Argentein documents: 14th century


Gravestones of Reginald de Argentein and his wife Lora at Baldock


Reginald's gravestone, which was decorated with a cross flory and two shields bearing the Argentein arms at the head, still survives, but the inscription around the edge is very worn. The version below has been collated from the early transcripts listed below (note that there is quite a lot of variation between them).

Reignaud de Argenthem ci gist
qe cest chapelle fere fist
fu cheualler sainte Marie
chescun [?]produne pour lalme prie.

The sense of the inscription seems to be:
Here lies Reginald de Argentem who caused this chapel to be made; he was a knight; each one, pray to St Mary for [?]pardon for his soul.

British Library, Harleian MS 6072, fo 17 (apparently Weever's source);
British Library, Harleian MS 4204, fo 420;
drawing of the gravestone in British Library, Sloane MS 1301 fo 146b;
the Swinhope pedigree.]


The inscription to Lora is known only from a drawing of her gravestone in British Library, Sloane MS 1301 fo 146b. It shows a stone of the same design as her husband's. The shield on the viewer's left bears the Argentein arms, and that on the right, 'quarterly, in the first quarter a mullet' (de Vere). Given the variations between this and the other transcripts of Reginald's inscription, it may be rather inaccurate.

Desus Cest Pere
gist Lore Dargentine en clos[e]
Dieu qe sel terre
fist mette lalme enrepos

Beneath this stone lies Lora Dargentine enclosed. May God that made this earth put her soul to rest. Amen.

Sale of the advowson of St Benet's Church, Cambridge, 1350

As touz iceux q' cestes tres v'rent ou orrent Johan Dargentem Chivaler Salutz en dieu
Sachietz moi cu' g[ra]unte a Guij de Seyncler Chivaler, Henri de Tangmere, William de Horwode, Mestre William de Wyvelyngham Clerc, [et] Mestre Johan de Merton Clerc [et] Henri de Middelton [et] Richard Tabletter la Rev'sion de Lavoweson de la Eglise de Seint Beneyt en Cantebrigg' quele Avoweson Johan de Mautravers Chivaler [et] Agneys sa femme tignent en dower de la dite Agneys de ma Heritage quele avoweson ap[re]s la mort lavant dite Agneys a moi [et] mes Heires dev'oit remeyndre et ieo avantdit Johan Dargentem [et] mes Heires lavantdite avoweson a les avant ditz Guy, Henry, William, William, Johan, Henry [et] Richard lour Heires [et] lour Assignez encountre touz Gentz garantroms as touz jours
A icestes Tesmoignes Thomas Deschalers Chivaler, William Warde, Hugh de Croft, William Muchet [et] Nichole de Rysingge del Countee de Cantebrigg [et] aut's
Don' a Loundres le x jour Doctob'r lan du Regne le Roi Edward tierz puis le Conquest Denglet're vintisme quartre [et] de F[ra]unce [?onzieme]

To all those who see or hear these [presents] John Dargentem Knight [sends] greetings in God.
Know that I have granted to Guy de Seyncler, Knight, Henry de Tangmere, William de Horwode, Master William de Wyvelyngham clerk, [and] Master John de Merton clerk [and] Henry de Middelton [and] Richard Tabletter the reversion of the advowson of the church of St Benet in Cambridge, which advowson John de Mautravers Knight [and] Agnes his wife hold in dower of the said Agnes of my inheritance, which advowson after the death of the aforesaid Agnes ought to revert to me and my heirs and I the aforesaid John Dargentem [and] my heirs warrant the aforesaid advowson to the aforesaid Guy, Henry, William, William, John, Henry [and] Richard their heirs [and] their assignes against all men for ever.
Witness to these: Thomas Deschalers Knight, William Warde, Hugh de Croft, William Muchet [and] Nicholas de Rysingge of the county of Cambridge [and] others.
Given at London the 10 October in the 24th year of the reign of King Edward the third since the Conquest of England [and] the [?11th] of France.

[British Library, Additional MS 5607, fo.60b (Cole).
Cole incorrectly dates the charter '1349', and describes the seal as follows:
Seal appendant is very fresh and fair and is ye arms of ye Family of Argentine of Horseheath Hall* viz G 3 Covered Cups A
round it is wrote: S IOHIS DE ARGENTEM
Cole adds: 'Another such conveyance of ye same fr Sr John Matravers & Agnes his wife to ye sd persons wth ye same witnesses dated at London xi Oct ye same year.
The seal is very fair [?] antique for Matravers viz Frette, but his wives is broken.'
VCH Cambridge, vol.3, p.126, describes this as a sale to the Guild of Corpus Christi.
*This is an error: Horseheath never belonged to the Argenteins, but was the seat of the Alingtons, who were their heirs.]

John de Argentein's petition to act as cupbearer at the Coronation of Richard II, 1377

Billa Joh'is de Argente' Alloc' p' s'uitiu suo die coronat'o'is R. 2:
[.... .... .... ....]* preceptoris felicissimo strenuo & potenti Rege Angl' & ffranc dno Edwardo Rege t'cio post conquestum vicesimo primo die mens Junij Anno dni mill'mo Tricentesimo septuagesimo septimo & anno regni sui quinquagesimo primo successit ei Rex Ricus scdus filius Edwardi nup Principis Wall' primogeniti dci Regis Edwardi & cum tractaret & p'uisu fuisset de solempnijs coronacois ipius Regis Rici die Jouis in crastino T'nslacois b'i Swithin[ii] t'nc p'x' sequ' celebrand sedebat medio tempe de precepto ip'ius Regis Rici nobilis d'n's Joh'es Rex Castelle & Legionis dux Lanc' & sen' Angl' p' se & eius locum tenentes tanq'm senescallus in alba aula regij palacij Westm' ppe capellam Regalem inquirens & audiens que & qualia officia seu feoda dco die coronacois optinend magnates & alii clamar' ut vendicar' voluerunt sup quo tam dni & magnates q'm alij coram ipo d'no sen comparentes fecerunt clamea sua de diu'sis officijs & feodis optinend & s'uicijs faciend die coronacois sup' die Joh'es de Argenthem Chr int' alios coram ipo dno senescallo comparens exhibuit cur' billam suam in hec u'ba
A son tresdoubt [mon t'shon'e] S' le Roy de Chastell & de leon' Duc de Lancastr' & seneschall' denglet're supplie Johan de Argenthem Ch'r q come il tient le manoir de g'nt Wilmondeleye el counte de Hertford de n're S' le Roy p' g'nt s'iantie cestassauoir de s'uire au Roy a sa coronement de la coupe quele s'uice ses auncestres ount fait du temps dont memoire ne court p' le manoir susdit tanq's a la darrein coronement au quele temps le dit Joh'n fuist en la gard n're S' le Roy & del age des oetz [cept] anes q' plese a sa tresredote seigni'e resceyu' le d'c'e Johan a celle office faire ore a cest p'sent coronement
Et quia p' recorda r'ones & euidencias ex p'te ipius Joh'is in Cur' monstrata ac eciam p' testimonia p'c'u' [procerum] & alior' fidedignor' constabat cur' qd p'dcus Joh'es dcm man'iu de Rege tenet p' suiciu' pred'c'm consideratims extitit qd idem Joh'es d'c'm s'uic' suum Regi fac'et p'd'c'o die coronac'o'is sue & h'eret p' feodo suo ut clamauit quendam calicem argenteu' albu' unde dno Regi s'uiret p' quod prefat' Joh'es d'c'o die Coronac'o'is s'uiebat d'no Regi sedenti ad mensam de hui' [hujusmodo] calice argenteo albo & h'uit eundem calicem p' feodo suo

The bill of John de Argente' [?]allowed for his service on the day of the coronation of Richard II
[.... .... .... ....]* ... the most happy, energetic and powerful king of England and France the lord Edward the king, the third after the conquest the twenty-first day of the month of June in the year of the lord 1377 and the 51st year of his reign, there succeeded to him king Richard the second son of Edward formerly Prince of Wales, first-born son of the said king Edward, and whereas it was discussed and provided concerning the solemnities of the coronation of the same King Richard on Thursday on the morrow of the translation of the blessed Swithin [16 July] then next following to be celebrated, there sat in the mean time by the command of the same king Richard the noble lord John king of Castile and Leon, duke of Lancaster and steward of England, for him and those holding his place as steward, in the white hall of the royal palace of Westminster near the chapel royal to inquire and hear what and what kind of offices or fees, to be obtained on the said day of coronation, the magnates and others would wish to claim. On which [matter] both lords and magnates and others appeared before the same lord steward and made their claims for diverse offices and fees to be obtained and services to be done on the day of coronation. On [?]that day John de Argenthem knight among others appearing before the same lord steward, showed to the court his petition in these words
To his most dread [my most honourable] lord the king of Castile & of Leon Duke of Lancaster and steward of England prays John de Argenthem knight that as he holds the manor of Great Wymondley in the county of Hertford of our lord the king by grand serjeanty, that is to say of serving the king at his coronation from the cup, which service his ancestors have done from time out of memory for the manor abovesaid, up to the last coronation, at which time the said John was in the ward of our lord the king and of the age of eight [seven] years, that it please his most dread lord to receive the said John to this office to perform it now at this present coronation.
And because by the records, the arguments and evidences shown in the court on the part of the same John and also by the testimonies of the nobles and other trustworthy persons the court agreed that the said John holds the said manor of the king by the said service, we give judgment that it remains that the said John may do his said service for the king on the foresaid day of his coronation, and may have for his fee as he has claimed a certain chalice of white silver with which he shall serve the lord the king, by which the aforesaid John on the said day of the coronation will serve the lord the king sitting at table with a chalice of white silver of this kind, and have the same chalice for his fee

*The opening seems illegible; according to a translation in the catalogue at Hertfordshire Record Office the sense is 'By the hand of the highest, having died ...'.

[Hertfordshire Record Office 59338/3.
59338/2 and 4 are further copies of the French petition.
A somewhat corrupt transcript is in British Library, Additional MS 12471 fo 88.
A transcript of the petition and the Latin following it above (from which some corrections and expansions have been supplied), is in Rolls Series vol.12:2, p.462 (Munimenta Gildhallae Londoniensis: Liber Custumarum)]

Will of John de Argentein, 1382

In dei no'i'e amen Ego Joha'es de Argentem myles compos ment's & sane memorie die d'm'ca in festo s'c'i Petri aduinc'le anno d'ni mill'imo cccmo octogesimo s'c'do apud Halisworthe in com' Suff' condo & compono test'm meu' in hunc modum
In p'mis lego deo b'te marie & om'ib's s'c'is a'i'am meam & corpus meu' ad sepeliend' ubi d's placu't
Item lego emendac' Prioratus de Wymundeley xxs
It lego Priori & conue'cion ib'm ad celebrand' p' a'i'a mea xxs
It lego emendac' ecclie de Halesworth xs
It lego Rect' ecc' ib'm ad ce'brand' p' a'i'a mea xs
Item lego & do margar' ux' mee Kath'ne de ffreyton' Joh'i Clement p'sone de Halesworth & Will'mo march Residuu' .... om' bonor' meor' ubicumque sit v'l inu'ta' fu'it quos constituo & facio exec' meos ad acquietand' debita mea & ad p'miss' ac o'ia & sing'la' fidelit' implenda ut voluntas mea qd intelligunt
In cui's re testi'oni' huic p'senti test'o sigill' meu' apposui
Dat die loco & anno sup'dict'

In the name of God amen I John de Argentem [Argenten] knight, in possession of my mind and sound memory, Sunday in the feast of St Peter ad Vincula in the year of the lord 1382 at Halesworth in the county of Suffolk make and compose my testament in this manner.
First I leave to God, the blessed Mary and all the saints my soul, and my body to be buried where it pleases God.
Item I leave to the repair of Wymondley Priory 20 shillings.
Item I leave to the prior and convent there, to celebrate for my soul, 20 shillings.
Item I leave to the repair of the church of Halesworth 20 shillings.
Item I leave to the rector of the church there, to celebrate for my soul, 10 shillings.
Item I leave and give to Margaret my wife, Katherine de Freyton, John Clement, parson of Halesworth, and William March the residue .... of all my goods, wherever it may be or it may be found, whom I constitute and make my executors, to discharge my debts and to carry out all and singular the before-mentioned faithfully as they understand my will.
In witness thereof I have affixed my seal to this present testament.
Given the day, place and year abovesaid.

[Norwich Consistory Court, Register Heydon 206 (Norfolk Record Office).
The probate clause states that probate was granted at Norwich to John Clement, 29 November 1382.
There is another copy of the will in Lincoln Episcopal Register Bokingham 254, of which a transcript is in British Library, Harleian MS 7043 (Baker). An English abstract from Baker's text was printed by Alfred Gibbons, Early Lincoln Wills...1280-1547, who calls the testator John de Argentem of 'Hekington', knight, and says that the will was proved at Buckden 7 March 1382.
The text above is from the Norwich Register, with variations from Baker's text in [..]]

William de Argentein kidnaps the Prior of Wymondley, 1383

15 March 1382/3 Westminster:
Commission ... to enquire touching the complaint of Ivo Fitz Waryn knight and Matilda his wife, daughter and one of the heirs of John Dargentein, another of whose heirs is Baldwin Seint George, a minor in the king's custody, that, whereas the said John delivered certain muniments concerning his lands in a chest under lock and seal to the Prior of Wylmondesle [Wymondley] for safe custody, certain evildoers seized the prior at Neumarkethethe [Newmarket Heath] near Badburgham [Babraham], co Cambridge, as he was coming to Hallesworth [Halesworth], co Suffolk, to celebrate the obsequies at the burial of the said John, patron of his priory, forced him to send for the deeds and deliver them to one William Dargentein and afterwards assaulted the said Ivo and Margaret wife of the said John and their friends at Hallesworth, so that they could not do what was honorably due in oblations, etc, for his decent burial. By C.

[Calendar of Patent Rolls 1381-5, p.260]

Will of Margaret, widow of John de Argentein, 1383

In dei nomi'e amen ego margar' quondm' ux' dni Johes de Argentem milit's die d'nica p'x post f'm Decollacois' s'ti Joh'is baptes anno d'ni mill'o cccmo octogesimo t'cio condo testm' meu' in hnc' modum
In p'mis comendo aiam mea' deo omipotenti bte marie & omibs stis & lego corpus meu' ad sepeliend in ecclia ste marie de halesworth
It' lego ad sumu altare ecclie pdce xxs
It' lego cuilt s[er]uienti infra hospitium meu' vjs viijd
It' lego residuu' omi' bonor' meor' mobiliu' & imobiliu' ubicumq' fue'nt inuent' v[e]l ad quor'cumq' manus deuen'nt Ric'o Dautres Rob'to Garneys & dno Rog'o p'sone ecclie de [a word deleted?] Estonbauent ad p'soluend' debit' mea & debit' dni mei ad disponend' de residuo bonor' meor' scdm qd vidernt deo placer' aiabs meo dni mei mag's p'fice & valere quos facio & constituo execut' p' p'sent'
In cui's rei testim'o huic p'sent' test'o sigillu' meu' apposui
Dat apud Halesworth die & anno dni sup'dict'

In the name of God amen I Margaret formerly wife of Sir John de Argentem knight Sunday next after the Feast of the Decollation of St John the Baptist in the year of the lord 1383 [30 August 1383] make my will in this manner.
First I commend my soul to Almighty God, the blessed Mary and all the saints and I leave my body to be buried in the church of St Mary of Halesworth.
Item I leave to the high altar of the aforesaid church 20s.
Item I leave to each servant in my household 6s 8d.
Item I leave the residue of all my goods moveable and immoveable, wherever they may be found or into whichever hands they may come, to Richard Dautres, Robert Garneys and Sir Roger parson of the church of [a word deleted?] Easton Bavent for the discharge of my debts and my lord's debts, and for the disposal of the residue of my goods according to what shall seem pleasing to God for the greatest advancement and value for my and my lord's souls.
I make and constitute them my executors by these presents.
In witness whereof I have affixed my seal to this present testament.
Dated at Halesworth the day and year of the lord abovesaid.

[Consistory Court of Norwich, Register Heydon 219 (Norfolk Record Office).
The probate clause states that probate was granted at Norwich to the executors named, 6 September 1383.]