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Author: Raphael Holinshed
Editor: Michael Best
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Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland 1587 (Selection)

141[England put under interdiction by the pope]

Also upon the first of October,The birth of king Henry the third. 1208 Henry the son of King John, begotten of his wife queen Isabel, was born at Winchester, who after succeeded his father in the kingdom. But now again to our purpose. The pope, perceiving that King John continued still in his former mind (which he called obstinacy), sent over his bulls into England,The pope writeth to the bishops. directed to William, Bishop of London, to Eustace, Bishop of Ely, and to Mauger, Bishop of Worcester, commanding them that unless King John would suffer peaceably the Archbishop of Canterbury to occupy his see, and his monks their abbey, they should put both him and his land under the sentence of interdiction, denouncing him and his land plainly accursed. And further he wrote express letters unto all the suffragans of the Church of Canterbury that they should, by virtue of their obedience which they owed to the Apostolic See, receive and obey the Archbishop Stephen for their father and metropolitan.

142These bishops, with other to them associate, made instant request and suit to the king for the observing of the pope's commandment and to eschew the censures of the church, but that was in vain, for the king in a great rage swore that if either they or any other presumed to put his land under interdiction he would incontinently thereupon send all the prelates within the realm out of the same unto the pope, and seize all their goods unto his own use. And further he addedRomans, that is such chaplain's strangers as belonged to the pope. that what Romans soever he found within the precinct of any his dominions he would put out their eyes, and slit their noses, and so send them packing to Rome, that by such marks they might be known from all other nations of the world. And herewith he commanded the bishops to pack out of his sight if they loved their own health and preservation.

143Hereupon the said bishops departed, and, according to the pope's commission to them sent, upon the even of the Annunciation of our LadyThe Monday in the passion week saith Matthew West. The king and realm put under the pope's curse. denounced both the king and the realm of England accursed, and furthermore caused the doors of churches to be closed up and all other places where divine service was accustomed to be used, first at London and after in all other places where they came. Then perceiving that the king meant not to stoop for all this which they had done, but rather sought to be revenged upon them, they fled the realm and got them over unto Stephen the Archbishop of Canterbury: to wit, William, Bishop of London, Eustace Bishop of Ely, Malger Bishop of Worcester, Joceline Bishop of Bath, and Giles Bishop of Hereford.

144Anno Reg. 10. The dealing of the king after the interdiction was pronounced. The king, taking this matter in very great displeasure, seized upon all their temporalities and converted the same to his use, and persecuted such other of the prelacy as he knew to favor their doings, banishing them the realm and seizing their goods also into his hands. Howbeit the most part of the prelates wisely provided for themselves in this point, so that they would not depart out of their houses except they were compelled by force, which when the king's officers perceived they suffered them to remain still in their abbeys and other habitations because they had no commission to use any violence in expelling them. But their goods they did confiscate to the king's use, allowing them only meat and drink, and that very barely in respect of their former allowance.

145¶ It was a miserable time now for priests and churchmen,An heavy time for churchmen. which were spoiled on every hand, without finding remedy against those that offered them wrong. It is reported that in the borders of Wales the officers of a sheriff brought before the king a fellow which had robbed and slain a priest, desiring to understand his pleasure what should be done with that offender; unto whom the king made this answer, "He hath slain mine enemy, and therefore set him at liberty."

146The king also doubting lest the pope should proceed further and absolve all his subjects of their allegiance which they owed to him, and that his lords would happily revolt and forsake him in this his trouble, took hostages of them whom he most suspected. And as the messengers which were sent abroad for that purposeLord William de Breuse. came unto the lord William de Breuse, requiring to have his sons for the said purpose, his wife (like a quick and hasty dame) taking the word out of her husband's mouth, made this round answer, that she would not deliver her sons unto King John who already had slain his own nephew Arthur, whom he ought rather honorably to have loved and preserved. These words being signified unto the king, set him him such an heat against her husband (though he rebuked her sharply for the same) that the said lord was glad together with his wife and children to flee out of the realm into Ireland for safeguard of their lives.

147[King John grants favors to the City of London]

Whereas before this time London bridge was made of timber, and was ruled,London bridge repaired. guided and repaired by a fraternity or college of priests, this year by great aid of the citizens of London and others passing that way, the same bridge was begun to be made of stone. And in the same year Saint Mary Overy in Southwark was begun to be repaired. The same year also, the citizens of London made such suit unto the king that he granted unto them, by his letters patents, licence to choose to themselves a mayor, and two sheriffs every year. After which grant unto them confirmed, they chose for their mayor Henry FitzAlwin, who was sworn and charged at that present mayor of that city, upon the day of Saint Michael the Archangel, in the said tenth year of King John his reign. On the same day and year were Peter Duke and Thomas Nele sworn for sheriffs. Thus the name of bailiffs from thenceforth was clearly extinguished.

148But here ye have to understand that this Henry FitzAlwin had been mayor of London long before this time, even from the first year of king Richard (as John Stow hath gathered out of ancient instruments and records) unto this present tenth year of King John, and now upon grant made to the citizens that it should be lawful for them to choose every year a mayor and two sheriffs for the better government of their city, the said Henry FitzAlwin was newly by them elected, and likewise afterwards from year to year till he departed this life, which chanced in the year 1213, and fifteenth of King John's reign, so that he continued mayor of the same city of London by the term of twenty and four years.

149¶ Now therefore, because it appeareth here how the governors of the city of London had their names altered for their greater honor, and the state of government thereby partly changed, or rather confirmed, I have thought good (though very briefly) to touch somewhat the signification of this word "mayor"The signification of this word "mayor." before I proceed any further with the rest of this history. The ancient inhabitants of Franconia, or Frankenland, from whom the Frenchmen are descended, and their neighbours the old Saxons, of whom the Englishmen have their original, being people of Germany, and descended (as Berosus saith) of the the old Hebrews, have retained many Hebrew words, either from the beginning, or else borrowed them abroad in other regions which they conquered, passing by force of arms through a great part of the world. For no doubt, by conversation with those people whom they subdued, they brought home into their own country and tongue many borrowed words, so that their language hath no small store of them fetched out of sundry strange tongues.

150Now among other old words remaining in their tongue, this word "mar" was one, which in Hebrew signifieth Dominus (that is to say, lord) but pronounced now somewhat corruptly "mayor." So as it is to be supposed, hereof it came to pass that the head officer and lieutenant to the prince, as well in London as in other cities and towns of the realm, are called by that name of mayor, though in the cities of London and York, for an augmentation of honor by an ancient custom (through ignorance what the title of mayor doth signify) they have an addition, and are entitled by the name of lord mayor, where "mayor" simply pronounced of itself, signifieth no less than "lord," without any such addition. Thus much for the name of mayor. And now to proceed.

1511209.King John holding his Christmas this year at Bristol, set forth a commandment, whereby he restrained the taking of wild fowl. About the same time, Henry, Duke of Suaben came into England from the Emperor Otho, and receiving no small portion of money of the king, departed back into his own country again. In the vigil of the Epiphany also, the king's second son was born, and named Richard after his uncle's name.The exchequer removed. And the court of the exchequer was removed from Westminster unto Northampton. Moreover in the same year, Walter Grey was made Lord Chancellor, who in all things studied to satisfy the king's will and purpose, for the which he incurred great indignation of the clergy and other that favored not the proceedings of the king.

152[England suffers from internal dissention]

¶ It was surely a rueful thing to consider the estate of this realm at that present, whenas the king neither trusted his peers, neither the nobility favored the king; no, there were very few that trusted one another, but each one hid and hoarded up his wealth, looking daily when another should come and enter upon the spoil. The commonalty also grew into factions, some favoring and some cursing the king, as they bore affection. The clergy was likewise at dissention, so that nothing prevailed but malice and spite, which brought forth and spread abroad the fruits of disobedience to all good laws and orders, greatly to the disquieting of the whole state. So that herein we have a perfect view of the perplexed state of princes, chiefly when they are over swayed with foreign and profane power and not able to assure themselves of their subjects' allegiance and loyalty. Whereto this clause alludeth,

153-- cruciat comes improbus ipsos
Assidue metus atque timor; suspectaque eisdem
Omnia sunt; hinc insidias, hinc dira venena
Concipiunt, soli nec possunt ire nec audent,
Nec sine fas illis praegustatore comesse.

154King John, notwithstanding that the realm was thus wholly interdicted and vexed so that no priests could be found to say service in churches or chapels, made no great account thereof as touching any offence towards god or the pope;A new oath of allegiance. but rather, mistrusting the hollow hearts of his people, he took a new oath of them for their faithful allegiance, and immediately thereupon assembled an army to go against Alexander king of Scots,Alexander king of Scots. unto whom (as he had heard) divers of the nobility of this realm were fled, which Alexander was the second of that name that had ruled the Scots, and lately before was entered into the rule as lawful successor to the crown of Scotland by the death of his father King William.

155In this mean while also Stephen, Archbishop of Canterbury, lamenting (as some have reported) the state of his native country, and yet not minding to give over his hold, obtained of Pope Innocent that upon certain days it might be lawful for an appointed number of priests within the realm of England to celebrate divine service; that is to say, for those of conventual churches once in the week. But the monks of the white order were forbidden to use that privilege,The white monks. because in the beginning of the interdiction they had at the appointment of their principal abbot presumed to celebrate the sacraments without the pope's consent or knowledge.

156[Scotland and Wales make peace]

In like manner on the other side, King John, having his army in a readiness, hasted forth towards the borders of Scotland, and coming to the castle of Norham prepared to invade the Scots. But King Alexander, wanting power to give him battle, sought to come unto some friendly agreement with him, and so by counsel of his lords, casting off his armor,Alexander King of Scots compoundeth for peace with King John. he came to the king, and for a great sum of gold (or 11 thousand marks of silver as some write) with much ado he purchased peace, delivering two of his daughters in hostage for more assurance of his dealing. Whereupon King John, after his return from Norham, which was about the 24th of June, showed himself not a little displeased with those of the nobility which had refused to attend upon him in that journey, having received strait commandment from him to attend upon him at that time. Certes the cause why they refused to follow him was evident, as they said, in that they knew him to stand accursed by the pope. About the same time also, when corn began to wax ripe, to revenge himself of them that had refused to go with him in that journey, he caused the pales of all the parks and forests which he had within his realm to be thrown down, and the ditches to be made plain, that the deer breaking out and ranging abroad in the corn fields, might destroy and eat up the same before it could be ripened, for which act (if it were so indeed) many a bitter curse proceeded from the mouths of the poor husbandmen towards the king's person, and not unworthily. Moreover in this season the Welshmen (which thing had not been seen afore time) came unto Woodstock, and there did homage unto the king, although the same was chargeable as well to the rich as the poor so to come out of their country.

157About the same time also, it chanced that a priest slew a woman at Oxford,A murder at Oxford. and when the king's officers could not find him that had committed the murder, they apprehended three other priests not guilty of the fact, and straightway hanged them up without judgement.Three thousand as saith Matthew Paris. With which cruelty others of the University being put in fear departed thence in great numbers and came not thither again of a long time after, some of them repairing to Cambridge, and some to Reading to apply their studies in those places,Oxford forsaken of the scholars. leaving Oxford void. The same year one Hugh, Archdeacon of Wells,Hugh Archdeacon of Wells made Bishop of Lincoln. and keeper of the king's great seal, was nominated bishop of Lincoln; and herewithal he craved licence to go over into France unto the Archbishop of Rouen, that he might be consecrated of him. Wherewith the king was contented and gladly gave him leave, who no sooner got over into Normandy, but he straight took the highway to Rome and there received his consecration of Stephen, Archbishop of Canterbury. Now when the king understood this matter and saw the dullness of the bishop, he was in a wonderful chafe toward him and thereupon made port-sale of all his goods, and received the profit of the revenues belonging to the See of Lincoln for his own use.

158[The rights of the king preached]

¶ There lived in those days a divine named Alexander Cementarius, surnamed Theologus, who by his preaching incensed the king greatly unto all cruelty (as the monks and friars say) against his subjects, affirming that the general scourge wherewith the people were afflicted chanced not through the prince's fault but for the wickedness of his people, for the king was but the rod of the Lord's wrath, and to this end a prince was ordained that he might rule the people with a rod of iron, and break them as an earthen vessel, to chain the mighty in fetters, and the noble men in iron manacles. He did see (as it should seem) the evil disposed humors of the people concerning their dutiful obedience which they ought to have borne to their natural prince King John, and therefore, as a doctrine most necessary in that dangerous time, he taught the people how they were by God's laws bound in duty to obey their lawful prince, and not through any wicked persuasion of busy heads and lewd discoursers, to be carried away to forget their loyal allegiance and so to fall into the damnable sink of rebellion.

159He went about also to prove with likely arguments that it appertained not to the pope to have to do concerning the temporal possessions of any kings or other potentates touching the rule and government of their subjects, sith no power was granted to Peter (the special and chief of the apostles of the Lord) but only touching the Church, and matters appertaining thereunto. By such doctrine of him set forth he won in such wise the king's favor that he obtained many great preferments at the king's hands, and was abbot of Saint Austin's in Canterbury; but at length, when his manners were notified to the pope, he took such order for him that he was despoiled of all his goods and benefices, so that afterwards he was driven in great misery to beg his bread from door to door, as some write. This did he procure to himself by telling the truth against that beast, whose horns were pricking at every Christian prince, that he might set himself in a seat of supremacy above all principalities; so that we may say,

In audaces non est audacia tuta.

160[King John acts against the Jews, the Irish, and the Welsh]

Furthermore, about the same time the king taxed the Jews and grievously tormented and imprisoned them because divers of them would not willingly pay the sums that they were taxed at.Jews taxed. Amongst other, there was one of them at Bristol that would not consent to give any fine for his deliverance, wherefore by the king's commandment he was put unto this penance that every day till he would agree to give to the king those ten thousand marks that he was seized at he should have one of his teeth plucked out of his head. By the space of seven days together he stood steadfast, losing every of those days a tooth, but on the eighth day when he should come to have the eighth tooth and the last (for he had but eight in all) drawn out,A Jew hath his teeth drawn out. he paid the money to save that one, who with more wisdom and less pain might have done so before and have saved his seven teeth which he lost with such torments, for those homely toothdrawers used no great cunning in plucking them forth (as may be conjectured).

161Whilst King John was thus occupied, news came to him,Anno Reg. 12. that the Irish rebels made foul work and sore annoyed the English subjects. He therefore, assembling a mighty army,King John passeth over into Ireland. embarked at Pembroke in Wales, and so hasting towards Ireland arrived there the twenty-fifth of May, and brought the people in such fear immediately upon his arrival that all those that inhabited upon the sea coasts in the champaign countries came in and yielded themselves, receiving an oath to be true and faithful unto him. There were twenty of the chiefest rulers within Ireland which came to the king at his coming to Dublin, and there did to him homage and fealty as appertained. The king at the same time ordained also that the English laws should be used in that land, and appointed sheriffs and other officers to have the order of the country to rule the same according to the English ordinances. After this, he marched forward into the land and took divers fortresses and strongholds of his enemies, which fled before him for fear to be apprehended, as Walter de La Cie and many other.Walter de La Cie. At length, coming into the country of Meath, he besieged a castle wherein the wife of William de Breuse and her son, named also William, were inclosed, but they found means to escape before the castle was won, though afterward they were taken in the Isle of ManThe Lady de Breuse and her son taken. and sent by the king into England, where they were so straitly kept within the castle of Windsor that (as the fame went) they were famished to death.

162¶ We read in an old history of Flanders, written by one whose name is not known, but printed at Lyons by Guillaume Roville in the year 1562, that the said lady, wife to the lord William de Breuse, presented upon a time unto the queen of EnglandA present of white kine. a gift of four hundred kine, and one bull, of color all white, the ears excepted, which were red. Although this tale may seem incredible, yet if we shall consider that the said Breuse was a lord Marcher, and had goodly possessions in Wales and on the Marches, in which countries the most part of the people's substance consisteth in cattle, it may carry with it the more likelihood of truth. And surely the same author writeth of the journey made this year into Ireland so sensibly, and namely touching the manners of the Irish, that he seemeth to have had good information, saving that he misseth in the names of men and places, which is a fault in manner common to all foreign writers. Touching the death of the said lady, he saith that within eleven days after she was committed to prison here in England she was found dead, sitting betwixt her son's legs, who likewise, being dead, sat directly up against a wall of the chamber wherein they were kept with hard pittance (as writers do report). He himself escapeth. William the father escaped and got away into France.

163Thus the more part of the Irish people being brought under,The bishop of Norwich lord lieutenant of Ireland. he appointed John Gray, the Bishop of Norwich, to be his deputy there, removing out of that office Hugh La Cie, which bare great rule in that quarter before. The bishop then, being appointed deputy and chief justice of Ireland,Irish money reformed. reformed the coin there, causing the same to be made of like weight and fineness to the English coin so that the Irish money was current as well in England as in Ireland, being of the like weight, form, and fineness to the English. Moreover, those that inhabited the wood-countries and the mountain places, though they would not as then submit themselves, he would not at that time further pursue because winter was at hand, which in that country approacheth timely in the year. Having thus subdued the more part of all Ireland and ordered things there at his pleasure, he took the sea again with much triumphThe king returneth into England. and landed in England about the thirtieth day of August.

164From hence he made haste to London, and at his coming thither, took counsel how to recover the great charges and expenses that he had been at in this journey and, by the advice of William Brewer,An assembly of the prelates at London. Robert de Turnham, Reignold de Cornhill, and Richard de Marish, he caused all the chief prelates of England to assemble before him at Saint Bride's in London. So that thither came all the abbots, abbesses, templars, hospitallers, keepers of farms and possessions of the order of Cluny, and other such foreigners as had lands within this realm belonging to their houses. All which were constrained to pay such a grievous taxA tax levied. that the whole amounted to the sum of an hundred thousand pounds. The monks of the Cistercian order, otherwise called white monks, were constrained to pay 40 thousand pounds of silver at this time, all their privileges to the contrary notwithstanding. Moreover, the abbots of that order might not get licence to go to their general chapter that year, which yearly was used to be holden, lest their complaint should move all the world against the king for his too too hard and severe handling of them.

1651211 Anno Reg. 13. King John goeth into Wales with an army. In the summer following, about the 18th day of July, King John with a mighty army went into Wales, and, passing forth into the inner parts of the country, he came into Snowdon, beating down all that came in his way so that he subdued all the rulers and princes without contradiction. And to be the better assured for their subjection in time following, he took pledges of them, to the number of 28, and so returned to Album Monasterium on the day of the Assumption of our Lady,White church, I think. from whence he first set forth into the Welsh confines.

166[The pope sends legates to England]

In the same year also, the pope sent two legates into England, the one named Pandulph, a lawyer,Pandulph and Durant the pope's legates. and the other Durant, a templar, who, coming unto King John, exhorted him with many terrible words to leave his stubborn disobedience to the Church and to reform his misdoings. The king for his part quietly heard them, and bringing them to Northampton, being not far distant from the place where he met them upon his return forth of Wales, had much conference with them; but at length, when they perceived that they could not have their purpose, neither for restitution of the goods belonging to priests which he had seized upon, neither of those that appertained to certain other persons which the king had gotten also into his hands by means of the controversy betwixt him and the pope, the legates departed, leaving him accursed, and the land interdicted as they found it at their coming.

167Touching the manner of this interdiction there have been divers opinions. Some have said that the land was interdicted thoroughly, and the churches and houses of religion closed up, that no where was any divine service used; but it was not so strait, for there were divers places occupied with divine service all that time by certain privileges purchased either then or before. Children were also christened, and men houseled and aneled through all the land, except such as were in the bill of excommunication by name expressed. But to our purpose.

168King John, after that the legates were returned toward Rome again, punished divers of those persons which had refused to go with him into Wales in like manner as he had done those that refused to go with him into Scotland; he took now of each of them for every knights fee two marks of silver, as before is recited. About the same time also, Reginald Earl of Boulogne being accursed in like manner as King John wasReginald Earl of Boulogne. for certain oppressions done to poor men, and namely to certain priests, fled over into England, because the French king had banished him out of France.

169The chiefest cause of the French king's displeasure towards this earlThe like league was made in the same first year of King John betwixt him and Ferdinando Earl of Flanders. may seem to proceed of the amity and league which was concluded betwixt King John and the said earl in the first year of the said king's reign, whereby they bound themselves, either to other, not to make any peace or to take any truce with the king of France without either other's consent first thereto had, and that if, after any agreement taken betwixt them and the king of France, he should chance to make war against either of them, then should the other aid and assist him against whom such war should be made, to the uttermost of his power.

170This league was accorded to remain for ever betwixt them and their heirs, with sureties sworn on either part, and for the king of England these whose names ensue: William Marshall Earl of Pembroke, Ranulf Earl of Chester, Robert Earl of Leicester, Baldwine Earl of Albemarle; William Earl of Arundel, Ralfe Earl of Augi, Robert de Mellet, Hugh de Gourney, William de Caen, Geoffrey de Cella, Roger Constable of Chester, Ralfe FitzWater, William de Albeny, Robert de Ras, Richard de Montfichet, Roger de Thoney, Saer de Quincie, William de Montchenise, Peter de Pratellis, William de Poole alias de Stagno, Adam de Port, Robert de Turnham, William Mallet, Eustace de Vescie, Peter de Brus, William de Presennie, Hubert de Burgh, William de Mansey, and Peter Savenie. For the earl these were sureties: Anselme de Kaeu, Guy Lieschans, Ralfe, the said earl's brother etc. But now to return.

171After that the Earl of Boulogne was expelled out of France (as before ye have heard) he came over to King John and was of him joyfully received, having three hundred pounds of revenues in land to him assigned within England, for the which he did homage and fealty unto him. Shortly after this also died William de Breuse the elder, which fled from the face of King John out of Ireland into France, and departing this life at Corbeil was buried at Paris in the abbey of Saint Victor.

172[The pope absolves King John's subjects from their allegiance]

In the mean time Pope Innocent, after the return of his legates out of England, perceiving that King John would not be ordered by him, determined, with the consent of his cardinals and other councilors, and also at the instant suit of the English bishops and other prelates being there with him, to deprive King John of his kingly state, and so first absolved all his subjects and vassals of their oaths of allegiance made unto the same king, and after deprived him by solemn protestation of his kingly administration and dignity, and lastly signified that his deprivation unto the French king and other christian princes, admonishing them to pursue King John, being thus deprived, forsaken, and condemned as a common enemy to God and his church. He ordained furthermore, that whosoever employed goods or other aid to vanquish and overcome that disobedient prince should remain in assured peace of the church, as well as those which went to visit the sepulcher of our Lord, not only in their goods and persons but also in suffrages for saving of their souls.

173But yet that it might appear to all men that nothing could be more joyful unto his holiness than to have King John to repent his trespasses committed, and to ask forgiveness for the same, he appointed Pandulph,Pandulph sent into France to practise with the French king for King John his destruction. which lately before was returned to Rome with a great number of English exiles to go into France, together with Stephen the Archbishop of Canterbury and the other English bishops, giving him in commandment that, repairing unto the French king, he should communicate with him all that which he had appointed to be done against King John, and to exhort the French king to make war upon him as a person for his wickedness excommunicated. Moreover this Pandulph was commanded by the pope, if he saw cause, to go over into England and to deliver unto King John such letters as the pope had written for his better instruction, and to seek by all means possible to draw him from his naughty opinion.

174In the mean time, when it was bruited through the realm of England that the pope had released the people and absolved them of their oath of fidelity to the king, and that he was deprived of his government by the pope's sentence, by little and little a great number both of soldiers, citizens, burgesses, captains and constables of castles, leaving their charges, and bishops with a great multitude of priests revolting from him and avoiding his company and presence, secretly stole away and got over into France.

175Notwithstanding that divers, in respect of the pope's curse and other considerations them moving, utterly refused in this manner to obey King John, yet there were many others that did take his partThe names of the noble men that continued true unto King John. and maintain his quarrel very earnestly, as his brother William Earl of Salesburie, Alberic de Vere Earl of Oxford, Geoffrey FitzPeter Lord Chief Justice of England, also three bishops, Durham, Winchester, and Norwich, Richard de Marish Lord Chancellor, Hugh Nevill, Chief Forester, William de Wroshing, Lord Warden of the Ports, Robert Veipount and his brother Yuan, Brian de Lisle, Geoffrey de Lucie, Hugh Balliol, and his brother Barnard, William de Cantlow and his son William Fulke de Cantlow, Reginald de Cornehill Sheriff of Kent, Robert Braibrooke and his son Harry, Philip de Lovecotes, John de Bassingborne, Philip March, Chatelain of Nottingham, Peter de Maulley, Robert de Gaugy, Gerard de Athie and his nephew Ingelrand, William Brewer, Peter FitzHubert, Thomas Basset, and Foulks de Briant, a Norman, with many other too long here to rehearse, who as factors and councillors unto him sought to defend him in all causes, notwithstanding the censures of the church so cruelly pronounced against him; knowing that they were bound in conscience to stick to him, now specially in this general apostasy of his peers and people. For they were opinioned that it was

Turpe referre pedem, nec passu stare tenaci,
Turpe laborantem deseruisse ratem.

176[More action against ths Scots and Welsh]

The same year King John held his Christmas at Windsor and in the Lent following, on mid-Lent Sunday being at London, he honored the Lord Alexander, son and heir to the king of Scots, with the high order of knighthood. And (as I find it mentioned by some writers) whereas he understood how there were divers in Scotland that contemning their natural lord and king by reason of his great age, King John went thither with an army to repress the rebels, and being come thither he sent his men of war into the inner parts of the country, who, scouring the coasts, took Guthred MacWilliam, captain of them that moved sedition, whom King John caused to be hanged on a pair of gallows. This Guthred was descended of the line of the ancient Scottish kings, and being assisted with the Irishmen and Scots that favored not the race of the kings that presently reigned, wrought them much trouble, as his father (named Donald) had done before him, sometime secretly underhand and sometime again by way of open rebellion.

177Shortly after, the Welshmen began to stir also, who, rushing out of their own confines,The Welshmen move rebellion. fell upon their next neighbours within the English Marches, wasted the country, and overthrew divers castles flat to the ground. Whereof the king, having knowledge,Anno Reg. 14. assembled a mighty army out of hand, and, coming to Nottingham, he hanged up the Welsh hostages which the last year he had received,King John hangeth the Welsh pledges. to the number of eight and twenty young striplings. And by reason he was now set in a marvellous chase, he roughly proceeded against all those whom he knew not to favor his case. Some he discharged of their offices, other he deprived of their captainships and other rooms and revoked certain privileges and immunities granted to monks, priests, and men of religion.

178Furthermore, having his army ready to pass on into Wales, he received letters the same time, both from the king of Scots and from his daughter, the wife of Leoline prince of Wales, containing in effect the advertisement of one matter, which was to let him know that if he proceeded on his journey he should either through treason he slain of his own lords, or else be delivered to be destroyed of his enemies. The king, judging no less but that the tenor of the letters contained a truth,King John breaketh up his army. broke up his army and returned to London. From whence he sent messengers unto all such lords as he suspected, commanding them to send unto him hostages for more assurance of their fidelities. The lords durst not disobey his commandment, but sent their sons, their nephews, and other their kinsmen, accordingly as he required, and so his rancour was appeased for a time. But Eustace de Vesy, Robert FitzWalter, and Stephen Ridell, being accused and suspected of the King for the said treason, were glad to flee the realm, Vesy departing into Scotland and the other two into France.

179The same year, the church of Saint Mary Overy and all the buildings upon London bridge on both sides the same were consumed with fire,Saint Mary Overy burnt. which was judged to be a signification of some mishap to follow. The king held his Christmas this year at Westminster, with no great train of knights about him. About the same time Geoffrey, Archbishop of York departed this lifeThe decease of Geoffrey the Archbishop of York. after he had remained in exile about a seven years. But now to return again to the practises of the pope's legates.