110. SIR RICHARD HARCOURT TO THOMAS STONOR 1 FEB. [? 1470]
The chief subject of this letter was clearly the marriage of Thomas Stonor's ward, John Cottesmore, to one of his daughters—probably Joan—see Nos. 128 and 136. I cannot explain why Harcourt addresses Stonor as "my ffadyr". The letter would naturally imply that Harcourt was married to a daughter of Thomas Stonor, and that a son or daughter of his by a former wife was going to marry a daughter or son of Thomas Stonor. But Richard Harcourt is said to have married (1) Edith, daughter of Thomas Sencler or St. Clere, by whom he had a son Christopher and a daughter Anne; (2) Eleanor, daughter of Sir Roger Lewknor, by whom he had a son John, who married Margaret, daughter of William Bray; and (3) Katherine, Page 113, vol. 1 daughter of Sir Thomas de la Pole, and widow of Sir Miles Stapleton, by whom he had a son William. Christopher Harcourt married Joan, younger daughter of Sir Miles and Katherine Stapleton. Anne Harcourt married Henry Fiennes, Lord Say. In his will Harcourt mentions two other daughters, Isabell, and Alice, wife of William Besillys. He mentions his two wives, Edith and Katherine, but there is no reference to Eleanor nor to her alleged son John. (See Collins' Peerage, iv, 436-7, ed. Brydges; Harcourt Papers, i, 73-6; Blomefield, History of Norfolk, ix, 320-21; P.C.C., 27 Logge.) It would be a simple solution to the difficulty if we could suppose that the Richard Harcourt of this letter was a different person to the well-known knight. But the writer of No. 145 was certainly Sir Richard Harcourt, and the signatures of both letters are in the same hand, and have paraphs of identical design. Moreover, Sir Richard Harcourt and Thomas Stonor were co-feoffees for Katherine Arundel (see No. 125). The pretended relationship must therefore remain a mystery. In his letter to William Stonor (No. 145) Harcourt signs himself as "your loving cosyn," but in this letter refers to "my brother William Stonor". If there had been a child-marriage between children of Harcourt and Stonor it would explain "my daughter and yours"; but even of this there is no evidence, though if one of the parties had died young that would be not unnatural.
As to the date of the letter the reference to Harcourt's business about the King's matters would suggest 1467, when he was sheriff of Oxon and Berks. But since Sir Miles Stapleton only died in October, 1466, Harcourt is not very likely to have married his widow before 1 Feb., 1467. Moreover, the marriage of Cottesmore to Thomas Stonor's daughter was some time later than October, 1468—see No. 137. This letter is therefore probably not later than 1 Feb., 1470. Dame Katherine Harcourt was niece by marriage to Alice, Duchess of Suffolk, which makes the reference to "our own good lady" natural. This letter may just possibly be holograph; but probably is signed only, like No. 145. From A.C., xlvi, 57.
My Ryght worshepfull fadyr, I recumaund me to ȝow as hertely as I can: and it leke ȝow to wete, acordyng to ȝowr wrytyng I send Cottys|more to London to have his aray made ther after ȝowr desyer, a long goune of cremesyn clothe and a nothyr long goune of blew clothe: and I prey ȝow þat my servaunt may know wher þe clothe schal be bowth for my dowter and yours, þat Cottysmore may have of the same clothe, and a frend of myn schal pay þerfor tyl þat I come to London, as for hys part. And as for þe day of mariage I wold ryght fayne a be ther in goode feythe, and I myght an had leysyr: ffor ye know wele þe besy|nesse þat I have aboute þe Kynges maters atte þis tyme. Never þe lesse, ffader, I prey ȝow that ȝe wyl atte þe day of mariage to ley downe upon þe boke xl. s. and I schal content ȝow ageyne. And þat is I-now Page 114, vol. 1 for a ȝong man, as me semeth &c. Morover, ffadyr, I prey yow þat ȝe wold be atte London, whan I am þer, for dyverse matters longyng to Cottysmore, and I prey ȝow þat þis wrytyng may recomaund me and my wyfe unto my modyr, ȝowr wyfe, and to my brothyr Wylleam Stonor &c. Forthermore, my wyfe send ȝow a ryng be my servaunt atte þis tyme for my dowter and ȝowrs to be weddyd þer with. And preyth God to graunt them bothe moche Joy togeder, and have ȝow and al ȝowris ever in hys most mercyful kepyng. Wretyn in hast un Candelmesse Evyn. And, fader, I prey ȝow to recomaund my wyfe and me to owr owne good lady, my lady of Suffold: and we be ful glad þat we her sey be ȝow servaunt þat my seyd lady is in good hele, blessid be God.
Your sone Ric. Havrecourt.
To my ryght worshepfull fader, Thos. Stonor, Esquyer.