Sir Thomas Kyriell was born in 1396 at the family seat of Sarrecourt at Sarre, Thanet,
Kent. He was the last in line of the landed and titled family of Criol. Thomas was the son and heir of Sir William Kyriell, who was son and heir of Sir Nicholas Kyriell.
In 1417, aged 21, Thomas served as a man-at-arms in the retinue of
Sir Gilbert Umfraville in the French expedition
of 1417. At this time, Thomas had two daughters, mother unknown called
Elizabeth and Alice.
Thomas was licenced to enter ‘Serrecourt’
as son and heir of Sir William on 28 May 1427.
In February 1431 he succeeded in gaining the reversion of the
manor of Sarre previously held by a collateral
line of the family. He also held the manor of Westenhanger.
Westhanger Castle - Copyright Ian Knox
Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0
Thomas was probably
knighted in France around 1425-7. In July 1428 he was mustering the army
for France at Barham Down, Kent. He was in France
in the retinue of the Duke of Bedford in 1435 and with the Earl of Warwick
in September 1437.
Also in 1437, Thomas
married Cecily Stourton, daughter and heir of Jenkyn Stourton, and widow of
Walter Portman and of John Hill.
There are no known children from this marriage.
From the records of Walmer Manor:
"Sir Thomas Keriel
was twice married, and by his first wife, whose name is unknown, he left
two daughters, co-heiresses ; of whom Alice the
younger married John Fogge, of Repton, Esq., afterwards
knighted ; and she on the division of her father's estates, brought the
manor of Walmer to her husband."
In the same year, Sir Thomas , Talbot and Fauconberg
headed for Le Crotoy where Phillipe
of Burgundy had laid siege and built
a bastille garrisoned with a thousand men. Instead of taking on the Burgundians in their stronghold, they crossed the Somme
and raided Picardy. Terrified of an attack from the rear, the Burgundians abandoned the siege. The Duke retreated to
Sir Thomas was the
Captain of Gournay 1437-9; Lieutenant of Calais,
Nov 1439 to 29 Aug 1442 and a knight-banneret by
1443, in which year he crossed again to France under John Beaufort, Earl of
In October 1449, Queen
Margaret’s Government sent Sir Thomas to relieve Normandy with an army of
425 spears and 2080 bows.
The army was gathered at Southampton, however they lacked
discipline and pay, which resulted in the murder of the treasurer, Bishop
Moleyns and a there was a long delay landing in
Cherbourg as they did not arrive until 15 March 1450.
Sir Thomas took Valognes but Normandy
was lost at the battle of Formigny, 15 April
1540. Sir Thomas was taken prisoner and about 3000 Englishmen slain.
Sir Thomas was freed and
back in Kent by 1455, where he was returned as the MP. He was Lieutenant to
the Duke of Buckingham, Constable of Dover and Warden of the Cinque Ports, between 1456-60.
When Marshal Pierre de Brézé with 4,000 Frenchmen sacked Sandwich on 28 Aug
1457, Sir Thomas drove them into the sea and killed many.
On the 8th February 1461,
Thomas was elected as a Knight of the Garter but died before being
installed. In this year he was also described as a King's knight.
Thomas died on 19th February
1461 at Bernards Heath, Hertfordshire, England.
Thomas had been captured with Lord Bonville,
after the 2nd Battle of St Albans. Two days later he was judged by the
Prince of Wales aged 8, and beheaded on the orders of Queen Margaret.
and Sir Thomas Kyriell were in attendance on
Henry VI at the 2nd battle of St Albans. After Warwick’s flight both men
stayed with Henry to protect him from any harm that might occur from the
confusion in the aftermath of the battle. Henry had promised they would not
be harmed by the victorious Lancastrians. Unfortunately he was to prove
unequal to his promise. After his reunion with his wife and son, Bonville, Kyriell and the
other Yorkist prisoners were brought before
Henry, Margaret and their seven-year-old son, Edward. Margaret gave Henry
no opportunity to keep his word. Turning to her son she asked, ‘Fair son,
what death shall these two knights die?’ The child replied, ‘Let them have
their heads taken off.’ A stunned Bonville, who
had believed Henry's word, told the child, ‘May God destroy
those who taught thee this manner of speech.’ The executions were duly
carried out the next day.”
- Source: http://www.richardiii.net
Thomas Kyriell's Family Tree