Sir Griffith Vaughan

Sir Griffith Vaughan (Vychan) was a Welsh Burgess who lived until 1447. Legend has it that Vaughan was one of the Welshmen who saved the life of King Henry V during the Battle of Agincourt, though the remaining records do nothing to confirm or deny the reality of this legend. 

The earliest extant record of the life of Sir Griffith Vaughan is from 1417, when he was one of the men who captured the lollard Sir John Oldcastle. This action resulted in a large reward being granted to Lord Powys, under whom Sir Griffith served. With Lord Powys dying before the reward had been paid, he is thought to have received a share. Vaughan was certainly the recipient of Royal favour in the years that followed, being in the presence of the King and Duke at Shrewsbury in March 1420 where the satisfaction of the men involved in Oldcastle’s capture was formalised.

Sir Griffith then spent time in France under the patronage of Duke Humphrey. He gained promotions and is believed to have taken a leading role in the arrangements for the return of the body of Sir john Grey following his death in France in 1421.

Vaughan later became a fugitive, being outlawed as a result of him causing the death of his master, Sir Christopher Talbot, in 1443. The death took place in a joust, in which Vaughan killed Sir Christopher through piercing Talbot’s heart with his lance. It was deemed not to be an accidental death and Vaughan was Outlawed with a reward of 500 marks being offered for his capture.

Sir Henry Grey, son of Sir John Grey whose remains Sir Griffith had returned to Wales, enticed Vaughan to his castle in Powys under a Safe Conduct. Vaughan, however, had been tricked. Sir Henry Grey had Sir Griffith Vaughan summarily executed and claimed the reward for his capture and the meting out of justice. It was an act of deceit that is recorded in several poems.

Further Reading

Dictionary of Welsh Biography

Wikipedia, which explores the question of whether Vaughan was a Banneret at Agincourt.

Gwaith Lewis Glyn Cothi: The Poetical Works of Lewis Glyn Cothi. [Page 420]

Sir Griffith Vaughan (Vychan), biography from the Dictionary of National Biography

Note: the Dictionary of National Biography is Public Domain in the United Kingdom. See the Dictionary of Welsh Biography, above, for a more recent Biography.

VAUGHAN or VYCHAN, Sir GRIFFITH (d. 1447), soldier, was son of Griffith ap Ieuan and his wife Maud. The father was implicated in Glendower’s rebellion in 1403 and defended Caus Castle for some time against Henry IV’s forces; his deeds of valour were celebrated in a poem by Lewys Glyn Cothi (Gwaith, 1837, pp. 423–5). The son, who in 1406 was styled Sir Griffith (Vaughan or Vychan, meaning simply ‘the younger’), was apparently not involved in the rebellion; he figured on the roll of burgesses in Welshpool in that year, and inherited lands in Burgedin, Treflydau, Garth, Maesmawr, and elsewhere. He accompanied Henry V to France, and fought at Agincourt on 25 Oct. 1415, when he was made a knight-banneret (College of Arms MSS., Prothero, vii. 186, 195, and E. 6, 99). Towards the end of 1417 Sir Griffith and his brother, Ieuan ap Griffith, made themselves notorious by capturing on their ancestral estate at Broniarth Sir John Oldcastle the lollard, upon whose head a price had been set. Various privileges were granted them for this act by a charter from Edward de Charlton, lord of Powys [q. v.], dated 6 July 1419, and still preserved at Garth (‘A Powysian at Agincourt’ in Montgomery Collections, ii. 139). No further notice of Sir Griffith occurs until 1447, when he seems to have given offence to the queen, Margaret of Anjou. He was denounced by proclamation as an open rebel, and five hundred marks were offered for his capture. This was effected by Henry de Grey, lord of Powys, who summoned Sir Griffith to the castle of Pool, and gave what Sir Griffith considered a ‘safe-conduct.’ Immediately on his arrival within the court-yard he was beheaded ‘without judge or jury.’ This event, which took place about April 1447, was the occasion of poetical laments by Lewys Glyn Cothi and David Lloyd of Mathavarn (Gwaith Lewys Glyn Cothi, Oxford, 1837, pp. 418–22; Montgomery Collections, i. 335–6, vi. 92–5). On 20 July 1447 a treasury warrant was issued for the payment of the five hundred marks to Grey (Trevelyan Papers, Camden Soc. pp. 32, 36). The deed has been attributed to jealousy on Grey’s part because Sir Griffith was descended from the ancient princes of Powys, and had probably laid claim to some of Grey’s lands.

Sir Griffith married Margaret, daughter and coheir of Griffith ap Jenkin of Broughton, by whom he had issue three sons and three daughters. The eldest son was David Lloyd of Leighton, ancestor of the Lloyds of Marrington, Marton, and Stockton; the second, Cadwalader, was ancestor of the Lloyds of Maesmawr; and the third, Reginald, was ancestor of the Wynnes of Garth and of the Lloyds of Broniarth and Gaervawr (Sheriffs of Montgomery, pp. 1–7, 376–425, 528–9; Pedigrees of Montgomery Families, 1888, pp. 16–18, 52, 126, 153).

[Authorities cited; College of Arms, Prothero, vii. 186, 195, and E. 6, 99; Visitation of England and Wales, iii. 1; Armorial Families, pp. 512–15; Dwnn’s Visitations, i. 279, 328; Burke’s Landed Gentry, s.v. ‘Lloyd of Stockton Manor;’ documents kindly lent by Henry Crampton Lloyd, esq., of Stockton Manor; Chirbury, Shropshire.]

Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 58
Vaughan, Griffith by Albert Frederick Pollard

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