Argentein documents: 15th century


Monument of John Hervey, at Thurleigh, c.1410

At the corners of the monument were four shields.Only the second (Parlys) now survives, but all four were recorded in College of Arms, MS P.16.102 ('Phil[i]pot's Stemma Varia'), labelled 'In Lapide Johis Harvy'. The arms are:
1. [upper left] 'John Hervy': Gules on a bend Argent three trefoils slipped Vert.
2. [upper right] 'R. Parlys': Per pale indented Or and Azure
3. [lower left] 'Dengaynes' Azure a fess dancetty between 6 escallops Ar
4. [lower right] 'John Hervy': (repeated)

Will of Margery, the widow of William Argentein, 1427

In Dei nomine Amen. Vicesimo sexto die mensis Aprilis anno Domini millesimo ccccmo xxvij ego Margeria Argentein compos mentis et in bona memoria existens condo meum testamentum in hunc modum.
In primis commendo et lego animam meam Deo omnipotento, Beatae Marie Virgini gloriose et omnibus sanctis et corpus meum sepeliendum in ecclesia monialium domus de Elnestowe in comitatu Bedford'.
Item lego ad commodum et proficuum eiusdem domus monialium ad tenendum annuatim imperpetuum meum anniversarium diem ibidem ut in dicendo pro me Placebo et Dirige cum missa de Requiem sicut moris est viginti marcas et v marcas ad distribuendum pauperibus magis egenis illuc advenientibus eodem die, videlicet quolibet anno vj s. viij d. dum modo eadem summa duraverit.
Item lego abbatisse eiusdem domus xiij s. iiij d., item priorisse ibidem vj s. viij d. et cuilibet alii moniali ibidem iij s. iiij d.
Item lego ad distribuendum pauperibus magis egenis ibidem adessentibus tam die sepulture mee quam vij et xxxo die[bus] sequentibus ad discrecionem executorum meorum xl s.
Item volo quod executores mei faciant celebrari pro me mille missas quam cito poterunt post obitum meum.
Item lego pauperibus magis egenis villatarum subscriptarum videlicet de Relye xx s., de Felmersham xx s., de Hailweston' xx s., de Melton xl s., de Newemarket xl s., de Aston' x s., item fratri magistro Osbern' de domo de Clare xl s., item fratri magistro Reginaldo Beneyt xx s., item priorisse de Flixton' xiij s. iiijd. et cuilibet moniali eiusdem loci vj s. viij d., item domino Thome Petyt capellano xiij s. iiij d., item Margerie nuper ancille mee commoranti cum Thoma Kerdeston' xx s.
Item lego Thome Hervey si ad etatem xxj annorum pervenerit unum ciphum argenteum stantem deauratum, unam mirram, unum primarium et unum steynedhalle habendum eidem Thome et heredibus suis [ad] suam placeam in Relye adherentibus si vixerint etc. ita quod si idem Thomas Hervey antequam ad illam etatem pervenerit obierit sine herede de corpore suo legitime procreato, tunc volo quod eedem res remaneant Iohanne filie mee si vixerit, alioquin Iohanni filio eiusdem Iohanne si vixerit seu alias eorum assignatis.
Huius autem testamenti mei ordino et constituo Guidonem Corbet armigerum et Iohannem Holgare meos executores, quibus lego residuum bonorum meorum ut ipsi inde faciant et disponant sicut ad salutem anime mee melius viderint expedire.
In cuius rei testimonium presenti testamento meo sigillum meum apposui.
Datum apud Aston' Norwicensis diocesis die et anno Domini supradictis.
Probatum fuit testamentum predictum coram domino in manerio suo de Lamehith' xxvj die mensis Octobris anno Domini millesimo cccc xxvij eo quod ipsa defuncta habuit diversa bona notabilia in diversis diocesibus Cantuariensis provincie. Et commissa fuit administracio Guidoni Corbet et Iohanni Holgare executoribus in eodem testamento nominatis, prestito primitus iuramento de fideli inventario conficiendo et domino exhibendo ipsaque bona fideliter administrando etc.

In the name of God amen. The twenty-sixth day of the month of April, in the year of the lord 1427 I Margery Argentein, enjoying possession of my mind and being of good memory make my testament in this manner.
First I commend and leave my soul to almighty God, the glorious Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints, and my body to be buried in the church of the nuns of the house of Elstow in the county of Bedford.
Item I leave to the advantage and advancement of the same house of nuns to hold annually for ever my anniversary day there, so that they say for me a Placebo and Dirige with a Requiem mass as the custom is, 20 marks, and 5 marks to be distributed to the most needy paupers coming there that day, namely each year 6 shillings and 8 pence while the same sum lasts.
Item I leave to the abbess of the same house 13 shillings and 4 pence, item to the prioress there 6 shillings and 8 pence and to each of the other nuns there 3 shillings and 4 pence.
Item I leave to be distributed the the most needy paupers being present there, both on the day of my burial and on the 7th and 30th days following, at the discretion of my executors 40 shillings.
Item I will that my executors shall cause to be celebrated for me 1000 masses as soon as they can after my death.
Item I leave to the most needy paupers of the underwritten townships, viz. of Relye 20 shillings, of Felmersham 20 shillings, of Hailweston 20 shillings, of Melton 40 shillings, of Newmarket 40 shillings, of Aston 10 shilling, item to the brother Master Osbern' of the house of Clare 40 shillings, item to the brother Master Reginald Beneyt 20 shillings, item to the prioress of Flixton 8 shillings and 4 pence and to each of the nuns of the same place 6 shillings and 8 pence, item to Sir Thomas Petyt chaplain 13 shillings and 4 pence, item to Margery formerly my maid living with Thomas Kerdeston' 20s.
Item I leave to Thomas Hervey if he reaches the age of 21 years a standing cup of silver gilt, a mazer, a primer and a 'steynedhalle' to have to the same Thomas and his heirs at his place in Relye, to be kept if they shall live etc, provided that if the same Thomas Hervey dies before reaching that estate without heirs of his body lawfully begotten, then I will that the same things remain to Joan my daughter if she lives, or else to John son of the same Joan if he lives, or else their assigns.
I ordain and constitute Guy Corbet armiger and John Holgare my executors of this my will, to whom I leave the residue of my goods so that they do with and dispose of it as shall seem best to hasten the salvation of my soul. In witness thereof I have affixed my seal to my present testament.
Given at Aston in the diocese of Norwich the day and year above-written.
The said will was proved before the lord in his manor of Lambeth the 26th day of the month of October in the year of the lord 1427, the deceased having had diverse noteworthy goods in diverse dioceses in the province of Canterbury. And administration was granted to Guy Corbet and John Holgare, executors in the same will named, they having been first sworn to make a faithful inventory and to exhibit it before the lord and to administer faithfully the goods etc.

[Register of Henry Chichele, ii 369 (ff 400b, 401), ed. E.F.Jacob (Canterbury and York Soc xlii, 1937).
An abstract is in Bedfordshire Historical Record Society ii 44-5]

Monument of Margery, the widow of William Argentein, at Elstow, 1427

Accounts of the mutilated inscription are collated by Wigram. The inscription is in Latin hexameters, the end of each line being marked by a covered cup (the Argentein emblem). The text as given by Cole is as follows; the parts in [...] had disappeared by Wigram's time:
........................... Margeria bis viduata
Filia Radulphi .......................................
.................................... de turre Ricardi
Hac jacet in fossa data [sunt ubi vermibus*] .......
.............. ut alta petat loca florida pace p'henni
Spiritus ista videns trini pulses pietatem. Amen
Obiit autem Anno d'ni [MCCCCXXVIIo] ..... in vigil s'c'i michis Archangl
[*Cole suggests that the following words should be 'ossa/Cujus']

At the corners of the monument were four shields.Only the fourth now survives, but all four were recorded in College of Arms, MS P.16.102 ('Phil[i]pot's Stemma Varia'), labelled 'In lapide Margeriae Argenthein'. The arms are:
1. [upper left] 'W. Argenthem': Gules three covered cups Argent
2. [upper right] 'Talbott': Gules two bars vair [Azure and Argent according to Hervey]
3. [lower left] 'R. Parlys': Per pale indented Or and Azure
4. [lower right] 'John Hervy': Gules on a bend Argent three trefoils slipped Vert.

Monumental brass to Joan Alington, formerly at Horseheath, 1429

Under the North Wall, & close to the rails, wch divide the Chancel, lies an exceedingly antient stone, wch formerly had the figure of a Woman on it, but now nothing remains but the brass at the feet of her, wch is quite plain & legible, being so near the wall, that no feet could come very well at it to damage it; it has this Inscription in old Characters:
Hic jacet Johan'a Alyngton' Soror et una Heredu' Joh'is Argentem Filii Joh'is filii Willi'm Argentem militis que obiit xu o die Maij Ao D'ni Mo CCCCo XXIXo
On a part of the brass label wch formerly quite surrounded it are still these words remaining in gothic letters 'Ut miserecordia et'.

Here lies Joan Alyngton, sister and one of the heirs of John Argentem, the son of John, the son of William Argentem, knight, who died 15th day of May in the year of the lord 1429.

[Cole, British Library, Additional MS 5802, fo.5.
The inscription was also recorded by Gregory King (Harleian MS 6821, fo 50), with minor differences in spelling (he spells the surname 'Argenteyn').
A rubbing of the mutilated inscription is in the collection of the Society of Antiquaries (W.Lack, H.M.Stuchfield and P.Whittemore, Monumental brasses of Cambridgeshire, 1995).
Half the inscription remained, loose in the vestry, in 1837 (Monumental Brass Society Transactions, vol.5, pp.11-15).
The slab is said to lie on the chancel floor by the north wall, under the choir seats, but the figure and inscription are missing (C.E.Parsons, All Saints' Church, Horseheath (1911), p.38).]