Thomas Malory was a fifteenth century poet best known for “L’ Morte D’Arthur”
When and Where was he Born?
Early fifteenth century circa 1416. Possibly of Welsh extraction but there is some evidence he was Sir Thomas Malory of Newbold Revel, Warwickshire on the borders of Leicestershire and Northamptonshire.
Thomas Malory was probably a Knight and therefore a member of the minor gentry. His father John Malory was a squire with land in Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire. He was twice a Sheriff and five times a Member of Parliament in Warwickshire. His mother was Philippa Chetwynd who had three daughters besides Thomas.
Probably from local clerics and members of his family.
Chronology/Biography of Thomas Malory:
1441: He had by now become a Knight.
1443: Charged with wounding and imprisoning Thomas Smith and stealing his goods but the charge was later dropped.
1445: Elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Warwickshire.
1450: In January Malory and 26 other men laid an ambush for the Duke of Buckingham in the Abbot of Combe’s woods near Newbold Revel. In May he allegedly raped Joan Smith at Coventry but the charge was brought by her husband not Joan herself. He is said to repeat the crime in August and steals £40 worth of goods from her husband.
1451: Malory was finally arrested after stealing some of the Duke of Buckingham’s livestock and imprisoned at Coleshill but he escaped by swimming the moat at night.
1452: Recaptured Malory was in prison in London but escaped and went on a a horse stealing expedition in East Anglia that ended at Colchester jail. He escaped from that prison too but was eventually re-imprisoned in London and kept under very close guard and was moved around from prison to prison.
1460’s: Malory was pardoned by King Henry V1 on at least one occasion but was also excluded from pardon by both King Henry V1 and Edward 1V. Once the Yorkists gained power he was freed and no charges were brought against him. He repaid Edward 1V by taking part in the Earl of Warwick’s raids against the Northumbrian castles of Alnwick, Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh which had been seized by the Lancastrians.
1468: He seems to have changed sides again being named in lists of irreconcilable Lancastrians and was exempt from any royal pardons and was again in prison putting the finishing touches to his work L’Morte D’Arthur.
1470: The Lancastrians returned to power and freed their people in London jails including Malory.
1470: “L’ Morte D’Arthur”. (Possibly written whilst the author was in prison).
To Elizabeth Walsh of Wanlip in Leicestershire.
When and Where did he Die?
14th March 1471, London.
Age at Death:
Site of Grave:
Chapel of St. Francis at Grey Friar’s, near Newgate, London.
Places of Interest: