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

Deposition of Sir William Aton

 

Aton, like Rither, devotes considerable attention to tournaments, which he seems to regard as a means of acquiring honor equal to war itself.

SIR WILLIAM ATON, aged eighty-seven, armed sixty-six years, deposed that in his time Sir Henry Scrope, father to the present Sir Richard Scrope, descended of noble and gentle ancestry, was, by consent of his parents, put to the law, and became the King's Justice; but, nevertheless, used in his halls, on his beds, in windows, and on plate, the arms Azure, a bend Or; that the said Sir Henry used these arms as his own, as his father had borne them before him, in tournaments and in other places, as the fashion then was; for he, the deponent, had heard his father and his uncles and ancestors say, that the father of Sir Henry Scrope the Justice (the which Sir Henry was father of the present Sir Richard) and of Sir Geoffrey Scrope, brother of the said Sir Henry Scrope, and also the King's Justice, was named Sir William Scrope and that he was in his time the ablest tourneyer of all their country, and always tourneyed in the arms Azure, a bend Or, and had been a good esquire and good servant in arms, whilst an esquire, and a good "bohourdeor [participant in a kind of bloodless tournament]."

And moreover that he had seen the said Sir Geoffrey Scrope the brother, who was knighted at the tournament of Northampton in the time of King Edward the Second; the which Geoffrey was, in his day, a noble knight, and tourneyed at that tournament in the same arms with a white label, performing right nobly, and with his banner; and under his banner other knights, whose names the Deponent did not recollect, tourneyed also.

And, after that reign, the late King Edward the Third commenced his wars in Scotland; and there the said Sir Geoffrey was armed with his banner: after which began the wars in France, when the said Sir Geoffrey was in the expedition of the King to Burenfos, and from Burenfos the King went to the siege of Tournay, and there Sir Geoffrey was armed in the retinue of the King, in the said arms with a white label.

Sir William Aton added, that wherever he had been armed, he always saw one or two of the Scropes bearing the arms in question; that since he had ceased to bear arms, he had always heard that they continued to enjoy them peaceably and with great honour; and that he had heard from his ancestors that the Scropes and their arms came over with Robert de Gant at the Conquest.

He had never heard of any challenge being made to the said arms by Sir Robert Grosvenor, and never saw them borne by the Grosvenors, neither in the first wars in France, nor in Scotland, nor in tournaments, nor in any other place, and had never heard of their ancestry.

[The arms usually attributed to Sir William Aton are, Or, a cross Sable.]

 

The text us frin 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. 349-50 [paragraphing and occasional gloss added].
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Gold Texts on this page prepared and maintained by L. D. Benson (ldb@wjh.harvard.edu)