Richard Fitzalan, 10th Earl of Arundel


Son of  Edmund Fitzalan, 9th Earl of Arundel and Alice de Warenne,  father of Alice Fitzalan and husband of Eleanor of Lancaster

Richard was also the eighth earl of Surrey born c.1313 soldier, diplomat, and royal councillor, known as ‘Copped Hat’.

On 9th February 1321, in the chapel of the king's manor at Havering atte Bower, he married Isabella, daughter of Earl Edmund's political ally Hugh Despenser the younger; they were later said to have been aged seven and eight respectively. When his father was summarily executed, and subsequently condemned as a traitor, during the revolution which overthrew Edward II and the Despensers in 1326–7, Fitzalan was disinherited and he eventually fled the country. Following the execution of Roger (V) Mortimer in October 1330 he returned to England and petitioned Edward III for his father's titles and lands, many of which (including the earldom and castle of Arundel) were restored to him in the parliament of 1331, and others during the next few years. He was, however, forbidden in 1331 to wage a private war of revenge for his father's death against John Charlton of Powys, and not until 1343, when Charlton promised to found a chantry in memory of Earl Edmund at Haughmond Abbey, was their dispute resolved. He and the king were almost exact contemporaries, and from this time onwards he remained a loyal and trusted royal servant until his death.

Arundel served Edward III chiefly in four capacities: as war captain, diplomat, counsellor, and moneylender. As a war captain he took part in the campaigns to Scotland of 1333, 1335, 1336, 1338 (when he and the earl of Salisbury, as joint commanders, failed to take Dunbar), and 1342 (when he and the earl of Huntingdon were appointed wardens of the Scottish march), and in those to the continent of 1340 (he was at the naval battle off Sluys), 1345, 1346–7 (when he commanded the 2nd division of the English army at Crécy, and was subsequently with the king at the siege of Calais), and 1359–60; he was also with the king at the naval battle off Winchelsea in 1350, and promised in 1355 to go to the aid of the Black Prince should it prove necessary, which in the event it did not.

Arundel's diplomatic service began in earnest in July 1343, when he was sent on an embassy to Avignon; in March 1344 he and the earl of Derby were appointed as lieutenants of Aquitaine with power to reform the administration there, and simultaneously as plenipotentiaries to the kings of Castile, Portugal, and Aragon; following this latter embassy Earl Richard and Eleanor Beaumont, soon to become his second wife, also undertook a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. In 1350 he was again sent to Avignon, and in 1353, when a major effort was being made to end the war, he twice went to Calais as one of the chief English negotiators with the French. In the winter of 1354–5 he accompanied the Duke of Lancaster to Avignon once more. He was also commissioned, in 1351, 1354, and 1357, to negotiate with the Scots for the ransom and release of their king, David II. He was constantly involved in the protracted negotiations of 1358–60, being appointed as the king's plenipotentiary to Wenzel, Duke of Luxembourg, in May 1358, travelling to Calais again in August 1359 to negotiate the release of the French king, and attending the formal ratification of the treaty of Brétigny at Calais in November 1360. In 1362 he was one of the commissioners to try to effect a settlement of the Breton civil war, and in 1365 he was one of the English negotiators of the treaty with the Scots.

When not abroad on the king's business, Arundel held a succession of great offices and commissions in England: justice of north Wales during pleasure from 1334, and for life from 1337; councillor to the seven-year-old Black Prince; keeper of the realm in the king's absence, from 1338 to 1340; commissioner to investigate the financial affairs of William de la Pole in July 1340, and, in December of the same year, to examine the misdeeds of the king's ministers following Edward's sudden return from abroad; and admiral of the north and west in 1340, and again from 1345 to 1347. In July 1355 he was appointed one of the guardians of England during the king's absence in France. There are numerous references to his membership of the royal council from the late 1330s onwards: in 1344 he was granted permission to lodge at St Mary's Priory, Southwark, because he ‘will have to come to London very frequently to treat of various matters for the king’ (CPR, 1343–5, 189) and, taking Edward III's reign as a whole, he witnessed more royal charters than any other lay magnate in the kingdom. Yet Earl Richard was not a man to buckle under pressure from the king: witness his behaviour in the parliament of April 1341, when he and the Earl of Surrey famously courted Edward's wrath by speaking up on behalf of John Stratford, the embattled archbishop of Canterbury. He was also described in 1347 as a member of the Black Prince's council, and in 1359 was appointed as one of the prince's general attorneys. He acted as feoffee for both Henry, duke of Lancaster, and John of Gaunt, and as attorney for Wilhelm, duke of Bavaria, in 1361.

For his services to both the king and his fellow peers Arundel was well rewarded. The first and most significant favour which he received from Edward III was his restoration in 1330–31, but this was soon followed by others: in 1336 he surrendered to the king his hereditary claim to the stewardship of Scotland, which was derived from his descent from Alan fitz Flaald, steward of Scotland in the early twelfth century, receiving 1000 marks from the issues of north Wales in return; in 1338 he was granted the franchise of return of writs and the sheriff's tourn in the hundreds which he held in Sussex, and in 1340 this was augmented to include the sheriff's aid. In 1345 he was granted the shrievalty of Shropshire for life, and in 1346 his right to inherit a substantial part of the estate of the childless John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, was, despite strong competition, confirmed by the king. Following Warenne's death in the following year he leased these lands from Warenne's widow (his own aunt), Joan de Bar, for £900 per annum, eventually succeeding to the title of Earl of Surrey after her death in 1361. In 1365 the Black Prince granted him ‘and his heirs for ever’ £400 in rent from his lands in Chester. As a consequence Arundel grew extraordinarily wealthy, as evidenced by his activities as a moneylender: between 1338 and 1374 he lent a total of some £70,000 to the crown, usually in the form of short-term credit to finance military campaigns; before 1360 no individual loan totalled more than £3000, but following the renewal of the war in 1369 he lent greater sums, the largest being £20,000 in the summer of 1370. He also made sizeable loans to his fellow magnates such as the Black Prince and John of Gaunt, and to lesser individuals or syndicates, mainly in Sussex and Shropshire, where his major landholdings were situated. Documents from his private archives suggest that by the later years of his life his disposable wealth amounted to over £70,000; at his death in January 1376 he left over £60,000 in cash alone, half of which was in ‘the high tower of Arundel Castle’ (BL, Harley MS 4840, fol. 393). The main sources of Arundel's wealth were probably threefold: his large estates in Sussex and Shropshire, efficiently and enterprisingly managed, especially for wool production; capital investment on a large scale with merchants such as the Bardi and the Londoner John Philipot; and the profits of influence and credit—unquantifiable as these are, for interest as such does not usually appear to have been paid on his loans.

But if interest was not paid, Arundel reaped the reward for his loans in the form of political support from the crown. Between 1363 and 1367, when he was involved in a bitter dispute with William Lynne, Bishop of Chichester, Edward III backed him to the hilt, seizing the bishop's temporalities and forcing Lynne first to flee to Avignon to seek help, and eventually to make a humiliating submission. Edward also supported him in the tricky matter of his divorce from his first wife and marriage to his second, Eleanor of Lancaster, who died in 1372 at Arundel, the daughter of Henry, third Earl of Lancaster and Maud Chaworth; Henry was the son of Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl of Lancaster and Blanche of Artois; Edmund was the son of King Henry 111 and Eleanor of Provence. Eleanor of Lancaster was the widow of John, Lord Beaumont. Arundel's marriage to Isabella had been contracted largely to cement the political alliance between Despenser and Richard's father, Earl Edmund. By 1344, however, the attractions of an alliance with the Despenser family had become less obvious, and, notwithstanding that a son (Edmund, now aged seventeen) and two daughters had been born of the marriage, Arundel petitioned the Pope for an annulment on the grounds that the couple had never consented to the marriage but had been ‘forced by blows to cohabit’. Despite the implausibility of this argument and the consequences for the children, Edward III supported the petition, the Pope complied, and in March 1345 the marriage which Arundel had already contracted with Eleanor, in the presence of the king and queen at Ditton on 5th February, was declared valid. Isabella was given five manors in Essex, while Edmund was bastardized and, despite his persistent protests, disinherited, dying in obscurity.

Arundel's children with his new wife, Eleanor, were:

Richard Fitzalan born in 1346 in Arundel Castle, Sussex, England, he succeeded Richard as 11th Earl of Arundel. He married, firstly, Elizabeth de Bohun, daughter of William de Bohun, 1st Earl of Northampton and Elizabeth de Badlesmere - a contract for the marriage to Elizabeth de Bohun was signed on 28 September 1359, by Papal dispensation. Elizabeth was born c. 1350 and died on 3rd April 1385. Richard then married, secondly, Philippa de Mortimer, daughter of Edmund de Mortimer, 3rd Earl of March and Philippa Plantagenet, Countess of Ulster, on 15th August 1390, without Royal license , for which he was fined 500 marks.

Richard and Elizabeth de Bohun had the following children:

Elizabeth Fitzalan born. c 1374 and died on 8th July 1425

Joan Fitzalan born in.1375 and died on 14th November 1435

Margaret Fitzalan born c.1375

Sir Thomas Fitzalan, 12th Earl of Arundel  born on 13th October 1381 and died on 13th October 1415

Alice Fitzalan born c.1382, and died c.1415. She married John, 4th Lord Cherleton

Sir Richard succeeded to the title of Earl of Surrey on 24th January 1375/76. He succeeded to the title of 11th Earl of Arundel on 24th January 1375/76. He held the office of Admiral of the West and South in 1377. He was invested as a Knight, Order of the Garter (K.G.) in 1386 He also held the office of Admiral of England in 1386. He fought in the Battle off Margate on 24th March 1387, where he achieved a brilliant naval victory over the allied French, Spanish and Flemish fleets. In 1388 he took an active part against the King, along with the Duke of Gloucester, who had the King in his power. He held the office of Governor of Brest in 1388. In 1394 he obtained a pardon for all political offenses. On 12th July 1397 he was treacherously seized, and tried at Westminster. He was beheaded on 21st September 1397 in Cheapside, London and buried in the Church of the Augustin Friars, Bread Street, London, All of his honours were forfeited


Richard had one son with Philippa de Mortimer


John Fitzalan born 1394 and died in 1397

John Fitzalan 1st Baron Maltravers, married Eleanor Maltravers, daughter of Sir John Maltravers, and went on to be Marshall of England. He drowned in 1379

Thomas Arundel  became bishop of Ely in 1373, despite being only twenty at the time, and eventually Archbishop of Canterbury

Joan Fitzalan who married Humphrey de Bohun, heir to the earldoms of Hereford, Essex and Northampton

Alice Fitzalan born 17th March 1352  and married in 1365 Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent.

Richard died, after his wife's death in 1372in 1376 and left approximately £70,000 in moveable goods, and estates worth approximately £4500 per annum

Both Richard and Eleanor was buried at Lewes Priory in Lewes, Sussex.  In his will Richard requests to be buried "near to the tomb of Eleanor de Lancaster, my wife; and I desire that my tomb be no higher than hers, that no men at arms, horses, hearse, or other pomp, be used at my funeral, but only five was about the corpse of my wife, be allowed."


CPR · CClR · Calendar of the fine rolls, 22 vols., PRO (1911–62) · Calendar of the charter rolls, 6 vols., PRO (1903–27) · RotP · C. Given-Wilson, ‘Wealth and credit, public and private: the earls of Arundel, 1306–1397’, EngHR, 106 (1991), 1–26 · C. Given-Wilson, ‘The bishop of Chichester [William Lynne] and the second statute of praemunire, 1365’, Historical Research, 63 (1990), 128–42 · PRO · BL · Arundel Castle archives, West Sussex · Shrops. RRC · Shrewsbury Borough Library · B. Wilkinson, ‘The protest of the earls of Arundel and Surrey in the crisis of 1341’, EngHR, 46 (1931), 177–93 · CEPR letters, vol. 3 · GEC, Peerage


Arundel Castle, West Sussex, family muniments MSS · BL |  Shrewsbury Borough Library · Shrops. RRC, Acton of Aldenham collection; Powys collection


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