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.

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