edited by Steven Muhlberger
"Deeds of Arms" began as a collection of chronicle accounts that described formal deeds of arms -- jousts, duels, and other challenges -- which took place in the fourteenth century. Some of those accounts were written quite close to the event, others long after, but all were literary reconstructions, written for literary effect. Like many other historical texts, they have to be taken with a grain of salt, because they were written to make an effect on a specific audience, not as an impersonal, impartial record of "what really happened."
This section collects the texts of various archival and other documents concerning formal deeds of arms. Do archival documents necessarily tell us "what really happened?" I make no such claims. However, the documents here have advantages for those interested in how deeds of arms were organized and performed. The archival documents are often royal orders, commanding a certain person to do something, or royal licences, allowing a certain person to do something. The events are usually proposed for the near future. One of the best uses of archival documents is for dating deeds described, but not as precisely, in literary accounts. Other documents include proclamations or invitations for an upcoming deed. They allow us to see what organizers thought was effective, appealing advertising.
Thanks to Will McLean for his contributions to this collection.
All translations by Steven Muhlberger are copyright 2003 by Steven Muhlberger, but may be used for educational purposes.
Begun February 19, 2003.
Last updated on February 25, 2003.
Historical Materials on Knighthood and Chivalry -- KCT Library
- License to Peter Courtenay, allowing him to send gifts to France in connection with a deed of arms. (November 3, 1383).
- License to Northampton Herald to act in connection with a deed between Thomas Clifford and Boucicaut (June 25, 1386).
- License permitting Thomas Clifford to perform deeds of arms in the March of Scotland (January 28, 1387).
- License permitting Richard Tempest to accomplish a deed of arms with a Scots knight (June 6, 1387). Following, an order to John Neville of Raby to issue safe conducts to the Scots participants in the deed with Richard Tempest (June 10, 1387).
- License permitting John Beaumont to accomplish a deed of arms in the March of Calais. -- Similar ones to Peter Courtenay and John Hobeldod (April 24, 1388).
- Grant of arms and the rank of Squire to John Kingston so that he can fittingly perform deeds of arms with the French (June 1, 1389).
- Safe-conduct to David Lindsay to perform a deed of arms with John Welles (January 22, 1390).
- Order to Thomas Mowbray, Earl Marshal and Earl of Nottingham, that he take part in no deeds of arms in France except those he has been licensed to take part in (St. Inglevert). -- Similar ones to John Holland, Earl of Huntingdon, Thomas Clifford, John Beaumont, and Peter Courtenay (March 13, 1390).
- Order that the Earl of Moray be issued safe conducts to accomplish a deed of arms with Thomas Mowbray, Earl Marshal and Earl of Nottingham (March 26, 1390).
- Criee or formal announcement of Richard II's London (Smithfield) joust of October, 1390.
- License issued to Ralph, Lord Neville and others to perform deeds of arms with David Lindsay and other Scots (June 20, 1391).
- Order to John, Lord Roos, to act as judge of the deed of arms between Ralph, Lord Neville, etc. and David Lindsay, etc. (June 20, 1391).
- License allowing John Holland, Earl of Huntingdon and others to perform deeds of arms with various Scots. (August 24, 1392).
- License allowing Richard Redemane and others to perform a "hastilude of war" with Scots, William Haliburton and others (April 27, 1393).
- Proclamation forbidding Richard II's subjects to perform deeds of arms with the French without special permission (May 16, 1396).
- Challenge issued by Michel d'Oris (Monstrelet, translation by Will McLean) (1400)
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