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The Controversy between Sir Richard Scrope
and Sir Robert Grosvenor in the Court of Chivalry (1385-1386)

 

Deposition of Nicholas Sabraham, Esquire

Nicholas Sabraham seems to have been present at almost every campaign mentioned by Chaucer's Knight. Nicholas, in his headnote, writes: "Sabraham served in the wars in Scotland, France, Spain, Prussia, Egypt, and Turkey; he was one of the heroes of Cressy, and seems to have been present on every occasion where danger was risked or Honour acquired."

NICHOLAS SABRAHAM, Esquire, aged sixty and upwards, armed thirty-nine years, said that the arms Azure, a bend Or, were the arms of Sir Richard Scrope, for he had seen the arms of Scrope on banner and coat-armour in the expedition of Sir Edward Balliol in Scotland, also on a banner in the company of the Earl of Northampton, when he chivauchied [went on cavalry expeditions] by torchlight out of Loghmaban as far as Peebles, and had in his company Sir Henry Scrope with his banner.

The Deponent also said, that in the assemblage from all Christian countries at the instance of the King of Cyprus, when he meditated his expedition to Alexandria in ships and galleys, one Sir Stephen Scrope was present, armed in the arms of Scrope, Azure, a bend Or, with a label Argent for difference, and immediately on landing, received in those arms the order of Knighthood from the King of Cyprus.

He further said that he was armed in Prussia, in Hungary, at Constantinople, "a la bras" of Saint George, and at Messembre, at which latter place there is a church, and therein lieth one of the Scropes buried, and beneath him there are depicted on the wall the arms of Scrope, Azure, a bend Or, with a label, and on the label three "bezants Gules:" he knew them to be the arms of Scrope, and to have borne that name, because the wardens of the said church told him so.

The Deponent saw Sir Henry Scrope armed in France with a banner in the company of the Earl of Northampton, and Sir William Scrope, elder brother of the said Sir Richard, in the same company, armed in the entire arms, or with differences, at the battle of Cressy, at the siege of Calais, in Normandy, in Brittany, in Gascony, and in Spain, and beyond the great sea in many places and at many chivalrous exploits: in those places he never heard speak of Sir Robert Grosvenor or of any of his ancestors.

He had often heard his ancestors say that the said Sir Richard and his ancestors had a right to the said arms, they having used them from beyond the time of memory, as he learnt from old men, Lords, Knights, and Esquires in his country, now no more. He never heard of Sir Robert Grosvenor or of his ancestors, and the only challenge he ever heard of as to the right to the said arms, was the challenge of one Carminow, made to the said Sir Richard Scrope before Paris, when the arms were allowed by the King and the late Duke of Lancaster, and both were permitted to bear the arms entire.

[The arms of Sabraham were said to have been Argent, a bend embattled, counter-embattled Sable.]

 

[The text is from The Controversy between Sir Richard Scrope and Sir Robert Grosvenor in the Court of Chivalry A.D. MCCCLXXXV-MCCCXC, ed. Sir N. Harris Nicholas, London, 1832, pp. 323-24 [paragraphing and occasional gloss added].

 

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