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or,>i:^ .VI 


F R O 1 S S A K T 

M A L o R y 



„,3>^^ 1*^- [■irnwiBiiTr"- l^^^' 






The Five-Foot Shelf of Books 



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Chronicle and Romance 

Froissart • Malory 

W/VA Introductions and Notes 
Yo/ume 35 

P. F. Collier & Son Corporation 


Copyright, 1910 
By p. F. Collier & Son 




The Chronicles of Froissart, Translated by Lord Berners 
edited by c. c. macaulay 

The Campaign of Crecy 7 

The Battle of Poitiers 34 

Wat Tyler's Rebellion 60 

The Battle of Otterburn 81 

The Holy Grail Sir Thomas Malory 105 


A Description of Elizabethan England Written by 
William Harrison for Holinshed's Chronicles 


I. Of Degrees of People 217 

II. Of Cities and Towns 230 

III. Of Gardens and Orchards 236 

IV. Of Fairs and Markets 244 

V. Of the Church of England 252 

VI. Of Food and Diet 271 

VII. Of Apparel and Attire 289 

VIII. Of Building and Furniture 293 

IX. Of Provision for the Poor 301 

X. Of Air, Soil, and Commodities 307 

XI. Of Minerals and Metals 318 

XII. Of Cattle Kept for Profit 325 

XIII. Of Wild and Tame Fowls 334 

XIV. Of Savage Beasts and Vermin 341 

XV. Of Our English Dogs 350 

XVI. Of the Navy of England 357 

XVII. Of Kinds of Punishment 363 

XVIII. Of Universities 371 





Jean Froissart, the most representative of the chroniclers of the later 
Middle Ages, was born at Valenciennes in 1337. The Chronicle which, 
more than his poetry, has kept his fame alive, was undertaken when he 
was only twenty; the first book was written in its earliest form by 1369; 
and he kept revising and enlarging the work to the end of his life. In 
1361 he went to England, entered the Church, and attached himself to 
Queen Philippa of Hainault, the wife of Edward III, who made him 
her secretary and clerk of her chapel. Much of his life was spent in 
travel. He went to France with the Black Prince, and to Italy with the 
Duke of Clarence. He saw fighting on the Scottish border, visited Hol- 
land, Savoy, and Provence, returning at intervals to Paris and London. 
He was Vicar of Estinnes-au-Mont, Canon of Chimay, and chaplain to 
the Comte de Blois; but the Church to him was rather a source of 
revenue than a religious calling. He finally settled down in his native 
town, where he died about 1410. 

Froissart's wandering life points to one of the most prominent of his 
characteristics as a historian. Uncritical and often inconsistent as he is, 
his mistakes are not due to partizanship, for he is extraordinarily cos- 
mopolitan. The Germans he dislikes as unchivalrous; but though his 
life lay in the period of the Hundred Years' War between England and 
France, and though he describes many of the events of that war, he is as 
friendly to England as to France. 

By birth Froissart belonged to the bourgeoisie, but his tastes and asso- 
ciations made him an aristocrat. Glimpses of the sufferings which the 
lower classes underwent in the wars of his time appear in his pages, but 
they are given incidentally and without sympathy. His interests are all 
in the somewhat degenerate chivalry of his age, in the splendor of 
courts, the pomp and circumstance of war, in tourneys, and in pageantry. 
Full of the love of adventure, he would travel across half of Europe to 
see a gallant feat of arms, a coronation, a royal marriage. Strength and 
courage and loyalty were the virtues he loved; cowardice and petty greed 
he hated. Cruelty and injustice could not dim for him the brilliance of 
the careers of those brigand lords who were his friends and patrons. 

The material for the earlier part of his Chronicles he took largely 
from his predecessor and model, Jean Lebel; the later books are filled 
with narratives of what he saw with his own eyes, or gathered from the 
lips of men who had themselves been part of what they told. This fact, 



along with his mastery ,of a style which is always vivacious if some- 
times diffuse, accounts for the vividness and picturesqueness of his work. 
The pageant of medieval life in court and camp dazzled and delighted 
him, and it is as a pageant that we see the Middle Ages in his book. 

Froissart holds a distinguished place among the poets as well as the 
historians of his century. He wrote chiefly in the allegorical style then in 
vogue; and his poems, though cast in a mold no longer in fashion, are 
fresh and full of color, and were found worthy of imitation by Geoffrey 

But it is as the supreme chronicler of the later age of chivalry that he 
lives. "God has been gracious enough," he writes, "to permit me to 
visit the courts and palaces of kings, . . . and all the nobles, kings, dukes, 
counts, barons, and knights, belonging to all nations, have been kind to 
me, have listened to me, willingly received me, and proved very useful to 
me. . . . Wherever I went I enquired of old knights and squires who 
had shared in deeds of arms, and could speak with authority concerning 
them, and also spoke with heralds in order to verify and corroborate all 
that was told me. In this way I gathered noble facts for my history, and 
as long as I live, I shall, by the grace of God, continue to do this, for the 
more I labour at this the more pleasure I have, and I trust that the gentle 
knight who loves arms will be nourished on such noble fare, and 
accomplish still more." 



THE king of England, who had heard how his men were 
sore constrained in the castle of Aiguillon, then he thought 
to go over the sea into Gascoyne with a great army. There 
he made his provision and sent for men all about his realm and in 
other places, where he thought to speed for his money. In the same 
season the lord Godfrey of Harcourt came into England, who was 
banished out of France: he was well received with the king and 
retained to be about him, and had fair lands assigned him in England 
to maintain his degree. Then the king caused a great navy of ships 
to be ready in the haven of Hampton, and caused all manner of men 
of war to draw thither. About the feast of Saint John Baptist the year 
of our Lord God mcccxlvi., the king departed from the queen and 
left her in the guiding of the earl of Kent his cousin; and he 
stablished the lord Percy and the lord Nevill to be wardens of his 
realm with [the archbishop of Canterbury], the archbishop of York, 
the bishop of Lincoln and the bishop of Durham; for he never 
voided his realm but that he left ever enough at home to keep and 
defend the realm, if need were. Then the king rode to Hampton 
and there tarried for wind: then he entered into his ship and the 
prince of Wales with him, and the lord Godfrey of Harcourt, and 
all other lords, earls, barons and knights, with all their companies. 
They were in number a four thousand men of arms and ten thou- 
sand archers, beside Irishmen and Welshmen that followed the 
host afoot. 

Now I shall name you certain of the lords that went over with 

king Edward in that journey. First, Edward his eldest son, prince 

of Wales, who as then was of the age of thirteen years or thereabout,* 

■ He was in fact sixteen; born 15th June 1330. 


8 froissart's chronicles 

the earls of Hereford, Northampton, Arundel, Cornwall, Warwick, 
Huntingdon, Suffolk, and Oxford ; and of barons the lord Mortimer, 
who was after earl of March, the lords John, Louis and Roger of 
Beauchamp, and the lord Raynold Cobham; of lords the lord of 
Mowbray, Ros, Lucy, Felton, Bradestan, Multon, Delaware, Manne,^ 
Basset, Berkeley, and Willoughby, with divers other lords; and of 
bachelors there was John Chandos, Fitz-Warin, Peter and James 
Audley, Roger of Wetenhale, Bartholomew of Burghersh, and 
Richard of Pembridge, with divers other that I cannot name. Few 
there were of strangers: there was the earl Hainault,' sir Wulfart of 
Ghistelles, and five or six other knights of Almaine, and many other 
that I cannot name. 

Thus they sailed forth that day in the name of God. They were 
well onward on their way toward Gascoyne, but on the third day 
there rose a contrary wind and drave them on the marches of Corn- 
wall, and there they lay at anchor six days. In that space the king 
had other counsel by the means of sir Godfrey Harcourt: he coun- 
selled the king not to go into Gascoyne, but rather to set aland in 
Normandy, and said to the king: 'Sir, the country of Normandy is 
one of the plenteous countries of the world: sir, on jeopardy of my 
head, if ye will land there, there is none that shall resist you; the 
people of Normandy have not been used to the war, and all the 
knights and squires of the country are now at the siege before 
Aiguillon with the duke. And, sir, there ye shall find great towns 
that be not walled, whereby your men shall have such winning, 
that they shall be the better thereby twenty year after; and, sir, ye may 
follow with your army till ye come to Caen in Normandy: sir, I 
require you to believe me in this voyage.' 

The king, who was as then but in the flower of his youth, desiring 
nothing so much as to have deeds of arms, inclined greatly to the 
saying of the lord Harcourt, whom he called cousin. Then he com- 
manded the mariners to set their course to Normandy, and he took 
into his ship the token of the admiral the earl of Warwick, and said 
how he would be admiral for that viage, and so sailed on before as 
governour of that navy, and they had wind at will. Then the 

' Probably 'Mohun.' 

' The usual confusion between 'comt(5' and 'comte.' It means, 'of the county of 
Hainault there was sir Wulfart of Ghistelles,* etc. 


king arrived in the isle of Cotentin, at a port called Hogue Saint- 

Tidings anon spread abroad how the Englishmen were aland: 
the towns of Cotentin sent word thereof to Paris to king Philip. He 
had well heard before how the king of England was on the sea with 
a great army, but he wist not what way he would draw, other into 
Normandy, Bretayne or Gascoyne. As soon as he knew that the king 
of England was aland in Normandy, he sent his constable the earl 
of Guines, and the earl of Tancarville, who were but newly come to 
him from his son from the siege at Aiguillon, to the town of Caen, 
commanding them to keep that town against the Englishmen. They 
said they would do their best : they departed from Paris with a good 
number of men of war, and daily there came more to them by the 
way, and so came to the town of Caen, where they were received 
with great joy of men of the town and of the country thereabout, 
that were drawn thither for surety. These lords took heed for the 
provision of the town, the which as then was not walled. The king 
thus was arr-ved at the port Hogue Saint-Vaast near to Saint-Saviour 
the Viscount' the right heritage to the lord Godfrey of Harcourt, 
who as then was there with the king of England. 


When the king of England arrived in the Hogue Saint-Vaast, 
the king issued out of his ship, and the first foot that he set on the 
ground, he fell so rudely, that the blood brast out of his nose. The 
knights that were about him took him up and said: 'Sir, for God's 
sake enter again into your ship, and come not aland this day, for this 
is but an evil sign for us.' Then the king answered quickly and said : 
'Wherefore? This is a good token for me, for the land desireth to 
have me.' Of the which answer all his men were right joyful. So 
that day and night the king lodged on the sands, and in the meantime 
discharged the ships of their horses and other baggages: there the 
king made two marshals of his host, the one the lord Godfrey of 
Harcourt and the other the earl of Warwick, and the earl of Arundel 

* Saint- Vaast-de la Hogue. ^ Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte. 


constable. And he ordained that the earl of Huntingdon should keep 
the fleet of ships with a hundred men of arms and four hundred 
archers: and also he ordained three battles, one to go on his right 
hand, closing to the sea-side, and the other on his left hand, and the 
king himself in the midst, and every night to lodge all in one field. 

Thus they set forth as they were ordained, and they that went by 
the sea took all the ships that they found in their ways: and so long 
they went forth, what by sea and what by land, that they came to a 
good port and to a good town called Barfleur, the which incontinent 
was won, for they within gave up for fear of death. Howbeit, for all 
that, the town was robbed, and much gold and silver there found, 
and rich jewels: there was found so much riches, that the boys and 
villains of the host set nothing by good furred gowns: they made all 
the men of the town to issue out and to go into the ships, because they 
would not suffer them to be behind them for fear of rebelling again. 
After the town of Barfleur was thus taken and robbed without 
brenning, then they spread abroad in the country and did what they 
list, for there was not to resist them. At last they came to a great 
and a rich town called Cherbourg: the town they won and robbed 
it, and brent part thereof, but into the castle they could not come, it 
was so strong and well furnished with men of war. Then they 
passed forth and came to Montebourg, and took it and robbed and 
brent it clean. In this manner they brent many other towns in that 
country and won so much riches, that it was marvel to reckon it. 
Then they came to a great town well closed called Carentan, where 
there was also a strong castle and many soldiers within to keep it. 
Then the lords came out of their ships and fiercely made assault: the 
burgesses of the town were in great fear of their lives, wives and 
children : they suffered the Englishmen to enter into the town against 
the will of all the soldiers that were there; they put all their goods 
to the Englishmen's pleasures, they thought that most advantage. 
When the soldiers within saw that, they went into the castle: the 
Englishmen went into the town, and two days together they made 
sore assaults, so that when they within saw no succour, they yielded 
up, their lives and goods saved, and so departed. The Englishmen 
had their pleasure of that good town and castle, and when they saw 
they might not maintain to keep it, they set fire therein and brent it, 


and made the burgesses of the town to enter into their ships, as they 
had done with them of Barfleur, Cherbourg and Montebourg, and 
of other towns that they had won on the sea-side. All this was done 
by the battle that went by the sea-side, and by them on the sea 

Now let us speak of the king's battle. When he had sent his first 
battle along by the sea-side, as ye have heard, whereof one of his 
marshals, the earl of Warwick, was captain, and the lord Cobham 
with him, then he made his other marshal to lead his host on his 
left hand, for he knew the issues and entries of Normandy better 
than any other did there. The lord Godfrey as marshal rode forth 
with five hundred men of arms, and rode off from the king's battle as 
six or seven leagues, in brenning and exiling the country, the which 
was plentiful of everything — the granges full of corn, the houses full 
of all riches, rich burgesses, carts and chariots, horse, swine, muttons 
and other beasts: they took what them list and brought into the 
king's host; but the soldiers made no count to the king nor to none 
of his officers of the gold and silver that they did get; they kept that 
to themselves. Thus sir Godfrey of Harcourt rode every day off from 
the king's host, and for most part every night resorted to the king's 
field. The kiiig took his way to Saint-Lo in Cotentin, but or he came 
there he lodged by a river, abiding for his men that rode along by 
the sea-side; and when they were come, they set forth their carriage, 
and the earl of Warwick, the earl of Suffolk, sir Thomas Holland 
and sir Raynold Cobham, and their company rode out on the one 
side and wasted and exiled the country, as the lord Harcourt had 
done; and the king ever rode between these battles, and every night 
they lodged together. 


Thus by the Englishmen was brent, exiled, robbed, wasted and 
pilled the good, plentiful country of Normandy. Then the French 

' Froissart is mistaken in supposing that a division of the land army went to these 
towns: Barfleur and Cherbourg were visited only by the fleet. According to Michael of 
Northburgh, who accompanied the expedition, Edward disembarked 12th July and 
remained at Saint-Vaast till the i8th, and meanwhile the fleet went to Barfleur and 
Cherbourg. The army arrived at Caen on the 26th. 


king sent for the lord John of Hainault, who came to him with a 
great number: also the king sent for other men of arms, dukes, 
earls, barons, knights and squires, and assembled together the great- 
est number of people that had been seen in France a hundred year 
before. He sent for men into so far countries, that it was long or they 
came together, wherefore the king of England did what him list in 
the mean season. The French king heard well what he did, and 
sware and said how they should never return again unfought withal, 
and that such hurts and damages as they had done should be dearly 
revenged; wherefore he had sent letters to his friends in the Empire, 
to such as were farthest off, and also to the gentle king of Bohemia 
and to the lord Charles his son, who from thenceforth was called 
king of Almaine; he was made king by the aid of his father and the 
French king, and had taken on him the arms of the Empire: the 
French king desired them to come to him with all their powers, to 
the intent to fight with the king of England, who brent and wasted 
his country. These princes and lords made them ready with great 
number of men of arms, of Almains, Bohemians and Luxemburgers, 
and so came to the French king. Also king Philip sent to the duke 
of Lorraine, who came to serve him with three hundred spears: also 
there came the earl [of] Salm in Saumois, the earl of Sarrebruck, 
the earl of Flanders, the earl William of Namur, every man with a 
fair company. 

Ye have heard herebefore of the order o£ the Englishmen, how 
they went in three battles, the marshals on the right hand and on 
the left, the king and the prince of Wales his son in the midst. They 
rode but small journeys and every day took their lodgings between 
noon and three of the clock, and found the country so fruitful, that 
they needed not to make no provision for their host, but all only for 
wine; and yet they found reasonably sufficient thereof.' It was no 
marvel though they of the country were afraid, for before that time 
they had never seen men of war, nor they wist not what war or 
battle meant. They fled away as far as they might hear speaking of 
the Englishmen,'' and left their houses well stuffed, and granges 
full of corn, they wist not how to save and keep it. The king of 

' Or rather, 'thus they found reasonably sufficient provisions.' 
^ That is, they fled as soon as they heard their coming spoken of. 


England and the prince had in their battle a three thousand men o£ 
arms and six thousand archers and a ten thousand men afoot, beside 
them that rode with the marshals. 

Thus as ye have heard, the king rode forth, wasting and brenning 
the country without breaking of his order. He left the city of 
Coutances' and went to a great town called Saint-Lo, a rich town of 
drapery and many rich burgesses. In that town there were dwelling 
an eight or nine score burgesses, crafty men. When the king came 
there, he took his lodging without, for he would never lodge in the 
town for fear of fire: but he sent his men before and anon the town 
was taken and clean robbed. It was hard to think the great riches that 
there was won, in clothes specially ; cloth would there have been sold 
good cheap, if there had been any buyers. 

Then the king went toward Caen, the which was a greater town 
and full of drapery and other merchandise, and rich burgesses, noble 
ladies and damosels, and fair churches, and specially two great and 
rich abbeys, one of the Trinity, another of Saint Stephen; and on the 
one side of the town one of the fairest castles of all Normandy, and 
captain therein was Robert of Wargny, with three hundred Geno- 
ways, and in the town was the earl of Eu and of Guines, constable 
of France, and the earl of Tancarville, with a good number of men of 
war. The king of England rode that day in good order and lodged 
all his battles together that night, a two leagues from Caen, in a town 
with a little haven called Austrehem, and thither came also all his 
navy of ships with the earl of Huntingdon, who was governour of 

The constable and other lords of France that night watched well 
the town of Caen, and in the morning armed them with all them of 
the town : then the constable ordained that none should issue out, but 
keep their defences on the walls, gate, bridge and river, and left 
the suburbs void, because they were not closed; for they thought they 
should have enough to do to defend the town, because it was not 
closed but with the river. They of the town said how they would 

^That is, he did not turn aside to go to it. Froissart says, 'He did not turn aside 
to the city of Coutances, but went on toward the great town o£ Saint-Lo in Cotentin, 
which at that time was very rich and of great merchandise and three times as great 
as the city of Coutances.' Michael of Northburgh says that Barfleur was about equal 
in importance to Sandwich and Carentan to Leicester, Saint-Lo greater than 
Lincoln, and Caen greater than any city in England except London. 

14 froissart's chronicles 

issue out, for they were strong enough to fight with the king of 
England. When the constable saw their good wills, he said : 'In the 
name of God be it, ye shall not fight without me.' Then they issued 
out in good order and made good face to fight and to defend them 
and to put their lives in adventure. 


The same day the Englishmen rose early and apparelled them 
ready to go to Caen.' The king heard mass before the sun-rising 
and then took his horse, and the prince his son, with sir Godfrey of 
Harcourt marshal and leader of the host, whose counsel the king 
much followed. Then they drew toward Caen with their battles in 
good array, and so approached the good town of Caen. When they 
of the town, who were ready in the field, saw these three battles 
coming in good order, with their banners and standards waving in 
the wind, and the archers, the which they had not been accustomed 
to see, they were sore afraid and fled away toward the town without 
any order or good array, for all that the constable could do: then 
the Englishmen pursued them eagerly. When the constable and the 
earl Tancarville saw that, they took a gate at the entry and saved 
themselves^ and certain with them, for the Englishmen were entered 
into the town. Some of the knights and squires of France, such as 
knew the way to the castle, went thither, and the captain there 
received them all, for the castle was large. The Englishmen in the 
chase slew many, for they took none to mercy. 

Then the constable and the earl of Tancarville, being in the little 

tower at the bridge foot, looked along the street and saw their men 

slain without mercy: they doubted to fall in their hands. At last 

they saw an English knight with one eye called sir Thomas Holland, 

and a five or six other knights with him : they knew them, for they 

had seen them before in Pruce, in Granade, and in other viages. 

Then they called to sir Thomas and said how they would yield 

'This was 26th July. Edward arrived at Poissy on lath August: Philip of Valois 
left Paris on the 14th: the English crossed the Seine at Poissy on the i6th, and the 
Sonune at Blanche-taque on the 24th. 

^ 'Set themselves for safety in a gate at the entry of the bridge.' 


themselves prisoners. Then sir Thomas came thither with his com- 
pany and mounted up into the gate, and there found the said lords 
with twenty-five knights with them, who yielded them to sir 
Thomas, and he took them for his prisoners and left company to 
keep them, and then mounted again on his horse and rode into the 
streets, and saved many lives of ladies, damosels, and cloisterers from 
defoiling, for the soldiers were without mercy. It fell so well the 
same season for the Englishmen, that the river, which was able to 
bear ships, at that time was so low, that men went in and out beside 
the bridge. They of the town were entered into their houses, and 
cast down into the street stones, timber and iron, and slew and hurt 
more than five hundred Englishmen, wherewith the king was sore 
displeased. At night when he heard thereof, he commanded that 
the next day all should be put to the sword and the town brent; but 
then sir Godfrey of Harcourt said : 'Dear sir, for God's sake assuage 
somewhat your courage, and let it suffice you that ye have done. Ye 
have yet a great voyage to do or ye come before Calais, whither ye 
purpose to go; and, sir, in this town there is much people who will 
defend their houses, and it will cost many of your men their lives, or 
ye have all at your will ; whereby peradventure ye shall not keep your 
purpose to Calais, the which should redound to your rack. Sir, 
save your people, for ye shall have need of them or this month pass; 
for I think verily your adversary king Philip will meet with you to 
fight, and ye shall find many straight passages and rencounters; 
wherefore your men, an ye had more, shall stand you in good stead: 
and, sir, without any further slaying ye shall be lord of this town; 
men and women will put all that they have to your pleasure.' Then 
the king said : 'Sir Godfrey, you are our marshal, ordain everything 
as ye will.' Then sir Godfrey with his banner rode from street to 
street, and commanded in the king's name none to be so hardy to 
put fire in any house, to slay any person, nor to violate any woman. 
When they of the town heard that cry, they received the Englishmen 
into their houses and made them good cheer, and some opened their 
coffers and bade them take what them list, so they might be assured 
of their lives; howbeit there were done in the town many evil deeds, 
murders and robberies. Thus the Englishmen were lords of the town 
three days and won great riches, the which they sent by barks and 

i6 froissart's chronicles 

barges to Saint-Saviour by the river of Austrehem,' a two leagues 
thence, whereas all their navy lay. Then the king sent the earl of 
Huntingdon with two hundred men of arms and four hundred 
archers, with his navy and prisoners and riches that they had got, 
back again into England. And the king bought of sir Thomas 
Holland the constable of France and the earl of Tancarville, and 
paid for them twenty thousand nobles. 


Thus the king of England ordered his business, being in the town 
of Caen, and sent into England his navy of ships charged with 
clothes, jewels, vessels of gold and silver, and of other riches, and of 
prisoners more than sixty knights and three hundred burgesses. 
Then he departed from the town of Caen and rode in the same order 
as he did before, brenning and exiling the country, and took the way 
to Evreux and so passed by it; and from thence they rode to a great 
town called Louviers: it was the chief town of all Normandy of 
drapery, riches, and full of merchandise. The Englishmen soon 
entered therein, for as then it was not closed ; it was overrun, spoiled 
and robbed without mercy: there was won great riches. Then they 
entered into the country of Evreux and brent and pilled all the 
country except the good towns closed and castles, to the which the 
king made none assault, because of the sparing of his people and 
his artillery. 

On the river of Seine near to Rouen there was the earl of Har- 
court, brother to sir Godfrey of Harcourt, but he was on the French 
party, and the earl of Dreux with him, with a good number of men 
of war: but the Englishmen left Rouen and went to Gisors, where 
was a strong castle : they brent the town and then they brent Vernon 
and all the country about Rouen and Pont-de-l'Arche and came to 
Mantes and to Meulan, and wasted all the country about, and passed 
by the strong castle of RoUeboise; and in every place along the river 

' Froissart says that they sent their booty in barges and boats 'on the river as far 
as Austrehem, a two leagues from thence, where their great navy lay.' He makes no 
mention of Saint-Sauveur here. The river in question is the Orne, at the mouth of 
which Austrehem is situated. 


of Seine they found the bridges broken. At last they came to Poissy, 
and found the bridge broken, but the arches and joists lay in the 
river: the king lay there a five days: in the mean season the bridge 
was made, to pass the host without peril. The English marshals ran 
abroad just to Paris, and brent Saint-Germain in Laye and Mont- 
joie, and Saint-Cloud, and petty Boulogne by Paris, and the Queen's 
Bourg:' they of Paris were not well assured of themselves, for it was 
not as then closed. 

Then king Philip removed to Saint-Denis, and or he went caused 
all the pentices in Paris to be pulled down; and at Saint-Denis were 
ready come the king of Bohemia, the lord John of Hainault, the duke 
of Lorraine, the earl of Flanders, the earl of Blois, and many other 
great lords and knights, ready to serve the French king. When the 
people of Paris saw their king depart, they came to him and kneeled 
down and said: 'Ah, sir and noble king, what will ye do? leave 
thus this noble city of Paris?' The king said: 'My good people, 
doubt ye not: the Englishmen will approach you no nearer than they 
be.' 'Why so, sir?' quoth they; 'they be within these two leagues, and 
as soon as they know of your departing, they will come and assail 
us; and we not able to defend them: sir, tarry here still and help to 
defend your good city of Paris.' 'Speak no more,' quoth the king, 
'for I will go to Saint-Denis to my men of war : for I will encounter 
the Englishmen and fight against them, whatsoever fall thereof.' 

The king of England was at Poissy, and lay in the nunnery there, 
and kept there the feast of our Lady in August and sat in his robes 
of scarlet furred with ermines; and after that feast he went forth in 
order as they were before. The lord Godfrey of Harcourt rode out 
on the one side with five hundred men of arms and thirteen'' hundred 
archers; and by adventure he encountered a great number of bur- 
gesses of Amiens a-horseback, who were riding by the king's com- 
mandment to Paris. They were quickly assailed and they defended 
themselves valiantly, for they were a great number and well armed : 
there were four knights of Amiens their captains. This skirmish 
dured long: at the first meeting many were overthrown on both 
parts; but finally the burgesses were taken and nigh all slain, and 
the Englishmen took all their carriages and harness. They were well 
' Bourg-la-Reine. ^ A better reading is 'twelve. ' 

i8 froissart's chronicles 

stuffed, for they were going to the French king well appointed, 
because they had not seen him a great season before. There were 
slain in the field a twelve hundred. 

Then the king of England entered into the country of Beauvoisis, 
brenning and exiling the plain country, and lodged at a fair abbey 
and a rich called Saint-Messien' near to Beauvais: there the king 
tarried a night and in the morning departed And when he was on 
his way he looked behind him and saw the abbey a-fire: he caused 
incontinent twenty of them to be hanged that set the fire there, for 
he had commanded before on pain of death none to violate any 
church nor to bren any abbey. Then the king passed by the city of 
Beauvais without any assault giving, for because he would not trouble 
his people nor waste his artillery. And so that day he took his lodging 
betime in a little town called Milly. The two marshals came so 
near to Beauvais, that they made assault and skirmish at the barriers 
in three places, the which assault endured a long space; but the town 
within was so well defended by the means of the bishop, who was 
there within, that finally the Englishmen departed, and brent clean 
hard to the gates all the suburbs, and then at night they came into 
the king's field. 

The next day the king departed, brenning and wasting all before 
him, and at night lodged in a good village called Grandvilliers. 
The next day the king passed by Dargies: there was none to defend 
the castle, wherefore it was soon taken and brent. Then they went 
forth destroying the country all about, and so came to the castle of 
Poix, where there was a good town and two castles. There was 
nobody in them but two fair damosels, daughters to the lord of 
Poix; they were soon taken, and had been violated, an two English 
knights had not been, sir John Chandos and sir Basset; they defended 
them and brought them to the king, who for his honour made them 
good cheer and demanded of them whither they would fainest go. 
They said, 'To Corbie,* and the king caused them to be brought 
thither without peril. That night the king lodged in the town of 
Poix. They of the town and of the castles spake that night with the 
marshals of the host, to save them and their town from brenning, and 

' Commonly called Saint-Lucien, but Saint-Maximianus (Messien) is also associated 
with the place. 


they to pay a certain sum of florins the next day as soon as the host 
was departed. This was granted them, and in the morning the king 
departed with all his host except a certain that were left there to 
receive the money that they of the town had promised to pay. When 
they of the town saw the host depart and but a few left behind, then 
they said they would pay never a penny, and so ran out and set on 
the Englishmen, who defended themselves as well as they might 
and sent after the host for succour. When sir Raynold Cobham and 
sir Thomas Holland, who had the rule of the rear-guard, heard 
thereof, they returned and cried, 'Treason, treason!' and so came 
again to Poix-ward and found their companions still fighting with 
them of the town. Then anon they of the town were nigh all slain, 
and the town brent, and the two castles beaten down. Then they 
returned to the king's host, who was as then at Airaines and there 
lodged, and had commanded all manner of men on pain of death 
to do no hurt to no town of Arsyn,* for there the king was minded 
to he a day or two to take advice how he might pass the river of 
Somme; for it was necessary for him to pass the river, as ye shall hear 


Now let us speak of King Philip, who was at Sant-Denis and his 
people about him, and daily increased. Then on a day he departed 
and rode so long that he came to Coppegueule, a three leagues from 
Amiens, and there he tarried. The king of England being at Airaines 
wist not where for to pass the river of Somme, the which was large 
and deep, and all bridges were broken and the passages well kept. 
Then at the king's commandment his two marshals with a thousand 
men of arms and two thousand archers went along the river to find 
some passage, and passed by Longpre, and came to the bridge of 
Remy,^ the which was well kept with a great number of knights 
and squires and men of the country. The Englishmen alighted 

*A mistranslation. The original is '[il avoit] deffendu sus le hart que nuls ne 
fourfesist rien a le ville d'arsin ne d'autre cose,' 'he had commanded all on pain o£ 
hanging to do no hurt to the town by burning or otherwise.' The translator has 
taken 'arsin' for a proper name. 

' Pont-a-Remy, corrupted here into 'bridge o£ Athyne.' 


afoot and assailed the Frenchmen from the morning till it was noon; 
but the bridge was so well fortified and defended, that the English- 
men departed without winning of anything. Then they went to a 
great town called Fountains on the river of Somme, the which was 
clean robbed and brent, for it was not closed. Then they went to 
another town called Long-en-Ponthieu; they could not win the 
bridge, it was so well kept and defended. Then they departed and 
went to Picquigny, and found the town, the bridge, and the castle 
so well fortified, that it was not likely to pass there: the French king 
had so well defended the passages, to the intent that the king of 
England should not pass the river of Somme, to fight with him at his 
advantage or else to famish him there. 

When these two marshals had assayed in all places to find passage 
and could find none, they returned again to the king, and shewed 
how they could find no passage in no place. The same night the 
French king came to Amiens with more than a hundred thousand 
men. The king of England was right pensive, and the next morning 
heard mass before the sun-rising and then dislodged; and every man 
followed the marshals' banners and so rode in the country of Vimeu 
approaching to the good town of Abbeville, and found a town 
thereby, whereunto was come much people of the country in trust of 
a little defence that was there; but the Englishmen anon won it, and 
all they that were within slain, and many taken of the town and of 
the country. The king took his lodging in a great hospitaP that was 
there. The same day the French king departed from Amiens and 
came to Airaines about noon; and the Englishmen were departed 
thence in the morning. The Frenchmen found there great provision 
that the Englishmen had left behind them, because they departed in 
haste. There they found flesh ready on the broaches, bread and 
pasties in the ovens, wine in tuns and barrels, and the tables ready 
laid. There the French king lodged and tarried for his lords. 

That night the king of England was lodged at Oisemont. At 
night when the two marshals were returned, who had that day 
overrun the country to the gates of Abbeville and to Saint-Valery 
and made a great skirmish there, then the king assembled together 
his council and made to be brought before him certain prisoners of 
' That is, a house of the knights of Saint John. 


the country o£ Ponthieu and of Vimeu. The king right courteously 
demanded of them, if there were any among them that knew any 
passage beneath Abbeville, that he and his host might pass over the 
river of Somme: if he would shew him thereof, he should be quit of 
his ransom, and twenty of his company for his love. There was a 
varlet called Gobin Agace who stepped forth and said to the king: 
'Sir, I promise you on the jeopardy of my head I shall bring you to 
such a place, whereas ye and all your host shall pass the river of 
Somme without peril. There be certain places in the passage that 
ye shall pass twelve men afront two times between day and night: ye 
shall not go in the water to the knees. But when the flood cometh, 
the river then waxeth so great, that no man can pass; but when the 
flood is gone, the which is two times between day and night, then the 
river is so low, that it may be passed without danger both a-horse- 
back and afoot. The passage is hard in the bottom with white stones, 
so that all your carriage may go surely; therefore the passage is called 
Blanche-taque. An ye make ready to depart betimes, ye may be there 
by the sun-rising.' The king said : 'If this be true that ye say, I quit 
thee thy ransom and all thy company, and moreover shall give thee 
a hundred nobles.' Then the king commanded every man to be 
ready at the sound of the trumpet to depart. 


The king of England slept not much that night, for at midnight 
he arose and sowned his trumpet: then incontinent they made ready 
carriages and all things, and at the breaking of the day they departed 
from the town of Oisemont and rode after the guiding of Gobin 
Agace, so that they came by the sun-rising to Blanche-taque; but as 
then the flood was up, so that they might not pass: so the king tarried 
there till it was prime; then the ebb came. 

The French king had his currours in the country, who brought 
him word of the demeanour of the Englishmen. Then he thought to 
close the king of England between Abbeville and the river of 
Somme, and so to fight with him at his pleasure. And when he was 
at Amiens he had ordained a great baron of Normandy, called sir 
Godemar du Fay, to go and keep the passage of Blanche-taque, 


where the Englishmen must pass or else in none other place. He 
had with him a thousand men of arms and six thousand afoot, with 
the Genoways: so they went by Saint-Riquier in Ponthieu and from 
thence to Crotoy, whereas the passage lay; and also he had with him 
a great number of men of the country, and also a great number of 
them of Montreuil, so that they were a twelve thousand men one 
and other. 

When the English host was come thither, sir Godemar du Fay 
arranged all his company to defend the passage. The king of 
England let not for all that; but when the flood was gone, he com- 
manded his marshals to enter into the water in the name of God and 
Saint George. Then they that were hardy and courageous entered on 
both parties, and many a man reversed. There were some of the 
Frenchmen of Artois and Picardy that were as glad to joust in the 
water as on the dry land. 

The Frenchmen defended so well the passage at the issuing out of 
the water, that they had much to do. The Genoways did them great 
trouble with their cross-bows: on the other side the archers of 
England shot so wholly together, that the Frenchmen were fain to 
give place to the Englishmen. There was a sore battle, and many 
a noble feat of arms done on both sides. Finally the Englishmen 
passed over and assembled together in the field. The king and the 
prince passed, and all the lords; then the Frenchmen kept none 
array, but departed, he that might best. When sir Godemar saw that 
discomfiture, he fled and saved himself: some fled to Abbeville and 
some to Saint-Riquiers. They that were there afoot could not flee, 
so that there were slain a great number of them of Abbeville, Mont- 
reuil, Rue and of Saint-Riquiers: the chase endured more than a great 
league. And as yet all the Englishmen were not passed the river, and 
certain currours of the king of Bohemia and of sir John of Hainault 
came on them that were behind and took certain horses and carriages 
and slew divers, or they could take the passage. 

The French king the same morning was departed from Airaines, 
trusting to have found the Englishmen between him and the river 
of Somme: but when he heard how that sir Godemar du Fay and his 
company were discomfited, he tarried in the field and demanded of 
his marshals what was best to do. They said, 'Sir, ye cannot pass the 


river but at the bridge of Abbeville, for the flood is come in at 
Blanche-taque' : then he returned and lodged at Abbeville. 

The king of England when he was past the river, he thanked 
God and so rode forth in like manner as he did before. Then he 
called Gobin Agace and did quit him his ransom and all his com- 
pany, and gave him a hundred nobles and a good horse. And so the 
king rode forth fair and easily, and thought to have lodged in a great 
town called Noyelles; but when he knew that the town pertained to 
the countess d'Aumale, sister to the lord Robert of Artois,' the king 
assured the town and country as much as pertained to her, and so 
went forth; and his marshals rode to Crotoy on the sea-side and 
brent the town, and found in the haven many ships and barks 
charged with wines of Poitou, pertaining to the merchants of 
Saintonge and of Rochelle: they brought the best thereof to the 
king's host. Then one of the marshals rode to the gates of Abbeville 
and from thence to Saint-Riquiers, and after to the town of Rue- 
Saint-Esprit. This was on a Friday, and both battles of the marshals 
returned to the king's host about noon and so lodged all together near 
to Cressy in Ponthieu. 

The king of England was well informed how the French king 
followed after him to fight. Then he said to his company: 'Let us 
take here some plot of ground, for we will go no farther till we have 
seen our enemies. I have good cause here to abide them, for I am 
on the right heritage of the queen my mother, the which land was 
given at her marriage: I will challenge it of mine adversary Philip of 
Valois.' And because that he had not the eighth part in number of 
men as the French king had, therefore he commanded his marshals 
to chose a plot of ground somewhat for his advantage: and so they 
did, and thither the king and his host went. Then he sent his cur- 
rours to Abbeville, to see if the French king drew that day into the 
field or not. They went forth and returned again, and said how they 
could see none appearance of his coming: then every man took their 
lodging for that day, and to be ready in the morning at the sound of 
the trumpet in the same place. This Friday the French king tarried 
still in Abbeville abiding for his company, and sent his two marshals 
to ride out to see the dealing of the Englishmen, and at night they 
^ She was in fact his daughter. 


returned, and said how the EngUshmen were lodged in the fields. 
That night the French king made a supper to all the chief lords that 
were there with him, and after supper the king desired them to be 
friends each to other. The king looked for the earl of Savoy, who 
should come to him with a thousand spears, for he had received 
wages for a three months of them at Troyes in Champagne. 


On the Friday, as I said before, the king of England lay in the 
fields, for the country was plentiful of wines and other victual, and 
if need had been, they had provision following in carts and other 
carriages. That night the king made a supper to all his chief lords 
of his host and made them good cheer; and when they were all 
departed to take their rest, then the king entered into his oratory 
and kneeled down before the altar, praying God devoutly, that if 
he fought the next day, that he might achieve the journey to his 
honour: then about midnight he laid him down to rest, and in the 
morning he rose betimes and heard mass, and the prince his son 
with him, and the most part of his company were confessed and 
houselled; and after the mass said, he commanded every man to be 
armed and to draw to the field to the same place before appointed. 
Then the king caused a park to be made by the wood side behind 
his host, and there was set all carts and carriages, and within the park 
were all their horses, for every man was afoot; and into this park 
there was but one entry. Then he ordained three battles: in the first 
was the young prince of Wales, with him the earl of Warwick and 
Oxford, the lord Godfrey of Harcourt, sir Raynold Cobham, sir 
Thomas Holland, the lord Stafford, the lord of Mohun, the lord Dela- 
ware, sir John Chandos, sir Bartholomew de Burghersh, sir Robert 
Nevill, the lord Thomas Clifford, the lord Bourchier, the lord de 
Latimer, and divers other knights and squires that I cannot name: 
they were an eight hundred men of arms and two thousand archers, 
and a thousand of other with the Welshmen: every lord drew to 
the field appointed under his own banner and pennon. In the second 
battle was the earl of Northampton, the earl of Arundel, the lord 


Ros, the lord Lucy, the lord Willoughby, the lord Basset, the lord of 
Saint-Aubin, sir Louis Tufton, the lord of Multon, the lord Lascelles 
and divers other, about an eight hundred men of arms and twelve 
hundred archers. The third battle had the king: he had seven hun- 
dred men of arms and two thousand archers. Then the king leapt 
on a hobby,' with a white rod in his hand, one of his marshals on the 
one hand and the other on the other hand: he rode from rank to 
rank desiring every man to take heed that day to his right and 
honour. He spake it so sweetly and with so good countenance and 
merry cheer, that all such as were discomfited took courage in the 
seeing and hearing of him. And when he had thus visited all his 
battles, it was then nine of the day : then he caused every man to eat 
and drink a little, and so they did at their leisure. And afterward they 
ordered again their battles: then every man lay down on the earth 
and by him his salet and bow, to be the more fresher when their 
enemies should come. 


This Saturday the French king rose betimes and heard mass in 
Abbeville in his lodging in the abbey of Saint Peter, and he departed 
after the sun-rising. When he was out of the town two leagues, 
approaching toward his enemies, some of his lords said to him: 'Sir, 
it were good that ye ordered your battles, and let all your footmen 
pass somewhat on before, that they be not troubled with the horse- 
men.' Then the king sent four knights, the Moine [of] Bazeilles, 
the lord of Noyers, the lord of Beaujeu and the lord d'Aubigny to 
ride to aview the English host; and so they rode so near that they 
might well see part of their dealing. The Englishmen saw them 
well and knew well how they were come thither to aview them : they 
let them alone and made no countenance toward them, and let them 
return as they came. And when the French king saw these four 
knights return again, he tarried till they came to him and said : 'Sirs, 
what tidings?' These four knights each of them looked on other, 
for there was none would speak before his companion; finally the 
king said to [the] Moine, who pertained to the king of Bohemia 

' 'Un petit palefroi.' 

2.6 froissart's chronicles 

and had done in his days so much, that he was reputed for one of 
the vaUantest knights of the world: 'Sir, speak you.' Then he said: 
'Sir, I shall speak, sith it pleaseth you, under the correction of my 
fellows. Sir, we have ridden and seen the behaving of your enemies: 
know ye for truth they are rested in three battles abiding for you. 
Sir, I will counsel you as for my part, saving your displeasure, that 
you and all your company rest here and lodge for this night : for or 
they that be behind of your company be come hither, and or your 
battles be set in good order, it will be very late, and your people be 
weary and out of array, and ye shall find your enemies fresh and 
ready to receive you. Early in the morning ye may order your battles 
at more leisure and advise your enemies at more deliberation, and 
to regard well what way ye will assail them; for, sir, surely they will 
abide you.' 

Then the king commanded that it should be so done. Then his 
two marshals one rode before, another behind, saying to every ban- 
ner: 'Tarry and abide here in the name of God and Saint Denis.' 
They that were foremost tarried, but they that were behind would 
not tarry, but rode forth, and said how they would in no wise abide 
till they were as far forward as the foremost: and when they before 
saw them come on behind, then they rode forward again, so that the 
king nor his marshals could not rule them. So they rode without 
order or good array, till they came in sight of their enemies: and as 
soon as the foremost saw them, they reculed then aback without good 
array, whereof they behind had marvel and were abashed, and 
thought that the foremost company had been fighting. Then they 
might have had leisure and room to have gone forward, if they had 
list : some went forth and some abode still. The commons, of whom 
all the ways between Abbeville and Cressy were full, when they saw 
that they were near to their enemies, they took their swords and 
cried: 'Down with them! let us slay them all.' There man, 
though he were present at the journey, that could imagine or shew 
the truth of the evil order that was among the French party, and yet 
they were a marvellous great number. That I write in this book I 
learned it specially of the Englishmen, who well beheld their deal- 
ing; and also certain knights of sir John of Hainault's, who was 
always about king Philip, shewed me as they knew. 



The Englishmen, who were in three battles lying on the ground to 
rest them, as soon as they saw the Frenchmen approach, they rose 
upon their feet fair and easily without any haste and arranged their 
battles. The first, which was the prince's battle, the archers there 
stood in manner of a herse and the men of arms in the bottom of 
the battle. The earl of Northampton and the earl of Arundel with 
the second battle were on a wing in good order, ready to comfort the 
prince's battle, if need were. 

The lords and knights of France came not to the assembly together 
in good order, for some came before and some came after in such 
haste and evil order, that one of them did trouble another. When the 
French king saw the Englishmen, his blood changed, and said to his 
marshals: 'Make the Genoways go on before and begin the battle in 
the name of God and Saint Denis.' There were of the Genoways 
cross-bows about a fifteen thousand,' but they were so weary of 
going afoot that day a six leagues armed with their cross-bows, that 
they said to their constables: 'We be not well ordered to fight this 
day, for we be not in the case to do any great deed of arms: we have 
more need of rest.' These words came to the earl of Alenfon, who 
said: 'A man is well at ease to be charged with such a sort of ras- 
cals, to be faint and fail now at most need.' Also the same season 
there fell a great rain and a clipse^ with a terrible thunder, and before 
the rain there came flying over both battles a great number of crows 
for fear of the tempest coming. Then anon the air began to wax 
clear, and the sun to shine fair and bright, the which was right in 
the Frenchmen's eyen and on the Englishmen's backs. When the 
Genoways were assembled together and began to approach, they 
made a great leap' and cry to abash the Englishmen, but they stood 

' Villani, a very good authority on the subject, says 6000, brought from the ships 
at Harfleur. 

^ A mistranslation of 'une esclistre,' 'a flash of lightning.' 

' These 'leaps' of the Genoese are invented by the translator, and have passed from 
him into several respectable English text-books, sometimes in company with the 
eclipse above mentioned. Froissart says: 'II commencierent a juper moult epouvantable- 
ment'; that is, 'to utter cries.' Another text makes mention of the English cannons 
at this point: 'The English remained still and let off some cannons that they had, to 
frighten the Genoese.' 

28 froissart's chronicles 

still and stirred not for all that: then the Genoways again the second 
time made another leap and a fell cry, and stept forward a little, and 
the Englishmen removed not one foot : thirdly, again they leapt and 
cried, and went forth till they came within shot; then they shot 
fiercely with their cross-bows. Then the English archers stept forth 
one pace and let fly their arrows so wholly [together] and so thick, 
that it seemed snow. When the Genoways felt the arrows piercing 
through heads, arms and breasts, many of them cast down their 
cross-bows and did cut their strings and returned discomfited. When 
the French king saw them fly away, he said: 'Slay these rascals, for 
they shall let and trouble us without reason.' Then ye should have 
seen the men of arms dash in among them and killed a great number 
of them: and ever still the Englishmen shot whereas they saw 
thickest press; the sharp arrows ran irto the men of arms and into 
their horses, and many fell, horse and men, among the Genoways, 
and when they were down, they could not relieve* again, the press 
was so thick that one overthrew another. And also among the 
Englishmen there were certain rascals that went afoot with great 
knives, and they went in among the men of arms, and slew and 
murdered many as they lay on the ground, both earls, barons, knights 
and squires, whereof the king of England was after displeased, for he 
had rather they had been taken prisoners. 

The valiant king of Bohemia called Charles of Luxembourg, son 
to the noble emperor Henry of Luxembourg, for all that he was 
nigh blind, when he understood the order of the battle, he said to 
them about him: 'Where is the lord Charles my son?' His men 
said: 'Sir, we cannot tell; we think he be fighting.' Then he said: 
'Sirs, ye are my men, my companions and friends in this journey: I 
require you bring me so far forward, that I may strike one stroke 
with my sword.' They said they would do his commandment, and 
to the intent that they should not lose him in the press, they tied all 
their reins of their bridles each to other and set the king before to 
accomplish his desire, and so they went on their enemies. The lord 
Charles of Bohemia his son, who wrote himself king of Almaine and 
bare the arms, he came in good order to the battle; but when he saw 
that the matter went awry on their party, he departed, I cannot tell 

*The translator's word 'relieve' (relyuue) represents 'relever,' for 'se relever.' 


you which way. The king his father was so far forward that he 
strake a stroke with his sword, yea and more than four, and fought 
vaHantly and so did his company; and they adventured themselves 
so forward, that they were there all slain, and the next day they were 
found in the place about the king, and all their horses tied each to 

The earl of Alen^on came to the battle right ordinately and fought 
with the Englishmen, and the earl of Flanders also on his part. 
These two lords with their companies coasted the English archers 
and came to the prince's battle, and there fought valiantly long. The 
French king would fain have come thither, when he saw their ban- 
ners, but there was a great hedge of archers before him. The same 
day the French king had given a great black courser to sir John of 
Hainault, and he made the lord Tierry of Senzeille to ride on him 
and to bear his banner. The same horse took the bridle in the teeth 
and brought him through all the currours of the Englishmen, and 
as he would have returned again, he fell in a great dike and was 
sore hurt, and had been there dead, an his page had not been, who 
followed him through all the battles and saw where his master lay 
in the dike, and had none other let but for his horse, for the English- 
men would not issue out of their battle for taking of any prisoner. 
Then the page alighted and relieved his master: then he went not 
back again the same way that they came, there was too many in his 

This battle between Broye and Cressy this Saturday was right 
cruel and fell, and many a feat of arms done that came not to my 
knowledge. In the night^ divers knights and squires lost their mas- 
ters, and sometime came on the Englishmen, who received them in 
such wise that they were ever nigh slain; for there was none taken 
to mercy nor to ransom, for so the Englishmen were determined. 

In the morning^ the day of the battle certain Frenchmen and 
Almains perforce opened the archers of the prince's battle and came 
and fought with the men of arms hand to hand. Then the second 

^ 'Sus le nuit,' 'towards nightfall.' 

^ The text has suffered by omissions. What Froissart says is that if the battle had 
begun in the morning, it might have gone better for the French, and then he in- 
stances the exploits of those who broke through the archers. The battle did not begin 
till four o'clock in the afternoon. 


battle of the Englishmen came to succour the prince's battle, the 
which was time, for they had as then much ado; and they with the 
prince sent a messenger to the king, who was on a little windmill 
hill. Then the knight said to the king: 'Sir, the earl of Warwick 
and the earl of Oxford, sir Raynold Cobham and other, such as be 
about the prince your son, are fiercely fought withal and are sore 
handled; wherefore they desire you that you and your battle will 
come and aid them; for if the Frenchmen increase, as they doubt they 
will, your son and they shall have much ado.' Then the king said: 
'Is my son dead or hurt or on the earth felled?' 'No, sir,' quoth the 
knight, 'but he is hardly matched; wherefore he hath need of your 
aid.' 'Well,' said the king, 'return to him and to them that sent you 
hither, and say to them that they send no more to me for any ad- 
venture that falleth, as long as my son is alive : and also say to them 
that they suffer him this day to win his spurs;' for if God be pleased, 
I will this journey be his and the honour thereof, and to them that be 
about him.' Then the knight returned again to them and shewed the 
king's words, the which greatly encouraged them, and repoined' in 
that they had sent to the king as they did. 

Sir Godfrey and Harcourt would gladly that the earl of Harcourt 
his brother might have been saved; for he heard say by them that 
saw his banner how that he was there in the field on the French 
party: but sir Godfrey could not come to him betimes, for he was 
slain or he could come at him, and so was also the earl of Aumale 
his nephew. In another place the earl of Alenjon and the earl of 
Flanders fought valiantly, every lord under his own banner; but 
finally they could not resist against the puissance of the Englishmen, 
and so there they were also slain, and divers other knights and 
squires. Also the earl Louis of Blois, nephew to the French king, 
and the duke of Lorraine fought under their banners, but at last they 
were closed in among a company of Englishmen and Welshmen, 
and there were slain for all their prowess. Also there was slain the 
earl of Auxerre, the earl of Saint-Pol and many other. 

In the evening the French king, who had left about him no more 
than a three-score persons, one and other, whereof sir John of 

^ 'Que il laissent a I'enfant gaegnier ses esperons.' 
*!. e. 'they repoined': Fr. 'se reprisent.' 


Hainault was one, who had remounted once the king, for his horse 
was slain with an arrow, then he said to the king: 'Sir, depart hence, 
for it is time; lose not yourself wilfully: if ye have loss at this time, 
ye shall recover it again another season.' And so he took the king's 
horse by the bridle and led him away in a manner perforce. Then 
the king rode till he came to the casde of Broye. The gate was closed, 
because it was by that time dark: then the king called the captain, 
who came to the walls and said: Who is that calleth there this time 
of night?' Then the king said: 'Open your gate quickly, for this is 
the fortune of France." The captain knew then it was the king, and 
opened the gate and let down the bridge. Then the king entered, and 
he had with him but five barons, sir John of Hainault, sir Charles of 
Montmorency, the lord of Beaujeu, the lord d'Aubigny and the lord 
of Montsault. The king would not tarry there, but drank and de- 
parted thence about midnight, and so rode by such guides as knew 
the country till he came in the morning to Amiens, and there he 

This Saturday the Englishmen never departed from their battles 
for chasing of any man, but kept still their field, and ever defended 
themselves against all such as came to assail them. This battle ended 
about evensong time. 


On this Saturday, when the night was come and that the English- 
men heard no more noise of the Frenchmen, then they reputed them- 
selves to have the victory, and the Frenchmen to be discomfited, 
slain and fled away. Then they made great fires and lighted up 
torches and candles, because it was very dark. Then the king avaled 
down from the little hill whereas he stood; and of all that day till 
then his helm came never on his head. Then he went with all his 
battle to his son the prince and enbraced him in his arms and kissed 
him, and said: 'Fair son, God give you good perseverance; ye are my 
good son, thus ye have acquitted you nobly: ye are worthy to keep 

' 'C'est la fortune de France': but the better MSS. have 'c'est li infortun^s rois 
de France.' 


a realm.' The prince inclined himself to the earth, honouring the 
king his father. 

This night they thanked God for their good adventure and made 
no boast thereof, for the king would that no man should be proud 
or make boast, but every man humbly to thank God. On the Sunday 
in the morning there was such a mist, that a man might not see the 
breadth of an acre of land from him. Then there departed from the 
host by the commandment of the king and marshals five hundred 
spears and two thousand archers, to see if they might see any French- 
men gathered again together in any place. The same morning out 
of Abbeville and Saint-Riquiers in Ponthieu the commons of Rouen 
and of Beauvais issued out of their towns, not knowing of the dis- 
comfiture of the day before. They met with the Englishmen weening 
they had been Frenchmen, and when the Englishmen saw them, 
they set on them freshly, and there was a sore battle; but at last the 
Frenchmen fled and kept none array. There were slain in the ways 
and in hedges and bushes more than seven thousand, and if the day 
had been clear there had never a one escaped. Anon after, another 
company of Frenchmen were met by the Englishmen, the archbishop 
of Rouen and the great prior of France, who also knew nothing of 
the discomfiture the day before; for they heard that the French king 
should have fought the same Sunday, and they were going thither- 
ward. When they met with the Englishmen, there was a great 
battle, for they were a great number, but they could not endure 
against the Englishmen; for they were nigh all slain, few escaped; the 
two lords were slain. This morning the Englishmen met with divers 
Frenchmen that had lost their way on the Saturday and had lain all 
night in the fields, and wist not where the king was nor the captains. 
They were all slain, as many as were met with; and it was shewed 
me that of the commons and men afoot of the cities and good towns 
of France there was slain four times as many as were slain the Sat- 
urday in the great battle. 


The same Sunday, as the king of England came from mass, such 
as had been sent forth returned and shewed the king what they had 


seen and done, and said: 'Sir, we think surely there is now no more 
appearance of any of our enemies.' Then the king sent to search 
how many were slain and what they were. Sir Raynold Cobham and 
sir Richard Stafford with three heralds went to search the field and 
country : they visited all them that were slain and rode all day in the 
fields, and returned again to the host as the king was going to supper. 
They made just report of that they had seen, and said how there 
were eleven great princes dead, fourscore banners, twelve hundred 
knights, and more than thirty thousand other.' The Englishmen 
kept still their field all that night : on the Monday in the morning the 
king prepared to depart : the king caused the dead bodies of the great 
lords to be taken up and conveyed to Montreuil, and there buried in 
holy ground, and made a cry in the country to grant truce for three 
days, to the intent that they of the country might search the field of 
Cressy to bury the dead bodies. 

Then the king went forth and came before the town of Montreuil- 
by-the-sea, and his marshals ran toward Hesdin and brent Waben 
and Serain, but they did nothing to the castle, it was so strong and so 
well kept. They lodged that night on the river of Hesdin towards 
Blangy. The next day they rode toward Boulogne and came to the 
town of Wissant : there the king and the prince lodged, and tarried 
there a day to refresh his men, and on the Wednesday the king came 
before the strong town of Calais. 

'Another text makes the loss of persons below the rank of knight 15,000 or 
16,000, including the men of the towns. Both estimates must be greatly exaggerated. 
Michael of Northburgh says that 1542 were killed in the battle and about 2000 on 
the next day. The great princes killed were the king of Bohemia, the duke of 
Lorraine, the earls of Alen^on, Flanders, Blois, Auxerre, Harcourt, Saint-Pol, Aumale, 
the grand prior of France and the archbishop of Rouen. 



AFTER the taking o£ the castle o£ Romorantin and of them 
/ \ that were therein, the prince then and his company rode as 
JL JL, they did before, destroying the country, approaching to 
Anjou and to Touraine. The French king, who was at Chartres, 
departed and came to Blois and there tarried two days, and then to 
Amboise and the next day to Loches: and then he heard how that 
the prince was at Touraine' and how that he was returning by 
Poitou: ever the Englishmen were coasted by certain expert knights 
of France, who alway made report to the king what the Englishmen 
did. Then the king came to the Haye in Touraine and his men had 
passed the river of Loire, some at the bridge of Orleans and some at 
Meung, at Saumur, at Blois, and at Tours and whereas they might: 
they were in number a twenty thousand men of arms beside other; 
there were a twenty-six dukes and earls and more than sixscore 
banners, and the four sons of the king, who were but young, the duke 
Charles of Normandy, the lord Louis, that was from thenceforth 
duke of Anjou, and the lord John duke of Berry, and the lord Philip, 
who was after duke of Burgoyne. The same season, pope Innocent 
the sixth sent the lord Bertrand, cardinal of Perigord, and the lord 
Nicholas, cardinal of Urgel, into France, to treat for a peace between 
the French king and all his enemies, first between him and the king 
of Navarre, who was in prison : and these cardinals oftentimes spake 
to the king for his deliverance during the siege at Bretuel, but they 
could do nothing in that behalf. Then the cardinal of Perigord went 
to Tours, and there he heard how the French king hasted sore to 
find the Englishmen : then he rode to Poitiers, for he heard how both 
the hosts drew thitherward. 

1 'En Touraine.' 


The French king heard how the prince hasted greatly to return, 
and the king feared that he should scape him and so departed from 
Haye in Touraine, and all his company, and rode to Chauvigny, 
where he tarried that Thursday in the town and without along by 
the river of Creuse, and the next day the king passed the river at 
the bridge there, weening that the Englishmen had been before him, 
but they were not. Howbeit they pursued after and passed the bridge 
that day more than threescore thousand horses, and divers other 
passed at Chatelleraut, and ever as they passed they took the way to 

On the other side the prince wist not truly where the Frenchmen 
were; but they supposed that they were not far off, for they could 
find no more forage, whereby they had great fault in their host of 
victual, and some of them repented that they had destroyed so much 
as they had done before when they were in Berry, Anjou and Tou- 
raine, and in that they had made no better provision. The same 
Friday three great lords of France, the lord of Craon, the lord Raoul 
of Coucy and the earl of Joigny, tarried all day in the town of Chau- 
vigny, and part of their companies. The Saturday they passed the 
bridge and followed the king, who was then a three leagues before, 
and took the way among bushes without a wood side to go to 

The same Saturday the prince and his company dislodged from 
a little village thereby, and sent before him certain currours to see 
if they might find any adventure and to hear where the Frenchmen 
were. They were in number a threescore men of arms well horsed, 
and with them was the lord Eustace d'Aubrecicourt and the lord 
John of Ghistelles, and by adventure the Englishmen and French- 
men met together by the foresaid wood side. The Frenchmen knew 
anon how they were their enemies; then in haste they did on their 
helmets and displayed their banners and came a great pace towards 
the Englishmen : they were in number a two hundred men of arms. 
When the Englishmen saw them, and that they were so great a 
number, then they determined to fly and let the Frenchmen chase 
them, for they knew well the prince with his host was not far behind. 
Then they turned their horses and took the corner of the wood, and 
the Frenchmen after them crying their cries and made great noise. 

36 froissart's chronicles 

And as they chased, they came on the prince's battle or they were 
ware thereof themselves; the prince tarried there to have word again 
from them that he sent forth. The lord Raoul de Coucy with his 
banner went so far forward that he was under the prince's banner: 
there was a sore battle and the knight fought valiantly; howbeit he 
was there taken, and the earl of Joigny, the viscount of Brosse, the 
lord of Chauvigny and all the other taken or slain, but a few that 
scaped. And by the prisoners the prince knew how the French king 
followed him in such wise that he could not eschew the battle:^ 
then he assembled together all his men and commanded that no man 
should go before the marshals' banners. Thus the prince rode that 
Saturday from the morning till it was against night, so that he came 
within two little leagues of Poitiers. Then the captal de Buch, sir 
Aymenion of Pommiers, the lord Bartholomew of Burghersh and 
the lord Eustace d'Aubrecicourt, all these the prince sent forth to 
see if they might know what the Frenchmen did. These knights de- 
parted with two hundred men of arms well horsed: they rode so far 
that they saw the great battle of the king's, they saw all the fields 
covered with men of arms. These Englishmen could not forbear, but 
set on the tail of the French host and cast down many to the earth 
and took divers prisoners, so that the host began to stir, and tidings 
thereof came to the French king as he was entering into the city of 
Poitiers. Then he returned again and made all his host do the same, 
so that Saturday it was very late or he was lodged in the field. The 
English currours returned again to the prince and shewed him all 
that they saw and knew, and said how the French host was a great 
number of people. 'Well,' said the prince, 'in the name of God let 
us now study how we shall fight with them at our advantage.' That 
night the Englishmen lodged in a strong place among hedges, vines 
and bushes, and their host well watched, and so was the French host. 


On the Sunday in the morning the French king, who had great 
desire to fight with the Englishmen, heard his mass in his pavilion 
and was houselled, and four sons with him. After mass there came 

2 Or rather, 'that the French king had gone in front of them (les avoit advancez) 
and that he could in no way depart without being fought with." 


to him the duke of Orleans, the duke of Bourbon, the earl of Pon- 
thieu, the lord Jaques of Bourbon,' the duke of Athens, constable of 
France, the earl of Tancarville, the earl of Sarrebruck, the earl of 
Dammartin, the earl of Ventadour, and divers other great barons of 
France and of other neighbours holding of France, as the lord Cler- 
mont, the lord Arnold d'Audrehem, marshal of France, the lord of 
Saint- Venant, the lord John of Landas, the lord Eustace Ribemont, 
the lord Fiennes, the lord Geoffrey of Charny, the lord Chatillon, 
the lord of Sully, the lord of Nesle, sir Robert Duras and divers 
other; all these w^ith the king went to counsel. Then finally it was 
ordained that all manner of men should draw into the field, and 
every lord to display his banner and to set forth in the name of 
God and Saint Denis: then trumpets blew up through the host and 
every man mounted on horseback and went into the field, where they 
saw the king's banner wave with the wind. There might a been seen 
great nobless of fair harness and rich armoury of banners and pen- 
nons; for there was all the flower of France, there was none durst 
abide at home without he would be shamed for ever. Then it was 
ordained by the advice of the constable and marshals to be made 
three battles, and in each ward sixteen thousand men of arms all 
mustered and passed for men of arms. The first battle the duke of 
Orleans to govern, with thirty-six banners and twice as many pen- 
nons, the second the duke of Normandy and his two brethren the 
lord Louis and the lord John, the third the king himself: and while 
that these battles were setting in array, the king called to him the 
lord Eustace Ribemont, the lord John of Landas and the lord Richard 
of Beaujeu, and said to them: 'Sirs, ride on before to see the dealing 
of the Englishmen and advise well what number they be and by what 
means we may fight with them, other afoot or a-horseback.' These 
three knights rode forth and the king was on a white courser and 
said a-high to his men: 'Sirs, among you, when ye be at Paris, at 
Chartres, at Rouen or at Orleans, then ye do threat the English- 
men and desire to be in arms out against them. Now ye be comef 
thereto: I shall now shew you them: now shew forth your evil will 
that ye bear them and revenge your displeasures and damages that 
they have done you, for without doubt we shall fight with them.' 
' That is, Jaques de Bourbon, earl of la Marche and Ponthieu. 

38 froissart's chronicles 

Such as heard him said: 'Sir, in God's name so be it; that would we 
see'' gladly.' 

Therewith the three knights returned again to the king, who 
demanded o£ them tidings. Then sir Eustace of Ribemont answered 
for all and said: 'Sir, we have seen the Englishmen: by estimation 
they be two thousand men of arms and four thousand archers and 
a fifteen hundred of other. Howbeit they be in a strong place, and 
as far as we can imagine they are in one battle; howbeit they be 
wisely ordered, and along the way they have fortified strongly the 
hedges and bushes: one part o£ their archers are along by the 
hedge, so that none can go nor ride that way, but must pass by them, 
and that way must ye go an ye purpose to fight with them. In this 
hedge there is but one entry and one issue by likelihood that four 
horsemen may ride afront. At the end of this hedge, whereas no man 
can go nor ride, there be men of arms afoot and archers afore them 
in manner of a herse, so that they will not be lightly discomfited.' ' 
'Well,' said the king, 'what will ye then counsel us to do?' Sir 
Eustace said: 'Sir, let us all be afoot, except three hundred men of 
arms, well horsed, of the best in your host and most hardiest, to the 
intent they somewhat to break and to open the archers, and then 
your battles to follow on quickly afoot and so to fight with their men 
of arms hand to hand. This is the best advice that I can give you: 
if any other think any other way better, let him speak.' 

The king said: 'Thus shall it be done': then the two marshals 
rode from battle to battle and chose out a three hundred knights 
and squires of the most expert men of arms of all the host, every man 
well armed and horsed. Also it was ordained that the battles of 
Almains should abide still on horseback to comfort the marshals, if 
need were, whereof the earl of Sarrebruck, the earl of Nidau and the 

^'Verrons': but a better reading is 'ferons,' 'that will we do gladly.' 
'The translation of this passage is unsatisfactory. It should be: 'Howbeit they 
have ordered it wisely, and have taken post along the road, which is fortified 
strongly with hedges and thickets, and they have beset this hedge on one side (or 
according to another text, on one side and on the other) with their archers, so that 
one cannot enter nor ride along their road except by them, and that way must he go 
who purposes to fight with them. In this hedge there is but one entry and one issue, 
where by likelihood four men of arms, as on the road, might ride a-front. At the 
end of this hedge among vines and thorn-bushes, where no man can go nor ride, are 
their men of arms all afoot, and they have set in front of them their archers in manner 
of a harrow, whom it would not be easy to discomfit. 


earl of Nassau were captains. King John of France was there armed, 
and twenty other in his apparel; and he did put the guiding of 
his eldest son to the lord of Saint-Venant, the lord of Landas and the 
lord Thibault of Vaudenay; and the lord Arnold of Cervolles, called 
the archpriest/ was armed in the armour of the young earl of Alen- 


When the French king's battles was ordered and every lord under 
his banner among their own men, then it was commanded that every 
man should cut their spears to a five foot long and every man to put 
off their spurs. Thus as they were ready to approach, the cardinal 
of Perigord' came in great haste to the king. He came the same 
morning from Poitiers; he kneeled down to the king and held up 
his hands and desired him for God's sake a litde to abstain setting 
forward till he had spoken with him: then he said: 'Sir, ye have 
here all the flower of your realm against a handful of Englishmen 
as to regard your company,^ and, sir, if ye may have them accorded 
to you without battle, it shall be more profitable and honourable to 
have them by that manner rather than to adventure so noble chivalry 
as ye have here present. Sir, I require you in the name of God and 
humihty that I may ride to the prince and shew him what danger 
ye have him in,' The king said: 'It pleaseth me well, but return again 
shortly.' The cardinal departed and diligendy he rode to the 
prince, who was among his men afoot: then the cardinal alighted 
and came to the prince, who received him courteously. Then the 
cardinal after his salutation made he said: 'Certainly, fair son, if you 
and your council advise justly the puissance of the French king, ye 
will suffer me to treat to make a peace between you, an I may.' The 
prince, who was young and lusty, said : 'Sir, the honour of me and of 
my people saved, I would gladly fall to any reasonable way.' Then 

■• Arnaud de Cervolles, one of the most celebrated adventurers of the 1 4th century, 
called the archpriest because though a layman he possessed the ecclesiastical fief of 

' Talleyrand de P^rigord. 

2 The meaning is, 'Ye have here all the flower of your realm against a handful of 
people, for so the Englishmen are as compared with your company.' 

40 froissart's chronicles 

the cardinal said: 'Sir, ye say well, and I shall accord you, an I can; 
for it should be great pity if so many noblemen and other as be here 
on both parties should come together by battle.' Then the cardinal 
rode again to the king and said: 'Sir, ye need not to make any great 
haste to fight with your enemies, for they cannot fly from you though 
they would, they be in such a ground: wherefore, sir, I require you 
forbear for this day till tomorrow the sun-rising.' The king was 
loath to agree thereto, for some of his council would not consent 
to it; but finally the cardinal shewed such reasons, that the king ac- 
corded that respite: and in the same place there was pight up a pavil- 
ion of red silk fresh and rich, and gave leave for that day every man to 
draw to their lodgings except the constable's and marshals' battles. 

That Sunday all the day the cardinal travailed in riding from the 
one host to the other gladly to agree them: but the French king 
would not agree without he might have four of the principallest of 
the EngHshmen at his pleasure, and the prince and all the other to 
yield themselves simply: howbeit there were many great offers made. 
The prince offered to render into the king's hands all that ever he 
had won in that voyage, towns and castles, and to quit all prisoners 
that he or any of his men had taken in that season, and also to 
swear not to be armed against the French king in seven year after; 
but the king and his council would none thereof: the uttermost that 
he would do was, that the prince and a hundred of his knights 
should yield themselves into the king's prison; otherwise he would 
not: the which the prince would in no wise agree unto. 

In the mean season that the cardinal rode thus between the hosts 
in trust to do some good, certain knights of France and of England 
both rode forth the same Sunday, because it was truce for that day, 
to coast the hosts and to behold the dealing of their enemies. So it 
fortuned that the lord John Chandos rode the same day coasting the 
French host, and in like manner the lord of Clermont, one of the 
French marshals, had ridden forth and aviewed the state of the 
English host; and as these two knights returned towards their hosts, 
they met together: each of them bare one manner of device, a blue 
lady embroidered in a sunbeam above on their apparel. Then the 
lord Clermont said: 'Chandos, how long have ye taken on you to 
bear my device.'" 'Nay, ye bear mine,' said Chandos, 'for it is as 


well mine as yours.' 'I deny that,' said Clermont, 'but an it were not 
for the truce this day between us, I should make it good on you in- 
continent that ye have no right to bear my device.' 'Ah, sir,' said 
Chandos, 'ye shall find me to-morrow ready to defend you and to 
prove by feat of arms that it is as well mine as yours.' Then Clermont 
said: 'Chandos, these be well the words of you Englishmen, for ye 
can devise nothing of new, but all that ye see is good and fair.' So 
they departed without any more doing, and each of them returned to 
their host. 

The cardinal of Perigord could in no wise that Sunday make any 
agreement between the parties, and when it was near night he re- 
turned to Poitiers. That night the Frenchmen took their ease; they 
had provision enough, and the Englishmen had great default; they 
could get no forage, nor they could not depart thence without danger 
of their enemies. That Sunday the Englishmen made great dikes 
and hedges about their archers, to be the more stronger; and on the 
Monday in the morning the prince and his company were ready ap- 
parelled as they were before, and about the sun-rising in like manner 
were the Frenchmen. The same morning betimes the cardinal came 
again to the French host and thought by his preaching to pacify the 
parties; but then the Frenchmen said to him: 'Return whither ye 
will: bring hither no more words of treaty nor peace: and ye love 
yourself depart shortly.' When the cardinal saw that he travailed in 
vain, he took leave of the king and then he went to the prince and 
said: 'Sir, do what ye can: there is no remedy but to abide the battle, 
for I can find none accord in the French king.' Then the prince said: 
'The same is our intent and all our people: God help the right!' 
So the cardinal returned to Poitiers. In his company there were cer- 
tain knights and squires, men of arms, who were more favourable to 
the French king than to the prince : and when they saw that the par- 
ties should fight, they stale from their masters and went to the French 
host; and they made their captain the chatelain of Amposte,' who 
was as then there with the cardinal, who knew nothing thereof till 
he was come to Poitiers. 

The certainty of the order of the Englishmen was shewed to the 
French king, except they had ordained three hundred men a-horse- 

' Amposta, a fortress in Catalonia. 


back and as many archers a-horseback to coast under covert of the 
mountain and to strike into the battle of the duke of Normandy, who 
was imder the mountain afoot. This ordinance they had made of 
new, that the Frenchmen knew not of. The prince was with his 
battle down among the vines and had closed in the weakest part with 
their carriages. 

Now will I name some of the principal lords and knights that 
were there with the prince: the earl of Warwick, the earl of Suffolk, 
the earl of Salisbury, the earl of Oxford, the lord Raynold Cobham, 
the lord Spencer, the lord James Audley, the lord Peter his brother, 
the lord Berkeley, the lord Bassett, the lord Warin, the lord Dela- 
ware, the lord Manne, the lord Willoughby, the lord Bartholomew 
de Burghersh, the lord of Felton, the lord Richard of Pembroke, the 
lord Stephen of Cosington, the lord Bradetane and other English- 
men; and of Gascon there was the lord of Pommiers, the lord of 
Languiran, the captal of Buch, the lord John of Caumont, the lord 
de Lesparre, the lord of Rauzan, the lord of Condon, the lord of 
Montferrand, the lord of Landiras, the lord soudic of Latrau and 
other that I cannot name; and of Hainowes the lord Eustace d'Au- 
brecicourt, the lord John, of Ghistelles, and two other strangers, 
the lord Daniel Pasele and the lord Denis of Morbeke: all the prince's 
company passed not an eight thousand men one and other, and 
the Frenchmen were a sixty thousand fighting men, whereof there 
were more than three thousand knights. 


When the prince saw that he should have battle and that the 
cardinal was gone without any peace or truce making, and saw that 
the French king did set but little store by him, he said then to his 
men: 'Now, sirs, though we be but a small company as in regard to 
the puissance of our enemies, let us not be abashed therefor; for 
the victory lieth not in the multitude of people, but whereas God 
will send it. If it fortune that the journey be ours, we shall be the 
most honoured people of all the world; and if we die in our right 
quarrel, I have the king my father and brethren, and also ye have 


good friends and kinsmen; these shall revenge us. Therefore, sirs, 
for God's sake I require you do your devoirs this day; for if God be 
pleased and Saint George, this day ye shall see me a good knight.' 
These words and such other that the prince spake comforted all his 
people. The lord sir John Chandos that day never went from the 
prince, nor also the lord James Audley of a great season; but when 
he saw that they should needs fight, he said to the prince: 'Sir, I have 
served always truly my lord your father and you also, and shall do 
as long as I live. I say this because I made once a vow that the first 
battle that other the king your father or any of his children should 
be at, how that I would be one of the first setters on,' or else to die 
in the pain: therefore I require your grace, as in reward for any 
service that ever I did to the king your father or to you, that you will 
give me licence to depart from you and to set myself thereas I may 
accomplish my vow.' The prince accorded to his desire and said, 
'Sir James, God give you this day that grace to be the best knight of 
all other,' and so took him by the hand. Then the knight departed 
from the prince and went to the foremost front of all the battles, all 
only accompanied with four squires, who promised not to fail him. 
This lord James was a right sage and a valiant knight, and by him 
was much of the host ordained and governed the day before. Thus 
sir James was in front of the battle ready to fight with the battle of 
the marshals of France. In like wise the lord Eustace d'Aubrecicourt 
did his pain to be one of the foremost to set on. When sir James 
Audley began to set forward to his enemies, it fortuned to sir Eustace 
d'Aubrecicourt as ye shall hear after. Ye have heard before how the 
Almains in the French host were appointed to be still a-horseback. 
Sir Eustace being a-horseback laid his spear in the rest and ran into 
the French battle, and then a knight of Almaine, called the lord 
Louis of Recombes, who bare a shield silver, five roses gules, and 
sir Eustace bare ermines, two branches of gules,^ — when this Almain 
saw the lord Eustace come from his company, he rode against him 
and they met so rudely, that both knights fell to the earth. The Al- 
main was hurt in the shoulder, therefore he rose not so quickly as 
did sir Eustace, who when he was up and had taken his breath, he 

' 'The first setter-on and the best combatant.' 
'That is, two hamedes gules on a field ermine. 


came to the other knight as he lay on the ground; but then five other 
knights of Almaine came on him all at once and bare him to the 
earth, and so perforce there he was taken prisoner and brought to the 
earl of Nassau, who as then took no heed of him; and I cannot say 
whether they sware him prisoner or no, but they tied him to a chare 
and there let him stand.^ 

Then the battle began on all parts, and the battles of the marshals 
of France approached, and they set forth that were appointed to break 
the array of the archers. They entered a-horseback into the way 
where the great hedges were on both sides set full of archers. As 
soon as the men of arms entered, the archers began to shoot on 
both sides and did slay and hurt horses and knights, so that the 
horses when they felt the sharp arrows they would in no wise go 
forward, but drew aback and flang and took on so fiercely, that many 
of them fell on their masters, so that for press they could not rise 
again; insomuch that the marshals' battle could never come at the 
prince. Certain knights and squires that were well horsed passed 
through the archers and thought to approach to the prince, but they 
could not. The lord James Audley with his four squires was in the 
front of that battle and there did marvels in arms, and by great 
prowess he came and fought with sir Arnold d'Audrehem under his 
own banner, and there they fought long together and sir Arnold was 
there sore handled. The battle of the marshals began to disorder 
by reason of the shot of the archers with the aid of the men of arms, 
who came in among them and slew of them and did what they list, 
and there was the lord Arnold d'Audrehem taken prisoner by other 
men than by sir James Audley or by his four squires; for that day he 
never took prisoner, but always fought and went on his enemies. 

Also on the French party the lord John Clermont fought under 
his own banner as long as he could endure: but there he was beaten 
down and could not be relieved nor ransomed, but was slain without 
mercy: some said it was because of the words that he had the day 
before to sir John Chandos. So within a short space the marshals' 
battles were discomfited, for they fell one upon another and could 
not go forth;* and the Frenchmen that were behind and could not 

' 'They tied him on to a cart with their harness.' 
* 'Ne pooient aler avant.' 


get forward reculed back and came on the battle of the duke of 
Normandy, the which was great and thick and were afoot, but anon 
they began to open behind;* for when they knew that the marshals' 
battle was discomfited, they took their horses and departed, he that 
might best. Also they saw a rout of Englishmen coming down a little 
mountain a-horseback, and many archers with them, who brake in 
on the side of the duke's battle. True to say, the archers did their 
company that day great advantage; for they shot so thick that the 
Frenchmen wist not on what side to take heed, and little and little 
the Englishmen won ground on them. 

And when the men of arms of England saw that the marshals' 
battle was discomfited and that the duke's battle began to disorder 
and open, they leapt then on their horses, the which they had ready by 
them: then they assembled together and cried, 'Saint George! Guy- 
enne!' and the lord Chandos said to the prince: 'Sir, take your horse 
and ride forth; this journey is yours: God is this day in your hands: 
get us to the French king's battle, for their lieth all the sore of the 
matter: I think verily by his valiantness he will not fly: I trust we 
shall have him by the grace of God and. Saint George, so he be 
well fought withal: and, sir, I heard you say that this day I should 
see you a good knight.' The prince said, 'Let us go forth; ye shall 
not see me this day return back,' and said, 'Advance, banner, in the 
name of God and of Saint George.' The knight that bare it did his 
commandment : there was then a sore battle and a perilous, and many 
a man overthrown, and he that was once down could not be relieved 
again without great succour and aid. As the prince rode and entered 
in among his enemies, he saw on his right hand in a little bush lying 
dead the lord Robert of Duras and his banner by him,° and a ten 
or twelve of his men about him. Then the prince said to two of his 
squires and to three archers: 'Sirs, take the body of this knight on a 
targe and bear him to Poitiers, and present him from me to the 
cardinal of Perigord, and say how I salute him by that token.' And 
this was done. The prince was informed that the cardinal's men 
were on the field against him, the which was not pertaining to the 
right order of arms, for men of the church that cometh and goeth 

' 'Which was great and thick in front (pardevant), but anon it became open and 
thin behind.' 

°The original adds, 'qui estoit de France au sentoir (sautoir) de gueulles.' 

46 froissart's chronicles 

for treaty of peace ought not by reason to bear harness nor to fight 
for neither of the parties; they ought to be indifferent: and because 
these men had done so, the prince was displeased with the cardinal, 
and therefore he sent unto him his nephew the lord Robert of Duras 
dead: and the chatelain of Amposte was taken, and the prince would 
have had his head stricken off, because he was pertaining to the car- 
dinal, but then the lord Chandos said: 'Sir, suffer for a season: intend 
to a greater matter: and peradventure the cardinal will make such ex- 
cuse that ye shall be content.' 

Then the prince and his company dressed them on the batde of 
the duke of Athens, constable of France. There was many a man 
slain and cast to the earth. As the Frenchmen fought in companies, 
they cried, 'Mountjoy! Saint Denis!' and the Englishmen, 'Saint 
George! Guyenne!' Anon the prince with his company met with 
the batde of Almains, whereof the earl of Sarrebruck, the earl Nas- 
sau and the earl Nidau were captains, but in a short space they 
were put to flight: the archers shot so wholly together that none 
durst come in their dangers: they slew many a man that could not 
come to no ransom: these three earls was there slain, and divers 
other knights and squires of their company, and there was the lord 
d'Aubrecicourt rescued by his own men and set on horseback, and 
after he did that day many feats of arms and took good prisoners. 
When the duke of Normandy's battle saw the prince approach, they 
thought to save themselves, and so the duke and the king's children, 
the earl of Poitiers, and the earl of Touraine, who were right young, 
believed their governours and so departed from the field, and wdth 
them more than eight hundred spears, that strake no stroke that 
day. Howbeit the lord Guichard d'Angle and the lord John of 
Saintre, who were with the earl of Poitiers, would not fly, but 
entered into the thickest press of the battle. The king's three sons 
took the way to Chauvigny, and the lord John of Landas and the 
lord Thibauld of Vaudenay, who were set to await on the duke of 
Normandy, when they had brought the duke a long league from the 
battle, then they took leave of the duke and desired the lord of Saint- 
Venant that he should not leave the duke, but to bring him in safe- 
guard, whereby he should win more thank of the king than to abide 
still in the field. Then they met also the duke of Orleans and a great 


company with him, who were also departed from the field with 
clear hands: there were many good knights and squires, though that 
their masters departed from the field, yet they had rather a died than 
to have had any reproach. 

Then the king's battle came on the Englishmen: there was a sore 
fight and many a great stroke given and received. The king and 
his youngest son met with the battle of the English marshals, the 
earl of Warwick and the earl of Suffolk, and with them of Gascons 
the captal of Buch, the lord of Pommiers, the lord Amery of Tastes, 
the lord of Mussidan, the lord of Languiran and the lord de Latrau. 
To the French party there came time enough the lord John of Lan- 
das and the lord of Vaudenay; they alighted afoot and went into the 
king's battle, and a little beside fought the duke of Athens, con- 
stable of France, and a little above him the duke of Bourbon and 
many good nights of Bourbonnais and of Picardy with him, and a 
little on the one side there were the Poitevins, the lord de Pons, the 
lord of Partenay, the lord of Dammartin, the lord of Tannay-Bouton, 
the lord of Surgieres, the lord John Saintre, the lord Guichard 
d'Angle, the lord Argenton, the lord of Linieres, the lord of Monten- 
dre and divers other, also the viscount of Rochechouart and the earl 
of Aunay;' and of Burgoyne the lord James of Beaujeu, the lord 
de Chateau-Vilain and other: in another part there was the earl of 
Ventadour and of Montpensier, the lord James of Bourbon, the lord 
John d'Artois and also the lord James his brother, the lord Arnold 
of Cervolles called the archpriest, armed for the young earl of Alen- 
9on; and of Auvergne there was the lord of MerccEur, the lord de la 
Tour, the lord of Chalenfon, the lord of Montaigu, the lord of 
Rochfort, the lord d'Acier, the lord d'Acon; and of Limousin there 
was the lord de Melval, the lord of Mareuil, the lord of PierrebufEere; 
and of Picardy there was the lord William of Nesle, the lord Arnold 
of Rayneval, the lord Geoffrey of Saint-Dizier, the lord of Chauny, 
the lord of Helly, the lord of Montsault, the lord of Hangest and 
divers other: and also in the king's battle there was the earl Doug- 
las of Scotland, who fought a season right valiantly, but when he saw 
the discomfiture, he departed and saved himself; for in no wise he 
would be taken of the Englishmen, he had rather been there slain. 
"^ 'Le conte d'Auluoy,' but it should be 'visconte.' 

48 froissart's chronicles 

On the English part the lord James Audley with the aid o£ his four 
squires fought always in the chief of the battle: he was sore hurt in 
the body and in the visage: as long as his breath served him he 
fought; at last at the end of the battle his four squires took and 
brought him out of the field and laid him under a hedge side for to 
refresh him; and they unarmed him and bound up his wounds as 
well as they could. On the French party king John was that day a full 
right good knight: if the fourth part of his men had done their de- 
voirs as well as he did, the journey had been his by all likelihood. 
Howbeit they were all slain and taken that were there, except a few 
that saved themselves, that were with the king.* There was slain the 
duke Peter of Bourbon, the lord Guichard of Beaujeu, the lord of 
Landas, and the duke of Athens, constable of France, the bishop of 
Chalons in Champagne, the lord William of Nesle, the lord Eustace 
of Ribemont, the lord de la Tour, the lord William of Montaigu, sir 
Grismouton of Chambly, sir Baudrin de la Heuse, and many other, as 
they fought by companies; and there were taken prisoners the lord of 
Vaudenay, the lord of Pompadour, and the archpriest, sore hurt, 
the earl of Vaudimont, the earl of Mons, the earl of Joinville, the 
earl of Vendome, sir Louis of Melval, the lord Pierrebuffiere and the 
lord of Serignac: there were at that brunt, slain and taken more 
than two hundred knights.' 


Among the battles, recounterings, chases and pursuits that were 
made that day in the field, it fortuned so to sir Oudart of Renty that 
when he departed from the field because he saw the field was lost 

' 'Howbeit they that stayed acquitted them as well as they might, so that they 
were all slain or taken. Few escaped of those that set themselves with the king': 
or according to the fuller text: 'Few escaped of those that alighted down on the 
sand by the side of the king their lord.' 

'The translator has chosen to rearrange the above list of killed, wounded or 
taken, which the French text gives in order as they fought, saying that in one part 
there fell the duke of Bourbon, sir Guichard of Beaujeu and sir John of Landas, and 
there were severely wounded or taken the archpriest, sir Thibaud of Vodenay and sir 
Baudouin d'Annequin; in another there were slain the duke of Athens and the bishop 
of Chalons, and taken the earl of Vaudemont and Joinville and the earl of Vendome: 
a little above this there were slain sir William de Nesle, sir Eustace de Ribemont and 
others, and taken sir Louis de Melval, the lord of Pierrebufi^re and the lord of 


without recovery, he thought not to abide the danger of the English- 
men; wherefore he fled all alone and was gone out of the field a 
league, and an English knight pursued him and ever cried to him 
and said, 'Return again, sir knight, it is a shame to fly away thus.' 
Then the knight turned, and the English knight thought to have 
stricken him with his spear in the targe, but he failed, for sir Oudart 
swerved aside from the stroke, but he failed not the English knight, 
for he strake him such a stroke on the helm with his sword, that he 
was astonied and fell from his horse to the earth and lay still. Then 
sir Oudart alighted and came to him or he could rise, and said, 'Yield 
you, rescue or no rescue, or else I shall slay you.' The Englishman 
yielded and went with him, and afterward was ransomed. Also it 
fortuned that another squire of Picardy called John de Hellenes was 
fled from the battle and met with his page, who delivered him a new 
fresh horse, whereon he rode away alone. The same season there 
was in the field the lord Berkeley of England, a young lusty knight, 
who the same day reared his banner, and he all alone pursued the 
said John of Hellenes. And when he had followed the space of 
a league, the said John turned again and laid his sword in the rest 
instead of a spear, and so came running toward the lord Berkeley, 
who lift up his sword to have stricken the squire; but when he saw 
the stroke come, he turned from it, so that the Englishman lost his 
stroke and John strake him as he passed on the arm, that the lord 
Berkeley's sword fell into the field. When he saw his sword down, 
he lighted suddenly off his horse and came to the place where his 
sword lay, and as he stooped down to take up his sword, the French 
squire did pike his sword at him, and by hap strake him through 
both the thighs, so that the knight fell to the earth and could not help 
himself. And John alighted off his horse and took the knight's sword 
that lay on the ground, and came to him and demanded if he would 
yield him or not. The knight then demanded his name. 'Sir,' said he, 
'I hight John of Hellenes; but what is your name?' 'Certainly,' said 
the knight, 'my name is Thomas and am lord of Berkeley, a fair 
castle on the river of Severn in the marches of Wales.' 'Well, sir,' 
quoth the squire, 'then ye shall be my prisoner, and I shall bring you 
in safe-guard and I shall see that you shall be healed of your hurt.' 
'Well,' said the knight, 'I am content to be your prisoner, for ye have 

50 froissart's chronicles 

by law of arms won me.' There he sware to be his prisoner, rescue 
or no rescue. Then the squire drew forth the sword out of the 
knight's thighs and the wound was open: then he wrapped and 
bound the wound and set him on his horse and so brought him fair 
and easily to Chatelleraut, and there tarried more than fifteen days 
for his sake and did get him remedy for his hurt: and when he was 
somewhat amended, then he gat him a litter and so brought him at 
his ease to his house in Picardy. There he was more than a year till 
he was perfecdy whole; and when he departed he paid for his ransom 
six thousand nobles, and so this squire was made a knight by reason 
of the profit that he had of the lord Berkeley. 


Oftentimes the adventures of amours and of war are more for- 
tunate and marvellous than any man can think or wish. Truly this 
battle, the which was near to Poitiers in the fields of Beauvoir and 
Maupertuis, was right great and perilous, and many deeds of arms 
there was done the which all came not to knowledge. The fighters 
on both sides endured much, pain: king John with his own hands did 
that day marvels in arms: he had an axe in his hands wherewith 
he defended himself and fought in the breaking of the press. Near 
to the king there was taken the earl of Tancarville, sir Jaques of 
Bourbon earl of Ponthieu, and the lord John of Artois earl of Eu, 
and a little above that under the banner of the captal of Buch was 
taken sir Charles of Artois and divers other knights and squires. 
The chase endured to the gates of Poitiers: there were many slain 
and beaten down, horse and man, for they of Poitiers closed their 
gates and would suffer none to enter; wherefore in the street before 
the gate was horrible murder, men hurt and beaten down. The 
Frenchmen yielded themselves as far off as they might know an 
Englishman: there were divers English archers that had four, five 
or six prisoners: the lord of Pons, a great baron of Poitou, was there 
slain, and many other knights and squires; and there was taken the 
earl of Rochechouart, the lord of Dammartin, the lord of Partenay, 
and of Saintonge the lord of Montendre and the lord John of Saintre, 
but he was so sore hurt that he had never health after: he was re- 


puted for one of the best knights in France. And there was left for 
dead among other dead men the lord Guichard d'Angle, who fought 
that day by the king right valiantly, and so did the lord of Charny, 
on whom was great press, because he bare the sovereign banner of 
the king's: his own banner was also in the field, the which was of 
gules, three scutcheons silver. So many Englishmen and Gascons 
come to that part, that perforce they opened the king's battle, so that 
the Frenchmen were so mingled among their enemies that some- 
times there was five men upon one gentleman. There was taken the 
lord of Pompadour and' the lord Bartholomew de Burghersh, and 
there was slain sir Geoffrey of Charny with the king's banner in his 
hands: also the lord Raynold Cobham slew the earl of Dammartin. 
Then there was a great press to take the king, and such as knew him 
cried, 'Sir, yield you, or else ye are but dead.' There was a knight of 
Saint-Omer's, retained in wages with the king of England, called sir 
Denis Morbeke, who had served the Englishmen five year before, 
because in his youth he had forfeited the realm of France for a 
murder that he did at Saint-Omer's. It happened so well for him, 
that he was next to the king when they were about to take him: 
he stept forth into the press, and by strength of his body and arms 
he came to the French king and said in good French, 'Sir, yield you.' 
The king beheld the knight and said: 'To whom shall I yield 
me? Where is my cousin the prince of Wales? If I might see him, 
I would speak with him.' Denis answered and said: 'Sir, he is not 
here; but yield you to me and I shall bring you to him.' 'Who be 
you?' quoth the king. 'Sir,' quoth he, 'I am Denis of Morbeke, a 
knight of Artois; but I serve the king of England because I am ban- 
ished the realm of France and I have forfeited all that I had there.' 
Then the king gave him his right gauntlet, saying, 'I yield me to 
you.' There was a great press about the king, for every man enforced 
him to say,^ 'I have taken him,' so that the king could not go for- 
ward with his young son the lord Philip with him because of the 

The prince of Wales, who was courageous and cruel as a lion, took 
that day great pleasure to fight and to chase his enemies. The lord 

'This 'and' should be 'by,' but the French text is responsible for the mistake. 
^ S'efforsoit de dire.' 


John Chandos, who was with him, o£ all that day never left him 
nor never took heed of taking of any prisoner: then at the end of 
the battle he said to the prince: 'Sir, it were good that you rested here 
and set your banner a-high in this bush, that your people may draw 
hither, for they be sore spread abroad, nor I can see no more banners 
nor pennons of the French party; wherefore, sir, rest and refresh you, 
for ye be sore chafed.' Then the prince's banner was set up a-high on 
a bush, and trumpets and clarions began to sown. Then the prince 
did off his bassenet, and the knights for his body and they of his 
chamber were ready about him, and a red pavilion pight up, and 
then drink was brought forth to the prince and for such lords as 
were about him, the which still increased as they came from the 
chase: there they tarried and their prisoners with them. And when 
the two marshals were come to the prince, he demanded of them if 
they knew any tiding of the French king. They answered and said: 
'Sir, we hear none of certainty, but we think verily he is other dead 
or taken, for he is not gone out of the battles.' Then the prince said 
to the earl of Warwick and to sir Raynold Cobham : 'Sirs, I require 
you go forth and see what ye can know, that at your return ye may 
shew me the truth.' These two lords took their horses and departed 
from the prince and rode up a little hill to look about them: then they 
perceived a flock of men of arms coming together right wearily:' 
there was the French king afoot in great peril, for Englishmen and 
Gascons were his masters; they had taken him from sir Denis Mor- 
beke perforce, and such as were most of force said, 'I have taken 
him.' 'Nay,' quoth another, 'I have taken him'; so they strave which 
should have him. Then the French king, to eschew that peril, said: 
'Sirs, strive not: lead me courteously, and my son, to my cousin the 
prince, and strive not for my taking, for I am so great a lord to 
make you all rich.' The king's words somewhat appeased them; 
howbeit ever as they went they made riot and brawled for the taking 
of the king. When the two foresaid lords saw and heard that noise 
and strife among them, they came to them and said: 'Sirs, what is 
the matter that ye strive for?' 'Sirs,' said one of them, 'it is for the 
French king, who is here taken prisoner, and there be more than 
ten knights and squires that challengeth the taking of him and of 

^ 'Lentement.' 


his son.' Then the two lords entered into the press and caused every 
man to draw aback, and commanded them in the prince's name on 
pain of their heads to make no more noise nor to approach the king 
no nearer, without they were commanded. Then every man gave 
room to the lords, and they alighted and did their reverence to the 
king, and so brought him and his son in peace and rest to the prince 
of Wales. 


As soon as the earl of Warwick and the lord Cobham were de- 
parted from the prince, as ye have heard before, then the prince 
demanded of the knights that were about him for the lord Audley, 
if any knew anything of him. Some knights that were there an- 
swered and said : 'Sir, he is sore hurt and lieth in a litter here beside.' 
'By my faith,' said the prince, 'of his hurts I am right sorry: go and 
know if he may be brought hither, or else I will go and see him 
thereas he is.' Then two knights came to the lord Audley and said: 
'Sir, the prince desireth greatly to see you, other ye must go to him or 
else he will come to you.' 'Ah, sir,' said the knight, 'I thank the 
prince when he thinketh on so poor a knight as I am.' Then he called 
eight of his servants and caused them to bear him in his litter to 
the place whereas the prince was. Then the prince took him in his 
arms and kissed him and made him great cheer and said : 'Sir James, 
I ought greatly to honour you, for by your valiance ye have this day 
achieved the grace and renown of us all, and ye are reputed for the 
most valiant of all other.' 'Ah, sir,' said the knight, 'ye say as it 
pleaseth you: I would it were so: and if I have this day anything 
advanced myself to serve you and to accomplish the vow that I made, 
it ought not to be reputed to me any prowess.' 'Sir James,' said the 
prince, 'I and all ours take you in this journey for the best doer in 
arms, and to the intent to furnish you the better to pursue the wars, 
I retain you for ever to be my knight with five hundred marks of 
yearly revenues, the which I shall assign you on mine heritage in 
England.' 'Sir,' said the knight, 'God grant me to deserve the great 
goodness that ye shew me' : and so he took his leave of the prince, for 


he was right feeble, and so his servants brought him to his lodging. 
And as soon as he was gone, the earl of Warwick and the lord Cob- 
ham returned to the prince and presented to him the French king. 
The prince made lowly reverence to the king and caused wine and 
spices to be brought forth, and himself served the king in sign of 
great love. 


Thus this battle was discomfited, as ye have heard, the which was 
in the fields of Maupertuis a two leagues from Poitiers the twenty- 
second day of September the year of our Lord mccclvi. It begun in 
the morning' and ended at noon, but as then all the Englishmen were 
not returned from the chase; therefore the prince's banner stood on 
a bush to draw all his men together, but it was well nigh night 
or all came from the chase. And as it was reported, there was slain 
all the flower of France, and there was taken with the king and the 
lord Philip his son a seventeen earls, beside barons, knights and 
squires, and slain a five or six thousand of one and other. When 
every man was come from the chase, they had twice as many pris- 
oners as they were in number in all. Then it was counselled among 
them because of the great charge and doubt to keep so many, that 
they should put many of them to ransom incontinent in the field, 
and so they did: and the prisoners found the Englishmen and Gas- 
cons right courteous; there were many that day put to ransom and 
let go all only on their promise of faith and truth to return again 
between that and Christmas to Bordeaux with their ransoms. Then 
that night they lay in the field beside whereas the battle had been: 
some unarmed them, but not all, and unarmed all their prisoners, 
and every man made good cheer to his prisoner; for that day who- 
soever took any prisoner, he was clear his and might quit or ransom 
him at his pleasure. All such as were there with the prince were all 
made rich with honour and goods, as well by ransoming of prisoners 
as by winning of gold, silver, plate, jewels, that was there found: 
there was no man that did set anything by rich harness, whereof 
there was great plenty, for the Frenchmen came thither richly beseen, 
weening to have had the journey for them. 

* 'Environ heure de prime.' 



When sir James Audley was brought to his lodging, then he sent 
for sir Peter Audley his brother and for the lord Bartholomew of 
Burghersh, the lord Stephen of Cosington, the lord of Willoughby 
and the lord Ralph Ferrers, all these were of his lineage, and then 
he called before him his four squires, that had served him that day 
well and truly. Then he said to the said lords: 'Sirs, it hath pleased 
my lord the prince to give me five hundred marks of revenues by 
year in heritage, for the which gift I have done him but small service 
with my body. Sirs, behold here these four squires, who hath always 
served me truly and specially this day: that honour that I have is by 
their valiantness. Wherefore I will reward them: I give and resign 
into their hands the gift that my lord the prince hath given me of 
five hundred marks of yearly revenues, to them and to their heirs 
for ever, in like manner as it was given me. I clearly disherit me 
thereof and inherit them without any repeal' or condition.' 
The lords and other that ere there, every man beheld other and said 
among themselves: 'It cometh of a great nobleness to give this gift.' 
They answered him with one voice: 'Sir, be it as God will; we shall 
bear witness in this behalf wheresoever we be come.' Then they de- 
parted from him, and some of them went to the prince, who the same 
night would make a supper to the French king and to the prisoners, 
for they had enough to do withal, of that the Frenchmen brought 
with them,^ for the Englishmen wanted victual before, for some in 
three days had no bread before. 


The same day of the battle at night the prince made a supper in 
his lodging to the French king and to the most part of the great 
lords that were prisoners. The prince made the king and his son, 

' 'Rappel,' I. e. power of recalling the gift. The word 'repeal' is a correction of 

^ 'Who was to give the king of France a supper of his own provisions; for the 
French had brought great abundance with them, and provisions had failed among 
the English,' etc. 

56 froissart's chronicles 

the lord James of Bourbon, the lord John d'Artois, the earl of Tan- 
carville, the earl of Estampes, the earl Dammartin, the earl of Join- 
ville and the lord of Partenay to sit all at one board, and other lords, 
knights and squires at other tables; and always the prince served 
before the king as humbly as he could, and would not sit at the 
king's board for any desire that the king could make, but he said he 
was not sufficient to sit at the table with so great a prince as the 
king was. But then he said to the king: 'Sir, for God's sake make 
none evil nor heavy cheer, though God this day did not consent 
to follow your will; for, sir, surely the king my father shall bear 
you as much honour and amity as he may do, and shall accord with 
you so reasonably that ye shall ever be friends together after. And, 
sir, methinks ye ought to rejoice, though the journey be not as ye 
would have had it, for this day ye have won the high renown of prow- 
ess and have passed this day in valiantness all other of your party. Sir, 
I say not this to mock you, for all that be on our party, that saw every 
man's deeds, are plainly accorded by true sentence to give you the 
prize and chaplet.' Therewith the Frenchmen began to murmur and 
said among themselves how the prince had spoken nobly, and that 
by all estimation he should prove a noble man, if God send him 
life and to persevere in such good fortune. 


When supper was done, every man went to his lodging with 
their prisoners. The same night they put many to ransom and be- 
lieved them on their faiths and troths, and ransomed them but easily, 
for they said they would set no knight's ransom so high, but that 
he might pay at his ease and maintain still his degree. The next 
day, when they had heard mass and taken some repast and that 
everything was trussed and ready, then they took their horses and 
rode towards Poitiers. The same night there was come to Poitiers 
the lord of Roye with a hundred spears: he was not at the battle, but 
he met the duke of Normandy near to Chauvigny, and the duke sent 
him to Poitiers to keep the town till they heard other tidings. When 
the lord of Roye knew that the Englishmen were so near coming to 
the city, he caused every man to be armed and every man to go to 


his defence to the walls, towers and gates; and the Englishmen 
passed by without any approaching, for they were so laded with gold, 
silver and prisoners, that in their returning they assaulted no for- 
tress; they thought it a great deed if they might bring the French 
king, with their other prisoners and riches that they had won, in 
safeguard to Bordeaux. They rode but small journeys because of 
their prisoners and great carriages that they had : they rode in a day 
no more but four or five leagues and lodged ever betimes, and rode 
close together in good array saving the marshals' battles, who rode 
ever before with five hundred men of arms to open the pas- 
sages as the prince should pass; but they found no encounters, 
for all the country was so frayed that every man drew to the for- 

As the prince rode, it was shewed him how the lord Audley had 
given to his four squires the gift of the five hundred marks that he 
had given unto him : then the prince sent for him and he was brought 
in his litter to the prince, who received him courteously and said: 
'Sir James, we have knowledge that the revenues that we gave you 
as soon as ye came to your lodging, you gave. the same to four squires: 
we would know why ye did so, and whether the gift was agreeable to 
you or not.' 'Sir,' said the knight, 'it is of truth I have given it to 
them, and I shall shew you why I did so. These four squires that 
be here present have a long season served me well and truly in many 
great businesses and, sir, in this last battle they served me in such wise 
that an they had never done nothing else I was bound to reward 
them, and before the same day they had never nothing of me in 
reward. Sir, I am but a man alone; but by the aid and comfort of 
them I took on me to accomplish my vow long before made. I had 
been dead in the battle an they had not been : wherefore, sir, when 
I considered the love that they bare unto me, I had not been cour- 
teous if I would not a rewarded them. I thank God I have had and 
shall have enough as long as I live : I will never be abashed for lack 
of good. Sir, if I have done this without your pleasure, I require you 
to pardon me, for, sir, both I and my squires shall serve you as well 
as ever we did.' Then the prince said: 'Sir James, for anything that 
ye have done I cannot blame you, but can you good thank therefor; 
and for the valiantness of these squires, whom ye praise so much, 

58 froissart's chronicles 

I accord to them your gift, and I will render again to you six hundred 
marks in like manner as ye had the other.' 

Thus the prince and his company did so much that they passed 
through Poitou and Saintonge without damage and came to Blaye, 
and there passed the river of Gironde and arrived in the good city 
of Bordeaux. It cannot be recorded the great feast and cheer that they 
of the city with the clergy made to the prince, and how honourably 
they were there received. The prince brought the French king into 
the abbey of Saint Andrew's, and there they lodged both, the king in 
one part and the prince in the other. The prince bought of the 
lords, knights and squires of Gascoyne the most part of the earls 
of the realm of France, such as were prisoners, and paid ready money 
for them. There was divers questions and challenges made between 
the knights and squires of Gascoyne for taking of the French king; 
howbeit Denis Morbeke by right of arms and by true tokens that 
he shewed challenged him for his prisoner. Another squire of Gas- 
coyne called Bernard of Truttes said how he had right to him: 
there was much ado and many words before the prince and other 
lords that were there, and because these two challenged each other 
to fight in that quarrel, the prince caused the matter to rest till they 
came in England and that no declaration should be made but afore 
the king of England his father; but because the French king himself 
aided to sustain the challenge of Denis Morbeke, for he inclined 
more to him than to any other, the prince therefore privily caused 
to be delivered to the said sir Denis two thousand nobles to maintain 
withal his estate. 

Anon after the prince came to Bordeaux, the cardinal of Perigord 
came thither, who was sent from the pope in legation, as it was said. 
He was there more than fifteen days or the prince would speak with 
him because of the chatelain of Amposte and his men, who were 
against him in the battle of Poitiers. The prince believed that the 
cardinal sent them thither, but the cardinal did so much by the means 
of the lord of Caumont, the lord of Montferrand and the captal of 
Buch, who were his cousins, they shewed so good reasons to the 
prince, that he was content to hear him speak. And when he was 
before the prince, he excused himself so sagely that the prince and 
his council held him excused, and so he fell again into the prince's 


love and redeemed out his men by reasonable ransoms; and the chate- 
lain was set to his ransom of ten thousand franks, the which he paid 
after. Then the cardinal began to treat on the deliverance of the 
French king, but I pass it briefly because nothing was done. Thus 
the prince, the Gascons and Englishmen tarried still at Bordeaux till 
it was Lent in great mirth and revel, and spent foolishly the gold and 
silver that they had won. In England also there was great joy when 
they heard tidings of the battle of Poitiers, of the discomfiting of the 
Frenchmen and taking of the king: great solemnities were made in 
all churches and great fires and wakes throughout all England. The 
knights and squires, such as were come home from that journey, 
were much made of and praised more than other. 



IN the mean season while this treaty was, there fell in England 
great mischief and rebellion of moving of the common people, 
by which deed England was at a point to have been lost with- 
out recovery. There was never realm nor country in so great adven- 
ture as it was in that time, and all because of the ease and riches that 
the common people were of, which moved them to this rebellion, as 
sometime they did in France, the which did much hurt, for by such 
incidents the realm of France hath been greatly grieved. 

It was a marvellous thing and of poor foundation that this mischief 
began in England, and to give ensample to all manner of people I 
will speak thereof as it was done, as I was informed, and of the inci- 
dents thereof. There was an usage in England, and yet is in divers 
countries, that the noblemen hath great franchise over the commons 
and keepeth them in servage, that is to say, their tenants ought by 
custom to labour the lords' lands, to gather and bring home their 
corns, and some to thresh and to fan, and by servage to make their 
hay and to hew their wood and bring it home. All these things they 
ought to do by servage, and there be more of these people in England 
than in any other realm. Thus the noblemen and prelates are served 
by them, and especially in the county of Kent, Essex, Sussex and Bed- 
ford. These unhappy people of these said countries began to stir, 
because they said they were kept in great servage, and in the begin- 
ning of the world, they said, there were no bondmen, wherefore 
they maintained that none ought to be bond, without he did treason 
to his lord, as Lucifer did to God; but they said they could have no 
such battle,' for they were neither angels nor spirits, but men formed 
to the similitude of their lords, saying why should they then be kept 
SO under like beasts; the which they said they would no longer suffer, 

iThe true text is, 'Mais ils n'avoient pas cette taille,' 'but they were not of that 
nature.' The translator found the corruption 'bataille' for 'taille,' 


WAT Tyler's rebellion 6i 

for they would be all one, and if they laboured or did anything for 
their lords, they would have wages therefor as well as other. And 
of this imagination was a foolish priest in the country of Kent called 
John Ball, for the which foolish words he had been three times in 
the bishop of Canterbury's prison : for this priest used oftentimes on 
the Sundays after mass, when the people were going out of the 
minster, to go into the cloister and preach, and made the people to 
assemble about him, and would say thus: 'Ah, ye good people, the 
matters goeth not well to pass in England, nor shall not do till every- 
thing be common, and that there be no villains nor gentlemen, but 
that we may be all unied together, and that the lords be no greater 
masters than we be. What have we deserved, or why should we be 
kept thus in servage? We be all come from one father and one 
mother, Adam and Eve : whereby can they say or shew that they be 
greater lords than we be, saving by that they cause us to win and 
labour for that they dispend ? They are clothed in velvet and camlet 
furred with grise, and we be vestured with poor cloth: they have 
their wines, spices and good bread, and we have the drawing out of 
the chaff ^ and drink water: they dwell in fair houses, and we have the 
pain and travail, rain and wind in the fields; and by that that cometh 
of our labours they keep and maintain their estates: we be called their 
bondmen, and without we do readily them service, we be beaten; 
and we have no sovereign to whom we may complain, nor that will 
hear us nor do us right. Let us go to the king, he is young, and shew 
him what servage we be in, and shew him how we will have it 
otherwise, or else we will provide us of some remedy; and if we go 
together, all manner of people that be now in any bondage will 
follow us to the intent to be made free; and when the king seeth 
us, we shall have some remedy, either by fairness or otherwise.' 
Thus John Ball said on Sundays, when the people issued out of the 
churches in the villages; wherefore many of the mean people loved 
him, and such as intended to no goodness said how he said truth; 
and so they would murmur one with another in the fields and 
in the ways as they went together, affirming how John Ball said 

^ Froissart says '!e seigle, le retrait et la paille,' 'the rye, the bran and the straw.' 
The translator's French text had 'le seigle, le retraict de la paille.' 

62 froissart's chronicles 

The archbishop of Canterbury, who was informed of the saying of 
this John Ball, caused him to be taken and put in prison a two or 
three months to chastise him: howbeit, it had been much better at 
the beginning that he had been condemned to perpetual prison or 
else to have died, rather than to have suffered him to have been again 
delivered out of prison; but the bishop had conscience to let him die. 
And when this John Ball was out of prison, he returned again to his 
error, as he did before. 

Of his words and deeds there were much people in London in- 
formed, such as had great envy at them that were rich and such as 
were noble ; and then they began to speak among them and said how 
the realm of England was right evil governed, and how that gold 
and silver was taken from them by them that were named noble- 
men: so thus these unhappy men of London began to rebel and 
assembled them together, and sent word to the foresaid countries 
that they should come to London and bring their people with them, 
promising them how they should find London open to receive them 
and the commons of the city to be of the same accord, saying how 
they would do so much to the king that there should not be one 
bondman in all England. 

This promise moved so them of Kent, of Essex, of Sussex, of Bed- 
ford and of the countries about, that they rose and came towards 
London to the number of sixty thousand. And they had a captain 
called Water Tyler, and with him in company was Jack Straw and 
John Ball: these three were chief sovereign captains, but the head of 
all was Water Tyler, and he was indeed a tiler of houses, an un- 
gracious patron. When these unhappy men began thus to stir, they 
of London, except such as were of their band, were greatly affrayed. 
Then the mayor of London and the rich men of the city took counsel 
together, and when they saw the people thus coming on every side, 
they caused the gates of the city to be closed and would suffer no man 
to enter into the city. But when they had well imagined, they 
advised not so to do, for they thought they should thereby put their 
suburbs in great peril to be brent; and so they opened again the city, 
and there entered in at the gates in some place a hundred, two 
hundred, by twenty and by thirty, and so when they came to London, 

WAT Tyler's rebellion 63 

they entered and lodged: and yet of truth the third part' of these 
people could not tell what to ask or demand, but followed each 
other like beasts, as the shepherds* did of old time, saying how they 
would go conquer the Holy Land, and at last all came to nothing. 
In like wise these villains and poor people came to Lx)ndon, a hun- 
dred mile off, sixty mile, fifty mile, forty mile, and twenty mile off, 
and from all countries about London, but the most part came from 
the countries before named, and as they came they demanded ever 
for the king. The gentlemen of the countries, knights and squires, 
began to doubt, when they saw the people began to rebel; and though 
they were in doubt, it was good reason; for a less occasion they might 
have been aflrayed. So the gentlemen drew together as well as they 

The same day that these unhappy people of Kent were coming to 
London, there returned from Canterbury the king's mother, princess 
of Wales, coming from her pilgrimage. She was in great jeopardy 
to have been lost, for these people came to her chare and dealt rudely 
with her, whereof the good lady was in great doubt lest they would 
have done some villany to her or to her damosels. Howbeit, God 
kept her, and she came in one day from Canterbury to London, for 
she never durst tarry by the way. The same time king Richard her 
son was at the Tower of London : there his mother found him, and 
with him there was the earl of Salisbury, the archbishop of Canter- 
bury, sir Robert of Namur, the lord of Gommegnies and divers other, 
who were in doubt of these people that thus gathered together, and 
wist not what they demanded. This rebellion was well known in the 
king's court, or any of these people began to stir out of their houses; 
but the king nor his council did provide no remedy therefor, which 
was great marvel. And to the intent that all lords and good people 
and such as would nothing but good should take ensample to cor- 
rect them that be evil and rebellious, I shall shew you plainly all the 
matter, as it was. 

' 'Bien les trois pars,* i. e. 'three-fourths.' 

*'Les pastoureaulx.' The reference no doubt is to the Pastoureaux of 1320, who 
were destroyed at Aigues-Mortes when attempting to obtain a passage to the Holy 

64 froissart's chronicles 


The Monday before the feast of Corpus Christi the year of our 
Lord God a thousand three hundred and eighty-one these people 
issued out of their houses to come to London to speak with the king 
to be made free, for they would have had no bondman in England. 
And so first they came to Saint Thomas of Canterbury, and there 
John Ball had thought to have found the bishop of Canterbury, but 
he was at London with the king. When Wat Tyler and Jack Straw 
entered into Canterbury, all the common people made great feast, 
for all the town was of their assent; and there they took counsel to 
go to London to the king, and to send some of their company over 
the river of Thames into Essex, into Sussex and into the counties of 
Stafford and Bedford, to speak to the people that they should all 
come to the farther side of London and thereby to close London 
round about, so that the king should not stop their passages, and that 
they should all meet together on Corpus Christi day. They that were 
at Canterbury entered into Saint Thomas' church and did there 
much hurt, and robbed and brake up the bishop's chamber, and in 
robbing and bearing out their pillage they said : 'Ah, this chancellor 
of England hath had a good market to get together all this riches: 
he shall give us now account of the revenues of England and of the 
great profits that he hath gathered sith the king's coronation.' When 
they had this Monday thus broken the abbey of Saint Vincent, they 
departed in the morning and all the people of Canterbury with them, 
and so took the way to Rochester and sent their people to the villages 
about. And in their going they beat down and robbed houses of 
advocates and procurers of the king's court and of the archbishop, 
and had mercy of none. And when they were come to Rochester, 
they had there good cheer; for the people of that town tarried for 
them, for they were of the same sect, and then they went to the 
castle there and took the knight that had the rule thereof, he was 
called sir John Newton, and they said to him: 'Sir, it behoveth you to 
go with us and you shall be our sovereign captain and to do that we 
will have you.' The knight excused himself honestly and shewed 
them divers considerations and excuses, but all availed him nothing. 

WAT Tyler's rebellion 65 

for they said unto him : 'Sir John, if ye do not as we will have you, 
ye are but dead.' The knight, seeing these people in that fury and 
ready to slay him, he then doubted death and agreed to them, and 
so they took him with them against his inward will; and in like wise 
they of other counties in England, as Essex, Sussex, Stafford, Bed- 
ford and Warwick, even to Lincoln; for they brought the knights 
and gentlemen into such obeisance, that they caused them to go with 
them, whether they would or not, as the lord Moylays, a great baron, 
sir Stephen of Hales and sir Thomas of Cosington and other. 

Now behold the great fortune. If they might have come to their 
intents, they would have destroyed all the noblemen of England, and 
thereafter all other nations would have followed the same and have 
taken foot and ensample by them and by them of Gaunt and Flan- 
ders, who rebelled against their lord. The same year the Parisians 
rebelled in like wise and found out the mallets of iron, of whom 
there were more than twenty thousand, as ye shall hear after in this 
history; but first we will speak of them of England. 

When these people thus lodged at Rochester departed, and passed 
the river and came to Brentford, alway keeping still their opinions, 
beating down before them and all about the places and houses of ad- 
vocates and procurers, and striking off the heads of divers persons. 
And so long they went forward till they came within a four mile of 
London, and there lodged on a hill called Blackheath; and as they 
went, they said ever they were the king's men and the noble com- 
mons of England:' and when they of London knew that they were 
come so near to them, the mayor, as ye have heard before, closed the 
gates and kept straitly all the passages. This order caused the mayor, 
who was called Nicholas Walworth,^ and divers other rich burgesses 
of the city, who were not of their sect; but there were in London 
of their unhappy opinions more than thirty thousand. 

Then these people thus being lodged on Blackheath determined 
to send their knight to speak with the king and to shew him how all 
that they have done or will do is for him and his honour, and how 
the realm of England hath not been well governed a great space for 
the honour of the realm nor for the common profit by his uncles and 

' 'That they were for the king and the noble commons (or commonwealth) of 

^Froissart calls him lohn: his name was really William. 

66 froissart's chronicles 

by the clergy, and specially by the archbishop of Canterbury his chan- 
cellor; whereof they would have account. This knight durst do none 
otherwise, but so came by the river of Thames to the Tower. The 
king and they that were with him in the Tower, desiring to hear tid- 
ings, seeing this knight coming made him way, and was brought 
before the king into a chamber; and with the king was the princess 
his mother and his two brethren, the earl of Kent and the lord John 
Holland, the earl of Salisbury, the earl of Warwick, the earl of Ox- 
ford, the archbishop of Canterbury, the lord of Saint John's,' sir 
Robert of Namur, the lord of Vertaing, the lord of Gommegnies, sir 
Henry of Senzeille, the mayor of London and divers other notable 
burgesses. This knight sir John Newton, who was well known 
among them, for he was one of the king's officers, he kneeled down 
before the king and said: 'My right redoubted lord, let it not displease 
your grace the message that I must needs shew you, for, dear sir, it is 
by force and against my will.' 'Sir John,' said the king, 'say what ye 
will : I hold you excused.' 'Sir, the commons of this your realm hath 
sent me to you to desire you to come and speak with them on Black- 
heath; for they desire to have none but you: and, sir, ye need not to 
have any doubt of your person, for they will do you no hurt; for they 
hold and will hold you for their king. But, sir, they say they will 
shew you divers things, the which shall be right necessary for you 
to take heed of, when they speak with you; of the which things, sir, 
I have no charge to shew you: but, sir, it may please you to give me an 
answer such as may appease them and that they may know for truth 
that I have spoken with you; for they have my children in hostage till 
I return again to them, and without I return again, they will slay my 
children incontinent.' 

Then the king made him an answer and said: 'Sir, ye shall have an 
answer shortly.' Then the king took counsel what was best for him to 
do, and it was anon determined that the next morning the king 
should go down the river by water and without fail to speak with 
them. And when sir John Newton heard that answer, he desired 
nothing else and so took his leave of the king and of the lords and re- 
turned again into his vessel, and passed the Thames and went to 
Blackheath, where he had left more than threescore thousand men. 
^ That is, the grand prior of the Hospital. 

WAT Tyler's rebellion 67 

And there he answered them that the next morning they should send 
some of their council to the Thames, and there the king would come 
and speak with them. This answer greatly pleased them, and so 
passed that night as well as they might, and the fourth part of them* 
fasted for lack of victual for they had none, wherewith they were sore 
displeased, which was good reason. 

All this season the earl of Buckingham was in Wales, for there he 
had fair heritages by reason of his wife, who was daughter to the 
earl of Northumberland and Hereford; but the voice was all through 
London how he was among these people. And some said certainly 
how they had seen him there among them; and all was because there 
was one Thomas in their company, a man of the county of Cam- 
bridge, that was very like the earl. Also the lords that lay at 
Plymouth to go into Portugal were well informed of this rebellion 
and of the people that thus began to rise; wherefore they doubted 
lest their viage should have been broken, or else they feared lest the 
commons about Hampton, Winchester and Arundel would have 
come on them : wherefore they weighed up their anchors and issued 
out of the haven with great pain, for the wind was sore against them, 
and so took the sea and there cast anchor abiding for the wind. 
And the duke of Lancaster, who was in the marches of Scotland be- 
tween Moorlane and Roxburgh entreating with the Scots, where it 
was shewed him of the rebellion, whereof he was in doubt, for he 
knew well he was but little beloved with the commons of England; 
howbeit, for all those tidings, yet he did sagely demean himself as 
touching the treaty with the Scots. The earl Douglas, the earl of 
Moray, the earl of Sutherland and the earl Thomas Versy, and the 
Scots that were there for the treaty knew right well the rebellion in 
England, how the common people in every part began to rebel against 
the noblemen; wherefore the Scots thought that England was in great 
danger to be lost, and therefore in their treaties they were the more 
stifler against the duke of Lancaster and his council. 

Now let us speak of the commons of England and how they per- 

* 'I-es quatre pars d'eux,' 'four-fifths of them.' 

68 froissart's chronicles 




In the morning on Corpus Christi day king Richard heard mass in 
the Tower of London, and all his lords, and then he took his barge 
with the earl of Salisbury, the earl of Warwick, the earl of Oxford 
and certain knights, and so rowed down along the Thames to Roth- 
erhithe, whereas was descended down the hill a ten thousand men to 
see the king and to speak with him. And when they saw the king's 
barge coming, they began to shout, and made such a cry, as though 
all the devils of hell had been among them. And they had brought 
with them sir John Newton to the intent that, if the king had not 
come, they would have stricken him all to pieces, and so they had 
promised him. And when the king and his lords saw the demeanour 
of the people, the best assured of them were in dread; and so the 
king was counselled by his barons not to take any landing there, but 
so rowed up and down the river. And the king demanded of them 
what they would, and said how he was come thither to speak with 
them, and they said all with one voice: 'We would that ye should 
come aland, and then we shall shew you what we lack.' Then the 
earl of Salisbury answered for the king and said : 'Sirs, ye be not in 
such order nor array that the king ought to speak with you.' And so 
with those words no more said : and then the king was counselled to 
return again to the Tower of London, and so he did. 

And when these people saw that, they were inflamed with ire and 
returned to the hill where ithe great band was, and there shewed 
them what answer they had and how the king was returned to the 
Tower of London. Then they cried all with one voice, 'Let us go to 
London,' and so they took their way thither; and in their going they 
beat down abbeys and houses of advocates and of men of the court, 
and so came into the suburbs of London, which were great and 
fair, and there beat down divers fair houses, and specially they brake 
up the king's prisons, as the Marshalsea and other, and delivered out 
all the prisoners that were within: and there they did much hurt, 
and at the bridge foot they threat them of London because the gates 
of the bridge were closed, saying how they would bren all the suburbs 

WAT Tyler's rebellion 69 

and so conquer London by force, and to slay and bren all the com- 
mons of the city. There were many within the city of their accord, 
and so they drew together and said : 'Why do we not let these good 
people enter into the city ? they are your fellows, and that that they do 
is for us.' So therewith the gates were opened, and then these people 
entered into the city and went into houses and sat down to eat and 
drink. They desired nothing but it was incontinent brought to them, 
for every man was ready to make them good cheer and to give them 
meat and drink to appease them. 

Then the captains, as John Ball, Jack Straw and Wat Tyler, went 
throughout London and a twenty thousand with them, and so came 
to the Savoy in the way to Westminster, which was a goodly house 
and it pertained to the duke of Lancaster. And when they entered, 
they slew the keepers thereof and robbed and pilled the house, and 
when they had so done, then they set fire on it and clean destroyed 
and brent it. And when they had done that outrage, they left not 
therewith, but went straight to the fair hospital of the Rhodes called 
Saint John's,' and there they brent house, hospital, minster and all. 
Then they went from street to street and slew all the Flemings that 
they could find in church or in any other place, there was none res- 
pited from death. And they brake up divers houses of the Lombards 
and robbed them and took their goods at their pleasure, for there was 
none that durst say them nay. And they slew in the city a rich mer- 
chant called Richard Lyon, to whom before that time Wat Tyler had 
done service in France; and on a time this Richard Lyon had beaten 
him, while he was his varlet, the which Wat Tylor then remembered 
and so came to his house and strake off his head and caused it to be 
borne on a spear-point before him all about the city. Thus these 
ungracious people demeaned themselves like people enraged and 
wood, and so that day they did much sorrow in London, 

And so against night they went to lodge at Saint Katherine's be- 
fore the Tower of London, saying how they would never depart 
thence till they had the king at their pleasure and till he had accorded 
to them all [they would ask, and] that they would ask accounts of 

* This is called afterwards 'I'Ospital de Saint Jehan du Temple,' and therefore 
would probably be the Temple, to which the Hospitallers had succeeded. They 
had, however, another house at Clerkenwell, which also had been once the property 
o£ the Templars. 


the chancellor of England, to know where all the good was become 
that he had levied through the realm, and without he made a good 
account to them thereof, it should not be for his profit. And so when 
they had done all these evils to the strangers all the day, at night they 
lodged before the Tower. 

Ye may well know and believe that it was great pity for the danger 
that the king and such as were with him were in. For some time 
these unhappy people shouted and cried so loud, as though all the 
devils of hell had been among them. In this evening the king was 
counselled by his brethren and lords and by sir Nicholas Walworth, 
mayor of London, and divers other notable and rich burgesses, that 
in the night time they should issue out of the Tower and enter into 
the city, and so to slay all these unhappy people, while they were at 
their rest and asleep; for it was thought that many of them were 
drunken, whereby they should be slain like flies; also of twenty of 
them there was scant one in harness. And surely the good men of 
London might well have done this at their ease, for they had in their 
houses secretly their friends and servants ready in harness, and also 
sir Robert KnoUes was in his lodging keeping his treasure with a 
sixscore ready at his commandment; in like wise was sir Perducas 
d'Albret, who was as then in London, insomuch that there might 
well [have] assembled together an eight thousand men ready in 
harness. Howbeit, there was nothing done, for the residue of the 
commons of the city were sore doubted, lest they should rise also, and 
the commons before were a threescore thousand or more. Then the 
earl of Salisbury and the wise men about the king said: 'Sir, if ye can 
appease them with fairness, it were best and most profitable, and 
to grant them everything that they desire, for if we should begin a 
thing the which we could not achieve, we should never recover it 
again, but we and our heirs ever to be disinherited.' So this counsel 
was taken and the mayor countermanded, and so commanded that 
he should not stir; and he did as he was commanded, as reason was. 
And in the city with the mayor there were twelve aldermen, whereof 
nine of them held with the king and the other three took part with 
these ungracious people, as it was after well known, the which they 
full dearly bought. 

WAT Tyler's rebellion 71 

And on the Friday in the morning the people, being at Saint Kath- 
arine's near to the Tower, began to apparel themselves and to cry and 
shout, and said, without the king would come out and speak with 
them, they would assail the Tower and take it by force, and slay all 
them that were within. Then the king doubted these words and 
so was counselled that he should issue out to speak with them : and 
then the king sent to them that they should all draw to a fair plain 
place called Mile-end, whereas the people of the city did sport them 
in the summer season, and there the king to grant them that they 
desired; and there it was cried in the king's name, that whosoever 
would speak with the king let him go to the said place, and there he 
should not fail to find the king. Then the people began to depart, 
specially the commons of the villages, and went to the same place: 
but all went not thither, for they were not all of one condition; for 
there were some that desired nothing but riches and the utter de- 
struction of the noblemen and to have London robbed and pilled; 
that was the principal matter of their beginning, the which they well 
shewed; for as soon as the Tower gate opened and that the king was 
issued out with his two brethren and the earl of Salisbury, the earl of 
Warwick, the earl of Oxford, sir Robert of Namur, the lord of Ver- 
taing, the lord Gommegnies and divers other, then Wat Tyler, Jack 
Straw and John Ball and more than four hundred entered into the 
Tower and brake up chamber after chamber, and at last found the 
archbishop of Canterbury, called Simon, a valiant man and a wise, 
and chief chancellor of England, and a little before he had said mass 
before the king. These gluttons took him and strake off his head, and 
also they beheaded the lord of Saint John's and a friar minor, master 
in medicine, pertaining to the duke of Lancaster, they slew him in 
despite of his master, and a sergeant at arms called John Leg; and 
these four heads were set on four long spears and they made them to 
be borne before them through the streets of London and at last set 
them a-high on London bridge, as though they had been traitors to 
the king and to the realm. Also these gluttons entered into the prin- 
cess' chamber and brake her bed, whereby she was so sore aflrayed 
that she swooned; and there she was taken up and borne to the water 
side and put into a barge and covered, and so conveyed to a place 


called the Queen's Wardrobe;^ and there she was all that day and 
night like a woman half dead, till she was comforted with the king 
her son, as ye shall hear after, 




When the king came to the said place of Mile-end without Lon- 
don, he put out of his company his two brethren, the earl of Kent and 
sir John Holland, and the lord of Gommegnies, for they durst not 
appear before the people: and when the king and his other lords 
were there, he found there a three-score thousand men of divers 
villages and of sundry countries in England; so the king entered 
in among them and said to them sweetly: 'Ah, ye good people, I 
am your king: what lack ye? what will ye say?' Then such as 
understood him said: 'We will that ye make us free for ever, our- 
selves, our heirs and our lands, and that we be called no more bond 
nor so reputed.' 'Sirs,' said the king, 'I am well agreed thereto. 
Withdraw you home into your own houses and into such villages 
as ye came from, and leave behind you of every village two or three, 
and I shall cause writings to be made and seal them with my seal, 
the which they shall have with them, containing everything that ye 
demand; and to the intent that ye shall be the better assured, I shall 
cause my banners to be delivered into every bailiwick, shire and 

These words appeased well the common people, such as were 
simple and good plain men, that were come thither and wist not 
why. They said, 'It was well said, we desire no better.' Thus these 
people began to be appeased and began to withdraw them into the 
city of London. And the king also said a word, the which greatly 
contented them. He said: 'Sirs, among you good men of Kent ye 
shall have one of my banners with you, and ye of Essex another, 
and ye of Sussex, of Bedford, of Cambridge, of Yarmouth, of Stafford 
and of Lynn, each of you one; and also I pardon everything that ye 

^The Queen's Wardrobe was in the 'Royal' (called by Froissart or his copyist 'la 
R^ole'), a palace near Blackfriars. 

WAT Tyler's rebellion 73 

have done hitherto, so that ye follow my banners and return home 
to your houses.' They all answered how they would so do : thus these 
people departed and went into London. Then the king ordained 
more than thirty clerks the same Friday, to write with all diligence 
letter patents and sealed with the king's seal, and delivered them to 
these people; and when they had received the writing, they departed 
and returned into their own countries: but the great venom re- 
mained still behind, for Wat Tyler, Jack Straw and John Ball said, 
for all that these people were thus appeased, yet they would not 
depart so, and they had of their accord more than thirty thousand. 
So they abode still and made no press to have the king's writing 
nor seal, for all their intents was to put the city to trouble in such 
wise as to slay all the rich and honest persons and to rob and pill 
their houses. They of London were in great fear of this, wherefore 
they kept their houses privily with their friends and such servants 
as they had, every man according to his puissance. And when these 
said people were this Friday thus somewhat appeased, and that they 
should depart as soon as they had their writings, every man home 
into his own country, then king Richard came into the Royal, 
where the queen his mother was, right sore aflrayed: so he com- 
forted her as well as he could and tarried there with her all that 

Yet I shall shew you of an adventure that fell by these ungracious 
people before the city of Norwich, by a captain among them called 
Guilliam Lister of Stafford. The same day of Corpus Christi that 
these people entered into London and brent the duke of Lancaster's 
house, called the Savoy, and the hospital of Saint John's and brake 
up the king's prisons and did all this hurt, as ye have heard before, 
the same time there assembled together they of Stafford, of Lynn, 
of Cambridge, of Bedford and of Yarmouth; and as they were 
coming towards London, they had a captain among them called 
Lister. And as they came, they rested them before Norwich, and in 
their coming they caused every man to rise with them, so that they 
left no villains behind them. The cause why they rested before 
Norwich I shall shew you. There was a knight, captain of the town, 
called sir Robert Sale. He was no gentleman born, but he had the 
grace to be reputed sage and valiant in arms, and for his valiantness 



king Edward made him knight. He was of his body one of the 
biggest knights in all England. Lister and his company thought to 
have had this knight with them and to make him their chief captain, 
to the intent to be the more feared and beloved: so they sent to him 
that he should come and speak with them in the field, or else they 
would bren the town. The knight considered that it was better for 
him to go and speak with them rather than they should do that 
outrage to the town: then he mounted on his horse and issued out 
of the town all alone, and so came to speak with them. And when 
they saw him, they made him great cheer and honoured him much, 
desiring him to alight off his horse and to speak with them, and 
so he did: wherein he did great folly; for when he was alighted, they 
came round about him and began to speak fair to him and said: 
'Sir Robert, ye are a knight and a man greatly beloved in this country 
and renowned a valiant man; and though ye be thus, yet we know 
you well, ye be no gentleman born, but son to a villain such as we be. 
Therefore come you with us and be our master, and we shall make 
you so great a lord, that one quarter of England shall be under your 
obeisance.' When the knight heard them speak thus, it was greatly 
contrarious to his mind, for he thought never to make any such bar- 
gain, and answered them with a f elonous regard : 'Fly away, ye un- 
gracious people, false and evil traitors that ye be: would you that I 
should forsake my natural lord for such a company of knaves as 
ye be, to my dishonour for ever? I had rather ye were all hanged, 
as ye shall be; for that shall be your end,' And with those words 
he had thought to have leapt again upon his horse, but he failed 
of the stirrup and the horse started away. Then they cried all at 
him and said: 'Slay him without mercy.' When he heard those 
words, he let his horse go and drew out a good sword and began 
to scrimmish with them, and made a great place about him, that it 
was pleasure to behold him. There was none that durst approach 
near him: there were some that approached near him, but at every 
stroke that he gave he cut off other leg, head or arm: there was 
none so hardy but that they feared him: he did there such deeds of 
arms that it was marvel to regard. But there were more than forty 
thousand of these unhappy people : they shot and cast at him, and he 
was unarmed: to say truth, if he had been of iron or steel, yet be 

WAT Tyler's rebellion 75 

must needs have been slain; but yet, or he died, he slew twelve out 
of hand, beside them that he hurt. Finally he was stricken to the 
earth, and they cut off his arms and legs and then strake his body all 
to pieces. This was the end of sir Robert Sale, which was great 
damage; for which deed afterward all the knights and squires of 
England were angry and sore displeased when they heard thereof. 

Now let us return to the king. The Saturday the king departed 
from the Wardrobe in the Royal and went to Westminster and 
heard mass in the church there, and all his lords with him. And 
beside the church there was a little chapel with an image of our 
Lady, which did great miracles and in whom the kings of England 
had ever great trust and confidence. The king made his orisons 
before this image and did there his offering; and then he leapt on 
his horse, and all his lords, and so the king rode toward London; 
and when he had ridden a Httle way, on the left hand there was 
a way to pass without London.' 

The same proper morning Wat Tyler, Jack Straw and John Ball 
had assembled their company to common together in a place called 
Smithfield, whereas every Friday there is a market of horses; and 
there were together all of affinity more than twenty thousand, and 
yet there were many still in the town, drinking and making merry 
in the taverns and paid nothing, for they were happy that made them 
best cheer. And these people in Smithfield had with them the king's 
banners, the which were delivered them the day before, and all 
these gluttons were in mind to overrun and to rob London the same 
day; for their captains said how they had done nothing as yet. 
'These liberties that the king hath given us is to us but a small profit: 
therefore let us be all of one accord and let us overrun this rich and 
puissant city, or they of Essex, of Sussex, of Cambridge, of Bedford, 
of Arundel, of Warwick, of Reading, of Oxford, of Guildford, of 
Lynn, of Stafford, of Yarmouth, of Lincoln, of York and of Durham 
do come hither. For all these will come hither; Baker and Lister 
will bring them hither; and if we be first lords of London and have 
the possession of the riches that is therein, we shall not repent us; 
for if we leave it, they that come after will have it from us.' 

To this counsel they all agreed; and therewith the king came the 
^Oi rather, 'he found a place on the left band to pass without London.' 

76 froissart's chronicles 

same way unware of them, for he had thought to have passed that 
way without London, and with him a forty horse. And when he 
came before the abbey of Saint Bartholomew and beheld all these 
people, then the king rested and said how he would go no farther 
till he knew what these people ailed, saying, if they were in any 
trouble, how he would rappease them again. The lords that were 
with him tarried also, as reason was when they saw the king tarry. 
And when Wat Tyler saw the king tarry, he said to his people: 
'Sirs, yonder is the king: I will go and speak with him. Stir not 
from hence, without I make you a sign; and when I make you 
that sign, come on and slay all them except the king; but do the 
king no hurt, he is young, we shall do with him as we list and 
shall lead him with us all about England, and so shall we be lords 
of all the realm without doubt.' And there was a doublet-maker of 
London called John Tycle, and he had brought to these gluttons a 
sixty doublets, the which they ware: then he demanded of these 
captains who should pay him for his doublets; he demanded thirty 
mark. Wat Tyler answered him and said: Triend, appease your- 
self, thou shalt be well paid or this day be ended. Keep thee near 
me; I shall be thy creditor.' And therewith he spurred his horse and 
departed from his company and came to the king, so near him that 
his horse head touched the croup of the king's horse, and the first 
word that he said was this: 'Sir king, seest thou all yonder people?' 
'Yea truly,' said the king, 'wherefore sayest thou?' 'Because,' said 
he, 'they be all at my commandment and have sworn to me faith 
and truth, to do all that I will have them.' 'In a good time,' said the 
king, 'I will well it be so.' Then Wat Tyler said, as he that nothing 
demanded but riot : 'What believest thou, king, that these people and 
as many more as be in London at my commandment, that they will 
depart from thee thus without having thy letters?' 'No,' said the 
king, 'ye shall have them: they be ordained for you and shall be 
delivered every one each after other. Wherefore, good fellows, with- 
draw fair and easily to your people and cause them to depart out of 
London; for it is our intent that each of you by villages and town- 
ships shall have letters patents, as I have promised you.' 

With those words Wat Tyler cast his eyen on a squire that was 
there with the king bearing the king's sword, and Wat Tyler hated 


greatly the same squire, for the same squire had displeased him 
before for words between them. 'What,' said Tyler, 'art thou there ? 
Give me thy dagger.' 'Nay,' said the squire, 'that will I not do: 
wherefore should I give it thee?' The king beheld the squire and 
said: 'Give it him; let him have it.' And so the squire took it him 
sore against his will. And when this Wat Tyler had it, he began to 
play therewith and turned it in his hand, and said again to the squire : 
'Give me also that sword.' 'Nay,' said the squire, 'it is the king's 
sword: thou art not worthy to have it, for thou art but a knave; and 
if there were no more here but thou and I, thou durst not speak those 
words for as much gold in quantity as all yonder abbey.' ^ 'By my 
faith,' said Wat Tyler, 'I shall never eat meat till I have thy head': 
and with those words the mayor of London came to the king with a 
twelve horses well armed under their coats, and so he brake the 
press and saw and heard how Wat Tyler demeaned himself, and said 
to him: 'Ha, thou knave, how art thou so hardy in the king's 
presence to speak such words? It is too much for thee so to do.' 
Then the king began to chafe and said to the mayor: 'Set hands 
on him.' And while the king said so, Tyler said to the mayor: 'A 
God's name what have I said to displease thee?' 'Yes truly,' quoth 
the mayor, 'thou false stinking knave, shalt thou speak thus in the 
presence of the king my natural lord ? I commit never to live, with- 
out thou shalt dearly abye it.' ' And with those words the mayor drew 
out his sword and strake Tyler so great a stroke on the head, that he 
fell down at the feet of his horse, and as soon as he was fallen, they 
environed him all about, whereby he was not seen of his company. 
Then a squire of the king's alighted, called John Standish, and he 
drew out his sword and put it into Wat Tyler's belly, and so he 

Then the ungracious people there assembled, perceiving their 
captain slain, began to murmur among themselves and said: 'Ah, 
our captain is slain, let us go and slay them all' : and therewith they 
arranged themselves on the place in manner of battle, and their 
bows before them. Thus the king began a great outrage;^ howbeit, 

^ The full text has, 'for as much gold as that minster of Saint Paul is great.' 
' 'Jaiisis je veux vivre, si tu ne le compares.' 

* 'Outrage' here means 'act of boldness,' as elsewhere, e. g. 'si fist une grant 
apertise d'armes et un grant outrage.' 

yS froissart's chronicles 

all turned to the best : for as soon as Tyler was on the earth, the king 
departed from all his company and all alone he rode to these people, 
and said to his own men: 'Sirs, none of you follow me; let me 
alone.' And so when he came before these ungracious people, who 
put themselves in ordinance to revenge their captain, then the king 
said to them: 'Sirs, what aileth you? Ye shall have no captain but 
me: I am your king: be all in rest and peace.' And so the most part 
of the people that heard the king speak and saw him among them, 
were shamefast and began to wax peaceable and to depart; but some, 
such as were malicious and evil, would not depart, but made 
semblant as though they would do somewhat. 

Then the king returned to his own company and demanded of 
them what was best to be done. Then he was counselled to draw 
into the field, for to fly away was no boot. Then said the mayor: 
'It is good that we do so, for I think surely we shall have shortly 
some comfort of them of London and of such good men as be of 
our part, who are purveyed and have their friends and men ready 
armed in their houses.' And in the mean time voice and bruit ran 
through London how these unhappy people were likely to slay the 
king and the mayor in Smithfield; through the which noise all 
manner of good men of the king's party issued out of their houses 
and lodgings well armed, and so came all to Smithfield and to the 
field where the king was, and they were anon to the number of 
seven or eight thousand men well armed. And first thither came sir 
Robert Knolles and sir Perducas d'Albret, well accompanied, and 
divers of the aldermen of London, and with them a six hundred men 
in harness, and a puissant man of the city, who was the king's 
draper,' called Nicholas Bramber, and he brought with him a great 
company; and ever as they came, they ranged them afoot in order of 
battle: and on the other part these unhappy people were ready 
ranged, making semblance to give battle, and they had with them 
divers of the king's banners. There the king made three knights, 
the one the mayor of London sir Nicholas Walworth, sir John 
Standish and sir Nicholas Bramber. Then the lords said among 
themselves: 'What shall we do? We see here our enemies, who 

' 'Qui estoit des draps du roy.' He owned large estates in Essex and also shops in 
London. He became one of the councillors of Richard II. 

WAT Tyler's rebellion 79 

would gladly slay us, if they might have the better hand o£ us.' Sir 
Robert Knolies counselled to go and fight with them and slay them 
all; yet the king would not consent thereto, but said: 'Nay, I will not 
so: I will send to them commanding them to send me again my 
banners, and thereby we shall see what they will do. Howbeit, 
other by fairness or otherwise, I will have them.' 'That is well said, 
sir,' quoth the earl of Salisbury. Then these new knights were sent 
to them, and these knights made token to them not to shoot at them, 
and when they came so near them that their speech might be heard, 
they said: 'Sirs, the king commandeth you to send to him again his 
banners, and we think he will have mercy of you.' And incontinent 
they delivered again the banners and sent them to the king. Also 
they were commanded on pain of their heads, that all such as had 
letters of the king to bring them forth and to send them again to 
the king; and so many of them delivered their letters, but not all. 
Then the king made them to be all to-torn in their presence; and as 
soon as the king's banners were delivered again, these unhappy 
people kept none array, but the most part of them did cast down 
their bows, and so brake their array and returned into London. Sir 
Robert Knolies was sore displeased in that he might not go to slay 
them all: but the king would not consent thereto, but said he would 
be revenged of them well enough; and so he was after. 

Thus these foolish people departed, some one way and some 
another; and the king and his lords and all his company right 
ordinately entered into London with great joy. And the first journey 
that the king made he went to the lady princess his mother, who was 
in a castle in the Royal called the Queen's Wardrobe, and there she 
had tarried two days and two nights right sore abashed, as she had 
good reason; and when she saw the king her son, she was greatly 
rejoiced and said: 'Ah, fair son, what pain and great sorrow that I 
have suffered for you this day!' Then the king answered and said: 
'Certainly, madam, I know it well; but now rejoice yourself and 
thank God, for now it is time. I have this day recovered mine her- 
itage and the realm of England, the which I had near lost.' Thus 
the king tarried that day with his mother, and every lord went 
peaceably to their own lodgings. Then there was a cry made in 
every street in the king's name, that all manner of men, not being 

8o froissart's chronicles 

of the city of London and have not dwelt there the space of one 
year, to depart; and if any such be found there the Sunday by the 
sun-rising, that they should be taken as traitors to the king and to 
lose their heads. This cry thus made, there was none that durst 
brake it, and so all manner of people departed and sparkled abroad 
every man to their own places. John Ball and Jack Straw were 
found in an old house hidden, thinking to have stolen away, but they 
could not, for they were accused by their own men. Of the taking 
of them the king and his lords were glad, and then strake off their 
heads and Wat Tyler's also, and they were set on London bridge, 
and the valiant men's heads taken down that they had set on the 
Thursday before. These tidings anon spread abroad, so that the 
people of the strange countries, which were coming towards London, 
returned back again to their own houses and durst come no farther. 









WHEN the English lords saw that their squire returned not 
again at the time appointed, and could know nothing what 
the Scots did, nor what they were purposed to do, then 
they thought well that their squire was taken. The lords sent each 
to other, to be ready whensoever they should hear that the Scots 
were abroad: as for their messenger, they thought him but lost. 

Now let us speak of the earl Douglas and other, for they had 
more to do than they that went by Carlisle. When the earls of 
Douglas, of Moray, of March, and Dunbar' departed from the great 
host, they took their way thinking to pass the water and to enter into 
the bishopric of Durham, and to ride to the town and then to return, 
brenning and exiling the country and so to come to Newcastle and 
to lodge there in the town in the despite of all the Englishmen. And 
as they determined, so they did assay to put it in use, for they rode 
a great pace under covert without doing of any pillage by the way 
or assaulting of any castle, tower or house, but so came into the lord 
Percy's land and passed the river of Tyne without any let a three 
leagues above Newcastle not far from Brancepeth, and at last 
entered into the bishopric of Durham, where they found a good 
country. Then they began to make war, to slay people and to bren 
villages and to do many sore displeasures. 

' George, earl o( March and Dunbar: the text gives Mare, but there was at this 
time no earl o£ Mar. 


82 froissart's chronicles 

As at that time the earl o£ Northumberland and the other lords 
and knights of that country knew nothing o£ their coming. When 
tidings came to Newcastle and to Durham that the Scots were 
abroad, and that they might well see by the fires and smoke abroad 
in the country, the earl sent to Newcastle his two sons and sent com- 
mandment to every man to draw to Newcastle, saying to his sons: 
'Ye shall go to Newcastle and all the country shall assemble there, 
and I shall tarry at Alnwick, which is a passage that they must 
pass by. If we may enclose them, we shall speed well.' Sir Henry 
Percy and sir Ralph his brother obeyed their father's commandment 
and came thither with them of the country. The Scots rode burning 
and exiling the country, that the smoke thereof came to Newcastle. 
The Scots came to the gates of Durham and scrimmished there; but 
they tarried not long but returned, as they had ordained before to 
do, and that they found by the way took and destroyed it. Between 
Durham and Newcastle is but twelve leagues English and a good 
country: there was no town, without it were closed, but it was brent, 
and they repassed the river of Tyne where they had passed before, 
and then came before Newcastle and there rested. All the English 
knights and squires of the country of York and bishopric of Durham 
were assembled at Newcastle, and thither came the seneschal of 
York, sir Ralph Lumley, sir Matthew Redman, captain of Berwick, 
sir Robert Ogle, sir Thomas Grey, sir Thomas Holton, sir John 
Felton, sir John Lilleburn, sir Thomas Abingdon, the baron of 
Hilton, sir John Coppledike and divers other, so that the town was 
so full of people that they wist not where to lodge. 

When these three Scottish earls who were chief captains had made 
their enterprise in the bishopric of Durham and had sore overrun 
the country, then they returned to Newcastle and there rested and 
tarried two days, and every day they scrimmished. The earl of 
Northumberland's two sons were two young lusty knights and 
were ever foremost at the barriers to scrimmish. There were many 
proper feats of arms done and achieved : there was fighting hand to 
hand: among other there fought hand to hand the earl Douglas and 
sir Henry Percy, and by force of arms the earl Douglas won the 
pennon of sir Henry Percy's, wherewith he was sore displeased and 
so were all the Englishmen. And the earl Douglas said to sir Henry 


Percy: 'Sir, I shall bear this token of your prowess into Scotland 
and shall set it on high on my castle of Dalkeith, that it may be 
seen far off.' 'Sir,' quoth sir Henry, 'ye may be sure ye shall not pass 
the bounds of this country till ye be met withal in such wise that ye 
shall make none avaunt thereof.' 'Well, sir,' quoth the earl Douglas, 
'come this night to my lodging and seek for your pennon: I shall set 
it before my lodging and see if ye will come to take it away.' So 
then it was late, and the Scots withdrew to their lodgings and re- 
freshed them with such as they had. They had flesh enough: they 
made that night good watch, for they thought surely to be awaked 
for the words they had spoken, but they were not, for sir Henry Percy 
was counselled not so to do. 

The next day the Scots dislodged and returned towards their own 
country, and so came to a castle and a town called Pondand, whereof 
sir Edmund of Alphel was lord, who was a right good knight. 
There the Scots rested, for they came thither betimes, and under- 
stood that the knight was in his casde. Then they ordained to assail 
the castle, and gave a great assault, so that by force of arms they won 
it and the knight within it. Then the town and castle was brent; 
and from thence the Scots went to the town and castle of Otterburn, 
an eight English mile from Newcasde'' and there lodged. That day 
they made none assault, but the next morning they blew their horns 
and made ready to assail the castle, which was strong, for it stood in 
the marish. That day they assaulted dll they were weary, and did 
nothing. Then they sowned the retreat and returned to their lodg- 
ings. Then the lords drew to council to determine what they should 
do. The most part were of the accord that the next day they should 
dislodge without giving of any assault and to draw fair and easily 
towards Carlisle. But the earl Douglas brake that counsel and said: 
'In despite of sir Henry Percy, who said he would come and win 
again his pennon, let us not depart hence for two or three days. 

2 Froissart says 'eight English leagues.' In the next chapter the distance becomes 
'seven httle leagues,' and later on, 'a six English miles,' where the original is 'lieues.' 
The actual distance is about thirty miles. The translator gives the form 'Combur' 
here, but 'Ottenburge' in the next chapter, as the name of the place. It is remarkable 
indeed how little trouble he seems to have taken generally to give English names 
correctly. In this chapter we have 'Nymyche' for 'Alnwick' and 'Pouclan' for 'Pont- 
land,' forms rather less like the real names than those which he found in the French 
text, viz. Nynich and Pondau. 

84 froissart's chronicles 

Let us assail this castle: it is pregnable: we shall have double honour. 
And then let us see if he will come and fetch his pennon : he shall be 
well defended.' ^ Every man accorded to his saying, what for their 
honour and for the love of him. Also they lodged there at their ease, 
for there was none that troubled them: they made many lodgings 
of boughs and great herbs and fortified their camp sagely with the 
marish that was thereby, and their carriages were set at the entry 
into the marishes and had all their beasts within the marish. Then 
they apparelled for to assault the next day: this was their intention. 

Now let us speak of sir Henry Percy and of sir Ralph his brother 
and shew somewhat what they did. They were sore displeased that 
the earl Douglas had won the pennon of their arms: also it touched 
greatly their honours, if they did not as sir Henry Percy said he 
would; for he had said to the earl Douglas that he should not carry 
his pennon out of England, and also he had openly spoken it before 
all the knights and squires that were at Newcastle. The English- 
men there thought surely that the earl Douglas' band was but the 
Scots' vanguard and that their host was left behind. The knights 
of the country, such as were well expert in arms, spake against sir 
Henry Percy's opinion and- said to him : 'Sir, there f ortuneth in war 
oftentimes many losses. If the earl Douglas have won your pennon, 
he bought it dear, for he came to the gate to seek it and was well 
beaten:* another day ye shall win as much of him or more. Sir, we 
say this because we know well all the power of Scotland is abroad 
in the fields, and if we issue out and be not men enow to fight with 
them, and peradventure they have made this scrimmish with us to 
the intent to draw us out of the town, and the number that they be 
of, as it is said, above forty thousand men, they may soon enclose 
us and do with us what they will. Yet it were better to lose a pennon 
than two or three hundred knights and squires and put all our coun- 
try in adventure.' These words refrained sir Henry and his brother, 
for they would do nothing against counsel. Then tidings came to 
them by such as had seen the Scots and seen all their demeanour and 
what way they took and where they rested. 

2 Froissart says, 'if he comes, it shall be defended.' The translator perhaps means 
'he shall be prevented.' 

*/. e., 'well fought with.' 



It was shewed to sir Henry Percy and to his brother and to the 
Other knights and squires that were there, by such as had followed 
the Scots from Newcastle and had well advised their doing, who said 
to sir Henry and to sir Ralph: 'Sirs, we have followed the Scots 
privily and have discovered all the country. The Scots be at Pont- 
land and have taken sir Edmund Alphel in his own castle, and from 
thence they be gone to Otterburn and there they lay this night. What 
they will do to-morrow we know not: they are ordained to abide 
there: and, sirs, surely their great host is not with them, for in all they 
pass not there a three thousand men.' When sir Henry heard that, 
he was joyful and said: 'Sirs, let us leap on our horses, for by the 
faith I owe to God and to my lord my father I will go seek for my 
pennon and dislodge them this same night.' Knights and squires 
that heard him agreed thereto and were joyous, and every man 
made him ready. 

The same evening the bishop of Durham came thither with a good 
company, for he heard at Durham how the Scots were before New- 
castle and how that the lord Percy's sons with other lords and knights 
should fight with the Scots: therefore the bishop of Durham to come 
to the rescue had assembled up all the country and so was coming 
to Newcastle. But sir Henry Percy would not abide his coming, 
for he had with him six hundred spears, knights and squires, and 
an eight thousand footmen. They thought that sufficient number 
to fight with the Scots, if they were not but three hundred spears 
and three thousand of other. Thus they departed from Newcastle 
after dinner and set forth in good order, and took the same way 
as the Scots had gone and rode to Otterburn, a seven little leagues 
from thence and fair way, but they could not ride fast because of 
their foot-men. And when the Scots had supped and some laid down 
to their rest, and were weary of travailing and assaulting of the 

86 froissart's chronicles 

castle all that day, and thought to rise early in the morning in cool 
of the day to give a new assault, therewith suddenly the Englishmen 
came on them and entered into the lodgings, weening it had been 
the masters' lodgings, and therein were but varlets and servants. 
Then the Englishmen cried, 'Percy, Percy!' and entered into the 
lodgings, and ye know well where such affray is noise is soon raised: 
and it fortuned well for the Scots, for when they saw the Englishmen 
came to wake them, then the lord sent a certain of their servants of 
foot-men to scrimmish with the Englishmen at the entry of the 
lodgings, and in the mean time they armed and apparelled them, 
every man under his banner and under his captain's pennon. The 
night was far on, but the moon shone so bright as an it had been in 
a manner day. It was in the month of August and the weather fair 
and temperate. 

Thus the Scots were drawn together and without any noise de- 
parted from their lodgings and went about a little mountain, which 
was greatly for their advantage. For all the day before they had well 
advised the place and said among themselves: 'If the Englishmen 
come on us suddenly, then we will do thus and thus, for it is a 
jeopardous thing in the night if men of war enter into our lodgings. 
If they do, then we will draw to such a place, and thereby other we 
shall win or lose.' When the Englishmen entered into the field, at 
the first they soon overcame the varlets, and as they entered further 
in, always they found new men to busy them and to scrimmish with 
them. Then suddenly came the Scots from about the mountain and 
set on the Englishmen or they were ware, and cried their cries; 
whereof the Englishmen were sore astonied. Then they cried 'Percy!' 
and the other party cried 'Douglas!' 

There began a cruel battle and at the first encounter many were 
overthrown of both parties; and because the Englishmen were a 
great number and greatly desired to vanquish their enemies, and 
rested at their pace' and greatly did put aback the Scots, so that the 
Scots were near discomfited. Then the earl James Douglas, who 
was young and strong and of great desire to get praise and grace, 
and was willing to deserve to have it, and cared for no pain nor 
travail, came forth with his banner and cried, 'Douglas, Douglas!' 
*In French, 'ilz se arresterent,' without 'and.' 


and sir Henry Percy and sir Ralph his brother, who had great indig- 
nation against the earl Douglas because he had won the pennon of 
their arms at the barriers before Newcastle, came to that part and 
cried, 'Percy!' Their two banners met and their men: there was a 
sore fight: the Englishmen were so strong and fought so valiantly 
that they reculed the Scots back. There were two valiant knights 
of Scots under the banner of the earl Douglas, called sir Patrick of 
Hepbourn and sir Patrick his son. They acquitted themselves that 
day valiantly: the earl's banner had been won, an they had not been: 
they defended it so valiantly and in the rescuing thereof did such 
feats of arms, that it was greatly to their recommendation and to 
their heirs' for ever after. 

It was shewed me by such as had been at the same battle, as well 
by knights and squires of England as of Scotland, at the house of the 
earl of Foix, — for anon after this battle was done I met at Orthez 
two squires of England called John of Chateauneuf and John of 
Cantiron; also when I returned to Avignon I found also there a 
knight and a squire of Scotland; I knew them and they knew me by 
such tokens as I shewed them of their country, for I, author of this 
book, in my youth had ridden nigh over all the realm of Scotland, 
and I was as then a fifteen days in the house of earl William Douglas, 
father to the same earl James, of whom I spake of now, in a castle 
of five leagues from Edinburgh in the country of Dalkeith;^ the same 
time I saw there this earl James, a fair young child, and a sister of 
his called the lady Blanche, — and I was informed by both these 
parties' how this battle was as sore a battle fought as lightly hath been 
heard of before of such a number; and I believe it well, for English- 
men on the one party and Scots on the other party are good men of 
war, for when they meet there is a hard fight without sparing, there 
is no ho between them as long as spears, swords, axes or daggers will 
endure, but lay on each upon other, and when they be well beaten* 
and that the one party hath obtained the victory, they then glorify 
so in their deeds of arms and are so joyful, that such as be taken 
they shall be ransomed or they go out of the field, so that shordy 

* 'Which is called in the country Dalkeith.' The French has 'que on nomme au 
pays Dacquest,' of which the translator makes 'in the countrey of Alquest.' 
' 'By both sides,' i. e., Scotch and English. 
^'When they have well fought.' 

88 froissart's chronicles 

each of them is so content with other that at their departing courte- 
ously they will say, 'God thank you'; but in fighting one with another 
there is no play nor sparing, and this is true, and that shall well 
appear by this said rencounter, for it was as valiantly foughten as 
could be devised, as ye shall hear. 




Knights and squires were of good courage on both parties to 
fight valiantly: cowards there had no place, but hardiness reigned 
with goodly feats of arms, for knights and squires were so joined 
together at hand strokes, that archers had no place of nother party. 
There the Scots shewed great hardiness and fought merrily with 
great desire of honour: the Englishmen were three to one: howbeit, 
I say not but Englishmen did nobly acquit themselves, for ever the 
Englishmen had rather been slain or taken in the place than to fly. 
Thus, as I have said, the banners of Douglas and Percy and their 
men were met each against other, envious who should win the 
honour of that journey. At the beginning the Englishmen were so 
strong that they reculed back their enemies: then the earl Douglas, 
who was of great heart and high of enterprise, seeing his men recule 
back, then to recover the place and to shew knightly valour he took 
his axe in both his hands, and entered so into the press that he made 
himself way in such wise, that none durst approach near him, and 
he was so well armed that he bare well off such strokes as he re- 
ceived.' Thus he went ever forward like a hardy Hector, willing 
alone to conquer the field and to discomfit his enemies: but at last 
he was encountered with three spears all at once, the one strake him 
on the shoulder, the other on the breast and the stroke glinted down 
to his belly, and the third strake him in the thigh, and sore hurt with 
all three strokes, so that he was borne perforce to the earth and after 
that he could not be again relieved. Some of his knights and squires 
followed him, but not all, for it was night, and no light but by the, 
shining of the moon. The Englishmen knew well they had borne 

' 'No man was so well armed that he did not fear the great strokes which he gave.' 


one down to the earth, but they wist not who it was; for if they had 
known that it had been the earl Douglas, they had been thereof so 
joyful and so proud that the victory had been theirs. Nor also the 
Scots knew not of that adventure till the end of the battle; for if they 
had known it, they should have been so sore despaired and dis- 
couraged that they would have fled away. Thus as the earl Douglas 
was felled to the earth, he was stricken into the head with an axe, 
and another stroke through the thigh : the Englishmen passed forth 
and took no heed of him : they thought none otherwise but that they 
had slain a man of arms. On the other part the earl George de la 
March and of Dunbar fought right valiantly and gave the English- 
men much ado, and cried, 'Follow Douglas,' and set on the sons of 
Percy: also earl John of Moray with his banner and men fought 
valiantly and set fiercely on the Englishmen, and gave them so 
much to do that they wist not to whom to attend. 


Of all the battles and encounterings that I have made mention of 
herebefore in all this history, great or small, this battle that I treat 
of now was one of the sorest and best foughten without cowardice or 
faint hearts. For there was nother knight nor squire but that did 
his devoir and fought hand to hand: this battle was like the battle 
of Becherel,' the which was valiantly fought and endured. The earl 
of Northumberland's sons, sir Henry and sir Ralph Percy, who were 
chief sovereign captains, acquitted themselves nobly, and sir Ralph 
Percy entered in so far among his enemies that he was closed in and 
hurt, and so sore handled that his breath was so short, that he was 
taken prisoner by a knight of the earl of Moray's called sir John 
Maxwell. In the taking the Scottish knight demanded what he was, 
for it was in the night, so that he knew him not, and sir Ralph was 
so sore overcome and bled fast, that at last he said: 'I am Ralph 
Percy.' Then the Scot said: 'Sir Ralph, rescue or no rescue I take 
you for my prisoner : I am Maxwell.' 'Well,' quoth sir Ralph, 'I am 
content: but then take heed to me, for I am sore hurt, my hosen and 

' Or, according to another reading, 'Cocherel.' 


my greaves are full of blood.' Then the knight saw by him the earl 
Moray and said: 'Sir, here I deliver to you sir Ralph Percy as pris- 
oner; but, sir, let good heed be taken to him, for he is sore hurt.' 
The earl was joyful of these words and said: 'Maxwell, thou hast 
well won thy spurs.' Then he delivered sir Ralph Percy to certain 
of his men, and they stopped and wrapped his wounds; and still 
the battle endured, not knowing who had as then the better, for 
there were many taken and rescued again that came to no knowl- 

Now let us speak of the young James earl of Douglas, who did 
marvels in arms or he was beaten down. When he was overthrown, 
the press was great about him, so that he could not relieve, for with 
an axe he had his death's wound. His men followed him as near as 
they could, and there came to him sir James Lindsay his cousin and 
sir John and sir Walter Sinclair and other knights and squires. And 
by him was a gentle knight of his, who followed him all the day, 
and a chaplain of his, not like a priest but like a valiant man of arms, 
for all that night he followed the earl with a good axe in his hands 
and still scrimmished about the earl thereas he lay, and reculed back 
some of the Englishmen with great strokes that he gave. Thus he 
was found fighting near to his master, whereby he had great praise, 
and thereby the same year he was made archdeacon of Aberdeen. 
This priest was called sir William of North Berwick : he was a tall 
man and a hardy and was sore hurt. When these knights came to 
the earl, they found him in an evil case and a knight of his lying 
by him called sir Robert Hart : he had a fifteen wounds in one place 
and other. Then sir John Sinclair demanded of the earl how he did. 
'Right evil, cousin,' quoth the earl, 'but thanked be God there hath 
been but a few of mine ancestors that hath died in their beds: but, 
cousin, I require you think to revenge me, for I reckon myself but 
dead, for my heart fainteth oftentimes. My cousin Walter and you, 
I pray you raise up again my banner which lieth on the ground, and 
my squire Davie CoUemine slain: but, sirs, shew nother to friend 
nor foe in what case ye see me in; for if mine enemies knew it, they 
would rejoice, and our friends discomforted.' The two brethren of 
Sinclair and sir James Lindsay did as the earl had desired them and 
raised up again his banner and cried 'Douglas!' Such as were behind 


and heard that cry drew together and set on their enemies valiantly 
and reculed back the Englishmen and many overthrown, and so 
drave the Englishmen back beyond the place whereas the earl lay. 
who was by that time dead, and so came to the earl's banner, the 
which sir John Sinclair held in his hands, and many good knights 
and squires of Scotland about him, and still company drew to the 
cry of 'Douglas.' Thither came the earl Moray with his banner well 
accompanied, and also the earl de la March and of Dunbar, and when 
they saw the Englishmen recule and their company assembled 
together, they renewed again the battle and gave many hard and sad 








To say truth, the Englishmen were sorer travailed than the Scots, 
for they came the same day from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a six 
English miles, and went a great pace to the intent to find the Scots, 
which they did; so that by their fast going they were near out of 
breath, and the Scots were fresh and well rested, which greatly 
availed them when time was of their business: for in the last scrim- 
mish they reculed back the Englishmen in such wise, that after that 
they could no more assemble together, for the Scots passed through 
their battles. And it fortuned that sir Henry Percy and the lord of 
Montgomery, a valiant knight of Scotland, fought together hand to 
hand right valiantly without letting of any other, for every man had 
enough to do. So long they two fought that per force of arms sir 
Henry Percy was taken prisoner by the said lord of Montgomery. 

The knights and squires of Scotland, as sir Marc Adreman,' sir 
Thomas Erskine, sir William, sir James and sir Alexander Lindsay, 
the lord of Fenton, sir John of Saint-Moreaulx,^ sir Patrick of Dun- 

* Perhaps 'Malcolm Drummond.' ^ The true reading seems to be 'Sandilands.' 


bar, sir John and sir Walter Sinclair, sir John Maxwell, sir Guy 
Stuart, sir John Haliburton, sir Alexander Ramsay, Robert CoUe- 
mine' and his two sons John and Robert; who were there made 
knights, and a hundred knights and squires that I cannot name, all 
these right valiantly did acquit themselves. And on the English 
party, before that the lord Percy was taken and after, there fought 
valiantly sir Ralph Lumley, sir Matthew Redman, sir Thomas Ogle, 
sir Thomas Gray, sir Thomas Helton, sir Thomas Abingdon, sir 
John Lilleburn, sir William Walsingham, the baron of Helton, sir 
John of Colpedich,^ the seneschal of York and divers other foot- 
men. Whereto should I write long process? This was a sore battle 
and well foughten; and as fortune is always changeable, though the 
Englishmen were more in number than the Scots and were right 
valiant men of war and well expert, and that at the first front they 
reculed back the Scots, yet finally the Scots obtained the place and 
victory, and all the foresaid Englishmen taken, and a hundred 
more, saving sir Matthew Redman, captain of Berwick, who when 
he knew no remedy nor recoverance, and saw his company fly from 
the Scots and yielded them on every side, then he took his horse and 
departed to save himself. 

The same season about the end of this discomfiture there was an 
English squire called Thomas Waltham, a goodly and a valiant 
man, and that was well seen, for of all that night he would nother 
fly nor yet yield him. It was said he had made a vow at a feast in 
England, that the first time that ever he saw Englishmen and Scots 
in battle, he would so do his devoir to his power, in such wise that 
either he would be reputed for the best doer on both sides or else 
to die in the pain. He was called a valiant and a hardy man and did 
so much by his prowess, that under the banner of the earl of Moray 
he did such valiantness in arms, that the Scots had marvel thereof, 
and so was slain in fighting: the Scots would gladly have taken him 
alive, but he would never yield, he hoped ever to have been rescued. 
And with him there was a Scottish squire slain, cousin to the king 
of Scots, called Simon Glendowyn; his death was greatly com- 
plained of the Scots. 

2 Perhaps 'Coninghara.* * Either 'Copeland' or 'Copeldike.' 


This battle was fierce and cruel till it came to the end of the dis- 
comfiture; but when the Scots saw the Englishmen recule and yield 
themselves, then the Scots were courteous and set them to their 
ransom, and every man said to his prisoner: 'Sirs, go and unarm you 
and take your ease; I am your master:' and so made their prisoners 
as good cheer as though they had been brethren, without doing to 
them any damage. The chase endured a five English miles, and 
if the Scots had been men enow, there had none scaped, but other 
they had been taken or slain. And if Archambault Douglas and 
the earl of Fife, the earl Sutherland and other of the great company 
who were gone towards Carlisle had been there, by all likelihood 
they had taken the bishop of Durham and the town of Newcastle- 
upon-Tyne. I shall shew you how. The same evening that the Percies 
departed from Newcastle, as ye have heard before, the bishop of 
Durham with the rearband came to Newcastle and supped: and as 
he sat at the table, he had imagination in himself how he did not 
acquit himself well to see the Englishmen in the field and he to be 
within the town. Incontinent he caused the table to be taken away 
and commanded to saddle his horses and to. sown the trumpets, and 
called up men in the town to arm themselves and to mount on their 
horses, and foot-men to order themselves to depart. And thus every 
man departed out of the town to the number of seven thousand, 
two thousand on horseback and five thousand afoot; they took their 
way toward Otterburn, whereas the battle had been. And by that 
time they had gone two mile'' from Newcastle tidings came to them 
how their men were fighting with the Scots. Therewith the bishop 
rested there, and incontinent came more flying fast, that they were 
out of breath. Then they were demanded how the matter went. 
They answered and said: 'Right evil; we be all discomfited: here 
Cometh the Scots chasing of us.' These tidings troubled the English- 
men, and began to doubt. And again the third time men came 
flying as fast as they might. When the men of the bishopric of 
Durham heard of these evil tidings, they were abashed in such wise 
that they brake their array, so that the bishop could not hold together 
the number of five hundred. It was thought that if the Scots had 
*The word 'lieue* is translated 'mile' throughout. 


followed them in any number, seeing that it was night, that in the 
entering into the town, and the Englishmen so abashed, the town 
had been won. 

The bishop of Durham, being in the field, had good will to have 
succoured the Englishmen and recomforted liis men as much as he 
could; but he saw his own men fly as well as other. Then he de- 
manded counsel of sir William Lucy and of sir Thomas Clifford and 
of other knights, what was best to do. These knights for their honour 
would give him no counsel; for they thought to return again and do 
nothing should sown greatly to their blame, and to go forth might 
be to their great damage; and so stood still and would give none 
answer, and the longer they stood, the fewer they were, for some 
still stale away. Then the bishop said: 'Sirs, all things considered, 
it is none honour to put all in peril, nor to make of one evil damage 
twain. We hear how our company be discomfited, and we cannot 
remedy it: for to go to recover them, we know not with whom nor 
with what number we shall meet. Let us return fair and easily 
for this night to Newcastle, and to-morrow let us draw together and 
go look on our enemies.' Every man answered: 'As God will, so be 
it.' Therewith they returned to Newcastle. Thus a man may con- 
sider the great default that is in men that be abashed and discom- 
fited: for if they had kept them together and have turned again such 
as fled, they had discomfited the Scots. This was the opinion of 
divers; and because they did not thus, the Scots had the victory. 


I SHALL shew you of sir Matthew Redman, who was on horse- 
back to save himself, for he alone could not remedy the matter. At 
his departing sir James Lindsay was near to him and saw how sir 
Matthew departed, and this sir James, to win honour, followed in 
chase sir Matthew Redman, and came so near him that he might 
have striken him with his spear, if he had list. Then he said: 'Ah, 
sir knight, turn; it is a shame thus to fly: I am James of Lindsay: 


if ye will not turn, I shall strike you on the back with my spear.' 
Sir Matthew spake no word, but strake his horse with the spurs 
sorer than he did before. In this manner he chased him more than 
three miles, and at last sir Matthew Redman's horse foundered and 
fell under him. Then he stept forth on the earth and drew out his 
sword, and took courage to defend himself; and the Scot thought to 
have stricken him on the breast, but sir Matthew Redman swerved 
from the stroke, and the spear-point entered into the earth. Then sir 
Matthew strake asunder the spear with his sword; and when sir 
James Lindsay saw how he had lost his spear, he cast away the 
truncheon and lighted afoot, and took a little battle-axe that he 
carried at his back and handled it with his one hand quickly and 
deliverly, in the which feat Scots be well expert, and then he set at 
sir Matthew and he defended himself properly. Thus they tourneyed 
together, one with an axe and the other with a sword, a long season, 
and no man to let them. Finally sir James Lindsay gave the knight 
such strokes and held him so short, that he was put out of breath in 
such wise that he yielded himself, and said: 'Sir James Lindsay, I 
yield me to you.' 'Well,' quoth he, 'and I receive you, rescue or no 
rescue.' 'I am content,' quoth Redman, 'so ye deal with me like a 
good companion.' 'I shall not fail that,' quoth Lindsay, and so put 
up his sword. 'Well, sir,' quoth Redman, 'what will you now that 
I shall do.? I am your prisoner, ye have conquered me. I would 
gladly go again to Newcastle, and within fifteen days I shall come to 
you into Scotland, whereas ye shall assign me.' 'I am content,' quoth 
Lindsay: 'ye shall promise by your faith to present yourself within 
this three weeks at Edinboro, and wheresoever ye go, to repute your- 
self my prisoner.' All this sir Matthew sware and promised to fulfil. 
Then each of them took their horses and took leave each of other. 
Sir James returned, and his intent was to go to his own company the 
same way that he came, and sir Matthew Redman to Newcastle. 

Sir James Lindsay could not keep the right way as he came: it 
was dark and a mist, and he had not ridden half a mile, but he met 
face to face with the bishop of Durham and more than five hundred 
Englishmen with him. He might well escaped if he had would, but 
he supposed it had been his own company, that had pursued the 
Englishmen. When he was among them, one demanded of him what 

g6 froissart's chronicles 

he was. 'I am,' quoth he, 'sir James Lindsay.' The bishop heard 
those words and stept to him and said: 'Lindsay, ye are taken: yield 
ye to me.' 'Who be you?' quoth Lindsay. 'I am,' quoth he, 'the 
bishop of Durham.' 'And from whence come you, sir?' quoth Lind- 
say. 'I come from the battle,' quoth the bishop, 'but I struck never 
a stroke there: I go back to Newcastle for this night, and ye shall 
go with me.' 'I may not choose,' quoth Lindsay, 'sith ye will have 
it so. I have taken and I am taken; such is the adventures of arms.' 
'Whom have ye taken?' quoth the bishop. 'Sir,' quoth he, 'I took in 
the chase sir Matthew Redman.' 'And where is he?' quoth the 
bishop. 'By my faith, sir, he is returned to Newcastle: he desired me 
to trust him on his faith for three weeks, and so have I done.' 'Well,' 
quoth the bishop, 'let us go to Newcastle, and there ye shall speak 
with him.' Thus they rode to Newcastle together, and sir James 
Lindsay was prisoner to the bishop of Durham. 

Under the banner of the earl de la March and of Dunbar was 
taken a squire of Gascoyne, called John of Chateauneuf, and under 
the banner of the earl of Moray was taken his companion, John de 
Cantiron. Thus the field was clean avoided, or the day 
appeared. The Scots drew together and took guides and sent out 
scurrers to see if any men were in the way from Newcastle, to the 
intent that they would not be troubled in their lodgings; wherein 
they did wisely, for when the bishop of Durham was come again 
to Newcastle and in his lodging, he was sore pensive and wist not 
what to say nor do; for he heard say how his cousins the Percies were 
slain or taken, and all the knights that were with them. Then he 
sent for all the knights and squires that were in the town; and when 
they were come, he demanded of them if they should leave the matter 
in that case, and said: 'Sirs, we shall bear great blame if we thus 
return without looking on our enemies.' Then they concluded by 
the sun-rising every man to be armed, and on horseback and afoot 
to depart out of the town and to go to Otterburn to fight with the 
Scots. This was warned through the town by a trumpet, and every 
man armed them and assembled before the bridge, and by the sun- 
rising they departed by the gate towards Berwick and took the way 
towards Otterburn to the number of ten thousand, what afoot and 
a-horseback. They were not gone past two mile from Newcastle, 


when the Scots were signified that the bishop of Durham was coming 
to themward to fight: this they knew by their spies, such as they had 
set in the fields. 

After that sir Matthew Redman was returned to Newcastle and 
had shewed to divers how he had been taken prisoner by sir James 
Lindsay, then it was shewed him how the bishop of Durham had 
taken the said sir James Lindsay and how that he was there in the 
town as his prisoner. As soon as the bishop was departed, sir Matthew 
Redman went to the bishop's lodging to see his master, and there he 
found him in a study, lying in a window,' and said: 'What, sir 
James Lindsay, what make you here?' Then sir James came forth 
of the study to him and gave him good morrow, and said: 'By my 
faith, sir Matthew, fortune hath brought me hither; for as soon as I 
was departed from you, I met by chance the bishop of Durham, to 
whom I am prisoner, as ye be to me. I believe ye shall not need to 
come to Edinboro to me to make your finance: I think rather we 
shall make an exchange one for another, if the bishop be so content.' 
'Well, sir,' quoth Redman, 'we shall accord right well together, ye 
shall dine this day with me: the bishop and our men be gone forth 
to fight with your men, I canot tell what shall fall, we shall know at 
their return.' 'I am content to dine with you,' quoth Lindsay. Thus 
these two knights dined together in Newcastle. 

When the knights of Scotland were informed how the bishop 
of Durham came on them with ten thousand men, they drew to 
council to see what was best for them to do, other to depart or else to 
abide the adventure. All things considered, they concluded to abide, 
for they said they could not be in a better nor a stronger place than 
they were in already: they had many prisoners and they could not 
carry them away, if they should have departed; and also they had 
many of their men hurt and also some of their prisoners, whom they 
thought they would not leave behind them. Thus they drew together 
and ordered so their field, that there was no entry but one way, and 
they set all their prisoners together and made them to promise how 
that, rescue or no rescue, they should be their prisoners. After that 
they made all their minstrels to blow up all at once and made the 

' Or rather, 'very pensive leaning against a window,' and afterwards the expression 
'came forth of the study to him' should be 'broke off his thought and came towards 

98 froissart's chronicles 

greatest revel of the world. Lightly it is the usage of Scots, that when 
they be thus assembled together in arms, the footmen beareth about 
their necks horns in manner like hunters, some great, some small, and 
of all sorts, so that when they blow all at once, they make such a 
noise, that it may be heard nigh four miles off: thus they do to abash 
their enemies and to rejoice themselves. When the bishop of Dur- 
ham with his banner and ten thousand men with him were ap- 
proached within a league, then the Scots blew their horns in such 
wise, that it seemed that all the devils in hell had been among them, 
so that such as heard them and knew not of their usage were sore 
abashed. This blowing and noise endured a long space and then 
ceased: and by that time the Englishmen were within less than a 
mile. Then the Scots began to blow again and made a great noise, 
and as long endured as it did before. Then the bishop approached 
with his battle well ranged in good order and came within the 
sight of the Scots, as within two bow-shot or less: then the Scots 
blew again their horns a long space. The bishop stood still to see 
what the Scots would do and aviewed them well and saw how they 
were in a strong ground greatly to their advantage. Then the bishop 
took counsel what was best for him to do; but all things well advised, 
they were not in purpose to enter in among the Scots to assail them, 
but returned without doing of anything, for they saw well they 
might rather lose than win. 

When the Scots saw the Englishmen recule and that they should 
have no battle, they went to their lodgings and made merry, and 
then ordained to depart from thence. And because that sir Ralph 
Percy was sore hurt, he desired of his master that he might return 
to Newcastle or into some place, whereas it pleased him, unto such 
time as he were whole of his hurts, promising, as soon as he were 
able to ride, to return into Scotland, other to Edinboro or into any 
other place appointed. The earl of March, under whom he was 
taken, agreed thereto and delivered him a horse litter and sent him 
away; and by like covenant divers other knights and squires were 
suffered to return and took term other to return or else to pay their 
finance, such as they were appointed unto. It was shewed me by the 
information of the Scots, such as had been at this said battle that was 
between Newcastle and Otterburn in the year of our Lord God a 


thousand three hundred fourscore and eight, the nineteenth day o£ 
August, how that there were taken prisoners of the EngUsh party 
a thousand and forty men, one and other, and slain in the field and 
in the chase eighteen hundred and forty, and sore hurt more than a 
thousand: and of the Scots there were a hundred slain, and taken 
in the chase more than two hundred; for as the Englishmen fled, 
when they saw any advantage they returned again and fought: by 
that means the Scots were taken and none otherwise. Every man 
may well consider that it was a well fought field, when there were 
so many slain and taken on both parties. 





After this battle thus finished, every man returned,' and the earl 
Douglas' dead body chested and laid in a chare, and with him sir 
Robert Hart and Simon Glendowyn, then they prepared to depart: 
so they departed and led with them sir Henry Percy and more than 
forty knights of England, and took the way to the abbey of Melrose. 
At their departing they set fire in their lodgings, and rode all the 
day, and yet lay that night in the English ground: none denied them. 
The next day they dislodged early in the morning and so came that 
day to Melrose. It is an abbey of black monks on the border between 
both realms. There they rested and buried the earl James Douglas. 
The second day after his obsequy was done reverently, and on his 
body laid a tomb of stone and his banner hanging over him. 
Whether there were as then any more earls of Douglas, to whom 
the land returned, or not, I cannot tell; for I, sir John Froissart, author 
of this book, was in Scotland in the earl's castle of Dalkeith, living 
earl William, at which time he had two children, a son and a 
daughter; but after there were many of the Douglases, for I have 
seen a five brethren, all squires, bearing the name of Douglas, in the 
king of Scotland's house, David; they were sons to a knight in Scot- 

' That is, 'After the battle was over and every man had returned,' but it should be, 
'After all this was done and everything was gathered together.' 

100 froissart's chronicles 

land called sir James Douglas, and they bare in their arms gold, 
three oreilles gules, but as for the heritage, I know not who had it: 
as for sir Archambault Douglas, of whom I have spoken before in 
this history in divers places, who was a valiant knight, and greatly 
redoubted of the Englishmen, he was but a bastard. 

When these Scots had been at Melrose abbey and done there all 
that they came thither for, then they departed each from other and 
went into their own countries, and such as had prisoners, some led 
them away with them and some were ransomed and suffered to 
return. Thus the Englishmen found the Scots right courteous and 
gentle in their deliverance and ransom, so that they were well con- 
tent. This was shewed me in the country of Beam in the earl of 
Foix's house by a knight named John of Chateauneuf, who was 
taken prisoner at the same journey under the banner of the earl of 
March and Dunbar: and he greatly praised the said earl, for he 
suffered him to pass in manner as he desired himself. 

Thus these men of war of Scotland departed, and ransomed their 
prisoners as soon as they might right courteously, and so returned 
little and little into their own countries. And it was shewed me and 
I believe it well, that the Scots had by reason of that journey two 
hundred thousand franks for ransoming of prisoners: for sith the 
battle that was before Stirling in Scotland, whereas sir Robert of 
Bruce, sir William Douglas, sir Robert Versy, sir Simon Eraser and 
Dther Scots chased the Englishmen three days, they never had jour- 
ney so profitable nor so honourable for them, as this was. When 
tidings came to the other company of the Scots that were beside 
Carlisle, how their company had distressed the Englishmen beside 
Otterburn, they were greatly rejoiced, and displeased in their minds 
that they had not been there. Then they determined to dislodge and 
to draw into their own countries, seeing their other company were 
withdrawn. Thus they dislodged and entered into Scotland. 

Now let us leave to speak of the Scots and of the Englishmen 
for this time, and let us return to the young Charles of France, who 
with a great people went into Almaine, to bring the duke of 
Gueldres to reason. 

When the French king and all his army were past the river of 
Meuse at the bridge of Morsay, they took the way of Ardennes and 


of Luxembourg, and always the pioneers were before, beating woods 
and bushes and making the ways plain. The duke of JuHers and his 
country greatly doubted the coming of the French king, for they 
knew well they should have the first assault and bear the first 
burden: and the land of Juliers is a plain country; in one day the men 
of war should do much damage there, and destroy and waste all, 
except the castles and good towns. Thus the French king entered 
into the country of Luxembourg and came to an abbey, whereas 
Wenceslas sometime duke of Brabant was buried. There the king 
tarried two days: then he departed and took the way through 
Bastogne, and lodged within a league whereas .the duchess of 
Brabant lay. She sent word of her being there to the duke of 
Burgoyne, and he brought her into the field to speak with the king, 
who received her right honourably, and there communed together. 
Then the duchess returned to Bastogne, and thither she was con- 
veyed with sir John of Vienne and sir Guy of Tremouille; and the 
next day the king went forward, approaching to the land of his 
enemies, and came to the entering into Almaine, on the frontiers of 
the duchy of Juliers. But or he came so far forward, Arnold bishop of 
Liege had been with the king and had greatly entreated for the duke 
of Juliers, that the king should not be miscontent with him, though 
he were father to the duke of Gueldres; for he excused him of the 
defiance that his son had made, affirming how it was not by his 
knowledge nor consent, wherefore, he said, it were pity that the 
father should bear the default of the son. This excuse was not suffi- 
cient to the king nor to his uncles: for the intent of the king and his 
council was, without the duke of Juliers would come and make other 
manner of excuse, and to yield himself to the king's pleasure, his 
country should be the first that should bear the burden. Then the 
bishop of Liege and the lords of Hesbaing and the councils of the 
good towns offered to the king and his council wholly the bishopric 
of Liege for his army to pass and repass paying for their expenses, 
and to rest and refresh them there as long as it pleased them. The 
king thanked them, and so did his uncles, and would not refuse 
their offer, for he knew not what need he should have after. 




The earliest extant form of the story of the Holy Grail is the French 
metrical romance of "Perceval" or "Le Conte du Graal" of Chretien de 
Troies, written about 1175. Chretien died leaving the poem unfinished, 
and it was continued by three other authors till it reached the vast size of 
63,000 lines. The religious signification of the Grail is supposed to have 
been attached to it early in the thirteenth century by Robert de Boron, 
and, perhaps a little later, in the French prose "Quest of the Holy Grail," 
Galahad takes the place of Perceval as the hero of the story. The later 
history of the various versions of the legend is highly intricate, and in 
many points uncertain. It was from a form of it embodied in the French 
prose "Lancelot" that Sir Thomas Malory drew the chapters of his 
"Morte d'Arthur" which are here reprinted, and which, more than the 
earlier versions, are the source from which the legend has passed into 
modern English poetry. 

Until a few years ago Malory himself was little more than a name, 
our information about him being limited to the statement in Caxton's 
edition of the "Morte d'Arthur" that he was the author. It now appears 
probable, however, that Sir Thomas Malory was an English knight born 
about 1400, of an old Warwickshire family. He served in the French 
wars under Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, "whom all Europe 
recognized as embodying the knightly ideal of the age," and may well 
have owed his enthusiasm for chivalry to his association with this dis- 
tinguished nobleman. He died in 1471. 

Malory's book is a compilation from French and English sources. 
These are chosen without much discrimination, and put together without 
great skill in arrangement. But the author's wholehearted enthusiasm 
for chivalrous ideals and the noble simplicity and fine rhythm of his prose 
have combined to give his work a unique place in English literature. 
In it the age of chivalry is summed up and closed. It is not without 
reason that the date of its publication by Caxton, 1485, should be con- 
ventionally accepted as the end of the Middle Ages in England. Romance 
had passed under the printing press, and a new age had begun. 











At the vigil of Pentecost, when all the fellowship of the Round 
J-\ Table were come unto Camelot and there heard their serv- 
-^ -^ ice, and the tables were set ready to the meat, right so 
entered into the hall a full fair gentlewoman on horseback, that had 
ridden full fast, for her horse was all besweated. Then she there 
aht, and came before the king and saluted him; and he said: Dam- 
osel, God thee bless. Sir, said she, for God's sake say me where Sir 
Launcelot is. Yonder ye may see him, said the king. Then she went 
unto Launcelot and said: Sir Launcelot, I salute you on King Pelles' 
behalf, and I require you come on with me hereby into a forest. 
Then Sir Launcelot asked her with whom she dwelled. I dwell, said 
she, with King Pelles. What will ye with me? said Launcelot. Ye 
shall know, said she, when ye come thither. Well, said he, I will 
gladly go with you. So Sir Launcelot bad his squire saddle his horse 
and bring his arms; and in all haste he did his commandment. Then 
came the queen unto Launcelot, and said: Will ye leave us at this 
high feast.'' Madam, said the gentlewoman, wit ye well he shall be 



with you tomorn by dinner time. If I wist, said the queen, that he 
should not be with us here tomorn he should not go with you by 
my good will. Right so departed Sir Launcelot with the gentle- 
woman, and rode until that he came into a forest and into a great 
valley, where they saw an abbey of nuns; and there was a squire 
ready and opened the gates, and so they entered and descended off 
their horses; and there came a fair fellowship about Sir Launcelot, 
and welcomed him, and were passing glad of his coming. And then 
they led him unto the Abbess's chamber and unarmed him; and 
right so he was ware upon a bed lying two of his cousins. Sir Bors 
and Sir Lionel, and then he waked them; and when they saw him 
they made great joy. Sir, said Sir Bors unto Sir Launcelot, what 
adventure hath brought you hither, for we weened tomorn to have 
found you at Camelot ? As God me help, said Sir Launcelot, a gentle- 
woman brought me hither, but I know not the cause. In the mean- 
while that they thus stood talking together, therein came twelve 
nuns that brought with them Galahad, the which was passing fair 
and well made, that unnethe in the world men might not find his 
match: and all those ladies wept. Sir, said they all, we bring you here 
this child the which we have nourished, and we pray you to make him 
a knight, for of a more worthier man's hand may he not receive the 
order of knighthood. Sir Launcelot beheld the young squire and saw 
him seemly and demure as a dove, with all manner of good features, 
that he weened of his age never to have seen so fair a man of form. 
Then said Sir Launcelot: Cometh this desire of himself? He and 
all they said yea. Then shall he, said Sir Launcelot, receive the high 
order of knighthood as tomorn at the reverence of the high feast. 
That night Sir Launcelot had passing good cheer; and on the 
morn at the hour of prime, at Galahad's desire, he made him knight 
and said: God make him a good man, for of beauty faileth you not 
as any that liveth. 



Now fair sir, said Sir Launcelot, will ye come with me unto the 
court of King Arthur.'' Nay, said he, I will not go with you as at this 


time. Then he departed from them and took his two cousins with 
him, and so they came unto Camelot by the hour of underne on 
Whitsunday. By that time the king and the queen were gone to the 
minster to hear their service. Then the king and the queen were 
passing glad of Sir Bors and Sir Lionel, and so was all the fellowship. 
So when the king and all the knights were come from service, the 
barons espied in the sieges of the Round Table all about, written with 
golden letters: Here ought to sit he, and he ought to sit here. And 
thus they went so long till that they came to the Siege Perilous, 
where they found letters newly written of gold which said: Four 
hundred winters and four and fifty accomplished after the passion 
of our Lord Jesu Christ ought this siege to be fulfilled. Then all 
they said: This is a marvellous thing and an adventurous. In the 
name of God, said Sir Launcelot; and then accounted the term of 
the writing from the birth of our Lord unto that day. It seemeth 
me, said Sir Launcelot, this siege ought to be fulfilled this same day, 
for this is the feast of Pentecost after the four hundred and four and 
fifty year; and if it would please all parties, I would none of these 
letters were seen this day, till he be come that ought to achieve this 
adventure. Then made they to ordain a cloth of silk, for to cover 
these letters in the Siege Perilous. Then the king bad haste unto 
dinner. Sir, said Sir Kay the Steward, if ye go now to your meat ye 
shall break your old custom of your court, for ye have not used on 
this day to sit at your meat or that ye have seen some adventure. 
Ye say sooth, said the king, but I had so great joy of Sir Launcelot 
and of his cousins, which be come to the court whole and sound, so 
that I bethought me not of mine old custom. So, as they stood speak- 
ing, in came a squire and said unto the king: Sir, I bring unto you 
marvellous tidings. What be they ? said the king. Sir, there is here 
beneath at the river a great stone which I saw fleet above the water, 
and therein I saw sticking a sword. The king said: I will see that 
marvel. So all the knights went with him, and when they came to 
the river they found there a stone fleeting, as it were of red marble, 
and therein stuck a fair rich sword, and in the pommel thereof were 
precious stones wrought with subtil letters of gold. Then the barons 
read the letters which said in this wise: Never shall man take me 
hence, but only he by whose side I ought to hang, and he shall be the 


best knight of the world. When the king had seen the letters, he 
said unto Sir Launcelot: Fair sir, this sword ought to be yours, for 
I am sure ye be the best knight of the world. Then Sir Launcelot 
answered full soberly: Certes, sir, it is not my sword; also, Sir, wit 
ye well I have no hardiness to set my hand to it, for it longed not 
to hang by my side. Also, who that assayeth to take the sword and 
faileth of it, he shall receive a wound by that sword that he shall not 
be whole long after. And I will that ye wit that this same day shall 
the adventures of the Sangreal, that is called the Holy Vessel, begin. 



Now, fair nephew, said the king unto Sir Gawaine, essay ye, for 
my love. Sir, he said, save your good grace I shall not do that. Sir, 
said the king, essay to take the sword and at my commandment. 
Sir, said Gawaine, your commandment I will obey. And therewith 
he took up the sword by the handles, but he might not stir it. I 
thank you, said the king to Sir Gawaine. My lord Sir Gawaine, said 
Sir Launcelot, now vwt ye well this sword shall touch you so sore 
that ye shall will ye had never set your hand thereto for the best 
castle of this realm. Sir, he said, I might not withsay mine uncle's 
will and commandment. But when the king heard this he repented 
it much, and said unto Sir Percivale that he should essay, for his 
love. And he said : Gladly, for to bear Sir Gawaine fellowship. And 
therewith he set his hand on the sword and drew it strongly, but 
he might not move it. Then were there more that durst be so hardy, 
to set their hands thereto. Now may ye go to your dinner, said Sir 
Kay unto the King, for a marvellous adventure have ye seen. So the 
king and all went unto the court, and every knight knew his own 
place, and set him therein, and young men that were knights served 
them. So when they were served, and all sieges fulfilled save only the 
Siege Perilous, anon there befell a marvellous adventure, that all 
the doors and windows of the palace shut by themself. Not for then 
the hall was not gready darked; and therewith they abashed both 


one and other. Then King Arthur spake first and said: By God, 
fair fellows and lords, we have seen this day marvels, but or night I 
suppose we shall see greater marvels. In the meanwhile came in a 
good old man, and an ancient, clothed all in white, and there was no 
knight knew from whence he came. And with him he brought a 
young knight, both on foot, in red arms, without sword or shield, 
save a scabbard hanging by his side. And these words he said: 
Peace be with you, fair lords. Then the old man said unto Arthur : 
Sir, I bring here a young knight, the which is of king's lineage, and 
of the kindred of Joseph of Aramathie, whereby the marvels of this 
court, and of strange realms, shall be fully accomplished. 



The king was right glad of his words, and said unto the good 
man : Sir, ye be right welcome, and the young knight with you. Then 
the old man made the young man to unarm him, and he was in a 
coat of red sendel, and bare a mantle upon his shoulder that was 
furred with ermine, and put that upon him. And the old knight 
said unto the young knight: Sir, follow me. And anon he led him 
unto the Siege Perilous, where beside sat Sir Launcelot; and the 
good man lift up the cloth, and found there letters that said thus: 
This is the siege of Galahad, the haut prince. Sir, said the old knight, 
wit ye well that place is yours. And then he set him down surely in 
that siege. And then he said to the old man: Sir, ye may now go 
your way, for well have ye done that ye were commanded to do; 
and recommend me unto my grandsire. King Pelles, and unto my 
lord Petchere, and say them on my behalf, I shall come and see them 
as soon as ever I may. So the good man departed; and there met 
him twenty noble squires, and so took their horses and went their 
way. Then all the knights of the Table Round marvelled greatly of 
Sir Galahad, that he durst sit there in that Siege Perilous, and was 
so tender of age; and wist not from whence he came but all only by 
God; and said: This is he by whom the Sangreal shall be achieved, 


for there sat never none but he, but he were mischieved. Then Sir 
Launcelot beheld his son and had great joy of him. Then Bors told 
his fellows: Upon pain of my life this young knight shall come 
unto great worship. This noise was great in all the court, so that it 
came to the queen. Then she had marvel what knight it might be 
that durst adventure him to sit in the Siege Perilous. Many said unto 
the queen he resembled much unto Sir Launcelot. I may well sup- 
pose, said the queen, that Sir Launcelot begat him on King Pelles' 
daughter, by the which he was made to lie by, by enchantment, and 
his name is Galahad. I would fain see him, said the queen, for he 
must needs be a noble man, for so is his father that him begat, I 
report me unto all the Table Round. So when the meat was done 
that the king and all were risen, the king yede unto the Siege Peril- 
ous and lift up the cloth, and found there the name of Galahad; and 
then he shewed it unto Sir Gawaine, and said: Fair nephew, now 
have we among us Sir Galahad, the good knight that shall worship 
us all; and upon pain of my life he shall achieve the Sangreal, right 
as Sir Launcelot had done us to understand. Then came King 
Arthur unto Galahad and said: Sir, ye be welcome, for ye shall move 
many good knights to the quest of the Sangreal, and ye shall achieve 
that never knights might bring to an end. Then the king took him 
by the hand, and went down from the palace to shew Galahad the 
adventures of the stone. 



The queen heard thereof, and came after with many ladies, and 
shewed them the stone where it hoved on the water. Sir, said the 
king unto Sir Galahad, here is a great marvel as ever I saw, and 
right good knights have essayed and failed. Sir, said Galahad, that 
is no marvel, for this adventure is not theirs but mine; and for the 
surety of this sword I brought none with me, for here by my side 
hangeth the scabbard. And anon he laid his hand on the sword, 
and lightly drew it out of the stone, and put it in the sheath, and 


said unto the king: Now it goeth better than it did aforehand. Sir, 
said the king, a shield God shall send you. Now have I that sword 
that sometime was the good knight's, Balin le Savage, and he was 
a passing good man of his hands; and with this sword he slew his 
brother Balan, and that was great pity, for he was a good knight, and 
either slew other through a dolorous stroke that Balin gave unto 
my grandfather King Pelles, the which is not yet whole, nor not 
shall be till I heal him. Therewith the king and all espied where 
came riding down the river a lady on a white palfrey toward them. 
Then she saluted the king and the queen, and asked if that Sir 
Launcelot was there. And then he answered himself: I am here, 
fair lady. Then she said all with weeping: How your great doing 
is changed sith this day in the morn. Damosel, why say you so? 
said Launcelot. I say you sooth, said the damosel, for ye were this 
day the best knight of the world, but who should say so now, he 
should be a liar, for there is now one better than ye, and well it is 
proved by the adventures of the sword whereto ye durst not set to 
your hand; and that is the change and leaving of your name. Where- 
fore I make unto you a remembrance, that ye shall not ween from 
henceforth that ye be the best knight of the world. As touching unto 
that, said Launcelot, I know well I was never the best. Yes, said the 
damosel, that were ye, and are yet, of any sinful man of the world. 
And, Sir king, Nacien, the hermit, sendeth thee word, that thee 
shall befall the greatest worship that ever befell king in Britain; and 
I say you wherefore, for this day the Sangreal appeared in thy house 
and fed thee and all thy fellowship of the Round Table. So she 
departed and went that same way that she came. 



Now, said the king, I am sure at this quest of the Sangreal shall 
all ye of the Table Round depart, and never shall I see you again 
whole together; therefore I will see you all whole together in the 
meadow of Camelot to joust and to tourney, that after your death 


men may speak of it that such good knights were wholly together 
such a day. As unto that counsel and at the king's request they 
accorded all, and took on their harness that longed unto jousting. 
But all this moving of the king was for this intent, for to see Galahad 
proved; for the king deemed he should not lightly come again unto 
the court after his departing. So were they assembled in the meadow 
both more and less. Then Sir Galahad, by the prayer of the king and 
the queen, did upon him a noble jesseraunce, and also he did on his 
helm, but shield would he take none for no prayer of the king. And 
then Sir Gawaine and other knights prayed him to take a spear. 
Right so he did; and the queen was in a tower with all her ladies, 
for to behold that tournament. Then Sir Galahad dressed him in 
middes of the meadow, and began to break spears marvellously, that 
all men had wonder of him; for he there surmounted all other 
knights, for within a while he had defouled many good knights of 
the Table Round save twain, that was Sir Launcelot and Sir 





Then the king, at the queen's request, made him to alight and 
to unlace his helm, that the queen might see him in the visage. When 
she beheld him she said: Soothly I dare well say that Sir Launcelot 
begat him, for never two men resembled more in likeness, therefore 
it is no marvel though he be of great prowess. So a lady that stood 
by the queen said: Madam, for God's sake ought he of right to be 
so good a knight? Yea, forsooth, said the queen, for he is of all 
parties come of the best knights of the world and of the highest 
lineage; for Sir Launcelot is come but of the eighth degree from 
our Lord Jesu Christ, and Sir Galahad is of the ninth degree from 
our Lord Jesu Christ, therefore I dare say they be the greatest gentle- 
men of the world. And then the king and all estates went home 
unto Camelot, and so went to evensong to the great minster, and 
so after upon that to supper, and every knight sat in his own place as 


they were toforehand. Then anon they heard cracking and crying 
of thunder, that them thought the place should all to drive. In the 
midst of this blast entered a sunbeam more clearer by seven times 
than ever they saw day, and all they w^ere alighted of the grace of the 
Holy Ghost. Then began every knight to behold other, and either 
saw other, by their seeming, fairer than ever they saw afore. Not for 
then there was no knight might speak one word a great while, and 
so they looked every man on other as they had been dumb. Then 
there entered into the hall the Holy Greal covered with white samite, 
but there was none might see it, nor who bare it. And there was all 
the hall fulfilled with good odours, and every knight had such meats 
and drinks as he best loved in this world. And when the Holy Greal 
had been borne through the hall, then the Holy Vessel departed 
suddenly, that they wist not where it became: then had they all 
breath to speak. And then the king yielded thankings to God, of 
His good grace that he had sent them. Certes, said the king, we 
ought to thank our Lord Jesu greatly for that he hath shewed us 
this day, at the reverence of this high feast of Pentecost. Now, said 
Sir Gawaine, we have been served this day of what meats and drinks 
we thought on; but one thing beguiled us, we might not see the 
holy Grail, it was so preciously covered. Wherefore I will make here 
avow, that tomorn, without longer abiding, I shall labour in the 
quest of the Sangreal, that I shall hold me out a twelvemonth and a 
day, or more if need be, and never shall I return again unto the 
court till I have seen it more openly than it hath been seen here; 
and if I may not speed I shall return again as he that may not be 
against the will of our Lord Jesu Christ. When they of the Table 
Round heard Sir Gawaine say so, they arose up the most part and 
made such avows as Sir Gawaine had made. Anon as King Arthur 
heard this he was greatly displeased, for he wist well they might 
not again say their avows. Alas, said King Arthur unto Sir 
Gawaine, ye have nigh slain me with the avow and promise that ye 
have made; for through you ye have bereft me the fairest fellow- 
ship and the truest of knighthood that ever were seen together in 
any realm of the world; for when they depart from hence I am sure 
they all shall never meet more in this world, for they shall die many 
in the quest. And so it forthinketh me a little, for I have loved 


them as well as my life, wherefore it shall grieve me right sore, 
the departition of this fellowship: for I have had an old custom to 
have them in my fellowship. 



And therewith the tears filled in his eyes. And then he said: 
Gawaine, Gawaine, ye have set me in great sorrow, for I have great 
doubt that my true fellowship shall never meet here more again. 
Ah, said Sir Launcelot, comfort yourself; for it shall be unto us a 
great honour and much more than if we died in any other places, 
for of death we be siccar. Ah, Launcelot, said the king, the great 
love that I have had unto you all the days of my life maketh me 
to say such doleful words; for never Christian king had never so 
many worthy men at his table as I have had this day at the Round 
Table, and that is my great sorrow. When the queen, ladies, and 
gentlewomen, wist these tidings, they had such sorrow and heaviness 
that there might no tongue tell it, for those knights had held them 
in honour and charity. But among all other Queen Guenever made 
great sorrow. I marvel, said she, my lord would suffer them to de- 
part from him. Thus was all the court troubled for the love of the 
departition of those knights. And many of those ladies that loved 
knights would have gone with their lovers; and so had they done, 
had not an old knight come among them in religious clothing; and 
then he spake all on high and said: Fair lords, which have sworn in 
the quest of the Sangreal, thus sendeth you Nacien, the hermit, 
word, that none in this quest lead lady nor gentlewoman with him, 
for it is not to do in so high a service as they labour in; for I warn 
you plain, he that is not clean of his sins he shall not see the mysteries 
of our Lord Jesu Christ. And for this cause they left these ladies and 
gentlewomen. After this the queen came unto Galahad and asked 
him of whence he was, and of what country. He told her of whence 
he was. And son unto Launcelot, she said he was. As to that, he 
said neither yea or nay. So God me help, said the queen, of your 


father ye need not to shame you, for he is the goodliest knight, and 
of the best men of the world come, and of the strain of all parties, 
of kings. Wherefore ye ought of right to be, of your deeds, a pass- 
ing good man; and certainly, she said, ye resemble him much. Then 
Sir Galahad was a little ashamed and said: Madam, sith ye know in 
certain, wherefore do ye ask it me ? for he that is my father shall be 
known openly and all betimes. And then they went to rest them. 
And in the honour of the highness of Galahad he was led into 
King Arthur's chamber, and there rested in his own bed. And as 
soon as it was day the king arose, for he had no rest of all that 
night for sorrow. Then he went unto Gawaine and to Sir Launce- 
lot that were arisen for to hear mass. And then the king again 
said: Ah Gawaine, Gawaine, ye have betrayed me; for never shall 
my court be amended by you, but ye will never be sorry for me as 
I am for you. And therewith the tears began to run down by his 
visage. And therewith the king said: Ah, knight Sir Launcelot, I 
require thee thou counsel me, for I would that this quest were 
undone an it might be. Sir, said Sir Launcelot, ye saw yesterday so 
many worthy knights that then were sworn that they may not leave 
it in no manner of wise. That wot I well, said the king, but it shall 
so heavy me at their departing that I wot well there shall no manner 
of joy remedy me. And then the king and the queen went unto the 
minister. So anon Launcelot and Gawaine commanded their men 
to bring their arms. And when they all were armed save their 
shields and their helms, then they came to their fellowship, which 
were all ready in the same wise, for to go to the minster to hear 
their service. Then after the service was done the king would wit 
how many had undertaken the quest of the Holy Grail; and to 
account them he prayed them all. Then found they by tale an 
hundred and fifty, and all were knights of the Round Table. And 
then they put on their helms and departed, and recommended them 
all wholly unto the queen: and there was weeping and great sorrow. 
Then the queen departed into her chamber so that no man should 
apperceive her great sorrows. When Sir Launcelot missed the queen 
he went into her chamber, and when she saw him she cried aloud: 
O Sir Launcelot, ye have betrayed me and put me to death, for to 
leave thus my lord. Ah, madam, said Sir Launcelot, I pray you be 


not displeased, for I shall come as soon as I may with my worship. 
Alas, said she, that ever I saw you; but he that suffered death upon 
the cross for all mankind be to you good conduct and safety, and all 
the whole fellowship. Right so departed Sir Launcelot, and found 
his fellowship that abode his coming. And so they mounted upon 
their horses and rode through the streets of Camelot; and there was 
weeping of the rich and poor, and the king turned away and might 
not speak for weeping. So within a while they came to a city, and a 
castle that hight Vagon. There they entered into the castle, and 
the lord of that castle was an old man that hight Vagon, and he 
was a good man of his living, and set open the gates, and made them 
all the good cheer that he might. And so on the morrow they were 
all accorded that they should depart every each from other; and then 
they departed on the morrow with weeping and mourning cheer, 
and every knight took the way that him best liked. 



Now rideth Sir Galahad yet without shield, and so he rode four 
days without any adventure. And at the fourth day after evensong 
he came to a White Abbey, and there he was received with great 
reverence, and led to a chamber, and there he was unarmed; and then 
was he ware of two knights of the Round Table, one was King 
Bagdemagus, and that other was Sir Uwaine. And when they saw 
him they went unto him and made of him great solace, and so they 
went to supper. Sirs, said Sir Galahad, what adventure brought you 
hither? Sir, said they, it is told us that within this place is a shield 
that no man may bear about his neck but if that he be mischieved 
or dead within three days, or else maimed for ever. Ah sir, said King 
Bagdemagus, I shall it bear to-morrow for to essay this strange 
adventure. In the name of God, said Sir Galahad. Sir, said Bagde- 
magus, an I may not achieve the adventure of this shield ye shall 
take it upon you, for I am sure ye shall not fail. Sir, said Galahad, I 


agree right well thereto, for I have no shield. So on the morn they 
arose and heard mass. Then King Bagdemagus asked where the 
adventurous shield was. Anon a monk led him behind an altar 
where the shield hung as white as any snow, but in the middes was a 
red cross. Sir, said the monk, this shield ought not to be hanged 
about no knight's neck but he be the worthiest knight o£ the world, 
and therefore I counsel you knights to be well advised. Well, said 
King Bagdemagus, I wot well that I am not the best knight of the 
world, but yet shall I essay to bear it. And so he bare it out of the 
monastery; and then he said unto Sir Galahad: If it will please you 
I pray you abide here still, till ye know how I shall speed. I shall 
abide you here, said Galahad. Then King Bagdemagus took with 
him a squire, the which should bring tidings unto Sir Galahad how 
he sped. Then when they had ridden a two mile and came in a fair 
valley afore an hermitage, then they saw a goodly knight come from 
that part in white armour, horse and all; and he came as fast as his 
horse might run, with his spear in the rest, and King Bagdemagus 
dressed his spear against him and brake it upon the white knight. 
But the other struck him so hard that he brake the mails, and thrust 
him through the right shoulder, for the shield covered him not as 
at that time; and so he bare him from his horse. And therewith he 
alighted and took the white shield from him, saying: Knight, thou 
hast done thyself great folly, for this shield ought not to be borne but 
by him that shall have no peer that liveth. And then he came to 
King Bagdemagus' squire and said: Bear this shield unto the good 
knight Sir Galahad, that thou left in the abbey, and greet him well 
from me. Sir, said the squire, what is your name? Take thou no 
heed of my name, said the knight, for it is not for thee to know nor 
for none earthly man. Now, fair sir, said the squire, at the reverence 
of Jesu Christ, tell me for what cause this shield may not be borne 
but if the bearer thereof be mischieved. Now sith thou hast conjured 
me so, said the knight, this shield behoveth unto no man but unto 
Galahad. And the squire went unto Bagdemagus and asked whether 
he were sore wounded or not. Yea, forsooth, said he, I shall escape 
hard from the death. Then he fetched his horse, and brought him 
with great pain unto an abbey. Then was he taken down softly 


and unarmed, and laid in a bed, and there was looked to his wounds. 
And as the book telleth, he lay there long, and escaped hard with 
the life. 



Sir Galahad, said the squire, that knight that wounded Bagde- 
magus sendeth you greeting, and bad that ye should bear this 
shield, wherethrough great adventures should befall. Now blessed 
be God and fortune, said Galahad. And then he asked his arms, and 
mounted upon his horse, and hung the white shield about his neck, 
and commended them unto God. And Sir Uwaine said he would 
bear him fellowship if it pleased him. Sir, said Galahad, that may 
ye not, for I must go alone, save this squire shall bear me fellowship: 
and so departed Uwaine. Then within a while came Galahad there 
as the white knight abode him by the hermitage, and every each 
saluted other courteously. Sir, said Galahad, by this shield be many 
marvels fallen? Sir, said the knight, it befell after the passion of 
our Lord Jesu Christ thirty-two year, that Joseph of Aramathie, the 
gentle knight, the which took down our Lord off the holy Cross, at 
that time he departed from Jerusalem with a great party of his 
kindred with him. And so he laboured till that they came to a city 
that hight Sarras. And at that same hour that Joseph came to Sarras 
there was a king that hight Evelake, that had great war against 
the Saracens, and in especial against one Saracen, the which was 
King Evelake's cousin, a rich king and a mighty, which marched 
nigh this land, and his name was called Tolleme la Feintes. So on 
a day these two met to do battle. Then Joseph, the son of Joseph of 
Aramathie, went to King Evelake and told him he should be dis- 
comfit and slain, but if he left his belief of the old law and believed 
upon the new law. And then there he shewed him the right belief 
of the Holy Trinity, to the which he agreed unto with all his heart; 
and there this shield was made for King Evelake, in the name of Him 
that died upon the Cross. And then through his good belief he had 
the better of King Tolleme. For when Evelake was in the battle 


there was a cloth set afore the shield, and when he was in the 
greatest peril he let put away the cloth, and then his enemies saw 
a figure of a man on the Cross, wherethrough they all were dis- 
comfit. And so it befell that a man of King Evelake's was smitten 
his hand off, and bare that hand in his other hand; and Joseph called 
that man unto him and bade him go with good devotion touch the 
Cross. And as soon as that man had touched the Cross with his 
hand it was as whole as ever it was tofore. Then soon after there fell 
a great marvel, that the cross of the shield at one time vanished away 
that no man wist where it became. And then King Evelake was 
baptised, and for the most part all the people of that city. So, soon 
after Joseph would depart, and King Evelake would go with him 
whether he would or nold. And so by fortune they came into this 
land, that at that time was called Great Britain; and there they 
found a great felon paynim, that put Joseph into prison. And so by 
fortune tidings came unto a worthy man that hight Mondrames, 
and he assembled all his people for the great renown he had heard 
of Joseph; and so he came into the land of Great Britain and dis- 
inherited this felon paynim and consumed him; and therewith 
delivered Joseph out of prison. And after that all the people were 
turned to the Christian faith. 



Not long after that Joseph was laid in his deadly bed. And when 
King Evelake saw that he made much sorrow, and said : For thy love 
I have left my country, and sith ye shall depart out of this world, 
leave me some token of yours that I may think on you. Joseph said : 
That will I do full gladly; now bring me your shield that I took you 
when ye went into battle against King Tolleme. Then Joseph bled 
sore at the nose, so that he might not by no mean be staunched. 
And there upon that shield he made a cross of his own blood. Now 
may ye see a remembrance that I love you, for ye shall never see 
this shield but ye shall think on me, and it shall be always as fresh as 


it is now. And never shall man bear this shield about his neck but 
he shall repent it, unto the time that Galahad, the good knight, bare 
it; and the last o£ my lineage shall have it about his neck, that shall do 
many marvellous deeds. Now^, said King Evelake, where shall I 
put this shield, that this worthy knight may have it? Ye shall leave 
it there as Nacien, the hermit, shall be put after his death; for thither 
shall that good knight come the fifteenth day after that he shall re- 
ceive the order of knighthood: and so that day that they set is this 
time that he have his shield, and in the same abbey lieth Nacien, the 
hermit. And then the white knight vanished away. Anon as the 
squire had heard these words, he alit off his hackney and kneeled 
down at Galahad's feet, and prayed him that he might go with 
him till he had made him knight. If I would not refuse you ? Then 
will ye make me a knight.'' said the squire, and that order, by the 
grace of God, shall be well set in me. So Sir Galahad granted him, 
and turned again unto the abbey where they came from; and there 
men made great joy of Sir Galahad. And anon as he was alit there 
was a monk brought him unto a tomb in a churchyard, where there 
was such a noise that who that heard it should verily nigh be mad or 
lose his strength: and Sir, they said, we deem it is a fiend. 



Now lead me thither, said Galahad. And so they did, all armed 
save his helm. Now, said the good man, go to the tomb and lift it up. 
So he did, and heard a great noise; and piteously it said, that all 
men might hear it: Sir Galahad, the servant of Jesu Christ, come 
thou not nigh me, for thou shah make me go again there where I 
have been so long. But Galahad was nothing afraid, but lifted up 
the stone; and there came out so foul a smoke, and after he saw the 
foulest figure leap thereout that ever he saw in the likeness of a 
man; and then he blessed him and wist well it was a fiend. Then 
heard he a voice say: Galahad, I see there environ about thee so 


many angels that my power may not dare thee. Right so Sir Galahad 
saw a body all armed lie in that tomb, and beside him a sword. Now, 
fair brother, said Galahad, let us remove this body, for it is not worthy 
to lie in this churchyard, for he was a false Christian man. And 
therewith they all departed and went to the abbey. And anon as he 
was unarmed a good man came and set him down by him and said : 
Sir, I shall tell you what betokeneth all that ye saw in the tomb; for 
that covered body betokeneth the duresse of the world, and the great 
sin that our Lord found in the world. For there was such wretched- 
ness that the father loved not the son, nor the son loved not the 
father; and that was one of the causes that our Lord took flesh and 
blood of a clene maiden, for our sins were so great at that time that 
wellnigh all was wickedness. Truly, said Galahad, I believe you right 
well. So Sir Galahad rested him there that night; and upon the 
morn he made the squire knight, and asked him his name, and of 
what kindred he was come. Sir, said he, men calleth me Melias de 
Lile, and I am the son of the king of Denmark. Now, fair sir, said 
Galahad, sith that ye be come of kings and queens, now look that 
knighthood be well set in you, for ye ought to be a mirror unto all 
chivalry. Sir, said Sir Melias, ye say sooth. But, sir, sithen ye have 
made me a knight ye must of right grant me my first desire that is 
reasonable. Ye say sooth, said Galahad. Melias said: Then that ye 
will suffer me to ride with you in this quest of the Sangreal, till 
that some adventure depart us. I grant you, sir. Then men brought 
Sir Melias his armour and his spear and his horse, and so Sir Galahad 
and he rode forth all that week or they found any adventure. And 
then upon a Monday in the morning, as they were departed from an 
abbey, they came to a cross which departed two ways, and in that 
cross were letters written that said thus: Now, ye knights errant, 
the which goeth to seek knights adventurous, see here two ways; that 
one way defendeth thee that thou ne go that way, for he shall not 
go out of the way again but if he be a good man and a worthy 
knight; and if thou go on the left hand, thou shalt not lightly there 
win prowess, for thou shalt in this way be soon essayed. Sir, said 
Melias to Galahad, if it like you to suffer me to take the way on the 
left hand, tell me, for there I shall well prove my strength. It were 


better, said Galahad, ye rode not that way, for I deem I should better 
escape in that way than ye. Nay, my lord, I pray you let me have that 
adventure. Take it in God's name, said Galahad. 



And then rode Melias into an old forest, and therein he rode two 
days and more. And then he came into a fair meadow, and there 
was a fair lodge of boughs. And then he espied in that lodge a 
chair, wherein was a crown of gold, subtily wrought. Also there 
were cloths covered upon the earth, and many delicious meats 
set thereon. Sir Melias beheld this adventure, and thought it mar- 
vellous, but he had no hunger, but of the crown of gold he took 
much keep; and therewith he stooped down and took it up, and 
rode his way with it. And anon he saw a knight came riding after 
him that said: Knight, set down that crown which is not yours, and 
therefore defend you. Then Sir Melias blessed him and said: Fair 
lord of heaven, help and save thy newmade knight. And then they 
let their horses run as fast as they might, so that the other knight 
smote Sir Melias through hauberk and through the left side, that 
he fell to the earth nigh dead. And then he took the crown and went 
his way; and Sir Melias lay still and had no power to stir. In the 
meanwhile by fortune there came Sir Galahad and found him there 
in peril of death. And then he said: Ah, Melias, who hath wounded 
you ? therefore it had been better to have ridden the other way. And 
when Sir Melias heard him speak: Sir, he said, for God's love let 
me not die in this forest, but bear me unto the abbey here beside, that 
I may be confessed and have my rights. It shall be done, said Gala- 
had, but where is he that hath wounded you ? With that Sir Galahad 
heard in the leaves cry on high : Knight, keep thee from me. Ah sir, 
said Melias, beware, for that is he that hath slain me. Sir Galahad 
answered: Sir knight, come on your peril. Then either dressed to 
other, and came together as fast as their horses might run, and Gala- 
had smote him so that his spear went through his shoulder, and smote 


him down off his horse, and in the faUing Galahad's spear brake. 
With that came out another knight out of the leaves, and brake a 
spear upon Galahad or ever he might turn him. Then Galahad 
drew out his sword and smote off the left arm of him, so that it 
fell to the earth. And then he fled, and Sir Galahad pursued fast 
after him. And then he turned again unto Sir Melias, and there he 
alit and dressed him softly on his horse tofore him, for the truncheon 
of his spear was in his body; and Sir Galahad start up behind him, 
and held him in his arms, and so brought him to the abbey, and 
there unarmed him and brought him to his chamber. And then he 
asked his Saviour. And when he had received Him he said unto 
Sir Galahad: Sir, let death come when it pleaseth him. And there- 
with he drew out the truncheon of the spear out of his body: and 
then he swooned. Then came there an old monk which sometime 
had been a knight, and beheld Sir Melias. And anon he ransacked 
him; and then he said unto Sir Galahad: I shall heal him of his 
wound, by the grace of God, within the term of seven weeks. Then 
was Sir Galahad glad, and unarmed him, and said he would abide 
there three days. And then he asked Sir Melias how it stood with 
him. Then he said he was turned unto helping, God be thanked. 



Now will I depart, said Galahad, for I have much on hand, for 
many good knights be full busy about it, and this knight and I were 
in the same quest of the Sangreal. Sir, said the good man, for his 
sin he was thus wounded; and I marvel, said the good man, how ye 
durst take upon you so rich a thing as the high order of knighthood 
without clene confession, and that was the cause ye were bitterly 
wounded. For the way on the right hand betokeneth the highway of 
our Lord Jesu Christ, and the way of a good true good liver. And 
the other way betokeneth the way of sinners and of misbelievers. 
And when the devil saw your pride and presumption, for to take 
you in the quest of the Sangreal, that made you to be overthrown, 


for it may not be achieved but by virtuous living. Also, the writing 
on the cross was a signification of heavenly deeds, and of knightly 
deeds in God's works, and no knightly deeds in worldly works. And 
pride is head of all deadly sins, that caused this knight to depart 
from Galahad. And where thou tookest the crown of gold thou 
sinnest in covetise and in theft: all this were no knightly deeds. And 
this Galahad, the holy knight, the which fought with the two knights, 
the two knights signify the two deadly sins which were wholly in 
this knight Melias; and they might not withstand you, for ye are 
without deadly sin. Now departed Galahad from thence, and be- 
taught them all unto God. Sir Melias said: My lord Galahad, as 
soon as I may ride I shall seek you. God send you health, said Gala- 
had, and so took his horse and departed, and rode many journeys 
forward and backward, as adventure would lead him. And at the last 
it happened him to depart from a place or a castle the which was 
named Abblasoure; and he had heard no mass, the which he was 
wont ever to hear or ever he departed out of any castle or place, and 
kept that for a custom. Then Sir Galahad came unto a mountain 
where he found an old chapel, and found there nobody, for all, all 
was desolate; and there he kneeled tofore the altar, and besought God 
of wholesome counsel. So as he prayed he heard a voice that said: 
Go thou now, thou adventurous knight, to the Castle of Maidens, 
and there do thou away the wicked customs. 



When Sir Galahad heard this he thanked God, and took his horse; 
and he had not ridden but half a mile, he saw in a valley afore him 
a strong castle with deep ditches, and there ran beside it a fair 
river that hight Severn; and there he met with a man of great age, 
and either saluted other, and Galahad asked him the castle's name. 
Fair sir, said he, it is the Castle of Maidens. That is a cursed castle, 
said Galahad, and all they that be conversant therein, for all pity is 
out thereof, and all hardiness and mischief is therein. Therefore, 


I counsel you, sir knight, to turn again. Sir, said Galahad, wit you 
well I shall not turn again. Then looked Sir Galahad on his arms 
that nothing failed him, and then he put his shield afore him; and 
anon there met him seven fair maidens, the which said unto him: 
Sir knight, ye ride here in a great folly, for ye have the water to pass 
over. Why should I not pass the water? said Galahad. So rode he 
away from them and met with a squire that said: Knight, those 
knights in the castle defy you, and defenden you ye go no further till 
that they wit what ye would. Fair sir, said Galahad, I come for to 
destroy the wicked custom of this castle. Sir, an ye will abide by 
that ye shall have enough to do. Go you now, said Galahad, and 
haste my needs. Then the squire entered into the casde. And anon 
after there came out of the castle seven knights, and all were breth- 
ren. And when they saw Galahad they cried: Knight, keep thee, 
for we assure thee nothing but death. Why, said Galahad, will ye 
all have ado with me at once? Yea, said they, thereto mayest thou 
trust. Then Galahad put forth his spear and smote the foremost to 
the earth, that near he brake his neck. And therewithal the other 
smote him on his shield great strokes, so that their spears brake. 
Then Sir Galahad drew out his sword, and set upon them so hard 
that it was marvel to see it, and so through great force he made them 
to forsake the field; and Galahad chased them till they entered into 
the castle, and so passed through the castle at another gate. And there 
met Sir Galahad an old man clothed in religious clothing, and said: 
Sir, have here the keys of this castle. Then Sir Galahad opened the 
gates, and saw so much people in the streets that he might not num- 
ber them, and all said: Sir, ye be welcome, for long have we abiden 
here our deliverance. Then came to him a gentlewoman and said: 
These knights be fled, but they will come again this night, and here 
to begin again their evil custom. What will ye that I shall do? said 
Galahad. Sir, said the gentlewoman, that ye send after all the knights 
hither that hold their lands of this castle, and make them to swear 
for to use the customs that were used heretofore of old time. I will 
well, said Galahad. And there she brought him an horn of ivory, 
bounden with gold richly, and said: Sir, blow this horn which will 
be heard two mile about this castle. When Sir Galahad had blown 
the horn he set him down upon a bed. Then came a priest to Gala- 


had, and said: Sir, it is past a seven year agone that these seven breth- 
ren came into this castle, and harboured with the lord of this castle, 
that hight the Duke Lianour, and he was lord of all this country. 
And when they espied the duke's daughter, that was a full fair 
woman, then by their false covin they made debate betwixt themself, 
and the duke of his goodness would have departed them, and there 
they slew him and his eldest son. And then they took the maiden and 
the treasure of the castle. And then by great force they held all 
the knights of this castle against their will under their obeisance, 
and in great service and truage, robbing and pillaging the poor 
common people of all that they had. So it happened on a day 
the duke's daughter said: Ye have done unto me great wrong to 
slay mine own father, and my brother, and thus to hold our lands: 
not for then, she said, ye shall not hold this castle for many years, 
for by one knight ye shall be overcome. Thus she prophesied seven 
years agone. Well, said the seven knights, sithen ye say so, there 
shall never lady nor knight pass this castle but they shall abide 
maugre their heads, or die therefor, till that knight be come by whom 
we shall lose this castle. And therefore is it called the Maidens' 
Castle, for they have devoured many maidens. Now, said Galahad, 
is she here for whom this castle was lost ? Nay sir, said the priest, 
she was dead within these three nights after that she was thus en- 
forced; and sithen have they kept her younger sister, which endureth 
great pains with more other ladies. By this were the knights of the 
country come, and then he made them do homage and fealty to the 
king's daughter, and set them in great ease of heart. And in the 
morn there came one to Galahad and told him how that Gawaine, 
Gareth, and Uwaine, had slain the seven brethren. I suppose well, 
said Sir Galahad, and took his armour and his horse, and com- 
mended them unto God. 



Now, saith the tale, after Sir Gawaine departed, he rode many 
journeys, both toward and froward. And at the last he came to the 


abbey where Sir Galahad had the white shield, and there Sir Gawaine 
learned the way to sewe after Sir Galahad; and so he rode to the 
abbey where Melias lay sick, and there Sir Melias told Sir Gawaine 
of the marvellous adventures that Sir Galahad did. Certes, said 
Sir Gawaine, I am not happy that I took not the way that he went, for 
an I may meet with him I will not depart from him lightly, for all 
marvellous adventures that Sir Galahad achieveth. Sir, said one 
of the monks, he will not of your fellowship. Why? said Sir 
Gawaine. Sir, said he, for ye be wicked and sinful, and he is full 
blessed. Right as they thus stood talking there came in riding Sir 
Gareth. And then they made joy either of other. And on the morn 
they heard mass, and so departed. And by the way they met with 
Sir Uwaine les Avoutres, and there Sir Uwaine told Sir Gawaine 
how he had met with none adventure sith he departed from the 
court. Nor we, said Sir Gawaine. And either promised other 
of the three knights not to depart while they were in that quest, 
but if fortune caused it. So they departed and rode by fortune till 
that they came by the Castle of Maidens; and there the seven breth- 
ren espied the three knights, and said: Sithen, we be flemyd by one 
knight from this castle, we shall destroy all the knights of King 
Arthur's that we may overcome, for the love of Sir Galahad. And 
therewith the seven knights set upon the three knights, and by for- 
tune Sir Gawaine slew one of the brethren, and each one of his fel- 
lows slew another, and so slew the remnant. And then they took the 
way under the casde, and there they lost the way that Sir Galahad 
rode, and there every each of them departed from other; and Sir Ga- 
waine rode till he came to an hermitage, and there he found the good 
man saying his evensong of Our Lady; and there Sir Gawaine asked 
harbour for charity, and the good man granted it him gladly. Then 
the good man asked him what he was. Sir, he said, I am a knight 
of King Arthur's that am in the quest of the Sangreal, and my 
name is Sir Gawaine. Sir, said the good man, I would wit how it 
standeth betwixt God and you. Sir, said Sir Gawaine, I will with 
a good will shew you my life if it please you; and there he told the 
hermit How a monk of an abbey called me wicked knight. He 
might well say it, said the hermit, for when ye were first made 
knight you should have taken you to knightly deeds and virtuous 


living, and ye have done the contrary, for ye have Hved mischie- 
vously many winters; and Sir Galahad is a maid and sinner never, 
and that is the cause he shall achieve where he goeth that ye nor none 
such shall not attain, nor none in your fellowship, for ye have used 
the most untruest life that ever I heard knight live. For certes had 
ye not been so wicked as ye are, never had the seven brethren been 
slain by you and your two fellows. For Sir Galahad himself alone 
beat them all seven the day tofore, but his living is such he shall 
slay no man lightly. Also I may say you the Castle of Maidens be- 
tokeneth the good souls that were in prison afore the Incarnation of 
Jesu Christ. And the seven knights betoken the seven deadly sins 
that reigned that time in the world; and I may liken the good Gala- 
had unto the son of the High Father, that light within a maid, and 
bought all the souls out of thrall: so did Sir Galahad deliver all 
the maidens out of the woful castle. Now, Sir Gawaine, said the 
good man, thou must do penance for thy sin. Sir, what penance 
shall I do? Such as I will give, said the good man. Nay, said Sir 
Gawaine, I may do no penance; for we knights adventurous oft 
suffer great woe and pain. Well, said the good man, and then he 
held his peace. And on the morn Sir Gawaine departed from the 
hermit, and betaught him unto God. And by adventure he met with 
Sir Aglovale and Sir Griflet, two knights of the Table Round. And 
they two rode four days without finding of any adventure, and at the 
fifth day they departed. And every each held as befel them by adven- 
ture. Here leaveth the tale of Sir Gawaine and his fellows, and speak 
we of Sir Galahad. 



So when Sir Galahad was departed from the Castle of Maidens he 
rode till he came to a waste forest, and there he met with Sir Laun- 
celot and Sir Percivale, but they knew him not, for he was new 
disguised. Right so Sir Launcelot, his father, dressed his spear and 
brake it upon Sir Galahad, and Galahad smote him so again that 


he smote down horse and man. And then he drew his sword, and 
dressed him unto Sir Percivale, and smote him so on the helm, 
that it rove to the coif of steel; and had not the sword swerved Sir 
Percivale had been slain, and with the stroke he fell out of his saddle. 
This jousts was done tofore the hermitage where a recluse dwelled. 
And when she saw Sir Galahad ride, she said: God be with thee, best 
knight of the world. Ah certes, said she, all aloud that Launcelot 
and Percivale might hear it: An yonder two knights had known thee 
as well as I do they would not have encountered with thee. When 
Sir Galahad heard her say so he was adread to be known: therewith 
he smote his horse with his spurs and rode a great pace froward them. 
Then perceived they both that he was Galahad; and up they gat on 
their horses, and rode fast after him, but in a while he was out of 
their sight. And then they turned again with heavy cheer. Let us spere 
some tidings, said Percivale, at yonder recluse. Do as ye list, said 
Sir Launcelot. When Sir Percivale came to the recluse she knew 
him well enough, and Sir Launcelot both. But Sir Launcelot rode 
overthwart and endlong in a wild forest, and held no path but as 
wild adventure led him. And at the last he came to a stony cross 
which departed two ways in waste land; and by the cross was a stone 
that was of marble, but it was so dark that Sir Launcelot might 
not wit what it was. Then Sir Launcelot looked by him, and saw 
an old chapel, and there he weened to have found people; and Sir 
Launcelot tied his horse till a tree, and there he did off his shield 
and hung it upon a tree. And then he went to the chapel door, and 
found it waste and broken. And within he found a fair altar, full 
richly arrayed with cloth of clene silk, and there stood a fair clean 
candlestick, which bare six great candles, and the candlestick was of 
silver. And when Sir Launcelot saw this light he had great will for 
to enter into the chapel, but he could find no place where he might 
enter; then was he passing heavy and dismayed. Then he returned 
and came to his horse and did off his saddle and bridle, and let him 
pasture, and unlaced his helm, and ungirt his sword, and laid him 
down to sleep upon his shield tofore the cross. 






And SO he fell on sleep; and half waking and sleeping he saw come 
by him two palfreys all fair and white, the which bare a Utter, therein 
lying a sick knight. And when he was nigh the cross he there abode 
still. All this Sir Launcelot saw and beheld, for he slept not verily; 
and he heard him say: O sweet Lord, when shall this sorrow leave 
me? and when shall the holy vessel come by me, where-through I 
shall be blessed? For I have endured thus long, for little trespass. 
A full great while complained the knight thus, and always Sir 
Launcelot heard it. With that Sir Launcelot saw the candlestick with 
the six tapers come before the cross, and he saw nobody that brought 
it. Also there came a table of silver, and the holy vessel of the 
Sangreal, which Launcelot had seen aforetime in King Pescheour's 
house. And therewith the sick knight set him up, and held up both 
his hands, and said : Fair sweet Lord, which is here within this holy 
vessel; take heed unto me that I may be whole of this malady. And 
therewith on his hands and on his knees he went so nigh that he 
touched the holy vessel and kissed it, and anon he was whole; and 
then he said : Lord God, I thank thee, for I am healed of this sickness. 
So when the holy vessel had been there a great while it went unto the 
chapel with the chandelier and the light, so that Launcelot wist not 
where it was become; for he was overtaken with sin that he had no 
power to rise ageyne the holy vessel; wherefore after that many 
men said of him shame, but he took repentance after that. Then 
the sick knight dressed him up and kissed the cross; anon his squire 
brought him his arms, and asked his lord how he did. Certes, said 
he, I thank God right well, through the holy vessel I am healed. 
But I have marvel of this sleeping knight that had no power to 
awake when this holy vessel was brought hither. I dare right well say, 
said the squire, that he dwelleth in some deadly sin whereof he 
was never confessed. By my faith, said the knight, whatsomever he 


be he is unhappy, for as I deem he is of the fellowship of the Round 
Table, the which is entered into the quest of the Sangreal. Sir, said 
the squire, here I have brought you all your arms save your helm and 
your sword, and therefore by mine assent now may ye take this 
knight's helm and his sword: and so he did. And when he was 
clene armed he took Sir Launcelot's horse, for he was better than 
his; and so departed they from the Cross. 



Then anon Sir Launcelot waked, and set him up, and bethought 
him what he had seen there, and whether it were dreams or not. 
Right so heard he a voice that said : Sir Launcelot, more harder than 
is the stone, and more bitter than is the wood, and more naked 
and barer than is the leaf of the fig tree; therefore go thou from 
hence, and withdraw thee from this holy place. And when Sir 
Launcelot heard this he was passing heavy and wist not what to 
do, and so departed sore weeping, and cursed the time that 
he was born. For then he deemed never to have had worship more. 
For those words went to his heart, till that he knew wherefore he 
was called so. Then Sir Launcelot went to the cross and found his 
helm, his sword, and his horse taken away. And then he called him- 
self a very wretch, and most unhappy of all knights; and there he 
said: My sin and my wickedness have brought me unto great dis- 
honour. For when I sought worldly adventures for worldly desires, 
I ever achieved them and had the better in every place, and never 
was I discomfit in no quarrel, were it right or wrong. And now 
I take upon me the adventures of holy things, and now I see and 
understand that mine old sin hindereth me and shameth me, so that 
I had no power to stir nor speak when the holy blood appeared afore 
me. So thus he sorrowed till it was day, and heard the fowls sing; 
then somewhat he was comforted. But when Sir Launcelot missed 
his horse and his harness then he wist well God was displeased with 
him. Then he departed from the cross on foot into a forest; and 


so by prime he came to an high hill, and found an hermitage and a 
hermit therein which was going unto mass. And then Launcelot 
kneeled down and cried on Our Lord mercy for his wicked works. 
So when mass was done Launcelot called him, and prayed him for 
charity for to hear his life. With a good will, said the good man. Sir, 
said he, be ye of King Arthur's court and of the fellowship of the 
Round Table? Yea forsooth, and my name is Sir Launcelot du Lake 
that hath been right well said of, and now my good fortune is 
changed, for I am the most wretch of the world. The hermit beheld 
him and had marvel how he was so abashed. Sir, said the hermit, 
ye ought to thank God more than any knight living, for He hath 
caused you to have more worldly worship than any knight that now 
liveth. And for your presumption to take upon you in deadly sin 
for to be in His presence, where His flesh and His blood was, that 
caused you ye might not see it with worldly eyes; for He will not 
appear where such sinners be, but if it be unto their great hurt and 
unto their great shame; and there is no knight living now that 
ought to give God so great thank as ye, for He hath given you beauty, 
seemliness, and great strength above all other knights; and therefore 
ye are the more beholding unto God than any other man, to love Him 
and dread Him, for your strength and manhood will little avail you 
an God be against you. 



Then Sir Launcelot wept with heavy cheer, and said: Now I 
know well ye say me sooth. Sir, said the good man, hide none old 
sin from me. Truly, said Sir Launcelot, that were me full loth to 
discover. For this fourteen year I never discovered one thing that 
I have used, and that may I now wyte my shame and my misadven- 
ture. And then he told there that good man all his life. And how 
he had loved a queen unmeasurably and out of measure long. 
And all my great deeds of arms that I have done, I did for the 
most part for the queen's sake, and for her sake would I do battle 


were it right or wrong; and never did I battle all only for God's 
sake, but for to win worship and to cause me to be the better beloved, 
and little or nought I thanked God of it. Then Sir Launcelot said: 
I pray you counsel me. I will counsel you, said the hermit, if ye 
will ensure me that ye will never come in that queen's fellowship 
as much as ye may forbear. And then Sir Launcelot promised him he 
nold, by the faith of his body. Look that your heart and your mouth 
accord, said the good man, and I shall ensure you ye shall have more 
worship then ever ye had. Holy father, said Sir Launcelot, I marvel 
of the voice that said to me marvellous words, as ye have heard 
toforehand. Have ye no marvel, said the good man, thereof, for 
it seemeth well God loveth you; for men may understand a stone 
is hard of kind, and namely one more than another; and that is to 
understand by thee, Sir Launcelot, for thou wilt not leave thy sin 
for no goodness that God hath sent thee; therefore thou art more 
than any stone, and never wouldst thou be made neysshe nor by 
water nor by fire, and that is the hete of the Holy Ghost may not 
enter in thee. Now take heed, in all the world men shall not find 
one knight to whom Our Lord hath given so much of grace as 
He hath given you, for He hath given you fairness with seemliness, 
He hath given thee wit, discretion to know good from evil. He hath 
given thee prowess and hardiness, and given thee to work so largely 
that thou hast had at all days the better wheresomever thou came; 
and now Our Lord will suffer thee no longer, but that thou shalt 
know Him whether thou wilt or nylt. And why the voice called thee 
bitterer than wood, for where overmuch sin dwelleth, there may be 
but little sweetness, wherefore thou art likened to an old rotten tree. 
Now have I shewed thee why thou art harder than the stone and 
bitterer than the tree. Now shall I shew thee why thou art more 
naked and barer than the fig tree. It befel that Our Lord on Palm 
Sunday preached in Jerusalem, and there He found in the people 
that all hardness was harboured in them, and there He found in all 
the town not one that would harbour him. And then He went 
without the town, and found in the middes of the way a fig tree, 
the which was right fair and well garnished of leaves, but fruit had 
it none. Then Our Lord cursed the tree that bare no fruit; that 
betokeneth the fig tree unto Jerusalem, that had leaves and no fruit. 


So thou, Sir Launcelot, when the Holy Grail was brought afore thee, 
He found in thee no fruit, nor good thought nor good will, and 
defouled with lechery. Certes, said Sir Launcelot, all that you have 
said is true, and from henceforward I cast me, by the grace of God, 
never to be so wicked as I have been, but as to follow knighthood 
and to do feats of arms. Then the good man enjoined Sir Launcelot 
such penance as he might do and to pursue knighthood, and so 
assoiled him, and prayed Sir Launcelot to abide with him all that 
day. I will well, said Sir Launcelot, for I have neither helm, nor 
horse, nor sword. As for that, said the good man, I shall help you 
or tomorn at even of an horse, and all that longed unto you. And 
then Sir Launcelot repented him greatly. 

Here leaveth off the history of Syr Launcelot. 

And here followeth of Sir Percivale 

de Gaits which is the fourteenth 




NOW saith the tale, that when Sir Launcelot was ridden 
after Sir Galahad, the which had all these adventures above 
said. Sir Percivale turned again unto the recluse, where 
he deemed to have tidings of that knight that Launcelot followed. 
And so he kneeled at her window, and the recluse opened it and 
asked Sir Percivale what he would. Madam, he said, I am a knight 
of King Arthur's court, and my name is Sir Percivale de Galis. When 
the recluse heard his name she had great joy of him, for mickle she 
had loved him tofore any other knight, for she ought to do so, 
for she was his aunt. And then she commanded the gates to be 
opened, and there he had all the cheer that she might make him, and 
all that was in her power was at his commandment. So on the morn 


Sir Percivale went to the recluse and asked her if she knew that 
knight with the white shield. Sir, said she, why would ye wit? 
Truly, madam, said Sir Percivale, I shall never be well at ease till 
that I know of that knight's fellowship, and that I may fight with 
him, for I may not leave him so lightly, for I have the shame yet. 
Ah, Percivale, said she, would ye fight with him? I see well ye 
have great will to be slain as your father was through outrageousness. 
Madam, said Sir Percivale, it seemeth by your words that ye know 
me. Yea, said she, I well ought to know you, for I am your aunt, 
although I be in a priory place. For some called me sometime the 
queen of the Waste Lands, and I was called the queen of most 
riches in the world; and it pleased me never my riches so much as 
doth my poverty. Then Sir Percivale wept for very pity when that he 
knew it was his aunt. Ah, fair nephew, said she, when heard ye 
tidings of your mother? Truly, said he, I heard none of her, but I 
dream of her much in my sleep; and therefore I wot not whether 
she be dead or on live. Certes, fair nephew, said she, your mother 
is dead, for after your departing from her she took such a sorrow 
that anon, after she was confessed, she died. Now, God have mercy 
on her soul, said Sir Percivale, it sore forthinketh me; but all we must 
change the life. Now, fair aunt, tell me what is the knight ? I deem 
it be he that bare the red arms on Whitsunday. Wit you well, said 
she, that this is he, for otherwise ought he not to do, but to go in 
red arms; and that same knight hath no peer, for he worketh all by 
miracle, and he shall never be overcome of none earthly man's hand. 





Also Merlin made the Round Table in tokening of roundness of 
the world, for by the Round Table is the world signified by right, 
for all the world. Christian and heathen, repair unto the Round 
Table; and when they are chosen to be of the fellowship of the 
Round Table they think them more blessed and more in worship 


than if they had gotten half the world; and ye have seen that they 
have lost their fathers and their mothers, and all their kin, and their 
wives and their children, for to be of your fellowship. It is well seen 
by you; for since ye have departed from your mother ye would 
never see her, ye found such fellowship at the Round Table. When 
Merlin had ordained the Round Table he said, by them which should 
be fellows of the Round Table the truth of the Sangreal should be 
well known. And men asked him how men might know them that 
should best do and to achieve the Sangreal? Then he said there 
should be three white bulls that should achieve it, and the two 
should be maidens, and the third should be chaste. And that 
one of the three should pass his father as much as the lion passeth 
the leopard, both of strength and hardiness. They that heard Merlin 
say so said thus unto Merlin: Sithen there shall be such a knight, 
thou shouldest ordain by thy crafts a siege, that no man should sit 
in it but he all only that shall pass all other knights. Then Merlin 
answered that he would do so. And then he made the Siege Perilous, 
in the which Galahad sat in at his meat on Whitsunday last past. 
Now, madam, said Sir Percivale, so much have I heard of you that 
by my good will I will never have ado with Sir Galahad but by 
way of kindness; and for God's love, fair aunt, can ye teach me 
some way where I may find him? for much would I love the 
fellowship of him. Fair nephew, said she, ye must ride unto a castle 
the which is called Goothe, where he hath a cousin-germain, and 
there may ye be lodged this night. And as he teacheth you, pursue 
after as fast as ye can; and if he can tell you no tidings of him, ride 
straight unto the Castle of Carbonek, where the maimed king is 
there lying, for there shall ye hear true tidings of him. 



Then departed Sir Percivale from his aunt, either making great 
sorrow. And so he rode till evensong time. And then he heard a 
clock smite; and then he was ware of an house closed well with 


walls and deep ditches, and there he knocked at the gate and was 
let in, and he alit and was led unto a chamber, and soon he was un- 
armed. And there he had right good cheer all that night; and on 
the morn he heard his mass, and in the monastery he found a priest 
ready at the altar. And on the right side he saw a pew closed with 
iron, and behind the altar he saw a rich bed and a fair, as of cloth of 
silk and gold. Then Sir Percivale espied that therein was a man or a 
woman, for the visage was covered; then he left off his looking and 
heard his service. And when it came to the sacring, he that lay 
within that percloos dressed him up, and uncovered his head; and 
then him beseemed a passing old man, and he had a crown of gold 
upon his head, and his shoulders were naked and unbilled unto his 
navel. And then Sir Percivale espied his body was full of great 
wounds, both on the shoulders, arms, and visage. And ever he held 
up his hands against our Lord's body, and cried: Fair, sweet Father, 
Jesu Christ, forget not me. And so he lay down, but always he was in 
his prayers and orisons; and him seemed to be of the age of three 
hundred winter. And when the mass was done the priest took Our 
Lord's body and bare it to the sick king. And when he had used it 
he did off his crown, and commanded the crown to be set on the 
altar. Then Sir Percivale asked one of the brethren what he was. 
Sir, said the good man, ye have heard much of Joseph of Aramathie, 
how he was sent by Jesu Christ into this land for to teach and preach 
the holy Christian faith; and therefore he suffered many persecutions 
the which the enemies of Christ did unto him, and in the city of 
Sarras he converted a king whose name was Evelake. And so this 
king came with Joseph into this land, and ever he was busy to be 
thereas the Sangreal was; and on a time be nighed it so nigh that 
Our Lord was displeased with him, but ever he followed it more 
and more, till God struck him almost bUnd. Then this king cried 
mercy, and said: Fair Lord, let me never die till the good knight of 
my blood of the ninth degree be come, that I may see him openly 
that he shall achieve the Sangreal, that I may kiss him. 




When the king thus had made his prayers he heard a voice that 
said : Heard be thy prayers, for thou shalt not die till he have kissed 
thee. And when that knight shall come the clearness of your eyes 
shall come again, and thou shalt see openly, and thy wounds shall 
be healed, and erst shall they never close. And this befel of King 
Evelake, and this same king hath lived this three hundred winters 
this holy life, and men say the knight is in the court that shall heal 
him. Sir, said the good man, I pray you tell me what knight that 
ye be, and if ye be of King Arthur's court and of the Table Round. 
Yea, forsooth, said he, and my name is Sir Percivale de Galis. And 
when the good man understood his name he made great joy of him. 
And then Sir Percivale departed and rode till the hour of noon. 
And he met in a valley about a twenty men of arms, which bare in 
a bier a knight deadly slain. And when they saw Sir Percivale they 
asked him of whence he was. And he answered: Of the court of 
King Arthur. Then they cried all at once : Slay him. Then Sir Per- 
civale smote the first to the earth and his horse upon him. And then 
seven of the knights smote upon his shield all at once, and the rem- 
nant slew his horse so that he fell to the earth. So had they slain him 
or taken him had not the good knight, Sir Galahad, with the red arms 
come there by adventure into those parts. And when he saw all 
those knights upon one knight he cried : Save me that knight's life. 
And then he dressed him toward the twenty men of arms as fast 
as his horse might drive, with his spear in the rest, and smote the 
foremost horse and man to the earth. And when his spear was broken 
he set his hand to his sword, and smote on the right hand and on 
the left hand that it was marvel to see, and at every stroke he 
smote one down or put him to a rebuke, so that they would fight 
no more but fled to a thick forest, and Sir Galahad followed them. 
And when Sir Percivale saw him chase them so, he made great 
sorrow that his horse was away. And then he wist well it was Sir 
Galahad. And then he cried aloud : Ah, fair knight, abide and suffer 


me to do thankings unto thee, for much have ye done for me. But 
ever Sir Galahad rode so fast that at the last he passed out of his 
sight. And as fast as Sir Percivale might he went after him on foot, 
crying. And then he met with a yeoman riding upon an hackney, 
the which led in his hand a great steed blacker than any bear. 
Ah, fair friend, said Sir Percivale, as ever I may do for you, and to be 
your true knight in the first place ye will require me, that ye will 
lend me that black steed, that I might overtake a knight the which 
rideth afore me. Sir knight, said the yeoman, I pray you hold me 
excused of that, for that I may not do. For wit ye well, the horse is 
such a man's horse, that an I lent it you or any man, that he would 
slay me. Alas, said Sir Percivale, I had never so great sorrow as I 
have had for losing of yonder knight. Sir, said the yeoman, I am 
right heavy for you, for a good horse would beseem you well; but I 
dare not deliver you this horse but if ye would take him from me. 
That will I not do, said Sir Percivale. And so they departed; and 
Sir Percivale set him down under a tree, and made sorrow out of 
measure. And as he was there, there came a knight riding on the 
horse that the yeoman led, and he was clene armed. 



And anon the yeoman came pricking after as fast as ever he might, 
and asked Sir Percivale if he saw any knight riding on his black 
steed. Yea, sir forsooth, said he; why, sir, ask ye me that? Ah, sir, 
that steed he hath benome me with strength; wherefor my lord will 
slay me in what place he findeth me. Well, said Sir Percivale, what 
wouldst thou that I did? Thou seest well that I am on foot, but an 
I had a good horse I should bring him soon again. Sir, said the yeo- 
man, take mine hackney and do the best ye can, and I shall serve 
you on foot to wit how that ye shall speed. Then Sir Percivale alit 
upon that hackney, and rode as fast as he might, and at the last he 
saw that knight. And then he cried: Knight, turn again; and he 
turned and set his spear again Sir Percivale, and he smote the hack- 


ney in the middes o£ the breast that he fell down dead to the earth, 
and there he had a great fall, and the other rode his way. And then 
Sir Percivale was wood worth, and cried: Abide, wicked knight; cow- 
ard and false-hearted knight, turn again and fight with me on foot. 
But he answered not, but passed on his way. When Sir Percivale saw 
he would not turn he cast away his helm and sword, and said: 
Now am I a very wretch, cursed and most unhappy above all other 
knights. So in this sorrow he abode all that day till it was night; 
and then he was faint, and laid him down and slept till it was 
midnight; and then he awakened and saw afore him a woman 
which said unto him right fiercely: Sir Percivale, what dost thou 
here? He answered, I do neither good nor great ill. If thou wilt 
ensure me, said she, that thou wilt fulfil my will when I summon 
thee, I shall lend thee mine own horse which shall bear thee whither 
thou wilt. Sir Percivale was glad of her proffer, and ensured her 
to fulfil all her desire. Then abide me here, and I shall go and 
fetch you an horse. And so she came soon again and brought an 
horse with her that was inly black. When Percivale beheld that 
horse he marvelled that it was so great and so well apparelled; and 
not for then he was so hardy, and he leapt upon him, and took none 
heed of himself. And so anon as he was upon him he thrust to 
him with his spurs, and so he rode by a forest, and the moon shone 
clear. And within an hour and less he bare him four days' journey 
thence, until he came to a rough water the which roared, and his 
horse would have borne him into it. 



And when Sir Percivale came nigh the brim, and saw the water 
so boistous, he doubted to overpass it. And then he made a sign of 
the cross on his forehead. When the fiend felt him so charged he 
shook off Sir Percivale, and he went into the water crying and roar- 
ing, making great sorrow, and it seemed unto him that the water 
brent. Then Sir Percivale perceived it was a fiend, the which would 


have brought him unto his perdition. Then he commended himself 
unto God, and prayed Our Lord to keep him from all such temp- 
tations; and so he prayed all that night till on the morn that it was 
day; then he saw that he was in a wild mountain the which was 
closed with the sea nigh all about, that he might see no land about 
him which might relieve him, but wild beasts. And then he went 
into a valley, and there he saw a young serpent bring a young lion 
by the neck, and so he came by Sir Percivale. With that came a 
great lion crying and roaring after the serpent. And as fast as Sir 
Percivale saw this he marvelled, and hied him thither, but anon 
the lion had overtaken the serpent and began battle with him. And 
then Sir Percivale thought to help the lion for he was the more 
natural beast of the two; and therewith he drew his sword, and 
set his shield afore him, and there he gave the serpent such a buffet 
that he had a deadly wound. When the lion saw that, he made no 
resemblant to fight with him, but made him all the cheer that a 
beast might make a man. Then Percivale perceived that, and cast 
down his shield which was broken; and then he did oiT his helm for 
to gather wind, for he was greatly enchafed with the serpent: 
and the lion went alway about him fawning as a spaniel. And then 
he stroked him on the neck and on the shoulders. And then he 
thanked God of the fellowship of that beast. And about noon the 
lion took his little whelp and trussed him and bare him there he 
came from. Then was Sir Percivale alone. And as the tale telleth, he 
was one of the men of the world at that time which most believed 
in our Lord Jesu Christ, for in those days there were but few folks 
that believed in God perfectly. For in those days the son spared not 
the father no more than a stranger. And so Sir Percivale comforted 
himself in our Lord Jesu, and besought God no temptation should 
bring him out of God's service, but to endure as his true champion. 
Thus when Sir Percivale had prayed he saw the lion come toward 
him, and then he couched down at his feet. And so all that night 
the lion and he slept together; and when Sir Percivale slept he 
dreamed a marvellous dream, that there two ladies met with him, 
and that one sat upon a lion, and that other sat upon a serpent, and 
that one of them was young, and the other was old; and the youngest 
him thought said: Sir Percivale, my lord saluteth thee, and sendeth 


thee word that thou array thee and make thee ready, for tomorn thou 
must fight with the strongest champion of the world. And if thou 
be overcome thou shalt not be quit for losing of any of thy members, 
but thou shalt be shamed for ever to the world's end. And then he 
asked her what was her lord. And she said the greatest lord of all 
the world: and so she departed suddenly that he wist not where. 



Then came forth the other lady that rode upon the serpent, and 
she said: Sir Percivale, I complain me of you that ye have done unto 
me, and have not offended unto you. Certes, madam, he said, unto 
you nor no lady I never offended. Yes, said she, I shall tell you why. 
I have nourished in this place a great while a serpent, which served 
me a great while, and yesterday ye slew him as he gat his prey. Say 
me for what cause ye slew him, for the lion was not yours. Madam, 
said Sir Percivale, I know well the lion was not mine, but I did it for 
the lion is of more gentler nature than the serpent, and therefore I 
slew him; meseemeth I did not amiss against you. Madam, said 
he, what would ye that I did? I would, said she, for the amends of 
my beast that ye become my man. And then he answered : That will 
I not grant you. No, said she, truly ye were never but my servant syn 
ye received the homage of Our Lord Jesu Christ. Therefore, I 
ensure you in what place I may find you without keeping I shall 
take you as he that sometime was my man. And so she departed 
from Sir Percivale and left him sleeping, the which was sore travailed 
of his advision. And on the morn he arose and blessed him, and he 
was passing feeble. Then was Sir Percivale ware in the sea, and saw 
a ship come sailing toward him; and Sir Percivale went unto the 
ship and found it covered within and without with white samite. 
And at the board stood an old man clothed in a surplice, in hkeness 
of a priest. Sir, said Sir Percivale, ye be welcome. God keep you, 
said the good man. Sir, said the old man, of whence be ye? Sir, 
said Sir Percivale, I am of King Arthur's court, and a knight of 


the Table Round, the which am in the quest o£ the Sangreal; and 
here am I in great duresse, and never hke to escape out of this wilder- 
ness. Doubt not, said the good man, and ye be so true a knight as 
the order of chivalry requireth, and of heart as ye ought to be, ye 
should not doubt that none enemy should slay you. What are ye? 
said Sir Percivale. Sir, said the old man, I am of a strange country, 
and hither I come to comfort you. Sir, said Sir Percivale, what 
signifieth my dream that I dreamed this night? And there he told 
him altogether: She which rode upon the lion betokeneth the new 
law of holy church, that is to understand, faith, good hope, belief, and 
baptism. For she seemed younger than the other it is great reason, 
for she was born in the resurrection and the passion of our Lord 
Jesu Christ. And for great love she came to thee to warn thee 
of thy great battle that shall befall thee. With whom, said Sir 
Percivale, shall I fight? With the most champion of the world, 
said the old man; for as the lady said, but if thou quit thee well thou 
shalt not be quit by losing of one member, but thou shalt be shamed 
to the world's end. And she that rode on the serpent signifieth the 
old law, and that serpent betokeneth a liend. And why she blamed 
thee that thou slewest her servant, it betokeneth nothing; the serpent 
that thou slewest betokeneth the devil that thou rodest upon to the 
rock. And when thou madest a sign of the cross, there thou slewest 
him, and put away his power. And when she asked thee amends 
and to become her man, and thou saidst thou wouldst not, that was 
to make thee to believe on her and leave thy baptism. So he com- 
manded Sir Percivale to depart, and so he leapt over the board 
and the ship, and all went away he wist not whither. Then he 
went up unto the rock and found the lion which always kept him 
fellowship, and he stroked him upon the back and had great joy 
of him. 



By that Sir Percivale had abiden there till mid-day he saw a ship 
came rowing in the sea as all the wind of the world had driven it. 


And so it drove under that rock. And when Sir Percivale saw this 
he hied him thither, and found the ship covered with silk more 
blacker than any bear, and therein was a gentlewoman of great 
beauty, and she was clothed richly that none might be better. And 
when she saw Sir Percivale she said: Who brought you in this 
wilderness where ye be never like to pass hence, for ye shall die here 
for hunger and mischief.? Damosel, said Sir Percivale, I serve the 
best man of the world, and in his service he will not suffer me to die, 
for who that knocketh shall enter, and who that asketh shall have, 
and who that seeketh him he hideth him not. But then she said : Sir 
Percivale, wot ye what I am? Yea, said he. Now who taught you 
my name? said she. Now, said Sir Percivale, I know you better than 
ye ween. And I came out of the waste forest where I found the red 
knight with the white shield, said the damosel. Ah, damosel, said 
he, with that knight would I meet passing fain. Sir knight, said 
she, an ye will ensure me by the faith that ye owe unto knighthood 
that ye shall do my will what time I summon you, and I shall bring 
you unto that knight. Yea, said he, I shall promise you to fulfil 
your desire. Well, said she, now shall I tell you. I saw him in the for- 
est chasing two knights unto a water, the which is called Mortaise; 
and they drove him into that water for dread of death, and the 
two knights passed over, and the red knight passed after, and there 
his horse was drenched, and he, through great strength, escaped unto 
the land: thus she told him, and Sir Percivale was passing glad 
thereof. Then she asked him if he had ate any meat late. Nay, 
madam, truly I ate no meat nigh this three days, but late here 
I spake with a good man that fed me with his good words and holy, 
and refreshed me greatly. Ah, sir knight, said she, that same man 
is an enchanter and a multiplier of words. For an ye believe him ye 
shall plainly be shamed, and die in this rock for pure hunger, and 
be eaten with wild beasts; and ye be a young man and a goodly 
knight, and I shall help you an ye will. What are ye, said Sir Per- 
civale, that proffered me thus great kindness ? I am, said she, a gentle- 
woman that am disherited, which was sometime the richest woman 
of the world. Damosel, said Sir Percivale, who hath disherited you ? 
for I have great pity of you. Sir, said she, I dwelled with the greatest 
man of the world, and he made me so fair and clear that there 


was none like me; and of that great beauty I had a little pride more 
than I ought to have had. Also I said a word that pleased him 
not. And then he would not suffer me to be any longer in his 
company, and so drove me from mine heritage, and so disherited me, 
and he had never pity of me nor of none of my council, nor of my 
court. And sithen, sir knight, it hath befallen me so, and through 
me and mine I have benome him many of his men, and made them 
to become my men. For they ask never nothing of me but I give 
it them, that and much more. Thus I and all my servants were 
against him night and day. Therefore I know now no good knight, 
nor no good man, but I get them on my side an I may. And for 
that I know that thou art a good knight, I beseech you to help me; 
and for ye be a fellow of the Round Table, wherefore ye ought not 
to fail no gentlewoman which is disherited, an she besought you 
of help. 



Then Sir Percivale promised her all the help that he might; and 
then she thanked him. And at that time the weather was hot. Then 
she called unto her a gentlewoman and bad her bring forth a 
pavilion; and so she did, and pyght it upon the gravel. Sir, said she, 
now may ye rest you in this heat of the day. Then he thanked her, 
and she put off his helm and his shield, and there he slept a great 
while. And then he awoke and asked her if she had any meat, and 
she said: Yea, also ye shall have enough. And so there was set 
enough upon the table, and thereon so much that he had marvel, 
for there was all manner of meats that he could think on. Also he 
drank there the strongest wine that ever he drank, him thought, 
and therewith he was a little chafed more than he ought to be; 
with that he beheld the gentlewoman, and him thought she was the 
fairest creature that ever he saw. And then Sir Percivale proffered 
her love, and prayed her that she would be his. Then she refused 
him, in a manner, when he required her, for the cause he should 
be the more ardent on her, and ever he ceased not to pray her of 


love. And when she saw him well enchafed, then she said: Sir 
Percivale, wit you well I shall not fulfil your will but if ye swear 
from henceforth ye shall be my true servant, and to do nothing but 
that I shall command you. Will ye ensure me this as ye be a true 
knight ? Yea, said he, fair lady, by the faith of my body. Well, said 
she, now shall ye do with me what so it please you; and now wit ye 
well ye are the knight in the world that I have most desire for. 
And then two squires were commanded to make a bed in middes of 
the pavilion. And anon she was unclothed and laid therein. And 
then Sir Percivale laid him down by her naked; and by adventure 
and grace he saw his sword lie on the ground naked, in whose 
pommel was a red cross and the sign of the crucifix therein, and 
bethought him on his knighthood and his promise made toforehand 
unto the good man; then he made a sign of the cross in his fore- 
head, and therewith the pavilion turned up so down, and then it 
changed unto a smoke, and a black cloud, and then he was adread 
and cried aloud: 


thigh; and how she was known for THE DEVIL 

Fair sweet father, Jesu Christ, ne let me not be shamed, the which 
was nigh lost had not thy good grace been. And then he looked 
into a ship, and saw her enter therein, which said: Sir Percivale, ye 
have betrayed me. And so she went with the wind roaring and 
yelling, that it seemed all the water brent after her. Then Sir 
Percivale made great sorrow, and drew his sword unto him, saying: 
Sithen my flesh will be my master I shall punish it; and therewith 
he rove himself through the thigh that the blood start about him, and 
said: O good Lord, take this in recompensation of that I have done 
against thee, my Lord. So then he clothed him and armed him, and 
called himself a wretch, saying: How nigh was I lost, and to have 
lost that I should never have gotten again, that was my virginity, 
for that may never be recovered after it is once lost. And then he 
stopped his bleeding wound with a piece of his shirt. Thus as he 


made his moan he saw the same ship come from Orient that the 
good man was in the day afore, and the noble knight was ashamed 
with himself, and therewith he fell in a swoon. And when he 
awoke he went unto him weakly, and there he saluted this good 
man. And then he asked Sir Percivale: How hast thou done sith 
I departed? Sir, said he, here was a gentlewoman and led me 
into deadly sin. And there he told him altogether. Knew ye not 
the maid? said the good man. Sir, said he, nay, but well I wot the 
fiend sent her hither to shame me. O good knight, said he, thou art 
a fool, for that gentlewoman was the master fiend of hell, the which 
hath power above all devils, and that was the old lady that thou 
sawest in thine advision riding on the serpent. Then he told Sir 
Percivale how our Lord Jesu Christ beat him out of heaven for his 
sin, the which was the most brightest angel of heaven, and there- 
fore he lost his heritage: And that was the champion that thou 
foughtest withal, the which had overcome thee had not the grace of 
God been. Now beware Sir Percivale, and taken this for an en- 
sample. And then the good man vanished away. Then Sir Percivale 
took his arms, and entered into the ship, and so departed from 

Here endeth the fourteenth bool{e, which is of Syr Percyval. 

And here followeth of Syre Launcelot, which 

is the fifteenth boo]{. 



WHEN the hermit had kept Sir Launcelot three days, the 
hermit gat him a horse, an helm, and a sword. And then 
he departed about the hour of noon. And then he saw a 
little house. And when he came near he saw a chapel, and there 
beside he saw an old man that was clothed all in white full richly; 


and then Sir Launcelot said: God save you. God keep you, said 
the good man, and make you a good knight. Then Sir Launcelot 
aht and entered into the chapel and there he saw an old man dead, 
in a white shirt of passing fine cloth. Sir, said the good man, this 
man that is dead ought not to be in such clothing as ye see him in, 
for in that he brake the oath of his order, for he hath been more 
than an hundred winter a man of a religion. And then the good 
man and Sir Launcelot went into the chapel; and the good man 
took a stole about his neck, and a book, and then he conjured on 
that book; and with that they saw in an hideous figure and horri- 
ble, that there was no man so hard-hearted nor so hard but he 
should have been afeard. Then said the fiend: Thou hast travailed 
me greatly; now tell me what thou wilt with me. I will, said the 
good man, that thou tell me how my fellow became dead, and 
whether he be saved or damned. Then he said with an horrible 
voice: He is not lost but saved. How may that be? said the good 
man; it seemed to me that he lived not well, for he brake his order 
for to wear a shirt where he ought to wear none, and who that 
trespasseth against our order doth not well. Not so, said the fiend, 
this man that lieth here dead was come of a great lineage. And 
there was a lord that hight the Earl de Vale, that held great war 
against this man's nephew, the which hight Aguarus. And so this 
Aguarus saw the earl was bigger than he. Then he went for to take 
counsel of his uncle, the which lieth here dead as ye may see. And 
then he asked leave, and went out of his hermitage for to maintain 
his nephew against the mighty earl; and so it happed that this man 
that lieth here dead did so much by his wisdom and hardiness that 
the earl was taken, and three of his lords, by force of this dead man. 



Then was there peace betwixt the earl and this Aguarus, and great 
surety that the earl should never war against him. Then this dead 
man that here lieth came to this hermitage again; and then the 


earl made two of his nephews for to be avenged upon this man. So 
they came on a day, and found this dead man at the sacring of his 
mass, and they abode him till he had said mass. And then they set 
upon him and drew out swords to have slain him; but there would 
no sword bite on him more than upon a gad of steel, for the high 
Lord which he served he him preserved. Then made they a great 
fire, and did off all his clothes, and the hair off his back. And then 
this dead man hermit said unto them: Ween you to burn me? It 
shall not lie in your power nor to perish me as much as a thread 
an there were any on my body. No, said one of them, it shall be 
essayed. And then they despoiled him, and put upon him this 
shirt, and cast him in a fire, and there he lay all that night till it 
was day in that fire, and was not dead, and so in the morn I came 
and found him dead; but I found neither thread nor skin tamyd, 
and so took him out of the fire with great fear, and led him here 
as ye may see. And now may ye suffer me to go my way, for I 
have said you the sooth. And then he departed with a great tempest. 
Then was the good man and Sir Launcelot more gladder than they 
were tofore. And then Sir Launcelot dwelled with that good man 
that night. Sir, said the good man, be ye not Sir Launcelot du 
Lake? Yea, sir, said he. What seek ye in this country? Sir, said 
Sir Launcelot, I go to seek the adventures of the Sangreal. Well, 
said he, seek it ye may well, but though it were here ye shall have no 
power to see it no more than a blind man should see a bright sword, 
and that is long on your sin, and else ye were more abler than any 
man living. And then Sir Launcelot began to weep. Then said the 
good man: Were ye confessed sith ye entered into the quest of the 
Sangreal? Yea, sir, said Sir Launcelot. Then upon the morn when 
the good man had sung his mass, then they buried the dead man. 
Then Sir Launcelot said: Father, what shall I do? Now, said the 
good man, I require you take this hair that was this holy man's and 
put it next thy skin, and it shall prevail thee greatly. Sir, and I 
will do it, said Sir Launcelot. Also I charge you that ye eat no flesh 
as long as ye be in the quest of the Sangreal, nor ye shall drink no 
wine, and that ye hear mass daily an ye may do it. So he took the 
hair and put it upon him, and so departed at evensong-time. And 
so rode he into a forest, and there he met with a gentlewoman 


riding upon a white palfrey, and then she asked him: Sir knight, 
whither ride ye ? Certes, damosel, said Launcelot, I wot not whither 
I ride but as fortune ieadeth me. Ah, Sir Launcelot, said she, I 
wot what adventure ye seek, for ye were afore time nearer than ye 
be now, and yet shall ye see it more openly than ever ye did, and that 
shall ye understand in short time. Then Sir Launcelot asked her 
where he might be harboured that night. Ye shall not find this 
day nor night, but tomorn ye shall find harbour good, and ease 
of that ye be in doubt of. And then he commended her unto God. 
Then he rode till that he came to a Cross, and took that for his host 
as for that night. 



And so he put his horse to pasture, and did off his helm and his 
shield, and made his prayers unto the Cross that he never fall in 
deadly sin again. And so he laid him down to sleep. And anon as 
he was on sleep it befell him there an advision, that there came a 
man afore him all by compass of stars, and that man had a crown 
of gold on his head, and that man led in his fellowship seven kings 
and two knights. And all these worshipped the Cross, kneeling 
upon their knees, holding up their hands toward the heaven. And 
all they said: Fair sweet Father of heaven, come and visit us, and 
yield unto us every each as we have deserved. Then looked Launce- 
lot up to the heaven, and him seemed the clouds did open, and an 
old man came down, with a company of angels, and alit among them, 
and gave unto every each his blessing, and called them his servants, 
and good and true knights. And when this old man had said thus 
he came to one of those knights, and said: I have lost all that I have 
set in thee, for thou hast ruled thee against me as a warrior, and used 
wrong wars with vain glory, more for the pleasure of the world 
than to please me, therefore thou shalt be confounded without 
thou yield me my treasure. All this advision saw Sir Launcelot at 
the Cross. And on the morn he took his horse and rode till midday; 


and there by adventure he met with the same knight that took his 
horse, helm, and his sword, when he slept when the Sangreal ap- 
peared afore the Cross. When Sir Launcelot saw him he saluted 
him not fair, but cried on high: Knight, keep thee, for thou hast 
done to me great unkindness. And then they put afore them their 
spears, and Sir Launcelot came so fiercely upon him that he smote 
him and his horse down to the earth, that he had nigh broken his 
neck. Then Sir Launcelot took the knight's horse that was his 
own aforehand, and descended from the horse he sat upon, and 
mounted upon his own horse, and tied the knight's own horse to a 
tree that he might find that horse when that he was arisen. Then 
Sir Launcelot rode till night and by adventure he met an hermit, 
and each of them saluted other; and there he rested with that good 
man all night, and gave his horse such as he might get. Then said 
the good man unto Launcelot: Of whence be ye? Sir, said he, I 
am of Arthur's court, and my name is Sir Launcelot du Lake that 
am in the quest of the Sangreal, and therefore I pray you to counsel 
me of a vision the which I had at the Cross. And so he told him all. 



Lo, Sir Launcelot, said the good man, there thou mightest under- 
stand the high lineage that thou art come of, and thine advision 
betokeneth. After the passion of Jesu Christ forty year, Joseph of 
Aramathie preached the victory of King Evelake, that he had in the 
battles the better of his enemies. And of the seven kings and the 
two knights: the first of them is called Nappus, an holy man; and 
the second hight Nacien, in remembrance of his grandsire, and 
in him dwelled our lord Jesu Christ; and the third was called Helias 
le Grose; and the fourth hight Lisais; and the fifth hight Jonas, he 
departed out of his country and went into Wales, and took there 
the daughter of Manuel, whereby he had the land of Gaul, and he 
came to dwell in this country. And of him came King Launcelot 
thy grandsire, the which there wedded the king's daughter of Ireland, 


and he was as worthy a man as thou art, and of him came King 
Ban, thy father, the which was the last of the seven kings. And by 
thee, Sir Launcelot, it signifieth that the angels said thou were none 
of the seven fellowships. And the last was the ninth knight, he was 
signified to a lion, for he should pass all manner of earthly knights 
that is Sir Galahad, the which thou gat on King Pelles' daughter; 
and thou ought to thank God more than any other man living, for 
of a sinner earthly thou hast no peer as in knighthood, nor never 
shall be. But little thank hast thou given to God for all the great 
virtues that God hath lent thee. Sir, said Launcelot, ye say that that 
good knight is my son. That oughtest thou to know and no man 
better, said the good man, for thou knewest the daughter of King 
Pelles fleshly, and on her thou begattest Galahad, and that was he 
that at the feast of Pentecost sat in the Siege Perilous; and therefore 
make thou it known openly that he is one of thy begetting on King 
Pelles' daughter, for that will be your worship and honour, and 
to all thy kindred. And I counsel you in no place press not upon 
him to have ado with him. Well, said Launcelot, meseemeth that 
good knight should pray for me unto the High Father, that I fall 
not to sin again. Trust thou well, said the good man, thou farest 
mickle the better for his prayer; but the son shall not bear the 
wickedness of the father, nor the father shall not bear the wickedness 
of the son, but every each shall bear his own burden. And therefore 
beseek thou only God, and he will help thee in all thy needs. And 
then Sir Launcelot and he went to supper, and so laid him to rest, 
and the hair pricked so Sir Launcelot's skin which grieved him full 
sore, but he took it meekly, and suffered the pain. And so on the 
morn he heard his mass and took his arms, and so took his leave. 



And then mounted upon his horse, and rode into a forest, and held 
no highway. And as he looked afore him he saw a fair plain, and 
beside that a fair castle, and afore the castle were many pavilions of 


silk and of diverse hue. And him seemed that he saw there five 
hundred knights riding on horseback; and there were two parties: 
they that were of the castle were all on black horses and their trap- 
pours black, and they that were without were all on white horses and 
trappours, and every each hurtled to other that it marvelled Sir 
Launcelot. And at the last him thought they of the castle were put 
to the worse. Then thought Sir Launcelot for to help there the 
weaker party in increasing of his chivalry. And so Sir Launcelot 
thrust in among the party of the castle, and smote down a knight, 
horse and man, to the earth. And then he rushed here and there, 
and did marvellous deeds of arms. And then he drew out his sword, 
and struck many knights to the earth, so that all those that saw him 
marvelled that ever one knight might do so great deeds of arms. 
But always the white knights held them nigh about Sir Launcelot, 
for to tire him and wind him. But at the last, as a man may not ever 
endure. Sir Launcelot waxed so faint of fighting and travailing, and 
was so weary of his great deeds, but he might not lift up his arms 
for to give one stroke, so that he weened never to have borne arms; 
and then they all took and led him away, into a forest, and there 
made him to alight and to rest him. And then all the fellowship 
of the castle were overcome for the default of him. Then they said 
all unto Sir Launcelot : Blessed be God that ye be now of our fellow- 
ship, for we shall hold you in our prison; and so they left him with 
few words. And then Sir Launcelot made great sorrow. For never 
or now was I never at tournament nor jousts but I had the best, and 
now I am shamed; and then he said: Now I am sure that I am more 
sinfuUer than ever I was. Thus he rode sorrowing, and half a day 
he was out of despair, till that he came into a deep valley. And when 
Sir Launcelot saw he might not ride up into the mountain, he there 
alit under an apple tree, and there he left his helm and his shield, 
and put his horse unto pasture. And then he laid him down to sleep. 
And then him thought there came an old man afore him, the which 
said: Ah, Launcelot of evil faith and poor belief, wherefore is thy 
will turned so lightly toward thy deadly sin ? And when he had said 
thus he vanished away, and Launcelot wist not where he was become. 
Then he took his horse, and armed him; and as he rode by the way 
he saw a chapel where was a recluse, which had a window that she 


might see up to the altar. And all aloud she called Launcelot, for that 
he seemed a knight errant. And then he came, and she asked him 
what he was, and of what place, and where about he went to seek. 



And then he told her all together word by word, and the truth 
how it befell him at the tournament. And after told her his ad- 
vision that he had had that night in his sleep, and prayed her to tell 
him what it might mean, for he was not well content with it. Ah, 
Launcelot, said she, as long as ye were knight of earthly knighthood 
ye were the most marvellous man of the world, and most adven- 
turous. Now, said the lady, sithen ye be set among the knights of 
heavenly adventures, if adventure fell thee contrary at that tourna- 
ment have thou no marvel, for that tournament yesterday was but 
a tokening of Our Lord. And not for then there was none enchant- 
ment, for they at the tournament were earthly knights. The tourna- 
ment was a token to see who should have most knights, either 
Eliazar, the son of King Pelles, or Argustus, the son of King Harlon. 
But Eliazar was all clothed in white, and Argustus was covered in 
black, the which were come. All what this betokeneth I shall tell 
you. The day of Pentecost, when King Arthur held his court, it 
befell that earthly kings and knights took a tournament together, 
that is to say the quest of the Sangreal. The earthly knights were 
they the which were clothed all in black, and the covering betokeneth 
the sins whereof they be not confessed. And they with the covering 
of white betokeneth virginity, and they that chose chastity. And 
thus was the quest begun in them. Then thou beheld the sinners and 
the good men, and when thou sawest the sinners overcome, thou 
inclinest to that party for bobaunce and pride of the world, and all 
that must be left in that quest, for in this quest thou shalt have many 
fellows and thy betters. For thou art so feeble of evil trust and good 
belief, this made it when thou were there where they took thee and 
led thee into the forest. And anon there appeared the Sangreal unto 


the white knights, but thou was so feeble of good beHef and faith 
that thou mightest not abide it for all the teaching of the good man, 
but anon thou turnest to the sinners, and that caused thy misad- 
venture that thou should'st know good from evil and vain glory of 
the world, the which is not worth a pear. And for great pride thou 
madest great sorrow that thou haddest not overcome all the white 
knights with the covering of white by whom was betokened vir- 
ginity and chastity; and therefore God was wroth with you, for God 
loveth no such deeds in this quest. And this advision signifieth that 
thou were of evil faith and of poor belief, the which will make thee 
to fall into the deep pit of hell if thou keep thee not. Now have I 
warned thee of thy vain glory and of thy pride, that thou hast many 
times erred against thy Maker. Beware of everlasting pain, for of 
all earthly knights I have most pity of thee, for I know well thou 
hast not thy p)eer of any earthly sinful man. And so she commended 
Sir Launcelot to dinner. And after dinner he took his horse and 
commended her to God, and so rode into a deep valley, and there he 
saw a river and an high mountain. And through the water he must 
needs pass, the which was hideous; and then in the name of God 
he took it with good heart. And when he came over he saw an 
armed knight, horse and man black as any bear; without any word 
he smote Sir Launcelot's horse to the earth; and so he passed on, he 
wist not where he was become. And then he took his helm and his 
shield, and thanked God of his adventure. 

Here leaveth off the story of Sir Launcelot, and spea\ we of 
Sir Gawayne, the which is the sixteenth boo\ 




WHEN Sir Gawaine was departed from his fellowship he 
rode long without any adventure. For he found not the 
tenth part of adventure as he was wont to do. For Sir 
Gawaine rode from Whitsuntide until Michaelmas and found 
none adventure that pleased him. So on a day it befell Gawaine met 
with Sir Ector de Maris, and either made great joy of other that it 
were marvel to tell. And so they told every each other, and com- 
plained them greatly that they could find none adventure. Truly, 
said Sir Gawaine unto Sir Ector, I am nigh weary of this quest, 
and loth I am to follow further in strange countries. One thing 
marvelled me, said Sir Ector, I have met with twenty knights, 
fellows of mine, and all they complain as I do. I have marvel, said 
Sir Gawaine, where that . Sir Launcelot, your brother, is. Truly, 
said Sir Ector, I cannot hear of him, nor of Sir Galahad, Percivale, 
nor Sir Bors. Let them be, said Sir Gawaine, for they four have no 
peers. And if one thing were not in Sir Launcelot he had no fellow 
of none earthly man; but he is as we be, but if he took more pain 
upon him. But an these four be met together they will be loth that 
any man meet with them; for an they fail of the Sangreal it is in 
waste of all the remnant to recover it. Thus as Ector and Gawaine 
rode more than eight days. And on a Saturday they found an old 
chapel, the which was wasted that there seemed no man thither 
repaired; and there they alit, and set their spears at the door, and in 
they entered into the chapel, and there made their orisons a great 
while, and set them down in the sieges of the chapel. And as they 
spake of one thing and other, for heaviness they fell on sleep, and 
there befel them both marvellous adventures. Sir Gawaine him 
seemed he came into a meadow full of herbs and flowers, and there 
he saw a rack of bulls, an hundred and fifty, that were proud and 
black, save three of them were all white, and one had a black spot, 


and the other two were so fair and so white that they might be 
no whiter. And these three bulls which were so fair were tied with 
two strong cords. And the remnant of the bulls said among them: 
Go we hence to seek better pasture. And so some went, and some 
came again, but they were so lean that they might not stand upright; 
and of the bulls that were so white, that one came again and no 
more. But when this white bull was come again among these other 
there rose up a great cry for lack of wind that failed them; and so 
they departed one here and another there: this ad vision befell 
Gawaine that night. 



But to Ector de Maris befell another vision the contrary. For it 
seemed him that his brother. Sir Launcelot, and he alit out of a 
chair and leapt upon two horses, and the one said to the other: Go 
we seek that we shall not find. And him thought that a man beat 
Sir Launcelot, and despoiled him, and clothed him in another array, 
the which was all full of knots, and set him upon an ass, and so he 
rode till he came to the fairest well that ever he saw; and Sir 
Launcelot alit and would have drunk of that well. And when he 
stooped to drink of the water the water sank from him. And when 
Sir Launcelot saw that, he turned and went thither as the head 
came from. And in the meanwhile he trowed that himself and Sir 
Ector rode till that they came to a rich man's house where there 
was a wedding. And there he saw a king the which said : Sir knight, 
here is no place for you. And then he turned again unto the chair 
that he came from. Thus within a while both Gawaine and Ector 
awaked, and either told other of their advision, the which mar- 
velled them greatly. Truly, said Ector, I shall never be merry till I 
hear tidings of my brother Launcelot. Now as they sat thus talking 
they saw an hand showing unto the elbow, and was covered with 
red samite, and upon that hung a bridle not right rich, and held 
within the fist a great candle which burned right clear, and so 


passed afore them, and entered into the chapel, and then vanished 
away and they wist not where. And anon came down a voice which 
said: Knights of full evil faith and of poor belief, these two things 
have failed you, and therefore ye may not come to the adventures 
of the Sangreal. Then first spake Gawaine and said: Ector, have 
ye heard these words? Yea truly, said Sir Ector, I heard all. Now 
go we, said Sir Ector, unto some hermit that will tell us of our 
advision, for it seemeth me we labour all in vain. And so they de- 
parted and rode into a valley, and there met with a squire which 
rode on an hackney, and they saluted him fair. Sir, said Gawaine, 
can thou teach us to any hermit? Here is one in a little mountain, 
but it is so rough there may no horse go thither, and therefore 
ye must go upon foot; there shall ye find a poor house, and there is 
Nacien the hermit, which is the holiest man in this country. And 
so they departed either from other. And then in a valley they met 
with a knight all armed, which proffered them to joust as far as he 
saw them. In the name of God, said Sir Gawaine, sith I departed 
from Camelot there was none proffered me to joust but once. And 
now, sir, said Ector, let me joust with him. Nay, said Gawaine, 
ye shall not but if I be beat; it shall not forethink me then if ye 
go after me. And then either embraced other to joust and came 
together as fast as their horses might run, and brast their shields 
and the mails, and the one more than the other; and Gawaine was 
wounded in the left side, but the other knight was smitten through 
the breast, and the spear came out on the other side, and so they 
fell both out of their saddles, and in the falling they brake both their 
spears. Anon Gawaine arose and set his hand to his sword, and cast 
his shield afore him. But all for naught was it, for the knight had 
no power to rise against him. Then said Gawaine: Ye must yield 
you as an overcome man, or else I may slay you. Ah, sir knight, said 
he, I am but dead, for God's sake and of your gentleness lead me 
here unto an abbey that I may receive my Creator. Sir, said 
Gawaine, I know no house of religion hereby. Sir, said the knight, 
set me on an horse tofore you, and I shall teach you. Gawaine set 
him up in the saddle, and he leapt up behind him for to sustain 
him, and so came to an abbey where they were well received; and 
anon he was unarmed, and received his Creator. Then he prayed 


Gawaine to draw out the truncheon of the spear out of his body. 
Then Gawaine asked him what he was that knew him not. I am, 
said he, of King Arthur's court, and was a fellow of the Round 
Table, and we were brethren sworn together; and now Sir Gawaine, 
thou hast slain me, and my name is Uwaine les Avoutres, that 
sometime was son unto King Uriens, and was in the quest of the 
Sangreal; and now forgive it thee God, for it shall ever be said that 
the one sworn brother hath slain the other. 



Alas, said Gawaine, that ever this misadventure is befallen me. 
No force, said Uwaine, sith I shall die this death, of a much more 
worshipfuUer man's hand might I not die; but when ye come to 
the court recommend me unto my lord. King Arthur, and all those 
that be left on live, and for old brotherhood think on me. Then 
began Gawaine to weep, and Ector also. And then Uwaine himself 
and Sir Gawaine drew out the truncheon of the spear, and anon 
departed the soul from the body. Then Sir Gawaine and Sir Ector 
buried him as men ought to bury a king's son, and made write upon 
his name, and by whom he was slain. Then departed Gawaine and 
Ector as heavy as they might for their misadventure, and so rode 
till that they came to the rough mountain, and there they tied their 
horses and went on foot to the hermitage. And when they were 
come up they saw a poor house, and beside the chapel a little 
courtelage, where Nacien the hermit gathered worts, as he which 
had tasted none other meat of a great while. And when he saw the 
errant knights he came toward them and saluted them, and they him 
again. Fair lords, said he, what adventure brought you hither? 
Sir, said Gawaine, to speak with you for to be confessed. Sir, said 
the hermit, I am ready. Then they told him so much that he wist well 
what they were. And then he thought to counsel them if he might. 
Then began Gawaine first and told him of his advision that he had 
had in the chapel, and Ector told him all as it is afore rehearsed. 


Sir, said the hermit unto Sir Gawaine, the fair meadow and the 
rack therein ought to be understood the Round Table, and by the 
meadow ought to be understood humihty and patience, those be the 
things which be always green and quick; for men may no time 
overcome humility and patience, therefore was the Round Table 
founded; and the chivalry hath been at all times so by the fraternity 
which was there that she might not be overcome; for men said she 
was founded in patience and in humility. At the rack ate an hun- 
dred and fifty bulls; but they ate not in the meadow, for their 
hearts should be set in humility and patience, and the bulls were 
proud and black save only three. By the bulls is to understand the 
fellowship of the Round Table, which for their sin and their wicked- 
ness be black. Blackness is to say without good or virtuous works. 
And the three bulls which were white save only one that was 
spotted: the two white betoken Sir Galahad and Sir Percivale, for 
they be maidens clene and without spot; and the third that had a 
spot signifteth Sir Bors de Ganis, which trespassed but once in his 
virginity, but sithen he kept himself so well in chastity that all is 
forgiven him and his misdeeds. And why those three were tied by 
the necks, they be three knights in virginity and chastity, and there 
is no pride smitten in them. And the black bulls which said: Go 
we hence, they were those which at Pentecost at the high feast took 
upon them to go in the quest of the Sangreal without confession: 
they might not enter in the meadow of humility and patience. And 
therefore they returned into waste countries, that signifieth death, 
for there shall die many of them : every each of them shall slay other 
for sin, and they that shall escape shall be so lean that it shall be 
marvel to see them. And of the three bulls without spot, the one 
shall come again, and the other two never. 



Then spake Nacien unto Ector: Sooth it is that Launcelot and 
ye come down off one chair: the chair betokeneth mastership and 
lordship which ye came down from. But ye two knights, said the 


hermit, ye go to seek that ye shall never find, that is the Sangreal; 
for it is the secret thing of our Lord Jesu Christ. What is to mean 
that Sir Launcelot fell down off his horse: he hath left pride and 
taken him to humility, for he had cried mercy loud for his sin, and 
sore repented him, and our Lord hath clothed him in his clothing 
which is full of knots, that is the hair that he weareth daily. And 
the ass that he rode upon is a beast of humility, for God would not 
ride upon no steed, nor upon no palfrey; so in ensample that an 
ass betokeneth meekness, that thou sawest Sir Launcelot ride on in 
thy sleep. And the well whereas the water sank from him when he 
should have taken thereof, and when he saw he might not have it, 
he returned thither from whence he came, for the well betokeneth 
the high grace of God, the more men desire it to take it, the more 
shall be their desire. So when he came nigh the Sangreal, he meeked 
him that he held him not a man worthy to be so nigh the holy vessel, 
for he had been so befouled in deadly sin by the space of many 
years; yet when he kneeled to drink of the well, there he saw great 
providence of the Sangreal. And for he had served so long the devil, 
he shall have vengeance four and twenty days long, for that he hath 
been the devil's servant four and twenty years. And then soon after 
he shall return unto Camelot out of this country, and he shall say a 
part of such things as he hath found. Now will I tell you what be- 
tokeneth the hand with the candle and the bridle: that is to under- 
stand the holy ghost where charity is ever, and the bridle signifieth 
abstinence. For when she is bridled in Christian man's heart she 
holdeth him so short that he falleth not in deadly sin. And the 
candle which sheweth clearness and sight signifieth the right way 
of Jesu Christ. And when he went and said : Knights of poor faith 
and of wicked belief, these three things failed, charity, abstinence, 
and truth; therefore ye may not attain that high adventure of the 



Certes, said Gawaine, soothly have ye said, that I see it openly. 
Now, I pray you, good man and holy father, tell me why we met not 


with so many adventures as we were wont to do, and commonly 
have the better. I shall tell you gladly, said the good man; the ad- 
venture of the Sangreal which ye and many other have under- 
taken the quest of it and find it not, the cause is for it appeareth not 
to sinners. Wherefore marvel not though ye fail thereof, and many 
other. For ye be an untrue knight, and a great murderer, and to 
good men signifieth other things than murder. For I dare say as 
sinful as Sir Launcelot hath been, sith that he went into the quest 
of the Sangreal he slew never man, nor nought shall, till that he come 
unto Camelot again, for he hath taken upon him for to forsake 
sin. And nere that he nys not stable, but by his thought he is likely 
to turn again, he should be next to achieve it save Galahad, his 
son. But God knoweth his thought and his unstableness, and yet 
shall he die right an holy man, and no doubt he hath no fellow of 
no earthly sinful man. Sir, said Gawaine, it seemeth me by your 
words that for our sins it will not avail us to travel in this quest. 
Truly, said the good man, there be an hundred such as ye be that 
never shall prevail, but to have shame. And when they had heard 
these voices they commended him unto God. Then the good man 
called Gawaine, and said:. It is long time passed sith that ye were 
made knight, and never sithen thou servedst thy Maker, and now 
thou art so old a tree that in thee is neither life nor fruit; where- 
fore bethink thee that thou yield to Our Lord the bare rind, sith 
the fiend hath the leaves and the fruit. Sir, said Gawaine, an I had 
leisure I would speak with you, but my fellow here. Sir Ector, is gone, 
and abideth me yonder beneath the hill. Well, said the good man, 
thou were better to be counselled. Then departed Gawaine and came 
to Ector, and so took their horses and rode till they came to a 
forester's house, which harboured them right well. And on the morn 
they departed from their host, and rode long or they could find 
any adventure. 




When Bors was departed from Camelot he met with a reUgious 
man riding on an ass, and Sir Bors saluted him. Anon the good 
man knew him that he was one of the knights errant that was in 
the quest of the Sangreal. What are ye? said the good man. Sir, 
said he, I am a knight that fain would be counselled in the quest 
of the Sangreal, for he shall have much earthly worship that may 
bring it to an end. Certes, said the good man, that is sooth, for he 
shall be the best knight of the world, and the fairest of all the 
fellowship. But wit you well there shall none attain it but by clean- 
ness, that is pure confession. So rode they together till that they 
came to an hermitage. And there he prayed Bors to dwell all that 
night with him. And so he alit and put away his armour, and 
prayed him that he might be confessed; and so they went into the 
chapel, and there he was clean confessed, and they ate bread and 
drank water together. Now, said the good man, I pray thee that 
thou eat none other till that thou sit at the table where the Sangreal 
shall be. Sir, said he, I agree me thereto, but how wit ye that I shall 
sit there. Yes, said the good man, that know I, but there shall be 
but few of your fellows with you. All is welcome, said Sir Bors, 
that God sendeth me. Also, said the good man, instead of a shirt, 
and in sign of chastisement, ye shall wear a garment; therefore I pray 
you do off all your clothes and your shirt : and so he did. And then 
he took him a scarlet coat, so that should be instead of his shirt till 
he had fulfilled the quest of the Sangreal; and the good man found 
in him so marvellous a life and so stable, that he marvelled and felt 
that he was never corrupt in fleshly lusts, but in one time that he 
begat Elian le Blank. Then he armed him, and took his leave, and so 
departed. And so a little from thence he looked up into a tree, and 
there he saw a passing great bird upon an old tree, and it was pass- 
ing dry, without leaves; and the bird sat above, and had birds, the 
which were dead for hunger. So smote he himself with his beak, 
the which was great and sharp. And so the great bird bled till that 


he died among his birds. And the young birds took the U£e by the 
blood of the great bird. When Bors saw this he wist well it was a 
great tokening; for when he saw the great bird arose not, then he 
took his horse and yede his way. So by evensong, by adventure he 
came to a strong tower and an high, and there was he lodged gladly. 



And when he was unarmed they led him into an high tower 
where was a lady, young, lusty, and fair. And she received him with 
great joy, and made him to sit down by her, and so was he set to sup 
with flesh and many dainties. And when Sir Bors saw that, he be- 
thought him on his penance, and bad a squire to bring him water. 
And so he brought him, and he made sops therein and ate them. 
Ah, said the lady, I trow ye like not my meat. Yes, truly, said Sir 
Bors, God thank you, madam, but I may eat none other meat this 
day. Then she spake no more as at that time, for she was loth to 
displease him. Then after supper they spake of one thing and other. 
With that came a squire and said: Madam, ye must purvey you 
tomorn for a champion, for else your sister will have this castle 
and also your lands, except ye can find a knight that will fight tomorn 
in your quarrel against Pridam le Noire. Then she made sorrow 
and said: Ah, Lord God, wherefore granted ye to hold my land, 
whereof I should now be disherited without reason and right? And 
when Sir Bors had heard her say thus, he said: I shall comfort you. 
Sir, said she, I shall tell you there was here a king that hight Aniause, 
which held all this land in his keeping. So it mishapped he loved 
a gentlewoman a great deal elder than I. So took he her all this land 
to her keeping, and all his men to govern; and she brought up many 
evil customs whereby she put to death a great part of his kinsmen. 
And when he saw that, he let chase her out of this land, and betook 
it me, and all this land in my demesnes. But anon as that worthy 
king was dead, this other lady began to war upon me, and hath 
destroyed many of my men, and turned them against me, that I have 


wellnigh no man left me; and I have nought else but this high tower 
that she left me. And yet she hath promised me to have this tower, 
without I can find a knight to fight with her champion. Now tell 
me, said Sir Bors, what is that Pridam le Noire? Sir, said she, he is 
the most doubted man of this land. Now may ye send her word that 
ye have found a knight that shall fight with that Pridam le Noire in 
God's quarrel and yours. Then that lady was not a little glad, and 
sent word that she was purveyed, and that night Bors had good 
cheer; but in no bed he would come, but laid him on the floor, nor 
never would do otherwise till that he had met with the quest of the 



And anon as he was asleep him befel a vision, that there came to 
him two birds, the one as white as a swan, and the other was mar- 
vellous black; but it was not so great as the other, but in the likeness 
of a Raven. Then the white bird came to him, and said: An thou 
wouldst give me meat and serve me I should give thee all the riches 
of the world, and I shall make thee as fair and as white as I am. 
So the white bird departed, and there came the black bird to him, 
and said: An thou wolt, serve me to-morrow and have me in no 
despite though I be black, for wit thou well that more availeth my 
blackness than the other's whiteness. And then he departed. And he 
had another vision: him thought that he came to a great place which 
seemed a chapel, and there he found a chair set on the left side, which 
was wormeaten and feeble. And on the right hand were two flowers 
like a lily, and the one would have benome the other's whiteness, 
but a good man departed them that the one touched not the other; 
and then out of every flower came out many flowers, and fruit great 
plenty. Then him thought the good man said: Should not he do 
great folly that would let these two flowers perish for to succour the 
rotten tree, that it fell not to the earth? Sir, said he, it seemeth me 
that this wood might not avail. Now keep thee, said the good man, 
that thou never see such adventure befall thee. Then he awaked and 


made a sign of the cross in middes of the forehead, and so rose and 
clothed him. And there came the lady of the place, and she saluted 
him, and he her again, and so went to a chapel and heard their 
service. And there came a company of knights, that the lady had 
sent for, to lead Sir Bors unto battle. Then asked he his arms. And 
when he was armed she prayed him to take a little morsel to dine. 
Nay, madam, said he, that shall I not do till I have done my battle, 
by the grace of God. And so he lept upon his horse, and departed all 
the knights and men with him. And as soon as these two ladies met 
together, she which Bors should fight for complained her, and said: 
Madam, ye have done me wrong to bereave me of my lands that 
King Aniause gave me, and full loth I am there should be any 
battle. Ye shall not choose, said the other lady, or else your knight 
withdraw him. Then there was the cry made, which party had the 
better of the two knights, that his lady should rejoice all the land. 
Now departed the one knight here, and the other there. Then 
they came together with such a raundon that they pierced their 
shields and their hauberks, and the spears flew in pieces, and they 
wounded either other sore. Then hurtled they together, so that they 
fell both to the earth, and their horses betwixt their legs; and anon 
they arose, and set hands to their swords, and smote each one other 
upon the heads, that they made great wounds and deep, that the 
blood went out of their bodies. For there found Sir Bors greater 
defence in that knight more than he weened. For that Pridam was 
a passing good knight, and he wounded Sir Bors full evil, and he 
him again; but ever this Pridam held the stour in like hard. That 
perceived Sir Bors, and suffered him till he was nigh attaint. And 
then he ran upon him more and more, and the other went back for 
dread of death. So in his withdrawing he fell upright, and Sir Bors 
drew his helm so strongly that he rent it from his head, and gave 
him great strokes with the flat of his sword upon the visage, and bad 
him yield him or he should slay him. Then he cried him mercy and 
said: Fair knight, for God's love slay me not, and I shall ensure 
thee never to war against thy lady, but be alway toward her. Then 
Bors let him be; then the old lady fled with all her knights. 







So then came Bors to all those that held lands of his lady, and said 
he should destroy them but if they did such service unto her as 
longed to their lands. So they did their homage, and they that would 
not were chased out of their lands. Then befel that young lady to 
come to her estate again, by the mighty prowess of Sir Bors de 
Ganis. So when all the country was well set in peace, then Sir Bors 
took his leave and departed ; and she thanked him greatly, and would 
have given him great riches, but he refused it. Then he rode all 
that day till night, and came to an harbour to a lady which knew him 
well enough, and made of him great joy. Upon the morn, as soon 
as the day appeared, Bors departed from thence, and so rode into 
a forest unto the hour of midday, and there befel him a marvellous 
adventure. So he met at the departing of the two ways two knights 
that led Lionel, his brother, all naked, bounden upon a strong 
hackney, and his hands bounden tofore his breast. And every each 
of them held in his hands thorns wherewith they went beating him 
so sore that the blood trailed down more than in an hundred places 
of his body, so that he was all blood tofore and behind, but he said 
never a word; as he which was great of heart he suffered all that 
ever they did to him as though he had felt none anguish. Anon Sir 
Bors dressed him to rescue him that was his brother; and so he 
looked upon the other side of him, and saw a knight which brought 
a fair gentlewoman, and would have set her in the thickest place of 
the forest for to have been the more surer out of the way from them 
that sought him. And she which was nothing assured cried with an 
high voice: Saint Mary succour your maid. And anon she espied 
where Sir Bors came riding. And when she came nigh him she 
deemed him a knight of the Round Table, whereof she hoped to 
have some comfort; and then she conjured him: By the faith that he 


ought unto him in whose service thou art entered in, and for the 
faith ye owe unto the high order of knighthood, and for the noble 
King Arthur's sake, that I suppose that made thee knight, that thou 
help me, and suffer me not to be shamed of this knight. When Bors 
heard her say thus he had so much sorrow there he nyst not what to 
do. For if I let my brother be in adventure he must be slain, and 
that would I not for all the earth. And if I help not the maid she is 
shamed for ever, and also she shall lose her virginity the which she 
shall never get again. Then lift he up his eyes and said weeping: 
Fair sweet Lord Jesu Christ, whose liege man I am, keep Lionel, 
my brother, that these knights slay him not, and for pity of you, and 
for Mary's sake, I shall succour this maid. 


DAMOSEL; and how it was told him that LIONEL WAS DEAD 

Then dressed he him unto the knight the which had the gentle- 
woman, and then he cried : Sir knight, let your hand off that maiden, 
or ye be but dead. And then he set down the maiden, and was 
armed at all pieces save he lacked his spear. Then he dressed his 
shield, and drew out his sword, and Bors smote him so hard that it 
went through his shield and habergeon on the left shoulder. And 
through great strength he beat him down to the earth, and at the 
pulling out of Bors' spear there he swooned. Then came Bors to 
the maid and said: How seemeth it you? of this knight ye be de- 
livered at this time. Now sir, said she, I pray you lead me there as 
this knight had me. So shall I do gladly : and took the horse of the 
wounded knight, and set the gentlewoman upon him, and so 
brought her as she desired. Sir knight, said she, ye have better sped 
than ye weened, for an I had lost my maidenhead, five hundred men 
should have died for it. What knight was he that had you in the 
forest? By my faith, said she, he is my cousin. So wot I never with 
what engyn the fiend enchafed him, for yesterday he took me from 
my father privily; for I nor none of my father's men mistrusted him 
not, and if he had had my maidenhead he should have died for the 


sin, and his body shamed and dishonoured for ever. Thus as she 
stood talking with him there came twelve knights seeking after her, 
and anon she told them all how Bors had delivered her; then they 
made great joy, and besought him to come to her father, a great 
lord, and he should be right welcome. Truly, said Bors, that may not 
be at this time, for I have a great adventure to do in this country. 
So he commended them unto God and departed. Then Sir Bors 
rode after Lionel, his brother, by the trace of their horses, thus he 
rode seeking a great while. Then he overtook a man clothed in a 
religious clothing, and rode on a strong black horse blacker than a 
bear, and said: Sir knight, what seek you? Sir, said he, I seek my 
brother that I saw within a while beaten with two knights. Ah, 
Bors, discomfort you not, nor fall into no wanhope, for I shall tell 
you tidings such as they be, for truly he is dead. Then showed he 
him a new slain body lying in a bush, and it seemed him well that 
it was the body of Lionel; and then he made such a sorrow that he 
fell to the earth all in a swoon, and lay a great while there. And 
when he came to himself he said: Fair brother, sith the company of 
you and me is departed shall I never have joy in my heart, and now 
he which I have taken unto my master. He be my help. And when 
he had said thus he took his body lightly in his arms, and put it upon 
the arson of his saddle. And then he said to the man: Canst thou 
tell me unto some chapel where that I may bury this body? Come 
on, said he, here is one fast by; and so long they rode till they saw a 
fair tower, and afore it there seemed an old feeble chapel. And then 
they alit both, and put him into a tomb of marble. 



Now leave we him here, said the good man, and go we to our 
harbour till to-morrow; we will come here again to do him service. 
Sir, said Bors, be ye a priest ? Yea forsooth, said he. Then I pray you 
tell me a dream that befell to me the last night. Say on, said he. 
Then he began so much to tell him of the great bird in the forest, and 


after told him of his birds, one white, another black, and of the rotten 
tree, and of the white flowers. Sir, I shall tell you a part now, and the 
other dele to-morrow. The white fowl betokeneth a gentlewoman, 
fair and rich, which loved thee paramours, and hath loved thee long; 
and if thou warne her love she shall go die anon, if thou have no 
pity on her. That signifieth the great bird, the which shall riake thee 
to warne her. Now for no fear that thou hast, nor for no dread that 
thou hast of God, thou shalt not warne her, but thou wouldst not do 
it for to be holden chaste, for to conquer the loos of the vain glory 
of the world; for that shall befall thee now an thou warne her, that 
Launcelot, the good knight, thy cousin, shall die. And therefore 
men shall now say that thou art a manslayer, both of thy brother. 
Sir Lionel, and of thy cousin. Sir Launcelot du Lake, the which thou 
mightest have saved and rescued easily, but thou weenest to rescue 
a maid which pertaineth nothing to thee. Now look thou whether 
it had been greater harm of thy brother's death, or else to have suf- 
fered her to have lost her maidenhood. Then asked he him : Hast thou 
heard the tokens of thy dream the which I have told to you ? Yea for- 
sooth, said Sir Bors, all your exposition and declaring of my dream I 
have well understood and heard. Then said the man in this black 
clothing; Then is it in thy default if Sir Launcelot, thy cousin, die. 
Sir, said Bors, that were me loth, for wit ye well there is nothing in 
the world but I had lever do it than to see my lord Sir Launcelot du 
Lake, to die in my default. Choose ye now the one or the other, 
said the good man. And then he led Sir Bors into an high tower, 
and there he found knights and ladies: those ladies said he was wel- 
come, and so they unarmed him. And when he was in his doublet 
men brought him a mantle furred with ermine, and put it about him; 
and then they made him such cheer that he had forgotten all his 
sorrow and anguish, and only set his heart in these delights and 
dainties, and took no thought more for his brother, Sir Lionel, 
neither of Sir Launcelot du Lake, his cousin. And anon came out 
of a chamber to him the fairest lady that ever he saw, and more 
richer bysene than ever he saw Queen Guenever or any other estate. 
Lo, said they. Sir Bors, here is the lady unto whom we owe all our 
service, and I trow she be the richest lady and the fairest of all the 
world, and the which loveth you best above all other knights, for she 


will have no knight but you. And when he understood that language 
he was abashed. Not for then she saluted him, and he her; and then 
they sat down together and spake of many things, in so much that 
she besought him to be her love, for she had loved him above all 
earthly men, and she should make him richer than ever was man of 
his age. When Bors understood her words he was right evil at ease, 
which in no manner would not break chasity, so wist not he how to 
answer her. 



Alas, said she, Bors, shall ye not do my will? Madam, said Bors, 
there is no lady in the world whose will I will fulfill as of this thing, 
for my brother lieth dead which was slain right late. Ah Bors, said 
she, I have loved you long for the great beauty I have seen in you, 
and the great hardiness that I have heard of you, that needs ye must 
lie by me this night, and therefore I pray you grant it me. Truly 
said he, I shall not do it in no manner wise. Then she made him 
such sorrow as though she would have died. Well Bors, said she, 
unto this have ye brought me, nigh to mine end. And therewith she 
took him by the hand, and bad him behold her. And ye shall see how 
I shall die for your love. Ah, said then he, that shall I never see. 
Then she departed and went up into an high battlement, and led 
with her twelve gentlewomen; and when they were above, one of 
the gentlewomen cried, and said: Ah, Sir Bors, gentle knight have 
mercy on us all, and suffer my lady to have her will, and if ye do not 
we must suffer death with our lady, for to fall down off this high 
tower, and if ye suffer us thus to die for so little a thing all ladies 
and gentlewomen will say of you dishonour. Then looked he up- 
ward, they seemed all ladies of great estate, and richly and well 
bisene. Then had he of them great pity; not for that he was un- 
counselled in himself that lever he had they all had lost their souls 
than he his, and with that they fell adown all at once unto the earth. 
And when he saw that, he was all abashed, and had thereof great 
marvel. With that he blessed his body and his visage. And anon he 


heard a great noise and a great cry, as though all the fiends o£ hell 
had been about him; and therewith he saw neither tower nor lady, 
nor gentlewoman, nor no chapel where he brought his brother to. 
Then held he up both his hands to the heaven, and said : Fair Father 
God, I am grievously escaped; and then he took his arms and his 
horse and rode on his way. Then he heard a clock smite on his right 
hand; and thither he came to an Abbey on his right hand, closed 
with high walls, and there was let in. Then they supposed that he 
was one of the quest of the Sangreal, so they led him into a chamber 
and unarmed him. Sirs, said Sir Bors, if there be any holy man in 
this house I pray you let me speak with him. Then one of them led 
him unto the Abbot, which was in a Chapel. And then Sir Bors 
saluted him, and he him again. Sir, said Bors, I am a knight errant; 
and told him all the adventure which he had seen. Sir Knight, said 
the Abbot, I wot not what ye be, for I weened never that a knight 
of your age might have been so strong in the grace of our Lord Jesu 
Christ. Not for then ye shall go unto your rest, for I will not counsel 
you this day, it is too late, and to-morrow I shall counsel you as I can. 



And that night was Sir Bors served richly; and on the morn early 
he heard mass, and the Abbot came to him, and bad him good mor- 
row, and Bors to him again. And then he told him he was a fellow 
of the quest of the Sangreal, and how he had charge of the holy 
man to eat bread and water. Then said the Abbot: Our Lord Jesu 
Christ showed him unto you in the likeness of a soul that suffered 
great anguish for us, syne He was put upon the cross, and bled 
His heart blood for mankind: there was the token and the likeness 
of the Sangreal that appeared afore you, for the blood that the great 
fowl bled revived the chickens from death to life. And by the bare 
tree is betokened the world which is naked and without fruit but if 
it come to Our Lord. Also the lady for whom ye fought for, and 
King Aniause which was lord there tofore, betokeneth Jesu Christ 


which is the King of the world. And that ye fought with the cham- 
pion for the lady, this it betokeneth: for when ye took the battle 
for the lady, by her shall ye understand the new law of Jesu Christ 
and Holy Church; and by the other lady ye shall understand the 
old law and the fiend, which all day warreth against Holy Church, 
therefore ye did your battle with right. For ye be Jesu Christ's 
knights, therefore ye ought to be defenders of Holy Church. And by 
the black bird might ye understand Holy Church, which sayeth I 
am black, but he is fair. And by the white bird might men under- 
stand the fiend, and I shall tell you how the swan is white without 
forth, and black within: it is hypocrisy which is without yellow or 
pale, and seemeth without forth the servants of Jesu Christ, but they 
be within so horrible of filth and sin, and beguile the world evil. 
Also when the fiend appeared to thee in likeness of a man of religion, 
and blamed thee that thou left thy brother for a lady, so led thee 
where thou seemed thy brother was slain, but he is yet on live; and all 
was for to put thee in error, and bring thee unto wanhope and 
lechery, for he knew thou were tender hearted, and all was for thou 
shouldst not find the blessed adventure of the Sangreal. And the 
third fowl betokeneth the strong battle against the fair ladies which 
were all devils. Also the dry tree and the white lily: the dry tree 
betokeneth thy brother Lionel, which is dry without virtue, and there- 
fore many men ought to call him the rotten tree, and the wormeaten 
tree, for he is a murderer and doth contrary to the order of knight- 
hood. And the two white flowers signify two maidens, the one is 
a knight which was wounded the other day, and the other is the 
gentlewoman which ye rescued; and why the other flower drew 
nigh the other, that was the knight which would have befouled her 
and himself both. And Sir Bors, ye had been a great fool and in great 
peril for to have seen those two flowers perish for to succour the 
rotten tree, for and they had sinned together they had been damned; 
and for that ye rescued them both, men might call you a very knight 
and servant of Jesu Christ. 




Then went Sir Bors from thence and commended the abbot unto 
God, And then he rode all that day, and harboured with an old lady. 
And on the morn he rode to a castle in a valley, and there he met 
with a yeoman going a great pace toward a forest. Say me, said 
Sir Bors, canst thou tell me of any adventure? Sir, said he, here 
shall be under this castle a great and a marvellous tournament. Of 
what folks shall it be? said Sir Bors. The Earl of Plains shall be in 
the one party, and the lady's nephew of Hervin on the other party. 
Then Bors thought to be there if he might meet wdth his brother 
Sir Lionel, or any other of his fellowship, which were in the quest 
of the Sangreal. And then he turned to an hermitage that was in 
the entry of the forest. And when he was come thither he found 
there Sir Lionel, his brother, which sat all armed at the entry of 
the chapel door for to abide there harbour till on the morn that 
the tournament shall be. And when Sir Bors saw him he had great 
joy of him, that it were marvel to tell of his joy. And then he alit 
off his horse, and said: Fair sweet brother, when came ye hither? 
Anon as Lionel saw him he said: Ah Bors, ye may not make none 
avaunt, but as for you I might have been slain; when ye saw two 
knights leading me away beating me, ye left me for to succour a 
gentlewoman, and suffered me in peril of death; for never erst ne 
did no brother to another so great an untruth. And for that misdeed 
now I ensure you but death, for well have ye deserved it; therefore 
keep thee from henceforward, and that shall ye find as soon as I 
am armed. When Sir Bors understood his brother's wrath he kneeled 
down to the earth and cried him mercy, holding up both his hands, 
and prayed him to forgive him his evil will. Nay, said Lionel, that 
shall never be an I may have the higher hand, that I make mine 
avow to God, thou shalt have death for it, for it were pity ye lived 
any longer. Right so he went in and took his harness, and mounted 
upon his horse, and came tofore him and said : Bors, keep thee from 
me, for I shall do to thee as I would to a felon or a traitor, for ye 


be the untruest knight that ever came out of so worthy an house as 
was King Bors' de Ganis which was our father, therefore start upon 
thy horse, and so shall ye be most at your advantage. And but if ye 
will I will run upon you there as ye stand upon foot, and so the 
shame shall be mine and the harm yours, but of that shame ne 
reck I nought. When Sir Bors saw that he must fight with his 
brother or else to die, he nist what to do; then his heart counselled 
him not thereto, inasmuch as Lionel was born or he, wherefore he 
ought to bear him reverence; yet kneeled he down afore Lionel's 
horse's feet, and said: Fair sweet brother, have mercy upon me and 
slay me not, and have in remembrance the great love which ought to 
be between us twain. What Sir Bors said to Lionel he recked not, 
for the fiend had brought him in such a will that he should slay him. 
Then when Lionel saw he would none other, and that he would 
not have risen to give him battle, he rushed over him so that he 
smote Bors with his horse, feet upward to the earth, and hurt him so 
sore that he swooned of distress, the which he felt in himself to 
have died without confession. So when Lionel saw this, he alit off 
his horse to have smitten off his head. And so he took him by the 
helm, and would have rent it from his head. Then came the hermit 
running unto him, which was a good man and of great age, and well 
had heard all the words that were between them, and so fell down 
upon Sir Bors. 



Then he said to Lionel: Ah gentle knight, have mercy upon me 
and on thy brother, for if thou slay him thou shalt be dead of sin, 
and that were sorrowful, for he is one of the worthiest knights of 
the world, and of the best conditions. So God help me, said Lionel, 
sir priest, but if ye flee from him I shall slay you, and he shall never 
the sooner be quit. Certes, said the good man, I have lever ye slay 
me than him, for my death shall not be great harm, not half so 
much as of his. Well, said Lionel, I am agreed; and set his hand 


to his sword and smote him so hard that his head yede backward. 
Not for that he restrained him of his evil will, but took his brother 
by the helm, and unlaced it to have stricken off his head, and had 
slain him without fail. But so it happed, Colgrevance, a fellow 
of the Round Table, came at that time thither as Our Lord's will was. 
And when he saw the good man slain he marvelled much what 
it might be. And then he beheld Lionel would have slain his 
brother, and knew Sir Bors which he loved right well. Then start 
he down and took Lionel by the shoulders, and drew him strongly 
aback from Bors, and said: Lionel, will ye slay your brother, the 
worthiest knight of the world one? and that should no good man 
suffer. Why, said Lionel, will ye let me ? therefore if ye intermit you 
in this I shall slay you, and him after. Why, said Colgrevance, is 
this sooth that ye will slay him ? Slay him will I, said he, whoso say 
the contrary, for he hath done so much against me that he hath well 
deserved it. And so ran upon him, and would have smitten him 
through the head, and Sir Colgrevance ran betwixt them and said: 
And ye be so hardy to do so more, we two shall meddle together. 
When Lionel understood his words he took his shield afore him, 
and asked him what that he was. And he told him, Colgrevance, 
one of his fellows. Then Lionel defied him, and gave him a great 
stroke through the helm. Then he drew his sword, for he was a pass- 
ing good knight, and defended him right manfully. So long dured 
the battle that Bors rose up all anguishly and beheld Colgrevance, 
the good knight, fought with his brother for his quarrel; then was 
he full sorry and heavy, and thought if Colgrevance slay him that 
was his brother he should never have joy; and if his brother slew 
Colgrevance the shame should ever be mine. Then would he have 
risen to have departed them, but he had not so much might to stand 
on foot; so he abode him so long till Colgrevance had the worse, 
for Lionel was of great chivalry and right hardy, for he had pierced 
the hauberk and the helm, that he abode but death, for he had lost 
much of his blood that it was marvel that he might stand upright. 
Then beheld he Sir Bors which sat dressing him upward and said: 
Ah, Bors, why come ye not to cast me out of peril of death, wherein 
I have put me to succour you which were right now nigh the death ? 
Certes, said Lionel, that shall not avail you, for none of you shall 


bear others warrant, but that ye shall die both of my hand. When 
Bors heard that, he did so much, he rose and put on his helm. Then 
perceived he first the hermit priest which was slain, then made he a 
marvellous sorrow upon him. 



Then often Colgrevance cried upon Sir Bors: Why will ye let 
me die here for your sake? if it please you that I die for you the 
death, it will please me the better for to save a worthy man. With 
that word Sir Lionel smote off the helm from his head. Then Col- 
grevance saw that he might not escape; then he said: Fair sweet 
Jesu, that I have misdone have mercy upon my soul, for such sorrow 
that my heart suflereth for goodness, and for alms deed that I would 
have done here, be to me alygement of penance unto my soul's health. 
At these words Lionel smote him so sore that he bare him to the 
earth. So he had slain Colgrevance he ran upon his brother as a 
fiendly man, and gave him such a stroke that he made him stoop. 
And he that was full of humility prayed him for God's love to leave 
this battle: For an it befel, fair brother, that I slew you or ye me, we 
should be dead of that sin. Never God me help but if I have on you 
mercy, and I may have the better hand. Then drew Bors his sword, 
all weeping, and said: Fair brother, God knoweth mine intent. Ah, 
fair brother, ye have done full evil this day to slay such an holy 
priest the which never trespassed. Also ye have slain a gentle knight, 
and one of our fellows. And well wot ye that I am not afeared of 
you greatly, but I dread the wrath of God, and this is an unkindly 
war, therefore God show miracle upon us both. Now God have 
mercy upon me though I defend my life against my brother; with 
that Bors lift up his hand and would have smitten his brother. 




And then he heard a voice that said : Flee Bors, and touch him not, 
or else thou shall slay him. Right so alit a cloud betwixt them in 
likeness of a fire and a marvellous flame, that both their two shields 
burnt. Then were they sore afraid, that they fell both to the earth, 
and lay there a great while in a swoon. And when they came to 
themself, Bors saw that his brother had no harm; then he held up 
both his hands, for he dread God had taken vengeance upon him. 
With that he heard a voice say: Bors, go hence, and bear thy brother 
no longer fellowship, but take thy way anon right to the sea, for 
Sir Percivale abideth thee there. Then he said to his brother: Fair 
sweet brother, forgive me for God's love all that I have trespassed 
unto you. Then he answered: God forgive it thee and I do gladly. 
So Sir Bors departed from him and rode the next way to the sea. 
And at the last by fortune he came to an Abbey which was nigh the 
sea. That night Bors rested him there; and in his sleep there came a 
voice to him and bad him go to the sea. Then he start up and made 
a sign of the Cross in the middes of his forehead, and took his har- 
ness, and made ready his horse, and mounted upon him; and at a 
broken wall he rode out, and rode so long till that he came to the 
sea. And on the strand he found a ship covered all with white 
samite, and he alit, and betook him to Jesu Christ. And as soon as 
he entered into the ship, the ship departed into the sea, and went so 
fast that him seemed the ship went flying, but it was soon dark so 
that he might know no man, and so he slept till it was day. Then he 
awaked, and saw in middes of the ship a knight lie all armed save 
his helm. Then knew he that it was Sir Percivale of Wales, and then 
he made of him right great joy; but Sir Percivale was abashed of 
him, and he asked him what he was. Ah, fair sir, said Bors, know 
ye me not? Certes, said he, I marvel how ye came hither, but if 
Our Lord brought ye hither Himself. Then Sir Bors smiled and 
did off his helm. Then Percivale knew him, and either made great 
joy of other, that it was marvel to hear. Then Bors told him how he 


came into the ship, and by whose admonishment; and either told 
other of their temptations, as ye have heard toforehand. So went they 
downward in the sea, one while backward, another while forward, 
and every each comforted other, and oft were in their prayers. Then 
said Sir Percivale: We lack nothing but Galahad, the good knight. 

And thus endeth the sixteenth boo\, which is of Sir 

Gawayne, Ector de Marys, and Sir Bors de 

Ganys, and Sir Percival. 

And here joUoweth the seventeenth boo\, which 
is of the noble knight Sir Galahad. 



NOW saith this story, when Galahad had rescued Percivale 
from the twenty knights, he yede then into a waste forest 
wherein he rode many journeys; and he found many 
adventures the which he brought to an end, whereof the story 
maketh here no mention. Then he took his way to the sea on a day, 
and it befel as he passed by a castle where was a wonder tournament, 
but they without had done so much that they within were put to 
the worse, yet were they within good knights enough. When Gala-. 
had saw that those within were at so great a mischief that men slew 
them at the entry of the castle, then he thought to help them, and 
put a spear forth and smote the first that he fell to the earth, and the 
spear brake to pieces. Then he drew his sword and smote there as 
they were thickest, and so he did wonderful deeds of arms that all 
they marvelled. Then it happened that Gawaine and Sir Ector de 
Maris were with the knights without. But when they espied the 
white shield with the red cross the one said to the other: Yonder 
is the good knight. Sir Galahad, the haut prince; now he should be 


a great fool which should meet with him to fight. So by adventure 
he came by Sir Gawaine, and he smote him so hard that he clave 
his helm and the coifle of iron unto his head, so that Gawaine fell 
to the earth; but the stroke was so great that it slanted down to the 
earth and carved the horse's shoulder in two. When Ector saw 
Gawaine down he drew him aside, and thought it no wisdom for to 
abide him, and also for natural love, that he was his uncle. Thus 
through his great hardiness he beat aback all the knights without. 
And then they within came out and chased them all about. But when 
Galahad saw there would none turn again he stole away privily so 
that none wist where he was become. Now by my head, said 
Gawaine to Ector, now are the wonders true that were said of Laun- 
celot du Lake, that the sword which stuck in the stone should give 
me such a buffet that I would not have it for the best castle in this 
world; and soothly now it is proved true, for never ere had I such a 
stroke of man's hand. Sir, said Ector, meseemeth your quest is done. 
And yours is not done, said Gawaine, but mine is done, I shall seek 
no further. Then Gawaine was borne into a castle and unarmed 
him, and laid him in a rich bed, and a leech found that he might live, 
and to be whole within a month. Thus Gawaine and Ector abode 
together, for Sir Ector would not away till Gawaine were whole. 
And the good knight, Galahad, rode so long till he came that night 
to the Castle of Carboneck; and it befel him thus that he was be- 
nighted in an hermitage. So the good man was fain when he saw he 
was a knight errant. Then when they were at rest there came a 
gentlewoman knocking at the door, and called Galahad, and so the 
good man came to the door to wit what she would. Then she called 
the hermit: Sir Ulfin, I am a gentlewoman that would speak with 
the knight which is with you. Then the good man awaked Galahad, 
and bad him: Arise, and speak with a gentlewoman that seemeth 
hath great need of you. Then Galahad went to her and asked her 
what she would. Galahad, said she, I will that ye arm you, and 
mount upon your horse and follow me, for I shall show you within 
these three days the highest adventure that ever any knight saw. 
Anon Galahad armed him, and took his horse, and commended him 
to God, and bad the gentlewoman go, and he would follow there as 
she liked. 




So she rode as fast as her palfrey might bear her, till that she 
came to the sea, the which was called Collibe. And at the night they 
came unto a castle in a valley, closed with a running water, and with 
strong walls and high; and so she entered into the castle with Gala- 
had, and there had he great cheer, for the lady of that castle was the 
damosel's lady. So when he was unarmed, then said the damosel: 
Madam, shall we abide here all this day ? Nay, said she, but till he 
hath dined and till he hath slept a little. So he ate and slept a while 
till that the maid called him, and armed him by torchlight. And 
when the maid was horsed and he both, the lady took Galahad a fair 
child and rich; and so they departed from the castle till they came to 
the seaside; and there they found the ship where Bors and Percivale 
were in, the which cried on the ship's board: Sir Galahad, ye be 
welcome, we have abiden you long. And when he heard them 
he asked them what they were. Sir, said she, leave your horse here, 
and I shall leave mine; and took their saddles and their bridles with 
them, and made a cross on them, and so entered into the ship. And 
the two knights received them both with great joy, and every each 
knew other; and so the wind arose, and drove them through the sea 
in a marvellous place. And within a while it dawned. Then did 
Galahad off his helm and his sword, and asked of his fellows from 
whence came that fair ship. Truly, said they, ye wot as well as we 
but of God's grace; and then they told every each to other of all their 
hard adventures, and of their great temptations. Truly, said Gala- 
had, ye are much bounden to God, for ye have escaped great adven- 
tures; and had not the gentlewoman been I had not come here, for as 
for you I weened never to have found you in these strange countries. 
Ah, Galahad, said Bors, if Launcelot, your father, were here then 
were we well at ease, for then meseemed we failed nothing. That 
may not be, said Galahad, but if it pleased Our Lord. By then the 
ship went from the land of Logris, and by adventure it arrived up 
betwixt two rocks passing great and marvellous; but there they might 


not land, for there was a swallow of the sea, save there was another 
ship, and upon it they might go without danger. Go we thither, said 
the gentlewoman, and there shall we see adventures, for so is Our 
Lord's will. And when they came thither they found the ship rich 
enough, but they found neither man nor woman therein. But they 
found in the end of the ship two fair letters written, which said a 
dreadful word and a marvellous: Thou man, which shall enter into 
this ship, beware thou be in steadfast belief, for I am Faith, and there- 
fore beware how thou enterest, for an thou fail I shall not help thee. 
Then said the gentlewoman: Percivale, wot ye what I am? Certes, 
said he, nay, to my witing. Wit ye well, said she, that I am thy 
sister, which am daughter of King Pellinore, and therefore wit ye 
well ye are the man in the world that I most love; and if ye be not 
in perfect belief of Jesu Christ enter not in no manner of wise, 
for then should ye perish the ship, for he is so perfect he will suffer 
no sinner in him. When Percivale understood that she was his 
very sister he was inwardly glad, and said: Fair sister, I shall enter 
therein, for if I be a miscreature or an untrue knight there shall I 



In the meanwhile Galahad blessed him, and entered therein; and 
then next the gentlewoman, and then Sir Bors and Sir Percivale. 
And when they were in, it was so marvellous fair and rich that they 
marvelled; and in middes of the ship was a fair bed, and Galahad 
went thereto, and found there a crown of silk. And at the feet was 
a sword, rich and fair, and it was drawn out of the sheath half a 
foot and more; and the sword was of divers fashions, and the pommel 
was of stone, and there was in him all manner of colours that any 
man might find, and every each of the colours had divers virtues; 
and the scales of the haft were of two ribs of divers beasts, the one 
beast was a serpent which was conversant in Calidone, and is called 
the serpent of the fiend; and the bone of him is of such a virtue that 


there is no hand that handleth him shall never be weary nor hurt. 
And the other beast is a fish which is not right great, and haunteth 
the flood of Euphrates; and that fish is called Ertanax, and his bones 
be of such a manner of kind that who that handleth them shall have 
so much will that he shall never be weary, and he shall not think on 
joy nor sorrow that he hath had, but only that thing that he beholdeth 
before him. And as for this sword there shall never man begrip him 
at the handles but one, but he shall pass all other. In the name of 
God, said Percivale, I shall essay to handle it. So he set his hand to 
the sword, but he might not begrip it. By my faith, said he, now have 
I failed. Bors set his hand thereto and failed. Then Galahad beheld 
the sword and saw letters like blood that said: Let see who shall essay 
to draw me out of my sheath, but if he be more hardier than any 
other; and who that draweth me, wit ye well he shall never fail of 
shame of his body, or to be wounded to the death. By my faith, said 
Galahad, I would draw this sword out of the sheath, but the offending 
is so great that I shall not set my hand thereto. Now sirs, said the 
gentlewoman, wit ye well that the drawing of this sword is warned 
to all men save all only to you. Also this ship arrived in the realm 
of Logris; and that time was deadly war between King Labor, which 
was father unto the maimed king, and King Hurlame, which was a 
Saracen. But then was he newly christened, so that men held him 
afterward one of the wyttyest men of the world. And so upon a day 
it befel that King Labor and King Hurlame had assembled their 
folk upon the sea where this ship was arrived; and there King 
Hurlame was discomfit, and his men slain; and he was afeard to 
be dead, and fled to his ship, and there found this sword and 
drew it, and came out and found King Labor, the man in the 
world of all Christendom in whom was then the greatest faith. 
And when King Hurlame saw King Labor he dressed this sword, 
and smote him upon the helm so hard that he clave him and 
his horse to the earth with the first stroke of his sword. And 
it was in the realm of Logris; and so befel great pestilence and 
great harm to both realms. For sithen increased neither corn, 
nor grass, nor well-nigh no fruit, nor in the water was no fish; 
wherefore men call it the lands of the two marches, the waste land, 
for that dolorous stroke. And when King Hurlame saw this sword 


so carving, he turned again to fetch the scabbard, and so came into 
this ship and entered, and put up the sword in the sheath. And as 
soon as he had done it he fell down dead afore the bed. Thus was 
the sword proved, that none ne drew it but he were dead or maimed. 
So lay he there till a maiden came into the ship and cast him out, 
for there was no man so hardy of the world to enter into that ship 
for the defence. 



And then beheld they the scabbard, it seemed to be of a serpent's 
skin, and thereon were letters of gold and silver. And the girdle was 
but poorly to come to, and not able to sustain such a rich sword. And 
the letters said: He which shall wield me ought to be more harder 
than any other, if he bear me as truly as me ought to be borne. For 
the body of him which I ought to hang by, he shall not be shamed in 
no place while he is girt with this girdle, nor never none be so 
hardy to do away this girdle; for it ought not to be done away but 
by the hands of a maid, and that she be a king's daughter and 
queen's, and she must be a maid all the days of her life, both in will 
and in deed. And if she break her virginity she shall die the most 
villainous death that ever died any woman. Sir, said Percivale, turn 
this sword that we may see what is on the other side. And it was red 
as blood, with black letters as any coal, which said: He that shall 
praise me most, most shall he find me to blame at a great need; and 
to whom I should be most debonair shall I be most felon, and that 
shall be at one time. Fair brother, said she to Percivale, it befell 
after a forty year after the passion of Jesu Christ that Nacien, the 
brother-in-law of King Mordrains, was borne into a town more 
than fourteen days' journey from his country, by the commandment 
of Our Lord, into an isle, into the parts of the West, that men clepyd 
the isle of Turnance. So befell it that he found this ship at the entry 
of a rock, and he found the bed and this sword as we have heard 
now. Not for then he had not so much hardiness to draw it; and 
there he dwelled an eight days, and at the ninth day there fell a great 
wind which departed him out of the isle, and brought him to another 


isle by a rock, and there he found the greatest giant that ever man 
might see. Therewith came that horrible giant to slay him; and then 
he looked about him and might not flee, and he had nothing to 
defend him with. So he ran to his sword, and when he saw it naked 
he praised it much, and then he shook it, and therewith he brake it in 
the middes. Ah, said Nacien, the thing that I most praised ought I 
now most to blame, and therewith he threw the pieces of his sword 
over his bed. And after he leapt over the board to fight with the 
giant, and slew him. And anon he entered into the ship again, and 
the wind arose, and drove him through the sea, that by adventure he 
came to another ship where King Mordrains was, which had been 
tempted full evil with a fiend in the port of perilous rock. And when 
that one saw the other they made great joy of other, and either told 
other of their adventure, and how the sword failed him at his most 
need. When Mordrains saw the sword he praised it much: But 
the breaking was not to do but by wickedness of thy self ward, for 
thou art in some sin. And there he took the sword, and set the pieces 
together, and they soldered as fair as ever they were tofore; and 
there put he the sword in the sheath, and laid it down on the bed. 
Then heard they a voice that said: Go out of this ship a little while, 
and enter into the other, for dread ye fall in deadly sin, for and ye 
be found in deadly sin ye may not escape but perish: and so they 
went into the other ship. And as Nacien went over the board he 
was smitten with a sword on the right foot, that he fell down noseling 
to the ship's board; and therewith he said: O God, how am I hurt. 
And then there came a voice and said : Take thou that for thy forfeit 
that thou didst in drawing of this sword, therefore thou receivest 
a wound, for thou were never worthy to handle it, as the writing 
maketh mention. In the name of God, said Galahad, ye are right 
wise of these works. 



Sir, said she, there was a king that hight Pelles, the maimed king. 
And while he might ride he supported much Christendom and Holy 


Church. So upon a day he hunted in a wood o£ his which lasted unto 
the sea; and at the last he lost his hounds and his knights save only 
one: and there he and his knight went till that they came toward 
Ireland, and there he found the ship. And when he saw the letters 
and understood them, yet he entered, for he was right perfect of his 
life, but his knight had none hardiness to enter; and there found he 
this sword, and he drew it out as much as ye may see. So therewith 
entered a spear wherewith he was smitten him through both the 
thighs, and never sith might he be healed, nor nought shall tofore we 
come to him. Thus, said she, was not King Pelles, your grandsire, 
maimed for his hardiness? In the name of God, damosel, said Gala- 
had. So they went toward the bed to behold all about it, and above 
the head there hung two swords. Also there were two spindles which 
were as white as any snow, and other that were as red as blood, and 
other above green as any emerald: of these three colours were the 
spindles, and of natural colour within, and without any painting. 
These spindles, said the damosel, were when sinful Eve came to 
gather fruit, for which Adam and she were put out of paradise, she 
took with her the bough on which the apple hung on. Then per- 
ceived she that the branch was fair and green, and she remembered 
her the loss which came from the tree. Then she thought to keep the 
branch as long as she might. And for she had no coffer to keep it 
in, she put it in the earth. So by the will of Our Lord the branch 
grew to a great tree within a little while, and was as white as any 
snow, branches, boughs, and leaves: that was a token a maiden 
planted it. But after God came to Adam, and bad him know his 
wife fleshly as nature required. So lay Adam with his wife under 
the same tree; and anon the tree which was white was full green 
as any grass, and all that came out of it; and in the same time that 
they medled together there was Abel begotten : thus was the tree long 
of green colour. And so it befell many days after, under the same 
tree Cain slew Abel, whereof befel great marvel. For anon as Abel 
had received the death under the green tree, it lost the green colour 
and became red; and that was in tokening of the blood. And anon all 
the plants died thereof, but the tree grew and waxed marvellously 
fair, and it was the fairest tree and the most delectable that any man 
might behold and see; and so died the plants that grew out of it 


tofore that Abel was slain under it. So long dured the tree till that 
Solomon, King David's son, reigned, and held the land after his 
father. This Solomon was wise, and knew all the virtues of stones 
and trees, and so he knew the course of the stars, and many other 
divers things. This Solomon had an evil wife, wherethrough he 
weened that there had been no good women, and so he despised 
them in his books. So answered a voice him once : Solomon, if heavi- 
ness come to a man by a woman, ne reck thou never; for yet shall 
there come a woman whereof there shall come greater joy to man an 
hundred times more than this heaviness giveth sorrow; and that 
woman shall be born of thy lineage. Then when Solomon heard 
these words he held himself but a fool, and the truth he perceived 
by old books. Also the Holy Ghost showed him the coming of the 
glorious Virgin Mary. Then asked he of the voice, if it should be 
in the yerde of his lineage. Nay, said the voice, but there shall come 
a man which shall be a maid, and the last of your blood, and he shall 
be as good a knight as Duke Josua, thy brother-in-law. 



Now have I certified thee of that thou stoodest in doubt. Then 
was Solomon glad that there should come any such of his lineage; 
but ever he marvelled and studied who that should be, and what his 
name might be. His wife perceived that he studied, and thought she 
would know it at some season; and so she waited her time, and asked 
of him the cause of his studying, and there he told her all together 
how the voice told him. Well, said she, I shall let make a ship of the 
best wood and most durable that men may find. So Solomon sent 
for all the carpenters of the land, and the best. And when they 
had made the ship the lady said to Solomon : Sir, said she, syne it is 
so that this knight ought to pass all knights of chivalry which have 
been tofore him and shall come after him, moreover I shall tell you, 
said she, ye shall go into Our Lord's temple, where is King David's 
sword, your father, the which is the marvelloust and the sharpest 


that ever was taken in any knight's hand. Therefore take that, and 
take off the pommel, and thereto make ye a pommel of precious 
stones, that it be so subtilely made that no man perceive it but that 
they be all one; and after make there an hilt so marvellously and 
wonderly that no man may know it; and after make a marvellous 
sheath. And when ye have made all this I shall let make a girdle 
thereto such as shall please me. All this King Solomon did let make 
as she devised, both the ship and all the remnant. And when the 
ship was ready in the sea to sail, the lady let make a great bed and 
marvellous rich, and set her upon the bed's head, covered with silk, 
and laid the sword at the feet, and the girdles were of hemp, and 
therewith the king was angry. Sir, wit ye well, said she, that I have 
none so high a thing which were worthy to sustain so high a sword, 
and a maid shall bring other knights thereto, but I wot not when it 
shall be, nor what time. And there she let make a covering to the 
ship, of cloth of silk that should never rot for no manner of weather. 
Yet went that lady and made a carpenter to come to the tree which 
Abel was slain under. Now, said she, carve me out of this tree as 
much wood as will make me a spindle. Ah madam, said he, this is 
the tree the which our first mother planted. Do it, said she, or else 
I shall destroy thee. Anon as he began to work there came out 
drops of blood: and then would he have left, but she would not suffer 
him, and so he took away as much wood as might make a spindle: 
and so she made him to take as much of the green tree and of the 
white tree. And when these three spindles were shapen she made 
them to be fastened upon the selar of the bed. When Solomon saw 
this, he said to his wife : Ye have done marvellously, for though all 
the world were here right now, he could not devise wherefore all this 
was made, but Our Lord Himself; and thou that hast done it wotest 
not what it shall betoken. Now let it be, said she, for ye shall hear 
tidings sooner than ye ween. Now shall ye hear a wonderful tale 
of King Solomon and his wife. 




That night lay Solomon before the ship with little fellowship. And 
when he was on sleep him thought there come from heaven a great 
company of angels, and alit into the ship, and took water which was 
brought by an angel, in a vessel of silver, and sprente all the ship. 
And after he came to the sword, and drew letters on the hilt. And 
after went to the ship's board, and wrote there other letters which 
said: Thou man that wilt enter within me, beware that thou be full 
within the faith, for I ne am but Faith and Belief. When Solomon 
espied these letters he was abashed, so that he durst not enter, and so 
drew him aback; and the ship was anon shoven in the sea, and he 
went so fast that he lost sight of him within a little while. And then 
a little voice said: Solomon, the last knight of thy lineage shall rest 
in this bed. Then went Solomon and awaked his wife, and told 
her of the adventures of the ship. Now saith the history that a 
great while the three fellows beheld the bed and the three spindles. 
Then they were at certain that they were of natural colours without 
painting. Then they lift up a cloth which was above the ground, and 
there found a rich purse by seeming. And Percivale took it, and 
found therein a writ and so he read it, and devised the manner of 
the spindles and of the ship, whence it came, and by whom it was 
made. Now, said Galahad, where shall we find the gentlewoman 
that shall make new girdles to the sword? Fair sir, said Percivale's 
sister, dismay you not, for by the leave of God I shall let make a 
girdle to the sword, such one as shall long thereto. And then she 
opened a box, and took out girdles which were seemly wrought with 
golden threads, and upon that were set full precious stones, and a 
rich buckle of gold. Lo, lords, said she, here is a girdle that ought to 
be set about the sword. And wit ye well the greatest part of his girdle 
was made of my hair, which I loved well while that I was a woman 
of the world. But as soon as I wist that this adventure was ordained 
me I clipped off my hair, and made this girdle in the name of God. 
Ye be well found, said Sir Bors, for certes ye have put us out of 
great pain, wherein we should have entered ne had your tidings been. 


Then went the gentlewoman and set it on the girdle o£ the sword. 
Now, said the fellowship, what is the name of the sword, and what 
shall we call it? Truly, said she, the name of the sword is the Sword 
with the strange girdles; and the sheath, mover of blood; for no 
man that hath blood in him ne shall never see the one part of the 
sheath which was made of the tree of life. Then they said to Gala- 
had: in the name of Jesu Christ, and pray you that ye gird you with 
this sword which hath been desired so much in the realm of Logris. 
Now let me begin, said Galahad, to grip this sword for to give you 
courage; but wit ye well it longeth no more to me than it doth to 
you. And then he gripped about it with his fingers a great deal; and 
then she girt him about the middle with the sword. Now reck I not 
though I die, for now I hold me one of the blessed maidens of the 
world, which hath made the worthiest knight of the world. Damo- 
sel, said Galahad, ye have done so much that I shall be your knight 
all the days of my life. Then they went from that ship, and went 
to the other. And anon the wind drove them into the sea a great 
pace, but they had no victuals: but it befell that they came on the 
morn to a castle that men call Carteloise, that was in the marches of 
Scotland. And when they had passed the port, the gentlewoman 
said: Lords, here be men arriven that, an they wist that ye were of 
King Arthur's court, ye should be assailed anon. Damosel, said 
Galahad, He that cast us out of the rock shall deliver us from them. 





So it befell as they spoke thus there came a squire by them, and 
asked what they were; and they said they were of King Arthur's 
house. Is that sooth? said he. Now by my head, said he, ye be ill 
arrayed; and then turned he again unto the cliff fortress. And within 
a while they heard an horn blow. Then a gentlewoman came to 
them, and asked them of whence they were; and they told her. Fair 
lords, said she, for God's love turn again if ye may, for ye be come 


unto your death. Nay, they said, we will not turn again, for He shall 
help us in whose service we be entered in. Then as they stood talking 
there came knights well armed, and bad them yield them or else die. 
That yielding, said they, shall be noyous to you. And therewith they 
let their horses run, and Sir Percivale smote the foremost to the 
earth, and took his horse, and mounted thereupon, and the same did 
Galahad. Also Bors served another so, for they had no horses in that 
country, for they left their horses when they took their ship in other 
countries. And so when they were horsed then began they to set 
upon them; and they of the castle fled into the strong fortress, and 
the three knights after them into the castle, and so alit on foot, and 
with their swords slew them down, and gat into the hall. Then when 
they beheld the great multitude of people that they had slain, they 
held themself great sinners. Certes, said Bors, I ween an God had 
loved them that we should not have had power to have slain them 
thus. But they have done so much against Our Lord that He would 
not suffer them to reign no longer. Say ye not so, said Galahad, for 
if they misdid against God, the vengeance is not ours, but to Him 
which hath power thereof. So came there out of a chamber a good 
man which was a priest, and bare God's body in a cup. And when 
he saw them which lay dead in the hall he was all abashed; and 
Galahad did off his helm and kneeled down, and so did his two 
fellows. Sir, said they, have ye no dread of us, for we be of King 
Arthur's court. Then asked the good man how they were slain so 
suddenly, and they told it him. Truly, said the good man, an ye 
might live as long as the world might endure, ne might ye have done 
so great an alms deed at this. Sir, said Galahad, I repent me much, 
inasmuch as they were christened. Nay, repent you not, said he, for 
they were not christened, and I shall tell you how that I wot of this 
castle. Here was Lord Earl Hernox not but one year, and he had 
three sons, good knights of arms, and a daughter, the fairest gentle- 
woman that men knew. So those three knights loved their sister 
so sore that they brent in love, and so they lay by her, maugre her 
head. And for she cried to her father they slew her, and took their 
father and put him in prison, and wounded him nigh to death, but 
a cousin of hers rescued him. And then did they great untruth: they 
slew clerks and priests, and made beat down chapels, that Our Lord's 


service might not be served nor said. And this same day her father 
sent to me for to be confessed and houseld; but such shame had never 
man as I had this day with the three brethren, but the earl bad me 
suffer, for he said they should not long endure, for three servants of 
Our Lord should destroy them, and now it is brought to an end. 
And by this may ye wit that Our Lord is not displeased with your 
deeds. Certes, said Galahad, an it had not pleased Our Lord, never 
should we have slain so many men in so little a while. And then 
they brought the Earl Hernox out of prison into the middes of the 
hall, that knew Galahad anon, and yet he saw him never afore 
but by revelation of Our Lord. 





Then began he to weep right tenderly, and said: Long have I 
abiden your coming, but for God's love hold me in your arms, that 
my soul may depart out of my body in so good a man's arms as ye be. 
Gladly, said Galahad. And then one said on high, that all heard: 
Galahad, well hast thou avenged me on God's enemies. Now be- 
hoveth thee to go to the maimed king as soon as thou mayest, for he 
shall receive by thee health which he hath abiden so long. And 
therewith the soul departed from the body, and Galahad made him 
to be buried as him ought to be. Right so departed the three knights, 
and Percivale's sister with them. And so they came into a waste 
forest, and there they saw afore them a white hart which four lions 
led. Then they took them to assent for to follow after for to know 
whither they repaired; and so they rode after a great pace till that 
they came to a valley, and thereby was an hermitage where a good 
man dwelled, and the hart and the lions entered also. So when they 
saw all this they turned to the chapel, and saw the good man in a 
religious weed and in the armour of Our Lord, for he would sing 
mass of the Holy Ghost; and so they entered in and heard mass. 
And at the secrets of the mass they three saw the hart become a 


man, the which marvelled them, and set him upon the altar in a 
rich siege; and saw the four lions were changed, the one to the form 
of a man, the other to the form of a lion, and the third to an eagle, 
and the fourth was changed unto an ox. Then took they their siege 
where the hart sat, and went out through a glass window, and there 
was nothing perished nor broken; and they heard a voice say: In 
such a manner entered the Son of God in the womb of a maid Mary, 
whose virginity ne was perished ne hurt. And when they heard 
these words they fell down to the earth and were astonied; and 
therewith was a great clereness. And when they were come to their- 
self again they went to the good man and prayed him that he would 
say them truth. What thing have ye seen? said he. And they told 
him all that they had seen. Ah lords, said he, ye be welcome; now 
wot I well ye be the good knights the which shall bring the Sangreal 
to an end; for ye be they unto whom Our Lord shall shew great 
secrets. And well ought Our Lord be signified to an hart, for the 
hart when he is old he waxeth young again in his white skin. Right 
so Cometh again Our Lord from death to life, for He lost earthly 
flesh that was the deadly flesh, which He had taken in the womb of 
the blessed Virgin Mary; and for that cause appeared Our Lord as a 
white hart without spot. And the four that were with Him is to 
understand the four evangeUsts which set in writing a part of Jesu 
Christ's deeds that He did sometime when He was among you an 
earthly man; for wit ye well never erst ne might no knight know the 
truth, for ofttimes or this Our Lord showed Him unto good men and 
unto good knights, in likeness of an hart, but I suppose from hence- 
forth ye shall see no more. And then they joyed much, and dwelled 
there all that day. And upon the morrow when they had heard mass 
they departed and commended the good man to God: and so they 
came to a castle and passed by. So there came a knight armed after 
them and said: Lords, hark what I shall say to you. 






This gentlewoman that ye lead with you is a maid? Sir, said she, 
a maid I am. Then he took her by the bridle and said: By the Holy 
Cross, ye shall not escape me tofore ye have yolden the custom of this 
castle. Let her go, said Percivale, ye be not wise, for a maid in what 
place she cometh is free. So in the meanwhile there came out a ten 
or twelve knights armed, out of the castle, and with them came 
gentlewomen which held a dish of silver. And then they said: 
This gentlewoman must yield us the custom of this castle. Sir, said 
a knight, what maid passeth hereby shall give this dish full of blood 
of her right arm. Blame have ye, said Galahad, that brought up 
such customs, and so God me save, I ensure you of this gentlewoman 
ye shall fail while that I live. So God me help, said Percivale, I had 
lever be slain. And I also, said Sir Bors. By my troth, said the knight, 
then shall ye die, for ye may not endure against us though ye were 
the best knights of the world. Then let them run each to other, and 
the three fellows beat the ten knights, and then set their hands to 
their swords and beat them down and slew them. Then there came 
out of the castle a three score knights armed. Fair lords, said the 
three fellows, have mercy on yourself and have not ado with us. Nay, 
fair lords, said the knights of the castle, we counsel you to withdraw 
you, for ye be the best knights of the world, and therefore do no 
more, for ye have done enough. We will let you go with this harm, 
but we must needs have the custom. Certes, said Galahad, for 
nought speak ye. Well, said they, will ye die ? We be not yet come 
thereto, said Galahad. Then began they to meddle together, and 
Galahad, with the strange girdles, drew his sword, and smote on 
the right hand and on the left hand, and slew what that ever abode 
him, and did such marvels that there was none that saw him but 
weened he had been none earthly man, but a monster. And his two 
fellows halp him passing well, and so they held the journey every 
each in like hard till it was night; then must they needs depart. 


So came in a good knight, and said to the three fellows: If ye will 
come in to-night and take such harbour as here is ye shall be right 
welcome, and we shall ensure you by the faith of our bodies, and 
as we be true knights, to leave you in such estate to-morrow as we 
find you, without any falsehood. And as soon as ye know of the 
custom we dare say ye will accord. Therefore for God's love, said the 
gentlewoman, go thither and spare not for me. Go we, said Galahad; 
and so they entered into the chapel. And when they were alit they 
made great joy of them. So within a while the three knights asked 
the custom of the castle and wherefore it was. What it is, said they, 
we will say you sooth. 





There is in this castle a gentlewoman which we and this castle is 
hers, and many other. So it befell many years agone there fell upon 
her a malady; and when she had lain a great while she fell unto a 
measle, and of no leech she could have no remedy. But at the last 
an old man said an she might have a dish full of blood of a maid and 
a clene virgin in will and in work, and a king's daughter, that blood 
should be her health, and for to anoint her withal; and for this thing 
was this custom made. Now, said Percivale's sister, fair knights, I 
see well that this gentlewoman is but dead. Certes, said Galahad, an 
ye bleed so much ye may die. Truly, said she, an I die for to heal her 
I shall get me great worship and soul's health, and worship to my 
lineage, and better is one harm than twain. And therefore there 
shall be no more battle, but tomorn I shall yield you your custom of 
this castle. And then there was great joy more than there was tofore, 
for else had there been mortal war upon the morn; notwithstanding 
she would none other, whether they would or nold. That night 
were the three fellows eased with the best; and on the morn they 
heard mass, and Sir Percivale's sister bad bring forth the sick lady. So 
she was, the which was evil at ease. Then said she: Who shall let 
me blood? So one came forth and let her blood, and she bled so 


much that the dish was full. Then she lift up her hand and blessed 
her; and then she said to the lady: Madam, I am come to the death 
for to make you whole, for God's love pray for me. With that she 
fell in a swoon. Then Galahad and his two fellows start up to her, 
and lift her up and staunched her, but she had bled so much that 
she might not live. Then she said when she was awaked: Fair 
brother Percivale, I die for the healing of this lady, so I require you 
that ye bury me not in this country, but as soon as I am dead put me 
in a boat at the next haven, and let me go as adventure will lead me; 
and as soon as ye three come to the City of Sarras, there to achieve 
the Holy Grail, ye shall find me under a tower arrived, and there 
bury me in the spiritual place; for I say you so much, there Galahad 
shall be buried, and ye also, in the same place. Then PerCivale under- 
stood these words, and granted it her, weeping. And then said a 
voice: Lords and fellows, to-morrow at the hour of prime ye three 
shall depart every each from other, till the adventure bring you to 
the maimed king. Then asked she her Saviour; and as soon as she 
had received it the soul departed from the body. So the same day 
was the lady healed, when she was anointed withal. Then Sir Per- 
civale made a letter of all that she had holpen them as in strange 
adventures, and put it in her right hand, and so laid her in a barge, 
and covered it with black silk; and so the wind arose, and drove 
the barge from the land, and all knights beheld it till it was out of 
their sight. Then they drew all to the castle, and so forthwith there 
fell a sudden tempest and a thunder, lightning, and rain, as all the 
earth would have broken. So half the castle turned up so down. 
So it passed evensong or the tempest was ceased. Then they saw afore 
them a knight armed and wounded hard in the body and in the head, 
that said: O God, succour me for now it is need. After this knight 
came another knight and a dwarf, which cried to them afar: Stand, 
ye may not escape. Then the wounded knight held up his hands to 
God that he should not die in such tribulation. Truly, said Galahad, 
I shall succour him for His sake that he calleth upon. Sir, said Bors, 
I shall do it, for it is not for you, for he is but one knight. Sir, said 
he, I grant. So Sir Bors took his horse, and commended him to 
God, and rode after, to rescue the wounded knight. Now turn we 
to the two fellows. 




Now saith the story that all night Galahad and Percivale were in 
a chapel in their prayers, for to save Sir Bors. So on the morrow they 
dressed them in their harness toward the castle, to wit what was 
fallen of them therein. And when they came there they found neither 
man nor woman that he ne was dead by the vengeance of Our Lord. 
With that they heard a voice that said: This vengeance is for blood 
shedding or maidens. Also they found at the end of the chapel a 
churchyard, and therein might they see a three score fair tombs, 
and that place was so fair and so delectable that it seemed them 
there had been none tempest, for there lay the bodies of all the 
good maidens which were martyred for the sick lady's sake. Also 
they found the names of every each, and of what blood they were 
come, and all were of kings' blood, and twelve of them were kings' 
daughters. Then they departed and went into a forest. Now, said 
Percivale unto Galahad, we must depart, so pray we Our Lord that 
we may meet together in short time: then they did off their helms 
and kissed together, and wept at their departing. 



Now saith the history, that when Launcelot was come to the 
water of Mortoise, as it is rehearsed before, he was in great peril, and 
so he laid him down and slept, and took the adventure that God 
would send him. So when he was asleep there came a vision unto 
him and said: Launcelot, arise up and take thine armour, and enter 
into the first ship that thou shalt find. And when he heard these 
words he start up and saw great clereness about him. And then he 
lift up his hand and blessed him, and so took his arms and made 
him ready; and so by adventure he came by a strand, and found a 


ship the which was without sail or oar. And as soon as he was within 
the ship there he felt the most sweetness that ever he felt, and he was 
fulfilled with all thing that he thought on or desired. Then he said: 
Fair sweet Father, Jesu Christ, I wot not in what joy I am, for this joy 
passeth all earthly joys that ever I was in. And so in this joy he laid 
him down to the ship's board, and slept till day. And when he 
awoke he found there a fair bed, and therein lying a gentlewoman 
dead, the which was Sir Percivale's sister. And as Launcelot devised 
her, he espied in her right hand a writ, the which he read, the which 
told him all the adventures that ye have heard tofore, and of what 
lineage she was come. So with this gentlewoman Sir Launcelot was 
a month and more. If ye would ask how he lived. He that fed the 
people of Israel with manna in the desert, so was he fed; for every 
day when he had said his prayers he was sustained with the grace 
of the Holy Ghost. So on a night he went to play him by the water 
side, for he was somewhat weary of the ship. And then he listened 
and heard an horse come, and one riding upon him. And when he 
came nigh he seemed a knight. And so he let him pass, and went 
thereas the ship was; and there he alit, and took the saddle and 
the bridle and put the horse from him, and went into the ship. And 
then Launcelot dressed unto him, and said: Ye be welcome. And 
he answered and saluted him again, and asked him: What is your 
name? for much my heart giveth unto you. Truly, said he, my 
name is Launcelot du Lake. Sir, said he, then be ye welcome, for 
ye were the beginning of me in this world. Ah, said he, are ye 
Galahad? Yea, forsooth, said he; and so he kneeled down and asked 
him his blessing, and after took off his helm and kissed him. And 
there was great joy between them, for there is no tongue can tell 
the joy that they made either of other, and many a friendly word 
spoken between, as kin would, the which is no need here to be re- 
hearsed. And there every each told other of their adventures and 
marvels that were befallen to them in many journeys sith that they 
departed from the court. Anon, as Galahad saw the gentlewoman 
dead in the bed, he knew her well enough, and told great worship of 
her, that she was the best maid living, and it was great pity of her 
death. But when Launcelot heard how the marvellous sword was 
gotten, and who made it, and all the marvels rehearsed afore, then he 


prayed Galahad, his son, that he would show him the sword, and so he 
did; and anon he kissed the pommel, and the hilt and the scabbard. 
Truly, said Launcelot, never erst knew I of so high adventures done, 
and so marvellous and strange. So dwelt Launcelot and Galahad 
within that ship half a year, and served God daily and nightly with 
all their power; and often they arrived in isles far from folk, where 
there repaired none but wild beasts, and there they found many 
strange adventures and perillous, which they brought to an end; but 
for those adventures were with wild beasts, and not in the quest of 
the Sangreal, therefore the tale maketh here no mention thereof, for 
it would be too long to tell of all those adventures that befell them. 



So after, on a Monday, it befell that they arrived in the edge of a 
forest tofore a cross; and then saw they a knight armed all in white, 
and was richly horsed, and led in his right hand a white horse; and 
so he came to the ship, and saluted the two knights on the High 
Lord's behalf, and said: Galahad, sir, ye have been long enough with 
your father, come out of the ship, and start upon this horse, and go 
where the adventures shall lead thee in the quest of the Sangreal. 
Then he went to his father and kissed him sweetly, and said: Fair 
sweet father, I wot not when I shall see you more till I see the body 
of Jesu Christ. I pray you, said Launcelot, pray ye to the High 
Father that He hold me in His service. And so he took his horse, 
and there they heard a voice that said: Think for to do well, for the 
one shall never see the other before the dreadful day of doom. Now, 
son Galahad, said Launcelot, syne we shall depart, and never see 
other, I pray to the High Father to conserve me and you both. Sir, 
said Galahad, no prayer availeth so much as yours. And therewith 
Galahad entered into the forest. And the wind arose, and drove 
Launcelot more than a month throughout the sea, where he slept but 
little, but prayed to God that he might see some tidings of the San- 
greal. So it befell on a night, at midnight, he arrived afore a castle. 


on the back side, which was rich and fair, and there was a postern 
opened toward the sea, and was open without any keeping, save two 
lions kept the entry; and the moon shone clear. Anon Sir Launcelot 
heard a voice that said: Launcelot, go out of this ship and enter into 
the castle, where thou shalt see a great part of thy desire. Then he 
ran to his arms, and so armed him, and so went to the gate and 
saw the lions. Then set he hand to his sword and drew it. Then 
there came a dwarf suddenly, and smote him on the arm so sore that 
the sword fell out of his hand. Then heard he a voice say: O man 
of evil faith and poor belief, wherefore trowest thou more on thy 
harness than in thy Maker, for He might more avail thee than thine 
armour, in whose service that thou art set. Then said Launcelot: Fair 
Father Jesu Christ, I thank thee of Thy great mercy that Thou re- 
provest me of my misdeed; now see I well that ye hold me for your 
servant. Then took he again his sword and put it up in his sheath, 
and made a cross in his forehead, and came to the lions, and they 
made semblant to do him harm. Notwithstanding he passed by them 
without hurt, and entered into the castle to the chief fortress, and 
there were they all at rest. Then Launcelot entered in so armed, for 
he found no gate nor door but it was open. And at last he found a 
chamber whereof the door was shut, and he set his hand thereto to 
have opened it, but he might not. 



Then he enforced him mickle to undo the door. Then he listened 
and heard a voice which sang so sweetly that it seemed none earthly 
thing; and him thought the voice said: Joy and honour be to the 
Father of Heaven. Then Launcelot kneeled down tofore the cham- 
ber, for well wist he that there was the Sangreal within that chamber. 
Then said he: Fair sweet Father, Jesu Christ, if ever I did thing 
that pleased Thee, Lord for Thy pity never have me not in despite for 
my sins done aforetime, and that Thou show me something of that I 
seek. And with that he saw the chamber door open, and there came 


out a great clereness, that the house was as bright as all the torches 
of the world had been there. So came he to the chamber door, 
and would have entered. And anon a voice said to him, Flee, Laun- 
celot, and enter not, for thou oughtest not to do it; and if thou enter 
thou shalt forethink it. Then he withdrew him aback right heavy. 
Then looked he up in the middes of the chamber, and saw a table of 
silver, and the holy vessel, covered with red samite, and many angels 
about it, whereof one held a candle of wax burning, and the other 
held a cross, and the ornaments of an altar. And before the holy 
vessel he saw a good man clothed as a priest. And it seemed that he 
was at the sacring of the mass. And it seemed to Launcelot that 
above the priest's hands were three men, whereof the two put the 
youngest by likeness between the priest's hands; and so he lift it up 
right high, and it seemed to show so to the people. And then Laun- 
celot marvelled not a little, for him thought the priest was so greatly 
charged of the figure that him seemed that he should fall to the earth. 
And when he saw none about him that would help him, then came 
he to the door a great pace, and said: Fair Father Jesu Christ, ne take 
it for no sin though I help the good man which hath great need of 
help. Right so entered he into the chamber, and came toward the 
table of silver; and when he came nigh he felt a breath, that him 
thought it was intermeddled with fire, which smote him so sore in the 
visage that him thought it brent his visage; and therewith he fell to 
the earth, and had no power to arise, as he that was so araged, that 
had lost the power of his body, and his hearing, and his seeing. Then 
felt he many hands about him, which took him up and bare him out 
of the chamber door, without any amending of his swoon, and left 
him there, seeming dead to all people. So upon the morrow when it 
was fair day they within were risen, and found Launcelot lying 
afore the chamber door. All they marvelled how that he came in, 
and so they looked upon him, and felt his pulse to wit whether there 
were any hfe in him; and so they found life in him, but he might not 
stand nor stir no member that he had. And so they took him by every 
part of the body, and bare him into a chamber, and laid him in a 
rich bed, far from all folk; and so he lay four days. Then the 
one said he was on live, and the other said, Nay. In the name of 
God, said an old man, for I do you verily to wit he is not dead, 


but he is so full of life as the mightiest of you all; and therefore I 
counsel you that he be well kept till God send him life again. 



In such manner they kept Launcelot four and twenty days and all 
SO many nights, that ever he lay still as a dead man; and at the 
twenty-fifth day befell him after midday that he opened his eyes. 
And when he saw folk he made great sorrow, and said: Why have 
ye awaked me, for I was more at ease than I am now. O Jesu 
Christ, who might be so blessed that might see openly thy great 
marvels of secretness there where no sinner may be! What have ye 
seen ? said they about him. I have seen, said he, so great marvels that 
no tongue may tell, and more than any heart can think, and had not 
my son been here afore me I had seen much more. Then they told 
him how he had lain there four and twenty days and nights. Then 
him thought it was punishment for the four and twenty years that 
he had been a sinner, wherefore Our Lord put him in penance four 
and twenty days and nights. Then looked Sir Launcelot afore him, 
and saw the hair which he had borne nigh a year, for that he fore- 
thought him right much that he had broken his promise unto the 
hermit, which he had avowed to do. Then they asked how it stood 
with him. For sooth, said he, I am whole of body, thanked be Our 
Lord; therefore, sirs, for God's love tell me where I am. Then said 
they all that he was in the castle of Carbonek. Therewith came a 
gentlewoman and brought him a shirt of small linen cloth, but 
he changed not there, but took the hair to him again. Sir, said they, 
the quest of the Sangreal is achieved now right in you, that never 
shall ye see of the Sangreal no more than ye have seen. Now I thank 
God, said Launcelot, of His great mercy of that I have seen, for it 
sufEceth me; for as I suppose no man in this world hath lived better 
than I have done to achieve that I have done. And therewith he took 
the hair and clothed him in it, and above that he put a linen shirt, and 
after a robe of scarlet, fresh and new. And when he was so arrayed 
they marvelled all, for they knew him that he was Launcelot, the 


good knight, And then they said all : O my lord Sir Launcelot, be that 
ye? And he said: Truly I am he. Then came word to King Pelles that 
the knight that had lain so long dead was Sir Launcelot. Then was 
the king right glad, and went to see him. And when Launcelot saw 
him come he dressed him against him, and there made the king great 
joy of him. And there the king told him tidings that his fair daugh- 
ter was dead. Then Launcelot was right heavy of it, and said: Sir, 
me forthinketh the death of your daughter, for she was a full fair 
lady, fresh and young. And well I wot she bare the best knight that is 
now on the earth, or that ever was sith God was born. So the king 
held him there four days, and on the morrow he took his leave at 
King Pelles and at all the fellowship, and thanked them of their great 
labour. Right so as they sat at their dinner in the chief hall, then was 
it so that the Sangreal had fulfilled the table with all manner of meats 
that any heart might think. So as they sat they saw all the doors 
and the windows of the place were shut without man's hand, whereof 
they were all abashed, and none wist what to do. And then it 
happened suddenly that a knight came to the chief door and 
knocked, and cried: Undo the door. But they would not. And 
ever he cried: Undo; but they would not. And at last it annoyed 
him so much that the king himself arose and came to a window 
where the knight called. Then he said: Sir knight, ye shall not 
enter at this time while the Sangreal is here, and therefore go into 
another; for certes ye be none of the knights of the quest, but one 
of them which hath served the fiend, and hast left the service of 
Our Lord: and he was passing wroth at the king's words. Sir 
knight, said the king, sith ye would so fain enter, say me of what 
country ye be. Sir, said he, I am of the realm of Logris, and my 
name is Ector de Maris, and brother unto my lord, Sir Launcelot. 
In the name of God, said the king, me forthinketh of what I have 
said, for your brother is here within. And when Ector de Maris 
understood that his brother was there, for he was the man in the 
world that he most dread and loved, and then he said: Ah God, 
now doubleth my sorrow and shame. Full truly said the good man 
of the hill unto Gawaine and to me of our dreams. Then went he 
out of the court as fast as his horse might, and so throughout the 




Then King Pelles came to Sir Launcelot and told him tidings of 
his brother, whereof he was sorry, that he wist not what to do. So 
Sir Launcelot departed, and took his arms, and said he would go 
see the realm of Logris, which I have not seen these twelve months. 
And therewith he commended the king to God, and so rode through 
many realms. And at the last he came to a white abbey, and there 
they made him that night great cheer; and on the morn he rose and 
heard mass. And afore an altar he found a rich tomb, the which 
was newly made; and then he took heed, and saw the sides written 
with gold which said: Here lieth King Bagdemagus of Gore, which 
King Arthur's nephew slew; and named him, Sir Gawaine. Then 
was he not a little sorry, for Launcelot loved him much more than 
any other, and had it been any other than Gawaine he should not 
have escaped from death to life; and said to himself: Ah Lord God, 
this is a great hurt unto King Arthur's court, the loss of such a man. 
And then he departed and came to the abbey where Galahad did the 
adventure of the tombs, and won the white shield with the red 
cross; and there had he great cheer all that night. And on the morn 
he turned unto Camelot, where he found King Arthur and the 
queen. But many of the knights of the Round Table were slain and 
destroyed, more than half. And so three were come home again, 
that were Sir Gawaine, Sir Ector, and Sir Lionel, and many other 
that need not to be rehearsed. Then all the court was passing glad 
of Sir Launcelot, and the king asked him many tidings of his son 
Galahad. And there Launcelot told the king of his adventures that 
had befallen him syne he departed. And also he told him of the 
adventures of Galahad, Percivale, and Bors, which that he knew by 
the letter of the dead damosel, and as Galahad had told him. Now 
God would, said the king, that they were all three here. That shall 
never be, said Launcelot, for two of them shall ye never see, but 
one of them shall come again. 




Now saith the story that Galahad rode many journeys in vain. 
And at the last he came to the Abbey where King Mordrains was, 
and when he heard that, he thought he would abide to see him. 
And upon the morn, when he had heard mass, Galahad came unto 
King Mordrains, and anon the king saw him, which had lain blind 
a long time. And then he dressed him against him, and said: 
Galahad, the servant of Jesu Christ, whose coming I have abiden 
so long, now embrace me and let me rest on thy breast, so that I 
may rest between thine arms, for thou art a clene virgin above all 
knights, as the flower of the lily in whom virginity is signified, and 
thou art the rose the which is the flower of all good virtues, and in 
colour of fire. For the fire of the Holy Ghost is taken so in thee 
that my flesh which was of dead oldness is become young again. 
When Galahad heard his words, then he embraced him and all his 
body. Then said he: Fair Lord Jesu Christ, now I have my will. 
Now I require thee, in this point that I am in, thou come and visit 
me. And anon Our Lord heard his prayer: therewdth the soul 
departed from the body. And then Galahad put him in the earth 
as a king ought to be, and so departed and came into a perilous 
forest where he found the well the which boileth with great waves, 
as the tale telleth tofore. And as soon as Galahad set his hand thereto 
it ceased, so that it burnt no more, and the heat departed. For that 
it brent it was a sign of lechery, the which was that time much used. 
But that heat might not abide his pure virginity. And this was 
taken in the country for a miracle. And so ever after was it called 
Galahad's well. Then by adventure he came into the country of 
Gore, and into the Abbey where Launcelot had been toforehand, 
and found the tomb of King Bagdemagus, but Joseph of Aramathie's 
son was founder thereof; and the tomb of Simeon where Launcelot 
had failed. Then he looked into a croft under the minster, and there 
he saw a tomb which burnt full marvellously. Then asked he the 
brethren what it was. Sir, said they, a marvellous adventure that 


may not be brought unto none end but by him that passeth of 
bounty and of knighthood all the knights of the Round Table. I 
would, said Galahad, that ye would lead me thereto. Gladly, said 
they. And so they led him unto a cave. And he went down upon 
gretys, and came nigh the tomb. And then the flaming failed, and 
the fire stanched, the which many a day had been great. Then came 
there a voice that said: much are ye beholden to thank Our Lord, 
the which hath given you a good hour, that ye may draw out the 
souls of earthly pain, and to put them into the joys of paradise. I 
am of your kindred, the which hath dwelled in this heat this three 
hundred four and fifty winter to be purged of the sin that I did 
against Joseph of Aramathie. Then Galahad took the body in his 
arms and bare it into the minster. And that night lay Galahad in 
the abbey; and on the morn he gave him service, and put him in the 
earth afore the high altar. 



So departed he from thence, and commended the brethren to 
God; and so he rode five days till that he came to the maimed king. 
And ever followed Percivale the five days, asking where he had 
been; and so one told him how the adventures of Logris were 
achieved. So on a day it befell that they came out of a great forest, 
and there they met at traverse with Sir Bors, the which rode alone. 
It is none need to tell if they were glad; and them he saluted, and 
they yielded him honour and good adventure, and every each told 
other. Then said Bors: It is more than a year and an half that I ne 
lay ten times where men dwelled, but in wild forests and in moun- 
tains, but God was ever my comfort. Then rode they a great while 
till that they came to the castle of Carbonek. And when they were 
entered within the castle King Pelles knew them; then there was 
great joy, for they wist well by their coming that they had fulfilled 
the quest of the Sangreal. Then Eliazar, King Pelles' son, brought 
tofore them the broken sword wherewith Joseph was stricken 


through the thigh. Then Bors set his hand thereto, if that he might 
have soldered it again; but it would not be. Then he took it to 
Percivale, but he had no more power thereto than he. Now have 
ye it again, said Percivale to Galahad, for an it be ever achieved by 
any bodily man ye must do it. And then he took the pieces and set 
them together, and they seemed that they had never been broken, 
and as well as it had been first forged. And when they within espied 
that the adventure of the sword was achieved, then they gave the 
sword to Bors, for it might not be better set; for he was a good knight 
and a worthy man. And a little afore even the sword arose great and 
marvellous, and was full of great heat that many men fell for dread. 
And anon alit a voice among them, and said : They that ought not to 
sit at the table of Jesu Christ arise, for now shall very knights be 
fed. So they went thence, all save King Pelles and Eliazar, his son, 
the which were holy men, and a maid which was his niece; and so 
these three fellows and they three were there, no more. Anon they 
saw knights all armed come in at the hall door, and did off their 
helms and their arms, and said unto Galahad: Sir, we have hied 
right much for to be with you at this table where the holy meat shall 
be departed. Then said he: Ye be welcome, but of whence be ye? 
So three of them said they were of Gaul, and other three said they 
were of Ireland, and the other three said they were of Denmark. 
So as they sat thus there came out a bed of tree, of a chamber, the 
which four gentlewomen brought; and in the bed lay a good man 
sick, and a crown of gold upon his head; and there in the middes 
of the place they set him down, and went again their way. Then he 
lift up his head, and said: Galahad, Knight, ye be welcome, for 
much have I desired your coming, for in such anguish I have been 
long. But now I trust to God the term is come that my pain shall 
be allayed, that I shall pass out of this world so as it was promised 
me long ago. Therewith a voice said: There be two among you 
that be not in the quest of the Sangreal, and therefore depart ye. 




Then King Pelles and his son departed. And therewithal be- 
seemed them that there came a man, and four angels from heaven, 
clothed in likeness of a bishop, and had a cross in his hand; and there 
four angels bare him in a chair, and set him down before the table 
of silver whereupon the Sangreal was; and it seemed that he had in 
middes of his forehead letters the which said: See ye here Joseph, 
the first bishop of Christendom, the same which Our Lord succoured 
in the city of Sarras in the spiritual place. Then the knights mar- 
velled, for that bishop was dead more than three hundred years 
tofore. O knights, said he, marvel not, for I was sometime an earthly 
man. With that they heard the chamber door open, and there they 
saw angels; and two bare candles of wax, and the third a towel, and 
the fourth a spear which bled marvellously, that three drops fell 
within a box which he held with his other hand. And they set the 
candles upon the table, and the third the towel upon the vessel, and 
the fourth the holy spear even upright upon the vessel. And then 
the bishop made semblant as though he would have gone to the 
sacring of the mass. And then he took an ubblye which was made 
in likeness of bread. And at the lifting up there came a figure in 
likeness of a child, and the visage was as red and as bright as any 
fire, and smote himself into the bread, so that they all saw it that 
the bread was formed of a fleshly man; and then he put it into the 
holy vessel again, and then he did that longed to a priest to do to a 
mass. And then he went to Galahad and kissed him, and bad him 
go and kiss his fellows : and so he did anon. Now, said he, servants 
of Jesu Christ, ye shall be fed afore this table with sweetmeats that 
never knights tasted. And when he had said, he vanished away. 
And they set them at the table in great dread and made their prayers. 
Then looked they and saw a man come out of the holy vessel, that 
had all the signs of the passion of Jesu Christ, bleeding all openly, 
and said: My knights, and my servants, and my true children, which 
be come out of deadly life into spiritual life, I will now no longer 


hide me from you, but ye shall see now a part of my secrets and of 
my hidden things: now hold and receive the high meat which ye 
have so much desired. Then took he himself the holy vessel and 
came to Galahad; and he kneeled down, and there he received his 
Saviour, and after him so received all his fellows; and they thought 
it so sweet that it was marvellous to tell. Then said he to Galahad : 
Son, wotest thou what I hold betwixt my hands.'' Nay, said he, but 
if ye will tell me. This is, said he, the holy dish wherein I ate the 
lamb on Sher-Thursday. And now hast thou seen that thou most de- 
sired to see, but yet hast thou not seen it so openly as thou shalt see it 
in the city of Sarras in the spiritual place. Therefore thou must go 
hence and bear with thee this holy vessel; for this night it shall depart 
from the realm of Logris, that it shall never be seen more here. 
And wotest thou wherefore? For he is not served nor worshipped 
to his right by them of this land, for they be turned to evil living; 
therefore I shall disherit them of the honour which I have done 
them. And therefore go ye three to-morrow unto the sea, where ye 
shall find your ship ready and with you take the sword with the 
strange girdles, and no more with you but Sir Percivale and Sir 
Bors. Also I will that ye take with you of the blood of this spear for 
to anoint the maimed king, both his legs and all his body, and he 
shall have his health. Sir, said Galahad, why shall not these other 
fellows go with us.'' For this cause: for right as I departed my 
apostles one here and another there, so I will that ye depart; and 
two of you shall die in my service, but one of you shall come again 
and tell tidings. Then gave he them his blessing and vanished away. 



And Galahad went anon to the spear which lay upon the table, 
and touched the blood with his fingers, and came after to the maimed 
king and anointed his legs. And therewith he clothed him anon, 
and start upon his feet out of his bed as an whole man, and thanked 
Our Lord that He had healed him. And that was not to the world 


ward, for anon he yielded him to a place of religion of white monks, 
and was a full holy man. That same night about midnight came a 
voice among them which said: My sons and not my chief sons, my 
friends and not my warriors, go ye hence where ye hope best to do 
and as I bad you. Ah, thanked be Thou, Lord, that Thou wilt vouch- 
safe to call us, Thy sinners. Now may we well prove that we have 
not lost our pains. And anon in all haste they took their harness and 
departed. But the three knights of Gaul, one of them hight 
Claudine, King Claudas' son, and the other two were great gentle- 
men. Then prayed Galahad to every each of them, that if they come 
to King Arthur's court that they should salute my lord, Sir Launce- 
lot, my father, and of them of the Round Table; and prayed them if 
that they came on that part that they should not forget it. Right so 
departed Galahad, Percivale and Bors with him; and so they rode 
three days, and then they came to a rivage and found the ship 
whereof the tale speaketh of tofore. And when they came to the 
board they found in the middes the table of silver which they had 
left with the maimed king, and the Sangreal which was covered 
with red samite. Then were they glad to have such things in their 
fellowship; and so they entered and made great reverence thereto; 
and Galahad fell in his prayer long time to Our Lord, that at what 
time he asked, that he should pass out of this world. So much he 
prayed till a voice said to him: Galahad, thou shalt have thy request; 
and when thou askest the death of thy body thou shalt have it, and 
then shalt thou find the life of the soul. Percivale heard this, and 
prayed him, of fellowship that was between them, to tell him where- 
fore he asked such things. That shall I tell you, said Galahad; the 
other day when we saw a part of the adventures of the Sangreal I 
was in such a joy of heart, that I trow never man was that was earthly. 
And therefore I wot well, when my body is dead my soul shall be in 
great joy to see the blessed Trinity every day, and the Majesty of 
Our Lord, Jesu Christ. So long were they in the ship that they said 
to Galahad: Sir, in this bed ought ye to lie, for so saith the scripture. 
And so he laid him down and slept a great while; and when he 
awaked he looked afore him and saw the city of Sarras. And as 
they would have landed they saw the ship wherein Percivale had 
put his sister in. Truly, said Percivale, in the name of God, well hath 


my sister holden us covenant. Then took they out of the ship the 
table of silver, and he took it to Percivale and to Bors, to go tofore, 
and Galahad came behind. And right so they went to the city, and 
at the gate of the city they saw an old man crooked. Then Galahad 
called him and bad him help to bear this heavy thing. Truly, said 
the old man, it is ten year ago that I might not go but with crutches. 
Care thou not, said Galahad, and arise up and shew thy good will. 
And so he essayed, and found himself as whole as ever he was. Then 
ran he to the table, and took one part against Galahad. And anon 
arose there great noise in the city, that a cripple was made whole by 
knights marvellous that entered into the city. Then anon after, the 
three knights went to the water, and brought up into the palace 
Percivale's sister, and buried her as richly as a king's daughter ought 
to be. And when the king of the city, which was cleped Estorause, 
saw the fellowship, he asked them of whence they were, and what 
thing it was that they had brought upon the table of silver. And 
they told him the truth of the Sangreal, and the power which that 
God had set there. Then the king was a tyrant, and was come of the 
line of payniras, and took them and put them in prison in a deep 



But as soon as they were there Our Lord sent them the Sangreal, 
through whose grace they were alway fulfilled while that they were 
in prison. So at the year's end it befel that this King Estorause lay 
sick, and felt that he should die. Then he sent for the three knights, 
and they came afore him; and he cried them mercy of that he had 
done to them, and they forgave it him goodly; and he died anon. 
When the king was dead all the city was dismayed, and wist not 
who might be their king. Right so as they were in counsel there came 
a voice among them, and bad them choose the youngest knight of 
them three to be their king: For he shall well maintain you and 
all yours. So they made Galahad king by all the assent of the holy 
city, and else they would have slain him. And when he was come to 


behold the land, he let make above the table of silver a chest of gold 
and of precious stones, that hylled the holy vessel. And every day 
early the three fellows would come afore it, and make their prayers. 
Now at the year's end, and the self day after Galahad had borne the 
crown of gold, he arose up early and his fellows, and came to the 
palace, and saw tofore them the holy vessel, and a man kneeUng on 
his knees in likeness of a bishop, that had about him a great fellow- 
ship of angels as it had been Jesu Christ himself; and then he arose 
and began a mass of Our Lady. And when he came to the sacra- 
ment of the mass, and had done, anon he called Galahad, and said 
to him: Come forth the servant of Jesu Christ, and thou shalt see 
that thou hast much desired to see. And then he began to tremble 
right hard when the deadly flesh began to behold the spiritual things. 
Then he held up his hands toward heaven and said: Lord, I thank 
thee, for now I see that that hath been my desire many a day. Now, 
blessed Lord, would I not longer live, if it might please thee. Lord. 
And therewith the good man took Our Lord's body betwixt his 
hands, and proffered it to Galahad, and he received it right gladly 
and meekly. Now wotest thou what I am ? said the good man. Nay, 
said Galahad. I am Joseph of Aramathie, the which Our Lord hath 
sent here to thee to bear thee fellowship; and wotest thou where- 
fore that he hath sent me more than any other? For thou hast re- 
sembled me in two things; in that thou hast seen the marvels of 
the Sangreal, in that thou hast been a clene maiden, as I have been 
and am. And when he had said these words Galahad went to Per- 
civale and kissed him, and commended him to God; and so he went 
to Sir Bors and kissed him, and commended him to God, and said: 
Fair lord, salute me to my lord, Sir Launcelot, my father, and as 
soon as ye see him, bid him remember of this unstable world. And 
therewith he kneeled down tofore the table and made his prayers, 
and then suddenly his soul departed to Jesu Christ, and a great 
multitude of angels bare his soul up to heaven, that the two fellows 
might well behold it. Also the two fellows saw come from heaven 
an hand, but they saw not the body. And then it came right to the 
Vessel, and took it and the spear, and so bare it up to heaven. 
Sithen was there never man so hardy to say that he had seen the 



dead: and of PERCIVALE how he died, and OTHER MATTERS 

When Percivale and Bors saw Galahad dead they made as much 
sorrow as ever did two men. And if they had not been good men they 
might lightly have fallen in despair. And the people of the country 
and of the city were right heavy. And then he was buried; and as 
soon as he was buried Sir Percivale yielded him to an hermitage out 
of the city, and took a religious clothing. And Bors was alway 
with him, but never changed he his secular clothing, for that he 
purposed him to go again into the realm of Logris. Thus a year and 
two months lived Sir Percivale in the hermitage a full holy life, 
and then passed out of this world; and Bors let bury him by his 
sister and by Galahad in the spiritualities. When Bors saw that he 
was in so far countries as in the parts of Babylon he departed from 
Sarras, and armed him and came to the sea, and entered into a 
ship; and so it befell him in good adventure he came into the realm 
of Logris; and he rode so fast till he came to Camelot where the 
king was. And then was there great joy made of him in the court, 
for they weened ail he had been dead, forasmuch as he had been so 
long out of the country. And when they had eaten, the king made 
great clerks to come afore him, that they should chronicle of the 
high adventures of the good knights. When Bors had told him of 
the adventures of the Sangreal, such as had befallen him and his 
three fellows, that was Launcelot, Percivale, Galahad, and himself, 
there Launcelot told the adventures of the Sangreal that he had 
seen. All this was made in great books, and put up in almeryes at 
Salisbury. And anon Sir Bors said to Sir Launcelot: Galahad, your 
own son, saluted you by me, and after you King Arthur and all the 
Court, and so did Sir Percivale, for I buried them with mine own 
hands in the city of Sarras. Also, Sir Launcelot, Galahad prayed 
you to remember of this unsyker world as ye behight him when ye 
were together more than half a year. This is true, said Launcelot; 
now I trust to God his prayer shall avail me. Then Launcelot took 
Sir Bors in his arms, and said: Gentle cousin, ye are right welcome 


to me, and all that ever I may do for you and for yours ye shall find 
my poor body ready at all times, while the spirit is in it, and that I 
promise you faithfully, and never to fail. And wit ye well, gentle 
cousin, Sir Bors, that ye and I will never depart in sunder whilst 
our lives may last. Sir, said he, I will as ye will. 

Thus endeth the story of the Sangreal, that was briefly drawn out 
of French in to English, the which is a story cronicled for one of the 
truest and the holiest that is in this world, the which is the xvii. boo\. 







Near the beginning of Elizabeth's reign, Reginald Wolfe, the Queen's 
Printer, with the splendid audacity characteristic of that age, planned to 
publish a "universal Cosmography of the whole world, and therewith 
also certain particular histories of every known nation." Raphael Holin- 
shed had charge of the histories of England, Scotland, and Ireland, the 
only part of the work ever published; and these were issued in 1577, and 
have since been known as "Holinshed's Chronicles." From them Shake- 
speare drew most of the material for his historical plays. 

Among Holinshed's collaborators was one William Harrison, chaplain 
to Lord Cobham, and later Rector of Radwinter in Essex and Canon of 
Windsor. To him was allotted the task of writing the "Descriptions of 
Britain and England" from which the following chapters are drawn. He 
gathered his facts from books, letters, maps, conversations, and, most 
important of all, his own observation and experience; and he put them 
loosely together into what he calls "this foul frizzled treatise." Yet, with 
all his modesty, he claims to "have had an especial eye to the truth of 
things"; and as a result we have in his pages the most vivid and detailed 
picture in existence of the England into which Shakespeare was born. 

In 1876 Dr. Furnivall condensed Harrison's chapters for the New 
Shakspere Society, and these have since been reprinted by Mr. Lothrop 
Withington in the modern dress in which the most interesting of them 
appear here. No apology is needed for thus selecting and rearranging, 
since in their original form they were without unity, and formed part 
of a vast compilation. 

Harrison's merit does not lie in the rich interest of his matter alone. 
He wrote a racy style with a strong individual as well as Elizabethan 
flavor; and his personal comment upon the manners of his time serves as 
a piquant sauce to the solid meat of his historical information. 




[1577, Book III., Chapter 4; 1587, Book II., Chapter 5.]' 

WE in England, divide our people commonly into four sorts, 
as gentlemen, citizens or burgesses, yeomen, and artificers 
or labourers. Of gentlemen the first and chief (next the 
king) be the prince, dukes, marquesses, earls, viscounts, and barons; 
and these are called gentlemen of the greater sort, or (as our com- 
mon usage of speech is) lords and noblemen : and next unto them be 
knights, esquires, and, last of all, they that are simply called gentle- 
men. So that in eflect our gentlemen are divided into their condi- 
tions, whereof in this chapter I will make particular rehearsal. 

The title of prince doth peculiarly belong with us to the king's 
eldest son, who is called Prince of Wales, and is the heir-apparent 
to the crown; as in France the king's eldest son hath the title of 
Dauphin, and is named peculiarly Monsieur. So that the prince is 
so termed of the Latin word Princeps, since he is (as I may call him) 
the chief or principal next the king. The king's younger sons be 
but gentlemen by birth (till they have received creation or donation 
from their father of higher estate, as to be either viscounts, earls, or 
dukes) and called after their names, as Lord Henry, or Lord Ed- 
ward, with the addition of the word Grace, properly assigned to 
the king and prince, and now also by custom conveyed to dukes, 
archbishops, and (as some say) to marquesses and their wives.'' . . . 

' These references are to the first two editions of Holinshed's Chronicles. The mod- 
ernization of the spelling, etc., follows that of Mr. L. Wilkington, whose notes are 
signed W. 

* Here follow etymologies of the terms "Duke," "Marquess," and "Baron." — W. 


2i8 holinshed's chronicles 

Unto this place I also refer our bishops, who are accounted hon- 
ourable, called lords, and hold the same room in the Parliament 
house with the barons, albeit for honour sake the right hand of the 
prince is given unto them, and whose countenances in time past were 
much more glorious than at this present it is, because those lusty 
prelates sought after earthly estimation and authority with far more 
diligence than after the lost sheep of Christ, of which they had small 
regard, as men being otherwise occupied and void of leisure to attend 
upon the same. Howbeit in these days their estate remaineth no 
less reverend than before, and the more virtuous they are that be 
of this calling the better are they esteemed with high and low. They 
retain also the ancient name ("lord") still, although it be not a little 
impugned by such as love either to hear of change of all things or 
can abide no superiors. For notwithstanding it be true that in 
respect of function the office of the eldership' is equally distributed 
between the bishop and the minister, yet for civil government's 
sake 'the first have more authority given unto them by kings and 
princes, to the end that the rest may thereby be with more ease re- 
tained within a limited compass of uniformity than otherwise they 
would be if each one were suffered to walk in his own course. This 
also is more to be marvelled at, that very many call for an alteration 
of their estate, crying to have the word "lord" abolished, their civil 
authority taken from them, and the present condition of the church 
in other things reformed; whereas, to say truly, few of them do 
agree upon form of discipline and government of the church succeed- 
ent, wherein they resemble the Capuans (of whom Livy doth speak) 
in the slaughter of their senate. Neither is it possible to frame a 
whole monarchy after the pattern of one town or city, or to stir up 
such an exquisite face of the church as we imagine or desire, sith our 
corruption is such that it will never yield to so great perfection; for 
that which is not able to be performed in a private house will be 
much less be brought to pass in a commonwealth and kingdom, 
before such a prince be found as Xenophon describeth, or such an 
orator as TuUy hath devised.* . . . 

Dukes, marquesses, earls, viscounts, and barons either be created 

' I Sara. ii. 15; i Kings i. 7. — H. 

* Here follows a long paragraph on the character of the clergy which is more appro- 
priate to the chapter on "The Church."— W. 


of the prince or come to that honour by being the eldest sons or 
highest in succession to their parents. For the eldest son of a duke 
during his father's life is an earl, the eldest son of an earl is a baron, 
or sometimes a viscount, according as the creation is. The creation 
I call the original donation and condition of the honour given 
by the prince for good service done by the first ancestor, with some 
advancement, which, with the title of that honour, is always 
given to him and his heirs males only. The rest of the sons of 
the nobility by the rigour of the law be but esquires; yet in com- 
mon speech all dukes' and marquesses' sons and earls' eldest sons 
be called lords, the which name commonly doth agree to none of 
lovror degree than barons, yet by law and use these be not esteemed 

The barony or degree of lords doth answer to the degree of 
senators of Rome (as I said) and the title of nobility (as we used 
to call it in England) to the Roman Patridi, Also in England no 
man is commonly created baron except he may dispend of yearly 
revenues a thousand pounds, or so much as may fully maintain and 
bear out his countenance and port. But viscounts, earls, marquesses, 
and dukes exceed them according to the proportion of their degree 
and honour. But though by chance he or his son have less, yet he 
keepeth this degree: but if the decay be excessive, and not able to 
maintain the honour (as Senatores Romani were atnoti d senatu), 
so sometimes they are not admitted to the upper house in the par- 
liament, although they keep the name of "lord" still, which cannot 
be taken from them upon any such occasion. 

The most of these names have descended from the French in- 
vention, in whose histories we shall read of them eight hundred 
years past.' , . . 

Knights be not born, neither is any man a knight by succession, 
no, not the king or prince: but they are made either before the battle, 
to encourage them the more to adventure and try their manhood; 
or after the battle ended, as an advancement for their courage and 
prowess already shewed, and then are they called Milites; or out of 
the wars for some great service done, or for the singular virtues which 
do appear in them, and then are they named Equites Aurati, as 
*Here follows a learned disquisition upon "Valvasors." — ^W. 


common custom intendeth. They are made either by the king him- 
self, or by his commission and royal authority given for the same 
purpose, or by his lieutenant in the wars.' . . . 

Sometime diverse ancient gentlemen, burgesses, and lawyers are 
called unto knighthood by the prince, and nevertheless refuse to take 
that st«te upon them, for which they are of custom punished by a 
fine, that redoundeth unto his coffers, and (to say truth) is often- 
times more profitable unto him than otherwise their service should 
be, if they did yield unto knighthood. And this also is a cause where- 
fore there be many in England able to dispend a knight's living, 
which never come unto that countenance, and by their own con- 
sents. The number of the knights in Rome was also uncertain: 
and so is it of knights likewise, with us, as at the pleasure of the 
prince. And whereas the Equites Rotnani had Equum Publicum of 
custom bestowed upon them, the knights of England have not so, 
but bear their own charges in that also, as in other kind of furniture, 
as armour meet for their defence and service. This nevertheless is 
certain, that whoso may dispend forty pounds by the year of free 
land, either at the coronation of the king, or marriage of his daughter, 
or time of his dubbing, may be informed unto the taking of that 
degree, or otherwise pay the revenues of his land for one year, which 
is only forty pounds by an old proportion, and so for a time be 
acquitted of that title.' . . . 

At the coronation of a king or queen, there be other knights made 
with longer and more curious ceremonies, called "knights of the 
bath." But howsoever one be dubbed or made knight, his wife is 
by-and-by called "Madam," or "Lady," so well as the baron's wife: 
he himself having added to his name in common appellation this 
syllable "Sir," which is the title whereby we call our knights in 
England. His wife also of courtesy so long as she liveth is called 
"my lady," although she happen to marry with a gentleman or man 
of mean calling, abeit that by the common law she hath no such 
prerogative. If her first husband also be of better birth than her 
second, though this latter likewise be a knight, yet in that she pre- 
tendeth a privilege to lose no honour through courtesy yielded to her 

^ Here follows a discourse upon Equites Aurati. — W. 
' Here is a description of dubbing a knight. — W. 


sex, she will be named after the most honourable or worshipful of 
both, which is not seen elsewhere. 

The other order of knighthood in England, and the most honour- 
able, is that of the garter, instituted by King Edward the Third, who, 
after he had gained many notable victories, taken King John of 
France, and King James of Scotland (and kept them both prisoners 
in the Tower of London at one time), expelled King Henry of 
Castille, the bastard, out of his realm, and restored Don Pedro unto 
it (by the help of the Prince of Wales and Duke of Aquitaine, his 
eldest son, called the Black Prince), he then invented this society 
of honour, and made a choice out of his own realm and dominions, 
and throughout all Christendom of the best, most excellent, and 
renowned persons in all virtues and honour, and adorned them with 
that title to be knights of his order, giving them a garter garnished 
with gold and precious stones, to wear daily on the left leg only; also 
a kirtle, gown, cloak, chaperon, collar, and other solemn and mag- 
nificent apparel, both of stuff and fashion exquisite and heroical to 
wear at high feasts, and as to so high and princely an order 
appertaineth. ... 

The order of the garter therefore was devised in the time of King 
Edward the Third, and (as some write) upon this occasion. The 
queen's majesty then living, being departed from his presence the 
next way toward her lodging, he following soon after happened to 
find her garter, which slacked by chance and so fell from her leg, 
unespied in the throng by such as attended upon her. His grooms 
and gentlemen also passed by it, as disdaining to stoop and take 
up such a trifle: but he, knowing the owner, commanded one of 
them to stay and reach it up to him. "Why, and like your grace," 
saith a gentleman, "it is but some woman's garter that hath fallen 
from her as she followed the queen's majesty." "Whatsoever it be," 
quoth the king, "take it up and give it me." So when he had re- 
ceived the garter, he said to such as stood about him: "You, my 
masters, do make small account of this bule garter here," and there- 
with held it out, "but, if God lend me life for a few months, I will 
make the proudest of you all to reverence the like." And eve!n 
upon this slender occasion he gave himself to the devising of this 
order. Certes, I have not read of anything that having had so simple 


a beginning hath grown in the end to so great honour and 
estimation.* . . . 

There is yet another order of knights in England called knights 
bannerets, who are made in the field with the ceremony of cutting 
away the point of his pennant of arms, and making it as it were a 
banner, so that, being before but a bachelor knight, he is now of an 
higher degree, and allowed to display his arms in a banner, as barons 
do. Howbeit these knights are never made but in the wars, the 
king's standard being unfolded.^ . . . 

Moreover, as the king doth dub knights, and createth the barons 
and higher degrees, so gentlemen whose ancestors are not known 
to come in with William Duke of Normandy (for of the Saxon 
races yet remaining we now make none accounted, much less of the 
British issue) do take their beginning in England, after this manner 
in our times. 

Whosoever studieth the laws of the realm, whoso abideth in the 
university (giving his mind to his book), or professeth physic and 
the liberal sciences, or beside his service in the room of a captain in 
the wars, or good counsel given at home, whereby his common- 
wealth is benefited, can live without manual labour, and thereto 
is able and will bear the port, charge, and countenance of a gentle- 
man, he shall for money have a coat and arms bestowed upon him 
by heralds (who in the charter of the same do of custom pretend 
antiquity and service, and many gay things), and thereunto, being 
made so good cheap, be called master (which is the title that men 
give to esquires and gentlemen), and reputed for a gentleman ever 
after, which is so much less to be disallowed of for that the prince 
doth lose nothing by it, the gentleman being so much subject to taxes 
and public payments as is the yeoman or husbandman, which he 
likewise doth bear the gladlier for the saving of his reputation. 
Being called also to the wars (for with the government of the com- 
monwealth he meddleth little), whatsoever it cost him, he will both 
array and arm himself accordingly, and shew the more manly 
courage, and all the tokens of the person which he representeth. No 
man hath hurt by it but himself, who peradventure will go in wider 

* Long details are given of Garter history, very inaccurate, both here and in the last 
omitted passage. — W. 

^ Derivations of "Esquire" and "Gentleman" are given. — W. 


buskins than his legs will bear, or, as our proverb saith, "now and 
then bear a bigger sail than his boat is able to sustain." 

Certes the making of new gentlemen bred great strife sometimes 
amongst the Romans, I mean when those which were Novi homines 
were more allowed of for their virtues newly seen and shewed than 
the old smell of ancient race, lately defaced by the cowardice and 
evil life of their nephews and descendants, could make the other to 
be. But as envy hath no affinity with justice and equity, so it forceth 
not what language the malicious do give out, against such as are 
exalted for their wisdoms. This nevertheless is generally to be repre- 
hended in all estates of gentility, and which in short time will turn 
to the great ruin of our country, and that is, the usual sending of 
noblemen's and mean gentlemen's sons into Italy, from whence 
they bring home nothing but mere atheism, infidelity, vicious con- 
versation, and ambitious and proud behaviour, whereby it cometh 
to pass that they return far worse men than they went out. A gende- 
man at this present is newly come out of Italy, who went thither an 
earnest Protestant; but coming home he could say after this manner: 
"Faith and truth is to be kept where no loss or hindrance of a future 
purpose is sustained by holding of the same; and forgiveness only 
to be shewed when full revenge is made." Another no less forward 
than he, at his return from thence, could add thus much: "He is a 
fool that maketh account of any religion, but more fool that will 
lose any part of his wealth or will come in trouble for constant lean- 
ing to any; but if he yield to lose his life for his possession, he is 
stark mad, and worthy to be taken for most fool of all the rest." 
This gay booty got these gentlemen by going into Italy; and hereby 
a man may see what fruit is afterward to be looked for where such 
blossoms do appear. "I care not," saith a third, "what you talk to 
me of God, so as I may have the prince and the laws of the realm 
on my side." Such men as this last are easily known; for they have 
learned in Italy to go up and down also in England with pages at 
their heels finely apparelled, whose face and countenance shall be 
such as sheweth the master not to be blind in his choice. But lest I 
should offend too much, I pass over to say any more of these 
Italianates and their demeanour, which, alas! is too open and mani- 
fest to the world, and yet not called into question. 

224 holinshed's chronicles 

Citizens and burgesses have next place to gentlemen, who be those 
that are free within the cities, and are of some likely substance to 
bear office in the same. But these citizens or burgesses are to serve 
the commonwealth in their cities and boroughs, or in corporate 
towns where they dwell, and in the common assembly of the realm 
wherein our laws are made (for in the counties they bear but little 
sway), which assembly is called the High Court of Parliament: the 
ancient cities appoint four and the borough two burgesses to have 
voices in it, and give their consent or dissent unto such things as 
pass, to stay there in the name of the city or borough for which 
they are appointed. 

In this place also are our merchants to be installed as amongst 
the citizens (although they often change estate with gentlemen, as 
gentlemen do with them, by a mutual conversion of the one into 
the other), whose number is so increased in these our days that their 
only maintenance is the cause of the exceeding prices of foreign 
wares, which otherwise, when every nation was permitted to bring 
in her own commodities, were far better, cheaper, and more plenti- 
fully to be had. Of the want of our commodities here at home, by 
their great transportation of them into other countries, I speak not, 
sith the matter will easily betray itself. Certes among the Lacedae- 
monians it was found out that great numbers of merchants were 
nothing to the furtherance of the state of the commonwealth : where- 
fore it is to be wished that the huge heap of them were somewhat 
restrained, as also of our lawyers, so should the rest live more easily 
upon their own, and few honest chapmen be brought to decay by 
breaking of the bankrupt. I do not deny but that the navy of the 
land is in part maintained by their traffic, and so are the high prices 
of wares kept up, now they have gotten the only sale of things upon 
pretence of better furtherance of the commonwealth into their own 
hands: whereas in times past, when the strange bottoms were suffered 
to come in, we had sugar for fourpence the pound, that now at the 
writing of this Treatise is well worth half-a-crown ; raisins or cur- 
rants for a penny that now are holden at sixpence, and sometimes at 
eightpence and tenpence the pound; nutmegs at twopence halfpenny 
the ounce, ginger at a penny an ounce, prunes at halfpenny farthing, 
great raisins three pounds for a penny, cinnamon at fourpence the 


ounce, cloves at twopence, and pepper at twelve and sixteen pence 
the pound. Whereby we may see the sequel of things not always, 
but very seldom, to be such as is pretended in the beginning. The 
wares that they carry out of the realm are for the most part broad 
clothes and carsies" of all colours, likewise cottons, friezes, rugs, tin, 
wool, our best beer, baize, bustian, mockadoes (tufted and plain), 
rash, lead, fells, etc.: which, being shipped at sundry ports of our 
coasts, are borne from thence into all quarters of the world, and 
there either exchanged for other wares or ready money, to the great 
gain and commodity of our merchants. And whereas in times past 
their chief trade was into Spain, Portugal, France, Flanders, Danske 
[Denmark], Norway, Scotland, and Ireland only, now in these days, 
as men not contented with these journeys, they have sought out the 
East and West Indies, and made now and then suspicious voyages, 
not only unto the Canaries and New Spain, but likewise into Cathay, 
Muscovy, and Tartaria, and the regions thereabort, from whence 
(as they say) they bring home great commodities. 3\-. alas! I see not 
by all their travel that the prices of things are any whit abated. Certes 
this enormity (for so I do account of it) was sufficiently provided for 
(Ann. 9 Edward III.) by a noble statute made in that behalf, but 
upon what occasion the general execution thereof is stayed or not 
called on, in good sooth, I cannot tell. This only I know, that 
every function and several vocation striveth with other, which of 
them should have all the water of commodity run into her own 

Yeomen are those which by our law are called Legates homines, 
free men born English, and may dispend of their own free land in 
yearly revenue to the sum of forty shillings sterling, or six pounds as 
money goeth in our times. Some are of the opinion, by Cap. 2 
Rich. 2 Ann. 20, that they are the same which the Frenchmen call 
varlets, but, as that phrase is used in my time, it is very unlikely to 
be so. The truth is that the word is derived from the Saxon term 
Zeoman, or Geoman, which signifieth (as I have read) a settled 
or staid man, such I mean as, being married and of some years, be- 
taketh himself to stay in the place of his abode for the better main- 
tenance of himself and his family, whereof the single sort have no 

'" Kerseys. 

226 holinshed's chronicles 

regard, but are likely to be still fleeting now hither now thither, 
which argueth want of stability in determination and resolution of 
judgment, for the execution of things of any importance. This sort 
of people have a certain pre-eminence, and more estimation than 
labourers and the common sort of artificers, and these commonly live 
wealthily, keep good houses, and travel to get riches. They are also 
for the most part farmers to gentlemen (in old time called Pagani, 
et opponuntur militibus, and therefore Persius calleth himself 
Semipaganus) , or at the leastwise artificers, and with grazing, fre- 
quenting of markets, and keeping of servants (not idle servants, as 
the gentlemen do, but such as get both their own and part of their 
masters' living), do come to great wealth, insomuch that many of 
them are able and do buy the lands of unthrifty gentlemen, and 
often setting their sons to the schools, to the universities, and to the 
Inns of the Court, or, otherwise leaving them sufficient lands where- 
upon they may live without labour, do make them by those means 
to become gentlemen. These were they that in times past made all 
France afraid. And albeit they be not called "Master," as gentlemen 
are, or "Sir," as to knights appertaineth, but only "John" and 
"Thomas," etc., yet have they been found to have done very good 

The kings of England in foughten battles were wont to remain 
among them (who were their footmen) as the French kings did 
amongst their horsemen, the prince thereby shewing where his chief 
strength did consist. 

The fourth and last sort of people in England are day-labourers, 
poor husbandmen, and some retailers (which have no free land) 
copyholders, and all artificers, as tailors, shoemakers, carpenters, 
brickmakers, masons, etc." 

As for slaves and bondmen, we have none; nay, such is the priv- 
ilege of our country by the especial grace of God and bounty of our 
princes, that if any come hither from other realms, so soon as they 
set foot on land they become so free of condition as their masters, 
whereby all note of servile bondage is utterly removed from them, 
wherein we resemble (not the Germans, who had slaves also, though 
such as in respect of the slaves of other countries might well be re- 
" Capite censi, or Proletarii. — H. 


puted free, but) the old Indians and the Taprobanes," who supposed 
it a great injury to Nature to make or suffer them to be bond, whom 
she in her wonted course doth product and bring forth free. This 
fourth and last sort of people therefore have neither voice nor author- 
ity in the commonwealth, but are to be ruled and not to rule other: 
yet they are not altogether neglected, for in cities and corporate 
towns, for default of yeomen, they are fain to make up their in- 
quests of such manner of people. And in villages they are commonly 
made churchwardens, sidesmen, aleconners, now and then con- 
stables, and many times enjoy the name of head boroughs. Unto 
this sort also may our great swarms of idle serving-men be referred, 
of whom there runneth a proverb, "Young servingmen, old beggars," 
because service is none heritage. These men are profitable to none; 
for, if their condition be well perused, they are enemies to their mas- 
ters, to their friends, and to themselves: for by them oftentimes their 
masters are encouraged unto unlawful exactions of their tenants, 
their friends brought unto poverty by their rents enhanced, and they 
themselves brought to confusion by their own prodigality and 
errors, as men that, having not wherewith of their own to main- 
tain their excesses, do search in highways, budgets, coffers, mails, 
and stables, which way to supply their wants. How divers of them 
also, coveting to bear an high sail, do insinuate themselves with 
young gentlemen and noblemen newly come to their lands, the case 
is too much apparent, whereby the good natures of the parties are 
not only a little impaired, but also their livelihoods and revenues so 
wasted and consumed that, if at all, yet not in many years, they shall 
be able to recover themselves. It were very good therefore that the 
superfluous heaps of them were in part diminished. And since 
necessity enforceth to have some, yet let wisdom moderate their 
numbers, so shall their masters be rid of unnecessary charge, and the 
commonwealth of many thieves. No nation cherisheth such store 
of them as we do here in England, in hope of which maintenance 
many give themselves to idleness that otherwise would be brought 
to labour, and live in order like subjects. Of their whoredoms I will 
not speak anything at all, more than of their swearing; yet is it found 
that some of them do make the first a chief pillar of their building, 

'^ The Ceylonese. The Greek name for the island of Ceylon was Taprobane, which 
Harrison used merely as a classical scholar. — W. 


consuming not only the goods but also the health and welfare of 
many honest gentlemen, citizens, wealthy yeomen, etc., by such 
unlawful dealings. But how far have I waded in this point, or how 
far may I sail in such a large sea.? I will therefore now stay to speak 
any more of those kind of men. In returning therefore to my matter, 
this furthermore among other things I have to say of our husband- 
men and artificers, that they were never so excellent in their trades 
as at this present. But as the workmanship of the latter sort was 
newer, more fine, and curious to the eye, so was it never less strong 
and substantial for continuance and benefit of the buyers. Neither 
is there anything that hurteth the common sort of our artificers more 
than haste, and a barbarous or slavish desire to turn the penny, and, 
by ridding their work, to make speedy utterance of their wares: 
which enforceth them to bungle up and despatch many things they 
care not how so they be out of their hands, whereby the buyer is 
often sore defrauded, and findeth to his cost that haste maketh 
waste, according to the proverb. 

Oh, how many trades and handicrafts are now in England whereof 
the commonwealth hath no need! How many needful commodities 
have we which are perfected with great cost, etc., and yet may with 
far more ease and less cost be provided from other countries if we 
could use the means! I will not speak of iron, glass, and such like, 
which spoil much wood, and yet are brought from other countries 
better cheap than we can make them here at home; I could exempUfy 
also in many other. But to leave these things and proceed with our 
purpose, and herein (as occasion serveth) generally, by way of con- 
clusion, to speak of the commonwealth of England, I find that it is 
governed and maintained by three sorts of persons — 

1. The prince, monarch, and head governor, which is called the 
king, or, (if the crown fall to a woman), the queen: in whose name 
and by whose authority all things are administered. 

2. The gentlemen which be divided into two sorts, as the barony 
or estate of lords (which containeth barons and all above that de- 
gree), and also those that be no lords, as knights, esquires, and 
simple gentlemen, as I have noted already. Out of these also are 
the great deputies and high presidents chosen, of which one serveth 
in Ireland, as another did some time in Calais, and the captain now 


at Berwick, as one lord president doth govern in Wales, and the 
other the north parts of this island, which later, with certain coun- 
sellors and judges, were erected by King Henry the Eighth. But, 
for so much as I have touched their conditions elsewhere, it shall be 
enough to have remembered them at this time. 

3. The third and last sort is named the yeomanry, of whom and 
their sequel, the labourers and artificers, I have said somewhat even 
now. Whereto I add that they may not be called masters and 
gentlemen, but goodmen, as Goodman Smith, Goodman Coot, 
Goodman Cornell, Goodman Mascall, Goodman Cockswet, etc., 
and in matters of law these and the like are called thus, Giles Jeu/d, 
yeoman; Edward Mountford, yeoman; James CocJ{e, yeoman; Harry 
Butcher, yeoman, etc.; by which addition they are exempt from the 
vulgar and common sorts. Cato calleth them "Aratores et optimos 
cives ret publicce," of whom also you may read more in the book of 
commonwealth which Sir Thomas Smith some time penned of 
this land. 



[1577, Book II., Chapter 7; 1587, Book II., Chapter 13.] 

AS in old time we read that there were eight-and-twenty flamines 
/ % and archflamines in the south part of this isle, and so many 
X JL great cities under their jurisdiction, so in these our days 
there is but one or two fewer, and each of them also under the 
ecclesiastical regiment of some one bishop or archbishop, who in 
spiritual cases have the charge and oversight of the same. So many 
cities therefore are there in England and Wales as there be bishoprics 
and archbishoprics.' For, notwithstanding that Lichfield and Cov- 
entry and Bath and Wells do seem to extend the aforesaid number 
unto nine-and-twenty, yet neither of these couples are to be accounted 
but as one entire city and see of the bishop, sith one bishopric can 
have relation but unto one see, and the said see be situate but in one 
place, after which the bishop doth take his name.^ . . . 

Certes I would gladly set down, with the names and number of 
the cities, all the towns and villages in England and Wales with their 
true longitudes and latitudes, but as yet I cannot come by them in 
such order as I would; howbeit the tale of our cities is soon found 
by the bishoprics, sith every see hath such prerogative given unto 
it as to bear the name of a city and to use Regaleius within her own 
limits. Which privilege also is granted to sundry ancient towns in 
England, especially northward, where more plenty of them is to be 
found by a great deal than in the south. The names therefore of 

' If Harrison means to give us the impression that a city has any direct connection 
with episcopal affairs, he is quite in error. Cities are distinctly royal and imperial 
institutions. The accident of the number o£ cities and sees being the same comes from 
the natural tendency of the two institutions to drift together, though of distinct origin. 
— W. 

' Here follows a long and learned disquisition upon the Roman and other early 
towns, especially about St. Albans, a portion of which will be found in the Appendix. 
— W. 



our cities are these: London, York, Canterbury, Winchester, Carlisle 
Durham, Ely, Norwich, Lincoln, Worcester, Gloucester, Hereford, 
Salisbury, Exeter, Bath, Lichfield, Bristol, Rochester, Chester, 
Chichester, Oxford, Peterborough, LlandafI, St. Davids, Bangor, 
St. Asaph, whose particular plots and models, with their descriptions, 
shall ensue, if it may be brought to pass that the cutters can make 
despatch of them before this history be published. 

Of towns and villages likewise thus much will I say, that there 
were greater store in old time (I mean within three or four hundred 
years passed) than at this present. And this I note out of divers 
records, charters, and donations (made in times past unto sundry 
religious houses, as Glastonbury, Abingdon, Ramsey, Ely, and such 
like), and whereof in these days I find not so much as the ruins. 
Leiand, in sundry places, complaineth likewise of the decay of par- 
ishes in great cities and towns, missing in some six or eight or twelve 
churches and more, of all which he giveth particular notice. For 
albeit that the Saxons builded many towns and villages, and the 
Normans well more at their first coming, yet since the first two 
hundred years after the latter conquest, they have gone so fast again 
to decay that the ancient number of them is very much abated. Ran- 
ulph, the monk of Chester, telleth of general survey made in the 
fourth, sixteenth, and nineteenth of the reign of William Conqueror, 
surnamed the Bastard, wherein it was found that (notwithstanding 
the Danes had overthrown a great many) there were to the number 
of 52,000 towns, 45,002 parish churches, and 75,000 knights' fees, 
whereof the clergy held 28,015. He addeth moreover that there were 
divers other builded since that time, within the space of a hundred 
years after the coming of the Bastard, as it were in lieu or recom- 
pense of those that William Rufus pulled down for the erection of 
his New Forest. For by an old book which I have, and some time 
written as it seemeth by an under-sheriff of Nottingham, I find even 
in the time of Edward IV. 45,120 parish churches, and but 60,216 
knights' fees, whereof the clergy held as before 28,015, or at the least 
28,000; for so small is the difference which he doth seem to use. 
Howbeit, if the assertions of such as write in our time concerning 
this matter either are or ought to be of any credit in this behalf, you 


shall not find above 17,000 towns and villages, and 9210 in the whole, 
which is little more than a fourth part of the aforesaid number, if 
it be thoroughly scanned.' . • . 

In time past in Lincoln (as the same goeth) there have been two- 
and-fifty parish churches, and good record appeareth for eight-and- 
thirty; but now, if there be four-and-twenty, it is all. This incon- 
venience hath grown altogether to the church by appropriations 
made unto monasteries and religious houses — a terrible canker and 
enemy to religion. 

But to leave this lamentable discourse of so notable and grievous 
an inconvenience, growing as I said by encroaching and joining of 
house to house and laying land to land, whereby the inhabitants of 
many places of our country are devoured arid eaten up, and their 
houses either altogether pulled down or suffered to decay little by 
little, although some time a poor man peradventure doth dwell in 
one of them, who, not being able to repair it, suffereth it to fall 
down — and thereto thinketh himself very friendly dealt withal, if 
he may have an acre of ground assigned unto him, wherein to keep 
a cow, or wherein to set cabbages, radishes, parsnips, carrots, melons, 
pompons,^ or such like stuff, by which he and his poor household 
liveth as by their principal food, sith they can do no better. And as 
for wheaten bread, they eat it when they can reach unto the price of 
it, contenting themselves in the meantime with bread made of oats 
or barley: a poor estate, God wot I Howbeit, what care our great 
encroachers? But in divers places where rich men dwelled some 
time in good tenements, there be now no houses at all, but hop-yards, 
and sheds for poles, or peradventure gardens, as we may see in Castle 
Hedingham, and divers other places. But to proceed. 

It is so that, our soil being divided into champaign ground and 
woodland, the houses of the first lie uniformly builded in every town 
together, with streets and lanes; whereas in the woodland countries 
(except here and there in great market towns) they stand scattered 
abroad, each one dwelling in the midst of his own occupying. And 
as in many and most great market towns, there are commonly three 
hundred or four hundred families or mansions, and two thousand 

^Here follows an allusion to the decay of Eastern cities. — ^W. 
*The old and proper form of the modern pumpkin. — W. 


communicants (or peradventure more), so in the other, whether 
they be woodland or champaign, we find not often above forty, 
fifty, or three score households, and two or three hundred commu- 
nicants, whereof the greatest part nevertheless are very poor folks, 
oftentimes without all manner of occupying, sith the ground of the 
parish is gotten up into a few men's hands, yea sometimes into the 
tenure of one or two or three, whereby the rest are compelled either 
to be hired servants unto the other or else to beg their bread in 
misery from door to door. 

There are some (saith Leland) which are not so favourable, when 
they have gotten such lands, as to let the houses remain upon them to 
the use of the poor; but they will compound with the lord of the soil 
to pull them down for altogether, saying that "if they did let them 
stand, they should but toll beggars to the town, thereby to surcharge 
the rest of the parish, and lay more burden upon them." But alas! 
these pitiful men see not that they themselves hereby do lay the 
greatest log upon their neighbours' necks. For, sith the prince doth 
commonly loose nothing of his duties accustomable to be paid, the 
rest of the parishioners that remain must answer and bear them out : 
for they plead more charge other ways, saying: "I am charged already 
with a light horse; I am to answer in this sort, and after that matter." 
And it is not yet altogether out of knowledge that, where the king 
had seven pounds thirteen shillings at a task gathered of fifty wealthy 
householders of a parish in England, now, a gentleman having three 
parts of the town in his own hands, four households do bear all the 
aforesaid payment, or else Leland is deceived in his Commentaries, 
lib. 13, lately come to my hands, which thing he especially noted 
in his travel over this isle. A common plague and enormity, both in 
the heart of the land and likewise upon the coasts. Certes a great 
number complain of the increase of poverty, laying the cause upon 
God, as though he were in fault for sending such increase of people, 
or want of wars that should consume them, affirming that the land 
was never so full, etc.; but few men do see the very root from whence 
it doth proceed. Yet the Romans found it out, when they flourished, 
and therefore prescribed limits to every man's tenure and occupying. 
Homer commendeth Achilles for overthrowing of five-and-twenty 
cities: but in mine opinion Ganges is much better preferred by 

234 holinshed's chronicles 

Suidas for building of three score in India, where he did plant him- 
self. I could (if need required) set down in this place the number 
of religious houses and monasteries, with the names of their founders, 
that have been in this island: but, sith it is a thing of small impor- 
tance, I pass it over as impertinent to my purpose. Yet herein I will 
commend sundry of the monastical votaries, especially monks, for 
that they were authors of many goodly borowes and endwares,^ 
near unto their dwellings although otherwise they pretended to be 
men separated from the world. But alas! their covetous minds, one 
way in enlarging their revenues, and carnal intent another, appeared 
herein too, too much. For, being bold from time to time to visit their 
tenants, they wrought oft great wickedness, and made those end- 
wares little better than brothel-houses, especially where nunneries 
were far off, or else no safe access unto them. But what do I spend 
my time in the rehearsal of these filthinesses ? Would to God the 
memory of them might perish with the malefactors! My purpose 
was also at the end of this chapter to have set down a table of the 
parish churches and market towns throughout all England and 
Wales; but, sith I cannot perform the same as I would, I am forced 
to give over my purpose; yet by these few that ensue you shall easily 
see what I would have used according to the shires, if I might have 
brought it to pass. 

shires. Market Towns. Parishes. 

Middlesex 3 73 

London within the walls and without 120 

Surrey 6 140 

Sussex 18 312 

Kent 17 398 

Cambridge 4 163 

Bedford 9 13 

Huntingdon 5 78 

Rutland 1 47 

Berkshire II 150 

Northampton 10 326 

Buckingham 11 196 

Oxford 10 216 

' The first is a variant on a Keltic, the second on a Saxon, word, both relating to 
matters sufficiently indicated in the text. — W. 







Market Towns. 

















And these I had of a friend of mine, by whose travel and his mas- 
ter's excessive charges I doubt not but my countrymen ere long shall 
see all England set forth in several shires after the same manner that 
Ortelius hath dealt with other countries of the main, to the great 
benefit of our nation and everlasting fame of the aforesaid parties. 



[1587, Book II., Chapter 20.] 

A FTER such time as Calais was won from the French, and that 
/ \ our countrymen had learned to trade into divers countries 
JL JL (whereby they grew rich), they began to wax idle also, 
and thereupon not only left off their former painf ulness and frugal- 
ity, but in like sort gave themselves to live in excess and vanity, 
whereby many goodly commodities failed, and in short time were 
not to be had amongst us. Such strangers also as dwelled here with 
us, perceiving our sluggishness, and espying that this idleness of ours 
might redound to their great profit, forthwith employed their en- 
deavors to bring in the supply of such things as we lacked con- 
tinually from foreign countries, which yet more augmented our 
idleness. For, having all things at reasonable prices (as we supposed) 
by such means from them, we thought it mere madness to spend 
either time or cost about the same here at home. And thus we be- 
came enemies to our own welfare, as men that in those days reposed 
our felicity in following the wars, wherewith we were often exercised 
both at home and other places. Besides this, the natural desire that 
mankind hath to esteem of things far sought, because they be rare 
and costly, and the irksome contempt of things near hand, for that 
they are common and plentiful, hath borne no small sway also in 
this behalf amongst us. For hereby we have neglected our own good 
gifts of God, growing here at home, as vile and of no value, and had 
every trifle and toy in admiration that is brought hither from far 
countries, ascribing I wot not what great forces and solemn estima- 
tion unto them, until they also have waxen old, after which they have 
been so litde regarded, if not more despised, amongst us than our 
own. Examples hereof I could set down many and in many things; 
but, sith my purpose is to deal at this time with gardens and orchards, 
it shall suiHce that I touch them only, and show our inconstancy in 



the same, so far as shall seem and be convenient for my turn. I 
comprehend therefore under the word "garden" all such grounds 
as are wrought with the spade by man's hand, for so the case 

Of wine I have written already elsewhere sufficiently, which com- 
modity (as I have learned further since the penning of that book) 
hath been very plentiful in this island, not only in the time of the 
Romans, but also since the Conquest, as I have seen by record; yet at 
this present have we none at all, (or else very little to speak of), 
growing in this island, which I impute not unto the soil, but the 
negligence of my countrymen. Such herbs, fruits, and roots also as 
grow yearly out of the ground, of seed, have been very plentiful in 
this land, in the time of the first Edward, and after his days; but in 
process of time they grew also to be neglected, so that from Henry 
the Fourth till the latter end of Henry the Seventh and beginning of 
Henry the Eighth, there was little or no use of them in England, but 
they remained either unknown or supposed as food more meet for 
hogs and savage beasts to feed upon than mankind. Whereas in my 
time their use is not only resumed among, the poor commons, I 
mean of melons, pompons, gourds, cucumbers, radishes, skirets,' 
parsnips, carrots, cabbages, navews,^ turnips, and all kinds of salad 
herbs— but also fed upon as dainty dishes at the tables of delicate mer- 
chants, gentlemen, and the nobility, who make their provision yearly 
for new seeds out of strange countries, from whence they have them 
abundantly. Neither do they now stay with such of these fruits as 
are wholesome in their kinds, but adventure further upon such as 
are very dangerous and hurtful, as the verangenes, mushrooms, etc., 
as if nature had ordained all for the belly, or that all things were to 
be eaten for whose mischievous operation the Lord in some measure 
hath given and provided a remedy. 

Hops in time past were plentiful in this land. Afterwards also their 
maintenance did cease. And now, being revived, where are any better 
to be found ? Where any greater commodity to be raised by them ? 
Only poles are accounted to be their greatest charge. But, sith men 
have learned of late to sow ashen kexes in ashyards by themselves, 
that inconvenience in short time will be redressed. 

' A vegetable something like a carrot. ^ A kind of turnip. 

238 holinshed's chronicles 

Madder hath grown abundantly in this island, but of long time 
neglected, and now a little revived, and offereth itself to prove no 
small benefit unto our country, as many other things else, which are 
now fetched from us: as we before time, when we gave ourselves 
to idleness, were glad to have them other. 

If you look into our gardens annexed to our houses, how wonder- 
fully is their beauty increased, not only with flowers, which Colum- 
ella calleth Terrena syderaf saying, 

"Pingit et in varios terrestria sydera flores," * 

and variety of curious and costly workmanship, but also with rare 
and medicinable herbs sought up in the land within these forty 
years: so that, in comparison of this present, the ancient gardens were 
but dunghills and laistowes,^ to such as did possess them. How art 
also helpeth nature in the daily colouring, doubling, and enlarging 
the proportion of our flowers, it is incredible to report : for so curious 
and cunning are our gardeners now in these days that they presume 
to do in manner what they list with nature, and moderate her course 
in things as if they were her superiors. It is a world also to see how 
many strange herbs, plants, and annual fruits are daily brought unto 
us from the Indies, Americans, Taprobane, Canary Isles, and all parts 
of the world: the which, albeit that in respect of the constitutions 
of our bodies they do not grow for us (because that God hath be- 
stowed sufficient commodities upon every country for her own 
necessity), yet, for delectation sake unto the eye and their odoriferous 
savours unto the nose, they are to be cherished, and God to be glori- 
fied also in them, because they are his good gifts, and created to do 
man help and service. There is not almost one nobleman, gentle- 
man, or merchant that hath not great store of these flowers, which 
now also do begin to wax so well acquainted with our soils that we 
may almost account of them as parcel of our own commodities. 
They have no less regard in like sort to cherish medicinable herbs 
fetched out of other regions nearer hand, insomuch that I have seen 
in some one garden to the number of three hundred or four hundred 

' Earthly stars. ■* "And paints terrestrial constellations with varied flowers." 
' Refuse-heaps. 


of them, if not more, of the half of whose names within forty years 
past we had no manner of knowledge. But herein I find some cause 
of just complaint, for that we extol their uses so far that we fall into 
contempt of our own, which are in truth more beneficial and apt 
for us than such as grow elsewhere, sith (as I said before) every re- 
gion hath abundantly within her own limits whatsoever is needful 
and most convenient for them that dwell therein. How do men 
extol the use of tobacco in my time, whereas in truth (whether the 
cause be in the repugnancy of our constitution unto the operation 
thereof, or that the ground doth alter her force, I cannot tell) it is 
not found of so great efficacy as they write. And beside this, our 
common germander or thistle benet is found and known to be so 
wholesome and of so great power in medicine as any other herb, if 
they be used accordingly. I could exemplify after the like manner 
in sundry other, as the Salsa parilla, Mochoacan, etc., but I forbear 
so to do, because I covet to be brief. And truly, the estimation and 
credit that we yield and give unto compound medicines made with 
foreign drugs is one great cause wherefore the full knowledge and 
use of our own simples hath been so long raked up in the embers. 
And as this may be verified so to be one sound conclusion, for, the 
greater number of simples that go unto any compound medicine, 
the greater confusion is found therein, because the qualities and oper- 
ations of very few of the particulars are thoroughly known. And 
even so our continual desire of strange drugs, whereby the physician 
and apothecary only hath the benefit, is no small cause that the use 
of our simples here ait home doth go to loss, and that we tread those 
herbs under our feet, whose forces if we knew, and could apply 
them to our necessities, we would honour and have in reverence as 
to their case behoveth. Alas! what have we to do with such Arabian 
and Grecian stuff as is daily brought from those parties which lie in 
another clime? And therefore the bodies of such as dwell there are 
of another constitution than ours are here at home. Certes they grow 
not for us, but for the Arabians and Grecians. And albeit that they 
may by skill be applied unto our benefit, yet to be more skilful in 
them than in our own is folly; and to use foreign wares, when our 
own may serve the turn, is more folly; but to despise our own, and 


magnify above measure the use of them that are sought and brought 
from far, is most folly of all: for it savoureth of ignorance, or at the 
leastwise of negligence, and therefore worthy of reproach. 

Among the Indians, who have the most present cures for every 
disease of their own nation, there is small regard of compound med- 
icines, and less of foreign drugs, because they neither know them nor 
can use them, but work wonders even with their own simples. With 
them also the difference of the clime doth show her full effect. For, 
whereas they will heal one another in short time with application of 
one simple, etc., if a Spaniard or Englishman stand in need of their 
help, they are driven to have a longer space in their cures, and now 
and then also to use some addition of two or three simples at the 
most, whose forces unto them are thoroughly known, because their 
exercise is only in their own, as men that never sought or heard what 
virtue was in those that came from other countries. And even so did 
Marcus Cato, the learned Roman, endeavour to deal in his cures of 
sundry diseases, wherein he not only used such simples as were to be 
had in his own country, but also examined and learned the forces 
of each of them, wherewith he dealt so diligently that in all his life- 
time he could attain to the exact knowledge but of a few, and thereto 
wrote of those most learnedly, as would easily be seen if those his 
books were extant. For the space also of six hundred years the cole- 
wort only was a medicine in Rome for all diseases, so that his vir- 
tues were thoroughly known in those parts. * * * 

For my part, I doubt not if the use of outlandish drugs had not 
blinded our physicians of England in times past, but that the virtues 
of our simples here at home would have been far better known, and 
so well unto us as those of India are to the practitioners of those 
parts, and thereunto be found more profitable for us than the foreign 
either are or may be. This also will I add, that even those which are 
most common by reason of their plenty, and most vile because of 
their abundance, are not without some universal and special efBcacy, 
if it were known, for our benefit: sith God in nature hath so disposed 
his creatures that the most needful are the most plentiful and serving 
for such general diseases as our constitution most commonly is 
affected withal. Great thanks therefore be givjn unto the physicians 
of our age and country, who not only endeavour to search out the use 


of such simples as our soil doth yield and bring forth, but also to 
procure such as grow elsewhere, upon purpose so to acquaint them 
with our clime that they in time, through some alteration received 
from the nature of the earth, may likewise turn to our benefit and 
commodity and be used as our own. 

The chief workman (or, as I may call him, the founder of this 
device) is Carolus Clusius, the noble herbarist whose industry hath 
wonderfully stirred them up into this good act. For albeit that 
Matthiolus, Rembert, Lobell, and others have travelled very far in 
this behalf, yet none hath come near to Clusius, much less gone fur- 
ther in the finding and true descriptions of such herbs as of late are 
brought to light. I doubt not but, if this man were in England but 
one seven years, he would reveal a number of herbs growing with 
us whereof neither our physicians nor apothecaries as yet have any 
knowledge. And even like thanks be given unto our nobihty, gentle- 
men, and others, for their continual nutriture and cherishing of such 
homeborne and foreign simples in their gardens: for hereby they 
shall not only be had at hand and preserved, but also their forms 
made more familiar to be discerned and their forces better known 
than hitherto they have been. 

And even as it fareth with our gardens, so doth it with our or- 
chards, which were never furnished with so good fruit nor with such 
variety as at this present. For, beside that we have most delicate 
apples, plums, pears, walnuts, filberts, etc., and those of sundry sorts, 
planted within forty years past, in comparison of which most of the 
old trees are nothing worth, so have we no less store of strange fruit, 
as apricots, almonds, peaches, figs, corn-trees^ in noblemen's or- 
chards. I have seen capers, oranges, and lemons, and heard of wild 
olives growing here, beside other strange trees, brought from far, 
whose names I know not. So that England for these commodities 
was never better furnished, neither any nation under their clime 
more plentifully endued with these and other blessings from the 
most high God, who grant us grace withal to use the same to his 
honour and glory! And not as instruments and provocations into 
further excess and vanity, wherewith his displeasure may be kindled, 
lest these his benefits do turn unto thorns and briers unto us for our 

° Probably cornels. 


annoyance and punishment, which he hath bestowed upon us for 
our consolation and comfort. 

We have in Hke sort such workmen as are not only excellent in 
grafting the natural fruits, but their artificial mixtures, whereby one 
tree bringeth forth sundry fruits, and one and the same fruit of 
divers colours and tastes, dallying as it were with nature and her 
course, as if her whole trade were perfectly known unto them: of 
hard fruits they will make tender, of sour sweet, of sweet yet more 
delicate, bereaving also some of their kernels, other of their cores, 
and finally enduing them with the savour of musk, amber, or sweet 
spices, at their pleasures. Divers also have written at large of these 
several practices, and some of them how to convert the kernels of 
peaches into almonds, of small fruit to make far greater, and to re- 
move or add superfluous or necessary moisture to the trees, with other 
things belonging to their preservation, and with no less diligence than 
our physicians do commonly show upon our own diseased bodies, 
which to me doth seem right strange. And even so do our gardeners 
with their herbs, whereby they are strengthened against noisome 
blasts, and preserved from putrefaction and hindrance: whereby 
some such as were annual are now made perpetual, being yearly 
taken up, and either reserved in the house, or, having the ross pulled 
from their roots, laid again into the earth, where they remain in 
safety. With choice they make also in their waters, and wherewith 
some of them do now and then keep them moist, it is a world to see, 
insomuch that the apothecaries' shops may seem to be needful also 
to our gardens and orchards, and that in sundry wise: nay, the 
kitchen itself is so far from being able to be missed among them 
that even the very dish-water is not without some use amongst our 
finest plants. Whereby, and sundry other circumstances not here to 
be remembered, I am persuaded that, albeit the gardens of the Hes- 
perides were in times past so greatly accounted of, because of their 
delicacy, yet, if it were possible to have such an equal judge as by 
certain knowledge of both were able to pronounce upon them, I 
doubt not but he would give the prize unto the gardens of our days, 
and generally over all Europe, in comparison of those times wherein 
the old exceeded. Pliny and others speak of a rose that had three score 
leaves growing upon one button: but if I should tell of one which 


bare a triple number unto that proportion, I know I shall not be 
believed, and no great matter though I were not; howbeit such a 
one was to be seen in Antwerp, 1585, as I have heard, and I know 
who might have had a slip or stallon thereof, if he would have ven- 
tured ten pounds upon the growth of the same, which should have 
been but a tickle hazard, and therefore better undone, as I did always 
imagine. For mine own part, good reader, let me boast a little of 
my garden, which is but small, and the whole area thereof litde above 
300 foot of ground, and yet, such hath been my good luck in pur- 
chase of the variety of simples, that, notwithstanding my small abil- 
ity, there are very near three hundred of one sort and other con- 
tained therein, no one of them being common or usually to be had. 
If therefore my little plot, void of all cost in keeping, be so well fur- 
nished, what shall we think of those of Hampton Court, Nonsuch, 
Tibaults, Cobham Garden, and sundry others appertaining to divers 
citizens of London, whom I could particularly name, if I should not 
seem to offend them by such my demeanour and deaUng. 



[1577, Book II., Chapter 11; 1587, Book II., Chapter 18.] 

THERE are (as I take it) few great towns in England that 
have not their weekly markets, one or more granted from 
the prince, in which all manner of provision for household 
is to be bought and sold, for ease and benefit of the country round 
about. Whereby, as it cometh to pass that no buyer shall make any 
great journey in the purveyance of his necessities, so no occupier 
shall have occasion to travel far off with his commodities, except it 
be to seek for the highest prices, which commonly are near unto 
great cities, where round' and speediest utterance^ is always to be had. 
And, as these have been in times past erected for the benefit of the 
realm, so are they in many places too, too much abused : for the relief 
and ease of the buyer is not so much intended in them as the benefit 
of the seller. Neither are the magistrates for the most part (as men 
loath to displease their neighbours for their one year's dignity) so 
careful in their offices as of right and duty they should be. For, in 
most of these markets, neither assizes of bread nor orders for good- 
ness and sweetness of grain and other commodities that are brought 
thither to be sold are any whit looked unto, but each one suffered to 
sell or set up what and how himself listeth: and this is one evident 
cause of dearth and scarcity in time of great abundance. 

I could (if I would) exemplify in many, but I will touch no one 
particularly, sith it is rare to see in any country town (as I said) the 
assize of bread well kept according to the statute; and yet, if any 
country baker happen to come in among them on the market day 
with bread of better quantity, they find fault by-and-by with one 
thing or other in his stuff, whereby the honest poor man (whom the 
law of nations do commend, for that he endeavoureth to live by 
any lawful means) is driven away, and no more to come there, 

' Direct. ^ Market. 


upon some round penalty, by virtue o£ their privileges. How- 
beit, though they are so nice in the proportion of their bread, 
yet, in lieu of the same, there is such heady ale and beer in 
most of them as for the mightiness thereof among such as seek 
it out is commonly called "huffcap," "the mad dog," "Father 
Whoreson," "angels' food," "dragon's milk," "go-by-the-wall," 
"stride wide," and "lift leg," etc. And this is more to be noted, 
that when one of late fell by God's providence into a troubled 
conscience, after he had considered well of his reachless life and 
dangerous estate, another, thinking belike to change his colour 
and not his mind, carried him straight away to the strongest ale, 
as to the next physician. It is incredible to say how our malt- 
bugs lug at this liquor, even as pigs should lie in a row lugging at 
their dame's teats, till they lie still again and be not able to wag. 
Neither did Romulus and Remus suck their she-wolf or shepherd's 
wife Lupa with such eager and sharp devotion as these men hale 
at "huffcap," till they be red as cocks and little wiser than their combs. 
But how am I fallen from the market into the ale-house ? In return- 
ing therefore unto my purpose, I find that in corn great abuse is daily 
suffered, to the great prejudice of the town and country, especially 
the poor artificer and householder, which tilleth no land, but, labour- 
ing all the week to buy a bushel or two of grain on the market day, 
can there have none for his money: because bodgers, loaders, and 
common carriers of corn do not only buy up all, but give above the 
price, to be served of great quantities. Shall I go any further ? Well, 
I will say yet a little more, and somewhat by mine own experience. 

At Michaelmas time poor men must make money of their grain, 
that they may pay their rents. So long then as the poor man hath to 
sell, rich men bring out none, but rather buy up that which the poor 
bring, under pretence of seed corn or alteration of grain, although 
they bring none of their own, because one wheat often sown without 
change of seed will soon decay and be converted into darnel. For 
this cause therefore they must needs buy in the markets, though they 
be twenty miles off, and where they be not known, promising there, 
if they happen to be espied, (which, God wot, is very seldom), to 
send so much to their next market, to be performed I wot not when. 

If this shift serve not (neither doth the fox use always one track 

246 holinshed's chronicles 

for fear of a snare), they will compound with some one of the town 
where the market is holden, who for a pot of "huffcap" or "merry- 
go-down," will not let to buy it for them, and that in his own name. 
Or else they wage one poor man or other to become a bodger, and 
thereto get him a licence upon some forged surmise, which being 
done, they will feed him with money to buy for them till he hath 
filled their lofts, and then, if he can do any good for himself, so it 
is; if not, they will give him somewhat for his pains at this time, and 
reserve him for another year. How many of the like providers 
stumble upon blind creeks at the sea coast, I wot not well; but that 
some have so done and yet do under other men's wings, the case is 
too, too plain. But who dare find fault with them, when they have 
once a licence? yes, though it be but to serve a mean gentleman's 
house with corn, who hath cast up all his tillage, because he boasteth 
how he can buy his grain in the market better cheap than he can 
sow his land, as the rich grazier often doth also upon the like device, 
because grazing requireth a smaller household and less attendance 
and charge. If any man come to buy a bushel or two for his expenses 
unto the market cross, answer is made : "Forsooth, here was one even 
now that bade me money for it, and I hope he will have it." And to 
say the truth, these bodgers are fair chapmen; for there are no more 
words with them, but "Let me see it! What shall I give you? Knit 
it up! I will have it — go carry it to such a chamber, and if you bring 
in twenty seme^ more in the wee\-day to such an inn or sollar*" 
where I lay my corn, I will have it, and give you ( ) pence or more 
in every bushel for six weeds' day of payment than another will." 
Thus the bodgers bear away all, so that the poor artificer and labourer 
cannot make his provision in the markets, sith they will hardly nowa- 
days sell by the bushel, nor break their measure; and so much the 
rather for that the buyer will look (as they say) for so much over 
measure in the bushel as the bodger will do in a quarter. Nay, the 
poor man cannot oft get any of the farmer at home, because he pro- 
videth altogether to serve the bodger, or hath an hope, grounded upon 
a greedy and insatiable desire of gain, that the sale will be better in 
the market, so that he must give twopence or a groat more in the 
bushel at his house than the last market craved, or else go without it, 

^ Horse-loads. *■ Loft. 


and sleep with a hungry belly. Of the common carriage of corn 
over unto the parts beyond the seas I speak not; or at the leastwise, 
if I should, I could not touch it alone, but needs must join other 
provision withal, whereby not only our friends abroad, but also many 
of our adversaries and countrymen, the papists, are abundantly 
relieved (as the report goeth) ; but sith I see it not, I will not so trust 
mine ears as to write it for a truth. But to return to our markets 

By this time the poor occupier hath sold all his crop for need of 
money, being ready peradventure to buy again ere long. And now is 
the whole sale of corn in the great occupiers' hands, who hitherto 
have threshed little or none of their own, but bought up of other men 
as much as they could come by. Henceforth also they begin to sell, 
not by the quarter or load at the first (for marring the market), 
but by the bushel or two, or a horseload at the most, thereby to be seen 
to keep the cross, either for a show, or to make men eager to buy, 
and so, as they may have it for money, not to regard what they pay. 
And thus corn waxeth dear; but it will be dearer the next market 
day. It is possible also that they mislike the price in the beginning for 
the whole year ensuing, as men supposing that corn will be little 
worth for this, and of better price the next year. For they have 
certain superstitious observations whereby they will give a guess at 
the sale of corn for the year following. And our countrymen do use 
commonly for barley, where I dwell, to judge after the price at 
Baldock upon St. Matthew's day; and for wheat, as it is sold in seed 
time. They take in like sort experiment by sight of the first flocks 
of cranes that flee southward in winter, the age of the moon in the 
beginning of January, and such other apish toys as by laying twelve 
corns upon the hot hearth for the twelve months, etc., whereby they 
shew themselves to be scant good Christians; but what care they, so 
that they come by money? Hereupon also will they thresh out 
three parts of the old corn, towards the latter end of the summer, 
when new cometh apace to hand, and cast the same in the fourth 
unthreshed, where it shall lie until the next spring, or peradven- 
ture till it must and putrify. Certes it is not dainty to see musty 
corn in many of our great markets of England which these great 
occupiers bring forth when they can keep it no longer. But as they 

248 holinshed's chronicles 

are enforced oftentimes upon this one occasion somewhat to abate 
the price, so a plague is not seldom engendered thereby among the 
poorer sort that of necessity must buy the same, whereby many 
thousands of all degrees are consumed, of whose death (in mine 
opinion) these farmers are not unguilty. But to proceed. If they 
lay not up their grain or wheat in this manner, they have yet 
another policy, whereby they will seem to have but small store left in 
their barns: for else they vwll gird their sheaves by the band, and 
stack it up anew in less room, to the end it may not only seem less 
in quantity, but also give place to the corn that is yet to come into the 
barn or growing in the field. If there happen to be such plenty 
in the market on any market day that they cannot sell at their own 
price, then will they set it up in some friend's house, against another 
on the third day, and not bring it forth till they like of the sale. 
If they sell any at home, beside harder measure, it shall be dearer 
to the poor man that buyeth it by twopence or a groat in a bushel 
than they may sell it in the market. But, as these things are worthy 
redress, so I wish that God would once open their eyes that deal 
thus to see their own errors: for as yet some of them little care how 
many poor men suffer extremity, so that they fill their purses and 
carry away the gain. 

It is a world also to see how most places of the realm are pestered 
with purveyors, who take up eggs, butter, cheese, pigs, capons, hens, 
chickens, hogs, bacon, etc., in one market under pretence of their 
commissions, and suffer their wives to sell the same in another, or to 
poulterers of London. If these chapmen be absent but two or three 
market days then we may perfectly see these wares to be more reason- 
ably sold, and thereunto the crosses sufficiently furnished of all things. 
In like sort, since the number of buttermen have so much increased, 
and since they travel in such wise that they come to men's houses for 
their butter faster than they can make it, it is almost incredible to see 
how the price of butter is augmented: whereas when the owners 
were enforced to bring it to the market towns, and fewer of these 
butter buyers were stirring, our butter was scarcely worth eighteen 
pence the gallon that now is worth three shillings fourpence and 
perhaps five shillings. Whereby also I gather that the maintenance 
of a superfluous number of dealers in most trades, tillage always 


excepted, is one of the greatest causes why the prices of things be- 
came excessive: for one of them do commonly use to outbid another. 
And whilst our country commodities are commonly bought and sold 
at our private houses, I never look to see this enormity redressed or 
the markets well furnished. 

I could say more, but this is even enough, and more peradventure 
than I shall be well thanked for: yet true it is, though some think it 
no trespass. This moreover is to be lamented, that one general meas- 
ure is not in use throughout all England, but every market town hath 
in manner a several bushel; and the lesser it be, the more sellers it 
draweth to resort unto the same. Such also is the covetousness of 
many clerks of the market, that in taking a view of measures they 
will always so provide that one and the same bushel shall be either 
too big or too little at their next coming, and yet not depart without 
a fee at the first, so that what by their mending at one time, and im- 
pairing the same at another, the country is greatly charged, and few 
just measures to be had in any steed. It is oft found likewise that 
divers unconscionable dealers have one measure to sell by and another 
to buy withal; the like is also in weights,, and yet all sealed and 
branded. Wherefore it were very good that these two were reduced 
unto one standard, that is, one bushel, one pound, one quarter, one 
hundred, one tale, one number: so should things in time fall into bet- 
ter order and fewer causes of contention be moved in this land. Of 
the complaint of such poor tenants as pay rent corn unto their land- 
lords, I speak not, who are often dealt withal very hardly. For, be- 
side that in measuring of ten quarters for the most part they lose one 
through the iniquity of the bushel (such is the greediness of the ap- 
pointed receivers thereof) , fault is found also with the goodness and 
cleanness of the grain. Whereby some piece of money must needs 
pass unto their purses to stop their mouths withal, or else "My lord 
will not like of the corn," "Thou art worthy to lose thy lease," etc. Or, 
if it be cheaper in the market than the rate allowed for it is in their 
rents, then must they pay money and no corn, which is no small ex- 
tremity. And thereby we may see how each one of us endeavoureth 
to fleece and eat up another. 

Another thing there is in our markets worthy to be looked into, 
and that is the recarriage of grain from the same into lofts and 


cellars, of which before I gave some intimation; wherefore if it were 
ordered that every seller should make his market by an hour, or 
else the bailey or clerk of the said market to make sale thereof, accord- 
ing to his discretion, without liberty to the farmers to set up their 
corn in houses and chambers, I am persuaded that the prices of our 
grain would soon be abated. Again, if it were enacted that each one 
should keep his next market with his grain (and not to run six, eight, 
ten, fourteen, or twenty miles from home to sell his corn where he 
doth find the highest price, and thereby leaveth his neighbours unfur- 
nished), I do not think but that our markets would be far better 
served than at this present they are. Finally, if men's barns might be 
indifferently viewed immediately after harvest, and a note gathered 
by an estimate, and kept by some appointed and trusty person for 
that purpose, we should have much more plenty of corn in our town 
crosses than as yet is commonly seen: because each one hideth and 
hoardeth what he may, upon purpose either that it will be dearer, 
or that he shall have some privy vein by bodgers, who do accustom- 
ably so deal that the sea doth load away no small part thereof into 
other countries and our enemies, to the great hindrance of our com- 
monwealth at home, and more likely yet to be, except some remedy 
be found. But what do I talk of these things, or desire the suppression 
of bodgers, being a minister ? Certes I may speak of them right well 
as feeling the harm in that I am a buyer, nevertheless I speak gener- 
ally in each of them. 

To conclude therefore, in our markets all things are to be sold 
necessary for man's use; and there is our provision made commonly 
for all the week ensuing. Therefore, as there are no great towns 
without one weekly market at least, so there are very few of them 
that have not one or two fairs or more within the compass of the 
year, assigned unto them by the prince. And albeit that some of them 
are not much better than Louse fair,^ or the common kirkemesses,' 
beyond the sea, yet there are divers not inferior to the greatest marts 
in Europe, as Stourbridge fair near to Cambridge, Bristow fair, 
Bartholomew fair at London, Lynn mart. Cold fair at Newport 
pond for cattle, and divers other, all which, or at leastwise the great- 

5 The ancient London counterpart of the more modern "Rag Fair" known to lit- 
erary fame. — W. 

* The Kermess, or literally, "Church mass," so famous in "Faust." — W. 


est part of them (to the end I may with the more ease to the reader 
and less travel to myself fulfil my task in their recital), I have set 
down according to the names of the months wherein they are holden 
at the end of this book, where you shall find them at large as I bor- 
rowed the same from J. Stow and the reports of others. 



[1577, Book II., Chapter 5; 1585, Book II., Chapter i.] 

THERE are now two provinces in England, of which the 
first and greatest is subject to the see of Canterbury, com- 
prehending a part of Lhoegres, whole Cambria, and also 
Ireland, which in time past were several, and brought into one by the 
archbishop of the said see, and assistance of the pope, who, in respect 
of meed, did yield unto the ambitious desires of sundry archbishops 
of Canterbury, as I have elsewhere declared. The second province 
is under the see of York. And, of these, each hath her archbishop 
resident commonly within her own limits, who hath not only the 
chief dealing in matters appertaining to the hierarchy and jurisdiction 
of the church, but also great authority in civil affairs touching the 
government of the commonwealth, so far forth as their commissions 
and several circuits do extend. 

In old time there were three archbishops, and so many provinces 
in this isle, of which one kept at London, another at York, and the 
third at Caerleon upon Usk. But as that of London was translated to 
Canterbury by Augustine, and that of York remaineth (notwith- 
standing that the greatest part of his jurisdiction is now bereft him 
and given to the Scottish archbishop), so that of Caerleon is utterly 
extinguished, and the government of the country united to that of 
Canterbury in spiritual cases, after it was once before removed to 
St. David's in Wales, by David, successor to Dubritius, and uncle to 
King Arthur, in the 519 of Grace, to the end that he and his clerks 
might be further off from the cruelty of the Saxons, where it re- 
mained till the time of the Bastard, and for a season after, before 
it was annexed to the see of Canterbury. 

The Archbishop of Canterbury is commonly called the Primate of 
all England; and in the coronations of the kings of this land, and 
all other times wherein it shall please the prince to wear and put on 



his crown, his office is to set it upon their heads. They bear also 
the name of their high chaplains continually, although not a few of 
them have presumed (in time past) to be their equals, and void of 
subjection unto them. That this is true, it may easily appear by their 
own acts yet kept in record, beside their epistles and answers written 
or in print, wherein they have sought not only to match but also to 
mate' them with great rigour and more than open tyranny. Our ad- 
versaries will peradventure deny this absolutely, as they do many 
other things apparent, though not without shameless impudence, or at 
the leastwise defend it as just and not swerving from common equity, 
because they imagine every archbishop to be the king's equal in his 
own province. But how well their doing herein agreeth with the 
saying of Peter and examples of the primitive church it may easily 
appear. Some examples also of their demeanour — I mean in the 
time of popery — I will not let to remember, lest they should say I 
speak of malice, and without all ground of likelihood. 

Of their practices with mean persons I speak not, neither will I 
begin at Dunstan, the author of all their pride and presumption 
here in England. ... 

Wherefore I refer you to those reports of Anselm and Becket suf- 
ficiently penned by other, the which Anselm also making a shew 
as if he had been very unwilling to be placed in the see of Canterbury, 
gave this answer to the letters of such his friends as did make request 
unto him to take the charge upon him — 

"Secularia negotia nescio, quia scire nolo, eorum ndmque occupationes 
horreo, liberum affectans animum. Voluntati sacrarum intendo scrip- 
turarum, vos dissonantiam jacttis, verendumque est tie aratrum sanctce 
ecclesice, quod in Anglia duo boves validi et pari jortitudine, ad bonum 
certantes, id est, rex et archiepiscopus, debeant trahere, nunc ove vetula 
cum tauro indomito jugata, distorqueatur a recto. Ego ovis vetula, qui si 
quietus essem, verbi Dei lacte, et operimento lance, aliquibus possem 
fortassis non ingratus esse, sed si me cum hoc tauro coniungitis, videbitis 
pro disparilitate trahentium, aratrum non recti procedere," etc. 

Which is in English thus — 

"Of secular affairs I have no skill, because I will not know them; for I 
even abhor the troubles that rise about them, as one that desireth to have 

' Overcome. 


his mind at liberty. I apply my whole endeavour to the rule of the 
Scriptures; you lead me to the contrary; and it is to be feared lest the 
plough of holy church, which two strong oxen of equal force, and both 
like earnest to contend unto that which is good (that is, the king and the 
archbishop), ought to draw, should thereby now swerve from the right 
furrow, by matching of an old sheep with a wild, untamed bull. I am 
that old sheep, who, if I might be quiet, could peradventure shew my- 
self not altogether ungrateful to some, by feeding them with the milk of 
the Word of God, and covering them with wool: but if you match me 
with this bull, you shall see that, through want of equality in draught, 
the plough will not go to right," etc. 

As followeth in the process of his letters. The said Thomas Becket 
was so proud that he wrote to King Henry the Second, as to his lord, 
to his king, and to his son, oflering him his counsel, his reverence, 
and due correction, etc. Others in like sort have protested that they 
owed nothing to the kings of this land, but their council only, reserv- 
ing all obedience unto the see of Rome, whereby we may easily see 
the pride and ambition of the clergy in the blind time of ignorance. 

And as the old cock of Canterbury did crow in this behalf, so 
the young cockerels of other sees did imitate his demeanour, as may 
be seen by this one example also in King Stephen's time, worthy 
to be remembered; unto whom the Bishop of London would not so 
much as swear to be true subject: wherein also he was maintained 
by the pope. . . . 

Thus we see that kings were to rule no further than it pleased the 
pope to like of; neither to challenge more obedience of their subjects 
than stood also with their good will and pleasure. He wrote in like 
sort unto Queen Maud about the same matter, making her "Samson's 
calf" ^ (the better to bring his purpose to pass) .... 

Is it not strange that a peevish order of religion (devised by man) 
should break the express law of God, who commandeth all men to 
honour and obey their kings and princes, in whom some part of 
the power of God is manifest and laid open unto us ? And even unto 
this end the cardinal of Hostia also wrote to the canons of Paul's 
after this manner, covertly encouraging them to stand to their 
election of the said Robert, who was no more willing to give over his 
new bishopric than they careful to oflend the king, but rather imag- 

2 A fool or dupe. 


ined which way to keep it still, maugre his displeasure, and yet not 
to swear obedience unto him for all that he should be able to do or 
perform unto the contrary. . . . 

Hereby you see how King Stephen was dealt withal. And albeit 
the Archbishop of Canterbury is not openly to be touched herewith, 
yet it is not to be doubted but he was a doer in it, so far as might tend 
to the maintenance of the right and prerogative of holy church. 
And even no less unquietness had another of our princes with 
Thomas of Arundel, who fled to Rome for fear of his head, and 
caused the pope to write an ambitious and contumelious letter unto 
his sovereign about his restitution. But when (by the king's letters 
yet extant, and beginning thus: "Thomas proditionis non expers nos- 
trcE regice majestati insidias jabricavit" ^) the pope understood the 
bottom of the matter, he was contented that Thomas should be 
deprived, and another archbishop chosen in his stead. 

Neither did this pride stay at archbishops and bishops, but de- 
scended lower, even to the rake-hells of the clergy and puddles of 
all ungodhness. For, beside the injury received of their superiors, 
how was King John dealt withal by the vile Cistertians at Lincoln in 
the second of his reign? Certes when he had (upon just occasion) 
conceived some grudge against them for their ambitious demeanour, 
and upon denial to pay such sums of money as were allotted unto 
them, he had caused seizure to be made of such horses, swine, neat, 
and other things of theirs as were maintained in his forests, they 
denounced him as fast amongst themselves with bell, book, and 
candle, to be accursed and excommunicated. Thereunto they so 
handled the matter with the pope and their friends that the king 
was fain to yield to their good graces, insomuch that a meeting for 
pacification was appointed between them at Lincoln, by means of 
the present Archbishop of Canterbury, who went off between him 
and the Cistertian commissioners before the matter could be finished. 
In the end the king himself came also unto the said commissioners 
as they sat in their chapter-house, and there with tears fell down at 
their feet, craving pardon for his trespasses against them, and heart- 
ily requiring that they would (from henceforth) commend him and 
his realm in their prayers unto the protection of the Almighty, and 

' "Thomas, not innocent of treason, has intrigued against the majesty of our court." 

256 holinshed's chronicles 

receive him into their fraternity, promising moreover full satisfac- 
tion of their damages sustained, and to build an house of their order 
in whatsoever place of England it should please them to assign. And 
this he confirmed by charter bearing date the seven-and-twentieth 
of November, after the Scottish king was returned into Scotland, and 
departed from the king. Whereby (and by other the like, as between 
John Stratford and Edward the Third, etc.) a man may easily con- 
ceive how proud the clergymen have been in former times, as wholly 
presuming upon the primacy of their pope. More matter could I 
allege of these and the like broils, not to be found among our common 
historiographers. Howbeit, reserving the same unto places more 
convenient, 1 will cease to speak of them at this time, and go forward 
with such other things as my purpose is to speak of. At the first, 
therefore, there was like and equal authority in both our archbishops, 
but as he of Canterbury hath long since obtained the prerogative 
above York (although I say not without great trouble, suit, some 
bloodshed, and contention), so the Archbishop of York is neverthe- 
less written Primate of England, as one contenting himself with a 
piece of a title at the least, when all could not be gotten. And as he 
of Canterbury crowneth the king, so this of York doth the like to 
the queen, whose perpetual chaplain he is, and hath been from time 
to time, since the determination of this controversy, as writers do 
report. The first also hath under his jurisdiction to the number of 
one-and-twenty inferior bishops; the other hath only four, by reason 
that the churches of Scotland are now removed from his obedience 
unto an archbishop of their own, whereby the greatness and circuit 
of the jurisdiction of York is not a little diminished. In like sort, 
each of these seven-and-twenty sees have their cathedral churches, 
wherein the deans (a calling not known in England before the Con- 
quest) do bear the chief rule, being men especially chosen to that 
vocation, both for their learning and godliness, so near as can be 
possible. These cathedral churches have in like manner other digni- 
ties and canonries still remaining unto them, as heretofore under the 
popish regiment. Howbeit those that are chosen to the same are no 
idle and unprofitable persons (as in times past they have been when 
most of these livings were either furnished with strangers, especially 
out of Italy, boys, or such idiots as had least skill of all in discharging 


of those functions whereunto they were called by virtue of these 
stipends), but such as by preaching and teaching can and do learn- 
edly set forth the glory of God, and further the overthrow of anti- 
Christ to the uttermost of their powers. 

These churches are called cathedral, because the bishops dwell or 
lie near unto the same, as bound to keep continual residence within 
their jurisdictions for the better oversight and governance of the 
same, the word being derived a cathedra — that is to say, a chair or 
seat where he resteth, and for the most part abideth. At the first 
there was but one church in every jurisdiction, whereinto no man 
entered to pray but with some oblation or other toward the main- 
tenance of the pastor. For as it was reputed an infamy to pass by any 
of them without visitation, so it was no less reproach to appear empty 
before the Lord. And for this occasion also they were builded very 
huge and great; for otherwise they were not capable to such multi- 
tude as came daily unto them to hear the Word and receive the sacra- 

But as the number of Christians increased, so first monasteries, 
then finally parish churches, were builded in every jurisdiction: from 
whence I take our deanery churches to have their original (now 
called "mother churches," and their incumbents, archpriests), the 
rest being added since the Conquest, either by the lords of every 
town, or zealous men, loth to travel far, and willing to have some 
ease by building them near hand. Unto these deanery churches also 
the clergy in old time of the same deanery were appointed to repair 
at sundry seasons, there to receive wholesome ordinances, and to 
consult upon the necessary affairs of the whole jurisdiction if neces- 
sity so required; and some image hereof is yet to be seen in the north 
parts. But as the number of churches increased, so the repair of the 
faithful unto the cathedrals did diminish; whereby they now become, 
especially in their nether parts, rather markets and shops for mer- 
chandise than solemn places of prayer, whereunto they were first 
erected. Moreover, in the said cathedral churches upon Sundays and 
festival days the canons do make certain ordinary sermons by course, 
whereunto great numbers of all estates do orderly resort; and upon 
the working days, thrice in the week, one of the said canons (or 
some other in his stead) doth read and expound some piece of holy 

258 holinshed's chronicles 

Scripture, whereunto the people do very reverently repair. The 
bishops themselves in like sort are not idle in their callings; for, being 
now exempt from court and council, which is one (and a no small) 
piece of their felicity (although Richard Archbishop of Canterbury 
thought otherwise, as yet appeareth by his letters to Pope Alexander, 
Epistola 44, Petri Blesensis, where he saith, because the clergy of his 
time were somewhat narrowly looked unto, "Supra dorsum ecclesice 
jabricant peccatores," etc.),*^ they so apply their minds to the setting 
forth of the Word that there are very few of them which do not every 
Sunday or oftener resort to some place or other within their juris- 
dictions where they expound the Scriptures with much gravity and 
skill, and yet not without the great misliking and contempt of such 
as hate the Word. Of their manifold translations from one see to 
another I will say nothing, which is not now done for the benefit of 
the flock as the preferment of the party favoured and advantage unto 
the prince, a matter in time past much doubted of — to wit, whether 
a bishop or pastor might be translated from one see to another, and 
left undecided till prescription by royal authority made it good. For, 
among princes, a thing once done is well done, and to be done often- 
times, though no warrant be to be found therefore. 

They have under them also their archdeacons, some one, divers 
two, and many four or more, as their circuits are in quantity, which 
archdeacons are termed in law the bishops' eyes; and these (beside 
their ordinary courts, which are holden within so many or more of 
their several deaneries by themselves or their officials once in a 
month at the least) do keep yearly two visitations or synods (as the 
bishop doth in every third year, wherein he confirmeth some chil- 
dren, though most care but a little for that ceremony), in which 
they make diligent inquisition and search, as well for the doctrine and 
behaviour of the ministers as the orderly dealing of the parishioners in 
resorting to their parish churches and conformity unto religion. 
They punish also with great severity all such trespassers, either in 
person or by the purse (where permutation of penance is thought 
more grievous to the offender), as are presented unto them; or, if 
the cause be of the more weight, as in cases of heresy, pertinacy, con- 
tempt, and such like, they refer them either to the bishop of the dio- 
* "Sinners build on the back of the church." 


cese, or his chancellor, or else to sundry grave persons set in authority, 
by virtue of an high commission directed unto them from the prince 
to that end, who in very courteous manner do see the offenders gently 
reformed or else severely punished if necessity so enforce. 

Beside this, in many of our archdeaconries, we have an exercise 
lately begun which for the most part is called a prophecy or confer- 
ence, and erected only for the examination or trial of the diligence o£ 
the clergy in their study of holy Scriptures. Howbeit, such is the 
thirsty desire of the people in these days to hear the Word of God that 
they also have as it were with zealous violence intruded themselves 
among them (but as hearers only) to come by more knowledge 
through their presence at the same. Herein also (for the most part) 
two of the younger sort of ministers do expound each after other 
some piece of the Scriptures ordinarily appointed unto them in their 
courses (wherein they orderly go through with some one of the 
Evangehsts, or of the Epistles, as it pleaseth the whole assembly to 
choose at the first in every of these conferences) ; and when they have 
spent an hour or a little more between them, then cometh one of the 
better learned sort, who, being a graduate for the most part, or 
known to be a preacher sufficiently authorised and of a sound judg- 
ment, supplieth the room of a moderator, making first a brief re- 
hearsal of their discourses, and then adding what him thinketh good 
of his own knowledge, whereby two hours are thus commonly spent 
at this most profitable meeting. When all is done, if the first speakers 
have shewed any piece of diligence, they are commended for their 
travel, and encouraged to go forward. If they have been found to be 
slack, or not sound in delivery of their doctrine, their negligence 
and error is openly reproved before all their brethren, who go aside 
of purpose from the laity after the exercise ended to judge of these 
matters, and consult of the next speakers and quantity of the text 
to be handled in that place. The laity never speak, of course (except 
some vain and busy head will now and then intrude themselves 
with offence), but are only hearers; and, as it is used in some places 
weekly, in other once in fourteen days, in divers monthly, and else- 
where twice in a year, so is it a notable spur unto all the ministers 
thereby to apply their books, which otherwise (as in times past) 
would give themselves to hawking, hunting, tables, cards, dice, tip- 

26o holinshed's chronicles 

pling at the alehouse, shooting of matches, and other like vanities, 
nothing commendable in such as should be godly and zealous stew- 
ards of the good gifts of God, faithful distributors of his Word unto 
the people, and diligent pastors according to their calling. 

But alas! as Sathan, the author of all mischief, hath in sundry man- 
ners heretofore hindered the erection and maintenance of many 
good things, so in this he hath stirred up adversaries of late unto 
this most profitable exercise, who, not regarding the commodity that 
riseth thereby so well to the hearers as speakers, but either stumbling 
(I cannot tell how) at words and terms, or at the leastwise not liking 
to hear of the reprehension of vice, or peradventure taking a mislik- 
ing at the slender demeanours of such negligent ministers as now and 
then in their course do occupy the rooms, have either by their own 
practice, their sinister information, or suggestions made upon sur- 
mises unto other, procured the suppression of these conferences, con- 
demning them as hurtful, pernicious, and daily breeders of no small 
hurt and inconvenience. But hereof let God be judge, unto the 
cause belongeth. 

Our elders or ministers and deacons (for subdeacons and the other 
inferior orders sometime used in popish church we have not) are 
made according to a certain form of consecration concluded upon in 
the time of King Edward the Sixth by the clergy of England, and 
soon after confirmed by the three estates of the realm in the high 
court of parliament. And out of the first sort — that is to say, of such 
as are called to the ministry (without respect whether they be mar- 
ried or not) — are bishops, deans, archdeacons, and such as have the 
higher places in the hierarchy of the church elected; and these also, 
as all the rest, at the first coming unto any spiritual promotion do 
yield unto the prince the entire tax of that their living for one whole 
year, if it amount in value unto ten pounds and upwards, and this 
under the name and title of first fruits. 

With us also it is permitted that a sufficient man may (by dispensa- 
tion from the prince) hold two livings, not distant either from other 
above thirty miles; whereby it cometh to pass that, as her Majesty 
doth reap some commodity by the faculty, so that the unition of two 
in one man doth bring oftentimes more benefit to one of them in a 


month (I mean for doctrine) than they have had before peradventure 
in many years. 

Many exclaim against such faculties, as if there were more good 
preachers that want maintenance than Hvings to maintain them. In- 
deed when a Hving is void there are so many suitors for it that a 
man would think the report to be true, and most certain; but when 
it cometh to the trial (who are sufficient and who not, who are 
staid men in conversation, judgment, and learning), of that great 
number you shall hardly find one or two such as they ought to be, and 
yet none more earnest to make suit, to promise largely, bear a better 
shew, or find fault with the stage of things than they. Nevertheless 
I do not think that their exclamations, if they were wisely handled, 
are altogether grounded upon rumours or ambitious minds, if you 
respect the state of the thing itself, and not the necessity growing 
through want of able men to furnish out all the cures in England, 
which both our universities are never able to perform. For if you 
observe what numbers of preachers Cambridge and Oxford do yearly 
send forth, and how many new compositions are made in the Court 
of First Fruits by the deaths of the last incumbents, you shall soon see 
a difference. Wherefore, if in country towns and cities, yea even 
in London itself, four or five of the little churches were brought 
into one, the inconvenience would in great part be redressed and 

And, to say truth, one most commonly of those small livings is of 
so little value that it is not able to maintain a mean scholar, much 
less a learned man, as not being above ten, twelve, sixteen, seventeen, 
twenty, or thirty pounds at the most, toward their charges, which now 
(more than before time) do go out of the same. I say more than be- 
fore, because every small trifle, nobleman's request, or courtesy craved 
by the bishop, doth impose and command a twentieth part, a three 
score part, or twopence in the pound, etc., out of the livings, which 
hitherto hath not been usually granted, but by the consent of a synod, 
wherein things were decided according to equity, and the poorer sort 
considered of, which now are equally burdened. 

We pay also the tenths of our livings to the prince yearly, accord- 
ing to such valuation of each of them as hath been lately made: which 

262 holinshed's chronicles 

nevertheless in time past were not annual, but voluntary, and paid 
at request o£ king or pope.^ . . . 

But to return to our tenths, a payment first as devised by the pope, 
and afterward taken up as by the prescription of the king, where- 
unto we may join also our first fruits, which is one whole year's com- 
modity of our living, due at our entrance into the same, the tenths 
abated unto the prince's coffers, and paid commonly in two years. 
For the receipt also of these two payments an especial office or court 
is erected, which beareth name of First Fruits and Tenths, where- 
unto, if the party to be preferred do not make his dutiful repair by an 
appointed time after possession taken, there to compound for the 
payment of his said fruits, he incurreth the danger of a great penalty, 
limited by a certain statute provided in that behalf against such as do 
intrude into the ecclesiastical function and refuse to pay the accus- 
tomed duties belonging to the same. 

They pay likewise subsidies with the temporalty, but in such sort 
that if these pay after four shillings for land, the clergy contribute 
commonly after six shillings of the pound, so that of a benefice of 
twenty pounds by the year the incumbent thinketh himself well 
acquitted if, all ordinary payments being discharged, he may reserve 
thirteen pounds six shillings eightpence towards his own sustentation 
or maintenance of his family. Seldom also are they without the com- 
pass of a subsidy; for if they be one year clear from this payment (a 
thing not often seen of late years), they are like in the next to hear 
of another grant : so that I say again they are seldom without the limit 
of a subsidy. Herein also they somewhat find themselves grieved 
that the laity may at every taxation help themselves, and so they do, 
through consideration had of their decay and hindrance, and yet their 
impoverishment cannot but touch also the parson or vicar, unto 
whom such liberty is denied, as is daily to be seen in their accounts 
and tithings. 

Some of them also, after the marriages of their children, will have 
their proportions qualified, or by friendship get themselves quite out 
of the book. But what stand I upon these things, who have rather to 
complain of the injury offered by some of our neighbours of the 
laity, which daily endeavour to bring us also within the compass of 

^Here follows a story about the bootless errand of a pope's legate in 1452. — W. 


their fifteens or taxes for their own ease, whereas the tax of the 
whole realm, which is commonly greater in the champagne than 
woodland soil, amounteth only to 37,930 pounds ninepence half- 
penny, is a burden easy enough to be borne upon so many shoulders, 
without the help of the clergy, whose tenths and subsidies make up 
commonly a double, if not treble sum unto their aforesaid payments ? 
Sometimes also we are threatened with a Melius inquirendum, as if 
our livings were not racked high enough already. But if a man 
should seek out where all those church lands which in time past did 
contribute unto the old sum required or to be made up, no doubt no 
small number of the laity of all states should be contributors also 
with us, the prince not defrauded of her expectation and right. We 
are also charged with armour and munitions from thirty pounds 
upwards, a thing more needful than divers other charges imposed 
upon us are convenient, by which and other burdens our ease grow- 
eth to be more heavy by a great deal (notwithstanding our immunity 
from temporal services) than that of the laity, and, for aught that 
I see, not likely to be diminished, as if the church were now become 
the ass whereon every market man is to ride and cast his wallet. 

The other payments due unto the archbishop and bishop at their 
several visitations (of which the first is double to the latter), and such 
also as the archdeacon receive that his synods, etc., remain still as 
they did without any alteration. Only this, I think he added within 
memory of man, that at the coming of every prince his appointed 
officers do commonly visit the whole realm under the form of an 
ecclesiastical inquisition, in which the clergy do usually pay double 
fees, as unto the archbishop. 

Hereby then, and by those already remembered, it is found that 
the Church of England is no less commodious to the prince's coffers 
than the state of the laity, if it do not far exceed the same, since their 
payments are certain, continual, and seldom abated, howsoever they 
gather up their own duties with grudging, murmuring, suit, and 
slanderous speeches of the payers, or have their livings otherwise 
hardly valued unto the uttermost farthing, or shrewdly cancelled by 
the covetousness of the patrons, of whom some do bestow advow- 
sons of benefices upon their bakers, butlers, cooks, good archers, fal- 
coners, and horse-keepers, instead of other recompense, for their long 

264 holinshed's chronicles 

and faithful service, which they employ afterward unto the most 

Certes here they resemble the pope very much; for, as he sendeth 
out his idols, so do they their parasites, pages, chamberlains, stewards, 
grooms, and lackeys; and yet these be the men that first exclaim of 
the insufficiency of the ministers, as hoping thereby in due time to 
get also their glebes and grounds into their hands. In times past 
bishoprics went almost after the same manner under the lay princes, 
and then under the pope, so that he which helped a clerk unto a 
see was sure to have a present or purse fine, if not an annual pension, 
besides that which went to the pope's coffers, and was thought to 
be very good merchandise. 

To proceed therefore with the rest, I think it good also to remem- 
ber that the names usually given unto such as feed the flock remain 
in like sort as in times past, so that these words, parson, vicar, curate, 
and such, are not yet abolished more than the canon law itself, which 
is daily pleaded, as I have said elsewhere, although the statutes of 
the realm have greatly infringed the large scope and brought the 
exercise of the same into some narrower limits. There is nothing 
read in our churches but the canonical Scriptures, whereby it cometh 
to pass that the Psalter is said over once in thirty days, the New Tes- 
tament four times, and the Old Testament once in the year. And 
hereunto, if the curate be adjudged by the bishop or his deputies 
sufficiently instructed in the holy Scriptures, and therewithal able to 
teach, he permitteth him to make some exposition or exhortation in 
his parish unto amendment of life. And for so much as our churches 
and universities have been so spoiled in time of error, as there cannot 
yet be had such number of able pastors as may suffice for every parish 
to have one, there are (beside four sermons appointed by public order 
in the year) certain sermons or homilies (devised by sundry learned 
men, confirmed for sound doctrine by consent of the divines, and 
public authority of the prince), and those appointed to be read by the 
curates of mean understanding (which homilies do comprehend the 
principal parts of Christian doctrine, as of original sin, of justification 
by faith, of charity, and such like) upon the Sabbath days unto the 
congregation. And, after a certain number of psalms read, which are 
limited according to the dates of the month, for morning and even- 


ing prayer we have two lessons, whereof the first is taken out of the 
Old Testament, the second out of the New; and of these latter, that 
in the morning is out of the Gospels, the other in the afternoon out of 
some one of the Epistles. After morning prayer also, we have the 
Litany and suffrages, an invocation in mine opinion not devised 
without the great assistance of the Spirit of God, although many 
curious mind-sick persons utterly condemn it as superstitious, and 
savouring of conjuration and sorcery. 

This being done, we proceed unto the communion, if any com- 
municants be to receive the Eucharist; if not, we read the Decalogue, 
Epistle, and Gospel, with the Nicene Creed (of some in derision 
called the "dry communion"), and then proceed unto an homily or 
sermon, which hath a psalm before and after it, and finally unto the 
baptism of such infants as on every Sabbath day (if occasion so 
require) are brought unto the churches; and thus is the forenoon 
bestowed. In the afternoon likewise we meet again, and, after the 
psalms and lessons ended, we have commonly a sermon, or at the 
leastwise our youth catechised by the space of an hour. And thus 
do we spend the Sabbath day in good and godly exercises, all done 
in our vulgar tongue, that each one present may hear and understand 
the same, which also in cathedral and collegiate churches is so or- 
dered that the psalms only are sung by note, the rest being read 
(as in common parish churches) by the minister with a loud voice, 
saving that in the administration of the communion the choir singeth 
the answers, the creed, and sundry other things appointed, but in so 
plain, I say, and distinct manner that each one present may under- 
stand what they sing, every word having but one note, though the 
whole harmony consist of many parts, and those very cunningly set 
by the skilful in that science. 

Certes this translation of the service of the church into the vulgar 
tongue hath not a little offended the pope almost in every age, as 
a thing very often attempted by divers princes, but never generally 
obtained, for fear lest the consenting thereunto might breed the over- 
throw (as it would indeed) of all his religion and hierarchy; never- 
theless, in some places where the kings and princes dwelled not 
under his nose, it was performed maugre his resistance. Wratislaus, 
Duke of Bohemia, would long since have done the like also in his 

266 holinshed's chronicles 

kingdom; but, not daring to venture so far without the consent of 
the pope, he wrote unto him thereof, and received his answer inhibi- 
tory unto all his proceeding in the same. . . . 

I would set down two or three more of the like instruments passed 
from that see unto the like end, but this shall suffice, being less com- 
mon than the other, which are to be had more plentifully. 

As for our churches themselves, bells and times of morning and 
evening prayer remain as in times past, saving that all images, shrines, 
tabernacles, rood-lofts, and monuments of idolatry are removed, 
taken down, and defaced, only the stories in glass windows ex- 
cepted, which, for want of sufficient store of new stuff, and by reason 
of extreme charge that should grow by the alteration of the same 
into white panes throughout the realm, are not altogether abolished 
in most places at once, but by little and little suffered to decay, that 
white glass may be provided and set up in their rooms. Finally, 
whereas there was wont to be a great partition between the choir and 
the body of the church, now it is either very small or none at all, and 
(to say the truth) altogether needless, sith the minister saith his 
service commonly in the body of the church, with his face toward 
the people, in a little tabernacle of wainscot provided for the purpose, 
by which means the ignorant do not only learn divers of the psalms 
and usual prayers by heart, but also such as can read do pray 
together with him, so that the whole congregation at one instant 
pour out their petitions unto the living God for the whole estate 
of His church in most earnest and fervent manner. Our holy 
and festival days are very well reduced also unto a less number; for 
whereas (not long since) we had under the pope four score and 
fifteen, called festival, and thirty profesti, beside the Sundays, they 
are all brought unto seven and twenty, and, with them, the superflu- 
ous numbers of idle wakes, guilds, fraternities, church-ales, help-ales, 
and soul-ales, called also dirge-ales, with the heathenish rioting at 
bride-ales, are well diminished and laid aside. And no great matter 
were it if the feasts of all our apostles, evangelists, and martyrs, with 
that of all saints, were brought to the holy days that follow upon 
Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide, and those of the Virgin Mary, 
with the rest, utterly removed from the calendars, as neither neces- 
sary nor commendable in a reformed church. 


The apparel in like sort of our clergymen is comely, and, in truth, 
more decent than ever it was in the popish church, before the uni- 
versities bound their graduates unto a stable attire, afterw^ard usurped 
also even by the blind Sir Johns. For, if you peruse well my Chronol- 
ogy ensuing, you shall find that they went either in divers colours like 
players, or in garments of light hue, as yellow, red, green, etc., 
with their shoes piked, their hair crisped, their girdles armed with 
silver, their shoes, spurs, bridles, etc., buckled with like metal, their 
apparel (for the most part) of silk, and richly furred, their caps 
laced and buttoned with gold, so that to meet a priest in those days 
was to behold a peacock that spreadeth his tail when he danceth 
before the hen, which now (I say) is well reformed. Touching 
hospitality, there was never any greater used in England, sith by rea- 
son that marriage is permitted to him that will choose that land of 
life, their meat and drink is more orderly and frugally dressed, their 
furniture of household more convenient and better looked unto, and 
the poor oftener fed generally than heretofore they have been, when 
only a few bishops and double or treble beneficed men did make good 
cheer at Christmas only or otherwise kept great houses for the enter- 
tainment of the rich, which did often see and visit them. It is thought 
much peradventure that some bishops, etc., in our time do come 
short of the ancient gluttony and prodigality of their predecessors; 
but to such as do consider of the curtailing of their livings, or exces- 
sive prices whereunto things are grown, and how their course is lim- 
ited by law, and estate looked into on every side, the cause of their 
so doing is well enough perceived. This also offended many, that 
they should, after their deaths, leave their substances to their wives 
and children, whereas they consider not that in old time such as 
had no lemans nor bastards (very few were there, God wot, of this 
sort) did leave their goods and possessions to their brethren and 
kinsfolks, whereby (as I can shew by good record) many houses 
of gentility have grown and been erected. If in any age some one 
of them did found a college, almshouse, or school, if you look unto 
these our times, you shall see no fewer deeds of charity done, nor 
better grounded upon the right stub of piety than before. If you say 
that their wives be fond, after the decease of their husbands, and 
bestow themselves not so advisedly as their calling requireth (which, 

268 holinshed's chronicles 

God knoweth, these curious surveyors make small account of truth, 
further than thereby to gather matter of reprehension), I beseech 
you then to look into all states of the laity, and tell me whether some 
duchesses, countesses, barons' or knights' wives, do not fully so often 
offend in the like as they ? For Eve will be Eve, though Adam would 
say nay. Not a few also find fault with our threadbare gowns, as if 
not our patrons but our wives were causes of our woe. But if it were 
known to all that I know to have been performed of late in Essex, 
where a minister taking a benefice (of less than twenty pounds in 
the Queen's books, so far as I remember) was enforced to pay to 
his patron twenty quarters of oats, ten quarters of wheat, and sixteen 
yearly of barley (which he called haw\s' meat), and another let the 
like in farm to his patron for ten pounds by the year which is well 
worth forty at the least, the cause of our threadbare gowns would 
easily appear: for such patrons do scrape the wool from our cloaks. 
Wherefore I may well say that such a threadbare minister is either an 
ill man or hath an ill patron, or both; and when such cooks and cob- 
bling shifters shall be removed and weeded out of the ministry, I 
doubt not but our patrons will prove better men, and be reformed 
whether they will or not> or else the single-minded bishops shall see 
the living bestowed upon such as do deserve it. When the Prag- 
matic Sanction took place first in France, it was supposed that these 
enormities should utterly have ceased; but when the elections of 
bishops came once into the hands of the canons and spiritual men, 
it grew to be far worse. For they also, within a while waxing covet- 
ous, by their own experience learned aforehand, raised the markets, 
and sought after new gains by the gifts of the greatest livings in that 
country, wherein (as Machiavelli writeth) are eighteen archbishop- 
rics, one hundred forty and five bishoprics, 740 abbeys, eleven univer- 
sities, 1,000,700 steeples (if his report be sound). Some are of the 
opinion that, if sufficient men in every town might be sent for from 
the universities, this mischief would soon be remedied; but I am clean 
of another mind. For, when I consider whereunto the gifts of fel- 
lowships in some places are grown, the profit that ariseth at sundry 
elections of scholars out of grammar schools to the posers, school- 
masters, and preferers of them to our universities, the gifts of a 
great number of almshouses builded for the maimed and impotent 


soldiers by princes and good men heretofore moved with a pitiful 
consideration of the poor distressed, how rewards, pensions, and an- 
nuities also do reign in other cases whereby the giver is brought 
sometimes into extreme misery, and that not so much as the room of 
a common soldier is not obtained oftentimes without a "What will 
you give me?" I am brought into such a mistrust of the sequel of this 
device that I dare pronounce (almost for certain) that, if Homer were 
now alive, it should be said to him: 

"Tuque licet venias musis comitatus Homere, 
Si nihil attuleris, ibis Homere foras!" 

More I could say, and more 1 would say, of these and other things, 
were it not that in mine own judgment I have said enough already 
for the advertisement of such as be wise. Nevertheless, before I finish 
this chapter, I will add a word or two (so briefly as I can) of the 
old estate of cathedral churches, which I have collected together here 
and there among the writers, and whereby it shall easily be seen 
what they were, and how near the government of ours do in these 
days approach unto them; for that there is an irreconcilable odds 
between them and those of the Papists, I hope there is no learned 
man indeed but will acknowledge and yield unto it. 

We find therefore in the time of the primitive church that there 
was in every see or jurisdiction one school at the least, whereunto 
such as were catechists in Christian religion did resort. And hereof, 
as we may find great testimony for Alexandria, Antioch, Rome and 
Jerusalem, so no small notice is left of the like in the inferior sort, if 
the names of such as taught in them be called to mind, and the histo- 
ries well read which make report of the same. These schools were 
under the jurisdiction of the bishops, and from thence did they and 
the rest of the elders choose out such as were the ripest scholars, and 
willing to serve in the ministry, whom they placed also in their cathe- 
dral churches, there not only to be further instructed in the knowl- 
edge of the world, but also to inure them to the delivery of the same 
unto the people in sound manner, to minister the sacraments, to 
visit the sick and brethren imprisoned, and to perform such other 
duties as then belonged to their charges. The bishop himself and 
elders of the church were also hearers and examiners of their doc- 
trine; and, being in process of time found meet workmen for the 


Lord's harvest, they were forthwith sent abroad (after imposition of 
hands and prayer generally made for their good proceeding) to 
some place or other then destitute of her pastor, and other taken from 
the school also placed in their rooms. What number of such clerks 
belonged now and then to some one see, the Chronology following 
shall easily declare; and, in like sort, what officers, widows, and other 
persons were daily maintained in those seasons by the offerings and 
oblations of the faithful it is incredible to be reported, if we compare 
the same with the decays and oblations seen and practised at this 
present. But what is that in all the world which avarice and negli- 
gence will not corrupt and impair? And, as this is a pattern of the 
estate of the cathedral churches in those times, so I wish that the 
like order of government might once again be restored unto the same, 
which may be done with ease, sith the schools are already builded in 
every diocese, the universities, places of their preferment unto fur- 
ther knowledge, and the cathedral churches great enough to receive 
so many as shall come from thence to be instructed unto doctrine. 
But one hindrance of this is already and more and more to be 
looked for (beside the plucking and snatching commonly seen from 
such houses and the church), and that is, the general contempt of 
the ministry, and small consideration of their former pains taken, 
whereby less and less hope of competent maintenance by preaching 
the word is likely to ensue. Wherefore the greatest part of the 
more excellent wits choose rather to employ their studies unto physic 
and the laws, utterly giving over the study of the Scriptures, for fear 
lest they should in time not get their bread by the same. By this 
means also the stalls in their choirs would be better filled, which 
now (for the most part) are empty, and prebends should be prebends 
indeed, there to live till they were preferred to some ecclesiastical 
function, and then other men chosen to succeed them in their rooms, 
whereas now prebends are but superfluous additiments unto former 
excesses, and perpetual commodities unto the owners, which before 
time were but temporal (as I have said before). But as I have good 
leisure to wish for these things, so it shall be a longer time before it 
will be brought to pass. Nevertheless, as I will pray for a reformation 
in this behold, so will I here conclude my discourse on the estate of 
our churches. 



[1577, Book III., Chapter i; 1587, Book II., Chapter 6.] 

THE situation of our region, lying near unto the north, 
doth cause the heat of our stomachs to be of somewhat 
greater force: therefore our bodies do crave a Uttle more 
ample nourishment than the inhabitants of the hotter regions are 
accustomed withal, whose digestive force is not altogether so vehe- 
ment, because their internal heat is not so strong as ours, which is 
kept in by the coldness of the air that from time to time (especially 
in winter) doth environ our bodies. 

It is no marvel therefore that our tables are oftentimes more 
plentifully garnished than those of other nations, and this trade hath 
continued with us even since the very beginning. For, before the 
Romans found out and knew the way unto our country, our predeces- 
sors fed largely upon flesh and milk, whereof there was great abun- 
dance in this isle, because they applied their chief studies unto pas- 
turage and feeding. After this manner also did our Welsh Britons or- 
der themselves in their diet so long as they lived of themselves, but 
after they became to be united and made equal with the English they 
framed their appetites to live after our manner, so that at this day 
there is very little difference between us in our diets. 

In Scotland likewise they have given themselves (of late years 
to speak of) unto very ample and large diet, wherein as for some 
respect nature doth make them equal with us, so otherwise they far 
exceed us in over much and distemperate gormandise, and so in- 
gross their bodies that divers of them do oft become unapt to any 
other purpose than to spend their times in large tabling and belly 
cheer. Against this pampering of their carcasses doth Hector Boeth- 
ius in his description of the country very sharply inveigh in the first 
chapter of that treatise. Henry Wardlaw also, bishop of St. Andrews, 
noting their vehement alteration from competent frugality into exces- 



sive gluttony to be brought out of England with James the First (who 
had been long time prisoner there under the fourth and fifth Henries, 
and at his return carried divers English gentlemen into his coun- 
try with him, whom he very honourably preferred there), doth 
vehemently exclaim against the same in open Parliament holden at 
Perth, 1433, before the three estates, and so bringeth his purpose to 
pass in the end, by force of his learned persuasions, that a law was 
presently made there for the restraint of superfluous diet; amongst 
other things, baked meats (dishes never before this man's days seen 
in Scotland) were generally so provided for by virtue of this Act 
that it was not lawful for any to eat of the same under the degree of 
a gentleman, and those only but on high and festival days. But, 
alas, it was soon forgotten! 

In old time these north Britons did give themselves universally to 
great abstinence, and in time of wars their soldiers would often 
feed but once or twice at the most in two or three days (especially 
if they held themselves in secret, or could have no issue out of 
their bogs and marshes, through the presence of the enemy), and 
in this distress they used to eat a certain kind of confection, whereof 
so much as a bean would qualify their hunger above common ex- 
pectation. In woods moreover they lived with herbs and roots, 
or, if these shifts served not through want of such provision 
at hand, then used they to creep into the water or said moorish plots 
up unto the chins, and there remain a long time, only to qualify the 
heats of their stomachs by violence, which otherwise would have 
wrought and been ready to oppress them for hunger and want of 
sustenance. In those days likewise it was taken for a great offence 
over all to eat either goose, hare, or hen, because of a certain super- 
stitious opinion which they had conceived of those three creatures; 
howbeit after that the Romans, I say, had once found an entrance 
into this island it was not long ere open shipwreck was made of this 
religious observation, so that in process of time so well the north and 
south Britons as the Romans gave over to make such difference in 
meats as they had done before. 

From thenceforth also unto our days, and even in this season 
wherein we live, there is no restraint of any meat either for religious 
sake or public order in England, but it is lawful for every man to 


feed upon whatsoever he is able to purchase, except it be upon those 
days whereon eating of flesh is especially forbidden by the laws of 
the realm, which order is taken only to the end our numbers o£ 
cattle may be the better increased and that abundance of fish which 
the sea yieldeth more generally received. Besides this, there is great 
consideration had in making this law for the preservation of the 
navy and maintenance of convenient numbers of seafaring men, both 
which would otherwise greatly decay if some means were not found 
whereby they might be increased. But, howsoever this case standeth, 
white meats, milk, butter, and cheese (which were never so dear as 
in my time, and wont to be accounted of as one of the chief stays 
throughout the island) are now reputed as food appertinent only 
to the inferior sort, whilst such as are more wealthy do feed upon the 
flesh of all kinds of cattle accustomed to be eaten, all sorts of fish 
taken upon our coasts and in our fresh rivers, and such diversity of 
wild and tame fowls as are either bred in our island or brought 
over unto us from other countries of the main. 

In number of dishes and change of meat the nobility of England 
(whose cooks are for the most part musical-headed Frenchmen and 
strangers) do most exceed, sith there is no day in manner that passeth 
over their heads wherein they have not only beef, mutton, veal, lamb, 
kid, pork, cony, capon, pig, or so many of these as the season yieldeth, 
but also some portion of the red or fallow deer, beside great variety of 
fish and wild fowl, and thereto sundry other delicates wherein the 
sweet hand of the seafaring Portugal is not wanting: so that for a 
man to dine with one of them, and to taste of every dish that standeth 
before him (which few used to do, but each one feedeth upon that 
meat him best liketh for the time, the beginning of every dish not- 
withstanding being reserved unto the greatest personage that sitteth 
at the table, to whom it is drawn up still by the waiters as order re- 
quireth, and from whom it descendeth again even to the lower end, 
whereby each one may taste thereof), is rather to yield unto a con- 
spiracy with a great deal of meat for the speedy suppression of natural 
health than the use of a necessary mean to satisfy himself with a com- 
petent repast to sustain his body withal. But, as this large feeding is 
not seen in their guests, no more is it in their own persons; for, sith 
they have daily much resort unto their tables (and many times 


unlooked for), and thereto retain great numbers of servants, it is very 
requisite and expedient for them to be somewhat plentiful in this 

The chief part likewise of their daily provision is brought in before 
them (commonly in silver vessels, if they be of the degree of barons, 
bishops, and upwards) and placed on their tables, whereof, when 
they have taken what it pleaseth them, the rest is reserved, and after- 
wards sent down to their serving men and waiters, who feed thereon 
in like sort with convenient moderation, their reversion also being 
bestowed upon the poor which lie ready at their gates in great num- 
bers to receive the same. This is spoken of the principal tables 
whereat the nobleman, his lady, and guests are accustomed to sit; 
besides which they have a certain ordinary allowance daily appointed 
for their halls, where the chief officers and household servants (for 
all are not permitted by custom to wait upon their master), and with 
them such inferior guests do feed as are not of calling to associate 
the nobleman himself; so that, besides those afore-mentioned, which 
are called to the principal table, there are commonly forty or three 
score persons fed in those halls, to the great relief of such poor suitors 
and strangers also as oft be partakers thereof and otherwise like to 
dine hardly. As for drink, it is usually filled in pots, goblets, jugs, 
bowls of silver, in noblemen's houses; also in fine Venice glasses of 
all forms; and, for want of these elsewhere, in pots of earth of sundry 
colours and moulds, whereof many are garnished with silver, or 
at the leastwise in pewter, all which notwithstanding are seldom set 
on the table, but each one, as necessity urgeth, calleth for a cup of such 
drink, as him listeth to have, so that, when he has tasted of it, he 
delivered the cup again to some one of the standers by, who, making 
it clean by pouring out the drink that remaineth, restoreth it to the 
cupboard from whence he fetched the same. By this device (a 
thing brought up at the first by Mnesitheus of Athens, in conserva- 
tion of the honour of Orestes, who had not yet made expiation for 
the death of his adulterous parents, ^gisthus and Clytemnestra) 
much idle tippling is furthermore cut off; for, if the full pots should 
continually stand at the elbow or near the trencher, divers would 
always be dealing with them, whereas now they drink seldom, and 
only when necessity urgeth, and so avoid the note of great drinking, 


or often troubling of the servitors with filling o£ their bowls. Never- 
theless in the noblemen's halls this order is not used, neither is any 
man's house commonly under the degree of a knight or esquire of 
great revenues. It is a world to see in these our days, wherein gold 
and silver most aboundeth, how that our gentility, as loathing those 
metals (because of the plenty) do now generally choose rather the 
Venice glasses, both for our wine and beer, than any of those metals 
or stone wherein before time we have been accustomed to drink; 
but such is the nature of man generally that it most coveteth things 
difficult to be attained; and such is the estimation of this stuff that 
many become rich only with their new trade unto Murana (a town 
near to Venice, situate on the Adriatic Sea), from whence the very 
best are daily to be had, and such as for beauty do well near match 
the crystal or the ancient murrhina vasa whereof now no man hath 
knowledge. And as this is seen in the gentility, so in the wealthy 
communally the like desire of glass is not neglected, whereby the gain 
gotten by their purchase is yet much more increased to the benefit 
of the merchant. The poorest also will have glass if they may; but, 
sith the Venetian is somewhat too dear for them, they content them- 
selves with such as are made at home of fern and burned stonei; 
but in fine all go one way — that is, to shards at the last, so that our 
great expenses in glasses (beside that they breed much strife toward 
such as have the charge of them) are worst of all bestowed in mine 
opinion, because their pieces do turn unto no profit. If the philoso- 
pher's stone were once found, and one part hereof mixed with forty 
of molten glass, it would induce such a metallical toughness thereunto 
that a fall should nothing hurt it in such manner; yet it might per- 
adventure bunch or batter it; nevertheless that inconvenience were 
quickly to be redressed by the hammer. But whither am I slipped ? 

The gentlemen and merchants keep much about one rate, and 
each of them contenteth himself with four, five, or six dishes, when 
they have but small resort, or peradventure with one, or two, or 
three at the most, when they have no strangers to accompany them 
at their tables. And yet their servants have their ordinary diet as- 
signed, beside such as is left at their master's boards, and not ap- 
pointed to be brought thither the second time, which nevertheless is 
often seen, generally in venison, lamb, or some especial dish, whereon 

276 holinshed's chronicles 

the merchantman himself liketh to feed when it is cold, or perad- 
venture for sundry causes incident to the feeder is better so than if 
it were warm or hot. To be short, at such times as the merchants do 
make their ordinary or voluntary feasts, it is a world to see what 
great provision is made of all manner of delicate meats, from every 
quarter of the country, wherein, beside that they are often comparable 
herein to the nobility of the land, they will seldom regard anything 
that the butcher usually killeth, but reject the same as not worthy to 
come in place. In such cases also jellies of all colours, mixed with a 
variety in the representation of sundry flowers, herbs, trees, forms of 
beasts, fish, fowls, and fruits, and thereunto marchpane wrought with 
no small curiosity, tarts of divers hues, and sundry denominations, 
conserves of old fruits, foreign and home-bred, suckets, codinacs, 
marmalades, marchpane, sugar-bread, gingerbread, florentines, wild 
fowls, venison of all sorts, and sundry outlandish confections, alto- 
gether seasoned with sugar (which Pliny calleth mel ex arundinibus, 
a device not common nor greatly used in old time at the table, but 
only in medicine, although it grew in Arabia, India, and Sicilia), do 
generally bear the sway, besides infinite devices of our own not pos- 
sible for me to remember. Of the potato, and such venerous roots as 
are brought out of Spain, Portugal, and the Indies to furnish up our 
banquets, I speak not, wherein our mures' of no less force, and to be 
had about Crosby-Ravenswath, do now begin to have place. 

But among all these, the kind of meat which is obtained with most 
difficulty and costs, is commonly taken for the most delicate, and 
thereupon each guest will soonest desire to feed. And as all estates 
do exceed herein, I mean for strangeness and number of costly dishes, 
so these forget not to use the like excess in wine, insomuch as there 
is no kind to be had, neither anywhere more store of all sorts than 
in England, although we have none growing with us upwards, 
notwithstanding the daily restraints of the same but yearly to the 
proportion of 20,000 or 30,000 tun and brought over unto us, whereof 
at great meetings there is not some store to be had. Neither do I 
mean this of small wines only, as claret, white, red, French, etc., 
which amount to about fifty-six sorts, according to the number of 

' Sweet cicely, sometimes miscalled myrrh. Mure is the Saxon word. At one time 
the plant was not uncommon as a salad. — W. 


regions from whence they came, but also o£ the thirty kinds of 
ItaUan, Grecian, Spanish, Canarian, etc., whereof vernage, catepu- 
ment, raspis, muscadell, romnie, bastard lire, osy caprie, clary, and 
malmesey, are not least of all accompted of, because of their strength 
and valour. For, as I have said in meat, so, the stronger the wine is, 
the more it is desired, by means whereof, in old time, the best was 
called theologicum, because it was had from the clergy and religious 
men, unto whose houses many of the laity would often send for 
bottles filled with the same, being sure they would neither drink 
nor be served of the worst, or such as was any ways mingled or 
brewed by the vinterer: nay, the merchant would have thought that 
his soul should have gone straightway to the devil if he should have 
served them with other than the best. Furthermore, when these 
have had their course which nature yieldeth, sundry sorts of arti- 
ficial stuff as ypocras and wormwood wine must in like manner 
succeed in their turns, beside stale ale and strong beer, which never- 
theless bear the greatest brunt in drinking, and are of so many sorts 
and ages as it pleaseth the brewer to make them. 

The beer that is used at noblemen's tables in their fixed and stand- 
ing houses is commonly a year old, or peradventure of two years' 
tunning or more; but this is not general. It is also brewed in March, 
and therefore called March beer; but, for the household, it is usually 
not under a month's age, each one coveting to have the same stale 
as he may, so that it be not sour, and his bread new as is possible, 
so that it be not hot. 

The artificer and husbandman makes greatest account of such 
meat as they may soonest come by, and have it quickliest ready, 
except it be in London when the companies of every trade do meet 
on their quarter days, at which time they be nothing inferior to the 
nobility. Their food also consisteth principally in beef, and such 
meat as the butcher selleth — that is to say, mutton, veal, lamb, pork, 
etc., whereof he findeth great store in the markets adjoining, beside 
sows, brawn, bacon, fruit, pies of fruit, fowls of sundry sorts, cheese, 
butter, eggs, etc., as the other wanteth it not at home, by his own 
provision which is at the best hand, and commonly least charge. 
In feasting also, this latter sort, I mean the husbandmen, do exceed 
after their manner, especially at bridals, purifications of women, and 

278 holinshed's chronicles 

such odd meetings, where it is incredible to tell what meat is con- 
sumed and spent, each one bringing such a dish, or so many with 
him, as his wife and he do consult upon, but always with this con- 
sideration, that the lesser friend shall have the better provision. This 
also is commonly seen at these banquets, that the good man of the 
house is not charged with anything saving bread, drink, sauce, 
house-room, and fire. But the artificers in cities and good towns do 
deal far otherwise; for, albeit that some of them do suffer their jaws 
to go oft before their claws, and divers of them, by making good 
cheer, do hinder themselves and other men, yet the wiser sort can 
handle the matter well enough in these junketings, and therefore 
their frugality deserveth commendation. To conclude, both the 
artificer and the husbandman are sufficiently liberal, and very friendly 
at their tables; and, when they meet, they are so merry without 
malice, and plain without inward Italian or French craft and subtlety, 
that it would do a man good to be in company among them. Herein 
only are the inferior sort somewhat to be blamed, that, being thus 
assembled, their talk is now and then such as savoureth of scurrility 
and ribaldry, a thing naturally incident to carters and clowns, who 
think themselves not to be merry and welcome if their foolish veins 
in this behalf be never so little restrained. This is moreover to be 
added in these meetings, that if they happen to stumble upon a piece 
of venison and a cup of wine or very strong beer or ale (which latter 
they commonly provide against their appointed days), they think 
their cheer so great, and themselves to have fared so well, as the Lord 
Mayor of London, with whom, when their bellies be full, they will 
not often stick to make comparison, because that of a subject there 
is no public officer of any city in Europe that may compare in port 
and countenance with him during the time of his office. 

I might here talk somewhat of the great silence that is used at the 
tables of the honourable and wiser sort generally over all the realm 
(albeit that too much deserveth no commendation, for it belongeth 
to guests neither to be muti nor loquace^), likewise of the moderate 
eating and drinking that is daily seen, and finally of the regard that 
each one hath to keep himself from the note of surfeiting and drunk- 
enness (for which cause salt meat, except beef, bacon, and pork, are 
* Neither "silent" nor "garrulous." 


not any whit esteemed, and yet these three may not be much 
powdered) ; but, as in rehearsal thereof I should commend the noble- 
man, merchant, and frugal artificer, so I could not clear the meaner 
sort of husbandmen and country inhabitants of very much babbling 
(except it be here and there some odd yeoman), with whom he is 
thought to be the merriest that talketh of most ribaldry or the wisest 
man that speaketh fastest among them, and now and then surfeiting 
and drunkenness which they rather fall into for want of heed taking 
than wilfully following or delighting in those errors of set mind and 
purpose. It may be that divers of them living at home, with hard 
and pinching diet, small drink, and some of them having scarce 
enough of that, are soonest overtaken when they come into such 
banquets; howbeit they take it generally as no small disgrace if they 
happen to be cupshotten, so that it is a grief unto them, though now 
sans remedy, sith the thing is done and past. If the friends also of 
the wealthier sort come to their houses from far, they are commonly 
so welcome till they depart as upon the first day of their coming; 
whereas in good towns and cities, as London, etc., men oftentimes 
complain of little room, and, in reward of a fat capon or plenty of 
beef and mutton largely bestowed upon them in the country, a cup 
of wine or beer with a napkin to wipe their lips and an "You are 
heartily welcome!" is thought to be a great entertainment; and there- 
fore the old country clerks have framed this saying in that behalf, 
I mean upon the entertainment of townsmen and Londoners after 
the days of their abode, in this manner: 

"Primus jucundus, toUerabilis estque secundus, 
Tertius est vanus, sed fetet quatriduanus." 

The bread throughout the land is made of such grain as the soil 
yieldeth; nevertheless the gentility commonly provide themselves 
sufficiently of wheat for their own tables, whilst their household and 
poor neighbours in some shires are forced to content themselves 
with rye, or barley, yea, and in time of dearth, many with bread 
made either of beans, peas, or oats, or of altogether and some acorns 
among, of which scourge the poorest do soonest taste, sith they are 
least able to provide themselves of better. I will not say that this 
extremity is oft so well to be seen in time of plenty as of dearth, but, 

28o holinshed's chronicles 

if I should, I could easily bring my trial. For, albeit that there be 
much more ground eared now almost in every place than hath been 
of late years, yet such a price of corn continueth in each town and 
market without any just cause (except it be that landlords do get 
licences to carry corn out of the land only to keep up the prices for 
their own private gains and ruin of the commonwealth), that the 
artificer and poor labouring man is not able to reach unto it, but is 
driven to content himself with horse corn — I mean beans, peas, oats, 
tares, and lentils: and therefore it is a true proverb, and never so 
well verified as now, that "Hunger setteth his first foot into the 
horse-manger." ' If the world last awhile after this rate, wheat and 
rye will be no grain for poor men to feed on; and some caterpillars 
there are that can say so much already. 

Of bread made of wheat we have sundry sorts daily brought to 
the table, whereof the first and most excellent is the manchet, which 
we commonly call white bread, in Latin primarius pants, whereof 
Budeus also speaketh, in his first book De asse; and our good work- 
men deliver commonly such proportion that of the flour of one 
bushel with another they make forty cast of manchet, of which every 
loaf weigheth eight ounces into the oven, and six ounces out, as I 
have been informed. The second is the cheat or wheaten bread, so 
named because the colour thereof resembleth the grey or yellowish 
wheat, being clean and well dressed, and out of this is the coarsest 
of the bran (usually called gurgeons or pollard) taken. The ravelled 
is a kind of cheat bread also, but it retaineth more of the gross, and 
less of the pure substance of the wheat; and this, being more slightly 
wrought up, is used in the halls of the nobility and gentry only, 
whereas the other either is or should be baked in cities and good 
towns of an appointed size (according to such price as the corn doth 
bear), and by a statute provided by King John in that behalf.^ The 
ravelled cheat therefore is generally so made that out of one bushel 
of meal, after two and twenty pounds of bran be sifted and taken 
from it (whereunto they add the gurgeons that rise from the man- 
chet), they make thirty cast, every loaf weighing eighteen ounces into 

' A famine at hand is first seen in the horse-manger, when the poor do fall to horse 
corn. — H. 

■* The size of bread is very ill kept or not at all looked unto in the country towns or 
markets. — ^H. 


the oven, and sixteen ounces out; and, beside this, they so handle the 
matter that to every bushel o£ meal they add only tvi^o and twenty, 
or three and twenty, pound o£ water, washing also (in some houses) 
their corn before it go to the mill, whereby their manchet bread is 
more excellent in colour, and pleasing to the eye, than otherwise it 
would be. The next sort is named brown bread, of the colour of 
which we have two sorts one baked up as it cometh from the mill, 
so that neither the bran nor the flour are any whit diminished; this, 
Celsus called autopirus pants, lib. 2, and putteth it in the second 
place of nourishment. The other hath little or no flour left therein 
at all, howbeit he calleth it Panem Cibarium, and it is not only the 
worst and weakest of all the other sorts, but also appointed in old 
time for servants, slaves, and the inferior kind of people to feed upon. 
Hereunto likewise, because it is dry and brickie in the working 
(for it will hardly be made up handsomely into loaves), some add a 
portion of rye meal in our time, whereby the rough dryness or dry 
roughness thereof is somewhat qualified, and then it is named 
miscelin, that is, bread made of mingled corn, albeit that divers do 
sow or mingle wheat and rye of set purpose at the mill, or before it 
come there, and sell the same at the markets under the aforesaid 

In champaign countries much rye and barley bread is eaten, but 
especially where wheat is scant and geson. As for the difference that 
it is between the summer and winter wheat, most husbandmen 
know it not, sith they are neither acquainted with summer wheat 
nor winter barley; yet here and there I find of both sorts, specially in 
the north and about Kendal, where they call it March wheat, and also 
of summer rye, but in so small quantities as that I dare not pro- 
nounce them to be greatly common among us. 

Our drink, whose force and continuance is partly touched already, 
is made of barley, water, and hops, sodden and mingled together, 
by the industry of our brewers in a certain exact proportion. But, 
before our barley do come into their hands, it sustaineth great altera- 
tion, and is converted into malt, the making whereof I will here set 
down in such order as my skill therein may extend unto (for I am 
scarce a good maltster), chiefly for that foreign writers have at- 
tempted to describe the same, and the making of our beer, wherein 

282 holinshed's chronicles 

they have shot so far wide, as the quantity of ground was between 
themselves and their mark. In the meantime bear with me, gentle 
reader (I beseech thee), that lead thee from the description of the 
plentiful diet of our country unto the fond report of a servile trade, 
or rather from a table delicately furnished into a musty malthouse; 
but such is now thy hap, wherefore I pray thee be contented. 

Our malt is made all the year long in some great towns; but in 
gentlemen's and yeomen's houses, who commonly make sufficient for 
their own expenses only, the winter half is thought most meet for 
that commodity: howbeit the malt that is made when the willow 
doth bud is commonly worst of all. Nevertheless each one endeavour- 
eth to make it of the best barley, which is steeped in a cistern, in 
greater or less quantity, by the space of three days and three nights, 
until it be thoroughly soaked. This being done, the water is drained 
from it by little and little, till it be quite gone. Afterward they take 
it out, and, laying it upon the clean floor on a round heap, it resteth 
so until it be ready to shoot at the root end, which maltsters call 
combing. When it beginneth therefore to shoot in this manner, 
they say it is come, and then forthwith they spread it abroad, first 
thick, and afterwards thinner and thinner upon the said floor (as 
it combeth), and there it lieth (with turning every day four or five 
times) by the space of one and twenty days at the least, the workmen 
not suffering it in any wise to take any heat, whereby the bud end 
should spire, that bringeth forth the blade, and by which oversight 
or hurt of the stuff itself the malt would be spoiled and turn small 
commodity to the brewer. When it hath gone, or been turned, so 
long upon the floor, they carry it to a kiln covered with hair cloth, 
where they give it gentle heats (after they have spread it there very 
thin abroad) till it be dry, and in the meanwhile they turn it often, 
that it may be uniformly dried. For the more it be dried (yet must 
it be done with soft fire) the sweeter and better the malt is, and the 
longer it will continue, whereas, if it be not dried down (as they call 
it), but slackly handled, it will breed a kind of worm called a weevil, 
which groweth in the flour of the corn, and in process of time will 
so eat out itself that nothing shall remain of the grain but even the 
very rind or husk. 

The best malt is tried by the hardness and colour; for, if it look 


fresh with a yellow hue, and thereto will write like a piece of chalk, 
after you have bitten a kernel in sunder in the midst, then you may 
assure yourself that it is dried down. In some places it is dried at 
leisure with wood alone or straw alone, in others with wood and 
straw together; but, of all, the straw dried is the most excellent. For 
the wood-dried malt when it is brewed, beside that the drink is 
higher of colour, it doth hurt and annoy the head of him that is not 
used thereto, because of the smoke. Such also as use both indifferently 
do bark, cleave, and dry their wood in an oven, thereby to remove all 
moisture that should procure the fume; and this malt is in the second 
place, and, with the same likewise, that which is made with dried 
furze, broom, etc.: whereas, if they also be occupied green, they are 
in manner so prej udicial to the corn as is the moist wood. And thus 
much of our malts, in brewing whereof some grind the same some- 
what grossly, and, in seething well the liquor that shall be put into 
it, they add to every nine quarters of malt one of headcorn (which 
consisteth of sundry grain, as wheat and oats ground). But what 
have I to do with this matter, or rather so great a quantity, where- 
with I am not acquainted ? Nevertheless, sith I have taken occasion 
to speak of brewing, I will exemplify in such a proportion as I am 
best skilled in, because it is the usual rate for mine own family, and 
once in a month practised by my wife and her maid-servants, who 
proceed withal after this manner, as she hath oft informed me. 

Having therefore ground eight bushels of good malt upon our 
quern, where the toll is saved, she addeth unto it half a bushel of 
wheat meal, and so much of oats small ground, and so tempereth 
or mixeth them with the malt that you cannot easily discern the 
one from the other; otherwise these latter would clunter, fall into 
lumps, and thereby become unprofitable. The first liquor (which 
is full eighty gallons, according to the proportion of our furnace) 
she maketh boiling hot, and then poureth it softly into the malt, 
where it resteth (but without stirring) until her second liquor be 
almost ready to boil. This done, she letteth her mash run till the 
malt be left without liquor, or at the leastwise the greatest part of the 
moisture, which she perceiveth by the stay and soft issue thereof; 
and by this time her second liquor in the furnace is ready to seethe, 
which is put also to the malt, as the first woort also again into the 

284 holinshed's chronicles 

furnace, whereunto she addeth two pounds of the best English hops, 
and so letteth them seethe together by the space of two hours in 
summer or an hour and a half in winter, whereby it getteth an ex- 
cellent colour, and continuance without impeachment or any super- 
fluous tartness. But, before she putteth her first woort into the 
furnace, or mingleth it with the hops, she taketh out a vessel full, of 
eight or nine gallons, which she shutteth up close, and sufFereth no 
air to come into it till it become yellow, and this she reserveth by 
itself unto further use, as shall appear hereafter, calling it brackwoort 
or charwoort, and, as she saith, it addeth also to the colour of the 
drink, whereby it yieldeth not unto amber or fine gold in hue unto 
the eye. By this time also her second woort is let run; and, the first 
being taken out of the furnace, and placed to cool, she returneth 
the middle woort unto the furnace, where it is stricken over, or from 
whence it is taken again, when it beginneth to boil, and mashed the 
second time, whilst the third liquor is heat (for there are three 
liquors), and this last put into the furnace, when the second is 
mashed again. When she hath mashed also the last liquor (and set 
the second to cool by the first), she letteth it run, and then seetheth 
it again with a pound and a half of new hops, or peradventure two 
pounds, as she seeth cause by the goodness or baseness of the hops, 
and, when it hath sodden, in summer two hours, and in winter an 
hour and a half, she striketh it also, and reserveth it unto mixture 
with the rest when time doth serve therefore. Finally, when she 
setteth her drink together, she addeth to her brackwoort or charwoort 
half an ounce of arras, and half a quarter of an ounce of bayberries, 
finely powdered, and then, putting the same into her woort, with 
a handful of wheat flour, she proceedeth in such usual order as 
common brewing requireth. Some, instead of arras and bays, add 
so much long pepper only, but, in her opinion and my liking, it is 
not so good as the first, and hereof we make three hogsheads of 
good beer, such (I mean) as is meet for poor men as I am to live 
withal, whose small maintenance (for what great thing is forty 
pounds a year, computatis computandis, able to perform?) may 
endure no deeper cut, the charges whereof groweth in this manner. 
I value my malt at ten shillings, my wood at four shillings (which I 
buy), my hops at twenty pence, the spice at twopence, servants' 


wages two shillings sixpence, with meat and drink, and the wearing 
of my vessel at twenty pence, so that for my twenty shillings I have 
ten score gallons of beer or more, notwithstanding the loss in seeth- 
ing, which some, being loth to forego, do not observe the time, and 
therefore speed thereafter in their success, and worthily. The con- 
tinuance of the drink is always determined after the quantity of 
the hops, so that being well hopt it lasteth longer. For it feedeth 
upon the hop, and holdeth out so long as the force of the same con- 
tinueth, which being extinguished, the drink must be spent, or else 
it dieth and becometh of no value. 

In this trade also our brewers observe very diligently the nature 
of the water, which they daily occupy, and soil through which it 
passeth, for all waters are not of like goodness, sith the fattest stand- 
ing water is always the best; for, although the waters that run by 
chalk or cledgy soils be good, and next unto the Thames water, which 
is the most excellent, yet the water that standeth in either of these 
is the best for us that dwell in the country, as whereon the sun lieth 
longest, and fattest fish is bred. But, of all other, the fenny and marsh 
is the worst, and the clearest spring water next unto it. In this busi- 
ness therefore the skilful workman doth redeem the iniquity of that 
element, by changing of his proportions, which trouble in ale (some- 
time our only, but now taken with many for old and sick men's 
drink) is never seen nor heard of. Howbeit, as the beer well sodden 
in the brewing, and stale, is clear and well coloured as muscadel or 
malvesey, or rather yellow as the gold noble, as our pot-knights call 
it, so our ale, which is not at all or very little sodden, and without 
hops, is more thick, fulsome, and of no such continuance, which are 
three notable things to be considered in that liquor. But what for 
that? Certes I know some ale-knights so much addicted thereunto 
that they will not cease from morrow until even to visit the same, 
cleansing house after house, till they defile themselves, and either 
fall quite under the board, or else, not daring to stir from their stools, 
sit still pinking with their narrow eyes, as half sleeping, till the fume 
of their adversary be digested that he may go to it afresh. Such slights 
also have the alewives for the utterance of this drink that they will 
mix it with rosen and salt; but if you heat a knife red-hot, and quench 
it in the ale so near the bottom of the pot as you can put it, you shall 

286 holinshed's chronicles 

see the rosen come forth hanging on the knife. As for the force of 
salt, it is well known by the effect, for the more the drinker tippleth, 
the more he may, and so doth he carry off a dry drunken noil to bed 
with him, except his luck be the better. But to my purpose. 

In some places of England there is a kind of drink made of apples 
which they call cider or pomage, but that of pears is called perry, 
and both are ground and pressed in presses made for the nonce. 
Certes these two are very common in Sussex, Kent, Worcester, and 
other steeds where these sorts of fruit do abound, howbeit they are 
not their only drink at all times, but referred unto the delicate sorts 
of drink, as metheglin is in Wales, whereof the Welshmen make no 
less account (and not without cause, if it be well handled) than the 
Greeks did of their ambrosia or nectar, which for the pleasantness 
thereof was supposed to be such as the gods themselves did delight 
in. There is a kind of swish-swash made also in Essex, and divers 
other places, with honeycombs and water, which the homely country 
wives, putting some pepper and a little other spice among, call mead, 
very good in mine opinion for such as love to be loose bodied at 
large, or a little eased of the cough. Otherwise it differeth so much 
from the true methegUn as chalk from cheese. Truly it is nothing 
else but the washing of the combs, when the honey is wrung out, 
and one of the best things that I know belonging thereto is that they 
spend but little labour, and less cost, in making of the same, and 
therefore no great loss if it were never occupied. Hitherto of the diet 
of my countrymen, and somewhat more at large peradventure than 
many men will like of, wherefore I think good now to finish this 
tractation, and so will I when I have added a few other things inci- 
dent unto that which goeth before, whereby the whole process of 
the same shall fully be delivered, and my promise to my friend^ in 
this behalf performed. 

Heretofore there hath been much more time spent in eating and 
drinking than commonly is in these days; for whereas of old we had 
breakfast in the forenoon, beverages or nunchions* after dinner, 
and thereto rear suppers generally when it was time to go to rest 
(a toy brought into England by hardy Canutus, and a custom where- 

^ Holinshed. This occurs in the last of Harrison's prefatory matter. — W. 
^ This word is not obsolete. South-coast countrymen still eat nuntions and not 
luncheons. — ^W. 


o£ Athenaeus also speaketh, lib. i, albeit Hippocrates speaks but of 
twice at the most, lib. 2, De rat vict. in feb ac) . Now, these odd re- 
pasts — thanked be God! — are very well left, and each one in manner 
(except here and there some young, hungry stomach that cannot 
fast till dinner-time) contenteth himself with dinner and supper 
only. The Normans, misliking the gormandise of Canutus, ordained 
after their arrival that no table should be covered above once in the 
day, which Huntingdon imputeth to their avarice; but in the end, 
either waxing weary of their own frugality, or suffering the cockle 
of old custom to overgrow the good corn of their new constitution, 
they fell to such liberty that in often-feeding they surmounted 
Canutus surnamed the Hardy. For, whereas he covered his table 
but three or four times in the day, these spread their cloths live or 
six times, and in such wise as I before rehearsed. They brought in 
also the custom of long and stately sitting at meat, whereby their 
feasts resembled those ancient pontifical banquets whereof Macrobius 
speaketh (lib. 3, cap. 13), and Pliny (lib. 10, cap. 10), and which for 
sumptuousness of fare, long sitting, and curiosity shewed in the same, 
exceeded all other men's feasting; which foiidness is not yet left with 
us, notwithstanding that it proveth very beneficial for the physicians, 
who most abound where most excess and misgovernment of our 
bodies do appear, although it be a great expense of time, and worthy 
of reprehension. For the nobility, gentlemen, and merchantmen, 
especially at great meetings, do sit commonly till two or three of the 
clock at afternoon, so that with many it is a hard matter to rise from 
the table to go to evening prayer, and return from thence to come 
time enough to supper.' . . . 

With us the nobility, gentry, and students do ordinarily go to 
dinner at eleven before noon, and to supper at five, or between five 
and six at afternoon. The merchants dine and sup seldom before 
twelve at noon, and six at night, especially in London. The husband- 
men dine also at high noon as they call it, and sup at seven or eight; 
but out of the term in our universities the scholars dine at ten. As 
for the poorest sort they generally dine and sup when they may, so 
that to talk of their order of repast it were but a needless matter. I 
might here take occasion also to set down the variety used by an- 

'^ Here follows a disquisition upon the table practices of the ancients. — ^W. 

288 holinshed's chronicles 

tiquity in their beginnings o£ their diets, wherein almost every nation 
had a several fashion, some beginning of custom (as we do in sum- 
mer time) with salads at supper, and some ending with lettuce, 
some making their entry with eggs, and shutting up their tables with 
mulberries, as we do with fruit and conceits of all sorts. Divers (as 
the old Romans) began with a few crops of rue, as the Venetians did 
with the fish called gobius; the Belgaes with butter, or (as we do yet 
also) with butter and eggs upon fish days. But whereas we com- 
monly begin with the most gross food, and end with the most deli- 
cate, the Scot, thinking much to leave the best for his menial serv- 
ants, maketh his entrance at the best, so that he is sure thereby to 
leave the worst. We use also our wines by degrees, so that the hostess 
Cometh last to the table: but to stand upon such toys would spend 
much time, and turn to small profit. Wherefore I will deal with 
other things more necessary for this turn. 



[1577, Book III., Chapter 2; 1587, Book II., Chapter 7.] 

j4N Englishman, endeavouring sometime to write of our attire, 

/ \ made sundry platforms for his purpose, supposing by some 

X JL of them to find out one steadfast ground whereon to build 

the sum of his discourse. But in the end (like an orator long without 

exercise), when he saw what a difficult piece of work he had taken 

in hand, he gave over his travel, and only drew the picture of a 

naked man,' unto whom he gave a pair of shears in the one hand 

and a piece of cloth in the other, to the end he should shape his 

apparel after such fashion as himself liked, sith he could find no kind 

of garment that could please him any while together; and this he 

called an Englishman. Certes this writer (otherwise being a lewd 

popish hypocrite and ungracious priest) shewed himself herein not 

to be altogether void of judgment, sith the phantastical folly of our 

nation (even from the courtier to the carter) is such that no form 

of apparel liketh us longer than the first garment is in the wearing, 

if it continue so long, and be not laid aside to receive some other 

trinket newly devised by the fickle-headed tailors, who covet to have 

several tricks in cutting, thereby to draw fond customers to more 

expense of money. For my part, I can tell better how to inveigh 

against this enormity than describe any certainty of our attire; 

sithence such is our mutability that to-day there is none to the Spanish 

guise, to-morrow the French toys are most fine and delectable, ere 

» [Cut.] 
"I am an English man and naked I stand here, 

Musying in my mynde what rayment I shall were; 

For now I wil) were thys, and now I will were that; 

Now I will were I cannot tell what. 

All new fashyons be plesaunt to me; 

I wyl haue them, whether I thryve or thee." 
From Andrew Boorde's Introduction (1541), and Dyetary (1542), edited by F. J. F. 
for Early English Text Society, 1870, p. Ii6. (A most quaint and interesting volume, 
though I say so.) — Furnivall. 



long no such apparel as that which is after the high Almaine fashion, 
by-and-by the Turkish manner is generally best liked of, otherwise 
the Morisco gowns, the Barbarian fleeces, the mandilion worn to 
CoUey- Weston ward, and the short French breeches make such a 
comely vesture that, except it were a dog in a doublet, you shall not 
see any so disguised as are my countrymen of England. And as these 
fashions are diverse, so likewise it is a world to see the costliness and 
the curiosity, the excess and the vanity, the pomp and the bravery, 
the change and the variety, and finally the fickleness and the folly, 
that is in all degrees, insomuch that nothing is more constant in 
England than inconstancy of attire. Oh, how much cost is bestowed 
nowadays upon our bodies, and how little upon our souls! How 
many suits of apparel hath the one, and how little furniture hath the 
other! How long time is asked in decking up of the first, and how 
little space left wherein to feed the latter! How curious, how nice 
also, are a number of men and women, and how hardly can the tailor 
please them in making it fit for their bodies! How many times must 
it be sent back again to him that made it! What chafing, what fret- 
ting, what reproachful language, doth the poor workman bear 
away! And many times when he doth nothing to it at all, yet when 
it is brought home again it is very fit and handsome; then must we 
put it on, then must the long seams of our hose be set by a plumb-line, 
then we puff, then we blow, and finally sweat till we drop, that our 
clothes may stand well upon us. I will say nothing of our heads, 
which sometimes are polled, sometimes curled, or suffered to grow at 
length like woman's locks, many times cut off, above or under the 
ears, round as by a wooden dish. Neither will I meddle with our 
variety of beards, of which some are shaven from the chin like those 
of Turks, not a few cut short like to the beard of Marquess Otto, 
some made round like a rubbing brush, others with a pique de vant 
(O! fine fashion!), or now and then suffered to grow long, the bar- 
bers being grown to be so cunning in this behalf as the tailors. And 
therefore if a man have a lean and straight face, a Marquess Otton's 
cut will make it broad and large; if it be platter-like, a long, slender 
beard will make it seem the narrower; if he be weasel-becked, then 
much hair left on the cheeks will make the owner look big like a 
bowdled hen, and as grim as a goose, if Cornells of Chelmersford say 


true. Many old men do wear no beards at all. Some lusty courtiers 
also and gentlemen of courage do wear either rings of gold, stones, 
or pearl, in their ears, whereby they imagine the workmanship of 
God not to be a little amended. But herein they rather disgrace than 
adorn their persons, as by their niceness in apparel, for which I say 
most nations do not unjustly deride us, as also for that we do seem to 
imitate all nations round about us, wherein we be like to the polypus 
or chameleon; and thereunto bestow most cost upon our arses, and 
much more than upon all the rest of our bodies, as women do like- 
wise upon their heads and shoulders. In women also, it is most to be 
lamented, that they do now far exceed the lightness of our men (who 
nevertheless are transformed from the cap even to the very shoe), and 
such staring attire as in time past was supposed meet for none but 
light housewives only is now become a habit for chaste and sober 
matrons. What should I say of their doublets with pendant codpieces 
on the breast full of jags and cuts, and sleeves of sundry colours? 
Their galligascons to bear out their bums and make their attire to 
fit plum round (as they term it) about them. Their fardingals, and 
diversely coloured nether stocks of silk, jerdsey, and such like, where- 
by their bodies are rather deformed than commended? I have met 
with some of these trulls in London so disguised that it hath passed 
my skill to discern whether they were men or women. 

Thus it is now come to pass, that women are become men, and 
men transformed into monsters; and those good gifts which 
Almighty God hath given unto us to relieve our necessities withal (as 
a nation turning altogether the grace of God into wantonness, for 

"Luxuriant animi rebus plerunque fecundis,") 

not otherwise bestowed than in all excess, as if we wist not otherwise 
how to consume and waste them. I pray God that in this behalf our 
sin be not like unto that of Sodom and Gomorrah, whose errors were 
pride, excess of diet; and abuse of God's benefits abundantly be- 
stowed upon them, beside want of charity towards the poor, and 
certain other points which the prophet shutteth up in silence. Certes 
the commonwealth cannot be said to flourish where these abuses 
reign, but is rather oppressed by unreasonable exactions made upon 
rich farmers, and of poor tenants, wherewith to maintain the same. 


Neither was it ever merrier with England than when an EngHshman 
was known abroad by his own cloth, and contented himself at home 
with his fine carsey hosen, and a mean slop; his coat, gown, and 
cloak of brown, blue, or puke, with some pretty furniture of velvet 
or fur, and a doublet of sad tawny, or black velvet, or other comely 
silk, without such cuts and garish colours as are worn in these days, 
and never brought in but by the consent of the French, who think 
themselves the gayest men when they have most diversities of jags 
and change of colours about them. Certes of all estates our mer- 
chants do least alter their attire, and therefore are most to be com- 
mended; for albeit that which they wear be very fine and costly, yet 
in form and colour it representeth a great piece of the ancient gravity 
appertaining to citizens and burgesses, albeit the younger sort of their 
wives, both in attire and costly housekeeping, cannot tell when and 
how to make an end, as being women indeed in whom all kind of 
curiosity is to be found and seen, and in far greater measure than 
in women of higher calling. I might here name a sort of hues devised 
for the nonce, wherewith to please fantastical heads, as goose-turd 
green, peas-porridge tawny, popingay blue, lusty gallant, the devil- 
in-the-head (I should say the hedge), and such like; but I pass them 
over, thinking it sufficient to have said thus much of apparel gen- 
erally, when nothing can particularly be spoken of any constancy 



[1577, Book II., Chapter 10; 1587, Book II., Chapter 12.] 

THE greatest part of our building in the cities and good 
towns of England consisteth only of timber, for as yet few 
of the houses of the communalty (except here and there in 
the West-country towns) are made of stone, although they may (in 
my opinion) in divers other places be builded so good cheap of the 
one as of the other. In old time the houses of the Britons were slightly 
set up with a few posts and many raddles, with stable and all offices 
under one roof, the like whereof almost is to be seen in the fenny 
countries and northern parts unto this day, where for lack of wood 
they are enforced to continue this ancient manner of building. It is 
not in vain, therefore, in speaking of building, to make a distinction 
between the plain and woody soils; for as in these, our houses are 
commonly strong and well-timbered (so that in many places there 
are not above four, six, or nine inches between stud and stud), so in 
the open champaign countries they are forced, for want of stuff, to 
use no studs at all, but only frankposts, raisins, beams, prickposts, 
groundsels, summers (or dormants), transoms, and such principals, 
with here and there a girding, whereunto they fasten their splints 
or raddles, and then cast it all over with thick clay to keep out the 
wind, which otherwise would annoy them. Certes this rude kind of 
building made the Spaniards in Queen Mary's days to wonder, but 
chiefly when they saw what large diet was used in many of these so 
homely cottages; insomuch that one of no small reputation amongst 
them said after this manner — "These EngUsh (quoth he) have their 
houses made of sticks and dirt, but they fare commonly so well as 
the king." Whereby it appeareth that he liked better of our good fare 
in such coarse cabins than of their own thin diet in their prince-like 
habitations and palaces. In like sort as every country house is thus 
apparelled on the outside, so is it inwardly divided into sundry rooms 



above and beneath; and, where plenty of wood is, they cover them 
with tiles, otherwise with straw, sedge, or reed, except some quarry 
of slate be near hand, from whence they have for their money much 
as may suffice them. The clay wherewith our houses are impannelled 
is either white, red, or blue; and of these the first doth participate very 
much of the nature of our chalk; the second is called loam; but the 
third eftsoons changeth colour as soon as it is wrought, notwith- 
standing that it looks blue when it is thrown out of the pit. Of chalk 
also we have our excellent asbestos or white lime, made in most 
places, wherewith being quenched, we strike over our clay works 
and stone walls, in cities, good towns, rich farmers' and gentlemen's 
houses: otherwise, instead of chalk (where it wanteth, for it is so 
scant that in some places it is sold by the pound), they are com- 
pelled to burn a certain kind of red stone, as in Wales, and elsewhere 
other stones and shells of oysters and like fish found upon the sea 
coast, which, being converted into lime, doth naturally (as the other) 
abhor and eschew water, whereby it is dissolved, and nevertheless 
desire oil, wherewith it is easily mixed, as I have seen by experience. 
Within their doors also, such as are of ability do oft make their 
floors and parget of fine alabaster burned, which they call plaster of 
Paris, whereof in some places we have great plenty, and that very 
profitable against the rage of fire. In plastering likewise of our fairest 
houses over our heads, we use to lay first a line or two of white mor- 
tar, tempered with hair, upon laths, which are nailed one by another 
(or sometimes upon reed of wickers more dangerous for fire, and 
make fast here and there saplaths for falling down), and finally 
cover all with the aforesaid plaster, which, beside the delectable 
whiteness of the stuff itself, is laid on so even and smoothly as noth- 
ing in my judgment can be done with more exactness. The walls of 
our houses on the inner sides in like sort be either hanged with 
tapestry, arras work, or painted cloths, wherein either divers his- 
tories, or herbs, beasts, knots, and such like are stained, or else they 
are ceiled with oak of our own, or wainscot brought hither out of 
the east countries, whereby the rooms are not a little commended, 
made warm, and much more close than otherwise they would be. 
As for stoves, we have not hitherto used them greatly, yet do they 
now begin to be made in divers houses of the gentry and wealthy 


citizens, who build them not to work and feed in, as in Germany and 
elsewhere, but now and then to sweat in, as occasion and need shall 
require it. 

This also hath been common in England, contrary to the customs 
of all other nations, and yet to be seen (for example, in most streets 
of London), that many of our greatest houses have outwardly been 
very simple and plain to sight, which inwardly have been able to 
receive a duke with his whole train, and lodge them at their ease. 
Hereby, moreover, it is come to pass that the fronts of our streets have 
not been so uniform and orderly builded as those of foreign cities, 
where (to say truth) the outer side of their mansions and dwellings 
have oft more cost bestowed upon them than all the rest of the 
house, which are often very simple and uneasy within, as experience 
doth confirm. Of old time, our country houses, instead of glass, 
did use much lattice, and that made either of wicker or fine rifts of 
oak in checkerwise. I read also that some of the better sort, in and 
before the times of the Saxons (who notwithstanding used some glass 
also since the time of Benedict Biscop, the monk that brought the feat 
of glazing first into this land), did make panels of horn instead of 
glass, and fix them in wooden calmes. But as horn in windows is 
now quite laid down in every place, so our lattices are also grown 
into less use, because glass is come to be so plentiful, and within a 
very little so good cheap, if not better than the other. I find obscure 
mention of the specular stone also to have been found and applied 
to this use in England, but in such doubtful sort as I dare not affirm 
it for certain. Nevertheless certain it is that antiquity used it before 
glass was known, under the name of selenites. And how glass was 
first found I care not greatly to remember, even at this present, al- 
though it be directly beside my purposed matter. In Syria Phenices, 
which bordereth upon Jewry, and near to the foot of Mount Carmel, 
there is a moor or marsh whereout riseth a brook called sometime 
Belus, and f alleth into the sea near to Ptolemais. This river was fondly 
ascribed unto Baal, and also honoured under that name by the in- 
fidels long time before there was any king in Israel. It came to pass 
also, as a certain merchant sailed that way, loaden with nitrum, the 
passengers went to land for to repose themselves, and to take in some 
store of fresh water into their vessel. Being also on the shore, they 

296 holinshed's chronicles 

kindled a fire and made provision for their dinner, but (because they 
wanted trevets or stones whereon to set their kettles on) ran by 
chance into the ship, and brought great pieces of nitrum with them, 
which served their turn for that present. To be short, the said sub- 
stance being hot, and beginning to melt, it mixed by chance with the 
gravel that lay under it, and so brought forth that shining substance 
which now is called glass, and about the time of Semiramis. When 
the company saw this, they made no small accompt of their success, 
and forthwith began to practise the like in other mixtures, whereby 
great variety of the said stuff did also ensue. Certes for the time this 
history may well be true, for I read of glass in Job; but, for the rest, 
I refer me to the common opinion conceived by writers. Now, to 
turn again to our windows. Heretofore also the houses of our princes 
and noblemen were often glazed with beryl (an example whereof 
is yet to be seen in Sudeley Castle) and in divers other places with 
fine crystal, but this especially in the time of the Romans, whereof 
also some fragments have been taken up in old ruins. But now these 
are not in use, so that only the clearest glass is most esteemed: for 
we have divers sorts, some brought out of Burgundy, some out of 
Normandy, much out of Flanders, beside that which is made in 
England, which would be so good as the best if we were diligent 
and careful to bestow more cost upon it, and yet as it is each one 
that. may will have it for his building. Moreover the mansion 
houses of our country towns and villages (which in champaign 
ground stand altogether by streets, and joining one to another, but 
in woodland soils dispersed here and there, each one upon the several 
grounds of their owners) are builded in such sort generally as that 
they have neither dairy, stable, nor brew-house annexed unto them 
under the same roof (as in many places beyond the sea and some of 
the north parts of our country), but all separate from the first, and 
one of them from another. And yet, for all this, they are not so far 
distant in sunder but that the goodman lying in his bed may lightly 
hear what is done in each of them with ease, and call quickly unto 
his many if any danger should attack him. 

The ancient manors and houses of our gentlemen are yet and for 
the most part of strong timber, in framing whereof our carpenters 
have been and are worthily preferred before those of like science 


among all other nations. Howbeit such as be lately builded are 
commonly either of brick or hard stone, or both, their rooms large 
and comely, and houses of office further distant from their lodgings. 
Those of the nobility are likewise wrought with brick and hard stone, 
as provision may best be made, but so magnificent and stately as the 
basest house of a baron doth often match in our days with some 
honours of a princes in old time. So that, if ever curious building did 
flourish in England, it is in these our years wherein our workmen 
excel and are in manner comparable in skill with old Vitruvius, Leo 
Baptista, and Serlo. Nevertheless their estimation, more than their 
greedy and servile covetousness, joined with a lingering humour, 
causeth them often to be rejected, and strangers preferred to greater 
bargains, who are more reasonable in their takings, and less wasters 
of time by a great deal than our own. 

The furniture of our houses also exceedeth, and is grown in man- 
ner even to passing delicacy : and herein I do not speak of the nobil- 
ity and gentry only, but likewise of the lowest sort in most places of 
our south country that have anything at all to take to. Certes in 
noblemen's houses it is not rare to see ajjundance of arras, rich 
hangings of tapestry, silver vessels, and so much other plate as may 
furnish sundry cupboards to the sum oftentimes of a thousand or 
two thousand pounds at the least, whereby the value of this and the 
rest of their stuff doth grow to be almost inestimable. Likewise in 
the houses of knights, gentlemen, merchantmen, and some other 
wealthy citizens, it is not geson to behold generally their great pro- 
vision of tapestry, Turkey work, pewter, brass, fine linen, and thereto 
costly cupboards of plate, worth five or six hundred or a thousand 
pounds to be deemed by estimation. But, as herein all these sorts do 
far exceed their elders and predecessors, and in neatness and curiosity 
the merchant all other, so in times past the costly furniture stayed 
there, whereas now it is descended yet lower even unto the inferior 
artificers and many farmers, who, by virtue of their old and not 
of their new leases, have, for the most part, learned also to garnish 
their cupboards with plate, their joined beds with tapestry and silk 
hangings, and their tables with carpets and fine napery, whereby 
the wealth of our country (God be praised therefore, and give us 
grace to employ it well) doth infinitely appear. Neither do I speak 

298 holinshed's chronicles 

this in reproach of any man, God is my judge, but to shew that I do 
rejoice rather to see how God hath blessed us with his good gifts; 
and whilst, I behold how (in a time wherein all things are grown 
to most excessive prices, and what commodity so ever is to be had is 
daily plucked from the communalty by such as look into every trade) 
we do yet find the means to obtain and achieve such furniture as 
heretofore hath been unpossible. 

There are old men yet dwelling in the village where I remain 
which have noted three things to be marvellously altered in England 
within their sound remembrance, and other three things too too 
much increased. 

One is the multitude of chimneys lately erected, whereas in their 
young days there were not above two or three, if so many, in most 
uplandish towns of the realm (the religious houses and manor places 
of their lords always excepted, and peradventure some great per- 
sonages), but each one made his fire against a reredos in the hall, 
where he dined and dressed his meat. 

The second is the great (although not general) amendment of 
lodging; for, said they, our fathers, yea and we ourselves also, have 
lain full oft upon straw pallets, on rough mats covered only with a 
sheet, under coverlets made of dagswain or hopharlots (I use their 
own terms), and a good round log under their heads instead of a 
bolster or pillow. If it were so that our fathers — or the good man 
of the house had vidthin seven years after his marriage purchased a 
mattress or flock bed, and thereto a stack of chaff to rest his head 
upon, he thought himself to be as well lodged as the lord of the town, 
that peradventure lay seldom in a bed of down or whole feathers, so 
well were they content, and with such base kind of furniture: which 
also is not very much amended as yet in some parts of Bedfordshire, 
and elsewhere, further of? from our southern parts. Pillows (said 
they) were thought meet only for women in childbed. As for 
servants, if they had any sheet above them, it was well, for seldom 
had they any under their bodies to keep them from the pricking 
straws that ran oft through the canvas of the pallet and rased their 
hardened hides. 

The third thing they tell of is the exchange of vessel, as of treen 
platters into pewter, and wooden spoons into silver or tin. For so 
common were all sorts of treen stuff in old time that a man should 


hardly find four pieces of pewter (of which one was peradventure 
a sah) in a good farmer's house, and yet for all this frugality (if it 
may so be justly called) they were scarce able to live and pay their 
rents at their days without selling of a cow, or a horse or more,' 
although they paid but four pounds at the uttermost by the year. 
Such also was their poverty that, if some one odd farmer or husband- 
man had been at the ale-house, a thing greatly used in those days, 
amongst six or seven of his neighbours, and there in a bravery, to 
shew what store he had, did cast down his purse, and therein a noble 
or six shillings in silver, unto them (for few such men then cared 
for gold, because it was not so ready payment, and they were oft en- 
forced to give a penny for the exchange of an angel), it was very 
likely that all the rest could not lay down so much against it; whereas 
in my time, although peradventure four pounds of old rent be im- 
proved to forty, fifty, or a hundred pounds, yet will the farmer, as 
another palm or date tree, think his gains very small toward the end 
of his term if he have not six or seven years' rent lying by him, there- 
with to purchase a new lease, beside a fair garnish of pewter on his 
cupboard, with so much more in odd vessel going about the house, 
three or four feather beds, so many coverlids and carpets of tapestry, 
a silver salt, a bowl for wine (if not a whole neast), and a dozen of 
spoons to furnish up the suit. This also he takes to be his own clear, 
for what stock of money soever he gathereth and layeth up in all 
his years it is often seen that the landlord will take such order with 
him for the same when he reneweth his lease, which is commonly 
eight or six years before the old be expired (sith it is now grown 
almost to a custom that if he come not to his lord so long before 
another shall step in for a reversion, and so defeat him outright), 
that it shall never trouble him more than the hair of his beard when 
the barber hath washed and shaved it from his chin. 

And as they commend these, so (beside the decay of housekeeping 
whereby the poor have been relieved) they speak also of three things 
that are grown to be very grievous unto them — to wit, the enhancing 
of rents, lately mentioned; the daily oppression of copyholders, whose 
lords seek to bring their poor tenants almost into plain servitude and 
misery, daily devising new means, and seeking up all the old, how 
to cut them shorter and shorter, doubling, trebling, and now and then 
' This was in the time of general idleness. — ^H. 

300 holinshed's chronicles 

seven times increasing their fines, driving them also for every trifle 
to lose and forfeit their tenures (by whom the greatest part of the 
realm doth stand and is maintained), to the end they may fleece them 
yet more, which is a lamentable hearing. The third thing they talk 
of is usury, a trade brought in by the Jews, now perfectly practised 
almost by every Christian, and so commonly that he is accompted 
but for a fool that doth lend his money for nothing. In time past 
it was sors pro sorte — that is, the principal only for the principal; 
but now, beside that which is above the principal properly called 
Usura, we challenge Foenus — that is, commodity of soil and fruits 
of the earth, if not the ground itself. In time past also one of the 
hundred was much; from thence it rose unto two, called in Latin 
Usura, Ex sextante; three, to wit Ex quadrante; then to four, to 
wit. Ex triente; then to five, which is Ex quincunce; then to six, called 
Ex semisse, etc. As the accompt of the Assis ariseth, and coming at 
the last unto Usura ex asse, it amounteth to twelve in the hundred, 
and therefore the Latins call it Centesima, for that in the hundred 
month it doubleth the principal; but more of this elsewhere. See 
Cicero against Verres, Demosthenes against Aphobus, and Athenaeus, 
lib. 13, in fine; and, when thou hast read them well, help I pray 
thee in lawful manner to hang up such as take Centum pro cento, 
for they are no better worthy as I do judge in conscience. Forget 
not also such landlords as used to value their leases at a secret esti- 
mation given of the wealth and credit of the taker, whereby they 
seem (as it were) to eat them up, and deal with bondmen, so that 
if the lessee be thought to be worth a hundred pounds he shall pay 
no less for his new term, or else another to enter with hard and 
doubtful covenants. I am sorry to report it, much more grieved to 
understand of the practice, but most sorrowful of all to understand 
that men of great port and countenance are so far from suffering their 
farmers to have any gain at all that they themselves become graziers, 
butchers, tanners, sheepmasters, woodmen, and denique quid non, 
thereby to enrich themselves, and bring all the wealth of the country 
into their own hands, leaving the communalty weak, or as an idol 
with broken or feeble arms, which may in a time of peace have a 
plausible shew, but when necessity shall enforce have a heavy and 
bitter sequel. 



[1577, Book III., Chapter 5; 1587, Book II., Chapter 10.] 

THERE is no commonwealth at this day in Europe wherein 
there is not great store of poor people, and those necessarily 
to be relieved by the wealthier sort, which otherwise would 
starve and come to utter confusion. With us the poor is commonly 
divided into three sorts, so that some are poor by impotence, as the 
fatherless child, the aged, blind, and lame, and the diseased person 
that is judged to be incurable; the second are poor by casualty, as 
the wounded soldier, the decayed householder, and the sick person 
visited with grievous and painful diseases; the third consisteth of 
thriftless poor, as the rioter that hath consumed all, the vagabond 
that will abide nowhere, but runneth up and down from place to 
place (as it were seeking work and finding none), and finally the 
rogue and the strumpet, which are not possible to be divided in 
sunder, but run to and fro over all the realm, chiefly keeping the 
champaign soils in summer to avoid the scorching heat, and the 
woodland grounds in winter to eschew the blustering winds. 

For the first two sorts (that is to say, the poor by impotence and 
poor by casualty, which are the true poor indeed, and for whom the 
Word doth bind us to make some daily provision), there is order 
taken throughout every parish in the realm that weekly collection 
shall be made for their help and sustentation — to the end they shall 
not scatter abroad, and, by begging here and there, annoy both town 
and country. Authority also is given unto the justices in every 
county (and great penalties appointed for such as make default) 
to see that the intent of the statute in this behalf be truly executed 
according to the purpose and meaning of the same, so that these two 
sorts are sufficiently provided for; and such as can live within the 
limits of their allowance (as each one will do that is godly and well 
disposed) may well forbear to roam and range about. But if they 



refuse to be supported by this benefit of the law, and will rather 
endeavour by going to and fro to maintain their idle trades, then are 
they adjudged to be parcel of the third sort, and so, instead of cour- 
teous refreshing at home, are often corrected with sharp execution 
and whip of justice abroad. Many there are which, notwithstanding 
the rigour of the laws provided in that behalf, yield rather with this 
liberty (as they call it) to be daily under the fear and terror of the 
whip than, by abiding where they were born or bred, to be provided 
for by the devotion of the parishes. I found not long since a note of 
these latter sort, the effect whereof ensueth. Idle beggars are such 
either through other men's occasion or through their own default — 
by other men's occasion (as one way for example) when some cove- 
tous man (such, I mean, as have the cast or right vein daily to make 
beggars enough whereby to pester the land, espying a further com- 
modity in their commons, holds, and tenures) doth find such means 
as thereby to wipe many out of their occupyings and turn the same 
unto his private gains.' Hereupon it followeth that, although the 
wise and better-minded do either forsake the realm for altogether, 
and seek to live in other countries, as France, Germany, Barbaxy, 
India, Muscovia, and very Calcutta, complaining of no room to be 
left for them at home, do so behave themselves that they are worthily 
to be accounted among the second sort, yet the greater part, com- 
monly having nothing to stay upon, are wilful, and thereupon do 
either prove idle beggars or else continue stark thieves till the gal- 
lows do eat them up, which is a lamentable case. Certes in some 
men's judgment these things are but trifles, and not worthy the re- 
garding. Some also do grudge at the great increase of people in these 
days, thinking a necessary brood of cattle far better than a super- 
fluous augmentation of mankind. But I can liken such men best of 
all unto the pope and the devil, who practise the hindrance of the 
furniture of the number of the elect to their uttermost, to the end the 
authority of the one upon the earth, the deferring of the locking up 
of the other in everlasting chains, and the great gains of the first, 
may continue and endure the longer. But if it should come to pass 
that any foreign invasion should be made — which the Lord God for- 
bid for his mercies' sake! — then should these men find that a wall 
' At whose hands shall the blood of these men be required? — H. 


of men is far better than stacks of corn and bags of money, and com- 
plain of the want when it is too late to seek remedy. The like occa- 
sion caused the Romans to devise their law Agraria: but the rich, not 
liking of it, and the covetous, utterly condemning it as rigorous and 
unprofitable, never ceased to practise disturbance till it was quite 
abolished. But to proceed with my purpose. 

Such as are idle beggars through their own default are of two 
sorts, and continue their estates either by casual or mere voluntary 
means: those that are such by casual means are in the beginning 
justly to be referred either to the first or second sort of poor afore- 
mentioned, but, degenerating into the thriftless sort, they do what 
they can to continue their misery, and, with such impediments as 
they have, to stray and wander about, as creatures abhorring all 
labour and every honest exercise. Certes I call these casual means, 
not in the respect of the original of all poverty, but of the continuance 
of the same, from whence they will not be delivered, such is their 
own ungracious lewdness and froward disposition. The voluntary 
means proceed from outward causes, as by making of corrosives, and 
applying the same to the more fleshy parts of their bodies, and also 
laying of ratsbane, spearwort, crowfoot, and such like unto their 
whole members, thereby to raise pitiful and odious sores, and move 
the hearts of the goers-by such places where they lie, to yearn at their 
misery, and thereupon bestow large alms upon them. How artifi- 
cially they beg, what forcible speech, and how they select and choose 
out words of vehemence, whereby they do in manner conjure or 
adjure the goer-by to pity their cases, I pass over to remember, as 
judging the name of God and Christ to be more conversant in the 
mouths of none and yet the presence of the Heavenly Majesty further 
off from no men than from this ungracious company. Which maketh 
me to think that punishment is far meeter for them than liberality or 
alms, and sith Christ willeth us chiefly to have a regard to Himself 
and his poor members. 

Unto this nest is another sort to be referred, more sturdy than the 
rest, which, having sound and perfect limbs, do yet notwithstanding 
sometime counterfeit the possession of all sorts of diseases. Divers 
times in their apparel also they will be like serving men or labourers: 
oftentimes they can play 'the mariners, and seek for ships which they 


never lost. But in fine they are all thieves and caterpillars in the com- 
monwealth, and by the Word of God not permitted to eat, sith they 
do but lick the sweat from the true labourers' brows, and bereave the 
godly poor of that which is due unto them, to maintain their excess, 
consuming the charity of well-disposed people bestowed upon them, 
after a most wicked and detestable manner. 

It is not yet full threescore years since this trade began: but how 
it hath prospered since that time it is easy to judge, for they are now 
supposed, of one sex and another, to amount unto above 10,000 per- 
sons, as I have heard reported. Moreover, in counterfeiting the 
Egyptian rogues, they have devised a language among themselves, 
which they name "Canting," but others, "pedler's French," a speech 
compact thirty years since, of English and a great number of odd 
words of their own devising, without all order or reason, and yet 
such is it as none but themselves are able to understand. The first 
deviser thereof was hanged by the neck — a just reward, no doubt, 
for his deserts, and a common end to all of that profession. 

A gentleman also of late hath taken great pains to search out the 
secret practices of this ungracious rabble. And among other things 
he setteth down and describeth three and twenty sorts of them, 
whose names it shall not be amiss to remember whereby each one 
may take occasion to read and know as also by his industry what 
wicked people they are, and what villainy remaineth in them. 

The several disorders and degrees amongst our idle vagabonds. 




8. Praters. 



Hookers or anglers. 

9. Abrams. 
10. Freshwater mariners 



Wild rogues. 
Priggers or pransers. 


11. Drummerers. 

12. Drunken tinkers. 

13. Swadders or pedlers. 

14. Jarkemen 

or patricoes. 

Of the tvomen \ind. 



Demanders for glimmar or 
Bawdy-baskets. [fire. 

5. Walking mortes. 

6. Doxies. 

7. Dells. 


Autem mortem. 

8. Kinching mortes. 

9. Kinchi 

ng cooes. 


The punishment that is ordained for this kind of people is very 
sharp, and yet it cannot restrain them from their gadding: wherefore 
the end must needs be martial law/ to be exercised upon them, as 
upon thieves, robbers, despisers of all laws, and enemies to the com- 
monwealth and welfare of the land. What notable robberies, pil- 
feries, murders, rapes, and stealings of young children, burning, 
breaking, and disfiguring their limbs to make them pitiful in the 
sight of the people, I need not to rehearse; but for their idle rogue- 
ing about the country, the law ordaineth this manner of correction. 
The rogue being apprehended, committed to prison, and tried in 
the next assizes (whether they be of gaol delivery or sessions of the 
peace) , if he happen to be convicted for a vagabond, either by inquest 
of office or the testimony of two honest and credible witnesses upon 
their oaths, he is then immediately adjudged to be grievously 
whipped and burned through the gristle of the right ear with a hot 
iron of the compass of an inch about, as a manifestation of his 
wicked life, and due punishment received for the same. And this 
judgment is to be executed upon him except some honest person 
worth five pounds in the queen's books in goods, or twenty shillings 
in land, or some rich householder to be allowed by the justices, will 
be bound in recognisance to retain him in his service for one whole 
year. If he be taken the second time, and proved to have forsaken 
his said service, he shall then be whipped again, bored likewise 
through the other ear, and set to service: from whence if he depart 
before a year be expired, and happen afterwards to be attached again, 
he is condemned to suffer pains of death as a felon (except before 
excepted) without benefit of clergy or sanctuary, as by the statute 
doth appear. Among rogues and idle persons, finally, we find to be 
comprised all proctors that go up and down with counterfeit licences, 
cozeners, and such as gad about the country, using unlawful games, 
praotisers of physiognomy and palmestry, tellers of fortunes, fencers, 
players, minstrels, jugglers, pedlers, tinkers, pretended scholars, ship- 
men, prisoners gathering for fees, and others so oft as they be taken 
without sufficient licence. From among which company our bear- 
wards are not excepted, and just cause: for I have read that they have, 
either voluntarily or for want of power to master their savage beasts, 
^ Law of the Marshal. — Furnivall. 

3o6 holinshed's chronicles 

been occasion of the death and devouration of many children in 
sundry countries by which they have passed, whose parents never 
knew what was become of them. And for that cause there is and 
have been many sharp laws made for bearwards in Germany, where- 
of you may read in other. But to our rogues. Each one also that 
harboureth or aideth them with meat or money is taxed and com- 
pelled to fine with the queen's majesty for every time that he doth 
succour them as it shall please the justices of peace to assign, so that 
the taxation exceed not twenty, as I have been informed. And thus 
much of the poor and such provision as is appointed for them within 
the realm of England. 



[1577, Book I., Chapter 13; 1587, Book I., Chapter 18.] 

THE air (for the most part) throughout the island is such 
as by reason in manner of continual clouds is reputed to 
be gross, and nothing so pleasant as that of the main. How- 
beit, as they which affirm these things have only respect to the im- 
pediment or hindrance of the sunbeams by the interposition of the 
clouds and of ingrossed air, so experience teacheth us that it is no 
less pure, wholesome, and commodious than is that of other coun- 
tries, and (as Cxsar himself hereto addeth) much more temperate in 
summer than that of the Gauls, from whom he adventured hither. 
Neither is there any thing found in the air of our region that is not 
usually seen amongst other nations lying beyond the seas. Wherefore 
we must needs confess that the situation of our island (for benefit 
of the heavens) is nothing inferior to that of any country of the 
main, wheresoever it lie under the open firmament. And this Plu- 
tarch knew full well, who affirmeth a part of the Elysian Fields to 
be found in Britain, and the isles that are situated about it in the 

The soil of Britain is such as by the testimonies and reports both 
of the old and new writers, and experience also of such as now in- 
habit the same, is very fruitful, and such indeed as bringeth forth 
many commodities, whereof other countries have need, and yet itself 
(if fond niceness were abolished) needless of those that are daily 
brought from other places. Nevertheless it is more inclined to feed- 
ing and grazing than profitable for tillage and bearing of corn, by 
reason whereof the country is wonderfully replenished with neat 
and all kind of cattle; and such store is there also of the same in 
every place that the fourth part of the land is scarcely manured for 
the provision and maintenance of grain. Certes this fruitfulness was 
not unknown unto the Britons long before Caesar's time, which was 
the cause wherefore our predecessors living in those days in manner 


3o8 holinshed's chronicles 

neglected tillage and lived by feeding and grazing only. The graziers 
themselves also then dwelled in movable villages by companies, 
whose custom was to divide the ground amongst them, and each 
one not to depart from the place where his lot lay (a thing much like 
the Irish Criacht) till, by eating up of the country about him, he was 
enforced to remove further and seek for better pasture. And this 
was the British custom, as I learn, at first. It hath been commonly 
reported that the ground of Wales is neither so fruitful as that of 
England, neither the soil of Scotland so bountiful as that of Wales, 
which is true for corn and for the most part; otherwise there is so 
good ground in some parts of Wales as is in England, albeit the best 
of Scotland be scarcely comparable to the mean of either of both. 
Howbeit, as the bounty of the Scotch doth fail in some respect, so 
doth it surmount in other, God and nature having not appointed all 
countries to yield forth like commodities. 

But where our ground is not so good as we would wish, we have 
— if need be — sufficient help to cherish our ground withal, and to 
make it more fruitful. For, beside the compest that is carried out of 
the husbandmen's yards, ditches, ponds, dung-houses, or cities and 
great towns, we have with us a kind of white marl which is of so 
great force that if it be cast over a piece of land but once in three- 
score years it shall not need of any further compesting. Hereof also 
doth Pliny speak (lib. 17, cap. 6, 7, 8), where he affirmeth that our 
marl endureth upon the earth by the space of fourscore years: inso- 
much that it is laid upon the same but once in a man's life, whereby 
the owner shall not need to travel twice in procuring to commend 
and better his soil. He calleth it marga, and, making divers kinds 
thereof, he finally commendeth ours, and that of France, above all 
other, which lieth sometime a hundred foot deep, and far better than 
the scattering of chalk upon the same, as the Hedui and Pictones did 
in his time, or as some of our days also do practise: albeit divers do 
like better to cast on lime, but it will not so long endure, as I have 
heard reported. 

There are also in this island great plenty of fresh rivers and 
streams, as you have heard already, and these thoroughly fraught 
with all kinds of delicate fish accustomed to be found in rivers. The 
whole isle likewise is very full of hills, of which some (though not 


very many) are of exceeding height, and divers extending them- 
selves very far from the beginning; as we may see by Shooter's Hill, 
which, rising east of London and not far from the Thames, runneth 
along the south side of the island westward until it come to Corn- 
wall. Like unto these also are the Crowdon Hills, which, though 
under divers names (as also the other from the Peak), do run into 
the borders of Scotland. What should I speak of the Cheviot Hills, 
which reach twenty miles in length? of the Black Mountains in 
Wales, which go from (*) to (*) miles at the least in length? of 
the Clee Hills in Shropshire, which come within four miles of Lud- 
low, and are divided from some part of Worcester by the Leme ? of 
the Crames in Scotland, and of our Chiltern, which are eighteen 
miles at the least from one end of them, which reach from Henley 
in Oxfordshire to Dunstable in Bedfordshire, and are very well re- 
plenished with wood and corn, notwithstanding that the most part 
yield a sweet short grass, profitable for sheep? Wherein albeit they 
of Scotland do somewhat come behind us, yet their outward defect 
is inwardly recompensed, not only with plenty of quarries (and those 
of sundry kinds of marble, hard stone, and fine alabaster), but also 
rich mines of metal, as shall be shewed hereafter. 

In this island the winds are commonly more strong and fierce than 
in any other places of the main (which Cardane also espied) : and 
that is often seen upon the naked hills not guarded with trees to bear 
and keep it off. That grievous inconvenience also enforceth our 
nobility, gentry, and communality to build their houses in the valleys, 
leaving the high grounds unto their corn and cattle, lest the cold 
and stormy blasts of winter should breed them greater annoyance; 
whereas in other regions each one desireth to set his house aloft on 
the hill, not only to be seen afar off, and cast forth his beams of 
stately and curious workmanship into every quarter of the country, 
but also (in hot habitations) for coldness sake of the air, sith the heat 
is never so vehement on the hill-top as in the valley, because the re- 
verberation of the sun's beams either reacheth not so far as the high- 
est, or else becometh not so strong as when it is reflected upon the 
lower soil. 

But to leave our buildings unto the purposed place (which not- 
• Here lacks.— H. 


withstanding have very much increased, I mean for curiosity and 
cost, in England, Wales, and Scotland, within these few years) and 
to return to the soil again. Certainly it is even now in these our days 
grown to be much more fruitful than it hath been in times past. 
The cause is for that our countrymen are grown to be more painful, 
skilful, and careful through recompense of gain, than heretofore 
they have been: insomuch that my synchroni or time fellows can 
reap at this present great commodity in a little room; whereas of 
late years a great compass hath yielded but small profit, and this only 
through the idle and negligent occupation of such as daily manured 
and had the same in occupying. I might set down examples of these 
things out of all the parts of this island — that is to say, many of 
England, more out of Scotland, but most of all out of Wales: in 
which two last rehearsed, very other little food and livelihood was 
wont to be looked for (beside flesh) more than the soil of itself and 
the cow gave, the people in the meantime living idly, dissolutely, 
and by picking and stealing one from another. All which vices 
are now (for the most part) relinquished, so that each nation 
manureth her own with triple commodity to that it was before time. 
The pasture of this island is according to the nature and bounty 
of the soil, whereby in most places it is plentiful, very fine, batable, 
and such as either fatteth our cattle with speed or yieldeth great 
abundance of milk and cream whereof the yellowest butter and 
finest cheese are made. But where the blue clay aboundeth (which 
hardly drinketh up the winter's water in long season) there the grass 
is speary, rough, and very apt for bushes: by which occasion it be- 
cometh nothing so profitable unto the owner as the other. The best 
pasture ground of all England is in Wales, and of all the pasture in 
Wales that of Cardigan is the chief. I speak of the same which is to 
be found in the mountains there, where the hundredth part of the 
grass growing is not eaten, but suffered to rot on the ground, whereby 
the soil becometh matted and divers bogs and quickmoors made 
withal in long continuance: because all the cattle in the country are 
not able to eat it down. If it be accounted good soil on which a man 
may lay a wand over night and on the morrow find it hidden and 
overgrown with grass, it is not hard to find plenty thereof in many 
places of this land. Nevertheless such is the fruitfulness of the afore- 


said county that it far surmounteth this proportion, whereby it may 
be compared for batableness with Italy, which in my time is called the 
paradise of the world, although by reason of the wickedness of such 
as dwell therein it may be called the sink and drain of hell : so that 
whereas they were wont to say of us that our land is good but our 
people evil, they did but only speak it; whereas we know by ex- 
perience that the soil of Italy is a noble soil, but the dwellers therein 
far off any virtue or goodness. 

Our meadows are either bottoms (whereof we have great store, 
and those very large, because our soil is hilly) or else such as we call 
land meads, and borrowed from the best and fattest pasturages. The 
first of them are yearly and often overflown by the rising of such 
streams as pass through the same, or violent falls of land-waters, 
that descend from the hills about them. The other are seldom or 
never overflown, and that is the cause wherefore their grass is shorter 
than that of the bottoms, and yet is it far more fine, wholesome, and 
batable, sith the hay of our low meadows is not only full of sandy 
cinder, which breedeth sundry diseases in our cattle, but also more 
rowty, foggy, and full of flags, and therefore not so profitable for 
store and forrage as the higher meads be. The difference further- 
more in their commodities is great; for, whereas in our land meadows 
we have not often above one good load of hay, or peradventure a 
little more in an acre of ground (I use the word carrucata, or 
carruca, which is a wain load, and, as I remember, used by Pliny, 
lib. 33, cap. 2), in low meadows we have sometimes three, but com- 
monly two or upwards, as experience hath oft confirmed. 

Of such as are twice mowed I speak not, sith their later math is 
not so wholesome for cattle as the first; although in the mouth more 
pleasant for the time: for thereby they become oftentimes to be 
rotten, or to increase so fast in blood, that the garget and other 
diseases do consume many of them before the owners can seek out 
any remedy, by phlebotomy or otherwise. Some superstitious fools 
suppose that they which die of the garget are ridden with the night- 
mare, and therefore they hang up stones which naturally have holes 
in them, and must be found unlooked for; as if such a stone were an 
apt cockshot for the devil to run through and solace himself withal, 
while the cattle go scotfree and are not molested by him! But if I 


should set down but half the toys that superstition hath brought into 
our husbandmen's heads in this and other behalf, it would ask a 
greater volume than is convenient for such a purpose, wherefore it 
shall suffice to have said thus much of these things. 

The yield of our corn-ground is also much after this rate following. 
Throughout the land (if you please to make an estimate thereof by 
the acre) in mean and indifferent years, wherein each acre of rye or 
wheat, well tilled and dressed, will yield commonly sixteen or twenty 
bushels, an acre of barley six-and-thirty bushels, of oats and such like 
four or five quarters, which proportion is notwithstanding oft abated 
toward the north, as it is oftentimes surmounted in the south. Of 
mixed corn, as peas and beans, sown together, tares and oats (which 
they call bulmong), rye and wheat (named miscelin), here is no 
place to speak, yet their yield is nevertheless much after this propor- 
tion, as I have often marked. And yet is not this our great foison 
comparable to that of hotter countries of the main. But, of all that I 
ever read, the increase which Eldred Danus writeth of in his De 
imperie Judceorum in /¥,thiopia surmounteth, where he saith that in 
the field near to the Sabbatike river, called in old time Gosan, the 
ground is so fertile that every grain of barley growing doth yield an 
hundred kernels at the least unto the owner. 

Of late years also we have found and taken up a great trade in 
planting of hops, whereof our moory hitherto and unprofitable 
grounds do yield such plenty and increase that there are few farmers 
or occupiers in the country which have not gardens and hops grow- 
ing of their own, and those far better than do come from Flanders 
unto us. Certes the corruptions used by the Flemings, and forgery 
daily practised in this kind of ware, gave us occasion to plant them 
here at home; so that now we may spare and send many over unto 
them. And this I know by experience, that some one man by con- 
version of his moory grounds into hopyards, whereof before he had 
no commodity, doth raise yearly by so little as twelve acres in com- 
pass two hundred marks — all charges borne towards the maintenance 
of his family. Which industry God continue! though some secret 
friends of Flemings let not to exclaim against this commodity, as a 
spoil of wood, by reason of the poles, which nevertheless after three 
years do also come to the fire, and spare their other fuel. 


The cattle which we breed are commonly such as for greatness 
of bone, sweetness of flesh, and other benefits to be reaped by the 
same, give place unto none other; as may appear first by our oxen, 
whose largeness, height, weight, tallow, hides, and horns are such as 
none of any other nation do commonly or may easily exceed them. 
Our sheep likewise, for good taste of flesh, quantity of limbs, fineness 
of fleece, caused by their hardness of pasturage and abundance of 
increase (for in many places they bring forth two or three at an 
eaning), give no place unto any, more than do our goats, who in like 
sort do follow the same order, and our deer come not behind. As for 
our conies, I have seen them so fat in some soils, especially about 
Meall and Disnege, that the grease of one being weighed hath peised 
very near six or seven ounces. All which benefits we first refer to 
the grace and goodness of God, and next of all unto the bounty of 
our soil, which he hath endued with so notable and commodious 

But, as I mean to intreat of these things more largely hereafter, 
so will I touch in this place one benefit which our nation wanteth, 
and that is wine, the fault whereof is not in bur soil, but the negli- 
gence of our countrymen (especially of the south parts), who do 
not inure the same to this commodity, and which by reason of long 
discontinuance is now become inapt to bear any grapes almost for 
pleasure and shadow, much less then the plain fields or several vine- 
yards for advantage and commodity. Yet of late time some have 
essayed to deal for wine (as to your lordship also is right well 
known) . But sith that liquor, when it cometh to the drinking, hath 
been found more hard than that which is brought from beyond the 
sea, and the cost of planting and keeping thereof so chargeable that 
they may buy it far better cheap from other countries, they have 
given over their enterprises without any consideration that, as in all 
other things, so neither the ground itself in the beginning, nor suc- 
cess of their travel, can answer their expectation at the first, until 
such time as the soil be brought as it were into acquaintance with 
this commodity, and that provision may be made for the more easi- 
ness of charge to be employed upon the same. 

If it be true that where wine doth last and endure well there it 
will grow no worse, I muse not a little wherefore the planting of 


vines should be neglected in England. That this liquor might have 
grow^n in this island heretofore, first the charter that Probus the Em- 
peror gave equally to us, the Gauls, and Spaniards, is one sufficient 
testimony. And that it did grow here (beside the testimony of Beda, 
lib. 1., cap. i) the old notes of tithes for wine that yet remain in the 
accounts of some parsons and vicars in Kent, elsewhere, besides the 
records of sundry suits, commenced in divers ecclesiastical courts, 
both in Kent, Surrey, etc., also the enclosed parcels almost in every 
abbey yet called the vineyards, may be a notable witness, as also the 
plot which we now call East Smithfield in London, given by Canutus, 
sometime king of this land, with other soil thereabout, unto certain 
of his knights, with liberty of a Guild which thereof was called 
Knighton Guild. The truth is (saith John Stow, our countryman 
and diligent traveller in the old estate of this my native city) that it 
is now named Portsoken Ward, and given in time past to the reli- 
gious house within Aldgate. Howbeit first Otwell, the archovel, 
Otto, and finally Geffrey Earl of Essex, constables of the Tower of 
London, withheld that portion from the said house until the reign 
of King Stephen, and thereof made a vineyard to their great com- 
modity and lucre. The Isle of Ely also was in the first times of the 
Normans called Le He des Vignes. And good record appeareth that 
the bishop there had yearly three or four tun at the least given him 
nomine decimx, beside whatsoever over-sum of the liquor did ac- 
crue to him by leases and other excheats whereof also I have seen 
mention. Wherefore our soil is not to be blamed, as though our 
nights were so exceeding short that in August and September the 
moon, which is lady of moisture and chief ripener of this liquor, 
cannot in any wise shine long enough upon the same: a very mere 
toy and fable, right worthy to be suppressed, because experience con- 
vinceth the upholders thereof even in the Rhenish wines. 

The time hath been also that woad, wherewith our countrymen 
dyed their faces (as Caesar saith), that they might seem terrible to 
their enemies in the field (and also women and their daughters-in- 
law did stain their bodies and go naked, in that pickle, to the sacri- 
fices of their gods, coveting to resemble therein the Ethiopians, as 
Pliny saith, (lib. 22, cap. i), and also madder have been (next unto 
our tin and wools) the chief commodities and merchandise of this 
realm. I find also that rape oil hath been made within this land. But 


now our soil either will not, or at the leastwise may not, bear either 
woad or madder. I say not that the ground is not able so to do, but 
that we are negligent, afraid of the pilling of our grounds, and care- 
less of our own profits, as men rather willing to buy the same of 
others than take any pain to plant them here at home. The Uke I 
may say of flax, which by law ought to be sown in every country town 
in England, more or less; but I see no success of that good and whole- 
some law, sith it is rather contemptuously rejected than otherwise 
dutifully kept in any place in England. 

Some say that our great number of laws do breed a general negli- 
gence and contempt of all good order, because we have so many that 
no subject can live without the transgression of some of them, and 
that the often alteration of our ordinances doth much harm in this 
respect, which (after Aristotle) doth seem to carry some reason 
withal, for (as Cornelius Gallus hath) — 

"Eventus varios res. nova semper habet," * 

But very many let not to affirm that the greedy corruption of the 
promoters on the one side, faciUty in dispensing with good laws and 
first breach of the same in the lawmakers and superiors and private 
respects of their establishment on the other, are the greatest causes 
why the inferiors regard no good order, being always so ready to 
offend without any faculty one way as they are otherwise to pre- 
sume upon the examples of their betters when any hold is to be 
taken. But as in these things I have no skill, so I wish that fewer 
licences for the private commodity but of a few were granted (not 
that thereby I deny the maintenance of the prerogative royal, but 
rather would with all my heart that it might be yet more honour- 
ably increased), and that every one which by fee'd friendship (or 
otherwise) doth attempt to procure ought from the prince that may 
profit but few and prove hurtful to many might be at open assizes 
and sessions denounced enemy to his country and commonwealth 
of the land. 

Glass also hath been made here in great plenty before, and in the 
time of the Romans; and the said stuff also, beside fine scissors, 
shears, collars of gold and silver for women's necks, cruises and cups 
of amber, were a parcel of the tribute which Augustus in his days 

' "An innovation has always mixed effects." 

3i6 holinshed's chronicles 

laid upon this island. In like sort he charged the Britons with certain 
implements and vessels of ivory (as Strabo saith) ; whereby it ap- 
peareth that in old time our countrymen were far more industrious 
and painful in the use and application of the benefits of their country 
than either after the coming of the Saxons or Normans, in which they 
gave themselves more to idleness and following of the wars. 

If it were requisite that I should speak of the sundry kinds of 
mould, as the cledgy, or clay, whereof are divers sorts (red, blue, 
black, and white), also the red or white sandy, the loamy, roselly, 
gravelly, chalky, or black, I could say that there are so many divers 
veins in Britain as elsewhere in any quarter of like quantity in the 
world. Howbeit this I must need confess, that the sand and clay do 
bear great sway : but clay most of all, as hath been and yet is always 
seen and felt through plenty and dearth of corn. For if this latter (I 
mean the clay) do yield her full increase (which it doth commonly 
in dry years for wheat), then is there general plenty: whereas if it 
fail, then have we scarcity, according to the old rude verse set down 
of England, but to be understood of the whole island, as experience 
doth confirm — 

"When the sand doth serve the clay, 
Then may we sing well-away; 
But when the clay doth serve the sand, 
Then it is merry with England." 

I might here intreat of the famous valleys in England, of which 
one is called the Vale of White Horse, another of Evesham (com- 
monly taken for the granary of Worcestershire), the third of 
Aylesbury, that goeth by Thame, the roots of Chiltern Hills to 
Dunstable, Newport Pagnel, Stony Stratford, Buckingham, Bir- 
stane Park, etc. Likewise of the fourth, of Whitehart or Blackmoor in 
Dorsetshire. The fifth, of Ringdale or Renidale, corruptly called 
Kingtaile, that lieth (as mine author saith) upon the edge of Essex 
and Cambridgeshire, and also the Marsh wood Vale: but, forsomuch 
as I know not well their several limits, I give over to go any further in 
their description. In like sort it should not be amiss to speak of our 
fens, although our country be not so full of this kind of soil as the 
parts beyond the seas (to wit, Narbonne, etc.), and thereto of other 


pleasant bottoms, the which are not only endued with excellent rivers 
and great store of corn and fine fodder for neat and horses in time of 
the year (whereby they are exceeding beneficial unto their owners), 
but also of no small compass and quantity in ground. For some of 
our fens are well known to be either of ten, twelve, sixteen, twenty, 
or thirty miles in length, that of the Girwies yet passing all the rest, 
which is full sixty (as I have often read) . Wherein also Ely, the fam- 
ous isle, standeth, which is seven miles every way, and whereunto 
there is no access but by three causies, whose inhabitants in like sort 
by an old privilege may take wood, sedge turf, etc., to burn, likewise 
hay for their cattle and thatch for their houses of custom, and each 
occupier in his appointed quantity throughout the isle; albeit that 
covetousness hath now begun somewhat to abridge this large benev- 
olence and commodity, as well in the said isle as most other places 
of this land. 

Finally, I might discourse in like order of the large commons, laid 
out heretofore by the lords of the soil for the benefit of such poor as 
inhabit within the compass of their manors. But, as the true intent of 
the givers is now in most places defrauded, insomuch that not the 
poor tenants inhabitating upon the same, but their landlords, have all 
the commodity and gain. Wherefore I mean not at this present to 
deal withal, but reserve the same wholly unto the due place, whilst I 
go forward with the rest, setting down nevertheless by the way a gen- 
eral commendation of the whole island, which I find in an ancient 
monument, much unto this effect — 

"Ilia quidem longe Celebris splendore, beata, 
Glebis, lacte, favis, supereminet insula cunctis, 
Quas regit ille Deus, spumanti cujus ab ore 
Profluit oceanus," etc. 

And a little after— 

"Testis Lundoniaratibus, Wintonia Baccho, 
Herefordia grege, Worcestria frugeredundans, 
Batha lacu, Salabyra feris, Cantuaria pisce, 
Eboraca sylvis, Excestria clara metallis, 
Norwicum Dacis hybernis, Cestria Gallis, 
Cicestrum Norwagenis, Dunelmia praepinguis. 
Testis Lincolnia gens infinita decore. 
Testis Eli formosa situ, Doncastria visu," etc. 



[1577, Book III., Chapters 16 and 18; 1587, Book III., Chapters 
10 and II.] 

WITH how great benefits this island of ours hath been 
endued from the beginning I hope there is no godly man 
but will readily confess, and yield unto the Lord God 
his due honour for the same. For we are blessed every way, and there 
is no temporal commodity necessary to be had or craved by any na- 
tion at God's hand that he hath not in most abundant manner be- 
stowed upon us Englishmen, if we could see to use it, and be thank- 
ful for the same. But alas! (as I said in the chapter precedent) we 
love to enrich them that care not for us, but for our great commodi- 
ties: and one trifling toy not worth the carriage, coming (as the 
proverb saith) in three ships from beyond the sea, is more worth with 
us than a right good jewel easy to be had at home. They have also 
the cast to teach us to neglect our own things; for, if they see that we 
begin to make any account of our commodities (if it be so that they 
have also the like in their own countries) they will suddenly abase the 
same to so low a price that our gain not being worthy our travel, and 
the same commodity with less cost ready to be had at home from 
other countries (though but for a while), it causeth us to give over 
our endeavours and as it were by-and-by to forget the matter where- 
about we went before, to obtain them at their hands. And this is 
the only cause wherefore our commodities are oft so little esteemed 
of. Some of them can say, without any teacher, that they will buy the 
case of a fox of an Englishman for a groat, and make him afterwards 
give twelve pence for the tail. Would to God we might once wax 
wiser, and each one endeavour that the commonwealth of England 
may flourish again in her old rate, and that our commodities may be 
fully wrought at home (as cloth if you will for an example) and not 
carried out to be shorn and dressed abroad, while our clothworkers 



here do starve and beg their bread, and for lack of daily practice 
utterly neglect to be skilful in this science! But to my purpose. 

We have in England great plenty of quicksilver, antimony, sul- 
phur, black lead, and orpiment red and yellow. We have also the 
finest alum (wherein the diligence of one of the greatest favourers 
of the commonwealth of England of a subject' hath been of late 
egregriously abused, and even almost with barbarous incivility) and 
of no less force against fire, if it were used in our parietings, than that 
of Lipari, which only was in use sometime amongst the Asians and 
Romans and whereof Sylla had such trial that when he meant to 
have burned a tower of wood erected by Archelaus, the lieutenant of 
Mithridates, he could by no means set it on fire in a long time, 
because it was washed over with alum, as were also the gates of the 
temple of Jerusalem with like effect, and perceived when Titus com- 
manded fire to be put unto the same. Besides this, we have also the 
natural cinnabarum or vermillion, the sulphurous glebe called bitu- 
men in old time, for mortar, and yet burned in lamps where oil is 
scant and geson; the chrysocolla, copperas, and mineral stone, 
whereof petriolum is made, and that which is most strange, the 
mineral pearl, which as they are for greatness and colour most ex- 
cellent of all other, so are they digged out of the main land and in 
sundry places far distant from the shore. Certes the western part 
of the land hath in times past greatly abounded with these and many 
other rare and excellent commodities, but now they are washed away 
by the violence of the sea, which hath devoured the greatest part of 
Cornwall and Devonshire on either side; and it doth appear yet 
by good record that, whereas now there is a great distance between 
the Scilly Isles and the point of the Land's End, there was of late 
years to speak of scarcely a brook or drain of one fathom water 
between them, if so much, as by those evidences appeareth, and are 
yet to be seen in the hands of the lord and chief owner of those isles. 
But to proceed. 

Of coal-mines we have such plenty in the north and western parts 

of our island as may suffice for all the realm of England; and so must 

they do hereafter indeed, if wood be not better cherished than it is 

at this present. And so say the truth, notwithstanding that very 

' The Lord Mountjoy. — H. 


many of them are carried into other countries of the main, yet their 
greatest trade beginneth now to grow from the forge into the kitchen 
and hall, as may appear already in most cities and towns that lie 
about the coast, where they have but little other fuel except it be turf 
and hassock. I marvel not a little that there is no trade of these into 
Sussex and Southamptonshire, for want thereof the smiths do work 
their iron with charcoal. I think that far carriage be the only cause, 
which is but a slender excuse to enforce us to carry them into the 
main from hence. 

Besides our coal-mines, we have pits in like sort of white plaster, 
and of fat and white and other coloured marble, wherewith in many 
places the inhabitors do compest their soil, and which doth benefit 
their land in ample manner for many years to come. We have salt- 
petre for our ordinance and salt soda for our glass, and thereto in 
one place a kind of earth (in Southery ; as I ween, hard by Codington, 
and sometime in the tenure of one Croxton of London) which is 
so fine to make moulds for goldsmiths and casters of metal, that a 
load of it was worth five shillings thirty years ago; none such again 
they say in England. But whether there be or not, let us not be 
unthankful to God, for these and other his benefits bestowed upon 
us, whereby he sheweth himself a loving and merciful father unto 
us, which contrariwise return unto him in lieu of humility and obedi- 
ence nothing but wickedness, avarice, mere contempt of his will, 
pride, excess, atheism, and no less than Jewish ingratitude.^ 

All metals receive their beginning of quicksilver and sulphur, 
which are as mother and father to them. And such is the purpose of 
nature in their generations that she tendeth always to the procreation 
of gold; nevertheless she seldom reacheth unto that her end, because 
of the unequal mixture and proportion of these two in the substance 
engendered, whereby impediment and corruption is induced, 
which as it is more or less doth shew itself in the metal that is pro- 
duced. . . . 

And albeit that we have no such abundance of these (as some other 
countries do yield), yet have my rich countrymen store enough of 
both in their purses, where in time past they were wont to have least, 
because the garnishing of our churches, tabernacles, images, shrines, 

^ Here ends the chapter entitled "Minerals," and the one on "Metals" begins. — W. 


and apparel of the priests consumed the greatest part, as experience 
hath confirmed. 

Of late my countrymen have found out I wot not what voyage into 
the West Indies, from whence they have brought some gold, whereby 
our country is enriched; but of all that ever adventured into those 
parts, none have sped better than Sir Francis Drake, whose success 
(1582) hath far passed even his own expectation. One John Fro- 
bisher in like manner, attempting to seek out a shorter cut by the 
northerly regions into the peaceable sea and kingdom of Cathay, hap- 
pened (1577) upon certain islands by the way, wherein great plenty 
of much gold appeared, and so much that some letted not to give out 
for certainty that Solomon had his gold from thence, wherewith he 
builded the temple. This golden shew made him so desirous also 
of like success that he left off his former voyage and returned home to 
bring news of such things as he had seen. But, when after another 
voyage it was found to be but dross, he gave over both the enter- 
prises, and now keepeth home without any desire at all to seek into 
far countries. In truth, such was the plenty of ore there seen and to 
be had that, if it had holden perfect, might have furnished all the 
world with abundance of that metal; the journey also was short and 
performed in four or five months, which was a notable encourage- 
ment. But to proceed. 

Tin and lead, metals which Strabo noteth in his time to be carried 
unto Marsilis from hence, as Diodorus also confirmeth, are very plen- 
tiful with us, the one in Cornwall, Devonshire, and elsewhere in 
the north, the other in Derbyshire, Weredale, and sundry places of 
this island; whereby my countrymen do reap no small commodity, 
but especially our pewterers, who in times past employed the use of 
pewter only upon dishes, pots, and a few other trifles for service here 
at home, whereas now they are grown unto such exquisite cunning 
that they can in manner imitate by infusion any form or fashion of 
cup, dish, salt bowl, or goblet, which is made by goldsmiths' craft, 
though they be never so curious, exquisite, and artificially forged. 
Such furniture of household of this metal as we commonly call by 
the name of vessel is sold usually by the garnish, which doth contain 
twelve platters, twelve dishes, twelve saucers, and those are either of 
silver fashion or else with broad or narrow brims, and bought by 


the pound, which is now valued at six or seven pence, or perad- 
venture at eight pence. 0£ porringers, pots, and other like, I speak 
not, albeit that in the making of all these things there is such ex- 
quisite diligence used, I mean for the mixture of the metal and true 
making of this commodity (by reason of sharp laws provided in that 
behalf), as the like is not to be found in any other trade. I have 
been also informed that it consisteth of a composition which hath 
thirty pounds of kettle brass to a thousand pounds of tin, whereunto 
they add three or four pounds of tin-glass; but as too much of this 
doth make the stuff brickie, so the more the brass be, the better is 
the pewter, and more profitable unto him that doth buy and purchase 
the same. But to proceed. 

In some places beyond the sea a garnish of good flat English pewter 
of an ordinary making (I say flat, because dishes and platters in my 
time begin to be made deep like basins, and are indeed more con- 
venient both for sauce, broth, and keeping the meat warm) is 
esteemed almost so precious as the like number of vessels that are 
made of fine silver, and in manner no less desired amongst the great 
estates, whose workmen are nothing so skilful in that trade as ours, 
neither their metal so good, nor plenty so great, as we have here in 
England. The Romans made excellent looking-glasses of our Eng- 
lish tin, howbeit our workmen were not then so exquisite in that 
feat as the Brundusians, wherefore the wrought metal was carried 
over unto them by way of merchandise, and very highly were those 
glasses esteemed of till silver came generally in place, which in the 
end brought the tin into such contempt that in manner every dish- 
washer refused to look in other than silver glasses for the attiring of 
her head. Howbeit the making of silver glasses had been in use 
before Britain was known unto the Romans, for I read that one 
Praxiteles devised them in the young time of Pompey, which was 
before the coming of Csesar into this island. 

There were mines of lead sometimes also in Wales, which endured 
so long till the people had consumed all their wood by melting of 
the same (as they did also at Comeriswith, six miles from Stradfleur), 
and I suppose that in Pliny's time the abundance of lead (whereof he 
speaketh) was to be found in those parts, in the seventeenth of his 
thirty-fourth book; also he affirmeth that it lay in the very sward of 


the earth, and daily gotten in such plenty that the Romans made 
a restraint of the carriage thereof to Rome, limiting how much 
should yearly be wrought and transported over the sea.^ 

Iron is found in many places, as in Sussex, Kent, Weredale, Men- 
dip, Walshall, as also in Shropshire, but chiefly in the woods betwixt 
Belvos and Willock (or Wicberry) near Manchester, and elsewhere 
in Wales. Of which mines divers do bring forth so fine and good 
stuff as any that cometh from beyond the sea, beside the infinite gains 
to the owners, if we would so accept it, or bestow a little more cost 
in the refining of it. It is also of such toughness, that it yieldeth to 
the making of claricord wire in some places of the realm. Never- 
theless, it was better cheap with us when strangers only brought it 
hither; for it is our quality when we get any commodity to use it 
with extremity towards our own nation, after we have once found 
the means to shut out foreigners from the bringing in of the like. 
It breedeth in like manner great expense and waste of wood, as doth 
the making of our pots and table vessels of glass, wherein is much 
loss, sith it is so quickly broken; and yet (as I think) easy to be made 
tougher, if our alchemists could once find the true birth or production 
of the red man, whose mixture would induce a metallic toughness 
unto it, whereby it should abide the hammer. 

Copper is lately not found, but rather restored again to light. For 
I have read of copper to have been heretofore gotten in our island; 
howbeit as strangers have most commonly the governance of our 
mines, so they hitherto make small gains of this in hand in the north 
parts; for (as I am informed) the profit doth very hardly counter- 
vail the charges, whereat wise men do not a little marvel, consider- 
ing the abundance which that mine doth seem to offer, and, as it were, 
at hand. Leland, our countryman, noteth sundry great likelihoods of 
natural copper mines to be eastwards, as between Dudman and Tre- 
wardth, in the sea cliffs, beside other places, whereof divers are noted 
here and there in sundry places of this book already, and therefore 
it shall be but in vain to repeat them here again. As for that which 
is gotten out of the marchasite, I speak not of it, sith it is not inci- 
dent to my purpose. In Dorsetshire also a copper mine lately found 
is brought to good perfection. 

'Here follow two stories about crows and miners. — ^W. 


As for our steel, it is not so good for edge-tools as that of Cologne, 
and yet the one is often sold for the other, and like tale used in both, 
that is to say, thirty gads to the sheaf, and twelve sheaves to the 

Our alchemy is artificial, and thereof our spoons and some salts 
are commonly made and preferred before our pewter with some,* 
albeit in truth it be much subject to corruption, putrefaction, more 
heavy and foul to handle than our pewter; yet some ignorant persons 
affirm it to be a metal more natural, and the very same which En- 
celius calleth plumbum cinereum, the Germans wisemute, mithan, 
and counterfeie, adding that where it groweth silver cannot be far 
off. Nevertheless it is known to be a mixture of brass, lead, and tin 
(of which this latter occupieth the one-half), but after another pro- 
portion than is used in pewter. But alas, I am persuaded that neither 
the old Arabians nor new alchemists of our time did ever hear of it, 
albeit that the name thereof do seem to come out of their forge. For 
the common sort indeed do call it alchemy, an unwholesome metal 
(God wot) and worthy to be banished and driven out of the land. 
And thus I conclude with this discourse, as having no more to say 
of the metals of my country, except I should talk of brass, bell metal, 
and such as are brought over for merchandise from other countries; 
and yet I cannot but say that there is some brass found also in Eng- 
land, but so small is the quantity that it is not greatly to be esteemed 
or accounted for. 

* Some tell me that it is a mixture of brass, lead, and tin. — H. 



[1577, Book III., Chapter 8; 1587, Book III., Chapter i.] 

THERE is no kind of tame cattle usually to be seen in these 
parts of the world whereof we have not some, and that great 
store, in England, as horses, oxen, sheep, goats, swine, and 
far surmounting the like in other countries, as may be proved with 
ease. For where are oxen commonly made more large of bone, horses 
more decent and pleasant in pace, kine more commodious for the 
pail, sheep more profitable for wool, swine more wholesome of flesh, 
and goats more gainful to their keepers than here with us in Eng- 
land.? But, to speak of them peculiarly, I suppose that our kine are 
so abundant in yield of milk, whereof we make our butter and cheese, 
as the like any where else, and so apt for the plough in divers places 
as either our horses or oxen. And, albeit they now and then twin, yet 
herein they seem to come short of that commodity which is looked 
for in other countries, to wit, in that they bring forth most commonly 
but one calf at once. The gains also gotten by a cow (all charges 
borne) hath been valued at twenty shillings yearly; but now, as 
land is enhanced, this proportion of gain is much abated, and likely 
to decay more and more, if ground arise to be yet dearer — which God 
forbid, if it be His will and pleasure. I heard of late of a cow in War- 
wickshire, belonging to Thomas Breuer of Studley, which in six 
years had sixteen calves, that is four at once in three calvings and 
twice twins, which unto many may seem a thing incredible. In like 
manner our oxen are such as the like are not to be found in any coun- 
try of Europe, both for greatness of body and sweetness of flesh or else 
would not the Roman writers have preferred them before those of 
Liguria. In most places our graziers are now grown to be so cunning 
that if they do but see an ox or bullock, and come to the feeling of 
him, they will give a guess at his weight, and how many score or 
stone of flesh and tallow he beareth, how the butcher may live by 


326 holinshed's chronicles 

the sale, and what he may have for the skin and tallow, which is 
a point of skill not commonly practised heretofore. Some such 
graziers also are reported to ride with velvet coats and chains of 
gold about them and in their absence their wives will not let to sup- 
ply those turns with no less skill than their husbands: which is a 
hard work for the poor butcher, sith he through this means can sel- 
dom be rich or wealthy by his trade. In like sort the flesh of our 
oxen and kine is sold both by hand and by weight as the buyer will; 
but in young ware rather by weight especially for the steer and heifer, 
sith the finer beef is the lightest, whereas the flesh of bulls and old 
kine, etc., is of sadder substance, and therefore much heavier as it 
lieth in the scale. Their horns also are known to be more fair and 
large in England than in any other places, except those which are to 
be seen among the Paones, which quality, albeit that it be given to 
our breed generally by nature, yet it is now and then helped also 
by art. For, when they be very young, many graziers will oftentimes 
anoint their budding horns or tender tips with honey, which moUi- 
fieth the natural hardness of that substance, and thereby maketh 
them to grow unto a notable greatness. Certes it is not strange in 
England to see oxen whose horns have the length of a yard or three 
feet between the tips, and they themselves thereto so tall as the 
height of a man of mean and indifferent stature is scarce equal unto 
them. Nevertheless it is much to be lamented that our general breed 
of cattle is not better looked unto; for the greatest occupiers wean 
least store, because they can buy them (as they say) far better cheap 
than to raise and bring them up. In my time a cow hath risen from 
four nobles to four marks by this means, which notwithstanding were 
no great price if they did yearly bring forth more than one calf a 
piece, as I hear they do in other countries. 

Our horses, moreover, are high, and, although not commonly of 
such huge greatness as in other places of the main, yet, if you respect 
the easiness of their pace, it is hard to say where their like are to be 
had. Our land doth yield no asses, and therefore we want the genera- 
tion also of mules and somers, and therefore the most part of our car- 
riages is made by these, which, remaining stoned, are either reserved 
for the cart or appointed to bear such burdens as are convenient for 
them. Our cart or plough horses (for we use them indifferently) 


are commonly so strong that five or six of them (at the most) will 
draw three thousand weight of the greatest tale with ease for a long 
journey, although it be not a load of common usage, which consisteth 
only of two thousand, or fifty foot of timber, forty bushels of white 
salt, or six-and-thirty of bay, of five quarters of wheat, experience 
daily teacheth, and I have elsewhere remembered. Such as are kept 
also for burden will carry four hundred-weight commonly without 
any hurt or hindrance. This furthermore is to be noted, that our 
princes and the nobility have their carriage commonly made by 
carts, whereby it cometh to pass that when the queen's majesty doth 
remove from any one place to another, there are usually 400 care- 
wares, which amount to the sum of 2400 horses, appointed out of the 
countries adjoining, whereby her carriage is conveyed safely unto 
the appointed place. Hereby also the ancient use of somers and sump- 
ter horses is in manner utterly relinquished, which causeth the trains 
of our princes in their progresses to shew far less than those of the 
kings of other nations. 

Such as serve for the saddle are commonly. gelded, and now grew 
to be very dear among us, especially if they be well coloured, justly 
limbed, and have thereto an easy ambling pace. For our countrymen, 
seeking their ease in every corner where it is to be had, delight very 
much in those qualities, but chiefly in their excellent paces, which, 
besides that it is in manner peculiar unto horses of our soil, and not 
hurtful to the rider or owner sitting on their backs, it is moreover 
very pleasant and delectable in his ears, in that the^ noise of their 
well-proportioned pace doth yield comfortable sound as he travelleth 
by the way. Yet is there no greater deceit used anywhere than among 
our horsekeepers, horsecoursers, and hostlers; for such is the subtle 
knavery of a great sort of them (without exception of any of them be 
it spoken which deal for private gain) that an honest-meaning man 
shall have very good luck among them if he be not deceived by 
some false trick or other. 

There are certain notable markets wherein great plenty of horses 
and colts is bought and sold, and whereunto such as have need resort 
yearly to buy and make their necessary provision of them, as Ripon, 
Newport Pond, Wolfpit, Harboro', and divers others. But as most 
drovers are very diligent to bring great store of these unto those 

328 holinshed's chronicles 

places, so many of them are too too lewd in abusing such as buy 
them. For they have a custom, to make them look fair to the eye, 
when they come within two days' journey of the market to drive them 
till they sweat, and for the space of eight or twelve hours, which, be- 
ing done, they turn them all over the backs into some water, where 
they stand for a season, and then go forward with them to the place 
appointed, where they make sale of their infected ware, and such as 
by this means do fall into many diseases and maladies. Of such out- 
landish horses as are daily brought over unto us I speak not, as the 
jennet of Spain, the courser of Naples, the hobby of Ireland, the 
Flemish roile and the Scottish nag, because that further speech of 
them Cometh not within the compass of this treatise, and for whose 
breed and maintenance (especially of the greatest sort) King Henry 
the Eighth erected a noble studdery, and for a time had very good 
success with them, till the officers, waxing weary, procured a mixed 
brood of bastard races, whereby his good purpose came to little effect. 
Sir Nicholas Arnold of late hath bred the best horses in England, and 
written of the manner of their production: would to God his com- 
pass of ground were like to that of Pella in Syria, wherein the king 
of that nation had usuallya studdery of 30,000 mares and 300 stallions, 
as Strabo doth remember, lib. 16. But to leave this, let us see what 
may be said of sheep. 

Our sheep are very excellent, sith for sweetness of flesh they pass 
all other. And so much are our wools to be preferred before those of 
Milesia and other places that if Jason had known the value of them 
that are bred and to be had in Britain he would never have gone to 
Colchis to look for any there. For, as Dionysius Alexandrinus saith 
in his De situ Orbis, it may by spinning be made comparable to the 
spider's web. What fools then are our countrymen, in that they seek 
to bereave themselves of this commodity by practising daily how 
to transfer the same to other nations, in carrying over their rams and 
ewes to breed and increase among them! The first example hereof 
was given under Edward the Fourth, who, not understanding the 
bottom of the suit of sundry traitorous merchants that sought a 
present gain with the perpetual hindrance of their country, licensed 
them to carry over certain numbers of them into Spain, who, having 
licence but for a few, shipped very many : a thing practised in other 


commodities also, whereby the prince and his land are not seldom 
times defrauded. But such is our nature, and so blind are we indeed, 
that we see no inconvenience before we feel it; and for a present gain 
we regard not what damage may ensue to our posterity. Hereto 
some other man would add also the desire that we have to benefit 
other countries and to impeach our own. And it is, so sure as God 
liveth, that every trifle which cometh from beyond the sea, though 
it be not worth threepence, is more esteemed than a continual com- 
modity at home with us, which far exceedeth that value. In time past 
the use of this commodity consisteth (for the most part) in cloth 
and woolsteds; but now, by means of strangers succoured here from 
domestic persecution, the same hath been employed unto sundry 
other uses, as mockados, bays, vellures, grograines, etc., whereby the 
makers have reaped no small commodity. It is furthermore to be 
noted, for the low countries of Belgie know it, and daily experience 
(notwithstanding the sharpness of our laws to the contrary) doth yet 
confirm it, that, although our rams and wethers do go thither from 
us never so well headed according to their kind, yet after they have 
remained there a while they cast there their heads, and from thence- 
forth they remain polled without any horns at all. Certes this kind 
of cattle is more cherished in England than standeth well with the 
commodity of the commons or prosperity of divers towns, whereof 
some are wholly converted to their feeding; yet such a profitable 
sweetness is their fleece, such necessity in their flesh, and so great a 
benefit in the manuring of barren soil with their dung and piss, that 
their superfluous members are the better born withal. And there is 
never a husbandman (for now I speak not of our great sheepmasters, 
of whom some one man hath 20,000) but hath more or less of this 
cattle feeding on his fallows and short grounds, which yield the finer 

Nevertheless the sheep of our country are often troubled with the 
rot (as are our swine with the measles, though never so generally), 
and many men are now and then great losers by the same; but, after 
the calamity is over, if they can recover and keep their new stock 
sound for seven years together, the former loss will easily be recom- 
pensed with double commodity. Cardan writeth that our waters are 
hurtful to our sheep; howbeit this is but his conjecture, for we know 


that our sheep are infected by going to the water, and take the same 
as a sure and certain token that a rot hath gotten hold of them, their 
livers and Hghts being already distempered through excessive heat, 
which enforceth them the rather to seek unto the water. Certes there 
is no parcel of the main wherein a man shall generally find more 
fine and wholesome water than in England; and therefore it is im- 
possible that our sheep should decay by tasting of the same. Where- 
fore the hindrance by rot is rather to be ascribed to the unseasonable- 
ness and moisture of the weather in summer, also their licking in 
of mildews, gossamire, rowtie fogs, and rank grass, full of super- 
fluous juice, but especially (I say) to over moist weather, whereby the 
continual rain piercing into their hollow fells soaketh forthwith 
into their flesh, which bringeth them to their baines. Being also in- 
fected, their first shew of sickness is their desire to drink, so that our 
waters are not unto them causa cegritudinis, but signum morbi, what- 
soever Cardan do maintain to the contrary. There are (and perad- 
venture no small babes) which are grown to be such good husbands 
that they can make account of every ten kine to be clearly worth 
twenty pounds in common and indifferent years, if the milk o£ 
five sheep be daily added to the same. But, as I wot not how true 
this surmise is, because it is no part of my trade, so I am sure hereof 
that some housewives can and do add daily a less portion of ewe's 
milk unto the cheese of so many kine, whereby their cheese doth the 
longer abide moist and eateth more brickie and mellow than other- 
wise it would. 

Goats we have plenty, and of sundry colours, in the west parts of 
England, especially in and towards Wales and amongst the rocky 
hills, by whom the owners do reap so small advantage: some also 
are cherished elsewhere in divers steeds, for the benefit of such as are 
diseased with sundry maladies, unto whom (as I hear) their milk, 
cheese, and bodies of their young kids are judged very profitable, and 
therefore inquired for of many far and near. Certes I find among the 
writers that the milk of a goat is next in estimation to that of the 
woman, for that it helpeth the stomach, removeth oppilations and 
stoppings of the liver, and looseth the belly. Some place also next 
unto it the milk of the ewe, and thirdly that of the cow. But hereof 
I can shew no reason; only this I know, that ewe's milk is fulsome. 


sweet, and such in taste as (except such as are used unto it) no man 
will gladly yield to live and feed withal. 

As for swine, there is no place that hath greater store, nor more 
wholesome in eating, than are these here in England, which never- 
theless do never any good till they come to the table. Of these some 
we eat green for pork, and other dried up into bacon to have it in 
more continuance. Lard we make some, though very Httle, because 
it is chargeable: neither have we such use thereof as is to be seen 
in France and other countries, sith we do either bake our meat with 
sweet suet of beef or mutton and baste all our meat with sweet or 
salt butter or suffer the fattest to baste itself by leisure. In champaign 
countries they are keprt by herds, and a hogherd appointed to attend 
and wait upon them, who commonly gathereth them together by 
his noise and cry, and leadeth them forth to feed abroad in the fields. 
In some places also women do scour and wet their clothes with their 
dung, as other do with hemlocks and nettles; but such is the savour 
of the clothes touched withal that I cannot abide to wear them on 
my body, more than such as are scoured with the refuse soap, than 
the which (in mine opinion) there is none more unkindly savour. 

Of our tame boars we make brawn, which is a kind of meat not 
usually known to strangers (as I take it), otherwise would not the 
swart Rutters and French cooks, at the loss of Calais (where they 
found great store of this provision almost in every house), have at- 
tempted with ridiculous success to roast, bake, broil, and fry the same 
for their masters, till they were better informed. I have heard more- 
over how a nobleman of England not long since did send over a hogs- 
head of brawn ready soused to a Catholic gentleman of France, who, 
supposing it to be fish, reserved it till Lent, at which time he did eat 
thereof with great frugality. Thereto he so well liked the provision 
itself that he wrote over very earnestly, and with offer of great recom- 
pense, for more of the same fish against the year ensuing; whereas if 
he had known it to have been flesh he would not have touched it (I 
dare say) for a thousand crowns without the pope's dispensation. A 
friend of mine also dwelling some time in Spain, having certain Jews 
at his table, did set brawn before them, whereof they did eat very 
earnestly, supposing it to be a kind of fish not common in those parts; 
but when the goodman of the house brought in the head in pastime 


among them, to shew what they had eaten, they rose from the table, 
hied them home in haste, each of them procuring himself to vomit, 
some by oil and some by other means, till (as they supposed) they 
had cleansed their stomachs of that prohibited food. With us it is ac- 
counted a great piece of service at the table from November until 
February be ended, but chiefly in the Christmas time. With the same 
also we begin our dinners each day after other; and, because it is 
somewhat hard of digestion, a draught of malvesey, bastard, or 
muscadel, is usually drank after it, where either of them are con- 
veniently to be had; otherwise the meaner sort content themselves 
with their own drink, which at that season is generally very strong, 
and stronger indeed than it is all the year beside. It is made com- 
monly of the fore part of a tame boar, set up for the purpose by the 
space of a whole year or two, especially in gentlemen's houses (for the 
husbandmen and farmers never frank them for their own use above 
three or four months, or half a year at the most), in which time he is 
dieted with oats and peason, and lodged on the bare planks of an 
uneasy coat, till his fat be hardened sufficiently for their purpose: 
afterward he is killed, scalded, and cut out, and then of his former 
parts is our brawn made. The rest is nothing so fat, and therefore 
it beareth the name of sowse only, and is commonly reserved for the 
serving-man and hind, except it please the owner to have any part 
thereof baked, which are then handled of custom after this manner : 
the hinder parts being cut off, they are first drawn with lard, and 
then sodden; being sodden, they are soused in claret wine and vine- 
gar a certain space, and afterward baked in pasties, and eaten of many 
instead of the wild boar, and truly it is very good meat: the pestles 
may be hanged up a while to dry before they be drawn with lard, if 
you will, and thereby prove the better. But hereof enough, and there- 
fore to come again unto our brawn. The neck pieces, being cut off 
round, are called collars of brawn, the shoulders are named shilds, 
only the ribs retain the former denomination, so that these aforesaid 
pieces deserve the name of brawn : the bowels of the beast are com- 
monly cast away because of their rankness, and so were likewise 
his stones, till a foolish fantasy got hold of late amongst some delicate 
dames, who have now found the means to dress them also with great 


cost for a dainty dish, and bring them to the board as a service 
among other of like sort, though not without note of their desire to 
the provocation of fleshly lust which by this their fond curiosity is 
not a little revealed. When the boar is thus cut out each piece is 
wrapped up, either with bulrushes, ozier, peels, tape inkle,' or such 
like, and then sodden in a lead or caldron together, till they be so 
tender that a man may thrust a bruised rush or straw clean through 
the fat: which being done, they take it up and lay it abroad to cool. 
Afterward, putting it into close vessels, they pour either good small 
ale or beer mingled with verjuice and salt thereto till it be covered, 
and so let it lie (now and then altering and changing the sousing 
drink lest it should wax sour) till occasion serve to spend it out of 
the way. Some use to make brawn of great barrow hogs, and seethe 
them, and souse the whole as they do that of the boar; and in my 
judgment it is the better of both, and more easy of digestion. But 
of brawn thus much, and so much may seem sufficient. 

* Tape. 



[1577, Book III., Chapters 9 and 11; 1587, Book III., Chapters 2 and 5.] 

ORDER requireth that I speak somewhat of the fowls also of 
England, which I may easily divide into the wild and tame; 
but, alas! such is my small skill in fowls that, to say the 
truth, I can neither recite their numbers nor well distinguish one 
kind of them from another. Yet this I have by general knowledge, 
that there is no nation under the sun which hath already in the time 
of the year more plenty of wild fowl than we, for so many kinds as 
our island doth bring forth, and much more would have if those of 
the higher soil might be spared but one year or two from the greedy 
engines of covetous fowlers which set only for the pot and purse. 
Certes this enormity bred great troubles in King John's days, inso- 
much that, going in progress about the tenth of his reign, he found 
little or no game wherewith to solace himself or exercise his falcons. 
Wherefore, being at Bristow in the Christmas ensuing, he restrained 
all manner of hawking or taking of wild fowl throughout England 
for a season, whereby the land within few years was thoroughly re- 
plenished again. But what stand I upon this impertinent discourse? 
Of such therefore as are bred in our land, we have the crane, the 
bitter,' the wild and tame swan, the bustard, the heron, curlew, snite, 
wildgoose, wind or doterell, brant, lark, plover (of both sorts), lap- 
wing, teal, widgeon, mallard, sheldrake, shoveller, peewitt, seamew, 
barnacle, quail (who, only with man, are subject to the falling sick- 
ness), the knot, the oliet or olive, the dunbird, woodcock, partridge, 
and pheasant, besides divers others, whose names to me are utterly 
unknown, and much more the taste of their flesh, wherewith I was 
never acquainted. But as these serve not at all seasons, so in their 
several turns there is no plenty of them wanting whereby the tables 
of the nobility and gentry should seem at any time furnished. But 

' The proper English name of the bird which vulgar acceptance forces us to now 
call bittern. — W. 



of all these the production o£ none is more marvellous, in my mind, 
than that of the barnacle, whose place of generation, we have sought 
ofttimes as far as the Orchades, whereas peradventure we might have 
found the same nearer home, and not only upon the coasts of Ire- 
land, but even in our own rivers. If I should say how either these or 
some such other fowl not much unlike unto them have bred of late 
times (for their place of generation is not perpetual, but as oppor- 
tunity serveth and the circumstances do minister occasion) in the 
Thames mouth, I do not think that many will believe me; yet such 
a thing hath there been seen where a kind of fowl had his beginning 
upon a short tender shrub standing near unto the shore, from whence, 
when their time came, they fell down, either into the salt water and 
lived, or upon the dry land and perished, as Pena the French her- 
barian hath also noted in the very end of his herbal. What I, for 
mine own part, have seen here by experience, I have already so 
touched upon in the chapter of islands, that it should be but time 
spent in vain to repeat it here again. Look therefore in the descrip- 
tion of Man (or Manaw) for more of these barnacles, as also in the 
eleventh chapter of the description of Scotland, and I do not doubt 
but you shall in some respect be satisfied in the generation of these 
fowls. As for egrets, pawpers, and such like, they are daily brought 
unto us from beyond the sea, as if all the fowl of our country could 
not suffice to satisfy our delicate appetites. 

Our tame fowl are such (for the most part) as are common both 
to us and to other countries, as cocks, hens, geese, ducks, peacocks of 
Ind, pigeons, now a hurtful fowl by reason of their multitudes, and 
number of houses daily erected for their increase (which the boors 
of the country call in scorn almshouses, and dens of thieves, and 
such like), whereof there is great plenty in every farmer's yard. 
They are kept there also to be sold either for ready money in the 
open markets, or else to be spent at home in good company amongst 
their neighbours without reprehension or fines. Neither are we so 
miserable in England (a thing only granted unto us by the especial 
grace of God and liberty of our princes) as to dine or sup with a 
quarter of a hen, or to make as great a repast with a cock's comb as 
they do in some other countries; but, if occasion serve, the whole 
carcases of many capons, hens, pigeons, and such like do oft go to 

336 holinshed's chronicles 

wrack, beside beef, mutton, veal, and lamb, all of which at every 
feast are taken for necessary dishes amongst the communalty of 

The gelding of cocks, whereby capons are made, is an ancient 
practice brought in of old time by the Romans when they dwelt here 
in this land; but the gelding of turkeys or Indish peacocks is a newer 
device, and certainly not used amiss, sith the rankness of that bird 
is very much abated thereby and the strong taste of the flesh in sun- 
dry wise amended. If I should say that ganders grow also to be 
gelded, I suppose that some will laugh me to scorn, neither have I 
tasted at any time of such a fowl so served, yet have I heard it more 
than once to be used in the country, where their geese are driven to 
the field like herds of cattle by a gooseherd, a toy also no less to 
be marvelled at than the other. For, as it is rare to hear of a gelded 
gander, so is it strange to me to see or hear of geese to be led to 
the field like sheep; yet so it is, and their gooseherd carrieth a rattle 
of paper or parchment with him when he goeth about in the morning 
to gather his goslings together, the noise whereof cometh no sooner 
to their ears than they fall to gaggling, and hasten to go with him. If 
it happen that the gates be not yet open, or that none of the house be 
stirring, it is ridiculous to see how they will peep under the doors, and 
never leave creaking and gaggling till they be let out unto him to 
overtake their fellows. With us, where I dwell, they are not kept in 
this sort, nor in many other places, neither are they kept so much 
for their bodies as their feathers. Some hold furthermore an opinion 
that in over rank soils their dung doth so qualify the batableness of 
the soil that their cattle is thereby kept from the garget, and sundry 
other diseases, although some of them come to their ends now and 
then by licking up of their feathers. I might here make mention of 
other fowls produced by the industry of man, as between the pheas- 
ant cock and dunghill hen, or between the pheasant and the 
ringdove, the peacock and the turkey hen, the partridge and the 
pigeon; but, sith I have no more knowledge of these than what 
I have gotten by mine ear, I will not meddle with them. Yet 
Cardan, speaking of the second sort, doth affirm it to be a fowl of 
excellent beauty. I would likewise intreat of other fowls which we 
repute unclean, as ravens, crows, pies, choughs, rooks, kites, jays, 


ringtails, starlings, woodspikes, woodnaws, etc.; but, sith they abound 
in all countries, though peradventure most of all in England (by 
reason of our negligence), I shall not need to spend any time in the 
rehearsal of them. Neither are our crows and choughs cherished of 
purpose to catch up the worms that breed in our soils (as Polydor 
supposeth), sith there are no uplandish towns but have (or should 
have) nets of their own in store to catch them withal. Sundry acts 
of Parliament are likewise made for their utter destruction, as also 
the spoil of other ravenous fowls hurtful to poultry, conies, lambs, 
and kids, whose valuation of reward to him that killeth them is after 
the head: a device brought from the Goths, who had the like ordi- 
nance for the destruction of their white crows, and tale made by the 
beck, which killed both lambs and pigs. The like order is taken with 
us for our vermin as with them also for the rootage out of their wild 
beasts, saving that they spared their greatest bears, especially the 
white, whose skins are by custom and privilege reserved to cover 
those planchers whereupon their priests do stand at mass, lest he 
should take some unkind cold in such a long piece of work : and hap- 
py is the man that may provide them for him, for he shall have 
pardon enough for that so religious an act, to last if he will till dooms- 
day do approach, and many thousands after. Nothing therefore can 
be more unlikely to be true than that these noisome creatures are 
nourished amongst us to devour our worms, which do not abound 
much more in England than elsewhere in other countries of the main. 
It may be that some look for a discourse also of our other fowls in this 
place at my hand, as nightingales, thrushes, blackbirds, mavises, rud- 
docks, redstarts or dunocks, larks, tivits, king-fishers, buntings, tur- 
tles (white or grey), linnets, bullfinches, goldfinches, washtails, 
cherrycrackers, yellowhammers, fieldfares, etc.; but I should then 
spend more time upon them than is convenient. Neither will I speak 
of our costly and curious aviaries daily made for the better hearing of 
their melody, and observation of their natures; but I cease also to 
go any further in these things, having (as I think) said enough 
already of these that I have named.'' . . . 
I cannot make as yet any just report how many sorts of hawks are 

^ Here ends the first chapter of "fowls," that which follows being restricted to 
"hawks and ravenous fowls." — ^W. 

338 holinshed's chronicles 

bred within this realm. Howbeit which o£ those that are usually had 
among us are disclosed within this land, I think it more easy and 
less difficult to set down. First of all, therefore, that we have the 
eagle common experience doth evidently confirm, and divers of 
our rocks whereon they breed, if speech did serve, could well declare 
the same. But the most excellent eyrie of all is not much from Ches- 
ter, at a castle called Dinas Bren, sometime builded by Brennus, as 
our writers do remember. Certes this castle is no great thing, but yet 
a pile sometime very strong and inaccessible for enemies, though 
now all ruinous as many others are. It standeth upon a hard rock, in 
the side whereof an eagle breedeth every year. This also is notable 
in the overthrow of her nest (a thing oft attempted), that he which 
goeth thither must be sure of two large baskets, and so provide to 
be let down thereto, that he may sit in the one and be covered with 
the other: for otherwise the eagle would kill him and tear the flesh 
from his bones with her sharp talons, though his apparel were never 
so good. The common people call this fowl an erne; but, as I am 
ignorant whether the word eagle and erne do shew any difference 
of sex, I mean between the male and the female, so we have great 
store of them. And, near to the places where they breed, the com- 
mons complain of great harm to be done by them in their fields; for 
they are able to bear a young lamb or kid unto their nests, therewith 
to feed their young and come again for more. I was once of the opin- 
ion that there was a diversity of kind between the eagle and the erne, 
till I perceived that our nation used the word erne in most places for 
the eagle. We have also the lanner and the lanneret, the tersel and 
the goshawk, the musket and the sparhawk, the jack and the hobby, 
and finally some (though very few) marleons. And these are all the 
hawks that I do hear as yet to be bred within this island. Howbeit, 
as these are not wanting with us, so are they not very plentiful: 
•wherefore such as delight in hawking do make their chief purvey- 
ance and provision for the same out of Danske, Germany, and the 
eastern countries, from whence we have them in great abundance and 
at excellent prices, whereas at home and where they be bred they 
are sold for almost right nought, and usually brought to the markets 
as chickens, pullets, and pigeons are with us, and there bought up to 
be eaten (as we do the aforesaid fowl) almost of every man. It is 


said that the sparhawk pryeth not upon the fowl in the morning, that 
she taketh over even, but as loath to have double benefit by one 
seelie fowl doth let it go to make some shift for itself. But hereof 
as I stand in some doubt. So this I find among the writers worthy 
the noting: that the sparhawk is enemy to young children, as is 
also the ape, but of the peacock she is marvellously afraid, and so 
appalled that all courage and stomach for a time is taken from 
her upon the sight thereof. But to proceed with the rest. Of other 
ravenous birds we have also very great plenty, as the buzzard, the 
kite, the ringtail, dunkite, and such as often annoy our country 
dames by spoiling of their young breeds of chickens, ducks, and 
goslings, whereunto our very ravens and crows have learned also 
the way: and so much are ravens given to this kind of spoil that 
some idle and curious heads of set purpose have manned, reclaimed, 
and used them instead of hawks, when other could not be had. Some 
do imagine that the raven should be the vulture, and I was almost 
persuaded in times past to believe the same; but, finding of late, a 
description of the vulture, which better agreeth with the form of a 
second kind of eagle, I freely surcease to be longer of that opinion: 
for, as it hath, after a sort, the shape, colour, and quantity of an eagle, 
so are the legs and feet more hairy and rough, their sides under their 
wings better covered with thick down (wherewith also their gorge 
or a part of their breast under their throats is armed, and not with 
feathers) than are the like parts of the eagle, and unto which portrai- 
ture there is no member of the raven (who is almost black of colour) 
that can have any resemblance: we have none of them in England to 
my knowledge; if we have, they go generally under the name of 
eagle or erne. Neither have we the pygargus or grip, wherefore I 
have no occasion to treat further. I have seen the carrion crows so 
cunning also by their own industry of late that they have used to soar 
over great rivers (as the Thames for example) and, suddenly coming 
down, have caught a small fish in their feet and gone away withal 
without wetting of their wings. And even at this present the afore- 
said river is not without some of them, a thing (in my opinion) not 
a little to be wondered at. We have also osprays, which breed with us 
in parks and woods, whereby the keepers of the same do reap in 
breeding time no small commodity; for, so soon almost as the young 


are hatched, they tie them to the butt ends or ground ends of sundry 
trees, where the old ones, finding them, do never cease to bring fish 
unto them, which the keepers take and eat from them, and com- 
monly is such as is well fed or not of the worst sort. It hath not been 
my hap hitherto to see any of these fowl, and partly through mine 
own negligence; but I hear that it hath one foot like a hawk, to catch 
hold withal, and another resembling a goose, wherewith to swim; 
but, whether it be so or not so, I refer the further search and trial 
thereof unto some other. This nevertheless is certain, that both alive 
and dead, yea even her very oil, is a deadly terror to such fish as come 
within the wind of it. There is no cause whereof I should describe 
the cormorant amongst hawks, of which some be black and many 
pied, chiefly about the Isle of Ely, where they are taken for the night 
raven, except I should call him a water hawk. But, sith such dealing 
is not convenient, let us now see what may be said of our venomous 
worms, and how many kinds we have of them within our realm and 

' This on "venomous beasts" will be found included in the "savage beasts" of the 



[1577, Book III., Chapters 7 and 12; 1587, Book III., Chapters 4 and 6.] 

IT IS none of the least blessings wherewith God hath endued 
this island that it is void of noisome beasts, as lions, bears, tigers, 
pardes, wolves, and such like, by means whereof our country- 
men may travel in safety, and our herds and flocks remain for the 
most part abroad in the field without any herdman or keeper. 

This is chiefly spoken of the south and south-west parts of the 
island. For, whereas we that dwell on this side of the Tweed may 
safely boast of our security in this behalf, yet cannot the Scots do the 
like in every point wherein their kingdom, sith they have grievous 
wolves and cruel foxes, beside some others of like disposition continu- 
ally conversant among them, to the general hindrance of their hus- 
bandmen, and no small damage unto the inhabitants of those 
quarters. The happy and fortunate want of these beasts in England 
is universally ascribed to the politic government of King Edgar.' , . . 

Of foxes we have some, but no great store, and also badgers in our 
sandy and light grounds, where woods, furze, broom, and plenty of 
shrubs are to shroud them in when they be from their burrows, and 
thereunto warrens of conies at hand to feed upon at will. Otherwise 
in clay, which we call the cledgy mould, we seldom hear of any, 
because the moisture and the toughness of the soil is such as will not 
suffer them to draw and make their burrows deep. Certes, if I may 
freely say what I think, I suppose that these two kinds (I mean foxes 
and badgers) are rather preserved by gentlemen to hunt and have 
pastime withal at their own pleasures than otherwise suffered to 
live as not able to be destroyed because of their great numbers. For 
such is the scantity of them here in England, in comparison of the 
plenty that is to be seen in other countries, and so earnestly are the 

' Here follows an account of the extermination of wolves, and a reference to lions 
and wild bulls rampant in Scotland of old. — W. 


342 holinshed's chronicles 

inhabitants bent to root them out, that, except it had been to bear 
thus with the recreations of their superiors in this behalf, it could 
not otherwise have been chosen but that they should have been 
utterly destroyed by many years agone. 

I might here intreat largely of other vermin, as the polecat, the 
miniver, the weasel, stote, fulmart, squirrel, fitchew, and such like, 
which Cardan includeth under the word Mustela: also of the otter, 
and likewise of the beaver, whose hinder feet and tail only are sup- 
posed to be fish. Certes the tail of this beast is like unto a thin 
whetstone, as the body unto a monstrous rat: as the beast also itself 
is of such force in the teeth that it will gnaw a hole through a thick 
plank, or shere through a double billet in a night; it loveth also the 
stillest rivers, and it is given to them by nature to go by flocks unto 
the woods at hand, where they gather sticks wherewith to build their 
nests, wherein their bodies lie dry above the water, although they 
so provide most commonly that their tails may hang within the 
same. It is also reported that their said tails are a delicate dish, 
and their stones of such medicinal force that (as Vertomannus 
saith) four men smelling unto them each after other did bleed 
at the nose through their attractive force, proceeding from a 
vehement savour wherewith they are endued. There is greatest 
plenty of them in Persia, chiefly about Balascham, from whence 
they and their dried cods are brought into all quarters of the 
world, though not without some forgery by such as provide them. 
And of all these here remembered, as the first sorts are plentiful in 
every wood and hedgerow, so these latter, especially the otter (for, 
to say the truth, we have not many beavers, but only in the Teisie in 
Wales) is not wanting or to seek in many, but most, streams and 
rivers of this isle; but it shall suffice in this sort to have named them, 
as I do finally the martern, a beast of the chase, although for number 
I worthily doubt whether that of our beavers or marterns may be 
thought to be the less. 

Other pernicious beasts we have not, except you repute the great 
plenty of red and fallow deer whose colours are oft garled white 
and black, all white or all black, and store of conies amongst the 
hurtful sort. Which although that of themselves they are not offen- 
sive at all, yet their great numbers are thought to be very prejudicial, 
and therefore justly reproved of many, as are in like sort our huge 


flocks of sheep, whereon the greatest part of our soil is employed 
almost in every place, and yet our mutton, wool, and felles never 
the better cheap. The young males which our fallow deer do bring 
forth are commonly named according to their several ages: for the 
first year it is a fawn, the second a pricket, the third a sorel, the fourth 
a soare, the fifth a buck of the first head, not bearing the name of a 
buck till he be five years old: and from henceforth his age is com- 
monly known by his head or horns. Howbeit this notice of his years 
is not so certain but that the best woodman may now and then be de- 
ceived in that account: for in some grounds a buck of the first head 
will be as well headed as another in a high rowtie soil will be in the 
fourth. It is also much to be marvelled at that, whereas they do yearly 
mew and cast their horns, yet in fighting they never break off where 
they do grife or mew. Furthermore, in examining the condition of 
our red deer, I find that the young male is called in the first year a 
calf, in the second a broket, the third a spay, the fourth a staggon or 
stag, the fifth a great stag, the sixth a hart, and so forth unto his death. 
And with him in degree of venerie are accounted the hare, boar, 
and wolf. The fallow deer, as bucks and does, are nourished in parks, 
and conies in warrens and burrows. As for hares, they run at their 
own adventure, except some gentleman or other (for his pleasure) do 
make an enclosure for them. Of these also the stag is accounted for 
the most noble game, the fallow deer is the next, then the roe, 
whereof we have indifferent store, and last of all the hare, not the 
least in estimation, because the hunting of that seely beast is mother 
to all the terms, blasts, and artificial devices that hunters do use. All 
which (notwithstanding our custom) are pastimes more meet for 
ladies and gentlewomen to exercise (whatsoever Franciscus Patritius 
saith to the contrary in his Institution of a Prince) than for men of 
courage to follow, whose hunting should practise their arms in 
tasting of their manhood, and dealing with such beasts as eftsoons 
will turn again and offer them the hardest, rather than their horses' 
feet which many times may carry them with dishonour from the 
field.^ . . . 

If I should go about to make any long discourse of venomous 
beasts or worms bred in England, I should attempt more than occa- 

^ Here follows a discourse on ancient boar-hunting, exalting it above the degenerate 
sports of the day. This ends the chapter on "savage beasts." — ^W. 

344 holinshed's chronicles 

sion itself would readily offer, sith we have very few worms, but 
no beasts at all, that are thought by their natural qualities to be either 
venomous or hurtful. First of all, therefore, we have the adder (in 
our old Saxon tongue called an atter), which some men do not 
rashly take to be the viper. Certes, if it be so, then is not the viper 
author of the death of her^ parents, as some histories affirm, and 
thereto Encelius, a late writer, in his De re Metallica, lib. 3, cap. 38, 
where he maketh mention of a she adder which he saw in Sala, 
whose womb (as he saith) was eaten out after a like fashion, her 
young ones lying by her in the sunshine, as if they had been earth- 
worms. Nevertheless, as he nameth them viperas, so he calleth the 
male echis, and the female echidna, concluding in the end that 
echis is the same serpent which his countrymen to this day call ein 
atter, as I have also noted before out of a Saxon dictionary. For 
my part I am persuaded that the slaughter of their parents is either 
not true at all, or not always (although I doubt not but that nature 
hath right well provided to inhibit their superfluous increase by some 
means or other), and so much the rather am I led hereunto for that 
I gather by Nicander that of all venomous worms the viper only 
bringeth out her young aUve, and therefore is called in Latin vipera 
quasivivipara, but of her own death he doth not (to my remem- 
brance) say anything. It is testified also by other in other words, and 
to the like sense, that "Echis id est vipera sola ex serpentibtts non ova 
sed animalia parit." * And it may well be, for I remember that I have 
read in Philostratus, De vita Appollonii, how he saw a viper licking 
her young. I did see an adder once myself that lay (as I thought) 
sleeping on a molehill, out of whose mouth came eleven young 
adders of twelve or thirteen inches in length apiece, which played to 
and fro in the grass one with another, till some of them espied me. 
So soon therefore as they saw my face they ran again into the mouth 
of their dam, whom I killed, and then found each of them shrouded 
in a distinct cell or pannicle in her belly, much like unto a soft white 
jelly, which maketh me to be of the opinion that our adder is the 
viper indeed. The colour of their skin is for the most part like rusty 
iron or iron grey, but such as be very old resemble a ruddy blue; 

' Galenus, De Theriaca ad Pisonem; Pliny, lib. lo, cap. 62. — H. 

* "The adder or viper alone among serpents brings forth not eggs but living 



and as once in the year (to wit, in April or about the beginning of 
May) they cast their old skins (whereby as it is thought their age 
reneweth), so their stinging bringeth death without present remedy 
be at hand, the wounded never ceasing to swell, neither the venom to 
work till the skin of the one break, and the other ascend upward to 
the heart, where it finisheth the natural effect, except the juice of 
dragons (in Latin called dracunculus minor) be speedily ministered 
and drunk in strong ale, or else some other medicine taken of like 
force that may countervail and overcome the venom of the same. 
The length of them is most commonly two feet, and somewhat more, 
but seldom doth it extend into two feet six inches, except it be in 
some rare and monstrous one, whereas our snakes are much longer, 
and seen sometimes to surmount a yard, or three feet, although their 
poison be nothing so grievous and deadly as the others. Our adders 
lie in winter under stones, as Aristode also saith of the viper (lib. 8, 
cap. 15), and in holes of the earth, rotten stubs of trees, and amongst 
the dead leaves; but in the heat of the summer they come abroad, and 
lie either round in heaps or at length upon some hillock, or elsewhere 
in the grass. They are found only in our woodland countries and 
highest grounds, where sometimes (though seldom) a speckled 
stone called echites, in Dutch ein otter stein, is gotten out of their 
dried carcases, which divers report to be good against their poi- 
son.^ As for our snakes, which in Latin are properly named ungues, 
they commonly are seen in moors, fens, loam, walls, and low 

As we have great store of toads where adders commonly are found, 
so do frogs abound where snakes do keep their residence. We have 
also the slow-worm, which is black and greyish of colour, and some- 
what shorter than an adder. I was at the killing once of one of them, 
and thereby perceived that she was not so called of any want of nim- 
ble motion, but rather of the contrary. Nevertheless we have a blind- 
worm, to be found under logs, in woods and timber that hath lain 
long in a place, which some also do call (and upon better ground) 
by the name of slow-worms, and they are known easily by their more 
or less variety of striped colours, drawn long-ways from their heads, 
their whole bodies little exceeding a foot in length, and yet is their 

^Sallust, cap. 40; Pliny, lib. 37, cap. 2. — ^H. 

346 holinshed's chronicles 

venom deadly. This also is not to be omitted; and now and then 
in our fenny countries other kinds of serpents are found of greater 
quantity than either our adder or our snake, but, as these are not 
ordinary and oft to be seen, so I mean not to intreat of them among 
our common annoyances. Neither have we the scorpion, a, plague of 
God sent not long since into Italy, and whose poison (as Apollodorus 
saith) is white, neither the tarantula or Neapolitan spider, whose 
poison bringeth death, except music be at hand. Wherefore I suppose 
our country to be the more happy (I mean in part) for that it is void 
of these two grievous annoyances wherewith other nations are 

We have also efts both of the land and water, and likewise the 
noisome swifts, whereof to say any more it would be but loss of time, 
sith they are all well known, and no region to my knowledge found 
to be void of many of them. As for flies (sith it shall not be amiss a 
little to touch them also), we have none that can do hurt or hindrance 
naturally unto any: for whether they be cut-waisted or whole-bodied, 
they are void of poison and all venomous inclination. The cut or 
girt waisted (for so I English the word insecta) are the hornets, 
wasps, bees, and such likej whereof we have great store, and of which 
an opinion is conceived that the first do breed of the corruption of 
dead horses, the second of pears and apples corrupted, and the last 
of kine and oxen: which may be true, especially the first and latter in 
some parts of the beast, and not their whole substances, as also in 
the second, sith we have never wasps but when our fruit beginneth 
to wax ripe. Indeed Virgil and others speak of a generation of bees 
by killing or smothering a bruised bullock or calf and laying his 
bowels or his flesh wrapped up in his hide in a close house for a 
certain season; but how true it is, hitherto I have not tried. Yet sure 
I am of this, that no one living creature corrupteth without the pro- 
duction of another, as we may see by ourselves, whose flesh doth alter 
into lice, and also in sheep for excessive numbers of flesh flies, if they 
be suffered to lie unburied or uneaten by the dogs and swine, who 
often and happily present such needless generations. 

As concerning bees, I think it good to remember that, whereas 
some ancient writers affirm it to be a commodity wanting in our 


island, it is now found to be nothing so. In old times peradventure 
we had none indeed; but in my days there is such plenty of them in 
manner everywhere that in some uplandish towns there are one hun- 
dred or two hundred hives of them, although the said hives are not 
so huge as those of the east country, but far less, and not able to 
contain above one bushel of corn or five pecks at the most. Pliny 
(a man that of set purpose delighteth to write of wonders), speaking 
of honey, noteth that in the north regions the hives in his time were 
of such quantity that some one comb contained eight foot in length, 
and yet (as it should seem) he speaketh not of the greatest. For in 
Podolia, which is now subject to the King of Poland, their hives are 
so great, and combs so abundant, that huge boars, overturning and 
falling into them, are drowned in the honey before they can recover 
and find the means to come out. 

Our honey also is taken and reputed to be the best, because it is 
harder, better wrought, and cleanlier vesselled up, than that which 
cometh from beyond the sea, where they stamp and strain their 
combs, bees, and young blowings altogether into the stuff, as I have 
been informed. In use also of medicine our physicians and apothe- 
caries eschew the foreign, especially that of Spain and Pontus, by 
reason of a venomous quality naturally planted in the same, as some 
write, and choose the home-made: not only by reason of our soil 
(which hath no less plenty of wild thyme growing therein than in 
Sicilia and about Athens, and maketh the best stuff) as also for that 
it breedeth (being gotten in harvest time) less choler, and which is 
oftentimes (as I have seen by experience) so white as sugar, and 
corned as if it were salt. Our hives are made commonly of rye straw 
and watded about with bramble quarters; but some make the same 
of wicker, and cast them over with clay. We cherish none in trees, 
but set our hives somewhere on the warmest side of the house, pro- 
viding that they may stand dry and without danger both of the mouse 
and the moth. This furthermore is to be noted, that whereas in ves- 
sels of oil that which is nearest the top is counted the finest and of 
wine that in the middest, so of honey the best which is heaviest and 
moistest is always next the bottom, and evermore casteth and driveth 
his dregs upward toward the very top, contrary to the nature of 

348 holinshed's chronicles 

other liquid substances, whose grounds and leeze do generally settle 
downwards. And thus much as by the way of our bees and English 

As for the whole-bodied, as the cantharides, and such venomous 
creatures of the same kind, to be abundantly found in other countries, 
we hear not of them: yet have we beetles, horseflies, turdbugs or dors 
(called in Latin scarabei), the locust or the grasshopper (which to me 
do seem to be one thing, as I will anon declare), and such like, 
whereof let other intreat that make an exercise in catching of flies, 
but a far greater sport in offering them to spiders, as did Domitian 
sometime, and another prince yet living who delighted so much to 
see the jolly combats betwixt a stout fly and an old spider that divers 
men have had great rewards given them for their painful provision 
of flies made only for this purpose. Some parasites also, in the time of 
the aforesaid emperor (when they were disposed to laugh at his folly, 
and yet would seem in appearance to gratify his fantastical head with 
some shew of dutiful demeanour), could devise to set their lord on 
work by letting a flesh fly privily into his chamber, which he forth- 
with would eagerly have hunted (all other business set apart) and 
never ceased till he had caught her into his fingers, wherewith arose 
the proverb, "Ne musca quidem," uttered first by Vibius Priscus, who 
being asked whether anybody was with Domitian, answered "Ne 
musca quidem," whereby he noted his folly. There are some cocks- 
combs here and there in England, learning it abroad as men trans- 
regionate, which make account also of this pastime, as of a notable 
matter, telling what a sight is seen between them, if either of them be 
lusty and courageous in his kind. One also hath made a book of the 
spider and the fly, wherein he dealeth so profoundly, and beyond all 
measure of skill that neither he himself that made it nor any one that 
readeth it can reach unto the meaning thereof. But if those jolly fel- 
lows, instead of the straw that they must thrust into the fly's tail (a 
great injury no doubt to such a noble champion), would bestow the 
cost to set a fool's cap upon their own heads, then might they with 
more security and less reprehension behold these notable battles. 

Now, as concerning the locust, I am led by divers of my country, 
who (as they say) were either in Germany, Italy, or Pannonia, 1542, 
when those nations were gready annoyed with that kind of fly, and 


affirm very constantly that they saw none other creature than the 
grasshopper during the time o£ that annoyance, which was said to 
come to them from the Meotides. In most o£ our translations also 
of the Bible the word locusta is Englished a grasshopper, and there- 
unto (Leviticus xi.) it is reputed among the clean food, otherwise 
John the Baptist would never have lived with them in the wilder- 
ness. In Barbary, Numidia, and sundry other places of Africa, as they 
have been,^ so are they eaten to this day powdered in barrels, and 
therefore the people of those parts are called Acedophagi: neverthe- 
less they shorten the life of the eaters, by the production at the last of 
an irksome and filthy disease. In India they are three foot long, in 
Ethiopia much shorter, but in England seldom above an inch. As 
for the cricket, called in Latin cicada, he hath some likelihood, but 
not very great, with the grasshopper, and therefore he is not to be 
brought in as an umpire in this case. Finally, Matthiolus and so many 
as describe the locust do set down none other form than that of our 
grasshopper, which maketh me so much the more to rest upon my 
former imagination, which is that the locust and the grasshopper are 

* See Diodorus Siculus. — H. 



[1577, Book III., Chapter 13; 1587, Book III., Chapter 7.] 

THERE is no country that may (as I take it) compare with 
ours in number, excellency, and diversity of dogs. 
The first sort therefore he divideth either into such as 
rouse the beast, and continue the chase, or springeth the bird, and 
bewrayeth her flight by pursuit. And as these are commonly called 
spaniels, so the other are named hounds, whereof he maketh eight 
sorts, of which the foremost excelleth in perfect smelling, the second 
in quick espying, the third in swiftness and quickness, the fourth in 
smelling and nimbleness, etc., and the last in subtlety and deceitful- 
ness. These (saith Strabo) are most apt for game, and called Sagaces 
by a general name, not only because of their skill in hunting, but 
also for that they know their own and the names of their fellows most 
exactly. For if the hunter see any one to follow skilfully, and with 
likelihood of good success, he biddeth the rest to hark and follow such 
a dog, and they eftsoones obey so soon as they hear his name. The 
first kind of these are often called harriers, whose game is the fox, 
the hare, the wolf (if we had any) , hart, buck, badger, otter, polecat, 
lopstart, weasel, conie, etc.: the second height a terrier and it hunteth 
the badger and grey only : the third a bloodhound, whose office is to 
follow the fierce, and now and then to pursue a thief or beast by 
his dry foot: the fourth height a gazehound, who hunteth by the 
eye: the fifth a greyhound, cherished for his strength and swiftness 
and stature, commended by Bratius in his De Venatione, and not un- 
remembered by Hercules Stroza in a like treatise, and above all other 
those of Britain, where he saith: "Magna spectandi mole Britanni:" 
also by Nemesianus, libro Cynegeticon, where he saith: "Divisa 
Britannia mittit Veloces nostrique orbis venatibus aptos," of which 
sort also some be smooth, of sundry colours, and some shake-haired: 
the sixth a liemer, that excelleth in smelling and swift-running: the 



seventh a tumbler: and the eighth a thief whose offices (I mean of the 
latter two) incline only to deceit, wherein they are oft so skilful 
that few men would think so mischievous a wit to remain in such 
silly creatures. Having made this enumeration of dogs which are 
apt for the chase and hunting, he cometh next to such as serve the 
falcons in their time, whereof he maketh also two sorts. One that 
findeth his game on the land, another that putteth up such fowl 
as keepeth in the water: and of these this is commonly most usual 
for the net or train, the other for the hawk, as he doth shew at large. 
Of the first he saith that they have no peculiar names assigned to 
them severally, but each of them is called after the bird which by 
natural appointment he is alloted to hunt or serve, for which consid- 
eration some be named dogs for the pheasant, some for the falcon, 
and some for the partridge. Howbeit the common name for all is 
spaniel (saith he), and thereupon alluded as if these kinds of dogs 
had been brought hither out of Spain. In like sort we have of water 
spaniels in their kind. The third sort of dogs of the gentle kind is 
the spaniel gentle, or comforter, or (as the common term is) the fist- 
inghound, and those are called Melitei, of the Island Malta, from 
whence they were brought hither. These are little and pretty, proper 
and fine, and sought out far and near to falsify the nice delicacy of 
dainty dames, and wanton women's wills, instruments of folly to 
play and dally withal, in trifling away the treasure of time, to with- 
draw their minds from more commendable exercises, and to content 
their corrupt concupiscences with vain disport — a silly poor shift to 
shun their irksome idleness. The Sybaritical puppies the smaller 
they be (and thereto if they have a hole in the fore parts of their 
heads) the better they are accepted, the more pleasure also they pro- 
voke, as meet playfellows for mincing mistresses to bear in their 
bosoms, to keep company withal in their chambers, to succour with 
sleep in bed, and nourish with meat at board, to lie in their laps, and 
lick their hps as they lie (like young Dianas) in their waggons and 
coaches. And good reason it should be so, for coarseness with fine- 
ness hath no fellowship, but featness with neatness hath neighbour- 
hood enough. That plausible proverb therefore versified sometime 
upon a tyrant — namely, that he loved his sow better than his son — 
may well be applied to some of this kind of people, who delight 

352 holinshed's chronicles 

more in their dogs, that are deprived o£ all possibility of reason, than 
they do in children that are capable of wisdom and judgment. Yea, 
they oft feed them of the best where the poor man's child at their 
doors can hardly come by the worst. But the former abuse peradven- 
ture reigneth where there hath been long want of issue, else where 
barrenness is the best blossom of beauty: or, finally, where poor 
men's children for want of their own issue are not ready to be had. 
It is thought of some that it is very wholesome for a weak stomach to 
bear such a dog in the bosom, as it is for him that hath the palsy to 
feel the daily smell and savour of a fox. But how truly this is affirmed 
let the learned judge: only it shall suffice for Doctor Caius to have 
said thus much of spaniels and dogs of the gentle kind. 

Dogs of the homely kind are either shepherd's curs or mastiffs. The 
first are so common that it needeth me not to speak of them. Their 
use also is so well known in keeping the herd together (either when 
they grass or go before the shepherd) that it should be but in vain to 
spend any time about them. Wherefore I will leave this cur unto his 
own kind, and go in hand with the mastiff, tie dog, or band dog, 
so called because many of them are tied up in chains and strong 
bonds in the daytime, for, doing hurt abroad, which is a huge dog, 
stubborn, ugly, eager, burthenous of body (and therefore of but 
little swiftness), terrible and fearful to behold, and oftentimes more 
fierce and fell than any Archadian or Corsican cur. Our English- 
men, to the extent that these dogs may be more cruel and fierce, assist 
nature with some art, use, and custom. For although this kind of 
dog be capable of courage, violent, valiant, stout, and bold: yet will 
they increase these their stomachs by teaching them to bait the 
bear, the bull, the lion, and other such like cruel and bloody beasts 
(either brought over or kept up at home for the same purpose), 
without any collar to defend their throats, and oftentimes there too 
they train them up in fighting and wrestling with a man (having 
for the safeguard of his life either a pikestaff, club, sword, privy 
coat), whereby they become the more fierce and cruel unto strangers. 
The Caspians make so much account sometimes of such great dogs 
that every able man would nourish sundry of them in his house of 
set purpose, to the end they should devour their carcases after their 
deaths thinking the dog's beUies to be the most honourable sepul- 


chres. The common people also followed the same rate, and therefore 
there were tie dogs kept up by public ordinance, to devour them after 
their deaths: by means whereof these beasts became the more eager, 
and with great difficulty after a while restrained from falling upon 
the living. But whither am I digressed ? In returning therefore to our 
own, I say that of mastiffs, some bark only with fierce and open 
mouth but will not bite; but the cruelest do either not bark at all or 
bite before they bark, and therefore are more to be feared than any 
of the other. They take also their name of the word "mase" and 
"thief" (or "master-thief" if you will), because they often stound and 
put such persons to their shifts in towns and villages, and are the 
principal causes of their apprehension and taking. The force which 
is in them surmounteth all belief, and the fast hold which they take 
with their teeth exceedeth all credit: for three of them against a 
bear, four against a lion, are sufficient to try mastries with them. 
King Henry the Seventh, as the report goeth, commanded all such 
curs to be hanged, because they durst presume to fight against the 
lion, who is their king and sovereign. The like he did with an excel- 
lent falcon, as some say, because he feared not hand-to-hand match 
with an eagle, willing his falconers in his own presence to pluck off 
his head after he was taken down, saying that it was not meet for any 
subject to offer such wrong unto his lord and superior, wherein he 
had a further meaning. But if King Henry the Seventh had lived 
in our time what would he have done to our English mastiff, which 
alone and without any help at all pulled down first a huge bear, then 
a pard, and last of all a lion, each after other before the French king 
in one day, when the Lord Buckhurst was ambassador unto him, 
and whereof if I should write the circumstances, that is, how he took 
his advantage being let loose unto them, and finally drave them into 
such exceeding fear, that they were all glad to run away when he was 
taken from them, I should take much pains, and yet reap but small 
credit: wherefore it shall suffice to have said thus much thereof. 
Some of our mastiffs will rage only in the night, some are to be tied 
up both day and night. Such also as are suffered to go loose about the 
house and yard are so gentle in the daytime that children may ride 
on their backs and play with them at their pleasures. Divers of 
them likewise are of such jealousy over their master and whosoever 


of his household, that if a stranger do embrace or touch any of them, 
they will fall fiercely upon them, unto their extreme mischief if their 
fury be not prevented. Such a one was the dog of Nichomedes, king 
sometime of Bithynia, who seeing Consigne the queen to embrace 
and kiss her husband as they walked together in a garden, did tear 
her all to pieces, maugre his resistance and the present aid of such as 
attended on them. Some of them moreover will suffer a stranger to 
come in and walk about the house or yard where he listeth, without 
giving over to follow him: but if he put forth his hand to touch 
anything, then will they fly upon them and kill them if they may. 
I had one myself once, which would not suffer any man to bring in 
his weapon further than my gate: neither those that were of my 
house to be touched in his presence. Or if I had beaten any of my 
children, he would gently have essayed to catch the rod in his teeth 
and take it out of my hand or else pluck down their clothes to save 
them from the stripes: which in my opinion is not unworthy to 
be noted. 

The last sort of dogs consisteth of the currish kind meet for many 
toys, of which the whappet or prick-eared cur is one. Some men 
call them warners, becaiise they are good for nothing else but to 
bark and give warning when anybody doth stir or Ue in wait about 
the house in the night season. Certes it is impossible to describe 
these curs in any order, because they have no one kind proper unto 
themselves, but are a confused company mixed of all the rest. The 
second sort of them are called turnspits, whose office is not unknown 
to any. And as these are only reserved for this purpose, so in many 
places our mastiffs (beside the use which tinkers have of them in 
carrying their heavy budgets) are made to draw water in great 
wheels out of deep wells, going much like unto those which are 
framed for our turnspits, as is to be seen at Roiston, where this feat 
is often practised. Besides these also we have sholts or curs daily 
brought out of Ireland, and made much of among us, because of 
their sauciness and quarrelling. Moreover they bite very sore, and 
love candles exceedingly, as do the men and women of their coun- 
try; but I may say no more of them, because they are not bred with 
us. Yet this will I make report of by the way, for pastime's sake, 
that when a great man of those parts came of late into one of our 


ships which went thither for fish, to see the form and fashion of the 
same, his wife apparelled in fine sables, abiding on the deck whilst 
her husband was under the hatches with the mariners, espied a pound 
or two of candles hanging on the mast, and being loath to stand 
there idle alone, she fell to and eat them up every one, supposing 
herself to have been at a jolly banquet, and shewing very pleasant 
gesture when her husband came up again unto her. 

The last kind of toyish curs are named dancers, and those being 
of a mongrel sort also, are taught and exercised to dance in measure 
at the musical sound of an instrument, as at the just stroke of a 
drum, sweet accent of the citharne, and pleasant harmony of the 
harp, shewing many tricks by the gesture of their bodies : as to stand 
bolt upright, to lie flat on the ground, to turn round as a ring holding 
their tails in their teeth, to saw and beg for meat, to take a man's 
cap from his head, and sundry such properties, which they learn of 
their idle roguish masters, whose instruments they are to gather gain, 
as old apes clothed in motley and coloured short-waisted jackets 
are for the like vagabonds, who seek no better living than that which 
they may get by fond pastime and idleness. I might here intreat of 
other dogs, as of those which are bred between a bitch and a wolf, 
also between a bitch and a fox, or a bear and a mastiff. But as we 
utterly want the first sort, except they be brought unto us : so it hap- 
peneth sometimes that the other two are engendered and seen at 
home amongst us. But all the rest heretofore remembered in this 
chapter there is none more ugly and odious in sight, cruel and fierce 
in deed, nor untractable in hand, than that which is begotten be- 
tween the bear and the bandog. For whatsoever he catcheth hold 
of he taketh it so fast that a man may sooner tear and rend his body 
in sunder than get open his mouth to separate his chaps. Certes he 
regardeth neither wolf, bear, nor lion, and therefore may well be 
compared with those two dogs which were sent to Alexander out 
of India (and procreated as it is thought between a mastiff and a 
male tiger, as be those also of Hircania), or to them that are bred in 
Archadia, where copulation is oft seen between lions and bitches, 
as the lion is in France (as I said) between she wolves and dogs, 
whereof let this suffice, sith the further tractation of them doth not 
concern my purpose, more than the confutation of Cardan's talk, 

356 holinshed's chronicles 

De subt., lib. 10, who saith that after many generations dogs do 
become wolves, and contrariwise, which if it were true, then could 
not England be without many wolves: but nature hath set a differ- 
ence between them, not only in outward form, but also inward dis- 
position of their bones, whereof it is impossible that his assertion can 
be sound. 



[1577, Book II., Chapter 13; 1587, Book II., Chapter 17.] 

THERE is nothing that hath brought me into more ad- 
miration of the power and force of antiquity than their dil- 
igence and care had of their navies: wherein, whether I con- 
sider their speedy building, or great number of ships which some 
one kingdom or region possessed at one instant, it giveth me still 
occasion either to suspect the history, or to think that in our times 
we come very far behind them.' . . . 

I must needs confess therefore that the ancient vessels far exceeded 
ours for capacity, nevertheless if you regard the form, and the as- 
surance from peril of the sea, and therewithal the strength and 
nimbleness of such as are made in our time, you shall easily find that 
ours are of more value than theirs: for as the greatest vessel is not 
always the fastest, so that of most huge capacity is not always the 
aptest to shift and brook the seas: as might be seen by the Great 
Henry, the hugest vessel that ever England framed in our times. 
Neither were the ships of old like unto ours in mould and manner of 
building above the water (for of low galleys in our seas we make 
small account) nor so full of ease within, since time hath engendered 
more skill in the wrights, and brought all things to more perfection 
than they had in the beginning. And now to come unto our purpose 
at the first intended. 

The navy of England may be divided into three sorts, of which 
the one serveth for the wars, the other for burden, and the third for 
fishermen which get their living by fishing on the sea. How many 
of the first order are maintained within the realm it passeth my 
cunning to express; yet, since it may be parted into the navy royal 
and common fleet, I think good to speak of those that belong unto 

' Here follows an account of Roman and Carthaginian galleys which "did not only 
match, but far exceed" in capacity our ships and galleys of 1387. — ^W. 


358 holinshed's chronicles 

the prince, and so much the rather, for that their number is certain 
and well known to very many. Certainly there is no prince in 
Europe that hath a more beautiful or gallant sort of ships than the 
queen's majesty of England at this present, and those generally are 
of such exceeding force that two of them, being well appointed and 
furnished as they ought, will not let to encounter with three or four 
of those of other countries, and either bowge them or put them to 
flight, if they may not bring them home. 

Neither are the moulds of any foreign barks so conveniently 
made, to brook so well one sea as another lying upon the shore of 
any part of the continent, as those of England. And therefore the 
common report that strangers make of our ships amongst them- 
selves is daily confirmed to be true, which is, that for strength, as- 
surance, nimbleness, and swiftness of sailing, there are no vessels in 
the world to be compared with ours. And all these are committed 
to the regiment and safe custody of the admiral, who is so called (as 
some imagine) of the Greek word almiras, a captain on the sea; for 
so saith Zonaras in Basilio Macedone and Basilio Porphyriogenito, 
though others fetch it from ad mare, the Latin words, another sort 
from Amyras, the Saracen magistrate, or from some French deriva- 
tion : but these things are not for this place, and therefore I pass them 
over. The queen's highness hath at this present (which is the four- 
and-twentieth of her reign) already made and furnished, to the 
number of four or five-and-twenty great ships, which lie for the 
most part in Gillingham Road, beside three galleys, of whose par- 
ticular names and furniture (so far forth as I can come by them) 
it shall not be amiss to make report at this time. 

The names of so many ships belonging to her majesty as I 
could come by at this present. 

The Bonadventure. White Bear. 

Elizabeth Jonas.^ Philip and Mary. 

Triumph. Aid. 

Bull. Handmaid. 

Tiger.' Dreadnought. 

^ A name devised by her grace in remembrance of her own deliverance from the 
fury of her enemies, from which in one respect she was no less miraculously preserved 
than was the prophet Jonas from the belly of the whale. — H. 

' So called of her exceeding nimbleness in sailing and swiftness of course. — H. 


Antelope. Swallow. 

Hope. Genet. 

Lion. Bark of Bullen. 

Victory. Achates. 

Mary Rose. Falcon. 

Foresight. George. 

Swift sute. Revenge. 

It is said that as kings and princes have in the young days of the 
world, and long since, framed themselves to erect every year a city 
in some one place or other of their kingdom (and no small wonder 
that Sardanapalus should begin and finish two, to wit, Anchialus 
and Tarsus, in one day), so her grace doth yearly build one ship or 
other to the better defence of her frontiers from the enemy. But, 
as of this report I have no assured certainty, so it shall suffice to have 
said so much of these things; yet this I think worthy further to be 
added, that if they should all be driven to service at one instance 
(which God forbid) she should have a power by sea of about nine 
or ten thousand men, which were a notable company, beside the 
supply of other vessels appertaining to her subjects to furnish up 
her voyage. 

Beside these, her grace hath other in hand also, of whom here- 
after, as their turns do come about, I will not let to leave some further 
remembrance. She hath likewise three notable galleys: the Speed- 
well, the Try Right, and the Black Galley, with the sight whereof, 
and the rest of the navy royal, it is incredible to say how greatly her 
grace is delighted: and not without great cause (I say) since by 
their means her coasts are kept in quiet, and sundry foreign enemies 
put back, which otherwise would invade us. The number of those 
that serve for burden with the other, whereof I have made mention 
already and whose use is daily seen, as occasion serveth in time of 
the wars, is to me utterly unknown. Yet if the report of one record 
be anything at all to be credited, there are one hundred and thirty- 
five ships that exceed five hundred ton; topmen, under one hundred 
and above forty, six hundred and fifty-six; hoys, one hundred; but of 
hulks, catches, fisherboats, and crayers, it lieth not in me to deliver 
the just account, since they are hard to come by. Of these also there 
are some of the queen's majesty's subjects that have two or three; 
some, four or six; and (as I heard of late) one man, whose name I 

360 holinshed's chronicles 

suppress for modesty's sake, hath been known not long since to have 
had sixteen or seventeen, and employed them wholly to the wafting 
in and out of our merchants, whereby he hath reaped no small com- 
modity and gain. I might take occasion to tell of the notable and 
difficult voyages made into strange countries by Englishmen, and 
of their daily success there; but as these things are nothing incident 
to my purpose, so I surcease to speak of them. Only this will I add, 
to the end all men shall understand somewhat of the great masses 
of treasure daily employed upon our navy, how there are few of those 
ships, of the first and second sort, that, being apparelled and made 
ready to sail, are not worth one thousand pounds, or three thousand 
ducats at the least, if they should presently be sold. What shall we 
think then of the greater, but especially of the navy royal, of which 
some one vessel is worth two of the other, as the shipwrights have 
often told me? It is possible that some covetous person, hearing this 
report, will either not credit it at all, or suppose money so employed 
to be nothing profitable to the queen's coffers: as a good husband said 
once when he heard there should be a provision made for armour, 
wishing the queen's money to be rather laid out to some speedier 
return of gain unto her grace, "because the realm (saith he) is in case 
good enough," and so peradventure he thought. But if, as by store 
of armour for the defence of the country, he had likewise under- 
standed that the good keeping of the sea is the safeguard of our land, 
he would have altered his censure, and soon given over his judg- 
ment. For in times past, when our nation made small account of 
navigation, how soon did the Romans, then the Saxons, and last of all 
the Danes, invade this island? whose cruelty in the end enforced 
our countrymen, as it were even against their wills, to provide for 
ships from other places, and build at home of their own, whereby 
their enemies were oftentimes distressed. But most of all were the 
Normans therein to be commended. For, in a short process of time 
after the conquest of this island, and good consideration had for the 
well-keeping of the same, they supposed nothing more commodious 
for the defence of the country than the maintenance of a strong navy, 
which they speedily provided, maintained, and thereby reaped in the 
end their wished security, wherewith before their times this island 


was never acquainted. Before the coming of the Romans I do not 
read that we had any ships at all, except a few made of wicker and 
covered with buffalo hides, like unto which there are some to be seen 
at this present in Scotland (as I hear), although there be a little (I 
wot not well what) difference between them. Of the same also 
Solinus speaketh, so far as I remember: nevertheless it may be gath- 
ered from his words how the upper parts of them above the water 
only were framed of the said wickers, and that the Britons did use 
to fast all the whiles they went to the sea in them; but whether it 
were done for policy or superstition, as yet I do not read. 

In the beginning of the Saxon's regiment we had some ships also; 
but as their number and mould was little, and nothing to the pur- 
pose, so Egbert was the first prince that ever thoroughly began to 
know this necessity of a navy and use the service thereof in the de- 
fence of his country. After him also other princes, as Alfred, Edgar, 
Ethelred, etc., endeavoured more and more to store themselves at 
the full with ships of all quantities, but chiefly Edgar, for he provided 
a navy of 1600 alias 3600 sail, which he divided into four parts, and 
sent them to abide upon four sundry coasts of the land, to keep the 
same from pirates. Next unto him (and worthy to be remembered) 
is Ethelred, who made a law that every man that hold 310 hidelands 
should find a ship furnished to serve him in the wars. Howbeit, as I 
said before, when all their navy was at the greatest, it was not com- 
parable for force and sure building to that which afterward the 
Normans provided, neither that of the Normans anything like to the 
same that is to be seen now in these our days. For the journeys also 
of our ships, you shall understand that a well-builded vessel will run 
or sail commonly three hundred leagues or nine hundred miles in a 
week, or peradventure some will go 2200 leagues in six weeks and a 
half. And surely, if their lading be ready against they come thither, 
there be of them that will be here, at the West Indies, and home 
again in twelve or thirteen weeks from Colchester, although the said 
Indies be eight hundred leagues from the cape or point of Cornwall, 
as I have been informed. This also I understand by report of some 
travellers, that, if any of our vessels happen to make a voyage to 
Hispaniola or New Spain (called in time past Quinquegia and 

362 holinshed's chronicles 

Haiti), which Heth between the north tropic and the Equator, after 
they have once touched at the Canaries (which are eight days' sail- 
ing or two hundred and fifty leagues from St. Lucas de Barameda, 
in Spain) they will be there in thirty or forty days, and home again 
in Cornwall in other eight weeks, which is a goodly matter, beside 
the safety and quietness in the passage, but more of this elsewhere. 



[1577, Book III., Chapter 6; 1587, Book IT., Chapter 11.] 

IN cases o£ felony, manslaughter, robbery, murder, rape, piracy, 
and such capital crimes as are not reputed for treason or hurt 
of the estate, our sentence pronounced upon the offender is, to 
hang till he be dead. For of other punishments used in other coun- 
tries we have no knowledge or use; and yet so few grievous crimes 
committed with us as elsewhere in the world. To use torment also 
or question by pain and torture in these common cases with us is 
greatly abhorred, since we are found always to be such as despise 
death, and yet abhor to be tormented, choosing rather frankly to 
open our minds than to yield our bodies unto such servile haulings 
and tearings as are used in other countries. And this is one cause 
wherefore our condemned persons do go so cheerfully to their deaths; 
for our nation is free, stout, haughty, prodigal of life and blood, as 
Sir Thomas Smith saith, lib. 2, cap. 25, De Republica, and therefore 
cannot in any wise digest to be used as villains and slaves, in suffer- 
ing continually beating, servitude, and servile torments. No, our 
gaolers are guilty of felony, by an old law of the land, if they torment 
any prisoner committed to their custody for the revealing of his 

The greatest and most grievous punishment used in England for 
such as offend against the State is drawing from the prison to the 
place of execution upon an hurdle or sled, where they are hanged till 
they be half dead, and then taken down, and quartered alive; after 
that, their members and bowels are cut from their bodies, and thrown 
into a fire, provided near hand and within their own sight, even for 
the same purpose. 

Sometimes, if the trespass be not the more heinous, they are suf- 
fered to hang till they be quite dead. And whensoever any of the 
nobility are convicted of high treason by their peers, that is to say, 


364 holinshed's chronicles 

equals (for an inquest of yeomen passeth not upon them, but only 
of the lords of parliament), this manner of their death is converted 
into the loss of their heads only, notwithstanding that the sentence 
do run after the former order. In trial of cases concerning treason, 
felony, or any other grievous crime not confessed, the party accused 
doth yield, if he be a noble man, to be tried by an inquest (as I have 
said) and his peers; if a gentleman, by gentlemen; and an inferior, 
by God and by the country, to wit, the yeomanry (for combat or 
battle is not gready in use), and, being condemned of felony, man- 
slaughter, etc., he is eftsoons hanged by the neck till he be dead, and 
then cut down and buried. But if he be convicted of wilful murder, 
done either upon pretended malice or in any notable robbery, he is 
either hanged ahve in chains near the place where the fact was com- 
mitted (or else upon compassion taken, first strangled with a rope), 
and so continueth till his bones consume to nothing. We have use 
neither of the wheel nor of the bar, as in other countries; but, when 
wilful manslaughter is perpetrated, beside hanging, the offender hath 
his right hand commonly stricken off before or near unto the place 
where the act was done, after which he is led forth to the place of 
execution, and there put to death according to the law. 

The word felon is derived of the Saxon words fell and one, that is 
to say, an evil and wicked one, a one of untameable nature and 
lewdness not to be suffered for fear of evil example and the corrup- 
tion of others. In like sort in the word felony are many grievous 
crimes contained, as breach of prison (Ann. i of Edward the Second), 
disfigurers of the prince's liege people (Ann. 5 of Henry the Fourth), 
hunting by night with painted faces and visors (Ann. i of Henry the 
Seventh), rape, or stealing of women and maidens (Ann. 3 of Henry 
Eight), conspiracies against the person of the prince (Ann. 3 of 
Henry the Seventh), embezzling of goods committed by the master 
to the servant above the value of forty shillings (Ann. 17 of Henry 
the Eighth), carrying of horses or mares into Scotland (Ann. 23 of 
Henry Eight), sodomy and buggery (Ann. 25 of Henry the Eighth), 
conjuring, forgery, witchcraft, and digging up of crosses (Ann. 33 
of Henry Eight), prophesying upon arms, cognisances, names, and 
badges (Ann. 33 of Henry Eight), casting of slanderous bills (Ann. 
37, Henry Eight), wilful killing by poison (Ann. i of Edward the 


Sixth), departure of a soldier from the field (Ann. 2 of Edward the 
Sixth), diminution of coin, all offences within case of premunire, 
embezzling of records, goods taken from dead men by their servants, 
stealing of whatsoever cattle, robbing by the high way, upon the sea, 
or of dwelling houses, letting out of ponds, cutting of purses, stealing 
of deer by night, counterfeits of coin, evidences charters, and writ- 
ings, and divers other needless to be remembered. If a woman poison 
her husband, she is burned alive; if the servant kill his master, he is 
to be executed for petty treason; he that poisoneth a man is to be 
boiled to death in water or lead, although the party die not of the 
practice; in cases of murder, all the accessories are to suffer pains of 
death accordingly. Perjury is punished by the pillory, burning in 
the forehead with the letter P, the rewalting of the trees growing 
upon the grounds of the offenders, and loss of all his movables. Many 
trespasses also are punished by the cutting off of one or both ears from 
the head of the offender, as the utterance of seditious words against 
the magistrates, fraymakers, petty robbers, etc. Rogues are burned 
through the ears; carriers of sheep out of the land, by the loss of 
their hands; such as kill by poison are either boiled or scalded to 
death in lead or seething water. Heretics are burned quick; harlots 
and their mates, by carting, ducking, and doing of open penance in 
sheets in churches and market steeds, are often put to rebuke. How- 
beit, as this is counted with some either as no punishment at all to 
speak of, or but little regarded of the offenders, so I would vidth 
adultery and fornication to have some sharper law. For what great 
smart is it to be turned out of hot sheet into a cold, or after a little 
washing in the water to be let loose again unto their former trades? 
Howbeit the dragging of some of them over the Thames between 
Lambeth and Westminster at the tail of a boat is a punishment that 
most terrifieth them which are condemned thereto; but this is in- 
flicted upon them by none other than the knight marshall, and that 
within the compass of his jurisdiction and limits only. Canutus was 
the first that gave authority to the clergy to punish whoredom, who 
at that time found fault with the former laws as being too severe in 
this behalf. For, before the time of the said Canutus, the adulterer 
forfeited all his goods to the king and his body to be at his pleasure; 
and the adulteress was to lose her eyes or nose, or both if the case were 

366 holinshed's chronicles 

more than common: whereby it appears of what estimation marriage 
was amongst them, since the breakers of that holy estate were so 
grievously rewarded. But afterward the clergy dealt more favourably 
with them, shooting rather at the punishments of such priests and 
clerks as were married than the reformation of adultery and forni- 
cation, wherein you shall find no example that any severity was 
shewed except upon such lay men as had defiled their nuns. As in 
theft therefore, so in adultery and whoredom, I would wish the par- 
ties trespassing to be made bond or slaves unto those that received the 
injury, to sell and give where they listed, or to be condemned to the 
galleys: for that punishment would prove more bitter to them than 
half-an-hour's hanging, or than standing in a sheet, though the 
weather be never so cold. 

Manslaughter in time past was punished by the purse, wherein the 
quantity or quality of the punishment was rated after the state and 
calling of the party killed : so that one was valued sometime at 1200, 
another at 600, or 200 shillings. And by a statute made under Henry 
the First, a citizen of London at 100, whereof elsewhere I have spoken 
more at large. Such as kill themselves are buried in the field with 
a stake driven through their bodies. 

Witches are hanged, or sometimes burned; but thieves are hanged 
(as I said before) generally on the gibbet or gallows, saving in Hali- 
fax, where they are beheaded after a strange manner, and whereof 
I find this report. There is and has been of ancient time a law, or 
rather a custom, at Halifax, that whosoever does commit any felony, 
and is taken with the same, or confesses the fact upon examination, 
if it be valued by four constables to amount to the sum of thirteen- 
pence-halfpenny, he is forthwith beheaded upon one of the next 
market days (which fall usually upon the Tuesdays, Thursdays, and 
Saturdays), or else upon the same day that he is so convicted, if 
market be then holden. The engine wherewith the execution is 
done is a square block of wood of the length of four feet and a half, 
which does ride up and down in a slot, rabbet, or regall, between two 
pieces of timber, that are framed and set upright, of five yards in 
height. In the nether end of the sliding block is an axe, keyed or 
fastened with an iron into the wood, which being drawn up to the 
top of the frame is there fastened by a wooden pin (with a notch 


made into the same, after the manner of a Samson's post), unto the 
midst of which pin also there is a long rope fastened that cometh 
down among the people, so that, when the offender hath made his 
confession and hath laid his neck over the nethermost block, every 
man there present doth either take hold of the rope (or putteth forth 
his arm so near to the same as he can get, in token that he is wilhng to 
see true justice executed), and, pulling out the pin in this manner, 
the head-block wherein the axe is fastened doth fall down with such 
a violence that, if the neck of the transgressor were as big as that of 
a bull, it should be cut in sunder at a stroke and roll from the body 
by a huge distance. If it be so that the offender be apprehended for 
an ox, oxen, sheep, kine, horse, or any such cattle, the self beast or 
other of the same kind shall have the end of the rope tied somewhere 
unto them, so that they, being driven, do draw out the pin, whereby 
the offender is executed. Thus much of Halifax law, which I set 
down only to shew the custom of that country in this behalf. 

Rogues and vagabonds are often stocked and whipped; scolds are 
ducked upon cucking-stools in the water. Such felons as stand mute, 
and speak not at their arraignment, are pressed to death by huge 
weights laid upon a board, that lieth over their breast, and a sharp 
stone under their backs; and these commonly held their peace, there- 
by to save their goods unto their wives and children, which, if they 
were condemned, should be confiscated to the prince. Thieves that 
are saved by their books and clergy, for the first offence, if they have 
stolen nothing else but oxen, sheep, money, or such like, which be 
no open robberies, as by the highway side, or assailing of any man's 
house in the night, without putting him in fear of his life, or break- 
ing up his walls or doors, are burned in the left hand, upon the 
brawn of the thumb, with a hot iron, so that, if they be apprehended 
again, that mark betrayeth them to have been arraigned of felony be- 
fore, whereby they are sure at that time to have no mercy. I do not 
read that this custom of saving by the book is used anywhere else than 
in England; neither do I find (after much diligent enquiry) what 
Saxon prince ordained that law. Howbeit this I generally gather 
thereof, that it was devised to train the inhabitants of this land to the 
love of learning, which before contemned letters and all good knowl- 
edge, as men only giving themselves to husbandry and the wars : the 

368 holinshed's chronicles 

like whereof I read to have been amongst the Goths and Vandals, who 
for a time would not suffer even their princes to be learned, for weak- 
ening of their courage, nor any learned men to remain in the council 
house, but by open proclamation would command them to avoid 
whensoever anything touching the state of the land was to be con- 
sulted upon. Pirates and robbers by sea are condemned in the Court 
of the Admiralty, and hanged on the shore at low-water mark, where 
they are left till three tides have overwashed them. Finally, such as 
having walls and banks near unto the sea, and do suffer the same to 
decay (after convenient admonition), whereby the water entereth 
and drowneth up the country, are by a certain ancient custom appre- 
hended, condemned, and staked in the breach, where they remain for 
ever as parcel of the foundation of the new wall that is to be made 
upon them, as I have heard reported. 

And thus much in part of the administration of justice used in our 
country, wherein, notwithstanding that we do not often hear of 
horrible, merciless, and wilful murders (such I mean as are not 
seldom seen in the countries of the main), yet now and then some 
manslaughter and bloody robberies are perpetrated and committed, 
contrary to the laws, which be severely punished, and in such wise 
as I have before reported. Certes there is no greater mischief done 
in England than by robberies, the first by young shifting gentlemen, 
which oftentimes do bear more port than they are able to maintain. 
Secondly by serving-men, whose wages cannot suffice so much as to 
find them breeches; wherefore they are now and then constrained 
either to keep highways, and break into the wealthy men's houses 
with the first sort, or else to walk up and down in gentlemen's and 
rich farmers' pastures, there to see and view which horses feed best, 
whereby they many times get something, although with hard ad- 
venture: it hath been known by their confession at the gallows that 
some one such chapman hath had forty, fifty, or sixty stolen horses 
at pasture here and there abroad in the country at a time, which 
they have sold at fairs and markets far off, they themselves in the 
mean season being taken about home for honest yeomen, and very 
wealthy drovers, till their dealings have been betrayed. It is not long 
since one of this company was apprehended, who was before time 
reputed for a very honest and wealthy townsman; he uttered also 


more horses than any of his trade, because he sold a reasonable penny- 
worth and was a fairspoken man. It was his custom likewise to say, 
if any man hucked hard with him about the price of a gelding, "So 
God help me, gentlemen (or sir), either he did cost me so much, or 
else, by Jesus, I stole him!" Which talk was plain enough; and yet 
such was his estimation that each believed the first part of his tale, 
and made no account of the latter, which was truer indeed. 

Our third annoyers of the commonwealth are rogues, which do 
very great mischief in all places where they become. For, whereas 
the rich only suffer injury by the first two, these spare neither rich 
nor poor; but, whether it be great gain or small, all is fish that 
cometh to net with them. And yet, I say, both they and the rest are 
trussed up apace. For there is not one year commonly wherein three 
hundred or four hundred of them are not devoured and eaten up by 
the gallows in one place and other. It appeareth by Cardan (who 
writeth it upon the report of the bishop of Lexovia), in the geniture 
of King Edward the Sixth, how Henry the Eighth, executing his 
laws very severely against such idle persons, I mean great thieves, 
petty thieves, and rogues, did hang up threescore and twelve thou- 
sand of them in his time. He seemed for a while greatly to have 
terrified the rest; but since his death the number of them is so in- 
creased, yea, although we have had no wars, which are a great occa- 
sion of their breed (for it is the custom of the more idle sort, having 
once served, or but seen the other side of the sea under colour of 
service, to shake hands with labour for ever, thinking it a disgrace 
for himself to return unto his former trade), that, except some better 
order be taken, or the laws already made be better executed, such as 
dwell in uplandish towns and little villages shall live but in small 
safety and rest. For the better apprehension also of thieves and 
mankillers, there is an old law in England very well provided where- 
by it is ordered that, if he that is robbed (or any man) complain and 
give warning of slaughter or murder committed, the constable of the 
village whereunto he cometh and crieth for succour is to raise the 
parish about him, and to search woods, groves, and all suspected 
houses and places, where the trespasser may be, or is supposed to 
lurk; and not finding him there, he is to give warning unto the next 
constable, and so one constable, after search made, to advertise 



another from parish to parish, till they come to the same where the 
offender is harboured and found. It is also provided that, if any 
parish in this business do not her duty, but suffereth the thief (for 
the avoiding of trouble sake) in carrying him to the gaol, if he should 
be apprehended, or other letting of their work to escape, the same 
parish is not only to make fine to the king, but also the same, with 
the whole hundred wherein it standeth, to repay the party robbed 
his damages, and leave his estate harmless. Certainly this is a good 
law; howbeit I have known by my own experience felons being taken 
to have escaped out of the stocks, being rescued by other for want of 
watch and guard, that thieves have been let pass, because the covet- 
ous and greedy parishioners would neither take the pains nor be 
at the charge, to carry them to prison, if it were far off; that when 
hue and cry have been made even to the faces of some constables, they 
have said: "God restore your loss! I have other business at this time." 
And by such means the meaning of many a good law is left unex- 
ecuted, malefactors emboldened, and many a poor man turned out 
of that which he hath sweat and taken great pains toward the main- 
tenance of himself and his poor children and family. 



[1577, Book II., Chapter 6; 1587, Book II., Chapter 3.] 

THERE have been heretofore, and at sundry times, divers 
famous universities in this island, and those even in my days 
not altogether forgotten, as one at Bangor, erected by Lucius, 
and afterward converted into a monastery, not by Congellus (as 
some write), but by Pelagius the monk. The second at Caerleon- 
upon-Usk, near to the place where the river doth fall into the Severn, 
founded by King Arthur. The third at Thetford, wherein were six 
hundred students, in the time of one Rond, sometime king of that 
region. The fourth at Stamford, suppressed by Augustine the monk. 
And likewise other in other places, as Salisbury, Eridon or Cricklade, 
Lachlade, Reading, and Northampton; albeit that the two last re- 
hearsed were not authorised, but only arose to that name by the 
departure of the students from Oxford in time of civil dissension 
unto the said towns, where also they continued but for a little season. 
When that of Salisbury began I cannot tell; but that it flourished 
most under Henry the Third and Edward the First I find good 
testimony by the writers, as also by the discord which fell, 1278, 
between the chancellor for the scholars there on the one part and 
William the archdeacon on the other, whereof you shall see more in 
the chronology here following. In my time there are three noble 
universities in England — to wit, one at Oxford, the second at Cam- 
bridge, and the third in London; of which the first two are the most 
famous, I mean Cambridge and Oxford, for that in them the use of 
the tongues, philosophy, and the liberal sciences, besides the profound 
studies of the civil law, physic, and theology, are daily taught and 
had: whereas in the latter the laws of the realm are only read and 
learned by such as give their minds unto the knowledge of the 
same. In the first there are not only divers goodly houses builded 
four square for the most part of hard freestone or brick, with great 


372 holinshed's chronicles 

numbers of lodgings and chambers in the same for students, after 
a sumptuous sort, through the exceeding Hberahty of kings, queens, 
bishops, noblemen and ladies of the land; but also large livings and 
great revenues bestowed upon them (the like whereof is not to be 
seen in any other region, as Peter Martyr did oft affirm) to the main- 
tenance only of such convenient numbers of poor men's sons as the 
several stipends bestowed upon the said houses are able to 
support.* . . . 

Of these two, that of Oxford (which lieth west and by north from 
London) standeth most pleasantly, being environed in manner round 
about with woods on the hills aloft, and goodly rivers in the bottoms 
and valleys beneath, whose courses would breed no small commodity 
to that city and country about if such impediments were removed as 
greatly annoy the same and hinder the carriage which might be 
made thither also from London. That of Cambridge is distant from 
London about forty and six miles north and by east, and standeth 
very well, saving that it is somewhat near unto the fens, whereby the 
wholesomeness of the air is not a little corrupted. It is excellently well 
served with all kinds of provisions, but especially of fresh water fish 
and wild fowl, by reason of the river that passeth thereby; and thereto 
the Isle of Ely, which is so near at hand. Only wood is the chief 
want to such as study there, wherefore this kind of provision is 
brought them either from Essex and other places thereabouts, as is 
also their coal, or otherwise the necessity thereof is supplied with 
gall (a bastard kind of mirtus as I take it) and seacoal, whereof they 
have great plenty led thither by the Grant. Moreover it hath not 
such store of meadow ground as may suffice for the ordinary expenses 
of the town and university, wherefore the inhabitants are enforced 
in like sort to provide their hay from other villages about, which 
minister the same unto them in very great abundance. 

Oxford is supposed to contain in longitude eighteen degrees and 
eight and twenty minutes, and in latitude one and fifty degrees and 
fifty minutes: whereas that of Cambridge standing more northerly, 
hath twenty degrees and twenty minutes in longitude, and thereunto 
fifty and two degrees and fifteen minutes in latitude, as by exact 
supputation is easy to be found. 

' Here follows a paragraph about the legendary foundation of the universities. — W. 


The colleges of Oxford, for curious workmanship and private 
commodities, are much more stately, magnificent, and commodious 
than those of Cambridge: and thereunto the streets of the town for 
the most part are more large and comely. But for uniformity of 
building, orderly compaction, and politic regiment, the town of 
Cambridge, as the newer workmanship,^ exceeds that of Oxford 
(which otherwise is, and hath been, the greater of the two) by many 
a fold (as I guess), although I know divers that are of the contrary 
opinion. This also is certain, that whatsoever the difference be in 
building of the town streets, the townsmen of both are glad when 
they may match and annoy the students, by encroaching upon their 
liberties, and keep them bare by extreme sale of their wares, whereby 
many of them become rich for a time, but afterward fall again into 
poverty, because that goods evil gotten do seldom long endure.' . . . 

In each of these universities also is likewise a church dedicated 
to the Virgin Mary, wherein once in the year — to wit, in July — the 
scholars are holden, and in which such as have been called to any 
degree in the year precedent do there receive the accomplishment 
of the same, in solemn and sumptuous manner. In Oxford this 
solemnity is called an Act, but in Cambridge they use the French 
word Commencement; and such resort is made yearly unto the same 
from all parts of the land by the friends of those who do proceed 
that all the town is hardly able to receive and lodge those guests. 
When and by whom the churches aforesaid were built I have else- 
where made relation. That of Oxford also was repaired in the time of 
Edward the Fourth and Henry the Seventh, when Doctor Fitz James, 
a great helper in that work, was warden of Merton College; but 
ere long, after it was finished, one tempest in a night so defaced the 
same that it left few pinnacles standing about the church and steeple, 
which since that time have never been repaired. There were some- 
time four and twenty parish churches in the town and suburbs; but 
now there are scarcely sixteen. There have been also 1200 burgesses, 
of which 400 dwelt in the suburbs; and so many students were there 
in the time of Henry the Third that he allowed them twenty miles 
compass about the town for their provision of victuals. 

^ Cambridge burned not long since. — H. 

'Here follows an account of Oxford and Cambridge castles, and the legend of the 
building of Osney Abbey by Robert and Edith D'Oyley. — W. 


The common schools of Cambridge also are far more beautiful 
than those of Oxford, only the Divinity School of Oxford excepted, 
which for fine and excellent workmanship cometh next the mould 
of the King's Chapel in Cambridge, than the which two, with the 
Chapel that King Henry the Seventh did build at Westminster, 
there are not (in my opinion) made of lime and stone three more 
notable piles within the compass of Europe. 

In all the other things there is so great equality between these two 
universities as no man can imagine how to set down any greater, 
so that they seem to be the body of one well-ordered commonwealth, 
only divided by distance of place and not in friendly consent and 
orders. In speaking therefore of the one I cannot but describe the 
other; and in commendation of the first I cannot but extol the latter; 
and, so much the rather, for that they are both so dear unto me as 
that I cannot readily tell unto whether of them I owe the most good- 
will. Would to God my knowledge were such as that neither of 
them might have cause to be ashamed of their pupil, or my power so 
great that I might worthily requite them both for those manifold 
kindnesses that I have received of them! But to leave these things, 
and proceed with other more convenient to my purpose. 

The manner to live in these universities is not as in some other of 
foreign countries we see daily to happen, where the students are en- 
forced for want of such houses to dwell in common inns, and taverns, 
without all order or discipline. But in these our colleges we live in 
such exact order, and under so precise rules of government, as that 
the famous learned man Erasmus of Rotterdam, being here among 
us fifty years passed, did not let to compare the trades in living of 
students in these two places, even with the very rules and orders of 
the ancient monks, affirming moreover, in flat words, our orders to 
be such as not only came near unto, but rather far exceeded, all the 
monastical institutions that ever were devised. 

In most of our colleges there are also great numbers of students, 
of which many are found by the revenues of the houses and other by 
the purveyances and help of their rich friends, whereby in some one 
college you shall have two hundred scholars, in others an hundred 
and fifty, in divers a hundred and forty, and in the rest less numbers, 
as the capacity of the said houses is able to receive: so that at this 


present, of one sort and other, there are about three thousand stu- 
dents nourished in them both (as by a late survey it manifesdy ap- 
peared). They were erected by their founders at the first only for 
poor men's sons, whose parents were not able to bring them up unto 
learning; but now they have the least benefit of them, by reason the 
rich do so encroach upon them. And so far has this inconvenience 
spread itself that it is in my time a hard matter for a poor man's 
child to come by a fellowship (though he be never so good a scholar 
and worthy of that room). Such packing also is used at elections 
that not he which best deserveth, but he that has most friends, though 
he be the worst scholar, is always surest to speed, which will turn 
in the end to the overthrow of learning. That some gentlemen also 
whose friends have been in times past benefactors to certain of those 
houses do intrude into the disposition of their estates without all 
respect of order or statutes devised by the founders, only thereby to 
place whom they think good (and not without some hope of gain), 
the case is too too evident : and their attempt would soon take place 
if their superiors did not provide to bridle their endeavours. In some 
grammar schools likewise which send scholars to these universities, 
it is lamentable to see what bribery is used; for, ere the scholar can 
be preferred, such bribage is made that poor men's children are 
commonly shut out, and the richer sort received (who in time past 
thought it dishonour to live as it were upon alms), and yet, being 
placed, most of them study little other than histories, tables, dice, 
and trifles, as men that make not the living by their study the end of 
their purposes, which is a lamentable hearing. Beside this, being for 
the most part either gentlemen or rich men's sons, they often bring 
the universities into much slander. For, standing upon their repu- 
tation and liberty, they ruffle and roist it out, exceeding in apparel, 
and banting riotous company (which draweth them from their books 
unto another trade), and for excuse, when they are charged with 
breach of all good order, think it sufficient to say that they be gen- 
tlemen, which grieveth many not a little. But to proceed with the 

Every one of these colleges have in like manner their professors 
or readers of the tongues and several sciences, as they call them, 
which daily trade up the youth there abiding privately in their halls. 

376 holinshed's chronicles 

to the end they may be able afterward (when their turn comethi 
about, which is after twelve terms) to shew themselves abroad, by 
going from thence into the common schools and public disputations 
(as it were "In aream") there to try their skill, and declare how they 
have profited since their coming thither. 

Moreover, in the public schools of both the universities, there are 
found at the prince's charge (and that very largely) fine professors 
and readers, that is to say, of divinity, of the civil law, physic, the 
Hebrew and the Greek tongues. And for the other lectures, as of 
philosophy, logic, rhetoric, and the quadrivials (although the latter, 
I mean arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy, and with them 
all skill in the perspectives, are now smally regarded in either of 
them), the universities themselves do allow competent stipends to 
such as read the same, whereby they are sufficiently provided for, 
touching the maintenance of their estates, and no less encouraged 
to be diligent in their functions. 

These professors in like sort have all the rule of disputations and 
other school exercises which are daily used in common schools 
severally assigned to each of them, and such of their hearers as by 
their skill shewed in the said disputations are thought to have at- 
tained to any convenient ripeness of knowledge according to the 
custom of other universities (although not in like order) are per- 
mitted solemnly to take their deserved degrees of school in the same 
science and faculty wherein they have spent their travel. From that 
time forward also they use such difference in apparel as becometh 
their callings, tendeth unto gravity, and maketh them known to be 
called to some countenance. 

The first degree is that of the general sophisters, from whence, 
when they have learned more sufficiently the rules of logic, rhetoric, 
and obtained thereto competent skill in philosophy, and in the math- 
ematical, they ascend higher unto the estate of bachelors of art, after 
four years of their entrance into their sophistry. From thence also, 
giving their minds to more perfect knowledge in some or all the 
other liberal sciences and the tongues, they rise at the last (to wit, 
after other three or four years) to be called masters of art, each of 
them being at that time reputed for a doctor in his faculty, if he 
profess but one of the said sciences (besides philosophy), or for his 


general skill, if he be exercised in them all. After this they are per- 
mitted to choose what other of the higher studies them Uketh to 
follow, whether it be divinity, law, or physic, so that, being once 
masters of art, the next degree, if they follow physic, is the doctorship 
belonging to that profession; and likewise in the study of the law, if 
they bend their minds to the knowledge of the same. But, if they 
mean to go forward with divinity, this is the order used in that pro- 
fession. First, after they have necessarily proceeded masters of art, 
they preach one sermon to the people in English, and another to 
the university in Latin. They answer all comers also in their own 
persons unto two several questions of divinity in the open schools at 
one time for the space of two hours, and afterward reply twice against 
some other man upon a like number and on two several dates in the 
same place, which being done with commendation, he receiveth the 
fourth degree, that is, bachelor of divinity, but not before he has 
been master of arts by the space of seven years, according to their 

The next, and last degree of all, is the doctorship, after other three 
years, for the which he must once again perform all such exercises 
and acts as are before remembered; and then is he reputed able to 
govern and teach others, and hkewise taken for a doctor. I have read 
that John of Beverley was the first doctor that ever was in Oxford, as 
Beda was in Cambridge. But I suppose herein that the word "doc- 
tor" is not so strictly to be taken in this report as it is now used, since 
every teacher is in Latin called by that name, as also such in the 
primitive church as kept schools of catechists, wherein they were 
trained up in the rudiments and principles of religion, either before 
they were admitted unto baptism or any office in the Church. 

Thus we see that from our entrance into the university unto the 
last degree received is commonly eighteen or twenty years, in which 
time, if a student has not obtained sufficient learning thereby to 
serve his own turn and benefit his commonwealth, let him never look 
by tarrying longer to come by any more. For after this time, and 
forty years of age, the most part of students do commonly give over 
their wonted diligence, and live like drone bees on the fat of colleges, 
withholding better wits from the possession of their places, and yet 
doing little good in their own vocation and calling. I could rehearse 

378 holinshed's chronicles 

a number (if I listed) of this sort, as well in one university as the 
other. But this shall suffice instead of a large report, that long con- 
tinuance in those places is either a sign of lack of friends, or of 
learning, or of good and upright life, as Bishop Fox* sometime 
noted, who thought it sacrilege for a man to tarry any longer at 
Oxford than he had a desire to profit. 

A man may (if he will) begin his study with the law, or physic 
(of which this giveth wealth, the other honour), so soon as he cometh 
to the university, if his knowledge in the tongues and ripeness of 
judgment serve therefor: which if he do, then his first degree is 
bachelor of law, or physic; and for the same he must perform such 
acts in his own science as the bachelors or doctors of divinity do for 
their parts, the only sermons except, which belong not to his calling. 
Finally, this will I say, that the professors of either of those faculties 
come to such perfection in both universities as the best students be- 
yond the sea do in their own or elsewhere. One thing only I mislike 
in them, and that is their usual going into Italy, from whence very 
few without special grace do return good men whatsoever they pre- 
tend of conference or practice, chiefly the physicians^ who under 
pretence of seeking of foreign simples do oftentimes learn the fram- 
ing of such compositions as were better unknown than practised, as 
I have heard often alleged, and therefore it is most true that Doctor 
Turner said : "Italy is not to be seen without a guide, that is, without 
special grace given from God, because of the licentious and corrupt 
behaviour of the people." 

There is moreover in every house a master or provost, who has 
under him a president and certain censors or deans, appointed to 
look to the behaviour and manners of the students there, whom they 
punish very severely if they make any default, according to the quan- 
tity and quality of their trespass. And these are the usual names of 
governors in Cambridge. Howbeit in Oxford the heads of houses are 
now and then called presidents in respect of such bishops as are 
their visitors and founders. In each of these also they have one or 
more treasurers, whom they call bursarios or bursars, beside other 

*This Fox builded Corpus Christi College, in Oxford. — H. 
^ So much also may be inferred of lawyers. — ^H. 


officers whose charge is to see unto the welfare and maintenance of 
these houses. Over each university also there is a several chancellor, 
whose offices are perpetual, howbeit their substitutes, whom we call 
vice-chancellors, are changed every year, as are also the proctors, 
taskers, masters of the streets, and other officers, for the better main- 
tenance of their policy and estate. 

And thus much at this time of our two universities, in each of 
which I have received such degree as they have vouchsafed — rather 
of their favour than my desert — to yield and bestow upon me, and 
unto whose students I wish one thing, the execution whereof cannot 
be prejudicial to any that meaneth well, as I am resolutely persuaded, 
and the case now standeth in these our days. When any benefice 
therefor becometh void it were good that the patron did signify the 
vacation thereof to the bishop, and the bishop the act of the patron 
to one of the universities, with request that the vice-chancellor with 
his assistants might provide some such able man to succeed in the 
place as should by their judgment be meet to take the charge upon 
him. Certainly if this order were taken, then should the church be 
provided of good pastors, by whom God should be glorified, the 
universities better stored, the simoniacal practices of a number of 
patrons utterly abolished, and the people better trained to live in 
obedience toward God and their prince, which were a happier 

To these two also we may in like sort add the third, which is at 
London (serving only for such as study the laws of the realm) where 
there are sundry famous houses, of which three are called by the 
name of Inns of the Court, the rest of the Chancery, and all built 
before time for the furtherance and commodity of such as apply their 
minds to our common laws. Out of these also come many scholars 
of great fame, whereof the most part have heretofore been brought 
up in one of the aforesaid universities, and prove such commonly 
as in process of time rise up (only through their profound skill) to 
great honour in the commonwealth of England. They have also 
degrees of learning among themselves, and rules of discipline, under 
which they live most civilly in their houses, albeit that the younger 
of them abroad in the streets are scarcely able to be bridled by any 

380 holinshed's chronicles 

good order at all. Certainly this error was wont also greatly to reign 
in Cambridge and Oxford, between the students and the burgesses; 
but, as it is well left in these two places, so in foreign countries it 
cannot yet be suppressed. 

Besides these universities, also there are great number of grammar 
schools throughout the realm, and those very liberally endowed, for 
the better relief of poor scholars, so that there are not many corporate 
towns now under the Queen's dominion that have not one grammar 
school at the least, with a sufficient living for a master and usher 
appointed to the same. 

There are in like manner divers collegiate churches, as Windsor, 
Winchester, Eton, Westminster (in which I was some time an un- 
profitable grammarian under the reverend father Master Nowell, 
now dean of Paul's), and in those a great number of poor scholars, 
daily maintained by the liberality of the founders, with meat, books, 
and apparel, from whence, after they have been well entered in the 
knowledge of the Latin and Greek tongues, and rules of versifying 
(the trial whereof is made by certain apposers yearly appointed to 
examine them), they are sent to certain special houses in each uni- 
versity, where they are received and trained up in the points of higher 
knowledge in their private halls, till they be adjudged meet to shew 
their faces in the schools as I have said already. 

And thus much have I thought good to note of our universities, 
and likewise of colleges in the same, whose names I will also set 
down here, wath those of their founders, to the end the zeal which 
they bare unto learning may appear, and their remembrance never 
perish from among the wise and learned. 

Of the Colleges of Cambridge with theik Founders 
Years of 
the Founda- 
tion Colleges Founders 

1546 . . I Trinity College King Henry 8. 

1441 . . 2 The King's College King Henry 6, Edward 4, Henry 7, and Henry 


151 1 . . 3 St. John's Lady Margaret, grandmother to Henry 8. 

1505 . . 4 Christ's College King Henry 6 and the Lady Margaret aforesaid. 

1446. . 5 The Queen's College Lady Margaret, wife to King Henry 6. 

1496. . 6 Jesus College John Alcock, bishop of Ely. 

1342. . 7 Bennet College The brethren of a Popish guild called Corporis 

1343 . . 8 Pembroke Hall Maria de Valentia, Countess of Pembroke. 


Of the Colleges of Cambridge with their Founders — Continued 
Years of 
the Founda- 
tion Colleges Founders 

1256. . 9 Peter College Hugh Balsham, bishop of Ely. 

1348 . , 10 Gundewill and Caius Col- 

1 557 . . lege Edmund Gundevill, parson of Terrington, and 

John Caius, doctor of physic. 

1354 .. 1 1 Trinity Hall William Bateman, bishop of Norwich. 

1326 .. 12 Clare Hall Richard Badow, chancellor of Cambridge. 

1459 ■ • 13 Catherine Hall Robert Woodlark, doctor of divinity. 

1519..14 Magdalen College Edward, Duke of Buckingham, and Thomas, 

lord Audley. 
1585. .15 Emanuel College Sir Walter Mildmay, etc. 

Of the Colleges at Oxford 
Years of 

the Founda- 
tion Colleges Founders 

1539 . . I Christ's Church Kin^ Henry 8. 

1459. . 2 Magdalen College William Wainfleet, first fellow of Mcrton Col- 
lege, then scholar at Winchester, and after- 
wards bishop there.^ 

1375.. 3 New College William Wickham, bishop of Winchester. 

1276 . . 4 Merton College Waiter Merton, bishop of Rochester. 

1437.. 5 All Souls' College Henry Chicheley, archbishop of Canterbury. 

1516. . 6 Corpus Christi College . . . .Richard Fox, bishop of Winchester. 

1430. . 7 Lincoln College Richard Fleming, bishop of Lincoln. 

1323 . . 8 Auriel College Adam Broune, almoner to Edward 2. 

1340., 9 The Queen's College R. Eglesfeld, chaplain to Philip, queen of 

England, wife to Edward 3. 

1263 . . 10 Balliol College John Balliol, king of Scotland. 

1557. .11 St. John's Sir Thomas White, knight. 

1556. .12 Trinity College Sir Thomas Pope, knight. 

1316. .13 Excester College Walter Stapleten, bishop of Excester. 

1513 . . 14 Brasen Nose William Smith, bishop of Lincoln. 

1249. .15 University College William, archdeacon of Duresine. 

16 Gloucester College John Crifford, who made it a cell for thirteen 


17 St. Mary's College 

1 8 Jesus College, now in hand . . Hugh ap Rice, doctor of the civil law. 

There are also in Oxford certain hotels or halls which may right 
well be called by the names of colleges, if it were not that there is 
more liberty in them than is to be seen in the other. In my opinion 
the livers in these are very like to those that are of the inns in the 
chancery, their names also are these so far as I now remember: 

Brodegates. St. Mary Hall. 

Hart Hall. White Hall. 

*He founded also a good part of Eton College, and a free school at Wainfleet, where 
he was born. 

382 holinshed's chronicles 

Magdalen Hall. New Inn. 

Alburne Hall. Edmond Hall. 

Postminster Hall. 

The students also that remain in them are called hostlers or halliers. 
Hereof it came of late to pass that the right Reverend Father in God, 
Thomas, late archbishop of Canterbury, being brought up in such an 
house at Cambridge, was of the ignorant sort of Londoners called an 
"Hostler," supposing that he had served with some inn-holder in the 
stable, and therefore, in despite, divers hung up bottles of hay at his 
gate when he began to preach the gospel, whereas indeed he was a 
gentleman born of an ancient house, and in the end a faithful wit- 
ness of Jesus Christ, in whose quarrel he refused not to shed his 
blood, and yield up his life, unto the fury of his adversaries. 

Besides these there is mention and record of divers other halls or 
hostels that have been there in times past, as Beef Hall, Mutton 
Hall, etc., whose ruins yet appear: so that if antiquity be to be judged 
by the shew of ancient buildings which is very plentiful in Oxford 
to be seen, it should be an easy matter to conclude that Oxford is the 
elder university. Therein are also many dwelling-houses of stone yet 
standing that have been halls for students, of very antique work- 
manship, besides the old walls of sundry others, whose plots have 
been converted into gardens since colleges were erected. 

In London also the houses of students at the Common Law are 
these : 

Sergeant's Inn. Furnival's Inn. 

Gray's Inn. Clifford's Inn. 

The Temple. Clement's Inn. 

Lincoln's Inn. Lion's Inn. 

David's Inn. Barnard's Inn. 

Staple Inn. Newmann. 

And thus much in general of our noble universities, whose lands 
some greedy gripers do gape wide for, and of late have (as I hear) 
propounded sundry reasons whereby they supposed to have prevailed 
in their purposes. But who are those that have attempted this suit, 
other than such as either hate learning, piety, and wisdom, or else 
have spent all their own, and know not otherwise than by encroach- 
ing upon other men how to maintain themselves.'' When such a 
motion was made by some unto King Henry the Eighth, he could 


answer them in this manner: "Ah, sirra! I perceive the Abbey lands 
have fleshed you, and set your teeth on edge, to ask also those colleges. 
And, whereas we had a regard only to pull down sin by defacing 
the monasteries, you have a desire also to overthrow all goodness, by 
subversion of colleges. I tell you, sirs, that I judge no land in England 
better bestowed than that which is given to our universities; for by 
their maintenance our realm shall be well governed when we be 
dead and rotten. As you love your welfares therefore, follow no more 
this vein, but content yourselves with that you have already, or else 
seek honest means whereby to increase your livelihoods; for I love 
not learning so ill that I will impair the revenues of any one house 
by a penny, whereby it may be upholden." In King Edward's days 
likewise the same suit was once again attempted (as I have heard), 
but in vain; for, saith the Duke of Somerset, among other speeches 
tending to that end — who also made answer thereunto in the king's 
presence by his assignation: "If learning decay, which of wild men 
maketh civil; of blockish and rash persons, wise and goodly coun- 
sellors; of obstinate rebels, obedient subjects; and of evil men, good 
and godly Christians; what shall we look for else but barbarism 
and tumult ? For when the lands of colleges be gone, it shall be hard 
to say whose staff shall stand next the door; for then I doubt not but 
the state of bishops, rich farmers, merchants, and the nobility, shall be 
assailed, by such as live to spend all, and think that whatsoever 
another man hath is more meet for them and to be at their command- 
ment than for the proper owner that has sweat and laboured for it." 
In Queen Mary's days the weather was too warm for any such 
course to be taken in hand; but in the time of our gracious Queen 
Elizabeth I hear that it was after a sort in talk the third time, but 
without success, as moved also out of season; and so I hope it shall 
continue for ever. For what comfort should it be for any good man 
to see his country brought into the estate of the old Goths and 
Vandals, who made laws against learning, and would not suffer any 
skilful man to come into their council-house: by means whereof 
those people became savage tyrants and merciless hell-hounds, till 
they restored learning again and thereby fell to civility.