Simon, Squire to Sir Stephen Segrave
Simon, squire to Sir Stephen Segrave is an elusive character. Only fleeting glimpses of him are seen in etchings made during the period, a shadowy figure keeping out of public limelight. Little is known of his background, though he is believed to come from common stock, possibly born in the village of Barclay, not far from the Segrave estate. It was widely rumoured that Segrave was wont to vent his frustrations on this poor unfortunate when a decision at a tournament failed to go his way, there are certainly well documented examples when he publicly abused Simon within the tournament ring and Simon was rarely seen in the alehouses for several nights after Sir Stephen suffered a heavy loss.
Simon disappears from our chronicles later in this period. This coincided with a period in which Sir Stephen suffered a run of unfortunate defeats in contests in which he was firm favourite to win, despite heavy, last minute betting against him. Plagued by mysterious equipment failures and struck down by malaises which afflicted the knight at the start of several events, Sir Stephen retired for the remainder of the season to recuperate - from this point on Simon was never seen again. Stories abounded around the tournament circuit as to his possible fate and many regarded Sir Stephen with suspicion; certainly he found the hiring and retention of retainers difficult from that period on. The slow decline of this branch of the Segrave family dates from around this period and Sir Stephen was never to throw off the suspicion that he played a hand in the mysterious disappearance of his squire - an accusation he was to bitterly deny to the end of his days.
On an interesting historical note, the term esquire entered common usage around this period. It was a term used by one Simon de Barclay, often signing himself Simon ex-squire, who became a powerful force in the banking world from this date. Where this man got his initial wealth from, or indeed any details of his past prior to the date on which he founded his banking house, are now lost in the mists of time but it is certain that the banking house owes its name and move into the premier league of banking establishments to this individual. Simon was later to become a patron of the tournament and a noted charitable benefactor, founding an almshouse for the comfort of retired squires on land he purchased from the near-bankrupt Sir Stephen Segrave. The popular saying “Revenge – a dish best eaten cold” is believed to be derived from the motto "In catino optime frigoris vindicta comedi" he adopted following his knighting by the king some years before his death.