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Devereux, John (DNB00)


DEVEREUX, Sir JOHN, second Lord Devereux (d. 1393), belonged to a family which takes its name, according to Dugdale, from the town of Evreux in Normandy. It is found in English annals so early as 1140. Sir John Devereux was the son of Sir Walter DeveDevereux, and grandson of William, summoned as baron in 1298. He was one of the English knights who apparently accompanied Du Guesclin into Spain in 1366 to dethrone Don Pedro. He was recalled by the Black Prince with other English and the Gascons for the new invasion of Spain. Devereux was present at the battle of Navarrette, in which the English defeated the French and Castillians (3 April 1367). An eye-witness describes him, at the opening of the battle, as being in the front rank, placed, with Sir John Chandos and Sir Stephen Cossington, a little to the right of the Duke of Lancaster, each of them having his banner displayed and his lance couched, 'while the arrows flew in clouds, thicker than feather had ever flown before.'

In 1370 he was governor of Limousin, and was with the prince at Limoges. During the decline of the English power in Aquitaine he maintained a bold front. He could only leave small garrisons in the principal towns, and depended on his activity in coming to their assistance if they were attacked. Froissart delights to relate his various feats of chivalry. While governor of Niort in March 1373 he was outnumbered, defeated, and taken prisoner by Du Guesclin in trying to relieve Chisey. He was made seneschal of La Rochelle and governor of Sainte-Sé-Vère. This latter place was attacked while he was at Poitiers, and was captured before he was able to arrive to its assistance. He was at La Rochelle during the defeat of the English fleet by the Spaniards, and their capture of the Earl of Pembroke. He, however, escaped and continued to serve during the wars in Spain and Gascony, even after the death of the Black Prince. He obtained during the reign of Edward III an annuity of two hundred marks, of which he procured an assignation on the accession of Richard II. In 1377 he served with the fleet at sea, and was afterwards appointed governor of Leeds Castle in Kent. He was governor of Calais in 1380, and at this time received from John, duke of Brittany, an annuity of a hundred marks for life. In 1382, being still governor of Calais, he was named with Lord Cobham and others to treat for peace with France. The following year he was again named a commissioner with John, duke of Lancaster, to treat with the Flemings. Having become a banneret he obtained a grant for life of the priories of Frampton and Newent in Gloucestershire. Two years after he is mentioned as steward of the king's household. In 1387 he was warden of the Cinque Ports, and the following year he was made a knight of the Garter, being the seventy-sixth in order of creation. On the attainder of Sir Richard Burley in 1390 he obtained a grant of the castle and manor of Leonhales in Hertfordshire, which had been forfeited to the king. Being also possessed of the lordship of Penhurst in Kent, he obtained license to make a castle of his manor-house there. He was summoned to parliament from 1385 until his death in 1393. He married a daughter of Sir John Barre, kt., by whom he had a son, John, who died before he came of age, and a daughter.

[Chandos Herald, ed. Michel, 183; Froissart's Chronicle; Dugdale's Baronage.]

J. G. F.