Richard Waller (1395 - 1462) MP

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Sir Richard Waller, Sheriff of Kent's Geni Profile

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Birthplace: Groombridge, Kent, England
Death: Died in Speldhurst, Kent, England
Managed by: Christopher
Last Updated:

About Richard Waller

Hero of Agincourt. Knighted in the field by King Henry V

for capturing Prince Charles, the Duke of Orleans who was commanding the French forces.


Decendents of Sir Richard:

Sheriff of Surrey & Sussex?

Knighted in the field at Agincourt for capturing Prince Charles, Duke of Orleans.


Sir Richard Waller, a soldier from the Hundred Years’ War who, according to family legend, was knighted for capturing the Duke of Orleans at Agincourt in 1415. Certainly he was a jailer of at various times of the popular Duke and his less well-known cousin John of Angoulême. Ransom money helped to maintain his residence, styled Groombridge, the home of this family for about 200 years.



Sir Richard Waller was knighted in the field by King Henry V for capturing Prince Charles. Charles was the Duke of Orleans commanding the French forces at Agincourt, and father of the future King of France. The third great English victory over the French in the Hundred Years' War was won on Oct. 25, 1415, near the village of Agincourt in northern France. The young King Henry V had recently succeeded to the insecure Lancastrian throne of England. On the advice of his father, Henry IV, he resolved, in the words of Shakespeare, "to busy giddy minds with foreign quarrels" by reviving England's claim to the French throne. Henry's forces landed in Normandy and captured the port of Harfleur. En route to the port of Calais (then held by England), their way was blocked by a great French army

The French knights, four times as numerous as the English foot soldiers, foolishly dismounted. They advanced in their heavy armor through the deep mud of newly plowed fields. Each of the three times they came on, in a narrow defile between two woods, they were forced back by clouds of arrows released by skilled English archers. More than 5,000 Frenchmen were killed, including many princes and nobles. The English lost only 113 men. This decisive battle, along with Crecy and Poitiers, proved the superiority of the longbow over the crossbow. It hastened the end of the heavily armored knight, the military basis of feudalism. Richard Waller (1395-1462), went into military service at an early age. It was during the Hundred Years War in which Norman England tried to place France under English rule. In any pitched battle Englishmen equipped with the new "long Bow", combined with mounted knights in armor, could generally win. But wars of conquest cannot be won on the battlefield alone, and England could not put enough fighting men into the whole of France to occupy and conquer the land, even in a century of trying. On October 25, 1415, there occurred a battle in the Hundred Years War ending with a victory for the English army rated among historians as one of the most stunning ever won by British arms--the Battle of Agincourt. Richard Waller aged 20, fought in this battle with great courage and audacity. In the course of the battle, he captured one of the French generals, Prince Charles, Duke of Orleans. At the close of the battle, King Henry V, commander of the English forces, found Richard Waller with his captive resting under a walnut tree with Prince Charles' blue shield bearing three gold fleurs-de-lis (the arms of France) hanging from a limb of the walnut tree.

Accordingly, Richard Waller was knighted on the spot and allowed to add a new crest to his own coat-of-arms. This new crest consisted of a walnut tree in its natural colors growing out of a green mound, with a blue shield bearing the arms of France, three gold fleurs-de-lis, and a silver bar resting on three silver points. According to the customs of the times, the Duke of Orleans was entrusted to the care of his captor, Sir Richard Waller, who kept his prisoner or, rather, an individual in "honorable restraint", at Groombridge Castle. Here, the Duke lived 24 years, waiting for the ransom demanded by his captors. In France a struggle was going on over the succession to the throne and there was no hurry to bring another contender back to France. Prince Charles was installed in an apartment with servants and seems to have fitted comfortably into the routine of his enforced hosts the Waller's. He was a devout churchman and made many benefactions to the parish church of Speldhurst and to the Chapel at Groombridge over the porch of which his arms, carved in stone, remain to this day. The oak paneling that adorned the Duke's apartment is said to be preserved in the present house and is beautifully carved with a frieze and the initials "R.W., for Richard Waller. The panel over the fireplace is decorated with the arms of Duke Charles of Orleans. Sir Richard served in

Waller is a very ancient family name, apparently of Saxon origin, the Saxon form having been "Wealhere," which meant "a strange warrior." The family settled in Sweden, Holland and Flanders under its present name of Waller. Apparently, some of these northern Wallers were a part of that invading host of Northmen who invaded France and gave their name to Normandy, for we come upon the name of Alured de Waller, of Newark. County Nottingham, England, who died in 1183, and the form of whose name shows Norman origin. Between this Alured and his next descendant of whom we have authentic information is a gap of more than one hundred and fifty years. In the fourteenth century, probably about 1340, appears Thomas Waller, of Lamber-liurst, County Sussex, England, who purchased the estate of Groonibridge, County Kent, was the father of John, who was the father of Richard, known in history as Sir Richard Waller, and the founder of the distinguished Waller families of the Counties of Kent, Hertford and Buckingham, England. This Thomas, of Sussex, was a lineal descendant of Alured, of Nottingham.

Sir Richard Waller appears upon the pages of history as a prominent figure in the battle of Agincourt. He was then a young man of twenty. It was his good fortune to capture Charles, Duke of Orleans, and as was customary in those days, this made his fortune. He served several years in France during the wars of that period, was Sheriff of Kent in 1437 and 1438, held many honorable public positions, was a very intimate friend of the famous Cardinal Beaufort and one of the executors of his will. He lived to old age, surviving the dreadful slaughterof the Wars of the Roses.

The descendants of Sir Richard went into other English Counties until, in the time of the Civil War in England, there were strong families in Kent, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Devonshire-possibly in other Counties. The period of the Civil War, between Charles I and the Parliament, brought to the front three distinguished members of this family, Sir Hardress Waller and Sir William Waller, who were major-generals in the Parliamentary armies, and Edmund Waller, the famous poet and political leader of that period. All of these were notable men of their day, and Sir William Waller was counted the ablest of the Parliamentary Generals after Cromwell.

A few years preceding the outbreak of this Civil War there had come to Virginia, on the ship "Transport," which sailed from London July 4, 1635. John Waller, whose age was then given as nineteen, and who was a member of the Waller family settled at Newport Pagnall. County Buckingham, which was the same Waller family to which these distinguished Parliamentarians belonged. This John Waller was the progenitor of the Virginia Waller families with which we are now dealing. He is said to have been a wild, reckless youth, about whom his friends were very uneasy; but he married a Miss Mary Key and settled down into a good citizen. On the same ship with John Waller came Peter Waller, aged twenty-four-but of him we have no further knowledge beyond a surmise that he was one of the progenitors of certain Waller families in Southside Virginia. Earlier than these two. Charles Waller had come to Virginia on the ship "Abigail," in 1620, at the age of twenty-two, and was living in James City in 1623.

The Waller family has been identified with Virginia since 1620. Its line of descent is much better known than that of most families and is traceable through a period of more than seven hundred years. John Waller brought with him to Virginia the Coat of Arms containing the augmentation granted to his ancestor by Henry V on the field of Agincourt, as a reward for his gallantry on that field. ref:

Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 59

Waller, Richard

by Albert Frederick Pollard

WALLER, RICHARD (1395?–1462?), soldier and official, born probably about 1395, was son of John Waller of Groombridge, Kent, by his wife, Margaret Landsdale of Landsdale, Sussex. Groombridge had been purchased of William Clinton by Waller's grandfather, Thomas, who came originally from Lamberhurst in Sussex. Richard served in the French wars under Henry V, and was present at Agincourt in 1415, where he is said to have captured Charles, duke of Orleans (Archæol. Journal, i. 386; Sussex Archæol. Coll. xvi. 271). The duke was entrusted to Waller's keeping at Groombridge as a reward for his valour, and Waller found his charge so profitable that he was enabled to rebuild his house there. On 17 Aug. 1424 Waller served under John, duke of Bedford, at the battle of Verneuil (Royal Letters of Henry VI, ii. 394). In 1433–4 he was sheriff of the joint counties of Surrey and Sussex, and in 1437–8 sheriff of Kent (Lists of Sheriffs, 1898, pp. 68, 136). In 1437 Orleans's brother, the Count of Angoulême, was also entrusted to Waller's keeping (Acts of the Privy Council, v. 82; cf. Waurin, iii. 267). Waller was an adherent of Cardinal Beaufort, and before 1439 became master of his household. In that year he accompanied the cardinal to France on his embassy to treat for peace. In his will, dated 20 Jan. 1446, Beaufort appointed Waller one of his executors (Testamenta Vetusta, p. 252; Epistolæ Academicæ, Oxford Hist. Soc., 1899, i. 266; Letters of Margaret of Anjou, Camden Soc., p. 101). In March 1442–3 Waller was serving with Sir John Fastolf [q. v.], who terms Waller his ‘right well-beloved brother’ (Paston Letters, i. 307), as treasurer of Somerset's expedition to Guienne, and on 3 April he presented to the council a schedule of necessary purveyances for the army (Acts P. C. v. 256). He acted as receiver and treasurer of a subsidy in 1450 (Rot. Parl. v. 173), and seems also to have been joint-chamberlain of the exchequer with Sir Thomas Tyrrell. On 12 July of that year he was commissioned to arrest John Mortimer, one of the aliases of Jack Cade (Palgrave, Antient Kalendars, ii. 217, 218, 219, 220; Acts P. C. vi. 96; Devon, Issues, p. 466). On 8 June 1456 he was summoned to attend an assize of oyer and terminer at Maidstone to punish rioters, and he was one of the commissioners appointed on 31 July 1458 to make public inquiry into Warwick's unjustifiable attack on a fleet of Lubeck merchantmen [see Neville, Richard, Earl of Warwick and Salisbury]. He seems, however, to have made his peace with the Yorkists after Edward IV's accession, and on 26 Feb. 1460–1 was made receiver of the king's castles, lands, and manors in Kent, Surrey, Sussex, and Hampshire (Cal. Patent Rolls, Edw. IV, i. 111), while his eldest son Richard (d. 21 Aug. 1474), who had represented Hindon in the parliament of 1453, was on 10 May 1461 made commissioner of array for Kent (ib. i. 566). Waller apparently died soon afterwards.

By his wife Silvia, whose maiden name was Gulby, Waller had issue two sons—Richard and John—and a daughter Alice, who married Sir John Guildford. The second son, John (d. 1517), was father of John (his second son), who was the ancestor of Edmund Waller the poet; and he was also grandfather of Sir Walter Waller, whose eldest son, George, married Mary Hardress, and was father of Sir Hardress Waller [q. v.]; Sir Walter's second son, Sir Thomas, was father of Sir William Waller [q. v.]

[Authorities cited; Philpot's Villare Cantianum; Berry's County Genealogies ‘Kent,’ p. 296, ‘Sussex’ pp. 109, 358; Hasted's Kent, i. 430–1; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. vi. 231; Burke's Landed Gentry, 1898, ii. 1532; H. A. Waller's Family Records, 1898 (of little value).]

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Sir Richard Waller, Sheriff of Kent's Timeline

Groombridge, Kent, England
Age 25
Groombridge, Kent, England, (Present UK)
Age 29
Age 37
Age 38
Of, Groombridge, Kent, Old Stoke, Hamps, England
Age 42
Kent, England
Age 45
Groombridge, Kent, England
Age 67
Speldhurst, Kent, England
Age 67