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rTlHE Editors of this volume have found the labour involved 
in its production, and the amount of time and research 
which it has cost them, much greater than they anticipated when 
they first entered upon their task : but they have found their 
reward in the absorbing interest of the subject, which has in- 
creased upon them in the course of their investigations. 

The long-lost Life of St William of Norwich is a unique 
contribution to English Hagiography, and indeed to Hagiography 
in general : it is the starting-point (and this should be carefully 
noted) in the history of the myth of Jewish ritual murders. Its 
importance, moreover, as an original document illustrating the 
religious history of England in the twelfth century is not likely 
to be overlooked or underrated. 

There are some subordinate matters which the Editors at 
one time hoped that they might be able to work out with more 
elaboration than they have been able to bestow upon them. 
Such are the origin of the obscure custom of compelling certain 
penitents to wear iron rings on the arm or leg 1 , the observance 
of Maundy Thursday as a ' dies absolutions 2 ,' and the persistence 
of certain popular beliefs, such, for example, as that illustrated in 
Book v. c. 3. They have, however, thought it advisable to leave 
to others the elucidation of these points. Specialists may per- 
haps be able to deal with them satisfactorily. 

Such errors as they have discovered in the text and translation 
have been noted in the table of Corrigenda. It is to be feared, 
however, that some blunders have survived. 

1 See Bk. i. c. 2, etc. 
* See Bk. i. cc. 5, 6. 

vi Preface. 

Conscious as the Editors are of their own shortcomings, they 
ask for no more and no less than fair indulgence at the hands 
of critics duly qualified to pronounce upon the quality of their 

For the translation of the first three books Dr Jessopp is 
mainly responsible : and for that of the last four, Dr James. 
The footnotes, which are principally concerned with points of East 
Anglian history, and demanded a somewhat intimate acquaintance 
with Norfolk topography and family history, are the work of 
Dr Jessopp. 

The reader will find the authorship of the several chapters 
of the Introduction indicated in the Table of Contents. 

On one matter of no great importance, and on one alone, has 
any difference of opinion arisen between the Editors. Perhaps 
the readers of this volume will also be found to disagree among 
themselves on this point 1 . 

The Editors have to express their cordial thanks to those 
friends who have given them the benefit of their counsel and 
co-operation. Mr Hudson's note, appended to the fourth chapter 
of the Introduction, will speak for itself. Miss Florence Colman 
has most kindly contributed a photograph of a painting of 
St William, one of a series of panels from the screen formerly in 
St James's Church, Norwich. To the Syndics of the University 
Press, both Editors and readers owe special acknowledgement. 
It is at their risk and at their expense that the volume has 
been published and issued in such an attractive form. Not less 
praise is due to the staff of the Press for their pains and patience. 

A. J. 
M. R. J. 

1 See Introd. pp. x, Ixxiii. 





CHAPTER I. Thomas of Monmouth (A. J.) . . . ix 

CHAPTER II. The Benedictine Priory at Norwich (A. J.) xix 
CHAPTER III. East Anglia in the Reign of Stephen 

(A. J.) xxvi 

CHAPTER IV. The Norwich Jews (A. J.) . . xl 
NOTE. The Political Condition of Norwich in the middle 
of the 12th Century, as likely to affect the Jews 

resident in the City : by the Rev. W. Hudson . . xlv 
CHAPTER V. The Manuscript. The Text. The History 

of the Book (M. R. J.) . . . 1 

CHAPTER VI. The Legend (M. R. J.) . . . . Ixii 
CHAPTER VII. The Cult and Iconography of St William 

(M. R. J.) . ... Ixxx 



BOOK 1 1 



BOOK IV 164 

BOOK V 184 

BOOK VI ... 219 

BOOK VII. ... 261 


INDEX 297 

viii Table of Contents. 



1. Panel from Roodscreen at Loddon, Norfolk. 

To follow Introduction p. Ixxxviii. 

2. Panel from Roodscreen at Eye, Suffolk. 

3. Panel from Roodscreen at Worstead, Norfolk. 

4. Panel from Roodscreen formerly at St John's, Maddermarket, 
Norwich, now in the South Kensington Museum. 

5. Panel from Roodscreen formerly at St James's, Norwich, now 
in the possession of J. J. Colman, Esq. 

Map of Norwich p. xlviii. 




THE writer of the following book gives no account of his own 
early life or parentage, nor do we know anything more of him 
than may be gathered from the book itself. He calls himself 
Thomas Monemutensis, or Thomas of Monmouth, and he first 
appears as one of the monks in the great monastery which Herbert 
of Losinga had founded at Norwich at the close of the llth century, 
when, as he tells us, a vision appeared to him in the early morning p. 116 
of Tuesday, in the first week of Lent, 1150. 

It is at first sight difficult to understand how a Monmouth 
man should have found his way to so distant a part of the country 
as Norwich. But it is noticeable that it was a few years before 
this that Geoffrey of Monmouth had established a school, which 
soon became famous, at Llandaff, and that it was apparently in the 
autumn of 1147 that he issued the final draught of his famous 
Historia regum Britannice. 

The publication of this edition must have brought Geoffrey 
to consult with his literary friends and patrons in England, and 
it is far from improbable that our Thomas may have been one of 
the scholars who accompanied their master when that master 
was looking out for the preferment, which he evidently was bid- 
ding for when he addressed his Vita Merlini to Robert Chesney, 
Bishop of Lincoln, in 1149. Geoffrey himself was consecrated 
Bishop of St Asaph, at Lambeth, in February 1152. Thomas had 
already before this time been admitted a monk at Norwich. He 
had certainly received a scholar's training in his youth; his Latinity 
is correct and fluent ; it is less crabbed and pretentious than that 
of Geoffrey; he was familiar with the Latin poets; he quotes 

w. N. b 

x Introduction. [CHAP. 

Vergil and Horace, seems to have read the Thebais of Statius and 
could fortify himself with scraps of other classical writers; his 
allusions indicate quite a wide range of study for the times in 
which he lived ; he had the Vulgate at his fingers' ends, he delights 
in drawing upon the lives of the saints afterwards comprehended 
in the Legenda Aurea ; I am inclined to believe that he was 
acquainted with Jonas' life of S. Columban of Luxeuil, and he was 
certainly a diligent reader of Gregory of Tours. It is not too much 
to say that in writing the life of the boy saint of Norwich he must 
have had Gregory's books at his elbow and freely used them for 
his own purposes l . 

It is to be noted that all the incidents related in the first two 
books are confessedly reported on hearsay evidence, from whence 
we must infer that Brother Thomas was admitted into the monas- 
tery during the time that Elias was prior (1146 1150). All 
this time the story of the martyrdom had made very little way. 
The Rose had bloomed in the winter of 1144-5. Next spring 
the man Lewin saw his vision away there in the fens; but the 
Norwich people had taken so little notice of the story of the 
martyrdom that they had almost forgotten it. The Easter Synod 

p. 71 met again in 1145 and Godwin Sturt got up to make a speech 
once more*. This time it is evident that he produced no im- 
pression. Nay! I suspect that Brother Thomas' silence indicates 
that the priest was listened to with jeers and ridicule. Then, 
however, he and Lewin played into one another's hands and 
Lewin's son was cured by a miracle. Even so, nobody seems to 
have paid much attention to the matter. The man went home 
with his boy and we hear no more of him. Then came another 
vision which again Thomas tells on hearsay: he does not venture 
to give the name of the girl from Mulbarton ; what he expressly 

p. 78 calls the first notable miracle is again given from the report of 
others. At last the story of the hysterical young lady at Dun- 
wich attracted attention and we are told that " the memory of the 

1 The story of the prisoner whose fetters fell off (p. 13) is derived from this work, 
Lib. i. c. 33 and Lib. in. c. 47 ; the efficacy of the candles presented at the shrine, 
Lib. i. c. 34, ii. c. 2 ; the remedial virtues of the scrapings of the tomb, Lib. i. c. 37, 
n. c. 1, iv. 25 ; the deliverance of the sailors from shipwreck, Lib. i. c. 9 ; the 
picking and stealing from the shrine, Lib. i. c. 14, c. 28. It is however unnecessary 
to multiply instances. Gregory's work is a repertory of similar stories and it is 
evident that the monk Thomas took that work as his model. 

* This ia the only way which suggests itself to me of explaining the confusion 
in the narrative at this point. Dr James takes a different view. See infra. 

I.] Thomas of Monmouth. xi 

blessed martyr revived, for it had gradually been waning, yea, in 
the hearts of nearly all it had well-nigh entirely died out." 

It was just at this point that the outrageous assassination of 
the Jew Eleazar by the followers of Sir Simon de Novere brought 
on a crisis. The Jews demanded that the crime should be punished 
and laid their charge before the king during one of his visits to 
Norwich. Bishop Turbe acting in the interest of the accused, who p. 99 
was one of his own mesne tenants, took up the defence with great 
energy, and in answer to the claim for redress he brought up again 
the case of the boy William, who, he affirmed, had been murdered 
by the Jews five years before, and he demanded that justice 
should be done in the earlier case before any enquiry were pro- 
ceeded with in the second. If Thomas had himself been present 
he would certainly have told us so. On the contrary he calls his 
account of the trial before the king conjecturalis causa. It seems 
to me that this elaborate report of the speech for the defence was 
drawn up by Bishop Turbe himself. It is a mere specimen of the 
ordinary rhetorical exercise. 

With this the second book ends, and when the third book 
begins we find ourselves in the year 1150 with Elias still prior of 
the monastery and Brother Thomas one of the monks, and a most 
entire partisan of the bishop and supporter of the story of the 
martyrdom. Six years had passed since the first Synod, and 
the story so far from gaining any general acceptance had been 
discredited by all but a very few. There lay the body of the 
murdered boy in the monks' cemetery, but the excitement had long 
ago ceased, and every attempt to create a belief in the reality of 
the martyrdom had failed. Prior Elias steadily set himself against 
making capital out of what he evidently regarded as a mere 
imposture ; the bishop and his satellite, however, were not to be 

On Tuesday, in the first week in Lent 1150, Brother Thomas 
saw his first vision. The great founder appeared to him and p. 116 
gave him two messages to deliver, one to the bishop and the other 
to the prior, ordering them to arrange for the removal of 'the 
Martyr' to a worthier resting place : he was to be laid in the 
Chapter House in a place of honour. The prior's health was by 
this time failing, the bishop was as importunate and resolute as 
ever; Elias reluctantly gave way. The body was placed in the 
new tomb ; and it looks suspiciously as if some trick had been 
played whereby I5he grave was not dug deep enough and conse- 


xii Introduction. [CHAP. 

quently the slab that covered the stone coffin stood above the 
floor of the Chapter House. But when Thomas presumed to take 
too much upon himself he was promptly reproved for his imperti- 
nence, and it required another vision to bring about the fixing 
a light upon the tomb which signified that extraordinary respect 
was due to the memory of the dead. Just then Prior Elias died, 
and was succeeded by Richard de Ferrariis, himself a zealous 
upholder of the martyrdom and a staunch supporter of Thomas 
and the bishop. After this the cultus of the saint began to spread 
with amazing rapidity, and when Prior Richard, not content with 
the saint's body being left in the Chapter House determined that 
it should be once more taken up and placed in the Cathedral, and 
when Bishop Turbe warmly seconded him, and with a pompous 
function and ceremony St William was carried from the cloister and 

p. 188 laid by the side of Bishop Herbert's own tomb near the high altar, 
there was at last a great outburst of enthusiasm. Miracles and 
visions began to occur from week to week, until the crowds that 
came to make their offerings at the shrine were found to be a 

p. 220 serious inconvenience, and on the oth of April, 1154, just ten years 
after the discovery of the body in Thorpe Wood, the last removal 
took place, viz. to the chapel formerly called the Chapel of the 
Holy Martyrs, and subsequently, as it appears, the Jesus Chapel. 
Of any subsequent removal we have no record, but the chapel 
of St William in later times is found on the northern side of the 
screen which Bishop Lyhart erected in the 14th century, and the 
remains of that altar may be seen at the present day. 

The general acceptance of the story of the martyrdom and the 
recognition of St William as a real saint undoubtedly date from 
the time of his removal into the Cathedral. After this the Norfolk 
gentry began to vie with one another in offering their homage at 
the new shrine, and all classes followed their lead. It is only 
necessary to glance at the names of the local magnates to see that 
quite & furore existed at the end of King Stephen's reign in favour 
of the boy saint. Norfolk by this time proudly claimed him as 
her own. The cult was firmly established in East Anglia before 
the 12th century closed and how the story spread, was borrowed 
from, plagiarised, and continued to exercise its influence upon the 
popular beliefs and superstitions of men even in far distant 

countries must be dealt with by another. 


Our readers will expect some expression of opinion upon the 

I.] TJiomas of Monmonth. xiii 

serious question of the credibility of the story and the good faith 
and honesty of Brother Thomas. 

One fact seems certain, namely, a boy's dead body was found 
in Thorpe Wood on the 24th March, 1144. How it got there, p. 26 
there is not a particle of evidence to show. When Henry de 
Sprovvston found the corpse he first wished to take it to Sprowston 
and get it buried in the churchyard, but he changed his mind and 
buried it where he found it. 

Godwin Sturt, the priest, now appears upon the scene, and p. 38 
through his instrumentality the corpse is recognised as the body 
of his wife's nephew. On his telling his wife of the discovery, she 
has at once a vision to relate, about which she had never said a word 
till now. Everything follows intelligibly enough, and I must needs p. 40 
add suspiciously enough : the evidence of the Jew's servant is 
wholly incredible, and one cannot but think invented years later. 
The testimony of the Jew, Theobald, is obviously a fabrication^ 
and the same must be said of the information asserted to have 
been given by Sir William Hastings. It is incomparably more p. 95 
probable that Hastings never said anything of the sort ; more 
credible in fact that Brother Thomas lied in giving him the credit 
of this astounding assertion, than that the Jews should quite 
gratuitously have borne this damning witness against themselves 
and volunteered a confession so suicidal. Almost equally im- 
probable, or at any rate very suspicious, is the story of ^Elward 
Ded ; the story of the birds that would not settle on the body is 
obviously borrowed from an incident in Jonas' Life of 8t Columban, P- 33 

On the other hand, it is certain that Brother Thomas did not 
invent the story; it was current when he first became a monk at 
the priory. The priest Godwin was, one cannot help suspecting, 
the originator of the accusation and he comes out of it very badly. 
He not only got hold of the teazle, which he affirmed was the P- 192 
very instrument with which the Jews had tortured their victim, 
but he made merchandise of it for years, playing upon the 
credulity of simple people to extort money from them. 

Robert, the martyr's brother, became a person of consideration 
by reason of his relationship with the saint, and the same may be 
said of his mother Elviva. 

When we come to look into the character of Brother Thomas 
again, we find it very far from blameless. He appropriated candles, P- 14 <> 
and assures us he forgot all about them ; he stole the martyr's 

xiv Introduction. [CHAP. 

p. 174 shoe and hid it away; he filched his teeth and told lies about 
p. 175 them. Only when somebody else was informed of his pilferings in 
a vision did he go any way towards making restitution. There is 
some reason for suspecting that he got his office of sacrist 1 to 
the martyr by revelation, and there is only one hint of his having 
been promoted to any of the more important offices in the priory 2 , 
though at the time his book was written he had been member of 
the convent for more than 20 years. That indicates pretty clearly 
that he was not trusted by the brethren, and that successive priors, 
in whose hands all the patronage of the monastery lay, kept him 
at arm's length, and did not promote him to any responsible office. 
Yet it would be rash and unwarrantable to insinuate that he was 
from first to last a cunning and designing rogue. In an age of 
measureless credulity, when doubt is reckoned devil-born, and un- 
questioning acquiescence in the dominant beliefs of the day is 
apt to be regarded as more meritorious than the practice of the 
lowly virtues of uprightness and tolerance, even good and fervent 
men, and much more those who are very zealous for what they 
hold to be a great cause, can easily persuade themselves to accept 
without hesitation or demur the conclusions of those in authority. 
Unconsciously they get to subject their reason to their interest 
or their inclinations, till their mental condition becomes one of 
miserable intellectual torpor, and the critical faculty being 
paralysed they lose the power of distinguishing truth from false- 
hood. It is very easy to call such men impostors; it is wiser to 
remember that in every age there have been examples of this 
type, men and women of whom it has been said that they are 
" deceivers and being deceived " ; and yet it would be hard, perhaps 
impossible, to say when and how the one merged into the other. 
Perhaps the two processes may be at work simultaneously. A 
man may start by wishing for truth without going the right way 
to arrive at it, and may end by embracing falsehood till he cannot 

bear to part with it. 


" Les vies de saints sont aussi de 1'histoire," says a great 
historian. "Ce qu'il y faut chercher," he adds, "ce sont les habitudes, 
les faits ge'ne'raux et permanents, et 1'hagiographe n'avait aucun 

1 By an oversight the word secretariua in the original has been translated 
secretary. A reference to Du Cange will show that secretarius was only another 
form employed occasionally for the more usual term gacrista. 

At page 214, he appears as Cantor. 

I.] Thomas of Monmouth. xv 

inte'ret a les altdrer. II peut inventer un miracle, il n'en invente 
pas les circonstances 1 ." 

Hagiography, or as it may be called Christian mythology, has 
few attractions for the general reader of the nineteenth century; 
his aversion to this kind of literature is at least excusable, but the 
contemptuous ridicule with which he speaks of it does not prove 
his superior wisdom. When we can get over the long lists of 
miracles, which even in their nauseous details have all a strong 
family likeness to one another, there still remains a very valuable 
element of social history imbedded in the most extravagant lives 
of saints that have come down to us 2 . Brother Thomas had little 
thought of supplying us with information regarding the beliefs or 
the daily life of his contemporaries, and yet he could not help doing 
so. Unconsciously he furnishes us with some valuable side lights 
which give us here and there a glimpse of the habits and manners 
and superstitions and religious observances of various classes of 
people in the 12th century. The monk in his cloister was living a 
life apart, but he could not for all his seclusion be ignorant of what 
was going on in the outer world. To begin with, he must needs 
have been brought into relations with the secular or parochial 
clergy, and he has to speak of them rather frequently in his 

i. It is observable that every priest whom Thomas names 
is a married man. Wlward. St William's grandfather, Godwin 
Sturt, who had married his mother's sister, Edwin, the priest of 
Taverham, husband of her first cousin, and others who are inci- 
dentally mentioned are all husbands and fathers, and there is no 
indication that they were held in less esteem on that account. 
The attempt to enforce celibacy upon the secular clergy in the 
diocese of Norwich had never met with any success. How should 
it when the three immediate predecessors of Bishop Herbert were 
almost certainly married men ? In despite of all papal legislation, 
decrees of councils, pressure exercised by bishops or heavy taxation 
imposed upon the married clergy by Henry I. and King John, the 
secular priests went on taking to themselves wives till late in the 
13th century, and in the 12th this was evidently the rule rather 
than the exception 3 among the English clergy. 

1 Fustel de Coulanges. La Monarchic Franque, ch. i. Les Documents, p. 12. 

2 There are some valuable remarks on this subject in Mr Borlase's book, The 
Age of the Saints, p. 18 et seq., Truro, Pollard, 1893. 

3 I adduced some curious evidence for this statement in a paper which I 

xvi Introduction. [CHAP. 

ii. When Thomas wrote his book the practice of Auricular Con- 
fession had not yet been made obligatory, nor had the Indicative 
formula of Absolution been introduced into the Church 1 . In the 
Monasteries, the ancient custom had been for the brethren to 
make public confession of their faults and sins in the Chapter 
House and to submit to such penance as might be imposed upon 
them. , Slowly, very slowly, the general confession of guiltiness 
and sinfulness in which a whole congregation joined audibly, 
developed into the private confession to a priest, and this was 
first imposed upon all the faithful by the famous canon, Omnis 
tttriusque seams, of the Lateran Council of 1216. We hear several 
times of Confession in the following pages : but the reader must 
be reminded that we are engaged with the 12th century and not 
with the 13th. When we read that Wicheman, one of the monks, 
pp. 30, 84 was appointed the bishop's deputy for receiving confessions, it 
should be borne in mind that the duties of this office did not 
consist in extorting secrets from the penitent, or in giving abso- 
lution even in the precatory form. He had to hear what the 
sinner had to tell against himself and to adjudge such penance as 
the case in his judgment demanded, or in a matter of difficulty to 
report it to the bishop, who would deal with it in his discretion. 
Secrecy was not of the essence of confession in those days, and no 
scruple would be felt in reporting what a dying man had revealed 
in his last moments. The doctrine of the Seal of Confession had not 
yet been heard of ; it was the inevitable result of the enforcement of 
auricular confession in a later time. This will explain how Thomas 
can have known what only could be reported by a priest who had 
heard the penitent's story. At the point of death men and women 
then, as now, yearned to unburden their consciences of a load that 
was heavy to bear, but there was no necessary obligation to conceal 
what it might in many cases be only a matter of right and duty 
to make known. The comfort ministered by the priest took the 

contributed to the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Journal in 1882 (voL rx. p. 
187). If further proof or illustration be asked for it is ready at hand. 

1 The whole subject has been treated exhaustively in the great work entitled 
Commentarins historicu-s de disciplina in administratione Sacramenti Pcenitentia... 
Auctore Johanne Morino, Cougreg. Oratorii Presbyt. Folio, Antwerp, 1682. Bing- 
ham made great use of this work in his Antiquities, Bks. 18 and 19. Dr Lea's last 
work, A History of Confession and Indulgences, has only very recently appeared. 
It is full to overflowing of curious learning and research, such as we are prepared 
to expect and are sure to find in everything this wonderful American scholar puts 
his hand to. 

I.] Thomas of Monmouth. xvii 

form of an intercessory prayer : and there is no trace in the 
narrative we are concerned with of any other absolution except 
that which was pronounced by the bishop on Absolution Day, as 
the Thursday in Passion Week had by this time got to be called. 
Morinus has given some interesting illustrations of this very 
ancient ceremony. When auricular confession was made obligatory 
on all and private absolution became universally prevalent, the old 
public solemnity tended to become obsolete ; yet it was still kept 
up in his own time in many of the French churches, and es- 
pecially in the diocese of Paris, where among the laity it was 
called I'Absoute 1 . As far as my own reading has extended I have 
not met with any instance of the kind in England, later than 

this in Brother Thomas' narrative. 


There are still some matters alluded to or mentioned in our 
narrative to which the attention of the reader should be directed. 

(i) It appears there was much more education of a certain 
kind among all classes than one would have expected. The little 
William, we are told, was taught by his mother : the hysterical girl p. 13 
at Dunwich appears to have been fond of learning : Robert the p. 80 
Carpenter carried about a psalter in his pocket : Thomas himself p. 194 
loses a psalter which he had written for his own use, but it was 
stolen from him by someone who certainly regarded it as a saleable 

(ii) There seems to have been a great deal of money changing 
hands. Two monetarii are named who cannot have been the only 
licensed coiners in Norwich. In the Confessor's days we know 
that there were seven " Moneyers " at Chester, and the trade of 
Norwich more than a century later must have required a good 
deal of the circulating medium. Moreover, everybody seems to 
have been able to command threepence for masses or offerings or 
candles ; and the people generally appear to have been fairly well 
to do. Beggars there were who lived upon alms, but one hears 
surprisingly little of poverty, while we do hear of a lady who wore 
many rings on her fingers, and of people wandering about on p. 195 
pilgrimage ; moreover the hatred that was felt against the Jews 
implies that they were living upon the necessities of the traders 
and artisans, that is, that trade was flourishing, however bad the 
finance of the traders may have been. 

1 De Pcenitentia, Lib. vm. cap. xxvi. 3 et seq. 

xviii Introduction. [CHAP, i 

(iii) It is evident that surnames were far more common in 
East Anglia during the 12th century than some would have us 
believe. In the following pages the reader will meet with sur- 
names of all kinds and their general prevalence indicates that 
they must have been in most cases inherited. This will throw us 
back even to the llth century. Some of these surnames are no 
p. 150 more than descriptive of a man's trade or occupation, as Robert 
p 223 Palmarius, Reginald Vacarius, Edward Piscator. Some refer to 
p. 203 the place from which the bearer came, as Richard de Needham, 
but many can hardly be other than patronymics, the original form 
of which has become so obscured by wear that it is difficult to 
p. 27 assign any meaning to them. Such are ^Elward Ded, Walter 
P' jgg Flotberd, Stannard Wrancberd, Godwin Sturt and others, which 
will be found collected in the index (Surnames). 

(iv) As to the superstitions and beliefs of the people, of 
which the book contains many illustrations, I have not thought 
it necessary to dwell upon them. Students of folklore will I 
doubt not find more than one curious passage which will for them 
possess special interest. 



WHEN the body of the dead boy was found in Thorpe Wood, 
the monastery at Norwich had not been opened much more than 
forty years, and it was little more than twenty-four years since 
Bishop Herbert had died. The founder had contemplated a 
convent of sixty monks, but it may be doubted if at any time 
the full complement of brethren was reached. It is hardly pro- 
bable that as many as fifty can have been admitted to the house 
during Herbert's lifetime. In the year 1144 there must have 
been many among the brethren who remembered and had known 
him well. Nor can the Prior, William Turbe, have been the 
only member of the community who had been actually trained 
under Herbert's eye and educated by him in the routine of 
monastic discipline. Under a Prior whose life from boyhood had 
been passed in the rigorous discipline of a strict Benedictine 
house, we may be sure there would be small toleration of laxity. 
The Cluniac rule, which was intended to revive the ascetic life, 
or at least to restore the old rigour, had been introduced into 
the Norwich diocese by the foundation of the Cluniac priories of 
Castle Acre and Thetford ; and the influence of this reform cannot 
but have made itself felt in the older religious houses. Every- 
thing in Brother Thomas' narrative goes to show that the Bene- 
dictine rule was somewhat scrupulously enforced at Norwich. 
There had scarcely been time enough for any bad tradition to 
grow up in the cloister. 

From the monks' choir (the limits of which extended west- 
ward, nearly as far as the still existing twisted pillars in the 
nave ; and eastward comprehended all the choir with its chapels 
the transepts being probably screened off) the laity were ex- 
cluded; an altar the altar of the Holy Cross being provided 

xx Introduction. [CHAP. 

for them, at which mass was duly said. The whole convent 
were required to attend the midnight services, and lamps were 

p. 188 lit in the cloister to lighten the darkness. The old rule of 
silence was observed, and apparently the language of signs was 
still in use upon occasion, for when Brother Thomas had seen 

p. 118 his vision of the founder in 1150, he did not venture to tell 
it to ihe Prior until, in obedience to the rule, he had first 
gained permission to speak (ubi juxta ordinem loquendi daretur 
facultas). The vision itself too was granted when Thomas was 
lying upon his bed after matins, at which time it was usual 
for a monk to remain in the dormitory. The sacrist slept not 

p. 187 in the dormitory, but in the church, a duty which in later 
times was often shirked as irksome and disagreeable. 

The schoolboys were taught in the eastern walk of the cloister, 
and they seem to have actually had seats in the Chapter House 
at the daily meeting of the convent in Chapter. Unless indeed 
we are to infer no more than that the school was kept in the 
Chapter House: in either case, however, the practice was very 
unusual of the boys having any recognised place in that building. 
There appear to have been fourteen boys educated in the school 
originally 1 . 

The story of the black pig that made its way into the pre- 

p. 137 cincts during the night shows that there was some access 
to the cloister from the outside through the " dark entry " which 
I think must have been the ordinary passage to the latrines ; 
and the people who flocked to see the martyr's tomb when he 
pp. 155, lay in the Chapter House can only have entered by this approach, 
which in the nature of things could not always be kept closed. 
The infirmary buildings which extended from the dorter in the 
direction of the river protected the monks' cemetery to a great 
extent from intrusion. 

The ordinary way of approach from the cloister to this 
cemetery was through the undercroft over which the dorter was 
pp. 53, 54 built. The slype or passage through which a dead monk was 
carried to his burial lay 2 between the Chapter House and the 
Church, and the doorway to this slype may still be seen in the 
eastern alley of the cloister, as may the steps which led up to the 

1 Visit, of the Diocese of Norwich, Camden Soc. 1888, p. 192, 2. 

2 Interment in the Cloister was very rare, and in the 12th century almost 
unknown. See Dom. Martene, De ritibus, Lib. v., cap. x. 99 102. 

II.] The Benedictine Priory at Norwich. xxi 

Of the twelve or thirteen monks named by Brother Thomas, 
six are Obedientiaries or office-bearers in the priory, viz., the Prior, 
Sub-Prior, Sacrist, Chamberlain and the Cantor or Precentor. 
Brother Thomas has enabled us to correct some mistakes which 
Blomefield was led into by the authorities which alone he had 
access to in his day. 

William Turbe appears to have succeeded Ingulf as Prior some- 
time in 1121, that is about two years after Bishop Herbert's 
death 1 , and of course vacated this office on his election to 
the Bishopric in 1146. The convent elected Elias to succeed 
him, and it is abundantly evident that Prior Elias set himself 
firmly against giving unquestioning credence to the story of the 
martyrdom. Indeed I cannot resist the suspicion that when 
William Turbe as Prior was doing his utmost to induce the monks 
to accept the tale with unquestioning credulity and to turn it 
to account, there was a strong party in the convent who set 
themselves against the whole business, and that of this party 
Elias was the head. If it were so, we must infer that the election 
of Prior Elias turned mainly upon the question of recognising the 
dead boy as indeed the victim of the Jews, and so as a saint and 
martyr, and that at this early stage the sceptical party among the 
monks was the stronger and carried their man. 

Prior Elias, however, evidently found Bishop Turbe's continued 
presence at Norwich and his fanatical determination to glorify the 
boy saint too strong to resist, and when the body had lain in the 
monks' cemetery for six years and brother Thomas was allowed 
to tell his vision in open chapter and received the strong support p- H7 
of the bishop, the little saint for by this time he had begun to 
be spoken of as such was taken up from his grave in the cemetery 
and removed to the new sarcophagus in the Chapter House ; but March 
when Thomas, presuming upon his success in obtaining the removal, 127 ' P 
and confident of receiving the bishop's countenance and support, 
presumed to provide a carpet to be spread before the new tomb, 
and a taper to be kept burning there, Prior Elias promptly ordered 
the removal of these things. Only a new outburst of miracles and p. 128 
visions availed to bring about the restoration of the light 2 , Elias p. 143 
evidently having given way with no little reluctance. 

The formal appointment of Thomas as sacrist to the martyr, 
means apparently that somebody by this time had been told off 

1 Blomefield, iii. 600. 

2 The carpet was not restored till after the death of Elias (p. 173). 

xxii Introduction. [CHAP. 

to account for the offerings made at the shrine by pilgrims and 
visitors, but I suspect that the new office was created by the 
bishop and not by the prior. 

Prior Elias is said by Blomefield to have died 22 Oct. 1149. 
It is clear from the narrative of Thomas that his death took place 

p. 160, in 1150 1 . Elias was succeeded in his office by Richard de Ferrariis, 

p. 35 then sub- Prior, a man of high birth, and to all appearance an 

uncompromising supporter of Brother Thomas and his story. He 

was no sooner elected than he showed his zeal for the martyr by 

p. 173 restoring the carpet which Prior Elias had caused to be removed, 
and in July next year the body was removed for the third 
time from the Chapter House into the Cathedral, without any 
ceremonial, and placed in a position to the south of the high altar 
p. 189, cf. and protected by an iron grating. By this time the name of the 
boy saint had travelled far and wide. The story had gained 
general acceptance, and pilgrims began to flock to Norwich from 
all parts of the country. Finally, on the 5th April, 1154, the 

p. 221 saint was removed to the apsidal chapel on the north of the high 
altar now known as the Jesus Chapel, but then designated as the 
Chapel of the Holy Martyrs. This time Bishop Turbe took a 
prominent part in the dedicatory services. He had got the desire 
of his heart, and no further removal was carried out till later 

Blomefield interpolates a certain prior named Ranulph, of 
whom I can learn nothing, as the successor of Prior Richard, and 
he says the next prior, John, succeeded 'about 1170.' Inasmuch 
as there is a letter from John of Salisbury, which belongs to the 
year 1168, addressed to John the prior of Norwich, it is plain 
that Prior Richard must have died before this year 2 . Finally on 
the 27 April, 1168, Bishop Turbe built and consecrated a chapel 3 

p. 279 to S. William in Thorpe Wood, on the spot where the body 
was said to have been found 24 years before ; and the foundations 
of this chapel may be traced even to the present day, if indeed the 
place which tradition has assigned to it be correct. A special 
service of commemoration of S. William was in use in the 14th 

1 Bartholomew Cotton by some unaccountable blunder says he died in 1146, 
though he rightly gives 1150 as the date of the removal of St William into the 
Chapter House : De rege Stephana, pp. 67, 68, ed. Luard. 

* In Migne's Patrolog. Lat. vol. 199, Ep. 267, p. 308. 

s In Dean Goulburn's Sculptures in the Roof of Norwich Cathedral there is a 
facsimile of the ground plan of this chapel and its precinct drawn by Kirkpatrick 
at the beginning of last century. 

II.] The Benedictine Priory at Nonnch. xxiii 

century, which has been printed in Dean Goulburn's work from a 
transcript made by the late Henry Bradshaw 1 . 

It was not to be expected that any but incidental mention 
should be found in the following pages, of the names of the 
Norwich monks during the period with which the narrative of 
Brother Thomas is concerned. 

Of the monks named, two at least were gentlemen of high 
birth, and a third was of the kindred of one of the leading families 
in Norwich. 

Peter Peverell and Richard de Ferrariis were both scions p. 189 
of distinguished Norman houses. In the 12th century the 
monasteries were very different places from what we find them 
four centuries later. By that time they had to a very great 
extent ceased to be the homes of disciplined devotion and were no 
longer places of retirement for men of high birth desirous of 
spending their last days in seclusion and preparation for the next 
life among a brotherhood of unworldly ascetics keeping up con- 
tinual exercises of prayer and praise. In the 12th century, how- 
ever, the monasteries were still regarded as, and they actually were, 
the houses and the schools of holiness, and it was only what we 
should expect that Bishop Herbert's priory offered attractions to 
men of gentle blood young and old who at this time joined the 
community and who found a refuge there from mundane cares 
and anxiety and hoped to find a refuge too from the temptations 
and proclivities which they had learnt to dread and abhor. 

Nevertheless there was doubtless a plebeian element to be 
found in a great monastery from the first though it by no 
means preponderated so largely as it undoubtedly did in later 

There was always a career open to a lad of promise educated in 
the monastic schools, and it was never difficult for a clerk wherever 
educated to gain admission sometimes too easy and too early 
admission into a religious house, if he had shown decided talent 
and an inclination to enter the monastic profession, even though 
he were a poor man's son and could contribute nothing to his own 
support. The time might come when he would bring credit and 
honour to the house which had received him ; and there was exactly 
the same competition for a young fellow who had the making of a 

i u. s. p. 115. S. William's day was the 24th March. 

xxiv Introduction. [CHAP. 

bishop in him among the monasteries as there is now among 
the schools and colleges for a lad with a brilliant future before 

Robert, the martyr's brother, who plays such a suspicious part 
p. 91 in getting up the story, was received as a monk into the priory, 
though he can hardly have been other than a poor man ; but at any 
rate he had shown himself a valuable partisan he was already in 
minor orders ; which means that he had received some education 
and in the sequel he became a prominent personage among the 
p. 286 hierophants of the new cult. Even he however had apparently to 
wait some time before he was accepted and admitted as a member 
of the community. There was, and there must have been, some 
educational, moral, and, in many monasteries, even a social 
standard which any postulant for admission would have to attain 
to over and above the real or pretended vocation which was put to 
rather severe tests during the period of the noviciate 1 . 

There are indications in the narrative of Brother Thomas that 
the adoption of St William as a kind of patron saint of the priory 
did a great deal more harm than good to the community. From 
the first there had been something like bitter dissension in the 
convent, and even to the time when Thomas wrote his book there 
was almost acrimonious feeling between him and the sceptics who 
evidently did not make any secret of their doubts. 

The intrusion of sightseers into the cloister, even into the 
very Chapter House, and the crowds that made their way into the 
precincts not always, we may be sure, in a respectful and acqui- 
escent frame of mind must have been disturbing to the quiet and 
order of the house, and the burial of the martyr's mother in the 
p. 217 Monks' Cemetery must have shocked the feelings of many of the 
brethren, and can hardly have been agreed to without some protest 
from the minority. Bishop Turbe died in January, 1175. His 
successor was a man of a very different temper and cast of mind. 
He was much away from Norwich during the 25 years of his 
episcopate. He had no sympathy with the monastic life, and the 

1 Despite all the decline, which has so frequently been insisted on, in the 
monasteries daring the later middle ages, it is abundantly clear that there was no 
lack of eminent scholars and diligent students in the religious houses even to 
the end. The proportion of King Henry's bishops who had been brought up in the 
Cloister and who were men of conspicuous reputation is very suggestive. See One 
Generation of a Norfolk Home, by the present writer, Introduction, note 4. 

ii.] The Benedictine Priory at Noi'wich. xxv 

Norwich Monks probably were, as far as he was concerned, left to 
their own devices. But it is idle to indulge in conjecture where 
we have no evidence to deal with. Thomas lifts the curtain : 
when he drops it we are left without a glimpse of what might still 
be revealed if another had taken up the tale. 

w. N. 



WE are told that the boy William was twelve years of age 
when he was put to death by the Norwich Jews, just before the 
Easter Festival of 1144. This fixes his birth to the year 1132. 
The last event mentioned by Thomas appears to belong to 1172. 
We are therefore concerned with a period of 40 years, a period 
which covers the whole reign of Stephen and well-nigh twenty 
years of the reign of Henry II. Contemporary sources for the 
history of the former reign are so very few, and our knowledge 
even of the sequence of events much less of the life of the people 
during these miserable years so scanty, that a brief review of 
English affairs so far as may be necessary to explain some passages 
in the following narrative, and so far as the narrative itself throws 
light upon the general history of the country during the times we 
are concerned with will not, I trust, be regarded as useless for 
the general reader. Of scholars I crave some indulgence for the 
introduction of matter which by them perhaps may be regarded as 

With the death of Henry I. on the 1st of December, 1135, the 
family of William the Conqueror, in the male line, came to an end. 
By the foundering of the White ship in 1120, Henry had lost his 
only legitimate son. The " good Queen Maud " had died in 1118. 
In January, 1121, the king married Adela of Louvain, but there 
was no issue from this second marriage. There remained to him 
one legitimate daughter, Matilda, who in 1114 had become the 
wife of the Emperor, Henry V. In 1125 the Emperor died, and 
next year the Empress returned to England. 

CH. in.] East Anglia in the reign of King Stephen, xxvii 

At the Christmas festival of 1126 the Prelates and Barons of 
the realm were required to swear fealty to Matilda and accept her 
as the heir to the throne and to all her father's dominions in 
England and Normandy. Two years later (17 June, 1128), she was 
married to Geoffrey Plantagenet, and six weeks after this event 
William, surnamed Clito, the Conqueror's only surviving grandson, 
died 1 . His luckless father Duke Robert closed his miserable career 
at Cardiff 2 3rd February, 1134, and in the following December, as 
has been said, Henry the king followed his brother to the grave. 

Though Matilda had borne no children to her first husband, 
the Emperor, yet before her father's death she had two sons by her 
second husband, the elder of whom, bom on the 5th March, 1133, 
was the future king Henry II., who at his grandfather's death was 
in his third year. 

But when that event occurred a daughter of the Conqueror, 
and so a sister of Henry I., was still living. Adela or Adeliza was 
perhaps the most gifted woman of her age. She had manied 
Stephen Count of Blois, in 1080, and by him had been the 
mother of a large family. Her husband was slain in 1101 : she 
herself took the veil at the Cluniac Priory of Marcigny in 1109. 
None the less however did she continue to be a strong and 
influential personage in European politics till her death in 1137. 

The third son of this illustrious lady, Stephen, the Conqueror's 
grandson, and therefore first cousin to the Empress Matilda, was 
sent as a youth to be educated at the court of his uncle Henry I., 
and for twenty years was a conspicuous figure among the 
barons. He was virtually the king's adopted son, and as early as 
1126 was recognised as the first layman in the kingdom after the 
sovereign 3 . Nevertheless at his uncle's bidding, he, with the rest 
of the nobility and the bishops had on two occasions sworn fealty 
to the Empress Matilda as heir to the crown ; and from anything 
that we know to the contrary he had never put forth any claim to 
the succession or been suspected of any treasonable or ambitious 

He held his peace and made no sign ; but when Henry died, 
his prompt action secured to him the throne. He was elected to 
the kingdom by the citizens of London ; accepted at Winchester, 

1 27 July 1128. Freeman, p. 207. 
a u. s. V. 208, see note Z, p. 849. 
3 Norgate, i. p. 274. 


xxviii Introduction. [CHAP. 

where he possessed himself of the royal treasury ; and was 
crowned at Westminster at the end of December, 1135 1 . 

The Empress Matilda at once appealed to Rome ; her conten- 
tion being that Stephen had defrauded her of her right and had 
forsworn himself by breaking his oath of fealty. The decision was 
pronounced with very little delay and was in Stephen's favour 2 . 
Meanwhile, though the Empress had her hands full on the other 
side of the Channel, Stephen had a difficult part to play with the 
disloyal factions at home. 

The invasion of David king of Scotland, uncle of the Empress, 
ended in a kind of peace ; but in that same year, 1136, the 
rebellion of Hugh Bigod the first revolt on the part of his 
nominal supporters disturbed the comparative quiet. After the 
suppression of this outbreak Stephen's position in England was a 
strong one. Unhappily he lacked all the necessary qualities of a 
ruler of men. In 1137 he crossed over to Normandy, where 
Matilda was unable to hold her ground. At the close of the 
year he was back again. Then followed the second invasion of 
the Scots and the decisive Battle of the Standard on the 22nd 
August, 1138. The triumph proved of very little use to Stephen, 
who, as usual, threw away his opportunities. During the next 
year, 1139, he contrived to put himself wrong with every class 
in the kingdom, the Church, the baronage, the traders, the 
administrators of justice and finance; and before the year 1140 
was ended the long anarchy had begun. 

Meanwhile Matilda the Empress had landed at Arundel on the 
30th September, 1139, and been received into the castle there by 
Adela, the widowed Queen of Henry I. Matilda had failed to 
keep her hold on Normandy perhaps the time had come to 
wrench England from the grasp of the usurper. 

But Matilda was almost as little fitted for dealing with the 
difficult position in which she found herself as Stephen himself 
was. At the battle of Lincoln, 2nd February, 1141, the king was 
made prisoner after fighting like a hero. A week later Matilda 
was recognised 'Lady of England' at Winchester; and though she 
was never crowned she exercised for awhile all the functions of 
sovereignty. In May she was met at St Alban's by the citizens of 

1 The exact day is uncertain ; see Norgate's Angevin Kings, Vol. i. 279, n. 4. 
3 Mr Bound has proved that this took place in 1136. Geoffrey de Matidevillt, 
p. 8, and App. B. pp. 250262. 

in.] East Anglia in the reign of King Stephen, xxix 

London 1 , and thence was conducted in a grand procession to 
Westminster, and confirmed the recent election of Robert, a monk 
of Reading, as bishop of London. Her triumph was short; the 
citizens of London soon rose against her and drove her out. In 
August she was again at Winchester: she occupied the castle 
while the city was being reduced to flames, for wherever she 
moved, horror and ruin followed in her train. 

On the 14th September she was once more a fugitive, riding 
as men ride (usu masculine) to Devizes, and when subsequently 
she reached Gloucester she was carried on a bier and wrapped 
about with grave-clothes, for she could not trust her very followers. 
Meanwhile Earl Robert of Gloucester endeavouring to escape 
from the city by another road fell into the hands of the king's 
mercenaries at Stourbridge, where it seems Stephen's queen, the 
other Matilda, had her headquarters. The Earl was at once 
handed over to William of Ypres, and confined in the castle of 
Rochester. The fortunes of war had changed rapidly indeed. The 
two Matildas had now each lost her absolutely essential chief and 
leader. Matilda the Queen was clamouring for her husband the 
king; Matilda the Empress was helpless without the support and 
championship of her half brother the Earl. Fierce and stubborn 
as ever, the Empress would hear of no compromise, but she had to 
yield at last, and at the beginning of November the two prisoners 
were exchanged 2 , and there was a pause. The exhaustion of both 
parties stopped hostilities for awhile, but Stephen was clearly 
gaining ground and Matilda was losing it. In December, 1141, 
Henry Bishop of Winchester 3 called a council at Westminster, at 
which the king attended, and there Stephen was once more 
proclaimed the lawful king of England, to whom obedience was 

1 Florence of Worcester, n. 131. 

2 Gervase says, 'Circa festivitatem,' i. p. 122. 

3 It should be remembered that he was a younger brother of Stephen. He was 
educated in the Abbey of Cluny and must have been at Cluny when Pope Gelasius 
died there, 29 Dec. 1118, and when Callixtus II. was elected there to the Papacy in 
the following February. During the last few years of his stay at Cluny Peter the 
Venerable was Abbot of Cluny. In 1126 Henry I. invited him to England, when he 
became Abbot of Glastonbury, and in October 1129, he was elected Bp of Winchester. 
When William of Corbeil, Archbishop of Canterbury, died in November 1136, the See 
of Canterbury was kept vacant for two years. There was no papal legate then in 
England, for the legative powers of Archbishop William had not been conferred 
upon his successor Archbishop Theobald. In 1139 Henry of Winchester received 
his commission as legate, and the immense importance of this appointment can 
never be lost sight of in reading the history of this period. 

xxx Introduction. [CHAP. 

due, and excommunication was pronounced upon all who should 
support Matilda's claims to the crown 1 . Almost the whole of 1142 
passed away without any decisive passage of arms between the two 
parties 2 . In December Stephen, acting with great vigour and skill, 
besieged the Empress at Oxford, and pressed her so hard that she 
escaped with great difficulty by another romantic flight at night 
time through the snow. 

Already in the spring of 1143 her cause must have seemed to 
herself well-nigh desperate. She had almost played her last card, 
when she made her bid for the support of Geoffrey de Mandeville. 
But when that faithless adventurer's devastation of the Isle of Ely, 
of Ramsey Abbey, of Cambridge and the country round, came to an 
end by his death in August, 1144, there was no help for Matilda 
and her party, if party it might be called, in which every one was 
working for his own ends. There was no place for loyalty or 
patriotism or honour in the hearts of men possessed by the sordid 
passion of greed. 

When Stephen kept his feast at Lincoln and wore his crown in 
the Minster on Christmas Day, 1146, he may well have felt that 
he was more a king than he had ever been before, though he was 
still very far from being a sovereign ruler ; that he could never be 
in the England where he had been for eleven years a lord of 

The close of the year 1147 is memorable for the death of 
Robert, the great Earl of Gloucester, 3rd October, half brother 
of the Empress and her most powerful supporter. Then at 
last she gave up the hopeless struggle, and in the spring of 
1148 she slipped away from England never to return: the port 
from whence she sailed, and the exact date of her departure, are 

In May, 1149, young Henry made a fruitless expedition into 
England ; he met with little support, he was only 16 years old, his 
time had not yet come. He went back to Normandy in January, 
1150; he could afford to wait; others were doing his work, by 
doing their own work so very badly, and preparing his way before 

1 Norgate's Angevin Kings, i. 329. Mr Bound contends for a second coronation 
at Canterbury, see u. s. p. 138. 

2 In the spring of that year we find a trace of Stephen in East Anglia. Bound, 
u. . p. 158. 

m.] East Anylia in the reign of King Stephen, xxxi 

him. In 1152, Stephen proposed at an assembly of the bishops 
that his son Eustace should be crowned and associated with 
himself in the kingdom. At the bidding of the Pope (Eugenius III.), 
Archbishop Theobald refused to perform the ceremony, and in his 
refusal was supported by all his suffragans. Stephen flung them 
all into prison, and then, as usual, set them free again. Mean- 
while disorder seems to have prevailed extensively. The robber 
bands were too many to be dealt with in detail, and the castles 
gave them refuge in spite of the king's forces. In January, 1133, 
young Henry came again; fortune seemed to be turning in his 
favour, but, says the Chronicler 1 , neither side wished the other 
to gain any decided advantage, they desired no king to reign 
over them. Only the bishops, with the primate Theobald at their 
head, seemed to be consistently active in their efforts to bring 
about peace. 

While some arrangements in this direction were apparently 
going on in Oxfordshire, Eustace in an outburst of fury deserted 
his father and rode eastward, vowing he would lay waste the land 
wherever he came. He got as far as Bury St Edmund's. While 
he sat at meat in the Abbey on the 2nd February 2 he was struck 
down by an apoplectic fit and died in the monastery he had 
come to pillage. 

The last of Stephen's successes was his capture of the Castle of 
Ipswich from Hugh Bigod, the turbulent East Anglian magnate 3 . 
After this there were months of negotiation and uncertainty, till 
at length, on the 6th November, a settlement was arrived at by the 
treaty of Wallingford. Stephen was to adopt Henry as his son, 
retaining his regal dignity for life, and surrendering the rule and 
administration of the kingdom to Henry, who was acknowledged 
as the heir to the throne. 

Stephen died on the 25th October, 1154, and Henry II. was 
crowned king of England in Westminster Abbey on the 19th 
December following. 

The Chroniclers from whom we derive what knowledge we 
possess of Stephen's reign vie with one another in declaiming 
bitterly against the horrors of the times. ' It was the period at 

1 Henry of Huntingdon, p. 287. 

2 Norgate, Vol. i. p. 399. 

3 Henry of Huntingdon, p. 288, 

xxxii Introduction. [CHAP. 

which, for once, the feudal principle got its way in England 1 ,' that 
is, the period when the forces of disruption were at work with none 
to hold them under control. But yet, when it is asserted that the 
whole machinery of government, of justice and of police came to a 
stop, there are some reasons to show that this is an exaggerated 
view of the situation. To begin with, the power of the Church 
was still formidable, and the bishops arid the clergy had still some 
means of enforcing their discipline that is, they had something 
in the shape of a coercive executive behind them ; and while this 
was so there was clearly a force somewhere which was at work for 
righteousness, and affording some grounds of hope, even to the 
despairing, that better days might be coming by and bye. 

Indications are not wanting that during all this time of 
political and civil confusion, when the tyranny of brute force was 
playing frightful havoc through the land, Norfolk suffered less 
than any other part of England. The narrative of Brother Thomas 
strongly corroborates this view in many curious particulars. 

There is in one of the registers of St Edmund's Abbey quoted 
by Blomefield 2 a report of a very remarkable meeting held, about 
the year 1150, in the bishop's garden at Norwich in obedience to a 
summons from the king. On this occasion Sir Hervey de Glanvil 3 , 
then a very old man, is reported to have made a speech to the 
assembly declaring that he had constantly attended the county and 
hundred court for above 50 years as they who were present all 
knew. The inference is plain, that the old formalities of the courts 
had been kept up during all the troubles of the weary days of 
confusion, and that justice and the laws such as they were were 
actually administered, or were believed to be administered, 
according to ancient precedent under officials duly authorized 
to discharge their functions. The account which Brother Thomas 
gives of the intervention of the Sheriff John in defence of the Jews 
in 1144 furnishes us with a striking illustration of this. 

Norwich Castle was a fortress of great importance in the days 
of Henry I. and had been held for the king by Hugh Bigod as 
constable and governor of the city. In 1122, Henry had bestowed 
a charter upon the citizens of Norwich, retaining the castle in his 
own hands, and committing it to the custody not of Earl Hugh (as 

1 Bp Stubbs' Const. Hist. i. p. 330. 

2 History of Norfolk, Vol. in. p. 28 et seq. 

3 Probably the father or grandfather of the knight of the same name who was 
the marshal of the Norfolk crusaders in 1147. See Norgate, Vol. i. p. 362, 

in.] East Anglia in the reign of King Stephen, xxxiii 

he afterwards became) but of the Sheriff of Norfolk. Hugh 
resented the setting up of an officer of the king whose power in 
the county tended to become greater than his own 1 , and when in 
1136 Stephen fell ill, and the report spread that he was dead, 
Hugh Bigod (apparently by a coup de main) got possession 
of the castle for a little time, but was soon compelled to surrender 
it. From that time the castle continued to be held for the king 
by the Sheriffs of Norfolk as his representatives; it was garrisoned 
by a force whose pay was provided from a special impost known 
as the 'Castle ward/ and yielding a revenue sufficient to cover 
also the necessary expense of keeping up the repairs of the 

The Sheriff of Norfolk in the later years of Henry I. was 
Robert Fitz Walter 2 : his father Walter had been one of the followers 
of William Malet, whose services to the Conqueror were so boun- 
tifully rewarded with lands in Norfolk and Suffolk 8 . 

Walter himself appears to have held lands at Caen in Nor- 
mandy, whence he is designated by the writers of the Domesday 
returns as Walter de Cadomo. In the next generation his son 
Robert appears to have been known in common parlance as 
Robert of Caen, and this name, spelt in the charters of the 12th 
century phonetically, assumes quite surprising varieties of form, 
from de Kayni to Caxineto and even more unrecognisable contor- 
tions. In the Pipe Rolls of Henry II., from 1158 to 1169, the name 
is variously spelt de Caineto, de Caisnei and de Caime, and the 
members of the family are known as founders or large benefactors 
to more than one of the East Anglian religious houses, especially 
the Benedictine Priory of Horsham St Faith's and the Augustinian 
Priory of Coxford in Norfolk, and the considerable Cistercian 
Abbey of Sibton in Suffolk. Their chief place of residence was at 
Mileham, in the hundred of Launditch 4 , where are still to be seen 
the remains of an important Roman camp, extensive earthworks, 
indicative of Saxon or Danish occupation, and the ruins of the 
castle which Robert Fitz Walter occupied, and where his eldest 

1 On the relation of the Earl to the Sheriff at this period see Pollock and Mait- 
land's History of English Law, i. p. 519. 

2 This appears from a document in the Ramsey Cartulary, Vol. i. p. 148, No. 
LXXXI., where Robert FitzWalter is named as Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk, 
' tempore Rainuldi Abbatis Ramesiensis,' i.e. between A.D. 1114 and 1133. By the 
App. to the 31st Deputy Keeper's Report he appears as Sheriff in 1131. 

3 Freeman's Conquest, rv. 473, and D. D. B. n. 153, 156. 

4 Carthew, History of the Hundred of Launditch, Vol. i. p. Ifr". 

xxxiv Introduction. [CHAP. 

son John de Caisnei died, as the monk Thomas charitably 
p. 112 insinuates, by the special judgment of God. The Sheriff at 
this time was the most important personage in the county : ' The 
governor of the shire, the captain of its forces, the president of its 
court, and a distinctively royal officer appointed by the king, 
dismissible at a moment's notice, strictly accountable to the king's 
exchequer 1 .' The office tended to become hereditary, and, as it 
was elsewhere, so it was in East Anglia. 

Robert FitzWalter was succeeded in the shrievalty by his 

eldest son John, and when John de Caisnei died without issue, 

p. 112 1146, his brother William 2 appears to have been appointed 

pp. 128 in his place and continued to hold the office till 1163, when, it 

seems, he was dismissed from it, probably in consequence of 

certain investigations which were commenced this very year into 

the maladministration of the sheriffs, and which resulted in the 

discovery that William de Caisnei was very heavily in debt to the 

crown, and moreover was deep in the books of the Norwich Jews 3 . 

Under the strong rule of these sheriffs holding the castle for 
the king, it is evident that the Norwich citizens were kept well in 
hand, and when the king visited the city to hold a judicial enquiry, 
the picture we get is the picture of an assembly where the plead- 
p. 99 ings are listened to with all due attention and the trial is 
adjourned not without some dignity and an appearance of sober 

Before this, however, the conduct of Sheriff John in protecting 
the Jews from the fury of the secular clergy assembled in synod 
and in delivering them from the necessity of submitting to the 
ordeal, indicates that the chief magistracy was in good hands. 
Brother Thomas asserts that the Jews bribed the sheriff; and if by 
that we are to understand that they paid him heavily for troubling 
himself to protect them in the interest of justice and equity, it is 
not unlikely to be true. But when they tried to do the like with 
the bishop, Thomas says Bishop Turbe would hold no intercourse 
with them ; which again clearly means that he would not listen to 
reason, or for an instant concede that they were to be treated with 
as human beings whose rights were to be regarded, or their testi- 
mony believed. 

1 Pollock and Maitland, i. p. 519. 

2 Sometimes called Will de Norwich. 

3 The Early Plantagenets, Stubbs, p. 68. Compare Vola. 7, 8, Pipe Bolls Society 

in.] East Anglia in the reign of King Stephen, xxxv 

Nor was the influence of the sheriff occupying Norwich Castle 
limited to the narrow area of his urban jurisdiction. What the 
cause of quarrel was between the sheriff and the brothers Edward 
and Robert is not apparent, but it is clear that the men were afraid 
of being arrested, and that they were hiding from the sheriff's 
officers, who were in search of them. Trade and commerce seem to 
have been going on without any great let or hindrance. People 
were making pilgrimages to foreign shrines or came on pilgrimage 
to Norwich to St William's shrine and travelled about the country 
with no fear of molestation ; and though the Norfolk coast in the 
12th century was indented by very many little seaports which 
have since then been silted up or have disappeared by the incur- 
sions of the sea, we hear of no piracy among the Norfolk people, 
though we do hear of pirates on the Lincoln coast, who appear to 
have held their captives to ransom and treated them cruelly while 
they detained them. 

Even the case of the murder of the Jew Eleazar by the fol- 
lowers of Sir Simon de Novers 1 , though undoubtedly an instance 
of the defiance of law indicating the existence of a great deal of 
ruffianism, yet resulting as it did in the trial of the knight and the 
great exertions that were made to obtain an acquittal, shows that 
there was a belief that some redress might be looked for from 
the king and that such abominable outrages were not going on 
commonly, had not ceased to be regarded with indignation nor 
were allowed to remain unpunished. 

The case of Sir William de Whitwell at first reading does 
seem to be a bad one. But freed from the exaggerations with 
which Brother Thomas has wrapped it round it may be doubted 
whether anything more happened than has happened often enough 
before or since, when an uncle and his nephew have come to words 
and blows and the stronger has treated the weaker with savage 

But the sheriff was not the only dispenser of justice in the 
country in Stephen's time. Thomas incidentally makes mention 
of certain officials whose authority was recognised in the districts 
over which they exercised some sort of magisterial sway. These 
were the decani. 

The exact nature of the jurisdiction of the decanus, the extent 

1 The case mentioned at p. 258 goes far to prove that the knight was a fierce 
and truculent person. 

xxxvi Introduction. [CHAP. 

of his authority and the duties of his office in the 12th century, it 
would be extremely difficult and perhaps impossible to define. 
The word is said in the laws of Edward the Confessor to be the 
equivalent of the Saxon tyenthe-heved 1 , and signified an official 
whose duties were concerned with minor offences and adju- 
dicating on disputes between neighbours in the same vill. 
The deeanus is frequently mentioned in the Polypticwii of Abbot 
Irminon, in the 9th century, and its learned editor Guerard has 
discussed the functions of the office with his usual care and 
sagacity. The decanus appears in the Lombard, Visigoth, and 
Salic laws, and the term indicates a civil judge whose official 
position may perhaps be traced to the decanus of the Roman 
army 2 . In the 13th century he appears at Norwich as a 
kind of justice of the peace with a recognised and special 
authority and position over a more or less extended area; trans- 
lated into modern language he may be characterised as a police 
magistrate with considerable power of enforcing his sentences. 
The ecclesiastical dean may thus be regarded as an official 
exercising the same functions in causes ecclesiastical as the other 
did in civil matters, while the deans of Norwich, Bedingham 
p. 46 and Lincoln, whom we meet with in the following pages, are 
the legitimate representatives and descendants of the tyenthe- 
heved of the laws of Edward the Confessor and of a much earlier 
time 8 . 

A century later, and even down to the close of the 14th century, 
we come upon this functionary continually in the proceedings of 
the Leets in Norwich. These Norwich deans are, if I mistake not, 
invariably laymen, and I cannot doubt that Mr Hudson has for 
once been wrong in confounding the civil with the ecclesiastical 
functionary. The civil dean must have disappeared by the absorp- 
tion of his duties into those of other magistrates. The office of 
the ecclesiastical dean " was at the Reformation merged in 
that of the Archdeacon" only to be revived under the designation 
of "Rural Dean" in quite modern times 4 . 

1 Select Charters, p. 75, xxvin. 

2 Potyptique de VAbbG Irminon par M. B. Guerard, Paris 1844, Vol. r. pp. 44 and 

3 See Select Charters, p. 67 et seq., especially, p. 75. 

4 See Leet Jurisdiction in the City of Norwich, during the 13th and 14th 
centuries. Ed. for the Selden Soc. by Rev. William Hudson, 1894. Introduction, 
p. xcii. and the Index under Dean of the dtp of Norwich. 

in.] East Anglia in the reign of King Stephen, xxxvii 

Though it can hardly have been but that during all the reign of 
Stephen some of the old police organization survived and con- 
tinued to some extent operative for the restraining the rapacity 
of some and punishing the violence of others, we must remember 
that legal procedure, courts of justice and even the very conception 
of statute law in the sense we now attach to those terms can 
scarcely be said to have existed in England during those bad 

The wonderful revival of the study of Roman law exercised 
indeed upon all the keenest intellects of the 12th century an 
unparalleled fascination, and tended to draw away the thoughts 
and attention of many illustrious men even from the study of 
Theology. " It was as if a new gospel had been revealed 1 ." 

When, in 1149, Archbishop Theobald brought over into 
England Master Vacarius, one of the most celebrated Jurists 
of his time, and a crowd of scholars began eagerly to attend his 
lectures, Stephen set his face like a flint against the new learning 
and its great exponent, and tried to silence him by forbidding 
him to teach Roman law in England, and even prohibited the use 
of his books in the land 2 . 

It was one of the many, and not the least stupid, blunders 
which the king committed, and the more so because his orders could 
not be carried out. It was the crying need of the time that the 
ethical sentiments of the people should be educated to higher 
conceptions of justice and fair play. That truth for its own sake 
should be supremely desirable, only the very few were prepared to 
admit. A poor wretch accused of a crime was almost assumed to 
be guilty till he could prove the negative. Every one, judging 
from his own experience, took it for granted that every one else 
was inclined to violence, fraud, or enormous wickedness, and sure 
to commit these things if the chance of detection were reduced 
to a minimum. In truth it was more probable that a man charged 
with a heinous crime should be guilty than innocent. 

If there was no sufficient evidence to substantiate the charge 
on the one hand, and yet no sufficient number of compurgators to 
support the denial on the other, there was only one way of settling 
the point. Let the appeal be made to the Judgment of God. 
An accuser had nothing to lose by this horrible challenge; the 

1 Pollock and Maitland, Vol. i. p. 89. 

8 Stubbs' Const. Hist., Vol. i. c. xii. 147. Cf. too Pollock and Maitland, Vol. i. 
p. 97 et seq. 

xxxviii Introduction. [CHAP. 

accused stood to lose everything. Godwin the priest could urge 
p. 47 this upon the synod with a light heart ; to the Jews it meant 
extermination, as Bishop Turbe himself admitted almost in so 
many words. 

"Down to the ninth century," says Professor Maitland, "the 
opposition of the Church appears to have kept ordeal outside the 
recognised law 1 ." Three hundred years before this, however, it 
appears to have been commonly resorted to among the Franks ; 
and Gregory of Tours describes with some minuteness a case 
where the ordeal of boiling water was put in force in his own 
day 2 . 

Dr H. C. Lea of Philadelphia has dealt with the whole subject 
in his usual exhaustive manner, and has found traces of the invo- 
cation of the Judgment of God among many and various races of 
mankind at the very dawn of history 3 . In England the most 
common forms of the ordeal were that of boiling water (judicium 
aqucB ferventis), and the judicium ferri, or ordeal by red-hot iron. 
Instances of either one or the other are not very frequently to be 
met with in our English annals till the 12th century, but then they 
became hideously common. Both forms are named in the laws of 
Edward the Confessor 4 , A.D. 1043 1066. The judicium ferri is 
mentioned in the so-called statutes of William the Conqueror 5 ; 
the water ordeal is referred to in the Assize of Clarendon A.D. 

In the very valuable collection of Pleas of the Crown edited by 
Prof. Maitland for the Selden Society in 1887, there are no fewer than 
fifteen instances of a resort to the ordeal by water, and nine to the 
ordeal by hot iron between the years 1200 and 1225; in one case, 
both forms of the dreadful process appear to have been put in 
force simultaneously. When the cry rose up from the cruel crowd 
at the Norwich synod, calling for the Judgment of God, the 
denials and protestations of the wretched Jews went for nothing, 
and if the fierce-eyed fanatics could have had their way, there 
would have been just as little chance of escape for their victims 
as there had been a thousand years before, when just such 
a loud and hateful cry had been answered by flinging the 
Christians to the lions. Happily the time was coming when these 
detestable perversions of justice, which had too long been allowed 

1 Pollock and Maitland, Vol. i. p. 15. 2 De Gloria Marty rum, 80. 

3 Superstition and Force, Pt. in. * Select Charters, p. 74. 

5 Id. p. 81. 

in.] East Anglia in the reign of King Stephen, xxxix 

to go on under the blasphemous pretence of invoking the Heavenly 
Father to do justice between man and man, were abolished. The 
popes had very early set themselves against the ordeal : but it 
took a long time before the populace or their rulers could be 
brought to a better mind and to regard these abominations in 
their true light. 

Though the Lateran Council of 1215 formally forbade any 
ecclesiastic taking part in these ordeals, and though by this time 
all the great theologians condemned and denounced them as 
having no warrant in divine law and forbidden by the Church 
yet the superstition, like every other superstition, died hard, 
and the other form of ordeal the trial by combat survived 
long after the others had ceased to be sanctioned or resorted to. 



THE original story of the Jews at Inmestar who were punished 
by the magistrates on a charge of beating a boy to death in 
the 5th century is to be found in the ecclesiastical history of 
Socrates, who was alive at the time of the occurrence. It is 
quite incredible that the monk Thomas could have read it in 
the original Greek ; but we shall see that there was a Latin 
translation of the story to which he might have had access. The 
circumstances of the time were favourable to its revival, and 
the intense and increasingly bitter feeling against the Jewish 
communities who enjoyed a kind of privileged position in some 
of the more important English towns 1 during the 12th century 
was preparing people to believe that the objects of their fierce 
hatred were capable of perpetrating every kind of wanton cruelty. 

The cause of this ill feeling is not far to seek, inasmuch as the 
Jews were the only financiers, money-lenders and pawnbrokers 2 
who were tolerated. To receive any interest for money advanced 
on security was denounced as a breach of the moral law which 
the Church sternly condemned : yet the capital required by those 
who embarked in commercial ventures or were engaged in those 
architectural works which were the rage of the time had to be 

1 Mr Jacobs in his remarkable monograph, The Jews of Angevin England 
(Nutt, 1893), shows that in the 12th century there were communities of Jews in 
Cambridgeshire, Oxford, Essex, Lincoln, Kent and Winchester. The Jews in 
London were a very wealthy body. In Norfolk and Suffolk, however which were 
to the England of the period what Lancashire is to the England of to-day the 
Jews were evidently numerous, and occupied a very important financial posi- 
tion. The tribute levied from the Jews at Norwich amounted to an annual 
payment which constituted a considerable item in the accounts of the king's 

2 See p. 15... pallia, pellicias, vel cetera hujusmodi, sen quce in vadimonio 
iiabebant <&c. 

CHAP, iv.] The Norwich Jews. xli 

found somewhere, and the Jews, who had no scruple in charging 
their price for providing the accommodation required, were the 
only capitalists to apply to for assistance. The interest charged 
was very high ; it could hardly be otherwise when, for obvious 
reasons, the security was difficult to realise, and in the case of 
an utterly dishonest and unscrupulous debtor the chances of 
recovering the loan, or even the interest, might easily be reduced 
to the vanishing point. 

As Miss Norgate has put it, "the Jew was not a member of 
"the State, he was the king's chattel not to be meddled with 
" for good or evil save at the king's own bidding. Exempt from 
" toll and tax and from the fines of justice, he had the means 
" of accumulating a hoard of wealth which might indeed be seized 
" at any moment by an arbitrary act of the king, but which the 
" king's protection guarded with jealous care against all other 
" interference. The capacity in which the Jew usually appears 
" is that of a money-lender an occupation in which the scruples 
" of the Church forbade Christians to engage lest they should be 
" contaminated by the sin of usury. Fettered by no such scruples 
" the Hebrew money-lenders drove a thriving trade, and their loans 
"doubtless contributed to the material benefit of the country by 
" providing means for a greater extension of commercial enterprise 
"than would have been possible without such aid 1 ." 

William of Malmesbury tells us that the Jews were first 
brought over by William the Conqueror from Rouen and established 
in London 2 . They appear to have been settled as a privileged 
community of financiers on the edge of the Walbrook, which per- 
haps served at once as the boundary and one of the defences of the 
London Jewry at least as early as the reign of Henry I. 3 All 
through the days of William Rufus they seem to have been 
treated with remarkable toleration ; though efforts sometimes 
successful were made for their conversion 4 , and we hear that some p. 94 
of them who had been persuaded to renounce their ancestral 
faith and embrace Christianity were actually paid to return to 
their Judaism by the king in one of those fierce freaks of his 

1 Norgate i. p. 53. 

2 Gesta Regum iv. c. 317. 

* Norgate i. 46, Jacobs, p. 13. 

4 St Anselra seems to have interested himself very much in the conversion of 
the Jews, and the disputation of a Jew with a Christian, which has been printed in 
his works, is given by Jacobs, pp. 7 12. 

W. N. d 

xlii Introduction. [CHAP. 

which almost make us doubt his sanity. The Jews appear very 
early at Cambridge and Oxford 1 and probably their settlements 
may have been found in the larger towns at an earlier time than 
has been recorded. 

If the Jews had confined their operations to the financing of 
large undertakings they might conceivably have had the great 
bulk of the people on their side for the building of the great 
churches and religious houses meant extensive employment of 
labour and this meant circulation of money among the employed 
but the habits and instincts of the Hebrews made them money- 
lenders to small and great, and when it came to the artizans and 
the needy small folk among the townsmen resorting to them for 
small loans and leaving their clothes in pledge, and when the 
p. 15 interest could not be paid and the security was forfeited, then 
the feeling of the populace was easily stirred against the Jew even 
to frenzy. It was the old story over again, 

periit postquam cerdonibus esse timendus 

The Jewish community meanwhile were under the special 
protection of the king and the king's representative, the sheriff. 
They did not live in houses of their own, they were tenants 
p. 25 at will as it seems, who might be turned out at any moment. 
At Norwich, at any rate during the time we are concerned with, 
it seems that there was no Jew living in an important house of 
his own as Aaron, the son of Isaac, was doing at Oxford 2 , and no 
house appears ever to have been built in Norwich at all com- 
parable to the still existing stone houses known as Moyse Hall at 
Bury St Edmund's, or that of Aaron of Lincoln, which is probably 
the oldest domestic building existing in England 3 . The Norwich 
Jews were living together in a settlement or block of buildings the 
boundaries of which may be distinctly traced at the present day, 
and the Jews were outside the jurisdiction of the old burg which 
was on the other side of the Castle. That mighty fortress had only 
recently been built, and was a standing menace to the older burghers, 
between whom and the inhabitants of the new burgh there were 
relations not always friendly. The attempt on the part of the 
clergy and the bishop to make the Jews answer to a capital charge 

1 Jacobs, p. 4. 

2 Jacobs, p. 8. 

8 Hudson Turner's Domestic Architecture in England, i. p. 7. 

iv.] The Norwich Jews. xliii 

before the synod was manifestly an attempt to exercise juris- 
diction over the king's men, and the attitude of the sheriff was the 
only attitude which he could have assumed consistently with his 
responsibility for the rights of those whether Jews or Gentiles 
for whose protection he was answerable. 

The Jews appear to have returned to their Jewry and we hear p. 36 
of no serious molestation of them for a long time to come; the 
attempt to carry out a general massacre completely failed. As 
to the infamous murder of the Jew, Eleazar, by the ruffians in 
the pay of Sir Simon de Novers, it was an incident which stands p. 98 
quite alone, though an incident which, as related in these pages, 
reflects some discredit on the memory of Bishop William Turbe. 
Thomas of Monmouth's insinuation that the Norwich Jews suffered 
severely in their persons and their property as a consequence of 
their complicity in the guilt of little William's murder, must be 
taken for what it is worth ; we may be pretty sure that if instances 
could have been adduced of any large number of the Hebrews 
vel festine mortis interitu deleti vel christianorum manibus per- 
empti, we should have had them in the author's diffuse narrative. 

Assuming that this narrative covers a period of some 30 years, 
namely from A.D. 1144 till A.D. 1174, there is no evidence to show 
that the Norwich Jews suffered worse than their brethren else- 
where did during the reign of Stephen, or indeed during that of 
Henry II. What does seem clear is that it was at Norwich first 
that the Christian population threatened and meditated a whole- 
sale massacre of the Jews, and that the plan would have been p- 47 
carried out but for the intervention of the Sheriff. The edict of 
Stephen alluded to at p. 95 shows that the king protected his 
Jews so far as he was able against the violence of the mob : and, 
whatever we may think of the very suspicious story of ^Elward 
Ded, it was not generally believed at the time it was promulgated, p. 27 
and indeed during the five years that had passed since the Synod 

of 1144 the doubters were at least as numerous as the believers. 


It is hardly within my province to dwell upon the subsequent 
history of the Norwich Jews till the time of their expulsion from 
England in 1290. All that is ever likely to be known of the hard 
measure dealt out to this much oppressed people in England has been 
collected in Mr Jacobs' volume already referred to. Unfortunately 
that carries us no further than to the death of king John. The 
hideous massacre of Jews at the coronation of Richard I. such is 


xliv Introduction. [CHAP. 

the contagion of these mysterious instincts, cruelty and the lust of 
blood was repeated next year at Norwich as at other places up 
and down the land. Yet the Jews continued to increase in wealth 
and a certain measure of power, notwithstanding all the horrible 
treatment they received. They managed to extort for themselves 
increasing recognition at the hands of the king who could not do 
without them and concessions little by little were made in their 
favour, all in the direction of justice and toleration 1 . Perhaps the 
most surprising fact that has but recently come to light is that 
among the English Jews there were men of profound learning ; the 
inextinguishable enthusiasm for literary pursuits affording them 
something like an alleviation in the midst of the prolonged agonies 
through which the poor people were compelled to pass. 

Mr Walter Rye has taken up the tale where Mr Jacobs leaves 
it. To the East Anglian Mr Rye's memorable paper in his own 
privately printed Norfolk Antiquarian Miscellany, 1877, Vol. i. 
pp. 312 344, must always be eminently interesting, for Mr Rye 
deals only with the Norfolk Je\vs ; his work is a priceless contri- 
bution to the history of a painful subject by a man of indefatigable 
research and of great intelligence and sagacity. Mr Rye shows us 
that in the first half of the 13th century the Jews were continually 
increasing in numbers at Norwich that in 1230 some fanatics 
among them seized the child of a Jewish physician (who, it 
appears, had become converted to Christianity) and circumcised 
him that the Jewry was set on fire that the king was appealed 
to that the anti-Semitic frenzy among the Norwich citizens was 
as violent as it is now in Central Europe ; and the inference that 
is forced upon us is that the legislation of Edward I. against the 
English Jews was sure to come sooner or later. Moreover just as 
the enormous lying which prepared people to accept as true 
the unspeakable calumnies spread abroad against the Knights 
Templars in the 14th century, and the hideous slanders which were 
invented against the inmates of the Religious houses in the 16th, 
were powerful factors in facilitating the pillage of the Templars in 
the one case and the suppression of the Monasteries in the other, 
so the continued repetition of the stories of Christian children 
being ' martyred ' by infatuated Jews contributed not a little, and 
must have contributed, to prepare men's minds to accept with 

1 A great deal of very curious and valuable information on the treatment of the 
Jews in England has been collected in Mr L. 0. Pike's History of Crime in England, 
Vol. i. [London Smith & Elder, 1873.] The Index is excellent. 

iv.J The Norwich Jews. xlv 

equanimity the final catastrophe; though few can have known or had 
any suspicion that the original story came from Norwich and that 
Thomas of Monmouth, writing his bombastic book in the Norwich 
priory, first stirred up that mighty wave of superstitious credulity, 
unreasoning hate, and insatiable ferocity, whichhftc not yet spent 
itself, though more than seven centuries have passed since Thomas 
took his pen in hand. 






THE firm and persistent stand made by the Sheriff in the pro- 
tection of the Jews when accused of the crucifixion of the boy William 
may be perhaps sufficiently explained by the fact that the Jews were 
the "King's Chattels," for damage to whom the Sheriff might be called 
to account. A consideration, however, of the political state of the city 
at that time, so far as we are able to trace it, will afford a further 
explanation of this feature of the narrative. 

In the time of Edward the Confessor the "villa" of Norwich as 
described in Domesday Survey comprehended a circuit round the Castle 
Hill beginning with Berstreet southwards, sweeping round by the east, 
north and north-west to the street called Pottergate, comprising the 
districts then probably, as afterwards, known by the names of Cones- 
ford, Westwyk and Coslanye. The western side, afterwards called 
Mancroft, was not yet occupied. 

The whole "villa" was not entirely homogeneous as to jurisdiction, 
but the exceptions were comparatively small. Fifty burgesses, resident 
between Tombland and the river, belonged to Stigand, bishop of 
Thetford ; 32 belonged to Earl Harold, somewhere near the Castle, but 
no less than 1238 occupying the rest of the "villa" are described as 
being "in burgo" and under the normal jurisdiction of the King and 
Earl, the former taking two-thirds of the profits and the latter one- 
third. The meeting place of the men of this flourishing " burgh," when 
they gathered together for their borough-mote, there is good reason 
to think was on Tombland, and almost certainly the common market 
must have been there also. 

xlvi Introduction. [CHAP. 

Soon after the Norman Conquest, great troubles fell upon the 
burgh owing to the rebellion of Earl Ralph, so that at the time of 
the Survey in 1086, only 665 out of 1238 burgesses could be accounted 
for. The political importance of the Saxon "burgess" was further 
weakened by another result of the Conquest. Before his rebellion 
Ear) Ralph, by arrangement with the King, had granted lands in his 
dfnM*nf> ( to the west of the Castle, to be formed into a New Burgh 
between himaelf and the King. The burgesses who occupied it were 
Frenchmen, who, at the time of the Survey already numbered 123, 
including some "milites." This statement, made in formal terms in the 
Survey, can imply nothing less than the formation of a new, and under 
the circumstances, a rival municipal organization, a new French burgh 
M distinguished from the English burgh, as was the case at Notting- 
ham and doubtless in other places. Moreover in this new district was 
established a new market, which either by authority or by natural 
development soon superseded the older one. 

Such was the state of affairs at the commencement of the 12th 
century. By the early part of the 13th the two rival burghs had 
become fused together into four municipal divisions under one govern- 
ment, the " new burgh " under the name of Mancroft taking the second 
place in precedence. This fusion may have been effected by the time 
of King Richard's charter of self-government in 1194, but perhaps not 
completely till the appointment of four bailiffs in place of a borough- 
in I: 

The question is, How far had this fusion proceeded at the time 

of our narrative T There is little evidence to show. One statement 

certainly seems to imply that the two separate organizations were still 

istence. In 1140, King Stephen granted to his son William the 

"town and borough of Norwich in which there were 1238 burgesses 

that hold of the king in burgage tenure," and also the "castle and 

burgh thereof in which there were 123 burgesses that held of the king 

in burgage tenure," Ac. Now these numbers are exactly the same as 

ben given in the Survey of 1086. We must therefore suppose 

her that the royal clerks copied the old description without verifica- 

or, M is more likely, that William could claim the burgage rents 

e particular burgesses but not of any others. Still, the term 

tfc -tl, instead of "new burgh" may be held to imply 

the French burgh was still a separate organization and-an im- 

" in close connection with the castle, the residence of 

>nnan Earl or a Norman Sheriff. 

KurtW than thw, the town had not yet the right of self-govern- 

. borough reeve was still appointed by the king and subordi- 

tothe.her.ff. Here cornea in another consideration. Each of 

iv.] T/ie Norwich Jews. xlvii 

the two burghs must at first have had its own reeve, and there is a 
curious piece of evidence suggesting that this continued even into the 
13th century. Blomefield, under the reign of Henry III, gives the 
names of four Provosts (or Reeves) for the years 1216tol219. As a 
matter of fact these four names are taken from the " Old Free Book " 
of the City of Norwich where they are said to be without date and are 
coupled together in pairs. In each case one name has a decidedly 
French tinge. 

On the whole, then, it seems reasonable to conclude that in 1149, 
when this charge was brought, the town was still divided into two 
distinct and alien organizations, the Norman burgesses in the new 
burgh, the English in the old. 

It was, of course, with the former that the Jews were entirely 
bound up, at least so far as they lived in the Jewry, as no doubt they 
all did, with very few exceptions. A description of the locality will 
shew that they were as closely as possible connected with the Castle. 
The Castle Hill was surrounded by a moat which still exists. Beyond 
the outer bank of the moat, the southern and eastern lands were 
enclosed by two horseshoe shaped banks, the southern enclosure being 
called the Castle Fee and the eastern the Castle Meadow. The main 
entrance to the Castle proper was from the east between these 
two banks. When, however, the new Norman quarter had sprung up on 
the west and the new Market was becoming a nucleus of population, 
another entrance was made from the neighbourhood of the Market 
into the southern enclosure or Castle Fee. This was by the street 
called in the 13th century "Vicus de Sellaria or Sadelgate. It was on 
the south side of the Sadelgate that the 13th century Jewry was 
situated. Kirkpatrick has suggested that it was removed to that 
spot in the middle of the 13th century from an earlier site. But he 
admits that there is no real evidence of the occupation of the earlier 
site. On the other hand the extreme suitability of the Sadelgate 
site makes it more than probable that it was so used from the first. 
The Jews belonged to the king and were under the special protection 
of his local representative. Where would they be better placed than 
immediately outside the Castle enclosure and at the very spot where 
access between the Castle and the Market was established ? There 
also they would be surrounded by the burgesses whose sympathies were 
on the side of the king and the Castle. In case of a popular tumult, 
too, a few minutes would place them within the safe protection of the 
Castle enclosure. 

The conducting of the accused Jews from the Jewry to the Bishop's 
court would not involve the danger of taking them through the streets 
of the city. Bishop Herbert had obtained the site of the Earl's Palace 







A. Mentioned in a deed of 14 E. I. as "via que ducit ad curiam Comitatus." See 

Harrod, Caitlet and Conventt, Ac., p. 132. 

B. Mentioned in a deed of 80 E. I. as "via qua itur ad Castellum." See Harrod, 

Cattlet and Convent*, p. 140. 
O. Bit* of Earl's Palace, removed by Bp. Herbert. 

D. Here WM formerly a footpath (see Harrod, Castles and Convents, p. 140). Some- 

where near most have been the communication with the Earl's Palace. 

E. Fy bridge it mentioned in a grant of c. 1150 (see Kirkpatrick's Streets and Lanes, 

fte.. p. 84). 

F. The line F...F mark* the line of the bank made by royal license in 1253, after- 

ward* surmounted by a wall. It is said to have greatly enlarged the circuit 
of the city (StrttU and Lanei, p. 111). How it was denned or defended 
before U unknown. 

iv.] The Nonvich Jews. xlix 

and pulled it down, so that between the north circuit of the Castle 
Meadow and the entrance to the monastic precinct from Tombland 
only a short space of ground had to be covered. No doubt from the 
first, as at a later time, a postern gate at that point in the enclosing 
bank of the Castle Meadow gave access to Tombland and the Monastery. 
Nearly the whole way therefore from the Jewry to the Monastery 
would be through the safe enclosures of the Castle. 

One more consideration illustrating the political situation in the 
city at this period may be added. The Castle, which up to the time of 
the Norman Conquest had been the stronghold of a native lord, such as 
the Earl of the East Angles, who did not shut himself up in it but 
lived in his Palace between the Castle Meadow and Tombland, had 
from the time of the Conquest become an instrument of foreign domi- 
nation. Even in the Conqueror's time a stone castle of some kind had 
been built. But according to the best judgment of architectural 
evidence, it was reserved for Hugh Bigot, just about the time of our 
narrative, to rear the massive Keep which still forms so splendid a 
memorial of the past. We may easily imagine the awe with which the 
English burgesses would mark the uprearing of this mighty engine of 
tyranny, and how hopeless a contest with its master would seem. 

These various considerations may help to explain why the Sheriff 
should have had no antecedent sympathy with a popular outcry, and 
why, feeling himself responsible for preventing damage being done 
to the Jews, he also had it in his power to ensure them an efficient 
protection such as on similar but later occasions elsewhere they failed 
to obtain. 



THE manuscript from which the work of Thomas of Mon- 
mouth is printed here and it is the only copy of his work which is 
known formed part of a Library bequeathed about the year 1700 
to the Parish of Brent Eleigh in Suffolk by a certain Mr Edward 
Colman, sometime of Trinity College, Cambridge. The collection 
included some nine MSS, and among them were two of no ordinary 
interest. One was the Gospel-book of St Margaret of Scotland, 
which was purchased by the Bodleian Library in 1887 ; the other 
was the volume containing the Life of St William. Seven out of 
the nine MSS are now in the University Library at Cambridge, 
for which they were bought from the Trustees of the Brent 
Eleigh Library in 1889 \ An eighth is in the Fitzwilliam Museum : 
the other, as has been said, is at Oxford. 

I had been myself, to some extent, instrumental in procuring 
the books for Cambridge : and it was with extreme pleasure that 
on examination I discovered, first that here was a copy of Thomas 
of Monmouth's Life of St William, and next, that no other copy 
seemed to be known. 

Into the other steps preliminary to the appearance of the 
present edition it is not necessary to enter. To communicate 
my discovery to Dr Jessopp was an obvious step; when his help 
was once secured I felt sure that Thomas would be presented to 
the public under the best possible auspices. 

Something must be said, however, of the volume itself. It is a 
small folio numbered Add. 3037 in the University Library. It is 
written in a fine hand (or two hands), on good parchment, in 

1 This is not quite correct. Six of the books were bought from the trustees : 
the other, a copy of Martial, had been sold with the Gospel-book in 1887, and was 
acquired for the University Library in 1895. 

CHAP, v.] The Manuscript. \\ 

double columns of 31 32 lines each and consists of two volumes 
bound in one. Its date I should place somewhat before 1200. 
It retains its original wooden boards, formerly fastened by a 
strap and pin. The collation is as follows : 

* 2 (1 stuck to the cover, 2 gone) : a 8 k 8 : I 8 II 8 III 8 (2 mutilated) 
IV 8 VII 8 VIII 8 (wants 4, 5, 6) IX 8 XI 8 : 166 leaves remain out 
of 170. 

The contents are as follows : 

I. 1. Thomas of Monmouth's Life of St William of 
This ends on f. 77 a. 

2. Isaaci Abbatis Stellensis Epistola de officio 

missae, ad Dominum Johannem Archiepisco- 

pum Lugdunensem . . . . . f. 77 6 
Domino et patri in Christo semper uenerabili et 

digne amando J. dei gratia Pictauensi Epis- 

copo frater Ysaac dictus abbas stelle salutem. 
Ending on f. 80 b. : fideliter et feruenter remi- 

niscitur. Explicit epistola domini Ysaac 

abbatis de officio missae. 
This tract is printed in Migne, Patrol. Lat. 

cxciv. The author's date is 1169. 

3. An extract beginning : 

(S)maragdus preciosus lapis est in sua natura. 
Ending : et in Cristi doctrina confortant. 

II. 1. Vita S. Wulurici anachoretae 1 by John, abbot of 

Ford f. 1 

See on this Hardy's Catalogue of Materials, ii. 

2. Vita S. Godrici de Finchale 2 . . . . f. 39 b 
This is an abbreviated form of the Life. It 
occurs anonymously in Harl. 322. 

In the present MS it is ascribed to " Walterus," but in Stevenson's 
edition (Surtees Society, 1847) of Reginald's long Life of St Godric, 
this shorter Life is described as a preliminary and shorter form of 
Reginald's book by Reginald himself. It is thus arranged in our MS. 

1 St Wuluric died in 1154. 
8 St Godric died in 1170. 

lii Introduction. [CHAP. 

f. 39 b. Explicit uita b. Wulurici anachorete. 
Incipit prefatio domini Walteri in abreuia- 
tione uite b. Godrici de finchal. 

Ut satisfacerem. 
Expl. prefatio. Inc. argumentum. 

Sanctissimus heremita Godricus. 
f. 40. Capitula (Ixxv) agreeing with those 

given by Stevenson. 
f. 41 b. Incipit uita. 
Uirtutes et uitam. 

Ends on f. 85 (88): followed by fifty-two 
hexameters, in a smaller hand, beginning : 
Stephane, tu tanti mensuram nominis imple 
Et sta pro phano ne tu dicare prophanus 
and ending : 

Quicquid obest et in hanc radicem mitte securim 
Ne radice ingens in peius pullulet arbor. 
The verso is blank. 

The condition of the MS is very good, save that it has, in the 
earlier pages in particular, suffered from damp at the left-hand 
upper corner. This will account for certain bracketed supplements 
which appear in the text. 

From what monastery it came I am quite unable to suggest. 
There is an old (xivth or xvth century) table of contents on the 
fly-leaf which is in parts illegible, but runs thus, so far as I can 
read it : 

Volumen. | 

De Vita et passione sci Wille^mi martiris norwic. 

[added in cent, xvi : per Thomam monumetensem monachum 

dedicat. willelmo episcopo Norvicensi]. 
Epistola dompni Ysaac abbatis Stellensis de officio misse ad 

domnum lohannem. 
Epistole . ii. lohannis de forda . Item vita sci Wlfrici anachorite 

Vita sci Godrici finchale cum miraculis [added in margin: 

per Walterum]. 
Item liber qui dicitur: 
Rudis equitas et ius et idiomata (?) que iuris versatur (?) et 

sunt proprietates collecte sub compendio de codicis et 


This last tract is gone. 

v.] The Manuscript. liii 

Here too, in a hand of the xviith century, is the uame Fane 
Edge, which is found in most of the other MSS from Brent Eleigh. 

I will here note, before passing to the discussion of the text 
of our MS, and other kindred topics, that the present edition 
is printed from an excellent transcript made by Mr A. Rogers 
of the University Library. I have collated the printed proofs 
with the manuscript. 

The Text. 

The date of the last miracle which Thomas records is 1172. 
Bishop Turbe died in January of 1174, and all seven books were 
written when Thomas wrote the Prologue, dedicating the book to 
him. The date of the composition is, then, most likely 1172 3- 
The date of the MS is, to my thinking, rather before than after 
1200: all the tracts in it must have been composed before 1180. 
We are, then, dealing with a copy very near in time to the 
autograph of the author; and as we should expect, the text is 
in consequence extremely good. Moreover, our copy has been 
very carefully corrected. I had at first fancied that the corrections 
might have been in Thomas's own hand ; but a subsequent ex- 
amination does not tend to confirm that view. All that we can 
say is that the copy from which ours was made cannot in all 
likelihood have been separated by more than one step from 
Thomas's own : and it is quite likely to have been transcribed 
from the autograph itself. This likelihood is increased by the 
consideration that there cannot have been many copies of the 
book made, and most probably all that existed were made at 

One other point remains to be noticed. The MS, as a 
general rule, is singularly free from corruptions : but in the only 
document which is copied into the text from another source, 
namely, the letter of the monk of Pershore which occurs in the 
last chapter but one of the whole work, three or four bad mistakes 
occur. Had our MS been the work of a copyist at all far removed 
from the date of Thomas's autograph, mistakes similar to these 
would, I think, have crept into other parts of the text. Their 
absence from it proves that we are dealing with a near descendant 
of the author's copy. 

liv Introduction. [CHAP. 

The History of the Book. 

I begin the investigation of this subject by laying before the 
reader the locus classicus on the Life of St William, namely his 
Legend as given by John Capgrave in the Nova Legenda Angliae. 
The portions italicised are those which are verbally borrowed 
from Thomas of Monmouth. 

I. i 1. Sanctus enim Willelmus ex patre Wenstano et matre Elwina 
rurali opere uitam agentibus ac necessariis uitae subsidiis admodum 
abundantibus natus est. Impraegnanti autem matri et dormienti uisio 
tab's accidit : uidebat piscem qui lucius dicitur, pinnas rubicundas et 
tamquam sanguine aspersas duodecim Jiabentem, quern cum in sinum 
posuisset, uidebatur piscis se mouere, et paullatim adeo succrescere ut 
iam sinus ipsum comprehendere non posset : assumptisque subito alis 
sursum uolauit, nubesque transiens, ajierto sibi coelo, in ipsum se recepit. 
Cumque patri suo sacerdoti, plurimam exponendarum uisionum peri- 
tiam liabenti, cuncta per ordinem retulisset, ait : Noueris, filia, te im- 
praegnari, filiumque parituram, qui in terris honorem maximum con- 
sequetur, et sujjer altitudinem nubium eleuatus, in coelum duodennis 

I. u 2. Nato itaque puero et ablactato, cum pater eius Wenstanus 
affines ad conuiuium iuuitasset, poenitentialis quidam brachia ferreis 
innexus nexibus, quasi ad eleemosynam conuiuantibus intererat : qui 
cum puerulum manibus quasi applaudendo teneret, puer puerili simpli- 
citate, ferreos admirans nexus, eos palpauit : et ecce subito uincula 
rumpuntur in partes dissilientes. 

Cum autem septennis puer esset, coepit adeo abstinentiae amator 
existere, ut tribus in liebdomade feriis ieiunaret : nonnullos uero pane 
contentus transigebat dies : ecclesiam frequentabat, psalmos et orationes 

I. iii dicebat 1 , et quaecumque Dei erant summa uenerabatur reuerentia. Tan- 
dem apud Norwicum cuidam pellipario in arte ilia traditur insttiiendus. 

I. v 3. Tandem in quodam festo Paschae, ludaei in urbe morantes 
puerum subdole hospitia eorum intrare alliciunt, subitocpie rapiunt, et 
uariis modis Ulusum per utrasque fauces ad posteriorem colli partem 
reductis corrigiis firmissimo astringunt nodo. Postmodum uero breui 
funiculo auricularis fere digiti Jiabente grossitudinem, arrepto, trinumque 
in eo certis locis assignantes nodum, caput illud innocens a fronte in 
occiput circumcingunt. Medium quippefronti nodum extremosque olios 
hinc et inde temporibua imprimentes, utrarumque partium capitibus ad 
occiput strictissimo confecto ibi nodo, quod supererat funiculi ctrcum 

1 discebat. 

v.] TJie Manuscript. lv 

collum itidem hinc et inde ad anteriora colli sub mento contrakentes 
reducunt ; ibique ittud insolitum tormenti genus in quinto nodo consum- 

4. Capite quoque post hoc raso, infinitis illud spinarum punctioni- 
bus milnerant, innocentemque a terra siiblatum patibulo extinguere 
contendebant. Sinistro eius lateri usque ad cordis intima uulnus 
acerbum infligunt, et ut sanguinem per totum corpus refluentem 1 reprime- 
rent, a capite deorsum feruentissimam aquam infuderunt. Sicque 
martyr gloriosus [xvii. Kal. Mai.] migrauit ad Dominum. Die quoque I. vii 
Paschae corpus in sacco ponitur, ut extra uillam ad siluam deductum 
secretius in ea sepeliretur. Cumque siluam intrarent, obuiauit eis 
burgensis quidam Norwici nomine Eiluerdus 2 , qui paullisper gradum 
continuit : quo tenderent, quidue deferrent, inquisiuit : et propius 
accedens, nianusque iniiciens, humanum esse corpus deprehendit. Uli 
uero se deprehensos expauescentes, et prae timore 3 nihil Jiabentes quod 
dicerent, siluae densitatem fugiendo ingressi sunt, corpusque linea cor- 
della in arbore suspenderunt. 

5. Ineuntes autem Judaei consilium Vicecomitem adeunt, et si ope I. viii 
sua liberari a tanto periculo possent, centum marcas argenti pollicentur. 
Eiluerdus confostim accersitus, iubente Vicecomite et cogente fide et 
iuramento constringitur, quod uita comite ludaeos non infamaret, et 
usque ad extremum uitae suae diem uisa non detegeret. Euolutis etenim 
annis quinque, Eiluerdus, ad extremum uitae perueniens, ab ipso sacro 
puero Wilhelmo per uisum admonetur ut quae uiderat quibus uellet 
reuelare non timeret : factumque est ita. His infra urbem gestis, ecce I. ix 
ignea de coelo lux subito emicuit, quae usque ad martyris locum tractim 

se porrigens, oculis multorum diuersis in locis effulsit. Videbatur autem 
lux ilia in duos diuisa radios scalae longissimae tenere formam, ab imo 
in altum se porrigentis ad orientem. 

6. Sabbato enim Sancto Paschae monialis quaedam cum quibusdam L x 
aliis ante solis ortum iter arripiens siluae densitatem deuota ingreditur, 
intuensqviQ eminus ad radicem quercus iacentem puerum tunicatum, 
calceatum, capite rasum : et foemineo correpta timore propius accedere 
non praesumpsit. Aspexit autem super ilium coruos duos, qui uoracitatis 
rabiem explere gestientes rostro eum discerpere certatim attentabant : sed 
nullatenus tangere neque se sustinere ualentes, huic et inde a latere cade- 
bant. His uisis mtdier Deo gratias agens, ad do-mum regressa, quae 
uiderat palam cunctis enarrauit. Turba igitur cateruatim ad siluam I. xii 
properat, poenarumque signis ac re gesta euidenter consideratis, ludaeos 

a reatu non immunes ajfirmant, et corpus sanctum sepulturae cum 
gaudio tradunt. 

1 deflu. * Aelnerdus. 3 stnpore. 

Ivi Introduction. [CHAP. 

II. iii 7. Monachi quidam ramusculum, qui tempore estiuo in claustro 
floribus roseis uernans iam effloruei-at, ad caput sepulcri Sancti Martyris 
circa festum S. Michaelis transplantarunt : qui continue terrae radicitus 
adhaesit, et reuirescentibus foliis non sine magna omnium admiratione 
refloruit, uniuersis floribus usque ad festum S. Edmundi in ramusculo 
perseuerantibus. Tuncque uehemens imbrium et uentorum exorta procella 
omnes praeter unum excussit, qui usque ad natalem in ramusculi sum- 
mitate recens perdurauit. 

I. iv 8. Fuit uir quidam diuturna infirmitate detentus totoque imbecillis 
corpore iacens : ingrauescente tandem morbi angustia in extasim raptus 
Angelo duce per loca diuersa, horrida 1 et amoena, deducitur : innumera- 
bilem uero turbam diuersis cruciari poenis : nonnullos quos in uita 
cognouerat, uidit : qui famuiaria quaedam et secreta ei tradentes inter- 
signia* quibusdam adhuc uiuentibus per ipsum mandando notificant, 
eosdem illis praeparatos cruciatus, nisi ab his et illis poenitentes criminibus 
desistant. Florigeram amoenissimamque ingreditur regionem, innume- 
ram ibi hominum copiam in gloriae inaestimabilis gaudio positam 
cernit, et inde per uiam diuersis constratam floribus digrediens ante 
sedentem in throno Dominum tandem adductus constitit 3 , atque in 
coruscae lucis fulgore deflxo intuitu uidit* Dominum, throno aureo 
sedentem, lapidibus pretiosis ornato, et sanctorum millia ante eum. 

9. Vidit 4 quoque a dextris in maiestate sedentis B. Virginem Mariam 
et ad pedes Domini puerum conspicit quasi duodennem, scabello aureo 
residentem: cuius habitum niue candidior et uultus splendidior sole, et 
in capite eius corona fulgebat aurea, pretiosissimis undique lapidibus 
insignita : cui pariter congratulabantur Sanctorum chori eumque maxime 
uenerabantur ordines angelici, quibus uisis angelo ait : Quis est hie, 
Domine, cui tantus honor impenditur ? Et ille : Hie est cui honor 
debetur perpetuus, quern, in derisum Dominicae passionis et opprobrium 
his sacris diebus ludaei Noruicenses peremerunt, eiusque debetur meritis 
quod ad sepulcrum illius remedium suscipias sanitatis. Et his dictis 
inde corttinuo aissumitur, et suo corpori restituitur. Remeante uero 
anima subito omne corpus contremuit, et rediuiuus apparuit et cunctis 
seriatim quae uiderat enarrauit; Noruicum adiit, et sanitatem sine mora 

10. Multa insuper miracula pro suo Marty re glorioso Dominus 
ostendere dignatus est : inter quae caecos quatuor 5 , mutos quinque 6 , 
hydropicos duos 7 , daemoniacos tres et epilepticos 8 , contractos 9 , surdos 10 , 

1 horribilis. * intersigna. 3 consistit. 4 uidet. 

* iv. ii, v. xvii. 6 vn. ix, v. xvii. 7 in. xxvi, v. viii. 

8 iv. iii, v. xii, xiii, vn. iii, vi. vii. 9 v. xiv-xvi, ch. vn. x. 

10 vn. ix, in. xiii. 

v.J The Manuscript. Ivii 

naufragio periclitantes ', compeditos 2 , gibbosos 8 , ac alios uariis inorbis 
aut periculis afflictos, sanauit, liberauit ac soluit. 

To this shall be appended the English version which appears 
in Wynkyn de Worde's Newe Legende of Englande, f. cv. a sqq. 

Seynt Wyllyam the chylde / and martyr was borne in Englonde / 
and when his moder was wyth chylde of hym she sawe in a vysyon 
a fysshe called a luce w 4 .xii- red fynnys lyke as it had been 
sparkelyd with blode / and when she had put the fysshe into her 
bosom she thought it grewe so moch that her bosome coulde not 
holde it / and sodeynly it flewe aboue the Cloudys into heuen / and 
a preest that had great grace in expoudynge of vysyons / sayde she 
shulde haue a blessyd Chylde that in the age of xii yerys shuld goo 
into Heuyn / And when he was a yonge chylde it happenyd hym to 
touch y e Iros of a man that was fetteryd / And anon the Irons felle of. 
And when he was but -vii. yere olde he wolde faste thre dayes in y e 
weke / and wolde be at the Chyrche in prayer / And after at norwych 
he was put to a skynner to enfourme / where on an Estre daye he 
was taken pryvely by the Jues / and they in despyte of oure Lorde 
mockyd hym / and cruelly martyryd hym / they thruste all y 6 blode oute 
of his Hedde with cordys / and then they dyd shaue his Hedde and 
pryckyd it with thornys / and put hym vpon a Crosse and thruste hym 
into the lefte syde greuously / and so by great Martyrdome he went 
to our Lorde the -vii- kalendas of Maye / and that doon they caiyed 
hym towardes a wood to hyde hym / And a Crysten man came by them 
and perseyuyd that they caryed a deed man / wherfore they feryd moche 
and pryuely hunge hym vp in a Tree in the Wode with a corde / and wente 
to the Sheryf e and for a . C . marke / the Sheryfe causyd the man to be 
sworne that he shulde neuer dyscouer it whyle he lyuyd / and v yerys 
after when he shulde dye Seynt wyllyam apperyd to hym / and bade 
hym that he shulde dyscouer hit ferynge nothynge / (f. cv 6) / And so 
he dyd / and then a lyghte fro heuyn shewyd vppo the place where he 
laye / And after on an Eester euyn his Bodye was founde by a Nonne in 
the wode lyenge at y e Roote of an Oke in his Cote hosed / and shodde / and 
his Hedde shauen / and there were by hym two Crowes that attemptyd 
to haue Torne hym / and etyn hym / But they hadde no power therto / 
and then hee was takyn vp with all the people / and buryed with 
great Joye / A man that had ben longe syke was ledde in a vysyon by 
an Aungell into a goodlye place full of plesaunte Flourys / and there 
he sawe our Lorde syttynge in a Trone / and innumerable of Aungellys / 
and Seyntys aboute hym / and on his ryght hande in great magestye 
was the Sete of oure blessyd Ladye / and at the Feet of our Lorde he 

1 vi. xvii, iv. x, in. xix. 2 v. x, vi. xviii. 3 vi. xii. 

W. N. e 

Iviii Introduction. [CHAP. 

sawe a Chylde aboute the age of -xii- yerys syttynge in a sete of golde 
and a Crowne of Golde vppon his hedde his Face shynynge bryghte as 
the sonne / and Aungellys dyd honour to hym / Then he askyd of the 
Aungell who he was / and the Aungell sayde this is he that in derysyon 
and opprobrye of the passyon of our Lorde the Jues of Norwyche dyd 
put to deth / and by hym he sayde he shulde be made hoole / And so 
he vanysshed awaye / and when his spyryte was come agayne to the 
Bodye he went to Norwyche and was made hoole as the Aungell sayde / 
and many other myracles / our lord hath shewyd for this blessyd 
Chylde foure that were blynde / fyue that were mute / two of the 
dropsye / thre vexyd with Deuylls / and men of the fallynge sykenes / 
dome (? some) perysshynge in the see feterd and deformyd / and of 
dyuerse other sykenesse were helyd and delyuered by thys gloryouse 

It is clear that Capgrave's sole source for the above is Thomas 
of Monmouth. The references I have added shew that he had 
the whole book before him, and the variants from our text are 
nowhere important. One mistake he has fallen into. He places 
the martyrdom on the seventeenth of the Kalends of May. The 
English says the seventh. But this is in reality the date of the 
translation of the body from Thorpe Wood to the cloister: and 
it has suffered corruption. The date as given by Thomas (T. xviii.) 
is the eighth of the Kalends of May (Ap. 24). 

In R. Whytford's Martiloge, written for Syon Monastery and 
reprinted for the Henry Bradshaw Society from Wynkyn de 
Worde's edition of 1526, the feast is put on the 15th of April. 

Our next witness is Leland. In his Collectanea, iv. 27 (25 
in marg.) he enumerates a few books In Biblioiheca Christi- 
colarum Nordovici, i.e. in the library of the Priory. There are 
eight in all, and the eighth is thus described : 

Vita S. Gulielmi Nordouicensis a Thoma mouacho Monumetensi ad 
Gulielmum episcopum Nordouicensem scripta. Prologus carmine 
scriptus est : Martyris egregii. Cetera scribuntur soluta oratione. 

The metrical Prologue probably never was in our MS, of which 
the first quire is complete : a fly-leaf, however, is gone, which may 
have contained it. 

In the Commentarii de Scriptoribus Britannicis (c. 288), and 
in Bale (ii. 94) this notice is amplified, and appears thus : 

Thomas Monemuthensis professione monachus, qui suo saeculo inter 
literates nomen laudesque emeruit. ludaei, perfidum genus hominum 

v.] The Manuscript. lix 

et sanguinem sitiens Ohristianum, in Britannia suae stirpis radices alte 
fixerant. Horum grex pessimus Ventam Icenorum precario incole- 
bant, ea urbis regione et insula ubi Abrahami aula etiam nunc de 
nomine nota extat. Inter caetera quae ibidem scelera multa designa- 
uerunt, illud imprimis inipium, quod Hugonem quondam, puellum 
ingenuum, morti in Christi contumeliam tradiderint ; deprehensi sceleris 
conscii et in crucem acti. Nee longo post tempore ludaei urbe omnino 
expulsi. Claruit miraculis Hugonis sepulchrum. Ergo, ne Hugonis 
Martyris uita et mors obscura aliquando essent posteritati, rogatus 
Thomas Monemuthensis, charum ciuibus Ventanis et Deo pignus edito 
immortale fecit libello. 

The blunder of substituting Hugh for William is corrected 
in the Trinity MS. of Leland, and in Bale and Pits. Bale adds the 
following matter : 

De apostolis legimus quod uiui miracula fecerint. At Papistae sub 
Antichristi regno ex mortuis cadaueribus, uero quod maius est, ab 
eorum tumbis, seu ligneis seu lapideis, miracula decerpere et extorquere 
possunt. Ne huiusmodi igitur portenta deessent in adimplendis idolo- 
latriis, Thomas iste manum adhibuit, ac scripsit ad Guilhelmum de 
Turibes Nordouicensem episcopum, 

Vitam Guilhelmi martyris Lib. 7. Reuerendae sanctitatis patri 

et dom. 

Miracula eiusdem Guil. Lib. 1 

atque alia quaedam. Claruit Thomas anno Christi 1160, sub rege 
Henrico secundo. Elvuina huius Guilhelmi mater (inquit Thomas) 
Vulvuardum sacerdotem genitorem habuit. Et soror eius Liuina, 
Godvuinum presbyterum maritum, qui genuit ex ea Alexandrum dia- 
conum uxoratum, qui debebat in ministerio succedere patri. 

From this it is clear that Bale had our book before him, 
and was not dependent upon Leland alone for his information. 
This is also apparent from a passage in Bale's scurrilous Actes of 
English Votary es (1550), which I here append, as copied from the 
original edition (f. Ixxxii b). 

Prestes marryage at Norwyclie, praysed and scorned. 

Saint Wyllyam of Norwyche, a martyr, whych was ther shryned 
in Christes church abbeye, in the yeare of our lorde a .M. a .C. and 
xliiij. was crucify ed of the Jewes d welly ng than in a place yet called 
Abrahams hawle. Elwina thys S. Wyllyams mother had a prest to her 
father whose name was called Wulwarde, whyche was a man famouse, 
the story e sayth, both in a good lyfe and learnynge, plentuously 


hauynge the gyft of expowwyng secrete misteryes. Her other syster 

Ix Introduction. [CHAP. 

Liuina beynge also thys prestes doughter, was ioyned in lawfull mar- 
ryage to another preste called Goodwin. Thys prest had a sonne called 
Alexandre, whych was a marryed deacon, and loked after the decease 
of hys father, to enioye hys benefyce by inherytaunce. Eyther must 
thys legende of S. Wyllyam, writte of Thomas Monmouth a monke of 
the same abbeye, be a wycked thynge for allowyng these two prestes 
marryages, eyther els that cytie of Norwyche hath had most wycked 
and tyranouse rulers in this our tyme, etc. 

In both these passages of Bale there is one fact mentioned 
which does not occur in our text of Thomas. This is the 
statement that Alexander the deacon, son of Godwin Sturt, 
was married, and that he looked to succeed his father in his 

The only mention of Alexander in our text is on p. 38 (i. xiii.) 
where he is called " Godwin's son, at that time a deacon." It 
is quite possible that Bale's text had a further clause here, which 
was either the insertion of a contemporary, or else has dropped 
out of our MS. There seems no reason to suspect the genuineness 
of the statement. 

Another point to be noticed is this, that Bale speaks of seven 
books of the Life and one of the Miracles of St William. It 
is just possible that there may have been a supplementary eighth 
book of miracles, which we have lost : but that the seven books 
we have are all that Thomas contemplated writing is shown by 
his own words in the Prologue (p. 7). Bale does not give the 
opening words of the book of Miracles ; and most likely it is a 
blunder, for the seven books are described as the Life of St William, 
whereas, of course, he dies in the fifth chapter of the first book, 
and the rest of the treatise is welmigh all occupied with 

It seems, then, that Capgrave, Leland, and Bale knew Thomas 
of Monmouth's book. But outside their testimony and later 
than their time, no trace of it is discoverable. Alike to Boston, 
Tanner and Blomefield it is unknown, and, moreover, none of the 
chroniclers who notice St William's death appear to have seen it 1 . 
Indeed, from the geographical distribution of our witnesses to it, 
it seems clear that the book had little or no circulation outside 

1 Bartholomew Cotton, who mentions the translation into the Chapter-house, is 
a possible exception ; but he was a Norwich monk, and is almost certain to have 
seen Thomas's book. 

v.] The Manuscript. Ixi 

East Anglia : for Capgrave (or John of Tinmouth ') and Bale are 
both East Anglians : Leland saw his MS at Norwich Priory : and 
our MS comes to light in a Suffolk Library. 

I have not thought it worth while to reproduce or enumerate 
all the mentions of William's martyrdom which occur in mediaeval 
chronicles. The earliest is in the Saxon Chronicle; and this places 
the event in 1137. I am quite unable to suggest a reason for this 
mistake; for a mistake it undoubtedly is. 

1 John of Tinmouth (or Timworth, as I believe) is the author of the Sanctilo- 
gium, from which Capgrave principally drew his materials. If he is really John of 
Timworth, he was abbot of Bury late in cent. xiv. I have examined the MS of his 
Sanctilogium in the Cottonian collection (Tiberius E. 1), which suffered sadly in 
the fire of 1731. Its text is not materially different from Capgrave's: there are 
considerable mutilations, which make it desirable to take Capgrave's text as our 



ON what scale is the enormous subject of the alleged murders 
of Christian children by Jews to be treated in this Introduction ? 
It was possible for Adrian Kembter, a Praemonstratensian of Wilt- 
hin, writing in 1745, to enumerate 52 instances of these supposed 
crimes, and his last is dated in 1G50 1 . A systematic investigation 
would bring to light perhaps double the number, and would end 
at a date later than the discovery of Thomas's book. For a re- 
search of this magnitude I have not the time, nor, what is more 
important, the knowledge. It is work which demands a specialist 
of no ordinary qualifications. Yet, impossible as it is for me 
to give a complete survey of the subject, it is equally impossible 
(even at the risk of some repetition of facts which Dr Jessopp also 
deals with) to pass over certain main questions connected with it. 
The story, which is now first appearing in its full form, is the 
foundation of all the subsequent ones of the kind : and our readers 
would justly blame us if we did not try to set before them to 
the best of our ability some means of answering the following 
questions : 

1. What suggested the notion ? 

2. What is the truth of the story which Thomas tells ? 

3. How did the story develop in the period immediately 
following its publication ? 

It has long been held, and I think rightly, that the earliest 
occurrence of child-murder by Jews in literature is in a passage of 
ifth century Church historian, Socrates. In dealing (vii. 16) 
with events about the year 415, he says: 

'OX/70I/ & ^rm TOV&C rov xpovov 'lovSaioi irdXiv aro-jra Kara 
\purriavt5v Trpdfai/re* Siicrjv Se8uKa<riv. 'Ev 'Ivfiea-rdp, 

1 la hi* book Aeta pro Veritate martyrii corporit tt cultus publici B. Andreae 
Mi* ( child killed at Rinn in the Tyrol, 12 July 1462), Innsbruck 1745. 

CHAP, vi.] The Legend. Ixiii 

Ka\ovp,ev<p roTry, o<? /cetrat /xeraf v Xa\/aSo<y /cat 'Ai/Tto^etas T^? 
ev %vpia, 'louSawu crvvrjdtos eaim>t<? iraiyvia TTT\ovv rivd. Kat 
3 Trai^etv d\oya Troiovvres, VTTO fj,0i}<; e^a^tfe'i/re?, 
re /cat at)roi/ TOI> Xpto-rov eV rot? TratyvLocs 8ie<rvpov' 
ye\o5vT<; re rov crraupov Kal TOU<? eTTT/XTrt/cora? eVl T$ 'E<rrau/3&>- 
), Kal roiovrov rt, eTrevotjtrav. HaiSLov Xpianavov <rv\\a- 
o-ravpo) Trpo(r8j]ffavre<f aireKpipacav' Kal irpwrov p*v 
al %\vdovT<i 8iT\ovv' /xer' ov TTO\V 8e Kal 
ro)v (frpevwv KcrTdvre<; TO 7rai8ioi> yKio-avro, were Kal dve\iv. 
'Eirt rovTy ^a\eTrrj p,ev crufj,Tr\i)yd<i fiera^v OVTCOV re Kal 
vdSv eyivero' yvcapifiov Be rovro TO?? Kparoua-i KaTa&rdv, ei 
rot? Kara rrjv eTrap^Lav dp%ov<rii>, dva^rjrrjcrai TOU? atrtou? /cat 
t.' Kal ovrax; ol e'/cet 'Iou8atot SiKrjv e&o<rav, <av iral- 

" Now a little after this the Jews paid the penalty for further 
lawless acts against the Christians. At Inmestar, a place so-called, 
which lies between Chalcis and Antioch in Syria, the Jews were in 
the habit of celebrating certain sports among themselves: and, 
whereas they habitually did many foolish actions in the course of 
their sports, they were put beyond themselves (on this occasion) 
by drunkenness, and began deriding Christians and even Christ 
himself in their games. They derided the Cross and those who 
hoped in the Crucified, and they hit upon this plan. They took 
a Christian child and bound him to a cross and hung him up ; and 
to begin with they mocked and derided him for some time ; but 
after a short space they lost control of themselves, and so ill- 
treated the child that they killed him. Hereupon ensued a bitter 
conflict between them and the Christians : this became known to 
the authorities : orders were sent to the provincial magistrates to 
seek out the guilty persons and punish them : and so the Jews of 
that place paid the penalty for the crime they had committed 
in sport." 

It is clear from the words of Socrates that this outrage was no 
ritual murder. It began in rough horse-play and ended, seemingly 
owing to the drunkenness of the Jews, in actual violence, which 
had not been contemplated by the perpetrators. We have no 
clue as to the occasion of the "sports" referred to, which seem 
to have been an annual institution. Possibly they were connected 
with the Feast of Purim : and as it is known that parallels were 
drawn by the Jews between Haman the Hung and Jesus Christ, it 

Introduction. [CHAP. 

is conceivable that the child who came by his end at Inmestar 
was the representative of Haman and Christ, partly one and 
partly the other, at some quasi-dramatic entertainment 1 . This 
view of the event (which had occurred to me independently) is 
taken by Graetz*. 

It ought to be mentioned that there was a source from which 
Thomas of Monmouth or his contemporaries might have derived 
a knowledge of the story which Socrates tells. It is given in 
Latin in the Historia Tripartite, of Cassiodorius : and it may have 
been a formative element in the myth. Still, as we shall see, 
Thomas's notion of the practice was derived from another witness. 

A story which, while differing in many essential particulars 
from the tales we are concerned with, yet deserves mention, is 
preserved to us by Evagrius (iv. 23), and repeated by Gregory of 
Tours 1 . It is that of the Jewish glass-maker of Constantinople 
who cast his son into the furnace for receiving the Eucharist. 
The boy was delivered by the Virgin. The date assigned to this 
occurrence is 536 552. It is merely as a tale of Jewish cruelty 
shewn upon a child for anti-Christian reasons that the story has 
anything in common with ours. But the history of it is in- 
structive, because in mediaeval collections of miracles of the 
Virgin the scene is transferred, and the Jew, instead of living 
at Constantinople, is a resident at Pisa or Bourges. This trans- 
plantation is, I think, significant. 

The story of the child of Inmestar comes to us from the 5th 
century. Between that date and the date of William of Norwich 
there seems to be a complete blank. There are no child-martyrs, 
and there is no trace of a belief in ritual murder. After the 
Nrwich story we encounter a rapid succession of child-martyrdoms, 
and the belief in ritual murder appears fully developed. It be- 
comes therefore all-important to investigate the story which seems 
to have given new life, if not birth, to so appalling and destructive 
a myth. What is the evidence for the life and death of St William 
of Norwich ? 

This is the story as told by Thomas : but in telling it we shall 
do well to pass lightly over the parts which treat of William the 

Nieepbonu (xiv. 16) gives the story from Socrates. His evidence has no 
Mparato value. 

' Getekifhle d. Judrnthum, \i. 454. 

D tloria martyrvm, 9. The tory is told by Herbert de Losinga in his first 
- , and molt therefore have been known at Norwich. 

vi.] The Legend. Ixv 

Saint as apart from William the murdered child: I mean the 
vision which presaged his greatness, the accounts of his early 
devoutness, and the miracle which happened on his weaning-feast. 
These, save perhaps the last, may well be afterthoughts. 

William is the son (born in 1132 or 1133 on Feb. 2) of 
Wenstan and Elviva (or as Capgrave and Bale read it, Elwina). 
Of Wenstan we hear nothing save that he lived in the country 
and was a farmer, comfortably off. At the time of the martyrdom 
he was dead. Of his wife we know something more. She was 
the daughter of a married priest, Wlward, who was a well-known 
man in the neighbourhood and had the reputation of being wise 
in the interpretation of dreams. She also had a sister named 
Liviva (or Livina) who was married to Godwin Sturt, a priest 
whose son Alexander was in deacon's orders, and, Bale tells us, 
was destined to succeed his father in the living (what living we 
know not, but it was clearly in Norwich) which he held. 

Besides William, Wenstan and Elviva had other children. 
The name of one only is given, Robert, who afterwards became a 
monk in Norwich Priory. 

It is at first sight a striking fact that we are. not told where 
William's parents lived : but we see from Book I. Ch. 2, that 
William was baptized by the parish priest of Haveringland : and 
it is natural to suppose that in Haveringland the family lived. 
For the story of the penitent whose iron bands William broke 
in his infancy, it may be very likely true and yet no miracle. 
The priest of Haveringland had the broken arm-ring in his church, 
and told Thomas about it afterwards. William's early sanctity 
may or may not be founded on fact : but the next point we reach 
is his apprenticeship to a skinner in Norwich. This took place 
when he was eight years old (1140-41) and lasted until he was 
twelve. He lived with a man of the name of Wulward, not his 
grandfather, but possibly a relation: and we are told that his 
master and he had frequent dealings with the Jews. His constant 
visits to them attracted the attention of his friends; and Wulward, 
and also the boy's uncle Godwin, forbade him to have anything 
more to do with them. 

On the Monday after Palm Sunday in 1144 William calls on 
his mother in company with a man who describes himself as the 
cook of William, archdeacon of Norwich, and offers the boy a 
place in the archidiaconal kitchen, oh condition that he should 
have his services at once. Some unwillingness on the part of the 


Introduction. [CHAP. 

mother is overcome by a small payment, and the boy returns to 
Norwich in company with the man. 

This messenger said by Thomas to be the emissary of the 
Jews is a very mysterious figure. He was unknown to the 
1 1 1.. t her, and Thomas is ignorant whether he was a Christian or 
a Jew. The interview, as he reports it, is coloured by attempts to 
draw a parallel to the Betrayal of Christ. The traitor is made to 
mention 35 pieces of silver, and eventually produces the tithe of 
that sum three pieces as the price of blood. Still, there is 
nothing impossible in the narrative so far. 

The supposed traitor calls next day with William upon Liviva 
the aunt in Norwich, and tells her of the arrangement he has 
made for the boy. This seems an unnecessary proceeding for 
a man who would naturally be anxious to avoid attracting notice. 
However, they leave the house, and the aunt tells her daughter to 
follow them and see where they go. She watches them into a 
Jew's house, and sees the door shut, and William is never seen 
alive again. The girl returns home and tells her mother what 
she has seen. This is on the Tuesday before Easter. 

For the events of the next day (Wednesday, the Passover Day), 
we are dependent largely upon Thomas's unsupported testimony. 
The evidence on which he relies covers but a very small portion 
of his story. We will take his own account first. 

William spends the Tuesday night with the Jews, and is kindly 
treated and well fed. On the Wednesday, after their service in 
the synagogue, they seize him as he is at table, insert a gag in his 
mouth and tie it elaborately with cords round his head and 
neck, shave his head and lacerate it with thorns. Then, after a 
mock trial, he is adjudged to the cross : they take him to a part of 
the room where there were three uprights of wood and a horizontal 
bar connecting them, and to these they bind his right hand and 
foot with ropes, attaching the left hand and foot with nails. They 
then pierce his left side as deep as his heart, and finally pour 
scalding water over the body to cleanse the wounds and stop the 
flow of blood. 

By way of external testimony to this detailed account the 
following facts are adduced by Thomas. First, the daughter of 
Liviva saw him enter the Jew's house. Next, there was a 
tian woman who waited on the Jews, and who told Thomas 
thin tale On the day in question she was ordered to heat some 
water in the kitchen, the Jews being in the inner room, where 

vi.] The Legend. Ixvii 

she heard them making some considerable noise. After a time 
they called to her to bring in the water, and they opened the door 
to take it in. She, through the chink of the door, caught sight 
with one eye only of a boy fastened to a post; and in another 
instant the door was shut. In the evening she had to clean 
up the room, and found lying in a corner a boy's belt, and 
attached to it a knife in a sheath and (seemingly) a case of 
needles. Besides this, we are told, she perceived in the room " the 
certain signs of what had been done." In after years she shewed 
the belt and its accompaniments to Thomas, and pointed out the 
marks of the martyrdom on the timbers of the house. These, 
then, Thomas himself saw, and we gather that there were two 
nail-holes in one of them. Lastly, when the body was washed in 
the Cathedral on the 24th of April (more than a month after the 
death) the monks are said to have found thorn points in the skin 
of the head, "traces of the martyrdom" in the hands, feet, and 
side, and " indications " that boiling water had been poured over 
the body. What these indications were unless, perhaps, a bloated 
state of the skin, not surprising in a corpse a month old it is 
difficult to say. The actual evidence of the martyrdom in the 
Jew's house reduces itself to the momentary glimpse which the 
maid-servant caught with one eye of a boy tied to a post, and 
to the existence of a couple of nail-holes in a post seen some 
years afterwards. 

And even this evidence, be it noted, was not produced until 
the view that the Jews had done the deed had been for some time 
in circulation. The servant does not come forward when Liviva 
and the mob are ranging about the streets and threatening an 
outbreak. It is seemingly not until Thomas has conceived the 
project of writing the life of St William that any attempt is made 
to ascertain the precise place and manner of the murder. True it 
is that Godwin in his speech to the Synod refers to the well-known 
practice of the Jews in Passover week: but Thomas in one case 
gives us speeches which are avowedly imaginary, and Godwin's 
words are highly Thomian in style. At present, the evidence for a 
ritual murder is simply nil. 

We return to Thomas's narrative. The Maundy Thursday was 
spent by the Jews in deliberation as to what they should do with 
the body. Thomas's knowledge of this was derived from "one 
of them," meaning, I have no doubt, Theobald of Cambridge of 
whom more anon. And here there is a trifle more plausibility 

Ixviii Introduction. [CHAP. 

about the story. For if the Jews had contemplated murder from 
the first they would surely have made their preparations for dis- 
posing of the body : but supposing some rough pranks, such as 
those at Inmestar, had accidentally ended in the death of the boy 
whom they had only meant to make a butt of, it is intelligible 
that a council of the kind described should have been held. 
Theobald is not a first-rate witness, I will allow ; but the hypo- 
thesis of an accidental death deserves to be considered. 

The verdict of the assembly, led by Eleazar, was that the body 
should be taken to some remote place and left there. So on Good 
Friday, Eleazar and another put it into a sack and set out for Thorpe 
Wood. On the edge of the wood Aelward Ded met them, and 
asked whither they were bound. Happening to lay his hand on 
the sack, he perceived by its shape that it contained a human 
body. The Jews saw that they were discovered, galloped off into 
the wood, hung the body to a tree, and returned to Norwich to 
take counsel in this new crisis. They repaired to John the Sheriff 
and bribed him to keep their secret and force Aelward Ded to 
keep it too. The Sheriff sent for him and extracted an oath 
of secrecy from him. It was not broken till five years after, when, 
on his death-bed, he told Wicheman and another what he had 
seen. From them Thomas heard the story. Perhaps the weakest 
point of it is this, that Aelward does not break silence until 1149, 
though the formidable John de Caineto had died in 1146. 

On the Good Friday evening a light was seen in the sky point- 
ing to a spot in Thorpe Wood. It was seen by Henry de Sprowston 
from his house-door, and by Legarda from the hospital by St Mary 
Magdalene. On the following morning (Easter Eve) Legarda set 
out to see what it meant. What she found was this. The body 
of a boy lying under an oak tree (not hanging up but this is not 
a real difficulty), fully clothed, with shaven head, and marks of 
thornH on the scalp. Besides this there were two crows which were 
unsuccessfully attempting to eat the body, and kept falling down. 
Legarda did not take any action herself, but returned home. 

On the same morning Henry de Sprowston went on his rounds 
in the forest. He met a woodcutter who said he had found a 
murdered boy near by. The two men went to the spot. Henry 
looked with some care at the body and noticed that it was wounded, 
and had a wooden gag in the mouth. He inferred from the un- 
usual character of the wounds that the murderer could not be a 
Christian, but must be a Jew. This, if it is not an afterthought, 

71.] TJie Legend. Ixix 

may mean that Henry said that only a 'miscreant' and no Christian 
man could have treated a boy in such a way. He further noted 
that it was to this spot that the light he had seen had pointed ; 
and then he went home and told his family. They sent for the 
priest of Sprowston, and suggested that the body might be 
buried in Sprowston churchyard. However, as it was Easter Eve, 
they decided to do nothing until Easter Monday : which does not 
indicate any great amount of excitement at their discovery. 

However, the rumour of the discovery had got to Norwich; 
and a number of the boys and young men of the place went to 
Thorpe Wood. Some of these visitors suspected the Jews again 
because of the nature of the wounds inflicted ; others definitely 
said that the Jews were the murderers. Easter Eve and Easter 
Day were spent in this rush to see the body; and there was a 
distinct wish to invade the Jewry, only the mob were afraid of 
John de Caineto. 

On Easter Monday, Henry de Sprowston and his family, un- 
accompanied by any priest, set out to bury the body; and on 
second thoughts decided not to remove it, but to bury it where it 
lay. And when they took it up, they smelt for the first time the 
"odour of sanctity" which it diffused. So it was buried without 
any ceremony. 

Meanwhile some of William's boy-friends had said that the 
body in Thorpe Wood was that of William, who used to visit the 
Jews so often. His uncle Godwin Sturt heard this, and set out 
for the grave with his son Alexander, and Robert, William's 
(elder?) brother. They opened the grave, and when they got 
near the body, the earth was twice seen to move and stir, sug- 
gesting to them, as it does to us, that all this time the unfortunate 
boy was not really dead at all. When the body was uncovered, 
the brother, cousin and uncle recognised it as William's, and, 
after due expression of their sorrow, recited the proper offices, and 
covered in the grave again. They noticed the absence of corrup- 
tion and the odour of sanctity : and probably it was at this time 
that Godwin removed from the mouth of the corpse the gag which 
later on we find in his possession. It does not, however, seem to 
have occurred to any of them that it would be desirable to transfer 
the body to consecrated ground. They went back to Norwich, 
arid Godwin told the matter to his wife. She was at once greatly 
agitated, and declared that on the Saturday week before she had 
had a warning dream about the Jews. Soon the boy's mother 

Introduction. [CHAP. 

Elviva arrived on the scene and, though she could learn nothing 
certain about the matter, she too flew to the conclusion that the 
Jews were the culprits, and by rushing about the town and 
declaring her convictions on the subject she greatly excited the 


We have now come, perhaps, to the Wednesday after Easter : 
and after this until the day of the Synod there is an interval, 
during which Godwin settled his plan of action. The Synod met ; 
the discourse was preached; and then Godwin rising in his place- 
in the apee of the Cathedral publicly proclaimed that his nephew 
had been murdered, that he accused the Jews of the deed, and 
that he demanded justice. On the same day the secular dean 
summoned the Jews to appear on the morrow before the Synod. 
They went to the Sheriff, who told the Bishop he had no juris- 
diction over the Jews. A second and third summons were sent, 
but no answer was received. After the Synod was over a message 
was sent to the Sheriff, threatening a peremptory sentence against 
the Jews; which, I suppose, meant a license to the mob to 
devastate the Jewry. 

John and the Jews the former individual being extremely 
angry now appeared, and Godwin in their presence reiterated his 
accusation, and pointed it this time with his appeal to the ordeal. 
The Jews pleaded not guilty and demanded a respite. This was 
twice refused, and that night all the inhabitants of the Jewry 
moved within the Castle bounds, under the immediate protection 
of the Sheriff. 

Among other persons present at Norwich happened to be 
Aimar, the Prior of the Cluniacs of St Pancras at Lewes, who, 
as Dr Jessopp acutely conjectures, had come thither on business 
connected with the establishment of the Cluniacs at Castle-Acre. 
Aimar interviewed Godwin on the matter of the murder and saw 
possibilities in it ; for he at once begged the Bishop to let him 
have William's body for Lewes Priory. The Bishop, who, though 
not so enthusiastic for St William as was his successor in the see, 
.still was impressed by what had happened, declined the request: 
and in after years the report was current that Aimar had 
applauded his prudence, and that the result of the transaction 
was to stimulate Eborard to translate William's body from Thorpe 
Wood to the Monks' Cemetery, whence, if further developments 
should take place, there might be an easy step to a position of 
greater dignity. Accordingly, on the 24th of April, the trans- 

vi.] The Legend. Ixxi 

ference was effected : and it was on this occasion, 32 days after the 
death of the boy, that those unequivocal signs of the manner of 
his martyrdom were discovered which have been already noticed. 
In addition to these, it was stated that blood flowed from the 
nose of the corpse, and that the odour of sanctity was perceived for 
the third time. 

The narrative of events need not just now be pursued any 
further: but we must take stock at this point of the confirmatory 
evidence which Thomas adduces. He urges seven arguments in 
his second book. The first is that William was seen "by many 
people " to enter the Jew's house on the Tuesday before Easter, 
and in particular by his cousin, Liviva's daughter; and that no 
one saw him come out. The second argument is drawn from the 
evidence of the Jews' servant. This I have set forth, and no one 
can describe it as convincing. The third is that some days after 
the martyrdom, when the Jews were being charged with the murder, 
they sought to bribe William's brother Robert with the sum of 
ten marks to hush up the charge. This Thomas heard from 
Robert, and it may be true. But it may only mean that the Jews 
were afraid of the disturbance likely to be excited by the trial, 
and not that they acknowledged themselves guilty. The fourth 
argument is of exactly the same kind : namely, that the Jews 
tried to bribe Bishop Turbe, on the occasion of the trial of Sir 
Simon de Novers before Stephen, to drop the counter-charge 
against themselves. It was not a prudent step to take, if they 
took it, but it does not nearly amount to a confession of guilt. 
The fifth is the most sensational of all. Theobald, a Jew of 
Cambridge, was converted to Christianity and became a monk (as 
it seems) in Norwich Priory 1 . He told Thomas that the Jews had 
a written tradition that in order to regain their freedom and their 
fatherland they must sacrifice a Christian every year. In order to 
select their victim the leading Jews of Spain assembled annually 
at Narbonne, where they were exceedingly influential, and cast 
lots for all the countries of the world where any Jews lived. The 
country which was selected by lot had in turn to cast lots for 
all its cities, and the city thus selected had to furnish the victim. 
Theobald asserted that it was within his knowledge that in 1144 
the lot had fallen on Norwich. 

If this is a lie and we are assured that it is by those who 

1 The word nostro, which would be decisive as to the house in which Theobald 
was a monk, is mutilated in the MS. : but the reading is not really very doubtful. 

Introduction. [CHAP. 

have studied the subject it is one of the most notable and 
disastrous lies of history; and we must look upon Theobald of 
Cambridge, as responsible for the blood of thousands of his fellow- 

The sixth argument sets forth that the Jews (when their 
security was re-established) used to remind the Christians jocosely 
of the service they had done them in adding a new saint to their 
kalendar. * But this was merely a joke, and all that it shews is 
that the murder was attributed to the Jews, and that they felt 
tht-v could afford to treat it humorously. 

The seventh argument rests on the evidence of a law officer, 
William of Hastings, Dean of Norwich. He said that at a suit 
in his court between two Jews one had accused the other of 
having been concerned as a ringleader in the murder of William. 
What the accused Jew said we are not told ; but there is no hint 
that the truth of the charge was inquired into. 

In which of all this mass of assertions may we reasonably put 
confidence ? The points that seem to my own mind worthy of 
credence are these : The existence, name, birth, and parentage of 
William : his connexion with the skinners' craft : his violent death : 
the discovery of the body in Thorpe Wood : its burial : the events 
connected with the Synod : the removal of the body to the monks' 
cemetery. This much I see no reason to doubt: only, we shall 
see, there is a confusion in a subsequent part of Thomas's book as 
to the order of events about the time of the Synod. More 
doubtful, but not, I think, necessarily to be rejected, are the 
visits of William to the Jews and the prohibition to continue 
them: the apprenticeship to the Archdeacon's cook: the entry 
into the Jewry on the Tuesday before Easter : the experience of 
Aelward Ded. This last is a crucial point no doubt. It carries 
with it our acquiescence in the statement that William did, some- 
how or other, meet his death in the Norwich Jewry : and to me 
this is not inconceivable. I should think nothing of the evidence, 
were it not for the fact that we are dealing with the first of all 
the medieval accusations of child-murder. But that is a very 
important point. The way in which those on the spot received 
the notion is instructive. It did not command an unquestioning 
reception. There were many doubters, against whom Thomas 
finds it necessary to fulminate ; and their disbelief was owing in 
great part, no doubt, to the lack of good evidence ; but also, we 
niu-t allow, to the fact that the idea was a new one. No one can 

vi.] Th.e Legend. Ixxiii 

accept Theobald's account of the murder as a thing done every 
year by the most cultured and enlightened Jews of Europe : but 
as the result of accident, or as the deed of an insane or super- 
stitious Jew, it is not incredible. 

The sequence of the miracles which are recorded to have 
followed upon the burial in the Monks' Cemetery is worth look- 
ing at for a moment. The first is the deliverance of Botilda the 
cook's wife by the fern that grew on the grave : the next is the 
blossoming of the rose-tree on the grave. Then follows the vision 
of Lewin of Welney (or whatever place is meant by " Welle ") : 
and herein is a matter which gives us some pause. The vision is 
dated before Easter of 1144, that is, within a day or two of 
the martyrdom. In it the sick man is bidden to go to St 
William's tomb. The father accordingly sets off for Norwich and 
makes inquiries : but no one can tell him who St William is. 
However, it is said, the Jews were disturbed at the fact of his 
making inquiries, and "iterum, ut altera uice," "for the second 
time, as on another occasion," betook themselves and their belong- 
ings within the Castle precinct. After some days the priest of 
Welney goes to Norwich to attend the Synod, and hears Godwin's 
accusation of the Jews. This by no means agrees with Thomas's 
former categorical account. In that, as we have seen, the speech 
of Godwin, made at the Synod, leads to the summoning of the 
Jews, and this again to their retreat within the ramparts of the 
Castle. This is intrinsically much more probable; and we are 
forced to suppose that Thomas has considerably ante-dated the 
episode of Lewin. It might be an entire fiction : but that is not 
necessarily the case. After the martyrdom and Synod and the 
consequent excitement were over, it is quite possible that a sick 
man might have had a dream about St William; and that in- 
quiries made at Norwich might necessitate a second retreat of the 
Jews. One thing, however, is clear; Thomas has made a bad 
blunder in one of his two accounts. 

Next we have the vision of the Mulbarton girl, which Thomas 
classes with Lewin's vision because of its similarity, not because 
it followed next in order of time. This is followed by the wonderful 
experience of the girl of Dunwich and her fairy lover. Wicheman, 
the bishop's deputy for hearing confessions, is the witness for 
this ; and he was the man who received the dying confession of 
Aelward Ded in 1149. No date is given for the Dunwich miracle ; 
but Thomas says that at the time of its occurrence the memory of 
w. N. / 

l xx iv Introduction. [CHAP. 

St William had become almost extinct. This may mean that 

ieman heard the tale in 1145-7. 

The murder of Eleazar the Jew is not dated either: but it 
must have been near about the time when Bishop Eborard retired 
and Bishop Turbe succeeded him. This happened in 1146 ; and 
"some time" after the murder Stephen came to Norwich and the 
trial of Sir Simon de Novers was held. It is to be remembered 
that John'de Caineto cannot have been present at the trial. He 
died in 1146, shortly after the consecration of William Turbe, 
whose election he had done his best to prevent. 

With the death of John the Sheriff the second book of Thomas's 
work ends, and the third opens with the translation of William to 
the chapter-house in the spring of 1150. It is at this point that 
Thomas comes before us in propria persona as a witness ; and as 
he does not attempt to hint that he was present at any of the 
previous events, it is likely that he had not long been an inmate 
of the Priory. The shortest interval which we can reasonably 
suppose to have separated him from the death of William is four 
years; the longest, six years. His sources of evidence were the 
boy's mother Elviva, whom he certainly knew, the uncle Godwin 
Start, Liviva the aunt and her daughter, Robert the martyr's 
brother, Theobald de Cambridge, Wicheman the confessor, the 
Jew's servant, and also, as it seems, Legarda and Henry de 
Sprowston. This is a strong body of witnesses, and, discount their 
stories as we may, we cannot well dispute at least the existence of 
the boy William, his violent death, and the discovery of his body 
in Thorpe Wood. 

Leaving to the last our consideration of the general question, 
let us look very briefly at the alleged child-murders which followed 
most closely upon that of William of Norwich. 

The first is earlier than the publication of Thomas's book. 
On March 18th, 1168, the body of a boy named Harold was found 
in the Severn at Gloucester, much mutilated, with traces of 
burning on the flesh and the garments, thorns in the head and 
annpite, marks of melted wax in the eyes and ears, and some of 
the teeth knocked out. The murder was supposed to have taken 
place on Friday, March 17th. The convent went out in procession 
to receive the body, and it was inspected and washed by the 
monks, and buried before the altar of SS. Edmund and Edward, on 
th- northern side. The boy was reported to have been stolen by 
the Jews about Feb. 21 and hidden until the day of the murder; 

vi.] The Legend. Ixxv 

and Jews from all parts of England were summoned on pretext 
that a boy was to be circumcised and a great feast held "according 
to the Law" (ex lege). No Christian was present, and no Jew 
confessed to the deed, which was matter of conjecture. The source 
of this extremely shaky story is the Historia Monasterii 8. Petri 
Gloucestriae, p. 21 (Rolls Series). It is to be observed that 
nothing is said concerning the customary or ritual nature of such 
murders, but the season is near the Passover. Other chroniclers 
who speak of the boy Harold are Chron. Petroburgense under 
1161, Brompton under 1160, and Knighton. 

In 1171 there was an accusation of child-murder against the 
Jews of Orleans, and another against those of Blois, this last in the 
Paschal season, as reported by Robert of Torigny. In 1179 we 
have the martyrdom of St Richard of Pontoise by the Jews of 
Paris or of Pontoise, whose passion, by Robert Gaguin (1498), is 
printed in the Acta Sanctorum for March 25. It speaks of the 
slaying of a Christian as a yearly custom, and makes Richard 
of whose identity and parentage nothing is said to be examined 
in a cave by a priest of the Jews and asked to deny his faith. 
He is crucified and quotes Scripture when on the cross. The 
result of the martyrdom is a grand persecution by Philip Augustus. 
The late date of the Passion deprives it of all importance for this 
investigation. Two years afterwards, in 1181, the boy Robert is 
killed at Bury. The earliest authority for this is Jocelin de 
Brakelond 1 . He says, "at the same time the holy boy Robert 
was martyred, and buried in our church, and many signs and 
wonders were done among the people, as I have elsewhere 
written." There is little prospect, I fear, of Jocelin's tract 
on Robert being recovered now ; it would be an exceedingly 
interesting document. John de Taxster in his chronicle says 
the boy Robert was martyred at St Edmund's by the Jews on 
Wednesday the 10th of June. William of Worcester says that his 
feast was celebrated in May, and that the boy was crucified. The 
Chronicle of Melrose also mentions the fact (p. 91, ed. Bannatyne 
Club) : 

(1181) Miracula multa et magna apud S. Aedmundum per 
beatum puerum Robertum quern quidam ludaeus occulte crude- 
liter neci tradidit. 

It then goes on to mention the death of a boy Herbert at 
Huntingdon, thus : 

1 Ed. Camden Society, p. 13. 

Introduction. [CHAP. 

- iniliter apud Huntodinam de alio puero Herberto nomine 
noua contigerunt, quern proprius pater ad stipitem impie ligauit 
et in aqua que iuxta ipsam uillam decurrit miserabiliter extinxit. 

In these words there is nothing to shew that the Jews were in 
any way concerned : and as there seems to be no other authority 
for Herbert of Huntingdon, he may as well drop out of the list. 

In 1192 there was a martyrdom at Winchester, reported by 
Richard of Devizes (pp. 59 64). The victim was a French boy 
brought up by a Jew to the trade of a cobbler in France, and sent 
with a commendatory letter, written in Hebrew, to the Jews at 
Winchester. He disappeared after some months, and the charge 
of crucifixion, brought by a boy-friend of his, and confirmed by 
a Christian woman who served the Jews, was dismissed. The 
body was never produced. 

Further than this we need not carry the tale. But it is 
important to notice the geographical distribution of the places 
where the accusations spring up. The first is Gloucester, a 
place apparently quite out of connexion with Norwich. It must 
be remembered, however, that we have in Thomas's book a 
letter from a Pershore monk somewhere near 1170, which shews 
that the reputation of St William was notorious at Pershore. 
Why was this? Dr Jessopp has pointed out to me that the 
Abbot of Pershore at this date was William, a monk of Eye in 
Suffolk (appointed in 1138) 1 . I think this will amply account 
for the appearance of a child-martyr at Gloucester, the near 
neighbour of Pershore. 

The next two stories are from Orleans and Blois ; we have not, 
however, anything like contemporary evidence for them. But 
even supposing the stories to have arisen before Thomas's book 
was known in France, it is always possible that either Bishop 
Eborard (who died in France, at the Abbey of Fontenay), or some 
one in his train, spread the story of St William in France, and 
sowed the seed in receptive soil St Richard of Pontoise, who is 
mentioned by Robert of Torigny, I absolutely dismiss; and the 
witness, at Bury, comes from the near neighbourhood of 
Norwich, and brings us to a date when we may expect to find 
William's reputation at its zenith. There is, then, in each of 
these cases something to suggest a connexion with Norwich ; in no 
one of them is any evidence produced which lends them any veri- 

1 See John de Twster in Florence of Worcetter (ed. Thorpe). 

vi.] The Legend. Ixxvii 

similitude ; and there is a story already current which invites and 
suggests imitation. 

Widely different is the story of William of Norwich, appearing 
as it does after a blank of seven centuries in the records of child- 
murder by the Jews (having indeed but one predecessor in those 
records), and backed by a good deal of circumstantial evidence. 
It arises too at a time when, and in a place where the Jews were a 
flourishing and well-protected body. It comes apparently as a 
novelty to the minds of the people at large; and the extreme 
frequency of the mention of it in contemporary chronicles shews 
that it made a considerable impression. It is undoubtedly the 
strongest case of the kind. 

Yet, as we have seen, much of the evidence must be heavily 
discounted; and we have to remember that Thomas, our one 
authority, is a very credulous partisan. We must in the last 
resort formulate the various theories of William's death which 
seem most probable, and shortly state the reasons for and against 
each. We may suppose 

(1) That William's murder was a genuine case of ritual- 
murder, on the part of the Jews as a body. 

For this we have really only the evidence of Theobald ; and, on 
the other side, ritual-murder as a practice has been learnedly and 
thoroughly disproved by Strack 1 and others. 

Again, it is unlikely that the educated Jews of Norwich in 
their corporate capacity would perpetrate this crime as an act of 
anti- Christian spite. They would be running a quite unnecessary 
risk, and there is nothing to shew that the practice was a recognised 
one at any period of their history. 

(2) That William was killed by a Christian, and the murder 
laid at the Jews' door with the definite intention of rousing the 
people against them. That such things were done in later times, 
there is unfortunately no room to doubt. But in this case it is 
improbable. Had there been an elaborate intrigue connected 
with it, there must have been preliminary agitation, and much 
preparation of the soil for the seed, as well as anti- Judaic speeches 
by leading men after the murder. But there is nothing of this ; 
no organized attack, and no fanning of the flame against the Jews. 
After the Synod and the translation the whole affair lapses, the 
Jews regain security and confidence, and William takes his place 
as a wonder-worker, and an attraction for pilgrims, not as a monu- 
ment of Jewish malignity. 

1 Der Blutaberglaitbe, H. L. Strack, Munich, 1891. 

Ixxviii Introduction. [CHAP. 

(3) That William was killed by a person unknown, and the 
rest of the story invented. This is the view that most readers 
of the present day will be inclined to take. It differs from the 
last mainly in looking upon the affair as a natural growth and not 
the culmination of an elaborate plot. There is much in favour 
of this notion, and I have little doubt that the truth of the matter 
lies between it and the next supposition, namely, 

(4) That William was killed accidentally or intentionally by 
a Jew, and the rest of the story invented. If this theory be ac- 
cepted, the events we must suppose to have run somewhat after 
this fashion : either the outrage of Inmestar was repeated, or the 
boy was the victim of a pure accident, in the Norwich Jewry, 
at the hands of some one of the baser sort of Jews. The more 
prominent members of the community, recognizing the certainly 
fatal consequences which would ensue either if they gave up the 
body, or if they concealed it and it were discovered, determined to 
stand by their co-religionists. The story of Aelward Ded would 
then be substantially true, and also the statement that the sheriff 
was bribed. 

It is, of course, much simpler to adopt the hypothesis that the 
whole story was a fabrication, suggested by the discovery of the 
boy's body: and it is clear that there was a good deal of imposture 
connected with the business. It is true, again, that accusations of 
child-murder, of cannibalism and of other horrid practices, are 
among the first that any set of uneducated people is likely to bring 
against a tribe or sect whose practices they do not understand 1 . 
Charges of this kind we know were made against Christians by Pagan 
Greeks and Romans, against heretical sects by orthodox Christians, 
against the Templars by their contemporaries, against Christian 

1 See a paper by the late Isidor Loeb in the Revue des Etudes Juives 1889, 
p. 184: "Le probleme n'est pas un probleme d'histoire, mais de psychologic. Le 
prjog vient d'un des instincts les plus profonds des peuples qui 1'ont invente;" 
and abo a review of Strack's Blutaberglaube, by S. Beinach, in the same periodical 
(1802, p. 161). The latter writer quotes some words spoken to him by Benan on this 
object: "Notez combien la malignite humaine est peu inventive: elle tourne eter- 
Dellement dans le meme cercle d'accusations, sacrifices humains, anthropophagie, 
aUantati aux moors." I add a few lines from this same article, which put the 
"En reaume, il est possible, il est meme certain, que plus d'une fois, 
depau qainxe titalec, un Chretien a eti tu6 par un Juif ; mais il n'est pas moins 
certain qua jamais, i aucune epoque, dans aucun pays, un Chretien, jeune ou 
rkox, n'a et immole par an Juif pour servir a I'accomplissement de rites secrets. 
Cda Mt certain .paroe que 1'idee meme d'un meurtre rituel Juif est an tissu de 
contradictions abiurdes en troin mots." 

vi.] The Legend. Ixxix 

missionaries (in 1870 and in 1895) by Chinese. Still we have oil 
the other hand to take into account the possibilities of what a mad 
hatred of a dominant system, or a reversion to half-forgotten 
practices of a darker age, might effect in the case of an ignorant 
Jew seven centuries back. We see from Theobald's disastrous 
evidence what such a man could imagine. Can we be sure that 
there were not at Norwich Jews as bad as he, who could give 
effect to such a fancy? Is it beyond the bounds of possibility that 
he did the deed himself 1 ? 

1 It is true that Theobald says he was at Cambridge in 1144 : but it is difficult 
not to believe that he was the person responsible for the account of William's 
death, and of the subsequent deliberations of the Jews, which Thomas heard "from 
one of themselves." 



THE body of St William was four times translated between 
1144 and 1172: first from Thorpe Wood to the Monks' Cemetery; 
next, from the cemetery to the Chapter House ; thirdly, from the 
Chapter House to a place on the south side of the High Altar; 
lastly, from thence to a Chapel (cancellus) on the north side of 
the High Altar, formerly designated the Chapel of the Martyrs. 
Here the body lay when Thomas of Monmouth's book was 
published ; but we know that this was not its final resting-place. 
At the Dissolution an altar to St William's honour occupied a 
prominent place on the north side of the rood-screen. We have 
no record of a translation of the body to that spot, and it is not 
inconceivable that it may have remained in the Martyrs' Chapel : 
but the Chapel of St William, properly so called, was in the 
sixteenth century under the rood-loft. 

We are, then, concerned especially with two sites in the 
Cathedral, namely, the Martyrs' Chapel, and the Chapel of St 
William. The second is clearly known : what of the first ? 

The words of Thomas which define its position are not so 
precise as we could have wished them to be. He says (vi. 1. p. 
221), " Erat siquidem in ecclesia Norwicensi parte boreali sub latere 
magni altaris, cancellus sanctorum olim martirum uenerationi 
designatua Hie itaque locus pre ceteris sancto martiri congruus 
deligitur, quia amplus, quia in diuersorio quieto positus, quia et 
martyrum nomini consecrandus." On the day appointed Bishop 
William consecrated an altar to the Martyrs "sub memorato 
cancello": the body of William was laid there, and there, when 
Thomas wrote, it remained. The site then was a "chancel" or 
"chapeL" We need not restrict the meaning of cancellus to a 

CH. vii.] The Cult and Iconography of St William. Ixxxi 

grating or railed space : a reference to Du Cange sub voce will shew 
that it was used to denote the choir of a church or a church per 
se. It was on the north of the High Altar. The use of the 
preposition sub may possibly suggest to the reader that the chapel 
was on a lower level. There is, however, no trace of any crypt, 
whether large (amplus), or small. The preposition merely implies 
proximity, and is used loosely, just as it is used a few lines lower 
down, when the altar is said to have been consecrated "sub 
memorato cancello " words which I have simply rendered by " in 
the aforesaid chapel." If Thomas had wished to describe a crypt 
(and one of some considerable dimensions) he would surely have 
employed more explicit language. Moreover, in the accounts of 
the miracles which happened after this translation, there is constant 
mention of their being witnessed by a large number of spectators. 
Everything points to the scene being laid in an accessible part 
of the church, and not in any small underground structure. 

The next point is that the chapel was "in diuersorio quieto 
positus." I have rendered this, somewhat too freely, as " situated 
in a quiet place outside the procession-path." But my rendering, 
if free, conveys the only sense I am able to put upon the words. 
A diuersorium must be a place into which one turns aside out of 
a thoroughfare. It is hardly applicable to a place under the floor 
of the thoroughfare, such as a crypt. It would best apply to a 
side chapel opening on an aisle or ambulatory. 

Lastly we gather that the chapel in question was designated, 
but not as yet formally appropriated, to the worship of "the 
Martyrs." This is an early form of dedication. The near neigh- 
bour of Norwich, Bury St Edmund's, had in the twelfth century 
an altar or chapel of the Martyrs, which seems to have been 
identical with the old Lady Chapel in the eastern apse. To my 
thinking, these chapels of the Martyrs were in early times 
dedicated to the noble army of martyrs; and subsequently became 
as it were specialised to the invocation of those particular martyrs 
whose relics were kept there. I am not, however, able to cor- 
roborate this hypothesis by any number of examples. The 
parallel from Bury St Edmund's is clearly to the point here, 
inasmuch as both there and at Norwich the later documents 
cease to mention the Martyrs' Chapel. At Bury we have mention 
in later times of an altar of SS. Botolph, Thomas, and Jurmin, 
which I suspect was identical with the Martyrs' altar. At 
Norwich, in like manner, the Martyrs' altar disappears from view, 

1 \ x x i i Introduction. [CHAP. 

in fact, I believe that the mention of it in Thomas's book is the 
only one discoverable. 

Now our examination of the description of St William's 
resting-place has led us to look for a side chapel of Norman date 
on the north side of the High Altar. Such a chapel exists at the 
present moment: but it is now known as the Jesus Chapel. Is 
this dedication likely to be an older one than that to the Martyrs ? 

I would answer, certainly not. In early times, when churches 
were dedicated to our Lord, it was under the name of Christ or 
of the Saviour that they were so dedicated, and not under the 
name of Jesus. Jesus Altars and Jesus Chapels do of course very 
commonly occur in mediaeval times, but only in later times. The 
festival of the Name of Jesus which is in the Sarum Breviary 
(Aug. 7) is of extremely late institution and of quite obscure 
origin. I believe that the order for its general observance was 
not promulgated from Rome before 1721. It is not now possible 
to ascertain when the Norwich Chapel was formally placed under 
this invocation: but it is well-nigh certain that it cannot have 
been originally dedicated as a Jesus Chapel : and analogies would 
lead us to guess that it must have become a Jesus chapel in the 
second half of the fourteenth century at earliest. 

To be short, Dr Jessopp and I agree in fixing upon the Jesus 
Chapel as being identical with the Martyrs' Chapel and therefore 
with the centre of the cult of St William. In situation it satisfies 
Thomas's description : its present dedication is a late one : and 
there is on the other side no prior claim and no objection that I 
can gather to be urged against it. 

We have been furnished by the kindness of Dr Bensly, 
Registrar of the Diocese of Norwich, with some extracts from the 
rolls of the obedientiaries, which throw some little light upon the 
progress of the cult of St William, and incidentally confirm the 
hypothesis just put forward with regard to the Jesus Chapel. To 
these must be joined the extracts which Dean Goulburn has given 
in his Sculptures of Norunch Cathedral (p. 110). They run as 
follows : 

De magno altari et stipitibus et altari beati 

Will( ' Imi . 21. 3s. d. 

1312 Item de 8. Willelmo .... \\ 8 

1314 de 8. Willelmo . . 1 u 

1320 12s. Id. 

vii.] The Cult and Iconography of St William. Ixxxiii 

1323 de S. Willelmo et noua cruce^. 5 / \ 8 , 

1325 de SS. Stephano, Willelmo, et Ypolito . 18s. 5d. 

1329 . 16s. fyd. 

1330 de SS. Ypolito, Stephano, Willelmo, et Anna 17s. Sd. 

1331 de SS. Steph., Will., Ypol., et Anna . . 15*. 2|rf. 

1334 de SS. Ypol., Will., Steph., et Anna . . Us. %d. 

1335 de SS. Ypol., Steph., Will., et Anna . . 15s. lid. 
1341 de S. Willelmo ...... 6|d 

1343 . 4rf. 

Two points here deserve attention. First, the company in 
which St William's name is mentioned. It is coupled with the 
High Altar and subsequently with those of Stephen, Hippolytus, 
and Anne. St Anne's, or the Berney's Chapel was N.W. of the 
High Altar. St Stephen's is conjectured by Blomefield to have 
been one of the chapels (now destroyed) on the north side, just 
W. of the Jesus Chapel. St Hippolytus is as yet unplaced. 
But what has been said leads us to think that St William lay in 
a position near the High Altar, and on the north side at least 
down to 1335. It seems also possible that Stephen, Hippolytus 
and William may all have been honoured at the Martyrs' Altar 
and in the Martyrs' Chapel: at least there is no evidence to prove 
that St Stephen's Chapel was where Blomefield places it; and a 
Martyrs' Altar would be a fit place to honour the Protomartyr. 

Next, it is interesting to see how the offerings to St William 
declined in amount. In the early years of the fourteenth century 
they stood at a figure which could be called respectable; by 1343 
they have dropped to a few pence. 

We must proceed to the account of the moneys expended on 
the shrine. 

1305 Feretrum Willelmi. 

In c. et xl. foliis auri etnptis ad feretrum S. Willelmi. 6s. 8d. 

Item in c. et dimid. argent, lid 

Item- in xii libris albi plumbi, vermicl., et orpyment. 11s. 9e 

In oleo ad depingend. lOd. 

Item in stipendio et victual. Sym. pictor. et garcionis sui per ix 

septim. 25s. 6d 

1323 Item in dedicatione altaris S. Willelmi. 1. 3d. 
1329 Item in oblationibus prioris et duontm capellanorum eius nichil 
in hoc anno, sed in recompensationem eius et capellanorum 
suorum dedit ei sacrista tres florenos pretii xxs. quos uxor 
domini W. de Norwyco optulit ad altare S. Willelmi. 

Ixxxiv Introduction. [CHAP. 

1330 In stanno cum factura sacrarii S. Willelmi. 8s. 9d. 

1428 From Wm. Berneham for paving near St William. 29s. 6efc 

Two masons for paving near St William. 5s. l|d. 
14-J9 From executors of Sir T. Erpingham for the paving near 

St William. 40s. 

1440 Pro emend, graduum versus altare S. Willelmi. 
1442 Reparanti opus circa tumbam S. Willelmi. 3s. Also a mention 

of 'the altar of St William. 

It seems from these extracts that in 1305 there was a regular 
refurbishing of the shrine of St William: not a reconstruction. 
The feretrum was gilded and painted, and after this there is 
mention of the altar of St William, and of the paving near his 
shrine, I am inclined to suspect that the latest mention of the 
altar must belong to the time when the Martyrs' Chapel had 
become the Jesus Chapel and when St William, or at least his 
altar, was situated under the choir screen. 

In 1445 Bishop Browne died, and was buried, in accordance 
with the provisions of his will, in the upper part of the Nave of 
the Church, at the altar of St William, and before the great rood- 
loft which he had new made (Blomefield, in. p. 534). Whatever 
it may have been that Browne did to the rood-loft, the stone 
screen, which still exists in situ, was erected by Bishop Walter 
Lyhart, who died in 1472, was buried beside Bishop Browne, and 
endowed a chaplain for St William's altar. Under Lyhart's screen 
there may still be seen the remains of two chapels ; that on the 
north was, as I have said, St William's: the other was that of 
our Lady of Pity. Blomefield further tells us that the altar 
named in Browne's will was formerly St Saviour's altar (perhaps 
the town altar) otherwise called Holyrood altar (from its proximity 
to the rood), and was re-dedicated to St William. He gives no 
date : but one may conjecture that St Saviour's altar was trans- 
ferred to the Jesus Chapel, and St William's removed to the 
site under the rood-loft at some time not very long before 
Browne's episcopate. 

At the entrance of the passage leading under the screen are 
two niches, uow equalised in height. Dr Jessopp has told me that 
within living memory one of these was constructed to contain a 
smaller statue than the other: the pedestal was much higher. 
It Heems a natural inference that one niche had in it the small 
image of the boy William, and the other that of our Lady. 

vii.] The Cult and Iconography of St William. Ixxxv 

Whatever the history of this curious anomaly was, an unintelligent 
restoration has obliterated it. 

The principal document for the liturgical commemoration of 
St William is a passage in the Norwich Consuetudinary now at 
Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (MS. 465). This has been printed 
by Dean Goulburn (I.e. p. 155) from a transcript by Mr Henry 
Bradshaw. The kalendar of the MS. places the " Passio S. Willelmi 
martiris " on Mar. 24. There is no proper Collect, and no Proper 
Lessons : both are taken, says Mr Bradshaw, simply from the 
Service for the Feast of Relics. 

In another great Norwich service-book, the Ormesby Psalter 
(Bodl. Douce 366), which was given by brother Robert de Ormesby 
in the fourteenth century for the use of the sub-priors of Norwich, 
is a Litany of later date than the rest of the book. Among the 
martyrs St William is directed to be twice invoked, thus : 

Sancte Willelme ii ora pro nobis. 

This double invocation indicates that special honour was paid to 
the saint thus marked out in the Church to which the book 

The Chapel of St William in the Wood demands a few words. 
Thomas has not much to tell us about it. On p. 279 he says that 
it was dedicated in 1168 on Ap. 27 by Bishop William Turbe ; 
and on p. 285 we are told that it was of wood. Blomefield 
(iv. 425) asserts that it was the same as St Catherine's Chapel, 
which had been founded about the time of the Conquest, and was 
afterwards reconsecrated to the honour of St William : while 
Goulburn gives a photograph of a plan of the site from Kirk- 
patrick's MSS., which shews that about 1720 when the plan was 
made, few remains of the chapel itself existed. Kirkpatrick's 
note on it is: "A. the place where the chappel stood, the rubbish 
of which is over grown with grass." 

In the Cathedral accounts for the years 1407, 1409, 1482, 
1483, 1506 the Eleemosynarius specifies the offerings made at this 

There were no doubt a good many pictures and images of the 
boy saint in Norwich itself, some in the Cathedral, others in parish 
churches: one there was at St Martin at the Plain (Blomefield, iv. 
309). There was also a guild of St William, held at St Michael's 
at Thorn (ib. p. 135). At present, however, only some screen- 

Ixxxvi Introduction. [CHAP. 

panels survive as specimens of the manner of representing St 
William which was in use in his city. The number of extant 
pictures of the little saint which I have been able to trace does 
not amount to a dozen in all: and the majority of them are 
rude paintings of the fifteenth century on the panels of Norfolk 

The best is perhaps that at Loddon Church, Norfolk, which 
seems to belong to the first half of the fifteenth century. This 
screen has one peculiarity, that the paintings on it are of scenes, 
not of single figures. St William's martyrdom comes next to the 
Annunciation. The saint, who wears a loin cloth, is attached to 
a pole placed transversely in the forks of two rough uprights. 
His body presents the appearance of a saltire cross. The hands 
above the head, the legs apart. The left hand is bound, the 
right nailed to the cross-bar: the left foot is nailed, the right 
bound, to the uprights. This shews a knowledge, though a per- 
verted knowledge, of the story told by Thomas. In order to be 
in complete agreement therewith, the artist should have bound 
the right hand and foot and nailed the left hand and foot. Over 
the boy's nimbed head a tree-top is seen, perhaps indicating 
Thorpe Wood. 

On the left are three men, the foremost in gown and hat ; on 
the right two men in doublets, the foremost of whom pierces the 
boy's left side with a knife, and holds a basin to receive the blood. 
This detail intimates a belief on the artist's part that the Jews 
would use the blood for ritual purposes. 

Below the picture is the inscription ' Scs Wylelmus.' 

Next in merit I would place the painting on the screen at 
Eye in Suffolk. Between Eye and St William we have shewn 
that a connexion existed by way of Pershore Abbey. 

The screen at Eye, or at least its paintings, must belong to 
the last quarter of the fifteenth century ; for it has on it a picture 
of King Henry the Sixth. 

St William is a full-length figure, standing on ground dotted 
with small trees. He is a boy with long curling hair in a long 
sleeved robe reaching to his feet, seme'e with stars. His hands 
and feet are pierced: with his right hand he supports a long 
cross resting on his shoulder, and in his left hand holds three 
nails. He has a cusped nimbus. Behind his head a curved band 
crosses the picture. It is tipped with Tudor flowers, and indicates 
that the figure is standing in a niche. The background is dotted 

vii.] The Cult and Iconography of St William. Ixxxvii 

with five-petalled flowers above the band, with floreated crosses 

A screen-panel formerly in St John's Maddermarket at Norwich 
and now in the South Kensington Museum shews St William in 
a cope or cloak fastened at the neck, over a long tunic. Three 
nails (or thorns) are stuck in his scalp, which is bleeding: he 
holds three nails in his right hand, and a hammer in his left. 
Above his head is a shield with a merchant's mark. 

In the possession of J. J. Colman, Esq., who has kindly allowed 
it to be photographed for this work, is a series of panels from the 
destroyed rood-screen of St James's Church at Norwich. The last 
figure on the right represents St William. He is clad in a cloak 
fastened at the neck, over a long tunic with girdle. He faces to 
the left : his feet are bare, and he holds in his right hand a sharp 
knife, point upwards. This panel, which is of good design, has 
been repainted to some extent. The name which was inscribed 
below the figure has almost entirely disappeared. 

The screen at Worstead, Norfolk, has also a representation of 
St William. The figure, in cloak and tunic and crown of thorns, 
faces to the right and holds two nails in the left hand, and a 
hammer in the right. A band of ornament in relief crosses the 
panel at the head level. The name William is inscribed below. 

At Litcham, Norfolk, a painting has existed : but a photograph 
of the panel shews an absolute blank. Dr Jessopp, however, who 
has visited the church, tells me that he can distinguish a thick 
cord round the forehead of the figure, and a knife or something 
like it, in the right hand. This screen has or had a figure of 
Henry VI. 

At Somerleyton, Suffolk, is a series of figures on the screen ; 
but the one which is said to represent either St William or St 
Robert of Bury is to all appearance a female saint. 

The neighbouring church of Ashby had once a series of frescoes, 
now whitewashed over, one of which is said to have represented 
St William. It is not, however, now possible to obtain any copy 
or detailed description of this painting. 

In the Nuremberg Chronicle (f. cci. 6) is a woodcut of the 
martyrdom. The tau-shaped cross lies on the ground, head to 
left. On it is William, in a long robe. His feet are bound to the 
cross and so is his left arm. An executioner stands on the right 
arm and pulls at it with a rope : a second kneels and drives a nail 
into the left hand : a third standing on the foot of the cross drills 

Ixxxviii Introduction. [CHAP. vn. 

a hole in it with an auger. Beside this last is a basket with cord 
and tools. The ground slopes up to the left : in the background 
are trees. 

This ends the list of the mediaeval representations which I 
have been able to see or hear of. I have never encountered a 
picture of the saint in a MS. or in painted glass. Two later 
engravings exist : one " of the last century " in an illustrated copy 
of Blomefield, bequeathed by Dr Sayer to the Dean and Chapter 
of Norwich. This shews St William crucified in the foreground 
and scourged in the background. 

The other is earlier: it is one of a series of plates of crucifixions 
by Cornelius Galle which appeared in P. Biverus's Sacrum Sanc- 
tuarium Crucis et Patientiae, Antwerp, Plantin, 1634. Nos. 53 57 
represent boys crucified by the Jews: there is nothing to dis- 
tinguish the plate representing St William from the rest. 












1132 or 1133 2 Feb. Birth of St William (i. 2). 

Miracle of the liberated penitent (i. 2). 

1140 or 1141 William is apprenticed to a skinner in Norwich (i. 3). 
1144 20 March (Monday before Easter). William and the traitor 
visit William's mother (i. 4). 

21 March (Tuesday before Easter). William taken to the 

Jewry (i. 5). 

22 March (Wednesday before Easter). William murdered by 

the Jews (i. 5). 

23 March (Maundy Thursday). The Council of the Jews 


24 March (Good Friday). The body taken to Thorpe Wood : 

Aelward Ded : the sheriff bribed : the light seen over 
the wood (i. 7 9). 

25 March (Easter Eve). The body found by Legarda and 

Henry de Sprowston (i. 10, 11). 

26 March (Easter Day). The crowd from Norwich visit the 

body (i. 12). 

27 March (Easter Monday). Henry de Sprowston buries the 

body in the wood (i. 12). 
* # * The vision of Lewin is dated in Holy Week, some time after 

Wednesday (ii. 4). (M. R. J.) 

? 28 March (Easter Tuesday). Godwin Sturt exhumes and 
buries the body. His wife, and William's mother, learn the 
story (i. 1315). 

Circa 10 April (?). The Synod : Godwin's accusation of the 
Jews : they are summoned : they retreat within the Castle. 
These events occupy two days (i. 16). 
24 April (Monday). First Translation of the body, from 

Thorpe Wood to the Monks' Cemetery (i. 17). 
* # * The delivery of Botilda takes place about this time (i. 17). 

The miracle of Dunwich (ii. 7). 
W. N. g 


Chronological Table. 

1146 Bishop Eborard retires. 

Bishop William Turbe succeeds. 
Death of John de Caineto (ii. 15). 
1 Murder of Eleazar (ii. 13). 
1 1148 Trial before Stephen (ii. 14). 

1149 Death of Aelward Ded (L 8). 

1150 6, 19, 26 March. (1st Monday in Lent, and 3rd and 4th 

Sundays in Lent.) Visions of Thomas (iii 1). 

13 (12) April (Wednesday before Easter). Second Transla- 
tion, into the Chapter-house (iii. 1). 

17 (16) April (Easter Day). Incident of the carpet and light 
(iii. 3). 

Gaufrid cui-ed of the toothache (iii. 4). 

1 1 June (Trinity Sunday). Cure of Muriel de Setchy (iii. 8). 

Miracles of Book iii (932). 

22 Oct. Death of Prior Elias (iv. 1). 

Richard de Ferrariis succeeds as Prior. 

Restoration of the carpet to St William's tomb (iv. 8). 

1151 2 July. Third Translation, from the Chapter-house to the 

south side of the High Altar. 

1152 Lent. Deliverance of Gerard (v. 10). 
Easter. Miracle of the Psalter (v. 11). 

1 1153 Miracles of Book v., including the death of William's mother, 
after Whitsun week (v. 21). 

1154 5 April. Fourth Translation, into the Martyrs' Chapel (vi. 1). 
Miracles of Book vi. 

1155 Recrudescence of the Miracles (vii. ProL). 

1156 Whitsun week. Cure of a dumb boy of Repps (vii. 9). 

1168 27 April. Consecration of the chapel of St William in the 

wood by Bishop William Turbe (vii. 18). 
Miracle of the sorceress (vii. 1 8). 

1169 or 1170 Cure of Agnes, daughter of Adam of Croome 

(vii. 18). 

1172 Cure of Gaufrid of Canterbury (vii. 19). 
1 172 or 1173 The Prologue to the book written. 
1174 Death of Bishop William Turbe. 


p. Ixv. Elviva or Elwina. It is something in favour of the former 
spelling that in Hermann's Miracles of St Edmund (Memorials of 
St Edmund's Abbey > i. 91) the name of a girl is given as Lyeveva 
(cf. Leviva, the name of St William's aunt). 


<Incipit> prologue de uita et <pas>sione Sancti Willelmi 
Martyris Norwicensis. 

REVERENDE sanctitatis patri et domino Willelmo del gratia 
Norwicensi episcopo Thomas Monemutensis monachorum 
suorum minimus salutem et debitum obedientie famulatum. 
Generali amori uestro speciali meo deuote connexus paternitati 
uestre offerendum et communicandum presens opusculum curaui, 
tam uestri cupidus iudicii quam nostri studiosus inuenti. Cumque 
eloquentiam uestram ipsa congnouerit Roma, compererit Gallia, 
uniuersa quoque sepissime senserit Anglia, admirari neminem con- 
gruit prudentissime discussionis uestre me subire iuditium, uestre- 
que ferule subducere manum. Nouerunt siquidem tam ultramarini 

Here beginneth the Prologue concerning the Life and Passion of 
Saint William the Martyr of Norwich. 

To His Holiness the Reverend Father and Lord William by the 
grace of GOD Bishop of Norwich 

Thomas Monemutensis the least of his monks sendeth greeting and 
all due obedient service. 

Sympathising as I do, with a special devotion of my own, in that love 
which all men bear towards you, I have been careful to offer and convey 
the present short work to your Fathership, being as desirous to obtain 
your judgment upon it as I am anxious about my own undertaking. 
And because Rome herself has had knowledge of your eloquence, and 
Gaul has had good proof of it, and all England has very often felt 
its force ; no one need be surprised that I should submit myself to the 
judgment of your very searching criticism, and humble myself as a 
learner to your teaching. For they who dwell beyond the sea, as well 
as our own Englishmen, know what great streams of eloquence from 

C,i_ W. N. 1 

2 Prologue. [BK. i. 

quam Angli nostri quanta eloquentie uestre diffluant flumina, 
quantaque uobis in diuinis seu liberalibus studiis peritia et 
dicendi affluat copia. Itaque gloriosi Martins Willelmi miracula 
compositurus paternitatis uestre dilectionem, dilectionis benigni- 
tatem, ac benignitatis humiliter implore gratiam, ut presump- 
tionis mee imperfection! perfecta concedatur uenia. Cum sim 
enim ingenio tardus et indoctus eloquio, compellente tamen beati 
martyris amore, quia uirtutes eius tacere non possum, more bal- 
butientium puerorum qui se sponte adhoc ingerunt quod plene 
explere non possunt, utcumque tamen susurrare conatus sum. 
Verum id non ambigo quoniam apud omnipotentem et pium 
dominum non tarn opens effectus quam pie uoluntatis simplex 
attenditur affectus. Vnde lectorem premoneo, siquis tamen hec 
amore captus legere uoluerit, sub huius opusculi serie non eloquen- 
tiam, non uerborum leporem querat, sed magis inuidis siue de- 
trectoribus pro me respondeat, nouo scilicet operi ueniam con- 
cedendam. Hec autem dico, non quo studium nostrum quasi sub 
excusationis nubilo insolenter extollam, sed quo sudoris conscius 

you have gone forth abroad, how great your knowledge is of divine and 
human learning, and how ready is your fluency in speech. And there- 
fore when I set myself to put together the miracles of the glorious 
Martyr William, I humbly beg for the love of your Fathership, for 
that kindliness which is the outcome of love, and that favour which 
springs from kindliness, that, for the imperfection that is the out- 
come of my presumption, a perfect pardon may be granted me. For 
being as I am slow of wit and unskilled in eloquence, yet nevertheless, 
my love for the blessed martyr constraining me, because I cannot hold 
my peace about his virtues, so after the manner of lisping children who 
after a fashion of their own set themselves to do that which they are 
not able to carry out I too have attempted in some sort to make my 
mutterings plain. This, however, I do not doubt, that in the presence 
"f th Almighty and gracious Lord, the execution of any work is less 
regarded than the simple motive of a devout intention. 

Wherefore I forewarn the reader (always supposing that anyone 
shall >e willing to read these things, in a loving spirit) that he must 
not look in the course of this little work for eloquence or charm of 
style, but rather on my behalf may make answer to carping detractors 
that some indulgence ought to be allowed for this novel attempt. This 
however I say not that I may unfairly exalt my attempt with a cloud 
of excuse*, hut that I may tempt those who wish for something new to 
read ; conscious, as I am, that I have taken pains about it. Travellers 

PROL.] Prologue. 3 

ad lectionem nouain desiderantes inuitem. Viatores non nun- 
quam gratiorem habuere aquam breuis uene stillantem fonticulo 
cum siciunt quam profluentes fontis riuos quorum copiam sitis 
tempore non inueniunt. Sed et hortorum amena mirantibus 
herbe agrestes non nunquam placuerunt. Illud etiam plerumque 
contingere solet Virgilianum quod alba ligustra cadunt, uaccinia 
nigra leguntur. Excusat utique materia scriptorem : cui enim 
uerborum abiecta displicuerit multiplicitas sensus saltern fidelis 
non displicebit ueritas. Malui siquidem uerecundiam meam 
neggligere quam tot ac tantas sacri martyris Willelmi uirtutes 
obliuione uel ignorautie situ ueterascere. Et quoniam passionem 
eius atque miracula sub incude nostra informari fratrum postulauit 
karitas, ea pie fidelium deuotioni propalanda aggredior studio 
non tarn elegant! quam fideli. Atque ut asellus nee oneri suffi- 
ciens nee reniti ualens ultro me tarn pie exactioni submitto. 
Verumptamen huius oneris portitorem quempiam maluissem al- 
terum qui ad feren<dum apti>or inueniretur et esset. Quod 
quia non contigit, me malo esse quam neminem. Dumque id tarn 
audacter aggrediar presumptionis me reum fateor, sed detur uenia 

sometimes when they are athirst have found that water more delicious 
which trickles from some little spring in a tiny rill than that of gushing 
streams of some fountain whose abundance they have not come upon at 
the moment of their need. Aye ! and the wild flowers too have been 
a joy to such as delight in the glories of the gardens. And that saying 
of Virgil's often comes true, Alba ligust/ra cadunt, vaccinia nigra 

The subject matter of a writer too sometimes pleads his excuse, for 
even where a silly redundancy of words may irritate, there the truth 
that underlies them will give no offence. I have preferred at any rate 
to sacrifice my own modesty rather than that the many and great 
virtues of the holy martyr William should pass away in oblivion or 
through the rust of ignorance : and because the good wishes of the 
brethren has demanded that his passion and miracles should be put into 
shape upon my anvil, I set myself to comply with this pious wish of the 
believers with less desire to be elegant than faithful. And like the ass 
that was not up to the burden nor yet strong enough to get rid of it, I 
quietly submit myself to that which is so devoutly laid upon me. I 
should, however, have wished that anyone else could have been found 
more fit to bear the load than I. But as this has not come to pass, I 
prefer that it should be I than no one. But in setting to work so 
boldly I confess myself open to the charge of presumption, but let 


4 Prologue. [BK. i. 

rum excuset cogens exactio fraterna. Non est autem presumere 
sanctorum uitas ac uirtutes scire uolentibus propalare. Secretum 
(/iiippe regis celare bonum est, opera dei manifestare honorificum 
et unicuique debitum christiano. Si quis uero aliqua in libello 
presenti non uerisirailia interserta reppererit, non tamen mendacii 
reatum nobis imputet, quoniam non nisi que uidimus uel que fama 
diuulgante oognouimus ad presentium et futurorum instruendam 
deuotionem litteris mandare curamus. Nee me quisquam estimet 
nnioris studio aliquid posuisse quod fide careat, quandoquidem 
melius sit penitus nichil dicere quam falsum ad fallendum pro- 
ferre, cum non ignoremus de omni nos sermone rationem reddituros. 
<Melius> est profecto linguam silentio reprimere quam ad anime 
detrimentum falsa narrare. Quoniam igitur os quod mentitur 
occidit animam, mihi absit sacris mentiri rebus siue uerbum 
ndnlterare doniini. Cum uero tantum tante ueritatis presentibus 
seculis affluat indicium, cur necesse habeam uel uerum suppri- 
mere uel mendacia concinnare ? Itaque non a maliuolis falsarius 
siue mendatiorum dicar compilator, quasi, quemadmodum ait 
beatus, leronimus errores non auferam sed fictitia seram. Cesset 

pardon be mine, inasmuch as the pressure of the brethren which compels 
me is my excuse. For it is not presumption to publish the lives and 
virtues of the saints to those who are desirous of knowing them. The 
secrets of kings it is well to hide, but to make manifest the works of 
GOD is honourable and the duty of every Christian man. 

If, however, some things introduced in this little book should seem 
to any improbable, let him not therefore account me guilty of false- 
hood, since I have been careful to set down nothing which I have not 
seen or which I have not come to the knowledge of by common report, 
and I offer it for the edification of those who are now alive and those 
who shall be hereafter. And let no one think that I have introduced 
anything from motives of affection, which is untrue, since it is better to 
say nothing at all than to put forth anything false with a view to 
eive; for we are not ignorant that we shall have to give account for 
try word, and it were better to restrain the tongue with silence than 
t t,-r falsehood for the damage of the soul. Since therefore the lying 
(A ****ft the soul, far be it from me to lie in holy things or to 
k the word of G OD deceitfully. But since such clear proof of so 
truth forthcoming for the present age, what need have I 
to rappm. what is true or to invent falsehoods? Therefore I 
fen not be called a falsifier by the ill-disposed or an inventor of 
if, m the words of the blessed Hieronymus, "I were not getting 

PROL.] Prologue. 5 

ergo contra nos arcuato uulnere insurgere scorpius; sanctumque 
opus uenenata carpere lingua desistat. Verum nostri laboris 
enmlus quociens caninas in nos erexerit cristas, humilitatis nostre 
opusculum uestra presul uenerande uenerabilis patrocinetur aucto- 
ritas. Sunt enim nonnulli qui peruerso ducti spiritu sicut que 
scripta sunt credere renuunt, sic a plerisque testificata repre- 
hendunt, immo et uisa tamquam ficta fastidiunt, non habentes 
in fide quod apostolus Thomas gestabat in corde, nisi uidero 
non credam. Sed uoce dominica dico, beati qui non uiderunt et 
crediderunt. Ex huiusmodi quisquis es, hoc attende ; quia etsi 
non omnia ab omnibus, a diuersis tamen diuersa poterant sciri, 
ea que multis cognita esse que ipse minus uel audire uel uidere 
potuisti. Semper in propatulo habet emulos fortitude, feriuntque 
summos fulgura mantes. Vnde et Plinius : optima queque uideri 
uolunt obtrectare plerique quam discere. Caue igitur, obtrectator, 
ne dum rata reprehendis in blasphemie traharis errorem. Inter 
hec omnia lector diligens diligenter attendat ne et labor noster 
et ipsius studium pereat. Eligat unusquisque quod uelit et 

rid of errors but spreading abroad fictions." Wherefore let the scorpion 
cease from rising up against us with stinging words, and the poisoned 
tongue forbear from carping at a holy task. But as often as some 
carper at my task shall lift up his cur's crest, may your authority, O 
master and Prelate revered, extend its patronage over my little work's 
insignificance. For there are some who, led away by a spirit of 
perversity, as they refuse to believe those things that are written, so 
also reject those things which have been testified by very many. Aye ! 
and sneer even at those things which have been actually seen as if they 
were inventions, not having as much faith as Thomas retained in his 
heart, If I see not 1 will not believe. But in the Lord's words I answer, 
Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed. 

Whoever thou art that art of this manner of men, hearken to me. 
Though not all things can be known of all, yet different things can be 
known by different men, and some things there are which are known 
to many and which notwithstanding you may not have the power to hear 
or to see. The venturesome when exposed to the public gaze always 
provoke rivalry, feriuntque summos fulgura monies. And hence that 
saying of Pliny's, optima queque videri volunt obtrectare plerique quam 
discere. Wherefore, O caviller, beware lest while thou settest thyself 
against certainties thou be drawn into the mistake of blasphemy. 

Meanwhile the careful reader will diligently ponder all things so 
that neither my pains nor his study be wasted. Let each one choose 

6 Prologue. [BK. i. 

fastidiosum potius se probet quam maliuolum. In domo quippe 
domini cum urna aurea et fictilis est necessaria. Postremo dupli- 
cem a te ueniam, lector, deposco; hinc quod soloecismis et uerborum 
abiectione aures tuas uulnero, inde quod prolixior pagina uidetur 
parturire fastidium. Sed non pigeat recensere quod Christum 
prestare non piguit : qui <lum sanctos suos glorificat nos exemplis 
gloriosis inuitat. Ne autem lectoris diligentia multiplicitatis 
pigrescat tedio quantulam libelli nostri quantitatem in septem 
curaui codicellos distinguere, ut per interualla respirans pia 
legentis deuotio ad percurrenda singula promtior ad anteriora 
nunquam desistat anelare. Primum siquidem iin or distinguens 
gradibus sanctam sancti martyris pueritiam et uenerabilem eius- 
dem descripsi passionem, sacrique corporis siluis expositi et adhuc 
sub diuo iacentis declaratam celestibus indiciis subiungens reue- 
lationem primam ex silua scilicet in urbem subieci translationem : 
secundum uero tripliciter partiens codicellum, sancta uirtutum 
eius primordia dignis condigna relatione uisionibus et miraculorum 
signis declarata prelibaui, et deinde christianicidarum iudeorum 
exposito excidio, demum christianorum ac succedentium Norwici 

what he will and prove himself rather critical than malevolent. Verily 
in the house of GOD there is need of the golden urn and the potter's 

Lastly, I ask my reader for indulgence in two respects ; first in case 

I wound his ears by solcecisms and poverty of language, and secondly 

in case my prolixity produce weariness. But let him not grudge 

to dwell on that which Christ did not grudge to perform, He who 

while He glorifies His holy ones invites us on by their glorious 

examples. But that the reader may not become tired by the length of 

this book, I have been at the pains to break up the bulk of my book 

into seven small divisions, that so the reader's devotion, drawing breath 

t were at intervals, may go through each separate portion the 

more readily and never cease to press onward. In the first book I 

ave dealt by four steps with (i) The Holy Martyr's holy boyhood. 

[ have described his awful passion, (iii) The discovery of his holy 

xly, that was exposed .in the wood while still lying in the open air, 

t was made known by heavenly signs, (iv) I have added 

8 narrative of it* first removal from the wood into the city. 

have divided the second book [codicellum] into three parts, (i) 

Tly indications of his virtues in a narrative worthy of his worth, 

clear by visions and miraculous signs, and (ii) afterwards 

f-.rth the murder of the Christian-slaying Jews. Lastly I 

PROL.] Prologue. 7 

iudeorum coram rege Stephano disceptationem supposui per- 
oratoriam. Tertium bifarie diuidendo, secundam sacri corporis 
translationem mirabilemque sepulcri eius exaltationem descripsi 
et pro<inde> recuperationem luminis q<uibus>dam adiunctis 
miraculis <adu>naui. Quartum triformiter distinguendo, pre- 
missis nonnullis miraculis, prime sublati tapeti restitutionem, 
medio sanctorum dentium admirandam reuelationem, ordine tertio 
miram fonticuli sub radicibus arboris ubi primum expositus iacuit 
exposui inuentionem. Quinto autem libello tercia translatio 
declaratur, crebra miracula consequuntur, mors matris sancti 
martyris uisione mira predicitur. Sexto quippe ab incarnatione 
domini anno M. C. Liui. quarta translatio facta describitur, quam 
consecuta frequens miraculorum multiplicitas comitatur. Septi- 
mus in miraculis totus toti libro finem imponit. Hanc igitur rei 
geste quibusdam compendii gratia distinctam gradibus ueritatem 
pius lector attendat, atque sub breui summa uniuersa percurrens 
quod inde magis concupiscit ubi inuenire possit agnoscat. Nunc 
uero quoniam prologi metam excessimus, reuocato cursu pro- 
have added a rhetorical version of the dispute in the presence of King 
Stephen between the Christians and the Jews at Norwich. 

The third book I have divided into two parts, (i) I have described 
the second translation of the holy corpse by the wonderful exaltation 
of the sepulchre, and then (ii) I have told of the recovery of the light, 
with certain miracles added. 

The fourth book I have divided into three parts, prefixing certain 
miracles, (i) The restitution of the carpet that was removed, (ii) 
The marvellous revelation of the holy teeth, (iii) The wonderful 
finding of the spring under the roots of the tree where he first lay 

In the fifth book the third translation is told of. Several miracles 
follow. The death of the holy martyr's mother is foretold in a 
wonderful vision. 

In the sixth book the fourth translation, which took place in the 
year of our Lord 1154, is described, and the large number of miracles 
which ensued. 

The seventh book is wholly concerned with miracles, and brings the 
whole work to an end. 

Let the devout reader accordingly give heed to the truth of this 
history, arranged by way of summary in these steps, and while running 
through the whole contents in my brief summary, let him take note 
where he may find what he most desires to find. But now, since I have 

8 Prologue. [BK. i. 

logum terminamus. Sub cuius <finem> uestram, uenerande presul 
<\Vi>llelme, prudentissimam deprecor discretionem ut libellum 
presentem quern examinat[i]oni uestre committo diligenti percur- 
ratis animaduersione, superflua recidens, male dicta corrigens, et 
cetera, si qua tamen digna sint, in sua statione permittens. Vale, 
sanctissime pater. 

Explicit prologus. Incipiunt capitula libri primi. 

i. [D]e materne uisionis presagio. 

ii. De Natiuitate sancti Willelmi et uenerabili pueritia. 
iii. Qualiter ad iudeos diuertere solitus et ideo a suis incre- 

patus, se inde retraxerit. 

iv. Qualiter a iudeorum nuntio seductus fuerit. 
v. Qualiter ad iudeos intrans, illusus sit et occisus. 
vi. Quod consilium super eo occultando iudei acceperint. 
vii. Qualiter et a quibus asportatus et in silua sit absconditus. 
viii. Qualiter datis centum marcis uicecomiti tune lohanni, a 
timore pereundi liberati sunt iudei. 

exceeded the measure of a prologue, let us go back to whence we 
digressed, and bring this prologue to an end. At its end, I entreat 
your most prudent judgment, O most revered prelate William, that you 
may be pleased to go through with careful attention this little book 
which I commit to your examination cut away what is redundant, 
correct what is said amiss, and for the rest, if there be aught worth 
retaining, let it keep its place. 
Most holy father Farewell. 


(i) The forewarning of the mother's vision. 

(ii) Concerning the birth of Saint William, and his venerable 

(iii) How he was wont to resort to the Jews, and for that was 
-hidden by his family, and so withdrew himself from them. 
(iv) How he was led astray by a messenger of the Jews. 
(v) How he went to the Jews and was mocked and killed. 
(vi) How the Jews were advised to hide him. 
(vii) How and by whom he was carried away and concealed in the 

(viii) How the Jews were delivered from fear of being undone by 
the gift of a hundred marks to the then Sheriff, who was named John. 

PROL.] Prologue. 9 

ix. Qualiter super corpus sancti martyris silua iacentis lux de 

celo fulserit in modurn ignee scale. 
x. Qualiter et a quibus inuentus sit. 
xi. [Ijtem inuentio altera sancto eodem sabbato pasche. 
xii. Qualiter et a quibus in nemore sepultus sit. 
xiii. Qualiter presbiter Godwinus an ipse sit scire uoluerit. 
xiv. De presagio uisionis matertere illius. 
xv. De planctu matris, de nece filii iudeos accusantis. 
xvi. Qualiter in synodo presbiter Godwinus de iudeis con- 
questus, ipsos de morte pueri Willelmi reuera reos esse 
se per dei iuditium probaturum obtulerit. 

xvii. Quod Aimarus tune sancti Pancratii de Lewes prior corpus 
sacri martiris tune secum transferendi ab episcopo licen- 
tiam petierit. 
xviii. Quomodo a silua in urbem allatus a monachis susceptus 

lotus atque omnibus membris incorruptus inuentus sit. 
xix. De tumulatione ipsius in cimiterio monachorum. 

(ix) How a light from heaven, in the form of a fiery ladder, shone 
over the body of the holy martyr as it lay in the wood, 
(x) How and by whom he was found. 

(xi) He is found a second time on the same holy Easter Even. 
(xii) How and by whom he was buried in the wood, 
(xiii) How the Priest Godwin wished to know whether it were he 

(xiv) Concerning the forewarning of a vision to his aunt, 
(xv) Concerning the lament of his mother, who accused the Jews 
of the death of her son. 

(xvi) How the Priest Godwin in the Synod complained of the 
Jews, and offered to prove by the ordeal (per iudicium dei) that they 
were verily guilty of the death of the boy William. 

(xvii) How Aimar, then Prior of St Pancras of Lewes, begged from 
the Bishop for a license to carry away with him the body of the holy 

(xviii) How he was brought from the wood into the city, was taken 
charge of by the monks, was washed and was found to be whole and 

(xix) Concerning his entombment in the monks' cemetery. 

1 o St William of Norwich. [BK. 

Incipit liber primus. 
i. De materni sompnii presagio. 

VOLENS diuine pietatis miseratio Norwicensem immo et 
tt ins Anglie uisitare prouintiam eique nouum nouis tem- 
poribus dare patronum, dedit puerum inter precipuos martires 
annumerandum uniuersis sanctorum agminibus honorandum in 
nescie matris uisceribus concipi, fecitque rosam odoriferam de 
*pinis paulatim pullulare. Erat autem pater eius quidam Wen- 
stanus nomine, mater uero Eluiua dicebatur, run quidem legitimam 
uitain agentes ac necessariis uite subsidiis admodum habimdantes. 
Nullique uideatur absurdum puerum tante sanctitatis ac dignitatis 
futurum ab infimis parentibus deum uelle generari, cum et ipsum 
constet de pauperibus uoluisse nasci. Mater igitur sed nescia iam 
iam diuino nutu conceperat, ignoransque pululantia uirilis seminis 
germina sub uisceribus gestabat. Contigit autem admirabili 
honorande uisionis designari presagio quante sanctitatis foret et 
dignitatis quod gestabat in utero. Videbatur etenim dormienti 
illi secum patre suo Wluuardo presbitero famoso quidem illius 

i. Concerning the forewarning in his mother's dream. 

The mercy of the Divine goodness desiring to display itself to the 
parts about Norwich, or rather to the whole of England, and to give 
it in these new times a new patron, granted that a boy should be con- 
ceived in his mother's womb without her knowing that he was to be 
numbered among illustrious martyrs and worthy to be honoured among 
all the army of the saints, and moreover brought it about that he 
should grow up little by little as a fragrant rose from the thorns. 

His father was a certain Wenstan by name. His mother was 
called Elviva, and they passed their lives as honest people in the 
country, being somewhat well supplied with the necessaries of life and 
Momething more. Let it not seem absurd to any that a boy of such 
sanctity and destined for such honour should by God's will be born 
from lowly parents, when it is certain that He Himself was pleased to 
be born from among the poor. Accordingly his mother, though 
ignorant of the fact, had by divine goodness conceived, and, while still 
unaware, was with child. But it came to pass that she was favoured 
with a marvellous forewarning by a vision worthy of our honour, which 
revealed to her how great should be the sanctity and dignity of him 
whom she bore in her womb. It appeared to her as she slept that she 
was standing in a road with her father Wlward, a priest, a man very 

i.] St William of Norwich. 1 1 

temporis uiro in uia quadam una consistere, atque pre pedibus 
<deor>sum lumina inclinantem <pis>cem qui uulgo lucius di- 
c<itur> uidere. Piscis uero pinnas utrimque rubicundas et 
tanquam sanguine aspersas habebat duodecim. Aiebat igitur ilia 
patri : Pater, piscem uideo ; sed uehementer admiror quomodo hue 
aduenerit, uel qualiter in loco tarn arido uiuere possit. Cui pater : 
Tolle filia, tolle ilium, et in sinum repone. Quod cum fecisset 
uidebatur piscis in sinu se mouere et paulatim adeo succrescere, 
ut iam sinus ipsum comprehendere non posset. Elabitur ergo 
et per manicam exiens, assumptis subito alis sursum euolauit, 
nubesque transiens aperto sibi celo in ipsum se recepit. Quo 
uiso mulier expergefacta est, et quod nocte per sompnum uiderat, 
mane patri retulit. Pater itaque plurimam exponendarum uisio- 
num peritiam habens, quid hoc presagii foret uel quid portenderet 
admiratus, primo secum excogitauit, atque singula reuoluens post 
modicum filie respondit : Noueris utique, dilectissima filia, te 
impregnari, et gaudio gaude, quoniam reuera paritura es filium 
qui et in terris honorem maximum consequetur et super altitu- 
dinem nubium eleuatus in celum plurimum exaltabitur. Scias 

famous in his time. And lo ! as she bent her eyes upon the ground, 
there at her feet she beheld a fish which is known as a luce. The 
fish had twelve fins on each side, and they were red and as it were 
dabbled with blood. And she spake to her father and said, " Father, I 
see a fish, but I greatly marvel how it should have come here or how it 
can live in so dry a spot." To whom her father made answer, "Take 
it up, my daughter. Take it up and put it in thy bosom." Which 
when she had done, the fish seemed to move in her bosom and by 
degrees to grow so fast that now she could no longer hold it. So it 
glided out, and escaping by her sleeve and suddenly taking to itself 
wings, it flew away, and, passing through the clouds, betook itself to 
heaven, which opened to receive it. 

The woman awoke from her vision, and in the morning she told her 
father what she had seen in her dream. Her father having much 
experience in the expounding of visions, wondering what was presaged 
and what it portended, first thought over it with himself, and, con- 
sidering all the facts, after a while he made answer to his daughter, 
" Know assuredly, my dearest daughter, that thou art with child, and 
rejoice with joy, because that in very truth thou shalt bring forth a 
son who shall attain to highest honour in the earth, and after being 
raised above the clouds shall be exalted exceedingly in heaven. Know, 

12 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

quoque cum puer duodennis fuerit etate ad huius tante culmen 
Mihlimabitur glorie. Non autem credendum est patrem filie tarn 
certissimum huiusmodi uerbum denuntiare ex suo, sed ex diuino 
spiritu, cui soli constant presentia etiaui que uentura sunt uniuersa. 
luxta patris etenim sermonem et filia filium habuit, qui et duo- 
denitis ad prelibati culmen honoris peruenit. 

ii. De natiuitate eius et infantia. 

EXCVRSO denique aliquanti temporis spatio et adueniente 
determinata pariendi die natus est mulieri films, et uocatum 
est nomen eius Willelmus. Natus est autem die purificationis 
dei genitricis et uirginis Marie, die scilicet candelarum : et fortassis 
ut per hoc ipsum denotetur quoniam multe puritatis et sanctitatis 
puer foret, atque candelas et candelarum luminaria plurimum 
diligeret. Quod autem a matre et fratribus eius atque presbitero 
qui eum baptismo regenerauerat postmodum didici, nequaquam 
silentio pretereundum, sed et interserendum adiudicaui. Quippe 
ablactationis eius die dum pater eiusdem Wenstanus affines ad 
conuiuium euocatos festiue pasceret, penitentialis quidam brachia 

too, that when thy son shall have attained to twelve years, then he 
shall be raised to this pitch of glory." Now it is not credible that the 
father should have spoken these words to his daughter with so much 
certainty, of his own wisdom, but by the Holy Spirit's favour, to whom 
alone all things are present, even those things which are to come. 

In accordance with her father's words, the daughter did bring forth 
a son, who also at twelve years of age did arrive at the height of 
honour which had been foretold. 

ii. Concerning his birth and infancy. 

Some time having elapsed and the day having arrived for his bringing 
f >rt h, a son was born to the woman, and his name was called William. 
But he was born on the day of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin 
Mary, that is on Candlemas. Peradventure too by this is indicated 
how great the purity and sanctity of the child would be, and that 
he would greatly love candles and the brightness of them. But one 
circumstance, which I subsequently learnt from his mother and his 
brothers and the priest who had baptized him, I have judged ought 
not to be passed over, but inserted here. On the day of his weaning, 
when his father Wenstan was entertaining his kindred who had been 
invited to the feast, a man who was undergoing penance, with iron 

I.] St William of Norwich. 13 

ferreis innexus nexibus quasi ad elemosinam conuiuantibus inter- 
erat. Qui post cibum cibo letificatus cum puerulum manibus 
quasi applaudendo teneret, puerque puerili simplicitate ferreos 
admirans nexus palmulis eos palparet, uincula subito rumpuntur 
et in partes dissiliunt. Ad hec uisa stupefacti conuiue miris 
admirantur modis et quod contigerat pueri ascribunt meritis. 
Sicque penitentialis ille diuina liberatus gratia gratulabundus 
recessit et predictus presbiter qui conuiuantibus intererat disso- 
lutos colligens nexus in ecclesia sua de Haueringelant turn ad 
presentium memoriam turn ad posterorum noticiam in propatulo 
deposuit atque eos diutius conseruare curauit. Mater quippe 
natum ceu quern summe diligebat summa diligentia educauit, 
et diligenter educando ab infantia ad intelligibiles pueritie annos 
perduxit. Qui dum septennis adhuc esset, ut matris relatione 
didici, adeo cepit abstinentie amator existere ut fratribus natu 
maioribus non ieiunantibus et ipse tribus in ebdomada feriis, 
scilicet secunda, quarta et sexta ieiunaret diebus. Apostolorum 
ceterasque sanctorum denuntiatas populo uigilias deuotis celebra- 
bat ieiuniis; et excrescente paulatim deuotionis ardore nonnullos 

bands upon his arms, presented himself to the guests as if begging for 
alms; who after the dinner waxing merry, while he held the child in 
his hands as if admiring him, and the baby, in the innocence of child- 
hood wondering at the iron fetters, began to handle them ; suddenly 
the bonds broke and shivered into pieces. The guests, amazed at the 
sight, were greatly astonished, and attributed what had occurred to the 
merits of the child. Wherefore the penitent, set free by divine favour, 
went his way, giving thanks, and the priest aforesaid, who was present 
among the guests, collecting the broken rings, placed them in his church 
at Haveringland and deposited them in a conspicuous place, as well for 
keeping up the memory of those living as for a record to such as should 
come after ; and he was careful that they should be safely preserved. 

The mother, as she loved her child exceedingly, so did she educate 
him with exceeding care, and by carefully educating she brought him 
up from his infancy to the years of intelligent boyhood. When he 
was but seven years old as I learnt from the mother's narrative he 
became so devoted to abstinence that, though his elder brothers did 
not fast, he himself fasted on three days of the week to wit the 
second, fourth and sixth days and also celebrated the Vigils of the 
Apostles and of other Saints that were given notice of to the people by 
devout fasting. And his zeal going on increasing, he used to pass 

14 St William of Noi^wich. [BK. 

pane contentus et aqua transigebat dies. Pietatis siquidem 
affluens uisceribus quod sibi de uictu subtrahere uel a matre 
precibus extorquere poterat, siquando aperte non auderet, totum 
pauperibus clam erogabat. Sed inter hec turn pius turn benignus 
adeo se prudenter agebat ut ex eodem facto et egentibus pro posse 
suo proficeret et parentibus molestiam non inferret. Ecclesiam 
quoque libentissime frequentabat; litteras, psalmos et orationes 
discebat et quecunque dei erant summa uenerabatur reuerentia. 
Diuin<a> ilium in omnibus preueniente gratia diligenti appetebat 
studio, et ut omnibus mansuetus ab omnibus amaretur, et nulli 
in aliquo molestus fieret. Operabatur nimirum diuine dispensa- 
tiunis prouidentia in infantulo, scienter quidem nescio, et sapienter 
indocto, gratie sue magnalia; certisque iam tune indiciis designabat 
plant i postmodum meriti futurus erat. 

iii. Quod ad iudeos diuertere solitus et a suis super hoc increpatus 
se inde retraxerit. 

CVM itaque tarn uenerabili floreret pueritia et octauum iam 
ageret annum, a parentibus traditur pellipariis arte pelliparia 
instruendus. Quid multa ? Docilitate uigens ingenii et diligentiam 

many days content with nothing but bread and water ; and his whole 
inner man overflowing with piety, whatever he could save from his own 
portion of food or extort from his mother by his entreaties, he used to 
bestow upon the poor, sometimes openly and sometimes secretly. But 
while acting thus he conducted himself so dutifully, kindly and 
prudently, that as far as possible he at once benefitted the poor and did 
not cause his parents any annoyance. He was a most joyful attendant 
at church ; he used to learn his letters and the psalms and prayers, and 
all the things of GOD he treated with the greatest reverence. The grace 
divine preventing him in all things, he strove with earnest effort by 
kindness to all, to gain the love of all, and to be burdensome to none. 
The foresight of God's economy wrought in the child (knowingly, 
though he knew it not; in wisdom, though he was unlearned) the 
mighty works of grace ; and pointed out by sure signs even thus early 
how great his merits were to be in the days to come. 

iii. How he was wont Ut resort to the Jews, and having been chid by 

Au men people for so doing^ how he withdrew himself from them. 

\M..-n therefore he was flourishing in this blessed boyhood of his, 

and had attained to his eighth year, he was entrusted to the skinners to 

be taught th.-ir craft. (Jift^l %sith a teachable disposition and bringing 

I.] St William of Norwich. 15 

adhibens studio, in breui coequos in arte memorata longe ante- 
cessit, et nonnullos quos doctores habuerat equiparauit. Relicto 
denique rure, diuino ilium trahente nutu, urbi se contulit atque 
cum quodam nominatissimo artis illius magistro moratus aliquanti 
temporis spatium transegit. Ruri siquidem rarus, urbi uero 
assiduus, circa prelibate artis sedulo studuit artificium, et ad 
duodecimum etatis peruenit annum. Dum ergo Norwici moraretur, 
iudei qui tune temporis ibidem manebant et ad reparanda pallia, 
pellicias, uel cetera huiusmodi, seu que in uadimonio habebant, 
siue quibus utebantur, ipsum sibi pre omnibus pellipariis elegerunt. 
Ilium etenim sibi maxime reputabant idoneum, siue quia simplicem 
et artificiosum didicerant, seu quoniam auaritia ducti minori 
ipsum pacari precio existimabant. Sed, quod magis credo, diuine 
nutu prouidentie ad martyrium ad quod a seculis predestinatus 
fuerat quibusdam ita paulatim gradibus trahebatur, et a iudeis in 
dominice passionis obprobrium deludendus et immolandus tanquam 
minus prudens et magis idoneus eligitur. A iudeis enim quibus- 
dam ad fidem christianam postea conuersis ueraciter cognouimus 
quoniam eo tempore id ipsum de aliquo christiano facere pro- 
industry to bear upon it, in a short time he far surpassed lads of his 
own age in the craft aforesaid, and he equalled some who had been his 
teachers. So leaving the country, by the drawing of a divine attrac- 
tion he betook himself to the city and lodged with a very famous 
master of that craft, and some time passed away. He was seldom in 
the country, but was occupied in the city and sedulously gave himself 
to the practice of his craft, and thus reached his twelfth year. 

Now, while he was staying in Norwich, the Jews who were settled 
there and required their cloaks or their robes or other garments 
(whether pledged to them, or their own property) to be repaired, pre- 
ferred him before all other skinners. For they esteemed him to be 
especially fit for their work, either because they had learnt that he 
was guileless and skilful, or because attracted to him by their avarice 
they thought they could bargain with him for a lower price. Or, 
as I rather believe, because by the ordering of divine providence he 
had been predestined to martyrdom from the beginning of time, and 
gradually step by step was drawn on, and chosen to be made a 
mock of and to be put to death by the Jews, in scorn of the Lord's 
passion, as one of little foresight, and so the more fit for them. For I 
have learnt from certain Jews, who were afterwards converted to the 
Christian faith, how that at that time they had planned to do this very 
thing with some Christian, and in order to carry out their malignant 

1 6 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

posuerant, et ad complendum malignitatis sue propositum puerum 
Willelmum duodennem admodum reuera innocentem ab initio 
quadragesime preelegerant. Cum igitur uenerabilis puer excogi- 
tate fraudis ignarus iudeos frequentaret, a Godwino presbitero 
qui eius habebat materteram, et a quodam Wulwardo apud quern 
hospitabatur increpatus, et ne ad illos vlterius diuerteret, est 
prohibitus. ludei uero de sui nimirum adnullatione consilii 
condolentes, toils uiribus ad resarciendum disposite malignitatis 
dampnum eo acrius institerunt quo et determinati /acinoris ex- 
equendi uehementius dies instabat, et preda quam se iam cepisse 
estimabant e funestis longius elapsa manibus fuerat. Omnem 
itaque uersute machinationis sue conflantes astutiam, quendam 
christianum nescio siue iudeum uersutissimum quidem et congruum 
ad tarn execrabilis facinoris exequendum flagitium repperiunt, et 
cum mult a festinatione, quoniam pascha suum post triduum insta- 
bat, ad exquirendam ac reducendam predam quam e manibus 
eorum prediximus elapsam mittunt. 

iv. Qualiter a iudeorum nuntio seductus fuerit. 

ILLVSCESCENTE uero post ramos palmarum feria secunda, 
execrabilis ille iudeorum nuntius iniunctum sibi executurus 

purpose, at the beginning of Lent they had made choice of the boy 
William, being twelve years of age and a boy of unusual innocence. 
So it came to pass that when the holy boy, ignorant of the treachery 
that had been planned, had frequent dealings with the Jews, he was 
taken to task by Godwin the priest, who had the boy's aunt as his 
wife, and by a certain Wulward with whom he lodged, and he was 
prohibited from going in and out among them any more. But the 
Jews, annoyed at the thwarting of their designs, tried with all their 
might to patch up a new scheme of wickedness, and all the more 
vehemently as the day for carrying out the crime they had determined 
upon drew near, and the victim which they had thought they had 
already secured had slipped out of their wicked hands. Accordingly, 
collecting all the cunning of their crafty plots, they found I am not 
sure whether he was a Christian or a Jew a man who was a most 
treacherous fellow and just the fitting person for carrying out their 
execralili- mini*, and with all haste for their Passover was coming on 
in three days they sent him to find out and bring back with him the 
N i.-iiin which, as I said before, had slipped out of their hands. 

iv. How he teas seduced by the Jeics' messenger. 
At the dawn of day, on the Monday after Palm Sunday, that 
detectable menenger of th- .!,- s set out to execute the business that 

I.] St William of Norwich. 17 

negotium ab ipsis digreditur, summaque ab ipso exquisitus 
diligentia puer tandem Willelmus inuenitur. Inuentum fraudu- 
lentis uerborum circumuenit insidiis et circumuentum fallacibus 
tandem decepit promissis. Fingebat siquidem se Willelmi archi- 
diaconi Norwicensis esse coquum, ac uelle se ilium in coquina 
habere socium. In qua si secum perseueraret multa per illam 
commoda in posterum perciperet. Decipitur simplex puer, homi- 
nique se credidit. Super hoc tamen et materni fauoris habere 
uolens assensum, quoniam pater eius iam ab hac luce migrauerat, 
ad ipsam cum illo perrexit. Ad quam cum peruenissent, uie 
causam puer insinuat, et traditor iuxta prelibati sermonis tenorem 
fallatie sue tendiculam intentat. Promittens quippe multa filius 
ille perditionis puerilem inanibus pollicitis facilius illexit animum; 
sed primo super his maternum nullatenus extorquere potuit as- 
sensum. Insistenti siquidem traditori assentit puer innocens, sed 
resistit mater presagis uisceribus et materno affectu filio suo timens. 
Hinc traditor et inde mater: rogat ille, negat et ilia. Rogat 
ille, sed ut perdat : negat ilia, sed ne amittat. Ille se archidiaconi 

was committed to him, and at last the boy William, after being searched 
for with very great care, was found. When he was found, he got 
round him with cunning wordy tricks, and so deceived him with his 
lying promises. For he pretended that he was the cook of William, 
Archdeacon of Norwich 1 , and that he wished to have him as a 
helper in the kitchen, where if he should continue steadily with him he 
would get many advantages in his situation. The simple boy was 
deceived, and trusted himself to the man ; but, wishing to have his 
mother's favourable consent for his father had died by this time he 
started with the fellow to find her. When they had come to where 
she was, the boy told her the cause of his errand, and the traitor 
according to the tenour of his previous offer cast the net of his 
treachery. So that son of perdition by many promises easily prevailed 
upon the boy's mind by his tempting offers. Yet at first he could not 
at all gain the mother's consent; but when the scoundrel persisted the 
innocent boy agreed though his mother, moved by presentiment, re- 
sisted, and in her motherly affection feeling some fear for her son. On 
one side was the traitor, on the other the mother. He begs ; she 
refuses. He begs, but only that he may make away with the boy. 
She refuses, afraid lest she should lose him. He asserts that he is 
the Archdeacon's cook, but she does not at all believe him. So between 

1 William, Archdeacon of Norwich, appears to have held the office from A.D. 1124 
till 1150. Le Neve's Fasti, n. 478. 

W. N. 2 

18 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

coquum assent: ilia uero nequaquam credit. Inter illam igitur 
et ilium, ceu inter ouem et lupum prima fronte fortissimum, pro 
tercio duellum cerneres. Agnus erat medius, hinc ouis, inde lupus. 
Instat lupus ut diripiat et deuofet : perstat ouis ut eripiat et 
conseruet. Verum quia alteri puer illectus fauebat alteriusque 
sibi assensum incessanter supplicabat, mater turn crebris filii 
precibus conuicta, turn bonis uiri pollicitationibus seducta, demum 
assentire licet inuita compellitur. Indutias tamen filio uel usque 
post pascha petiit: sed traditor pro triginta argenteis pueri per 
triduum carere presentia se nolle iurauit. Negat mater, et iurat se 
non ante pascha filium dimissuram. Traditor itaque tres solidos 
e marsupio trahit, quibus materne pietatis labefactaret affectum 
et inconstantem feminee leuitatis rigorem, argenti splendore 
corruptum, ad cupidi<tatem> deflecteret. Porrigitur argentum 
quasi muneris immo reuera innocentis sanguinis precium ; nee 
.tamen adhuc materna concutitur pietas, neque pietatis quodam- 
modo iam futuri presagus mah' facile inflectitur affectus. Insistitur 
pariter, turn hinc precibus, turn inde et argenteis; ut si precum 
instantia indurati constantiam animi non emolliret, arridentis 

her and the other you might have seen a struggle as between a sheep 
and a wolf (who seemed at the first sight far the strongest) in defence 
of a third. The lamb was between them. Here stood the sheep and 
there the wolf. The wolf stands to it that he may rend and devour ; 
the sheep holds her ground that she may rescue and save. But because 
the boy, being fascinated, favoured the one and kept on incessantly 
begging the consent of the other, the mother, partly overcome by her 
son's prayers and partly seduced by the man's fair promises, at last was 
compelled against her will to give way. She begged, however, for 
delay till after Easter ; but the traitor swore he would not wait three 
days, not for thirty pieces of silver. The mother refused to let him go, 
and vowed she would not let him go before Easter. So the traitor took 
three shillings from his purse with intent to get the better of the 
mother's fancy and to bend the fickle stubbornness of a fickle woman, 
seduced by the glitter of money to the lust of gain. Thus the money 
was offered as the price of the innocent's service, or rather in truth as 
the price of his blood. But not even yet was the mother's devotion 
appeased, nor the presentiment of a coming evil easily removed. The 
wrangling still went on : on one side with prayers, and on the other 
with the pieces of silver, if so be that, though he could not prevail upon 
herituUx.rnnww by his continual offers, the brightness of the coins that 
smiled at her might serve as a lure to her avarice. So the mother's 

i.] St William of Noiivich. 19 

pecunie splendor ad cupiendum sollicitando inuitaret. His itaque 
matris acriter pulsabatur animus, et iam sub dubio posita paulatim 
titubabat materna pietas, et preclaris tandem illecta argenteis 
cupiditate conuincitur; et conuicta ad id quod nolebat uolens 
nolens inclinatur. Et quid multa ? Conuicta denique matre, lupo 
committitur agnus et traditori puer traditur Willelmus. 

v. Qualiter ad iudeos intrans captus sit, illusus et occisus. 

MANE itaque traditor ille, ac fere per omnia lude traditoris 
imitator, cum puero Nonvicum regreditur, transiensque per 
domum matertere pueri cum puero intrauit, matrem sibi tradidisse 
eum dixit, et festinanter exiit. Tune pueri matertera continuo 
filie ait; Cito prosequere illos, caute considerans quorsum homo 
ille puerum deducat. Egressa ergo puella, uiam illorum exploratura, 
diuertentes eos per priuata diuerticula a longe secuta est. Sequens 
uero tandem hospitium cuiusdain iudei subintrare conspexit, et 
continuo post eos hostium claudi attendit. Quo uiso ad matrem 
rediit, <que>que uiderat nuntiauit. Porro puer, uelut agnus 

mind was cruelly vanquished by these, even though the maternal affec- 
tion only slowly gave way under the temptation and, seduced at last by 
the shining pieces of silver, she was the victim of her covetousness, and 
once overcome nolens volens she became inclined to that which yet she 
was averse to. What need of many words ? The mother being gained 
over, the lamb was handed over to the wolf, and the boy William was 
given up to the betrayer. 

v. How on his going to the Jews he was taken, mocked and slain. 

In the morning accordingly that traitor, the imitator in almost 
everything of the traitor Judas, returns to Norwich with the boy, and 
as he was passing by the house of the boy's aunt he went in with him 
and said that the mother had entrusted the boy to himself, and then he 
went out again hastily. But the boy's aunt said quickly to her 
daughter, " Follow them at once, and take care you find out where that 
man is leading off the boy to." Thus the girl ran out to explore the way 
they were going; and she followed them at a distance as they turned 
about through some private alleys, and at last she saw them entering 
cautiously into the house of a certain Jew, and immediately she heard 
the door shut. When she saw this she went back to her mother and 
told her what she had seen. 

Then the boy, like an innocent lamb, was led to the slaughter. He 
was treated kindly by the Jews at first, and, ignorant of what was 


20 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

innocens ad occisionem adductus, a iudeis blande suscipitur, et 
quid negotii erga se tractaretur ignarus in crastinum reseruatur. 
Postera uero luce, que illis anno illo paschalis aderat, expletis que 
ad diem festum pertinebant in synagoga canticis, iudeorum prin- 
cipes in memorati iudei domo pariter conueniunt, puerumque 
Willelmum epulantem et nichil fraudis prorsus metuentem subito 
rapiunt, eique uariis ac miserabilibus illudunt modis. Quibusdam 
etenim eum a tergo tenentibus; alii aperto ori tormentum quod 
uulgo teseillun dicitur intromiserunt, atque per utrasque fauces 
ad posteriorem colli partem reductis corrigiis firmissimo astrinxe- 
runt nodo. Postmodum uero breui funiculo auricularis fere digiti 
habente grossitudinem arrepto, trinumque in eo certis locis 
assignantes nodum, caput illud innocens a fronte in occiput circum- 
cingunt: medium quippe fronti nodum extremosque alios hinc 
et inde timporibus imprimentes, utrarumque partium capitibus 
ad occiput strictissime contractis, et strictissimo confecto ibi nodo, 
quod funiculi supererat circa collum itidem hinc et inde ad anteriora 
colli sub mento contrahendo reducunt, ibique illud insolitum 
tormenti genus in quinto nodo consummant. Sed necdum his 

being prepared for him, he was kept till the morrow. But on the next 
day, which in that year was the Passover for them ', after the singing 
of the hymns appointed for the day in the synagogue, the chiefs of the 
Jews assembled in the house of the Jew aforesaid suddenly seized hold 
of the boy William as he was having his dinner and in no fear of any 
treachery, and illtreated him in various horrible ways. For while 
some of them held him behind, others opened his mouth and introduced 
an instrument of torture which is called a teazle, and, fixing it by 
straps through both jaws to the back of his neck, they fastened it with 
a knot as tightly as it could be drawn. After that, taking a short 
piece of rope of about the thickness of one's little finger and tying 
three knote in it at certain distances marked out, they bound round 
that innocent head with it from the forehead to the back, forcing the 
middle knot into his forehead and the two others into his temples, the 
wo ends of the rope being most tightly stretched at the back of his 
head and fastened in a very tight knot. The ends of the rope were 
then passed round his neck and carried round his throat under his chin 
and there they finished off this dreadful engine of torture in a fifth knot' 
But not even yet could the cruelty of the torturers be satisfied without 

March> ftnd the Jew8 ' Pa8 "ver on the 25th. 

* i? .^ U v 44 EMtCr fdl D "* 26th March> ftnd the Jew8 ' Pa8 "ver on the 25th. 
her when begging for three days desired to keep her son with her till 
MMr Monday. 

I.] St William of Nonvich. 21 

torquentium exsaturari poterat cnidelitas nisi et grauiores super- 
adderent penas. Capite etenim raso infinitis illud spinarum punc- 
tionibus uulnerant, inflictisque uulneribus miserabiliter cruentant. 
Adeoque crudeles atque promptissimi in inferenda erant pena 
ut uix discerneres utrum crudeliores siue ad torquendum forent 
promptiores. Crudelitati siquidem uires et arma fouebat et sub- 
ministrabat torquendi peritia. Ita ergo christiani nominis ad- 
uersariis <tali ma>lignitatis spiritu circa puerum debachantibus 
aliqui eis interfuerunt qui in dominice passionis obprobrium crucis 
ilium adiudicarunt patibulo. Factumque est ac si dicerent : 
Quemadmodum Christum morte turpissima condempnauimus, 
et christianum pariter condempnemus, ut dominum ac seruum pan 
plectentes pena improperii eius penam quam nobis asscribunt in 
ipsos retorqueamus. Ad exequendum igitur tante et tarn exe- 
crande malitie conspirantes flagitium mox innocentem uictimam 
manibus cruentis arripiunt et a terra sublatum patibuloque ap- 
plicatum pari uoto certatim extinguere contendunt. Et nos rem 
diligentius inquirentes et domum inuenimus et rei geste signa 
certissima in ipsa deprehendimus et manifesta. Erat autem, ut 
fama traditur, pro patibulo postis inter postes duos medius lignaque 

adding even more severe pains. Having shaved his head, they stabbed 
it with countless thorn-points, and made the blood come horribly from 
the wounds they made. And cruel were they and so eager to inflict 
pain that it was difficult to say whether they were more cruel or more 
ingenious in their tortures. For their skill in torturing kept up the 
strength of their cruelty and ministered arms thereto. And thus, 
while these enemies of the Christian name were rioting in the spirit 
of malignity around the boy, some of those present adjudged him to be 
fixed to a cross in mockery of the Lord's passion, as though they would 
say, " Even as we condemned the Christ to a shameful death, so let us 
also condemn the Christian, so that, uniting the Lord and his servant 
in a like punishment, we may retort upon themselves the pain of that 
reproach which they impute to us." 

Conspiring, therefore, to accomplish the crime of this great and 
detestable malice, they next laid their blood-stained hands upon the 
innocent victim, and having lifted him from the ground and fastened 
him upon the cross, they vied with one another in their efforts to make 
an end of him. And we, after enquiring into the matter very dili- 
gently, did both find the house, and discovered some most certain marks 
in it of what had been done there. For report goes that there was 

22 St William of Nonvich. [BK. 

ad ipsos a medio in dexteram et utrobique porrecta. Et sicut 
per uulnerum et uinculorum uestigia postmodum reuera depre- 
hendimus, a dextris dextera et pes dexter uinculis strictissime 
coartantur ; a sinistris uero leua nee non et pes leuus gemino clauo 
affigitur. Hec autem ex industria sic agebantur ne scilicet 
quandoque inuentus deprehensis in eo hinc et inde clauorum 
fixuris, a iudeis non a christianis deprehenderetur utique fuisse 
occisus. Sed dum hec facientes, penis penas et imlnera super- 
adderent uulneribus, necdum tamen crudelitatis sue uecordiam 
extinguere et innatam sibi christiani nominis inuidiam poterant 
saciare. Nempe post tot et tantos supplitiorum cruciatus sinistro 
eius lateri usque ad cordis intima uulnus acerbum infligunt, et 
quasi finem rei facientes uitam in ipso quantum in ipsis fuit 
mortalem extinguunt. Et quoniam per totum corpus plurimi 
sanguinis defluebant riui, turn ad reprimendum sanguinem turn ad 
lauanda et claudenda uulnera, a capite deorsum feruentissimam 
infuderunt aquam. Sic itaque gloriosus puer et martyr Christi 
Willelmus in dominice mortis obprobrium temporaliter moriens, 
gloriosi sanguine martyrii laureatus, supeme glorie adeptus est 

there instead of a cross a post set up between two other posts, and a 
beam stretched across the midmost post and attached to the other on 
either side. And as we afterwards discovered, from the marks of the 
wounds and of the bands, the right hand and foot had been tightly 
bound and fastened with cords, but the left hand and foot were pierced 
with two nails : so in fact the deed was done by design that, in case 
at any time he should be found, when the fastenings of the nails 
were discovered it might not be supposed that he had been killed by 
Jews rather than by Christians. But while in doing these things they 
were adding pang to pang and wound to wound, and yet were not able 
to satisfy their heartless cruelty and their inborn hatred of the Christian 
name, lo! after all these many and great tortures, they inflicted a 
frightful wound in his left side, reaching even to his inmost heart, and 
as though to make an end of all they extinguished his mortal life so 
far as it was in their power. And since many streams of blood were 
running down from all parts of his body, then, to stop the blood 
and to wash and close the wounds, they poured boiling water over 

Thus then the glorious boy and martyr of Christ, William, dying 
Icath of time in reproach of the Lord's death, but crowned with 
Wood of a glorious martyrdom, entered into the kingdom of glory 

I.] St William of Norwich. 23 

regnum eternaliter uiuens 1 . Cuius anima inter egregia agmina 
sanctorum in celis feliciter exultat; cuius corpus diuine misera- 
tionis omnipotentia in terris gloriose mirificat. 

vi. Quale consilium super eo occultando acceperunt. 

OMPLETO itaque malignitatis sue proposito iudei secum de 
cetero consulentes corpus exanime poste dependens deponere 
curauerunt, et quid super eo faciant commune consilium ineunt. 
Aiunt plurimi illud in inmundo loco proiciendum, tanquam in 
obprobrii et dedecoris augmentum. Astutiores uero nonnulli 
tellure abscondendum putant, ne ipsum christiani aliquatenus 
inuenire preualeant. Sed diuina dispensantef dementia que tarn 
egregium martyrem posteris reuelandum temporibus prouidebat, 
nee loco immundo deici neque tellure permisit abscondi. Diuino 
igitur id ipsum dispensante consilio, dubitantibus illis et quid 
faciant nichil adhuc pro certo habentibus, omnes in hoc unanimes 
consentiunt ut, dum circa id negocii diligentius excogitent, ipsum 
loco secretiori interdum conseruent. Crastina uero illuscescente 

1 Anno ab incarnatione domini MCXLIIII O . xi. Kal. Apriles feria nn, die 

on high to live for ever '. Whose soul rejoiceth blissfully in heaven among 
the bright hosts of the saints, and whose body by the omnipotence of 
the divine mercy worketh miracles upon earth. 

vi. How they took counsel about hiding him. 

Thus, their wicked purpose having been carried out, the Jews 
consulting with one another about what else was to be done, taking 
down his lifeless body from the post, began to plot what they should 
do with it. Many proposed that it should be thrown into the draught- 
house as if to increase the shame and disgrace ; but some of the more 
crafty ones thought that it ought to be hidden in the ground, lest the 
Christians by some means or other should succeed in finding it. But 
the dispensation of the divine mercy, which provided that so illustrious 
a martyr should be made known to posterity, neither allowed him to 
be flung into an unclean place nor be hidden in the earth. Therefore 
by the divine purpose disposing the matter, it came to pass that while 
they were in doubt and quite uncertain what they should do, they all 
came to an agreement that till they could think the matter out more 
carefully they should keep him for awhile in some secret place. But 
the next day at dawn they came together again to settle the business ; 

1 In the year of our Lord's Incarnation, 1144, on Wednesday, 22ud day 
of March. [Marginal note in the MS., prima ntanu.] 

24 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

die ad prelibatum iterum conueniunt negotium et, sicut ab aliquo 
eorum postmodum didicimus, illis quidem satis super eo pertrac- 
tantibus, et quid agerent prorsus adhuc ignorantibus, quidam qui 
inter ipsos maioris erat auct-oritatis, diuino ipsum inspirante et 
impellente nutu, tale eis fertur dedisse consilium: Audite me, 
fratres, dominice legis [imitatores] emulatores; nobis per omnia 
inutile fore censeo et periculum postmodum affuturum pertimesco, 
si huius christiahi corpus uel cloacis nostris demergatur siue sub 
tellure infra hospitiorum nostrorum recondatur ambitum. Cum 
etenim precio comparatis maneamus hospiciis, si infra mensem 
uel citius noua aliqua insurgente causa his omissis ad alia transea- 
mus, omnia que discessum nostrum consequi possunt nimis uereor, 
et que maxime timeo nisi contingant uehementer admirabor. 
Discedentibus nempe nobis subintrantes christiani uniuersa pro- 
fecto scrutabuntur, et tune quis non credat eos uel cloacas in 
obprobrium nostrum purgare, uel impletis ueteribus nouas quo 
libuerit loco effodere? Quid ergo? Contingens est et facile a 
purgantibus siue a fodientibus corpus inueniri. Quo inuento, 
nequaquam christianis factum imputabitur, sed totius facti crimen 
in nos nimirum transfundetur. Non enim uerisimile uidetur 
quod aut christiani de christiano, aut iudei talia fieri aliquatenus 

and as we learnt afterwards from one of them while they were dis- 
cussing and still quite undecided what they should do, one of them who 
was of great authority among them a divine impulse inspiring and 
impelling him is reported to have given his advice thus : " Hearken 
unto me, brethren zealous for the divine law. I think it would be 
quite useless for us, and I fear it would be perilous hereafter, if this 
Christian's carcase were to be flung into our cesspool or buried in the 
ground on our premises. For since we are living in hired houses, if 
within a month or less we are forced for some reason to leave these 
premises and go elsewhere, I am very much afraid and I shall be very 
much surprised if it does not turn out so of what must follow upon 
our departure. For, as sure as we go, the Christians when they come in 
will certainly examine everything: and then who can believe that they 
will not, to shame us, clear out our cesspools, or, filling up the old sewers, 
dig new ones t And what then? The probability is that the body will 
be easily found, whether the sewers are cleaned out or new ones dug. 
And if the body be found the deed will surely not be attributed to 
Christian*, but the guilt of the whole business will be laid upon us 
beyond * doubt, for it will not seem probable that Christians would 
have wiahed to do this kind of thing to a Christian, or Jews to do 

I.] St William of Norwich. 25 

uoluissent de iudeo. Quid itaque inter hec restat medium nisi 
rei geste ueritas et ueritatis aperte inditium ad omnium nostrum 
communis periculi detrimentum ? Profecto improuidentie nostre 
culpa non immerito genus nostrum tune ab Anglie partibus 
funditus exterminabitur ; immo et, quod nobis magis uerendum 
est, nos et uxores ac paruuli barbaris trademur in predam, 
rapiemur ad mortem, dabimur in exterminium, et erit nomen 
nostrum cunctis obprobrium gentibus in eternum. Ad euitandos 
igitur tot imminentium malorum incursus prudentiori nobis proui- 
dendum est consilio, et alia quam preuidimus gradiendum uia. 
Cauete inquam uobis, et nostris adquiescite <co>nsiliis. Cum 
res gesta sit, et quod factum est non fieri non possit, precipue 
preuidendum quatinus et christianos actio lateat et quod ueremur 
non contingat. Quid multa ? Asportandum est, inquam, corpus, 
et in aliquo longius a nobis loco exponendum ubi, si forte in- 
ueniatur, pro nmrdro, ut ita dicam, christiani illud habeant. 
Cumque murdri sermo circumcirca percrebuerit, non dubium est 
quin regie iustitie exactores ad lucrandum uoluntarii ambiciosas 
aures falso facile adhibeant rumori. Tune siquidem relata culpa 
in christianos, nos in posterum reddet securos. Cessante eo loqui 

it to a Jew. What then is likely to come out but the truth of the 
matter ? and the detection of the truth will bring a very extreme peril 
upon us all. Indeed, through the fault of our imprudence, and not 
undeservedly, our race will be utterly driven out from all parts of 
England, and which is even more to be dreaded we, our wives and 
our little ones will be given over as a prey to the barbarians, we shall 
be delivered up to death, we shall be exterminated, and our name will 
become a reproach to all people for ever. We ought therefore to 
take counsel warily for averting the approach of so many threatening 
mischiefs, and we must enter upon a different course from that which 
we have thought of. Look to yourselves then, say I, and acquiesce in 
my advice. Since the facts are as they are, and what is done cannot 
be undone, the first thing is to take measures whereby the matter may 
be concealed from the Christians, and so that may not happen which we 
fear. Briefly I say that the body must be put away from us and be 
exposed in some place a long way off from us, so that if it be found the 
Christians may think it a case of murder; and if the talk of a murder 
becomes bruited abroad there is no doubt that the officers of the king's 
justices, eager for gain, will readily open their ears to the false rumour. 
Then, since the blame will be laid upon the Christians, it will make us 

26 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

itaque placuit sermo uniuersis et propositum sub fine consilium. 
Nee mora ; corpus rapitur et in secretion quo libuit loco delatum 
diligentissime interdum occulitur, ut occulte cum negotii exequendi 
se immerseret oportunitas efferatur. Dies ille dies absolutionis erat, 
quo totius episcopii cateruatim penitentiales ad matrem ecclesiam 
Norwicensem conuenire consueuerant, et tocius tune ciuitatis 
platee ambulantium plus solito frequentabantur multitudine. 
Quare securum non estimabant si eo die facerent quod de corpore 
facere proposuerant. In crastinum ergo dilatum est negotium, que 
dies scilicet foret eis ad ambulandum oportunior, et ad exeundum 
quo uellent ceteris multo securior. 

vii. Quomodo asportatus et in silua sit absconditus. 

TLLVXIT dies crastina, que ubicumque Christiana floret religio 
_L crucis tune adorande uenerabilis est sacramento. Hac quippe 
omnibus christianis mos est plus solito gule parcendo ab omnibus 
delitiis et uoluptatibus abstinere et ecclesias sanctorum deuote 
circueundo piis orationum studiis diligentius insistere. Sub huius 
igitur lucis aurora a Deus-adiuuet et quodam alio, iudeis ad id die 

When he ceased speaking the speech pleased all present, and the 
final proposition was adopted. The body was at once removed and 
carried to a secret place and carefully hidden for the time, that when 
the opportunity for getting rid of it should occur it might be taken 
away. That day was the Absolution day, on which the penitents of 
the whole diocese were accustomed to assemble in crowds in the Mother 
Church at Norwich, and the streets of the whole city were crowded 
with an unusual multitude of people walking about. So they did not 
think it safe to deal with the body on that day as they had proposed; 
I ut put the business off to the next day as being more convenient for 
them and much safer for them for setting out and walking to any place 
they wished to reach. 

viL Ifow he tvat carried out and hidden in the wood. 

The morrow dawned, when everywhere the Christian religion 
upecially celebrates a day of solemnity by reason of the sacramental 
rite of the adoration of the cross [i.e. Good Friday]. On that day it 
in the custom among all Christians with sparing diet to abstain from 
all amuaement* and pleasures, and while going round the churches of 
the Saint* to be diligently engaged in devout attendance at the prayers. 
At daylight therefore on this day the Jews who had been chosen the 
day before, namely, May-God*id [i.e. Eleazar] and another, tied up the 

I.] St -William of Norwich. 27 

hesterna preordinatis, beati Willelmi martyris corpus sacco inclu- 
sum effertur. Quibus cum corpore ciuitatem egressis et siluam 
de Torp iam subintrantibus, obuius forte factus est burgensis 
quidam inter precipuos quidem Norwici et ditissimos annotatus, 
^Eluerdus scilicet cognomento Ded. Qui ea nocte uisitatis que 
in urbe sunt ecclesiis tandem de sancta Maria Magdalene que 
infirmorum est sub memorata silua commanentium cum solo 
famulo secus extremes silue fines ad sanctum iturus Leonardum 
redibat. Quod diuina contigit dispensante gratia, et ut testis 
legitimus interueniret, et inuento postmodum corpore christianos 
res gesta minime lateret. Eiluerdus itaque transeuntibus iudeis 
superueniens et iudeos quidem agnouit, sed quid alter eorum ante 
se super equi collum sic asportaret dubitauit. Porro dubitante 
eo et secum reuoluente quid negotii a transeuntibus tractaretur, 
quidque esse posset quod asportari uidebatur, siue quia die qua 
iudei domibus egredi non consueuerant et ipsi tune longius egressi 
cernerentur, paulisper gradum continuit, et quo tenderent inqui- 
siuit. Propius uero accedens et manus initiens quod ferebatur 
dextera quidem tetigit et humanum esse corpus deprehendit. Illi 

body of the blessed martyr William in a sack and carried it out. And 
when they had got out of the city with the body, and were just upon 
entering Thorpe Wood, it chanced that a certain citizen of Norwich, 
and he one of the most eminent and richest of the citizens, met them. 
His Christian name was ^Elward and his surname was Ded. He, after 
visiting all the- churches in the city during the previous night, was 
returning from the church of St Mary Magdalene, which is the church 
of the sick folk whose abode is near the aforesaid wood, and was 
making his way with a single servant to St Leonard's Church, along 
the edge of the wood. This happened by the ordaining of GOD'S grace 
and in order that a lawful witness might be forthcoming, so that when 
the body was afterwards discovered the matter might not be concealed 
from the Christians. So JElward, coming upon the Jews as they were 
going along, recognised them, but could not tell what it was that 
one of them was carrying before him on his horse's neck. However, 
being in doubt, and considering with himself what the passers by were 
about and what it could possibly be which they were carrying with 
them, and why they should have gone so far from home on a day when 
it was not the custom for the Jews to leave their houses, he halted for 
a moment and asked them where they were going. Then, going nearer 
and laying hands thereupon he touched what they were carrying with 

28 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

uero, se deprehensos expauescentes et pre stupore nichil habentes 
quid dicerent, admissis equis transierunt et silue densitatem in- 
gressi sunt. Qua de re nimirum mali suspicio Eiluerdi mentem 
pulsnuit, sed ad uiam quam pio deuotionis aggressus erat studio 
animum retorsit. Interea iudei hispidara ac dumosam silue sub- 
euntos densitatem corpus elatum arbori linea cordella suspenderunt, 
eoque ibi relicto domum altera regressi sunt uia. Quibus, non 
modico terrore perculsis et ad omnes occursus nouum parturientibus 
horrorera, id estimo contigisse quod ualde timidis et alicuius culpe 
sibi consciis solet euenire. Qui etenim huiusmodi sunt omnes 
occursus suspectos habent, ubique adesse insidias putant, truncos 
eciam et lapides eminus uisos homines estimant. Quid multa ? 
Regress! iudei infortunium quod ex itinere sibi contigerat ceteris 

viiL Quod datis centum marcis uicecomiti a timore liberati sunt. 

ANIMO plurimum consternati christiani nominis hostes quid 
faciant prorsus ignorant. Spe siquidem destituti, dum alius 

his right hand and he found it was a human body. But they, fright- 
ened at having been discovered and in their terror not having anything 
to say, made off at full gallop and rushed into the thick of the wood. 
Whereupon a suspicion of some mischief suggested itself to the mind of 
./El ward ; yet he recalled his thoughts to the road which he had been 
pursuing when he was engaged in his devotional employment. 

Meanwhile the Jews, picking their way through the tangled 
thu-kets of the wood, hung the body by a thin flaxen cord to a tree 
and left it there, and then returned home by another path. And be- 
cause they were extremely terrified and conceived new fears at every 
iii--ting with any one that they saw, I conjecture that that happened 
t- them which is usually the case with very timid people who are 
conscious of guilt. For they who are in such a case look with suspicion 
t everybody that comes in their way, and they see pitfalls every- 
bere, and they suppose that the stones and trees in the distance are 
At any rate the Jews when they got back told the others the 
mishap that had occurred to them on the road. 

viiL How by giving a hundred marcs to the Sheriff they were rid 

of their fear. 

The enemies of the Christians, being very much alarmed, were quite 
hat course to take. And in despair, while one was suggesting 

I.] St William of Noi*wich. 29 

sic et alius aliter de salute communi deliberant, ad lohannem 
tandem uicecomitem, solitum sibi asilum, tanquam ad unicum et 
singulare presidium festinare decernunt. Omnium itaque consilio 
actum est ut quidam qui ceteros auctoritate preminebant et 
potentia ad ipsum euntes ita cum ipso agerent quatinus eius 
fulti patrocinio postmodum nil timerent. Vadunt illi, castelli 
munitionem subeunt, et presentie uicecomitis admittuntur. Cui 
se maximum quoddam habere secretum aiunt, quod illi soli 
secretius communicare uelint. Nee mora, amotis omnibus qui 
aderant, iubet Johannes ut uelle suum protinus edicant. Et illi : 
Ecce in magna perturbatione positi sumus, de qua si ope uestra 
liberemur centum uobis marcas promittimus. Marcarum ille 
numero delectatus promittit se et secretum celare eisque opem 
suam pro uiribus in aliquo non defuturam. Reuelato itaque 
secreti tanti negotio confestim ^Eiluerdus accersitur. Qui ubi 
aduenit, iubente statim immo et cogente uicecomite, uelit nolit 
fide et iuramento constrictus est quod iudeos super uisis non 
infamaret neque uisa uita comite, uel saltern usque ad extremum 
uite sue diem, detegeret. Diuine uero gratie dispensatio nequa- 

this and another that measure for their common safety, they deter- 
mined at last to make advances to John the Sheriff, who had been wont 
to be their refuge and their one and only protector. So by common 
consent it was arranged that certain of them who were their chief men 
in influence and power should go to him and deal with him so that, 
supported by his authority, they should hereafter have no cause for 
alarm. So they went and passing within the castle walls, were ad- 
mitted to the presence of the sheriff; and they said that they had a 
great secret to divulge and wished to communicate secretly with him 
alone. Straightway, when all who were present had withdrawn, John 
bade them forthwith to speak out what they wanted, and they 
replied, " Look you, we are placed in a position of great anxiety, and 
if you can help us out of it, we promise you a hundred marcs." He, 
delighted at the number of marcs, promised that he would both keep 
close their secret and that, according to his power, he would not fail 
to give them his support on any occasion. 

Accordingly, when the great secret had been revealed, ^Iward was 
hastily summoned, and on his appearance he was immediately ordered 
and compelled by the Sheriff, nay, forced, whether he would or no, to 
take an oath that he would lay no information against the Jews nor 
divulge what he had seen during his lifetime, or at any rate till he 
himself was at the point of death. But the ordering of the divine 

30 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

quam semper tegi uoluit quod in laudem egregii martyris sui et 
gloriam, quodque ad iterandam passionis sue memoriam in proximo 
postraodum multipliciter reuelandum disposuit. Euolutis etenim 
annis quinque idem ^Eiluerdus infirmitate correptus ad extremum 
deductus est Sub ultima uero exitus sui hora ab ipso sacro puero 
Willelmo, iam tune per totam circumquaque prouintiam crebris 
miraculorum uirtutibus clarescente, per uisum ammonitus est ut 
ijuf uiderat quibus uellet reuelandum non negligeret. Euocatis 
ita ad se quibusdam quos tanti secreti reuelatione dignos estimabat, 
Wichemanno scilicet monacho cui in consulendis penitentibus 
suas episcopus uices commiserat, et presbitero de sancto 

Nicholao, tandem moriens atque inter ultima laborans uerba iuxta 
memorati martyris preceptum quod de ipso uiderat ac postmodum 
pro certo cognouerat eis ex ordine protestatus est. Quod ego 
Thomas monachus Norwicensis, eisdem referentibus audiens et 
reuera uerum esse cognoscens, scripto tradere curaui, quoniam 
tante ueritatis argumentum pretereundum siue silentio tegendum 
non duxi. 

goodness by no means suffered that to be hidden which He determined 
should be made manifest in many ways to the praise of His illustrious 
martyr and to the keeping alive the memory of His own passion in the 
after time. 

Accordingly, when five years had gone by, this ^Elward, overtaken 
by infirmity, was brought near his end. But as his last hour was 
drawing near, he was admonished in a vision by the holy boy, William 
himself (who was already now becoming very famous throughout 
the whole province by his many mighty works), not to neglect the 
making known to whomsoever he pleased the things which he had 
Men. So, having invited to his bedside certain persons whom he 
thought worthy to receive the revelation of so great a secret, namely 
Vicheman, a monk to whom the Bishop had committed his faculties 

for receiving the confessions of penitents and priest of St Nicholas, 

at but on hU death-bed, and almost with his last words, in obedience 
the martyr'g command, he set forth in order what he had first seen 
and afterwards had got to know was certainly true. 

All which I, Thomas, a monk of Norwich, after hearing it from their 
ng it to be certainly true, have been careful to hand 
in wnting, because I did not think that the story of so important 
* truth ought to be loHt or concealed by silence. 

1 Blank in MS. 

i.] St William of Norwich. 31 

ix. Qualiter super corpus eius lux de celo fulsit in modum ignee 


HIS intra urbem gestis, ipsa eadem die, feria sexta scilicet 
ante resurrectionis dominice pascha, diuina gratia que 
seruis suis nusquam absens est circa corpus gloriosi martyris in 
nemore iacentis gloriosa dignata est pietatis sue ostendere inditia. 
Circa eiusdem etenim diei uesperam ignea de celo desuper lux 
subito emicuit, que usque ad memorati corporis locum tractim se 
porrigens oculis plurimorum diuersis existentium locis effulsit. 
Vidit quippe illam Henricus de Sprowestune, Ebrardi episcopi 
olim stabularius, in domus sue hostio cum tota stans familia ; uidit 
quoque et domina Legarda Willelmi Apuli quondam uxor cum 
suis, que pro dei amore apud sanctam Mariam Magdalenam manet 
<infirmis> seruiens talibusque obsequiis anime sue salutem men- 
dicans. Sed et eiusdem loci infirmi nocte ipsa medio noctis silentio 
ad nocturnale surgentes offitium, memorata premonstrante Legarda, 
lucis eiusdem uidere fulgorem. Nonnulli quoque eorum aiunt 
splendorem ilium etiam mane sacri scilicet sabbati ante solis 

ix. How over his body there gleamed a light from heaven like unto a 

ladder of fire. 

Whilst these things were going on in the city, on the very same 
day, that is the Friday before the sacred feast of the resurrection of 
the Lord, the divine grace, which is never absent from His own, vouch- 
safed to exhibit round about the body of the glorious martyr, which 
was lying in the wood, certain glorious testimonies of His pity. For 
towards evening of that same day a fiery light suddenly flashed down 
from heaven, the which, extending in a long train as far as the place 
where the aforesaid body was, blazed in the eyes of many people who 
were in various places thereabouts. Particularly Henry de Sprowston, 
formerly the keeper of the stable to Eborard, Bishop of Norwich, saw 
it as he was standing at the door of his house with all his family ; 
and the lady Legarda, formerly wife of William of Apulia 1 with 
her attendants saw it too, she who for the love of GOD has her 
dwelling hard by St Mary Magdalen's [church], attending upon the 
sick, and engaged in such services lives as a beggar for the salvation of 
her soul. But the sick people of that place in the same night, as they 
were getting up for the midnight office in the silence of the night, 
when Legarda showed it them, saw the brightness of that same 
light. Indeed some of them say that even on the morning of Holy 
Saturday the brightness was apparent to them as they gazed until the 

1 Blomefield, v. 176. 

32 St William of N<y>*wich. [BK. 

ortum suis apparuisse conspectibus. Videbatur autem lux ilia 
in duos diuisa radios scale longissime tenere formam ab imo se 
in altum porrigentis ad orientem. Quia, sicut qui primi corpus 
sub diuo silua iacens inuenerunt testati sunt, alterum radiorum 
ad capud atque alterum ad pedes usque porrigebatur. Quid autem 
aliud fidelibus suis gratia diuina in hoc designare uoluit, nisi quia 
cunctis patenti inditio notificare curauit quanti meriti esset quern 
signis celestibus adeo glorificaret ? In scale quippe forma ascensus 
innuitur ad gloriam, in splendore uero lucis meritum denotatur ad 

s. Quomodo et a quibus sit inuentus. 

~T2)ASCHALI quippe illucescente <sabba>to monialis ilia de 
-LT qua paulo ante memini Legarda de tarn mire lucis uisione 
ualde sollicita, assumptis quibusdam secum cohabitantibus, mane 
ante solis ortum ad aspectum luminis iter arripit, quid sit scire 
uolens quod talibus indiciis dominus declarare uelit. Gradiens 
uero corporis oculos exterius figebat in lumine, sed pie deuotionis 
lumen interius radiabat in mente. Ibat mulier deuote deo sup- 
plicans ut ad uise lucis locum recto itinere gressum eius dirigat, 

rising of the sun. Moreover that light seemed to divide into two rays, 
which took the shape of a very long ladder, extending from below 
into the sky to the eastward. And, as they who first found the 
body lying in the open air in the wood testified, one of these rays 
stretched as far as his feet and the other to his head. What else did 
the divine grace wish to signify to His faithful ones herein but that it 
was His pleasure to declare, by an evident token to all, how great was 
his merit whom He was so glorifying by signs from heaven ? For under 
the form of a ladder is typified his ascent to glory, but by the bright- 
of the light is declared his deserving of the crown. 

x. How he was discovered and by whom. 

As the Easter Saturday began to dawn, the nun of whom I have 
made mention, Legarda, much disturbed by the vision of the strange 
light, taking with her some who dwelt with her, before the sun rose 
made her way to where the appearance of the light was, anxious to 
know what the meaning of it was and what the Lord desired to make 
manifest by such tokens as these. But as she walked on she fixed her 
.ut4-r bodily eyes upon the light, but the light of a divine illumination 
sent forth it* Ixjams in her mind. The woman went on, devoutly 
praying to GOD that He would direct her steps in the right direction to 

I.] St William of Norwich. 38 

latensque ibi sacramentum sibi manifestius ostendat. Nee mora, 
diuine miserationis ductu per hispidam arbusculorum densitatem 
eo cum suis uenire meruit ubi egregium ilium thesaurum reuera 
meritorum diuiciis affluentem inuenit. Intuens uero eminus ad 
radicem quercus iacentem puerum, tunicatum, calciatum, capite 
rasum, et puncturis innumeris aporiatum : sed femineo correpta 
timore statim propius accedere non presumpsit. Dumque intenta 
cordis acie iacentis contemplaretur qualitatem, duos aspexit super 
ilium coruos, qui coruine uoracitatis rabiem explete gestientes rostro 
eum discerpere certatim attemptabant, sed nullatenus tangere 
neque se sustinere ualentes, hinc et inde a latere cadebant. Sed 
et iterum atque iterum id ipsum alternis uicibus attemptantes, 
nee in aliquo preualentes, deorsum a latere assidue ruebant. Et 
reuera, sicut reor, bestiali sensualitate cadauer credebant sibi 
fortuitu esse oblatum, quod suis laniandum rorstris more solito 
foret permissum. Quem uero prouidentia diuina illesum et incor- 
ruptum seruare preuiderat, auibus et feris intactum esse uolebat. 
Videns denique mulier mira ac ualde stupenda que circa corpus 

the spot where the light had been seen, and show her plainly the 
mystery that lay hid there. And soon by the leading of the divine 
mercy through the dense tangles of the bushes she with her friends was 
allowed to reach the place where she found that great treasure in very 
truth filled with the riches of goodness. And as she looked lo ! at the 
root of an oak there lay a boy, dressed in his jacket and shoes, his 
head shaved, and punctured with countless stabs. But, struck with a 
womanly fear, for a while she did not dare to approach nearer. And 
while with a beating heart she wondered upon the strangeness of the 
form that lay there, she saw two ravens alighting upon him that were 
trying to satisfy the greed of their corvine voracity, and were attempt- 
ing to tear him to pieces with their beaks. But they were wholly 
unable to touch him or to settle upon him, but kept falling off him on 
this side and on that. Yet again and again, first on one side and then 
on the other, they tried and never could succeed, but they kept on 
continually dropping down beside him. And in truth, as I think, with 
their animal stupidity they thought that the dead body was a chance 
find and that it was all right for them after their habit to rend it 
with their beaks. But whom the providence of GOD had determined 
should remain unmutilated and uncorrupted, him birds and beasts 
could not avail to touch. At last the woman, seeing the wonderful and 
astounding things which were marvellously going on around the dead 
body, began to understand that he who lay there was certainly a 
W. N, 3 

34 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

iacentis mirifice gerebantur, plurimi quidem esse merit! iacentem 
agnouit, qui et coruis intactus et celesti lumine declaratus pluri- 
morum uisibus apparuit. Nee mora, uirili resumpto animo propius 
aocessit, coruos expulit, et oratione facta ilium conseruatori suo 
commendans cum sodalibus domum gratulabunda regreditur. 

XL Item inuentio altera. 

"TT1 ODEM quoque Sabbato post solis ortum prefatus de Spro- 
lU westune Henricus, quia forestarius erat, ascenso equo 
perscrutandi gratia siluam intrauit, si forte quempiam inuenire 
potuisset qui aliquid sine licentia cedendo silue dampnum inferret. 
Eoque siue fortuna siue uoluntas, quod magis credo, diuina 
gradientis animum trahebat quo chorusce lucis radiasse radios 
hestema die perspexerat. Dumque hue et illuc ea parte silue 
graderetur, subito hominem cedentem repperit, qui se ibi in 
proximo puerum occisum inuenisse dixit. Vadens itaque illuc 
duce rustico Henricus puerum quidem repperit, sed quis uel unde 
esset non agnouit. Cumque eum intentius consideraret, si forte 
cognosci potuisset, deprehendit uulneratum, ligneumque uidit 

person of extraordinary merit, in that he was untouched by the crows 
and had been pointed out to the eyes of many by the heavenly light. 
It was not long before, having recovered her presence of mind, she 
approached, drove away the crows, and, after offering up a prayer and 
commending him over to the care of his Saviour, she returned home 
with her companions rejoicing. 

xL How he was found a second time. 

On that same Saturday, after sunrise, Henry de Sprowston, whom 
I mentioned before the forester, mounting his horse went into the 
wood to see if he could find anyone who might be doing mischief by 
cutting down anything in the wood without license. And it came to 
pass that either chance or, as I rather believe, the divine will inclined 
his mind as he went along towards the place where he had seen the 
beams of the bright light gleaming on the day before : and while he 
WM passing hither and thither in that part of the wood, suddenly he 
observed a man cutting wood who said that he had discovered there 
bard by a boy who had been slain. Whereupon, going with the peasant 
M his guide, Henry found the boy, but who he was or how he had got 
there he could not understand. But when he had looked at him very 
carefully to find out if by any chance he knew him, he perceived that 
he had been wounded, and he noticed the wooden torture in his mouth; 

I.] St William of Noiivich. 35 

in ore tormentum. Inusitatis uero attrectatum penis conspiciens 
ex ipso penarum modo suspicari nimirum iam cepit, quoniam non 
christianus sed reuera iudeus fuerit qui eiusmodi innocentem tarn 
temerario <ausu> mactare presumpsit. Porro locum diligenter 
intuitus, celique regionem denotans, pro certo cognouit quoniam 
isdem locus esset quo lucis hesterne radios choruscasse et in altum 
porrigi conspexisset. Quid ergo ? His nimirum cum multa admi- 
ratione contemplatis regreditur Henricus, et que uisu cognouerat 
uniuersa uxori ac familie enarrat. Euocato denique presbitero, 
cuiusdam innocentis corpus crudelissimis attrectatum modis silua 
expositum denuntiat ac repertum, quod et inde plurimum cupiat 
auferre atque in cimiterio ecclesie de Sprowestuna, si ipse consulat, 
sepelire. Dumque circa huiusmodi sollicitius deliberant actionem, 
ad id uentum est consilii, ut quia paschalis crastino imminebat 
sollennitas dispositionis sue propositum in diem tertium differant, 
quo deuotionis sue afFectum ad effectum congruentius perducant. 

xii. Qualiter in nemore sepultus sit. 

1 ^\ IFFERTUR itaque sepeliendi negotium : sed interim his at- 
-1s que illis ad alios et alios rei formam referentibus, huiusmodi 

and becoming aware that he had been treated with unusual cruelty, 
he now began to suspect, from the manner of his treatment, that it was 
no Christian but in very truth a Jew who had ventured to slaughter 
an innocent child of this kind with such horrible barbarity. So, 
observing the place very carefully and taking note of the outlook, he 
became certain that this was the same place where on the day before he 
had seen the rays of light gleaming and flashing upwards. Accord- 
ingly, when he had pondered over these things with much wondering, 
Henry went back and told his wife and all his household all he had 
seen. Then summoning a priest he announced to him that the body of 
a little innocent who had been treated in the most cruel manner had 
been discovered exposed in the wood, and that he very much wished to 
take it away from there and, if the priest approved, to bury it in the 
churchyard of Sprowston. After very earnestly deliberating about 
the carrying out of this intention, they came to the conclusion that, 
inasmuch as the festival of Easter was coming next day, they should 
defer their arrangement till the third day and so carry into effect their 
devout intention more fittingly. 

xii. How he was buried in the wood. 

So the business of burying him was put off. But in the meantime 
by one man after another telling others their several versions of the 


36 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

rumor circumquaque personuit, urbemque ingrediens audientium 
pectora plurimo stupore concussit. Concutitur nouo tumultu 
ciuitas, replentur tumultuantibus platee; iamque a quampluri- 
mis non nisi iudeos eo maxime tempore talia gessisse asseritur. 
Stabant siquidem nonnulli tanquam de noua et re insolita attoniti ; 
discurrebant plurimi sed maxime pueri ac iuuenes, et diuino eos 
trahente nutu, uisendi gratia ad siluam cateruatim properabant. 
Querunt siquidem et inueniunt, penarumque signis in eo depre- 
hensis, ac rei geste modo diligentius considerate, eius rei reatu 
iudeos non immunes quidam autumant; nonnulli uero quodam 
reuera presagio impulsi sic esse affirmant. Regredientibus illis, qui 
domi remanserant globatim accurrunt, remque ut erat audientes 
uidere properant et ad ipsum ceteris testificantur dum redeunt. 
Ita itaque toto sabbato totoque paschali die eundi ac redeundi 
alternatis et frequentatis uicibus undique ciuitas circa huiusmodi 
tota detinetur, singulique super tarn insolite rei euentu non sine 
admiratione sollicitantur. Vnde pii feruoris zelus in iudeorum 
exitium uniuersos incitabat; iam iamque manus iniecissent nisi 

story the rumour got spread in all directions, and when it reached the 
city it struck the heart of all who heard it with exceeding horror. The 
city was stirred with a strange excitement, the streets were crowded with 
people making disturbance : and already it was asserted by the greater 
part of them that it could only have been the Jews who would have 
wrought such a deed, especially at such a time. And so some were 
standing about as if amazed by the new and extraordinary affair ; 
many were running hither and thither, but especially the boys and the 
young men ; and, a divine impulse drawing them on, they rushed in crowds 
to the wood to see the sight. What they sought they found; and, 
on detecting the marks of the torture in the body, and carefully 
looking into the method of the act, some suspected that the Jews 
were not guiltless of the deed; but some, led on by what was 
really a divine discernment, protested that it was so. When these 
returned, they who had stayed at home got together in groups, and 
when they heard how the case stood, they too hurried to the sight, and 
on their return they bore their testimony to the same effect. And 
thus all through the Saturday and all through Easter day all the city 
everywhere was occupied in going backwards and forwards time after 
time, and everybody was in excitement and astonishment at the extra- 
ordinary event. 

And so the earnestness of their devout fervour was urging all to 
destroy the Jews, and they would there and then have laid hands upon 

i.J St William of Norwich. 37 

uicecomitis lohaimis tirnore repress! ad tenipus siluissent. Dumque 
intra urbem per biduum huiuscemodi res gereretur, memoratus 
de Sprowestuna Henricus cum uxore et familia post dominicum 
pascha feria secunda propositum executurus, circa horam diei 
primam properat quo inclita ilia martiris egregii gleba adhuc sub 
diuo iacebat. Nactus uero cum suis locum, diuino ut reor instinctu 
permonitus, aliter quam disposuerat faciendum adiudicauit, quo- 
niam sine episcopi licentia propositum exequi pertimescebat. 
Deliberatiuo utique usus consilio, cum quanta reuerentia potuit 
corpus eo quo inuentum est loco tumulauit. Sed nee silendum 
iudico quia, dum tumulantium baiularetur manibus, subito tanti 
odoris fragrantia naribus se infuderit assistentium, ceu multa inibi 
herbarum ac florum redolentium redundaret affluentia. Neque 
sine diuina dispositione actum esse reor ut ibi eum tumulari 
contingeret unde ad maiorem uenerationem libere postmodum 
transferretur, ac licet translatum plurimis tamen uirtutum insigniis 
ibidem eum clarescere diuina gratia uoluisset. 

them but that restrained by fear of the Sheriff John they kept quiet for 

While things were going on in this way for two days in the city, the 
afore-mentioned Henry de Sprowston, with his wife and family, on the 
Monday after Easter Sunday got ready to carry out his intention, and 
hastened, about the first hour of the day, to where the blessed martyr's 
body was still lying in the open air. But when he got to the place, fore- 
warned by a divine impulse as I think, he decided that he must take 
another course than he had intended, because he was afraid to carry 
out his intention without the Bishop's license. Accordingly with all 
reverence he adopted another plan and buried the body in the place 
where it had been found. 

But this fact I think ought to be mentioned, that while the body 
was being carried by the hands of those who were going to bury it, 
suddenly such a fragrant perfume filled the nostrils of the bystanders 
as if there had been growing there a great mass of sweet-smelling herbs 
and flowers. And I do not think that it was without the divine 
disposal that the burial happened to take place there, to the intent that 
afterwards the body might be removed for greater veneration, and 
though he was translated, yet in this place too the divine favour wished 
to make him illustrious by many tokens of his virtues. 

38 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

xiii. Qualiter Godwinus presbiter an ipse sit scire studuerit. 

nnUMULATO siquidem incliti martiris corpore, per quosdam 
I eius quondam consocios puerum Willelmum qui iudeos 
diebus preteritis frequentare solebat ipsum esse faraa promulgauit, 
tandemque ad aures Godwini presbiteri cognomento Sturt, qui 
materteram eiiis habebat, eius rei noticia peruenit. Quod ubi per 
consocios eius pro certo didicit, cum filio suo Alexandro tune 
diacono et Roberto fratre martiris die sequenti illuc pergere 
curauit, primo quidem ut si ipse esset certius cognosceret, cog- 
nitoque exequiarum obsequium deinceps exhiberet. Verum quia 
cognosci non poterat nisi superposita tellus exponeretur, fodiendum 
statuerunt. Fodientibus itaque illis et terram exponentibus cum 
iam corpori proximarent subito contra faciem eius aperte uisa est 
terra uelut forti quodam impetu de infra sulleuari, et sulleuata 
quasi repellL Quo uiso coufestim horror non modicus ac stupor 
pectora peruasit fodientium : unde retro cedentes ab incepto 
destiterunt. Sed reuocante eos presbitero cum sanguine re- 
sumpserunt animum, atque opus denuo aggrediuntur intermissum. 

xiii. How the Priest Godwin gave heed to know whether it were he 


When the illustrious martyr's body was buried the report got 
abroad through certain boys who had been his companions formerly, that 
this l>ody was the body of William who formerly used to have dealings 
with the Jews, and at last the news came to the ears of Godwin the 
Priest, whose surname was Sturt, and who had (as his wife) the martyr's 

And when he learnt from the martyr's companions that it really 
was so, he took care the next day to visit the place with his son 
Alexander, then a deacon, and with Robert the martyr's brother; first 
in order to make sure if it were he himself, and also, if he were 
recognised, that he might straightway perform the obsequies. But 
Ixjcause he could not be recognised till the earth that was laid upon 
him had been removed, they determined to dig him up. However, 
while they were digging and throwing out the earth, when they got 
near the body suddenly the earth before their very eyes seemed by 
some strong force to be lifted up from below and as it were to be 
thrown out. At which sight immediately a great horror and amaze- 
ment thrilled the hearts of the diggers, and falling back they desisted 
from their undertaking. But on the priest calling them back they took 
courage, and again set themselves to the work that they had left. But 

i.] St William of Norwich. 39 

Dumque simili secundo ut prius modo contingeret, uidebatur 
nimirum eis quia nondum mortuus sed uiuus esset. Vnde 
presbiter exclamans fcstinare precipit, quoniam et adhuc uiuentem 
inuenire credit. Illis itaque certatim properantibus cum iam 
palmis corpus tangerent, excusso puluere facies discooperitur, et 
quis fuerit plane dinoscitur. Cognoscit frater fratrem et amici 
agnoscunt amicum. Fratrem frater luget mortuum ; amici plan- 
gunt occisum. Qui quo amplius uiuentem dilexerant, eo et 
amplius occiso condolent. Dumque propius accederent, uehe- 
menter admirantur quod quamuis tot dies a die qua mortis eius 
suspicabantur iam pertransissent, nil in eo prorsus mali odoris 
sentiretur. Id autem maiori dignum admiratione ibidem tune 
contigisse compertum est, quod scilicet ubi nullus flos nullaque 
odorifera creuerat uel aderat herba, ibi naribus assistentium 
uernalis florum herbarumque redolentium aspirabat fragrantia. 
Quid multa ? Exequiis tandem celebratis, terram effossam et 
expositam loco suo denuo reposuerunt, deoque corpus et animara 
commendantes regressi sunt. 

when the same thing happened again the same way as before, no 
wonder that it seemed to them that here was one who was not yet dead 
but alive. Whereupon the priest bade them make haste, for he 
believed that he would find him still alive ; and they making all the 
speed they could, when now they were almost touching the body with 
their hands on the soil being removed the face was exposed, and it 
was plainly shown whose it was. Brother recognised brother and friends 
their friend. Brother wept for his brother dead and friends bewailed 
their murdered friend. The more they had loved him living, so much 
the more did they grieve that he had been slain. And when they 
drew near they were greatly astonished because, though so many days 
had passed by since the time when they suspected he had been put to 
death, yet there was absolutely no bad smell perceptible. But what 
seemed more deserving their wonder was that though there was 
never a flower there nor any sweet-smelling herb growing thereabout 
yet there the perfume of spring flowers and fragrant herbs was wafted 
to the nostrils of all present. At last having celebrated the obsequies 
they replaced the earth that had been dug up and disturbed, and com- 
mending the soul and body to GOD they went their way. 

40 St William of Nonvich. [BK. 

xiv. De presagio ttisionts matertere illius. 

"Y TENIENS domum Godwinus presbiter uxori sue Livive, que 
V pueri quidem matertera fuerat, rem ut gesta est enarrat. 
Ilia statim complosis palmis in maximum prorumpens eiulatum : 
Verum est, iuquit, et nimis reuera uerum sompnium meum, quod 
sabbato ante fJascha florum uidisse me contigit, quo dominus 
certissimam euentus huius veritatem mihi licet ignare dignanter 
preostendere curauit. Videbam etenim in uisu noctis et ecce 
mihi forte existenti in media fori platea, subito iudei undique 
accurrunt, accurrentes fugientem circumueniunt, circumuentam 
comprehendunt. Comprehense uero mihi, crux (sc. crus) dextrum 
fuste confractum et de reliquo corporis auellere et confestim 
transfugientes illud secum uidebantur asportare. nimis uera 
ueri sompnii presagii ! O me reuera felicem, si non uera sompnia 
sompniassem, et te quidem, domine mi, mihi hoc ipsum sompnium 
ad tuam audientiam referenti dixisse recordor quoniam de amicis 
quempiam me nouiter contingeret per iudeos amittere, quern 
plurimum pre ceteris me constaret dilexisse ! Ecce quod predixisti 
iam sentio; ecce quemadmodum ad futurum prenuntiasti baud 

xiv. Concerning the learning to his Aunt in a vision. 

When the priest Godwin got home he related to his wife Li viva 
who was the boy's aunt exactly what had happened. She immediately 
clapping her hands and breaking out into loud cries, " It is true " said 
she "and my dream was only too true, which came to me on the 
" Saturday before Palm Sunday, when the Lord was pleased plainly to 
* reveal to me ignorant though I be the most certain truth of this 
" business. I saw in a vision of the night and lo !, as I was standing 
" in the High Street of the Market Place, suddenly the Jews came upon 
" me running up from all sides, and they surrounded me as I fled and 
" they seized me. And as they held me they broke my right leg with 
" a club and they tore it away from the rest of my body, and running 
" off with all speed it seemed that they were carrying it away with 
" them. O only too true forewarning of my vision ! O happy should 
14 1 be if it were not a true dream that I had dreamt ! But in sooth, O 
"my Lord!, as I tell of this dream before thee who nearest me, I 
" declare that I heard thee say that soon it would happen to me to lose 
" one of my dear ones through the Jews, and one whom I certainly 
" lored more than all others. Lo ! what thou didst foretell I feel now 
" has happened. Behold, exactly as thou didst foretell, it has fallen 

T.] St William of Norwich. 41 

aliter contigisse ingemisco. Vix dicta compleuerat, et medullas 
frigus inuasit, uultus expalluit, mens cum sanguine fugit, et 
tanquam exanimis inter astantium manus humi dilapsa concidit. 
Post modicum resumptis cum sanguine uiribus exurgit mulier, 
et confestim nepotem quern plurimum dilexerat in Return erum- 
pens deplorat. Ab illo nempe die usque in multum tempus a 
planctu reuocari uix potuit, quoniam ipsum plangebat quern 
precordialiter ac tenere diligebat. 

xv. De planctu matris. 

in ISDEM quoque diebus fama diuulgante, ad aures matris de 
J J filii nece sermo peruenit, que nimirum tam flebili concussa 
nuncio, statim tanquam exanimis corruit. Post paulum uero 
resumptis uiribus surrexit, nullamque faciens dilationem, Nor- 
wicum rei ueritatem quesitura properauit. Vbi autem multorum 
relatu filium mortuum et in silua cognouit sepultum, continue 
discerptis crimbus, palmisque in inuicem crebro connexis, flens et 
eiulans per plateas tanquam amens cursitabat. Tandemque ad 
domum sororis de qua paulo ante meminimus ueniens, turn a 

" out, to my sorrow ! " She scarce had finished speaking when a cold 
shiver thrilled her inmost marrow, a pallor passed over her face, 
consciousness left her and like one dead she slipped from the hands of 
the bystanders and fell to the earth. 

After a while the woman, recovering consciousness, rose and burst- 
ing out weeping she bewailed the nephew whom she had so greatly 
loved. From that day for a long while afterwards she could scarcely 
be restrained from her lamentations, and she kept on lamenting him 
whom she had so dearly and vehemently loved. 

xv. Concerning the lamentations of the Mother. 

Just at this time as the report was spreading, the story of her son's 
murder came to the ears of his mother who, naturally overwhelmed by 
the sad tidings, straightway swooned away as if she were dead. After 
a while however recovering herself she without delay hastened to 
Norwich to enquire into the truth of the matter. But when she learnt 
by the relation of many people that her son was dead and was buried 
in the wood immediately with torn hair and clapping of hands she 
ran from one to another weeping and wailing through the streets like a 
mad woman. At last going to the house of her sister whom I men- 

1-j St William of Norwich. [BK. 

Godwino presbitero turn a sorore modum rei sciscitans et (ue)ri- 
tatein, nichil aliud nosse pro certo potuit, nisi quia insolito more 
occisus fuerit Verunptamen ex multis et uerisirailibus con- 
iecturarum conici argumentis cognouit quoniam non christiani sed 
iudi-i reuera essent, qui rem huiusmodi patrare ausi fuissent. 
Quibus ilia facilitate muliebri fidem facile adhibuit ; unde et 
statiin iii contuiheliara iudeorum uerbo, conuitiis ac lite palatn 
pronipit. Hinc nimirum ceu mater materno pietatis tangebatur 
affectu; inde tanquam mulier muliebri ac temerario ferebatur 
ausu. Porro quicquid animo suspicabatur iaui pro certo habens, 
quodque yroaginabatur quasi uisu compertum asserens, facto per 
uicos et plateas discursu et materno compulsa dolore uniuersos 
horrendis sollicitabat clamoribus iudeosque filium dolo seductum 
sibi surripuisse protestabatur et occidisse. Que res maxime in 
suspitionem ueri uniuersorum conuertit animos, unde et omnium 
acclamabatur uocibus omnes radicitus debere destrui iudeos tan- 
quam christiani nominis et cultus semper aduersarios. 

tioned before and enquiring now of the priest Godwin, now of her 
sister, she could learn no more about the circumstances and the truth 
than that he had been slain in an extraordinary way. But from many 
probable indications and conclusions she was convinced that they were 
not Christians but Jews who had dared to do the deed. With a 
woman's readiness of belief she easily gave credence to these conjectures. 
Whereupon she at once burst forth into denouncing the Jews with 
words of contumely and indignation. Sometimes she behaved like a 
mother moved by all a mother's love, sometimes she bore herself like a 
woman with all a woman's passionate rashness. And so, assuming 
everything to be certain which she suspected and asserting it to be a 
fact, at* though it had actually been seen she went through the streets 
and open places and, carried along by her motherly distress, she kept 
calling upon everybody with dreadful screams, protesting that the Jews 
had seduced and stolen away from her her son and killed him. This 
conduct very greatly worked upon the minds of the populace to accept 
the truth, and so everybody began to cry out with one voice that all the 
JewK outfit t.i be utterly destroyed as constant enemies of the Christian 
name and the Christian religion. 

I.] St William of Norwich. 43 

xvi. Qiiomodo in sinodo presbiter Godwinus de iudeis conquestus 
est, eosque de morte Willelmi pueri reos esse per iuditium 
probare se optulit. 

1 ri VOLUTIS autem aliquot diebus, dies synodalis aderat, et 
-J J de more pontifex Ebrardus sinodo presidebat. Sermone 
tandem celebrate, surgit e medio memoratus presbiter Godwinus 
lugubrem et presentibus seculis inauditam auribus episcopi et 
confratrum sacerdotum depositums querimoniam. Indicto itaque 
omnibus silentio, in hunc modum exorsus est : Domine, pater, et 
presul uenerande, tua hactenus et utinam in eternum famosa 
dignetur pietas sue benignitatis aures nostris inclinare querulis 
sermonibus. Dignetur quoque confratrum et consacerdotum sacer 
conuentus quern presenti sinodo assifetere conspicio querulos 
querele nostre non modice uel ad modicum aure pacienti percipere 
sonos. Nempe non propriam tantum siue domesticam executurus 
causam accessi quantum et communem omnium christianorum 
declarare proposui factam nouiter contumeliam. Igitur non 
ignotum reor paternitati uestre, presul reuerende, nee latere 
estimo plurimos ex uobis, fratres karissimi, puemm quendam 

xvi. How the Priest Godwin accused the Jews and offered to prove by 
ordeal that they were guilty of the death of the boy William. 

When some days had passed, the day for holding the Synod drew 
near, and according to custom Bishop Eborard presided. The sermon 
having been preached, the aforesaid Priest Godwin rose, saying that he 
was about to bring to the ears of the Bishop and his brother priests a 
distressing complaint and one which had not been heard of in the 
present time. Wherefore, silence having been enjoined upon all, he 
began in the manner following : 

" Very Reverend Lord and father and Bishop May that goodness of 
yours which has been so notorious hitherto, and which I trust may 
continue to be so esteemed for all time, vouchsafe to incline your ears 
graciously to the words of our complaint. May the reverend assembly 
also of my brethren and fellow priests, whom I see before me attend- 
ing at the present Synod, vouchsafe with a patient hearing to receive 
the utterance of my sad complaint, and receive it with no indifference. 
In sooth I have come forward to plead not so much a private or 
domestic cause as to make known to you an outrage which has been 
done to the whole Christian community. Indeed I think it is not 
unknown to your Fathership, very reverend Prelate, nor do I think it 
is a secret to most of you, my dear brethren, that a certain boy a very 

44 St William of Norwwk. [BK. 

admodum paruulum et utique innocentem doraiiiice passipnis 
ebdomada miserabilibus attrectatum modis sUua repertum fuisse, 
atque ibidem tumulatum Christiana adhuc caruisse sepultura. 
>iquidera filiorum meorum consobrinus fuit, et interueniente 
huiusceraodi familiaritatis gratia a me plurimum dilectus extitit. 
Vnde super eius nece dura apud pietatis uestre benignitatem 
in presentiarum * conqueror, uix a lacrimis lumina continere 
preualeo. Huius autem tarn execrabili necis reatu omnes in 
primis christianos tanquam immunes excuse: uerum secundo 
iudeos christiani nominis hostes huius rei utique reos et sanguinis 
innocentis efFusores accuse ; tercio dictorum assertionem qua hora, 
quo loco, quoue libuerit christiane legis iuditio probaturus accedo. 
Nee quisquam me in nresenti negotio precipitem estimet uel 
ineptum, quoniam nisi preposite rei ueritate certior existerem, 
nequaquam ad promisse probationis executionem adeo constanter 
accessissem. Atque id ita esse uos ipsi conicere potestis, turn ex 
dieruui quibus tale quid a iudeis fieri debuerit habitudine, turn ex 
puniendi modo et uulnerum qualitate, turn ex multimoda rerum 
sibi inuicem respondentium congruentia. His quoque et aliis 
quampluribus euidentissimis argumentorum probationibus accedat 

little boy and a harmless innocent too was treated in the most 
horrible manner in Passion Week, was found in a wood, and up to this 
time has been without Christian burial. He was indeed a cousin of my 
own children, and because of the tie of kindred which united us he was 
very dear to ma Wherefore, when I lay my complaint before you all 
concerning his death, I can hardly restrain my eyes from weeping. To 
begin with, from any complicity in so execrable a murder I. hold all 
Christians excused as guiltless. But, in the second place, I accuse the 
Jews, the enemies of the Christian name, as the doers of this deed, and 
a* the shedders of innocent blood. Thirdly, I am ready to prove the 
truth of my words at such time and place and by such proof as is allowed 
me by Christian law. Nor let any one consider me hasty or unwise in 
the present business, since, if I were not certain of the truth of the 
charge laid before you, I should certainly not have come forward so 
confidently to establish the proof I have promised. And that the facts 
are to you yourselves can judge, as well from the practices which the 
Jews are bound to carry out on the days specified, as from the manner 
of the punishment inflicted and the character of the wounds and the 
many confirmations of circumstances which agree together. To these 
and many other most evident proofs Leviva, the boy's aunt, must be 
taken into account, with her very remarkable warning vision. There 

I.] St William of Norwich. 45 

et Leviva, eius de quo agimus matertera, cum efficacissimo uisionis 
sue presagio : accedat et flebilis mater, que uersutissimi iudeorum 
nuntii fraudibus dolosis et se circumuentam ac seductam filiumque 
abductum deplorat. Hec itaque cum ita pro certo se habeant, 
meaque res agitur paries cum <pro>ximus ardet, ad uos tanquam 
ad unicum et singulare mihi presidium presentem depositurus 
querimoniam eo fiducialius recurro quo uos a iuris uel equi legibus 
nequaquam exorbitaturos mente certiori concipio. His ita pres- 
biter peroratis finem dictis imponens siluit, et episcopale super 
hoc responsum arrectis auribus, oculis in terrain defixis, et mente 
suspensa expectauit. Turbatis itaque et attonitis super hac re 
uniuersis, presulem hinc atrocitate facti commotum, inde iusticie 
zelo succensum, presbitero in hunc modum respondisse aiunt : 
Quoniam que tu certa asseris nobis adhuc incerta esse liquet, 
profecto tamen ad certain huius rei consequendam notitiam 
elaborare curabimus. Et siquando ut astruis ita esse constiterit, 
pro certo teneas quod iusticie nostre rigor nullatenus exorbitabit. 
Veruntamen, quoniam absentes et inauditos iustum iudicem iudicare 
non congruit, crastino iudei euocentur, audiantur, <conui>ncantur, 

is also the weeping mother who deplores the fact that she was circum- 
vented and seduced by the crafty tricks of a very cunning messenger 
of the Jews, and so her son was taken away. Wherefore, since these 
things are so certain and that / too am concerned when my neighbour's 
house is inflames, therefore I betake myself to you as my one and only 
protection, and lay my complaint before you with the more confi- 
dence because I conceive with a sure heart that you will by no means 
be unfaithful to the laws of right and equity." 

With this peroration he brought his speech to an end and was 
silent, and with attentive ears and eyes fixed on the ground, and with 
an anxious heart, he waited for the Bishop's answer. Accordingly, 
while all were amazed and disturbed at what had occurred, they report 
that the Prelate, very much moved at the atrocity of the deed, and 
actuated by his zeal for justice, replied as follows : 

"Forasmuch as that which you affirm to be certain is so far clearly 
uncertain to us, we shall at any rate take care to arrive at a certain 
knowledge of this business. And if indeed it shall be established to be 
so, as you maintain, be assured that the rigour of our justice shall in no 
wise be found wanting. But since it is not seemly that a just judge 
should pronounce upon those who are absent and unheard, let the Jews 
be summoned and have a hearing on the morrow ; if they be convicted, 
let them receive the punishment that they deserve," 

46 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

et conuicti pro mentis debitam sortiantur penam. Presentes 
itaque, negotii sermone ita in crastinum translate, et que ad 
Mynodum pertinebant ea die in parte pertractatis, oranes mane 
deouo reuereuri dicesserunt. Eadem uero die iussu presulis 
decanus Norwicensis iudeos conuenit, atque ut in crastino coram 
pontifice super tanta re s^nodo responsuri assisterent indixit. 
Quid ergo ? Turbantur iudei, et ad uicecomitem lohannem tan- 
quam ad singulare asilum opera et consilium in tarn difficili causa 
quesituri unanimiter recumint : cuius freti patrociniis multa 
multociens pericula euaserunt. Inito itaque consilio Johannes, 
utpote quern rei ueritas non latebat, iudeos ad synodum crastinam 
uenire non permisit, immo per suos presuli nil ad ipsum de iudeis 
pertinere neque iudeos rege absente super talibus christianorum 
nugis responsuros mandauit. Presul uero tali percepto nuntio 
presbiteroque sub plena synodo hesternam iterare uolente queri- 
moniam, domnum Aimarum priorem de sancto Pancratio aliosque 
eruditissimos et prudentissimos uiros quos illi synodo interesse 
tune contigerat, quid super huiusmodi sibi uideatur response 
interrogat. Qui unanimes deo legique christiane apertam inferri 
niolentiam dicunt, eamque ecclesiastice rigore iusticie maturius 

Thus the dealing with this business being put off till next day, and 
the business of the Synod having been dealt with in part, all dispersed 
intending to return next morning. But by order of the Bishop the 
dean of Norwich on the same day summoned the Jews to appear, and 
ordered them to attend to answer on the morrow before the Synod 
regarding so important a matter. 

The Jews were greatly disturbed and ran to the Sheriff John as 
their only refuge, seeking help and counsel in so difficult a cause, inas- 
much as by trusting to his patronage they had often escaped many 
dangers. So John, having taken counsel and being one who was not 
ignorant of the truth, did not allow the Jews to come to the Synod on 
the morrow, and indeed he gave notice by his servants to the Bishop 
that he had nothing to do with the Jews, and that in the absence of 
the King the Jews should make no answer to such inventions of the 
Christians. But the Bishop having received this message (and the 
priest being willing to repeat his yesterday's complaint in full Synod), 
enquired of Dom. Aimar, Prior of St Pancras, and other very learned 
and prudent men who happened then to be present at that Synod, what 
answer they thought ought to be given. They declared unanimously 
that a manifest outrage was being done to GOD and Christian law, and 
they advised that it should be straightway vindicated with rigorous 

T.] St William of Nonvich. 47 

cohercendam esse consulunt. Inter hec autem pontifex, nee pre- 
ceps uideri uolens, nee iusticie animum subtrahens, memoratos 
Christi aduersarios secundo adhuc et tercio submonendos iudicat, 
ne nimia sententie acceleratio aut modum preueniat aut solitum 
consuetudinis limitem excedat. Vti autem decreuerat episcopus, 
decanus exequi non distulit. Sed iudei uenire dum renuunt 
peracta synodo uiros sapientissimos presul consulit quid contra 
rem huiusmodi faciendum sit. Communi itaque actum est consilio 
lohanni quidem ut suggeratur ne iudeos contra deum manuteneat, 
iudeis uero ut peremptoria proponatur sententia, quod ni citius 
purgandi ueniant se proculdubio exterminandos esse cognoscant. 
Quibus nimirum compulsus sermonibus Johannes remote dilatione 
cum iudeis aduenit, et quid contra ipsos dicatur auditurus, coram 
pontifice fremebundus assistit. Nee mora, surgit presbiter sepe- 
dictus pretaxatam replicans querimoniam, et que protestatus est 
uerbo confestim se probaturum pollicitus est dei iuditio. Consilio 
autem uicecomitis iudei impositum sibi crimen abnegant, sed 
super propositi probatione iudicii quid uelint indutias deliberandi 

Ecclesiastical justice. In the meantime however the Bishop, not wish- 
ing to appear hasty, and yet not shrinking from doing the right, 
decided that the aforesaid enemies of Christ should be summoned a 
second and a third time, lest too much hurrying of the sentence should 
either go beyond moderation or transgress the ordinary bounds of 
custom. As the Bishop had decreed, so the dean did not fail to carry 
out his order. But when the Jews refused to appear, the president, 
when the Synod had come to an end, again consulted with the wisest 
men as to what was to be done under the circumstances. Accordingly 
it was determined by common consent that notice should be given to 
John that he should not protect the Jews against GOD, and to the Jews 
that peremptory sentence would be passed upon them, and that unless 
they at once catne to purge themselves they must understand that 
without doubt they would be exterminated. 

Of course John moved by these words came without delay, and the 
Jews with him, intending to hear what could be said against them, and 
presented himself before the Bishop in some dudgeon. 

Thereupon the aforesaid Priest rose and explained his previous 
complaint, and what he asserted in word he promised that he would 
straightway prove by the Judgment of GOD. 

The Jews by the advice of the Sheriff denied the charge brought 
against them; but as to the ordeal proposed, they asked for some small 

48 St William of Nonvich. [BK. 

nel minimas rogant. Renitente autem presbitero, omnemque 
prorsus dilationis inficiante moram, assensu episcopi super eo 
secretius locuturi ad consilium procedunt. Consulitur uicecomes 
quid sub tanto discrimine sibi restet agendum, quoniam et hinc 
induciamm dilationem sibi denegari cernunt, et inde iudicii ex- 
aminationem omnino pertimescunt. Plurimis autem sermonibus 
salubris diuortii perquirentes uiam, singulisque rebus proportio- 
naliter pertractatis, non aliud securum tanti discriminis repperiunt 
effugium nisi solum indutiarum et dilationis emolumentum. Quas 
si habere contingat, uenalem regis gratiam argumenti copia extor- 
queri leuiter sperant, quo sibi obiecti sermonem criminis funditus 
extinguant. Porro circa huiusmodi consilium plurima diei parte 
consumpta e consilio ad episcopum mittitur, ut postulate scilicet 
indutie quoquomodo concedantur. Quibus nequaquam impetratis 
iratus uicecomes cum iudeis non requisita licentia abeundi, ut mos 
est, abcessit. Illos uero quia extra manere eis tutum non erat, 
intra castelli tutatus est munitionem donee pace regio illis edicto 
indicta et corroborata securi inposterum redderentur et quieti. 
Quod ubi episcopo ceterisque qui cum ipso prestolabantur eos 

delay for deliberating. But on the priest refusing this and protesting 
against any kind of delay, with the assent of the Bishop they proceed to 
take counsel intending to confer secretly about it. The Sheriff is 
consulted as to what remained for them to do in so great a difficulty, 
inasmuch as they perceived that on the one hand any delay was denied 
them, and on the other they were dreadfully afraid of the trial by 
ordeal. After seeking some way of compromise, with a great deal of 
discussion, and after dealing with each alternative on its merits, they 
found no safe escape out of so great a difficulty except only by 
obtaining some truce and delay. If they could obtain that, they 
hoped they could easily extort from the King the favour which might 
be bought for money, of getting a chance of arguing the cause, and so 
utterly put an end to the rumour of the crime laid to their charge. 

When the greatest part of the day had been spent in this kind of 
disputing, at last they sent to the Bishop asking that a respite of 
some sort should be allowed them. Which being peremptorily denied 
them, the Sheriff with the Jews, without asking for leave to depart as 
the usual custom is, went their way. But because it was not safe for 
them to remain outside, the Sheriff protected them within the defences of 
the Castle until, their security having been assured to them by a royal 
edict, they might be safe for the future and out of harm's way. When 
it was told to the Bishop and his supporters that they had gone away, 

i.] St William of Nonvich. 49 

abisse renuntiatum est, quoniam regi regiisue ministris aperte 
obuiare uerebatur, ad horam quidem episcopus siluit, sermonemque 
intermissum nonnumquam retractandum succedentium temporum 
bportunitati reseruauit. 

xvii. Quomodo Aimarus prior sancti Pancratii corpus sancti 
martiris secum transf<er>endi licentiam petierit. 

AIMARVS autem memoratus prior de sancto Pancratio uisis 
-L~!A_ et auditis que fiebant et annotatis, mentis interna tactus 
deuotione, presbiterum seorsum traxit, a quo rem gestam quantum 
ipsum scire licuit plenius ac diligentius sciscitari curauit. Vbi 
uero mortis modum turn per tormenti qualitatem turn per plaga- 
rinn signa cognouit et numerum, quid aliud inter hec nimirum 
perpenderet, nisi quia sanctissimus ille puer in obprobrium Christi 
a iudeis reuera occisus fuisset ? Vnde et quodam interne pietatis 
feruore ductus, ad episcopum confestim accessit, atque ut memo- 
rati pueri corpus secum transferre liceat multa precum instantia 
postulate studuit. Quod ubi impetrare non preualuit, respondisse 
fertur quia si eum apud Sanctum Pancratium teneri contigisset, 

inasmuch as he feared openly to oppose the King and his officers, the 
Bishop said nothing for the time, but reserved the speech which had 
been thus interrupted, with intent to repeat it when a future occasion 
should offer. 

xvii. How Aimar the Prior of St Pancras asked leave to take away 
with him the body of the Holy Martyr. 

But Aimar the forementioned Prior of St Pancras, having seen and 
heard and pondered all that had passed and moved by inward devotion 
of heart, took aside a certain priest from whom he was at the pains to 
inform himself very fully and carefully of the facts of the case as far 
as he knew them. But when he learnt the way in which the death 
had been brought about as well by the kind of torture as by the marks and 
number of the blows, what else could he infer with all this before him, 
but that the most holy boy had in very truth been killed by the Jews 
as an insult to Christ 1 

So, moved by a certain inward warmth of devotion, he went 
straight to the Bishop and earnestly begged with many prayers that he 
might be allowed to take away with him the body of the holy boy. 
But when he could not prevail in obtaining his request, it is said that 
he answered that if he had been so fortunate as to get him at St 
W. N. 4 

50 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

nulla argenti uel auri commutatione ipsum alias asportari sineret, 
aed digne pro mentis exaltatum plurimoque uenerationis cultu 
oelebrem tanquam thesaurum preciosissimum summa custodiret 
diligentia. Que prioris uerba pontificis Ebrardi adeo commoue- 
runt animum, ut et ei uenerationis fierent argumentum atque 
erga puerum sanctum deuotionis ministrarent incrementum. Qua 
de re compulsus et plurimorum animatus consilio, beatissimi pueri 
corpus ad episcopalem ecclesiam afferri et in cimiterio monachorum 
disposuit tumulari. 

xviiL Quomodo allatus et lotus incoiruptus inuentus sit. 

QVOSDAM igitur de Monachis cum quibusdam de clero ad 
ipsum afferendum episcopus elegit et electos die vm Kt. 
Maii ad id quod disposuerat exequendum direxit. Quibus precepta 
explentibus et iam redeuntibus tanta popularis multitudinis occurrit 
affluent ia, quod perpaucos intra urbem remansisse estimares. Allatus 
est itaque thesaurus ille preciosus ac desiderabilis cum maximo 
cleri plebisque tripudio, atque a uenerabili monachorum conuentu 

Pancras, no sum of money would have induced him to allow of his 
being taken away elsewhere, but that he would have kept him with 
the utmost diligence as a most precious treasure, that he should have 
been exalted worthily according to his deserts and have become famous 
by conspicuous veneration and worship. "Which words of the Prior so 
affected the mind of Bishop Eborard that they became an incentive to 
his veneration and served to increase his devotion towards the holy boy. 
Urged by this and affected by the advice of very many, he determined 
that the body of the blessed boy should be brought into the Cathedral 
Church and be buried in the Monks' Cemetery. 

xviiL How after being laid out and washed he was found to be 


Hereupon the Bishop made choice of certain of the monks with 

one of the clergy to lay him out, and he directed those that were 

chosen to carry out his orders on the 24th of April. While they were 

carrying out their instructions and were now returning, so vast a 

wane of the common people met them that you would have 

ought very few had stayed behind in the city. So that precious and 

treasure was carried with immense delight of clergy and 

people and brought by the venerable convent of the monks with a 

I.] St William of Nonv'n-li. 51 

processionaliter susceptus, sedisque episcopalis ecclesia introducing, 
ante sancte crucis altare cum feretro reponitur. Erat quippe 
feretrum pallio festiuo coopertum et hinc atque inde candelabra 
quadrangulariter apposita cereis relucebant ardentibus. A mona- 
chis missa pro requie fidelium solenniter cantabatur, turbisque 
ciuium tota sursum ac deorsum replebatur ecclesia. Celebrata 
denique missa ex deliberationis industria inter pulpitum et chorum 
reponitur monachorum, ne scilicet populi ad feretrum deosculan- 
dum, immo ad corpus si liceat inuisendum irrumpere uolentis 
insistens turba fratribus debitum funeri obsequium lauando exi- 
bentibus impedimento magis foret quam auxilio. Tanto enim 
interesse spectaculo summa erat leticia, e proximo stare felicitas. 
Quid plura ? Eliguntur nonnulli de fratribus qui corpus lauent, 
lotum alba lintheisque benedictis inuoluant, et inuolutum itidem 
ut prius feretro componant. Qui ergo ad iniunctum conuenerant 
ministerium, corpus tunica denudant, pedibus calciamenta tollunt; 
ipsumque ex more mortuorum ad lauandum preparant. Dumque 
lauaretur, id miri contigit immo miris omnibus plus admirandum. 
Cum et enim iam xxx u . ii. a die mortis eius pertransissent dies, 

procession and introduced into the Cathedral Church and placed with 
its bier before the altar of the Holy Cross. Moreover the bier was 
covered with a splendid pall, and candlesticks were placed upon it on 
this side and on that at all the four corners, and they gleamed with 
burning tapers. The mass of requiem was solemnly sung by the monks, 
and the whole Church was filled from end to end with the crowds of 

And when the mass had been celebrated, the body was laid up 
between the screen and the monks' choir lest the crowds of people that 
were pressing in desiring to kiss the bier, and if possible to rush forward 
to see the body, should be a hindrance rather than a help to the 
brethren who were performing the proper ministry of washing the 
corpse. For it was a joy to be present at so great a spectacle and 
extreme happiness to be among those that were standing near. So 
some of the brethren were chosen to wash the body and, when it was 
washed, to wrap it in an albe and linen that had been blessed, 
and so wrapped round to place it again upon the bier. And they 
whose business it was took off the martyr's coat and the shoes from his 
feet, and prepared to wash him as is the custom with the dead. But 
while they were washing him, lo ! this wonder, this more wonderful 
than all wonders happened. For though 32 days had passed since 


52 St William of Nonvich. [BK. 

integer inuentus est, et omnibus membris incorruptus. Inter 
baiulantium siquidera manus digitis, brachiis, ceterisque membris 
adeo flexibilis apparuit ut magis dormientem crederes quam 
mortuum estimates. Sed unde magis admiremini contigit, quia 
dum facies lauaretur, recens subito sanguis e naribus prorupit: 
unde nimirum assist entium cetus obstupuit. Sanguinem guttatim 
profluentem qui ministerio assistebant lintheaminibus excipiunt, 
quo cessante denuo faciem lauantes abstergunt. Qui uero tarn 
admirabili affuere spectaculo nobis postmodum attestati sunt 
quoniam et dum lauaretur ac maxime dum sanguis proflueret, 
tarn miri odoris naribus eorum aspersa est flagrantia, ut ipsa 
suauitas patenter daret intelligere auctorem suauitatis ad sancti 
corporis obsequium ueraciter aduenisse. Diuine porro presentie 
suauitas quid aliud nobis designare uoluit, nisi ut per hoc mani- 
festius declararet quanti coram eo meriti in supernis existeret ? 
Hoc quoque eomndem relatu didicimus, quod ab ipsis scilicet 
certa et manifesta in eo martyrii deprehensa sint indicia. Turn 
etenim capiti loto inter crebras spinarum punctiones lauando dum 
palmas sensim diducunt, quarundam earum que teste impressa 
inheserant spinarum offendunt capita. Inuenta extrahunt, et 

his death he was found to be unchanged and without corruption in any 
part. For, while under the hands of those that lifted him, he was so 
supple in his fingers, arms, and his other limbs that you would have 
judged him to be sleeping rather than dead. But what was more 
wonderful still, while they were washing his face, fresh blood suddenly 
issued from his nostrils, so that the company of those present were 
amazed. As the blood kept flowing drop by drop, they who were 
helping at the service caught it in napkins and when it ceased they 
again washed his face. But they who were present at the wondrous 
sight afterwards assured us how that, both while they were washing 
him and especially while the blood was flowing, so strange a fragrance 
of exceeding sweetness greeted their nostrils, that the very perfume 
evidently gave them to understand that the Giver of all sweetness had 
in very truth been present for the honouring of the holy body. For 
what else could the sweetness of the Divine presence have intended to 
how forth to us except that hereby He was manifestly declaring how 
great were the martyr's merits in the sight of heaven? This too 
we learnt from the report of these same men, how that they per- 
ceived certain and manifest indications of martyrdom in him. First 
when his head was washed and their hands carefully passed over it, 
among the numerous punctures of thorns they came upon pieces of the 

I.] St William of Norwich. 53 

summo deuotionis studio dum licuit conseruare curauerunt. Turn 
quoque dum uniuersa singillatim uisu percurrunt membra corporis 
sancti, palmis profecto pedibus et latere euidentia deprehendunt 
signa martyrii. Ex nonnullis preterea inditiis que sibi apparue- 
runt aqua feruentissima et bullienti perfusum comperiunt. Cor- 
pore denique loto, alba ilium ueste induunt, deinde lintheaminibus 
inuolutum feretro recomponunt. Interim dum hec agerentur, 
per totam urbem quo sanctissimum beati martyris conderetur 
corpus quesitum est sarcopbagum, nee inuentum. In cimiterio 
igitur sub capituli pariete fossa effossa est ubi truncus et trunco 
imponeretur corpus. Dum autem foderetur, mirum dictu, sarco- 
phagum sarcophago resupinatum inuenitur. Vtrumque intus 
mundum et candidum erat, quia nullius aliquando cadauer 
intromissum fuerat. Quod reuera idcirco pro miraculo habitum 
est, quoniam inter ecclesie primores primosque illius fundatores 
nee unus inuentus est qui eorum reminisceretur sarcophagorum, 
a quibus scilicet illuc allata uel quando ibi fuerint recondita. Id 
tamen consequenter conicimus, quod diuina prouidentia ea sancto 
Willelmo tarn diu reseruauerat intacta et illibata. 

actual thorns, which they extracted, and took care that they should 
be preserved with utmost reverence. Next, while they examined one 
by one all the portions of the sacred body, they found evident signs of 
martyrdom in his hands and feet and side. Moreover there were plain 
indications that he had been plunged into boiling water. At last after 
washing the body they clothed him in a white garment, wrapped him 
in linen, and put him back upon the bier. 

Meantime while these things were being done, search was made 
through the whole city for a sarcophagus in which the sacred body of 
the martyr might be laid, but none could be found ; so a grave was dug 
in the cemetery just under the wall of the chapter house, where the body 
might be entombed in a wooden coffin. But while they were digging, 
strange to tell, a sarcophagus was actually found there resting upon 
another; and both one and the other was clean and pure within, 
because evidently never had any dead man's corpse been laid therein. 
This circumstance was in truth at once accepted as a miracle, since 
among the great men of the Church and its first founders not one 
could be found who remembered any such sarcophagi, nor who had 
brought them, nor when they had been put away there. Consequently 
we conjecture that these had been preserved by divine providence so 
long intact and unused for Saint William. 

54 St William of Normch. [BK. 


De tumulatione eius in cimiterio monachorum. 

HIS prout memorauimus consummatis, animeque commenda- 
tione ex more mortuorum peracta, cum psalmis et laudibus 
preit processionaliter fratrum couentus; egregius uero martir in 
cimiterio interior! subsequitur tumulandus. Impletur cimiterium 
milibus hominum alio de latere per portam introeuntium et 
intrantibus uix loci iam sufficiebat capacitas. Hinc monachi et 
clerus cum psalmodie laudibus celebres celebrabant exequias : 
inde laici cum maximo assistebant gaudio. Qui uero aderant, 
quamquam cultu uel sexu forent dispares, erant tamen singuli ad 
perspiciendum unanimitate conformes. Porro exequiis rite cele- 
bratis ac sepulchro in introitu cimiterii ex parte claustri decenter 
composite, corpus beatissimi martiris feretro depositum intro com- 
ponitur. Impositum siquidem sepulchro omnium oculis quibus 
tamen uidere licebat alba ut erat ueste inuolutum per aliquantum 
here spacium conspici sinebatur. Quibus uero e proximo stare con- 
tigerat uelut quibusdam eorum postmodum cognoui referentibus 
pretaxatam contigit ibidem sensisse odoris suauitatem. Demum 

xix. Of his entombment in the Monks' Cemetery. 

These things, as we have related, having been accomplished and the 
commending of his soul to GOD, as is usual with the service of the dead, 
having been finished, the glorious martyr was taken into the inner 
cemetery to be laid in his tomb, the whole convent of the brethren 
going before in a procession with psalms and praises. The cemetery 
was filled by thousands of men who entered by the gate on the other 
side, and the area was hardly large enough for those who kept coming 
in. On the one side were the clergy and the monks who were celebra- 
ting the exequies with songs of praise, on the other were the laity who 
were taking their part with exceeding joy. But though they who were 
present differed in grade and in sex, they were all of one mind in wishing 
to see the sight At last, after the exequies had been celebrated, 
the sepulchre having been decently prepared at the entrance of the 
cemetery on the cloister side, the body of the most blessed martyr was 
Uken from the bier and laid within it. And as it lay in the sepulchre 
it was exposed to view for some considerable time to the gaze of those 
who were permitted to look upon it, wrapped in a white shroud. But 

those who chanced to be standing near, as I was informed 

erwards by some of them, it was granted to have a perception 

there of the sweet smelling fragrance that I mentioned before. 

I.] St William of Norwich. 55 

pro lamina, quia laminam non habebant, altering sepulchri con- 
caua medietas superponitur, lapisque lapidi cemento conglutinatur. 
Quibus expletis, dominum relinquens custodem, conuentus mona- 
chorum in ecclesiam psallendo regreditur; alii uero ad propria 
domini glorificando magnalia reuertuntur. 

Explicit liber primus. 

Lastly, instead of a slab, because no slab was forthcoming, the concave 
half of the other sarcophagus was placed over him and stone was fixed to 
stone with cement. All being over, leaving the Lord to watch over 
him, the convent of monks returned into the Church chanting, but the 
rest returned to their homes glorifying the wonderful works of the 



Incipiunt capitula libri secundi. 

i. Responsio in illos qui sanctitati eius derogant. 
ii. Commendatio innocentie et egregie sanctitatis eius. 
iii De rosa que ad sepulchrum eius hiemis refloruit tempore. 
iv. De admirabili uisione cuiusdam egroti et ipsius cura. 
v. De consimili uisione cuiusdam puellule. 
vi. De pregnante mire liberata. 
vii. De uirgine quadam de Donewi} a demonis incubi infesta- 

tione liberata. 
viii. Commentorium 1 illis qui miraculis saneti Willelmi derogant 

et qui eum a iudeis occisum uel negant uel dubitant. 
ix. Primum argumentum. Secundum argumentum. 
x. Tercium argumentum. Quartum argumentum. 

1 sic : I. commonitorium. 


(i) An answer to those who depreciate his sanctity. 

(ii) A commendation of his innocence and notable sanctity. 

(iii) Concerning the Rose which blossomed by his grave in the 

winter time, 
(iv) Concerning the wonderful Vision of a certain sick man and 

his cure. 

(v) Concerning a similar Vision of a certain young girl, 
(vi) Concerning the wondrous deliverance of a woman in labour. 
(vii) Concerning a certain virgin of Dunwich, delivered from the 

assaults of a devilish Incubus, 
(viii) A warning to those who depreciate the miracles of Saint 

William, and who either deny or doubt that he was 

slain by the Jews. 

(ix) The first and second arguments, 
(x) The third and fourth arguments. 

BK. ii.] St William of Norwich. 57 

xi. Quintum argumentum. Sextum argumentum. 
xii. Septimum argumentum. Conclusio. 
xiii. Qualiter iudeos tune norvvicenses ultio diuina et christiani- 

cidas perculerit. 
xiv. Accusatio iudeorum in christianos et translatio criminis in 

xv. Qualiter et diuine ultionis iuditium circa lohannem uice- 

comitem apparuit. 
Expliciiint capitula. 

Incipit liber secundus. 


OJVPERIORI quidem libello prout credibilium relatu uirorum 
k_} scire licuit beatissimi martyris Willelmi pueritiam pro 
modulo nostro exposuimus et mortem. Sed priusquam ad miracula 
eius accedamus et translationem, quorundam quos nescio malitia 
magis ducat an inuidia uerbose garrulitati obuiare libet. Quorum 
proteruam insolentiam et insolentem proteruiam quia diutius 
sustinere non possum, satyrico telo transfigere ac rationis com- 
pescere freno conabor. Ipsi sunt qui alienis gaudentes infortuniis 
applaud unt, aliorum semper profectibus marcescunt. Ad uitu- 

(xi) The fifth and sixth arguments, 
(xii) The seventh argument and conclusion, 
(xiii) How the divine vengeance at that time fell upon the Jews 

of Norwich, the murderers of Christians, 
(xiv) The accusation of the Jews against the Christians and the 

retorting of the charge against them by the Christians, 
(xv) How the proof of the divine vengeance was made manifest 
in the case of the Sheriff John. 

In the former book I have set forth the boyhood and the death of 
the most blessed martyr St William according to my poor ability, as I 
was able to obtain my information from the relation of men who were 
to be believed. But befoi-e I proceed to his miracles and his trans- 
lation, I prefer to comment upon the wordy gabble of certain persons 
whom their malice or their envy (I know not which it is) is insti- 
gating; whose saucy insolence and their insolent sauciness, because I 
can no longer put up with it, I will try to pierce through with the spear 
of satire and to restrain with the curb of reason. These are they who 
delighting in the misfortunes of others rejoice, and always are saddened 

58 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

perandum prompt! ac precipites, si maliloquii defuerit iiiateria 
tri-tes. Ad detrahendum promptissimi, ad laudandum inuiti. Si 
quid uero forte in aliquibus paulo ante laudauerant, id ipsum 
modo in aliis conuerso lingue folio dampnant, tanquam uirtus et 
uitiuin non rebus insint sed cum auctoribus mutentur. Ociosis 
latratibus aerem et lingue uerbere uerberantes fatigant, et caninis 
morsibus aggredi probitatem soliti ac celestibus ingrati beneficiis 
diuina etiam in quantum preualent uel ausi sunt magnalia sub 
palliate uoto religionis adnullare uel imminuere siue saltern 
deprauare non nunquam conantur. Hoc itaque genus hominum 
diuine uirtutis omnipotentia uel dignis flagellis corripiat ut resi- 
piscant, siue nocendi potentiam tollat ne conualescentes preualeant. 
Porro his et talibus, quibus reuera ueritas que deus est semper 
aduersatur, ueritatis succensus zelo nunquam aduersari desistam. 
Quorum temerariam insolentiam sub presentis pagine stadio 
ezpugnaturus et innocentiam defensurus accessi. Exprobrantes 
allophilos alter Dauid ex aduerso concurrens deturbare festino ; 
rationum allegationes quosdam spirituales quasi lapides mentis 
pera defero. Vnus ergo pro ceteris Golias exprobrans mecum 

at the successes of others. Ready and eager to find fault, if there is a 
lack of material for slander they are sad. Most prompt to disparage- 
ment, they are unwilling to praise. If by any chance they have 
applauded anything in any body one moment, that same thing with a 
twist of the tongue they condemn the next moment in others, as if 
virtue and vice were not in the act but changed their character with the 
doers of the act. With their idle barking they weary the air as they 
wag their tongues; their wont is to assail honesty with their currish 
biting, and, thankless for heaven's gifts, they try, so far as they can 
or dare, under the garb of religion to make little or nothing of divine 
mysteries, or, at least, to turn them to ridicule. This race of men 
therefore may the omnipotence of the divine goodness either correct 
with deserved scourges that they may come to a better mind, or 
may it take away from them the power of doing harm, lest they 
nhould gain strength and prevail. Assuredly these and such as 
these the very truth which is GOD always does resist, and I 
stirred by zeal for the truth will never cease to oppose ; whose rash 
insolence on the arena of this present page I intend to assault, and 
to stand up for innocence. I, a second David, hasten to confound 
the abusive Philistines, running forth from the opposite ranks, drawing 
forth from the scrip of my mind certain spiritual weapons of reasoning 
as it were stones. Lt one Goliath then, on behalf of the rest, with his 

ii.] St William of Norwich. 59 

congrediatur pro allophilis. Ecce iam rotante ac iaciente labiorum 
funda limpidissimo uerbi lapide frontem irreuerentem conteram, 
et proprio lingue sue gladio pectora maliuola transfodiam. Quis- 
quis itaque presumptionis nobis peccatum improperat, quique 
temeritate nos redarguit accedat, inquam, accedat et dicat, quod 
garrulizare solebat. Aiebat enim : Presumptuosum nimis est quod 
uniuersalis ecclesia non recipit tarn audacter suscipere et non 
sanctum pro sancto habere. Temerarium quoque uidetur tarn 
magnifice uenerari in terris quern nee dum constat deum glori- 
ficasse in celis. Audiat e contra quia sic durus obicit Allobroga 
cuius ingenii meatus rigoris lapidei duricies obstructos obsidet. 
Attendat etiam quoniam sic ferire soleat cecus, qui uel quid uel 
qua feriat non uidet. Si enim presumptionis redarguendi sunt 
qui sanctorum quos totus non nouit mundus seu quos uniuersaliter 
ecclesia non celebrat recolunt memoriam, perpaucos uel nullos 
repperies qui non eandem incurrerint culpam. Et ut uerum fatear, 
preter gloriosam uirginem dei matrem et baptistam lohannem 
atque apostolos, paucis sanctorum attribuitur quod ubique terra- 

scoffs join battle with me for the Philistines. Lo ! by the sling of my 
lips and its whirl and force I will crash through the shameless forehead 
with the smooth stone of the word, and with the sword of his own 
tongue I will pierce through the heart of the gainsayer. 

Wherefore whosoever he be who attributes to me the sin of pre- 
sumption, and charges me with rashness, let him come forward, say I, 
let him come forward and speak out that which his wont was to babble 
and jabber ! 

He has been saying, look you, It is very presumptuous to main- 
tain so confidently that which the church universal does not accept and 
to account that holy which is not holy. Moreover it seems rash to 
honour so magnificently upon earth him whom it is not yet certain that 
GOD has glorified in the heavens. Let this stern Philistine, who 
brings these objections, attend to our reply, though a stony hard- 
ness besets the passages of his brain. Let him observe too that 
this is the way that a blind man strikes out, who sees not what 
or where he is hitting. For if they are to be accused of presumption 
who keep up the memory of saints whom the whole world does not 
know, or whom the church universal does not celebrate, you will find 
very few or none who will not incur the same blame. And to say the 
truth, saving only the glorious Virgin mother of GOD and John the 
Baptist and the Apostles, of few of the saints can it be said that the 

60 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

rum quibus christiaui nominis floret religio ipsorum notitia 
propaletur. Nempe nunquid uniuersos quos ipsa recolit Roma, 
eosdem celebrandos Gallia suscepit atque Britannia? Nunquid 
illud celebre beatissimi regis et martyris Eadmundi gloriosique 
confessoris Cuthberti nomen in partibus Anglie uniuersis innotuit 
Grecie populis siue Palestine ? Verum ut summatim concludam, 
quos Asia celebres habet uel Affrica, nunquid eosdem uniuersos 
uniuersa celebrare consueuit Europa? Si igitur ita, immo quia 
ita constat esse, qualiter presumptionis reatum incurrant, si quern 
uniuerealiter uel non nouit uel non recolit ecclesia digna uenera- 
tione celebrant ? Quod autem presumptionis esse inquiunt non 
sanctum scilicet pro sancto habere, et nos procul dubio id ipsum 
dicimus, atque id attestando in hoc eis assentimus. Sed quoniam 
ceteris que consequenter redarguimus maliuole intentionis id 
interseruit lingua, ac de inuidie radice processit, mordaci uersutie 
obuiare respondendo nitimur. Audiant igitur qui caninum dentem 
^implicit at i nostre imprimunt, qui gloriosissimi martyris Willelmi 
ledeutes famam imminutione quadam sanctitatis indebitam laudem 
laudisque promotionem pro posse suo supprimunt et minuendo 

knowledge of them is spread abroad over all the earth whereon the 
religion of the Christian name prevails. In sooth is it the fact that 
all those whom Rome herself honours Gaul and Britain accept as 
equally worthy of renown? Is it the fact that the famous name of the 
most blessed King and Martyr Eadmund or of the glorious Confessor 
Cuthbert, renowned in every part of England, is equally well known 
among the people of Greece or Palestine ? Or, to sum up, in the case 
of those whom Asia or Africa counts as famous, does all Europe 
pay them all a customary reverence? If this therefore be plain, or 
rather because it is plain, how are they to be charged with presump- 
tion who celebrate, with a reverence that is due to them, some whom 
the Church universal either does not know or does not honour ? 

But as to the presumption they talk of, to wit the esteeming him to 
be a saint who was no saint, doubtless we say the same, and we assent 
to that with all heartiness. But since this objection has been inserted 
among the others with which we are dealing, by the tongue of malice 
and wickedness, and springs from the root of envy, we shall try in our 
answer to meet this carping craftiness. Let them listen then who leave 
the impress of their currish teeth upon our simplicity, who, slurring the 
Came of the most glorious martyr William by detracting from his 
nanctity, do all they can to stop the spread of his renown and persecute 

ii.] St William of Nomvich. 61 

persequuntur : audiant, inquam, audiant qui nos deliros autu- 
mant, rerumque ueritatem simplicitatis intuentes oculo glorie 
sanctorum detrahere amodo conquiescant. Nos equidem ut 
sanctum ueneramur quern nos reuera sanctum cognouimus, non 
autem non sanctum pro sancto habemus. Porro sanctitati eius 
de quo loquimur precedentis libri pagina testimonium perhibet 
manifestisque indiciis id ipsum subsequentia et cotidiana attes- 
tantur miracula. Que nisi nutu diuino fierent, tamdiu nequaquam 
perseuerassent ; quoniam que ex deo non sunt per se citius 
dispereunt. De cetero denique quod consequenter obiectum est, 
temerarium quidem esse tarn magnifice scilicet uenerari quern nec- 
dum constat, ut aiunt, glorificari ; queso respondeant qui simplici- 
tatis ac pure conscientie gesta deprauare non cessant. Si uero 
respondere renuunt, audiat benignorum diligentia quod audire 
refugit inuidorum uersuta maliuolentia. Respondeat, queso, re- 
spondeat calumpniator ille uersutus ; quaiido in tercium celum 
raptus ascenderit, ut ei reuelarentur secreta celi et fieret alter 
Paulus, uel non impar Paulo ? De tanta reuelatione sua uel illud 

him by making light of him : let them hear let them hear, I say 
they who pretend that we are mad the truth of the facts, and look at 
them with the eyes of simplicity and henceforth let them cease to 
detract from the glory of the saints. As for us, in very truth, we 
reverence as a saint him whom in deed we know to be a saint, and we 
are not esteeming as a saint one who is no saint. Moreover to his 
sanctity of whom we are speaking the previous book bears testimony, 
and that same testimony the subsequent and daily miracles confirm by 
manifest proofs. The which, if they had not been wrought by divine 
power, could by no means have continued so long, since those things 
which are not of GOD very soon pass away. 

As regards the next point which is objected, namely that it is rash 
to venerate so extravagantly him of whom, as they say, it is uncertain 
as yet whether he be glorified, I would fain that they who cease not 
from making light of the efforts of simplicity and a pure conscience 
should make answer. But if they refuse to answer, let the right-minded- 
ness of the well-disposed give ear to that which the crafty malice of 
the envious refuses to hear. Let him make answer, say I, yea let 
that cunning slanderer make answer, and say when it was that he 
ascended on high, caught up to the third heaven, that the secrets of 
heaven should be revealed to him and he should become a second Paul 
or not unequal to Paul. Of this great revelation, at least let him tell us 

62 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

saltern nobis reuelet, quos in paradise glorificatos conspexerit, uel 
quos perceperit exclusos. Quia uero lippis profecto patet et 
tousoribus horum omnium nichil prorsus extitisse, qua fronte 
malignorum contumax audatia tarn audacter presumpsit asserere 
quod nullatenus constiterit ipsam posse rescire ? Itaque qui 
simplicitatis nostre deuotionem et deuotionis pitim obsequium de 
presumptione uel temeritate redarguunt citius obmutescant, erro- 
remque suum ac proprium presumptionis et temeritatis reatum 
recognoscant. Nunc tandem quia proteruis obtrectationibus ad 
plenum nos respondisse putamus, metamque prologi plenius re- 
spondendo excessimus a tramite narrationis longius digressi, ad 
eundem renouatis calamis lingue pedera referamus. 

ii. Commendatio martirii innocentie virginitatis et eggregie 
sanctitatis eius. 

CVM tuba nobis personet euangelica, nisi qui legitime certa- 
uerit neminem omnino coronari, procul dubio constat solis 
legitime certantibus celestis brauii coronam repromitti, et tamen 

one point : who they were whom he beheld glorified in Paradise, and 
whom he saw shut out 1 But inasmuch as it is clear alike to blind 
men and barbers, that he has had no such experience, with what 
effrontery does the perverse audacity of the malignant presume to 
assert that which it is quite certain that he cannot know ? Therefore let 
those who find fault with our devout simplicity and the pious practice 
of our devotion on the score of presumption or temerity hold their 
peace at once, and let them acknowledge that their own proper error is 
chargeable with presumption and temerity. 

But now because we think that we have made full answer to their 
saucy cavils and have wandered from the course of our narrative and 
exceeded the limit of a prologue by making answer only too fully, let us 
bring back the foot of our tongue to that same narrative with a fresh 
nibbed pen. 

ii. A commendation of his martyrdom, his innocence, virginity and 
conspicuous sanctity. 

Since the Gospel trump sounds forth to us that none is ever 
crowned unless he strive lawfully, it is certain beyond doubt that the 
heavenly crown is promised only to those who strive lawfully ; and yet 
it is bestowed in return for special merits of some special persons. 

II.] St William of Norwich. 63 

pro meritis singulorum singulis retribui. Cumque in aummi 
patrisfamilias domo mansiones multe sint, quid aliud estimemus, 
nisi quia secundum diuersa diuersorum profecto merita diuersa eis 
mansionum assignentur et contubernia ? Eminentioribus clauiger 
celi presidet Petrus cum consociis apostolis super thronos duodecim 
ad diiudicandum orbem considentibus. Mediorum uero ordinum 
loca prothomartyr et signifer optinet Stephanus cum numeroso 
sanctorum martyrum exercitu qui contra tyrannos et christiani 
nominis hostes pro fide Christi tuenda fortiter dimicantes in tor- 
mentis effuso sanguine per mortem carnis transitoriam ad uitam 
migrauerunt sine fine mansuram. Ordine denique tercio succedit 
numerosa et felix ilia sanctorum confessorum multiplicitas, qui 
uita religiosi, moribus ornati, uirtutibus pleni, meritorum effulsere 
radiis ac bene uiuendi formam mundo relinquentes in pace ecclesie 
quieuerunt. Quid ergo? Vniuersaliter omnes qui supernis con- 
sistunt sedibus interminatis funguntur gaudiis, infinita conregnant 
gloria, et sicut sol in perpetuas refulgent eternitates. Ibi nempe 
uera sunt gaudia, ibi uita, pax, et quies coeterna; ibi quicquid 
bonum, et solius mali absentia. In qua nimirum inestimabili 
gloria agnum ilium dominicum qui pascit inter lilia sequuntur 

Moreover, since in the Heavenly Father's house there are many man- 
sions, what else can we think but that, according to the diverse merits 
of divers persons, divers are the mansions and tabernacles assigned to 
them 1 Peter who holds the keys presides over the more eminent along 
with his fellow apostles, who sit upon twelve thrones to judge the 
world. But the place of the middle order Stephen the protomartyr and 
standard-bearer fills, with the great army of holy martyrs who, bravely 
struggling against tyrants and foes of the Christian name in defence 
of the faith in Christ, have shed their blood under tortures and 
passed away by the brief death of the flesh to the life that knows 
no end. In the third rank succeeds that great and happy multi- 
tude of holy confessors who, religious in their lives, beautiful in 
their characters, rich in virtues, have shone forth with the beams of 
their merits and leaving to the world an example of good living 
have fallen asleep in the peace of the Church. What then? All 
universally who have their place in the mansions above are en- 
joying the never ending joys ; they reign together in infinite glory and 
like the sun they shine forth through all eternity. Verily there true 
joys are to be found. There is life, peace, and abiding quiet ; there what- 
ever is good is to be found ; there evil alone is absent. In that incom- 
parable glory is that blessed Lamb of God that feedeth among the 

6 4 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

uirginum chori quocunque ierit. Quibus solis ea priuilegii con- 
cessa est prerogatiua, quod soli illius excellentissime nouitatis 
ooncinunt canticum, quoniam puram et illibatam uirginitatis sue 
conseruantes stolam domino puram munditie sue optulerant celi- 
batum. Quorum sacris gloriosum martyrem Willelmum reuera 
non diffidimus interesse collegiis, stola insignitum triplici, ac 
inter precipuos annumerandum. Nee immerito stole triplicis 
insignia promeruit, qui duas> innocentie scilicet ac uirginitatis, 
quas habebat stolas, ut sibi terciam uindicaret, roseo martyrii 
sanguine rubricauit. Neque quispiam que dico his tanquam 
rebus suo tempore insuetis cordis aures et fidei diligentiam 
auertat, quoniam nisi que uel ipse uidi, siue diligenti indagatione 
a uiris credibilibus pro certo scire potui, omnino presentibus 
scriptis commendare curaui. Nempe si rei ueritatem diligens 
simplicitatis superficie tenus saltern percurrat oculus, quid aliud 
uidens uidebit, aut attendens percipiet, nisi quod beati Willelmi 
pueritiam et innocentia saluat et uirginitatis munditia com- 
mendat ? Et qui certis uulnerum indiciis, quisquis ea fecerit, 
quibusdam quasi argumentis reuera occisus comprobatur, adeo 

lilies, and the choirs of virgins follow him whithersoever he goeth. 
To them alone is that privilege and prerogative granted, that they 
sing the new song that is above all others, since they have preserved 
the robe of their virginity pure and undefiled and offered to their 
Lord a pure and celibate chastity. In the sacred bands of these 
we do not doubt that the glorious martyr William has in very 
truth a place conspicuous in his triple stole, and deserving to be 
numbered among the illustrious ones. And not without cause has he 
won the ornament of the triple stole ; for he dyed with the rosy blood 
of martyrdom the two stoles of innocence and virginity which he 
already had, that he might claim for himself the third stole. 

Now let no one withhold his attention from these things that I assert, 
because they are matters not usual in his own time, since I have been 
careful to set down in this present writing nothing but what I myself saw 
or eUe know for certain to be so from diligent enquiry of men to be trusted. 
Verily, if the careful eye of simplicity do but examine the truth of the 
matter on the surface, what else will it see by its seeing or perceive by 
giving due heed, but that the blessed William's innocence preserved 
his boyhood and that the purity of his virginity exalted it : and by the 
certain marks of his wounds, whoever may have inflicted them, he is 
proved a* it were by sure arguments to have been indeed slain ; and 

ii.] St William of Norwich. 65 

paruulus et innocens nullis precedentibus culpis necem prome- 
ruisse qualiter credatur ? Aut que preciosarum uestium siue 
quarumlibet diuitiarum ad tarn execrabile facinus admittendum 
trahere posset aliquem cupiditas, cum ipsum constet harum rerum 
prorsus habuisse nullas ? Sed quomodocunque res gesta fuerit, id 
tamen pro certo tenemus quoniam durissimis attrectatus modis 
tandem occisus sit atque ad dominum creatorem suum creatura 
innocens uirgo et martir ab hac luce migrauerit. Quod autem 
sanctus dici debeat, immo et sit, cotidianis circa sepulchrum eius 
contingentibus miraculis diuina protestatur gratia, qui ea ipsa 
temporibus nostris et misericorditer exhibere et quanti apud 
eum sit quern ita glorificat manifeste non dedignatur ostendere. 
Que scilicet miracula prout uidimus siue auditu cognouimus, ex 
pontificali precepto et conuentus Norwicensis rogatu, ego Thomas 
Monemutensis deo annuente scripto commendanda suscepi, et ne 
ipsa delere possit obliuio posteris studui reseruare temporibus. 

who can believe that, young as he was and innocent, he can have 
deserved death, since no previous fault is known? Or again, what 
desire for his costly garments or any sort of wealth could have drawn 
on any one to the commission of so execrable a crime, when it is cer- 
tain that he possessed none of these things ? But let the matter have 
happened as it may, we hold it for certain that after being handled in the 
cruellest manner he was slain at last, and that this innocent creature 
passed away to his Creator a virgin and a martyr, 

But that he deserved to be called a saint and that he truly is one, 
the grace of GOD makes manifest by the daily miracles that are occurring 
round about his sepulchre GOD, who does not disdain mercifully to 
show us these very things in our own times and to make it plain how 
highly he is esteemed whom He so manifestly glorifies. These miracles 
accordingly, which we have witnessed or know of by report, by command 
of the Bishop and at the request of the Convent of Norwich, I, Thomas 
Monemutensis, by divine permission have undertaken to commit to 
writing, and lest oblivion should avail to blot them out, I have been 
careful to hand them down to future times. 

W. N. 


St William of Norwich. [BK. 

A D 

iii. De Rosa que ad sepuldirum eius tempore hiemis refloruit. 

J) sanctitatis reuera inditium et meritorum eius declarandam 

excellentiam quiddam dominus fieri uoluit unde et con- 

suetum nature ordinem commutauit. Cum etenim quorundam 
monachorum pia deuotio ramusculum qui tempore estmo in 
claustro floribus roseis uernans iam effloruerat ad capud sepulchri 
sancti martyris eodem quo ibi tumulatus est anno circa festum 
sancti Michaelis transplantasset, continuo terre radicitus inhesit 
et reuirescentibus foliis paucis interiectis diebus non sine magna 
omnium admiratione refloruit. Vniuersis uero floribus usque ad 
festum sancti Eadmundi in ramusculo perseuerantibus, uehemens 
ymbrium et uentorum exorta tune procella omnes preter unum 
excussit. Qui autem rubicundior et supereminentior ceteris pre- 
minebat, excussis reliquis in ramusculi cacumine, locum tenuit, 
atque per ymbres, uentos, niues et frigora brumalia non sine 
diuino conseruatus nutu, multis post diebus in ramusculo per- 
durauit. Quern nimirum florem plurimi admiratione ducti uidere 
curauerunt; ex quibus nonnulli se circa natale domini ipsum 
uidisse testati sunt. Perpendat igitur diuinum in hac re non 

iii Concerning the rose which bloomed in winter at his grave. 

As a token in very truth of his sanctity and for the setting forth 
of the excellence of his merits it pleased the Lord that something 
should take place wherein He changed the ordinary course of nature. 
Accordingly when the pious devotion of certain of the monks had 
transplanted a small shrub, which in the summer had blossomed with 
roses in the cloister, to the head of the holy martyr's grave, about the 
feast of St Michael in the same year in which he was buried there, it 
immediately took root, and in a few days it put forth leaves and, to the 
great astonishment of all, it blossomed again, and all the flowers 
remained on the branches even to the feast of St Edmund (20 
November) : but then a great storm of wind and rain arose and shook 
them all off save one, which was remarkable as redder and more con- 
spicuous than all the rest ; and, when all the other roses were shaken 
off, thin one kept its place on the top branch, and through the rain 
and wind and snow and winter cold, preserved by divine favour, still 
remained upon the branch for many days. Of course many people 
attracted by the marvel took good care to see it, of whom some have 
testified that they saw it there about Christmas time. Therefore 
whoever In- I*, who is not ungrateful for the divine mercies, let him 

ii.] St William of Norwich. 67 

defuisse operationis misterium quisquis beneficiis diuinis non 
ingratus esse consueuit. Et dum circa corpus beatissimi martiris 
Willelmi nature ordinem immutatum comperit, in testimonium 
martirii ems rosam uoluntate diuina sic effloruisse existimet, et 
dominum in sanctis suis mirificum collaudet. 

iv. De admirabili uisione cuiusdam egroti et de eius cur a. 

ALIVD quoque eodem anno contigit miraculum, in quo quid 
-^- aliud diuina nobis bonitas designare uoluit, nisi quia et in 
celis multe sit excellentie beatissimus puer et martyr Willelraus, 
plurimaque in terris ueneratione condignus ? Erat enim homo 
quidam Lewinus nomine in uilla que apellatur Welle, que sita in 
palustribus Hely aquis undique a continenti intercluditur. Is 
cum diuturna egrotasset ualetudine, totoque inbecillis corpore 
iaceret, sui omnes qui aderant de salute ipsius omnino diffidebant. 
Aderant tune paschalis temporis dies, quibus ingrauescente tandem 
morbi angustia et discurrente per singulos artus prenuntia mortis 
frigiditate, anelitus interripitur, pulsus attenuatur, et languen- 

lay it to heart, how that in this manner a mystery of divine operation 
was not wanting ; and seeing that near the body of the most blessed 
martyr William a change of the order of nature was brought about, 
let him accept the truth that it was by the divine will, as a testimony 
to the fact of his martyrdom, that the rose did thus blossom ; and let 
him praise the Lord who doeth wonders among Kis saints. 

iv. Concerning the wondrous vision of a certain sick man, 
and concerning his cure. 

Another miracle happened the same year, in which what else did 
the divine goodness wish to shew to us if it were not that in the 
heavens the most blessed boy and martyr was held of much account, 
and is worthy of much veneration here on earth 1 

For there was a certain man named Lewin in a town called Wells', 
and which situated in the marshes of Ely is surrounded on all sides 
with water. This man had been ill with a long sickness, and lain 
with his body altogether helpless ; and all his friends who were with 
him were altogether despairing of his recovery. The Easter time was 
drawing near, when, the torments of his disease increasing upon him, 
and the cold that is a presage of death coming over all his limbs, his 
breathing was interrupted and his pulse was very weak, his eyelids 
1 This may be Upwell, Outwell, or Welney. 


68 St William of Nonvich. [BK. 

tibus iam palpebris res ad extremum duci uidebatur. Alternatis 
uero uicibus nunc pallidus et interdum apparebat rubicundus. 
V in in quidam assistentium cum pallidum cernerent, mortuum 
estimantes ad funeris se preparabant exequias. Qui uero inter- 
fuerant astutiores, maxime quia et rubicundum quandoque 
uiderent, necdum emortuum esse credentes, donee certiores inde 
fierent conseruandum adiudicabant. Quibus denique tanquam 
prudentioribus adquiescunt ceteri, eumque in diem tercium studu- 
erunt conseruari. Porro inter hec eger in extasim raptus et ab 
angelo, uelut ipse postea testatus est, assumptus, per loca diuersa 
turn horribilia turn amena deducitur. In illis innumerabilem 
turbam diuersis crucian penis conspicit, in quibus et nonnullos 
quos in uita cognouerat recognoscit. Qui eo uiso ac cognito, fami- 
liaria quedam et secreta ei tradentes intersigna quibusdam suo- 
rum uitali luce adhuc fmentibus per ipsum mandando notificant, 
eosdem illis preparatos cruciatus nisi ab his et ab illis penitentes 
desistant criminibus. Quibus uisis inde abducitur et penalia atque 
horroris plena transgrediens loca, amenissimam et florigeram duce 
angelo ingreditur regionem. Quam pertransiens innumeram ibi 

drooped, and the end seemed to be drawing near. But then there 
came a change: for one moment he was all pallid, and the next he 
seemed to get red. So that some of those standing by, when they 
saw him blanched, thinking him dead, were for preparing for his last 
exequies. But they who were more knowing, especially when they 
saw him getting red, not believing that he was dead, decided that 
he ought to be kept until they could be more certain upon the point. 
Until at last the others were guided by the more prudent, and agreed 
that he should be kept till the third day. 

In the meanwhile the sick man was carried away in an ecstasy and 
was taken up and conducted by an angel, as he afterwards testified, 
through various regions, some horrible and some delightful. In them 
he saw a countless multitude being tortured with different punishments, 
and among them he recognised many whom he had known when alive. 
And they, when they saw him and knew him, entrusted him with 
certain secret and familiar signs and tokens ; and commissioning him to 
certain of their kindred who were still enjoying the light of life, they 
assured these that the same torments were prepared for them, unless 
they should repent and desist from those crimes that they knew of. 
When he had seen these things, he was led away from thence and 
had passed through the terrible regions of punishment ; and under the 
guidance of the angel he entered a most delightful region where the 

II.] St William of Nonvich. 69 

hominum multitudinem in glorie inestimabilis gaudio positam 
cernit, et inde per uiam diuersis constratam floribus digrediens 
ante sedentem in throno dominum tandem adductus consistit. 
Intolerabili uero splendore lucis perterritus, primo diriguit, sed 
animante angelo animum resumens, excusso timore securius pedein 
fixit. Atque in illo chorusce lucis fulgore defixo intuitu uidet 
dominum dominatorem uniuersorum throno sedentem aureo, lapi- 
dibus preciosis exornato, et ante eum sanctorum milia. Videt 
quoque a dextris in maiestate sedentis domini beatam et gloriosam 
assidentem uirginem Mariam et ad pedes dominice maiestatis 
puerum conspicit quasi duodennem scabello residentern aureo. 
Cuius habitus nine candidior, cuius uultus sole splendidior, et in 
capite eius fulgebat corona aurea preciosissimis undique insignita 
lapidibus. Cui pariter congratulabantur sanctorum chori eumque 
maxime uenerabantur ordines angelici. Quibus uisis plurimum 
admirans Lewinus duci angelo ait : Quis est hie, domine, ad pedes 
domini scabello residens, cui tanti ab uniuersis impenduntur 
honores ? Cui angelus : Hie est, inquit, cui honor debetur per- 
petuus, quern in derisum dominice passionis et opprobrium his 

flowers bloomed. And as he passed through it he discerned a countless 
multitude of men whose home was in the joy of unspeakable glory, and 
passing through them by a road that was all strewn with different 
flowers, he was led on till at last he stood before the Lord sitting on His 
throne. Here, frightened by the unbearable splendour of the light, at 
first he swooned, but recovering himself when the angel revived him, 
and getting rid of his fear, he stood upon his feet again more firmly ; 
and fixing his gaze upon the splendour of that shining light, he beheld 
the Lord, the Ruler of the Universe, sitting on a golden throne, 
adorned with precious stones, and thousands of the saints before Him. 
He saw too on the right hand of the Lord iu majesty, the blessed and 
glorious Virgin Mary, sitting near Him, and at the feet of the Lord's 
majesty there was a boy as it were of twelve years old, reclining upon 
a golden footstool. His raiment was whiter than snow, and his face 
brighter than the sun, and upon his head there shone a golden crown, 
studded everywhere with precious stones. All the choirs of the saints 
together congratulated him, and the orders of angels were doing 
him exceeding honour. And when he saw these things, Lewin, wonder- 
ing much, said to the angel that was his guide : " Sir, who is this 
sitting on the footstool at the feet of the Lord, to whom such great 
honour is paid by all ? " To whom the angel answered : " This is he to 
whom perpetual honour is due, whom the Norwich Jews slew in 

70 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

sacris diebus iudei Norwicenses peremerunt. Eiusque debetur 
mentis quod ad sepulchrum illius remedium suscipias sanitatis. 
Et his dictis inde continue assumitur, ac reductus suo restituitur 
corpori. Remeante uero anima, in conspectu assistentium subito 
corpus omne contremuit, illisque perterritis qui mortuus putabatur 
rediuiuus apparuit. Resumptisque paulatim uiribus, post pau- 
lulum aperuit oculos, et euocato patri totam ex ordine prout 
uiderat exposuit uisionem. Attonitis super his et admirantibus 
qui aderant uniuersis subiunxit dicens: Ecce annuntiante mihi 
ac promittente angelo, ad spem salutis reuocor, unde necesse est, 
pater, ut summa festinatione uersus Norwicum iter arripias, et 
sepulchrum pueri nuper a iudeis occisi diligenter perquiras. Quo 
tandem inuento, et ego te duce prout potuero postraodum illuc 
uenire conabor, ubi et eiusdem sancti pueri meritis me sanari 
confido. Surgit pater et propero gressu Norwicum ueniens de 
iiu-inorato sciscitatur puero, sed nullam de huiuscemodi re per- 
cipere potuit certitudinem. Dumque ab uniuersis talem rem 
percunctaretur, aliquo insinuante ad aures iudeorum eiusmodi 
perlata est questio. Subito igitur exterriti timore, quia infamie 

mockery and scorn of the Lord's passion during this holy season. It is 
owing to his merits that thou shalt at his sepulchre obtain the recovery 
of thy health ! " 

At these words he was immediately lifted up and restored to his body ; 
and when his spirit returned, in the sight of all who stood by a shudder 
passed over all his body, and to the amazement of all the supposed 
corpse appeared alive again. Soon recovering strength, after a while 
he opened his eyes, and calling to his father he expounded the whole 
vision in order as he had seen it. And when all present were aston- 
ished and wondering, he added saying, " Behold by the announcement of 
the angel that gave me the promise I am called back to the hope of 
recovery. Wherefore it is necessary, O father, that with utmost speed 
thou shouldst hurry to Norwich, and shouldst diligently seek out 
the aepulchre of the boy lately killed by the Jews ; and when thou hast 
found it, I too under thy guidance will try to go there according as I 
am able, and then by the merits of that same holy boy I hope for 

The father got up, and hastening with all speed to Norwich 
made enquiry concerning the boy that he had heard of; but he 
could get no certain information about any affair of the kind. But on 
hi* continuing to ask about it from everybody, the question by some 
wean* came to the ears of the Jews. Whereupon they were seized 

ii.] St William of Norwich. 71 

sue sermonem renouari cernerent, turbabantur Christiani nominis 
hostes, atque iteruin ut altera nice se et sua intra munitionem 
castelli contulerunt. Ipse autem qui puerum a iudeis occisum 
quesiturus nulla prorsus pcrcepta certitudine, domum tristis et 
laboris fructu frustratus redire festinat. Denique domum ueniens 
se incassum laborasse et earum rerum quas quesierat nichil omnino 
esse explicat. Eger uero econtra ilium negligentius quesisse atque 
ut dixerat omnia reuera ita esse constanter affirmat. Sicque ubi 
egritudinis sue remedium non sine dolore differri conspicit, omnem 
tameu salutis sue spem in expectationis defigens mora, pacienter 
interim tolerauit. Euolutis exinde paucis diebus eiusdem uille 
presbiter Norwicum abiit, quoniam sjnodo que tune temporis ibi 
fieri solebat presbiter ipse existens abesse non poterat. Sedens 
autem inter fratres compresbiteros inter cetera negotia ecclesias- 
tica audiuit quendam Godwinum presbiterum super sanctissimi 
pueri Willelmi nece querela quemadmodum precedenti commemo- 
rauimus libro oratione concionantem. Quibus ille auditis non 
minima gauisus est leticia, quia hunc esse puerum cognoscit cuius 

with a sudden terror, because they perceived that the talk about their 
infamy was being renewed. The enemies of the Christian name were 
troubled, and again, as on the former occasion, they betook themselves 
and their belongings to the protection of the castle. The man himself, 
however, who had come to enquire about a boy slain by the Jews, 
having heard nothing certain and without any fruit of his toil, sad 
at heart, hastened home again. So when he got home he explained 
that he had taken all his trouble for nothing, and that there really was 
nothing in the story that he had enquired about. But the poor boy on 
the other hand kept constantly affirming that his father had made his 
enquiries in a negligent fashion, and that the facts were exactly as he 
himself had stated them. So when he perceived to his sorrow that the 
cure of his sickness was delayed, yet because he was persuaded that there 
was only a delay in his hope of deliverance, he submitted patiently in 
the meanwhile. But after the lapse of a few days, the priest of the 
same town went to Norwich, because being a priest he could not be absent 
from the Synod which was wont to be held there at that time of the 
year. There, seated among his fellow priests, he heard, among other 
ecclesiastical matters, the priest Godwin make his speech, complaining 
of the murder of the most holy boy William, as I have mentioned 
in the previous book. At the hearing of which he rejoiced with no 
small delight, because he perceived that this was the same boy whose 

72 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

et ncoem hie inpresentiarum predicari audiat et unde domi pre- 
scriptus eger loqui solebat. Peracta tandem synodo locum ubi 
iaceat sciscitatur; quo uiso et denotato domum gratulabundus 
reuertitur. Narrat egro presbiter que audierat uel uiderat, locum- 
que quo ilium sit inuenturus denuntiat. Quod audiens eger, 
tvMiinptis paulisper et recreatis leticia uiribus, lectulo resedit, et 
iam quasi seroirecepta gratulabatur salute. Contra nimirum 
imbecillitatis sue incommodum confortatiuum leticie opponebat 
autidotum. Quid multa? Crastino pater eius qualiter potuit 
ad illud gloriosi pueri uenerabile sepulchrum filium deportare 
curauit. Inter hec eger partuni sibi salutis differri dolens reme- 
dium totus imbecillis uix corporis uiribus animum sequebatur, sed 
tameu animi uirtute incommodum superabat nature. Veniunt 
tandem Norwicura pater et filius, ac uersus siluam ad sepulchrum 
exoptatum conuertentes iter, quorundam relatu quos in itinere 
obuios habuerunt sanctum puerum Willelnium didicere iam inde 
ftiisse translatum atque intra cimiterium monachorum sepulchro 
lapideo reconditum. Conuerso itaque itinere ad ecclesiam episco- 
palem tandem perueniunt, expositoque sacristis negotio ac desiderio 

murder he was now hearing announced, and about whom the sick lad 
at home was wont to talk. When the Synod was over, he enquired 
about the place where the slain was lying, and having seen and marked 
the place, he returned home congratulating himself. Then the priest 
told the sick man what he had heard and seen, and he pointed out the 
place where he was to be found. When the sufferer heard it, re- 
covering for the moment his strength, which for very joy came back to 
him, he sat up in his bed, and rejoiced, as already half recovered ; for 
against the grievous trouble of his weakness he was now setting the 
strengthening antidote of joy. Next day his father took care to 
transport his son in the best way he could to the glorious martyr's 
epulchre. On the way, the sufferer grieved that the cure of his 
illness was still deferred, and, weak as he was, could hardly keep 
pace with his inclinations for all his earnestness, though with his 
it's resolution he was getting the better of the physical diffi- 
uhi.-s in his way. Father and son at last reached Norwich, and, 
ing their course towards the wood, and the grave they were 
i search of, learnt by the information they got from those whom they 
> way, that the holy boy William had been already 
it-l thence, and was now buried in the Monks' cemetery in a 
Npkfeft Accordingly turning their steps to the cathedral, on 

ii.] St William of Norwich. 73 

suo, eoruni permissione sepulchre desiderate admitti meruerunt. 
Eger ergo quod tanto uoto tarn diu concupierat consecutus nimia 
compunctus leticia erumpit in lacrimas, flexisque ad orationem 
genibus, deinde totus humi prouolutus, animam suam coram 
domino effudit. Inter crebros autem singultus et suspiria rogabat 
dominum uti si quam uiderat non fallax sed uera et efficax fuisset 
uisio, uisionis ueritate et sanitatis non fraudaretur promisso. 
Deinde conuersus ad sepulchrum sanctum puerum et martyrem 
flagitabat, quern adeo sublimem et honoratum celo conspexerat. 
Eiusque se sanari postulabat mentis ad quern deprecandum an- 
gelicis inuitabatur promissis. Dumque in hunc modum preces 
effunderet, profusis genas rigabat lacrimis, et orationem piam 
protelabat deuotio. Interim diuina miserante gratia, uigore 
quodam se membratim infundente, membra sentiebat conualescere 
et ad subintrantis aduentum omnem paulatim excludi dolorern. 
Consummata tandem oratione, subita dei uirtnte se sentit incolu- 
mem, et tarn uelocem circa se admiratur salutem. Plurimum 
itaque gauisus, quam secum attulerat cum denario candelam 

their arrival there they explained their business to the sacrists, and with 
their permission they succeeded in being admitted to the sepulchre 
they were in search of. Thereupon the sick man, having obtained that 
which he had been desiring so long and with so much earnestness, 
overcome by excess of joy burst into tears ; and falling on his knees in 
prayer and then prostrating himself upon the ground he poured out his 
whole soul to GOD. So with many sobs and sighs he kept asking the 
Lord that if the vision he had seen had been no false vision, but a true 
and real one, he might not be baulked of the cure that had been 
promised. Then turning to the sepulchre he besought the holy boy 
and martyr whom he had seen exalted and honoured in the heavens, 
and begged that by his merits he might be healed, to whom by the 
angel's promises he had been invited to address his prayers. 

While he was pouring out his supplications in this manner, with 
his tears wetting his cheeks, and his fervour prolonging his prayer ; 
lo ! by the divine favour showing mercy to him, he felt that 
his limbs were beginning to be restored to him by reason of a 
strange vigour that began to work in all his members; and as this 
secret power began to work he felt that gradually all his pain was 
leaving him. When at length his prayer came to an end he felt him- 
self whole, by a sudden exercise of the divine power, and he marvelled 
at the cure which in his case had been so rapid. Wherefore rejoicing 
exceedingly, he laid upon the sepulchre by way of offering the candle 

74 N' William of Norwich. [BK. 

oblationis ritu super sepulchrum ponit, et cum patre sospes ac 
gratulabundus abscessit. He beatissimo martyri Willelmo collate 
sunt oblationis primitie, quern gratie diuine bonitas talibus miracu- 
liinim primordiis glorificauit, et quern processu temporis multiplici 
uirtutuni frequentia cuius ipse meriti sit ac sanctitatis mundo 
declorare uoluit. 

v. De cvnsirtitti uisione cuiusdam puellule. 

ALJQVANTI postmodum temporis interiecto spatio per omnia 
jLJL fere consimilem cuidam uirgini uidisse contigit uisionem. 
Quas et si temporibus diuersis diuersos uidisse cognouimus, con- 
similitudinis tamen causa uisioni uisionem conferendo coniunximus. 
Dumque eas deuotis fidelium auribus explicare cupimus, nemo 
ueris me non uera cudere siue interkalare existimet, nemo nugarum 
url : urn compilatorem appellet. Nichil enim prorsus in 

uinonibus enarrandis interserere presumpsi nisi quod ipsorum 
uidentium relatu certissime cognoscere preualui. Erat igitur 
uirgtincula quedam in uilla que dicitur Mulchebertune, etate 
quidem satis iuuencula, et pro uiribus etatis moribus et actu 

which he had brought with him, and a coin, and so along with his 
father he went his way healed and full of thankfulness. 

These were the first-fruits of the offerings made to the most 
blessed William, whom the goodness of the divine favour glorified with 
such a beginning of miracles, and concerning whom in process of time 
He intended to declare to the world by a plentiful harvest of mighty 
works, of how great merit and holiness he was. 

v. Concerning a similar vision of a certain little girl. 

Some considerable time after this it came to pass that a certain 
damsel saw a vision nearly in all respects like the former. These two 
visions were seen by different persons and at different times; yet 
because of their similarity we have put them together for comparison. 
And while I am desirous to set them forth to the devout ears of the 
faithful, let no man think I am interpolating or passing off for true 
that which is untrue ; let no man call me an inventor of trifles or false- 
hoods ; for I have not presumed in telling the story of the visions to 
insert anything whatever except what I have been able to arrive at the 
roost certain knowledge of by the relation of the seers themselves. 

Well ! there was a certain little damsel in a town called Mulbarton, 

ii.] St William of Norwich. 75 

multum religiosa. Hec admirabilem in uisu noctis uisionem non 
sine nutu diuino uidere promeruit, quam ipsa postmodum nobis 
referre curauit. Videbam, inquit, uigilans pene siue dormiens 
nescio, deus scit, et ecce columba niue candidior mihi e celis 
aduolans coram me stetit et ait: Festinans egredere ac sequere 
me. Confestim ergo conuersa in columbam ego ipsam hue et 
illuc uidebar sequi preuiam. Nee mora, sinistrorsus conuerse in 
loca uenimus penalia, horroris ac luctus undique plena. Vbi fetor 
intolerabilis et inpenetrabiles horrebant tenebre, ubi ardor in- 
extinguibilis et irremediabile rigebat frigus. Ibi totius priuatione 
boni quicquid malum, ibi labor et quies nulla, ibi dolor et 
intemperies semper con<f>usa. Hie turbam animarum conspexi 
innumeram, diuersis penarum subiectam cruciatibus. Quas dum 
uariata uicissitudine a penis ad penam conspicio rapi, animo 
nimirum consternata uehementer exhorrui. Quarum 1 cruciatuum 
multiplicitatem ac multiplicitatis perhennitatem dum mente 
recolo, turn doloris recordatione, turn pie miserationis impulsu, 
lacrimas continere non possum. Si autem uniuersa prout uidisse 
contigit referre concupisco, ad explicandum nequaquam sufficio. 

and she was very religious for her age. This damsel by the divine 
favour was deemed worthy to see a wonderful vision in a dream by 
night, the which she herself afterwards took care to relate to me. " I 
saw" said she "whether I was awake or asleep I cannot tell God 
knoweth and behold a dove whiter than snorv flying forth from heaven, 
and it stood before me and said 'Hasten and come forth and follow 
me.' And I straightway changed into a dove, and seemed to be 
following her as she flew before me. And soon we turned to the left 
hand, and we arrived at the realms of punishment, all full of horror and 
mourning everywhere. There there was a stench unbearable and 
horrible darkness impenetrable, and a burning heat that could not be 
quenched, and cold that knew no remedy. There there was every 
kind of evil that comes of privation of all that is good. There there 
was toil and no rest, and grief and trouble combined. There too I saw 
an innumerable concourse of souls subjected to various torments, 
and they were hurried from one punishment to another by varying 
changes of suffering ; and sorely aghast at heart I was dreadfully 
overcome by horror ; and as I recall the number of these tortures and 
how long they lasted, I can scarce refrain from tears, partly from the 
remembrance of their agony and partly from the feeling of pity. But 
when I long to tell all that it was my hap to see, I lack the power to 

76 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

Omnibus denique uisis, ducem sequens columbam, relictisque post 
tei^um tartareis sedibus, alanira remigiis sursum feror, et penni- 
gero uolatu celos penetrans ante tribunal dominicum cum columba 
duce et ego columba pariter consisto. Videbatur autem mihi 
uniuersorum conditor ac moderator dominus inter sanctorum 
choros maiestate presidere altissima. Cuius uisione gloriosa pas- 
cebantur angeli, cuius odore mirifico saciabantur omnes electi, cuius 
et radianti splendore illustrari uidebantur et celi. Cuius uestis 
admirabilis et preciosissima auro gemmisque erat inestimabilis 
mm- circumtexta. Ad cuius dexteram gloriosa uirgo et mater 
assidebat Maria inenarrabili et admirando exornata uestitu. Ibi 
numerosus aderat angelorum exercitus, ibi congratulans sanctorum 
uniuersalis consistebat chorus. Inter quos et pariter consistentem 
ac deo ualde proximum specie quidem incomparabilem puerum 
conspexi. Huic maximus ab uniuersis deferebatur honor, huius 
facies decore admirabilis sole multo radiabat splendidior. Cuius 
uestis uesti dominice fere per omnia erat consimilis, colore scilicet, 
getnmis, et auro, tanquam si uestis de ueste recisa fuisset. Super 
quo ualde admirata, eoque maxime quod domino puerulum quali- 

set it forth. At last when I had seen all this, following the dove that 
led me, and leaving behind us the dwellings of the damned, by the 
stroke of my wings I was borne upwards, and in my flight I soared 
through the heavens ; and lo ! before the Lord's Judgment seat, I, 
as a dove with the dove that was my guide, both stopped. Then there 
appeared to me the Lord, the maker and ruler of the universe, and 
He sat in loftiest majesty among the choirs of the saints. The angels 
were feeding upon the glorious vision of Him, all the elect were joying in 
His marvellous sweetness, and the very heavens seemed to be illumined 
with His radiant brightness. His wondrous garment above all price 
was marvellously bordered with jewels and gold. At his right hand sat 
the glorious Virgin Mother Mary, adorned with a robe of unspeakable 
magnificence. There too was a mighty army of angels, and there doing 
her honour stood the whole multitude of saints. Among them and 
standing at her side, and very near to GOD, I saw a boy of quite 
incomparable Ixjauty, and to him utmost honour was being paid by all. 
Hi face was strangely lovely and it shone much more brightly than the 
sun ; and his garment was well nigh in all things like to the garment 
of the Lord, in hue and jewels and gold, as though the one garment 
had been cut from the other. At the which I wondered greatly, 
and ao much the more as I observed the little boy made equal 
with the Lord in quality of his raiment; and, longing to know 

n.] St William of Nonvich. 77 

tate habitus parificari cerncrem, quisnam hie sit scire desiderans a 
duce columba querere non distuli. Et ilia : Hie est, inquit, glorio- 
sus puer et martyr Willelmus, qui in dominice passionis derisum a 
iudeis olim occisus urbem Norwicensem suo perornauit mart^rio. 
Qua uero Christum mortis imitatus est passione, non dedignatus est 
Christus ipsum sibi et purpuree uestis parificari honore. Et fact a 
est ad me uox de throno dicens : Vade, puellula, et huic quern 
cernis puero ac uirgini et tu uirgineum dum uixeris exhibere 
studeas famulatum. Hunc deuota dilige, ac uirginem uirgo per- 
seuerans uenerare. Ipsum peculiarem habeto amicum, et fidis- 
simum tibi senties aduocatum. Quibus auditis ac mente perceptis, 
duce preuia inde confestim abscedo, et loco unde ueneram restituta, 
priorem formam suscipio. Mane tandem expergefacta, uisionem 
illam gratissimam parentibus edixi, quorum consiliis hue adueniens 
eandem et uobis explicatura accessi. Quod audientes ac plurimum 
super hoc admirati, deum benedicere et glorificare cepimus, qui et 
incognita ad incrementum nostre reuelat deuotionis, sanctosque 
suos etiam pauperum glorificare non dedignatur testimoniis. 

who this could be, I did not hesitate to ask of the dove that was my 
guide. And she made answer : ' This,' she said, ' is the glorious boy- 
martyr William, who in Passion "Week was a while ago slain by the 
Jews in mockery, and by his martyrdom has made illustrious the 
city of Norwich. Wherefore, because by that death and passion of his 
he has followed Christ, so Christ has not disdained to make him equal 
with Himself in the honour of his purple robe.' Then there came to 
me a voice from the throne saying: 'Go thy way, and while thou livest 
strive to show thyself a virgin follower of him whom thou beholdest, 
the virgin boy. Love him with all devotion and, preserving thy 
virginity, revere him who is virgin too. Count him thy peculiar 
friend, and know him to be thy most trusty advocate !' 

" As I heard these words and pondered them in my mind, I with my 
guide going before me straightway departed thence, was restored to the 
place from whence I came, and assumed my former shape. At last in 
the morning I awoke, and I told that gracious vision to my parents ; by 
whose advice I came here intending to make it known to you." When 
we heard this, wondering exceedingly, we began to bless and glorify 
GOD who makes known things unknown for the increase of our 
devotion, and deigns to glorify His saints even by the testimony of the 

78 St William of Nonvich. [BK. 

vi. De pregnante mire liberata. 

T71 GREGIUM quoque illud miraculum quod primum illius esse 
Pj didici sub prima miraculorum serie adnotandum iudicaui. 
Erat quippe mulier Botilda nomine Girardi qui coquus erat 
iimnafhorum uxor, maximum erga beatum martyrem deuotionis 
gerens amorem. Hec dum idem egregius puer et martyr in 
rimiterio tumularetur post ceteros cum assisteret, quam feretro 
pedibus eius fidelis supposuerat deuotio, filicis partem tulit quam 
in posterum utpote sibi profuturam pio fidei ducta instinctu re- 
seruare studuit. Cumque pauci subinde pertransissent dies, que 
pregnans erat laborare sub partu cepit. Vbi uero per dies quin- 
decim magis ac magis dolor ingrauesceret, multisque adhibitis nil 
sibi proficientibus medicinis, tandem aquam reliquiarum benedictam 
hnusisset, in aliquo necdum profecit. Cumque ad extremum uite 
peruenisse uideretur, angustiante nimis pressura doloris, oculos 
sursum leuauit, in dexteram et leuam lacertos extendit. Visum 
quoque pre angustia circumquaque se per singula cursim defleccente, 
subito memoratum filicis ramusculum parieti a latere dependentem 
conspexit, et assistentibus suis ait : Oh me infelicem, ac mei ipsius 

vL Concerning a woman with child miraculously delivered, 

That notable miracle which I have learnt was (St William's) first, 
I have thought fit to draw attention to in the first series of his 

There was a certain woman named Botilda, the wife of Girard who 
was the Monks' cook : she had conceived a great and devout love for 
the blessed martyr. This woman, when the illustrious boy-martyr was 
buried in the cemetery, stayed behind after every one else, and took 
a piece of fern which the devotion of the faithful had put under the bier, 
at hin feet ; and led by a pious instinct she preserved it as likely to be 
a benefit to her in the time to come. And a few days after she, being 
with child, began to be in labour. But when for 15 days her agony 
went on from more to more, and though many medicines were given 
li-r which profited nothing, at last she even drank the water of 
certain relics which had been blessed, and not even so was she any the 
better. And when at last she seemed to have come to her last hour, 
in the extremity of her pain she raised her eyes to heaven, and 
tratchixl out her arms to right and left and rolled her eyes in 
every way in agony; and lo ! she saw the little sprig of fern 
hanging on the wall beside her; and she said to those that were stand- 

ii.] St William of Nonvich. 79 

oblitam. Obliuione mei salutem propriam ipsa retardaui. Festi- 
nanter iam ilium filicis accipite ramum, et aqua distemperatum 
benedicta michi bibendum tradite. Quo peracto, tenens calicem 
ait: Gloriose puer et martyr Willelme, quanti apud deum sis 
meriti in presentiarum declarare digneris, et misertus famule tue 
periclitantis piissimam uirtutis tue super me dexteram extendas. 
His dictis, quod erat in cifo totum exhausit. Mira uelocitas, 
miraque remm congruentia ! De superioribus sensim potus de- 
scendebat in uentrem, et ab inferioribus paulatim puer de 
uentre prodibat in lucem. Sicque actum est, ut reuera dici 
possit : Ille est introductus ut iste prodiret exclusus. Liberata 
tandem mulier omnipotenti deo gratulabunda gratias egit qui per 
gloriosi martyris Willelmi sui gloriosa merita ipsam sub instanti ab 
instantis pressura periculi tarn efficaciter liberauit. 

vii. De uirgine quadam de Dunewiz a demonis incubi infestatione 


XCURSO postmodum aliquanto dierum interuallo, in uilla 
J J que Dunewiz dicitur uirgo fuit ab ineunte euo deum diligens, 
carnis illecebras calcans, et celibem uitam appetens. Hec a plurimis 

ing by, " Oh unhappy that I am ! how forgetful I have been ! I have 
delayed my own deliverance ! Make haste and take that sprig of fern 
and steep it in holy water and give it me to drink ! " Which when 
they had done, holding the cup she cried " Oh boy-martyr William, 
vouchsafe to show at this time in how great esteem thou art with 
GOD, and pitying thy servant in her extremity stretch forth the 
right hand of thy power over me ! " With these words she drained 
the contents of the cup. With wondrous and quick effect the drink 
passed into her belly, and soon a son from her womb came forth into 
the light ! And so it came to pass that in very truth it might be 
said that the one was taken in that the other might be sent forth. So 
at length the woman being delivered with joy gave thanks to Almighty 
GOD who by the glorious merits of His glorious martyr William, had 
effectually freed her in an instant from the pressure of an instant peril. 

vii. Concerning a certain virgin of Duntvich delivered from the 
persecution of a devilish Incubus. 

Some time after this, in a town called Dunwich, there was a certain 
maiden who from a very early age had had in her the love of GOD, had 
trodden under foot the lusts of the flesh, and had a desire for the 

80 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

petebatur ad nuptias, turn quia specie corporis erat formosissima, 
turn quia ditissimis parentibus cernebatur exorta. Verum quot 
habuit, in proposito constans, tot et spreuit. Morabatur quippe 
thalamo patris inclusa, ubi psalmos quos didicerat diebus ac noctibus 
v.litaria ruminabat. Nichil prorsus amare poterat nisi deum, ad 
qui'in t<tis uisceribus suspirabat. Piis diabolus inuidit studiis, 
unde ut illam de propositi deiceret culmine satellitem misit 
iniquitatis. Vnus igitur eorum quos faunos dicunt et incubos, 
ad luxum procliues ac sepe mulieribus insolentes, se in formam 
pulcherrimi transfigurans iuuenis ad illam inopinus intrauit et 
repentinus apparuit. Expauit uirgo solius aduentum uiri solitaria 
pertimescens. Salutauit ille, resalutatus consedit. Mentitur se 
ease quod non erat ut adipisceretur quod affectabat. Mentitur 
se conditione militem, parentela generosum, uirtute ac forma 
pollentem, diuitiis et largitate precipuum. Ad hec uirgo simplex 
et pudibunda siluit, et humi intendens lumina clausit. Et ille: 
Gratanter attendas, gratissima mihi puella. Castitatis tue fama 
et elegantie forma meis iam pridem insonuit auribus. His amorem 

celibate life. She was sought in marriage by many; not only because 
she was very beautiful in person, but because it was known that her 
parents were very rich. But, however many were her suitors, she was so 
constant in her purpose that she rejected them all. So she continued 
to dwell in her father's house, where she lived a solitary life repeating 
day and night the psalms she had learnt. She cared for nothing but 
GOD, to whom she poured forth her desires with all her heart. The 
devil grudged her these pious yearnings ; wherefore, in order that he 
might cast her down from the pinnacle of her purpose, he sent against 
her a messenger of evil. Wherefore one of those beings whom they call 
Fmirift and Incubi, who are prone to lust and are often the seducers of 
women, changing himself into the form of a very beautiful young man, 
came to where she was and suddenly appeared before her. The maiden 
in her loneliness, scared by the coming of a single young man, was much 
frightened. He saluted her and, being acknowledged in return, he took 
a seat. He pretended to be what he was not that he might accomplish 
bin purpose. He pretended that he was of knightly rank and of gentle 
blood, and he had the appearance of one endowed with merit and 
tieauty, and rirh and bountiful. Yet the maiden simple and modest 
held her peace, and with her face turned to the ground she closed her 
j. Hut the other spake saying : " O maiden to me so full of grace, 
be graciously pleased to hearken to me ! The fame of your chastity, 
and the beauty of your form have for long been sounding in my ears. 

ii.] St William of Norwich. 81 

concepi, et quo fama dictauerat uidere ueni. Ecce iam uisa places : 
quod restat, coniugium incamus. Quid in hac uita amore dulcius, 
amore iocundius ? Ad amorem nos inuitant mutuum hinc etas 
utriusque iuuenilis, inde forma consimilis. Si par pari coniuugitur, 
amicitia gratior habetur. Quis sim ignoras: paucis edicam. 
Omnibus nobilitate et pulchritudine precello : uniuersos sapientia 
et uirtute supero : cunctis diuitiarum copia prehabundo. Atque 
ut uerbis fidem faciam, si tantummodo assensum prebeas, mox te 
tot ac tantis ditabo donis quot et quantis tua nunquam habundauit 
parentela. Tune continuo anulos, monilia, torques, lunulas, inaures, 
atque huiuscemodi multa, protulit et optulit dicens: Hec interim 
gratanter accipias, mihi gratissima, mihi desiderantissima, post- 
modum plura et preciosiora pro libito susceptura. Quod ad hec 
uirgo faciat ? Qualiter his sexus fragilitas resistat ? Aures feriunt 
eximie laudis preconia : oculos alliciunt multiplicis precii donaria : 
mentem deliniunt diuitiarum et facultatum promissa. Verum 
inter hec persistit animus in Christo fortis et illibatus. Animum 
enim temptationum fluctibus exagitatum amor Christi regebat. 
Surgit igitur uirgo, donaria respuit, precibus non assentit. Quid 

So a longing seized me, and I have come to see her whose fame had 
reached me. Verily the sight of you delights me. What remains but 
that we should be married? What is sweeter or more joyous than love? 
The youthful age of both of us and the beauty that we both possess in- 
vites us to an interchange of love. If like be joined to like, friendship 
is accounted the more fitting. You know nofc who I am I will tell 
you in few words. I excel all men in nobleness and beauty, I surpass 
all in wisdom and virtue. I am better supplied than all other in the 
abundance of my riches ; and that I may prove my words, if only you 
give your assent, straightway I will endow you with such immense 
gifts as your parents never yet possessed." Thereupon he produced 
rings, necklaces, collars, brooches, earrings and many things of the 
kind, and he offered them to her saying : " Be graciously pleased to 
accept these things now, my dearest, my most desired one ; by and bye 
you shall have more and more precious things according to your wishes." 
What could a maiden do? How could the weaker sex resist these 
things? The blandishment of this high-flown praise made her ears 
tingle ; the presents of great value delighted her eyes ; the promises of 
riches and power were influencing her mind, but in the midst of it all 
her soul continued steadfast in Christ and unmoved, and though that 
soul was tossed upon the waves of temptation, the love of Christ still 
ruled within her. So the maiden rose, she rejected the gifts, she 
W. N. 6 

82 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

ergo ? Spretus ac uictus malignus hostis cum donariis ut subitus 
uenerat et subitus disparuit. Sepissirae tamen turn diebus turn 
noctibus rediens replicat antedicta, offert plurima, promittit infinita, 
Veetes sericas, micantes gemmas, aurum, argentum, et quod pre- 
ciosius uel pulchrius in mundi gloria excogitari potest ante illam 
congerit, eique ad libitum uniuersa proponit. Hec frequenter 
reiterans, sed incassum semper laborans iam ampliori cepit insistere 
pertinatia. Puella uero sibi consulens, et suspectam precauens 
uiolentiam, parentibus totum rei geste propalauit negotium. Qui 
quoniam nullum ad illam intmsse reuera cognouerant eumque 
cotidie ingredientem audiebant, demonem esse conitiunt, quern in 
aduentu tarn subitum et in dicessu tarn repentinum puella narrante 
didicerunt. Parentes autem diligentiam adhibent, custodes as- 
signant. Ille uero nee arceri custodiis nee excludi potuit sens. 
Porro illam tune uiolentius aggreditur ut uiolentia sibi subdat, 
quam nee blandiciis nee donis nee promissionibus circumuenire 
preualebat. A parentibus ergo consuluntur presbiteri, misse 
celebrantur, orationibus incumbitur, elemosine distribuuntur. Tha- 
lamus aqua respergitur benedicta, ante stratum illius crux sancta 

refused his offers. What next? Scorned and vanquished, the malignant 
foe with all his gifts disappeared as suddenly as he came. Yet return- 
ing, he plied her as before night and day, he offered her more and 
more, his promises were boundless. Silken robes all glistening with 
gems, silver and gold, and whatever can be imagined most precious 
and fair in the glory of this world he heaped up before her and 
offered them all. He persisted continually in his offers, but labouring 
always in vain, he began to ply her with increasing pertinacity. But 
the maiden taking counsel with herself, and fearing violence which she 
suspected, acquainted her parents with the whole business. They, 
because they knew that nobody had really had access to her chamber, 
and yet heard this visitor coming in daily, conjectured that it 
must be an evil spirit whose sudden appearance and as sudden 
departure the maiden's narrative had described. So the parents 
used all diligence and set watches. But as for him he could neither 
be kept out by guards, nor be shut out by locks and bars, and 
now he began to assail her the more violently that so he might by 
violence subdue her whom he could not overcome by flattery nor gifts 
nor promiiww. Whereupon some priests were consulted. Masses were 
celebrated, prayers were said, alms were distributed. They sprinkled 
her chamber with holy water, a cross was set up before her bed, and 

IT.] St William of Norwich. 83 

defigitur. Vniuersis iam innotuerat demonem esse qui sic earn 
infestabat. Vnde et diuinis repellere sacramentis attemptabant 
contra quern humana nil consilia profecerant. Demon autem, 
qui heri et nudius tercius interpolatis ingrediebatur horis, exinde 
uiolentior institit eamque indiuiduus frequentauit. Presertim 
diuina pietas que suis semper presens adest fidelibus, et ne temp- 
tationibus absorbeantur prouidet, puelle fortiter agonizanti salutare 
prestitit solatium. Quadam enim nocte usque ad uite tedium 
fatigata dum obdormiret, in somnis illi astitit uir canitie ueneranda 
conspicuus et indumentis pontificalibus super amictus dicens: 
Filia mea, et deo grata puella, uieum non uerearis aduentum : tue 
salutis attende nuntium. Cum hoste maligno decertasti, multa 
pertulisti, uiriliter uicisti. Tue iam corona debetur castitati, et 
brauium certamini. Verum, ut a cotidiane infestationis libereris 
molestia, mane cum tribus cereis et utroque parente Norwicum 
uade, sanctique martyris Willelmi a iudeis occisi sepulchrum 
exquire. Idque pro certo habeas, quod cum inde redieris optate 
solatium percipies liberationis. Ego sum inquam HERBERTUS 
episcopus, Norwicensis ecclesie fundator, qui et salutis tue tibi 

soon it was known to all that it was an evil spirit who was infesting 
her, so that they tried to drive him away by the divine sacraments 
when no human means did any good. But the evil spirit, who at first 
made his advances at the interval of a day or two, now became more 
and more pressing, and now was always close to her. However, the 
divine goodness, which is always nigh at hand to His faithful ones, and 
takes care that they should not be overwhelmed by temptations, 
brought about a saving comfort for the damsel so sorely troubled. For 
one night while she was asleep, almost worried to death, there stood 
by her in the visions of the night one of reverend look with white hair 
and robed in pontifical garments, who said to her: "Daughter mine, and 
damsel dear to GOD, fear not at my coming, but give heed to the 
messenger of thy salvation. Thou hast striven with a malignant foe, 
thou hast borne much, thou hast vanquished nobly. Thou hast earned 
a crown by thy chastity, and a prize by thy resistance. But that thou 
mayest be free from the trouble of thy daily temptation, in the morning 
go thou to Norwich with three wax tapers and both thy parents with 
thee, and seek out the sepulchre of the holy martyr William, slain by 
the Jews; and take this for certain that when thou shalt have thence 
returned thou shalt receive the comfort of the deliverance thou desirest. 
I am, I tell thee, HERBERT the bishop, the founder of the Church of 
Norwich, who am the messenger to thee of thy salvation. Rise up ! 


84 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

inmtiusassisto. Surge, uade, liberaberis. Quidmulta? Disparuit 
uisio et excitatur uirgo. Surgitur: parentibus uisa propalatur. 
Fiunt cerei: Norwicum itur: ad episcopalem uenitur ecclesiam. 
Ibi Wichemanno monacho episcopalium confessionum tune uicario, 
i-t iinnniillis monachorum, quibus perurgeretur molestiis edicitur, 
uisio et uie causa declarantur. Audientes audatiam mirantur 
demonis, monita suscipiunt paterne uisionis. Accensis igitur quos 
attulerat cereis, ducitur cum parentibus uirgo ad Sancti Willelmi 
sepulchrum in ingressu cimiterii diuo expositum. Ibi aliquandiu 
ad deum oratur, sancto martyri preces et uota funduntur. Lacrime 
celos penetrant, ut pietatis rorem celi effundant. Quid igitur? 
Choercetur hostis malitia et circa uirginem uirtus claruit diuina. 
lam enim spem concipiens, cum parentibus secura regreditur et de 
cuhercita demonis instantia plurimum gratulatur. Hoc quippe 
miraculo beati martyris Willelmi reuiuixit memoria, que paulatim 
decrescens, in cordibus uniuersorum fere funditus iam fuerat 
emortua. Porro diligentem ammonitum uolo lectorem ut scilicet 

Go thy way ! Thou shalt be set free ! " The vision passed and the 
maiden awoke. She rose and told her parents what she had seen. The 
tapers were made, they took their way to Norwich, they arrived at the 
episcopal church. There the vision was told to Wicheman, a monk 
who at that time was the Bishop's deputy for hearing confessions 1 , and 
to other monks ; and it was shown by what importunity she was pressed, 
and the cause of her journey was explained. When they heard it they 
marvelled at the evil spirit's audacity, they gave heed to the warnings 
of the gracious vision ; and, the tapers being lit, the maiden, with her 
parents, was led to St William's sepulchre, then set up in the open air, 
at the entrance of the cemetery. There they spent some time in prayer 
to GOD: they made their supplications and vows to the holy martyr. 
Their tears travelled heavenward, and so the heavens poured forth the 
dew of pity. Thus the malice of the enemy was restrained, and divine 
virtue beamed upon the maiden; for now full of hope she went home 
with her parents feeling quite safe, and received many congratulations 
on the evil spirit's assaults having been overcome. Assuredly by this 
miracle the memory of the blessed martyr William revived, for it had 
u.a.limlly Wn waning, yea in the hearts of almost all it had almost 
entirely died out. I would fain that the earnest reader be admonished 

See Blomfield, n. 863. Ingulf the Prior who signs before Wickman, in a 
Iwre given, was William Turbe's predecessor, and Wickman seems to have 
appointed by Bishop Eborard. Cf. Bk. i. viii. p. 30. 

ii.] St William of Norwich. 85 

ex pretaxatis perpendat quante uirtutis mcrito pit- memorie 
HERBERTUS episcopus coram deo polleat, qui et diuine dis- 
pensationis tarn secretus fieri mereatur nuntius, et sancte Nor- 
wicensis ecclesie quam ipse f'undauit tarn diligens sit patronus. 

viii. Commonitorium illis qui miraculis sancti Willelmi derogant 
et qui eum a iudeis occisum uel negant uel dubitant. 

/^LARESCENTIBUS itaque per beati Willelmi merita miracu- 
^J lorum primitiis. erant plurimi qui diuinis uel beneficiis 
ingrati uel signis increduli cum promulgarentur miraculis insul- 
tabant, eaque ficticia esse dicebant. Quippe duri corde et ad 
credendum tardi, beatum puerum Willehnum riullius fore meriti 
post mortem autumabant, quern in uita pauperculum atque neg- 
lectum fuisse audierant. Sunt et alii, qui quoniam eum puerulum 
pauperculum pannosum atque arte pelliparia utcumque uictitantem 
cognouerant, despectu habent. Vnde et talem quasi nullis prece- 
dentibus meritis tanti culminis attigisse excellentiam nullatenus 
credere possunt. Sunt etiam nonnulli, qui et hunc qualemcunque 
crudeliter tamen interemptum uel oculis uiderunt, uel ab aliis 
audiunt, uel scriptis presentibus legunt et tamen aiunt : De morte 

that he note, from what has been set down, what great influence 
Bishop HERBERT of pious memory has with GOD, who deserved to be 
made the secret messenger of a divine dispensation, and how earnest a 
patron he is of the Church of Norwich which he himself founded. 

viii. A warning to those who make light of the miracles of St William, 
and who either deny or doubt that he was slain by the Jews. 

When these firstfruits of the miracles wrought by the merits of the 
blessed William were brought to light, there were many, ungrateful for 
the divine benefits or the signs shown, who mocked at the miracles 
when they were made public, and said that they were fictitious. Yea 
these, hard and slow of heart to believe, suggested that the blessed boy 
William was likely to be of no special merit after his death, who they 
had heard was a poor neglected little fellow when alive. Others there 
are who, because they had known him as a poor ragged little lad picking 
up a precarious livelihood at his tanner's business, think scorn of him ; 
and so can by no means believe that such an one, with no previous 
merits, should have attained to such eminent excellence. And there 
are some too who, though they saw with their own eyes that he, 
whatever he was, was cruelly murdered, or heard of it with their ears, 
or read of it in this present record, yet say : " We are indeed certain of 


St William of Norwich. [BK. 

quidem illius certi sumus, sed a quibus et quare et qualiter occisus 
HI pn.rsus in incerto fluctuamus; unde nee sanctum nee martirem 
<livrv presumimus. Et quoniam pena martirem non facit, sed causa, 
H a iudeis uel aliis penaliter constet occisum, quis indubitanter credat 
uiuentem ilium pro Christo mortem appetisse, uel proChristo illatam 
pacienter sustinuisse ?. His omnibus pariter, sed tamen singulis 
singillatim respondemus. Primis igitur qui miraculis insultant, qui 
tirtieia autumant, et sanctificatum non credunt, quoniam pauper- 
culuni fuisse audiunt, respondemus. Fatemur equidem quoniam, 
ficticia miracula miracula non sunt, sed [sed] falsitatis sunt ridicula. 
Verum sancti Willelmi miracula, si non essent uera, nequaquam 
tarn diutina perdurarent frequentia, Profecto si diuine dignationis 
hoc opus non esset per se citius iam deperisset. Nempe uidimus 
quam plurimos uariis per multum tempus laborantes incommodis, 
cecos, mutos, surdos, claudos, incuruos, contractos, scabellarios, 
turgidos, ydropsicos, ulcerosos, gutturnosos, furibundos, aliosque 
multos utriusque sexus diuersis languoribus morbidos sancti 
martin- Willelmi meritis curatos. Sepissime etiam uidimus, 

his death, but we are entirely uncertain and doubtful by whom and 
why, and how he was killed. So we neither presume to call him a 
saint nor a martyr. And since it is not the pain but the cause that 
makes the martyr, if it be proved that he was killed in punishment by 
Jews or any one else, who could confidently believe that this lad 
courted death for Christ's sake, or bore it patiently for Christ's sake 
when it was inflicted upon him?" To all these equally and to each 
severally we will make answer. 

Therefore to the first, who mock at the miracles and count them 
fictitious and who do not believe that he was a Saint because they hear 
that he was a little pauper boy, we answer : "We quite allow that 
fictitious miracles are no miracles at all, but the absurdities of false- 
hood ; but the miracles of Saint William if they had not been true ones 
would certainly not have lasted for so long a time and been so frequent. 
Indeed, if this had not been the work of the divine goodness, they would 
have come, to an end soon enough. But we have seen full many people 
labouring under various inconveniences, blind, dumb, deaf, lame, hump- 
eked, bent, going on all fours 1 , people with swellings, with the dropsy, 
ith ulcers and wens, mad people and many others of both sexes 
iwed with every sort of complaint, cured by the merits of the holy 
martyr William. We have too very often seen many folk in extreme 

1 cabcUariuM u one who creeps about, using a pair of small trestles to support 
hu hands. 

ii.] St William of Norwich. 87 

inuocato eiusdem sancti suffragio, plerosque in angustiis positos 
liberari, naufragos plures saluari, quosdam compedibus astrictos 
relaxari, et nonnullos nexibus ferreis manicatos absolui. Tot 
igitur ac tanta miracula qua fronte asseramus diuinitus non ease 
patrata ? Item : Qui pauperes et neglectos sanctificari non credunt, 
audiant quod per prophetam dicitur: Spiritus domini super me, 
euangelizare pauperibus misit me. Pauper ipse Christus, non 
habens ubi caput reclinaret, pauperes ad apostolatum uocauit, non 
diuites ; debiles, non fortes ; idiotas, non mundi sapientes ; inno- 
centia pueros, non malitia senes. Nunc igitur, quoniam primis sat 
dixisse uidemur, ad alios transeamus qui puerulum eum uilem, 
pannosum, atque pauperculum uiderunt, uidentes uilipenderunt, 
uilipendentes ad tante ilium uenerationis excellentiam pertingere 
non debuisse aiunt ubi nulla merita precesserunt. His responde- 
mus : Si ad sanctih'cationis repudium puericia in causa est, et 
nos illis pueros proponimus Pancratium, Pantaleonem, et Celsum, 
quos in etate puerili Christus ad coronam sullimauit martirii. 
Atque ipse dominus in medio discipulorum paruulum statuit, 
talesque regno celorum aptos fore assignauit. Si autem uilitas aut 

dangers delivered after invoking the intercession of this same Saint. 
We know that many were saved from shipwreck, some who were 
bound in fetters were unloosed, and some were set free from iron 
bands. So many and such great miracles as these how could we have 
the face to say were not wrought by divine power? 

As for those who do not believe that the poor and the neglected are 
made saints of, let them hear the words of the Prophet : "The Spirit of 
the Lord is upon me, he hath sent me to preach yood tidings to the poor." 
Christ Himself was poor, He had not where to lay His head. He 
called poor men to be apostles, not the rich ; the weak, not the 
strong ; the foolish, not the wise of this world ; those that were children 
in innocence, not old in malice and wickedness. 

Now then, since we have said enough to the first, let us pass on to 
the others, they who saw that poor little ragged boy, and as they saw 
him held him cheap, and so say that it was not meet that such as he 
should attain to such a pitch of veneration, when no previous merits 
had distinguished him. 

To these I reply : If his boyhood is reason enough for rejecting his 
holiness, we remind them of those boys Pancratius, Pantaleon, and 
Celsus, whom Christ exalted to the martyr's crown in their boyhood. 
Moreover the Lord Himself set a little child in the midst of His 
disciples and told them that such as he would be fit for the kingdom of 

88 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

pauperies in causam ducitur, quid est quod dominus ut confunderet 
fnrtiu uilia huius mundi et abiecta elegit, et ad cenam suam 
paupcres ac debiles, cecos et claudos euocauit ? Lazarum quoque 
in sinuni Abrahe sustulit, et diuitem purpuratum in inferno 
sepeliuit. Denuo si hoc in causa esse dicant, quod ad sancti- 
ficationis meritum merita nulla precesserint, innocentes opponimus 
bi.-mir.x ft infra, quos non uite meritum extulit, sed sola diuina 
gratia glorificauit. Terciis denique respondemus, eis scilicet qui 
crudeliter quidem occisum sciunt, sed quoniam a quibus et quare 
interemptus sit incerti sunt, iccirco nee sanctum nee martirem 
dicere presumunt. Pro certo siquidem a iudeis peremptum as- 
scrimus, quoniam id turn ex habitudine dierum penalium, turn 
ex qualitate tormentorum, turn ex certis uulnerum indiciis, turn ex 
uerissimis testimoniomm argumentis certum habemus. Et quia 
eos hoc in dominice passionis et christiane legis obprobrium reuera 
perpetrasse cognouimus, sic facti ueritatem argumentis plurimis 

heaven. But if his low estate, and his poverty, is thought to be a cause 
for his rejection, why is it that the Lord " chose the weak things of tJie 
vxtrld to confound the mighty" and called to supper the poor and the 
needy, the blind and the lame, and He took up Lazarus into Abraham's 
bottom and buried the rich man clad in purple in hell? And again, 
if they say that this is against him that no previous merits gave any 
evidence of his deserving sanctification, I point to the Innocents of 
two years old and under, whom no previous merits distinguished in life, 
but only the grace of GOD glorified. 

Finally to the third class those namely who allow that he was 
cruelly killed, but who are uncertain by whom and why he was made 
an end of, and therefore do not presume to affirm that he was either a 
saint or a martyr I answer, We hold of a certainty that he was 
slain by the Jews, Ijecause it is proved as well by their custom on the 
day of the Passover, as by the character of the tortures inflicted and 
tli.- sun- marks of the wounds, and also by unmistakable proofs in the 
way of evidence. And because we know that these Jews in very truth 
perpetrated Urn crime in scorn of the Lord's Passion and the Christian 
Uw, HO can we prove the truth of the deed by many arguments. 

ii.] St William of Nonvich. 89 

ix. Primum argumentum. 

PRIMO igitur loco in argumentum ueri proponimus quod 
seducta matre traditus traditori puerulus ad iudeos ut 
prelibatum est pridie mortis eius multis cernentibus diuertit, neque 
postmodum cuiquam foris apparuit. Itidem puella eius con- 
sanguinea eum a longe subsequens, iterque illius oculis explorans, 
et ad iudeos intrare et post intrantem statim hostium claudi 
certissime conspexit. 

Secundum argumentum. 

PRODUCATUR et aliud planissimum uere assertionis argu- 
mentum. Eo enim tempore atque ea ipsa die, immo et 
ipsa hora, qua puer Willelmus in obprobrium reuera Christi 
penaliter torquebatur, illudebatur, et crucifigebatur, muliercula 
quedam Christiana que illis famulabatur, ab eisdem iussa feruentem 
aquam in coquina seorsum preparabat, ignorans quidem negotium, 
sed negotii plane audiens tumultum. Deintro autera acclamantibus: 
Aquam, aquam, muh'er feruentissimam attulit, petentibus minis- 
trauit. Sed dum deforis ilia traderet ac deintus illi susciperent, 

ix. The First Argument. 

In the first place we put forward as an argument of the truth, that, 
when his mother was deceived and the little boy handed over to the 
traitor, as has already been said ; then on the day before his death he 
went among the Jews in the sight of many people, and after that no 
one saw him outside the door. Moreover the little girl, his kinswoman, 
who followed him at a distance and watched him on his way with her 
eyes, saw him go in to the Jews and after his entrance actually saw the 
door shut close behind him. 

The Second Aryutnent. 

Another very strong argument may be brought of the truth of the 
assertion. For at the very time and the very day and even the very 
hour when the boy William was being tortured in mockery of Christ's 
execution, and was being put to shame and crucified ; a certain poor 
Christian woman, who was a maid-servant among them, was getting 
ready some boiling water in the kitchen as she had been bidden ; she did 
not know what the business was, but she plainly heard the hubbub that 
was going on. But when those who were inside kept calling out 
Water ! water ! " she brought them the water boiling hot. But 
while she was handing it in from outside and they were taking it in, she 

90 St Willium of Noi-wich [BK. 

hostio interaperto puerum posti affixurn, quia duobus non potuit, 
oculo uno uidere contigit. Quo uiso exhorruit factum; clausit 
oculum, et illi hostium. Quid igitur ? Intro iudei turn ad san- 
guinem profluentem reprimendum turn ad uulnera claudenda, 
puiTiiin ilia feruenti aqua perfundebant; extra mulier anxia quid 
ageret deliberabat. Nunc execrans factum propalare disponit 
uegotium. Nunc se pacto iudeis obnoxiam retractans, ne famulatus 
sui donatiuum deperdat, propalandi affectum refrenat. Dumque 
sic an reuelet an taceat dubia decernit, tandem terror interueniens 
rcuelandi ausum compescuit. Se etenim solam christianam inter 
tot iudeos mansitantem considerans, ne quandoque consimile apud 
ill< incuirat infortunium ualde pertimescit. Quid enim aliud ea 
tempestate coniciat, nisi quia iudei si illam secreti sui consciam 
sciant, illudque reuelare uolentem percipiant, ad illius necem 
quanitotius aspirent, totamque suspicionis ac timoris molestiam 
morte unius funditus extinguant ? His pennota mulier, suam in 
silentio salutem estimans, ad tempus siluit, seque facti ignaram 
simulauit. Iudei autem circa uesperam, cum corpus iam exanime 
secretion recondissent 1 loco, et tanquam huiusmodi nichil egerint 

through the chink of the door managed to see the boy fastened to a 
post. She could not see it with both eyes, but she did manage to see it 
with one. And when she had seen it, with horror at the sight she shut 
that one eye and they shut the door. Well, the Jews inside kept pour- 
ing the hot water upon the boy to stop the flow of blood and to close 
up the wounds, and the woman outside was anxiously considering what 
.she should do. At one time the horrible crime urged her to disclose 
the business, and then, remembering that she was bound to the Jews, 
he was kept from telling lest she should lose her wages for her service. 
While she was thus hesitating whether she should make the disclosure 
or keep silence, at last her fear of revealing the matter prevailed. For, 
reflecting that she was the only Christian living among so many Jews, 
>the was dreadfully afraid lest at some time she should come by similar 
treatment at their hands. For she guessed that, if the Jews knew that 
he was mistress of their secret and should perceive that she wanted to 
reveal it, they would conspire to put her to death, and would utterly get 
rid of all the trouble of suspicion and fear by her death. For these 
raaaoM, the woman, thinking that her safety lay in her silence, held 
her tongue for awhile and pretended that she knew nothing about the 
matter. But the Jews, when in the evening they had hid away the 
lifeleM body in a secret place, and had gone home again as if they had 

ii.] St William of Norwich. 91 

domum reparassent, undique hostiorum patefactus est introitus, 
ac liber deinceps cuilibet datus est accessus. Memorata ergo 
mulier, mox ut liberum habuit ingressum, intrauit et circa frequens 
satagere cepit ministerium. Dum uero ad hec et ad ilia hue uel 
illuc se ageret, in secessu zonam pueri reperit et a zona dependen- 
tem cum artanulo uaginam et acus et thecam. Deinde secura 
circumspiciens, certa rei geste notauit inditia. Postmodum uero 
nobis et zonam cum rebus memoratis ostendit, ct in domus prefate 
postibus martirii signa demonstrauit. 

x. Tercium argumentum. 

A RGUMENTIS duobus et tercium adnectimus, ut rei geste 
-JL ueritatem efficatius comprobemus. Succedente aliquanto post 
mortem beati Willelmi dierum interuallo, dum iudei super illius 
nece criminaliter impeterentur, calumpniam quam incurrerant 
omnimodis uel extinguere uel ad tempus subterfugere satagebant. 
Ea propter Robertum fratrem occisi pueri, tune equidem clericum, 
sed monachum postea nostrum, cui accusationis negotium maxime 
incumbebat, precibus ac precio conueniunt, sed ad pacificum 

done nothing of the sort, threw open their doors, and free entrance 
was granted to any that came. So the woman aforesaid, as soon as she 
had admission, began to be very busy with her household work, and 
while she was bustling about here and there at this and that, she found 
a boy's girdle, and hanging from the girdle a little penknife with its 
sheath, and a style and a satchel 1 . Then looking round carefully she 
recognized the certain proof of what had happened. And afterwards 
she brought to us and showed us the girdle with the other things, 
and pointed out to us on the timbers of the house the marks of the 

x. TJie Third Argument. 

To the aforesaid two arguments we now add a third, that we may 
prove more effectively the truth of the story. 

When an interval of some days had elapsed after the death of the 
blessed martyr, while the Jews were being charged with his murder, 
they took all pains by all means to free themselves from the accusation 
they had incurred, or at any rate to escape from it for a time. 

Wherefore they resorted with prayers and money to Robert the 
brother of the murdered boy, who was then a clerk, but subsequently 
one of our monks, and to whom the business of the accusation was 
1 Or some needles, and a case. 

0>2 St William of Nomvich. [BK. 

pact ionis emolumentum eum aliquatenus pertrahere non potuerunt. 
I[s]dem quoque nobis super hoc ipso secum conferentibus referre 
S4. lit us crat, quod de iudeis decem marcas habere potuisset si 
calumpniam de nece fratris unde impetebantur quietam accla- 

Quartum argumentum. 

PROPONATtJR et aliud ueritatis argumentum, unde nequitia 
confutetur iudeorum. Ea tempestate qua Regis Stephani 
Hurt-bill regnum, immo iusticia languente degenerabat, dum apud 
Norwicum coram rege miles quidam de morte cuiusdam iudei a 
iudeis accusaretur, uice militis Willelmus Norwicensis episcopus 
sufficienter perorauit, sicut in consequentibus declarabitur. Tandem 
igitur, dum iudeo christianum et morti mortem opposuit, totam in 
iudeos causam translatiue retorsit. Ea j>ropter rex utrique parti 
dilationis terminum assignat, ut aput Lundonias coram Anglic 
clero et baronibus de tarn graui causa plene discutiat. Totius 
igitur Anglie iudei plurimum consternati, uenienti Lundouias ad 
statutum diem Nonvicensi episcopo iudeorum omnium primores 

chiefly entrusted ; but they could not by any means bring him to any 
peaceful settlement. This same man often told me in conversation 
that he could have had ten marks from the Jews if he had hushed 
up the charge concerning his brother's murder, with which they were 

The Fourt/t Argument. 

Let another argument be brought forward, whereby the wickedness 
of the Jews may be shown. 

In the time when the reign of King Stephen was flourishing, or 
rather, in the decline of justice, was languishing, a certain knight at 
Norwich, in the presence of the king, was accused by the Jews of the 
murder of a certain Jew ; and William, Bishop of Norwich, represent- 
ing the knight, made an able speech, as will be shown in what follows. 

came to paw* that he, by opposing a Christian to a Jew, and 
M-ttiiiK th- d.-ath of one against the death of the other, retorted the 
whole charge upon the Jews. So the king appointed a set time for 
both parti^ to M-ttle the difference, to the intent that there might be a 

WMMOD of so important a cause at London before the clergy and 

Imronage of England. Wherefore, the Jews of all England being greatly 

, when the Bishop of Norwich came to London on the day 

appoint*-*!, th- rhi,.f men among the Jews went to him and offered 

n.] St William of Norivich. 93 

occurrunt ; pecunie quamplurimum offerunt, querele de iudco 
occiso renuntiant, causam de obiectionc occisi christiani omnimodis 
relaxari exorant. Sed presulis animus, deum timens et fame sue 
consulens, nee precibus emolliri nee auaritia potuit corrumpi. Per- 
pendat queso ex his dubitantium incredulitas; quoniam iudei talia 
non facerent, nee tanta promitterent si se crimine obiecto immunes 

xi. Quintum argumentum. 

IN argumentum quoque fidei ac ueritatis interserimus quod a 
Theobaldo, quondam iudeo et monacho postmodum <nostro ?> 
referente audiuimus. Referebat quidem in antiquis patrum suorum 
scriptis scriptum haberi, iudeos sine sanguinis humani effusione nee 
libertatem adipisci nee ad patrios fines quandoque regredi. Vnde 
ab ipsis antiquitus decretum est omni anno eos in obprobrium et 
contumeliam Christi christianum ubicunque terrarum deo litare 
altissimo, ut sic suas in ilium ulciscantur iniurias cuius mortis 
causa ipsi et a sua exclusi sunt patria et tanquam serui exulant 

a large sum of money, and besought him that the counter-charge 
of the Christian said to be slain might be dropped, and undertook to 
withdraw their complaint regarding the Jew who was slain. But the 
GoD-fearing mind of the Bishop, who had his own reputation in view, 
could neither be softened by their prayers nor corrupted by avarice. 

Let the unbelief of doubters, I beg, draw their conclusions from 
these facts ; since the Jews would not have acted thus, nor would they 
have promised so much, if they had felt themselves guiltless of the 
charge brought against them. 

xi. The Fifth Argument. 

As a proof of the truth and credibility of the matter we now 
adduce something which we have heard from the lips of Theobald, 
who was once a Jew, and afterwards a monk. He verily told us that 
in the ancient writings of his fathers it was written that the Jews, 
without the shedding of human blood, could neither obtain their freedom, 
nor could they ever return to their fatherland. Hence it was laid down 
by them in ancient times that every year they must sacrifice a Christian 
in some part of the world to the Most High GOD in scorn and contempt 
of Christ, that so they might avenge their sufferings on Him ; 
inasmuch as it was because of Christ's death that they had been shut 
out from their own country, and were in exile as slaves in a foreign 

94 St William of Nomvich. [BK. 

in aliena. Qua de re principes et rabite iudeorum qui Hispaniam 
inhabitant apud Narbonam, ubi semen regium et eorum maxime 
uiget gloria, pariter conueniunt, atque uniuersarum regionum quas 
iudei inhabitant sortes ponunt. Quam uero sors designauerit regio- 
nem, eius metropolis urbium ceterarum et oppidorum sortes appli- 
cabit, atque illud decretale explebit negotium cuius sors exierit. 
Eo autem anno quo gloriosum dei martirem Willelmum constat 
occisum, sortem Norwicensibus contigit euenire, atque uniuersa 
iudeorum Anglie conuenticula scriptis uel nunciis patrando apud 
Norwicum sceleri prebuisse assensum. Eram quippe tune temporis 
Kantebrugie cum iudeis iudeus, nee me latuit patrate accionis 
scelus. Processu tempoiis, cum gloriosa miraculorum cernerem 
magnalia que beati martins Willelmi meritis uirtus operatur 
diuina, plurimum expaui, et conscientiam meam consulens, iu- 
daismo relicto, ad Christi fidem me conuerti. Hec nempe iudei 
conuersi uerba eo conicimus ueriora quo ilia et ab hoste conuerso 
atque hostilium secretorum conscio reuelata didicimus. 

land. Wherefore the chief men and Rabbis of the Jews who dwell in 
Spain assemble together at Narbonne, whfe the Royal seed [resides], 
and where they are held in the highest estimation, and they cast lots 
for all the countries which the Jews inhabit ; and whatever country the 
lot falls upon, its metropolis has to carry out the same method with the 
other towns and cities, and the place whose lot is drawn has to fulfil 
the duty imposed by authority. Now in that year in which we know 
that William, God's glorious martyr, was slain, it happened that the lot 
fell upon the Norwich Jews, and all the synagogues in England 
signified, by letter or by message, their consent that the wickedness 
should be carried out at Norwich. "I was," said he, "at that time 
at Cambridge, a Jew among Jews, and the commission of the crime 
was no secret to me. But in process of time, as I became acquainted 
with the glorious display of miracles which the divine power carried out 
through the merits of the blessed martyr William, I became much 
afraid, and following the dictates of my conscience, I forsook Judaism, 
and turned to the Christian faith." 

These words, observe, the words of a converted Jew we reckon 

to be all the truer, in that we received them as uttered by one who 
was a converted enemy, and also had been privy to the secrets of 
our enemies. 

IT.] St William of Norwich. 95 

Sextum argumentum. 

SI autem tantis necdum argumentis incredulorum dissoluitur 
dubietas, efficacissimum ueritatis indicium inducimus. Reg- 
nante etenim Rege Stephano, turn ex edicto regio, turn ex 
uicecomitis Johannis subsidio iudei iam securiores redditi nobis 
audacter insultare solebant dicentes: Gratias nobis persoluisse 
debueratis, quia sanctum ac martyrem uobis fecimus. Fecimus 
quidem uobis perutile bonum quod in nos retorquetis ad male- 
ficium. Fecimus uobis quod uos ipsi uobis facere non potuistis. 

xii. Septimum argumentum. 

ADHVC denique et aliud proponatur argumentum quo fides 
-LA_ corroboretur dubitantium. Quippe Willelmus de Hastinges, 
Norwicensis olim decanus, nobis super nece beati martyris Willelmi 
aliquando colloquentibus ueraciter protestatus est se nonnunquam 
litigio duorum interfuisse iudeorum. Et cum unus alterum uerbis 
criminaliter impeteret, alter ira permotus ad decanum se conuertit 
et litiganti secum iudeo protendens digitum ait : Domine Willelme, 

The Sixth Argument. 

But if the unbelief of the incredulous is not yet overcome by these 
powerful arguments, we will now bring forward the most effectual 
proof of the truth. 

For while King Stephen was reigning, the Jews, in consequence of 
the royal edict and also by reason of the sheriff John's support, being 
rendered now more confident, used to rail at us insolently, saying " You 
ought to be very much obliged to us, for we have made a saint and 
martyr for you. Verily we have done you a great deal of good, and a 
good which you retort upon us as a crime. Aye ! we have done for 
you what you could not do for yourselvas." 

xii. The Seventh Argument. 

At this point let another argument be brought forward whereby 
the faith of the doubters may be strengthened. It is as follows : 
William de Hastings, formerly dean of Norwich, when we were in con- 
versation with him regarding the murder of the blessed martyr William, 
protested on his word that he had more than once been present at a 
dispute between two Jews; and when one railed at the other with 
words of accusation, the other, moved to anger, turned to the dean, 
and pointing his finger at the Jew who was disputing with him, 
said, " Sir William, yon man who talks so confidently in your presence 

96 St William of Nomvich. [BK. 

hie qui adeo tiducialiter coram te loquitur, a te qui christianus es 
audiri non meretur. Ipse enim in christianum uestrum quera 
mart in-ill dicitis Willelmum primas manus iniecit, manibusque 
cruentis interemit. Vnde reuera dignus esset qui inter chris- 
tianos manere non debuisset. 


ITAQVE, tantis ac talibus propositis ad ueritatem declarandam 
argumentis, deinceps non estimo dubitandum, sanctum mar- 
tirem Willelmum a iudeis fuisse occisum. Quod autem opponitur, 
martirem pena non facit sed causa, et nos id ita esse attestamur. 
Nempe penarum indicia in sancti Willelmi corpore percepimus, 
quanim causam fuisse patet Christum, in cuius contumeliam 
penaliter sit occisus. A simili propter eandem causam sanctis 
innocentibus non pena gloriam martini contulit, sed Christi gratia, 
qui mortis eorum causa fuit. Si uero quid de iudeis peremptori- 
bus act tun sit queratur, consequentia declarant. 

does not deserve to be listened to by you who are a Christian, for he is 
the man who first laid hands upon your Christian William, whom you 
call a martyr, and killed him with his blood-stained hands. So really 
he does not deserve to be allowed to remain among Christians." 


Wherefore, after arguments so strong and so good having been 
brought forward to make the truth clear, from henceforth I think that 
there ought to be no doubt that the holy martyr William was slain by 
the Jews. 

But as to that which is urged against us, that ' Not the suffering but 
the cause of the suffering makes the martyr ' : we too agree that it is 
HO. Assuredly we have seen the marks of the sufferings on the holy 
William's body, but it is plain that the cause of those sufferings was 
Christ, in scorn of whom he was condemned and slain. In like manner 
and for the same reason it was not their sufferings which earned for the 
Holy Innocents the glory of martyrdom, but the grace of Christ who 
WM the cause of their death. 

Now if it \* asked what became of the Jews who murdered him, 
wht follows will make that plain. 

XL] St William of Noi^wich. 97 

xiii. Quem exitum iudei christianicide ultione diuina habuerint. 

CVM igitur beatissimum puerum et raartirem Willelmum, turn 
reuelatiomrm indiciis, turn plurimis probationum argumentis, 
a iudeis occisum fuisse constet, non iniusto del iuditio factum 
credimus quod ipsos uelut tam nefandi facinoris reos diuina tarn 
festinanter post patrati flagicii accionem perculerit iusticia, ac 
uniuersos breui temporis processu celestis exterminauerit siue 
disperserit uindicta. Alii etenim, crebrescentem tanti criminis 
non sustinentes infamiarn, in exteras dispersi sunt prouintias et, 
ut farna promulgauit, ultione condigna perierunt. Reliqui uero, 
qui de tutela uicecomitis confisi remanserant, uel festine mortis 
interitu deleti, uel christianorum manibus sunt perempti. Pre- 
sertim inter hec Deus-adiuuet iudei mortem, in cuius domo, prout 
superiori commemorauimus libro, beatissimum martirem Willelmum 
illusum et occisum declarauimus, qui et ipsum mortuum nemori 
abscondendum asportauit, non pretermit tendam duximus, quoniam 
si huius rei geste modus diligentius attendatur, maximum ueritati 
argumentum inducitur. Erat quippe iudeus ille inter ceteros 

xiii. What end those Christianicide Jews had by the Divine vengeance. 

Since then it is certain, as well by testimony of revelations as by 
manifold arguments serving as proofs, that the most blessed boy and 
martyr, William, was slain by the Jews ; we believe that it was brought 
about by the righteous judgment of GOD, that these same men, being 
guilty of so horrible a crime, suffered so prompt a retribution for 
such deliberate wickedness, and that the rod of heaven in a brief space 
of time exterminated or scattered them all. For some of them, not 
being able to endure the infamy of the charge which incneased upon 
them more and more, were dispersed into other parts and, as report 
says, perished by the punishment they deserved ; but the rest who, 
trusting to the protection of the Sheriff, remained, either perished by 
visitation of sudden death, or were put an end to by the hands of the 
Christians. Foremost among these instances must I describe the death 
of the Jew Eleazar, in whose house, as I have mentioned in the previous 
book, the blessed martyr William was mocked and slain; who, too, when 
the martyr was dead, carried him away to be concealed in the wood ; 
since if the manner in which this was brought about be diligently 
attended to, it will be considered an argument of very great weight for 
the truth of the story. 

In sooth, that Jew was the richest Jew of them all, who had got 

W. N. 7 

98 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

ditissimus, qui Simonem quendam de Nodariis maximo pecunie 
debito sibi obnoxium fecerat, et transeunte soluendi termino ipsum 
mil item de solnendi 1 pecunia sepissime angariabat. Angustiatus 
itaque miles, quoniam soluendi debiti non suppetebat facultas, de 
die in diem frequentes solutionis renouabat inducias. Armigeri 
uero eius, in tanta dominum suum cernentes angustia, consilium 
intT se secretius ineunt quemadmodum ipsum liberare preualeant. 
Mutui ergo consilii facta collatione, unus ex deliberationis dis- 
pensatione, qui iudeum fraudis ignarum quasi ad suscipiendum 
debitum abducat, siue assentiente domino, siue nesciente nescio, 
deus scit, dirigitur, alii interim nemore per quod transitus erat 
occultantur. Quo tandem adueniens ductu armigeri iudeus con- 
festim a ceteris rapitur, seorsum trahitur et occiditur. Cuius 
necem ubi reliqui iudei fama diuulgante cognouerunt, cadauer 
inde transferentes, Lundonias detulerunt humandum. Attendat 
inter hec diligens lector quam iusto iuditio hec contigisse deus 
permiserit, quam condigne talionem reddiderit, ut iudeus qui 
sacrilegis manibus intra domum suam christianum peremerat, 

into his clutches a certain Simon de Nodariis 1 who owed him a large 
sum of money, and as the time for payment was drawing near, he kept 
very frequently pestering the knight to pay the money. So the knight 
being in straits, inasmuch as he had not the means to pay the debt, 
kept on from day to day making new excuses for deferring payment. 
His esquires, however, seeing their lord to be in such great difficulties, 
took secret counsel among themselves how they might extricate him. 
So they laid their heads together, and one of them, as a result of their 
conspiracy, was sent to fetch the Jew, who was ignorant of the 
plot, as if for the repayment of the debt The others meanwhile 
whether their lord was privy to it or not, I know not, GOD knows 
hid themselves in a wood through which he had to pass. When the 
Jew arrived there, the esquire leading him on, he was immediately 
eized by the others, dragged off and killed. When the other Jews 
heard of the murder, by the news being commonly reported, they took 
the corpse and carried it to London for burial. 

I>-t the careful reader here observe how just was the judgment of 

which permitted this to happen, and how worthily He dealt out 

"tnhution; in that the Jew who with wicked hands had enticed a 

Christian into his house and killed him, when he had killed him had 

1 The chief manor of the family was at Swanton Novers, about six miles from 
Holt, which Sir Simon held of the Bishop of Norwich. 

ii. J St William of Norwich. 99 

peremptum nemore proiecerat, proiectuin canibus et auibus ex- 
posnerat, et idem e domo sua traductus sub nemore manibus 
christianis occideretur, atque itidem sub diuo relictus canum et 
auium exponeretur morsibus. Euoluto denique aliquant! temporis 
spacio, cum Norwicum Rex aduenisset, iudei coram rege confluentes 
super memorati conquesti sunt nece iudei, atque totius facti 
crimen prescripto adscribentes iniliti, eum in hunc accusauerunt 

xiv. In iudiciali genere coniecturalis causa. 

AVDIAT nos, benignissime rex, tua illustris totique mundo 
predicabilis dementia, que nulli bene merenti subtrahitur, 
cuius beneficio pax nobis et tranquillitas administrantur. Tuis 
ecce confisi patrociniis, ad te ceu ad unicum et singulare nobis 
asilum confugimus, atque de tua non diffisi iusticia, ad te iustum 
conuenimus iudicem, iuris et equi reuera sectatorem. Itaque turn 
de illato nobis dampno atque iniuria debitam requirentes iusticiam, 
consimilisque metu infortunii protectionis tue postulantes tutelam, 
quid nobis mali illatum sit, siue quid uelimus paucis exponemus. 

flung him into a wood, and there had exposed him to the dogs and the 
birds this same man was enticed out of his own house, was killed 
by the hands of Christians in a wood, and exactly in the same way was 
left in the open air and exposed to be torn to pieces by dogs and birds. 
However, when some time had passed and the king had come to 
Norwich, the Jews assembled together before the king and laid their 
complaint regarding the aforesaid Jew ; and ascribing the guilt of the 
whole act to the forementioned knight, the}' accused him in manner 

xiv. An imaginary sketch of the Trial. 

Hear us, most gracious King, of thy well-known clemency, which is 
proclaimed throughout the world, is withheld from none that deserves 
it, and is the means of procuring peace and quiet for us. Behold, we 
who trust in thy patronage have betaken ourselves to thee as to our 
one and only refuge, and with every confidence in thy justice, have 
come before thee as the just judge, and faithful follower of right 
and equity. Wherefore we, looking for the justice that is our due 
for a wrong and injury done us, and demanding too the shield of 
thy protection against the fear of a like misfortune, will set forth in 
few words what the wrong is that has been done us, and what our 
wishes are. 



St William of Norwich. [BK. 

Nos iudei tui sumus, tui quotennes tributarii, tuisque crebro 
necessarii necessitatibus, tibi siquidem semper fideles regnoque 
ttio non inutiles. Tu quoque nos benigne satis ac tranquille 
moderaris ; sed tranquillitatem nostram fraudulent! Simonis huius, 
quern exaduerso stantem cemimus, et non immerito punienda 
nimis atrociter perturbare presumpsit audatia. Is etenim credi- 
torem habens unum de confratribus nostris, seruum quidem tuum, 
iudeum, directo ad eum armigero quasi suscipiendi gratia debiti 
ab urbe ilium ad rus euocauit, atque in itinere iugulari fecit. 
Quid multa? Tuum quidem, domine rex, iudeum peremptum 
ease constat, atque ita constare conquerimur. De cuius homicidii 
reatu hunc Simonem de Nodariis in causam ducimus et tarn 
facinorosam accionem ipsius consilio ac dispositione pertractatam, 
immo et patratam fuisse asseueraraus. Quid uero actio tarn 
nefaria mereatur equi iudicis satis nouit industria. Veruntamen, 
ut ita gestum credas, in fidei ueniant argumentum abductio 
fraudulent^, facta per diuortium uia, loci ac temporis oportunitas, 
atque negotii gerendi pro uoto facultas. Armiger ab milite dis- 
pensatorie directus et creditori iudeo bene cognitus, ipsum quasi 

We are thy Jews. We are thy tributaries year by year, we are 
continually necessary to thee in thy necessities, since we are always 
faithful to thee and by no means useless to thy realm. For thee, thou 
rulest us leniently and quietly. But our tranquillity the audacity of 
this Simon whom we see standing there opposed to us an audacity 
which deserves to be punished has presumed to disturb, after an 
atrocious sort. For this man having as his creditor one of our brethren, 
thy servant, a Jew, having sent to him an esquire on pretence of his 
debt being to be paid, called him out of the city into the country, and 
caused him to be murdered on the road. What more ? It is certain, 
O Lord the King, that thy Jew was slain, and we complain that the fact 
is so. We lay our charge against this Simon de Nodariis as answerable 
for the homicide of this man ; and we assert that by his counsel and 
device a deed so wicked was planned, aye, and carried out. But 
what so base a deed deserves, that the wisdom of so righteous a judge 
well knows. But that thou mayest believe that so it was, let the fol- 
lowing arguments for the truth be considered : (1) the treacherous 
leading him astray, (2) the road that was marked out through a lonely 
-|H.t, (3) the convenience of time and place, (4) and the facility for 
carrying out the business according to what was desired. 

(1) The esquire was sent by the knight as his deputy, and was well 
known to the creditor, the Jew. This Jew he invited as if to receive 

n.] St William of Norwich. 101 

ad suscipiendum debitum inuitauit, abduxit, uia per diuersorii 
deflexa dispendium suspectos euitauit occursus. Nemus in itinere, 
noctisque intempeste silentium oportunitatem prestitit. Gladius 
cum armigero et consodalium, ut fama traditur, ad id negocii 
ibidem excubans turba patrando facinori facultatem administrauit. 
Quid autem miles in tanta debiti angaria positus et soluendi 
impotens aliud consilii inisset ut, exclusa tarn diuturne seruitutis 
molestia, libertatem sibi uendicaret et hoc facti fine finem moleste 
exactioni imponeret ? Atque, ut rem manifestius exequar, debitor 
miles aut soluere uoluit et potuit, aut uoluit nee potuit, aut noluit 
et potuit, siue, quod restat, nee uoluit nee potuit. Si ergo uoluit 
et potuit, cur non soluit, siue cur in tarn diuturna angaria per- 
mansit ? Si uero uoluit et non potuit, ipsa nimirum impotentia 
menti ei liberationis desiderium paulatim induxit. Si autem 
noluit et potuit, ecce iam maliuole mentis consciencia maleficium 
concepit. Denique si, quod magis credimus, nee uoluit nee 
potuit, constat profecto quoniam exquisite deliberationis industria 
huiusmodi maleficii parturiuit consilium. Iterum si iudei necem 
qua insimulatur non uoluit, non resciit, non pertractauit, ut a se 

his debt, and led him away. (2) The path took a long and tortuous 
round and so obviated the fear of any chance encounter. (3) A wood 
on the road and the silence of the dark night afforded the opportunity. 
(4) The esquire's sword and a crowd of his comrades, as report saith, 
lying in wait to do the deed, afforded facility for the commission 
of the crime. For what other purpose could the knight have had 
being as he was in such great money difficulties and unable to pay 
except that by ridding himself of the bondage of his long-standing 
embarrassment, he might get freedom for himself, and by this act he 
might make an end of the worrying exactions 1 

And to make the matter plainer, this knightly debtor either would 
pay and could; or he would and could not; or he would not and could; 
or lastly, he neither would nor could. 

If he would and could, why did he not pay ? and why did he con- 
tinue in this long embarrassment ? If he would and could not, no 
wonder if his lack of power gradually suggested to his mind the desire 
to get free. If he would not and yet could, observe how now the 
thoughts of his evil mind conceived the evil deed. But if, as is more 
credible, he neither would nor could pay, it is plainly manifest that the 
working of his crafty thoughts brought forth the plot of a wickedness 
of this character. Again, if he did not wish for the murder of the 
Jew which is laid to his charge, if he was not ware of it if he did not 

102 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

omnetn secludat mali suspicionem, cur sponse mortui aut paren- 
tibus exigentibus debitum non soluit ? cur fidem suam qua 
creditori constrictus erat per incuriam negligit ? Quin etiam iam 
insolcns et contumax efFectus, nobis eum super fide sua adquie- 
tanda conuenientibus, conuitiorum maledicta irrogat, crebrasque 
non promerentibus minas intentat. Homicide ergo militis reatum 
satis denotatum estimamus dum occisionis causam ac modum 
deinde dum occisoris insolentiam et minarum audatiam explana- 
uimus. Licere autem cuilibet christiano quempiam pro libito suo 
bene merentem iudeum ita impune occidere nequaquam credimus ; 
et quod non licere procul dubio constat si sic impunitum relin- 
quatur, emulos multos eiusdem audatie futures satisque deterius 
postmodum prouenire non dubitamus. Proinde nobis 1 plurimum 
super huiuscemodi timentes et confratris nostri indigne condo- 
lentes morti tuam, iuste rex, exoramus clementiam quatinus paci 
ac securitati nostre prouideas, indignamque tui iudei mortem 
impunitam non pretermittas. 

plan it why did he not, in order to turn away from himself all 
suspicion of the crime, pay the debt to the dead man's wife or his 
relations when they asked for it? Why did he wantonly neglect the 
engagement by which he was bound to his creditor ? On the contrary 
he has become now so insolent and contumacious that when we call 
upon him to fulfil his engagement, he hurls at us calumnies and abuse, 
and aims at us continual threats, though we deserve them not. We 
think therefore that the guilt of this murderous knight has been 
sufficiently made out, since the motive of the murder and the manner of 
it, and then too the insolence of the assassin and the audacity of his 
menaces, have been set forth. 

But we by no means believe that it is lawful for any Christian 

whoever he be to slay with impunity according to his pleasure any Jew 

who behaves as he ought: and if an act certainly illegal be left 

unpunished, we doubt not that there will be many who will be imitators 

of this man's audacity, and that hereafter things will get to be worse 

than they are. Furthermore we, as fearing this kind of treatment for 

oonelve* and sorrowing over the undeserved death of our brother, 

eech thee of thy clemency, O righteous King ! that thou provide 

r our living in peace and security, and that thou do not suffer the 

undeserved death of thy Jew to go unpunished. 

ii.] St William of Norwick. 103 

IN hunc itaque modum accusatus miles, prime super huiusce- 
modi re se reum esse negat ac deinde, petita a rege 
licentia, super eodem diligentius responsurus ad consilium cum 
amicis progreditur. Et quia miles de tenura, ut ita dicam, erat 
episcopali, episcopus Willelmus militi ut consulat licentia regis ad 
consilium procedit. Cumque in tarn difficili causa sub admirabili 
genere defensionis omnes orationem laborare cernerent, ad id 
consilii uentum est, ut in causa pontifex pro milite defensoris 
uicem gerat, turn ut regem, cui iam persuasum uidebatur, attentum 
et beniuolum redderet auctoritas, turn ut aduersariorum infirmata 
calumpnia militem liberet artificiosa eius qua pre ceteris affluebat 
eloquentia. Presul itaque, multa prece tandem conpulsus, negotio 
accingitur. Et quoniam iam hinc regem inde consistentes sensisset 
offenses, sub tali genere cause in exordii uestibulis compendiosa 
quadam insinuatione utendum fore adiudicauit. Qua peritus 
perorator abalienatos auditomm pedetemptim subiret animos, 
talique artificio comparata paulatim ipsorum beniuolentia, orationis 
reliquum ad criminis circumflecteret translationem. His igitur 
quasi munitus armis ad perorande cause consurgit conflictum, et 

The knight having been accused in this manner first denied that he 
was guilty of anything of the sort. Then, having obtained leave of the 
king, he retired to consult with his friends before making a detailed 
answer to the charge. And inasmuch as the knight was under the 
Bishop's jurisdiction, as the term is, Bishop William by licence of 
the king went to the conference to consult, for the knight's safety. 
And since all perceived that in so difficult a cause the pleading would 
require a special kind of defence, it was determined that in this cause 
the Bishop should represent the knight as his defender ; in order that 
the high position of the advocate might make the king (who seemed 
already convinced of the truth of the charge) give a favourable hearing, 
and also that, the charges of his adversaries being weakened, the 
Bishop's accomplished eloquence, in which he surpassed all others, 
might get the knight acquitted. 

So the prelate, prevailed upon by many petitions, at length complied. 
And as he observed that both the king and the auditory were already 
indignant, he decided that in the kind of cause which he had to plead 
it would be best to make use of a brief statement to begin with, so as 
to win over insensibly the hostile minds of his hearers by skilled 
oratory; and when once their goodwill was thus gained he might 
employ the remainder of his speech in making a countercharge. 
Thus armed, as I may say, he rose to engage in the pleading of his 

104 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

de consilio cum suis regressus huiusmodi coram rege arripuit 
loquendi exordium. 

Oratio defensoris. 

\ SSENTIMVS quidem et nos detestandos immo et precipue 
JL\- puniendos fore qui bene merentes creditores suos dolo tra- 
ducunt siue traductos interimunt. Eos uero permaxime per- 
sequendos censemus qui fidem solito uiolantes fraudis sacrilegium 
pro nichilo ducunt, mendacii crimen paruipendunt, qui debitis suis 
nolunt siue nesciunt querere remedium, nisi per machinatum 
aliene mortis interitum. Porro iudeus de cuius nece miles Simon 
insimulatur dum uixit plurimos preter Simonem debitores habuit, 
alios quidem minori, alios uero pari, et nonnullos debito multo 
maiori sibi obnoxios. Si igitur quisquam, quo debiti absoluatur 
molestia, mortem eius exoptauit, credibilius uidetur circa illam 
deliberasse maiori debito astrictum quam minori obnoxium. Hunc 
autem quis creditoris sui necem appetisse credat, cuius et mors 
non absque maximo ei contigit dampno, et uita non sine multiplici 
fuerat beneficio ? Qua etenim ratione me uelle astruar mori 

cause, returned from the conference with his friends, and began his 
speech before the king in the following terms : 

Speech for the defence. 

We agree perfectly with our accusers on one point : that men who 
deceive creditors, who deserve well of them, or who, after deceiving, 
kill them, merit detestation, nay, condign punishment. And we 
account that they should be most strictly pursued who habitually 
break faith, make light of the crime of fraud, think nothing of lying, 
and have neither will nor skill to find a remedy for their debts save 
the one way of contriving the death of another. 

Now, the Jew of whose death the knight Simon is accused had, 
while he lived, many debtors besides Simon: some owed him less, 
some as much, some again far more than Simon did. If, then, any- 
one was desirous of his death in order to be rid of the annoyance 
"f d.-l.t, it seems more likely to have been planned by one who was 
saddled with a heavy debt than one who owed less. But can anyone 
believe that Simon should have desired the death of his creditor? 
The man's death was productive of great loss to him : his life had 
been the means of repeated advantages to him. With what show 
of reason can it l*j made out that I should be desirous of the death 

ii.] St William of Norwich. 105 

ilium quern morte prefestina mihi subtrahendum timeo, cuius et 
uitam uelut mihi per omnia necessariam diu protelari concupisco ? 
Sic et miles qui de nece creditoris impetitur, si uiuentem tanquam 
sibi perutilem et necessarium plurimum dilexit, si mortuum 
plangere et necdum desistit, quemadmodum quod cum amore 
tanto possederat quandoque se amisisse non plangat ? Et quern 
amissum sic doleat, quis eum super amisso gaudere uel necem 
eius appetisse contendat ? Quod autem criminis armigero in- 
ducitur, culpam armiger prorsus diffitetur. Quod tamen ueritatis 
in actione fuit ab ipso edocti breuiter explicabimus. Miles quern 
super huiuscemodi re plurimum admiramur accusari, quern boni 
semper testimonii ut mitem, ut benignum, ut non iniuriosum 
fuisse cognouimus, domi domestica et necessaria detentus, quia 
Norwicum uenire non potuit, reuera per armigerum ad suscipi- 
endum debitum creditorem euocauit. Armiger, disponente ita 
iudeo, sub silentio noctis cum ipso urbem egressus, securiorem 
quam nouerat arripuit uiam, ut et per tenebras malignorum 
hominum lateret noticiam atque omnes suspectos declinaret oc- 
cursus. Confecta uero aliquanta itineris parte, ubi nullas omnino 

of one whose premature removal I regard with fear, and whose life 
I earnestly desire to see prolonged as being in every way advantageous 
to me? So with this knight, who is charged with murdering his 
creditor. If while he lived he cherished him as being of great use 
and advantage to him ; if now that he is dead he has not yet ceased to 
bemoan him as how should he not mourn ohe loss of that which he 
had possessed with such affection 1 who can contend that he rejoices 
over the loss of this man or that he desired his death, when he is so 
much affected by that loss ? 

Now, as to the charge that is brought against the esquire, the 
esquire denies his guilt in toto. And in regard of the real facts of 
the matter, I will briefly explain what they were, as I have learned them 
from him. The knight, whom I am much surprised to find as the 
object of such an accusation, since I have always known him to be 
of good report, a peaceable, kind, and law-abiding man, was detained 
at home by urgent private affairs and could not come to Norwich, and 
certainly did send by an esquire for his creditor, that the latter might 
receive his debt. The esquire, according to the arrangement of the Jew, 
left the city in his company in the quiet of night and took the safest 
route he knew in order to avoid the notice of evil-disposed persons 
under cover of the darkness, and to escape all suspicious encounters. 
They accomplished a good part of the way and were suspecting no 

106 St William of Not-wich. [BK. 

suspicabantur insidias, inciderunt in latrones. Qui aduenientes 
subito rapuerunt, equisque deiectos ut expoliarent seorsum uio- 
lrntT traxerunt. Inter hec iudeus, dum quern ferebat mucrone 
* .l.-fcndere conaretur, hostili cecidit interemptus gladio. Porro 
anniger saluti sue consulens, occupatis circa iudeum aliis, tenen- 
tium elabitur manibus et per silue densitatem que ibi aderat fuge 
uelocitate uitam conseruauit. Sic utique, domine rex, iudeum 
constat interfectum. Super cuius necis reatu militem qui eius 
insimulatur reuera immunem ne dubites, qui facti atrocitatem 
(nf'cstim ubi factam cognouit, uehementer super indigna tanti 
amici morte condoluit. Sed neque usque in hanc horam, licet 
inde sedulus indagator extiterit, tanti factores facinoris rescire 
potuit. Ab huius quoque ueritatis tramite si rumor exorbitauit 
non admiramtir. Sed, quia falsos cotidie suboriri rumores cerni- 
mus, profecto non uniuersis fides facile est adhibenda rumoribus. 
Denique quod minarum et conuitiorum miles arguitur, cum iudeos 
ipse semper honorauerit atque plurimum dilexerit, non parum 
admiratur. Vt autem uniuersa breui summa concludam ; miles 
se necem de quo 1 agitur iudei neque uoluisse neque pertractasse 

sort of ambuscade, when they fell among thieves. These men came, 
seized them, threw them from their horses, and dragged them violently 
away to despoil them. Upon this, the Jew, while attempting to 
defend himself with the sword which he carried, fell slain by a hostile 
weapon. The esquire, naturally, in the interests of his own safety, 
while the rest were busied about the Jew, escaped from the hands 
of his captors and saved his life by flying swiftly through the thick 
wood which was at hand. In this way it appears that the Jew lost 
his life, my Lord King, and you need not doubt that the knight who 
is charged with the guilt of his death is clear from it. Upon hearing 
of the deed he was at once powerfully affected by its atrocity and 
I iy the undeserved fate of so valued a friend : but never, to this hour, 
though he has shown himself a most zealous investigator of the matter, 
has he been able to ascertain the perpetrators of this great crime. 
I am not surprised that rumour has deviated from the path of truth 
in this cam: but as we see that false reports become current every 
day, we must not lend a ready belief to all the reports we hear. 
And in fact, whereas the knight is accused of employing threats and 
bute, he is not a little surprised at the charge, for he has always 
respected the Jews and been much attached to them. 

However, to wind up the whole case shortly, the knight is present 

ii.] St William of Norwich. 107 

neque aliter ac dictum est rescisse, sed nee iudeis in aliquo 
derogasse prout curia presens dictauerit constanter probaturus 
assist it. Sed inter hec serenissime discretioni tue, iustissime rex, 
intimatum iri uolumus quoniam nobis uidetur ad huiusmodi 
iudeorum accusationem nos christiani respondisse non debuisse- 
mus, nisi primo de christiani nostri nece purgarentur, unde et 
ipsi pridem accusati et non purgati dinoscuntur. Et ut rem 
totara et pertinens omnibus christianis negotium christianissime 
clementie tue enucleatius atque summatim enodemus, iudeus ille, 
de cuius morte miles licet immunis arguitur, cum ceteris qui tune 
in urbe erant iudeis in domo sua, ut fama dicitur, puerum christia- 
num miserabili penarum modo attrectauit, interemit, et nemore 
abscondit. Qua de re diebus predecessoris nostri Ebrardi pontificis 
a presbitero accusatis sub plena sinodo iudeis, obsistente et manu- 
tenente eos lohanne uicecomite, nullam de eis christiani post- 
modum habere potuerunt iusticiam. Habemus et adhuc eundem 
presto presbiterum, ipsos sub crimine pretaxato quando et quo 
libuerit iuditio probaturum. Ea propter, si regie non displiceat 
maiestati, competens nobis ac iustum uidetur ut sicut christiani 

here, prepared to prove with all constancy, in whatever way this court 
shall prescribe, that he neither desired the death of the Jew in 
question, nor planned it, nor knew of it in any other wise than has 
been stated, and that he never abused the Jews in any way. 

But, meanwhile, O most just King, we are desirous of signifying to 
your most serene discretion that it is our opinion that we Christians 
ought not to have been called upon to reply to an accusation of this 
kind from the Jews, before they themselves were purged of the murder 
of one of us, a Christian, of which they are known to have been 
accused ere now and not purged. And, to lay before your most 
Christian clemency in a plain and concise fashion the whole case 
it is a matter which concerns all Christians that Jew of whose death 
the knight, though innocent, is accused, did, in conjunction with the 
other Jews then in the city, in his house, as report says, miserably 
torment, kill, and hide in a wood a Christian boy. And when, in 
the days of my predecessor, Bishop Eborard, the Jews had been ac- 
cused of this in full synod by a priest, yet because the Sheriff John 
opposed us and maintained them, the Christians were unable to have 
justice executed upon them. We have, furthermore, at this day the 
same priest ready to prove them guilty of the crime aforesaid at such 
time, and under such conditions of trial as you please. On this ac- 
count, if it be not displeasing to your Royal Majesty, it seems to 

St. William of Normch. [BK. 

nostri in obprobrium et derisum passionis christi factam occisionem 
iiul.-i more nostramque calumpniam calumpnia eorum subsequi 
dinoscitur, ita nimirum et presbiteri accusantis probationem militis 
purgatio subsequatur. Neque diutius rigor differatur iusticie, 
quoniam tan turn scelus usque in hodiernum diem et impunitum 
ease conquerimur, atque vlterius non differri deprecamur. Ita 
tamen queque pertractentur, ut et Christus preponatur in omnibus, 
et legi christiane digna pro meritis exhibeatur reuerentia. 

PERORANTE igitur in hunc modum episcopo adeo commoti 
et iam persuasi regis et assistentium sunt animi, ut con- 
festim puniendam iudeorum funestam decernerent audatiam, iam- 
iamque paulatim magis ac magis incitarentur ad uindictam. Sed, 
quoniam omnibus generaliter christianis huius sermonis pertinere 
uidebatur negotium, differri rex iussit quousque quod in proximo 
futurum erat cleri et baronum Lundonie celebraretur concilium. 
Quod et ita factum est. Congregato etenim paulo post concilio 
affuit et Willelmus Norwicensis episcopus cum plurimis suorum 
et milite accusato. Conuenerant quoque et paucis ante diebus e 
diuersis Anglic ciuitatibus apud Lundoniam iudei pr<ude>ntiores, 

us fitting and right that, just as the death of the Christian, done in 
reproach and derision of the Passion of Christ, preceded the death 
of the Jew, and the injury inflicted on us preceded that inflicted on 
them, so the priest's accusation ought to come first, and the purgation 
of the knight afterwards. And let the rigour of justice be no longer 
deferred ; for we complain bitterly that so foul a crime has remained 
unpunished to this day, and we earnestly pray that it may no longer 
be put oft Yet, let everything be so handled that Christ be first 
considered in all things and due reverence be paid, as is right, to the 
law of Christianity. 

As the Bishop ended his speech after this sort, the effect, and indeed 
conviction, produced in the minds of the king and his assessors was 
HO great that they decreed that the ghastly outrage of the Jews must 
be at once punished, and gradually were worked up more and more 
to take vengeance. But, in regard that the matter seemed to be 
one affecting all classes of Christians, the king commanded that it 
.should be postponed until the general Council of the clergy and 
baron* (which was near at hand) should be assembled at London, 
ami this was done. When the Council met shortly afterwards, 
William, Hishop of Norwich, with many friends and with the accused 
knight, was present. A few days before, also, the more sagacious 
of the Jews had assembled at London from various cities of England 

ii.] St William of Norwich. 109 

ut scilicet, sicut re rum postea significant euentus, communis 
collatione consilii super memorato sermone deliberarent qualiter 
in tarn difficili causa saluti sue consulerent. Qui, nullam aliam 
euadendi repperientes uiam, per regies pecunia, si fame creditur, 
precorruptos consiliarios regem ipsum conueniunt, dataque ut 
dicitur non modica argenti copia, ipsius gratiam uix tandem 
extorserunt. Ex cuius confestim consilio episcopum Norwicensem 
adeunt, plurimaque licet marcarum numerositate promissa iudei- 
que occisi morte condonata, nullatenus pontificalem corrumpere 
preualuerunt animum. Quid plura ? Post tridie, assistentibus 
regi in consistorio episcopis et baronibus, affuit inter ceteros et 
memoratus pontifex Willelmus. Qui plura post pertractata 
negotia, cum accusato assurgens milite: Ecce, ait, domine rex, 
nostram parati sumus iterare causam, tuam subinde et consis- 
tentium audituri sententiam. Cui rex : Quoniam, inquit, domine 
episcope, pluribus hodie sermonibus defatigati et nonnullis que 
restant impediti sumus, condignam <tan>te rei sedulitatem exhi- 
bere non possumus. Sed interim pacienter sustine, dum his uelut 
quibusdam precisis sentibus expeditiores postmodum quasi ad 
succidendam arborem nociuam iusticie nostre securim exacuamus. 

with the view, as afterwards appeared, of meeting and discussing the 
matter and deciding how to secure themselves in so difficult a case. 
And, finding no other means of escape, they obtained an audience 
of the king (by bribing his councillors, as report says), gave him, it 
is said, a large sum of money, and succeeded with difficulty in ex- 
torting a promise of favour. From his presence they hastened to 
the Bishop of Norwich. But though they promised him a very large 
number of marks and offered to condone the death of the murdered 
Jew, they were quite unable to corrupt the prelate's mind. 

To make a long story short, after three days, the king, assisted by 
the bishops and barons, being in court, the aforesaid Bishop William 
was present : and, after much other business had been discussed, he 
rose, with the accused knight, and said, "Lo, my Lord the King, we 
are here, prepared to set forth once again our case, and to hear your 
sentence and that of your assessors." The king replied : "My Lord 
Bishop, we have been fatigued by a good deal of discourse to day, 
and have yet some business which keeps us : we are unable, therefore, 
to give the requisite attention to so weighty a matter. But wait, 
meanwhile, with patience, until we have cleared away these briars, 
as I may call them, and so be the freer to whet the axe of our justice 
for the felling of the noxious tree. And inasmuch as this case is 

110 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

Et quoniain causa perdificilis est, ipsam temere aggredi aut 
prepropere nos non condecet. Quanto etenim res uehementior 
est et offensa, tanto maior iusticie adhibenda est cautela. Ipsam 
itaque causam in aliud tempus differamus ac maiori reseruatam 
oportunitati, cum licuerit et libitum fuerit, communis prouisione 
oonsilii retractabimus. 

mNTER hec diligens lectoris perpendat prudentia non ad 
aliud nos declamationis huius conflictum libro nostro 
interseniisse, nisi ut palam fiat quod uersutissima iudeorum gens 
et auarissima si de obiecta sibi gloriosi pueri ac martiris Willelmi 
nece ream se esse non persensisset, presbiteri probationem non 
adeo timuisset, nequaquam ita omnino refugisset. Itidem pro 
necis eiusdem reprimendo sermone regi regiisque consiliariis non 
tant 11111 pecunie tribuisset, nullatenus episcopo tantum promisisset, 
et maxime perempti mortem iudei nullo unquam pacto ita sine 
calumpnia quietam reliquisset. Constat ergo quia sibi conscii 
de tanto facinore fuerant. Licet enim auarissimi sint, per pecunie 
tamen sue dampnum non displicuit eos timori suo comparare 

a very difficult one, it is not fitting that we approach it rashly or 
hastily. For the more pressing the matter and the crime, the more 
warily must justice be applied. Let us therefore defer the case to 
another season, and, being thus reserved for a greater convenience, 
when we are able, and our pleasure is, we will consider it with the 
care of our common counsel." 

Herein let the careful sagacity of the reader perpend that we have 
inserted this declamatory contest in our book to no other end than 
that it may appear that that most crafty and avaricious race, the 
Jews, had they not felt themselves to be guilty of the death of the 
glorious boy and martyr William, which was charged against them, 
would not have so gravely feared, and altogether shrunk from >the 
proof offered by the priest : and moreover would not have given so 
much money to the king and his councillors, nor promised so much 
to the Bishop, to hush up the talk concerning his death, nor, more 
especially, would they ever have left undisturbed the matter of the 
murdered Jew's death and raised no complaint. It is plain, therefore, 
that they were conscious of this great crime. For though they are 
mo*t avaricious, they did not shrink from assuaging their fears by 
a pecuniary low. 

IT.] St William of Nomvich. Ill 

xv. Qualiter diuine ultionis iuditium circa luhannem vicecomitem 
iudeorum defensorem apparuerit. 

MORTEM quoque lohannis uicecomitis, quam condigna dei 
ultione gestam credamus, nequaquam pretermittere uolu- 
iiius. Is siquidem a die synodal! qua, ut precedent! meminimus 
libro, christiane iudeos iusticie multis premuneratus rauneribus 
subtraxit, irremediabili cepit laborare morbo. Sicut etenira qui- 
busdam familiarium suorum ipse postmodum testatus est, a quibus 
et id ipsum post mortem eius didici, puncto temporis quo iudeis 
patrocinando legi sicut predictum est christiane patenter aduersari 
cepit, per posteriora eius sanguis guttatim profluere inchoauit. 
Adeoque diuina circa eum claruit ultio, ut reuera cum iudeis 
dicere et ipse possit : Sanguis innocens super nos et supei* filios 
nostros. Per duos igitur annos sanguine uicibus crebris per ima 
profluente uirtutem corporis sanguinis defectus imminuit, uultui 
pallorem induxit, et quamuis iram dei super se manifestam 
sentiret, totus tamen iriduratus necdum penitere uoluit. Tercio 
uero anno, quo iram in se magis incitaret et acueret diuinam et 

xv. How the judgment of Divine vengeance appeared in the case of the 
Sheriff John, who defended the Jews. 

I cannot, further, pass over the death of the Sheriff John, which 
I must believe to have been wrought by the worthy vengeance of 
God. He, from the very day of the synod, when, as I related in 
my last book, he withdrew the Jews from the arm of Christian justice, 
because he had been heavily bribed, began to labour under an in- 
curable disorder. For, as he himself afterwards testified to certain 
of his servants (from whom I learned the fact after his death), at 
the very moment when, by protecting the Jews, he began openly to 
oppose the Christian law, as is aforesaid, he began to suffer from 
internal haemorrhage. And so clearly was the vengeance of God 
shown in his case that he might in very truth say with the Jews, 
"Let the innocent blood be upon us and upon our children." For 
two years, then, the blood continued to flow at frequent intervals, 
and the loss of it weakened his bodily powers, and made him grow 
pale : and although he felt the wrath of God manifestly upon him, 
he was still wholly hardened and would not yet repent. But in the 
third year 1 , that he might still further stir up and sharpen the wrath 

1 That is, counting from the martyrdom, which brings us to some time after 
March 1146. 

H2 St William of Norwich. [BK. n. 

propositam sibi diuine prouidentie acceleraret uindictam, Norwi- 
oensis ecclesie pacem ausu temerario perturbare presumpsit, nee 
in quantum licuit dignitatem eius, in eligendo scilicet pontifice, 
a regibus et apostolice sedis summis pontificibus confirmatam 
quassare pertimuit. Tantis igitur malignitatis sue meritis iram 
dei prouocantibus, nutu diuino memoratus circa eum inualuit 
morbus. Dumque prior Norwicensis Willelmus eidem ecclesie 
preficeretur et consecraretur episcopus, idem Johannes adeo pre- 
scripta grauatus est ualitudine, ut a Trinouanto, ubi hec gere- 
bantur, nullatenus Norwicum ingrauescente morbo redire potuerit. 
Sed ab itinere diuertens Mileham, eoque uix perueniens, paucis 
ibi diebus euolutis, incessabili illo deficiens sangu<inis> profluuio, 
exhaustisque cum sanguine uiribus, utinam uel tune uere penitens 
diem clausit extremum. Perpendat igitur ex his diligens lectoris 
industria, ultio diuina quam grauiter ilium feriat qui sancte 
ecclesie legique christiane pro uiribus sic aduersari non reformidat. 

Explicit liber secundus. 

of God against himself, and hasten the purposed vengeance of Divine 
providence, he presumed by rash daring to disturb the peace of the 
Church of Norwich, and feared not, so far as in him lay, to shake 
its privilege, that, I mean, of electing a Bishop, which had been con- 
firmed by Kings, and by the supreme Pontiffs of the Apostolic See. 
Since then these great deserts of his wickedness provoked the anger 
of God, the disorder I have described increased upon him at the 
Divine bidding. And when William, the Prior of Norwich, was 
set over the said Church and consecrated Bishop, this John was so 
gravely vexed with his disease that he was quite unable, on account 
of its severity, to return to Norwich from Trinovantum (London), where 
this business was being done : but turned out of his way to Mileham 1 , 
which he was hardly able to reach; and there, after the lapse of a 
few days, exhausted by the incessant flow of blood, his strength and 
lii-> blood alike failing him, he breathed his last, truly penitent, let 
us hope, even at that hour. Hence let the careful attention of the 
reader perpend how heavily the vengeance of God strikes the man 
who ia not afraid to pit himself against the Holy Church and Christian 
laws, as this man did. 


1 The mention of Mileham completes the identification of John the Sheriff with 
John fe Cheyney (de Caineto). The Cheyney s were Lords of Mileham. John was 
' in the shrievalty by bin brother William, who held office until 1163. 


Incipiunt capitula libri tercii. 

i. De translatione eius a cimiterio in capitulum ; quod, quamuis 
urgeret episcopi et prioris Helie preceptio, non potuerit 
tamen sepulchrum sancti pauimento capituli coequari. 
ii. De manifesta postmodum sepulchri exaltatione. 
iii. De tapeto ablato ac luminari prohibito. 
iv. De quodam clerico die paschali a dolore dentium liberate, 
v. De monacho a consimili dolore liberate, 
vi. De uisione monachi ac eiusdem correctione Petrus Peuerellus 

nomine, miles quondam in seculo. 

vii. Qvaliter uxor Gaufridi de Marci infirma ad Sancti martiris 
sepulchrum uenerit et sana redierit. 


i. Concerning his translation from the Cemetery into the Chap- 
ter House, and how, though the order of the Bishop and 
Prior Elias urged it, yet the sepulchre of the Saint could 
not be made level with the pavement. 

ii. Concerning the subsequent manifest exaltation of the sepul- 

iii. Concerning the carpet that was taken away and the light 
that was prohibited. 

iv. Concerning a certain cleric delivered from the toothache on 

Easter Day. 
v. Concerning a monk delivered from a similar pain. 

vi. Concerning the vision of a monk and his correction, Peter 
Peverell by name, formerly a knight when living the 
secular life. 

vii. How the wife of Geoffrey de Marc when ill came to the 
sepulchre of the holy martyr and returned whole. 

W. N. 8 












St William of Norwich. 


Qvaliter Muriel uxor Alani de Sechehuthe a quadam sua 

priuata egritudine ad sepulchrum eins liberata sit. 
De puerulo morti proximo et meritis <san>cti martiris 

Qvaliter monachus sompni amissione grauatus statim petito 

sancti martiris suffragio sompnum recuperauerit. 
Qvod domina Mabilia de Bee et filii eius sancti martiris 

circa se experti sunt uirtutem. 
De uisione Ricardi de Lunna atque eius morte. et de re- 

cuperatione luminis in capitulo. 
Qvaliter W. sacrista ab infirmitate capitis et surditie meritis 

sancti martiris Willelmi curatus sit. 
De quadam Alditha ab egritudine diuturna liberata. 
De altera per multum tempus languente per uisum mire 

De puero inuto ad sepulchrum per uisum allato qualiter 

potentiam loquendi recuperauerit. 
De puero ab annuo dissenterie languore curato. 
De muliere quadam de Ormesbi sanitati restituta. 








How Muriel wife of Alan de Setchy was delivered from a 
certain private disorder at his sepulchre. 

Concerning a little boy nigh unto death cured by the merits 
of the martyr. 

How a monk troubled by loss of sleep, immediately recovered 
his sleep after begging the intercession of the holy martyr. 

How the lady Mabel de Bee and her sons with her experi- 
enced the virtue of the holy martyr. 

Concerning the vision of Richard de Lynn and concerning 
his death, and concerning the recovery of the light in the 
Chapter House. 

How W. the Sacrist was cured of pain in the head and deaf- 
ness by the merits of the holy martyr William. 

Concerning a certain Alditha freed from a long-standing 

Concerning another girl who had been ailing for a long time 
marvellously cured by a vision. 

Concerning a dumb boy brought to the sepulchre by a vision 
and how he recovered his power of speech. 

Concerning a boy cured of a dysentery that had lasted a year. 

Concerning a certain woman from Ormesby restored to health. 

in.] St William of Norwich. 115 

xix. Qvaliter nautis mari periclitantibus per merita sancti mar- 
tins uirtus diuina subuenerit. 

xx. De porcis paupercule mulieris infirmantibus et sanatis. 
xxi. Quod mortalitas in bobus uirtute sancti martiris Willelmi 

sepissime cohercita sit. 

xxii. De quadam Yda a dolore grauissimo liberata. 
xxiii. De admirabili cuiusdam uirginis uisione. 
xxiv. De quadam Goldeburga languente et sanata. 
xxv. De filia Bartholomei de Creic a febribus liberata. 
xxvi. De quodam ydropico curato. 

xxvii. De puero quodam decenni qui ad sepulchrum sancti mar- 
tiris allatus diutine infirmitatis sue subitum senserit 
xxviii. Qvaliter Hildebrandus quidam ab infirmitate sua conua- 


xxix. Qvaliter sacrista sancte Trinitatis Cantuarie sacri martiris 
Willelmi uirtutem in sanatis clerico ac palefrido mani- 
festam senserit. 

xxx. Qvaliter quedam Emma de Wichtuna ad sepulchrum sacra- 
tissimi martiris de infirmitate grauissima curata fuerit. 

xix. How by the merits of the holy martyr the divine virtue 

assisted certain sailors in perils of the sea. 

xx. Concerning a poor woman's swine healed of their disorder, 
xxi. How a mortality among some oxen was on many occasions 

checked by the virtue of the holy martyr William, 
xxii. Concerning a certain Ida delivered from most severe pain, 
xxiii. Concerning the wonderful vision of a certain maiden, 
xxiv. Concerning one Goldeburga recovered when wasting away, 
xxv. Concerning the daughter of Bartholomew de Creke delivered 

from a fever. 

xxvi. Concerning one cured of the dropsy. 

xxvii. Concerning a certain boy of ten years old who was brought 
to the sepulchre of the holy martyr and suddenly felt 
relief from his long infirmity. 

xxviii. How a certain Hildebrand recovered from his long in- 

xxix. How the Sacrist of the Holy Trinity Church at Canterbury 
had experience of the manifest virtue of the holy martyr 
William in the healing of his palfrey and his clerk. 
xxx. How a certain Emma de Wighton was cured at the sepulchre 
of the most holy martyr of a most serious infirmity. 


116 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

xxxi. Qvaliter plurimi per puluerem de lamina sepulchri eius 
abrasum et cum aqua benedicta bibitum egritudinis sue 
perceperint remedium. 

xxxil Qvaliter filius Alurici de sartrino monachorum de gutturis 
inflatura curatus fuerit. Expliciunt capitula. 

i. De translations corporis sancti in capitulum : liber tertius. 

VBI moderatrix uniuersorum gratia Christi beatum martirem 
-mini et gloriosum gloriosiorem efficere et in quanta gloria 
post mortem carnis uiueret fidelibus uoluit populis declarare, reue- 
latione uenerabili et mirifica transferendum a cimiterio indicauit. 
Consummatis siquidem sex post beati martiris Willelmi in cimi- 
terio tumulationem annis, prima quadragesime ebdomada feria 
secunda, dum ego Thomas Norwici in confratrum dormitorio 
monachorum post matutinos lecto quiescerem in uisu noctis diuina 
reuelante gracia uenerabilem et memoria non indignam uidere 
promerui uisionem. Videbam quippe mihi assistere uirum uultu 
et canicie uenerandum, indu mentis episcopalibus incomparabili 
candore renitentibus superindutum. Hie pontificali quern gerebat 
baculo me excitans ait : Surge, frater, et Helye priori filio dilecto 

xxxi. How many received a remedy for their illnesses by the 
dust that was scraped from the railing of his sepulchre 
and drunk with holy water. 

x xxii. How the son of Aluric, of the Monks' Tailory, was cured of 
a wen in his throat. 

L Concerning the translation of the Sainfs body into the Chapter 


When the grace of Christ that governs all things willed to make 
his blessed and glorious martyr more glorious, and to make known to 
the faithful in how great glory he was living after his death in the 
flesh He intimated by an awful and wondrous revelation that he 
should be removed from the cemetery of the monks. Accordingly when 
six years had past since the burial of the blessed Martyr William in 
the Cemetery, on Tuesday in the first week of Lent, whilst I Thomas 
was resting on my bed after matins in the dormitory of my brother 
monks, I was thought worthy to see in a dream of the night an awful 
and memorable vision by revelation of the divine favour. 

For I saw standing by me a man of venerable look with grey hair, 
clothed in Episcopal robes that glistened with an incomparable white- 
He rousing me with the Episcopal staff which he carried said; 
'Arise, brother! and make haste to bid my beloved son Elias the 

in.] St William of Norwich. 117 

dicere festina ut et ipse episcopo Willelmo ex mea parte denuntiet 
quatinus preciosissimum ilium thesaurum quern cimiterio fratres 
habent reconditum quamtotius inde transferant; quoniam si 
negligentie impulsu paterne iussioni non obaudierint, eos citius 
ilium ad maximum ecclesie detrimentum amissuros cognoscant. 
Tune sciscitanti mihi quisnam esset qui talia nuntiaret respondit : 
Ego sum ille HEREBERTVS huius Norwicensis ecclesie primus 
dei gratia fundator. Vade igitur, frater, et hec ad filios paterni 
mandati per<fer> intersigna. Recordentur, inquam, quia mihi ad 
regis curiam proficissci solito quandoque quasi suggerendo deprecari 
solebant ut ad ecclesie sue decus aliquas a rege uenerabiles sanc- 
torum perquirere studerem reliquias. Quibus ego non me rem 
eiusmodi tune, sed terras et redditus quesiturum aiebam ; quia 
post aliquanti spacium temporis diuina ministrante gratia eos 
tantas et tarn uenerabiles habere contingeret reliquias, unde 
ecclesia Norwicensis plurimum exaltaretur, totique anglie Celebris 
et transmarinis partibus foret uenerabilis. He sunt, inquam, quas 
transferendas premonui reliquias, et quas nisi maturius intro 
conferantur far in deliberationis stans uestibulo premiis conductus 

Prior that he himself must announce to Bishop William from me that 
as soon as may be they must remove that most precious treasure which 
the brethren keep hidden away in their cemetery, since, if they will 
not obey my paternal order, but yield to their sloth, let them know 
that very soon they will lose that treasure to the great harm of their 
Church." Then as I inquired who was making this announcement to 
me, he answered. 

" I am that HERBERT, the first founder by GOD'S grace of this 
Church of Norwich. Wherefore, my brother, go thy way and carry 
these tokens of my paternal mandate to my sons. Let them remember 
that their wont was when I used to set out for the court of the King, 
to pray of me that I should endeavour to obtain from the King some 
venerable relics of the Saints as an ornament of their Church. But I 
used to say to them that I would seek for nothing of this sort then, but 
lands and rents, because the time would come when, by GOD'S grace 
assisting them, they would have such great and worshipful relics as 
that by them the Church of Norwich would be greatly exalted and 
become celebrated through the whole of England and become con- 
spicuous in the parts beyond the sea. These, I declare, are those relics 
which I told you before would be bestowed upon you : and, unless 
very soon they be gathered together within the precincts, a thief who 
now stands on the threshold of deliberation, led on by hope of gain, is 

118 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

sullaturus accingitur. Mane ergo, frater, cum surrexeris, quibus 
imlixi filiis paterna mandata perferre non negligas. Quibus 
dictis abscessit. Expergefactus autem ego dum uisionem animo 
diligentius reuoluerem, reuoluenti michi reuelatio ilia Gamalielis 
ad Lucianum statim occurrit. Vnde ex industria iniunctum exequi 
mandatum ad horam distuli, quoniam magnopere secundam et 
tcrciam reuelaitionem affectaui. Cum uero due pertransissent 
ebdomade, ante diluculum illuscescentis dominice, quando Oculi 
met decantatur, quiescenti mihi itidem ut prius idem uenerabilis 
presul Herebertus assistere uisus est et ait : Quare negotium, 
frater, tibi iniunctum retardasti ? Quare mandate nostro non 
obaudisti ? Impiger esto internuntius, quoniam ecclesie perneces- 
saria est in hac re maturatio. Ecce plurimis conducti sunt 
muneribus qui quern ante dixi thesaurum furentur iam et auferant. 
Surge itaque, frater, surge, et quod iniunxi mandatum exequi non 
differas. Et hec dicens recessit. Surgens igitur, quia iam 
illuxerat, continue ad ecclesiam properaui, totamque ante domini- 
cum altare in orationibus animam coram domino effudi. Multis 
precibus cum lacrimis diuinam exoraui miserationem ne tercia 

girding himself up to carry them off. Wherefore, brother, when thou 
risest in the morning neglect thou not to carry my paternal orders to 
those my sons whom I have named." 

With which words he vanished. But while I was very diligently 
thinking the vision over in my mind, that revelation of Gamaliel to 
Lucian 1 straightway occurred to me. Wherefore I carefully deferred 
carrying out the mandate laid upon me for a season, since I greatly set 
my heart upon a second and third revelation. But when two weeks 
had passed, upon daybreak of the Sunday when Oculi mei is sung 2 , 
while I was reposing in the same place as before, the same Bishop 
Herbert appeared to be standing by me and said : "Brother, why hast 
thou delayed the business laid upon thee 1 Why hast thou not obeyed 
my mandate ? Be thou a quick messenger, since haste is very necessary 
to my Church in this matter. Lo, there are those who are tempted by 
great bribes, who will rob the treasure that I told thee of before, and 
take it away. Wherefore arise, brother ! arise, and delay not to carry 
ut the order which I have laid upon thee ! " Thus saying he vanished. 
Aurl I, because it was now light, straightway hurried into the Church 
and poured out all my soul in prayers to the Lord before the high 
alUr; and with many prayers and tears I besought the divine pity 

1 Concerning the relics of St Stephen... Acta SS. Ang. 3. 
That i, the Third Sunday in Lent. 

in.] St William of Norwich. 119 

frustrarer reuelatione. Quod autem postulaui, deo annuente 
optinere promerui. Dum etenim sub diluculo illuscescentis 
dominice, qua Isti sunt dies quos obseruare debetis decantare 
cousueuit ecclesia, in lecto pausarem, uenire mihi uidebatur 
memoratus presul Herebertus, tenensque dextera puerum quasi 
duodennem, pontificali quern sinistra gestabat baculo me tetigit 
et excitauit. Expergefactus igitur, nee tamen, credo, bene uigilans, 
cum erecto modicum capite oculos sursum eleuassem, ipsum coram 
me quo predixi modo consistentem conspexi. Qui quasi ex indig- 
natione caput quatiens et comminans baculo ait ad me : Nisi iste 
quern dextera me tenere conspicis patronus tuus esset et pro te 
interuenisset, iam iam quod patris precepto inobediens fuisti 
acerrima lucres pena. Tune arripiens me per sinistrum brachium 
strinxit, excussit, brachioque impressa pollicis uestigia manifesta 
reliquit. Et ait : Tu siquidem, Thoma, incredulus Thomas fuisti : 
uel saltem iam crede. Ecce, inquam, gloriosus puer et dominice 
reuera passionis imitator Willelmus assistit, qui se absque dilatione 
a cimiterio introrsus transferri expetit. Quod si summa festina- 
tione prouisum non fuerit, pro certo fratres nouerint eos ilium 

that I might not miss a third revelation. But what I begged for, that 
by GOD'S goodness I was vouchsafed. For as the dawn was beginning 
to break of the Sunday when the Church's custom is to sing Isti sunt 
dies quos observare debetis 1 , while I was resting on my bed the Bishop 
Herbert seemed to come to me, and, holding by the right hand a little 
boy of 12 years, he touched me and awoke me with his pontifical staff 
which he carried in his left hand. So I awakened, and yet, I believe, 
not quite conscious, with my head a little raised, I lifted up my eyes, 
and beheld him standing before me in the same way that I mentioned 
before. And he as in anger shaking his head and threatening me 
with his staff said to me: "Unless he whom thou seest me holding 
with my right hand had been thy protector and had interceded for 
thee, even now hadst thou paid a very severe penalty, for thou hast 
been disobedient to the precept of thy Father." Then catching me by 
the left arm he pinched me, shook me, and left a plain mark of his 
thumb imprinted upon me; and he said, "Though indeed, Thomas, thou 
hast been an unbelieving Thomas, yet now believe. Lo ! the glorious 
boy William stands beside thee, the true imitator of the Lord's Passion ; 
he seeks to be transferred from the cemetery to the interior of the 
Church without any tarrying. If this be not granted him with utmost 
1 That is, the Sunday in Passion-week. 

120 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

in proximo, nisi deus prouideat, amissuros. Expergiscere ergo, et 
surgens denuntia episcopo et priori que illis nuntianda tibi in- 
iunximus. Locus uero quern sibi amodo manendum preelegit 
capitulum est, lapisque puerorum sedibus interponendus. His 
dictis.cum mestatim uestibus induissem et subducto aliquantulum 
cuculle caputio oculos extersissem, quos ante uideram intuitu 
diligentiori perquirebam. Verum cum iam non apparuissent, et 
ideo me ilia noh nisi per sompnum uidisse existimarem, grauatis 
adhuc et plenis sopore oculis caput demisi atque iterum dormire 
cepL Tune quippe uisum est mini quasi aliquos de fratribus 
mecum ex precepto prioris ad beati martins Willelmi sepulchrum 
accedere, aperire, purissimoque argento et candidissimo plenum 
inuenire. Quod excipientes mundissimisque [mundissimisque (sic)] 
lintheaminibus inuoluentes cum claustro inferremus, preeunte cum 
episcopo priore, tantum utpote suscepturus thesaurum, maximus 
candidatorum contra ueniebat conuentus. Et thurificato uelut 
mihi uidebatur eo, procedentibus processionaliter fratribus, ilium 
intra ecclesiam ante altare dommicum asportabamus. Episcopus 
aut mi sermone ad populum habito multe uenerationis thesaurum 

speed, let the brethren know assuredly that, unless GOD prevent it, 
they will soon lose him. Arouse thee then, and having risen announce 
to the Bishop and Prior those things which I have bidden thee to make 
known. As for the place which he has chosen for himself that he may 
abide in, it is the Chapter-house, and his tomb is to be placed among 
the boys' seats." 

At these words, when, having put on my garments and pushed 
back the hood of my cowl a little, I had rubbed my eyes, I searched 
very carefully for those whom I had before beheld. But when now 
they were no longer to be seen, and I began to think that I had 
only seen them in my sleep, my eyes being heavy and full of sleep, 
I laid down my head and again began to slumber. 

Then it seemed to me that certain of the brethren went with me 

by the Prior's orders to the sepulchre of the blessed martyr William, 

opened it, and found it filled with the purest and brightest silver. 

This we took and wrapped it in finest linen, and brought it into the 

cloister; and a great assembly of men clothed in white came to meet us, 

preceded by the Bishop and Prior, as if to receive this great treasure. 

;t seemed to me that after the treasure had been incensed, the 

Jthren going on in procession, we bore it within the Church before 

high altar. And the Bishop preached a sermon to the people in 

which he nhowed that a treasure of great renown had, by GOD'S grace, 

in.] St William of Norwich. 121 

dei gratia Norwicensibus attributum demonstrauit. Tune erexit 
se beatissimus puer et martir et euocato episcopo ait: lube, 
domine pater, mihi lectulum in capitulo preparari, quia ibi paulisper 
inter pueros puer ipse pausare desidero, postmodum ad ecclesiam 
denuo reuersurus. lussit itaque episcopus ipsum quo petebat 
deportari. Quod et ita fieri dum mihi per uisum uideretur, ex- 
pergefactus subito et circumspiciens nichil eorum me uidere que 
mihi ante uisa uidebantur admiratus sum. Proinde ad me ipsum 
reuersus sompnii uisionem fuisse agnoui. Mane uero surgens, 
ubi iuxta ordinem loquendi daretur facultas, priorem Helyam 
conueni eique paterna propalaui mandata. Qui ualde exhilaratus 
turn quoniarn certa patris intersigna susceperat, turn quia ecclesie 
Norwicensi multe commoditatis honorem pullulare cemebat, 
uisionem ac rei geste seriem episcopo retexuit. Episcopus igitur 
super his deo gratias egit, atque de translationis modo cum priore 
agere cepit. Quid multa ? Indicitur dies, hora, rei gerende 
modus, et qui negotium exequantur fratres. Ad id sex deputantur, 
quorum numero ego Thomas interesse merui. Denique adueniente 

been bestowed upon the people of Norwich. Then the most blessed 
boy and martyr raised himself up and calling upon the Bishop, said, 
"Give order, Lord and Father, that a little resting-place be made ready 
for me in the Chapter-house, because there for a little while, as a boy 
among the boys, I desire to rest. Hereafter I intend again to return 
into the Church." Hereupon the Bishop ordered that he should be 
carried whither he requested. 

This, as it seemed to me in my vision, was being carried out when 
suddenly I awoke, and looking round me I marvelled to see nothing 
of those things which before seemed to me to be apparent. Then I 
came to myself, and knew that it had been a vision in my sleep. But 
when I arose in the morning and permission was given me in ac- 
cordance with the rule to speak, I betook me to the Prior Elias, 
and I made known to him the paternal mandate. Whereat greatly 
rejoicing, as well because he recognised the sure tokens of our Father 
as because he perceived that the growth of an honour of great price 
for the Church of Norwich was signified, he communicated to the 
Bishop the vision and the particulars of what had occurred. Where- 
fore the Bishop gave thanks to GOD for these things and began to 
consult with the Prior concerning the manner of the translation. 
Accordingly the day, the hour, and the arrangements were fixed, 
and who of the brethren should carry out the business. For the doing 
of which six were appointed, of whom I, Thomas, was thought worthy 

122 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

sub die determinate rei gerende hora, ferie scilicet quarte post 
pascha florum nocte, nocturnis completis laudibus, cum preter nos 
sex totus se dormitorio contulisset conuentus, decantatis prius 
septem salmis cum letania ad exequendum opus nobis iniunctum 
antelucani accingimur. Accedentibus uero nobis ad sepulchrum 
quo egregia ilia beati Martins claudebatur gleba atque besitantibus 
quis prior ictum daret, subitus horror nos arripuit. Verum ego 
herentibus pre timore sociis animum resumpsi, arreptoque cuneo 
ferreo et iuncture lapidum apposito, grandi malleo fortiter percussi 
atque ad tercium ictum subintrante cuneo a lapide lapis cepit 
seiungi. Quo uiso socii collatis uiribus ad lapidem superiorem 
amouendum conuolarunt. Quo deposito, retro abeuntibus ceteris 
nee intuitum intro defigere audentibus, ego et alius quidam 
de consociis audacter accedimus et ad intuendum ceteros inuitamus. 
Tune adhibito copioso candelarum lumine pariter conspeximus rei 
ut erat ueritatem. Dumque eum intueremur, anteriores duos 
dentes a maxilla segregates seorsum iacere comperi. Quos uidens 
et primo an caperem hesitans, pio denique incitatus furto nesci- 

to be one. Accordingly on the day appointed, to wit on Wednesday 
after Palm Sunday at night after Lauds were finished, and when all 
the convent, except us six, had betaken themselves to the dormitory, 
we, having sung the seven Psalms' and Litany, before daybreak set 
ourselves to carry out the work which had been enjoined us. But 
when we came to the grave where the glorious dust of the blessed 
Martyr was buried, and were hesitating who should strike the first 
blow, a sudden horror seized us. But, while my companions in 
their fear held back, I recovered myself, and taking an iron wedge 
and fixing it in a crevice of the stones, I smote it stoutly with a heavy 
mallet, and at the third blow, as the wedge made way, the stones began 
to part asunder. At the sight of which my companions uniting in 
their exertions tried all together to move the stone that was on the 
top. When it was taken off and laid down, while the others retired, 
as not daring to gaze upon what was inside, I and another of the 
company boldly approached, and we invited the others to look in. 
Then by the help of abundant light from our candles we all together 
sw the very truth. And as we gazed upon him, I noticed that two 
front teeth had become loosened from the jaw and were lying by 
themselves. Which when I saw, and, at first hesitating whether I 

1 Th 6th, 82nd, 38th, 51st, 102nd, 130th, and 148th. The first three are ap- 
pointod for the morning service, the last three for the evening aervice, and the 
for the oommination service on Ash Wednesday in onr Liturgy. 

TIL] St William of Norwich. 123 

entibus sociis collegi: collectos, mundissimo panniculo inuolui, et 
inuolutos secreto loco recondidi. Nee illos me habere quisquam 
scire potuit, donee postea idipsum et ipse reuelauit. Quibus 
reuelatis, ex aqua qua illos lauare solemus, sicut in consequentibus 
declarabitur, multos multotiens curatos fuisse probauimus. Mar- 
tirem itaque summa leuatum cum reuerentia et candidissimis 
inuolutum lintheaminibus pallio cooperuimus atque uniuersa, 
clarescente iam aurora, diligent! consummauimus cura. Decantata 
uero tune prima conuentus festiue accedens capitulo ilium intulit, 
ubi a lathomis et cementariis fossa preparata sarcofagum immissum 
fuerat, eo scilicet quo ipse antea per uisum petiuerat loco. Sed 
illud in oculis assistentium mirabile apparuit, unde nos plurimus 
tenuit stupor. Vrgebat etenim turn episcopi mandatum turn prior 
presens assistens et iubens quatinus ita res gereretur ut sar- 
copbagum fosse immissum pauimento coequatuui nichil uel parum 
promineret. Itaque laborant cementarii, bine pontificate man- 
datum, inde prioris assisteutis explere preceptum. Summa siqui- 
dem adhibita diligentia sarcophagi spissitudinem ad fosse con ferentes 

should take them, at last, tempted to a pious theft, I took them 
without my companions observing me, and when I had taken them 
I wrapped them in a small piece of cloth without soil and I hid them 
in a secret place; and no one could have known that I had them 
until afterwards he himself disclosed the fact. When they were 
revealed, we proved that by the water in which we used to wash those 
teeth, as I shall tell in what follows, many people on many occasions 
were made whole. So then with utmost reverence we lifted up the 
martyr, and we wrapped him in white linen, and covered him with 
a pall, and, when the dawn was now beginning to spread over all 
things, we finished our work with diligence and care. Then first, 
after Prime had been sung, the convent joyfully coming to us 
bore him into the Chapter-house, where a grave had been made ready 
by stone-masons and plasterers, and a sarcophagus had been placed 
there, to wit in the very place which he had begged for in the vision. 
But lo ! before the eyes of all present a marvel appeared, at the 
which a great amazement struck us all. For the commandment of the 
Bishop was urgent ; and the Prior too, who was present and assisting, 
kept ordering that it should be so managed that the sarcophagus 
which was placed in the grave should be almost on a level with the 
pavement. And accordingly the masons set to work to obey the 
mandate of the Bishop on the one hand, and the orders of the Prior 
who was present on the other. So using all diligence and comparing 

124 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

profunditatem, quod iussi fueraut se pro libito exequi nullatenus 
dubitabant. Sed diuina dispensante gratia res in contrarium uersa 
Nempe inter hec aliter ad libitum disponebat homo et 
seruus atque aliter ad martins sui uenerationem preordinauerat 
deus et dominus. Fossa sepulcrum, sepulcro corpus immittitur: 
sed superposita lamina fere tota pauimentum super eminere 
inuenitur. Indignatus ad hec prior statim deponi laminam et 
exposito iterum corpore terrain iterum suffodi iubet et exponi, 
ut reposito corpore et superposita denuo lamina uel sic pauimento 
sepulcrum queat coaptari. Dumque cura huiusmodi ministerium 
ministri operis diligenter satagerent, qui in sanctis suis gloriosus 
est dominus seruum suum martirem manifesto glorificauit. Quod 
enim, nee tamen ad uelle prioris, sepulcrum antea contigit pro- 
minere, modo ibi diuina latenter operante gratia in oculis astantium 
pa tenter cernebatur iam quasi excreuisse. Ad hec uisa fratrum 
let at ur conuentus, et nonnulli pre gaudio lacrimati sunt : et qui 
paulo ante de sepulcri depressione doluerant, de eiusdem postea per 
manifestam diuine uirtutis ostensionem exaltatione plurimum 

the dimensions of the sarcophagus with the depth of the grave, they 
had no doubt whatever that they had obeyed their injunctions. But 
the Divine grace ordered it so that it turned out quite contrary 
to then- expectations. Verily, in this matter, man, the servant, was 
proposing all things according to his pleasure, and, for the honour of 
His own martyr, our GOD and Lord had disposed otherwise. The 
sarcophagus was placed in the grave and the body in the sarcophagus, 
but when the lid was laid in its place it was found to stand out 
above the pavement altogether. Hereat the Prior being angry straight- 
way ordered the lid to be removed ; the body was again exposed, and 
he ordered the grave to be dug a second time and the earth to be 
thrown out so that when the body was put back and the lid once 
more put on, the sepulchre might be made level with the pavement. 
But while the workmen were carefully carrying out their orders with 
this intent, the Lord who is glorified in His saints glorified in a 
manifest way His servant the martyr. For whereas the sepulchre, 
contrary to the Prior's will, previously stood out above the level, so 
now, by the divine grace mysteriously assisting, lo ! there, before the 
eye* of those who were standing by, it was observed evidently to have 
risen up as it were. When this was seen the whole convent of the 
l.n-tliren rejoiced, and some for very joy shed tears, and they who a 
little while before had lamented the lowering of the sepulchre were 
exceeding glad at the subsequent exaltation of it by the plain exhibition 

in.] St William of Noi*wich. 125 

gaudebant. Stupefactus ad hec prior ita esse permisit quoniam 
diuine ulterius resistere uoluntati securum non credidit. 

ii. De manifesto, sepulchri exaltatione. 

"VTERITATE attestante uerum fore didicimus quia exaltatus 
V humiliabitur atque e conuerso exaltabitur humiliatus. Cum 
etenim ad inuitatos in parabolis loqueretur dominus, inuitatum 
premonuit ne scilicet iniussus primum presumeret occupare locum, 
ne honoratioribus uno post alium super uenientibus tandem cum 
rubore extremum cogatur locum optinere. Subiungens deinde 
docuit recumbenti nouissimam preeligendam sedem ut postmodum 
ab inuitatore recumbentium considerante et discuciente merita, 
audire mereatur : A mice, ascende superius. Tune quippe utrinque 
contingat condigne pro meritis, ut scilicet exaltetur se humilians 
et deponatur se exaltans. Quam se exaltantis depositionem con- 
siderans psalmista quasi insultando ait: Vidi impium super exalta- 
tum et eleuatum sicut cedros Libani : et transiui et ecce nan erat, et 
cetera. Se humiliantibus uero exaltationem apostolus Petrus 

of the divine power. Whereupon the Prior, amazed, allowed it to be 
as it was, since he did not think it safe any more to resist the divine 

ii. Concerning the manifest Exaltation of the Sepulchre. 

By the testimony of the Truth we have learnt that it is true 
how " he that exalteth himself sJiall be humbled, and he that humbleth 
himself shall be exalted." For verily the Lord when He was speaking 
to those that were invited in parables, warned those invited that no 
one unbidden should take the first place, "lest when those more honour- 
able than he should come, then he would be compelled with shame to 
take the lowest place." Then he added and taught him that sits down 
to sit down in the lowest seat, so that afterwards he might deserve 
to hear from the master of the feast, as he considered and distinguished 
the deserts of the guests: "Friend., go up hig/ier." Then verily each 
would get according to his deserts, so that he who humbleth himself 
is exalted, and he that exalteth himself is abased. The which setting 
down of him that exalteth himself, the Psalmist having in his mind, 
says in reproachful fashion, "/ have seen the wicked in great power, 
and exalted like a green bay tree : I went by, and lo I he was gone," <fec. 
But the Apostle Peter, following the footsteps of his mistress the truth, 
proclaims the exaltation of those that humble themselves saying, 

126 St William of Noi^wich. [BK. 

magistre ueritatis sequens uestigia predicauit dicens: Humiliamini 
gub potenti manu dei ut uos exaltet in tempore uisitationis. Porro 
bcata et gloriosa uirgo Maria utrumque uersus breuitate conclusit, 
dicens: Depomit potentes de sede, et exaltauit humiles. Hanc 
equidem humilis exaltationem, tot et tantis predicatam preconiis, 
circa glorificandi martiris sui sepulcrum gratia uoluit diuina nostris 
experiri conspectibus. Nos nerape qui sepulcri supereminentiam 
prima die mensurauimus, nil tamen futuri tune suspicantes euentus, 
complete anno rem reuera incredibilem sed uisu plurimorum 
expertam experti et nos sumus. Comperientes etenim tarn subitam 
sepulchri exaltationem eminentie illius memoratam adhibuimus 
mensuram, supra quam et plenum palmuni (sic) excreuisse pro- 
bauimus. Et quod coram deo teste loquor, plebs me silente 
Norwicensis et cognouit et predicat. Ne autem gestorum seriem 
ab emulis rescindere dicar, quod descripte translation! ea que 
postmodum complete gesta sunt anno ita prepostere statim inter- 
seruerim quasi nil memoria dignum interfuerit, respondeo, ac facti 
causam subiungo. Quoniam inquam in descripta translatione 
admirabilem illam sepulcri, diuino earn in oculis nostris dispen- 

" Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of GOD that lie may exalt 
you in due time." Moreover the blessed and glorious Virgin Mary 
comprehends both truths in a single verse, saying, "He hath put down 
the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble and meek" 
Verily this exaltation of the humble, proclaimed by so many and such 
great witnesses, did the divine grace choose to approve to our eyes in 
the sepulchre of His martyr who was to be glorified. 

We however, who on the first day measured the height of the 
sepulchre above the floor, having then no suspicion of what was going 
to happen, at the end of a year ourselves discovered a fact really 
incredible, but which was proved in the presence of very many. For 
when in the first instance we noticed the sudden raising of the 
sepulchre, we applied the measure aforesaid to that eminence, and 
we proved that it had grown above that original height a full hand's 
breadth. And that which I declare, calling GOD to witness, the people 
of Norwich, though I should hold my peace, knows and proclaims. 

But that I may not be said to have interrupted the course of 
my narrative by inserting in the story of the translation certain 
matters which happened after the lapse of a year, as though nothing 
'"'' -iitioninB '<"' occurred in fch meanwhile, T answer, and add 
the cause of my doing so. Since then in the narrative of the trans- 
late, I recorded that wonderful lifting up of the sepulchre, what 

in.] St William of Norwich. 127 

sante nutu, eleuationem commemoraui, earn illi que magis ac magis 
usque ad anni expletionem excreuit exaltatio non incongrue, ut 
reor continuaui. Hoc itaque ita egi, non ut ordinem gestorum 
rescinderem, sed ut similia similibus conferrem. 

iii. De tapeto ablato et luminari prohibito. 

ANNO itaque ab incarnatione dominica M. C. quinquagesimo 
translate, uelut premissum est, intra capitulum uenerando 
martiris corpore, feria quarta post pascha florum, tune scilicet idus 
aprilis, consequenti domiuica qua dominice resurrectionis gaudia 
recolebantur, quorundam consilio consodalium ego Thomas ad 
uenerandi martiris sub tarn uenerabili die uenerationem tapeto 
sepulcrum eius cooperui atque capiti illius cereum grandera quern 
ipse ad ipsum preparaueram illuminatum apposui. Quo audito 
prior Helias grauiter quidem tulit, et que quasi presumptuoso 
ausu apposita fuerant, uiliter auferri nee ulterius apponi precepit. 
Vnde plurima pars conuentus plurimum scandalizata est et contur- 

time the divine approval ordered it so before our eyes, it was not 
inappropriate, I think, to subjoin thereto the account of the exaltation, 
which increased up to the end of a full year. Accordingly I did so, 
not so as to alter the order of events, but that I might associate like 
things with like. 

iii. Concerning the carpet that was removed, and the light that was 


So then in the year of our Lord 1150, when, as has been shown, 
the sacred body of the martyr had been removed into the Chapter- 
house on Wednesday after Palm Sunday, that is, on the 13th April 1 ; 
on the following Sunday, being that in which the joy of the Lord's 
resurrection is commemorated, I, Thomas, by the advice of some of my 
companions, to show reverence on so great a day for the worshipful 
martyr, covered his sepulchre with a carpet, and set up at his head 
a great wax taper lighted, which I had provided for this purpose. 
But when Prior Elias heard of it he was much offended, and 
gave orders that what had been set up there presumptuously and 
audaciously should be rudely taken away, and not be set up again. 
At this the larger part of the convent was greatly scandalised and 

1 The Year letter for 1150 A.D. was A, the Golden number 11. Therefore Easter 
fell on the 16th April, and Wednesday would be the 12th, not the 13th. Query 


128 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

bata eisque factum illud eo magis displicuit quoniam mail animi 
signum fuit Veruntamen, ut aiunt, magis gestum est aliorum 
hoc consilio et inuidie instinctu quam ex propria prioris dispensa- 
tione. Quod uero melius estimo, tarn sapientis uiri prouida 
discretio presumptionis nostre ausum per eiusmodi uoluit corrigere 
et cohibere factum. 

iv. De'quodam clerico a dolore dentium liberate. 

BEATUM uero martirem suum eadem ipsa die diuina glorificare 
cepit dementia qua ilium audax infestare presumpsit ma- 
litia, diuinoque inditio multa dignum ueneratione patuit, qua 
indignum proterua maliuolentia adiudicauit. Ipso namque die 
paschali quidam Willelmi uicecomitis clericus, Gaufridus nomine, 
grauissimo dentium dolore uexatus, trahente ilium et ducente 
deuotionis affectu ad sepulcrum beati martins aduenit. Magistre 
fidei instinctu particulam cementi accepit, dentes confricando 
tetigit, et dolore confestim ac si mali nichil habuisset mitigate, 
incolumis a sepulcro remeauit. 

disturbed, and was the more displeased because it was an evidence of 
hostility. But, as some say, this was done by the advice of others and 
from the urgings of envy rather than of the Prior's own motive. 

Yet what I rather think is, that the prudent discretion of so wise a 
man desired by this kind of treatment to correct and restrain my 
presumptuous temerity. 

iv. Concerning a certain Cleric cured of toothache. 

But on that very same day on which that audacious malice pre- 
sumed to cast a slight upon the martyr, the divine mercy began to 
glorify him, and he was proved worthy of much veneration by a sign 
of GOD, whereby He adjudged him unworthy of the spiteful ill-will. 
For on Easter Day a certain clerk of William the Sheriff 1 , Gaufridus 
by name, tortured by a very dreadful toothache, came to the sepulchre 
of the blessed martyr, a feeling of devotion drawing and leading him 
there. Prompted by his faith which taught him, he took a morsel of 
the cement [of the sepulchre] and touched his teeth, rubbing them 
with it, and immediately the pain was stilled as if he had had nothing 
the matter with him, and he went away from the sepulchre whole. 

1 William de Cheyney, brother of John : see p. 112. 

IIL] St William of Norwich. 129 

v. De m&nacho a dolore consimili curato. 

171 ODEM ferme tempore Edmundus iunior monachus Norwi- 
-J ^ censis tarn uehementi dentium urgebatur dolore ut minis 
tumens gengiua manifesta doloris daret inditia. Is clericum 
prescriptum ad memoriam reducens per merita beati martins 
itidem quasi curandus ad idem mox confugit asylum, ut dolori 
suo mendicaret remedium. Quod autem fide bona quesiuit, 
sine mora consequi promeruit. Vbi enim dolenti facie sepulcri 
lapidem tetigit, dolore confestim sedato, omnem exinaniri sensit 

VL De cuiusdam uiri religiosi uenerabili uisione. 

HISDEM quoque diebus cuidam decoram et uenerabilem 
uidere contigit uisionem. Erat quippe Norwici monachus 
quidam uita et moribus religiosus, uir reuera cui multum credi 
deceat, Petrus Peuerellus nomine. Qui miles quondam in seculo 
regi diutissime seruierat Henrico, ac inter thalami sui annumeratus 

v. Concerning a monk cured of a similar pain. 

About the same time Edmund the younger, a monk of Norwich, 
was troubled with so terrible a toothache that the excessive swelling 
of the gums gave a clear proof of his suffering. This man, remem- 
bering the clerk aforesaid, betook himself to the same place of refuge 
to try a remedy for his pain, as though seeking to be cured by the 
merits of the blessed martyr. But what in true faith he besought, 
that he was deemed worthy to obtain without delay; for when he 
touched the stone of the sepulchre with his suffering face, straightway 
the pain was allayed and he felt all the swelling disappear. 

vi. Concerning a wonderful vision of a certain Religious man. 

In these days it befell a certain man to see a beautiful and wonder- 
ful vision. 

There was at Norwich a certain monk, a religious man in his 
life and conduct : a man indeed in whom much confidence might be 
placed, and his name was Peter Peverell 1 , who when a knight living 

1 Peter Peverell was brother of Sir Matthew Peverell, Lord of PeverelTa Manor 
in Great Melton. Sir Matthew gave certain lands in Melton to the Priory at 
Norwich, on condition that his brother Peter was received as a monk among the 
brethren. The original Charter referring to this transaction, and the confirmation 
of it, are to be found in the Eegister of the Priory now at Norwich. Se Blome- 
field, v. n. 7. Also Planche, The Conqueror and his Companions, ii. 258. 

W. N. 9 


St William of Norwich. [BK. 

fuerat priuatissimos. Is in uisu nocturne quietis nocte quadam 
uidit se quasi in ecclesia existentem uidere et admirari turbam 
eandidatorum innumerabilem cum uariis et consonis concentibus 
ecclesiam subintrantem. Sub aduentu eorum tantus splendor 
radiabat quantum humanus oculus sustinere non poterat. Turn 
ille uni eoruin uenusti aspectus uenerabili interrogauit dicens : 
Que est, domine, gens hec tarn admirabilis et decora cum tanta hue 
adueniens gloria ? Cui ille : Ecce, ait, regina celi et mundi domina 
cum hac sua familia aduenit, amicum suum qui penes uos est 
uisitare dilectissimum. lamque intro cum puellis abiit secretum 
cum eo habitura colloquium. Quo audito, monachus uehementer 
expauit, neque ibidem ultra morari ausus, ecclesiam exiit. Cumque 
uelut sibi uidebatur claustrum subintrauisset et capitulo proxi- 
maret, odor inestimabilis aduenientis se infudit naribus. Trans- 
iturus uero capitulum cum, ut moris est, imagini dominice se 
inclinaret, intro prospiciens uidet gloriosam illam celi et terre 
imperatricem ad caput sepulchri aureo sedili regio ornatu adornato 
residentem, auroque ac gemmis incomparabili nitore renitentibus 

in the world, had long served King Henry and had been numbered 
among his attendants in the Privy Chamber. This man as he was 
sleeping quietly saw himself in a vision of the night standing as it 
were in the Church and looking with wonder at an innumerable 
throng of men clothed in white, and entering the Church with a 
varied and sweet concert of music. At their entrance so great a 
brightness shone forth as no human eye could bear. Then he 
questioned one of these beings, of a beautiful and venerable aspect, 
saying, "Lord, what is this so wonderful and beautiful a company 
coming hither with such great glory?" To whom the other answered, 
"Behold the queen of heaven and mistress of the world cometh with her 
attendants to visit her most dear friend who is with you ; and now has 
she gone within with her maidens to hold secret converse with him." 

Which when the monk heard, he was grievously afraid, nor did 
he dare to stay there any longer, but went out of the Church. 
But when, as it appeared to him, he had entered the cloister and 
was approaching the Chapter-house, an exquisite fragrance greeted 
hia nostrils. And, being about to pass the Chapter-house, when accord- 
ing to custom he was bowing himself before the image of the Lord, 
looking in he saw the glorious Empress of heaven and earth seated 
at the head of the sepulchre on a golden seat adorned with royal 
ornament*, and crowned with gold and gems that sparkled with in- 

in.]- St William of Norwich. 131 

coronatam. Ad cuius dexteram et leuam mire pulcritudinis due 
assistebant uirgines cereos accensos manibus tenentes. Corara 
ilia beatus puer et martir Willelmus capite inclinato flexisque 
assistebat genibus. Cui gloriosa domini mater tercia sibi flores 
administrante puella, ex illis coronam plectebat admirabilem 
et paratam eius imponebat capiti. Hanc martins beati gloriam 
dum intentius attenderet monachus, et inde multum miraretur, 
accessit ad eum uirgo que flores, ut dixi, administrabat. Et ait : 
Quid stupes uel quid miraris ? Et ille : Quia scilicet quid hie 
geratur ignore et scire ualde desidero. Cui ilia : Ecce regina celi 
et dornini mater patronum huic ecclesie adeo assignatum martirem 
Willelmum amicum equidem suum uisitare dilectum uenit, co- 
ronauit, eique pro libito curandi potestatem contulit. Vade ergo 
mine, eumque a modo uenerare; quoniam dies uenient quando 
ipsius ope et tu maxime indigebis. Quod et ita contigit, sicut 
posterius declarabitur. Quibus dictis, celestis ilia uisio disparuit, 
et euigilans monachus que uiderat diligentius reuoluere cepit. 
Mane uero facto, que per uisum uiderat cum fratribus enarrasset, 
ab ea die et deinceps ceperunt plurimi sepulcrum sancti martiris 

comparable splendour. On her right hand and on her left two virgins 
were standing of wondrous beauty, holding in their hands lighted 
tapers, and before her the boy martyr William was attending with 
bowed head and bended knees ; for whom the glorious mother of 
our Lord was plaiting a marvellous crown of flowers with which a 
third damsel was supplying her, and when the crown was ready she 
put it upon his head. While the monk was gazing wistfully at this 
glory of the blessed martyr and wondering thereat, the virgin who, 
as I said, was supplying flowers came to him, and said, "Why art 
thou amazed, and why wonderest thou?" and he answered, "Because 
I know not what is being done here and I greatly desire to know." 
To whom she replied, "Behold, here, the queen of heaven and 
the mother of our Lord hath come to visit her beloved friend, 
the patron assigned to this Church, the martyr William. She has 
crowned him and has conferred upon him the power of healing at 
his will. Go thy way therefore now, and from this time pay him 
reverence, since the days will come when thou too shalt greatly need his 
aid !" Which too so came to pass as shall be explained hereafter. 

At these words the heavenly vision passed away and the monk 
awakened began carefully to turn over what he had seen. But when 
the morning came, and he had narrated to the brethren what he 
had seen in the vision, from that day forward many of them began 


132 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

plurimum uenerari et orationibus frequentare. Ex quibus non- 
nullos dicentes audiuimus se ibidem sepissime suauissimi odoris 
sensisse fraglantiam ex illo uenerabili sacratissimi martins sepulcro 

viL De quadam a languor e diutumo curata. 

NEC multo post Claricia uxor Gaufridi de Marci et Gerolden- 
sium fratrum neptis ad beatissimi martins uenit sepulcrum 
desideratum infinnitatis sue querens remedium. Hec per aliquot 
dolore renum ac genuum laborauerat annos, nee per aliquos, licet 
in illis multum expenderit, curari potuit medicos. Veniens uero 
manibus se ducentium, immo magis ductu fidei ad illud uenerabile 
sepulcrum, aliquamdiu stans orauit ac deinde, genibus proposse 
flexis, ea nudata nudo lapidi applicuit. Ad cuius confestim 
tactuni memoratus membrorum dolor cepit mitigari, ut iam 
sentiret din amissam sospitatem quasi diuisim membris refundi. 
Sicque factum eat, ut que manibus alienis corpore inbecillis 
aduenerat, celesti operante medicina, nullius egens adminiculo 
incolumis rediret et sospes. 

to shew much honour to the holy martyr's sepulchre and to pay their 
devotions there. Among whom I have heard many say that they 
perceived there the perfume of a most sweet savour, proceeding from 
that wondrous sepulchre of the most holy Martyr. 

viL Concerning a certain woman cured of a long-standing sickness. 

Not long after this Claricia, wife of Gaufridus de Marc 1 and niece 
of the brothers Gerold 2 came to the sepulchre of the most blessed 
martyr seeking a much desired remedy for her infirmity. This lady 
had been suffering for some years from pain in the reins' and knees, 
nor could she be cured by any physicians, though she spent much 
upon them. But coming to this worshipful sepulchre by means of 
those who led her there, or rather by the leading of her faith, standing 
there for a little while she offered up a prayer, and then bending 
her knees as far as she was able she applied them all bare to the 
bare stone. And immediately at the touch of it the aforementioned 
pain in her limbs began to abate so that she felt already the long 
lost soundness spreading through her limbs. Thus it came to pass 
that she who came with her feeble body by the hands of others, when 
th<- heavenly medicine did its work, went back safe and sound needing 
no man's support. 

1 Gaufridtu, probably Lord of Markahall, 4 miles bom Norwich. 

1 Clearly Warin and Henry FitzOerald, chamberlains to Henry H. from 1153 

HI.] St William of Norwich. 133 

viii. De altera a profluuio liberata. 

POST paucos deinde dies, ad festum sancte trinitatis, in octabis 
scilicet pentecostes, uenit Alarms de Sechehutha cum uxore 
sua Muriele, qui et que patruus et matertera Ricardi tune subprioris 
Norwicensis erant. Hec diuturna profluuii laborabat ualitudine, 
nee per tantum tempus, plurima licet adhibita medicina, egritudini 
sue remedium potuit inuenire. Veniens uero ad memoratum 
martiris sepulcrum, genua flexit, duas pro se et domino suo candelas 
optulit, et cum lacrimis salutem postulauit. Pura deprecantrs 
oratio celos pulsauit, diuineque pietatis gratia mira uelocitate ad 
ima se contulit. Completa etenim oratione et cum summa 
deuotione deosculato sepulcri lapide, statim stare sensit profluuium 
quod prius fluere nee cessabat uel ad momentum. Turn multo 
gauisa gaudio me uocauit, et quia me pre ceteris priuatum ac 
familiarem habebat, michi priuatim reuelauit quam repente uel 
qua egritudine curata sit. 

viii. Concerning another woman delivered from a flux. 

A few days after this at the feast of the Holy Trinity, that is, 
on the Octave of Pentecost, came Alan de Setchy 1 with Muriel 
his wife. He was the uncle and she the aunt of Richard then 
sub-Prior of Norwich. This lady had been suffering from a long- 
standing flux, nor yet during all the time, though she had taken 
much medicine, could she find any remedy for her sickness. But 
coming to the forementioned sepulchre of the martyr she bent 
her knees and offered two candles for herself and her husband and 
begged for deliverance with tears. The simple prayer as she prayed 
knocked at the heavens and the grace of GOD'S pity came down with 
wonderful rapidity. For at the end of her prayer, and when with deep 
devotion she had kissed the stone of the sepulchre, immediately she felt 
her issue stop which till then had never ceased to flow. Then rejoicing 
with exceeding joy she called me, and because she esteemed me above 
others as an intimate friend, she told me privately how suddenly she 
had been cured and of what complaint. 

1 Setchy, on the Nar, three miles from Lynn. 

134 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

ix. De pnero morti proximo et meritis sancti Willelmi sanato. 

DIEBUS illis infantulus filius Radulfi nepotis prioris Hetye ad 
mortem egrotabat et iam hore supreme mors sola supererat. 
Vnde patri consultum est et matri ut in longum et latum ad 
raensuram pueri festinantissime candela fieret, factam sancto Wil- 
lelmo pro filii sospitate uoueren<t, et pro>cul dubio statim puerum 
in<col>umem incolumes reciperent. Confestim ergo, prout dictum 
est, candela conficitur, et paternis delata manibus ad sepulcrum 
sancti martiris uotaliter offertur. Regrediens pater filium se 
reperire gaudet incolumem quern pauloante dimiserat morientem. 

x. Qualiter monachus dormiendi potentiam quam amiserat meritis 
sancti Willelmi recuperauit. 

CIRCA idem tempus senior monachus Norwicensis diutina 
uexatus imbecillitate, Thomas nomine, cella iacebat innrmo- 
rum. Is amissa per triduum dormiendi potentia cepit grauiter 
laborare, et precipue noctibus, quibus nee ad modicum oculi eius 
ualebant quiescere. Multa igitur angustie maceratus pressura, 

ix. Concerning tJie boy who being nigh unto death was cured by the 
merits of Saint William. 

In those days the infant son of Radulfus, Prior Elias' nephew, 
was sick unto death and his last hour was at hand. So his father 
and mother were advised that a candle of the length and breadth 
of the little boy should be made with utmost haste, and that when 
it was made they should offer it to Saint William for the restoration 
of their son, and that without doubt they would receive back their 
uon safe and whole. Wherefore as was advised, straightway the 
candle was made, and having been brought by the father's hands it 
was offered as a votive offering at the sepulchre of the holy martyr. 
The father on his return rejoiced to find his son safe whom a little while 
before he had given up for dead. 

x. How a certain monk by the merits of St William recovered the power 
of sleeping which he had lost. 

About the same time, the eldest of the Norwich monks, Thomas 
by name, afflicted by long infirmity, was lying in the Infirmary. He 
having lot the power of sleep for three days began to be sore distressed, 
especially at night time, when his eyes were unable to rest for a 
MM. MI. -lit. So lx;ing brought very low by the pressure of this affliction, 

ill.] St William of Norwich. 135 

se ad gloriosi martins Willelmi quern maxima diligebat deuotione 
conuertit suffragia, huiusmodi breuem fundens orationem : Domine 
sancte Willelme, si tante ut dicitur coram deo uirtutis et sanctita- 
tis es, immo quia es, da mihi famulo tuo posse quiescere et 
quam amisi dormiendi potentiam recuperate. His dictis siluit, 
nuliaque interposita dilatione oculis paulatim cecutientibus dor- 
mitare cepit, et postmodum dormire. Sompni uero ac quietis 
suauitate recreatus, ubi uigilans caput erexit, ad se conuocatis 
nobis deo et sancto Willelmo gratias agit, per cuius merita dormi- 
endi potentiam quam amiserat recuperare promeruit. 

XL Quod domina Mabilia de Bee et filii eius sancti martiris 
frequenter experti sunt uirtutem. 

PER idem tempus domina Mabilia Beccensis Norwicum ad- 
ueniens, tantarumque uirtutum famam animaduertens ad 
illud gloriosum beati martiris sepulcrum uenire studuit, precordia- 
liter orauit, atque pie deuotionis studio de sepulcri lamina 
excussam secum asportauit portiunculam. Hanc summa custodire 

he betook himself to supplicating the glorious Martyr "William, 
whom he loved with exceeding devotion, pouring out a short prayer 
of this kind, "O holy Lord William ! If as it is said thou art, yea, 
because thou art of so great estimation and sanctity in the presence 
of GOD, grant to me thy servant to be able to get some rest that I 
may recover the power of sleeping which I have lost." So saying, 
he was silent and without any delay his eyes gradually closed, and 
in a little he began to doze and then to sleep. But after being re- 
freshed by the comfort of quiet slumber, when on awakening he 
raised his head, he called us to him and gave thanks to GOD and 
Saint William by whose merits he had been vouchsafed the recovery 
of his power of sleeping which he had lost. 

xi. How tlw Lady Mabel tie Bee and her sons had frequent experience 
of the holy Martyr's influence. 

About the same time the Lady Mabel de Bee 1 , coming to Norwich 
and noticing the fame of his great merits, determined to repair to 
that glorious sepulchre of the blessed Martyr; she prayed with 
all her heart, and with the fervency of pious devotion she brought 
away with her a small portion of the slab of the sepulchre. This 

1 She was one of the benefactors of the Priory of Norwich in the time of Pope 
Eugenius III., A.D. 11451153. Blomefield, Vol. x. p. 227, and vin. p. 456. On the 
family see Bek in the Diet, of Nat. Biog. 

13 e St William of Norwich. [BK. 

curauit diligentia uelut efficacem fidei sue fructum sibi ac suis 
frequenter profuturum. Quia uero fideliter sperauit, spes eius 
frustratoria esse non meruit. Quotiens enim ipsa uel filii eius 
ualitudinis alicuius incurrerent molestiam, continue ad non in- 
speratam quam fides administrauerat confugiebant medicinam. 
Atque inuocato del et sancti martins Willelmi adiutorio rasum et 
aqua benedicta distemperatum bibebant lapidem, ac mox leuamen 
atque repentinam diuine gratie experiebantur uirtutem. 

xiL De uisione Ricardi Monachi et eius morte et recuperation* 


CVM his et aliis pius martyr florere sic inchoasset uirtutibus, 
inter tanta pietatis opera aliquantulum tamen eum exacerbari 
et erga quendam sibi inobedientem contigit irasci. Idque, uelut 
conicimus, eo maxime fuit, quoniam aliquos eius pacientia cernebat 
abuti dum tapetum et luminare prohibitum sibi necdum paterentur 
restitui ; ut hoc scilicet facto et timorem eis incuteret et ad corri- 
gendum quod male gesserant illorum animos inuitaret. Illud 

she was careful to guard with the utmost diligence as likely to produce 
frequently for herself and her children fruitful results of her faith. 
And inasmuch as she confidently hoped, so her hope proved to be no 
vain one. For as often as she or her children experienced the in- 
convenience of any complaint, she resorted at once to the remedy which 
she had confidence in and which her faith had provided for her ; and 
calling upon the help of GOD and of the holy Martyr William, they 
used to drink a mixture made of the scrapings of the stone steeped 
in holy water, and soon they experienced relief and knew the speedy 
virtue of the divine grace. 

xiL Concerning the Vision of Richard Hie Monk, and his death, and 
concerning the restoration of the light. 

When by reason of these and other virtues the blessed martyr 
began to wax famous, among the many operations of his goodness 
it came to pass nevertheless that he was to some degree provoked and 
angry with here and there one who was disobedient to him : (and, 
as we conjectured, that was especially the case since he saw that some 
abased his patience in removing the carpet and the light and not 
allowing them to be restored); in order that hereby he might 
inspire them with fear, and induce them to correct their evil 
doings. Therefore it pleased him to make known by sure signs 

in.] St William of Norwich. 137 

igitur se moleste ferre certis intersignis declarare uoluit, et per 
quendam Ricardum de Lunna monachum quidem Norwicensem 
priori Helye mandare curauit. Porro Ricardus ille diebus illis 
tenebatur febribus multoque acrius de die in diem torquebatur. 
Vnde nostro et quorundam aliorum inuitatus consilio, ad sepedictum 
perrexit sepulcrum beati martiris ibique nocturne uigilie uacans 
orationibus, ab ipso remedium poposcit sanitatis. Dumque ibidem 
cum duobus excubaret famulis, subito capitulum niger intrauit 
porcus, immo, ut a quibusdam creditur, sub specie porci diabolus. 
Qui ex improuiso introiens atque grunniens, assurgentibus famulis 
et forsan exterritis, directo cursu ad monachum iacentem cucurrit, 
super eum inopinato prosiliit, et dormitantem minim in modum 
exterruit. Quo uiso statim insurgentes concurrunt famuli eumque 
capitulo uix expellunt. Ad quern a claustro expel lendum nonnulli 
accurrerunt monachorum, multisque per claustrum factis discur- 
suum amfractibus, claustro eum uix tandem potuerunt excludere. 
At, uelut plurimis conici potest circumstantiis, antiquus ille generis 
humani inimicus, qui semper sanctorum inuidet successibus eorum- 
que calcaneo molitur insidias, fortassis per materialem ilium porcum, 

that he was displeased thereat, and he took care to send his mandate 
to the Prior Elias, through a certain Richard of Lynn, a monk of 

This Richard was in those days seized with a fever and suffered 
worse and worse from day to day. Wherefore, moved thereto by my 
advice and that of many others, he repaired to the oft-mentioned 
sepulchre of the blessed Martyr, and spending the night watch in 
prayers, he begged of him a recovery of his health. 

And whilst he was lying there with two servants, suddenly a black 
pig entered .the Chapter-house, or rather, as is believed of some, the 
devil under the appearance of a pig. The which entering suddenly 
and grunting, when the servants started up and, I wot, were much 
terrified he made straight for the monk as he lay there, and with 
a rush he jumped upon him and frightened him dreadfully as he slept. 
Then straightway the servants recovering themselves ran to him and 
with difficulty turned him out of the Chapter-house. Then some 
of the monks came running to drive him out of the cloister, and after 
much chasing of him on the part of the monks hither and thither 
they had hard work to shut him out of the cloister. But as may be 
conjectured from many circumstances, that old enemy of the human 
race who always begrudges the saints their triumphs, and is ever 
trying to bruise their heel did peradventure by means of that ma- 

138 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

animal scilicet spurcissimum et sibi congruum, uel monacho uoluit 
illudere uel ad deuotionis eius excuciendum propositum ita eum 
proposuit exterrere. Interea capitulo ad sepulcrum memoratus 
iacebat egrotus, et contra illuscentem (sic) iterum dormitans 
auroram, in uisu uidit assistentem sibi sanctum Willelmum et 
dicentem : Cur aduenisti, Ricarde, uel quid queris ? Et ille : 
Quoniam infinnor, domine, et sanari cupio. Cui martir: Nichil 
attulisti, nichil obtulisti, frater, sed tamen si te curauero quid 
remunerationis daturas es ? Contra monachus : Quid, inquit, 
domine, dabo, qui nil quod dare honorifice tibi possim possideo ? 
Ad hec martir : Die que candelarum dicitur natus candelas diligo, 
et ideo nimirum candelas quas habes requiro. Cumque ille nullas 
se habere diceret, adiecit : Immo, frater, et quas non recte per- 
quisisti habes, ex quibus aliquas grandiores ac pulcriores, quas 
segregates secretius abdidisti priuatim possides. Omnes siquidem 
habere uolo, et precipue pulcriores illas quas tu fratris uxori dandas 
disposuistL Et monachus: Nequaquam, domine, fieri potest ut 
quas illi preparaui tibi tribuam ; alteras tiero, qualescunque tamen 

terial pig a creature surely among the filthiest and akin to him- 
self wish either to make a mock at the monk or so to frighten 
him as to hinder him from carrying out his plan of devotion. 
Meanwhile the aforesaid sick man was lying by the sepulchre in the 
Cliapter-house, and again was sleeping till the dawn began to break ; 
and he saw in a vision Saint William standing by hini and saying, 
" Why hast thou come here Richard, and what seekest thou ? " And 
he, "Because I am sick, Lord, and I desire to be made whole." To 
whom spake the Martyr, "Thou hast brought nothing, thou hast 
offered nothing, brother. But nevertheless, if I cure thee, what re- 
ward wilt thou give?" The monk answered, " W T hat shall I give, 
I who possess nothing that I could give thee in any way to do thee 
honour t" To this the martyr replied, "I was born on the day called 
Candlemas Day, and candles I love, and therefore of course I call 
on thee for what candles thou hast" And when he declared that 
he had no candles, he added, " Nay, brother, thou not only hast certain 
candles which thou didst acquire wrongly, but thou hast hidden away 
nome of the largest and the handsomest which thou art keeping in 
thy private possession. All these I desire to have, and specially the 
Mi;-h..m.T MM whi.-li tli.-u IK.M .li-tmninrd shall IK> given to thy 
brother's wife." Then said the monk, "That can by no means be 
done, Lord ! that I should bestow on thee those candles which I have 

in.] St William of Norwich. 139 

ille sint, me libenter tribuente suscipere non dedigneris. Tune in 
iram commotus martir subintulit : Ergo illam plusquam me diligis ? 
Non recte, frater, diuisisti, dum quod paruipendis mihi, et quod 
appreciaris muliercule assignasti. Cur igitur ad me quasi cura- 
turus a me uenis quern ex corde non diligis ? Pro certo itaque 
noueris quod tua me inuito nullatenus stabit dispositio. Presertim 
has et illas quas dixi candelas mane hue afferri consulo : quod si 
recusaueris procul dubio scias quoniam uelis nolis illas habebo. Vt 
ergo nostram ineas gratiam, et quaesitas affer candelas, et domno 
Thome familiari secretario meo trade custodiendas. Quod ubi 
fecerit, ei dicito ut istas et quinque alias quas armario suo habet 
repositas meis usibus diligenter custodiat, quoniam in proximo est 
ut luminare mihi restituatur ante prohibitum. Porro Helye priori 
dicere non uerearis quod ei fide bona consulo ut quamcitius dede- 
coris mihi illati honore congruo resarciat iniuriam, atque tapetum 
et lucemam mihi restituat ablatam. Deus utique uult, et ita fieri 
iubet. Verum si nullo adquieuerit pacto, immo et iussionem 
nostram paruipendere atque diuine dispensation! proterua pre- 

prepared for lier, but for those others, such as they are, vouchsafe to 
accept them as my freewill offering ! " 

Then the martyr, provoked to anger, replied, " So then thou lovest 
her more than me ! Thou hast made a bad division, brother, in that 
what thou boldest cheap that thou hast apportioned to me and what 
thou valuest to the woman. Why then comest thou to me, whom 
thou dost not love in thy heart, as though I would cure thee 1 Where- 
fore know for certain that thy wish shall nowise be granted against 
my will. I do straitly counsel thee that those candles that I 
spake of be brought hither in the morning ; but, if thou refusest, 
know of a surety that, whether thou wilt or not, those candles 
I will have. If therefore thou wouldst enter into favour with me, 
bring those candles that I ask for, and hand them over to Dom 
Thomas my private secretary to be kept in his custody. When thou 
hast so done, tell him that those candles and those five others 
which he keeps stored up in his cupboard, be diligently guarded for 
my use, for very soon it is certain that my light shall be restored to 
me which was denied me. And fear not to say to Prior Elias, 
that in good faith I counsel him that with due honour he atone for 
the wrong done me in the insult offered me, and that he restore the 
carpet and the lamp that was taken from me. For verily GOD so 
wills and bids this to be done. But if he will in no wise acquiesce, 
and even presumes to make light of my command and with a proud 

140 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

sumpserit fronte contraire, non incertum habeat quod in proximo 
grauiter luat. Te quoque, quia peticioni mee adeo restitisti, hac 
denuntiatione premunio quod inobedientie tue culpam tanta lues 
angustia quantam antea nunquam sensisti. Si uero et adhuc nee 
sic correctus mihi pro libito non satisfeceris, ratum habeas quod 
multo grauiora pacieris. Nunc igitur uade, et si sapis dicta mea 
anii 1 1. fideliter inhereant tuo. His uisis expergefactus Ricardus et 
uisione tarn terribili perterritus die iam clarescente surrexit, in 
cella infirmorum abiit, et post hore spatium euocato cum plurimis 
nostrum priore, que sibi dicta uel iniuncta fuerant uniuersa enar- 
rauit. Que tainen priori dici iussa sunt ei soli dicere curauit. 
Quibus auditis prior commotus aliquantulum et exterritus ueritatis 
indaginem diligentius exquirere disposuit, et super indictis quinque 
candelis me conueniens, si tamen eas me habere constaret, afferri 
iussit. Ego autem trium immemor quas ad sepulcrum sancti 
martiris die paschali allatas luminari tune prohibito colligaueram 
et martiris nomine intitulatas armario seorsum reposueram, duarum 
tantum memor quas, ut premisimus, domina Muriel de Sechehutba 

look to rebel against the divine ordaining, let him hold it for certain 
that right soon he shall pay a heavy penalty. And as for thee, be- 
cause thou hast thus refused my petition I forewarn thee with this 
denunciation, that thou shalt suffer for thy sin of disobedience such 
great agony as thou hast never yet known. But if even so after 
correction thou dost not satisfy me, be sure that thou shalt suffer 
much worse things. So now, get thee gone, and if thou be wise, let 
my words sink deep in thy heart ! " 

After this, Richard awakening and much terrified by so dreadful a 
vision, rose now that the daylight was beginning and went his way 
to the Infirmary, and after the space of an hour, the Prior with many 
of us being summoned, he told all that had been spoken or enjoined 
upon him. But what had been ordered to be said to the Prior, that 
he took care to tell him alone. At the hearing of which the Prior, 
somewhat disturbed and alarmed, determined diligently to make a 
searching examination into the truth ; and convening me on the subject 
of the five candles that had been mentioned, he ordered that they 
should be produced if indeed it should appear that I had them. Now 
I had forgotten three candles, which on Easter Day had been brought 
to the holy Martyr's sepulchre, and which (since the light was pro- 
hibited) I had tied together and put away, labelled with the Martyr's 
name, in the cupboard ; and only remembered the two candles which 
the lady Muriel de Setchy had offered on the feast of the Holy 

in.] St William of Norwich. 141 

die festo sancte trinitatis obtulerat, eas solas me habere dixi et ad 
afferendum cucurri. Cumque armarium apperuissem, que nondura 
memoria exciderant due statim reperte sunt. Quibus repertis 
diligentius cepi querere si forte et tres que et haberi dicebantur 
contingeret inuenire. Quas nimirum, quia et ibi erant, adinuentas, 
per memoratam inscriptionis intitulationem martiris esse cognoui ; 
cognitas reliquis duabus coniunxi, atque completum ita quinarium 
ad priorem exultans ac plurimum admirans detuli. Quibus uisis 
prior hinc reuelatam ita secretorum ueritatem, inde minacem 
futurorum animo conferens sententiam, nunc applaudit et se risu 
gratulari simulat, nunc eum pauere pallens uultus demonstrat. Ita 
itaque secretorura turn reuelatione turn nuntio terribili permotus, 
in parte emollitus et in parte pristinam non deserens duriciem, de 
luminari prohibito sententiam aliquantulum relaxauit. Tapetum 
uero nullatenus reddi consensit. Nee multo post, superueniente 
febris hora, cuius ante mentionem feci Ricardus occupatus frigore 
membri toto cepit corpore concuti, tantaque angustia quantam 
antea nunquam expertus fuerat iuxta beati martiris sermonem se 
sensit uexari. Et sic aliquandiu uexatus iacens inuentus est ac 

Trinity ; so I said that I had only those two, and I ran to fetch them. 
And when I had opened the cupboard, I found the two candles, which 
had not yet escaped niy memory ; and when I had found them I 
began to search carefully if perchance I could find those three also 
which were said to be in my keeping. And when I had found them 
for they were there I knew them by the fore-mentioned label to 
be the Martyr's. Then I added them to the other two, and with 
great joy and wonder I brought the full number of five to the Prior. 
At the sight of them the Prior, pondering in his mind on the fact 
that the truth of things secret had been made clear, and also on 
the threatening sentence concerning things that were to come to pass, 
did at one moment applaud and smilingly pretend to be glad, and 
anon by his pale face shewed that he was afraid. And so, agitated as 
well by the revelation of hidden things as by the dreadful message, 
partly softened and partly keeping up his original hardness he re- 
laxed a little his original sentence with regard to the light ; but he 
would by no means allow the carpet to be replaced. Not long after- 
wards when the hour for his ague had returned, of which I made 
mention before, Richard, attacked by the cold in his limbs, began 
to be seized with such great pain in all his body as he had never 
felt before and knew himself to be suffering according to the words of 
the blessed Martyr. And after being agonized for a long time they 

142 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

uelut emortuus. Cum uero a nonnullis aqua ubertim aspergeretur 
benedicta, ocitare tandem cepit, et post aliquantam horam, oculis 
languide apertis et recreatis spiritu membris, paulatim ad se rediit. 
Nos itaque, qui promissorum partem adeo efficaciter cernebamus 
compleri, suspensis mentibus ceterorum finem expectabamus. Ab 
illo siquidem tempore permissione prioris ad sancti martiris 
sepulcrum noctibus singulis frequentari lumen consueuit, et non- 
nullis interduiri diebus, quamquam inconcessis, candelas et cereos 
quos pia offerentium attulerat deuotio ibidem ardere contigit. 
Inter hec ubi ego Thomas, qui beati martiris tune secretarius eram, 
in obsequio eius eas quinque quas supra meminimus candelas pene 
consumi cernerem, prescriptum Ricardum conueni, et illas quas 
mihi tradere iussus est interrogaui. Qui, nescio seu pigricia 
ductus siue in uisionis negligentiam iam dilapsus, ab hora in horam 
dare semper distulit, nee quandoque dedit. Contigit autem tune 
temporis me ac domnum Ricardum de Ferrariis, qui postmodum 

found him lying just as if he were dead. But when holy water 
had been sprinkled upon him copiously, at last he began to yawn, 
and after about an hour his eyes opened faintly, and his limbs 
moved, and he gradually came to himself. Whereupon we, perceiving 
that a part of what had been promised was evidently coming to pass, 
looked out for the completion of the rest with patient expectation. 

From that time, by permission of the Prior, a light was wont to 
be kept up every night at the holy martyr's sepulchre, and now and 
then too by day, although the practice was discouraged, it came 
to pass that candles and wax tapers were brought by pious wor- 
shippers and burnt there. Meanwhile I, Thomas, who was then 
the blessed martyr's secretary, perceived that the five candles 
that I spoke of before were nearly consumed, and I conferred with 
the fore-mentioned Richard and questioned him about those other 

candles which he was ordered to hand over to me. And he I know 

not whether it was from laziness or that he had now slipt into a dis- 
regard of the vision always deferred giving them up from day to 
day, nor did he give them to me at all. But it chanced that about 
that time I and Dora Richard de Ferrariis 1 who afterwards succeeded 

1 He appears to have been a son of Richard and grandson of the powerful 

man baron Henner de Ferrariis on whom the Conqueror bestowed a large 

umber of manorti in Norfolk. The family soon took the name of their capital 

Norfolk, Wirmegay. Richard the Prior was one of two brothers, the elder 

ermer was one of the early benefactors to the Priory at Norwich at the 

lien ha brother Richard was Prior there. Cf. Blomefield, x 152 

in.] St William of Norwich. 143 

Helie priori prior successit, quibusdam urgentibus causis in Hely 
proficisci, et peracto ibi quesito negotio die quinta Norwicum 
reuerti. Porro interim eger ille Ricardus dum noctu quiesceret, 
iterum in uisu ei uultu apparuit iracundo beatus martir Willelmus 
dicens : Quid est frater, quod sic agere uoluisti ? Quare prout 
iussi domno Thome candelas non dedisti ? Scio utique, scio animi 
tui proteruam pertinaciam. Nequaquam ut tu proposuisti sed 
longe aliter fieri continget. Quoniam nee tibi tradendi facultas 
subpeditabit, nee fratris uxor ut disponis eas de manibus tuis 
suscipere poterit. Ipsa quidem tui causa Norwicum ueniet, sed te 
minime inueniet. Scias autem Thomam meum modo absentem 
sed post diem tercium reuersurum quas iussi candelas ab altero 
suscepturum. Nunc igitur uade, atque inobedientie culpam debita 
luas pena. Porro sub his uerbis eum ceu palme dorso in fronte 
grauiter percussit, grauemque fronti dolorem inflixit atque ait: 
Ecce crastina sabbati dies supprema tibi et fatalis imminet. Con- 
fitens ergo age dignam de commissis penitentiam, ut saltim uel in 
ilia per dolorem hunc purgatus transitorium et ueniam optinere 

Prior Elias as Prior, went to Ely on some important business, and 
having finished what we were engaged upon we returned on the 
5th day to Norwich. In the meantime while Richard, the sick man, 
was sleeping in the night, again there appeared to him in a vision 
the blessed Martyr William with an angry look, and said, "How 
is it, brother, that thou hast chosen to act thus? Why hast thou 
not given the candles as I bade thee to Dom Thomas ? I know, yea, 
I know the perverse stubbornness of thy mind. By no means as thou 
hast purposed but very differently shall things come about. For 
neither shalt thou have the power of handing them over, nor shall 
the brother's wife, as thou intendest, be able to receive them from 
thy hands. For her, she will come to Norwich on thy account, but 
she will not find thee. Know that my Thomas is now absent, but 
will return after the third day to receive from another the candles 
that I have given orders for. Now therefore go thy way and pay thou 
the due penalty for thy sin of disobedience." 

With these words he smote him heavily on the forehead with the 
back of his hand and caused him severe pain in his forehead, and 
said, " Lo ! to-morrow is Saturday, and it is thy last day, the day of 
thy death. Go, therefore, and make thy confession, and do penance 
worthy of thy misdeeds, that so purified by this passing pain, thou 
mayest be counted worthy to receive pardon and escape the punishment 
which is eternal," 

1 44 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

merearis et supplicium euadere sempiternum. Ad hec Eicardus 
ten-ore percussus excitatur, sentitque statim dolorem a fronte 
inchoantem in caput refund! ac postmodum a capite in cetera 
deorsum membra paulatim deriuari. Surgentibus mane monachis 
surgit et ille, atque imbecillia sustentans baculo membra, capellam 
infirmorum subiit, et quibusdam ad se uisitandum uenientibus, que 
uiderit, quid sentiret, cum lacrimis enarrauit. Tune quendam 
fratrem secretius euocans, corde compunctus ante mentis oculos 
pristinam reuocat uitam, et iuxta sancti martins monita memoriter 
male gesta retractans confitetur, atque compuncti penitentiam 
cordis profusis indicauit lacrimis. Sicque per illam oris con- 
fessionem ac puram cordis penitentiam eum a domino opt<i>nuisse 
credimus ueniam. Modico postmodum more interuallo, dum 
baculo sustentatus per cellam infirmorum se ageret, moriendi hora 
superueniente ac uiribus pre dolore iam deficientibus, subito con- 
cidit et rem se agere suppremam uultu funereo demonstrauit. 
Quid inquam multa? Moritur frater, et morienti conueniunt 
ceteri, moremque funeri exhibentes, die consequenti sepeliunt. 
Illud quoque mirabile tune accidit, quod scilicet die ilia sabbati, 
cum pro mortuo classicum pulsaretur, iuxta martiris presagium et 

Hereat Richard smitten with fear awoke, and felt the pain straight- 
way beginning in his forehead, extending over his head and afterwards 
travelling from his head downwards through all his limbs. 

When the monks rose in the morning, he too rose and, supporting 
his feeble limbs upon a staff, went into the Chapel of the Infirmary 
and when some of them came to visit him, told them with tears 
what he felt and what he had seen. Then secretly calling one of 
the brethren, he, in sorrow of heart, recalled before his mind's eye his 
past life, and according to the advice of the holy Martyr, bringing 
back to his memory his misdoings, made confession, and gave 
proof with abundant tears of the penitence of his humbled heart. 
And no by that confession of the mouth and sincere penitence of the 
heart, we believe that he obtained pardon of the Lord. A little time 
after, while, leaning on his staff, he was making his way through 
the Infirmary, his last hour approached, and his strength leaving 
him by reason of his pain, he suddenly fell, and made it clear by 
bin death-like look that he was near his end. And so the brother 
died, and as he was a-dying the others gathered round him, and 
with all due rites they buried him next day. And then this 
wonder happened, namely, that on that Saturday when the bell was 
tolling for the dead man, in accordance with the Martyr's prophecy, 

in.] St William of Norwich. 145 

fratris ems uxor illius causa Norwicum uenit : sed quia uiuentem 
non inuenit, fructu frustrata laboris domum cum dolore remeauit. 
Vbi uero postridie memoratus de Ferrariis Ricardus et ego domum 
aduenimus et que circa fratrem interim gesta sunt cognoscentes 
nimio terrore concussi sumus. Aduenienti uero mihi per manus 
Dionisii camerarii tradite sunt candele de quibus in precedentibus 
tanta facta est mentio. Sicque, prout martir predixerat, reuera 
contigit fieri : quoniam illas et non ab illo cui iussum fuerat, sed 
aliena mihi manu contigit tradi. Vnde accidit ut gloriosus Christi 
martir ab ea die in reliquum maiori frequentaretur timore ac 
reuerentia, et multiplicatis sub uniuersorum cordibus reuerentie 
incrementis, pullularet et cresceret erga ipsum pie deuotionis 

xiii. Quomodo Willelmus sacrista Norwicensis a dolore capitis, a 
surditie auris, et obscuritate uisus curatus sit. 

MORABATVR eo tempore Willelmus sacrista Norwicensis in 
cella infirmorum, grandi quidem ac diuturna profluentis fici 
detentus egritudine. Interdum quoque per illud uirgule uirilis 
membruin sepissime liquidum et plerumque coagulatum emingebat 

his brother's wife did come to Norwich on his account, but because 
she did not find him, she went back home again in sorrow, and without 
any reward for her trouble. 

But next day, when the aforesaid Richard de Ferrariis and I re- 
turned and had knowledge of what had happened, we were smitten 
with very great alarm : and on my arrival the candles about which 
so much has been said before were delivered to me by the hand of 
Denis the Chamberlain. And thus all turned out as the martyr 
had predicted, since it came to pass that they were handed over to 
me, and not by him to whom the order was given, but by another hand. 

Thus it came to pass that Christ's glorious martyr from that day 
forward was repaired to with more and more fear and awe, and with 
ever increasing reverence from the hearts of all, and the service of a 
pious devotion towards him went on growing and increasing. 

xiii. How William the Sacrist of Norurich was cured of headache, and 
deafness, and dimness of sight. 

At that time William the Sacrist of Norwich was staying in the 
Infirmary, detained there by a malady of long standing. 

W. N. 10 

1 46 St William of Nonvich. [BK. 

sanguinem. laraque per huiusmodi corrupte nature incommodum 
gradatim in tantam dilapsus est morbi ualitudinem, ut iam 
doloris uehementia caput a dextera quasi dimidiatum inutile 
redderet, oculo uisum perturbaret, et aure assiduo quodam 
oppleta tinnitu naturalem illurn auditus meatum surditie pigra 
obstrueret. Vnde a nobis commonitus cereum admodum grande 
sibi parari iussit ac de prima noctis uigilia ad illud iam tune 
uenerabile sancti martins sepulcram ueniens cereum accensum 
optulit, atque ibidem peruigil in orationibus peruoctauit. Orabat 
autem ad dominum ut gloriosi martiris sui suffragantibus meritis 
et capitis dolorem mitigari, uisumque sibi pariter et auditum 
reparari experiretur; et quia sub eius animo fides spei coopera- 
batur, quod credidit et sperauit sine dilatione optinere promeruit. 
Mane etenim capitis dolorem sensit mitigatum, oculusque et auris 
diuine percepenmt recreationis antidotum. Vbi igitur se curatum 
capite comperit, cum leticia ab illo medicabili regressus sepulcro 
sancti martiris laudes quantis potuit efferre preconiis non cessauit. 
Attendat inter hec diligens lectoris sollertia magis facti sic acti 
rationem et ordinem quam maliuolam det<r>ectatorum garruli- 
tatem. Siquidem dum hunc plurimis detentum incommodis non 
funditus sed in parte curatum fuisse audit, quid aliud ex his 
concipiat nisi quoniam in talibus nichil sine causa contingat? 
Consideret, inquam, primo qua intentione ductus ad sepulcrum 
uenit, secundo quid petiit, tercio in quo exaudiri promeruit. Ex 
quorum collatione fortassis percipiet unde totius questionis 
scrupulum dissoluat. Nempe uenit eger, sed ut spiritualibus 
orationum mercibus celestem corpori compararet medicinam. 
Exin, licet circa inferiora grauiter ut premisimus pateretur, nil 
tamen aliud exorare tune uenit, nisi ut dolore capitis lenito 
languescens iam uisus repararetur et auditus. Denique in eo 
nimirum exaudiri meruit in quo fideliter postulauit. Vnde et 
conici potest quia et si de reliquo pariter postulasset, et illud 
fortassw pariter optinuisset. Sepe audiuimus et legimus non- 
nullos egrotantium ita sanctorum sanatos meritis ut et in parte 
curati et ex parte sint destituti. Quid ergo mirum si sanctus 
martir Willelmus diuine pietatis administratione fratri egrotanti in 
hoc tantum subuenit de quo tantum requisitus fuit? Et quid 
minim si sic in parte salutem prestitit quod reliquum in aliud 

The reader is referred to the original for the minute particulars of 
this unsavoury case. 

in.] St William of Norwich. 147 

tempus reseruauit ? Quod autem in postemm dilatum extitit, non 
incongrue cum ad id uentum fuerit suo adnotandum loco distuli- 

xiv. De quadam ab egritudine diutuma liberata. 

TEMPORE illo quedam Alditha Norwici manens Toke cerarii 
uxor graui quidem et diuturna detinebatur ualitudine. 
Singula nempe membra adeo doloris occupauerat uehementia ut 
nee hora minima uel minimam quietem perciperet, nee sine baculo 
gressum figeret, nee omnino aliquid opens manibus efficere posset. 
Cumque sub tanta egritudine dimidium consumpsis(set) annum, 
amicorum consilio ad salubre se transtulit consilium. Grandem 
igitur fieri iussit candelam, quam mox ut beato martiri Willelmo 
uouit, uehementern illam doloris angustiam mitescere sensit. 
Inuitata itaque talibus salutis sue primiciis, ad illud iam famosum 
martiris sepulcrum super presenti gratias relatura beuefitio, opem- 
que de cetero petitura statim cum candela properauit ; optulit, 
orauit, domumque regressa breui conualuit. 

xiv. Concerning a certain woman delivered from an illness of long 


At that time a certain Alditha living at Norwich, wife of Toke a 
chandler, was suffering from a serious and long-standing illness. Every 
one of her limbs was so racked with dreadful pain that she had not the 
least ease for a single hour, and could neither move a step without a 
stick nor could do any kind of work with her hands. And when half 
a year had passed in this great affliction, by the advice of her friends 
she surrendered herself to wholesome advice. Accordingly she ordered 
a large candle to be made which she then offered to the blessed martyr 
William, and she felt that cruel pain began to lessen. Wherefore, 
encouraged by these first signs of recovery, she repaired with a candle 
to the now famous sepulchre of the martyr intending to offer thanks 
for her present benefit, and to ask help for the future. She made her 
offering, she prayed, she returned home, and in a little while she was 


148 St William of Not^wich. [BK. 

xv. De altera per uisum miro modo curata. 

FVIT diebus illis Norwici mulier quedam paupercula in 
hospital! quod Brichtiue dicebatur iacens, morbi diuturna 
laborans ualitudine, ac sui omnino impotens. Erat quippe toto 
in Hat a et ulcerosa corpore ac tanquam elephantino perculsa incom- 
inodo miserabile et horrendum intuentibus prebebat spectaculum. 
Cumque per annum et amplius tali ac tanta laborasset egritudine, 
in uisu noctis uenit ad illam beatus martir Willelmus et ait : Tue 
compassus miserie misereor tui, mulier, tuoque languori salutare 
uenio conferre remedium. Tune a capite per membra singula 
medicabilem illam deducens dexteram uniuersum tarn subito lenire 
uidebatur dolorem, ac si olle feruentissime frigidissimam iniecisset 
aquam. Manum preeuntem salus consequebatur uelocissima, et ad 
digitorum medicantium presentiam fugiens excedebat infirmitas. 
Conuersusque ad illam martir ait : Ecce sana facta es : age gratias 
deo ac mihi quoque, per ciiius manum te diuina curauit gratia, 
proprioque labore adquisitam mihi afferre non differas candelam. 
Expergefacta mulier dolorem mitigatum sentit continue, et quod 

xv. Concerning another woman cured in a wonderful way by a 


There was in those days at Norwich a certain poor woman lying in 
the hospital which was called Brichtiu's Hospital 1 . She had been 
suffering for a long time from her sickness and was quite helpless. 
All her body was swollen and ulcerated and, as though afflicted with 
elephantiasis, she presented a miserable and horrible spectacle to 
all beholders. When she had been suffering for more than a year 
from this great sickness, the blessed martyr William came to her in a 
vision of the night and said, "Because I have compassion upon thy 
misery, woman ! I pity thee, and I come to bestow on thee a saving 
remedy for thy sufferings." Then moving that healing right hand 
of his over all her limbs, it seemed that he relieved all the pain as 
suddenly as if he had thrown cold water into a boiling pot. The cure 
followed upon his hand with utmost speed, and at the touch of his 
healing fingers infirmity put to flight passed away. Then the martyr 
turning to her said, "Lo! thou art made whole! Give thanks to 
GOD, and to me too, by whose hand the Divine grace has cured thee. 
Delay not t.. ,f|i-r unto me a candle earned by thine own toil." 

On awaken inj,' the woman at once felt that her pain was lessened, 
1 No mention of thiH hospital has come down to ns. 

IIL] St William of Norwich. 149 

per uisum dormiens uiderat non aliter se habere uigilans exultat. 
Surgens igitur sana, deo ac liberator! suo gratias egit, labore 
manuum candele precium adquisiuit, et cum ilia ad martyris 
sepulcmm ueniens optulit et gratulabunda recessit. 

xvi. De niuto nato et curato. 

Ifl RAT iterum Norwici Colobernus quidam satis equidem 
-I J honestam licet pauperem cum uxore Ansfrida nomine ducens 
uitam. Hi filium habentes fere septennem, sed a natiuitate 
mutum, dum nocte quadam pariter quiescerent, intempesta noctis 
hora unoque eiusdem hore momento a quadam reuerendi uultus 
persona per uisum pariter admoniti sunt ut memoratum filium 
suum crastino ad sancti martiris sepulcrum adducerent, ubi et 
super eiusdem salute congauderent. Mane igitur facto sompnium 
sompnio conferentes sicut in sompniis admoniti fuerant cum filio 
muto ad memoratum properant sepulcrum. Cumque diutius in 
oratione inibi una perstitissent, et tandem per manum pueri 
candelam optulissent, puer deosculato sepulcro ad patrem se 
conuertens et matrem in loquelam subito prorupit maternam, ut 
scilicet domum regrederentur rogans. Quo audito pater ac mater 

and she was delighted that what she had seen in a vision when asleep 
was indeed so, now that she was awake. So rising all healed 
she gave thanks to GOD and her deliverer, she earned the price of a 
candle by the labour of her hands, and she went with it and offered 
it at the martyr's sepulchre, and returned home full of joy. 

xvi. Concerning one born dumb who uxis cured. 

At Norwich again there was a certain Colobern who led a very 
honest life, though poor, with his wife Ansfrida by name. They had a 
son about seven years old but dumb from his birth. One night while 
they were asleep together, in the dead of night at the same moment they 
were both admonished by a personage of reverend aspect, that they should 
on the morrow bring their son to the holy martyr's sepulchre, where 
they should rejoice together at his recovery. So when it became day, 
comparing their several dreams together, they hurried with their dumb 
son to the sepulchre as they had been admonished in their dreams. 
And when they had continued together in prayer there for a long time, 
and at length had offered a candle held in the boy's hand, when the 
boy had kissed the sepulchre and turned to his father and mother, 
he suddenly broke forth in his mother tongue asking that they might go 
back home. When they heard him, the father and mother could not 

150 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

se a lacrimis pre leticia continere non poterant. Nos quoque qui 
aderamus talia considerantes pietate compuncti fleuimus. Cumque 
nobis turn uisionem turn rei aperuissent euentum, cum filio iam 
non muto gratulantes reuertuntur, et nos dominum in sancto 
martire suo Willelmo magnificum collaudauimus. 

xvii. De puero a dissenteria curato. 

CVM tantorum fama miraculorum magis ac magis quasi 
pullulando crebresceret, atque uniuersorum iara aures circum- 
quaque pulsaret, ceperunt plurimi ad sepulcrum illud salubre 
undique confluere, uotisque et orationibus diuina ibidem beneficia 
postulate. Inter quos quidam Robertus Palmarius Norwicensis 
illuc ductu fidei aduenit, filium annuo dissenterie laborantem 
incommode adduxit. Cui cum puluis de cemento illius sancti 
sepulcri aqua distemperatus benedicta ad hauriendum daretur. 
statim et dolorem leuigari et uigorem repentinum membris iam 
effetis paulatim sensit refundi. Pater autem nobis postmodum 
retulit, ab ilia die filio dissenterie cessasse fluxum, qua pariter cum 
sacro potu sanitatis quoque hausisset remedium. 

restrain themselves from tears of joy. And we too who were present 
observing such things as these, and constrained by our piety, we too 
wept. And when they had explained to us the vision and what 
had followed upon it, they went their way with their son, no longer 
dumb, and we gave praise to our Lord who had done great things 
by the hand of His holy martyr William. 

xvii. Concerning a boy cured of a dysentery. 

When the fame of such great miracles began to spread and in- 
crease more and more, and was assailing the ears of all men round 
about, many people from all quarters began to repair to that health- 
giving sepulchre and to ask for divine benefits with their ofterings 
Jiiul their prayers. Among whom a certain Robert the Palmer of 
Norwich came there, led by his faith, and brought with him 
his son who had been troubled for a year with a grievous dysentery. 
He, when there was given him to drink some of the powdered 
ement of that holy sepulchre, dissolved in holy water, straightway 
felt hia pain relieved and a sudden vigour gradually restored to 
ble limbs. The father afterwards told us that the flux of the 
*ry had ceased with his son from the day on which, together 
with the sacred draught, he had drunk in a wholesome cure. 

in.] St William of Nomvich. 151 

xviii. De muliere quadam a diuturno languore curata. 

in RAT quoque in regia uilla que Ormesbi dicitur quidam 
J J Galterus cognomento Flotberd, qui diuturna ualitudine 
laborantem habebat uxorem. Ea per annum grauissimo cordis ac 
membronim afflicta dolore ad extremum tandem defectum, quasi 
pelle sola ossibus adherente, deducta est. A ipso autem sacro 
martire Willelmo per uisum admonita se nauigio Norwicum 
asportari fecit. Quo ueniens, manibus suorum ad sepe memoratum 
sancti martins sepulcrum deducitur. Oratione facta, post candele 
oblationem ibidem obdormiuit et continue melius habuit. Postea 
uero ductu suorum hospicium recessit atque post triduum rediens 
candelam ad sepulcri mensuram factam optulit, plenumque tune 
sub puncto temporis diutini languoris remedium suscepit. Et 
factum est, ut que alieno sustentata adminiculo aduenerat, pro- 
priis iam confisa uiribus sola gradiens discessit, domum rediit, et 
exinde prescripte ualitudinis incommodum non sensit. 

xviii. Concerning a certain woman cured of a long-standing decline. 

There was in the royal town 1 which is called Ormesby a certain 
Walter Flotberd by name who had a wife troubled by an obstinate 
illness. She suffered for a whole year from severe pain in her heart 
and limbs, and at last she was brought down to such emaciation that 
she was mere skin and bones. But admonished in a vision by the holy 
martyr William himself, she caused herself to be carried by ship to 
Norwich. On her arrival she was carried by her servants to the oft- 
mentioned sepulchre of the holy martyr ; and having offered her 
candle and said her prayer, she went to sleep there and straightway 
she became better. After this she returned to her inn, being 
carried there by her attendants ; and when three days had passed she 
came again and offered a candle which had been made of the same 
length as the sepulchre ; whereupon in a moment she obtained a 
perfect cure of her stubborn disease. And so it came to pass that 
she who had come supported by the hands of others went away on 
her feet ; and trusting now only to her own powers, she returned home, 
and from that time felt no inconvenience from the complaint above 

1 The Lordship of the town of Onnesby (5 miles from Yarmouth) was taken into 
his own hands by William the Conqueror. It remained in the Crown till the 14th 
year of Henry II. (A.D. 1212). 

St William of Norwich. [BK. 

xix. De nautis in mari liberatis. 

NAVTIS quoque quibusdam de Gernemutha tempestate marina 
periclitantibus mentis beati martins diuina subuenit pietas. 
Qui nempe dum essent in mari, dum ualida inualescente procella 
insolitus fluctuum horror mortem minaretur sub uestibulo mortis 
iam positi diuinam unanimiter exorant misericordiam, sanctique 
pueri ac martiris Willelmi pia deprecantur suffiragia. Mira res ! 
Nain, uelut ipsi nobis postea retulenint, continue illis sanctum 
martiris nomen acclamantibus eique uota uouentibus, uniuersa 
siluit tempestas. Illi uero tranquillitatem meritis sancti Willelmi 
tarn subito sibi restitutam considerantes, dominum in sanctis suis 
gloriosum glorificauerunt, et confestim prospero cursu sani et inco- 
lumes ad litus pemenenint. 

xx. De paupercule mulieris porco curato. 

NON solum morbis hominum, uelut in precedentibus patet, 
sed et animalibus brutis sancti Willelmi meritis diuina 
subuenit benignitas : que, sicut uniuersa condidit, ita nimirum 

xix. Concerning t/te sailors on the sea wlio were delivered. 

The divine goodness too, by the merits of the blessed martyr, came 
to the help of certain sailors of Yarmouth who were in peril by reason 
of a tempest on the sea. For these men when they were at sea and 
a great storm was gathering force, and an extraordinary dread of 
the billows was threatening them with death, and when they were 
now brought to the very threshold of death, they all besought the 
divine mercy, and they implored the help of the sainted boy and 
martyr William. Then a wonderful thing happened. For, as they 
themselves afterwards told us, immediately on their calling on the 
holy name of the martyr, and while they were making their vows to 
him, the tempest utterly ceased. But they, considering that the calm 
had been brought about for them so suddenly by the merits of the 
sainted William, gave glory to GOD who is glorified in His saints, 
and soon with a prosperous course came to land safe and sound. 


Concerning a poor tooman's hog which ivas cured. 
N'-t only did the goodness of GOD by the merits of the sainted 
William afford help to the diseases of men, as is plain from what 
has gone before, but it helped brute beasts too ; and, as it hath made 
all things, so no wonder that it governs and watches over each one 

in.] St William of Norwich. 153 

singula queque moderatur atque disponit. Nullique creaturarum 
quamquam permodice seu uilissime bonitatis sue subtrahit manum, 
que uniuersas intra maiestatis sue concludit sinum. Proinde 
mulier quedam paupercula Nonvici porcos alebat, quibus adultis, 
eorum precio uictui suo compararet necessaria. Illos uero contigit 
infirmari atque, mortuo iam uno, mors iraminens minabatur et 
alteri. Cernens ergo mulier his se rebus destitui quibus maxime 
sperabat adiuuari, spe recuperandi fere destituta uehementer 
ingemuit, et ad opem beati martiris tandem confugit. Ad cuius 
sepulcrum ueniens cum lacrimis orauit, candelam optulit, atque 
exinde regressa porcum quern morti proximum tristis reliquerat 
iam sanatum et incolumem repperiens exultat. 

XXL De bobus morbidis saluti restitutis. 

in ODEM tempore Dionisii camerarii monachorum Norwicensium 
-I J boues consimili clade contigit emori. Quo incommodo tur- 
batus ille iussit morbidos boues in longum et transuersum filo 
circumdari et ad fili mensuram sancto martiri Willelmo candelam 

of them ; and from no one of His creatures, though it were the 
meanest and the vilest of them, does He withdraw the hand of His 
goodness, that goodness which embraces them all in the bosom of His 

Accordingly there was a certain poor woman at Norwich, who used 
to keep hogs, and when they had grown to their full size she provided 
for herself the necessaries of life by the price she got for them. But it 
happened that her swine fell sick and one died and death was threaten- 
ing another of them. So the woman, perceiving that under the circum- 
stances she was being left destitute of the means of support which 
she hoped for, almost losing hope of a recovery, wailed greatly, and 
at last betook herself to the help of the blessed martyr. And coming 
to his sepulchre she prayed with tears ; she offered a candle, and then 
going home again she was overjoyed at finding the hog, which in her 
distress she had left almost dead, now cured and safe. 

xxi. Concerning t/ie oxen stricken with the plague restored to health. 

At the same time it chanced that the oxen of Denis the chamber- 
lain of the Norwich monks were dying of exactly the same visitation. 
Whereupon he, disturbed by the misfortune, ordered that all the oxen 
that were suffering from the plague should be surrounded with a 
thread and a candle to be made according to the measure of the 

154 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

fieri. Factam itaque ad sepulcrum eius attulit et optulit, atque ab 
ea hora cladem in bobus cessare cognouit. Consimili quoque modo 
(}uidam equestris ordinis Goscelinus cognomine Grossus, dum boues 
suos pestifera lue carpi sensisset, nonnullis iam mortuis, super- 
stitibus reliquis subuenire properauit. Nee mora, filo boues 
circumdedit, in nomine sancti Willelmi candelam fieri iussit, 
factamque ad sepulcrum eius attulit. Denuo domum ueniens cum 
boues nouisset iam conualuisse, exinde sacri martins Willelmi 
uirtutem uniuersis predicauit, quam se in bobus manifeste experire 

xxii. De quadam Yda mire curata. 

PER idem tempus Ida uxor Eustachii monetarii Norwicensis 
genibus per triennium gutta profligatis egrotabat. Exin 
per membra discurrens ac seuiens, in dextrum tandem humerum 
concendit morbus, et postea brachium pariter occupauit. Inuale- 
scente uero dolore, in tam horrendos prorupit clamores ut amens 

thread for the holy martyr William ; and when it was made he brought 
it to his sepulchre and offered it there ; and from that hour he noticed 
that the death among the oxen stopped. In like manner too a certain 
Goscelin le Gros 1 , a man of knightly rank, when he perceived that his 
oxen were seized by the murrain, and some of them were already 
dead, he hastened to provide help for the rest who were still alive. 
Accordingly he too tied a thread round the oxen and ordered a candle 
to be made in the name of Saint William, and when it was made he 
brought it to his sepulchre. As soon as he reached home, and knew 
that his oxen were already quite well, straightway he proclaimed to 
all the virtue of the holy martyr William which he had manifestly 
experienced in the case of his oxen. 

xxii. Concerning a certain Ida cured in a marvellous way. 

About the same time Ida, the wife of Eustace the moneyer of 
Norwich, was suffering from the gout which for three years had 
afflicted her knees. 

At last the disease travelled in its severity through all her limbs 

and finally settled in her right shoulder, and afterwards fastened upon 

mm as well. The pain increased so that she broke forth into hideous 

1 The family of U Grot were settled at Ilsley, six miles from Norwich, for many 
oratorio. One of them was living there in King Stephen's time, and was patron 
of the benefice. Blomefield, u. 9. 

in.] St William of Noi-wich. 155 

putaretur, et ita quasi ad extremum deducitur. Et euocato pres- 
bitero post confessionem pre timore mortis dominici corporis se 
muniuit sacramento. Mane autem facto recordata sancti martiris 
Willelmi, qualiter potuit ad sepulcrum eius se deduci fecit. Quo 
perueniens iuxta procubuit ac statim horrendis clamando clamoribus, 
pre angustia nimia per pauimentum capituli uolutabat. Deinde 
post modicum fatigata quieuit, nomenque sancti Willelmi alta uoce 
sepius inuocans, salutis remedium postulauit. Tune acceptam 
candelam optulit, et deosculato sepulcro sub ipso quo lapidem 
tetigit articulo in oculis assistentium apparuit incolumis. Et post 
aliquantam horam, que illuc ductu suorum uix aduenerat, se solam 
iam regredi posse miratur et exultat. 

xxiii. De uisione quadam memoranda. 

~T71 RAT quoque Norwici Stanardus quidam cognomine Wranc- 
J <i berd, cuius filia Ida nomine nocte quadam uenerabilem ac 
memoria non indignam uidere meruit uisionem. Vidit quippe 
sanctum Willelmum ad caput sepulcri sui inter tres uirgines. 

shrieks, insomuch that she was as one crazed, and she seemed to be 
drawing nigh her end. Whereupon a priest having been summoned 
and she having made her confession with the fear of death before 
her, she fortified herself with the sacrament of the Lord's body. Next 
morning, having in remembrance the holy martyr William, she had 
herself carried, the best way she could, to his sepulchre. When she 
got there she was laid down near it, and immediately screaming out 
with a hideous noise in her unbearable agony, she began to roll about 
the pavement of the Chapter-house. After a while she was quiet 
from sheer fatigue, and with a loud voice invoking the name of Saint 
William she asked for some health-giving remedy. Then she offered 
a candle which she had, and having kissed the sepulchre, at the 
very moment when she touched the stone, before the eyes of the 
by-standers she appeared cured. And after a little while, she, who 
had with difficulty come there by the help of others, rejoiced with 
amazement that she was able to go away alone. 

xxiii. Concerning a certain memorable vision. 

There was at Norwich, Stanard, surnamed Wrancberd, whose 
daughter Ida was deemed worthy to see a notable and memorable 
vision one night. For she saw St William standing at the head of 
the sepulchre attended by three virgins and holding a lighted taper. 

156 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

stantem ac cereum illuminatum tenentem. Virgines autem circa 
ipsum in tribus stabant partibus, cereosque tenebant accensos. 
Cui per uisum ea consideranti una uirginum ait : Deprecare, 
puella, sanctum quern cernis martirem Willelmum, qui in despectum 
mortis Christi uenerabili coronatus est martyrio, quatinus deum 
apud quern plurimum ualet pro te interpellat. Illud quoque 
noueris, quod ipse unicus ac peculiaris Norwicensibus a domino 
datus est patronus; et ego sum uirgo Katerina que hec tibi 
denuntio. Ad hec expergefacta puella patri ac matri uisionem 
confestim retulit, quam et nobis crastino pater ipse insinuare 
curauit. Sed unde magis admiramur, ante illam horam pater ac 
mater atque puella, uelut ipsi asserebant, proprium sancti Willelmi 
nomen penitus ignorabant. 

xxiv. De quadam Goldeburga curata. 

DIEBVS illis mulier quedam Goldeburga nomine, cum multis 
egrotasset diebus, de uirtute martiris confisa, membris uix 

But the virgins were standing round about him on the three sides 
of the tomb and holding lighted tapers. 

And as she gazed upon these things in her vision, one of the 
virgins said, " O maiden, make thou thy prayers to the holy martyr 
William whom thou beholdest, who in despite of the death of Christ 
was crowned with the honour of martyrdom. So may he intercede 
for thee with GOD, in whose presence he is of great account. Know 
thou this also, that he has been granted to the men of Norwich by 
our Lord to be their sole and special patron; and I am the Virgin 
Katherine who announce these things to thee ! " 

Hereat the damsel awakening at once told the vision to her father 
and mother, the which her father took care next day to communicate 
to us. But what surprised us the more was that before that hour 
the father, mother, and damsel, as they themselves asserted, had been 
altogether ignorant of the proper name of Saint William. 

xxiv. Concerning a certain tvonian Goldeburga wJio was cured. ' 

In those days a certain woman named Goldeburga, who had been 
ill for many days, and who had put her trust in the martyr's power, 
came to the sepulchre with a candle, though her limbs could hardly 

in.] St William of Norwich. 1 57 

se sustentantibus, ad sepulcrum eius cum candela uenit, et cum 
lacrimis aliquamdiu in oratione persistens egritudini sue remedium 
postulauit. Vbi dementis dei cooperante gratia meritis beati 
martins celestem medelam paulatim membris sensit infundi, atque 
infra dies paucos refectis uiribus plenam optinuit sospitatem. 

xxv. De puella febribus liberata. 

1) ARTHOLOMEVM quoque de Creic uirum egregium tarn 
_D militia quam nobilitate famosissimum uirtus sancti non 
latuit martiris. Cum etenim filia eius paruula forti febrium estu 
teneretur, egrotanti filie mater condolens candelam in nomine ] 
sancti Willelrni propriis fieri manibus studuit et pro salute filit^ 
offerendam uouit. Mira res et festina diuine uirtutis ostensio ! 
Mox enim ubi candela fieri cepit, sub primo digitorum motu 
estus subito ita cessauit febrium, quemadmodum ebulliens olla 

support her, and continuing some time in prayer and with tears, 
besought relief from her infirmity. Whereupon through the grace 
of a merciful GOD co-operating with the merits of the blessed martyr, 
she felt the heavenly remedy gradually spreading through her limbs, 
and within a few days she obtained a perfect recovery, her health 
being restored. 

xxv. Concerning a damsel delivered from a fever. 

The power of the holy martyr was not unknown moreover to 
Bartholomew de Creak 1 , a man renowned as well for his soldiery 
as for his noble birth. For a little daughter of his was attacked by 
a burning fever, and her mother being distressed at her child's illness 
took the trouble to make with her own hands a candle in the name 
of St William, and made a vow to offer it for the recovery of her 
daughter. A wonderful circumstance happened, and a rapid exhi- 
bition of the divine power. For immediately after the candle began to 
be made, yea ! at the first movement of her fingers the heat of the fever 
abated just as a boiling saucepan begins to get quiet when cold water 

1 The family were lords of North Creak in Norfolk, from which place they took 
their name. This Sir Bartholomew held considerable possessions of the Bigots, 
Earls of Norfolk. The family became extinct in the male line in the reign of 
Edward I., and were benefactors of the Cluniac Priory at Castle Acre, the Augus- 
tinian Abbey of St Osyth at Chich in Essex, and the Nunnery of Flixton in 

158 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

compesci solet per aque frigide iactum. Mater ergo pro filia 
candelam offerri fecit eaque ulterius febris incommodum non 

xxvi. De ydropico sanato. 

~Y TENIT et quidam ydropicus de Tudenham ad sancti Willelmi 
V sepulcrum ut egritudini sue salutis consequi mereretur 
remedium. Vbi stans aliquandiu orauit, candelam optulit, uentris- 
que iam tune lenito dolore, multo alacrior quam uenerat recessit- 
Postea uero, dum diligentius rei euentum inquireremus, uicinie 
relatu curatum agnouimus. 

xxvii. De puero imbecilli curato. 

SVB tanta egrotantium confluentia uenit quoque inter ceteros 
quidam Rogerus de predicta Tudenham cum uxore Godiua. 
Hi filium deceunem toto corpore inbecillem attulerunt, quia gressu 
proprio illuc uenire nequaquam poterat, quoniam a multis diebus 
se mouere seu conuertere impotens erat. Talem igitur ac fere 
emortuum cum planctu et fletu maximo, dum parentes eius cum 

is thrown into it. Wherefore the mother caused the candle to be 
offered and the girl felt no further inconvenience from the fever. 

xxvi. Concerning the cure of a man with dropsy. 

There came too a certain man with the dropsy from Tudenham 1 to 
St William.'s sepulchre if so be he might be vouchsafed a remedy to 
recover him of his complaint. After standing there for some time 
he prayed, he offered his candle, and the pain in his stomach having 
been assuaged he went away much more nimbly than he came. But 
when we had made enquiry about the subsequent issue of the matter, 
we were informed from the report of his neighbours that he was cured. 

xxvii. Concerning the boy cured of infirmity. 

Among this great concourse of sick folk there came, among others, 
a certain Roger, of Tudenham aforesaid, with his wife Godiva. These 
people brought with them their son ten years of age whose whole 
body was powerless; for he was quite unable to stir a step towards 
coming hither, having been unable for a long time to move or turn 
li illicit Being in this state and almost dead, when his parents, 
weeping and wailing exceedingly, had brought him with some candles, 
1 Probably North Tudenham ia meant, 10 miles from Norwich. 

in.] St William of Nowvich. 159 

candelis attulissent. super sepulcrum a capite martins in conspectu 
nostro deposuerunt. Post breuis uero spacii orationem aparentibus 
leuatus se iam melius habere testatus est. Quippe qui antea 
in nullam se partem conuertere nee alieno absque adminiculo 
in ten-am gressus ualebat uel ad modicum defigere, per se solus se 
tune conuertit, deo ac sancto martin gratias agens, cum parentibus 
pre gaudio lacrimantibus domum regressus est, et in breui 

xxviii. De quodam Hildebrando curato. 

~TT1 ISDEM ferme diebus Ildebrandus Norwici satis cognitus, et 
J J Pauli monachi Norwicensis germanus, infirmari cepit, et 
inualescente incommodo in breui lecto se contulit. Cumque ita 
diebus non paucis sui iacuisset inualidus, die quadam seuiente 
per artus molestia tandem ad extremum deduci uisus est. Inito 
itaque consilio, amici qui aderant continuo candelam consulunt 
fieri et pro salute infirmi ac sacri martins sepulcrum deportari. 
Quod ubi sine dilatione completum est, ipsa hora conualescere 

they laid him in our sight upon the sepulchre near the martyr's head. 
After a short prayer he was lifted up by his parents and he testified 
that he felt better. Insomuch that he, who before had been unable to 
turn himself to one side or another nor without assistance from others 
even set his foot upon the ground, now unaided turned about by 
himself, and giving thanks to GOD and the holy martyr returned 
home with his parents who wept for joy, and in a little while he be- 
came quite well. 

xxviii. Concerning a certain Hildebrand who was cured. 

About the same time, Hildebrand 1 , a man well known at Norwich, 
and a kinsman of a Norwich monk named Paul, fell sick, and his 
illness increasing upon him he took to his bed. When he had lain thus 
helpless for a long time, one day as the trouble went raging through 
his limbs, at last he seemed to be near his end. Hereupon taking 
counsel, his friends who were present advised that a candle should 
at once be made and should be taken to the martyr's sepulchre 
for the recovery of the sick man. When this was done with- 
out delay, at that very hour he began to get well, and after a 

1 I suspect this is the Hildebrand who founded the hospital which was called 
after his name, and that Blomefield is wrong in giving the date of that foundation 
to the reign of Henry III. Most likely it should be Henry H. See Blomefield, 
Vol. iv. 71 and 72. 

1 60 St William of Nonvich. [BK. 

cepit atque post modicum sanitati pristine restitui meruit. Pre- 
sertim, sicut eorum qui egrotanti et conualescenti presentes 
affuerant relatu didicimus, ipso scilicet temporis instanti morbi 
constat acerbitatem esse lenitam, quo et candelam sancto martiri 
contigit fuisse oblatam. 

xxix. De clerico et palefrido sacriste Christi Cantuarie curato. 

"YTENERAT quoque sub idem tempus a Cancia in Nordfulc 
V ad domesticam curam exequendam sacrista sancte Trinitatis 
Cantuarie et Norwicum forte diuerterat. Contigit autem dum 
ibi moraretur, et palefridum eius infirmari, et clericum quern socium 
habuerat grauissimam incurrere ualitudinem ipsa scilicet nocte 
cum crastino proficisci proponebat. Itaque mane surgens tan- 
quam ad profectionem monachus, equum et socium infirmatos 
oflfendit, atque nimirum super hoc uehementer condoluit. Vnde, 
tanta compulsus necessitate, multa cum deuotione animi ad suf- 
fragia profugit sancti martiris Willelmi, et quod pie ac deuote 
orando peciit, diuina largiente gratia mox impetrare promeruit. 
Inde contigit ut, socio et equo sanitati restitutis, extra spem continue 

little while was blessed with restoration to his former health. 
According to the testimony of those who were with him when he 
was ill and when he got well, we have been informed that it was at 
the very instant when the candle was brought to the holy martyr, that 
the anguish of his disease abated. 

xxix. Concerning the clerk and the palfrey of the sacrist of Christ 
Church, Canterbury, cured. 

About this time the sacrist of Holy Trinity Church, Canterbury, 
came from Kent into Norfolk on some family business and happened 
to repair to Norwich. But while he was staying there it chanced 
that his palfrey fell ill and also his clerk whom he had with 
him, and they became very seriously sick on the very night 
before they had intended to go away. So on getting up in the 
morning to go on his journey the monk found his horse and his com- 
panion very ill, and hereat of course he was very greatly annoyed. 
Wherefore urged by so great a need, with much devotion of mind he 
betook himself to the intervention of the holy martyr William, and 
what he asked for in devout and pious prayer, that he obtained by 
the bounty of the divine grace. So his companion and his horse 

in.] St William of Noiwich. 161 

iter aggredi posset, tanquam antea nichil impediment! pertu- 

xxx. De quadam Emma languente sanata. 

PER idem tempus Emma quedam de Wichtuna graui premeba- 
tur egritudine. Hec cum mira magnalia martiris Willelmi 
fama promulgante audiret, aliorum inuitata successibus, spe salu- 
tem iam tenens surrexit et opis gratia ad memoratum sepulcrum 
abiit. Quo perueniens cum summasupplicationisdeuotione orauit, 
candelam optulit, et in spe sanitatis recessit. Statimque sub ipso 
reditu se pro certo comperit curatam, atque ita meritis sancti 
Willelmi diuinam cognouit cooperari gratiam. 

xxxi. Quod plurimi abrasi sepulcri puluere bibito curati sunt. 

CVM igitur fama sacri martiris longe lateque discurreret, quan- 
tique meriti uel uirtutis apud deum ipse sit omnibus propalaret 
non modica turba cepit egrotantium gloriosum sancti Willelmi 
frequentare sepulcrum. Alii post alios ueniunt, et abeuntibus 
illis uenientes et alteri succedunt, quoniam frequentes precedentium 

having recovered beyond all hope, he was able immediately to under- 
take his journey as though nothing had stood in his way before. 

xxx. Concerning a certain Emma who, being in ill health, was made 


About the same time a certain Emma de Wighton 1 was attacked by 
serious illness. When she heard of the wonderful acts and the great 
doings of the martyr William which his fame was publishing abroad, 
invited by the successes of other people, she was encouraged by hope, 
and anxious for recovery she went to the said sepulchre for help. 
WTien she got there, with much devout supplication, she made her 
prayer and she offered her candle. Immediately on her return she 
discovered that she was certainly cured, and so she got to know that 
divine grace cooperates with the merits of Saint William. 

xxxi. How many people by drinking of the powder scraped from the 

sepulchre were cured. 

When thus the fame of the holy martyr was spreading far and 
wide, and it became known to all how great his merit and influence 
was in the sight of GOD, a huge crowd of sick folk began to frequent 
the glorious sepulchre of the holy martyr William. One after another 
they came, and as some went away others followed them, for the 

1 Wighton, S. of Wells, about four miles on the road to Walsingham. 
W. N. 11 

162 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

successus ad spem bonam subsequentes inuitabant. Verum sub 
tanta uenientium frequentia turn febricitantes, turn dissenterie 
morbo languidos, turn uariis uexatos infirmitatibus, abraso sepulcri 
lapide et cum aqua benedicta bibito, quamplurimos curatos agnoui- 
mus preter illos etiam quorum in precedentibus curam meminimus. 

xxxii. De quodam ab inflatura gutturis curato. 

DVM circa sepulcrum suum gloriosus martir tarn crebris 
choruscaret miraculis non uniuersa explanare potuimus, 
turn quia pleraque nostram contigit noticiam subterfugere, turn 
quia de nonnullis plenam ueri certitudinem non preualuimus 
indagare. Porro ea presenti placuit interserere libel lo que nos 
uisu siue auditu pro certo cognouimus, queque relatu non indigna 
deuotis cordibus non displicere scimus. Itaque Norwici puer 
quidam Alurici filius de sartrino monachorum graui quadam et 
horribili gutturis et faucium egrotauerat inflatura; adeo quidem 
ut miserabilem intuentibus offerret aspectum. Cumque morbi 
qualitas spem salutis prorsus excluderet, ductu matris ad sepulcrum 

frequent successes of those who had gone before invited others to a 
good hope. But among all this throng of people, some of them 
with fevers, some with the dysentery, some afflicted with various sorts 
of infirmities, we know that a great many were cured, besides those 
whose cure we have already mentioned, by merely drinking the 
scrapings of the stone of the sepulchre and mixing it with holy 
water '. 

xxxii. Concerning one who was cured of a swelling in the throat. 

While the glorious martyr was becoming so illustrious by the 
frequent miracles that were wrought around his sepulchre, we have not 
been able to set them all forth, partly because many of them did not 
come under our notice, partly because, with regard to others, we were 
not able to arrive at any certainty about the facts. Those, however, 
we resolved to insert in the present book which we were fully assured 
of, either by what we saw or what we heard, and these we know 
will not offend devout hearts, since they are worth recording. 

So it was with a certain boy at Norwich, son of Aluric, belonging 
to the tailor's shop of the monastery, who was afflicted with a severe 
and horrible swelling of the throat and jaws, so that he presented a 
shocking appearance to all beholders. And since the character of his 
disease altogether excluded the hope of a cure, lie came to the glorious 
1 Cf. Gregory of Tours, De uirtutibus S. Martini, i. 28, 37, ii. 1. 

in.] St William of Nowvich. 163 

uenit gloriosi martins. Quern nos considerantes egritudini tam 
acerbe compassi sumus, rasumque de sepulcri lapide puluerem 
ei cum aqua benedicta bibcndum dedimus. Sacro uero potu 
paulatim descendente in uiscera, diuine uirtus gratie successit 
festina. Continue etenim ad potus susceptionem eger et doloris 
lenimen sensit, et in breui a tumore conualuit, nullamque prorsus 
inflature notam in se alicubi reseruauit. 

NVNC itaque, aliquanta iam miraculorum explicita parti- 
uncula, interim dicendi finem facimus, dum defessus cursu 
equus uel modice quietis interpositions uires resumat, uiribusque 
resumptis crastini itineris alacrius aggrediatur laborem. 

Explicit liber tertius. 

martyr's sepulchre led there by his mother, and we seeing him in his 
dreadful malady had compassion upon him, and we gave him to drink 
of the dust scraped from the slab of the sepulchre mixed in holy 
water. But as the sacred draught gradually descended into his 
bowels, the power of the divine grace followed close upon it. For 
immediately on taking the draught the sick lad felt a lessening of 
his pain, and in a short time he got well of his tumour, and no mark 
whatever of the swelling remained in him anywhere. 

Now then, after setting forth some small particulars of the miracles, 
we make an end of speaking until the steed, wearied by the course, 
gathers strength by a short interval of rest, and so may betake 
himself the more cheerfully to the labour of to-morrow's journey. 




Incipiunt capitula libri quarti. 

i. De induratione prioris Helye atque eius morte. 
ii. De filio cuiusdam Gurwanni curato et de ceco illuminate, 
iii. De Radulfo monetario Norwicensi ab egritudine curato, et 

de monetariorum ministro furibundo et sanato. 
iv. De Agnete Reginald i uaccarii uxore a sanguinis fluxu 


v. De quadam Botilda a pedum grauissimo dolore liberata. 
vi. De filia fabri de Poswic quod egra ueniens sana redierit. 
vii. Qualiter sepulcrum suum mundissime attrectari sanctus 

martir per uisum monuerit atque custodiri. 
viii. Quo miraculo tapetum sullatum recuperauerit. 


i. Of the hardening of the heart of Elias the Prior, and of his 

ii. Of the cure of the son of one Gurwannus and of a blind man 

restored to sight, 
iii. Of Ralph the moneyer of Norwich who was cured of an illness : 

and of a servant of the moneyers who was mad and was 

iv. Of Agnes the wife of Reginald the cowherd cured of a bloody 


v. Of one Botilda who was rid of a severe pain in the feet. 
vi. Of the daughter of the smith of Postwick ; how she came sick 

and went away whole. 
vii. How the holy martyr by a vision warned us that his tomb 

must be touched and guarded with all purity, 
viii. How ho miraculously recovered the carpet that had been 


BK. iv.] St William of Norwich. 165 

ix. De reuelatione sanctorum dentium et de curatione 
Willelmi sacriste : ac de morte eiusdem post uoti in- 

x. Quomodo mari periclitantibus martir subuenerit. 

xi. De quadam a languore diuturno curata et de alia que 
uisum amissum recuperauit, (xii) et de presbitero cum 
familia curato et de uxore Ricardi de Bedingeham, 
(xiii) et de puellula insana et pluribus aliis per merita 
sancti martiris curatis. 

Incipit liber quartus. 

~]\ IT VLTIPLICATIS diebus multiplicabantur et miracula et 
-i-V_L crebrescente uirtutum gratia, egregii martiris Willelmi 
nomen latius iam atque longinquius protendebatur. Qua de re 
non mirari non possumus prudentissimi uiri prioris scilicet Helye 
animum adeo induratum ut nullatenus ab eo possit extorqueri ut 
tapeti uelut supra docuimus tarn uiliter sancto Willelmo sublati 
dedecus congruo corrigeretur honore. Atque id nequaquam omnino 
silere possumus, et ipsum scilicet per uisum aliquotiens correptum, 
et per nonnullas aliorum uisiones de reddendo tapeto sepissime 

ix. Of the revelation of his holy teeth and the cure of William the 

sacrist; and how he died after breaking his vow. 
x. How the martyr succoured those in peril on the sea. 

xi. Of a certain woman healed of a long sickness, and of another 
who recovered her lost eyesight, and of a priest who was 
healed with his family, and of the wife of Richard of 
Bedingham, and of a little girl who was mad, and of many 
others healed by the merits of the holy martyr. 


i. As the days went on, miracles went on also, and as the grace of 
his mighty works became more frequent, the name of the excellent 
martyr William began to spread far and wide. So that I am con- 
strained to wonder that the heart of one most sagacious man, I mean 
Elias the Prior, was so hardened, that by no means could he be induced 
to expiate by a suitable honour the insult inflicted upon Saint William 
by the base removal of his carpet which I have already related. And 
I cannot but mention that he was several times rebuked in visions 
himself, and very frequently warned by visions vouchsafed to others, 

166 St William of Norwich.- [BK. 

commonitum, nee tamen (h)is eius duriciem contigit emolliri, 
ut scilicet debitus sacro martin honos contingat restitui. Vnde 
aliquorum super hoc estimationera sollicitari non admiror qui suis 
fortasse cordibus dicant martirera quidem Willelmum illatam sibi 
indurati prioris iniuriam non immerito per ire sue pimisse uindic- 
tam. Sic enim a multis traditur, et martirem super hoc illi 
tni.-sc comniinatum, atque illius illico consecutum interitum. 
Quisquis autera super eo sic et sic autumet seu qualiscumque 
causafm] diuinam ad id inclinauerit dispositionem, hoc tamen 
nos pro certo tenemus quoniam senii eius dies finis anticipauerit 
immaturus. O reuera laudabilem uirum cuius uite sobrietas et 
morum modestia tocius religionis erant speculum : qui tarn diuina 
quam liberali pollens scientia sapientissima prudentie sue pro- 
uidentia Norwicensem illustrabat ecclesiam. O itaque uirum 
planctu multo plangendum cuius utique uita uite nostre subsidium 
fuerit pernecessarium,et mors immatura luctuosum nobis incussit de- 
trimentum. Obiit autem undecirao kal. Nouembris, cuius veneranda 
uenerabilis uite merita et mortem eius in conspectu domini pre- 
ciosam fecerunt et nos super eius salute non reliquerunt incredulos. 

to return the carpet : yet it did not happen that his heart was softened 
nor the due honour restored to the holy martyr : hence I cannot be sur- 
prised that the thoughts of some are disturbed on this account, for 
perhaps they may say in their hearts that the martyr William punished 
and justly punished by the vengeance of his wrath the insult 
offered to him by the hardened Prior. For it is said by many that 
the martyr threatened him, and that his death followed there- 
upon. But whoever makes these assertions about him, or what- 
ever cause led the divine ordaining to this, we hold it to be certain 
that the days of his age were shortened by an untimely end. Ah ! 
how worthy of all praise he was! the sobriety of his life and the 
modesty of his character were a mirror of all religion. He was skilled 
alike in the divine and in the liberal sciences ; and his wise and pro- 
\ id.-nt foresight was an ornament to the Church of Norwich. And so 
I say, " Ah ! how ought we to bewail him : whose life was so necessary 
to our life, and whose early death inflicted so mournful a loss upon us." 
He died on the 22nd of October 1 , and his reverend life and merits made 
hi* death right dear in the sight of the Lord, and left us a sure hope of 
his salvation. 

1 His death took place in 1149. 

iv.] St William of Norwich. 167 

ii. De filio cuiusdam Gurwanni curato atque ceco quodam illuminato. 

ITl ISDEM ferme diebus mulier quedam Lundoniensis ter a beato 
-I 1 Willelmo per uisum premonita quam opus sibi ab ipso 
iniunctum exequi uoluisset, tandem ut ei iussum fuerat Norwicum 
uenire curauit. Gurwannum pelliparium quesiuit, inuenit, et 
inuento ait : Quo ante hanc diem nunquam Norwicum nouerim 
ecce Norwicum a Lundoniis tibi Gurwanne et uxori tue missa pro 
nuncio adueni. Mandat utique per me uobis gloriosus dei martir 
Willelmus, quod quia quinque filios morte intercipiente amisistis, 
uobis super tanto nimirum incommodo dolentibus, et ipse pietatis 
affluens uisceribus plurinmin compatitur. Vt igitur sexto qui 
uobis uix superfuit et per xvill ebdomadas iam egrotauit gaudeatis, 
idem beatissimus ad sepulcrum suum uos inuitat martir, ac pro 
salute pueri candelam afferre et sibi offerre admonet. Preterea 
precipit quatinus quotannis puer quoad uiuet in die natiuitatis 
sancte Marie debitum sibi capitis uectigal exsoluat. Hoc itaque 
nuntio exhilarati Gurwannus et uxor eius mox mandatum exequi 
accelerant et de festina filii incolumitate exultant. Sed neque 
silentio pretereundum est quod eodem Gurwanno referente didici, 
quod maxime scilicet famis et mortalitatis diebus cum aliis in 

ii. Of the son of one Gurwan who was healed and a blind man who 

received his sight. 

At about the same time a woman of London received three warn- 
ings in a vision from blessed William before she would carry out what 
he enjoined : at last as she was bid she came to Norwich, inquired for 
Gurwan the tanner, found him and said: "I never knew Norwich before 
this day, and here have I come from London to Norwich on an errand 
to you, Gurwan, and to your wife. The glorious martyr of GOD, 
William, bids me tell you that, whereas you have lost five sons by death 
and are grieved of course at this heavy affliction, he in his compas- 
sion sympathises with you. Now, in order that you may rejoice over your 
sixth son who survives and has been ill for eighteen weeks, the blessed 
martyr calls you to his tomb, thither to bring a candle and offer it to 
him for the cure of the boy. Moreover, he commands that every year, 
as long as the boy shall live, he shall pay a tribute due to the martyr 
for his life on the day of the Nativity of the Virgin." Gurwan and his 
wife were overjoyed at the message, hastened to carry out the order, 
and were rejoiced by the speedy restoration of their son. 

This too I must mention, which I learnt from the mouth of 
Gurwan, that in the days of a great famine and pestilence he had in 

168 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

domo sua pauperibus cecum quendam ipse habuerat. Is a beato 
\V ilk-lino sub recenti adhuc martyrii eius tempore per uisum 
admonitus est quatinus tres de spiritu sancto missas cantare 
faceret et sub tercia proculdubio uisum recuperaret. Quod ubi 
ceco insinuante i[s]dem cognouit Gurwannus euocato presbitero 
tribus diebus tres cantare missas fecit; in quibus ad honorem 
sancte trinitatis tres denarios cecus optulit atque sub tercia 
oblatione (minim dictu) sicut ei promissum fuerat uisum recu- 

iii. De Radulfo monetario Norwicensi sua curato egritudine et 
ministro eiusfurioso sanato. 

SVB idem tempus Radulfus monetarius Norwicensis grauissima 
grauabatur egritudine. Is multorum inuitatus exemplis 
uotum beato Willelmo uouit, soluit, ac statim conualuit. Cui cum 
plenam recuperasset sospitatem per uisum gloriosus dei martir 
apparuit dicens : Ego sum Willelmus puer qui te dei nutu curaui : 
mihi gratias age et deuotus existe. Id quoque tibi iniungo quati- 
nus Thomam monachum custodem et secretarium meum conuenias 
ac dicas ut confortetur nee deficiat ; studiosus et diligens in seruitio 
meo perseueret, quoniam gratum habeo obsequium quod mihi sua 

his house, along with other poor persons, a blind man. He was warned 
in a dream by St William during the time soon after his martyrdom to 
have three masses of the Holy Ghost sung, and that at the third he 
should without doubt recover his sight. And when Gurwan had 
learned this from the blind man, he called a priest and had three 
masses sung on three days ; at which the blind man offered three pence 
in honour of the Holy Trinity, and at the third offering, wonderful to 
say, according to the promise he recovered his sight. 

iii. Of Ralph tite moneyer of Norwich who was healed of an illness, 

and his mad servant who was cured. 

About the same time Ralph the moneyer of Norwich was oppressed 
with a very severe disease. Attracted by the examples of many, he 
vowed a vow to St William, paid it, and recovered forthwith. When 
his recovery was complete, the glorious martyr appeared to him in a 
N isi,,n snying : "I am the boy William, who at GOD'S bidding cured you; 
think me, and remain devout. This, too, I bid you : visit Thomas my 
warden and secretary and tell him to be comforted and not to faint, 
to continue diligent in my service: for I hold the obedience dear 
which bin devotion shows to me." This message, received in a vision 

iv.] St William of Norwich. 169 

deuotio exhibet. Que per uisum mandata et ab eodem Radulfo 
mihi intimata ego Thomas summa obseruare studui diligentia. 
Contigit quoque per idem tern pus dum monetarii Norwicenses 
open suo insisterent, subito sub oculis eorum unus de ministris 
demonio arreptus adeo male se habuit ut ipsum fortibus mox 
astringi uinculis oporteret. Qua de re alii sani capitis pro salute 
socii preces et uota sancto martiri fuderunt, atque confestim ad 
uottim nulla interposita mora iuuenis liberatus est. 

iv. De Agnete Reginalds uaccari uxore a sanguinis profluuio 


VENIT et die quadam Agnes uxor Reginaldi qui Norwici 
uaccarius cognominabatur ad sancti Willelmi sepulcrum 
egritudini sue grauissime ac diuturne petitura remedium. Hec 
annis quinque fluxu menstruo laborauerat atque in medicis nichil 
sibi uel parum proficientibus non modicam expenderat pecuniam. 
Veniens ergo cum multa deuotione et mentis amaritudine in 
oratione diutius stetit opemque quam postulauit absque dilatioue 
efficaciter optinere promeruit. Mox enim ubi post oblationem 
candele genibus flexis sepulcro labia impressit, puncto temporis 

and communicated to me by the said Ralph, I, Thomas, took care to 
obey with all watchfulness. 

It happened also at the same time, while the moneyers of Norwich 
were engaged in their work, that suddenly before their very eyes one 
of the workmen was seized by a devil, and was in such evil plight 
that he had to be bound with strong irons. The rest who were in their 
right minds poured out prayers and cries to the holy martyr on behalf 
of their fellow, and thereupon without any delay the youth was freed 
from his ailment. 

iv. Of Agnes, wife to Reginald the cowherd, who roas freed from a 

bloody flux. 

There came also one day to the sepulchre of St William Agnes, 
wife of Reginald who was known at Norwich as the Cowherd, to seek 
relief from a sickness of hers which was oppressive and of long stand- 
ing. She had suffered from an issue of blood five years, and had spent 
no small sum on physicians, who did her no good or very little. She 
therefore, coming with great devotion and in bitterness of soul, 
stood long in prayer, and was accounted worthy to obtain without delay 
the help she sought. For as soon as she had offered a candle and on 
bended knee touched the tomb with her lips, at that instant she found 

1 70 Si William of Norwich. [BK. 

fluxus molestiam secreta quadam dei uirtute stagnari comperit: 
et exinde regrediens sancti Willelmi meritis manifestam dei uirtu- 
tem se sensisse predicauit. 

v. De quadam Botilda latiguente et curata. 

~T71 GROTAVERAT et quedam Botilda Norwici uxor Toche 
lU pistoris atque per multum tempus tanto pedum tenebatur 
dolore ut humi nullatenus ualeret gressum defigere. Vnde quia 
domo egredi et sancti martiris sepulcrum pro uoto adire non 
poterat, pro uxore dominus ire festinat. Itaque ueniens ille ac 
diutius in oratione persistens uxoris salutem deuotis poposcit 
precibus: atque post oblationem candele se exauditum non dif- 
fidens domum regreditur. Quo adueniens sanam et incolumem 
uxorem reperit ipsanique sanitatis eius horam esse cognouit qua 
candelam sancti martiris sepulcro superposuit. 

vi. De /ilia fabri de Poswic languente curata. 

Ijl RAT quoque in uilla que Postwic dicitur faber filiam habens 
-I J male se habentem grauissimoque per multos dies languentem 
incommode. Hec multorum relatu de tantis salutiferi martiris 

that by the secret working of GOD her plague was stayed : and return- 
ing thence she proclaimed that by the merits of St William she had 
experienced the manifest power of GOD. 

v. Of one Botttda who was sick and was Jiealed. 

One Botilda, wife of Toche the baker at Norwich, had also been ill, 
and was oppressed for long with such severe pains in the feet that she 
could not put her foot to the ground. So, as she was unable to leave 
her home and come to the tomb of the holy martyr to fulfil her vow, 
her husband hasted to come in place of his wife. He came and con- 
tinued long in prayer ; he asked devoutly for the recovery of his wife, 
offered a candle, and returned home, not doubting that his prayer was 
heard. When he got there, he found his wife safe and sound, and on 
inquiring the hour of her recovery he ascertained that it had taken 
place when he put the candle on the tomb of the holy martyr. 

vi. Of the sick daughter of the smith at Postwick, who was healed. 

There was also in the village called Postwick 1 a smith who had 

n daughter in evil case, long oppressed by severe illness. She, by the 

relation of many, heard the report of the great deeds of the lifegiving 

1 Postwick, a village four miles from Norwich. 

iv.] St William of Norwich. 171 

uirtutibus famam audiens fidei tacta instinctu quomodo potuit ad 
sanctum sancti Willelmi sepulcrum properauit. Quo perueniens et 
candelam dextera tenens tota mentis orauit deuotione, lacrimosisque 
precibus egritudini sue postulauit remedium. Oratione denique 
fact. -i genibus flexis candelam optulit ac puncto temporis quo 
lapidi oscula impressit pristine sanitati subito se restitutam 

vii. Quod sepulcrum suum mundissime attrectari sanctus per 
uisum monuerit et custodiri. 

DIEBVS illis cuidam bono et reuera credibili uiro gloriosus 
puer et* martir Willelmus apparuit et ait : Nuncius esto 
meus et crastina dominica ad sepulcrum meum uade, atque ibi 
assistentibus predica ut solito maior mihi exhibeatur reuerentia. 
Nonnulli etenim sepulcri mei lapidem siue pallium lutuosis 
pedibus tangere imrno et maculare non uerentur, atque inhonestis 
plurimorum sputis circa me pauimentum sordescit. Thome autem 
meo denunciare cura quatinus sepulcrum meum accuratius obseruet, 
et aduenientibus qua reuerentie modestia mihi assistere debeant 
denuntiet. Hec ubi a uiro mihi denuntiata sunt ea summa 

martyr : faith prompted her, and she came as well as she could to the 
holy tomb of St William. She reached it, and holding a candle in her 
right hand, she prayed with single-minded devotion, and with tears 
and prayers begged to be relieved from her disease. After her prayer 
she knelt and offered the candle, and at the instant of her kissing the 
stone, found that she had been restored to her former health. 

vii. How the saint in a vision bade t/uit his tomb should be kept 
clean and carefully guarded. 

In those days the glorious boy and martyr William appeared to a 
certain good man, truly worthy of belief, and said : " Be thou my 
messenger, and on the next Sunday go to my sepulchre, and there pro- 
claim to those present that more reverence must be shown to me than 
heretofore. For some presume to touch the stone of my sepulchre, or the 
cloth, with muddy feet, nay, even to soil it ; and the pavement round 
me is denied with the foul spittle of many. Be careful, then, to warn 
my Thomas that he take greater care of my tomb, and signify to 
those who come with what reverence and modesty they are to stand 
before me." When the man gave me this message, I took care to obey 

172 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

obseruare diligentia studui, et exinde in eius obsequio multo 
deuotior permansi. 

viii. Quo miraculo tapetum sublatum recuperauerit. 

OPERE precium est deuotioni propalare fidelium unde incitata 
sui semper accipiat incrementum. Dum etenim pia sancto- 
rum gesta sepius audiendo percipit, inde deuotionis nostre igniculus 
quasi quodam 'pietatis afflatu magis accenditur et magis amando 
ignescit. Igitur diebus illis contigit Willelmum uicecomitem 
tune Norwicensem maxima commotum iracundia in quendam 
Eduardum et Robertum fratres grauiter inuehi. Qua ductus 
ira, dum eos comprehendere disponeret quoniam fuga sibi salutem 
parauerant, nequaquam comprehendit, bona ueroeorum que in- 
uenit uiolenter dirripuit. Dum autem moraretur Robertus in 
domo Ricardi decani de Bedingeham timoris causa noctibus in 
ecclesia sancti Andree iacebat. Et dum nocte quadam ibidem 
quiesceret et membra sopori dedisset, pius puer et martir Willelmus 
ei per uisum apparuit et ait : Misereor tui Roberte quoniam et in 
amissione rerum graui afficeris contumelia et terrore compulsus 

it with the utmost diligence, and thenceforward continued much more 
devout in his service. 

viii. How wonderfully he recovered the carpet that had been removed. 

It is worth while to publish for the devotion of the faithful matters 
which will tend to stimulate and increase it. For while it absorbs by 
frequent hearing the pious deeds of the saints, the spark of our devotion 
is thereby as it were fanned by the breath of piety and inflamed the 
more as we love them better. 

It happened, then, in those days, that William, the then sheriff of 
Norwich, was stirred with great wrath and was taking hostile measures 
against a certain Edward and his brother Robert. In his wrath he 
was designing to arrest them, but they fled : so that, unable to arrest 
them, he violently spoiled all the property belonging to them that he 
could find. Robert, who was staying in the house of Richard, Dean of 
Bedingham, used for fear of the sheriff to sleep at night in the Church 
of St Andrew '. While he was sleeping there one night, having resigned limbe to slumber, the pious boy and martyr William appeared to 
him in a vision and said: "I have pity on you, Robert, both because you 
have suflered grievous wrong in the loss of your goods, and because 
Bedingham is ten miles from Norwich, on the road to Bungay. It had formerly 
two Church*, in the same Churchyard, one of St Mary, the other of St Andrew. 
The former baa long disappeared : the tower of St Andrew's, in which probably 
Bobert took refuge, is still standing. Blotuefield, x. 103. 

iv.] St William of Norwich. 173 

exul domo peregrinaris aliena. Duos igitur tibi fac sub nomine 
meo fieri cereos eosque per man urn Godwin! presbiteri quern 
cognominant Stert mihi transmittere non differas, in cuius rei 
recompensationem infra natalities Christi dies te dominumque 
tuum Concordes fore repromitto. Monachis quoque Norwicensibus 
supplica ut pro te exorent. Quibus et hoc ex mea parte quasi pro 
intersignis mandare magnopere studeas quatinus tapetum michi 
pridem sublatum ac sepissime requisitum nee redditum quam- 
totius mihi restituant. Verum si et adhuc in hoc neglectus fuero, 
procul dubio noilerint quod aliquis eorum in proximo grauiter luat. 
Sotularis quoque meus non quo disposuerant loco sed quoniam non 
adeo decens est interim alibi reponatur. Quibus uisis experge- 
factus mane Robertus gaudio gauisus magno negotium hospiti 
decano intimauit, cereos fieri curauit, factos misit, monachisque de 
mandate ac minis subiungens, denominatis tandem diebus iuxta 
beati martiris uerbum promissi efficatiam percepit. Quo minaci 
percitus nuntio prior Ricardus qui priori Helye primus successerat, 
continue in ecclesiam pro tapeto cucurrit sullatumque ac propriis 
delatum humeris memorato sancti martiris sepulcro superposuit. 

you are sojourning in a strange house, and are exiled and in fear. 
Command, therefore, that two wax candles be made for you in my name 
by the hand of the priest Godwin whom they call Stert 1 ; and delay not 
to send them to me. In recompense for this I promise that you and 
your lord shall be at one within the days of Christmas. Moreover, beg 
the monks of Norwich to intercede for you : and as a sign, remember 
to tell them this from me, that they are to restore me the carpet which 
was taken away from me some time back, and, though often asked for, 
has never been returned. But and if I be still neglected in this 
matter, let them know of a surety that some one of them shall doubt- 
less pay dearly for it shortly. My shoe, furthermore, let that in the 
meanwhile be put, not in the place which they had designed for it, for 
that is not seemly enough, but somewhere else." After this vision 
Robert awoke in the morning and rejoiced greatly : and told the matter 
to his host the Dean. He had the candles made ; when they were 
made he sent them ; and added the message and the warning to the 
monks. He finally received the effect of the promise, according to the 
blessed martyr's word, within the time named. 

Prior Richard 2 , the immediate successor of Prior Elias, struck by 
the threatening message, forthwith ran to the Church for the carpet, 
took it, placed it on his own shoulders, and laid it on the often-men- 

1 Called Start on p. 38. 2 He succeeded in Oct. 1149 and died 16 Oct. 1158. 

174 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

Sicque quod alii imprudentius gesserant hoc pie deuotionis obsequio 
con-exit. Super eo autem quod de sotulari dictum est plurimum 
:ul minor quoniam et adhuc reuera ignorabatur, siue quis ilium tune 
habuerit, siue quo reponi debuerit. Ego quippe Thomas puncto 
temporis absens fueram, qui cunctis inscientibus priuata sub 
custodia sotularem habebam. Qui dum Norwicum remearem, 
suscepto a doiuina Mabilia Beccensi ad idipsum scrinio ipsum in 
ipeo sotularem aliasque quasdam ipsius martiris reliquias priuatim 
reponi disposueram. Cum igitur domi uenissem et de sotulari que 
mandata fuerant percepissem uehementer nimirum admiratus, reli- 
quas quas dixi reliquias scrinio immisi, memoratum uero sotularem 
quo ante fuerat loco reposui. 

ix. De reuelatione sanctorum dentium et de cura Willelmi sacriste 
et morte eiusdem pout uotifrangium. 

PER idem tempus Willelmum Norwicensis ecclesie sacristam 
quern superiori libello diutino prelibauimus grauatum incom- 
modo contigit ingrauescente morbi sui molestia passionis quam 
circa inferiora maxime patiebatur plus solito grauari pena. Cuius 
dolori pius martir Willelmus compatiens primum cuidam Osberto 
quem de Monte Pessulano dicebant, secundo et alteri cuius nomen 

tioned tomb of the holy martyr ; and thus by his pious and devout 
sendee set right the imprudent act of others. 

Now concerning what was said about the shoe, I greatly marvel; 
for really up to that time no one had known either who possessed it or 
where it ought to be put. I Thomas, who had the shoe in my private 
keeping without the knowledge of any, was at that moment away. And 
when I was returning to Norwich, I received from Lady Mabel of Bee 
a shrine for that very purpose, in which I had arranged privately to 
put the shoe and certain other relics of the martyr. When, therefore, 
I had returned home, and heard the message about the shoe, being of 
course much astonished, I put the other relics of which I have spoken 
into the shrine, but replaced the shoe where it had been before. 

ix. Of the revealing of ike holy teeth and the cure of William tiie 
sacrist, and his death after breaking his vow. 

At this time it happened that William the sacrist of Norwich, 
whom I mentioned in the last book as suffering from a disease of long 
standing, as his sickness now increased upon him, felt more pain than 
usual. The merciful martyr William in compassion for his suffering 
appeared in a vision of the night, first to Osbert (called of Montpellier) 
and next to a second person whose name I have forgotten, and said : 

iv.] St William of Norwich. 175 

memoria excidit in uisu noctis apparuit dicens: Ite ac sacriste 
Willelmo cuius passioni ualde compatior ex mea parte dicite 
quatinus secretarium meum Thomam super salute sua conueniat. 
Is enim si dentes meos quos adhuc priuata possidet custodia aqua 
benedicta lauerit eamque illi bibendam dederit infra paucos ille 
dies plenum procul dubio salutis remedium recuperabit. Bum 
tamen an tea mihi uouere uolo se mil lam ulterius alteram preter 
huiusmodi ineam suscepturum medicinam. Quod si per incurie 
negligentiam uotifrangium incurrerit, confestim ipse sibi consulat, 
quoniam ratum habeo, quod diem postea quartum nullatenus 
excedat. Hec igitur uisionis nocturne mandata ubi per prescriptos 
uiros ad sacriste noticiam perferuntur, me protinus euocato, que 
per uisum reuelata eique denuntiata fuerant mihi intimauit et 
subiunxit : Ecce, frater, salus mea penes te est. Festina ergo, noli 
tempus redimere, noli spem meam more pena mulctare. His ego 
auditis plurimum admiratus non modicum expaui. Nimirum 
quippe timebam quod si dentes quos cunctis adhuc nescientibus 
habueram constaret me habere, constaret fortassis etamittere. Ea 
propter illos primo negare cepi, quoniam illis nullatenus carere 
uolui. Cum uero mihi diutius neganti eger et qui ei assistebant 

"Go and tell the sacrist William (on whose sufferings I have great 
compassion) from me that he is to consult my secretary Thomas about 
his recovery. For if Thomas will wash my teeth, which he has in his 
private keeping, with holy water, and give it to William to drink, he 
will without doubt recover his full health within a few days. But I 
wish him first to vow to me that he will never henceforth take any 
medicine except this of mine. If through carelessness and neglect he 
incur the sin of vow-breaking, let him quickly look to himself ; for I 
am determined that he shall not by any means survive the fourth day 

When these commands of the nightly vision were communicated to 
the sacrist by the men I have mentioned, he called for me at once, and 
set forth the revelations and warnings he had had, adding : " See, brother, 
my recovery is in your hands. Hasten then : do not prolong the time : 
do not wound my hope by the punishment of delay." When I heard 
this, I was greatly astonished, and not a little alarmed : for I naturally 
feared that if it became known that I was in possession of the teeth, 
which I had hitherto kept without anyone's knowledge, it might also 
happen that I should be deprived of them. So I began by denying 
their existence, for I could not bear to lose them. But when, though 
I continued my denials, the sick man and those present pressed me 

176 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

acrius ac pcrtinatius insisterent quod prime tantum negaueram 
tandem confessus sum et assensum prebui. Quid multa ? Dentes 
attuli, aqua benedicta laui, eamque egro porrexi. Qui tenens 
calicem uotum quod ei mandatum fuerat uouit, quod erat in calice 
exhausit, ac de die in diem paulatim conualuit. Quo conualescente 
contigit me proficisci et aliquandiu extra morari. Presertim 
sacrista grauker interim forte constipatus dum nature uenter non 
responderet, graues uentris sustinebat tortiones. Dumque nimis 
ut ei uidebatur morarer magisque ac magis uentris dolor ingra- 
uesceret, crebro illi a medicis suggerebatur ut sibi scilicet consule- 
ret, ac medicine remedium attemptaret. Ipse uero uoto quo 
astringebatur metuens illis nequaquam adquiescere uoluit, sed rem 
totam in meum distulit reditum. Verum cum diutius iam tardarem 
nimiumque passionis uis inualesceret medicis persuadentibus 
tandem heu consensit, et fallacis medicine asylo se contulit. Quo 
facto consequent die domum regressus cum rem gestam cognouis- 
sem uehementissime condolui eumque super uoti transgressione 
redargui. Cuius transgressionis reatum turn mora mea turn pas- 
sionis sue dum excusaret molestia, nunc increpando nunc quasi 
consulendo subintuli : Numquid, karissime, te uoto astrictum 

eagerly and persistently, I ended by confessing what I had at first 
so stoutly denied, and I consented. What more ? I brought the teeth, 
washed them in holy water, and gave it to the sick man. He, holding 
the cup in his hands, vowed the prescribed vow, and drank the cup's con- 
tents. Then, from day to day, he gradually got better. During his 
convalescence it happened that I went away, and stayed away for some 
little time. Meanwhile the sacrist happened to suffer considerably 
in the stomach. My absence, according to his view, lasted too 
long : his pains increased, and the doctors kept advising him to take 
measures for his safety, and try some medicine. He, however, was 
afraid, because of the vow which bound him, and could not take 
tti.-ir advice, preferring to put off the matter till my return. But the 
longer I delayed, the more violent became his pains, and I grieve to say 
that he yielded to the advice of the doctors, and sought refuge in the 
deceit* of medicine. Whereupon, on the following day I returned, and 
on hearing of the event, I was bitterly grieved and rebuked him for 
his diol)edience. He excused his guilt on the ground of my delay, and 
of the troublesome nature of his disease. I rejoined, partly in rebuke, 
and i>artly att an adviser : " Had you forgotten, dear brother, that you 
were bound by a vowt Had those dreadful threats in case of your 

iv.] St William of Noiivich. 177 

oblitus fueras ? Nunquid terribiles ille si uotum infringeres mine 
memoria iam excesserant ? lam tu tibi consule, quoniam tibi 
plurimum timeo. Nempe quoniam dies crastina suscepte medicine 
tibi tercia erit, quartum suspectam habeo, et ne ilia defraudemur 
pertimesco. Dnmque huiusmodi prosequerer commonitorium, ille 
monita ut mihi uidebatur paruipendens nee multum timuit nee 
oinnino securus fuit. Quid plum ? Iam diem terciam sol occidens 
terminauerat, et ille surgens a cena lectoque se reclinans quasi 
quieti se contulit. Quies uero ilia heheu non dormitionis erat sed 
mortis. Cum etenim eum excitare uellemus, iam emortuum in- 
uenimus. Ex his perpendat diligens lector quanta obseruantie 
diligentia obseruanda sint precepta sanctorum qui quanto maioris 
potentie ac dignitatis dinoscuntur tanto amplius cauendum est ne 
offendantur. Quorum reuera iussionem si negligi contingat per 
incuriam, et raro tantum negligentie reatum non puniri contingit 
per penam. Qua nimirum preceptorem plane irritari constat, cuius 
preceptio eis maxime contemptui est a quibus maxime obseruari 
debuerat. Plurimis quoque astruimur exemplis quod pari scilicet 
talione plecti meruit qui uotum quod uouerat non obseruauit. 

breaking that vow already slipped your memory 1 Look to yourself, 
for I fear gravely for you. To-morrow will be the third day since you 
took the medicine : I have the worst misgivings about the fourth, and 
am sadly afraid that we may lose you thereon." Whilst I pursued this 
line of admonition, he made light, as I thought, of my warnings and was 
neither much frightened nor yet completely at his ease. What more? 
Sunset had ended the third day : he had risen from supper and lain 
down on his bed and seemed to have resigned himself to rest. Alas ! 
that was a rest not of sleep but of death : for when we would have 
awaked him, we found him already quite dead. 

Hence let the careful reader consider how strictly and punctiliously 
the commands of the saints ought to be obeyed, for the more mighty 
and worshipful they are, the more caution is needed lest they be 
offended. If it happens that their orders are neglected through care- 
lessness, it rarely happens that such neglect is not visited with punish- 
ment. It is plain that he who gives the order must be angered if 
those who ought the most accurately to have obeyed it are the first to 
hold that order in contempt. And we are led by numerous instances 
to conclude that he who did not keep the vow that he had vowed, 
deserved to be punished by such a retribution as I have related. 

W. N. 12 

178 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

x. Quomodo man periditantibus martir subuenei-it matrem ac 
filium per fontis inuentionem curauerit. 

NEQVE hoc silendum iudico quod quedam scilicet Botilda 
quam et in secundo libro meritis beati martiris per ramum 
filicis a pressum partus mire liberatam demonstrauimus nobis 
retulit, quam magna uidelicet dignationis sue magnalia circa 
se beatus martir Willelmus terris et mari operari uoluerit. Reuer- 
tebatur nempe ipsa de sancto lacobo sanctoque Egidio, et mare 
illud Normannicum ut in Angliam ueniret nauigio cum sodalibus 
peregrinis transibat. Contigit uero earn naui obdormire cum iam 
ad maris medium peruentum esset, uidebaturque ei sanctus assistere 
Willelmus dicens: Ecce pro uestibulo temporis grauissima uobis 
imminet procella; et nisi iam pro uobis interuemssem iam pro- 
fecto nauis cum uniuersis periclitaretur. Vnde, cum necessitatis 
superuenerit hora, me aduocatum et intercessorem uobis in Christi 
nomine inuocate et procul dubio tanta cum solis splendore subse- 
quetur tranquillitas ac si nulla precesserit tempestas. Denique 
circa uesperam prospero cursu litus Anglicum tanto maiori tenebitis 

x. How the martyr succoured those, in peril on the sea, and cured a 
mother and son by the finding of a spring. 

I cannot refrain, further, from telling what was related to me by a 
certain Botilda, of whom I shewed in the second book how she was 
wonderfully delivered from the straits of childbirth by means of a 
branch of fern by the merits of the blessed martyr. She told me how 
great wonders the blessed martyr William had deigned to work in her 
l>ehalf both on land and sea. She was returning from the shrines of 
St James and of St Giles, and was crossing the Norman sea in a ship 
with her fellow-pilgrims to return to England. It happened that she 
was sleeping in the ship when they were now half-way across, and 
Saint William appeared to stand by her and say, "Behold, immediately 
're storm is coming upon you, and, had I not already interceded for 
you, this ship and all on board would have been in extreme danger. So, 
when the hour of peril comes, call on me as your advocate and inter- 
oeuor, in the name of Christ, and without doubt there shall ensue a 
calm and sunshine such as if there had been no storm at all : and by 
the evening you shall gain the shore of England with a fair breeze, and 
your joy shall >>e the greater in proportion as you have seen that the 

iv.] St William of Noiwich. 179 

leticia quanto grandiori uos ereptos uideritis de angustia. Tu 
autem, Botilda, cum Norwicum adueneris, cum filio quern ab ortu 
et meo mancipasti patrocinio, quern et egrotantem offendes, adue- 
niens ad meum in silua Torpensi locum heremiticum uenire non 
differas. Accedentes uero ad arborem ubi quondam a iudeis 
proiectus aliquandiu sub diuo iacui circa radices eius modicum cauate 
et inuentam ibi aquam haurientes bibite. Qua bibita et tu ab eo 
quo laboras incommodo, filiusque pariter liberabitur a suo. Porro 
uniuersis predicare studeas quod ad illius aque gustum certum 
cunctis fideliter gustantibus proueniet remedium. Nunc autem 
quam totius expergiscere, quoniam tempestatis iam superuenit hora, 
et maridatorum ne sis oblita. Expergefacta terrore mulier cernit 
toto mari atre quasi noctis tenebras subito supereffundi, celumque 
diemque oculis uniuersorum subtrahi. Cumque omnia iam iam 
presentem intentarent mortem, misera nauis imminenti exposita 
naufragio mine fluctibus elata quasi in celum euehitur, nunc 
depressa tanquam in abyssum deicitur. Omnibus itaque desperatis 
fit clamor miserabilis et ululatus. Presertim qui sanius sapiebant 
diuine miscericordie postulabant opem. Prefata igitur mulier 
uniuersa cernens in arcto posita prorupit in medium et uoce clara 
exclamauit : Vtquid tanta desperatio ? Deum sanctumque Wil- 

peril whence you were saved was great. For you, Botilda, when you 
reach Norwich, take your son, whom from his birth you dedicated to 
my care and whom you will find ill and delay not to come with him 
to my hermitage in Thorpe wood. Approach the tree where I was 
once thrown by the Jews and lay long in the open air : dig a little near 
its roots, and drink the water which you will find there. On this, you 
will be rid of the discomfort from which you suffer, and your son of his 
disease. Moreover, you must take care to proclaim, that by tasting of 
that water all that taste in faith shall find relief. Now wake as 
quickly as you may, for the time of the storm is upon you ; and forget 
not my commands." The woman woke and saw with terror darkness 
like that of the night suddenly veiling all the sea, and the sky and 
daylight being withdrawn from the eyes of all. All appearances 
threatened instant death : the wretched ship in danger of immediate 
wreck was now lifted up as high as heaven and now cast down again 
to the deep. All were in despair, and piteous cries and yells were heard. 
Those who were of soundest mind implored the aid of God's mercy. 
The woman of whom I am telling saw that they were in an evil strait : 
she ran into the midst and cried aloud : "Why this despair? Call all of 


180 St William of Nonvich. [BK. 

lelmuin martirem Norwicensem deuoto corde communiter inuocate, 
et salutem festinam promitto. Ad hanc uocem herentibus cunctis, 
omnium corda mira unanimitate ad dictum mulieris inclinantur. 
Cumque ab uniuersis ita clamaretur, continue sol arrisit clare 
radians et reddita sine dilatione tranquillitas mox in tantum mare 
pacauit ac si nichil omnino tempestatis precesserit. Excurso 
autem modici temporis spacio, cursu prospero nauis Anglie lit tori- 
bus appulit, et exeuntibus cum gaudio cunctis, unusquisque in 
uiam suam abiit. Memorata uero mulier tandem Norwicum uenit, 
filiumque uelut ei predictum fuerat egrotantem inuenit. Quo 
secum assumpto cum teste presbitero in siluain festinauit, arborem 
prescriptam suffodit, et aquarm mox scaturientem repperit. Ad 
cuius gustum continue mater cum filio conualuit, atque in omnibus 
uisionis sue uerissima adinuenit presagia. Postmodum quoque per 
eiusdem aque gustum plurimos cognouimus optatum percepisse 
remedium. Super hoc autem plurimum admirari possumus, quod 
scilicet in arido et arenoso loco aque fonticulus apparuerit; quoniam, 
nisi diuine omuipotentie id nutu fieret, nullatenus aque uena loco 
tali prorupisset. Adeo enim aridus locus ille exhabundat sabulo, 
quod si plenum aqua dolium inibi effunderes, post hore spacium 

you devoutly upon God and Saint William the martyr of Norwich, and 
I promise you instant deliverance." All were arrested by the words, 
and their hearts were turned with a wonderful agreement to the 
woman's bidding. The cry went up from all, and at that moment the 
sun shone out clearly and a calm, returning without delay, so smoothed 
the seas, as if no storm had preceded it. In a short time the ship 
reached the English shore with a fair breeze, all disembarked with joy 
and went their several ways. 

The woman of whom I speak eventually reached Norwich and found 
her son ill, as she had been warned. She took him with her, and 
hastened to the wood, with a priest as witness ; she dug under the tree 
as bidden, and soon found water bubbling up. On tasting it, mother 
and son alike recovered, and so found the predictions of the vision true 
at ;ill points. In after days we have known many instances of persons 
tasting the same water and obtaining the relief they needed. 

Now in this we have great cause for wonder, that in a dry and 
sandy place a spring of water should have appeared, for, had not this 
happeru-d at the bidding of God's omnipotence, no spring could possibly 
have burst forth in such a place : for the soil of the spot is so dry and 
sandy that, were you to pour out a pitcher of water there, you would in 

iv.] St William of Nonvich. 181 

nee minimum inde uestigium inuenires. Sed quid minim, qui dc 
rupe potuit durissima sicientibus olim populis aquarum fluenta 
producere, si uoluit et nunc in sabulo aque fonticulum egrotantibus 
aperire ? Quippe quantum ad diuinam ornnipotentiam, nichil 
admirabile, sed nos homines admirari solemus si quid nouum 
quandoque uel insolitum contingere cernamus. 

xi. De qiiadam a languore diuturna curata et de altera que uisum 
amissum recuperauit. 

VMQVE inter mira tot miraculorum gesta maxima circumqua- 
que laudum crebrescerent preconia, confluebant ad beati 
martiris Willelmi sepulchrum singulis diebus plurimi. Aliqui 
sanitatis percipiende gratia, nonnulli orationis siue deuotionis 
causa. Inter quos quedam mulier Norwicensis, Ada nomine, que 
iam annuo egrotauerat languore, hinc uiri sui, Siwate nomine 
uocati, et inde alterius cuiusdam sustentata brachiis adducitur. 
Et factum est, oratione post oblationem peracta, que aliene opis 
indigua tristis aduenerat, celesti iam curata medicamine propriisque 
confisa uiribus gaudens regreditur. 

Rauenilda quoque uxor Willelmi de Hastedune, que langue- 

an hour's time find no trace whatever of moisture. Yet we cannot 
wonder that He who aforetime brought forth rivers of waters out 
of the hard rock for a thirsty people, willed in these days also to open a 
fount of water in the sand for the sick. For, as regards God's omni- 
potence, nothing is wonderful : it is we men who are apt to be surprised 
if we are witnesses to any new or unwonted event. 

xi. Of a woman cured of a longstanding sickness, and of another who 
recovered her lost eyesight. 

While amid so many wondrous miracles the declaring of praise 
increased and grew all round, many persons began to assemble every 
day at the tomb of the blessed martyr William ; some to be healed and 
others to pray and offer their devotions. Among them a woman of 
Norwich called Ada who had been ill for a whole year, came supported 
on one side by her husband Siwate, and on the other by some one else. 
And it came to pass when she had ended her prayer and made her 
offering, that she who had come in sadness and had to be helped by 
others, was healed by the heavenly medicine, and returned in joy 
trusting in her own strength. 

Also, Ravenilda wife of William of Hastedune 1 , who had gradually 

1 Perhaps Hasceduue, i.e. Hasketon, near Woodbridge in Suffolk. 

182 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

scentibus diu oculis uisum paulatira amiserat, alieno ueniens ducatu 
ad sepulchrum sancti Willelmi plene lumen se recepisse exultat. 
Sicque factum est ut que illuc uenerat ceca lumine recepto inde 
rccesserit leta. 

xii. De quodam presbitero et eiusfamilia ac muliere quadam curata. 

EODEM -tempore Galterus presbiter de Tifteshale atque de 
fatnilia eius plurimi graui periclitantes egritudine, mox ut 
sancti Willelmi suffragia postulantes uota uouerunt, uelut eiusdem 
presbiteri relatu didicimus, sanitati pristine restituti sunt. Sed et 
uxor Ricardi de Bedingeham, de quo et supra meminimus, graui 
uentris ac renium grauata incommodo, beati Willelmi rneritis 
medicine celestis curari meruit antidote. 

xiii. De pueUa insana sanata et pluribus aliis. 

~T TIDIMVS quoque hisdem diebus puellulam Eustachii monetarii 

V tiliain ad sepulcrum sancti martins insanam adduci et post 

here spatium sanam regredi. Alios preterea quam plures male 

lost her sight through the long weakening of her eyes, came to the 
tomb of Saint William, led by another, and rejoiced at the full recovery 
of her sight ; and so it came about that having come blind, she went 
away glad, having received her sight. 

xii. Of a, certain priest and his family, and a certain ivoman, healed. 

At the same time, Walter, priest of Tivetshall 1 , and many of his 
family were endangered by grave illness and immediately upon asking 
the prayers of Saint William and vowing vows to him, as we have 
learned from the relation of the said priest, were restored to their 
former health. 

Also the wife of Richard of Bedingeham*, whom I have also men- 
tioned, being afflicted with severe disease of the stomach and reins, was 
accounted worthy to be healed by the antidote of heavenly medicine 
through the merits of the blessed William. 

xiii. Of a mad girl cured, and many others. 

We saw also in those days a girl, daughter to Eustace the moneyer 3 , 
brought to the holy martyr's tomb mad, and returning in a hour's time 
ane. Many others also in evil case and diseased we saw come thither, 

1 A village abont 12 miles S. of Norwich. 
> See p. 172. 3 See p . 154 

iv.] St William of Norwich. 183 

habentes ct morbidos illo uenirc conspeximus, quos ibidem sanitatis 
percepisse remedia eorundem postea relatu cognouimus. Quorum 
nomina uel rei geste seriem uitande prolixitatis gratia present! 
libello non insemi, quoniam nimia constat prolixitate legentium 
deuotionem sepissime ledi. 
Explicit liber quartus. 

and heard from them afterwards that they had there received the relief 
of healing. Their names and the details of the matter I have not 
inserted into this book, in order to avoid tediousness ; for an excessive 
length plainly tends to mar the devotion of the reader. 



Incipiunt capitida libri quinti. 

i. De translatione eius a capitulo in ecclesiam. 

ii. Quod eo translate nocte consequent! sacrista mira audierit. 

iiL De iuuene qui colubros uiuos euomuit. 

iv. De quibusdam per merita sancti Willelmi a febribus 


v. Quod Godwinum presbiterum quasi iocando correxit et ab 

iniusto questu reuocauerit. 

vi. De languente per sepulcri tactum curato. 

vii. De anulo aureo per uisum nocturnum requisite, 

viii. De yxlropico mira uelocitate curato. 

ix. De quodam decano Lincolniensis prouincie sanato. 

x. De quodam Girardo a compedibus mire liberate. 

XL De psalterio perdito ac meritis sancti Willelmi recuperato. 


L Of his translation from the Chapter-house into the Church, 
ii. How on the night after his translation, the sacrist heard 

wonderful things. 

iii. Of the youth who brought up live vipers, 
iv. Of some who by the merits of Saint William were cured of 

v. How he corrected the priest Godwin as it were playfully and 

restrained him from an unjust gain. 
vi. Of a sick person cured by touching the tomb, 
vii. Of a gold ring recovered by a vision of the night. 
viii. Of a dropsical man cured with wonderful quickness, 
ix. Of a dean of the province of Lincoln who was healed. 
x. Of one Girardus wonderfully freed from his fetters. 
xi. Of the psalter which was lost and recovered by the merits of 

Saint William. 

BK. v.] St William of Norwich. 185 

xii. De demoniaco curato. 

xiii. De altero furibundo sanato. 

xiv. De contracta muliere sanata. 

xv. [Ijtem de altera contracta. 

xvi. De puella contracta et muta. 

xvii. De altera ceca et muta. De puero mire curato. 

xviii. De clerico male habente sanato. 

xix. De monacho ab oculi tuinore et dolore per uisum liberate. 

xx. De matre sancti Willelmi, quod per uisum nocturnum ab 

ipso et illius infirmitas et mors prenuntiata fuerint. 

xxi. De matrona a dolore et tumore genuum diuturno curata. 

xxii. De altera a surditie liberata. 

Incipit liber quintus. 
i. De translatione eius a capitulo in ecclesiam. 

I AM non solum de circumiacentibus uillis, sed et de remotioribus 
tanta cotidie multitudo ad sepulcrum beati Willelmi in capitulo 
adhuc iacentis cepit confluere, quod conuentus monachorum in 

xii. Of a demoniac cured, 
xiii. Of a second madman cured, 
xiv. Of a bent woman healed. 
xv. Also of a second bent woman, 
xvi. Of a girl who was bent and dumb. 

xvii. Of a second, blind and dumb: of a boy wonderfully cured, 
xviii. Of a sick clerk healed. 
xix. Of a monk relieved through a vision of a swelling of the eye 

and of pain. 
xx. Of the mother of Saint William; how her illness and death 

were foretold by him in a vision of the night. 
xxi. Of a matron relieved of pain and of a longstanding swelling 

of the knees. 
xxii. Of a second relieved of deafness. 


i. Of his translation from the Chapter-house into t/te Church. 

Already not only from the neighbouring villages, but from those at 
a distance so great a crowd began to assemble daily at the tomb of 
Saint William, who still lay in the Chapter-house, that the brotherhood 

186 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

claustro sedentium cotidianam tante multitudinis frequentiam 
nequaquam potuerit diutius sustinere. Dum etenim coram eis 
uirorum cotidie ac mulierum multitude turmatim transiret qua- 
liter illorum quies non inquietari poterat ? Vnde et communi 
deliberationis actum est consilio, ut gloriosus dei inartir in ecclesia 
transferendus ibi cum sepulcro suo reponeretur, ubi populis con- 
fluentibus liberior ad eum fieret accessus. Quid plura ? Prouidetur 
prope principalius altare a parte australi locus, et exequendi negotii 
dies oportunus. Volens autem pontifex ut perpaucorum noticiam 
ilia transiret translatio, mihi ac sacriste tune Giulfo precepit qua- 
tinus, necessariis congrue antea prouisis, ita res gereretur ut 
summo diluculo paucis consummaretur adhibitis. Erat utique 
dies ilia mensis lulii dies secunda, cuius meridiano tempore quie- 
scentibus dormitorio fratribus et quid negotii interim gereretur 
ignorantibus, ego et memoratus Giulfus sepulcro accessimus, reuo- 
lutoque lapide superposito, ipsum sub eiusdem tenoris statu inueni- 
mus quo eum ibidem et antea composueramus. Sullatum itaque 
ilium secreto in ecclesia usque in crastinum contulimus loco, atque 
in capitulum regressi sepulcrum itidem reparauimus ac si nulla ibi 
transmutatio gesta fuisset. 

of monks who abode in the cloister could no longer put up with the daily 
pressure of so great a multitude. For how could their peace help being 
disturbed when every day a large number of men and women passed 
before them ? It was therefore decided in common council that the 
glorious martyr of God should be translated into the Church, and there 
laid, along with his sepulchre, where freer access to him could be 
provided for the crowds of people. What more ? A place was prepared 
near the high altar, on the south side, and a convenient day appointed 
for the business. The Bishop, being anxious that the translation 
should come under the notice only of a very few, bade me and the then 
sacrist Giulfus to prepare the necessary instruments beforehand, and 
so to manage the matter that it should be got over at dawn in presence 
of a few witnesses. The day was the second of July: and on it at 
noon, when the brethren were resting in the dormitory, ignorant of 
what was going on, I and Giulfus whom I mentioned came to the tomb 
and rolled away the stone that was on it and found the saint in the 
condition in which we had laid him there before. We took him up 
accordingly, and placed him in a secret spot in the Church until the 
morrow ; then returning to the Chapter-house we put the tomb to 
right* OH if no change had been effected. 

v.] St William of Norwich. 187 

ii. Quod Martire translate sawista nocte coiisequenti in capitulo 

mira audierit. 

VBSEQVENTI uero nocte quiddam contigisse cognouimus, 
quod deuotioni legentium ita insinuandum decreui, ut multi- 
plici super hoc coniecture locum derelinquam. Contigit enim circa 
noctis illius medium sacristam memoratum in ecclesia de more 
iacentem ad excitandos ut moris erat sub matutinorum tempore 
in dormitorio fratres exurgere. Qui cum gloriose uirginis Marie 
matutinos decantando usque ad capitulum processisset, ibi paululum 
subsedit, ut ibi quod supererat matutinorum expleret atque exinde 
ad consuetudinarium negotiurn procederet. Verum ubi more 
paululum sub angulo capituli sedendo sic effecisset, subito ex ad- 
uerso, boreali scilicet extra capitulum latere, uehemens ac terribilis 
exoriri cepit sonitus. Cuius qualitatem ipsemet nobis rem gestam 
postmodum referens nequaquam uerbis exprimere potuit. Quo 
audito, ultra quam dici possit eum horror inuasit : dirriguere 
come membrorumque adeo uigor emarcuit ut nullatenus siue 
pedes contrahere siue manus sursum possit eleuare. Ille uero 
exorsus sonitus magis ac magis succrescens, ab antedicto latere 

ii. How after tJie Martyr's translation the sacrist on tlie following night 
heard wonderful things in Hie Chapter -house. 

Now we heard that something happened during the night following, 
which I have thought right so to indicate to my devout readers as to 
leave a wide field for conjecture about it. For it came to pass that 
about midnight the aforesaid sacrist, who was sleeping as usual in 
the Church, got up in order to rouse the brethren in the dormitory at 
the hour of matins, as was customary : and having proceeded as far as 
the Chapter-house, singing the matins of the glorious Virgin Mary, he 
there sat down for a moment that he might finish the remainder of 
matins and then go about his accustomed business. But, after he had 
stayed sitting a little while at the corner of the Chapter-house, suddenly, 
on the opposite, that is, the northern side, outside the Chapter-house a 
loud and terrible sound began to arise. He was unable to express the 
quality of it in words, when he was relating the matter to us after- 
wards. On hearing it an indescribable horror seized him: his hair 
stood upright and his limbs so lost their strength that he could neither 
draw in his feet nor raise his hands. But the sound that had thus 
begun, grew louder and louder and passed from the aforesaid direction 

188 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

ad orientalem capituli se transtulit fenestram, et, quasi per ipsam 
intro subintraret, directo transitu ad sepulchrum quod die hesterna 
uacuum relinqueramus se contulit. Cumque ibi aliquandiu in- 
explicabile quoddam murmur fieret, tandem intra sepulchrum se 
totum congessit, et quasi in longinquum inde gradatim transmearet, 
audientis aures pedetentim subterfugit. Presertim dum hec ita se 
haberent, nimio terrore correptus immobilis sedit sacrista, secum 
quid ageretur negotii multiplici meditatione reuoluens. Venienti- 
bus postmodum uero ecclesie famulis claustro lucernas disposituris, 
resumpsit animum, surgensque dormitorium subiit, consuetudi- 
narium excitationis executurus officium. Ex cuius rei euentu 
idem sacrista ab ea nocte in reliquum noctibus capitulo lucernam 
subesse instituit, et quoad uixit institutum seruauit. Vnde et 
mos inoleuit, usque in hodiernum diem, noctibus capitulo inesse 

"VTERVM crastino noctis illius illuscescente diluculo, surrexit 
V episcopus et quod cum paucis disposuerat exequi non sine 
multis contigit expleri. Dum etenim dispositum pre manibus 
haberetur negotium, subito plurimi deuotionis studio irrumpentes 
undique conuolarunt, interesse magis affectantes presenti martiris 

to the Eastern window of the Chapter-house, appearing to enter thereby 
and go directly toward the tomb which, on the day before, we had left 
empty. Here for some time it continued making the strangest mur- 
muring and at last entered wholly into the tomb, and, as if gradually 
passing away into the distance, insensibly died out of the listener's ears. 
While this was going on, the sacrist, in extreme fear, sat immovable, 
rapidly revolving in his mind what could be the matter. When the 
servants of the Church came after a while to set the lamps in the 
cloister, he recovered his courage and, rising, went into the dormitory to 
fulfil his wonted duty of rousing the brethren. In consequence of this 
event this sacrist thenceforward instituted the plan of having a lamp in 
the Chapter-house at night, and kept it up so long as he lived. 
Whence the custom has prevailed up to the present day that there 
-h<uld always be a lamp in the Chapter-house at night. 

But when the morrow's dawn after that night began to shine, the 
I'.i^iop arose, and what he had arranged to effect with a few helpers 
was in fact carried out in the presence of many. For while the pre- 
arranged business was yet in hand, suddenly a number of people with 
eager devotion burst in from all quarters, being more desirous of being 
present at the service done to the martyr than with any idea of inter- 

v.] St William of Norwich. 189 

obsequio quam rei gerende impedimeuto. Denique congruo satis 
pro tempore loco, sed honore tamen non condigno, illud uenerabile 
martiris corpus reponitur, eiusque sepulchrum ferro ac plumbo 
consolidatur. Quibus gestis, uisionis prime tune recordati sumus, 
|ii;i se et a cimiterio transferri monuerat et capitulo inter pueros 
se paululum uelle quiescere indixerat, ad ecclesiam postremo 

iii. De iuuene qui colubros uiuos euomuit. 

r I 1RANSLATVS itaque in ecclesia beatissimus martir maioribus 
-L quam antea pollere cepit miraculis, quantique apud deum 
esset patentibus declarauit signis. Sub recenti enirn translationis 
huius tempore de uilla que Helhetune dicitur, iuuenis quidam 
ductu patris ad sancti Willelmi sepulcrum aduenit. Is quondam 
opilio dum gregibus pascendis intenderet, die quadam campo sub 
frutectis forte obdormiuit. Dumque aperto sterteret ore, subito in 
ipsum coluber introiuit, et quasi grata mansione reperta, intra 
uiscera se contulit. Excitatur nimirum iuuenis ignarus quidem 
infortunii, motum tamen sentiens presentis mali. Pestifero acerbi- 

rupting the proceedings. Finally that reverend body of the martyr 
was laid up in a place sufficiently suitable for the time being, yet not 
with fitting honours ; and his tomb was secured with iron and lead. 
It was after this that we remembered that first vision, in which he had 
bidden that we should remove him from the cemetery, and had said that 
he wished to rest for awhile in the Chapter-house amongst the boys, 
but should later on be translated to the Church. 

iii. Of the young man who brought up live vipers. 

So the most blessed martyr after his translation into the Church began 
to shine with greater miracles than aforetime, and shewed by manifest 
signs how great he was in the sight of God. For when his translation 
was but recently effected, a youth brought by his father, came from 
the village called Helgheton 1 to St William's tomb. He had been a 
herdsman and was looking after his flocks one day when he happened 
to fall asleep in the field under some bushes. As he lay snoring with 
open mouth, a viper suddenly crept into his mouth, and finding, as it 
seemed, an agreeable sojourn there, betook itself into his intestines. 
He awoke, unconscious of his mishap, yet feeling the stirring of the 
plague within him. His entrails were tormented with the pain of the 

1 In Loddon hundred, about seven miles from Norwich. 

190 St William of Not^wich. [BK. 

tatis dolore turbabantur uiscera, cotidianaque dierum successione 
magis ac magis illud inquietudinis inualescebat incommodum. 
Ignorabat siquidem et mirabatur que tarn dira pestis esse posset 
que tanta acerbitate uiscera sua concuteret ; sed ex rei modo que 
gerebatur quid fuerit estimatione conicitur. Pluribus denique 
sub inquietudine tarn molesta euolutis annis, iuuenis sancti Wil- 
lelmi curandus mentis ad sepulcrum eius uelut prelibatum est, 
ductu patris aduenit. Cuius pater, oratione facta post oblation em 
candele, sepulcri lapidem rasit, aqua benedicta distemperauit, 
eamque male habenti filio bibendam tribuit. Quo facto, confestim 
cum fide patris operari cepit uirtus martiris. Vbi etenim sacer 
ille potus in uiscera descendit, furens continue coluber ita introrsum 
cepit angustiari sen sacri potus presentiam nullatenus queat perpeti. 
Inualescente igitur molestia, concitus iuuenis ecclesiam exiit, et 
ante ualuas ecclesie humi procumbens, maxima cum angustia 
colubrum duosque deinde colubri fetus euomuit, effusaque sanie 
inulta, humi iacens uelut exanimis aliquamdiu permansit. Qui 
uero presenti affuere spectaculo, tarn horribili nimirum obstupuere 
monstro. Porro pater dolore nimio tactus exurgit in colubrum, 
ipsumque pariter cum fetibus tanquam filii peremit peremptores. 
Quos et tanti miraculi reseruaturus in signum, fisso imposuit 

noxious pest, and, as the days went on, his restlessness increased. He 
knew not what it could be, and wondered what was so sharply gnawing 
at his vitals : but it began to be conjectured from his symptoms. He 
spent several years in this condition of torment, and eventually, as I 
have said, was brought by his father to St William's tomb to be cured 
by his merits. His father prayed and offered a candle : then scraped 
the stone of the tomb, soaked the scrapings in holy water and gave it 
to his sick son to drink. Thereupon the power of the martyr began at 
once to work along with the faith of the father. For when the sacred 
potion had descended into his stomach, the maddened viper began to 
be so tormented within, as if it could by no means endure the presence 
of the holy liquid. The pain increased, and the youth rushed at full 
speed out of the Church, and fell on the ground before the doors. Then 
with intense pain he brought up the viper and two young ones, and a 
great deal of matter, and remained for some time lying apparently life- 
less on the ground. Those present were naturally affrighted at the 
horrid portent The father in his distress arose and attacked the viper, 
and kilhnl it and its young as the slayers of his son, and put them in a 
cleft stick, intending to keep them for a sign of this great miracle. 

v.] St William of Nonvich. 191 

baculo. Denique post unius hore spacium sanus exurgit iuuenis, 
deoque ac sancto Willelmo liberator! suo gratias agens, domum 
cum patre gratulabundus regreditur. 

iv. De quibusdam curatis ab estu febrium per sanctum Willelmum. 

ONTIGIT per idem tempus Adam, lohannis dapiferi episcopi 
nostri nlium, acri et diuturno febrium perurgeri incommodo. 
lamque in tantum inorbus preualuerat quod pellis exhausta 
marcido quodam pallore mortis signum intuentium oculis innuebat. 
Hie igitur, siue suorum monitis, siue proprie deuotionis instinctu, 
ad sepulchrum beati martyris ueniens post paululum quieuit 
et obdormiuit. Exactoque duarum horarum sp.atio, adeo sanus 
surrexit et incolumis ac si nichil ommno presensisset doloris. 
Quidam quoque Roberti ......... ariensis miles consirnili diebus illis 

uexatus ualitudine, consimili modo ad idem martiris sepulchrum 
sospitatem meruit optinere. Alios preterea quamplurimos febrium 
itidem typo 1 laborantes sancti Willelmi meritis remedium sanitatis 
ibidem frequenter percepisse percepimus. 

After an hour the youth arose whole, and giving thanks to God and St 
William his preserver, returned homewards in joy with his father. 

iv. Of some persons cured of the heat of fevers by St William. 

At the same time it came about that Adam, son of John the 
chamberlain of our Bishop, was vexed by a long and severe fever. So 
far had the disease progressed, that the skin, all bloodless, showed by a 
kind of wan pallor the sign of death to all who saw him. He then, at 
the advice of his friends or of his own devout notion came to the 
martyr's tomb and after a little time fell asleep. In two hours' time 
he arose as well and whole as if he had never felt pain. 

Also a certain soldier of Robert of afflicted with a like illness 

in those days, was able to obtain a like recovery at the same tomb. 
I have also learned that very many others oppressed with accesses 
of fever often gained relief and health by the merits of St William. 

1 See Ducange, g.v. 

192 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

v. Quod presbiterum Godwinum quasi iocando correxerit et iniusto 
questu reuocauerit. 

rplEMPORE illo Godwinus presbiter, cuius in precedentibus sepe 
1 mentioneni fecimus, et quern ligneum illud martiris tormen- 
tum quod uulgo Teseillun dicitur habere premonstrauimus, ipsum 
aqua intingere solebat benedicta, per cuius haustum multis fertur 
salutis contulisse remedia. Cuius rei fama permota mulier quedam 
paupercula diuturno languoris laborans incommodo, qualiter potuit, 
ad eundern Godwinum percipiende sanitatis gratia uenit, ad quern 
et ait : Miserere mihi, domine, meoque compatere languori ; et qui 
per merita sancti Willelmi aliis soles subuenire, mihi quoque 
subuenias misere. Credo equidem meam tuis pre manibus esse 
salutem. Sicque tui sanctus propicietur Willelmus, quemadmodum 
et tu mihi propitius fueris. Cui Godwinus ; Quid, inquit, beneficii 
attulisti, que adeo fidutialiter meum postulas obsequium ? Ad 
quern ilia : Nouit deus quoniam adeo paupercula sum quod omnino 
nichil preter quod circa me cernis possideam. Vniuersa profecto que 
habui in medicos expendi, et nichil profeci. Ad hec Godwinus: 
Si, ut astruis, adeo pauper es, gallinam saltern perquirere et dare 
potes. Respondit mulier : Galliiiam, domine, de qua loqueris nee 

v. How he punished the priest Godwin, as it were in jest, and 
restrained him from making unjust gains. 

At that time the priest Godwin whom I have already often men- 
tioned of whom, too, I have said that he possessed the wooden instru- 
ment used to torture the martyr and commonly called a Teazle ', used 
to dip this instrument in holy water; and by the drinking of this 
water he is said to have given relief to many. A certain poor woman 
who was in ill-health was stirred by reports of this, and came as best 
she could to Godwin to get healed : she said to him, "Have pity on me, 
sir, and compassionate my sickness ; you who succour so many by the 
merits of St William, succour me also in my misery. I believe that 
my recovery is in your hands, and so may St William be gracious to 
you as you shall be gracious to me." Godwin replied : " What offering 
have you brought, that you demand my help with such confidence?" 
"God knows," said she, "that I am very poor, and have nothing but 
what you see ou me: all that I had I have spent on doctors and got no 
good." Thereupon said Godwin : "If you are so poor as you say, you can 
at any rate get a hen and give it me." " For the hen of which you 
talk, sir," said the woman, " I have it not, nor know whence T can get it." 

1 See p. 20'. 

v.] St William of Norwich. 193 

habeo nee ubi perquiram scio. Cui presbiter indignans pro- 
uerbialiter respondit : Audi, mulier, qui non dat quod amat, non 
suscipit quod desiderat. Vnde si uis ut precibus tuis obaudiam, 
uade, perquire, et aflfer gallinam. Quo mulier audito in fletura 
prorumpens, cum lacrimis ait: ludicet deus inter nos, piusque 
martyr Willelmus uelut erga me meruisti tibi retribuat. Et his 
dictis lacrimans abscessit. Et, ut postmodum cognouimus, ab ea 
die conualuit, et pristinam sanitatem breui recuperauit. Presbiter 
uero rem paruipendens, dura deprecantis muliercule lacrimas 
despexit, dei fortassis sanctique Willelmi iram incurrit. Qua de re 
conicimus praue uoluntatis culpam subsequentis mox infortunii 
non iniuste subisse uindictam. Factum est enini ut ea nocte 
uniuerse illius morerentur galline ; et ex plurimis nee una superfuit. 
Atque ita, pro sola quam illicite petiit, multarum non immerito 
dampnum incurrit. Mane facto, cum infortunii euentum percepisset 
presbiter, statim compunctus hesterne culpe recognouit reatum, et 
se grauiter peccasse confessus est. Ea propter terrore compulsus 
uouit, se ulterius questus huiuscemodi lucra per spiritualia non 
quesiturum beneficia. 

The priest was angry and answered her in a proverb. " Listen, 
woman : he that gives not what he prizes, gets not what he asks. So, 
if you wish me to pay attention to your request, go, get a hen, and 
bring it here." On this the woman burst into tears and said : " GOD 
judge betwixt us, and the merciful martyr St William reward you as 
you have deserved by your treatment of me." And so she went away 
weeping, and, as I have since ascertained, recovered from that day and 
shortly regained her former health. The priest thought little of the 
matter, and despised the tears of the poor woman : for which it is likely 
that he incurred the wrath of GOD and St William. Whereon we 
conjecture that the sin of his ill-will deservedly suffered the punishment 
of the misfortune that soon followed. For it happened that on that 
night every one of his fowls died ; and of the whole number, which 
was large, not one remained ; so that for the one which he unjustly 
demanded he deservedly suffered the loss of many. In the morning 
on hearing of his mishap, the priest was at once repentant, recognised 
his fault of the previous day, and confessed that he had indeed sinned 
grievously. Therefore in fear he vowed that he would never thence- 
forth seek gains of this kind by conferring spiritual benefits. 

W. N. 13 

194 St William of Not^wich. [BK. 

vi. De languente per sepulcri tactum curato. 

DIEBVS illis Robertus Heruei quondam pistoris filius, men- 
sium quatuor et eo amplius detentus languore grauissimo, 
rem gerere credebatur extremam. Inualescente etenim morbo, 
omnem cibi iam amiserat appetitum, membrisque succo exhaustis 
ac pulsu nimis debilitate, saluti eius medici diffidebant. Cum 
itaque rem in arcto esse cemeret, ad diuine misericordie confugit 
asylum. Cuius rei gratia, quoniam totus corpore imbecillis erat, 
suorum utrinque manibus ad sepulchrum sancti martiris deducitur. 
Vbi assistens, efiusa multe deuotionis oratione, continuo ad sacri 
lapidis tactum celestis medicine sensit antidotum. Qui enim 
adueniens uix orationis dominice tantillum ruminare poterat. 
assumpto post paululum psalterio psalmos inchoat, psalteriumque 
totum se excurrere posse exultat. Quo peracto, omnipotenti deo 
sanctoque Willelmo gratias agens, qui aliene opis aduenerat 
indiguus propriis iam gressibus regreditur confisus. Quique 
diebus multis nichil omnino cibi gustauerat, appetitu recuperate 
cibum sumpsit, recreatisque in breui uiribus sospitati plene restitui 

vi. Of a sick man cured by touching the tomb. 

In those days Robert son of Herveus, once a baker, was grievously 
ill for four months and more, and was generally thought to be at 
death's door. For owing to his disease he had lost all appetite for 
food, his limbs lost their strength, his pulse was weak, and the 
doctors feared for his safety. So, seeing himself to be in extremity 
he sought refuge in GOD'S mercy. And as his strength of body was 
quite gone he was brought to the holy martyr's tomb supported by the 
hands of his servants. There he stood and prayed much and devoutly, 
and straightway upon touching the holy stone felt the antidote of the 
heavenly medicine. He who when he came could barely mutter the 
Lord's Prayer now took his psalter, began the psalms, and rejoiced that 
he could run through the whole psalter. When he had ended it, he gave 
thanks to GOD and St William, and though he had stood in need of 
other's help in coming, he now returned trusting to his own legs. He 
had tasted no food for many days, but now, recovering his appetite, 
he ate, soon refreshed his strength, and was mercifully restored to 
complete health. 

v.] St William of Noi^wich. 195 

vii. De anulo aureo per uisum requisite. 

ERAT miles quidam prope Liunam Reginaldus nomine, filius 
Philippi, cuius uxor miro deuotionis affectu sanctum Willel- 
mum diligebat. Hec cum nocte quadam iuxta sponsum in stratu 
suo quiesceret, apparuit illi per uisum idem martir quem diligebat 
Willelmus. Qui affectuose deuotioni eius gratias agens, dulci earn 
recreauit alloquio. Post cetera anulum aureum reliquis minorem, 
quoniam plures gerebat, in signum amoris sibi dari requisiuit, 
eumque usque ad digiti summum cui inerat abstraxit. Qua de re 
expergefacta mulier expauit, uisaque retractans anulumque digiti 
summo reperiens, quid ageret hesitauit ; uiro tamen uisa subintulit. 
Eius itaque consilio actum est ut ipsa Norwicum sine dilatione 
ueniret, et requisitum sancto Willelmo offerret anulum. Post hec 
uero se totam illi commendans, quem erga ilium gereret animum 
semper postea per deuote exhibitionis indicauit efiectum. 

viii. De ydropico mira uelodtate curato. 

~T TIDIM VS et hominem de prouintia trans Humbrum uoti gratia 
V ad gloriosi martiris Willelmi uenire sepulchrum. Is multam 

vii. Of a gold ring demanded in a vision. 

There was a knight near Lynn called Reginald, son of Philip, whose 
wife was wonderfully devoted to St William. She was resting one 
night in bed by her husband, when, in a vision, the martyr William 
whom she loved appeared to her. He thanked her affectionately for her 
devotion and refreshed her with kind speeches. After this he asked that 
a gold ring, smaller than the rest (for she wore several), should be given 
to him as a sign of her love ; and he drew it off as far as the top of the 
finger on which it was. The lady woke, and was alarmed, and recollect- 
ing her dream, and finding the ring on the top of her finger was uncertain 
what to do, but told the dream to her husband. At his advice she 
came without delay to Norwich and offered St William the ring he 
had asked for. And thereafter commending herself wholly to him, she 
shewed forth the love she bore him by her devout carriage ever after. 

viii. Of a dropsical man cured with wonderful swiftness. 

I also saw a man from the province beyond the Humber come in 
consequence of a vow to the tomb of the glorious martyr William. 


196 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

cere massam ad caligarum instar compactam afFerens, earn summo 
deuotionis studio martiris Willelmi superposuit sepulcro. Qui 
sciscitantibus nobis unde esset, siue cur aduenisset, respondit : 
Natiuum mihi solum Eboracensis prouintie est regio, atque hue 
uoto constrictus adueni. Fueram enim quandoque ydropicus, 
eiusque morbi per annos multos succubui molestie, dirumque ac 
miserabile intuentibus eram spectaculum. Quanta presertim doloris 
torquerer angustia uerbis nequaquam exprimere possum. Pius 
utique martir Willelmus mee compatiens affliction! per nocturnum 
mihi mandauit uisum quod si sanus fieri uellem, uniuersum tumo- 
rem cera circumdarem, eamque sibi Norwicum afferrem. Mira res 
ac ualde stupenda! Mox etenim ubi tumentia inferius ab nmbiculo 
membra cera circumdedit, tumor omnis adeo subsidit ut, cum post- 
modum tolleretur cera, nee modica paruerint tumoris uestigia. 
Tanto nimirum stupefactus miraculo, tamque ueloci recreatus 
beneficio, hue ut iussum est uenire non distuli : et hec est cera, 
cuius uelut predixi officio me contigit sanari. Quo audito, pluri- 
niuni super his admirantes gauisi sumus deumque in sancto suo 
Willelmo mirabilem predicamus. 

He laid on William's tomb with great devotion a large mass of wax 
fashioned in the form of boots. When we asked whence he came and 
wherefore, he replied, " My native country is a district of the province 
of York, and I have come hither because of a vow. I was at one time 
dropsical, and subject to the attacks of that disease for many years, 
and was a hideous and pitiable sight to all who saw me. I cannot 
express in words the misery and pain I suffered. The merciful martyr 
William, however, pitying my affliction, directed me in a dream, if I 
wished to recover, to surround all the swollen part with wax and bring 
it to him to Norwich. Wonderful occurrence ! as soon as the wax had 
covered my swollen limbs from the middle downwards, the swelling 
subsided so entirely that on removing the wax not a trace of it was 
to be seen. Astonished at the miracle, and rejoiced at the swiftness 
of the cure, I delayed not to come hither as I was bidden : and this is 
the wax by means of which, as I said, I was cured." On hearing this 
we marvelled much, and joyfully proclaimed how wonderful GOD was 
in William Hia saint. 

v.] St William of Nonvich. 197 

ix. De Lincolniensis prouinde curato. 

"TTENIT et a Lincolniensi prouintia decanus quidam, Robertus 
V nomine, qui denarios quatuor quos sancto Willelmo singulis 
annis se daturum uouerat, attulit, ac sepulchre eius quasi debitum 
uectigal superposuit. Hie uero nobis aduentus sui causam inqui- 
rentibus subintulit dicens: Nature uitio in diuturnum decidi 
languorem, atque ex diuturnitate morbi cum ceteris membris etiam 
caput intumuit. Talisque intuentium uisibus apparebam, tan- 
quam si uite limina iam iam excederem et mortis uestibulum 
subintrarem. lamque sub ipso mortis discrimine quasi filum 
trahebam uite. Compassus itaque tante ac tarn acerbe languoris 
diuturnitati, mihi per uisum sanctissimus martyr apparuit Willel- 
mus, blandisque me consolatus sermonibus, inter cetera subiunxit : 
Confortare, frater, quoniam in proximo est ut cureris. Curatus 
uero, in recompensationis mihi signum quatuor denarios quotannis 
exsolue. Quibus dictis, caput ac cetera ex ordine membra de- 
mulcenti percurrit palma. Demulcentis uero medicabilem illam 
manum e uestigio subsequebatur sospitatis antidotum. Quo facto, 
stans ante me ait : Ecce sanus effectus es : preceptum obserua. 
Mira res, et fere incredibilis ! Expergefactus enim me sanum et 
incolumem repperi, et pie uisionis ueritatem efficaciter sensi. 

ix. Of a dean of tJie province of Lincoln who was healed. 

There came also a certain dean named Robert from the province of 
Lincoln, bringing four pence which he had vowed yearly to pay to 
St William, and laid them on his tomb as tribute due from him. 
When we inquired of the cause of his coming, he told us, saying, 
" From a weakness of constitution I was long in bad health, and in 
addition to my other limbs, my head swelled. All who saw me 
thought that I was passing over the threshold of life and entering 
the gates of death. And being now in extremity my life hung 
only by a thread. The most holy martyr William, pitying my long 
and severe illness, appeared to me in a dream, and comforted me with 
kind words, saying among other things, ' Be of good cheer, brother, 
your recovery is at hand, and when you are cured, pay me four pence 
yearly as a recompense.' With these words he passed a soothing hand 
over my head and the rest of my limbs in order : the remedy of health 
followed immediately on the healing hand. Whereupon he stood before 
me and said, ' Lo, you are whole ; do my bidding.' Wonderful event ! 
I awoke and found myself whole and sound and felt in very deed the 

198 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

Surgens ergo iter meum differre nolui, sed ascenso equo huius red 
causa hue adueni, indictumque michi capitis tributum exsoluo. 
His auditis, admirati nimirum et gauisi sumus, ac diuine pietatis 
beneficia magnificauimus. 

x. De Girardo a conpedibus soluto. 

"T" TIDIMVS et quadragesimal! eiusdem anni tempore Girardum 
V quendam qui domini sui fugiens tirannidem ad Norwicensis 
ecclesie confugit asylum. Hunc miles Willelmus nomine de Wite- 
welle compedibus astrictum, quamquam nepos eius diceretur et 
esset, arete deputauerat custodie, quia scilicet uoluntati sue nulla- 
tenus uolebat assentire. Deinde tanquam sibi rebellem multo 
ieiunio et nuditate crudeliter afflixit, seuamque in eum tirannidis 
sue uiolentiam exercuit. Cumque a die purificationis usque ad 
sextam feriam ante pascha florum miris miser ille affligeretur modis, 
nee flecteretur, toruis miles crudelissimus eum intuens oculis ait : 
Delibera tecum, Girarde, et quam citius prouide tibi. Ecce hodie 
Norwicum uado, reditum profecto crastinaturus. Has interim 
habeas deliberandi inducias. Id tamen pro certo teneas, quia ni 

reality of the kind vision. I rose and would not delay my journey, 
but mounting my horse have come hither for this purpose, and am now 
paying the tribute imposed upon me for my life." We heard this, and 
marvelled greatly, and with joy we extolled the benefits of the divine 

x. Of Gerard who was freed from his fetters. 

In Lent of the same year we saw one Gerard who took sanctuary 

in the Church of Norwich, fleeing from the tyranny of his lord. 

A knight named William de Witewelle 1 had put him in fetters 

though he was reported to be his nephew, and indeed was and 

committed him to strict ward, because he would not submit to him. 

He proceeded to afflict him as insubordinate with long fasting and 

exposure to cold, and exercised a tyrannous violence against him. 

And when from Candlemas Day (Feb. 2) to the Friday before 

Palm Sunday the poor wretch had been tormented in various ways 

without yielding, that cruel knight, gazing grimly upon him, said, 

'Take counsel with yourself, Gerard, and look out for yourself quickly. 

TVday I am going to Norwich, and I mean to return to-morrow. So 

much time you have for decision : and you may be well assured that 

1 Probably Whitwell, a parish one mile S.W. of Beepham, in Norfolk. 

v.] St William of Norwich. 199 

redeunti mihi confestim adquieueris, omni prorsus dilatione remota 
genere penarum exquisite peribis. Et hec dicens, iussit eum cum 
altero quodam compedibus pariter constringi, ita tamen ut Girardi 
pars artificiosa quadam obfirmaretur claui. Clauem uero uxoris 
theca, thecam quoque obfirmatam archa reposuit, et tanquara hoc 
non sufficeret, arche clauem secum asportauit. Abiens uero uni- 
uersos domus sue famulos iusserat ea nocte diligentius circa eum 
excubare, omnia domus hostia solito strictius obserare, scannis 
quoque et aliis quibuslibet podiis obstruere. Inter hec miser ille 
Girardus omnia in arcto esse, et uitam periclitari cernens, sibi 
nimirum omnimodis timebat, et quid ageret prorsus ignorabat. 
Malebat etenim mori quam iniuste succumbere seruituti. Qua- 
propter animum totum coram diuine pietatis efFudit omnipotentia 
sanctosque dei sibi coadiutores affore petiit, ac precipue sanctissimi 
et clementissimi martins Willelmi opem implorauit dicens: 
Gloriose puer et martir Willelme, si uera sunt que de te audiui- 
mus, et tante uirtutis sis uelut estimamus, succurre mihi misero, 
succurre iniuste perituro. Libera me, domine, a presenti calami- 
tatis angustia, ut tue uirtutis ope liberatus tibi seruus fiam 

unless you submit to me at once on my return you will without any 
further respite perish by the most exquisite torture I can devise." 
With these words, he gave orders that he should be fastened in fetters 
along with another man, the arrangement being that the part of the 
fetters occupied by Gerard was locked with an elaborate key. The 
knight put the key into his wife's reticule, closed that and laid it up in 
a chest, and as if that were not enough, took the key of the chest away 
with him. On departing, he ordered all the servants of the house to 
keep careful watch over Gerard that night, to bar all the doors of the 
house more carefully than usual, and to barricade them with benches 
and any other kind of obstacle. Meanwhile the wretched Gerard saw 
that things had come to a desperate pass, and that his life was at stake : 
he was in the greatest fear for himself and knew not what to do : he 
preferred death to submission to an unjust slavery. So he poured out 
his whole soul before the merciful and mighty GOD and besought that 
GOD'S saints would help him : especially did he implore the aid of the 
most holy and merciful martyr William, saying : " O glorious boy and 
martyr William, if the things I have heard concerning thee be true, 
and if thou art of such power as we believe, help my wretched plight, 
help me who am doomed to die unjustly. Set me free, Lord, from my 
calamitous strait, that being freed by thy mighty aid I may become 

200 St William of Noiwich. [BK. 

inperpetuum. Qui cum in hunc modum orasset atque eadem die 
tota multaque noctis parte precordialiter replicasset, turn labore 
uigilie turn dploris tandem uehementia obdormiuit ; sed et custodes 
uniuersos sompno pariter oppresses dormire contigit. Cum uero 
iam noctis pertransisset medium, dormienti uidebatur uincto 
sanctum martirem quern inuocauerat Willelmum sibi assistere, 
compedesque. claui uelut dictum est firmatas reserare, ac sibi 
dicere: Expergiscere, frater Girarde, et uelociter surgens, tuam- 
que compedum partem tollens, quam totius fuge. Ecce solutus 
es; festina. Hostium australe iam tibi patet peruium. Exper- 
gefactus ad hec homo tremens obstupuit ; sed ubi se solutum 
sensit, resumpto animo de fuga cogitauit. Nee mora, sumpta sua 
compedum parte, silentio surrexit, rectoque gressu ad indictum 
hostium sibi et iam patefactum perueniens, continuo prodiit ac 
veloci fuga salutem sibi parturiuit. Norwicum uero sub diluculi 
ueniens articulo, patefactis ecclesie ianuis, statim ad sancti Willelmi 
liberatoris sui properauit sepulchrum, atque memoratam compe- 
dum partem illi obtulit in liberationis sue signum. Et tam diu 
postmodum seruiuit in ecclesia quamdiu pennansit in uita. 

thy servant for ever." And when he had thus prayed, and repeated 
the prayer from his heart many times during all that day and a great 
part of the night, he at length fell asleep from the weariness of his 
watch and the sharpness of his pain : and it was so that all his guards 
were likewise overcome with sleep. And when it was now past mid- 
night, it appeared to him as he slept in his irons that the holy martyr 
William whom he had invoked stood by him, unlocked the fetters, which 
as I said were fastened with a key, and said to him, " Awake, brother 
Gerard, rise quickly, take your part of the fetters, and fly with all 
speed : you are loosed ; make haste : the south door is open for 
you." The man awoke and trembled with amazement, but finding 
himself freed, regained his wits and thought of flight. At once he 
took up his part of the fetters, rose silently and went direct to the door 
indicated, found it open, went out at once and gained safety by swift 
flight Arriving at Norwich at earliest dawn, when the Church 
doors were opened, he at once hastened to the tomb of his liberator, 
St William, and offered to him the part of the fetters which I have 
mentioned as a token of his loosing. And thenceforward so long as he 
lived, he remained a servant in the Church. 

v.] St William of Norwich. 201 

xi. De psalterio amisso atque recuperate. 
/^ONTIGIT per idem tempus sancto pasche sabbato me 

Thomam psalterium amittere, de cuius amissione eo magis 
dolui quia illud manibus propriis scripsi. Quod cum diutius 
ac diligentius inquisitum nequaquam inueniretur, in ecclesia 
tandem publica de eo facta est interrogatio, et excommunicationis 
postmodum proponitur sententia. Verum ubi inquisitionis nostre 
labor nullum nobis retulit fructum, post omnia ad unicum patroni 
mei recurrere disposui patrocinium. Facta itaque candela et ad 
sepulchrum eius perlata, summa ibi oratum est deuotione, uti 
psalterium amissum sanctus martyr diuine uirtutis impulsu reddi 
cogeret quod omnimode inquisitionis labore recuperari non posset. 
Et factum est, die crastina uenit quidam Radulfus presbiter sancti 
Michaelis Norwicensis, atque ea hora cum psalterio memorato ad 
sancti Willelmi sepulchrum accessit, qua se nemine cerni credidit ; 
relictoque ibi psalterio confestim abscessit. Ego autem e uestibulo 
temporis orandi gratia illuc adueniens, psalterium subito uidi, et 
prorumpentibus pre gaudio lacrimis, illud gaudens sustuli. Post- 
modum uero, rem diligentius indagantes plurimi, cognouimus 
quia prenominatus presbiter esset qui ad sepulcrum martiris illud 

xi Of the Psalter lost and recovered. 

It happened at the same time on the Holy Saturday that I, Thomas, 
lost a psalter ; for which I was the more grieved because I had written 
it myself : and when after looking for it long and carefully I could by 
no means find it, public inquiry was at last made for it in the church, 
and sentence of excommunication thereafter pronounced. But since 
my pains and search brought no result, I finally arranged to have 
recourse only to the protection of my patron. I therefore made a 
candle and took it to his tomb and prayed most devoutly that the holy 
martyr would compel the return of my lost psalter by the impulse of 
his divine power, since I had been unable to recover it by all my pains 
in seeking. And it came to pass on the next day that one Ralph, 
priest of St Michael's at Norwich, came bringing the said psalter, and 
approached the tomb of St William at a time when he thought no one 
would see him, and leaving the psalter went quickly away. But I, 
coming thither at that moment to pray, suddenly saw the psalter, and 
with tears of joy bursting forth, took it up. Thereafter many of us 
investigating the matter with care, ascertained that it was the afore- 
said priest who had laid it on the martyr's tomb. He had bought it 

202 St William of Noiwich. [BK. 

deposuisset. Tribus siquidem emerat denariis, sed quia furatum 
et in ecclesia sepins quesitum audierat, nescio siue rubore ductus, 
siue retinendi amore corruptus, reddere differebat. Erat quippe 
liber preciosus et cams, et qui concupisci foret non indignus. 
Ac, uelut pluribus ex causis conicimus, ipsum necdum reddidisset, 
nisi ad hoc timore aliquo compulsus esset. Aiunt enim quoniam 
eius diei nocte quo oblatam sancto martiri prediximus candelam, 
idem beatissimus martir presbitero illi in sompnis apparuerit, 
eumque nisi psalterium crastino redderet terribiliter commi- 
natus sit: qua compulsum necessitate, librum credimus reddi- 


De demoniaco meritis sancti Willelmi sanato. 

INVIDIE siquidem est signum diuine bonitatis aliis celare bene- 
ficium quod pluribus plurimum potest prodesse, si plures con- 
tingat et nosse. Pulcrius enim elucescunt bona si plurimorum com- 
probentur noticia. Vnde silentio non congruit supprimi quod pluri- 
morum noticie ad deuotionis edificationem perutile est propalari. 
Nouit siquidem beniuolentium pia simplicitas, quoniam auditis 
non nunquam sanctorum miraculis, ignescere soleat affectus pie 

for three pence, but after hearing that it had been stolen, and often 
inquired for in the Church, he delayed to return it whether from 
shame, or because he was corrupted with the desire of keeping it, I 
know not. It was indeed a precious and dear book, not unworthy of 
being coveted. And, as I conjecture for many reasons, he would not 
even then have returned it, had he not been constrained to do so by 
fear. For they say that on the night before the day on which, as I 
said, I offered a candle to the holy martyr, that same most blessed 
martyr appeared to the priest in a dream and uttered terrible threats 
against him, unless he returned the psalter on the morrow : and I be- 
lieve he was constrained by that necessity and gave the book back in 

xiL Of a demoniac healed by the merits of St William. 

It is truly a sign of jealousy to conceal from others the good 
deeds of GOD, which may profit many, if many come to the knowledge 
thereof: for good deeds shine the brighter if they be proved by the 
knowledge of many. Hence it is not right to suppress that which it is 
beneficial to publish before all to edify devotion. The pious simplicity 
of the well-diaposed is aware that by sometimes hearing of the miracles 

v.] St William of Norwich. 203 

deuotionis. Sed dum miraculis miracula, magnisque maiora suc- 
cedunt, ita tamen in scribendo noster temperandus est stilus, ne in 
legendo multiplicitatis extinguatur fastidio pie deuotionis ignicu- 
lus. Et dum fideliter prout auditu siue uisu scire potuimus, 
beati Willelmi martiris miracula deuotioni fidelium enarramus, 
peccat qui nos astruit non uera pro ueris cudere, uel rem gestam 
figmentis palliare. Nunc autem simplici mentis oculo diligens 
lector attendat, quod beatissimus deoque acceptus martyr Willel- 
mus non solum morbis hominum, sed et uersutiis demonum 
reuera imperiosus existat. Vidimus quippe rusticum quendam 
Simonis de Hemestuode per dies multos a demonio uexatum, 
ligatum manus et pedes ad illud medicabile sancti Willelmi se- 
pulchrum sanumque et incolumem sub ipso crastino domum reduci. 

xiii. De altero furioso curato. 

"TTIDIMVS quoque et alium arrepticium in septimana pente- 

V costes ad sancti Willelmi sepulchrum diuina miseratione 

curatum. Is quondam films Ricardi de Nedham, cuius et mater 

Siluerun dicebatur, subito quadam die a demonio correptus, adeo 

of saints the affection of the devout is kindled. But as one miracle 
follows another and the great are succeeded by greater, my pen must 
be so curbed in writing, that the spark of devotion be not quenched by 
the fatigue of reading too many wonders : and since I relate the miracles 
of blessed William the martyr faithfully as I have been able to learn 
them by sight or hearing, for the devout believer, he who would accuse 
me of stamping falsities as truths, or of dressing up facts with fiction is 
guilty of sin. Now, however, let the careful reader note with the single 
eye of his mind how the most blessed martyr William, acceptable with 
GOD, not only controls the diseases of men, but also the wiles of devils. 
I have in truth seen a certain peasant, belonging to Simon de Hemp- 
stead 1 , for many days vexed by a devil and brought bound hand and 
foot to the healing tomb of St William, and taken home on the morrow 
sane and whole. 

xiii. Of the cure of a second madman. 

I also saw another possessed man healed at St William's tomb by 
the divine pity in Whitsun week. He was the son of Richard de 
Needham, and his mother was named Silverun ; and one day he was 
seized by a devil and began to handle himself so roughly that seven 

1 There are two villages of this name in Norfolk, one near North Walsham, the 
other near Holt. 

204 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

acriter se cepit habere ut uix eum septem uiri uinculis possent 
constringere. Constrictus uero diebus sex ita permansit, nichilque 
commedens, fugiente sompno nee ad modicum dormire potuit. 
Qui cum sic ligatus a parentibus tandem ad sepe memoratum 
adduceretur sepulchrum, illi appropians horribili confestim uoce 
exclamauit et ait: Quod me uultis? Quo me ducitis? Illuc 
nequaquam ibo; illuc nequaquam ibo! Cumque illuc uiolentius 
traheretur, non suo sed maligni spiritus annisu rupit uincula, 
insurgensque in matrem ipsam humi proiecit, dentibusque per 
guttur arripuit. lamque illam morti dedisset, nisi plebs accurrens 
ereptam liberasset. Turn ille dentibus stridens, toruisque lumini- 
bus circumstantes intuens, quos contingere potuit, miserabiliter 
discerpsit. Qua de re confluentibus plurimis, crudeliter arripitur, 
alligatur, constrictisque ad pedes manibus, uelit nolit, ab latere 
sancti sepulcri deponitur. Mox ut sacrum locum attigit, mirum 
dictu, nee uoce nee uultu uel minimum furoris signum demon- 
strauit. Pertransito uero hore unius spacio, blande atque humiliter 
ut solueretur expetens, a quodam ecclesie famulo solutus est, 
atque postmodum adeo placide ac mansuete se habuit ac si nichil 
antea furoris habuisset. Presertim post modicum correptus 

men were hardly able to chain him. He remained in this state, bound, 
for six days, eating nothing, and sleep entirely forsook him. Thus 
bound he was at last brought by his parents to the oft-mentioned 
tomb ; and as he approached it he suddenly yelled with a terrible voice 
and said, " What do you want with me 1 where are you taking me to ? 
I won't go there ! I won't go there ! " But as he was being dragged 
thither with some violence he burst his bonds, not by his strength but 
by that of the evil spirit, and attacking his mother, threw her to the 
ground and fastened his teeth in her throat. And he would certainly 
have killed her, had not the people run up and rescued her. Then, 
gnashing his teeth, and glaring fiercely on the bystanders, he maltreated 
frightfully all whom he could reach. A crowd assembled; he was 
savagely seized and bound, and with his hands and feet tied together, 
was put down willy-nilly beside the holy tomb. As soon as he touched 
the sacred spot, wonderful to say, neither by voice nor look did he 
Hhow the least token of madness. After an hour had passed he gently 
and meekly asked to be loosed, and was unbound by one of the servants 
of the Church. Thereafter he behaved himself as quietly and tamely 
as if he had suffered no touch of madness. In a short time sleep came 

v.] St William of Norwich. 205 

sompno, qui pluribus, ut dixi, diebus omnino non dormierat, ali- 
quamdiu quieuit. Expergefactus uero, qui multis diebus sine cibo 
permanserat, se tune multa esurie affligi dicebat. Allato igitur 
cibo commedit et bibit, et cum parentibus et amicis sanus et inco- 
lumis summa cum alacritate recessit. 

xiv. De contracta muliere scabellaria sanata. 

"TT1 ADEM pentecostes septimana, sabbato ante festum sancte 
J J trinitatis, uenit muliercula ad sepulcrum sancti martiris, que 
a primeua etate in uilla sancti Eadmundi per multos contracta 
manserat annos. Hec manualibus gradiens scabellis, prout potuit, 
per uisum a sancto Willelmo ammonita Norwicum aduenit. Et 
accedens, quantum sibi pre turba licuit, ad memoratum sepulcrum, 
ut per sancti Willelmi martiris merita sue misereretur imbecilli- 
tati diuine pietatis exorauit clementiam. Vix orationem termi- 
nauerat, cum subito correpta dolore acerbe angustiatur, neruisque 
crepitu magno distensis et ipsa distenditur. Cumque aliquamdiu 
graui subcubuisset angustie, sedato tandem dolore quieuit, atque 
post unius hore spacium sana in conspectu nostro surgens incolu- 

upon him, and he who for many days had not slept at all, as I said, 
now rested for some little space. On waking, though he had remained 
many days without food, he now said that he was exceedingly hungry. 
Food was brought, he ate and drank, and returned home with his parents 
and friends, sane and whole, in the greatest joy. 

xiv. Of a bent woman who walked with trestles and was healed. 

In the same week of Whitsuntide, on the Saturday before the feast of 
Holy Trinity, a poor woman came to the holy martyr's tomb, who had 
from infancy dwelt many years in St Edmund's Bury, bent double. 
She, walking with trestles which she held in her hands, made the best 
of her way to Norwich, having been told to do so by St William in a 
dream : and coming as near as she could for the press to the said 
tomb, she supplicated the divine pity to have mercy on her weakness, 
for the merits of St William the martyr. Scarce had she ended her 
prayer when she was seized with a sudden and acute pain, her sinews 
were stretched with a loud cracking, and herself stretehed to her full 
length. After succumbing for a space to the severe pain, it ceased, 
and she rested, and after an hour rose whole and sound in our sight, 

206 St William of Nonvich. [BK. 

mis, deo sanctoque martiri suo Willelrao pro reddita sibi sospitate 
gratias egit. 

xv. De altera toto corpore imbecilli curata. 
T71 RAT eo tempore mulier in uilla que Florendune dicitur : et 
U ea dolore partus atque angustia contractis membrorum 
neruis tantam corporis incurrit imbecillitatem, ut multis postea 
diebus neque se ipsam manibus pascere neque pedibus posset 
ambulare. Hec quamplurimis sub hac ualitudine diebus trans- 
actis per manus uiri sui et quorundam aliorum equo imposita ad 
sancti Willelmi sepulcrum aduehitur. Deposita uero prope 
sepulcrum, et ilia pro se et pro ilia sui preces ac uota fuderunt. 
Facta denique trium horarum ibi mora, sancti martiris sui meritis 
diuina pietas mulieris imbecillitati subuenit, uirtusque salutifera 
inuisibiliter per imbecilles artus membratim discurrens, uisibili 
salutis effectu patuit. Recreatis igitur diuina uirtute membris, 
uiscerumque dolore exinanito iam sibi confidens mulier surrexit, 
deoque ac sancto Willelmo pro sibi collate salutis remedio gratias 
et laudes exegit. Et factum est, que tristis et aliene opis 
aduenerat indigua, leta cum suis regreditur gressibus propriis 

and gave thanks to GOD and his holy martyr William for her recovery 
to health. 

xv. Of a second woman who was entirely without strength, 

and was healed. 

There was at that time a woman in the village called Flordon 1 , who 
in consequence of the pains of travail had fallen into such a weakness 
of her whole body for her sinews were all contracted, that for many 
days after she could not feed herself with her hands nor walk on her 
feet. After remaining a long time in this plight she was set on a horse 
by her husband and others and brought to St William's tomb. She 
was set down near the tomb and there her friends prayed for her : she 
remained there for three hours, and then the pity of GOD, by the 
merits of his holy martyr, came to help this woman's weakness; the 
healing power running unseen through her limbs was manifested by 
the visible effect of healing. Her limbs were refreshed with the divine 
power, the pain in her vitals ceased, and she was able of herself to rise 
and give thanks and praise to GOD and St William for the relief they 
had accorded to her. And so, she who had come sad and in need 
of others' help, went away in joy trusting to her own feet. 

1 A village about ten miles from Norwich, 

v.] St William of Norwich. 207 

xvi. De puella contracta et muta ac sanata. 

in ODEM anno feria quinta ante pascha, que a christianis dies 
J J absolutionis dicitur, dum pontifex Willelmus missarum cele- 
braret sollennia, uenit mulier ad sepulcrum sancti Willelmi filiam 
gestans septennem contractam ac mutam. Hanc mater in con- 
spectu plurimorum iuxta sepulcrum deposuit. Factaque cum 
lacrimis oratione, assidente ibidem tune Godiua uxore Sibaldi filii 
Brunstani et ipsa consedit. Cumque aliquantam ibi fecisset 
moram, forte sompno depressa obdormiuit. Allato interim ad 
sepulcrum ouo, que numquam antea uel cedere siue loqui poterat, 
cernente memorata Godiua puella surrexit, ouumque accipiens, ad 
matrem se conuertit, et materna lingua ait : Vide mater, ouum 
habeo. Ad cuius sonum excitata mater, cernens filiam loquentem 
et gradientem, pre gaudio nimirum prorupit in lacrimas. lamque 
confidens filie, quanta diuina sibi pietas meritis sancti Willelmi 
beneficia contulerit, astantibus publice predicauit. Nobis uero 
accurrentibus et rei geste diligentius inquirentibus negotium, a 
prefata Godiua et ab aliis quampluribus profecto audiuimus, et se 
mulierem reuera cognoscere, et uirginem illam contractam ac 
mutam se sepius uidisse. 

xvi. Of a girl who was bent and dumb and was healed. 

On Maundy Thursday of the same year, which Christians call the 
day of absolution, while Bishop William was solemnizing the mass, 
there came a woman to the tomb of St William, with a daughter of 
seven years old, bent double and dumb. The mother put her down by 
the tomb in the sight of many, and after praying with tears she sat down 
beside Godiva the wife of Sibald, son of Brunstan, who was also seated 
there. After some little time, it happened that she fell asleep. Then, 
an egg happening to be brought to the tomb, the girl, who had never 
yet been able to speak or walk, arose in the sight of the said Godiva, 
took the egg, turned to her mother, and said in English : " Look, 
mother ! I've got an egg ! " At the sound the mother awoke, and 
seeing her daughter speaking and walking, burst into tears of joy; 
and being now assured of her daughter, proclaimed publicly to those 
present how great benefits the pity of GOD had conferred on her by 
the merits of St William. I ran up and inquired diligently into the 
facts, and was at once informed by Godiva and many others that they 
truly knew the woman, and had often seen the deformed and dumb 

208 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

xvii. Item de altera ceca surda et muta a natiuitate. 

DIEBVS postmodum non multis intercurrentibus, paupercula 
mulier quedam de Grimestune per uisum ab ipso sancto 
Willelmo admonita est, ut si filiam quam ab ortu cecam et mutam 
habebat sanari uellet, earn ad se Norwicum afferret. His ilia 
inuitata promissis, cum filia uenire non distulit, allatamque ad 
caput deponens sepulcri, clara uoce ait: Gloriose dei martir 
Willelme, ecce ut iussisti filiam attuli, fac ei, domine, sicut promi- 
sisti. Et hec dicens fleuit, ac diuinam pro salute filie supplicauit 
misericordiam. Factum uero est, tanquam mateme pietatis la- 
crime celos attingerent, ut deuota precum instantia tandem uirgini 
salutem optineret. Confestim namque cum pietate matris co- 
operari cepit uirtus martiris. Quid plura ? Ex improuiso albugine 
que uirginis oculos tanquam oui membrana obduxerat dissoluta, 
sanguis subito ex oculis prorupit, atque in pauimentum eminus 
prosiliit. Qua nimirum pre doloris angustia clamante, plorante, et 
genas uellente, nos plures accurrimus, quod negotii gereretur 
cognituri. Et quanquam rei euentum prout narrauit mater 
didicissemus, certius tamen ueritatem scire uolentes accensam 
summitati uirgule candelam imposuimus. Qua pre oculis eius 

xvii. Also of another, blind, deaf and dumb from tier birth. 

After the lapse of not many days, a poor woman of Grimeston ' was 
warned in a dream by St William himself that if she wished for the 
cure of her daughter, who had been born blind and dumb, she was to 
bring her to him at Norwich. Invited by this promise, she did not 
delay to come with her daughter, and putting her down at the head 
of the tomb, said aloud : " O glorious martyr of GOD William, behold, 
as thou didst bid me, I have brought my daughter ; do unto her, Lord, 
as thou didst promise " : and with these words, she wept. It seemed 
as if the tears of the mother's piety reached the heavens, and the devout 
fervency of her prayer obtained healing at last for the maid : for the 
might of the martyr at once began to work with the piety of the mother. 
What more ? At once the film, which had covered the maid's eyes like 
the skin of an egg, parted, and blood spurted from the eyes and fell at 
a distance on the pavement. She cried out with the pain and tore her 
cheeks; and many of us ran up to see what was the matter. And 
although we learned the facts from the mother, yet, being anxious to 
know the truth more certainly, we took a lighted candle and put it on 
the end of a rod and held it before the girl's eyes, moving it to and fro. 
1 A large village seven miles from Lynn. 

v.] St William of Norwich. 209 

apposita, atque hue et illuc diducta, uirgo lumen intuens ac uelut 
rem admirans sibi reuera ignotam quacurnque deflecteretur oculis 
candelam sequebatur. Auferentes deniquc candelam, exhibuimus 
et pomum. Quod apprehensum cum admiraretur, Anglica lingua 
mater ait : Comede, filia, comede pomum. Ad hec dum eundem 
puellula sermonem retexeret, se matri respondisse credidit. Nec- 
dum aliud loqui nouerat, nisi quod ab alio audiebat. Vnde 
conicimus non illam tantum cecam et mutam, immo fulsse et 
surdam. Tanto itaque certificati miraculo, diuine gratie gratias 
laudum exsoluimus atque ab ea die in reliquum pia erga sanctum 
Willelmum deuotio incredulorum radicauit in cordibus. 

xviii. De puero quodam mire curato. 

TEMPORE illo puer filius Willelmi Polcehart maxima de- 
pressus ualitudine, iam nee cibum sumebat nee aliquod, in- 
ualescente magis ac magis morbo, uel minime quietis solatium ad 
horam habere poterat. Consultis igitur super salute pueri medi- 
cis nee aliquid ei proficientibus, desperati parentes sancti Willelmi 
tandem se contulerunt suffragiis. Qua de re uotum fecerunt, ut 
scilicet, si puer meritis eius sanaretur, singulis annis optima ab 
ipso candela in liberationis sue signum illi persolueretur. Facta 

She looked at the light with wonder, as if she had really never seen 
one before, and followed it with her eyes in whatever direction it was 
moved. We then put away the candle, and produced an apple. She 
took it and admired it, and when her mother said in English : "Eat the 
apple, daughter, eat it ! " she repeated the words, under the impression 
that she had answered her mother, as not yet knowing how to say 
anything but what she had heard some one else say. So that I con- 
jecture that she had not only been blind and dumb, but deaf as well. 
Confirmed by so great a miracle we praised and lauded the grace of 
GOD, and from that day forward a pious devotion to St William took 
root in the hearts even of unbelievers. 

xviii. Of the wonderful cure of a boy. 

At that time a boy, the son of William Polcehart 1 , was so ill that he 
could no longer take food, and as his disease progressed, could get no 
rest or comfort even for an hour. Doctors were consulted, but did no 
good, and the parents in despair at length betook themselves to the 
intercession of St William. And they vowed that if by his merits the 
boy were healed he should offer a fine candle every year in token of 

1 Probably Pouchard or Pulcliard. The family had lands in North Creak, and 
were people of consequence in the days of King Stephen. See Blomefield, vii. 75. 
W. N. 14 

210 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

igitur ad longitudinem pueri et latitudinem candela, et ad memo- 
rati martyris sepulcrum allata, continue puer quasi mortis abstrac- 
tus faucibus, ad subite salutis aduentum respirauit, et in breui 
contra omnium opinionem conualuit. Parentes uero pueri diligen- 
tius ueritatem indagantes facti, ipso temporis puncto eum sanitati 
cognouerunt restitui, quo candelam eius sancto Willelmo contigit 

xix. De qttodam clerico morti proximo sospitati restitute. 

NEC multo post Adam clericus nepos Edwardi de Gernemuta 
in maximam decidit corporis ualitudinem. Cuius sanitati 
desperantibus medicis, salutis sue anchoram diuine fixit solo 
miscericordie. Inter hec monitis suorum beatum martirem 
Willelmum animo contrite ac uoce supplici inuocauit, eiusque pos- 
tulans opem uouit, ut scilicet si presenti sue egritudini conferret 
remedium seruus eius fieret in eternum. Qua deuotione ductus, 
iussit ad longitudinis et latitudinis sue mensuram fieri candelam, 
et Norwicum ad sepulcrum illius deferri. Et factum est, ut sub 
ipsa hora eger continue conualesceret, qua qui missus fuerat pro 
salute eius candelam offerret. Vnde et cum reuerteretur eum 

his deliverance. They therefore made a candle of the length and 
breadth of the boy and brought it to the tomb of the martyr : the boy 
was as it were snatched from the jaws of death, and breathed again at 
the sudden approach of health, and, contrary to the expectation of all, 
recovered in a short space. The parents, on investigating the truth, 
discovered that he was restored to health at the precise moment when 
they offered the candle for him to St William. 

xix. Of a clerk restored to health when at the point of death. 

Not long after, Adam 1 , a clerk, nephew of Edward of Yarmouth, fell 
into very bad health. The doctors gave him up, and he fixed the anchor 
of his salvation in the firm ground of GOD'S mercy. Urged by his friends, 
he called on the blessed martyr William with a contrite heart and sup- 
pliant voice, and beseeching his help, vowed that if he would relieve 
his present sickness, he would become his servant for ever. In this 
spirit of devotion he ordered a candle to be made according to the 
measure of his height and breadth, and to be taken to Norwich to the 
tomb. And it came to pass that the sick man got well at the moment 
when his messenger was offering the candle for his recovery : and when 

1 Probably the same Adam of Yarmouth, who was clerk of the signet in the 
reign of Henry I., and eventually became one of the Justices Itinerant. See Foss's 
Judgrt for an account of him. 

v.] St William of Norwich. 211 

sanitati rcstitutum repperit quern abiens sub ipso mortis uestibulo 

xx. De monacho per uisum curato. 

SED neque hoc silendum cstimo quod ct legentium laborem 
delectet, et auditorum deuotioncm non uulneret. Erat 
quippe Norwici tune monachus quidam, simplex quidem et reli- 
giosus, qui Petrus Peuerellus uocabatur. Hie erga sanctum mar- 
tirem Willelmum multe deuotionis semper extiterat, eumque 
precipuo mentis affectu diligebat. Qui nocte quadam dominici 
aduentus tempore dum de matutinis regrediens sanus so lecto 
contulisset et sompno, dormiens intolerabilem subiti doloris in- 
currit angustiam, aliquo fortassis accidental! infortunio. Oculum 
enim dextrum uehementissimus dolor inuasit, et inuasoris domini 
quasi satelles e uestigio tumor successit. Expergefactus pre tanti 
nimirum doloris angustia monachus, continue in uocis horrende 
irrupit clamores, adeo ut nullus circumiacentium ea hora esset, qui 
pre clamoribus eius quiescere potuisset. Ingrauescente magis 
uero ac magis dolore, tota facies dextra intumuit, et horribile 
spectaculum intuentibus dedit. lamque in tantum per dies aliquot 

the messenger returned he found the man whom he had left at death's 
door restored to health. 

xx. Of a monk cured by a dream. 

Here again I must not pass over an occurrence which will make 
the reader's toil delightful, and will not wound the devotion of the 
hearer. There was at this time at Norwich a monk, a simple and 
religious man, called Peter Peverell 1 . He had always had a great 
devotion to the holy martyr William and a special love towards him. 
One night in the season of the Lord's Advent he had returned from 
matins quite well, and had betaken himself to bed and sleep : when, in 
his sleep, he was seized with intolerable pangs, probably in consequence 
of some accident. For his right eye was invaded by a most violent pain, 
and a swelling immediately followed, as a servant follows on the heels of 
his master when he enters. The monk awoke with the excess of pain, 
and broke into loud and dreadful cries, so that none of those then lying 
near him could possibly go to sleep. The pain increased and the whole 
of the right side of his face swelled so as to make him a horrifying 
spectacle ; and so much worse did he continue to get for some days, 

1 See p. 113. 


212 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

excreuit angustia, quod se mori mallet, quam aliquamdiu sic 
uiuere. Nempe inter frequentes punctionum aculeos, frequenter 
sancte Marie sanctique Willelmi nomen replicabat, eosque cur sibi 
seruo suo non subuenirent causabatur. Cumque diutius sic se 
habuisset, sedato tandem aliquantulum dolore, nocte succedente 
quieuit. Cui dormienti uisus est assistere beatus dei martyr 
Willelmus dicens : Ego ille sum Willelmus, quern multum dilexisti, 
quern patronum elegisti, et cuius opem inuocasti. Ecce assum et 
iam meum experieris aduentum. Quibus dictis, blande per faciem 
tumentem dexteram traxit medicabilem. Ad cuius continue 
tractum tumens adeo subsidit facies, ac si nunquam intumuisset. 
Hoc facto, uisio disparuit, atque eger per noctis reliquum solito 
quietior permansit. Vbi autem lux illuxit crastina, omnem faciei 
tumorem subsedisse cognouit. Verum quoniam oculi tumor qui 
magis molestus fuerat, licet dolore aliquantulum interim sedato, in 
suo tamen adhuc statu permanebat, animo propensiori sanctum 
exorauit Willelmum, quatinus dolori suo conferret remedium. Et 
fact HIM est subsequent! nocte, dum ille quiesceret, uenit ad eum 
sanctus iterum Willelmus propiusque accedens oculo male habenti 
crucis signum pollice impressit. Mira res, et admiratione plena. 
Signo enim facto, ac si subula pupugisset, confestim sub oculo 

that he preferred to die rather than go on living in this plight. Amid his 
frequent pangs and prickings he constantly repeated the names of the 
Virgin and St William, and complained of them for not coming to the 
aid of their servant. After remaining for some time in this state, 
the pain slightly abated, and the night after he slept. Then the 
blessed martyr of GOD William appeared to present himself, saying : 
" I am that William whom you have so much loved, and chosen for 
your patron, and whose aid you have invoked. Here I am, and you 
shall have proof of my coming." Thereupon he gently passed his 
healing right hand over the swollen face ; and at his touch the swelling 
subsided as if it had never been. Then the vision disappeared, and the 
sick man slept better for the rest of that night than usual. When the 
morrow dawned he saw that the swelling in his face was quite gone. 
Yet, since the swelling in the eye, which had troubled him most, still 
remained as it was, though rather less painful, he implored St William 
yet more fervently to relieve his pain. And on the next night, while 
he slept, St William came to him again, and drew near and made the 
sign of the cross with his thumb upon the affected eye. Wondrous 
\.-nt, yea, full of wonder! When the sign was made, the skin below 

v.] St William of Norwich. 213 

pellis crepuit, et sanies per faciem multa profluxit. Euigilans ille, 
formamque uisionis retractans, saniem extersit, cuius indicio se 
sanatum esse comperit. Quod autem hoc non uanitatis fuerit 
illusio, sed uere uisionis efficax demonstratio, et sanies diebus 
multis profluens manifestauit, et rei geste inditium in cicatrice 

xxi. De matre sancti Vuillelmi martiris qualiter per uisum 
infirmitas eius ac mors ah eo denuntiata fuerit 

111 XCVRSIS aliquot diebus in uilla Norwici uirgo filia Martini 
-I J piscatorii, que beatum martirem Willelmum mirabili diligebat 
et uenerabatur affectu, per uisum noctis dum quiesceret eundem 
sibi assistentem uidit et dicentem : Confortare, mini puella karis- 
sima, et in amore meo constanter perseuera. Volo ut me uirginem 
amans uirginitatis tue florem illibatum custodias, ut et mihi 
uirgini mundum uirginee deuotionis prestes obsequium. Que cum 
crastina illuxerit dies familiaria quedam que tibi nunc iniungo 
exequere mandata. Mea siquidem ex parte sacriste die Giulfo 
quatinus mihi crucem quanti sibi placuerit fieri faciat et ad pedes 

the eye burst as if it had been pricked with an awl, and a great deal 
of discharge ran over his face. He awoke, and remembering the 
manner of the vision, he wiped away the discharge, and by this 
indication discovered that he had been healed. And the continued 
flow for several days of the discharge, and the mark of the scar, 
remained to show that this was no vain illusion but an efficacious 
appearance of a true vision. 

xxi. Of the motJier of St William, and how in a dream Jier 
sickness and death were foretold by him. 

Some time after this, there was in the town of Norwich a maid, 
the daughter of Martin the Fisher, who loved and revered the blessed 
martyr William with surprising affection, and in a dream of the night 
saw him appear to her and say : " Be of good cheer, maiden most dear 
to me, and continue steadfast in my love. I will that as thou lovest me 
who am virgin, thou shouldest keep the flower of thy maidenhood intact, 
and yield to me the virgin the pure service of a virgin's devotion. 
Now when the morrow dawns I will that thou accomplish certain 
simple commands which now I give thee. Tell Giulfus the sacrist 
from me that he is to make me a cross of whatever size he pleases, 

214 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

sepulcri mei reponat. Per dies etenim multos latere sinistro iacui, 
uolens dominice crucis signum assidue pre oculis habere, quod et 
ipse meo portaui non nunquam in corpore. Hec autem ubi dixi 
affigatur, ut absque ullo flectende ceruicis labore illam intueri 
liceat. Quod si sacrista facere neglexerit, Thome cantori et matri 
mee dicito ut que iussa sunt ipsi saltern exequantur. Denique 
matri subiungas, ne scilicet moleste ferat, si quid illi aduersi 
contingat. Eoque libentius ac modestius toleret, quod per transi- 
toriam carnis penam ad perhennem transitura est regni celestis 
gloriam. His dictis, uisio nocturna disparuit. Mane facto, uirgo 
uisa retractat et super tarn uenerabili delectata uisione, quam 
citius potuit quibus iussum fuerat totum ex ordine negotium 
intimauit. Porro memoratus sacrista rem paruipendens neglexit, 
siue aliis intercurrentibus negotiis illud fortassis obliuioni per 
incuriam tradidit. Quamobrein necessario ego et predicta sancti 
martins mater super mandatis pariter conferentes rem agendam 
suscepimus et pariter susceptam peregimus. Quoniam uero 
interim intercurrit infortunium, paulisper negotium permansit 
dilatum. Diebus etenim illis sancti martins matrem egrotare 
contigit, atque ydropico in tantum laborare cepit morbo, ut iam 

and put it at the foot of my sepulchre. For I have lain for many days 
on my left side because I would have the Cross of the Lord always 
before mine eyes, which I bore myself once in my body. Let it be set 
where I have said, that I may be able to look upon it without the 
pain of turning my head. If the sacrist neglect to do this, then tell 
Thomas the Cantor and my mother, that they at least may carry out 
my bidding. And further say to my mother that she is not to take it 
ill if any mishap befall her, but bear it the more gladly and meekly for 
that she is to pass through the brief passion of the flesh to the glory 
of heaven's kingdom." Herewith the vision vanished. In the morning 
the maiden thought over what she had seen, and, rejoicing at the 
adorable vision, in all haste set forth in order the whole matter 
to those to whom she had been ordered to disclose it. Yet 
the sacrist thought little of the matter, and neglected it, either 
because other business intervened, or because he carelessly forgot 
it So I and the aforesaid mother of the martyr were constrained to 
take counsel about the injunction, took the matter in hand, and com- 
pleted it. But in consequence of an unfortunate occurrence, it stood 
Htill for a short time ; for in those days it came about that the mother 
of the holy martyr fell ill, and was so sorely afflicted with the dropsy 

v.] St William of Norwich. 215 

nee pedibus ire nee lecto surgere nisi alieno suffulta posset 
adminiculo. Cumque acrius inualuisset acerbitas, lecto iacens in 
hunc orauit modum : Sancte Willelme, fili karissime, miserere 
matris tue, et que tot dolores ante partum et in partu pro te 
sustinui, doloribus meis et ipse compatere. Qua oratione com- 
passus matris sue angustiis pius puer et martir, ea nocte illi 
per uisum apparuit dicens : Confortare, mater, et pacienter sustine 
penam quam tibi dominus preparauit ad coronam. Anime si- 
quidem tue siquid peccatricis adhesit rubiginis, ut excoquatur 
necesse est fornace aduersitatis. Examinetur ergo carnis argen- 
tum ut reponi mereatur superni regis in thesaurum. Noueris 
tamen quoniam hac que nunc imminet pentecostes septimana 
tua ad tempus releuabitur infirmitas, propriisqne usa gressibus 
ad me uenies. Cum autem ueneris, quam mandaui crucem tecum 
afferas. Presertim eonsummatis deinde aliquot diebus, tua ad 
tempus ad te reuertetur infirmitas. Que licet multo tibi acrius 
tune incumbat, earn tamen uirilis animus eo uirilius perferat, quia 
omnis peccatorum tuorum macula hac egritudinis exturgetur 
pena. Qua mundata, concessit mihi dominus ut ad me transeas, 
atque sine fine felicitatis mee particeps existas. Hec dicens 

that she was unable any longer to walk, or even to rise from her bed 
without being supported ; and as the disease increased upon her, she 
prayed thus as she lay in her bed: "O Saint William, my very dear son, 
have pity on thy mother, compassionate my pains, that before thy 
birth and in thy bearing have borne such pains for thee." The merciful 
boy and martyr did compassionate her strait thereupon, and in that night 
appeared to her, saying : " Be of good cheer, mother, and bear thy pain 
meekly, for the Lord hath prepared it for thee unto a crown. If there 
be aught of the dross of sin yet clinging to thy soul, it must be purged 
away in the furnace of adversity : therefore let the silver of thy flesh 
be refined, that it may be worthy to be laid up in the treasure-house 
of the King of Heaven. But know thou that in the Whitsun week 
now at hand thine infirmity shall be lightened for a time, and thou 
shalt come to my tomb on thine own feet. When thou comest, then, 
bring with thee the cross which I commanded. Presently thereafter, 
when some days have passed, thine infirmity shall come upon thee again 
for a time ; and although it press thee much more sharply, let thy brave 
spirit endure it the more bravely, inasmuch as every spot of sin is 
being wiped away by this pain of thine, and when it is purely purged, 
the Lord hath granted me that thou shouldest pass home unto me and 
be for ever a partaker in my joy." Thus he spake and departed ; and 

216 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

recessit. Mane facto, mulier quod audierat, quod uiderat, sibi 
assistentibus enarrat. Michi quoque illam egrotantem uisitanti, 
id ipsum intimare curauit. Quibus nequaquam fidem adhibere 
potui, nisi me primitus ea constaret intueri. Verum cum illam 
postea uiderim conualescere, ad sepulcrum filii ebdomada pretaxata 
sospitem uenire, crucem pro mandate afferre et recurrente pristina 
egritudine uitam terminare, post hec quid aliud credi decuit nisi 
quia uisio ilia fallax non fuit ? Cui tandem uelut predictum est 
uitam carnis terminanti, omne humanitatis exhibuimus obsequium, 
ac deuotionis causa quam erga filium habebamus, matrem in 
cimiterio nostro honorifice sepeliuimus. 

xxii. De quadam a dolore et tumore genuum graui et diuturno 


QVODAM post tempore Goda vxor cuiusdam Copmanni Norwi- 
censis, quern dicunt de fonte, ad sancti Willelmi uenit se- 
pulcrum, ut egritudini sue percipiat remedium. Per multos enim 
dies dolore renum laborauerat ac, demum descendente incommodo, 
genua quoque intolerabilis ille dolor inuasit, et breui ualde 
tumentia reddidit. lamque crebrescentibus puntionum aculeis 
genibusque tandem ad ollarum grossitudinem redactis, adeo 

in the morning the woman told those with her what she had seen 
and heard ; and she took care to tell me also, when I visited her. I 
could never have believed it, had I not seen all these things at 
first hand. But when subsequently I saw her get well and come 
quite whole to her son's tomb in the week indicated, and bring the 
cross in accordance with the injunction, and afterwards end her life 
under a second attack of the disease, what could my view be save that 
the vision was no lying one ? When finally she ended her earthly life, 
as was prophesied, we showed her every courtesy and service ; and for 
the devotion which we had to the son, we buried the mother with 
honour in our cemetery. 

xxii. Of a woman healed of pain and of a severe and long-standing 

swelling of tfte knees. 

Some time after, Goda, the wife of one Copman of Norwich, called 
of the Spring, came to the tomb of St William to receive relief of her 
sickness. For for a long time she had been oppressed with pains in the 
reins, and then the affection descended and attacked the knees with 
unbearable pain, and in a short time made them swell. The pangs now 
grew frequent, and the knees assumed the size and shape of pots, and 

v.] St William of Norwich. 217 

excreuerat molestia, ut pedum omnino deperirct incessus, et 
lumina quietis refugeret sompnus. Die ac nocte gemebat, clamabat, 
ct tarn acerbe se habebat, ut si illam cerneres, non uitali spiritu 
diu fruituram estimares. Accessit quoque ad mali cumulum oculi 
sinistri dolor uehementissimtis, adeo ut breui tumescens oculus 
oui superexcederet grossitudinem. Que ergo dc ipsius despera- 
batur salute, ad sanctum Willelmum quern precordiali semper 
dilexerat deuotione, deferri se fecit. Cumque iuxta sepulcrum 
illius adesset, diutissime orauit, candelam optulit, et quo annisu 
potuit, sepulcri lapidem nudis tetigit genibus palliurnque 1 quo 
sepulcrum operiebatur oculum male habentem summa extersit 
diligentia. Mira res. Operante cum fide mulieris mirifica uirtute 
martiris, ad lapidis continue tactum omnis euanuit dolor ac tumor 
genuum, palliique beneficio, pietas diuina male habenti subuenit 
oculo. Que igitur graui grauata ualitudine tristis aduenerat, 
celesti curata medicamine gaudens regreditur. 

xxiii. De altera ab aurium diuturna surditate curata. 

NEQVE multo post quedam Alditha Thoche cerarii olim uxor, 
quam ab egritudine diuturna meritis sancti Willelmi 
1 sic : I. pallioque. 

so severe was the attack that the power of walking disappeared, and 
the eyes were deprived of sleep. Night and day she groaned and cried, 
and was in such a plight that one would think to look at her that 
she had not long to live. To other evils were now added agonising 
pains in the left eye ; and it shortly swelled up to the size of an egg. 
In despair of recovery she had herself carried to St William, whom she 
had always devotedly loved. Arrived at his tomb, she prayed long 
and offered a candle, and, as best she could, touched the stone of the 
tomb with her bare knees, and with the cloth that covered it wiped the 
diseased eye most carefully. Wonderful to tell ! The miraculous 
power of the martyr worked together with the woman's faith, and 
immediately upon the touch of the stone all the pain and swelling of 
the knees disappeared, while by the healing of the cloth, the divine 
pity succoured the diseased eye. And so she who had come in sadness, 
labouring under severe illness, went back in joy cured by a divine 

xxiii. Of a second woman cured of a long-standing deafness. 
Not long after, Alditha, formerly wife of Thoche the chandler, of 
whom I told in the second book 1 how she was cured by the merits of 
1 Really in the third book. See p. 147. 

218 St William of Norwich. [BK. v. 

ci i rat an i in secundo 1 commemorauimus libello, fidei ductu ad 
memoratum sancti martins sepulcrum uenit, ac surdiciei sue 
remedium petiit. Ex raulto etenim ternpore obsurduerant aures 
adeoque inualuerat incommodum, ut nisi tuum illius auribus os 
applicares ab ipsa nequaquam audiri posses. Vnde et in publicum 
prodire uerebatur, et non nisi domesticorum utebatur alloquiis. 
Timebat enim ualde ne surdiciei sue obprobrium aliene quandoque 
noticie prodiret in risum. Cuius rei gratia ad Sancti Willelmi 
suffragia confugit, candelam optulit, effusoque lacrimarum fonte, 
ibidem aliquamdiu orauit. Denique flexis in oratione genibus et 
fidei tacta feruore aures utrasque quo sepulchrum tegebatur opple- 
uit pallio. Quid multa ? Temporis articulo lacrimarum deuotio 
celos pulsauit petentis fides diuine pietatis misericordiam extorsit, 
et auris surda auditum suscepit. 

Nunc quoniam admisso laxis habenis equo longius progressi 
sumus, fatigati cursu receptui canimus. Vtque fessi modice 
quietis refrigerio reparemur, labor interim intermittitur. 

Explicit liber quintus. 

St William of a long-standing illness, came, led by faith, to the sepulchre 
of the holy martyr, and implored relief from her deafness ; for during a 
long time her ears had been growing deaf, to such an extent that you. 
could only make yourself heard by putting your lips close to her ear. 
She was consequently afraid to go out, and only talked to her own 
family, fearing lest the reproach of her deafness should be detected by 
others, and bring derision upon her. So she had recourse to the inter- 
cession of St William, and offered a candle, and with a copious flow of 
tears prayed there for some time. Then, with knees bent in prayer, 
and stung by the fervour of faith, she stopped both her ears with 
the cloth that covered the tomb. What more 1 At once the devout 
tears smote the heavens, the faith of the suppliant extorted the mercy 
of GOD, and the deaf ear received hearing. 

Now, as I have gone some distance at full speed with loose rein, 
wearied with the course, I sound a retreat and stop my task for a time, 
to refresh my weariness with a short interval of rest. 



Incipiunt capitula libri sexti. 

i. Do quarta translatione sancti Martiris a latere magni 
altaris ad austrum ad latus aquilonale, ad altare scilicet 
quod dicebatur sanctorum raartirum. 
ii. De filia Reginald! de Warennia mire curata. 
iii. De quodam a uehementissimo pedis dolore sanato. 
iv. De quodam Ebrardo insano et sanato. 
v. De quodam altero mirabilis insanie uiro sanitati restitute, 
vi. De muliere insana similiter sanata. 
vii. De puero a morbo caduco liberate, 
viii. De ceca muliere illuminata. 
ix. De Philippo de Bella Arbore, atque de ferreo brachii eius 

circulo ad sepulchrum sancti Willelmi confracto. 
x. De quodam itidem altero a dextrali ferreo ibidem mire 
liberate. Eiusdem miraculi commendatio. 


i. Of the fourth translation of the holy martyr, from the south 

side of the high altar to the north side, namely to the altar 

formerly called of the Holy Martyrs, 
ii. Of the daughter of Reginald de Warenne, wonderfully 


iii. Of the cure of a man from a severe pain in the foot, 
iv. Of one Ebrard mad, cured, 
v. Of a second very mad man restored to health, 
vi Of a mad woman similarly cured, 
vii. Of a boy cured of epilepsy, 
viii. Of a blind woman enlightened, 
ix. Of Philip de Bella Arbore and the iron ring on his arm 

broken at St William's tomb, 
x. Of a second likewise freed wonderfully there from an iron 

on his arm. A discourse commending this miracle. 

220 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

xi. De quadam mirabili modo contracta et sanata. 
xii. De puero gibboso contracto et curato ac denuo contracto 

atque iterum ut prius sanato. 
xiii. De muliere miro modo inflata et curata. 
xiv. De altera itidem gutturnosa curata. 
xv. De homine per afflatum colubri turgido ac denigrato 

meritis sancti Willelmi sanato. 
xvi. De uirgine cuius mire curata est mamilla. 
xvii. De saluatis in mari, et de tempestate sedata. 
xviii. De duobus ferreis constrictis compedibus et a beato 

Willelmo noctu per uisum liberatis. 
xix. De niso Alberti Gresle mire curato. 

Incipit liber sextus. 

i. De translations sancti martins a latere magni altaris ad 
austrum ad latus aquilonale, ad altar -e scilicet quod dicebatur 
sanctorum martirum. 

VM mirifica sancti martyris Willelmi uirtus tot ac tantis 
crebresceret miraculis, solito amplius populorum frequentari 


Of a woman wonderfully bent and cured. 

Of a humpbacked boy cured, and again bent double and 

again cured as before. 

xiii. Of a woman wonderfully swollen that was cured. 
xiv. Of a second with a wen that was cured. 
xv. Of a man swelled and blackened by a viper's breath, cured 

by the merits of St William. 

xvi. Of a maid whose breast was wonderfully cured, 
xvii. Of certain saved at sea, and of a tempest stilled. 
xviii. Of two that were locked in iron fetters and freed at night 

by blessed William in a vision. 
xix. Of the falcon of Albert Gresley wonderfully cured. 


L Of the translation of the holy martyr from the south side of the 
hiyh altar to t/ie north side, namely to the altar formerly called 
of the Holy Martyrs. 

As the wonder-working power of the holy martyr William was so 
frequently manifested in so great miracles, he began to be waited upon 

vi.] St William of Nomvich. 221 

cepit turbis. Et quoniam tantis tamque frequentibus turbarum 
impressionibus locus quo sanctus iacebat martyr non respondebat, 
immo et sepe molesta erat angustia, suggerente Ricardo priore 
et conuentu exoptante, congruus ab episcopo decernitur locus, ubi 
et maiori ueneratione requiescat, et absque molestia plebs ad 
sepulcmm confluens accedat. Erat siquidem in ecclesia Norwicensi 
parte boreali sub latere magni altaris cancellus, sanctorum olim 
martirum uenerationi designatus. Hie itaque locus pre ceteris 
sancto martiri congruus deligitur, quia amplus, quia in diuersorio 
quieto positus, quia et martyrum nomini consecrandus. Erat uero 
annus ille incarnationis dominice MC. quinquagesimus quartus, in 
quo sub pasche die crastina nonas scilicet tune Aprilis ad exequen- 
dum tante translationis negotium accingitur pontifex Willelmus et 
cum pontifice sacer ille monachorum conuentus. Hac inquam die 
plurima populorum stipante caterua, sub memorato cancello sanctis 
martiribus dedicatur altare, eoque sollenniter dedicate, corpus 
memorati martiris illuc summa cum ueneratione transfertur. Ibi 
quippe requiescit sepultus corpore, sed cotidianis choruscans 
miraculis uiuit in gloria. Terram illustrat membris, celum possidet 

by unwontedly large crowds ; and, since the place where he lay was 
not adapted to this enormous throng and pressure, and the incon- 
venience was often very great, it was suggested by Prior Richard and 
begged by the convent and decreed by the Bishop, that a fit place be 
found for the martyr where he might rest in greater honour, and the 
people might approach his tomb without risk. 

There was in the Church of Norwich on the north side, under the 
side of the high altar a chapel formerly set apart for the worship of 
the Holy Martyrs. This spot then was selected before the rest as a 
fitting spot for the holy martyr, as being large, as situated in a quiet 
place outside the procession-path, and as being consecrated to the name 
of the Martyrs. 

It was in the year of the Lord's incarnation 1154, when on Easter 
Monday, to wit the Nones of April (Apr. 5), Bishop William girded 
himself to the accomplishment of this great work of the translation, 
and with him the holy convent of monks. On this day, I say, ac- 
companied by a great throng of people, in the aforesaid chapel an altar 
was dedicated to the Holy Martyrs, and after the solemn dedication 
thereof, the body of the foresaid martyr was translated thither with 
all reverence. There he now rests buried in the body, but lives in glory, 
and resplendent with daily miracles. He dignifies the earth with his 

222 St William of Nmwich. [BK. 

mentis. Vbi acceptissimus deo martyr crebris usque in hodiernum 
diem prefulget miraculis quanteque sit apud deum uirtutis ac 
meriti euidentibus patescit signis. Ibi quippe cecis uisum, claudis 
gressum, inutis loquelani et insanis sepe uidimus sensum restitui, 
morbidos preterea quam plurimos curatos, ac nonnullos ferro 
constrictos conspeximus absolui. Dumque ibi non deficiant, immo 
et solito maiora crebrescant miracula, constat profecto quod precipua 
sint et preciosa in celis ipsius merita. 

ii. De filia Reginaldi de Warennia mire curata. 

PAVCIS post pretaxatam translationem diebus exactis, paruula 
filia Reginaldi de Gwarennia que aliquandiu iam egrotauerat, 
inualescente tandem morbo ad mortem usque peruenit. De cuius 
nimirum salute desperabant uniuersi, quoniam sub ipso mortis 
confinio, quasi minimo uita eius dependebat filo. Nempe supremo 
filie discrimini eo amplius parentes condolebant, quo illam pre 
ceteris unice semper dilexerant. Denique ex consulto matris 
Norwicum defertur beati Willelmi curanda meritis. Quo ubi 
peruenit, et sepulcrum cum oblatione attigit, continue per gloriosi 

limbs but possesses heaven by his merits : and here, accepted of GOD, 
he is distinguished up to this day by frequent miracles, and it is 
manifest by evident signs how great virtue and merit he possesses in 
GOD'S sight. Often have I seen sight restored to the blind, the power 
of walking to the lame, and speech to the dumb, and sense to the 
mad ; many sick moreover healed, and some that were in irons freed. 
And whereas the miracles fail not, but rather multiply beyond their 
wont, it is clear that his merits are especial and precious in the 

iL Of the wonderful cure of the daughter of Reginald de Warenne. 

A few days after the translation just described, the little daughter 
of Reginald de Warenne 1 , ill for some time, came to death's door ; all 
despaired of her recovery ; she was on death's very verge, and hung to 
life but by a thread. Her parents were the more sharply grieved at 
their child's peril, inasmuch as they had always loved her beyond the 
rest of their children. By the advice of the mother she was at last 
brought to Norwich to be healed by the merits of St William. They 
arrived, and as she touched the tomb and made an offering, the pity of 
1 He WM a younger son of William, second Earl Warenne, Lord of Wormegay 
in Norfolk. He and his wife Alice were benefactors to the nunnery of Carrow near 
Norwich when King Stephen founded it, in 1146 : his daughter Muriel was a nun 
there. He died in 1185. See FOBS, Judge*, sub nom., Blomefield, vii. 446, Eyton, 
Itinerary of Henry II., tub nom. 

VI.] St William of Norwich. 223 

martiris sui suffragia, illi pietas subuenit diuina. Eadem ctcnim 
horn conualuit, et que moribunda aduenerat, sospes cum suis 

iii. De quodam a uehementissimo pedis dolore sanato. 

ERAT Norwici tune temporis quidam, Godricus nomine, trape- 
zeta officio, qui per multos adeo dies uno egrotauerat pede, 
ut uix ire, uix illo terram posset uel contingere. Cumque iam 
multum multo cum dolore exegisset tempus, tandem instinctu 
suorum ut potuit, baculi beneficio ad sancti Willelmi sepulcrum 
peruenit. Oblatoque ibi pede cereo quern ante factum secum 
attulerat, se in oratione ac uoto totum sancto martiri commendat. 
Verum post modicum consurgens, iam mitigatum ualde pedis 
dolorem sentit, domumque cum gaudio repe[n]dans, ex toto breui 

iv. De quodam Ebrardo insano sanato. 

QVADAM itidem die quidam Ebrardus quern Norwicenses 
piscatorium dicunt, immundo uexatus spiritu, manibus post 
tergum ligatis, pedibusque compede constrictum ferrea, ad sepul- 

GOD at once succoured her by the prayers of His glorious martyr: 
for she recovered the same hour, and after coming in a dying state, 
returned whole with her friends. 

iii. Of one who was healed of excruciating pains in t/ie foot. 

There was then at Norwich one called Godric, a money-changer by 
trade, who had long suffered in one of his feet so that he could scarcely 
walk or even put it to the ground. He endured this for some time, 
and at last was induced to come as best he could by the help 
of a staff to St William's tomb. There he offered a wax foot which 
he had had made and brought with him, and commended himself 
wholly to the holy martyr with prayers and vows. Rising after a little, 
and feeling the pain of his foot already much abated, he went home with 
joy, and in a short time recovered entirely. 

iv. Of one Ebrard, mad, who was cured. 

Again, on a certain day, one Ebrard, called Fisher by those of 
Norwich, vexed by an unclean spirit, was brought by a number of men 
to the holy martyr's tomb with his hands tied behind him and his feet 

224 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

chrum sancti martins multorum manibus adducitur. Vbi post 
paululum nexibus forte dissolutis manualibus, quos contingere 
poterat, ungulis ac dentibus crudeliter laniabat. Sed confluentibus 
plurimis resumitur, arctius coarctatur, et iuxta sepulcrum licet 
inultum renitens reponitur. Dumque ibidem pernoctaret, nee ad 
modicum lingua eius garulizando cessauit, sed ettanquam multitu- 
dinis tumul[a]tus adesset, ita personuit. Tumultuans uero lingua 
non nisi ineptias personabat et blasphemias. Sub diluculo tandem 
paululum quieuit, ac diuina miserante gratia, per sancti Willelmi 
ut credimus suffragia, qui multas noctes insompnes transegerat et 
dies, salubriter dormire cepit. Intersertis uero pauculis uigiliis, 
iterum atque iterum sompno se conferebat, donee quietis beneficio 
nature corrupte subueniretur et cerebro. Postmodum ualde esuriens, 
allato sibi cibo et potu comedit et bibit, et cum gaudio circa horam 
nonam sanus abscessit. 

v. De altero mirabilis insanie uiro sanitati restitute. 

~\ TIDIMVS quoque et alio tempore alterum insani capitis miro 

V modo ante sepulcrum beati martyris furibundum quendam 

Robertum nomine, de parrochia saucti Michaelis de Chunigesfort 

locked in an iron bilboe. His hand-bands accidentally gave way, and 
he then savagely tore with teeth and nails all whom he could touch. 
A crowd running up, he was secured again, and bound more tightly 
and laid by the tomb in spite of his violent struggles. While spending 
the night there his tongue never kept still for a moment, but he went 
on as if a large crowd of people were present ; and in this tumult of 
speech he uttered nothing but nonsense or blasphemies. At last, near 
dawn, he was quiet for a little; and by the mercy of GOD'S grace, 
through the intercession, as we believe, of St William, he who had 
passed many sleepless days and nights began to slumber wholesomely. 
With a few intervals of wakefulness, he slept again and again, till 
his diseased constitution and brain derived benefit from the rest. 
After this he was very hungry, and when food was brought to him, ate 
:iiul drank, and joyfully went away whole about the ninth hour. 

v. Of a second wonderfully mad man who was restored to Jiealth. 

At another time also we saw a second man out of his mind who 
was raging fearfully before the tomb of the blessed martyr : his name 
was Kobert, of the parish of St Michael Conisford 1 at Norwich. He 

1 The church was polled down in the fourteenth century. 

vi. ] ' St William of Norwich. 225 

Norwici. Iste siquidem insanie morbo incertis solitus erat uexari 
terminis atque ob earn causam ad sanctum Willelmum cum matre 
tune uenerat percipiende scilicet gratia sanitatis. Sed cum 
uenisset ad ecclesiam, subito arreptus uexari cepit. Quern mater 
flens multis delinitum blandiciis introrsus traxit, et coram martins 
sepulchre exhibuit. Vbi uero paululum iuxta matrem orantem 
quiete constitisset, assistente et intuente plurima sexus utriusque 
turba, confestim toto tremebundus corpore quasi dissoluitur, et 
inestimabili modo torquetur. Ignei scintillant oculi, horrendi 
personant soni. Sonos multiplices os unum intonat, hominem 
oblitus conuulsis pannis corpus denudat. Pudenda parent nee 
pudet, sui impos potenti uirtute plurima exercet. Terrore assistens 
turba corripitur, stupent uniuersi, nonnulli lacrimantur, pro salute 
pacientis exorant plurimi. Quid multa? Sancti tandem martiris 
ut credimus meritis interuenientibus, diuina miseratio respicit 
hominem et explosa debachantis spiritus insania, prestat in posterum 
sanitatem. Implentur populi stupore miraculi, diuinam que 
uirtutem in sancto suo Willelmo mirabilem predicantes, cum gaudio 
singuli redierunt ad propria. 

was subject to attacks of madness at uncertain intervals, and had in 
consequence come with his mother to St William, in the hope of being 
cured. On arriving at the church he began at once to be violent His 
mother with tears contrived to coax him into the building and pre- 
sented him before the martyr's tomb. But when he had sat quietly for a 
short time beside his mother, who was praying in the presence of a large 
crowd of spectators of both sexes, he suddenly began to tremble all over 
as if he were breaking down altogether; and he suffered indescribably. 
His eyes flashed fire ; he emitted frightful noises. The same mouth 
gave utterance to every kind of sound : forgetting his humanity he 
tore off his clothes and stripped himself naked; unable to control 
himself, he exercised enormous strength. The crowd of onlookers were 
panic-stricken ; all were astonished, some wept, others prayed for the 
patient's recovery. What more ? By the intervention, as we believe, 
of the prayers of the holy martyr, God's pity looked upon the man, 
drove out the madness of his raving spirit, and gave him sanity for the 
future. The people were filled with amazement at the miracle, and 
proclaimed the Divine power to be wonderful in his saint William, 
and returned to their homes in joy. 

* W. N. 15 


St William of Nonvich. [BK. 

vi. De muliere insana sanata. 

ALJO quoque tempore mulier quedain de Belhahe Sieldeware 
nomine maligno turbata spiritu, Norwicum a suis sancti 
Willelmi curanda meritis adducitur. Que cum ad ecclesie perue- 
nisset introitum, ibi ducibus restitit suis atque a fortissimis 
quatuor uiris uix introrsum pertrahi potuit. Ilia uero admirabili 
conualescens uirtute tenentium elabi manibus temptabat, et clara 
uoce personans dicebat: Quid mihi uultis ? Quo me trahitis? 
Illuc illuc nullatenus ibo. Turn illi collatis uiribus earn uiolentius 
arripiunt peploque capiti sublato, brachia et zona, pedes constrin- 
gunt Constricta, igitur ad sepulcrum sancti martiris clamans et 
eiulans defertur, ac prope illud monachi custodis assensu depo- 
nitur. Ab ea statim hora mitius se habuit, clamoresque ineptos 
repressit. Timebat etenim hostis ut credo malignus suis ilium 
clamoribus inquietare et inquietatum nimis offendere, cuius 
uicinie sibi formidabilis presentiam sentiebat adesse. Cum ergo 
inibi satis pacifice se haberet, qui insanam adduxerant, iam sanam 
crediderunt. Amouetur hac de causa eminus, in secessus diuer- 
sorio, eoque securius quo iam sana creditur, eoque iustius, quo 

vi Of a mad woman healed. 

At another time, a woman of Belaugh 1 , by name Sieldeware, vexed 
by a wicked spirit, was brought by her friends to Norwich to be cured 
by the merits of St "William : on arriving at the door of the church, 
she made a stand and could hardly be dragged inside by four strong 
men. With surprising efforts she strove to escape their hands, and 
kept crying loudly, "What would ye with me? Whither are ye 
dragging me? I won't, I won't go there!" Gathering their strength 
they seized her violently, and tearing off her head-kerchief bound her 
arms with that, and her feet with a girdle : thus bound, she was 
carried crying and screaming to the holy martyr's tomb and laid down 
near it, with the sanction of the monk who was guarding it. From 
that hour she behaved more calmly, and refrained from her foolish 
cries. For, as I think, the wicked enemy was afraid of disturbing 
the saint with his cries, and of offending him by so disturbing him, 
since he felt the presence of a power which he feared. Since then, 
she was behaving herself quietly enough there, those who had brought 
the mad woman thought that she was already sane : she was conse- 
quently taken away to a retired place with the more confidence as 
ahe was thought to be now sane, and with the more reason, that the 
1 A village on the Bare, eight miles north of Norwich. 

vi.] St William of Norwich. 227 

plebs ad sepulcrum cum oblationibus confluens eius presentia non 
impediatur. Amotam uero sed adhuc tamen modo quo predixi 
constrictam, malignus itidem ut prius inuasit, et uexauit spiritus. 
Ex quo patenter conici datur, quoniam beatum martirem ualde 
timebat, in cuius presentia earn uexare ausus non fuerat, quam et 
modo absentem presens ipse torquebat. Porro mulier humi iacens, 
nunc talis tellurem couculcabat nunc dentibus uincula quibus 
artabatur discerpere conatur. Turn detestabiles ruminat ineptias, 
turn uocibus horrendis complet ecclesiam. Tarn miserabili spec- 
taculo multa hominum confluxerat multitudo. Ego quoque forte 
interfui, qui misere compassus, iterum prope sepulcrum illam 
reponi precepi. Quo facto, confestim ac si nichil antea mali per- 
tulisset, quieuit, nullumque in ea insanie signum apparuit. Pre- 
sertim post paululum sompno capta, que multis antea diebus non 
dormierat, non cibum sumpserat, dormire cepit, atque duobus 
semis diebus et una nocte continue quieuit sompno. Tercia 
demum expergefacta die, cibo allato et potu fatiscentem recreauit 
spiritum. Reddita itaque sanitati pristine mulier, celeste reme- 
dium percepit, quo corpus salubritate et anima fide conualuit. 

people who assembled at the tomb with their offerings might not be 
hindered by her presence. But, when removed from the tomb, while she 
was still bound as I have described, the evil one came upon her as before 
and troubled her. So that we may plainly conjecture that he was much 
afraid of the blessed martyr, in whose presence he had not dared to 
trouble his victim, though when she was removed he came and tor- 
mented her. The woman, however, lay on the ground, sometimes 
drumming with her heels, sometimes trying to tear with her teeth 
the bands which confined her, muttering senseless and horrid words 
and filling the church with dreadful cries. A large crowd had 
already assembled to see the pitiful sight : I too happened to be there 
and in pity for her bade that she should again be laid by the tomb. 
At once she became quiet, as if nothing had ailed her, and shewed no 
sign of madness. In a little while sleep came upon her, and she who 
for many days had neither slept nor eaten, now slept for two days 
and a half, and one night continuously ; and waking on the third day, 
when food and drink were brought to her, refreshed her exhausted 
spirit; and so, being restored to her former sanity, obtained the 
heavenly remedy, whereby her body grew strong in health and her 
soul in faith. 


228 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

vii. De puero a caduco morbo liberato. 

MILES quidam de Haghele Ranulfus nomine filium habebat, 
qui caduco morbo per multos annos laborauerat. Hie ad 
sanctum Willelmum a suis quandoque adductus, orationem fudit, 
oblationem optulit et, uelut postea matris nuntio didicimus, morbi 
illius molestiam ulterius non sensit. Venit et alius quidam de 
Luthingelanl cuius nomen animo excidit, cum uille sue presbitero, 
qui scilicet rusticus similiter caduco laborabat morbo. Adeoque 
infestabatur incommodo, ut nulla omnino dies transiret, qua morbi 
illius molestiam non sustineret. Verum cum ad uenerabile beati 
martyris uenisset sepulchrum, aliquamdiu in oratione perstitit, 
candelam optulit, et quod pie postulauit, fideliter optinere meruit. 
Diuina enim meritis sancti Willelmi propitiante gratia, non 
ulterius egritudinis sensit solite inquietudinem : atque eius rei 
postmodum turn ab ipso turn ab aliis, sic se habere cognouimus 

viii. De ceca illuminata. 

UB ipso tempore in Lunna in parrochia sancti Edmundi, 
mulier quedam erat Gilliua nomine Burcardi carpentarii 

S 1 

viL Of a boy cured of epilej)sy. 

A certain knight of Haughley 1 named Ranulph had a boy who 
for many years had suffered from epilepsy. He was brought by his 
friends to St William, prayed, offered, and, as we afterwards learned 
from his mother, felt no further harm from the disease. 

Another, too, whose name I have forgotten, came from Lothing- 
land 2 , with his parish priest ; he was a peasant likewise afflicted with 
epilepsy, and to such a degree that hardly a day passed in which he 
did not experience an attack. But on coming to the adorable tomb 
of the blessed martyr, and praying for some time and offering a candle, 
he was accounted worthy to obtain faithfully what he asked in piety. 
For God's grace consented to the merits of St William, and he felt 
no further disturbance of his wonted sickness. We subsequently 
ascertained the truth of these facts from him and from others. 

viii Of a blind woman who received sight. 

Near the same time, at Lynn in the parish of St Edmund 3 , there 
WM a woman called Gilliva, daughter of Burcard a carpenter. She 

1 A village in Suffolk near Stowmarket. 2 A hundred in Suffolk. 

The pariah of St Edmund, North Lynn, is now united with that of St Margaret 
and St Nicholas. The church has disappeared. 

vi.] St William of Norwich. 229 

filia. Hec die quadam casu uisum perdidit, eiusque oculos per 
triennium cecitas dampnauit. Ad cumulum uero infortunii tantus 
palpebris incessit dolor, oppressit angustia, ut toto illo triennio 
cilia semper clausa, et quasi uisco conglutinata haberet, neque ilia 
quandoque aperire posset. Excurso tandem triennio, ad beati 
martiris Willelmi refugium tanquam ad unicum et singulare re- 
medium confugere disposuit, eoque fiducialius quo et alios simili 
cecitate dampnatos, fama promulgante ad sepulchrum eius curatos 
didicit. luuenis nepos illius tradito funiculo preuius ducatum 
prebuit, cuius ilia ducis beneficio Norwicum tandem ad sanctum 
Willelmum peruenit. Astans uero coram altari, orare cepit, modi- 
caque orationis executa partiuncula, reliquum subita doloris 
uehementia intercipitur. Turbatur siquidem caput, oculus uterque 
uapore quodam igneo corripitur, unguibus frons et gene uelluntur. 
Deseuiente angustia, humi misera deuoluitur et quasi furiis 
agitetur per pauimentum uolutans, immensis et horrendis clamo- 
ribus totam repleuit et turbauit ecclesiam. Verum inter dolorum 
aculeos uoce uociferans clara, talia interdum interserebat : Alme 
puer et martir Willelme, miserere mihi misere, qui et aliis frequen- 
tissime misereris. Concurrit ad spectaculum multitude popularis, 
que die ilia ad ecclesiam turmatim processerat. Visa illius doloris 

lost her sight by an accident and suffered blindness for three years. 
To crown her misfortune, such pains and anguish attacked her in 
the eyelids that for the whole of that time her lashes were always 
closed, and as it were glued together, and she was never able to 
open them. At the end of three years she determined to fly for 
succour to the blessed martyr William, as to her one and only refuge ; 
and this with the more confidence as report had told her that others 
similarly afflicted had been cured at his tomb. Her young nephew 
put a clew of thread in her hand and went before to guide her, and 
in this way she reached Norwich and St William. Standing before 
the altar she began to pray, and had finished but a little of her prayer 
when she was interrupted by a sudden and instant attack of pain. 
Her head reeled, her eyes were smitten with a fiery vapour ; she 
tore her brow and cheeks with her nails, and falling on the ground 
in agony rolled on the pavement like a mad thing, filling the church 
with loud and terrifying shrieks. Yet amidst her pain she called 
aloud with such ejaculations as these : " O gentle boy and martyr 
William, pity me ! many are those on whom thou hast mercy ! " A 
large throng rapidly assembled, who had that day come to the church 


St William of Norwich. [BK. 

uehementia, uniuersi compatiuntur, ac pietatis commoti uisceribus, 
preces pariter fuderunt et lacrimas. Erat in tarn miserabili spec- 
taculo, sexus disparis par fletus, uotum et eiulatus. Quis enim 
adeo lapideus talia cerneret, et non corapunctus lumina fletibus 
contineret? Post tantos denique labores et cruciatus, diuine 
miserationis intuitu interuenientibus beati martiris ut reuera 
credimus meritis, paulatim cepit mitescere dolor. Turn ilia 
celestis remedii sentiens aduentum, e terra surgens erectis ad 
celum manibus cilia que antea obclusa habuerat nee pre dolore uel 
ad modicum aperire poterat, tune aperuit, statimque sanguinis 
quasi radius ab utroque oculo eminus prorumpens effluxit. Nee 
mora, quasi quadam noui luminis renascente aurora, diuturne 
cecitatis nox ilia depellitur. Videns ilia quam diu non uiderat, et 
diu desiderauerat lucem, letatur et ait : Nunc tibi, deus altissime 
uniuersorum conditor et reformator, tibi quoque sanctissime dei 
martir Willelme, debitas laudes et gratias persoluo quoniam et post 
tantos dolores quietem et, post triennii coutinuam cecitatem, 
uisum recipio. His dictis sanguinem ab oculis extergens et gres- 
sum mouens, sepulcro sancti martiris propius accessit, orauit, 
allatain sibi candelam optulit, et ad populum se conuertens, se 

in procession. All compassionated her sharp agony; and, moved 
with pity, poured forth prayers and tears. Both sexes wept, prayed, 
and cried alike at the pitiful sight. For whose heart could have been 
so stony as to behold this and refrain from shedding tears ? At length 
after this long torture, at the look of the divine mercy, by the in- 
tervention, as we truly believe, of the blessed martyr's merits, the 
pain began slowly to abate. Then the woman, feeling that the 
heavenly medicine was on its way, rose, and lifting her hands to 
heaven, opened those lids which had been before closed, and could 
not be opened even for a moment, for the pain they gave her. At 
once a ray, as I may call it, of blood shot from either eye, and there- 
with the long night of blindness melted away as if at the dawn of 
a new light. She that had for long not seen, and had desired the 
light, now saw ; and with joy she said, " Now unto Thee, O God most 
high, creator and amender of all things, and to thee also, William, 
most holy martyr of God, I pay the thanks and praises I owe, for 
that I now receive again rest after so great pain, and sight after 
three years' blindness." With these words she wiped the blood from 
her eyes and drew near to the tomb of the holy martyr. She prayed, 
and offered a candle that she had brought with her, and, turning 

vi.] St William of Norwich. 231 

uisum recepisse predicauit. Admiratur assistens populus, luctus 
mutatur in gaudium, parique uniuersorum clamore ad laudem del 
gloriosa et manifesta beatissimi martiris Willelmi uirtus extol- 

ix. De Phillippo de Bella Arbor e et de ferreo brachii eius 
circulo confracto. 

RESCEB AT cotidie admiratio, et fama sancti martiris. Con- 
fluebant ad eum ex longinquis etiam regionibus plurimi, 
absoluebantur uincti, curabantur infirmi, et qui tristes aduenerant, 
regrediuntur leti. Christus nimirum gratiam quam sancto suo 
contulerat inditiis mirabilibus dilatabat. Dumque magnis maiora, 
et miraculis succedunt miracula, non immerito beato martin cuius 
hec fiunt mentis, laus crescit, et fame diffusioris gloria. Que 
uniuersa prout gesta sunt si commemorem, parabit prolixitas con- 
gesta fastidium. Ea propter pie lectoris deuotioni stilo simplici 
perstringimus, que relatu digniora uel famosissima iudicamus, 
quibus nee percurrentis uulneretur animus, nee deuotionis tepescat 
affectus. Igitur opere precium reor affectuosam legentium in- 

to the people, proclaimed that she had received her sight. The by- 
standers marvelled ; their sorrow was turned to joy, and all united 
their voices in extolling the glorious and evident power of the most 
blessed martyr William, to the praise of God. 

ix. Of Philip de Bella Arbore and the breaking of tJie iron ring on 

his arm. 

Every day the fame and wonder of the holy martyr continued 
to grow, and many came thronging to him, even from remote districts : 
the bound were loosed, the sick healed, and those who had come 
in sorrow went away in joy. Christ was indeed increasing by wonder- 
ful signs the grace He had conferred on His holy one : and as greater 
wonders succeeded those already great, and marvel followed upon 
marvel, it was only reasonable that the praise of the blessed martyr 
should grow and his fame be spread abroad. Were I to relate every- 
thing as it happened my book would be so long as to engender disgust. 
So I merely sketch out in simple language for the pious reader such 
things as I judge best worth the telling or most widely known, 
such, too, as will neither injure the soul of him who peruses them 
nor cause devotion to wax cool. I think it, then, worth while to 

232 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

uitare, inuitatam accendere, accensam amplificare deuotionem, 
ilium reuera admirabilem Philippi de Bella Arbore propalando 
euentura. Is de regione Lotharia oriundus erat, nobilis genere, 
miles professione, mundane potestatis preminens honore. Terram 
amplam, et castella plurima paterne hereditatis iure optinebat, 
sed frater quern aduersarium habebat ac rebellem, turn fraude turn 
rapine uiolentia, debitam sibi possessionem maxima ex portione 
imminuerat. Vnde contigit, ut fraterne dilectionis affectum a 
germanis mentibus subintrans et paulatim pullulans excluderet 
odium. lamque in tantum succreuerat odii malitia, ut alter non 
nisi alterius sitiret cruorem, non nisi in alterius nece suam consis- 
tere speraret salutem. Dumque cuiusque salus et periculum 
fortune uersaretur alea, forte contigit ut Philippus, dum die 
quadam cum militibus suis itineraret, ex insperato rebellem ger- 
manum cum paucis obuium haberet. Quo casu perterritus ille, 
uereis frenis, omnem in celeritate fuge spem salutis posuit. 
Fugiens uero ad propinquam diuertit ecclesiam quam sub religionis 
habitu deo famulantes inhabitabant canon ici. Hanc igitur quasi 
singulare salutis sue asylum cum suis tremebundus ingreditur, 
fores seris obserantur. Nee mora, cursu concito persequens Phi- 

attract the loving devotion of the reader, to kindle it when attracted, 
to fan it when kindled, by setting forth the truly marvellous case 
of Philip de Bella Arbore. He was a native of Lorraine, noble by 
birth, a soldier by calling, distinguished in worldly rank. He 
was entitled to a large territory and many castles by the law of 
inheritance; but a brother who was his enemy and rebelled against 
him had, partly by fraud, and partly by violence and rapine, diminished 
his rightful possessions by a large portion. In consequence, hatred 
crept into the brothers' minds, and slowly germinating drove out 
thence brotherly affection; and it grew to such a pitch that what 
each most thirsted after was the other's blood, and his only hope of 
safety lay in the other's death. And, as the peril and safety of 
each was tossed in fortune's game, it happened one day that Philip 
when journeying with his retinue unexpectedly fell in with his brother 
who was almost alone. The latter in panic turned his horse's head 
and pinned his hopes on swift flight. On his course he came to a 
church hard by, occupied by canons who lived and served God there 
a religious; trembling with fear he entered it with his men, as his 
only refuge, and the doors were locked. Philip in hot pursuit shortly 

vi.] St William of Norwich. 233 

lippus aduenit, preclusas fores offendit, hostemque furens sibi 
reddi requisiuit. Cumque precibus ac minis diutius persisteret, 
et se incassum labore sentiret, ignem postremo furibundus admo- 
uet, ut uel ignis horror extorqueat, quod minarum terror non 
ualebat. Igitur admoto igne, et incumbente fortius uento, ecclesia, 
pro nefas! cum officinis incolis imrno et que inerant uniuersis con- 
crematur, locusque in planitiem nudam redigitur. Paruipendit 
uictor patratum facinus, quoniam hoste scilicet consumpto nimia 
pre leticia uictoris extollitur animus. Porro res tarn crudeliter 
gesta diu latere non potuit, quia et sub ipso actionis articulo, fama 
quod gestum est, iam circumquaque diuulgauit, ac demum ar- 
chiepiscopo Treuerensi, de cuius diocesi idem Philippus erat, res 
ipsa innotuit. A quo ille semel secundo ac tercio euocatus, super 
tanto scelere conuenitur. Sed ut heri et nudiustercius insolens 
repertus et contumax, prout christiane religionis decernit rigor, 
excommunicationis tandem sententia plectitur, terraque eius 
uniuersa, ut mos habet ecclesiasticus, anathematis uinculo innoda- 
tur. Verum ille iuuenili feruore feruens effrenis et effrunitus 
uniuersa nichili pendit, deum et homines non reueretur, furiisque 
inuectus, in malitie proposito quod ceperat biennio irreuocabilis 

came up, found the doors shut, and furiously demanded that his foe 
should be given up to him. Threats and prayers were found alike 
unavailing ; so at last in his rage he set fire to the place in order 
that the fear of that might extort what his threatenings could not. 
The fire was kindled, there was a strong wind blowing, and, horrible 
to relate, the church, the adjoining buildings, the inmates, nay, 
everything in them was consumed, and the site reduced to a waste. 
Little cared the victor for his crime; he merely exulted over the 
destruction of his enemy. A deed so atrocious could not, however, 
long remained concealed ; indeed, at the time of its commission the 
report of it was spread everywhere, and came to the ears of the 
Archbishop of Treves, to whose diocese Philip belonged. Summoned 
by this prelate to answer for the offence once, twice, and thrice, 
he remained from first to last insolent and contumacious, and was 
finally visited, as the strict law of Christianity enjoins, with the 
sentence of excommunication, and all his lands laid under the ban 
of the Church, as its law directs. Yet, in the heat of youth, un- 
curbed and unrestrained, he made light of all, feared neither God 
nor man, and like a madman persevered for a space of two years 

234 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

perseuerat. Interea crebris interdum suorum monitis defatigatus 
et tandem pereuasus, redit ad cor seuissimus iuris preuaricator. 
Et quoniam dira rectum non conspidt ira, ira cecus patrati faci- 
noris uehementiam quam necdum diiudicauerat, ad se postmodum 
reuersus uehemeuter exhorrescens deplorat. Quandoque igitur 
humiliatus, ac toto corde consternatus, archipresulis pedibus lugens 
prouoluitur,. ueniam petit promeretur. Ipsum itaque cum sociis 
malefactoribus ad papam tune temporis Eugenium archiepiscopus 
dirigit, criminis modum litteris inserit eosdemque papa cum 
penitentie rescripto ad mittentem remittit. Quid multa ? Lorica 
Philippus nudam ad carnem uestitur, gladio proprio circumcingi- 
tur, ferro brachia circulantur. Exilium preterea et peregrinatio 
decennis indicitur, loci sacri reparatio fieri iubetur. Quique 
nefandi consodales pariter extiterant facti, et in pena non dispari 
compares sunt effecti. lam itaque ferro pariter dampnati, pariter 
exeunt de terra, et de cognatione sua, tempore prefinito peregri- 
nantes in aliena. Emensis denique plurimis per septennium 
regionibus diuine miserationis intuitu, Philippus ille apud Jeru- 
salem coram dominico sepulcro diruptis ac dissolutis lorice sue 

in the evil course he had begun. During all this time, wearied 
by the frequent warnings of his men, and at last persuaded, 
the ferocious lawbreaker returned to his senses. And since "blind 
wrath sees no path" as long as he was blinded with his wrath he 
had never appreciated the gravity of his crime; but on returning 
to himself he lamented it with horror. Humbled at length and 
prostrate with terror, he flung himself at the feet of the archbishop, 
begged forgiveness and obtained it. The archbishop sent him and 
his companions in crime to the then pope, Eugenius(c. 1145 53), with 
a letter setting forth the manner of the crime; and the pope sent 
them back whence they came with a decree of penance. To be 
short, Philip was clothed in a shirt of mail on his bare flesh, girt 
with his own sword, his arms ringed with iron, and a ten years' 
sentence of exile and wandering, as well as the reparation of the holy 
place he had destroyed, enjoined upon him. Those who had shared 
in the awful deed shared also in the punishment. Condemned to a like 
wearing of irons, they all went forth from their lands and their kindred 
and wandered abroad for the period prescribed. After traversing 
many lands in a period of seven years God's mercy looked upon Philip, 
nd at Jerusalem before the sepulchre of the Lord the mail of his 

vi.] St William of Norwich. 235 

maculis, mulcte sue maxima liberatus est portione. In Hibcrnia 
quoque apud sanctum Brendanum, diuine uirtutis gratia, quo cir- 
cumcingebatur interruptus est gladius. In Anglia uero apud 
Norwicum, ad beatissimi martiris Willelmi sepulcrum ferreus 
brachii dextri confractus est circulus. Dum enim post diuturnam 
peregrinationem plurimas Anglie penetrando regiones, uenerando 
sanctorum loca requireret atque suffragia, diuina ut credimus 
ilium trahente gratia, Norwicum ad iam famosissimum egregii 
martiris Willelmi sepulchrum aduenit. Vbi dum pie deuotionis 
preces effunderet, subito in oculis nostris dextri brachii crepuit 
ferrum, cuius sonitus aures reddidit attonitas assistentium. In 
qua reuera operatione martiris, diuine nobis patenter claruit 
uirtus pietatis. Cuius rei tarn glorioso spectaculo accurrit sacer 
ille monachorum conuentus deumque in sancto martyre suo mira- 
bilem predicans, laudes ei debitas exsoluit et gratias. Nempe illis 
credendum non censeo, qui huiusmodi facta trutannorum asscri- 
bunt fraudulentie. Quicquid enim malitiosi girouagi uictualis 
gratia questus agant, nos utique quod oculis nostris reuera con- 
speximus, audacter protestamur. Quin ad fidei argumentum 
certum ueritatis accessit testimonium. Erat siquidem diebus 

shirt burst asunder, and freed him from the greater part of his pen- 
ance. In like manner in Ireland at St Brendan's shrine (at Clonfert) 1 
by God's grace the sword wherewith he was girded broke in sunder. 
But in England, at Norwich, at the tomb of the most blessed martyr 
William, the iron ring on his right arm was broken. For when after 
long wanderings he had traversed most parts of England seeking 
the prayers of the saints and their shrines and worshipping there; 
drawn by God's grace, as we believe, he came to Norwich, to the 
tomb, already famous, of the excellent martyr William. Here, as 
he was praying with great devotion, the iron of his right arm suddenly 
snapped, in our sight, startling the ears of the bystanders with its 
sound j in which true working of the martyr the power of the divine 
pity was plainly shewn to us. At the glorious sight the holy 
convent of monks assembled and, proclaiming God to be wonderful in 
His holy martyr, gave Him due praises and thanks. I certainly do not 
think that credence can be given to those who attribute occurrences 
of this kind to the cunning of impostors: for whatever evil-disposed 
mountebanks may do for the sake of victuals, we at any rate can boldly 
testify to what we have seen with our eyes. Yet more : there is 
sound evidence to justify belief. For there was then at Norwich a 

1 No trace of the shrine remains. 

236 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

illis Norwici mercator quidam Coloniensis qui de regionibus illis 
nauigio uinum attulerat. Hie memorato uiso Philippe, quern 
prouintia Treuerensi quandoque uiderat recognouit et que fama 
ucntilante de ipso postea didicerat, nobis retulit. Vnde constat 
que de illo scripsimus et uerissima esse, et detrectoribus super hoc 
credi non debere. 

x. 'De quodam altero a dextrali ferreo liberate. 

SED neque silentio pretereundum estimo de Glewo, quern ob 
reatus sui olim noxam ferro dampnatum, sanctique Willelmi 
postea liberatum conspeximus meritis. Hie Lincolniensis prouintie 
indigena erat, et in uilla que Repham dicitur ab ineunte manens 
etate, domos in ea quandoque terrain et parentes habuerat. Fuerat 
autem illi frater, natu quidem maior, sed hoc solo fortior, quia 
ditior. Porro qui tanta possidebat quanta tali sufficere debuissent, 
amplificandi agri cupiditate ductus memorato fratri agrum uiolentia 
surripuit, quern scilicet sibi ob uiciniam pernecessarium iudicauit. 
Dum uero frater fratrem affectu fraterno et satis placide sepius 
coram amicis et parentibus super ea uiolentie iniuria conuenisset, 
et ille iam insolens et elatus nullatenus adquiesceret, eo maiori 

merchant of Cologne who had brought wine over in a ship from that 
part of the world. This man on seeing Philip recognised him, having 
seen him before in the province of Treves, and told us what he had 
afterwards heard about him. It is plain then that what we have re- 
corded about him is quite true, and that detractors are not, in this case, 
to be believed. 

x. Of a second who was freed of an iron ring on his right arm. 

The case of Glewus, too, cannot be passed over, whom we beheld 
condemned to wear irons for a crime, and thereafter freed by the merits 
of St William. This man was a native of the province of Lincoln : 
he had lived from his youth in the town called Repham 1 , and possessed 
houses, land, and relations there. He had a brother, older than himself, 
but only stronger than he because he was richer. Now, though he 
had possessions amply adequate for one of his rank, he was attracted 
by desire of land violently to steal a portion of it from his brother 
Glewus. The latter often remonstrated with him on this unjust con- 
duct in a brotherly fashion, and with due moderation in the presence 
of his friends and relatives; but he was so insolent and overbearing 
as never to yield. Glewus was the more inflamed with wrath as he 

> A village four miles from Lincoln, evidently not the Reepham in Norfolk. 

vr.] St William of Noiwich. 237 

dolore i[s]dem Glewus exarsit, quo malignam fratris insolentiam 
omnimodis irreuocabilem conspexit. His irritatus, et magis ac 
magis paulatim exacerbatus, iam se fratrem oblitus, omnem f<r>a- 
terni amoris exuit affectum. Iam iamque tanquam hostis externus 
mente turbida uoluere cepit, cuiusmodi uindicta uiolenti hostis 
uindicaret iuiuriam. Dumque in his eius agitaretur animus, 
contigit die quadam uiolentum ilium surreptum inducto aratro 
excolere agellum, atque ibidem cum duobus pariter filiis consistere. 
Quo alter audito, arrepta protinus furca ferrea in agrum prodit, in 
fratrem et nepotes insurgit, eosque cum furca interemit. His ita 
gestis, Glewus ille tarn execrandi patrator facinoris in contionem 
rapitur, de fratricidio accusatus exilio condempnatur. Vnde 
penitentia ductus, Willelmi Lincolniensis archidiaconi assensu, 
quem super reatus sui consuluerat consilio peremptricis furce 
ferro dexteram fratricidam circulauit, sacco cilicino se induit 
atque a patria in octennium exul progrediens, loca sanctorum 
per totam Angliam miserationis optentu peragrauit. Exacto itaque 
sub hac peregrinatione triennio, fines tandem episcopii Norwicensis 
ingrediens, Bedricheswurthe peruenit, atque ecclesiam in qua 

saw the insolence of his brother to be entirely without remedy. 
Irritated and provoked more and more he soon forgot his relationship 
to his brother and lost all brotherly love for him, and began to revolve 
in his mind what would be his best method of avenging himself on 
his proud rival, as if he had been a foe of alien blood. While he was 
in this frame of mind, it happened one day that his overbearing 
brother brought a plough into the field he had usurped, and began to 
till it, remaining there with two of his sons. Glewus heard of it, 
snatched up an iron pitchfork, rushed out into the field, attacked his 
brother and nephews and killed them all with the fork. Upon this, as 
having committed an abominable crime, Glewus was brought to justice, 
indicted for murdering his brother, and condemned to banishment. 
In a penitent mood, with the sanction of William, Archdeacon of 
Lincoln 1 , whom he had consulted in regard of his guilt, he made a 
ring of the iron of the murderous pitchfork and put it round the 
right arm with which he had slain his brother. Then, clad in a hair 
shirt, he left his native place for eight years' exile, and visited the 
shrines of the saints throughout England to obtain mercy. In this 
manner he passed three years, and eventually entered the bounds of 
the diocese of Norwich, and, arriving at Bedrichesworth (Bury) entered 

1 Apparently William de St Clere, who held the Archdeaconry of Northampton in 
the diocese of Lincoln from 1144 to 1168. See Le Neve's Fasti. 

238 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

egregius rex et martir requiescit Edmundus, orandi et ueniam 
postulandi causa subintrauit. Qui cum in presentia sacri martins 
erectis sursum palmis preces cum lacrimis aliquamdiu effudisset, 
subito femim uirtute confractum diuina crepuit, sed nescio quo 
diuini secreti consilio. licet ad pollicis mensuram fractura panderet 
hiatum, ita tamen circa brachium immobile permansit. Sicque 
res gerebatur, ut una confracti circuli extremitas carni strictissime 
se imprimeret, alteraque cuti superficietenus adhereret. Vnde 
contigit acerbiorem inferri molestiam cum confractum fuerit, 
quam dum solidum perdurauit. Tarn acerba igitur constrictus 
molestia, se malle predicabat ad sanctum Edmundum non uenisse, 
quam uirtutis eius potentiam taliter degustasse. Subsequenti uero, 
uelut ipse nobis postmodum retulit, nocte, a beato Edmundo per 
uisum ammonitus est, quatinus propere Norwicum transeat, ibique 
ad sepulcrum sancti martiris Willelmi diuine de reliquo misceri- 
cordie expectet absolutionem. His ille animatus, mox Norwicum 
ad sanctum properat Willelmum, ubi per dies aliquot desiderabilis 
illius promissi prestolatur effectum. Quo fideliter in spe promissi 
prestolante, die quadam dum ad sepulcrum beati Willelmi extensis 
ad celum palmis supplicaret, subito ille ferreus dextere circulus 

the church wherein the excellent king and martyr Edmund rests, in 
order to pray and beg for pardon. Raising his hands to heaven in 
presence of the holy martyr, he prayed and wept for some time. On 
a sudden the iron, broken by the power of God, snapped ; but, in 
pursuance of some secret counsel of God, although there was a gap 
in it of a thumb's breadth, it still remained immovably fixed round 
the arm, and in such a way that one end of the broken ring pressed 
hard into the flesh, while the other merely remained in contact 
with the skin. So that greater discomfort was caused by it in its 
broken state than when it was whole. In this uncomfortable plight 
the man said that he had rather never have gone to St Edmund than 
have experienced such a taste of his power. But on the following 
night, as he afterwards told me himself, he was warned by blessed 
Edmund in a dream to go quickly to Norwich and there at the tomb 
of the holy martyr William to wait for release at the hands of the 
divine mercy. Thus encouraged he hastened to Norwich to St William, 
and for some days waited for the fulfilment of that desirable promise. 
And as he waited in faith, on a certain day, when he was praying at 
the sepulchre of St William with hands outstretched to heaven, sud- 
denly that iron ring upon his right arm broke on the other side ; I 

vi.] St William of Norwich. 239 

ex aduerso confringitur, ita ut in duas scilicet partes diuisus 
uideretur. Vna siquidem pars uirtute quadam diuina longe 
retro quasi proiecta dissiluit, altera coram eo super pauimentum 
decidit. Cum spectaculo multa plebs affuit, et exsoluendas diuine 
gratie gratias et laudes conuentus conuenit. Pontifex quoque 
Willelmus audito tarn eximie uirtutis preconio accurrit, atque 
examinata ueritate, dominice laudis ymnum monachis et clericis 
sibi uicissim respondentibus effusis pre gaudio lacrimis inchoauit. 

Miraculi commendatio. 

~T~ IBET his paulisper subistere et in admiratione tanti miraculi 
J 1 interim spaciari. Sapientia dei abissus multa, in qua 
siquidem abisso si rationis humane intuitus singulas rerum in- 
uestigando uel diiudicando causas discurrat, constat profecto, 
quoniam finem non inueniens aut in se redeat, aut per illicita 
cursitando errorem incurrat. IncompreJiensibilia sunt enim dei 
indicia, et uie eius inuestigabiles. Igitur inter cotidiana nostri 
temporis miracula, quare hie curetur, et ille non exaudiatur, cur 
ibi iste absoluatur, et alibi non liberetur, noli uelle discutere, nisi 

mean, so that it appeared divided into two parts. One part, by the 
power of God, leapt to some distance behind him, as if it had been 
thrown : the other fell in front of him on the pavement. Many were 
present at the sight, and the monks assembled to render thanks and 
praises to God's grace. The Bishop William also, on hearing this mighty 
work proclaimed, came to the spot, and, after investigating the facts, 
led the hymn of praise to the Lord with tears of joy, while the monks 
and clerks answered one another in alternate strains. 

A commendation of this miracle. 

Here let us pause a moment and expatiate for a while in wonder 
at this great miracle. The wisdom of God is a great deep: and if the 
glance of man's reason takes to wandering, tracking out and deciding 
the causes of all things in this great deep, it is plain that, finding 
no end it must either return upon itself or, wandering through 
unlawful paths, must fall into error. For the judgments of God 
are unsearchable and His ways past finding out. Among the daily 
miracles of our time, then, be not careful to discuss why this 
man is healed and that man not healed, why another is loosed at one 
place, and elsewhere not loosed, unless you wish to err. We know, 

240 St William of Noi*wich. [BK. 

uelis errare. Nouimus quippe ac pro certo tenemus, regium 
martirera Edmundum et beatura puerum ac martirem Willelmum, 
magni reuera apud deum esse meriti, quos pro eius amore coronatos 
constat palma martyrii. Ille antiquorum triumphauit temporibus, 
iste nostri temporis passus est diebus. Sustinuit ille paganos in 
legem Christi deseuientes, pertulit iste iudeos in se quasi mortem 
Christi reiterantes. Ille uero usque in etatis nostre annos mirificis 
effulsit signis, iste cotidianis crebrescit miraculis. Veruntamen in 
hoc quod inpresentiarum memorauimus eximie uirtutis signo, 
uelut ipsa res indicat pari pariter cooperati sunt beneficio. Ferreum 
enim ut prelibauimus ille circulum una ex parte confregit, iste ex 
altera dissoluit. Hec cum ita sint, non tamen his hunc illi 
preferendum astruo, neque ilium huic inequalem affirmo. Sed 
neque ex hoc cuiuspiam in nos moueatur inuidia, si in miraculorum 
exhibitione beatissimum martirem Willelmum ceteris sanctis quasi 
conferimus quoniam, cum sancti sue uicissim glorie non inuideant, 
cur pro ipsorum miraculis inuidie morsibus nos inuicem laceremur? 
Vnum aliquem induce, ad quemlibet tamen loquor. Si igitur 
ecclesia nostra per sancti martiris nostri clarescat merita, nunquid 

indeed, and hold it certain, that both the royal martyr Edmund and 
the blessed boy and martyr William are truly of great merit in the 
sight of God. Both were crowned with the palm of martyrdom for the 
love of Him. The first triumphed in the times of the ancients ; the 
second suffered in our own day. The one withstood the heathen raging 
against the law of Christ, the other endured the Jews renewing as it 
were in him the death of Christ. The one has shone up to this day 
with wondrous signs, the other is growing in frequency of daily miracles. 
But yet, in the case of this sign of excelling power which we have 
just related, both of them, as the facts shew, worked together to confer 
an equal benefit. For St Edmund broke the iron ring on one side, 
as we have said, and St William broke it on the other. Now, though 
this is the case, I do not therefore assert that William is to be preferred 
to Edmund, nor affirm that Edmund is unequal to William. And let 
not the envy of any be stirred against us because we are comparing 
the most blessed martyr William with other saints in respect of his 
shewing wonders: for since the saints themselves are not jealous of each 
other's glory, why should we bite and devour one another in envy in 
championing their miracles? I am singling out one adversary 
yet I am addressing everyone. If our Church, then, is growing 
famous through the merits of our holy martyr, must you on that 

vi.] St William of Nonmch. 241 

ideo uilescere cogitur uestra ? Nunquid si uestra in laudis conuales- 
cat augmentum, nostra ideo cadere compellitur in uituperium ? 
Cesset, cesset liuoris mordacitas, parique pariter uoto sanctorum 
magnalia et diligendo recolamus et recolendo magnificemus. 
Quisquis es denique cuius animum questio pulsat, quare scilicet 
gloriosus rex Edmundus et tante uirtutis martir uel Philippum 
ilium cuius premiseram mentionem non absoluerit, uel hunc saltern 
Glewum non penitus liberauerit, constanter respondeo, quia si 
uoluisset, credo quia et posset. Sed quia non sunt nostri iuris 
diuini cause secreti, noli in altum extollere sapientie tue cornu, ne 
si ad sobrietatem non sapias dissolutus desipias. Quod tamen de 
Glewo fideliter astruere possum, breuibus absoluam. Velut ex rei 
geste modo conicimus, uel in hoc saltern miraculo gloriosus rex et 
martyr Edmundus gloriosum martyrem Willelmum habere uoluit 
comparticipem quern sue regionis contigit in martirio habere 
consortem, et quod ipse inchoauit, huic peragendum direxit. O 
quam preclara dei summi uirtus et sapientia, que ita in sanctis 
suis mirifice operatur, ut ipse in ipsis et ipsi per ipsum magnifi- 

account be debased? If, again, the praise and glory of yours is in- 
creased, does ours of necessity fall into reproach? Cease, cease your 
envious carping, and let us unite in recording with love and extolling 
with devotion the mighty works of our saints. Whoever you may 
be, if the question knocks at your heart's door "Why did the 
glorious king Edmund, a martyr of such might, either not free Philip " 
whom I mentioned a little time back, "or at least not loose this Glewus 
completely ? " I answer boldly that I believe that, if he had wished to 
do so, he could have done it. But, inasmuch as the causes of GOD'S 
secrets do not belong to us, lift not up the horn of thy wisdom on 
high, lest, if thou be not wise unto soberness, thou be broken in thy 
foolishness. But as to what I can faithfully assert with regard to 
Glewus, I will put it shortly. As I conjecture from the manner of the 
occurrence, the glorious king and martyr Edmund wished, at least in 
this miracle, to have the glorious martyr William for an associate, as 
he happened to be his fellow in respect of the region wherein he was 
martyred : and so he commissioned him to finish what he himself had 
begun. O how glorious is the power and the wisdom of the most high 
GOD, that works so wonderfully in His saints, that He in them and they 
through Him may be magnified ! 

W. N. 16 

242 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

XL De quadam mirabili modo contracta et sanata. 

MVLIER quedam Matildis nomine tempore illo erat, quam ab 
adolescentie flore debilitas dolenda dampnauerat. Facta 
est siquidem ab ea etate adeo corpore imbecillis, ut curuata dorsi 
spina, et ipsa fieret curua, et cancellatis cruribus innexa uicissim 
colliderentur genua. Vnde contigit, quod si quandoque de loco se 
ad locum transferee uoluisset, imbecillia baculo membra sustentans, 
uel gressus modicum proficeret uel nonnunquam nee in modico 
preualeret. Hanc Petras presbiter de Langeham uilla episcopali 
per multum tempus elemosine gratia 1 in domo sua tenuit, pauit, et 
uestiuit. Quam si quandoque recuperande sanitatis gratia sacra 
uisitare loca concupisset, illuc equo ad instar sacci pleni in trans- 
uersum deportare faciebat. Verum ubi labori fructus non re- 
spondisset, domum qualis fuerat referebatur. Percrebrescente 
tandem uirtutum tam frequentium sancti Willelmi preconio, spem 
ilia recuperande per ipsum sanitatis concepit. Vnde non modicam 
confidence concipiens alacritatem, baculo assumpto uersus Nor- 
wicum iter arripuit. Porro gradiens ilia magis animi feruescentis 
proficiebat motibus quam material! pedum obsequio, modicum 

1 gratie cod. 

xi. Of the healing of a certain woman who was wonderfully bent. 

There was at that time a woman named Matildis whom a pitiable 
weakness had afflicted from her earliest youth. Ever since then, in 
fact, she had been so weak of body, that owing to the curvature of her 
spine she was quite doubled up, her legs were twisted together, and 
her knees pressed one against the other. The consequence was, that 
when she wished to go from one place to another she had to support 
her feeble limbs with a stick and either succeeded in getting a little 
way, or, sometimes, was not able to do even this. Peter, the priest of 
Langham 1 , a vill of the Bishop's, had long housed her by way of 
charity, and supplied her with food and clothing. If she ever desired 
to visit some shrine for the recovery of her health, he used to have 
her taken there laid like a sack across a horse. But she was always 
brought back as she had gone, and no good result followed her pains. 
When the fame of St William's great virtue was spread abroad, she 
conceived the hope of being cured by his means, and with eagerness 
born of confidence took her stick and started for Norwich. Her steps 
were helped by the fervent emotions of her mind more than by the 
material assistance of her feet, and she trusted to her own strength 
1 Five miles west of Holt. 

vi.] St William of Nonvich. 243 

propriis confisa uiribus, sed plurimum sustentante fidens in baculo. 
Erat in passu uix digitalis amplitude, inter passum uero et passum 
morosa dilatio, ut, si gradientem cerneres, testudinem tardiorem 
non iudicares. Ex quo nimirum contigit, ut duodecima die ante 
tune temporis quadragesimam iter incipiens, quarta paschalem post 
solennitatem ebdomada Norwicum perueniret. Veniens uero mox 
ut ecclesiam episcopalem subiit, pedum plantas quasi spinosis 
quibusdam aculeis perurgeri sensit. Stans autem ante sepulcrum 
gloriosi martiris et imbecillia baculo membra sustentans, extensis 
in orationem palmis, totam coram deo animam effudit, sed media 
orationis uerba dolor subitus interrupit. Perurgente doloris 
angustia humi deuoluitur humumque capite, humeris, pedibus et 
palmis contundens, clammosisque uocibus complens ecclesiam, 
miro ac miserabili se agebat modo. Quis inquam tarn ferrous, qui 
talia cernens astantibus consisteret et a lacrimis luminacontineret? 
Denique post tantas tortionum angustias, estus tanti quieuit doloris, 
uelut, uentorum sedata rabie, turbati seuitia quiescere solet equoris: 
surgit itaque post paululum mulier, et quoniam et adhuc debilis 
erat uiribus, ad maceriam se contulit, palmarumque beneficio per 
cancellatas gradiens columnellas, ad desideratum beati martiris 
sepulcrum tandem peruenit. Vbi uota soluens et gratias, ibidem 

less than to the stick that supported her. Each step was hardly a 
finger's length, and there was considerable delay between them, so 
that one watching her progress would judge her to be slower than any 
tortoise. The result was that, though she started on the twelfth day 
before Lent, she reached Norwich in the fourth week after Easter. 
At the moment of her entering the cathedral church, she felt the soles 
of her feet pricked as if by thorns : but when she stood before the 
tomb of the glorious martyr, and supporting her feeble limbs on her 
stick raised her hands in prayer, and poured out her whole soul 
before GOD, in the midst of her prayer she was interrupted by a 
sudden attack of pain. The anguish increased, and she rolled upon 
the ground, beating it with head, shoulders, feet and hands, and filled 
the church with cries behaving herself altogether in a marvellous 
and pitiable manner. Who, I ask, would be so stony-hearted as to 
stand and look upon this and refrain his eyes from weeping ? At last, 
after all this anguished writhing the violence of the pain abated, as the 
raging of the troubled sea is calmed when the mad winds are stilled. 
So the woman after a little got up, and since she was still in a feeble 
condition, she made her way to the screen, and passed along it by cling- 
ing to the shafts, and so finally reached the desired tomb of the blessed 


244 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

per aliquantam horam diei gratulabunda permansit. Deinde con- 
uersa ad circumstantium multitudinem, constant! protestabatur 
eloquio, quanta beati Willelmi mentis in se patrata sint magnalia. 
Quia uero infidelis quispiam et incredulus id magis fallacie asscribe- 
bat quam miraculo, se ilia Norwico nullatenus discessuram iurauit, 
donee dominus ille suus prenominatus scilicet de Langeham Petrus 
ueniret, qui.ueritati testimonium perhibens garrulam illam in- 
fidelitatis litem dirimeret. Que et ita gesta sunt, quoniam et ipsa 
Petri illius prestolata est aduentum, et ille ueniens ueritati perhi- 
buit testimonium. 

xii. De puero gibboso contracto et sanato. 

ERAT quoque in uilla que Wurtham dicitur quidam Godricus 
nomine ex cuiusdam Roberti Galensis nepti filium habens 
decennem, quern imbecillitas diuturna dampnauerat, et de die in 
diem morbi uigor inualescebat. Percurrente per artus molestia, 
arefacti nerui contrahuntur, et incuruata dorsi spina dorso gibbus 
innascitur. Fit itaque puerulus de recto contractus, et adherente 
genibus uentre cum ambulare proponeret, applicatis ad genua uel 
terre palmis, ipsa uel ipsam pro podio haberet. Medici frustra 

martyr. Here, in prayer and thanksgiving, she passed a good part of 
the day ; and then turned to the throng of onlookers and boldly 
testified to the great things that had been done for her by the merits 
of St William. But, inasmuch as a faithless and unbelieving individual 
was inclined to ascribe the cure to craft rather than miracle, she 
vowed that she would not leave Norwich until her aforesaid Sir Peter 
of Langham should come, and by bearing witness to the truth put an 
end to the wordy contentions of unbelief. And this was accom- 
plished ; for she awaited the coming of Peter, and he, when he came, 
bore witness to the truth. 

xii. Of the cure of a hump-backed and deformed boy. 

There was also in the town called Wortham one Godric by name 
who had a son by the niece of a certain Robert of Wales, aged ten 
years and afflicted by long weakness, which daily increased upon him. 
The disease infected all his limbs : the sinews were dried up and con- 
tracted : his spine was bent, and a hump grew on his back. From 
being upright the boy became crooked; his stomach was pressed against 
his knees and, when he wanted to walk, he had to place his hands on 
his knees or on the ground, and use one or the other for a support. 

vi.] St William of Norwich. 245 

laborantes adhibentur, luctus solus parentibus reseruatur, undc 
ad gloriosum dei martyrem Willelmum spes tarda conuertitur. 
Norwicum ergo manual! uehitur uehiculo et iuxta sepulcrum 
sepedicti martins exponitur. Pater indulgens lacrimis gaudia filio 
mercatur sanitatis. Res mira et seculis nostris admiranda ! Sub 
ipsa enim aduentus eius hora uniuersa imbecillitatis loca uirtus 
medicabilis percurrit, uirtutemque preuiam sanitas festina sub- 
sequitur. Ariditas succum, nerui officia suscipiunt. Extendenti- 
bus uero se neruis maximis puer afficiebatur doloribus, quibus 
anxiatus, lingua patria "Patrem patrem" clamitabat; pater uero 
sanari cernens filium, exultat. Post pauca erigitur puer, atque in 
conspectu omnium et filio incolumitas, patrique filius restituitur. 
Congaudet nimirum filio pater et procedit cum patre filius hilaris 
et erectus qui tristis aduenerat et contractus. Consumpto autem 
Norwici triduo, pater cum filio domum regreditur et post dies 
aliquot nescio quo casu siue infortunio pristine molestie reiteratur 
imbecillitas. Super quo consultis pater amicis, ad piissimum marti- 
rem filium refert imbecillem ut clementissima illius pietas iterate 
filii molestie iterata conferat remedia. O quam benigna diuine 

The doctors who were consulted did him no good ; grief only remained 
to his parents. So at length their tardy hopes turned to the glorious 
martyr of GOD, William. The boy was accordingly brought to Norwich 
in a handbarrow and laid by the tomb of the often-mentioned martyr. 
The father's tears brought the joys of health for his son wonderful 
event, to be marvelled at by all our time ! At the very moment of his 
arrival the healing power penetrated all the parts affected and soundness 
of body followed fast on the track of the healing virtue. His dryness 
received sap, his sinews strength. As the sinews stretched themselves, 
the boy was agonised with pain, and in his anguish kept calling 
" Father, father ! " in English : but the father rejoiced, seeing that his 
son was being healed. In a short time he rose, and in the sight of all, 
health was restored to the son, and the son to the father. The father 
rejoiced with his son, and the son walked upright and joyful by his 
father's side, who had come wretched and bent. They spent three 
days at Norwich, and then returned home, and after some days, by 
what chance or accident I know not, the old weakness and trouble 
returned. The father took advice of his friends and brought back 
his weak child to the most merciful martyr, that his kind pity might 
anew remedy the renewed sickness of his son. O how loving is the 

246 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

uirtutis gratia, quam pia est piissimi martiris Willelmi dementia! 
Relatus puer quemadmodum primo, ita et nunc sospitati redditur 
atque in ipso iterum dei magnalia glorificantur. Quamobrem pater 
prouido usus consilio, multis ibi diebus perhendinare permisit 
filium utpote puero martyri puerilibus famulaturum obsequiis. 
Coniciebat siquidem ex ante gestis sanctum martirem et puerum 
uelle, ad tarn eximie nirtutis argumentum, sanati pueri permanere 
presentiam in testimonium. 

xiii. De muliere miro modo inflata et sanata. 

MIRIS admiranda succedunt, que si uniuersa que gesta sunt 
prout gesta sunt exequar timeo ne uel fastidio lectorem 
prolixitas afficiat, uel moderationis limitem liber excedat. Ea 
propter numerositatis declinans siluam, in planiciem prodeo, flosculos 
perpaucos excerpo, quibus mentis uestre demulceatur oculus, et 
ad suscipiendum inuitetur affectus. Igitur mulier erat de Brande- 
neia Wimarc nomine que regis Stephani temporibus quando dies 
mali fuerant, pro uiro suo a predonibus comprehenso apud Geinnes- 
burc data est obses. Loco igitur uiri sub carceris ergastulo posita, 

grace of divine power, how pitiful is the kindness of the merciful 
martyr William ! The boy being brought back, as at first, so now was 
restored to health, and the mighty works of GOD were glorified in him. 
Wherefore the father took wise counsel and allowed his son to abide 
many days, to attend, with such service as a boy could render, upon 
the boy-martyr. For he divined from what had happened that the 
holy boy and martyr wished that the boy whom he had healed should 
remain for a testimony and proof of his eminent power. 

xiii. Of the cure of a woman who was wonderfully swollen. 

One wonder follows another: and were I to record them all as 
they happened, I fear that my prolixity would tire the reader, or 
my book grow beyond all limits. So I avoid the thick forest and come 
forth into the plain and pluck a very few blossoms to soothe the eye 
of your mind and invite your affections to receive them. 

There was, then, a woman of Brandney (Bardney 1) called Wimarc, 
who in the time of king Stephen, when the days were evil, was given 
as a hostage at Gainsborough for her husband who had been taken 
by pirates. In his stead she was committed to prison with three other 

vi.] St William of Norwich. 247 

cum tribus aliis mulieribus et uiro uno carcerali diu permansit in 
custodia. Qui cum pariter algores, inediam, fetores, buffonum 
incursiones multa cum molestia diutius sustinuissent, de custodis 
sui nece unanimi consensu tractare ceperunt, tanquam in eius 
morte ipsorum liberatio consisteret, et in uita periculum. Quoniam 
igitur idem carceris magister et custos cum eis potare solitus erat, 
quotiens illis ceruisie potus inferebatur, buffonum ueneno, quorum 
ut premisimus habundabant copia, sibi de more illatum potum 
infitiunt eique ad potandum inuitato, cifum pariter et mortem 
porrigunt. Verum ille siue dei nutu conseruandus siue aliqua tune 
suspicione permotus, quod sibi porrexerant ipsis pregustandum 
indixit. Ad hec illi fraude quasi iam intercepta, erubuere confusi, 
expalluere perterriti, dirriguere stupefacti. Hoc uiso custos ea 
indicia concepte malitie percepit fore presagium, dum in depre- 
hensis tarn patens confusionis cernit argumentum. In ipsos itaque 
proprie flagicium malitie retorsit, omnesque una eundem potum 
exhaurire coegit. Ad quod uellent nollent compulsi actores mortis 
fiunt proprie qui machinatores fuerant aliene. Nee mora, serpente 
per singulorum singulos artus ueneno, omnes pariter miro ac 
miserabili modo in tantum intumuerunt ut si illos cerneres, cutem 

women and one man, and there she remained for long. These people, 
after long enduring miserably cold, hunger, stench, and attacks of 
toads, began to plan in concert the death of their gaoler, believing 
that were he dead they would be free, while, as long as he lived, they 
were in danger. And, inasmuch as the keeper of the prison, who was 
the gaoler, was accustomed to drink with them when their beer was 
brought to them, they took a toad (of which, as I said, there were 
many in the prison) and mixed its poison with the drink when it was 
brought as usual, and invited the gaoler to drink, handing Mm at 
one moment the cup and death. But he, whether because GOD'S 
providence would preserve him, or because he had some touch of 
suspicion, bade them first taste what they had offered him. Whereat, 
their craft being discovered, they grew red with confusion, and pale with 
fear and stiff with terror. The gaoler at the sight perceived that these 
signs pointed to some wicked intention, and turning the tables upon them 
forced them all to drink the draught. Compelled whether they would 
or no to do this, they became compassers of their own death, after con- 
triving the death of another. Immediately the venom crept through the 
limbs of each, and all of them swelled up in so wonderful and horrid 
a manner that any man who saw them would be convinced that their 

248 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

statim rumpere non dubitares. Quid plura ? Virus discurrens 
uniuersa occupat, quo preualente, sub mortis uestibulo uita peri- 
clitatur. Moriuntur ceteri : Wimarck superstes pennanet. Effe- 
runtur itaque illi quia mortui, emittitur et ilia quoniam creditur 
et ipsa iam moritura. Vita siquidem illi reseruatur, siue quia 
minus ceteris hauserat, siue quia diuina earn dementia saluandam 
disponebat. Felix utique, quia mortem imminentem euasit, sed in 
hoc misera, quia tumorem prodigialem septennio non amisit. Hem- 
bris quippe uniuersis ultra quam credi possit sanie tumentibus non 
hominis in ilia denotares effigiem, sed noui alicuius monstri figuram 
prodigialem. Vnde et corpus illud monstruosum horrendum dabat 
intuentibus spectaculum. Quod reuera si cerneres, cutem tarn 
ualide tensam non rumpi mirareris. In quibus posita angustiis 
misera mulier, dum tanti tumoris uitium perseuerare cerneret, ad 
medicos se contulit, in quibus quicquid habere poterat expendit. 
Medicorum uero consulens industriam, laborem perdidit et impen- 
sam, sed exinde ad pietatis diuine confugiens asylum salutare 
meruit inuenire remedium. A medicis enim ubi se destitutam et 
deceptam conspexit, sanctorum postulanda suffragia eorumque loca 
peragranda censuit. Quibus per multum tempus peragratis, tandem 

skin must break. What more? The poison saturated them through 
and through, and their life was brought to the doors of death. The 
rest died ; Wimarck alone survived. The others were buried as dead ; 
she was released as being thought to be at the point to die : but her 
life was spared, whether because she had taken less of the poison than 
the rest, or because the mercy of GOD was decreeing her salvation. 
In so far as she had escaped death, she was happy, but wretched in 
that for seven years' space she was not rid of the monstrous swelling. 
All her limbs were inflated to an incredible extent, so that one would 
discern in her not so much the figure of a human being as the 
portentous form of some new monster. Her body consequently pre- 
sented a hideous appearance to the beholder : and one looking at her 
would wonder that the skin so forcibly distended did not break. In 
this wretched plight the poor woman, seeing that the swelling did not 
subside, repaired to doctors, and spent on them whatever she had. 
But the labour was lost and the money wasted, though ultimately she 
was accounted worthy to find healing, when she betook herself to the 
refuge of the divine pity. For when she perceived that she had been 
mocked and left destitute by the doctors, she thought she must consult 
the saints and visit their shrines. She accordingly visited many, and 

vi.] St William of Norwich. 249 

Norwicum peruenit ibique aliquanto tempore morari et diuinam 
sancti martins Willelmi suffragantibus mentis misericordiam 
prestolari decreuit. Cumque iam ibi multos exegisset dies, die 
quadam sollenni dum sollempniter ante sepulcmm beati martins 
plurima plebis conuenisset multitude, et ipsa multitudini interesset, 
de multitudine prodiensad sanctum et uenerabile accessit sepulcrum 
et festinum sanitatis percepit remedium. Mox enim ubi genua 
flexit breuique fusa oratione sepulcro labia impressit, omnem ilium 
saniem uirulentam pauimento euomuit. Quale autem sit quod 
euomuerit, quid aliud dicerem nisi quoniam horribile, quin 1 immo 
et uisu intollerabile fuit ? Tantaque illius quantitas erat quanta 
permaxime capacitatis uas compleri potuisset. Quod et continue 
teterrimus ac intollerabilis consecutus eat fetor qui et nares 
assistentium offenderet, eosque loco excedere perurgeret. Qua de 
re locum sacriste sacrum spurcitia ilia purgari fecerunt, herbisque 
sterni redolentibus. Misera uero mulier ecclesiam confestim 
exiens, quicquid /esidui uisceribus infuit totum funditus euomens 
effudit. Vnde et mirabile illud sub unius hore contigit spatio, 
ut que antea, uelut premisimus, ultra quam credi possit tumens 
fuerat, statim effusa sanie adeo gracilis et sospes appareret, ac 
si nichil unquam tumoris nichilque mali pertulisset. Curata 

1 quid cod. 

at length came to Norwich, and there determined to remain for some 
time and wait for the divine mercy to be procured by the intercession 
of the merits of the holy martyr William. After she had now spent 
some days there, on a solemn feast-day, when according to custom a 
great throng of people had assembled at the blessed martyr's tomb, and 
she among them, she came forth from the throng and approached the 
holy and venerable sepulchre, and she obtained a speedy healing. For 
when she had kneeled down and uttered a short prayer, she pressed 
her lips on the tomb, and forthwith vomited all that poisonous dis- 
charge on the pavement. I can only describe it by saying that it 
was horrible nay, unbearable, that there was enough of it to fill a 
vessel of the largest size, that the bystanders were constrained to 
leave the place, and the sacrists to cleanse the spot and strew it 
with fragrant herbs. The poor woman left the church in haste and got 
rid of all that was left of the poison. The result was that in one hour's 
time, she who, as I have said, had been swollen to an incredible size, 
now appeared as slim and healthy as if she had never suffered from 
a swelling at all. Being thus cured, she gave thanks to GOD and 

250 St William of Nonvich. [BK. 

igitur, deo ac sancto Willelmo gratias egit, Romam petiit, et 
que sibi contigerant pape Adriano enarrauit. Exinde sospes 
remeans multo tempore ad testimonium miraculi in hac luce 

xiv. De altera guttumosa curata. 

ERAT et altera mulier Gillilda nomine uxor cuiusdam Turgeri 
de Middelhale que a multo tempore guttumosa fuerat, 
eoque incommodo miserabiliter laborabat. Perurgente uero doloris 
molestia, et ipsa quoque facies cum mento intumuit. Vexabat 
earn dira tumoris pariter et doloris acerbitas, cumulabat molestiam 
continua per biennium morbi diuturnitas. Dolor uehemens et 
perseuerans erat, iugis inter tormenta gemitus somnum capere 
non sinebat. Denique post tantos et tarn diuturnos cruciatus 
suorum monitis se glorioso dei martiri Willelmo uouit, factaque 
in illius nomine et honore candela, guttur et cetera que intumu- 
erant circumdedit. Mira res ! Mox ut candela guttur turgescens 
tetigit, cute pluribus subito locis quasi explosa, sanies ibi diu 
concreta effluere cepit. Neque fluxus ille cessauit, quousque mulier 

St William, and betook herself to Rome, where she told Pope Adrian 1 
what had happened to her ; and returning whole she remained long in 
life to bear witness to the miracle. 

xiv. Of the cwre of another woman with a goitre. 

There was also another woman called Gillilda, wife to one Thurgar 
of Mildenhall, who had long had a goitre which troubled her terribly. 
It increased upon her, causing her face as well as her chin to swell ; 
the swelling was accompanied also with pains and, to crown all, 
continued for two years' space. The pain was continuous, and her 
constant moans prevented her from sleeping. After all this suffering, 
she finally at the advice of her friends vowed herself to the glorious 
martyr of GOD William, and made a candle in his name and in his 
honour, which she put round the swollen throat and parts affected. 
Wonderful to say, as soon as the candle touched the place, the skin 
burst as if by force in several places, and the discharge flowed out, 
nor stopped until the woman had been freed alike from pain and 

1 Adrian IV. 115459 (Nicholas Brakespeare). 

VL] St William of Norwich. 251 

ipsa a tumore pariter et dolore liberata fuerit. Curata tandem, 
cum uiro suo iter arripiens Norwicum uenit, uotum soluit, 
liberator! suo gratias egit, domumque cum suis gratulabunda 

xv. De homine per afflatum colubri turgido et curato. 

"TLLVD quoque silentio tegi incongruum duximus quod duobus 

-L presbiteris referentibus, Gaufrido scilicet de sancto Christoforo 

et Radulfo filio quondam HerueLpistoris, aliis quoque nonnullis see act . 

id ipsum attestantibus profecto cognouimus. Erat siquidem homo 

quidam de Blitheburc prenominatis cognitus presbiteris run 

manens, diues ac necessariis plenissime habundans. Hie dum 

mense Augusti post messores suos in agro consisteret, ex improuiso 

coluber mire et inusitate magnitudinis sibilis sibilans terribilibus 

erecto in altum capite ex aduerso in ipsum impetum fecit. Re 

tarn subita primum ille attonitus et exterritus, reuocato post- 

modum animo se ad se collegit, arreptoque de uicina sepe palo, 

in colubrum surrexit, eumque quantum uires administrabant 

percussit. Male tactus coluber, arrecta quasi parte sui media, 

in percutientem impetu feroci fertur. Sed palo repercussus 

swelling : when cured she started with her husband and came to 
Norwich, where she paid her vow, and thanked her liberator, and so 
returned home in joy with her friends. 

xv. Of the cure of a man who was swollen by the breath of a viper. 

Another matter I cannot pass over in silence, which I ascertained 
from the witness of two priests, Gaufrid of St Christopher's and Ralph, 
son of Hervey the baker, and some others who bore testimony to 
the fact. There was, then, a man of Blythburgh known to the 
priests I have named, dwelling in the country and well provided 
with goods. In the month of August he was standing behind his 
reapers in the field, when on a sudden a viper of unwonted and 
wonderful size raised its head with terrible hissings and attacked 
him. He was at first startled by the suddenness of the thing, but 
soon regained his wits, and snatching a stake out of a hedge hard 
by, set upon the beast and struck it as hard as he could. The viper 
was badly hurt, but erected about half of its body and made another 
fierce onslaught, but was repulsed a second time with the stake. 

252 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

repellitur. Vnde ex ore cum sibilo terribili uapore quodam 
sulphureo in aduersum hostem emisso, ipsum continue pestifero 
infecit anelitu. Turn ille maiori deseuiens ira, in eum acrius 
insurgit, crebrosque congeminans ictus, cum duobus tandem 
quos ventre habebat gemellis matrem interemit, atque in signum 
uictorie palo pariter affixit. Exinde ad messores remeans, 
uix ab eis. potuit agnosci, quoniam quasi exsufflato et turgenti 
toto corpore ac denigrato iam ilium contigerat immutari. Nee 
rnora, dolore grauissimo occupantur artus, languescunt singula, 
periclitari uidebatur uita. Quid ultra? Messomm manibus 
domum refertur ; per triduum sine uoce iacens et sensu mortuus 
creditur. Tercia demum die quasi reuiuiscens respirauit, lan- 
guentes oculos aperuit et ad amicos circum assistentes lumina 
conuertit et ait: Ecce morior, nisi diuina mihi citius subueniat 
misericordia. Nunc ergo gloriosi martiris Willelmi me trado 
patrociniis, cuius utique meritis me sanari posse credo et confido. 
Itaque quamtotius corpus meum in longum et transuersum filo 
mensuretur, ad cuius longitudinem in illius nomine fiat candela, 
quam sospitate reddita pedes ipse ad ipsum deferam. His dictis, 
pro uelle disponentis confestim fiunt omnia. Mira dictu, sed in 

It then, hissing, sent forth from its mouth a fearful sulphurous vapour 
against its foe, and infected him on the instant with its pestiferous 
breath. He attacked it with increased rage, showered blows upon 
it, and succeeded in killing both the parent snake and also two young 
ones with which it was big ; and then put them all on the stake in 
token of his victory. He then returned to the reapers ; but they 
could scarcely recognise him, for his aspect was already beginning 
to change, and his whole body to puff, swell, and grow black. In 
a moment severe pains attacked his limbs, and he was seized with 
weakness, and his life seemed in jeopardy. To be short, he was 
carried home by the reapers, and lay for three days without voice 
or consciousness, and was thought to be dead. On the third day 
he seemed to revive and breathed again ; opening his languid eyes, 
he turned them to the friends at his side, and said : " Behold, I die, 
unless GOD'S mercy succour me speedily. Now therefore I commit 
myself to the protection of the glorious martyr William, by whose 
merits I firmly believe I can be healed. Measure, then, the length 
and breadth of my body in all haste with a thread, and let a candle 
be made of that length, and if I recover I will take it myself to him 
on foot" His orders were carried out: the event was wonderful 

vi.] St William of Norwich. 253 

re uera admiranda uelocitas. Sub ipsius enim temporis articulo 
quo ipse scilicet mensurari et candela fieri cepit, uniuersus 
tumor penitus exinanitus euanuit, atque, ut magis admireris, ita 
factum est ut nee minimum tumoris in eo uestigium appareret, 
ac si nichil antea incommodi pertulisset. Quo tarn ueloci diuine 
pietatis exhilaratus beneficio, surgens, ad gloriosum liberatorem 
suum martirem Willelmum uenire properauit, ueniens uoti pro- 
positum persoluit, quo soluto ad propria letus repedauit. 

xvi. De uirgine cuius mire curata est mamilla. 

~TT1 ODEM quoque tempore uirgo quedam Matildis nomine de 
-I J Suathefelt cuius pater Rathe uocabatur, intollerabili 
dextere mamille dolore afficiebatur ac tumore. Quippe ad 
cumulum molestie nouem foraminibus ex mamilla sanies usque- 
quaque profluebat plurima. Tanto ilia per diuturnum tempus 
detenta incommodo, multaque in medicis sibi nichil proficientibus 
facta expensa, humane renuntians ad diuinam se contulit medici- 
nam. Assumens itaque portionem cere non modicam, earn sancto 
Willelmo uouit, ex qua et male habentem circumdedit mamillam. 
Quo facto, res uera contigit ualde stupenda. Velut enim patris 
eius relatu didicimus, mox ubi mamille subtracta est cera, dolore 

and surprising in quickness. For at the very instant when he began 
to be measured, and the candle to be made, the whole of the swelling 
subsided and disappeared and, what is more wonderful, it came to 
pass that not the least trace of it remained, just as if he had not 
suffered at all from it. Gladdened by the swift working of the 
divine pity, he rose and hastened to his glorious liberator, William 
the martyr, and paid his vow : which done he returned home 
in joy. 

xvi. Of a maid wliose breast was wonderfully healed. 

At the same time also there was a maid called Matilda, of Swa- 
field ', whose father was named Rathe ; she suffered from an intolerable 
swelling and pain in her right breast accompanied with a discharge 
from nine openings. She was long afflicted, and spent much on 
physicians to no purpose : so in the end she abandoned man's help 
and sought GOD'S healing. She took a large piece of wax, vowed 
it to St William and applied it to her breast. The result was amazing. 
Her father has told' me, that as soon as the wax was withdrawn 

1 A village two miles north of North Walsham. 

254 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

sedato quies successit, tumor omnis subsedit, arescentibusque 
paulatim foraminibus sanies exundans imminui cepit. Cuius 
parentes tarn festino filie congratulantes beneficio, earn statim 
Norwicum ad sanctum deduxerunt Willelmum. Quo ilia adueniens 
oratione fusa gratias egit, ceram optulit, mamillamque extrahens 
nudam ea intentione applicuit sepulchre, ut scilicet quia fora- 
minibus adhuc aliquantulum effluentibus plurimum timebat, 
inde quoque uelut de reliquo beati martiris ope secura redderetur. 
Presertim ad id agendum spes inuitauerat, fides edocuerat; unde 
et quod tanto mentis affectu sperauit et credidit, confestim 
optinere promeruit. Vbi enim attigit lapidem mamilla, sub ipsa 
utique hora desiccata et clausa paruerunt mamille foramina. 
Sospitate igitur ad uotum plene suscepta, domum cum suis 
gaudens regreditur. 

xvii. De saluatis in mari et de tempestate sedata. 

CELT, maris, ac terre moderator dominus quemadmodum 
egregie excellentie martyrem Willelmum in celis precipue 
dignitatis laureatum prerogatiua, multirnodis miraculoram signis 
in terra glorificauit, ita eundem ipsum et in mari magnificare 
uoluit. Quibusdam namque de prouincia Norfulchensi pariter cum 
presbitero quodam de Eilesham Radulfo nomine, marino ad ulteri- 

from being applied, the pain ceased and rest ensued : the swelling 
subsided and the discharge slackened. Overjoyed at the speedy relief, 
her parents at once took her to Norwich to St William. She came, 
prayed, gave thanks, offered the wax, bared her breast and applied 
it to the tomb, in order to be relieved by the blessed martyr's help 
from what still remained of her disorder. Hope invited her, faith 
instructed her in the experiment, and she consequently merited to 
obtain what she hoped and believed. The cure was completed on 
the instant, and having received to the full her health in answer to her 
vow, she went gladly home with her parents. 

xvii. Of certain saved at sea and a storm stilled. 

The Lord, who is governor of heaven, sea, and earth, as He has 
glorified the martyr William, of eminent excellence, crowned in the 
heavens with a prerogative of special worth, by many miracles on 
the land, has also willed to exalt him upon the sea. For when certain 
of the county of Norfolk, together with a priest of Aylsham named 
Ralph, had voyaged by sea to the further parts of England, and, 

vi.] St William of Norivich. 255 

ores Anglie partes nauigio profectis suoque ibi peracto negotio naui 
qua uenerant ad propria reuertentibus, sub medio cursu seuissima 
subito exorta est tempestas. Inualescente uentorum rabie laborans 
uelum scinditur, antenne pariter ac rudentes rumpuntur, Oceani 
uiolentiam fragilis cimba uix sustinet, uicta nautarum cedunt 
ministeria. Soils lumen nox atra intercipit, mors imminens ex- 
sangues facit. Clamor uniuersalis extollitur, ad celum suspiria 
funduntur. Illud dulcifluum beati martins Willelmi nomen 
centies ac milies replicatur, eiusque in angustia presens adesse 
petitur patrocinium. Oratione non uiribus iam nauigium fere- 
batur, et procellis seuientibus orationis causa sanctique Willelmi 
merita opponuntur. Vota illi fiunt, ut scilicet si eius conseruentur 
ope, pro tanti recompensatione beneficii ei ab eis tributaria quot- 
annis solueretur recognitio. Propiciatur ad hec diuina pietas, 
adest et continuo aduocati martins uirtus euidens, qui etsi 
corporali presentia, uirtute tamen non deerat. Quieuit enim 
uentorum rabies, pelagi uiolentia sedatur, et tranquillitas serena 
subsequitur. Nautarum reuocantur animi, queque rupta fuerant 
reficiuntur. Venti contrarii in itineris conuertuntur ministeria, 
nauigium famulatrix prosequitur unda. Decursis breui immensis 
pelagi spaciis, omnes pariter litoris optati grata potiuntur arena. 

having ended their business there, were returning home in the ship 
in which they had come, about the middle of their course a sudden 
and violent storm arose. The rage of the wind increased, the labouring 
sail was rent, the yards and shrouds broken, and the frail craft scarce 
bore the brunt of ocean, while all the sailors' exertions were vain. 
Obscurest night involved the sky, and the near prospect of death 
drove the blood from all faces. An universal cry went up, sighs 
were poured to heaven, the dear name of the blessed martyr William 
was repeated a hundred, nay, a thousand times, and his present aid 
sought in their strait. The ship only floated by their prayers, not by 
its own strength : the pleading of prayer and St William's merits were 
set against the raging storm. Vows were made to him, that if they 
were saved by his help they would yearly pay a tribute in acknowledg- 
ment of the boon. The divine pity was propitious and the power 
of the martyr-advocate at once shown forth ; for, if absent in 
body, he was yet present in might. For the rage of the winds and the 
violence of the ocean abated, and a great calm followed. The sailors 
recovered their courage, and repaired damages. The contrary winds 
turned to speed their course, and the submissive waves followed the 
vessel. In a short time they flew over the broad sea, and all attained 

256 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

Egressique incolumes ac leti, mox Norwicum ad beatum martirem 
Willelmum cum uotis et oblationibus festinant, cuius suffragiis 
in suppremo mortis discrimine liberati fuerant. 

xviii. De duobus sibi (sic) ferro constrictis ac liberatis. 

SVB eisdem ferme diebus Godwinus quidam cognomine Creme 
de Wimundeham pariter cum fratre suo Robertum quendam 
de Charletune quadecumque causa ceperant, atque sub arcta 
positum custodia, compedibus ferreis astrinxerant. Compedes 
quoque cathena tenebantur ferrea, posti firmissime obfirmata. 
Diebus quippe ac noctibus manibus post tergum ligatis miser ille 
tanquam posti affixus iacebat, binique ac bini nocturnis circa 
eum horis summa cum diligentia uigiles excubabant. Accusabatur 
siquidem multiplicis noxe quasi reus, sed, ut postmodum didicimus, 
super his immunis erat et innoxius. Cum igitur sub tarn crudeli 
et immerita diebus aliquot teneretur angaria, penali quoque 
famis ac sitis angustia defecisset, in men tern forte uenit beati 
Willelmi martiris postulare sufiragia quibus a presentis angarie 
liberaretur pena. Igitur ea die tota et usque ad noctis medium 

the desired shore; where disembarking in joy and safety, they soon 
repaired to Norwich to the blessed martyr William with offerings, 
since by his prayers they had been freed from imminent peril of 

xviii Of two that were locked in iron fetters, and were freed. 

About the same time one Godwin, surnamed Creme, of Wymond- 
ham, with his brother had taken prisoner for some reason or other 
one Robert of Charleton, and committing him to strict ward, had 
fastened him in iron bilboes. The bilboes were attached to an iron 
chain which was firmly fixed into a post: and day and night with 
hia hands bound behind him, the miserable man had to lie as it 
were tied to the post, while guards by two and two kept watch 
over him most carefully throughout the night He was accused 
of a number of crimes, of which, as I afterwards learned, he was 
entirely guiltless. After being kept for some days in this painful 
and undeserved strait, and being quite worn out with the torments 
of hunger and thirst, it happened to come into his head to invoke 
the prayers of the blessed martyr William, that he might thereby 
be freed from his present punishment and torment. For that whole 

vi.] St William of Norwich. 257 

in huiusmodi persistens precibus uniuersisque tune in domo tarn 
tedio quam sompno deuictis, et ipse quoque dormitare cepit ; 
dormitanti idem martir quern inuocauerat Willelmus in uisu 
astitit. Quo compedes ac cetera pertractante uincula, sera con- 
stricta dissoluitur, repagula ferrata dissiliunt. Porro pietatis 
diuine uirtus reserat quod crudelitatis humane malitia coartarat. 
Quibus uisis, immo et realiter gestis, is qui ea gerebat subinferre 
uidebatur : Surge, frater, surge uelociter. Ego quippe sum ille 
cuius opem postulasti, quern pre ceteris tibi patronum elegisti. 
Ecce iam liber es, abscedere festina, tollensque quibus tenebaris 
compedes, mihi Norwicum afferre ne pigriteris. Ad hec experge- 
factus ille secumque uisionem retractans, se reuera solutum 
sentit, unde et de fuga statim deliberauit. Vbi uero uniuersos 
dormire comperit, iam securior effectus surgit, compedes tollit, 
hostioque sine sonitu aperto, quamtotius exilit. Versus Norwicum 
itinere arrepto, illuc sub ipso diluculo peruenit, apertisque epis- 
copalis ecclesie ianuis, intrauit et ad beati Willelmi sepulcrum 
profugit. Tenens autem quibus tentus fuerat compedes, in con- 
spectu plurimorum liberatori suo eas in liberationis sue obtulit 

day, then, and until midnight, he persisted in these prayers, and 
when all in the house were overcome with fatigue and sleep, and he 
himself too had begun to doze, that same martyr William on whom 
he had called stood by him in a vision. He passed his hand over 
the bilboes and the other fetters; the tightened lock was loosed, 
the iron bolts flew apart, for the might of divine pity unlocked what 
man's cruelty had fastened. After this phenomenon, or rather, 
reality, he who was doing the deed seemed to speak and say, " Rise, 
brother, rise quickly, I am he whose aid thou didst ask, whom thou 
hast chosen before others to be thy patron. Lo, thou art free ! haste 
to depart, take the fetters in which thou wast bound, and delay 
not to bring them to me at Norwich." The man awoke and con- 
sidered the vision, found he was indeed free, and straightway medi- 
tated flight. Perceiving that all were asleep, he gathered courage, 
rose, picked up the fetters and, opening the door noiselessly, crept 
out as quick as might be. He shaped his course for Norwich, and 
arrived there at dawn : when the doors of the cathedral church were 
opened, he went in and fled to the tomb of the blessed William. 
Holding the fetters in which he had been locked in his hand, he 
offered them in the sight of many to his liberator in token of his 
W. N. 17 

258 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

signum. Interrogatus uero, totius rei geste seriem querentibus 
explicuit, et cum securitas oblata est, securus abscessit. 

De altero. 

LIQVANTO postmodum interiecto temporis interuallo, 
quidam Hugo quern dominus suus Simon scilicet de 
Nodariis compedibus astrinxerat multimodaque attrectauerat pena, 
beati Willelmi meritis consimili liberatus est modo. Solutus autem 
Norwicum uenit, ferreosque ferens quibus innexus fuerat nexus, 
liberatoris sui sepulchro apposuit, ibique in facti signum et 
memoriam dimisit. 

xix. De niso Alberti Gressle mire curato. 

I I INTER tot et tantas 1 egregias miraculorum uirtutes, uirtus 
L-LJ nonnunquam diuina in rebus etiam minimis preminere 
solet permaxima. Erat nempe Roberto Gresle illustri siquidem 
uiro filius Albertus, qui puer nisum habebat, quern nimis affec- 

1 tantam cod. 

release : when asked, he told the questioners the whole course of the 
story, and when a safe opportunity offered, went away secure. 

Of a second. 

After some considerable interval had elapsed, a certain Hugh, 
whom his lord, Simon Des Noyers 1 , had bound in fetters and maltreated 
in many ways, was similarly freed by the merits of the blessed William : 
and when freed came to Norwich, bringing the iron bands in which 
he had been set, laid them at the tomb of his liberator, and there left 
them for a token and memorial of the fact. 

xix. Of the wonderful cure of the falcon of Albert Gresley. 

Among so many eminent and mighty miracles, the power of GOD 
is sometimes apt to show itself forth greatly in the smallest things. 
Now Robert Gresley*, a nobleman, had a son Albert, who, when a 
lad, possessed a falcon of which he was exceedingly fond : and one 

1 See p. 97. 

1 A branch of this family (which seems to have come from the North of 
England) held lands at Hoveton in Norfolk. An Albert de Gresley (or Grelley) 
appears as witness to a charter of Henry II. in 1156 (see Eyton'a Itinerary). They 
became extinct at the death of Thomas de Gresley in 1347 (see Comthope's 
Complete Peerage.) 

vi.] St William of Norwich. 259 

tuose semper dilexerat. Quadam autem die auem illam contigit 
ad mortem infirm ari, de cuius infortunio puer adeo condoluit ac 
si de suo. Cumque iam auis rem gerere uideretur suppremam, puer 
ad beati pueri et martins Willelmi se contulit suffragia orans, ut 
ipso propitiante niso morienti salus restitueretur et uita. Votum 
quoque uouit, quod sibi dilectam auem si restitueret ad eum 
singulis annis cum oblationis recognitione ueniret. Pater inter 
hec ceterique qui aderant milites puero tanquam puerilia depos- 
centi illudebant, turn qui proculdubio auem statim morituram 
nouerant, turn quoniam pro huiusmodi ludicris sanctos uel exorare 
uel illis uota uouere ridiculum fore estimabant. Factum est autem, 
orante cum lacrimis ac gemitibus puero, contra uniuersorum 
opinionem respirauit auis, breuique post interuallo sospes apparuit 
et incolumis. Quo uiso, admirati nimium uniuersi, dominum 
in sanctis suis reuera mirificum glorificant, sanctumque dei 
martirem Willelmum rebus etiam minimis compati et curam 
exhibere admirantur et laudant. Porro puerum postea cum patre 
Norwicum uoti soluendi gratia uenire uidimus, ipsorumque relatu 
rem ipsam prout gesta fuerat cognouimus. Que nos audientes, 

day it so happened that this bird fell sick, and the boy was as grieved 
for its mishap as if it had been his own. The bird seemed to be 
in extremis, and the boy betook himself to the intercession of the blessed 
boy and martyr William, praying that by his kindness the dying 
falcon might be restored to health and life : he vowed, moreover, 
that if the saint would restore him his beloved bird, he would come 
to him every year with an offering in acknowledgment. His father, 
meanwhile, and the other knights who were present, laughed at the 
boy as making a childish request, partly because they were sure 
that the bird would die directly, and partly because they deemed it 
ridiculous to pray to the saints or make vows to them for such trivial 
matters. Yet it came to pass that, as the boy prayed with tears and 
sobs, contrary to the expectation of every one, the bird breathed 
again, and in a short space appeared well and sound. All marvelled 
at the sight and glorified the Lord as being truly wonderful in His 
holy ones : and they were alike surprised and grateful to the holy 
martyr of GOD William for sympathising in and caring for even 
the smallest matters. Now after this I saw the boy come with his 
father to Norwich to pay his vow, and ascertained from them the 
facts as they happened. And when I had heard the story, I blessed 


260 St William of Norwich. [BK. vi. 

gloriosum et tarn pium del martirem, immo et in martire dominum 
qui cunctos coronat martires, glorificando benediximus et bene- 
dicentes glorificamus, qui uniuersorum conditor ac moderator licet 
magnus sit in magnis, mirabilia tamen quandoque operari non 
dedignatur in minimis. 

Explicit liber sextus. 

in glorifying and glorified in blessing the glorious and merciful martyr 
of GOD, or rather, in His martyr the Lord who crowns all martyrs, 
Who, being Creator and Governor of all things, although He is great in 
great things, yet does not disdain at times to work in the smallest 



Incipiunt capitula libri septimi. 

i. <D>e Reimberto dapifero abbatis de Bello et eius molen- 

dinario ab egritudine sua curatis. 

ii. De iuuene paralitico curato. 

iii. <D>e clerico furibundo sanitati reddito. 

iv. <D>e muliere languida a languore diuturno curata. 

v. De puerulo ad solum patris uotum curato. 

vi. <De>muliere mire bis cancri curata incommodo. 

vii. De mirabili in cera particulata inditio. 

viii. <D>e conflua multitudine languentium curatorum. 

ix. De puero a natiuitate ceco, surdo, muto, ac toto corpore 

imbecilli, articulo temporis curato. 

x. <D>e Roberti contracti cura. 

xi. De altero toto corpore imbecilli sanato. 


i. Of Reimbert, seneschal to the abbot of Battle, and his miller, 

who were healed of their diseases, 

ii. Of a youth with the palsy cured, 

iii. Of a mad clerk restored to sanity. 

iv. Of a sick woman cured of a longstanding illness. 

v. Of a little boy cured by the mere vow of his father, 

vi. Of a woman twice wonderfully cured of a cancer, 

vii. Of the wonderful sign in the dividing of the wax. 

viii. Of a number of ailing persons cured, 

ix. Of a boy blind from birth, deaf, dumb, and weak in body, 

cured in a moment. 

x. Of the cure of the deformed Robert, 

xi. Of a second who had lost the use of his limbs, and was cured. 

St William of Norwich. [BK. 

xii. <I>tem de muliere contracta atque erecta. 
xiii. De quodam maledico per uisum mire castigate. 

Indpit prologus in librum septimum. 

/ \ \ LIQVANTA temporis intercurrente mora cum, beatissimi 
\J\S martiris uirtutem a miraculorum signis iam cessasse 
existimans, arma scriptoria deposuissem multoque scribendi labore 
defatigatus quietis optate modicum degustarem, forte laboris 
iterati laberintum incurri. Subito etenim, inopinantibus nobis, 
anno ab incarnatione domini M. C. LV. quasi renouata uirtus 
sancti martiris ampliori quam prius signorum effulsit frequentia. 
Vnde resumens calamum, opus libens aggredior intermissum. 
Verum quia hinc tanta miraculorum concurrit multiplicitas, inde 

xii. Also of a deformed woman made upright. 
xiii. Of a blasphemer wonderfully chastised in a vision. 

[The list of Chapters ends Jiere : but in the text the following are 
added, for which I supply the titles : 
xiv. Of a maid cured of gout. 
xv. Of a deformed girl cured. 
xvi. Of another deformed girl, and two boys, 
xvii. Of certain saved at sea. 
xviii. Of a sorcerer repulsed from the altar; and of the wonderful 

experiences of a young lady in Worcestershire. 

xix. Of the extraordinary cure and wonderful journey of Gaufrid 
of Canterbury.] 


A considerable interval of time had elapsed, and I began to think 
that the power of the most blessed martyr had ceased from working 
signs and wonders ; so that I laid aside my writer's weapons, and worn 
out by literary toil was beginning to taste a measure of the rest I 
longed for, when it happened that I was plunged once more into the 
labyrinth of labour. For quite suddenly, when we were least expecting 
it, in the year of the Lord's incarnation 1155, the power of the holy 
martyr seemed to renew itself, and shone forth with a greater multitude 
of signs than before. I therefore take up my pen once more, and gladly 
resume the work I had laid aside. But since on the one hand there is a 
great press of miracles, and on the other the demands of my own private 

vii.] St William of Nonvich. 263 

familiarium negotiorum urget necessitas, in meditullio expositus 
necesse habeo ea sic exequi, ut ista nou negligam, et ita me 
undique expediam, ut neque uel hec infecta uel ilia pretermittam 
illibata. Que autem beatissimi martins siue nos uidere siue a 
credibilibus uiris audire contigit miracula, ex consulto ita sub 
breuitate transcurrere curauimus, ut et ea scire uolens cognosceret, 
et multiplicitas concurrens non fastidiret. Si quid uero interdum 
effusius explanari contigerit, quia scilicet paucis explicari non 
possit, moderationis tamen non excedemus regulam, ne promissi 
defraudati incurrisse uideamur culpam. 

Explicit prologus. Incipit liber septimus. 

i. De Reimberto dapifero abbatis de Bello. 

nTTl RAT igitur in prouintia Hastingensi miles quidam Reimbertus 
J J nomine, dapifer abbatis sancti Martini de Bello. Hie quan- 
doque permaxime ualetudinis incurrens incommodum, perurgente 
molestia loquelam pariter perdidit et uisum. Vbi uero perseu- 
erante incommodo nullo leuigaretur medicamine, sed in dies 
doloris ac morbi succresceret uehementia, monitis suorum diuine 

duties are urgent, I, standing in the midst, am forced to set the former 
forth in such wise as not to neglect the latter, and so manage matters 
as neither to leave the duties undone nor the miracles untold. Now, 
those signs of the most blessed martyr which I have either happened 
to witness myself, or to hear from men worthy of credit, I have 
purposely sketched quite shortly, in order that those interested might 
be informed of them, and yet not be tired by their number. Should 
it happen that I am forced sometimes to relate a matter at somewhat 
greater length, because it cannot be set forth shortly, I will still not 
overstep the bounds of moderation, lest I seem to incur the blame of 
breaking a promise. 


i. Of Iteimbert, seneschal to the abbot of Battle. 

There was then 'in the province of Hastings a knight named 
Reimbert, seneschal to the abbot of St Martin of Battle. He had 
at some time fallen into a serious illness, which increasing deprived 
him alike of speech and sight. Finding no remedy, but only a daily 
aggravation of his disease, he betook himself to the refuge of the 

264 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

miserationis sese contulit asylo. Cum etenim amicis sibi assistent- 
ibus sub tanto periclitaretur discrimine, recordatione imaginaria 
beatissimum martirem Willelmum, cuius sepulcrum Norwici quan- 
doque uiderat, ante mentis oculos ponens cordis lingua qua potuit 
eius sibi opem inuocauit. Nee mora, pia mentis contritio celos 
pulsans, diuine pietatis remedium promeruit, atque sub ipso tem- 
poris articulo, salutem amissam recuperauit. Idem ipse paucis 
postmodum diebus molendinarium suum ad mortem usque egro- 
tantem uisitans et qualiter beati Willelmi curatus fuerit suffragiis 
enarrans, exemplo suo ad sospitatis spem egrotantis inuitauit 
fidem. Fidelibus ille monitis permonitus, mox ut coram deo beato 
martin orationem effudit et uotum, festinum suscepit sanitatis 
remedium. Hec eiusdem Reimberti relatu cognouimus, dum 
Norwicum postea ad beatum martirem exorandum ueniret, ac pro 
se suoque molendinario duplices referret gratias. 

ii. De paralitico curato. 

ALIO quoque tempore iuuenis quidam Schet nomine in uilla que 
Hadescho dicitur de patre Eilmero natus, sed apud Gerne- 
mutam piscatorii gratia questus aliquamdiu commorans, paralitico 

divine mercy, at the advice of his friends. For when he was in this 
state, and his friends by him, he recalled in imagination the most blessed 
martyr William, whose tomb he had once seen at Norwich, and, setting 
him before his mind's eye, he invited his help with the tongue of his 
heart. The pious contrition of his mind knocked at heaven's gate 
and obtained the remedy of GOD'S pity; and on the instant he regained 
his lost health. 

A few days later he visited his miller, who was sick unto death, 
and told him how he had been cured by the intercession of St William, 
and by his own example encouraged the sick man's faith to hope for 
healing. Prevailed upon by this faithful advice, he at once poured out 
before GOD prayers and vows to the blessed martyr and received 
speedy recovery. This I heard from the lips of Reimbert himself, 
when he afterwards came to Norwich to pray to the blessed martyr, 
and render thanks alike for himself and for his miller. 

ii. Of a paralytic cured. 

At another time a youth called Schet born of one Eilmer in the 
town called Haddiscoe, but who lived at Yarmouth for purposes of fish- 

vii.] St William of Norwich. 265 

per multos dies laborabat incommodo. Qui denique dum Norwicum 
ad beati Willelmi martiris sepulcrum fuisset adductus, ipsa die 
qua uenerat, ibi meritis sacri martiris soluto lingue uinculo sermo 
ei redditur, membris inualidis salus restituitur, sanusque effectus, 
domum se incolumem regredi letatur. 

iii. De clerico furibundo sanato. 

"YTIDIMVS et quendam Robertum clericum, Willelmi filium 
V de Crachesfort, cerebri turbati laborantem insania, pluri- 
morum manibus ad beati martiris sepulcrum adduci. Dumque 
ibidem cum suis nocturnam satis placide exegisset uigiliam, sub 
aurora sompno pressus dormire cepit, et circa horam terciam exper- 
gefactus, tarn capitis insaniam quam membrorum dolorem sedatum 
persensit. Gratulantibus ergo suis atque pro salute illius sancto 
martiri gratias agentibus, super tanto et tarn subito miraculo plebs 
assistens exultat, quoniam sanum regredi conspicit, qui insanus 

ing, was long afflicted with palsy. He was finally brought to Norwich 
to the tomb of St William the martyr, and on that same day, by the 
merits of the sacred martyr, the string of his tongue was loosed, 
speech restored to him, and health to his strengthless limbs: so being 
made whole, he rejoiced and returned home well. 

iii. Of a mad clerk healed. 

I also saw one Robert, a clerk, son of William de Crachesford l , who 
was troubled in his wits, and mad, being brought to the tomb of the 
blessed martyr by a number of people. After spending the night 
there with his friends quietly enough, at dawn he was overcome with 
sleep and, waking about the third hour, felt that his madness and the 
pain in his limbs were alike appeased. His friends were rejoiced and 
rendered thanks to the holy martyr for his recovery, and the people 
present also exulted at so great and sudden a miracle, for they saw 
him go away sane, who had come mad. 

1 There was a family of this name who lived at Tuttington in the Hundred of 
South Erpingham early in the 13th century. Blomefield, vi. 349. A century later 
they appear as considerable people in Norwich. 

266 St William of Norivich. [BK. 

iv. De muli-ere languida curata a diuturno languore. 

~T71 ISDEM diebus quedam Leua, soror Rogeri de Scales, toix) cor- 
I^J pore male habens, et dolore membrorum diuturno laborans, 
ad sepulcrum beati martins uenit ibique salutem integram recupe- 

v. De puero ad patris uvtum curato. 

QVIDAM quoque Willelmus de Tornedis uilla episcopali par- 
uulum filium languore languentem diuturno et iam morti 
proximum habuit, pro cuius salute sancto martiri Willelmo uotum 
faciens, eiusdem mox suflfragiis filio remedium optinuit sanitatis. 

vi. De muliere bis a cancri incommodo curata. 

IN eadem quoque uilla episcopali mulier erat, cuius a memoria 
nomen excidit, que grauiter in mamilla paciebatur. Ex ea 
quippe plurima profluebat sanies, eiusque iam papillam quod can- 
crum nominant consumpserat incommodum. Cumque huiusmodi 
diutius laboraret ualitudine, neque ulla illi subueniretur ope 
medicorum, de humana iam diffidens, ad diuinam denique se 

iv. Of a sick woman cured of a longstanding illness. 

In these same days, one Leva, sister of Roger de Scales, who was 
afflicted in all her body and suffered constant pain, came to the tomb 
of the blessed martyr and there recovered her strength entirely. 

v. Of a boy cured by his father's vow. 

One William also of Thornage ', a vill of the Bishop's, had a little 
son who was long ill and nearly dead, for whose recovery he made a 
vow to the holy martyr William, and by his intercession obtained the 
remedy of healing for his son. 

v. Of a tvoman twice cured of a cancer. 

In the same vill of the Bishop's was a woman whose name I have 
forgotten, who suffered terribly in her breast. It discharged a great 
deal, and was afflicted with a cancer. She was long troubled with it, 
and got no aid from physicians ; so, despairing of man's help, she betook 

1 A considerable village on the north coast of Norfolk, formerly a seaport. It 
WM m vill of the Bishop's before the Conquest, and is so still. 

vii.] St William of Norwich. 267 

contulit medicinam. Arrepta itaque cera et ad ignem mollificata, in 
nomine sancti martiris Willelmi mamillam male habentem circum- 
dedit, eamque aliquamdiu sic dimittens, memorato martin ora- 
tionem cum lacrimis et uota effudit. Mira res ! Confestim nempe 
mitigate dolore, et serpentis morbi prurigo exaruit, et saniei 
fluor cessauit. Cumque memoratam ceram prout uouerat sancto 
Willelmo Norwicum presentare de die in diem differret, iterum 
mamillam renouatus morbus inuasit, eamque grauiori quam antea 
dolore afflixit. Ex quo conicimus beatum martirem uotifragii 
reatum iterata uoluisse piari pena, et negligentem ad soluendum 
uotum mulierem iterati doloris reuocari molestia. Mulier itaque, 
recognita infidelitatis sue culpa, ceram resumpsit, mamillam cir- 
cumdedit, et in breui sanitatem amissam recuperauit. Porro in 
posterum de cetero sibi precauens Norwicum properauit, ceramque 
ad sancti martiris sepulcrum offerens, uotum persoluit domumque 
gratulabunda regressa est. 

vii. De miro in cera inditio. 

A LTERA mulier de Belahhe die quadam ceram quam habuit 
JLJL. deuotionis instinctu particulatim diuisit. Partiuin uero 

herself to GOD'S. She took wax, accordingly, softened it at the fire, 
and in the name of the holy martyr William applied it to her breast, 
and let it remain there for some time, praying and making vows with 
tears to the aforesaid martyr. Wonderful to say, the pain abated at 
once, and the creeping disease ceased to irritate her, while the discharge 
also was stayed. But as from day to day she put off presenting the 
wax I have mentioned to St William at Norwich in accordance with 
her vow, the disease again attacked her breast more violently than 
before. Hence I conjecture that the blessed martyr was minded that 
her sin in breaking her vow should be expiated by severe punishment, 
and that she should be reminded to pay her vow by the trouble of a 
second attack of her disease. She, then, recognising her fault, took 
the wax and once more applied it to her breast, and in a short while 
recovered her lost health. She was more careful for the future, and 
made haste to go to Norwich, where she offered the wax at the tomb 
of the holy martyr, paid her vow and returned home in joy. 

vii. Of the wondrous sign in tlie toax. 

Another woman of Belaugh one day cut up a quantity of wax 
which she had, for purposes of devotion, and vowed to offer the 

268 St William of Norwich. [BR. 

maiorem sancte Trinitati et de minoribus duabus, sancto Willelmo 
alteram, et alteram sancte Fidi se uouit oblaturam. Interim 
autem, dum temporis illuc eundi succederet oportunitas, tres illas 
archa cere reposuit particulas. Cum ergo sancte Fidis aduenit 
lest urn, quoniam ipsas tune ipsa locis prefatis ofierre proposuerat, 
de minoribus una, quam sancte Fidis credebat, ut inde candelam 
efficeret assumpta, mox ut illam cultello incidere incepit, quasi 
sanguineis scaturientibus guttis cruentata paruit 1 . Obstupescens 
nimirum portento, ea deposita, alteram assumpsit, atque ex ilia 
sancte Fidis candelam pro libito effecit. Similiter incontinenti et 
altera in nomine sancte Trinitatis effecta, audatie ductu in nomine 
sancti Willelmi presumpsit et de tercia. Sub cuius intentionis 
proposito, cum cere prius cruentate cultellum liberius imprimeret, 
nee minima quidem sanguinei ruboris apparuere uestigia. Quo ad- 
mirata miraculo uniuersis quos nouerat sancti martiris Willelmi 
magnalia predicabat. Nos quoque, cum hoc ipsum uicinia referente 
cognouimus, ex ipsius rei euentu quasi augurati sumus, quod alteri 
offerri sanctus martir noluerit quod sibi uotaliter promissum fuit. Ita 
itaque uirtus beati martiris maxima preminebat etiam in minimis. 

1 aparuit cod. 

larger part to the Holy Trinity, and of the two smaller pieces one 
to St William and the other to St Faith : but meanwhile, until a fit 
opportunity should arise of going thither, she laid up the three pieces 
of wax in a chest. When, then, the feast of St Faith came round, 
since she had promised to make her offering at the aforementioned 
places on that day, she took one of the two smaller pieces, thinking 
that it was the one belonging to St Faith, in order to make a candle 
out of it. But as soon as she began to cut it with the knife, it 
appeared to be stained with drops of blood springing from it. Aston- 
ished at the portent, she laid it aside and took the other, and out of 
that made the candle for St Faith, as she intended. In like manner 
she proceeded to make the second candle in the name of the Holy 
Trinity, and was emboldened to go on with the third in the name of 
St William. When with this intent she applied the knife to the wax 
which had been previously stained with blood, not the least trace of 
redness or blood appeared in it. She marvelled at the sign, and pro- 
claimed the might of the holy martyr William to all her acquaintance. 
I too, on ascertaining it from the relation of the neighbours, divined, 
as I may say, from the facts that the holy martyr would not have 
that offered to another which had been promised and vowed to himself. 
And so it appeared that the power of the blessed martyr was pre- 
eminent even in the smallest matters. 

VIL] St William of Norwich. 269 

viii. De multitudine languentium curato (sic). 

MVLTIS preterea beatissimi martins Willelmi mentis diuina 
sepe subuenit misericordia. Ad sepulcnim nempe illius 
uenire consuerunt febricitantes ibique liberati sunt. Venerunt 
et nonnulli diuturno uiscerum ac membromm dolore languentes, 
sanique ad propria redierimt et incolumes. Vidimus et sepissime 
illuc uenire claudos, cecos, surdos, ac mutos, aliosque multos multi- 
plici laborantes incommodo, ex quibus plurimos sanitati restitutes 
cognouimus. Presertim innumeros, turn longinquis positos regio- 
nibus, turn locis proximis commanentes, uariis uexatos languoribus, 
quorum siue familiaris necessitas, siue alia grandis causa prepe- 
diebat aduentum, licet absentes meritis sancti martin's Willelmi 
sospitati plene redditos, et quam plures audiuimus, et nonnullos 
quandoque uidimus. 

ix. De puero a natiuitate ceco, surdo, muto, toto corpore inbecilli, 


ANNO autem ab incarnatione dominica M. C. LV1. in 
septimana pentecostes circa sepulcrum gloriosi martiris sui 
multo crebrius solito diuina uirtus innotuit. Ibi etenim uarii 

viii Of a multitude of sick persons cured. 

To many besides did the divine mercy bring aid by the merits of 
the most blessed martyr St William. For to his tomb men with fever 
used to come to be freed ; some too afflicted for long with pains 
in the intestines or in the limbs, who returned whole and sound to 
their homes. I have also very often seen persons come there who 
were lame, blind, deaf, or dumb, and many others sick of divers 
diseases, and have known most of them to be cured. Innumerable 
cases there were, too, of people ill in various ways, either in places 
most remote, or near by, who were prevented from coming by private 
affairs or other grave cause, and who, though absent, were completely 
restored to health by the merits of the holy martyr William. Many 
of these I heard of, and some I saw at different times. 

ix. Of a boy blind from birth, deaf, dumb, and toeak in 
all his body, who was cured. 

Now in the year of the Lord's incarnation 1156, in Whitsun-week, 
the power of GOD was manifested in more instances than usual at the 
tomb of His glorious martyr. For it then came to pass that very 

270 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

sexus pluriraos uariis languoribus detentos optinere tune contigit 
remedia sanitatia Porro quosdam uitande prolixitatis gratia pre- 
terire, et nonnullos, de quibus scilicet certiores sumus, presenti 
pagine decreuimus interserere. 

Igitur mulier quedam de Reppes ad illud medicabile gloriosi 
martiris sepulcrum filium a natiuitate cecum, surdum, mutum, 
et toto corpore imbecillem, ac membroruin impotem attulit, atque 
ipsa die qua uenerat, eundem sanum omnibusque membris incolu- 
mem domum gratulabunda reportauit. 

x. De Roberti contracti cura. 

EADEM septimana sancti martiris ante sepulcrum nocte sancte 
Trinitatis dum monacorum conuentus nocturnis inuigilaret 
uigih'is, puer quidam ab etate primeua contractus, diuina mentis 
sancti martiris cooperante gratia apparuit erectus. Hie autem 
Norwici multis annis commoratus, genibus innixus et manualibus 
gradiens scabellis, per urbem apud plurimos mendicauerat. Are- 
factis siquidem neruis, contracto poplite, ac desiccatis tibiis, usus 
illi negabatur gradiendL Cui, uelut prelibauimus, uirtus pia 
martiris remedium contulit sanitatis. 

many of either sex oppressed with divers disorders obtained healing. 
Of these I have decided to omit some in order to avoid being tedious, 
and to insert others into the present work, concerning whom I am 
better informed : 

A woman of Repps 1 brought to the healing tomb of the glorious 
martyr her son who was blind from birth, deaf, dumb, weak in all his 
body, and deprived of the use of his limbs; and on the day of his 
arrival took him home again joyfully, whole and sound in all his limbs. 

x. Of the cure of the deformed Robert. 

In the same week, before the tomb of the holy martyr, -on the 
vigil of the Holy Trinity, when the body of monks was keeping the 
nightly vigil, a boy, who from infancy had been deformed, appeared 
upright, GOD'S grace having worked along with the merits of the 
holy martyr. He had lived many years at Norwich, and begged at 
many houses in the town, kneeling on his knees and getting about by 
trestles which he held in his hands: for the power of walking was 
denied him, inasmuch as his sinews were dried up, his knees contracted, 
and his calves wasted away. On him, as I have said, the merciful power 
of the martyr conferred healing. 

1 One of two parishes near Cromer, North and South Repps. 

vii.] St William of Norwich. 271 

xi. De altero inbedlli sanato. 

"TTENERAT et per idem tempus quidam Thomas Eboracensis 
V debilis quidem uiribus et toto imbecillis corpore, duobus 
quos uulgo potentias uocant baculis gressus utcumque dirigens, 
et imbecilles artus sustentans. Qui ut ad sanctum martirem 
sanitatis percipiende gratia ueniret, ab Eboraco prout poterat 
digrediens, et gradiendo modicum proficiens, longinque peregri- 
nationis itinere multos consumpsit dies. Euntem fides sustentabat 
debilem, spes trahebat inbecillem. His tandem ducibus Norwicum 
ad sancti martiris sepulcrum uenit, et optate salutis remedium 
optinuit, ibique in signum sua podia dimisit. 

xii. De muliere contracta erecta. 

"TTIDIMVS quoque et mulierem pauperculam contractam de 
V Lindeseiensi prouintia oriundam. Ea diebus multis Norwici 
in domo Chole fabri perhendinauerat, neque quisquam illam nisi 
contractam se uidisse testabatur. Huic quoque ad beati martiris 
uenienti sepulchrum, idem martir sanitatis plene contulit reme- 

xi. Of a, second weak person cured. 

At the same time there had come one Thomas of York, very weak 
throughout his body, who guided his steps and supported his feet and 
frame on two sticks such as are commonly called crutches. With the 
view of coming to the holy martyr to receive healing he set out from 
York as best he could and, journeying slowly, spent many days over 
his long pilgrimage, supported on his way by faith and drawn on by 
hope. With these for guides he reached Norwich and the tomb of the 
holy martyr, and obtained there the wished-for healing ; in token of 
which he there left his crutches. 

xii. Of a deformed woman cured. 

I also saw a poor deformed woman who came from the province of 
Lindsey: she had spent many days at Norwich in the house of Chole 
the smith, and everyone testified that they never had seen her other- 
wise than doubled up. On her also when she came to the tomb of the 
blessed martyr, that same martyr conferred the boon of complete 

272 St William of Nomvich. [BK. 

xiii. De quodam maledico per uisum mire correpto. 

SED neque id silentio supprimendum censeo, quod turn sim- 
plices ac beniuolos instruat ad deuotionis ampliationem, turn 
maledicos premoneat ad prouisionis cautelam, ut et illi in beniuo- 
lentie pietatem excrescant, atque isti a deprauandi consuetudine 
resipiscant. Erat siquidem quidam Galterus, Willelmi decani nostri 
Norwicensis quandoque famulus, qui fatue uoluntatis instinctu 
semper in quantum poterat beati Willelmi martiris sanctitati atque 
miraculis derogabat. Cumque a domino quern dixi suo sepissime 
commonitus, ut a blasphemie sue proposito uel nonnunquam desis- 
teret, nunquam monentis consilio adquiescere uoluisset, nocte 
quadam idem martir Willelmus ei dormienti specie terribili appa- 
ruit, eumque interrogauit dicens : Cognoscis me frater ? Cumque 
ille cognoscere se dixisset, subiunxit: Et si me cognoscis, cur mihi 
tantis derogas blasphemiis ? Surge iam et sequere me. Confestim 
ille, uelut sibi per uisum uidebatur, exsurgens, eum usque in 
siluam consequebatur preuium. Cum uero ad locum quo primum 
sepultus fuerat peruenisset, stans super spelunce sue marginem ait 
illi : Scis cuiusne hec spelunca fuerit ? Cumque ille illius fuisse 

xiii Of a certain blasphemer wonderfully rebuked in a vision. 

I cannot, however, pass over this, which may instruct the simple 
and well-disposed to increase their devotion, and also warn blas- 
phemers to beware in time; that the former class may grow in 
piety and affection, and the latter awake to wisdom from their habit of 
corrupting others. 

There was one Walter, sometime a servant of our dean at Norwich, 
William 1 , who, prompted by foolish perversity, would always disparage, 
as far as he could, the holiness and miracles of blessed William the 
martyr. And, though he was often warned by his master, whom I 
mentioned, to desist at least occasionally from his constant blasphemies, 
he would never pay attention to his advice. One night, as he was 
sleeping, the same martyr William appeared to him with a terrible 
aspect, and asked him saying, "Do you know me, brother!" On his 
acknowledging that he did, the martyr rejoined, "And if you know me, 
why do you still disparage and blaspheme me? Rise at once and 
follow me." Hastily rising, as he dreamed, he followed, and was led 
to a wood : when St William had arrived at the spot where he was 
first buried, he stood over the brink of his cave and said, "Know you 
to whom this cave belongs?" The answer was, "It is yours'': and the 

1 Cf. pp. 95, 283. 

vii.] St William of Noi-wich. 273 

dixisset, terribiliter ei comminando subdidit: Ingredere igitur quam- 
totius, qui semper in me fuisti blasphemus. Conterritus ille et 
iubentis uerbo nequaquam contraire ausus, ut sibi uidebatur, spe- 
luncam ingressus est. Quo ingresso, eum continue sanctus inuasit, 
fustigauit ac denique omnibus membris contritum dimisit. Ten-ore 
itaque excitatus dormiens Galterus, membris omnibus uehemen- 
tissimam doloris sensit grauedinem, ac si quam per uisum uiderat, 
uigilans tolerasset fustigationem. Hacque castigationis pena, eum 
exinde cepit precordialiter uenerari ac deligere, cui primitus sole- 
bat despicabiliter derogare. Subscripsimus ecce quasi generale 
uniuersis commonitorium, uti hoc scilicet instruente exemplo sibi 
quisque precaueat, ne diuinis beneficiis ingratus deprauator ex- 
istat. Temerarium enim ualde est in sanctos dei uerbis maledicis 
tarn audacter inuehi, quos ab ipso domino tot ac tantis miraculis 
tarn patenter constat glorificari. 


IT! RAT Norwici puella octennis Agnes nomine cuius pater Bondo, 

I J cognomento Hoc, et mater Gunnilda dicebatur. Hec ab ipso 

natiuitatis exordio podagre ciragreque graui laborabat incommode. 

martyr with terrible threats replied, "Enter it, then, at once, you who 
have constantly blasphemed me." The frightened man, not daring to 
disobey the order, entered the cave, as he dreamed : and immediately 
the saint set on him and cudgelled him, finally letting him go 
when he was bruised in every limb. The sleeping Walter awoke in 
terror and felt the smart of severe pains all over him, as if he had had 
to bear waking the cudgelling he had seen in his dream. In con- 
sequence of this chastisement, he thenceforward began devotedly to 
worship and love him whom at first he had despised and disparaged. 
I would subjoin to this a sort of general warning to all, that with this 
example before him, each should take care to be no ungrateful sinner 
against the goodness of GOD : for it is the height of rashness to attack 
the saints of GOD thus boldly with abusive words, since we so plainly 
see them glorified by many and great miracles by the Lord Himself. 

xiv. Of a maid cured of gout. 

There was at Norwich a maid eight years old called Agnes, whose 
father was Bondo, surnamed Hoc, her mother's name being Gunnilda. 
From her birth she had suffered severely from gout in the hands and 
W. N. 18 

274 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

Non se propriis ualebat uiribus eleuare, neque absque adiuuantis 
adminiculo a latere in latus quandoque conuertere. Neruis quoque 
in ceruicem contractis, ad augmentum incommodi, humero sinistro 
sinistra mala tarn inseparabiliter adherebat, ut alteri alterum 
incastrari cerneres atque in nullas omnino partes inflexo humero 
ceruix flecti preualebat. Multiplex igitur incommodum, pedibus 
podagricis incessus, manibus contractis attactus, capitique humero 
cohercenti consuetudinarius uidendi, erigendi, conuertendi et co- 
medendi negabatur usus. Quotiens enim manducandi perurgebat 
necessitas, cibo super terram uel asserem comminuto, humi procum- 
bens, et ad iustar pecudis oppetens, id solum poterat manducare 
quod lingua uel dentibus contingebat attingere. Toto igitur impos 
et imbecillis corpore alienis uertebatur, erigebatur, et circumfere- 
batur manibus. Hec si quidem talis matutinali secunde dominice 
quadragesimalis hora maternis ulnis ad sancti martiris Willelmi 
aduecta sepulcrum, coram uniuersa que die ilia ad ecclesiam 
festiuius conuenerat plebe, suffragantibus sancti meritis confestim 
remedium optinuit sanitatis. Ex his quippe perpendendum est, 
quanta <et> quam pia sit sanctorum uirtus, que toto corpore 
imbecilles sub ipso eorundem aduentu remittit incolumes. 

feet, being unable to raise herself or even to turn from one side to the 
other without assistance. To make matters worse, the sinews in her neck 
were contracted and her left cheek adhered so firmly to her left 
shoulder that you saw the one imbedded in the other, and the neck 
could not be bent in any direction whatever without bending the 
shoulder. All these afflictions therefore she suffered : walk she could 
not with her gouty feet, nor touch anything with her contracted hands, 
while the adherence of her head to the shoulder deprived her of the 
wonted power of seeing, standing, turning, nay, eating: for when she 
had to take food, it was cut up on the ground or on a trencher, and she 
lay down and fed like a beast, able only to eat what her tongue or 
teeth caught hold of. In this absolutely helpless state she was turned, 
raised, and moved about by others' help. This poor creature was 
brought in her mother's arms to the tomb of the holy martyr William 
at the hour of matins the second Sunday in Lent, and, in presence 
of the crowds who assembled in greater numbers than usual on 
that day, by the intercession of the merits of the saint, immediately 
obtained relief and healing. Hence we ought to consider how great 
;uid how merciful is the power of the saints, since it can immediately 
upon their arrival send back whole those who are destitute of all 

vii.] St William of Noi~wich. 275 


TTIDEM sub eodem tempore quedam Hathewis filia Edwini 
-L presbiteri de Taureham, cuius auia auie sancti Willelmi soror 
fuerat, contracta et corpore imbecillis erat. Hec consanguinitatis 
ut magis credinms instinctu, ad sepulcrum sancti martins quasi ad 
cognationis advenit asylum, et temporis articulo speratum salutis 
percepit remedium. 


HIS diebus quedam Huelina de Rochesburch, cui ex nature 
uitio pedum tali natibus adheserant, ad sepulcrum sancti 
martiris a patre in uehiculo rotatili aduehitur, quod ciueriam 
appellant. Ipsa quoque die puer quidam Baldewinus nomine a 
prouincia Lincolniensi Norwicum a patre itidem in ciueria adue- 
hitur rotatili, cui arefactis a genibus infra pedum et tibiarum 
neruis, usus negabatur gradiendi. Quandoque tamen sed cum 
necessitas ingruebat, genibus innixus scabellis ibat manualibus. 
Hi siquidem ambo ad sepulcrum sancti martiris simul aduecti, 
eiusdem suffragantibus meritis saluti plene simul sunt restituti. 

NEQVE multis post interiectis diebus puer quidam Herbertus 
nomine filius cuiusdam Berengarii Norwicensis a primeuo 

xv. Of a deformed girl cured. 

Also about the same time, Hathewis, daughter of Edwin, priest of 
Taverham, whose grandmother was sister to the grandmother of Saint 
William, was deformed and weak in her limbs. She, prompted, as I rather 
think, by the fact of her relationship, came to the tomb of the holy martyr 
as to a kindred refuge, and instantly obtained the longed-for cure. 

xvi Of aiwther deformed girl and three boys. 

In these days one Huelina of Rochesburch 1 , whose heels adhered 
to her back by natural deformity, was brought by her father to the 
holy martyr's tomb in a wheeled vehicle of the kind called a litter 
(civiere). On the same day a boy named Baldwin, from the province of 
Lincoln, was brought by his father to Norwich, also in a litter with 
wheels : the sinews of his feet and legs from the knees downwards were 
wasted and deprived him of the power of walking. However, when forced 
to move himself, he crept along on his knees, leaning on hand-trestles 2 . 
Both these persons, being brought at the same time to the holy martyr's 
tomb, were restored to full health by the intervention of his merits. 

Also not many days after, a boy named Herbert, son of one Berengar 
of Norwich, blind and dumb from infancy, was brought by his parents 

1 There is no such parish in East Anglia. Wroxham may be meant, bat more 
probably Rockland. There were three Rocklands in Norfolk. 

See p. 205. 18 2 

276 St William of Noi^wich. [BK. 

cecus et mutus tempore, ad sepulcrum beati martins a parentibus 
adducitur, eademque aduentus sui die cum eisdem uidens et 
loqueos regreditur. Quidam quoque Radulfus filius Ricardi de 
Hadestune membris omnibus imbecillis Norwicum a suis aduectus, 
sancti Willelmi curatus est meritis. 


DVM hec et alia huiusmodi ad gloriosi martiris laudem et 
gloriam Norwici contingerent magnalia, in mari quoque uirtus 
eiusdem insignis patuit et gloriosa. Maris etenim seuientibus ni- 
mium procellis, quedam longe a continent! periclitabatur nauis. 
Immanes siquidem fluctuum globi turn in ima depressi quendam hor- 
ridum faciebant hiatum, turn se in altum preter morem extollentes 
subitum fragili carine minabantur precipitium. Vnde mine quasi 
in celum eflferebatur nauis, nunc ruine patebat horribili. Porro 
ingruente magis ac magis uentorum rabie, imbrium inundantia, 
turbatur celum, turbantur maria, et interitum minantur uniuersa. 
Rudentes et antenne rumpuntur, uelum scissum dissoluitur, malus 
egre se continet, mortem solam superstitem nauis titubans per- 
suadet. Desperatus itaque nauta 1 quid faciat prorsus ignorat. 

1 ? nauclerus. 

to the tomb of the holy martyr, and on the day when he came 
returned with them, seeing and speaking. 

Also a certain Ralph, son of Richard of Hadeston, 1 who was weak 
in all his limbs, was brought by his friends to Norwich and cured by 
the merits of Saint William. 

xvii. Of certain saved at sea. 

Whilst these and other like miracles were happening at Norwich to 
the honour and praise of the glorious martyr, his power was also 
brilliantly shewn forth upon the sea. For once when a great storm 
was raging, a certain ship, far from land, was in great peril. Huge 
masses of waves sometimes sinking away opened a horrid gulf, and 
again rising to unwonted heights threatened instant destruction to the 
frail bark : so the ship at one moment was raised as I may say to 
heaven, and at the next was exposed to a frightful plunge. The rage of 
the winds and the pouring of the rain increased, sea and sky were in 
confusion and everything threatened destruction: cables and yards 
were snapped, the sail was rent, the mast hardly held its place, and 
the reeling of the vessel convinced all that death alone remained : the 
despairing captain was at his wits' end. Yet coming to better mind, he 
1 Hadeston, a hamlet of Bunwell, ten miles south of Norwich. 

VIL] St William of Norwich. 277 

Potiori tamen usus consilio, derelictum nauis applustre arripiens, 
proram ad continentem conuertit, cursum destinatum pretermisit, 
ac persuadentibus sociis et maxime presbitero quodam Thetford- 
ensi qui cum eis de Norweia aduenerat, beati martiris Willelmi 
opcm inuocauit. Se quippe omnes et sua omnia pariter cum 
naui eius committunt patrociniis et sic directo cursu ad proximum 
tenditur litus. Quid plura ? Inuocata sancti martiris ope, con- 
tinuo uentorum cepit conquiescere rabies; in serenum aer et 
pelagus in planitiem paulatim redigitur. Currens uero propero 
cursu nauis, estu secedente marine, non longe a continenti promi- 
nentem arenarum incurrit moleni, et absorbenti insidit sabulo. 
Fere nusquam tuta securitas. In maris perturbati profunditate 
periculum euaserat, in uadosa planitie incurrebat. Quo uiso, 
turbati conclamant naute, atque naui tune maxime diffidentes, 
immo et quassatam estimantes, quam intus habebant scapham 
exponunt, et solis saltern saluandis consulunt corporibus. Cor- 
porum igitur saluti consulentes, sua omnia et nauem cum uelo 
erecto deserunt, sancti martiris Willelmi tuitioni uniuersa com- 
mittunt, eique omnium que intus habebant si conseruentur, 
decimam uouentes repromittunt. Ventis, inquam, et mari nauis 
eminus exponitur, et appulsa lit tori cum nautis nauicula conser- 

seized the tiller, which had been abandoned, turned her head to land, 
leaving their projected course, and at the advice of his comrades and 
especially of a priest of Thetford who had come with them from 
Norway, called on the blessed martyr William for aid. To his protection 
all on board committed themselves, their goods and the ship, and so 
headed straight for land. What more 1 When the holy martyr's help 
had been invoked, the rage of the winds began to be soothed, the air to 
clear and the sea to calm. The ship, however, running quickly with 
the ebbing tide, grounded on a sandbank not far from the mainland and 
settled on a quicksand. Scarce anywhere was there safety: she had 
escaped danger in the stormy deep only to run into it in the shallows. 
Seeing this, the sailors cried out in terror, and no longer trusting the ship 
nay, believing her to be breaking up, they got out their boat, and took 
measures to save their bare lives. With this in view, they abandoned 
their goods and left the vessel with her sails set, committing every- 
thing to the protection of the holy martyr William, and vowing him 
a tenth of all they had, if it were preserved. The ship, I say, was 
left exposed to winds and waves, and the boat and sailors got safe 

278 St William of Nonvich. [BK. 

uatur. Sero erat, et incumbentibus iam tenebris nox imminebat. 
Mira res et pene incredibilis ! Nauis siquidem tota nocte fluctibus 
exposita pro marini estus uicissitudine nunc sabulo impriinitur, 
nunc in altum tollitur, sed diuine uirtutis anchora quasi littori 
affixa tenetur. Illuscescente diluculo, ad reuisendam nauem con- 
curritur, et non submersam admirantur. Ingressi ergo nauiculam, 
tranquilli maris famulante unda, ad nauem nauigio properant, 
quam saluam reperientes et integram, obstupescentes exultant. 
Nee mora; quisque pro uiribus unanimiter communi feruent ne- 
gotio. Velo nempe quamtotius reparato refectisque funibus ad 
uelificandum accinguntur. Estu quoque fauente et aura, portui 
qui Charlefluot dicitur cursu prospero inuehuntur. Appulsi uero, 
deo sanctoque Willelmo conseruatori suo gratias agunt, et, ut 
uouerant, que in naui habebant uniuersa decimarunt. Decimarum 
collectum precium per raanus memorati Thetfordensis presbiteri et 
quorundam consodalium Norwicum sancto martiri transmittunt, et 
se illius commendant patrociniis. 

QVIDAM itidem Humfredus Norwicensis, periclitante et sub- 
mersa in hostio de Scardeburc naui cui in erat, sub mortis 
discrimine sancti Willelmi martiris opem inuocauit, et sicut ex 
omnibus in inuocationem 1 martiris solus extitit, solus ex omnibus 

1 I. inuocatione. 

to land. It was late, and darkness and night were coming on. What 
happened is hardly credible. The ship exposed all night to the waves 
was now dashed on the sand, now raised high above it, according as the 
tide ebbed or flowed, but was held fixed to the shore as by the anchor of 
GOD'S power. At dawn, all ran to look for the ship, and marvelled that 
she had not sunk. They took boat, and aided by a calm sea, speedily 
reached the ship : and finding her safe and sound were filled with joy and 
amazement. All at once set to work, repaired the sail, replaced the rigging 
and set sail. So, with favouring wind and tide, they reached the 
harbour called Charlfleet '. On landing they gave thanks to GOD and their 
preserver Saint William, and as they had vowed, set aside a tenth of all 
that was in the ship. They then sent the value of this tithe to Norwich 
to the holy martyr by the hands of the aforesaid priest of Thetford and 
some of their companions ; and commended themselves to the saint's 

Also one Humphrey of Norwich, when the ship he was in was 

imperilled and foundering in the harbour of Scarborough, called on 

Saint William the martyr for aid when at the point of death; and, as 

he had been the only one to invoke the martyr, so he alone of all was 

1 Query Harfleur? 

vii.] St William of Norwich. 279 

diuina uirtute sed modo mirabili saluatur, et mirabilius extra 
spem omnium incolumis litori aduehitur. 


SOLET nonnunquam et auidis lectoribus inferre fastidium 
multiplicitas congesta miraculorum. Miraculorum frequenter 
succrescebat numerus, quoniam in glorioso martire suo diuina non 
deficiebat uirtus. Audire igitur non tedeat, quod Christus fidelibus 
suis prestat. Vnde producatur in medium ac presenti inseratur 
pagine illud eximie nobilitatis miraculum quod anno ab incarnatione 
domini M. C. LXVIIP. in capella sancti Willelmi do silua in oculis 
multorum cousistentiurn uideri contigit. Dedicauerat quippe illam 
Willelmus Norwicensis episcopus in octabis pasche quinto kalendas 
Maii. Intercurrente autem modico dierum post dedicationem in- 
teruallo, uenerunt Norwicum quidam ex Cantebrigie prouincia ad 
sanctum Willelmum. Qui dum Norwici sancta circuissent loca, 
uenerunt tandem ad memoratam et nouiter dedicatam sancti 
Willelmi in silua capellam. Dumque more peregrinantium ad 
altare accederent, et oblationes offerrent, mirum dictu, immo et 
mirabilius uisu, mulier quedam de consortio eorum cum eisdem 

saved by GOD'S power in a wonderful manner, and contrary to all 
expectation was brought safe to land. 

xviii. Of a sorceress repelled from the altar : and of the wonderful 
experiences of a young lady in Worcestershire. 

An indiscriminate heaping together of miracles is apt to tire even 
the keenest reader; and the number of miracles grew, forasmuch as 
GOD'S power was not found wanting in His glorious martyr. It ought 
then not to be wearisome to hear of what Christ does for His faithful 
ones. Therefore let me bring forward and insert into this work the 
relation of that preeminently notable wonder which happened in the 
year of the Lord's incarnation 1 168 in the chapel of Saint William in the 
wood, in the presence of many witnesses. This chapel had been con- 
secrated by William, Bishop of Norwich, on the octave of Easter, which 
was the 5th of the Kalends of May (Ap. 27). A short interval had 
elapsed since the dedication, when there came certain from the county 
of Cambridge to Norwich to Saint William; and after visiting the holy 
places of the city, they at last arrived at the aforesaid newly-dedicated 
chapel of Saint William in the wood. They approached the altar and 
presented their offerings, as pilgrims do, when, wondrous to tell and yet 
more wondrous to see, a woman of their company wishing to ascend the 

280 St William of Nonvich. [BK. 

gradus conscenderc uolens, inuisibili quadam uirtute repulsa est. 
Itidem animosius accessit, set fortius repulsa retro cessit. Nescia 
uero quod diuinitus repelleretur, tercio et quarto gradibus accessit, 
ascensum attemptauit, sed se multo uehementius repelli persensit. 
Et quo amplius earn in oculis assistentium repulse puduit, eo 
acrius atque frequentius conatus suos reiterare affectauit. Quid 
ii ml t. -i ? Laborabat inulier diuine uirtutis ignara et reiterande 
presumptionis cupida. Denique se incassum laborare persentiens, 
preuaricatrix ad cor rediit et flagitiorum suorum conscia, in lacrimose 
querele prorupit eiulatus dicens: Oh me miseram et miserabilem! 
Oh perditam et infelicem! Peccatrix iinpura tantorumque flagi- 
tiorum conscia, tot annis insolescens, inpenitens et inconfitens, deum 
non timeo, homines non reuereor. Qua ergo frontis irreuerentia, 
qua mentis audatia incesto pede et sacrilega mente sacra contin- 
gere presumpsi loca ? Et reuera digne pro meritis rnihi contigit. 
Sortilega, impudica et immunda, sacrati munditiam loci ingressu 
indebito pollui, et culparum oblita, culparum uindicem irritaui. In- 
diguam spurcitie mee oblationem mentis et corporis sacrilegio 
perquisitam, non indigne sanctus Willelmus renuit, uirtus diuina 
repellit, utpote quam accessus indignam adiudicauit. Hen me 

altar-steps with them, was driven back by some invisible power : 
she drew near again in a more determined fashion, but was repelled 
with greater force, and retreated. Not perceiving that it was GOD who 
was keeping her away, she tried to mount the steps a third and a fourth 
time, but felt herself driven back again with greater violence ; and the 
more ashamed she grew at being rejected before witnesses, the more 
eagerly and often did she repeat her efforts. What more? She con- 
tinued her exertions, unconscious of the divine power, and eager to renew 
her bold attempt. Finally seeing that all was in vain, the poor sinner 
returned to her senses, acknowledged her guilt, and broke forth into 
tears and cried : " O wretched miserable creature ! lost and unhappy 
that I am ! foul sinner, conscious of so many crimes, hardened for so 
many years, impenitent, unshriven ; I fear not GOD nor regard man ! 
How brazen-faced, how bold, to presume with polluted foot and profane 
HOU! to touch this holy place! Truly I am rewarded according to my 
deserts. A sorceress, of impure life, I have with unlicensed foot defiled 
th purity of this consecrated spot, have forgotten my sins, and drawn 
their avenger on myself. Rightly does Saint William refuse the offering 
obtained by defilement of body and soul, rightly does GOD'S power 
repel me as unworthy to approach Him. Alas wretched me! alas 

vii.] St William of Norwich, 281 

miseram, hcu infelicem! Quid igitur agam infclix ct misera, quo 
diuertam diuinitus repudiata ? Hoc profusis interserebat lacrimis, 
hec complosis uociferabat palmis. Peplo denique capitis auulso 
nunc crincs digitis decerpcns, nunc faciem, nunc pectus pugnis 
tundens, et nonnunquam pedibus terram proterens, mirabili et 
miserabili se agcbat modo. Sic aliquandiu se habuit, unde et 
oculos assistentium in se conuertit. Accessit igitur quidam qui 
altaris astabat custodie, ab ea sciscitans cur se sic haberet, uel cur 
cum sodalibus altari non accessisset. Atque hoc dicto, ei candelam 
tradidit, ut cum lumine ueniens accedendi gratiam optineret. 
Cui ilia : Domine, peccatrix ego peccatis onusta, accedere quidem 
uolui nee potui, et quotiens accessum atternptaui, totiens repulsam 
pertuli. Repellit me quidam elegantis forme iuuenis qui quotiens 
gradibus accedo, totiens occurrit, totiens retrudit. Hie soli misere 
mihi terribilis, aliisque ut mihi uidetur apparet mitis. Hie dictis, 
siluit, ac resedit. Demum, utpote dolore multo ac labore fatigata, 
modicum quieuit et paulisper dormiuit. Postmodum expergefacta, 
denuo surrexit. Accensa quam diximus candela, ascensure instar 
gradibus accessit, atque itidem is qui prius earn eminus reppulit. 
Vnde nimirum rubore confusa turn dolore permota, prorupit in 
lacrimas, lacrimisque et singultibus cordis innotuit anxietas. Anxia 

unhappy ! What shall I do 1 whither shall I go, the rejected of GOD ? " 
Her words were interspersed with tears and clapping of hands : she 
pulled her kerchief from her head and tore her hair and face and beat 
her breast, trampling upon the ground, and behaving in a manner to 
excite wonder and pity. This went on for some time, and attracted 
the eyes of all. The guardian of the altar came to her, and asked what 
ailed her, and why she had not approached the altar with her fellows : 
at the same time he gave her a candle, in order that she might come 
provided with a light and thus obtain grace to approach. She answered 
"Sir, I am a sinner, loaded with guilt: I wished to draw near, but I 
could not : I was driven back as often as I attempted to do so. There 
is a youth of beautiful form who drives me away, pushing me back 
whenever I approach the steps. He is only formidable, alas! to me, 
and to the rest seems to be kind." She was then silent and sat down, 
and after, worn out with grief and weariness, slumbered for awhile, 
then awoke and, rising to her feet, lighted the candle of which I spoke 
and went to the steps as if to mount them. But the same person as 
before drove her back. At this she was covered with confusion and grief, 
burst into tears and sobs, and shewed every sign of disturbance : then, 

282 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

circumspicit, circumspiciens ait: Veniat, queso, siquis Me assit 
sacerdos, cui scelera scelerata reuelem, cui crimina criminosa com- 
memorem. Veniat, obsecro, cui uite enormitatem confitear, qui 
penitentis confessionem suscipiat, suscipiens absoluat, absoluens 
flagitiis penam assignet. Credo utique nee dubito quod, ubi con- 
fessa fuero et a presbitero absoluta, et sacri martins consequar 
suffragium et sacrati altaris promerebor accessum. Venit itaque 
quidam ueteranus sacerdos, seorsum abduxit, confitenti peniten- 
tiam indixit, et iam de cetero confidere amonuit. Quid plura ? 
lam securior e marsupio stipem protulit, candelam reaccendit, 
gradibus approprians profusis orauit lacrimis. Lacrimas ministrabat 
deuote compunctio mentis. Ex compunctionis fonte profusus la- 
crimarum ille riuus aera penetrans celis influit, et ad uotum 
gemitus peruenit. Oratione finita, pede timido ascensum attemp- 
tauit, et quern ex aduerso sibi occurrentem uidere consueuerat non 
uidens, iam securior gradibus pedem confidentius infixit. lamque 
repulsam non sentiens neque repellentem se uidens, confidenti pede 
et mente alacri ascendit, atque altari sue niunus oblationis imposuit. 
Itaque in huius admiratione miraculi dum rei geste quali- 
tatem considero, gloriosam illam beate Marie Egyptiace peni- 

anxiously looking about her, she said, "Let some priest come, I pray, if 
there is one present, to whom I may confess my sins and crimes, and all 
the enormities of my life; let him hear my confession, absolve me, and 
impose penance. I am sure that when I am confessed and absolved by 
a priest I shall obtain the prayers of the holy martyr, and be allowed 
to approach the holy altar." So there came an old priest who took her 
aside and imposed penance after confession and bade her be of good 
cheer for the future. To be short, she was reassured, took her money 
out of her purse, relighted her candle, and drew near to the steps : 
here she prayed with flowing tears, which her devout repentance pro- 
duced ; and that fount of tears penetrated the air and flowed into the 
heavens and her groaning ended in prayer. After her prayer she 
attempted the ascent with timid foot, and no longer seeing him whom 
she had seen before opposing her, now planted her foot more boldly upon 
the steps. Meeting with no repulse and seeing no repeller, she then 
confidently and eagerly ascended and laid her offering upon the altar. 

Now when I reflect on the manner of this miracle, I recall to my 
memory the glorious repentance of Saint Mary of Egypt 1 . She was a 

1 The most famous of the female Saints who were "penitents " next to St Mary 
Magdalene. Her feast is on Ap. 2. Her story may be most conveniently consulted 
in Mrs Jameson's Sacred and Legendary Art, i., p. 385. 

vii.] St William of Norwich. 283 

tentiam memori mente reuoluo. Ilia eximie indolls generosa 
peccatrix, apud Jerusalem loca sacra sacrilege temerare ingressu 
presumpsit. Hec forme anilis flagitiosa prestigiatrix apud Nor- 
wicum in silua nouiter sacratam sancti Willelmi capellam pede 
impudico subintrauit. Illam gloriose dei genitricis uirtus inui- 
sibilis uisibiliter ab oratorii ingressu cohercuit: istam gloriosi mar- 
tiris Willelmi uirtus manifesta manifeste ab altaris sui accessu 
retrusit. Vtrobique pudoris et doloris se ingessit confusio, 
confusionem subsecuta est compunctio, compunctioni successit 
penitentia; penitentia uero profusis lacrimis multi lauit maculas 
criminis. Sic itaque penitentium beneficio lacrimarum ilia oratorii 
ingressum, et ista sacri altaris promeruit accessum. Patet ergo 
quante reuerentie sit locus hie qui a tante auctoritatis et religionis 
episcopo consecratus, primaque sancti martiris Willelmi tumula- 
tione fuerit insignitus. Ibi quippe multa et multimoda uirtutum 
miracula uirtus frequenter operatur diuina. Nempe in argu- 
mentum sanctitatis loci est turn Galteri famuli olim Willelmi de 
Hastinge, in sompnis flagellati correctio, Botilde uxoris olim 
Girardi Coci curatio, turn prestigiatricis muliercule quam preli- 
bauimus repulsio. Maxime autem loci commendat sanctitatem 
egregium illud, pre miraculis ut ita dicam miraculum, quod in 

sinner of noble birth and great beauty who attempted with profane foot 
to enter the holy places at Jerusalem. The other was an old woman, a 
witch, who with polluted step entered the newly-dedicated chapel of 
Saint William in the wood at Norwich. St Mary was visibly re- 
strained from entering the place of prayer by the invisible power of the 
glorious mother of God. The other was evidently thrust back from 
approaching his altar by the manifest power of the glorious martyr 
William. In both cases there was confusion and grief, confusion 
followed by compunction, compunction by repentance : and repentance 
with its floods of tears washed away the stains of their many sins. So 
each by the aid of repentant tears obtained, the one access to the oratory, 
the other power to approach the altar. It is evident, then, how 
reverend is this spot, consecrated by a Bishop of such authority and 
eminence in religion, and distinguished by the first burial of the holy 
martyr William. Certainly many and divers miracles have there been 
wrought by the power of God. For a proof of the holiness of the place 
we may cite the chastisement, in a dream, of Walter, sometime servant 
to William of Hastings, the cure of Botilda, wife of Gerard the Cook, and 
the repulse of the sorceress, just related. But most of all is its sanctity 
commended by that excellent miracle of miracles, as I may call it, 
which once happened in the county of Worcester, and was committed 

284 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

Wigomensi olim prouincia contigit, scriptoque traditum quidam 
Persorensis monachus Christianus nomine, uir equidem religione 
pollens et literatura, nobis Norwicensibus transmisit in his uerbis: 

Sancto et deo strenue militanti conuentui Norwicensi, frater 
Christianus, fratrum Persorensium minimus, uita peccator, habitu 
et nomine solo monachus, vite presentis quietem et future bea- 
titudinem. . 

Quanta uos felicitate pre cunctis totius regionis, immo orbis 
uniuersi, in nostra dico tempestate clarificauerit, quanto et quam 
admirabili corroborauerit pignore, nobis etiam longo a uobis 
interuallo distantibus diuina reuelare dignata est miscericordia. 
Est enim in partibus nostris uir, nomine notus, fama insignis, genere 
preclarus, prole beatus, Adam de Cromba nuncupatus. Quern et si 
in multis affines gratiosum, precipue utriusque sexus propagine 
predicant felicem. Sunt enim huic liberi monachi religiosi, milites 
streuui, iuuenes elegantissimi, puelle immo potius adhuc uirgines, 
specie et pudicitia prouiucialibus incomparabiles. Quarum uul- 
tibus sanguis regius, moribus patris pia seueritas et matris pudica 
facile innotescit disciplina. Harum que minor est natu Agnes 
nomine diuturna excocta est infirmitate, longo temporis spacio 

to writing by Christian, a monk of Pershore, a man distinguished for 
religion and learning, and sent to us of Norwich in these terms : 

To the holy convent of Norwich, earnestly fighting the good fight for 
GOD, brother Christian, the least of the brethren at Pershore, a sinner 
in his life, a monk in habit and name alone, wishes rest in the present 
life, and happiness in that which is to come. 

The mercy of GOD has vouchsafed to reveal even unto us who are 
removed by so long an interval from you with how great happiness he 
hath blessed you, before all that dwell in the country, nay in all the 
world, at least in our time, and with how precious and admirable a 
pledge he hath strengthened you. For there is in our neighbourhood 
a man distinguished in name and fame, of noble race, and rich in off- 
spring, whose name is Adam of Croome 1 : whose neighbours account him 
favoured in many respects, but particularly in regard of his offspring of 
both sexes. He has children who are monks in religion, brave warriors, 
handsome youths, damsels or I should say maids, the first in the county 
for beauty and modesty, in whose countenances is seen their royal descent, 
while in their character we trace the kindly firmness of their father, and 
chaste training of their mother. The youngest of these, named Agnes, 
han long been exhausted by illness, bed-ridden for a considerable space, 

1 The advowson of Hill Groom belonged to Pershore Abbey. Adam de Crombe is 
noticed in the red book of the Exchequer, 8 Richard I. Nash's Worcestershire, i. 264. 

vii.] St William of Norwich. 285 

clinica 1 , usque ad uite desperationem languore misero extenuata 
t-st. Misero, inquam, cum sepius in die uehementi coacta angustia, 
brachia iactans, lumina circumducens, prorsus exanguis tortuose 
uolueretur. Assistentes preter spiritus exalationem nichil coni- 
tiebant. Huic cum aliquando sorores pietate mote, uiso dolore 
affecte, cum capellano et familia ut finem uiderent assisterent, 
tune brachiis remissis, corpore composite, oculis leniter clausis, 
dolore etiam sopito ac si aliquem ueneratione dignum conueniret, 
et eidem mutuo cum omni diligentia responderet, orsa est, preter 
quam cum neminem uel uidere uel audire mererentur, insompniis 
agitatam crederent ubi 2 quia uultus et uerborum grauitas erat 
non minima. Quam cum ita diu sustinuissent, taudem illi quibus 
maior inerat prudentia, quid uideret, quern conueniret, cui tantam 
exhibens reuerentiam, responderet, ne occultaret, obnixe inquirere 
agressi sunt. Quibus ilia: luuenem uideo pulcherrimum cruentum, 
crucem gestantem. Cumque admonerent ut sequeretur : Sequor, 
inquit, et instanter sequar, et sedulo obsequar. Sed nemus ingre- 
ditur. Nunc parte nemoris transita capellam in eodem sitam 
nunc intrat ligneam. Nunc ut missam celebret, uestibus se induit 


1 clinica codex. 2 Ita codex : lege nisi. 

and worn down so wretchedly that her life was despaired of. Wretch- 
edly, I say, for several times in the day she would be compelled in her 
anguish to toss her arms about, roll her eyes, and writhe and twist, 
while the blood entirely left her face. Those who stood by could 
perceive no sign of life save in her breathing. On one occasion, 
when her sisters, moved by pity and touched by her sufferings, were 
stationed by her with the chaplain and the household to see the end, 
she let her arms sink, composed her frame, and with gently closed eyes, 
and freed from pain, she began to speak as if she were conferring with 
some one worthy of reverence, and answering him with great respect. 
As they were not permitted to see or hear any one other than herself, 
they would have supposed she was visited by a dream, save that the 
gravity of her face and speech was remarkable. When they had 
allowed this to go on for some time, the wiser of the party began 
closely to ask her to tell without concealment what she saw, with 
whom she was speaking, whom she was answering with such shew 
of veneration. She replied, "I see a most beautiful youth, stained with 
blood, who bears a cross." And when they bade her follow him, " So I am 
doing," she said, "and I will follow him closely and obey him diligently. 
But he is entering a wood ! Now he has passed through part of it, and 
is going into a wooden chapel that stands in it ! Now he is vesting in 

286 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

sacerdotalibus. Sed ue mihi misere sexui meo timenti! cum non sit 
qui suffragetur, ministrare non presume. Sed ecce ingreditur 
dignior me et sanctior, et ad sacrosancta magis idoneus, Robertus 
ut audio nuncupatus. Post hec intentissime auscultando paulisper 
obticuit, et spiritu ab imo resumpto, uoce subrnissa sed adprime 
supplici, Misereatur uestri etc. et Confiteor deo, et que sequuntur, 
respondit, que ante missarum inchoationem supplicando dicere 
usum habet ecclesia. Angelice 1 igitur que euangelium precedere 
solent perfectis cum ipsum legeretur, se miseram clamitans et 
infelicem, cum quid offerret non haberet. Cuius deuotionem ipse 
sanctus presentiens, per prefatum Robertum nummum sibi misit 
aureum. Quern sicut auide dono donantis letissima suscepit, ita 
deuotissime ut uel osculando manum aliquid de eo sic tangere 
liceret, obtulit. Sacramentum etiam corporis et sanguinis domini 
nostri Ihesu Christi, ortodoxorum omnium salutem, de illis sanctis- 
simis manibus post pacem sibi datam accepit. Ordine igitur 
ecclesiastico que tanto congruunt sacramento peractis, ut tempus 
est adepta et locum, timide cum reuerentia sanctum dei affata est: 
1 Ita codex: I. anglice. Igitur. 

priest's robes to celebrate mass ! But alas ! poor me, I fear for my sex : 
there is none to make the responses, and I dare not act as server. But 
see, here comes one worthier and holier than I and more fit for the holy 
office : I hear him called Robert 1 ." At this point she ceased speaking for 
some moments, and listened intently. Then, drawing a deep breath, she 
began again in a low and pleading voice with the responses to Misereatur 
uestri, Confiteor deo, and so on being the prayers which the Church offers 
before the beginning of the mass in English. When, therefore, all that 
part of the mass which precedes the Gospel had been gone through, and 
when the Gospel itself was being read, she cried out upon herself for a 
poor unhappy creature that had nothing to offer ! The saint himself 
perceiving her devotion sent her a gold piece by the hands of the afore- 
said Robert. This she received with eager joy and offered it most 
devoutly, as if she desired by kissing the saint's hand at least to touch 
somewhat of him. She also received the sacrament of the body and 
blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, the salvation of all the orthodox, from 
those most holy hands, after the pax had been given to her. Then, 
after all had been gone through according to the Church's order, that 
belongs to this great sacrament, when she found a fit opportunity and 
place, she timidly and reverently addressed the saint of GOD and said : 

1 Can this be Robert the boy-martyr of Bury? His reputed date is 1181, later, 
M it seems, than this document. 

vii.] St William of Norwich. 287 

Domine mi omni ueneratione dignissime, sancte beate, deo care, 
quern te ad infirmitatis mee auxilium, ad destitutionis mee sola- 
tium, ad miserie mee suffragium, ad dolorum et angustiarum 
mearum refrigerium inuocabo ? Turn ille, ut supernorum cre- 
dimus esse consciuium diuinam spirans dulcedinem, condolens 
infirmitati, uirginali compatiens anxietati, hilaris cum grauitate, 
benigiiissimo respiciens intuitu, dulcissimo respondit sermone, se 
ilium, quern sanctum dicunt esse, Willelmum. Et ilia pedibus 
sancti prouoluta: Sancte, clamat, Willelme, miserere mei omnium 
miserrime. Sancte Willelme, medere meis angustiarum angustiis. 
Sancte Willelme, uide infirmitates meas, et celeri pietate succurre. 
Sanaberis, inquit, sed modum sanitatis tue diligenter attende. 
Elementum quo maxima fiunt sacramenta, aquam dico benedictam, 
accipies, pedescrucifixiin <nomine> dei patris omnipotentis etfilii 
patri consubstantialis et spiritus sancti patri et filio coeterni, laua- 
bis. In qua micas panis diminues, et inde fide bona uescens dilatione 
semota sanitatem consequeris. Quod non tue huic soli infirmitati 
medicamen erit, sed omnibus quocumque languore egrotantibus, si 
ut diximus fide bona deum inuocantes usi fuerint, refrigerium. Et 
ut hinc uerum specimen comperias, febricitanti que in noua 

"My Lord, worthy of all worship, blessed saint, dear to GOD, by what 
name shall I call upon thee to help my weakness, to comfort my 
loneliness, to pray for my misery, and to relieve my pain and anguish?" 
Then he, breathing a fragrance such as we believe pertains to the 
citizens of heaven, in compassion for the maid's anxiety, looked upon 
her most kindly, alike with cheerfulness and gravity, and answered in 
the sweetest tones : "I am William whom they call saint." Throwing 
herself at the saint's feet, she cried: "Saint William, have mercy on me 
that need mercy! Saint William, heal my anguish! Saint William, 
look upon mine infirmities, and aid me with speedy kindness." "Healed 
you shall be," said he, " but you must mark carefully the manner of 
your healing : you shall take of that element wherewith the greatest 
sacraments are performed, I mean holy water, and therewith wash 
the feet of the crucifix in <the name> of GOD the Father Almighty, of 
the Son of one substance with the Father and of the Holy Ghost 
coeternal with the Father and the Son : herein you shall soak crumbs 
of bread and eat them without delay in faith, and you shall obtain 
health. And this remedy shall not only relieve your own sickness, but 
shall also benefit all that are sick, of whatever disease, if, as I have 
said, they make use of it in faith, calling upon GOD. To give you an 
example of this, you shall give part of it to one that is suffering from 

288 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

ecclesia Crombe torquetur inde impercies, et repente curabitur. 
Medicine quibus hucusque usa es, quedam nocuerunt, profuit nulla. 
In uirginitate humilis permaneas, cibis etiam quibusdam, in om- 
nibus modum tenens, non indulgeas. Mundum, id est que mundi 
sunt, fugias. Deo et que dei sunt adhereas. Sed ne ignara 
locorum uia exorbites, uel per deuia sola uageris, hunc tibi 
Robertum ducem trado et custodem. His auditis, benedictione 
accepta, corripuere uiam, festinatione compendiosa nulla tamen 
parte tanti itineris pretermissa, deuenere Crombam. Ibique ut in 
tuto posita ualedicto a duce suo dimissa est. Et uere nulla itineris 
parte pretermissa, cum adhuc itinera dierum, locorum nomina, 
species et qualitates eorundem, a duce suo docta, manifestissime 
narraret. Et que nunquam a domo patris sui plus septem miliariis 
egressa est, ab his qui sepius pedibus et equis iter illud mensi 
sunt nee in uerbo redargui potest. Ad se reuersa, iussa sibi 
festinare rogat, parant, offeruntque parata, comedit, bibit, et con- 
ualuit. Febricitanti prememorato impertire monet. Cumque illi 
nullum ibi febricitantem assererent, ilia econtra ilium etiam cum 
perante ecclesiam redeundo transisset uidisse, re ipsa probauit. 

fever in the new church of Croome, and he shall be healed forthwith. 
The medicines you have hitherto used have some of them done you harm 
and none of them good. Continue humbly in your virginity; indulge 
not in some articles of food and be moderate in all. Flee from the 
world, that is, from such things as are of the world. Cleave to GOD 
and to those things that are of GOD. But lest you should stray in 
ignorance of the way, or wander alone out of the path, I give you 
Robert here for a guide and guardian." Upon hearing this, she 
received his blessing and they set forth, and hastening at great speed, 
though they omitted no part of the journey, they arrived at Croome. 
Leaving her there, as in safety, her guide bade her farewell, and 
departed. They had really omitted no part of the journey, for she 
could still plainly repeat the stages of each day, the names of the 
places, their appearance and characteristics as they had been told her 
by her guide; so that this girl, who had never been more than seven 
miles from her father's house, could not be detected in a single mistake 
by those who had often traversed the distance on foot or on horseback. 
When she returned to herself, she asked that they would at once 
prepare the things prescribed: they prepared and presented them. 
She ate, drank, and recovered. She then bade them give the remedy 
to the fever-patient just mentioned. She was told there was no such 
person: but she proved by the facts that she had seen him also, when 
she had passed through the aforesaid church on her return journey. 

vii.] St Wi/fium of Norwich. 289 

Qui ut gustauit pristine restitutus est sanitati. Rogemus igitur 
tanti suffragatoris solatium, ut qui uere Christum secutus est, 
uere crucem baiulans, uere et miscericorditer nos suis sanctis me- 
ritis Christo reconciliet, ut lutea euadentes ergastula in celeati 
amenitate faciem Creatoris uidentes collocemur. Cui laus, honor 
et imperium per infinita secula. Amen. 

HEC ab ipsa uirgine et uirginis patre, et a capellano et ceteris 
ueridicis sepius audiui, diligenter didici, uerum comprobaui, 
et uobis ut potui breuiter scribere curaui. 


IN superne ciuitatis regno licet multe sint ac distincte ciui- 
bus mansiones, uniuersis tamen una et indistincta in uisione 
sui regis irradiat felicitas. Quos autem multipliciter una fe- 
licitatis concludit gloria, eos uniformiter et una karitatis con- 
nectit concordia. Vnde nonnullos quos piis consociari opinor 
meritis, pariter plerumque cooperari non admiror in miraculis, et 
unius non nunquam contingit esse miraculi comparticipes, licet in 
meritis non sint pares. Igitur anno ab incarnatione domini 
M. c. LXXII . quidam Gaufridus nomine Cantuarie mansitans, 

The sick man tasted the remedy and was restored to his former health. 
Let us therefore pray for the comfort of this great intercessor, that he 
who truly followed Christ, and truly bare the cross, may also truly and 
mercifully reconcile us to Christ by his holy merits, so that when we 
come forth of these dungeons of clay, we may be lodged among the 
pleasures of heaven, beholding the face of our Creator: unto whom be 
praise, honour and dominion unto infinite ages. Amen. 

These matters I have several times heard from the maiden herself, 
her father, the chaplain and other trustworthy persons ; have atten- 
tively learned them, ascertained the truth of them, and taken pains to 
write to you as shortly as I can. 

xix. Of the cure of Gaufrid of Canterbury. 

Although in the kingdom of the city above there are many separate 
mansions for the citizens, yet upon the faces of all alike there shines 
a like glory in the vision of their King. And those who, though various, 
are conjoined in one glory and happiness, are likewise bound together 
by one bond of charity. Hence I do not marvel that some, whom I 
believe to be associated in merits, should sometimes share in miracles, 
nay, take different parts in one and the same miracle, even though they 
be not equals in merit. 

Now, in the year of the incarnation 1172, one Gaufridus, living at 
W. N. 19 

290 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

uehementissimo dentium dolore laborabat. Vnde suorum consilio 
permonitus, tres sinistre faucis maxillares quibus maxime perur- 
gebatur, erui fecit, factumque inprouide paruipendens, cene nociue 
se contulit. Cernens enim candidissimas mense apponi pisas, ac 
pinguissimum cum allio anserem, gula illectus ex omnibus ad 
sacietatem gustauit; ceruisiam nouellam bibit, sed contrarie diete 
gustum grauissimum mox tumoris ac doloris subsecutum est 
incommodum. Nempe gradatim succrescente doloris angustia, 
totum adeo caput intumuit, ut iam non hominis faciem sed mon- 
struosam monstruosi animalis pretenderet effigiem, cutis undique 
ad instar uesice distenditur, ut intuentes non rumpi mirarentur. 
Nasi eminentia in planitiem redigitur, oculi infossi hebetantur. 
Turgescentibus labris bucca clauditur et spirandi facultas dene- 
gatur. Vnde familiares ori eius palustrem quo respiraret inmit- 
tunt calamum, ne interclusa spirandi uia spiritum suffocaret. Quid 
multa? Persistente nimii doloris angustia, ad iam gloriosum 
gloriosi martiris et archipresulis Thome sepulcrum ab amicis 
deducitur, ubi pernoctans, angustie sue remedium gemitu quo 

Canterbury, was afflicted with a severe toothache, and on the advice of 
his friends, had the three teeth in his left jaw which pained him the 
most, extracted. He thought little of the matter and went to a 
supper with evil results. For, seeing on the table a dish of excellent 
white peas, and a fat goose with garlic, he was tempted by gluttony 
and partook of all of them to satiety, and also drank new ale : but this 
meal, so ill-suited to his case, was followed by a severe attack of pain 
and swelling. This increased until his whole head swelled so much that 
he presented the appearance, not of a man but of some portentous and 
horrid monster: his skin was stretched like a bladder so that those who 
saw him wondered that it did not break. The prominence of the nose 
was reduced to flatness ; the eyes were sunken and dimmed : the mouth 
closed by the swelling of the lips and the power of breathing ob- 
structed. So that his friends inserted a reed into his mouth to enable 
him to breathe, lest he should be suffocated by the choking of the 
passages. What more? As his anguish continued, he was taken by 
his friends to the already glorious tomb of the glorious martyr 
and archbishop Thomas 1 . Here he spent the night, and with such 
groanings as he could utter, besought relief from his pain. At 

1 Archbishop Thomas had been murdered in 1170. He was formally canonized 
by Alexander II. in 1173 : but was popularly honoured as a saint almost immediately 
after bis death. 

VIL] St William of Norwich. 291 

potuit deprecatur. Tandem sub aurora paululum obdormiscens, 
uidet in sompnis sibi assistere piissimum martirem ilium et archi- 
presulem Thomam dicentem: Gaufride, quid hie queris ? Et ille: 
Domine, ut mihi miserearis meamque cures egritudinem. Ad hec 
sanctus : Non est hie cura tua. Sed ne tui ad me aduentus fructu 
defrauderis, consilium do. Surge igitur et domum regredere, 
factaque in nomine sancti Willelmi martiris Norwicensis candela, 
eadem totum caput tuumcirculariterinuolue, et festinum percipies 
remedium. Curatus uero, Norwicum propera, eandem liberatori 
tuo oblaturus candelam. Ad hec expergefactus, surgit eger, do- 
mum regreditur, et que sibi iniuncta fuerant accelerantur. Mira 
res, ac ualde stupenda ! Capite toto in nomine sancti Willelmi 
candela inuoluto, ubi ipsa sub gutture a leua finem cepit, cutis 
quasi ad subulam explosa crepuit, et sanies multa prorumpens 
effluxit. Mira quidem uelocitas ! Continuo tumor subsidit, dolor 
abscessit et egrotus conualuit. Curatus ergo peregrinationis in- 
iunctum nolens differre negotium, sepulcrum beati Thome adiit, ora- 
uit, licentiam accepit, atque iter arripuit. Cum autem a Cantuaria 
longius abscessisset, uillamque que Ofspreng dicitur circa horam 
primam pertransisset, solus uadens orauit ad dominum, ut bonum 

dawn he slept a little and saw in a dream that most merciful 
martyr and archbishop Thomas standing by him, who said, "Gaufrid, 
what seekest thou here?" "Lord," said he, "that thou wouldst 
have pity on me and recover me of my sickness." The Saint 
answered, " Thy healing is not here : but, lest thou be deprived of 
all profit from coming to me, I will give thee counsel. Rise, then, and 
return home : make a candle in the name of Saint William the martyr 
of Norwich ; put it about all thy head and thou shalt receive speedy 
relief : when thou art healed, hasten to Norwich and offer that candle 
to thy liberator." At this the sick man awoke, rose, returned home, 
and hastened to accomplish the matters enjoined upon him. Wonder- 
ful event, and truly amazing ! He put the candle all about his head in 
the name of Saint William, and at the point, on the left side of the 
throat, where the end of it came, the skin cracked and burst as if 
pricked with an awl, and a great deal of discharge came out. The 
swelling subsided with extraordinary quickness; the pain departed 
and the sick man recovered. Thus cured, he would not put off the 
prescribed pilgrimage, but went to the tomb of the blessed Thomas, 
prayed, received a letter of licence and started : when he had now 
gone some way from Canterbury and had passed through the town 
called Ospringe at about the first hour, as he was journeying alone, he 


292 St William of Norwich. [BK. 

peregrinationis sue sibi conferre dignaretur consortium. Cumque 
paululum procederet atque id ipsum instantius orando replicaret, 
subito uiri duo facie reuerendi habituque uenerabiles super- 
ueniunt. Vnus nitidioribus niue splendebat uestibus, alter regii 
scematis gerebat insignia. Et accedentibus illis, ait candidatus 
ille: Salue, frater, et quo uadis? Ad hec Gaufridus: Bene ueni- 
atis, fratres, ego Norwicum uado. Et ille: Eamus ergo pariter, 
quoniam et nos ad regiones illas proficiscimur. Quibus ambulan- 
tibus, medius interponitur Gaufridus. Qui uelut nobis postmodum 
enarrauit, ita dulcibus eorum delinitus est uerbis, ut nee itineris 
laborem ambulando sentiret, nee quomodo Tamesie transient 
flumen, cognosceret. Denique ipsa die post nonam urgente ad 
occasum sole peracta tante admirationis pedestri dieta, ad spinam 
pariter ueniunt, que tercium a sancto Aedmundo terminat mili- 
arium. Vbi consistentibus illis, ait candidatus ille ad Gaufridum : 
Nunquid, frater, ubi sis cognoscis ? Et cum se nescire responderet, 
ait: Ecce quam uides turris ecclesie sancti Aedmundi est. Vade 
igitur in pace, et dominus sit tecum. Et quoniam hodie mane 
bonum exoptasti consortium, ecce factum est sicut petisti. Noueris 
enim me esse Thomam archipresulem Cartuariensem l , atque hunc 
1 Ita codex, 1. Cantuariensem. 

prayed the Lord to vouchsafe to give him good companionship for his 
pilgrimage. He was proceeding, and praying yet more earnestly when 
suddenly two men of reverend aspect and dignified habit joined him. 
One was clad in raiment whiter than snow, the other wore the badges of 
kingly dignity. As they approached, the one in white said, "Hail, 
brother, whither goest thou ?" Gaufrid answered, "Welcome, brethren : 
I am going to Norwich." " Let us go together," said the other, " we 
too are journeying in that direction." They went on, Gaufrid being in 
the midst : and, as he told me afterwards, so pleasantly beguiled was 
he by the sweetness of their converse, that he felt no fatigue from the 
journey, nor perceived how they crossed the river Thames. Finally, 
on that same day, near sunset, having accomplished this wonderful 
journey on foot, they came to the stone which marks the third mile 
from (Bury) St Edmunds. Here they halted, and the man in white 
said to Gaufrid, "Knowest thou, brother, where thou art?" He 
answered, " I do not." " Lo," said the other, " the tower which thou 
aeest is the tower of St Edmund's Church. Go in peace, therefore, 
and the Lord be with thee. And, inasmuch as thou didst this morning 
pray for good companionship, lo, it hath been done as thou didst 
request. For know thou, that I am Thomas the archbishop of Canter- 

VIL] St William of Norwich. 293 

alterum, beatum Aedmundum regem et martirem. Beatum uero 
martirem Willelmum Norwicum premisimus, ibique ilium inue- 
nies. Quibus dictis, a uisibus Gaufridi uterque subito disparuit. 
In se ergo reuersus Gaufridus quanto magis rem gestam excogitat, 
tanto amplius qualiter illuc tarn cito aduenerit ignorat. Dumque 
animo metitur uelocitatem, admiratur defuisse laborem. Nimirum 
ubi labor defuit, lassitude non successit. Itidem dum suauitatem 
recolit sermonum, tarn sacro se dolet consortio destitutum. Agens- 
que gratias deo et sanctis martiribus, confestim festino gressu 
Bedricheswurche properat, ecclesiam intrat, sepulcrum martiris 
ueneratur, et ad hospitium digreditur. Mane uero surgens et 
aliquid uelocitatis hesterne in se persentiscens, reliquum itineris 
pede propero percurrit, et Norwicum citissime peruenit. Sancti 
martiris Willelmi sepulcrum adiit, uoti sui candelam cum tribus 
denariis obtulit, deoque ac pretaxatis sanctis martiribus gratias egit; 
beato Thome et beato Aedmundo super solatio grate societatis, 
sancto autem Willelmo de benefitio prestite sanitatis. Nobis 
denique diligentius aduentus sui causam sciscitantibus, ex ordine 

bury and that this other is blessed Edmund the king and martyr : 
but the blessed martyr William we have sent before us to Norwich, 
and there thou shalt find him." And with these words both of them 
vanished in a moment from the eyes of Gaufrid. Returning to him- 
self, the more he thought upon the matter, the more was he perplexed 
to know how he had come to that place so quickly; and as he 
calculated the pace in his mind, he marvelled that he had felt no 
exertion. Naturally, as exertion had not been felt, no weariness 
followed. At the same time, while he remembered the sweetness of 
their converse, he grieved that so holy a company had left him. So, 
thanking GOD and the holy martyrs, he made haste to go to Bury 1 , and 
entering the church, worshipped the tomb of the martyr and went to 
his inn. In the morning he arose, feeling some little result of yester- 
day's haste, but quickly accomplished the rest of the way on foot and 
speedily reached Norwich. He came to the sepulchre of the holy 
martyr William, offered the candle of his vow, and three pence, and 
gave thanks to GOD and the aforesaid holy martyrs, to blessed Thomas, 
and to blessed Edmund for the comfort of their gracious companion- 
ship, and to Saint William for the boon of restored health. To me, 
moreover, when I inquired the cause of his coming, he told the whole 

1 Text Bedricheswurche, i.e. Bedricsworth, the Saxon name of Bury. 

294 St William of Nw*wich. [BK. vn. 

rem gestam enarrauit, tumoris et explose signa cutis ostendit, 
sanusque in patriam rediit. Quern ego Thomas Cantuariam post- 
modum ueniens sanum et incolumem conspexi, et que ab ipso 
audieram ac uideram, raultis protestantibus monachis et laicis, 
uerissima esse didici, et quoniam pretaxati uelocitas itineris mira 
et fere uirtuti humane uidebatur impossibilis, circa ueritatis inda- 
ginem studiosus et diligens fui. Vnde quod ueritatis hinc uel inde 
super hoc percepi, presenti pagine indidi. Nempe plures Can- 
tuariensium testati sunt, quod exinde xviil Kal. Februarii ad 
peregrinandum profectus fuerit, et nos pro certo tenemus, quod 
xvii Kal. Februarii Norwici ad sepulcrum sancti Willelmi uisus 
sit, atque ut planius edicam, uno die a Cantuaria pedem mouit, 
et altero Norwicum aduenit. 

story, showed the marks of the swelling and of the spot where the skin 
had broken, and returned whole to his native country. 

Subsequently, I, Thomas, went to Canterbury, and saw him whole 
and well, and from the testimony of many monks and laymen ascer- 
tained the entire truth of the matters I had seen and heard from 
himself, and since the speed of the journey I have described seemed 
marvellous and almost beyond human powers, I took particular pains to 
investigate the facts of the case. Hence I have inserted in this work 
the details which I have gathered from various sources upon this head. 
A number of persons at Canterbury have testified that he set out 
from thence on pilgrimage on the 18th of the Kalends of February 
(15 January), while I hold it to be certain that he was seen at Norwich 
at the sepulchre of Saint William on the 17th of the Kalends of 
February (16 January): or, to put it more plainly, he started from 
Canterbury on one day and arrived at Norwich on the next 


p. 3. Transl., But as this has not come to pass, etc. Read : "Still, as 
this has not come to pass, I prefer that it should be I rather 
than no one. And while, in setting to work so boldly I confess 
myself open to the charge of presumption, yet let pardon be 
mine," etc. 

p. 13. Trans}., the second, fourth, and sixth days. Read: "Mondays, 
Wednesdays, and Fridays." 

p. 1 7. Transl., his mother, moved by presentiment, resisted, and in her 
motherly affection feeling some fear for her son. Read : " his 
mother resisted, moved by presentiment," etc. 

p. 18. Transl., as the price of t/ie innocent's service, or rather in truth 
as the price of his blood. Read : " as the price of his service, 
or rather in truth as the price of innocent blood." 

p. 19. Transl., Thus the girl. Read : "So the girl." 

p. 21. Transl., And cruel were they. Read: "And so cruel were 

p. 22. Transl., "so in fact the deed was done to rat/ier than by 
Christians. Read : " Now the deed was done in this way, 
lest, if eventually the body were found, it should be discovered 
from the presence of nail-marks in both hands and both feet, 
that the murderers were Jews and not Christians." 

p. 23. Text, 1. 11. Bracket the word dispensante, which is re- 

p. 24. Text, 1. 6. The word imitatores is underlined for erasure in 
the MS. 

p. 39. Text, 1. 10. die qua mortis. So the MS.: read quam. 

p. 40. Transl., as I tell of this dream before thee who hearest me, I 
declare that I Jteard thee say. Read : " when I told this dream 
in thy hearing, I remember that thou didst say." 

p. 42. Transl., Sometimes... sometimes. Read: "on the one hand... 
on the other hand." 

p. 43. Transl., vouchsafe to indifference. Read: "Vouchsafe for a 
short time with a patient bearing to receive the utterance of 
my complaint, which is no trifling one." 

296 Corrections. 

p. 48. Text, 1. 10. argumenti. So the MS.: read argenti. Transl., 

strike out the words "of getting a cliance of arguing ilie 

p. 49. Transl., took aside a certain priest. Read : " took aside the 

priest." Godwin is meant. 
p. 50. Transl., brought by the venerable convent, etc. Read : " was 

met by," etc. 

p. 59. Text/1. 10. quia. So the MS. : read qui. 
p. 67. Transl., 1. 1. mannei-: read "matter." 

p. 73, 11. 9, 10. conspexerat. Eiusque: read " conspexerat, eiusque." 
p. 77, 1. 5. Qua: so the MS., read, Quia. 
p. 86, 1. 9. Dele comma after quoniam. 
p. 88, 1. 1 2. ex habitudine dierum penalium. We have rendered pena- 

lium as if the MS. read paschalium : and this is probably the 

proper reading. But the expression is noteworthy, and we 

should be glad of light on the point, 
p. 98, 1. 11. transitus. So the MS.: read, transiturus. 
p. 116. Transl., Tuesday: read, "Monday." 
p. 117, 1. 16. anglie : read, Anglie. 
p. 130, 1. 6. uni...uenerabili interrogauit. So in the MS.: read, 

unum. . .uenerabilem. 

pp. 139, 142, 168, 175. Transl., secretary: read, sacrist. 
p. 150. Transl., piety : read, "pity." 
p. 151, 1. 6. A ipso : read, Ab ipso. 
p. 153. Transl., another : read " the other." 
p. 161. Transl., offered her candle. Add, "and returned full of hope 

for her recovery." 

pp. 166, 173, notes. 1149: read, 1150. 
p. 177, 1. 4. quartum. So the MS.: read, quartam. 
p. 185. The list of the chapters prefixed to Book V. is inconsistent 
in its numbering with the text. In the text, c. xvii. of the 
list is made into cc. xvii., xviii. 
p. 192. Thomas has nowhere told us that the priest Godwin possessed 

the teazle. 

p. 225, 1. 17. diuinam que. Read, diuinamque. 
p. 239, 1. 10. subistere. Read, subsistere. 
p. 252. Transl., 1. 1. Read: "It then with a fearful hiss sent forth 

from its mouth a sulphurous vapour." 
p. 258, note 2, sub Jin. Cornthope : read " Courthope." 
p. 262, 1. 4. mora cum, beatissimi : read, mora, cum beatissimi. 
p. 286. The Robert here mentioned is in all probability meant to be 

Robert the brother of St William. 


Absolution Day, xvii, 26 
Adam, son of John, the Bishop's Cham- 
berlain, 191 
Adam de Croome, 284 
Adam, a clerk, nephew of Edward of 

Yarmouth, 210 

Adela, Queen, widow of Henry I., xxviii 
Adrian IV., Pope, 250 
Aelward, surnamed Ded, q.v. 
Agnes, daughter of Adam de Croome, 

Agnes, daughter of Bondo, surnamed 

Hoc, 273 
Agnes, wife of Reginald the cowherd, 

Aimar, Prior of St Pancras at Lewes, 

9, 46; begs the body of St William, 

Ixx, 49 
Alditha, wife of Toche or Toke, a chandler, 

114, 147, 217 
Alexander, a deacon, son of Godwin 

Sturt, cousin of St William, ix, 38 
Aluric, the monks' tailor, 114 162 
Anselm, St, xliii 
Ansfrida, wife of Colobern, 149 
Arundel, xxviii 
Auricular Confession, facts illustrating 

its practice &c., xvi 
Aylsham, 254 

Baldwin, a boy from the province of 

Lincoln, 275 
Bale, Actes of English Votaryes, quoted, 


Bardney, Wimarc of, 246 
Battle Abbey, 263 
Bee, Lady Mabel de, 114, 135, 174 
Bedericsworth (Bury), 237, 293 
Bedingham, 172 n. 

Richard de, 165, 172 
his wife, 162, 182 

Belaugh, 226, 267 

Bella Arbore, Philip de, 219, 231 

Benedictine Priory at Norwich, Intro- 
duction, Chap. u. passim 

Bigod, Hugh, xxviii, xxxi, xxxii 

Blois, Ixxvi 

Blomefield, quoted, xxi n., xxxii n. 

Blytheburgh, 251 

Bondo, surnamed Hoc, 273 

Borlase, quoted, xv n. 

Botilda, wife of Gerard the Cook, 78, 
178, 283 

Botilda, wife of Toke the baker, 164, 

Brakelond, Jocelin de, Ixxv 

Brendan, St, his shrine at Clonfert, 

Brent Eleigh Library, 1 

Brichtiue's Hospital, 148 

Brompton quoted, Ixxv 

Burchard, a carpenter, 228 

Bury St Edmunds, xxxi, 292 
poor woman of, 205 

Caineto, de, the family, xxxiii ; John the 
Sheriff, xxxiii, xxxiv, 28, 29, 46, 47, 
4895, 111, 112 ; William the Sheriff, 
112, 128, 128 n., 172 

Callixtus II., Pope, xxix n. 

Cambridge, see Theobald 

Canterbury, 288 et seq. 

Christ Church, 160 

Sacrist of, 160 

Capgrave, Iviii 

Carrow nunnery, 222 n. 

Cassiodorius, Historia tripartita, Ixiv 

Castle Acre, 157 n. 

Celsus, a boy martyr, 87 

Cemetery, monks', xx 

Chapel of St William in the wood, xxii, 



Chapel of the Holy Martyrs, 251 

Chapter-house, boys taught there, xx 

Charflete (Harfleur?), 278 

Charleton, Robert of, 251 

Chole, the smith, 271 

Christian, a monk of Pershore, 284 

Chron. Petrobnrgense, quoted, Ixxv 

Clergy, married, xv, xv n., e.g. Wlward, 
grandfather of St William, 10; Edwin, 
priest of Taverham, 275; Godwin 
Start, uncle of St William, 38 ; Walter, 
priest of Tivetshall, 182 

Cloister, burial in, rare, xx 

Clonfert, 235 

Cluniac Priories, xix 

Rule, xix 

Cluny, xxix n. 

Colman, Edward, bequeaths library to 

Brent Eleigh, 1 
Colobern, 149 

his wife Ansfrida, 149 

Cologne, a merchant of, 236 
Confession, 30, 155, 282 

Cook of William, Archdeacon of Nor- 
wich, Ixv, Ixvi, 17 

Copman, 216 

Corbeil, William, Archbp. of Canterbury, 

Cotton, Bartholomew, quoted, xxii 

Coxford, Augustinian Priory, xxxiii 

Crachesford, Robert de, 265, 265 n. 
William de, 265 

Creak, North, 157 n., 209 n. 

Bartholomew, 115, 157, 157 n. 

Creme, Godwin, of Wymondham, 256 

Croome Hill, 284, 288 

New Church, 284, 287 

Adam of, 284 

Agnes of, 284 

Cult of St William, Introd., Chap. vm. 
Cnthbert, Saint, 60 

David, King of Scotland, xxviii 
Decanus, meaning of the word, xxxv, 

xxx vi 

Ded, Aelward, Ixviii, Ixxviii, 27, 28, 30 
Denis the Chamberlain, 145 
Deputy keeper's reports, xxxiii n. 
Deus-adjuvet, cf. Eleazar 
Dunwich, a maiden of, 79 

Eborard, Bishop.lxx, Ixxvi, 43, 50, 84,107 

Ebrard, called Fisher, 223 

Edmund, king and martyr, 60, 238, 293 

- monk, 129 
Edmund's, St, Parish, Lynn, 228 
Education, general, illustration of, xvii 
Edward and brother Robert, 172 
Edwin, married priest of Taverham, 275 
Eilmar, 264 

Eleazar, Deus-adjuvet, Jew in whose 
house the boy William was slain, 
afterwards murdered, xi, xxxv, xliii, 
Ixviii, 26, 97, 98, 100 

Elias, Prior, xi et seq., 113, 116, 117, 
121, 127, 142, 164, 165, 166 

Elviva or Elvina, mother of St William, 
xxiv, Ixv, 10, 214 ; buried, 216 

Ely, Isle of, xxx 

Eugenius HI., Pope, xxxi, 133, 234 

Eustace the moneyer, xxxi, 154, 182 

- his daughter, 182 

- his wife Ida, 154 
Evagrius, Ixiv 

Faith, St, 268 

Falcon, a, cured, 258 

Fane Edge, a name found in most of the 

Brent Eleigh MSS., liii 
Ferrariis, Richard de, sub-Prior, 133, 142 

- as Prior, xxii, xxiii 

- Hermer de, 142 n. 

Feudal principle in Stephen's time, 


Flixton, 157 n. 
Flordon, 206 

Florence of Worcester, quoted, xxix n. 
Flotberd, Walter, 151 ; his wife, 151 
Freeman's Conquest, quoted, xxvii, 

Fustel de Coulanges, quoted, xv n. 

Gaguin, Robert, Ixxv 

Gainsborough, 246 

Gamaliel, 118 

Gaufridus of Canterbury, 262, 289 

- of St Christopher, 251 

- Clerk of Sheriff William, 128 
Gelasius, Pope, xxix n. 

Geoffrey of Monmouth, ix 

Gerard tormented by Sir William de 

Witewelle, 78, 198 
Gerold, the brothers (Warm and Henry 

Fitzgerald, chamberlains to Henry 

H.), 132 



Gervase, xxix n. 

Gillida, wife of Thurgar of Mildenhall, 

Gilliva, daughter of Burcard, a carpenter, 


Giulfus the sacrist, 213 
Girard, cook of monastery, 18, 78, 283 
Glanvil, Sir H. de, xxxii 
Glewus, 236, 237 
Goda, wife of Copman, 216 
Godiva, wife of Sibald, 207 
Godric, money-changer, 223 

- of Wortham, 244 

Godwin Creme of Wymondham, 256 

Godwin Sturt (married St William's 
aunt), xiii, 16, 38, 43, 71, 173, 192 

Goldeburga, 115, 156 

Gospel Book of St Margaret of Scot- 
land, 1 

Goulburn, Sculptures of Norwich Cathe- 
dral, quoted, xxii n. 

Graetz, Gesch. d. Judenth., quoted, Ixiv 

Gregory of Tours, xxxviii 

Gresley family, 258 

- Albert, 220, 258 

- Robert, 258 
Grimeston, 208 

Gros, Goscelin le, 154, 154 n. 
Guerard, M. B., quoted, xxxvi 
Gunnilda, wife of Bondo Hoc, 273 
Gurwan, a tanner, 164, 167 

his wife, 167 

son, 167 

Haddiscoe, 264 

Hadeston, 276 

Harfleur ?, 278 

Harold, boy martyr (one of the alleged 

child martyrs), said to have been found 

in the Severn, Ixxiv, Ixxv 
Hastedune [Hasketou?], near Wood- 
bridge, 181 
Hastings, 263 

William de, Dean of Norwich, 

xiii, Ixxii, 95 
Hathewis, daughter of Edwin, priest of 

Taverham, 275 
Haughley, Ranulf of, 228 
Haveringland, place of St William's 

baptism, probably of his birth, Ixv, 

Helgheton, 183 

Hempstead, Simon de, 203 

Henry I., xxvi, and infra 

Henry H., 130 

Henry of Huntingdon, quoted, xxxi 

Henry of Winchester, xxix n. 

Herbert, son of Berengar of Norwich, 

Herbert, boy martyr at Huntingdon, one 

of the alleged martyrs, Ixxv 
Herbert Losinga, Bp, Founder of the 

Church in Norwich, ix, xix, 83, 84, 85 
Hervey, 194 
Hildebrand, 159, 159 n. 
Hoc, Bondo, 273 
Horsham, St Faith's, xxxiii 
Hudson, Kev. W., xxxvi n. 
Huelina or Evelina of Rochesburgh, 275 
Hugh, servant of Sir Simon de Novers, 


Humber, 195 
Humphrey of Norwich, 278 

Iconography of St William, Introd., 

Chap. vm. 
Ida, 155 

Ida, wife of Eustace the moneyer, 154 
Ilsley, 154 
Incubus haunts a maiden of Dunwich, 


Ingulf, Prior, xxi 
Inmestar, xl, Ixiii 
Irminon, Abbot, xxxvi 

Jacobs, Joseph, Jews in Angevin England, 

quoted, xl, xli, xlii, xliii 
Jerusalem, 234 
Jewry in London, xli ; Cambridge and 

Oxford, xlii ; Norwich, xlvii 
Jews, Introduction, Chap. iv. passim 

Hatred of them, 36; excited by 

the mother of St William, 42 ; sum- 
moned three times to appear before 
a synod, 46 ; accused of the yearly 
sacrifice of a Christian, 93 ; tributaries 
of king Stephen, and under his special 
protection, 100 ; assembly at London, 
108 et seq. 

Their treatment in Norwich during 

the period covered by the narrative, 
xlii et seq. ; affected by political con- 
dition of Norwich in the middle of 
12th century, Intr. Chap. TV. Not* 



Jews' houses: Aaron 'sat Oxford; Moyes' 
Hall, Bury St Edmunds; Aaron of 
Lincoln, xlii 

Jonas' Life of St Columban, x, xiii 

Katharine, Virgin, 157 
Kembter, Adrian, Ixii 
Knight of Norwich accused of the murder 

of a Jew, 92 t 
Knighton, quoted, Ixxv 

Langham, 242 

Lateran Council, 1215, xxxix 

Law, study of, in king Stephen's reign, 


Lea, Dr H. C., xvi n., xxxviii 
Legarda, wife of William of Apulia, 

Ixviii, 3132 
Leviva, aunt of St William, Ixv, Ixvi, 


Lewin of Wells, x, 6774 
Lights at St William's shrine, 188 
Lincoln, battle of, xxviii 
Lindsey Province, 271 
Lorraine, 232 
Lothingland, 228 
Lucian, 118 
Lyhart, Bp Walter, erects the Screen, 

Lynn, Richard de, 114 

Maitland, Professor, xxxviii ; cf. Pollock 

Malet, Walter, xxxiii 
William, xxxiii 

Mandeville, Geoffrey de, xxviii n., xxx 

Manuscripts at Brent Eleigh, 1; list of 
the contents of vol. containing the 
life of St William, li; date of the 
composition of Thomas of Monmouth's 
MS., liii ; knowledge of it confined to 
the Eastern Counties, Ixi ; full exam, 
of the MS., Introd. Chap, v, p. 1 

Marc, Geoffrey de, his wife Claricia, 
113, 132 

Marciny, Cluniac Priory, xxvii 

Markshall, 132 

Martene, Dom., de ritibus, quoted, xx 

Martin the Fisher, 213 
- his daughter, 213 

Mary, St, B.V., vision of, 69, 76, 131 

Mary, St, Magdalen Church, 27, 31 

- St, of Egypt, 282, 283 
Masses of the Holy Ghost, 168 
Matilda, Empress, wife of Emp. Henry V., 
married secondly Geoffrey Plantageuet, 
xxviii, xxix passim 
Matilda, Queen, xxix 
Matildis, 242 

Melrose, Chronicles of, quoted, Ixxv 
Melton, Great, 113 
Michael, St, Conisford Church, 224 
Mildenhall, 250 
Mileham, residence of the lords of 

Cheyney or Caineto, xxxiii, 112 
Monasteries in the 12th century, xxiii, 

xxiv passim 
Moneyers, coiners, xvii 
Monks of Norwich : 

*Denis, Chamberlain, 145, 153 

Edmund the younger, 129 

Elias, Prior 

Giulfus, sacrist, 186 

*Paul, 159 

*Peter Peverell, 129 

*Bichard de Ferrariis, sub-Prior, 133, 

Richard de Lynn, 137, 144, 145 

Robert, brother of St William, 91 

Theobald of Cambridge, 93 

Thomas, author, 121 

Thomas, cantor, 134, 214 

Thomas the senior monk, 134 

Wicheman the confessor, 30, 84 

William the sacrist, 145, 174, 213 
Morinus, J., de Pcenitejitia, quoted, 

xvi n. 

Mousehold Heath, 33 
Mulbarton, a girl of, 74 
Murders by Jews, alleged, Ixii 

Narbonue, place of assembly of Jews in 

Spain, 94 

Needham, Richard de, 203 
Nicephorus, Ixiv n. 
Norfolk, suffered less from the anarchy 

of Stephen's reign than any other part 

of England, xxxii 
Norgate, Miss, quoted, xxvii n., xxviii n., 

xxx n., xxxi n., xli 
Norwich, its political condition in the 

* The monks to whose names the asterisk is prettxed were men of high family. 



middle of the 12th century as likely to 
affect the Jews. Note to Chap. iv. of 
Introduction, p. xlv 
Norwich, cathedral, monks' choir, xix 
Castle, xxxii, xxxiii, xlix 
Charters bestowed by the king to the 

citizens, xxxii 
Meeting in the palace garden, 1150, 


The Dean, 46, 47 

Novers [Nowers, Nodarius, Noyers], Sir 
Simon de, xi, xxxv, 97, 98, 98 n., 100, 
102 Ac., 258 

Obedientiaries in the Priory, xxi 
Ordeal, trial by, xxxvii xxxix 
Orleans, alleged child murder at, Ixxv, 


Ormesby, 114, 151, 151 n. 
Osbert of Montpellier, 174 
Ospringe, 291 
Osyth, St, Abbey, 157 

Pancratius, boy martyr, 87 

Pantaleon, boy martyr, 87 

Pershore, abbot of, William, monk of 

Eye, Ixxvi, 284, 284 n. 
Peter, priest of Langham, 242, 243 
Peter the Venerable, abbot of Cluny, 

xxix n. 
Peverell, Sir Peter, xxiii, 113, 129, 130, 


Peverell, Sir Matthew, 129 n. 
Philip Augustus, Ixxv 
Pikes, S. O., History of Crime in England, 


Pilgrimage to chapel in the wood, 279 
Pits, John, quoted, lix 
Pleas of the crown, xxxviii 
Polcehart, William, his son, 209 
Pollock and Maitland, quoted, xxxiii, 

xxxiv n., xxxvii 
Priors : 

Elias, xi et seq., 113, 116, 117, 121, 

127, 142, 164, 165, 166 
Ingulf, xxi 
John, xxii 
Banulph (?), xx 

Richard de Ferrariis, xxii, xxiii 
William Turbe, xix, xxii 
Priory, Benedictine, at Norwich, Intro- 
duction, Chap. n. passim 

Badulphus : 

a priest, son of Hervey the baker, 

nephew of Prior Elias, his infant 

son sick, 134 

Priest of St Michael's, 201 
Ralph, Priest of Aylsham, 254 
son of Richard of Hadestone, 276 
the moneyer of Norwich, 164, 168 
the servant of the moneyers, 168 
Ramsey Abbey, xxx 
Ramsey Cartulary, xxxiii n. 
Ranulph, knight of Haughley, 228 

interpolated by Blomefield as 

prior, xxii 

Rathe of Swafield, 253 
Ravenilda, wife of William of Hastedune, 

Reginald the cowherd, his wife, 164, 

Reginald, Sir, son of Philip, his wife, 


Reimbert, seneschal of Abbot of Battle, 
261, 263 

his miller, 261, 263 

Repps, 270 n. 

Richard, Dean of Bedingham, 172 

of Devizes, Ixxvi 

de Ferrariis, Prior, xxii, xxiii, 

133, 142 

- of Lynn, monk, 136, 139, 144 
Robert, brother of St William ; first a 

clerk, then monk of Norwich, xiii, xxiv, 
38, 91, 296 

Robert of Bury alleged to be a boy martyr, 

of Charleton, 256 

- brother of Edward, 172 

Earl of Gloucester, xxix 

rural dean in Lincoln, 197 

monk of Reading, Bp of London, 


of Torigny, Ixxv, Ixxvi 

master of a soldier, 191 

Palmer of Norwich, 150 

a deformed boy, 261 

Rochesburgh, 275 
Rochester Castle, xxix 

Rogers, A., transcriber of MS., liii 
Roman law, its study revived, xxxvii 
Rose, blooming miraculously on St 
William's tomb, 66 



Round, J. H., quoted, xxviii n., xxx n. 
Rye, Walter, quoted, Chap, iv, p. xliv 

Sacrist to St William, a newly constituted 

office, xxii 
Saxon Chronicle, Ixi 
Scales, Roger de, 266 

- his sister Leva, 266 
Scarborough, 2.78 

School-boys at Norwich priory, xx 
Schet, son of Eilmer, 264 

Select charters, quoted, xxxviii 
Setchy, Alan de, 114 

his wife, 114 

Sheriffs, their importance, xxxiii; cf. 


Shipwreck, 277, 278 
Sibald, son of Brunstan, 207 

his wife Godiva, 207 ' 

Sibton Cistercian Abbey, xxxiii 
Sieldeware, 226 

Silverun, 203 

Siwate and wife Ada, 181 

Slype, the, at cathedral, used at inter- 
ments, xx 

Smith of Postwick, his daughter, 164 

Socrates, Church historian, xl, Ixii 

Sorceress at the altar, 280 

Sprowston, Henry de, keeper of Bishop 
Eborard's stables, xiii, Ixviii, Ixix, 31, 
34, 37 

Stanard, surnamed Wrancberd, 155 

Stephen, king, Intr. Chap. m. passim, 
come to Norwich to judge between the 
Jews and a knight accused of murder- 
ing a Jew, 7, 22, 92, 99 

Stert or Sturt, Godwin, q.v. 

Stourbridge, xxix 

Strack's Blutaberglaube, quoted, Ixxvii, 
Ixxviii u. 

Stubbs, Early Plantagenets, xxxiv 

- Constitutional History, xxxii n., 

Surnames common in 12th century, xviii, 
Crachesford, Robert, 265 

William, 265 
Creme, Godwin, 256 
Fisher, Ebrard, 223 
Flotberd, Walter, 151 
Grealey, Albert, 258 

Robert, 258 

Gresley, Thomas, 258 
Hoc, Agnes and Gunnilda, 273 
Hoc, Bondo, 273 
Needham, Richard de, 203 
Palmarius, Robert, 150 
Sturt, Godwin, 38 
Vaccarius, Reginald, 164, 169 
Wrancberd, Stanard, 155 
Swanton Novers, 98 

Taverham, 275 
Taxter, John de, Ixxv 
Theobald of Cambridge, once a Jew, 
afterwards monk, responsible for ac- 
count of St William's death, Ixvii, Ixxi, 
Ixxix, 93 
Thetford, priest of, from Norway, 277, 

Thomas Monemutensis : 

author of the book, account of, Intro- 
duction, Chap. i. 
his vision, xx 

discountenanced by Prior Elias, xxi 
appointed sacrist of St William, xxi 
his picture of king Stephen's reign, 

xxxii, xxxv 

his assertion that the Jews bribed 
the Sheriff, xl, and Introduction, 
Chap. vi. passim 

MS. of his book, Intr. Chap, v., 1 
quoted by Capgrave, liv 
translated by Wynkyn de Worde, 
Ivii ; by Leland, Iviii ; by Bale, 

known to Bartholomew Cotton, Ix n. 
what he saw, Ixvii 
his name of constant recurrence 

through the volume 
Thomas of York, 271 
Thornage, William de, 266 n. 
Thorpe Wood, Ixviii, Ixix 
Thurgar of Mildeuhall, 250 
Tinmouth or Timworth, John of, Ixi 
Tivetshall, 182 
Toke, baker, 164, 170 

- chandler, 114, 147, 217 
Tudenham, 158 

Turbe, William, Prior of the Monastery, 
Bp of Norwich [11461174]: 
educated in the monastery, xix 
became Prior, xxi 
elected Bishop, xxi 



strongly supports the story of the 

martyrdom, xxii 

builds the chapel of St William in 
the wood, xxii, 92, 103, 104, 112, 
117, 121, 239 
Tuttington, 265 

Vaccarius, Reginald, 164, 169 

Walbrook, xli 

Wallingford, Treaty of, xxxi 
Walter, priest of Tivetshall, 182 

servant of dean William, 272, 


Warrenne, Earl, Lord of Wormegay, 222 

his wife, and daughter Muriel, 222 

- Reginald de, 219 

- daughter of, 219, 222 
Wenstan, father of St William, Ixv, 10, 

Wells, near Ely, 67 

priest of, 71 

Westminster Council, xxix 
Whytford, R., Martirloge, quoted, Iviii 
Wicheman, monk, priest of St Nicholas, 

appointed to hear confessions, Ixviii, 
Wighton, 161, 161 n. 

Emma de, 115, 161 
William, St, of Norwich : 
his birth, 8 
parentage, 10 
his father Wenstan, 10 
mother Elviva, 10, 214 
grandfather Wlward, 10 
born Candlemas day, 12 
his aunt, 19 
his early life, Ixv 

his murder, 21 

buried on Good Friday in Thorpe 

wood, Ixviii, 26, 31, 37 
removed to the Monks' Cemetery, 50 
removed to the Chapter House, 127 
then to the south side of Bishop 

Herbert's tomb, 188 
then to the Jesus Chapel, 222 
for other removals see Introduction, 

Chap. vm. 
his cult and iconography, Introd., 

Chap. vn. 
William of Apulia, 31 

Archdeacon of Norwich, 17 

of Northampton, 237 

of Malmesbury, xli 

Bp of Norwich, cf. Turbe 

- the sacrist, 114, 145, 165, 175 

- of Thornage, 266 

- de Hastings, 272, 283 

- Sir, de Witewelle, xxxv, 198 

of Worcester, Ixxv 

of Ypres, xxix 

Wilthin, Ixvii 

Wimarc of Bardney, 245 

Winchester, Henry, Bp of, xxix, xxix n. 

Wlward, priest, grandfather of St 

William, Ixv, 1016 
Worcester, miracle at, 283 
Wortham, 244 
Wrancberd, Stanard, 155 
Wulward, a man with whom St William 

lived, Ixv 
Wymondham, 256 
Wynkyn de Worde, quoted, Ivii 

Yarmouth, 152, 210, 264 
York, Thomas of, 271 


BINDING SECT. J[)L 1 6 1981 



HecclE.B Thomas of Monmouth 

St. William of Norwich