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  • Title: Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland (Selection)
  • Editor: Rosemary Gaby

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    Author: Raphael Holinshed
    Editor: Rosemary Gaby
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    Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland (Selection)

    The Battle of Shrewsbury

    [1402-1404 - from volume 3, pages 520-524]

    5Owen Glendower, according to his accustomed manner, robbing and spoiling within the English borders, caused all the forces of the shire of Hereford to assemble together against them, under the conduct of Edmund Mortimer Earl of March.

    The Earl of March taken prisoner in battle by Owen Glendower.

    But coming to try the matter by battle, whether by treason or otherwise, so it fortuned, that the English power was discomfited, the Earl taken prisoner, and above a thousand of his people slain in the place. The shameful villainy used by the Welshwomen towards the dead carcasses, was such, as honest ears would be ashamed to hear, and continent tongues to speak thereof. The dead bodies might not be buried, without great sums of money given for liberty to convey them away.

    The king was not hasty to purchase the deliverance of the Earl March,

    The suspicion of K. Henry grounded upon a guilty conscience.

    because his title to the crown was well enough known, and therefore suffered him to remain in miserable prison, wishing both the said Earl, and all other of his lineage out of this life, with God and his saints in heaven, so they had been out of the way, for then all had been well enough as he thought. But to let these things pass, the king this year sent his eldest daughter Blanche,

    The king's daughter married into Germany.

    accompanied with the Earl of Somerset, the Bishop of Worcester, the Lord Clifford, and others, into Almanie, which brought her to Cologne, and there with great triumph she was married to William Duke of Bavaria, son and heir to Lewis the Emperor. About mid of August, the king, to chastise the presumptuous attempts of the Welshmen, went with a great power of men into Wales, to pursue the captain of the Welsh, rebel Owen Glendower, but in effect he lost his labor; for Owen conveyed himself out of the way, into his known lurking places, and (as was thought) through art magic, he caused such foul weather of winds, tempest, rain, snow,

    Intemperate weather.

    and hail to be raised, for the annoyance of the king's army, that the like had not been heard of; in such sort, that the king was constrained to return home, having caused his people yet to spoil and burn first a great part of the country. The same time, the lord Edmund of Langley, Duke of York, departed this life, and was buried at Langley with his brethren.

    The decease of the Duke of York.

    The Scots, under the leading of Patrick Hepborne, of the Hales the younger, entering into England,

    Scots overthrown.

    were overthrown at Nesbit, in the marches, as in the Scottish chronicle ye may find more at large. This battle was fought the two and twentieth of June, in this year of our Lord 1402.

    Archibald, Earl Douglas, sore displeased in his mind for this overthrow, procured a commission to invade England, and that to his cost, as ye may likewise read in the Scottish histories. For at a place called Holmedon,

    Scots vanquished at Holmedon.

    they were so fiercely assailed by the Englishmen, under the leading of the Lord Percy, surnamed Henry Hotspur, and George, Earl of March, that with violence of the English shot they were quite vanquished and put to flight, on the Rood Day in harvest, with a great slaughter made by the Englishmen. We know that the Scottish writers note this battle to have chanced in the year 1403. But we, following Tho[mas] Walsingham in this place, and other English writers, for the accompt of times, have thought good to place it in this year 1402, as in the same writers we find it. There were slain of men of estimation, Sir John Swinton,

    The number slain.

    Sir Adam Gordon, Sir John Leviston, Sir Alexander Ramsey of Dalehousie, and three and twenty knights, besides ten thousand of the commons: and of prisoners among other were these: Mordake, Earl of Fife,

    Prisoners taken.

    son to the Governor; Archibald Earl Douglas, which in the fight lost one of his eyes; Thomas, Earl of Murray; Robert, Earl of Angus; and (as some writers have) the Earls of Atholl & Menteith, with five hundred other of meaner degrees. After this, the Lord Percy, having bestowed the prisoners in sure keeping, entered Tividale, wasting and destroying the whole country,

    The castle of Cocklawes besieged by the Lord Percy.

    and then besieged the castle of Cocklawes, whereof was captain one Sir John Grenlow, who compounded with the Englishmen, that if the castle were not succored within three months, then he would deliver it into their hands.

    The first two months passed, and no likelihood of rescue appeared; but ere the third month was expired, the Englishmen being sent for to go with the king into Wales, raised their siege and departed, leaving the noblemen prisoners with the Earl of Northumberland, and with his son the Lord Percy, to keep them to the king's use. In this meanwhile, such as misliked with the doctrine and ceremonies then used in the church,

    The professors of Wycliffe's doctrine.

    ceased not to utter their consciences, though in secret, to those in whom they had affiance. But as in the like cases it commonly happeneth, they were betrayed by some that were thought chiefly to favor their cause, as by Sir Lewis Clifford, Knight, who having leaned to the doctrine a long time, did now (as Thomas Walsingham writeth) disclose all that he knew unto the Archbishop of Canterbury, to show himself as it were to have erred rather of simpleness and ignorance, than of frowardness or stubborn malice. The names of such as taught the articles and conclusions maintained by those which then they called Lollards or heretics, the said Sir Lewis Clifford gave in writing to the said Archbishop.

    Sir Lewis Clifford betrayeth his fellows.

    Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March, prisoner with Owen Glendower, whether for irksomness of cruel captivity, or fear of death, or for what other cause, it is uncertain, agreed to take part with Owen,

    The Earl of March marrieth the daughter of Owen Glendower.

    against the king of England, and took to wife the daughter of the said Owen.

    Strange wonders happened (as men reported) at the nativity of this man, for the same night he was born, all his father's horses in the stable were found to stand in blood up to their bellies. The morrow after the Feast of Saint Michael, a parliament began at Westminster,

    Anno Reg. 4.

    A parliament.

    which continued the space of seven weeks, in the same was a tenth and a half granted by the clergy, and a fifteenth by the commonalty. Moreover, the commons in this parliament besought the king to have the person of George, Earl of March, a Scottishman,

    George Earl of March recommended to the king by parliament.

    recommended to his majesty, for that the same Earl showed himself faithfull to the king & his realm.



    There was also a statute made, that the friars beggars should not receive any into their order, under the age of fourteen years. In this fourth year of King Henry's reign, ambassadors were sent over into Brittany,


    to bring from thence the Duchess of Brittany, the Lady Jane de Navarre, the widow of John de Montford, late Duke of Brittany, surnamed the conqueror, with whom by procurators the king had contracted matrimony. In the beginning of February, those that were sent returned with her in safety, but not without tasting the bitter storms of the wind and weather, that tossed them sore to and fro, before they could get to land. The king met her at Winchester, where, the seventh of February, the marriage was solemnized betwixt them.

    Whilest these things were thus in doing in England, Waleran, Earl of Saint Paul, bearing still a deadly and malicious hatred toward King Henry, having assembled sixteen or seventeen hundred men of war,

    The Earl of Saint Paul in the Isle of Wight.

    embarked them at Harfleur, and taking the sea, landed in the Isle of Wight, in the which he burned two villages, and four simple cottages, and for a triumph of so noble an act, made four knights. But when he heard that the people of the Isle were assembled and approached to fight with him, he hasted to his ships, and returned home: wherewith the noblemen of his company were displeased, considering his provision to be great and his gain small. In the same very season,

    The Earl of Clermont in Gascoigne.

    John, Earl of Clermont, son to the Duke of Bourbon, won in Gascoigne out of the Englishmen's possession, the castles of Saint Peter, Saint Marie, and the New castle; and the Lord de la Bret won the castle of Carlassin, which was no small loss to the English nation.

    Henry, Earl of Northumberland, with his brother Thomas, Earl of Worcester, and his son the Lord Henry Percy, surnamed Hotspur, which were to King Henry in the beginning of his reign, both faithful friends, and earnest aiders, began now to envy his wealth and felicity; and especially they were grieved, because the king demanded of the Earl and his son such Scottish prisoners as were taken at Holmedon and Nesbit. For of all the captives which were taken in the conflicts foughten in those two places, there was delivered to the king's possession only Mordake, Earl of Fife, the Duke of Albany's son, though the king did diverse and sundry times require deliverance of the residue, and that with great threatenings: wherewith the Percies being sore offended, for that they claimed them as their own proper prisoners, and their peculiar prize, by the counsel of the Lord Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester, whose study was ever (as some write) to procure malice, and set things in a broil, came to the king unto Windsor (upon a purpose to prove him) and there required of him, that either by ransom or otherwise,

    The request of the Percies.

    he would cause to be delivered out of prison Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March, their cousin germane, whom (as they reported) Owen Glendower kept in filthy prison, shackled with irons, only for that he took his part, and was to him faithful and true.

    The king began not a little to muse at this request, and not without cause: for indeed it touched him somewhat near, since this Edmund was son to Roger, Earl of March, son to the Lady Philippa, daughter of Lionel, Duke of Clarence, the third son of King Edward the third; which Edmund at King Richard's going into Ireland, was proclaimed heir apparent to the crown and realm, whose aunt called Elinor, the Lord Henry Percy had married; and therefore King Henry could not well hear, that any man should be earnest about the advancement of that lineage. The king when he had studied on the matter, made answer, that the Earl of March was not taken prisoner for his cause, nor in his service, but willingly suffered himself to be taken, because he would not withstand the attempts of Owen Glendower, and his [ac]complices, & therefore he would neither ransom him, nor relieve him.

    The Percies with this answer and fraudulent excuse were not a little fumed, insomuch that Henry Hotspur said openly:

    The saying of the L. Percy.

    "Behold, the heir of the realm is robbed of his right, and yet the robber with his own will not redeem him." So in this fury the Percies departed, minding nothing more than to depose King Henry from the high type of his royalty, and to place in his seat their cousin Edmund, Earl of March, whom they did not only deliver out of captivity,

    The conspiracies of the Percies with Owen Glendower.

    An indenture tripartite.

    but also (to the high displeasure of King Henry) entered in league with the foresaid Owen Glendower. Herewith, they by their deputies in the house of the Archdeacon of Bangor, divided the realm amongst them, causing a tripartite indenture to be made and sealed with their seals, by the covenants whereof, all England from Severn and Trent, south and eastward,

    A division of that which they had not.

    was assigned to the Earl of March; all Wales, & the lands beyond Severn westward, were appointed to Owen Glendower; and all the remnant from Trent northward, to the Lord Percy.

    15This was done (as some have said) through a foolish credit given to a vain prophecy,

    A vain prophecy.

    as though King Henry was the moldwarp, cursed of God's own mouth, and they three were the dragon, the lion, and the wolf, which should divide this realm between them. Such is the deviation (saith Hall) and not divination of those blind and fantastical dreams of the Welsh prophesiers. King Henry not knowing of this new confederacy, and nothing less minding than that which after happened, gathered a great army to go again into Wales, whereof the Earl of Northumberland and his son were advertised by the Earl of Worcester,

    The Percies raise their powers.

    and with all diligence raised all the power they could make, and sent to the Scots which before were taken prisoners at Holmedon, for aid of men, promising to the Earl of Douglas the town of Berwick,

    They crave aid of Scots.

    and a part of Northumberland, and to other Scottish lords, great lordships and seigniories, if they obtained the upper hand. The Scots in hope of gain, and desirous to be revenged of their old griefs, came to the Earl with a great company well appointed.

    The Percies, to make their part seem good, devised certain articles,

    The Archbishop of York of counsel with the Percies in conspiracy.

    by the advice of Richard Scroop, Archbishop of York, brother to the Lord Scroop, whom King Henry had caused to be beheaded at Bristol. These articles being showed to diverse noblemen, and other states of the realm, moved them to favor their purpose,

    Thom. Wals.

    in so much that many of them did not only promise to the Percies aid and succor by words, but also by their writings and seals confirmed the same. Howbeit when the matter came to trial, the most part of the confederates abandoned them, and at the day of the conflict left them alone. Thus after that the conspirators had discovered themselves, the Lord Henry Percy, desirous to proceed in the enterprise, upon trust to be assisted by Owen Glendower, the Earl of March, & other, assembled an army of men of arms and archers forth of Cheshire and Wales.

    The Earl of Worcester governor to the Prince slippeth from him.


    Incontinently, his uncle Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester, that had the government of the Prince of Wales, who as then lay at London in secret manner, conveyed himself out of the Prince's house, and coming to Stafford (where he met his nephew) they increased their power by all ways and means they could devise. The Earl of Northumberland himself was not with them, but being sick, had promised upon his amendment to repair unto them (as some write) with all convenient speed.

    These noble men, to make their conspiracy to seem excusable,

    The pretense of the Percies, as they published it abroad.

    besides the articles above mentioned, sent letters abroad, wherein was contained, that their gathering of an army tended to none other end, but only for the safeguard of their own persons, and to put some better government in the commonwealth. For whereas taxes and tallages were daily levied, under pretense to be employed in defense of the realm, the same were vainly wasted, and unprofitably consumed: and where through the slanderous reports of their enemies, the king had taken a grievous displeasure with them, they durst not appear personally in the king's presence, until the prelates and barons of the realm had obtained of the king license for them to come and purge themselves before him, by lawful trial of their peers, whose judgement (as they pretended) they would in no wise refuse. Many that saw and heard these letters, did commend their diligence, and highly praised their assured fidelity and trustiness towards the commonwealth.

    But the king, understanding their cloaked drift, devised (by what means he might) to quiet and appease the commons, and deface their contrived forgeries; and therefore he wrote an answer to their libels,

    The king's answer to the Percies' libel.

    that he marvelled much, since the Earl of Northumberland, and the Lord Henry Percy his son, had received the most part of the sums of money granted to him by the clergy and commonalty, for defense of the marches, as he could evidently prove, what should move them to complain and raise such manifest slanders. And whereas he understood, that the Earls of Northumberland and Worcester, and the Lord Percy, had by their letters signified to their friends abroad, that by reason of the slanderous reports of their enemies, they durst not appear in his presence, without the mediation of the prelates and nobles of the realm, so as they required pledges, whereby they might safely come afore him, to declare and allege what they had to say in proof of their innocency, he protested by letters sent forth under his seal, that they might safely come and go, without all danger, or any manner of indamagement to be offered to their persons.

    But this could not satisfy those men, but that resolved to go forwards with their enterprise, they marched towards Shrewsbury, upon hope to be aided (as men thought) by Owen Glendower, and his Welshmen, publishing abroad throughout the countries on each side, that King Richard was alive,

    Poor K. Richard is still alive with them that wish K. Henry's overthrow.

    whom if they wished to see, they willed them to repair in armor unto the castle of Chester, where (without all doubt) he was at that present, and ready to come forward. This tale being raised, though it were most untrue, yet it bred variable motions in men's minds, causing them to waver, so as they knew not to which part they should stick; and verily, diverse were well affected towards King Richard, specially such as had tasted of his princely bountifulnes, of which there was no small number. And to speak a truth, no marvel it was, if many envied the prosperous state of King Henry, since it was evident enough to the world, that he had with wrong usurped the crown, and not only violently deposed King Richard, but also cruelly procured his death; for the which undoubtedly, both he and his posterity tasted such troubles, as put them still in danger of their states, till their direct succeeding line was quite rooted out by the contrary faction, as in Henry the sixth and Edward the fourth it may appear.

    20But now to return where we left. King Henry, advertised of the proceedings of the Percies, forthwith gathered about him such power as he might make, and being earnestly called upon by the Scot, the Earl of March, to make haste and give battle to his enemies, before their power by delaying of time should still too much increase, he passed forward with such speed, that he was in sight of his enemies, lying in camp near to Shrewsbury,

    The king's speedy diligence.

    before they were in doubt of any such thing, for the Percies thought that he would have stayed at Burton-upon-Trent, till his council had come thither to him to give their advice what he were best to do. But herein the enemy was deceived of his expectation, since the king had great regard of expedition and making speed for the safety of his own person, whereunto the Earl of March incited him, considering that in delay is danger, & loss in lingering, as the poet in the like case saith:

    Tolle moras, nocuit semper differre paratis,
    Dum trepidant nullo firmatae robore partes.

    By reason of the king's sudden coming in this sort,

    The Percies troubled with the king's sudden coming.

    The Lord Percy exhorteth his [ac]complices to stick to their tackle.

    they stayed from assaulting the town of Shrewsbury, which enterprise they were ready at that instant to have taken in hand, and forthwith the Lord Percy (as a captain of high courage) began to exhort the captains and soldiers to prepare themselves to battle, since the matter was grown to that point, that by no means it could be avoided, so that (said he), "This day shall either bring us all to advancement & honor, or else if it shall chance us to be overcome, shall deliver us from the king's spiteful malice and cruel disdain: for playing the men (as we ought to do), better it is to die in battle for the commonwealth's cause, than through cowardlike fear to prolong life, which after shall be taken from us, by sentence of the enemy."

    The number of the Percies' army.

    Hereupon, the whole army being in number about fourteen thousand chosen men, promised to stand with him so long as life lasted. There were with the Percies as chieftains of this army, the Earl of Douglas, a Scottish man, the Baron of Kinderton, Sir Hugh Browne, and Sir Richard Vernon, Knights, with diverse other stout and right valiant captains. Now when the two armies were encamped, the one against the other,

    The Percies sent their articles to the king.

    the Earl of Worcester and the Lord Percy with their [ac]complices sent the articles (whereof I spake before) by Thomas Caton, and Thomas Salvain esquires to King Henry, under their hands and seals,

    King Henry charged with perjury.

    which articles in effect charged him with manifest perjury, in that (contrary to his oath received upon the evangelists at Doncaster, when he first entered the realm after his exile) he had taken upon him the crown and royal dignity, imprisoned King Richard, caused him to resign his title, and finally to be murdered. Diverse other matters they laid to his charge, as levying of taxes and tallages, contrary to his promise, infringing of laws & customs of the realm, and suffering the Earl of March to remain in prison, without travailing to have him delivered. All which things they as procurors & protectors of the commonwealth,

    Procurors & protectors of the commonwealth.

    took upon them to prove against him, as they protested unto the whole world.

    King Henry after he had read their articles, with the defiance which they annexed to the same, answered the esquires,

    The king's answer to the messengers that brought the articles.

    that he was ready with dint of sword and fierce battle to prove their quarrel false, and nothing else than a forged matter, not doubting, but that God would aid and assist him in his righteous cause, against the disloyal and false forsworn traitors. The next day in the morning early, being the even of Mary Magdalene, they set their battles in order on both sides, and now whilest the warriors looked when the token of battle should be given, the Abbot of Shrewsbury,

    The king offereth to pardon his adversaries.

    and one of the clerks of the privy seal, were sent from the king unto the Percies, to offer them pardon, if they would come to any reasonable agreement. By their persuasions, the Lord Henry Percy began to give ear unto the king's offers, & so sent with them his uncle, the Earl of Worcester, to declare unto the king the causes of those troubles, and to require some effectual reformation in the same.

    25It was reported for a truth, that now when the king had condescended unto all that was reasonable at his hands to be required, and seemed to humble himself more than was meet for his estate, the Earl of Worcester (upon his return to his nephew) made relation clean contrary to that the king had said,

    The Earl of Worcester's double dealing in wrong reporting the king's words.

    in such sort that he set his nephew's heart more in displeasure towards the king, than ever it was before, driving him by that means to fight whether he would or not. Then suddenly blew the trumpets, the king's part crying, "S[aint] George! Upon them!" The adversaries cried, "Esperance! Percy!" and so the two armies furiously joined. The archers on both sides shot for the best game, laying on such load with arrows, that many died, and were driven down that never rose again.

    The Scots (as some write) which had the foreward on the Percies' side,


    The Scots.

    intending to be revenged of their old displeasures done to them by the English nation, set so fiercely on the king's foreward, led by the Earl of Stafford, that they made the same draw back, and had almost broken their adversaries' array. The Welshmen also, which before had lain lurking in the woods, mountains, and marshes, hearing of this battle toward, came to the aid of the Percies,

    The Welshmen come to aid the Percies.

    and refreshed the wearied people with new succors. The king, perceiving that his men were thus put to distress, what with the violent impression of the Scots, and the tempestuous storms of arrows, that his adversaries discharged freely against him and his people, it was no need to will him to stir: for suddenly with his fresh battle, he approached and relieved his men; so that the battle began more fierce than before. Here the Lord Henry Percy, and the Earl Douglas, a right stout and hardy captain, not regarding the shot of the king's battle, nor the close order of the ranks, pressing forward together bent their whole forces towards the king's person, coming upon him with spears and swords so fiercely, that the Earl of March the Scot,

    The Earl of March.

    Tho. Walsi.

    perceiving their purpose, withdrew the king from that side of the field (as some write) for his great benefit and safegard (as it appeared) for they gave such a violent onset upon them that stood about the king's standard, that slaying his standard-bearer, Sir Walter Blunt, and overthrowing the standard, they made slaughter of all those that stood about it, as the Earl of Stafford, that day made by the king constable of the realm, and diverse other.

    The prince that day helped his father like a lusty young gentleman:


    The valiance of the young prince.

    for although he was hurt in the face with an arrow, so that diverse noble men that were about him, would have conveyed him forth of the field, yet he would not suffer them so to do, least his departure from amongst his men might happily have stricken some fear into their hearts: and so without regard of his hurt, he continued with his men, & never ceased, either to fight where the battle was most hot, or to encourage his men where it seemed most need. This battle lasted three long hours,

    A sore battle & well maintained.

    with indifferent fortune on both parts, till at length, the king crying, "Saint George! Victory!" brake the array of his enemies, and adventured so far, that (as some write) the Earl Douglas strake him down,

    The valiant doings of the Earl Douglas.

    & at that instant slew Sir Walter Blunt, and three other, appareled in the king's suit and clothing, saying: "I marvel to see so many kings thus suddenly arise one in the neck of another. The king indeed was raised, & did that day many a noble feat of arms, for as it is written, he slew that day with his own hands six and thirty persons of his enemies.

    The high manhood of the king.

    The Lord Percy slain.

    The other on his part, encouraged by his doings, fought valiantly, and slew the Lord Percy, called Sir Henry Hotspur. To conclude, the king's enemies were vanquished, and put to flight, in which flight, the Earl of Douglas, for haste, falling from the crag of a high mountain, brake one of his cullions,

    The Earl Douglas taken prisoner.

    and was taken, and for his valiantness, of the king frankly and freely delivered.

    There was also taken the Earl of Worcester,

    The Earl of Worcester taken.

    the procuror and setter forth of all this mischief, Sir Richard Vernon, and the Baron of Kinderton, with diverse other. There were slain upon the king's part, beside the Earl of Stafford,

    Knights slain on the king's part.

    to the number of ten knights, Sir Hugh Shirley, Sir John Clifton, Sir John Cokaine, Sir Nicholas Gawsey, Sir Walter Blunt, Sir John Calverley, Sir John Macy of Podington, Sir Hugh Mortimer, and Sir Robert Gawsey, all the which received the same morning the order of knighthood: Sir Thomas Wendesley was wounded to death, and so passed out of this life shortly after. There died in all upon the king's side sixteen hundred, and four thousand were grievously wounded. On the contrary side were slain, besides the Lord Percy, the most part of the knights and esquires of the county of Chester, to the number of two hundred,

    The slaughter of Cheshire men at this battle.

    besides yeomen and footmen; in all there died of those that fought on the Percies' side, about five thousand. This battle was fought on Mary Magdalene even, being Saturday. Upon the Monday following,

    The Earl of Worcester and others beheaded.

    the Earl of Worcester, the Baron of Kinderton, and Sir Richard Vernon, Knights, were condemned and beheaded. The Earl's head was sent to London, there to be set on the bridge.

    [1405 - from volume 3, page 528]

    This was a shrewd discomfiture to the Welsh by the English

    Abr. Fl. out of Thom. Wals. Hypod. pag. 159.

    , on whom sinister lot loured, at such time as more than a thousand of them were slain in a hot skirmish; and such shameful villainy executed upon the carcasses of the dead men by the Welshwomen; as the like (I do believe) hath never or seldom been practised. For though it was a cruel deed of Tomyris, Queen of the Massagetae in Scythia,

    Lust. lib. 1. Herod. lib. 1. Val. Max. lib. 8. cap. 7

    against whom when Cyrus, the great king of Persia came and had slain her son, she by her policy trained him into such straits, that she slew him and all his host; and causing a great vessel to be filled with the blood of Cyrus and other Persians, did cast his head thereinto, saying, "Blood thou hast thirsted and now drink thereof thy fill." Again, though it was a cruel deed of Fulvia, the wife of Marcus Antonius (at whose commandment Popilius cut off the head and hands of that golden mouthed orator, Tully, which afterwards were nailed up over the place of common pleas at Rome), to hold in her hands the tongue of that father of eloquence, cut out of his head after the same was parted from his shoulders, and to prick it all over with pins and needles. Yet neither the cruelty of Tomyris nor yet of Fulvia is comparable to this of the Welshwomen, which is worthy to be recorded to the shame of a sex pretending the title of weak vessels, and yet raging with such force of fierceness and barbarism. For the dead bodies of the Englishmen, being above a thousand lying upon the ground imbrued in their own blood, was a sight (a man would think) grievous to look upon, and so far from exciting and stirring up affections of cruelty that it should rather have moved the beholders to commiseration and mercy. Yet did the women of Wales cut off their privities, and put one part thereof into the mouths of every dead man, in such sort that the cullions hung down to their chins; and not so contented, they did cut off their noses and thrust them into their tails as they lay on the ground, mangled and defaced. This was a very ignominious deed, and a worse not committed among the barbarous, which though it make the reader to read it, and the hearer to hear it, ashamed. Yet because it was a thing done in open sight, and left testified in history; I see little reason why it should not be imparted in our mother tongue to the knowledge of our own countrymen, as well as unto strangers in a language unknown. And thus, much by way of notifying the inhumanity and detestable demeanor of those Welshwomen, after the conflict between the English and the Welsh, whereof desultory mention is made before pag. 520, where Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March, was taken prisoner.

    [1412 - from volume 3, pages 538-539]

    30Whilst these things were a doing in France, the Lord Henry, Prince of Wales,

    The Prince of Wales accused to his father.

    eldest son to King Henry, got knowledge that certain of his father's servants were busy to give informations against him, whereby discord might arise betwixt him and his father:

    John Stow.

    for they put into the king's head, not only what evil rule (according to the course of youth) the prince kept to the offense of many, but also what great resort of people came to his house, so that the court was nothing furnished with such a train as daily followed the Prince.

    The suspicious jealousy of the king toward his son.

    These tales brought no small suspicion into the king's head, lest his son would presume to usurp the crown, he being yet alive, through which suspicious jealousy, it was perceived that he favored not his son, as in times past he had done.

    The prince, sore offended with such persons, as by slanderous reports, sought not only to spot his good name abroad in the realm, but to sow discord also betwixt him and his father, wrote his letters into every part of the realm, to reprove all such slanderous devises of those that sought his discredit. And to clear himself the better, that the world might understand what wrong he had to be slandered in such wise: about the feast of Peter and Paul, to wit,

    The prince goeth to the court with a great train.

    the nine and twentieth day of June, he came to the court with such a number of noble men and other his friends that wished him well, as the like train had been seldom seen repairing to the court at any one time in those days. He was appareled in a gown of blue satin,

    His strange apparel.

    full of small eyelet holes, at every hole the needle hanging by a silk thread with which it was sewed. About his arm he wore a hound's collar set full of SS of gold, and the tirets likewise being of the same metal.

    The court was then at Westminster, where he, being entered into the hall, not one of his company durst once advance himself further than the fire in the same hall, notwithstanding they were earnestly requested by the lords to come higher. But they, regarding what they had in commandment of the Prince, would not presume to do in anything contrary thereunto. He himself, only accompanied with those of the king's house, was straight admitted to the presence of the king his father, who being at that time grievously diseased, yet caused himself in his chair to be born into his privy chamber, where in the presence of three or four persons, in whom he had most confidence,

    The prince cometh to the king's presence.

    he commanded the prince to show what he had to say concerning the cause of his coming.

    His words to his father.

    The prince kneeling down before his father said: "Most redoubted and sovereign lord and father, I am at this time come to your presence as your liege man, and as your natural son, in all things to be at your commandment. And where I understand you have in suspicion my demeanor against your grace, you know very well, that if I knew any man within this realm, of whom you should stand in fear, my duty were to punish that person, thereby to remove that grief from your heart. Then how much more ought I to suffer death, to ease your grace of that grief which you have of me, being your natural son and liege man. And to that end, I have this day made myself ready by confession and receiving of the sacrament. And therefore I beseech you, most redoubted lord and dear father, for the honor of God, to ease your heart of all such suspicion as you have of me, and to dispatch me here before your knees, with this same dagger (and withal, he delivered unto the king his dagger, in all humble reverence, adding further that his life was not so dear to him that he wished to live one day with his displeasure) and therefore in thus ridding me out of life, and your self from all suspicion, here in presence of these lords, and before God at the day of the general judgement, I faithfully protest clearly to forgive you."

    The king moved herewith,

    The king's words to the prince, his son.

    cast from him the dagger, and embracing the Prince kissed him, and with shedding tears confessed that indeed he had him partly in suspicion, though now (as he perceived) not with just cause, and therefore from thenceforth no misreport should cause him to have him in mistrust, and this he promised of his honor. So by his great wisdom was the wrongful suspicion, which his father had conceived against him, removed, and he restored to his favor. And further,


    where he could not but grievously complain of them that had slandered him so greatly, to the defacing not only of his honor, but also putting him in danger of his life,

    The prince's request to have his accusors to answer their wrongful slanders.

    he humbly besought the king that they might answer their unjust accusation; and in case they were found to have forged such matters upon a malicious purpose, that then they might suffer some punishment for their faults, though not to the full of that they had deserved. The king, seeming to grant his reasonable desire, yet told him that he must tarry a parliament, that such offenders might be punished by judgement of their peers. And so, for that time he was dismissed, with great love and signs of fatherly affection.

    35Thus were the father and the son reconciled, betwixt whom the said pickthanks had sewn division,

    Abr. Fl. out of Angl. praelijs.

    insomuch that the son, upon a vehement conceit of unkindness sprung in the father, was in the way to be worn out of favor. Which was the more likely to come to pass, by their informations that privily charged him with riot and other uncivil demeanor unseemly for a prince. Indeed, he was youthfully given, grown to audacity, and had chosen him companions agreeable to his age with whom he spent the time in such recreations, exercises, and delights as he fancied. But yet (it should seem by the report of some writers) that his behavior was not offensive or at least tending to the damage of anybody, since he had a care to avoid doing of wrong, and to tender his affections within the tract of virtue, whereby he opened unto himself a ready passage of good liking among the prudent sort, and was beloved of such as could discern his disposition, which was in no degree so excessive, as that he deserved in such vehement manner to be suspected. In whose dispraise I find little, but to his praise very much, parcel whereof I will deliver by the way as a metyard whereby the residue may be measured.