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% GENEALOGICAL TABLE, Edward III. to Henry VII., lacing p. 1. 







Proceedings of the new government, 1. Negotiations with 
Scotland, 2. Campaign in the county of Durham, 3. The 
armies meet, 5. The Scots escape, 5. Peace with Scotland, 
7. Power of Mortimer, 8. Execution of the earl of Kent, 9. 
Fall of Mortimer, 11. He is apprehended, 13. And 
executed, 14. Troubles in Scotland, 15. The disinherited 
noblemen arm, 1C. They sail from the Humber, 16. Suc- 
cess of Baliol, 1 7. Edward's ambiguous conduct, 18. He 
makes war on Scotland, 19. Battle of Halidon hill, 20. 
Surrender of Berwick, 20. Adventures of Baliol, 21. Ed- 
ward's claim to the crown of France, 22. His dissensions 
with Philip of Valois, 23. Story of Robert of Artois, 24. 
The king subsidises allies, 25. And begins the war, 27. 
The pope exhorts him to peace, 29. Edward gains a victory 
by sea, 31. But fails in his attempt on Tournay, 32. And 
concludes an armistice, 33. The king returns and prose- 
cutes his ministers, 34. Accuses archbishop Stratford, 34. 
The rights of the peerage, 35. Edward's dissimulation, 37. 
The king supports the new duke of Bretagne, 38. Heroism 
of the duchess, 39. She receives succours from England, 
Recommencement of the war, 41. The earl of Derby in 
Guienne, 41. Edward in Flanders, 42. Artaveldt is mur- 
dered, 42. Edward lands in Normandy, 43. Reaches 
Paris, 44. Crosses the Seine, 44. Passes the Somme, 45. 


Reaches Creci, 46. Preparations for the battle, 46. Array 
of the French army, 47. The Genoese are broken, 48. The 
prince in danger, 48. The king of France flees, 49. Meet- 
ing of Edward and his son, 49. A second battle in the 
morning, 49. Loss of the French, 50. Siege of Calais, 5 1 . 
King of Scots invades England, 51. Battle of NeviPs Cross, 
52. War in Guienne, 53. Surrender of Calais, 55. A 
truce concluded under the mediation of the pope, 57. At- 
tempt to surprise 'Calais, 59. ^ 7 'ictory at sea over the Spa- 
niards, 61. The great pestilence, 63. Consequences of the 
mortality, 64. Opinions as to its cause, 65. The sect of 
flagellants, 67. 









Renewal of the war in France, 69. Invasion of Scotland, 70. 
Victory of Poitiers, 71. Force of the two armies, 72. First 
division of the French defeated, 74. The second retires 
from the field, 75. The third is vanquished, 75. John is 
taken prisoner, 75. Modesty of the prince, 76. Negotiation 
with the king of Scots, 77. He is ransomed, 78. Inef- 
fectual negotiation with John, 81. Edward marches through 
France, 82. The French fleet insults the coast, 83. Edward 
consents to a peace, 83. Its terms, 84. Liberation of 
John, 85. He cannot fulfil his engagements, 86. Ravages 
of " the companies," 87. Returns to England, 87. And 
dies, 88. Story of Pedro the cruel, 89. Who is aided by 
the black prince, 91. Battle of Navarette, 92. The prince 
returns into Guienne. 93. Policy of Charles, and discontent 
of the Gascons, 94. Don Pedro is slain, 95. Losses of the 
English in France, 96. Massacre at Limoges. 97. Defects 
of chivalry, 98. English armies march through France, 99. 
Prosecution of ministers, 101. Death of the black prince, 
102. Influence of the duke of Lancaster, 103. The king's 
death, 105. His character, 106. Advantages derived from 
his wars. 107. Grievances redressed, 107. Purveyance, 
108. Administration of justice. 109. Statute of treasons. 
111. Account of parliament, 1 1 3. Its members. 113. The 


three estates, 113. The clergy, 113. The lords, 115. The 
commons, 116. Knights of the shire, 116. Citizens and 
burgesses, 1 1 7. Opening of the parliament, 118. Separa- 
tion of the three estates, 119. Laws granted by the king 
at the prayer of one estate, with assent of the other, 121. 
Commons refuse to be bound without their assent, 120. 
Evasion of new statutes, 123. Judicial duties of the peers, 
124. Policy of Edward, 125. System of taxation. I'll . 
Manner of levying tenths and fifteenths, 129. Duties on 
imports and exports, 131. Tonnage and poundage, 131. 
Tax on parishes, 132. Constitution of the army, 133. 
Summons of military tenants, 133. Mercenaries, 134. 
Their pay, 134. Forced levies, 135. Men at arms, 137. 
Hoblers, 139. Archers, 139. Footmen, 140. Artificers 
and labourers, 141. The navy, 142. Ships and men pressed 
into the service, 142. Commanders, 143. Prizes, 144. Af- 
fairs of the church, 145. Spiritual and temporal courts, 145. 
Demands of the popes, 145. Peter-pence, 145. Grant of 
king John, 146. First fruits, 147. Provision of bishoprics, 
149. Of inferior benefices, 150. Papal officers in Eng- 
land, 151. Statutes'against provisors, 153. Nature of the 
controversy, 156. Wycliffe, 157. He loses his wanlenship, 
158. Obtains preferment, 159. Inveighs against benefited 
clergy, 160. Is called before the primate, 160. And repri- 
manded, 161. 









Succession of Richard, 162. His coronation, 163. Council 
of regency, 164. Transactions in parliament, 165. Judg- 
ment of Alice Perrers, 167. Events of the war, 168. A 
new parliament, 169. Expedition to Bretagne, 170. New 


taxes, 171. Ferment among the people, 173. Insurrection, 
175. At Brentwood, 175. Dartford, 175. And Gravesend, 
175. Sermon of John Ball, 176. Proceedings of the in- 
surgents, 177. They assemble at Blackheath, 177. Com- 
mit excesses in London, 178. Murder the Flemings, 179. 
The demands of some granted, 179. The others murder 
the ministers, 180. Wat Tyler is killed, 180. The insur- 
gents quelled, 181. Punishment of the insurgents, 181. 
Proceedings in parliament, 183. Schism in the papacy, 185. 
Crusade of the bishop of Norwich, 187. Proceedings against 
Wycliffe, 188. Synod in London, 189. His death, 191. 
His doctrines, 192. Of the church, 193. Of property 
founded in grace, 194. Of the seven sacraments, 194. O"f 
matrimony, 194. Of the hierarchy, 195. Of other points, 
195. His translation of the Scriptures, 196. State of the 
government, 196. Suspicions against the duke of Lancaster, 
197. French in Scotland, 199. Richard at York, 200. He 
enters Scotland, 201. Promotions, 201. Duke of Lancas- 
ter goes to Spain, 203. Threatened invasion from France, 
205. The earl of Suffolk impeached, 207. The king con- 
sults the judges, 210. Returns to London, 211. He is op- 
posed by Gloucester, 212. Flight of his favourites, 213. 
Arrest of his friends, 215. Impeachments, 215. Judgments, 
216. The judges impeached, 217. And condemned, 218. 
More trials, 218. And executions, 220. Execution of Bur- 
ley, 220. Dissolution of parliament, 220. The king reco- 
vers his authority, 220. His administration, 223. Statute 
against provisors, 225. Expedition to Ireland, 229. State 
of Ireland under Edward III., 231. Statute of Kilkenny, 
231. Richard lands, 232. Petition of the Lollards, 233. 
The king's marriage, 234. His enmity to the duke of Glou- 
cester, 235. Arrests, 237. Appeal of treason, 239. Con- 
fession of Gloucester, 240. Opening of parliament, 241. 
Impeachment of Gloucester's friends, 241. Gloucester's at- 
tainder, 243. Attainder of the primate, 244. Of the earl 
of Warwick, 245. Pardons, 246. Dissimulation of the 
king, 247. Parliament at Shrewsbury, 249. Unconstitu- 
tional grants, 251. Exile of Hereford and Norfolk, 253. 
Richard's despotic conduct, 255. He goes to Ireland, 257. 
Lancaster lands in England, 258. His success, 25!). Richard 
returns, 261. His army dispersed, 261. The king goes to 
Conway, 262. Is deceived by the earl of Northumberland, 

263. Carried a prisoner to Flint, 264. His complaints, 

264. And interview with Henry, 265. Is conducted to the 
Tower, 266. Resigns the crown, 267. Is also deposed, 269. 
Henry claims the succession, 270. 










Coronation of Henry, 274. Proceedings of the new parlia- 
ment, 275. Judgment of the lords appellants, 276. Salu- 
tary laws, 276. Judgment of the late king, 277. Insurrec- 
tion of the lords appellants. 278. Their fail tire and deaths, 
279. Death of Richard, 283. War with the Scots, 287. 
Reports that Richard was still alive, 290. Executions, 291. 
Battle of Homildon Hill, 293. Treatment of the prisoners, 
294. Rebellion of the Perdes, 295. Defiance of the Percies, 
298. King's answer, 299. Battle of Shrewsbury, 299. Sub- 
mission of the earl of Northumberland, 301. He is par- 
doned, 301. Escape and capture of the earl of March, 302. 
Insurrection in Yorkshire, 304. Archbishop Scrope and the 
earl marshal, 305. Put to death, 305. Defeat and death 
of Northumberland, 307. Rebellion of Owen Glendower, 309. 
Is supported by troops from France, 309. Is gradually sub- 
dued, 310. Henry's transactions with France, 310. He is 
defied by St. Pol, 311. And challenged by the duke of 
Orleans, 312. Keeps possession of the heir of Scotland, 314. 
Murder of the duke of Orleans, 315. Settlement of the crown. 
317. Conduct of the prince of Wales, 318. He is suspected 
of aspiring to the throne, 319. King's bad health, 320. And 
death, 321. Increasing importance of the house of com- 
mons, 322. Election of knights of the shire, 322. Freedom 
from arrest, 323. Freedom of debate, 324. Addresses de- 
livered by the speaker, 324. Authority of the commons, 325. 
In making statutes, 326. In voting money, 326. In ap- 
propriating the supplies, 327. Dispute of privilege, 328. 
Crime of heresy, 329. Lollards preach against the revenue 
of the church, 330. Statute de heretico comburendo, 331. 
Execution of Sawtre, 333. Additional statute, 335. 


BC + 


r - 1^ 




JIJ + 





11 -- 










Emp. of Ger. 
Louis IV. ...1347 
Charles IV. 


K. of Scotland. \ fC. of France. 

Robert 1 1329 diaries IV. ..1328 

David II. ...1370 Philip VI. ...1350 

Robert II. 

John 1364 Pedro ....1368 

Charles V. 

A", of Spain. 
Alphonso XI. 

Henry II. 

Popes : 

John XXII. 1334. Benedict XII. 1342. Clement VI. 1352. 
Innocent VI. 1362. Urban V. 1370. Gregory XI. 

Campaign against the Scots Execution of the Earl of Kent Fall and 
Execution of Mortimer Baliol recovers and loses Scotland Edward 
claims the Crown of France His useless Expeditions to Flanders 
Victory at Sea Truce Renewal of the War Victory at Creei Vic- 
tory at Nevil's Cross Surrender of Calais Another Truce Pestilence 
The Flagellants. 

FOR some years Isabella and Mortimer enjoyed the 
reward of their guilt. The youth of the king allowed 
them to retain that ascendancy over his mind, which 
they had hitherto exercised; and the murder of his 
father secured them from the resentment of an injured 
husband. Of the forfeited estates of the Spensers and 
their partisans, the larger portion, with the title of earl 

VOL. IV. li 


of March, foil to the lot of Mortimer ; whilst the queen 
obtained the sum of twenty thousand pounds for the 
present payment of her debts, and a yearly income to 
A.D. the same amount for her future expenses. In the par- 
1327.1iament an act of indemnity was passed for all violences 
* *b committed during the revolution: the judgments given 
against the late earl of Lancaster and his adherents 
were reversed * ; the survivors, or the heirs of the de- 
ceased, were restored to the possession of their here- 
ditary estates ; both the great charter and charter of 
forests were confirmed, and certain grievances abolished ; 
and a council of regency was appointed, to consist of 
four bishops, four earls, and six barons. Most, however, 
of its members belonged to the queen's party, and those 
who were not under her control were gradually dismissed 
by the contrivance of that unprincipled woman and her 

The first measures of the new government were dis- 
concerted by an unexpected occurrence. Of the truce 
with Scotland only a few years had expired: but the 
state of affairs in England offered to the Scottish king 
a temptation which he had not the virtue to resist. He 
determined, in violation of his engagements, to wrest, 
if possible, from the young king a solemn renunciation 
of that superiority which had been claimed by his 
father and grandfather. Aware of the intentions of Bruce, 
the English government had recourse to every expedient 
to avert hostilities. The lords of the marches were ordered 
,, , to observe the articles of the late treaty ; it was solemnly 
)3 ' confirmed by the new king; envoys were sent to ne- 
Mar. gotiate with the Scottish monarch ; and it was at last 
6. agreed that ambassadors should meet in the marches, 

* Rym. iv. 245 2C4. Rot. Parl. ii. 36. 52. Knyght. 2556. The at- 
tainder against tin; carl of Lancaster was annulled, iWausc lie had not 
been arraigned in the king's court, nor tried by his peers, " though it was 

in time of peace." How could that be, when with a lar<;e force he had 
besieged the castle of TicktU, and taken the town of Burton ? The an- 
swer was, that " the chancery and courts of justice were still open, and 
" the king had not displayed his banner." Hot. Parl. ii. 4, 5. New Ryrr.. 
ii. p. /31. 


and treat of a final peace. But Bruce summoned his April 
military retainers to join him at the same place and on 23. 
the same day ; and Edward, to be prepared for the 
event, was compelled to issue similar orders to the 
tenants of the crown, and the men of the northern 
counties. The negotiators met : the Scots insisted on 
their own terms; and when the English demurred, an 
army of twenty-four thousand men under Randolf and June 
Douglas crossed the borders, and ravaged the county * 
of Cumberland *. 

Edward consumed six weeks at York, waiting for 
the arrival of his forces. At the suggestion of Morti- 
mer, he had purchased for the sum of fourteen thou- 
sand pounds the services of John of Hainault, and a 
body of foreigners, who were lodged in the best quarters, 
and treated with the best cheer. On Trinity Sunday J u 
the king entertained . five hundred knights, the queen 
sixty ladies, at their respective tables : but the festivity 
was interrupted by the alarm of a tumult in the city. 
The insolence of the foreigners had irritated the Lin- 
colnshire archers ; and in a battle, which lasted till 
night, some hundreds were slain on each side. The 
men of Hainault claimed the victory : but they were 
compelled from that moment to use the same precau- 
tions as in a hostile country, and never considered them- 
selves safe till they had left the island. Commissioners 
were appointed to inquire into the origin of the quarrel : 
whatever may have been the result, it was deemed 
prudent to suppress it t. 

At length the English, amounting to more than forty 
thousand men, marched to Durham, but were unable 
to obtain any certain intelligence of the enemy. An 

SeeRymer, iv. 256.270, 271. 280.287.293. Lord Hailes (Annals, 
116 118) seems to have misunderstood these documents, from which it 
was evident that the infraction of the truce must be charged to the Scots. 
At the same time the Irish septs burst into the English pale in Ireland 
(Kym. iv. 295); but whether there was any connexion between the two 
invasions is unknown. 

f Rym. iv. 292. Froiss. c. i. 16. Wals. 127. Lei. Coll. i. ;',07. 

B 'I 


July army of Scots was peculiarly adapted for predatory 
* 3 ' incursions. It consisted entirely of cavalry, and was 
unincumbered with provisions or baggage. Their drink 
was the water of the river or brook, their meat the cattle 
of the country, which they slaughtered, and then boiled 
in the skins ; and they carried with them a scanty supply 
of oatmeal in a bag, which each horseman attached to 
his saddle. The velocity with which they advanced or 
retreated was such, as to make it difficult either to dis- 
July cover or pursue them. On the fifth day intelligence 
18. reached the king that the enemy were burning the 
villages at a distance of ten miles from the city. The 
army was immediately in motion, and marched in three 
divisions, in each of which the infantry occupied the 
centre, with the cavalry on its flanks. Orders had been 
issued that no man* should quit his banner under the 
penalty of death. 

In this manner they advanced for two days without 
overtaking the Scots : on the second evening it was 
resolved to gain by a rapid march the left bank of the 
Tyne, and to intercept the return of the enemy. With 
this view the baggage and provisions were conveyed 
back to Durham, and no man was permitted to carry 
with him more than a single loaf, tied to his saddle 
They set out at midnight, rode all day in a straight line 
over mountains and valleys, heaths and morasses, and 
a little before sunset crossed the river at the town of 
*' ll y Haydon. Here they remained seven days, still ignorant 
of the motions of the enemy, and suffering from the con- 
j u l y tinual rains, and the want of provisions. The soldiers 
27. murmured : suspicions of treason were circulated in the 
camp ; and Edward by proclamation promised the 
honour of knighthood and an annuity of one hundred 
pounds for life to the first man who should bring him 
July intelligence of the Scots. The army now recrossed 
31. the river, and on the fourth day, about three in the after- 
noon, Thomas de Rokesby, galloping up to the king, 
.said : " Sire, the Scots are at the distance of three leagues 

A. D. 13-27.] THE ARMIES MEKT. 5 

" posted on a mountain, where for the last week they 
" have expected you. I have seen them myself, having 
" been made prisoner, and released that I might claim 
" the reward which you promised." Edward imme- 
diately turned to the neighbouring abbey of Blanchland, 
where he spent the night, and with many of his friends 
prepared himself by devotional exercises for the ex- 
pected battle of the next day. 

In the morning Rokesby led the army towards the Attg 
Scots. They were encamped in huts on the summit ! 
of a mountain on the right bank of the Wear, at a small 
distance from Stanhope. At the sight of the English 
they formed themselves on foot in three divisions on 
the declivity, with the river between them and the enemy. 
Edward ordered his men to dismount, made several 
knights, and rode through the ranks attended by his 
principal lords. After a short pause the army marched 
slowly to the bank of the river : but the Scots remained 
immoveable in their position ; and an English herald 
was sent to propose, that one of the two nations should 
retire to a certain distance, and allow its adversary to 
cross the water, and form on the opposite bank. Doug- 
las replied that he had come there against the will of 
the king, and should not leave the mountain to please 
him. If Edward were not content, he might cross over, 
and drive him away if he could. On the receipt of this 
uncourteous answer, the English were ordered to lie 
all night on their arms. The Scots, leaving a division 
to watch the river, retired to their huts, " where," says 
Froissart, in his quaint style, " they made marvellously 
" great fires, and, about midnight, set up such ablasting 
" and noise with their horns, that it seemed as if all the 
" great devils from hell were assembled together." 

The two following days were spent in the same man- Aug. 
ner ; but on the third at dawn the Scots had disappeared. 4. 
They were discovered in the afternoon, posted on 
another mountain of still more difficult access, and on 
the same side of the river ; and the king following, 


pitched his camp in Stanhope park, opposite to the 
enemy. In the midst of the night an alarm was created 
by shouts of " A Douglas, a Douglas! die ye English 
" thieves !" That gallant chieftain had passed the river 
at a distance with two hundred followers, and entering 
the rear of the camp, galloped towards the king's tent, 
the cords of which he cut with his own sword. He 
killed about three hundred men, and retired with some 
A"g. The object of this nocturnal visit was soon explained. 

J - The next day Edward learned from a prisoner that the 
whole Scottish army had received orders to assemble 
in the evening, and follow the banner of the lord Doug- 
las. Apprehensive of a nocturnal attack, he called his 
troops under arms, and appointed them their stations 
Aug. during the night. All was tranquil and silent : in the 

6. morning two trumpeters were brought in, who declared 
that the Scots had left their camp at midnight, had 
crossed the river, and were on their march towards 
Scotland. But the English disbelieved the account, 
and remained the greater part of the day in the same 
position. At length the fact was ascertained : to pursue 
a more active enemy, who was already at the distance 
Aug. of thirty miles, would have been a fruitless task ; and 

10 - the army marched back to Durham, and thence to 

1& York, where it was disbanded. Such proved the ludi- 
crous result of this mighty expedition, in which- the 
English commanders were foiled by the superior skill 
and activity of their foes *. 

This inglorious campaign was followed by a peace, 
equally inglorious in the estimation of the people. But 
the queen and Mortimer had no inclination to continue 
the war : the proposal from them of a marriage between 
David, the only son of Robert, and Jane, the sister of 

Dec. Edward, was gladly accepted ; and the terms of a future 
treaty were discussed and arranged by commissioners 

* Froissart, i. c. 17, 18. Kym. iv. 301. 312. Lei. Coll. i 551. Murim. 
77. Heniing. 268. Scalachrunica, 1535. 


from the two princes at Newcastle. These were, that 
there should be final and perpetual peace between the 
kingdoms of England and Scotland ; that David the 
Scottish prince should be married to the sister of Ed- 
ward, as soon as the parties reached the age of puberty ; 
that the English king should interpose his good offices 
with the Pope for the extinction of such processes against 
him as were pending in the papal court ; and that Bruce 
should pay to Edward the sum of twenty thousand 
pounds, by three instalments, within three years. A Dec. 
parliament was immediately summoned to meet at York ; 10> 
and in it Edward was persuaded to execute a deed of 
renunciation for himself and his successors of all claims A - D - 
of superiority over the crown of Scotland ; by which ^A 2 -' 
act both princes were placed on the same footing of 
independent sovereigns. When this was ascertained, jyf ar . 
Bruce, in a Scottish parliament at Edinburgh, solemnly 17. 
ratified the treaty ; and subsequently Edward did the May 
same in an English parliament at Northampton*. Yet 
no part of this transaction could be said to have had 
the sanction of the English nation. The summons to 
the parliament at York, as well as to that at Northamp- 
ton had been disobeyed by the principal barons, whose 
absence testified their disapprobation of the intended 
measure t ; and the people loudly execrated the incon- 
sistent conduct of those who advised the young king to 
renounce his claim to the Scottish crown, though they 
had made it a capital charge against the younger Spen- 
ser that he had not won the same crown for his master. 
It is probable that Isabella and Mortimer had their own 
interest in view. The queen conducted her daughter July 

* Ford. xiii. 12. Rym. iv. 337- New Rym. ii. 730. Additional articles 
were signed by both princes, as a security for the future marriage. Ro- 
bert gave to Edward a bond for 100.000/. to be paid at Michaelmas, 1338, 
New Rym. ii. 741 ; and Edward at Northampton engaged to send back 
to Scotland the stone on which the Scottish king* need to be crowned* It 
WMS to be taken to Berwick by the Queen Mother. Cat. of Ane. Charters, 
Intnxl. 58. The treaty and its ratifications were supposed to be lost, 
but have been published from the General Register Office, in New Rvm. 
U. 734. 740. 

f " Therefore no business was done." Claus. 2 Edw. III. rn. 15. d. 


j u ly to Berwick, where the princess was affianced to David, 
18. a boy in his fifth year; and Bruce faithfully paid the 
twenty thousand pounds, which the queen so we are 
told divided between herself and her paramour *. 

To a man of ordinary ambition the fate of Gaveston 
and Spenser in the last reign might have proved a 
useful lesson : Mortimer not only walked in their foot- 
steps, he assumed an authority to which they had not 
aspired. When the council of regency was appointed, 
it had been directed that out of the number one bishop, 
one earl, and two barons, should daily attend the king, 
and give him their advice on all matters of importance. 
But Mortimer superseded them all, took their authority 
on himself, filled the court with his dependents, placed 
his creatures as spies round the young monarch, and 
maintained a guard of one hundred and eighty knights 
for his own security t. Such conduct naturally excited 
the jealousy of the great barons : his scandalous fami- 
liarity with Isabella, the murder of Edward of Carnar- 
von, who was now as much pitied as he had formerly 
been blamed, and the public disapprobation of the peace 
so recently concluded with Scotland, all concurred to 
embolden his enemies ; and associations were formed 
to remove him from court, and to renew the ordinances 
which had been enacted and repealed in the last reign. 
Q ct> A parliament had been summoned to meet at Salisbury, 
16. and the barons had been strictly forbidden to arm their 
attendants and followers. By both parties the prohi- 
bition was disregarded. Mortimer with a numerous 
4 army entered Salisbury, and Henry earl of Lancaster, 
the nominal guardian of the king's person, and president 
of the council, halted with an inferior force near Win- 
chester. The favourite resolved to intimidate his ene- 
mies. He burst into the room, in which the prelates 

Rym. iv. 337. 350. 354. 397. Heming. 269. 

t Kiiyght. 2558. 2550. He was also made earl of the marches of Wales, 
at the same time that John of Eltham, the king's brother, was created 
earl of Cornwall, and the Kutler of Ireland earl of Ormond. Wals 129 


had assembled, forbade them under the peril of life 
and limb to oppose his interests, and taking with him 
the kins; and queen, advanced towards Winchester. 
From Winchester he led his followers to Leicester, and 
plundered the ample domain of the earl of Lancaster 
in the neighbourhood. That nobleman had hitherto 
retired before Mortimer: he was now joined by the 
kind's uncles, the earls of Norfolk and Kent, and ventured 
to advance in his turn. But at Bedford he was un- 
expectedly deserted by the royal earls ; and despairing 
of success, submitted to ask pardon before the two 
armies, engaged to pay by instalments one half of the 
value of his estates, and entered into recognisances " not 
" to do, nor procure to be done, any evil or injury to 
" the king, or the two queens, or any other, whether 
" great or small, of their council or household." Of 
his associates, some were admitted to the king's peace 
on similar terms : but the lords Beaumont and Wake, 
sir William Trussel, and several others, abandoned 
their country, and sought an asylum in France *. 

Of the tragedy which followed, both the origin and 
progress are involved in considerable obscurity. As the 
discontent of the nation increased, many strange reports 
were circulated and believed. It was even affirmed that 
the late king was still alive ; that the body exhibited at 
Berkeley was that of another person ; and that Edward 
himself was actually confined in Corfe castle, under the A D 
custody of sir John Deverel. When the parliament as- 1330. 
sembled at Winchester, the earl of Kent the king's Mar. 
uncle, the archbishop of York, the bishop of London,.. 11- 
with several knights and gentlemen, were unexpected!^ 1 ' 
arrested on the charge of having conspired to depose the 
king, and to replace on the throne his father, the account 
of whose death they did not believe. What was the real 
crime of the earl, whether he had opposed the measures 
of Isabella and Mortimer, or by his influence over the 

* Rot. Parl. ii. 52. Knyght. 2554. 


mind of his nephew had awakened their jealousy, we are 
ignorant : but from his confession, and the subsequent 
proceedings, it is plain that the unfortunate prince was 
surrounded by the secret agents of the court, who under 
the guise of friendship drew him into the snare which 
cost him his life. He received letters, undoubtedly for- 
geries, from the Pope, exhorting him to liberate his bro- 
ther from prison : different messengers, most of them 
apostate friars, brought him from several prelates and 
gentlemen promises of co-operation and assistance : he 
was assured that the exiles in France, and a body of 
Scots, were prepared to draw their swords in his favour, 
the moment he should unfurl the royal standard ; and 
sir John Maltravers, Deverel, and Boeges de Bayonne, 
not only encouraged him in the notion that the late mo- 
narch was alive, but even procured from him letters, 
which they undertook to deliver to the royal captive. 
On his examination by sir Robert Howel, the coroner o 
the household, he ingenuously confessed these particu- 
lars, and acknowledged that the letters, which, as soon 
as they were received, had been taken to the queen, were 
written partly by himself, and partly by his countess, 
under his direction. When he was arraigned before the 
peers, he repeated his confession, and threw himself on 
the king's mercy. Though they adjudged him to suffer 
the penalty of treason, it was believed that his birth 
would save him from punishment. But Isabella was in- 
exorable : the son of the great Edward was led by the 
order of his nephew to the place of execution, and, after 
a painful suspense of four hours, a felon from the Mar- 
^khalsea (no other could be found to perform the office) 
M;ir. was i n( i uce d by a promise of pardon to strike off his 
2I< head*. 

That the earl was in reality innocent was afterwards 
acknowledged by Mortimer himself, when that noble- 

Wals. 129. Rym. iv. 424. Lei. Coll. 4/6. 552. Murira. 74. Heming. 


A. D. 1330.] FALL OF MORTIMER. 11 

man in his turn was led to the scaffold * : nor is it pro- 
bable that the court would have ventured to shed his 
blood had he not rendered himself unpopular by his 
haughty and oppressive behaviour t. The nation sus- 
d that he had been sacrificed to the policy of the 
queen and her paramour : and this suspicion was con- 
firmed, when many of the accused, even those who had 
been implicated by the confession of the earl, were suf- 
fered to go at large on their recognisances, to answer on 
a future occasion J. To silence the voice of the public, 
the crovernment issued a proclamation, by which the 
sheriffs were ordered to arrest and imprison every man 
who should assert that the earl of Kent had suffered for 
any other cause than treason ; or that he had been con- 
demned without the judgment of his peers ; or that 
Edward of Carnarvon, the king's father, was still alive. 
Edward was now eighteen, an age when his prede- 
cessors had been deemed capable of governing the 
realm; and Philippa of Hainault, whom he married in June 
1328, had borne him a son, the same who is so celebrated 15. 
in history under the name of the Black Prince. He felt 
the state of dependence in which he was kept, and viewed 
with concern the past and present conduct of his mother. 
Nor was he without remorse as to the part which he had 
acted himself. If his extreme youth could acquit him 
of the crime of dethroning his father, yet he had given 
his consent to the execution of his uncle, whose guilt 
was at the best very doubtful, but whose blood had served 
to cement the power of Isabella and Mortimer. At last 

* See the petitions of the countess of Kent and her son. Rot. Parl. ii. * 
33. 55. Both say that Mortimer publicly asked pardon of God for the 
death of the earl. 

t Eo minus a populo querebatur, quia pravam habuit familiam, res po- 
pularium eundo per :iuctoritate propria occupantes, et parum vel 
nihil solve nts eisdcm. Murim. /5. Indeed it is evident, from the fre- 
quent complaints in parliament, that ail the princes of the blouii, and oc- 
casionally other powerful lords, were accustomed to take purveyance ille- 
gally. See Hot Parl. ii. 9. 

I In the parliament held after Mortimer's execution they were all ac- 
quitted. The archbishop of York brought an action against Ins accusers, 
nud laid the damages at 1000/. Rot. Parl. ii. 31, 32. 54. 


he confided his thoughts to the discretion of the lord 
Montacute, who immediately exhorted him to break his 
chains, and assume the exercise of the royal authority. 
The king lent a willing ear to the proposal : a desian was 
formed to seize the person of Mortimer ; and it was fixed 
to make the attempt during the session of the parlia- 
ment at Nottingham. 

When the time came, Isabella, with her son and her 
favourite, took up her residence in the castle : the pre- 
lates and barons were lodged in the town and the neigh- 
bourhood. But Mortimer had taken every precaution 
for his security. A strong guard lay within the walls ; 
the locks of the gates were changed ; and the keys were 
taken every evening to the queen's chamber, and 
laid on her pillow. Montacute found it necessary to 
make a confident of sir William Eland the governor, 
whom he first swore to secrecy, and then acquainted with 
the royal pleasure. Eland replied that there was a sub- 
terraneous passage, leading from the west side of the 
rock into the castle, which was unknown to Mortimer, 
and through which he would introduce any number of 
the king's friends. Montacute, with his associates, fixed 
the hour, and rode into the country ; and the favourite, 
who had received some dark hints of a conspiracy against 
him, attributed their departure to an apprehension that 
their design had been discovered. In the afternoon he 
informed the council that an attempt to oppress him and 
the queen mother would soon be made by the exiles 
abroad, in union with Edward's most intimate acquaint- 
ance at home. He even charged the king with being 
privy to the plot, and refused to give credit to his denial. 
Before midnight Montacute and his friends returned ; 
- Eland admitted them by the subterraneous passage ; and 
they were joined by Edward on the staircase leading to 
the principal tower. They mounted in silence, till they 
heard the sound of voices in a room adjoining to Isa- 
bella's apartment, where Mortimer was engaged in con- 
sultation with the bishop of Lincoln and his principal 


advisers. The door was instantly forced, and two knights, 
who endeavoured to defend the entrance, were slain. 
The queen, alarmed by the noise, and conjecturing its 
cause, exclaimed, " Sweet son, fair son, spare my gentle 
" Mortimer." But her fears would not permit her to 
remain in bed. She burst into the room, crying out that 
he was a worthy knight, her dearest friend, her well- 
beloved cousin. In defiance of her tears and exclama- ,_. 

tions, Mortimer was secured ; and the next morning the 20 * 

king announced by proclamation that he had taken the 
reins of government into his own hands, and summoned 
a new parliament to meet in a few weeks at Westmin- 
ster *. 

By this parliament Mortimer was condemned. The Nov. 
principal charges against him were, that he had fomented 26. 
the dissensions between the late king and his queen, 
and falsely persuaded her that she could not return to 
her husband without the danger of her life ; that he had 
illegally assumed that power, which was vested by law 
in the king's council alone ; that of his own authority 
he had removed the late king from Kenilworth to Berke- 
ley, where he caused him to be put to death ; that he had 
induced the present king to march with force of arms 
against the earl of Lancaster and other peers coming to 
parliament, and had compelled them to pay excessive 
fines for the preservation of their estates ; that by his 
agents he had induced the late earl of Kent to believe 
that the king his brother was alive, and then procured 
his death on pretence of treason ; and that he had em- 
bezzled the royal treasures, and had divided with his as- 
sociates the twenty thousand marks already paid by the 
king of Scots. The peers retired with the bill of im- 
peachment, and after some deliberation, returned to the 

See Rym. iv. 452. 4/3. Knyght. 2555, 2556. 2558. Wals. 130. HP- 
min. 271. Avesb. 8. In the writs directed to the sheriffs, they are or- 
dered to cause to be chosen by the common assent of the county two of 
the most loyal and sufficient knights or Serjeants. 


king, declared that all the charges were notoriously true, 
and as judges of parliament, condemned Mortimer "to 
" be drawn and hanged, as a traitor and enemy of the 
" king and kingdom." They next proceeded, at the re- 
quest of Edward, to try his associates, having previously 
protested that they were bound by law to sit in judgment 
on none but peers of the land. Sir Simon Bereford, sir 
John Maltravers, John Deverel, and Boeges de Ba- 
yonne were condemned to death as accomplices of Mor- 
timer ; the first in all his treasons, the other three in 
the deception and consequent execution of the late earl 
- of Kent*. The favourite and Bereford were hanged at 
the elms at Tyburn : but as the other three were at 
large, a price was set on their heads !. The queen mo- 
ther at the solicitation of the Pope was spared the igno- 
rainy of a public trial J: but Edward reduced her in- 
come to three thousand pounds, and confined her to the 
manor of Risings, where she passed in obscurity the re- 
maining twenty-seven Years of her life. The king an- 
nually paid her a visit of ceremony : he even added a 
thousand pounds to her yearly income ; but he never 
more allowed her to assume any share of political power. 
After these executions he asked the advice of John 
XXII. for the regulation of his subsequent conduct ; and 
was exhorted by that pontiff to shun the danger of fa- 
vouritism, and, instead of following the interested coun- 

* Rot. Parl. il 42. It is observable that on this occasion the disgusting 
practice of erabowellin<; was omitted. 

t They were sentenced to be beheaded after they had been hanged. I 
know not whether the reward for their apprehension was apportioned by 
their quality or their demerit; but for Mallravers were offered a thousand 
marks, for IJoeges 100 pounds, and for Deverel 100 marks. The price of 
their heads was fixed at 500 pounds, 100 marks, and 40 pounds. Rot. 
I'url ii. 53. It was in the same parliament that the murderers of the late 
king were condemned. See vol. ii. p. 552. 

J John XXII. wrote to exhort him to show mercy to his prisoners, and 
not to expose the shame of his mother. Obsecramus te, fili, per viscera 
misericordiae J. C. ut matris pudori, quantum secundum deum poteris, 
velis parcere et ejus lapsum, si quis (quod absit) fuerit, non publicare, 
sed quantum bono modo poteris, ipsum potius studeas occultare. Nov. 7, 
apud Kayiiald, iii. 413. 


oils of a few individuals, to govern by the united advice 
of his barons, prelates, and commons assembled in par- 
liament *. 

Robert Bruce, king of Scotland, had lived to see the A.D. 
independence of his crown acknowledged by the king of 1329. 
England. At his death he left to Randolf, earl of Moray, Ju 7 ne 
the guardianship of his son David, who was only in his 
seventh year. Formerly many of the barons of each 
kingdom possessed at the same time lands in the other. 
These, during the war, had been seized by the respective 
sovereigns : but it was confidently expected that at the 
peace they would be restored to their original owners. 
It seems, however, that by mutual consent, the great 
body of claimants, both Scots and English, was passed 
over in silence : only two of the negotiators, the lords 
Percy and Wake, had the address to insert a particular 
clause in their own favour, and in favour of the lord 
Beaumont, the friend of Mortimer. Percy recovered 
his lands in Angus and Galloway, and in return an 
estate in Northumberland was, " by the king's special 
" favour," restored to Douglas, the Scottish negotiator. 
But Wake and Beaumont had joined the earl of Lan- 
caster : the resentment of Mortimer compelled them to 
leave the kingdom ; and their outlawry afforded the 
Scottish government a plausible pretext to refuse the 
restoration of their estates. Now, however, that Morti- 
mer had fallen, and the exiles were recalled, Edward 
demanded that the treaty should be fulfilled in favour of 
these two barons. Randolf, the guardian of Scotland, A. n. 
required time to consult the parliament ; and when the 1331 
demand was repeated, again returned an evasive an- j ' 
swer t. In the mean time Wake and Beaumont repaired 
to the northern counties, where they were joined by all 

* Ut circumspectio regia non uni nee duobus communicaret regi- 
men, nee unius vel duorura consilio regeretur, sed general! jjra?latorum, 
principum, et aliovum nuhilium rt conimunilatum concilio congregate. 
Raynald, iii. 430. He at the same time dissuaded the king from going to 

fRym. iv. 461.471. 


A . " the English lords, who claimed lands in Scotland, and 

1 '"^.'^.O 

' .""by Edward Baliol, the son and heir of John Baliol, whom 
24 ' the king's grandfather had compelled to resign his crown. 
After some consultation they resolved to appeal to the 
sword; a resolve which placed Edward in a very delicate 
situation. On the one side he had sworn to observe the 
peace, had given his sister in marriage to the young king 
of Scotland, and had received the stipulated sum of 
twenty thousand pounds from the guardian of David ; 
on the other the minority of David offered the most fa- 
vourable opportunity of recovering that superiority, which 
he would not have surrendered had not Bruce taken 
the advantage of similar circumstances to invade Eng- 
land in violation of his oath. His counsellors, however, 
though they might secretly wish success to the enter- 
prise, determined not to tolerate any open infraction of 
the treaty ; and as soon as it was ascertained that the 
" querellours" (so the disinherited lords were called) 
were collecting forces to invade Scotland, the sheriffs of 
the five northern counties were enjoined to forbid, under 
,,j r ' pain of forfeiture and imprisonment, the passage of 
armed men through the marches, or the perpetration of 
any act which could be deemed a violation of the peace. 
Disconcerted by these orders, Baliol, with his associates, 
was compelled to alter his plan ; and having secretly col- 
lected his followers in Holderness, he sailed with about 
three thousand men from Ravenspur, a port in the 
mouth of the Humber. Edward was at the time atWig- 
Aug. more in the marches of Wales : but on the arrival of the 
9. news he appointed the lord Percy his lieutenant in the 
north, with full power to punish every infraction of the 
peace by his own subjects, and to repel the Scots if they 
should pass the borders with hostile intentions*. 

When we read the adventures of Baliol, we may fancy 
our selves transported into the regions of fiction. He 
6. lands at Kinghorn in Fife, orders his fleet to the mouth 

* Kym. iv. 523. 

A. D. 1332.] SUCCESS OF HALIOL. 17 

of the Tay, and hastens to meet an enemy, whose force is 
twenty times greater than his own. At Dunfermline he 
learns that the earl of Marre, the new regent (for Ran- 
dolf was dead) is at Duplin, and the earl of March at 
Auditerarder, each at the head of thirty thousand men. 
He boldly throws himself between them, passes the An?. 
river Earn in the dead of the night, and puts to the H - 
sword the sleeping and defenceless Scots, till the dawn 
of morning dispels the darkness, and allows the regent 
to discover his enemy. In the eagerness of revenge that 
nobleman hurries into a narrow pass, where his nume- 
rous followers, unable to arrange themselves in order, 
offer an easy victory to the English. I shall not startle A I '- 
the faith of the reader by enumerating the thousands of 
the slain : but the deaths of the earl of Marre, of many 
barons, and of almost all the men at arms, sufficiently 
prove the enormous loss of the Scots. From Duplin 
moor Baliol hastens or rather flies to Perth, while the 
earl of March, who had not joined in the battle, pursues 
with equal rapidity. The adventurer has just time to ^"%' 
clear the ditch, and erect a defence of palisades, before 
the enemy arrives. His good fortune, however, befriends 
him again. The Scottish fleet is destroyed in an attack 
on the English squadron in the Tay ; distrust and scar- Aug. 
city gradually dissolve the army of the besiegers ; the 26. 
ancient friends of his family resort to his standard ; and 
he is crowned at Scone by the bishop of Dunkeld. As- Sept. 
tonished at the rapidity of his success, his enemies solicit 24. 
a suspension of hostilities, and propose a convention of 
the states to settle the kingdom. Baliol consents ; is j) ec _ 
surprised at Annan by the earl of Moray during the ar- 1C. 
mistice ; and with difficulty escapes to the English 
marches, a solitary and helpless fugitive. It employed 
him only seven weeks to win the crown : in less than 
three months he had lost it *. 

When the news of Baliol's first success arrived, the Sep. 


Ford. xiii. 2325. Hem. ii. 278. Knvglit. 2560. 2562. Pcala Cliron. 



parliament was sitting at Westminster, and had been 
consulted by Edward respecting the expediency of a 
voyage to Ireland. They now advised him to postpone 
every other business, and to repair to the northern coun- 
ties with the wisest of his council, and a numerous body 
of forces to prevent or repel the inroads of the Scots. 
j) ec . Another parliament was held at York in December, 
-1. and to it the king put the question, whether he ought 
to require from Baliol, who was now king of Scotland, a 
recognition of the superiority of the English crown, or 
to claim the kingdom for himself as heir to Edward I. 
to whom it had been forfeited ; or content himself with 
requiring some concession as an equivalent from the new 
king. The members present requested permission to 
wait till there should be a fuller attendance ; and about 
a month later the prelates, barons, and commons as- 
sembled in three separate chambers to deliberate on the 
subject. But the opinions were so divided, that at the 
end of five days they had come to no determination ; and 
A.H. Edward calling them before him, announced by the 
1333. chancellor that he would take the advice of the pope 
{? and the king of France ; and in the mean time order a 
vigilant watch to be kept in the marches, and have six 
of his council always near his person, to be prepared for 
any event which might happen*. 

Nov. Before Edward put this question to his parliament 
- 3 - he had secretly concluded two treaties with Bahol. By 
the first the new king acknowledged that the crown of 
Scotland was a fief belonging to the crown of England ; 
transferred to Edward the town and castle of Berwick, 
to which other lands were to be added to the yearly 
value of two thousand pounds, in return for the advan- 
tage which he bad derived from " the sufferance of his 
" said lord and the good aid of his vassals ;" offered to 
marry the princess Jane, if her marriage with David 

* Hot. Pad. 6669. The first chamber consisted of six prelates and 
six barons ; the second of th other prrlates and barons, and the proxies 
of prelates and barons, and the third of the knights, citizens, and bur 

fcfSaCS. Ib. 

A. D. 1333.] WAR WITH SCOTLAND. 19 

Bruce did not proceed ; and engaged to grant to that 
young prince such an establishment as the king of Eng- 
land should think proper. By the second, each monarch 
bound himself to assist the other with all his power 
against every domestic enemy. These treaties were to 
have been ratified in their respective parliaments: but 
the expulsion of Baliol suspended their effect, and they 
were in all probability concealed from the knowledge of 
the public *. 

But the real wishes of the English king were soon 
gratified by the impetuosity of the Scots ; and their re- 
peated incursions furnished him with the pretext that 
they had violated the treaty of peace, and induced the 
English parliament to give its approbation to a renewal 
of the war. The campaign was opened by Baliol with Mar. 
the siege of Berwick, which was gallantly defended by 3. 
the earl of March, the commander of the castle, and sir 
Alexander Seaton, the governor of the town. Two months May 
elapsed before the king of England arrived: but the 15 - 
operations of the siege were immediately pushed with 
new vigour ; and in a general assault the town was set 
on fire. The inhabitants, intimidated by the danger, 
stipulated to open the gates, unless they were relieved 
before a certain day; and sir Archibald Douglas, the 
new regent, anxious to save so important a fortress, 
passed the Tweed with a numerous army, and offered July 
battle to the besiegers. Edward kept within his in- 11- 
trenchments ; and the regent, having thrown a few 
knights and some provisions into the place, departed the 
next morning, ravaged Northumberland, and laid siege 
to the castle of Bamborough, in which queen Philippa 
resided. The king now demanded the surrender of the 
place : the Scots replied that it had been relieved ; and 

* Uym. iv. 536539. In this instrument Baliol says that lie had done 
liege homage and sworn ie;iltv to Edward for the Scottish crown. He 
c\i-n relates the very terms oi' his nath. Yet there is no evidence or pro 
bability that they had ever seen each other since the commencement ui 
B.iiiol's expedition. 

C 1 


the English in revenge hanged one of the hostages, the 
son of the governor. This act of severity alarmed the 
relations of the hostages that survived; and new agree- 
, . ments were made by the earl of March and sir William 
Ig^ Keith, who had assumed the command of the town, to 
admit the English within the walls at the end of five 
days, unless the Scottish army should previously raise 
the siege, or introduce a body of three hundred men at 
arms into the place between sunrise and sunset of the 
same day *. A messenger was instantly despatched to 
the regent, and on the afternoon of the fourth day the 
July Scottish army was seen advancing in four bodies to 
19 - attack the besiegers. Edward drew up his army on 
Halidon hill ; from which the archers annoyed the 
enemy, as they struggled through the marshy ground 
at the foot, and climbed up the declivity of the moun- 
tain. The Scots were fatigued and disordered before 
they could reach their opponents; and the obstinacy 
with which they fought served only to increase their 
loss. The regent, six earls, and many barons fell on 
the field of battle : the fugitives were pursued by Ed- 
ward and a party of horse on one side, and by the lord 
Darcy, and his Irish auxiliaries on the other ; and the 
slaughter is said to have exceeded that of any former 
^ l 'ly defeat. The town and castle were immediately surren- 
' dered; and the young king with his wife, the sister of 
Edward, was conveyed, for greater security, from Dun- 
barton into France, where he resided for several years 
at Chateau Gaillard t. 

A. n. Baliol was now again seated on the throne of Scotland, 

1334. an( j Edward required him to fulfil his former engage- 

* ( j b ' ments. A parliament was called at Edinburgh: the 

demands of the king were admitted without opposition ; 

and at first Berwick, then all the country to the east of 

* Compare the documents in Rymer (iv. 564568) with the very cir- 
cumstantial account of the sie<;e in the extract from the Scala Chronica, 
published by lord Hailes, H. 316, and Scala-Chronica by Stevinson, 163. 

f Knyght." 2563, 2564. Ford. xiii. 27, 28. Heming. ii. 275. 276. 


a line drawn from Dumfries to Linlithgow was by Feb. 
general consent separated from the crown of Scotland, *- 
and annexed to that of England*. This impolitic dis- 
memberment of the kingdom enraged the Scots ; while 
the dissensions among the English barons, who had 
been restored to their estates, encouraged the friends of 
David. A new guardian or regent was appointed, the 
cause of independence again triumphed, and Baliol was 
compelled to take refuge in the lands which he had 
ceded to Edward. But it would weary the patience of 
the reader to pursue his history to a greater length. For 
several years he contrived to struggle against the obsti- 
nacy of his opponents and the perfidy of his followers. 
As long as he was supported by the king of England, he 
rose victorious from every disaster : but from the mo- 
ment that Edward determined to claim the crown of 
France the war was suffered to languish ; fortress after 
fortress surrendered to the adherents of David: that 
prince at length ventured to revisit his kingdom ; and 
Baliol, instead of wielding the sceptre of Scotland, was 
employed in protecting from insult the northern coun- 
ties of England t. 

To understand the line of policy pursued by Edward 
during the remainder of his reign, we must revert to the 
succession of the French monarchs. Philip IV., sur- 
named the fair, died in 1314, and left three sons, Louis, 
Philip, and Charles, who all, in the short space of four- 
teen years, successively came to the throne, and all died 
without male issue. At the decease of Charles IV., 
the youngest brother, it was necessary to seek for the 
true heir among the descendants of their predecessors ; 
and two competitors appeared, Edward of England, and 
Philip of Valois ; the former as grandson of Philip IV. 
by his daughter Isabella, the latter as grandson to the 

Rym. iv. 590. 614. Rot. Scot. 2613. 

t David with his consort landed at Inverbervio, 4th March, 1341. 
Those who wish to be acquainted with the Scottish transactions of this 
period may find a satisfactory account in the Annals of Scotland, by lord 
Hailes, ii. 163213. 


[CHAP. i. 

father of that monarch, Philip III., by his son Charles 
de Valois *. It had indeed been decided at the death 
of Louis, in 1316, who left a daughter, Jane, that 
females were by the fundamental law of the kingdom 
excluded from the French throne : but Edward was 
taught to contend that, though his mother's sex might 
be a disqualification as far as personally regarded herself, 
it could be no bar to the succession of her son : while 
Philip on the contrary maintained that a mother could 
not transmit to her issue any right, of which she was 
never in possession herself. This important cause was 
brought before the twelve peers and the barons of 
D. France. They unanimously set aside the pretensions of 
^9. Edward : Philip mounted the throne ; and the king of 
England was summoned to do homage to the new sove- 
reign for his duchy of Guienne. 

The jealousy which these rival claims had excited 

* Their descent will perhaps be better understood from the following 
Table : 

PHILIP III. the Hardv. 
+ 1285. 


Philip IV. tlie i-'iiir. 

Charles de Valois. 

+ 1314. 


Philip de Valois, 


Louis X. or Hutin. Philip V. 

the Long. 

Charles IV. the Fair. 




1328. | 

Four daughters. 

Two daughters. 


Queeu of ISavarre. 

Isabella == Edward II. 

Edward III. competitor. 

Hence it will be seen that Edward, to prove his claim, was obliged to 
maintain three principles: 1. That females were excluded from the crown 
of France, otherwise .Tane, the daughter of Louis X., ought to havi- suc- 
ceeded to that crown as well as to tlie crown of Navarre; 2. That the 
male issue of such females was not excluded, otherwise he could have had 
no right himself; and 3. That such male issue, to inherit the crown, must 
have been born during the lifetime of the grandfather; otherwise tlie 
grandsons of Philip V. and Charles IV. would have had a better title 
than Edward. 


was never extinguished ; and each prince had, or pre- 
tended to have, many causes of complaint against the 
other. Philip kept possession of several fortresses in 
Guienne claimed by the king of England ; and Edward, 
when after much tergiversation he consented to do 
homage, did it in general terms, omitting the liege pro- 
mise of faith and loyalty*. In 1331 a partial adjust- 
ment of their differences took place : Philip restored 
certain castles to Edward; and Edward by a public in- A.. 
strument acknowledged that the homage for Guienne 133 1 
ought not to have been general but liege t. The other .**' 
subjects of contention were referred to the award of 
arbitrators ; and a confident hope was entertained that 
peace would be preserved, when the opposite interest 
which each felt in the affairs of Scotland awakened 
their former jealousy, aud hurried them into hosti- 

It had long been the policy of the French crown to 
support the Scottish kings against the superior power of 
England. When David was driven from his throne, 
Philip took him under his protection, gave him an 
asylum in his dominions, and repeatedly aided his parti- 
sans with money and ships. Edward beheld this con- 
duct with displeasure, and laboured, but in vain, to 
detach the French monarch from the cause of the 
orphan. He suggested to him different intermarriages 
between their children, proposed to pay him a consider- j^ 
able sum in return for the restoration of his fortresses, A . D . 
and offered to accompany him in a crusade to the holy 1332, 
landj. But the jealousy of Philip was not to be laid Apr. 

* Rym. iv. 390. N. Rym. ii. 797- To prevent future disputes, it was 
agreed that the ceremony should be performed in the following manner. 
The king of England puts his hands between those of the king of France, 
and the officer of the court says to him, Sir, you become the man of the 
king of France, my lord here present, as duke of Guienne and peer of 
France, according to the agreements formerly made between t'ne ancestors 
of the king of France and yours. Say voire, that is, yes. And the said 
king and duke says, voire. Id. 391. 

t Rym. 477. 

} Kiiuard, both before and dimmr the war, published these offers in his 
own justification. Rym. iv. 805. v. 160. 

24 EDWARD in. [CHAP. i. 

asleep : every advance was eluded or rejected ; and con- 
tinued irritation induced the king to turn his arms from 
Scotland against France, and to revive his former claim 
to the French crown, which by doing homage to Philip 
he had in fact abandoned long ago. It might flatter 
the vanity of Edward as a bold, but the event showed 
that it was an injudicious, measure. Unincumbered 
with a continental war, he was perhaps equal to the con- 
quest of Scotland. By aiming at too much, he ulti- 
mately gained nothing. 

By the public the king's determination was attributed 
to the influence of a stranger and an outlaw, whose pre- 
vious conduct had brought indelible disgrace on his 
character. Robert II., count of Artois, had two chil- 
dren, a son, Philip, and a daughter, Matilda. Robert, 
the present adviser of Edward, was the son of Philip ; 
but his father had died before the grandfather ; and in 
Artois the succession did not follow the line of descent, 
but was attached to proximity of blood. Hence it hap- 
pened, that on the death of Robert II. Matilda obtained 
the county in preference to her nephew. She died in 
1318, and Robert immediately seized Artois by force; 
but was soon expelled by Philip V. of France, who 
claimed it in right of his wife, the daughter of Matilda. 
Robert acquiesced : but when Philip of Valois, whose 
sister he had married, ascended the throne, he demanded 
a revision of the judgment which had deprived him of 
Artois. His petition was granted ; and during the pro- 
cess he laid before the court four charters, which he 
A. D. pretended had been purloined, and secreted by Matilda, 
1331. k u t wn i c h on examination proved to be forgeries. The 
L ~o T ' fabricators of these instruments were condemned and 
executed : Robert fled to Namur, and was declared an 
outlaw. The time of his exile was employed in devising 
schemes of revenge : the king and queen of France 
*332 became the principal objects of his hatred ; and to satisfy 
M ar- ' it, he had recourse to the spells of the sorcerer, and the 
19. dagger of the assassin. Driven from Namur, he came 


to England, where he insinuated himself into the con- >.,,, 
iidence of Edward, obtained from him a yearly pension 1337. 
of eight hundred pounds, and in return taught him to 
indulge, the flattering but visionary hope, of being able 
to tear the French crown from the brows of Philip, and 
to place it on his own head *. 

To carry into execution the mighty designs which he 
had formed, Edward was advised to solicit the aid of the 
continental princes and sovereigns. With this view he 
concluded alliances with Louis of Bavaria, emperor of 
Germany, the dukes of Brabant and Gueldres, the 
archbishop of Cologne, the Marquis of Juliers, the counts 
of Hainault and Namur, and other princes of inferior 
consideration and power. He sought out, and retained 
every foreign adventurer, who coulfl bring a few men at 
arms into the field ; and condescended to cultivate the 
friendship of Jacob Von Artaveldt, the celebrated brewer 
of Ghent, who had established democratic factions in all 
the opulent cities of Flanders, and with their aid reigned 
more absolutely than the earl, the rightful but almost 
nominal sovereign. Neither did Philip neglect the 
storm which he saw gathering around him ; he took into 
his hands Edward's possessions in France t, and sought 
to fortify himself with the aid of his neighbours. Among 
his allies he numbered the kings of Navarre and Bo- 
hemia, the dukes of Bretagne, Austria, and Lorraine, 
the palatine of the Rhine, and most of the petty princes 
of Germany. Thus more than half of the sovereigns of 

* See a memoir by Mons. de Laverdy, in the account of MSS. in the 
library of the king of France, ii. 337. Froissart, i. 27. llym. v. 19. 

t But not actual possession : that would have been a more difficult mat- 
ter. His commissioners appeared before the seneschal and council in 
Bordeaux, and said, that the king of France, in consequence of the several 
rebellions of Edward king of England, duke of Guienne, his liege man, 
and especially of his reception of the traitor Robert of Artois, had ap- 
pointed them to take possession and seizin in his name of the duchy of 
Guienne, and its appurtenances, which they accordingly did, and required 
him to give orders that they should be obeyed. He replied that he should 
not, but would inform his master. The same ceremony took plc at the 
gutes of two other towns into which they were not udmitted. Thres. des 
Chart. 37, 8. 

20 EDWARD in. [CHAP. i. 

Europe were arrayed against each other , and the eyes 
of all Christendom were directed to the issue of the con- 

A.D. The king, to defray the expenses of his intended ex- 

1333. pedition, had recourse to subsidies, tallages, and forced 

loans : he pawned his jewels and frown ; he seized for 

his present use the tin and wool of the year ; and yet he 

had the address to make the war popular with the nation, 

Feb. or at least with its representatives. The commons 

24. petitioned him to pursue his right : the lords gave their 

consent t, and in the summer of 1338 he sailed with a 

j ul numerous fleet from Orwell to Antwerp. To his dis- 

16. appointment he soon learned that it was more easy to 

purchase the promises than the co-operation of his 

allies. Though he granted commercial indulgences to 

the towns of Brabant and Flanders, though he scattered 

with a lavish hand the treasures which he had brought 

with him from England, every attempt to draw them 

into the field was fruitless ; and he was compelled to 

satisfy himself with their respective engagements to 

join him the next year in the month of July, and to 

Sept. P en the campaign with the siege of Cambray. Even 

2. this cost him a journey to Coblentz, where the emperor, 

by investing him with the title of vicar or deputy, 

gave him authority to receive the homage, and to 

command the services of the princes belonging to the 

empire J. In the spring he summoned his allies to 

assemble at the appointed time ; and about the middle 

A D of September he was able to lead an army of fifteen 

1339. thousand men at arms to the walls of Carnbray, which 

Sept. with its territory was comprehended within the ancient 

2- limits of the empire. Here he spent four days in laying 

Froissart, c. 27, 28. Rym. iv. v. passim. 

t He says he undertook the war assensu procerum, et ad instantiam 
communitatis, v. 3. 

j It appears IVora Rymer that he was at Coblentz till the Cth of Sep- 
tember. Rym. v. 31. >\alsingham tells us that the emperor was dis- 
pleased, because Edward did uot. like other princes, offer to kiss his im- 
perial feet ; but was answered, that buiug anunuinted 1'ing, he was exempt 
from that obligation. Wals. HG. 


waste the country : but as soon as he had crossed the Sept. 
borders of France the counts of Namur and Hainault 25. 
fell back, on the pretext that his authority as imperial 
vicar expired the moment he entered a foreign territory. 
He dismissed them with thanks for their past services, 
and continued his march, ravaging the country, and 
burning the villages for the breadth of twelve leagues, Oct. 
from Bapaume to Peronne and St. Quintin. Here, 17 - 
however, the rest of his allies refused to advance. Why, 
they asked, should they leave the frontiers of Hainault, 
whence they drew all their supplies ? Let Philip come 
and seek them, since he had so often sworn that the 
king of England should never possess two feet of land, 
nor spend a whole day within the borders of France *. 
Edward reluctantly yielded to their advice, and directed 
his march towards the Ardennes, when letters were re- 
ceived from different persons in the French army, offer- 
ing on the part of Philip to fight on the following Thurs- 
day, if the king would choose a field of battle in an open 
plain, without wood, water, or morass. He therefore 
recalled his detachments, which had spread devastation 
to the gates of Laon, and waited for the enemy at the Oct. 
village of La Flamengrie. On the Friday evening it 22. 
was ascertained, from the information of the prisoners, 
that Philip was arrived at Vironfosse, about five miles n , 
distant, and intended to fight the next day. In the 03.' 
morning Edward marshaled his forces on foot in three 
divisions, with the English archers and Welsh lancers 
before the men at arms ; and, mounting a palfrey, rode 
from banner to banner, recommending to the courage of 
the troops the preservation of his honour. Philip had 
arrayed in similar order his more numerous force ; but 
his ardour for battle was checked by the cooler policy of 
his council, who represented that the king of England 
dared only creep along the borders ; that such another 
expedition must be his ruin; and that it was folly to 

* Phelip ile Valoys uvoit jurez que nous ne ferrous jammes demeore 
une jour od fire host en Fraunce, qil ne nous durroit bataillie. Avesb. 47. 

28 EDWARD in. [CHAP. i. 

stake a crown on the uncertain issue of a battle, when 
the best advantages of victory might be secured without 
any risk. The English, full of hope and courage, im- 
patiently waited the approach of the enemy : in the 
evening their scouts reported that the French were era- 
ployed in felling trees, opening ditches, and fortifying 
their camp. The king repaired for the night to Aves- 
nes, and sent word to Philip that he would expect him 
another day ; but learning that the enemy had marched 

Nov. back into the interior, he returned to Brussels, thanked 

' his allies for their exertions, and disbanded his army. 

Such was the issue of this formidable expedition, in 

N >v. which Edward had uselessly expended the immense 
!- treasure which he had drawn from England, and had 
moreover involved himself in debt to the enormous 
amount of three hundred thousand pounds*. 

From the moment that the real object of the king of 
England was disclosed the pope Benedict XII. had 
most earnestly laboured to prevent the effusion of blood. 
With this view he had repeatedly despatched legates to 
the contending monarchs, and at last had oifered as 
their common father to take on himself the office of 
arbitrator, and to weigh with an impartial hand their 
respective pretensions. But when he learned that Ed- 
ward had sought the friendship of the emperor Louis, 

Oct. and accepted from him the title of vicar of the empire, 
" he wrote a long and expostulatory letter, reminding the 
king that Louis had never been acknowledged as em- 
peror by the apostolic see ; that he had raised up an 
anti-pope, and endeavoured to plunge the Christian 
world into schism ; that he had been excommunicated 
by the last pontiff; and that a similar sentence had been 

A. D. fulminated against his abettors. But the king was im- 

1340. m0 veably fixed in his purpose : he evaded the offers and 

?n' reproaches of the pontiff by declaring that it was his 

earnest wish to reconcile Louis with the church, and 

See the king's letter in Avesbury, 47 49. Heraing. 309. Knyghton, 
2573. Froissart, c. 39, 40, 41. 


that he was ready to accede to any honourable terms, 
which Philip or Benedict might propose*; and imme- 
diately afterwards, at the solicitation of Artaveldt, pub- 
licly assumed the title of king of France, and quartered 
in his arms the French lilies with the English lions. In 
two proclamations issued at Ghent, and circulated Feb. 
through the Low Countries and the neighbouring pro- J 
vinces, he set forth his undoubted right to the French 
crown, of which, by reason of his tender age and ignor- 
ance of law, he had been deprived by the insatiable am- 
bition of the lord Philip de Valois ; enumerated all the 
injuries which he had received from that prince by the 
invasion of his rights in Guienne, the support of his 
rebellious subjects in Scotland, and the depredations 
committed on the English commerce at sea ; and con- 
cluded with a declaration that he now revoked his for- 
mer homage and his recognition of Philip, and took 
upon himself, what was his own hereditary right, the 
dignity of king, and the government of the kingdom of 
France t. 

This new measure drew from the pontiff a sensible 
and affectionate reproof. He wrote to Edward that his Mar. 
own ambition, and the interested advice of his allies, 5. 
were leading him into difficulties and disgrace ; that it 
was madness for a stranger to rely on the fidelity of the 
men of Flanders, who had always been noted for dis- 
loyalty to their native princes ; that he had acted pre- 
cipitately at the best in proclaiming himself king of 
France, before he was in possession of any part of that 
kingdom ; that, unless the heirs of females were capable 
by law of inheriting the crown, he could have no pre- 
tensions ; and if they were, there existed persons still 
living, the issue of the daughters of his uncles, who had 
a nearer, and therefore a better claim ; that by doing 
homage to Philip de Valois he had acknowledged the 
title of that prince, and by assuming it himself would 

Rym. iv. 826. v. 88. 128. 14G. 136. t Kvm. v. 158-163. 

30 EDWARD in. [CHAP. i. 

irritate all natives of France ; that to wrest the sceptre 
from his rival by force was, in the estimation of every 
indifferent judge, an impracticable attempt; and that 
the event would convince him of the perfidy of his allies, 
who, when he had once exhausted his treasures, would 
leave him to make the best terms he could with an ex- 
asperated and powerful adversary*. 

Feb. But no arguments could convince the ambition of 

'*! Edward. To raise money for the payment of his debts 

and the expenses of another campaign, he determined to 

' J' revisit England, and left his queen at Ghent as an host- 
age for his speedy return. From his parliament he ob- 
tained an unprecedented supply of the ninth lamb, the 
ninth fleece, and the ninth sheaf t, with an additional 
duly on the exportation of wool for two years : and was 
preparing to fulfil his engagement, when advice was 
brought that Philip, to intercept him on his passage, 
had assembled with the aid of the Genoese and Nor- 
mans a powerful fleet in the harbour of Sluys. The 
king immediately collected every vessel in the southern 
ports, and declared his intention to seek and fight the 
enemy. The opposition and entreaties of his council 
were despised. " You are all," he exclaimed, " in a 
" conspiracy against me. I shall go : those who are 

June " afraid, may stay at home." He sailed with a gallant 
-"-' fleet from Orwell, and the next evening, off Blakenberg, 
discovered across a neck of land the forest of masts 
which occupied the harbour. Three knights were landed, 
who reported at their return, that they had reckoned 
nineteen sail of unusual dimensions, two hundred ships 
of war, and a still greater number of smaller vessels. 

June During the night the enemy moved from their anchor- 

-4. a g e> an( j a t sunrise were discovered in four lines moored 

across the passage. Their ships carried turrets provided 

with stones on their mast heads, and were fastened to 

Id. v. 173. 

t The reader will remember that the tenth lamb, and fleece ami sheaf 
\\a~ paid as tithe. 


each other with chains of iron. Edward placed the 
strongest of his ships in front, so that every vessel car- 
rying a body of men at arms was accompanied by two 
sail manned with archers : while the noble ladies, who, 
to the number of fifty, had come to wait on queen 
Philippa were intrusted to the protection of a strong 
guard behind the reserve. At first the king put out to 
sea ; a movement which impressed the enemy with a no- 
tion that he declined an engagement : but his object was 
to avoid the sun, which shone full in his eyes ; and soon 
afterwards, having the wind and tide in his favour, he 
bore down on the first line of the French. Each com- 
mander selected his opponent, and met with a gallant 
resistance : but the discharge of the archers gradually 
cleared the decks of the enemy ; the men at arms im- 
mediately boarded ; every ship in the first division was 
captured ; and the banner of England waved trium- 
phantly over the colours of France. 

At this important moment arrived the lord Morley 
with a fleet from the northern counties ; and the victors 
with their friends proceeded to attack the three remain- 
ing divisions. But a panic struck the second and third 
lines of the enemy : the men leaped from their ships, 
which they could not disengage, into their boats ; and 
more than two thousand are said to have perished in the 
waves. The fourth line remained, consisting of sixty 
large vessels, reinforced by the bravest of those who had 
escaped from the captured ships. This, though the vic- 
tory was already won, opposed an obstinate resistance 
to the conquerors ; and by prolonging the contest till 
midnight afforded to a few stragglers the opportunity of 
escaping in the dark. With the exception of these the 
whole fleet remained in the hands of the English. Ed- 
wanl is said to have lost two ships, which were sunk, 
and about four thousand men : the slain and drowned 
of the enemy amounted to seven times that number *. 

* For this battle, see Froissart, c. 49. Avcslmry, 55. 59. Heming. 32t), 
331. Knyght. 257?. Hymur, v. 195. 

32 EDWARD in. [CHAP. i. 

History hardly presents an instance of a naval victory 
more complete or more sanguinary. The French mi- 
nisters dared not acquaint Philip with the disaster : it 
was first hinted to him by his buflbon *. 

Crowned with the laurels of victory Edward landed 
the next morning, repaired to the church of Ardenbourg 
to return thanks to the Almighty, and hastened to visit 
his royal consort at Ghent. The report of his arrival 
soon crowded his court with the principal of his allies, 
and the treasures which he brought with him gave such 
activity to their exertions, that in a short time he marched 
at the head of two hundred thousand men to undertake 
at the same time the two sieges of Tournay and St. 
Omer t. Yet these mighty preparations, which astonished 
all Europe, after a few weeks ended in nothing. The 
force which, under Robert of Artois, advanced towards 
St. Omer, was dispersed before it reached its destination. 

J"ly A detachment had been surprised in the little town of 
Arques: some of the fugitives about midnight reached 
the camp in the vale of Cassel ; a causeless alarm was 
raised and propagated with rapidity, and sixty thousand 
men fled in every direction, leaving behind them their 
baggage, their arms, and their general t- Edward him- 
self surrounded Tournay with a numerous force : but 
it was resolutely defended by a garrison consisting of 
thirty thousand select men. From his camp he wrote, 
in the true spirit of chivalry, a challenge to Philip de 
Valois, proposing to him to fight singly, body to body, 
or to leave the decision of their quarrel to one hundred 
combatants "on each side, or to appoint a day when they 

X v should engage with all their forces. The king of France 
' replied, that it was not for him to answer letters ad- 
dressed to Philip de Valois : but he would observe that 
Edward, in violation of his homage and fealty, had a 

* The buffoon called the English cowards ; and when the king asked 
the reason, replied that they had not the courage to leap into the sea like 
the French and Normans. Wals. 148. 

t See his letter to his parliament, Kyra. v. 197. } Froissart, c. 61. 


Mil time entered the French territory, and that his 
sovereign lord would drive him out of it again whenever 
he should think proper *. Philip had resolved to pursue 
the same policy, which had proved so useful the last 
year, to exhaust the finances of his rival without al- 
lowing him an opportunity of gaining any decided ad- 
vantage. From the neighbourhood of Bouvines, at the 
short distance of three leagues, he watched, but did not 
interrupt the operations of the besiegers. The garrison 
had turned every useless mouth out of the city ; yet at 
the expiration of some weeks the horrors of famine were 
severely felt, and the fall of the place was confidently 
anticipated, unless it should be relieved by the result 
of a battle. At this crisis Jane of Hainault, the sister 
to the king of France, and mother to the queen of Eng- 
land, left the convent in which she had resided since the 
death of her husband, and on her knees besought Ed- 
ward to consent to an accommodation t. Nothing could 
be more repugnant to his wishes or interests. But the 
predictions of the pontiff now began to be verified. His 
treasures were exhausted: his allies refused to fight 
without money ; and he reluctantly acquiesced in an 
armistice for nine months, in which the Scots were 
included, and which before its expiration was prolonged e pt. 
for another year $. A hope was cherished, that in the 25. 
interval might be laid the foundation of a lasting peace : 
but, though the pope employed all the influence which 
he possessed, nothing could subdue the obstinacy of the 
two monarchs. Edward, indeed, was induced to waive 
his other claims, provided he might enjoy not only the 
possession but also the sovereignty of Guienne : but 
the pride of Philip refused to treat on any conditions 

* Rym. v. 198 200. He added a verbal message, that lie was ready- 
to meet Edward singly on any day, on condition that the victor should 
succeed to the crown of the vanquished. This is subjoined to the chal- 
len^f in the copy preserved in the Thresor des Chartres, p. 39. 

+ Froissart, e. 62. Avesb. 64. 

| Rym. v. 205 281. His excuse to the emperor is that he was corr. 
jiolU'd hy his allies. Oportuit nos eorum sequi consilia, qui nobis comi*.:- 
var.i i-t auxilium tune feet-rant. Id. -(-!. 


34 EDWARD in. [CHAP. i. 

till his rival had erased from his arms the lilies, and 
formally renounced the title of king of France. 

Edward retired in sullen discontent from the walls 
of Tournay. By the most urgent messages he required 
money from England : but the exchequer was unable 
to satisfy his wants ; and the clamour of his allies, who 
demanded the discharge of their arrears, compelled 
him to borrow of usurers at exorbitant interest * . 
Some of the courtiers improved the opportunity to instil 
into his mind suspicions of the fidelity of his ministers ; 
and suddenly, without any previous notice, leaving the 
earl of Derby and other noblemen in pledge with his 
creditors (, he sailed in stormy weather from a port in 
Zealand, stole unperceived up the Thames, landed about 
^ Vt midnight at the Tower, and the next morning displaced 
the chancellor, treasurer, and master of the rolls, con- 
fined three of the judges, and ordered the arrest of most 
of the officers employed in the collection of the revenue. 
But the man whom he principally wished to secure, 
archbishop Stratford, president of the council, escaped 
to Canterbury, and set his enemies at defiance. When 
he was summoned to appear before the king, he appealed 
in his own favour, and in favour of his colleagues, to 
A.D. the provisions of the great charter, renewed the ancient 
IS-Jl. excommunication against those who should violate the 
a j ' liberties of Englishmen, refused to answer before any 
other judges than his peers assembled in parliament, 
and reminded the monarch of the fate of his father, 
who had by his arbitrary proceedings forfeited the love 
of his subjects. Edward, afraid in his present circum- 
stances to proceed to extremities, condescended to enter 
into a personal controversy with the primate, and 
ordered a proclamation to be read in all the churches 
JQ. ' accusing Stratford of having intercepted the supplies 
granted to the king, and either appropriated them to 
himself, or diverted them into different channels t. To 

Bym. v. 226. t Ii v. 2J7. J New Rym. ii. 1143. 6, 7. 


this proclamation the archbishop opposed a circular Feb. 
letter, in which he victoriously refuted the charge, by 22. 
showing that it was impossible to collect the taxes for 
the whole year during the siege of Tournay ; and that, 
if they had been collected, they were already mortgaged 
for the payment of the debts contracted in the preceding 
year *. The sequel of the quarrel is interesting, as it ^ r> 
involved a question respecting the privileges of the 
peerage. When the parliament assembled the arch- 
bishop obeyed the summons, but was stopped at the 
entrance of the hall, and hurried into the court of ex- 
chequer to hear an information which had been lodged 
against him by the king's order. On the following 
days he repeatedly attempted to enter, and was re- 
peatedly excluded, with the bishops of Chichester and 
Lichfield, the late chancellor and treasurer. He pro- 
tested against the injury .which was thus oifered to the 
first peer in the realm : the other lords considered it 
a violation of their privileges ; and their opposition 
compelled the king to adjourn the parliament from day 
to day. At length he allowed the primate to take his Apr. 
seat ; but immediately left the house, and employed 28. 
sir John Darcy and sir William Killesby to accuse him 
before the citizens of London and the house of com- 
mons. But the lords were not to be diverted from their Apr. 
purpose. They petitioned the king to acknowledge 30. 
that, when a peer was impeached by the crown, he 
could not be compelled to plead before any other tribu- May 
nal than the high court of parliament ; and, when Ed- 3. 
ward objected that such an acknowledgment would be 
prejudicial to the public interests, and derogatory from ,, 
the rights of the crown, they requested his permission L ^ 
to refer the question to a committee of four prelates, 
four earls, and four barons. The report of the com- 
mittee was unanimously approved, and an address was 

* An?. Sac. i 2736. The king replied : but the violence of his answer 
proves that he could not refute the primate. See it in R ymer, 240. Ang. 
Sac. L 36. And the whole correspondence in Hemingford, 326 352. 

D 2 

36 EDWARD in. [CHAP. i. 

voted to the king, in which it was stated as an unde- 
niable principle that no peer could be arraigned, or 
brought to judgment, except in parliament, and by his 
peers. A doubt, they observed, had been raised, whether 
a peer, who had been employed in the great offices of 
the crown, might not, on account of his office, be called 
before some other court of justice: but it was their 
opinion that, even in such case, he ought not to be 
arraigned at the prosecution of the king, nor lose his 
temporalities, lands, tenements, goods, or chattels, nor 
be arrested, imprisoned, or outlawed, nor plead, nor 
receive judgment, except in full parliament, and before 
his peers*. The necessity of procuring a supply in- 
duced Edward to acquiesce: at the joint prayer of the 
lords and commons, he received Stratford into favour ; 
and, when that prelate requested that he might be 
treated as a peer, and allowed to prove his innocence 
by a trial in parliament, he consented to his request, 
on condition that both houses should previously take 
the subject of supply into consideration. A committee 
of two prelates and four earls was appointed to receive 
the answers of the primate : but their decision was de- 
ferred till the next parliament f- 

Such had been the urgency of the king's wants, as 
to admit of no delay ; and the lords, clergy, and com- 
mons embraced the opportunity to require the redress 
of their respective grievances. All their petitions were 
cheerfully granted, embodied in the form of a statute, 
and published under the great seal : but Edward had 
1 reviously signed a paper, in which he protested against 
them as injurious to the rights of his crown, and de- 
clared that what he had conceded through necessity, 

* They admitted, however, that if a peer had been sheriff, or in the 
receipt of the king's monies, he ought to account for them at the exche- 
quer in person or by attorney ; and also that a peer, if he pleased, might 
jile-ud before another court, but without prejudice to the rights of the 
peerage as far as regarded others, or himsull' on future occasions. Hut. 
Piirl. ii 126, 127. 

t Ibid. 12?. 131. Stat. of Realm, 1. 295. 7. 


he would afterwards revoke at his own convenience. 
As soon as he had reaped the advantage of this dissimu- 
lation he was not ashamed to avow and defend it. In ( - >l ' t< 
a circular letter to the sheriifs of the counties he stated 
that the obstinacy of the parliament had threatened the 
most serious evils ; that it was his duty, in such cir- 
cumstances, to dissemhle ; that he had pretended to 
assent to their petitions, while in reality he protested 
against them ; and therefore he did now by his own 
authority, with the assent of his council, revoke and 
annul the late statute *. It was necessary that the 
other orders should acquiesce till the next parliament : 
but the convocation of the clergy had already been sum- 
moned, and to prevent it from employing the spiritual 
arms of censure and excommunication in defence of 
the clerical privileges, Edward wrote to the archbishop, 
forbidding him, under the severest penalties, to under- 
take the defence of the pretended statute, or to form 
any resolution in contempt of the royal authority t. Two 
years elapsed before he ventured to meet his parlia- 
ment. He had then the address to prevail on both 
houses to consent to the repeal, on condition that the 
principal of their requests should be granted ; and at 
the same time ordered the process against the primate 
" to be erased, and quashed, as contrary to reason and 
truth t 

The failure of the two last campaigns might have 
weaned Edward from his attachment to continental 
alliances. But he was destined to experience a more 
cruel mortification. The emperor, who had concluded 

* Dissimulavimus sicut oportuit et dictum praetensum statutum sigil- 
lari permisimus ilia vice. Hym. v. 282. The principal articles of this 
statute, concerned the privilege of the peerage mentioned above, a provi- 
sion that the clergy should not be unduly interrupted in their courts by 
the civil officers, an order that all the great officers of the crown should be 
swurn to observe the magna cluuta, and that at the commencement of 
each parliament they should be suspended from the execution of their 
duties tor a ti-w days, during which interval they should answer all com- 
plaints against them before the house of lords. Hot. Parl. it. 132, 133. 

| Brad. iii. App. 83. J Hot. ParL ii. 139 

33 EDWARD in. [CHAP. i. 

a peace with France, revoked his commission of im- 
June perial vicar *, and the princes of the empire declined 
^ J ' to fight any longer under his banner. It is not im- 
probable that in these circumstances the quarrel be- 
tween the two crowns might have been accommodated, 
had not an event happened which promised to open 
to the king of England a road into the heart of France. 
John III., duke of Bretagne, had three brothers, Guy, 
Peter, and John earl of Montfort. Guy and Peter 
died before him ; but Guy had left a daughter, Jane, 
who, since the duke had no children, was considered 
by her uncle and the states as apparent heir to the 
duchy, and as such had been married to Charles de 
Ap r ;i Blois, nephew to the king of France f . But when John 
30. himself died his brother Montfort claimed the suc- 
cession, seized the treasures of the late duke, obtained 
possession of the principal fortresses, and crossing over 
to England, did homage, it was said, to Edward as king 
g t of FrancS, and his sovereign J. The cause, however, 
7. ' was carried before the legitimate tribunal, the peers of 
France, and by them the dukedom was adjudged to 
Charles de Blois in right of his wife. The king of 
France immediately sent a strong force under his son 
and his nephew into Bretagne ; the king of England 
armed in aid of his vassal. It is difficult to justify the 
conduct of Edward on this occasion ; for, if he admitted 
the claim of Montfort to the exclusion of Jane, he ought 
also to have admitted Philip's right to the French crown 
to the exclusion of Isabella and her offspring. Philip 
was more consistent. For by the laws of the monarchy, 
though females could not inherit the throne, they could 
succeed to fiefs equally with males. 

The war began to the advantage of Charles, who by 
treachery or surprise made himself master of Nantes, 
and got possession of the person of his rival. But the 

* Rym. v. 262. 264. f D'Argentre, v. 16. 

t Edward mentions nothing more than fcedus et amicitiee firmitatcm 
Rym. v. 230. 


interests of the Montforts were still supported by the Oct. 
courage and perseverance of his wife, Jane, sister to 
the earl of Flanders. As soon as she heard of the cap- 
tivity of her husband she presented her infant son to 
the citizens and garrison of Rennes, and exhorted them 
to defend the cause of the child, the only male issue, 
besides his father, of their ancient princes. Affected 
by her tears, beauty, and eloquence, and perhaps still 
more by the distribution of a liberal donative, they swore 
to live and die in her service : tne rising enthusiasm 
diffused itself through the neighbouring cities, and 
the interests of Charles appeared to be rather prejudiced 
than advanced by the captivity of his competitor. During 
the winter Jane retired to the fortress of Hennebon, 
sent her son for greater security to England, and 
earnestly solicited succours from Edward. In the ^ Ug 
spring Charles, with a numerous army, invested the 134-2. 
fortress, and the heroine, on horseback, and in ar- M ar - 
mour, directed and encouraged the garrison. On one 
occasion during an assault she sallied out at the op- 
posite gate, set the camp of the besiegers on fire, 
retired to the neighbouring castle of Aurai, and shortly 
after fought her way back into Hennebon. Still no 
succour arrived : the garrison was thinned by repeated 
assaults, and enfeebled by famine ; and the bishop of 
Leon had already arranged the terms of the capitulation, 
when the countess from the highest turret of the castle 
espied a fleet in the horizon, and exclaimed, " The May. 
" English ! I see the English !' The garrison imme- 
diately ran to the ramparts : all thoughts of a surrender 
were banished ; and sir Walter Manny, with a strong 
body of troops, who had been detained forty days by 
contrary winds, safely arrived in the harbour *. 

The force under Manny raised the siege of Hennebon, July, 
but was too weak to venture into the field. The coun- 
tess sailed to England herself, returned with Robert of 

* Froissait, c. 70, 71. 79. 


Artois and a small force of archers and men at arms, 
and besieged and took the city of Vannes. Edward 
followed in autumn with twelve thousand men ; but by 
attempting too much, effected nothing. He divided 
Oct. his forces into three divisions, with which at the same 
^' time he pretended to invest Rennes, Nantes, and Van- 
nes, which had lately been retaken by Charles : but the 
arrival of the duke of Normandy, the eldest son of 
Philip, compelled him to concentrate and intrench his 
forces. The French did the same ; and the two armies 
remained for several weeks during the depth of winter 
in the vicinity of each other*. At this juncture, to 
the equal satisfaction of both parties, two cardinals 
A. D. arrived, charged to mediate a peace by Clement VI., 
1343. who had been lately raised to the chair of St. Peter. 
.fan. A truce was concluded for three years and eight months, 
' during which a negotiation for peace should be opened 
before the pontiff, as a private individual, and the com- 
mon friend of the two powers t. One of the conditions 
stipulated for the release of John de Montfort; but 
Pliilip evaded its execution, and to the complaint of 
the pontiff answered, that he kept him in prison not 
for any public, but for private and particular reasons. 
* n .- At the end of three years he escaped from the Louvre 
p ,' disguised as a merchant, arrived safely in England, did 
jyj a ' homage to Edward as king of France, and returned to 
JO. Bretagne to die in the castle of Hennebon. By his will 
Sept. he appointed Edward guardian to his son$. 
~ It was not long before the hope of an accommodation, 
which had been so fondly cherished by the pontiff, was 
entirely extinguished. Each party daily violated the 
armistice, and the negotiators, instead of settling the 
conditions of peace, were employed in discussing com- 

* Avesb. 98 et seq. Robert died of his wounds. Rym. v. 349. 

t Kym. v. 337 .31)6. The parliament assented that messengers should 
be sent to the pope, per monstrer et purposer devant le seinl pier le pape, 
come devant meen amy, et noun pas come juge ne come compromessuir, 
les droitz fire Seign' le Hoi sur ses ch.ilrnges. Rot. Part. ii. 136. 

J Id. v. 365. Knyght. 2585. D'Argentre, v. 109. 


plaints and recriminations. The two nations were ex- 
asperated by mutual injuries ; and their sovereigns 
sought only a respite to breathe, that they might renew 
the contest. Preparations for war were made on both 
sides : Edward obtained grants of wool from his parlia- 
ment : Philip established the gabelle, the monopoly of 
salt for the benefit of the crown, which was so long con- 
sidered an intolerable grievance by the French. These 
modes of raising money afforded them opportunities of 
exercising their wit. The king of England declared 
that his adversary now reigned by salic law ; and the 
king of France retorted by denominating Edward " the 
" wool -merchant*." 

At length the English parliament recommended the 
renewal of hostilities T, and an army proceeded to 
Guienne under the command of the king's cousin, the 
earl of Derby, who was reputed the most accomplished 
nobleman, as well as one of the bravest warriors of the 
age. He landed at Bayonne, marched to Bordeaux, and June 
soon recovered the greater part of the places which had 6 - 
been conquered by the enemy. The most splendid ac- 
tion in the campaign was fought under the walls of 
Auberoche. The count of Lisle, the French comman- 
der, had ordered twelve thousand men to assemble se- 
cretly in the neighbourhood, and immediately i-nvested 
the place. With four engines they threw showers of 
stones within the walls, and forced the garrison to take 
shelter under the ground. The earl of Derby, with three 
hundred men at arms, and six hundred archers, ad- 
vanced through bye-ways to their relief: at supper tim^ ct 
they burst into the French camp : the general and prin- 23.' 
cipal officers were killed or taken at table, and the 

Contin. Nangii ad ann. 1343. Mezerai, 155. 

t Rot. P.irl. ii. 147. They begged the king not to suffer himself to be 
deceived, but to finish the war in a short time, either by battle or treaty, 
p. 143.152. The " great men" 1 undertook to pass the sea and adventure 
with him. the clergy granted him the tenth of their benences for thr*>e 
years, and the commons two tenths of cities and. boroughs, and two !it- 
teenths of the commonalty. Stat of Realm, i. 300. 2. 

42 EDWARD in. [CHAP. i. 

archers with their arrows instantly dispersed every small 
body of the enemy as soon as it was formed. But the 
intelligence had now reached the other half of the be- 
sieging army, which lay on the opposite side of the place, 
and the conquerors had still to contend against an enemy 
six times their number. The victory was secured by the 
garrison from the castle, who in the heat of the contest 
charged the rear of the French. Of the whole twelve 
thousand men, very few escaped. Nine earls and vis- 
counts were made prisoners : nor was there a man at 
arms among the English, who did not return with two 
or three barons, knights, or esquires, as his share of the 
captives *. 

The earl of Derby, having obtained a reinforcement 
from England, pursued his victorious career, while Ed- 
ward sailed to Sluys to meet the deputies of the cities of 

June Flanders. His object was to persuade the natives to 
withdraw their allegiance from earl Louis, their sove- 
reign, and to transfer it to his son, prince Edward. The 
majority of the deputies openly testified their disappro- 
bation of the proposal. Artaveldt not only spoke in its 
favour, but engaged to procure its adoption by the prin- 
cipal cities. At Bruges and Ypres he was successful ; 
but at Ghent his enemies had previously exasperated the 
inhabitants against him : he met with no civilities on his 

July way through the streets ; and had no sooner entered his 

17- house than it was surrounded by an enraged populace, 

demanding his head. The doors were forced : Artaveldt 

, , was murdered ; and Edward, deprived of his chief sup- 
26.vP rt > returned to England. Hither the Flemish depu- 
ties followed him, and consoled him for the loss of his 

Sept. demagogue, by engaging never to obey their earl till he 
30 - should swear fealty to the king of England. Louis lived 
at Ruremond, despoiled of the greatest part of his terri- 
tory : but he remained faithful to Philip, declaring that 
his conscience would never permit him to acknowledge 

* Froiss. c. 105, 106. Villani, ann. 1345. 


Edward for the king, till he should see him in posses- 
sion of the crown of France *. 

The uninterrupted success of the earl of Derby had 
proved how mucli might be effected by English valour, 
when its exertions were not checked by the councils of 
interested allies ; and Edward having collected a nu- 
merous force, consisting solely of his own subjects, sailed 
from Southampton, with the intention, as he gave out, 
of invading the southern provinces of France. But whe- 
ther it were that he sought to deceive the enemy, or that 
during the voyage he was dissuaded by Geoffrey de Har- 
court, a French refugee, he suddenly altered his course, 
and anchored in the road of La Hogue, on the coast of j,,iy* 
Normandy. The province was defenceless: while the 12. 
fleet burnt all the vessels in the different harbours, the 
army in three divisions pillaged the country, set fire to j,,iy 
the villages, and collected prisoners ; Carentan, St. Lo, 18. 
and Caen, a large and populous city, were taken ; and 
the spoil, with the constable of France, sixty knights, j u ] y 
and three hundred of the wealthiest citizens, was sent 26. 
to the fleet and conveyed to England t. Edward's object 
seems to have been to draw from Guienne the French 
army of one hundred thousand men, which had entered 
that province, to cross the Seine, march through Picardy 
into Artois, join his Flemish auxiliaries, who, to the 
number of forty thousand, had passed the French fron- 
tiers, and then lay siege to the important town of Calais. 
But on his arrival at Rouen he found the bridge over 
the Seine broken down, and Philip with a numerous 
force on the opposite bank. From this moment it be- 
came a contest of skill between the two monarchs. The 
king of England was impatient to pass the river, and 
bring his adversary to battle before he could be joined 
by his reinforcements : the king of France sought to 
confine the English to the left bank of the Seine till he 

Froiss.c. 114. 
t Froiss 155. c. 120122, and the official account in Avesbury, 12a 

44 EDWARD in. [CHAP. i. 

could overwhelm them with the superiority of his force. 
A"g Edward proceeded along the river, burning the villages, 
and plundering the towns of Vernon, Mantes, and Poissy ; 
but not a bridge had been left standing, and all his mo- 
tions were followed and watched by the enemy from the 
opposite bank. It was in vain that he sent his light 
troops to insult the fauxbourgs of Paris ; that he re- 
duced to ashes St. Germain, St Cloud, and Bourg la 
Reine ; and that some adventurers passed the river in 
boats, and set fire to Neuilly and Boulogne. Philip was 
not to be diverted from his purpose by the bravadoes of 
his enemy, or the murmurs of the Parisians. From this 
situation, which daily became more dangerous, the Eng- 
lish were delivered by a successful stratagem. De- 
camping early in the morning from Poissy, they ad- 
vanced with expedition towards the capital : but as soon 
Aug. as it was ascertained that the French army was in full 
* march for the same city, they rapidly retraced their 
steps, cleared the opposite bank with the aid of the ar- 
chers, crossed by the bridge which the workmen had re- 
paired, and took possession of Pontoise. Chagrined at 
the success of this manoeuvre, and elated by the number 
of troops that had crowded to his standard at St. Denis, 
Philip challenged the king of England to fight him on 
the plain of Vaugirard, or between Pontoise and Fran- 
conville. Edward replied thet he should always be found 
ready for battle ; but that, as he was in his own domi- 
nions, he would not allow any other person to dictate to 
him either the place or the day *. He continued his 
march, burnt, as he passed, the suburbs of Beauvais, 
plundered the town of Pois, and fixed his head-quarters 
at- Airaines. Anxious to cross the Somme, he despatched 
two marshals, with three thousand men, to discover or 
force a passage. They successively attempted the bridges 
of Pont de Remi, Long, and Pecquigny ; but were foiled 
in each place, and returned with the disheartening news 

Heming.385, 386. 


to the camp. Philip was at Amiens with one hundred Aug. 
thousand men, and the next morning took possession ^-' 
of Airaines, within two hours after the departure of the 
English. They reached Oisement in the evening, and 
the marshals returned again with the same melancholy 
intelligence. Despair was painted on every counte- 
nance : the next day they must overcome an army eight 
times more numerous, or be driven into the sea. Ed- 
ward assembled the prisoners ; he inquired if there were 
no ford over the river ; and by the promise of liberty and 
a valuable reward, induced a peasant to lead him to 
Blanchetaque, where, at the ebb of the tide, the Somme 
might be passed even on foot. The English marched *^ U S- 
at midnight: they arrived before the water was suffi- 
ciently low, and had the mortification to behold, a little 
after sunrise, the opposite bank lined with twelve thou- 
sand men under the command of Godemar du Fay. In 
this distressing situation they waited for some hours, ex- 
pecting every moment the arrival of their pursuers. 
About ten o'clock it was reported that the tide was out. 
Edward gave the word of command in the name of God 
and St. George ; and the men at arms plunged into the 
river. About the middle they were met by the French 
cavalry : but the English fought with the courage of de- 
spair, and the enemy were routed, with the loss of two 
thousand men. Philip at his arrival found only a few 
stragglers on the left bank. The rising of the tide com- 
pelled him to relinquish the pursuit, and lead back his 
army to Abbeville : the English took possession of Crotoi, 
and found in the port several vessels laden with the 
wines of Poitou and Saintonge *. 

Hitherto the king had retired rapidly before his pur- 
suers, now he halted to await their arrival. With his 
motives we are not acquainted ; but he must have had 
some powerful inducement to hazard an engagement 
with such a disparity of force. To his attendants he 

Froissart, c. 123125. Knyght 2587, and the official account in A v.-- 
bury, 136, 137. 


merely said, " We will go no further. I am now on the 
" lawful inheritance of my lady mother (the county of 
" Ponthieu), and it is my duty to defend it against my 
" adversary." Of his Flemish allies we have no intel- 
ligence. They had entered the French territories three 
weeks before, and probably had returned, or taken a 
different direction. 

Aug. Philip loitered a day at Abbeville, that he might in- 
25. crease his immense force by the addition of a few thou- 
sands. To Edward, who had to fight for his liberty and 
life, the delay was most valuable, as it allowed him to 
refresh his men after their fatigue, to arrange his plans, 
and to make the necessary preparations for battle. The 
spot on which he had determined to receive the enemy 
was an eminence, which rose with a gentle ascent a 
little behind the village of Creci. In the evening he 
invited his barons to supper, entertained them with 
cheerfulness, and dismissed them with a promise of vic- 
tory. When they were gone he entered his oratory, 
threw himself on his knees before the altar, and prayed 
that God would preserve his honour. It was midnight 
when he retired to his bed : he slept little, and at the 
dawn of the morning assisted at mass and received the 
communion with his son, the young prince of Wales, 
who had just reached his fifteenth year. 
Aug. As soon as the troops had breakfasted the marshals 
26. issued their orders, and each lord, under his own banner 
and pennon, marched to the ground which had been al- 
lotted to him on the preceding day. All were dis- 
mounted, to take away the temptation of pursuit or 
flight. The first division, under the nominal command 
of the prince, the real command of the earls of Warwick 
and Oxford, consisted of eight hundred men at arms, a 
thousand Welsh infantry, and two thousand archers. 
At some distance behind them, but rather on their flank, 
was placed the second division of eight hundred men at 
arms, and twelve hundred archers. The third, under the 
command of the king, comprised seven hundred men at 


arms and two thousand archers, and was stationed as a 
reserve on the summit of the hill *. The archers of each 
division formed in its front, in the shape of a portcullis ; 
and orders were issued that no man should incumber 
himself with the charge of a prisoner, or quit his post 
to pursue a fugitive. Edward, on a small palfrey, with 
a marshal on each side, rode from company to company, 
speaking to all, exhorting them to defend his honour, 
and expressing his confidence of victory. About ten 
o'clock he ordered them to take refreshment. They sate 
in ranks on the ground, with their bows and helmets 
before them. 

The king of France had marched from Abbeville about 
sunrise ; but the multitude of his followers advanced in 
so disorderly a manner, that the knights Avho had recon- 
noitred the English army advised him to postpone the 
battle till the morrow, and employ the interval in mar- 
shalling his army. Two officers were immediately de- 
spatched, one to the van, the other to the rear, crying 
out, " Halt, banners, in the name of God and St. Denis." 
But these orders increased the confusion. By some they 
were obeyed, by many misunderstood, and by the greater 
part disregarded. Philip suffered himself to be carried 
forward by ths stream ; and, as soon as he saw the Eng- 
lish, he lost his temper, and ordered the Genoese to form, 
and begin the battle. 

The Genoese were a body of six, or according to some 
writers, fifteen thousand Italians, who fought with cross- 
bows under two celebrated leaders, Antonio Doria and 
Carlo Grimaldi. They were supported by the king's 
brother, the count d'Alencjon, with a numerous cavalry 
superbly accoutred. The king himself followed with the 
rest of the army in four divisions : the amount of the 
combatants has been estimated by different writers at 
every intermediate number between sixty and one hun- 
dred and twenty thousand men. 

* These are the numbers in Froissart. They are evidently too low, ot 
those of the French army too high. 


Never perhaps were preparations for battle made 
under circumstances so truly awful. On that very day 
the sun suffered a partial eclipse ; birds in clouds, the 
precursors of a storm, flew screaming over the two armies ; 
and the rain fell in torrents, accompanied with incessant 
thunder and lightning. About five in the afternoon the 
weather cleared up, and the sun in full splendour darted 
his rays in the eyes of the enemy. The Genoese, setting 
up three shouts, discharged their quarrels. But they 
were no match for the English archers, who received the 
volley in silence, and returned their arrows in such 
numbers, and with such force, that the cross-bowmen 
began to waver. The count d'Alenqon, calling them 
cowards, ordered his men to cut down the runaways ; but 
he only added to the disorder. Many of his knights were 
unhorsed by the archers, and as they lay on the ground 
were despatched by the Welshmen, who had armed 
themselves with long knives for the purpose. 

At length the passage was cleared : the count on one 
side, and his colleague the earl of Flanders on the other, 
skirted the English archers, while a numerous body of 
French, Germans, and Savoyards, forced their way to 
the men at arms under the command of the prince. 
The second division immediately closed for his support: 
but the conflict grew fierce and doubtful, and sir Thomas 
Norwich was sent to request a reinforcement. Edward, 
who from a windmill watched the chances of the battle, 
and the movements of the armies, inquired if his son 
were killed or wounded. The messenger replied, " No. 
" Then," said he, " tell Warwick that he shall have no 
" assistance. Let the boy win his spurs. He and those 
" who have him in charge shall earn the whole glory of 
" the day." This answer was hailed as a prediction of 
victory, and infused new courage into the combatants. 

The king of France was impatient to join the count 
d'Alencon ; but the archers in his front opposed an im- 
penetrable barrier. At each charge he lost the bravest 
of his attendants ; his horse had been killed under him ; 


and his friends advised him, but in vain, to retire. At 
length it began to grow dark: his brother and the earl 
of Flanders had fallen ; and the battle was evidently lost, 
when John of Hainault, telling him to reserve himself 
for victory on some other occasion, laid hold of his bridle, 
and led him away by force. With a small retinue of 
five barons and sixty knights he escaped to the city of 

The flight of Philip did not terminate the contest. 
Many of the French continued in detached bodies to 
charge their adversaries ; but as their efforts were made 
without concert, they generally ended in the destruction 
of the assailants. As the darkness increased the fight- 
ing gradually ceased ; the voices of men, seeking the 
banners from which they had wandered, were no longer 
heard ; and the English congratulated themselves on the 
repulse of the enemy. The king, ignorant of the extent 
of his victory, ordered fires to be kindled, and forbade 
his men to quit their posts. Eager to testify his appro- 
bation of the prince, he sprang to meet him, and clasping 
him in his arms exclaimed, " Fair son, continue your 
" career. You have behaved nobly. You have shown 
" yourself worthy of me and the crown !" The young 
Edward sank on his knees, and modestly attributed all 
the merit to his father. 

The darkness of the night was succeeded by a dense Au<> 
mist in the morning, which equally intercepted the view, '^. 
and to gain information the king sent out before sunrise 
a detachment of three thousand men. They soon found 
themselves in the midst of a body of militia from Beau- 
vais and Amiens, which, ignorant of the preceding events, 
had marched all night to overtake the army. These 
men, unsuspicious of danger, and unprepared for battle, 
were massacred almost without resistance. A similar 
mistake proved equally fatal to the archbishop of Rouen, 
and the grand prior of France, with a numerous body 
of knights. As the day cleared, thousands of French- 
men were discovered in the fields, who had passed the 



night under the trees and hedges, in the hope of finding 
their lords in the morning. These too were put to the 
sword by the English cavalry : so that the carnage of 
the second is asserted to have exceeded that of the for- 
mer day. 

At noon the king ordered the lords Cobham and Staf- 
ford to examine the field of battle. They took with them 
three heralds, to ascertain from the surcoats of the 
knights, and two secretaries to record, the names and 
rank of those who had fallen. In the evening they pre- 
sented to the king eighty banners, and a catalogue of 
eleven princes, twelve hundred knights, and thirty thou- 
sand persons of inferior condition. A truce of three 
days was proclaimed to allow the enemy time to buiy 
their dead; and Edward assisted in mourning at the 
funeral service in the cemetery of Montenay *. 

Among the slain the most distinguished was John 
king of Bohemia t. Age had not chilled in him the fire 
of youth: though blind, he placed himself in the first 
division of the French ; and as the issue grew dubious, 
ordered the four knights, his attendants, to lead him 
into the hottest of the battle, " that I too," said he, "may 
" have a stroke at the English." Placing him in the 
midst of them, and interlacing their bridles, they spurred 
forward their horses, and were almost immediately slain. 
The reader will probably consider the Bohemian monarch 
as foolishly prodigal of his life : by the writers of the 
age his conduct has been extolled as an instance of un- 
paralleled heroism. His crest, three ostrich feathers, 
with the motto " Ich dien," I serve, was adopted by 
the prince of Wales, and has been always borne by his 

The conquerors beheld with astonishment the result 

* For the most interesting detail of this buttle we are indebted to Frois- 
sart, c. 126130. Every other writer of the age mentions it, but less in 

t Several historians have killed James king of Majorca at Creci. It is 
probable that he was not present : it is certain that he did not die till three- 
years later. 


of this bloody and decisive battle. They did not attri- 
bute it to their own courage or the imprudence of the 
enemy, but to the protection of the Almighty, who had 
thus pronounced judgment in favour of their sovereign ; 
and the thanksgivings which were offered up in the camp 
were quickly repeated in every town and village in Eng- 
land. The two kings immediately applied themselves 
Edward to improve the advantages of victory, Philip to 
avert the consequences of defeat. The former, that he 
might secure to himself a convenient harbour on the 
French coast, undertook to reduce the port of Calais ; 
and, foreseeing a long and obstinate resistance, ordered 
huts to be built for the accommodation of the army 
during the winter. The latter despatched a messenger 
with presents to the king of Scotland, exhorting him to 
seize the opportunity of Edward's absence, and by the Sept. 
invasion of England to avenge his own wrongs, and 3. 
afford assistance to his ally. Four years had elapsed 
since David, at the request of the people, had returned 
with his queen to his native country. His valour and 
accomplishments had won their esteem, and three suc- 
cessful incursions into the northern counties had grati- 
fied their revenge with the plunder of their enemies. 
The eagerness of the king wanted no additional stimulus : 
he had long menaced the English frontier ; and six days 
before the battle of Creci Lionel, the second son of Ed- Aw 
ward, and guardian of the kingdom, had ordered levies " 
to be made to watch and oppose the motions of " the 
" Scottish insurgents." From Perth David marehed 
with three thousand men at arms, and about thirty thou- 
sand others mounted on galloways. All were confident 
of success, at a time when the whole chivalry of England 
was lying before the walls of Calais, or fighting in the 
south of France. He entered Cumberland, took, after Oct. 
a siege of six days, the " pyle of Liddel," and immediately 2. 
beheaded the governor, plundered the abbey of Laner- 
cost, and directed his march by Hexham into the 

E 2 

52 EDWARD in. [CHAP. i. 

bishopric of Durham. While he lay at Beaurepaire *, 
()ct ' a country-house belonging to the monks, the English 
army assembled without his knowledge in Auckland 
park. It amounted to twelve hundred men at arms, 
three thousand archers, and a body of seven thousand 
infantry, composed of clergymen, of the militia of the 
neighbourhood, and of a small band of Welshmen. 
Queen Philippa, emulating the example of the countess 
of Montfort, rode among them, and addressed them in 
kind and animating language, bidding them protect 
their country from ravage, and the honour of their sove- 
reign from insult. They answered with shouts of ap- 
plause : she recommended them to God and St. George, 
and retired to a place of safety t. 

Oct. Douglas, tbe celebrated knight of Liddlesdale, had 
17. that morning conducted a party of plunderers to Ferry- 
hill. On his return he was intercepted by the English 
army at Sunderland bridge, and was fortunate to escape 
with the loss of five hundred men. On his report David 
marshalled his army on the moor : the English already 
stood in array on an eminence near Nevil's Cross. The 
Scottish cavalry, entangled among the hedges, were ex- 
posed to the unerring aim of the archers ; and the most 
distinguished knights were successively unhorsed or 
slain. After a sharp contest the earl of Moray fell, and 
the wing which he commanded was dispersed. In the 
other wing the Stewart maintained but a faint and wa- 
vering resistance ; in the centre the king saw with dis- 
may the bravest of his knights falling around him. 
But his pride disdained to flee, or surrender, and his 
nobles, forming a circle for his protection, prolonged the 
fight till two wounds which he received brought him 
to the ground. Coupland, a Northumbrian gentleman, 
instantly sprang from his charger to seize the royal 
prey. A violent struggle ensued. Coupland lost two of 

* It is now called Bearpark. t Froiss. c. 136, 

A. D. 1346.] WAR IN GUIENNE. 53 

his teeth ; but he secured the king, and with the assist- 
ance of eight friends carried him safely through the 
crowd, and rode with him to his castle of Ogle. The 
Scots made no longer any resistance ; and the Stewart, 
collecting the fugitives, conducted them to their own 
country *. 

It is singular that on this memorahle day the English 
fought without any commander-in-chief. The arch- 
bishop of York, and the lords Henry Percy, and Ralf 
Nevil, had been appointed arrayers of the northern 
forces : but in the battle they seem to have possessed 
equal command, and to have assumed no authority over 
the other chieftains t. The Scots left fifteen thousand 
men on the field, and among them several noblemen of 
the highest distinction. The list of prisoners exhibits, 
in addition to the king, the names of three earls, and 
forty-nine barons and. knights. The earl of Monte ith, 
who had been sworn of Edward's privy council, and the 
earl of Fife, who had done homage to Baliol, were con- 
demned as traitors $. The latter owed his life to his 
relationship to the royal family ; the former suffered the 
punishment of the law. David was reluctantly delivered 
by Coupland to the sheriff, and conducted in great state 
to the Tower of London. The captor was knighted, and 
rewarded with the grant of an ample estate in land . 

When Edward so suddenly changed his course from 
Bordeaux to La Hogue, he left the gallant earl of 

* Ford. xiv. 2, 3. Froissart, 135, 136. Heming. 381. Knyght. 2590 

+ Rym. 524. In the letter of thanks issued by prince Lionel, the earl 
of Angus, and several others, are mentioned with equal commendation. 
Rym. 528. 

t They were condemned by the king in council at Calais on the noto- 
riety of ihe fact. No trial was granted them: and the sole office of the 
judges was to proceed to the Tower and pronounce the sentence, such as 
it liad been sent to them by tlie kin. Rym. v. 549,550. Rot. Scot i. 
687 9. Fife's mother was niece to Edward I. 

He was made a banneret, with an income of five hundred pounds a 
year. Rym. v. 542. The same day the king at Calais granted to him, 
Robert liertram, and William Silvcrtop the elder, a general pardon for all 
former transgressions, on account nf their " good services" in the battle of 
NVvil's Cross. Rym. v. 543. Coupland was afterwards murdered. Rvm. 
v,. 494. 

54 EDWARD in. [CHAP. i. 

Derby to struggle in the defence of Guienne against the 
powerful army commanded by John duke of Normandy, 
eldest son to the French monarch. The earl wisely 
refused to meet his adversary in the field, and the duke 
inarched from Toulouse with 50,000 foot, 6000 horse, 
and a. long train of military engines. Few places dared 
to oppose so overwhelming a force : nor was the progress 
of the torrent checked till it reached the walls of Ai- 
guillon. From May till the end of August John be- 
leaguered that fortress. He repeatedly employed every 
resource, which ingenuity could discover, or force could 
supply ; the army, in four divisions, which relieved each 
other every three hours, continued the assault for six 
successive days ; towers were erected, engines were 
discharged, and the houses within the walls were de- 
molished by incessant showers of stones. But sir Walter 
Manny and his brave garrison could neither be worn 
out with fatigue, nor be intimidated by numbers. They 
repelled the assailants ; they burnt the engines ; and 
by frequent sallies they inflicted serious injuries on the 
besiegers. The duke, unable to succeed by force, at- 
tempted to starve the garrison into a surrender. He 
swore that he would never quit the place till it was in 
his possession ; and to the remonstrances of his officers 
replied, that he could not in honour violate his oath. 
After all, it was the victoiy of Creci that saved Aiguil- 
lon : Philip required the presence of his son, and the 

2$' aid of his army. No sooner was he gone than the earl 
of Derby issued from Bordeaux, crossed the Garonne, 
laid waste the Agenois, Saintonge, and Poitou, and 
carried by storm the rich and populous city of Poitiers. 

Oct. When he had revenged on these provinces the devasta- 
* tions which the enemy had committed in Guienne, he 
led back his troops loaden with plunder into their winter 
quarters *. 

Edward was now engaged in the siege of Calais, a 

* Froissart, c. 117, 118, 119. 132. Villani, aim. 1346. Avesb. 142 144 


siege which formed a new era in the military history of 
the age. Contrary to all precedent, not an assault was 
given, not a single engine was erected against the 
place. Instead of force, the king relied on the slower 
but less fallible operation of famine. A numerous fleet 
blockaded the harbour ; and all communication with 
the interior was intercepted by the lines of the besiegers. 
John de Vienne the governor saw with dismay a town 
of huts rise around him : he penetrated into the design 
of the king, and after a strict inquiry turned out of the Sep. 
town every individual, who did not possess a sufficient 
supply of provisions for several months. Men, women, 
and children, to the number of seventeen hundred per- 
sons, advanced in mournful procession to the English 
camp. Edward ordered them to be received, gave them 
a plentiful repast, and at their departure distributed to 
each two pieces of silver *. But the garrison began to 
feel the privations of scarcity, while the besiegers were 
twice in the week plentifully supplied from Flanders 
and England : a new inquiry was made, and five hun- 
dred more of the inhabitants were driven without the 
gates. If Vienne relied a second time on the humanity 
of Edward, he was disappointed. The English lines 
were shut against them, and the unfortunate sufferers, 
without covering or provisions, perished miserably be- 
tween the walls and the camp. Philip did not neglect 
the means in his power to relieve so important a fortress. 
During the winter two fleets with men and supplies 
attempted to enter the port. One succeeded, but the 
other was captured. In spring he ordered all his vassals 
to meet him on Whitsunday, and, taking with him the A .i>. 
ori-flamme, the sacred standard of France, encamped at 1347. 
Wissant, with a hundred and fifty thousand men t. J'^y 


" Froissart, c. 131. 

_ t A messenger by sea was taken carrying a letter to Philip from the gar- 
rison, declaring that they had eaten their horses, their dogs, and all the 
other animals they could procure, and that nothing remained for them but 
to eat each other. They assured him that it" he did not relieve them soon, 
they had resolved to attack the enemy, and die with honour in the field, 

56 EDWARD in. [CHAP. i. 

There were but two roads by which it was possible to 
approach the English, along the beach, or over the 
marshes by the bridge of Nieulay. The former was 
lined with ships, on board of which had been stationed 
several thousand archers : the bridge was strongly forti- 
fied, and intrusted to the care of the earl of Derby. To 
attempt either would probably have been attended with 
the destruction of the assailants. Proposals of peace 
were made and refused on any other condition than the 
immediate possession of Calais. Philip had recourse to 
the expedient of challenging Edward to a general 

J ' ll y battle*. The king's pride silenced his prudence: he 

^ accepted the challenge ; but the French monarch, 
taught by the defeat which he had suffered at Creci, 

Aug. retired on the eve of the day which had been appointed. 
The moment he was gone the arms of England, quar- 

^ u _ tering the lilies with the lions, were seen to wave on the 
3. castle t. It was, however, in vain that the governor 
solicited terms of capitulation. Edward insisted that he 
should surrender at discretion ; and the inhabitants, who 
knew that the king had expressed a resolution to punish 
their habits of piracy, and that his former enmity had 
been embittered by the obstinacy of their resistance, 
received the answer with feelings of despair. They met 
in the market-place to consult ; and the common gloom 
was dispelled by the generous devotedness of Eustace 
de St. Pierre, who offered to stake his life for the safety 
of his fellow-townsmen. Five others imitated his ex- 
ample, and the procession walked from the gate to the 

Aug. English camp. It was headed by Vienne, riding on a 

rather than perish with hunger in the town ; and ended with a wish that 
God might give him grace to make to them and their heirs a return for 
what they suffered in his service. This letter, which is preserved by 
Avesbury and KnyghtOD, was forwarded by Edward. Knyght. 2593. 
Avesb. 157. 

* Froissart gives us a very interesting dialogue between Edward and 
the bearers of the challenge (c. 143). It is probably a fiction. The his- 
torian tells us that the king refused, the king himself, that he accepted 
the challenge. Avesb. 165. 

f Knyght. 2594. Avesb. 163 166. 


palfrey, on account of his wounds : fifteen knights fol- 
lowed with their heads bare, and their swords pointed to 
the ground ; and then came the six townsmen barefoot, 
and bareheaded, with halters in their hands. By Ed- 
ward they were received with an air of severity. The 
governor presented to him his sword, and the keys of the 
town ; and joining his companions in misfortune, im- 
plored on his knees the mercy of the conqueror. The 
king affected to be inexorable, rejected the intercession 
of his barons, sent for the executioner, and, if he at last 
yielded, it was with apparent reluctance to the tears and 
entreaties of his queen Philippa. The prisoners were 
left to the disposal of their fair advocate, who clothed 
them, invited them to a plentiful repast, and at their 
departure made to each a present of six nobles*. Thus 
was Calais severed from the French crown after a siege 
of twelve months. To. secure his conquest, Edward ex- 
pelled the natives who refused to swear fealty to the king 
of England t, and repeopled the town with a colony of 
his own subjects. It rapidly became a place of con- 
siderable opulence : it was appointed the general mart 
for the sale of merchandise exported from England $; 
and it continued to flourish for more than two centuries 
under the protection of its conqueror and his successors. 

* Froissart (c. 144) has dramatised this incident with considerable 
effect, but I fear with little attention to truth. From his narrative I have 
selected the circumstances which seem to harmonise best with the state- 
ments of other writers, who merely inform us that on this, the same hap- 
pened as on most similar occasions, that is, a deputation of knights and 
citizens in the guise of criminals, implored and obtained the king's mercy. 
I may, however, observe that even in Froissart there is nothing to prove 
that Edward designed to put these men to death: on the contrary, he 
takes notice that the king's refusal of mercy was accompanied with a 
wink to his attendants, which, if it meant anything, must have meant that 
he was not acting seriously. 

t Philip was careful to provide for the exiles, and gave to them in pre- 
ference to others the vacant offices in his dominions. Spondan. 488. 

J Rym. v. 618. Among those who swore fealty to Edward was the very 
Eustace de St. Pierre, whose character Fruissart lias so much embellished. 
The king gave him mo*t of his former property, and additional lauds ; and 
he on his part undertook to maintain by his influence peace among the 
native population. At hii death in 1351 these donations reverted to the 
crown, because his heirs refused to acknowledge Kdwaid for their sove- 
reign. See Brequigny, Mem. de i'Acad. xxxvii. 537. 

58 EDWARD in. [CHAP. i. 

Writers have not always sufficiently appreciated the 
benefits which mankind derived from the pacific influ- 
ence of the Roman pontiifs. In an age which valued 
no merit but that of arms, Europe would have been 
plunged in perpetual war had not pope after pope la- 
boured incessantly for the preservation, or restoration of 
peace. They rebuked the passions, and checked the 
extravagant pretensions, of sovereigns ; their character, 
as the common fathers of Christians, gave to their repre- 
sentations a weight, which no other mediator could 
claim ; and their legates spared neither journey nor 
fatigue to reconcile the jarring interests of courts, and 
interpose the olive of peace between the swords of con- 
tending armies. As soon as the war recommenced be- 
tween Edward and Philip, Clement had resumed his 
pacific endeavours : for two years he ceased not to en- 
treat, to admonish, to reprehend ; the violence and ob- 
stinacy of his belligerent children did not exhaust his 
patience ; and as soon as the French army had reached 
Whitsand, the cardinals of Naples andClermont offered 
their services to prevent the effusion of blood. But 
Philip refused to deliver up a town which had so long 
set at defiance the power of his adversary, and Edward 
would not forego the expected reward of his persever- 
ance in so tedious a siege. When Calais had fallen 
g.,^ the legates renewed their offer : each king was now will- 
28. ing to admit of a temporary respite ; and an armistice, 
which was concluded for a few months, was, at the re- 
peated instances of the holy see, gradually prolonged 
for six years *. It was a breathing time necessary to 
the king of France, that he might restore his finances 
and the spirit of his people : it was welcome to the king 
of England, who could now repose with satisfaction 
under the laurels which he had gained. The victories 
of Creci and Nevil's Cross had stamped the reputation 
of the English, and raised their sovereign to the fust 

* Rym. 7. 588. N. Rym. iii. 100. 


rank among the princes of Europe ; two of the chief 
of his opponents, David king of Scots, and Charles de 
Blois duke of Bretagne *, were his prisoners ; and not 
only had he preserved his former possessions, but had 
even added to them the town and harbour of Calais, an 
important station for his navy, and a convenient opening 
into the territory of his rival. 

During the armistice Edward did not hesitate to em- 
brace two opportunities of displaying that personal 
courage which was the first requisite in the character of 
a true knight. Amerigo di Pavia, though an Italian, 
held a distinguished place in the king's esteem, who 
had intrusted him not only with the command of his 
fleet, but with the custody of his late conquest, the town 
of Calais. Sir Geoffrey de Chargny the French gover- 
nor of St. Omer, tempted the fidelity of Amerigo with 
the offer of twenty thousand crowns. The proposal was 
accepted by the Italian, not with the intention of be- 
traying his trust, but of punishing the man who sought 
to stain his honour ; and it was mutually agreed that, 
on the payment of the money, a French force should be 
privately introduced into the castle on the last night of 
the year. Edward, who was in the secret, arrived, and 
landed in the dark with three hundred men at arms and 1343. 
six hundred archers : at the appointed hour a messen- Dec. 
ger from the governor of St. Omer was admitted, and 31. 
paid down the money, and at midnight twelve French 
knights and one hundred men at arms were introduced 
by a postern into the area of the castle. They were im- 
mediately surrounded and secured ; and the English 
under sir Walter Manny assailed Chargny, who had 
halted near the gate of Boulogne. The Frenchman made 
a gallant but useless resistance : the guard which he 
had placed at the bridge of Nieulay was overpowered, 
and, as the means of retreat were cut off, he surrendered 

He had been surprised in his tent at the siege of La Roche d'Errien. 
But the war was continued in Bretagne by the two ladies, his wife, and the 
widow of John of Montfort. Froiss. c. 1 11. 


with all his companions. Edward in this affray had 
fought on foot as a private knight under the banner of 
Manny, and had nearly paid the forfeit of his temerity. 
He singled out for his antagonist sir Eustace de Ribeau- 
mont, a warrior of distinguished valour : twice he re- 
ceived a stroke on his helmet which brought him on his 
knees ; but he recovered himself with the aid of his 
shield, and ultimately became master of his adversary. 
A. D. It was not till the prisoners had been brought into the 
] 349. castle that the king discovered himself. He invited them 
"' to join him at supper, when the prince of Wales and 
the English knights waited on their guests ; and after 
supper, rising from the table, he took from his head a 
chaplet of pearls, placed it on the temples of Ribeaumont, 
and accompanied the present with a high encomium on 
bis merit. " To you, sir knight," said the king, " I 
" adjudge the prize of valour in the action of this morn- 
" ing, and pray you to wear my chaplet during the year 
" for my sake. Wherever you go, tell the ladies that it 
" was given by the king of England to the bravest of 
" knights." Ribeaumont was immediately released : 
Chargny and his companions paid proportionate ransoms 
for their freedom*. 

A. D. There was another occasion, in which the chivalry 
1330. of Edward exposed his life to greater danger without 
any better motive for his temerity. The Spanish ports 
in the bay of Biscay were inhabited by a race of hardy 
and adventurous seamen, famed for nautical skill and 
commercial enterprise, and at all times eager to dis- 
play their hostility to the English mariners, their prin- 
cipal competitors on the ocean. The ships from these 
ports had formed a large fleet for their common pro- 
tection, and had sailed up the channel to the harbour 
of Sluys under the command of don Carlos de la Cerda. 

* Compare Froissait, c. 148, 149, with Avesbury, 180. Chargny learn- 
ing afterwards that the Italian lived without any guard in his castle of 
Fretun, which Edward had fiiveti him, surprised him one morning, carried 
him to St. Omer, aud put him to death in the market-place. Johnes' 
Froissart, 262. 

A. D. 1350.] VICTORY AT SEA. Gl 

Their chief object was to trade with the mercantile 
cities of Flanders ; but on their passage they had com- 
mitted many acts of piracy ; and when they were 
threatened with reprisals, boldly claimed the dominion 
of the seas, and defied the vengeance of those whom 
they had injured. De la Cerda, however, aware of the 
probable consequences, had the prudence to furnish 
his vessels with warlike stores, and by considerable offers 
allured on board a number of military adventurers. 
Edward determined to chastise the insolence of the 
Spaniards ; and unwilling to yield the glory to his cap- 
tains, took upon himself the command of the fleet *. 
With fifty sail (but the English vessels in point of ton- 
nage and equipment were far inferior to those of the 
Spaniards) he cruised for three days between Dover and 
Calais. He sate on the forecastle dressed in a jacket 
of black velvet, and amused himself with his minstrels, 
till the appearance of the enemy was announced to him 
from the head of the mast. Immediately the trumpets 
sounded ; the line was formed ; and the king and his 
knights, having drunk a draught of wine, put on their 
armour. The Spaniards with the wind in their favour 
might have declined an engagement : but they disdained 
to alter their course, and bore down on their opponents. 
The battle was obstinate and doubtful. Edward com- AH:*. 
pelled the master to lay his ship in the way of a vessel 29. 
in full sail. The concussion opened several leaks ; nor 
was the crew able to bail out the water as rapidly as it 
entered. The danger was not perceived by the king, 
whose mind was intent on the battle only ; but his at- 
tendants, to save their lives, by a bold and desperate effort 
boarded and captured their adversary. The prince of 
Wales found himself in a still more dangerous con- 
dition. His vessel was on the point of sinking, when 
the earl of Derby, lately created duke of Lancaster, 
came to his assistance, and saved him from the waves. 

Rym. v. C79. 

62 EDWARD in. [CHAP. i. 

In the evening fourteen of the Spanish ships had been 
captured : but the advantage had been dearly purchased 
with the loss of many knights of distinction, and of 
several vessels. Edward landed in triumph at Win- 
chelsea, and was received with joy by the queen, whose 
servants from the heights hud watched the commence- 
ment and progress of the battle*. The men of Biscay 
were not dismayed by their loss : but it was soon dis- 
covered that the quarrel was equally detrimental to the 
A. D. interests of each party ; and a truce for twenty years 
^ 51> was concluded at London between the king of England 
"^ ' and the " maritime cities of the lordship of the king of 
' Castile f." 

The victories, which had conferred so much honour 
on Edward, had been purchased, it was said, with the 
blood of fifty thousand Englishmen : but the memory 
of this loss was almost obliterated by the calamity which 
shortly afterwards visited the island, a pestilence as 
general and destructive as any recorded in history. We 
first discover it in the empire of Cathai : thence we may- 
trace its progress through different provinces of Asia 
to the Delta and the banks of the Nile: a south wind 
transported it into Greece and the Grecian islands ; 
from which it swept the coasts of the Mediterranean, 
depopulated Italy, and crossed the barrier of the Alps 
A . D . into France. A succession of earthquakes, which shook 
1348. the continent of Europe from Calabria to the north of 
Poland, ushered in the fatal year 1348 : and though 
England escaped this calamity, it was deluged from the 
month of June to December with almost incessant tor- 
rents of rain. In the first week of August the plague 
made its appearance in Dorsetshire ; in November it 
reached London, and thence gradually proceeded to- 
wards the north of the island. Of its victims many ex- 
pired in the course of six hours, and few lingered more 
than two or three days. From man the exterminating 

Johnes, Froissart, 252 261. WaU. 1G2. tRym.v. 7*7- 


malady spread itself to the brute creation : the carcasses 
of sheep, horses, and oxen, lay scattered on the fields ; 
they were untouched hy birds of prey ; and their putre- 
faction aided the malignity of the disorder. The labours 
of husbandry were neglected ; no courts of justice were 
opened ; the parliament was repeatedly prorogued by 
proclamation ; and men, intent only on their own safety, 
fled from the care of the infected, and slighted every 
call of honour, duty, and humanity. When historians 
tell us that one half or one third of the human race 
perished, we may suspect them of exaggeration: but 
it is easy to form some idea of the mortality from the 
fact, that all the cemeteries in London were soon filled ; 
that sir Walter Manny purchased for a public burial- 
place a field of thirteen acres, where the charter-house 
now stands ; and that the bodies deposited in it during 
several weeks amounted to the daily average of two 
hundred. It was observed, that though the malady 
assailed the English in Ireland, it spared the natives. 
The Scots too were exempt for several months ; and 
the circumstance afforded them a subject of triumph 
over their enemies, and introduced among them a popu- 
lar oath, " by the foul dethe of the English." They 
had even assembled an army to invade the neighbouring 
counties, when the contagion insinuated itself into their 
camp in the forest of Selkirk : five thousand men died 
before they disbanded their forces ; and the fugitives 
carried with them the infection into the most distant 
recesses of Scotland *. 

The consequences of the mortality are carefully de- 
tailed by the contemporary writers. At first the re- 
duction in the number of the consumers effected a pro- 
portionate reduction in the price of all merchantable 
articles : in the second year the prices rose with a ra- 

* Knysht. 2599. Wals. 199. Ford. xiv. 7. Rym. 655. 653. Edward 
himself, speaking of the number of the dead, uses the vaue expressions 
of, non modic;i pars populi, and magna pars ponuli. Kym. v. 668 693. 
New Rym. iii. 316. Gil. 

64 EDWARD in. [CHAP. i. 

pidity and to a height which alarmed the government *. 
The ravages of the pestilence had been chiefly confined 
to the lower orders t : for the more wealthy, by shutting 
themselves up in their castles, and declining all un- 
necessary communication with the neighbourhood, had 
in a great measure escaped the infection. But hence 
rose a scarcity of labourers for the cultivation of land, 
and of artisans to construct or repair the implements 
A. D. of husbandry. To remedy the evil, Edward published 
1349. a singular proclamation, prohibiting the relief ofmen- 
"" e dicants able to work, and compelling all men and women 
in good health, under the age of sixty, and without 
visible means of subsistence, to hire themselves as ser- 
vants, at the same wages as in former years, to any 
masters who should be willing to employ them. The 
execution of these orders was intrusted to the she- 
riffs, bailiffs, and other officers of the crown, who were 
to seek out all such persons within their respective 
jurisdictions, and at the same time take care that no 
master should employ more of them than his propor- 
tionate number $. But in spite of fines, imprisonment, 
and the pillory, the ingenuity and avarice of the labourers 
contrived to elude the provisions of the proclamation : 
during the harvest the most exorbitant wages were de- 
manded and given; and for their own benefit the pro- 
prietors judged it expedient to waive their claim of 
rent from their farmers, and the lords of manors to sus- 
pend the compulsory labours of their villeins $. But 

* Knyghton gives the following as the low prices, 2599. A ho 

T ITlHXime It Jteiiltlliruiu tt st i > uruiiuui. iv * ii*. Y.W^W. 

i Knyght. L>600. Rym. v. 693. Stat. of Realm, 1. 307. 

Knyght i601. He mentions the following as exorbitant wages * 
nower received a shilling a day with his victuals: a reaper riEhteenpence 
i day and his victuals. Id. StiOO. The ordinary wages of workmen ure 


in the next parliament the ordinance was converted 
into a statute ; the amount of the wages to be given to 
different classes was determined ; and new penalties 
were enacted against the transgressors. 

The piety of the age attributed this destructive visi- 
tation to the anger of the Almighty : but in speculating 
on the causes which provoked that anger, every writer 
seems to have been swayed by personal prejudices, or 
local considerations. All, however, embrace the oppor- 
tunity to inveigh against the prevailing extravagance 
of dress, the silk hoods and party-coloured coats of the 
men, their deep sleeves and narrow confined waists, the 
indecent shortness of their hose, and the ridiculous 
length of their pointed shoes, the bushy beard before, 
and the tail of hair behind *. Some had even the te- 
merity to extend their censure to the females, whom 
they affected to describe as having renounced the native 
modesty of the sex, to ape the manners, and adopt in 
a great measure the dress of the men. No lady of dis- 
tinction, if we may believe them, could now ride on a 
palfrey; she must be mounted on a spirited charger. 
Her head was encircled with a turban, or covered with 
a species of mitre of enormous height, from the summit 
of which ribbons floated in the air like the streamers 
from the head of a mast. Her tunic was half of one 
colour, and half of another : a zone deeply embroidered, 
and richly ornamented with gold, confined her waist, 
and from it were suspended in front two daggers in 
their respective pouches. Thus attired she rode in the 
company of her knight to jousts and tournaments, par- 
took of the different diversions of the men, and by her 
levity and indiscretion afforded food to the lovers and 

l.t'f. Masters of the above trades, one penny per day more than their 
men. No man was allowed to work out of his neighbourhood, except the 
inhabitants of Staffordshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire. Craven, and the 
marches of Scotland and Wales, who had always been accustomed to seek 
employment during the harvest in all parts of England, Rot. 1'arl. ii. 234. 
Stat. of Realm. 1.311. 

* Chaucer, 198. Uaguin, apud Spond. 488. 


66 EDWARD in. [CHAP. i. 

retailers of scandal *. Whatever the reader may think of 
these censures, he must be entertained with the descrip- 
tions. But there is one discovery which I must not omit, 
that of the fanatics denominated flagellants, or whip- 
pers. It was their peculiar felicity not only to know 
that the mortality had been sent in punishment of sin, 
but to be in possession of the only means by which the 
remission of sin could be effected. Divided into com- 
panies of male and female devotees, under a leader and 
two masters, they stripped themselves naked to the 
waist, and publicly scourged themselves, or each other, 
till their shoulders were covered with blood. This ex- 
piatory ceremony was repeated every morning and after- 
noon for thirty-three days, equal in number to the years 
which Christ is thought to have lived upon earth ; after 
which they returned to their former employments, 
cleansed from sin by " the baptism of blood." The fla- 
gellants appeared first in Hungary ; but missionary 
societies were soon formed, and they hastened to impart 
the knowledge of the new gospel to foreign nations -h 
They spread with rapidity over Poland, Germany, and 
the Low Countries. From France they were excluded 
at the request of the pope, who had issued a severe con- 
stitution against them J ; but a colony reached England, 
and landed in London, to the number of one hundred 

* Knyght. 2507. In 1363 a statute was passed to repress extrava- 
uMiire of dress, to which in the preamble is attributed the poverty of the 
nation. Its prohibitions extend to six classes, 1. Labourers and work- 
men ; 2. Masters and yeomen ; 3. Gentlemen and esquires whose income 
does not exceed 100 marks per annum, aud merchants and tradesmen 
whose goods are valued at 500t ; 4. Persons of the same degree as the last, 
but with lands or goods of twice the value ; 5. Kuisjhtswith an income not 
exceeding 200 marks per annum : 6. Do. witli an income of 400 marks or 
more. For each class the cloth is regulated by a fixed price. The use of 
silk, cloth of gold, gold and silver, and precious stones and furs, is abso- 
lutely forbidden to the three first; of cloth of gold, of cloaks, mantles, and 
.owns, trimmed with the more precious furs, to the two next. The last 
were allowed to wear all these things, with the exception of ermine and 
jewels. Ladies belonging to the two last classes might wear jewels in 
their head-dress. Rot. Parl. ii. k 2^. 

t Johnes' Froiss. ii. 263. Bzov. ad. ann. 1349. 

j L'Evesque has given us two stanzas of one of their hymns, p. 531. 
They run in the following strain: Through 


and twenty men and women. Each day at the appointed 
hour they assembled, ranged themselves in two lines, 
and moved slowly through the streets, scourging their 
naked shoulders, and chanting a sacred hymn. At a 
known signal all, with the exception of the last, threw 
themselves flat on the ground. He, as he passed by 
his companions, gave each a lash, and then also lay down. 
The others followed in succession, till every individual 
in his turn had received a stroke from the whole brother- 
hood. The citizens gazed and marvelled, pitied and 
commended ; but they ventured no further. Their faith 
was too weak, or their feelings were too acute ; and they 
allowed the strangers to monopolise to themselves this 
novel and extraordinary grace. The missionaries made 
not a single proselyte, and were compelled to return 
home with the barren satisfaction of having done their 
duty in the face of an. unbelieving generation *. 

Through love of man the Saviour came. 

Through love of man he died ; 
He suffer' (1 want, reproach, and shame, 

Was scourged, and crucified. 
O ! think then on thy Saviour's pain, 
And lash the sinner, lash again. 
\Vuls. 169. Avesb. 179, 180. Murim. 103. Stow, 246. 




Renewal of the \Vav in France Victory of Poitiers Liberation of the 
King of Scots Peace with Fiance Release of King John Who 10- 
turns and dies War in Spain Victory of Navarutte Confiscation of 
Guienne Sickness and death of the Black Prince Death of the King 
Amendments in the Laws and administration of Justice Constitu- 
tion and Forms of Parliament Manner of raising Taxes Constitution 
of the Army and Navy. 

EDWARD had now awaked from the dream of his am- 
bition. Convinced by experience that the French crown 
lay beyond his reach, he offered to renounce his pre- 
tensions in exchange for the sovereignty of the pro- 
vinces, which he held as a vassal in his own right, and 
in the right of his queen. By Philip the proposal was 
rejected with scorn : John, his son and successor, dis- 
covered, perhaps feigned, a willingness to accept it. 
When the envoys of the two powers met at Guisnes to 
prolong the armistice, they agreed that such an arrange- 
ment offered the only basis on which could be founded 
the hope of a permanent peace ; and promises were 
given and received that the necessary renunciations on 
each side should be made in the presence of the new 
pontiff, Innocent VI. ; that the prelates and barons of 
both kingdoms should signify their assent ; and that 
each monarch should subject himself and his dominions 
to the censures of the pope, in case he should ever vio- 
late the treaty. But this prospect, so consoling to the 
friends of humanity, was closed by the pride of the 
French people. The prelates and barons of England 


t heir procurators with full powers to the court of 
Innocent : but those of France declared that they would 
never suffer their king to surrender a sovereignty which 
formed the brightest jewel in the French crown *. Ed- 
ward complained of the bad faith of his adversary : in- 
dignation urged him again to arms ; and a plan of com- 
bined operations was concerted between him and his 
eldest son, now called, from the colour of his armour, 
the black prince. The latter opened the campaign with 
an army of sixty thousand men. The orders issued to 
the soldiers were to pillage, burn, and destroy ; and, 
that they might extend their ravages over a wider tract 
of country, they were divided into several " battles ' A'."' 
with directions to keep during the march at a certain Q c t 
distance from each other. From the walls of Bordeaux ti. 
the prince led his plunderers through the county of Ar- 
magnac to the foot of the Pyrenees ; and turning to the 
north, continued his devastations till he arrived before 
the city of Toulouse. Two days were spent in fruitless 
attempts to provoke the enemy to battle : on the third 
he passed the Garonne by a ford, resumed his destruc- 
tive career, and gave to the flames the suburbs of Carcas- 
sone, and the burgh of Narbonne. But the measures 
which had been taken to assemble a numerous army 
in his rear admonished him to return. The enemy 
retired at his approach: the English, loaden with plun- 
der, marched back to Bordeaux ; and the young Ed- 
ward could boast, that in the short space of seven weeks 
he had laid in ashes more than five hundred cities, 
towns, and villages, in a populous district, which for a 
century had not been visited with the horrors of war !-. 

During this expedition the king of England marched ',"'" 
from Calais at the head of a gallant army : but all his 

Rym. v. 794 799. 808. 816. Knycht 2607. Wals. 170 Murim. l/3. 

- the official account in Avesb'ury, 210226. Carcassone wa- 
lari'c as York, Narbonne but little less than London. Ibid. 220. The pre- 
text for such devastations was that the French king drew a considerable 
part of his revenue from these provinces, and that by ravaging them his 
means of continuing the war would be proportionably abridged. Ibid. 

70 EDWARD in. [CHAP. n. 

plans were disconcerted by the superior policy of John, 
who cautiously shunned an engagement, but was careful, 
as he retired before his adversary, to lay waste the 
country around him. The English had not reached 
Amiens when the want of provisions compelled them 
to return. A scanty supply was procured in the Bou- 
lonnois ; and they entered Calais on the tenth day 
Nov. after their departure from it. Here the French monarch 
1-. sought to amuse Edward with proposals for a general 
X,)v. battle; while his allies the Scots surprised Berwick, 
6. poured over the borders, and spread devastation through 
the northern counties. But at the first intelligence the 
Nov. king hastened to England, met his parliament at West- 
->> minster, obtained a liberal aid for six years, and ordered 
his forces to assemble in Northumberland. Berwick 
was recovered by the sole terror of his approach ; and 
A- U - at Roxburgh he purchased from Baliol his patrimonial 
3 06. p r0 p er ty in Galloway, together with his rights to the 
20 Scottish throne. That prince, advanced in age and 
without children.-gladly surrendered a barren and dis- 
puted title for the present sum of five thousand marks, 
and a yearly rent of two thousand pounds *. From 
Roxburgh Edward marched through the Lothians with 
the banner of Scotland displayed before him ; and the 
English, meeting no enemy, divided themselves into 
small bodies, and reduced to ashes every farm-house, 
village, and town, within twenty miles of the sea-coast. 
At Edinburgh their progress was again arrested by the 
want of provisions. A fleet, indeed, carrying a plentiful 
supply, had sailed for the harbour of Leith ; but it had 
been driven back by a strong northerly wind; and 
Edward reluctantly ordered the army to return to Eng- 
land. The Scots hovered on its rear, and consoled 
their revenge with the slaughter of the few stragglers 
who loitered behind. The havoc caused by this ex- 
pedition was long remembered by the natives, who in 

Rym. v. 832-844. 850. 859. Rot. Scot. i. 788. J99. Baliol died in 
1363. Kuyght. 27. 


their subsequent incursions into England animated 
themselves to similar depredations by the cry of " the 
" burnt candlemas *." 

The next year was signalised by the ever memorable 
victory of Poitiers. The honour and plunder of the 
late campaign stimulated the prince of Wales to a simi- 
lar attempt in a different direction. With a small army 
of twelve thousand men he left Bordeaux, ascended the July 
Garonne as far as Agen, and turning to the left overran 6. 
the fertile provinces of Querci, Limousin, Auvergne, 
and Berri. Conquest was riot his object, but to inflict 
on the natives the injuries of war, and to enrich his fol- 
lowers at the expense of the enemies. The harvest was 
trodden under foot ; the cattle were slaughtered ; the 
wines and provisions which the army could not con- 
sume were destroyed ; the farm-houses, villages, and 
towns, were reduced to ashes ; and every captive, able 
to pay his ransom, was conducted to Bordeaux. He 
turned from Issodun and Bourges, which threatened 
a vigorous resistance ; but took Vierzon by storm, and Sept. 
Romorantin by setting it on fire. In this desolating *. 
expedition it does not seem to have occurred to the 
young prince that it was dangerous to penetrate so far 
into a powerful kingdom, or that his retreat might pro- 
bably be intercepted by a more numerous force. The 
king of France had ordered his vassals to join him at 
Chartres, and crossing the Loire at Blois, pushed for- 
ward to the city of Poitiers. Edward, when it was too 
late, had commenced his march for the same city : but 
it was his misfortune to know nothing of his enemy but 
from vague and suspicious reports, while his own mo- 
tions were accurately observed, and daily notified to 
the French monarch. One day, after a fatiguing march, 
the English had reached in the afternoon the village of 
Maupertuis, about five miles from Poitiers, when their Sept. 
van unexpectedly fell in with the rear of the enemy. The 17. 

* Avtfsbury, 235233. Knyght. 2611. Lei. Col), i. 566. Ford. xiv. 13. 

72 EDWARD in. [CHAP. n. 

danger of his situation immediately flashed on the mind 
of the prince. " God help us," he exclaimed, " it only 
" remains for us to fight bravely *." 

In stating the amount of the hostile armies, historians 
are greatly at variance : but of their relative numbers a 
probable estimate may be formed from the testimony of 
sir Thomas Gray, that John had 8000, Edward 1900 coats 
of arms under his command t. This superiority, however, 
was partially balanced by the advantage of a position 
most unfavourable to the operations of the cavalry, which 
formed the real, the only strength of the French army. 
It was a rising ground, covered with vineyards, and inter- 
sected with hedges, accessible only in one point through 
a long and narrow lane, which in no part would admit of 
Sept. more than four horsemen abreast. In the morning the 
^- prince ordered his men at arms to form on foot in front 
of the road : one half of his archers he posted before 
them in the favourite figflre of a portcullis or harrow : 
the other half he ordered to line all the hedges between 
the main body and the moor on which the enemy was 
encamped. John arrayed his army in three divisions 
on foot, under the separate command of his cousin the 
duke of Orleans, of his three eldest sons, and of him- 
self and his fourth son, a youth in his sixteenth year. 
He retained on horseback only three small bodies, one 
of which, consisting of three hundred knights and 
esquires, selected from the whole army, was destined 
for the hazardous attempt of dispersing the archers in 
front of the English line. These arrangements were 
hardly completed when the cardinal Talleyrand Peri- 
gord arrived on the field, and with uplifted hands be- 
sought John to spare the blood of so many noble knights ; 
nor stake on the uncertain issue of a battle the advan- 
tages which he would certainly obtain by negotiation. 
His repeated entreaties wrung from the king a reluctant 
consent ; and riding to the prince, he represented to 

Froiss. e. 155 157. t Scala Chron. 1/5. 


him the danger of his situation. " Save my honour," 
said the young Edward, " and the honour of my army, 
" and I will readily listen to reasonable conditions." 
" Fair son," replied the cardinal, " you have answered 
" wisely. Such conditions it shall be my task to pro- 
" cure." The legate was indefatigable in his endeavours. 
He rode from army to army. He laboured to subdue 
the reluctance of the prince, and to lower the confidence 
of the king. Edward offered to restore his conquests, 
his spoil, and his captives, and not to bear arms against 
France for seven years. John, at the persuasion of the 
bishop of Chalons, and Eustace de Ribeaumont, de- 
manded as his ultimatum, that the prince and a hundred 
of his knights should surrender themselves prisoners 
of war. The proposal was indignantly rejected: the 
prospect of a pacification vanished ; and the night was 
spent in preparations for battle. To judge from the 
opposite numbers, no doubt could be entertained of its 
issue ; but the recollection of the battle of Creci cheered 
the English with a gleam of hope, and occasionally 
staggered the confidence of their enemies*. 

With the dawn of light, the trumpets summoned the Sept. 
two nations to their respective posts. The English had 19. 
improved the interval to throw up trenches, and form a 
barricade of waggons, where their position seemed the 
least difficult of access. The French had made no other 
alteration than to place a body of reserve under the 
duke of Orleans in the rear, and to give the command 
of the first division to the two marshals, Arnold d'An- 
dreghen and John de Clermont. The cardinal Talley- 
rand was again in the field : but his entreaties were fruit- 
less, and he was told that so much importunity dis- 
pleased the king, and might be attended with disagree- 
able consequences to himself. He then rode to convey 
the tidings to the prince, who coolly replied : " God de- 
" fend the right !" and the departure of the legate was 

* Froiss. c. 169. 

74 EDWARD III. [CHAP. 11. 

made the signal for the commencement of the battle. 
The French marshals, at the head of their cavalry, fear- 
lessly entered the lane, and were suffered to advance 
without molestation. At last the order was given : the 
archers behind the hedges poured in destructive volleys 
of arrows ; the passage was choked with men and horses 
in the agonies of death ; and the confusion became irre- 
mediable, from the increasing pressure of the rest of the 
column. A few knights forced their way through every 
obstacle: others broke down the hedges, and in small 
bodies reached different points in front of the Engli'sh ; 
but not one could penetrate as far as the main body. 
The arrows were directed with too sure an aim to be 
eluded by address, and flew with a rapidity not to be re- 
sisted by ordinary armour. D'Andreghen was unhorsed 
and taken ; Clermont was killed ; the survivors, dismayed 
by their fate, paused, then retired slowly, and at last 
fled with precipitation to the second division, which re- 
ceived them within its ranks. 

But that division now began to waver. The archers, 
the terror of the men at arms at a distance, advanced in 
front, and a body of six hundred English was unexpect- 
edly seen to cross a neighbouring hill, and fall on the 
left flank. The knights in the rear hastily left their 
banners to secure their horses, and the lords who had 
the charge of the three princes, alarmed for their safety, 
sent them to Chauvigni under a guard of eight hundred 
lances. The departure of so large a body was mistaken 
for a flight, and the whole division in a few minutes dis- 

The men at arms under Edward had hitherto been 
spectators of the combat. " Sir," said sir John Chandos 
to the prince, "the field is won. Let us mount, and 
" charge the French king. I know him for an intrepid 
" knight, who will never flee from an enemy. It may 
" be a bloody attempt ; but, please God and St. George, 
" he shall be our prisoner." The advice was approved, 
and the army advanced from the enclosures to the moor, 


which had become the theatre of battle. The duke of 
Athens, constable of France, was the first to throw him- 
self in their way : his shout of "Mountjoy and St. Denis!'' 
was answered by the national cry of " St. George for 
" Guienne !" and in a few minutes the duke, with the 
greater part of his followers, was slain. The German 
cavalry next charged the English ; but were easily dis- 
persed with the loss of the three earls, their commanders. 
Lastly, John himself, animated by despair, (for his reserve 
had fled already) led up his division on foot, and fought 
for honour, when it was evidently too late to fight for 
victory *. 

When kings have fallen or have been taken in battle, 
it has always been the fashion to describe them as per- 
forming prodigies of valour : but John does not owe his 
reputation to flattery or pity: it had been previously 
established in several engagements, and was equally 
acknowledged by friends and foes. For awhile he main- 
tained the unequal contest. He had received two wounds 
in the face ; was beaten to the ground ; and was sur- 
rounded by a host of adversaries, each of whom was 
anxious to secure so noble a prize. A young knight,burst- 
ing through the crowd, bent his knee, and requested 
him to surrender, or he would lose his life. He asked 
for his cousin, the prince of Wales. " He is not here," 
returned the knight, " but surrender to me, and I will 
" conduct you to him." " But who are you ?" inquired 
the king. " Denis de Morbecque," he replied, " a knight 
" of Artois, but compelled to serve the king of England, 
" because I have been banished from France." John 
surrendered to him ; and his son Philip was made pri- 
soner at the same time t. 

* Froiss. c. 160. In relating the events of this battle Froissart's arrange- 
ment is sometimes evidently erroneous. Thus ho kills the constable of 
France before the flight of the three princes, anil describes him as fighting 
after their flight. I have placed them in the order in which I conceive 
them to have happened. 

t Froiss. c. 161. This writer's account is full : a few additional parti- 
culars may be gleaned from the French and Knglisli historians. Tho 
names of the slain and of the captives may be seen in Avesbury, 232. 

76 EDWARD in. [CHAP. n. 

Thus ended the battle of Poitiers, in which the whole 
chivalry of France was defeated by a handful of Eng- 
lishmen, and the king became the captive of the prince 
whom, he persuaded himself, he had enclosed in his toils. 
If on such an occasion the youthful mind of the con- 
queror had betrayed symptoms of vanity, it would have 
been pardonable : but Edward's moderation in victory 
added to the admiration which he had inspired by his 
conduct in battle. There were in his army many knights, 
who could have disputed with him the palm of personal 
bravery : there was not perhaps one his equal in the 
more amiable accomplishments of modesty and courtesy. 
He behaved to his royal captive with all the respect due 
to a sovereign, waited on him at table, soothed his afflic- 
tion by reminding him of his valour, and assured him, 
that in the estimation of all who had witnessed his con- 
duct, he had that day fairly won " the prize and gar- 
" land'' of chivalry*. The next morning he continued 
his march with his prisoners to Bordeaux, and having 
concluded a truce for two years with the dauphin, the 

'23. ' re o ent f France, returned to England in the spring. 

May He landed with John at Sandwich, and proceeded by 
5. easy journeys to London. His father had given the ne- 
cessary directions for his entry into the capital, under 
the pretence of doing honour to the king of France ; an 
unwelcome honour, which served to remind that monarch 
of his captivity, and to make him the principal ornament 
in the triumph of his conqueror. Arches were thrown 
across the streets, tapestry, plate, and arms were sus- 
pended from the windows, and the road was lined with 

May crowds of spectators. The lord mayor at the head of 

--! more than a thousand citizens, divided into companies, 
distinguished by their respective devices and colours, 
proceeded to meet the prince and his attendants in 
Southwark. The king of France was mounted on a 
cream-coloured charger with magnificent trappings : the 

* Froiss. c. 164. 


young Edward rode on a small pony, without any thin"- 
to distinguish him : but he did not elude the eager eyes 
of the spectators, who hailed with loud acclamations the 
conqueror of Poitiers. Some hours elapsed before the 
cavalcade could reach Westminster-hall, where the king 
was seated on his throne, surrounded by his prelates and 
barons. When John entered he rose, descended to 
embrace him, and led him to partake of a splendid ban- 
quet. The palace of the Savoy, and afterwards the castle 
of Windsor was allotted to him and his son for their resi- 
dence *. 

According to a notion, which had been prevalent for 
ages, the prisoner of war became the absolute property 
of the captor. The man, who might have deprived him 
of life, had acquired a right to his person ; and, as he 
was swayed by avarice or generosity, passion or caprice, 
prolonged or shortened, the detention of the captive. 
Edward, aware of the inconveniences arising from this 
system, had long attempted to abolish it, by withdrawing 
prisoners of consequence from the custody of individuals, 
and placing them under his own control. From those, 
whom he dared not offend, he purchased their captives 
for a stipulated sum : others he compelled to surrender 
them at a price fixed by his council. Thus he secured 
two great advantages. He was enabled to retain in cap- 
tivity the prisoners whose release might be prejudicial 
to his interests ; and, as he was careful to demand more 
than he had given, was sure to replenish his coffers from 
their ransoms. At Nevil's Cross the king of Scotland, 
in the battle of Poitiers the king of France, had fallen 
into the hands of two obscure individuals, who surren- 
dered their captives at the command of their sovereign, 
and thankfully accepted the remuneration which he as- 
signed them f. Had he still entertained the chimerical 

Froiss. c. 1/0. Knyght. 1615. Murim. 110. 

) Thus Coupland gave uj> the king of Scots, and received with the rank 
nf a banneret lands to the yearly value of 600/. Rym. iii. 542. Morbecqne 
was less fortuuate. Though the kiug of France declared that he \vus 

78 EDWARD in. [CHAP. n. 

design of conquering the two kingdoms, he would not 
have consented to the release of these monarchs : but he 
resolved to draw more solid advantages from his victories, 
and willingly entered into negotiations respecting the 
amount and the conditions of their ransoms. David was 
the first who had lost his liberty, and he remained 
A.. eleven years the prisoner of his brother-in-law. He was 
1351. permitted to visit Scotland, and confer with his subjects; 
but the demands of Edward were high : the Scots were 
poor and obstinate ; and the unfortunate prince, after 
A. D. several fruitless attempts, returned to his prison. Three 
1354. years later another negotiation was opened: the ransom 
*!" y of David was fixed at ninety thousand marks, to be paid 
Q C J by equal instalments in nine years : Edward confirmed 
5. the treaty ; the day for its execution was appointed, and 
commissioners were named, to give freedom to the king, 
and receive hostages for the payment of the money *. 
To his bitter disappointment, the king of France, a friend 
and ally, despatched an envoy to Scotland with powers 
to conclude a treaty, and distribute among the nobility 
forty thousand crowns. It was a paltry sum ; but the 
glitter of the money furnished an argument which Scot- 
tish poverty could not resist. The parliament abandoned 
their king, refused to furnish the hostages for his release, 
and engaged to make war upon England t. 

But Edward's expedition to Haddington and Edinburgh 
taught the Scots to doubt the policy of their engage- 
A. D. ments with France, and they consented to meet the Eng- 
1357. li s h commissioners to treat of the liberation of their king, 
u 'y and a perpetual alliance between the two crowns. Their 
partiality, however, for the French induced them to pro- 
tract the negotiations: for the space of three months 

prisoner to Morbecque, who gave up his claim to Edward (Rym. vi. 72), 
an action was brought against him by an esquiro, Bernard de Troie, who 
maintained that he himself was the real captor ( Rym. vi. 154). Morbecque 
died before the cause was decided in the marshal's court Edward occa- 
sionally allowed aid to the agents of Troie to pursue the suit (Rym. vi. 
509, 510), but wp .-ire not acquainted with the issue. 

* Rym. v. 791. Rot. Scot. i. 708771. + Ford. xiv. 9. 


difficulties were objected, explanations demanded, and 
expedients suggested and withdrawn : but the victory 
of Poitiers roused them from their apathy, and they 
now became as eager in making their proposals, as they 
had hitherto been backward in accepting the proposals 
of Edward. At length it was agreed that " Sir David, 
" king of Scotland" (so Edward condescended to term ^ ct 
him for the first time) should be set at liberty on the fol- 
lowing conditions : that during the next ten years there 
should be a truce between the two powers ; that the king 
of Scotland should pay the king of England one hundred 
thousand marks in twenty half-yearly instalments ; and 
that in default of payment on any occasion, David should 
again surrender himself a captive within thirty days 
after the term had expired. To the faithful observance 
of these articles the Scottish prince swore on the gospels, 
and as an additional security named for hostages twenty 
heirs of the principal families in the kingdom, with nine 
earls, three of whom in rotation should always remain in 
the custody of the king of England. Edward, however, Oct. 
was not satisfied ; and the deputies of the Scottish pre- * 
lates, barons, and burghers, severally gave their bonds, 
by which these orders separately, and all the members 
individually, made themselves responsible for the pay- 
ment of the whole, and of every part of the sum stipu- Nov. 
lated by the treaty. David immediately received his 1- 
freedom, and returned to his own country *. 

But the Scots soon discovered that they had it not in 
their power to fulfil their engagements. After two pay- 
ments they fell into arrears : Edward complained ; ex- 

Rym. vi. 31. 3338. 4064. Murim. 111. After this Edward never, 
except in the treaty for the union of the two crowns, gave him the title of 
kin:,' of Scotland, but called him our dear brother sir David of Brus, or of 
Scotland. Robert the successor of David complained, but obtained no 
other satisfaction than a declaration that the omission of the title should 
not invalidate the acquittances given for the payment of the ransom (Kot. 
Scot. i. 953). Both by Edward and Richard II. Robert is always inof- 
ficial documents designated as the head of a party in Scotland, " le noble 
" et puissant prince Robert, notre chier cousyn d'Escossa, et les granlz de 
" sa partie." Ibid. ii. 13. 57. 

80 EDWARD in. [CHAP. n. 

cuses were offered and at first accepted; but his wants 
rendered him impatient, and for eight years the amity 
between the two crowns seemed perpetually on the point 
of being interrupted. It was not that David was un- 
willing, but unable to satisfy the obligation. He repeat- 
edly visited his brother-in-law ; and on one occasion 
came to an understanding with him, that on his demise 
without issue, the English king, who still claimed as the 
A. i). representative of Baliol, should ascend the Scottish 
1 3G3. throne, but on conditions which should preserve invio- 
" v " late the rights and customs and independence of that 
kingdom. The very mention of such a project alarmed 
the pride of the Scots ; and David had the prudence to 
desist from the attempt, and to open a new negotiation 
with Edward. After many discussions an agreement 
was made, by which all the penalties incurred by former 
failures were annulled, and a truce was granted for the 
A. D. long term of five-and-twenty years, on condition that 
1365. the Scots should annually, during that period, pay into 
|" ie the English treasury the sum of six thousand marks : 
but a proviso was added, giving to either party, at the 
expiration of four years, the option of recommencing 
hostilities after six months' previous notice ; stipulating, 
however, at the same time, that, if David were the ag- 
gressor, he should still be bound to the payment of the 
six thousand marks per annum ; but if Edward, he 
should receive no more than the remaining balance of 
the original ransom *. It so happened that at the end 
of four years the king of England was engaged in war,' 
A> D> and unwilling to draw on himself additional hostilities 
1369. from Scotland, he consented to abandon his former de- 
July mands, and to receive four thousand marks per annum, 
2W - during fourteen years, which, with what had already 
been paid, would make up the first sum of ninety thou- 
sand marks f. David died soon afterwards : but the 
great truce (so it was called) was carefully observed, 

* Rym. vi. 426. 4C8. t Id. vL G32 


and the money was faithfully paid by Robert his suc- 
cessor, the first of the house of Stuart who sate on the 
Scottish throne. 

But to adjust the rival claims of the kings of England 
and France was a matter of infinitely greater difficulty. 
By the pope's mediation a form of peace, subject to the 
approbation of Edward, had been agreed upon at Bor- A ' D ^ 
deaux, before the prince of Wales and his captive sailed -yj ar 
to England*. Two legates followed them to London, 03. 
and the negotiations recommenced. Edward required 
an enormous ransom for the king and the other pri- 
soners, and demanded in return for his renunciation of 
all claim to the crown of France the restoration of the 
provinces which had formerly belonged to his ancestors, 
to be holden by him in full sovereignty without any 
dependence on the French monarch. These were hard 
and galling conditions,, yet such as perhaps might be 
justified by the existing state of affairs. The king of 
France was a captive ; his son, the regent, was without 
authority ; in some provinces the peasants had risen in 
arms, plundering and demolishing the castles of the 
nobles ; others were pillaged by parties of marauders, 
who formerly belonged to the English array, but were 
now disavowed by Edward : in Paris the provost of the 
merchants at the head of the populace set the royal au- 
thority at defiance ; and in Normandy the king of Na- 
varre declared war against the regent, and was suspected 
of aspiring to the throne, as heir in the female line to 
Louis le Hutin. John, though he explained, and he- 
sitated, and delayed, at length acceded to Edward's de- A. n. 
mands : the necessary instruments were sealed ; and two 1359. 
prisoners of war returned to France to lay the treaty . * r- 
before the states, and obtain their ratification. But when 
their contents were disclosed, they were received with 
horror. Every Frenchman felt for the degradation of 
his country; and a peremptory refusal was unanimously 

Rvm. vi. 319. 

82 EDWARD in. [CHAP. n. 

Aug. returned. Edward complained that he was again de- 
1-. ceived by the insincerity of his adversaries, and bade 
them prepare for war at the termination of the truce. 
They endeavoured to retort the charge, by maintaining 
that the unreasonableness of his demands was a proof 
that he did not wish them to be accepted *. 
O-t. In the beginning of autumn the king sailed from 
'28. Sandwich with eleven hundred transports, conveying 
the most numerous and best appointed army which had 
been raised in England for more than a century. From 
Nov. Calais this mighty host marched in three divisions at a 
* considerable distance from each other, with long trains 
of waggons in the two intervals t. In defiance of the 
season and of the enemy they forced their way through 
Nov. Picardy, Artois, and Cambresis, as far as Rheims, 
30. where the kings of France were generally crowned. It 
was Edward's intention to have the ceremony performed 
on himself in that city ; but it was so gallantly defended 
by the archbishop and the inhabitants, that after wast- 
ing seven weeks before it, the king raised the siege and 
A . . marched into the duchy of Burgundy. The duke Philip, 
1360. unable to protect his people against so powerful an 
J an - enemy, purchased a truce for three years by an engage- 
~ " ment to pay the sum of fifty thousand marks $, on the 
'jO. 'condition that he should remain neutral; that his 

" 134. Knyght. 2616. Wals. 

t Rym. vi. 142. Froissart gives a curious account of the baggage of the 
army. " I must inform you that the king of England and his rich lords 
" were followed by carts loaden with tents, pavilions, mills, and forces, to 
" grind their- corn, and make shoes for their horses, and every thing of 
" that sort which might be wanting. For this purpose there were upwards 
' of six thousand carts, each of them drawn by four good and strong 
" horses, which had been transported from England. Upon these carts 
" were also many vessels and small boats, made surprisingly well of boiled 
" leather: they were large enough to contain three men, to enable them 
" to fish any lake or pond, whatever might be its size; and they were of 
" great use to the lords and barons during Lent : but the commonalty 
" made use of what provisions they could get. The king had 1 
" thirty falconers on horseback, loaden with haw ks ; sixty couple of 
" strong hounds, and as many greyhounds; so that every day he took the 
" pleasure of hunting or fishing. Many lords had their hawks and 
' hounds, as well as the king." Johnes' Froiss. c. 20s*. 
I 200,000 moutons d'or. 

A. D. 1360.] CONSENTS TO A PEACE. 83 

dominions should be free from contributions and hos- 
tilities ; that his subjects should have permission to 
serve either prince out of the limits of Burgundy ; and 
that, if a majority of the French peers should acquiesce 
in the coronation of Edward as king of France, the 
dissent of the duke should be considered as a violation 
of the treaty *. 

While Edward remained in Burgundy the English 
nation was thrown into confusion by the sudden appear- 
ance of a French fleet, which swept the channel, and 
insulted the coast with impunity. Winchelsea was ^ ar 
taken and pillaged ; and the report of the barbarities, 16 ' 
which had been exercised on the captives, induced men 
of every profession, clergy as well as laity, to arm them- 
selves in defence of their country. The king of France 
for greater security was by command of the council 
removed from place to place ; troops were collected in 
the ports the most exposed to the enemy ; all merchant 
vessels were seized for the king's use ; the maritime 
counties were compelled to furnish a certain proportion 
of men at arms ; and a fleet of eighty sail, with four- 
teen thousand men on board, was placed under the com- 
mand of sir John Paveley, prior of the knights hospi- jj ai . 
tallers. The French now thought it prudent to retire : 26. 
but the English, to revenge the atrocities committed at 
Winchelsea, followed them to their own coast, and took Apr. 
and plundered the small isle of Sein on the coast of lo- 
Bretagne (. 

From Burgundy Edward turned to the north, fol- Mar. 
lowed the course of the Seine, and within a fortnight 31 
planted his banner before the gates of Paris. During 
the festival of Easter the operations of war were sus- Apr. 
pended by mutual consent ; but it was in vain that the 
papal legates attempted to open a negotiation. The 

Rym. vi. 161164. Scala Chr. 190. 

t Rym. vi. 167, 168. 180. According to the royal writs, the French JHU 
all the inhabitants of Winchelsea to the sword. Transcripts for Now 
Hymer, 5. 


lofty pretensions of the king of England were met with 
equal obstinacy by the dauphin ; whose confidence 
was strengthened by the numbers that crowded to his 
standard, by the severity of the weather, and by the 
distress of the English from the scarcity of provisions. 
After sending an idle challenge to his adversary, and 
wreaking his vengeance on the suburbs by setting them 

<j " on fire, Edward decamped, with a threat that in the 
summer he would pay the capital a second and more 
formidable visit. Necessity compelled him to take the 
shortest road to Bretagne. At Guillardon he was over- 
taken by the chancellor of France, with new proposals 
of peace. They were rejected : the chancellor perse- 
vered, and the king hastened his march. The precipi- 
tation of the English was like that of a defeated army, 
seeking to escape the pursuit of a victorious enemy ; 
their route was covered with the dead bodies of men 

Apr. and horses, the victims of want and fatigue ; and in the 

13. neighbourhood of Chartres they found themselves ex- 
posed to one of the most dreadful storms recorded in 
history. The violence of the wind, the bulk of the hail- 
stones, the incessant glare of the lightning, and the 
sight of the thousands perishing around him, awakened 
in the heart of the king a sense of the horrors occa- 
sioned by his ambition. In a fit of remorse he sprang 
from his saddle, and stretching his arms towards the 
cathedral of Chartres, vowed to God and the Virgin that 
he would no longer object to proposals of peace, pro- 
vided they were compatible with the preservation of his 
honour *. 

The negotiation now advanced with greater speed. 
On the 7th of May an armistice was concluded : on the 
8th the treaty, emphatically called " the great peace," 

j,j a was signed at Bretigni by commissioners from each 

9, party. The king of England renounced his pretensions 

to the crown of France, and his claim to the ancient 

* Froiss. o. 209. According to Knyghton 6000 horses perished on that 
day. Knyht. 2624. ScaU Chron. U>3. 


patrimonial possessions of his family, Normandy, Anjou, 
Touraine, and Maine; he restored all his conquests, 
with the exception of Calais and Guisnes ; and reserved 
to himself Poitou and Guienne with their dependencies, 
and the county of Ponthieu, the inheritance of his mo- 
ther. The dauphin, on the part of his father, consented 
that Edward and his heirs should possess for ever the 
full sovereignty of the countries secured to him by the 
treaty ; that a ranson of three million crowns of gold 
should be paid for John within the course of six years ; 
and that Edward should receive and detain as hostages, 
twenty-five French barons, sixteen of the prisoners 
made in the battle of Poitiers, and forty-two burghers 
from the most opulent cities in France*. 

The king immediately hastened to England, and John May 
was sent to Calais, that he might the more easily com- ^^- 
municate with his son, the dauphin, who for that pur- July 
pose repaired to Boulogne. Many unexpected difficul- b. 
ties sprung up : explanations were repeatedly demanded 
and given by each party, and three months elapsed 
before the treaty was solemnly ratified. Even then the 
ratification contained an important departure from the 
original articles. John was anxious to obtain from Ed- 
ward his renunciation of all claim to the French crown ; 
Edward to obtain from John a renunciation of the sove- 
reignty over Guienne, Poitou, and Ponthieu. Yet these 
renunciations were not made ; not that either of the 
kings refused to abide by the original treaty, but be- 
cause the lawyers held, that no renunciation would be 
valid till all the other provisions were carried into exe- 
cution. It was, however, mutually agreed, that every Qct 
cession stipulated by the treaty should be made as soon -24< 
as possible: that then the renunciations should be faith- 
fully exchanged in the church of the Augustinians at 
Bruges, on the next feast of the assumption, or at the 
latest on that of St. Andrew. In the mean time each 

* Rym. vi 1J5 196. Two crowns of cold were equal in value to au 
English noble. Transcripts for New Rym. 55. 


monarch pledged his word that he would make no use 
of his claim, and that as far as the interest of the other 
was concerned it should be considered as formally re- 
nounced *. 

After these preliminary steps the treaty was ratified 
with more than usual solemnity at Calais. Edward and 
John met in the church of St. Nicholas, ascended the 
steps, and knelt together on the platform of the altar. 
Oct. The papal envoy, Audoyn, abbot of Cluni, who celebrated 
24- mass, turned to them after the consecration, holding the 
paten with the host on it in his hand, and having by his 
side the bishops of Winchester and Boulogne, who sup- 
ported the missal. He recapitulated in their hearing 
the chief articles of the treaty, to which they were going 
to swear. Then Edward, after a short pause, addressed 
the king of France : " Fair brother," said he, " I warn 
" you, that it is not my intention to be bound by this 
" oath, unless you on your part faithfully observe all the 
" articles of the treaty." John signified his assent, and 
placing one hand on the paten, and the other on the 
missal, swore by the body of Christ and the holy gospels. 
He was followed by Edward ; and a similar oath was 
administered to twenty-four French, and to twenty- 
seven English princes and barons t. 

But John's authority had been impaired by his mis- 
fortunes, and he found it an easier matter to promise 
than to perform. After much opposition and repeated 
delays, he had been able to transfer to Edward the 
several districts mentioned in the treaty ; but such was 
his poverty, that in four years he had not paid one-third 
of his ransom ; and so stubborn was the opposition of his 
barons, that he never dared to make the renunciation of 
sovereignty to which he had bound himself. Whatever 
was the cause of the delay, no man questioned the king's 
honour : but the sincerity of his son was deemed more 

Rym. vi. 219298. 

t Rym. vi. 233. In the ratification of the treaty Edward did not assume 
his usual title of king of France. 


problematical. It was under the plea of that sovereignty 
that former kings of France had annexed to their orown 
the possession of many among the fairest provinces in 
the kingdom ; and it was suspected that the reluctance 
of the dauphin arose from the hope that the same claim 
might hereafter afford him an opportunity of incorpo- 
rating with his own dominions those which by the treaty 
had been secured to Edward and his successors. 

It should, however, be admitted that the French go- 
vernment had also just reason of complaint. During 
the war, the liberality and reputation of Edward had 
drawn to his standard soldiers of fortune from every 
nation in Europe. These men could live only on the 
harvest of their swords ; and when the king ordered 
them to surrender the fortresses in which they had been 
quartered, they refused to obey, kept possession in 
defiance of the two monarchs, and supported themselves 
with the plunder of the country. It is computed that 
" the companies " (so they were named) amounted at 
one period to forty thousand men. The number is pro- 
bably exaggerated: but they associated together, re- 
ceived every new comer into their ranks, and defeated 
a powerful army, which had been raised, and sent 
against them by the king of France. It was in vain 
that Edward issued threatening proclamations ; the com- 
panies continued to plunder the French territories, till 
a liberal present and the prospect of greater advantages 
induced them to join the armies in Spain and Italy*. 

Besides the difficulty arising from the hostilities of A . D . 
" the companies," there was much in the conduct of 1362, 
Edward himself which awakened suspicion. The par- J an - 
ticulars have not been transmitted to us : but we have a 
letter from the pontiff, in which Innocent entreats him, 
for the sake of his own honour, and in reverence to his 
oath, to remove every doubt respecting his intentions, 
and to observe the treaty in all its articles t. Among 

* Froiss. c. 212, 213. Rym. vi. 341. Scala Chr. 201. 
t Kym. vi. 34/. 

88 EDWARD in. [CHAP. n. 

the hostages in the custody of the king were four princes 

of the blood royal of France, and on that account called 

the lords of the fieurs de lys, the duke of Orleans, 

brother to king John, the dukes of Anjou and Berri, his 

sons, and the duke of Bourbon, his cousin. These were 

^\ ) ' )V - anxious to revisit their country ; and Edward had as- 

" ' sented to their request, on the condition that certain 

parts of the treaty should be explained in his favour, 

and that certain castles should be delivered into his 

A. u. hands. The explanations were given, and the four 

1363. princes were bound to remain at Calais till the castles 

Mar. ghouifl De surrendered *. But in the surrender unfore- 

' seen difficulties occurred ; and the duke of Anjou, vio- 
lating his parole, proceeded to Paris t. His father im- 
mediately resolved to visit the king of England ; and to 
his council, which attempted to dissuade him, nobly 
replied, that if honour were banished from every other 
place, it should find an asylum in the breast of kings. 
He was desirous to exculpate himself from any conniv- 
ance in the escape of the duke of Anjou, to obtain a 
modification of some articles in the treaty, and to pro- 
vide for the security of his dominions during his in- 
tended crusade for the deliverance of the isle of Cyprus. 
But his courtiers could understand nothing of these 
reasons, and maintained that love and not honour was 
Dec. the real motive of his journey. He was received by 
30> Edward with every token of affection, resided in the 
Savoy with the three lords of the fleurs de lys, and spent 
some weeks in giving and receiving entertainments. 
But before he could transact any business of importance 
lie was attacked with a dangerous illness, and after he 
had lingered a few weeks, expired. The king ordered 
D. his obsequies to be performed with royal magnificence $, 
and sent the corpse with a splendid retinue to France, 
P' where it was interred among the ashes of the French 
.j,. monarchs in the abbey church of St. Denis. 

Rym. vi. 396. 400. 405. 410, 411. f Id. 4~>1. 

J Fruiss. c. 217. Murim. 118. 


The death of John made no change in the existing 
relations between England and France. Charles, his 
successor, much as he disliked, was not yet in a condi- 
tion to violate with impunity the peace of Bretigni. 
The war, which still continued in Bretagne, between 
the two competitors, Charles of Blois and the young 
earl of Montfort, might have endangered the continu- 
ance of the peace ; but the kings by mutual agreement 
allowed them to decide their quarrel by force of arms, 
and each without giving offence to the other sent assist- 
ance to his ally. Fortunately for the interests of both 
nations Charles was killed at the battle of Auray. The g e p^ 
king of France after some delay acknowledged Mont- 29. 
fort as the lawful duke ; and that prince with Edward's 
consent did homage to him as his sovereign. Still the A ' D ; 
ravages of the " companies" gave occasions of complaint, ^ 
and threatened to lead to a resumption of hostilities. "12.* 
Edward, finding that his proclamations were disregarded, 
offered to march against them in person : hut Charles 
had no wish to see the king of England again at the 
head of an army in the heart of France, and discovered 
an expedient, which in a great measure delivered his 
people from the oppression of these formidable banditti. 

At this period the kingdom of Castile, which com- 
prised the larger portion of Spain, was governed by don 
Pedro, who deserved and obtained the significant epithet i3.,6. 
of " The Cruel." He ascended the throne at the age of Mar. 
.ifteen, began his reign by ordering, at the instigation 26. 
of his mother, the murder of his father's mistress 
Leonora de Guzman, and distinguished each following 
year by the most cruel executions, dictated by avarice, 
suspicion, or caprice. He had married a French prin- 
cess, Blanche de Bourbon : but his affections were cap- , A ,j ' 
tivated by a Spanish lady, Maria di Padilia, and his vur-j une 
tuous but unfortunate queen was kept for years in con- 4. 
finement under the care of Hinestrosa, uncle to the 
king's mistress. His tyranny at last provoked resistance : 
the insurgents were compelled to seek an asylum in 


Arragon ; and Pedro declared war against the king of 

Arragon as the protector of the exiles. Among these 

were two of the sons of Leonora de Guzman, Enrique, 

A. D. count of Trastamare, and Tello, count of Biscay. Pedro 

1360. immediately wreaked his vengeance upon the three re- 
maining brothers, Fadrique, Pedro, and Juan ; and 
added to them several other noble victims, the queen 
dowager of Arragon, the wife of Tello, and Juan of Ar- 

AiD ragon, with his consort. Blanche herself shortly after- 

1361. wards experienced a similar fate, and was believed to 
have perished by poison. The king of Arragon, unable 
to withstand the superior power of his enemy, gladly 
purchased a peace ; and the exiles, to elude the ven- 
geance of Pedro, retired into France *. To this circum- 
stance that kingdom owed its deliverance from " the 
" companies." It was proposed that don Enrique 
should lead them under his banner against the tyrant : 
the king of France and the pope engaged to advance 
the money for the expedition ; and the celebrated Du 
Guesclin concluded the treaty with the chiefs of the 
adventurers t. With the addition of the French knights, 
who were eager to punish the murderer of Blanche, they 
marched through Arragon to the number of thirty 
thousand cavalry, and placed Enrique on the throne of 

A< D . Castile without a battle. It was in vain that Pedro 
1366, summoned his military tenants. They rejoiced at the 
distress of the despot, who fled through Portugal to 
Corunna, threw himself on board a vessel in the har- 
bour, and with his three daughters arrived in safety at 

The king of England soon after the peace of Bretigni, 

had united all his dominions between the Loire and the 

Pyrenees into one principality, and had bestowed it on 

A. D. his eldest son with the title of prince of Aquitaine. The 

1361. young Edward, who had married his cousin Joan, coun- 

* Mariana, xvi. 18. xvii. 6. 

t Edward forbade them to enter Spain, Dec. 5, 1365. Rym. vi. 431. 

} Froiss. c. 228, 229. 


tess of Kent, and relict of sir Thomas Holand, kept his 
court at Bordeaux at the time when Pedro landed at 
Bayonne, and the reader may perhaps blush for " the 
flower of chivalry," when he hears of the cordial wel- 
come and cheering promises which were given to the 
Castilian. The prince advanced to meet him ; received 
him with honour ; assured him of his friendship and pro- 
tection, and engaged to replace him on the throne from 
which he had been driven *. Pedro, indeed, stood be- A. o. 
fore him covered with the blood of his wife, of his three 1366. 
illegitimate brothers, and of many other illustrious and^P'- 
innocent victims. But the merit or demerit of the sup- " 
pliant was not the subject of consideration : as an here- 
ditary sovereign despoiled of his crown, he had a claim 
on the pity of every true knight ; he was willing to 
repay with liberality the aid which should be afforded 
him ; and if further justification were necessary, it 
might be found in the connexion which had long sub- 
sisted both by blood and treaty between the royal houses 
of England and Castile. Information of Edward's de- 
sign was secretly transmitted to " the companies." The 
name of their favourite leader shook their fidelity, and 
twelve thousand men, under sir John Calverly and sir 
Robert Knowles, abandoned the standard of Enrique, 
and hastened to Guienne. The consent of the king of 
Navarre, without whose permission the army could not 
have passed the Pyrenees, was purchased by the grant 
of Guipuscoa, and the promise of a liberal donative ; and A. t. 
three bodies of cavalry, each of which amounted to ten 1367. 
thousand men, marched in succession through the valley Fet>> 
of Roncesvalles, the supposed scene of the exploits of 
the fabulous Orlando. It was in the depth of winter : 
the snow beat in the faces of the troops ; and to cold and 
fatigue was added the want of provisions in a barren 
and mountainous district. At Pampeluna, the army 
was relieved through the fear rather than the friend- 

See the treaties between them in Rymer, vi. 512533. 


ship of the king of Navarre ; and from Parapeluna the 
young Edward continued his march to the frontiers of 

April Castile *. Two days before the battle he sent a letter 
! by a herald to don Enrique. In it he expressed his 
surprise that a prince of such noble qualities, and the 
son of a king, should prove disloyal to his sovereign ; 
observed that he was come in pursuance of former trea- 
ties to replace Pedro on the throne ; and offered his 
mediation to spare the effusion of blood, and restore 

April friendship between the two brothers. Enrique in his 
-. answer maintained that Pedro had forfeited the crown 
for his crimes ; that he himself had been called to the 
succession by God and the people ; and that it was his 
duty, which he would perform, to repel injury by injury, 
and uphold the honour and independence of Castile. 
This answer closed every prospect of peace, and both 
armies prepared for the battle on the morrow t. 

April The next morning the plains between Navarette and 
3. Najora were covered with the two armies. Enrique 
brought into the field sixty thousand infantry, thirty 
thousand cavalry, ten thousand archers, and four thou- 
sand French knights and esquires, who had followed 
Du Guesclin to Spain, to revenge the fate of Blanche de 
Bourbon. The army of the prince did not amount to 
thirty thousand men : but the disparity was more in the 
numbers than in real force ; for the Spanish foot soldiers, 
though with their slings they might annoy the cavalry 
at a distance, were of little use in close combat ; and the 
men at arms under the prince were veterans, who had 
long been inured to victory. At the very onset Tello, 
the brother of Enrique, fled with his division : but the 
battle was obstinately maintained by the exertions of 
Enrique himself, and the courage of Du Guesclin. At 
length the latter was made prisoner : the French men 

* Froiss. c. 234, 235. 

t Rym. vi. 554 557. The letters in Froissnrt are very different from 
the real letters published by Rymer. That amusing writer collected his 
information from hearsay, and of course was frequently the dupe of igno- 
rant or deceitful narrators. 


at arms were dispersed ; their opponents attacked the 
Spaniards in flank ; and Enrique mounting his genet, fled 
to Calahorra, and thence proceeded to his friend the 
king of Arragon at Valencia *. Six thousand of the 
enemy remained on the field of battle. The prisoners 
amounted to two thousand t, whom the sanguinary 
Pedro had prepared to immolate to his revenge. At the 
request, however, of the prince, a request which he 
dared not refuse, he pardoned them, with the exception 
of Gomez Carillo, accepted their homage, and proceeded 
to take possession of Burgos, which immediately opened 
its gates. In a few weeks deputies from the several 
provinces swore allegiance to their former sovereign : 
but he no sooner recovered his crown than he was ha- 
rassed with the demands of his allies, which he had not 
the power, perhaps not the inclination, to satisfy. He 
amused the prince, however, with protestations of his 
good faith ; persuaded him to put the army in canton- 
ments in the neighbourhood of Valladolid, and promised 
to go to Seville and return thence by Whitsunday, with June 
money sufficient to fulfil all his engagements. Whit- 6. 
Sunday came ; three more weeks were suffered to elapse, 
and still there was no intelligence of don Pedro. Edward 
began to be alarmed : he saw his army wasting away 
through the heat of the climate, and suffering through 
the want of provisions, and despatched a few knights 
to discover the king of Spain, and enforce his demands. 
They found him at Seville, and returned with an June 
answer, which convinced the prince that no reliance 26. 
was to be placed on the faith of the ungrateful Castilian. 
He immediately put his army in motion, and returned 
through the kingdom of Navarre into his own terri- 
tories. Thus ended this glorious, but, as the sequel 

Rym. vi. 557. Knyifht. 2629. Mur. 120. Froiss. c. 239. Du Gues- 
clin paid 100,000 doubles d'or for his ransom. Thresor des Chart. 304. 
On ;i f.irratT occasion he had been taken by Sir John Chandos, and had 
then paid 40,000 francs d'or. Ibid. 

t NVilkins, con. iii. 67. 

94 EDWARD in. [CHAP. n. 

proved, most unfortunate expedition. The tyrant re- 
covered his throne at the expense of his ally ; and the 
prince returned to Bordeaux with an exhausted trea- 
sury, and a shattered constitution *. 

The reader is aware that none of the renunciations 
stipulated by the peace of Bretigni had been hitherto 
made by either of the parties. With whom the blame 
should rest, it is now difficult to determine. By the 
French writers it is attributed to Edward, who had ne- 
glected to send his messengers to Bruges at the time 
appointed ; and who perhaps wished to retain his claim 
to the French crown till he should see all the articles of 
the treaty faithfully executed. The English, on the 
contrary, accuse the insincerity of the king of France ; 
and it must be confessed that there appears much in 
his conduct to require explanation. It was in vain that 
Edward demanded the arrears of the ransom of John, 
the return of the prisoners who had broken their parole, 
and the substitution of new hostages in the place of those 
who were dead. Every claim was artfully eluded. 
Charles seemed to wait for an opportunity of recovering 
the advantages lost by his father ; and the circumstances 
of the time were of a nature to flatter him with the hope 
of success. The natives of the ceded districts, and even 
many among those of Guienne, loudly expressed their 
discontent under the government of the English, whose 
avarice monopolised every situation of profit, and whose 
arrogance claimed the merit of every successful engage- 
ment. The vigour, which had once distinguished the 
king, had begun to disappear, and a gradual decay with 
increasing years equally enfeebled his mind and body. 
The black prince, whose very name had formerly struck 
terror into every enemy, had brought from Spain a 
disease, which baffled the skill of his physicians, and 
reduced him to such a state of weakness that he was 
u'nable to mount on horseback. He had grown melan- 

* Fioiss. o. 210, 241. 


choly, and morose. Plunged by the bad faith of Pedro 
into an abyss of debt, he could neither defray the ex- 
penses of his court, the most magnificent in Europe, nor 
fulfil his contracts with the troops who had followed 
him into Spain. He removed " the companies," w 
began to plunder, by giving them a tacit permission to 
resume their depredations on the French territory, and, 
to satisfy the growing demands of his creditors, pro- 
posed to the states the imposition of a hearth-tax for the 
five following years. Several provinces cheerfully gave 
their consent : the count of Armagnac, and most of the 
lords whose lauds skirted the foot of the Pyrenees, main- 
tained that it would be a violation of their privileges. 
Necessity made the prince obstinate, and the discon- 
tented barons, repairing to Paris, appealed from the op- 
pression of their immediate, to the protection of their 
superior lord, the king of France*. 

Charles by his wary and successful policy had obtained 
from his subjects the flattering epithet of " the wise." 
On the present occasion he acted with his usual caution. 
The appeal was neither received nor rejected ; but he 
secretly assured the appellants of his protection, promised 
to indemnify them against the resentment of the prince, 
and under different pretexts detained them for twelve 
months in his capital. In the mean while he employed 
his brother the duke of Anjou, who had been appointed 
governor of Languedoc, to foment the discontent of the 
Poitevins, and despatched emissaries to tempt the fide- 
lity of the lords and burghers in Ponthieu. An alliance 
was also concluded between him and don Enrique, who 
had again entered Castile with a fair prospect of success, 
and was actually employed in the seige of Toledo, the 
capital of the province. In return for the aid to be fur- jj ov 
nished to him by France, the Spanish prince engaged -jo. 
to enter as a principal into any war which Charles might 
wage against the king of England, particularly during 

* Frolss. 2-li 244. 

96 EDWARD in. [CHAP. n. 

the following spring. In a short time he was joined by 
D U Guesclin at the head of two thousand knights, de- 
r - feated his rival in battle, and pursued the fugitive to the 

1 14 ' strong castle of Montiel. During the siege of that for- 

Mar. tress, either by accident or treachery, the two brothers 
24. were brought into the presence of each other in the tent 
of a French knight : they immediately grappled ; Pedro 
threw Enrique on the floor ; but in the struggle Enrique 
despatched his adversary with a poniard. From that 
moment opposition ceased : Enrique mounted the throne 
a secord time, and found himself at leisure to fulfil his 
engagement with the French monarch *. 

At the appointed time Charles threw off the mask, 
and summoned the prince of Aquitaine to appear in his 
court and answer the complaint of his vassals. The 

*? young Edward replied that he would obey, but at the 
head of sixty thousand men ; an idle vaunt, which he 
had never the power to execute. His father, more ap- 
prehensive of the result, seriously offered to renounce 
his claim to the French crown, and to the provinces of 
Normandy, Maine, and A njou, on condition that Charles 
should equally renounce his right of sovereignty over 
the provinces now possessed by the king of England. 
The proposal was referred to the French peers, who ad- 
vised their sovereign to reply by a denunciation of war. 

^ Ia y- Ponthieu, Poitou, and Guienne were immediately en- 
tered by hostile armies : the swords of the invaders were 
aided by the disaffection of the natives ; and after a de 
cent delay all the English possessions in France were 
annexed by a judicial sentence to the French crown. 
Conquest followed conquest; and at the end of six years 
Charles had not only recovered the districts lost by his 
father, but had also made himself master of the far 
greater part of Guienne. 

Rym. vi. 598. 622. In 1'art de verifier les dates (i. 757.) we are told, 
que la pluspart des moderues sent dans 1'erreur en rapporlant la mort de 
don Pedre a 1'an 1369 ; but the treaty mentioned above shows that they 
are correct ; as it proves lhat he was alive on the 20th of November, 1368, 
and all the authorities agree that he was slain in the spring of the year. 


Edward, however, did not tamely surrender his trans- 
marine dominions. He convoked his parliament, in- 
veighed with bitterness against the perfidy of Charles, June 
re-assumed the title of king of France, and offered to U. 
every adventurer the possession of such fiefs as he might June 
conquer in that kingdom *. As a French fleet rode tri- 19 - 
umphant in the Channel, he ordered all his subjects 
between the ages of sixteen and sixty, without distinc-July 
tion of layman or ecclesiastic, to be arrayed for the de- 6 - 
fence of the country t. Reinforcements were sent to 
the black prince, and his brother the duke of Lancaster Nov. 
landed with an army at Calais : but Charles had forbidden 
his generals to hazard an engagement ; and while the 
English pillaged the country, the French extended their 
conquests by the capture of towns and fortresses. The A. i>. 
prince with his wife and son lay in the castle of Angou- 1370. 
leme, a prey to disease and vexation, till he was roused 
from inactivity by the intelligence that the dukes of 
Anjou and Berri were advancing from different points 
to besiege him with their united forces. He declared 
that his enemies should find him in the field : his stan- 
dard was unfurled at Cognac ; and there was still such 
a magic in his name, that the French princes disbanded 
their armies, and garrisoned their conquests. Among 
these was Limoges, the capital of le Limousin, which had 
been surrendered by the cowardice, perhaps betrayed by 
the perfidy, of the bishop and the inhabitants. Edward, 
who had always distinguished them with particular 
marks of his favour, swore by the soul of his father, 
that he would punish their ingratitude or perish in the 
attempt. A month was spent in undermining the walls : 
early in the morning fire was put to the temporary sup- 
ports ; and at six o'clock a wide breach opened a way into 
the heart of the city. The inhabitants immediately 

Roi Parl. ii. 229, 300. 302. Rym. 621. 626. 

t Rym. vi 631. He previously asked the consent of the prelates in par- 
liament, queux prclatz grantcrcnt de ce faiie en eide du Roialme, et de 
seinle Ks.'lise. Rot. Parl. ii. 302. 



abandoned all hope of defence ; and men, women, and 
children threw themselves at the feet of the prince soli- 
citing mercy. It seemed as if the vindictive soul of 
don Pedro had been transfused into the breast of the Eng- 
lish hero : no prayers, no representations could mollify 
his resentment ; and orders were issued for the promis- 
cuous massacre of the whole population. " There was 
" not that day," says Froissart, " a man in Limoges, with 
" a heart so hardened, or so little sense of religion, as 
" not to bewail the unfortunate scene before his eyes. 
" Upwards of three thousand men, women, and children 
" were slaughtered. God have mercy on their souls ! 
" for they were veritable martyrs." 

The French knights, who formed the garrison, eighty 
in number, drew themselves up with their backs to a 
wall, resolved to sell their lives as dear as possible ; and 
the English, dismounting that they might be on the 
same footing with their opponents, advanced to the at- 
tack. The superiority of number was balanced by the 
courage of despair ; and the prince, who from his litter 
was a spectator of the combat, felt so delighted with the 
prowess displayed by each party, that he offered by pro- 
clamation life and the liberty of ransom to those who 
might choose to surrender. The survivors gladly ac- 
cepted the boon : the city was pillaged and reduced to 
ashes *. 

The reader has often had occasion to admire the cha- 
racter of the black prince. By the contemporary writers 
he is portrayed as the mirror of knighthood, the first 
and greatest of heroes. But the massacre of Limoges 
has left a foul blot on his memory. Among a thousand 
similar instances it proves, that the institution of chivalry 
had less influence in civilizing the human race than is 
sometimes ascribed to it. It gave indeed to courage some 
external embellishments ; it regulated the laws of cour- 
tesy ; it inculcated principles, often erroneous principles, 

Froiss. iv. 94. 101106. Mur.m Cont. 125. \Vil. Wyrces. 436. 


of honour ; but the sterner and more vindictive passions 
were effectually beyond its control ; and the most ac- 
complished knights of the age occasionally betrayed a 
ferocity of disposition which would not have disgraced 
their barbarian ancestors of the sixth century *. But the 
military career of the prince was now terminated. The 
effort had exhausted his enfeebled constitution ; and by 
the advice of his physicians he returned to England, 
where, at a distance from the court and from political 
concerns, he lingered for six years, cheering the gloom 
which hung over him with the hope that his second son 
Richard (the eldest was dead) would succeed to the 
crown, and uphold the renown of his family. 

All the great military operations of the English during 
Edward's reign seem to have been conducted on the 
same plan, of penetrating into the heart of France, and 
staking the success of the campaign on the issue of a 
general battle. But the policy of his rival taught him 
to avoid an engagement. Sir Robert Knowles, at the A. p. 
head of the English army, was permitted to march at his \^ 7 ,^' 
pleasure through Picardy, Champagne, and Brie, to in- 
sult the walls of the capital, and to return to winter 
quarters on the borders of Bretagnet. On another oc- 
casion the duke of Lancaster with equal ease led his 
troops through the very centre of the kingdom, traversing A . D. 
Picardy, Champagne, Burgundy, and Auvergne, till he * 3/ 3 - 
arrived in GuienneJ. But such expeditions, though % 
they inflicted severe calamities on the wretched inhabit- 
ants of the country, were attended with occasional 
losses, and gave the invaders no permanent advantage ; 
while the French steadily pursued the same plan of dis- 
membering the English territories, and of securing 
every conquest with strong fortresses and garrisons. 

' I may add, that chivalry also generated and nourished a profound 
contempt for the other orders in society. The black prince spared the 
lives of the kaiyhts, who held Limoges against him; but shed with plea- 
sure the meaner blood of the inhabitants three thousand men, women, 
and children '. 

f Froiss. U. c. 16. 20. J Murim. Cont 128. 

H 2 


The only action of consequence during the war was 
fought between the English and Spanish fleets in the 
road of Rochelle. When Pedro, king of Castile, fell by 
the hand of his bastard brother, his two daughters, Con- 
stance and Isabella, resided in Guienne, whence they 
came to England, and were married to two sons of Ed- 
ward, the former to the duke of Lancaster, the latter to 
the earl of Cambridge* The duke immediately as- 
sumed the arms and title of king of Castile, and don 
Enrique, convinced that the security of his crown de- 
pended on the success of the French, entered with 
greater cheerfulness into the war. The Spanish fleet 
lay before Rochelle, to intercept the succours, which 
A. D. were expected from England under the earl of Pem- 
'' broke, who during two days maintained the unequal 
'23 contest. The ships of the enemy were of greater bulk, 
better prepared for action, and supplied with cannon ; 
and the courage of the English served only to add to the 
magnitude of their loss. Not a sail escaped. The earl 
was taken : most of his ships, with the military chest, 
were sunkt. 

In the year 1374 England retained of her transma- 
rine possessions only Calais, Bordeaux, Bayonne, and a 
A D few places on the Dordogne. Edward, weary of this 
1375. succession of disasters, obtained a truce, which at short 
Feb. intervals was repeatedly prolonged till his death. The 
* ' pope continually exhorted the kings to convert the truce 
]' ne into a peace; but their resentments were too violent, 
^ ,' )t their pretensions too high, to allow of any adjustment. 
]:5/6. Charles demanded the restoration of Calais, and the re- 
Mar, payment of the sums which had been advanced as part 
** of the ransom of his father : Edward spurned these con- 
ditions, and insisted that his adversary should renounce 
all claim to the sovereignty of Guienne $. 

* They were both illegitimate ; but don Pedro, after the death of Maria 
di Padilea took an oath that she was really his wife, and declared her 
daughters his heirs. Mariana, xvii. 6. 

+ Froi<s. o. 3436. Mnrim. Cont. 128. Wil. \Vyr. 137. 

JR\m.vii. 51. 35. 68. 100. 


In the judgment of the people, an unfortunate, is 
always an incapable, administration. As long as the 
king was surrounded with the splendour of victory his 
commands were cheerfully obeyed, and his wants readily 
supplied by his admiring and obsequious subjects. But 
when his good fortune began to fail, they freely criti- 
cised the measures of his government, blamed his mi- 
nisters, and with every grant of money wrung from him 
some new concession. The duke of Lancaster, who, 
during the illness of his elder brother, and the declining 
age of his father, had assumed the reins of administra- 
tion, became the object of public hatred ; and the prince 
of Wales, whether it were that he was jealous of the 
ambition, or really disapproved of the conduct of the 
duke, lent his name and influence to the opposition *. 
The parliament (it was long known among the people April 
by the name of the good parliament,) coupled with the 28. 
grant of a supply, a strong, though respectful, remon- 
strance. The commons, by the mouth of their speaker, 
sir Peter de la Mere, steward to the earl of March, enu- 
merated the plentiful aids which the king had obtained 
from his people, and the immense sums which he had 
received for the ransoms of the two kings of Scotland 
and France ; and asserted their firm conviction, that 
if the royal revenue had been faithfully administered, 
there could have been no necessity of laying additional 
burdens on the nation. They hinted that the present 
administration was unequal to the task of conducting 
the public business ; and requested that ten or twelve 
new members might be added to the council. Though 
they did not venture to mention the duke himself, they 
impeached several of his favourites of extortion, of selling 
illegal grants, of raising loans for their own profit, and 

* This fact we loam from the continuator of Murimnth, a contempo- 
rary. (Q'.io principe cxtincto) protinus extinctus est cum eo cfi'ectus par- 
Haineuti. Nam illi de communitate. cum quilms ipsi- tem'lin'. 11011 siint 
tatom exitnu dicti parliament! sortiti, qualem pro melinri habuime spe- 
rabant, p. 134. See also transcript of a contemporary chronicle, Archaeol. 
xx. 215. 

102 EDWARD in. , [CHAP. ii. 

of purchasing the king's debts at a low price, and paying 
themselves in full out of the treasury. The lord Latimer 
the chamberlain was expelled from the council for ever, 
and put under arrest ; the lord Nevil was deprived of 
all his offices ; and Richard Lyons, William Elys, John 
Peeche, and Adam Bury, farmers of the customs and of 
certain monopolies, were thrown into prison, and placed 
at the king's mercy*. The next object of prosecution 
was Alice Ferrers, a married woman of distinguished 
wit and beauty, who had been lady of the bed-chamber 
to queen Philippa, and after her death had acquired so 
powerful an ascendency over the mind of the king, that 
she had obtained a grant of the jewels belonging to her 
deceased mistress t, and was allowed by him to dispense 
the royal favour. Confident in her own power, she af- 
fected to despise the indignation of the public. On one 
occasion at a tournament in Cheapside she appeared on 
a white palfrey, in splendid attire, as lady of the sun, 
and mistress of the day : on other occasions she abused 
her influence with the king to impede the due adminis- 
tration of justice in favour of those who had purchased 
her protection. To check the presumption of this woman, 
the following ordinance was made : " Whereas complaint 
" has been brought before the king, that some women 
" have pursued causes and actions in the king's courts 
" by way of maintenance, and for hire and reward, 
" which thing displeases the king, the king forbids 
" that any woman do it hereafter, and in particular 
" Alice Ferrers, under the penalty of forfeiting all that 
" the said Alice can forfeit, and of being banished out of 
" the realm $." 

June While the commons were thus engaged in the work 
8. of reform, they suddenly lost their firmest support by 

Rot. Pad. ii. 322329. + Rym. vii. 28. 

} Kot. Parl. ii. 329. Murimuth (p. 134) says they petitioned that she 
might be removed from the kind's person: Walsingham repeats the samn 
(p. 189), and most modern writers tell us that she actually was removed. 
But it appears from the rolls that nothing more was done than is mea- 
tioiied above. 


the death of the prince of Wales*. This event was de- 
plored as a national misfortune : but the duke of Lan- 
caster, if we may believe a contemporary chronicler, 
took the opportunity to propose that the succession to 
the crown should be settled on the heirs male of the 
king to the exclusion of females, a settlement which 
by passing over the line of Lionel his elder brother, 
would have rendered the duke himself the next heir 
after Richard of Bordeaux, then in his tenth year, the 
only surviving son of the black prince t. The com- 
mons refused their concurrence ; and, as if they sought 
to mark the ambition of Lancaster, petitioned that the 
child might be introduced to parliament as heir appa- 
rent to the throne. Their request was granted. The June 
archbishop of Canterbury presented the young prince - 5 * 
to the two houses, calling him the fair and perfect image 
of his father, the successor to all his rights, and of course 
the apparent heir to the crown. The commons received 
him with acclamations of joy, and preferred another 
petition that he might be declared prince of Wales: 
but their eagerness was checked by the lords, who re- 
plied, that the grant of such honours " belonged not to 
" the prelates or barons either in or out of parliament, 
" but exclusively to the sovereign, who usually exer- 
" cised his prerogative on some great festival." They 
promised, however, to represent the wish of the commons 
to the king, and to support it with all their influence $. 
The power of the " good parliament" expired with 
the prince of Wales, and many of their petitions were 
now refused by the king. After the dissolution the 
new council of twelve was removed $ : the duke of 
Lancaster resumed the chief place in the administra- 

* He died at Canterbury, and was buried in the cathedra], where his 
tomb may be still seen. 

t It has beeu published in Archoeol. xxii. 212. I believe the statement, 
both because it explains the introduction of Richard of Bordeaux into 
parliament, and many occurrences in the next reign. 

I Hot. Parl. ii. 330. 

5 Tin; kini; is said to have been irritated by the refractory conduct vi 
the earl of Warwick, one of the number. Murim. Con. 135. 


tion, and his former partisans were restored to favour. 
They immediately wreaked their vengeance on their 
accusers. Sir Peter de la Mere, the speaker, who had 
made himself peculiarly obnoxious, was arrested under 
false pretences, and closely imprisoned in the castle of 
Nottingham or Newark ; and William of Wickham, 
the celebrated bishop of Winchester, was accused of 
several misdemeanors in his office of Chancellor, and, 
without being heard, was condemned by Skipwith, one 
of the judges, to forfeit his temporalities, and to keep 
himself at the distance of twenty miles from the king's 
A D person. In the next parliament the majority of the 
1377. commons was composed of the duke's creatures, who 
Jan. had been illegally returned by the sheriffs at his re- 
- 7< quest : and his steward, sir Thomas Hungerford, was 
appointed the speaker. The court, however, found it 
a difficult task either to silence the members who had 
belonged to the last parliament, and who demanded the 
trial or liberation of sir Peter de la Mere ; or to satisfy 
the prelates, who required justice to be done to their 
colleague the bishop of Winchester. To intimidate the 
latter the duke espoused the defence of Wycliffe, who 
had been summoned before the prelates on a charge of 
teaching heterodox tenets ; and as the minority in the 
commons was supported by the inhabitants of London, 
threw out some hints of taking into the king's hands the 
liberties of the city. Accompanied by the lord Percy, 
whom he had lately made earl marshal, he attended at the 
Feb. trial of Wycliffe : but the injurious words which he ad- 
1 y- dressed to Courtenay bishop of London excited consider- 
able indignation, and the audience, rising in a tumult, de- 
clared that they would protect the prelate at the danger 
ir e b of their lives. The next morning the populace as- 
20. sembled, demolished the Marshalsea, proceeded to the 
Savoy, the duke's palace, and not finding him there, 
reversed his arms as those of a traitor, and killed a 
clergyman whom they mistook for the lord Percy. The 
bishop by his entreaties prevailed on these misguided 

A. D. 13/7.] THE KING'S DEATH. 105 

men to retire to their homes : but the duke was not to 
be appeased by their subsequent offers of submission. 
The major and aldermen were deprived of their offices, 
which he immediately filled with his own dependents *. 

The sitting of the parliament had been interrupted 
by this tumult. As soon as it was resumed, an aid was 
granted of a poll tax of one shilling on every beneficed 
clergyman, and of four pence on every other individual, 
male or female, above the age of fourteen years, men- 
dicants only excepted ; and in return the king published 
a general pardon for all trespasses, negligences, mis- Feb. 
prisions, and ignorances, because he had now completed 22. 
his jubilee, the fiftieth year of his reign t. The next Feb. 
day the commons presented seven bills for the reversal 24. 
of the judgments given in the last parliament, but be- 
fore they could receive the royal assent an end was put 
to the session by a message from the king. 

From this time Edward lived in obscurity at Eltham, 
abandoned to the care or mercy of Alice Perrers. As 
he daily grew weaker, she removed with him from 
Eltham to Shene, but kept him in ignorance of his 
approaching dissolution. On the morning of his death 
she drew the ring from his finger and departed. The 
other domestics had separated to plunder the palace : 
but a priest, who chanced to be pre'sent, hastening to 
the bed of the dying monarch, admonished him of his 
situation, and bade him prepare himself to appear before 
his Creator. Edward, who had just strength sufficient June 
to thank him, took a crucifix into his hands, kissed it, 21. 
wept, and expired $. 

The king had been once married, to Philippa of 

Mutim. Cont. 13513?. Wals. 190. 192. Stow, 273. 275. 

t In the rolls it is said to lie now liis jubilee, the fiftieth year of his 
reign: yel it is certain that his fiftieth year expireil in the preceding 
month. From this pardon the bishop of Winchester was excluded by 
name. Hot. 1'arl. ii. 364. In June, however, by the influence of Alice 
Perrers, to whom he made a valuable present, he "obtained the restoration 
of his temporalties. Stow, 275. Rym. vii. 148. 
{ Waiting. 192. 


Hainault, who died in 1369, and was buried at West- 
minster. She bore him a numerous family, seven sons 
and five daughters ; of whom three sons, and one 
daughter, survived him. His death happened in the 
sixty-fifth year of his life, and the fifty-first of his reign. 
In personal accomplishments Edward is said to have 
been superior, in mental powers to have been equal to 
any of his predecessors. More than usual care had been 
bestowed on his education ; and he could not only speak 
the English and French, but also understood the Ger- 
man and Latin languages. His elocution was graceful, 
his conversation entertaining, his behaviour dignified, 
but also attractive. To the fashionable amusements 
of hunting and hawking he was much addicted : but to 
these he preferred the more Avarlike exercise of the 
tournament; and his subjects, at the conclusion of the 
exhibition, often burst into transports of applause, when 
they found that the unknown knight, whose prowess 
they had admired, proved to be their own sovereign *. 
Of his courage as a combatant, and his abilities as a 
general, the reader will have formed a competent 
opinion from the preceding pages. The astonishing 
victories, which cast so much glory on one period of his 
reign, appear to have dazzled the eyes both of his sub- 
jects and foreigners, who placed him in the first rank 
of conquerors ; but the disasters, which clouded the 

In a tournament at London the king personated the mayor, his two eld- 
est sons the sheriffs, and two other of his sons, with several noblemen, the 
aldermen of the city. See Carte, ii. 53S. His admiration of chivalry also 
induced him to establish the order of the garter about the year 1349. It is 
probable that by the garter he meant to allude to the union which ought 
to exist among the knights, and that the motto " Honi soil que mal y 
" pense," shame on him who thinks evil, was intended as an admonition 
to the members to be honourable in mind as well as in action. The 
story, that he made use of these words, as he took up tin- garter which 
had fallen from the countess of Salisbury, while she was dancing, is gene- 
rally exploded. It is, however, remarkable, that when Benvolet, the 
monkofCluny, in the year 1457 made inquiries respecting the origin of 
the order and its insignia, though he could not procure any certain inform- 
ation, he found a vague but prevalent tradition, that originally it had some 
reference to a female. Sunt plerique nounulli autumantes hunc ordinem 
exordium sumpsisse a sexu muliebri. Hearne's \Vhethamstede, p. 436, 
aud Append, cxlv. Harpstield, 705. 


evening of his life have furnished a proof that his 
ambition was greater than his judgment. He was at 
last convinced that the crowns of France and Scotland 
were beyond his reach ; but not till he had exhausted 
the strength of the nation by a series of gigantic but 
fruitless efforts. Before his death all his conquests, 
with the exception of Calais, had slipped from his grasp ; 
the greater part of his hereditary dominions on the con- 
tinent had been torn from him by a rival, whom he 
formerly despised ; and a succession of short and pre- 
carious truces was sought and accepted as a boon by 
the monarch who in his more fortunate days had dictated 
the peace of Bretigni. 

Still the military expeditions of Edward, attended 
as they were with a great expenditure of money and 
effusion of blood, became in the result productive of 
advantages, which had neither been intended nor fore- 
seen by their author. By plunging the king into debt, 
they rendered him more dependent on the people, who, 
while they bitterly complained of the increasing load 
of taxation, secured by the temporary sacrifice of their 
money permanent benefits both for themselves and 
posterity. There was scarcely a grievance, introduced 
by the ingenuity of feudal lawyers or the arrogance of 
feudal superiority, for which they did not procure a 
legal, and often an effectual, remedy. It was not in- 
deed a time when even parliamentary statutes were 
faithfully observed. But during a reign of fifty years 
the commons annually preferred the same complaints ; 
the king annually made the same grants ; and at length 
by the mere dint of repeated complaint and repeated 
concession the grievances were in most cases con- 
siderably mitigated, in some entirely removed. 

I. One of the most intolerable of these grievances 
was that of purveyance, which, in defiance of former 
enactments, continued to press heavily on the people. 
Wherever the king travelled, every horse and carriage 
within many miles on each side of the road was put 


iii requisition for the conveyance of bis suite, which sel- 
dom amounted to less, often to more, than one thousand 
persons. All these lodged themselves at discretion in 
the neighbourhood, exacted provisions from the in- 
habitants both clergy and laymen, and on many occa- 
sions wantonly destroyed what they were unable to con- 
sume. In the same manner purveyance for the king's 
table and household was made by his officers, wherever 
he stopped ; orders were issued to different counties 
to supply his usual places of residence with meat, corn, 
forage, and every article necessary for the support of 
man and beast ; and, as often as it seemed expedient, 
provisions were seized for the use of the royal garrisons, 
of the expeditions which sailed to the continent, and 
occasionally of the armies stationed in foreign parts. 
Nor was this privilege confined to the king, or the 
members of his family : it was often, though illegally, 
assumed by the great officers of state, occasionally by 
noblemen, whose power had raised them above the laws. 
Originally, indeed, it had been intended that in every 
case full payment should be made to the owners ; but 
numberless frauds and extortions were practised by the 
purveyors, who took whatever they pleased, fixed the 
price themselves, and in consideration of presents bur- 
dened some to relieve others. Nor was it easy to obtain 
payment. Often the claimants were referred by the 
treasurer of the household to the sheriff of the county, 
and again by the sheriff to the officers of the exchequer: 
every demand was subject to the most jealous investiga- 
tion ; legal subtleties were employed to elude or delay 
payment ; and the creditor was often compelled, after 
a fruitless pursuit for several years, to relinquish his 
claim through lassitude and despair. Edward to every 
remonstrance replied, that he would not surrender one 
of the most valuable rights of the crown, but that he 
was always ready to concur in any measures which 
might serve to lighten the burden to his subjects. By 
successive statutes it was enacted that the right of pur- 


veyunee should be confined to the king, the queen, and 
the heir to the throne ; that even they should provide 
their own horses and carriages; that the persons of 
their household should be billettedon the inhabitants by 
the officers of each township ; that all disputes respect- 
ing the price should be decided by the constable and 
four jurors of the neighbourhood; that payment of 
small sums should be made within twenty-four hours, 
of larger sums in four months ; that all infractions of 
these orders should be cognizable before the justices of 
peace ; and that the transgressors should be treated as 
robbers and felons, according to the nature of the of- 
fence *. Thus a strong barrier was at last opposed to 
the extortions and encroachments of the purveyors: 
but the right itself was obstinately retained by succeed- 
ing monarchs, and three centuries elapsed before it was 
completely abolished in the reign of Charles II 'K 

II. Much also was done at this period to clear the 
administration of justice from the most revolting of the 
abuses with which it was polluted. It has already been 
observed that the king's courts were originally established 
more for the advantage of the monarch than of the 
people ; and his officers acted as if they had been fully 
aware of this object. They seem to have thought that, 
if they could only pour large sums of money into the 
exchequer, they might enrich themselves and their de- 
pendents with impunity at the expense of the suitors. 
The rolls of parliament are filled with complaints of 

* All these grievances ith their remedies are repeatedly noticed in the 
Rolls, ii. 9.12. 140.161.166, 167,163, 169. 1J1. 203. 228,' 229. 2fiO. 269. 
319. 446. The following account by the canon of Dunstaple of the pur- 
veyance fur Edward, first Prince of Wales, during his stay at St. Alban's 
ami l.angluy in 1294, will explain fully the nature of this grievance. Du- 
centa I'ercula per diem suae coquina; suffieere non valebant, et quicquid 
fxpendert'(t) in se vel suis, non dato pretio capiebat. Ministri ejus omnia 
viftnalia ad forum venientia, et etiam caseum et ova et qui'iquid venale 
fuit, vel in domil'iis burgensium latuit non venule, auferebant, et vix cui- 
<|iiam talliam reliquerunt A pistoribus etiam et brasiatricibus panem et 
ct'irvisiam ceperunt, et non habentes panem et cerevisiam sibi facere 
coinpulorunt. Chron Puns. 633. 

t 12 Charles II c .24. 

110 EDWARD in. [CHAP, ii 

their injustice ; and many of the improvements which 
we at present enjoy are owing to the pertinacity with 
which the commons annuallyjrepeated their complaints. 
The sheriffs, coroners, and escheators were armed with 
powers which rendered them the tyrants of their re- 
spective counties. By repeated acts it was provided 
that they should be selected from the opulent land- 
holders within the shire, and that they should no longer 
hold their offices in fee for a term of years, but be con- 
stantly removed at the expiration of twelve months; 
provisions which gave to the aggrieved the opportunity 
of meeting his oppressor on an equality in a court of 
justice, and secured to him a fund for the payment of 
any damages which might be awarded*. The conser- 
vators of the peace were gradually intrusted with ad- 
ditional powers ; they were authorized to take sureties 
for good behaviour, were appointed justices to hear and 
determine felonies and trespasses, and were ordered to 
hold their sessions, four times in the year t. Severe 
penalties were enacted against the " maintainers of false 
" quarrels," that is, those who lodged groundless in- 
formations, or suborned false witnesses, or conspired to 
retard the decision of litigated cases. To silence the 
complaint, and remove the temptation, of bribery in 
the judges, a competent addition was made to their 
salaries $ ; and, as a check on the proceedings in the 
courts, it was ordained that all informations should be 
laid, and all pleas should be held, in the English, instead 
of the French, language $. This was a most valuable 
improvement. The parties in the cause, who before 
were ignorant of what was said in their favour or against 
them, could now satisfy themselves, whether their in- 
terests had been betrayed or defended ; and, what was 
of still greater importance, the knowledge that the 

* Rot. Parl. ii. 15. 229. 261. 355. 

t Stat. of lU-alm, 258. 264-6. 233. 346. 388-9. Rot. Parl. ii. 271. 
3 Ibid. ii. 141. The salary of the chief justice of the king's bench was 
i'40 per annum, of a puisne judge 40 marks. Dugd. Orig. Jurid. xl. 
Ibid. 273. 

A. D. 1377.] STATUTE OF TREASONS. 11 1 

spectators understood the language of the proceedings 
operated as a powerful stimulus to fidelity in the advo- 
cate, and impartiality in the judge*. 

Another improvement, the benefit of which is still 
felt by the inhabitants of these realms, was, the statute 
of treasons passed in " the blessed parliament," as it 
was called, in 1351. High treason is of all civil offences 
the most heinous in the eye of the law, which for that 
reason subjects the culprit to the utmost severity of 
punishment. Yet this crime was so loosely defined, 
that the judges claimed the power of creating con- 
structive treasons, and frequently convicted of that 
offence persons whose real guilt amounted only to 
felony or trespass. Thus in the year 1347 a knight 
of Hertfordshire had confined a man in his castle, and 
detained him a prisoner till he paid a ransom of ninety 
pounds. This was a common practice at the time : but 
at the trial the offender was adjudged to suffer the 
penalty of treason, because he had " accroached," or 
drawn to himself the exercise of a power belonging to 
the sovereign. The decision created a general alarm ; 
and the commons petitioned the same year that it 
should be declared in parliament what act constituted 
such an accroachment, as should deprive the lord of 
the advantage of the forfeiture, and the delinquent of 
the benefit of clergy. An evasive answer was returned 
from the throne, that the nature of such acts were suf- 
ficiently declared in the judgments themselves. But 
the commons persevered ; and when in 1351 they granted 
an aid, they renewed their petition, and extorted a satis- 
factory answer. It was determined that treason should, 
for the future, be confined to seven offences ; the com- 
passing or imagining the death of the king, or of his 

* In the statute itself it was, however. added, that though causes sTiould 
be pleaded, shown, defended, answered, debated, and judsjed in English, 
they should be entered and enrolled in Latin. Statutes of the Realm, 375, 
376. It is remarkable that the next parliament was opened in Englislu 
Rot. Parl. li, 2/5. 


consort, or of their eldest son and heir ; the violation of 
the queen's person, or of the wife of the king's son and 
heir, or of the king's eldest daughter not heing married *; 
the levying of war within the realm, or the adhering 
to the king's foreign enemies, which should he proved 
hy some overt act to the satisfaction of a competent jury; 
the counterfeiting of the great seal ; the counterfeiting 
of the current coin of the realm ; and the murder of 
certain great officers of state, or of the king's judges 
in the actual exercise of their duty. We should not, 
however, attribute this limitation to enlightened views 
in the legislature. It was probably owing to considera- 
tions of individual interest. For other transgressions, 
if the offender forfeited his lands, they reverted to the 
lord of the fee, of whom he held them : but in convic- 
tions for high treason the lands were for ever lost to 
the lord, and from that moment annexed to the crown. 
Hence it became an object to the king to give the ut- 
most extension to the law of treason, and to the mesne 
lords to confine it within the narrowest limits t. 

III. The people had now learned to appreciate the 
utility of frequent parliaments. These assemblies offered 
them protection from the insolence and extortion of the 
officers of the crown, and repeatedly procured for them 
the confirmation of their liberties from the sovereign. 
They " amended errors, removed abuses, and enforced 
" the execution of the new statutes, which, had it not 
" been for their vigilance, would speedily have fallen 
" into desuetude $." During the reign of the king's 
father the " ordainers " had appointed that parliament 
should be holden (not called) at least once a year : but 

* Why was the legislature so anxious to guard the honour of the eldest 
daughter exclusively, and tliat only as long as she was unmarried? Pro- 
bably that the king might not lose the opportunity of marrying her, and 
with it the aid which he had a right to demand of his tenants on that oc- 
casion. He could demand no aid at the marriage of his younger daugh- 
ters. . I Hot. Parl. ii. 239. 

J Pur maintenance de ditz articles et rstatutz, et rediescer diverses mis- 
chiefs et grevances que viegnent de jour en autre faire corrections en 
Kuialrne des erroures et fauxtees, si nuls y soient trovez. Uot. Pail. ii. 
27L 355. 

A.D. 1377.] THE THREE ESTATES. 113 

as the right of the "ordainers" might be questioned, 
this statute was re-enacted by legitimate authority, and 
frequent requests were made that it should be faithfully 
observed*. But Edward stood not in need of such 
admonitions : his wants perpetually compelled him to 
solicit the aid of his people ; and more than seventy 
writs for the meeting of parliament were issued during 
the fifty years of his reign. 

As every thing connected with the history of these 
assemblies must be interesting to an Englishman, I 
shall attempt to delineate the form which they assumed, 
and the manner in which they were conducted during 
this period. A full parliament consisted of the three 
estates, the clergy, the lords, and the commons. 1. The 
reader will recollect that the dignitaries of the church 
were summoned to appear in person, the chapters and 
inferior orders by their representatives ; that they 
obeyed with reluctance ; and that at length they suc- 
ceeded in obtaining an exemption from the burden. 
There can be no doubt that, while they continued to sit 
with the lords and commons, they possessed the same 
authority as either of their co-estates t: nor do they 
appear to have forfeited it, even when they were suffered 
to exchange attendance in parliament for attendance in 
convocation. They were summoned, indeed, by the 
archbishop, but at the requisition of the king, and for 
the same purpose as the lords and commons. They 
were called together " to treat, consult, and ordain, 
" with respect to such matters as should be submitted 
" to them on the part of the crown," either by the king 
in person, or by the royal commissioners, " and- to give 
" their advice, aid, and consent, to those measures 
" which should then be ordained for the defence and 

Stat of Realm, i. 265. 374. Rot. Parl. ii. 2/1. 355 



" profit of the church and the state *." As, however, 
they sate in a different place, refused to interfere in civil 
enactments, and communicated with the king through 
the prelates, who were members of the house of lords, 
the word parliament soon came to signify, in common 
acceptation, the other two estates assembled by a royal 
summons to consult with the king. 

2. The second estate, " the great men of the land, or 
" peers of the land" so are they usually designated in 
the official documents of the age were tenants by 
barony, or in chief of the crown . They were divided as 
now, into lords spiritual and lords temporal. At first 
the former amounted to a great number ; for writs 
were issued to every ecclesiastic, who, in virtue of his 
benefice, held any portion of land in chief of the king. 
This to the less opulent proved an intolerable burden ; 
for parliaments were often called twice or even thrice in 
the year, and holden in very distant parts of the king- 
dom. Hence in place of personal attendance they were 
accustomed to send excuses, or proxies, or attorneys, till 
so many by degrees obtained an entire exemption, that 
the lords spiritual were reduced to a few priors, several 
abbots, and the twenty bishops. The lords temporal, as 
in former times, were still denominated " the greater 
" barons f ," a denomination which aptly distinguished 

* Ad tractan'lutn, consulendum et orilinanclum super negociis pnedictis, 
quae vobis et illis ibidem plenius ex partc noslra exponentur, et suura con- 
sUium et auxilium impendeudum, necnon ad consentiendum hiis, que 
tune pro defensioue et utilitate ecclesio- et regni ulrorumque, favente do- 
mino, contigerit ordinari. Rot. Parl. ii. 450. Oil this account the clergy 
are sometimes said to have been in the parliament, though they really 
sate in convocation; which makes it difficult to determine at what period 
they ceased to attend conjointly with the lords and commons. The last 
time in which their presence can be inferred with certainty from the rolls 
was the year 1332, when they refused to take into consideration one of 
the subjects proposed by the king, because it had no relation to the 
church. Uot Part ii. 64. 

t Les grauntz de la terre ; les piers de la terre ; m^nates terra: ; pro- 
ceres terra 1 . Rolls and Writs, passim. Qui tiennent par baronie, et 
queux sout et seront sumonez par brief. Rolls, ii. 363. When the abbot 
of St James's without Northampton was summoned by writ, he plraiird 
successfully against it, que riens ne tieut en chet du Roy ne par baronie. 
Parl. Writs, ii. div. ii. li>9. 


those who had enfeoffed a great number of knights with 
lands in their respective baronies, from others, who 
could command the services of only two or three *. The 
first of these the king was compelled to summon ; for 
without their attendance, or that of the major part of 
them, those who were present constantly refused to 
act, and prayed permission to wait for a full parliament. 
But, as he descended the scale, he was at liberty to 
follow his own judgment ; and, whilst there was neither 
law nor custom to draw the exact line of demarcation 
between the greater and lesser barons, he could admit 
or exclude according to his own interest or pleasure. In 
the course of time, by the extinction of families, by 
alienations in consequence of sales, gifts, and bequests, 
by the partition of baronies among co-heiresses, and by 
the dismemberment of properties which by forfeiture or 
escheat had fallen to the crown, and had been granted 
out again in different proportions, it frequently hap- 
pened that the lineal representatives of the former " great 
" men of the land " had descended from the high sta- 
tion once occupied by their ancestors, and that men of 
new families in comparison had risen on the scale of pro- 
perty and inliuence. Hence in the selection from these 
two classes the sovereign seems to have exercised his 
own discretion. Some of them we find to have been 
summoned only once, some oftener, some to every parlia- 
ment during one particular reign, and some to every 
parliament during their lives. The same irregularity 
is observable with respect to their heirs, who in some 
cases are constantly summoned, in some occasionally, 
and in others never f. To account for all these anomalies 

* Barones Majores. Parl. Writs, i. 1. ii. div. ii. 181. Baronia Co- 
mitis Reginald!, sivmmaCCXV. milites. Baronia Simonis de Bello campo, Walter Fitzwilliam, baro de Northumberland, iii. mil. See 
Lib. Nil;. Seac. 131. 108. 329. No inference can be drawn from the addi- 
tion of sire, monsire, and seigneur to the name, for we find all these occa- 
sionally given to the same person. See Rolls ii. 61. 65. C8, 69. 110.112. 

t See the excellent remarks of Sir N. Harris Nicolas on " Baronies by 
Tenure," xvii. I will add one instance of the irregular manner in which 

i 2 


by the supposal of omissions in the lists on the part of 
the clerks, and of absence, sickness, or nonage on the 
part of the barons, offers a very unsatisfactory solution 
of the difficulty. The more reasonable conclusion is 
that the selection of members, with an exception per- 
haps in favour of the earls, depended on the pleasure of 
the sovereign ; that the only qualification demanded 
was that they should be landed proprietors holding in 
chief of the crown, and that no man could claim a writ 
as of right, on the mere ground that he himself pre- 
viously, or his ancestors before him, had possessed a seat 
in virtue of such writ in parliament. 

In addition to the greater barons, the privy counsel- 
lors, the judges, and the chancellor with his clerks, were 
also summoned. Their attendance was required to aid 
in protecting the rights of the crown, and in deciding 
the numerous suits at law brought before the lords. 
There was indeed some difference in the form of the 
writ : for these were called " to advise and treat with 
" the king and the rest of the council" the barons " to 
" advise and treat with the king and the other prelates 
" and great men :" but, as far as may be deduced from 
the language of the rolls, several of them, the judges at 
least, sat, deliberated, and voted, as if they possessed 
equal authority with any other members of the house *. 

3. The third estate, " the little men of the commons t," 
was composed of two orders, the knights of the shires, 
and the representatives of the cities and boroughs. 
1. The shires that returned members amounted only to 
thirty-six; for the counties palatine of Durham and 

writs were issued. In 1311 Edward II. summoned a parliament to meet in 
August, and afterwards prorogued it to November. For each meeting 
writs were issued; for the first to fifty-five barons; for the second to thirty- 
ei^'ht. Of the fifty-five included in the first, thirty-three were omitted in 
the second ; and eighteen were included in the second, who had been 
omitted in the first. Tarl. Writs, div. ii. 38. i. 57. 

They were appointed on committees. Rolls, ii. 61. 113. They joined 
in the grant of money est asseutu et accorde par et tous les justices de 
1'Engleterre, 103 ; and they ave their assent with the other lords to tb* 
petitions of the commons, 154. 

f Les petitz de la commune. Ibid. 104. 

A. D. 1377.] THE COMMONS. 117 

Chester, and the provinces of north and south Wales 
held parliaments of their own, the first under the pre- 
sidency of the bishop, the others under that of their 
respective justiciaries *. The number of representatives 
from each county varied at first from two to four*, but 
was afterwards fixed by custom at two. These assem- 
bled together, and formed a body second only in im- 
portance to the greater barons. They were, the most of 
them, allied by descent or marriage to the first families 
in the laud : they spoke in the name of their consti- 
tuents, all the knights and free-tenants in their several 
counties ; and hence their wishes, conveyed in the 
modest form of petitions, commanded attention and 
deference both from the house of peers and the sove- 
reign. In every contest for the crown they were brought 
forward to bear the brunt of the battle ; and it was to 
their courage and perseverance that the people of Eng- 
land owed the better part of their liberties. They were 
chosen, or appointed to be chosen in the county court ; 
but from the moment that their importance became 
manifest, both the crown and the lords began to inter- 
fere in the elections, and sought to secure the agency 
of the sheriff, who, confident of impunity, often returned 
whom he pleased, sometimes returned himself $. 2. The 
representatives of the cities and boroughs were resident 
inhabitants elected by their fellow citizens and bur- 
gesses $. Their number varied annually ; for the crown 
relied on the discretion of the sheriffs, and these officers, 
though they were careful to forward writs to the more 
opulent towns, admitted or excluded the others accord- 

Part. Writs, i. 4. 390. ii. 510. A pp. 132. Occasionally representatives 
.from Wales were summoned to the English parliament. Ibid. 364. 

t In 1'JSS and 1294 four knights were summoned (Part Writs, i. 10. 26.), 
ill 1290 two or three. (Ibid. 21 ) 

t Rolls ii. 310. Stat. of Kealm, i. 394. 

i Qi deivont eslire de eau.r meiimcs tieles qi dievont respondre pur eux. 
Ibid. 368. Though the writ to the sheriffs ot' London required two only 
to be sent, sometimes as mauy as six were chosen : but the object appears 
to have been tliattwo of them might always attend. Ita quod duoipsoruru 
semper siut paiati. Part Writs, ii. div. ii. 359. 


ing to their own caprice or judgment*. This class of 
members, as it consisted wholly of merchants and trades- 
men, was to the great men of the land an object of con- 
tempt. They had, however, the wisdom to make com- 
mon cause with the knights ; on every emergency they 
lent to the latter the weight of their number ; and in 
the course of a few years the two orders were so blended 
together that every distinction between them was 
obliterated. Both were called to parliament under the 
same form of writ, " to consent to whatever might be 
" ordained by common advice ;" both were empowered by 
their constituents to act in their name ; of both at their 
election it was required that they should find sureties 
for their personal attendance, and should possess pro- 
perty within the county, to the end that the sheriff might 
be able to levy by distress the fines to which they should 
become liable for neglect of dutyt; and both were 
entitled to a salary from their constituents for their time 
of service, from the day of their departure to that of 
their return. Their wages may be stated at four shil- 
lings per day for a knight and two shillings for a citizen 
or a burgess $. Hence it happened that, whilst the 
more opulent boroughs were solicitous to send repre- 
sentatives to parliament, the poorer towns sought to 
escape that honour, that they might not be burthened 
with the expense. Several petitions to that purpose are 
still extant $. 

The parliament was seldom opened on the very 
day mentioned in the writs : but its commencement was 
adjourned by proclamation till the majority of the mem- 

* Brady on Boroughs, 310. 

t See the returns of the members, with the names of their sureties, col- 
lected by Sir F. Pal grave in Parl. Writs, passim. 

} The wages of the knights were raised by a county rate: those of the 
citizens and burgesses by a rate on their constituents. At lirst the writs 
ordered them to be paid their reasonable expenses at the rate usually 
allowed in similar cases : but after the year 1313, it grew by degrees into 
a custom to specify the sum in the writ addressed to the sheriff or mayor, 
which sum varied from 2s. fid. to 5s. for the knights, and from Is. Sil. to 2s. 
for the others. 

5 Rolls of Parl.1 327. n. 459. Hym. vi. 502. 59a 


bers had arrived * . They met at an early hour in the 
morning -, and in the presence of the king, or, if his 
absence were unavoidable, in that of the regent or 
royal commissioner. One of the ministers, generally 
the chancellor, addressed them in a speech of some 
length, explaining the events which had occurred since 
the last session, enumerating the principal subjects pro- 
posed for their consideration, and displaying in strong 
colours the solicitude of the king for the peace and pro- 
sperity of his faithful people. Two committees and a 
clerk of parliament were then appointed. The duty of 
the committees was to hear and try the petitions which 
might be presented ; of the clerk to record the transac- 
tions of the parliament, and to publish two proclama- 
tions in different parts of the city and suburbs. The 
first forbade any person besides the king's officers and 
the guards for the preservation of the peace to carry 
arms during the session ; reserving, however, to the 
earls and barons the right of wearing their swords, 
except in the council and in the royal presence. The 
second prohibited in the neighbourhood of the palace 
every kind of irame, likely to interrupt the free access of 
those who had business at the parliament $. 

The opinion that the several estates sate and voted 
together derives no support from the language of the 
rolls. It is evident that as their grants, their petitions, 

* Many of those summoned did not attend. Thus in the parliament 
which met at Carlisle on the ilst of January, 130?, of 10 earls, one was 
excused by the king, and one absent in Wales; of 76 barons and ban- 
ii'Tets, two were exnu-.-d by the king, three by the justices, one was in 
Wales, and two sent their attorneys ; of 20 bishops, one was excused, 10 
sent proxies; of 48 abbots one was excused, 32 sent proxies, and two en- 
easred by letter to assent to whatever might be determined. The free- 
holders of Shropshire, instead of representatives sent an attorney, ad con- 
sentiendum pro eisdem hiis, que lieri coutiuu'erent in isto parliament!) et 
ad faciendum ulterius, &c. Hot. Pari. i. 188 191. The chancellor ex- 
amined the powers of the proxies and attorneys, and laid the names of the 
defaulters before the kins, who had it in his power to punish them bv fine. 
Ibid. i. 330. ii. 140,, 147. 

t At the hour of prime. Ibid. ii. 316. At eight in the morning. Ib.321. 

i Ibid. ii. 126. 135. et passim. The Barnes consisted in throwing bars 
across the streets, pulling oil' the hoods or hats of the passengers, laving 
Ii ild of them, !xc. Ibid. 


and their interests were different, they would deliberate 
separately ; and we find that the chancellor, after he 
had proposed to them in common the subjects for their 
consideration, pointed out to them different chambers, 
in which they should assemble to frame their answers, 
and decide on their petitions *. Occasionally they had 
no communication with each other. Thus in 1282 the 
representatives of the counties and boroughs south of 
Trent met the king's commissioners at Northampton, 
those north of Trent at York on the same day, and both 
granted him a thirtieth, on condition that " the great 
" men" should grant an equal sum. In 13f>0 the com- 
mons were divided into five different bodies, deliberating 
at the same time in five different places, Westminster, 
Worcester, Taunton, Lincoln, and Leicester t. In fact, 
there was at first no great reason why the several 
estates should be in communication with each other ; 
for the clergy confined their attention to the con- 
cerns of the church ; to the lords were submitted 
the higher interests of the state ; and the com- 
mons were employed in matters of trade and com- 
merce, as best suited to their habits and condition of 
life. It was long before the advice of the latter was 
required by the crown ; and when Edward at last con- 
descended to ask it, the sequel proved that it was to ob- 
tain a pretext to call upon them for money. They could 
not, he afterwards observed, refuse to aid him in the 
prosecution of those plans into which he had been led 
by their advice. Taught by experience, they sometimes 
declined the task. In 1347 he requested their opinion, 
and received the following answer : " Most dread lord, 
" as to your war and the array of your army, we are 
" so ignorant and simple that we cannot give you advice. 

Parl. Writs,!. 10. 12. New Ryra. iii. 463. 

t Ibid. 136. 165. The year assigned for their separation is 1339, when 
the commons refused to urant ihe sume aid as the lords without instruc- 
tions from their constituents. But it is evident that at that very time they 
deliberated st-parately (Hot P.irl. ii. 104) : aud we lind them deliberatiiii; 
separately long before. I bid. 64. 66. 69. 

A. D. 1377.] KING, LORDS, AND COMMONS. 121 

" We therefore beg your gracious lordship to excuse us, 
" and with the advice of the great men, and of the sages 
" of your council, to ordain what you may judge to he 
" for your honour and the honour of your kingdom ; and 
" whatever shall he thus ordained with the agreement 
" and consent of you, and of the great men aforesaid, 
' we shall also approve, and hold to be firm and esta- 

In the language of the time the law was said to ema- 
nate from the will of the king, at the petition of the 
subject. But it seems to have been a principle univer- 
sally recognised, that no one estate could, without its 
consent, be bound by any such law granted at the prayer 
of another. Before the dismissal of the parliament -fr 
the king called the members before him : the petitions 
of the clergy, the lords, and the commons were succes- 
sively read ; and the answers were given, which had 
been previously settled in the council. If the object of 
the petition was confined to the interests of the body 
which petitioned, the grant of the king was deemed 
sufficient : but if in any of its bearings it could affect 
the other estates, their assent was also required. In 
what manner they gave their assent is unknown. Some- 
times perhaps it was procured by previous communica- 
tion between the different bodies ; sometimes it might 
be signified by acclamation before the king. It should, 
however, be observed that the clergy, in pursuance of 
their resolution to abstain from all interference in secu- 
lar matters, seldom, perhaps never, gave their assent 

* Ibid. 165. To give answers, and deliver addresses it was necessary 
to appoint a speaker. It has In en said that Sir Thomas Hungerford is 
the first upon record. In 13~7 he avoist les paroles pur les communes. 
Ibid. 374. Hut sir Peter de la Mere preceded him immediately, and sir 
William Trussel thirty-four \ears before. Ibid. 13G. 

t Tlie two houses were ofteu dismissed at different times, as soon as 
they had finished the business allotted to them. Sometimes the knights 
of shires were dismissed, and the citizens and burgesses were detained, 
tbid. 64. 69. 310. The form of dismissal seems to indicate that they were 
still liable to serve again when called upon. Hot. Parl. i. 159. There 
nre also instances in which they were required to attend a second lime, 
iirad. ;. 15~. 157. 

122 EDWARD in. [CHAP. n. 

to the petitions of the lords or commons. If they found 
themselves aggrieved, they prayed for redress in the next 

The principle which has just been described was the 
chief weapon with which the commons fought all their 
battles. To every unjust imposition, every oppressive 
ordinance, they opposed the xmanswerable argument 
that their assent was necessarv to render it legal. In 
1346 Edward, by proclamation, compelled every owner 
of land to furnish horsemen and archers in proportion 
to his estate, and required for the same purpose a cer- 
tain sum of money from every city and borough. The 
commons petitioned against the ordinance, on the 
ground that it had been issued without their assent. 
Edward replied, that it was a measure of necessity, and 
had been adopted by the advice and with the consent 
of the lords. They renewed their petition, and repeated 
their argument. The king promised that the ordinance 
should not form a precedent for future exaction. Still 
they were not satisfied, but added remonstrance to 
remonstrance, till it was at last enacted that ordinances 
of that description, issued without the common consent 
of parliament, should be deemed contrary to the liber- 
ties of the realm *. In the same spirit they required 
and obtained a declaration that no petition of the clergy 
should be granted till the council had ascertained that 
its provisions would not be prejudicial to the rights of 
the lords or commons (. But when they asked in addi- 
tion that no statute or ordinance should be made at the 
prayer of the clergy without the previous assent of the 
commons, stating as a reason that the clergy would 
observe no statute made without their assent and at the 
sole prayer of the commons, the request was dismissed 
with a qualified refusal $. 

* Brad. i. 160. 166. 170. 239. f Ibid 149. 

J Ibid. Hence perhaps we may infer that the clergy did sometimes 
{rive their assent to the petitions of the commons : but no trace of such 
practice appears on the rolls. 


The reader, however, is not to suppose that because 
the ])i>titiun was granted the object of the petitioners 
had been obtained. Much still remained to be done. 
It was first to he moulded into the form of a statute or 
ordinance by the clerks in chancery, and then to be sent 
by royal authority to the judges, sheriffs, coroners, and 
other royal officers, that it might be published in all 
courts, fairs, and markets *. But the king, satisfied 
with the aid which he had obtained, dismissed the par- 
liament, and thought little of the petitions which he had 
granted. Sometimes they were entirely forgotten ; at 
others they were formed into statutes, but never pub- 
lished ; often they were so altered in the principal pro- 
visions as not to reach the grievance which they were 
originally designed to abolish. As a remedy for this 
abuse, the commons began to require that the more im- 
portant of their petitions 'should be put into proper form, 
and published during the parliament in the presence of 
the king, and before the two houses. They could then 
appeal to them as matters of record ; and if they were 
not observed by the royal officers, could inquire into the 
cause in the next session t. To this petition, though 
it seems to have been acted upon, no answer appears 
on the rolls. It was at the best an inadequate remedy ; 
and the commons had yearly to complain that though 
statutes were made, they were seldom carried into exe- 
cution J. The king moreover claimed the right of 
amending them afterwards, with the advice of his coun- 
cil . But a check was given to the exercise of this 
claim in 1354. The ordinances of the staple were then 
confirmed in parliament ; and at the same time it was 

_ Slat, of Realm, i. Ixxxvi. 25. Originally the terms, statute, constitu- 
tion, establishment, provision, and ordinance, were used indiscriminately : 
in later times we meet occasionally with a distinction between ordinance 

statutes. Ibid. -2M. 280. 

t Ibid. 165. '.'01. J Ibid. 265. ct passim. Ibid. 241. 

124 EDWARD in. [CHAP, n 

enacted that no alteration or addition should be made in 
time to come without the assent of the two houses * . 

The commons, from their situation in life, were best 
acquainted with the wants and the grievances of the 
nation ; and while they were employed in originating 
new statutes, or soliciting the execution of the old, the 
lords, according to ancient custom, devoted themselves 
to the exercise of their judicial duties, compromising 
the disputes among their own members, examining the 
cases of individuals who complained of oppression, and 
determining those points of law, on which the judges 
had not dared to pronounce of their own authority in the 
king's court. The number of petitions on these subjects, 
presented in the more early parliaments, is enormous ; 
towards the close of Edward's reign they seem to have 
diminished. But in 1372 a singular species of fraud 
was discovered. Attorneys and barristers practising in 
the courts of law procured themselves to be returned 
knights of the shire, and improved the opportunity to 
introduce the cases of their clients among the petitions, 
which were presented to the king in the name of the 
lower house. To correct the abuse, it was enacted that 
no practising lawyer should for the future be chosen 
knight of the shire, and that if any such lawyer had 
been returned -for that parliament, he should forfeit his 
wages t. 

But besides these legislative assemblies of the three 
estates, the king was accustomed to call occasionally a 
great council, of certain prelates and barons, or of pre- 
lates, barons, and knights. It was not that any ordi- 
nance emanating from such meetings could possess the 
full force of law ; but the king pretended a wish to 
avail himself of their advice, whilst, generally at least, 
he sought to obtain their previous consent to some mea- 
sure in contemplation, that he might thus incur a less 
share of public odium, and secure to himself the sup- 

* Stat. of Rea'.m, 257. ;. 310. 

A. D. 1377.] POLICY OF EDWARD. 125 

port of a powerful party. Nor did he confine himself 
to councils of the higher classes of his subjects. We 
meet with several composed of ship-owners and mari- 
ners, of tradesmen and merchants, of inhabitants of 
the marches and the sea coast, either summoned indivi- 
dually by name, or returned in obedience to the royal 
writ by counties, cities, and boroughs, for the purpose of 
advising with the king, or the king's commissioners on 
matters with which they were supposed to be particu- 
larly conversant *. The following are two singular in- 
stances of this practice. 1. Edward I., after the subju- 
gation of Scotland in 1296, resided for a considerable 
time at Berwick, where he formed the design of rebuild- 
ing that town on a new plan, with the hope that it 
would quickly grow into a great and opulent mart. 
With this view he ordered the mayors and bailiffs of the 
trading towns in England to proceed to the election of 
deputies, " the most competent to devise, dispose and 
" arrange a new town for the greater benefit of the king 
" and of the commerce of the kingdom;" and to send to 
him the persons elected in a state of readiness to pro- 
ceed further on his service. They met him at Bury St. 
Edmunds ; and the result was, that he issued new writs 
to twenty-nine individuals by name, to resort to him in 
the first week of the new year for the same purpose, in 
whatever part of England he might be found, and then 
compelled them to proceed to Berwick immediately after 
Easter. 2. In 1303 a proposal had been submitted to 
him for raising the amount of the customs without ap- 
plication to parliament. For this purpose the lord 
mayor received an order to send to the king two or 
three deputies from each of the ten companies of foreign 
merchants settled in London, to whom he offered cer- 
tain additional privileges in return for the payment of 
higher duties on imports and exports : and they, (for 
their existence in England depended on the royal plea- 

Stat. of Realm, i. 455. ii. 10?. 120. 456. R> m. v. 232. 405. 548. vi 639. 

126 EDWARD in. [CHAP. n. 

sure) were thus induced to assent to conditions which 
they dared not openly oppose. It now remained to try 
the experiment on the native merchants, who, it was 
not doubted, would follow the precedent set them by the 
foreigners. Writs were issued to the sheriffs, stating 
that the king had been given to understand that his 
subjects engaged in trade were desirous to obtain the 
privileges granted to foreigners, on the same terms 
which had been accepted by the latter ; and command- 
ing them to send for that purpose to the exchequer at 
York two representatives from every city and borough 
within their respective counties. But Edward was dis- 
appointed. The merchants assembled in council, en- 
couraged each other to resist ; and returned an unani- 
mous answer, that they would not consent to any in- 
crease of the maltolte, or to the levy of any new duties, 
or to the payment of any but the ancient customs*. 

IV. The reader will recollect the concession, which 
was extorted from the necessities of the first Edward by 
the firmness of archbishop Winchelsea, and the earls of 
Hereford and Norfolk. From that period it became 
illegal to levy an aid, or impose a tallage by the sole au- 
thority of the sovereign. Neither of his successors was 
disposed to recognise a statute which made them de- 
pendent on the bounty of their subjects ; nor did they 
hesitate occasionally to raise money in defiance of its 
provisions. But, if the wars of the third Edward were 
in many respects calamitous both to foreigners and 
natives, in one they proved highly advantageous to the 
people of this kingdom. They compelled him annually 
to solicit an aid : on the one hand, the jealousy with 
which the two houses viewed his claim of imposing tal- 

* Parl. Writs, i. 49,50. 134, 135. Rot. Scot. i. 39, 40. We occasionally 
meet with the mention of a mercantile officer called mayor of the stupli* 
or of the merchants, who were chosen by deputies from the principal trad- 
ing towns, summoned by writ, out of several names presented to them by 
the king. Parl. Writs, ii. App. 28?. This officer was sometimes commis- 
sioned by the. king to confer with the council of merchants in his name. 
I'arl. Writs, ii. 196. 

A.D. 1377.] SYSTEM OF TAXATION. 1'17 

lages induced them to be more liberal in their grants ; 
on the other their liberality rendered him less anxious 
to exercise his claim ; and thus, during the course of a 
long reign, was firmly established the practice of what 
before was the law, the right of the people to tax them- 
selves. Edward, to defray the enormous expenses of 
his wars, had recourse to every expedient which the 
ingenuity of his ministers could devise. Sometimes he 
pawned the jewels of the crown; frequently he extorted 
forced loans or gifts from the most opulent of the clergy * ; 
once he seized all the tin, which had been wrought during 
the year in Cornwall, giving to the owners security for 
the payment at the end of two years t. On none of these 
occasions does the parliament appear to have interfered: 
hut, when in 1332 he imposed on all cities, boroughs, 
and ancient demesnes of the crown, a tallage amounting 
to a fifteenth of the movables, and a tenth of the rents, 
the two houses granted him a legal aid, on condition 
that the tallage should be withdrawn J. In 1339 he re- 
newed the maltolte, the tax on wool, which had raised 
so loud an outcry against the tyranny of his grandfather. 
Both lords and commons petitioned against it, because it 
had been imposed without their consent, and it was 
enacted by statute, that after the expiration of two years 
110 more than the ancient duty should be levied. But 
Edward three years later having secured the concurrence 
of the lords, assembled a council of merchants, and ob- 
tained from them the grant of forty shillings on every 
sack of wool which should be exported. It seems to 
liave been contended that this duty did not concern the 
commons, because it would fall on the foreign purchaser : 

;r forced gifts from forty shillings to 100 pounds, Rym. iv. 043 
o53. 5C3. For a forced loan of JOOUi. Id. v. 347. Another of twice that 
amount, Id. v.491,493. A third, Id. v. 577.583. The lenders received 
letters patent empowering them to demaud and receive the amount of 
their respective loans out of the customs on wool and hides exported from 
various parts named, sometimes from whatever port they chose. 

t Id. v. 39. 'All who refused, or concealed their tin, are termed rebels in 
the writ, and ordered to be punished with imprisonment and forfeiture. 

t Hot. Piirl. ii. G6. 446, 447. 

128 EDWARD in. [CHAP. 11. 

but they took the first opportunity to remonstrate, on the 
ground that it actually fell on the grower, as the mer- 
chant now refused to give the accustomed price, on ac- 
count of the additional duty. Edward, however, was re- 
solute. He replied that the duty was mortgaged to his 
creditors, and must continue; but that, as it had been 
granted for two years only, he would not revive it *. 
Indeed, nothing could induce him to renounce in ex- 
press terms the right which he claimed. When he re- 
voked the tallage mentioned above, he promised never 
to impose another, "except in the manner that had been 
" done by his ancestors, and as he might reasonably do." 
And within a few weeks of his death, to a request, that 
no common aid or charge should be imposed without the 
assent of the two houses in full parliament, he replied 
that it was not his intention to do it, unless in time of 
great necessity, for the defence of the realm, and when 
it might reasonably be done t. 

1. The most ancient method of raising a supply was 
by a tallage on movable property, varying according to 
circumstances from a fiftieth to a seventh, and descend- 
ing from the highest classes down to the villeins : and it 
is interesting to observe how rapidly the art of taxation 
improved in every succeeding reign. Under John 
each individual was permitted to swear to the value of 
his own property, and the bailiffs of prelates, earls, and 
barons, swore in the place of their lords. The oaths 
were received by the itinerant justices, who for that pur- 
pose proceeded regularly from hundred to hundred ; and 
according to the returns of the justices the tax in its due 
proportion was levied by the sheriffs $. By Henry III. 

Rot Parl. 104, 105. It was continued in all five years from 1343 to 134& 
Ibid. 140. 161. 201. In their grant of the last year the commons added as 
two conditions, that it should cease entirely at Michaelmas, and that in 
time to c.ime no imposition, talla<;e,or charge by loan, or in any other roan- 
Der sbould be made by the king's privy council without their grant and 
assent in parliament. Ibid. f Ibid. 66. 366. 

t Rot. Parl. 72. anno 1207- This is the most ancient form known. If a 
man concealed, or removed his goods, or swore to a lower value, he was 
imprisoned, and the goods were forfeited. 


every man was compelled to swear not only to the amount 
of his own movables, hut to that of the movables be- 
longing to his two next neighbours; and, if the accu- 
f his statement was disputed, the truth was in- 
quired into by a jury of twelve good men of the county. 
The commissioners were not the justices, but four knights 
appointed by the justices ; and they were instructed to 
inquire into the value of every species of personalty with 
the exception of church-ornaments, books, horses, arms, 
gold, silver, jewels, furniture, the contents of the cellar 
and larder, and hay and forage for private use. Under 
the Edwards the commissioners were appointed imme- 
diately by the crown. They called before them the prin- 
cipal inhabitants of each township, and bound four, six, 
or more of them by oath to inquire into the value of the 
movables possessed by each householder on the day 
mentioned in the act, which was generally the feast of 
St. Michael. By movables they were to understand 
not only corn, cattle, and merchandise, but money, fuel, 
furniture, and wearing apparel ; and if any such articles 
had been sold, removed, or destroyed, since the day 
specified, they were yet to include them in the amount. 
The exceptions allowed were few. The knights and 
esquires did not return their armour, horses, or equip- 
ments, their plate of gold, silver, or brass, their clothes 
or jewels, or those which belonged to their wives ; and 
persons of inferior rank were exempted from payment 
for one suit of clothes for the husband, and another for 
the wife, one bed, one ring, a clasp of gold or silver, a 
silk sash or girdle for daily use, and a cup of silver or 
porcelain. It is evident that in these inquiries, as the 
temptation was great, so also were the means of conceal- 
ment. But the ingenuity of the commissioners kept 
pace with the artfulness of the defaulters : each year new 
regulations were issued from the exchequer ; and some- 
times within a short period the amount of the tax from 




[CHAP. n. 

the same township was nearly doubled*. This growing 
evil occasioned numerous remonstrances. The people 
complained that the collectors entered their houses, and 
searched every apartment t ; that they defrauded the 
king, and that they received bribes to spare some, while 
at the same time through pique and resentment they 
aggrieved others. In 1334 the parliament had granted 
a tenth from the cities, boroughs, and ancient demesnes, 
with a fifteenth from the rest of the kingdom ; and Ed- 
ward, to remove all cause of discontent, appointed com- 
missioners in every county with powers to compound at 
once for a certain sum with the several townships. The 
arrangement gave universal satisfaction. In subsequent 
years the subsidies were calculated from the compositions 
of 1334 ; and the different quotas were raised by private 
assessments among the inhabitants themselves $. 

Rot Parl. i. 227. 239242. 450, 451. ii. 447. New Rymer, i. 177, et 
passim. Parl. Writs, passim. Dunst. 235. 477- The assessments for the 
borough of Colchester in the years 1296 and 1301 are still extaut. (Ibid 
i. 228 238. 243 265.) The reader will see how expert the commissioners 
had become in the short space of five years. The following instance is 
taken at random : but the same difference is observable in all. The 
value of the movables of William Miller 

At Michaelmas, 1296: 

1 quarter of wheat .... 
1 ditto of oats 

. d. 

3 6 



7 6 
At Michaelmas, 1301 ; 


A silver clasp 

A ring 

A suit of clothes 


A mappa 

A towel 

A pot of brass 

A disli ditto 

A cup ditto 

Andirons . 

t In the returns are carefully mentioned the very rooms in which the 
different articles were found. Ibid. 

% Ibid. ii. 447, 443. This was effected by inserting in all subsequent 
grants a condition, that the subsidy should be levied in the same manner 
as the last, and without increase. A lever en la manere comme la dar- 
reine quinzismes feust levee, et ne mye en autre manere. Ibid. 148. Saunz 
uul eucresce. Ibid. 159. 



s. d. 



A seat . 



A quarter of wheat 



Ditto of barley 



2 ditto of malt 



2 hogs 



2 pigs 



1 Ib. of wool 





2 6 


2 3 4 



2. But in addition to tallages the financiers of the age 
had discovered several other methods of raising money. 
The duty on the exportation of wool and hides furnished 
a plentiful source of revenue. By ancient custom the 
king's officers levied in the outports half a mark on 
every sack of wool, the same sum on three hundred 
wool-fells, and a whole mark en the last of hides *. But 
Edward, by the illegal imposition of the maltolte, had 
proved that these articles could bear a considerable in- 
crease of duty, which would fall, it was contended, not 
on the native merchant, but on the foreign consumer ; 
and, when the second war with France demanded extra- 
ordinary exertions, the custom was annually raised by 
parliamentary authority, till in the course of seven years 
it had reached fifty shillings on the sack of wool, the 
same sum on twelve score wool-fells, and five pounds 
and a mark on the last of hides f. 3. In addition, the 
king also received the duty afterwards known by the ap- 
pellation of tonnage and poundage, of two shillings on 
every tun of wine imported, and of sixpence on every 
pound of goods imported or exported. It was granted, 
on condition that he should keep a fleet at sea for the 
protection of commerce, and was at first voted from year 
to year, not by the two houses of parliament, but by the 
citizens and burgesses, who alone were concerned in the 
pursuits of trade $. Soon, however, it was discovered 
that the new duty, as far as regarded imports, was paid 
in reality by the consumers ; and the lords and com- 
mons, instead of petitioning against it, as they had done 

* To give an advantage to the English over the foreign merchant, 
wherever the former paid a mark, the latter paid a pound. Ibid. 273. 

t l-'ureigniTs instead of 21. 10s. paid Zl. 6s. 6d. and instead of S>1. 13s. 4rf. 
the sumof6 6j. Sd. (Ibid 300.) The sack of wool contained 26 stone, 
or 364 pounds. (Ibid. 142.) It differed greatly in quality and price. In 
1343 the parliament raised the price 50 per cent., when the best wool, or 
that of Shropshire and Lincoln, sold at 14 marks the sack, exclusive of 
the duty, and the worst, or that of Cornwall, at no more than 4 marks. 
Ibid. 138. Hence it appears that there is a mistake in the estimate of the 
goods of William Miller mentioned before. Probably for lib. we should 
read 1 stone petra not libra. j Ibid 310. 


132 EDWARD in. [CHAP. n. 

against the maltolte, made it legal by granting it them- 
selves*. 4. In 1371 the clergy voted a supply to the 
king of fifty thousand pounds, to be levied on their be- 
nefices ; and the laity an equal sum, to be raised by as- 
sessment on the different parishes. Taking the number 
of parishes to be forty-five thousand, it was calculated 
that the charge on each would amount to the average 
sum of twenty-two shillings and threepence. The par- 
liament was dismissed : but, when the returns were 
made, it was found that the number of parishes was not 
much more than eight thousand six hundred, and the 
sum raised would not exceed ten thousand pounds. To 
repair the error the king summoned a great council, 
composed of a certain proportion of lords and prelates, 
and one of the two members, who sate in the last par- 
liament as representatives of each county, city, and 
borough. In the writs which he issued on the occasion, 
he named the persons, whose presence he required, and 
observed, that if he did not summon a full parliament, it 
was to relieve his people from a part of the additional 
expense. This council acted, however, with all the au- 
thority of a legitimate parliament. The returns of the 
bishops and sheriffs were examined ; a new calculation 
was made ; the rate was raised to one hundred and six- 
teen shillings per parish ; collectors were named by the 
knights of the shires ; and over them were appointed 
surveyors to inspect their proceedings, t. It is singular 
that an assembly, consisting of the most intelligent per- 
sons in the kingdom, should have adopted so erroneous 
a calculation : but the fact may teach us to doubt the 
accuracy of some of their other statements, respecting 
the overgrown opulence of the clergy, and the enormous 
sums said to be drawn from England by the court of 

V. By these and similar expedients the king was 
enabled to maintain the armies, which were so long the 

Ibid. 317. t Hot. Pail. ii. 304. Brady, i. 161. 


terror of France, and which raised to so high a pitch the 
military renown of the nation. The feudal constitution, 
as it had been settled by the first William, was adapted 
to the purpose of defence, but unfavourable to projects 
of conquest. The king could indeed summon to his 
standard all the male population of the country, but the 
exercise of this right was lawful only in actual danger of 
invasion : he could also compel his tenants to follow him to 
foreign war with a number of horsemen proportionate to 
the number of knights' fees which they held of the 
crown : but the obligation of service was limited to forty 
days, too short a space for operations which were to be 
conducted on a great scale, and in a distant country. 
Hence former kings, in their wars in France, had been 
willing to accept of pecuniary aids instead of personal 
attendance, and to raise armies of mercenaries both 
from their own subjects and foreign adventurers. The 
passion for the crusades gave a wider extension to this 
system ; which was again restricted as the crown grew 
more and more impoverished under Richard, John, and 
Henry III. The Edwards appear to have followed no 
uniform plan, but to have raised their armies in such 
manner as circumstances suggested. Sometimes they 
acted with, sometimes without, the previous advice of 
their parliament. Occasionally they issued letters to 
their military tenants, soliciting their services as a favour 
rather than a duty, and praying them to bring into the 
field all the force which it was in their power to raise *. 
On other occasions they summoned them to join the 
royal standard on a certain day, with a denunciation of 
punishment against the defaulters. The writs were in- 
trusted in the first place to the care of the sheriff, who 
sent a copy to each individual in the county, holding by 
barony of the crown, and for the information of the 
lesser tenants ordered proclamation to be made in all 
the courts, fairs, and markets*. The laity were com- 

* Rym. ii. 733. iii. 531. f Rym. iii. 5C2. 


nianded to attend personally, and to bring with them 
the number of men specified in their tenures, with an 
exception in favour of the aged and infirm, who were 
permitted to serve by substitutes * ; the clergy and fe- 
males received orders to send the whole service which 
they owed ; and both were generally excused, if they pre- 
ferred to pay the accustomed fine, sometimes of twenty 
pounds, sometimes of forty marks for each knight's fee t. 
It was the duty of the constable and marshal to array 
them as soon as they arrived, and to take care that no 
fraud was committed in the number of men, or the state 
of their equipment $. But in addition to these two me- 
thods of raising forces, in the wars for the subjugation 
both of Scotland and France, mercenary armies were 
requisite ; and we find the king entering into contracts 
for voluntary service with barons and knights, who en- 
gaged to furnish a certain number of men during a 
given period. Their wages, which were to be paid a 
quarter of a year in advance, must appear enormous, 
if we consider the relative value of money in those and 
the present times : eight shillings or six and eightpence 
per day to an earl or baron, four to a banneret, two to a 
knight, one to an esquire or man at arms, and sixpence 

* Intersitis cum servitio nobis debito. Rym. ii. 73. Qui ad portandum 
arma potentes non existunt, tales ad diem et locum pvaedictos ail ser- 
vitium suum nobis debitum pro ipsis faciendum transmittant, quales ad 
i'.lud faciendum ydoneos esse coustat. Kym. ii. "]b. 

t Dictis die et loco habeatis serviti um nobis deliitum paratum ad profi- 
ciscendum nobiscum. Ibid. p. 74. 76. See also ii. 650. 767. iii. 148. 464., 
Pad. Writs, i. 155. 

t Several of these muster rolls still exist, and the comparison of them 
with the black book of the exchequer will show that the knights' service 
owing from the greater barons to the crown had diminished since the 
reign of Henry II., in the proportion of at least ten to one. This may have 
been caused partly by the dismemberment of the immense property held 
by some of the more ancient barons, partly by a custom adopted by the 
kins; of retaining for the crown immediately the service of the knights, 
when he gave away the lands which had fallen into his possession. This, 
however, could hardly have been the cause of the same diminution in the 
baronies attached to bishoprics and abbeys. Thus the bishop of Lincoln, 

A. D. 1377.] FORCED LEVIES. 135 

to an archer on horseback. The horses were valued as 
soon as the men joined their standard ; and if they pe- 
rished during the campaign, were to be replaced or paid 
for by the king. It was stipulated that prisoners, whose 
ransoms did not amount to five hundred pounds, should 
remain with the captors ; and that all others should be 
yielded to the king for a reasonable consideration *. 

The duties of the military tenants of the crown could 
be easily ascertained from their tenures, and to have ex- 
acted from them services to which they were not obliged, 
might have proved a dangerous experiment. But the 
liberties of the lower orders were ill denned : their re- 
sistance was less to be feared ; and from them the king 
purveyed men for his armies with as little ceremony as 
he took provisions for . his household, or provender for 
his horses. On the principle that whoever had taken 
an oath of fealty to the king was bound to risk his life 
in the defence of the country, they had been divided into 
classes according to their respective property, were com- 
pelled twice in the year to appear completely armed 
before the constables of the hundred, and might at any 
time be called out and arrayed by officers appointed by 
the king t. It was indeed understood that they were 
not to be marched out of their own county except in case 
of invasion : but pretexts were easily invented to excuse 
or justify the violation of that privilege. Whenever an 
army was wanted for the invasion of Wales or Scotland, 
they were told that it was better to fight in the territory 
of the enemy, than to wait till that enemy had crossed 
the borders, and lighted up the flames of war in their 
own country. Soon the same reasoning was applied to 
the expeditions against France. The French it was said 
had conspired to abolish the English name ; they had 
already entered the king's territories on the continent ; 

* See the indentures, and orders for payment in Rvmer, v. 325. 327. 330. 
450. Mo. 

t Under the penalty of culvertage (culvert a turn-tail) that is, perpetual 
slavery. Matt, Paris, l'J6. Rym. iv. 687. 


they \vere preparing to land a powerful army in Eng- 
land ; if then the king's lieges wished to save themselves 
from subjection., they must cross the sea, and inflict on 
the enemy the very calamities with which they had been 
threatened *. On such occasions, however, it was ne- 
cessary to make a selection : otherwise the multitude 
of the combatants must have produced scarcity, insub- 
ordination, and defeat. Sometimes all the men of a 
few counties contiguous to the scene of war were called 
outf ; more frequently a certain number was demanded; 
and officers were appointed to choose the strongest and 
the most opulent in each class $. In 1282 Edward or- 
dered the sheriffs to send to the army in Wales every 
man, whose income was rated at more than twenty 
pounds per annum $: in 1297 he summoned all of the 
same class to join him on horseback, and accompany 
him in his expedition to Flanders ||. Edward II. in 1324 
sent commissioners into every county with the most 
ample powers to raise forces for his intended expedition 
against France. They were empowered to inquire, with 
the aid of a jury, or by any olher means, the names of 
all the men at arms within the shire ; to array all with- 
out exception whom they judged proper for the service; 
and to send a faithful return of every particular to the 
officers of the royal wardrobe. At the same time it was 
made known by proclamation, that if any person were 
convicted of having offered a present to the commis- 
sioners, he should forfeit eighty times, the receiver one 
hundred and sixty times, its value ^[. In like manner 
when Edward III. in 1346 prepared for the expedition 

* Among many instances, see Rym. v. 489. vi. 614. 

+ Uym. iii. 548. 554. v. 828. 

t id. iii. 157- 481. 775. 784. iv. 114. 534. v. 829. De validioribus et poten- 
tioribus. Ties meilleurs, et plus vaillauntz, et plus socfiisauntz. lu all 
such cases they were to be paid by the king. Ad vadia nostra. The writs 
give to the commissioners the authority to " choose and try." I suspect, 
however, that the number of men was first assessed on the different town- 
ships, and the men furnished by them were received or rejected by the 

Kot. Wall. 11 Ed. I. apud Krad. iii. 3. || Rym. ii. 767. 

H Kyiu. iv. 10/ ( 108. 

A. D. 1377.] MEN AT ARMS. 137 

which has been rendered so celebrated in history by the 
victory of Creci, he summoned every man at arms in the 
kingdom, if he were in good health, to attend personally ; 
if he were not, to send a substitute ; and ordered all, 
who possessed lands of the yearly value of five pounds 
or more, to furnish men at arms, hoblers, and archers in 
proportion to their income *. On all these occasions, if 
we may judge from the language of the writs, the levy 
was conducted in the most arbitrary manner ; the selec- 
tion, when it was made, depended on the caprice or the 
partiality of the arrayers ; and every act of disobedience 
was punished with forfeiture and imprisonment. Of 
these grievances the commons frequently complained ; 
and to appease them, it was enacted that no man should 
be compelled to serve against his will ; or to find archers, 
hoblers, or men at arms, unless he were bound by his 
tenure ; or to march out of his own county, unless in 
case of actual invasion t. But Edward seldom respected 
these statutes : he always justified himself by the plea of 
necessity ; and the commons were compelled to be con- 
tent with the promise that the past should not be drawn 
into a precedent for the future. The law had provided 
that men raised in this manner should be paid by the 
king from the time of their leaving their homes : but it 
appears that they were frequently removed at the ex- 
pense of the shire ; another grievance, the subject of 
much, but fruitless complaint $. 

When the army had assembled, it was found to con- 
sist of four principal descriptions offeree. 1. The men 
at arms, the first in importance and dignity, were heavy 
cavalry, covered or more properly encumbered with 
armour of iron from head to foot, bearing a shield for 
defence, and employing as offensive weapons the lance, 
the sword, the battle-axe, or the mace. They com- 
prised the knights, with their esquires and followers. 

Ryra. v. 489, 490. Rot. Part. ii. 160. 170. 
t Hot. Piirl. ii. 3. 1 1. 239. St;U. of Realm, i. 253. 3:>1. 
J Rot Parl. ii. 149. 

J38 EDWARD in. [CHAP. ii. 

If we may believe the assertion of Edward I., it was 
part of the prerogative to compel not only each tenant 
of a knight's fee from the crown, but every freeholder 
of land to the yearly value of twenty pounds, to take 
up the degree of a knight, and to furnish himself with 
the barded horse, the arms and the armour befitting his 
new rank. When this had been done, he was bound 
to serve at the king's cost, as often as he was required, 
whilst it remained at the option of men of less property 
to join the army or not. In consequence of such claim 
on the part of the crown, commissions were issued from 
time to time to ascertain, through the inquest of a jury, 
the real income of all the free tenants in every hundred ; 
then followed a proclamation fixing a distant day, before 
which all who were liable were ordered to comply with 
the obligation : and lastly, the sheriff took into the king's 
hands the real estates of each defaulter, till he had 
satisfied by fine for his disobedience. To the minor 
proprietors these proceedings were sources of disquie- 
tude and expense : some succeeded in purchasing an 
occasional respite, some an entire exemption ; and, as 
an alleviation to the others, the king at times suspended 
the obligation for some years, or limited it to the pos- 
sessors of higher incomes ; till at last it came to be 
confined to those whose lands were estimated at the 
yearly value of fifty pounds *. But to men of more 
ample fortune, and more aspiring mind, that which the 
former sought to shun as a burthen, proved an object 
of ambition. They generally sought the honour from 

* Reges Angliae consuevimus .... viginti libratas terras .... Parl. 
Writs, i. 249. The arms were to be received from the king himself (anobis, 
ibid.) ; but whether from him personally, or from some one commissioned 
by him, does not appear. Knights were bound to si-rve ad vadia nostra 
ad voluntatem nostram, quandocunque, &c. Hut of persons not knighted 
it as said, veniant, si voluerint, ad nostra vadia. Parl. Writs, i. 26?. The 
punishment of defaulters may be seen, ibid, p 258. Instances of fines 
paid for a respite or exemption occur, ibid. 218. 220, 221. They appear to 
have been regulated by the income of the petitioner, as one pays i'20 for 
a respite of three years, whilst another for the same sum purchases an 
exemption for life. The income which induced the obligation of knight- 
hood is 20, 30, 40, 50, and 100. See Writs and R\ m. passim. 

A. D. 1377.] HOBLERS AND ARCHERS. 139 

the hands of the general in the field of battle, and in 
sight of hoth armies ; and immediately, to give proof 
of their valour, hastened to the post of greatest danger, 
or engaged in some hopeless or romantic expedition. 
The lower class of knights were called hachelors : but 
the knight bachelor, if he brought with him into the 
field a train of esquires and followers equipped like him- 
self, was entitled to bear his pennon, a long narrow 
ensign terminating in a point ; and, if he were suffi- 
ciently opulent to retain not only esquires, but knights 
in his service, he might, with the approbation of the 
prince, display a square banner, and assume the name 
and honour of a banneret. This distinction belonged 
of course to earls and barons, who possessed several 
knights' fees : yet, as it was exclusively attached to the 
dignity of knighthood, even they were forbidden to un- 
furl their banners till they had been admitted into the 

2. The hoblers were another description of cavalry, 
more lightly armed, and taken from the class of men 
rated at fifteen pounds and upwards. They were 
mounted on inferior horses, and equipped according to 
the provisions of the statute of Winchester. In the 
armies which invaded Scotland, they formed a con- 
siderable force : in the expeditions to France, they were 
less numerous *. 

3. From the names recorded in Domesday, it appears 
that archery was a favourite exercise among the Anglo- 
Saxons ; and there is sufficient evidence that for some 
centuries after the conquest, both the long bow and 
cross-bow were employed as offensive weapons in the 
hands of the foot soldiers t. Under the Edwards the 

* Rym. iv. 115. 534. vi. 615. 

t In the most ancient assize of arms of 1hc 36th of TIenry III. footmen 
out of the fun-sis arc- l have hows and arrows, in the forests bows and 
bolts. Mat. Paris, post adver. In the summons of the 48th of the same 
king each township is ordered to send a certain number of foot soldiers 
armed with lances, bows and arrows, swords, cross-bows, and hatchets. 
Apud Hrait ii. 'J41. The fust of these authorities seems to show that the 
cross-bow was peculiar to the inhabitants of the forests. 

140 EDWARD in. [CHAP. ii. 

superiority of the former was fully established. The 
average length of the bow was six feet, of the arrow half 
the length of the bow. The English archer used it 
vertically, drew the arrow not to the breast but to the 
ear, and could send it with good aim to the distance of 
twelve score yards *. That the victories gained by the 
English during the reign of Edward III. were owing to 
the use of this destructive weapon, is asserted by con- 
temporary writers, and partially acknowledged by the 
king himself t. Proclamation was made that all persons 
should practise archery on the holidays out of the hours 
of divine service ; and every game, which might with- 
draw their attention from that exercise was strictly 
forbidden $. In battle the archers were drawn up in 
open lines, one behind the other, so as to resemble in 
some measure the form of the spikes in a portcullis or 
harrow $. They necessarily fought on foot ; but from 
the moment their importance became known, every 
knight was anxious to mount a few of them on horse- 
back, that they might accompany him in all his expedi- 
tions, and employ their skill in his favour. Edward him- 
self had a body guard of one hundred and twenty archers, 
selected from the strongest men in the kingdom ||. 

4. In the last place came the rest of the foot soldiers. 
In general levies they were provided with arms accord- 
ing to the provisions of the assize : but when a small 
number only was demanded from each county, they 
were all furnished with skull caps, quilted jackets, and 
iron gloves ^[. Among them was constantly a large 
proportion of Welshmen, armed with lances, and dressed 
in uniform at the king's expense. These proved of 

* No one was allowed to shoot at a mark under eleven score. 33 Hen. 
VIII. c. 9. 

t Froiss. ii. 128. 160. Unde toti regno nostro honorem et com- 
modum, nobis in actibus nostris gueirinU subventionem uon modicam 
(linoscitur piovenisse. Rym. vi 417. 

J The forbidden camels wt-re coils, hand-ball, foot-ball, stick-ball, cani- 
buca, and cock-figlitinj,'. Rym. ibid, et 468. 

Froiss. ii. 128. 158. || Rym. v. 856. vi. 617. 

fi Id. iii. 7*4. 


great utility, wherever the country was mountainous, 
and ill adapted to the operations of cavalry *. 

In addition to the military men, the army was at- 
tended by a multitude of artizans and labourers, pressed 
by the sheriffs and forwarded at the cost of the king. 
Innumerable writs are still in existence, allotting them 
to different counties, and pointing out their respective 
trades. We meet with blacksmiths, carpenters, sawyers, 
quarrymen, masons, woodcutters, ditchers, miners, and 
ropemakers, who were thus torn away by scores from 
their families and business, and compelled to suffer the 
hardships and encounter the dangers of a military ex- 
pedition t. 

When the king summoned his military tenants, the 
earl constable and earl .marshal held the principal com- 
mands under the sovereign : but in armies raised by 
contract, he appointed two or more marshals, whose 
duty it was to array the forces, and to direct their move- 
ments. The officers who undertook the charge of the 
cavalry were called constables : the infantry was divided 
and subdivided into thousands, hundreds, and twenties, 
commanded by their respective leaders, centenars, and 
vintenars $. 

Rym. iv. 803 v. 9. vi. 508. t See Rot. Scot. i. 195. 

J The muster-roll of the army which besieged Calais is still extant, and 
will give the reader an exact insight into the composition of au English 
army. Under the king were, 

a. d, 
The prince of Wales at per day . . . . 100 

The bishop of Durham 068 

13 earls, each 068 

44 barons and bannerets 040 

1046 knights 020 

4022 esquires, constables, centenars. and leaders . . 010 
5104 vintenars. and archers on horseback . . . 006 

335 jiaunceuars .. . .. .. .006 

500 hoblers 006 

: chers on foot 003 

314 masons, carpenters, smiths, engineers, tent-makers, 
miners, armourers, gunners, and artillery men at J2rf. 
lOrf. 6rf. and 3rf. 
4-174 Welsh foot, of whom 200 vintenars, at . . . 004 

The rest at 00^ 

Total, 31,294 men besides the lords, and 16,000 mariners in /(JO ship 
and boats. Brady, iii. App. No. y2. 

142 EDWARD in. [CHAP. n. 

VI. On one occasion Edward made it his boast that 
his predecessors had always possessed the dominion of 
the seas between England and France *. The fleet by 
which this superiority had been obtained and preserved 
consisted of a few galleys and other ships belonging to 
the crown ; of a squadron of fifty-seven sail which the 
cinque ports were compelled by charter to furnish as 
often as they were demanded by the kingt; of a fleet of 
galleys supplied according to contract by Genoese 
adventurers $ ; and lastly, of the merchantmen belong- 
ing to the different ports ; for at this period the same 
vessel served alternately for the purposes of commerce 
and war ; and a large ship, after having discharged its 
cargo, and taken on board a complement of forty mari- 
ners, forty armed men, and sixty archers, was equal to 
meet any enemy . The king claimed the right of pur- 
veyance of ships as well as of other articles. As occa/- 
sion required, he issued orders for the seizure of a cer- 
tain number of vessels, sometimes of all that could be 
found in any of the English harbours ; and at the same 
time appointed commissioners to press mariners and 
others into his service, till they had collected a sufficient 
number to man them ||. Thus he was enabled to pro- 
cure conveyance for the armies which he transported to 
the continent ; and on one occasion he left England 
with a fleet of eleven hundred sail of all descriptions. 
But it was not only in the time of war that the owners 
found that their ships lay at the king's mercy. As often 
as any of his family or servants crossed the sea, vessels 

* Progenitores nostri reges Angliae domini mariset transmarini passagii 
totis prateritis temporibusextiterunt. Rym. iv. 722. La navie, say the com- 
mons, estoit si noble, et si pleminouse, que touz les pays tenoient et ap- 
pelloient notre Sr le Roi de la mier. Rot. Parl. ii. 311. See also Rot. 
Scot. i. 442. 

t Id. iii. 478. 1012. iv. 283. /30. v. 619. 

j Id. iii. 604. iv. 710. v. 560. 

Id. vi. 167. The armed men and archers were paid as usual. The 
mariners received 3d. per day. 

|| Rym. iii. 211. 429. 950. v. 4. 80. 232. 242. 282. 300. 563. 816. vi. 716. 
New Rym. iii. 215. Rot. Scot. i. 482. Transcripts for New Rvmer, 11. 
13. 19. 

A. D. 1377.] THE NAVY. 143 

were forcibly impressed for their passage * ; even when 
the bishop of Durham came to the parliament in Lon- 
don, the king's officers seized for the transport of his 
servants and provisions three ships in the ports of New- 
castle and Hartlepoolt. It is true that on all these 
occasions the owners were paid the usual charges $ ; 
but such interruptions of trade were prejudicial to the 
merchants, and before the close of the king's reign the 
shipping of England had considerably decreased . 

In time of war it was customary to forbid the captains 
of traders to sail without convoy under the penalty 01 
forfeiting their goods and chattels. On one occasion a 
general embargo was laid on all the ports in the nation ; 
and no vessel was permitted to sail till the owner had 
given security that it should carry provisions to the 
army in Scotland ||. 

As soon as the fleet was collected, it was placed under 
the command of an officer named the admiral, and ap- 
pointed by the crown. If it were numerous, it was 
divided into two squadrons, one of which comprised all 
the ships belonging to the ports north of the mouth of 
the Thames, the other all those which came from the 
ports to the south or west of the same river. Each was 
intrusted to the care of an admiral invested with the 
most extensive powers to enforce discipline and punish 
offences *ff. Of the prizes which were made, the ships 
belonged to the king; the cargo and prisoners were 
divided between him and the captors **. In what pro- 
portion this division was made is uncertain : but ac- 
cording to the agreement with the adventurers from 
Genoa, both were to share alike tt. In 1357 a singular 
case was brought before the king for decision. A French 

New Rym. v. 304. 335. 599. 615. 729. vi. 590. vii. 48. Id. iii. 313. 
t Id. v. 778. 

t The charge for a large ship from Dover to Calais was 31. 3s. 4d.; for a 
smaller, 21. 6s. S<i Rym. vi. 590. 

Rot. Parl. ii. 311 i'ii. 5. 86. || Rym. iv. 717. 723. 

f hi. iii. 47i. iv. 71. 726728. vi, 170. vii. 127. 
* Id. vii. 29. ft Id, vi. 762. 

144 EDWARD in. [CHAP. 11. 

squadron, which had plundered some Portuguese mer- 
chantmen, fell in with the English fleet, and was cap- 
tured. The ships were condemned as prizes : but, the 
original owners reclaiming their goods, the cause was 
argued in the court of the admiral, and the demand was 
refused. Dissatisfied with this judgment, they appealed 
to the king in council, under the plea that, by a late 
treaty between the two crowns, Portuguese property was 
to be protected even in an enemy's vessel. But Edward 
confirmed the judgment of the admiral, and in a letter 
to the king of Portugal observed, that, had the goods 
been shipped on board the French vessels by the owners, 
they would have come under the provision in the treaty ; 
but that having been captured by the enemy, they had 
ceased to be Portuguese property, and of course could 
not be claimed by the original proprietors*. 

VII. In this place I may direct the attention of the 
reader to the state of the English church during the four- 
teenth century. 1. The rivalry which has already been 
mentioned still existed between the civil and ecclesi- 
astical judicatures, and each continued to accuse the 
encroachments of the other. That their mutual com- 
plaints and recriminations were not unfounded, will 
appear probable, if we reflect that the limits of their 
authority had not been accurately defined, and that 
many causes had different bearings, under one of which 
it might belong to the cognizance of the spiritual, and 
under another to that of the civil judge. The latter, 
however, possessed an advantage which was refused to 
his rival, in the power of issuing prohibitions ; by which 
he stayed the proceedings in the spiritual court, and 
called the parties to plead before himself. If we may 
believe the celebrated Grosseteste, these prohibitions, 
by the ingenuity of the lawyers, and the presumption 
of the judges, had been multiplied beyond all reasonable 
bounds : the cognizance of all kinds of causes was gra- 

* Ryra. vi. 14. 


dually withdrawn from the ecclesiastical tribunals; and 
the bishops and their officers were perpetually inter- 
rupted and harassed in the exercise of their undoubted 
jurisdiction. It was natural that the sovereign should 
uphold the pretensions of his own courts : but his ne- 
cessities often forced him to lend an unwilling ear to the 
complaints of the clergy, who, as often as they voted him 
an aid, were careful, like the commons, to make the 
grant depend on the redress of their grievances. By 
this expedient they extorted a few occasional indul- 
gences. Edward II. allowed the spiritual courts to 
determine certain causes in defiance of lay prohibi- 
tions * ; and Edward III. granted that clerks convicted 
of any other capital crime than treason should be de- 
livered to their ordinaries' to be condemned by them to 
perpetual imprisonment and penance ; that civil courts 
should be forbidden to inquire into the proceedings of 
the spiritual courts in causes notoriously within their 
jurisdiction ; and that no prelate should be impleaded 
before the lay judges without the special command of 
the sovereign t. 

2. The popes as supreme pastors continued to require 
pecuniary aids to enable them to conduct the govern- 
ment of the universal church ; and the people, in pro- 
portion as they were oppressed with taxes for the wars 
against Scotland and France, complained of the monies, 
which were also raised towards the support of the court 
of Rome. The papal revenues in England arose from 
four principal sources. 1. The Peter-pence had been 
established under the Anglo-Saxon princes, a tax of 
one penny on every householder, whose chattels were 
valued at thirty pence ; and it had been settled on the 
popes as a voluntary donation towards the relief of the 

* They are deadly sins, for which public penance was enjoined : (he re- 
pairs and ornaments of churches; repairs of the walls of churchyards; 
tithes, if the demand do not exceed one-fourth uf the value of the benefice; 
mortuaries; defamation ; and perjury. Stat. 13 Ed I st 4. 

t Rot. Parl. ii. 151153. 244. StaU 18 Ed. III. st. 3. 


146 EDWARD in. [CHAP. 15- 

English pilgrims. It appears to have been fixed by 
custom at a certain, instead of an uncertain sum, which 
still remained the same after the lapse of five centuries, 
notwithstanding the great increase of the nation in 
wealth and the number of inhabitants. The pontiffs 
now wished it to be collected in the manner of the ori- 
ginal grant : but the demand was strenuously and effec- 
tually resisted; and the aggregate sum paid by the 
prelates to the papal collector amounted to no more 
than two hundred pounds *. 2. The reader will recollect 
the grant of the census, as it was called, of one thousand 
marks, which had been made by king John, as an ac- 
knowledgment that he held the crown in fee of the sove- 
reign pontiff. The amount was not very considerable in 
itself: but the payment conveyed with it the idea of 
vassalage, and the pontiffs were annually compelled to 
remind the successors of John of the obligation. If 
their friendship chanced to be necessary to the king, 
the admonition was received with respect and obedi- 
ence : if it were not, some excuse was invented, and the 
payment was deferred. At the death of Edward I., no 
less than seventeen thousand marks had become due : 
by his son every demand was faithfully discharged ; and 
the third Edward imitated the conduct of his father, till 
he engaged in the chimerical project of wresting the 
crown of France from its possessor. The popes waited 
with impatience for the return of peace, and in 1366 
Urban V. demanded the arrears of the last thirty-three 
years, with a hint that if the claim were resisted, he 
should enter a suit in his own court for the recovery of 
the penalties contained in the original grant. When the 
parliament met, the king assembled the lords spiritual 
and temporal in the white chamber at Westminster, 
communicated to them the papal demand, and solicited 
their advice. The prelates requested a day to consult 

* Rot. Purl. i. 220. It amounted to 20H. 9s.: about 21. more than is 
montioned in the register of the Vatican. But in that register Durham i 

A. D. 1377.] FIRST FRUITS. 147 

in private, and returning the next morning, answered, 
that neither John nor any other person could subject the 
kingdom to another power, without the consent of the 
nation. The temporal peers concurred in their opinion : 
it was communicated to the commons, who willingly ex- 
pressed their assent ; and a public instrument was drawn 
up in the name of the king, lords, and commons, re- 
peating the answers of the bishops, and adding, that the 
act of John was done without the consent of the realm, 
and against the tenor of the oath which he had taken at 
his coronation. It was then resolved by the lords and 
commons (the king and prelates had withdrawn) that, if 
the pope attempted to enforce his claim by process of 
law, or by any other means, they would resist and stand 
against him to the utmost of their power *. This solemn 
determination set the question at rest for ever. 

3. The origin of the payment of first fruits has been 
referred to the presents which in the more early ages 
every bishop, when he was consecrated, and every priest 
at his ordination, was expected to make to the officiating 
prelates and their attendants. By Gregory the Great it 
was abolished : after his death it sprang up again ; and 
as the amount of the gift was regulated by the value of 
the benefice, it insensibly grew to be rated at one year's 
income. In many dioceses it was exacted from all the 
inferior clergy; in the court of Rome at every promo- 
tion ; whence, as many prelates obtained their sees by 
papal " provisions," the first fruits of most bishoprics 
were gradually absorbed by the papal treasury t. In 
England, Pandulf, bishop of Norwich, is said to have been 
the first who exacted this tax from his clergy, on the 
plea of the incumbrances with which he found himself 
burdened %. In 1 246 Boniface, archbishop of Canterbury, 
obtained from Innocent IV. the first year's income of all 
benefices in his province, which might become vacant 
during the six following years ; and other prelates re- 

Rot Parl. ii 289. 290. t De Marca, lib. vi. c. 10, 11 . 

t Aug. Sac. i. 41U. Rym. i. 462. 


148 EDWARD in. [CHAP. n. 

peatedly applied for similar grants to succeeding pontiffs. 
At length Clement V., alleging in excuse the urgent ne- 
cessities of the Roman church, reserved for his own use 
all the first fruits which might arise in the course of two 
years * ; and some time after his successor John XXII. 
imitated his example, but extended the term to three 

4. In this place it may he proper to notice the manner 
in which the provisions to bishoprics devolved on the 
church of Rome. After the concession of the Magna 
Charta, it became the custom, that on the vacancy of 
any see, the chapter should solicit a conge d'elire, to 
choose by the majority of suffrages, or by way of 
compromise, the future bishop, and to present him to 
the king for the royal approbation. That approbation 
was signified to the metropolitan, if the church were 
subject to him, or to the pope, if it were a metropolitical 
see. When the election had been confirmed by the pope 
or metropolitan, the confirmation was notified to the 
king, who received the homage of the new bishop, and 
gave him the temporalities of his bishopric t. In the 
course of this complex proceeding, difficulties frequently 
occurred. To secure proper persons for the episcopal 
office, and to prevent undue influence in the choice, so 
many minute and rigorous regulations had been intro- 
duced by the canons, that it was easy for the pope or the 
metropolitan, if he were so inclined, to discover suffi- 
cient cause for the rejection of almost any individual. 
The metropolitan, indeed, as from him there lay an ap- 
peal to the pope, was careful to exercise his authority 
with moderation: but the judgment of the pope was de- 
finitive ; and it was usual for our monarchs to exert all 
their influence at the court of Rome, to free themselves 
from an obnoxious, and to exalt a favourite, prelate. By 
degrees the popes drew to themselves the right of insti- 
tution, which had formerly belonged to the metropoli- 

Rym. iii. 75. 

f Id. iv. 61. Rot Rom. 10 Ed. III. apud. Brad. iii. App. 116. 

A. D. 1377.] PROVISIONS. 149 

tans, and by means of " provisions" appointed to a great 
number of bishoprics. Nor did the monarch view the 
alteration with displeasure. He generally found the 
pontiff more tractable than the chapters ; and, if he oc- 
casionally acquiesced in the papal choice, might in 
return expect that equal attention would be paid to his 
own recommendation. He was probably a gainer by 
the change. 

On such occasions it had been customary for the pope 
to send a copy of the " provision" to the king, with a 
request that he would grant the temporalities of the see 
to the new bishop*. It happened that in the first of 
Edward I., while the king was on his way from the Holy 
Land, the pope appointed Robert de Kilwardby to the 
archiepiscopal see of Canterbury. The council admitted 
the new primate, but with a protestation that the provi- 
sion was contrary to the rights of the crown, and a de- 
claration that for the future the king would not hold 
himself obliged to grant the temporalities to prelates so 
provided (. Six years later Robert accepted the dig- 
nity of cardinal, and resigned his archbishopric. As 
the resignation was made in the papal court, the pontiff, 
according to custom, appointed his successor : but, pro- 
bably on account of the protestation of the council, 
omitted in his letter to the king the usual request con- 
cerning the temporalities. The omission created a demur : 
but at length, on the supposition that it had been an 
error of the clerk, it was overlooked $. Twenty-three 
years elapsed, when William de Gainsborough was pre- 
ferred to the bishopric of Worcester ; and in the bull of 
provision the pope was made to intrust to his care the 
temporalities as well as the spiritualities of that see. The 
addition did not escape the observation of the royal 
officers : it was declared to be an invasion of the right 
of the king, to whom alone, and not to the pope, belonged 

Rym. i. 305. 

f Glaus. 1 Kd. I. m. 1 1. apud Brad. iii. App. 32. f Rym. ii. 1072 

150 EDWARD in. [CHAP. n. 

the power of granting the temporalities; and the bishop, 
for having received the bull, was condemned to pay a 
fine of one thousand marks. To evade, however, the 
difficulty, without having recourse to negotiation with 
the pontiff, the following expedient was adopted. Gains- 
borough, by a formal instrument, renounced every clause 
in the bull which might be prejudicial to the rights of 
the crown, and acknowledged that he could receive the 
temporalities of the bishopric from no one but the king ; 
and Edward, satisfied with this renunciation, delivered 
the temporalities to him, and allowed him to do homage *. 
Still, however, as the court of Rome persisted in the use 
of the same form, the crown continued to require from 
each bishop a similar renunciation, which was regularly 
made from that time till "provisions" were finally abo- 
lished in the reign of Henry VIII t. 

But the " provisions" to bishoprics did not create such 
general dissatisfaction as those to inferior benefices. All 
the complaints which had been made in the reign, of 
Henry III. were repeated ; that the rights of the patrons 
had been invaded ; that livings were given to clergymen 
who did not reside within the kingdom, and were even 
ignorant of the language ; and that the wealth of the 
English church was occasionally employed in supporting 
those who advocated the cause of the enemies of Eng- 
land. The popes condescended to reply, that they had 
used their right with moderation ; that, in general, they 
appointed none to benefices who were not the king's 
subjects ; and that, if they ever broke that rule, it was in 
favour of the cardinals, who were employed to support 
his interest in the Roman court 1. The real fact was, 
that the pontiffs, particularly after they had fixed their 
residence on this side of the Alps, were reduced to such 
indigence, that they could not maintain their ministers 

Spelm. Con. ii. 435. 

t See numberless instances in Rymer, passim. In 1324 Edward II. 
made a solemn protest against the clause, iv. 61. 
J Rym. iii. 9?. 187. 


without external resources ; and our monarchs, though 
they might be occasionally offended, were not sincere in 
their hostility to a practice, the utility of which they ex- 
perienced themselves. By soliciting " provisions" for^ 
their servants, they exonerated themselves from the 
obligation of remunerating them out of the revenues of 
the crown ; and scarcely a year was suffered to pass in 
which they did not obtain several grants of this descrip- 
tion in favour of their own chaplains*. 

On these different accounts the popes had generally 
several officers in England employed more in a tem- 
poral than spiritual capacity. It was their duty to col- 
lect and transmit the monies belonging to the apostolic 
chamber, to execute the letters of provision, to serve 
citations, and to notify the judgments given in the papal 
courts in cases of appeal, or on beneficiary matters. To 
the crown they were always objects of jealousy. They 
were most strictly forbidden to attempt any thing dero- 
gatory from the rights of the king ; their persons were 
occasionally searched ; every suspicious instrument was 
seized and laid before the council ; and on the slightest 
provocation they were prosecuted, imprisoned, or ba- 
nished t. The papal procurator, before he could enter 
on the execution of his office, found it necessary to swear, 
that he would be loyal to the king and keep his counsel ; 
that he would execute no orders which might be preju- 
dicial to the rights of the crown or of the subject ; that 
he would publish no letters which he might receive from 
the pope or any other person till he had shown them to 
the council ; and that he would not send money out of 
the kingdom without the royal license $. But no prince 
seems to have carried this jealousy farther than Edward 
II. When John XXII. had sent the bishops of Vienne 
and Orange to negotiate a reconciliation between him 
and his consort Isabella, though they had previously in- 

In 1275 Edward obtained three at the same time. Rym. ii. 55. la 
1306 he obtained six. Id. ii. 982. 
t Rym. iii. 187 f Id. vi. 709. 

152 EDWARD in. [CHAP. n. 

formed him that they brought with them no letters of 
any description, which could affect his interests or those 
of any of his subjects, the constable of Dover received an 
order to address them on their landing in the following 
terms : " My lords, it is my duty to charge every stran- 
" ger, who enters this land, to inform our lord the king 
" of the cause of his coming : but this is unnecessary, as 
" I am assured, you have already done so. It is, how- 
" ever, my duty also to forbid you, in the name of our 
" lord the king, to bring with you, or to do any thing 
" which may be prejudicial to the king, his land, or any 
" of his subjects, under the penalties which thereto be- 
" long ; or to receive or execute hereafter any order that 
" may arrive, and prove to be prejudicial to him, bis 
" land, or his subjects, under the same penalties." After 
this uncourteous speech, he was to treat them with 
every attention, and inform the king of their arrival *. 
A.D. In the last year of Edward I. the different claims of 
1307. the pontiffs became the subject of parliamentary inves- 
tigation. An unanimous resolution was taken by the 
king, lords, and commons, to put an end to all causes of 
complaint, and Testa, the papal procurator, was severely 
reprimanded before the two houses, forbidden to repeat 
his former exactions, and strictly enjoined to keep for 
Mar. the king's use the monies which he had levied. At the 
~2' same time writs were directed to the sheriffs, to arrest 
all persons, who had been employed by him, and to bring 
them before the king on a certain day, to answer the 
complaints of the aggrieved. It is impossible to acquit 
Edward of duplicity on this occasion. The cardinal 
bishop of Sabina visited him during the sitting of parlia- 
Aprilment: as soon as it was dissolved, the king took Testa 
4' and his associates under the royal protection, and granted 
them permission to levy the first fruits, to perform all 
acts done by their predecessors, and to transmit the 
monies which they had collected to the pontiff in bills 

* Rym. iv. 206. 


of exchange. The cardinal soon afterwards departed ; 
and the papal officers were immediately opposed by the 
officers of the crown. They exhibited the king's letters: 
but were told that these letters included the words " as 
" far as is in our power :" now it was not in the king's 
power to surrender the rights of the crown ; and of con- 
sequence the protection which they had obtained was of 
no force. From this decision they appealed to Edward j une 
himself, who replied by an order for the observance of 27. 
the parliamentary prohibitions. His death, which hap- 
pened a few days later, left the question in this unsettled 
state *. 

So it remained during the reign of Edward II., and 
the first part of that of his successor. But in the year 
1343 the act of Edward I. was read in parliament, and 
an additional act was passed, forbidding, under the pain 
of forfeiture, any person to bring into the realm, or re- 
ceive, or execute provisions, reservations, or letters of 
any other description, which should be contrary to the 
rights of the king or of his subjects ; ordering all such A n 
letters to be seized wherever they might be found ; and 1343. 
commanding all provisors or others, who in consequence 
of such letters, should institute actions against the 
patrons of benefices, or their presentees, to be brought 
before the king to receive that judgment which he 
should award t. In the next parliament it was deter- 
mined that the penalty to be incurred by offenders 1344. 
against the last act should be outlawry, perpetual impri- 
sonment, or abjuration of the realm. In 1351 it was 
provided by a new statute that ecclesiastical elections 1351. 
should be free, and the rights of patrons should be pre- 
served ; that if the pope by provision or reservation dis- 9 
turbed such rights and elections, the collation should 
fall to the king in all cases where he or an ecclesiastical 
person were the patron, or the lay patron neglected to 

* See the whole proceeding related in the rolls of Parliament, i. 219223. 
t Rot. Parl. ii. 144, 145. 


exercise his right ; and that if the king's presentee were 
afterwards molested by the provisor, then the said pro- 
visor, his procurators, executors, and notaries, should be 
imprisoned, and fined at the mercy of the king, and 
make full compensation to the person aggrieved *. With 
this statute the clergy were not content. In the place 
of one invasion of right it substituted another. Instead 
of protecting the freedom of canonical election against 
the interference of the pope, it abolished such freedom 
in favour of the king, on the groundless plea that the 
nomination had originally belonged to the crown, and 
that when the conditions, on which free elections had 
been conceded, were no longer observed, the crown 
ought to be replaced in its original situation. 
A. D. Two years later an addition was made to the provi- 
1353. sions of this statute. It always happened that the pre- 
sentee applied for protection to the royal, the provisor 
to the papal courts ; and that the latter by spiritual cen - 
sures endeavoured to prevent the execution of the judg- 
ments given in the former. It was therefore enacted 
that whosoever should draw any of the king's subjects 
to plead in a foreign court on matters, the cognizance of 
which belonged to the king's courts, or should by such 
means seek to defeat the judgments given in the king's 
courts, should be allowed two months to answer for his 
contempt; and at the expiration of that term should, 
with his procurators, attorneys, executors, notaries, and 
maintainers, be put out of the king's protection ; his 
lands, goods, and chattels forfeited to the king, and his 
body, if found, imprisoned, till it were ransomed at the 
king's willt. 

In 1364 all the former statutes on this subject were 
confirmed, and the penalties of the last were extended 
to all persons who had procured, of should procure per- 
sonal citations to plead in a foreign court, or had ob- 
tained or should obtain in the said court any ecclesias- 

* Stat. of Realm, i. 316. f Rot. Pavl. ii.;252. Stat. of Realm, i. 329. 


tical benefices within the realm ; and in the same pu- 
nishment were involved all their maintainers, concealers, 
abettors, aiders, fautors, and sureties. To this new sta- 
tute the dukes, earls, barons, and commons agreed, " if 
" it should so please the king :" but the prelates added 
to their consent a protest, that they did not mean to as- 
sent to any thing "which might be, or which might 
" turn to the prejudice of their dignity or estate *." 

In 1373 the commons again addressed the king, com- A.D. 
plaining of the papal provisions, and of the demand of * 373 - 
the first fruits : but Edward replied, that his envoys were 
treating on these subjects with the pontiff, and that he 
could not consent to any innovation till he should know A . D . 
the result !. It was agreed by the two powers to suspend 1374. 
all proceedings in their respective courts, and to send 
ambassadors lo Bruges, where the matters in dispute 
might be amicably adjusted, and at the same time a 
peace be negotiated with France under the papal media- A D 
tion. The consequence was that Edward remitted all 1373. 
penalties enacted by the statutes against provisors ; 
and Gregory XI. revoked every reservation which had 
been made by himself or his predecessors, but had not 
yet taken effect ; confirmed all the king's presentees in 
the actual possession of their benefices, without requiring 
from them the payment of the first fruits ; imposed 
silence on all the provisors (they were six in number) 
who had causes pending in his courts ; and empowered 
the bishops to visit the livings, which had been given to 
cardinals ; and to reserve, in defiance of prohibition or 

Stat. of Realm, i. 336. Rot. Pail. ii. 284, 285. These enactments were 
called the statutes of provisors and premuuire. The latter word is taken 
from the beginning of the writ, preparatory to the prosecution, prcemunire 
facias. Forewarn, &c. 

t Rot. Parl. ii. 320. A little before, the commons had petitioned that no 
clerayman should be one of the great officers of state : and Edward had 
replied that he should take the advice of his council. I mention this 
merely to observe, that the real ground of the petition appears on the rolls : 
namely, that laymen for mal-ailministration might be punished with the 
forfeiture of their lands and chattels ; but the clergymen were so secured 
by their privileges, that it was difficult to bring them to justice, whatever 
had been their conduct while they were in power. Hot. Parl. ii. 30-4. 

156 EDWARD in. [CHAP. n. 

appeal, so much of the income as they thought neces- 
sary for the repairs of the church and buildings *. The 
king seems to have been satisfied : but the commons the 
A. n. next year presented to him two more petitions, repeat - 
1376. ing and exaggerating their former complaints. They 
were coldly received. He had, he returned, already 
applied a sufficient remedy, and was still in treaty with 
the pontiff respecting the matters contained in their 
long and tedious addresses t. 

From the preceding detail, the reader will have col- 
lected an accurate notion of this controversy. Of the 
primacy of the pontiff, or of his spiritual jurisdiction, 
there was no question : both these were repeatedly ac- 
knowledged by the commons in their petitions, and by 
the king in his letters. But it was contended that the 
pope was surrounded by subtle and rapacious counsellors, 
who abused for their own emolument the confidence of 
their master $ ; that by their advice he had " accroached" 
to himself a temporal authority to which, as it invaded 
the rights of others, he could have no claim ; and that 
when repeated remonstrances had failed, it was lawful 
to employ the resources of the civil power in the just 
defence of civil rights. It was in vain that the pontiff, 
on account of his pre-eminent dignity in the church, 
claimed a right to dispose of its revenues for its advan- 
tage : the new statutes were put in execution ; and the 
same legislators, who received with deference the doc- 
trinal decisions, and disciplinary regulations of their 
chief pastor, visited with the severest penalties of the 
law the clergymen who procured from him the provision 
to a benefice in opposition to the rights of the patron. 
This is an important occurrence in our history, as it 
proves beyond contradiction that the distinction between 

Rym. vii. 33. 8388. t Rot. 1'nrl. ii. 337340. 

f In the preamble to the statute of the 38th of Edward III. it is said to 
have been enacted among other reasuns, en fide et contort du pane, qui 
moult sovent a estee truble par tieles et semblables importuns clamours et 
impetrationes, et qui y meist vcluntiers conveuable rcmedie, si sasegfitete 
estoit sur ces choses enfourmee. Stat. of Realm, i. 385. 

A. D. 1376.] WYCUFFE. 157 

the spiritual and temporal power of the pope, which is 
maintained by the catholics of the present day, was a 
principle fully recognised and asserted by their catholic 
ancestors many centuries ago. 

In the obstinacy with which the court of Rome urged 
the exercise of these obnoxious claims, it is difficult to 
discover any traces of that political wisdom for which it 
has been celebrated. Its conduct tended to loosen the 
ties which bound the people to the head of their church, 
to nourish a spirit of opposition to his authority, and to 
create a willingness to listen to the declamations, and 
adopt the opinions of religious innovators. To disputes 
respecting the questionable limits of the spiritual and 
temporal jurisdictions succeeded a more important con- 
troversy on points of doctrine ; and before the close of 
Edward's reign a new teacher appeared, who boldly re- 
jected many of the tenets which his countrymen had 
hitherto revered as sacred ; whose disciples for more than 
a century maintained a doubtful contest with the civil 
and ecclesiastical authorities ; and whose principles, 
though apparently eradicated, continued to vegetate in 
secret till the important era of the Reformation. I may 
be allowed to add a few notices respecting the life of this 
extraordinary man. 

VIII. It is about the year 1360 that the name of Wy- 
cliffe is first mentioned in history. He was then en- 
gaged in a fierce but ridiculous controversy with the 
different orders of friars. They had been established in 
England for more than a century ; and by their zeal, 
piety, and learning, the usual concomitants of new reli- 
gious institutions, had deservedly earned the esteem of 
the public. Some taught with applause in the univer- 
sities : many lent their aid to the parochial clergy in the 
discharge of their ministry : several had been raised to 
the episcopal dignity ; and others had been employed in 
difficult and important negotiations by their sovereigns *. 

See Collectanea Anglo-Miuoritica, passim. 


The reputation and prosperity of the new orders awak- 
ened the jealousy of their rivals. Fitz-Ralph, archbishop 
of Armagh, openly accused them before the pontiff; and 
Wycliffe, treading in the footsteps of Fitz-Ralph, main- 
tained at Oxford that a life of mendicity was repugnant 
to the precepts of the gospel, and that the friars in prac- 
tice and doctrine were involved in the guilt of fifty here- 
sies. The men whom he attacked endeavoured to 
justify themselves by the example of Christ, who was 
supported by the alms of his disciples : and Wycliffe re- 
plied by this nice distinction ; that Christ, though he 
received, did not ask ; while the friars, not content with 
spontaneous offerings, extorted others by their impor- 
tunity and falsehoods. This controversy had no imme- 
diate result : but it is mentioned as the origin of that 
violent hostility to the friars, which Wycliffe displayed 
in every subsequent stage of his life. 

A . D , Archbishop Islep had founded Canterbury hall in 

361. Oxford for a warden and eleven scholars, three of whom 

Oct. ^th the warden should be monks of Christchurch, the 

* other eight secular clergymen. In conformity with the 

statutes, the prior of Christchurch presented to him in 

1363. 1363 the names of three monks : he chose that of Wode- 

Mar. hall, who was accordingly installed in the office of war- 

13. den. Two years later, at a time, if we may believe the 

subsequent pleadings, when all the monks were law- 

.,,,. fully absent, Wycliffe, one of the clerical scholars, ob- 

Dec ''tained for himself the appointment of warden from the 

9. ' archbishop, and then closed the hall against the re-ad- 

]3gf; mission of Wodehall and his fellows. But four months 

April did not elapse before Islep died ; and Langham, his suc- 

23. cessor, alleging that the appointment of Wycliffe was in 

opposition to the charter of foundation, and obtained at 

a time when his predecessor from age and sickness was 

in a state of mental imbecility, commanded the new 

warden to make place for the old. On his refusal the 

archbishop sequestrated the living of Pageham, which 

belonged to the hall ; but Wycliffe appealed to the pon- 


tiff, and by this expedient obtained a respite for three 
years. At length the contending parties appeared in 
the papal court at Viterbo, and delivered their respec- 
tive statements : but at the next sitting Benger, a cle- 
rical scholar, who prosecuted the appeal on the part of 
Wycliffe, was not in attendance : two adjournments fol- 
lowed to give him time to appear : the cause then pro- 
ceeded in his absence, and judgment was finally given 
in favour of Wodehall *. Wycliffe yielded to the united 
authority of the king and the pontiff, but with feelings A - D - 
of resentment, to which his contemporaries attributed \^ 7 ' 
those bitter and envenomed invectives with which he^ 5 
afterwards assailed the court of Rome, as well as the 
monastic orders t. 

He had obtained the honorary title of one of the king's 
chaplains, and as such strenuously maintained in the 
university the rights of the crown against the pretensions 
of the pontiff. His name stands the second on the list 
of commissioners appointed to meet the papal envoys at 
Bruges, for the purpose of adjusting in an amicable 1374 
manner the disputes between the two powers $. He was 
afterwards preferred to a prebend in the collegiate 
church of Westbury, being already in possession of 
the rectory of Fylingham, which he exchanged for that 
of Lutterworth, both in the diocese of Lincoln 

To accept of preferment was so contrary to the prin- 
ciples which he afterwards taught, that it is probable 
he had not yet determined to embrace the profession of 
a reformer. He continued, however, to lecture at Ox- 

* See the original documents in Lewis, 235, and Vaughan, i. 406. 

t " For that he was justly deprived by the archbishop of Canterburye 
" from acertayne benefice." Contemp. writer in Acliaeol. xxii. 253. The 
license for the impropriation of the living of Pageham stated that it was 
for the support of a body consisting of four monks and eight clergymen. 
The lawyers therefore maintained that it had fallen to the crown ; because 
from the time when WyclilTe obtained possession all had been at first 
clergymen, and afterward! all monks; but Edward confirmed the grant 
to the Hall in 1G72 on the payment of a fine of 200 marks. 
i Rym, viL 41. 

160 EDWARD in. [CHAP. n. 

ford, and imitated in his manner of life the austerity of 
the men whom he so warmly opposed. He always went 
barefoot, and was clad in a gown of the coarsest russet*. 
By degrees he diverted his invectives from the friars to 
the whole body of the clergy. The pope, the bishops, 
the rectors and curates, smarted successively under the 
lash. Every clergyman was bound, he contended, to 
imitate the Saviour in poverty as well as virtue. But 
clerks possessioners, so he termed the beneficed clergy, 
did not imitate the poverty of Christ. " They were choked 
" with the tallow of worldly goods, and consequently were 
" hypocrites and antichrists t.'' By falling into sin, they 
became traitors to their God, and of course forfeited the 
emoluments of their cures. In such cases it became the 
duty of laymen, under pain of damnation, to withhold 
from them their tithes, and to take from them their pos- 
sessions J. To disseminate these and similar principles, 
he collected a body of fanatics, whom he distinguished 
by the name of " poor priests." They were clad like 
himself, professed their determination never to accept 
of any benefice , and undertook to exercise the calling 
of itinerant preachers without the license, and even in 
opposition to the authority of the bishops. 

The coarseness of Wycliffe's invectives, and the re- 
fractory conduct of his poor priests, soon became subjects 
of astonishment and complaint. In the last year of Ed- 
ward, while the parliament was sitting, he was sum- 
moned to answer in St. Paul's before the primate and 
the bishop of London. He obeyed ; but made his ap- 
pearance between the two most powerful subjects in 
England, the duke of Lancaster, and Percy the lord 

* Lei. Col in. 409. f MS. of Prelates, c. 40. apud Lewis, 37. 

J Ibid. p. 266. 

Wals. 192. Cont. Murim. 136. Wycliffe wrote a treatise entitled 
" Why poor Priests have no benefice." It is published by Lewis, p. 28/. 
The reasons for refusing benefices are three : 1. The dread of simony, ic. 
The danger of mispendiug the revenues, which belong to the poor. 3. The 
hope of doing more good by moving from place to place. 


marshal. Their object was to intimidate his opponents : 
and the attempt was begun by Lancaster, who ordered 
a chair to be given to Wycliffe. Courtenay the bishop 
of London replied that it was not customary for the ac- 
cused to sit in the presence, and without the permission, 
of his judges. A vehement altercation ensued, and the 
language of Lancaster grew so abusive, that the popu- 
lace rose in defence of their bishop, and had it not been 
for his interference, would have offered violence to his 
reviler. Though the duke escaped with his life, his 
palace of the Savoy was pillaged in the tumult, which 
has been already described. Wycliffe found it necessary 
to make the best apology in his power, and was per- 
mitted to depart with a severe reprimand, and an order 
to be silent for the future on those subjects which had 
given so much cause for complaint *. 

In a few days the king expired : the sequel of Wy- ^jj 
cliffe's history will be related under the reign of the next ju ne ' 
monarch. 21. 

Wals. 191. Cont. Murim. 13J. Lei. Coll. i. 183. iii. 379. Harpsfielc), 
683. Fuller, 135. 





Etnprs. of Oer. 
Charles IV. 13J8. 


Kings of Scot. I Kings of Franca. 
Robert II. .. 1390. Charles V. . 1380. 
Robert III. Charles VI. 


Kings of Spain. 
Henry it. . 137'.). 

John "1 1390 

Henry III. 

Gregory XI. 1378. Urban VI. 1389. Boniface IX. 

Government of the kingdom during the minority Insurrection and 
excesses of the people Wycliffe his death and doctrines Invasion 
of Scotland Prosecution of ministers A scendancy of the duke of Glou- 
cester Execution of the king's friends Richard recovers his authority 
Statutes of provisors the king goes to Ireland Attainder of the 
duke of Gloucester and his adherents Judgment of the dukes of Here- 
lord and Norfolk Illegal conduct of Richard He goes to Ireland 
Henry of Lancaster rebels King made prisoner and deposed Henry 
claims the crown. 

WHILE Edward yet lay on his death-bed, a deputation 

of the citizens of London waited on Richard of Bor- 

A - D ; deaux, the son and heir of the black prince. They 

Jun' on?ere( l tne i r ^ ves anc * f rtunes in support of his right 
oj, to the crown, advised him to leave Shene, and to make 
the Tower his residence, and solicited his mediation to 
reconcile them with his uncle, the duke of Lancaster. 
The young prince (he was in his eleventh year) was in- 
structed to receive them graciously, and to signify his 

A.D. 1377.] HIS CORONATION. 163 

assent to their petitions. The same day his grandfather 
died ; and the next afternoon Richard made his entry 
into the capital. Triumphal arches had been erected : J" n 
pageants were exhibited; and conduits running with 
wine displayed the wealth of the citizens, and exhila- 
rated the loyalty of the populace *. 

Three weeks were employed in performing the ob- 
sequies of the late, and preparing for the coronation 
of the new, king. On the appointed day Richard rose 
at an early hour, and attended at the matins and mass 
in his private chapel at Westminster. The procession r? 
assembled in the great hall, the passage from which to 
the abbey church had been covered with scarlet cloth. 
The clergy, abbots, and prelates, led the way : they were 
followed by the great officers of the crown ; and last 
of all came the young prince under a canopy of blue 
silk, borne on spears of silver by the barons of the cinque 
ports. While the Litany was chanted by the choir 
Richard lay prostrate before the altar, whence he was 
conducted to his throne on a platform raised in the 
middle of the nave. As soon as he had taken the usual 
oath, the archbishop, accompanied by the marshal, suc- 
cessively explained its obligations to the people from the 
four sides of the platform, and inquired whether they 
were willing to have the young prince for their king. 
Their assent was given in loud acclamations ; and 
Richard was anointed, crowned, and invested with the 
different insignia of the royal dignity. A solemn mass 
followed : at the offertory he descended to present on 
the altar bread and wine and a mark of gold ; and re- 

* I will mention one of these pageants that the reader may form some 
idea of the taste of our ancestors. In the market of Cheapside was erected 
a building in the form of a castle, out of which ran two streams of wine. 
On its four turrets were placed four girls, dressed in white, and of tin- 
same age with the kin?;. As he approached, they blew towards him smiill 
shreds of "old-leaf ; then showered upon him florins made of paper, and 
coming down, helped him and his attendants to wine out of cups of jrold. 
To conclude the exhibition, an angel descended from the summit of the 
castle, and offered to the kin? a golden crown. Every street exhibited 
some pageant or device; but the merchants of Cheapside obtained the 
praise of superior ingenuity. Wals. 194, 195. 

M 2 

104 RICHARD ii. [CHAP, in 

turning to his throne, received the homage of his uncles, 
and the earls and barons. As soon as he had com- 
municated, the young king, exhausted with fatigue, was 
conveyed in a litter to his own apartment ; but after a 
short repose was again summoned to the great hall, 
where he created four earls and nine knights, and par- 
took of a splendid but tumultuous banquet. The day 
was concluded with balls, rAnstrelsies, and the usual 
festivities of the age*. 

The next morning the prelates and barons held a 
great council to arrange the form of the new government 
July during the minority of the king, and chose " in aid of 
1 7. " the chancellor and treasurer" twelve councillors, two 
bishops, two earls, two barons, two bannerets, and four 
knights. The ascendancy which the duke of Lancaster 
possessed at the close of the last reign, his wealth and 
power, andjiis known ambition, had created a prevalent 
opinion that he would snatch the first opportunity to 
place the- crown on his own head. To the surprise of 
his enemies he cheerfully acquiesced in the appointment 
of the council, and retired with his suite to his castle 
of Kenilworth. But though he was thus apparently 
excluded from the administration, in common with his 
brothers, the new earls of Cambridge and Buckingham, 
he had been careful to procure places in the council for 
several of his creatures, whose appointment kept alive 
the jealousy of his opponents, and gave rise to many 
specious, but perhaps unfounded, reports t. 

It was the misfortune of the new king to find himself, 
at the very commencement of his reign, involved in an 
expensive war. The truce between England and France 
had expired before the death of Edward ; and Charles 

Walsingham has preserved the whole order of the coronation ( 1 95 
198). The duke of Lancaster commanded it to be enrolled. Itym. vii. 158. 
Sir John D\ mock attended as champion with his two esquires : the lord 
steward, constable, and marshal, rode up and down the hall on their 
charters to maintain order. Wals. I'/?. The claims to the different offices 
on this occasion may be seen in Lfl. Coll. i. 25,3. 

t Uym. vii. 163. Wa'.s. 198. Hot. Purl. iii. 38C. 


had taken the opportunity to renew hostilities, and add 
to his former conquests. His fleets insulted the English Au<j. 
coasts; the Isle of Wight was plundered; the town of 21. 
Hastings was burnt ; and though the enemy had been 
repulsed from Southampton by the earl of Arundel, the 
maritime towns were continually exposed to their visits, 
and the merchants were impoverished by the interrup- 
tion of commerce. In fhese expeditions the French 
obtained the co-operation of the Spaniards, whose hos- 
tility had been embittered by the impolitic pretensions 
of the duke of Lancaster in right of his wife to the 
crowns of Castile and Leon. With an exhausted trea- 
sury it was impossible for the new government to oppose 
the enemy on the sea, or to check his progress by land : 
the king summoned parliament after parliament to de- 
mand the aid of his people ; and these assemblies, imi- 
tating those of the last reign, accompanied every grant 
with petitions, which procured the confirmation of the 
statutes already enacted, and led to the acquisition of 
new and valuable privileges, still enjoyed by the house 
of commons at the present day. 

Richard's first parliament showed how low the in- 
fluence of the duke of Lancaster had declined. The 
majority in the commons consisted of the members who 
had been arrayed against him in 1376 ; and the new 
speaker was sir Peter de la Mere, the very man whom 
he had imprisoned on account of his activity on that ^ 
occasion. The archbishop of Canterbury opened the 
session with a speech, in which he recommended Richard 
to the affection of his people, because he was not an 
elected king, but the true heir and representative of 
their former monarchs ; returned them thanks for the 
attention which they had always paid to his interests, 
since the death of his father ; and requested their ad- 
vice how the enemies of the realm might be effectually 
opposed with the least burden to the nation, and the 
greatest honour to the new sovereign. The commons 
replied that they could not venture to answer of them- 

166 RICHARD n. [CHAP. in. 

selves so important a question, and solicited the aid of 
twelve peers, with " my lord of Spain" (the duke of 
Lancaster) at their head. The moment Richard had 
signified his assent, the duke arose, bent his knee to the 
kin<r, and alluding to the reports which had been cir- 
culated, said that the commons had no claim on him 
for advice. They had charged him with that which 
amounted to treason. Though he might be unworthy, 
he was still the son of a king, and one of the first lords 
in the realm ; nor would he sit down under the imputa- 
tion, or apply to any business, till his character had been 
cleared. The blood which flowed in his veins was the 
blood of men who had been renowned for their faith 
and loyalty. There had never been a traitor among 
his ancestors of either line, nor would he be the first to 
sully the fair fame of two noble families. Marvellous 
indeed it would be, if, bound as he was by nature to 
be loyal, and with more to lose by treason than any 
other man in the kingdom, he should still be a traitor. 
Let then his accusers come forth. He was ready to 
meet them, as if he were the poorest knight, either in 
single combat, or in any other way that the king and 
his peers might award *. 

This speech created a considerable ferment. The 
prelates and lords arose together, surrounded the duke, 
and entreated him to be pacified, " for no mortal living 
" would give credit to such imputation." The commons 
then came and protested their belief of his innocence, 
and in proof of their sincerity, referred to the choice 
which they had previously made of Lancaster himself 
to be their principal counsellor. At last he suffered 
himself to be persuaded, consented to forget all that 
was passed, and declared that he would be satisfied 
with the enactment of a severe law for the punishment 
of the inventors and propagators of similar falsehoods t. 

* This speech is entered on the rolls, probably at the demand of the 
duke. Rot. l'iii-1. iii. t Ibid. 


After this pacification the commons, having pre- 
sented several petitions, were ordered to withdraw, and 
to return on an appointed day to receive the answers 
of the king and the lords. In one point, and that of 
great importance, they proved successful. Two citizens, 
John Phillpot and William Walworth, merchants of 
London, were appointed treasurers to receive the monies 
arising from the new aid, of two-tenths on the towns, 
and two-fifteenths on the counties, and to employ them 
solely in defraying the expenses of the war. In another 
point their wishes were but partially gratified. They 
had petitioned that eight new councillors, the great 
officers of state, the chief justices, and all the individuals 
admitted near the king's person, should he named by 
the lords, and certified to the commons in parliament. 
The lords appointed a new council of nine members 
to continue in office one year, to whom were added eight 
others according to the request of the commons; and 
reserving to themselves the nomination of the chan- 
cellor, chamberlain, and steward of the household during 
the minority, left to the king himself the selection of 
his other companions and servants. To a third request 
that " a parliament might be holden once every year 
" at a convenient place, to redress delays in actions at 
" law, and to decide finally those cases in which the 
" judges differed in opinion," it was replied, that the 
existing statutes should be put in execution, and the 
place of meeting be determined by the king*. 

Before the close of the session Alice Ferrers was aban- 
doned by her former patron to the resentment of the 
commons. She was arraigned before the peers on the ^ 
act passed the last year, to prohibit females from solicit- 2-2. 
ing causes in the king's courts for hire and reward ; and 
was accused of having procured from the deceased 
monarch the revocation of sir Nicholas Dagworth's ap- 

* Rot. Parl. iii. 6, 7- 16. During these proceedings the lords appear to 
have acted on the principle, that by the minority of the king, the right 
oi providing for the government had devolved upon themselves. 

168 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

pointment to an office in Ireland, and a full pardon for 
Richard Lyons, who had been convicted of several mis- 
demeanors at the prosecution of the commons in parlia- 
ment. The prelates and lords resolved that she should 
be tried by a jury, before a committee of the house, con- 
sisting of the duke of Lancaster and four earls. She 
was found guilty, and condemned to banishment, and 
the forfeiture of all her lands, tenements, goods, and 

The hopes of the nation had been raised by the pro- 
mises, they were afterwards depressed by the inactivity, 
A.D. of the duke of Lancaster. That prince, who had received 
137$. the whole of the last subsidy, conducted an army to 
Au S' Bretagne, besieged the town of St. Malo, lay during 
several weeks before the walls, and then returned to 
England without fighting the enemy, or achieving a 
single conquest. The Scots at the same time violated 
the truce, burnt Roxburgh, and surprised Berwick, 
which was soon recovered by the earl of Northumber- 
land. Several petty engagements were fought at sea : 
but the commanders who chiefly distinguished them- 
selves on either side proved to be private adventurers ; 
Mercer, a Scot, who with a few ships scoured the Ger- 
man ocean, and carried off a fleet of merchantmen from 
the port of Scarborough; and Phillpot, a citizen of 
London, who, equipping a small squadron at his own 
charge, fell in with Mercer, and, after a sharp engage- 
ment, took him prisoner, and captured sixteen Spanish 

Ibid. 12 14. In this trial there occurred much which is very repug- 
nant to our present notions and practice. 1. Not only were the depositions 
of the witnesses very unsatisfactory, but six of the jury were examined 
against the accused. It should, however, be observed, that this was con- 
sistent with tlie ancient practice, which selected the jury from the persons 
supposed to be, from their own knowledge, the best acquainted with the 
guilt or innocence of the prisoner. In the present case it consisted of 
sixteen knights and esquires of the late kind's household, who from their 
situation been in the habit of witnessing the conduct of Ferrers. 
2, When judgment was about to be pronounced, it was observed that the 
punishment in the late act extended only to the forfeiture of goods and 
chattels, not of lands and tenements. To get over the difficulty, the lords 
who had concurred in passing that act declared that it had always been 
their intention to include lands and tenements. Ibid, 

A. D. 1378.1 A NKW PARLIAMENT. 169 

U. Phillpot was received with acclamations by 
his follow citizens ; but was severely reprimanded by 
the council, for having presumed to levy war without 
the royal permission *. 

The next parliament met at Gloucester, at a time 
when the minds of the people were soured by taxation 
and disappointment. On the introduction of the com- 
mons into the royal presence, their speaker, sir James Q c t. 
Pickering, having craved the king's indulgence, if he '20. 
should say any thing displeasing to him or the lords, 
detailed their objections to the grant of a new subsidy, 
which were answered by sir Richard le Scrope, the 
steward of the household. Emboldened by their suc- 
cess in the last year, they now requested permission to 
inspect the accounts of the treasurers, which was granted 
as a matter of favour but not of right, with a protesta- 
tion that it should not hereafter be drawn into prece- 
dent. They next petitioned for a copy of the enrolment 
of the tenths and fifteenths, that they might learn in 
what manner they had been raised ; and this was also 
granted, with an observation that it proceeded from the 
king's good pleasure, and not in consequence of their 
request. Lastly, they demanded that six peers and pre- 
lates should be sent to their chamber to give them ad- 
vice : but the lords refused, declaring that they would 
revert to the ancient custom of appointing a committee 
of their members to consult in private with a committee 
similarly appointed by the other house. Though the 
commons were repeatedly urged to the despatch of busi- 
ness, and told that by their delay they added to the 
burden of those who had to pay their expenses, they 
proceeded leisurely and with much deliberation. On 
inquiry, however, they were satisfied that the subsidy 
had been impartially assessed, and lawfully expended : 
their objections were silenced; and a new aid by an 
additional impost on wool, wool-fells, and skins, was 
cheerfully granted t 

Wals. 211. f Rot. Parl. Hi. 34. 38. 


During the war in Bretagne the French had suc- 
cessively obtained possession of every fortress, with the 
exception of Brest, which the duke, John de Montfort, 
had surrendered to Richard in exchange for a com- 
A.D. petent estate in England. Charles, flattering himself 

1378. that he was secure of his conquest, by a definitive judg- 
,, ec> ment annexed the duchy to the French crown ; a pre- 
cipitate and injudicious measure, which instantly 
awakened all the national prejudices of the Bretons. 
They combined to assert their independence, recalled 

A-D their duke, expelled the French, and earnestly solicited 

1379. assistance from England. The first expedition under 
^ BC - sir John Arundel was dispersed by a storm, in which 

the general and the greater part of the men at arms 

perished. A second army was raised, and placed under 

A _ D the command of the earl of Buckingham, the king's 

1380. uncle. He crossed from Dover to Calais, directed his 
July march through the heart of France, and was permitted 
-* to advance without opposition according to the usual 

policy of the enemy. But by the time he had reached 

the borders of Bretagne, another, and not less singular, 

Sept. revolution had happened. Charles died: the Bretons 

1 6. transferred their jealousy from the French to their allies ; 

and Montfort, after balancing long between the two 

parties, yielded to the wishes of his subjects, and made 

his peace with the regency which governed France 

during the minority of Charles VI. The earl spent the 

);jgl\ winter in Bretagne; and at the return of spring was 

April happy to escape with his army from the perfidy and 

1 1 hostility of the natives *. 

The ministers had obtained ample grants of money in 
the two first years of this reign : in the third the expense 
of the war in Bretagne compelled them to solicit an 
additional aid, and to confirm by these frequent appeals 
to the generosity of the nation that control, which the 
house of commons had lately assumed over the public 

Fioiss. xxvii. xxxiii. xlviii. Murim. Coat. 148, 149. 


monies. It was no longer necessary to petition for the 
accounts of the treasury ; they were offered spon- 
taneously : and in return was granted a capitation tax A. n. 
graduated according to each person's rank and estate*. 1379. 
It had been calculated to produce above fifty thousand ^ 
pounds, but fell short of half that sum ; and to supply 
the deficiency a new demand was made upon parliament. 
The commons vented their discontent in complaints. 
They required that the council should be dismissed, jggQ 
that the kins; should govern with the aid of his usual Jan. 
officers, the chancellor, treasurer, keeper of the privy 16. 
seal, chamberlain, and steward of the household, and 
that these ministers should be chosen in parliament. 
All their petitions were granted : even a committee of 

* Rot. Parl. iii. 56, 57. 58. As the scale is curious, I shall subjoin an 
abridgment of it. 

1. The dukes of Lancaster ami Bretagne were rated at 6 13 4 

2. The justices of the king's bench and common pleas, and the 

chief barun of the exchequer 5 

3. An earl, an earl's widow, and the mayor of London 4 

4. A baron, banneret, knight equal in estate to a banneret, their 

widows, tlif! aldermen of London, mayors of great towns, 
Serjeants at law and great apprentices of the law 2 

5. A knight, esquire who ought to be a knight, their widows, 

apprentices who fallowed the law, jurats of great towns, 

and great merehanU 1 

6. Sufficient merchants 13 4 

7. Esquires, their widows, the widows of sufficient merchants, 

attorneys at law 6 8 

8. Others of less estate in proportion 034 

or . . 2 
or.. 1 

9. Each married labourer for himself and wife 4 

10. Single men and women not mendicants 4 

Rot. Pai-1. iii. 57., 53. 

The clergy, who possessed the right of taxing themselves, adopted a 
similar rate. 

Archbishops paid 6 13 4 

Bishops and oilier spiritual peers 4 

All having benefices above the yearly value of 200/ 2 

from lOOi. t200/ ' 1 10 

from 66/. 13s. 4rf. to 100/ 1 

from 40/. to 6W. 13s. Id 13 4 

fromSU/. to40/ 10 

from 101. to 20i 5 

AH other clergymen 2 

Monks and nuns paid per head, according to the value of the houses to 
which tney belonged, 40d., or 20</., or 12d., or id. Wilk. Con. iii. 141, 142. 

172 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

finance, consisting of lords and commoners, was ap- 
pointed, \vith powers to inquire into the expenses of the 
royal household, and of the offices of government ; and 
into this committee were introduced, by a condescension 
hitherto unknown, three representatives of the cities, 
two of them aldermen of London, and one an alderman 
of York. Mollified by so many concessions, they voted 
a tenth and a half within the cities and boroughs, a 
fifteenth and a half without *. Yet these grants did 
not prove sufficient to cover the current expenses of 
Nov. the year ; and when the chancellor, a few months later, 
5. informed them that one hundred and sixty thousand 
pounds were requisite to liquidate the debt of the nation, 
they pronounced the demand " outrageous and insup- 
" portable," and prayed the king and the lords to fix 
on a lower sum, and point out the least oppressive mode 
by which it could be raised. Three plans were offered 
to their choice : a capitation tax, or a duty on the sale 
of merchandise throughout the realm, or the imposition 
of a. tenth or fifteenth after the ancient manner. A long 
debate ensued. The commons proposed to raise one 
hundred thousand pounds by the capitation tax, of 
which two-thirds should be paid by the laity, one-third 
by the clergy : but the clergy replied, that they would 
admit of no invasion of their rights ; they had always 
enjoyed the liberty of taxing themselves, and would 
carefully preserve it. Let others perform their own duty 
and they would perform theirs. At last it was resolved 
to impose a tax of three groats per head on every male 
and female of fifteen years of age : but for the relief of 
JDec. the poor it was provided, that in the cities and towns 
6> the aggregate amount should be divided among the in- 
habitants according to their abilities, so that no indi- 
vidual should pay less than one groat, or more than 
sixty groats for himself and his wife 1 ! 1 . The parliament 

Rot. Par), iii. 73,74,75. 

f Rot. I'arl. iii. H8 90. The clergy in convocatiou granted a similar 
tax of 6. 8d. from all prelates, priests both regular and secular, and uuns, 


was immediately dismissed : but the collection of the 
tax p-ave occasion to an insurrection, which threatened 
the life of the king, and the very existence of the go- 

At this period a secret ferment seems to have per- 
vaded the mass of the people in many nations of Europe. 
Men were no longer willing to submit to the impositions 
of their rulers, or to wear the chains which had been 
thrown round the necks of their fathers by a warlike 
and haughty aristocracy. We may trace this awakening 
spirit of independence to a variety of causes, operating 
in the same direction ; to the progressive improvement 
of society, the gradual diffusion of knowledge, the in- 
creasing pressure of taxation, and above all to the nu- 
merous and lasting wars by which Europe had lately 
been convulsed. Necessity had often compelled both 
the sovereigns and nobles to court the good will of the 
people : the burghers in the towns, and inferior tenants 
in the country had learned, from the repeated demands 
made upon them, to form notions of their own impor- 
tance ; and the archers and foot soldiers, who had served 
for years in the wars, were, at their return home, un- 
willing to sit down in the humble station of bondmen 
to their former lords. In Flanders the commons had 
risen against their count Louis, and had driven him out 
of his dominions ; in France the populace had taken 
possession of Paris and Rouen, and massacred the col- 
lectors of the revenue. In England a spirit of discon- 
tent agitated the whole body of the villeins, who re- 
mained in almost the same situation in which we left 
them at the Norman conquest. They were still attached 
to the soil, talliable at the will of the lord, and bound 
to pay the fines for the marriage of their females, to per- 
form customary labour, and to render the other servile 
prestations incident to their condition. It is true that 

and of one shilling from all deacons and inferior clerks. Cone. iii. 150. I 
observe that the commons assert on this occasion that the wealth of th 
clergy amounted to cue half of that ol the laity. Rot. Parl. iii. 'JO. 

174 RICHARD n. [CHAP. in. 

in the course of time many had obtained the rights of 
freemen. Occasionally the king or the lord would libe- 
rate at once all the bondmen on some particular do- 
main, in return for a fixed rent to be yearly assessed on 
the inhabitants*. But the progress of emancipation 
was slow : the improved condition of their former fellows 
served only to embitter the discontent of those who still 
wore the fetters of servitude ; and in many places the 
villeins formed associations for their mutual support, and 
availed themselves of every expedient in their power to 
free themselves from the control of their lords. In the 
first year of Richard's reign a complaint was laid before 
parliament, that in many districts they had purchased 
exemplifications out of the domesday book in the king's 
court, and under a false interpretation of that record 
had pretended to be discharged of all manner of servi- 
tude both as to their bodies and their tenures, and would 
not suffer the officers of their lords either to levy dis- 
tress, or to do justice upon them. It was in vain that 
such exemplifications were declared of no force, and that 
commissions were ordered for the punishment of the re- 
bellious. The villeins by their union and perseverance 
contrived to intimidate their lords, and set at defiance 
the severity of the law t. To this resistance they were 
encouraged by the diffusion of the doctrines so recently 
taught by Wycliffe, that the right of property was 
founded in grace, and that no man, who was by sin a 
traitor to God could be entitled to the services of others : 
at the same time itinerant preachers sedulously incul- 
cated the natural equality of mankind, and the tyranny 
of artificial distinctions ; and the poorer classes, still 
smarting under the exactions of the late reign, were by 
the impositions of the new tax wound up to a pitch of 
madness. Thus the materials had been prepared: it 
required but a spark to set the whole country in a 

* See for instance New Rym. i. 204 
t Rot. P&rl. iii. 21. 45. Slat of Realm, ii. 2, 


It was soon discovered that the receipts at the treasury 
would fall short of the expected amount ; and commis- A. i> 
sions were issued to different persons to inquire into the **M 
conduct of the collectors, and to compel payment from 
those who had been favoured or overlooked. One of 
these commissioners, Thomas de Bampton, sate at Brent- j| av 
wood in Essex : but the men of Fobbings refused to an- 30. ' 
swer before him ; and when the chief justice of the com- 
mon pleas attempted to punish their contumacy, they 
compelled him to flee, murdered the jurors arid clerks 
of the commission, and carrying their heads upon poles, 
claimed the support of the nearest townships. In a few 
days all the commons of Essex were in a state of insur- 
rection, under the command of a profligate priest, who 
had assumed the name of Jack Straw. 

The men of Kent were not long behind their neigh- 
bours in Essex. At Dartford one of the collectors had 
demanded the tax for a young girl, the daughter of a 
tyler. Her mother maintained that she was under the 
age required by the statute ; and the officer was proceed- 
ing to ascertain the fact by an indecent exposure of her 
person, when her father, who had just returned from 
work, with a stroke of his hammer beat out the offend- 
er's brains. His courage was applauded by his neigh- 
bours. They swore that they would protect him from 
punishment, and by threats and promises secured the 
co-operation of all the villages in the western division of 

A third party of insurgents was formed by the men 6f June 
Gravesend, irritated at the conduct of sir Simon Burley. 
He had claimed one of the burghers as his bondman, 
refused to grant him his freedom at a less price than 
three hundred pounds, and sent him a prisoner to the 
castle of Rochester. With the aid of a body of insur- 
gents from Essex the castle was taken, and the captive 
liberated. At Maidstone they appointed Wat the tyler 
of that town leader of the commons of Kent, and took 
with them an itinerant preacher of the name of John 


Ball, who for his seditious and heterodox harangues had 
been confined by order of the archbishop*. The mayor 
and aldermen of Canterbury were compelled to swear 
fidelity to the good cause ; several of the citizens were 
June slain ; and five hundred joined them in their intended 
10- march towards London. When they reached Blackheath 
their numbers are said to have amounted to one hun- 
dred thousand men. To this lawless and tumultuous 
multitude Ball was appointed preacher, and assumed for 
the text of his first sermon the following lines : 

When Adam delved and Eve span, 
Who was then the gentleman ? 

He told them that by nature all men were born equal ; 
that the distinction of bondage and freedom was the in- 
vention of their oppressors, and contrary to the views of 
their Creator ; that God now offered them the means of 
recovering their liberty, and that, if they continued 
slaves, the blame must rest with themselves; that it 
was necessary to dispose of the archbishop, the earls and 
barons, the judges, lawyers, and questmongers ; and that 
when the distinction of ranks was abolished, all would 
be free, because all would be of the same nobility, and 
of equal authority. His discourse was received with 
shouts of applause by his infatuated hearers, who pro- 
mised to make him, in defiance of his own doctrines, 
archbishop of Canterbury, and chancellor of the realm t. 

* For these different particulars see Rnygbton, 2633. Walsinghum, 247, 
and Stowe, 283, '284. Some writers have described Hall as one of Wycliffe's 
disciples. That he was an itinerant preacher, and that he declaimed with 
equal vehemence against the clergy, is certain. Hut he was rather the 
precursor, as he is styled by Knyghton, (2644. 2655.) than the follower of 
Wyelifle; for he took up the profession of an itinerant preacher long 
before, even during the lifetime of archbishop Islep, wiio died in 1366. By 
that prelate, and his successors Langham and Sndbnry, and by several 
bishops, he had been repeatedly excommunicated for preaching " errors, 
" and schisms, and scandals against the pope, the archbishops, bishops, 
" and clergy." See Wilkins, Cone. iii. 64, 152. When, however, Wyclifle 
began to dogmatize, lie adopted some of the doctrines of the new teacher, 
and ingrafted them on his own. Wals. 275. 

t Wals. 275. According to Straw's confession after his condemnation, 
the leaders at Blackheath secretly determined to get possession of the 
person of the young king, that they might appear to ;ict under his au- 


By letters and messengers the knowledge of these 
proceedings was carefully propagated through the neigh- 
bouring counties. Everywhere the people had been 
prepared ; and in a few days the flame spread from the 
southern coast of Kent to the right bank of the Hum- 
ber*. In all places the insurgents regularly pursued 
the same course. They pillaged the manors of their 
lords, demolished the houses, and burnt the court rolls ; 
cut off the heads of every justice, and lawyer, and juror, 
who fell into their hands ; and swore all others to be true 
to king Richard and the commons; to admit of no king 
of the name of John t ; and to oppose all taxes but fif- 
teenths, the ancient tallage paid by their fathers. The 
members of the council saw with astonishment the sud- 
den rise, and rapid spread of the insurrection ; and be- 
wildered by their fears and ignorance, knew not whom 
to trust, or what measures to pursue. 

The first who encountered the rabble on Blackheath 
was the princess of Wales, the king's mother, on her re- 
turn from a pilgrimage to Canterbury. She liberated 
herself from danger by her own address ; and a few kisses 
from " the fair maid of Kent" purchased the protection j une 
of the leaders, and secured the respect of their followers. 1 ] . 
She was permitted to join her son, who with his cousin 
Henry earl of Derby, Simon archbishop of Canterbury 
and chancellor, sir Robert Hales master of the knights 
of St. John and treasurer, and about one hundred ser- 
ieants and knights had left the castle of Windsor, and 
repaired for greater security to the tower of London. 

thority ; to destroy all the privileged orders in the church and state, pre- 
serving only the mendicant friars to perform the offices of religion ; then 
to make away with tin; king himself, and to appoint kings of the commons 
in e\ ery county. See it in Walsingham, 265. 

* Several of these letters have been preserved. Some of them are in 
rhyme, containing enigmatical cr cant expressions, and are signed by 
Jakke Milner, Jak Carter, Jak Treweman, probably feigned names, and 
by Jon Halle. See them in KnyghUm, y<vf7. and Stlnve, 294. 

i Rot. t'arl. iii, 99. Nullum regem qni vocaretur Joannes, alluding to 
the duke of Lancaster, who was believed to exercise the royal authority 
under the name of his nephew, and therefore regarded as the author of the 
tax. Wals. 248. 

178 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

June The next morning the king in his barge descended the 
1 - river to receive the petitions of the insurgents. To the 
number of ten thousand, with two banners of St. George, 
and sixty pennons, they waited his arrival at Rother- 
hithe ; but their horrid yells and uncouth appearance so 
intimidated his attendants, that instead of permitting 
him to land, they took advantage of the tide, and re- 
turned with precipitation*. Tyler and Straw, irritated 
by this disappointment, led their men into Southwark, 
where they demolished the houses belonging to the mar- 
shalsea and the king's bench, while another party forced 
their way into the palace of the archbishop at Lambeth, 
and burnt the furniture with the records belonging to 
the chancery. 

June The next morning they were allowed to pass in small 
'* companies, according to their different townships, over 
the bridsre into the city. The populace joined them ; 
and as soon as they had regaled themselves at the cost 
of the richer inhabitants, the work of devastation com- 
menced. They demolished Newgate, and liberated the 
prisoners ; plundered and destroyed the magnificent 
palace of the Savoy, belonging to the duke of Lancaster ; 
burnt the Temple with the books and records ; and de- 
spatched a party to set fire to the house of the knights 
hospitallers at Clerkenwell, which had been lately built 
by Sir Robert Hales. To prove, however, that they had 
no views of private emolument, a proclamation was 
issued, forbidding any one to secrete part of the plunder ; 
and so severely was the prohibition enforced, that the 
plate was hammered and cut into small pieces, the pre- 
cious stones were beaten to powder, and one of the 
rioters, who had concealed a silver cup in his bosom, was 
immediately thrown with his prize into the river t. To 

* " When they perceived his harje," says Froissart, " they set up sucli 
" shouts and cries, as it all the devils iu hell had been in their company." 
Froiss. lix. 

t Wals. 249. Knyght 2635. The Savoy had been rebuilt by Henry <luko 
of Lancaster. It was the most magnificent palace in England. Ibid. 


every man whom they met they put the question, " With 
" whom holdest thou ?" and unless he gave the proper 
answer, " With king Richard and the commons," he was 
instantly beheaded. But the principal objects of their 
cruelty were the natives of Flanders. They dragged 
thirteen Flemings out of one church, seventeen out of 
another, and thirty-two out of the Vintry, and struck off 
their heads with shouts of triumph and exultation. In 
the evening, wearied with the labour of the day, they 
dispersed through the streets, and indulged in every kind 
of debauchery *. 

During this night of suspense and terror, the princess 
of Wales held a council with the ministers in the Tower. 
The king's uncles were absent ; the garrison, though 
perhaps able to defend the place, was too weak to put 
down the insurgents ; and a resolution was taken to try 
the influence of promises and concession. In the morn- 
ing the Tower-hill was seen covered with an immense June 
TII altitude, who prohibited the introduction of provisions, 14. 
and with loud cries demanded the heads of the chancel- 
lor and treasurer. In return, a herald ordered them, 
by proclamation, to retire to Mile-end, where the king 
would assent to all their demands. Immediately the 
gates were thrown open : Richard with a few unarmed 
attendants rode forward; the best intentioned of the 
crowd followed him ; and at Mile-end he saw himself 
surrounded with sixty thousand petitioners. Their de- 
mands were reduced to four ; the abolition of slavery ; 
the reduction of the rent of land to four pence the acre ; 
the free liberty of buying and selling in all fairs and 
markets ; and a general pardon for past offences. A 
charter to that effect was engrossed for each parish and 
township : during the night thirty clerks were employed 
in transcribing a sufficient number of copies : they were 
sealed and delivered in the morning; and the whole 
body, consisting chiefly of the men of Essex and Hert- 

Wals. 252. Stowe, 285. 288. 

180 RICHARD n. [CHAP. in. 

fordshire, retired, bearing the king's banner, as a token 
that they were under his protection * 

But Tyler and Straw had formed other and more am- 
bitious designs. The moment the king was gone, they 
rushed at the head of four hundred men into the Tower. 
The archbishop, who had just celebrated mass, sir Ro- 
bert Hales, William Apuldore, the king's confessor, 
Legge the farmer of the tax !, and three of his associates, 
were seized, and led to immediate execution J. As no 
opposition was offered, they searched every part of the 
Tower, burst into the private apartment of the princess, 
and probed her bed with their swords. She fainted ; 
and was carried by her ladies to the river, which she 
crossed in a covered barge. The royal wardrobe, a 
house in Carter-lane, was selected for her residence . 

The king joined his mother at the wardrobe ; and the 
next morning as he rode through Smithfield, with sixty 
horsemen, encountered Tyler at the head of twenty thou- 
sand insurgents. Three different charters had beem 
sent to that demagogue, who contemptuously refused 
June them all. As soon as he saw Richard, he made a sign 
to his followers to halt, and boldly rode up to the king. 
A conversation immediately began : Tyler, as he talked, 
affected to play with his dagger ; at last he laid his hand 
on the bridle of his sovereign ; but at the instant Wai- 
worth the lord mayor, jealous of his design, plunged a 
short sword into his throat. He spurred his horse, rode 
about a dozen yards, fell to the ground, and was de- 
spatched by Robert Standish one of the king's esquires. 
The insurgents who witnessed the transaction drew their 
bows to revenge the fall of their leader, and Richard 
would inevitably have lost his life, had he not been saved 
by his own intrepidity. Galloping up to the archers, he 

Rym. vii. 317. t See Ktiyght. 2633. 2635. 

J In Walsiugham may be seen a long account of the death of the arch- 
bishop, ]). 2jl). His head was carried in triumph through the streets on 
the point of a lance, and fixed on London bridge. That it might be the 
better known, the hat or bonnet worn by him was nailed to the skull, 
Wiik. Cone. iii. 153. Froiss. lix. 


exclaimed : " What are ye doing, my lieges ? Tyler was 
" a traitor. Come with me, and I will he your leader." 
Wavering and disconcerted, they followed him into the 
fields at Islington ; whither a force of one thousand men 
;it arms, which had been collected by the lord mayor and 
sir Robert Knowles, hastened to protect the young king ; 
and the insurgents falling on their knees begged for 
mercy. Many of the royalists demanded permission to 
punish them for their past excesses : but Richard firmly 
refused, ordered the suppliants to return to their homes, 
and by proclamation forbade under pain of death any 
stranger to pass the night in the city *. 

On the southern coast the excesses of the insurgents 
reached as far as Winchester ; on the eastern, to Be- 
verley and Scarborough ! : and, if we reflect that in 
every place they rose about the same time, and uniformly 
pursued the same system, we may discover reason to 
suspect that they acted under the direction of some ac- 
knowledged though invisible leader. The nobility and 
gentiy, intimidated by the hostility of their tenants, and 
distressed by contradictory reports, sought security within 
the fortifications of their castles $. The only man who 
behaved with promptitude and resolution, was Henry 
Spenser the young and warlike bishop of Norwich. In 
the counties of Norfolk, Cambridge, and Huntingdon, 
tranquillity was restored and preserved by this singular 

The history of this insurrection has been transmitted to us, with 
many variations iu the minor circumstances, by Walsingham, 247 27S, 
Knyjditon, 2633 2>'>44. and Fniissart, Ivii Ixii. 

t'Kot. Parl. 5 Rich. II. 32. 95. 

J The duke of Lancaster was at this time negotiating with the Scots ou 
the borders. Besides the destruction of his property at the Savoy, reports 
were brought to him that the same excesses had been committed in his 
castles of Leicester and Tutbury ; and that two bodies, of ten thousand 
men e.u:h, were lyinj; in wait to intercept him on his return. Other 
reports stated that his enemies acted under the commands of the king, 
who had always feared, and now sought to prevent, his ambition. All 
thKsereportswere false (quae de facto falsa erant. Knyght.2044') : but they 
induced his officers at I'omfiet to refuse him admission to his duchess, and 
the earl of Northumberland to exclude him from the castle of Bamborough 
He retired to Kdinbur-jh, till he was honourably recalled by his nephew. 
Kny K ht. 2C40 2642. 

182 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

prelate, who successively exercised the offices of general, 
judge, and priest. In complete armour he always led 
his followers to the attack ; after the battle he sat in 
judgment on his prisoners; and before execution he ad- 
ministered to them the aids of religion *. But as soon 
as the death of Tyler, and the dispersion of the men of 
Kent and Essex were known, thousands became eager 
to display their loyalty ; and knights and esquires from 
every quarter poured into London to offer their services 
to the king. At the head of forty thousand horse, he 
published proclamations, revoking the charters of manu- 

July mission which he had granted, commanding the villeins 

'-' to perform their usual services, and prohibiting illegal 
assemblies and associations t. In several parts the com- 
mons threatened to renew the horrors of the late tumult 
in defence of their liberties : but the approach of the 
royal army dismayed the disaffected in Kent ; the loss 
of five hundred men induced the insurgents of Essex to 
sue for pardon ; and numerous executions in different 
counties effectually crushed the spirit of resistance. 
Among the sufferers were Lister and Westbroom, who 
had assumed the title and authority of kings in Norfolk 
and Suffolk, and Straw and Ball, the itinerant preachers, 
who have been already mentioned, and whose sermons 
were supposed to have kindled and nourished the insur- 
rection $. 

Nov. When the parliament met, the two houses were in- 


* Wals. 263, 261. i Kym. vii. 316. 

f Knyght. 2643. Wals. 265.268. When Tresilian, one of the judges, 
tried Uie insurgents at St. Alban'g, he impanneled three juries of twelve 
men each. The first was ordered to present all whom they knew to be the 
chiefs of the tumult, the second gave their opinion on the presentation of 
the first, and the third pronounced the verdict of guilty or not guilty. It 
does not appear that witnesses were examined. The juries spoke from 
their personal knowledge. Thus each convict was condemned on the 
oaths of thirty-six men. Wals. 276. At first, on account of the multitude 
of executions, the condemned were beheaded : afterwards they were 
hanged and left on the gibbet as objects of terror: but as their bodies were 
removed by their friends, the king ordered them to be hanged in chains ; 
the first instance in which I have met with express mention of the prac- 
tice. Wals. 278. According to Holinshed the executions amounted to 


formed by the chancellor, that the king had revoked 
the charters of emancipation, which he had been com- 
pelled to grant to the villeins : but at the same time 
wished to submit to their consideration, whether it might 
not be wise to abolish the state of bondage altogether. 
The minds of the great proprietors were not, however, 
prepared for the adoption of so liberal a measure ; and 
both lords and commons unanimously replied, that no 
man could deprive them of the services of their villeins 
without their consent ; that they had never given that 
consent, and never \vo\ild be induced to give it, either 
through persuasion or violence. The king yielded to 
their obstinacy ; and the charters were repealed by au- 
thority of parliament *. The commons next deliberated, 
and presented their petitions. They attributed the in- 
surrection to the grievances suffered by the people from, 
1. The purveyors, who were said to have exceeded all 
their predecessors in insolence and extortion : 2. From 
the rapacity of the royal officers in the chancery, and 
exchequer, and the courts of king's bench and common 
pleas ; 3. From the banditti, called maintainers, who, in 
different counties, supported themselves by plunder, 
and arming in defence of each other, set at defiance all 
the provisions of the law t ; and, 4. From the repeated 
aids and taxes, which had impoverished the people, and 

* Rot. Part. iii. 99, 100. 

t The existence of the maintainers is a glaring proof of the inefficient 
administration of justice at this period. They united in large bodies, 
plundered extensive districts. |itit to death those who opposed them, com- 
pelled the others to pay ransoms for their liberty, and attended the courts, 
where pleas were held, in such numbers as to intimidate witnesses, juries, 
and judges. But of all the maintainers those of Cheshire and Lancashire 
were the most feared. They often made inroads into the neighbouring 
counties to the distance of 100 miles. One of their great objects was to 
carry off the daughters of men of property. Each captive was of course 
made the pretended wife of one of the party ; and a message was sent to 
her parents, advising them of her marriage, and requiring them to send 
her fortune to the husband under the peiii of their lives. When this was 
obtained, the unfortunate female was generally restored to her family, but 
with an admonition, that if any person ill-treated her on account of what 
had passed, the offender should forfeit his life. As the king's writs did 
not run in the county palatine, these miscreants were protected liom pro- 
secutions brought against them for crimes committed in other parts. See 
the rolls, iii. 42. 62. 81. Stat. of Realm, ii. 9. 2?. 

184 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

proved of no service to the nation. To silence these 
complaints, a commission of inquiry was appointed : the 
courts of law and the king's household were subjected 
to regulations of reform ; and severe orders were pub- 
lished for the immediate suppression of illegal associa- 
tions *. But the demand of a supply produced a very in- 
teresting altercation. The commons refused, on the 
ground that the imposition of a new tax would goad the 
people to a second insurrection. They found it, how- 
ever, necessary to request of the king a general pardon 
for all illegal acts committed in the suppression of the 
insurgents, and received for answer, that it was custom- 
ary for the commons to make their grants before the 
king bestowed his favours. When the subsidy was again 
pressed on their attention, they replied, that they should 
take time to consider of it, but were told that the king 
would also take time to consider of their petition. At 
j) last they yielded : the tax upon wool, wool-fells, and 
13. leather was continued for five years t ; and in return a 
general pardon was granted for all loyal subjects, who 
had acted illegally in opposing the rebels, and for the 
great body of the insurgents, who had been misled by the 
declamations of the demagogues $. This favour, how- 

Ibid. 100102. 

. That the tax upon wool might not by repetition be at length claimed 
as a right, they inserted the following clause in the grant. Combien qe 
riens n'y ad le Roi es dites subsides siuoun par lour grant. 104. 

| Ibid 103 At first several towns were excepted: but on the repre- 
sentation of the commons it was extended to all but Bury St. Edmunds, j). 
118. Many individuals -.vere also excepted by name from the cities of 
London, Winchester, and Canterbury, and the counties of Norfolk, 
Suffolk, Kent, Essex. Hertford, Middlesex, Sussex, and Somerset. They 
amounted to 286. Ibid. 111. The other proceedings of this parliament 
are highly interesting, as they point out to posterity the original cause of 
loans to tiie public on parliamentary security. A (.'runt, continuing the 
duty on wool, wool-fells, and leather, for lour years, had been made to the 
kini;, that he might undertake an expedition into France. To raise money 
on the credit of this grant, he called a council of merchants, those of Lon- 
don by themselves, and t'.vo or three from every town in England. They 
replied that it would be necessary to ha\e the security of parliament. In 
consequence a new parliament "as called (lind Aug. 1382). The knights 
of the shires proposed to the lords to leave the business to the merchants. 
" for they understood such affairs better than any other estate in the 
" realm." A committee ol fourteen merchants from the lower house was 


ever, was said to have been granted on occasion of the A . u . 
king's approaching marriage, and at the intercession oi'l.oJ. 
his intended queen, Anne of Bohemia. She was the Jan. 
daughter of the late emperor Charles IV., and sister of - " 
Winccslaus, king of the Romans ; a princess of great ac- 
complishments, and of still greater virtue, who during 
the twelve years of their union possessed the affections of 
her husband, and after her death was long remembered 
by the people under the appellation of the " good queen 

While the principal nations of Europe were thus agi- *^' 
tated by popular tumults, the Christian world had been j an / 
thrown into confusion by the opposite pretensions of 13. 
two competitors for the papacy. Gregory XI., about 
seventy years after his predecessors had fixed their resi- 
dence in France, returned, against the unanimous ad- 
vice of the cacdinals, to Rome. At his death three-fourths A - 
of the sacred college consisted of Frenchmen ; and the -, ' ' 
Romans, jealous of their preponderance, surrounded the 27. ' 
conclave, and with the most alarming menaces demanded 
an Italian pope. To appease them the archbishop of April 
Ban was chosen, and assumed the name of Urban VI. *9. 
For some months he exercised the pontifical authority 
without opposition ; but his severity alienated his friends, 
and irritated his enemies ; the French cardinals seceded 
to Anagni ; and under pretence that the former election 
had been made through the influence of terror, another 

appointed, who, after repented consultations, reported, that on former 
occasions merchants, who hud lent money to the crown, had been ruined 
by malicious prosecutions, under pretence that they had defrauded their 
sovereign; that the experience of the past w as a sufficient warning to them 
to refuse loans of money to the crown on any consideration ; but that, if 
the lords and commons would advance to the kin;: the sum required 
(40.000/.) the merchants would lend an equal sum to them on their respec- 
tive securities. This was not accepted, and the parliament was dissolved. 
Rot. Parl. iii. 123. Afterwards, however, when it was found that the 
crown, by the ve.\at : ous proceedings mentioned by the committee, had de- 
feated its own purpose, und that no money could lie borrowed by the king 
ou his own credit, ministers were obliged to solicit the aid of parliament ; 
and the reader will, in the next reign, witneit tin; whole legislature join 
iu giving sufficient stcurity to those who were willing to advance money 
for the public seixice. 

186 RICHARD IT. [CHAP. ni. 

pontiff was chosen, the cardinal of Geneva, who called 
Sept. himself Clement VII. Clement was immediately ac- 
knowledged by France, and the allies of France, the 
kings of Scotland, Spain, Sicily, and Cyprus: England 
and the rest of Europe continued in their obedience to 
Urban. From Rome and Avignon, their respective re- 
sidences, the two pontiffs launched their anathemas, and 
preached up crusades against one another. For the 
latter purpose Urban had invested the warlike bishop of 
Norwich with extraordinary powers; and the king's 
council encouraged the plan with the intention of direct- 
ing the expedition against France : for the war with 
that monarch was still continued, though of late years it 
had been confined on both sides to a few predatory in- 
cursions by land, and the capture of merchant vessels at 
A. D. sea. With the consent of parliament a contract was 
1382. signed between the king and the bishop : the former en- 
,. ec " gaged to contribute the produce of a fifteenth lately 
granted by the laity towards the expense of the enter- 
prise ; and the latter to serve against France for the 
space of a year with two thousand five hundred men at 
arms, and an equal number of archers*. It was deter- 
mined that the first object of the army should be to aid 
the citizens of Ghent, who after the great battle of Rose- 
becque, and the reduction of Flanders, still bade defi- 
ance to the power of their count and of his patron, the 
A. n. king of France. The prelate took Gravelines by assault ; 
1^83. Defeated an army of twelve thousand men; entered 
a y* Dunkirk with the fugitives ; and became master of the 
coast as far as Sluys. Had he been assisted, as he had 
reason to expect, this promising commencement might 
have terminated successfully. A numerous body of men 
at arms was indeed assembled at Dover : but the duke 
of Lancaster, whose offers had been rejected by parlia- 
ment, and who envied the progress of his rival, is said to 
have detained them on the coast ; and the bishop was 

Rot. Pail iii. 145. U~. 


joined by none but needy and desperate adventurers, who 
perplexed his counsels, and controlled him in the com- 
mand. To satisfy their wish of plunder, and comply 
with the request of the citizens of Ghent, he undertook 
the siege of Ypres. The place was long and valiantly 
defended : the king of France approached with twenty 
thousand men at arms ; the men of Ghent retired ; and 
the English, in a state of mutiny, fled before the arrival 
of the enemy. A part took possession of Bourbourg : 
and having repelled the first assault of the pursuers, ob- 
tained permission to retire with their booty to Calais. 
The bishop threw himself into Gravelines; and, after a 
short defence, demolished the fortifications, and returned 
to England *. But here his bad success exposed him Oct. 
to the persecution of his enemies. He was accused in 26. 
parliament of having received a bribe of eighteen thou- 
sand franks of gold from the enemy, and of having 
broken his contract with the king by returning before 
the twelve months of his service were expired. From 
the first of these charges he cleared himself to the satis- 
faction of his judges ; but when he attempted to justify 
his return by the necessity of the case, his defence was 
not admitted. He had brought, it was replied, that ne- A. n. 
cessity on himself by his own neglect or imprudence ; l 38 ^- 
and was therefore condemned to lose his temporalities, 
till such time as he had paid the full damages to the 
king. Besides the bishop, four of the principal knights, Mar. 
who had joined in the expedition, were arraigned on a *> 
charge of having sold the stores and provisions to the 
enemy for twenty thousand franks, and were condemned 
to pay that sum into the exchequer, and to remain in 
prison till they should make their peace with their sove- 
reign T 

yals. 293-305. Knyjfht 2671, 2673. Kyin. rii. 372. 382. 3S5. 301. 
395. 399. Froiss. 1L Ixv. Froissart may be accurate in his account ot the 
sieges and battles, but it is evident from the rolls and documents in Ry- 
tner, that he was misinformed as to the real object ol the expedition, 
t Rot. Parl. iiu 133158. Kym. vii. 424 -^7 

188 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

Before we proceed to the subsequent transactions of 
this reign, it will be proper to resume the history of Wy- 
cliffe. The insurrection of the commons had created a 
strong prejudice against the new doctrines of that re- 
former. It may be, that the itinerant preachers had 
improved on the lessons of their master : but, if we can 
believe the assertions of the contemporary writers, we 
must admit, that their sermons were calculated to 
awaken in the people a spirit of discontent and insubor- 
dination, and to bring into contempt the established 
authorities, both in church and state. A few weeks 
before the death of the late king, eighteen propositions, 
selected from the works and lectures of Wycliffe, and 
relating to the temporal possessions of the church, and 
A D . the use of ecclesiastical censures, had been laid before 
1377. Gregory XI.: and about the end of the year, in conse- 
M a y quence of the papal letters, the rector of Lutterworth 
""' was summoned to explain his opinions in the presence 
Dec. of the primate, and of the bishop of London *. To pre- 
pare for the day of trial, he first published a defence of 
part of his doctrine, in language the most bold and in- 
flammatory. Soon afterwards he composed a second 
apology, in which, though he assumed a more moderate 
tone, he avowed his willingness to shed his blood in the 
defence of his assertions. There is, however, reason to 
believe, that the new apostle was in no haste to grasp 
the crown of martyrdom. At his trial he exhibited to 
the prelates the same paper, but with numerous correc- 
tions and improvements. It begins with a profession of 
his readiness to submit to the correction of the church, 
and a revocation of whatever he may have taught con- 
trary to the doctrine of Christ. He then proceeds to 
notice the several propositions, which he explains, quali- 
fies, and defends : but occasionally, to impart to them 
something like a rational meaning, is compelled to make 
use of quibbles and evasions, which seem unworthy of a 

\Vals. 201 204. Lewis, 254265. Wilk. Con. iii. 116, 117. 123. 


sensible or of an honest man *. This paper, however, 
such as it might be, was admitted by the bishops as or- 
thodox ; and its author was dismissed with an order to 
abstain from the use of language so calculated to per- 
plex and mislead the ignorant. By some, it is said, that 
the two bishops were intimidated by a message from the 
princess of Wales: by Wycliffe himself his escape was 
considered and celebrated as a triumph t. 

From this period, till the insurrection of the com- 
mons, the rector of Lutterworth employed himself in 
directing the operations of the poor priests, and gra- 
dually turned his attacks from the possessions to the A -- 
doctrines of the church. As soon as tranquillity was \T*~' 
restored, the bishop of London succeeded the primate, 17. 
who had been murdered ; and one of his first measures 
was to call a synod of divines, in which four-and- twenty 
opinions, zealously inculcated by the new preachers, 

Thus, for example, he had taught that " charters of perpetual inhe- 
" ritance were impossible, that God himself could not give to mau civil 
" possessions for ever." He now declared that by the words " for eTer," 
lie meant after the day of judgment His opinions were therefore conso- 
nant to the first principles of religion, and did not affect civil possessions 
at present. Again, he had taught that " if there was a God, temporal 
" lords might lawfully and meritoriously take away worldly goods from a 
" delinquent church." He protested that by this doctrine it was not his 
meaning that temporal lords might take away such goods of their OH n 
authority : but that if there were a God, he was almighty : if he was 
almighty, he had the power to command temporal lords to take away the 
goods of the church ; and if he should command them, then they might do 
it lawfully and meritoriously. There are many other explanations of a 
similar nature. Wals. 206, 207. 

t I have no doubt that I have placed the three writings put forth by 
Wycliffe about this time in the order in which they originally appeared. 
The first by some writers described as the last " the answer to a mot- 
ley doctor"' bears evidence on the very face of it, that it was composed 
just after the arrival of the bulls, and the appointment of the delegates. 
The other two are apologies in defence of his opinions which had beea 
censured by the pope, accompanied with certain glosses and qualifications 
which are calculated to remove or disguise what was most offensive in 
them. One of them is called " aliqualis responsio ad bullam;' and written 
iu a tone of boldness and defiance : the other is more moderate in its lan- 
guage, and more exculpatory in its explanation. To whom the tirst was 
addressed or presentee), is unknown : trom its title and tone I should think 
that it was written to be circulated in the university: the other was pre- 
sented to the delegates, and appears to have been accepted by them as 
satisfactory. The last may be seen in \Valsingham (2u6) : all three in 
Lewis lOi*, 319). Foi a uiffereut arrangement, consult Mr. Yaughau's 
Wycliffe, i. 387. 


were censured ; ten as heretical, fourteen as erroneous, 
and of dangerous tendency *. It chanced that, while 
the synod was sitting, an earthquake shook the metro- 
polis : a circumstance, which the policy, or the fanati- 
cism, of WyclhTe converted into a proof of his doctrine. 
" The erth tremblide,'' he writes, " for they put an 
" heresie upon Crist and the seyntes in hevyne. Fay 
" (faith) land, mannus voice answeryde for God, als it 
" did in tyme of his passione, whan he was dampnyde 
"to bodely detht." From this condemnation he ap- 
J;me pealed to the protection of the duke of Lancaster, by 
his disciples Hereford and Rapyngdon: but that prince 
rejected the application ; the messengers themselves 
were compelled, after some tergiversation, to recant $ ; 
July and a royal mandate was sent to Oxford, suspending 
J3. \Vycliffe from the office of teaching, and ordering all 
his works to be seized and forwarded to the archbishop 
in their existing state, without erasure or alteration . 
Unwilling, however, to bend to the storm, he sought to 
shelter himself under the protection of the parliament ; 
and presented a petition " for the maintenance of the 
"Christian faith," by which he artfully endeavoured to 
array in favour of his tenets the passions and prejudices 
of the nation. He prayed, that the error of those, who 
had condemned the doctrine of the itinerant preachers, 
might be amended and published : that Christ's own 
doctrine respecting the eucharist might be openly taught 
in the churches : that the members of the religious 
orders might have full liberty to secularize themselves : 
that tithes might be applied to those purposes only, for 
which they were ordained by God's law, and the pope's 
law ; and that no more taxes should be laid upon the 
people ; but that the wants of the nation should be sup- 
plied from the incomes of delinquent clergymen, and 

* Wilk. Cone. hi. 157. t Knyylit. 2650. 

J The whole process, with the evasions, the excommunication and re- 
cantation of Hereford and Rapyngclon, may be seen in Wilkins, Con. iii. 
160166, 167, and Kny<jht. 3655. Uym. vii. 363. 

A. D. 1382.] DEATH OF WYCLIFFE. 191 

the superfluous revenues of the church, which were in 
reality the patrimony of the poor *. 

In this petition he was partially successful. Imme- 
diately after the synod, the bishops had procured an 
act of parliament, which stated that, whereas several 
persons under the mask of extraordinary sanctity and 
in a particular sort of garb, went from place to place, 
preached without authority in churches, church-yards, 
fairs and markets, inculcated false doctrines, excited 
dissensions between the different estates, prevailed on 
the people to support them by open force, and refused 
to obey the citations of their ordinaries ; the sheriffs 
should be bound, on the certification of the prelates, 
in the chancery, to arrest such offenders and their 
abettors, and to confine them till they were willing to 
plead in the ecclesiastical courts. On the representation 
of the commons, that this act had been passed without 
their consent, and that they did not mean to subject 
themselves to the jurisdiction of the prelates in any 
other manner than their ancestors had been, it was 
repealed with the approbation of the king and the lords t. 
But Wycliffe's success ended here. His appeal on 
doctrinal matters, from a spiritual to a lay tribunal, 
scandalized some of his most powerful partisans ; and 
the duke of Lancaster, hastening to Oxford, advised him 
to submit to the judgment of his ordinary. He reluc- 
tantly assented, read a confession of faith in presence 
of the primate and the bishops of Lincoln, Norwich, 
Worcester, London, Salisbury, and Hereford, and re- 
tiring to the rectory of Lutter worth, was suffered to 
remain there without farther molestation. Two years 
afterwards, as he was assisting at the mass of his curate 
on the feast of the innocents, at the moment of the 
elevation of the host, a stroke of apoplexy deprived him 
of the use of his tongue, and of most of his limbs. He 

Wals. 283. MS. C. C. C. apud Lewis, p. 83. 

t KuU I'arl. Hi. 124 141. Gascoigne apud Lewis, 286. Lei. Coll.iii. 409. 

192 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

lingered two days, and expired at the close of the year 

Before I proceed, I may be allowed to add a few par- 
ticulars respecting the character and sentiments of this 
extraordinary man. Exemplary in his morals, he de- 
claimed against vice with the freedom and severity of 
an apostle : but, whether it were policy or prejudice, 
he directed his bitterest invectives almost exclusively 
against the clergy. His itinerant priests formed indeed 
an honourable exception : they were true evangelical 
preachers : but the rest, the pope, bishops, dignitaries, 
and the whole body of " clerks possessioners," were ho 
better than liars and fiends, hypocrites and traitors, 
heretics and antichrists. That many among them, as 
must always happen in old and wealthy establishments, 
may have deserved some of these appellations, is pro- 
bably true : but the zeal of the new apostle could make 
no discrimination ; and he determined to lay the axe 
to what he deemed the root of the evil, their worldly 
possessions. He contended that they were bound to 
lead a life of poverty in imitation of their master t : that 
their temporalities were given to them to be employed 
to the honour of God ; and, therefore, might be lawfully 
taken away, as soon as they were diverted to any other 
purpose $ : that to pay tithes and dues to an incumbent, 
who spent his income in vanity and luxury, was to co- 
operate in his sins : and that secular lords were not 
only permitted, but bound, under pain of damnation, to 
deprive of its possessions a church habitually delin- 
quent $. It will not excite surprise, if invectives so 

Wood, Ant. Oxori. 189. 

t Apud Lewis, p. 293. He maintained that the man, who taught it fo 
be lawful to endow churchmen, was the greatest of heretics ami anti- 
christs. Trialog. iv. 15. His seven arguments in favour of this doctrine 
were answered by Woodlbrd, Fascicul. rer. expeteud. i. 221 230. 

J Wycliffe's explanation upud Lewis, 325. xvii. 

Dicimus lion solum quod illis licet hoc facere, sed quod debent sub 
po?na damnationis geliennse, cum debent de sua stultitiii puunitrre, et satis- 
f ace re pro peccato, quo Christi rcclesium macularunt. Trial, iv. 18. Yet 
lie afterwards attempted to explain it away. " 11 this be errour, as tln-y 


coarse, and doctrines so prejudicial to their interests, 
alarmed and irritated the clergy. They appealed for 
protection to the king and the pontiff: but though their 
reputation and fortunes were at stake, they sought not 
to revenue themselves on their adversary, but were con- 
tent with an order for his removal from the university 
to reside on his own living. If the reader allot to him 
the praise of courage, he cannot refuse to them the 
praise of moderation. 

On many points of doctrine it is not easy to ascertain 
the real sentiments of this reformer. In common with 
other religious innovators, he claimed the twofold privi- 
lege of changing his opinions at will, and of being in- 
fallible in every change: and when he found it expedient 
to dissemble, could so qualify his doctrines with condi- 
tions, or explain them away by distinctions, as to give 
an appearance of innocence to tenets of the most mis- 
chievous tendency. For the church as it originally 
existed, and as it continued to exist for a thousand 
years, he professed the most unfeigned veneration. It 
was then pure in doctrine, perfect in discipline, and free 
from the contagion of avarice. But at the expiration 
of the tenth century, the prediction in the apocalypse 
was literally fulfilled. The great dragon, who had been 
chained for a thousand years, was loosed ; and the first 
use which he made of his liberty was to scatter from 
his tail the new religious orders, which with unexampled 
rapidity diffused themselves over the Christian world. 
From that moment faith, discipline, and morality, were 
corrupted ; and the re-establishment of the Gospel was 
reserved for the exertions of Wycliffe and his " poor 
" priests *." 

His favourite maxim that dominion or the right to 

" seyn falsy, then the king and secular lords may take no farthing ne far- 
" thiii!.' worth fro a worldly clerk, tho he owe him and his liege men never 
" so much good, and may well pave it and wule not." Great sentence 
of curse expounded, apud Lewis, \>. 99. 

Triaiog. iv. 32, 33. 

194 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

property is founded in grace, seems to have been gene- 
rated from a strange amalgamation of feudal and theo- 
logical notions. He argues, that forfeiture is confessedly 
the punishment of treason: now every sin is a treason 
against God : of course the sinner must forfeit what- 
ever he holds of God, and consequently all right to au- 
thority or property ; since, of whomsoever he may hold 
them immediately, originally they are derived to him 
from God*. 

He admitted seven sacraments with the Catholic 
church ; but differed from it in explaining the nature 
of the eucharist, and the contract of matrimony. On 
the former, if he frequently made use of orthodox lan- 
guage, he still more frequently taught a doctrine similar 
to the impanation of Luther. In his confession, where 
he might be expected to speak plainly, he has in- 
trenched himself behind so many unintelligible distinc- 
tions, that it will be difficult for the most acute logician 
to discover his meaning t: in his other works he re- 
peatedly teaches that at the consecration the bread, 
without ceasing to be bread, becomes the very body of 
Christ which suffered on the cross : so that the nature 
of bread is not destroyed, but is exalted into a substance 
of greater dignity $. 

On matrimony he hazarded several extraordinary 
opinions: that the usual contract, in which it is said, 
" I take thee to wife," contains a falsehood, and is con- 

* Trialog. iv. 17. In favour of this opinion he advances eleven argu- 
ments, answered by Woodiurd, 23'2 i50. 

t Siepe conft'ssus sum et adlnic couliteor quod idem corpus Christi in 
numero, quod I'uit assiimptum de virtue . . . . ipsum, inquam, idem cor- 
pus et eadem substanlia est vere et realiter panis sacramentalis sen 

nostia non tamen audeo dieerr quod corpus Christi sit essentiali- 

ter substantialiter ccrporaliter vel ydempiice ille panis conce- 

ditur quod corpus Christi est qiiantumcunque varie quantiftcatum ibi, cum 
sit quaelibet pars quantitative illius hostia;, &c. &c. Confessio Mug. Juan. 
Wyeclyff. apud Lewis, 272. 

I ' It is verray Gotldus body in fourme of brede it is vcrra> 

"(loddus body and verray brede."' Kny<jht. 2649. "The ris;ht faith o'f 
" Christen men is this, that this worshipful sacrament is bread aud 
" Christ's body." A1S. amid Lew. "J-i. See Trialog. iv. 4. 27. 


sequently void: that, however, the consent of the mind 
is sufficient without any expression of that consent in 
words : but that women, who have passed the time of 
childbearing cannot lawfully be married, either with 
words or without them. His arguments on these sub- 
.:e mere verbal quibbles *. 

The priests, who truly preached the Gospel, were, in 
his opinion, the real and the only members of the hie- 
rarchy : all, who opposed them, were antichrists, and 
the proctors of Satan. Of these he numbered twelve 
classes, beginning with the pope, and ending with the 
mendicant friars t. Yet he affirmed, that "prelates 
" and priests ordeyned of God, comen in the stede of 
" apostles and disciples, and that the pope is highest 
" vicar that Christ has here in earth $." 

He inculcated the doctrine of purgatory, and strenu- 
ously maintained the efficacy of the mass : but while 
he admitted the necessity, he censured the multitude 
of ceremonies ||, and loudly inveighed against the cus- 
tom of singing in the churches^". He also disapproved 
of indulgences, sanctuaries, and pilgrimages, as calcu- 
lated rather to enrich the clergy than to nourish devo- 

Wycliffe's opinions, echoed and re-echoed from the 

* Take for example his argument against the contract. No woman is a 
man's wife till she has given her consent: but in the marriage ceremony 
the man says, " I take thee to wife,' 1 before the woman has given her coii*- 
seot ; therefore he says what is false ; and consequently the contract is 
null. Bee Trial, iv. 0. 33. Woodiord, 214. 

t Trialog. r j MS. of prelates. ai>ud Lew. p. 129. 

" The seyin;.' of mass with clenne ol'hoiy life, and l;rennin<; lievotion 
" full much, and neet bonds, most pleaseth God almighty, and proliteth 
" to christen souls in puratorv." MS. aimd Lew. 131. 
iv. 11. 

' When there ben fonrty or fifty in a queer, three or four proud and 
' lecherous Ion-Is sh'ilien knaf k the most d,-vout sen ice that no man shall 

i the sentence, and all other shullen be dumb, and loi ken on them 
ols. And tlien strumpets and thieve* prai-en site .lack, or Hobb 
* and William the proud clerk, how smallen thej knacken their no'es, and 
" scyn that they serv-n well God and holy chinch, when they dispisen 
" God in h;- t.n-c, and Ictten oilier men ol their d--votion and compunction. 
" and stirreu them to worldly vanity." MS. of prelates aimd Lew. 134. 
" Ibid. 137. 350. 


196 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

pulpits of his " poor priests," made numerous proselytes. 
Men crowded to hear the new preachers. The novelty 
of their manner, the severity with which they arraigned 
the real or imputed vices of their spiritual superiors, 
and the boldness of their invectives against the dues, 
the claims, and privileges of the clergy, interested the 
passions, and won the assent of their hearers. But 
there was another weapon which the rector of Lutter- 
worth wielded with equal address and still greater effi- 
cacy. In proof of his doctrines he appealed to the 
Scriptures, and thus made his disciples judges between 
him and the bishops. Several versions of the sacred 
writings were even then extant : but they were confined 
to libraries, or only in the hands of persons, who aspired 
to superior sanctity *. Wycliffe made a new translation, 
multiplied the copies with the aid of transcribers, and by 
his poor priests recommended it to the perusal of their 
hearers. In their hands it became an engine of won- 
derful power. Men were flattered by the appeal to their 
private judgment : the new doctrines insensibly ac- 
quired partisans and protectors in the higher classes, 
who alone were acquainted with the use of letters ; a 
spirit of inquiry was generated ; and the seeds were 
sown of that religious revolution, which in little more 
than a century astonished and convulsed the nations of 

The king had now reached his seventeenth year. The 
resolution and intrepidity which he had displayed during 
the insurrection seemed to portend a fortunate and 
glorious reign ; and the qualities of his heart were recom- 

* " The hole byble was long before Yv'iekliffe's days by vertuous and 
" well learned men translated into the English long, and by good and 
" godly people with devotion and soberness wel and reverently red." Sir 
Tho. More. Dialog, iii. 14. The same is asserted by arch bishop Cran- 
mer. " It is not much above one hundred years ago since scripture hath 
' not been accustomed to be read in the vulgar tongue within this realm; 
' and many hundred years before that it was translated and read in the 
' Saxons' tongue .... and when this language waned old and out of 
' common usage, because folk should not lack the fruit of reading it, was 
' translated again into the newer language, whereof yet also many copies 
be found," Strype's Cranmer, App. 242. 


mended by the superior beauty of his person, and the 
Mice of his manners. But, to whatever cause it 
were owinu;, to the inexperience and prodigality of his 
youth, or to the ambition of his uncle, or the tur- 
bulence of his people, his reign from this period became 
a succession of errors and misfortunes, which involved 
him repeatedly in distress, and ultimately cost him his 
crown and life. The ministers, whom design or acci- 
dent placed near his person, were not selected from the 
higher classes in the state ; and when, as it was natural 
to expect, by their attention they had secured his attach- 
ment, the favour which they enjoyed was construed into 
a crime, and every benefit which they received was 
deemed an injury by the more noble and ancient fami- 
lies. This systematic opposition to his favourites exas- 
perated the mind of the king, and induced him to lend 
an attentive ear to the jealousies and apprehensions 
suggested by the officious friendship of those around 
him. The reader will recollect, that at first the duke 
of Lancaster was the chief object of suspicion ; and that 
the reports which had then been circulated, on no better 
ground perhaps than his great power, and his proximity 
to the throne, had been renewed during the late insur- 
rection. The prince thought proper to seek an asylum 
at the Scottish court: nor did he return till the king 
by proclamation bore testimony to his innocence, 
and authorised him to travel with a body-guard, for 
the better security of his person *. When the bishop A< D 
of Norwich had closed his ill-fated crusade, the duke 13^3. 
concluded an armistice with France, in which the Nov. 
Scots were comprehended : but, as they still con- A- D> 
tinned the war, he led a numerous army across the 1384. 
borders, burnt the huts of which their towns were com- 
posed, and inflicted on them a more serious injury by 
cutting down their forests, in which they had been ac- 

Ryn. vii. 313, 319. 

198 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

custoraed to elude the pursuit of the English *. At his 
return from this expedition, the reports of his disloyalty 
Apr. were revived ; and, during the parliament at Salisbury, 
-9- a carmelite friar put into the king's hands the written 
particulars of a real or pretended conspiracy to place 
the crown on the head of his uncle. Richard was ad- 
vised to communicate it to the duke ; who swore that 
it was false, offered to prove his innocence by battle, 
and required that the informer might be committed to 
close custody for future examination. The friar persisted 
in his story, and was given to the care of sir John Ho- 
land, the king's uterine brother t, who strangled him 
with his own hands during the night, and ordered his 
body to be dragged through the streets in the morning 
as that of a traitor. This dark and mysterious murder 
did not remove the secret suspicions of Richard ; but 
the lord Zouch, whom the friar had mentioned as the 
author of the memorial, declared on his oath that he 
was ignorant of its existence ; and the earl of Bucking- 
ham, another of the king's uncles, bursting into the 
room with his sword drawn, swore he would murder 
the first man who should charge his brother with trea- 
May. son$. The king dissembled; and Lancaster crossed 
the sea to obtain a prolongation of the armistice. A re- 
solution was, however, taken to arrest him on his return : 
but he disappointed his enemies, and shut himself up 
in his strong castle of Pontefract, till the king's mother, 
by repeated journeys and entreaties, reconciled the 
uncle and nephew, and also obtained a full pardon for 
her own son, sir John Holand $. 

* Knyght. 2673. Hi- assures us that for this last purpose no fewer than 
80,000 axes were employed at the same time. Ibid. 

\ The princess of Wales had for her first husband sir Thnm;is Holand, 
who in right of his wife was created earl of Kent, and lord Wake of Lydell. 
She b:re him two sons, Thomas Hnlanrl, who inherited the honours 
of his father, and John Holand, afterwards created earl of Huntingdon, 
and duke of Exeter. 

J Wals. 309, 310. 

Rym. vii. 446. In a parliament held about the end of the year, a peti- 
tion was received from the celebrated Alice Ferrers. Soon after her con- 


In consequence of a treaty concluded at Paris, the 
king of France had sent to Scotland an aid of one thou- 
sand men at arms under the command of Vienne, with 
a subsidy of forty thousand livres in francs of gold, and 
armour for the equipmentof a thousand Scottish knights 
and esquires. It is amusing to read in Froissart the 
complaints of the Frenchmen after their arrival. The 
country was wild ; the people were uncivilized ; even * 
Edinburgh, the capital, was inferior to the provincial j 
towns of Tournay or Valenciennes. There were no 
banquets, no balls, no tournaments. The strangers were 
compelled to purchase the coarsest fare at an exorbitam^ 
price ; and the jealousy of the natives refused foragwP 
for their horses, and hourly laid snares for their lives. 
For a long time only Uvo of the nobility, the earls of 
Douglas and Moray, condescended to visit them ; and 
when they were at last introduced to the king, they 
were shocked at " his red bleared eyes, of the 
" colour of sandal wood, which convinced them that he 
" was no warrior." It was the interest of the French 
to commence the campaign immediately : but the Scots 
demanded to be paid for fighting their own battles ; and 
the forty thousand livres were distributed among them 
before they could be brought into the field*. They 

demnation, sir William Windsor, her husband, had presented a bill of 
errors against it. He stated in particular, that she had been impeached 
as a i'-iin! sole, though she had Ion-; been his wife; that she was tried in 
her absence ; and that to obtain a favour from the king, the act of which 
she had been convicted, was a very different thin? from soliciting causes 
in the courts, which alone had been forbidden by the statute. In return 
he obtained the restoration of her lands, with the exception of four manors, 
on condition that he served with 103 men at arms against Fiance. He 
was now dead, and at her petition the judgment against her was entirely 
revoked, with a provi-o that all alienations of property made in conse- 
quence of it should be deemed valid. Hot. 1'arl. iii. 40. 186. 327. 

* Froiss. iii. xii. Kym. vii. 484. The livre was the nominal pound of 
20 sols (Kym. ibid.) : and 63 livres, 17 sols, 6 deniers, was the value of a 
mark, or eight ouncei of gold. (L' Art de Verifier les dates, i. 604.) The 
money was distributed among men of every rank from the prince of Scot- 
land, who received. 6500 livrei, to John (iray, who was compelled to con- 
tent himself with ten. Ibid. The quarto register of Robert 11. quoted by 
Mr. Pinkerton, in his History of Scotland (vol. i. p. 163.) contains the 
agreement between the Scots" and their auxiliaries before they bewail their 
expedition. It provides for the safety of persons bringing provisions to 

200 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

burst at length into Northumberland, and took three 
castles in the marches : but the approach of Richard 
with an army of eighty thousand men compelled them 
to retire with precipitation *. 

J uly. This was the first time that the young king had ap- 
peared at the head of an army: but his progress was 
arrested at York by an unfortunate circumstance, 
which cast a gloom over the sequel of the expedition. 
In the city, or its neighbourhood, the son of the earl of 
Stafford, one of the royal favourites, was basely assas- 
sinated by the hand of sir John Holand. The father 
the relatives of the slain loudly demanded justice ; 
10 queen mother implored the mercy of her son in 
ivour of his brother. But Richard, who had not for- 
gotten the death of the friar, was inexorable. He con- 
fiscated the property of the assassin, and threatened 
him with the gallows, if he ever left the sanctuary of St. 

^ y John of Beverley. In a few days the unhappy mother 
died of grief: her guilty son waited till the anger of the 
king had subsided, obtained his pardon, and married 
Elizabeth second daughter of the duke of Lancaster t. 

Aug. From York the king proceeded to Durham, where, 

! in a council of war, the army was divided into three 

the army in its march to the borders, and forbids pillage under the pe- 
nalty of death. All are to wear a white cross of St. Andrew before and 
behind. If a Frenchman insult a Scot, he is to be arrested by the Scots, 
and brought before his own chief, and vice versa. The punishment for a 
riot is the loss of horse and armour, if the offender be a knight ; of a hand 
or an ear if he be not. The same punishment is to be incurred by the 
man who shall set fire to a church in England, kill a woman or child, or 
commit a rape. The prisoner shall belong to the man who first received 
his hand. 

* These 80,000 men in the " Ordinaunce of the Three Battailes" pub- 
lished in the Archaeol. xxii. 13, dwindle down to about one-tilth of that 
number. Little reliance is to be placed on the ancient historians when 
they state the amount of armies : but I doubt whether the " ordinauiice" 
contains the whole number of fighting men that accompanied Richard. 
It mentions all that wore retained by the king and the lords. But were 
there no others, " the raskaldry," as Hardy ng terms them ? lu Rymer, 
v. 557, we have an account of the retinues of the lords in an expedition iuto 
Scotland, amounting to 480 men at arms, and 480 archers: but we after- 
wards find that they were accompanied by 2-400 archers de la commune. 

t Wals. 316. Froi start attributes the murder to Holand's wish to bo 
revenged for the death of one of his esquires, who in a quarrel had been 
killed by an archer belonging to sir Ralph Stafford. Froiss. xiii. 

A. D. 13-'j.] PROMOTIONS. '201 

battles and two wings, and a code of laws was enacted 
for the maintenance of discipline during the expedition. 
Thence this mighty host advanced by slow marches to 
the borders : but there they met with no enemy. The 
kino: of Scots, sensible of his inability to arrest, did not, 
attempt to oppose their progress. Edinburgh, Dun- 
fermline, Perth, and Dundee were reduced to ashes; 
and the vanguard had reached the walls of Aberdeen, 
when advice was received that the Scots were ravaging 
the counties of Westmoreland and Cumberland, and 
that Vienne had actually laid siege to Carlisle. By the 
advice of the duke of Lancaster, it was resolved to march 
back to the frontier, and to intercept the enemy on 
their return : but during the night fresh suspicions 
were infused into the .mind of the king by the chan- 
cellor, sir Michael de la Pole ; and the next morning 
he angrily told his uncle, " You, sir, may go with your Anp. 
" men, wherever you think best. I with mine shall 30. 
" return to England." " Then I shall follow you,'' re- 
joined the duke; " for there is not a man in your com- 
" pany who loves you as well as I and my brothers ; 
" and if any one but yourself dare advance the contrary, 
" I am ready to throw him my glove." The army was 
disbanded ; and the Scots and French boasted that the 
havoc which they had wrought in Cumberland and 
Westmoreland more than balanced the destruction 
caused by the English in Scotland *. 

In the next parliament the king confirmed the honours Nov. 
which he had bestowed during the expedition on the 3- 
borders of Tiviotdale. His uncles, the earls of Cam- 
bridge and Buckingham, who had been created dukes 
of York and Gloucester, were invested with the sword, Nov. 
coronet, and cap of state, and received for the support of 
their new dignity a grant of lands from the crown to 
the yearly value of one thousand pounds. Henry of 
Bolingbroke son to the duke of Lancaster, and Edward 

\Vals. 316, 317. Froiss. xiv. xv. xvi. Ford. xiv. 49, 50. 

20 - 2 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

Plantagenet son to the duke of York, were made earls 
of Derby and Rutland : Robert de Vere earl of Oxford, 
with the title of marquess of Dublin, obtained a grant 
for life of the revenue of Ireland, on condition of paying 
the yearly sum of five thousand marks into the ex- 
chequer ; and Michael de la Pole was created earl of 
Suffolk, with the reversion of the estate of the late earl 
on the deaths of his widow and of the queen. Richard 
trusted that the princes of the blood, pleased with their 
own honours, would view the preferment of these two 
favourites with less jealousy * : but at the same time, to 
cut oft' the ambitious hopes of his uncle Lancaster, he 
declared Roger earl of March, the grandson of Lionel 
duke of Clarence, the presumptive heir to the throne t. 
During the sitting of parliament an embassy from 
Portugal arrived in London. A few years before, Fer- 
dinand the late king had concluded an alliance against 
the king of Castile, with the duke of Lancaster, and the 
earl of Cambridge, who advanced pretensions to the 
succession of that crown in right of their respective wives. 
The earl with a small but gallant army sailed to Lisbon ; 
the duke had engaged to follow him : but his departure 
was prevented by the insurrection of the commons ; and 
Ferdinand, finding himself unequal to the contest, con- 
cluded a peace with his adversaries. This king had for- 
cibly carried off Leonora, the wife of Lorenzo d'Acunha, 
Avho was crowned queen, and bore him a daughter 
named Beatrice. While the earl of Cambridge remained 
at Lisbon, his son John was married to tbe princess. 
They were both of the same age, in their tenth year : 
but the earl, at his departure, refused to leave his son 
behind him ; and Ferdinand soon after gave the prin- 
cess, his only child, in marriage to John king of Castile, 
his former enemy. That prince, at the death of his 

1383. father-in-law, demanded the crown in right of his wife. 


'l"j. *Rot. Parl. iii. 205 210. Rym. vii. 432. 505. Knyglit 2675. 

t Lei. Coll. ii. 481. 


His claim was admitted by the nobility : but the four 
cities of Lisbon, Coimbra, Oporto, audOurique, declared 
that they would never acknowledge the pretensions of 
an illegitimate daughter, whose mother's husband was 
still alive, and offered the crown to John, natural bro- 
ther to the late king, and grand master of the order of A. D. 
Avis ; who, to preserve himself on the throne, solicited 138l > 
the aid of the duke of Lancaster against their common g *" 
enemy. The duke accepted the proposal with pleasure; 
Richard was glad of any pretext to remove him out of 
the kingdom ; and of the supply voted for the year, one 
half was appropriated to defray the expenses of the ex- 
pedition *. The winter was spent in collecting an army 
of twenty thousand men, in which were two thousand 
men at arms, and eight- thousand archers. Before its 
departure the king presented his uncle, and the queen, 
presented the duchess, with rich crowns of gold. The 
expedition sailed from Plymouth t, touched at Brest to 
relieve the garrison, and landed at Corunna. By the A.D. 
reduction of Gallicia, a road was opened into Portugal, 1386. 
where the duke was met by king John, and to cement j! u y 
their friendship a marriage was celebrated between that Au?> 
prince and Phil ippa the eldest daughter of Lancaster, 9. 
by his first wife. But the next campaign proved un- 
fortunate. The English army wasted away under the A> D - 
heat of the climate : the conquests made in the last year If 
were rapidly lost ; and the duke himself, to recover his ' 
health, was compelled to quit Portugal, and to take up 
his residence in Guienne. But these disasters were 
repaired by his policy. The duke of Berri had pro- 
posed to marry Catherine, Lancaster's only issue by his 
present wife Constantia, and heiress to her mother's 
pretensions to the crown of Spain. It was contrived 
that intelligence of this proposal should be conveyed to 

* Rot. Parl. iii. 204. 

t It was escorted by a Portuguese squadron of ten ships of wonderful 
miL'.iitiide, and of six g;illeys, some of which were worked with three 
hundred oars. Kuyyht. '.2676. 

204 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

the king of Castile, who immediately took the alarm, 
and offered to compromise the quarrel between the fami- 
lies, by the marriage of Henry, his son and heir, to the 
same princess *. The offer was accepted. Constantia 
waived her claim to the throne in favour of her daughter ; 
the succession after the death of the present king was 
settled on Henry and Catherine, and their issue, and 
in failure of them, on the issue of the duke of York by 
Isabella, the sister of Constantia. Two nundred thou 
sand crowns were paid to Lancaster to defray the ex- 
penses of the late expedition, and an annuity of one 
hundred thousand florins was settled on him, and another 
to the same amount on the duchess, during their re- 
A - D - spective lives. Henry and Catherine were married, and 
1388. crea ted prince and princess of Asturias. Their issue 
reigned over Spain for many generations t. 

If Richard mistrusted the ambition, he soon found 
reason to lament the absence of Lancaster, whose autho- 
rity had hitherto checked the warmer passions and more 
precipitate counsels of his brother, the duke of Glouces- 
ter. But that prince now assumed the ascendancy : fo- 
mented the discontent of the nobility ; new modelled 
the government ; and left to his nephew little more than 
the empty title of king. The French, encouraged by 
the absence of the army in Spain, had seriously formed 
the design of invading England. Their preparations of 
arms, provisions, and ships were immense. Every baron 
and knight seemed ambitious of retaliating on the Eng- 
lish those injuries which they had so frequently inflicted 
on France ; the cavalry and infantry collected for the ex- 
pedition exceeded one hundred thousand men ; and the 
*n' fleet, which had assembled in the port of Sluys, to use 
' the exaggeration of a contemporary, was so numerous, 
that if the vessels had been laid side to side, they would 
have formed a bridge from one country to the other. 

Froiss. ix. 24. 46. Waking. 342. 

j- Kym. vii. OU3. Knyght. i!6?3. Wals. 342. 


The intelligence of this formidable armament spread 
universal dismay : but levies were made, beacons form- 
ed, and troops collected in the most favourable si- 
tuations. The earl of Arundel received the command 
of the licet, with instructions to destroy the ships of the 
enemy as soon as they had landed their forces ; and 
orders were issued to the troops to lay waste the country 
before the invaders, and avoid a general engagement *. 
The confidence of the nation revived : but the opportunity 
was seized by the great barons, under the guidance of 
the duke of Gloucester, to plot among themselves the 
overthrow of the administration. They contended that 
the king's officers converted the public revenue to their 
private emolument ; that the commons, by continual 
taxation, had been impoverished ; that the higher classes 
could not procure the payment of their rents ; and that 
the tenants were in many places compelled to abandon 
their farms through distress t. How far these evils were 
chargeable on the administration, it is impossible to as- 
certain : that the young king was fond of expense in his 
household, we know : but it is also true that during the 
last year he had voluntarily remitted to the people a 
tenth and fifteenth, which had been granted to him in 
parliament J. The intended invasion, from unforeseen 
occurrences, was delayed from week to week, till it be- 
came necessary to postpone it to the following year ; and 
Richard summoned a parliament to meet at Westmin- 
ster, in which the two parties made the experiment of 
their strength. The session was opened by a speech Oct. 
from the earl of Suffolk the chancellor, who informed 1. 
the houses that in a great council at Oxford the king 

Froiss. viii. 7, 8. Knyght. 2679. The constable of France had or- 
dered a fortress of wood to be formed of frame-work, and to he shipped 
fur the use of the king, after he should have landed. But during the 
voyage from Treguier to Sluys his fleet was dispersed, and three ships 
with the frame-work and carpenters were taken. Richard ordered it to be 
put together, and exhibited at \Vinchelsea. Froiss. viii. 15. Knyght. 

f Knyght. 2683. t Rym. vii. 471. Rot. Parl. iii. 98. 

206 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

had proposed to lead an army into France in support of 
his right to the French crown ; that it would be their 
duty to deliberate on the expediency or inexpediency of 
such a measure ; and that, if it met with their approba- 
tion, they must be careful to provide the funds which 
would be necessary to defray its expense. But the lords 
and commons, instead of applying to these subjects, re- 
turned with a joint petition for the removal of the mi- 
nisters and the members of the council, particularly of 
the chancellor, whom it was intended to impeach as 
soon as he should be deprived of office. Richard, if we 
may believe the suspicious assertions of his enemies, 
resolved at first to seize and imprison the chief of his 
opponents: but having sounded the dispositions of the 
mayor and citi/ens, and finding that he could not rely 
on their assistance, he abandoned the design, retired to 
his palace at Eltham, and ordered the two houses to 
proceed to the consideration of the supply. They refused 
to obey until he should grant their petition, and return 
Q c . t to his parliament. After a struggle of almost three 
93. weeks he came to Westminster, dismissed the obnoxious 
ministers, gave the seals to the bishop of Ely, and ap- 
< >ct. pointed the bishop of Hereford treasurer. But this con- 
24. descension, instead of mollifying, encouraged his adver- 
saries ; and the commons resolved to impeach the earl 
of Suffolk, the late chancellor, of high crimes and mis- 
demeanors. Richard ordered them to send to him a de- 
putation of forty knights ; and received a refusal, under 
the pretence that the lives of the deputies would be in 
danger. At length a compromise was effected, and the 
king attended in parliament, as soon as he received a 
promise that none of his favourites or counsellors should 
be molested, excepting the chancellor*. 

The first instance of a prosecution by the commons in 
parliament occurred about the close of the last reign, 
and has been noticed already : this is the second, but of 

Compare Knyahton (26802683) with the rolls of parliament (iii. 
215. 231. 233. 242. 3?4.) 


icu'itter interest from the more elevated rank and im- 
i it situation of the accused. The bill of impeach- 
ment \v;is divided into seven heads, charging the earl 
with having obtained from the king grants beyond his 
deserts, and contrary to his oath *; with having enriched 
himself by defrauding the crown ; and with having put 
the great seal to illegal charters and pardons. He had 
intrusted his defence to his brother-in-law, sir Richard 
Scrope ; but the lords observed that it would be more to 
his honour if he should conduct it himself, and he went 
through the different charges in order, contending that 

o * O 

the more criminal of them were unfounded ; and that the 
others did not include any legal offence. As to his de- 
serts he would be silent, but hoped that what he had 
suffered for the king would not be forgotten. Here, 
however, sir Richard Scrope interposed. The accused, 
lie remarked, had served in war thirty years as a knight 
banneret without disgrace or reproof ; had thrice been 
a captive in the hands of the enemy, twice as a prisoner 
of war, once as envoy to a foreign state ; and had been 
governor of Calais, admiral of the fleet, and often am- 
bassador from the king. Nor was he raised from a low 
situation to the dignity of an earl, but was at the time, 
and had lonu; been, a privy councillor, and chancellor, 
and possessed the property necessary for the support 
of that rank which was next to the rank of an earl. The 
managers for the commons were heard in reply, and 
the earl in rejoinder: after which, at the petition of 
his accusers, he was given in custody to the lord con- 

* In taking the oath as chancellor, he had sworn not to permit the loss 
" or disherison of the kinjr, but to do and seek his piofit as tar as he could 
" do it with reason." Hence it was maintained that knowing the kind's 
wants, he could not accept of any grant from him. He replied that the 
words had not that meaning; that lie could accept a grant from the king 
as well as any oilier person ; and that the grant to him, with those to the 
duke of Gloucester and others, was confirmed in parliament But in Die 
judgment pronounced against him, it was said ihat no confirmation of the 
grant could be found on the rolls : a direct falsehood, as it is entered there 
exactly in the same words as the grant to Gloucester himself, to which no 
objection was made. Prirsentibus praelutis, proceribus, raagnatibus, ac 
tola commuuitute. Rot. 1'arl. iii. 206. 2U9. 

208 RICHARD n. [CHAP. in. 

stable, and immediately enlarged upon bail. Within 
a few days the king and lords agreed in their award, 
by which he was acquitted on four charges ; on the 
others his answers were pronounced insufficient ; and 
he was therefore adjudged to forfeit the several sums 
specified in those charges, and to be confined in prison 
during the king's pleasure *. It is needless to say that 
soon after the dissolution of the parliament he was re- 

This prosecution deserves to be remembered by pos- 
terity, as it confirmed to the commons their new claim 
of impeaching the ministers of the crown : but both the 
proceedings and the result seem to prove that the ad- 
ministration of Richard had not been so arbitrary and 
oppressive as we might otherwise have been led to sup- 
pose ; and will justify a suspicion that the prosecution 
of the chancellor had been undertaken for the purpose 
of intimidation rather than of punishment. But now 
the objects of the party in opposition to the court more 
clearly unfolded themselves, and it was proposed to 
imitate the precedents of the reigns of John, Henry III., 
and Edward II., by establishing a permanent council 
with powers to reform the state of the nation. To such 
a measure the king declared that he would never give 
his assent. He threatened to dissolve the parliament ; 
and the commons, to terrify him, sent for the statute by 
which Edward II. had been deposed from the throne f- 
At length one of the lords represented to him, by desire 
* of the duke of Gloucester and the earl of Arundel, that 
if he should persist in his refusal, his life would be in 
danger ; that the lords and commons would separate 
without his permission ; and that he would then see in 

Nov. what a forlorn and abandoned state he would be left $. 

1 ( J. His obstinacy was subdued; and with a reluctant hand 
he signed a commission to eleven prelates and peers, 
besides the three great officers of state, appointing them 

* Rot. ParV. 216220. f Ibid. iii. 233. J Ibid. 3/4. 


a permanent council to inquire into the conduct of the 
olliccrs in his household, courts of law, and every part 
of the kingdom ; into the accounts of the treasury, 
the gifts and pardons which had been granted, and the 
alloyed urievances of the people; to hear and determine 
all complaints which could not he redressed by common 
course of law ; and to provide such remedies for all 
abuses as should appear to them good and profitable *. 
The duke and earl were of the number ; and, as the 
majority of their colleagues belonged to the same party, 
they possessed, in effect, the whole power of the govern- 
ment. To protect them in the execution of their office, 
the commons petitioned that from the moment any op- 
position should be made to their authority, the payment 
of the subsidy, which had been voted, should cease; and 
that the authors, advisers, or abettors, of such opposi- 
tion should for the first offence be liable to forfeiture 
and imprisonment, and for the second to the loss of life 
or member t . Richard gave his assent : but refused to 
extend the duration of the commission beyond twelve Nov. 
months ; and at the close of the session had the courage 
to protest openly and in person against any thing done 
in that parliament, which might turn to his prejudice, 
or prove contrary to the liberties and prerogatives of his 
crown . 

The commissioners appear to have commenced their 
labours with examining the accounts of the officers em- 
ployed in the collection of the revenue ; and the sequel 
affords a strong presumption that the royal administra- 
tion had been foully calumniated. We hear not of any A.. 
frauds discovered, or of defaulters punished, or of griev- 1387- 
an cos redressed . The earl of Arundel alone, who had 
been appointed admiral of the fleet, reflected a lustre on 

* Rot. Parl. 375, 376. Slat of Realm, ii. 39. 

t Knyght. 2693, Stat. of Realm, ii. 42. J Rot Parl. 222. 225. 

Fruissart, indeed, tells us that sir Simon Barley was lined 200,000 
francs, and imprisoned. But his whole narrative differs so widely from 
the authentic particulars contained in the rolls, that it deserves no "credit. 
It seems to be made up of every flying report which reached him. 
VOL. IV. p 


the new administration. On different occasions, during 
the season, he captured one hundred and sixly sail of 
vessels richly laden, and principally with wine ; he re- 
lieved the garrison of Brest, and took two forts in the 
neighbourhood of the town, of which he burnt one to- 
wards the sea, and delivered the other to the care of the 
governor. Thence sailing to Sluys, he destroyed the 
ships in the harbour, landed his troops, and laid waste 
the country to the distance of ten leagues *. 

It was not, however, to be expected that a prince, who 
had now reached his twentieth year, and who had in a 
more early age given proof of abilities and courage, 
would tamely acquiesce in his own degradation, or that 
his favourites would neglect to provide for their security 
by endeavouring to restore the ascendancy of their pro- 
tector. To emancipate himself from the actual control 
of the commissioners, Richard made a journey on one 
Feb. occasion to York, and on another to Chester. Wherever 
^"y- he came, his arrival was distinguished by some act of 
grace. The gentlemen of the county, and the chief 
burghers in the towns, were invited to the court of their 
young sovereign ; and few refused to wear his livery, 
and bind themselves by oath to stand in his defence 
Aog. against all manner of men. At Shrewsbury he held a 
^' council of several judges, and a few days afterwards 
another at Nottingham f; in which he enjoined them on 
their allegiance to inform him what was the law of the 
land on the different questions which should be laid 
before them. In their reply they maintained, that the 
commission which had superseded the king in the exer- 
cise of the royal authority was subversive of the con- 
stitution; that those who introduced the measure, and 

Knypht. 2692, 2693. Vials. 326. 

t At the first of these councils were present sir Robert Bealknap, chief 
justice, sir John Holt, and sir William Burgh, justices of the king's bench, 
and sir John Gary, chief baron of the exchequer; at the second the same. 
persons, with ihe exception of the chief liaron, and with tin- addition < I 
sir Robert Tresiiian, lord chief justice, sir Hu^er Fultliovpe, justice of the 
king's bench, and John Lokton, the king's Serjeant at law. 


those who exhorted the king to agree to it, were liable 
to capital punishment, and all who compelled him to 
assent, or prevented him from exercising his rights, 
were traitors ; that the king, and not the lords and com- 
mons, had the power to determine the order in which 
questions should be debated in parliament ; that the 
king could dissolve the parliament at pleasure, and that 
those who acted in defiance of such dissolution were 
traitors ; that the lords and commons could not, without 
the king's permission, impeach his officers and justices; 
that both the member who moved for the statute of the 
deposition of Edward II. and he who brought it to the 
house, were traitors; and that the judgment given 
against the earl of Suffolk was erroneous in all its parts. 
They affixed their seals to this answer, and promised on Au , r> 
their oaths to keep it secret: but the next day it was 2G. 
betrayed by sir Roger Fulthorpe, one of the number, to 
the earl of Kent, and was by him communicated to the 
duke of Gloucester *. 

Richard, ignorant of this unfortunate discovery, pro- 
ceeded to make arrangements for the resumption of the 
royal authority, at the expiration of the year allotted to 
the commissioners. To secure a majority in the next 
house of commons, he sent for the sheriffs, who, if we 
believe some writers, gave him slender hopes of success. 
It was determined to arrest the most obnoxious of his 
opponents, and to send them to take their trials before 
the judges who had already given their opinions on 
the question of law ; and for this purpose Thomas Usk 
was appointed sub-sheriff of Middlesex, and John Blake, 
the referendary, was employed to prepare a bill of in- 
dictment for a conspiracy against the royal prerogative t. 
Sir Nicholas Brembre, who had been thrice mayor of 
London, undertook to secure the fidelity of the citizens ; 

Rot Parl. iii. 232, 233. Knyght 26922696. 

t I have neglected many circumstances mentioned by historians, as I 
consider them mere fictions invented by the king's enemies : the inten- 
tion of indicting the framers of the commisMon 1 have admitted, as the 
indictment itself is still extant on the rolls, p. 234. 


212 RICHARD n. [CHAP. in. 

and even swore the different companies to be ready to 

live and die with the king, and to oppose his enemies to 

the last breath. The commission was to expire on the 

nineteenth of November : on the tenth Richard entered 

Nov. the capital. He was received with unusual expressions 

of joy and respect: the mayor and principal citizens 

wore his livery of white and crimson ; and an immense 

crowd accompanied him to the church of St. Paul's, and 

thence to his palace at Westminster*. 

Nov. Elated with his reception, the king retired to rest : the 
11- next morning he learned with astonishment that a 
numerous body of forces had reached the neighbourhood 
of London under the command of the duke of Glouces- 
ter, and the earls of Arundel and Nottingham, the con- 
stable, admiral, and marshal of England. They had 
concerted their measures with such secrecy as to elude 
suspicion, and had carefully watched all his motions on 
Nov. hi s re t urn to the capital. A royal proclamation was 
issued the next day forbidding the citizens to lend as- 
sistance, or to sell provisions, to the armed force in the 
neighbourhood ; but the following morning the confede- 
rates advancing to Hackney with forty thousand men, 
sent a letter into the city, in which they assured the 
mayor and aldermen that their only object was to de- 
liver the king from the hands of the traitors who kept 
him in thraldom ; commanded them with severe threats 
to give their aid to the same loyal cause ; and required 
Nov. an immediate answer. The ensuing day they were 
13- joined at Waltham cross by the earls of Derby and 
Warwick ; and these five noblemen, in presence of the 
Nov. commissioners, " appealed " (such was the term they 
14< used) five of the king's favourites of treason. Richard, 
unable to resist, consented to receive the complaints of 
Nov. the lords appellants on the next Sunday. They entered 
1~- the city with every precaution against the pretended 
treachery of their enemies ; stopped to examine all the 

* Rot. Part. iii. 234. Knyght. 2696. Wals. 330. Mon. Evesh. 85. 


houses in the mews: and kept the kin:* waiting two 
hours on his throne in Westminster hall. But in his 
presence they behaved with the semblance of humility. 
At the entrance of the hall, on the lower and on the 
upper step of the throne, they bent the knee before him. 
He arose, gave his hand to each, and bade them present 
their petition. They began with the most solemn pro- 
testations of attachment and loyalty : then accused of 
treason the archbishop of York, the duke of Ireland, the 
earl of Suffolk, sir Robert Tresilian, false justice, and sir 
Nichqjas Brembre, false knight ; and lastly, throwing 
their gauntlets on the floor, offered severally to prove 
the truth of the charge by single combat. Richard 
answered, that he would summon a parliament, in which 
justice should be done ; and that in the mean time he 
took both parties under the royal protection. He then 
invited the appellants into another room, where they 
partook of refreshment with him in the most friendly 
manner *. 

It now became evident that flight alone could save 
the obnoxious councillors. The earl of Suffolk, on the 
second attempt, succeeded in reaching the frontiers of 
France ; the archbishop effectually concealed himself 
in the vicinity of Newcastle ; and the duke of Ireland 
repaired to the northern borders of Wales. Here, how- 
ever, he received letters from the king, authorizing him 
to raise forces, and promising to join him on the first 
opportunity. With joy he unfurled the royal banner ; 
and his hopes were encouraged by the accession of 
Molyneux the constable of Chester, with a strong body 
of archers. The intelligence of his rising was received 
with secret pleasure by the duke of Gloucester, who 
now ventured to disclose his real designs. He consulted 
several clergymen and sages of the law, in what cases a 
vassal would be justified in giving back his homage; 
and in a meeting at Hunthigdon agreed with the earls 

Rot Parl. iii. 229. Knyght. 26972701. Wals. 330, 331. 

214 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

of Arundel and Warwick, and the Lord Thomas Morti- 
mer, " to depose Richard, and take the crown under his 
" own custody." It was afterwards pretended that in 
adopting this resolution they had no design to deprive 
the king of the royal dignity in earnest, hut merely to 
intimidate him hy reducing him for a few days to the 
condition of a private individual. But whatever might 
he their real intention, it was defeated by the opposition 
of the earls of Derby and Nottingham, who, though they 
were willing to pursue the favourites unto death, would 
never consent to deprive the king of his crown**. In 
the mean time the duke of Ireland at the head of five 
thousand men rapidly advanced towards the Thames. 
His first object was to pass that river, probably in con- 
sequence of secret instructions from Richard ; but the 
appellants, acquainted with his motions, marched in the 
night by different roads from the neighbourhood of Lon- 
don, and occupied all the passes before his arrival. He 
Dec. first made his appearance at Radcot. The width of the 
20- bridge had been diminished, so that only one man could 
cross at a time ; three barriers were raised athwart it ; 
and the earl of Derby lay behind with a powerful force. 
Aware of the danger, he turned immediately to seek 
another passage, but was met in front by his enemy of 
Gloucester, and followed by the earl of Derby, who on his 
departure had crossed the bridge. In this emergency the 
duke threw off his armour, plunged into the river, and 
quitting his horse, swam to the opposite bank. It was 
growing dark, and a report fortunately prevailed that he 
had been drowned. Molyneux, one of his valets, and a 
boy were killed : a few perished in the waters ; the rest 
were stripped completely naked, and told that they 
might return home. After a lapse of some weeks it 
was announced that the duke had escaped to Ireland t. 
The appellants, on their return to London, took from 

* See the charges against the duke (Rot. Parl. iii. 3J6) with his answer 
(ibid. 379). 
t Rot. Parl. 236. Knyght. 2701 270a Wals. 332. 


the mayor the keys of the city, and required an audience 
of the king, who had retired into the Tower. The inti- 
midated monarch yielded to all their demands. A pro- Dec. 
clamation was issued for the arrest of the fugitive arch- 26. 
bishop, duke, and earl : eleven of the royal confidants 
were secured in different prisons ; and ten lords and 
knights, with the ladies Poynings, Mohun, and Moly- 
neux, were dismissed from court, and compelled to give 
security for their appearance before the next parliament. 
That Richard in his distress might not have a single 
person to whom he could unbosom himself, even his 
confessor, the bishop of Chichester, was forbidden to 
come into his presence*. 

In the writs which had already been issued for the A. n. 
convocation of parliament the king had instructed the 1388. 
sheriffs to return such knights of the shire as had not j ' 
taken any part in the late quarrel. These writs were 
now recalled, and new ones were issued in the accus- Feb. 
tomed stylet. As soon as the parliament had been 3. 
opened by the chancellor, the duke of Gloucester rose, 
knelt to the king, and complained that he had been sus- 
pected of aspiring to the crown : but Richard imme- 
diately interrupted him by strongly asserting his own 
conviction of the innocence of his uncle. The lords appel- 
lants then exhibited thirty-nine articles of impeachment 
against the five appellees : the latter, with the exception 
of sir Nicholas Brembre, who was in prison, were called, 
but did not answer to their names; and judgment was 
immediately prayed against them for their default. But 
the decision was put off till the next day ; and all the 
judges, with the exception of sir William Skipwith, 
were arrested on their seats in court, and committed to 
separate cells in the Tower J. 

The next morning the king called upon " the sages of 
" the common and civil law" to give to the lords their 

Knyght. 2J05. Wals. 333, Otterburne, 174. Rym. vii. 566. 5C7, 6a 

t Rym. vii 5ti6. Rot. I'arL iii. 400. 

J Rot, Parl. iii. 228 236. Knyght. 2706. Wals. 334. 

216 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

opinion respecting the bill of impeachment : who unani- 
mously declared that it was in all its parts informal and 
illegal. The peers, however, resolved to proceed : they 
were bound, they said, by no other law than the law and 
custom of parliament ; the kingdom of England had 
never been governed by the civil law ; nor would they, 
in the exercise of their jurisdiction, be guided by the 
practice of the lower courts. With the assent of the 
king the appeal was declared to be " good and effec- 
" tual according to the law and course of parliament." 
The appellants again demanded judgment ; but the 
house adjourned till the next day, when the demand 
was repeated, and the primate instantly rising, observed, 

I'Vi>. that in obedience to the canons, which forbade the 
clergy to interfere in judgments of blood, he and the 
other prelates should depart ; but that, before their 
departure, they would protest that their absence should 
neither create any prejudice to their own rights as peers, 
nor detract from the effect of such judgment as might 
be given by the temporal lords without their concur- 
rence. All the bishops and abbots immediately left the 
house *. 

Eight days were spent in examining the bill of im- 
peachment. It gave a detailed history of the conduct 
of the appellees from the commencement of the late 
parliament ; attributed to them several projects too 
absurd to deserve belief; and averred that their con- 
stant aim had been to compass the destruction of the 
lords commissioners, the appellants, and their associates. 
Of the thirty-nine articles contained in this instrument, 
fourteen were declared to amount to treason : the accused 
were found guilty of them all ; and the duke, the earl, 
and Tresilian were separately adjudged to suffer the 

*j' J> death of traitors, and to forfeit thoir property to the 
king. The fate of the archbishop of York, on account 
of the novelty of the case, was reserved for future delibe- 

Rot. Parl 236, 23?. 244. 

\.D.138S.] AND CONDEMNED. 217 

ration ; and in the mean time, his temporaries were 
confiscated. But of these victims three were already 
beyond their reach. The earl of Suffolk had arrived 
at Paris. He was kindly received by the French king, 
but died of despair before the end of the year. The 
duke of Ireland had found an asylum in Holland; and 
the archbishop was still concealed in Northumberland *. 
But Tresilian, who had disguised himself, and occu-Feb. 
pied a lodging in front of the palace, was betrayed by a 19. 
servant, brought before the lords, and hurried away to Feb> 
execution. The next day the same fate befel sir Ni- 20. 
cholas Brembre, who in vain protested his innocence, 
and offered wager of battle to his accusers. 

After a short interval, the four judges of the king's jj ar- 
bench, the chief baron of the exchequer, and the king's -J. 
serjeant at law, were impeached of treason by the com- 
mons, on the ground, that knowing the traitorous inten- 
tion of those who proposed the questions at Shrewsbury 
and Nottingham, they had, to please them, given an- 
swers contrary to law. They all replied in the same 
manner, that their answers had been extorted from them 
by threats, and that therefore they hoped for mercy. 
Fulthorpe added, that he had the next day disclosed the 
whole business to the earl of Kent. They were re- ,, 
manded : but Blake and Usk, who replied, that what- 3. 
ever they had done, had been done by the king's 
orders, were told that their defence was an aggravation jj ar- 
of their crime, because they knew that the king was not 4. 
his own master, but under the control of the appellees. 

The duke died at Louvain in 1392, of a wound received in hunting a 
wild boar : to the duchess was allowed 100 marks per annum for her 
support. The archbishop, at the request of the government, was trans- 
lated by the pope from York to St. Andrew's. But as the Scots did not 
admit the authority of Urban, he sailed to Flanders, accepted a small 
curacy, ami served it till his death. The bishop of Ely, the chancellor, 
was translated to York, Fordham of Durham to Kly, Skirlaw of Hath and 
Wells to Durham, and Er^ham of Salisbury to Bath and Wells, By these 
translations the friends of the appellants were exalted, those of the king 
depressed. Rym. vii. 574 577. All these changes took place duriiiL' the 
sitting of parliament. Rot. Parl. 237, 238. Knyght. 2709. 

218 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

They were condemned and executed. The judges were 
soon afterwards called in, and informed, that by award 
of the high court of parliament, they had been con- 
demned to suffer the penalties of treason ; but at the 
g ar * very moment the bishops entered the house, and begged 
that a stop might be put to the effusion of so much 
blood. At their intercession the lives of the condemned 
were spared : but they were banished for life, and con- 
fined in different cities in Ireland *. 

The same day the bishop of Chichester, the king's 
confessor, was impeached of having used threats to the 
judges at Nottingham, concealed the objects of the trai- 
tors, and exposed, by his connivance, the whole realm 
to danger. He replied that no threats had ever been 
used to the judges ; that he was under the obligation of 
secrecy as to the answers ; and that he had taken care 
that no evil should arise from the transaction. He was 
condemned to exile in Ireland t. 

If revenge or intimidation had been the object of 
Gloucester, he might now have been satisfied : but his 
Mar. thirst for blood was still unsatisfied ; and four knights, 
12. the earliest and steadiest friends of the king, were im- 
peached by the commons as aiders and accomplices of 
the traitors already condemned. They pleaded not 
guilty, and offered to prove their innocence as true 
knights in any manner which the lords should award. It 
had become the policy of the royalists to prolong the de- 
liberations ; and eight days were consumed in investiga- 
tion and debate, till the approach of the Easter holidays 
Mar. su ggested the necessity of adjournment. On the last 
20. day the lords and commons granted the king a subsidy 

* Rot. Parl. iii. 238241. They were disposed of in the following man- 
ner: sir Rob. Bealkiiap, at l)rj.'he(la, with an allowance of 40/. per 
ann. : sir John Holt, ditto, 40 marks; sir Kog. Fulthorpe, Dublin, 40/. ; 
sir Will Burgh, ditto, 40maiks; sir John Gary, Waterfurd, 20/. ; John 
Loktnn, ditto, ZOl. 

t Hot. Part iii. 241. 243, 244 Cork was assigned for his residence, with 
permission to receive 40 marks per annum from any of his friends who 
might allow him so much. 

A. D. 1388.] EXECUTION OF HURLEY. 219 

till the feast of Pentecost ; and took an oath to stand by 
the lords appellants during the present parliament, and 
to live and die with them against all men. The two 
houses were then adjourned by the king till the Mon- 
day fortnight after the festival of Easter*. 

During the recess every effort was employed to save 
the lives of the four knights, particularly of sir Simon 
Burley. He had belonged to the court of Edward III. ; 
had been selected by the black prince as guardian to 
Richard ; and had negotiated the marriage between his 
sovereign and the present queen. He was attached to 
the king as to his son ; and the king loved and revered 
him as a father. On these accounts Richard earnestly- 
solicited Gloucester to spare him ; but received for 
answer, that if he meant to keep his crown, he must 
consent to the execution of his favourite t. The queen 
on her knees seconded the prayer of her husband: but 
neither her rank nor beauty, her tears nor entreaties, 
could soften the heart of the tyrant. The task was Apr. 
then undertaken by the earl of Derby, one of the ap- 13> 
pellants ; and a fierce but fruitless quarrel between the 
uncle and nephew served only to prove that no consider- 
ation could move the duke from his sanguinary pur- 
pose. When the parliament re-assembled, the inquiry- 
was resumed ; Richard obstinately maintained that 
Burley was innocent ; and for three weeks by refusing 
his assent averted the fate of his friend. At length, on 
an occasion when the king, and the lords who supported 
him, were absent, the opposite party resolved that one out 
of the thirteen counts in the impeachment had been 
brought home to the prisoner. He was called in, and jj 
immediately condemned on the vague charge of havings, 
conspired with other traitors to compass the death of 

* The sheriffs were ordered to administer the same oath to all men in 
office, and all gentlemen, and persons of influence in their counties, vii. 
57-. See the return from the county of Lincoln, Hot. Parl. iii. 4vu. 

t Qe s'U voioit estre Koy, covient estre perlourne et fait Rot Parl. 
iii. 431. 

220 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

those who had established the late commission of go- 
vernment. He suffered the same day ; and the only 
indulgence which he could obtain, was a commutation 
of the more ignominious part of the punishment into 
decapitation *. 

May A week later was decided the fate of Burley's fellow- 
" prisoners, sir John Beauchamp, sir James Berners, and 
sir John Salisbury. The two former were convicted of 
treason, for having estranged the king's affections from 
his loyal subjects, and attached him to themselves ; the 
latter for having consented to pass the seas, and solicit 
the aid of the king of France in favour of the five lords 
appealed of treason. All were immediately led to exe- 
cution ; Salisbury was drawn and hanged : but the king 
interposed in favour of the other two, and obtained the 
consent of the lords that they should be beheaded t. 

The work of blood was now ended ; and " the wonder- 
" ful parliament," as it was called by some, or " the 
" merciless parliament," as it was more justly called by 
others, after a long session of one hundred and twenty- 
two 'days was dissolved. Before its termination an 
order had been issued for the expulsion of the Bohe- 
mians, who attended the queeix, and a pardon granted 
not only to the appellants and their friends, but also 

* Rot. Parl. 241243. 3/6. In the rolls of this parliament lie is said to 
have been condemned with the assent of the king (Hulls, 243) : in those 
of the 21st of Richard, without his assent, against his will, and in his ab- 
sence. Rolls, 376. 

t Rot. Parl. iii. 243. The manner in which these trials were conducted 
does not appear very consistent with our notions of justice. The im- 
peachment was fust read over in the presence of the accused, who spoke 
without the aid of counsel in his own justification. The commons re- 
plied : and the lords resolved to " examine the charges and the circum- 
" stances with pood deliberation, and to give such judgment as should be 
" to the honour of God, and the profit of the king and the kingdom." (Ibid. 
24U, 241.) In this " good deliberation" days and weeks were consumed : 
but there is no hint thai the prisoner was ever heard again in his defence, 
or counsel introduced, or witnesses examined. We only learn that the 
lords decided among themselves, whether the accused were guilty of any 
one or more of the counts in the impeachment, and whether such count or 
counts amounted to treason. As soon as this was determined, he was 
called in to receive judgment, and led immediately to execution. Ibid. 
240. 243, 244. 


to the adherents of the opposite party, with the excep- 
tion of eighteen persons by name. The parliament was, 
however, careful to incapacitate the king from reversing 
the attainders which had been passed, or recalling to 
England such of the attainted as had escaped to foreign 
lands, and to remunerate the services of the lords ap- 
pellants with a present of twenty thousand pounds out 
of the new subsidy. Their last legislative act amounted June 
to a condemnation of themselves. It was an ordinance-' 
that, " whereas several points had been declared treason 
" in the present parliament which had never been so 
" declared by any statute, no judge should on that ac- 
" count have power to give judgment of treason in any 
" other case or manner than he had before the com- 
" mencement of their proceedings." At the conclusion June 
the kin<r was compelled to take the coronation oath a 3. 
second time : the prelates renewed their fealty, the lords 
their homage : and all swore never to agree or suffer 
that any judgment given in that parliament should be 
reversed, nor that any statute enacted in it should be 
repealed *. 

For nearly twelve months Richard continued a mere 
cipher in the hands of the party. The duke governed 
with greater lenity than might have been expected from 
his vindictive disposition : but his administration was 
not distinguished by any act of sufficient importance to 
dazzle the eyes of the nation, or to give stability to his 
power. The invasion so often threatened from France 
was repeatedly averted by the dissensions which broke 
out in that kingdom : an'l the war with Scotland was 
productive of little profit or glory. The earl of Arundel Aug. 
had, indeed, the good fortune to capture a fleet of^- 
French merchantmen : but, on the other hand, the Per- 
cies lost against the Scots the battle of Otterburne in 
Northumberland, in which, if the earl Douglas was slain, 
the lords Henry and Ralph Percy, the English generals, 

Rot. Purl. iii. 244. 247252. Stat. of Realm, ii. 4350. 

222 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

A.D. were made prisoners*. The terror which Gloucester 
' had inspired insensibly wore away; several of his par- 
tisans offered their services to the king; and Richard, 
by one bold action, instantaneously dissolved that au- 
thority which had been cemented with so much blood. 
In a great council held after Easter, he unexpectedly 
requested his uncle to tell him his age. " Your high- 
" ness," the duke replied, " is in your twenty-second 
" year." " Then," added the king, " I must certainly 
" be old enough to manage my own concerns. I have 
" been longer under the control of tutors than any ward 
" in my dominions. I thank ye, my lords, for your past 
" services, but do not require them any longer." Ob- 
serving their surprise, he followed up the blow by de- 
manding the seals from the archbishop of York, and the 
keys of the exchequer from the Bishop of Hereford. A 
new treasurer and new chancellor were appointed ; the 
former council was dismissed ; and the king gave his 
confidence to a few tried friends, with the duke of York 
and the young earl of Derby, who, though they originally 
belonged to the commission, had either never forfeited, 
or had regained the royal favour. Gloucester submitted 
with reluctance, and after an interview with his nephew 
retired into the country : Richard by proclamation in- 
> formed the people that he had taken the reins of govern- 
ment into his own hands, that he intended faithfully to 
maintain the ordinances of the parliament at West- 
minster, and that he should suspend the collection of 
the subsidy, which had lately been granted, till he was 
better convinced that his necessities required it t. 

The king was now his own master ; and whether it 
were owing to his wisdom or the wisdom of his minis- 
ters, it must be owned that for some years his adminis- 
tration was tranquil and happy. The merit indeed of 
suspending the war with France must be claimed by 

* See the two ballads on it in the " Reliques of .indent English poetry,'' 
and the " Border Minstrelsy." Also Froi-siirt, ix. 37-42. 
t Km ght. 2735. Wals. 33?. Rjm. vii. 617. Rot. ParL iii. 404. 


Gloucester, under whose administration the treaty was 
commenced ; but Richard had the good sense to con- 
tinue it to a conclusion ; and, relieved from the pressure 
of foreign hostility, made it his endeavour to preserve 
uninterrupted harmony between himself and his people. 
He frequently met his parliament; consulted it on all 
matters of importance, and appeared anxious to deserve 
its approbation. On one occasion he ordered the chan- 
cellor, treasurer, and other members of his council, to 
resign ; and openly invited every person, who felt him- 
self aggrieved by them, to bring his charges against 
them as private individuals. The next day the two 
houses bore an honourable testimony to their integrity, 
and they were restored with applause to their former 
offices*. In return for his condescension, both lords ^" ne 
and commons were liberal in their grants, and succes- 
sively confirmed by their votes the acknowledged prero- 
gatives of the crown t . Though he retained a deep A. r>. 
sense of the injuries which he had suffered, he had the 1390. 
prudence to suppress his resentment ; and, on the return 
of the duke of Lancaster from Guienne, recalled the 
duke of Gloucester to a seat in the council J. He even 
affected an indifference to the lot of his friends, who 
had been banished to Ireland, till he was able to serve 
them without danger or opposition. His former con- 
fessor he promoted to a bishopric in that island ; and, as 
the revenue was moderate, added to it a small annuity. 
With the consent of parliament he recalled to London 
the three surviving judges ; and, as soon as he heard 
of the death of the duke of Ireland, granted a full par- 
don to sir John Lancaster, the companion of the exile, 
and restored the earldom of Oxford in favour of the duke's 
uncle sir Aubrey de Vere$. Three years later he ven- 
tured to give a stronger proof of his affection for his un- 
fortunate friend. He ordered the body, which had 

* Rot Parl. iii. 238. t 1 hid. 279. 286. 

$ Ibid. 316. Acts of Council, I 17. Ibid. 302, 303. 346. 

2iM RICHARD ii. [CHAP, in 

been embalmed, to be brought from Louvain, and re- 
interred it with great solemnity in the church of Colne. 
Before the completion of the ceremony the coffin was 
opened by his orders, and the covering removed from 
the face. The features were still discernible ; and the 
king gazed on it for some minutes with visible emotions 
of the most poignant grief*. 
A. D. It was during this period of comparative tranquillity 

1378. th a t t ne legislative enactments against papal provisions 
^ OVt and reservations were completed. As soon as the king 

of France had espoused the cause of the cardinal of 
Geneva against Urban VI., the claims of the two com- 
petitors were canvassed in parliament ; and at the sug- 
gestion of the primate and the other prelates, it was 
determined to acknowledge Urban, and to obey him, as 
the rightful head of the church. The legislature even 
went farther, and by statute confiscated the revenues of 
the cardinals who rejected Urban, and put out of the 
king's protection every English subject who should 
A.D. make application to his adversary, as the real pontiff t. 

1379. j n re t urn Urban issued in favour of the king a bull, 


j j * by which the two next vacant prebends in each colle- 
giate church were reserved, and the nomination was 
transferred from the bishops and chapters to the crown J. 
But the harmony between the two courts was disturbed 
by the ambition of Edward Bromfield, the agent at Rome 
for the abbey of St. Edmund's ; who, on the decease of 
his abbot, procured by false suggestions that appoint- 
ment from the pontiff, and returning to England, took 
possession of the abbey in virtue of the papal provision. 
He was instantly apprehended under the statute of pro- 
visors passed in the late reign, and committed to the 
Tower . This event attracted the notice of the public ; 
complaints were made in parliament of new provisions 
granted to several cardinals ; and by an additional 

* Wals. 352. i Rot. Parl. iii. 48. Rvm. vii. 222. 

; Kym. vii. 216. Wals. 230, 231. 236. ' 


enactment it was ordained, that if any of the king's sub- A. D. 
jects should, without his license given with the advice of |380, 
the council, farm or administer the benefice of any alien |? n 
within the realm, or in virtue of such administration 
should convey money out of the kingdom, he should for 
tlie same offence incur all the penalties comprised in the 
statute of provisors of the 27th of Edward III *. 

Brom field's affair was compromised by his translation 
to a different benefice. The king granted the necessary 
licenses to the attorneys .of the cardinals enjoying pre- 
ferment in England t ; and the pope confirmed the con- 
cordat of Bruges between Edward III. and Gregory XI J. 
But, though Urban was willing to concede other points, 
he still refused to surrender the claim which had for 
centuries been exercised by his predecessors of present- 
ing to such benefices as became vacant in the court of 
Rome by the death or the promotion of the incum- 
bents $ ; and the parliament three years afterwards con- 
firmed the former statutes, and, as an additional safe- 
guard, extended the penalties of the late act to all A - n - 
foreigners residing on benefices obtained by provision, Jr ' 
whether they held them for themselves or for the profit 
of others. The king, however, was permitted to dis- 
pense with this act in favour of the cardinal of Naples, 
and such persons as might render particular services to 
the crown || ; an exemption which tended in a great 
measure to render the statute nugatory ; for as the 
cardinals in possession of English benefices generally 
died at Rome, the pope instantly conferred their livings 
on the surviving cardinals, who found no difficulty in 
obtaining the royal license ; and the other preferments 
which became vacant in that court were frequently at 
the king's request bestowed on his own chaplains, as 
the cheapest means by which he could remunerate their 

Rot. Parl. Hi 82, 83. t Rym. vii. 253. 256. 258, 259, &c. 

J Ryra. vii. 384. $ Ibid. 321. 428. 437- 

|] Rot. Parl. iii. 163. Stilt, of Realm, ii. 35. II Rym. vii. 684. 


226 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

These evasions of the spirit of the law did not escape 
the observation of those who were enemies to the system 
of provisions ; and in consequence of their reiterated 
complaints it was enacted in the parliament holden in 
1390.1390 that all provisions granted before the twenty-ninth 
Jan. of January in that year should be valid ; that all 
17. granted afterwards should be of no effect; that every 
person who should accept of a benefice contrary to this 
statute should forfeit his lands and chattels, and be 
banished for life ; that whoever should bring or send 
into England any papal sentence or excommunication 
against any person for the execution of this statute 
should, besides forfeiture, incur the penalty of life and 
limb ; and that whoever should publish such sentence 
or excommunication should, if he were a prelate, lose 
his temporalities ; if of inferior rank, suffer imprison- 
ment, and make fine at the king's pleasure *. But the 
last clause appeared to bear so hard on the clergy, that 
the spiritual peers, though they had concurred in all 
the other statutes against provisions, unanimously pro- 
tested against this, " inasmuch as it might tend to 
" restrain the authority of the apostolic see, or to sub- 
" vert the liberties of the church." By the king's order 
the protestation was read in parliament, and entered on 
the rolls t. 

Shortly afterwards Richard held a great council, and 
in his own name, and the names of the principal barons 
and knights, wrote to the pontiff, explaining their griev- 
ances, and requesting his holiness to devise some prompt 
and efficacious remedy for the evil. What answer was 
A.D. returned does not appear. Urban died, and was suc- 
j/^'ceeded by Boniface IX., who declared the statutes 
j L ' enacted by the parliament of no effect $, and among other 
provisions granted a prebend in the church of Wells to 
cardinal Brancacio, who immediately began a suit in 

* Rot. Parl. iii. 2G6. 270. Stat. of Realm, ii. 73. t Rot. Parl. iii. 264. 

t Fuisse et esse cassa et irriia, ipsaque ex superabundant: cassamus, 
irritamus, et juribus vacuamus. Apud Kaynald. v. 162. 


the papal court against William Langbroke, the king's A. i>. 
presentee *. The controversy was immediately revived : * 39 '2- 
the king's courts decided in favour of Langbroke : but 14 " s ' 
rumours were circulated, that, if the prelates exe- 
cuted the decrees of such courts, they would be exposed 
to ecclesiastical penalties. In the next parliament the A. n. 
commons petitioned the king to inquire of all estates, in ^ 93 - 
what manner they would behave in the two following Jan< 
cases: 1. If the pope were to issue sentences of excom- 
munication against the bishops for instituting the king's 
presentees in consequence of the judgment of the king's 
court ; 2. If, for the same reason, he should attempt to 
translate the bishops from their present sees to other 
sees out of the kingdom t. The answer returned by the 
commons was, that such proceedings would be subver- 
sive of the rights of the crown, and that they would 
therefore stand by the king against them to live and die. 
The reply of the temporal lords was nearly to the same 
effect. The prelates declared that it was not their inten- 
tion to deny that the pope could issue sentences of ex- 
communication, and translate bishops according to the 
law of the holy church, but to do so in the cases pro- 
posed would be to invade the rights of the crown, which 
they were determined to support with all their power $. 
In consequence of these answers, was drawn up the last 
and most comprehensive of the statutes of provisors or 
premunire, by which it is provided that, if any man 
pursue or obtain, in the court of Rome, or elsewhere, 
such translations, excommunications, bulls, instruments, 
or other things, against the king's crown and regality, or 
kingdom, as aforesaid, or bring them into the realm, 

Rym. vii. 734. 

t It is rather laughable to observe how soon the parliament begun to 
fear that its own artifice might be turned to its prejudice. The plan of 
translating bishops out of the kingdom had been invented by the duke of 
Gloucester's party to get rid of the archbishop of York. But it now be- 
came evident that, if the pope could do this to punish a prelate who had 
otTi'nded the ruling party, he might do the same to punish a prelate from 
whom he himself had received offence. 

; Hot. Parl. iii. 304. 

228 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

or receive, notify, or execute them either within the 
realm or without, such person or persons, their notaries, 
procurators, maintainers, abettors, fautors, and counsel- 
lors, shall be out of the king's protection, their goods 
and chattels, lands and tenements, shall he forfeited to 
the king, and their persons attached wherever they may 
be found*. 

There is reason to believe that, when this bill was dis- 
cussed in the house of lords, it met with considerable 
opposition. It was at least withdrawn by the commons, 
who agreed that the king should refer the whole matter 
to his council, and have full power to make such altera- 
tions and ordinances as he might think fit, and to carry 
them, when made, into execution t. Though they ex- 
pressed a hope that, when it was thus amended, they 
should assent to it at the next parliament, it does not 
appear to have been ever laid before them again ; but 
to have been occasionally acted upon, and occasionally 
modified, as suited the royal convenience. The pope 
was still careful to bestow the English benefices of the 
deceased cardinals on their survivors : but frequently 
the king was also careful to present to them himself. 
On each of these occasions the old contest was fought 
over again ; and in every case the provisor was com- 
pelled to relinquish his pretensions, and the pope, that 

* Stat. of Realm) ii. 84, 85. 

t Fait a remembrer touchant 1'estatut des provisours, qe les communes, 

pur la grante affiance s'accorderent et assenterent en plein 

parlement, qe nre dit Sr le Roi, par bone deliberation et assent des seig- 
neurs ct de son sajje couseill, pn-igne toute la mutire a luy, et q'il eit 
plein poair et auctorite de modifier le dit estatut, et ent ordeiner par deli- 
beration et assent susditz en manere come luy semblera meutz. Kot. 
Farl. iii. 301. Four years afterwards another memorandum to the same 
impoit, and nearly in the same words (the king was to alter it ] 
et advis de tieux sages et dignes persones qneux lui plena apprller pur 
conseilleren le matiere) is inserted in the rolls: and it is added, that im- 
mediately afterwards the prelates protested, that, if any ordinance were 
made which should restrain the power of the pontiff in the business of pro- 
visions, or derogate from the liberties of the church, they neither could nor 
oiu-ht to assent to it. Rot. Parl. iii. 340, 341. Hence I think it plain that 
this statute was never properly passed in parliament, and on that account 
does not appear in the rolls. It was, however, acted upon by the kind's 
council; and is referred to in the 25th Hen. VI 1 1. c. 20, and 2nd Philip 
and Mary, c. 8. 


he might save his own claim, conferred the benefice on 
the king's presentee. Convinced by experience of their 
inability to continue the contest with honour to them- 
selves, the pontiffs negociated with the court, and as- 
sented to such modifications of the statute as the kino; 
thought it prudent to make. Provisions in favour of 
aliens, unless they were cardinals, were entirely abo- 
lished, and those in favour of natives were generally 
granted to persons who had previously obtained the royal 
license*. Thus ended this long and angry controversy 
entirely to the advantage of the crown ; for though the 
right of election remained to the clergy, it was merely 
nominal, as they dared not reject the person recom- 
mended by the king ; and though the pope still pre- 
tended to confer the great dignities of the church by 
provision, the provisor was invariably the person who 
had been nominated by the crown. 

If the war between England and France still con- A. D. 
tinued, it was more from the difficulty of adjusting their 1394 
differences than from any real enmity between the two 2* ay 
monarchs. Of late hostilities had been suspended by a j u ' ne 
succession of negociations, which, in 1394, terminated 7. 
in a truce for four years t. Soon afterwards Richard July 
was deprived of his consort, the good queen Anne, who ^ 6 * 
died at his palace of Shene, and was interred at West- 
minster. The king appeared inconsolable ; and, to di- 
vert his melancholy, was advised to visit his Irish domi- 
nions. They had formerly produced a yearly income 
of thirty thousand pounds : now the receipts were not 
equal to the ordinary expenses of the government. To 
understand the cause of this defalcation we must take a 

We have one of these temporary modifications in Wilkins, Con. iii. 
237. 1. The bishoprics were to be granted after the election, and by pro- 
vision, to the person elect, if the kin;; wrote in his favour. If lie (iiil not, 
to some other person acceptable to the king. 2. In cathedral and col- 
legate churches, tlie pope and the ordinary were to present alternately, 
till the pope had possessed three presentations. He might jjrant the pro- 
visions to cardinals: otherwise he was bound to select Englishmen. 3. la 
other benefices the pope and ordinary were to present alternately for 
fourteen months. Anuo 1398. t Rym. vii. 770. 

230 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

hasty review of the past transactions in Ireland. After 
the fall of Bruce, the second Edward was too much oc- 
cupied by his domestic enemies, the third by his wars 
with Scotland and France, to attend to the concerns of 
the sister island ; and the natives by successive en- 
croachments gradually confined the English territories 
within narrower limits. The greater part of Ulster was 
recovered by the O'Nials ; the O'Connors won several 
districts in Connaught ; and in Leinster the O'Brians 
maintained, with perseverance, and often with success, 
the cause of Irish independence. Had the natives 
united in one common effort, they might have driven the 
invaders into the ocean : but they lost the glorious op- 
portunity by their own dissensions and folly. Their 
hostilities were generally the sudden result of a particu- 
lar provocation, not of any plan for the liberation of the 
island ; their arms were as often turned against their 
own countrymen as against their national enemies ; and 
several septs received annual pensions from the English 
government as the price of their services in protecting 
the borders from the inroads of the more hostile Irish. 

Neither did the English pale present a scene of less 
anarchy and disunion. The settlers were divided into 
two classes, the English by race and the English by 
birth. The former were the descendants of the first in- 
vaders, and considered themselves as the rightful heirs 
to the lands and emoluments which had been won by 
the swords of their progenitors. The further they were 
removed from the seat of government, the less did they 
respect its authority ; and, as they lived in the constant 
violation of the English laws, naturally sought to eman- 
cipate themselves from their control. Hence many 
adopted the dress, the manners, the language, and the 
laws of the natives, and were insensibly transformed 
from English barons into Irish chieftains. Of these the 
most powerful was Thomas Fitz-Maurice, who collected 
without distinction of country every adventurer under 
his standard ; expelled the English settlers who refused 


to conform to his wishes; encouraged intermarriages 
with the natives, and established among his dependents 
the customs of tanistry and gavelkind. Yet such was 
the weakness of the government, that, to secure his 
fidelity, he was created earl of Desmond, and his pos- 
sessions were erected into a county palatine. 

The English by birth comprised the persons born in 
England whom the king had invested with office in Ire- 
land, and the crowds of adventurers whom penury or 
crime annually banished from their own country. To 
the old settlers they were objects of peculiar jealousy and 
hatred : by the government they were trusted and 
advanced, as a counterpoise to the disaffection of the 
others. Edward III. had gone so far as to forbid any 
person to hold office under the Irish government who 
was not an Englishman, and possessed of lands, tene- 
ments, or benefices in England ; but the prohibition 
aroused the indignation of the English by race : in defi- A. D. 
ance of his authority they assembled in convention at 1342. 
Kilkenny ; and so spirited were their remonstrances 
that he revoked the order, and confirmed to them the 
rights which they had inherited from their ancestors. 

Edward had appointed his son Lionel duke of Clarence 
to the government of Ireland. The prince landed with A .D. 
an army, obtained some advantages over the natives, 1361. 
and left the island, having rather inflamed than appeased **" 
the jealousy between the two parties. Some years later 
he returned ; a parliament was held under his influence ; A. n. 
and the result was the celebrated statute of Kilkenny. Its 1364. 
provisions were directed not against the natives, but the 
descendants of the English settlers, who, " to the ruin of 
" the common weal, had rejected the laws of England 
" for those of Ireland." It enacted that marriage, nur- 
ture of children, and gossipred with the Irish, should 
for the future subject the offender to the penalties of 
high treason; and that the Englishman who should 
adopt an Irish name, or the Irish language, or the Irish 
dress, should be constrained by imprisonment or forfei- 

232 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

ture to give security that he would conform to the man- 
ners of his own country. It was moreover declared that 
the Brehon laws were a lewd custom, latterly crept in 
among the English, and it was made high treason for 
any Englishman to decline the authority of his own laws, 
and submit his cause to the decision of the Brehon 

Still the former dissensions prevailed among the 
strangers ; and the Irish gradually extended their con- 
quests. To restore tranquillity, Richard, in his ninth 
year, created the earl of Oxford, his favourite, marquess 
of Dublin, and afterwards duke of Ireland ; bestowed on 
him the government of Ireland for life ; and granted to 
' him and his heirs all the lands which he should conquer 
from the natives, with the exception of such as had 
already been annexed to the crown, or conferred on for- 
mer adventurers f. Thirty thousand marks were al- 
lotted for the expedition by the parliament ; and the 
most sanguine hopes of success were generally che- 
rished ; when the whole plan was defeated by the dis- 
sension between the king and his barons, and the sub- 
sequent exile and death of the duke. Now, however, 
the moment seemed to be arrived when the English 
ascendancy might be restored, and the natives reduced 
A.D. to the most complete submission. AVith four thousand 
1394. men at arms and thirty thousand archers, Richard 
Oct> landed at Waterford : the duke of Gloucester, the earls 
of Rutland and Nottingham, aided him with their 
advice ; and, though the state of the country, intersected 
with lakes, morasses, and forests, impeded his progress ; 
though the enemy, by retiring into inaccessible for- 
tresses, shunned his approach ; yet in a short time the 
idea of resistance was abandoned ; the northern chief- 
tains met the king at Drogheda, the southern attended 
his deputy, the earl of Nottingham, at Carlow ; and all, 
seventy-five in number, did homage, promised to keep 

Apud Leland, i. 320. f Rot. ParL iii. 209, 210. 


the peace, and submitted to pay a yearly tribute. The 
four principal kings, O'Nial, O'Connor, O'Brian, and 
M'Murchad, followed Richard to Dublin, where they 
wore instructed in the manners of the English by sir 
Henry Christal: submitted to receive, though with some A.D. 
reluctance, the honour of knighthood, and, arrayed in 1395. 
robes of state, were feasted at the king's table. But a ;,. 
distinction was made between the natives who had not 
previously sworn fealty and those who had done so and 
rebelled, the " Irrois savages, and Irrois rebels," as the 
king denominated them. Yet the latter on their sub- 
mission were taken under protection, and obtained the 
promise of a full pardon on the payment of a propor- 
tionate fine. Richard, though he devoted much of his 
time to parade, did not -neglect the reformation of the 
government. Grievances were redressed, the laws en- 
forced, tyrannical officers removed, and the minds of the 
natives gradually reconciled to the superiority of the 
English *. 

But while the king was thus establishing his power in 
Ireland he was suddenly recalled to his English domi- 
nions. The disciples of Wycliffe, under the denomina- 
tion of Lollards, had seized the opportunity of his absence 
to commence a fierce attack upon the revenues and the 
discipline of the church. Not content with affixing 
libels against the clergy in the most public places in 
the capital, they had prepared an inflammatory petition, 
which was to be presented to the house of commons. 
This instrument is a strange compound of fanaticism 
and folly. It complains that, ever since the church had 
been endowed with worldly possessions, faith, hope, and 

* Acts of Coun. i. 56. 62. Christal gave the account of this expedition 
to Froissart. He had formerly been made prisoner by one of the natives, 
a powerful man, who unexpectedly leaped up behind him, embraced him 
tightly, and, urging the horse forward with his heels, fairly carried him 
off Doting his captivity he had learned the Irish language, and on that 
account was now churned with the care of the four kiiins. His great diffi- 
culty was to induce them to dine at a different table from their servants, 
and to wear breeches, and mantles trimmed with the fur of squirrels. 
Froiss. xi. 24. 

234 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

charity have been banished from England : that the 
English priesthood is a false priesthood, because sinners 
can neither impart nor receive the Holy Spirit ; that the 
clergy profess a life of celibacy, but pamper themselves 
too much to observe it ; that by accepting places under 
the government, they become hermaphrodites, obliging 
themselves to serve both God and mammon ; that they 
teach transubstantiation, which leads to idolatry ; enjoin 
confession, which makes them supercilious ; authorise 
war and criminal executions, which are contrary to the 
law of Christ, a law of mercy and love ; and permit 
men to exercise the trades of the goldsmith and sword 
cutler, which are unnecessary and pernicious under the 
dispensation of the Gospel. No one was found to pre- 
sent the petition ; but the prelates, alarmed at the bold- 
May, ness of the fanatics, solicited the protection of the king, 
who, at his return to London, severely reprimanded the 
patrons of the Lollards, and ordered their teachers to 
be expelled from the university of Oxford*. 

During the quarrel between the duke of Gloucester 

and the king's favourites Richard had been frequently 

reproached with a secret leaning towards the friendship 

of the king of France. On the death of his queen he 

A.D. discovered this inclination more openly, and solicited the 

1394 ' hand of Isabella, the daughter of Charles VI., a princess 

7 e in her eighth year. The dukes of Lancaster and York 

approved of the match : the duke of Gloucester, who on 

all occasions made his court to the prejudices of the 

nation by opposing any alliance with France, was able 

A D< to postpone it for many months. At length his acquies- 

1396.cence was purchased with gifts and promises; and a 

Mar. treaty was signed, purporting that Isabella should marry 

9 ' Richard ; that she should receive for her dower eighty 

thousand crowns by annual instalments ; that when she 

had completed her twelfth year she should be at liberty 

to assent to the marriage or to dissent from it ; that the 

Wilk. Con. iii. 221. Wals. 351. Rym. vii. 805. 


heirs of her body should not derive from their mother's 
descent any additional claim to the French crown ; and 
that the truce already existing between the two king- Sept. 
doms should be prolonged for the term of twenty-eight Q ; 
additional years, and should comprehend their respec- 27. ' 
live allies. Richard sailed to France to receive the Nov. 
princess ; the kings feasted each other in their pavilions 1. 
between Ardres and Calais ; the marriage ceremony * " 
was performed by the archbishop of Canterbury ; and j ' ' 
the young queen was afterwards crowned with the usual 7. 
magnificence at Westminster*. 

This alliance with the royal family of France encou- 
raged Richard to execute a scheme of vengeance which 
he had long cherished within his own breast. He had 
not forgotten the sufferings and murders of his favou- 
rites, nor the insults which had been offered to his own 
authority. Hitherto it had been prudent to dissemble ; 
now, thinking himself secure on the throne, he resolved 
to wreak his vengeance on the offenders, though the 
principal of them was one of his nearest relatives. Of 
his three uncles the duke of York alone seems never to 
have forfeited his friendship. The easy and indolent 
disposition of that prince withdrew him from the rash 
and intemperate councils of his brother of Gloucester ; 
and if he did not strenuously exert himself in the cause, 
he never gave the weight of his co-operation to the ene- 
mies of his nephew. He was now beloved and trusted 
by Richard. During the king's absence in Ireland he 
had been appointed regent of the kingdom ; and his 
son, the earl of Rutland, was believed to hold the first 
place in the royal favour. With respect to the duke of 
Lancaster it had formerly been otherwise, when he was 
suspected of aspiring to the crown. But age had chilled 

Rym. vii. 802805. 811830. 834837. 845847, 848. Wals. 353. 
Isabella brought with her, brides jewels autl plate, " robes, tapisseric, et 
" antres meubles, taut pour la personne, et pour la cbambre, come pour la 
" chapelle, I'escuyerie, panneterie. eschaiisonnerie, fruicterie, la cuisine, 
" et autrcs oflices ;" for all which Richard gave a receipt at Calais, 7 Nov. 
Thres. des Chart. 64. 

236 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

his ambition : every sinister impression had been 
effaced by more recent services ; and a grant to him for 
life of the sovereignty of Guienne, though it was after- 
wards recalled at the solicitation and remonstrance of 
the natives, proved how ready the king was to gratify 
the wishes of this uncle. Constance, his second wife, 
did not long possess the affection of her husband, which 
he had transferred to Catherine Swynford, a knight's 
widow, and governess of his two daughters by Blanche, 
the first duchess. Constance died in 1394, and in 1396 
the duke married Swynford after an illicit cohabitation 
of about twenty years, during which she had borne him 
three sons and one daughter of the surname of Beaufort, 
from Beaufort castle in France, in which they were born. 
Feb. This marriage was resented as a disgrace by the other 
6. princes of the blood royal : but Richard, to please his 
p e lj uncle, approved of it, legitimated the children, and 
10. raised the eldest son to the dignity of earl of Somerset *. 
But the duke of Gloucester, the third uncle, though he 
knew how cruelly he had wounded the feelings, dis- 
dained to cultivate the friendship of his nephew. He 
was still the chief mover of every intrigue, the soul 
of every faction that opposed the king's wishes. He 
never took his seat at the council board but to embarrass 
the proceedings ; was the last to arrive, and the first 
to depart ; treated Richard with an air of superiority ; 
and frequently threw out sarcasms in his hearing on his 
supposed inactivity and degeneracy from the spirit of his 
fathers. At the same time it was the policy of the duke 

Rot. Parl. iii. 343. In the original patent of legitimation, and in the 
copy entered on the rolls of parliament, there was DO reservation of the 
royal dignity. In the copy on the patent rolls there is such reservation, 
but it is interlined, and in a different ink. though the hand is nearly tho 
same. In the exemplification by Henry IV. in 1407, the exception occurs 
without interlineation. See Sir Harris Nicolas in Excerpt. Hist. 153. It 
appears, however, to me that the original patent, though it omits, never- 
theless implies the exception ; for it explains the honours, dignities, pre- 
eminences, estates, degrees, and offices which it enables the Beautbrts to 
hold, as duchies, principalities, earldoms, baronies, and other fees, whether 
holden mediately or immediately of the crown. Is not this equivalent to 
a reservation of the royal dignity ? 


to ingratiate himself with the knights, who had distin- 
guished themselves in the last reign ; to inveigh against 
the peace with France ; to lament the pusillanimity of 
the king : and to represent him as fit only to live in the 
company of ladies and bishops*. That he might at 
least display his own courage, he obtained permission to 
join the Christians, who were fighting against the infi- 
dels in Prussia : but, whether it was that the expedition 
was merely a pretence, or that his courage evaporated 
at sea, he returned in a few days, and asserted that he 
had been driven back by a storm. He was then ap- 
pointed to the government of Ireland, but neglected to 
take possession, probably because Ireland was a coun- 
try in which, as he said, he could reap neither wealth 
nor glory. Richard's mind was perpetually harassed 
by what he saw and heard of Gloucester's conduct ; a 

* On this subject a singular occurrence took place in the parliament 
held in 1397. On the 1st of February ihe commons delivered a, bill to the 
lords for the regulation of the king's household, complaining, among other 
thing*, that so many bishops, who had lordships, and so many ladies, 
with their servants, were always with the king, and were supported at his 
expense. Richard the next day sent tor the lords, asserted that the bill 
was an invasion of his prerogative, and ordered the duke of Lancaster to 
demand from the commons the name of the person who had introduced 
it. This was sir Thomas Ilaxey, a clergyman. On the third, the com- 
mons appeared before the king and the lords, professed their sorrow for 
the offence tln-y had given, and declared that their only intention was to 
request the king to consider the subject of his household, and to make 
what regulations he thought proper. He professed himself satisfied ; 
adding that, as he did not demand from them either tenths or fifteenths, 
they ought not to interfere with his expenses. But Haxey was singled 
out for punishment, as a terror to others. His bill had been expressed in 
these words : May it please the commons of England to consider the 
expenses <>f the king in his household, from the multitude of bishops and 
ladies with their followers, and to ordain due remedy thereof. On the 
filth a law was made, that whoever moved, or should move the commons 
of parliament, or any other person, to make remedy or reformation of any- 
thing appertaining to the king's person, rule, or royalty, should be held 
for a traitor; and two days alter, Haxey, on his own confession, was con- 
demned, according to this ex post facto law, to suffer the punishment of 
treason. But his life was immediately spared at the intercession of the 
prelates, and a full pardon was granted to him on the 27th of May. It is 
probable that no intention existed of putting Haxey to death ; but that 
the whole of this unjustifiable proceeding had for its object to check the 
attempts of Gloucester's partisans to intimidate the opponents of 
the court. See Hot. Parl. iii. 339. 341. 407, 408. From this instance 
it appears that clergymen sate at this period among the commons in 

238 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

repetition of petty injuries kept alive his resentment, 
and the memory of the past urged him to get rid of a 
prince who still continued to display the same contempt 
for the person, the same hostility to the favourites of his 
July sovereign. We are even told that the duke had actu- 
' s - ally formed a plan with his former associates, the pre- 
sent archbishop of Canterbury *, and the earls of Arun- 
del and Warwick, to seize and imprison the king + : but 
the account appears to be no more than a report invented 
to explain the cause of his arrest. This, at least, is cer- 
tain, that no such charge was afterwards brought for- 
ward by his accusers in parliament. 

When Richard had taken his resolution, it was car- 
ried into effect with secrecy and despatch. The earl 
of Warwick, having dined with the king, was arrested 
at the house of the chancellor, near Temple Bar, hur- 
July ried away to the Tower, and for greater security con- 
iO. veyed to the castle of Tintagel in Cornwall $. The pri- 
mate was unsuspectingly employed to bring his brother 
July the earl of Arundel to a private conference with Richard, 
1^. who instantly apprehended and sent him to Carisbrook 
castle, in the isle of Wight ; but with a promise, con- 
firmed upon oath, that he should not suffer either in his 
person or property . To prevent the escape or resistance 
of his uncle, Richard himself headed the party appointed 
to apprehend him, and proceeded to his castle at Flashy. 
The duke with his family came out to meet the king, 
but was immediately delivered to the custody of the 
earl of Nottingham, earl marshal ||. That nobleman 

* lie was Thomas de Arundel, brother to the earl of the same name, 
who had been bishop of Ely and chancellor during the prosecution of 
Richard's favourites ; and was afterwards translated to the see of York, 
and thence to that of Canterbury. Ang. Sac. i. 62. 122. 

f Fioissart, xL 48. Account of MSS. in library of king of France, ii. 
p. 205. 

t Rot Parl. iii. 436. Ibid. 435. 

|| There are different accounts of this arrest. The contemporary author 
in MS. mentioned before assures us that it took place in the morning, 
when the king arrived before the duke was up (p. 208) : Froissart fixes it 
at five in the afternoon (xi. 48). Both agree that he joined Richard it. 
the court of his palace, was asked to accompany him to Londou, und made 

A. D. 1397.] APPEAL OF TREASON. 239 

pretended to conduct him to the Tower ; but, when 
they had reached the Thames, he put him on board a 
ship, sailed down the river, and lodged his prisoner in 
the castle of Calais, of which he was governor. From 
the sudden disappearance of the duke it was generally 
believed that he had been murdered ; and his friends, 
alarmed at his supposed fate, began to tremble for their 
own safety. Richard, to tranquillise the public mind, July 
issued a proclamation, stating that these arrests had 15- 
been made with the assent of the earls of Rutland, Kent, 
Huntingdon, Nottingham, and Salisbury, the lord De- 
spenser, and sir William Scrope, and with the approba- 
tion of his uncles of Lancaster and York, and his cousin 
of Derby ; that the offences of the prisoners were of 
recent date, and had no connexion with the occurrences 
of the tenth and eleventh years of his reign; and that 
none of his subjects had any reason to be alarmed on 
account of the part which they had taken on those oc- 
casions *. 

To arrange his plans with greater secrecy, he now 
repaired to the castle of Nottingham, where it was de- 
termined to copy the former example of the prisoners, 
and to appeal them of treason, after the manner in 
which they had appealed the king's favourites. The 
noblemen who had advised the arrests were at dinner, 
when they were unexpectedly summoned from table 
to the gate of the castle, and required to put their seals 
to a form of appeal, which had been prepared for the 
occasion. On their return they found the king in the 
hall, seated on the throne, and wearing his crown. " We 
" appeal," they were made to say, " Thomas duke of 
" Gloucester, Richard earl of Arundel, and Thomas earl 
" of Warwick, and say that they have acted as traitors 

prisoner on the road. Hut the rolls of parliament declare that he was 
arrested, as he came forth in procession to meet the kin;;: domino regi 
cum processkme solemni humiliter occurrentem. Rot. Parl. iii. 418. 

* Rym. viii. 6. To the noblemen who are said to have given their assent 
to these arrests should have been added the young earl of Somerset. Rot. 
Parl. iii. 374. 

240 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

" to your majesty and your realm. Such we hold them, 
" and such we will prove them to be, when, where, and 
" in whatever court your majesty shall ordain. And we 
" beseech your majesty to hear us as soon as may be, 
" and to do full right and justice on this our appeal." 
Their request was granted, and the time of trial fixed 
for the ensuing parliament *. 

On his return the king remained a few days at Wood- 
stock, where it was resolved to take the deposition of 
Aug. the duke of Gloucester in prison, and a commission for 
1;) - that purpose was signed and addressed to sir William 
Sept. Rickhill, one of the justices. About three weeks later 
5 - Rickhill was awakened in the middle of the night at 
Essingham in Kent by a royal messenger, who ordered 
him to repair immediately to Dover, and to follow the 
earl of Nottingham to Calais. If he was surprised at 
the mysterious nature of this message, his surprise re- 
Sept. double^ when after his arrival the earl delivered to him 
a commission to interrogate the duke of Gloucester, 
whom he had for many weeks believed to be dead. In 
this delicate and dangerous business Rickhill proceeded 
with a caution which afterwards saved his life. He 
required that two witnesses should be appointed to see 
and hear all that passed between him and the prisoner ; 
Sept. and on his introduction to Gloucester, advised him to 
k- return his answer in writing, and to keep an exact copy 
of it in his own possession. Some hours later the duke 
delivered to him what was termed his confession, with 
a request that he would come back the next morning, 
to receive any further communication that might be 
deemed necessary. But in the morning Rickhill was 
refused admission ; and, after remaining two days longer 
Sept- at Calais, he returned to England, and gave an account 
\ ' of his proceedings to the king the day before the opening 
jj 1 ' 1 ' of the parliament -I 1 . 

* Comvare Rot Parl. iii. 374. and 449452. 
t See Kickhill's deposition, Hot. Parl. iii. 431. 


To prevent any opposition to his wishes, Richard was Sept. 
accompanied to Westminster by a most formidable force, 1^ 
composed of the knights and esquires who wore his 
livery of the hart, and of his body-guard of archers 
levied in the county of Chester. The leading men in 
the commons had received their instructions from the 
court ; and on the second day of the session sir John Sept. 
Bussy, the speaker, petitioned the king that the clergy IS. 
might appoint proxies to represent them in their ab- 
sence from trials of blood ; that the commission of 
regency, and the statute confirming it, passed in the 
tenth year of his reign, should be repealed, as extorted 
from him by threats and violence ; that whoever in 
future should procure the enactment, or act in virtue 
of such a commission, should suffer the penalties of 
treason ; and that all pardons, general or private, here- 
tofore granted to the duke of Gloucester, and the earls 
of Arundel and Warwick, should be revoked, as pre- 
judicial to the king, and wrung from him by constraint. 
These petitions were immediately granted with the 
unanimous assent of parliament *. 

The commons next impeached Thomas Arundel arch- Sept. 
bishop of Canterbury of high treason. He had, they 20. 
maintained, aided the duke and two earls to obtain the 
commission of regency, and procured himself to be 
named one of the number ; had also advised the arrest 
and execution of sir Simon Burley and sir James Ber- 
ners, contrary to the will of the king ; and had com- 
mitted these crimes while he was chancellor, and bound 
by his oath to support the rights of the crown. He 
rose to defend himself, but was silenced by Richard, 
who, on account, as he pretended, of the archbishop's 
dignity, wished to have more time to consider the 
matter !-. 

The following day the lords appellants presented their Sept. 
charges against the three peers: 1. That the duke of 21. 

Rot. ParL iii. 348351. \ Ibid. 351. 


242 RICHARD IT. [CHAP. 11. 

Gloucester and the earl of Arundel had compelled the 
king to assent to the commission of regency, by threaten- 
ing his life in case of refusal ; 2. That they had drawn to 
their party the earl of Warwick and the lord Thomas 
Mortimer at Harringay park, and with force of arms con- 
strained the king at Westminster to take them under his 
protection ; 3. That these four, usurping the royal power, 
had condemned sir Simon Burley to death, against the 
king's will and without his assent ; and, 4. That at 
Huntingdon they had conspired to depose the king, 
shown him the act of deposition of Edward II., and 
told him that, if he had not met with the same fate, he 
owed the preservation of his crown to the respect which 
they entertained for his deceased father. To these 
charges the earl of Arundel pleaded not guilty, and 
offered to prove his innocence by wager of battle, or by 
the verdict of a jury. He then pleaded a general and 
particular pardon. But these had been already revoked, 
and he was ordered to speak to the facts alleged against 
him. On his refusal the duke of Lancaster pronounced 
the usual judgment of treason : he was immediately 
led back to the Tower, and his head was struck off the 
same day under the direction of the lord Morley, the 
lieutenant of the earl marshal *. 

That nobleman, who was still at Calais, had received 
an order to bring his prisoner, the duke of Gloucester, 
to the bar of the house, that he might reply to the lords 
S.,pt. who had appealed him of treason. Three days later an 
J4. answer was returned, that the earl marshal could not 
produce the said duke before the king in parliament, 
for that he, being in custody in the king's prison at 
Calais, had there died. The time, the place, the sud- 
denness of the death, will create a suspicion that this 
unfortunate prince had been murdered; and in the next 
reign it was pretended that Richard, unwilling to dis- 

* Rot. Parl. iii. 374 377. 436. Hence it is evident that the earl marshal 
himself was not present ; and that the story of his insulting the prisoner 
at his execution cannot be true. Wals. 355. 


grace the royal family by bringing his uncle to a public 
trial, and equally unwilling to grant life to one who 
had so unfeelingly refused mercy to others, had sent 
assassins to Calais, by whom the duke was smothered 
between two beds *. However that may be, the lords 
appellants demanded judgment ; the commons seconded 
their demand by a petition ; and the duke was declared 
a traitor, and all his property confiscated to the crown t. 

The next day was read in parliament Gloucester's Sept. 
confession taken by sir William Rickhill. He acknow- 25. 
ledged that he had been guilty of procuring the com- 
mission of regency ; of presenting himself with an 
armed force before the king in Westminster-hall ; of 
opening the king's letters without permission ; of speak- 
ing slanderously of him in the hearing of others ; of 
employing threats to induce him to condemn sir Simon 
Burley ; of asking the advice of others, whether he 
might not give up his homage ; and of having conspired 
with others to depose the king, but only for a few days, 
after which he meant to replace him on the throne. 
He protested, however, that, since the day on which he 
swore to his nephew on God's body at Langley $, he had 
always been faithful to him; and concluded in these 

* In the first year of the next reign a paper was read in parliament, 
purporting to be a confession upon oath of John Hall, a servant to the 
earl of Nottingham. He said, or was made to say. that some day in Sep- 
tember the duke was brought from the castle of Calais to a hotel called 
the prince's inn, and delivered to two persons, servants of the king and 
the earl of Rutland. That they took him up stairs, advised him to send for 
a confessor, as he must die, and, after the departure of the priest, smothered 
him between two beds in presence of himself and three others. As soon 
as this paper had been read, Hall was condemned, and immediately exe- 
cuted without having been heard, or even presented before his judges. 
Though ('i^'ht were named in the deposition, as being concerned in the 
transaction, not one of them was examined or molested. If we reflect how- 
much it was for the interest of Henry IV. to have Richard believed tin- 
author of Gloucester's death, all these circumstances tend to excite a sus- 
picion that he could not prove it. See Hot Parl. iii. 453. 

+ Ibi'i 

t That oath was taken ten years before (Rot Parl. 421). I notice this, 
because some writers suppose the duke's confession to regard recent oc- 
currences, whereas it refers entirely to his conduct in the years 1386 und 
1387. Richard ordered prayers for his soul in all parisli churches, because 
he confessed and repented of his treasons before his death. Acts of 
Coun. i. 76. 


244 RICHARD ii. [CHAP, in, 

words : " Therefore I beseech my liege and sovereign 
" lord the king, that he will of his high grace and be- 
" nignity accept me to his mercy and his grace, as I 
" that put my life, my body, and my goods wholly at his 
" will, as lowly and as meekly as any creature can do, 
' or may do, to his liege lord. Beseeching to his high 
" lordship that he will, for the passion that God suffered 
" for all mankind, and the compassion that he had of 
" his mother on the cross, and the pity that he had of 
" Mary Magdalene, that he will vouchsafe for to have 
" compassion and pity, and to accept me unto his mercy 
" and his grace, as he that hath ever been full of mercy 
" and of grace to all his lieges, and to all other that 
" have not been so nigh to him as I have been, though 
" I be unworthy *." How eloquently he could plead 
for mercy in his own favour, though he had never shown 
mercy to others ! 

The archbishop of Canterbury had not appeared in 
his place in parliament since his impeachment. His 
absence was attributed to the perfidious counsel of the 
king, who, fearing the impression which might be made 
by his eloquence, affected to be his friend, advised him 
not to irritate his enemies by his presence, and promised 
to shield him from their resentment t. However that 
may be, as soon as the confession of the duke of Glou- 
cester had been read, the commons prayed judgment 
against the primate. Richard immediately declared that 
he had acknowledged himself guilty, and thrown him- 
self on the royal mercy ; and sentence was pronounced 
that he should be banished for life, and that his tempo- 
ralties should be forfeited to the crown. Arundel re- 
paired to France : the pope, after some negociation with 
Richard, translated him, probably without his know- 
ledge, to the see of St. Andrews ; and Roger Walden, 

* Rot. Parl. 379. His acknowledgment of having employed threats to 
procure the condemnation of Hurley is not in the confession; but \v;is 
added afterwards t<; word of mouth to Rickhill. Ibid, and 431. I have 
preserved the very words, and altered nothing but the spelling, 
t Ibid. 421. 

A. D. 1397.] THE KING'S INJUSTICE. 245 

dean of York, and treasurer of the household, succeeded 
him in the archbishopric of Canterbury *. 

The earl of Warwick was then brought to the bar gent, 
of the house. He pleaded guilty : but the sentence 28. 
of death was commuted into exile, and the Isle of Man 
was assigned for his residence. The lord Cobham was 
also convicted on the impeachment of the commons, and 
condemned to pass the rest of his life in the Isle of Jer- 
sey. The lord Mortimer, who had fled for protection to 
one of the Irish septs, was outlawed t. 

Whatever may have been Richard's object, whether 
it were security or revenge, it must be confessed that 
the manner in which these prosecutions were conducted 
was illegal and unjustifiable. Not only did the king 
violate the pardons which he had formerly granted, but 
the terms of the proclamation which he had recently 
issued. At the same time the concurrence of the princes 
of the blood furnishes a strong presumption that there 
had been something highly criminal or dangerous in 
the conduct of Gloucester. His nephews, the earls of 
Somerset and Rutland, were two of his accusers ; his 
brothers, the dukes of Lancaster and York, joined in 
his condemnation ; and the former even pronounced 
against him the judgment of treason. Can we suppose 
that they would have thus united to disgrace and punish 
their own blood, had they been influenced by no other 
motive than the king's resentment for an offence com- 
mitted and pardoned ten years before $ ? 

Rot. Parl. 351. From a documemt in Wilkins (Cou. ill 232) which, 
if genuine, must have contained the instructions from the king to his 
envoys, it would appear that Richard thought St. Andrews too near to 
England. That, however, he acquiesced in the translation, appears from 
Rym. viii. 31. 

"t Rot ParL 3/9382. Cobham was convicted in January. But I 
ention him now, that all the convictions may come before the reader at 


I think I can discover some traces of enmity between the duke of Lan- 
caster and the party of the duke of Gloucester before this period. In the 
parliament of 1394 the earl of Arundel, Gloucester's intimate friend, told 
the king that certain matters lay so near his hrart, that he could not in 
conscience conceal them : 1. That the duke of Lancaster alked often arra- 
ir arm with the king, who even wore nis livery ; 2". That in council the 

246 RICHARD ii. [CHAP, in 

It is remarkable that several peers who sate and voted 
in this parliament had been engaged in the very trans- 
actions which were now declared treasonable. The 
duke of York, the bishop of Winchester, and Richard 
Scrope, had been members of Gloucester's commission ; 
the earls of Derby and Nottingham had been two out 
of the five who appealed the king's favourites of treason. 
In these the doom of their former associates could not 
fail of awakening the most gloomy apprehensions ; nor, 
after what had passed, was the expedient to which they 
had recourse calculated to satisfy them of their security. 
Richard declared in full parliament that, though the 
three former had been named in the commission, they 
had always behaved as true and loyal subjects ; and 
that the two latter, though they had at first allowed 
themselves to be deceived by the pretences of Gloucester, 
had given a convincing proof of their loyalty, by aban- 
doning him and returning to their duty the very mo- 
ment in which they discovered his treason. He then 
Sept. created his two cousins of Derby and Rutland dukes 
29. of Hereford and Albemarle ; his two uterine brothers, 
the earls of Kent and Huntingdon, dukes of Surrey 
and Exeter ; the earl of Nottingham duke of Norfolk ; 
the earl of Somerset marquess of Dorset ; the lords 
Despenser, Nevil, Percy, and William Scrope, earls of 
Gloucester, Westmoreland, Worcester, and Wiltshire. 
A general pardon followed, from which were excepted 
those who took up arms against the king in his eleventh 
year, not, however, without the hope of favour, provided 
they sued for it within eight months. To give the 
greater stability to these proceedings, it was enacted, 

duke by his haughtiness prevented others from giving their opinions; 3. 
That he had obtained the grant of Guienne to the king's prejudice; 
4". That he had received too much money lor his journey to Spain; 5^. That 
his conduct was blamable in the negotiations for peace. Richard vindi- 
cated his uncle ; and by award of parliament Arundel was obliged to make 
the following apology to the duke: " bir, since it seemeth to the king 
' and other loids, and eke since ye lie M> mickle grieved and displeased by 
" my words, it forthinketh me, ,md I beseech you i.f your good lordship 
" to remit me your mawtalent (resentment;." Hot. Parl. iii. 313, 3U. ' 

A. D. 1397.] HIS DISSIMULATION. 247 

that to compass the death or deposition of the king, or 
to give him back the homage which had been done to 
him, or to raise forces and march against him for the 
purpose of making war within the realm, were and 
should be accounted acts of treason ; that every judg- 
ment, ordinance, and declaration made in the present 
parliament, should in all time to come have the full 
force of statutes ; that if any man should attempt to 
repeal or overturn them, he should suffer the penalties 
of treason ; and that the lords spiritual and temporal 
should swear to observe them ; that their oaths should 
be enrolled in the chancery ; and that the prelates should 
excommunicate all who publicly or privately should act 
contrary to them. Oa the last day of the session the 
peers took the oath : at the request of the king the 
commons stretched out their right hands to show that 
they joined in it ; and then the lord Thomas Percy, 
who had been appointed by the clergy to assist as their 
proxy at the late trials, swore in the name of his con- 
stituents*. What reliance could be placed on such 
oaths, it is difficult to conceive. Of the very men who 
now swore, the greater part had sworn the contrary ten 
years before ; and, as they violated that oath now, so did 
they violate the present before two more years had 
elapsed. The parliament was prorogued to meet again 
at Shrewsbury after the Christmas holidays t. 

These transactions unfolded to view the real character 
of the king. The secrecy with which for so long a 

* Rot. Parl, iii. 353356. Stat. of Realm, ii. 95107. I conceive that 
the persones exemptz called before the council to make fine, (Acts of 
Coun. i. 75, 76) were the persons mentioned above as excepted from par- 
don. See Ryni. viii. 26. 

t Ibid. 356369. I suspect the parliament had been prorogued on ac- 
count of the absence of the earl of March, the presumptive heir to the 
crown, who was the king's lieutenant iu Ireland. All were anxious that 
he should give his consent to the late transactions, and Richard despatch- 
ed a peremptory order for him to attend at Shrewsbury. No excuse would 
be admitted (R\m. viii. 21. Oct 15). He obeyed ; and as soon as the ses- 
sion was opened, took the oath, which had been taken already by the 
other peers (Rut. Parl. iii 357), and concurred in the different ratifications 
of all that had passed in his absence. 

248 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

period he had concealed his purposes of revenge, the 
dissimulation with which he had heaped favours on his 
destined victims, and that contempt for the forms of 
law and principles of justice which he had displayed in 
the course of the proceedings, astonished and appalled 
not only the former adherents of Gloucester, hut every 
man who on any occasion had incurred the royal dis- 
pleasure. The duke of Norfolk possessed, apparently 
at least, a high place in the king's favour : but he was 
conscious how deeply he had engaged in the political 
transactions of the eleventh year ; he knew that by his 
reluctance to join in the late prosecutions he had given 
cause of offence * ; and he entertained a suspicion, that 
the honours to which he had been raised were meant 
only to blind and ensnare him. Of the original lords 
appellants, he and the duke of Hereford alone remained. 
Chancing to overtake the latter on the road between 
Brentford and London, he unbosomed himself to his 
friend, detailed his apprehensions, and pointed out the 
most suspicious characters in the king's council t. Whe- 

Rot. Parl. iii. 383. 

t The following was the conversation, according to Hereford's account 
of it : Norf. We are on the point of being undone. Heref. Why so ? 
Norf.On account of the affair of Radcotbridge. Heref. How can that be, 
since he has granted us pardon, and has declared in parliament that we 
behaved as good and loyal subjects ? Norf. Nevertheless our fate will be 
like that of others before us. He will annul that record. Heref. It will 
be marvellous indeed, if the king, after having said so before the people, 
should cause it to be annulled. Norf. It is A marvellous and false world 
that we live in ; for I know well that, had it not been for some persons, 
my lord your father of Lancaster and yourself would have been taken or 
killed, when you went to Windsor, alter the parliament. The dukes of 
Albemarle and Exeter, and the earl of Worcester and I, have pledged our- 
selves never to assent to the undoing of any lord without just and reason- 
able cause. But this malicious project belongs to the duke of Surrey, the 
earls of Wiltshire and Salisbury, drawing to themselves the earl of Glou- 
cester. They have sworn to undo six lords, the dukes of Lancaster, Here- 
ford, Albemarle, and Exeter, the marquess of Dorset and myself: and 
have sworn to reverse the attainder of Thomas earl of Lancaster, which 
would turnlo the disherison of us and of many others. Heref. Uod forbid! 
It will be a wonder, if the king should assent to such designs. He appears 
to make me good cheer, and has promised to be my good lord. I ndred he 
has sworn by St. Edward to be a good lord to me and the others. Norf. 
So has he often sworn to me by (iod's body : but I do not trust him the 
more for that. He is attempting to draw th? earl of March into the 
scheme of the four lords to destroy the others. Heref. If iluit be the case, 


thcr it were that Hereford incautiously divulged the 
secret, or that he betrayed it clandestinely to Richard, 
is uncertain. But he received an order to attend the 
monarch at Hay wood ; was charged on his allegiance 
iiimunicate to the council the whole conversation ; 
and was remanded with an injunction to appear before 
the parliament, and to submit every particular to the 
cognizance of that tribunal. 

At the appointed day the three estates (for the proc- A. D. 
tors of the clergy were present) assembled at Shrews- 13981 
bury ; and their proceedings were marked with the same ^ n ' 
obsequiousness to the will of the monarch, the same dis- "' " 
regard of the liberties of the people, which they had 
evinced before the prorogation. 1. Sir John Bussy, the 
speaker, demanded that the acts of Gloucester's parlia- 
ment, in the eleventh year of the king, should be re- 
pealed. As a preliminary, the judges and serjeaats at 
law were introduced, and commanded to give their opi- 
nion of the answers which had been returned by the 
former judges to the questions submitted to them at 
Nottingham. They unanimously replied, that to the 
same questions they should have given the same an- 
swers*. Immediately the lords, the clergy, and the 
commons separately declared their assent ; and all the 
judgments, ordinances, and statutes of Gloucester's par- 
liament were repealed. 2. It was evident that this act ^ n - 
of theirs might be reversed by their successors, with as 
much ease as they had reversed the acts of the eleventh 
year ; and the speaker the next day petitioned that the 
very attempt to invalidate any of the proceedings of the 
present session should be declared treason. The king 
consulted the judges t, who replied that no greater se- 

we can never trust them. Norf. Certainly not. Thouah they may not ac- 
complish their purpose now, they will contrive to destroy us in our houses 
ten > ears hence. Rot. Parl. iii. 360. 38'2. 

* ibid. 3'2. 

| From these proceedings it is plain that the judges no longer sate in 
parliament with the lords in the same manner as formerly. -Sir William 
Thiruyng, chief justice of the king's bench, said that parliament alono 

250 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

curity could be devised than the authority of parliament. 
At his request, however, the lords repeated their former 
oath on the cross of Canterbury ; the proctors of the 
clergy followed them ; and the knights of the shire 
standing round the king, with most of the citizens and 
burgesses, imitated their example. Richard then in- 
quired if it were possible to bind his successors ; and, 
when he was informed that he could not, declared that 
he would at least solicit the pope to excommunicate the 
prince who should hereafter annul any act of the pre- 
sent parliament. A herald by proclamation asked the 
people if they would assent to this kind of security ; and 
they, raising their hands, proclaimed with loud shouts 
their assent*. 3. Two days before the opening of the 
session the duke of Hereford had obtained a general 
pardon under the great seal for the treasons, misprisions, 
and oifences, that he had ever committed t. He now 
Jan. appeared in parliament to prosecute the duke of Nor- 
30. folk, and exhibited in writing the whole of the conver- 
sation between them. As if, however, he were conscious 
of guilt, and apprehensive of the royal sincerity, he re- 
turned the next morning, threw himself on his knees 
before Richard, and addressed him in the following 
terms : " My liege lord, there have been riots, troubles, 
" and evil deeds in your realm to the offence of you and 
" your royal estate ; and in them I know that I have 
" taken a part ; not, however, for an evil end, or to dis- 

could declare that to be treasou which had not been so declared before ; 
but that, were he a lord and peer of parliament, he would have answered 
as the others had done. The act of repeal is made ' by the king, with 
" the assent of the lords spiritual and temporal, of the proctors of the 
" clergy, and of the commons, aud by the advice of the judges, and ser- 
jeants.' 1 Ibid. 358. 

* Proclamation feust fait en audience de tout le peuple criantz 

ove hautes voices, q'il lour plest bn, et q'iis sont a ceo pleinement assen- 
tuz. Ibid. 360. 1 notice this circumstance, because it serves to explain 
those passages in more ancient writers which describe the people as as- 
sisting at the great councils, and testifying their approval by acclamation. 
The custom seems still to have prevailed. We find the people mentioned 
also in the first parliament of the next reign .... populoqne dicti regni 
tune ibidem propter t'actum parliament! in maxima multiuuline congre- 
gate. Ibid. 41?. t Kym. viii. 32. 


" please you, as I did not then know that I was doing 
" wrong. But now, sir, I know it, and confess my fault. 
" Wherefore, sir, I cry you mercy, and beg your pardon." 
The king immediately assented to his petition, promised 
to be his good lord, and in a set speech announced to 
the several estates that he had granted him a full par- 
don *. 4. Richard had previously demanded an aid 
the commons; and on the fourth day they voted him, 
with the assent of the lords, a tenth and a half, and a 
fifteenth and a half; and in addition, as if they sought 
to render him independent of parliament, granted him 
the tax on wool, wool-fells, and hides, not for a short 
and determinate period as usual, but for the whole term 
of his natural life. Such liberality required a return on 
his part ; and he published a general charter of pardon 
for all offences against the crown ; but with this most 
curious exception, that no benefit should be derived 
from it, if either lords or commons in future parliaments 
should impeach the grant, which had been now made to 
him of a revenue for lifet. 5. But the most unconsti- 
tutional act of the session still remains. It had been 
usual in former times to dismiss the members as soon 
as the public business was terminated, and to detain a 
committee of lords and justices to hear and determine 
such petitions as had been presented and not answered. 
A similar committee was now appointed of twelve peers 
and six commoners, of whom one half was required to be 
present at the deliberations ; but they were not only in- 
. vested with the powers of the ancient committees, but 
also authorised to "hear, examine, and determine all 
" matters and subjects which had been moved in pre- 
" sence of the king, with all the dependencies thereof:" 
words of indefinite and therefore of the more dangerous 

* Rot. Pad. iii. 36J. From this anxiety of Henry to obtain his pardon, 
which he bad now solicited and received' twice since the declaration made 
in his favour by Richard a few months before, I am inclined to suspect 
that he had eng-igud in the designs of Norfolk, whatever they were, and 
had been admitted to favour on the condition that he should accuse his 
associate. + Ibid. 368, 36'3. 

252 RICHARD it. [CHAP. in. 

tendency, under the colour of which the committee ar- 
rogated to itself all the powers and functions of a full 
parliament. To it was referred the charge which had 
been brought against the duke of Norfolk*. 

That nobleman had not thought proper to attend his 
duty in parliament : but he surrendered on proclama- 
tion ; and was introduced to Richard at Oswaldstre. 

F e b. He loudly maintained his innocence against his accuser ; 

23. and, bending his knee, said to the king : "My dear lord, 

" with your leave, if I may answer your cousin, I say 

" that Henry of Lancaster is a liar ; and in what he has 

" said, and would say, of me, lies like a false traitor as 

Mar " ^ ie * S- " Ri c h ai 'd ordered both parties into custody ; 

19. and, proceeding to Bristol, with the assent of his com- 
mittee of parliament, determined causes and published 
laws in the same form as if the two houses were sitting. 
He even enacted that these new statutes should possess 
equal authority with those which had been passed in the 
last parliament ; that any man who should seek to annul 
or repeal them should suffer the penalties of treason ; 
and that every prelate before he received his temporal- 
ties, every tenant of the crown before he obtained livery 
of his lands, should take an oath to observe all laws, or- 
dinances, and judgments, as well those made by the 
king in the late parliament, as those made by him since 
its dissolution, with the assent of the committee, to 
oppose every endeavour to alter or revoke them, and to 
pursue with all his might every man who should in- 
fringe them, till the offender had suffered the punish- 
ment of his treason. At the same time it was deter- 

* Ibid. 368. When Richard was deposed, his enemies alleged that this 
committee had no other powers than former committees ; and that the ad- 
ditional authority was given to them by the king, who had for that pur- 
pose falsified the rolls. Of the truth of the charge we have no evidence. 
I should observe that, though the same committee was appointed to ex- 
amine the accusation against the duke of Norfolk, two of the members at- 
tended, not as peers, but as proctors for the clergy. Ibid. 360. This w as 
in consequence of a petition from the commons, lest it might afterwards 
be alleged that the clergy were not represented in the committee. 


mined that the controversy between the two dukes 
should be referred to a high court of chivalry *. 

For this purpose, the barons, bannerets, and knights 
of England, were summoned to assemble at Windsor. 
The appellant and appellee were produced before them : April 
Hereford persisted in the charge ; and Norfolk, though 29. 
he acknowledged that he had spoken disrespectfully of 
certain lords, denied every expression which seemed to 
reflect on the king's character. As no witnesses could 
be called, and the truth could not be elicited by confront- 
ing the parties, it was determined to refer the decision 
to the j udgment of God ; and, by award of the court, 
wager of battle was joined, to be fought at Coventry on 
the 16th of September. On the appointed day the com- Sept. 
batants entered the lists, in presence of the king, the 16 . 
committee of parliament, and an immense assemblage 
of people. Hereford made with solemnity the sign of 
the cross : Norfolk exclaimed, " God speed the right." 
The former, pushing forward his shield, and fixing his 
lance in its rest with the point towards his adversary, 
advanced a few paces : the latter remained motionless 
at his station ; and the king, throwing down his warder, 
took, in the language of the age, the battle into his own 
hands. He could not, he said, suffer a combat, which, 
whatever might be the event, would involve in indelible 
disgrace one of two persons, who were both allied to him 
in blood, and both bore his armst. The combatants 

* Ibid. 372. Nothing could exceed the solicitude of the king to give 
stability to all these proceedings. He had been told by the judges that he 
could not bind his successor. He made, however, the attempt By his 
will, signed a few days before his departure for Ireland, he bequeathed 
the greater part of his personal property to his successor, but on the ex- 
press condition that he should ratify and" observe all the acts of the 21st 
and 22d years of his reign ; otherwise it was to be retained by his execu- 
tors, and to be employed by them in defence of the same proceedings, 
" even, if it were necessary, unto death." Rot. Parl. iii. 421. 

t This had been requested, and for the reasons given by Richard, by 
Paynel, envoy from the king of France. He was instructed to represent, 
that le diet due de Herfort est fort proche de la couionne d' Angleterre, 
comme fils de fils de Roy, et est aussi desendu de la maisou de France, et 
le diet due de Nortfolc de la maisou d'Angleterre. Thres. des Chart. 66. 

'/54 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. HI. 

were then conducted back to their seats, and awaited in 
anxious suspense the determination of the king, who 
was employed in consultation with the committee of par- 
liament. At length the royal pleasure was announced, 
first to the appellant, and then to the appellee. To pre- 
serve the public tranquillity, and prevent quarrels be- 
tween the two parties and their adherents, the duke of 
Hereford was ordered to quit the kingdom within the 
space of four months, and to remain in exile for the 
term of ten years : but at the same time it was declared 
that he had honourably performed his duty in prosecut- 
ing the appeal, till the king had taken the battle into 
his own hands. The judgment of the duke of Norfolk 
was more severe. He was ordered to quit the realm at 
the same time, to go a pilgrim to the Holy Land, and to 
remain in banishment for the rest of his life, in Ger- 
many, Hungary, or Bohemia : not that he had not ho- 
nourably performed his duty against his adversary, but 
because he had, according to his own confession, endea- 
voured to excite dissension among the great lords, and 
had both publicly and privately opposed the repeal of 
the acts of Gloucester's parliament. Moreover, as he 
had been guilty of neglect in his government of Calais, 
and was in considerable arrears to the king, it was 
awarded that all his lands should be taken into the king's 
hand, to be applied to the payment of his debts, reserv- 
ing the sum of one thousand pounds a-year for his own 
use. Finally, both were forbidden, under the penalty of 
treason, to have any communication with Thomas, late 
archbishop of Canterbury, or with each other, during the 
time of their exile *. Before their departure they re- 
spectively obtained a few favours of the king, and in par- 
ticular a permission by patent to appoint attorneys to 

* Ibid. 383, 384. I have given tlie sentences at greater length, because 
they fully explain the causes of that disparity which some modern writers 
have been at a loss to understand. 'The reasons for Norfolk's banish- 
ment are probably the real ones ; those for that of Hereford do not appear 
so. The king sent to him at Calais a present of 1000 marks. Pell Re- 
cords, 268. 


take possession of such inheritances as might fall to 
them in their absence, though they could not actually 
perform homage or swear fealty. Hereford repaired to A.D. 
Paris: Norfolk, after a short residence in Germany, 1399. 
visited Jerusalem, and in his return died of a broken ^p 1 * 
heart at Venice *. 

Richard now saw himself triumphant over all his op- 
ponents. The last of the lords appellants had been ba- 
nished ; and even his uncles, through affection or fear, 
seconded all his measures. He had attained what seems 
for some time to have been the great object of his policy. 
He had placed himself above the control of the law. 
By the grant of a subsidy for life he was relieved from 
the necessity of meeting his parliament ; with the aid of 
his committee, the members of which proved the obse- 
quious ministers of his will, he could issue what new 
ordinances he pleased ; and a former declaration by the 
two houses, that he was as free as any of his predeces- 
sors, was conveniently interpreted to release him from 
the obligations of those statutes which he deemed hos- 
tile to the royal prerogative. But he had forfeited all 
that popularity which he had earned during the last ten 
years ; and the security in which he indulged hurried 
him on to other acts of despotism, which inevitably led 
to his ruin. He raised money by forced loans ; he com- 
pelled the judges to expound the law according to his 
own prejudices or caprice; he required the former ad- 
herents of Gloucester to purchase and repurchase char- 
ters of pardon ; and, that he might obtain a more plen- 
tiful harvest of fines and amercements, put at once se- 
venteen counties out of the protection of the law, under 
the pretence that they had favoured his enemies in the 
rencontre at Radcot bridge. The duke of Lancaster did r e b. 
not survive the banishment of his son more three months ; 3. 
and the exile expected to succeed by his attorneys to 
the ample estates of his father. But Richard now dis- 

Ibid. 372. 385. Rym. \iu. 4752. 

256 RICHARD ii. [CHAP, in 

covered that his banishment, like an outlawry, had ren- 
Mar. dered him incapable of inheriting property. At a great 
** council, including the committee of parliament, it was 
held, that the patents granted, both to him and his anta- 
gonist, were illegal, and therefore void ; and all the 
members present were sworn to support that determina- 
April tion *. Henry Bowet, who had procured the patent for 
** the duke of Hereford, was even condemned, for that 
imaginary offence, to suffer the punishment of treason ; 
though, on account of his character, his life was spared 
on condition that he should abjure the kingdom for ever t. 
This iniquitous proceeding seems to have exhausted the 
patience of the nation. Henry (on the death of his father 
he had assumed the title of duke of Lancaster) had long 
been the idol of the people ; and the voluntary assem- 
blage of thousands to attend him on his last departure 
from London might have warned Richard of the ap- 
proaching danger. The feeling of their own wrongs 
had awakened among them a spirit of resistance ; the 
new injury offered to their favourite pointed him out to 
them as their leader. Consultations were held ; plans 
were formed ; the dispositions of the great lords were 
sounded ; and the whole nation appeared in a ferment 
Yet it was in this moment, so pregnant with danger, 
that the infatuated monarch determined to leave his 
kingdom. His cousin and heir, the earl of March, had 
A Dt been surprised and slain by a party of Irish ; and, in his 
1398. eagerness to revenge the loss of a relation, he despised 
the advice of his friends, and wilfully shut his eyes to 
the designs of his enemies. 

Having appointed his uncle, the duke of York, regent, 
during his absence, the king assisted at a solemn mass 
at Windsor, chanted a collect himself, and made his 
offering. At the door of the church he took wine and 

* Ibid. 372, 373. Here again the king appealed to the people, who sig- 
nified their assent by raising up their hands. Quelle chose teust faite et 
assentuz par tout le poeple este.tnt/. en presence du rov. Ibid. 
t Ibid. 385. 

A. D. 1399.J HE GOES TO IRELAND. 257 

spices with his young queen ; and lifting her up in his 
arms, repeatedly kissed her, saying, " Adieu, madam, 
" adieu, till we meet again." From Windsor, accompa- 
nied by several noblemen, he proceeded to Bristol, where 
the report of plots and conspiracies reached him, and 
was received with contempt. AtMilford Haven he joined May 
his army, and embarking in a fleet of two hundred sail, ~j*. 
arrived in a few days in the port of Waterford. Hisoi U 
cousin the duke of Albemarle had been ordered to follow 
with a hundred more ; and three weeks were consumed 
in waiting for that nobleman, whose delay was after- 
wards attributed to a secret understanding with the 
king's enemies. At length Richard led his forces from j une 
Kilkenny against the Irish : several of the inferior chiefs 23. 
hastened barefoot, and with halters round their necks, 
to implore his mercy ; but M'Murchad spurned the idea 
of submission, and boasted that he would extirpate the 
invaders. He dared not indeed meet them in open 
combat : but it was his policy to flee before them, and 
draw them into woods and morasses, where they could 
neither fight with advantage, nor procure subsistence *. 
The want of provisions and the clamour of the soldiers 
compelled the king to give up the pursuit, and to direct 
his march towards Dublin ; and M'Murchad, when he 
could no longer impede their progress, solicited and ob- 
tained a parley with the earl of Gloucester, the com- 
mander of the rear guard. The chieftain was an athletic 
man : he came to the conference mounted on a grey 
charger, which had cost him four hundred head of cattle ; 
and brandished with ease and dexterity a heavy spear 
in his hand. He seemed willing to become the nomi- 
nal vassal of the king of England, but refused to submit 
to any conditions. Richard set a price on his head, pro- 
ceeded to Dublin, and at the expiration of a fortnight, 

* Three ships from Dubliu arrived with wine and provisions. An eye- 
witness tells us that more than a thousand men were drunk that day. " 
" D'ivres y croy. phis iTuu millier cettejournee." 

Arelu-eol. xx. 304. 
VOL. IV. s 

258 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

was joined by the duke of Albemarle with men and 
provisions. This seasonable supply enabled him to 
recommence the pursuit of M'Murchad ; but while he 
was thus occupied with objects of inferior interest in 
Ireland, a revolution had occurred in England, which 
eventually deprived him both of his crown and his 

When the king sailed to Ireland, Henry of Bolinor- 
broke, the new duke of Lancaster, resided in Paris, 
where he was hospitably entertained, but at the same 
time narrowly watched by the French monarch. About 
Christmas he bad offered his hand to Marie, one of the 
daughters of the duke of Berry. The jealousy of Richard 
was alarmed : the earl of Salisbury hastened to Paris to 
remonstrate against the marriage of a daughter of France 
with an English 'traitor,' and, suiting his conduct to his 
words, the envoy, having accomplished his object, re- 
turned without deigning to speak to the exile. Whilst 
Henry was brooding over these injuries, the late pri- 
mate, or nominal bishop of St. Andrews, secretly left 
his house at Cologne, and in the disguise of a friar pro- 
cured an interview with the duke at the hotel de Vin- 
chester t. The result of their meeting was a determina- 
tion to return to England during the king's absence. 
To elude the suspicions of the French ministers, Henry 
procured permission to visit the duke of Bretagne ; and, 
on his arrival at Nantes, hired three small vessels, with 
which he sailed from Vannes to seek his fortune in Eng- 
land. His whole retinue consisted only of the arch- 
bishop, the son of the late earl of Arundel, fifteen lances, 
and a few servants. After hovering for some days on 
July tne east ern coast, he landed at Ravenspurn in York- 
4. shire, and was immediately joined by the two powerful 
earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland ; before 
whom, in the white friars at Doncaster, he declared upon 
oath, that his only object was to recover the honours 

* MS. Harl. No. 1319. c. 4. t Since called the BicStre. 


and estates which had belonged to his father, and bound 
himself not to advance any claim to the crown *. 

The duke of York, to whom the king had intrusted 
the government during his absence, was accurately in- 
formed of his motions, and had summoned the retainers 
of the crown to join the royal standard at St. Albans. 
There is, however, reason to believe that he was not 
hearty in the cause which it was his duty to support. 
He must have viewed with pity the unmerited misfor- 
tunes of one nephew, and have condemned the violent 
and thoughtless career of the other . and from the fate 
of his brother Gloucester, and the cruel and unjust 
treatment of the only son of his brother, John of Ghent, 
he could not draw any very flattering conclusion with 
respect to the stability of his own family. Whether it 
was from suspicion of his fidelity, or from the disincli- 
nation of the chief barons to draw the sword against one 
who demanded nothing more than his right, the favour- 
ites of Richard became alarmed for their own safety. July 
The earl of Wiltshire, with Bussy and Greene, members 12 - 
of the committee of parliament, had been appointed to 
wait on the young queen at Wallingford : but they sud- 
denly abandoned their charge, and fled with precipita- 
tion to Bristol. York himself followed with the army 
in the same direction. It might be that, to relieve him- 
self from responsibility, he wished to be in readiness to 
deliver up the command on the expected arrival of 
Richard from Ireland ; but at the same time he left open 
the road from Yorkshire to the metropolis, and allowed 
the adventurer to pursue his object without impediment. 
Henry was already on his march. The snowball in- 
creased as it rolled along, and the small number of forty 
followers, with whom he had landed, swelled by the time 
that he had reached St. Albans to sixty thousand men. 
He was preceded by his messengers and letters, stating 
not only his own wrongs, but also the grievances of the 

* Hardyng. 330. 2. 

s 2 

260 RICHARD n. [CHAP. in. 

people, and affirming that the revenue of the kingdom 
had been let out to farm to the rapacity of Scrope, Bussy, 
and Greene. In all those lordships which had been the 
inheritance of his family he was received with enthu- 
siasm ; in London by a procession of the clergy and 
people, with addresses of congratulation, and presents, 
and offers of service. His stay in the capital was short. 
Having flattered the citizens, and confirmed them in 
their attachment to his person, he turned to the west, 
and entered Evesham, on the same day on which York 
reached Berkeley. After an interchange of messages 
j u ly they met in the church of the castle ; and, before they 
'27.' separated, the doom of Richard was sealed. That the 
regent consented to the actual deposition of his nephew, 
does not necessarily follow ; he might only have sought 
his reformation by putting it out of his power to govern 
amiss : but he betrayed the trust which had been reposed 
in him, united his force with that of Henry, and com- 
manded Sir Peter Courtenay, who held the castle of 
Bristol for the king, to open its gates. That officer, pro- 
testing that he acknowledged no authority in the duke 
of Lancaster, obeyed the mandate of the regent. The 
next morning the three fugitives, the earl of Wiltshire, 
Bussy and Greene, were executed by order of the con- 
stable and marshal of the host. The duke of York re- 
mained at Bristol : Henry with his own forces proceeded 
A'iff. * Chester to secure that city, and awe the men of 
8. Cheshire, the most devoted adherents of the king. 

We may now return to Richard in Ireland. It must 
appear strange, but Henry had been in England a fort- 
night, before the king, in consequence, it was said, of 
the tempestuous weather, had heard of his landing. 
July. The intelligence appears to have provoked indignation 
18- as much as alarm. "Ha!" he exclaimed, "fair uncle 
" of Lancaster, God reward your soul ! Had I believed 
" you, this man would not have injured me. Thrice 
" have I pardoned him ; this is his fourth offence." But 
he referred the matter to his council, and was advised 

A. D.1399.] HIS ARMY DISPERSED. 261 

to cross over to England immediately with the ships 
which had brought the reinforcement under the duke 
of Albemarle. That nobleman, however, insidiously, as 
it was afterwards pretended, diverted him from this in- 
tention. The earl of Salisbury received orders to sail 
immediately with his own retainers, a body of one hun- 
dred men, and to summon to the royal standard the 
natives of Wales : Richard promised to follow in the 
fleet from Waterford in the course of six days. The earl 
obeyed : the men of Wales and Cheshire answered the 
call ; and a gallant host collected at Conway. But 
Richard appeared not according to his promise : dis- 
tressing reports were circulated among the troops ; and 
the royalists, having waited for him almost a fortnight, 
disbanded in spite of the tears and entreaties of their 
commander. At last, on the eighteenth day, the king Aug. 
arrived in Milford Haven with the dukes of Albemarle, 5. 
Exeter, and Surrey, the earl of Worcester, the bishops of 
London, Lincoln, and Carlisle, and several thousands of 
the troops, who had accompanied him to Ireland. With 
such a force, had it been faithful, he might have made a 
stand against his antagonist : but on the second morn- 
ing when he arose, he observed from his window that 
the greater part had disappeared. A council was im- 
mediately summoned, and a proposal made that the king 
should flee by sea to Bordeaux : but the duke of Exeter 
objected that to quit the kingdom in such circumstances 
was to abdicate the throne. Let them proceed to the 
army at Conway. There they might bid defiance to the 
enemy ; or at all events, as the sea would still be open, 
might thence set sail to Guienne. His opinion prevail- 
ed : and at nightfall the king, in the disguise of a Fran- 
ciscan friar, his two brothers of Exeter and Surrey, the 
earl of Gloucester, the bishop of Carlisle, sir Stephen 
Scrope, and sir William Feriby, with eight others, stole 
away from the army, and directed their route towards 
Conway. Their flight was soon known. The royal 
treasure, which Richard left behind him, was plundered; 

262 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

Albemarle, Worcester, and most of the leaders, hast- 
ened to pay their court to Henry ; the rest attempted 
in small bodies to make their way to their own counties, 
but were in most instances plundered and ill treated by 
the Welsh*. 

The royal party with some difficulty but without any 
accident reached Conway, where, to their utter disap- 
pointment, instead of a numerous force, they found only 
Aug. the earl of Salisbury with a hundred men. In this 
9- emergency the king's brothers undertook to visit Henry 
at Chester, and to sound his intentions ; and during 
their absence Richard, with the earl of Salisbury, exa- 
mined the castles of Beaumaris and Carnarvon ; but 
finding them without garrisons or provisions, the dis- 
consolate wanderers returned to their former quarters. 

When the two dukes were admitted into the presence 
of Henry, they bent the knee, and acquainted him with 
their message from the king. He took little notice of 
Surrey, whom he afterwards confined in the castle ; hut 
leading Exeter aside, spoke with him in private, and 
gave him, instead of the hart, the king's livery, his own 
hadge of the rose. But no entreaties could induce him 
to allow them to return. Exeter was observed to drop 
a tear ; when the duke of Albemarle said to him taunt- 
ingly, " Fair cousin, be not angry. If it please God, 
" things shall go well." 

The immediate object of Henry was to secure the 
royal person. He was gratified to learn from the envoys 
the place of Richard's retreat, and detained them at 
Chester, that the king, instead of making his escape, 
might await their return. His first care was to take 

Webb, in the twentieth vol. of the Archajologia. To this publication 1 


possession of the treasure which the king had deposited 
in the strong castle of Holt : his next to despatch the 
earl of Northumberland at the head of four hundred 
men at arms and a thousand archers to Conway, with 
instructions not to display his force, lest the king should 
put to sea, but by artful speeches and promises to draw 
him out of the fortress, and then make him prisoner. 
The earl took possession in his journey of the castles of 
Flint and Rhuddlan ; and a few miles beyond the latter, 
placing his men in concealment under a rock, rode for- 
ward with only five attendants to Conway. He was Aug. 
readily admitted ; and to the king's anxious inquiries ^. 
about his brothers, replied, that he had left them well at 
Chester, and had brought a letter from the duke of 
Exeter. In it that nobleman said, or rather was made 
to say, that full credit might be given to the offers of the 
bearer. These offers were, that Richard should promise 
to govern and judge his people by law ; that the dukes 
of, Exeter and Surrey, the earl of Salisbury, the bishop 
of Carlisle, and Maudelin, the king's chaplain, should 
submit to a trial in parliament, on the charge of having 
advised the assassination of Gloucester ; that Henry 
should be made grand justiciary of the kingdom, as his 
ancestors had been for one hundred years ; and that, on 
the concession of these terms, the duke should come to 
Flint, ask the king's pardon on his knees, and accom- 
pany or follow him to London. Richard consulted his 
friends apart. He expressed his approbation of the ar- 
ticles ; but bade them secretly be assured that no con- 
sideration should induce him to abandon them on their 
trial, and that he would grasp the first opportunity of 
being revenged on his and their enemies : " for there 
" were some among them whom he would flay alive ; 
" whom he would never spare for all the gold in the 
" land." Northumberland was then sworn to the ob- 
servance of the conditions. He took his oath on the 
host ; and, " like Judas," says the writer, " perjured him- 
" self on the body of our Lord." 

2G4 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

As Northumberland departed to make arrangements 
for the interview at Flint, the king said to him : " I rely, 
" my lord, on your faith. Remember your oath, and 
" the God who heard it." Soon afterwards he followed 
with his friends and their servants, to the number of 
twenty-two. They came to a steep declivity, to the left 
of which was the sea, and on the right a lofty rock over- 
hanging the road. The king dismounted, and was de- 
scending on foot, when he suddenly exclaimed, " I am 
" betrayed. God of Paradise, assist me ! Do you not 
" see banners and pennons in the valley ?" Northum- 
berland with eleven others met them at the moment, 
and affected to be ignorant of the circumstance. " Earl 
" of Northumberland," said the king, " if I thought you 
" capable of betraying me, it is not too late to return." 
" You cannot return," the earl replied, seizing the 
king's bridle ; " I have promised to conduct you to the 
" duke of Lancaster." By this time he was joined by a 
hundred lances, and two hundred archers on horseback ; 
and Richard, seeing it impossible to escape, exclaim- 
ed : " May the God, on whom you laid your hand, re- 
" ward you and your accomplices at the last day !" and 
then turning to his friends, added : " We are betrayed : 
" but remember that our Lord was also sold, and deli- 
" vered into the hands of his enemies." 

They dined at Rhuddlan, and reached Flint in the 
evening. The king, as soon as he was left with his 
friends, abandoned himself to the reflections which his 
melancholy situation inspired. He frequently upbraided 
himself with Ids past indulgence to his present oppo- 
nent : "Fool that I was !" he exclaimed: "thrice did I 
" save the life of this Henry of Lancaster. Once my 
" dear uncle his father, on whom the Lord have mercy ! 
" would have put him to death for his treason and vil- 
" lany. God of Paradise ! I rode all night to save him ; 
" and his father delivered him to me, to do with him 
" as I pleased. How true is the saying, that we have 
" no greater enemy than the man whom we have pre- 

A. n. 1399.] INTERVIEW WITH HENRY. 265 

" served from the gallows ! Another time he drew his 
" sword on me, in the chamber of the queen, on whom 
" God have mercy ! He was also the accomplice of the 
" duke of Gloucester, and the earl of Arundel : he con- 
" sented to my murder, to that of his father, and of all 
" my council. By St. John, I forgave him all ; nor would 
" I helieve his father, who more than once pronounced 
" him deserving of death." 

The unfortunate king rose after a sleepless night, Aug. 
heard mass, and ascended the tower to watch the arrival 1!) ' 
of his opponent. At length he saw the army, amounting 
to eighty thousand men *, winding along the beach till 
it reached the castle, and surrounded it from sea to sea. 
He shuddered and wept, and cursed the earl of Nor- 
thumberland , but was called down by the arrival of 
archbishop Arundel, the duke of Albemarle, and the 
earl of Worcester. They knelt to Richard, who draw- 
ing the prelate apart, held a long conversation with him. 
After their departure he again mounted the tower, and 
surveying the host of his enemies, exclaimed : " Good 
" Lord God ! I commend myself into thy holy keeping, 
" and cry thee mercy, that thou wouldst pardon all my 
" sins. If they put me to death I will take it patiently, 
" as thou didst for us all." Northumberland had 
ordered dinner ; and the earl of Salisbury, the bishop, 
and the two knights, sir Stephen Scrope, and sir William 
Feriby, sate with the king at the same table by his or- 
der; for since they were all companions in misfortune, 
he would allow no distinction among them. While he 
was eating, unknown persons entered the hall, insulting 
him with sarcasms and threats : as soon as he rose, he 
was summoned into the court to receive the duke of 
Lancaster. Henry came forward in complete armour, 
with the exception of his helmet. As soon as he saw 
the king, he bent his knee, and advancing a few paces, 
he repeated his obeisance with his cap in his hand. 

I have adopted the smaller number. The Harleian MS. swells it to 
100,000 men. 

266 RICHARD ii. [CHAP, in 

" Fair cousin of Lancaster," said Richard, uncovering 
himself, " you are right welcome." " My Lord," 
answered the duke, " I am come before my time. But 
" I will show you the reason. Your people complain that 
" for the space of twenty, or two-and-twenty years, 
" you have ruled them rigorously ; but, if it please 
" God, I will help you to govern better." The king 
replied : " Fair cousin, since it pleaseth you, it pleaseth 
" us well." Henry then addressed himself successively 
to the bishop and the knights, but refused to notice the 
earl. The king's horses were immediately ordered ; 
and two lean and miserable animals were brought out, 
on which Richard and Salisbury mounted, and amidst 
the flourish of trumpets and shouts of triumph followed 
the duke into Chester. 

At Chester writs were issued in the king's name for 
the meeting of parliament, and the preservation of the 
peace *. Henry dismissed the greater part of his army, 
and prepared to conduct his prisoner to the capital. At 
Lichfield Richard seized a favourable moment to let 
Au g_ himself down from his window, but was retaken in the 
24. garden, and from that moment was constantly guarded 
by ten or twelve armed men. In the neighbourhood of 
London they separated. Henry, accompanied by the 
Aug. mayor and principal citizens, proceeded to St. Paul's, 
30. prayed before the high altar, and wept a few minutes 
over the tomb of his father : the king was sent to West- 
minster, and thence on the following day to the Tower, 
and as he went along, was greeted with curses, and the 
Aug. appellation of " the bastard," a word of ominous import, 
and prophetic of his approaching degradation t. 

When the duke first landed in England, he had sworn 
on the gospels that his only object was to vindicate his 
right to the honours and possessions of the house of 
Lancaster. If this was the truth, his ambition had 

Ryra. yiii. 84. Brady, Hi. 419. 

t This alluded to a report which had been spread that he was uot the 
son of the Black Prince, but of a canou of Bordeaux. 

A.D. 1399.] RESIGNS THE CROWX. 267 

grown with his good fortune. He now aspired to ex- 
change the coronet of a duke for the crown of a king. 
Can we believe that he would meet with opposition from 
his associates, the Percies ? yet, so we are assured. They, 
however, by their perfidy, had given themselves a mas- 
ter. Their retainers had been already dismissed ; and 
the friends of Richard abhorred them as the worst of 
traitors. They had therefore no resource but to submit, 
and to second the design of Lancaster*. After several 
consultations it was resolved to combine a solemn re- 
nunciation of the royal authority on the part of Richard, 
with an act of deposition on the part of the two houses 
of parliament, in the hope that those whose scruples 
should not be satisfied with the one, might acquiesce in 
the other. To obtain the first, the royal captive was 
assailed with promises and threats. Generally he aban- 
doned himself to lamentation and despair : occasionally 
he exerted that spirit which he had formerly displayed. 
" Why am I thus guarded?" he asked one day. " Am I 
" your king or your prisoner ?" " You are my king, 
" sir," replied the duke with coolness ; " but the coun- 
" cil of your realm has thought proper to place a guard 
" about you." On the day before the meeting of parlia- Sept. 
ment a deputation of prelates, barons, knights, and 2 ^' 
lawyers, waited on the captive in the Tower, and re- 
minded him, that in the castle of Conway, while he was 
perfectly his own master, he had promised to resign the 
crown on account of his own incompetency to govern. 
On his reply that he was ready to perform his promise, 
a paper was given him to read, in which he was made 
to absolve all his subjects from their fealty and allegi- 
ance, to renounce of his own accord all kingly authority, 
to acknowledge himself incapable of reigning, and wor- 
thy for his past demerits to be deposed, and to swear by 
the holy gospels that he would never act. nor, as far as 

Hardyng by Ellis, 3516. He was partial to the Percies ; ; but he 
tells us what he saw, and what he heard from the earl himself. 

268 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

in him lay, suffer any other person to act, in opposition 
to this resignation. He then added, as from himself, 
that if it were in his power to name his successor, he 
would choose his cousin of Lancaster, who was present, 
and to whom he gave his ring, which he took from his 
own finger *. 

Such is the account of this transaction inserted by the 
order of Henry in the rolls of parliament ; an account, 
the accuracy of which is liable to strong suspicion. It 
is difficult to believe that Richard had so much com- 
mand over his feelings, as to behave with that cheerful- 
ness which is repeatedly noticed in the record ; and the 
assertion that he had promised to resign the crown, 
when he saw Northumberland in the castle of Conway, 
is not only contradictory to the statement of the two 
eye-witnesses, but also in itself highly improbable. 
From the fate of Edward II., with which he had so 
often been threatened, he must have known that it was 
better to flee to his transmarine dominions, which were 
still open to him, than to resign his crown, and remain 
a prisoner in the custody of his successor. 
Sept. The next day the two houses met amidst a great con- 
30. course of people in Westminster hall. The duke occu- 
pied his usual seat near the throne, which was empty, 
and covered with cloth of gold. The resignation of the 
king was read ; each member standing in his place 
signified his acceptance of it aloud ; and the people 
with repeated shouts expressed their approbation. 
Heniy now proceeded to the second part of his plan, the 
act of deposition. For this purpose the coronation oath 
was first read ; thirty-three articles of impeachment 
followed, in which it was contended that Richard had 
violated that oath ; and thence it was concluded that 
he had by his misconduct forfeited his title to the throne. 
Of the articles, those which bear the hardest on the king 
are, the part which he was supposed to have had in the 

* Rot Parl. iii. 416, 41?. 

A. D. 1399.] IS ALSO DEPOSED. 269 

death of the duke of Gloucester, his revocation of the 
pardons formerly granted to that prince and his ad- 
herents, and his despotic conduct since the dissolution 
of parliament. Of the remainder, some are frivolous; 
many might, with equal reason, have been objected to 
each of his predecessors ; and the others rest on the un- 
supported assertion of men, whose interest it was to 
paint him in the blackest colours. No opposition had 
been anticipated, nor is any mentioned on the rolls : 
but we are told that the bishop of Carlisle, to the asto- 
nishment of the Lancastrians, rose, and demanded for 
Richard what ought not to be refused to the meanest 
criminal, the right of being confronted with his accusers ; 
and for parliament what it might justly claim, the op- 
portunity of learning from the king's own mouth, 
whether the resignation, of the crown, which had been 
attributed to him, were his own spontaneous act *. It' 
Merks actually made such a speech, he must have stood 
alone : no one was found to second it : the house voted 
the deposition of Richard ; and eight commissioners 
ascending a tribunal erected before the throne, pro- 
nounced him degraded from the state and authority of 
king, on the ground that he notoriously deserved such 
punishment, and had acknowledged it under his hand 
and seal on the preceding day. Sir William Thirnyng, 
chief justice, was appointed to notify the sentence to the 
captive, who meekly replied, that he looked not after the 

* Rot. Parl. 417422. This fact was first called in question by Rennet 
on the ground that it is not supported by contemporary authority. Of the 
two contemporary French writers one records the bishop's speech ; the 
other does not. Both, however, make so many mistakes in their narratives 
after the capture of Richard, that no inference can be safely drawn from 
the testimony of the one or the silence of the other. One thing after all is 
certain, that if Merks did not make the speech attributed to him, he had 
done something which gave great offence to Lancaster; for he was placed 
about this time in confinement in the abbey of St. Albans, and brought be- 
fore parliament as a prisoner on the 28th of October. Nor am I sure that 
there is not some allusion to his imprisonment or its cause in the me- 
trical French history, where it is said of the bishop, 

Ne pour parole 
Quon liu en dist, oncques nen changea role. 

Arch. xx. 322. 

270 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

royal authority, but hoped his cousin would be good 
lord to him * . 

The rightful possessor was now removed from the 
throne. But, supposing it to be vacant, what preten- 
sions could Henry of Lancaster advance to it ? By the 
law of succession it belonged to the descendants of 
Lionel, the third son of Edward III. ; and their claim, 
it is said, had been formally recognised in parliament. 
All waited in anxious suspense, till the duke rising 
from his seat, and forming with great solemnity the 
sign of the cross on his forehead and breast, pronounced 
the following words : " In the name of the Father, Son, 
" and Holy Ghost, I, Henry of Lancaster, challenge this 
" realm of England, and the crown, with all the mem- 
" bers and appurtenances, as that I am descended by 
" right line of blood, coming from the good lord, king 
" Henry III., and through that right that God, of his 
" grace, hath sent me with help of my kin and of my 
" Mends to recover it : the which realm was in point to 
" be undone for default of governance, and undoing'' of 
" good laws." In these extraordinary terms did Lan- 
caster advance his pretensions, artfully intermixing an 
undefined claim of inheritance t with those of conquest 

Rot. Parl. Hi. 423, 424. 

t He descended from Henry III. both by father and mother. 
Henry III. 

Edward I. king. Edmund, earl of Lancaster. 

Edward II. king. Henry, earl of Lancaster. 

| I 

Edward III. king. Henry, duke of Lancaster. 

John of Ghent, duke of Lancaster. Blanche, duchess of Lancaster. 

Philippa, queen of Portugal. Henry IV. Elizabeth, duchess of Exeter. 

But he could not claim by the father's side, because the young earl of 
March was sprung from the duke of Clarence, the elder brother ot John of 
Ghent; nor by the mother's side, because she was sprung from Edmund 
of Lancaster, a younger brother of Edward 1. It was pretended th;it Ed- 

A. D. 1399.] SUCCESSION OF HENRY. 271 

and expediency ; and rather hinting at each, than in- 
sisting on either. But, however difficult it might be to 
understand the ground, the object of his challenge was 
perfectly intelligible. Both houses admitted it unani- 
mously ; and, as a confirmation, Henry produced the 
ring and seal which Richard had previously delivered 
to him. The archbishop of Canterbury now took him 
by the hand, and led him to the throne. He knelt for 
a few minutes in prayer on the steps, arose, and was 
seated in it by the two archbishops. As soon as the 
acclamations had subsided, the primate stepping for- 
ward, made a short harangue, in which he undertook to 
prove that a monarch in the vigour of manhood was a 
blessing, a young and inexperienced prince was a curse 
to a people. At the conclusion the king rose : "Sirs," 
said he, " I thank God, and you, spiritual and temporal, 
" and all estates of the land : and do you to wit, it is not 
" my will that no man think that by way of conquest I 
" would disinherit any man of his heritage, franchises, 
" or other rights that him ought to have, nor put him 
" out of that that he has, and has had by the good laws 
" and customs of the realm ; except those persons that 
" has been against the good purpose, and the common 
" profit of the realm *." 

With the authority of Richard had expired that of 
the parliament, and of the royal officers. Henry im- 
mediately summoned the same parliament, to meet Oct. 
again in six days, appointed new officers of the crown, 6- 
and as soon as he had received their oaths, retired in 
state to the royal apartments. Thus ended this event- 
ful day, with the deposition of Richard of Bordeaux, 
and the succession of his cousin, Henry of Boling- 

round was the elder brother, but deformed in body, and therefore set aside 
with his own consent. If we may believe Hardyng, Henry on the 21st 01 
September produced in council a document to prove the seniority of Ed- 
mund over Edward, but that the contrary was shown by a number of un- 
answerable authorities. Hardyng, 353. 

Ret. Parl. iii. 422, 423. ' 

272 RICHARD ii. [CHAP. in. 

The features of Richard were handsome, but feminine ; 
his manners abrupt ; his utterance embarrassed. He 
possessed some taste for literature, and occasionally 
gave indications of resolution and spirit. But he was 
passionately fond of parade and pleasure ; and the loss 
of his crown has been sometimes attributed to his ex- 
travagance and pecuniary exactions. It would, how- 
ever, be difficult to prove that his expenses were greater 
than those of his predecessors: it is certain that his 
demands on the purses of his subjects were considerably 
less. " What concern have you," he once observed to 
the commons, " with the establishment of my house- 
" hold as long as I maintain it without asking you for 
" assistance * ?" His misfortunes may be more cor- 
rectly traced to the early age at which he mounted the 
throne, and to the precautions taken by his mother and 
her friends to defeat the supposed designs of his uncles. 
By these he was estranged from the princes of his blood, 
whose pride refused to pay court to a boy ; and whose 
neglect compelled him to fix his affections on his minis- 
ters and companions t. Jealousies and rivalry ensued, 
which ended in the celebrated commission of govern- 
ment, and the ruin, perhaps originally undeserved, of 
the royal favourites. When the king had recovered the 
exercise of his authority, he reigned in comparative 
tranquillity for a long period; but his conduct in the 
twenty-first and twenty-second years of his reign be- 
trayed such a thirst for revenge, and habit of dissimula- 
tion, such despotic notions of government, and so fixed 
a purpose of ruling without control, that no reader can 
be surprised at the catastrophe which followed. We 
may, indeed, abhor the wiles by which he was en- 
snared ; may sympathise with him in his prison ; and 

* Rot. Parl. 339. Richard appears from his will to have placed several 
sums, his own property, in different places of security, to the amount of 
91,000 marks. Run. viii. 77. 

t " Qil plese au Roy attrere a li gentz destat et cle bic'n et de lioneur, et 
comuner ovesqes eux et eschuire la compaignie dautves.'' Advice to him 
from his council. Acts of Coun. i. 86. 

A. D. 1399.] THE KING'S DEATH. 273 

may condemn the policy which afterwards bereaved him 
of life; but at the same time we must acknowledge 
that he deserved to be abandoned by the people, on 
whose liberties he had trampled, and to forfeit that 
authority which he sought to exalt above the laws and 
constitution of his country. 






Emp. of Ger. 

Winceslaus ..1400 Robert HI. ..1405 

Robert 1410 James I. 


K. of Scotland. 

K. of France. 
Charles VI. 

K. of Spain. 
Henry III. 

Popes : 

Boniface IX. 1404. Innocent VII. 1406. Gregory XII. 1409. 
Alexander V. 1410. John XXI 1 1. 

Coronation of the new King Insurrection Death of Richard War 
against the Scots Rebellion of the Percies Insurrection in Yorkshire 
Rebellion of Owen Glendower Transactions with France Settle- 
ment o the Crown Death of the King Privileges and Authority of the 
House of Commons Statutes against the Lollards. 

A. D. THE new king assumed the name of Henry IV., and 
1399. %vas cr owned within a fortnight after the deposition of 
his predecessor, on the anniversary of the day on which 
he went into banishment. The ceremony was performed 
after the usual manner, but with this addition, that the 
sword, which he wore when he landed at Ravenspurn, 
was borne naked, on his left hand, by the earl of North- 
umberland, during the procession *. 

* The earl received the Isle of Man, which had belonged to sir William 
le Scrope, earl of Wiltshire, in fee " for himself and iiis heirs for the service 
" of carrying this sword at the present and all future coronations." Rym. 
viii. 89. 9i. 95. 


A. D. 1399.] THE NEW PARLIAMENT. 275 

The new parliament had already assembled ; and, Oct. 
as the members were the same individuals who sate 6 - 
in the last, they displayed an equal obsequiousness to 
the will of the monarch. All the vindictive acts of the 
twenty-first year of the late reign were repealed ; the 
proceedings of the eleventh year against the favourites 
of Richard were recalled into force ; and the attainders 
of the earls of Arundel and Warwick were reversed. 
The introduction of an act of settlement would have 
supposed the possibility of a doubt as to the king's 
title to the crown. This was therefore avoided: but 
his eldest son was created prince of Wales, duke of Gui- Oct. 
enne, Lancaster, and Cornwall, and earl of Chester; 15 ' 
and was declared in parliament the apparent heir to the 
throne. The name of the earl of March, the rightful 
heir, was never mentioned. His friends wisely with- 
held his right from discussion ; and the king was satis- 
fied with keeping him and his brother (the eldest was 
only in his seventh year) m honourable confinement at 
the royal castle of Windsor *. 

The lords, who had formerly appealed the duke of 
Gloucester and his associates of treason, were now sum- 
moned to justify their conduct. They all made the 
same defence, that they had neither advised nor framed 
the appeal ; that they were compelled to put their seals 
to it by the threats of Richard ; and that in prosecuting 
it they were no more guilty than the other lords, who 
had condemned the appellees. The discussion of this 
subject revived all the animosities of the last reign ; 
and the opprobrious terms of liar and traitor were 
bandied about from one side of the house to the other. 
On one occasion, when the lord Fitzwalter made the Oct. 
charge against the duke of Albemarle, twenty other 19 - 
lords rose, and cast with him their hoods as pledges of 
battle on the floor. The accused in return threw down 
his hood ; and all were gathered up, and given into the 

* Rot. Parl. iii. 425-423. 434. 436. Rym. viii. 9194. 

T 2 

276 HENRY iv. [CHAP. iv. 

Oct. custody of the earl constable and earl marshal. On 
29- another day the lord Morley charged the earl of Salis- 
bury with falsehood to the duke of Gloucester, whose 
secrets he had betrayed to the late king : Salisbury met 
him with a flat denial, and both cast their gloves on the 
floor. In conclusion, however, Henry by his authority 
silenced these passionate disputants, and a compromise 
was effected by which the lords appellants forfeited the 
honours and the estates which they had obtained from 
Richard in reward of their appeal. The dukes of Albe- 
marle, Surrey, and Exeter, the marquess of Dorset, 
and the earl of Gloucester, descended to the inferior 
rank from which they had been raised, and became 
again earls of Rutland, Kent, Huntingdon, and Somer- 
set, and lord le Despenser *. 

To prevent the recurrence of those vindictive pro- 
ceedings which had twice disgraced the last, and, from 
the temper of the lords, threatened to disgrace the pre- 
sent reign, several useful statutes were enacted. One 
confined the guilt of treason to the offences enumerated 
in the celebrated act of Edward III. ; another abolished 
appeals of treason in parliament, and sent the accuser 
to the established courts of law ; a third declared that 
the authority of parliament should never more be dele- 
gated to a committee of lords and commons ; and a 
fourth forbade, under the heaviest penalties, any person 
besides the king to give liveries to his retainers. These 
badges had long been one of the principal expedients 
by which the great lords were enabled to increase their 
power, and to maintain their quarrels. Whoever wore 
the livery was bound in honour to espouse the cause 
of the donor ; and it was worn not only by those who 
received fees, or were engaged in actual service, but 

* Rot. Parl. iii. 449452. Archseol. xx. 275281. It is singular that 
though Ihe king had testified such a dislike to the earl of Salisbury, and 
had called upon him for his defence, he was unnoticed in the judgment. 
The duel between him and the lord Morley was appointed to be fought at 
Newcastle: for on the Issue Roll ot'l Hen. IV., Feb. 17iis a payment to 
John Vaux sent by the constable to that town to superintend the trial. 


by as many as were willing to accept it as an honour, 
or in token of friendship, or with a view to future 
emolument *. 

Before the close of the session the lords spiritual and Oct. 
temporal were charged by the archbishop of Canterbury, 23. 
on the part of the king, to keep the resolution they were 
about to make an inviolable secret ; and then the earl 
of Northumberland delivered to them a message, asking 
their advice respecting the future treatment of the de- 
posed monarch, whose life the king was resolved to 
preserve at all events. They answered that he should 
be conducted secretly to some castle, where no con- 
course of people could assemble ; should be placed under 
the custody of trusty officers ; and should be excluded 
from all communication with those who had formerly 
been in his service. Four days later the king came to Oct. 
the house, adjudged the unfortunate Richard to im- 27. 
prisonment for life, and ordered him to be guarded in 
the manner suggested by the lords . 

Henry was now in possession of the grand object of 

Rot Parl. Hi. 428. 442. Stat. 1 Hen. IV. c. 10. 14. In tlie summer of 
this year a sect of fanatics suddenly appeared in Italy, called Hiunchi and 
Alhali, because they wore a long white gown, and covered their faces with 
a white veil, that they might not be known. To the amount ot some thou- 
sands they assembled iu different places, and undertook pilgrimages of 
eight or ten days; during which they walked in procession Irom town to 
town, following a large crucifix, chanting hymns, and fasting on bread and 
water. They were opposed by the pope, and severely forbidden in France. 
Henry in this parliament issued a proclamation with the assent ol the 
lords spiritual and temporal, ordering that if any of them arrived in an 
English harbour, they should not be permitted to land. Rot. Parl. iii. 
1 1 is singular that some Italian and contemporary writers should 
say, that the founders ot the sect came from England or Scotland (see 
Spondanus, i. 6J1): and that the description of them in the proclamation 
should be nearly the same as that of the itinerant priests iu the 5th of 
Richard II. In the first the bianchi are called, gentz vestuz de blanche 
vesture, et soi pretendantz de rande saintete : in the other the preachers 
are termed, persoues en certains hubhz souz dissimulation de grant sain- 
tee. Rot. I'arl. iii. 124. 

t Rot. Parl. 426. 427. It should be observed that the members of this 
house of commons were in reality elected by the kir>g. '1 hey had been 
chosen by writs issued in the name of Richard: but though the existence 
of the parliament was acknowledged to have expired at his deposition, 
and on that account Henry summoned a new parliament ; yet the same 
representatives of the commons were ordered to attuud, without having 
been again returned by their constituents. 

278 HENRY iv. [CHAP. iv. 

his ambition : but he soon learned that it was more easy 
to win the crown than to retain it. The hostility of 
foreign princes, who continued to treat him as an usurper, 
and the wavering fidelity of his own subjects, of whom 
some panted to revenge the wrongs of the late king, and 
others were discontented that their services had not been 
more amply rewarded, kept him in a state of perpetual 
alarm. During the lapse of nine years he was con- 
stantly harassed, sometimes by secret attempts on his 
life, sometimes by overt acts of rebellion, on one occa- 
sion by the inroads of the Scots, and on another by the 
descents of the French : but his powers seemed to grow 
with his difficulties, and by his vigilance, temper, and 
activity, he not only succeeded in keeping the crown 
on his own head, but peaceably transmitted it to his 
posterity. The first attempt against him was made by 
five of the lords appellants, who had so narrowly escaped 
with their lives in the last parliament. Within a month 
after its dissolution they agreed to hold a tournament 
at Oxford, and employ that opportunity to seize the 
person of the king, and subsequently to proclaim and 
liberate Richard. During the Christmas holidays they 
assembled : but one of their number was wanting ; and 
he, unknown to them, had proved a traitor. It is said 
that the earl of Rutland received a letter from some of 
his associates at table ; that his father, the duke of York, 
insisted on learning its contents ; and that the son, find- 
ing it impossible to conceal his secret, hastened to re- 
veal it to Henry. However that may be, on the evening 
^ ne ^ a y a PP om ted, the conspirators with five hundred 
j au horse surprised the castle of Windsor: but Henry, 
4. warned by Rutland, had left it in the morning, and 
Jan. was already in London ; where he issued writs for 
;) - their apprehension as traitors*, and was employed in 
levying troops to march against them. Alarmed and 
disconcerted, they resolved to retire into the west ; pro- 

Rym. viiL 120. 


claimed Richard in all the towns and villages on their 
route ; and the next evening took up their quarters in 
Cirencester *. The mayor, who had already received Jan. 
the king's writ, summoned the burghers, and the in- *> 
habitants of the neighbourhood, and at midnight made 
an attack on the quarters of the earls of Kent and Salis- 
bury. Every attempt to escape was repelled by the 
archers posted in the street ; and after a defence of six 
hours these unfortunate noblemen were compelled to 
surrender. They were conducted into the abbey : but 
a fire which burst out the next evening was attributed 
to their partisans ; and in the middle of the night they 
were brought forth and beheaded by the populace !. Jan. 
The lords Lumley and Despenser had proceeded for- "?' 
wards, but met with a similar fate from the citizens of 
Bristol. The earl of Huntingdon was taken in the neigh- Jan. 
bourhood of London, and put to death at Fleshy by the 9> 
tenants of the late duke of Gloucester at the suggestion 
of the countess of Hereford, the eldest of Gloucester's 
daughters $. Sir Thomas Blount, Sir Bennet Shelley, 
and eighteen others, suffered in the Greenditch at Oxford, 
Feriby and Maudelin, the chaplains of Richard, in 
London . Besides the latter two other clergymen of 

Rym. viii. 165. 

t Rot ParL IT. 18. Wals. 363. The women appear to have been very 
active in the kind's cause, who, to reward the inhabitants of Cirencester, 
made an annual grant of four does and a hogshead of wine to the men, 
and of six bucks and a hogshead of wine to the women ol' that town. Rym. 
viii. 250. 

t It has been doubted whether he was put to deatli at Fleshy, because 
there is an order to the constable of the Tower to receive him as a prisoner 
on the tenth (Rym. viii. 120). But it is probable that he was murdered by 
the people before the order was executed. According to Walsingham, he 
u ;is put inlo the gate-house at Fleshy, and taken thence to die. Wals. 

That the reader may form a notion of the barbarous manner in which 
executions tor treason were conducted, I will relate that of sir Thomas 
lilount iu the words of a contemporary writer : " He was hanged; but the 
halter was soon cut, and he was made to sit on a bench before a great fire, 
and the executioner came with a razor in his hand, and knelt before sir 
Thomas, whose hauds were tied, begging him to pardon his death, as he 
must do his office. Sir Thomas asked : ' Are you the person appointed 
to deliver me from this world?' The executioner answered, 'Yes, sir, I 
pray you pardon me.' And sir Thomas kissed him, and pardoned him 
his death. The executioner knelt down, and opened his belly, and cut 

2 SO HENRY iv. [CHAP. iv. 

higher rank, Walden and Merks, had been selected for 
victims. Walden the successor, as the reader will re- 
collect, of archbishop Arundel, had descended from his 
station on the recall of that prelate, and remained a 
bishop without a bishopric*. Merks, the bishop of 
Carlisle, whom we left in confinement at St. Albans, 
had been liberated at the solicitation of the pontiff. 
Jan. Both prelates were now arrested as accomplices of the 
!*) late conspirators, and were committed to the Tower. 
Walden had the good fortune to satisfy the king of his 
innocence ; and not only obtained his freedom, but was 
advanced, on the recommendation of the primate, to the 
see of London. But Merks had offended too grievously 
before, to hope for mercy, or perhaps justice, now. He 
Jan. was t r j e) j convicted, and condemned to suffer the death 


of a traitor. The pope, to release him from the gripe of 
his persecutor, had already translated him to the distant 
bishopric of Cephalonia in the isle of Samos. But Henry 
Mar. refused to forego the gratification of his revenge, and 
'5. insisted that the prelate should be degraded from his 
orders preparatory to his execution. This demand for- 
tunately caused a temporary respite ; the pope demurred ; 
the king's passion gradually cooled ; and at last, to 
gratify the pontiff, Henry signed the pardon of the 
Nov. bishop. Merks eventually obtained the favour both of 
the primate and the monarch. By the first he was ap- 
pointed his commissary, from the other he obtained 

" out his bowels strait from below the stomach, and tied them with a string 
' that the wind of the heart should not escape, aud threw the bowels into 
" the fire. Then sir Thomas was sitting; before the fire, his belly open, 
" and his bowels burning before him. Sir Thomas Erpyngham, the king's 
" chamberlain, insulting Blount, said to him in derision, ' Go, seek a mas- 
'' ter that can cure you.' Blount only answered: 'Te Deam laudamus. 
" Blessed be the day on which I was born, and blessed be this day, for I 
" shall die in the service of my sovereign lord, the noble king Richard.' 
" The executioner knelt down before him, kissed him in an humble man- 
" ner, aud soon after, his head was cut off, and he was quartered." Rela- 
tion, c. MS. p. 232. The heads of the lords and others then executed 
were sent to the capital, and fixed on London bridge. Fabyan, 568. 

The pope had pronounced Arundel's translation to St. Andrews void, 
because it was without Arundel's consent. Acts of Coun. i. 115. 


preferment. He died rector of Todenham in Glouces- 
tershire, in 1409 *. 

Such was the result of this premature and ill con- 
certed conspiracy: it strengthened the throne of the 
new king. But he had still reason to fear the hostility of 
a dangerous adversary, the king of France, who had been 
deeply offended by the deception practised upon him by 
Henry at his departure from Paris, and who deemed 
himself called upon by honour, as well as affection, to 
espouse the cause of his own daughter and of his son-in- 
law. At first he had an intention of sending ambas- A - ( u - 
sadors to the parliament t : but this design was soon Q . " 
abandoned ; the voice of his people pronounced in favour 3^ " 
of war: offers of military service were made$, and 
bodies of armed men marched towards the coast. To Nov. 
avert the threatened storm, Henry appointed commis- 29- 
sioners to treat with Charles for a confirmation of the ex- 
isting truce, and for intermarriages between individuals 
of his family and of the royal family of France $. They 
proceeded to Calais ; and a herald hastened to the 
capital to solicit a safe conduct for the ambassadors of 
the king of England; but Charles returned a peremptory 
refusal he knew no king of England but Richard, his 
son-in-law. Henry now anticipated nothing but war ; 
and, unwilling to risk his popularity by demanding an 
aid from the nation, summoned a great council of peers, 
exposed to them the proofs of the hostile disposition 
shown by the French monarch, and procured from them 


* Rym. iii. 124. Acts of Conn. i. 116., and Rennet's Third Letter to the 
bishop of Carlisle, 1713. 

t So I conclude from the letter of safe conduct signed by Henry on the 
81st of October, for four individuals therein named, whom he understood 
that Ins dear cousin of France intended to sendon an embassy to him. It is 
plain that this safe conduct had not been formally asked for: yet a hint 
must have been given to him that it would probably be accepted : other- 
wise he would not have inserted the very names of the intended envoys. 
See Rym. viii. 98. 

J In the Thresordes Chartres is the promise of the cities and towns of 
Normandy to maintain for ten weeks four thousand men at arms, and 
twenty thousand footmen; and similar promises from the noblemen, 
knights and esquires of the same province. Thres. p. 258. 
Rym. viii. 108. 

282 HENRY iv. [CHAP. iv. 

an engagement, by which the lords spiritual granted to 
him a tenth of their movables for the war, and the lords 
temporal their personal service at their own cost with 
a certain number of retainers for three months *. These 
precautions, however, proved unnecessary ; for Charles 
in the mean while had received intelligence, which left 
Jan. no doubt on his mind that Richard was dead. All 
V9. thought of war was instantly abandoned : he had now 
nothing to fight for ; and on this account he signed an 
instrument stating that he should not disturb the truce 
which had been concluded during the lifetime of his 
dear son Richard king of England, on whose soul he 
prayed God to have mercy ; despatched Blanchet, 
maistre des requestes, to demand at Calais the restora- 
tion of his daughter Isabella with her dower and her 
jewels; and appointed commissioners to treat, but on 
that subject only, with the English commissioners some- 
where between Boulogne and Calais t. Henry imme- 
Feb. diately renewed the powers of his envoys at Calais for 
19 ' the same objects as before, but with this difference, that 
Charles, who was in the former instrument, his most dear 
cousin, is now " his adversary of France $." 

Hitherto, from the day on which Richard had been 
consigned to secret and perpetual confinement by ad- 
vice of the lords, all trace of him seemed to be lost. No 
man in England pretended to know where he was, or in 
what manner he was treated. But after the public state- 
ment of his death by the king of France, the secret 
could be no longer kept. It became necessary to ac- 
knowledge his death, or to show that he was still alive. 
One day, when the council assembled, the first article 
on the paper of subjects for deliberation (by whose order 
the entry was made we know not) regarded the manner 

Acts of Coun. i. 1026. 

t Thres. des Chart. 66. They were ordered not to call Henry king of 
England, but in speaking to the English envoys, " le seigneur qui vous a 
" envoyez ;" in writing, "la partie d'Angleterre. Ibid. 6J. 
f Rym. viii. 128. 

A. D. 1400.] DEATH OF RICHARD. 283 

in which Richard the late king, if he were still alive, 
as it was supposed that he was, should be well and safely 
kept for the preservation of the estate of the king and 
kingdom. The answer betrays a real or affected igno- 
rance, but at the same time a strong suspicion on the 
part of the lords. " It seetneth," they say, " expedient 
" to the council to speak to the king that, in case Richard, 
" lately king, &c., be still alive, he be put into safe 
" keeping in conformity with the advice of the lords ; 
" but, if he be departed this life, that then he be shown 
" openly to the people, that they may have knowledge 
" of it *." Only a short time passed, and the dead body 
of the dethroned prince was conveyed with funeral pomp 
from the castle of Pontefract to the capital, and then, dur- 
ing two days on which it lay in St. Paul's, was shown 
openly to the people ; that is, was exposed with the face 1 
bare from the eyebrows to the chin, to the gaze of the 
spectators, who amounted, we are told, to twenty thou- 
sand persons. Henry himself attended the obsequies 
with what feelings must be left to the imagination of 
the reader. After the mass on the second day the 
corpse was removed to the Abbey church of Westminster ; 
a dirge was chanted; and the procession moved for- 
ward to Richard's once favourite residence at Langley. 
There it was interred : the king perhaps feared the 
recollections which his tomb might sometimes awaken, 
if he had been buried at Westminster t. 

But how, the reader will inquire, did the unfortunate 
prince come by his death ? It is seldom that the secrets 

Si ... . soit encore vivant, ace que len suppose quil est . . . . sil 
soit alez de vie a trespassement, quadonqes soit monstrez overtement au 
people. Actsof Coun. 107. 111. For this important document we are in- 
debted to the research of Sir Nicholas Harris Nicolas, who justly remarks 
that it refers to some day between the 2nd and the 24th of February. In 
the Issue Rolls of 1. Henry IV. is a payment to a person sent about this 
lime to Ponlefract upon the king's secret affairs, another to one coming 
thence to announce something to his advantage, and of 100 marks to the 
keeper of the wardrobe for the conveyance of Richard's body to London. 
If the date of the last, Feb. 17, be correct, the council was held in the early 
part of the month. 

i Wals. 405. Otterb. 288. Froissart. Hardyng, 357. 

284 HENRY iv. [CHAP iv. 

of the prison-house are suffered to transpire: in the 
present instance we are left entirely to conjecture. 
Richard may possibly have died of disease in his bed : 
the events immediately preceding will provoke a sus- 
picion that he owed the loss of his life to the order of 
the man who had already bereaved him of his crown. 
No time could be more opportune for the commission 
of such a crime. Who in England, whilst the heads of 
Richard's adherents were still mouldering on London 
bridge, would venture to charge Henry with the murder ? 
and the death of the captive would at once relieve him 
from the apprehension of that war, with which he was 
threatened by the king of France. But, however that 
may have been, several tales were soon current respect- 
ing the manner of Richard's death. By some it was 
said that, on the eighth day after Henry's departure 
from Windsor, Sir Piers Exton with seven assassins 
entered the cell ; that Richard, aware of their object, 
wrested a battle-axe from one of the number, and laid 
several at his feet ; but that Exton with one blow brought 
him to the floor, and with another deprived him of life. 
This story, which from its minuteness of detail might 
be thought to have some foundation in fact, was believed 
on the continent ; but is in reality undeserving of credit, 
because it was unknown in England to those whose 
interest it was to discover and to publish the truth*. 
The more general belief was that the captive died of 
starvation ; voluntary starvation, if we may give credit 
to the friends of Henry, in consequence of Richard's 
grief for the fate of his adherents ; compulsory starva- 
tion, if we listen to the opposite party, in consequence 
of orders given by him who hoped to profit by his death. 
But of this there is no proof; and the story itself, as far 

* I should add, that when Richard's tomb was opened, and the skullexa- 
mined, there was no appearance of any wound, unless the opening of the 
suture above the os tempuris might have bren caused by a blow. Arch, 
vi. 316. The os temporiswas probably concealed by the bandage when 
the face was exposed. 

A. D. 1100.] WAR WITH THE SCOTS. 28o 

us regards the manner of death, had probahly no other 
foundation than the emaciated state of the face, when 
it was exhibited at St. Paul's *. 

Henry very prudently abstained from taking any 
notice of these rumours. It was enough for him that 
he had proved the death of Richard : to have gone into 
any explanation of the cause of that death might have 
been construed into consciousness of guilt. But his 
silence encouraged the friends of the deposed monarch 
to persuade themselves that the object of their devotion 
was still alive. It was net, they maintained, his body, 
but the body of Maudelin, that had been shown at St. 
Paul's ; of Maudelin, a man so like in feature to Richard, 
that, to deceive the people, he had been adorned in 
princely vesture during the insurrection, and had volun- 
tarily personified the royal captive. But it is plain that 
the men, who gave credit to this tale, had suifered their 
feelings to blind their judgment t. No benefit, which 

* Much reliance has been placed on the following testimony of arch- 
bishop Scrope. Ubi eum breviter, (ut vulgariter dicitur quiudecim dies et 
totidcta nocti's,) in fame, siti et 1'rigore vexaverunt et crucittxeruut ; et 
tandem morte turpissima, adhuc regno uostro Anj;liae peuitus incognita, 
sed gratia diviua diutius non celanda, interimerunt et occideriiut. Ang. 
Sac. ii. 3fi5. But in my opinion this passage will beat a very different in- 
terpretation. It states that for fifteen days they tormented him with hun- 
ger, thirst, cold and ill treatment, and then (tandem) put him to death 
after a manner, which had hitherto continued unknown, but which God's 
providence would not permit lobe much longer concealed. Most assuredly, 
then, Scrope had nut been able to discover the manner of Richard's death. 
t Of this we have an instance in the French poet, the devoted admirer 
of Richard, who wrote before the end of 1401. Some said that Richard 
died of grief; but, says he, 


Je ne le croy pas aisement ; 

Car aucuns client pour certain 

Quil est, encore vif et sain 

Enferme dedens leur prison. 

Of course, the dead body exhibited was that of some one else. 
Pas ne croy 

Que ce fust le roy ancien, 

Ains croy ([lie c'estoit Madelien. 
But in conclusion he owns that he knows not but that Richard is dead. 

Et sc cestoit il, main et tart 

Prie je de vray cuer a Dieu 

Qui est misericors et pieu, 

Quil veuille es sains chieulx 

Avoir lame 

De ly. Arch. xx. 403, 9. 

286 HENRY iv. [CHAP. iv. 

Henry could have derived from such a fraud could be 
worth the risk of detection, either by the thousands of 
spectators well acquainted with the features of Richard, 
or by the possible reappearance of that prince himself 
on some future occasion ; a detection which would have 
convicted the new king in the eyes of the whole world, 
not only of imposture, but also of sacrilege. 

His great object after the funeral of his victim was 

to elude the demand, made by the French king, of two 

hundred thousand franks of gold, the marriage portion 

A. n. of Isabella. He could not spare so large a sum from his 

1400. own co ff ers , he dared not ask it from his subjects. His 

19 ' first expedient was to propose a marriage between the 

princess and his eldest son : his second to consult the 

^ ov< universities, whether the personal obligations of Richard 

had descended to his successor. The offer of marriage 

was refused by Charles*, and the answer of the universi- 

A * " ties was unfavourable. But the French monarch, with 

^ 'the natural solicitude of a parent, consented to receive 

27. back his daughter with her jewels, and to reserve the 

restoration of the money for subsequent discussion. 

Aug. Isabella returned to her parents ; and the next demand 

of her dower was met with an opposite claim for one 

* If we believe that Henry proposed to marry his eldest son to Isabella, 
we must conclude that Richard was undoubtedly dead. To marry him to 
the wife of another man, pending that man's life, would have been to de- 
prive his heirs of the succession. Now that he did make the proposal is 
asserted by the contemporary French writer last mentioned, whose testi- 
mony is supported by original documents; in Rymer viii. 128, where the 
commissioners are instructed to treat of the marriage of the prince of Wales 
with a French princess, in Acts of Coun. i. 118. where the council advises 
the marriage of Isabella as a means to avoid the restoration both of her 
and her property ; and in the Thresor des Chart, where the French com- 
missioners are ordered to reply to any such proposal that, while she is in 
the hands of the English, the kingcannot in honour give any answer ; and 
a messenger is moreover sent to Isabella to forbid her privately to give her 
consent to any marriage without the previous permission of her father. 
Thres. 67- 69. The same reasoning will apply, as Sir James Mackintosh 
has remarked, to the subsequent marriage of Isabi-lla with her cousin, the 
eldest son of the duke of Orleans. At that time it was well known that 
Richard was said to be alive and at Stirling in Scotland. Would the king 
and the duke neglect to ascertain the truth before they signed the con- 
tract, especially as the Orleans branch was the next in succession to the 
crown of Fiance ? 


million five hundred thousand crowns still remaining 
unpaid of the ransom of king John, who had been made 
prisoner at the battle of Poitiers. The French rejoined 
that England had never complied with the provisions of 
the subsequent treaty of Bretigm. Thus was opened a 
new field of endless litigation, from which Charles at A-D< 
length withdrew ; but, instead of surrendering his claim, 1404. 
he transferred it to his daughter on her marriage with June 
his nephew Charles, count of Angouleme*. 

One of the charges against the late unfortunate mo- 
narch was, that he had degenerated from the military 
virtues of his family. Anxious to escape a similar 
reproach, the new king determined to signalise the com- 
mencement of his reign by an expedition into Scotland. 
He hinted the design to his parliament : but it was 
thought imprudent to hazard discontent by the im- 
position of new taxes ; and in a great council of the p e t, i 
spiritual and temporal peers, it was agreed, that the for- 9. 
iner should give to the king a tenth of their incomes, 
and the latter should serve in the army with a certain 
number of men, for a limited period, at their own 
charges t. Henry summoned all persons possessed of June 
fees, wages, or annuities, granted by Edward III., the 9- 
Black Prince, Richard II., or the duke of Lancaster, to June 
meet him at York under the penalty of forfeiture ; and 15. 
from the banks of the Tyne despatched heralds to king Aug. 
Robert, and the barons of Scotland, commailHng them 6. 
to appear before him in the castle of Edinburgh, on the 
23rd of August, and to do him homage for the Scottish 
crown and their several fiefs. He marched to Leith 
without opposition : but the castle of Edinburgh was in 
the hands of the duke of Rothsay, the eldest son of the 
king, who derided the pompous claim of his adversary, 
and offered to decide the quarrel in equal combat with Aug. 
one, two, or three hundred Scottish, against the same . 

For these particulars see Rym. viii. 108, 9. 28. 42. 52 69. 86. 94. 203. 
17. 15. Acts of Coun. i. 130142. Thres. des Chart 66, 6/. 29.). 
t Rym. viii. 1^5. Acts of Council, i. 1U4. 

288 HENRY iv. [CHAP. iv. 

number of English knights*. Henry received the 
proposal with contempt, and waited several days for the 
arrival of the Scottish army, under the duke of Albany, 
who acted as regent during the infirmity of the king. 
But the duke was too prudent to attack an enemy, who 
was already defeated by famine ; and the English, hav- 
ing consumed their provisions, retired in haste within 
their own borders. It was a useless and inglorious ex- 
pedition ; but it afforded the king an occasion to exhibit, 
to his followers and the enemy, a moderation unknown 
in the annals of Scottish warfare. From humanity, or 
policy, he laboured to mitigate the horrors of invasion ; 
his protection was instantly afforded to all who asked it ; 
and the royal banner displayed from the steeple of a 
church, or the turret of a castle, secured the village and 
its inhabitants from the violence and rapacity of the 
soldiers t. 

But from Scotland the king's attention was suddenly 
diverted to the principality of Wales, where, during his 
absence, the standard of independence had been raised 
by Owen, commonly styled Owen Glendower, or of 
Glendowrdy. This adventurer had been educated " an 
apprentice of the law ;" had afterwards waited as esquire 
on the earl of Arundel ; and from the family of that 
nobleman had passed to the service of the late king, 
during th^ampaign in Ireland $. At a later period he 
pretended TO trace his descent in a direct line from the 
ancient princes of Wales : if he aspired now to a higher 
station than that which his fortune seemed to assign to 
him, it was that injustice provoked his resentment, and 
the gratification of resentment opened a new and invit- 
ing prospect to his ambition. It happened that a power- 
ful and wealthy neighbour, the lord Grey of Ruthyn, 
appropriated to himself without ceremony a considerable 
portion of Owen's patrimony ; and the injured Welsh- 

Rym. 146. 155. 157. t Fordun, xv. 11. 

i Otterb. 230. Lei. Collec. ii. 310. Wals. 364. 

A. D.I 400.] WAR WITH THE WELSH. 289 

man petitioned the king in parliament fur redress. It 
was not very probable that a poor partisan of Richard 
would prevail over his potent and favoured adversary .- 
but the sting of disappointment was irritated by the 
scornful and insulting language in which the refusal 
was conveyed *. Owen was not a man to sit down in- 
active under an affront. Whether he actually awakened 
the vengeful spirit of his countrymen, or only improved 
the opportunity offered to him by a previous insurrec- 
tion, is not easily determined ; but the natives burst 
suddenly into the English marches, and in a few days Sept. 
Owen appeared at their head. The king pronounced -- 
him a traitor, and gave his lands in forfeiture to the 
earl of Somerset: but the Welshman returned to his Nov. 
sovereign a message of -defiance, and declared himself 8- 
the rightful prince of Wales. The experiment proved 
that the spirit of freedom still lived within the breasts 
of the natives. They instantly, and without inquiry, 
admitted the claim of Glendower ; adventurers hastened 
from the capital, the universities and the most distant 
parts of the kingdom, to fight under his standard; and 
the Welsh indulged the flattering hope of being able to 
re-establish, like the Scots, the independence of their 
country 'K To the pretender Henry opposed with the 
title of his lieutenant his own son, the legal prince of 
Wales. The youthful warrior penetrated into the valley, 
and gave to the flames the house of Glendowerdy : whilst 
Owen from the hills watched with coolness the steps of 
his impetuous adversary, and, the moment he was gone, 
poured his followers into the marches, and took ample and 
satisfactory revenge for the injuries which the prince had 
inflicted. Thrice within two years did Henry lead a 
numerous force against the insurgents, and thrice was 
he baffled by the conduct rather than the arms of his 
opponent ; who, retiring among the mountains, left the 

* " fimrri nudipedes." Lei. ibid, 
t Rolls, iii. 457. Ryni. v.ii. 472. 3. 6. 


A. -a. invaders to contend with the inclemency of the season 
1402. and the asperities of the country. By degrees Glendower 
assumed a bolder attitude. His original adversary, the 
lord Grey, was defeated by him and made prisoner on 
June the banks of the Varnway ; and Sir Edmund Mortimer 
1 -' experienced a similar fate in a battle near Knyghton in 
Radnorshire. Impatient to repair these losses, Henry 
Aug. collected his retainers at Shrewsbury; divided them 
27- into three armies, under himself, his eldest son, and the 
earl of Arundel ; and thus invaded Wales at the same 
time from three different quarters. Still both force and 
policy proved unavailing. No enemy was to be dis- 
covered in the field : the heavens fought in favour of the 
natives ; the valleys were deluged with rain ; the king's 
tent was torn from its fastenings, and borne away in a 
storm ; and the monarch, convinced that it was fruitless 
to contend with a man, who could call to his aid spirits 
from the vasty deep, returned with disgrace into Eng- 

In the mean while Henry had committed the charge 
of the Scottish war to the earl of Northumberland, and 
his son, sir Henry Percy or " Hotspur," the wardens of 
the western and eastern marches. By them he was in- 
formed that an unknown Englishman had lately been 
received at the Scottish court under the designation of 
Richard Plantagenet, king of England. In a short time 
May letters from that very individual were conveyed to the prin- 
(J - cipal friends of the deposed monarch, with an assurance 
that Richard himself would pass the border at the head 
of a Scottish army on the feast of St. John the baptist. 
The vigilance of the king was excited by this intelli- 
Juue gence. He published proclamation after proclamation 
5. against the authors and propagators of false reports ; 
* 5> and ordered a statement of the late monarch's tyranny 

* Lcl. Coll. ii. 310, 311. Ottprl). 230. 1. 4. Rym. viii. 156. 16". 181. 225. 
Vita Ric. ii. 172 6. The indignities, almost incredible, offered to the 
bodies of the slain by the Welsh women, may be seen in Walsingham, 


and of his own determination to govern according to law, 
to be made to the freeholders of every shire at the next 
county court. Arrests and executions followed : Sir 
Roger Clarendon, a natural son of the Black Prince, 
nine Franciscan friars, whose order Richard had always 
patronised, and several other persons in different parts, 
suffered the barbarous punishment of treason. By these 
severities Henry intimidated his opponents ; but the 
proclamations produced so ample a harvest of charges 
and prosecutions, that to restore domestic tranquillity, 
he found himself compelled to recall his previous direc- 
tions, and to confine the offence to words actually excit- 
ing to rebellion*. 

But who was the individual that had thus undertaken 
to personate the dethroned monarch ? The Scottish 
historian narrates a romantic tale of an English vagrant, 
who strolled into the kitchen of Donald, Lord of the Isles, 
was there recognised as king Richard by the fool or 
jester of that nobleman, and was in consequence of 
the discovery forwarded to the Scottish court 'K Little 
credit seems due to this statement : it is, however, cer- 
tain that the duke of Albany, who held the reins of 
government in the name of his weak and easy brother, 
delivered, about this time, an Englishman to the care of 
the governor of Stirling castle, with orders to keep him 
in honourable custody. There was a mystery about the 
stranger, with the secret of which few were acquainted. 
The most curious could ascertain nothing more than 
that he called himself king Richard ; and that his man- 
ner betrayed, in the opinion of those who watched him, 
indications of fatuity or derangement J. 

Rym. viii. 255. 2613. 268. Otterb. 234. 
t Hearne's Fordun, 1133. Goodwill's, ii. 42J. 

I So we are told by a more ancient, and an unexceptionable witness, 
Wyntown, in his " Chronykel:" 

" Quether he had ben king or nanei 
Ther wis but few that wyst oertane 

':e bare him, like was he 
Oft half wod or wyld to be." Wynt. ii. 339. 

292 HENRY iv. [CHAP. iv. 

To Henry it was of the first importance to discover 
the true history of this adventurer : and after some time 
he was enabled to announce, that the man was an idiot, 
by name Thomas Ward of Trumpington, and that the 
letters under his seal had been composed and forwarded 
by Serle, chamberlain to the late king *. A messenger, 
probably Donet, who had been intrusted with the care 
of these letters, fell into the hands of the king, and sub- 
sequently Serle himself was decoyed into the snare by 
Sir William Clifford. From these men it was said that 
Henry obtained all the particulars of the plot. Serle, 
however, did not save his life by the discovery : he was 
sent to London to suffer; and for greater notoriety was 
drawn on a sledge through all the towns in his way to 
the capital t. 

The seclusion in which the pretender lived gradually 
extinguished the hopes which his appearance had raised 
in the breasts of Richard's partisans. If he were the 
real Richard, why did he not accompany the Scottish 
armies in their subsequent inroads, and summon the 
adherents of the house of York to his standard ? The 
answer was obvious. The late king was too well known 
in those parts to allow of an impostor to personate him 
without detection : and therefore Albany, instead of 
bringing the pretender forward in public, or of openly 
advocating his claim, very prudently kept him a close 
Oct. inmate of Stirling castle, where he lived for seventeen 
18 - years in utter seclusion till his death in 1419$. But if 

"Yeqwhilk deit a beggar and out of his mund, and was erdit i ye 
" blak frers of Striviling." Ye Yngliss Cronikle, in Arclifeol. xx. 427. not. 
Albany charged for his expenses 100 marks a year, which however were 
not allowed. The sum was not large for a king of England. Eighteen 
marks of Scotland made a pound sterling. 

* Thomas Warde deTrumpington, qui se pretende et feigne d'estre Roy 
Richard. Slat, of Realm, ii. 148. Kym. viii. 353. Whenever he is men- 
tioned by the English authorities, in the Rolls, by Henry V., by archbishop 
Arundel, it is in terms like those of Wyntown : the idiot in Scotland, the 
" mawmet, le fol, fatuus, famulus infatuatus." See Rolls iii. 584. 605. iv. 
65. Archa-ol.xxiii.i97. Ellis, Sec. Series, i. 25. 26. 

I Rym. viii. 262. Otterb. 248. 9. Wals. 370. 1. Graft 429. 

j He was buried in the church of the Hlackfriars in Stirling ; and mucti 
importance has been attached to an inscription on the wall over his grave. 


the Scottish regent hoped by this artifice to weaken the 
allegiance of Henry's English subjects, Henry on the 
other hand obtained the powerful aid of a Scottish 
nobleman, Dunbar, earl of March, who, on account of 
an affront offered to his daughter*, had given back his 
fealty to his own sovereign, and done homage to the 
English kin-;. Dunbar made common cause with the 
Percies, and directed their inroads into Scotland, whilst 
the earl Douglas, who had received the forfeiture of the 
rebel, retaliated by similar incursions into England. It 
was agreed between the earls of March and Northum- 
berland that each chieftain should hold the command 
in rotation : and in the second inroad by the Scots the in- 
vaders were intercepted by the former on Nesbit moor ; 
their commander, Hepburn of Hales, with many of his June 
companions, perished ; and the remainder, the flower ii'2. 
of the Lothian chivalry, were made prisoners t. The 
earl Douglas, to revenge this loss, solicited and obtained 
the aid of the duke of Albany. At the head of ten 
thousand chosen troops, he burst through the marches, 
and spread the havoc of war along each bank of the 
Tyne. But the earl of Northumberland, his son Henry 
Percy, surnamed Hotspur, and the earl of March, as- 
sembled an army in the rear of the plunderers, and at 
Milfield, near Wooler, awaited their return. On Holy- 
rood day was fought a great and decisive battle. The Sejit. 
Scots occupied the hih 1 of Homildon ; the English the 1J> 
opposite eminence. Percy ordered his archers to de- 
scend into the valley, from which they discharged their 

in which he was styled king of England. But that inscription is of no au- 
thority. It was not contemporary, but must have been composed at a much 
later period by a partisan of the house of York; for it makes aliusiou to 
the dethronement of Henry VI. and to the misfortunes of his family, as a 
punishment for the injury done to Richard by their progenitor : 

Supplicium luit hiuc ipsius omne genus. 

The affront is thus described by himself in a letter to Henry. " The 
" due of Rothesay spousit my douchter ; and now agayn his oblising to 
' me made by his lettre and'his seal, and agaynes the law of halikirk, 
" spouses ane other wife." MS. Vesp. F. vii. -2 : 2. Henry granted to him 
and his heirs, lauds of the value of 500 marks a year. Rym. viii. 153. 
f Ford. xv. 13. Act of Coun.'i. 187- 

294 HENRY iv. [CHAP. iv. 

arrows with such force and precision, that they provoked 
Douglas with his men at arms to advance and attempt 
to disperse them. The archers retired slowly ; and, 
halting at intervals, with repeated volleys arrested the 
progress of the enemy. Douglas was pierced with six 
wounds, and fell from his horse ; the foremost and 
bravest of his companions experienced a similar fate ; 
and the rest, disheartened and in confusion, fled towards 
the Tweed. Many were lost in attempting to cross that 
river : eight hundred were left on the field of battle. 
Among the wounded and captives were Douglas him- 
self, Murdac Stewart, the son and heir of the regent, 
the earls of Moray and Angus, two barons, eighty French 
and Scottish knights, and many gentlemen of the first 
families in Scotland. It is remarkable, that in this battle 
the English men at arms never drew the sword. It was 
won by the archers alone, whose superior strength and 
dexterity had long been acknowledged by all the nations 
of Europe*. 

The earl of Northumberland attended the next parlia- 
ment with his prisoner Murdac Stewart, and six other 
captives, three Scottish, and three French knights. 
Oct- They were introduced to Henry in his palace at West- 
minster. They knelt thrice, at the entrance of the hall, 
in the middle, and at the foot of the throne ; where sir 
Adam Forster, by the command of Murdac, thus ad- 
dressed the king : "Most excellent and dread prince, 
" my lord, who is here present, has directed me to re- 
" quest, both for himself and his companions, that you 
" would treat them honourably and graciously, accord- 
" ing to the law of arms." Henry coldly replied, that 
they were welcome : and Forster proceeded to exhort 
him to spare the further effusion of Christian blood, and 
to treat of peace with his lord, who had been furnished 
with full powers for that purpose. But the king up- 
braided the speaker with his former cunning and dupli- 

* Otterb. 237. Ford. xv. 14. Rym. ix. 26 


city, alleging, that had it not been for the fair but 
deceitful promises of Forster, he should not have retired 
from Edinburgh in his last campaign. Turning, how- 
ever, to Murdac, he exhorted him to bear his captivity 
with resignation, and to recollect that he had been 
taken like a true knight on the field of battle. He then 
bade them rise, and invited them to dine at his table*. 

The next year was signalised by a most extraordinary- 
attempt. The reader will recollect that the lord Grey 
and sir Edmund Mortimer were prisoners of war in the 
possession of Owen Glendower. The first with the royal 
permission purchased his liberty by the payment of ten 
thousand marks : the second, when he solicited a similar 
favour from the king, met with a peremptory refusal. 
The reason of this difference could not be concealed. 
From the pretensions of Grey, Henry had nothing to 
apprehend ; but Mortimer, as the uncle, and therefore 
the natural protector of the young earl of March, was 
an object of distrust. Henry Percy, who had married 
Mortimer's sister, repeated the request. But the king 
was inexorable : he is reported to have answered, that 
Mortimer had gone of his own choice to Glendower, and 
therefore no loyal subject would wish him to come back ; 
an insinuation which the stomach of a Percy could not 
brook. But the friendship between the king and that 
powerful family had long been on the wane. They be- 
lieved that he owed his crown to the aid which they had 
administered to him in his distress: he had not for- 
gotten that they would, if they had dared, have opposed 
his succession to the throne : they were incessantly 
calling for large sums of money due to them for the 
custody of the marches, and the expenses of the Scottish 
war ; he, whether he were unable or unwilling, paid 
them but seldom, and then only by small and tardy in- 
stalments t. How their discontent gradually ripened into 

* Ho*. Parl. iii. 487. 

t Acts of Coun. i. 1503. 20.3. 4. ii. 57. I H:ive not noticed with several 
writers the prohibition to ranaum the prisoners made at the battle of Ho- 

2'J6 HEKRY iv. [CHAP. iv. 

rebellion, we know not. But their anxiety to effect 
the liberation of Mortimer gave occasion to several 
messages, and led to one personal interview, between 
Glendower and Hotspur : an intercourse which Henry 
watched with jealousy, and not, as the sequel will 
^ TOV - show, without reason. The first indication of the 
0> meditated mischief was furnished by Mortimer, who, 
to free himself from his fetters and his dungeon, 
married the daughter of Glendower, and informed the 
]> ec . more trusty of his retainers that he had joined the 
13. Welshman in his righteous quarrel, with the view of 
winning the crown for king Richard, if Richard was 
still alive : or, if he was dead, for the earl of March, the 
lawful heir*. He had, however, confederates who were 
yet unknown, the three Percies, the earl of Northum- 
berland, his son Henry, and his brother Thomas, earl 
of Worcester ; Scrope, the archbishop of York, who had 
given his sanction to the attempt, and Douglas, who in 
lieu of ransom had promised the services of himself and 
of a certain number of Scottish knights t. It was pro- 
bably to conceal their real object from the eyes of Henry 
that the Percies, during a foray into Teviotdale, ap- 
1*403 P omte( i to meet in battle the chivalry of Scotland on the 
. first of August, and that, on the other hand, the gover- 
nor of Cocklaw castle gave hostages for the surrender 
of the fortress, if it were not relieved by his countrymen 
before the evening of that day. The greatest publicity 

mildon hill. Such prohibitions were common, and Henry expressly saved 
the rights of the captors. Rym. viii. S2";!. 

* Ellis, Sec. Series, i. 24. 5. Hardyng, 359. Edmund, the great-grand- 
son of the Mortimer put to death by Edward III. in 1230, married Phi- 
lippa, the daughter and heiress of Lionel, the third son of the same mo- 
narch. Their eldest son Roger died in 1398, leaving two sous, Edmund 
about six, and Roger about five years old. 

t Sir Henry Ellis has published (Sec. Ser. i. 270 from an ancient chro- 
nicle a tripartite treaty for the division of the kingdom among Glendower, 
Northumberland, and Sir Edmund Mortimer, " if they should find reason 
" to conclude that they were the persons foretold in the prophecies of Mer- 
" liu.'' It is difficult to believe that men of sense could entertain notions 
so strange and hopes so unreasonable; but this was an age in which full 
credit was given to such pretended prophecies, and the conduct of meu 
was often guided by their interpretation of them. 


was given by the earl and his son to this expected field 
of arms: they solicited military assistance from their 
friends and retainers, and they demanded of Henry the 
arrears due to them, a sum of more than twenty thou- j ane 
sand pounds, that they might he ahle to maintain their 26. 
own honour and the honour of the nation * . Henry 
made promises, though he appears not to have parted 
\vith his money; he even proposed to join his faithful 
Percies, and to share with them the danger and the 
glory of the day. It may have been that some dark 
intimation of the plot had already reached him ; but at July, 
the very time when he set out for the borders with a 
select body of knights, Hotspur hastened from the same 
borders to North Wales, where, from his offices of lieu- 
tenant and justiciary, he possessed considerable influ- 
ence. He was accompanied by Douglas and his Scottish 
knights : his uncle of Worcester, the lieutenant of South 
Wales, joined him with all the force which he could 
raise ; and the archers of Cheshire, a race of men 
devotedly attached to the late king, answered his sum- 
mons, calling on them to fight with him for Richard, 
who was still alive, against Henry of Lancaster, the 
mortal foe of that monarch t. The king had not reached 
Burton-upon-Trent when he heard of these proceedings. , , 
Not a moment was lost. He turned to the west, directed ig_ 
by messengers all his faithful subjects to join him on his 
march, and entered Shrewsbury at the moment when 
the insurgents were first descried from the walls. Hot- 
spur was disappointed but not discouraged : he retired 
to Haytleyfield at a small distance ; and, though Owen 
with his Welshmen had not yet joined him, made pre- 
parations for battle $. 

* Acts of Conn. i. 203. 4. One of these letters from thp earl has the sig- 
nature of " Vre Maihathias," a name probably given to him by the kin;;, 
or assumed by himself in allusion to a character with that name in some 
prophecy or romance. 

t Acts' of Coun. i. 206. 208. The men of Cheshire had already risen in 
the support of Richard, when the earls espoused his cause iu the first year 
of this kins' s rrij;u. Henry deemed it more prudent to win them by for- 
bearance, than to rxaperaH- them by punishment. Acts of Couu. ii. 4l J . 
; Kym. viii. 313. NVals. 368. Otter. 239. 

298 HENRY iv. [CHAP. iv. 

In accordance with the laws of chivalry, the confe- 
derates sent to the king a defiance, which has been pre- 
served by Hardyng, who was at that time in the service 
of Hotspur, and accompanied him the next day to the 
field of battle. In this instrument the Percies pro- 
nounce Henry false and perjured. 1. Because on his 
return to England he had sworn before them at Don- 
caster, that he would claim nothing more than his own 
inheritance and that of his wife ; and yet he had im- 
prisoned Richard his sovereign, had compelled him by 
threats to resign the crown, and under colour of that 
resignation had taken upon himself the style and au- 
thority of king : 2. Because at the same time he had 
sworn that he would never consent to the imposition of 
any taxes without the previous consent of the parlia- 
ment: and yet he had frequently caused tenths and 
fifteenths to be levied by his own power and the dread 
which he inspired : 3. Because he had also sworn that 
Richard, as long as he lived, should enjoy every royal 
prerogative ; and yet had caused the same prince in the 
castle of Pontefract, after fifteen days, to die of hunger, 
thirst, and cold, and to be murdered 4. Because at 
the death of Richard he had kept possession of the crown, 
which then belonged to the young earl of March, the 
next and direct heir : 5. Because, though he had sworn 
to govern according to law, he had treacherously and 
against the law destroyed the freedom of election, and 
caused his own creatures to be returned representa- 
tives of the counties in parliament, so that justice could 
not be had ; and lastly, because he had refused to per- 
mit the liberation of sir Edmund Mortimer, who had 
been taken fighting for him, and was kept in chains in 
prison ; and had looked on the Percies as traitors, be- 
cause they had negotiated with Owen Glendower in 
behalf of the captive. They then conclude thus : " For 
" these reasons we do mortally defy thee, and thy ac- 
" complices and adherents, as traitors, and subverters of 
" the commonwealth and kingdom, and invaders, op 


" pressors, and usurpers of the rights of the true and 
" direct heir of England and France ; and we intend to 
" prove it this day by force of arms with the aid of 
"Almighty God*." 

When Henry had perused the defiance, he replied, 
that he had no time to lose in writing an answer : that 
he would prove by the sword that the quarrel of the 
Percies was false and feigned ; and that he had no doubt 
but God would give him the victory over perjured trai- 
tors t. The next morning was fought one of the most 
obstinate and bloody battles recorded in English his- 

The two armies were nearly equal, consisting severally 
of about fourteen thousand men of approved valour J. 
As soon as they were arrayed in front of each other, 
king, apprehensive of the result, sent the abbot of 
Shrewsbury to his opponents, with proposals of peace, 
which, after a long hesitation, were rejected by the advice 
of the earl of Worcester. " Then, banner, advance/' 
cried Henry. The air resounded with the adverse 
shouts of " St. George," and " Esperance, Percy ;" and 
the archers on both sides discharged their arrows with 
the most murderous effect. Percy and Douglas, who 
had long been rivals for glory, and were esteemed two 
of the most valorous knights in Christendom, rushed 

This defiance is printed at length from the Ilarleian MS. 42. f. 152, in 
" The Hereditary Right of the Crown," p. 8284. by Mr. Ellis in his edi- 
tion of Hardyng, 352, and in Hall, f. 21 ; but the latter, of-his own autho- 
rity, has made Edmund Mortimer the earl of March. The reader will ob- 
serve the awkward and ambiguous language in which the Percies state the 
death of Richard, as if they had no certain knowledge of the manner of 
that death ; and will also notice in the last charge, that the custom still 
existed of torturing prisoners of war, to procure from them a larger ran- 
som. " In prisona et forreis vinculis crudeliter tentus." Hardyng men- 
tions the same of Mortimer, 

" Wherfore he lave in fetters and sore prysone, 
For none payment of his greate raunsone." 

Hardvng, 359. 

+ Hall, f. 22. 

i Hotspur's force consisted of 9000 knights, squires, yeomen, and 
archers, "withouten raskaldry." Hard. Pref. iii. According to Walsing- 
hiim the insurgents gave out that Richard was alive and with them. 
Wals. 368. 

300 HENRY iv. [CHAP. iv. 

with thirty attendants into the centre of the enemy. 
Every thing yielded before them. The king's guards 
were dispersed ; the earl of Stafford, sir Walter Blount, 
and two others, who, to deceive the enemy, wore the 
royal arms, were slain ; the standard was beaten to the 
ground ; and the prince of Wales received a wound in 
his face. Their object had been to kill or secure the 
person of Henry ; but he, by the advice of the Scottish 
earl of March, had changed his armour ; and was per- 
forming the duty of a valiant warrior in a distant part 
of the field. The two chiefs, disappointed in their ex- 
pectation, determined to cut back their way through 
the enemy, who had closed behind them ; and they had 
nearly effected their purpose, when the Northumbrian 
fell by an arrow, which seems to have been shot at ran- 
dom, and pierced his brain. With him fell the courage 
and the confidence of his followers, who, as soon as the 
loss of their leader was ascertained, tied in every direc- 
tion. The battle had continued three hours : the killed 
and wounded on the part of the king amounted almost 
to five thousand, on that of the insurgents to a much 
greater number. Among the prisoners were the earl 
Douglas, the earl of Worcester, the baron of Kinderton, 
and sir Richard Vernon. The first received from the 
conqueror all that courtesy which was usually shown 

July to foreign prisoners of high rank : the other three suf- 

23. fered the punishment of traitors*. 

The morning after this victory the king despatched 
orders to the earl of Westmoreland and Robert Water- 
ton, to oppose the progress of the earl of Northumber- 
land, who had recovered from his indisposition, and was 
marching at the head of his retainers through the county 

Otterb. 242244. Yyodig. Neust. 560. Hall, f. 22. Rym. viii. 320. If 
we may believe a manifesto by the Yorkshire insurgents, after the body of 
Henry" Percy had been solemnly buried, the king ordered it to be du<; up, 
placed on {he pillory, beheaded, and i[uar!ercd. Ang. Sac. ii. 36G. Tin) 
origin of this story, as is remarked by the editor of the Acts of the Council, 
may be found in the chronicle of London (88), from which we learu that 
the body was taken out of the grave, to refute the report that Percy was 
still alive. 


of Durham. But he soon received the melancholy in- 
telligence of the death of his son and his brother, and of 
the destruction of their party ; and returning by New- 
castle, which shut its gates against him, retired to his 
castle of Warkworth, and disbanded his forces. At the 
command of the conqueror he repaired with a small 
retinue to York, where he was received with evident -^ u ' 
marks of dissatisfaction. His protestations that Hot- ' 
spur bad acted in disobedience to his commands, and that 
the troops which he had raised himself were intended to 
join the royal army, were neither admitted nor rejected ; 
but the earl was detained in safe though honourable 
custody, to plead his cause in the next parliament. 
Meanwhile Henry issued orders for the arrest of the 
lady Elizabeth, the widow of Hotspur; compelled the j? ct< 
Northumbrian knights to swear fealty to him against j^ ov> 
their earl : and promised pardon to all who should throw 2-2. 
themselves on his mercy *. 

When the parliament assembled, the earl presented 
to the king his petition, acknowledging that he had 
broken the law by the giving of liveries and the gather- 
ing of his retainers ; but reminding Henry that he had 
in obedience to his command surrendered himself at 
York, and had received from him an assurance that " all A>1) 
" graceless he should not go." The king had commis- 140-4. 
sioned the judges to decide on the nature of the offences Feb. 
which the earl had confessed: but the lords, many of- 
whom had been secretly leagued with him, declaring 
that the judgment belonged to them, pronounced that 
he had not been guilty either of treason or of felony, 
but only of trespasses, for which he was bound to pay 
a fine at the king's pleasure. He then swore fealty to 
Henry, to the prince of Wales, to the other sons of the 
kins and their issue; and in return obtained a full 
remission of all fines and penalties. As report had 
included several prelates and lords among the conspi- 

Rym. viii. 322. 333. 333. 

302 HENRY iv. [CHAP. iv. 

rators, he solemnly declared that he knew nothing to 
the prejudice of the duke of York, or of the archbishop 
of Canterbury, or of any other person generally suspected, 
but that he held them all to be, and to have been, true 
and faithful subjects to their sovereign *. 

The unsuccessful issue of these insurrections, how- 
ever it might disappoint, did not extinguish the hopes 
of the king's enemies. The families of the slain still 
thirsted for revenge ; and the annual taxes which Henry 
was compelled to demand augmented the discontent 
of the people. To relieve his poverty he had made an 
attempt, with the aid of the commons, to resume the 
grants of the crown, and to seize on some portion of the 
property of the church ; and this attempt, though it 
Oct. proved unsuccessful, served to exasperate the minds of 
7 - the most considerable among the laity and clergy f. In 
the beginning of the year a woman, the relict of the lord 
Spenser who had been executed at Bristol, undertook 
to liberate from the king's custody the young earl of 
A>D> March and his brother. By means of false keys she 
1 405. procured access to their apartment, conducted them 
Feb. out of the castle of Windsor, and hurried them away 
towards the frontiers of Wales. But Henry's good 
fortune never deserted him. The alarm had been given : 
the fugitives were quickly pursued, and retaken ; and 
the lady on her examination before the council, perhaps 
to soothe the king's resentment, perhaps to excite his 
Feb. alarm, accused her brother the duke of York of being 
) 7. privy not only to her attempt, but to several other con- 
spiracies against him. Henry, who could not but re- 
collect how often that prince, under the titles of duke 
of Albemarle and earl of Rutland, had proved faithless 
to his associates, ordered him to be immediately arrested. 
If we may believe the suspicious language of the royal 

* Rot. Parl. iii. 524 526. The duke of York who had fallen under sus- 
picion was Edward, the former carl of Rutland. He had lately succeeded 
to the honours and estates of his father. Rot. I'arl. iii. 533. 
t \\'als. 3/1. Rot. Parl. iii. 547549. 


writs, he confessed his guilt: in his own petition he 
appears confident of proving his innocence. All his 
estates were seized for the king's profit ; and the duke Mar. 
himself was confined in the castle of Pevensey. At the 6 - 
end of three months he was released, admitted to favour, 
and recovered his lands *. 

The king had assembled two great councils of barons 
and prelates at London and St. Albans, and to his dis- 
appointment, found in them a general disinclination to 
approve of the measures which he proposed t. Among 
the more violent opponents of the government was the 
lord Bardolf, who from St. Albans repaired to the earl M & y 
of Northumberland. That nobleman, though he had 
been restored to his estates, had been deprived of the i^.j. 
offices of constable and'warden of the marches, and had Aug. 
been compelled to sign an obligation to deliver into the 27. 
king's hand, within a certain period, the castles of Ber- 
wick and Jedburgh, with their appurtenances, in ex- 
change for other lands of the same value $. He readily 
listened to the counsel of Bardolf, and determined to 
make another attempt in opposition to Henry. He 
found a willing associate in Thomas, the eldest son of 
the late banished duke of Norfolk. Though his father 
had not been attainted, he abstained from assuming the 
title that he might not provoke the jealousy of the king ; 
and was commonly known by the name of lord Mowbray 
or earl marshal : but when Henry bestowed the office 
of marshal (it had been made hereditary in the family 
of the Mowbrays) on the earl of Westmoreland, his 
prudence was subdued by his resentment ; and he 
communicated his wrongs and projects to Scrope, the 
archbishop of York, an enthusiastic defender of the claim 
of the earl of March. This prelate was brother to the 

Acts of Coun. L 270 5. Ryrn. viii. 36. 388. \Vals.372. Otterb. 250. 
The lady Spenser in proof of her assertion produced her champion, Wil- 
liam Miiidstone, and offered to be burnt, if he should be vanquished. Tlif 
duke accepted the challenge, but Henry imprisoned him. Otter ibid, 
t \Vals. 373. t Rym. viii. 364. 

304 . HENRY iv. [CHAP. iv. 

faithful and favourite minister of Richard, the earl of 
Wiltshire, whom Henry had ordered to be executed at 
Bristol. He had long enjoyed the love and the venera- 
tion of the people ; and the influence naturally attached 
to his station was increased by the affability of his man- 
ners, the fame of his learning, and the sanctity of his 
life. He had already exhorted Henry to repent of his 
perjury and treason to Richard ; and to a question from 
the earl of Northumberland had replied, that ail who 
had contributed to place the present king on the throne 
were bound, in justice to the real heir, to drive the 
usurper from it. It was not difficult for the discontented 
to draw a prelate of these sentiments into their party ; 
though it is probable that he was not admitted into all 
their secrets. His object, he always asserted, was the 
reformation of grievances, and the restoration of har- 
A . D . mony among the principal lords. The first who appeared 
] arms was sir John Falconberg, and three other 
May. knights in Cleveland : but they were immediately 
attacked, and dispersed by prince John, Henry's third 
son, and the earl of Westmoreland*. At the same 
time an instrument, divided into ten articles of accusa- 
tion against the king, was fixed on the doors of the 
churches in York and the neighbourhood. It ran in 
the names of A. B. C. D. proctors of the commonwealth 
of England ; and charged Henry with perjury, re- 
bellion, usurpation, the murder of his sovereign, irre- 
ligion, extortion, and the illegal execution of many 
clergymen and gentlemen t. Eight thousand men as- 
sembled at Shiptonon the moor, a few miles from York, 
and were joined by the archbishop and the earl marshal. 
May To disperse them, the prince, with the earl . of West- 
ii'J. moreland, hastened to the forest of Galtres. The latter 
requested and obtained a conference with the opposite 
leaders, in the open space between the two armies. The 
archbishop declared that he had come, not to make war 

Rot. Parl. viii. G04. f Ang. Sac. 362. 


but peace, and particularised the different grievances 
which he thought it necessary to redress for the pros- 
perity of the kingdom. By some it is said, that Westmore- 
land deceived the simplicity of the aged prelate, by as- 
senting to all his proposals : by others, that he persuaded 
him to disband his followers, as the only means of ap- 
peasing the king, and procuring a favourable answer 
to his petitions. However that may be, both the arch- 
bishop and the earl were unexpectedly and forcibly con- 
ducted to the army of the royalists ; and the insurgents, 
learning the captivity of their leaders, retired to their 
homes *. Henry, at the first rumour of these commo- j 
tions, had marched towards the north: at Pontefracts. 
the two captives were presented to him, and ordered to 
follow the court to Bishopsthorpe, a palace belonging to 
the primate. There the king commanded the chief- June 
justice Gascoigne to pronounce on them the sentence 8. 
of death : but that inflexible judge refused, on the plea 
that the laws gave him no jurisdiction over the life of the 
prelate ; who, together with the earl marshal, had a right 
to be tried by their peers. A more obsequious agent 
was found in a knight of the name of Fulthorpe, who 
by the king's order entiled them both before him, and 
without indictment or trial condemned them to be be- 
headed. Scrope immediately exclaimed : " The just 
" and true God knows that I never intended evil against 


" the person of king Henry ; and I beg you to pray, 
" that my death may not be revenged upon him or his 
" friends." The judgment was immediately carried 
into execution. The archbishop suffered with the con- 
stancy, and acquired among the people the reputation, 
of a martyr. To the body of the earl was allotted a grave 
in the cathedral : his head was placed on a pike, and 
fixed upon the walls t. It is remarkable, that when the 

*Rot Parl. viii.605. Otterh. 255, 256. Wals. 373. The fugitives were 
pursued ; but such as were taken were uot put to death, but " stripped and 
" severely scourged.'' Holins. ii. 310. 

t Ang. Sac. ii. 3/0. 
VOL. IV. x 

306 HENRY iv. [CHAP. iv. 

king, in parliament, required the temporal peers to de- 
clare the archbishop and the earl traitors, they replied, 
that according to the representation given by John, the 
king's son, their offence seemed to be treason ; but that 
they were unwilling to decide without more deliberation, 
and desired that the question might be postponed till 
the next parliament, when every peer should be com- 
pelled to attend, and to give his opinion*. Henry had 
the prudence to acquiesce ; and the matter was never 
afterwards mentioned. Hence it may be fairly inferred 
that the peers believed the assertions of the archbishop, 
and did not conceive him guilty of levying war against 
his sovereign t. 

From York, which he deprived of its franchises, Henry 
advanced with thirty thousand men against the earl 
of Northumberland. That nobleman, sensible of his 
inability to resist so overwhelming a force, had con- 
cluded a treaty with the regent of Scotland, and endea- 
voured by a letter to the duke of Orleans to interest the 
French court in his favour $. He had delivered the 
town of Berwick to the Scots, who, on the approach of 
the royal forces, set it on fire, and retired beyond the 
borders. The earl and lord BarcBlf accompanied them. 
. The castle made a show of resistance : but a shot from 
an enormous piece of ordnance shattered one of the 
towers ; the garrison in dismay threw open the gates ; 

* Rot I'arl. iii. 606. 

i On this account, and on account of the style of the instrument, I have 
great doubt, whether the " articles" before mentioned could be traced to 
the archbishop. 

J Rot. Parl. iii. 605. From this letter it appears that the death of Richard 
was still considered by some as doubtful. The earl, probably to anticipate 
any objection on that head, says that " he has levied war against Henry 
" of Lancaster, the ruler of England, to support the quarrel of his sove- 
" leign lord the king Uichard, if he is alive, and to revenue his death, if 
" he be dead: and also to support the right quarrel, which his dread lady 
" the queen of England may reasonably have lo the kingdom of England." 
Carte has given to these words a meaning which they cannot bear: " to 
" obtain justice for the queen in point of her jointure." (Carte, p. 667.) 
Perhaps it may have some allusion to the protestation made by her, "that 
" she did not acknowledge Henry, duke of Lancaster, as king of Eng- 
" land." Thres. des Chart. 127. 


and the son of the baron of Greystock, with the six 
principal officers, was immediately executed. Henry 
successively reduced the other castles belonging to his 
enemies, and returned in triumph into the south. 

But, though the king, at the head of a victorious 
army, might despise the murmurs of his subjects, who 
condemned the execution of the archbishop, he found 
it expedient to palliate or justify his conduct to pope 
Gregory XII., whose predecessor, Innocent VII., had 
published a provisionary sentence of excommunication 
against all who had been concerned in the death of that 
prelate. Henry alleged in his own defence that Scrope 
had levied war against his sovereign, a crime which the 
laws of England punished with death; that he was 
made prisoner after 'a battle in which his followers, 
amounting to eight thousand men, had been defeated ; 
that the royalists clamorously demanded his punish- 
ment, and threatened to join the rebels, if he were 
spared ; and that the king reluctantly gave his consent, 
to prevent the evils which must have ensued, if his 
armed followers had taken the execution of justice into 
their own hands *. What impression this answer made 
on the mind of Gre'gory is uncertain ; but he ordered 
the excommunication to be removed from all who de- 
clared themselves sorry for the part which they had 
acted in the death of the archbishop t. 

For more than two years, Northumberland with his 
companion in exile wandered from place to place, some- 
times requesting aid from the Scots, sometimes con- 
sulting the insurgents in Wales. Henry employed 
every artifice to obtain possession of their persons ; they 
with equal vigilance defeated all his schemes, and sought 
the opportunity of inflicting some signal vengeance on 

* The reader will observe that it is impossible to reconcile this account 
with that which has previously been given from our historians. Are we 
to accuse them of disguising the truth out of enmity to the house of Lan- 
caster, or the king of inventing falsehoods to appease the pontiff? 

tEp. Greg. XII. apud Raynald, v. 291. 

x 2 


I . D. 

1407. their antagonist. On one occasion they obtained per- 
mission to visit, in company with two bishops and the 
abbot of Welbeck, the pretended Richard in Stirling 
castle, that they might ascertain whether he was in 
reality the deposed monarch, and, in that case, might 
arrange with him a plan of future operations. But the 
attempt was fruitless. They were told that he refused 
to see them, and that no solicitations, not even those 
of the regent, could extort his consent *. Their hopes, 
however, were awakened by the contests in the parlia- 
ment of 1407, and by the discontents created by the 
heavy subsidies which the king demanded of his peo- 
ple t. A correspondence was opened with sir Thomas 
Rokeby : but the report that they were deceived by the 
artifice of that officer rests on the very doubtful credit 
of Buchanan. In the beginning of the next year the 
earl and Bardolf burst into Northumberland, surprised 
several castles, raised the tenantry, who were still at- 
tached to their exiled lord, and augmenting their num- 
bers as they advanced, penetrated as far as Knares- 
borough, where they were joined by sir Nicholas Tem- 
pest, who had distinguished himself in the cause of the 
archbishop. It is supposed to have been the policy of 

1 408. Rokeby to oppose no obstacle to their progress, that he 
Feb. might intercept their retreat. But having collected a 
-^- body of tried men, he now prevented them from cross- 
ing the river, and, following their footsteps, overtook 
them on Bramham moor, in the neighbourhood of Tad- 
caster. The contest was soon decided between the 
rabble of the insurgents and an experienced soldiery. 
The earl fell in the field : Bardolf was taken, but 
died of his wounds ; and the quarters of these noblemen 
were distributed among the principal cities in the king- 
dom. The fines exacted from their adherents supplied 
the royal wants ; and the constant failure of every attempt 

Fordun, 11. 441. Assuredly Albany know that he was an impostor, 
t Rot. i'arl. iii. C09. 611. 


to subvert, contributed to establish on a more secure 
basis, the government of Henry. 

We may now return to the history of Glendower, who 
still maintained the war, notwithstanding the losses of 
his confederates at Shrewsbury, at Shipton and on 
Bramham moor. The whole of the north and a great 
part of the south of Wales acknowledged his authority : 
even Charles of France had received his ambassadors 
as those of an independent prince ; and, by a treaty of 
alliance offensive and defensive, engaged to send him 
assistance whenever it should be required. Henry 
committed the conduct of the war to his eldest son, and 
the young hero by his activity and perseverance, and 
with the advice of prudent counsellors, gradually under- 
mined the power of the Welshman. At Grosmont in A. n. 
Monmouthshire he gained a decisive victory over Griffith 140."). 
the son of Glendower; and pursuing his career, reduced ^j ar> 
after a long siege the castle of Lampeder in Cardigan- 
shire. But French auxiliaries to the number, probably jj ov 
exaggerated, of twelve thousand men, had now arrived,!, 
and had taken Caermarthen. Haverfordwest was 
saved by the earl of Arundel ; and the king hastened 
to the assistance of his son : but no action of importance 
followed ; Henry, after the loss of fifty waggons con- 
veying his treasure and provisions, retired ; and the 
French, unable to subsist in a depopulated country, 
returned to their homes *. 

This happened before the fall of Northumberland ; 
the termination of the insurrections in England allowed 
the king liberty to direct his attention to the war in 
Wales, and to furnish his indefatigable son with every 
necessary supply of men and provisions. The progress 
of the prince, though slow, was constant. At the end 
of four years, the southern division of Wales had entirely 
submitted. The natives of the north, disheartened by 

Rym. viii. 390. 412. 419. Otterb. 253. Wals 3/0. 374. Mousttel. i. 13. 
Acls ol' Cuuu. L 249. 

310 HENRY iv. [CHAP. iv. 

their misfortunes, insensibly withdrew themselves from 
the standard of Glendower ; and that chieftain, appalled. 
by the steady advance of his enemy, ordered the greater 
part of his forces to burst into Shropshire, and ravage 
the country, under the conduct of Rhees ap Du, and 
Philpot Scudamore. They were defeated, and their 
leaders suffered the punishment of treason. We are 
told that this misfortune broke the spirit of Owen ; that 
he wandered for a time amidst the mountains, and then 
repaired in the habit of a shepherd to the house of his 
daughter at Monington in Herefordshire, where he re- 
mained in concealment till his death. But this account 
must be erroneous. From several writs, which are still 
extant, it appears that he contrived to spin out the con- 
test among the wilds and mountains of Snowdun till 
long after the accession of the next sovereign *. 

We may now return to Henry's transactions with 
foreign powers. It was to him a most fortunate circum- 
stance, that Charles of France continued for many years 
subject to fits of insanity, occasionally interrupted with 
lucid intervals ; and that the government of that king- 
dom was divided and perplexed by the ambitious and 
opposite views of two powerful princes, the dukes of 
Burgundy and of Orleans. The first object of Charles 
at the accession of Henry had been to procure the re- 
storation of Isabella: when that was effected, neither 
the king nor his ministers made any secret of their real 
sentiments. There was, indeed no declaration of war, 
no interruption of the external relations of amity : but 
the more powerful of the French nobles were encouraged 
to insult Henry, to plunder his subjects, and to make 
descents on the most exposed parts of his dominions. 
To every complaint an evasive or offensive answer was 

Ryra. viii. 711. 753. ix. 283. 330. The last of these is a commissio 
given by Henry V., and dated Feb 24, 1416, to Sir Gilbert Talbot, to trea 
with Meredith, the son of Glendower, concerning the submission of hi 
father and the other rebels in Wales, if they desired it. From Rot. ParL iv. 
377, it is evident that Glendower himself never submitted. 


returned ; and for several years commissioners from 
the two governments assembled and adjourned, re- 
assembled and separated, without coming to any settle- 
ment of their differences. The most enterprising of 
the king's enemies was Walleran de St. Pol, who had 
married a sister of Richard. He possessed large estates 
and offices of emolument in France, and for them was 
amenable to the French government : but he was also 
a prince of the empire, and as such acted- as an indepen- 
dent sovereign. He believed, or pretended to believe, 
that it was his duty to revenge the fate of his brother- 
in-law ; and the king of England received from Walle- A-n- 
ran's herald the following defiance: "To the most 1402. 
" high and mighty prince Henry duke of Lancaster, Ftb. 
" I, Walleran of Luxemburgh, count of Ligny and St. 
" Pol, considering the affinity, love, and confederation 
" which existed between me and the most high and 
" mighty prince Richard king of England, whose sister 
" I married, and the death of the same king, of which 
" you are notoriously accused, and for which your repu- 
" tation is blemished ; and, moreover, the great shame 
" and loss that I and my posterity of his line may suffer 
" for the time to come ; and likewise the indignation 
" of Almighty God, and of all reasonable and honourable 
" persons, if I do not expose myself to revenge the death 
" of the said king, to whom I was allied : on these ac- 
" counts I give you to know, that in every manner in 
" my power I will do you harm ; and every kind of injury 
" by myself, my relations, my men, and my subjects, 
" I will offer you, both by sea and land without the 
" kingdom of France, entirely for the reasons above re- 
" hearsed, and not on account of any hostilities between 
" my dread and sovereign lord the king of France and 
" the realm of England. And this I certify to you 
" under my seal, at my castle of Luxemburgh, the 10th 
" of February, 1402." This was followed by a singular 
exhibition. To testify his horror for the perfidy of the 
earl of Rutland, who, it was believed, had betrayed the 

312 HENRY iv. [CHAP. iv. 

secrets of his accomplices to Henry, Walleran's servants 
carried, by his orders, from the castle of Bohain the 
figure of a man decorated with the arms and device of 
Rutland, and in the dead of the night hung it on a 
gibbet at the gates of Calais. But his next operations 
were more serious. With a numerous squadron of ships 
he inflicted severe injuries on the inhabitants of the Isle 
of Wight, and of the southern coast of England. Three 
princes of the house of Bourbon, embarking in the same 
cause, burnt the town of Plymouth ; and the admiral 
of Bretagne swept the narrow seas, and carried as prizes 
into the French ports a large carrack, and forty-nine 
smaller ships, with nearly two thousand prisoners*. 

But that which sank still deeper into the mind of the 
A.D. king was a challenge which he received from his former 
1402. friend and sworn brother t, Louis duke of Orleans, to 
^ U S- fight him with one hundred knights on a side in the 
marches of Guienne. After a silence of more than 
fl ec> four months Henry replied by a letter, in which he ex- 
15. pressed his astonishment at the receipt of such a chal- 
lenge during the truce between the two kingdoms, and 

Ohroniques d'Enguerran de MonstreM, vol. i. f. 13 : a Paris, 1596. 
t That the reader may form an idea of these contracts of friendship, I 
will translate that which had been given by Louis to Henry, who sent it 
back to him when he received the challenge. It begins with a long cat*- 
logue of sovereigns and princes, the relations and friends of the contracting 
parties, whose interests are not to be affected by the present agreement. 
It then provides, "that there shall be, always and without intermission, 
" the good affection of true love between the dukes of Lancaster and 
* Orleans, as between true and honourable friends ; that each shall always 
and in all places be a friend and well-wisher to tlie friends and well- 
wishers of the other, and an enemy to his enemies, as becometh the 
honour and reputation of both ; that at all times ami in all places, in all 
things and concerns, each shall love, pursue, keep, and defend the 
health, the good, the honour, and the estate of the other, both in word 
and deed, diligently and carefully, and as far as can be done, honour- 
ably and worthily: that in time and case of discord, debate and war, 
they shall aid and defend each other with great desire, pure will, and 
perfect work, against and towards all prim-es, lords, barons, individuals, 
commonalties, colleges, universities, of whatever lordship, dignity, estate 
or condition they may be, by all means, remedies, acts, counsels, forces, 
" aids, men at arms, troops, and other helps that they can or may; and 
" that each shall rise, resist, and combat all the adversaries, warriors and 
" enemies of the other, and apply to it with all his thought, advice, and 
" work, lawful and honourable, excepting always the persons named 
" above." Dated 17th June, 1396. Monstrel. i 9,"lO. 


from one who had sworn to live with him in perpetual 
amity ; reminded Louis that he was a king, and that 
kings did not condescend to fight in private combat with 
any but their equals ; and concluded by saying, that 
he should go to Guienne when he pleased, and take 
with him such knights as he pleased, and then his ad- 
versary might, if he chose, meet him in whatever man- 
ner he thought best, and should receive such salisfaction A. D. 
as he deserved. This answer provoked a repetition of 1403, 
the challenge, with reproaches of rebellion, usurpation, ^ ar - 
and murder. To the two first Henry made but evasive ' 
replies. They came, he said, with a bad grace from April 
one who was not only privy to his designs, but had pro- 30. 
mised his aid to carry them into execution ; and as to 
his right to the English crown, it was enough to satisfy 
his own conscience that he held it by the gift of the 
Almighty. But the charge of murder he met with the 
most emphatic denial. " If you mean that we had any 
** hand in his death, we say that you lie, and will lie 
" falsely, as often as you shall assert it : as the true God 
" knows, whom we call to witness our innocence, offer- 
" ing, as a loyal prince ought, our body against yours, 
" if you will or dare to prove it *." But these doughty 
champions upon paper never met in the field. Henry 
was more anxious to silence his adversary by the au- 
thority of the French government ; and his ambassadors 
repeatedly complained of the challenge as of an infrac- 
tion of the armistice. To their urgent demand for 
satisfaction the following laconic reply was made : " Nei- June 
u ther the king nor his council have ever broken, nor 27. 
u will they ever break their engagements. This is the 
" only answer that can be returned t." 

In this extraordinary situation of pretended friend- 
ship and of real enmity the two governments watched 
each other, till the decision of Henry had crushed all 
his domestic opponents, and his good fortune, by two 

Monstrel. i. f. 8 13. f Kym. viii. 310. Rot. Parl. 522. 

314 HENRY iv. [CHAP. iv. 

extraordinary occurrences, gave him the ascendancy 
both in Scotland and France. 1. Robert king of Scot- 
land, a weak but harmless prince, had allowed the reins 
of government to drop from his feeble grasp into the 
hands of his enterprising brother, the duke of Albany. 
Albany, who looked forward, if not to the throne, at 
least to the undisturbed possession and exercise of the 
royal authority, had contrived to throw his nephew, the 
Duke of Rothsay, presumptive heir to the crown, into a 
prison, where, as it had been reported of the unfortunate 
Richard, he was suffered to perish through hunger. The 
fate of the elder brother admonished Robert, who lived 
in solitude in the isle of Bute, to provide for the security 
of his second son James, only fourteen years of age, 
whom he sent, under the care of the earl of the Orkneys, 
with a recommendatory letter to Charles king of France. 
A . D Unfortunately the young prince in his passage was taken 
1405. off Flamborough head by an English cruiser, though a 
Mar. truce subsisted between the two crowns, and was offered 
3' an acceptable present to Henry, who sarcastically 
observed, that he could speak French as well as his 
brother Charles, and was equally capable of educating 
a king of Scotland. Instead of allowing the prisoner 
to continue his journey, he committed him to safe cus- 
tody in the castle of Pevensey. The intelligence of the 
captivity of James broke the heart of his father ; and 
Albany, sensible that the continuance of his own power 
depended on the duration of his nephew's confinement, 
became from that moment the obsequious servant of 
Henry. Affrays indeed between the borderers occa- 
sionally happened, but a long succession of truces pre- 
vented any hostile aggression on the part of either power *. 
A. u. 2. The other occurrence which threw all France into 
l^ 7 ' commotion was the murder of the duke of Orleans, the 
,,o v ' king's brother, and the adversary of Henry. It was per- 
petrated one evening in the streets of Paris, by eighteen 

* Fordun, xv. 18. 


assassins: two clays later it was ascertained, by the 
avowal of the duke of Burgundy, that he was its real 
author. After a short flight he returned to Paris, ac- 
companied hy his friends and vassals, attempted to 
justify the deed, and was again received into favour by 
his weak and vacillating sovereign. The princes of the 
house of Orleans, after several ineffectual petitions for 
justice, sought their revenge by force of arms; and the 
whole kingdom was divided between the two parties of 
the Bourguignons and the Armagnacs. Henry viewed 
these commotions with pleasure. They served to oc- 
cupy and to weaken the most formidable of his adver- 
saries ; and they offered him the opportunity of re- 
taliating upon France the injuries which for some 
years she had inflicted upon England. When the A . n. 
Armagnacs besieged Charles in Paris, Henry sent a 1411. 
thousand archers and eight hundred lances commanded P ct - 
by the earl of Arundel to the duke of Burgundy, who, " * 
with these auxiliaries, and his own forces, made his 
way into the capital, and compelled his enemies to re- 
tire *. The next year the duke prepared to follow up 
his success, and to reduce the Armagnacs to submission. 
But Henry had now listened to their proposals. The 
dukes of Berri, Orleans, and Bourbon, with the count A.. 
of Alengon, consented for themselves and their asso- 1412. 
ciates to acknowledge him for rightful duke of Aqui- ^ av 
taine, to aid him in the recovery of all the ancient rights 
and appurtenances of that duchy ; to hold of him, by 
homage and fealty, whatever they possessed within its 
limits ; to restore to him twenty towns belonging to the 
royalties of the duchy ; and to give security that, at 
the deaths of the present possessors, the counties of 
Poitou and Angouleme should return to him and his 
heirs. Henry on his part bound himself to assist them 
in every just quarrel, as his faithful vassals and subjects ; 
to enter into no treaty with the duke of Burgundy, his 

* MoustreL i. 132136. Wals. 380. 

316 . HENRY iv. [CHAP. iv. 

children, brothers, or cousins, without their consent ; 
and to send to their immediate assistance a thousand 
men at arms, and three thousand archers, to serve at 
their cost for three months *. The expectation of sx> 
powerful a reinforcement infused new spirits into the 
Armagnacs. When the duke of Burgundy, with the 
royal army, advanced to besiege the city of Bourges, 
the duke of Berri threw himself, with eight hundred 
men at arms, within the walls, and threatened to pro- 
June tract the defence to the last man. But there were in 
10- both armies persons who viewed with horror this un- 
natural war, and who dreaded the arrival of the Eng- 
lish, as a means of adding to its continuance. It was 
not difficult to infuse the same sentiments into the prin- 
cipal officers, exhausted as they were by fatigue and 
enfeebled by disease. An accommodation was at length 
July effected. The Armagnacs submitted to the royal au- 
13. thority: the dukes of Orleans and Burgundy swore to 
Aug. forget their former differences ; and, in order to cement 
'^- their present friendship, the first engaged to marry a 
daughter of the latter, and renounced by letter to 
Henry his alliance with England. " But the joy caused 
by their reconciliation was immediately damped by the 
intelligence that Thomas duke of Clarence, second son 
to the king of England, had landed with an army in 
Normandy, had been joined by the counts of Alencon 
and Richmont, and was busily employed in laying waste 
the country as he advanced. It was in vain that the 
Armagnacs informed him of the pacification. Six hun- 
dred men at arms from Guienne hastened to his standard ; 
Maine and Anjou were overrun and plundered ; and 
the king of France was compelled to order all his forces 
to assemble at Chartres for the defence of the kingdom. 

* Rym. viii. 738 742. It appears from the contracts between the king 
and the dukes of Clarence and York, and the earl of Dorset, that this 
army of 4000 men required SOOO horses, and that the pay of the military 
had for some reason or other considerably advanced. The men at arms 
had Is. 6d., the archers 9d. per day. Ibid". 74o. 749, 750. 


But in the mean while the duke of Orleans visited the 
English general, agreed to pay him the sum of two 
hundred and nine thousand crowns, and gave his bro- 
ther the count of Angouleme as hostage for the fulfil- 
ment of this engagement. The duke of Clarence pro- Nov. 
fessed himself satisfied, and marched his army into 1 * 

While Henry was yet earl of Derby, he had married 
Mary de Bohun, daughter and co-heiress of the earl of 
Hereford. This lady bore him four sons, of whom the 
eldest at his father's accession was in his twelfth year. 
To have introduced at that period any measure for the 
settlement of the crown would have seemed to betray 
a secret doubt of the right, which the new king pre- 
tended to have to it ; arid he was content to receive from 
the lords and commons an oath of allegiance to him- 
self, and after himself to his eldest son as the heir ap- 
parent -I-. Afterwards the victory, which he gained over 
the Percies at Shrewsbury, proved to him that even of 
his ancient friends many had become secret adherents 
to the insurgents : but he had the prudence to forego 
an inquiry which might have proved dangerous ; and 
in a great council at Worcester required from all the Oct. 
lords spiritual and temporal a renewal of their allegiance. A - u- 
Two months later the same ceremony was repeated in 15 
another great council at London in presence of the A ,,"_ 
ambassadors from France ; and then, having thrice 1404. 
received the oaths of his subjects, he ventured to pass Feb. 
in parliament an act vesting the succession to the crown ^ 
in his four sons and their heirs, in the order of seniority J. 
Besides these sons he had two daughters by the same 
mother : but they were purposely passed by, perhaps 
that he might not afford an additional argument in 
favour of the rightful heir, the earl of March, who 
claimed by the female line. It was, however, plain 

Monstrel. 153, 151 156. t Rot. Par], iii. 426. 434. 

t Rot Part. iii. 525. 5J5. 


that, according to the late settlement, the daughters of 
A. D . his sons might inherit ; and, therefore, to do away all 
1406. ambiguity, two years later a new act was passed, limit- 
June i n g the succession to the crown of England and France 
to his sons and their issue male ; and by this provision 
perpetually excluding the females *. But then it was 
asked, on what ground did he claim the crown of France ? 
If females could not succeed to it, neither he nor his 
predecessors had any pretensions, since their right could 
descend to them only through a female, Isabella, the 
mother of Edward III. This objection disconcerted the 
king : and before the end of the session the last act 
P was repealed, and the right of succession to the two 
22. ' crowns was declared to reside in the sons of the king, 
and their general issue. But even then, though the 
claim of the females descending from the four princes 
was distinctly allowed, Henry's daughters themselves 
were not noticed t. 

Of the four princes, Henry, the eldest, from his prox- 
imity to the throne, chiefly attracted the public notice. 
In the battle of Shrewsbury he had given proofs of per- 
sonal courage : the success of the war against the in- 
surgents of Wales, which was carried on under his 
nominal command, reflected a lustre on his youth ; and 
the commons, in an adulatory address, allotted to him 
the praise of three virtues, of filial respect for the king, 
of bravery in the field of battle, and of modesty in the 
readiness with which on all occasions he submitted his 
own judgment to that of his council $. His father, 
however, had little reason to be satisfied with his con- 
duct. He was headstrong and impetuous in the pur- 
suit of pleasure, and when he was not actually employed 
in military service, plunged without restraint into all 
the vices and follies of youth. Probably the reader's 
recollection has already transported him to those pages, 

Rot. Patl. 5745/6. f Ibii!. 580583. Rym. viii. 462. 

J Ibid. 5/4. 


HI which the frolics and the associates of the prince 
have been portrayed by the inimitable pencil of Shak- 
speare. It may be, indeed, that the particular facts 
and personages are the mere creatures of the poet's 
imagination ; but it cannot be denied that they are per- 
fectly in unison with the accounts of the more ancient 
writers, and the traditionary belief of the succeeding 
century. It should, however, be added, that in the 
midst of his excesses he occasionally displayed proofs 
of an ingenuous mind. It happened that one of his 
associates had been arraigned for felony before the chief- 
justice Gascoigne, the same inflexible magistrate who 
had withstood the illegal commands of the king at 
York. The prince imperiously required the release of 
the prisoner ; and, when that was refused, drew his 
sword on the judge. But Gascoigne coolly ordered him 
into confinement in the prison of the king's bench ; and 
the young Henry had the good sense to submit to the 
punishment. When the incident was related to his 
father, " Happy," he exclaimed, " the monarch who 
" possesses a judge so resolute in the discharge of his 
" duty, and a son so willing to yield to the authority of 
" the law *." 

But it was not only the immorality of the prince 
which created anxiety in the breast of his father. Un- 
guarded and disrespectful expressions, which had dropt 
from him in the hours of merriment and intoxication, 
were officiously collected, and conveyed to Henry ; and 
it was artfully insinuated that he ought to be on his 
guard against the attempts of an 'aspiring and unprin- 
cipled youth, whose court was already more numerously 
attended than his own. These suggestions, confirmed 
by his experience of the warm and enterprising temper 
of his son, made a deeper impression on the king's mind 
than might have been expected ; and the prince, to 
justify himself, wrote exculpatory letters to many of the 

Elmh. 12, and the apology of the prince ia Luders, 7982. 

320 HENRY iv. [CHAP iv. 

A. . lords, and proceeded with a numerous train of followers 
14 12. to expostulate with his father. He not only maintained 
June his innocence, but demanded the punishment of his 


calumniators ; and the monarch, to screen his own 
friends, required him to wait till the next meeting of 
parliament *. Yet even on such an occasion, if we may 
believe the earl of Ormond, an eye-witness, he displayed 
the usual eccentricity of his character. " He disguised 
" himself in a gown of blue satin or damask, wrought 
" full of oylet holes, and at every oylet the needle where- 
" with it was made, hanging still by the silk : and about 
" his arm he wore a dog's collar set full of S.S. of gold, 
" and the tirets of the same also of fine gold." Henry 
received him in his closet attended by four friends, 
before whom the prince, throwing himself on his knees, 
and presenting a dagger to his father, besought him to 
deprive him of life, since he had deprived him of the 
royal favour. This anecdote has been disputed ; but it 
comes to us from good authority, and does not seem 
inconsistent with the character of the young prince 'K 

To domestic trouble must be added the state of the 
king's health, and the anxieties of his conscience. Though 
A. D. he was only in his forty-sixth year, he bore about him 
1413. a ii th e symptoms of declining age. Soon after arch- 
bishop Scrope's insurrection he became afflicted with 
the most loathsome eruptions on his face, which by the 
common people were considered as a punishment for 
the death of that prelate ; and a succession of epileptic 
fits, gradually increasing in violence, was now hurrying 
him to the grave. The prospect of his fate brought, 
we are told, to his recollection, the means by which he 
had acquired, and the blood by which he had preserved, 
the crown. He began at length to doubt the certainty 
of his favourite maxim, that the success of the enter- 
prise was a proof that it had received the approbation 

* Otterb. 271, Elmhnm alludes to this circumstance, p. 11. 
t A pud Stow, 339, 340. 


of Heaven. One day, when he was lying in a fit, and 
to all appearance was dead, the prince conveyed into 
another room the crown, which according to custom had 
been laid on a cushion by the bed-side. The king re- 
turning to himself, sternly asked, who had borne it 
away ; and on the report of his guards, required the 
immediate return of the prince. Pacified by his duti- 
ful expressions, he asked him with a sigh : " Alas ! 
" fair son, what right have you to the crown, when you 
" know your father had none?" " My liege," answered 
the young Henry, " with the sword you won it, and 
" with the sword I will keep it." After a pause the 
king faintly replied : " Well, do as you think best. I 
" leave the issue to God, and hope he will have mercy 
" on my soul *." 

His last fit seized him while he was praying in St. 
Edward's chapel at Westminster. He was carried into 
the abbot's chamber, and quickly expired, on the 19th of 
March, 1413, and in the fourteenth year of his reign t. Mar 
Of his three younger sons, Thomas had been created ^- 
duke of Clarence, John and Humphrey remained with- 
out any title. His daughters Blanche and Philippa were 
married, the first to the duke of Bavaria, and the other 
to the king of Denmark. By Jane of Navarre, his se- 
cond wife, he left no issue. 

In the preceding reigns the reader has observed the 
house of commons continually advancing with a silent 
but steady pace towards importance and authority : under 
Henry it assumed a still higher tone ; addressed the 
sovereign with greater freedom, and pushed its inquiries 
into every department of the administration. The king's 

* Monstrel. i. 163. It is not improbable that this story was framed by 
the friends of the rival family. 

( There is a s'ran^e story "told by Clement Maydestone, on the authority 
"f one of the persons employed to convey the kind's body by water from 
Westminster for interment at Canterbury. Finding themselves in danger 
from a storm, they threw the dead body into the river in imitation of the 
mariners, who had treated the prophet Jonah in that manner, and pro- 
ceeding to Canterbury, deposited the empty coffin in the grave. Peck, 
Desider. Curios, ii. 5. 


322 KENI;Y iv. [CHAP. iv. 

pecuniary embarrassments, the defect in his title, and 
the repeated insurrections in favour of Richard and the 
earl of March, made it his interest to court the affec- 
tions of the people through their representatives*; and 
the men, who originally were deemed of no other use 
than to grant their money, became by almost impercep- 
tible degrees a coequal and coefficient part of the legis- 
lature. The following particulars respecting their elec- 
tion, their immunities, and their proceedings, have been 
gleaned from the rolls of parliament. 

1. As the importance of the knights of the shire in- 
creased, both the government and its opponents redoubled 
their exertions to procure the election of their respective 
friends. Much, however, depended on the partiality of 
the sheriff; who, as he was always appointed by the 
court, seldom hesitated to make an undue return at the 
request of the council. Such conduct had provoked 
frequent remonstrances during the last reign : they were 
renewed in the present ; and, as a remedy for the abuse, 
two statutes were now enacted. The first provided that 
in the next county court held after the delivery of the 
writ, the day and place of the intended parliament should 
be announced by proclamation ; that all present, both 
suitors duly summoned for the purpose, and others, 
should immediately proceed to the election ; and that 
the names of the persons so chosen, whether they were 
present or absent, should be certified by an indenture 
under the seals of all those who had voted in their favour. 
By the second the sheriff making a false return, or acting 
in opposition to the former statute, was subjected to a 
fine of one hundred pounds, and the judges of assize were 
empowered to inquire into such offences, and to pass 
sentence on the delinquents t. 

* On one occasion the kinir invited all the members to (line with him the 
next (iiiy. Rot. Parl. iii. 4 .);.>. 

t Hot" Par], iii. tiOl. 641. I am inclined to think that the " others," 
the meaning of which is disputed, was intended to defeat tin; artifice of 
the slierifl's, who confined the election to the few suitors whom they sum- 


2. The members of the lower, in common with those 
of the upper house, possessed by ancient custom the 
: of freedom from arrester imprisonment, including 
not only themselves, but their attendants and servants ; 
and extending from the day of their departure from their 
own homes to the moment of their return. This v. as a va- 
luable, but in these ages, a necessary privilege. Many il- 
legal practices still prevailed , which rendered it expedient 
that those, who attended their duty in parliament, should 
be placed under the special protection of the law. Men 
were liable to arrests on false pretences at the suit of a 
malicious adversary ; they were exposed during their 
journeys to be waylaid, maimed, or even murdered by 
enemies who would not submit their quarrel to the de- 
cision of the law ; and they were often in danger of being 
despoiled by the organised bands of robbers, which in- 
fested some of the counties. Henry acknowledged this 
privilege, but refused to strengthen it with additional 
penalties. When the commons petitioned that the of- 
fender, besides a fine to the king, should pay treble da- 
mages to the party aggrieved, he coldly replied, that the 
law had already provided a sufficient remedy. It chanced 
that soon afterwards an esquire belonging to the repre- 
sentative for Somerset was severely wounded in an as- 
sault by John Savage. The commons again petitioned 
the king. They requested, that to murder any member 
or his servant should be adjudged treason; to maim or 
disfigure him, should be punished with the loss of a 
hand ; and to wound or beat him should subject the of- 
fender to a heavy fine, and a year's imprisonment 

moned for the purpose. Even after this time, it is certain that many 
elections were madeliy a very small number of electors. And here I may 
instance the extraordinary return, made by the sheriff of the county of 
Dublin, ofrepiesentatrves to attend at a parliament held by Edward 111. 
in England. The court consisted of no more than forty !our persons i.t' 
whom twenty-four elected Nicholas Mouth and William Fiuwiiliam : 
twenty elected Nicholas Mouth ani Richard White; and the sheriff re- 
turned the latter, because the twenty voters in his favour were of higher 
rank, aud greater substance thau the twenty-tour, who voted for his com- 
petitor. Lei. vol. i. A pp. p. 3^6. 

324 HENRY iv. [CHAP. iv. 

Henry, however, evaded the petition, and issued a pro- 
clamation, ordering Savage, under severe penalties, to 
appear and take his trial before the justices of the king's 

3. Another, and a still more important privilege, was 
that of freedom of debate. If, during the last reign, it 
had been impaired by the cruel and unconstitutional 
judgment of Haxey, it recovered its former stability in 
the present, by the reversal of that judgment. The 
speaker was careful to claim it for himself and his col- 
leagues, not only at the beginning of each session, but al- 
most as often as he addressed the throne ; and to request, 
that the king would give no credence to reports of interest- 
ed individuals, but believe that whatever was said in their 
debates proceeded from their attention to his real inte- 
rests. Under the protection of this privilege the com- 
mons introduced a new practice, of presenting their pe- 
titions by word of mouth, instead of committing them 
to writing ; an innovation greatly annoyivig to Henry, 
who was often distressed to return at the moment an 
appropriate answer. It was in vain that he commanded 
them to revert to the ancient custom. After a short in- 
terval the command was disobeyed : each new instance 
served to form a precedent ; and before the end of the 
king's reign the practice was firmly established t. 

Several of the addresses delivered by different speakers 
are still extant. They all commence with the most 
humble professions of loyalty and submission : soon a 
bolder tone is assumed ; and they frequently end with a 
severe censure on the measures of government, or the 
characters of the ministers. Thus sir John Tibetot, as 
speaker, complained that Calais had been left without 
provisions ; that in twelve months ninety-six towns and 
castles had been lost in Guienne ; that the greater part 
of the lordship of Ireland had been conquered by the 
natives ; that large sums had been unnecessarily squan- 

* Rot. Pail. Hi. IHL, 542. t Ibid. iii. 456. 523. 573. 


dered away in the marches of Scotland ; that the inha- 
bitants of the sea coast, and near the borders of Wales, 
had been impoverished by their exertions in their own 
defence ; and that all estates in the realm were reduced 
to the- lowest distress : whence he inferred that it was 
incumbent on the king to employ for the future more 
able and experienced counsellors *. At length, however, 
towards the close of his reign, Henry ventured to check 
the growing freedom of the speakers ; and when Thomas 
Chaucer was presented to him for his approbation, re- 
plied, that the new speaker should enjoy the same liberty 
which had been enjoyed by former speakers ; but that he 
would not suffer the introduction of any novelty in par- 
liament, and would remain in possession of the same 
franchises and prerogatives which had belonged to his 
ancestors, the former kings of England !. 

4. The real authority of the commons had been de- 
fined in the first year of this reign. To one of their pe- 
titions the primate answered in the name of the king, 
that the commons, as they had acknowledged, were only 
petitioners and demandants ; and that the king and lords 
alone had always been, and would be of right, judges of 
parliament : but that " it was the king's will to have 
" the advice and assent of the commons in the enact- 
" ment of statutes, and the making of grants, subsidies, 
" and such things, fur the common profit of the realm $." 
They complained, however, (with what justice it is now 

* Rot Part. 573. Frequently their addresses were delivered in bold 
and energetic language ; occasionally they are degraded by the most 
puerile couceits. At the end of the session in 1401, the speaker com- 
pared the proceedings of parliament to the ceremonies of the mass. The 
' ' ' ' ' ' "" ' ' " ' " nd 

say " Deo -jratias" V Ibid. p. 4C<5). This is ridiculous enough : but I men- 
tion it tn notice a still more ridiculous mistake by the compiler of Cob- 
bett's Parliamentary History, who tells us that the king, lords, and corn- 

+ Hot. Pail. iii. 043. t Ibid - 42 7- 


impossible to ascertain,) that by false and incorrect en- 
tries on the rolls, they were often made parties to enact- 
ments to which they had never given their assent. As a 
remedy, therefore, they prayed that the proceedings 
might always be engrossed before the close of the session, 
and while the particulars were fresh in the recollection 
of the judges : but Henry, without noticing their object, 
replied, that, for the future, the substance of the pro- 
ceedings should be committed to writing by the clerk of 
parliament, and laid before the king and the lords for 
their approbation. The commons rejoined by pointing 
out a case of false entry, and praying redress. The rolls 
were immediately opened : the judges examined them 
in presence of the two houses; and the king pronounced 
the entry correct, and the complaint groundless. This 
failure did not dishearten them ; their remonstrances 
were renewed in succeeding parliaments : and at last it 
was agreed that, to prevent errors, every entry should 
be made in the presence of a deputation from the two 

When Henry first ascended the throne, he sought by 
public professions of economy to fix the wavering fidelity 
of his subjects t. But the insurrections so rapidly suc- 
ceeding each other, plunged him into expenses, which 
it was not in his power to defray with the ordinary re- 
venue of the crown ; and to levy money by taxes, or tal- 
lages, imposed by his own authority, would, in Iris cir- 
cumstances, have proved a most hazardous experiment. 
He preferred, therefore, to throw himself on the bounty 
of the nation ; and thus contributed to establish the 
practice of what had long been the only legal method of 
raising extraordinary supplies. Neither had the king 
any reason to complain of the parsimony of his parlia- 
ments. In virtue of successive grants he enjoyed the 
tonnage and poundage, with the duties on wool and hides, 
during the whole of his reign ; and in the course of four- 

* Hut. I'arl. 457, 453. 4C6. 535. t Wilk. Con. iii. 239. 


teen years received uiu'lit tenths and eight fifteenths from 
the laity, with a proportionate number of tenths from the 
clergy. His wants, however, afforded opportunities to 
the commons of confirming and improving their newly 
acquired rights. They were careful to insert in their 
grants that the king could not lawfully raise such aids 
from his people without the previous assent of the lords 
and commons *. In his second year they made a hold 
attempt to emancipate themselves from the chief re- 
straint, which the crown possessed over them, and prayed 
that their petitions might be answered before they pre- 
sented their grant of money. Henry immediately perceiv- 
ed their object : he consulted the lords; and on the last 
day of the session replied : " That such a manner of pro- 
" ceeding had never been known in the reigns of his 
" predecessors ; and that he would not allow any altera- 
" tion in the good customs of ancient tiniest." During 
the minority of Richard II. they had occasionally been 
allowed to appropriate the supplies to particular services. 
This they now claimed as a right ; and the king, that he 
might evade without offence the formal recognition of 
their claim, spontaneously offered what they would other- 
wise have demanded. In 1 404 he ordered the estimates 
of the current year to be laid before them ; promised to 
submit his household to the regulation of the lords ; and 
proposed that the public money should be received and 
paid by treasurers to be appointed in parliament with the 
advice of the two houses $. From that period they ge- 
nerally appropriated the supply, excepting from it a 
certain sum to remain at the king's disposal : often ex- 
horted him to moderate his expenses ; demanded and 
procured for that purpose the banishment of four per- 
sons from his court $, and of most of the foreign attend- 

* S'il ne soil par les voluntes des scinenrs et comnnes de voslre roy- 
ainie. ot ceo de nouvell grante a tuire en plein parliament. Rot. PuL hi. 
493 547. 

t Hot. Purl, iii. 45S. J Ibid. 523 52<>. 

Henry declared in parliament that he knew of no caii-c \\liy tliey 
should quit his service : but as he was convinced that what the lords and 

328 HENRY iv. [CHAP. iv. 

ants on the new queen from the kingdom * ; and re- 
peatedly extorted his assent to numerous articles of re- 
formation in the government of his household, and of 
the whole realm. On one occasion they called for the 
receipts and disbursements of the last supply : but Henry 
replied, " that kings were not accustomed to account to 
" their subjects t :" on another the accounts were grant- 
ed, but with an observation, that it was not at the request 
of the commons, but because it was the will of the coun- 
cil J. On the whole, during this reign the commons 
seem to have firmly established their claim to vote the 
money of the nation, to appropriate it to particular ser- 
vices, and to inquire into all practices which tended to 
impoverish the crown, and all grievances which could in- 
crease the burdens of the people. 

Before I close the subject, I must notice a singular 
dispute, which shows that the lower house had learned 
to appreciate its own importance, and knew how to main- 
tain its own liberties. The king had called the lords 
before him, had exposed to them his wants, and had 
obtained their assent to a liberal supply. He then sent 
for a deputation of the commons, and informed them 
that he expected a similar proof of affection from their 
colleagues. At the report of the deputation the whole 
house was in a ferment : they contended that the most 
valuable of their privileges had been invaded ; and 
interrupted for some time the course of public business. 
Henry had the wisdom to yield ; and ordered the fol- 

coTimons should ordain was for the advantage of the realm, he charged the 
said lour persons to depart from his household. They were his confessor, 
the abbot of Uore, Richard Derham, and Crussbv, a valet of liis chamber' 
Rot. Parl. iii. 523. 

* Ibid. 527. The queen was Joan of Navarre, duchess dowager of Bre- 

T Rex brevitpr respomlebat, quod rees non solebant computum dare. 
Wilk. C.nic. iii. 282. We may suppose, however, tliat he yielded ; for the 
same writer tells us that the laymen would grant no supply without the 
accounts, and we find that they did grant one, from the roll's. 

I IViille a mesmes les communes, de la voluntee des dit?. seijjnrs du 
cM'inseil, et nient a 1'instance ne request des ditz communes. Rot. Parl. 
iii. 609. 


lowing declaration to be entered on the rolls : " That 
" it shall be lawful for the lords in this parliament and 
" in every parliament to come, to confer together, in 
" the absence of the king, respecting the state of the 
" realm, and the necessary remedies : and that it shall 
" be lawful to the commons in like manner to confer 
" together on the same state and remedies ; provided 
" always, that neither the lords on their part, nor the 
Mimons on theirs, make any report to the king of 
" any Grant granted by the commons, and assented to 
" by the lords, or of the communications between the 
' two houses respecting the said grant, until the same 
" lords and commons are of one assent and accord in 
" this matter ; and then in manner and form as hath 
" been accustomed : tliat is, by the mouth of the speaker 
" of the said commons : to the end that both lords and 
" commons may have their thanks of the king." By 
this declaration Henry appears to have surrendered all 
claim on the part of the crown to interfere in debates 
on the subject of supplies, and to have left the two 
houses on a footing of perfect equality in that respect ; 
though, after they had, by communication with each 
other, come to an understanding among themselves, 
the money was said to be " granted by the commons 
" with the assent of the lords*." 

This rei<rn supplies the first instance of a capital 
execution for the theological crime of heresy. Whether 
it were that men refused to distinguish between fact 
and opinion, and on that account visited erroneous 
persuasion with the same punishment as criminal action, 
it may not be easy to determine : but we unfortunately 
find that, in almost every country, whatever may have 
been the religious belief of the sovereign and the legis- 
lature, the severest penalties have repeatedly, and till 

* Uot Parl. iii 611. It appears to me that the complaint of tlie commons 

was not th;it the ([iipstion respecting the * had been first introduced in 
the house of lords, but only tliat the kin;; h-nl personally interfered in the 
matter. His answer leaves either house at liberty to debate ou any mat- 
ter in liis absence, whenever it raa\ thiuk proper. 

330 HENRY iv. [CHAP. iv. 

a very late period, been enacted against dissent from the 
doctrines established by law. Sir Edward Coke, the 
great luminary of the English bar in the reign of queen 
Elizabeth, teaches that heresy is so extremely and fear- 
fully punished, because it is a crime not against human, 
but divine Majesty ; that it is an infectious leprosy of 
the soul ; and must therefore be cut off, lest it diffuse 
the contagion*. It was perhaps some such metapho- 
rical and fallacious reasoning which persuaded the 
first Christian emperors to class heresy among the of- 
fences liable to civil punishment : it was certainly their 
example which induced the princes of the northern 
nations to adopt after their conversion similar regula- 
tions. In 1215 the fourth council of Lateran decreed 
that persons convicted of heresy " should be left to the 
" secular power to be dealt with according to due form 
" of law : " but this was not the introduction of a new 
system, but merely a declaration of what was then the 
common law in every country in Europe. 

During the last thirty years the English clergy had 
been goaded with every species of provocation, and 
yet had exhibited the most exemplary forbearance. 
Their moderation seemed to invite and sharpen the 
attacks of their adversaries. The spirit of Wycliffe had 
lost nothing of its original asperity by transfusion into 
the breasts of his successors. t His itinerant preachers 
still appealed to the passions and prejudices of the peo- 
ple, against the riches, the luxury, and the vices of the 
clergy, whom they described as the disciples and asso- 
ciates of Satan ; as mercenary shepherds, whose object 
was to shear the flock here, and lead it to perdition 
hereafter; as the usurpers of the patrimony of the poor, 
and of the revenues of the kingdom ; as the real cause 
of the taxes voted by the parliament, and consequently 
of the poverty felt by the lower classes t. Such decla- 

Coke, Inst. iii. 5. 

t Wilk. Con. iii. 208. 248.345. et seq. Knyj-ht 2657 2C69. Kuyuhton, 
who through curiosity attended some of tlieir meetings, informs us that, 


mations might perhaps have been despised, had they 
not led to inferences and attempts of dangerous ten- 
dency. The people were advised, were even commanded, 
not to pay their tithes : and plans were artfully framed, 
and obstinately pursued, to obtain the general confis- 
cation of ecclesiastical property. Immediately on his 
accession Henry proclaimed himself the protector of 
the church against the assaults of the Lollards. In the ^^ 
first convocation held during his reign his intentions 1399. 
were made known to the clergy by a royal message ; at O ct - 
the opening of the second the king's commissioners, . 
the earl of Northumberland, and Erpingham the lord 
chamberlain, exhorted the prelates and proctors to take 
measures fur the suppression of the errors disseminated 
by the itinerant preachers, and promised them the 
royal favour and assistance in the pursuit of so salutary 
an object *. In the parliament, which began to sit at 
the same time, the king's intention to support the esta- 
blished religion was announced from the throne ; and 
the commons in their address thanked him for his 
solicitude in favour of the doctrine, and his determina- 
tion to preserve the liberties of the church *. 

Encouraged by the royal invitation, the commons A. v. 
joined the clergy in a petition to the king in parliament ; ^dl. 
and an act was passed for the protection of the church, ~? n ' 
and the suppression of^fhe new sect. The preamble 
sets forth, that divers unauthorised preachers go about 

according to their assertion, all good men came over to their sect : none- 
refused but the wicked and reprobate. They called themselves true and 
evangelical preachers (veros praedicatores et evangelicos) ; their oppo- 
nents false teachers ;ni'.l enemies of " G'iddis lawe." He was surprised to 
observe how soon their disciples adopted the cant of their masters, and 
both men and women became teachers of evangelical doctrine (iinum 
modum statim loqueltB mirabiliter habuerunt. Doctores evangelicx dur:- 
trin;e tarn viri qnam mulieres subito effect! sunt). See Knyghton, 2064, 
2665. Though all the preachers seem to have studied in the school of 
Wycliflfe, yet each liistinguUhed himself by some particular doctrine. Most 
of their tenets were directed against the doctrines and the possessions of 
the established church : other* were subversive of the well-being of society : 
some must appear absurd tu every rational reader ; and a few were too irj- 
c'elicate to be mentioned. See Wilk. p. 24S. 315 Knyu'bt. 26(59. Wals. 55/. 
Wilk. Con. iii. 239. 234. t Hot. Pad. iii. 434, 435. 

332 HENRY iv. [CHAP. iv. 

teaching new doctrines and heretical opinions, making 
conventicles and confederacies, holding schools, writing 
books, misinforming the people, and daily committing 
enormities too horrible to be heard ; and that the bishops 
are unable to repress these offences, because the of- 
fenders despise ecclesiastical censures, and when they 
are cited before their ordinaries, depart into another 
diocese : the statute therefore provides as a remedy for 
these evils, that the bishop shall have power to arrest 
and confine persons defamed or vehemently suspected 
of such offences, till they make their canonical purga- 
tion ; and, if they be convicted, to punish them with 
imprisonment, and a fine to the king. It then enacts 
that if any person so convicted shall refuse to abjure 
such preachings, doctrines, opinions, schools, and misin- 
formations, or after abjuration shall be proved to have re- 
lapsed, then the sheriff of the county, or the mayor and 
bailiffs of the nearest borough shall, on requisition, be 
present at the pronunciation of the sentence, shall re- 
ceive the person so condemned into custody, and shall 
cause him to be burnt on a high place before the people, 
that such punishment may strike terror into the minds 
of others *. 

During this very parliament (whether before or after 
the passing of the act is uncertain) a petition was pre- 
sented to the lords and commons by William Sawtre, 
begging that he might be permitted to dispute before 
them on the subject of religion. Such a request ex- 
cited considerable surprise : but the enthusiast aspired 
to the crown of martyrdom, and had the satisfaction to 
fall a victim to his own folly. He had been rector of 
1399. Lynn in Norfolk: but about two years before had been 
May convicted of heresy, and deprived of his living. On his 
- :) - recantation he had been lately admitted a chaplain in 
St. Osith's in London. The character of Sawtre, and 
the nature of his request, induced the convocation to 

* Rot. Parl. iii. 466. Wilk. Cone. iii. 252, 

A. D. 1401.] EXECUTION OF SAWTRE. 333 

summon him before them; and six days were allowed A.. 
him to prepare his answer. The articles objected to^'^- 
him were those, of which he had been accused before :| 
the bishop of Norwich. With unparalleled effrontery he |.\,j,. 
denied his former conviction and recantation, and, ex- 18. 
plaining the other articles in an orthodox sense, re- 
fused to give any satisfaction on the subject of thu 
eucharist. The trial was adjourned from day to day ; 
and the archbishop, notwithstanding the contempt and 
insolence of his answers, made a last effort to save him, 
by asking if he were content to stand on that question 
by the determination of the church. He answered that 
he was, provided the determination were agreeable to 
the will of God; an evasion which of course was rejected. 
The record of his former conviction and recantation 
was now produced from the registry of the bishop of 
Norwich ; and on the eleventh day from his arraign- Feb. 
ment he was pronounced by the primate a relapsed 23. 
heretic, was degraded from his orders, and delivered 
into the custody of the constable and marshal of Eng- 
land *. About a week afterwards, Henry consulted Mar. 
the temporal lords sitting in parliament t, and by their 2- 
advice issued a precept to the mayor and sheriffs to 
execute the sentence of the law upon Sawtre. The un- 
happy man, instead of being shut up in an asylum for 
lunatics, was burnt to death as a malefactor, in the pre- 
sence of an immense multitude ; and the commons by 
their speaker returned thanks to the king that, where- Mar. 
as " by bad doctrine the faith of holy church was on the 1 0. 
" point of being overturned, to the destruction of the 
" king and kingdom, he had made and ordained a just 
" remedy to the destruction of such doctrine and the 
" pursuers thereof J." 

* Con. iii. 255 260. 

t During this parliament, and probably at this very time, the commons 
petitioned tin- kin;; that ' when any man or woman was taken and im- 
" prisoned for Lollardism, he mi<;ht be instantly put on his answer, and 
" have such judgment as lie deserved, for an example toothers of such 
" wicked sect, that they might soon cease their wicked preachings, and 
" keep themselves to the Christian faith." It received the royal assent. 
Rot. Parl. iii. 4/3, 4/4. 

I Rot. Parl. iii. 459. 4C6. There have been writers who have not hesi- 

334 HEXRY iv. [CHAP. iv. 

This severity did not, however, subdue the boldness of 
the preachers. They declaimed with redoubled ani- 
mosity against the temporalities of the clergy, till the 
lay proprietors became alarmed for the security of their 
own possessions. In 1407 the subject attracted the 
notice of the house of lords : a petition was sent by them 
to the commons for their concurrence ; and it was after- 
wards presented by the speaker to the king. It stated 
that the preachers excited the people to take away tin- 
possessions of the church, of which the clergy were as 
assuredly endowed as the temporal lords were of their 
inheritances ; and that unless these evil purposes were 
speedily resisted, it was probable that in process of time 
they would also move the people to take away the pos- 
sessions and inheritances of the temporal lords, and 
make them common, to the open commotion of the 
people, and the utter subversion of the realm. In con- 
sequence it was enacted that such persons, together 
with those who maintained that king Richard was still 
alive, and others who published false prophecies to de- 
lude the people, should be arrested and brought before 

us. p. . ee aso ns. p. : a snguar carge, oune on as 
singular a blunder. The statute, they say, does uot mention the assent of 
the commons, therefore it never passed in parliament. It would certainly 
have been as easy to forge that assent as the rest of the instrument : but 
the fact is, the statute could not mention the assent of the commons be- 

domino regi suppliearunt and was in the usual ir.unner granted by the 
king with the assent of the lords, qui quidem dominus rex ex as-ensu 

cergy s conrary o ac ; or ey ane e ng, as e reaer as 
seen above, for his resolution to support the church, in the beginning of 
the session ; they afterwards petitioned for severe measures against the 
preachers ; and at the end expressed their obligations to Henry for having 
passed this very statute : pur ceo que nostre Sr le Roy ent ad fait et or- 
deiirm-z bon et joust remede en destruction de tiele doctrine, et de la secte 
d'icelle. Hot, t'arl. iii. 466. 


the next parliament, to receive such judgment as the 
king and peers in their judicial authority should pro- 
nounce *. 

Hitherto the commons had equalled, perhaps sur- 
L, the upper house in hostility to the Lollards. 
Four years later Henry made the extraordinary request 
that the laity would empower him to raise a fifteenth, 
the clergy a tenth, in the years in which he might not 
summon a parliament. Neither body would entertain 
the proposal : but the commons, to shift the burden from 
themselves, advised him to lay it on the church. From 
its superfluous revenues, so they pretended, he might 
maintain fifteen earls, fifteen hundred knights, and six 
thousand two hundred esquires t ; and also support 
one hundred hospitals for the relief of the poor. But 
when the king called for the grounds of this calculation, 
they had none to offer ; and Henry severely repri- 
manded them for their presumption, and desired never 
more to hear of the subject j. This check appears to 
have silenced the advocates of the new doctrines during 
the remainder of his reign. 

* Rot. 1'arl. iii. p. 533. This was ouly a temporary ordinance to last till 

the next parliament. (Ibid.) There is therefore no reason to suppose that 

:rom the statute roll by the artifice of the clergy. Indeed 

Otterbunie tells us that none of the statutes made at that time were car- 

rk.l into execution. Otterb. 261. 

t The income of an earl was stated at 3000 marks a year, of a knight at 
100 marks and fourploughlands, and of an esquire at forty marks and two 
plouhl inds. 

t \Vals. 379. Otlerb. 267. Fab. 575. IIo-,v far this account may be 
true is unt-ert <'ti Nn vi'sti^e of the transaction is to b<- f >u:id on the lolls; 
no notice is taken of it in the acts of the convocation, which w as then sit- 
ting. Yet something extraordinary had p-issed ; for on the 8th of Febru- 
ary the commons prayed th<- kin.. 1 lugive them back their petition respect- 
ing the statute against the Lo!!ai :'.-!, and not to suffer any part of it to be 
He absented as a special favour, provided it were not drawn into 
a precedent. Hut. Purl. 623. \\ hat was the object of the petition does 
not appear: probably it was that mentioned above. 



Priuted by W. CLOWF.S aud SONS, 

A 000 1 20 386 8