John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury

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John Talbot

Birthplace: Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England
Death: Died in Castillon, Dordogne, Aquitaine, France
Place of Burial: St.Alkmund's Church, Whitchurch, Salop, Shropshire, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Richard Talbot, 4th Baron Talbot and Ankaret Talbot, Baroness of Talbot
Husband of Maude Talbot; Lady Maude De Talbot (De Neville) and Margaret Talbot (de Beauchamp), Countess Talbot
Father of John Talbot; Thomas de Talbot; John Talbot, 2nd Earl Shrewsbury; Ann Bottreaux; Parkin Talbot and 8 others
Brother of Mary Green; Sir Gilbert Talbot, of Irchingfield; Richard Talbot; Elizabeth Talbot; Alice Talbot and 4 others
Half brother of Maude DeNeville and Joan Talbot

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About John Talbot

John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury and 1st Earl of Waterford KG (1384/1387 Blakemere, Shropshire – 17 July 1453 Castillon, France), known as "Old Talbot" was an important English military commander during the Hundred Years' War, as well as the only Lancastrian Constable of France.


He was descended from Richard Talbot, a tenant in 1086 of Walter Giffard at Woburn and Battledsen in Bedfordshire. The Talbot family were vassals of the Giffards in Normandy.[1] Hugh Talbot, probably his son, made a grant to Beaubec Abbey, confirmed by his son Richard Talbot in 1153. This Richard (d. 1175) is listed in 1166 as holding three fees of the Honour of Giffard in Buckinghamshire. He also held a fee at Linton in Herefordshire, for which his son Gilbert Talbot (d. 1231) obtained a fresh charter in 1190.[2] Gilbert's grandson Gilbert (d. 1274) married Gwenlynn Mechyll. Their son Sir Richard Talbot held the manor of Eccleswall in Herefordshire in right of his wife Sarah, sister of William de Beauchamp, 9th Earl of Warwick. In 1331 Richard's son Gilbert Talbot (1276–1346) was summoned to Parliament, which is considered evidence of his baronial status - see Baron Talbot.[3] Gilbert's son Richard married Elizabeth Comyn, bringing with her the inheritance of Goodrich Castle in Herefordshire.

John Talbot was second son of Richard Talbot, 4th Baron Talbot, by Ankaret le Strange, 7th Baroness Strange of Blackmere. His younger brother Richard became Archbishop of Dublin and Lord Chancellor of Ireland and one of the most influential Irish statesmen of his time.

His father died in 1396 when Talbot was just nine years old, and so it was Ankaret's second husband, Thomas Neville, Lord Furnival, who became the major influence in his early life. The marriage also gave the opportunity of a title for her second son as Neville had no sons with the title going through his eldest daughter Maud.[4] Who (Maude was his step-sister) would become John's 1st wife.

First marriage

Talbot was married before 12 March 1407 to Maud Neville, 6th Baroness Furnivall, daughter and heiress of Thomas Neville, 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 are thought to have four children:

  • Thomas Talbot (19 June 1416 Finglas, Ireland - 10 August 1416)
  • John Talbot, 2nd Earl of Shrewsbury (c. 1417 – 11 July 1460)
  • Sir Christopher Talbot (1419–10 August 1443),
  • Lady Joan Talbot (c 1422), married James Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley.

In 1421 by the death of his niece he acquired the Baronies of Talbot and Strange. His first wife, Maud died on 31 May 1422. It has been suggested as an indirect result of giving birth to daughter Joan, although due to a lack of evidence of her life before her marriage to Lord Berkeley has even led to a theory that she was actually Talbot's daughter-in-law through marriage to Sir Christopher Talbot.

Second marriage

On 6 September 1425, he married Lady Margaret Beauchamp, eldest daughter of Richard de Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick and Elizabeth de Berkeley in the chapel at Warwick Castle. They had five children:

  • John Talbot, 1st Viscount Lisle (1426 – 17 July 1453)
  • Sir Louis Talbot (c 1429-1458)
  • Sir Humphrey Talbot (before 1434 – c. 1492)
  • Lady Eleanor Talbot (c February/March 1436 - 30 June 1468) married to Sir Thomas Butler and mistress to King Edward IV.
  • Lady Elizabeth Talbot (c December 1442/January 1443). She married John de Mowbray, 4th Duke of Norfolk.

Talbot is known to have had at least one illegitimate child, Henry. He may have served in France with his father as it is known that a bastard son of the Earl of Shrewsbury was captured by the Dauphin on August 14, 1443.[5]

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 Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, where he did some fighting. He had a dispute with the Earl of Ormonde and Lord Grey of Ruthin over the inheritance for the honour of Wexford which he held.[6] Complaints were made against him both for harsh government in Ireland and for violence in Herefordshire. The dispute with the Earl of Ormonde escalated into a long -running feud between Shrewsbury and his brother the Archbishop of Dublin on the one hand and the Butler family on the other and their allies the Berkeleys. The feud reached its height in the 1440s when both sides were reprimanded by the Privy Council for weakening English rule in Ireland. Friendly relations were finally achieved by the marriage of Shrewsbury's son and heir to Ormonde's daughter.[7]

From 1420 to 1424 he served in France, apart from a brief return at the end of the first year to organise the festivities of celebrating the coronation of Catherine of France, the bride of Henry V.[8]

He returned to France in May 1421 and took part in the Battle of Verneuil on 17 August 1424 earning him the Order of the Garter.

In 1425, he was lieutenant again for a short time in Ireland; he served again in 1446-7.

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 alongside the Duke of Bedford and the Earl of Warwick with distinction in Maine and at the Siege of Orléans. He fought at the Battle of Patay on 18 June 1429 where he was captured and held prisoner for four years.

He was released in exchange for the French leader Jean Poton de Xaintrailles and returned to England in May 1433. He stayed until July when he returned to France under the Earl of Somerset.[9]

Talbot was a daring and aggressive soldier, perhaps the most audacious captain of the age. He and his forces were ever ready to retake a town and to meet a French advance. His trademark was rapid aggressive attacks. He was rewarded by being appointed governor and lieutenant general in France and Normandy and, in 1434, the Duke of Bedford made him Count of Clermont.

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 four times over the Seine and Oise rivers in an unavailing attempt to bring it to battle.

Lord Shrewsbury

Around February 1442, Talbot returned to England to request urgent reinforcements for the Duke of York in Normandy. In March, under king's orders, ships were requisitioned for this purpose with Talbot himself responsible for assembling ships from the Port of London and from Sandwich.[10]

On Whit Sunday, May 20, Henry VI awarded him the title of Comes Salopie, translated as Earl of Shropshire but despite this he popularly became Earl of Shrewsbury. Just five days later, with the requested re-inforcements, Talbot returned to France where in June they mustered at Harfleur. During that time, he met his six-old year daughter Eleanor for the first time and almost certainly left the newly created Countess Margaret pregnant with another child.[11]

In June 1443, Talbot again returned to England on behalf of the Duke of York to plead for reinforcements, but this time the English Council refused, instead sending a separate force under Shrewsbury's brother-in-law, Edmund Beaufort. His son, Sir Christoper stayed in England where shortly afterwards he was murdered with a lance at the age of 23 by one of his own men, Griffin Vachan of Treflidian on August 10 at Cawce, County Salop.[12]

The English Achilles

He was appointed in 1445 by Henry VI (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. However, though he did not personally fight, he continued to command English forces against the French. He was defeated and killed in 1453 at the Battle of Castillon near Bordeaux, which effectively ended English rule in the duchy of Aquitaine, a principal cause of the Hundred Years War. His heart was buried in the doorway of St Alkmund's Church, Whitchurch, Shropshire.[13]

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 were 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.

Cultural influence

He is portrayed heroically in Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 1: "Valiant Lord Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, Created, for his rare success in arms". Talbot's failures are all blamed on Fastolf and feuding factions in the English court. Thomas Nashe, commenting on the play in his booklet Pierce Penniless, stated that Talbot's example was inspiring Englishman anew, two centuries after his death,

How would it have joyed brave Talbot, the terror of the French, to think that after he had lain two hundred years in his tomb, he should triumph again on the stage, and have his bones new embalmed with the tears of ten thousand spectators at least (at several times) who in the tragedian that represents his person imagine they behold him fresh bleeding. I will defend it against any collian or clubfisted usurer of them all, there is no immortality can be given a man on earth like unto plays.

John Talbot is shown as a featured character in Koei's video game 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.


  • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  • 1.^ Domesday Book: a complete translation (2002), p. 568; K.S.B. Keats-Rohan, Domesday People, vol. 1: Domesday Book (1999), p. 368.
  • 2.^ K.S.B. Keats-Rohan, Domesday People, vol. 2: Domesday Descendants (2002), p. 1123.
  • 3.^ G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959), volume XII/1, p. 610.
  • 4.^ John Ashdown-Hill, "Eleanor The Secret Queen", Page 14 The History Press, 2009 ISBN 978 0 7524 5669 0
  • 5.^ John Ashdown-Hill, Eleanor The Secret Queen, Page 35 The History Press, 2009 ISBN 978 0 7524 5669 0
  • 6.^ John Ashdown-Hill, Eleanor The Secret Queen, Page 16 The History Press, 2009 ISBN 978 0 7524 5669 0
  • 7.^ Otway-Ruthven, A.J. History of Mediaeval Ireland Barnes and Noble 1993
  • 8.^ John Ashdown-Hill, "Eleanor The Secret Queen", Page 15 The History Press, 2009 ISBN 978 0 7524 5669 0
  • 9.^ John Ashdown-Hill, Eleanor The Secret Queen, Page 17 The History Press, 2009 ISBN 978 0 7524 5669 0
  • 10.^ John Ashdown-Hill, Eleanor The Secret Queen, Page 26 The History Press, 2009 ISBN 978 0 7524 5669 0
  • 11.^ John Ashdown-Hill, Eleanor The Secret Queen, Page 29 The History Press, 2009 ISBN 978 0 7524 5669 0
  • 12.^ Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1441-1446, pp 397-398; p220
  • 13.^ "Whitchurch". Shropshire Tourism. Retrieved 2008-03-13.
  • From:,_1st_Earl_of_Shrewsbury
  • --------------------
  • 'Sir John Talbot, 4th Earl Shrewsbury, Wexford, Waterford, 7th Lord Talbot, Count of Clermont1,2,3,4,5,6,7
  • 'M, b. circa 1392, d. 17 July 1453
  • Father Sir Richard Talbot, 4th Lord Talbot, Baron de Blackmere8,9 b. c 1361, d. 8 Sep 1396
  • Mother Ankaret le Strange8,9 b. c 1361, d. 1 Jun 1413
  • ' Sir John Talbot, 4th Earl Shrewsbury, Wexford, Waterford, 7th Lord Talbot, Count of Clermont was born circa 1392 at of Eccleswall in Linton and Wormelow, Herefordshire, England; Age 30 in 1422.2,5 He married Maud Neville, daughter of Sir Thomas Neville, Lord Furnival, Treasurer of England and Joan Furnivall, before 8 March 1407; They had 3 sons (Sir John, 2nd Earl of Shrewsbury, Lord Furnival; Thomas; & Sir Christopher).10,2,11,5,6 Sir John Talbot, 4th Earl Shrewsbury, Wexford, Waterford, 7th Lord Talbot, Count of Clermont married Margaret Beauchamp, daughter of Sir Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl Warwick, Earl of Albemarle & Worcester, Lord Abergavenny, Sheriff of Worcestershire and Elizabeth Berkeley, on 6 September 1425 at Warwick Castle, Warwickshire, England; They had 3 sons (Sir John, 1st Viscount Lisle; Sir Humphrey; & Sir Lewis) and 3 daughters (Elizabeth, wife of Sir Edward Grey, 3rd Viscount Lisle; Eleanor, wife of Sir Thomas Boteler; & Joan, wife of Sir James, 6th Lord Berkeley, & Edmund Hungerford, Esq.).12,2,3,4,5 Sir John Talbot, 4th Earl Shrewsbury, Wexford, Waterford, 7th Lord Talbot, Count of Clermont died on 17 July 1453 at Battle of Castillon on the Dordogne, France; Buried at St. Alkmund's, Whitchurch, Shropshire. By a mistress or mistresses, he also had an illegitimate son (Henry) & an illegitimate daughter (Katherine, wife of Nicholas Eyton).2,5
  • 'Family 1 Maud Neville b. c 1392, d. 13 Dec 1423
  • Children
    • ◦Sir Christopher Talbot2 d. 10 Jul 1460
    • ◦Katherine Talbot+13 b. c 1413
    • ◦Sir John Talbot, 5th Earl of Shrewsbury, Lord Furnival, Lord High Treasurer & Chief Butler of England, Chancellor of Ireland, Chief Justice of Chester+14,5 b. 12 Dec 1413, d. 10 Jul 1460
  • 'Family 2 Margaret Beauchamp b. 1404, d. 14 Jun 1467
  • Children
    • ◦Elizabeth Talbot+2,4,5,7
    • ◦Sir Humphrey Talbot d. 1492
    • ◦Sir Lewis Talbot2
    • ◦Joan Talbot15,2,16,5 d. a 26 May 1474
    • ◦Sir John Talbot, Lord, Baron & 1st Viscount Lisle+2,5 b. c 1426, d. 17 Jul 1453
    • ◦Eleanor Talbot17,2,18,5 b. c 1428, d. 30 Jun 1468
  • Citations
  • 1.[S2874] Unknown author, Lineage and Ancestry of HRH Prince Charles by Paget, Vol. II, p. 405.
  • 2.[S5] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 704.
  • 3.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. I, p. 149.
  • 4.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. III, p. 215.
  • 5.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. IV, p. 169-170.
  • 6.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. IV, p. 259.
  • 7.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. IV, p. 415-416.
  • 8.[S5] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 702-704.
  • 9.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. IV, p. 166-167.
  • 10.[S11568] The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, by George Edward Cokayne, Vol. XI, p. 702.
  • 11.[S5] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 737.
  • 12.[S11568] The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, by George Edward Cokayne, Vol. VIII, p. 55.
  • 13.[S61] Unknown author, Family Group Sheets, SLC Archives.
  • 14.[S5] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 704-705.
  • 15.[S5] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 100.
  • 16.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. I, p. 181.
  • 17.[S11568] The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, by George Edward Cokayne, Vol. XII/1, p. 421.
  • 18.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. IV, p. 140.
  • __________________

This surname TALBOT was the name of an English family, descended from Richard de Talbot, named in the Domesday Book, and from Gilbert (died 1346) the first baron. The Earl of Shrewsbury and Talbot is the premier earl on the Rolls of England and Ireland, and hereditary lord steward of Ireland. The Lords Talbot de Malahide represent a family in Ireland which settled there in 1167. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. They were not in use in England or in Scotland before the Norman Conquest, and were first found in the Domesday Book. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) it became general practice amongst all people. It was a baptismal name 'the son of Talbut or Talbott'. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. Early records of the name mention Richard Talebot, listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Ricardus Talebot was documented during the reign of Henry II (1154-1180). Talebot de Hadfield, ibid. Willelmus Talbot of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. John Hedlea married Susanna Talbott at Westminster, London in the year of 1580. The name also applied to one with a Normandy accent, a bandit, one who blacked their faces (a lampblack) to avoid recognition. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884

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John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury's Timeline

Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England
Age 21
Age 21
Age 26
Age 26
Age 28
December 12, 1413
Age 29
Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England
Age 29
Age 34
Bury, UK
Age 34
Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England