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04b. Sir John Chandos
Sir John Chandos, KG

Arms: Argent a pile gules

SOURCE, NOTES & CREDITS: Source for blazon: page 184, column 1, BGA. Source for illustration (colour) and as background: various internet articles. Text adapted from same plus extracts from Stephen Friar’s “A Dictionary of Heraldry” page 208, Harmony Books, New York, 1987.

Sir John Chandos, KG, Knight Banneret 1320 ? -1369, was a companion in arms of the Black Prince & John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster . He protected the body of the Black Prince at the battle of Crécy 26 Aug 1346 and was a Founder Knight of the Order of the Garter. One of the most famous knights of the Hundred Years War and regarded as an exemplar of Chivalry by contemporaries, he initiated the strategy which won & participated, in the battle of Poitiers fought on 19 Sep 1356, he led the forces of John de Montfort to victory at the battle of Auray, capturing Bertrand du Guesclin, in 1364. In the Spanish campaign he was one of the fighting leaders winning the battle of Najera in 1367, where he captured Bertrand du Guesclin a second time !

In the mediaeval period the highest degree of knighthood was a Knight Banneret. The military commander when upgrading a knight to banneret degree, would take the knight’s pennon and cut off its tails thus making it into a square or oblong banner. Sir John Froissart recorded such an incident which took place on the battlefield of Najera in 1367 on the eve of the battle, where Sir John Chandos a knight under the command of the Black Prince was so raised with the cutting of the tails of his pennon performed by Pedro of Castile, whom the Black Prince was supporting in his dynastic ambitions. “Sir John, upon being handed his new ‘banner’ paraded it in front of his troops, exhorting them to defend it well.”

In 1369 near the bridge of Lussac-les-Chateaux in Poitou he was mortally wounded fighting at great odds against the French, and died on 31 Dec 1369 at the castle of Morthemer. During his life in reward for his services he was created the Lieutenant of France, Vice-Chamberlain of England, made Viscount of Saint-Sauveur along with the associated lands in Cotentin, and was made Constable of Aquitaine and Seneschal of Poitou.

The artwork is a rendering by John Hamilton Gaylor.

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