The Medieval Combat Society
Died: 1 January 1370, Mortemer, France
Parents: Edward Chandos of Radborne married Isabel Twyford, daughter of Sir John Twyford
Margaret Chandos married Robert de Ireland
Alianore Chandos married Sir John Lawton
Spouse: Philippa de Bryan
Heraldic Coat of Arms: or a pile gules field argent. Described by George Beltz as Argent, a pile Gules.
Crest: A man's head proper wreathed about the temples Argent
Knight of the Garter 1348, Founder Member, Stall 21
Sir John Chandos was from a minor noble family without great wealth, but in his campaigning he gained much wealth and such a reputation that soldiers wanted to fight with him for financial reward. Chandos was a close friend of Prince Edward. He was made the viscount of Saint-Sauveur in the Cotentin and created the kings lieutenant of France and the vice chamberlain of the royal household, constable of Aquitaine and seneschal of Poitou, France. A Baron Chandos was summoned to Parliament in 1337. In 1337 John was at the siege of Cambrai, at the battle of Sluys in 1340, and at Crecy on the 26 August 1346 he fought with Prince Edward in the Vanguard on the right wing. Edward had invaded the Conentin in 1346 and given the castle at Carteret to Sir John Chandos. In 1350 John was with the king at the battle of Les Espangnols-sur-Mer, where he sang the words of a new dance from Germany, from his crusade against the Prussians. John took part in the tournament at Woodstock, England in March 1355 and joined Prince Edward on the campaign of 1355. On 20 November 1355 with James Audley, John took part in a probing raid with 80 lances and captured 30 French Knights. In January 1356 he was part of a smaller force that advanced up the Garonne, almost to Agen. On 4 August John was campaigning with Prince Edward and John's company fought at Vierzon. He fought at Poitiers in 1356 saving Prince Edward's life. He stayed at Prince Edward's side throughout the battle.
In 1356 the prince granted Beckley Manor to Sir John Chandos as part of his reward for his good service in France. He became the constable of Guyenne in 1362. After the defeat of the Captal de Buch at Cocherel on 16 May 1364 Prince Edward sent John to Brittany. He led the English to victory at the battle of Auray on 29 September 1364 where English forces were sieging Auray, and a French army led by Du Guesclin was sent to relieve the town. During the battle he captured Du Guesclin, where he rode to Du Guesclin and said "Come Bertrand, give up your sword, for this day is ours, but you will surely find another". Before the battle of Auray during a parlay Bertrand du Guesclin is said to have said to Jean Penthiévre, in the presence of John Chandos "My lord, I shall give you the Duchy cleaned of Montforts louts". After the battle John Chandos is recorded as saying "Sir, look now at these louts of Montforts, thanks to you he is today Duke of Brittany".
While hunting in Bordeaux in 1364 he lost an eye to a stag. He was Seneschal of Poitou from 1365 until his death. At the battle of Najera, Spain, 1367 he led the Vanguard together with John of Gaunt, and again captured Du Guesclin. Stephen Friar states in 1367 John was promoted to Knight banneret by having the tails of his pennon cut off. After the battle of Najera, Pedro gave John the lordship of Soria, but the Castillian chancery demanded court costs that probably exceeded the value of the domain. John died when he slipped and a spear was thrust into his face whilst attempting to ambush a group of French Knights at the bridge of Lussac, near Poitiers on the 31 December 1369. He had not worn a visor since losing an eye in 1364 and entered the brain between nose and forehead. He was taken to the fort at Mortemer, and the following was written about him; "Ah, Sir John Chandos, flowre of chivalry, unhappily was forged the glaive that thus hat wounded you and brought you in parell of dethe". He died the following Day, 1 January 1370, without regaining consciousness. The records of the Chandos herald (i.e. Sir John's own herald) are a valuable source for contemporary events.
Sir Richard d'Amory had a debt of £2000 to the king, and was pardoned by giving all his estates in Oxfordshire to Sir John Chandos, and received them back as a life tenant.
A memorial to John Chandos is on the D25 just south of the N147 and west of Lussac-les-Châteaux
The Royal Armouries collection has the "Chandos" helm, this may be associated with Herefordshire as it is thought to have been made for Pembridge's contemporary, Sir John Chandos of Snodhill Castle.
Memorials Of The Most Noble Order Of The Garter From Its Foundation To The Present Time, George Beltz, 1841
Stephen Friar, Heraldry for the Local Historian and Genealogist, 1997, pg 224