Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Raphael Holinshed
Editor: Michael Best
Not Peer Reviewed

Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland 1587 (Selection)


[The final years the reign of King Richard I]

[The pope enforces his rights in England]

1The pope's letters to the king for the church of Lambeth. In the beginning of the next [year], the pope's nuncio came with letters, not only to the archbishop and bishops of England, but also to the king himself, signifying the pope's resolute decree touching the church and college of Lambeth to be broken down and suppressed. Whereupon the king and archbishop (though sore against their wills) when they saw no way longer to shift off the matter, yielded to the pope's pleasure: and so the archbishop sent his letters to Lambeth, where the 21st day of January they were read, and the 27th day of the same month was the church cast down, and the canons which were already there placed had commandment to depart from thence without further delay. Thus the monks in despite of the king and archbishop had their wills, but yet their vexation ceased not, The monks borne out by the pope. for the king and archbishop, bearing them no small evil will for that they had so obtained their purpose contrary to their minds and intents, molested them divers ways, although the monks still upon complaint to the pope were very much relieved and found great friendship both with him and likewise with his court. So that it may be observed that these dishclouts of the pope's kitchen have in all ages, since their first quickening been troublesome and mutinous, saucy and insolent, proud and malapert. But

2Proh pudor, hos tolerare potest Ecclesia porcos,
Quum sint lasciui nimium, nimiumque superbi,
Dumtaxat ventri, veneri somnoque vacantes?

3[Richard prepares for a further crusade]

In this mean time, King Richard, being now at rest from troubles of war, studied busily to provide money, meaning to make a new voyage into the holy land.A tax. Five shillings of every plough land, as saith Mattew of Westminster. Therefore, finding himself bare of treasure by reason the French wars had emptied his coffers, he set a great tax upon his subjects and by that means, having recovered a great sum, he builded that notable strong castle in Normandy upon the bank of the river of Seine Chateau Galliard built. named Chateau Galliard; which when it was finished, he fell a jesting thereat and said;

4Behold, is not this a fair daughter of one year's growth.

5The soil where this castle was builded belonged to the Archbishop of Rouen, for which there followed great strife betwixt the king and the archbishop till the pope took up the matter (as before ye have heard).

6[Richard seeks treasure from viscount Vidomer of Limoges]

After this, he determined to chastise certain persons in Poitou, which during the wars betwixt him and the French king had aided the Frenchmen against him. Whereupon with an army he passed forth towards them, but by the way he was informed that one Vidomer, a viscount in the country of Brittany, had found great treasure, and therefore pretending a right thereto by virtue of his prerogative, he sent for the viscount, who, smelling out the matter and supposing the king would not be indifferent in parting the treasure, fled into Limousin, where, although the people were tributaries to the king of England, yet they took part with the French king.

7There is a town in that country called Châlus-Cheverel, Châlus-Cheverel. into which the said viscount retired for safeguard of himself, and then gave the townsmen a great portion of treasure to the end they should defend him and his quarrel for the rest. King Richard still following him, as one that could not avoid his fatal ordinance, hasted into the confines of Limousin, fully determining either to win the town by force, if the inhabitants should make resistance, or at leastwise to get into his hands the prey which he so earnestly pursued. At his first approach he gave many fierce assaults to the town, but they within, having thoroughly provided aforehand for to defend a siege, so resisted his attempts,King Richard besiegeth Châlus. that within three days after his coming he ceased to assail the town, meaning to undermine the walls, which otherwise he perceived would very hardily be gotten, considering the stoutness of them within, and withal the natural strength and situation of the place itself.

8[He is mortally wounded and wills the crown to John]

Hereupon therefore on the 26th of March while he (together with captain Mercadier) went about unadvisedly to view the town the better to consider the place which way he might convey the course of his mine, they came so far within danger that the king was stricken in the left arm,He is wounded. or (as some write) in the shoulder where it joined to the neck, with a quarrel envenomed (as is to be supposed by the sequel). Being thus wounded, he gat to his horse and rode home again to his lodging, where he caused the wound to be searched and bound up and, as a man nothing dismayed therewith, continued his siege with such force and assurance that within 12 days after the mishap the town was yielded unto him, although very little treasure (to make any great account of) was at that time found therein.

9In this mean season, the king had committed the cure of his wound to one of Mercadier his surgeons, who taking in hand to pluck out the quarrel, drew forth only the shaft at the first and left the iron still within, and afterwards, going about most unskilfully to get forth the head of the said quarrel, he used such incisions, and so mangled the king's arm, yet he could cut it,The king despaired of life. that he himself despaired of all help and longer life, affirming flatly to such as stood about him that he could not long continue by reason of his butcherly handling. To be short, feeling himself to wax weaker and weaker, preparing his mind to death, which he perceived now to be at hand, he ordained his testament, He ordaineth his testament. or rather reformed and added sundry things unto the same which he before had made at the time of his going forth towards the holy land.

10Unto his brother John he assigned the crown of England and all other his lands and dominions, causing the nobles there present to swear fealty unto him. His money, his jewels, and all other his goods moveable he willed to be divided into three parts, of the which Otho the emperor, his sister's son to have one, his household servants an other part, and the third to be distributed to the poor. Finally, remembering himself also of the place of his burial, he commanded that his body should be interred at Fontevraud at his father's feet, but he willed his heart to be conveyed unto Rouen and there buried, in testimony of the love which he had ever borne unto that city for the steadfast faith and tried loyalty at all times found in the citizens there. His bowels he ordained to be buried in Poitiers, as in a place naturally unthankful and not worthy to retain any of the more honorable parts of his body.

11Moreover he caused the arcubalister that wounded him to be sought out, whose name was Bertram de Gurden or Peter Basill (for so he named himself as some write) who being brought before the king, he demanded wherein he had so much offended him that he should so lie in wait to slay him rather than Mercadier, who was then in his company and attendant on his person? The other answered boldly again, saying;

12I purposed to kill thee because thou slewest my father and two of my brethren heretofore, and wouldst also now have slain me if I had happened to fall into thy hands. Wherefore I intended to revenge their deaths, not caring in the mean time what became of myself, so that I might in any wise obtain my will of thee who in such sort hast bereft me of my friends.

13The king, hearkening unto his wordsA notable example of forgiving an enemy. and pondering his talk by good advisement, freely pardoned him, and withal commanded that he should be set at liberty and thereto have an hundred shillings given him in his purse, and so to be let go. Moreover, he gave strait charge that no man should hurt him or seek any revenge for this his death hereafter. Thus the penitent prince not only forgave but also rewarded his adversary. Howbeit, after his decease, Mercadier getting him into his hands first caused the skin to be stripped of his body, and after hanged him on a gibbet.

14[Richard's death]

At length king Richard by force of sickness (increased with anguish of his incurable wound) departed this life on the Tuesday before Palm Sunday, being the ninth of AprilKing Richard departed this life. and the eleventh day after he was hurt, in the year after the birth of our Saviour 1199 in the 44th year of his age, and after he had reigned nine years, nine months, and odd days. He left no issue behind him. He was tall of stature and well proportioned,His stature and shape of body. fair and comely of face, so as in his countenance appeared much favor and gravity; of hair bright auburn, as it were betwixt red and yellow, with long arms, and nimble in all his joints; his thighs and legs were of due proportion and answerable to the other parts of his body..

15His disposition of mind. As he was comely of personage, so was he of stomach more courageous and fierce, so that, not without cause, he obtained the surname of Coeur-de-lion, that is to say, the lion's heart. Moreover, he was courteous to his soldiers, and towards his friends and strangers that resorted unto him very liberal; but to his enemies hard and not to be entreated, desirous of battle, an enemy to rest and quietness, very eloquent of speech and wise, but ready to enter into jeopardies, and that without fear or forecast in time of greatest perils.

16These were his virtuous qualities; but his vices (if his virtues,The vices that were in king Richard. his age, and the wars which he maintained were thoroughly weighed) were either none at all or else few in number, and not very notorious. He was noted of the common people to be partly subject unto pride, which surely for the most part followeth stoutness of mind; of incontinency, to the which his youth might happily be somewhat bent; and of covetousness, into the which infamy most captains and such princes as commonly follow the wars do oftentimes fall when of necessity they are driven to exact money, as well of friends as enemies, to maintain the infinite charges of their wars.

17Hereof it came that on a time while he sojourned in France about his wars which he held against King Philip, there came unto him a French priest whose name was Fulco, who required the King in any wise to put from him three abominable daughters which he had, and to bestow them in marriage,Fulco a priest lest God punish him for them. "Thou liest hypocrite." said the king, "to thy very face, for all the world knoweth that I have not one daughter." "I lie not," said the priest, "for thou hast three daughters: one of them is called pride, the second covetousness, and the third lechery." With that the king called to him his lords and barons, and said to them;

18This hypocrite here hath required me to marry away my three daughters, which (as he saith) I cherish, nourish, foster and maintain -- that is to say, pride, covetousness, and lechery. And now that I have found out necessary and fit husbands for them, I will do it with effect, and seek no more delays. I therefore bequeath my pride to the high-minded Templars and hospitallers, which are as proud as Lucifer himself. My covetousness I give unto the white monks, otherwise called of the Cistercian order, for they covet the devil and all. My lechery I commit to the prelates of the church, who have most pleasure and felicity therein.

19There lived in the days of this King RichardBaldwin and Hubert, archbishops of Canterbury. men of worthy fame amongst those of the clergy: Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Hubert who succeeded him in that See; also Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln, a man for his worthiness of life highly to be commended. Moreover, William, Bishop of Ely, who, though otherwise he was to be dispraised for his ambition and pompous haughtiness, yet the king used his service for a time greatly to his profit and advancement of the public affairs. Also of learned men we find divers in these days that flourished here in this land, as Baldwin of Devonshire that came to be bishop of Worcester in this king's time, and after his decease he was advanced to the government of the archbishop's See of Canterbury; he wrote divers treatises, namely of matters pertaining to divinity. John Bale. Daniel Morley, well seen in the Mathematicals, John de Hexam, and Richard de Hexham, two notable historians, Guilielmus Stephenides a monk of Canterbury who wrote much in the praise of Archbishop Becket. Beside these, we find one Richard that was an abbot of the order Premonstratensian, Richard Divisiensis, Nicholas Walkington, Robert de Bello Foco, an excellent philosopher, etc. ¶ See Bale in his third century.

20In martial renown there flourished in this king's days divers noble captains, as Robert, Earl of Leicester, Ranulf de Fulgiers, two of the Bardolphs, Hugh and Henry, three Williams, Marshall, Brunell, and Mandeville, with two Roberts, Ros and Sabeville. Furthermore, I find that in the days of this King Richard,A great dearth a great dearth reigned in England, and also in France, for the space of three or four years during the wars between him and King Philip, so that after his return out of Germany and from imprisonment a quarter of wheat was sold at 18 shillings eight pence, no small price in those days, if you consider the alloy of money then current.

21Also immediately after, that is to say, in the year of our Lord, a thousand, one hundred, ninety six, which was about the seventh year of the said king's reign, there followed a marvellous sore death, which daily consumed such numbers of people that scarce there might be found any to keep and look to those that were sick,A great mortality of people. or to bury them that died. Which sickness was a pestilential fever or sharp burning ague. The accustomed manner of burial was also neglected, so that in many places they made great pits and threw their dead bodies into the same, one upon an other, for the multitude of them that died was such that they could not have time to make for every one a several grave. This mortality continued for the space of five or six months, and at length ceased in the cold season of winter.

22Two suns.In the octaves of Pentecost before this great death, in the first hour of the day, there appeared two suns, the true sun and another, as it were a counterfeit sun; but so apparently, that hard it was to the common people to discern the one from the other. The skilful also were compelled by instruments to distinguish the one from the other, in taking their altitudes and places, whereby in the end they found the new apparition, as it were, to wait upon the planet, and so continued by the space of certain hours. At length when the beholders (of whom William Parvus that recorded things in that age was one) had well wearied their eyes in diligent marking the manner of this strange appearance, the counterfeit sun vanished away.

23¶ This strange wonder was taken for a signification of that which followed, that is to say, of war, famine and pestilence; or, to say the truth, it betokened rather the continuance of two of those mischiefs. For war and famine had sore afflicted the people before that time, and as yet ceased not; but as for the pestilence, it began soon after the strange sight, whereof ensued such effect as I have already rehearsed.

24Thus far king Richard.

25John, the youngest son of Henry the second.

[John acts to secure the crown]

John, the youngest son of Henry the Second, was proclaimed King of England, beginning his reign the sixth day of April in the year of our Lord 1199, the first of Philip Emperor of Rome, and the 20th of Philip King of France, King William as yet living in government over the Scots. This man, so soon as his brother Richard was deceased, sent Hubert Archbishop of Canterbury and William Marshall Earl of Striguil (otherwise called Chepstow) into England, both to proclaim him king, and also to see his peace kept, together with Geoffrey FitzPeter, lord chief justice, and divers other barons of the realm, whilst he himself went to Chinon where his brother's treasure lay, which was forthwith delivered unto him by Robert de Turnham, and therewithal the castle of Chinon and Saumur and divers other places which were in the custody of the foresaid Robert. But Thomas de Furness, nephew to the said Robert de Turnham, delivered the city and castle of Angers unto Arthur Duke of Brittany. For by general consent of the nobles and peers of the countries of Anjou, Maine, and Touraine, Arthur was received as the liege and sovereign lord of the same countries. Strife amongst the English subjects on the other side of the sea. For even at this present, and so soon as it was known that King Richard was deceased, divers cities and towns on that side of the sea belonging to the said Richard whilst he lived fell at odds among themselves, some of them endeavoring to prefer King John, other laboring rather to be under the governance of Arthur Duke of Brittany, considering that he seemed by most right to be their chief lord, forasmuch as he was son to Geoffrey elder brother to John. And thus began the broil in those quarters, whereof in process of time ensued great inconvenience, and finally the death of the said Arthur, as shall be showed hereafter.

26Now whilst King John was thus occupied in recovering his brother's treasure, and travelling with his subjects to reduce them to his obedience, Queen Eleanor his mother, by the help of Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury and other of the noble men and barons of the land, travelled as diligently to procure the English people to receive their oath of allegiance to be true to King John. For the said archbishop and William Marshall Earl of Striguil, being sent over into England (as before you have heard) to proclaim him king, The states assembled at Northampton. and to keep the land in quiet, assembled the estates of the realm at Northampton, where Geoffrey FitzPeter, lord chief justice, was present with other of the nobles, afore whom those lords whose fidelities were earst suspected willingly took their oaths of obedience to the new king, and were assured by the same lords on his behalf that they should find him a liberal, a noble and a righteous prince, and such a one as would see that every man should enjoy his own, and such as were known to be notorious transgressors should be sure to receive their condign punishment.

27They sent Eustace de Vesey also unto William, King of Scotland, to signify to him, Eustace Vesey sent into Scotland. that King John upon his arrival in England, would satisfy him of all such right as he pretended to have within the English dominions. And thus was King John accounted and proclaimed king of England by the general consent of all the lords and barons of the same. The names of the chief of those peers that were sworn (as you have heard) are as followeth: David, Earl of Huntington brother unto William, King of Scots, Richard, Earl of Clare, Ranulf ,Earl of Chester, William, Earl of Tutherie or rather Derby, Walran, Earl of Warwick, Roger La Cie, Constable of Chester, and William de Mowbray, with divers other, whose names I here omit because I would not be tedious and irksome to the readers.

28Now the king of Scotland, being informed by the lord Eustace Vesey (who had married his daughter) that there was some hope to be had on his part for the recovery of such seigniories as he and his predecessors sometimes held in England, did further dispatch sundry ambassadors with full purpose to send them over into Normandy unto King John, there to require restitution of the countries of Northumberland and Cumberland with their appurtenances, and he promised also by his letters that if the same might be granted unto him in as ample manner as they had been in times past to his ancestors, he would gladly do his homage to King John, as to the true and lawful king of England for the same, and furthermore yield to him his faithful service against all men so often as he should be required thereunto. Howbeit, when the Archbishop of Canterbury and the rest of the council understood that these ambassadors should pass through England, they would not suffer them so to do, but speedily sent David, Earl of Huntington, into Scotland unto the king his brother, requiring him earnestly that he would not send any ambassadors over as yet, but rather tarry and take patience a while till the king should come over into England; which (as they said) he purposed to do very shortly.

29[The influence of Queen Eleanor]

King John also having understanding of his purpose, sent over the said lord Eustace again unto him with the like request, who in such wise persuaded him that he was contented to abide a time in hope of the better success in his late attempted suit. And all this was done chiefly by the working of the king's mother, whom the nobility much honored and loved. For she, being bent to prefer her son John, left no stone unturned to establish him in the throne, comparing oftentimes the difference of government between a king that is a man and a king that is but a child. For as John was 32 years old, so Arthur Duke of Brittany was but a babe to speak of. In the end, winning all the nobility wholly unto her will, and seeing the coast to be clear on every side, without any doubt of tempestuous weather likely to arise, she signified the whole matter unto King John, who forthwith framed all his endeavours to the accomplishment of his business.

30Surely Queen Eleanor, the king's mother, was sore against her nephew Arthur,Queen Eleanor's envy against Arthur. rather moved thereto by envy conceived against his mother than upon any just occasion given in the behalf of the child, for that she saw if he were king how his mother Constance would look to bear most rule within the realm of EnglandConstance Duchesse of Brittany. till her son should come to lawful age, to govern of himself. ¶ So hard it is to bring women to agree in one mind, their natures commonly being so contrary, their words so variable, and their deeds so indiscreet. And therefore it was well said of one (alluding to their disposition and qualities,nulla diu foemina pondus habet).

31When this doing of the queen was signified unto the said Constance, she, doubting the surety of her son, committed him to the trust of the French king, who, receiving him into his tuition, promised to defend him from all his enemies, and forthwith furnished the holds in Brittany with French soldiers. Queen Eleanor being advertised hereof,queen Eleanor passeth into Normandy. stood in doubt by and by of her country of Guienne, and therefore with all possible speed passed over the sea, and came to her son John into Normandy, and shortly after they went forth together into the country of Maine, and there took both the city and castle of Le Mans, The city of Le Mans taken. throwing down the walls and turrets thereof, with all the fortifications and stone-houses in and about the same, and kept the citizens as prisoners, because they had aided Arthur against his uncle John.

32After this, King John, entering into Anjou, held his Easter at Beaufort (which feast fell that year the 18 day of April) and from thence he went straight unto Rouen, where on the Sunday next after Easter being Saint Mark's day, he was girded with the sword of the dutchy of Normandy in the high church there by the hands of Walter, Archbishop of Rouen. And so being invested Duke of Normandy, [he] received the oath, according to the custom, King John invested duke of Normandy. that he should defend the church and maintain the liberties thereof, see justice ministered, good laws put in execution, and naughty laws and orders abolished. In the mean time his mother, Queen Eleanor, together with Captain Mercadier entered into Anjou and wasted the same because they of that country had received Arthur for their sovereign lord and governor. And amongst other towns and fortresses, they took the city of Angers, slew many of the citizens, The city of Angers taken. and committed the rest to prison.

33This enterprise being thus luckily achieved, the residue of the people in those parties were put in such fear that of their own accord they turned to their wonted obedience, seeming as though they would continue still therein. The French king all this while conceiving another exploit in his head more commodious unto him than as yet to attempt war against the Englishmen upon so light an occasion, dissembled the matter for a time, as though he would know nothing of all that was done till the king should be otherwise occupied in England about his coronation.

34[John travels to England and is crowned]

In the mean season, King John, having set some stay in his business on the further side of the sea, he left his mother still in Guienne to defend that country against the enemies, and, taking the sea, came over himself into England, landing at Shoreham King John cometh over into England. the 25th day of May. On the next day, being Ascension eve, he came to London there to receive the crown. On the morrow after, being Ascension day, when the nobility and commons were assembled and the king brought into the church of Saint Peter at Westminster there to receive his diadem, Hubert the Archbishop of Canterbury, being chief in authority and honor both for his age and calling, spoke these words or the like in substance before the whole assembly, as followeth:

35Hubert the Archbishop of Canterbury's oration to the lords spiritual and temporal in the presence of the king, etc..
Most honorable lords of the spirituality, and most grave and politic peers and barons of the temporality, you are come hither this day to choose you a king, and such a one as (if need should require) may be able of himself to take such a charge upon him, and (having undertaken the same) ready to execute that which he shall think to be expedient for the profit of his subjects. We have therefore one present here among us upon whom hearts and good wills of high and low, rich and poor, do generally depend; a man I doubt not but that for his own part will apply his whole endeavor, study, and thought unto that only end, which he shall perceive to be most profitable for the commonwealth, as knowing himself to be born not to serve his own turn, but for to profit his country and to seek for the general benefit of us that are his subjects.

36And albeit I am sure that you do well know, how all these qualities are most abundantly planted in the person of John, Duke of Normandy (a person of high prowess and no less prudence, for the which ye ought to judge him right worthy of the government), yet being in doubt least the common fame should carry you away, or lest you should turn your minds to the favor of another, as in respect of some better right by title of a more lawful descent of inheritance pretended by others than he hath to show, I require you to give ear unto my words, who, bearing the state of two manner of persons, ought to be profitable to my country, not only by example and exhortation but also by loyalty and good counsel, which hitherto I have ever studied to perform, and wherein (God willing) I mean to persist, so long as I shall continue in this mortal and transitory tabernacle.

37Therefore whereas at this present we have in hand to conclude upon such a weighty matter, which being once done cannot be undone, I commend unto you this John, even with all my very heart, and judge that you ought to accept him for your king, who in all things which he shall ordain, purpose, or take in hand, shall not fail so to answer your opinions with his well doing, and so satisfy your good expectations already conceived of him with his diligent providence, that all the whole realm shall not only like of and allow your doing herein, but also with high commendation extol the same to the very stars. These things do I promise unto you, and so far forth as in me may lie, I dare take upon me all chances and perils that may proceed thereof.

38When the archbishop had ended his speech, divers held their peace, and many with great zeal saluted King John, whom the same day the said archbishop crowned at Westminster after the manner then used, with great solemnity and no less rejoicing of all such as were present.

39At the same time also he received the homages of the lords and barons of the realm, and promised with all speed to have consideration of things that appertained as well to religion as to the due execution of laws, whereby every man might come to enjoy that which was his own by right and due course of justice. We find that there were present at this solemnity and coronation of King John, which was celebrated on the Ascension day the 27th of May, archbishops and bishops to the number of seventeen, as Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury, John, Archbishop of Dublin, also the Archbishop of Raguse, William, Bishop of London, Gilbert, Bishop of Rochester, John, Bishop of Norwich, Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln, Eustace, Bishop of Ely, Godfrey, Bishop of Winchester, Henry, Bishop of Exeter, Sefride, Bishop of Chichester, Godfrey, Bishop of Coventry, Savarie, Bishop of Bath, Herbert, Bishop of Salisbury, Philip, Bishop of Durham, Roger, Bishop of Saint Andrews in Scotland, and Henry, Bishop of Llandaffe in Wales. The Bishop of Durham found himself somewhat grieved in the matter, making objections that the coronation ought not to be celebrated without the presence of Geoffrey, Archbishop of York, but it prevailed not.

40Besides these bishops, there were of the temporal lords and earls, Robert of Leicester, Richard of Clare, William of Tutburie, Hamlin of Warren, William of Salisbury, William of Chepstow otherwise called Striguil, Walran of Warwike, Roger Bigot, William of Arundel, and Ranulf of Chester with many other barons, lords, knights, and no small multitudes of gentlemen and other common people. The same day of his coronation also, William Marshall Earl of Striguil. Geoffrey FitzPeter created Earl of Essex. he invested William Marshall with the sword of the earldom of Striguil, and Geoffrey FitzPeter, with the sword of the earldom of Essex. For although they were called earls and exercised the administration of their earldoms, yet were they not till that day girded with the sword of those earldoms, and so that day they served at the table with their swords girded unto them.

41In like manner, Hubert, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was made Lord Chancellor of England;The archbishop of Canterbury made Lord Chancellor. who as he uttered some words unadvisedly that showed how he inwardly rejoiced at the king's favor toward him in the gift of this office, and so gloried in the honor whereto he was preferred (which he would never have done, if he had weighed of worldly pomp as by his profession he ought, and as one asketh the question in the same case:

42dic mihi numquid
Corporibus prosunt? certe nil. Dic animisne?
Tantumdem, etc.)

43the lord Hugh Bardolf said unto him,The saying of the lord Bardolf. yet not so softly in his ear, but that some overheard it:

44My lord, to speak and not offend you, surely if you would well consider the dignity and honor of your calling you would not willingly yield to suffer this yoke of bondage to be laid upon your shoulders, for we have oftentimes heard of a chancellor made an archbishop, but never an archbishop made a chancellor till now.

45[Challenges in Scotland and Normandy]

The coronation being thus ended,Ambassadors from the king of Scots. it was not long ere there came ambassadors from the Scottish king, namely William the prior of May, William the prior of Saint Colmes Ins, and one William Hay, the which on the behalf of the said Scottish king required restitution of Northumberland and Cumberland with the appurtenances, promising that if the same were restored to him he would serve the king of England with all his power against all men then alive; otherwise, that is, if he could not have those countries, which of right to him appertained by law as he pretended, he would do the best he could to recover them by force. King John made answer hereunto that, if his cousin the king of Scots would come unto him, he should be assured to receive at his hands all that was reason, as well in those demands as in all other things. He also sent to him the Bishop of Durham, to require him to come unto Nottingham where he would meet with him. Howbeit, King William refused to come himself as then but sent the Bishop of Saint Andrew, and Hugh Malebisse to follow his suit, with promise to abstain from any forcible invasion of England by the space of forty days, so that he might within that term have some resolute answer from King John, whereunto he might stand either on the one side or the other.

46The French King invadeth Normandy. Whilst these things were a-doing in England, Philip, king of France, having levied an army, broke into Normandy and took the city of Évreux, the town of Arques, and divers other places from the English. And passing from thence into Maine, he recovered that country lately before through fear alienated. In another part, an army of Bretons with great diligence won the towns of Gornay, Boteavant and Gensolin, and following the victory took the city of Angers, which King John had won from Duke Arthur in the last year passed. These things being signified to King John, he thought to make provision for the recovery of his losses there with all speed possible. And thereupon perceiving that the Scottish king meant not to meet with him at Nottingham whither he was come, and where he kept the feast of Whitsuntide, he determined to pass the seas over into Normandy; but first he took order for the government and defence of the realm in his absence.

47William de Stuteville. Whereupon he delivered the charge of the counties of Northumberland and Cumberland unto the Lord William de Stuteville, with all the castles and other the appurtenances, which the lord Hugh Bardolf before held and had in keeping. He also delivered unto Roger de La Cie, constable of Chester, Roger de La Cie constable of Chester. the castle of Pomfret, having first the son and heir of the same La Cie delivered unto him as an hostage for his loyalty and faithful obedience.King John passeth over into Normandy. This done, he hasted unto the sea side and sailed over into Normandy landing first at Dieppe, and from thence went to Rouen, whither he came upon the Sunday before Midsummer day, which was the 26th of June as William Harrison hath noted.

48[A truce negotiated with Scotland]

Immediately upon his arrival in those parts, there resorted unto him a great number of soldiers, both horsemen and footmen, hoping to be entertained; but by reason of ambassadors riding to and fro betwixt the two kings, they came to a communication and took truce for fifty days. A truce for fifty days. The Earl of Flanders, being certified thereof, was sorry in his heart, and loath that the French king should come to any accord with the king of England, and therefore to turn the mind of King John from the purpose of peace The Earl of Flanders. The league renewed betwixt England and Flanders. he came to visit him at Rouen, where they renewed the league betwixt England and Flanders to be the better able to defend themselves from the French power; and withal determined fully that immediately upon the expiring of this last truce they would make the French king war to revenge their late received injuries. The French king, advertised by espials of their determination, prepared also for the wars.

49In this mean time it chanced, that Henry Earl of Namure, The Earl of Namure. brother to Philip Earl of Flanders, and one Peter of Doway, a right valiant knight, with his brother that was the elect Bishop of Chambrai, were taken prisoners in a skirmish and presented to the French king. Whereupon the Cardinal of Capua (being at the same time the pope's legate in France) interdicted that realm for the taking of the same elect of Chambrai,France interdicted. Normandy interdicted. and also all Normandy for the detaining of the Bishop of Beauvois in prison (who had lain there a long time and was taken in the field after such manner as is before rehearsed) so that the French king was glad to restore the elect of Chambrai to his liberty. And likewise King John delivered the Bishop of Beauvois, who paid two thousand marks, besides expenses of diet during the time of his captivity, and furthermore took an oath that he should never after bear armor in the war against any Christian or Christians.

50[King Philip demands King John's territories]

About the same time, Arthur Duke of Brittany made knight. King Philip made Arthur, Duke of Brittany, knight, and received of him his homage for Anjou, Poitiers, Maine, Touraine, and Brittany. Also, somewhat before the time that the truce should expire, to wit, on the morrow after the feast of the Assumption of our Lady, and also the day next following, the two kings talked by commissioners in a place betwixt the towns of Boteavant and Le Goulet. Within three days after, they came together personally and communed at full of the variance depending between them. But the French king showed himself stiff and hard in this treaty, demanding the whole country of Volquessen to be restored unto him,The French king's demand. as that which had been granted by Geoffrey Earl of Anjou, the father of King Henry the Second, unto Louis le Gros, to have his aid then against King Stephen. Moreover, he demanded that Poitiers, Anjou, Maine, and Touraine should be delivered and wholly resigned unto Arthur Duke of Brittany.

51But these, and divers other requests which he made, King John would not in any wise grant unto, and so they departed without conclusion of any agreement. Therefore divers earls and barons of France which before that time had served King Richard repaired unto King John and took an oath to assist him, and not to agree with the French king without his consent; and he likewise swore unto them not to make peace with the French king except they were therein comprised. In the month of September, Joan, King John's sister, wife to Raimond Earl of Saint Giles and sometime queen of Sicily, died at Rouen, and was buried at Fontevraud. The French king also took divers towns and castles, but amongst other the castle of Ballon, and razed the walls thereof down to the ground, wherewith William de Roches, general of the army of Arthur Duke of Brittany, was greatly offended, and did so much by his drift that shortly after a peace was concluded betwixt King John and his nephew Duke Arthur, though the same served but to small purpose.A peace betwixt King John and his nephew.

52[The viscount of Limoges killed by Richard's bastard son]

The French king having (as I have said) overthrown the walls of Ballon, besieged a fortress called Lavardin, Lavardin. but King John, coming with an army, caused him to raise his siege and to withdraw himself to the city of Le Mans, whither he followed and compelled him (maugre his force) to remove from thence. All this while was William de Roches busily occupied about his practise William de Roches. to make King John and his nephew Arthur friends, which thing at length he brought about, and thereupon delivered into King John's hands the city of Le Mans which he had in keeping.The viscount of Thouars. Also the viscount of Thouars came to the king of England and surrendered unto him the castle of Chinon, the keeping whereof he betook unto Roger de La Cie the Constable of Chester. But in the night following, upon some mistrust and suspicion gathered in the observation of the covenants on King John's behalf, both the said Arthur, The mistrust that duke Arthur had in his uncle King John. with his mother Constance, the said Viscount of Thouars, and divers other, fled away secretly from the king and got them to the city of Angers, where the mother of the said Arthur, refusing her former husband the Earl of Chester, married her self to the lord Guy de Thouars, brother to the said viscount, by the pope's dispensation. The same year, Philip bastard son to King Richard, to whom his father had given the castle and honor of Cognac, killed the Viscount of Limoges, Philip, King Richard's bastard son killed the Viscount of Limoges. in revenge of his father's death, who was slain (as you have heard) in besieging the castle of Châlus Cheverel.

53Moreover, there fell many great floods in England,Great floods. and on the borders of Scotland, by violence whereof divers bridges were borne down, and, amongst other, the bridge at Berwick. For the building up again whereof, some variance arose betwixt Philip, Bishop of Durham and Earl Patrick, lord chief justice of ScotlandVariance betwixt the bishop of Durham and Earl Patrick. and captain at the same time of the town of Berwick, who by the Scottish king's commandment would have repaired again the same bridge, which could not be done but that the one end thereof must be builded on the Bishop of Durham's ground, which he would not suffer, till by the counsel of the lord William de Stutevile he agreed, so that the convention accorded and concluded betwixt the king of Scots and his predecessor Bishop Hugh might be reserved inviolable.

54[Controlling the price of wines]

A rate of the prices of wines. Furthermore, King John did set a rate upon the prices of wines, as Rochelle wine to be sold for twenty shillings the tun and not above. The wine of Anjou for twenty-four shillings the tun, and no other French wines above five and twenty shillings the tun except it were of such notable goodness as that some peradventure for their own expenses would be contented to give after twenty-six shillings eight pence for the tun and not above. Moreover, the gallon of Rochelle wine he appointed to be sold at four pence and the gallon of white wine at six pence. It was also ordained that in every city, town, and place where wine was used to be sold there should be twelve honest men sworn to have regard that this assize should not be broken, and that if they found any vintner that should from the pin sell any wine by small measures contrary to the same assize, his body should be attached by the sheriff and detained in prison, till other commandment were given for his further punishment, and his goods seized unto the king's use. Furthermore, if any persons were or should be found to buy and sell by the hogshead or tun, contrary to this assize, they should be committed to prison, there to remain till other order were taken for them; neither should there be any regrating of wines that were brought into England. But this ordinance lasted not long for the merchants could not bear it, and so they fell to and sold white wine for eight pence the gallon and red or claret for six pence.

55[Lewis and Blanch married to confirm the peace between England and France]

King John returneth into England. King John also came over from Normandy into England, and there levied a subsidy, taking of every plough land three shillings. In the Lent following, he went to York in hope to have met the king of Scots there, A subsidy. but he came not, and so King John returned back and sailed again into Normandy, because the variance still depended between him and the king of France. He saileth again into Normandy. Finally, upon the Ascension day in this second year of his reign, they came eftsoons to a communication betwixt the towns of Vernon and L'Isle d'Andely, where finally they concluded an agreement, with a marriage to be had betwixt Louis, the son of King Philip, and the Lady Blanche, A peace concluded with a marriage. daughter to Alfonso King of Castile the eighth of that name, and niece to King John by his sister Eleanor.

56In consideration whereof, King John, besides the sum of thirty thousand marks in silver as in respect of dowry assigned to his said niece, resigned his title to the city of Évreux, and also unto all those towns which the French king had by war taken from him, the city of Angers only excepted, which city he received again by covenants of the same agreement. The French king restored also to King John (as Rafe Niger writeth) the city of Tours, and all the castles and fortresses which he had taken within Touraine; and moreover received of King John his homage for all the lands, fees and tenements which at any time his brother King Richard, or his father King Henry had holden of him, the said king Louis or any his predecessors, the quit-claims and marriages always excepted. The king of England likewise did homage unto the French king for Brittany, and again (as after you shall hear) received homage for the same country, and for the county of Richmond of his nephew Arthur. He also gave the earldom of Gloucester unto the Earl of Évreux, as it were by way of exchange, for that he resigned to the French king all right, title and claim that might be pretended to the county of Évreux.

57By this conclusion of marriage betwixt the said Louis and Blanche, the right of King John went away, which he lawfully before pretended unto the city of Évreux, and unto those towns in the confines of Berry, Chateau Roux or Raoul, Cressy and Issoudun, and likewise unto the country of Vexin or Volquessen, which is a part of the territory of Gisors; the right of all which lands, towns and countries was released to the king of France by King John, who supposed that by his affinity and resignation of his right to those places the peace now made would have continued for ever. And in consideration thereof, he procured furthermoreThe king cometh back again into England. that the foresaid Blanche should be conveyed into France to her husband with all speed. That done he returned into England.

58¶ Certes this peace was unpleasant to many, but namely to the Earl of Flanders, who hereupon, making no account of King John's amity, concluded a peace with King Philip shortly after, and meant to make war against the infidels in the east parts; whereby we may see the discontented minds of men, and of how differing humors they be, so that nothing is harder than to satisfy many with one thing, be the same never so good,

59O caecis mortalia plena tenebris
Pectora, et o mentes caligine circumseptas
[Stultitiae]!

60But by the chronicles of Flanders it appeareth that the Earl of Flanders concluded a peace with the French king in February last past before that King John and the French king fell to any composition. But such was the malice of writers in times past, which they bore towards King John, that whatsoever was done in prejudice of him or his subjects it was still interpreted to chance through his default, so as the blame still was imputed to him, in so much that although many things he did peradventure in matters of government, for the which he might be hardily excused, yet to think that he deserved the tenth part of the blame wherewith writers charge him it might seem a great lack of advised consideration in them that so should take it. But now to proceed with our purpose.

61[King John taxes the English people]

King John, being now in rest from wars with foreign enemies, began to make war with his subjects' purses at home, emptying them by taxes and tallages to fill his coffers, which alienated the minds of a great number of them from his love and obedience. At length also, when he had got together a great mass of money, he went over again into Normandy, where, by Helias, Archbishop of Bordeaux, and the Bishop of Poitiers and Scone he was divorced from his wife Isabel that was the daughter of Robert Earl of Gloucester, King John is divorced. because of the nearness of blood, as touching her in the third degree. After that, he married Isabel, the daughter of Amerie Earl of Angoulême, by whom he had two sons, Henry and Richard, and three daughters, Isabel, Eleanor, and Jane.

62Moreover, about this time, Geoffrey Archbishop of York deprived. Geoffrey, Archbishop of York was deprived of all his manors, lands, and possessions, by the king's commandment directed to the sheriff of Yorkshire, for divers causes, for that he would not permit the same sheriff to levy the duty called carucage, that was three shillings of every plough land within his diocese, rated and appointed to be levied to the king's use throughout all parts of the realm. Secondly, for that the same archbishop refused to go over with the king into Normandy to help to make the marriage betwixt the French king's son and his niece. Thirdly, because he had excommunicated the same sheriff and all the province of York, whereupon the king took displeasure against him, and not only spoiled him (as I said) of his goods, but also banished him out of the court, not suffering him to come in his presence for the space of twelve months after.

63[Arthur pays homage to King John]

A council called at Westminster by the Archbishop of Canterbury. In this year also, Hubert Archbishop of Canterbury held a council at Westminster against the prohibition of the lord chief justice, Geoffrey FitzPeter Earl of Essex. In the which council or synod divers constitutions were made and ordained for orders and customs to be used touching the service and administration of sacraments in the church, and other articles concerning churchmen and ecclesiastical matters. Arthur duke of Brittany doth homage to the king of England. About the same time, King John and Philip king of France met together near the town of Vernon, where Arthur, Duke of Brittany (as vassal to his uncle King John), did his homage unto him for the duchy of Brittany and those other places which he held of him on this side and beyond the river of Loire, and afterward, still mistrusting his uncle's courtesy, he returned back again with the French king and would not commit himself to his said uncle, who (as he supposed) did bear him little good will. These things being thus performed, King John returned into England,King John returneth into England. The queen is crowned. and there caused his new married wife Isabel to be crowned on the Sunday before the feast of Saint Denise, the eighth of October.

64At the same time he gave commandment unto Hugh Neville, high justice of his forests, that he should award his precepts unto all foresters within the realm, to give warning to all the white monks, that before the quindene of Saint Michael they should remove out of his forests all their horses of Haraz, and other cattle, under the penalty to forfeit so many of them as after that day chanced to be found within the same forests. The cause that moved the king to deal so hardly with them was for that they refused to help him with money when, before his last going over into Normandy, he demanded it of them towards the payment of the thirty thousand pounds which he had covenanted to pay the French king to live in rest and peace, which he coveted to have done for relief of his people and his own surety, knowing what enemies he had that lay in wait to destroy him, and again what discommodities had chanced to his father and brethren by the often and continual wars. But now to proceed with other doings.

65[The king of Scotland pays homage to King John]

Immediately after the solemnization of the queen's coronation ended, An embassage sent unto the King of Scots. he sent Philip, Bishop of Durham, Roger Bigot, Earl of Norfolk, and Henry de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, nephew to William king of Scotland, and David, Earl of Huntington, brother to the said king, and Roger de La Cie, constable of Chester, the lord William de Vesey, and the lord Robert de Ros, which had married two of the daughters of the said king, and Robert FitzRoger sheriff of Northumberland as ambassadors from him unto the foresaid William king of Scotland, with letters patentsThe king of Scots came to the king of England at Lincoln. containing a safe conduct for him to come into England and to meet with King John at Lincoln on the morrow after the feast of Saint Edmund, who gladly granted thereunto, and so, according to that appointment, both the kings met at Lincoln the 21st day of November. And on the morrow after King John went to the cathedral church and offered upon the high altar a chalice of gold.

66On the same day, upon a hill without the city, the king of Scots did homage unto King John in the presence and sight of a great multitude of people, swearing fealty of life, limb, and worldly honor unto King John, which oath he made upon the cross of Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury. There were present at that time, beside other Noblemen, three archbishops, Canterbury, York, and Raguse, with other bishops, to the number of thirteen, as Durham London, Rochester, Ely, Bath, Salisbury, Winchester, Hereford, Norwich, Saint Andrews in Scotland, Llandaffe, and Bangor in Wales, and Meth in Ireland, beside a great multitude of earls, barons, and other noblemen. When the king of Scots had thus done his homage, he required restitution of Northumberland, Cumberland and Westmorland, which he claimed as his right and lawful heritage. Much talk was had touching this matter, but they could not agree, and therefore King John asked respite to consider of it till the feast of Pentecost next ensuing, which, being granted, the king of Scots the next morrow being the 23rd of November returned homewards, and was conducted back again into his country by the same noblemen that brought him to Lincoln.

67[The death of Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln]

The same day that the king of Scots took his journey homewards from Lincoln, the corpse of Hugh, bishop of that city (lately before, departed this life at London, after his return from the parts of beyond the seas), was brought thither to be buried. The king and all the bishops, earls, and barons went to receive it, and honored his burial with their presence. On the morrow after, being Friday, he was interred within the new church which he had builded. This Hugh was a Frenchman by nation, born at Grenoble, a man of a pregnant wit, and skilful both in science of holy scripture and human knowledge. He was first a regular canon, and after became a Carthusian monk. King Henry the Second, moved with the fame of his virtue and godly life, sent the Bishop of Bath to bring him into England, and after he was come, made him first abbot of Whithing in the Dioceses of Wells, and after created him Bishop of Lincoln.

68He was noted to be of a very perfect life, namely, because he would not stick to reprove men of their faults plainly and frankly, not regarding the favor or disfavor of any man, insomuch that he would not fear to pronounce them accursed, which, being the king's officers, would take upon them the punishment of any person within orders of the church for hunting and killing of the king's game within his parks, forests and chases, yea (and that which is more) he would deny payments of such subsidies and taxes as he was assessed to pay to the uses of King Richard and King John,A presumptuous part in a bishop. towards the maintenance of their wars, and did oftentimes accurse by his ecclesiastical authority such sheriffs, collectors, or other officers, as did distrain upon his lands and goods for to satisfy these kings of their demands, alleging openly that he would not pay any money towards the maintenance of wars which one Christian prince, upon private displeasure and grudge, made against another prince of the same religion. This was his reason.

69And when he came before the king to make answer to his disobedience showed herein, he would so handle the matter, partly with gentle admonishments, partly with sharp reproofs, and sometime mixing merry and pleasant speech amongst his serious arguments, that often times he would so qualify the king's mood, that, being driven from anger, he could not but laugh and smile at the bishop's pleasant talk and merry conceits, so that it might well be said of him,

70Omne tulit punctum qui miscuit utile dulci.

71This manner he used, not only with the king alone, but with the father and the two sons -- that is to say, Henry the Second, Richard and John, in whose time he ruled and governed the See of Lincoln. He was, after his decease for the opinion which men conceived of his holiness and virtues, admitted into the number of the saints.

72Ye have heard how King John had conceived no small displeasure against the monks of the white order for that they would not part with any money, excusing themselves that they might not do it without consent of a general chapter of their order. Whereupon the king had caused them divers ways to be molested, but chiefly in restraining them of liberty to have any horses or other cattle going to pasture within his forests. They therefore, taking advice together, chose forth twelve abbots amongst them of that order, the which in all their names went to Lincoln, there to make suit to the king (coming thither at this time to meet the king of Scots) that it would please him to remit his displeasure conceived against them and to take them again into his protection.

73This suit was so followed, although with some difficulty, that at length -- to wit, the Sunday after that the king of Scots had done his homage -- through the help and furtherance of the Archbishop of Canterbury, they came to the king's speech, and obtained so much as they in reason might desire, for he pardoned them of all his passed displeasure, received them again into his favor, took them into his protection, and commanded that all injuries, grievances and molestations should be reformed, redressed and amended, which in respect of his indignation had been offered and done to them by any manner of means. And to see the same accomplished, writs were directed unto the sheriffs of the counties, bearing date from Lincoln the 27th of November. And thus were those monks for that time restored to the king's favor, to their great commodity and comfort.

74[Five moons seen]

Five moons. About the month of December, there were seen in the province of York five moons, one in the east, the second in the west, the third in the north, the fourth in the south, and the fifth as it were set in the midst of the other, having many stars about it, and went five or six times encompassing the other, as it were the space of one hour, and shortly after vanished away. The winter after was extremely cold, more than the natural course had been aforetime. And in the springtime came a great glutting and continual rain, causing the rivers to rise with higher floods than they had been accustomed.

75In the year 1201 King John held his Christmas at Guilford, and there gave to his servants many fair liveries and suits of apparel. The Archbishop of Canterbury did also the like at Canterbury, seeming indeed to strive with the king which of them should pass the other in such sumptuous apparelling of their men; whereat the king (and not without good cause) was greatly moved to indignation against him, although for a time he colored the same, going presently into the north, where he gathered of the country there no small sums of money as it were by way of fining them for their transgressions committed in his forests.

[King John travels to Normandy]

76From thence he returned and came to Canterbury, where he held his Easter, which fell that year on the day of the Annunciation of our Lady, in the which feast he sat crowned together with his wife queen Isabel, the Archbishop of Canterbury bearing the charges of them and their trains while they remained there. At the feast of the Ascension next ensuing, King John set out a proclamation at Tewkesbury that all the earls and barons of the realm, and also all other that held of him by knights service, should be ready in the feast of Pentecost next ensuing with horse and armor at Portsmouth to pass over with him into Normandy, who made their appearance accordingly. Howbeit, a great number of them in the end got licence to tarry at home, paying for every knight's fee two marks of silver for a fine, which then was a great matter.

77But he sent before him into Normandy William Marshall Earl of Striguil with an hundred knights or men of arms which he had hired, and Roger de La Cie with an other hundred men of arms to defend the confines of Normandy against the enemies; and to his chamberlain Hubert de Burgh he delivered the like number of knights or men of arms also to keep the Marches betwixt England and Wales as warden of the same. This done,The archbishop of York restored. he pardoned his brother the Archbishop of York and restored him to all his dignities, possessions and liberties, confirming the same unto him in as full and large manner as ever Roger, late Archbishop of that See, had enjoyed the same; for the which confirmation his said brother undertook to pay to the king within the term of one year the sum of a thousand pounds sterling, and for the assurance thereof engaged his barony to the king in pledge.

78Moreover, about the same time,Ambassadors sent to Scotland. the king sent Geoffrey, Bishop of Chester, and Richard Malebisse, with Henry de Poisy, unto William king of Scotland, requiring him that the time appointed for him to make answer touching his demand of Northumberland might be prorogued until the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel next ensuing, which was obtained; and then the king and queen (being come to Portsmouth on the Monday in Whitsunweek) took the sea to pass over into Normandy, but not both in one shipThe king passeth over into Normandy. so that the queen with a prosperous gale of wind arrived there at her own desire. But the king was driven by reason of a pirate to take land in the Isle of Wight, and so was stayed there for a time. Howbeit, within a few days after he took ship again at Portsmouth, and so passed over into Normandy, where shortly after his arrival in those parts he came to an interview with the king of France near to L'Isle d'Andely, where coming a long time together alone, they agreed so well,He cometh to talk with the king of France. that within three days after King John at the French king's request went into France and was received of him with much honor, first at Saint Denise with procession of the clergy; and there, lodging one night, upon the morrow the French king accompanied him unto Paris where he was received of the citizens with great reverence,King John entereth into Paris. the provost presenting unto him in the name of the whole city many rich gifts for his welcome. King Philip feasted him also in his own palace, and for his part gave to him, to his lords, and to his servants many great and princely gifts. Moreover, the league at this time was renewed betwixt them and put in writing, with this caution,The league renewed. that whether of them first broke the covenants, such lords on his part as were become sureties for performance should be released of their allegiance which they ought to him that so should break, and that they might thereupon freely become subjects to the other prince.

79These things done, at length whenas King John had remained at Paris with great mirth and solace certain days, the French king brought him forth of the city and took leave of him in very loving wise.

80After this, King John went to Chinon, and from thence into Normandy, about which time there chanced some troubles in Ireland; for where Walter La Cie -- under pretence of a communication that was appointed betwixt him and John de Curcy,Walter La Cie meant to have taken the lord Curcy. lord of Ulnester -- meant to have taken the said Curcy, and for the accomplishment of his purpose set upon him, slew many of his men, and for his safeguard constrained Curcy in the end to take a castle which belonged unto Hugh La Cie upon fair promises made to him by the same Hugh to be preserved out of all danger, it came to pass that when he was once got in he might no more be suffered to depart. For the La Cies thought to have delivered him to King John, but the servants and friends of the said Curcy made such cruel war in wasting and destroying the lands and possessions that belonged unto the said Walter and Hugh La Cie that Finally they were constrained to set him again at liberty whether they would or no.

81Aid against the Turkes and infidels.At the same time also, the kings of France and England gave large money towards the maintenance of the army which at this present went forth under the leading of the Earl of Flanders and other to war against the enemies of the Christian faith, at the instance of Pope Innocent. There was furthermore granted unto them the fortieth part of all the revenues belonging to ecclesiastical persons towards the aid of the Christians then being in the holy land; and all such as well of the nobility as other of the weaker sort which had taken upon them the cross, and secretly laid it down, were compelled eftsoons to receive it now again.

82Unseasonable weather. There chanced this year wonderful tempests of thunder, lightning, hail, and abundance of rain, in such wise that men's minds were greatly astonished therewith. Meadows and marsh grounds were quite overflown, bridges broken and borne down, and great quantity of corn and hay lost and carried away, and divers men and women drowned. Margaret mother of Constance, Duchess of Brittany, sister to William, King of Scots, and mother to Henry Boun, Earl of Hereford, deceased. This year also by the counsel and advice of the burgess of London there were chosen 35 of the most substantial and wisest men, which, after the report of some writers, were called the council of the city of London, out of which number the Mayor and Bailiffs were yearly chosen.

83[King Philip makes war against King John]

In the year 1202 King John held his Christmas at Argenton in Normandy, and in the Lent following he and the French king met together near unto the castle of Le Goulet, and there in talk had between them he commanded King John with no small arrogancy, and contrary to his former promise, to restore unto his nephew Arthur duke of Brittany all those lands now in his possession on that side the sea,The French King beginneth to make war against King John. which King John earnestly denied to do. Whereupon the French king immediately after began war against him and took Boteavant, Augi, and the castle of Linos. Moreover, he besieged the castle of Radepont for the space of eight days till King John came thither and forced him to depart with much dishonor. Howbeit, after this the French king won Gourney, and then, returning to Paris, he appointed certain persons to have the government of the foresaid Arthur duke of Brittany, and then sent him forth with 200 men of arms into Poitou, that he might bring the country also under his subjection.

84Hugh Earl of March.Hereupon, Hugh le Brun, Earl of March (unto whom queen Isabel the wife of King John had been promised in marriage, before that King John was motioned unto her, and therefore bore an inward displeasure towards the king of England for that he had so bereft him of his promised spouse), being now desirous to procure some trouble also unto King John,The Poitouins revolt from King John. joined himself with Arthur, Duke of Brittany, and found means to cause them of Poitou (a people ever subject to rebellion) to revolt from King John and to take armor against him, so that the young Arthur, being encouraged with this new supply of associates, first went into Touraine, and after into Anjou, compelling both those countries to submit themselves unto him,Arthur proclaimeth himself Earl of Anjou, etc. and proclaimed himself earl of those places by commission and grant obtained from King Philip.

85[Queen Eleanor is rescued, Arthur captured]

Queen Eleanor that was regent in those parties being put in great fear with the news of this sudden stir, got her into Mirebeau, a strong townQueen Eleanor. situated in the country of Anjou, and forthwith dispatched a messenger with letters unto King John, requiring him of speedy succor in this her present danger. In the mean time, Arthur, following the victory, shortly after followed her and won Mirebeau, where he took his grandmother within the same, whom he yet entreated very honorably, and with great reverence (as some have reported). ¶ But other write far more truly that she was not taken, but escaped into a tower, within the which she was straitly besieged. Thither came also to aid Arthur all the nobles and men of arms in Poitou, and namely the foresaid Earl of March according to appointment betwixt them; so that by this means Arthur had a great army together in the field.

86King John in the mean time, having received his mother's letters and understanding thereby in what danger she stood, was marvellously troubled with the strangeness of the news, and with many bitter words accused the French king as an untrue prince and a fraudulent league-breaker, and in all possible haste speedeth him forth, continuing his journey for the most part both day and night to come to the succor of his people. To be brief,King John cometh upon his enemies not looked for. he used such diligence that he was upon his enemies' necks ere they could understand any thing of his coming, or guess what the matter meant when they saw such a company of soldiers as he brought with him to approach so near the city. For so negligent were they that, having once won the town, they ranged abroad over the country hither and thither at their liberty without any care. So that now being put in a sudden fear, as prevented by the hasty coming of the enemies upon them, and wanting leisure to take advice what was best to be done, and having not time in manner to get any armor on their backs, they were in a marvellous trouble, not knowing whether it were best for them to fight or to flee, to yield or to resist.

87This their fear being apparent to the Englishmen (by their disorder showed in running up and down from place to place with great noise and turmoil) they set upon them with great violence, and, compassing them round about, they either took or slew them in a manner at their pleasure. And having thus put them all to flight they pursued the chase towards the town of Mirebeau, into which the enemies made very great haste to enter; but such speed was used by the English soldiers at that present that they entered and won the said town before their enemies could come near to get into it. Great slaughter was made within Mirebeau itself,Arthur duke of Brittany taken prisoner. and Arthur with the residue of the army that escaped with life from the first bickering was taken, who, being hereupon committed to prison, first at Falaise, and after within the city of Rouen, lived not long after as you shall hear. The other of the prisoners were also committed unto safe keeping, some into castles within Normandy, and some were sent into England.

88King John having gotten this victory, and taken his nephew Arthur, he wrote the manner of that his success unto his barons in England, in manner as followeth.

89John by the grace of God king of England, and lord of Ireland, to all his barons sendeth greeting. Know ye that we, by God's good favor, are in sound and perfect health, and through God's grace that marvellously worketh with us, on Tuesday before Lammas day, we being before the city of Le Mans, were advertised that our mother was besieged in Mirebeau, and therefore we hasted so fast as we possibly might so that we came thither on Lammas day, and there we took our nephew Arthur, Hugh le Brun, Andrew de Chavenie, the Viscount of Chateau Erald, Raimond de Touars, Saverie de Mauleon, and Hugh Bangi, and all other enemies of Poitou that were there assembled against us, to the number of two hundred knights and above252 knights or men of arms besides demi-lances. so that not one of them escaped. Give God therefore thanks, and rejoice at our good success.

90The French king at the same time lying in siege before Arques, immediately upon the news of this overthrow raised from thence and returned homewards, destroying all that came in his way, till he was entered into his own country. It is said that King John caused his nephew Arthur to be brought before him at Falaise, and there went about to persuade him all that he could to forsake his friendship and alliance with the French king, and to lean and stick to him being his natural uncle. But Arthur, like one that wanted good counsel and abounding too much in his own wilful opinion, made a presumptuous answer, not only denying so to do, but also commanding King John to restore unto him the realm of England with all those other lands and possessions which King Richard had in his hand at the hour of his death. For sith the same appertained to him by right of inheritance, he assured him, except restitution were made the sooner, he should not long continue quiet. King John being sore moved with such words thus uttered by his nephew, appointed (as before is said) that he should be straitly kept in prison, as first in Falaise, and after at Rouen within the new castle there. Thus by means of this good success the countries of Poitou, Touraine, and Anjou were recovered.

91[King John crowned a second time; Arthur's death]

Shortly after King John coming over into England,King John eftsoons crowned. caused himself to be crowned again at Canterbury by the hands of Hubert the archbishop there, on the fourteenth day of April, and then went back again into Normandy, where immediately upon his arrival a rumor was spread through all France of the death of his nephew Arthur. True it is that great suit was made to have Arthur set at liberty, as well by the French king as by William de Riches, a valiant baron of Poitou and divers other noblemen of the Bretons, who, when they could not prevail in their suit, they banded themselves together, and joining in confederacy with Robert Earl of Alençon, the viscount Beaumont, William de Fulgiers, and other, they began to levy sharp wars against King John in divers places, insomuch (as it was thought) that so long as Arthur lived, there would be no quiet in those parts. Whereupon it was reported that King John, through persuasion of his councillors, appointed certain persons to go unto Falaise where Arthur was kept in prison under the charge of Hubert de Burgh, and there to put out the young gentleman's eyes.

92But through such resistance as he made against one of the tormentors that came to execute the king's commandment (for the other rather forsook their prince and country than they would consent to obey the king's authority herein) and such lamentable words as he uttered, Hubert de Burgh did preserve him from that injury, not doubting but rather to have thanks than displeasure at the kings hands for delivering him of such infamy as would have redounded unto his highness if the young gentleman had been so cruelly dealt withal. For he considered that King John had resolved upon this point only in his heat and fury -- which moveth men to undertake many an inconvenient enterprise unbeseeming the person of a common man, much more reproachful to a prince, all men in that mood being mere foolish and furious and prone to accomplish the perverse conceits of their ill possessed heart; as one saith right well,

93pronus in iram
Stultorum est animus, facile excandescit et audet
Omne scelus, quoties concepta bile tumescit --

94and that afterwards, upon better advisement, he would both repent himself so to have commanded, and give them small thank that should see it put in execution. Howbeit to satisfy his mind for the time, and to stay the rage of the Bretons, he caused it to be bruited abroad through the country that the king's commandment was fulfilled and that Arthur also through sorrow and grief was departed out of this life. For the space of fifteen days this rumor incessantly ran through both the realms of England and France, and there was ringing for him through towns and villages, as it had been for his funerals. It was also bruited that his body was buried in the Monastery of Saint Andrews of the Cîteaux order.

95But when the Bretons were nothing pacified, but rather kindled more vehemently to work all the mischief they could devise in revenge of their sovereign's death, there was no remedy but to signify abroad again that Arthur was as yet living and in health. Now when the king heard the truth of all this matter, he was nothing displeased for that his commandment was not executed, sith there were divers of his captains which uttered in plain words that he should not find knights to keep his castles if he dealt so cruelly with his nephew. For if it chanced any of them to be taken by the king of France or other their adversaries, they should be sure to taste of the like cup. ¶ But now touching the manner in very deed of the end of this Arthur, writers make sundry reports. Nevertheless certain it is that in the year next ensuing he was removed from Falaise unto the castle or tower of Rouen, out of the which there was not any that would confess that ever he saw him go alive. Some have written that as he assayed to have escaped out of prison, and proving to climb over the walls of the castle, he fell into the river of Seine, and so was drowned. Other write that through very grief and languor he pined away and died of natural sickness. But some affirm that King John secretly caused him to be murdered and made away, so as it is not thoroughly agreed upon in what sort he finished his days; but verily King John was had in great suspicion, whether worthily or not, the lord knoweth. Yet how extremely soever he dealt with his nephew, he released and set at liberty divers of those lords that were taken prisoners with him, namely Hugh le Brun, and Savery de Mauleon, the one to his great trouble and hindrance, and the other to his gain; for Hugh le Brun afterwards levied and occasioned sore wars against him, but Savery de Mauleon continued ever after his loyal subject, doing to him very agreeable service, as hereafter may appear.

96Guy son to the viscount of Touars. The Lord Guy, son to the viscount of Touars who had taken Arthur's mother Constance to wife after the divorce made betwixt her and the Earl of Chester, in right of her obtained the dukedome of Brittany. But King Philip, after he was advertised of Arthur's death, took the matter very grievously, and upon occasion thereofConstance the mother of duke Arthur accuseth King John. cited King John to appear before him at a certain day to answer such objections as Constance the duchess of Brittany, mother to the said Arthur, should lay to his charge touching the murder of her son. And because King John appeared not, he was therefore condemned in the action and adjudged to forfeit all that he held within the precinct of France, as well Normandy as all his other lands and dominions.

97[The price of bread fixed]

The ordinance for the assize of bread. About the same time the king caused a proclamation to be published for the lawful assize of bread to be made by the bakers, upon pain to be punished by the pillory; which assize was approved and assessed by the baker of Geoffrey FitzPeter, lord chief justice of England, and by the baker of Robert de Turnham. So that the baker might sell and gain in every quarter three pence, besides the bran, and two loaves for the heater of the oven, and for four servants four halfpence, for two boys a farthing, for allowance in salt an halfpenny, yeast an halfpenny, for candle a farthing, for fuel three pence, and for a bolter an halfpenny. And this was the rate.

98When wheat was sold for six shillings the quarter, then shall every loaf of fine manchet weigh 41 shillings and every loaf of cheat shall weigh 24 shillings. When wheat is sold for five shillings and six pence, then manchet shall weigh 20 shillings and cheat 28 shillings. When wheat is sold for five shillings, then manchet shall weigh 24 shillings and the cheat bread 32 shillings. When wheat is sold for four shillings six pence, manchet shall weigh 32 shillings and cheat 42 shillings. When wheat is sold for four shillings, manchet shall weigh 36 shillings and cheat 46 shillings. When wheat is sold for three shillings six pence, then shall manchet weigh 42 shillings and cheat 54 shillings. When wheat is sold for three shillings, manchet shall weigh 48 shillings and cheat 44 shillings. When wheat is sold for two shillings and six pence, manchet shall weigh 54 shillings and cheat 72 shillings. When wheat is sold for two shillings, manchet shall weigh sixty shillings and cheat four pound. When wheat is sold for 18 pence the quarter, manchet shall weigh 77 shillings and cheat four pound and eight shillings. This ordinance was proclaimed throughout the realm as most necessary and profitable for the commonwealth.

99This year many wonderful things happened, for besides the sore winter, which passed any other that had been heard of in many years before both for continuance in length and extreme coldness of frosts,Great tempests. there followed grisly tempests with thunder, lightning, and storms of rain, and hail of the bigness of hens' eggs, wherewith much fruit and great store of corn was perished beside other great hurts done upon houses and young cattle. Also spirits (as it was thought) in likeness of birds and fowl were seen in the air flying with fire in their beaks, wherewith they set divers houses on fire, which did import great troubles ere long to ensue -- and followed indeed as shall appear hereafter.

100[1203]With this entrance of the year of our lord 1203, King John held his Christmas at Caen, where not having (as some writers say) sufficient regard to the necessary affairs of his wars he gave his mind to banqueting, and passed the time in pleasure with the queen his wife to the great grief of his lords, so that they, perceiving his reckless demeanour (or as some write, the doubtful minds of the nobility which served on that side and were ready daily to revolt from his obedience), withdrew their dutiful hearts from him, and therefore getting licence returned home into England.

101[King Philip invades Normandy]

In this mean time the French kingAnno Reg. 5. to bring his purpose to full effect entered into Normandy, wasted the countries and won the towns of Couches,The French king invadeth Normandy. le Val de Rueil, and L'Isle d'Andely. Le Val de Rueil wis given over without any great enforcement of assault by two noblemen that had charge thereof, the one named Robert FitzWalter and the other Saer de Quincie. Howbeit, L'Isle d'Andely was valiantly for a certain time defended by Roger de La Cie, the Constable of Chester. But at length they within were so constrained by famine and long siege that the said La Cie and others perceiving it to be more honorable for them to die by the sword than to starve through want of food, broke out upon their enemies, and slew a great sort of the Frenchmen,Roger de La Cie, Constable of Chester taken. but yet in the end they were taken prisoners, and so these fortresses came into the French king's hands.

102The pope hearing of these variances betwixt the two kings, sent the Abbot of Casmer into France,The pope sendeth his Nuncii into France. accompanied with the abbot of Troissons, to move them to a peace. These two abbots took such pains in the matter that the kings were almost brought to agreement. But the French king, perceiving himself to be aforehand in his business, sticked at one article, which was to repair all such abbeys as he had destroyed within the dominions of King John, and King John to do the like by all those that he had wasted within the French king's countries. The pope's Nuncii would have excommunicated King Philip because he would not thus agree. But King Philip, appealing from them, pursued the war and besieged the town of Radpont. The soldiers within the town defended the first assault very manfully, and caused the Frenchmen to retire back; but King Philip meaning to have the town ere he departed, did so enclose it about that within ten days he won itRadpont won. and took there twenty men of arms, an hundred demi-lances, and twenty arcubalisters.

103After this, when he had fortified this place, he went to castle Galliard, which he besieged,castle Galliard. and though by the high valiancy of Hugh de Gourney, the captain there, the Frenchmen were manfully beaten back and kept out for a month and more, yet at length by strict siege and near approaches hardily made the fortress was delivered into the French king's hands.Hugh de Gourney revolteth from King John. And in the end the said Hugh Gourney revolted from his obedience, delivering also the castle of Mountfort unto the French king, which castle with the honor thereto appertaining King John had given to the same Hugh not very long before. All this while King John did lie at Rouen; but forsomuch as he could not well remedy the matter as then because he wanted such help as he daily looked for out of England and durst not trust any of that side, he passed it over with a stout countenance for a while, and would say oftentimes to such as stood about him, "What else doth my cousin the French king now than steal those things from me which hereafter I shall endeavour my self to cause him to restore with interest?" But when he saw that his enemies would still proceed,King John cometh back into England. and that no aid came out of England, he came over himself and landed at Portsmouth on Saint Nicholas's day.

104King Philip, doubting by using the victory with too much rigor, lest he should bring the Normans into a desperate boldness and so cause them for safeguard of their lives to hazard all upon resistance, he stayed for a time, and withdrew his soldiers back again into France, having not only furnished those places in the mean time which he had won with strong garrisons of his soldiers, but also appointed certain personages to travail with the people yet remaining in the English subjection to revolt and turn from King John to his obeisance and subjection.

105King John, being returned into England, accused divers of his nobles for showing themselves negligent and slothful in aiding him according to his commandment, alleging furthermore that, being destitute of their due and requisite service, he was constrained to lose his time in Normandy, as not being able for want of their aid to resist his enemies. Wherefore for this and other matters laid to their charges, he did put them to grievous fines. By means whereof, and by levying a subsidy of his people, he got together an huge sum of money. This subsidy was granted him in a parliament holden at Oxenford,A parliament at Oxenford. 1204. and begun there upon the second of January 1204, wherein of every knight's fee was granted the sum of two marks and an half. Neither were the bishops,A subsidy granted. abbots, nor any other ecclesiastical persons exempted, by means whereof he ran first into the hatred of the clergy and consequently of many other of his subjects, so that they failed him at his need, whereby he often sustained no small damage which he might have prevented and withstood if he had been so qualified with discretion as to have seen what was convenient and what inconvenient for his royal estate. But

-- voluptas
Improba perniciem ingentem mortalibus affert --

as it did to him, which may be gathered by a due observation of the consequence. ¶ This year the air toward the north and east parts seemed to be on a bright fire for the space of six hours together. It began about the first watch of the night, on the first of April.

106King John about the beginning of this sixth year of his reign,Anno Reg. 6. sent in embassage to the French king the Archbishop of Canterbury, the bishops of Norwich and Ely,Ambassadors sent into France. the earls Marshall and Leicester to treat with him of peace, but he was so far off from coming near to any reasonable motions, because he saw the world frame as he wished, that still by demanding somewhat that might not be granted he kept off, and brought in such hard conditions that it was not possible to conclude any agreement. And this he did of purpose, hoping within short time to conquer all that the king of England possessed as yet on that side the seas. He was the more untoward to compound for that he was informed how Arthur the duke of Brittany was dispatched of his life, and therefore, not doubting but to have many to take part with him in seeking revenge of his death, he made that his chief quarrel, swearing that he would not cease to pursue the war against King John till he had deprived him of his whole kingdom. So the ambassadors departed without all hope to come to any agreement. ¶ This year Easter day fell so high as it possibly might, that is to say, on Saint Mark's day.

107[King Philip takes Rouen]

King Philip, understanding that King John remained still in England rather occupied in gathering of money amongst his subjects than in making other provision to bring them into the field (to the great offence of his said people), thought now for his part to lose no time, but assembling a mighty army he came with the same into Normandy,Towns won by the French king. and upon his first coming he won the town of Falaise, and shortly after was Domfront delivered unto him by surrender. This done, he marched further into the country, and with his sudden invasion so oppressed the people everywhere that they could have no time to make shift by flight to get into the towns. With this swiftness of speed he brought also such a fear into the hearts of most men that he won all the country of Normandy even to Mount Saint Michel. The inhabitants in every place submitted themselves, as those of Bayeux, Constance, Liseux, and other towns thereabouts.

108Finally, he came before Rouen,Rouen besieged by the French king. the principal city of all the country, and encamped so in sundry places about the city that all the issues, entries and ways were closed up by his army, being so divided into several camps that the distance was not great from one to another, making a terrible show to them within. At length after he had provided all things necessary for his purpose, and taken good advice of his captains how he should best employ his force for the winning of this city (in which exploit he knew the full perfection of all his passed conquests chiefly to consist) he did manfully assault it, and they within as manfully defended themselves, so that he got little by the assaults and approaches which he made. Whereupon he fell in hand to practise with the citizens to win them with meed, courtesy, gentle speech, and great promises. So that, in fine, they within were so moved with such reasons as he used to persuade them withal that they made request for a truce to be had for certain days, within the term whereof if no succor came they covenanted to yield without any further trouble.

109This truce being obtained, ambassadors were sent from them of Rouen into England to signify unto King John the whole state of the city and of the truce, so that if aid came not within the time appointed the city must needs be delivered into the enemy's hands. The king having no army in readiness to send over, nor other shift to make for the succor of the city, permitted the ambassadors to depart without comfort of any aid, who hereupon returning to Rouen and reporting what they had heard, seen, and found, brought the city into great sorrow. For whereas that city had ever been accustomed to glory for the great loyalty and faithful fidelity which the same had ever showed towards their liege lords and natural princes,The great fidelity of the citizens of Rouen. now the citizens perceived manifestly that unless they would cast away themselves and lose all they had they must of force yield into the hands of their enemies. Wherefore to make their true allegiance more apparent to the world, they stayed the surrender as long as they had any store of victuals within the city to relieve their fainting bodies withal;Rouen through famine is surrendered to the French king. and so in the end being vanquished with hunger they submitted themselves to the French king. Their submission being once known, caused all those other towns which had not yielded to deliver up their keys unto the Frenchmen, as Arques, Vernueil, and others.

110Moreover the towns in Poitou, Touraine, and Anjou, which King John had recovered lately before, did now again (being in no small fear) yield themselves unto King Philip; so that of all the towns within those countries there remained none under the English obeisance, save only Rochelle, Tours, Niorth, and a few other. Thus Normandy, which king Rollo had purchased and gotten 316 years before that present time, was then recovered by the Frenchmen to the great reproach and dishonor of the English, in this year 1204. About this time queen Eleanor the mother of King John departed this life, consumed rather through sorrow and anguish of mind than of any other natural infirmity.

111[A marvellous man-like fish]

By Rafe Coggeshall's report this should seem to have chanced in the days of King Henry the Second. A fish like to a man.In this sixth year of King John's reign, at Oxford in Suffolk, as Fabian saith (although I think he be deceived in the time), a fish was taken by fishers in their nets as they were at sea resembling in shape a wild or savage man, whom they presented unto sir Bartholomew de Glanville knight that had then the keeping of the castle of Orford in Suffolk. He was naked, and in all his limbs and members resembling the right proportion of a man; he had hairs also in the usual parts of his body, albeit that the crown of his head was bald, his beard was long and rugged, and his breast hairy. The knight caused him to be kept certain days and nights from the sea. Meat set afore him he greedily devoured, and did eat fish both raw and sod. Those that were raw he pressed in his hand till he had thrust out all the moisture, and so then did eat them. He would not or could not utter any speech, although to try him they hung him up by the heels and miserably tormented him. He would get him to his couch at the setting of the sun, and rise again at the rising of the same.

112One day they brought him to the haven, and suffered him to go into the sea, but to be sure he should not escape from them, they set three ranks of mighty strong nets before him so to catch him again at their pleasure (as they imagined) but he straightaways diving down to the bottom of the water, got past all the nets, and coming up showed himself to them again that stood waiting for him, and ducking divers times under water and coming up again he beheld them on the shore that stood still looking at him, who seemed as it were to mock them for that he had deceived them and got past their nets. At length after he had thus sported himself a great while in the water, and that there was no more hope of his return, he came to them again of his own accord, swimming through the water, and remained with them two months after. But finally, when he was negligently looked to and now seemed not to be regarded, he fled secretly to the sea, and was never after seen nor heard of.

113¶ Thus much out of Rafe Coggeshall, who affirmeth that this chanced in the days of Henry the Second, about the 33rd of his reign, as John Stow in his summary hath also noted. Which report of theirs in respect of the strangeness thereof might seem incredible, specially to such as be hard of belief and refuse to give faith and credit to any thing but what their own eyes have sealed to their consciences, so that the reading of such wonders as these is no more beneficial to them than to carry a candle before a blind man, or to sing a song to him that is stark deaf. Nevertheless, of all uncouth and rare sights, specially of monstrous appearances, we ought to be so far from having little regard that we should rather in them and by them observe the event and falling out of some future thing, no less miraculous in the issue than they be wonderful at the sudden sight. This was well noted of a philosopher, who to the purpose (among other matters by him touched) hath spoken no less pithily than credibly, saying;

Nec fieri aut errore aut casu monstra putandum,
Cum certas habeant causas, ut tristia monstrent,
Unde illis nomen, quare et portenta vocantur.

114[The war continues]

The war was mightily maintained all this while betwixt them of Poitou and Aquitaine, and many sharp encounters chanced betwixt the parties, of which the one following the king of England's lieutenant Robert de Turnham valiantly resisted the other that held with the French king under the conduct of William de Roches and Hugh le Brun, Earl of March, chief leaders of that faction. But Robert Turnham, together with Savery de Mauleon and Gerard de Atie, bare themselves so manfully that in all conflicts for the most part the victory remained on their sides. The Gascons also took part with King John, and continued in dutiful obedience towards him, for the which their loyalty he was ready to consider them with princely gifts and beneficial rewards, in such bountiful wise that he gave unto a nobleman of the country named Moreve the sum of 28 thousand marks to levy and wage thirty thousand men to aid him at his coming over into those parties. The Archbishop of Bordeaux, that was brother unto the foresaid Moreve, became surety for performance of the covenants and remained in England a long time because the same covenants were not in all points accomplished.

115The bishop of London was sent ambassador from King John unto the emperor upon certain earnest business. The Duke of Louvain and the Earl of Bullogne were made friends by the French king's drift and promised to invade England with an army, and to make war against King John for the withholding of such lands and revenues as they claimed to be due unto them in right of their wives. King Philip also undertook to follow them within a month after they should be entered into England, and thus did the French king seek to make him strong with friends, which daily fell from King John on each hand. ¶ Godfrey bishop of Winchester, that was son to the lord Richard de Lucie departed this life. This year the king was on Christmas day at Tewkesbury where he stayed not past one day.

116The 14th day of January it began to freeze, and so continued till the 22 of March, with such extremityAn extreme frost. that the husbandmen could not make their tilth, by reason whereof in the summer following corn began to grow to an excessive price so that wheat was sold by the quarter at 12 shillings of money then currant. This year, about the feast of Pentecost, the king (by the advice of his council assembled at Northampton) prepared a navy of ships,King John prepareth an army to go into France. mustered soldiers, and showed great tokens that he would renew the war and seek to be revenged of his enemy the French king. The nobles of the realm endeavoured themselves also to match the diligence of the king in this preparation, upon an earnest desire to revenge the injuries lately done to the commonwealth.

117[King John persuaded not to cross to Normandy]

Now when all things were ready and the ships fraught with victuals, armor, and all other provisions necessary, the king came to Porchester, there to take the sea, purposing verily to pass over into France in hope of such fair promises as his friends of Normandy and Poitou had made in sending oftentimes to him to procure him with speed to come to their succors.The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Earl of Pembroke persuade the king to stay at home. But as the king was ready to enter on shipboard, Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury, and William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke came to him, and with many great reasons went about to persuade him to stay his journey. Who although he was very loath to follow their counsel, yet they put forth so many doubts and dangers that might follow of his departing the realm at that present to the hazarding of the whole state, that in the end (sore to his grief) he was overcome by their importunate persuasions, and, so dismissing the most part of his army, appointed his brother the Earl of Salisbury with a certain number of knights and men of arms to pass over into Rochelle, whither the lord Geoffrey the king's base son was gone before him with many other knights and men of arms.

118The lords and other that were dismissed took it very evil, considering the great preparation that had been made for that journey. But specially the mariners were sore offended, cursing the archbishop and the said Earl of Pembroke that were known to be authors of so naughty counsel as they took this to be. It was thought there was never so many ships gotten together at one time before as were at that present to have attended the king; for (as writers have recorded) there were to the number of fourteen thousand mariners that had brought their ships thither for that purpose. But as the breaking up of this voyage grieved others, so it pinched the king so near the heart, that he, being come back from the seaside to Winchester,The king repenting him goeth back to the sea side. repented so much that he had not gone forward with his journey, that the next day he returned again to the coast, and at Portsmouth, entering the sea with his ships, on the fifteenth of July he sailed to the Isle of WightHe goeth to the sea the 15th of July, as some authors have. and wasted up and down for the space of two days together, till by advice of his friends he was persuaded not to adventure to pass over sith his army was dismissed and gone home, and so he returned back to the shore again, arriving at Scotland near unto Warham, the third day after his setting forth; yet such as were behind and hasted after him thought verily he had been gone over, and such a bruit was spread over all till at length in time the truth was known.

119At his coming back (as some write) he charged certain of the nobility with treason, because they did not follow him; whereupon shortly after he punished them very grievously, and peradventure not without some ground of just cause. For likely it is that some greater matter forced him to break up his journey than appeareth in our writers, although Rafe Cogheshall setteth down some reasons alleged by the archbishop Hubert and earl Marshal, to persuade him not to depart the realm. But peradventure other causes there were also of far more importance that constrained him so greatly against his mind and full resolution, both at the first, and now at this second time to return. ¶ Verily to utter my conjecture, it may be that upon his last determination to go over he gave new commandment to his lords to follow him, and they peradventure used not such diligence in accomplishing his pleasure therein as he looked they should have done; or it may be, when the army was once discharged, the soldiers made such haste homewards, each man towards his country, that it was no easy matter to bring them back again in any convenient time. But howsoever it was, as it had been upon a change of purpose, he came back again (as before ye have heard.)

120[John's dispute with the pope]

The thirteenth of July, Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury, departed this life at Tenham,The death of the Archbishop of Canterbury. the king not being greatly sorry for his death (as some have written) because he gathered some suspicion that he bore too much good will towards the French king. In very deed (as some write) the archbishop repented himself of nothing so much as for that he had commended King John to the noblemen and peers of the realm, sith he proved another manner of man than he looked to have found him. This archbishop had governed the See of Canterbury eleven years, eight months, and six days.

121After his decease the monks of Canterbury, without knowledge of the king, chose one Reignold the sub-prior of their house, to be their archbishop,An archbishop chosen. who secretly went to Rome to obtain his confirmation of the pope. Which thing bred much mischief and great discord betwixt Pope Innocent and King John, since the pope would not confirm the election because he saw some piece of secret practice, till he might understand and be certified by report of sufficient witness (for that he wanted the letters commendatory from the king) that the same election was lawful and orderly made. Of this delay also the monks being speedily advertised, and to the end they might now recover the king's favor, whom they had very sore offended in not making him privy to the first election, they made request unto him that by his nomination it might be lawful for them to choose another archbishop.

122The king gladly hereunto assented,John Grey bishop of Norwich president of the council. requiring them to grant their voices unto John Grey the bishop of Norwich, being both his chaplin and president of his council. The monks, to gratify the king, obeyed his request, and so electing the same bishop of Norwich they sent their procurators to Rome in the year following to signify the same unto the pope and to require him to confirm this their second election, as unmindful of their first and clearly adnihilating the same to all intents and purposes. Amongst other that were sent to Rome about this business, Helias de Brantfield was one,Helias de Brantfield. a monk of great estimation, and had in good credit with the king, who ministered unto them that were thus sent sufficient allowance wherewith to bear their charges and expenses.

123Also at the same time the bishops that were suffragans to the See of CanterburyThe bishops quarrel with the monks of Canterbury about the election of an archbishop. sent their procurators to Rome about a quarrel which they had against the monks there, for that the same monks presumed to proceed to the election of an archbishop without their consent, having (as they alleged) a right by ancient decrees and customs to be associated with them in the said elections. But how this matter was answered, ye shall see hereafter. In the mean time, these and other like things procured the pope to reject both the elections, and of his own authority to nominate the third person, whereby the trouble begun was not a little augmented, as you shall hear hereafter. Now whilst these procurators were thus occupied in Rome, Philip the French king, minding to conquer all that which King John yet held within France, assembled an army, and coming before the town of Loches won it, and took Gerard de Atie prisonerGerard de Atie and Robert de Turnham taken prisoners. that had so long time and with such valiancy defended it. The same time also was Robert de Turnham taken prisoner, who with great manhood had all this while repressed and chastised the rebellious Poitouins.

124[King Philip takes Chinon]

Moreover, when the French king had won Loches he went to Chinon,Hubert de Burgh a valiant captain. within the which Hubert de Burgh was captain, a right valiant man of war as was anywhere to be found, who, having prepared all things necessary for defence, manfully repelled the Frenchmen, who inforced themselves to win the town with continual assaults and alarms, not suffering them within to rest neither day nor night, who yet for certain days together by the valiant encouragement of their captain defended the town with great slaughter of the Frenchmen. Nevertheless, at length beginning to despair by reason of their incessant travail, certain of them that were somewhat fainthearted stole over the walls in the night, and ran to the Frenchmen, and for safeguard of their lives instructed them of the whole estate of the town. The French understanding that they within were in no small fear of themselves,Chinon taken by force of assault. with such violence came unto the walls, and renewed the assault upon all sides, that straightaway they entered by force. A great number of Englishmen were taken, and amongst other their captain the foresaid Hubert de Burgh. This chanced on the vigil of Saint John Baptist.

125After this, King Philip took divers other towns and castles in that country, of the which some he razed, and some he fortified and stored with garrisons of his soldiers. This done he passed over the river of Loire, and won a castle situated near unto a promontory or head of land called Grapelitum, which was wont to be a great succor and aid to Englishmen arriving on that coast. The occasion why he made wars thus upon the Bretons was (as some write) for that Guy, Duke of Brittany, who had married the duchess Constance and succeeded in the duchy after her son Arthur, without regard to revenge the death of the same Arthur, was joined in league with King John together with Savere de Mauleon, and Almeric de Lusignian, lords of great honor, power, and stoutness of stomach.

126[King John takes Angers; a truce]

1206 Anno. Reg. 8. King John also in this mean while moved with the increase of these his new associates, and also with desire to revenge so many injuries and losses sustained at the French king's hands, preparing an army of men and a navy of ships, took the sea with them and landed at Rochelle the ninth of July where he was received with great ioy and gladness of the people; and no small number of gentlemen and others that inhabited thereabout repaired unto him, offering to aid him to the uttermost of their powers. He therefore, with assured hope of good speed, departed from thenceMontaluban won. and won the town of Montaluban, with a great part of all the country thereabouts. Finally he entered into Anjou and, coming to the city of Angers, appointed certain bands of his footmen and all his light horsemen to compass the town about whilst he, with the residue of the footmen and all the men of arms, did go to assault the gates. Which enterprise with fire and sword he so manfully executedKing John won the city of Angers by assault. that, the gates being in a moment broken open, the city was entered and delivered to the soldiers for a prey. So that of the citizens some were taken, some killed, and the walls of the city beaten flat to the ground. This done, he went abroad into the country and put all things that were in his way to the like destruction. Then came the people of the countries next adjoining of their own accord to submit themselves unto him, promising to aid him with men and victuals most plentifully.

127King John, being very joyful of this good success, marched towards Poitou, sending out his troops of horsemen to waste the country on every side. In the mean while the French king, being hereof advertised, came forth with his army ready furnished to resist King John,The duke of Brittany and other of King John's friends overthrown. and by the way encountered with the Duke of Brittany, Saverie de Mauleon, and Almeric de Lusignian, which had been abroad to spoil the French king's countries. But being now overset with the king's puissance, they were taken and all their company stripped out of their armor, to their great confusion. This mishap sore weakened the power and courage of King John. But the French king, proud of the victory, kept on his journey, and approaching near unto the place where King John was as then lodged, did cause his tents to be pitched down for the first night, and on the morrow after, as one desirous of battle, brought his army into the fields ranged in good order and ready to fight.

128[A truce for two years]

The like did King John, so that with stout stomachs and eager minds, they stood there in the field ready to try the matter with dint of sword upon sound of the warning-blast given by the trumpets. Howbeit, by the mediation of certain grave personages,This truce was concluded upon All Hallows day. as well of the spiritualty as of the temporality, which were in good estimation with both the princes, a communication was appointed, which took such effect that a truce was taken betwixt them for the term of two years, the prisoners on either side being released by way of exchange; and thus the wars ceased for that time. Then King Philip returned into France, and King John into England, where he landed at Portsmouth the 12th of December.

129About this time came one John Ferentino (so called peradventure A ferendo,John Ferentino the pope's legate. a common name to all the whelps of that litter, for they never came into the land as legates but they would be sure to carry out with them many large legacies and usurped duties) a legate from the pope into England, and passing through the same as it were in visitation, gathered a great sum of money; and finally at Reading on the morrow after Saint Luke's day celebrated a council, which being ended he caused his coffers to be packed up and sent away, hasting himself after to depart the realm, and so taking the sea bad England farewell.The pope giveth sentence with the monks against the bishops. About the same season also Pope Innocent confirmed the authority and power which the prior and monks of Canterbury had to elect and choose the Archbishop of that see, giving sentence against the suffragans which claimed a right to be joined with the said prior and monks in the election, as by a letter directed to the same suffragans from the said pope it may more plainly appear.

130After this it chanced that King John remembering himself of the destruction of the city of Angiers, which (because he was descended from thence) he had before time greatly loved, began now to repent him, in that he had destroyed it, and therefore with all speed he took order to have it again repaired,King John repaireth the city of Angers. which was done in most beautiful wise to his great cost and expenses, which he might have saved had not his foolish rashness driven him to attempt that whereof upon sober advisement afterwards he was ashamed. But what will not an ordinary man do in the full tide of his fury; much more princes and great men, whose anger is resembled to the roaring of a lion, even upon light occasions oftentimes, to satisfy their unbridled and brainsick affections, which carry them with a swift and full stream into such follies and dotages as are undecent for their degrees. Herto assenteth the poet, saying,

-- magni Regesque Ducesque
Delirant saepe et vitiorum peste laborant,
Stultitiisque suis saepe urbes exitio dant?
. . .
Imperiumque sibi miserorum caede lucrantur.

131Moreover, in this year about Candlemass, the King caused the 13th part of every man's goods,1207. A tax levied. as well of the spirituality as of the temporality, to be levied and gathered to his use, all men murmuring at such doings, but none being so hardy as to gainsay the king's pleasureThe Archbishop of York stealeth out of the realm. except only Geoffrey, the Archbishop of York, who thereupon, departing secretly out of the realm, accursed all those that laid any hands to the collection of that payment within his archbishopric of York. Also upon the 17th of January then last past, about the midst of the night,A mighty tempest. there rose such a tempest of wind upon a sudden that many houses were overthrown therewith, and sheep and other cattle destroyed and buried in the drifts of snow, which as then lay very deep every where upon the ground.

132The order of Friars Minor began about this time, and increased marvellously within a short season. And the Emperor Otho came over into England in this year,The Emperor Otho cometh into England. where he was most royally received by King John, who, taking council with the said emperor to renew the war against the French king (because he was promised great aid at his hands for the furnishing of the same), gave unto him at his departing forth of the realmFive thousand marks of silver, as Matthew West. and Matthew Parvus do write. Anno Reg. 9. great sums of money in hand towards the payment of such soldiers as he should levy for this business.

133[Conflict continues over the Archbishopric of Canterbury]

In this mean while, the strife depended still in the court of Rome betwixt the two elected archbishops of Canturbury, Reginald and John. But after the pope was fully informed of the manner of their elections,Stephen Langton chosen Archbishop of Canterbury by the pope's appointment. he disannulled them both, and procured by his papal authority the monks of Canterbury (of whom many were then come to Rome about that matter) to choose one Stephen Langton, the Cardinal of Saint Chrysogon, an Englishman born and of good estimation and learning in the court of Rome, to be their archbishop. The monks at the first were loath to consent thereto, alleging that they might not lawfully do it without consent of their king and of their Covent.

134But the pope as it were taking the word out of their mouths, said unto them:

Do ye not consider that we have full authority and power in the church of Canterbury? Neither is the assent of kings or princes to be looked for upon elections celebrated in the presence of the Apostolic See. Wherefore I command you by virtue of your obedience, and upon pain of cursing, that you, being such and so many here as are sufficient for the election, to choose him to your archbishop whom I shall appoint to you for father and pastor of your souls.

135The monks, doubting to offend the pope, consented all of them to gratify him, except Helias de Brantfield who refused. And so the foresaid Stephen Langton, being elected of them, was confirmed of the pope, who signified by letters the whole state thereof to King John, commending the said Stephen as archbishop unto him.

136[King John defies the pope]

The king, sore offended in his mind that the bishop of Norwich was thus put beside that dignity to the which he had advanced him, caused forthwith all the goods of the monks of Canterbury to be confiscate to his use,The monks of Canterbury banished. King John writeth to the pope. and after banished them the realm, as well I mean those at home as those that were at Rome, and herewith wrote his letters unto the pope, giving him to understand for answer that he would never consent that Stephen which had been brought up and always conversant with his enemies the Frenchmen should now enjoy the rule of the bishopric and diocese of Canterbury. Moreover, he declared in the same letters that he marvelled not a little what the pope meant, in that he did not consider how necessary the friendship of the king of England was to the See of Rome,How gainful England was to the court of Rome. sith there came more gains to the Roman church out of that kingdom than out of any other realm on this side the mountains. He added hereto that for the liberties of his crown he would stand to the death if the matter so required. And as for the election of the bishop of Norwich unto the See of Canterbury, sith it was profitable to him and to his realm, he meant not to release it.

137Moreover, he declared that if he might not be heard and have his mind, he would surely restrain the passages out of this realm, that none should go to Rome, lest his land should be so emptied of money and treasure that he should want sufficient ability to beat back and expel his enemies that might attempt invasion against the same. Lastly of all he concluded, sith the archbishops, bishops, abbots, and other ecclesiastical persons, as well of his realm of England as of other his lands and dominions, were sufficiently furnished with knowledge that he would not go for any need that should drive him thereto, to seek justice or judgement at the prescript of any foreign persons.

138The pope, greatly marvelling hereat, wrote again to the king,The pope's answer unto the king. requiring him to abstain from the spoiling of those men that were privileged by the canons of the church, that he would place the monks again in their house and possessions and receive the archbishop canonically elected and confirmed, the which for his learning and knowledge, as well in the liberal sciences as in holy scripture, was thought worthy to be admitted to a prebend in Paris; and what estimation he himself had of him it appeared in that he had written to him thrice since he was made cardinal, declaring that, although he was minded to call him to his service, yet he was glad that he was promoted to an higher room; adding further, how there was good cause that he should have consideration of him because he was born within his land, of father and mother that were his faithful subjects, and for that he had a prebend in the church of York which was greater and of more dignity than that he had in Paris. Whereby not only by reason of flesh and blood but also by having ecclesiastical dignity and office, it could not be but that he loved him and his realm with sincere affection.

139Many other reasons the pope alleged in his letters to King John to have persuaded him to the allowing of the election of Stephen Langton. But King John was so far from giving care to the pope's admonitions, that he with more cruelty handled all such, not only of the spirituality, but also of the temporality, which by any manner means had aided the forenamed Stephen. The pope being hereof advertised thought good not to suffer such contempt of his authority, as he interpreted it, namely, in a matter that touched the injurious handling of men within orders of the church. Which example might procure hindrance, not to one private person alone, but to the whole estate of the spirituality, which he would not suffer in any wise to be suppressed. Wherefore he decreed with speed to devise remedy against that large increasing mischief. And though there was no speedier way to redress the same but by excommunication, yet he would not use it at the first towards so mighty a prince but gave him liberty and time to consider his offence and trespass so committed.

140¶ These things being brought to this issue, the further narration of them shall stay for a time till I have told you of a little trouble which about this time happened in London. For upon the seventh of June, the bailiffs of London, Roger Winchester and Edmund Hardell were discharged,bailiffs of London discharged and committed to ward. and Serle the mercer and Hugh of Saint Albans chosen in their rooms. The two former bailiffs were discharged and committed to prison by the king's commandment upon displeasure taken against them, because they had resisted his purveyor of wheat and would not suffer him to convey any of that kind of grain out of the city till the city was stored. The thirty and five rulers of the city, having fulfilled the king's commandment to them directed for the discharging of those bailiffs, and imprisoning them, did after take advice together, and appointed a certain number of themselves with other to ride unto the king, as then being at Langley, to obtain pardon for the said bailiffs, and so coming thither they made such excuse in the matter, showing further that at the same season there was such scarcity of wheat in the city that the common people were at point to have made an insurrection about the same. By which means, and through friendship which they had in the court, the king was so satisfied that he released them from prison, and pardoned their offences.

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.

180[Philip of France prepares to invade England]

Ye shall understand, the French king, being requested by Pandulph the pope's legate to take the war in hand against King John, was easily persuaded thereto of an inward hatred that he bore unto our king,The French king prepared to invade England. and thereupon with all diligence made his provision of men, ships, munition and victual in purpose to pass over into England; and now was his navy ready rigged at the mouth of Seine, and he in greatest forwardness to take his journey. When Pandulph upon good considerations thought first to go eftsoons, or at the leastwise to send into England before the French army should land there, and to assay once again if he might induce the king to show himself reformable unto the pope's pleasure, King John, having knowledge of the French king's purpose and ordinance, assembled his people and lodged with them along by the coast towards France that he might resist his enemies and keep them off from landing.

181Here writers declare that he had got together such an army of men out of all the parts of his realm,Anno Reg. 15. The great army which King John assembled together. both of lords, knights, gentlemen, yeomen, and other of the commons, that notwithstanding all the provision of victuals that might possibly be recovered, there could not be found sufficient store to sustain the huge multitude of them that were gathered along the coast, namely at Dover, Feversham, Gippswick, and other places. Whereupon the captains discharged and sent home a great number of the commons, retaining only the men of arms, yeomen, and freeholders, with the crossbows and archers. There came likewise to the king's aid at the same time the Bishop of Norwich out of Ireland,The Bishop of Norwich. bringing with him five hundred men of arms and a great sort of other horsemen.

182To conclude, there was esteemed of able men assembled together in the army on Barham Downs, what of chosen men of arms and valiant yeomen and other armed men, the number of sixty thousand; so that if they had been all of one mind, and well bent towards the service of their king and defense of their country, there had not been a prince in christendom but that they might have been able to have defended the realm of England against him. He had also provided a navy of ships far stronger than the French king's, ready to fight with them by sea if the case had so required.

183[Pandulph, the pope's legate, speaks against King John]

But as he lay thus ready, near to the coast to withstand and beat back his enemies,Two knights of the temple. there arrived at Dover two templars, who, coming before the king, declared unto him that they were sent from Pandulph, the pope's legate, who for his profit coveted to talk with him, for he had (as they affirmed) means to propose whereby he might be reconciled both to god and his church, although he were adjudged in the court of Rome to have forfeited all the right which he had to his kingdom.

184 The king, understanding the meaning of the messengers, sent them back again to bring over the legate,The legate Pandulph cometh over. who incontinently came over to Dover, of whose arrival when the king was advertised he went thither and received him with all due honor and reverence. Now, after they had talked together a little and courteously saluted each other (as the course of humanity required), the legate (as it is reported) uttered these words following.

185The saucy speech of proud Pandulph
the pope's lewd legate, to King John, in the
presumptuous pope's behalf.

I do not think that you are ignorant how Pope Innocent, to do that which to his duty appertaineth, hath both absolved your subjects of that oath which they made unto you at the beginning, and also taken from you the governance of England, according to your deserts, and finally given commandment unto certain princes of Christendom to expel you out of this kingdom and to place another in your room, so worthily to punish you for your disobedience and contempt of religion; and that Philip, King of France, with the first being ready to accomplish the pope's commandment, hath an army in a readiness, and with his navy newly decked, rigged and furnished in all points lieth at the mouth of the river of Seine looking for a prosperous wind that, as soon as it cometh about, he may sail therewith hither into England, trusting (as he saith) with the help of your own people (which neither name you, nor will take you for their king) to spoil you of your kingdom with small ado, and to conquer it at his pleasure, for he hath (as he sticketh not to protest openly to the world) a charter made by all the chiefest lords of England touching their fealty and obedience assured to him. Therefore, sith God for your just desert is wroth with you, and that you are as evil spoken of by all men as they that come against you be well reported, I would advise you that whilst there is a place for grace and favor, rather to obey the pope's just demands, to whose word other christian princes are ready to give ear, than by striving in vain to cast away yourself and all others that take your part or are bent to defend your quarrel or cause.

186[King John yields his crown to the pope and becomes his vassal]

These words being thus spoken by the legate, King John as then utterly despairing in his matters, when he saw himself constrained to obey, was in a great perplexity of mind, and as one full of thought, looked about him with a frowning countenance, weighing with himself what counsel were best for him to follow. At length, oppressed with the burden of the imminent danger and ruin, against his will, and very loath so to have done, he promised upon his oath to stand to the pope's order and decree. Wherefore shortly after (in like manner as Pope Innocent had commanded) he took the crown from his own headKing John delivereth his crown unto Pandulph. and delivered the same to Pandulph the legate, neither he, nor his heirs at any time thereafter to receive the same but at the pope's hands. Upon this, he promised to receive Stephen the Archbishop of Canterbury into his favor, with all other the bishops and banished men, making unto them sufficient amends for all injuries to them done, and so to pardon them, that they should not run into any danger for that they had rebelled against him.

187Then Pandulph, keeping the crown with him for the space of five days in token of possession thereof,Pandulph restoreth the crown again to the king. at length (as the pope's vicar) gave it him again. By means of this act (saith Polydor) the same went abroad that King John, willing to continue the memory hereof, made himself vassal to Pope Innocent, with condition that his successors should likewise from thenceforth acknowledge to have their right to the same kingdom from the pope. But those kings that succeeded King John have not observed any such laws of reconciliation, neither do the authentic chronicles of the realm make mention of any such surrender, so that such articles as were appointed to King John to observe pertained unto him that had offended, and not to his successors. Thus saith Polydor.

188Howbeit, Ranulph Higden in his book entitled Polychronicon saith indeed that King John did not only bind himself, but his heirs and successors, being kings of England,England became tributary to the pope. to be feudaries unto Pope Innocent and his successors popes of Rome; that is to say that they should hold their dominions of them in fee, yielding and paying yearly to the See of Rome the sum of seven hundred marks for England, and three hundred marks for Ireland. Furthermore, by report of the most authentic and approved writers, King John, to avoid all dangers, which (as he doubted) might ensue, despairing as it were in himself, or rather most specially for lack of loyal duty in his subjects, consented to all the persuasions of Pandulph, and so (not without his great heart grief) he was contented to take his oath, together with sixteen earls and barons, who, laying their hands upon the holy evangelists, swore with him upon peril of their souls that he should stand to the judgement of the church of Rome, and that if he repented him,and would refuse to stand to promise, they should then compel him to make satisfaction. Hereupon, they being all together at Dover, the king and Pandulph, with the earls and barons and a great multitude of other people, agreed and concluded upon a final peace in form as here ensueth.

189The charter of King John his submission
as it was conveyed to the pope
at Rome.

Johannes Dei gratia rex Angliae, omnibus Christi fidelibus hanc chartam inspecturis, salutem in Domino. universitati vestrae per hanc chartam sigillo nostro munitam, volumus esse notum, quod cum Deum et matrem nostram sanctam ecclesiam offenderimus in multis, et proinde divina misericordia plurimum indigeamus, nec quid digne offerre possimus pro satisfactione Deo et ecclesiae debita facienda, nisi nosmet ipsos humiliemus et regna nostra, volentes nos ipsos humiliare, pro illo qui se pro nobis humiliavit us ad mortem, gratia sancti spiritus inspirante, non vi interdicti nec timore coacti, sed nostra bona spontanea volunate, ac communi consilio baronum nostrorum conferimus, et libere concedimus Deo et sanctis apostolis eius Petro et Paulo, et sanctae Romanae ecclesiae matri nostrae, ac domino papae Innocentio, eius catholicis successoribus, totum regnum Angliae, et totum regnum Hyberniae, cum omni jure et pertinentiis suis, pro remissione omnium peccatorum nostrorum, et totius generis nostri, tam pro vivis quam pro defunctis, et amodo illa ab eo et ecclesiae Romana tanquam secundarius recipientes et tenentes, in praesentia prudentis viri Pandulphi domini papae subdiaconi et familiaris.

190Exinde praedicto domino papae Innocentio, eiusque catholicis successoribus, et ecclesiae Romanae, secundum subscriptam formam fecimus et juravimus, et homagium ligium in praesentia Pandulphi; si coram domino papaesse poterimus, eidem faciemus: successores nostros et haeredes de uxore nostra in perpetuum obligantes, ut simili modo summo pontifici, quipro tempore fuerit, et ecclesiae Romanae, sine contradictione debeant fidelitatem praestare, et homagium recognoscere.

191Ad indicium autem huius nostrae perpetua obligationis et concessionis, volumus et stabilimus, ut de propriis et specialibus redditibus nostris praedictorum regnorum, pro omni servitio et consuetudine, quae pro ipsis facere debemus, saluis per omnia denariis beati Petri, ecclesia Romana mille marcas Esterlingorum percipiat annuatim: in festo scilicet sancti Michaelis quingentas marcas, et in Pascha quingentas: septingentas scilicet pro regno Angliae, et trecentas pro regno Hyberniae, saluis nobis et haeredibus nostris, justitiis, libertatibus, et regalibus nostris. Quae omnia, sicut supra scripta sunt, rata esse volentes at que firma, obligamus nos et successores nostros contranon venire, et si nos vel aliquis successorum nostrorum contra haec attentare praesumpserit, quicun ille fuerit, nisi rite commonitus resipuerit, cadat a jure regni.

192Et haec charta obligationis et concessionis nostrae, semper firma permaneat. Teste me ipso, apud domum militum templi iuxta Doveram, coram H. Dublinensi archiepiscopo, Iohanne Norwicensi episcopo, Galfrido filio Petri, W. comite Sarisburiae, Willielmo comite Penbroc, R. comite Bononiae, W. comite Warennae, Saint comite Winton, W. comite Arundel, W. comite de Ferarijs, W. Briwere, Petro filio Hereberti, Warino filio Geroldi, 15 die Maii, anno regni nostri decimo quarto.

193This deed and instrument being written and engrossed, the king delivered it unto Pandulph, to take with him to Rome, there to make delivery thereof to Pope Innocent, and herewith did homage to the same pope, in form as followeth.

194The words of fealty made by King
John to the pope.

Ego Iohannes Dei gratia rex Angliae, et dominus Hyberniae, ab hac hora et in antea, fidelis ero Deo et beato Petro et ecclesiae Romanae, et domino meo papae domino Innocentio, eius successoribus catholice intrantibus. Non ero in facto, in dicto, consensu vel consilio, ut vitam perdant vel membra, vel mala captione capiantur. Eorum damnum si sciuero, impediam, et remannere faciam sipotero: alioquin eis quam citius potero intimabo, vel tali personae dicam, quam eis credam pro certo dicturam. Consilium quod mihi crediderint, per se vel per nuncios suos seu literas suas, secretum, tenebo, et ad eorum damnum nulli pandam me sciente. Patrimonium beati Petri, et specialiter regnum Angliae, et regnum Hyberniae adiutor ero ad: tenendum et defendendum, contra omnes homines pro posse meo. Sic me adjuvet Deus, et haec sancta euangelia, Amen. Act a autem sunt haec, ut praedictum est, in vigilia dominicae Ascensionis ad Doveram, Anno 1213.

195In English thus.

John, by the grace of God king of England and lord of Ireland, from this hour forward shall be faithful to God and to Saint Peter and to the church of Rome, and to my lord pope Innocentius and to his successors lawfully entering. I shall not be in word nor deed, in consent or counsel, that they should lose life or member or be apprehended in evil manner. Their loss, if I may know it, I shall impeach and stay so far as I shall be able, or else so shortly as I can I shall signify unto them or declare to such person the which I shall believe will declare the same unto them. The counsel which they shall commit to me by themselves, their messengers, or letters, I shall keep secret, and not utter to any man to their hurt to my knowledge. The patrimony of Saint Peter, and specially the kingdoms of England and Ireland, I shall endeavor my self to defend against all men to my power. So help me God, and these holy evangelists, Amen. These things were done on the eve of the Ascension of our Lord, in the year 1213.

196King Philip continues his campaign against John

Pandulph, having thus reconciled King John, thought not good to release the excommunication till the king had performed all things which he had promised, and so with all speed having received eight thousand marks sterling in part of restitution to be made to the archbishop and the other banished men, he sailed back into France and came to Rouen, where he declared to King Philip the effect of his travail and what he had done in England. But King Philip, having in this mean while consumed a great mass of money to the sum of sixty thousand pounds,Forty thousand marks of silver saith Matthew West. as he himself alleged, about the furniture of his journey which he intended to have made into England, upon hope to have had no small aid within the realm by reason of such bishops and other banished men as he had in France with him, was much offended for the reconciliation of King John, and determined not so to break off his enterprise lest it might be imputed to him for a great reproach to have been at such charges and great expenses in vain.The French King displeases for the reconciliation of King John with the pope. Therefore calling his council together, he declared unto them what he purposed to do.

197All his Nobles in like manner held with him, and allowed his purpose to be very good and requisite, except the Earl of Flanders named Ferdinando, who (in hope to recover again those towns which the French king held from him in Artois, as Aire, and Saint Omers) had joined secretly in league with King John and with the Earl of Boulogne, and therefore misliked the conclusion of their advice.The French king meaneth to proceed in his journey against the realm of England. Howbeit, King Philip, not being yet fully certified hereof, caused his navy to draw along the coast towards Flanders whither he himself hasted to go also by land, that coming thither he might from thence sail over into England and take land at a place to him assigned.

198Now it came to pass that at his coming to Graveling, he had perfect knowledge that the Earl of Flanders was joined in league with his enemies, wherefore he determined first to subdue the earl lest whilst he should be out of his realm some great trouble or sedition might rise within his own dominions. Therefore, leaving the enterprise which he meant to have made against England, he turned his power against the Earl of Flanders,The French King invadeth Flanders. and first commanded his navy to sail unto the port of Damme, whilst he himself, keeping on his journey still by land, took the town of Castile, and likewise Ypres. From thence he went to Bruges, and besieged the town, but he could not win it at the first, and therefore leaving a power of men to maintain the siege before it,Ghent besieged by the French king. he himself went to Ghent and thereto also laid his siege.

199In the mean time, the Earl of Flanders, perceiving that he was not able to resist so puissant an enemy as the French king, sent over in haste unto the king of England for aid. Whereupon King John, understanding that his adversary King Philip had turned all his force against the Earl of Flanders, and that thereby he was delivered out of the fear of the Frenchmen's coming into England, that same navy (which as before is recited) he had put in a readiness, containing the number of five hundred sail, he sent straight into Flanders with a strong army both of horsemen and footmen, under the guiding of William Duke of Holland, William Longspee, Earl of Salisbury, base brother to King John, and Reignold Earl of Boulogne.

200[The English destroy the French fleet in harbor]

These captains being now passed forth with their fleets into the main sea, espied anon many ships lying without the haven of Damme (for the number of ships of the French fleet was so great that the haven could not receive them all, so that many of them lay at anchor without the haven mouth and all alongst the coast). Wherefore they sent forth certain shallops to espy whether they were friends or enemies, and what their number and order was. It chanced that the same time the men of war which were appointed to keep the French fleet were gone forth, together with a great number of the mariners, to spoil and fetch booties abroad in the country.

201The English espials therefore, making semblance as though they had been some fishermen of those parts, came very near the French ships lying at anchor, and, perceiving them to be unfurnished of people necessary to defend them, came back to their company and declared what they had seen, certifying their captains that the victory was in their hands if they would make speed. The captains, glad of these news, commanded their men to make them ready to give battle, and causing their mariners to make sail directly towards the French fleet. At their first approach they won those tall ships that lay at anchor abroad before the havenThe English men assail the French ships. without any great resistance, the mariners only making request to have their lives saved. The other smaller vessels which (after the tide was gone) remained upon the sands (spoiling them first of their tackle and other things that would serve to use) they consumed with fire, the mariners escaping by flight.

202Thus the Englishmen, having dispatched this business with good success, did set upon those ships that lay in harbor within the haven. But here was hard hold for a while, because the narrowness of the place would not give any great advantage to the greater number. And those Frenchmen that were gone abroad into the country, perceiving that the enemies were come by the running away of the mariners, returned with all speed to their ships to aid their fellows, and so made valiant resistance for a time, till the Englishmen getting on land and ranging themselves on either side of the havenThe English men won the French ships. beat the Frenchmen so on the sides, and the ships grappling together on front, that they fought as it had been in a pitched field, till that finally the Frenchmen were not able to sustain the force of the Englishmen but were constrained (after long fight and great slaughter) to yield themselves prisoners.

203The English captains, glad of this victory gotten contrary to expectation, first gave thanks to God for the same, and then, manning three hundred of those French ships which they had taken fraught with corn, wine, oil, flesh, and other victuals, and also with armor, they sent them away into England, and afterwards they set fire upon the residue that lay on ground, which were above an hundred, because they were drawn up so far upon the sands that they could not easily get them out without their further inconvenience. After this, coming on land with their power, they marched forth into the country in good order of battle, to the end that if they should encounter with King Philip by the way coming to the rescue of his ships they might be ready to give them battle, which thing was not devised without good and great consideration.

204For King Philip, being certified of the danger wherein his ships stood by the sudden coming of his enemies, and therewithal being in good hope to come to their succor in time and ere the Englishmen had wrote their full feat, he raised his siege and made haste toward the coast; but as he was coming forward towards his navy, he was advertised that the enemies had won all his whole fleet and were now marching forth to meet him and to give him battle. Also it was told him how Ferdinando, the Earl of Flanders, being certified of the victory achieved by his friends, followed at his back. Wherefore, lest he should seem over-rashly to commit himself into manifest peril, he stayed a little from Bruges, and there encamped for that day as if he meant to abide the coming of his enemies.

205The next morrow he raised and returned towards France the very same way that he came,The French King returneth into France. no man pursuing him. For the Englishmen, contented with that victory which they had gotten, thought it not necessary to follow him with their further hazard. In the mean time, King John receiving news of this prosperous victory thus gotten by his people, did wonderfully rejoice for the same, conceiving an hope that all his business would now come forward and grow to good success.

206¶ This is the truth of this history, as some authors have set it forth. But James Meir in his discourse of Flanders declareth the matter somewhat otherwise, as thus: upon the Thursday before the Pentecost (saith he) the English fleet, setting upon the French navy which lay at anchor in the haven of Damme, drowned certain of the French vessels and took to the number of four which they conveyed away with them. Ferdinando the Earl of Flanders, having an army of men ready by land, was lodged the same time not far off from the coast, and therefore hearing what had chanced came the next day and joined with the Englishmen.

207There were yet remaining also divers other of the French ships (besides those which the Englishmen had sunk and taken) which were drawn up further into the landward. The Earl of Flanders therefore, and the English captains, judged that it should much hinder the French king's attempts if they might win those ships also with the town of Damme wherein the king had laid up a great part of his provision for the furniture of his wars. Hereupon the Englishmen were set on land, and, joining with the earl's power they marched straight towards Damme. This was upon Whitsun even, on the which day, as they were most busy in assaulting the town and ships which lay there in the haven, the French king being come away from Gaunt, suddenly set upon them, and though in the beginning he found sharp resistance, yet in the end, the Englishmen and Flemmings, overset with the great multitude of the Frenchmen,The Englishmen and Flemings vanquished by the French force. were put to flight and chased to their ships with the loss of two thousand men besides those that were taken prisoners, amongst the which were found to be 22 knights.

208The Earl of Flanders with the Earls of Boulogne and Salisbury, doubting to lose their ships and late gotten booty, sailed straight into one of the isles of Zealand called Walcheren. Then the French king constraining them of Ghent, Bruges, and Ypres, to deliver unto him pledges, caused the town of Damme and his ships lying there in the haven to be burned,The French king burneth his ships. doubting least they should come into the hands of his enemies. This done, he returned into France, leaving his son Lewis and the Earl of Saint Paul in garrison at Lisle and Douai, and, for great sums of money which by agreement he received of the towns of Ghent, Bruges, and Ypres, he restored unto them their pledges. Thus saith Meire, and Matthew Paris differeth not much from him touching the success which chanced to the Englishmen by land. ¶ Here will I stay a while in the further narration of this matter, and touch by the way a thing that happened to King John about this present time.

209[The prophecies of Peter of Pomfret]

A hermit named Peter of Pomfret, or Wakefield as some writers have. There was in this season a hermit whose name was Peter dwelling about York, a man in great reputation with the common people because that, either inspired with some spirit of prophesy as the people believed or else having some notable skill in art magic, he was accustomed to tell what should follow after. And forsomuch as oftentimes his sayings proved true, great credit was given to him as to a very prophet; which was no good consequence that therefore his predictions comprised undoubted events. Nay rather, sith in this pseudo-prophet or false foreteller of afterclaps, these necessary concurrents (namely

210Si sensus at effectus compresserit omnes,
Si spernens prorsis mortalia gaudia, sese
Abdicet a curis terrenis, assiduoque
Conetur studio ad superos extollere mentem;
Tunc etenim sapiens fiet, poteritque futura
Cernere, vel vigilans vel somno oppressus inerti,
Hoc pacto cecinere olim ventura Prophetae.)

211were wanting, and that he was contrarily qualified to that which this heptastich comprehendeth, necessarily it followeth that he was not as he was taken, but rather a deluder of the people and an instrument of Satan raised up for the enlargement of his kingdom -- as the sequel of this discourse importeth. This Peter, about the first of January last past, had told the king that at the feast of the Ascension it should come to pass that he should be cast out of his kingdom. And (whether to the intent that his words should be the better believed, or whether upon too much trust of his own cunning) he offered himself to suffer death for it if his prophesy proved not true. Hereupon, being committed to prison within the castle of Corf, when the day by him prefixed came without any other notable damage unto King John, he was by the king's commandment drawn from the said castleThe hermit and his son hanged. unto the town of Warham, and there hanged, together with his son.

212The people much blamed King John for this extreme dealing, because that the hermit was supposed to be a man of great virtue, and his son nothing guilty of the offence committed by his father (if any were) against the king. Moreover, some thought, that he had much wrong to die, because the matter fell out even as he had prophesied: for the day before the Ascension day King John had resigned the superiority of his kingdom (as they took the matter) unto the pope and had done to him homage, so that he was no absolute king indeed, as authors affirm. One cause, and that not the least which moved King John the sooner to agree with the pope, rose through the words of the said hermit that did put such a fear of some great mishap in his heart which should grow through the disloyalty of his people, that it made him yield the sooner. But to the matter again.

213[King John works to have the interdiction lifted]

King John (after his captains in Flanders had sped so well as before ye have heard) prepared to make a voyage into Guienne, not much regarding the matter in that the realm stood as yet interdicted. But when he understood by his lords that they would not go with him except the interdicting might first be released and he clearly absolved of the pope's curse, to the end that God's wrath and the pope's being fully pacified towards him he might with better speed move and maintain the wars, he was constrained to change his purpose, and so, coming to Winchester, dispatched forth a messenger with letters signed with the hands of four and twenty earls and barons to the Archbishop of CanterburyKing John writeth to the archbishop and the other bishops to return. and the bishops of London, Lincoln, and Hereford, as then sojourning in France, requiring them with all the other banished men to return into England, promising them by his letters patents not only a sure safe conduct for their coming over, but that he would also forget all past displeasures and frankly restore unto every man all that by his means had been wrongfully taken from them and as yet by him detained.

214The archbishop and the other bishops, receiving the king's letters,The bishops do return. with all speed made haste to come into England, and so arriving at Dover the sixteenth day of July, with other the banished men, they went to Winchester where the king yet remained,They came to Winchester the 20th of July. who, hearing that the bishops were come, went forth to receive them and at his first meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury he kneeled down at his feetThe King kneeleth to the archbishop. and besought him of forgiveness, and that it would please him and the other bishops also to provide for the relief of the miserable state of the realm. Herewith the water standing in divers of their eyes on both sides, they entered into the city, the people greatly rejoicing to behold the head of the commonwealth agree at length with the members. This was in the year after the birth of our Saviour 1213.

215King John required of the archbishop (having as then the pope's power in his hands because he was his legate) to be absolved, promising upon his solemn received oathThe king prayeth to be absolved. that he would (afore all things) defend the church and the order of priesthood from receiving any wrongs. Also that he would restore the old laws made by the ancient kings of England, and namely those of Saint Edward which were almost extinguished and forgotten. And further, that he would make recompense to all men whom he had by any means in damaged. This done,He is absolved. he was absolved by the archbishop and shortly after he sent his orators to Rome to intreat with the bishop to take away the interdiction of the land. On the morrow after also the king sent his letters unto all the sheriffs of the counties within the realm, commanding them to summon four lawful men of every town belonging to the domains of the crown to make their appearance at Saint Albans upon the 4th day of August that they and other might make inquisition of the losses which every bishop had sustained,A quest of inquiry. what had been taken from them, and what ought to be restored to them as due for the same.

216The archbishop for that time taking his leave of the king, went to Canterbury, where he restored the monks to their abbeyThe archbishop taketh possession of his see. and then took possession of his see, being the two and fortieth archbishop that had ruled the same. In the mean time the king repaired to Portsmouth, there to take the sea to sail over into Poitou, committing the rule of the realm unto Geoffrey FitzPeter or FitzPeers, Lord Chief Justice, and to the Bishop of Winchester, commanding them to use the counsel and advice of the Archbishop of Canterbury in governing things touching the commonwealth. Herewith there came also to the king a great multitude of men of war, alleging that they had spent, in staying for him and his going over sea, all their money, so that he must now needs give them wagesThe lords refuse to follow the king into France. if he would have them to pass over with him into France. The which, when he refused to do, he was constrained to take the water with his own servants, arriving about a three days after at the Isle of Jersey; but perceiving that none of his lords followed him according to his commandment, as one disappointed of aid he returned back again into England there to take further order for this their misdemeanour.

217[The bishops and barons demand to have ancient laws restored]

Whilst these things were thus in doing, Geoffrey FitzPeter and the Bishop of Winchester were come to Saint Albans, together with the Archbishop of Canterbury and other bishops and peers of the realm, where, the king's peace being proclaimed to all men, it was on his behalf straitly commanded that the laws of King Henry his grandfather should be observed universally within his realmKing Henry the First his laws. and that all unjust laws and ordinances should be abrogated. It was also commanded that no sheriff, nor forester, nor other minister of the king's should upon pain of life and limb take violently any thing of any man by way of extortion, nor presume to wrong any man or to fine any man, as they had afore time been accustomed to do.

218After this, the king, being come back from his journey which he purposed to have made into Poitou, assembled an army and meant to have gone against those lords which had refused to go with him, but the Archbishop of Canterbury coming to him at Northampton sought to appease his mood and to cause him to stay, but yet in his furious rage he went forward till he came to Nottingham, and there with much adoThe archbishop menaceth to excommunicate those that assist the king. the archbishop, following him with threatening to excommunicate all those that should aid him, procured him to leave off his enterprise.

219Then the archbishop (about the five and twentieth day of August) came to London there to take advice for the reformation of things touching the good government of the commonwealth. But here whilst the archbishop, with other peers of the realm, devised orders very necessary (as was thought) for the state of the commonwealth, the king, doubting lest the same should be a bridle for him to restrain his authority royal from doing things to his pleasure, began to find fault and seemed as though he had repented himself of his large promises made for his reconciliation; but the Archbishop of Canterbury so assuaged his mood and persuaded him, by opening unto him what danger would ensue both to him and to his realm if he went from the agreement, that he was glad to be quiet for fear of further trouble.

220In this hurly-burly also the lords and peers of the realm (by the setting on of the archbishop) were earnestly bent to have the king to restore and confirm the grant which his grandfather King Henry the First had by his charter granted and confirmed to his subjects, which to do, King John thought greatly prejudicial to his royal estate and dignity. The Earl of Toulouse, having lost all his possessions,The Earl of Toulouse. the city of Toulouse only excepted, came over into England and rendered the said city into the hands of King John, and received at his departure the sum of ten thousand marks, as was reported, by the bountiful gift of King John.

221Upon the second of October,Geoffrey FitzPeers or FitPeter departeth this life. Geoffrey FitzPeter Earl of Essex and lord chief justice of England departed this life, a man of great power and authority, in whose politic direction and government the order of things pertaining to the commonwealth chiefly consisted. He was of a noble mind, expert in knowledge of the laws of the land, rich in possessions, and joined in blood or affinity with the more part of all the nobles of the realm, so that his death was no small loss to the commonwealth; for through him and the Archbishop Hubert, the king was oftentimes revoked from such wilful purposes as now and then he was determined to have put in practise, in so much that the king, as was reported (but how truly I cannot tell) seemed to rejoice for his death because he might now work his will without any to control him.

222[The pope's legate negotiates conditions for raising the interdiction]

The same time, to wit about the feast of Saint Michael,A cardinal sent into England. came Nicholas, the Cardinal of Tusculum, into England, sent from the pope to take away the interdiction if the king would stand to that agreement which he had made and promised by his oath to perform. King John received this cardinal in most honorable wise, and gladly heard him in all things that he had to say. This legate, at his coming to Westminster, deposed the abbot of that place, named William, from his room, for that he was accused both of wasting the revenues of the house and also of notable incontinency. Moreover the burgesses of the town of Oxford came unto him to obtain absolution of their offenceThe burgess of Oxford require absolution. in that through their presumption the three scholars (of whom ye have heard before) were hanged there, to the great terror of all the residue. To be short, they were absolved and penance enjoined them that they should strip them out of their apparel at every church in the town, and going barefooted with scourges in their hands they should require the benefit of absolution of every parish priest within their town, saying the psalm of Miserere.

223After this, the said cardinal called a council or convocation of the clergyA convocation called by the cardinal. to reform such things touching the state of the church as should be thought requisite. And though he handled not this matter with such favor and uprightness as the bishops wished on their behalves, yet he caused King John to restore the most part of all those goods that remained unspent, and also the value of half of those that were consumed and made away, unto those persons, as well spiritual as temporal from whom they had been taken in time of the discord betwixt him and the pope. But before all things could be thus quieted and set in order betwixt the king and the bishops many meetings were had, as at London, Reading, Wallingford, and in other places.

224Now the archbishop and prelates for their parts thought this recompense to be but small in respect of the great losses and hindrances which they had sustained; and to have the whole restitution delayed they took it not well. Howbeit the cardinal leaned so to the king's side, having received of him to the pope's use the charter of subjection of the realms of England and Ireland, now bulled with gold, where at the first it was delivered to Pandulph sealed only with wax. But their suit came to little effect, and in the end it fell out in such wise that their complaint was less regarded. Moreover, the rating of the value which the king should restore unto the archbishop and the other bishops was by agreement of the king and them together appointed unto four barons indifferently chosen betwixt them.

225 At length, notwithstanding, that device took no place, for it was otherwise decreed by the pope that the king should restore to them the sum of forty thousand marks, of the which he had paid already twelve thousand before the return of the said archbishop and bishops into the realm and fifteen thousand more at the late meeting had betwixt them at Reading, so that there remained only 13,000 behind; for not only the king, but also the cardinal, had sent to the pope, requiring him to take direction in the matter and to advertise him that there was a great fault in the archbishop and his fellows. Insomuch that Pandulph which was sent to him from the legateKing John commended to the pope for an humble prince. declared in favor of the king that there was not a more humble and modest prince to be found than King John, and that the archbishop and his fellows were too hard and showed themselves too covetous in requiring the restitution that should be made to them for losses sustained in time of the interdiction.

226Now the cause wherefore the legate and the king did send unto the pope was this. There was some grudge betwixt the legate and the archbishop, for that where the pope had written to the legate how he should (according to the order of the ancient canons of the church) place in every bishop's see and abbey that was void meet and able persons to rule and guide the same,The presumption of the cardinal. the legate, presuming on that authority granted him by the pope without the advice of the archbishop or other bishops, took only with him certain of the king's chaplains, and, coming with them to such churches as were vacant, ordained in them such persons as were nothing meet to take such charge upon them -- and that according to the old abuse of England, as Matthew Paris saith. Whereupon the Archbishop of Canterbury, repining at such doings, sent to the legate, as then being at Burton upon Trent,Burton upon Trent. Dunstable. A synod. Discord betwixt the cardinal and the Archbishop of Canterbury. two of his chaplains from Dunstable where he and his suffragans held as then a synod after the feast of the Epiphany, commanding him by way of appeal in no wise to meddle with instituting any governors to churches within the precinct of his jurisdiction where such institutions belonged only to him.

227Hereupon therefore the legate dispatched Pandulph to Rome unto the pope as is aforesaid, and the king likewise sent ambassadors thither, as the Bishop of Norwich, and the Archdeacon of Northumberland with others, the which in the end so behaved themselves in their suit that (notwithstanding Simon Langton, the archbishop's brother, earnestly withstood them as proctor for the bishops) yet at length the pope took order in the matter, writing unto his legate that he should see the same fulfilled and then absolve the realm of the former interdiction. In this mean time, King John made provision to go over into France (as after ye shall hear) but at his going over he committed the whole ordering of this matter unto the legate and to William Marshall the Earl of Pembroke. The legate therefore, upon the receipt of the pope's bulls, called a council at London, and there declaring what was contained in the same he took bonds for payment of the residue of the forty thousand marks which was behind, being 13,000 only, as before I have said.

228[King John's varied fortunes in France]

About the same time also, Walter Gray, Bishop of Worcester, was removed to the government of the See of York,Walter Gray Bishop of Worcester is removed to the see of York. which had been vacant ever since the death of the Archbishop Geoffrey. This Walter was the three and thirtieth archbishop that governed that see. But now to return and speak of the king's affairs in the parts beyond the sea. Ye shall understand that, having set his business in some good stay at home with the legate, he applied his study to the performance of his wars abroad, and therefore he first sent money into Flanders to pay the soldiers' wagesMoney sent in to Flanders. which he had sent thither to aid the earl there against king Philip. Which earl came over this year into England, and at Canterbury the king received him where he did homage to the king for the whole earldom of Flanders;The Earl of Flanders doth homage to King John. and on the other part, the king as well, to the said earl as to such lords and bishops which came over with him, declared his royal liberality by princely gifts of gold, silver, jewels, and precious stones. After his return, such captains as remained in his country with their bands at the king of England's payThe lands of the earl of Guienne wasted. made a journey into France, and wasted the lands that belonged to the Earl of Guienne, won the castle of Bruncham and razed it, taking within it divers men of arms and demi-lances. They also won by siege the town of Aire and burnt it. The castle of Lyons they took by assault and slew many soldiers that defended it, beside those which they took prisoners.

229Moreover, they wasted and destroyed the lands which Lewis the French king's son was possessed of in those parts. In the mean time, King John, having prepared a mighty navy and a strong army of valiant soldiers, took sea at Portsmouth on Candlemas day with his wife, his son Richard, and Eleanor the sister of Arthur, Duke of Brittany. He had not many of his earls or barons with him but a great number of knights and gentlemen, with whom he landed at Rochelle in safety within a few days after his setting forth. He took over with him inestimable treasure, as it was reported, in gold, silver, and jewels. Immediately upon his arrival at Rochelle, the barons of Poitou revolted from the French king, and, coming in to King John, did homage unto him as to their king and sovereign lord.

230But howsoever it was, after the truce began to expire which he had granted unto the earls of Marsh and Augi, on the Friday before Whitsunday he came with his army before the castle of Mervent, which belonged unto Geoffrey de Lusignan, and on the day next ensuing, being Whitsun eve, he won the same. On Whitsunday he laid siege unto Novant,Mervent. Geoffrey de Lusignan. another castle belonging to the same Geoffrey, who as then was lodged in the same, and also two of his sons; but within three days after that the siege was laid the Earl of Marsh came to King John and did so much prevail that through his means both Geoffrey and his two sons were received to mercy, and King John put in possession of the castle. After this, because King John was advertised that Lewis the French king's son had now besieged Mountcounter, a castle that was appertaining to the said Geoffrey, he hasted thitherwards, and came to Parthenay, whither came to him as well the aforesaid Earl of Marsh, as also the Earl of Augi, and both they together with the said Geoffrey de Lusignan, did homage to our king,Mountcounter. and so became his liege men. The same time also, the Lady Jane, the king's daughter, was affianced to the said Earl of Marsh his son,Parthenay. whereas the French king made means to have her married to his son;Jane the daughter of King John married to the earl of Marsh. but because King John doubted lest that suit was attempted but under some cloaked pretence, he would give no ear thereto, but rather made this match with the Earl of Marsh in hope so to assure himself of the said earl that he might stand him in no small stead to defend his cause against his adversaries of France. But now to the doings in England.

231¶ Ye have heard before how Pope Innocent (or rather Nocent, who was the root of much mischief and trouble, which qualities are nothing consonant to his name) according to that King John had required of him by solemn messengers, directed his bulls unto his legate Nicholas, declaring upon what conditions his pleasure was to have the sentence of interdiction released. Wherein first he commanded that the king should satisfy and pay so much money unto the Archbishop of Canterbury and to the bishop of London and Ely as should fully amount to the sum of 40 thousand marks (with that which already he had paid, which was 27 thousand marks, at two several payments, as upon his accounts appeared). For true contestation and payment to be made of the residue, he ordained that the king should be sworn, and also seal to an obligation, and certain sureties with him (as the bishops of Norwich and Winchester, with the earls of Chester, Winchester, and Marshall) all which things were performed at this present, so that after the assurance so taken for payment of the odd 13 thousand marks behind, residue of the 40 thousand marks,The interdiction released. the interdiction was taken utterly away and the land solemnly released by the legate, sitting within the cathedral church of Saint Paul at London upon the 29th of June in the year 1214, after the term of six years, three months, and 14 days that the realm had been striken with that dreadful dart of correction, as it was then esteemed.

232King John in the mean time remaining still in France, and finding at the beginning fortune favorable enough unto him by reason his power was much increased by the aid of the Poitouins, determined to attempt the winning of Brittany, for this cause specially that he might by so doing weaken the French king's power, and partly also to withdraw him from the wars of Flanders, on which side he had procured likewise the French borders to be invaded with great force, and that not only by the earl and such captains as he had sent thither and retained in wages, but also by the Emperor Otho, who in proper person came down into that country himself.The emperor Otho.

233Hereupon King John went forth with all his power of horsemen,King John invadeth Brittany. and, entering into Brittany, made roads through the country, wasting the same even to the walls of Nantes. But shortly after, the Bretons assembled together under the leading of Peter, the son of Robert Earl of Drieux (the French king's uncle, who had married the Lady Adela, daughter to Duke Guy of Brittany) and, marching forth into the field to defend their country from the enemies, came to join with them in battle. At the first there was a very sharp encounter, but at length the Bretons being vanquished and put to flight,The Bretons put to flight. a great number of them were taken prisoners, and amongst other their captains, the aforesaid Peter was one, whom King John sent away with all the rest unto AngiersPeter the Earl of Drieux his son taken prisoner. to be kept in safeguard until he should return.

234After this, he besieged a castle that stood upon the bank of the river of Loire, called La Roche aux Moines, enforcing his whole endeavor to have won it.The French king's son came to fight with King John. But ere he could attain his purpose, he was advertised that Lewis, the son of King Philip was coming towards him with a great power to raise his siege. Wherefore having no great confidence in the Poitouins, and understanding that Lewis brought with him a very strong army, he took advice of his council, who judged that it should be best for him to break up his siege and to depart, which he did,King John removeth to Angiers. The Poitouins subdued by the French. The battle at the bridge of Bouins. and went straightways to Angiers. Lewis (after King John was thus retired) brought the Poitouins again to subjection, and put the chief authors of the rebellion to death. In the mean time also his father King Philip with like success, but in a foughten field, vanquished the Emperor Otho at the bridge of Bouin on the 28th day of July, as in the history of France more at large appear. There among other prisoners, the three earls of Flanders, Salisbury, and Boulogne were taken.

235Now King John being advertised of that overthrow, was marvellously sad and sorrowful for the chance, insomuch that he would not receive any meat in a whole day after the news thereof was brought unto him.The saying of King John. At length turning his sorrow into rage, he openly said that since the time that he made himself and his kingdom subject to the church of Rome nothing that he did had prospered well with him. Indeed he condescended to an agreement with the pope (as may be thought) more by force than of devotion, and therefore rather dissembled with the pope (sith he could not otherwise choose) than agreed to the covenants with any hearty affection.

236But to the purpose. perceiving himself now destitute of his best friends, of whom divers remained prisoners with the French king (being taken at the battle of Bouin) he thought good to agree with King Philip for this present by way of taking some truce, which by mediation of ambassadors riding to and fro betwixt them,A truce taken betwixt the two kings of England and France. was at length accorded to endure for five years, and to begin at Easter, in the year of our Lord, 1215. After this, about the 19th day of October, he returned into England to appease certain tumults which began already to shoot out buds of some new civil dissension. And surely the same spread abroad their blossoms so freshly that the fruit was knit before the growth by any timely provision could be hindered. For the people, being set on by divers of the superiors of both sorts, finding themselves grieved that the king kept not promise in restoring the ancient laws of Saint Edward, determined from thenceforth to use force, since by request he might not prevail. To appease this fury of the people, not only policy but power also was required, for the people undertaking an evil enterprise, specially raising a tumult or joining in a conspiracy, are as hardily suppressed and vanquished as Hydra the monster having many heads and therefore it is well said, that

237-- comes est discordia vulgi,
. . .
Namque a turbando nomen sibi turba recepit.

238[The barons rebel against King John]

[They ask again for the laws of Henry I to be reinstated]

The nobles, supposing that longer delay therein was not to be suffered, assembled themselves together at the abbey of Bury (under color of going thither to do their devotions to the body of Saint Edmund which lay there enshrined) where they uttered their complaint of the king's tyrannical manners,A cloaked pilgrimage. alleging how they were oftentimes called forth to serve in the wars and to fight in defense of the realm, and yet notwithstanding were still oppressed at home by the king's officers, who (upon confidence of the laws) attempted all things whatsoever they conceived. And if any man complained, or alleged that he received wrong at their hands they would answer by and by that they had law on their side to do as they had done, so that it was no wrong but right which they did; and therefore, if they that were the lords and peers of the realm were men, it stood them upon to provide that such inconveniences might be avoided and better laws brought in use, by the which their ancestors lived in a more quiet and happy state.

239There was brought forth and also read an ancient charter made sometime by Henry the First (whichThe charter of King Henry the First. charter Stephen the Archbishop of Canterbury had delivered unto them before in the city of London) containing the grant of certain liberties according to the laws of King Edward the ConfessorA firebrand of dissension. profitable to the church and barons of the realm, which they purposed to have universally executed over all the land. And therefore being thus assembled in the quire of the church of Saint Edmund, they received a solemn oath upon the altar there that if the king would not grant to the same liberties, with others which be of his own accord had promised to confirm to them, they would from thenceforth make war upon him till they had obtained their purpose and enforced him to grant, not only to all these their petitions, but also yield to the confirmation of them under his seal for ever to remain most steadfast and inviolable.

240The chief cause that moved the lords to this conspiracy rose by reason the king demanded escuage of them that refused to go with him into Poitou; and they on the other part maintained that they were not bound to pay it for any wars which the king made in the parts beyond the seas. But he to prove that he ought to have it declared how in his father's and brother's time it was paid, and therefore he ought to have it. Much ado there was about this matter at the first broaching thereof, and more ado there had been if the legate's presence had not somewhat stayed the parties. But after they had gotten the charter of King Henry the First at the hands of the Archbishop of Canterbury they made such a sinister interpretation thereof that, supposing it to serve their turns, they proceeded in their wilful opinions (as above is mentioned).

241Finally it was determined amongst them that shortly after Christmas they should go to the king and require of him that they might have those laws restored which he had promised to them (as is aforesaid). But forasmuch as they knew well that their suit would not be thankfully accepted, in the mean time they provided themselves of horse, armor, and other furniture for the war, thereby to be in the better readiness and safeguard if in exhibiting their request the matter did grow to any such enforcement. They appointed also divers of the most ancient lords to move the said matter to the king in all their names, who was as then at Worcester, and being advertised of this conspiracy, as soon as the feast of Christmas was past he went straight to London; thither came the lords also with like speed,1215 leaving their men in the towns and villages abroad to be ready upon any sudden warning to come unto them if need should so require.

242[King John first agrees to their requests, but changes his mind]

Being come into his presence, they required of him that it might please himThe lords present their request to the king. first, to appoint the exercise and use of those ancient laws unto them by the which the kings of England in times past ruled their subjects; secondly, that, according to his promise, he would abrogate those newer laws which every man might with good cause name mere wrongs rather than laws; and thirdly, they required of him the performance of all other things which he had most faithfully of late undertaken to observe. The king (though somewhat contrary to his nature) having heard their request gave them a very gentle answer. For perceiving them ready with force to constrain him if by gentleness they might not prevail, he thought it should be more safe and easy for him to turn their unquiet minds with soft remedies than to go about to break them of their wills by strong hand, which is a thing very dangerous, especially where both parts are of like force.The King promiseth to consider of their requests. Therefore he promised them within a few days to have consideration of their request.

243And to the intent they might give the more credit to his words, he caused the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Bishop of Ely, with William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke (unto whom he had given his daughter Eleanor in marriage), to undertake for him, and as it were to become his sureties -- which willingly they did. Herewith the minds of the nobility being somewhat pacified, [they] returned home to their houses. The king soon after also,The king commandeth a new oath of allegiance of his subjects. to assure himself the more effectually of the allegiance of his people in time to come, caused every man to renew his homage and to take a new oath to be faithful to him against all other persons. And to provide the more surely for himself, on Candlemass day next ensuing he took upon him the cross to go into the holy land,The king taketh on him the cross. which I think he did rather for fear than any devotion, as was also thought by other, to the end that he might (under the protection thereof) remain the more out of danger of such as were his foes. In which point of dissimulation he showed himself prudent, observing the counsel of the wise man,

-- inclusum corde dolorem
Dissimula atque tace, ne deteriora subinde
Damna feras.

244¶ Some say that a great part of this variance that chanced between King John and his baronsThe causes of the discord betwixt the king and his barons. The king's covetousness. was because the king would without skilful advice have exiled the Earl of Chester, and for none other occasion than for that he had oftentimes advised him to leave his cruel dealing, and also his accustomed adultery with his brother's wife and others. Other write that the same dissension rose by reason of the great cruelty and unreasonable avarice which the king used towards all the states and degrees of his subjects, as well towards them of the spirituality as of the temporality. The prelates therefore of the realm, sore repining at his doingsThe repining of the clergy against the king. for that they could not patiently suffer such exaction to be levied of their livings (contrary as they took it to the liberty of the church) found means through practise to persuade both the kings of Scotland and France to aid and support them against him by linking themselves together with sundry noblemen of England. But these seem to be conjectures of such writers as were evil affected towards the king's cause.

245Now therefore to the sequel of the matter. The king having sent away the barons with a gentle answer, though he minded nothing less than to satisfy them in that they did demand because it made much against his royal prerogative; and therewith foreseeing that the matter would be like to grow at length to be tried by force, he began to doubt his own estate, and therefore prepared an army and fortified divers castles and places with men, munition, and victuals, into the which he might retire for his safety in any time of need. The barons which understood the king's diligence herein, and conjecturing thereof his whole intent, made ready also their power, appointing for their general one Robert FitzWalter, a man both excellent in counselRobert FitzWalter. and valiant in war. Herewith they came unto the Archbishop of Canterbury, presenting unto him a book wherein was contained a note of all the articles of their petitions,The Archbishop of Canterbury moveth the king to satisfy the requests of the barons. and required him to understand the king's mind touching the same. The archbishop coveting to extinguish the sedition (whereof he himself had been no small kindler) which was like to grow if the nobility were not pacified the sooner, talked with the king and exhorted his grace very instantly to satisfy the requests of his barons, and herewith did show the book of the articles which they had delivered unto him.

246[The barons prepare for war]

The king, when he saw what they demanded (which in effect was a new order in things touching the whole state of the commonwealth), swore in a great furyThe king refuseth to grant their petitions. that he would never condescend unto those petitions. Whereof when the barons had knowledge they got them straight unto armor, making their assembly at Stamford in the Easter week, whither they had drawn unto them almost the whole nobility and gathered an exceeding great army. For the commons flocked unto them from every part because the king was generally hated of the more part of his subjects.

247It was conjectured that there were in that army the number of two thousand knights, beside yeomen on horseback or demi-lances (as I may call them) and footmen appareled in divers sorts of armor. The chief ringleaders of this power were these, whose names ensue:The names of the lords that banded themselves against the king. Robert FitzWalter, Eustace Vescie, Richard Percy, Robert Roos, Peter de Breuse, Nicholas de Stutevil, Saer, Earl of Winchester, Robert, Earl of Clare, Henry, Earl of Clare, Richard, Earl [of] Bigot, William de Mowbray, William de Cressey, Ralfe FitzRobert, Robert de Vere, Foulke Fitzwarren, William Mallet, William de Montacute, William de Beauchamp, Simon de Kime, William Marshall the younger, William Manduit, Robert de Montibigonis, John FitzRobert, John FitzAlan, G. Lauale, O. FitzAlan, W. de Hobrug, O. de Vales, G. de Gaunt, Maurice de Gaunt, Robert de Brakesley, Robert de Mounfichet, William de Lanualley, G. de Maundevile Earl of Essex, William his brother, William de Huntingfield, Robert de Gresley, G. Constable of Menton, Alexander de Panton, Peter FitzJohn, Alexander de Sutton, Osbert de Body, John, Constable of Chester, Thomas de Muleton, Conan FitzHealy, and many other; they had also of council with them as chief the Archbishop of Canterbury.

248The king as then was at Oxford, who, hearing of the assembly which the barons made,Anno Reg. 17. and that they were come to Brakesley, on the Monday next after the octaves of Easter, he sent unto them the Archbishop of Canterbury,The king sendeth to the lords. in whom he reposed great confidence, and William Marshall Earl of Pembroke, to understand what they meant by that their assembling thus together. Whereupon they delivered to the same messengers a roll containing the ancient liberties, privileges and customs of the realm, signifying that if the king would not confirm the same, they would not cease to make him war till he should satisfy their requests in that behalf.

249The archbishop and the earl, returning to the king, showed him the whole circumstance of that which the barons demanded, who took great indignation thereat, and scornfully said, "Why do they not ask to have the kingdom also?" Finally, he affirmed with an oath that he would never grant any such liberties, whereby he should become a slave.

250Hereupon the archbishop and the Earl of Pembroke returned to the barons, and declared the king's denial to confirm their articles. Then the barons naming their host "The army of God and the holy Church,"The barons give a plausible name to their army. set forward, and first came unto Northampton, and besieging the town, when they could not prevail, because the same was well provided for defense aforehand,Northampton besieged. they departed from thence, and came towards Bedford to besiege the castle there, in which sir William Beauchamp was captain,They won the town but not the castle. who, being secretly confederate with them, delivered the place incontinently into their hands.

251[The barons take the city of London]

Bedford castle delivered to the barons. whilst they remained here a certain time to fortify and furnish the castle with necessary provision, there came letters to them from London, giving them to understand that if they would send a convenient power of soldiers to defend the city, the same should be received thereinto at some meet and reasonable time in the night season by the citizens, who would join with them in that quarrel against the king to the uttermost of their powers. The lords were glad of these news, to have the chief city of the realm to take part with them, and therefore they sent four bands of soldiers straightway thither, which were brought into the city in the night season (according to order aforehand taken). But as Matthew Paris saith, they were received into the city by Algate the 24th of May, being Sunday, whilst the citizens were at mass. The next day they made open rebellion, took such as they knew favored the king, broke into the houses of the Jews and spoiled them.

252The barons having thus gotten possession of the city of London, wrote letters unto all those lords which as yet had not joined with them in this confederacy, threatening that if they refused to aid them now in this necessityThe barons write to other of the nobility to join with them against the king. they would destroy their castles, manors, parks, and other possessions, making open war upon them as the enemies of God and rebels to the Church. These were the names of those lords which yet had not sworn to maintain the foresaid liberties: William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, Ranulf, Earl of Chester, Nicholas, Earl of Salisbury, William, Earl Warren, William, Earl of Albemarle, H. Earl of Cornewall, W. de Albenie, Robert de Veipount, Peter FitzHerbert, Brian de Lisley, G. de Lucie, G. de Furniuall, Thomas Basset, H. de Braibrooke, I. de Bassingborne, W. de Cantlow, H. de Cornwall, John FitzHugh, Hugh de Nevill, Philip de Albeny, John Marshall, and William Brewer. All these upon receipt of the barons' letters, or the more part of them, came to London and joined themselves with the barons, utterly renouncing to aid King John.

253Also the pleas in the exchequer ceased, and the sheriffs stayed from executing their office.The king left desolate of friends. For there was none that would pay any money to the king's use, nor any that did obey him, insomuch that there remained with him but only seven horsemen of all his train at one time (as some write) though soon after he had a great power, which came to him to the castle of Windsor where he then lay, and meant to have led the same against the lords with all speed. But hearing now of this new rebellion of the Londoners, he changed his purpose and durst not depart from Windsor, being brought in great doubt lest all the other cities of the realm would follow their example. Hereupon he thought good to assay if he might come to some agreement by way of communication, and incontinently sent his ambassadors to the barons, promising them that he would satisfy their requests if they would come to Windsor to talk with him.

254[The signing of Magna Carta]

Howbeit,The lords encamped betwixt Staines and Windsor. the lords having no confidence in his promise came with their army within three miles of Windsor and their pitched down their tents in a meadow betwixt Staines and Windsor, whither King John also came the 15th day of June and showed such friendly countenance towards every one of themKing John cometh to them to talk of some pacification. that they were put in good hope he meant no deceit. Being thus met, they fell in consultation about an agreement to be had. On the king's part (as it were) sat the archbishops of Canterbury and Dublin, the bishops of London, Winchester, Lincoln, Bath, Worcester, Couentrie, Rochester, and Pandulph the pope's nuncio, with Almeric, master of the knights templars; the earls of Pembroke, Salisburie, Warre, Arundel, Alane de Galoway, William FitzGerald, Peter FitzHerbert, Alan Basset, Hugh de Nevill, Hubert de Burgh, seneschal of Poitou, Robert de Ropley, John Marshal, and Philip de Albeny. On the baron's part, there were innumerable, for all the nobility of England was in a manner assembled there together.

255Finally, when the king, measuring his own strength with the barons, perceived that he was not able to resist them, he consented to subscribe and seal to such articles concerning the liberties demanded, in form for the most part as is contained in the two charters Magna Carta, and Carta de Foresta,Magna Carta and Carta de Foresta. beginning "Johannes Dei gratia, etc. And he did not only grant unto them their petitions touching the aforesaid liberties, but also, to win him further credit, was contented that they should choose out certain grave and honorable personages which should have authority and power to see those things performed which he then granted unto them.

256There were twenty-five of those that were so elected, namely these: the earls of Clare, Albemarle, Glocester, Winchester, and Hereford; also Earl Roger, Earl Robert, Earl Marshall the younger, Robert FitzWalter the younger, Gilbert de Clare, Eustace de Vescie, Hugh Bigot, William de Mowbray, the mayor of London, Gilbert de la Vale, Robert de Roos, John, Constable of Chester, Richard de Percie, John FitzRobert, William Mallet, Geoffrey de Say, Roger de Mowbray, William de Huntingfield, Richard de Mountfichet, and William de Albeny. These five and twenty were sworn to see the liberties granted and confirmed by the king to be in every point observed, but if he went against the same then they should have authority to compel him to the observing of every of them.

257Moreover, there were other that were sworn to be obedient, and as it were assistant unto these five and twenty peers in such things as they should appoint, which were these. The Earl of Arundel, the Earl Warren by his attorney Henry Doilie, Hubert de Burgh, Matthew FitzHerbert, Robert de Pinkny, Roger Huscarle, Robert de Newburgh, Henry de Pont Audoin, Rafe de la Hay, Henry de Brentfield, Warren FitzGerald, Thomas Basset, William de Buckland, William de Saint John, Alane Basset, Richard de Rivers, Hugh de Bonevale, Jordain de Sackville, Ralfe Musgrave, Richard Siflewast, Robert de Ropeley, Andrew de Beauchamp, Walter de Dunstable, Walter Folioth, Foukes de Brent, John Marshall, Philip Daubny, William de Perca, Ralfe de Normandy, William de Percy, William Agoilum, Engerand de Pratellis, William de Cirenton, Roger de Zuche, Roger FitzBarnard, and Godfrey de Grancombe. The chatelains of four castles.It was further ordered that the chatelains or constables (as I may call them) of the four castles of Northampton, Killingworth, Nottingham, and Scarborough should be sworn to the five and twenty peers to govern those castles in such wise as they should have in commandment from the said five and twenty peers, or from the greater part of them, and that such should be placed as chatelains in the same, as were thought to be most true and faithful unto the barons and the realm. ¶ It was also decreed that certain strangers, as Flemings and other, should be banished out of England.

258The King hereupon sent his letters patents unto the sheriffs of all the counties of this realm, commanding them to see the ordinances and liberties which he granted and confirmed to be diligently observed. And for the more strengthening of this his grant, he had gotten the pope to confirm a like charter granted the year before. For the pope (sith King John was become his obedient vassal, and the apostolic king) easily granted to gratify both him and his lords herein, and so was the grant of the liberties corroborated and made good with a double confirmation, and so sealed that it was impossible for them to be separated in sunder, the king's grant being annexed to the pope's bull.

259Immediately also upon the confirmation now made by the king, divers lords came to him, and required restitution of such possessions, lands, and houses as he had in his hands the right whereof (as they alleged) appertained to them; but he excused the matter, and shifted them off, till by inquest taken it might appear what right every man had to those things which they then claimed; and furthermore assigned them a day to be holden at Westminster, which was the sixteenth day of July. But ere he restored at that timeRochester castle restored to the Archbishop of Canterbury. the castle of Rochester unto the Archbishop of Canterbury, the barons having obtained a great piece of their purpose (as they thought) returned to London with their charter sealed, the date whereof was this:

260given by our own hand in the meadow called Kuningsmede or Runnymede, betwixt Stanes and Windsor, the fifteenth of June, in the eighteenth year of our reign.

261Great rejoicing was made for this conclusion of peace betwixt the king and his barons, the people judging that God had touched the king's heart and mollified it, whereby happy days were come for the realm of England, as though it had been delivered out of the bondage of Egypt. But they were much deceived,The king's impatience to see himself bridled by his subjects. for the king, having condescended to make such grant of liberties, far contrary to his mind, was right sorrowful in his heart, cursed his mother that bore him, the hour that he was born, and the paps that gave him suck, wishing that he had received death by violence of sword or knife instead of natural nourishment; he whetted his teeth, he did bite now on one staff and now on another as he walked, and oft broke the same in pieces when he had done, and with such disordered behaviour and furious gestures he uttered his grief, in such sort that the noblemen very well perceived the inclination of his inward affection concerning these things before the breaking up of the council, and therefore sore lamented the state of the realm, guessing what would follow of his impatience and displeasant taking of the matter.

262Hereupon they said among themselves,

Woe be to us, yea rather to the whole realm that wanteth a sufficient king and is governed by a tyrant that seeketh the subversion thereof. Now hath our sovereign lord made us subject to Rome, and to the Romish court, so that we must henceforth obtain our protection from thence. It is very much to be feared lest we do feel hereafter some further piece of mischief to light upon us suddenly. We never heard of any king that would not gladly endeavor to withdraw his neck from bondage and captivity, but ours of his own accord voluntarily submitteth himself to become vassal to every stranger.

And thus the lords lamenting the case, left the king, and returned to London (as before ye have heard.)

263[King John seeks the pope's aid against the barons]

But the king, disquieted not a little for that he was thus driven to yield so far unto the baronsThe king departeth into the Isle of Wight. notwithstanding as much as was possible he kept his purpose secret, devised by what means he might disappoint all that had been done, and promised on his part at this assembly betwixt him and the lords a pacification (as ye have heard). Wherefore the next day very late in the evening he secretly departed to Southampton, and so over into the Isle of Wight, where he took advice with his council what remedy he might find to quiet the minds of his lords and barons and to bring them unto his purpose.He sendeth ambassadors to the pope. At length, after much debating of the matter, it was concluded by the advice of the greater part that the king should require the pope's aid therein. And so Walter, the Bishop of Worcester, and John, the Bishop of Norwich, with one Richard Marish his chancellor, with all speed were sent as ambassadors from the king unto Pope Innocent to instruct him of the rebellion of the English nobility, and that he, constrained by force, had granted them certain laws and privileges hurtful to his realm and prejudicial to his crown.

264Moreover, sith that all this was done by the authority of the pope, the king besought him to make the same void, and to command the barons to obey him being their king, as reason required they should. There were also sent by him other messengers, as Hugh de Boves and others,Hugh de Boves. into divers parts beyond the sea to bring from thence great numbers of men of war and soldiers, appointing them to meet him at Dover at the feast of Saint Michael next ensuing. He sent likewise unto all his chatelains and constables of castles within the realm, requiring them to provide themselves of all things necessary for defense of the holds committed to their charge if they should chance to be besieged, though it were on the next morrow.

265His ambassadors and other messengers being thus dispatched, and having but few persons left about him, or in manner none, except such of the Bishop of Norwich his servants as he had borrowed of him, he fell to take prizes as any ships came by suspected not to be his friends, so seeking to win the favor of the mariners that belonged to the cinque ports, and so lay close in the Isle of Wight and there about the sea-coasts for the space of three months together. In which mean time, many things were reported of him, some calling him a fisher, some a merchant, and some a pirate and rover. And many (for that no certain news could be heard of him) judged that he was either drowned or dead by some other means. But he, still looking for some power to come over to his aid, kept himself out of the way till the same should be arrived, and dissembled the conceit of his revenge and heart-grudge till opportunity served him with convenient security to put the same in execution. Wherein he showed himself discreet and provident, and did as in such a case one wise man dooth counsel another, saying,

266-- sapiens iramque co‘rcet,
Saepe etiam vtiliter cedit, placidisque furentem
Demulcet dictis, and dulcibus allicit hostem
Blanditiis, donec deceptum in retia mittat.

267The lords all this while lay at London, and began to doubt the matter because they could hear no certain news where the king was become. For, doubting (as I said) the surety of his person, he conveyed himself secretly from one place to another, lodging and taking his diet oftentimes more meanly than was decent for his estate; and still he longed to hear how his ambassadors sped with the pope, who in the mean time coming unto RomeThe ambassadors coming to the pope's presence declare their message. and declaring their message at full, took it upon their solemn oath that the right was on the king's side, and that the fault rested only on the lords touching the whole controversy between them and him, who sought with great rigour and against reason to bridle him at their pleasures.

268They showed also a note of certain articles contained in the charter, which seemed to make most for the king's purpose, and withal declared that the king in open assembly, where he and the barons met to talk of such matters, had protested that the kingdom of England specially appertained (as touching the sovereignty) unto the church of Rome, whereupon he neither could nor ought without knowledge of the pope to ordain any thing anew or change ought within that kingdom in prejudice thereof. Wherefore, whereas he put himself and all the rights of his kingdom by way of appealing under the protection of the Apostolic See, the barons, yet without regard had to the same appeal, did seize into their possession the city of London, and, getting them to armor, enforced the king to confirm such unreasonable articles as there appeared for him to consider.

269[The pope supports John, but the barons reject his intervention]

The pope's answer unto the king's ambassadors. The pope, having heard their tale and considered of the articles, with bending brows (in witness of his indignation) made forthwith this short answer:

And is it so, that the barons of England do go about to expel their king, which hath taken upon him the cross, and is remaining under the protection of the Apostolic See? And do they mean indeed to translate the dominion that belongeth to the church of Rome unto another? By Saint Peter we cannot suffer this injury to pass unpunished.

270Hereupon (crediting the ambassadors words), by the advice of his cardinals he decreed that all those privileges which the king had granted unto the lords and barons of this realm, as enforced thereto by their rebellious attempt, should be accounted void and of none effect. Also he wrote unto the lords, admonishing them by his letters that they should obey their king upon pain of his curse if they should attempt any thing that sounded to the contrary.

271¶ At the same time there was in the court of Rome (as Hector Boetius saith) a cardinal named Gualo or Wallo, a very covetous person, and such a one (as in that place some are never wanting) which for money passed not what he did further any man's suit, without regard either to right or wrong, by whose chief travail and means the pope was greatly induced to favor King John's cause and to judge with him in prejudice of the lords' purposes, as before is expressed.

272But to proceed.The ambassadors return from the pope. The ambassadors being dispatched, and having the pope's prescript and such other his letters with them as they had obtained of him, returned with all speed into England unto the king (who was come a little before unto Windsor castle) and there declared unto him how they sped. King John being joyful in that they had brought the matter so well about for his purpose,The pope's decree is declared to the lords. caused the pope's decree to be declared unto the barons, commanding them straitly to obey the same. The barons, taking the matter grievously to be thus mocked, with great indignation both blamed King John's unjust dealing and the pope's wrongful judgement, in that he had pronounced against them without hearing what they had of right to allege for themselves. Whereupon out of hand (notwithstanding the pope's prohibition and prescript to the contrary) they determined to try their cause by dint of sword,The barons will try their quarrel by dint of sword. and with all speed assembled their powers, which for the greater part they had lately dismissed and sent home. They furnished the castle of Rochester with a strong garrison of men, and placed therein as captain one William Albeny, a very skilful warrior.

273King John, after he understood that the barons (condemning the pope's decree and inhibition) were more offended and bent against him than before,The King sendeth eftsoons to the pope. sent once again to the pope to advertise him of their disobedience and great contumacy showed in refusing to stand to his prescript. This done, he returned to the Isle of Wight, and sailed from thence to Dover,The king returneth into the Isle of Wight. where divers of those his commissaries which he had sent to hire soldiers in foreign parts returned to him, bringing with them out of divers countries such a multitude of soldiers and armed men that the only sight of them stroke the hearts of all the beholders with great fear and terror.The arrival of foreign soldiers to the king's aid. Savery de Mauleon. For out of the parties of Poitou and Gascoine there came men of great nobility and right worthy warriors, as Savery de Mauleon, Geoffrey and Oliver de Buteuile, two brethren, having under them great numbers of good soldiers and tall men of war. Also out of Brabant there came Walter Buc, Gerard de Sotigny, and one Godestall, with three legions of armed men and crossbows. Likewise there came out of Flanders other captains, with divers bands of soldiers, which Ferdinando Earl of Flanders (lately returnedFerdinando Earl of Flanders. out of the French captivity) for old friendships sake furnished and sent over to aid him against his subjects, according as he had requested.

274[King John beseiges the castle of Rochester]

King John then having recovered strength about him and being advertised that William de Albeny was entered into the castle of Rochester with a great number of knights, men of arms and other soldiers, hasted thither with his whole army and besieged them within, enforcing himself by all ways possible to win the castle as well by battering the walls with engines as by giving thereto many assaults, But the garrison within, consisting of ninety four knights beside demi-lances and other soldiers, defended the place very manfully in hope of rescue from the barons, which lay as then at London; but they, coming forward one day's journey unto Dartford, when they heard that the king was coming forward in good array of battle to meet them, upon consideration had of their own forces for that they were not able to match him with footmen, they returned back again to the city, breaking that assured promise which they had made and also confirmed by their solemn oaths, which was that if the castle should chance to be besieged they would not fail but raise the siege.

275At length they within, for want of victuals, were constrained to yield it up unto the king after it had been besieged the space of three score days, during which time they had beaten back their enemies at sundry assaults with great slaughter and loss. But the king having now got the possession of that hold, upon grief conceived for the loss of so many men, and also because he had lain so long about it ere he could win it, to his inestimable costs and charges, was determined to have put them all to death that had kept it. But Savery de Mauleon advised him otherwise, lest by such cruelty the barons in any like case should be occasioned to use the same extremity towards such of his people as by chance might fall into their hands. Thus the king spared the nobles and gentlemen, sending William de Albeny, William de Lancaster, William de Emeford, Thomas de Muleton, Osbert Gifford, Osbert de Bobie, Odinell de Albeny, and divers other to the castle of CorFe, there to be kept as prisoners. But Robert Charm, Richard Gifford, and Thomas de Lincoln were sent to Nottingham, and so others were sent to other places. As for all the demi-lances or yeomen (if I shall so call them) and the arcubalisters which had slain many of his men during the siege (as Matthew Paris saith) the king caused them to be hanged,Arcubalisters those that bear crossbows. to put other in fear that should so obstinately resist him.

276Nevertheless (as the book that belonged to Bernwell abbey saith) there was not any of them hanged saving one arcubalister only, whom the king had brought up of a child. But howsoever the king dealt with them after they were yielded, true it is (as by the same book it appeareth) there had been no siege in those days more earnestly enforced nor more obstinately defensed; for after that all the limbs of the castle had been reversed and thrown down, they kept the master tower till half thereof was also overthrown, and after kept the other half, till through famine they were constrained to yield, having nothing but horseflesh and water to sustain their lives withal.

277Here is to be remembered that whilst the siege lay thus at Rochester, Hugh de Boves, a valiant knight but full of pride and arrogance, a Frenchman born but banished out of his country, came down to Calais with a huge number of men of war and soldiers to come to the aid of King John. But as he was upon the sea with all his people, meaning to land at Dover, by a sudden tempest which rose at that instant, the said Hugh with all his company was drowned by shipwreck. Soon after the body of the same Hugh with the carcasses of other innumerable, both of men, women, and children, were found not far from Yarmouth and all along that coast. There were of them in all forty thousand, as saith Matthew Paris, for of all those which he brought with him there was (as it is said) not one man left alive.

278The king (as the same went, but how true I know not) had given by charter unto the said Hugh de Boves the whole country of Norfolk, so that he meant to have expelled the old inhabitants and to have peopled it with strangers. But whether this was so or not, sure it is that he was very sorrowful for the loss of this succor and aid which thus perished in the seas, though it happened very well for his subjects of England that should have been sore oppressed by such multitude of strangers, which for the most part must needs have lived upon the country to the utter undoing of the inhabitants wheresoever they should have come.

279Here is to be noted, that during the siege of Rochester (as some write) there came out of France to the number near hand of seven thousand men sent from the French king unto the aid of the barons, at the suit of Saer de Quincy, Earl of Winchester, and other ambassadors that were sent from the barons during the time of this siege; although it should seem, by Matthew Paris, that the said earl was not sent till after the pope had excommunicated the barons (as after yee shall hear). The Frenchmen that came over at this first time landed at Orwell and at other havens there near adjoining.

280About this season, the canons of York (because the archbishop's see there had remained void a long time), obtaining licence of the king, assembled together about the election of an archbishop. And though the king had once again earnestly moved them to prefer Walter Gray, Bishop of Worcester, yet they refused so to do, and therefore chose Simon de Langton, brother to the Archbishop of Canterbury, which election was afterward made void by the earnest travail of the king to the pope, because his brother, the said Archbishop of Canterbury was known to favor the part of the barons against him, so that the said Walter Gray was then elected and promoted to the guiding of the see of York,Walter Gray elected archbishop of York. according to the king's special desire in that behalf.

281[The pope excommunicates the barons]

About the same time also, Pope Innocent, being certified how the barons of England would not obey his prescript, judged them enemies to the Church and gave commandment to Peter, the Bishop of Winchester, to the Abbot of Reading, and to the subdeacon Pandulph, to pronounce the sentence of excommunication against them. But they could not at the first execute the pope's commandment herein, by reason that the Archbishop of Canterbury,The Archbishop of Canterbury favoreth the barons' part. who favored the barons' cause, would not permit them. Wherefore the same archbishop was interdicted out of the Church, and from saying divine service; and also, being cited to appear at Rome, was in danger to be deprived of his miter had not certain cardinals entreated for him and obtained his pardon. The archbishop, being gone to Rome as well to excuse himself in this matter as to be present at the general council there holden at that time (for he was ready to go take the sea thitherwards when the Bishop of Winchester and Pandulph came to him with the pope's letters), the said Bishop of Winchester and Pandulph proceeded to the pronouncing of the excommunication against the barons,The barons denounced accursed by the pope's commandment. renewing the same every Sunday and holy day; albeit the barons (because none of them were expressly named in the pope's letters) made none account of the censure, reputing it as void and not to concern them in any manner of point. But now to return to King John.

282After he had won the castle of Rochester (as before you have heard) he hasted to Saint Albans, and there divided his army into two parts,King John divideth his army in two parts. appointing the one to remain about London, whilst he himself with the other might go into the north to waste and destroy the possessions of certain lords there, which (as he was informed) went about to raise an army against him. He made captains of that army which he left behind him, his brother William, Earl of Salisburie, Savery de Mauleon, William Brewer, Walter Buc, and others. He himself departed from Saint Albans about the 21st day of December, leading his said army northwards; in which were chief captains these that follow: William Earl of Albemarle, Philip de Albeny, and John Marshall. Also of strangers, Gerard de Sotigam, and Godstall, with the Flemings, the crossbows, and others.

283[King John destroys the lands of the northern barons]

King John goeth northward.The first night he lay at Dunstable, and from thence passing forwards towards Northampton he destroyed by the way all the manors, places and houses which belonged to the adversaries, and so kept on his journey till he came to Nottingham,Nottingham. 1216. where he lay in the castle on Christmas day, and in the morning (being Saint Stephen's day) he went to Langar, and lodged there that night, sending his summons in the morning to the castle of Beauvoir,Beauvoir castle summoned to yield. willing them within to yield. This castle appertained to William Albeny, who had committed the custody thereof unto his son Nicholas de Albeny, priest, to Sir William de Stodham,Stodham. Charnelles. and to sir Hugh Charnelles, knights; the which came to the king with the keys of the castle and surrendered the same unto him with condition that he should be good to their master, the said William Albeny, and grant unto them their horses and armor, wherewith they would remain with him under his peace and protection. On the next morrow (being Saint John's day) the king went to the castle,The castle of Beauvoir rendered to the king. and receiving the same, delivered it to the keeping of Geoffrey Butevile, and his brother Oliver.

284Dunnington castle taken and razed. After this the castle of John La Cie at Dunnington was taken and laid flat to the ground by commandment of the king, who, having accomplished his will in those parts, drew towards Yorkshire, and at his coming thither destroyed the houses, towns and manors of those lords and gentlemen which were against him. It is horrible to hear, and loathsome to rehearse the cruelty which was practised by the soldiers and men of war in places where they came, who, counting no honor or renown more excellent, nor glory (as warriors say)

Maior nulla quidem quam bello parta videtur,
Horrida Mavortis tractare ferociter arma,
Hostilique suam temerare in sanguine dextram.,

and therefore were wholly bent to spoil and ransack the houses of the people without pity or compassion, besides the robberies, spoils and great outrages used by the soldiers generally against the common people. Few there were in that country of great lineage or wealth whom the king for their assembling themselves with the barons either spoiled not, or put not to execution.King John taketh the castle of Berwick. Thus with his army (to the great desolation of the country) he passed forth to the borders of Scotland, and entering that realm, took the castle of Berwick and other places of strength in those parts, meaning to have won more from the Scots if other urgent business had not called him back again. This being done, he committed the country which lieth betwixt the river of These, and the confines of Scotland,Hugh de Baliol and Philip de Hulcotes. to the keeping of Hugh de Baliol and Philip de Hulcotes, assigning to them such convenient number of men of war as was thought expedient,Robert de Vepount, Brian de Lisle, Geoffrey de Lucie. and the custody of the castles in Yorkshire he delivered to Robert de Vepount, to Brian de Lisle, and to Geoffrey de Lucie.

285Finally, when he had so ordered things in the North parts as stood with his pleasure, so that there remained no more but two castles, that is to say, Mountsorel,Mountsorel betwixt Leicester and Lougborough. and another in Yorkshire that appertained to Robert de Roos in possession of the barons, he returned by the borders of Wales into the south parts: and by all the way as he passed, he showed great cruelty against his adversaries, besieging and taking their castles and strong houses, of the which some he caused to be fortified with garrisons of soldiers to his own use, and some he razed. The like feats were wrought by the other army in the parts about London: for William, Earl of Salisbury, and Foukes de Brent, with the other captains which the king had left behind him there, perceiving that the city would not easily be won by any siege, first furnished the castle[s] of Windsor, Hertford, and Berkhamsted with such strong garrisons of soldiers as might watch, upon occasion given, to assail those that should either go into the city or come from thence; they marched forth with the residue of the army,The Earl of Salisbury with his army invadeth the countries about London. and passing through the counties of Essex, and Hertford, Middlesex, Cambridge, Huntington, they wasted the countries, and made the towns become tributaries to them. As for the houses, manor places, parks, and other possessions of the barons, they wasted, spoiled and destroyed them, running even hard to the city of London and setting fire in the suburbs.

286In this mean time, whilst the king went forwards on his journey northwards, upon the 18th of December last past,The castle of Hanslap. the castle of Hanslap was taken by Foukes de Brent, which appertained unto William Manduit. On the same day also was the castle of Tunbridge taken by the garrison of Rochester,Tunbridge castle. which castle of Tunbridge belonged to the Earl of Clare. Moreover, the aforesaid Foukes de Brent coming unto Bedford,Bedford taken by Foukes de Brent. won both the town and castle, for they that had the castle in keeping, after seven days' respite (which they obtained at the hands of the said Foukes) when rescue came not from the Lord William Beauchamp their master,William Beauchamp. they delivered it unto the said Foukes. Unto whom King John gave not only that castle, but also committed to his keeping the castles of Northampton,castles delivered to the keeping of Foukes de Brent. Oxford, and Cambridge.

287The king had this Foukes in great estimation, and amongst other ways to advance him, he gave to him in marriage Margaret de Rivers, a lady of high nobility,Foukes de Brent advanced by marriage. with all the lands and possessions that to her belonged. Moreover, to William, Earl of Albemarle the king delivered the custody of the castles of Rockingham, Sawey and Biham. To one Ranulf Teutonicus, the castle of Berkehamsted, and to Walter Godrevil, servant to Foukes de Brent,Berkhamsted he betook the keeping of the castle of Hertford. Thus what on the one part,Hertfort castle. and what on the other, the barons lost in manner all their possessions from the south sea unto the borders of Scotland, the king seizing the same into his hands, and committing them to the keeping of strangers and such other as he thought more trusty and convenient. All this while the barons lay at London banqueting and making merry, without attempting any exploit praiseworthy. But yet when they heard by certain advertisement what havoc and destruction was made of their houses and possessions abroad, they could not but lament their miseries, and amongst other their complaints which they uttered one to another they sore blamed the pope, as a chief cause of all these evils, for that he maintained and defended the king against them.

288Indeed about the same time Pope Innocent, who before at the instant suit of King John had excommunicated the barons in general,The barons accursed by name. did now excommunicate them by name, and in particular, as these. First, all the citizens of London which were authors of the mischief that had happened by the rebellion of the said barons. Also Robert FitzWalter, Saer de Quincie, Earl of Winchester, R. his son, G. de Mandevile, and W. his brother the Earl of Clare, and G. his son, H. Earl of Hereford, R. de Percie, G. de Vescie, I. constable of Chester, W. de Mowbray, Will. de Albeny, W. his son, P. de Breuse, R. de Cressey, I. his son, Ranulf FitzRobert, R. Earl Bigot, H. his son, Robert de Vere, Foulke FitzWarren, W. Mallet, W. de Mountacute, W. FitzMarshall, W. de Beauchamp, Saint de Kime, R. de Montbigons, and Nicholas de Stutevile, with divers other.

289The army which King John had left behind him in the south parts under the leading of the Earl of Salisbury and other lay not idle, but scouring the countries abroad (as partly ye have heard) came to Saint Edmundsbury, and, having intelligence there that divers knights, ladies and gentlewomen that were there before their coming had fled out of that town, and for their more safety were withdrawn into the Isle of Ely, they followed them, besieged the isle, and assailed it on each side, so that although they within had fortified the passages and appointed men of war to remain upon the guard of the same in places where it was thought most needful, yet at length they entered upon them by force, Walter Bucke with his Brabanders being the first that set foot within the Isle towards Herbie. For by reason the waters in the fens and ditches were hard frozen so that men might pass by the same into the said Isle, they found means to enter, and spoiled it from side to side,The Isle of Ely spoiled. together with the cathedral church, carrying from thence at their departure a marvellous great prey of goods and cattle.

290[The barons send to Lewis of France, offering him the crown]

The barons of the realm being thus afflicted with so many mischiefs all at one time, as both by the sharp and cruel wars which the king made against them on the one side, and by the enmity of the pope on the other side, they knew not which way to turn them, nor how to seek for relief. For by the loss of their complices taken in the castle of Rochester, they saw not how it should any thing avail them to join in battle with the king. Therefore, considering that they were in such extremity of despair they resolved with themselves to seek for aid at the enemy's hands,The lords send to the French king's son, offering to him the crown. and thereupon Saer, Earl of Winchester, and Robert FitzWalter with letters under their seals were sent unto Lewis the son of Philip the French king, offering him the crown of England and sufficient pledges for performance of the same, and other covenants to be agreed betwixt them, requiring him with all speed to come unto their succor. This Lewis had married (as before is said) Blanche, daughter to Alfonse king of Castile, near to King John by his sister Eleanor.

300Now King Philip, the father of this Lewis, being glad to have such an occasion to invade the realm of England, which he never loved, promised willingly that his son should come unto the aid of the said barons with all convenient speed (but first he received four and twenty hostages which he placed at Compiègne for further assurance of the covenants accorded) and herewith he prepared an army and divers ships to transport his son and his army over into England. In the mean time, and to put the barons in comfort, he sent over a certain number of armed men, under the leading of the chatelain of Saint Omers and the chatelain of Arras,French men sent over to the aid of the barons. Hugh Thacon, Eustace de Nevile, Baldwin Brecell, William de Wimes, Giles de Melun, W. de Beamont, Giles de Hersie, Biset de Fersie, and others, the which, taking the sea, arrived with one and forty ships in the Thames,The Saturday after the Epiphany, saith Rafe Coggeshal. and so came to London the seven and twentieth of February where they were received of the barons with great joy and gladness. Moreover the said Lewis wrote to the barons that he purposed by God's assistance to be at Calais by a day appointed with an army ready to pass over with all speed unto their succour.

292The Friday before Candlemass day, Savery de Mauleon, and other captains of the king's side laid siege to the castle of Colchester, but having intelligence that the barons which lay at London made forward with all speed to come to succor that castle, on the Wednesday after Candlemass day, being the third of February, they raised their siege, and went back towards Saint Edmundsbury.

293In the mean while, the King being gone (as ye have heard) to the borders of Scotland, a bruit was raised that he was dead, and secretly buried at Reading. But this rumor had not time to work any great alteration, for after he had dispatched his business in the north as he thought expedient, he returned, and, coming into the east parts about the midst of Lent, himself in person besieged the castle of Colchester, and within a few days after his coming thither it was delivered unto him by Frenchmen that kept it, with condition that they might depart with all their goods and armor unto their fellows at London, and that the Englishmen there in company with them in that castle might likewise depart upon reasonable ransoms.

294But although that covenant was kept with the Frenchmen, yet the Englishmen were stayed and committed to prison. Whereupon when the Frenchmen came to London, they were apprehended and charged with treason for making such composition, whereby those Englishmen that were fellows with them in arms were secluded from so beneficial conditions as they had made for themselves. They were in danger to have been put to death for their evil dealing herein, albeit at length it was concluded that they should remain in prison till the coming of Lewis, unto whose pleasure their cause should be referred.

295After this, the castle of Hidingham was won, which belonged unto Earl Robert de Vere. Then the king prepared to besiege London, but the Londoners were of such courage that they set open their gates, and hearing of the king's approach made ready to issue forth to give him battle; whereof the king being advertised, withdrew back, but Savery de Mauleon was suddenly set upon by the Londoners, lost many of his men, and was sore hurt and wounded himself.

296The king perceiving that it would not prevail him to attempt the winning of the city at that time, drew alongst the coast, fortified his castles, and prepared a great navy, meaning to encounter his enemy Lewis by sea; but through tempest the ships which he had got together from Yarmouth, Dunwich Lin, and other havens, were dispersed in sunder, and many of them cast away by rage and violence of the outrageous winds.

297Somewhat before this time also,King John once again sendeth to the pope. when he heard of the compact made betwixt the barons and his adversaries the Frenchmen, he dispatched a messenger in all haste to the pope, signifying to him what was in hand and practised against him, requiring furthermore the said pope by his authority to cause Lewis to stay his journey and to succor those rebels in England which he had already excommunicated. This he needed not have done, had he been indued with such prudence and prowess as is requisite to be planted in one that beareth rule, of whom it is said,

Cui si quando Deus rerum permittit habenas,
Imperiique decus, tunc aurea secula fiunt,
Tunc floret virtus terrasque Astraea reuisit,
Pax viget et vitium duris cohibetur habenis,

whereas by means of defects in the contrary, he bare too low a sail, in that he would be so foolified as being a king to suffer usurped supremacy to be carver of his kingdom.

298[King Philip and Lewis defy the pope]

But let us see the consequence.Anno. Reg. 18. Cardinal Gualo. The pope desirous to help King John all that he might (because he was now his vassal) sent his legate Gualo into France to dissuade King Philip from taking any enterprise in hand against the king of England. But King Philip, though he was content to hear what the legate could say,The French king's allegations to the pope's legate Gualo. yet by no means would be turned from the execution of his purpose, alleging that King John was not the lawful king of England, having first usurped and taken it away from his nephew Arthur the lawful inheritor, and that now sithens as an enemy to his own royal dignity he had given the right of his kingdom away to the pope (which he could not do without consent of his nobles) and therefore through his own fault he was worthily deprived of all his kingly honor. For the kingdom of England (saith he) never belonged to the patrimony of Saint Peter, nor at any time shall. For admit that he were rightful king, yet neither he nor any other prince may give away his kingdom without the assent of his barons, which are bound to defend the same, and the prerogative royal, to the uttermost of their powers. Furthermore (saith he) if the pope do mean to maintain this error, he shall give a perilous example to all kingdoms of the world. Herewithal the nobles of France then present protested also with one voice that in defense of this article they would stand to the death, which is, that no king or prince at his will and pleasure might give away his kingdom, or make it tributary to any other potentate whereby the nobles should become thrall or subject to a foreign governor. These things were done at Lyons in the quindene after Easter.

299Lewis on the morrow following, being the 26th of April, by his father's procurement came into the council chamber,Lewis, the French king's son, maintaineth his pretended title to the crown of England. and with frowning look beheld the legate, where by his procurator he defended the cause that moved him to take upon him this journey into England, disproving not only the right which King John had to the crown but also alleging his own interest, not only by his new election of the barons, but also in the title of his wife, whose mother the Queen of Castile remained only alive of all the brethren and sisters of Henry the Second late king of England (as before ye have heard). The legate made answer hereunto, that King John had taken upon him the cross, as one appointed to go to war against God's enemies in the holy land, wherefore he ought by decree of the general council to have peace for four years to come,The privilege of those that took upon them the cross. and to remain in surety under protection of the Apostolic See.

300But Lewis replied thereto that King John had by war first invaded his castles and lands in Picardy and wasted the same, as Buncham castle and Lyons, with the counties of Guienne which belonged to the see of the said Lewis.

301But these reasons notwithstanding, the legate warned the French king, on pain of cursing, not to suffer his son to go into England, and likewise his son, that he should not presume to take the journey in hand. But Lewis, hearing this, declared that his father had nothing to do to forbid him to prosecute his right in the realm of England, which was not holden of him, and therefore required his father not to hinder his purpose in such things as belonged nothing to him, but rather to licence him to seek the recovery of his wife's right which he meant to pursue with peril of life if need should require.

302The legate, perceiving he could not prevail in his suit made to King Philip, thought that he would not spend time longer in vain in further treating with him, but sped him forth into England, obtaining yet a safe conduct of the French king to pass through his realm. Lewis in like manner, purposing by all means to prevent the legate,The French king's son sendeth to the pope. first dispatched forth ambassadors in all haste unto the court of Rome to excuse himself to the pope and to render the reasons that most specially moved him to proceed forward in his enterprise against King John, being called by the barons of England to take the crown thereof upon him. This done, with all convenient speed he came down to Calais,He cometh to Calais. where he found 680 ships well appointed and trimmed, which Eustace, surnamed the Monk, had gathered and prepared there ready against his coming.

303[Lewis arrives in England and is successful in battle]

Lewis therefore forthwith embarking himself with his peopleHe taketh the sea. and all necessary provisions for such a journey, took the sea, and arrived at a place called Stanchorre in the Isle of Thanet, upon the 21st day of May, and shortly after came to Sandwich,He landeth in Kent. and there landed with all his people, where he also encamped upon the shore by the space of three days. In which mean time there came unto him a great number of those lords and gentlemen which had sent for him, and there every one apart and by himself swore fealty and homage unto himThe lords do homage unto him. as if he had been their true and natural prince.

304King John, about the same time that Lewis thus arrived, came to Dover, meaning to fight with his adversaries by the way as they should come forward towards London. But yet upon other advisement taken, he changed his purpose because he put some doubt in the Flemings and other strangers, of whom the most part of his army consisted, because he knew that they hated the Frenchmen no more than they did the English. Therefore, furnishing the castle of Dover with men, munition, and victuals, he left it in the keeping of Hubert de Burgh, a man of notable prowess and valiancy, and returned himself unto Canterbury, and from thence took the highway towards Winchester. Lewis, being advertised that King John was retired out of Kent, passed through the country without any encounter and won all the castles and holds as he went, but Dover he could not win.

305At his coming to Rochester,Rochester castle won. he laid siege to the castle there, and won it, causing all the strangers that were found within it to be hanged. This done, he came to London,Lewis cometh to London. and there received the homage of those lords and gentlemen which had not yet done their homage to him at Sandwich. On the other part he took an oath to maintain and perform the old law and customs of the realm, and to restore to every man his rightful heritage and lands, requiring the barons furthermore to continue faithful towards him, assuring them to bring things so to pass that the realm of England should recover the former dignity, and they their ancient liberties. Moreover he used them so courteously, gave them so fair words, and made such large promises, that they believed him with all their hearts. But alas! Cur vincit opinio verum?

306The rumor of this pretended outward courtesy being once spread through the realm caused great numbers of people to come flocking to him, among whom were divers of those which before had taken part with King John, as William, Earl Warren, William, Earl of Arundel,Noblemen revolting from King John unto Lewis. William, Earl of Salisbury, William Marshall the younger, and divers other, supposing verily that the French king's son should now obtain the kingdom, who in the mean time ordained Simon Langton afore mentionedSimon Langton chancellor to Lewis. to be his chancellor, by whose preaching and exhortation, as well the citizens of London as the barons that were excommunicated, caused divine service to be celebrated in their presence, induced thereto because Lewis had already sent his procurators to Rome before his coming into England there to show the goodness of his cause and quarrel.

307But this availed them not, neither took his excuse any such effect as he did hope it should; for those ambassadors that King John had sent thither replied against their assertions, so that there was hard hold about it in that court, albeit that the pope would decree nothing till he heard further from his legate Gualo, who the same time (being advertised of the proceedings of Lewis in his journey) with all diligence hasted over into Englandcardinall Gualo cometh over into England. and, passing through the middle of his adversaries, came unto King John then sojourning at Gloucester, of whom he was most joyfully received, for in him King John reposed all his hope of victory. This legate immediately after his coming did excommunicate Lewis by name, with all his fautors and complices, but specially Simon de Langton, with bell, book, and candle, as the manner was. Howbeit the same Simon, and one Gervase de Hobrug, Dean of Saint Paul's in London, with other, alleged that for the right and state of the cause of Lewis they had already appealed to the court of Rome, and therefore the sentence published by Gualo they took as void.

308At the same time also, all the knights and men of war of Flanders and other parts beyond the seasThe more part of the strangers depart from the service of King John. which had served the king departed from him, the Poitouins only excepted; and part of them that thus went from him resorted unto Lewis and entered into his wages; but the residue repaired home into their own countries so that Lewis, being thus increased in power, departed from London and marching towards Winchester he won the castles of Reigate,Castles won by Lewis. Guildford, and Farnham. From thence he went to Winchester, where the city was yielded unto him with all the castles and holds thereabout, as Wolvesey, Odiham, and Beaumere.

309¶ Whilest the said Lewis was thus occupied in Sussex about the subduing of that country unto his obeisance, there was a young gentleman in those parts named William de Collingham, being of a valorous mind and loathing foreign subjection, who would in no wise do fealty to Lewis,William de Collingham a gentleman of Sussex. but, assembling together about the number of a thousand archers, kept himself within the woods and desert places whereof that country is full, and so during all the time of this war showed himself an enemy to the Frenchmen, slaying no small numbers of them, as he took them at any advantage. O worthy gentleman of English blood! And O

Grandia quae aggreditur fortis discrimina virtus!

310In like manner, all the fortresses, towns, and castles in the south parts of the realm were subdued unto the obeisance of Lewis (the castles of Dover and Windsor only excepted). Within a little while after, William de Mandeville, Robert FitzWalter, and William de Huntingfield, with a great power of men of war, did the like unto the countries of Essex and Suffolk. In which season, King John fortified the castles of Wallingford,castles fortified by King John. CorFe, Warham, Bristol, the Vies, and divers others with munition and victuals. About which time letters came also unto Lewis from his procurators, whom he had sent to the pope, by the tenor whereof he was advertised that, notwithstanding all that they could do or say, the pope meant to excommunicate him, and did but only stay till he had received some advertisement from his legate Gualo.

311The chiefest points (as we find) that were laid by Lewis his procurators against King John were these:The points wherewith King John was charged. that by the murder committed in the person of his nephew Arthur he had been condemned in the parliament chamber before the French king by the peers of France, and that, being summoned to appear, he had obstinately refused so to do and therefore had by good right forfeited not only his lands within the precinct of France but also the realm of England, which was now due unto the said Lewis, as they alleged, in right of the Lady Blanche his wife, daughter to Eleanor Queen of Spain. But the pope refelled all such allegations as they produced for proof hereof, and seemed to defend King John's cause very pithily; but namely, in that he was under the protection of him as supreme lord of England; again, for that he had taken upon him the cross (as before ye have heard). But now to return where we left.

312[The French forces continue to subdue the English]

About the feast of Saint Margaret, Lewis with the lords came again to London, at whose coming the tower of London was yielded up to him by appointment, after which the French captains and gentlemen, thinking themselves assured of the realm, began to show their inward dispositions and hatred toward the EnglishmenThe French men begin to show themselves in their kind. Juvenal Satire 9. and, forgetting all former promises (such is the nature of strangers, and men of mean estate, that are once become lords of their desires, according to the poet's words,

Asperius nihil est humili cum surgit in altum)

they did many excessive outrages, in spoiling and robbing the people of the country without pity or mercy. Moreover they did not only break into men's houses, but also into churches, and took out of the same such vessels and ornaments of gold and silver as they could lay hands upon; for Lewis had not the power now to rule the greedy soldiers, being wholly given to the spoil.

313But most of all their tyranny did appear in the east parts of the realm, when they went through the countries of Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, where they miserably spoiled the towns and villages, reducing those quarters under their subjection and making them tributaries unto Lewis in most servile and slavish manner. Furthermore,The castle of Norwich left for a prey to Lewis. at his coming to Norwich, he found the castle void of defense, and so took it without any resistance and put into it a garrison of his soldiers. Also he sent a power to the town of Lynn, which conquered the same, and took the citizens prisoners,Lynn. causing them to pay great sums of money for their ransoms. Moreover, Thomas de Burgh,Thomas de Burgh taken prisoner. chatelain of the castle of Norwich, who, upon the approach of the Frenchmen to the city fled out in hope to escape, was taken prisoner and put under safekeeping. He was brother unto Hubert de Burgh, Captain of Dover castle.

314Now when Lewis had thus finished his enterprises in those parts, he returned to London,Gilbert de Gaunt made Earl of Lincoln. and shortly thereupon created Gilbert de Gaunt Earl of Lincoln, appointing him to go thither with all convenient speed that he might resist the issues made by them which did hold the castles of Nottingham and Newark, wasting and spoiling the possessions and lands belonging to the barons near adjoining to the same castles. This Gilbert de Gaunt then, together with Robert de Ropeley, coming into that country, took the city of Lincoln, and brought all the country under subjection (the castle only excepted).Lincoln wonne. After that,Holland in Lincolnshire invaded. they invaded Holland, and spoiling that country made it also tributary unto the French. Likewise, Robert de Roos, Peter de Bruis, and Richard Percy subdued York and all Yorkshire, bringing the same under the obeisance of Lewis.Yorkshire subdued to Lewis. The king of Scots in like sort subdued unto the said Lewis all the country of Northumberland, except the castles which Hugh de Baliol, and Philip de Hulcotes valiantly defended against all the force of the enemy.

315And as these wicked rebels made a prey of their own country, so the legate Gualo not behind for his part to get something ere all should be gone, upon a falconish or wolfish appetite fleeced the church, considering that,

and took proxies of every cathedral church and house of religion within England; that is to say, for every proxy fifty shillings.The legate Gualo gathereth proxies. Sequestratiom of benefices. Moreover, he sequestered all the benefices of those persons and religious men that either aided or counselled Lewis and the barons in their attempts and enterprises. All which benefices he speedily converted to his own use, and to the use of his chaplains.

316In the mean time, Lewis was brought into some good hope thorough means of Thomas de Burgh, whom he took prisoner (as before you have heard) to persuade his brother Hubert to yield up the castle of Dover, the siege whereof was the next enterprise which he attempted. For his father, King Philip, hearing that the same was kept by a garrison to the behoof of King John, wrote to his son, blaming him that he left behind him so strong a fortress in his enemy's hands.Lewis travailleth in vain to take Dover. But though Lewis enforced his whole endeavor to win that castle, yet all his travail was in vain. For the said Hubert de Burgh, and Gerard de Sotigam, who were chief captains within, did their best to defend it against him and all his power, so that, despairing to win it by force, he assayed to obtain his purpose by threatening to hang the captain's brother before his face if he would not yield the sooner. But when that would not serve, he sought to win him by large offers of gold and silver. Howbeit, such was the singular constancy of Hubert that he would not give any ear unto those his flattering motions. Then Lewis in a great fury menaced that he would not once depart from thence till he had won the castle, and put all them within to death, and began to assail it with more force than before he had done.

317The barons also, which at this season lay at London, making a road to Cambridge, took the town, and after went forth into Norfolk and Suffolk (as it were to gather up such scraps as the French had left) spoiling those countries very pitifully, churches and all.Yarmouth, Dunwich, and Ipswich ransomed. They constrained the towns of Yarmouth, Dunwich and Ipswich to pay to them great sums of money by way of ransoming. And at length, returning by Colchester, they used like practises there. From thence they returned to London and shortly after, under the conduct of the Earl of Nevers (upon a sudden) going to Windsor, they laid a strong siege about that castle, in the which was captain Ingelard de Athy with sixty valiant knights and other men of war of their suit, the which manfully stood at defense.

318In the month of August, Alexander, King of Scotland, came through the country unto the siege of Dover,Alexander King of Scots doth homage to King Lewis. and there did homage unto Lewis, in right of his tenure holden of the kings of England, and then returned home, but in his coming up, as he came by castle Bernard in the country of Haliwerkfolk (which appertained unto Hugh de Baliol) he lost his brother-in-law the lord Eustace de VescieThis Eustace had married the sister of King Alexander. who was stricken in the forehead with a quarrel as he rode in company of the king near unto the same castle to view if it were possible upon any side to win it by assault.

319[Count Melun reveals Lewis's treachery to the barons]

About the same time, or rather in the year last past as some hold, it fortuned that the Viscount of Melun, a Frenchman, fell sick at London, and perceiving that death was at hand he called unto him certain of the English barons which remained in the city, upon safeguard thereof,The viscount of Melune discovereth the purpose of Lewis. and to them made this protestation:

320I lament (saith he) your destruction and desolation at hand, because ye are ignorant of the perils hanging over your heads. For this understand, that Lewis, and with him sixteen earls and barons of France, have secretly sworn (if it shall fortune him to conquer this realm of England and to be crowned king) that he will kill, banish, and confine all those of the English nobility which now do serve under him, and persecute their own king, as traitors and rebels, and furthermore will dispossess all their lineage of such inheritances as they now hold in England. And because (saith he) you shall not have doubt hereof, I, which lie here at the point of death, do now affirm unto you, and take it on the peril of my soul that I am one of those sixteen that have sworn to perform this thing; wherefore I advise you to provide for your own safeties and your realms which you now destroy, and keep this thing secret which I have uttered unto you.

After this speech was uttered he straightaways died.The viscount of Melun dieth.

321When these words of the lord of Melun were opened unto the barons, they were, and not without cause, in great doubt of themselves, for they saw how Lewis had already placed and set Frenchmen in most of such castles and towns as he had gotten, the right whereof indeed belonged to them. And again, it grieved them much to understandThe English nobility beginneth to mislike of the match which they had made with Lewis. how besides the hatred of their prince, they were every Sunday and holy day openly accursed in every church, so that many of them inwardly relented, and could have been contented to have returned to King John if they had thought that they should thankfully have been received.

322In this year, about the 17th of July, Pope Innocent died,The death of pope Innocent. at whose death (being known in England) all they that were enemies to King John greatly rejoiced, for they were in great hope that his successor would have rather inclined to their part than to the king's. But it fell out otherwise,Honorius the Third chosen pope. for Honorius the Third that succeeded the same aforesaid Innocent maintained the same cause in defense of King John as earnestly, or rather more than his predecessor had done, sending with all speed his bulls over into England to confirm Gualo in his former authority of legate, commanding him with all endeavor to proceed in his business in maintaining the king against Lewis, and the disloyal English nobility that aided the said Lewis. But now to our purpose.

323[King John takes country in the north and east]

King John lying all this while at Winchester, and having knowledge how his adversaries were daily occupied in most hard enterprises, as in besieging sundry strong and invincible places, sent forth his commissioners to assemble men of war, and to allure unto his service all such as in hope of prey were minded to follow his standard, of the which there resorted to him no small number. So that having gotten together a competent army for his purpose, he broke forth of Winchester, as it had been an hideous tempest of weather, beating down all things that stood in his way,The havoc which King John made in the possessions of his adversaries. sending forth his people on each side to waste the countries, to burn up the towns and villages, to spoil the churches and churchmen. With which success still increasing his fury, he turned his whole violence into Cambridgeshire, where he did exceeding great hurt. Then entering into the countries of Norfolk and Suffolk,Norfolk and Suffolk. he committed the like rage, waste, and destruction in the lands and possessions that belonged unto the earl of Arundel, to Roger Bigot, William de Huntingfield, and Roger de Cressey.

324The barons in the mean time that lay at siege before the castle of Windsor,The siege raised from Windsor. hearing of that havoc which King John had made in the east parts of the realm, secretly in the night season raised their camps and, leaving their tents behind them, with all speed made towards Cambridge. But King John by faithful espials having advertisement of their intent, which was to get betwixt him and the places of his refuge, withdrew him and got to Stamford, ere they might reach to Cambridge, so that, missing their purpose, after they had taken some spoils abroad in the country, they returned to London. King John from Stamford marched toward Lincoln, because he heard that the castle there was besieged.

325But those that had besieged it, as Gilbert de GauntGilbert de Gaunt fleeth from the face of King John. and others, hearing that King John was coming towards them, durst not abide him, but fled, and so escaped. The King then turned his journey towards the Marches of Wales, and there did much hurt to those places that belonged to his adversaries. After this also, and with a very puissant army he went eftsoons eastwards, and passing through the countries, came again into the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, wasting and afflicting all that came in his way, and at length coming to Lynn, was there joyfully received.Lynn. The abbeys of Peterburgh and Crowland spoiled. Bernewell. Then keeping forth northwards, he spoiled the towns and abbeys of Peterburgh and Crowland, where a number of the king's enemies were withdrawn into the church, but Savery de Mauleon, being sent forth to seek them, found them in the church the morrow after Saint Michael, and drew them out by force, spoiled the house, and getting a great booty and prey of cattle and other riches, he with his people conveyed the same away at his departing after he had ransacked every corner of the church, and other the houses and places belonging to that abbey.

326[King John dies]

[The varying reports of his death]

Thus the country being wasted on each hand, the king hasted forward till he came to Wellstream Sands, where, passing the Washes, he lost a great part of his army,The loss of the king's carriages. with horses and carriages, so that it was judged to be a punishment appointed by God that the spoil which had been gotten and taken out of churches, abbeys, and other religious houses should perish and be lost by such means together with the spoilers. Yet the king himself, and a few other, escaped the violence of the waters by following a good guide. But, as some have written, he took such grief for the loss sustained at this passage that immediately thereupon he fell into an ague, the force and heat whereof,King John falleth sick of an ague. together with his immoderate feeding on raw peaches and drinking of new cider, so increased his sickness that he was not able to ride, but was fain to be carried in a litter presently made of twigs with a couch of straw under him without any bed or pillow, thinking to have gone to Lincoln; but the disease still so raged and grew upon him that he was enforced to stay one night at the castle of Laford,Laford. and on the next day, with great pain, caused himself to be carried unto Newark, where in the castle, through anguish of mind rather than through force of sickness,King John departed this life. he departed this life the night before the nineteenth day of October in the year of his age fifty and one, and after he had reigned seventeen years, six months, and seven and twenty days.

327¶ There be which have written, that after he had lost his army, he came to the abbey of Swineshead in Lincolnshire, and there understanding the cheapness and plenty of corn, showed himself greatly displeased therewith, as he that, for the hatred which he bare to the English people, that had so traitorously revolted from him unto his adversary Lewis, wished all misery to light upon them, and thereupon said in his anger that he would cause all kind of grain to be at a far higher price ere many days should pass. Whereupon a monk that heard him speak such words, being moved with zeal for the oppression of his country, gave the king poison in a cup of ale whereof he first took the assayCaxton. to cause the king not to suspect the matter, and so they both died in manner at one time.

328There are that writeGisburn and alii. how one of his own servants did conspire with a convert of that abbey, and that they prepared a dish of pears which they poisoned, three of the whole number excepted, which dish the said convert presented unto him. And when the king suspected them to be poisoned indeed, by reason that such precious stones as he had about him cast forth a certain sweat as it were bewaring the poison, he compelled the said convert to taste and eat some of them, who, knowing the three pears which were not poisoned, took and ate those three, which when the king had seen he could not longer abstain but fell to, and eating greedily of the rest died the same night, no hurt happening to the convert, who through help of such as bare no good will to the King found shift to escape and conveyed himself away from danger of receiving due punishment for so wicked a deed.

329Beside these reports which ye have heard, there are others that writeThe variable reports of writers, concerning the death of King John. how he died of surfeiting in the night, as Rafe Niger; some, of a bloody flux, as one said that writeth an addition unto Roger Hoveden. And Rafe Cogheshall saith that, coming to Lynne (where he appointed Savery de Mauleon to be captain, and to take order for the fortifying of that town), he took a surfeit there of immoderate diet, and withal fell into a laske, and after his laske had left him, at his coming to Laford in Lindsey he was let blood; furthermore to increase his other griefs and sorrows for the loss of his carriage, jewels and men in passing over the Washes which troubled him sore, there came unto him messengers from Hubert de Burgh and Gerard de Sotegam, captains of Dover castle, advertising him that they were not able to resist the forceable assaults and engines of the enemies if speedy succor came not to them in due time. Whereat his grief of mind being doubled, so as he might seem even oppressed with sorrow, the same increased his disease so vehemently that within a small time it made an end of his life (as before yee have heard).

330The men of war that served under his ensigns, being for the more part hired soldiers and strangers, came together, and marching forth with his body, each man with his armor on his back, in warlike order conveyed it unto Worcester, where he was pompously buried in the cathedral church before the high altar, not for that he had so appointed (as some write) but because it was thought to be a place of most surely for the lords and other of his friends there to assemble,Bernewell. and to take order in their business now after his decease. And because he was somewhat fat and corpulent, his bowels were taken out of his body and buried at Croxton abbey, a house of monks of the order called Praemonstratenses, in Staffordshire, the abbot of which house was his physician.

331[King John's reign considered]

¶ Howsoever or wheresoever or whensoever he died, it is not a matter of such moment that it should impeach the credit of the story. But certain it is that he came to his end, let it be by a surfeit or by other means ordained for the shortening of his life. The manner is not so material as the truth is certain. And surely he might be thought to have procured against himself many molestations, many anguishes and vexations, which nipped his heart and gnawed his very bowels with many a sore symptom or passion. All which he might have withstood if fortune had been so favorable that the loyalty of his subjects had remained towards him inviolable; that his nobles with multitudes of adherents had not with such shameful apostasy withstood him in open fight; that foreign force had not weakened his dominion, or rather robbed him of a main branch of his regiment; that he himself had not sought with the spoil of his own people to please the imaginations of his ill affected mind; that courtiers and commoners had with one assent performed in duty no less than they pretended in verity to the preservation of the state and the security of their sovereign -- all which presupposed plagues concurring, what happiness could the king arrogate to himself by his imperial title, which was through his own default so embezzled that a small remnant became his in right, when by open hostility and accursed papacy the greater portion was plucked out of his hands.

332Here therefore we see the issue of domestically or homebred broils, the fruits of variance, the gain that riseth of dissension, whereas no greater nor safer fortification can betide a land than when the inhabitants are all alike minded. By concord many an hard enterprise (in common sense thought impossible) is achieved, many weak things become so defended that without manifold force they cannot be dissolved. From division and mutinies do issue (as out of the Trojan horse) ruins of royalties and decays of commonalties. The sinews of a realm is supposed of some to be substance and wealth; of other some policy and power; of other some convenient defenses both by water and land; but a most excellent description of a well fortified country is that of Plautus, set down in most pithy words and grave sentences, no less worthy to be written than read and considered. The description is this.

333Plautus in Persa.Si incolae bene sunt morati pulchre munitum regnum arbitror.
Perfidia et peculatus ex urbe et avaritia si exulant,
Quarta invidia, quinta ambitio, sexta obtrectatio,
Septimum perjurium, [. . .] octava indulgentia,
Nona injuria, decimum, quod pessimum aggressust, scelus:
Haec unde aberunt centumplex murus rebus servandis parumst.

334And therefore no marvel though both courtiers and commoners fell from King John, their natural prince, and took part with the enemy, not only to the disgrace of their sovereign but even to his overthrow and the depopulation of the whole land; sith these main bulwarks and rampires were wanting, and the contrary in most rank sort and detestable manner extended their virulent forces.

335[The manner of King John's burial]

But we will surcease to aggravate this matter, sith the same is sufficiently urged in the very course of the history concerning his acts and deeds continued to the very day of his death and the very time of his burial; whereof I say thus much, that whether it was his will to be interred as is aforesaid, or whether his corpse being at the disposing of the survivors to elect the place as a convenient storehouse for a prince's bones, I leave it as doubtful, and therefore undetermined, esteeming the less to labor therein because the truth can hardily by certainly be winnowed out but by conjectural supposals aimed and shot at. Notwithstanding, in my poor judgement it is very likely (first in respect of the time which was superstitious and popish; secondly by reason of the custom of funeral rites then commonly used) that he was buried in the said place for order sake, and his body (if I may presume so far by warrant of mine author) wrapped in a monk's cowl and so laid in his grave or tomb. For the manner was at that time in such sort to bury their nobles and great men, who were induced by the imaginations of monks and fond fancies of friars to believe that the said cowl was an amulet or defensitive to their souls from hell and hellish hags, how or in what soever sort they died, either in sorrow and repentance for sin, or in blasphemy, outrage, impatience, or desperation.

336This form of funerals was frequented in Wales, having been first brewed and broached in England, from whence (if we may give credit to our late chronographers) as from a poisoned spring it spread itself into Wales.Humphrey Lloyd. David Powell. For the first abbey or friary that is read to have been erected there since the dissolution of the noble house of Bangor which savoured not of Romish dregs, was the Twy Gwyn, which was builded in the year 1146. Afterwards these vermin swarmed like bees, or rather crawled like lice over all the land, and drew in with them their lousy religion, tempered with I wot not how many millions of abominations; having utterly forgotten the lesson which Ambrosius Telesinus had taught them, (who writ in the year 540 when the right christian faith which Joseph of Arimethia taught the Isle of Avalon reigned in this land, before the proud and bloodthirsty monk Augustine infected it with the poison of Romish errors) in a certain ode, a part whereof are these few verses ensuing,

337Gwae'r offeiriad byd,
Nys angreifftia gwyd,
Ac ny phregetha:
Gwae ny cheidw ey gail,
Ac efyn vigail,
Ac nys areilia:
Gwae ny theidw ey dheuaid,
Rhae bleidhie Rhiefeniaid,
Ai ffon grewppa,

338Wo be to that priest yborne,Thus in English almost word for word.
That will not cleanely weed his corn,
And preach his charge among;
Woe be to that shepheard (I say)
That will not watch his fold alway,
As to his office doth belong;
Woe be to him that doth not keep,
From ravening Romish wolves his sheep,
With staff and weapon strong.

339This (as not impertinent to the purpose) I have recorded, partly to show the palpable blindness of that age wherein King John lived, as also the religion which they reposed in a rotten rag, esteeming it as a scala coeli or ladder to life; but specially inferred to this end that we may fetch some light from this clear candle (though the same seem to be duskish and dim) whereby we may be led to conceive in reason and common sense that the interment of the king was according to the custom then in use and request, and therefore by all likelihoods he was buried as the peers and states of the land were wont to be in those days after the manner above mentioned.

340[King John's family and reputation]

But to let this pass as a cold discourse of a coffin of bones covered with clods of clay,King John's children. you shall understand that he left behind him posterity of both sexes. For he had issue by his wife Queen Isabel two sons, Henry who succeeded him in the kingdom, and Richard; three daughters, Joan, married to Alexander King of Scotland, Isabel, coupled in matrimony with the Emperor Frederick the Second, and Eleanor, whom William Earl of Glocester had to wife. He had also another daughter (as some have left in writing) called Eleanor.

341He was comely of stature, but of look and countenance displeasant and angry; somewhat cruel of nature, as by the writers of his time he is noted, and not so hardy as doubtful in time of peril and danger. But this seemeth to be an envious report uttered by those that were given to speak no good of him whom they inwardly hated. Howbeit, some give this witness of him (as the author of the book of Bernewell Abbey and other) that he was a great and mighty prince, but yet not very fortunate, much like to Marius the noble Roman, tasting of fortune both ways: bountiful and liberal unto strangers, but of his own people (for their daily treasons practised towards him) a great oppressor, so that he trusted more to foreigners than to them, and therefore in the end he was of them utterly forsaken.

342¶ Verily, whosoever shall consider the course of the history written of this prince, he shall find that he hath been little beholden to the writers of that time in which he lived, for scarcely can they afford him a good word, except when the truth enforceth them to come out with it as it were against their wills. The occasion whereof (as some think) was for that he was no great friend to the clergy. And yet undoubtedly his deeds show he had a zeal to religion, as it was then accounted, for he founded the Abbey of Beaulieu in the New Forest, as it were in recompense of certain parish churches, which to enlarge the same forest he caused to be thrown down and ruinated.

343He builded the monastery of Farendon, and the abbey of Hales in Shropshire; he repaired Godstow where his father's concubine Rosamund lay interred; he was no small benefactor to the minster of Lichfield in Staffordshire, to the abbey of Crokesden in the same shire, and to the chapel at Knatesburgh in Yorkshire. So that (to say what I think) he was not so void of devotion towards the church as divers of his enemies have reported, who of mere malice conceal all his virtues and hide none of his vices, but are plentiful enough in setting forth the same to the uttermost, and interpret all his doings and sayings to the worst, as may appear to those that advisedly read the works of them that write the order of his life, which may seem rather an invective than a true history. Nevertheless, sith we cannot come by the truth of things through the malice of writers,Matthew Paris, Polydor et alij. we must content ourselves with this unfriendly description of his time. Certainly it should seem the man had a princely heart in him, and wanted nothing but faithful subjects to have assisted him in revenging such wrongs as were done and offered by the French king and others.

344Moreover, the pride and pretended authority of the clergy he could not well abide when they went about to wrest out of his hands the prerogative of his princely rule and government. True it is, that to maintain his wars which he was forced to take in hand, as well in France as elsewhere, he was constrained to make all the shift he could devise to recover money, and because he pinched their purses they conceived no small hatred against him, which, when he perceived and wanted peradventure discretion to pass it over, he discovered now and then in his rage his immoderate displeasure, as one not able to bridle his affections, a thing very hard in a stout stomach, and thereby missed now and then to compass that which otherwise he might very well have brought to pass.

345It is written that he meant to have become feudary (for maintenance sake against his own disloyal subjects and other his adversaries) unto Miramumeline the great king of the Saracens, but for the truth of this report I have little to say, and therefore I leave the credit thereof to the authors. It is reported likewise that in time when the realm stood interdicted, as he was abroad to hunt one day, it chanced that there was a great stag or hart killed, which when he came to be broken up, proved to be very fat and thick of flesh; "Oh (saith he) what a pleasant life this deer hath led, and yet in all his days he never heard mass." To conclude, it may seem, that in some respects he was not greatly superstitious, and yet not void of a religious zeal towards the maintenance of the clergy, as by his bountiful liberality bestowed in building of abbeys and churches (as before ye have heard) it may partly appear.

346In his days many learned men lived, as Geffrey Vinesaufe, Simon Fraxinus, alias Ash, Adamus Dorensis, Walter de Constantius, first bishop of Lincoln and after Archbishop of Rouen, John de Oxford, Colman surnamed Sapiens, Richard Canonicus, William Peregrine, Alane Tewkesbury, Simon Thurnay, who, being an excellent philosopher but standing too much in his own conceit, upon a sudden did so forget all his knowledge in learning that he became the most ignorant of all other, a punishment (as was thought) appointed him of God for such blasphemies as he had wickedly uttered both against Moses and Christ. Gervasius Dorobernensis, John Hanwill, Nigell Woreker, Gilbert de Hoiland, Benet de Peterburgh, William Parnus, a monk of Newburgh, Roger Hoveden, Hubert Walter, first Bishop of Salisbury and after Archbishop of Canterbury, Alexander Theologus, of whom ye have heard before, Gervasius Tilberiensis, Sylvester Giraldus Cambrensis, who wrote many treatises, Joseph Devonius, Walter Mapis, Radulfus de Diceto, Gilbert Legley, Mauricius Morganius, Walter Morganius, John de Fordeham, William Leicester, Joceline Brakeland, Roger of Crowland, Hugh White, alias Candidus, that wrote an history entitled Historia Petroburgensis, John de Saint Omer, Adam Barking, John Gray, an historiographer and bishop of Norwich, Walter of Coventry, Radulphus Niger, etc. See Bale Scriptorum Britanniae centuria tertia.

Thus far King John.