John Talbot, 2nd Earl of Shrewsbury

TALBOT, JOHN, second Earl of Shrewsbury (1413?–1460), was son of John Talbot, first earl [q. v.], by his first wife, Maud Neville. He is described as upwards of forty years of age at his father’s death in 1453 (Hunter, p. 65). According to Dugdale (i. 330), who refers to the register of Worksop Priory, he was the second son. The contemporary Henry of Marlborough [q. v.] in his ‘Chronicle of Ireland’ (ed. Dublin, 1809, p. 26) records the birth at Finglas, near Dublin, on 19 June 1416, of a supposed elder brother, Thomas, who died on 10 Aug. following.

Talbot was knighted, with thirty-five other young gentlemen, by the child-king Henry VI, on Whitsunday, 19 May 1426, at Leicester, where the ‘parliament of Bats’ was sitting (Leland, Collectanea, ii. 490). He served in France in 1434 and 1442, and on 12 Aug. 1446 was appointed chancellor of Ireland (Dugdale; Doyle, iii. 312; Rot. Parl. v. 166 gives the date 2 Sept.). On his father’s death at Castillon on 17 July 1453, Talbot succeeded to his earldom, but signs himself Talbot in the minutes of the privy council, in which he appears occasionally from 15 March 1454 (Ordinances of Privy Council, vi. 167). The Duke of York on becoming protector immediately afterwards placed him (3 April 1454), though a partisan of the Lancastrian dynasty, on a commission appointed to guard the sea (Rot. Parl. v. 244). He resigned with his colleagues on 30 July 1455, shortly after the battle of St. Albans, in which he was not engaged, though on his way to join the king (ib. v. 283; Paston Letters, i. 333). When Queen Margaret dismissed the Yorkist Viscount Bourchier from the office of treasurer of England on 5 Oct. 1456, Shrewsbury took his place (Doyle). He was also made knight of the Garter (May 1457) and deputy of the order, as well as master of the falcons (20 Oct. 1457) and chief butler of England (6 May 1458). He had to resign the treasury to a more prominent Lancastrian partisan, the Earl of Wiltshire, on 30 Oct. 1458 (Ord. Privy Council, vi. 297), but was consoled with the chief-justiceship of Chester (24 Feb. 1459) and a pension out of the forfeited Wakefield lands of the Duke of York (19 Dec.). But he did not enjoy these grants long, being slain with his younger brother, Christopher, fighting on the king’s side in the battle of Northampton on 10 July 1460. He was buried (with his mother) in the priory at Worksop. His curious epitaph (not contemporary), with some Latin verses, is printed in Dugdale. His will, made at Sheffield, bears date 8 Sept. 1446 (Testamenta Eboracensia, ii. 252).

Shrewsbury was twice married. His first wife was Catherine (b. 1406?), daughter and coheir of Sir Edward Burnell, son and heir-apparent (d. before 1416) of Hugh, lord Burnell of Acton Burnell, Shropshire (d. 1420), and widow of Sir John Ratcliffe (d. 1441). By her he had no issue. Some hold that there was only a contract of marriage (Hunter, p. 65). He married, secondly, before 1448, Elizabeth, daughter of James Butler, fourth earl of Ormonde, by whom he had five sons and two daughters. The sons were (1) John (b. 12 Dec. 1448), who succeeded him as third earl [see under Talbot, George, fourth Earl]; (2) Sir James Talbot (d. 1 Sept. 1471); (3) Sir Gilbert Talbot of Grafton, Worcestershire, knight of the Garter and captain of Calais under Henry VII, who is said to have sent him on a mission to Rome; he died on 19 Sept. 1517, and was buried at Whitchurch, where he founded a chantry (Leland, Itinerary, vii. 9); his descendants have held the earldom of Shrewsbury since the death of the eighth earl in 1618; (4) Christopher, rector of Whitchurch and archdeacon of Chester (1486); (5) George (Dugdale, i. 331, but Leland calls him Humphrey). The daughters were (1) Anne, who married Sir Henry Vernon of Haddon in Derbyshire, and Tonge, near Shifnal; (2) Margaret, who married Thomas Chaworth, son and heir of Sir William Chaworth of Derbyshire. His widow died on 8 Sept. 1473.

[Rotuli Parliamentorum; Rymer’s Fœdera, original edition; Ordinances of the Privy Council, ed. Nicolas; Testamenta Eboracensia, Surtees Society; Leland’s Itinerary and Collectanea, ed. Hearne; Paston Letters, ed. Gairdner; Dugdale’s Baronage; G. E. C[okayne]’s Complete Peerage; Doyle’s Official Baronage; Hunter’s Hallamshire.]

Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 55
Talbot, John (1413?-1460) by James Tait

Image Credit

Sir John Talbot, 2nd Earl of Shrewsbury, KG HOPE, W. H. St. John, The Stall Plates of the Knights of the Order of the Garter 1348 – 1485: A Series of Ninety Full-Sized Coloured Facsimiles with Descriptive Notes and Historical Introductions, Westminster: Archibald Constable and Company LTD, 1901. “ Sir John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury and Waterford, K.G. 1424-1453… the shield of arms, which is quarterly: 1, azure a lion and a bordure gold (for Talbot); 2, gules a lion and a bordure engrailed gold (for Talbot); 3, silver two lions passant gules (for Strange); 4, silver a bend and six martlets gules (for Furnivall)… ” Talbot’s stall plate remains intact within the twenty-second stall, on the Prince’s side of the chapel. By Rs-nourse. Source, Wikipedia. CC BY-SA 3.0

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