This Day in History: 1317-06-21

The terms on which Thomas, Earl of Lancaster’s (lord of Pontefract) retainers served him are set out by four extant indentures, which differ little from the normal type of written contract which bound a man to his lord during this period. One indenture is that sealed with Sir William Latimer, a Yorkshire banneret, on 15th May 1319; others are with Sir Hugh Meynill of Derbyshire (24th July 1317), Sir John Eure of Northumberland (29th December 1317) and Sir Adam de Swillington, another Yorkshireman (21st June 1317). All four instruments specified that service was to be for life, in peace and war, in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales and against all men save the king (this last clause was invoked by at least two of the Earl’s knights to excuse their desertion of him under the stress of events of 1320-1322).