Journal Article

Alice Perrers and John Salisbury

W. Mark Ormrod

in The English Historical Review

Volume CXXIII, issue 501, pages 379-393
Published in print April 2008 | ISSN: 0013-8266
Published online April 2008 | e-ISSN: 1477-4534 | DOI:
Alice Perrers and John Salisbury

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In a petition of 1377-8, John Cobham sought recovery of debts from Alice Perrers (d. 1400-1), the mistress of the deceased Edward III. In addition to shedding new light on Alice's landed estate, the petition names John Salisbury as her brother. This, in conjunction with evidence proving that she had previously been married to Janyn Perrers, demonstrates that Alice cannot, as previously thought, be a descendant of the Hertfordshire gentry dynasty of Perrers. A number of possibilities arise as to the identity of ‘Alice Salisbury’. The career of Richard II's chamber knight John Salisbury is reconstructed in an attempt to establish any credible links. Alice's known interests in London also raise questions as to whether she was associated with various families named Salisbury operating in the capital during the fourteenth century. Her own reluctance to name or rely on any of her relatives means that it is ultimately impossible definitively to prove Alice's family origins. However, the Cobham petition links John Salisbury to a series of manors around Wantage (Berkshire) and gives some justification to Thomas of Walsingham's claim that Alice came from ‘Henneye’ (West and East Hanney, Berkshire). Further evidence of Alice's connections with a family named Salesby and with John Southbury, the previous holder of one of her East Hanney manors, generates the hypothesis that Perrers's origins lay in a family of petty landholders and traders operating in this corner of Berkshire.

Journal Article.  7916 words. 

Subjects: British History ; World History ; European History ; International History

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