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Pedro Paulo Gaião




Location: Sioux City, IA
Joined: 14 Mar 2015

Posts: 344

PostPosted: Sun 17 May, 2020 5:27 pm    Post subject: Chaucer's Ransom and Ransoming Prices         Reply with quote

"Contributions for Ransoms Made by the King, 12 January to 7 July 1360"

Sir William de Graunson, knight of Burgundy £20
Richard Stury, King's Esquire £50
George, Valettus of Countess of Ulster £10

John Parker, Valettus of Queen Isaballa £9 12 s
John de York, king's carter and his seven fellows £12
Richard de Barton and William de Pull., poultry purveyors £10
John de Champain, chaplain £8
Geoffrey Chaucer £16
. . .
Geoffrey Hacking and Thomas de Staines, valetti of the Queen £16
Richard Dulle, archer 40s
John Smart, master of the smiths £4


Source: http://sites.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/special...e-ran.html

---------------------------------


Some thoughts about the source: considering all the persons ransomed were somehow related to the King, I don't know if those prices were inflated by this fact, or whether they reflect the general prices for rank or something like that: Chaucer wasn't a knight for sure by the time he was captured in the Siege of Rheims, but I'm not sure if he remained Lady Burke's pageant or was already a esquire. Even though, £16 is more than the base-wealth of an English knight (£15, with the extra one being a painfull adding).

Anyways, his ransom is almost the same of Sir Willian de Graunson, a Savoyard knight. The prices for the archer is also interesting, for I hardly believe an archer would have 40s. Ian Heath's once said a royal vallet at war received 6d a day (the same as an armati). I guess a Queen's vallet was under the same conditions of a valetti regis.

Then, I have questions: when a knight or noble was capture, the ransom asked was the whole amount of wealth/lands he was associated to? Does that mean someone who was ransomed once literally faded into poverty? I know Saint Louis IX ransom at Egypt had the cost years of Crown's wealthy, but I consider this to be an exception situation.

Archibald Douglas' ransom was 700 merks, while his royal pension for being the Keeper of Edinburgh Castle worth 200 merks anually (he also had profits from his fiefs).

“Burn old wood, read old books, drink old wines, have old friends.”
Alfonso X, King of Castile (1221-84)
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Anthony Clipsom




Location: YORKSHIRE, UK
Joined: 27 Jul 2009

Posts: 155

PostPosted: Mon 18 May, 2020 7:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not sure where to find comparative information.

Remy Ambuhl has shown that the documents surviving from the Agincourt campaign about the royal share of ransoms owed show a cluster of cases around the ransoms of £10, £15 and £20. He speculates these may be standardised estimates for the lower ranks of prisoners to speed up the process. A slightly higher range of lesser character ransoms has been collected for the battle of Poitiers, the lowest price for an esquire was £50, with this also being the highest rate for varlets and other servants.

William de Graunison's ransom seems low for a knight and perhaps represents a contribution toward, rather than a whole ransom.

Anthony Clipsom
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




Location: Sioux City, IA
Joined: 14 Mar 2015

Posts: 344

PostPosted: Mon 18 May, 2020 4:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anthony Clipsom wrote:
I'm not sure where to find comparative information.

Remy Ambuhl has shown that the documents surviving from the Agincourt campaign about the royal share of ransoms owed show a cluster of cases around the ransoms of £10, £15 and £20. He speculates these may be standardised estimates for the lower ranks of prisoners to speed up the process. A slightly higher range of lesser character ransoms has been collected for the battle of Poitiers, the lowest price for an esquire was £50, with this also being the highest rate for varlets and other servants.

William de Graunison's ransom seems low for a knight and perhaps represents a contribution toward, rather than a whole ransom.


But theoretically weren't they asking more than Willian's total wealth? £50 would also be a hell of money.

By medieval laws there was any obligation for a king to pay part of the ransom of his captured soldiers?

Lastly, I found James I's ransom: £40,000 sterling (less a dowry remittance of 10,000 marks); considering a merk as 2/3 of a scots pound (that being 1/4 of a sterling pound), the total price of the ransom would be 40,000 - 1666.7 = some £38,333 sterlings.

“Burn old wood, read old books, drink old wines, have old friends.”
Alfonso X, King of Castile (1221-84)
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 2,119

PostPosted: Tue 19 May, 2020 11:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Richard sturmy sounds familiar. He might be I'm the family as the king's admiral. I thought he was knighted so I don't think it is him but let me check

RPM
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Graham Shearlaw





Joined: 24 Oct 2011
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Posts: 109

PostPosted: Fri 05 Jun, 2020 1:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anthony Clipsom wrote:

William de Graunison's ransom seems low for a knight and perhaps represents a contribution toward, rather than a whole ransom.


That low a ransom might mean that his captures are after a quick pay off, sure you might be able to get more money but when?
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Henry R. Gower




Location: United States
Joined: 09 Dec 2013
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PostPosted: Sun 07 Jun, 2020 8:53 pm    Post subject: Ransoming prices         Reply with quote

Of course the all time record is probably King Richard The Lionheart's ransom in he 12th Century of 100,000 pounds sterling, exacted by the German Emperor, due to Richard's misfortune in his itinerary, when captured by the Austrian Archduke on his way home from Crusade. I always thought that was the origin of the expression: "A King's Ransom." The sum is even more magnified when it is appreciated that here was some inflation in prices from Richard's time to Chaucer's. The inflation is illustrated by an exhibit of contemporary coins in the British Museum, entitled "how much was a cow worth ?" It kept taking more and more silver pennies to buy a cow from William 1 to Henry VIII.
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Anthony Clipsom




Location: YORKSHIRE, UK
Joined: 27 Jul 2009

Posts: 155

PostPosted: Mon 08 Jun, 2020 1:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The treaty of Bretigny set the ransom of Jean II at 3 million ecus, equivalent to £500,000 . Ransoming a king wasn't cheap. But then these huge "political" ransoms were a long way outside the ongoing ransom trade that affected Chaucer.
Anthony Clipsom
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