Master of the Ceremonies: Henry IV pts 1 & 2 and Henry V
Continuing with my support of William Corbett’s theory in “Master of the Ceremonies”
Characters that occur in the history of Lewes Lewkenor’s family and that are mentioned in WS’s Henry IV and V are Hotspur, Bardolph, Poins and Gower.
Re: Thomas Camoys, 1st Baron Camoys (who is NOT mentioned by WS):
Henry V 4.3, line 95: King Henry:
“ A many of our bodies shall no doubt
Find native graves, upon the which I trust,
Shall witness live in brass of this day’s work.”
One such brass can be seen in Trotton church, near Midhurst, and best accessed on www.findagrave.com :Elizabeth Mortimer De Camoys. This brass shows Thomas Camoys (1351-1421) and his wife, Elizabeth Mortimer (1371-1417), who had previously been married to Henry Percy “Hotspur” (1364-1403).
The best way of seeing the Lewkenor composite coat of arms is on Richard Symonds’ website: http://wasfu-man-dedishamhistory.blogspot.com/http://wasfu-man-dedishamhistory.blogspot.com/ : The Lewknor Carpet (p 7 of 13). I suspect that this depiction by William Durrant Cooper was taken from the coat of arms of Sir Christopher Lewkenor, grandson of Sir Richard Lewkenor, the Chief Justice of Chester, and therefore Lewes’s second cousin, which can be seen at “Chawton Manor and Its Owners” by Leigh and Knight, available on-line.
The arms occupying the top left position are, of course, Lewkenor. Top right shows Camoys. Second row, 1st shows Bardolf (Azure, three cinquefoils or; blue ground with three five-petalled flowers in gold), while bottom row, far right shows Poynings (yellow and green bars with a red diagonal)
Paintings on the south wall of Trotton church show Sir Thomas, the first Baron, kneeling and praying alone (both his wives predeceased him). Behind him, also at prayer, are shown his son, Richard, who again, predeceased his father, and Richard’s wife, Joan Poynings. Behind Joan are painted the Poynings’ crest – a wyvern’s head, the wings of which are at the side of its head, its tongue darting out at the Poynings’ badge: an upended key topped with an antique crown.
Thomas Camoys, by his first wife, Elizabeth Louche, had one son, Sir Richard Camoys. Sir Richard died before his father (i.e. before 1421). He married Joan Poynings, daughter of Richard de Poynings, 4th Baron Poynings. They had four children: Hugh Camoys, 3rd Baron Camoys; Jane dsp; Margaret and Eleanor. Hugh died young, leaving his two sisters, Eleanor and Margaret as his father’s two co-heiresses.
Eleanor Camoys (1408-1478) married Roger Lewkenor. Their sons were:
1. Sir Thomas Lewkenor of Trotton, (d 1485), father of Sir Roger of Dedisham Park and Bodiam Castle, whose third wife married Sir Roger’s cousin, Richard Lewkenor, who acquired Trotton by right of his wife’s dower.
2. Sir Roger Lewkenor of Tangmere (will 1509), father of Edmund Lewkenor of Fyning, grand-father of Thomas Lewkenor of Selsey and therefore great-grandfather of Lewes Lewkenor.
On entering Trotton church by the south door, one sees, on the opposite wall, the paintings of the “four Camoys’ boys” (as I think of them). They do not wear armour, only tunics; this would enable them to move quickly in battle. The arms of Camoys are: Or, on a chief gules, three roundels or. This is the design of the tunics: the skirts are faded, but would have been yellow; the chests are red, with three yellow discs. They wear helmets which support what appear to be three large ostrich plumes. They are equipped so as to move quickly, while still to be clearly seen. A dog stands to their side.
Sir Thomas Camoys, 1st Baron Camoys, commanded the left flank of the English army at Agincourt; do these paintings show four of his signallers at the battle?
Lewes Lewkenor would have known Trotton church; he would have known the brass memorial to his ancestor, the first Baron Camoys. He would have known of “Hotspur” Percy through family legend:
“Many a story hath he told to thee,
And bid thee bear his pretty tales in mind
And talk of them when he was dead and gone.”
He would have known of his Poynings descent (Poins), as above.
He would have known of his Bardolph descent through the Lewkenors:
Sir Roger Lewkenor of Horsted Keynes married Catherine or Barbara Bardolf
Their son, Sir Thomas of Greatworth married Joan d’Oyley
Their son, Roger Lewkenor married Margaret Carew
Their son, Thomas Lewkenor, who also fought at Agincourt, d 1452 married Phillipa Dallingridge
Their son, Sir Roger Lewkenor of Dedisham Park and Bodiam Castle married Eleanor Camoys (as above).
In Henry IV, Parts I and II we have Poins and Bardolf, drinking buddies of Prince Hal. In Part II we even have 2 Bardolphs: Lord Bardolph andBardolph the toper. We also have a Captain Gower. The step-father of Thomas Lewkenor, Lewes’s father, was John Gunter of Gower. We, therefore, had three names (besides Hotspur) which would have been known to Lewes Lewkenor, but not, surely, to William Shakespeare of Stratford. What I find distinctly odd, is that there is no mention of Thomas Camoys and his part in the Battle of Agincourt, in Henry V. We know from the play that Sir Thomas Erpingham commanded the right flank and that York asked for and was given the vanguard.It is, for me, an omission that shouts its absence.
The real history of Agincourt:
The English army landed in France in 1415 and besieged the port town of Harfleur. The French army was some 30,000 strong.The young king, Henry V, sent a messenger by sea to Calais ordering the governor of the town, Sir William Bardolph, to march to the crossing point in the estuary of the Somme that Edward III had used in 1346 and hold it open for Henry’s army. On 8th October, 1415, the English army marched out of Harfleur on its 100 mile journey to Calais. At the Somme estuary there was no sign of Bardolph and in his place a French force barred the crossing. Bardolph was later hanged.
We hear in Act3.2 that
“Bardolph stole a lute case” (Lewkenor is sometimes spelled, and presumably misheard as “Lutenor”)
Then we hear that he has stolen a pax:
“Bardolph, a soldier, firm and sound of heart
And of buxom valor, hath, by cruel fate,
And giddy Fortune’s furious fickle wheel,
That goddess blind
That stands upon the rolling, restless stone –
Fortune is Bardolph’s foe, and frowns on him;
For he hath stol’n a pax and hanged must a be.”
A “Pax” is a metal dish with a crucifix stamped on it, kissed by the priest during Mass. Was the real Bardolph of the Agincourt campaign attempting to promote a peace in the face of what would appear to be a forthcoming disaster for the English.
“The Duke hath lost never a man, but one that is like to be executed for robbing a church, one Bardoph.”
“We would have all such offenders so cut off.”
In the play Henry V has no sympathy for his old friend, Bardolph, just as the real Henry had none for Sir Thomas Bardolph, Governor of Calais.
But WS tell a different tale through the boy:
4.3 71 Boy:
"Bardoph and Nym had ten times more valor
Than this roaring devil I’ the old play,
That everyone may pare his nails with a wooden dagger,
And they are both hanged."
In the play, during the evening of the battle, in heavy rain, Henry makes his way around his army, giving words of encouragement. On the next morning, 25th October, 1415, the feast of St.Crispin, the English army marched out of Maisoncelles, taking up position across the road to Calais in 3 divisions of knights and men-at arms, with Lord Camoys commanding the left flank, Sir Thomas Erpingham on the right and the Duke of York in the centre.Sir Thomas Erpingham and the Duke of York have parts in the play but Lord Camoys receives no mention. This, on its own, is strange. Even stranger, given WS’s preferences for using Lewkenor family names, is that Lewes was a direct descendant of this Lord Camoys: Thomas, 1st Baron Camoys. This omission shouts its importance.
1.2, line 115: Captain Gower:
“Awake remembrance of those valiant dead
And with your puissant arm renew their feats.
You are their heir, you sit upon their throne
The blood and courage that renowned them
Runs in your veins.”
Lewes’s father’s step-father was John Gunter of Gower . The Lewkenor family retained close contacts with the Gunter family. But John Gunter of Gower was Welsh – and WS makes him the English member of the English/Welsh/Scots comedy trio. Is this another attempt to give us not-quite-the-right information?
1.2, line 178: Captain Gower:
“While that the armed hand doth fight abroad,
Th’advanced head defends itself at home.”
And 4.1 Williams:
“The King himself hath a heavy reckoning to make,
When all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle,
Shall join together at the Latter Day and cry all
“We died in such a place”.
And a recurrent theme in the works of WS:
4.1 King Henry:
“Every subject’s duty is to the King’s;
but every subject’s soul is his own.”
“And my kind kinsman, warriors all, adieu!”
Bevington (editor of Longman's Complete Shakespeare) "Westmorland, whose son had married Salisbury’s daughter". However, the Lewkenors were kinsmen of the Countess of Salisbury, beheaded by Queen Elizabeth’s father, Henry VIII, through the marriage of Jane Lewkenor , daughter of Sir Roger of Dedisham Park and Bodiam Castle, to Sir Arthur Pole, one of the Countess’s younger sons. This kinship appears, throughout the works of WS to have been important to the author.)
“Then he will strip his sleeve and show his scars
And say “These wounds I had on Crispin’s Day”.”
Again, is this a reference to Lewes’s injury?
Henry includes neither Erpingham nor Camoys in his list of heroes: “Harry, the King, Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester” get mentioned: the earls (and a good rhythm). He does not list Erpingham and Camoys who were his key commanders, the barons,the English “old families”, the real heroes of Agincourt.Was this deliberate on WS’s part?
“I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start.”
A greyhound stands besides the Camoys “signallers” on the wall painting at Trotton – a church that Lewes would have known intimately. The crest of the Lewkenors was at that time (or subsequent to the battle?) a greyhound.
The author of Henry V seems to seek vindication for Bardolph. If the author of the play were William Shakespeare of Stratford, why would he do this? Does not Lewes Lewkenor seem more likely?