Arundel [Fitzalan], Sir John
- Richard Barber
Arundel [Fitzalan], Sir John (c. 1348–1379), soldier, was the second son of Richard (II) Fitzalan, third earl of Arundel and eighth earl of Surrey (c. 1313–1376), and his wife, Eleanor (d. 1372), daughter of Henry, earl of Lancaster, and widow of John, Lord Beaumont. Sir Thomas Arundel was his younger brother. He married, before 1364, Eleanor, granddaughter of John, Lord Maltravers. He seems to have followed his father in a military career, but he is first mentioned when he was appointed marshal in 1377, when he was probably about thirty. He was granted £100 p.a. and was retained by the king for life; the grant was doubled in 1379. In 1377 he repulsed a French attack on Southampton, preventing the enemy from entering the town and driving them back to their ships. Later in the year, in early November, he went with John de Montfort, duke of Brittany, and Thomas of Woodstock to Brittany; the expedition succeeded in relieving Brest, which the French had besieged, and returned early in 1378. In the autumn of 1378 he went to the defence of Cherbourg, Normandy. After his return the following March, he undertook to command another expedition to Brittany in support of John de Montfort.
Thomas Walsingham describes how Arundel allowed his men to run amok while waiting for a favourable wind for the voyage to Brittany in the autumn of 1379. Some of his report is confirmed by a commission to Arundel and the other commanders on 26 October to inquire into trespasses committed on the present expedition. They took up lodgings in a convent, and were said to have seduced or raped the nuns and their companions, while Arundel himself did nothing to deter them. His men then ravaged the neighbourhood, stealing the chalice from a local church at the end of mass, for which they were publicly excommunicated, and abducted the nuns to their ships. By contrast, the other English commanders, including Sir Hugh Calveley, whose own reputation was far from spotless, were said to have restrained their men. When the fleet eventually set sail, against the advice of Arundel's shipmaster, a storm overtook them; having tried to lighten the ships by throwing their plunder overboard, the soldiers finally threw sixty of the women into the sea. The ships eventually reached the Irish coast, and Arundel ordered his men to disembark; when they refused, because the storm was still raging, his shipmaster tried to drive the boat safely ashore, but it foundered on the rocks, and Arundel was caught in a quicksand and drowned on 15 December. He was said to have lost fifty-two bedcovers, either of gold or woven with gold, which he had just had made for himself. His body was found three days later, and buried in an abbey in Ireland. His heir was Sir John Arundel the younger (b. before 1364). Another son, Sir William Arundel, was created knight of the Garter about 1395.
Thomae Walsingham, quondam monachi S. Albani, historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, 2 vols., pt 1 of Chronica monasterii S. AlbaniFind it in your libraryGoogle PreviewWorldCat, Rolls Series, 28 (1863–4)Find it in your libraryGoogle PreviewWorldCat
Wealth at Death
see CIPM, Richard II, 15, nos. 1–7