An update on Mistress Shore, John Agard and Thomas Lynom

It’s really exciting to come across more information about Mistress Shore. Of course, it’s nowhere near as exciting as finding the skeleton of a king but I’ve been delving into on-line Chancery cases as part of the research for the novel I’m writing at the moment.

An Elizabeth Lambard, gentlewoman, brought two cases for debt before John Brown, Mayor of the Staple of Westminster between March 1482 and March 1483.

The first case was against esquire John Bavantyne of Haseley in Oxfordshire for 500 marks, which was a lot of money back then.

The second case of debt was against Lady Margaret Clifford, the widow of John, Lord Clifford, and her son, Henry, for £100.

Assuming this is our Mistress Shore, then she reverted back to her maiden name and she was also wealthy enough to lend money.

The other cases of interest was John Agard, the brother-in-law of William Shore, Elizabeth’s divorced husband, bringing a case against, Thomas Lynom (and if you’ve read the novel, you’ll know who he is), for holding onto the deeds of a house and lands in Elmhurst, Staffordshire. Unfortunately, the date is not clear, either between 1486–93 or 1505–15.

John Agard was also a defendant in a case in 1504-15. It looks like William Fraunces of Little Chester married Agard’s daughter, Joan, and because she died (probably soon after the wedding), Agard did not pay her dowry.

I’ve done some sleuthing in the Victoria County History as a follow up on Haseley and Elmhurst but haven’t found anything else that is relevant.

Some readers may consider this rather dry stuff but all these bits and pieces are useful in fleshing out historical people, especially the lesser known ones. These Chancery cases get as close to the facts as is possible and are rather intriguing. It’s interesting to speculate why Bavantyne or Lady Clifford needed to borrow money off a king’s mistress.

John Agard is mentioned in William Shore’s will as his executor and he may have represented his business interests when William was overseas. Agard figured more in the original draft of Mistress to the Crown but the chapters on Elizabeth’s childhood and thirteen years of marriage to Shore needed to be cut. By the way, if anyone is interested in reading those, do let me know.

Historical fabrics

An earlier version of this list was handed out as part of my workshop Breathing Life into History, presented at the New York Conference of RWA in July 2003.

This is a very rough guide. The appearance or interpretation of some fabrics has varied over the centuries, e.g. fustian. Others, such as muslin, came in different varieties. Many fabrics were named after the place where they were first made. Names were also spelt in a variety of ways. Where a date is given, it refers to an early mention of that fabric being used in England.

Wool, the backbone of English prosperity in the Middle Ages, is not mentioned in the list as such, but many of the fabrics mentioned below were the result of experiments in combining wool with other natural fibres.

The information is garnered from:

  • The Coronation of Richard III by A.F. Sutton and P.W. Hammond (London: 1983)
  • Oxford English Dictionary
  • The Lisle Letters, ed. Muriel St Clare Byrne (London: Secker & Warburg, 1983)
  • Dictionary of English Costume by C. Willett Cunnington, Phyllis Cunnington and Charles Beard (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1960)
  • a visit to the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, UK

14th century

Attaby (later tabby) .. buttons, use of, 1340 .. cambric 1350 .. camelhair .. cameline 1400 .. candlewick .. flax .. fustian (coarse) 1200 .. gauze 1261 .. lawn .. linen .. perse .. ray .. satin .. silk 880 .. sparkles 1330 .. taffeta 1373 .. tissue 1366 .. twill 1329 .. velvet 1320

15th century

Baldekin .. branched velvet .. blanket .. broadcloth .. buckskin gloves .. buckram .. busk .. camlet .. canvas .. cendal .. cered cloth (waterproofed) .. champagne .. damask (italian) 1430 .. doeskin leather 1457 .. felt .. flannel .. frieze .. fustian .. holland .. imperial cloth .. kendal .. knitting .. mechlin (black cloth) .. muslin .. musterdevillers .. rennes .. russet .. samite .. sarsenet .. scarlet (wool) .. serge .. tartaryn .. ticking .. tissue .. watchet .. worsted

16th century

Baize .. bomabasine 1572 .. brocade .. calico (term from india) .. cypress .. flannel .. frisado .. jean .. lace (bobbin) .. linsey-woolsey .. lutestring (taffeta) 1661 .. manchester cottons .. net .. plush .. sackcloth .. spangles 1548 .. tinsel .. whalebone in garments

17th century

Atlas .. bengal .. bomabazine .. burlap .. chintz (term from india) .. cottons, indian .. crepe .. denim .. dimity .. holland linen .. knotting .. mohair .. morocco leather

18th century

Bombazet .. buckskin leather breeches .. chenille .. corduroy 1774 .. doeskin fabric 1710 .. genoa velvet .. gingham .. lutestring (silken) .. mechlin lace .. nankeen .. pompadour .. quilting .. seersucker (term from india) .. swansdown .. stockingnette .. tulle .. by 1800, printed cottons were being manufactured in Britain

19th century

Alpaca .. angora .. bedford cord .. brocatelle .. byzantine .. cashmere .. chambray 1814 clementine .. chiffon .. crepe de chine .. elastic (india rubber) .. flannelette 1876 .. duck .. gabardine 1879 .. gingham (chequered) .. imperial velvet .. jersey .. kersey .. lustre .. madras (muslin) .. merino (early 19th) .. mirror velvet .. mousselaine .. muscovite .. organdy .. peau de soie .. pekin .. percale .. petersham ribbon 1848 .. polkadot pattern, use of .. radzimir 1849 .. satteen 1838 .. shantung .. tarlatan .. tricot .. tweed .. voile