King John

AFter the death of Kyng Richard called cure de Lyon, reigned his brother Ihon

King Iohn

Earle of Moreton. Afterward the Archbishop put the crowne on his head, and sware him to defēd the church, and to maintayne the same and hir good lawes, and to destroy the euill. And except he though not in his minde to do this, the archbishop charged him, not to presume to take on him this dignity. And on S. Iohn Baptistes day next followyng, Kyng Ihon sayled into Normandy and came to Roane: where he was royally receiued, & truce cōcluded betwen him & the French king for a time. And thether came to him the Erle of Flaunders, & all other Lordes of Fraunce that were of Kyng Richards band and frendship, and were sworne vnto him.

Not long after this, Philip the French kyng made Arthure knight,

Arthur of Brityne.

and tooke his homage for Normandy, Britaine, and all other his possessions beyōd the sea: and promised him helpe against Kyng Ihon. After this king Ihon and the Frenche kyng talked together

A communication betwene the K. of England & the Frēch king

with theyr Lordes, about one houres space: And the French kyng asked so much land for hym self and Kyng Arthure, that K. Iohn would graūt him none, & so departed in wrath.

The same yeare, a legate came into Fraunce & commaunded the Kyng in payne of interdiction, to deliuer one Peter out of prison, that was elect to a bishoprike, and therupon he was deliuered. And after that, the Legate came into England, and commaunded Kyng Ihon vnder payne of interdictiō, to deliuer the Archbishop whiche he had kept as a prisoner ij. yeares: whiche the Kyng denyed to do, till he had payd him. 6000. markes. Because he tooke him in harnes in a field agaynst hym, and sware hym vpon hys deliueraunce, that he should neuer were harnes agaynst any Christen man. This tyme, diuorce was made betwene Kyng Ihon and his wife, daughter of the earle of Glocester, because they were in the third degree of kinred.

Mariage in the thyrd degree forbidden by the pope. 1200.

And after, by the counsel of the French kyng, King Ihon wedded Isabell daughter of the Earle of Anguilla, and thē Artur of Britaine did homage to kyng Iohn for Britaine and other. At this time fell strife betwen King Ihon and Geoffrey the Archbishop of Yorke for diuers causes: first, because he would not suffer & permit the Sherife of Yorke in such affaires as he had to do for the Kyng within his diocesse. Secondly, because he did also excommunicate {th}e sayd sherife. Thirdly, because he would not saile with hym into Normandy, to make the mariage betwene Lewes the French kynges sonne and his niece. &c.

5After this, in the yeare of our Lord. 1202.( 1202.) Philippe {th}e French kyng (in a communication betwene Kyng Ihon and hym) required: that the sayd Kyng Ihon should departe wyth all his landes in Normandye and Pictauia which he had beyōd the sea, vnto Arthur his nephue,

Nat. pariti in vita Ioannis Regis. Arthur.

and {th}t incontinēt, or els he would war against him, & do did. For when Kyng Ihon denied that request, the next day followyng, the Frēch kyng with the sayd Arthur, set vppon certaine of his townes and castels in Normandy, & put him to much disquietnes. But he (the Lord so prouidyng, whiche is the geuer, of all victory) had such repulse at the Englishmēs handes: that they pursuyng {th}e Frēchmen in their flight, did so follow them to their holde, and so enforced vpon them: that not onely they toke the said Authur prisoner with many other of the Frenchmē: but also gaue such an ouerthrow to the rest, that none was there left to beare tydinges home. This Arthur was nephew to Kyng Iohn, and sonne to Geffrey, whiche was the elder sonne to Ihon. For Kyng Henry the second (to make {th}e matter more euident,) had viij. childrē: one William which died in his childhod: the second Henry, which dyed also hys father being yet alyue: the third Geoffrey Earle of Brytaine, whiche likewise deceassed in hys fathers dayes, leauing behind him two children, Arthur & Brecca. The forth, Richard Cor de Lion King: the fifth, Ihon now reignyng: and three other daughters besides. The same Arthur being thus takē in war, was brought before the Kyng at the castell of Falesie in Normandy: who beyng exhorted wt many gentle words to leaue the French kyng & to incline to his vncle, answered agayne stoutly and with great indignation: requiryng the kingdome of Englād with all the other dominiōs thereto belonging to be restored to hym as to the lawfull heyre of the crowne. By reason wherof he (prouoking the Kings displeasure against him) was sēt to the tower of Roane: where at length (whether by leaping into the ditch thinking to make his escape, or whether by some other priuy hand, or by what chaūce els: it is not yet agreed vpon in stories) he finished his lyfe. By occasion wherof, the foresayd Kyng Ihon was had after in great suspition: whether iustly or vniustly, the Lord knoweth.

The yeare folowyng,

1203. Normandy lost and gotten by the Frenchmē.

Historiographers write {th}t Kyng Ihon for lacke of reschue, loste all hys holdes and possessiōs in Normandy, through {th}e force of the Frēchking.

After these losses, came other troubles vpon him: with other as great or more greater enemies (that is with the pope & his popelings) by occasion of chusing of the archbishop of Cāterbury, as in hystory followeth by Christe his grace, to be declared.

The yeare of our Lord 1205.

1205. Striuing for the election of Canterb.

about the moneth of Iuly, Hubert the archbishop of Cāterbury decessed, whose decesse after it was in Caunterburye to the monkes knowen: and afore his body was yet committed to the earth: the yonger sort of the monkes there gathered thē selues together at midnyght) and elected their superiour Reignold, and without the Kinges licence or yet knowledge priuely placed him in the metropolicall seat, synging Te deum at midnight. And because the King should not make their election of none effect, they charged hym by vertue of his othe to kepe all secrete by the waye, and to shewe nothyng what was done before he came to the pope: but he contrary to his othe, so soone as he came in Flaunders opened all abroad the matter, & vttered their counsel; wherupon the monkes being not a litle agreued with him, sent hym priuely to the court of Rome out of hād. The next day, they sent to the King: desiring of him, his gracious licence canonically to chose their Archbyshop. The Kyng most gently and fauorably graunted their petition: requiring them instauntly and desiring, {th}t for his sake they would shew fauour to Ihon Gray then bishop of Norwich, as they did in dede: erecting him into that seat of their hyghe primacy. Moreouer, because {th}e autoritie of Kynges and princes was then but small in their owne dominion without the popes consent, and cōfirmation to the same: he sent also to Rome of his owne charges, to haue the foresayd electiō ratified by the pope. The suffraganes of Canterbury then (beyng not a litle offended at these two elections) sent spedely to Rome to haue thē both stopped: for that they, had not ben of counsel with them. And hereupon at the last, grew a most prodigious tumulte.

The next yere after,

Prelates of the churche had thē mony enough belike that they could keepe playe at Rome against their prince, whāche thynge caused the princes after to seeke such means to cut them short.

the suffraganes of the prouince of Caunterbury on the one side, and the Monkes of Cāterbury on the other syde: came afore the Pope wttheyr brawlyng matter. Firste the Monkes presenting Reignold their superiour, desired that their election might be confirmed. The suffraganes likewyse complayned that the Monkes would presume to chuse the Archbishop wtout their consent, and therfore desired by diuers reasons the first election to be of none effect. The pope decising {th}e matter betwene both, pronounced with {th}e monkes, charging the suffraganes and byshops, to meddle no more wt that election, but to let the monkes alone.

1207. Dissention among the Monkes of Cant. about the election of tharchb.

The monkes of Canterbury now hauing the whole electiō in their own handes, fel also at square among thēselues, the younger sorte wyth the elder. The yonger sort whiche had chosen Reignold their superiour, would that election to stande. The elder sort of the monkes replied agayn, saying: that the first election was done by stelth and by night and by the yonger part, also wtout the counsel of other monkes: ouer and besydes it was done wythout the kynges lycence or appointment, and without the due solemnitye therunto belongyng.

10And as concerning our election (say they) it was done in the cleare lyght of the day, by which it had autoritie in presence of our liege lord the kyng and hys counsel beyng to the same. This allegation thus proponed: the suffraganes proctour or man of law stoode forth, and proued the former election to be good, and this latter to be voyde and of no value, after this sort. Whether the first election (sayth he) were iust or vniust, ye ought first by the law to haue condemned it, afore ye should haue presumed to the second: but thus ye dyd not. Therfore is this your latter doyng no election at all: and the first therfore is rather to be ratified than yours. When they had thus multiplied talke on both sydes, with many friuolous allegations a long tyme, and could not agree vpon one person: Pope Innocent condemned both their elections, commaunding thē to chose Steuen Langton, then Cardinal of S. Chrisogone for their archbishop. The monkes then aunswered, that they durst not so do, wythout consent of theyr king, and for that it was preiudiciall to their auncient liberties. The pope by and by (sayth the texte) as one in a furye, takynge the woordes out of their mouthes, sayde thus vnto them. We wyll you to knowe, that we haue full power and autoritie ouer the church of Caunterbury: neyther are we wont to tarye the consent of princes: therfore we commaund you in payne of our great curse that ye chose him onely whom we haue appointed.

The pride and tiranye of the pope

The monkes at these wordes abashed and terrefied, though they muche murmured in their hartes, yet consented they all in one, and therupon sange Te Deum.Onely Doctour Helias Brantfield withdrewe himselfe from that election, whome the kyng had sente for the admission of the bishop of Norwyche.

Stephan Langton made Arch.bishop of Canterbury.

Thus was Stephan Langton (in the high church of Viterby, by the popes hand) made archbishop of Canterbury. From thēce forth therfore (sayth Mathew Paris) the pope could do no lesse but mightely defend him from all vexation and daunger: considering that he was hys owne deare dearling, and a child of his owne creation.

Vpon this occasion, kyng Iohn conceyued an exceedyng displeasure against the cleargye, and monkes of Canterburye (as he had good cause) they doing so many euils against his princely prerogatiue. Without hys lycence thei elected their archbishop, and put by the bishop of Norwiche whome he had appointed. They wasted a great part of his treasure for the warres: and to bryng al to the Deuil, they made Stephan Langton their high metroplitane, whome he tooke for a greuous enemy vnto the whole realme, beyng always so familiar with the French kyng. Wherfore in hys anger he banished them out of the land, to the number of 64. for this their contumacie and contempt of his regall power.

The kyng doth expostulat with the pope for cōsecrating Stephan Langton archb. of Cant.

The Monkes of Caunterbury thus beyng expulsed, the kyng forthwyth sendeth messengers to the pope wt hys letters, wherin he doth sharplye and expressely expostulate wyth the pope: First, for that so vncurteouslye he repulsed the election of the bishop of Norwiche, and set vp one Stephan Langton, a man vnknown to hym, and brought vp amongst his enemies a long tyme in {th}e kyngdome of Fraunce, consecrating him archbishop of Canterbury, and lettyng the other go. Also (which is more) it redoundeth to the subuersion and derogatiō of the liberties appertainyng to hys crowne: for notwithstandyng hys consent past (beyng before of the monkes not made priuy which should so haue done) yet he rashly presumed to promote and preferre an other. Wherfore, he can not meruayle (he sayth) enough, that neyther the sayd pope, nor the court of Rome doth consider and reuolue wyth themselues how necessary hys loue & fauour hath been alwayes hetherto to the see of Rome: and that they consider not what great profite and reuenues, hath proceeded hetherto to them out of the realme of England: the lyke wherof hath not ben receyued out of any other coūtrey besydes, on this side the Alpes. He addeth moreouer and sayth, that for his liberties he will stand (if neede be) vnto death: neither cā he be so remoued & shaken of from the election of the bishop of Norwiche, which he seeth to be so commodious to hym and profitable. Finallye, he thus concludeth saying: that in case in this hys request he be not heard, he wyll so prouide by the seas, that there shalbe no such gaddyng and coursing ouer any more to Rome, suffryng the ryches of the lād no more to be trāsported ouer, wherby he should be hymselfe the lesse able to resist hys enemies. And seyng he hath of hys owne at home, archbishops, bishops, & other prelates of {th}e church (both of English mē & of other) sufficiētly prouided & instructed in al kind of knowledg: therfore he shal not need greatly to seek for iudgemēt & iustice farther abroade.

When these came to the popes intelligence, he directeth letters to the kyng agayne in this forme.


The popes letters answering K. Iohn.

INnocentius P. seruaunt of the seruaunts of God, to our welbeloued sonne in Christ, the kyng of England health, and Apostolical blessing. Wher as we haue written to you heretofore,

It is pity but this pope shuld be honored of kings & princes.

exhorting & intreatyng you after an humble, diligent, & gentle sort (concernyng {th}e church of Caunterbury) you haue written to vs agayne after a threatnyng sort and vpbraydyng maner: both spitefully and also forwardlye.

A pitiful case that a king cā not cōstitute an archb. within hys own realm, who him most liketh.

And where, as we more and aboue that our right and duety required, haue borne and geuē to you: you agayne for your parte haue geuen to vs not so much as by right and duety you are bound to do. And though your deuotion as you saye, hath bene to vs verye necessary, yet consider againe that oures also is not a li- tle oportune and expedient for you.

The kynge might writ to him, and yet hys person not greatli knowen to the King.

And where as we, in such lyke cases haue not shewed at any tyme the like honor to any prince as we haue vnto you: you againe haue so much derogated our honour, as no prince els hath presumed to do besides you alone: pretendyng certayne friuolous causes and occasions I cannot tell what, why you would not condescend to the election of Steuē Lāgtō cardinal of Chrisogono chosē by the Monks of Canterbury: for that the sayd Steuen as you saye, hath ben conuersant and brought vp amongst your enemies, and hys person to you vnknowen. But you know what is {th}e prouerbe of Salomon: the net is cast, but in vaine in the syght of the fleying birds, &c.

Much other matter in {th}e same epistle, wherin he falleth into the cōmendation of Steuen Langton his cardinal: declaring how learned he was in {th}e liberal arts & in deuinity, in so much he was prebendated at Paris: also come of an honest stock & an Englishmā born, & not vnknowē to {th}e king, seing {th}e king had written hys letters thrise to him before. Declaring moreouer in {th}e said letter, how {th}e messengers of the king had specified to him an other cause: which was, for {th}t the monks of Cant. which had to do in {th}e electiō, came not to him before for his cōsent, declaring moreouer in {th}e said letter, how {th}e said messēgers of {th}e king, intreated in {th}e kings behalf: {th}t for so much as {th}e popes letters (wherin the king was cōmaunded to send his proctors to Rome for {th}e same matter) came not to {th}e kings hād, neither did the monkes direct any such letters or message to {th}e king to haue his cōsent: therfore {th}e pope cōsidering the same, would graūt so much for {th}e regard of the kings honour, {th}t the monkes of Cant. should procede not wtout {th}e kings assēt therin. And for as much, as {th}t hath not ben done as yet, therfore thei desired some delay therin to be geuē, sufficiēt for {th}e doing therof. Wherunto he said, {th}t he had graunted, & fulfilled their request, in sēding his letters and messēgers once or twyse to {th}e king for {th}e same purpose, although he sayd it was not {th}e maner of {th}e see Apostolique, (who had the fulnes of power ouer the church of Canterburye) to waite for princes consēts in such electiōs, who thē could not be suffred to do {th}t which they came for &c. Wherfore in knitting vp hys letter, he thus concludeth in these wordes.

Note the procedyngs of this ambitious pope.

And therfore, seyng the matter so standeth, we see no cause why we should require or tary for the kynges fauor or consent any more therin: but intend so to proceede in thys matter, neyther inclinyng on the ryght hand nor on the left, accordyng as the canonical ordinaunces of {th}e holy fathers shall direct vs: that is (that all impediments and delayes set asyde) so to prouide, {th}t the church of Canterburye be no longer destitute of her pastor. Wherfore be it known to your discretion or kingly prudence, that for so muche as this election of Stephan Langton hath orderly and cōcordly thus proceded wythout fraud or disceite, vpon a person meete for the same: therfore, we wyll not for no mans pleasure, neither may we without daunger of fame and of conscience, differre or protracte any longer the consummation of the sayd electiō. Wherfore my welbeloued sonne, seyng we haue had respect to your honour aboue that our ryght and duety requireth: study to honour vs so much as your duety requireth agayne, so that you may the more plentifully deserue fauour, both at gods hands and oures: least, that by doing the contrary, you bring your selfe into suche a pecke of troubles, as afterward you shall scarse rid your selfe of agayne. For thys know for a certayn, in the end it must needes fall out that he shal haue the better, vnto whom euery knee (of heauenly, earthly, and infernal creatures) doth bow: whose turne I serue in earth, though I be vnworthy.Therfore settle not your selfe to obey their perswasions, which always desire your vnquietnes: wherby they may fyshe the better in the water whē it is troubled: but cōmit your self to our pleasure, which vndoubtedly shall turne to your prayse, glory, and honour. For it should not be much for your safetie in the cause to resist God and {th}e church, in whose quarel that blessed martyr and glorious bishop Thomas

Thomas Becket he meaneth.

hath of late shed hys bloud: especially seyng your father and your brother of famous memory,

Princes must be subiect to the pope.

then kyngs of England, dyd geue ouer those wycked customes into the hands of {th}e Legates of {th}e see Apostolique. But if you yeld your self hūbly into our handes, we wyl looke {th}t you and yours shal be sufficiently prouided for, that no preiudice may aryse hereupon to you warde. Geuen at Laterane the x. yere of our popedome.

Thus hast thou (gentle Reader) the glorious letter of the proude Pope. I beseche thee marke it well. Nowe to the story.

Foure byshops appointed to interdict the realme.

After this letter was sent out, not longe after procedeth a charge & cōmaundement, sent also to Englande, vnto certayne bishops there: requiring them by autoritie apostolicall, that if the sayd king woulde not receyue the sayd Prior of Canterbury & his Monkes, then they should interdict him throughout all his realme. For the executing whereof, foure bishops were appointed by the vsurped power of the Popes Buls: namelye Willyam bishop of London, Eustace bishop of Ely, Walter Byshop of Winchester, & Gyles bishop of Herford. Which sayd foure bishops went vnto the king, and shewed him their commission from the Pope, as is aboue sayd, wylling him to consent thereto. &c.


England interdicted by the pope.

But the sayd king refused the same, and woulde by no meanes graunt to their request. Wherupon, they departing from his grace, went the morrow after the Annunciation of our Lady, and pronounced the said generall interdiction throughout all Englande: so that the church doores were shut vp with keyes and other fasteninges, and with walles. &c.

Discipline of the churche abused for priuate reuenge.

Now when the king heard of this, he beganne to bee moued agaynst them, and tooke al the possessions of the foure bishops into his handes: appointing certayn men to keepe the liuings of the clergy throughout {th}e realme, and that they should enioye no parte therof. Which being done, the bishops (seing the same) cursed al thē that kept or should meddle with church goods, againste the wyll of them that ought them: and vnderstanding for all that, that the kyng nothing regarded their doinges, they went ouer sea to the bishop of Canterbury, and informed him what had happened. Who hearing {th}e same, willed them agayne to returne to Canterburye, and hee would come thether to them, or els sende certayne persons thether in his steede, that should do as muche as if he were there hym selfe. Then when the bishops hearde this, they returned agayne into England, to Canterburye: which tidinges came shortlye to the king, that they were come agayne thether. And because he might not him selfe trauayle to them, he sent thether bishops, erles and Abbots, to intreate them, that the archbishop Stephan whō he had chosen, might be admitted. Promising the Prior & all the Monkes of Caunterbury in hys behalfe: that he should neuer take any thing of the church goodes agaynste the will of them that owe them, but would make amendes to them of whom he had taken any such goods: and that the church shoulde haue all her frauncheses in as ample maner as in Saynt Edwards tyme the Confessor it had.

Stephen Langtō stout against his king.

When the forme of agreement was thus concluded, it was ingrossed in a payre of indētures, which the foresaid foure bishops, to the one part therof set their seales: and the other part the said Bishops, Earles and abbots caried to shew the kyng.

The king moued agaynst the archbishop Langton.

When the king sawe the order thereof, hee liked it well: sauing he woulde not agree to make restitution of the church goods. So he sent to the foure bishops again, that they should put out that point of restitucion But they answered stoutly that thei wold not put out one woord. Then the king sent word to the archbishop by {th}e foure bishops, {th}t he should come to Can terbury to speake with him and for his safe conduict to come and go againe at his will, hee sent his Iustices as pledges, Gylbert Peitcuin, William de la Bereuer, & Iohn Letfitz. Which thing thus done, the Archbishop Stephan came to Caunterbury, and the king (hearing thereof) came to Chilham: from whence he sent his treasurer the bishop of Winchester to him, to haue him put out of the indentures the clause of restitution aforesaid: who denying to alter any word of the same, moued the king in such sort, that immediatlye it was proclaymed throughout England at the kinges commaundement, that all those that had any church liuing, and went ouer the sea, should come agayne into England at a certayn day, or els loose their liuinges for euermore. And further, in that proclamatiō he charged all Shiriffes within the realme, to enquire if any bishops, abbots, priors, or any other church man (from that day forward) receiued anye commaundement that came from the Pope, that they should take his or their body, and bring it before hym. And also, that they shuld take into their hands for the kings vse, all the church landes, that were geuen to any man through the archbishop Stephan, or by the priors of Caunterbury, from the tyme of the election of the archbishop. And further charged, that all the woods that were the archbishops, should be cut down and sold.

Two Legates sent from the pope.

When tidinges came to the Pope, that the king had thus done, being moued therby with firy wrath: sent to the king two Legates (the one called Pandolphe, & the other Durant) to warne hym in the popes name,

Restitution required of the king.

that he should cease hys doinges to holy church, and amende the wrong he had done to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and to the priors and the Monkes of Canterburye, & to all the clergy of England. And further, that he should restore the goods agayne that he had taken of them, agaynst theyr wyll, or els they shoulde curse the kyng by name: and to doo thys, the Pope tooke them hys letters in Bulles patent. These two Legates comming into England, resorted to the kyng to Northhampton, wher he held hys Parliament, and saluting hym, sayde: they came from the Pope of Rome, to reforme the peace of holy church. And first sayde they, we monishe you in the Popes behalfe, that ye make ful restitution of the goods and of the land that ye haue rauished holye church of: & that ye receyue Stephan the archbishop of Canterbury into hys dignitye, and Prior of Canterburye and hys Monkes. And that ye yelde agayne vnto the archbyshop all his landes and rentes wythout anye wythholdyng: And syr, yet moreouer, that ye shall make such restitution to them, as the church shall thinke sufficient.

Then answered the kyng: as touchyng the Prior & hys Monkes of Canterburye, all that ye haue sayde I would gladly doe, & all thing els that ye would ordain: but as touching the Archbishop, I shall tel you as it lyeth in my hart. Let the archbishop leaue hys bishoprick: and if the Pope then shall entreate for him, peraduēture I may lyke to geue hym some other bishoprick in England. And vpon thys condicion I wyll receyue and admit hym. Then sayd Pandolphe vnto the king: holye churche was wont neuer to disgrade Archbishop, without cause reasonable: but euer shee was wont to correct Princes that were disobedient to her. What? howe nowe (quod the kyng) threaten ye me? Nay said Pandolphe, but ye haue now opēly told vs as it standeth in your hart: and now we wyll tell you what is the Popes wyll, and thus it standeth. He hath wholy interdicted and cursed you, for the wrongs ye haue don to holy church, and to the Clergy. And forasmuch as ye dwell styll in your malice, and wyll come to no amendement, ye shall vnderstand: that from this time forward, the sentences vpon you geuen, haue force and strength. And all those that with you haue commoned before this

Sentence of the popes curse pronoūced against the king

time, whether that they be Earles, Barons or Knightes (or any other what soeuer they be) we assoyle thē safely frō their sins vnto this day. And frō this time forwarde (of what cōdiciō soeuer they be) we accurse thē openly: & speciallye by this our sentence, that do wt you commō. And we assoyle moreouer Earles, Barons, Knightes, & all other maner of men of their homages, seruice, and fealties, that they should do vnto you. And this thyng to confirme, we geue playn power to {th}e bishop of Winchester, and to the bishop of Norwyche. And the same power we geue against Scotland to the bishop of Rochester and of Salisbury. And in Wales, we geue the same power to the bishops of Saint Dauid, and of Landaffe, and of saynt Asse.


The pope author of rebellion and disobedience of subiectes towards their prince.

Also syr king (qd Pandolfe) all the kings, princes, and the great dukes christened, haue laboured to the pope to haue license to crosse them selues, and to warre agaynst thee, as vpon Gods enemie, & winne thy land, & to make king whom it pleaseth {th}e pope. And we here now assoyle all those of their sinnes that will aryse agaynst thee here in thyne owne land.

Then the king hearing thys, answered: What shame may ye do more to me then this? Pandolfe agayn: We say to you in verbo dei, {th}t neyther you nor any heyre {th}t ye haue, after this day shall be crowned. So the kyng sayd: by hym that is almightye God, if I had knowen of thys thing before ye came into thys lād, and {th}t ye had brought me such newes: I should haue made you tary out these twelue monethes.

Like master lyke man.

Then answered Pandolphe. Full wel we thought (at our fyrst comming) that ye would haue bene obediēt to God, and to holy church: and haue fulfylled the popes commaundement, which we haue shewed and pronounced to you, as we were charged therwith. And nowe ye saye, that if ye had wist the cause of our commyng, ye would haue made vs tarye out a whole yeare: whych might as well saye, that ye woulde haue taken a whole yeres respite wtout {th}e popes leaue. But, for to suffer what death {th}t ye can ordayne, we shall not spare to tel you all the Popes message and wil, that he gaue vs in charge.

Pandolph worse afrayde then hurt.

In an oher chronicle I fynd the wordes betwene the Kyng and Pandolfe somethyng otherwise discribed, as though the King should first threaten him with hāgyng if he had foreknowen of his comming in. To whom Pādolfe agayne should answer, that he looked for nothing els at his hand, but to suffer for {th}e churches right. Wherupon the Kyng being mightely incensed departed. The King the same tyme being at Northampton willed the Sheriffes and Bayliffs to bring forth all the prysoners there, that such as had deserued should bee put to death: to thentent (as some thinke) tomake Pandolfus afraid. Among whome was a certaine clarke, who for counterfaiting the Kings coyne was also condemned to be hanged drawne, and quartered. And moreouer, by the King was commaūded (therby to anger Pandolfus, the more as may be thought) to be hanged vp hyest aboue the rest. Pandolfus hearyng therof, notwithstanding he somewhat began to feare least he should be hanged himselfe, yet with such courage as he had, he went to {th}e church to fette out booke bell and candell, charging that no man vnder payne of accursing, should lay handes vppon the clarke. Vpon this the King and the Cardinall departed in no little anger. And Pandolfe went to Rome and reported to the pope & the Cardinals what had bene done.

Then the pope summoned all the bishops abbots and clarkes of England to come to repaire to Rome, to consult what was to be done therin. This councell begāne the first day of October. In the which councel it was decreed by the pope and his assembly, that Iohn kyng of England should be accursed with all such as held wyth him, euery day so long as that councel endured. Albeit this was not yet graunted, that the people should be cros sed to fyght against him, because as yet he had shedde no bloud. But afterward, the said pope Innocent seing that kyng Iohn by no meanes would stoupe vnder his subiection, nor vnder the rule of his popishe see, he sent nto the French king, vpon remission of all his sinnes, and of all that went with him, that he should take with him all the power he might, and so to inuade the realme of England to destroy King Iohn.

The popes great curse

This occasion geuē, Pope Innocent yet once agayn commaunded in payne of his great curse: that no man should obey kyng Iohn, neyther yet kepe company with hym: he forbad all persons to eate and drynke with him, to talke wyth him: to common or counsel with him:

The iust punishment of God vpō disobedient subiectes.

yea, hys own familiar houshold to do him any kinde of seruice, eyther at bed or at boorde: in church, hawle, or stable, and what folowed therof.

The pope found a murtherer

The greater part of them which after such sort fled from him (by the ordinance of God) of diuers and sundry diseases the same yeare dyed. And betwene both nations (English and French) fel that yeare great amitie: but secret, subtile, and false: to {th}e bitter betraying of Englād. Neither was the pope content onelye with this, but moreouer the sayd Pope Innocent gaue sentence definitiue (by counsell of hys Cardinals) that king Iohn should be put from hys seat regall & deposed, and another put in hys roume. And to the spedye execution therof, he appointed the French king Philip, promising to geue hym full remission of all his sinnes, and the cleare possession of all the realme of England, to hym and hys heyres: if he dyd eyther kill hym or expell hym.

1212, Frēch ships taken by Englishmē.

The next yeare the French king began his attempt in hope of the crowne of England: beyng well manned wyth the bishops, monkes, prelates, and priests, & theyr seruantes to maintayn the same: bragging of the letters which they had receiued from the great men there. But behold the worke of God: the english nauy tooke thre hūdred of the French kings ships, well loden with wheat, wyne, meale, fleshe, armour, and such other lyke, meete for the warre: and an hundred they brent wythin the hauen, takyng the spoyle wyth them.

Peter the false prophet.

In the meane tyme {th}e priests wtin England had prouided them a certain false coūterfet prophet called Peter Wakefield of Poiz: who was an idle gadder about, & a pratlyng marchaūt.

The false prophet found a lyar.

This Peter, they made to prophecy lies: rumoring his prophecies abroade to bryng the king out of al credite with his people. The noised it daily among the commons of the realme, that Christ had twyse appeared to this prophet of theirs, in shape of a childe betwene the priests hands, once at Yorke, another time at Ponfret: and that he had breathed vpon hym thrise, saying peace, peace, peace, & teaching many thinges whiche he anone after declared to the bishops, and bid people amende their noughty lyuyng. Being rapt also in spirite (they say) he behelde the ioyes of heauen, and sorrowes of hell. For skante were there three saith the Chronicle, among a thousande that liued christianly. This counterfeite soothsaier prophecied of kyng Iohn: that he should raigne no longer then the ascension day, within the yere of our Lord, 1213. which was the. 14. yere from his coronation, and this (he said) he had by reuelation. Then was it of hym demaunded, whether he should be slain or be expelled, or should of him selfe geue ouer the crowne: He aunswered, that he could not tell. But of this he was sure (he sayd) that neither he, nor any of his stocke or linage should raigne, that daye once finished. The kyng hearing of thys, laughed muche at it, and made but a scoffe therof. Tushe (saith he) it is but an idiote knaue, and such a one as lacketh his ryght wittes. But when this folish prophete had so escaped the daunger of the kings displeasure, and that he made no more of it: he gate hym abroade and prated thereof at large (as he was a uery idle vagabund) and vsed to tattle and talke more then enough: so that, they whiche loued the kyng, caused hym anone after to be apprehended as a malefactor, and to be throwē in prison, the king not yet knowyng therof.


The false prophet proued a liar of K. Iohn.

Anon after, the fame of this fantasticall prophet went all the realme ouer: and hys name was knowen euery where (as foolishnes is much regarded of people, where wisdome is not in place) specially, because he was then imprisoned for the matter, the rumor was the larger: their wonderinges were the wantonner: their practising the folisher: their busie talkes and other idle occupieng the greater. Continually from thence (as the rude maner of people is) olde gossyps tales went abroad, new tales were inuented, fables were added to fables, & lyes grewe vpon lies. So that euery day, new slaunders wer raysed on the king, & not one of thē true: rumours arose, blasphemies were spred, the enemies reioyced, and treasons by the priestes were maintained: and what likewise was surmised, or other subtiltie practised, all was then fathered vpon this foolish prophet. As, thus sayeth Peter Wakefield: thus hath he prophecied: and this shall come to passe: yea many tymes when he thought nothing lesse. When the Ascension day was come which was prophecied of afore: Kyng Iohn commaunded his regall Tente to be spread abroad in the open field: passing that day wt his noble counsel and men of honor, in the greatest solemnitie that euer he dyd afore: solacing himselfe wyth musicall instruments, and songes most in sight amōgst his trusty frendes. When that day was past in all prosperitye and mirth: his enemies beyng confused, turned all to an allegorical vnderstāding, to make the prophecie good, and sayd: he is no longer kyng, for the pope raigneth and not he, yet raigned he still and hys sonne after hym, to proue that prophet a lyar. Then was the kyng by hys counsel perswaded, that this false prophet had troubled all the realme: peruerted the harts of the people: and raised the commons agaynst him. For his wordes went ouer the sea by the helpe of his prelates, and came to the French kings eare, and gaue vnto hym a greate encouragement to inuade the land: he had not els done it so sodenly. But he was most fouly deceyued, as all they are & shalbe, {th}t put their trust is such darke drousy dreames of hypocrites.

The false prophet hanged.

The kyng therfore commaunded that he should be drawen and hanged lyke a traytor.

Kyng Iohn submitteth himselfe to the Pope.

After that, the popes, prelates, Monkes, Chanons, priestes, &c. saw this their crafty iugling by theyr fayned prophet would not spede, notwithstādyng they had done no litle harme therby: to help the matter more forward, they began to trauaile and practise with pope Innocent of the one side, and with the Frenche kyng on the other side: beside subtile treasons, which they wrought within the realme and by their confessions in the eare, wherby they both blinded the nobilitie and the commons.

K. Iohn entreateth for peace with the pope.

The kyng thus compassed about on euery side with enemies, and fearing the sequele therof, knowing the cōspiracies that were in working against him, as well by the Pope (in al that euer he might) as also by Philip the Frenche kyng by his procurement: and moreouer his own people, especially his Lordes and Barons being rebelliouslye incited against him, as by the popes curses and interdictiōs agaynst such as tooke hys part: and by hys absolutions and dispensatiōs with al those that would rebel against him, commaunding them to detaine from him such homage, seruice, duties, debtes, and all other allegiaunce that godly subiectes owe and are bound to yelde & gyue their liege Lord and prince. All which thinges considered, the kyng in the. xiij. yeares of his raygne, for that the French king began to make sharpe inuasion vpon him within his own realme: sent speedye Embassadours to the Pope (as to the fountayne of all this his myschiefe pretensed) to worke and intreate his peace and reconcilation with him, promising to do what so euer the pope should wyll hym and commaund him in the reformatiō of himselfe, and restitution of all wronges done to holy church, and to make due satisfaction therefore vnto all men that coulde complayne.

Then sent the pope againe into England his legate Pādulph with other Embassadours: the King also at Canterbury (by letters as it shuld seme certified frō his own embassadors) wayted their cōming. Where, the xiij. day of May the King receaued them, makyng vnto them an othe, that of and for all things wherin he stood accursed he would make ample restitution and satisfaction. Vnto whom also all the Lords and Barons of England (so many as there was with the King attending the legates comming) sware in like maner, & that if the King would not accomplishe in euery thing the othe which he had taken: that then they would cause him to hold and cōfirm the same whether that he would or not (or by strength) to vse the autors wordes.

K. Iohn submitteth himself & resigneth hys crowne.

Then submitted the King him selfe vnto the court of Rome and to the pope: And resigning gaue vp his dominions and realmes of England and Ireland from hym and from hys heires for euer more that should come of him. With this condicion, that the Kyng and his heyres should take agayne these two dominions of the pope to ferme: paying yearely therefore to the court of Rome a M. markes of siluer. Then tooke the Kyng the crowne from his head, kneling vpon his knees in the presence of al his Lordes and Barons of England to Pandolph the popes chief Legate, saying in this wise. Here I resigne vp the crowne of the realme of Englande to the Popes handes Innocent the thyrde, and put me holy in his mercy and his ordinaunce. Then tooke Pandolph the crown of Kyng Ihon and kept it v. dayes as a possession & season taking of these two realmes of England & Ireland. Confirmyng also all things promised by his charter obligatory as foloweth.

¶ The copy of the letter ohligatory that king Iohn made to the pope, concerning the yelding vp of the crowne and the realme of England into the popes hands, for a certaine summe of mony yearely to be payd.


The draught or instrument obligatorye wherein King Iohn resigneth his kingdome to the popes hand.

TO all christen people throughout the worlde dwellyng, Iohn by the grace of God kyng of England, greetyng. To your vniuersitie knowthyng be it, that for asmuch as we haue greued and offended God and our mother churche of Rome: and for as much as we haue nede of the mercy of our Lord Iesu Christ: and we may nothing so worthy offer and competēt satisfaction make to God and to holy churche (but if it were our owne body) as with our realmes of Englād & of Ireland: Then, by the grrace of the holy ghost we desire for to meke vs for the loue of hym, that meketh him to the death vpon the crosse.

Christ was offered a kingdom & would none of it, the Pope doth not refuse it.

And through counsel of the nobles Earles and Barons, we offer and frely graunt to God and to the Apostles S. Peter and Paul, and to our mother church of Rome, and to our holy father pope Innocent the third, and to all the popes that come after him, all the realme: patronages of churches of England and of Ireland: wt al the appurtenaunces: for remission of sinnes, and helpe and health of our kines soules, and of all christen soules So that from this tyme afterward, we will receiue and hold of our mother churche of Rome, as in ferme: doyng fealtie to our holy father the pope Innocēt the third, and to all the popes that come after him in the maner aboue said. And in the presence of the wise man Pandolph the popes Southdeacon, we make liege homage, as it were in the popes presence & we before him were, and that he him self should haue done all maner things aboue sayd: and therto we binde vs, and all that come after vs & our heires for euer more without any gaine saying to {th}e pope and eke the ward of the churche vacant. And in token of this thing euer for to last, we will, confirme, and ordein: that he be our speciall renter of the foresayd realmes (sauing S. Peter pence) in all thing. To the mother church of Rome paying by yeare a M. markes of siluer at two times of the yere for all maner customes that we should doe for the sayd realmes: that is to seyne, at Michelmas and at Easter: that is for England vij. C. markes and iij C. markes for Ireland. Sauing to vs and to our heires: our Iustices and our other fraunchises. And all these thinges that before ben said, we will that it be firme and stable without end: and to that obligatiō we and all our successours and our heires in this maner, beth bounde: that if we or any of our heires thorough any presumption fall in any pointe agayne these thinges aboue sayd (and he been warned and will not right amende hym) he shall then leese the foresayd realmes for euermore: & this charter of obligation and our warrant for euermore be firme and stable without gayne saying. We shall from thys day afterwarde be true to God and to the mother churche of Rome, and to thee Innocent the third, and to all that common after thee: and the realmes of Englād and of Ireland, we shall mainteine trewlich in all maner points against all maner mē by our power, through Gods helpe.

The vnreasonablenes of the clergy against their natural prince.

Vpon thys obligation, the king was discharged the second day of Iuly, from that tyrannicall interdiction, vnder which he continued. vi. yeares and. iij. monethes. but before the releasement thereof, first he was miserablye compelled (as hath been declared) to geue ouer both his crowne and scepter to that Antichrist of Rome, for the space of fyue daies: and as his client, vassall, feudary, & tenant, to receiue it againe of him, at the handes of an other Cardinall, being bound obligatorylye, both for himself, and for hys successours to paye yearely (for a knowledge therof) a. M. markes, for England & Ireland. Thē came they thether, from al parts of {th}e realme so many as had their consciences wounded for obeying their liege king (as blinde Idiotes) & there they were absolued: euery one of his own bishop, except the spirituall fathers and ecclesiasticall soldiours: for they were compelled to seke to Rome, as captiues reserued to {th}e popes owne fatherhed. In this new ruffeling, the king easely graūted, that abbots, Deanes, and Curates, should be elected freely euery where, so that the lawes of {th}e realme were truly obserued. But against that, were {th}e bishops: alledging their Canonicall decrees and rules synodall: determining the king therein to haue nothing a do, but onely to geue his consent after that they had once elected. But among this shauen rable, some there were which consented not to this wicked errour. A sorte also there were of the prelates at {th}t time, whyche were not pleased {th}t the landes interdiction should cease, till {th}e king had payed all {th}t which their clergy in all quarters of the realme had demaūded wtout reasō: yea, what euery saucie syr Iohn for his parte demaūded, euē to {th}e very breaking of their hedges, {th}e stealing of their appels, & their other occasionall damages, which grew to an incredible summe, and impossible to be answered. Suche was the outragious cruell noyse of that mischeuous progeny of Antechrist, against their naturall king.

Notwithstanding, that which is vttered afore, concerning the bitter malice of the clergye agaynst theyr prince: yet did the Popes Legate, and Cardinal Nicholaus Tusculanus, much fauour his doinges, and allow his procedings. Wherfore they reported of hym, that he was exceeding parciall, & regarded not their matters ecclesiastical as he should haue done: for leauing the accompt of their restitutions. He went with the kings officers (as the kynges pleasure was) to the Cathederall minsters, abbeyes, priories, deanries, and great churches vacant. And there, for the next incumbent alwaies he appoynted two: one for the king, another for the parties. But vpon him onely whom the king nominated, he compelled most commonly the election to passe: whyche vexed them wonderfully. Vpon this therfore, they raysed a new conspiracy agaynst the kings person, by helpe of their bishops, sedicious prelates, and such noble men as they had drawen to their parties. We behelde (sayth Houeden) about the same time many noble houses and assembles diuided in many places: the fathers and the aged men stoode vpon the kinges part, but the younger sort contrary. And some ther were, that for loue of their kindred, and in other sundry respectes, forsooke the king againe: yea, and the fame went that time (saith he) that they were confederated with Alexander the Scottishe king, and Ieoline the prince of Wales, to worke him an vtter mischief. A councel at Oxford the archbishop called: where at some would not tary, considering the confusiō therof: {th}e other sorte (hauing very obstinate hartes) reuiled the king most spightfully behinde his backe and said: that from thence foorth he ought to be taken for no gouernour of theirs. Their outragious and franticke clamours so much preuailed in those daies: that it grew to a greuous tumult, and a most perilous commocion.

1215. The coūcel of Lateran holden by P. Innocēt.

In the yeare of our Lord. 1215. as witnesseth Paulus Aemilius and other histories: Pope Innocent the thirde helde a generall sinode at Rome, called the councel Laterane. The chiefe causes of that councel were these: In the daies of this Innocent, Heresye (as he calleth {th}e truth of God, or the doctrine that rebuketh sinne) began to ryse vp very high: and to spread forth his braunches abroad. By reason wherof, many princes were excommunicate as Otho the Emperour, Iohn the king of England, Peter king of Aragon, Raymund the Earle of Tolous, Aquitania, Sataloni, and such other like, as is said afore.

The pope to haue iurisdictiō of al churches.

So that it could be no otherwyse, saith Houeden, but wt the sharpe axe of the Gospell (so called the pope his excōmunications (they ought of necessitie to haue ben cut of from the church. Therefore was this councel prouided, proclaimed, and prelates from all nations therunto called. And to coulour those mischiefes which he then went about: he caused it by his Legates and Cardinals (very crafty marchauntes) to be noysed abroade, that his entent was therein onely to haue the church vniuersallye reformed: and the holy land from the Turkes hands recouered. But all this was craft and falshoode, as the sequele thereof hath manifestly declared. For his purpose thereby was to subdue all princes, and to make himself rich and wealthye: for there he made this Antichristian act, and established it by publicke decree: that the Pope should haue from thenceforth the correction of all Christian princes, and that no Emperour shoulde be admitted, except he were sworne before, and were also crowned of him. He ordayned moreouer, that whatsoeuer he were that should speake euyl of the Pope: he shoulde be punished in hell with eternall damnation. Conradus, Vrspergenis, Hieronimus Marius. He prouided confessiō to helpe these matters: he alowed their breade a pixe to couer him, and a bell when he goeth abroade: and made the Masse equall with Christes Gospell.

Ioannes Scotus.

In this councel was first inuented and brought in Transubstantiation: of which Ioannes Scotus, whom we call Duns, maketh mencion in hys fourth booke, writing in these woordes.


Transubstātiation first brought in.

The woordes of the scripture might bee expounded more easely, and more playnly without transubstanciation. But the church did chuse this sense, which is more hard, being moued therto, as it seemeth chiefly: because that of the sacramentes men ought to hold as the holye church of Rome holdeth. &c. And in the same place maketh mencion of Innocentius the third.

Moreouer, in the sayde councel was stablished and ratified the wretched and impious act, cōpelling priests to abiure lawfull matrimonye. Whereupon these meters or verses were made the same tyme agaynst hym, which here folow vnder written.

Non est Innocentius, imo nocens vere,
Qui quod facto docuit, verbo vult delere.
Et quod olim iuuenis voluit habere,
Modo vetus pontifex studet prohibere.
Zacharias habuit prolem & vxorem,
Per virum quem genuit adeptus honorem,
Baptizauit etenim mundi saluatorem:
Pereat qui teneat nouum hunc errorem.
Paulus cœlos rapitur ad superiores,
Vbi multas didicit res secretiores.
Ad nos tandem rediens instruensq; mores,
Suas inquit habeant quilibet vxores.
Propter hæc et alia dogmata doctorum,
Reor esse melius et magis decorum,
Quisq; suam habeat et non proximorum,
Ne incurrat odium vel iram eorum.
Proximorum feminas, filias, et neptes
Violare nefas est, quare nil deceptes,
Vere tuam habeas, et in hac delectes

Diem vt sic vltimum tutius expectes.Mariage of priests forbidden by Pope Innoc.

INocent, not innocent, he is that seeketh to deface,

By word the thyng, that he by deede hath taught men to embrace
Whych beyng now a bishop old, doth study to destroy
The thyng, whych he a yong man once did couet to enioy.
Priest Zachary both had a wyfe, and had a chylde also,
By meane of whom ther did to hym great praise & honor grow.
For he did baptise hym, that was the sauer of mankynde,
Ill him befall that holdest thys new error in his mynd.
Into the hygher heauens good Paul was lyfted from below,
And many secrete hydden thinges he learned there to know.
Returnde at length from thence to vs, & teaching rules of lyfe,
He sayd, let eche man haue his own and onely wedded wyfe:
For thys and other documentes of them that learned be,
Much better and more comely eke it seemeth vnto me.
That eche should haue his own alone, & not hys neyghbors wyfe,
Least with his neighbour he do fall in hate and wrathfull stryfe.
Thy neighbours doughters or their wyues, or nices to defyle,
Vnlawfull is: therefore beware, do not thy selfe begyle.
Haue thou thyne own true wedded wyfe, delite in her alway,
Wyth safer mynde that thou mayest looke to see the latter day.

Ste Langtō suspended out of the churche.

Now let vs returne to king Iohn againe, and mark how the priestes and their adherentes were plaged for their humble handlinges of his maiesties wyll.

Appeale to the general councel.

In the foresayde councel of Lateran, and the same yeare, was Steuen Langton the archbishop of Cant. excommunicated of Pope Innocent: with all those bishops, prelats, priestes, Barons, and commons, which had ben of coūsel with him in the former rebellion. And when the sayd archbishop had made instant sute, of him to be absolued: anon he made hym this answer with great indignatiō: Brother myne, I sweare by S. Peter, thou shalt not so soone at my hand obtayne the benefit of absolution: for why, thou hast not only done harme to the king of England, but also thou hast in a great many of thinges iniured the churche of Rome here: and therefore thou shalt tary my leasure. The archbishop was also at that time suspended out of the church, and commaunded to saye no Masse at all: neither yet to exercise any other ecclesiasticall office, because he would not at time conuenient execute the Popes curse vpon the rebellious Barons. With them the sayd Pope had ben so deepelye offended and angred a little afore, that the greate charter of the liberties of Englande (wyth great indignation and countenaunce most terrible) he rent and destroyed: by sentence diffinitiue condemning it for euer. And by and by therupon cursed all the other rebels, with booke, bell and candle. The greater captaynes of them (wyth the citizens of London) for that assay were pronounced excommunicate by name: and remayned stil interdicted. They appealed then to the councel generall.


1215. The discord betwene the nobles and the King.

In the same yeare 1215. were those great men also summoned to appeare at Rome in that general synode: which would not cōsent to their kings expulsion nor yet tyrannical deposing. Though they wer called (they said) therunto by the archb. of Cant. and others: and required by othe to subscribe to the same, yet could they not of cōscience do it because he had humbled him self, & also graūted to kepe peace with all men. Thus was {th}e whole realm miserably then deuided into two factions through malice of the clergie: so strifes encreased in {th}e land euery where. Yet were there of the lordes and gentlemen a great nūber at that tyme, that followed the kyng & alowed his doings. But they which wer on the other side (not a little suspecting {th}e state that they were in) fled spedely to {th}e french king Phillip: desiring him that he would graunt to them his eldest sonne Ludowicke, and they would elect him to be their king, & {th}t without much tariance. They besaght him moreouer, that he would send with hym a strong & mighty power, as were able to subdue him vtterly: that they might (they sayd) be deliuered of such a wycked tyraunt. Such was the report, that those most wicked papists gaue their christian gouernour, appointed to them of God: whom they ought to haue obeyed, though he had ben euil: euen for very consciēce sake, Rom. 13. And as certaine of the Lordes and Barons, were busy to chose the said Ludowicke for their kyng:

Gnalo Cardinal sent into England.

the pope sent thether one Gnalo, the Cardinal of S. Martin to stop those rash and cruell attempts: chargyng the French king vppon his alleageance, that he wyth all power possible, shoulde fauour, maintayne, and defend king Iohn of England, his feudarie or tenaunt. The French kyng therto made aunswer, as one not contented with that arrogante precept. The realme of England said he, was neuer yet any parte of sainct Peters patrimony, neither is it now, nor yet at any tyme shalbe hereafter. This spake he, for that he was in hope to obtayne it for hys sonne, by treason of the Barons.

The frenche king and hys sonne resoning about Englād.

No prince or potentate (said Philip the French kyng) may pledge or geue away his kingdom: which is (beside the realme) the gouernemente of hys whole common wealth: without the lawefull consente of his Barons, which are bound to defend the same. If the pope shall introduce or set vp such a president in Christianitie, he shal at his pleasure bring al christian Kynges, and their kingdomes to nought. I like not this example, in these dayes begon. I can not therfore allow this fact of Kyng Ihon of England: though he be my vtter aduersary, yet I much lament that he hath so endammaged hys realme, and hath brought that noble ground and quene of prouinces, vnder miserable tribute. The chief Lordes and menne of his nobilitie standynge by, when he vttered these woordes (beynge as it were in a fury) cried wyth one voyce: By the bloude of God, in whome we trust to be saued, wee wyll stycke in thys article to the loosing of our heades. Let the Kinge of England doe therein what him liketh: no Kyng may put his land vnder tribute, and so make his nobilitie captiue seruaūts. With that came in Ludowicke the Kinges eldest sonne, and so said vnto them all there present. I besech you, let not my purposed iourney: The Barons of Englād haue elected me for their Lord and Kyng, and I will not surely loose my right: but I will fight for it euen to {th}e very death, yea so long as hart shall stirre within my brest: and I doubt not but I shall well obtaine it, for I haue frendes amōg thē. His father the kyng stood stil as he had ben in a dōp, and aunswered neuer a worde, but fared as though he had dissembled the matter. Belike he mistrusted something therin, as he might well enough: for all was procured by the priests that they might lyue licentiously in all wealth and fredome from the Kynges yoke.

Prelates and priestts conspiryng agaynst the King.

About the same time were such treasons and conspiracies wrought by the Byshops, priestes, and monkes, through out al the realme, that {th}e Kyng knew not where to become, or finde trusty frends: he was then compelled by the vncerteintie of hys subiectes to trauaile frō place to place, but not without a great army of men: lokyng euery day when his Barons & their confederates would cruelly set vpon him. At the last he came to Douer, and there looked for aide from other quarters, whiche loued him better then did his owne people. And thether to him resorted frō Flaunders, Brabant & Holland, on the one side: & from Guiane, Gascoine, & Poitiers, on the other side: & frō other coūtreies more, a wōderfull number of mē. The report thē went {th}t the pope had written to those countreis, mightly to assist him, for diuers cōsideratiōs: one was for {th}t he had both submitted him self, & his dominiō to his protectiō. An other was, because he had takē on him (a litle before) the liuery of the Crosse, to win agayn Hierusalem. The thirde was, for that he had gotten by him the dominion of England and Ireland, and feared to lose both, if he should chaunce to decay. For the space of iij. monethes he remained in {th}e Isle of Wight, abroad in the ayre, to quiet him selfe for a time from all maner of tumultes: and led there a solitary lyfe, among ryuers and watermen: where as he rather counted to dye thē to lyue, being so trayterously handled of his Byshops and Barons, and not knowyng how to be iustly auenged of them. Vpon the purification day of our Lady therfore, he toke vpon him the crosse or viage against the Turkes for recouery of Hierusalem: moued therunto rather for the doubtes whiche he had of his people, then for any other deuotion els. And thus he said to his familiar seruaūtes: sence I submitted my selfe and my landes, England and Ireland to the churche of Rome (sorowe come to it) neuer thyng proposed with me, but all hath gone agaynst me.

1216. VValter Gray Arch. of Yorke.

In the next yeare after. 1216. was Symon Langton chosen Archbyshop of Yorke: but that election anon after was dissolued: for information was geuen to {th}e pope that the sayd Symon was brother to Steuen, the Archbishop of Canterbury, whiche had been the occasion of all the tumultes, which were that time in England. And the Pope had the more hate vnto hym, for that he had brought him vp of nought, & did finde him at that time so stubburne: wherfore he placed in his brothers rowme, Walter Gray, the bishop of Winchester.

Gualo the popes Legate.

In the same yeare, Gualo the popes legate renued his great curse vpon Lewes the French kynges sonne, for vsurping vpon King Iohn.

Radul. Niger cap. 43 44.

Likewise vpon Symon Lāgton & Geruais Hobruge, for prouoking him to the same, and that with a wōderfull solempnitie: for in that doing he made all the belles to be rong, the candels to be light, the dores to be opened, and the booke of excōmunicatiōs and interdictions publikely to be red: committyng them wholy to the deuill, for their contumacy & contempt. He also commaūded the byshops and curates, to publish it a broad ouer all the whole realm, to {th}e terror of all his subiectes. The sayd Symon and Geruais laughed hym to scorne, and derided much his doinges in that behalf, saying: that for the iust title of Ludowicke, they had appealed to the generall councel at Rome.


The popes curs laught to scorne.

The Magistrates of London and citezins of the same, did lykewise vylipende and disdaynously mocke all that the pope had there commaunded and done. And in spight both of him and his Legate, they kept company with thē that were excommunicate, both at table and at church: shewing them selues therby, as open contempners, both of him & his lawes. Ludowicke at London takyng hym selfe for the Kyng, constituted Symon Langton for hys hygh Chauncellor, and Geruais Hobruge for hys chief preacher. By whose dayly preachinges, as well the Barons as the citezins them selues, beyng both excommunicate, caused all the church dores to be opened: & the seruice to be song, & the sayd Ludowicke was in all points fyt for their handes.

Pandulph9 the popes collector made bish. of Noryge.

About this time, was Pandulphus (then Cardinall) collectynge the Peter pence, an olde pillage of the pope: takyng great paines therin. And for his great labours in those affaires of holy church, and for other great miracles besides: he was then made bishop of Norwich, to the augmenting of his dignitie & expenses.

Mat Paris Radul. Niger. ca. 47

It chaunced about this time, that the Vicounte of Melun (a very noble man of the realme of Fraunce, whiche came thether with the Prince Ludowicke) to fall deadly sick at London: and also moued of conscience to call certain of the English Barons vnto him (such as were ther appointed to the custory of that citie) sayd vnto them.

The greate prouidence of God for the helpe of England.

I lament your sorowfull case, and pitie with my hart the destruction that is comming towardes you & your countrey. The daungerous snares whiche are prepared for your vtter confusion, are hidden from you: ye do not beholde them, but take ye hede of them in time. Prince Ludowick hath sworne a great othe, and xvi. of his Earles and noble men are of counsel with him, that if he obtain the crown of England, he will banish all them from seruice, and depriue them of landes and goodes, as many as he findeth now to go against their liege Kyng, and ar traitours to his noble person. And because ye shall not take this tale for a fable, I assure you on my faith (lying now at the mercy of God) that I was one of thē, whiche was sworne to the same. I haue great cōscience therof, & therfore I geue you this warning. I pitie pore Englād, which hath ben so noble a region, that now it is come to so extreme misery. And when he with teares had lamented it a space, he turned againe vnto them, and sayd: my frends, I counsel you earnestly, to looke to your selues, and to prouide {th}e remedy in time, least it come vpon you vnwares. Your Kyng for a season hath kept you vnder: but if Ludowicke preuaile, he will put you from all. Of two extreme euils, chose the more easie, and kepe that secret whiche I haue tolde you of good will: with that he gaue ouer and departed this life.

When this was once noised among the Barons, they were in great heauines: for they saw them selues bytrapped euerye waye, and to be in exceding great daunger. And this dayly augmented that feare whiche then came vpon the Barons. They were extremely hated of {th}e pope and his legates, and euery weeke came vpon them new execommunications. Daily detriments they had besides: in their possessions and goodes: in their landes & houses: corne and cattel, wiues and children: so that some of thē wer driuē to such nede, {th}t thei wer enforced to seke praies & boties for sustaining their miserable liues. For looke whatsoeuer prince Ludowicke obtained by his wars, either territories or castels: he gaue thē all to his Frēch men (in spight of their heads) and said that they wer but traitors, like as they had warning afore, whiche greued them worst of all. At the last, they perceiuing that in seking to auoid one mischief, they were ready to fall into an other, much worse: they began to lay their heades together, consenting to submit them selues wholy with all humilitie to the mercy of their late soueraigne, and naturall liege Lord, Kyng Ihon. And for {th}t they were somewhat in doubt of their liues for the treason afore cōmitted: many of the frendes of them which were of most credite with him, made suit for them. So were a great number of them pardoned, after instant great sute made for them. I here omit his recouery of Rochester castell and citie, with many other daungerous aduentures against the foresaid Ludowick, both at Lōdon, Yorke, Lincoln, Winchester, Norwich and other places els, as thinges not pertaynyng to my purpose. And now I returne to my matter agayne.

Into Suffolke and Norffolke he consequently iourneyed, with a very strong army of men: and there, with great mischief he afflicted them, because they had geuen place and were sworne to his enemies. After that, he destroyed the Abbeis of Peterborough and Crowland, for the great treasons which they also had wrought against him, and so he departed from thēce to Lincolne shyre.

Pope Innocent the iii. dieth.

In this yeare, about the xvij. day of Iuly, dyed Pope Innocent the third, and was buried in a citie called Perusium in Italy: where as he had trauailed to make a peace betwene the Genouayes and the Pyses, for hys owne commoditie and aduauntage. Him anone to succede one Cintius otherwyse called Honorius Tertius,a mā of very great age: yet liued he in {th}e papacie x. yeares and an halfe, and more. When this was once knowen in England: greatlye reioyced all they which were Kyng Ihons enemies, specially the priestes: yet had they small cause, as will appeare hereafter. They noysed it all the realme ouer, that this new pope would set a new order, and not rule thinges as the other pope did: thinking therby that he would haue done all thinges to their commoditie: but they found it otherwise. For he made all them whiche were excommunicate, to pay double and treble, ere they could be restored again to their former liuings.


K. Iohn poysoned by a monke.

And in the selfe same yere, as kyng Iohn was come to Swinestead Abbey, not farre from Lincolne: he rested there two dayes: where as moste writers testifie, he was most traiterouslye poysoned by a monke of {th}e abbey, of {th}e sect of {th}e Cicistercians or S. Bernards brethrē called Simō of Swinsted.

Ex chronico cui titulus Eulogium.

As cōcerning {th}e noble personage of this prince: this witnes geueth Roger Houeden therin: princeps quidem magnus erat sed minus felix: atque vt Marius vtramque fortunam expertus.Doubtles (saith he) kyng Iohn was a mighty prince, but not so fortunate as many were. Not altogether vnlike to Marius the noble Romaine: he tasted of fortune both wayes: bountiful in mercy: in warres sometyme he wanne, sometyme againe he lost. Munificus ac liberalis in exteros fuit, sed proditionis causa suorum depredator, plus aduenis quam suis confidēs.He was also verye bounteous and liberall vnto straungers but of hys owne people (for theyr dailye treasons sake) he was a great oppressour, so that he trusted more to foreiners thē to them.

Ex Math. Paris.

Among other diuers and sundry conditions belongyng to this king, one there was which is not in him to be reprehended, but commended rather: for that beyng farre from the superstition which kinges at that tyme were commonly subiect vnto:

The sayeng of K. Iohn deridyng the masse.

regarded not the popishe masse, as in certain Chronicles writing of hym may bee collected: for so I finde testified of him by Mat. Parisiēsis.that the kyng vpon a tyme in his hūting, cōming where a very fat stag was cut vppe & opened (or how {th}e hunters terme it I cannot tell) the kyng beholding the fatnes & the liking of the stagge: see sayth he, how easily and happely he hath liued, and yet for all that he neuer heard anye masse.

Ex Caxtono Lib. 7.

It is recorded and found in the chronicle of William Caxtō, called fructus temporum,and in the, 7. booke.

Woe be to you that cal good erill & euill good. Simō mōke absolueded of hys Abbot for poysoning hys king.

The foresaid monke Simon beyng much offended wyth certaine talke that the kyng had at hys table, concernyng Ludouicke the French kyngs sonne (which then had entred and vsurped vpon him) dyd cast in hys wycked hart how he most spedily might bryng him to his ende. And first of all he counseled with his Abbot, shewing him the whole matter, and what he was minded to do. He alledged for himselfe the prophecy of Cayphas, Iohn. xi. saying: It is better that one man dye, then all the people should perish. I am well contented (sayth he) to loose my lyfe, and so become a Martyr, that I may vtterly destroi this tyraunt. Wyth that the Abbot did weepe for gladnes, and much commended his feruent zeale, as he tooke it. The Monke then beyng absolued of hys Abbot for doing this act (aforehand) went secretely into a garden vpon the backe side, and finding there a most venemous Toade, he so pricked him, and pressed him with his penknife: that he made him vomit all the poyson that was wythin hym. Thys done, he conueyed it into a cuppe of wyne, and wyth a smiling and flattering countenance, he sayd thus to the kyng: If it shall lyke your princelye maiesty, here is such a cup of wyne, as ye neuer dronke a better before in all your lyfe tyme. I trust this Wassall shall make all England glad. And with that he drāk a great draught thereof, the kyng pledging hym.

The monke dyeth of hys own poyson.

The Monke anon after went to the farmery, and there dyed (his guts gushing out of his belly) and had continuallye from thenceforth three Monkes to sing Masses for hys soule, confirmed by their generall chapter. What becam after that of kyng Iohn, ye shall know right well in the proces following. I would ye did marke wel the wholesome proceedinges of these holy votaries, how vertuouslye they obey their kinges, whom God hath appoynted: and how religiously they bestow their confessions, absolutions and Masses.

The death of kyng Iohn.

The king within a shorte space after (feeling great griefe in hys body) asked for Simon the Monke: and answer was made, that he was departed this lyfe.

A prince to be louing to hys subiectes.

Then God haue mercy vpon me (sayd he) I suspected as much, after he had sayd, that al Englād should therof be glad: he mēt now I perceaue thē of his own generatiō. With that he commaunded his chariot to be prepared, for he was not able to ryde. So went hee from thence to Slaforde Castel, and from thence to Newerke vpon Trent: and there within lesse then three dayes he dyed. Vpon his deathbed he much repented his former lyfe, and forgaue all them with a pitifull hart, that had done him iniury: desiring that hys elder sonne Henrye might be admonished by hys example, and to learne by hys mysfortunes, to be naturall, fauourable, gentle, and louyng to his natiue people. When his bodye was enbawmed and spiced (as the maner is of kings) his bowels or entrailes were buryed at Cropton Abbey, whiche was of the sect of Premonstratenses or Chanons of S. Norbert.

K. Iohn Buried atg Worceter.

Hys hired soldiours, both Englishmen and straungers were styll about him, and followed hys corps triumphantlye in theyr armour, tyl they came to the Cathedral church of Worcester: and there honorablye was he buryed by Siluester the bishop, betwixte saynt Oswalde and saint Wolstane, two bishops of that church.

An. 1216.

He dyed in the yeare of our Lord. 1216. the. 19. daye of October, after he had raygned in such calamitye, by the subtle conueyaunce of his Clergy, xviij. yeares, vj. monethes, and odde dayes. So soone as king Iohn was dead and buried (as is sayd afore) the princes, Lordes and Barons, so many as were of hys part (as well of Straungers as of them that were borne here) by counsayle of the Legate Gnalo: gathered themselues together, and all with one consent proclaymed Henrye his sonne for their kyng. Of whome more shal folow (the lord willing) hereafter.

The death of kyng Iohn.

Many opinions are among the chroniclers of {th}e death of king Iohn. Some of them doe write that he dyed of sorrow and heauines of heart, as Polidorus: some of surfeting in the night, as Radulphus Niger: some of a bloudy flixe, as Rog. Houeden: some of a burning ague, some of a cold sweat, some of eatyng appels, some of eatyng peares, some plummes, &c.


Math. Parisi. in vita Ioannis Regis.

Thus you see what varietie is among the wryters concerning the death of thys king Iohn. Of which writers, although the most agree in this that he was poysoned by the Monke aboued named: yet Math. Parisiensis.(somthing differing from the other) writeth thus concerning his death. That he going from Linne to Lincolneshire, and there hearing of the losse of his cariage, and of his treasures vpon the washes, fell in great heauines of minde: in so much that he fell therby into a feruent feuer being at the Abbey of Swinested. This ague he also encreased through euil surfettyng & noughty diet, by eatīg Peaches and drinkyng of new Ciser, or as we call it Sidar. Thus being sicke, he was caried frō thēce to the castel of Laford, and frō thence to the castell of Newerke: where callyng for Henry his sonne, gaue to him the succession of his crowne and kingdome, writing to all hys Lordes & nobles to receiue him for their kyng. And shortly after vpon saint Lucies euen, departed this life, being buried at Worcester, &c.

In Gisbur, I finde otherwise, who dissentyng frō other, sayth: {th}t he was poysoned with a dyshe of peares which {th}e monke had prepared for the kynge therewith to poyson him.

Another description of K. Iohns death.
Ex histor. Gualt. Hemyngford, Gilburnensi.

Who asking the kyng whether he woule tast of hys frute, and being bidde to bring them in, according to the Kynges bidding so did. At the bringing in wherof, saythe the said story, the pretious stones about the Kyng began to swete. In so much that the Kyng misdoubtyng some poyson, demaunded of the monke, what he had brought. He said: of his frute, and that very good, the best that he did euer tast. Eate, sayd the king: and he tooke one of the peres, whiche he did know, and did eate. Also beyng byd to take an other, did eate likewise sauerly. And so likewise the thirde. Then the Kyng refraynyng no lenger, tooke one of the poysoned peres, and was therwith poysoned, as is before. &c.

In the raigne of this kyng Iohn the citizens of Lōdon first obtained of the king to chose yearely a Mayor. In whose tyme also the bridge of London was first builded of stone: which before was of woode, Rastall.