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Arms of Lord Scales

Thomas de Scales, 7th Lord Scales (1399?-1460)

THOMAS DE SCALES, seventh Lord Scales (1399?-1460), born about 1399 (he was twenty-one in 1420), was younger son of Robert, fifth Lord Scales, by his first wife, Joan, daughter of William, Lord Bardolf, or by his second wife, Elizabeth. He succeeded his elder brother Robert, sixth Lord Scales, in 1420, but does not seem to have been summoned to parliament till 1445.

Like his brother, he took an active part in the French wars. In 1422 he went over to France with a company of men, for whom be contracted to receive regular wages, and from that time onwards he served under John, Duke of Bedford. In 1424 and 1425 he was occupied with Fastolf and others in reducing the fortresses of Maine, and there is a mention of his being at Verneuil; in the latter year he was made Knight of the Garter. In 1427 he took part in the siege of Pontorson with great credit. He was at the time captain of St. James de Beuvron, and defeated on 17 April 1427 an attack made on him by the Baron de Coulonces at Les Bas Courtils, between Pontorson and Avranches, while he was covering the siege and bringing supplies to Warwick.

Scales was sufficiently prominent to be mentioned as one of Bedford's lieutenants by Joan of Arc in her letter of 22 March 1429. He had indeed in November 1428 been promoted to a position of equal authority with Suffolk and Talbot. He is said to bave been taken prisoner at the relief of Orleans, but, if so, was quickly ransomed, as he took part in the unsuccessful attempt to relieve Beaugency in June 1429, and was taken prisoner at Patay (18 June).

In 1431 he was one of the commanders sent into Brittany by Bedford to aid John V against Alençon, and there he remained some time. In 1434 he was in Normandy, of which he was probably at this time made seneschal. He held throughout the war the captaincy of several fortresses. In 1435 he was besieged with Arundel in Avranches, and in the same year assisted in besieging both Mont Saint-Michel, and De Rieux in Saint-Denis. Early in 1436 he defeated La Hire near Rouen, and continued to fight stubbornly with Talbot in defence of Normandy, after Paris had again fallen into French hands.

When Montereau was taken by the French (October 1437), he was acting as captain of Vire. In 1439 he took part in the capture of Meaux, and, at the end of the year, in the defeat of Richemont before Avranches. He could not prevent the capture of Conches and Louviers (1440), but helped to relieve Pontoise (1441) before it finally capitulated. Subsequently serving under the Duke of Somerset when the Duke of York had withdrawn, Scales probably remained fighting in France till the English possessions were lost. He then came home to look after his property and to take part in English affairs.

The family seat was at Scales Hall, Middleton, Norfolk; and as a Norfolk magnate Scales was brought into frequent contact with the Paston family. In June 1450 he raised a force of soldiers for service against Jack Cade, among them being his old comrade Matthew Gough. Gough and Scales commanded in the fight on London Bridge, which took place on the night of 5 July. In the great struggle, of which this was the beginning, Scales took the Lancastrian side, despite the facts that he had witnessed much mismanagement by the Lancastrians in France, and that he came from a Yorkist district of England.

In 1460, after an excursion to Newbury to punish the Yorkists there, he and Lord Hungerford were commissioned to hold London for the king [Henry VI]. They seem to have tried in vain to secure their position among the citizens, and when on 2 July the Yorkists, headed by Salisbury, Cobham, and Warwick, poured into London, they had to withdraw into the Tower. Salisbury and Cobham were left to conduct the siege, while Warwick went out to fight and win the Battle of Northampton (10 July).

Scales and his friends did a good deal of execution from the walls of the Tower, but on 18 July they had to surrender for want of food. There seems to have been every wish to save Scales's life, and, as he was hated by the Londoners, he was sent by water after dusk to seek sanctuary at Westminster. He was, however, recognised and murdered by boatmen, who cast his body on the Southwark shore. William of Worcester saw his naked corpse lying by the porch of St. Mary Overy Church [now Southwark Cathedral].

Scales was a man of violent passions, a soldier whose whole life was passed in war. In Norfolk he was one of those whose factious disputes occasioned the visit of the Duke of Norfolk in 1452; and it does not speak very highly for his character that he let his old captain of Domfront, Oliver of Cathersby, die poor in Westminster in 1457. By his wife Emma, daughter of Sir Simon Whalesburgh (probably of Whalesburgh in Cornwall), he had apparently a son and a daughter. The son must be Thomas Scales, who Blomefield says probably died a minor, and who has been identified with the Scales who was killed in single combat at Le Mans on 6 Aug. 1431; he could, however, then have only been fifteen years old or thereabouts. His daughter and heiress Elizabeth married, first, Henry Bourchier, second son of Henry, Earl of Essex; and, secondly, Anthony Woodville, who in her right was called Lord Scales, and afterwards became Earl Rivers.





      Excerpted from:

      Archbold, W. A. J. "Thomas de Scales, seventh Lord Scales."
      Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. L. Sidney Lee, Ed.
      New York: The Macmillan Company, 1897. 395-6.

      Image: The Arms of Lord Scales by Flying jacket.




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Images:

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