Sir John Bagot of Blithfield and Littlehay, M.P., Knight of the Household of King Henry IV and King Henry V, Sheriff of Staffordshire, Lieutenant of Calais, Ambassador to Burgundy was born circa 1368 in England to Ralph Bagot (-c1377) and Elizabeth de Blithfield (c1345-) and died 1437 in England of unspecified causes. He married Beatrice de Villiers (c1372-) . Notable ancestors include Charlemagne (747-814), Hugh Capet (c940-996), William I of England (1027-1087), Alfred the Great (849-899). Ancestors are from England, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands.

Collections for a History of Staffordshire, Volume 11

"The first appearance of this John Bagot occrs in 1376, on the De Banco Roll[1] of Easter term 50 E.III. At this date he was a minor and sued, by his custos, Robert de Stretton, the Archdeacon of Coventry, for causing waste and destruction in the lands of his inheritance in Blithfield[2] and Bromley Bagot. By another writ he sued the same defendants for waste and destruction in his lands in Wolseley. Robert never appeared to his summons in either suit, and the Sheriff was ordered to distrain and produce him at the following term. No further notice of these suits occurs on the Rolls. The defendant was probably and assignee of Sir John Gresley, for some years later John Bagot sued Sir John Gresley for waste in Bagots Bromleye during his minority, the land in Wolseley appears to have been acquired from the Blithfield connection.

At Michaelmas 3 Ric. II (1379) he sued William de Hampton, Clerk, for taking his goods and chattels vi et armis from Blithfield to the value of L40. William did not appear and the Sheriff was ordered to arrest him. In the suit John Bagot is styled a Knight, and he was probably knighted at the coronation of Richard II. in 1377. William de Hampton, the defendant, had been one of the feoffees of the Blithfield property during the minory of Henry de Blithfield. Hampton is a hamlet in Blithfield Parish.

In 1385, i.e six or seven years after he had been in possession of his patrimony, Sir John Bagot was suing Sir John Gresley, the mesne-lord, for waste and destruction during his minority at Bagots Bromley. The De Banco Roll of Michaelmas term of that year states that John de Greseley, Chivaler, was summoned at the suit of John Bagot, Chivaler, for causing waster and destruction in the lands, houses, wood and gardens in Bagots Bromleye, which he had held in custody of the inheritance of the said John Bagot whilst he was under age, and John Bagot stated that he had wasted his inheritance by digging up and acre of land and selling the marl and clay to the value of 2s. and by pulling down a hall (aulam), two chambers, a kitchen and brew-house, an oxstall, a sheepcote, a stable, and a garage, each worth 100s. and by cutting down and selling 600 oaks and 200 ash trees, each worth 2s. and for which he claimed L100 as damages. John de Greseleye appearerd by attorney and denied he had caused any waste in the manor, and appealed to a jury which was summoned to the Quindene of St. Hilary, and a jury in the meantime was to view the tenements alleged to be wasted. No further notice of this suit has been found, and it was probably discontinued or compromised.

In this year, viz. 1385, the Duke of Lancaster (John of Gaunt) formed an alliance with the King of Portugal, with a view of obtaining possession of the crown of Castille, which he claimed in right of his wife, the daughter of Pedro the Cruel. The Duke sailed from Bristol in 1386 with a force of 1,200 lances. 'touts gens d'elite', according to Froissart, 2,000 archers and 1000 'gros varlets.' who would be infantry; the 2,000 archers formed part of the retinues of the Bannerets and men-at-arms, and would be mounted.

As might be expected, many of the Lancastrian tenantry accompanied the Duke, and amongst these was Sir John Bagot, who had letters of protection dated the 13th of March, 1386. He also took out letters of attorney in the names of Sir William Bagot (his brother) and John de Delves, dated on the same day.

The Duke was joined by King John of Portugal, and captured several places in Spain, but his army wasted away by sickness, and he was eventually obliged to retire to Gascony in 1387.

In 1391, Sir John Bagot was one of the Knights for co. Stafford in the Parliament of that year. His colleague was William de Walshale. He was returned again for the Parliament of 1397-9, when his colleague was Rustin Velleneuve, a foreigner who had married a rich Staffordshire heiress, the daughter and co-heir of the last Sir John Hastang of Chebsey.

In 1398, Sir John Bagot the old enmity between him and the family of Hampton broke out again, and we find him suing, at the Easter term of that year, Ralph de Hampton the elder and another for breaking open a chest in Blithfield and taking from it four deeds. The defendants did not appear, and the Sheriff was ordered to arrest and produce them at the following Trinity term. Ralph de Hampton was the administrator of the goods of the William de Hampton named on p.34 who had died intestate.

At the same sitting of the Court, viz., Easter 21 Ric. II. (1398), he sued Robert Stanlowe, wright, for so negligently carrying out a contract to build a new house for him at Blythfeld that the house had fallen into ruins, for which he claimed 40 marks as damages. Robert did not appear, and the Sheriff was ordered to arrest and produce him at the following term.

The Parliament which met at Shrewsbury in January, 1398, had important political consequences, for it reversed all the Acts of the previous Parliament of 1388 which had placed the King under the tutelage of his uncle the Duke of Gloucester; liberal supplies were also granted to the King, who ruled from this time as an absolute monarch till his deposition in the following year.


He was elected one of the members for the County in the first Parliament of the reign of Henry IV., his colleague being Sir Robert Fraunceys of Foremark, co. Derby, who held large estates in Staffordshire in right of his wife. At this period Members of Parliament were virtually nominated and returned by the Sheriffs of Counties, who were careful to return none who were not well disposed to the ruling powers.

In the following year, viz., 1402, reports were spread that King Richard was alive, and that a French invasion in his favour was to take place; the Scots invaded England in July, and Owen Glendower ravaged the Marches of Wales and burnt the Cathedrals of St. Asaph, Bangor and Llandaff. It was a critical period for Henry IV., and in August of this year he summoned a great Council by writs of Privy Seal to assemble at Westminster on the 15th of August. Besides the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, from four to eight of the principal inhabitants of each county or borough were summoned. Those who received summons were Sir John Bagot, Sir Robert Fraunceys, Sir William Neuport and Nicholas Bradshawe.

In [[1403[[ the Percies and Mortimers formed a condederacy with Owen Glendower to restore Richard to the throne if he was alive, and if he proved to be dead, to place the Earl of March, the rightful heir by blood, on the throne. On their march to join Glendower they were intercepted by the King at Shrewbury and totally defeated on the 23rd of July. The Commission of Array[3] for Staffordshire issued by Henry on this occasion included Sir John Bagot, and he was doubtless present at the battle. Two of the Commission, Edmund Earl of Stafford and Sir Robert Mauveisin of Ridware, were killed at Shrewbury.

In the following year Sir John was returned again as Member for Staffordshire, his colleague as before being Sir Robert Fraunceys.

In 1407 he was returned for the third time, his colleague on his occasion being Sir William Neuport.

In 1408 he entered into indentures with Sir Thomas Beaufort, the Captain of the Castle of Calais, to serve as his lieutenant for a year. By the terms of his indenture he was to find, for the security of the Castle during peace time, himself as a man-at-arms, two fully armed men on foot, and seven archers on foot, for which he was to receive 2s. daily for himself and 8d. for each foot soldier, and 6d. for each archer, in addition to a sum of 100s. each quarter, and if war should break out between the English and French Kings, he was to find three mounted men-at-arms, including himself, and four armed men on foot, three archers on horseback, and five archers on foot, and for which he was to receive for himself 2s. a day, for each man-at-arms 12d. a day, for each armed man on foot and each mounted archer 8d. a day, and for each archer on foot 6d. a day. And for each of the mounted men-at-arms the accustomed reward (regarde) and a half, for himself a special 'regarde' of 10 marks each quarter. Dated 20th June, 9 H. IV. (1408). These were the usual wages of war at this period: a knight was paid 2s.: a squire, who was always a man-at-arms (homo ad arma), 1s. a day; the armed man on foot (homo armathus) was paid as much as an archer on horseback because he wore armour, and his equipment was by so much more costly than the ordinary man on foot.

It was no doubt owing to his position at Calais that Sir John Bagot was appointed in this year one of the ambassadors to treat with those of the Duke of Burgundy respecting the affairs of Flanders. The Duke had taken possession of Flanders in right of his wife, and this brought him into intimate trade relations with England. The Commission which will be found in Rymer, is dated 30th May, 1408, and is addressed to Sir Thomas Picworth, Lieutenant of Calais, Sir William Bardolf, Sir John Bagot and four others. On the 11th of March, 1410, Sir Thomas Pykworth, Sir William Bardolf, and Sir John Bagot were substituted for Sir Richard Aston and two others as members of a Commission to prosecute the cause of the Bishop of Rochester and two other clerks against the Duke of Burgundy for the arrest of their persons and divers other injuries. On the 29th of November of the same year Sir Thomas Picworth, Lieutenant of Calais, Sir William Bardolf, Sir John Bagot, and four others were appointed to treat with the Duke of Burgundy for a truce. Their instructions will be found in the Foedera,

At the commencement of the new reign in 1413, Sir John was placed in the Household of the young King Henry V. with the usual retaining fee of 40 marks per annum for the term of his life. At this time he must have been over 56 years of age and this appointment confirms the historical tradition that the young King dismissed the wild companions of his youth and retained the old servants and wise Ministers of his father. In the same year he was appointed Sheriff of the county.

The young King was at Lichfield in the spring of 1414, and Sir John Bagot was in attendance upon him in his double capacity as a Knight of the Household and as Sheriff of the County. Staffordshire appears to have been in a state of chronic warfare, owing to old-standing feuds amongst the knights and squires of the county. Edmund de Ferrers, the lord of Chartley, petitioned Parliament in 2 H. V. (1414) that Hugh Erdeswick of Sandon had assembled a number of armed men and accompanied with Thomas Giffard of Chillington and the Venables, Davenports and Mainwarings of Cheshire, had broken down his park palings and killed one of his servants. At the same date Hugh Erdeswick petitioned Parliament that Edmund de Ferrers had assembled a body of men and had laid in wait to kill him. The presentments and indictments laid before the King will be found in Volume XVII of the Staffordshire Collections, and fill over twenty-seven pages of print. One of these states that that the Erdeswicks and assembled more than 1,000 men in 1409, and had marched with them into Derbyshire with a view of killing John Blount of Barton in that county. Another indictment describes the Myners of Uttoxeter as notorious robbers, lying in wait on the roads, and guilty of many murders. Raloh Marchington, the lord of Caverswall, had assembled more than 100 men arrayed in manner of war to prosecute a private quarrel of his own. Sir John Cockayne of Ashbourne had assembled 200 for the same purpose in order to resist the malice of Sir Ralph Leche of Bobynhill, who had raised forces to kill him. The Peshalls of Chetwynd had collected 400 Welshmen and others, and had laid siege to the Priory of Wenlock, and the Sheriff of co. Salop had been forces to raise the 'posse' of the county in order to relieve the Prior, etc.

Incidentally it comes out amongst these mutual recriminations that Sir John Bigot had a quarrel of old standing with Dame Joan Malveisin, the widow of Sir Robert Malveisin of Ridware, who had been killed at Shrewbury. Hugh Erdeswick states in his petition to Parliament of 2 H. V. (1414) that 'whereas a jour d'amour had been arranged between Sir John Bagot, Kt. and Dame Joan Malveysin and a meeting was to have taken place between them at Ruggeley, Edmund the Baron of Chartley, knowing that the said Hugh would be there, had laid an ambuscade in order to kill him on the road by which he had to pass, of which he had received timely notice from his friends.' The Baron of Chartley had taken the part of Sir John Bagot in this feud, and another presentment of a Staffordshire jury states that Hugh de Erdeswick, with many other malefactors, to the number of more than 300, arrayed in manner of war with coats of mail, brigandines and all kinds of armour had come to Rydewar-Mauveisin on the Thursday before the Feast of St. John the Baptist, 8 J. IV. (1407), with a view of Killing John Bagot, Knight, and from thence because they could not find him, had ridden with horns and clarions to a vill belonging to him called Blyghbury, and from thence from place to place, seeking to kill him and not finding him, that thrown his sheaves of corn into the Blythe and had driven his cattle so that many of them, to the value of 20 marks had perished.

At Hilary term, 2 H. V., Hugh Erdeswick surrendered in the Court of King's Bench[4], and produced letters patent dated 12 December, 2 H. V., by which the King pardoned him for all felonies, rebellions, etc., perpetrated up to that date. It would appear by these proceedings that Dame Joan quite justified her surname of Malveisin, and that Sir John had had a narrow escape from her malice. The Erdeswicks, in fact, were dangerous enemies, for they had powerful friends and supporters in their native county, Cheshire, from whence they could collect as many outlaws and malefactors as they pleased, and these, if pursued, took refuge again in Cheshire, where the Palatine juristiction acted as a shield for them. An endeavour had been made to effect a reconciliation between Lord Ferrars and the Erdeswicks in 1 H. V., and Sir John Bagot had been one of the arbitrators chosen on behalf of Lord Ferrers.

A this date the King was making preparations for his expedition to France, and had granted pardons to all the defendants named in these indictments. These pardons were granted on condition that the recipients of them served the King at their own expense. This was the universal practice at this point, and it may well be imagine what a scourge an English invasion of France would be under such circumstances.

At the Sittings, Coram Rege, of Hillary term 2 H. V., Sir John Bagot was fined L15 for the escape of three felons who had been in his custody at Stafford Gaol, but his fine was remitted by the King. The story of their escape is told in detail in Vol. XVII of the Staffordshire Collections, and is very characteristic of the customs of the period. They had fled to sanctuary in St. Chad's church at Stafford, but the church had been blockaded and they had been starved out.

Sir John Bagot accompanied the King to France in his expedition of 1415, and it may be assumed that he was at Agincourt, for as a Knight of the King's Household he would be bound to follow the King both in peace and war.

His letters of protection which specify he was in comitiva Regis are dated the 31st May. The force was assembled in the neighorhood of Portsmouth in May, 1415, but was not embarked till the 11th of August; the battle of Agincourt was fought on the 25th of October. For the next four years the King was engaged in the subjugation of Normandy, and Sir John Bagot must have been with him.

In 1421 he was returned as one of the members for Staffordshire for the Parliament of that year, his colleague on this occasion being Richard Lone of the Hyde near Brewood, the ancestor of the present family of Lane of King's Bromley. In 1426 he served as Sheriff for the County for the second time.

Between the years 1414 and 1431 he occurs frequently as a party to law suits, but they contain nothing of interest. The Feudal Aid of Derbyshire of 1431 shows that John Bagot of Blyffeld, Kt., co. Stafford, held a freehold in Smerchull, co. Derby, which was held in socage and was worth 20s. annually. If Smerchll stands for Somershall, this entry points to some former connection with the FitzHerberts of Montgomerys.

The latest appearance of Sir John Bagot occurs in a deed at Blithfield, dated 12 H. VI. (1435), by which John Puleston conveys to him and his heirs all his right or claims to the lands of his father Alexander in co. Stafford. According to the Memorials of the Bagot Family, he died in the year 1437 and was buried at the Augustin Priory at Stafford. At this date he must have been over eighty years of age.

This Sir John Bagot added greatly to the patrimony of the family by his acquisition of the manor of Field in the Parish of Leigh, and by his purchase of the interests of the freeholders in Tunstall, Hayteley, now Heatley, and Attensale, now Yeatsale. How little of the Fee was held in demesne by the lords of it up to this date, may be seen by an inspection of the deeds at Blithfield, which show that during the fourteenth century upwards of 40 freeholders held lands within the manor. Tunstall was acquired from the families of Pulesdon and Hampton in the years 1431and 1432.


According to the 'Memorials' of the family and the Herald's Visitation of 1583, Sir John Bagot married Beatrice, the daughter of Sir John Villiers, by whom he had issue, an only son Richard, who succeeded him, and three daughters, viz., Marjory, ho married Henry Bradeburn, Joan married to John Curson of Kedlestone, and Elizabeth married to a Kniveton."

Notes and references

  1. ^ The plea rolls (known as the de banco rolls), recording proceedings in the Court of Common Pleas (earlier known as the Bench) later than those in the curia regis rolls, and including enrolments of some private deeds. -
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^


Offspring of Sir John Bagot of Blithfield and Littlehay and Beatrice de Villiers (c1372-)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Richard Bagot (c1389-)
Joan Bagot (c1394-)
Elizabeth Bagot (c1396-)
Margery Bagot (c1398-1437) 1398 England 1437 England Henry Bradbourne (c1394-)


Offspring of Ralph Bagot of Bromley and Blithfield and Elizabeth de Blithfield (c1345-)
Name Birth Death Joined with
John Bagot (c1368-1437) 1368 England 1437 England Beatrice de Villiers (c1372-)


Footnotes (including sources)



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