Nicholas de Estleche dictus le Tardif
Maistre de le Pelican, Coteswold Herault Extraordinaire
Time period/s of interest:
The Anarchy through the lifetime of William Marshal (1139-1219), Black Death and around (1348)
Activities of interest:
Combat (all forms), Heraldry (in the SCA that includes names, not just arms), Genealogy, Trade
The records on Nicholas de Estleche are incomplete but we do know at this stage is that he was born in Eastleach, Gloucestershire sometime in the mid-late 1120s.
He was certainly old enough to be fighting by the end of what is now called the Anarchy and seems to have been in his twenties at the end of fighting. Although his father’s name has yet to be established it appears that he was definitely fighting for Matilda at Lincoln and witnessed the capture of King Stephen. It is unknown whether he chose his side from conviction or geography, but it certainly helped to raise the family’s status. It’s likely but not known for sure that Nicholas entered combat with his father for Matilda, probably in his teens. There is circumstantial evidence that Nicholas may have met or indeed acted in some capacity for Henry during his first disastrous invasion of England in 1147. (It is thought that his appellation “the Slow” was somehow earned during this period as he is sporadically referenced as such from this time.
With a reputation of being quick witted and in good health it is unclear how this apparently derogatory nickname came to be or why he would embrace it as he clearly did by the time he was competing in the European tournaments after the Anarchy.) Nicholas certainly benefited from Henry’s accession to the throne in the 1150s. Having said that it is far from clear that he remained loyal during the intervening period, especially after the death of his father in 1149. During the early years of Henry’s reign it is known that Nicholas traveled on the continent taking part in tournaments and was also in the habit of visiting monastic and other libraries. By the late 1160s, in his mid to late 30s, he vanishes from currently known records.
One speculative reference just before this hints at some kind of trouble with church authorities. No previous record alludes to this, although so far, despite being known to use the libraries, no known grants were made by Nicholas to religious institutions, unusual for the day, although it may simply reflect a lack of evidence rather than evidence of lack. We do know that he was unmarried at the time he disappears from known records and left no family or legacy in Eastleach itself which was in the hands of the Turville family by 1200.