The Household Knights of King John

By S. D. Church | Go to book overview

7
SOME CASE HISTORIES

The research for this book, as must be obvious by now, has been based on a prosopographical study of John's household knights, but the presentation of this material has not been in a prosopographical form. On the contrary, I have sought where possible to positively avoid giving detailed analyses of individual careers; rather I have attempted to answer particular questions based on the collective experience of the body of men known to contemporaries as the milites defamilia regis. The inevitable result of this policy is that the individuals who make up this study have become dismembered; it is, therefore, extremely difficult to construct the outlines of any one individual's career except by a laborious trawl through the index to this work. The purpose of this chapter is to reassemble the lives of a few of these men so that the reader might see something of the sort of men who became household knights of King John.

The best place to start this study is with two men who in their careers exemplify characteristics of the near-perfect household knight: Geoffrey Luttrell and John Russell. Of Geoffrey's origins, little is known. He was certainly in Count John's household by 1191, when he witnessed one of the count's acta.1 In 1194, he was disseised by Richard for his adherence to John's cause and, like his master, Geoffrey spent the rest of the reign in relative obscurity.2 In 1199, Geoffrey was apparently rewarded for his support of John when the new king granted him a third of the revenues of the royal manor of Rothley, Leicestershire.3 He continued to hold onto this revenue throughout the reign and passed it on to his son and heir, Andrew Luttrell.4 For the next few years little is heard of Geoffrey, and we must presume that he was involved in fairly mundane tasks for the king. In 1202, however, all that changed. Throughout June and July

____________________
1
Preen, 'The acta of Count John', no. 70.
2
Pipe Roll 6 Richard I, p. 84.
3
Pipe Roll 1 John, p. 245.
4
Book of Fees, p. 375.

-134-

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