Kerrell Family History

Sir Thomas Kyriell 1396-1461


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.


Description: Description: Description: Westenhanger Castle
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 Arras.


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 Somerset.




 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.

Description: Description: Description: Battle of Formigny


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.

“Bonville 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:

Sir Thomas Kyriell's Family Tree