Sir Edmund Bartleby was the Marschal Lieutenant of Lyonesse. As a youth of seventeen he had fought at Agincourt (1415) and later at Cravant (1423) and Verneuil (1424). At age twenty-seven he returned to England with a knighthood and,as he was otherwise penniless, cast about for a wealthy bride. Although of the minor gentry of Somerset he won the hand of the Prothero heiress and famous beauty – Ailla of Sennen – and settled down in the fastness of the West.
Having successfully seen to a son and heir, he then took to raiding the coast of Lienster and there acquired a company of Gallowglass warriors which were never far from his side. Little is known of these raiding activities but they were apparently quite lucrative as he rose to become the best known figure in Lyonesse and in the fullness of time its Marschal Lieutenant.
A renowned hunter, he was inordinantly proud of having slain, with a cleaver, the last lion in Lyonesse. For years he wore its skin as a cloak (see portrait above) until his wife insisted that he discard it for more courtly dress. To please her he did so, causing some of his men to call him, “His Lion-less”, although never to his face.
Sir Edmund was known far and wide as the “Swan Knight” which most assume was taken from his arms of a white swan on a green field. There is some indication, however, that this cognomen was derived more from his habit of striking a magnificent (and silent) pose when asked a difficult question! Whatever the origin, the following figure will represent Sir Edmund on the table top:
Now a widower of ten years, it was Sir Edmund (nearly sixty but still of great energy and commanding presence) who lead the Lyonesse response to the Grumbla Raid. On receiving word of the outrage he quickly issued orders for the “Hue and Cry”, the great assemblage of the army of Lyonesse.
Messengers were sent out, by traditon holding high a jackdaw transfixed by an arrow, yelling, “Darkling Fell”, the location of the assembly point on the rough northern slope of the Gobetween Mountains near Grumbla. Every man from “fifteen Springs to sixty Winters” who could even remotely carry a weapon was required to be present one day hence. Nothing like this had happened within living memory and the men were wild with excitement – the women – not so much.