Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Arundell, John (d.1379)

ARUNDELL, Sir JOHN, of Lanherne (d. 1379), naval commander, whose descent illustrates the great difficulties in genealogies of the earlier Arundells, is celebrated for his repulse of the French fleet off the coast of Cornwall in 1379, when he commanded an expedition fitted out by King Richard II in aid of the Duke of Bretagne. Having, according to Thomas Walsingham's story, profaned a convent at or near Southampton, and carried off 'vi vel sponte' many of its occupants, the fleet was pursued by a violent tempest, when the wretched nuns who had been carried off were thrown overboard to lighten the ships. The vessels were, however, wrecked on the Irish coast, according to some authorities near Scariff, but according to others at Cape Clear. Sir John Arundell, together with his esquires, and other men of high birth, were drowned, and twenty-five ships were lost with most of their crews. Froissart's account of the event differs essentially from Walsingham's, in the omission of the story of the desecration of the convent.

[Walsingham's Historia Anglicana (Riley's ed. Rolls Series), pp. 418-25.]

W. H. T.