaps more justifiable at Castillon where Talbot, misled by false reports of a French retreat, attacked their entrenched camp frontally – facing wheel to wheel artillery and a 6 to 1 inferiority in numbers.
He is portrayed heroically in William Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part I: “Valiant Lord Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, Created, for his rare success in arms”
Political officesPreceded by
New CreationLord High Steward of Ireland
1446–1453Succeeded by
The Earl of ShrewsburyPeerage of EnglandPreceded by
New CreationEarl of Shrewsbury
1442–1453Succeeded by
John TalbotPreceded by
Ankaret TalbotBaron Talbot
1421–1453Succeeded by
John TalbotBaron Strange of Blackmere
1421–1453Peerage of IrelandPreceded by
New CreationEarl of Waterford
1446–1453Succeeded by
John TalbotCultural influence
John Talbot is shown as a featured character in Koei’s video game known as ‘Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War’, appearing as the left-arm of Edward, the Black Prince, in which he assists the former and the respective flag of England throughout his many portrayals.
Talbot appears as one of the primary antagonists in the PSP game Jeanne d’Arc.

Battle of Castillon
Date17 July 1453LocationCastillon-la-Ba taille, GasconyResult Decisive French victory
Belligerents Kingdom of England vs Kingdon of France and Duchy of Brittany
Commanders – John Talbot, Earl of Shrewbury vs Jean Bureau
Strength – 6,000-7,000 7,000-10,000
Casualties and losses – 4,000, mainly wounded or captured – 100 dead or wounded
The Battle of Castillon of 1453 was the last battle fought between the French and the English during the Hundred Years’ War. This was the first battle in European history where cannons were a major factor in deciding the battle.[
After the French capture of Bordeaux in 1451, the Hundred Years’ War appeared to be at an end. However, after three hundred years of English rule the citizens of Bordeaux considered themselves English and sent messengers to Henry VI of England demanding he recapture the province.
On 17 October 1452, the Earl of Shrewsbury landed near Bordeaux with a force of 3,000 men-at-arms and archers. The French garrison was ejected by the citizens of Bordeaux, who then gleefully opened the gates to the English. Most of Gascony followed Bordeaux’s example and welcomed the English home.
During the winter month Charles VII of France gathered his armies in readiness for the campaigning season. When spring arrived Charles advanced toward Bordeaux simultaneously along three different routes with three armies.
Talbot, the Earl of Shrewsbury, received another 3,000 men to face this new problem, but it was still an inadequate number to hold back the thousands of Frenchmen on Gascony’s borders. When the leading French army laid siege to Castillon, Talbot abandoned his original plans (acceding to the pleas of the town commanders) and set out to relieve it. The French commander, Jean Bureau, in fear of Talbot, ordered his 7,000 to 10,000 men to encircle their camp with a ditch and palisade, and deployed his 300 cannon on the parapet. This was an extraordinarily defensive setup by the French, who enjoyed great numerical superiority. They had made no attempt to invest Castillon.
Talbot approached the French camp on 17 July 1453, arriving before his main body of troops with an advance guard of 1,300 mounted men. He routed a similar sized force of French francs-archers (militia) in the woods before the French encampment, giving his men a large boost of morale.
Main battle
A few hours after this preliminary skirmish, a messenger from the town reported to Shrewsbury’s resting troops (they had marched through the night) that the French army was in full retreat and that hundreds of horsemen were fleeing the fortifications. From the town walls a huge dust cloud could be seen heading off into the distance. Unfortunately for him, they were only camp followers ordered to leave the camp before the upcoming battle.
Shrewsbury hastily reorganised his men and charged down towards the French camp, only to find the parapets defended by thousands of archers and crossbowmen and hundreds of cannons. Surprised but undaunted, Shrewsbury gave the signal to attack the French army. Shrewsbury didn’t take part in the battle directly. He had been previously captured and paroled, thus was not allowed to take arms against the French.
English troops charged the camp, across a ditch, only to be met with a hail of arrows and quarrels, and a fierce gun, cannon and small arms fire. The concentrated fire could be explained by the fact that the ditch followed, probably by accident, the former bed of a small stream, giving a bastionned look to defences.
Once battle started, Shrewsbury received a thin trickle of men from his leading footmen. After an hour the cavalry of the Breton army sent by the Duke of Brittany arrived and charged his right flank. The English gave way, pursued instantly by the French main body of troops.
During the rout Shrewsbury’s horse was killed by a cannon ball and he fell trapped beneath it, until a Frenchman, a Francs Archer, recognised him and killed him with a hand-axe. His death, and the subsequent recapture of Bordeaux three months later, effectively brought the Hundred Years’ War to a close.
Following Henry VI’s episode of insanity in 1453, the subsequent outbreak of the Wars of the Roses and the evident loss of military ascendancy to the French, the English were no longer in any position to pursue their claim to the French throne and lost all their land on the continent (except for the city of Calais, the last English possession in France, finally lost in 1558).

General John Talbot * (1384 – 1453)
is my 17th great grandfather
John Talbot (1413 – 1460)
son of General John Talbot *
Isabel Talbot (1444 – 1531)
daughter of John Talbot
Sir Richard Ashton (1460 – 1549)
son of Isabel Talbot
Sir Christopher Ashton (1493 – 1519)
son of Sir Richard Ashton
Lady Elizabeth Ashton (1524 – 1588)
daughter of Sir Christopher Ashton
Capt Roger Dudley (1535 – 1585)
son of Lady Elizabeth Ashton
Gov Thomas Dudley (1576 – 1653)
son of Capt Roger Dudley
Anne Dudley (1612 – 1672)
daughter of Gov Thomas Dudley
John Bradstreet (1652 – 1718)
son of Anne Dudley
Mercy Bradstreet (1689 – 1725)
daughter of John Bradstreet
Caleb Hazen (1720 – 1777)
son of Mercy Bradstreet
Mercy Hazen (1747 – 1819)
daughter of Caleb Hazen
Martha Mead (1784 – 1860)
daughter of Mercy Hazen
Abner Morse (1808 – 1838)
son of Martha Mead
Daniel Rowland Morse (1838 – 1910)
son of Abner Morse
Jason A Morse (1862 – 1932)
son of Daniel Rowland Morse
Ernest Abner Morse (1890 – 1965)
son of Jason A Morse
Richard Arden Morse (1920 – 2004)
son of Ernest Abner Morse
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Richard Arden Morse

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