- Douglas Gray
Chaucer, Geoffrey (c. 1340–1400), poet and administrator, was probably born in the early 1340s. Neither the date nor the place of his birth can be fixed with certainty. Since in October 1386, in his testimony in the Scrope <i>v.</i> Grosvenor trial, he described himself as 'forty and more', he cannot have been born later than 1345; it is usually assumed that he was born at the beginning of the decade. The precise date of 1343 sometimes given is based on the assumption that at the time of the trial he was forty-two or forty-three and that his further remark, that he had been 'armed' (that is, commissioned to bear arms in the king's service) for twenty-seven years implies that this took place in 1359 when he was sixteen. However, men seem to have been first armed at a variety of ages....