For centuries the Kyriels had been close to the centre of English affairs of state. No doubt men from their manors were called on in times of conflict and provisions used in support of their armies. This chapter recounts some of their activities.

Great Mongeham and Agincourt.

Although they might have been called upon we have no evidence of men from the village among the ranks of archers on the battlefield. However Great Mongeham had another role. In response to a petition from the Earl of Warwick a royal decree was made on April 21st 1415 that Sandwich, Faversham, Dover, Deal, and Mongeham should enjoy the same privileges as Gosseford, to supply Calais with victuals and beer. This arrangement was to hold for one year. 

There is no evidence to show whether it was prolonged beyond that period or not, but it may well have been in preparation for the forthcoming campaign. In the box below is the response to the petition.

The petition for the decree was made by Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. Why Great Mongeham was included in the list is a matter of conjecture. However the Kyriel family had been prominent in Kent politics for centuries. Thomas Kyriel, who was Lord of the Manor at the time, was not yet twenty, but was already a knight and five years later was to be described as a king’s knight. Between November 1439 and August 1442 he was lieutenant of Calais and was a supporter of Richard Beachamp’s son-in-law and heir, Richard Neville during the Wars of the Roses. Undoubtedly there was some financial reward in having such a contract given to his manor, and would have been a reward for services. His father, William, died before the Agincourt campaign but his uncle, Johnwas in eminent command under Henry the fifth in his successful expedition into France, having the conduct of several Kentish squadrons at the battle of Agincourt.” 

April 21. Westminster

Grant as Richard Beauchamp earl of Warwick captain of town of Calais has shown the king that although the town of Gosseford co. Suffolk, is enfranchised by the king’s progenitors and the king with divers liberties to the end that it may serve the town of Calais and the marches there with ale and other victuals necessary for the safe-keeping nevertheless it has not found sufficient ale, that king’s lieges of the towns of Sandewich, Feversham Dover, [Deal] and Mungeham co. Kent, may serve the said town and marches with ale and victuals for one year to supply the defects of the town of Gosseford and while so serving may have such liberties and franchises as are granted to the town of Gosseford.

The Wars of the Roses

Sir Thomas Kyriel led the English army at the fateful battle of Formigny (15th April 1450) at the conclusion of the Hundred Years War. That defeat resulted in the final loss of all English possessions in France apart from Calais and indirectly was one of the causes of the Wars of the Roses.

Sir Thomas Kyriel was an early casualty in the Wars of the Roses. On the 26th of June 1460, the Earl of Warwick ‘the kingmaker’ and Edward, Earl of March (to become Edward IV) sailed from Calais to land in Sandwich with 2,000 men. Warwick’s uncle, William Neville, had already secured a bridgehead there. Warwick was hugely popular in Kent, and the people flocked to him. By the time he reached London, he had something in the region of 40,000 men. Whether Sir Thomas Kyriel was with him in Calais or joined him in Kent is not certain. Also joining the Yorkists in Kent was a member of the minor gentry whose name was William Crayford,

At first the Yorkists met with success, with a victory at the battle of Northampton on 10th July, but this was followed by a couple of defeats. At the second battle of St Albans (17 February 1461) Sir Thomas Kyriel and Lord Bonville were entrusted with the guarding of the captive king, Henry VI. The battle lost, the king promised their safety but were summarily beheaded two days later at the instigation of the queen, wife of Henry VI. The manor was passed through Kyriel’s daughter, Alice to her husband, John Fogge.  

Fogge had been made sheriff of Kent. in November 1453. After the Yorkist victory at Towton in March 1461, Fogge emerged as a leading royal associate in Kent, heading all commissions named in the county. He was given the custody of Rochester Castle. His interests were not, however, purely local. He was treasurer of the household from the beginning of Edward IV’s reign until 1468, and was also a royal councillor.  

The previous year, 1460, at the battle of Northampton, William Crayford, was made knight-banneret by king Edward IV. ‘for his eminent services performed there, and at different times before’. William was the first of the Crayford family of Great Mongeham to appear in the historical record, but not the last. The family was to achieve prominence in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.