Sir Thomas Erpingham


The contribution of Sir Thomas Erpingham , ambassador, statesman, benefactor and gallant soldier, son of Norfolk, who played a major role in achieving victory at Agincourt, has largely been forgotten, but is still remembered here in his home village of Erpingham.

He was born in Erpingham in 1357 where his family had been since the time of the Norman invasion.  After his father’s death in 1370 (Sir John whose tomb is in the South Aisle) he went into service with John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster who had massive estates in  Norfolk. It was with Gaunt that he took part in victorious battles in Scotland.  He was also at the relief of Brest and the capture of Santiago and the  invasion of Castile.  He joined forces with Henry Bolingbroke the Earl of Derby, son of John of Gaunt and fought alongside the Teutonic Knights in Danzig, Vilna, Prague, Vienna, Jerusalem, Venice, Cyprus, Turin, Milan and Paris – campaigns which proved him a great warrior and leader.

In 1398 he went voluntarily into exile with Henry Bolinbroke in Paris and witnessed a secret treaty between Henry and the Duke of Orleans. When they returned to England he was one  of the commissioners to whom Richard 11 surrendered his crown. Bolinbroke became Henry IV and Erpingham was made Chamberlain.

In 1400 he was nominated as a Knight of the Most Noble of the Garter and received many estates in Norfolk and Suffolk. At Erpingham’s instigation the King gave Norwich its new charter. This made the city and suburbs ‘The County and City of Norwich’.

In 1415 he went with Henry V on his most famous campaign to Agincourt. On returning to London he was given a large house, but he also bought a mansion in Norwich and secured his house in Erpingham. (The remains of Erpingham Manor can be seen in the field East of the Village Hall. We hope to do test pits to find more of the wall and possibly the floor next year)

Sir Thomas died in 1428 and is buried in the North aisle of Norwich Cathedral.


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