Little Wit, 1374

17th July 2017

The Guernsey garrison of men-at-arms and archers in 1374, a time of fear. From a transcript in the Library collection of an original document [Royal Court Library, Records and Documents, III 248.]. In August 1373, Bertrand de Guesclin attacked the islands, occupying part of Gorey Castle in Jersey and causing destruction in Guernsey and Sark; the islands had only recently recovered after a previous French invasion led by Owen of Wales.


Ceaux sont les [noms] de lez gagers q furent ovesqz [avec] Mons Will. Asthorp¹ at ix jour du Mar taunqz a saint Joh Baptiste.

Estephn Marchaunt [Etienne Marchant]
Peres Gayllard [Piers Gaillard]
Joh. Helion [John Hillion]
Ric. Girnasshm [Richard Carnachan?]
Joh. Beauchamp
Thom. Le Chastell
Richd Bury
Mich. Fefere [Michel [Le] Febvre]
Oliver Fefer [Oliver [Le] Febvre]
Peres le Gai [Piers Le Geyt]
Ric. Moulins
Will. Coffyn [William Coffin]
Ric. Stanwell


Joh. Berhm
Nic. Forde
Rad. Pipe [Raoul/Ralph Pipe]
Joh. Conduyt
Joh. Ysyle [John Isore?]
Regd Chamb’layn
Dicon Whytacre
Rich. St Marreys [Richard Sausmarez]
Thoma. Blundell [Thomas Blondel?]
Ric. Hakelet [Richard Hakluyt]
Henr. Picard
Thom. Verdon
Joh. Cheyne
Rog. Bertonn [Roger Burton]
Joh. Shrovelsbey


Allex. Coquet
Joh. Couc. [John Cook]
Adene Dyevis [Aden Davies]
Joh. Baker
Will. Denny [William Dennys]
Joh. Chamb’layn
Lewys Walshman
Joh. Gradelegh
Litel Witte
Ph. Paluse
Thom. Danyel
Peres Blondel
Rob. Adam
Joh. Chyryngton [John Cherrington]
Joh. De Molyns


Adme Juadisme [Adam Jouaquin? Jouade?]
Joh. Stok
Joh. Wermiden [John Verdon?]
Joh. Sn. Kit
Thom. Kene
Stefn. Mason
Will. B’gays [Bourgaize]
Will. Tayllor
Will. Tydeman
Robert Churchley
Thom. Bygod [Thomas Le Bigot]
Jurdon Brigeard [Jordan Brigeard]
Henkyn Corwas
Thom. Guysburgh

Ceaux sont les mouns des homes darmes et arbalesters esteantz ov ovesqz Monsr William de Asthorp sr la suvegrade des Chastel Cornet et Tor de Beauregard en G’neseye du vij jour de Fevrier l’an de nre Sr le Roy xlviij tanq an xxiiij jor de Maij proschein ensuant.

Here follow first 15 names on list – Gentz darmes

Here follow first 15 names on list – Arbalisters

Ceaux sont les nouns ds homes darmes et arbalesters esteantz ovesqz le dit Mons William sr la sauvegarde des ditz chastel et tour de l’avant dit xxiiij jor de Maij le dit an xlviij tanq a la feste de la nativite de Saint Johan proschein ensuant.

Here follow the same 30 names on list .. Gents d’armes

Here follow the same 30 names on list .. Arbalisters

1376 28 May. Westminster  Inq. A. O. D. File 389,  125.

Writ, Westminster, 28 May, 50 Edward III (1376), following petition by the burgesses of Tenby requesting a grant of the privilege that they should be quit from toll throughout England, Ireland and Wales, as the burgesses of Pembroke, Haverfordwest, Carmarthen are,  in respect of which they now suffer seriously.

Inquisition, before Thomas de Castro, steward and sheriff of Pembroke, Tuesday next after Feast of Apostles Peter and Paul, 50 Edward III.  

Jurors:  Mathie Wougan,  William Malesium, Richard Wyriot,  Peter Perot,  John Scarloge,  Thomas Perot, William Benger,  Phillip Estenere,  John Lucas,  Laurence Bromhulle,  Philip Percivall, and William Whyte.  

By another mandate, dated Westminster, April 22, 1373, addressed 'To all and singular the viscounts, mayors, bailiffs, ministers, and other lieges, in whatever towns and ports between Southampton and Plymouth;' the king having 'appointed William de Asthorpe, knight, (chivaler,) governor of the islands of Guernsey, Jersey, &c,, and John Coke, esquire, (armigerum,) to go to the aforesaid islands with as much speed as possible, for their preservation and defence,' most strictly enjoins and commands the said viscounts, &c., 'to supply the same William and John with the utmost celerity, and at their own cost, with such barges (bargeas) or other vessels beneath the burden of twenty casks, or tons, (infra portagium viginti doliorum,) as may be sufficient and necessary for the passage of themselves, their men and horses, their victuals and harness, (hernesiorum,) and to be ready to answer their requirements. Provided always that no barges, or vessels, or other ships appointed for the conveyance of John, king of Castile and Leon, (Johannis Regis Castellae et Legionis,) or any other lords, shall be taken away under colour of these presents' for the purpose aforesaid.

¹,² See Havet, Julien, 'Série chronologique des gardiens et seigneurs des îles normandes (1198-1461),' Bibliothèque de l'école des chartes, 1876 (37) I, pp. 183-237:

William d'Asthorp, (Asthorpe, Apthorpe or Hasthorp). Lieutenant to Walter Huwet, 1367-73; Warden of the Isles, 1373; Warden of Guernsey and the Minor islands, 1373-. [Sherriff of Dorset in the 1380s, when he was imprisoned in the Fleet for embezzlement.] This man was one of the two lieutenants appointed by Walter Huwet in 1367 [Huwet spent most of his time in Brittany.] On the 12 November 1368 he is referred to as such. On the 16th of the same month, he was summonsed to the King's Bench for having negligently failed to pursue a bailiff of Jersey who had been accused of murder; Asthorp's case was sent before a special commission. Huwet died in early 1373 and Asthorp was appointed Warden in his place, and the King set about finding the means to get him to the islands [22 April 1373, and see above.] In these legal documents he is referred to as 'chevalier.' Although this appointment was meant to last for nine years, it was revoked after a few months, and the government of the islands was split; on the 20 November 1373, Edmund Rose received the Wardenship of Jersey, while Asthorp became Warden of Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm, on the 21st December, but only for as long as it pleased the King [quamdiu Regi placuerit], and on condition he accounted for his income and expenses, which were to be checked by an official Receiver. [Havet suspected] that he remained in post until the appointment of Thomas de Beauchamp as Warden on 12 August 1374.

John Coke. Lieutenant to Walter Huwet, 1367-73; Deputy to Asthorpe, 1373-. One of two lieutenants appointed by Walter Huwet in 1367, mentioned in conjunction with William Asthorp in 1368. He was sent before the same special commission as Asthorp, for complicity in the murder Asthorp had only failed to investigate. On 15 December 1370 and again on 10 December 1371 he was designated Huwet's lieutenant in Guernsey. On the 22 April 1373, Coke is mentioned as having been deputy to the chevalier William Asthorp, Warden of the Isles, having previously served as lieutenant with him.

Thornton, Tim, The Channel Islands, 1370-1640: between England and Normandy, Woodbridge: Boydell, 2012, pp. 12-13, gives the background to this turbulent time in the island's history, with detailed notes, mentioning the garrison schedule of accounts given above on p. 15. The period 1372-3 is discussed only briefly in Graham's At their majesties' serviceSark: Gateway Publishing Ltd, 2015. See Nicolle, E T, Mont Orgeuil Castle in history, 1921.