Janico Dartasso
Chivalry, nationality and the man-at-arms
in Political culture in later medieval England
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When Richard II, disguised as a priest, arrived at Conway castle in August 1399 the army he had brought back from Ireland had dwindled to a band of about fifteen companions. Among those who accompanied him were three commoners: Sir Stephen Scrope, under-chamberlain of the household; William Ferriby, the king's notary; and an esquire of the household, Janico Dartasso. Janico's own identity as a Basque, a people without a territory, and his early experience of Navarre, where a fluid ethnic mix of servants gathered around the French-born ruler of a multiple kingdom, inclined him towards a looser pattern of lordship. He sought to maintain the integrity of his lands on the western edge of English rule by expedients that used to the full his cosmopolitan contacts and experience: frequent trips to the English mainland; military service in France; commercial ventures to Aquitaine; a projected marriage into the Scottish aristocracy.


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