Sir Thomas Malory, His Turbulent Career: A Biography

By Edward Hicks | Go to book overview

Chapter XIV
MALORY'S BURIAL-PLACE

WHEN I am dead, I pray you all pray for my soul," wrote Sir Thomas Malory as he laid down his pen on finishing the Morte. His great task was completed some time between March, 1469, and March, 1470, and just over a year later -- in March,1 1471 -- he died. His death was probably due to the plague, for Sir John Paston tells us that in 1471 there was a terrible outbreak, the most unyversall dethe that evyr I wyst in Ingelonde." Less than a fortnight after Malory had passed away, Edward IV landed at Ravenspur and, marching via Leicester, Coombe Abbey, Coventry and Warwick, overthrew the King-Maker at Barnet. The King, however, had taken such fright that, before the danger from the Lancastrians was past, he swallowed ten pounds' worth of medicine, "contra pestem" (Issue Roll, 15 May).

Malory's body found sepulture in the Grey Friars' sanctuary. "In Capella Sancti Francisci" -- so ran the record of the event -- "sub 2a parte fenestre 4e sub lapide jacet dominus Thomas Mallere, valens miles: qui obiit 14 die mensis Marcij A° dni 1470, de parochia de Monkenkyrkby in comitatu Warwici."2

The epithet "valens," inscribed on Sir Thomas Malory's tombstone of marble, may be translated "worthy"; but its value as evidence that the Grey Friars held him

____________________
1
The inscription on his tombstone stated "Mch 14"; but according to the Inq. pm the date was March 12.
2
Cotton MS., Vitellius.

-74-

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