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Title: Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland (2 of 6): England (07 of 12)

Author: Raphael Holinshed

Release date: April 28, 2014 [eBook #45526]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Richard Tonsing and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at


[Pg 272]

Iohn the yongest sonne of Henrie the second.

An. Reg. 1.
Rog. Houed.
Matth. Paris. Chinon. Robert de Turneham. Sawmer.
Rog. Houed. Thomas de Furnes.

Iohn the yoongest son of Henrie the second was proclaimed king of England, beginning his reigne the sixt daie of Aprill, in the yeare of our Lord 1199, the first of Philip emperour of Rome, and the 20 of Philip king of France, K. William as yet liuing in gouernement ouer the Scots. This man so soone as his brother Richard was deceased, sent Hubert archbishop of Canturburie, and William Marshall earle of Striguill (otherwise called Chepstow) into England, both to proclaime him king, and also to sée his peace kept, togither with Geffrey Fitz Peter lord chéefe justice, and diuerse other barons of the realme, whilest he himselfe went to Chinon where his brothers treasure laie, which was foorthwith deliuered vnto him by Robert de Turneham: and therewith all the castel of Chinon and Sawmer and diuerse other places, which were in the custodie of the[Pg 273] foresaid Robert. But Thomas de Furnes nephue to the said Robert de Turneham deliuered the citie and castell of Angiers vnto Arthur duke of Britaine. For by generall consent of the nobles and péeres of the countries of Aniou, Maine, and Touraine, Arthur was receiued as the liege and souereigne lord of the same countries.

Strife amongst the English subiects on the other side of the sea.

For euen at this present, and so soone as it was knowne that king Richard was deceased, diuerse cities and townes on that side of the sea belonging to the said Richard whilest he liued, fell at ods among themselues, some of them indeuouring to preferre king John, other labouring rather to be vnder the gouernance of Arthur duke of Britaine, considering that he séemed by most right to be their chéefe lord, forsomuch as he was sonne to Geffrey elder brother to John. And thus began the broile in those quarters, whereof in processe of time insued great inconuenience, and finallie the death of the said Arthur, as shall be shewed hereafter.

Matth. Paris. The states assembled at Northampton.

Now whilest king John was thus occupied in recouering his brothers treasure, and traueling with his subiects to reduce them to his obedience, quéene Elianor his mother by the helpe of Hubert archbishop of Canturburie and other of the noble men and barons of the land, trauelled as diligentlie to procure the English people to receiue their oth of allegiance to be true to king John. For the said archbishop and William Marshall earle of Striguill, being sent ouer into England (as before you haue heard) to proclaime him king, and to kéepe the land in quiet, assembled the estates of the realme at Northampton, where Geffrey Fitz Peter lord chéefe iustice was present with other of the Nobles, afore whom those lords whose fidelities were earst suspected, willinglie tooke their oths of obedience to the new king, and were assured by the same lords on his behalfe, that they should find him a liberall, a noble and a righteous prince, and such a one as would sée that euerie man should inioy his owne, and such as were knowne to be notorious transgressors, should be sure to receiue their condigne punishment.

Eustace Vescie sent into Scotland.

They sent Eustace de Vescie also vnto William king of Scotland, to signifie to him, that king John vpon his arriuall in England, would satisfie him of all such right as he pretended to haue within the English dominions. And thus was king John accompted and proclaimed king of England by the generall consent of all the lords and barons of the same. The names of the chéefe of those péeres that were sworne (as you haue heard) are as followeth. Dauid earle of Huntington brother vnto William king of Scots, Richard earle of Clare, Ranulfe earle of Chester, William earle of Tutberie or rather Darbie, Walran earle of Warwike, Roger Lacie constable of Chester, and William de Mowbraie, with diuerse other, whose names I here omit, bicause I would not be tedious and irksome to the readers.

Now the king of Scotland being informed by the lord Eustace Vescie (who had maried his daughter) that there was some hope to be had on his part, for the recouerie of such seigniories as he and his predecessours somtime held in England, did further dispatch sundrie ambassadours with full purpose to send them ouer into Normandie vnto king John, there to require restitution of the countries of Northumberland and Cumberland, with their appurtenances, and he promised also by his letters, that if the same might be granted vnto him, in as ample manner as they had béene in times past to his ancestors, he would gladlie doo his homage to king John, as to the true & lawfull king of England for the same, and furthermore yéeld to him his faithfull seruice against all men, so often as he should be required thervnto. Howbeit when the archbishop of Canturburie and the rest of the councell, vnderstood that these ambassadors should passe through England, they would not suffer them so to doo, but spéedilie sent Dauid earle of Huntington into Scotland vnto the king his brother, requiring him earnestlie that he would not send any ambassadours ouer as yet, but rather tarie, and take patience a while, till the king should come ouer into England: which (as they said) he purposed to doo verie shortlie.

King John also hauing vnderstanding of his purpose, sent ouer the said lord Eustace againe vnto him with the like request, who in such wise persuaded him, that he was con[Pg 274]tented to abide a time, in hope of the better successe in his late attempted suit. And all this was doone chéeflie by the working of the kings mother, whom the nobilitie much honoured and loued. For she being bent to prefer hir sonne John, left no stone vnturned to establish him in the throne, comparing oftentimes the difference of gouernement betwéene a king that is a man, and a king that is but a child. For as John was 32 yeares old, so Arthur duke of Britaine was but a babe to speake of. In the end, winning all the nobilitie wholie vnto hir will, and séeing the coast to be cleare on euerie side, without any doubt of tempestuous weather likelie to arise, she signified the whole matter vnto K. John, who foorthwith framed all his indeuours to the accomplishment of his businesse.

Quéene Elianors enuie against Arthur.
Constance dutchesse of Britaine.

Surelie quéene Elianor the kings mother was sore against hir nephue Arthur, rather mooued thereto by enuie conceiued against his mother, than vpon any iust occasion giuen in the behalfe of the child, for that she saw if he were king, how his mother Constance would looke to beare most rule within the realme of England, till hir sonne should come to lawfull age, to gouerne of himselfe. ¶ So hard it is to bring women to agrée in one mind, their natures commonlie being so contrarie, their words so variable, and their déeds so vndiscréet. And therfore it was well said of one (alluding to their disposition and qualities,

Prep. lib. 2.
----nulla diu fœmina pondus habet.)
Quéene Elianor passeth into Normandie.
The citie of Mauns take. Matth. Paris. R. Houed.

When this dooing of the quéene was signified vnto the said Constance, she doubting the suertie of hir sonne, committed him to the trust of the French king, who receiuing him into his tuition, promised to defend him from all his enimies, and foorthwith furnished the holds in Britaine with French souldiers. Quéene Elianor being aduertised hereof, stood in doubt by and by of hir countrie of Guien, and therefore with all possible spéed passed ouer the sea, and came to hir sonne John into Normandie, and shortlie after they went foorth togither into the countrie of Maine, and there tooke both the citie and castell of Mauns, throwing downe the wals and turrets therof, with all the fortifications and stonehouses in and about the same, and kept the citizens as prisoners, bicause they had aided Arthur against his vncle John.

K. John inuested duke of Normandie.
The citie of Angiers taken.

After this, king John entring into Aniou, held his Easter at Beaufort (which feast fell that yeare the 18 day of Aprill) and from thence he went streight vnto Rouen, where on the sundaie next after Easter being S. Marks day, he was girded with the sword of the dutchie of Normandie in the high church there by the hands of Walter archbishop of Rouen. And so being inuested duke of Normandie, receiued the oth according to the custome, that he should defend the church, and mainteine the liberties thereof, sée iustice ministred, good lawes put in execution, and naughtie lawes and orders abolished. In the meane time his mother quéene Elianor, togither with capteine Marchades entred into Aniou, and wasted the same, bicause they of that countrie had receiued Arthur for their souereigne lord and gouernour. And amongst other townes and fortresses, they tooke the citie of Angiers, slue manie of the citizens, and committed the rest to prison.

This enterprise being thus luckilie atchiued, the residue of the people in those parties were put in such feare, that of their owne accord they turned to their woonted obedience, séeming as though they would continue still therein. The French king all this while conceiuing an other exploit in his head, more commodious vnto him than as yet to attempt warre against the Englishmen vpon so light an occasion, dissembled the matter for a time, as though he would know nothing of all that was doone, till the king should be otherwise occupied in England about his coronation.

K. John commeth ouer into England.

In the meane season king John hauing set some stay in his businesse on the further side of the sea, he left his mother still in Guien, to defend that countrie against the enimies, and taking the sea, came ouer himselfe into England, landing at Shorham, the 25 day of Maie. On the next day, being Ascension éeue, he came to London there to receiue the crowne. On the morow after being Ascension daie, when the Nobilitie and commons were assembled, and the king brought into the church of S. Peter at Westminster[Pg 275] there to receiue his diademe; Hubert the archbishop of Canturburie being chéefe in authoritie and honour, both for his age and calling, spake these words or the like in substance before the whole assemblie, as followeth.

Hubert the archbishop of Canturburies oration to the lords spirituall and temporall in the presence of the king, &c.

Most honorable lords of the spiritualtie, and most graue and politike péeres and barons of the temporaltie, you are come hither this day to choose you a king, and such a one as (if néed should require) may be able of himselfe to take such a charge vpon him, and (hauing vndertaken the same) readie to execute that which he shall thinke to be expedient for the profit of his subiects: we haue therefore one present héere among vs, vpon whome harts and good willes of high and low, rich and poore, doo generallie depend: a man I doubt not, but that for his owne part will applie his whole endeuour, studie, and thought vnto that onelie end, which he shall perceiue to be most profitable for the common-wealth, as knowing himselfe to be borne not to serue his owne turne, but for to profit his countrie, and to séeke for the generall benefit of vs that are his subiects.

And albeit I am sure that you doo well know, how all these qualities are most abundantlie planted in the person of John duke of Normandie (a person of high prowesse and no lesse prudence, for the which yée ought to iudge him right worthie of the gouernement) yet béeing in doubt least the common fame should carrie you awaie, or least you should turne your minds to the fauour of an other, as in respect of some better right, by title of a more lawfull descent of inheritance pretended by others than he hath to shew, I require you to giue eare vnto my words: who bearing the state of two manner of persons, ought to be profitable to my countrie, not onelie by example and exhortation, but also by loialtie and good counsell, which hitherto I haue euer studied to performe, and wherein (God willing) I meane to persist, so long as I shall continue in this mortall and transitorie tabernacle.

Therefore whereas at this present we haue in hand to conclude vpon such a weitie matter, which béeing once doone, cannot be vndoone, I commend vnto you this John, euen with all my verie heart, and iudge that you ought to accept him for your king, who in all things which he shall ordeine, purpose, or take in hand, shall not faile so to answer your opinions with his well dooing, and so satisfie your good expectations alreadie conceiued of him with his diligent prouidence, that all the whole realme shall not onelie like of and allow your dooing héerin, but also with high commendation extoll the same to the verie stars. These things do I promise vnto you, and so farforth as in me may lie, I dare take vpon me all chances and perils that may procéed thereof.

Matth. Paris.
Reg. Houed.
Matth. Paris.
Additions to Iohn Pike.

When the archbishop had ended his speach, diuerse held their peace, and manie with great zeale saluted king John, whom the same daie the said archbishop crowned at Westminster, after the maner then vsed with great solemnitie, and no lesse reioising of all such as were present. At the same time also he receiued the homages of the lords and barons of the realme, and promised with all spéed to haue consideration of things that apperteined as well to religion as to the due execution of laws, whereby euerie man might come to inioie that which was his owne, by right and due course of iustice. We find that there were present at this solemnitie and coronation of king John, which was celebrated on the Ascension day the 27 of Maie, archbishops and bishops to the number of seauentéene, as Hubert archbishop of Canturburie, John archbishop of Dubline, also the archbishop of Raguse, William bishop of London, Gilbert bishop of Rochester, John bishop of Norwich, Hugh bishop of Lincolne, Eustace bishop of Elie, Godfrey bishop of Winchester,[Pg 276] Henrie bishop of Exeter, Sefride bishop of Chichester, Godfrey bishop of Couentrie, Sauarie bishop of Bath, Herbert bishop of Salisburie, Philip bishop of Duresme, Roger bishop of saint Andrew in Scotland, and Henrie bishop of Landaffe in Wales. The bishop of Duresme found himselfe somewhat gréeued in the matter, making obiections, that the coronation ought not to be celebrated without the presence of Geffrey archbishop of Yorke: but it preuailed not.

Rog. Houed.
Williām Marshall earle of Striguille.
Geffrey Fitz Peter created earle of Essex.

Besides these bishops, there were of the temporall lords and earles, Robert of Leicester, Richard of Clare, William of Tutburie, Hamlin of Warren, William of Salisburie, William of Chepstow otherwise called Striguille, Walran of Warwike, Roger Bigot, William of Arundell, and Ranulfe of Chester, with manie other barons, lords, knights, and no small multitudes of gentlemen and other common people. The same daie of his coronation also, he inuested William Marshall with the sword of the earledome of Striguille, and Geffrey Fitz Peter, with the sword of the earledome of Essex. For although they were called earles, and exercised the administration of their earledoms; yet were they not till that daie girded with the sword of those earledoms, and so that day they serued at the table with their swords girded vnto them.

The archb. of Canturburie made lord chancellour.

In like maner, Hubert the archbishop of Canturburie was made lord chancellour of England; who as he vttered some words vnaduisedlie, that shewed how he inwardlie reioised at the kings fauour toward him in the gift of this office, and so gloried in the honour whereto he was preferred (which he would neuer haue doone, if he had weied of worldlie pompe as by his profession he ought, and as one asketh the question in the same case:

----dic mini, nunquid
Corporibus prosunt? certè nil; dic animísue?
Tantundem, &c.)
The saieng of the lord Bardolfe.
Ambassadors from the king of Scots.

the lord Hugh Bardolfe said vnto him, yet not so softlie in his eare, but that some ouerheard it; "My lord, to speake and not offend you, suerlie if you would well consider the dignitie and honor of your calling, you would not willinglie yéeld to suffer this yoke of bondage to be laid vpon your shoulders, for we haue oftentimes heard of a chancellour made an archbishop, but neuer an archbishop made a chancellour till now." The coronation being thus ended, it was not long yer there came ambassadors from the Scotish king, namelie William the prior of May, William the prior of saint Colmes Ins, and one William Hay, the which on the behalfe of the said Scotish king required restitution of Northumberland and Cumberland, with the appurtenances, promising that if the same were restored to him, he would serue the king of England with all his power against all men then aliue; otherwise, that is, if he could not haue those countries, which of right to him apperteined by law, as he pretended, he would doo the best he could to recouer them by force.

King John made answer héerevnto, that if his coosen the king of Scots would come vnto him, he should be assured to receiue at his hands all that was reason, as well in those demands, as in all other things. He also sent to him the bishop of Duresme, to require him to come vnto Notingham, where he would méet with him. Howbeit, king William refused to come himselfe as then, but sent the bishop of saint Andrew, and Hugh Malebisse to follow his suit, with promise to absteine from any forceable inuasion of England, by the space of fortie daies, so that he might within that terme haue some resolute answer from king John, wherevnto he might stand either on the one side or the other.

N. Triuet.
The French K. inuadeth Normandie.
Rog. Houed.

Whilest these things were a dooing in England, Philip K. of France hauing leuied an armie, brake into Normandie, and tooke the citie of Eureux, the towne of Arques, and diuerse other places from the English. And passing from thence into Maine, he recouered that countrie latelie before through feare alienated. In an other part, an armie of Britains with great diligence wan the townes of Gorney, Buteuant and Gensolin, and following the victorie, tooke the citie of Angiers, which king John had woon from duke Arthur, in the last yeare passed. These things being signified to king John he thought[Pg 277] to make prouision for the recouerie of his losses there, with all spéed possible. And therevpon perceiuing that the Scotish king meant not to méet with him at Notingham whither he was come, and where he kept the feast of Whitsuntide, he determined to passe the seas ouer into Normandie: but first he tooke order for the gouernement and defense of the realme in his absence.

L. William de Stuteuille.
Roger de Lacie conestable of Chester.
King John passeth ouer into Normandie.

Wherevpon he deliuered the charge of the counties of Northumberland and Cumberland, vnto the lord William de Stuteuille, with all the castels, and other the appurtenances, which the lord Hugh Bardolfe before held, and had in kéeping. He also deliuered vnto Roger de Lacie conestable of Chester, the castell of Pomfret, hauing first the sonne and heire of the same Lacie deliuered vnto him as an hostage for his loialtie and faithfull obedience. This doone, he hasted vnto the sea side, and sailed ouer into Normandie, landing first at Diep, and from thence went to Rouen, whither he came vpon the sundaie before Midsummer day, which was the 26 of June as W. Harison hath noted.

A truce for fiftie daies.
The earle of Flanders.
The league renewed betwixt England and Flanders.

Immediatlie vpon his arriuall in those parts, there resorted vnto him a great number of souldiers both horssemen and footmen, hoping to be interteined, but by reason of ambassadours riding to and fro betwixt the two kings, they came to a communication, and tooke truce for fiftie daies. The earle of Flanders being certified thereof, was sorie in his hart, and loth that the French king should come to any accord with the king of England, and therefore to turne the mind of king John from the purpose of peace, he came to visit him at Rouen, where they renewed the league betwixt England & Flanders, to be the better able to defend themselues from the French power: and withall determined fullie, that immediatlie vpon the expiring of this last truce they would make the French king warre, to reuenge their late receiued iniuries. The French king aduertised by espials of their determination, prepared also for the warres.

Rog. Houed.
The earle of Namure.
France interdicted.
Normandie interdicted.
Rog. Houed.

In this meane time it chanced, that Henrie earle of Namure, brother to Philip earle of Flanders, and one Peter of Doway, a right valiant knight, with his brother that was the elect bishop of Cambrey, were taken prisoners in a skirmish, and presented to the French king. Wherevpon the cardinall of Capua (being at the same time the popes legat in France) interdicted that realme for the taking of the same elect of Cambrey, & also all Normandie, for the deteining of the bishop of Beauuois in prison (who had laine there a long time, & was taken in the field after such manner as is before rehearsed) so that the French king was glad to restore the elect of Cambrey to his libertie. And likewise king John deliuered the bishop of Beauuois, who paied two thousand marks, besides expenses of diet during the time of his captiuitie, and furthermore tooke an oth, that he should neuer after beare armour in the war against any christian or christians.

Arthur duke of Britaine made knight.
The French kings demand.

About the same time, king Philip made Arthur duke of Britaine knight, and receiued of him his homage for Aniou, Poictiers, Maine, Touraine, and Britaine. Also somewhat before the time that the truce should expire; to wit, on the morrow after the feast of the Assumption of our ladie, and also the day next following, the two kings talked by commissioners, in a place betwixt the townes of Buteuant and Guleton. Within thrée daies after, they came togither personallie, and communed at full of the variance depending betwéene them. But the French king shewed himselfe stiffe and hard in this treatie, demanding the whole countrie of Veulquessine to be restored vnto him, as that which had béene granted by Geffrey earle of Aniou, the father of king Henrie the second, vnto Lewes le Grosse, to haue his aid then against king Stephan. Moreouer, he demanded, that Poictiers, Aniou, Maine, and Touraine, should be deliuered and wholie resigned vnto Arthur duke of Britaine.

Balun woon.
A peace betwixt king John & his nephue.

But these, & diuerse other requests which he made, king John would not in any wise grant vnto, and so they departed without conclusion of any agréement. Therfore diuerse earls and barons of France, which before that time had serued king Richard, repaired vnto king John, and tooke an oth to assist him, and not to agrée with the French king without his consent: and he likewise sware vnto them, not to make peace with the French[Pg 278] king, except they were therein comprised. In the moneth of September, Jone king Johns sister, wife to Raimond earle of S. Giles, and somtime quéene of Sicile, died at Rouen, and was buried at Fonteuerard. The French king also tooke diuerse townes and castels, but amongst other the castell of Balun, and raced the wals thereof downe to the ground, wherewith William de Roches, generall of the armie of Arthur duke of Britaine, was greatlie offended, and did so much by his drift, that shortlie after a peace was concluded betwixt king John and his nephue duke Arthur, though the same serued but to small purpose.

William de Roches.
The vicount of Tours.
The mistrust that duke Arthur had in his vncle king John.
Philip king Richards bastard son slue the vicount of Limoges.

The French king hauing (as I haue said) ouerthrowne the wals of Balun, besieged a fortresse called Lauardin, but king John comming with an armie, caused him to raise his siege, and to withdraw himselfe to the citie of Mauns, whither he followed, and compelled him (mauger his force) to remooue from thence. All this while was William de Roches busilie occupied about his practise, to make king John and his nephue Arthur fréends, which thing at length he brought about, and therevpon deliuered into king Johns hands the citie of Mauns which he had in kéeping. Also the vicount of Tours came to the king of England and surrendred vnto him the castell of Chinon, the kéeping whereof he betooke vnto Roger de Lacie the conestable of Chester. But in the night folowing, vpon some mistrust and suspicion gathered in the obseruation of the couenants on K. Johns behalfe, both the said Arthur, with his mother Constance, the said vicount of Tours, and diuerse other, fled awaie secretlie from the king, and got them to the citie of Angiers, where the mother of the said Arthur refusing hir former husband the earle of Chester, married hir selfe to the lord Guie de Tours, brother to the said vicount, by the popes dispensation. The same yere, Philip bastard sonne to king Richard, to whome his father had giuen the castell and honor of Coinacke, killed the vicount of Limoges, in reuenge of his fathers death, who was slaine (as yée haue heard) in besieging the castell of Chalus Cheuerell.

Great flouds.
Variance betwixt the bishop of Durham and earle Patrike.

Moreouer, there fell manie great flouds in England, and on the borders of Scotland, by violence whereof diuerse bridges were borne downe, and amongst other, the bridge at Barwike. For the building vp againe whereof, some variance arose betwixt Philip bishop of Durham and earle Patrike lord chéefe iustice of Scotland, and capiteine at the same time of the towne of Barwike, who by the Scotish kings commandement would haue repared againe the same bridge, which could not be doone, but that the one end thereof must be builded on the bishop of Durhams ground, which he would not suffer, till by the counsell of the lord William de Stuteuille, he agréed, so that the conuention accorded and concluded betwixt the king of Scots and his predecessour bishop Hugh might be reserued inuiolable.

A rate of ye prices of wines.

Furthermore, king John did set a rate vpon the prices of wines, as Rochell wine to be sold for twentie shillings the tun, and not aboue. The wine of Aniou for twentie foure shillings the tun, and no other French wines aboue fiue and twentie shillings the tun, except it were of such notable goodnesse as that some peraduenture for their owne expenses would be contented to giue after twentie six shillings eight pence for the tun, and not aboue. Moreouer, the galon of Rochell wine he appointed to be sold at foure pence: and the galon of white wine at six pence. It was also ordeined, that in euerie citie, towne, and place where wine was vsed to be sold, there should be twelue honest men sworne to haue regard that this assise should not be broken: and that if they found any vintner that should from the pin sell any wine by small measures contrarie to the same assise, his bodie should be attached by the shiriffe, and deteined in prison, till other commandement were giuen for his further punishment, and his goods seized vnto the kings vse. Furthermore, if any persons were or should be found to buy and sell by the hogshead or tun, contrarie to this assise, they should be committed to prison, there to remaine, till other order were taken for them: neither should there be any regrating of wines that were brought into England. But this ordinance lasted not long, for the merchants could[Pg 279] not beare it, and so they fell to and sold white wine for eight pence the gallon, & red or claret for six pence.

King John returneth into England.
A subsidie.
He saileth againe into Normandie.
An. Reg. 2.
A peace concluded with a marriage.

King John also came ouer from Normandie into England, and there leuied a subsidie, taking of euerie ploughland thrée shillings. In the Lent following, he went to Yorke, in hope to haue met the king of Scots there, but he came not, and so king John returned backe, and sailed againe into Normandie, bicause the variance still depended betwéene him and the king of France. Finallie vpon the Ascension day in this second yeare of his reigne, they came eftsoones to a communication betwixt the townes of Vernon and Lisle Dandelie, where finallie they concluded an agréement, with a marriage to be had betwixt Lewes the sonne of king Philip, and the ladie Blanch, daughter to Alfonso king of Castile the 8 of that name, & néece to K. John by his sister Elianor.

Matth. Paris.
Ra. Niger.

In consideration whereof, king John, besides the summe of thirtie thousand markes in siluer, as in respect of dowrie assigned to his said néece, resigned his title to the citie of Eureux, and also vnto all those townes which the French king had by warre taken from him, the citie of Angiers onelie excepted, which citie he receiued againe by couenants of the same agréement. The French king restored also to king John (as Rafe Niger writeth) the citie of Tours, and all the castels and fortresses which he had taken within Touraine: and moreouer, receiued of king John his homage for all the lands, fées and tenements which at anie time his brother king Richard, or his father king Henrie had holden of him, the said king Lewes or any his predecessors, the quit claims and marriages alwaies excepted. The king of England likewise did homage vnto the French king for Britaine, and againe (as after you shall heare) receiued homage for the same countrie, and for the countie of Richmont of his nephue Arthur. He also gaue the earledome of Glocester vnto the earle of Eureux, as it were by way of exchange, for that he resigned to the French king all right, title & claime that might be pretended to the countie of Eureux.

The king cōmeth backe againe into England.

By this conclusion of marriage betwixt the said Lewes and Blanch, the right of king John went awaie, which he lawfullie before pretended vnto the citie of Eureux, and vnto those townes in the confines of Berrie, Chateau, Roux or Raoul, Cressie and Isoldune, and likewise vnto the countrie of Veuxin or Veulquessine, which is a part of the territorie of Gisors: the right of all which lands, townes and countries was released to the king of France by K. John, who supposed that by his affinitie, and resignation of his right to those places, the peace now made would haue continued for euer. And in consideration thereof, he procured furthermore, that the foresaid Blanch should be conueied into France to hir husband with all spéed. That doone he returned into England.

¶ Certes this peace was displeasant to manie, but namelie to the earle of Flanders, who herevpon making no accompt of king Johns amitie, concluded a peace with king Philip shortlie after, and ment to make warre against the infidels in the east parts, wherby we may sée the discontented minds of men, and of how differing humors they be, so that nothing is harder than to satisfie manie with one thing, be the same neuer so good,

----ô cæcis mortalia plena tenebris
Pectora, & ô mentes caligine circumseptas!
Ia. Meirs.

But by the chronicles of Flanders it appeareth, that the earle of Flanders concluded a peace with the French king in Februarie last past, before that king John and the French king fell to any composition. But such was the malice of writers in times past, which they bare towards king John, that whatsoeuer was doone in prejudice of him or his subiects, it was still interpreted to chance through his default, so as the blame still was imputed to him, in so much that although manie things he did peraduenture in matters of gouernement: for the which he might be hardlie excused, yet to thinke that he deserued the tenth part of the blame wherewith writers charge him, it might séeme a great lacke of aduised consideration in them that so should take it. But now to procéed with our purpose.

R. Houed.
King John is diuorsed.
Matt. West.
Matth. Paris.
R. Houed.

King John being now in rest from warres with forren enimies, began to make warre[Pg 280] with his subiects pursses at home, emptieng them by taxes and tallages, to fill his coffers, which alienated the minds of a great number of them from his loue and obedience. At length also, when he had got togither a great masse of monie, he went ouer againe into Normandie, where by Helias archbishop of Burdeaux, and the bishop of Poictiers and Scone, he was diuorsed from his wife Isabell, that was the daughter of Robert earle of Glocester, bicause of the néerenesse of bloud, as touching hir in the third degrée. After that, he married Isabell the daughter of Amerie earle of Angolesme, by whome he had two sonnes, Henrie and Richard, and thrée daughters, Isabell, Elianor, and Jane.

Matth. Paris. Geffrey arch. of Yorke depriued.

Moreouer, about this time, Geffrey archbishop of Yorke was depriued of all his manours, lands, and possessions, by the kings commandement, directed to the shiriffe of Yorkeshire for diuerse causes, for that he would not permit the same shiriffe to leuie the dutie called Charugage, that was; thrée shillings of euerie ploughland within his diocesse, rated and appointed to be leuied to the kings vse, throughout all parts of the realme. Secondlie, for that the same archbishop refused to go ouer with the king into Normandie to helpe to make the marriage betwixt the French kings sonne and his néece. Thirdlie, bicause he had excommunicated the same shiriffe and all the prouince of Yorke: wherevpon the king tooke displeasure against him, and not onelie spoiled him (as I said) of his goods, but also banished him out of the court, not suffering him to come in his presence for the space of twelue moneths after.

Rog. Houed. A councell called at Westminster by the archbishop of Canturburie.
Arthur duke of Britaine doth homage to the king of England.
King John returneth into England.
The quéene is crowned.

In this yeare also, Hubert archbishop of Canturburie held a councell at Westminster against the prohibition of the lord chéefe iustice, Geffrey Fitz Peter earle of Essex. In which councell or synod, diuerse constitutions were made and ordeined for orders and customes to be vsed touching the seruice and administration of sacraments in the church, and other articles concerning churchmen and ecclesiasticall matters. About the same time, king John and Philip king of France met togither néere the towne of Vernon, where Arthur duke of Britaine (as vassall to his vncle king John) did his homage vnto him for the duchie of Britaine, & those other places which he held of him on this side and beyond the riuer of Loir, and afterward still mistrusting his vncles curtesie, he returned backe againe with the French king, and would not commit himselfe to his said vncle, who (as he supposed) did beare him little good will. These things being thus performed, king John returned into England, and there caused his new married wife Isabell to be crowned on the sundaie before the feast of S. Denise, the eight of October.

At the same time he gaue commandement vnto Hugh Neuill high iustice of his forrests, that he should award his precepts vnto all forresters within the realme, to giue warning to all the white moonks, that before the quindene of S. Michaell they should remooue out of his forrests all their horsses of Haraz, and other cattell, vnder the penaltie to forfeit so manie of them, as after that day chanced to be found within the same forrests. The cause that mooued the king to deale so hardlie with them was, for that they refused to helpe him with monie, when before his last going ouer into Normandie, he demanded it of them towards the paiment of the thirtie thousand pounds which he had couenanted to pay the French king, to liue in rest and peace, which he coueted to haue done for reliefe of his people, and his owne suertie, knowing what enimies he had that laie in wait to destroie him, and againe, what discommodities had chanced to his father and brethren, by the often and continuall wars. But now to procéed with other dooings.

An ambassage sent vnto the K. of Scots.
The king of Scots came to the king of England at Lincolne.
Matth. Paris.
Ran. Higd.
R. Houed.

Immediatlie after the solemnization of the quéens coronation ended, he sent Philip bishop of Duresme, Roger Bigot earle of Northfolke, and Henrie de Bohun earle of Hereford, nephue to William king of Scotland, and Dauid earle of Huntington, brother to the said king, and Roger de Lacie conestable of Chester, the lord William de Vescie, and the lord Robert de Ros, which had married two of the daughters of the said king, & Robert Fitz Roger shiriffe of Northumberland, as ambassadours from him vnto the foresaid William king of Scotland, with letters patents, conteining a safe conduct for him to come into England, and to méet with king John at Lincolne on the morrow after the[Pg 281] feast of S. Edmund, who gladlie granted therevnto, and so according to that appointment, both the kings met at Lincolne the 21 day of Nouember. And on the morrow after king John went to the cathedrall church, and offered vpon the high altar a chalice of gold.

On the same day, vpon a hill without the citie, the king of Scots did homage vnto king John, in the presence and sight of a great multitude of people, swearing fealtie of life, limme, and worldlie honour vnto king John, which oth he made vpon the crosse of Hubert archbishop of Canturburie. There were present at that time, beside other Noblemen, thrée archbishops, Canturburie, Yorke, and Raguse, with other bishops, to the number of thirtéene, as Duresme, London, Rochester, Elie, Bath, Salisburie, Winchester, Hereford, Norwich, S. Andrews in Scotland, Landaffe, and Bangor in Wales, and Meth in Ireland, beside a great multitude of earles, barons, and other Noblemen. When the king of Scots had thus doone his homage, he required restitution of Northumberland, Cumberland and Westmerland, which he claimed as his right and lawfull heritage. Much talke was had touching this matter, but they could not agrée, and therefore king John asked respit to consider of it till the feast of Pentecost next insuing, which being granted, the king of Scots the next morrow being the 23 of Nouember returned homewards, and was conducted backe againe into his countrie by the same Noble men that brought him to Lincolne.

The same day that the king of Scots tooke his iournie homewards from Lincolne, the corps of Hugh bishop of that citie (latelie before, departed this life at London, after his returne from the parts of beyond the seas) was brought thither to be buried, the king and all the bishops, earles and barons went to receiue it, and honoured his buriall with their presence. On the morrow after being fridaie, he was interred within the new church which he had builded. This Hugh was a Frenchman by nation, borne at Granople, a man of a pregnant wit, and skilfull both in science of holie scripture and humane knowledge. He was first a regular canon, and after became a Carthusian moonke. King Henrie the second mooued with the fame of his vertue and godlie life, sent the bishop of Bath to bring him into England, and after he was come, made him first abbat of Whithing in the diocesse of Welles, and after created him bishop of Lincolne.

A presumptuous part in a bishop.

He was noted to be of a verie perfect life, namelie, bicause he would not sticke to reprooue men of their faults plainelie and frankelie, not regarding the fauour or disfauour of any man, in somuch that he would not feare to pronounce them accurssed, which being the kings officers, would take vpon them the punishment of any person within orders of the church, for hunting and killing of the kings game within his parkes, forrests and chases, yea (and that which is more) he would denie paiments of such subsidies and taxes he was assessed to paie to the vses of king Richard and king John, towards the maintenance of their wars, and did oftentimes accursse by his ecclesiasticall authoritie, such shiriffes, collectors, or other officers, as did distreine vpon his lands and goods for to satisfie these kings of their demands, alledging openlie, that he would not paie any monie towards the maintenance of wars, which one Christian prince, vpon priuate displeasure and grudge, made against another prince of the same religion. This was his reason.

And when he came before the king to make answer to his disobedience shewed herein, he would so handle the matter, partlie with gentle admonishments, partlie with sharpe reproofes, and sometime mixing merrie and pleasant spéech amongst his serious arguments, that often times he would so qualifie the kings mood, that being driuen from anger, he could not but laugh and smile at the bishops pleasant talke and merrie conceits, so that it might well be said of him,

Omne tulit punctum qui miscuit vtile dulci.

This maner he vsed, not onelie with the king alone, but with the father and the two sonnes, that is to say, Henrie the second, Richard and John, in whose time he ruled and[Pg 282] gouerned the sée of Lincolne. He was after his decesse, for the opinion which men conceiued of his holinesse and vertues, admitted into the number of the saints.

Yée haue heard how king John had conceiued no small displeasure against the moonks of the white order, for that they would not part with any monie, excusing themselues that they might not doo it, without consent of a generall chapiter of their order. Wherevpon the king had caused them diuerse waies to be molested, but chéefelie in restreining them of libertie to haue any horsses or other cattell going to pasture within his forrests. They therefore taking aduise togither, chose foorth twelue abbats amongst them of that order, the which in all their names went to Lincolne, there to make suit to the king (comming thither at this time to méet the king of Scots) that it would please him to remit his displeasure conceiued against them, and to take them againe into his protection.

This suit was so followed, although with some difficultie, that at length, to wit, the sundaie after that the king of Scots had doone his homage, through the helpe and furtherance of the archbishop of Canturburie, they came to the kings spéech, and obteined so much, as they in reason might desire: for he pardoned them of all his passed displeasure, receiued them againe into his fauour, tooke them into his protection, and commanded that all iniuries, gréeuances and molestations should be reformed, redressed and amended, which in respect of his indignation had béene offered and doone to them by any manner of meanes. And to sée the same accomplished, writs were directed vnto the shiriffes of the counties, bearing date from Lincolne the 27 of Nouember. And thus were those moonks for that time restored to the kings fauour, to their great commoditie and comfort.

Fiue moones.

About the moneth of December, there were séene in the prouince of Yorke fiue moones, one in the east, the second in the west, the third in the north, the fourth in the south, and the fift as it were set in the middest of the other, hauing manie stars about it, and went fiue or six times incompassing the other, as it were the space of one houre, and shortlie after vanished awaie. The winter after was extreamelie cold, more than the naturall course had béene aforetime. And in the springtime came a great glutting and continuall raine, causing the riuers to rise with higher flouds than they had béene accustomed.

Matt. Paris.
An. Reg. 3.

In the yeare 1201 king John held his Christmas at Gilford, and there gaue to his seruants manie faire liueries and suits of apparell. The archbishop of Canturburie did also the like at Canturburie, séeming in déed to striue with the king, which of them should passe the other in such sumptuous appareling of their men: whereat the king (and not without good cause) was greatlie mooued to indignation against him, although for a time he coloured the same, going presentlie into the north, where he gathered of the countrie there no small summs of monie, as it were by way of fining them for their transgressions committed in his forrests.

From thence he returned and came to Canturburie, where he held his easter, which fell that yeare on the day of the Annunciation of our ladie, in the which feast he sat crowned, togither with his wife quéene Isabell, the archbishop of Canturburie bearing the charges of them and their trains while they remained there. At the feast of the Ascension next insuing, king John set out a proclamation at Tewkesburie, that all the earles and barons of the realme, and also all other that held of him by knights seruice, should be readie in the feast of Pentecost next insuing, with horsse and armour at Portesmouth, to passe ouer with him into Normandie, who made their appearance accordinglie. Howbeit, a great number of them in the end gat licence to tarrie at home, paieng for euerie knights fée two markes of siluer for a fine, which then was a great matter.

Rog. Houed.
The archbish. of Yorke restored.

But he sent before him into Normandie William Marshall earle of Striguille with an hundred knights or men of armes, which he had hired, and Roger de Lacie with an other hundred men of armes to defend the confines of Normandie against the enimies: and to his chamberleine Hubert de Burgh he deliuered the like number of knights or men of armes also, to kéepe the marshes betwixt England and Wales as warden of the same.[Pg 283] This doone, he pardoned his brother the archbishop of Yorke, and restored him to all his dignities, possessions and liberties, confirming the same vnto him in as full and large manner, as euer Roger late archbishop of that sée had enioied the same: for the which confirmation his said brother vndertooke to paie to the king within the terme of one yeare the summe of a thousand pounds starling; and for the assurance thereof, engaged his baronie to the king in pledge.

Ambassadors sent to Scotland.
The king passeth ouer into Normandie.
He commeth to talke with the king of France.
King John entreth into Paris.
The league renewed.
Matth. Paris.
R. Houed.

Moreouer, about the same time, the king sent Geffrey bishop of Chester, and Richard Malebisse, with Henrie de Poisie, vnto William king of Scotland, requiring him that the time appointed for him to make answer touching his demand of Northumberland, might be proroged vntill the feast of saint Michaell the archangell next insuing, which was obteined, and then the king and quéene (being come to Portsmouth on the mondaie in Whitsunwéeke) tooke the sea to passe ouer into Normandie, but not both in one ship, so that the quéene with a prosperous gale of wind arriued there at hir owne desire. But the king was driuen by reason of a pirrie, to take land in the Ile of Wight, and so was staied there for a time: howbeit, within a few daies after, he tooke ship againe at Portsmouth, and so passed ouer into Normandie, where shortlie after his arriuall in those parties he came to an enteruiew with the king of France, néere to Lisle Donelie, where comming a long time togither alone, they agréed so well, that within thrée daies after, king John at the French kings request went into France, and was receiued of him with much honour, first at S. Denise with procession of the cleargie: and there lodging one night, vpon the morrow the French king accompanied him vnto Paris, where he was receiued of the citizens with great reuerence, the prouost presenting vnto him in the name of the whole citie manie rich gifts for his welcome. K. Philip feasted him also in his owne palace, & for his part gaue to him, to his lords, and to his seruants manie great and princelie gifts. Morouer, the league at this time was renewed betwixt them, and put in writing, with this caution, that whether of them first brake the couenants; such lords on his part as were become suerties for performance, should be released of their allegiance which they owght to him that so should breake, & that they might therevpon fréelie become subiects to the other prince.

Walter Lacie meant to haue taken the lord Curcie.

These things doone, at length when as king John had remained at Paris with great mirth and solace certeine daies, the French king brought him foorth of the citie, and tooke leaue of him in verie louing wise. After this king John went to Chinon, & from thence into Normandie; about which time there chanced some troubles in Ireland, for where Walter Lacie vnder pretense of a communication that was appointed betwixt him and John de Curcie, lord of Vlnester, meant to haue taken the said Curcie, and for the accomplishment of his purpose set vpon him, slue manie of his men, and for his safegard constreined Curcie in the end to take a castell which belonged vnto Hugh Lacie, vpon faire promises made to him by the same Hugh, to be preserued out of all danger, it came to passe, that when he was once got in, he might no more be suffered to depart. For the Lacies thought to haue deliuered him to king John, but the seruants and fréends of the said Curcie made such cruell war, in wasting and destroieng the lands and possessions that belonged vnto the said Walter and Hugh Lacies, that finallie they were constreined to set him againe at libertie whether they would or no.

Aid against the Turkes and infidels.
Matth. Paris.

At the same time also, the kings of France and England gaue large monie towards the maintenance of the armie, which at this present went foorth vnder the leading of the earle of Flanders and other, to warre against the enimies of the christian faith, at the instance of pope Innocent. There was furthermore granted vnto them the fortith part of all the reuenues belonging to ecclesiasticall persons, towards the aid of the christians then being in the holie land, and all such as well of the Nobilitie as other of the weaker sort, which had taken vpon them the crosse, and secretlie laid it downe, were compelled eftsoones to receiue it now againe.

Vnseasonable weather.

There chanced this yeare woonderfull tempests of thunder, lightning, haile, and abun[Pg 284]dance of raine, in such wise, that mens minds were greatlie astonied therwith: medowes and marsh grounds were quite ouerflowne, bridges broken and borne downe, and great quantitie of corne and haie lost and carried awaie, and diuerse men and women drowned. Margaret mother of Constance, duches of Britaine, sister to William king of Scots, and mother to Henrie Bohun earle of Hereford, deceassed. This yeare also by the counsell and aduice of the burgesses of London, there were chosen 35 of the most substantiall and wisest men, which after the report of some writers, were called the councell of the citie of London, out of which number the Maior and Bailiffes were yearelie chosen.

Matth. Paris.
The French K. beginneth to make war against king John.

In the yeare 1202 king John held his Christmasse at Argenton in Normandie, and in the Lent following he and the French king met togither, néere vnto the castell of Gulleton, and there in talke had betwéene them, he commanded king John with no small arrogancie, and contrarie to his former promise, to restore vnto his nephue Arthur duke of Britaine, all those lands now in his possession on that side the sea, which king John earnestlie denied to doo, wherevpon the French king immediatlie after, began war against him, and tooke Buteuant, Augi, and the castell of Linos. Moreouer, he besieged the castell of Radepont for the space of eight daies, till king John came thither, and forced him to depart with much dishonor. Howbeit after this, the French king wan Gourney, and then returning to Paris, he appointed certeine persons to haue the gouernement of the foresaid Arthur duke of Britaine, and then sent him foorth with 200 men of armes into Poictou, that he might bring the countrie also vnder his subiection.

Hugh earle of March.
The Poictouins reuolt from king John.
Arthur proclaimeth himselfe earle of Aniou, &c.

Herevpon Hugh le Brun earle of March (vnto whome quéene Isabell the wife of king John had béene promised in marriage, before that king John was motioned vnto hir, and therefore bare an inward displeasure towards the king of England, for that he had so bereft him of his promised spouse) being now desirous to procure some trouble also vnto king John, ioined himselfe with Arthur duke of Britaine, and found meanes to cause them of Poictou (a people euer subiect to rebellion) to reuolt from king John, and to take armour against him, so that the yoong Arthur being incouraged with this new supplie of associats, first went into Touraine, and after into Aniou, compelling both those countries to submit themselues vnto him, and proclaimed himselfe earle of those places, by commission and grant obteined from king Philip.

Quéene Elianor.
Matth. Paris.
Matth. West.

Quéene Elianor that was regent in those parties being put in great feare with the newes of this sudden sturre, got hir into Mirabeau a strong towne, situat in the countrie of Aniou, and foorthwith dispatched a messenger with letters vnto king John, requiring him of spéedie succour in this hir present danger. In the meane time, Arthur following the victorie, shortlie after followed hir, and woone Mirabeau, where he tooke his grandmother within the same, whom he yet intreated verie honorablie, and with great reuerence (as some haue reported.) ¶ But other write far more trulie, that she was not taken, but escaped into a tower, within the which she was straitlie besieged. Thither came also to aid Arthur all the Nobles and men of armes in Poictou, and namelie the foresaid earle of March according to appointment betwixt them: so that by this meanes Arthur had a great armie togither in the field.

K. John commeth vpon his enimies not looked for.

King John in the meane time, hauing receiued his mothers letters, and vnderstanding thereby in what danger she stood, was maruellouslie troubled with the strangenesse of the newes, and with manie bitter words accused the French king as an vntrue prince, and a fraudulent league-breaker: and in all possible hast spéedeth him foorth, continuing his iournie for the most part both day and night to come to the succour of his people. To be briefe, he vsed such diligence, that he was vpon his enimies necks yer they could vnderstand any thing of his comming, or gesse what the matter meant, when they saw such a companie of souldiers as he brought with him to approch so néere the citie. For so negligent were they, that hauing once woone the towne, they ranged abroad ouer the countrie hither and thither at their libertie without any care. So that now being put in a sudden feare, as preuented by the hastie comming of the enimies vpon them, and want[Pg 285]ing leisure to take aduice what was best to be doone, and hauing not time in manner to get any armour on their backs, they were in a maruellous trouble, not knowing whether it were best for them to fight or to flée, to yéeld or to resist.

Arthur duke of Britaine takēn prisoner.
Matth. Paris.

This their feare being apparent to the Englishmen (by their disorder shewed in running vp and downe from place to place with great noise and turmoile) they set vpon them with great violence, and compassing them round about, they either tooke or slue them in a manner at their pleasure. And hauing thus put them all to flight, they pursued the chase towards the towne of Mirabeau, into which the enimies made verie great hast to enter: but such spéed was vsed by the English souldiers at that present, that they entred and wan the said towne before their enimies could come néere to get into it. Great slaughter was made within Mirabeau it selfe, and Arthur with the residue of the armie that escaped with life from the first bickering was taken, who being herevpon committed to prison, first at Falais, and after within the citie of Rouen, liued not long after as you shall heare. The other of the prisoners were also committed vnto safe kéeping some into castels within Normandie, and some were sent into England.

King Iohn hauing gotten this victorie, and taken his nephue Arthur, he wrote the maner of that his successe vnto his barons in England, in manner as followeth.

De Castre Erald.
252 knights or men of armes besides demilances.

Iohn by the grace of God king of England, and lord of Ireland, to all his barons sendeth gréeting. Know yée that we by Gods fauour are in sound and perfect health, and through Gods grace that maruellouslie worketh with vs, on tuesdaie before Lammas daie, we being before the citie of Mauns, were aduertised that our mother was besieged in Mirabeau, and therfore we hasted so fast as we possibly might, so that we came thither on Lammas daie, and there we tooke our nephue Arthur, Hugh le Brun, Andrew de Chauenie, the vicount of Chateau Erald, Raimond de Touars, Sauerie de Mauleon, and Hugh Bangi, and all other enimies of Poictou that were there assembled against vs, to the number of two hundred knights and aboue, so that not one of them escaped. Giue God therefore thanks, and reioise at our good successe.

An. Reg. 4.

The French king at the same time lieng in siege before Arques, immediatlie vpon the newes of this ouerthrow, raised from thence, and returned homewards, destroieng all that came in his waie, till he was entred into his owne countrie. It is said that king John caused his nephue Arthur to be brought before him at Falais, and there went about to persuade him all that he could to forsake his fréendship and aliance with the French king, and to leane and sticke to him being his naturall vncle. But Arthur like one that wanted good counsell, and abounding too much in his owne wilfull opinion, made a presumptuous answer, not onelie denieng so to doo, but also commanding king John to restore vnto him the realme of England, with all those other lands and possessions which king Richard had in his hand at the houre of his death. For sith the same apperteined to him by right of inheritance, he assured him, except restitution were made the sooner, he should not long continue quiet. King John being sore mooued with such words thus vttered by his nephue, appointed (as before is said) that he should be straitlie kept in prison, as first in Falais, and after at Roan within the new castell there. Thus by meanes of this good successe, the countries of Poictou, Touraine, and Aniou were recouered.

Matth. Paris.
King John eftsoones crowned.
Rafe Cog.

Shortlie after king John comming ouer into England, caused himselfe to be crowned againe at Canturburie by the hands of Hubert the archbishop there, on the fourtéenth day of Aprill, and then went backe againe into Normandie, where immediatlie vpon his[Pg 286] arriuall, a rumour was spred through all France, of the death of his nephue Arthur. True it is that great suit was made to haue Arthur set at libertie, as well by the French king, as by William de Riches a valiant baron of Poictou, and diuerse other Noble men of the Britains, who when they could not preuaile in their suit, they banded themselues togither, and ioining in confederacie with Robert earle of Alanson, the vicount Beaumont, William de Fulgiers, and other, they began to leuie sharpe wars against king John in diuerse places, insomuch (as it was thought) that so long as Arthur liued, there would be no quiet in those parts: wherevpon it was reported, that king John through persuasion of his councellors, appointed certeine persons to go vnto Falais, where Arthur was kept in prison, vnder the charge of Hubert de Burgh, and there to put out the yoong gentlemans eies.

But through such resistance as he made against one of the tormentors that came to execute the kings commandement (for the other rather forsooke their prince and countrie, than they would consent to obeie the kings authoritie héerein) and such lamentable words as he vttered, Hubert de Burgh did preserue him from that iniurie, not doubting but rather to haue thanks than displeasure at the kings hands, for deliuering him of such infamie as would haue redounded vnto his highnesse, if the yoong gentleman had béene so cruellie dealt withall. For he considered, that king John had resolued vpon this point onelie in his heat and furie (which moueth men to vndertake manie an inconuenient enterprise, vnbeséeming the person of a common man, much more reprochfull to a prince, all men in that mood being méere foolish and furious, and prone to accomplish the peruerse conceits of their ill possessed heart; as one saith right well,

--------pronus in iram
Stultorum est animus, facilè excandescit, & audet
Omne scelus, quoties conceptabile tumescit)

and that afterwards, vpon better aduisement, he would both repent himselfe so to haue commanded, and giue them small thanke that should sée it put in execution. Howbeit to satisfie his mind for the time, and to staie the rage of the Britains, he caused it to be bruted abroad through the countrie, that the kings commandement was fulfilled, and that Arthur also through sorrow and gréefe was departed out of this life. For the space of fiftéene daies this rumour incessantlie ran through both the realmes of England and France, and there was ringing for him through townes and villages, as it had béene for his funerals. It was also bruted, that his bodie was buried in the monasterie of saint Andrewes of the Cisteaux order.

But when the Britains were nothing pacified, but rather kindled more vehementlie to worke all the mischéefe they could deuise, in reuenge of their souereignes death, there was no remedie but to signifie abroad againe, that Arthur was as yet liuing and in health. Now when the king heard the truth of all this matter, he was nothing displeased for that his commandement was not executed, sith there were diuerse of his capteins which vttered in plaine words, that he should not find knights to kéepe his castels, if he dealt so cruellie with his nephue. For if it chanced any of them to be taken by the king of France or other their aduersaries, they should be sure to tast of the like cup. ¶ But now touching the maner in verie déed of the end of this Arthur, writers make sundrie reports. Neuerthelesse certeine it is, that in the yeare next insuing, he was remooued from Falais vnto the castell or tower of Rouen, out of the which there was not any that would confesse that euer he saw him go aliue. Some haue written, that as he assaied to haue escaped out of prison, and proouing to clime ouer the wals of the castell, he fell into the riuer of Saine, and so was drowned. Other write, that through verie gréefe and languor he pined awaie, and died of naturall sicknesse. But some affirme, that king John secretlie caused him to be murthered and made awaie, so as it is not throughlie agréed vpon, in what sort he finished his daies: but verelie king John was had in great suspicion, whether worthilie or not, the lord knoweth. Yet how extreamelie soeuer he delt with his nephue, he released[Pg 287] and set at libertie diuerse of those lords that were taken prisoners with him, namelie Hugh le Brun, and Sauerie de Mauleon, the one to his great trouble and hinderance, and the other to his gaine: for Hugh le Brun afterwards leuied and occasioned sore warres against him, but Sauerie de Mauleon continued euer after his loiall subiect, dooing to him verie agréeable seruice, as hereafter may appeare.

Guie sonne to the vicount of Touars.
Constance the mother of duke Arthur accuseth king John.

The Lord Guie, sonne to the vicount of Touars, who had taken Arthurs mother Constance to wife, after the diuorse made betwixt hir and the earle of Chester, in right of hir obteined the dukedome of Britaine. But king Philip after he was aduertised of Arthurs death, tooke the matter verie gréeuouslie, and vpon occasion therof, cited king John to appeare before him at a certeine day, to answer such obiections as Constance the duches of Britaine mother to the said Arthur should lay to his charge, touching the murther of hir sonne. And bicause king John appeared not, he was therefore condemned in the action, and adiudged to forfeit all that he held within the precinct of France, aswell Normandie as all his other lands and dominions.

Matt. Paris.
The ordinānce for the assise of bread.

About the same time the king caused a proclamation to be published for the lawfull assise of bread to be made by the bakers, vpon paine to be punished by the pillorie: which assise was approoued and assessed by the baker of Geffrey Fitz Peter, lord chéefe iustice of England, and by the baker of Robert de Tuinham. So that the baker might sell and gaine in euerie quarter thrée pence, besides the bran, and two loaues for the heater of the ouen, and for foure seruants foure halfepence, for two boies a farthing, for allowance in salt an halfepenie, yest an halfepenie, for candell a farthing, for fewell thrée pence, and for a bulter an halfepenie. And this was the rate.

When wheat was sold for six shillings the quarter, then shall euerie loafe of fiue manchet wey 41 shillings, and euerie loafe of cheat shall wey 24 shillings. When wheat is sold for fiue shillings and six pence, then manchet shall wey 20 shillings, and cheat 28 shillings. When wheat is sold for fiue shillings, then manchet shall wey 24 shillings, and the cheat bread 32 shillings. When wheat is sold for foure shillings six pence, manchet shall wey 32 shillings, and cheat 42 shillings. When wheat is sold for foure shillings, manchet shall wey 36 shillings, and cheat 46 shillings. When wheat is sold for thrée shillings six pence, then shall manchet wey 42 shillings, and cheat 54 shillings. When wheat is sold for thrée shillings, manchet shall wey 48 shillings, and cheat 44 shillings. When wheat is sold for two shillings and six pence, manchet shall wey 54 shillings, and cheat 72 shillings. When wheat is sold for two shillings, manchet shall wey sixtie shillings, and cheat foure pound. When wheat is sold for 18 pence the quarter, manchet shall wey 77 shillings, & cheat foure pound and eight shillings. This ordinance was proclaimed throughout the realme, as most necessarie and profitable for the common-wealth.

Great tempests.

This yeare manie woonderfull things happened, for besides the sore winter, which passed any other that had béene heard of in manie yeares before, both for continuance in length and extreame coldnesse of frosts, there followed grifelie tempests, with thunder, lightning, and stormes of raine, and haile of the bignesse of hens egs, wherewith much fruit & great store of corne was perished, beside other great hurts doone vpon houses and yoong cattell. Also spirits (as it was thought) in likenesse of birds and foules were séene in the aire flieng with fire in their beaks, wherewith they set diuerse houses on fire: which did import great troubles yer long to insue, and followed in déed, as shall appeare hereafter.

Matth. Paris.

With this entrance of the yeare of our lord 1203, king John held his Christmasse at Caen, where not hauing (as some writers say) sufficient regard to the necessarie affaires of his wars, he gaue his mind to banketting, and passed the time in pleasure with the quéene his wife, to the great gréefe of his lords, so that they perceiuing his retchlesse demeanour (or as some write, the doubtfull minds of the Nobilitie which serued on that side, and were readie dailie to reuolt from his obedience) withdrew their dutifull hearts from him, and therefore getting licence, returned home into England.

[Pg 288]

An. Reg. 5.
Matth. Paris.
The French king inuadeth Normandie.
Roger de Lacie conestable of Chester taken.

In this meane time the French king, to bring his purpose to full effect, entred into Normandie, wasted the countries, and wan the townes of Cowches, le Val de Rueil, and Lisle Dandele. Le Val de Rueil wis giuen ouer without any great inforcement of assault, by two noble men that had charge thereof, the one named Robert Fitz Walter, and the other Saer de Quincie. Howbeit Lisle Dandele was valiantlie for a certeine time defended by Roger de Lacie the conestable of Chester. But at length they within were so constreined by famine and long siege, that the said Lacie and others perceiuing it to be more honourable for them to die by the sword, than to starue through want of food, brake out vpon their enimies, and slue a great sort of the Frenchmen, but yet in the end they were taken prisoners, and so these fortresses came into the French kings hands.

The pope sendeth his Nuncij into France.
Radpont woone.

The pope hearing of these variances betwixt the two kings, sent the abbat of Casiner into France, accompanied with the abbat of Troisfons, to mooue them to a peace. These two abbats tooke such paines in the matter, that the kings were almost brought to agréement. But the French king perceiuing himselfe to be aforehand in his businesse, sticked at one article, which was to repaire all such abbeies as he had destroied within the dominions of king John: and king John to doo the like by all those that he had wasted within the French kings countries. The popes Nuncij would haue excommunicated king Philip, bicause he would not thus agrée. But king Philip appealing from them, pursued the warre, and besieged the towne of Radpont. The souldiers within the towne defended the first assault verie manfullie, and caused the Frenchmen to retire backe: but king Philip meaning to haue the towne yer he departed, did so inclose it about, that within ten daies he wan it, and tooke there twentie men of armes, an hundred demilances, and twentie arcubalisters.

Castell Galiard.
Matth. Paris.
Hugh de Gourney reuolteth from king John.
K. John commeth back into England.

After this, when he had fortified this place, he went to castell Galiard, which he besieged; and though by the high valiancie of Hugh de Gourney the capteine there, the Frenchmen were manfullie beaten backe, and kept out for a moneth and more, yet at length by streict siege and neare approches hardlie made, the fortresse was deliuered into the French kings hands. And in the end the said Hugh Gourney reuolted from his obedience, deliuering also the castell of Mountfort vnto the French king, which castell with the honor thereto apperteining king John had giuen to the same Hugh, not verie long before. All this while king John did lie at Rouen: but forsomuch as he could not well remedie the matter as then, bicause he wanted such helpe as he dailie looked for out of England, and durst not trust any of that side, he passed it ouer with a stout countenance for a while, and would saie oftentimes to such as stood about him; "What else dooth my coosen the French K. now, than steale those things from me, which hereafter I shall indeuour my selfe to cause him to restore with interest?" But when he saw that his enimies would still procéed, and that no aid came out of England, he came ouer himselfe, and landed at Portesmouth on S. Nicholas day.

King Philip doubting by vsing the victorie with too much rigor, least he should bring the Normans into a desperate boldnesse, and so cause them for safegard of their liues to hazard all vpon resistance, he staied for a time, and withdrew his souldiers backe againe into France, hauing not onelie furnished those places in the meane time which he had wun, with strong garisons of his souldiers, but also appointed certeine personages to trauell with the people, yet remaining in the English subiection, to reuolt and turne from king John, to his obeisance and subiection.

Matth. Paris.
A parlement at Oxenford.
A subsidie granted.

King John being returned into England, accused diuerse of his Nobles for shewing themselues negligent and slothfull in aiding him, according to his commandement, alledging furthermore, that being destitute of their due and requisite seruice, he was constreined to lose his time in Normandie, as not being able for want of their aid to resist his enimies. Wherefore for this and other matters laid to their charges, he did put them to gréeuous fines. By meanes whereof, and by leauieng a subsidie of his people, he got togither an huge summe of monie. This subsidie was granted him in a parlement holden at Oxen[Pg 289]ford, and begun there vpon the second of Januarie 1204, wherein of euerie knights fée was granted the summe of two markes and an halfe. Neither were the bishops, abbats, nor any other ecclesiasticall persons exempted, by meanes whereof he ran first into the hatred of the clergie, and consequentlie of manie other of his subiects: so that they failed him at his néed, whereby he often susteined no small damage, which he might haue preuented and withstood, if he had béene so qualified with discretion as to haue séene what was conuenient and what inconuenient for his roiall estate. But

Improba perniciem ingentem mortalibus affert,

as it did to him, which may be gathered by a due obseruation of the consequence. ¶ This yeare the aire toward the north and east parts séemed to be on a bright fire for the space of six houres togither. It began about the first watch of the night, on the first of Aprill.

An. Reg. 6.
Rafe Cog.
Ambassadors sent into France.

King John about the beginning of this sixt yeare of his reigne, sent in ambassage to the French king the archbishop of Canturburie, the bishops of Norwich and Elie, the earles Marshall and Leicester, to treat with him of peace: but he was so far off from comming néere to any reasonable motions, bicause he saw the world frame as he wished, that still by demanding somewhat that might not be granted, he kept off, and brought in such hard conditions, that it was not possible to conclude anie agréement. And this he did of purpose, hoping within short time to conquer all that the king of England possessed as yet on that side the seas. He was the more vntoward to compound, for that he was informed how Arthur the duke of Britaine was dispatched of his life, and therfore not doubting but to haue manie to take part with him in séeking reuenge of his death, he made that his chéefe quarell, swearing that he would not ceasse to pursue the warre against king John, till he had depriued him of his whole kingdome. So the ambassadors departed without all hope to come to any agréement. ¶ This yeare Easter day fell so high as it possiblie might, that is to saie, on saint Marks day.

Towns wun by the French king.

King Philip vnderstanding that king John remained still in England, rather occupied in gathering of monie amongst his subiects, than in making other prouision to bring them into the field (to the great offense of his said people) thought now for his part to lose no time: but assembling a mightie armie, he came with the same into Normandie, and vpon his first comming, he wan the towne of Falaise, and shortlie after was Dampfront deliuered vnto him by surrender. This doone, he marched further into the countrie, and with his sudden inuasion so oppressed the people euerie where, that they could haue no time to make shift by flight to get into the townes. With this swiftnesse of spéed, he brought also such a feare into the hearts of most men, that he wan all the countrie of Normandie euen to Mount S. Michaell. The inhabitants in euerie place submitted themselues, as those of Baieulx, Constances, Liseux, and other townes thereabouts.

Rouen besieged by the French king.

Finallie, he came before Rouen, the principall citie of all the countrie, and incamped so in sundrie places about the citie, that all the issues, entries and waies were closed vp by his armie, being so diuided into seuerall camps, that the distance was not great from one to another, making a terrible shew to them within. At length after he had prouided all things necessarie for his purpose, and taken good aduise of his capteins how he should best imploie his force for the winning of this citie (in which exploit he knew the full perfection of all his passed conquests chéefelie to consist) he did manfullie assault it, and they within as manfullie defended themselues, so that he got little by the assaults and approches which he made. Wherevpon he fell in hand to practise with the citizens to win them with méed, curtesie, gentle spéech, and great promises. So that in fine, they within were so mooued with such reasons as he vsed to persuade them withall, that they made request for a truce to be had for certeine daies, within the terme whereof if no succour came, they couenanted to yéeld without any further trouble.

The great fidelitie of the citizens of Rouen.
Rouēn through famine is surrendred to the French king.

This truce being obteined, ambassadours were sent from them of Rouen into England, to signifie vnto king John the whole state of the citie, and of the truce, so that if aid came[Pg 290] not within the time appointed, the citie must néeds be deliuered into the enimies hands. The king hauing no armie in readinesse to send ouer, nor other shift to make for the succour of the citie, permitted the ambassadours to depart without comfort of any aid, who herevpon returning to Rouen, and reporting what they had hard, séene, and found, brought the citie into great sorrow. For whereas that citie had euer béene accustomed to glorie for the great loialtie and faithfull fidelitie which the same had euer shewed towards their liege lords and naturall princes; now the citizens perceiued manifestlie, that vnlesse they would cast awaie themselues, and lose all they had, they must of force yéeld into the hands of their enimies. Wherefore to make their true allegiance more apparant to the world, they staied the surrender as long as they had any store of vittels within the citie to reléeue their fainting bodies withall: and so in the end being vanquished with hunger, they submitted themselues to the French king. Their submission being once knowne, caused all those other townes which had not yéelded, to deliuer vp their keies vnto the Frenchmen, as Arques, Vernueill, and others.

Matth. Paris.

Moreouer the townes in Poictou, Touraine, and Aniou, which king John had recouered latelie before, did now againe (being in no small feare) yéeld themselues vnto king Philip: so that of all the townes within those countries, there remained none vnder the English obeisance, saue onelie Rochell, Tours, Niorth, and a few other. Thus Normandie which king Rollo had purchased and gotten 316 yeares before that present time, was then recouered by the French men, to the great reproch and dishonour of the English, in this yeare 1204. About this time quéene Elianor the mother of king John departed this life, consumed rather through sorow and anguish of mind, than of any other naturall infirmitie.

By Rafe Cogheshalls report this should séeme to haue chanced in the daies of K. Henrie the second.
A fish like to a man.

In this sixt yeare of king Johns reigne, at Oreford in Suffolke, as Fabian saith (although I thinke he be deceiued in the time) a fish was taken by fishers in their nets as they were at sea, resembling in shape a wild or sauage man, whome they presented vnto sir Bartholomew de Glanuille knight, that had then the kéeping of the castell of Oreford in Suffolke. He was naked, and in all his lims and members resembling the right proportion of a man; he had haires also in the vsuall parts of his bodie, albeit that the crowne of his head was bald, his beard was long and rugged, and his breast hairie. The knight caused him to be kept certeine daies & nights from the sea, meat set afore him he gréedilie deuoured, & did eat fish both raw and sod. Those that were raw he pressed in his hand till he had thrust out all the moisture, and so then did eat them. He would not or could not vtter any speach, although to trie him they hung him vp by the héeles, and miserablie tormented him. He would get him to his couch at the setting of the sunne, and rise againe at the rising of the same.

One day they brought him to the hauen, and suffered him to go into the sea, but to be sure he should not escape from them, they set thrée ranks of mightie strong nets before him, so to catch him againe at their pleasure (as they imagined) but he streightwaies diuing downe to the bottome of the water, got past all the nets, and comming vp, shewed himselfe to them againe that stood waiting for him, and dowking diuerse times vnder water and comming vp againe he beheld them on the shore that stood still looking at him, who séemed as it were to mocke them, for that he had deceiued them, & got past their nets. At length after he had thus sported himselfe a great while in the water, and that there was no more hope of his returne, he came to them againe of his owne accord, swimming through the water, and remained with them two moneths after. But finallie, when he was negligentlie looked to, and now séemed not to be regarded, he fled secretlie to the sea, and was neuer after séene nor heard of.

John Stow.

¶Thus much out of Rafe Cogheshall, who affirmeth that this chanced in the daies of Henrie the second, about the 33 of his reigne, as Iohn Stow in his summarie hath also noted. Which report of theirs in respect to the strangenesse thereof might séeme incredible, speciallie to such as be hard of beléefe, and refuse to giue faith and credit to any[Pg 291] thing but what their owne eies haue sealed to their consciences, so that the reading of such woonders as these, is no more beneficiall to them, than to carrie a candle before a blind man, or to sing a song to him that is starke deafe. Neuerthelesse, of all vncouth and rare sights, speciallie of monstruous appearances we ought to be so farre from hauing little regard; that we should rather in them and by them obserue the euent and falling out of some future thing, no lesse miraculous in the issue, than they be woonderfull at the sudden sight. This was well noted of a philosopher, who to the purpose (among other matters by him touched) hath spoken no lesse pithilie than crediblie, saieng;

M. Pel. in scorp.
Nec fieri aut errore aut casu monstra putandum,
Cùm certas habeant causas, vt tristia monstrent,
Vnde illis nomen, quare & portenta vocantur.

The war was mightilie mainteined all this while betwixt them of Poictou and Aquitaine, and manie sharpe incounters chanced betwixt the parties, of which the one following the king of Englands lieutenant Robert de Turneham, valiantlie resisted the other that held with the French king vnder the conduct of William de Roches, & Hugh le Brun earle of March, chiefe leaders of that faction. But Robert Turneham, togither with Sauerie de Mauleon, and Gerard de Atie, bare themselues so manfullie, that in all conflicts for the most part the victorie remained on their sides. The Gascoignes also tooke part with king John, and continued in dutifull obedience towards him, for the which their loialtie he was readie to consider them with princelie gifts and beneficiall rewards, in such bountifull wise, that he gaue vnto a Noble man of that countrie named Moreue, the summe of 28 thousand marks, to leuie & wage thirtie thousand men to aid him at his comming ouer into those parties. The archbishop of Burdeaux, that was brother vnto the foresaid Moreue, became suertie for performance of the couenants, and remained in England a long time bicause the same couenants were not in all points accomplished.


The bishop of London was sent ambassadour from king John vnto the emperour vpon certeine earnest businesse. The duke of Louaine, and the earle of Bullongne were made friends by the French kings drift, and promised to inuade England with an armie, and to make warre against king John for the withholding of such lands and reuenues as they claimed to be due vnto them, in right of their wiues. King Philip also vndertooke to follow them within a moneth after they should be entred into England, & thus did the French king séeke to make him strong with fréends, which dailie fell from king John on ech hand. ¶ Godfrey bishop of Winchester, that was son to the lord Richard de Lucie departed this life. This yere the king was on Christmasse day at Tukesburie, where he staied not past one day.

An extreame frost.
An. Reg. 7.
Matth. Paris.
King John prepareth an armie to go into France.

The 14 day of Januarie it began to fréeze, and so continued till the 22 of March, with such extremitie, that the husbandmen could not make their tilth, by reason whereof in the summer following, corne began to grow to an excessiue price, so that wheat was sold by the quarter at 12 shillings of monie then currant. This yeare about the feast of Pentecost, the king (by the aduice of his councell assembled at Northampton) prepared a nauie of ships, mustered souldiers, and shewed great tokens that he would renew the war, and séeke to be reuenged of his enimie the French king. The Nobles of the realme indeuoured themselues also to match the diligence of the king in this preparation, vpon an earnest desire to reuenge the iniuries latelie doone to the common-wealth.

Rafe Cog.
The archbishop of Canturburie, and the earle of Penbroke persuade the king to staie at home.

Now when all things were readie, and the ships fraught with vittels, armour, and all other prouisions necessarie, the king came to Porchester, there to take the sea, purposing verelie to passe ouer into France, in hope of such faire promises as his fréends of Normandie and Poictou had made, in sending oftentimes to him, to procure him with spéed to come to their succours. But as the king was readie to enter on shipboord, Hubert archbishop of Canturburie, and William Marshall earle of Penbroke came to him, and with manie great reasons went about to persuade him to staie his iournie. Who although[Pg 292] he was verie loath to follow their counsell, yet they put foorth so manie doubts and dangers that might follow of his departing the realme at that present, to the hazarding of the whole state, that in the end (sore to his gréefe) he was ouercome by their importunate persuasions, and so dismissing the most part of his armie, appointed his brother the earle of Salisburie with a certeine number of knights & men of armes to passe ouer into Rochell, whither the lord Geffrey the kings base sonne was gone before him, with manie other knights and men of armes.

The king repenting him goeth backe to the sea side.
He goeth to the sea the 15 of Julie, as some authors haue.

The lords and other that were dismissed, tooke it verie euill, considering the great preparation that had béene made for that iournie. But speciallie the mariners were sore offended, cursing the archbishop and the said earle of Penbroke, that were knowne to be authors of so naughtie counsell as they tooke this to be. It was thought there was neuer so manie ships gotten togither at one time before, as were at that present, to haue attended the king: for (as writers haue recorded) there were to the number of fourtéene thousand mariners that had brought their ships thither for that purpose. But as the breaking vp of this voiage gréeued others, so it pinched the king so néere the heart, that he being come backe from the sea side to Winchester, repented so much that he had not gone forward with his iournie, that the next daie he returned againe to the coast, and at Portesmouth entring the sea with his ships, on the fiftéenth of Julie he sailed to the Ile of Wight, and wafted vp and downe for the space of two daies togither, till by aduice of his fréends he was persuaded not to aduenture to passe ouer, sith his armie was dismissed and gone home, and so he returned backe to the shore againe, arriuing at Scotland, néere vnto Warham, the third daie after his setting foorth: yet such as were behind, and hasted after him, thought verelie he had béene gone ouer, and such a brute was spread ouer all, till at length in time the truth was knowne.

At his comming backe (as some write) he charged certeine of the Nobilitie with treason, bicause they did not follow him: wherevpon shortlie after he punished them verie gréeuuouslie, and peraduenture not without some ground of iust cause. For likelie it is that some greater matter forced him to breake vp his iournie, than appeareth in our writers, although Rafe Cogheshall setteth downe some reasons alledged by the archbishop Hubert, and earle Marshall, to persuade him not to depart the realme. But peraduenture other causes there were also of farre more importance that constreined him so greatlie against his mind & full resolution, both at the first, and now at this second time to returne. ¶ Verelie to vtter my coniecture, it may be that vpon his last determination to go ouer, he gaue new commandement to his lords to follow him, and they peraduenture vsed not such diligence in accomplishing his pleasure therein, as he looked they should haue doone: or it may be, when the armie was once discharged, the souldiers made such hast homewards, ech man towards his countrie, that it was no easie matter to bring them backe againe in any conuenient time. But howsoeuer it was, as it had béene vpon a change of purpose, he came backe againe (as before yée haue heard.)

The death of the archb. of Canturburie.
Matt. Paris.

The thirtéenth of Julie Hubert archbishop of Canturburie departed this life at Tenham, the king not being gratlie sorie for his death (as some haue written) bicause he gathered some suspicion that he bare too much good will towards the French king. In verie déed (as some write) the archbishop repented himselfe of nothing so much, as for that he had commended king John to the Noblemen and Péers of the realme, sith he prooued an other manner of man than he looked to haue found him. This archbishop had gouerned the sée of Canturburie eleuen yeares, eight moneths, and six daies.

An archbishop chosen.

After his deceasse, the moonks of Canturburie without knowledge of the king, chose one Reignold the subprior of their house to be their archbishop, who secretlie went to Rome to obteine his confirmation of the pope. Which thing bred much mischéefe and great discord betwixt pope Innocent & king John, since the pope would not confirme the election, bicause he saw some péece of secret practise, till he might vnderstand and be certified by report of sufficient witnesse (for that he wanted the letters commendatorie[Pg 293] from the king) that the same election was lawfull and orderlie made. Of this delaie also the moonks being spéedilie aduertised, and to the end they might now recouer the kings fauour, whome they had verie sore offended in not making him priuie to the first election, they made request vnto him, that by his nomination it might be lawfull for them to choose an other archbishop.

Matth. West.
John Gray bishop of Norwich president of the councell.
Matth. Paris.
Helias de Brantfield.

The king gladlie herevnto assented, requiring them to grant their voices vnto John Gray the bishop of Norwich, being both his chapleine and president of his councell. The moonks to gratifie the king obeied his request, and so electing the same bishop of Norwich, they sent their procurators to Rome in the yeare following, to signifie the same vnto the pope, and to require him to confirme this their second election, as vnmindfull of their first, and clearelie adnihilating the same to all intents and purposes. Amongst other that were sent to Rome about this businesse, Helias de Brantfield was one, a moonke of great estimation, and had in good credit with the king, who ministred vnto them that were thus sent, sufficient allowance wherewith to beare their charges and expenses.

The bishops quarell with the moonks of Canturburie about the election of an archbishop.
Gerard de Atie & Robert de Turnham takēn prisoners.

Also at the same time the bishops that were suffragans to the sée of Canturburie, sent their procurators to Rome, about a quarrell which they had against the moonks there, for that the same moonks presumed to procéed to the election of an archbishop without their consent, hauing (as they alledged) a right by ancient decrées and customes to be associat with them in the said elections. But how this matter was answered, yée shall sée hereafter. In the meane time these and other like things procured the pope to reiect both the elections, and of his owne authoritie to nominate the third person, whereby the trouble begun was not a little augmented (as you shall heare héereafter.) Now whilest these procurators were thus occupied in Rome, Philip the French king minding to conquer all that which king John yet held within France, assembled an armie, and comming before the towne of Loches, wan it, and tooke Gerard de Atie prisoner, that had so long time and with such valiancie defended it. The same time also was Robert de Turnham taken prisoner, who with great manhood had all this while repressed and chastised the rebellious Poictouins.

Hubert de Burgh a valiant capteine.
Chinon taken by force of assault.

Moreouer, when the French king had woone Loches, he went to Chinon, within the which Hubert de Burgh was capteine, a right valiant man of warre as was any where to be found, who hauing prepared all things necessarie for defense, manfullie repelled the Frenchmen, who inforced themselues to win the towne with continuall assaults and alarms, not suffering them within to rest neither day nor night, who yet for certeine daies togither, by the valiant incouragement of their capteine defended the towne, with great slaughter of the Frenchmen. Neuerthelesse, at length beginning to despaire by reason of their incessant trauell, certeine of them that were somewhat faintharted stale ouer the walles in the night, and ran to the Frenchmen, and for safegard of their liues instructed them of the whole estate of the towne. The French vnderstanding that they within were in no small feare of themselues, with such violence came vnto the walles, and renewed the assault vpon all sides, that streightwaies they entred by force. A great number of Englishmen were taken, and amongst other their capteine the foresaid Hubert de Burgh. [This chanced on the vigill of S. John Baptist.]

After this, king Philip tooke diuerse other townes and castels in that countrie, of the which some he raced, and some he fortified and stored with garisons of his souldiers. This doone he passed ouer the riuer of Loir, and wan a castell situat néere vnto a promontorie or head of land called Grapelitum, which was woont to be a great succour & aid to Englishmen arriuing on that coast. The occasion why he made wars thus vpon the Britains, was (as some write) for that Guie duke of Britaine, who had married the duches Constance, and succéeded in the duchie after hir son Arthur, without regard to reuenge the death of the same Arthur, was ioined in league with king John togither with Sauere de Mauleon, and Almerike de Lusignian, lords of great honour, power, and stoutnesse of stomach.

[Pg 294]

An. Reg. 8.
Montalban woone.
Les annales de France.
King John wan the citie of Angiers by assault.

King John also in this meane while, mooued with the increase of these his new associats, and also with desire to reuenge so manie iniuries and losses susteined at the French kings hands, preparing an armie of men, and a nauie of ships, tooke the sea with them and landed at Rochell the ninth of Julie, where he was receiued with great ioy and gladnesse of the people; and no small number of gentlemen and others that inhabited thereabout repaired vnto him, offering to aid him to the vttermost of their powers. He therefore with assured hope of good spéed departed from thence, and wan the towne of Montalban, with a great part of all the countrie thereabouts. Finallie he entred into Aniou, and comming to the citie of Angiers, appointed certeine bands of his footmen, & all his light horssemen to compasse the towne about, whilest he, with the residue of the footmen, & all the men of armes, did go to assault the gates. Which enterprise with fire and sword he so manfullie executed, that the gates being in a moment broken open, the citie was entred and deliuered to the souldiers for a preie. So that of the citizens some were taken, some killed, and the wals of the citie beaten flat to the ground. This doone, he went abroad into the countrie, and put all things that were in his way to the like destruction. Then came the people of the countries next adioining, of their owne accord to submit themselues vnto him, promising to aid him with men and vittels most plentifullie.

The duke of Britaine and other of the king Johns friēnds ouerthrowne.

King John being verie ioyfull of this good successe, marched towards Poictou, sending out his troops of horssemen to waste the countrie on euerie side. In the meane while the French king being hereof aduertised, came foorth with his armie readie furnished to resist king John, and by the way encountred with the duke of Britaine, Sauerie de Mauleon, and Almerike de Lusignian, which had béene abroad to spoile the French kings countries. But being now ouerset with the kings puissance, they were taken, and all their companie stripped out of their armour, to their great confusion. This mishap sore weakened the power and courage of king John. But the French king proud of the victorie, kept on his iournie, and approching néere vnto the place where king John was as then lodged, did cause his tents to be pitched downe for the first night, and on the morrow after, as one desirous of battell, brought his armie into the fields, ranged in good order and readie to fight.

Matth. West.
Matth. Paris.
This truce was concluded vpon All hallowes day.

The like did king John, so that with stout stomachs and eger minds, they stood there in the field readie to trie the matter with dint of sword vpon sound of the warning-blast giuen by the trumpets. Howbeit, by the mediation of certeine graue personages, as well of the spiritualtie as of the temporaltie, which were in good estimation with both the princes, a communication was appointed, which tooke such effect, that a truce was taken betwixt them for the terme of two yeares, the prisoners on either side being released by waie of exchange: and thus the wars ceased for that time. Then king Philip returned into France, and king John into England, where he landed at Portesmouth the 12 of December.

John Ferentino the popes legat.
The pope giueth sentence with ye monks against the bishops.
Sée Matt. Paris pag. 287 in the printed copie.

About this time came one John Ferentino (so called peraduenture A ferendo, a common name to all the whelps of that litter, for they neuer came into the land as legats but they would be sure to carrie out with them manie large legacies and vsurped duties) a legat from the pope into England, and passing through the same as it were in visitation, gathered a great summe of monie; and finallie at Reading on the morow after saint Lukes day, celebrated a councell, which being ended, he caused his coffers to be packed vp and sent awaie, hastening himselfe after to depart the realme, and so taking the sea bad England farewell. About the same season also pope Innocent confirmed the authoritie and power which the prior and moonks of Canturburie had to elect and choose the archbishop of that sée, giuing sentence against the suffragans which claimed a right to be ioined with the said prior and moonks in the election, as by a letter directed to the same suffragans from the said pope it may more plainelie appeare.

King John repaireth the citie of Angiers.

After this it chanced that king John remembring himselfe of the destruction of the citie of Angiers, which (bicause he was descended from thence) he had before time greatlie[Pg 295] loued, began now to repent him, in that he had destroied it, and therefore with all spéed he tooke order to haue it againe repaired, which was doone in most beautifull wise, to his great cost and expenses, which he might haue saued, had not his foolish rashnesse driuen him to attempt that, whereof vpon sober aduisement afterwards he was ashamed. But what will not an ordinarie man doo in the full tide of his furie; much more princes & great men, whose anger is resembled to the roring of a lion, euen vpon light occasions oftentimes, to satisfie their vnbrideled and brainesicke affections, which carrie them with a swift and full streame into such follies and dotages as are vndecent for their degrées. Hereto assenteth the poet, saieng,

Mal. Pal. in suo cap.
----magni regésque ducésque
Delirant sæpe, & vitiorum peste laborant,
Stultitijsque suis sæpe vrbes exitio dant,
Imperiúmque sibi miserorum cæde lucrantur.
A tax leuied.
The archbishop of Yorke stealeth out of the realme.
A mightie tempest.

Moreouer, in this yeare about Candlemasse, the K. caused the 13 part of euerie mans goods, as well of the spiritualtie, as of the temporaltie, to be leuied and gathered to his vse, all men murmuring at such dooings, but none being so hardie as to gainesaie the kings pleasure, except onelie Geffrey the archbishop of Yorke, who therevpon departing secretlie out of the realme, accursed all those that laid any hands to the collection of that paiment, within his archbishoprike of Yorke. Also vpon the 17 of Januarie then last past, about the middest of the night, there rose such a tempest of wind vpon a sudden, that manie houses were ouerthrowne therewith, and shéepe and other cattell destroied and buried in the drifts of snow, which as then laie verie déepe euerie where vpon the ground.

The emperor Otho cōmeth into England.
Fiue thousand marks of siluer, as Matth. West. and Matth. Paruus doo write.

This order of frier Minors began about this time, and increased maruellouslie within a short season. And the emperour Otho came ouer into England in this yeare, where he was most roiallie receiued by king John, who taking councell with the said emperour to renew the warre against the French king (bicause he was promised great aid at his hands for the furnishing of the same) gaue vnto him at his departing foorth of the realme, great summes of monie in hand towards the paiment of such souldiers as he should leuie for this businesse.

An. Reg. 9.
Stephan Langton chosen archbishop of Canturburie by ye popes appointment.

In the meane while, the strife depended still in the court of Rome betwixt the two elected archbishops of Canturburie, Reginald and John. But after the pope was fullie informed of the manner of their elections, he disannulled them both, and procured by his papall authoritie the moonks of Canturburie (of whome manie were then come to Rome about that matter) to choose one Stephan Langton the cardinall of S. Chrysogon an Englishman borne, and of good estimation and learning in the court of Rome to be their archbishop. The moonks at the first were loth to consent thereto, alledging that they might not lawfullie doo it without consent of their king, and of their couent.

But the pope as it were taking the word out of their mouths, said vnto them, "Doo yée not consider that we haue full authoritie and power in the church of Canturburie: neither is the assent of kings or princes to be looked for vpon elections celebrated in the presence of the apostolike sée. Wherefore I command you by vertue of your obedience, and vpon paine of curssing, that you being such and so manie here as are sufficient for the election, to choose him to your archbishop, whome I shall appoint to you for father and pastor of your soules." The moonks doubting to offend the pope, consented all of them to gratifie him, except Helias de Brantfield, who refused. And so the foresaid Stephan Langton being elected of them, was confirmed of the pope, who signified by letters the whole state therof to king John, commending the said Stephan as archbishop vnto him.

The moonks of Canturburie banished.
King John writeth to the pope.
How gainfull England was to the court of Rome.

The king sore offended in his mind that the bishop of Norwich was thus put beside that dignitie, to the which he had aduanced him, caused foorthwith all the goods of the moonks of Canturburie to be confiscate to his vse, and after banished them the relme, as well I[Pg 296] meane those at home, as those that were at Rome, and herewith wrote his letters vnto the pope, giuing him to vnderstand for answer, "that he would neuer consent that Stephan which had béene brought vp & alwaies conuersant with his enimies the Frenchmen, should now enioy the rule of the bishoprike and dioces of Canturburie. Moreouer, he declared in the same letters, that he maruelled not a little what the pope ment, in that he did not consider how necessarie the fréendship of the king of England was to the sée of Rome, sith there came more gains to the Romane church out of that kingdome, than out of any other realme on this side the mountaines. He added hereto, that for the liberties of his crowne he would stand to the death, if the matter so required. And as for the election of the bishop of Norwich vnto the sée of Canturburie, sith it was profitable to him and to his realme, he meant not to release it.

"Moreouer, he declared that if he might not be heard and haue his mind, he would suerlie restraine the passages out of this realme, that none should go to Rome, least his land should be so emptied of monie and treasure, that he should want sufficient abilitie to beat backe and expell his enimies that might attempt inuasion against the same. Lastlie of all he concluded, sith the archbishops, bishops, abbats, and other ecclesiasticall persons, as well of his realme of England, as of other his lands and dominions, were sufficientlie furnished with knowledge, that he would not go for anie néed that should driue him thereto, to séeke iustice or iudgement at the prescript of any forren persons."

The popes answer vnto the king.

The pope greatlie maruelling hereat, wrote againe to the king, requiring him to absteine from the spoiling of those men that were priuileged by the canons of the church, "that he would place the moonks againe in their house and possessions, and receiue the archbishop canonicallie elected and confirmed, the which for his learning and knowledge, as well in the liberall sciences, as in holy scripture, was thought worthie to be admitted to a prebend in Paris: and what estimation he himselfe had of him it appeared, in that he had written to him thrice since he was made cardinall, declaring that although he was minded to call him to his seruice, yet he was glad that he was promoted to an higher roome; adding further, how there was good cause that he should haue consideration of him, bicause he was borne within his land, of father and mother that were his faithfull subiects, and for that he had a prebend in the church of Yorke, which was greater and of more dignitie than that he had in Paris. Whereby not onelie by reason of flesh and bloud, but also by hauing ecclesiasticall dignitie and office, it could not be but that he loued him and his realme with sincere affection."

Manie other reasons the pope alledged in his letters to king John, to haue persuaded him to the allowing of the election of Stephan Langton. But king John was so far from giuing care to the popes admonitions, that he with more crueltie handled all such, not onelie of the spiritualtie, but also of the temporaltie, which by any manner means had aided the forenamed Stephan. The pope being hereof aduertised, thought good not to suffer such contempt of his authoritie, as he interpreted it; namelie, in a matter that touched the iniurious handling of men within orders of the church. Which example might procure hinderance, not to one priuat person alone, but to the whole estate of the spiritualtie, which he would not suffer in any wise to be suppressed. Wherefore he decréed with spéed to deuise remedie against that large increasing mischéefe. And though there was no spéedier waie to redresse the same, but by excommunication, yet he would not vse it at the first towards so mightie a prince, but gaue him libertie and time to consider his offense and trespasse so committed.

Bailiffes of London discharged and committed to ward.

¶ These things being brought to this issue, the further narration of them shall staie for a time, till I haue told you of a little trouble which about this time happened in London. For vpon the seauenth of June, the bailiffes of London, Roger Winchester and Edmund Hardell were discharged, and Serle the mercer and Hugh of saint Albons chosen in their roomes. The two former bailiffes were discharged and commited to prison by the kings commandement, vpon displeasure taken against them bicause they had resisted his purueier[Pg 297] of wheat, and would not suffer him to conueie anie of that kind of graine out of the citie, till the citie was stored. The thirtie and fiue rulers of the citie, hauing fulfilled the kings commandement to them directed for the discharging of those bailiffes, and imprisoning them, did after take aduice thither, and appointed a certeine number of themselues with other to ride vnto the king, as then being at Langley, to obteine pardon for the said bailiffes, and so comming togither, they made such excuse in the matter, shewing further, that at the same season there was such scarsitie of wheat in the citie, that the common people were at point to haue made an insurrection about the same. By which means, and through fréendship which they had in the court, the king was so satisfied, that he released them from prison, and pardoned their offenses.

The birth of king Henrie the third.
N. Triuet.
The pope writeth to the bishops.
Matt. Paris.
Nic. Triuet.
Matth. Paris.

Also vpon the first of October, Henrie the sonne of king John, begotten of his wife quéene Isabell, was borne at Winchester, who after succéeded his father in the kingdome. But now againe to our purpose. The pope perceiuing that king John continued still in his former mind (which he called obstinacie) sent ouer his bulles into England, directed to William bishop of London, to Eustace bishop of Elie, and to Mauger bishop of Worcester, commanding them that vnlesse king John would suffer peaceablie the archbishop of Canturburie to occupie his sée, and his moonks their abbie, they should put both him and his land vnder the sentence of interdiction, denouncing him and his land plainelie accurssed. And further he wrote expresse letters vnto all the suffragans of the church of Canturburie, that they should by vertue of their obedience, which they owght to the apostolike sée, receiue and obeie the archbishop Stephan for their father and metropolitane.

Romans, that is such chapleines strangers as belonged to the pope.

These bishops with other to them associate, made instant request and suit to the king for the obseruing of the popes commandement, and to eschew the censures of the church, but that was in vaine: for the king in a great rage sware, that if either they or any other presumed to put his land vnder interdiction, he would incontinentlie therevpon send all the prelats within the realme out of the same vnto the pope, and seize all their goods vnto his owne vse. And further he added, that what Romans soeuer he found within the precinct of any his dominions, he would put out their eies, and slit their noses, and so send them packing to Rome, that by such marks they might be knowne from all other nations of the world. And herewith he commanded the bishops to packe out of his sight, if they loued their owne health and preseruation.

The mondaie in the passion wéeke saith Matth. West.
The king and realme put vnder the popes curse.

Herevpon the said bishops departed, and according to the popes commission to them sent, vpon the euen of the Annuntiation of our Ladie, denounced both the king and the realme of England accursed, and furthermore caused the doores of churches to be closed vp, and all other places where diuine seruice was accustomed to be vsed, first at London, and after in all other places where they came. Then perceiuing that the K. ment not to stoope for all this which they had doone, but rather sought to be reuenged vpon them, they fled the realme, and got them ouer vnto Stephan the archbishop of Canturburie, to wit, William bishop of London, Eustace bishop of Elie, Malger bishop of Worcester, Joceline bishop of Bath, and Giles bishop of Hereford.

An. Reg. 10.
The dealing of the king after the interdiction was pronounced.

The king taking this matter in verie great displeasure, seized vpon all their temporalties, and conuerted the same to his vse, and persecuted such other of the prelacie as he knew to fauour their dooings, banishing them the realme, and seizing their goods also into his hands. Howbeit the most part of the prelats wiselie prouided for themselues in this point, so that they would not depart out of their houses, except they were compelled by force, which when the kings officers perceiued, they suffered them to remaine still in their abbies, and other habitations, bicause they had no commission to vse any violence in expelling them. But their goods they did confiscat to the kings vse, allowing them onelie meat and drinke, and that verie barelie in respect of their former allowance.

An heauie time for churchmen.
Matth. Paris.

¶ It was a miserable time now for préests and churchmen, which were spoiled on euerie hand, without finding remedie against those that offered them wrong. It is[Pg 298] reported that in the borders of Wales, the officers of a shiriffe brought before the king a fellow which had robbed and slaine a préest, desiring to vnderstand his pleasure what should be doone with that offender: vnto whom the king made this answer, "He hath slaine mine enimie, and therefore set him at libertie."

Lord William de Breuse.

The king also doubting least the pope should procéed further, and absolue all his subiects of their allegiance which they owght to him, and that his lords would happilie reuolt and forsake him in this his trouble, tooke hostages of them whom he most suspected. And as the messengers, which were sent abroad for that purpose, came vnto the lord William de Breuse, requiring to haue his sonnes for the said purpose, his wife (like a quick and hastie dame) taking the word out of hir husbands mouth, made this round answer, "that she would not deliuer hir sonnes vnto king John, who alreadie had slaine his owne nephue Arthur, whome he ought rather honourablie to haue loued and preserued." These words being signified vnto the king, set him in such an heat against hir husband (though he rebuked hir sharpelie for the same) that the said lord was glad togither with his wife and children to flée out of the realme into Ireland for safegard of their liues.

Londōn Bridge repaired.

Whereas before this time London bridge was made of timber, and was ruled, guided, & repaired by a fraternitie or colledge of préests; this yéere by great aid of the citizens of London and others passing that waie, the same bridge was begun to be made of stone. And in the same yeare S. Marie Oueries in Southwarke was begun to be repaired. The same yeare also, the citizens of London made such suit vnto the king, that he granted vnto them by his letters patents, licence to choose to themselues a maior, and two shiriffes euerie yeare. After which grant vnto them confirmed, they chose for their maior Henrie Fitz Alwin, who was sworne and charged at that present maior of that citie, vpon the day of saint Michaell the archangell, in the said tenth yeare of king John his reigne. On the same day and yeare, were Peter Duke & Thomas Nele sworne for shiriffes. Thus the name of bailiffes from thenceforth was clearelie extinguished.

John Stow.

But here yée haue to vnderstand, that this Henrie Fitz Alwin had béene maior of London long before this time, euen from the first yeare of king Richard (as John Stow hath gathered out of ancient instruments and records) vnto this present tenth yeare of king John, and now vpon grant made to the citizens, that it should be lawfull for them to choose euerie yeare a maior, and two shiriffes, for the better gouernment of their citie, the said Henrie Fitz Alwin was newlie by them elected, and likewise afterwards from yeare to yeare, till he departed this life, which chanced in the yeare 1213, and fiftéenth of king Johns reigne, so that he continued maior of the same citie of London, by the terme of twentie and foure yeares.

The signification of this word Maire.
Wulf. Laz.

¶ Now therefore bicause it appeareth here how the gouernors of the citie of London had their names altered for their greater honour, and the state of gouernment thereby partlie changed, or rather confirmed; I haue thought good (though verie bréefelie) to touch somewhat the signification of this word Maire, before I procéed any further with the rest of this historie. The ancient inhabitants of Franconia, or Frankenland, from whome the Frenchmen are descended, and their neighbors the old Saxons, of whom the Englishmen haue their originall, being people of Germanie, and descended (as Berosus seith) of the old Hebrues, haue reteined manie Hebrue words, either from the beginning, or else borowed them abroad in other regions which they conquered, passing by force of armes through a great part of the world. For no doubt, by conuersation with those people whom they subdued, they brought home into their owne countrie and toong manie borowed words, so that their language hath no small store of them fetched out of sundrie strange toongs.

Now among other old words remaining in their toong, this word Mar was one, which in Hebrue signifieth Dominus, (that is to saie, lord) but pronounced now somewhat[Pg 299] corruptlie Maire. So as it is to be supposed, hereof it came to passe that the head officer and lieutenant to the prince, as well in London as in other cities and townes of the realme, are called by that name of maior, though in the cities of London and Yorke, for an augmentation of honour by an ancient custome (through ignorance what the title of maire dooth signifie) they haue an addition, and are intituled by the name of lord maire, where Maire simplie pronounced of it selfe, signifieth no lesse than lord, without any such addition. Thus much for the name of Maire. And now to procéed.

Matth. Paris.
The eschequer remoued.

King John holding his Christmasse this yeare at Bristow, set foorth a commandement, whereby he restreined the taking of wild foule. About the same time, Henrie duke of Suaben came into England from the emperour Otho, and receiving no small portion of monie of the king, departed backe into his owne countrie againe. In the vigil of the Epiphanie also, the kings second sonne was borne, and named Richard after his vncles name. And the court of the eschequer was remoued from Westminster vnto Northampton. Moreouer in the same yeare, Walter Gray was made lord chancellour, who in all thing studied to satisfie the kings will and purpose, for the which he incurred great indignation of the cleargie, and other that fauoured not the procéedings of the king.

¶ It was suerlie a rufull thing to consider the estate of this realme at that present, when as the king neither trusted his péeres, neither the nobilitie fauoured the king; no, there were verie few that trusted one another, but ech one hid & hourded vp his wealth, looking dailie when another should come and enter vpon the spoile. The communaltie also grew into factions, some fauouring, & some cursing the king, as they bare affection. The cleargie was likewise at dissention, so that nothing preuailed but malice and spite, which brought foorth and spred abroad the fruits of disobedience to all good lawes and orders, greatlie to the disquieting of the whole state. So that herein we haue a perfect view of the perplexed state of princes, chéeflie when they are ouerswaied with forren & prophane power, and not able to assure themselues of their subiects allegiance and loialtie. Whereto this clause alludeth,

M. Pal. in suo Leo.
----cruciat comes improbus ipsos
Assidui metus atque timor, suspectáque ijsdem
Omnia sunt: hinc insidias, hinc dira venena
Concipiunt, soli nec possunt ire nec audent,
Nec sine fas illis prægustatore comesse.
An. Reg. 11.
A new oth of allegiance.
Alexander K. of Scots.

King John notwithstanding that the realme was thus wholie interdicted and vexed, so that no préests could be found to saie seruice in churches or chapels, made no great account thereof as touching any offense towards God or the pope: but rather mistrusting the hollow hearts of his people, he tooke a new oth of them for their faithfull allegiance, and immediatlie therevpon assembled an armie to go against Alexander king of Scots, vnto whome (as he had heard) diuerse of the nobilitie of this realme were fled, which Alexander was the second of that name that had ruled the Scots, and latelie before was entred into the rule as lawfull successor to the crowne of Scotland, by the death of his father K. William.

Matth. Paris.
The white moonks.

In this meane while also Stephan archbishop of Canturburie lamenting (as some haue reported) the state of his natiue countrie, and yet not minding to giue ouer his hold, obteined of pope Innocent, that vpon certeine dais it might be lawfull for an appointed number of préests within the realme of England, to celebrate diuine seruice, that is to say, for those of conuentuall churches once in the wéeke. But the moonks of the white order were forbidden to vse that priuilege, bicause in the beginning of the interdiction they had at the appointment of their principall abbat presumed to celebrate the sacraments without the popes consent or knowledge.

Matth. Paris.
Alexander K. of Scots compoundeth for peace with king John.
Matth. Paris.

In like maner on the other side, king John hauing his armie in a readinesse, hasted foorth towards the borders of Scotland, and comming to the castell of Norham, prepared to inuade the Scots. But king Alexander wanting power to giue him battell, sought to[Pg 300] come vnto some fréendlie agréement with him, and so by counsell of his lords, casting off his armour, he came to the king, and for a great summe of gold (or 11 thousand marks of siluer as some write) with much adoo he purchased peace, deliuering two of his daughters in hostage for more assurance of his dealing. Wherevpon king John, after his returne from Norham, which was about the 24 of June, shewed himselfe not a little displeased with those of the nobilitie, which had refused to attend vpon him in that iournie, hauing receiued streit commandement from him to attend vpon him at that time. Certes the cause why they refused to follow him, was euident, as they said, in that they knew him to stand accursed by the pope. About the same time also, when corne began to wax ripe, to reuenge himselfe of them that had refused to go with him in that iournie, he caused the pales of all the parks & forrests which he had within his realme to be throwne downe, & the diches to be made plaine, that the déere breaking out and ranging abroad in the corne fields, might destroie & eat vp the same before it could be ripened, for which act (if it were so in déed) manie a bitter cursse procéeded from the mouths of the poore husbandmen towards the kings person, and not vnworthilie. Moreouer in this season the Welshmen (which thing had not béene séene afore time) came vnto Woodstoke, and there did homage vnto the king, although the same was chargeable, aswell to the rich as the poore so to come out of their countrie.

Matth. Paris.
A murther at Oxford.
Thrée thousand as saith Matth. Paris.
Oxford forsaken of the scholers.
Hugh archdeacon of Welles made bishop of Lincolne.
Matth. Paris.

About the same time also, it chanced that a préest slue a woman at Oxford, and when the kings officers could not find him that had committed the murther, they apprehended thrée other préests not guiltie of the fact, and streightway hanged them vp without iudgement. With which crueltie others of the Vniuersitie being put in feare, departed thence in great numbers, and came not thither againe of a long time after, some of them repairing to Cambridge, and some to Reading to applie their studies in those places, leauing Oxford void. The same yeare one Hugh archdeacon of Welles, and kéeper of the kings great seale, was nominated bishop of Lincolne; and herewithall he craued licence to go ouer into France vnto the archbishop of Rouen, that he might be consecrated of him. Wherewith the king was contented and gladlie gaue him leaue, who no sooner got ouer into Normandie, but he streight tooke the high waie to Rome, and there receiued his consecration of Stephan archbishop of Canturburie. Now when the king vnderstood this matter, and saw the dulnesse of the bishop, he was in a wonderfull chafe toward him, and thervpon made port-sale of all his goods, and receiued the profit of the reuenues belonging to the sée of Lincolne for his own vse.


¶ There liued in those daies a diuine named Alexander Cementarius, surnamed Theologus, who by his preaching incensed the king greatlie vnto all crueltie (as the moonks and friers saie) against his subiects, affirming that the generall scourge wherewith the people were afflicted, chanced not through the princes fault, but for the wickednesse of his people, for the king was but the rod of the Lords wrath, and to this end a prince was ordeined, that he might rule the people with a rod of iron, and breake them as an earthen vessell, to chaine the mighty in fetters, & the noble men in iron manacles. He did sée (as it should séeme) the euill disposed humors of the people concerning their dutifull obedience which they ought to haue borne to their naturall prince king John, and therefore as a doctrine most necessarie in that dangerous time, he taught the people how they were by Gods lawes bound in dutie to obeie their lawfull prince, and not through any wicked persuasion of busie heads and lewd discoursers, to be carried away to forget their loiall allegiance, and so to fall into the damnable sinke of rebellion.

He went about also to prooue with likelie arguments, that it apperteined not to the pope, to haue to doo concerning the temporall possessions of any kings or other potentats touching the rule and gouernment of their subiects, sith no power was granted to Peter (the speciall and chéefe of the apostles of the Lord) but onlie touching the church, and matters apperteining therevnto. By such doctrine of him set foorth, he wan in such wise the kings fauour, that he obteined manie great preferments at the kings hands, and[Pg 301] was abbat of saint Austines in Canturburie: but at length, when his manners were notified to the pope, he tooke such order for him, that he was despoiled of all his goods and benefices, so that afterwards he was driuen in great miserie to beg his bread from doore to doore, as some write. This did he procure to himselfe by telling the trueth against that beast, whose hornes were pricking at euerie christian prince, that he might set himselfe in a seat of supremasie aboue all principalities: so that we may saie,

In audaces non est audacia tuta.
Matth. Paris.
Jewes taxed.
A Jew hath his téeth drawne out.

Furthermore, about the same time the king taxed the Jewes, and gréeuouslie tormented and emprisoned them, bicause diuers of them would not willinglie pay the summes that they were taxed at. Amongst other, there was one of them at Bristow, which would not consent to giue anie fine for his deliuerance: wherefore by the kings commandement he was put vnto this penance, that euerie daie, till he would agrée to giue to the king those ten thousand marks that he was seized at, he should haue one of his téeth plucked out of his head. By the space of seauen daies togither he stood stedfast, loosing euerie of those daies a tooth, but on the eight day, when he should come to haue the eight tooth and the last (for he had but eight in all) drawne out, he paid the monie to saue that one, who with more wisedome and lesse paine might haue doone so before, and haue saued his seauen téeth, which he lost with such torments, for those homelie toothdrawers vsed no great cunning in plucking them foorth (as may be coniectured.)

An. Reg. 12.
Matth. Paris.
King John passeth ouer into Ireland.
Matth. Paris.
Walter de Lacie.
The Ladie de Breuse & hir sonne taken.

Whilest king John was thus occupied, newes came to him, that the Irish rebels made foule worke and sore annoied the English subiects. He therefore assembling a mightie armie, imbarked at Penbroke in Wales, and so hasting towards Ireland, arriued there the twentie fiue of Maie, and brought the people in such feare immediatlie vpon his arriuall, that all those that inhabited vpon the sea coasts in the champaine countries, came in, and yéelded themselues, receiuing an oth to be true and faithfull vnto him. There were twentie of the chéefest rulers within Ireland, which came to the king at his comming to Dublin, and there did to him homage and fealtie as apperteined. The king at the same time ordeined also, that the English lawes should be vsed in that land, and appointed shiriffes and other officers to haue the order of the countrie, to rule the same according to the English ordinances. After this, he marched forward into the land, and tooke diuerse fortresses and strong holds of his enimies, which fled before him, for feare to be apprehended as Walter de Lacie and manie other. At length, comming into the countrie of Meth, he besieged a castell, wherein the wife of William de Breuse, and hir sonne named also William were inclosed, but they found means to escape before the castell was woone, though afterward they were taken in the Ile of Man, and sent by the king into England, where they were so straitlie kept within the castell of Windsor, that (as the fame went) they were famished to death.

A present of white kine.
He himselfe escapeth.

¶ We read in an old historie of Flanders, written by one whose name is not knowne, but printed at Lions by Guillaume Rouille, in the yeare 1562, that the said ladie, wife to the lord William de Breuse, presented vpon a time vnto the quéene of England, a gift of foure hundred kine, and one bull, of colour all white, the eares excepted, which were red. Although this tale may séeme incredible, yet if we shall consider that the said Breuse was a lord marcher, and had goodlie possessions in Wales, and on the marshes, in which countries the most part of the peoples substance consisteth in cattell, it may carrie with it the more likelihood of truth. And suerlie the same author writeth of the iournie made this yeare into Ireland, so sensiblie, and namelie touching the manners of the Irish, that he séemeth to haue had good informations, sauing that he misseth in the names of men and places, which is a fault in maner common to all forreine writers. Touching the death of the said ladie, he saith, that within eleuen daies after she was committed to prison héere in England, she was found dead, sitting betwixt hir sonnes legs, who likewise being dead, sate directlie vp against a wall of the chamber, wherein they were kept[Pg 302] with hard pitance (as writers doo report.) William the father escaped, and got away into France.

The bishop of Norwich lord lieutenant of Ireland.
Irish monie reformed.
The king returneth into England.

Thus the more part of the Irish people being brought vnder, he appointed John Gray the bishop of Norwich, to be his deputie there, remoouing out of that office Hugh Lacie, which bare great rule in that quarter before. The bishop then being appointed deputie and chéefe iustice of Ireland, reformed the coine there, causing the same to be made of like weight and finenesse to the English coine, so that the Irish monie was currant, as well in England, as in Ireland, being of the like weight, forme, and finenesse to the English. Moreouer, those that inhabited the wood-countries and the mounteine places, though they would not as then submit themselues, he would not at that time further pursue, bicause winter was at hand, which in that countrie approcheth timelie in the yeare. Hauing thus subdued the more part of all Ireland, and ordred things there at his pleasure, he tooke the sea againe with much triumph, and landed in England about the thirtith day of August.

An assemblie of the prelats at London.
A tax leuied.

From hence he made hast to London, and at his comming thither, tooke counsell how to recouer the great charges and expenses that he had béene at in this iournie, and by the aduise of William Brewer, Robert de Turnham, Reignold de Cornhill, and Richard de Marish, he caused all the chéefe prelats of England to assemble before him at S. Brides in London. So that thither came all the abbats, abbesses, templers, hospitallers, kéepers of farmes and possessions of the order of Clugnie, and other such forreners as had lands within this realme belonging to their houses. All which were constreined to paie such a gréeuous tax, that the whole amounted to the summe of an hundred thousand pounds. The moonks of the Cisteaux order, otherwise called white moonks, were constreined to paie 40 thousand pounds of siluer at this time, all their priuileges to the contrarie notwithstanding. Moreouer, the abbats of that order might not get licence to go their generall chapter that yéere, which yéerelie was vsed to be holden, least their complaint should mooue all the world against the king, for his too hard and seuere handling of them.

An. Reg. 13.
King John goeth into Wales with an armie.
Matth. Paris.
White church I thinke.
Pandulph & Durant the popes legats.

In the summer following, about the 18 day of Julie, king John with a mightie armie went into Wales, and passing foorth into the inner parts of the countrie, he came into Snowdon, beating downe all that came in his way, so that he subdued all the rulers and princes, without contradiction. And to be the better assured for their subiection in time following, he tooke pledges of them, to the number of 28, & so returned to Album Monasterium on the daie of the Assumption of our ladie, from whence he first set foorth into the Welsh confines. In the same yeare also, the pope sent two legats into England, the one named Pandulph a lawier, and the other Durant a templer, who comming vnto king John, exhorted him with manie terrible words to leaue his stubborne disobedience to the church, and to reforme his misdooings. The king for his part quietlie heard them, and bringing them to Northampton, being not fare distant from the place where he met them vpon his returne foorth of Wales had much conference with them; but at length, when they perceiued that they could not haue their purpose, neither for restitution of the goods belonging to préests which he had seized vpon, neither of those that apperteined to certeine other persons, which the king had gotten also into his hands, by meanes of the controuersie betwixt him and the pope the legats departed, leauing him accursed, and the land interdicted, as they found it at their comming.

Matth. Paris.

¶ Touching the maner of this interdiction there haue béene diuerse opinions, some haue said, that the land was interdicted throughlie, and the churches and houses of religion closed vp, that no where was anie diuine seruice vsed: but it was not so streit, for there were diuerse places occupied with diuine seruice all that time, by certeine priuiledges purchased either then or before. Children were also christened, and men houseled and annoiled through all the land, except such as were in the bill of excommunication by name expressed. But to our purpose.

Reginald erle of Bullongne.

King John, after that the legats were returned toward Rome againe, punished diuerse[Pg 303] of those persons which had refused to go with him into Wales, in like maner as he had doone those that refused to go with him into Scotland: he tooke now of ech of them for euerie knights fée two marks of siluer, as before is recited. About the same time also, Reginald earle of Bullongne being accursed in like maner as king John was, for certeine oppressions doone to poore men, and namelie to certeine préests, fled ouer into England, bicause the French king had banished him out of France.

The like league was made in the same first yeare of king John betwixt him & Ferdinando earle of Flanders.

The chéefest cause of the French kings displeasure towards this earle, may séeme to procéed of the amitie and league which was concluded betwixt king John, and the said earle, in the first yeare of the said king's reigne, whereby they bound themselues either to other, not to make anie peace, or to take anie truce with the king of France, without either others consent first thereto had, and that if after anie agréement taken betwixt them and the king of France, he should chance to make warre against either of them, then should the other aid and assist him, against whom such ware should be made, to the vttermost of his power.

This league was accorded to remaine for euer betwixt them and their heires, with suerties sworne on either part: and for the king of England, these, whose names insue, William Marshall earle of Penbroke, Ranulfe earle of Chester, Robert earle of Leicester, Baldwine earle of Albemarle, William earle of Arundell, Ralfe earle of Augi, Robert de Mellet, Hugh de Gourney, William de Kaeu, Geffrey de Cella, Roger conestable of Chester, Ralfe Fitz Water, William de Albanie, Robert de Ros, Richard de Montfichet, Roger de Thoney, Saer de Quincie, William de Montchenise, Peter de Pratellis, William de Poole aliàs de Stagno, Adam de Port, Robert de Turneham, William Mallet, Eustace de Vescie, Peter de Brus, William de Presennie, Hubert de Burgh, William de Mansey, and Peter Sauenie. For the earle, these were suerties, Anselme de Kaeu, Guy Lieschans, Ralfe the said earles brother, &c. But now to returne.

After that the earle of Bullongne was expelled out of France (as before ye haue heard) he came ouer to king John, and was of him ioifullie receiued, hauing thrée hundred pounds of reuenues in land to him assigned within England, for the which he did homage and fealtie vnto him. Shortlie after this also, died William de Breuse the elder, which fled from the face of king John out of Ireland into France, and departing this life at Corbell, was buried at Paris in the abbeie of S. Victor.


In the meane time pope Innocent, after the returne of his legats out of England, perceiuing that king John would not be ordered by him, determined with the consent of his cardinals and other councellours, and also at the instant suit of the English bishops and other prelats being there with him, to depriue king John of his kinglie state, and so first absolued all his subiects and vassals of their oths of allegiance made vnto the same king, and after depriued him by solemne protestation of his kinglie administration and dignitie, and lastlie signified that his depriuation vnto the French king and other christian princes, admonishing them to pursue king John, being thus depriued, forsaken, and condemned as a common enimie to God and his church. He ordeined furthermore, that whosoeuer imploied goods or other aid to vanquish and ouercome that disobedient prince, should remaine in assured peace of the church, as well as those which went to visit the sepulchre of our Lord, not onlie in their goods and persons, but also in suffrages for sauing of their soules.

Pāndulph sent into France to practise with the frēnch king, for king John his destruction.

But yet that it might appeare to all men, that nothing could be more ioifull vnto his holinesse, than to haue king John to repent his trespasses committed, and to aske forgiuenesse for the same, he appointed Pandulph, which latelie before was returned to Rome, with a great number of English exiles, to go into France, togither with Stephan the archbishop of Canturburie, and the other English bishops, giuing him in commandement, that repairing vnto the French king, he should communicate with him all that which he had appointed to be doone against king John, and to exhort the French king to make warre vpon him, as a person for his wickednesse excommunicated. Moreouer this Pandulph[Pg 304] was commanded by the pope, if he saw cause, to go ouer into England, and to deliuer vnto king John such letters as the pope had written for his better instruction, and to séeke by all means possible to draw him from his naughtie opinion.

In the meane time, when it was bruted through the realme of England, that the pope had released the people & absolued them of their oth of fidelitie to the king, and that he was depriued of his gouernement by the popes sentence, by little and little a great number both of souldiers, citizens, burgesses, capteins and conestables of castels, leauing their charges, & bishops with a great multitude of préests reuolting from him, and auoiding his companie and presence, secretlie stale awaie, and got ouer into France.

Matth. West.
Matt. Paris.
The names of the noble men that cōntinued true vnto K. John.

Notwithstanding that diuerse in respect of the popes cursse, and other considerations them mouing, vtterlie refused in this manner to obeie king John, yet there were manie others that did take his part, and mainteine his quarell verie earnestlie, as his brother William earle of Salisburie, Alberike de Véere erle of Oxford, Geffrey Fitz Peter lord chéefe iustice of England, also thrée bishops, Durham, Winchester, and Norwich, Richard de Marish lord chancellour, Hugh Neuill chiefe forrester, William de Wrothing lord warden of the ports, Robert Veipount and his brother Yuan, Brian de Lisle, Geffrey de Lucie, Hugh Ballioll, and his brother Barnard, William de Cantlow and his son William Fulke de Cantlow, Reginald de Cornehull shiriffe of Kent, Robert Braibrooke and his son Harrie, Philip de Louecotes, John de Bassingborne, Philip March, Chatelaine of Notingham, Peter de Maulley, Robert de Gaugy, Gerard de Athie and his nephue Ingelrand, William Brewer, Peter Fitz Hubert, Thomas Basset, and Foulks de Briant a Norman, with many other, too long here to rehearse, who as fautors and councellors vnto him, sought to defend him in all causes, notwithstanding the censures of the church so cruellie pronounced against him; knowing that they were bound in conscience to sticke to him, now speciallie in this general apostasie of his péeres and people. For they were opinioned, that it was

Ouid. lib. 2. de Pont.
Turpe referre pedem, nec passu stare tenaci,
Turpe laborantem deseruisse ratem.

The same yeare king John held his Christmasse at Windsor, and in the Lent following, on midlent sundaie being at London, he honoured the lord Alexander sonne and heire to the king of Scots, with the high order of knighthood. And (as I find it mentioned by some writers) wheras he vnderstood how there were diuerse in Scotland, that contemning their naturall lord and king by reason of his great age, king John went thither with an armie to represse the rebels, and being come thither, he sent his men of war into the inner parts of the country, who scowring the coasts, took Guthred Macwilliam capteine of them that moued sedition, whom king John caused to be hanged on a paire of gallowes. This Guthred was descended of the line of the ancient Scotish kings, and being assisted with the Irishmen and Scots that fauoured not the race of the kings that presentlie reigned, wrought them much trouble, as his father (named Donald) had doone before him, sometime secretlie vnder hand, and sometime againe by way of open rebellion.

The Welshmen mooue rebellion.
Matth. Paris.
An. Reg. 14.
King John hangeth the Welsh pledges.

Shortlie after, the Welshmen began to sturre also, who rushing out of their owne confines, fell vpon their next neighbours within the English marshes, wasted the countrie, and ouerthrew diuerse castels flat to the ground. Whereof the king hauing knowledge, assembled a mightie armie out of hand, and comming to Notingham, he hanged vp the Welsh hostages which the last yeare he had receiued, to the number of eight and twentie yoong striplings. And by reason he was now set in a maruellous chafe, he roughlie procéeded against all those whom he knew not to fauor his case: some he discharged of their offices, other he depriued of their capteineships and other roomes, & reuoked certeine priuileges & immunities granted to moonks, préests, & men of religion.

Matth. Paris.
King John breaketh vp his armie.

Furthermore, hauing his armie readie to passe on into Wales, he receiued letters the same time, both from the king of Scots, and from his daughter the wife of Leoline prince of Wales, conteining in effect the aduertisement of one matter, which was to let him[Pg 305] know, that if he procéeded on his iournie, he should either through treason be slaine of his owne lords, or else be deliuered to be destroied of his enimies. The king iudging no lesse, but that the tenor of the letters conteined a truth, brake vp his armie and returned to London. From whence he sent messengers vnto all such lords as he suspected, commanding them to send vnto him hostages for more assurance of their fidelities. The lords durst not disobeie his commandement, but sent their sons, their nephues, and other their kinsmen, accordinglie as he required, and so his rancour was appeased for a time. But Eustace de Vescie, Robert Fitz Walter, and Stephan Ridell, being accused and suspected of the K. for the said treason, were glad to flée the realme, Vescie departing into Scotland, and the other two into France.

Matth. Paris.
Matt. West.
Saint Marie Oueries burnt.
The deceasse of Geffrey the archbishop of Yorke.

The same yeare, the church of S. Marie Oueries, and all the building vpon London bridge on both sides the same, were consumed with fire, which was iudged to be a signification of some mishap to follow. The king held his Christmasse this yeare at Westminster, with no great traine of knights about him. About the same time Geffrey archbishop of Yorke departed this life, after he had remained in exile about a seauen yeares. But now to returne againe to the practises of the popes legats.

The French king prepared to inuade England.

Ye shall vnderstand, the French king being requested by Pandulph the popes legat, to take the warre in hand against king John, was easilie persuaded thereto of an inward hatred that he bare vnto our king, and therevpon with all diligence made his prouision of men, ships, munition and vittell, in purpose to passe ouer into England: and now was his nauie readie rigged at the mouth of Saine, and he in greatest forwardnesse, to take his iournie. When Pandulph vpon good considerations thought first to go eftsoones, or at the least wise to send into England, before the French armie should land there, and to assaie once againe, if he might induce the king to shew himselfe reformable vnto the popes pleasure: king John hauing knowledge of the French kings purpose and ordinance, assembled his people, and lodged with them alongst by the coast towards France, that he might resist his enimies, and kéepe them off from landing.

An. Reg. 15.
Matth. Paris.
The great armie which K. John assembled togither.
The bishop of Norwich.

Here writers declare, that he had got togither such an armie of men out of all the parts of his realme, both of lords, knights, gentlemen, yeomen, & other of the commons, that notwithstanding all the prouision of vittels that might possible be recouered, there could not be found sufficient store to susteine the huge multitude of them that were gathered alongst the coast, namelie at Douer, Feuersham, Gipsewich, and other places. Wherevpon the capteins discharged and sent home a great number of the commons, reteining onelie the men of armes, yeomen, and fréeholders, with the crossebowes and archers. There came likewise to the kings aid at the same time, the bishop of Norwich out of Ireland, bringing with him fiue hundred men of armes, & a great sort of other horssemen.

To conclude, there was estéemed of able men assembled togither in the armie on Barhamdowne, what of chosen men of armes, and valient yeomen, and other armed men, the number of sixtie thousand: so that if they had béene all of one mind, and well bent towards the seruice of their king and defense of their countrie, there had not béene a prince in christendome, but that they might haue béene able to haue defended the realme of England against him. He had also prouided a nauie of ships farre stronger than the French kings, readie to fight with them by sea, if the case had so required.

Two knights of the temple.

But as he lay thus readie, néere to the coast, to withstand and beat backe his enimies, there arriued at Douer two Templers, who comming before the king, declared vnto him that they were sent from Pandulph the popes legat, who for his profit coueted to talke with him: for he had (as they affirmed) meanes to propone, whereby he might be reconciled, both to God and his church, although he were adiudged in the court of Rome, to haue forfeited all the right which he had to his kingdome.

The legat Pandulph cōmeth ouer.

The king vnderstanding the meaning of the messengers sent them backe againe to bring ouer the legat, who incontinentlie came ouer to Douer, of whose arriuall when the king[Pg 306] was aduertised, he went thither, and receiued him with all due honour and reuerence. Now after they had talked togither a little, and courteouslie saluted each other (as the course of humanitie required) the legat (as it is reported) vttered these words following.

The sawcie spéech of proud Pandulph the popes lewd legat, to king Iohn, in the presumptuous popes behalfe.

I doo not thinke that you are ignorant, how pope Innocent, to do that which to his dutie apperteineth, hath both absolued your subiects of that oth which they made vnto you at the beginning, and also taken from you the gouernance of England, according to your deserts, and finallie giuen commandement vnto certeine princes of Christendome, to expell you out of this kingdom and to place an other in your roome; so worthilie to punish you for your disobedience and contempt of religion: and that Philip king of France, with the first being readie to accomplish the popes commandement, hath an armie in a readinesse, and with his nauie newlie decked, rigged and furnished in all points, lieth at the mouth of the riuer of Saine, looking for a prosperous wind, that as soone as it commeth about, he may saile therewith hither into England, trusting (as he saith) with the helpe of your owne people (which neither name you, nor will take you for their king) to spoile you of your kingdome with small adoo, and to conquer it at his pleasure, for he hath (as he sticketh not to protest openlie to the world) a charter made by all the chéefest lords of England touching their fealtie and obedience assured to him. Therfore, sith God for your iust desert is wroth with you, and that you are as euill spoken of by all men, as they that come against you be well reported, I would aduise you, that whilest there is a place for grace and fauour, rather to obeie the popes iust demands, to whose word other Christian princes are readie to giue eare, than by striuing in vaine to cast awaie your selfe and all others that take your part, or are bent to defend your quarell or cause.

K. John deliuereth his crowne vnto Pandulph.

These words being thus spoken by the legat, king John as then vtterlie despairing in his matters, when he saw himselfe constreined to obeie, was in a great perplexitie of mind, and as one full of thought, looked about him with a frowning countenance, waieng with himselfe what counsell were best for him to follow. At length, oppressed with the burthen of the imminent danger and ruine, against his will, and verie loth so to haue doone, he promised vpon his oth to stand to the popes order and decrée. Wherefore shortlie after (in like manner as pope Innocent had commanded) he tooke the crowne from his owne head, and deliuered the same to Pandulph the legat, neither he, nor his heires at anie time thereafter to receiue the same, but at the popes hands. Vpon this, he promised to receiue Stephan the archbishop of Canturburie into his fauour, with all other the bishops and banished men, making vnto them sufficient amends for all iniuries to them doone, and so to pardon them, that they should not run into any danger, for that they had rebelled against him.

Pandulph restoreth the crowne again to the king.

Then Pandulph kéeping the crowne with him for the space of fiue daies in token of possession thereof, at length (as the popes vicar) gaue it him againe. By meanes of this act (saith Polydor) the fame went abroad, that king John willing to continue the memorie hereof, made himselfe vassall to pope Innocent, with condition, that his successors should likewise from thencefoorth acknowledge to haue their right to the same kingdome from the pope. But those kings that succéeded king John, haue not observed any such lawes of reconciliation, neither doo the autentike chronicles of the realme make mention of any such surrender, so that such articles as were appointed to king John to obserue, perteined vnto him that had offended, and not to his successors. Thus saith Polydor.

[Pg 307]

Ran. Higd.
England became tributarie to the pope.
Matth. West.
Matth. Paris.

Howbeit, Ranulph Higden in his booke intituled Polychronicon, saith indéed, that king John did not onelie bind himselfe, but his heires and successors, being kings of England, to be feudaries vnto pope Innocent and his successors popes of Rome, that is to say, that they should hold their dominions of them in fée, yéelding and paieng yéerelie to the sée of Rome the summe of seauen hundred marks for England, and thrée hundred marks for Ireland. Furthermore, by report of the most autentike and approoued writers, king John, to auoid all dangers, which (as he doubted) might insue, despairing as it were in himselfe, or rather most speciallie for lacke of loiall dutie in his subiects, consented to all the persuasions of Pandulph, and so (not without his great hart-gréefe) he was contented to take his oth, togither with sixtéene earles and barons, who laieng their hands vpon the holie euangelists, sware with him vpon perill of their soules, that he should stand to the iudgement of the church of Rome, and that if he repented him, and would refuse to stand to promise, they should then compell him to make satisfaction. Héervpon, they being all togither at Douer, the king and Pandulph, with the earls and barons, and a great multitude of other people, agréed and concluded vpon a finall peace in forme as here insueth.

The charter of king Iohn his submission, as it was conueied to the pope at Rome.

Iohannes Dei gratia rex Angliæ, omnibus Christi fidelibus hanc chartam inspecturis, salutem in Domino. Vniuersitati vestræ per hanc chartam sigillo nostro munitam, volumus esse notum, quod cùm Deum et matrem nostram sanctam ecclesiam offenderimus in multis, & proinde diuina misericordia plurimùm indigeamus, nec quid dignè offerre possimus pro satisfactione Deo & ecclesiæ debita facienda, nisi nosmetipsos humiliemus & regna nostra, volentes nosipsos humiliare, pro illo qui se pro nobis humiliauit vsq; ad mortem, gratia sancti spiritus inspirante, non vi interdicti nec timore coacti, sed nostra bona spontaneáq; voluntate, ac communi consilio baronum nostrorum conferimus, & liberè concedimus Deo & sanctis apostolis eius Petro & Paulo, & sanctæ Romanæ ecclesiæ matri nostræ, ac domino papæ Innocentio, eiúsq; catholicis successoribus, totum regnum Angliæ, & totum regnum Hyberniæ, cùm omni iure & pertinentijs suis, pro remissione omnium peccatorum nostrorum, et totius generis nostri, tam pro viuis quàm pro defunctis, & amodò illa ab eo & ecclesia Romana tanquam secundarius recipientes & tenentes, in præsentia prudentis viri Pandulphi domini papæ subdiaconi & familiaris.

Exindè prædicto domino papæ Innocentio, eiúsque catholicis successoribus, & ecclesiæ Romanæ, secundùm subscriptam formam fecimus & iurauimus, et homagium ligium in præsentia Pandulphi; si coram domino papa esse poterimus, eidem faciemus: successores nostros & hæredes de vxore nostra in perpetuum obligantes, vt simili modo summo pontifici, qui pro tempore fuerit, & ecclesiæ Romanæ, sine contradictione debeant fidelitatem præstare, & homagium recognoscere.

Ad indicium autem huius nostræ perpetuæ obligationis & concessionis, volumus & stabilimus, vt de proprijs & specialibus redditibus nostris prædictorum regnorum, pro omni seruitio & consuetudine, quæ pro ipsis facere debemus, saluis per omnia denarijs beati Petri, ecclesia Romana mille marcas Esterlingorum percipiat annuatim: in festo scilicet sancti Michaëlis quingentas marcas, & in Pascha quingentas: septingentas scilicet pro regno Angliæ, & trecentas pro regno Hyberniæ, saluis nobis & hæredibus nostris, iustitijs, libertatibus, & regalibus nostris. Quæ omnia, sicut supra scripta sunt, rata esse volentes atque firma, obligamus nos & successores nostros contra non venire, & si nos vel aliquis successorum nostrorum contra hæc attentare præsumpserit, quicunq; ille fuerit, nisi ritè commonitus resipuerit, cadat à iure regni.

[Pg 308]

Et hæc charta obligationis & concessionis nostræ, semper firma permaneat. Teste meipso, apud domum militum templi iuxta Doueram, coram H. Dublinensi archiepiscopo, Iohanne Norwicensi episcopo, Galfrido filio Petri, W. comite Sarisburiæ, Willielmo comite Penbroc, R. comite Bononiæ, W. comite Warrennæ, S. comite Winton, W. comite Arundel, W. comite de Ferarijs, W. Briwere, Petro filio Hereberti, Warino filio Geroldi, 15 die Maij, anno regni nostri decimo quarto.

This déed and instrument being written and ingrossed, the king deliuered it vnto Pandulph, to take with him to Rome, there to make deliuerie thereof to pope Innocent, and herewith did homage to the same pope, in forme as followeth.

The words of fealtie made by king Iohn to the pope.

Ego Iohannes Dei gratia rex Angliæ, & dominus Hyberniæ, ab hac hora & in antea, fidelis ero Deo & beato Petro et ecclesiæ Romanæ, & domino meo papæ domino Innocentio, eiúsq; successoribus catholicè intrantibus. Non ero in facto, in dicto, consensu vel consilio, vt vitam perdant vel membra, vel mala captione capiantur. Eorum damnum si sciuero, impediam, & remanere faciam si potero: alioquin eis quàm citiùs potero intimabo, vel tali personæ dicam, quàm eis credam pro certo dicturam. Consilium quod mihi crediderint, per se vel per nuncios suos seu literas suas, secretum, tenebo, & ad eorum damnum nulli pandam me sciente. Patrimonium beati Petri, & specialiter regnum Angliæ, & regnum Hyberniæ adiutor ero ad tenendum & defendendum, contra omnes homines pro posse meo. Sic me adiuuet Deus, & hæc sancta euangelia, Amen. Acta autem sunt hæc, vt prædictum est, in vigilia dominicæ Ascensionis ad Doueram, Anno 1213.

In English thus.

Iohn by the grace of God king of England, and lord of Ireland, from this houre forward, shall be faithfull to God and to saint Peter, and to the church of Rome, and to my lord pope Innocentius, and to his successours lawfully entring. I shall not be in word nor déed, in consent or counsell, that they should lose life or member, or be apprehended in euill manner. Their losse if I may know it, I shall impeach and staie, so far as I shal be able, or else so shortlie as I can I shall signifie vnto them, or declare to such person the which I shall beléeue will declare the same vnto them. The counsell which they shal commit to me by themselues, their messengers, or letters, I shall kéepe secret, and not vtter to any man to their hurt to my knowledge. The patrimonie of S. Peter, and speciallie the kingdomes of England and Ireland, I shall indeuour my selfe to defend against all men to my power. So helpe me God, and these holie euangelists, Amen. These things were done on the éeue of the Ascension of our Lord, in the yeare 1213.

Matth. Paris.
Fortie thousand marks of siluer saith Matth. West.
The French K. displeased for the reconciliation of K. John with the pope.

Pandulph hauing thus reconciled king John, thought not good to release the excommunication, till the king had performed all things which he had promised, and so with all spéed hauing receiued eight thousand markes sterling in part of restitution to be made to the archbishop, and the other banished men, he sailed backe into France, & came to Roan, where he declared to king Philip the effect of his trauell, and what he had doone in England. But king Philip hauing in this meane while consumed a great masse of monie, to the summe of sixtie thousand pounds, as he himselfe alledged, about the furniture of his iournie, which he intended to haue made into England, vpon hope to haue had no small aid within the realme, by reason of such bishops and other banished men as[Pg 309] he had in France with him, was much offended for the reconciliation of king John, and determined not so to breake off his enterprise, least it might be imputed to him for a great reproch to haue béene at such charges and great expenses in vaine. Therefore calling his councell togither, he declared vnto them what he purposed to doo.

The French king meaneth to procéed in his iournie against the realme of England.

All his Nobles in like manner held with him, and allowed his purpose to be verie good and requisite, except the earle of Flanders named Ferdinando who (in hope to recouer againe those townes, which the French king held from him in Arthois, as Aire, and S. Omers) had ioined secretlie in league with king John, and with the earle of Bullongne, and therefore misliked the conclusion of their aduise. Howbeit king Philip not being yet fullie certified hereof, caused his nauie to draw alongest the coast towards Flanders, whither he himselfe hasted to go also by land, that comming thither, he might from thence saile ouer into England, and take land at a place to him assigned.

The French K. inuadeth Flanders.
Gaunt besieged by the French king.

Now it came to passe, that at his comming to Graueling, he had perfect knowledge, that the earle of Flanders was ioined in league with his enimies, wherfore he determined first to subdue the earle, least whilest he should be out of his realme, some great trouble or sedition might rise within his owne dominions. Therfore, leauing the enterprise which he ment to haue made against England, he turned his power against the earle of Flanders and first commanded his nauie to saile vnto the port of Dam, whilest he himselfe kéeping on his iournie still by land, tooke the town of Cassile, and likewise Ypres. From thence he went to Bruges, and besieged the towne, but he could not win it at the first, and therefore leauing a power of men to mainteine the siege before it, he himselfe went to Gaunt, and thereto also laid his siege.

Matth. Paris.

In the mean time, the earle of Flanders perceiuing that he was not able to resist so puissant an enimie as the French king, sent ouer in hast vnto the king of England for aid. Wherevpon king John vnderstanding that his aduersarie king Philip had turned all his force against the earle of Flanders, and that thereby he was deliuered out of the feare of the Frenchmens comming into England; that same nauie (which as before is recited) he had put in a readinesse, conteining the number of fiue hundred saile, he sent streight into Flanders with a strong armie, both of horssemen and footmen, vnder the guiding of William duke of Holland, William Longspée earle of Salisburie base brother to king John, and Reignold earle of Bullongne.

These capteins being now passed foorth with their fléets into the maine sea, espied anon manie ships lieng without the hauen of Dam (for the number of ships of the French fléet was so great, that the hauen could not receiue them all, so that manie of them laie at anchor without the hauen mouth, and all alongst the coast.) Wherefore they sent foorth certeine shallops, to espie whether they were fréends or enimies, and what their number and order was. It chanced, that the same time the men of warre which were appointed to kéepe the French fléet, were gone foorth, togither with a great number of the mariners, to spoile and fetch booties abroad in the countrie.

The English men assaile the French ships.

The English espials therefore, making semblance as though they had béene some fishermen of those parts, came verie néere the French ships lieng at anchor, and perceiuing them to be vnfurnished of people necessarie to defend them, came backe to their companie, and declared what they had séene, certifieng their capteins that the victorie was in their hands, if they would make spéed. The capteins glad of these newes, commanded their men to make them readie to giue battell, and causing their mariners to make saile directlie towards the French fléet, at their first approch they wanne those tall ships that laie at anchor abroad before the hauen, without any great resistance, the mariners onelie making request to haue their liues saued. The other smaller vessels which (after the tide was gone) remained vpon the sands (spoiling them first of their tackle and other things that would serue to vse) they consumed with fire, the mariners escaping by flight.

The English men wanne the French ships.

Thus the Englishmen hauing dispatched this businesse with good successe, did set vpon those ships that laie in harbrough within the hauen. But here was hard hold for a[Pg 310] while, bicause the narrownesse of the place would not giue any great aduantage to the greater number. And those Frenchmen that were gone abroad into the countrie, perceiuing that the enimies were come, by the running awaie of the mariners, returned with all spéed to their ships to aid their fellowes, and so made valiant resistance for a time, till the Englishmen getting on land, and ranging themselues on either side of the hauen, beat the Frenchmen so on the sides, and the ships grapling togither on front, that they fought as it had bin in a pitcht field, till that finallie the Frenchmen were not able to susteine the force of the Englishmen, but were constreined (after long fight and great slaughter) to yéeld themselues prisoners.

The English capteins glad of this victorie gotten, contrarie to expectation, first gaue thanks to God for the same, and then manning thrée hundred of those French ships, which they had taken fraught with corne, wine, oile, flesh, and other vittels, and also with armour, they sent them awaie into England, and afterwards they set fire vpon the residue that laie on ground, which were aboue an hundred, bicause they were drawne vp so farre vpon the sands, that they could not easilie get them out, without their further inconuenience. After this, comming on land with their power, they marched foorth into the countrie in good order of battell, to the end that if they should encounter with king Philip by the way comming to the rescue of his ships, they might be readie to giue them battell, which thing was not deuised, without good and great consideration.

For king Philip being certified of the danger wherein his ships stood by the sudden comming of his enimies, and therewithall being in good hope to come to their succours in time, and yer the Englishmen had wrote their full feat, he raised his siege, and made hast toward the coast: but as he was comming forward towards his nauie, he was aduertised that the enimies had woone all his whole fléet, and were now marching foorth to méet him, and to giue him battell. Also it was told him, how Ferdinando the earle of Flanders, being certified of the victorie atchiued by his fréends, followed at his backe. Wherefore, least he should séeme ouer rashlie to commit himselfe into manifest perill, he staied a little from Bruges, and there incamped for that day, as if he ment to abide the comming of his enimies.

The French K. returneth into France.

The next morrow he raised and returned towards France, the verie same waie that he came, no man pursuing him. For the Englishmen contented with that victorie which they had gotten, thought it not necessarie to follow him with their further hazard. In the meane time, king John receiuing newes of this prosperous victorie thus gotten by his people, did woonderfullie reioise for the same, conceiuing an hope, that all his businesse would now come forward and growe to good successe.

Matt. Paris.
Iacob. Meir.

¶ This is the truth of this historie, as some authors haue set it foorth. But Iames Meir in his discourse of Flanders declareth the matter somwhat otherwise, as thus: Vpon the thursdaie before the Pentecost (saith he) the English fléet setting vpon the French nauie, which laie at anchor in the hauen of Dam, drowned certeine of the French vessels, and tooke to the number of foure, which they conueied awaie with them. Ferdinando the earle of Flanders hauing an armie of men readie by land, was lodged the same time not far off from the coast and therefore hearing what had chanced, came the next day, and ioined with the Englishmen.

The Englishmen and Flemings vanquished by the French force.

There were yet remaining also diuerse other of the French ships (besides those which the Englishmen had sunke and taken) which were drawne vp further into the land ward. The earle of Flanders therefore, and the English capteins iudged, that it should much hinder the French kings attempts, if they might win those ships also with the towne of Dam, wherin the king had laid vp a great part of his prouision for the furniture of his warres. Héerevpon the Englishmen were set on land, and ioining with the earls power, they marched strait towards Dam. This was vpon Whitsun éeuen, on the which day, as they were most busie in assaulting the towne and ships which laie there in the hauen, the French king being come awaie from Gaunt, suddenlie set vpon them, and though in the[Pg 311] beginning he found sharpe resistance, yet in the end, the Englishmen and Flemings ouerset with the great multitude of the Frenchmen, were put to flight, and chased to their ships, with the losse of two thousand men, besides those that were taken prisoners, amongst the which were found to be 22 knights.

The French king burneth his ships.

The earle of Flanders with the earles of Bullen and Salisburie, doubting to lose their ships, and late gotten bootie, sailed strait into one of the Iles of Zeland called Walkeren. Then the French king constraining them of Gaunt, Bruges, and Ypres, to deliuer vnto him pledges, caused the towne of Dam, and his ships lieng there in the hauen to be burned, doubting least they should come into the hands of his enimies. This doone, he returned into France, leauing his sonne Lewes and the earle of S. Paule in garrison at Lisle and Doway, and for great sums of monie, which by agréement he receiued of the townes of Gaunt, Bruges, and Ypres, he restored vnto them their pledges. Thus saith Meire: and Matthew Paris differeth not much from him touching the successe which chanced to the Englishmen by land. ¶ Héere will I staie a while in the further narration of this matter, and touch by the way a thing that happened to king John about this present time.

An hermit named Peter of Pontfret, or Wakefield as some writers haue.
Sée M. Fox, tome first, pag. 331.

There was in this season an heremit, whose name was Peter, dwelling about Yorke, a man in great reputation with the common people, bicause that either inspired with some spirit of prophesie as the people beléeued, or else hauing some notable skill in art magike, he was accustomed to tell what should follow after. And for so much as oftentimes his saiengs prooued true, great credit was giuen to him as to a verie prophet: which was no good consequence that therefore his predictions comprised vndoubted euents. Naie rather, sith in this pseudoprophet or false foreteller of afterclaps, these necessarie concurrents (namelie,

Si sensus atq; affectus compresserit omnes,
Si spernens prorsus mortalia gaudia, sese
Abdicet a curis terrenis, assiduóq;
Conetur studio ad superos extollere mentem,
Tunc etenim sapiens fiet, poterítq; futura
Cernere, vel vigilans vel somno oppressus inerti,
Hoc pacto cecinêre olim ventura prophetæ)
The heremit and his sonne hanged.

were wanting, and that he was contrarilie qualified to that which this heptastichon comprehendeth, necessarilie it foloweth, that he was not as he was taken, but rather a deluder of the people, and an instrument of satan raised vp for the inlargement of his kingdome: as the sequele of this discourse importeth. This Peter about the first of Januarie last past, had told the king, that at the feast of the Ascension it should come to passe, that he should be cast out of his kingdome. And (whether, to the intent that his words should be the better beléeued, or whether vpon too much trust of his owne cunning) he offered himselfe to suffer death for it, if his prophesie prooued not true. Herevpon being committed to prison within the castell of Corf, when the day by him prefixed came, without any other notable damage vnto king John, he was by the kings commandement drawne from the said castell, vnto the towne of Warham, & there hanged, togither with his sonne.

The people much blamed king John, for this extreame dealing, bicause that the heremit was supposed to be a man of great vertue, and his sonne nothing guiltie of the offense committed by his father (if any were) against the king. Moreouer, some thought, that he had much wrong to die, bicause the matter fell out euen as he had prophesied: for the day before the Ascension day, king John had resigned the superioritie of his kingdome (as they tooke the matter) vnto the pope, and had doone to him homage, so that he was no absolute king indéed, as authors affirme. One cause, and that not the least which mooued king John the sooner to agrée with the pope, rose through the words of the said heremit, that did put such a feare of some great mishap in his hart, which should[Pg 312] grow through the disloialtie of his people, that it made him yéeld the sooner. But to the matter againe.

King John writeth to the archbishop & the other bishops to returne.

King John (after his capteins in Flanders had sped so well as before yée haue heard) prepared to make a voiage into Guien, not much regarding the matter, in that the realme stood as yet interdicted. But when he vnderstood by his lords, that they would not go with him except the interdicting might first be released, and he clearlie absolued of the popes cursse, to the end that Gods wrath and the popes being fullie pacified towards him, he might with better spéed mooue and mainteine the warres, he was constreined to change his purpose, and so comming to Winchester, dispatched foorth a messenger with letters, signed with the hands of foure and twentie earles and barons, to the archbishop of Canturburie, and the bishops of London, Lincolne, and Hereford, as then soiourning in France, requiring them with all the other banished men to returne into England, promising them by his letters patents, not onelie a sure safeconduct for their comming ouer, but that he would also forget all passed displeasures, and frankelie restore vnto euerie man all that by his means had béene wrongfullie taken from them, and as yet by him deteined.

The bishops doo returne.
They came to Winchester ye 20 of Julie.
The K. knéeleth to the archbishop.

The archbishop and the other bishops receiuing the kings letters, with all spéed made hast to come into England, and so arriuing at Douer the sixtéenth day of Julie, with other the banished men, they went to Winchester, where the king yet remained, who hearing that the bishops were come, went foorth to receiue them, and at his first méeting with the archbishop of Canturburie, he knéeled downe at his féet, and besought him of forgiuenesse, and that it would please him and the other bishops also to prouide for the reléefe of the miserable state of the realme. Herewith the water standing in diuerse of their eies on both sides, they entred into the citie, the people greatlie reioising to behold the head of the common-wealth agrée at length with the members. This was in the yeare after the birth of our Sauiour 1213.

The king praieth to be absolued.
He is absolued.
A quest of inquirie.

King John required of the archbishop (hauing as then the popes power in his hands, bicause he was his legat,) to be absolued, promising vpon his solemne receiued oth, that he would (afore all things) defend the church and the order of priesthood from receiuing anie wrongs. Also, that he would restore the old lawes made by the ancient kings of England, and namelie those of S. Edward, which were almost extinguished and forgotten. And further, that he would make recompense to all men whom he had by anie meanes indamaged. This doone, he was absolued by the archbishop, & shortly after he sent his oratours to Rome, to intreat with the bishop to take awaie the interdiction of the land. On the morrow after also, the king sent his letters vnto all the shiriffes of the counties within the realme, commanding them to summon foure lawfull men of euerie towne belonging to the demeans of the crowne, to make their appearance at S. Albons, vpon the 4 daie of August, that they and other might make inquisition of the losses which euerie bishop had susteined, what had béene taken from them, and what ought to be restored to them as due for the same.

The archbishop taketh possession of his sée.
The lords refuse to follow the king into France.

The archbishop for that time taking his leaue of the king, went to Canturburie, where he restored the moonks to their abbie, and then tooke possession of his sée, being the two and fortith archbishop that had ruled the same. In the meane time, the king repaired to Portesmouth, there so take the sea to saile ouer into Poictow, committing the rule of the realme vnto Geffrey Fitz Peter or Fitz Péers, lord chéefe iustice, and to the bishop of Winchester, commanding them to vse the counsell and aduise of the archbishop of Canturburie, in governing things touching the common-wealth. Herewith there came also to the king a great multitude of men of warre, alledging, that they had spent in staieng for him, and his going ouer sea all their monie, so that he must now néeds giue them wages, if he would haue them to passe ouer with him into France. The which when he refused to doo, he was constreined to take the water with his owne seruants, arriuing about a thrée daies after at the Ile of Jersey: but perceiuing that none of his lords fol[Pg 313]lowed him according to his commandement, as one disappointed of aid, he returned backe againe into England, there to take further order for this their misdemeanour.

King Henrie the first his lawes.

Whilest these things were thus in dooing, Geffrey Fitz Peter, and the bishop of Winchester were come to S. Albons, togither with the archbishop of Canturburie, and other bishops and péeres of the realme, where the kings peace being proclaimed to all men it was on his behalfe streitlie commanded, that the lawes of K. Henrie his grandfather should be obserued vniuersallie within his realme, and that all vniust lawes and ordinances should be abrogated. It was also commanded, that no shiriffe, nor forrester, nor other minister of the kings, should vpon paine of life and limme, take violentlie anie thing of any man by waie of extortion, nor presume wrong anie man, or to fine anie man, as they had afore time béene accustomed to doo.

The archbishop menaceth to excommunicate those yt assist the king.

After this, the king being come backe from his iournie, which he purposed to haue made into Poictow, assembled an armie, and ment to haue gone against those lords which had refused to go with him, but the archbishop of Canturburie comming to him at Northampton, sought to appease his mood, and to cause him to staie, but yet in his furious rage he went forward till he came to Notingham, and there with much adoo, the archbishop following him with threatning to excommunicate all those that should aid him, procured him to leaue off his enterprise.

Then the archbishop (about the fiue and twentith day of August) came to London, there to take aduise for the reformation of things touching the good gouernement of the common-wealth. But here whilest the archbishop, with other péeres of the realme deuised orders verie necessarie (as was thought) for the state of the common-wealth, the king doubting least the same should be a bridle for him to restreine his authoritie roiall from dooing things to his pleasure, he began to find fault, and séemed as though he had repented himselfe of his large promises made for his reconciliation: but the archbishop of Canturburie so asswaged his mood, and persuaded him, by opening vnto him what danger would insue both to him and to his realme, if he went from the agréement, that he was glad to be quiet for feare of further trouble.

The earle of Tholouse.

In this hurlie burlie also the lords and péeres of the realme (by the setting on of the archbishop) were earnestlie bent to haue the king to restore and confirme the grant which his grandfather king Henrie the first had by his charter granted and confirmed to his subiects, which to doo, king John thought greatlie preiudiciall to his roiall estate and dignitie. The earle of Tholouse hauing lost all his possessions, the citie of Tholouse onelie excepted, came ouer into England, & rendred the said citie into the hands of king John, and receiued at his departure, the summe of ten thousand marks as was reported, by the bountifull gift of king John.

Matth. Paris.
Geffrey Fitz Péers or Fitz Peter departeth this life.

Vpon the second of October, Geffrey Fitz Peter earle of Essex and lord chéefe iustice of England departed this life, a man of great power and autoritie, in whose politike direction and gouernement, the order of things perteining to the common-wealth chéefelie consisted. He was of a noble mind, expert in knowledge of the lawes of the land, rich in possessions, and ioined in blood or affinitie with the more part of all the Nobles of the realme, so that his death was no small losse to the commonwelth: for through him and the archbishop Hubert, the king was oftentimes reuoked from such wilfull purposes, as now and then he was determined to haue put in practise, in so much that the king, as was reported (but how trulie I cannot tell) séemed to reioise for his death, bicause he might now worke his will without anie to controll him.

A cardinall sent into England.
The burgesses of Oxford require absolution.

The same time, to wit, about the feast of saint Michaell, came Nicholas the cardinall of Tusculane into England, sent from the pope, to take awaie the interdiction, if the king would stand to that agréement which he had made and promised by his oth to performe. King John receiued this cardinall in most honorable wise, and gladlie heard him in all things that he had to saie. This legat at his comming to Westminster, deposed the abbat of that place, named William from his roome, for that he was accused both of wasting[Pg 314] the reuenues of the house, and also of notable incontinencie. Moreouer the burgesses of the towne of Oxford came vnto him to obteine absolution of their offense, in that through their presumption, the thrée schollers (of whom ye haue heard before) were hanged there, to the great terror of all the residue. To be short, they were absolued and penance inioined them, that they should strip them out of their apparell at euerie church in the towne, and going barefooted with scourges in their hands, they should require the benefit of absolution of euerie parish préest within their towne, saieng the psalme of Miserere.

A cōnuocation called by the cardinall.

After this, the said cardinall called a councell or conuocation of the cleargie, to reforme such things touching the state of the church as should be thought requisite. And though he handled not this matter with such fauour and vprightnesse as the bishops wished on their behalfes, yet he caused king John to restore the most part of all those goods that remained vnspent, and also the value of halfe of those that were consumed and made awaie, vnto those persons as well spirituall as temporall, from whom they had béene taken in time of the discord betwixt him and the pope. But before all things could be thus quieted and set in order betwixt the king and the bishops, manie méetings were had, as at London, Reading, Wallingford and in other places.

Now the archbishop and prelates for their parts thought this recompense to be but small, in respect of the great losses and hinderances which they had susteined: and to haue the whole restitution delaied, they tooke it not well. Howbeit the cardinall leaned so to the kings side (hauing receiued of him to the popes vse the charter of subiection of the realmes of England and Ireland, now bulled with gold, where at the first it was deliuered to Pandulph sealed onelie with wax.) But their suit came to little effect, and in the end it fell out in such wise, that their complaint was lesse regarded. Moreouer, the rating of the value which the king should restore vnto the archbishop, and the other bishops, was by agréement of the king and them togither, appointed vnto foure barons indifferentlie chosen betwixt them.

Restitution to be made to the bishops.
King John commended to the pope for an humble prince.

At length notwithstanding that deuise took no place: for it was otherwise decréed by the pope, that the king should restore to them the summe of fortie thousand marks, of the which he had paid alreadie twelue thousand, before the returne of the said archbishop and bishops into the realme, and fiftéene thousand more at the late méeting had betwixt them at Reading, so that there remained onelie 13000 behind: for not onelie the king, but also the cardinall had sent to the pope, requiring him to take direction in the matter, and to aduertise him, that there was a great fault in the archbishop and his fellowes. In so much that Pandulph which was sent to him from the legat, declared in fauour of the king, that there was not a more humble and modest prince to be found than king John, and that the archbishop and his fellowes were too hard, and shewed themselues too couetous in requiring the restitution that should be made to them for losses susteined in time of the interdiction.

Matth. Paris.
The presumption of the cardinall.
Burton vpon Trent.
A Synod.
Discord betwixt the cardinall and the archbishop of Canturburie.

Now the cause wherefore the legat and the king did send vnto the pope, was this. There was some grudge betwixt the legat and the archbishop, for that where the pope had written to the legat, how he should (according to the order of the ancient canons of the church) place in euerie bishops sée and abbeie (that was void) méet and able persons to rule and guide the same, the legat presuming on that authoritie granted him by the pope, without the aduise of the archbishop or other bishops, tooke onelie with him certeine of the kings chapleins, and comming with them to such churches as were vacant, ordeined in them such persons as were nothing méet to take such charge vpon them, and that according to the old abuse of England, as Matthew Paris saith. Wherevpon the archbishop of Canturburie repining at such dooings, sent to the legat as then being at Burton vpon Trent, two of his chapleins from Dunstable (where he and his suffragans held as then a synod, after the feast of the Epiphanie) commanding him by waie of appeale,[Pg 315] in no wise to meddle with instituting any gouernours to churches, within the precinct of his iurisdiction, where such institutions belonged onelie to him.

Herevpon therefore the legat dispatched Pandulph to Rome vnto the pope as is aforesaid, and the king likewise sent ambassadors thither, as the bishop of Norwich, and the archdeacon of Northumberland, with others, the which in the end so behaued themselues in their suit, that notwithstanding Simon Langton the archbishops brother earnestlie withstood them, as proctor for the bishops, yet at length, the pope tooke order in the matter, writing vnto his legat, that he should sée the same fulfilled, and then absolue the realme of the former interdiction. In this meane time, king John made prouision to go ouer into France (as after yée shall heare) but at his going ouer he committed the whole ordering of this matter vnto the legat, and to William Marshall the earle of Penbroke. The legat therefore vpon the receipt of the popes bulles, called a councell at London, and there declaring what was conteined in the same, he tooke bands for paiment of the residue of the fortie thousand marks which was behind, being 13000 onelie, as before I haue said.

Walter Gray bishop of Worcester is remooued to the sée of Yorke.
Monie sent into Flanders.
Rafe Cog.
The earle of Flanders dooth homage to K. John.
Matth. Paris.
The lands of ye erle of Guisnes wasted.

About the same time also, Walter Gray bishop of Worcester was remooued to the gouernement of the sée of Yorke, which had béene vacant euer since the death of the archbishop Geffrey. This Walter was the thrée & thirtith bishop that gouerned that sée. But now to returne and speake of the kings affaires in the parts beyond the sea. Ye shall vnderstand, that hauing set his businesse in some good staie at home with the legat, he applied his studie to the performance of his wars abroad, and therefore he first sent monie into Flanders to paie the souldiers wages, which he had sent thither to aid the erle there against king Philip. Which earle came ouer this yeare into England, and at Canturburie the king receiued him where he did homage to the king for the whole earledome of Flanders: and on the other part, the king as well to the said earle, as to such lords and bishops which came ouer with him, declared his roiall liberalitie by princelie gifts of gold, siluer, iewels, and pretious stones. After his returne, such capteins as remained in his countrie with their bands at the king of Englands paie, made a iournie into France, and wasted the lands that belonged to the earle of Guisnes, wanne the castell of Bruncham, and raced it, taking within it diuerse men of armes and demilances. They also wanne by siege the towne of Aire, and burnt it. The castell of Liens they tooke by assault, and slue manie souldiers that defended it, beside those which they tooke prisoners.

Moreouer, they wasted and destroied the lands which Lewes the French kings sonne was possessed of in those parts. In the meane time, king John hauing prepared a mightie nauie, and a strong armie of valiant soldiers, tooke sea at Portsmouth on Candlemas day, with his wife, his sonne Richard, & Elianor the sister of Arthur duke of Britaine. He had not many of his earles or barons with him, but a great number of knights and gentlemen, with whome he landed at Rochell in safetie, within a few daies after his setting foorth. He tooke ouer with him inestimable treasure, as it was reported, in gold, siluer, and iewels. Immediatlie vpon his arriuall at Rochell, the barons of Poictow reuolted from the French king, and comming in to king John, did homage vnto him, as to their king and souereigne lord.

An. Reg. 16.
Geffrey de Lucignam.
Jane the daughter of king John married to the erle of Marsh.

But howsoeuer it was, after the truce began to expire which he had granted vnto the earls of Marsh and Augi, on the friday before Whitsunday he came with his armie before the castell of Meireuent, which belonged vnto Geffrey de Lucignam, and on the day next insuing, being Whitsun éeue, he wanne the same. On Whitsunday he laid siege vnto Nouant, an other castell belonging to the same Geffrey, who as then was lodged in the same, and also two of his sonnes: but within thrée daies after that the siege was laid, the earle of Marsh came to king John, and did so much preuaile, that through his means, both Geffrey and his two sonnes were receiued to mercie, and king John put in possession of the castell. After this, bicause king John was aduertised, that Lewes the[Pg 316] French kings sonne had now besieged Mountcounter, a castell that was apperteining to the said Geffrey, he hasted thitherwards, and came to Parthenay, whither came to him, as well the foresaid earle of Marsh, as also the earle of Augi, and both they togither with the said Geffrey de Lucignam, did homage to our king, and so became his liege men. The same time also, the ladie Jane the kings daughter was affianced to the said earle of Marsh his sonne, whereas the French king made means to haue hir married to his sonne: but bicause king John doubted least that suit was attempted but vnder some cloked pretense, he would giue no eare thereto, but rather made this match with the earle of Marsh, in hope so to assure himselfe of the said earle, that he might stand him in no small stéed to defend his cause against his aduersaries of France. But now to the doings in England.

The interdiction released.

¶ Ye haue heard before how pope Innocent (or rather Nocent, who was the root of much mischiefe and trouble, which qualities are nothing consonant to his name) according to that king John had required of him by solemne messengers, directed his bulles vnto his legat Nicholas, declaring vpon what conditions his pleasure was to haue the sentence of interdiction released. Wherein first he commanded that the king should satisfie and pay so much monie vnto the archbishop of Canturburie, and to the bishop of London and Elie, as should fullie amount to the summe of 40 thousand markes (with that which alreadie he had paied, which was 27 thousand markes, at two seueral paiments, as vpon his accounts appeared.) For true contentation and paiment to be made of the residue, he ordeined that the king should be sworne, and also seale to an obligation, and certeine suerties with him (as the bishops of Norwich and Winchester, with the earles of Chester, Winchester and Marshall) all which things were performed at this present, so that after the assurance so taken for paiment of the od 13 thousand marks behind, residue of the 40 thousand marks, the interdiction was taken vtterlie awaie, and the land solemnelie released by the legat, sitting within the cathedrall church of S. Paule at London, vpon the 29 of June, in the yeare 1214, after the terme of six yeares, thrée moneths, and 14 daies, that the realme had béene striken with that dreadfull dart of correction, as it was then estéemed.

The emperor Otho.

King John in the meane time remaining still in France, and finding at the beginning fortune fauourable inough vnto him, by reason his power was much increased by the aid of the Poictouins, determined to attempt the winning of Britaine, for this cause specialie, that he might by so dooing weaken the French kings power, and partlie also to withdraw him from the wars of Flanders, on which side he had procured likewise the French borders to be inuaded with great force, and that not onelie by the earle and such capteins as he had sent thither, and reteined in wages, but also by the emperour Otho, who in proper person came downe into that countrie himselfe.

K. John inuadeth Britaine.
The Britaines put to flight.
Peter the erle of Drieux his sonne taken prisoner.

Herevpon king John went foorth with all his power of horssemen, and entering into Britaine, made rodes through the countrie, wasting the same euen to the walles of Naunts: but shortlie after the Britaines assembled togither, vnder the leading of Peter, the son of Robert earle of Drieux (the French kings vncle, who had maried the ladie Adela, daughter to duke Guie of Britaine) and marching foorth into the field to defend their countrie from the enimies, came to ioine with them in battell. At the first there was a verie sharp incounter, but at length the Britains being vanquished and put to flight, a great number of them were taken prisoners, and amongst other their capteins, the foresaid Peter was one, whom king John sent awaie with all the rest vnto Angiers, to be kept in safegard vntill he should returne.

The French kings sonne came to fight with king John.
K. John remoueth to Angiers.
The Poictouins subdued by the Frēnch.
The battell at the bridge of Bouins.

After this, he besieged a castell that stood vpon the banke of the riuer of Loir, called La Roch au moyne, inforcing his whole indeuour to haue woone it. But yer he could atteine his purpose, he was aduertised that Lewes the sonne of king Philip was comming towards him with a great power to raise his siege. Wherefore hauing no great confidence in the Poictouins, and vnderstanding that Lewes brought with him a verie strong armie,[Pg 317] he tooke aduise of his councell, who iudged that it should be best for him to breake vp his siege and to depart, which he did, and went streight waies to Angiers. Lewes (after king John was thus retired) brought the Poictouins againe to subiection, and put the chief authours of the rebellion to death. In the meane time also his father king Philip with like successe, but in a foughten field, vanquished the emperour Otho at the bridge of Bouins on the 28 day of Julie, as in the historie of France more at large appeare. There among other prisoners, the thrée earles of Flanders, Salisburie, and Bullogne were taken.

The saieng of king John.

Now king John being aduertised of that ouerthrow, was maruellouslie sad and sorrowfull for the chance, in so much that he would not receiue any meat in a whole daie after the newes thereof was brought vnto him. At length turning his sorrow into rage, he openlie said, that "since the time that he made himselfe & his kingdom subiect to the church of Rome, nothing that he did had prospered well with him." Indéed he condescended to an agréement with the pope (as may be thought) more by force than of deuotion, and therefore rather dissembled with the pope (sith he could not otherwise choose) than agréed to the couenants with any hartie affection.

A truce taken betwixt the two kings of England & France.

But to the purpose. Perceiuing himself now destitute of his best fréends, of whom diuerse remained prisoners with the French king (being taken at the battell of Bouins) he thought good to agrée with king Philip for this present, by way of taking some truce, which by mediation of ambassadours riding to and fro betwixt them, was at length accorded to endure for fiue yeares, and to begin at Easter in the yeare of our Lord, 1215. After this, about the 19 daie of October he returned into England, to appease certeine tumults which began alreadie to shoot out buds of some new ciuill dissention. And suerlie the same spred abroad their blossoms so freshlie, that the fruit was knit before the growth by anie timelie prouision could be hindered. For the people being set on by diuerse of the superiours of both sorts, finding themselues gréeued that the king kept not promise in restoring the ancient lawes of S. Edward, determined from thencefoorth to vse force, since by request he might not preuaile. To appease this furie of the people, not onelie policie but power also was required, for the people vndertaking an euill enterprise, speciallie raising a tumult or ioining in a conspiracie are as hardlie suppressed and vanquished as Hydra the monster hauing manie heads: and therefore it is well said, that

------comes est discordia vulgi,
Námque à turbando nomen sibi turba recepit.
A cloked pilgrimage.

The Nobles supposing that longer delaie therein was not to be suffered, assembled themselues togither at the abbeie of Burie (vnder colour of going thither to doo their deuotions to the bodie of S. Edmund which laie there inshrined) where they vttered their complaint of the kings tyrannicall maners, alledging how they were oftentimes called foorth to serue in the wars & to fight in defense of the realme, and yet notwithstanding were still oppressed at home by the kings officers, who (vpon confidence of the lawes) attempted all things whatsoeuer they conceiued. And if anie man complained, or alledged that he receiued wrong at their hands, they would answer by and by, that they had law on their side to doo as they had doone, so that it was no wrong but right which they did, and therfore if they that were the lords and péeres of the realme were men, it stood them vpon to prouide that such inconueniencies might be auoided, and better lawes brought in vse, by the which their ancestours liued in a more quiet and happie state.

The charter of K. Henrie the first.
A firebrand of dissention.

There was brought foorth and also read an ancient charter made sometime by Henrie the first (which charter Stephan the archbishop of Canturburie had deliuered vnto them before in the citie of London) conteining the grant of certeine liberties according to the lawes of king Edward the confessor, profitable to the church and barons of the realme, which they purposed to haue vniuersallie executed ouer all the land. And therefore being thus assembled in the quéers of the church of S. Edmund, they receiued[Pg 318] a solemne oth vpon the alter there, that if the king would not grant to the same liberties, with others which he of his owne accord had promised to confirme to them, they would from thencefoorth make warre vpon him, till they had obteined their purpose, and inforced him to grant, not onelie to all these their petitions, but also yéeld to the confirmation of them vnder his seale, for euer to remaine most stedfast and inuiolable.


The chéefe cause that mooued the lords to this conspiracie, rose by reason the king demanded escuage of them that refused to go with him into Poictow: and they on the other part mainteined, that they were not bound to paie it, for any warres which the king made in the parts beyond the seas. But he to prooue that he ought to haue it declared how in his fathers and brothers time it was paied, and therefore he ought to haue it. Much adoo there was about this matter at the first broching thereof, and more adoo there had béene, if the legats presence had not somewhat staied the parties. But after they had gotten the charter of king Henrie the first at the hands of the archbishop of Canturburie, they made such a sinister interpretation thereof, that supposing it to serue their turnes, they procéeded in their wilfull opinions (as aboue is mentioned.)

Matt. Paris.

Finallie it was determined amongst them, that shortlie after Christmasse, they should go to the king, and require of him that they might haue those laws restored, which he had promised to them (as is aforesaid.) But forasmuch as they knew well that their sute would not be thankfullie accepted, in the meane time they prouided themselues of horsse, armour, and other furniture for the warre, thereby to be in the better readinesse and safegard, if in exhibiting their request, the matter did grow to any such inforcement. They appointed also diuerse of the most ancient lords to mooue the said matter to the king, in all their names, who was as then at Worcester, and being aduertised of this conspiracie, as soone as the feast of Christmasse was past, he went streight to London: thither came the lords also with like spéed, leauing their men in the townes and villages abroad, to be readie vpon any sudden warning to come vnto them, if néed should so require.

The lords present their request to the king.
The K. promiseth to consider of their requests.

Being come into his presence, they required of him that it might please him, first, to appoint the exercise and vse of those ancient lawes vnto them, by the which the kings of England in times past ruled their subiects: secondlie, that according to his promise, he would abrogate those newer lawes, which euerie man might with good cause name méere wrongs, rather than lawes: and thirdlie they required of him the performance of all other things, which he had most faithfullie of late vndertaken to obserue. The king (though somewhat contrarie to his nature) hauing heard their request, gaue them a verie gentle answer. For perceiuing them readie with force to constreine him, if by gentlenesse they might not preuaile, he thought it should be more safe and easie for him to turne their vnquiet minds with soft remedies than to go about to breake them of their willes by strong hand, which is a thing verie dangerous, especiallie where both parts are of like force. Therefore he promised them within a few daies, to haue consideration of their request.

Matth. Paris.
The king demandeth a new oth of allegiance of his subiects.
The king taketh on him the crosse.

And to the intent they might giue the more credit to his words, he caused the archbishop of Canturburie, and the bishop of Elie, with William Marshall earle of Penbroke (vnto whom he had giuen his daughter Elianor in marriage) to vndertake for him, and as it were to become his suerties: which willinglie they did. Herewith the minds of the Nobilitie being somewhat pacified, returned home to their houses. The king soon after also, to assure himselfe the more effectuallie of the allegiance of his people in time to come caused euerie man to renew his homage, and to take a new oth to be faithfull to him against all other persons. And to prouide the more suerlie for himselfe, on Candlemasse day next insuing, he tooke vpon him the crosse to go into the holie land, which I thinke he did rather for feare than any deuotion, as was also thought by other, to the end that he might (vnder the protection thereof) remaine the more out of danger of such as were his foes. In which point of dissimulation he shewed himselfe prudent, observing the counsell of the wiseman,

[Pg 319]

----inclusum corde dolorem
Dissimula atq; tace, ne deteriora subinde
Damna feras.
The causes of the discord betwixt the king and his barons.
The earle of Chester.
Hector Boet.
The kings couetousnesse.
The repining of the cleargie against the K.

¶ Some say that a great part of this variance that chanced betwéene king John and his barons, was bicause the king would without skilfull aduise haue exiled the erle of Chester, and for none other occasion than for that he had oftentimes aduised him to leaue his cruell dealing, and also his accustomed adulterie with his brothers wife and others. Other write that the same dissention rose by reason of the great crueltie, and vnreasonable auarice, which the king vsed towards all the states and degrées of his subiects, as well towards them of the spiritualtie, as of the temporaltie. The prelats therefore of the realme sore repining at his dooings, for that they could not patientlie suffer such exaction to be leuied of their liuings (contrarie as they toke it to the libertie of the church) found means through practise, to persuade both the kings of Scotland and France to aid and support them against him, by linking themselues togither with sundrie noblemen of England. But these séeme to be coniectures of such writers as were euill affected towards the kings cause.

Robert Fitz Walter.
The archb. of Canturburie mooueth the K. to satisfie the requests of the barons.

Now therefore to the sequele of the matter. The king hauing sent awaie the barons with a gentle answer, though he minded nothing less than to satisfie them in that they did demand, bicause it made much against his roiall prerogatiue: and therewith foreséeing that the matter would be like to grow at length to be tried by force, he began to dout his owne estate, and therefore prepared an armie, and fortified diuerse castels and places with men, munition, and vittels, into the which he might retire for his safetie in any time of néed. The barons which vnderstood the kings diligence herein, and coniecturing thereof his whole intent, made readie also their power, appointing for their generall one Robert Fitz Walter, a man both excellent in counsell, and valiant in warre. Herewith they came vnto the archbishop of Canturburie, presenting vnto him a booke, wherein was conteined a note of all the articles of their petitions, & required him to vnderstand the kings mind touching the same. The archbishop coueting to extinguish the sedition (whereof he himselfe had béene no small kindler) which was like to grow, if the Nobilitie were not pacified the sooner, talked with the king, and exhorted his grace verie instantlie to satisfie the requests of his barons, and herewith did shew the booke of the articles which they had deliuered vnto him.

The king refuseth to grānt their petitions.
Matt. Paris.

The king, when he saw what they demanded (which in effect was a new order in things touching the whole state of the common-wealth) sware in a great furie, that he would neuer condescend vnto those petitions. Whereof when the barons had knowledge, they gat them strait vnto armour, making their assemblie at Stamford in the Easter wéeke, whither they had drawne vnto them almost the whole Nobilitie, and gathered an excéeding great armie. For the commons flocked vnto them from euerie part, bicause the king was generallie hated of the more part of his subiects.

The names of the lords that banded themselues against the king.

It was coniectured that there were in that armie the number of two thousand knights, besides yeomen on horssebacke or demilances (as I may call them) and footemen apparelled in diuerse sorts of armour. The chéefe ringleaders of this power were these, whose names insue: Robert Fitz Walter, Eustace Vescie, Richard Percie, Robert Roos, Peter de Breuse, Nicholas de Stuteuill, Saer earle of Winchester, Robert erle of Clare, Henrie earle of Clare, Richard earle de Bigot, William de Mowbray, William de Cressey, Ralfe Fitz Robert, Robert de Vere, Foulke Fitz Warren, Will. Mallet, William de Montacute, William de Beauchampe, Simon de Kime, William Marshall the yoonger, William Manduit, Robert de Montibigonis, John Fitz Robert, John Fitz Alane, G. Lauale, O. Fitz Alane, W. de Hobrug, O. de Uales, G. de Gaunt, Maurice de Gaunt, Robert de Brakesley, Robert de Mountfichet, Will. de Lanualley, G. de Maundeuile earle of Essex, William his brother, William de Huntingfield, Robert de Gresley, G. constable of Menton, Alexander de Panton, Peter Fitz John, Alexander de Sutton, Osbert de Bodie, John constable of Chester, Thomas de Muleton, Conan Fitz[Pg 320] Helie, and manie other; they had also of councell with them as chiefe the archbishop of Canturburie.

An. Reg. 17.
Matth. Paris.
The king sendeth to the lords.

The king as then was at Oxford, who hearing of the assemblie which the barons made, and that they were come to Brakesley, on the mondaie next after the octaues of Easter, he sent vnto them the archbishop of Canturburie, in whom he reposed great confidence, and William Marshall earle of Penbroke, to vnderstand what they meant by that their assembling thus togither. Wherevpon they deliuered to the same messengers a roll conteining the ancient liberties, priuiledges and customs of the realme, signifieng that if the king would not confirme the same, they would not cease to make him warre, till he should satisfie their requests in that behalfe.

The barons giue a plausible name to their armie.
Northampton besieged.
They wan the towne but not the castell.
Matth. West.

The archbishop and the earle returning to the king, shewed him the whole circumstance of that which the barons demanded, who tooke great indignation thereat, and scornefullie said; "Why do they not aske to haue the kingdome also?" Finallie, he affirmed with an oth, "that he would neuer grant anie such liberties, whereby he should become a slaue." Herevpon the archbishop and the earle of Penbroke returned to the barons, and declared the kings deniall to confirme their articles. Then the barons naming their hoast The armie of God and the holie church, set forward, and first came vnto Northampton, and besieging the towne, when they could not preuaile, bicause the same was well prouided for defense aforehand, they departed from thence, and came towards Bedford to besiege the castell there, in which Sir William Beauchampe was capteine, who being secretlie confederate with them deliuered the place incontinentlie into their hands.

Bedford castell deliuered to the barons.

Whilest they remained here a certeine time to fortifie and furnish the castell with necessary prouision, there came letters to them from London, giuing them to vnderstand that if they would send a conuenient power of souldiers to defend the citie, the same should be receiued thereinto at some méet and reasonable time in the night season by the citizens, who would ioine with them in that quarell against the king to the vttermost of their powers. The lords were glad of these newes, to haue the chéefe citie of the realme to take part with them, and therfore they sent foure bands of souldiers streightwaies thither, which were brought into the citie in the night season (according to order aforehand taken.) But as Matt. Paris saith, they were receiued into the citie by Algate, the 24 of Maie being sundaie, whilest the citizens were at masse. The next day they made open rebellion, tooke such as they knew fauoured the king, brake into the houses of the Jewes, & spoiled them.

Matth. Paris.
The barons write to other of the nobilitie to ioine with them against the king.

The barons hauing thus gotten possession of the citie of London, wrote letters vnto all those lords which as yet had not ioined with them in this confederacie, threatning that if they refused to aid them now in this necessitie, they would destroie their castels, manours, parkes, and other possessions, making open warre vpon them as the enimies of God, and rebels to the church. These were the names of those lords which yet had not sworne to mainteine the foresaid liberties, William Marshall earle of Penbroke, Rainulfe earle of Chester, Nicholas earle of Salisburie, William earle Warren, William erle of Albemarle, H. earle of Cornewall, W. de Albenie, Robert de Veipount, Peter Fitz Herbert, Brian de Lisley, G. de Lucie, G. de Furniuall, Thomas Basset, H. de Braibrooke, I. de Bassingborne, W. de Cantlow, H. de Cornwall, John Fitz Hugh, Hugh de Neuill, Philip de Albenie, John Marshall, and William Brewer. All these vpon receipt of the barons letters, or the more part of them came to London, and ioined themselues with the barons, vtterlie renouncing to aid king John.

The king left desolate of fréends.

Also the plées in the eschequer ceased, and the shiriffes staied from executing their office. For there was none that would paie anie monie to the kings vse, nor anie that did obeie him, in somuch that there remained with him but onelie seuen horssemen of all his traine at one time (as some write) though soone after he had a great power, which came to him to the castell of Windsore, where he then laie, and meant to haue led the same against the lords with all spéed. But hearing now of this new rebellion of the[Pg 321] Londoners, he changed his purpose and durst not depart from Windsore, being brought in great doubt least all the other cities of the realme would follow their example. Herevpon he thought good to assaie if he might come to some agréement by waie of communication, and incontinentlie sent his ambassadours to the barons, promising them that he would satisfie their requests, if they would come to Windsore to talke with him.

The lords incamped betwixt Stanes and Windsore. K. John commeth to them to talk of some pacification.
Matth. Paris.

Howbeit, the lords hauing no confidence in his promise came with their armie within thrée miles of Windsore, and their pitcht downe their tents in a medow betwixt Stanes and Windsore, whither king John also came the 15 daie of June, and shewed such friendlie countenance towards euerie one of them, that they were put in good hope he meant no deceipt. Being thus met, they fell in consultation about an agréement to be had. On the kings part (as it were) sate the archbishops of Canturburie and Dublin, the bishops of London, Winchester, Lincolne, Bath, Worcester, Couentrie, Rochester, and Pandulph the popes Nuncio, with Almerike master of the knights templers: the earles of Penbroke, Salisburie, Warren, Arundell, Alane de Galoway, William Fitz Gerald, Peter Fitz Herbert, Alane Basset, Hugh de Neuill, Hubert de Burgh seneschall of Poictou, Robert de Ropley, John Marshall and Philip de Albenie. On the barons part, there were innumerable, for all the nobilitie of England was in a maner assembled there togither.

Magna Charta and Charta de Foresta.

Finallie, when the king measuring his owne strength with the barons, perceiued that he was not able to resist them, he consented to subscribe and seale to such articles concerning the liberties demanded, in forme for the most part as is conteined in the two charters Magna Charta, and Charta de Foresta, beginning Iohannes Dei gratia, &c. And he did not onlie grant vnto them their petitions touching the forsaid liberties, but also to win him further credit, was contented that they should choose out certeine graue and honourable personages, which should haue authoritie and power to sée those things performed which he then granted vnto them.

There were twentie fiue of those that were so elected, namelie these. The earles of Clare, Albemarle, Glocester, Winchester, and Hereford: also earle Roger, earle Robert, earle Marshall the yoonger, Robert Fitz Walter the yoonger, Gilbert de Clare, Eustace de Vescie, Hugh Bigot, William de Mowbray, the maior of London, Gilbert de la Vale, Robert de Roos, John constable of Chester, Richard de Percie, John Fitz Robert, William Mallet, Geffrey de Saie, Roger de Mowbray, William de Huntingfield, Richard de Mountfichet, and William de Albenie. These fiue and twentie were sworne to sée the liberties granted and confirmed by the king to be in euerie point obserued, but if he went against the same, then they should haue authoritie to compell him to the obseruing of euerie of them.

The chatelains of foure castels.

Moreouer, there were other that were sworne to be obedient, and as it were assistant vnto these fiue and twentie péeres in such things as they should appoint, which were these. The earle of Arundell, the earle Warren by his attornie, Henrie Doilie, Hubert de Burgh, Matthew Fitz Herbert, Robert de Pinknie, Roger Huscarle, Robert de Newburgh, Henrie de Pont Audoin, Rafe de la Hay, Henrie de Brentfield, Warren Fitz Gerald, Thomas Basset, William de Buckland, William de saint John, Alane Basset, Richard de Riuers, Hugh de Boneuale, Jordain de Sackuille, Ralfe Musgraue, Richard Siflewast, Robert de Ropeley, Andrew de Beauchampe, Walter de Dunstable, Walter Folioth, Foulkes de Brent, John Marshall, Philip Daubnie, William de Perca, Ralfe de Normandie, William de Percie, William Agoilum, Engerand de Pratellis, William de Cirenton, Roger de Zuche, Roger Fitz Barnard, and Godfrie de Grancombe. It was further ordered, that the chatelains or constables (as I may call them) of the foure castels of Northampton, Killingworth, Notingham, and Scarborow, should be sworne to the fiue and twentie péeres, to gouerne those castels in such wise as they should haue in commandement from the said fiue and twentie péeres, or from the greater part of them: and that such should be placed as chatelains in the same, as were thought to be most true and faithfull[Pg 322] vnto the barons and the realme. ¶ It was also decréed, that certeine strangers, as Flemings and other, should be banished out of England.

The king herevpon sent his letters patents vnto the shiriffes of all the counties of this realme, commanding them to sée the ordinances and liberties which he granted and confirmed, to be diligentlie obserued. And for the more strengthening of this his grant, he had gotten the pope to confirme a like charter granted the yeare before. For the pope (sith king John was become his obedient vassall, and the apostolike king) easilie granted to gratifie both him and his lords herein, and so was the grant of the liberties corroborated & made good with a double confirmation, and so sealed, that it was impossible for them to be separated in sunder, the kings grant being annexed to the popes bull.

Rochester castell restored to the archb. of Canturburie.

Immediatlie also vpon the confirmation now made by the king, diuerse lords came to him, and required restitution of such possessions, lands, and houses, as he had in his hands, the right whereof (as they alledged) apperteined to them: but he excused the matter, and shifted them off, till by inquest taken, it might appeare what right euerie man had to those things which they then claimed: and furthermore assigned them a daie to be holden at Westminster, which was the sixtéenth day of Julie. But yer he restored at that time the castell of Rochester vnto the archbishop of Canturburie, the barons hauing obteined a great péece of their purpose (as they thought) returned to London with their charter sealed, the date whereof was this: Giuen by our owne hand, in the medow called Kuningsmede or Rimemede, betwixt Stanes and Windsore, the fiftéenth of Iune, in the eightéenth yeare of our reigne.

Matt. Paris.
The kings impatiencie to sée himselfe brideled by his subiects.

Great reioising was made for this conclusion of peace betwixt the king and his barons, the people iudging that God had touched the kings heart, and mollified it, whereby happie daies were come for the realme of England, as though it had béene deliuered out of the bondage of Aegypt: but they were much deceiued, for the king hauing condescended to make such grant of liberties, farre contrarie to his mind, was right sorowfull in his heart, curssed his mother that bare him, the houre that he was borne, and the paps that gaue him sucke, wishing that he had receiued death by violence of sword or knife, in stéed of naturall norishment: he whetted his téeth, he did bite now on one staffe, and now on an other as he walked, and oft brake the same in péeces when he had doone, and with such disordered behauiour and furious gestures he vttered his gréefe, in such sort that the Noble men verie well perceiued the inclination of his inward affection concerning these things, before the breaking vp of the councell, and therefore sore lamented the state of the realme, gessing what would follow of his impatiencie and displesant taking of the matter.

Herevpon they said among themselues, "Wo be to vs, yea rather to the whole realme that wanteth a sufficient king, and is gouerned by a tyrant that séeketh the subuersion therof. Now hath our souereigne lord made vs subiect to Rome, and to the Romish court, so that we must hencefoorth obteine our protection from thence. It is verie much to be feared, least we doo féele hereafter some further péece of mischéefe to light vpon vs suddenlie. We neuer heard of any king that would not gladlie indeuor to withdraw his necke from bondage & captiuitie, but ours of his owne accord voluntarilie submitteth himselfe to become vassall to euerie stranger." And thus the lords lamenting the case, left the king, and returned to London (as before yée haue heard.)

The king departeth into the Ile of Wight.
He sendeth ambassadors to the pope.

But the king disquieted not a little, for that he was thus driuen to yéeld so farre vnto the barons, notwithstanding as much as was possible he kept his purpose secret, deuised by what means he might disappoint all that had béene doone, and promised on his part, at this assemblie betwixt him and the lords a pacification (as yée haue heard.) Wherefore the next day verie late in the euening, he secretlie departed to Southampton, and so ouer into the Ile of Wight, where he tooke aduice with his councell what remedie he might find to quiet the minds of his lords and barons, and to bring them vnto his purpose. At length after much debating of the matter, it was concluded by the aduise[Pg 323] of the greater part, that the king should require the popes aid therein. And so Walter the bishop of Worcester, & John the bishop of Norwich, with one Richard Marish his chancellor, with all spéed were sent as ambassadors from the king vnto pope Innocent, to instruct him of the rebellion of the English Nobilitie, and that he constreined by force had granted them certeine lawes and priuileges hurtfull to his realme, and preiudiciall to his crowne.

Hugh de Boues.
Matth. Paris.

Moreouer, sith that all this was doone by the authoritie of the pope the king besought him to make the same void, and to command the barons to obeie him being their king, as reason required they should. There were also sent by him other messengers, as Hugh de Boues and others, into diuerse parts beyond the sea, to bring from thence great numbers of men of war and souldiers, appointing them to méet him at Douer, at the feast of saint Michaell next insuing. He sent likewise vnto all his chateleins and constables of castels within the realme, requiring them to prouide themselues of all things necessarie for defense of the holds committed to their charge, if they should chance to be besieged, though it were on the next morrow.

His ambassadours and other messengers being thus dispatched, and hauing but few persons left about him, or in maner none, except such of the bishop of Norwich his seruants as he had borowed of him, he fell to take prises as any ships came by suspected not to be his fréends, so séeking to win the fauour of the mariners that belonged to the cinke ports, and so lay close in the Ile of Wight and there about the sea-coasts for the space of thrée moneths togither. In which meane time, manie things were reported of him, some calling him a fisher, some a merchant, and some a pirat and rouer. And manie (for that no certeine newes could be heard of him) iudged that he was either drowned, or dead by some other means. But he still looking for some power to come ouer to his aid, kept himselfe out of the way, till the same should be arriued, and dissembled the conceit of his reuenge and hart grudge, till opportunitie serued him with conuenient securitie to put the same in execution. Wherein he shewed himselfe discréet and prouident, and did as in such a case one wiseman dooth counsell another, saieng,

————sapiens irámque coërcet,
Sæpè etiam vtiliter cedit, placidísque furentem
Demulcet dictis, & dulcibus allicit hostem
Blanditijs, donec deceptum in retia mittat.
The ambassadours cōming to the popes presence declare their message.

The lords all this while lay at London, and began to doubt the matter, bicause they could heare no certeine newes where the king was become: for doubting (as I said) the suertie of his person, he conueied himselfe secretlie from one place to another, lodging and taking his diet oftentimes more meanlie than was decent for his estate: and still he longed to heare how his ambassadours sped with the pope, who in the meane time comming vnto Rome, and declaring their message at full, tooke it vpon their solemne oth, that the right was on the kings side, and that the fault rested onelie on the lords, touching the whole controuersie betwéene them and him, who sought with great rigour and against reason to bridle him at their pleasures.

Matth. Paris.

They shewed also a note of certeine articles conteined in the charter, which séemed to make most for the kings purpose, and withall declared that the king in open assemblie, where he and the barons met to talke of such matters, had protested that the kingdome of England speciallie apperteined (as touching the souereingtie) vnto the church of Rome, whervpon he neither could nor ought without knowledge of the pope to ordeine anie thing anew, or change ought within that kingdome in preiudice thereof. Wherefore whereas he put himselfe and all the rights of his kingdome by way of appealing vnder the protection of the apostolike sée: the barons yet without regard had to the same appeale, did seize into their possession the citie of London, and getting them to armour, inforced the king to confirme such vnreasonable articles, as there appeared for him to consider.

[Pg 324]

The popes answer vnto the kings ambassadours.

The pope hauing heard their tale, and considered of the articles, with bending browes (in witnesse of his indignation) made foorth with this short answer: "And is it so, that the barons of England doo go about to expell their king, which hath taken vpon him the crosse, and is remaining vnder the protection of the apostolike sée? And do they meane indéed to translate the dominion that belongeth to the church of Rome vnto another? By S. Peter we cannot suffer this iniurie to passe vnpunished." Herevpon (crediting the ambassadours words) by the aduice of his cardinals, he décréed that all those priuiledges, which the king had granted vnto the lords and barons of this realme, as inforced thereto by their rebellious attempt, should be accounted void and of none effect. Also he wrote vnto the lords, admonishing them by his letters that they should obeie their king, vpon paine of his cursse if they should attempt anie thing that sounded to the contrarie.

Hect. Boetius.
Cardinall Gualo.

¶ At the same time there was in the court of Rome (as Hector Boetius saith) a cardinall named Gualo or Wallo, a verie couetous person, and such a one (as in that place some are neuer wanting) which for monie passed not what he did to further anie mans suit, without regard either to right or wrong, by whose chiefe trauell and means the pope was greatlie induced to fauour king Johns cause, and to iudge with him in preiudice of the lords purposes, as before is expressed.

The ambassadours returne from the pope.
The popes decrée is declared to the lords.
The barons will trie their quarel by dint of sword.

But to procéed. The ambassadours being dispatched, and hauing the popes prescript, and such other his letters with them as they had obteined of him, returned with all spéed into England vnto the king (who was come a litle before vnto Windsore castell) and there declared vnto him how they sped. K. John being ioifull in that they had brought the matter so well about for his purpose, caused the popes decrée to be declared vnto the barons, commanding them streitlie to obeie the same. The barons taking the matter grieuouslie to be thus mocked, with great indignation both blamed king Johns vniust dealing, and the popes wrongfull iudgement, in that he had pronounced against them, without hearing what they had of right to alledge for themselues. Wherevpon out of hand (notwithstanding the popes prohibition and prescript to the contrarie) they determined to trie their cause by dint of sword, and with all spéed assembled their powers, which for the greater part they had latelie dismissed and sent home. They furnished the castell of Rochester with a strong garrison of men, and placed therein as capteine one William Albeney, a verie skilfull warriour.

The K. sendeth eftsoons to the pope.
The king returneth into the Ile of Wight.
Matt. Paris.
The arriuall of forren souldiers to the kings aid. Sauerie de Mauleon.
Ferdinando erle of Flanders.

King John, after he vnderstood that the barons (contemning the popes decrée and inhibition) were more offended and bent against him than before, sent once againe to the pope, to aduertise him of their disobedience and great contumacie shewed in refusing to stand to his prescript. This doone, he returned to the Ile of Wight, and sailed from thence to Douer, where diuerse of those his commissaries which he had sent to hire soldiers in forren parts returned to him, bringing with them out of diuerse countries such a multitude of souldiers and armed men, that the onelie sight of them stroke the harts of all the beholders with great feare and terror. For out of the parties of Poictou and Gascoine, there came men of great nobilitie, and right worthie warriours, as Sauerie de Mauleon, Geffrey and Oliuer de Buteuile two brethren, hauing vnder them great numbers of good souldiers and tall men of warre. Also out of Brabant there came Walter Buc, Gerard de Sotignie, and one Godestall, with thrée legions of armed men and crossebowes. Likewise there came out of Flanders other capteins, with diuerse bands of souldiers, which Ferdinando earle of Flanders (latelie returned out of the French captiuitie) for old fréendships sake furnished and sent ouer to aid him against his subiects, according as he had requested.

Wil. de Albenie capteine of Rochester castell.
King John besiegeth the castell of Rochester.

King John then hauing recouered strength about him, and being aduertised that William de Albenie was entred into the castell of Rochester with a great number of knights, men of armes and other souldiers, hasted thither with his whole armie, and besieged them within, inforcing himselfe by all waies possible to win the castell as well by battering the walles with engines, as by giuing thereto manie assaults: but the garison within (consisting[Pg 325] of nintie and foure knights beside demilances, and other souldiers) defended the place verie manfullie, in hope of rescue from the barons, which laie as then at London: but they comming forward one daies iournie vnto Dartford, when they heard that the king was comming forward in good araie of battell to méet them, vpon consideration had of their owne forces, for that they were not able to match him with footmen, they returned backe againe to the citie, breaking that assured promise which they had made and also confirmed by their solemne oths, which was that if the castell should chance to be besieged, they would not faile but raise the siege.

Rochester castell is yéelded to the king.
The counsell of Sauerie de Mauleon.
Arcubalisters those yt beare crossebowes.

At length they within for want of vittels were constreined to yéeld it vp vnto the king, after it had béene besieged the space of thrée score daies: during which time they had beaten backe their enimies at sundry assaults, with great slaughter and losse. But the king hauing now got the possession of that hold, vpon gréefe conceiued for the losse of so manie men, and also bicause he had line so long about it yer he could winne it, to his inestimable costs and charges, was determined to haue put them all to death that had kept it. But Sauerie de Mauleon aduised him otherwise, lest by such crueltie, the barons in any like case should be occasioned to vse the same extremitie towards such of his people, as by chance might fall into their hands. Thus the king spared the Nobles and gentlemen, sending William de Albenie, William de Lancaster, William de Emeford, Thomas de Muleton, Osbert Gifford, Osbert de Bobie, Odinell de Albenie, and diuerse other to the castell of Corfe, there to be kept as prisoners. But Robert Charnie, Richard Gifford, and Thomas de Lincolne were sent to Notingham, and so other were sent to other places. As for all the demilances or yeomen (if I shall so call them) and the arcubalisters which had slaine manie of his men during the siege (as Matthew Paris saith) the king caused them to be hanged, to put other in feare that should so obstinatlie resist him.


Neuerthelesse (as the booke that belonged to Bernewell abbie saith) there was not any of them hanged, sauing one arcubalister onelie, whome the king had brought vp of a child. But howsoeuer the king dealt with them after they were yéelded, true it is (as by the same booke it appeareth) there had béene no siege in those daies more earnestlie inforced, nor more obstinatlie defended: for after that all the limmes of the castell had béene reuersed and throwne downe, they kept the maister tower, till halfe thereof was also ouerthrowne, and after kept the other halfe, till through famine they were constreined to yéeld, hauing nothing but horsseflesh and water to susteine their liues withall.

Hugh de Boues drowned.

Here is to be remembred, that whilest the siege laie thus at Rochester, Hugh de Boues a valiant knight, but full of pride and arrogancie, a Frenchman borne, but banished out of his countrie, came downe to Calice with an huge number of men of warre and souldiers to come to the aid of king John. But as he was vpon the sea with all his people, meaning to land at Douer, by a sudden tempest which rose at that instant, the said Hugh with all his companie was drowned by shipwracke. Soone after the bodie of the same Hugh with the carcases of other innumerable, both of men, women, and children, were found not farre from Yermouth, and all along that coast. There were of them in all fortie thousand, as saith Matthew Paris, for of all those which he brought with him, there was (as it is said) not one man left aliue.

The king (as the fame went, but how true I know not) had giuen by charter vnto the said Hugh de Boues, the whole countrie of Northfolke, so that he ment to haue expelled the old inhabitants, and to haue peopled it with strangers. But whether this was so or not, sure it is that he was verie sorowfull for the losse of this succor and aid which thus perished in the seas, though it happened verie well for his subiects of England, that should haue béene sore oppressed by such multitude of strangers, which for the most part must néeds haue liued vpon the countrie, to the vtter vndooing of the inhabitants wheresoeuer they should haue come.

Rafe Cog.

Héere is to be noted, that during the siege of Rochester (as some write) there came out of France to the number néere hand of seauen thousand men sent from the French king[Pg 326] vnto the aid of the barons, at the suit of Saer de Quincie earle of Winchester and other ambassadours that were sent from the barons, during the time of this siege, although it should séeme by Matthew Paris, that the said earle was not sent till after the pope had excommunicated the barons (as after yée shall heare.) The Frenchmen that came ouer at this first time landed at Orwell, and at other hauens there néere adioining.

Walter Graie elected archb. of Yorke.

About this season, the canons of Yorke (bicause the archbishops sée there had remained void a long time) obtaining licence of the king, assembled togither about the election of an archbishop. And though the king had once againe earnestlie mooued them to preferre Walter Graie bishop of Worcester, yet they refused so to doo, and therefore chose Simon de Langton, brother to the archbishop of Canturburie, which election was afterward made void by the earnest trauell of the king to the pope, bicause his brother the said archbishop of Canturburie was known to fauour the part of the barons against him, so that the said Walter Graie was then elected and promoted to the guiding of the sée of Yorke, according to the kings speciall desire in that behalfe.

The archb. of Canturburie fauoureth the barons part.
Matth. Paris.
The barons denounced accurssed by the popes commandement.

About the same time also, pope Innocent being certified, how the barons of England would not obeie his prescript, iudged them enimies to the church and gaue commandement to Peter the bishop of Winchester, to the abbat of Reading, and to the subdeacon Pandulph, to pronounce the sentence of excommunication against them. But they could not at the first execute the popes commandement herein, by reason that the archbishop of Canturburie, who fauoured the barons cause, would not permit them. Wherefore the same archbishop was interdicted out of the church, and from saieng diuine seruice, and also being cited to appeare at Rome, was in danger to be depriued of his miter: had not certeine cardinals intreated for him, and obteined his pardon. The archbishop being gone to Rome, as well to excuse himselfe in this matter, as to be present at the generall councell there holden at that time (for he was readie to go take the sea thitherwards when the bishop of Winchester and Pandulph came to him with the popes letters) the said bishop of Winchester & Pandulph procéeded to the pronouncing of the excommunication against the barons, renewing the same euerie sundaie and holieday: albeit the barons (bicause none of them were expresselie named in the popes letters) made none account of the censure, reputing it as void, and not to concerne them in any manner of point. But now to returne to king John.

K. John diuideth his armie in two parts.
Matth. Paris.

After he had woone the castell of Rochester (as before you haue heard) he hasted to S. Albons, and there diuided his armie into two parts, appointing the one to remaine about London, whilest he himselfe with the other might go into the north to waste and destroie the possessions of certeine lords there, which (as he was informed) went about to raise an armie against him. He made capteins of that armie which he left behind him, his brother William earle of Salisburie, Sauerie de Mauleon, Will. Brewer, Walter Buc, and others. He himselfe departed from S. Albons about the 21 day of December, leading his said armie northwards: in which were chiefe capteins these that follow, William erle of Albemarle, Philip de Albeney, and John Marshall. Also of strangers, Gerard de Sotigam, and Godstall, with the Flemings, the crossebowes, and others.

K. John goeth northward.
Matth. Paris.
Beauer castle summoned to yéeld.
William de Albeney.
The castell of Beauoir rendered to the king.

The first night he laie at Dunstable, and from thence passing forwards towards Northampton, he destroied by the waie all the manours, places and houses, which belonged to the aduersaries, and so kept on his iournie till he came to Notingham, where he laie in the castell on Christmasse day, and in the morning (being S. Stephans day) he went to Langar, and lodged there that night, sending his summons in the morning to the castell of Beauer, willing them within to yéeld. This castell apperteined to William Albeney, who had committed the custodie thereof vnto his sonne Nicholas de Albeney préest, to sir William de Stodham, and to sir Hugh Charnelles knights: the which came to the king with the keies of the castell, and surrendered the same vnto him, with condition that he should be good to their master the said William Albeney, and grant vnto them their horses and armour, wherwith they would remaine with him vnder his peace and protection. On the[Pg 327] next morrow (being S. Johns day) the king went to the castell, and receiuing the same, deliuered it to the kéeping of Geffrey Buteuile, and his brother Oliuer.

Dunnington castell taken and raced.
Matth. Paris.

After this the castell of John Lacie at Dunnington was taken and laid flat to the ground, by commandement of the king, who hauing accomplished his will in those parties, drew towards Yorkeshire, and at his comming thither destroied the houses, townes and manours of those lords and gentlemen which were against him. It is horrible to heare, and lothsome to rehearse the crueltie which was practised by the souldiers and men of warre in places where they came, who counting no honour or renowme more excellent, nor glorie (as warriours say)

Maior nulla quidem quàm bello parta videtur,
Horrida Mauortis tractare ferociter arma,
Hostilíque suam temerare in sanguine dextram,
K. John taketh ye castell of Barwike.
Hugh de Balioll & Philip de Hulcotes.
Robert de Vepount, Brian de Lisle, Geffrey de Lucie.

and therfore were wholie bent to spoile and ransacke the houses of the people without pitie or compassion, besides the robberies, spoiles and great outrages vsed by the souldiers generallie against the common people. Few there were in that countrie of great lineage or wealth, whom the king for their assembling themselues with the barons either spoiled not, or put not to execution. Thus with his armie (to the great desolation of the countrie) he passed foorth to the borders of Scotland, and entring that realme, tooke the castell of Barwike, and other places of strength in those parts, meaning to haue woone more from the Scots, if other vrgent businesse had not called him backe againe. This being doone, he committed the countrie which lieth betwixt the riuer of These, and the confines of Scotland, to the kéeping of Hugh de Balioll & Philip de Hulcotes, assigning to them such conuenient number of men of warre as was thought expedient, and the custodie of the castels in Yorkeshire he deliuered to Robert de Vepount, to Brian de Lisle, and to Geffrey de Lucie.

Mountsorell betwixt Leicester & Lugborough.
The earle of Salisburie with his armie inuadeth the countries about London.

Finallie, when he had so ordered things in the North parts as stood with his pleasure, so that there remained no more but two castels, that is to saie, Mountsorrell, and another in Yorkeshire that apperteined to Robert de Roos in possession of the barons, he returned by the borders of Wales into the south parts: and by all the way as he passed, he shewed great crueltie against his aduersaries, besieging and taking their castells and strong houses, of the which some he caused to be fortified with garrisons of souldiers to his owne vse, and some he raced. The like feats were wrought by the other armie in the parts about London: for William earle of Salisburie, and Foukes de Brent, with the other capteins which the king had left behind him there, perceiuing that the citie would not easilie be woone by anie siege, first furnished the castell of Windsore, Hertford, and Barkhamsted, with such strong garrisons of souldiers as might watch, vpon occasion giuen to assaile those that should either go into the citie, or come from thence: they marched foorth with the residue of the armie, and passing through the counties of Essex, and Hertford, Middlesex, Cambridge, Huntington, they wasted the countries, and made the townes become tributaries to them. As for the houses, manour places, parkes, and other possessions of the barons, they wasted, spoiled and destroied them, running euen hard to the citie of London and setting fire in the suburbs.

The castell of Hanslap.
Tunbridge castell.
Bedford takēn by Foukes de Brent.
Will. Beauchampe.
Castels deliuered to the kéeping of Foukes de Brent.

In this meane time, whilest the king went forwards on his iournie northwards, vpon the 18 of December last past, the castell of Hanslap was taken by Foukes de Brent, which apperteined vnto William Manduit. On the same day also was the castell of Tunbridge taken by the garrison of Rochester, which castell of Tunbridge belonged to the earle of Clare. Moreouer, the foresaid Foukes de Brent comming vnto Bedford, wan both the towne and castell: for they that had the castell in kéeping, after 7 daies respit (which they obteined at the hands of the said Foukes) when rescue came not from the lord William Beauchampe their maister, they deliuered it vnto the said Foukes. Vnto whom K. John gaue not onlie that castell, but also committed to his kéeping the castells of Northampton, Oxford and Cambridge.

[Pg 328]

Foukes de Brent aduanced by marriage.
Rockingham, Sawey and Biham.
Hertfort castell.

The king had this Foukes in great estimation, and amongst other waies to aduance him, he gaue to him in marriage Margaret de Riuers, a ladie of high nobilitie, with all the lands and possessions that to hir belonged. Moreouer, to William earle of Albemarle the king deliuered the custodie of the castels of Rockingham, Sawey and Biham. To one Ranulfe Teutonicus, the castell of Barkehamsted, and to Walter Godreuill seruant to Foukes de Brent, he betooke the kéeping of the castell of Hertford. Thus what on the one part, and what on the other, the barons lost in maner all their possessions from the south sea vnto the borders of Scotland, the king seizing the same into his hands, and committing them to the kéeping of strangers, and such other as he thought more trustie and conuenient. All this while the barons laie at London banketting and making merrie, without attempting anie exploit praise-worthie. But yet when they heard by certeine aduertisement, what hauocke and destruction was made of their houses & possessions abroad, they could not but lament their miseries, and amongst other their complaints which they vttered one to another, they sore blamed the pope, as a chéefe cause of all these euils, for that he mainteined and defended the king against them.

The barons accursed by name.

Indéed about the same time pope Innocent, who before at the instant suit of king John had excommunicated the barons in generall, did now excommunicate them by name, and in particular, as these. First all the citizens of London which were authors of the mischéefe that had happened by the rebellion of the said barons. Also Robert Fitz Walter, Saer de Quincie earle of Winchester, R. his sonne, G. de Mandeuille, and W. his brother the earle of Clare, and G. his sonne, H. earle of Hereford, R. de Percie, G. de Vescie, J. conestable of Chester, W. de Mowbraie, Will. de Albenie, W. his sonne, P. de Breuse, R. de Cressey, J. his sonne, Ranulfe Fitz Robert, R. earle Bigot, H. his sonne, Robert de Vere, Foulke Fitz Warren, W. Mallet, W. de Mountacute, W. Fitz Marshall, W. de Beauchampe, S. de Kime, R. de Montbigons, and Nicholas de Stuteuille, with diuerse other.

Ralfe Cog.
The Ile of Elie spoiled.

The armie which king John had left behind him in the south parts, vnder the leading of the earle of Salisburie and other, laie not idle, but scowring the countries abroad (as partlie yée haue heard) came to S. Edmundsburie, and hauing intelligence there, that diuerse knights, ladies and gentlewomen that were there before their comming, had fled out of that towne, and for their more safetie were withdrawne into the Ile of Elie, they followed them, besieged the Ile, and assailed it on ech side, so that although they within had fortified the passages, and appointed men of warre to remaine vpon the gard of the same in places where it was thought most néedfull; yet at length they entred vpon them by force, Walter Bucke with his Brabanders being the first that set foot within the Ile towards Herbie. For by reason the waters in the fenes and ditches were hard frosen, so that men might passe by the same into the said Ile, they found means to enter, and spoiled it frōm side to side, togither with the cathedral church, carieng from thence at their departure a maruellous great prey of goods and cattell.

The lords send to the French kings sonne, offering to him the crowne.

The barons of the realme being thus afflicted with so manie mischéefes all at one time, as both by the sharpe and cruell warres which the king made against them on the one side, and by the enmitie of the pope on the other side, they knew not which way to turne them, nor how to séeke for reléefe. For by the losse of their complices taken in the castell of Rochester, they saw not how it should any thing auaile them to ioine in battell with the king. Therefore considering that they were in such extremitie of despaire they resolued with themselues to séeke for aid at the enimies hands, and therevpon Saer earle of Winchester, and Robert Fitz Walter, with letters vnder their seales were sent vnto Lewes the sonne of Philip the French king, offering him the crowne of England, and sufficient pledges for performance of the same, and other couenants to be agréed betwixt them, requiring him with all spéed to come vnto their succour. This Lewes had married (as[Pg 329] before is said) Blanch daughter to Alfonse king of Castile, néece to king John by his sister Elianor.

French men sent ouer to the aid of the barons.
The saturday after the Epiphanie, saith Rafe. Cog.

Now king Philip the father of this Lewes, being glad to haue such an occasion to inuade the relme of England, which he neuer looued, promised willinglie that his sonne should come vnto the aid of the said barons with all conuenient spéed (but first he receiued foure and twentie hostages which he placed at Campaine for further assurance of the couenants accorded) and herewith he prepared an armie, and diuerse ships to transport his sonne and his armie ouer into England. In the meane time, and to put the barons in comfort, he sent ouer a certeine number of armed men, vnder the leading of the chatelaine of saint Omers and the chatelaine of Arras, Hugh Thacon, Eustace de Neuille, Baldwin Brecell, William de Wimes, Giles de Melun, W. de Beamont, Giles de Hersie, Biset de Fersie, and others, the which taking the sea, arriued with one and fortie ships in the Thames, and so came to London the seauen and twentith of Februarie, where they were receiued of the barons with great ioy and gladnesse. Moreouer the said Lewes wrote to the barons, that he purposed by Gods assistance to be at Calice by day appointed, with an armie redie to passe ouer with all spéed vnto their succours.

Rafe. Cog.

The fridaie before Candlemasse day, Sauarie de Mauleon, and other capteines of the kings side, laid siege to the castell of Colchester, but hauing intelligence that the barons which laie at London made forward with all spéed to come to succour that castell, on the Wednesday after Candlemasse day, being the third of Februarie, they raised their siege, and went backe towards S. Edmundsburie.

In the meane while, the K. being gone (as yée haue heard) to the borders of Scotland, a brute was raised that he was dead, and secretlie buried at Reading. But this rumour had not time to worke any great alteration, for after he had dispatched his businesse in the north, as he thought expedient, he returned, and comming into the east parts about the midst of Lent himselfe in person besieged the castell of Colchester, and within a few daies after his comming thither, it was deliuered vnto him by Frenchmen that kept it, with condition that they might depart with all their goods and armour, vnto their fellowes at London, and that the Englishmen there in companie with them in that castell, might likewise depart vpon reasonable ransoms.

But although that couenant was kept with the Frenchmen, yet the Englishmen were staied and committed to prison. Wherevpon when the Frenchmen came to London, they were apprehended and charged with treason for making such composition, whereby those Englishmen that were fellowes with them in arms were secluded from so beneficiall conditions as they had made for themselues. They were in danger to haue béene put to death for their euill dealing herein, albeit at length it was concluded that they should remaine in prison till the comming of Lewes, vnto whose pleasure their cause should be referred.

After this the castell of Hidingham was woone, which belonged vnto earle Robert de Vere. Then the king prepared to besiege London, but the Londoners were of such courage, that they set open their gates, and hearing of the kings approach, made readie to issue forth to giue him battell: wherof the king being aduertised, withdrew backe, but Sauerie de Mauleon was suddenlie set vpon by the Londoners, lost manie of his men, and was sore hurt and wounded himselfe.

The king perceiuing that it would not preuaile him to attempt the winning of the citie at that time, drew alongst the coast, fortified his castels, and prepared a great nauie, meaning to encounter his enimie Lewes by sea: but through tempest the ships which he had got togither from Yarmouth, Dunwich Lin, and other hauens, were dispersed in sunder, and manie of them cast awaie by rage and violence of the outragious winds.

King John once againe sendeth to the pope.

Somewhat before this time also, when he heard of the compact made betwixt the barons and his aduersaries the Frenchmen, he dispatched a messenger in all hast to the pope, signifieng to him what was in hand and practised against him, requiring furthermore the[Pg 330] said pope by his authorise to cause Lewes to staie his iournie, and to succour those rebels in England which he had alreadie excommunicated. This he néeded not haue doone, had he béene indued with such prudence and prowesse as is requisit to be planted in one that beareth rule, of whom it is said,

Cui si quando Deus rerum permittat habenas,
Imperíjq; decus, tunc aurea secula fiunt,
Tunc floret virtus, terrásque Astrea reuisit,
Pax viget, & vitium duris cohibetur habenis,
An. Reg. 18.
Cardinall Gualo.
Matth. Paris.
The French kings allegations to the popes legat Gualo.
Matth. West.
Matth. Paris.

whereas by meanes of defects in the contrarie, he bare too low a saile, in that he would be so foolified as being a king, to suffer vsurped supremasie to be caruer of his kingdome. But let vs sée the consequence. The pope desirous to helpe king John all that he might (bicause he was now his vassall) sent his legat Gualo into France, to disswade king Philip from taking anie enterprise in hand against the king of England. But king Philip though he was content to heare what the legat could saie, yet by no meanes would be turned from the execution of his purpose, alledging that king John was not the lawfull king of England, hauing first vsurped and taken it awaie from his nephue Arthur the lawfull inheritour, and that now sithens as an enimie to his owne roiall dignitie he had giuen the right of his kingdome awaie to the pope (which he could not doo without consent of his nobles) and therefore through his owne fault he was worthilie depriued of all his kinglie honor. For the kingdome of England (saith he) neuer belonged to the patrimonie of S. Peter, nor at anie time shall. For admit that he were rightfull king, yet neither he nor anie other prince may giue awaie his kingdome without the assent of his barons, which are bound to defend the same, and the prerogatiue roiall, to the vttermost of their powers. Furthermore (saith he) if the pope doo meane to mainteine this errour, he shall giue a perilous example to all kingdomes of the world. Herewithall the Nobles of France then present, protested also with one voice, that in defense of this article they would stand to the death, which is, that no king or prince at his will and pleasure might giue awaie his kingdome, or make it tributarie to anie other potentate, whereby the Nobles should become thrall or subject to a forren gouernour. These things were doone at Lions in the quindene after Easter.

Lewes the Frēnch kings sonne mainteineth his pretended title to the crowne of England.
The priuilege of those that tooke vpon them the crosse.

Lewes on the morrow following, being the 26 of Aprill, by his fathers procurement, came into the councell chamber, and with frowning looke beheld the legat, where by his procurator he defended the cause that moued him to take vpon him this iournie into England, disprouing not onelie the right which king John had to the crowne, but also alledging his owne interest, not onelie by his new election of the barons, but also in the title of his wife, whose mother the quéene of Castile remained onelie aliue of all the brethren and sisters of Henrie the second late king of England (as before ye haue heard.) The legat made answer herevnto, that "king John had taken vpon him the crosse, as one appointed to go to warre against Gods enimies in the holie land, wherefore he ought by decrée of the generall councell to haue peace for foure yeares to come, and to remaine in suertie vnder protection of the apostolike sée." But Lewes replied thereto, that king John had by warre first inuaded his castels and lands in Picardie, and wasted the same, as Buncham castell and Liens, with the countie of Guisnes which belonged to the fée of the said Lewes.

Matt. Paris.

But these reasons notwithstanding, the legat warned the French king on paine of cursing, not to suffer his sonne to go into England, and likewise his sonne, that he should not presume to take the iournie in hand. But Lewes hearing this, declared that his father had nothing to do to forbid him to prosecute his right in the realme of England, which was not holden of him, and therefore required his father not to hinder his purpose in such things as belonged nothing to him, but rather to licence him to séeke the recouerie of his wiues right, which he meant to pursue with perill of life, if néed should require.

[Pg 331]

The French kings sonne sendeth to the pope.
He commeth to Calice.

The legat perceiuing he could not preuaile in his sute made to king Philip, thought that he would not spend time longer in vaine, in further treating with him, but sped him foorth into England, obteining yet a safeconduct of the French king to passe through his realme. Lewes in like maner, purposing by all meanes to preuent the legat, first dispatched foorth ambassadours in all hast vnto the court of Rome to excuse himselfe to the pope, and to render the reasons that most speciallie mooued him to procéed forward in his enterprise against king John, being called by the barons of England to take the crowne thereof vpon him. This doone, with all conuenient spéed he came downe to Calice, where he found 680 ships well appointed and trimmed, which Eustace surnamed the moonke had gathered and prepared there readie against his comming.

He taketh the sea.
He landeth in Kent.
The lords doo homage vnto him.

Lewes therefore foorthwith imbarking himselfe with his people, and all necessarie prouisions for such a iournie, tooke the sea, and arriued at a place called Stanchorre in the Ile of Tenet, vpon the 21 day of Maie, and shortlie after came to Sandwich, & there landed with all his people, where he also incamped vpon the shore by the space of thrée daies. In which meane time there came vnto him a great number of those lords and gentlemen which had sent for him, and there euerie one apart and by himselfe sware fealtie and homage vnto him, as if he had béene their true and naturall prince.

Matth. Paris.

King John about the same time that Lewes thus arriued, came to Douer, meaning to fight with his aduersaries by the way as they should come forward towards London. But yet vpon other aduisement taken, he changed his purpose, bicause he put some doubt in the Flemings and other strangers, of whome the most part of his armie consisted, bicause he knew that they hated the French men no more than they did the English. Therefore furnishing the castell of Douer, with men, munition, and vittels, he left it in the kéeping of Hubert de Burgh, a man of notable prowesse & valiancie, and returned himselfe vnto Canturburie, and from thence tooke the high waie towards Winchester. Lewes being aduertised that king John was retired out of Kent, passed through the countrie without anie incounter, and wan all the castels and holds as he went, but Douer he could not win.

Rochester castell woone.
Lewes cometh to London.

At his comming to Rochester, he laid siege to the castell there, and wan it, causing all the strangers that were found within it to be hanged. This doone, he came to London, and there receiued the homage of those lords and gentlemen which had not yet doone their homage to him at Sandwich. On the other part he tooke an oth to mainteine and performe the old lawes and customes of the realme, and to restore to euerie man his rightfull heritage and lands, requiring the barons furthermore to continue faithfull towards him, assuring them to bring things so to passe, that the realme of England should recouer the former dignitie, and they their ancient liberties. Moreouer he vsed them so courteouslie, gaue them so faire words, and made such large promises, that they beléeued him with all their harts. But alas! Cur vincit opinio verum?

Noblemen reuolting frōm K. John vnto Lewes.
Simon Lāngton chancellor to Lewes.

The rumour of this pretended outward courtesie being once spred through the realme, caused great numbers of people to come flocking to him, among whome were diuerse of those which before had taken part with king John, as William earle Warren, William earle of Arundell, William earle of Salisburie, William Marshall the yoonger, and diuerse other, supposing verelie that the French kings sonne should now obteine the kingdome, who in the meane time ordeined Simon Langton afore mentioned, to be his chancellour, by whose preaching and exhortation, as well the citizens of London as the barons that were excommunicated, caused diuine seruice to be celebrated in their presence, induced thereto, bicause Lewes had alreadie sent his procurators to Rome before his comming into England, there to shew the goodnesse of his cause and quarell.

Cardinall Gualo commeth ouer into England.

But this auailed them not, neither tooke his excuse any such effect as he did hope it should: for those ambassadors that king John had sent thither, replied against their assertions, so that there was hard hold about it in that court, albeit that the pope would decrée nothing till he hard further from his legat Gualo, who the same time (being aduer[Pg 332]tised of the procéedings of Lewes in his iournie) with all diligence hasted ouer into England, and passing through the middle of his aduersaries, came vnto king John, then soiourning at Glocester, of whome he was most ioifullie receiued, for in him king John reposed all his hope of victorie. This legat immediatlie after his comming did excommunicate Lewes by name, with all his fautors and complices, but speciallie Simon de Langton, with bell, booke, and candle, as the maner was. Howbeit the same Simon, and one Geruase de Hobrug deane of S. Pauls in London, with other, alledged that for the right and state of the cause of Lewes, they had alreadie appealed to the court of Rome, and therefore the sentence published by Gualo they tooke as void.

The more part of the strangers depart from the seruice of K. John.
Castels woon by Lewes.

At the same time also, all the knights and men of warre of Flanders and other parts beyond the seas, which had serued the king, departed from him, the Poictouins onelie excepted: and part of them that thus went from him resorted vnto Lewes, and entred into his wages; but the residue repaired home into their own countries, so that Lewes being thus increased in power, departed from London, and marching towards Winchester, he wan the castels of Rigat, Gilford, and Farnham. From thence he went to Winchester, where the citie was yéelded vnto him, with all the castels and holds thereabout, as Woluesey, Odiham, and Beaumere.

William de Collingham a gentleman of Sussex.

¶ Whilest the said Lewes was thus occupied in Sussex, about the subduing of that countrie vnto his obeisance, there was a yoong gentleman in those parts named William de Collingham, being of a valorous mind, and loathing forren subiection, who would in no wise doo fealtie to Lewes, but assembling togither about the number of a thousand archers, kept himselfe within the woods and desert places, whereof that countrie is full, and so during all the time of this warre, shewed himselfe an enimie to the Frenchmen, slaieng no small numbers of them, as he tooke them at any aduantage. O worthie gentleman of English bloud! And O

Grandia quæ aggreditur fortis discrimina virtus!
Castels fortified by king John.

In like manner, all the fortresses, townes, and castels in the south parts of the realme were subdued vnto the obeisance of Lewes (the castels of Douer and Windsore onelie excepted.) Within a little while after, Will. de Mandeuille, Robert Fitz Walter, and William de Huntingfield, with a great power of men of warre, did the like vnto the countries of Essex and Suffolke. In which season, king John fortified the castels of Wallingford, Corfe, Warham, Bristow, the Vies, and diuerse others with munition and vittels. About which time letters came also vnto Lewes from his procurators, whom he had sent to the pope, by the tenor whereof he was aduertised, that notwithstanding all that they could doo or say, the pope meant to excommunicate him, and did but onelie staie till he had receiued some aduertisement from his legat Gualo.

The points wherewith king John was charged.

The chéefest points (as we find) that were laid by Lewes his procurators against king John were these, that by the murther committed in the person of his nephue Arthur, he had béene condemned in the parlement chamber, before the French king, by the péeres of France, and that being summoned to appeare, he had obstinatelie refused so to doo, and therefore had by good right forfeited not onelie his lands within the precinct of France, but also the realme of England, which was now due vnto the said Lewes as they alledged, in right of the ladie Blanch his wife, daughter to Elianor quéene of Spaine. But the pope refelled all such allegations as they produced for proofe hereof, & séemed to defend king Johns cause verie pithilie: but namelie, in that he was vnder the protection of him as supreme lord of England: againe, for that he had taken vpon him the crosse (as before yée haue heard.) But now to returne where we left.

The Frenchmen begin to shew themselues in their kind.

About the feast of saint Margaret, Lewes with the lords came againe to London, at whose comming, the tower of London was yéelded vp to him by appointment, after which the French capteins and gentlemen, thinking themselues assured of the realme, began to shew their inward dispositions and hatred toward the Englishmen, and forgetting all[Pg 333] former promises (such is the nature of strangers, and men of meane estate, that are once become lords of their desires, according to the poets words,

Iuuen. sat. 9.
Asperius nihil est humili cùm surgit in altum)

they did manie excessiue outrages, in spoiling and robbing the people of the countrie, without pitie or mercie. Moreouer they did not onelie breake into mens houses, but also into churches, and tooke out of the same such vessels and ornaments of gold and siluer, as they could laie hands vpon: for Lewes had not the power now to rule the gréedie souldiers, being wholie giuen to the spoile.

The castell of Norwich left for a prey to Lewes.
Thomas de Burgh taken prisoner.

But most of all their tyrannie did appeare in the east parts of the realme, when they went through the countries of Essex, Suffolke and Northfolke, where they miserablie spoiled the townes and villages, reducing those quarters vnder their subiection, and making them tributaries, vnto Lewes in most seruile and slauish manner. Furthermore, at his comming to Norwich, he found the castell void of defense, and so tooke it, without any resistance, and put into it a garison of his souldiers. Also he sent a power to the towne of Lin, which conquered the same, and tooke the citizens prisoners, causing them to paie great summes of monie for their ransoms. Morouer, Thomas de Burgh, chateleine of the castell of Norwich, who vpon the approch of the Frenchmen to the citie, fled out in hope to escape, was taken prisoner, and put vnder safekéeping. He was brother vnto Hubert de Burgh capteine of Douer castell.

Gilbert de Gaunt made earle of Lincolne.
Lincolne woone.
Holland in Lincolnshire inuaded.
Yorkeshire subdued to Lewes.

Now when Lewes had thus finished his enterprises in those parts, he returned to London, and shortlie therevpon created Gilbert de Gaunt earle of Lincolne, appointing him to go thither with all conuenient spéed, that he might resist the issues made by them which did hold the castels of Notingham and Newarke, wasting and spoiling the possessions and lands belonging to the barons néere adioining to the same castels. This Gilbert de Gaunt then, togither with Robert de Ropeley, comming into that countrie, tooke the citie of Lincolne, and brought all the countrie vnder subiection (the castell onlie excepted.) After that, they inuaded Holland, and spoiling that countrie, made it also tributarie vnto the French. Likewise, Robert de Roos, Peter de Bruis, and Richard Percie, subdued Yorke and all Yorkeshire, bringing the same vnder the obeisance of Lewes. The king of Scots in like sort subdued vnto the said Lewes all the countrie of Northumberland, except the castels which Hugh de Balioll, and Philip de Hulcotes valiantlie defended against all the force of the enimie.

And as these wicked rebels made a prey of their owne countrie, so the legat Gualo not behind for his part to get something yer all should be gone, vpon a falkonish or wooluish appetite fléeced the church, considering that,

Ηδ' ὣρη παραμέιβεται μινήθη δέ τοι ἒργον,
------ μελέτῃ δέ τὶ ἒργον ὂφέλλει,
The legat Gualo gathereth proxes.
Sequestratiōn of benefices.

and tooke proxies of euerie cathedrall church & house of religion within England, that is to say, for euerie proxie fiftie shillings. Moreouer, he sequestred all the benefices of those persons and religious men, that either aided or counselled Lewes and the barons, in their attempts and enterprises. All which benefices he spéedilie conuerted to his owne vse, and to the vse of his chapleins.

Lewes trauelleth in vaine to take Douer.
Rafe Cog.

In the meane time, Lewes was brought into some good hope thorough meanes of Thomas de Burgh, whom he tooke prisoner (as before you haue heard) to persuade his brother Hubert to yéeld vp the castell of Douer, the siege whereof was the next enterprise which he attempted. For his father king Philip, hearing that the same was kept by a garrison, to the behoofe of king John, wrote to his sonne, blaming him that he left behind him so strong a fortresss in his enimies hands. But though Lewes inforced his whole endeuour to win that castell, yet all his trauell was in vaine. For the said Hubert de Burgh, and Gerard de Sotigam, who were chéefe capteins within, did their best to defend it against him and all his power, so that despairing to win it by force, he assaied to obteine his purpose, by threatening to hange the capteins brother before his face, if he[Pg 334] would not yéeld the sooner. But when that would not serue, he sought to win him by large offers of gold and siluer. Howbeit, such was the singular constancie of Hubert, that he would not giue anie eare vnto those his flatering motions. Then Lewes in a great furie menaced that he would not once depart from thence, till he had woon the castell, and put all them within to death, and began to assaile it with more force than before he had doone.

Yermouth, Dunwich, & Gipswich ransomed.

The barons also, which at this season lay at London, making a rode to Cambridge, tooke the towne, and after went foorth into Northfolke and Suffolke (as it were to gather vp such scraps as the French had left) spoiling those countries verie pitifullie, churches and all. They constreined the townes of Yermouth, Dunwich & Gipswich, to pay to them great summes of monie by waie of ransoming. And at length returning by Colchester, they vsed like practises there. From thence they returned to London, and shortlie after, vnder the conduct of the earle of Neuers (vpon a sudden) going to Windsore, they laid a strong siege about that castell; in the which was capteine Ingelard de Athie, with sixtie valiant knights, & other men of war of their suit, the which manfullie stood at defense.

Alexander K. of Scots doth homage to K. Lewes.
This Eustace had married the sister of K. Alexander.

In the moneth of August, Alexander king of Scotland came through the countrie vnto the siege of Douer, and there did homage vnto Lewes, in right of his tenure holden of the kings of England, and then returned home, but in his comming vp, as he came by castell Bernard in the countrie of Haliwerkfolke (which apperteined vnto Hugh de Balioll) he lost his brother in law the lord Eustace de Vescie, who was striken in the forehead with a quarrell, as he rode in companie of the king néere vnto the same castell, to view if it were possible vpon anie side to win it by assault.

Matth. Paris.
The vicount of Melune discouereth the purpose of Lewes.
The vicount of Melune dieth.

About the same time, or rather in the yeare last past as some hold, it fortuned that the vicount of Melune, a French man, fell sicke at London, and perceiuing that death was at hand, he called vnto him certeine of the English barons, which remained in the citie, vpon safegard thereof, and to them made this protestation: "I lament (saith he) your destruction and desolation at hand, bicause ye are ignorant of the perils hanging ouer your heads. For this vnderstand, that Lewes, and with him 16 earles and barons of France, haue secretlie sworne (if it shall fortune him to conquere this realme of England, & to be crowned king) that he will kill, banish, and confine all those of the English nobilitie (which now doo serue vnder him, and persecute their owne king) as traitours and rebels, and furthermore will dispossesse all their linage of such inheritances as they now hold in England. And bicause (saith he) you shall not haue doubt hereof, I which lie here at the point of death, doo now affirme vnto you, and take it on the perill of my soule, that I am one of those sixtéen that haue sworne to performe this thing: wherefore I aduise you to prouide for your owne safeties, and your realmes which you now destroie, and kéepe this thing secret which I haue vttered vnto you." After this spéech was vttered he streightwaies died.

The English nobilitie beginneth to mislike of the match which they had made with Lewes.

When these words of the lord of Melune were opened vnto the barons, they were, and not without cause, in great doubt of themselues, for they saw how Lewes had alredie placed and set Frenchmen in most of such castels and townes as he had gotten, the right whereof indéed belonged to them. And againe, it gréeued them much to vnderstand, how besides the hatred of their prince, they were euerie sundaie and holidaie openlie accursed in euerie church, so that manie of them inwardlie relented, and could haue bin contented to haue returned to king John, if they had thought that they should thankfullie haue béene receiued.

The death of pope Innocent.
Honorius the third chosen pope.

In this yeare, about the 17 of Julie, pope Innocent died, at whose death (being knowen in England) all they that were enimies to king John greatlie reioised, for they were in great hope that his successour would haue rather inclined to their part, than to the kings. But it fell out otherwise, for Honorius the third that succéeded the same foresaid Innocent, mainteined the same cause in defense of king John, as earnestlie or rather more than his[Pg 335] predecessour had doone, sending with all spéed his buls ouer into England to confirme Gualo in his former authoritie of legat, commanding him with all indeuour to procéed in his businesse, in mainteining the king against Lewes, and the disloiall English nobilitie that aided the said Lewes. But now to our purpose.

The hauocke which king John made in the possessions of his aduersaries.
Northfolke and Suffolke.

King John lieng all this while at Winchester, and hauing knowledge how his aduersaries were dailie occupied in most hard enterprises, as in besieging sundrie strong and inuincible places, sent forth his commissioners to assemble men of warre, and to allure vnto his seruice all such, as in hope of prey, were minded to follow his standard, of the which there resorted to him no small number. So that hauing gotten togither a competent armie for his purpose, he brake foorth of Winchester, as it had béene an hideous tempest of weather, beating downe all things that stood in his waie, sending foorth his people on ech side to wast the countries, to burne vp the townes and villages, to spoile the churches & churchmen. With which successe still increasing his furie, he turned his whole violence into Cambridgeshire, where he did excéeding great hurt. Then entring into the countries of Northfolke and Suffolke, he committed the like rage, wast, and destruction, in the lands and possessions that belonged vnto the earle of Arundell, to Roger Bigot, William de Huntingfield, and Roger de Cressey.

The siege raised from Windsor.

The barons in the meane time that lay at siege before the castle of Windsore, hearing that hauocke which king John had made in the east parts of the realme, secretlie in the night season raised their camps, and leauing their tents behind them, with all spéed made towards Cambridge. But king John by faithfull espials, hauing aduertisement of their intent, which was, to get betwixt him and the places of his refuge, withdrew him and got to Stamford, yer they might reach to Cambridge, so that missing their purpose, after they had taken some spoiles abroad in the countrie, they returned to London. King John from Stamford, marched toward Lincolne, bicause he heard that the castell there was besieged.

Gilbert de Gaunt fléeth from the face of king John.
The abbeies of Peterburgh & Crowland spoiled.

But those that had besieged it, as Gilbert de Gaunt, and others, hearing that king John was comming towards them, durst not abide him, but fled, and so escaped. The king then turned his iournie towards the marshes of Wales, and there did much hurt to those places that belonged to his aduersaries. After this also, and with a verie puissant armie he went eftsoones eastwards, and passing through the countries, came againe into the counties of Northfolke and Suffolke, wasting and afflicting all that came in his waie, and at length comming to Lin, was there ioifullie receiued. Then kéeping foorth northwards, he spoiled the townes and abbeies of Peterburgh and Crowland, where a number of the kings enimies were withdrawne into the church, but Sauerie de Mauleon, being sent foorth to séeke them, found them in the church the morrow after S. Michaell, and drew them out by force, spoiled the house, and getting a great bootie and prey of cattell and other riches, he with his people conueied the same awaie at his departing, after he had ransacked euerie corner of the church, and other the houses and places belonging to that abbeie.

The losse of the kings carriages.
Matth. Paris.
Matth. West.
King John falleth sicke of an ague.
Matth. Paris.
Matth. West.
Matth. Paris.
King John departed this life.

Thus the countrie being wasted on each hand, the king hasted forward till he came to Wellestreme sands, where passing the washes he lost a great part of his armie, with horsses and carriages, so that it was iudged to be a punishment appointed by God, that the spoile which had béene gotten and taken out of churches, abbeies, and other religious houses, should perish, and be lost by such means togither with the spoilers. Yet the king himselfe, and a few other, escaped the violence of the waters, by following a good guide. But as some haue written, he tooke such gréefe for the losse susteined in this passage, that immediatlie therevpon he fell into an ague, the force and heat whereof, togither with his immoderate féeding on rawe peaches, and drinking of new sider, so increased his sicknesse, that he was not able to ride, but was faine to be carried in a litter presentlie made of twigs, with a couch of strawe vnder him, without any bed or pillow, thinking to haue gone to Lincolne, but the disease still so raged and grew vpon him, that he was inforced[Pg 336] to staie one night at the castell of Laford, and on the next day with great paine, caused himselfe to be caried vnto Newarke, where in the castell through anguish of mind, rather than through force of sicknesse, he departed this life the night before the ninetéenth day of October, in the yeare of his age fiftie and one, and after he had reigned seauentéene yeares, six moneths, and seauen and twentie daies.


¶ There be which haue written, that after he had lost his armie, he came to the abbeie of Swineshead in Lincolnshire, and there vnderstanding the cheapenesse and plentie of corne, shewed himselfe greatlie displeased therewith, as he that for the hatred which he bare to the English people, that had so traitorouslie reuolted from him vnto his aduersarie Lewes, wished all miserie to light vpon them, and therevpon said in his anger, that he would cause all kind of graine to be at a farre higher price, yer manie daies should passe. Wherevpon a moonke that heard him speake such words, being mooued with zeale for the oppression of his countrie, gaue the king poison in a cup of ale, whereof he first tooke the assaie, to cause the king not to suspect the matter, and so they both died in manner at one time.

Gisburn & alij.

There are that write, how one of his owne seruants did conspire with a conuert of that abbeie, and that they prepared a dish of peares, which they poisoned, thrée of the whole number excepted, which dish the said conuert presented vnto him. And when the king suspected them to be poisoned indéed, by reason that such pretious stones as he had about him, cast foorth a certeine sweat, as it were bewraieng the poison, he compelled the said conuert to tast and eat some of them, who knowing the thrée peares which were not poisoned, tooke and eat those thrée, which when the king had séene, he could no longer absteine, but fell to, and eating gréedilie of the rest, died the same night, no hurt happening to the conuert, who thorough helpe of such as bare no good will to the K. found shift to escape, and conueied himselfe awaie from danger of receiuing due punishment for so wicked a déed.

The variable reports of writers, concerning the death of king John.

Beside these reports which yée haue heard, there are other that write, how he died of surfeting in the night, as Rafe Niger; some, of a bloudie flux, as one saith that writeth an addition vnto Roger Houeden. And Rafe Cogheshall saith, that comming to Lin, (where he appointed Sauerie de Mauleon to be capteine, and to take order for the fortifieng of that towne) he tooke a surfet there of immoderat diet, and withall fell into a laske, and after his laske had left him, at his comming to Laford in Lindsey, he was let bloud: furthermore to increase his other gréefes and sorrowes for the losse of his carriage, iewels and men, in passing ouer the washes, which troubled him sore; there came vnto him messengers from Hubert de Burgh, and Gerard de Sotegam capteins of Douer castell, aduertising him, that they were not able to resist the forceable assaults and engins of the enimies, if spéedie succour came not to them in due time. Whereat his gréefe of mind being doubled, so as he might séeme euen oppressed with sorrow, the same increased his disease so vehementlie, that within a small time it made an end of his life (as before yée haue heard.)


The men of warre that serued vnder his ensignes, being for the more part hired souldiers and strangers, came togither, and marching foorth with his bodie, each man with his armour on his backe, in warlike order, conueied it vnto Worcester, where he was pompouslie buried in the cathedrall church before the high altar, not for that he had so appointed (as some write) but bicause it was thought to be a place of most suertie for the lords and other of his fréends there to assemble, and to take order in their businesse now after his deceasse. And bicause he was somewhat fat and corpulent, his bowels were taken out of his bodie, and buried at Croxton abbeie, a house of moonks of the order called Præmonstratenses, in Staffordshire, the abbat of which house was his physician.

¶ How soeuer or where soeuer or when soeuer he died, it is not a matter of such moment that it should impeach the credit of the storie; but certeine it is that he came to[Pg 337] his end, let it be by a surfet, or by other meanes ordeined for the shortening of his life. The manner is not so materiall as the truth is certeine. And suerlie, he might be thought to haue procured against himselfe manie molestations, manie anguishes & vexations, which nipt his hart & gnawd his very bowels with manie a sore symptome or passion; all which he might haue withstood if fortune had béene so fauourable, that the loialtie of his subiects had remained towards him inuiolable, that his Nobles with multitudes of adherents had not with such shamefull apostasie withstood him in open fight, that forren force had not weakened his dominion, or rather robbed him of a maine branch of his regiment, that he himselfe had not sought with the spoile of his owne people to please the imaginations of his ill affected mind; that courtiers & commoners had with one assent performed in dutie no lesse than they pretended in veritie, to the preseruation of the state and the securitie of their souereigne: all which presupposed plagues concurring, what happinesse could the king arrogate to himselfe by his imperiall title, which was through his owne default so imbezelled, that a small remanent became his in right, when by open hostilitie and accurssed papasie the greater portion was pluckt out of his hands.

Here therefore we sée the issue of domesticall or homebred broiles, the fruits of variance, the game that riseth of dissention, whereas no greater nor safer fortification can betide a land, than when the inhabitants are all alike minded. By concord manie an hard enterprise (in common sense thought vnpossible) is atchieued, manie weake things become so defended, that without manifold force they cannot be dissolued. From diuision and mutinies doo issue (as out of the Troiane horsse) ruines of roialties, and decaies of communalties. The sinewes of a realme is supposed of some to be substance and wealth; of other some policie and power: of other some conuenient defenses both by water and land: but a most excellent description of a well fortified countrie is that of Plautus, set downe in most pithie words and graue sentences: no lesse worthie to be written than read and considered. The description is this.

Plaut. in Pers.
Si incolæ bene sunt morati pulchrè munitū regnū arbitror:
Perfidia & peculatus ex vrbe & auaritia si exulent,
Quarta inuidia, quinta ambitio, sexta obtrectatio,
Septimum periurium, octaua indulgentia,
Nona iniuria, decima quod pessimum aggressu scelus:
Hæc nisi inde aberūt cētuplex murus reb. secundis parū est.

And therefore no maruell though both courtiers and commoners fell from king John their naturall prince, and tooke part with the enimie; not onelie to the disgrace of their souereigne, but euen to his ouerthrow, and the depopulation of the whole land; sith these maine bulworks and rampiers were wanting; and the contrarie in most ranke sort and detestable manner extended their virulent forces.

But we will surceasse to aggrauate this matter, sith the same is sufficientlie vrged in the verie course of the historie concerning his acts and déeds, continued to the verie day of his death, and the verie time of his buriall, whereof I saie thus much, that whether it was his will to be interred, as is aforesaid, or whether his corpse being at the disposing of the suruiuers, to elect the place as a conuenient storehouse for a princes bones, I leaue it as doubtfull, and therefore vndetermined, estéeming the lesse to labour therein, bicause the truth can hardlie by certeintie be winnowed out, but by coniecturall supposals aimed and shot at. Notwithstanding, in my poore iudgement it is verie likelie (first in respect of the time which was superstitious and popish; secondlie by reason of the custome of funerall rites then commonlie vsed) that he was buried in the said place for order sake, & his bodie (if I may presume so farre by warrant of mine author) wrapped in a moonks cowle and so laid in his graue or toome. For the manner was at that time, in such sort to burie their Nobles and great men, who were induced by the imaginations of moonks and fond fansies of fréers to beléeue, that the said cowle was an amulet or defensitiue to their soules from hell and hellish hags, how or in what soeuer sort they[Pg 338] died; either in sorrow and repentance for sinne, or in blasphemie, outrage, impatiencie, or desperation.

Humf. Lhloyd.
Dauid Powell.

This forme of funerals was frequented in Wales, hauing béene first brewed and broched in England, from whence (if we may giue credit to our late Chronographers) as from a poisoned spring it spred it selfe into Wales. For the first abbeie or frierie that is read to haue béene erected there, since the dissolution of the noble house of Bangor, which sauoured not of Romish dregs, was the Twy Gwyn, which was builded in the yeare 1146. Afterwards these vermine swarmed like bées, or rather crawled like lice ouer all the land, and drew in with them their lowsie religion, tempered with I wot not how manie millians of abhominations; hauing vtterlie forgotten the lesson which Ambrosius Telesinus had taught them [who writ in the yeare 540, when the right christian faith (which Joseph of Arimathia taught the Ile of Aualon) reigned in this land, before the proud and bloodthirstie moonke Augustine infected it with the poison of Romish errors] in a certeine ode, a part whereof are these few verses insuing,

Gwae'r offeiriad byd,
Nys angreifftia gwyd,
Ac ny phregetha:
Gwae ny cheidw ey gail,
Ac ef yn vigail,
Ac nys areilia:
Gwae ny theidw ey dheuaid,
Rhae bleidhie Rhiefeniaid,
Ai ffon grewppa.
Thus in English almost word for word.
Wo be to that préest yborne,
That will not cleanelie wéed his corne,
And preach his charge among:
Wo be to that shepheard (I saie)
That will not watch his fold alwaie,
As to his office dooth belong:
Wo be to him that dooth not kéepe,
From rauening Romish wolues his shéepe,
With staffe and weapon strong.

This (as not impertinent to the purpose) I haue recorded, partlie to shew the palpable blindnes of that age wherein king John liued, as also the religion which they reposed in a rotten rag, estéeming it as a Scala cœli or ladder to life; but speciallie inferred to this end, that we may fetch some light from this cléere candle (though the same séeme to be duskish & dim) whereby we may be lead to conceiue in reason and common sense, that the interrement of the king was according to the custome then in vse and request, and therefore by all likelihoods he was buried as the péeres and states of the land were woont to be in those daies, after the maner aboue mentioned.

King Johns children.

But to let this passe as a cold discourse of a coffen of bones cottered with clods of claie; you shall vnderstand that he left behind him posteritie of both sexes. For he had issue by his wife quéene Isabell two sonnes, Henrie who succéeded him in the kingdome, and Richard; thrée daughters, Joane married to Alexander king of Scotland, Isabell coupled in matrimonie with the emperour Frederike the second, and Elianor whome William earle of Glocester had to wife. He had also another daughter (as some haue left in writing) called Elianor.

He was comelie of stature, but of looke and countenance displeasant and angrie, somewhat cruell of nature, as by the writers of his time he is noted, and not so hardie as[Pg 339] doubtfull in time of perill and danger. But this séemeth to be an enuious report vttered by those that were giuen to speake no good of him whome they inwardlie hated. Howbeit some giue this witnesse of him (as the author of the booke of Bernewell abbeie and other) that he was a great and mightie prince, but yet not verie fortunate, much like to Marius the noble Romane, tasting of fortune both waies: bountifull and liberall vnto strangers, but of his owne people (for their dailie treasons practised towards him) a great oppressour, so that he trusted more to forreners than to them, and therfore in the end he was of them vtterlie forsaken.

¶ Verilie, whosoeuer shall consider the course of the historie written of this prince, he shall find, that he hath béene little beholden to the writers of that time in which he liued: for scarselie can they afoord him a good word, except when the trueth inforceth them to come out with it as it were against their willes. The occasion whereof (as some thinke) was, for that he was no great fréend to the clergie. And yet vndoubtedlie his déeds shew he bad a zeale to religion, as it was then accompted: for he founded the abbeie of Beauleau in the new forrest, as it were in recompense of certeine parish-churches, which to inlarge the same forrest be caused to be throwne downe and ruinated.

Matth. Paris. Polydor. & alij.

He builded the monasterie of Farendon, and the abbeie of Hales in Shropshire; he repaired Godstow where his fathers concubine Rosamund laie interred; he was no small benefactor to the minster of Lichfield in Staffordshire; to the abbeie of Crokesden in the same shire, and to the chappell at Knatesburgh in Yorkshire. So that (to say what I thinke) he was not so void of deuotion towards the church, as diuerse of his enimies haue reported, who of méere malice conceale all his vertues, and hide none of his vices; but are plentifull inough in setting foorth the same to the vttermost, and interpret all his dooings and saiengs to the woorst, as may appeare to those that aduisedlie read the works of them that write the order of his life, which may séeme rather an inuectiue than a true historie: neuerthelesse, sith we cannot come by the truth of things through the malice of writers, we must content our selues with this vnfréendlie description of his time. Certeinelie it should séeme the man had a princelie heart in him, and wanted nothing but faithfull subiects to haue assisted him in reuenging such wrongs as were doone and offered by the French king and others.

Moreouer, the pride and pretended authoritie of the cleargie he could not well abide, when they went about to wrest out of his hands the prerogatiue of his princelie rule and gouernement. True it is, that to mainteine his warres which he was forced to take in hand as well in France as elsewhere, he was constreined to make all the shift he could deuise to recouer monie and bicause he pinched their pursses, they conceiued no small hatred against him, which when he perceiued, and wanted peraduenture discretion to passe it ouer, he discouered now and then in his rage his immoderate displeasure, as one not able to bridle his affections, a thing verie hard in a stout stomach, and thereby missed now and then to compasse that which otherwise he might verie well haue brought to passe.

Matth. Paris.

It is written, that he meant to haue become feudarie (for maintenance sake against his owne disloiall subiects, and other his aduersaries) vnto Miramumeline the great king of the Saracens: but for the truth of this report I haue little to saie, and therefore I leaue the credit thereof to the authors. It is reported likewise, that in time when the realme stood interdicted, as he was abroad to hunt one day, it chanced that there was a great stag or hart killed, which when he came to be broken vp, prooued to be verie fat and thicke of flesh; "Oh (saith he) what a plesant life this déere hath led, and yet in all his daies he neuer heard masse." To conclude, it may séeme, that in some respects he was not greatlie superstitious, and yet not void of religious zeale towards the maintenance of the cleargie, as by his bountifull liberalitie bestowed in building of abbeies and churches (as before yée haue hard) it may partlie appeare.

[Pg 340]


In his daies manie learned men liued, as Geffrey Vinesaufe, Simon Fraxinus aliàs Ash, Adamus Dorensis, Gualter de Constantijs first bishop of Lincolne and after archbishop of Rouen, John de Oxford, Colman surnamed Sapiens, Richard Canonicus, William Peregrine, Alane Teukesburie, Simon Thuruaie, who being an excellent philosopher but standing too much in his owne conceit, vpon a sudden did so forget all his knowledge in learning, that he became the most ignorant of all other, a punishment (as was thought) appointed him of God, for such blasphemies as he had wickedlie vttered, both against Moses and Christ. Geruasius Dorobernensis, John Hanwill, Nigell Woreker, Gilbert de Hoiland, Benet de Peterburgh, William Paruus a moonke of Newburgh, Roger Houeden, Hubert Walter, first bishop of Salisburie and after archbishop of Canturburie, Alexander Theologus, of whome yée haue heard before, Geruasius Tilberiensis, Syluester Giraldus Cambrensis, who wrote manie treatises, Joseph Deuonius, Walter Mapis, Radulfus de Diceto, Gilbert Legley, Mauricius Morganius, Walter Morganius, John de Fordeham, William Leicester, Joceline Brakeland, Roger of Crowland, Hugh White aliàs Candidus that wrote an historie intituled Historia Petroburgensis, John de saint Omer, Adam Barking, John Gray an historiographer and bishop of Norwich, Walter of Couentrie, Radulphus Niger, &c. Sée Bale Scriptorum Britanniæ centuria tertia.

Thus farre king John.

Transcriber's Notes:

Punctuation normalised.

Anachronistic and non-standard spellings retained as printed.

While the Greek accentuation is clearly defective, it has been retained as found.