Folk figure. Author. Born into gentry the son Philippa Chetwynd and John Malory an esquire of Warwickshire, who also served twice sheriff, five times as the Member of Parliament, and for years a justice of the peace for the county. Almost nothing is known of Malory's youth, but various accounts suggest that he loved chivalry, hunting, tournaments, and had read most of the Arthurian romances then existent. By his early 20s he seemed to have achieved the status of a respectable gentleman who dealt in land, witnessed deeds for his neighbors, acted as a parliamentary elector, and by 1441 had become a knight, in an era when such an undertaking could be quite expensive. Sir Thomas married Elizabeth Walsh of Wanlip in Leicestershire, and they had a son, Robert. In 1445 Sir Thomas was elected the MP for Warwickshire. And then, as was common in the ebb and flow of the Wars of the Roses, things changed. In January 1450, Malory and a party of armed men laid an ambush for the Duke of Buckingham, in May 1450, Malory was charged under a statute that said he ‘carnally lay' with one Joan Smith. A charge not brought by Joan but by her husband. He allegedly did the same again on August 6, 1450 but added the theft of 40 pounds worth of goods from her husband. During the same period he was said to have committed several acts of extortion. On March 5, 1451 a warrant was issued for his arrest. Before his eventual arrest Malory apparently managed to also gain charges of poaching, trespassing and destruction of private property against him. Malory was finally arrested and imprisoned at Coleshill, but after two days escaped by swimming the moat. He then reportedly twice raided Combe Abbey where he and his compatriots broke doors, insulted monks, and stole the Abbey's money. By January 1452, Malory was in prison in London. He was bailed out several times, and on one occasion apparently went on a horse-stealing expedition across East Anglia that ended in Colchester jail. He escaped from there too. He was eventually recaptured and returned to prison in London. In 1460, Malory was freed and pardoned. He was never tried on any of the charges brought against him. In 1468 and again in 1470, he was named in lists of those who were excluded from royal pardons and he again wound up in prison. It is likely that some or all of his most famous work, "Le Morte d'Arthur" was written while Malory was in prison at this time. Malory's work was a blend of nearly every earlier version of the myths and legends of King Arthur. In October 1470 Malory was finally released from prison. Six months later, Sir Thomas Malory of Newbold Revel died and was buried under a marble stone in Greyfriars, Newgate. The original tombstone was destroyed but the inscription was recorded and Malory was interred as ‘a valiant knight'.
Bio by: Iola
Alice Mallory Carlysle