4th Earl of Salisbury (1409-1428)
Earl of Perche (1419-1428)
Born 1388 Died 1428
Thomas de Montacute, was son of John, the third earl, who was executed in 1400 as a supporter of Richard II. Thomas was granted part of his father's estates and summoned to parliament in 1409, though not fully restored till 1421. He was present throughout the campaign of Agincourt in 1415, and at the naval engagement before Harfleur in 1416. In the expedition of 1417-18 he served with increasing distinction, and especially at the siege of Rouen. During the spring of 1419 he held an independent command, capturing Fe'camp, Honfleur and other towns, was appointed Lieutenant-General of Normandy, and created Earl of Perche. In 1420 he was in chief command in Maine, and defeated the Marechal de Rieux near Le Mans.
When Henry V went home next year Salisbury remained in France as the chief lieutenant of Thomas, Duke of Clarence. The duke, through his own rashness, was defeated at Bauge on the 21st of March 1421. Salisbury came up with the archers too late to retrieve the day, but recovered the bodies of the dead, and by a skilful retreat averted further disaster. He soon gathered a fresh force, and in June was able to report to the king "this part of your land stood in good plight never so well as now". (Foedera, x. 131).
Salisbury's success in Maine marked him out as John of Bedford's chief lieutenant in the war after Henry's death. In 1423 he was appointed Governor of Champagne, and by his dash and vigour secured one of the chief victories of the war at Cravant on the 30th of July. Subsequent operations completed the conquest of Champagne, and left Salisbury free to join Bedford at Verneuil. There on the 17th of August, 1424, it was his judgment and valour that won the day.
During the next three years Salisbury was employed on the Norman border and in Maine. After a year's visit to England he returned to the chief command in the field in July, 1428. Against the judgment of Bedford he determined to make Orleans his principal objective, and began the siege on the 12th of October. Prosecuting it with his wonted vigour he stormed Tourelles, the castle which protected the southern end of the bridge across the Loire, on the 24th of October. Three days later whilst surveying the city from a window in Tourelles he was wounded by a cannon-shot, and died on the 3rd of November 1428.
Salisbury was the most skilful soldier on the English side after the death of Henry V. Though employed on diplomatic missions both by Henry V and Bedford, he took no part in politics save for a momentary support of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, during his visit to England in 1427-1428. He was a patron of John Lydgate, who presented to him his book The Pilgrim (now Harley MS. 4826, with a miniature of Salisbury, engraved in Strutt's Regal Antiquities).
By his first wife Eleanor Holand, daughter of Thomas, Earl of Kent, Salisbury had an only daughter Alice, in her right Earl of Salisbury, who married Richard Neville, and was mother of Warwick the Kingmaker. His second wife Alice was grand-daughter of Geoffrey Chaucer, and after his death married William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk.
The chief accounts of Salisbury's campaigns are to be found in the Gesta Henrici Quinti, edited by B. Williams for the Eng. Hist. Soc. (London, 1850) in the Vita Henrici Quinti (erroneously attributed to Thomas of Elmham), edited by T. Hearne (Oxford, 1727); the Chronique of E. de Monstrelet, edited by L. D. d'Arcq (Paris, 1857-1862) ; the Chroniques of Jehan de Waurin, edited by W. and E. L. C. P. Hardy (London, 1864-1891); and the Chronique de la Pucelle of G. Cousinot, edited by Vallet de Viriville (Paris, 1859). For modern accounts see Sir J. H. Ramsay, Lancaster and York (Oxford, 1892); and C. Oman, Political History of England, 1377-1485 (London, 1906). (C. L. K.)
Being the entry for SALISBURY, THOMAS DE MONTACUTE, 4TH EARL OF in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the text of which lies within the public domain.