As part of my research for the novel Hell has its Demons, I have been doing some further research on the English Royal Family in 1376, and in particular the Black Prince. I have just added a page Key Retainers of the Black Prince in 1376.
Hell has its Demons features a plot against the life of the Black Prince and his son Richard of Bordeaux (the future Richard II), so gaining more knowledge of the Prince’s household is a key part of the research process for me!
Berkhamsted Castle was the main residence outside London of Edward of Woodstock, the Black Prince. The castle was part of the lands of the Earl of Cornwall. In it’s day it was an impressive fortification, with two moats and two walls, plus a motte and tower. Now unfortunately due to the 16th building craze most of the walls are quite diminished, but it is still an atmospheric site
Just a quick update on what I have been doing recently on my novel.
At the moment I am “just” doing research for my novel. This means I am reading a lot of books, making notes etc. The book I am reading at the moment is The Lancastrian Affinity 1361-1399 by Simon Walker. It describes in a lot of detail the retinue of John of Gaunt, son of Edward III and also Duke of Lancaster. After the death of the Black Prince, he was the most important noble in England, an important military commander and diplomat. Thus he also had the largest retinue in the land except for the King.
One thinks of English armies of the Hundred Years War as being professional volunteer armies hired for money, but the Duke still had the right to effectively press-gang soldiers via a commission of array, and he did this in Lancashire and Yorkshire to fill the ranks in campaigns such as the ill-fated expedition of 1373. The 300 archers raised were accompanied by men of Gaunt’s retinue on their way to the ships so that they didn’t try to escape. Some even paid money so they didn’t have to serve!