Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland 1587 (Selection)
  • Editor: Michael Best

  • Copyright Michael Best. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Raphael Holinshed
    Editor: Michael Best
    Not Peer Reviewed

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

    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.