43. OTHER EVENTS DURING THE REIGN OF KING HENRY II.
Illustration -- Leicester
During the reign and time of this King Henry the Second, the city of Norwich was destroyed and burnt by the men of Flanders. Also the town of Leicester. Nottingham wasted and the burgesses slain by the earl of Ferrers. The town of Berwick destroyed by the Scots. The king of Scots was taken in war by Englishmen. A.D. 1174. The town of Huntingdon taken and burnt. The town of Canterbury by casualty if fire burnt with all the churches. speciallv with the Trinity church, where Becket was worshipped, A.D. 1170. William, king of Scots, with David his brother, and all the barons of the realm, did homage to the king of England. Ireland made subject to England. Decreed us a council in Normandy, that no boys or children should possess any benefice. A council of Lateran was holden at Rome, where were three and thirty articles concluded, A.D. 1179. The French king came in pilgrimage to Thomas Becket, the king of England meeting him by the way, A.D. 1184. After the death of Richard, archbishop of Canterbury, who followed after Thomas Becket, succeeded Baldwinus; who, of a Cistercian monk, being made a bishop, is said never to eat flesh in his life. Whom a certain poor woman, bare and lean, meeting him in the street, desired to know of him whether it were true that was said of him, that he never did eat flesh. Which thing when he had affirmed to be true, Nay, (saith she,) that is false, for you have eaten my flesh unto the bone; for I had but one cow wherewith I was sustained, and that have your deans taken from me. True, true, said the bishop, and thou shalt have another cow as good as that, &c.
Moreover, in the reign of the said King Henry, about the year of our Lord 1178, I find in the story of Roger Hoveden and others, that in the city of Tholouse was a great multitude of men and women whom the popes commissioners, to wit, Peter, cardinal of St. Chrysogon. and the popes legate, with the archbishops of Narbon and Bituriensis, Reginald, bishop of Bath, John, bishop of Pictavia, Henry, abbot of Clarevallensis, &c., did persecute and condemn for heretics; of whom some were scourged naked, some chased away, some compelled to abjure. Concerning whose articles and opinions I have no firm ground to make any certain relation, forsomuch as I see the papists many times so false in their quarrelling accusations, untruly collecting men's sayings, not as they meant, and meaning not as they said; but wresting and depraving simple men's assertions after such a subtle sort as they lust themselves to take them. But this I find, how one of the said commissioners or inquisitors (Henry the abbot) in a certain letter of his wrote thus of them: After a new opinion he affirmed, that the holy bread of eternal life, consecrated by the ministry of the priest, was not the body of the Lord, &c,
Mary, the daughter of King Stephen, being the abbess of Ramsey, was married in this king's days to Matthew, earl of Bullen: which marriage Thomas Becket did work against, and did dissolve; by reason whereof he procured himself great displeasure with the said earl, &c.
The same year a certain child was crucified of the Jews in the town of Gloucester, A.D. 1161. After the same manner the wicked Jews had crucified another child before in the city of Norwich, in the days of King Stephen, in the year of our Lord 1145.
A collection was gathered through all England and France, two pence of every pound. for the succour of the East Christians against the Turks, in the year of our Lord 1167.
Babylon was taken and destroyed, and never since repaired, by Almaricus, king of Jerusalem, A.D. 1170.
In the year 1173, almost all England was diseased with the cough. About which year also William, king of Scots, was taken in battle, and imprisoned in England.
Great war happened in Palestina, wherein the city of Jerusalem, with the cross and king of the city, and others of the temple, was taken of the Saracens, and most part of the Christians there either slain or taken. Cruel murder and slaughter there was used by the Turks, who caused all the chief of the Christians to be brought forth and beheaded before his face. Insomuch that Pope Urbanus the Third for sorrow died, and Gregory the Eighth, next pope after him, lived not two months. Then, in the days of Pope Clement the Third, news and sorrow growing daily for the loss of Palestina and destruction of the Christians, King Henry of England, and Philip the French king, the duke of Burgundy, the earl of Flanders, the earl of Campania, with divers other Christian princes, with a general consent, upon St. George's day, took the mark of the cross upon them, promising together to take their voyage into the Holy Land. At which time the stories say the king of England received first the red cross, the French king took the white cross, the earl of Flanders took the green cross, and so likewise other princes diversely divers colours, thereby to be discerned every one by his proper cross. But King Henry (after the three years were expired, in which he promised to perform his oyage) sent to the pope for further delay of his promise, offering for the same to erect three monasteries. Which thing he thus performed: In the church of Waltham he thrust out the secular priests, and set in monks for them. Secondly, be repaired again and brought in the nuns of Amesbury, which before were excluded for their incontinent life. And thus performed he his promise made before to the pope, A.D. 1173.
The king of Scots did his homage and allegiance to the king of England, and to his son, and to his chief lords; promising that all the earls and barons of Scotland should do the like with their posterity. Item, all the bishops and abbots of the Church of Scotland promised subjection and sub mission to the archbishop of York, in the year of our Lord 1175.
The custom was in this realm, that if any had killed any clerk or priest, he was not to be punished with the temporal sword, but only excommunicated and sent to Rome for the pope's grace and absolution. Which custom in the days of this king began first to be altered by the procurement of Richard, archbishop of Canterbury, in the year of our Lord 1176.
London bridge first began to be made of stone by one Peter, priest of Colechurch, in the year 1176.
St. William of Paris was slain of the Jews on Maundy Thursday; wherefore the Jews were burned and he counted a saint, A.D. 1177.
Ireland subdued to the crown of England by this king, A.D. 1177.
Under the reign of the said King Henry, about the five and twentieth year of his reign, Ludovicus the French king, by the vision of Thomas Becket appearing unto him in his dreams, and promising to him the recovery of his son, if he would resort unto him at Canterbury, made his journey into England to visit St. Thomas at Canterbury, with Philip, earl of Flanders; where he offered a rich cup of gold, with other precious jewels, and one hundred vessels of wine yearly to be given to the convent of the church of Canterbury; notwithstanding the said Philip in his return from England, taking his journey to Paris to visit St. Denis, in the same his pilgrimage was stricken with such cold, that he fell into a palsy, and was benumbed of the right side of his body. A. 1178.
Stephanus episcopus Redomonsis was wont to make many rhymes and gaudish prose to delight the ears of the multitude: to whom a little before his death this verse was sounded in his ear: Desine ludere temere, nitere propere surgere de pulvere, A.D. 1178.
Albingenses denied transubstantiation in the sacrament of Christ's body and blood, about the city of Tholouse; also that matrimony was not a sacrament, &c., in the year of our Lord 1178.
King Henry separated himself from his wife Eleanor, and held her many years in prison, as some think, for the love of Rosamond. Which seemeth to me to be the cause why God afterward stirred all his sons up to war against him, and to work him much sorrow, in the year 1179. Notwithstanding the said Eleanor was shortly after reconciled to him.
St. Frideswide was translated unto Oxford in the year 1179.
In the year 1180, there came to the council of Pope Alexander one Pisanus Burgundio, a man very cunning both in Greek and Latin, which brought and presented to the council the Homilies of Chrysostom upon the Gospel of St. John, translated out of Greek into Latin, and said that he translated likewise a great part of his Exposition upon Genesis; saving, moreover, that the said Chrysostom had made expositions in Greek upon the whole Old Testament, and also the New.
The monks of Charterhouse first entered into this land in the year 1180.
In the year 1181, Richard Pech, bishop of Coventry, before his death renounced his bishopric, and became a canon in the church of St. Thomas by Stafford.
About the latter time of this King Henry, one Hugo, whom men were wont to call St. Hugh Lincoln, born in Burgundy, and prior of the monks of Charterhouse, was preferred by the king to the bishopric of Lincoln, who after his death is said to do great miracles, and therefore was counted a saint, A.D. 1186.
Baldwinus, archbishop of Canterbury, began the building of his new house and church of Lambeth; but, by the letters of Clement the Third, he was forbidden to proceed in the building thereof, A.D. 1187.
I do find likewise in the foresaid written chronicle, remaining in the hands of one William Cary, citizen of London, that this forenamed king, Henry the Second, gave to the court and Church of Rome, for the death of Thomas Becket, forty thousand marks of silver, and five thousand marks of gold, in the year of our Lord 1187.
Mention was made a little above of Almarike, king of Jerusalem, which destroyed Babylon, so that it was never after to this day restored, but lieth waste and desolate, wherein was fulifiled that which in the prophets in so many places was threatened to Babylon before. This Almarike had a son named Baldwin, and a daughter called Sibylla. Baldwin from the beginning of his reign was a leper, and had the falling sickness, being not able for feebleness cf body (although valiant in heart and stomach) to satisfy that function.
Sibylla his sister was first married to one Willermus, marquis of Mount Ferrat, by whom she had a son, called also Baldwinus. After him, she was married to another husband, named Guido de Liziniaco, earl of Joppe and of Ascalon. Upon this it befell, that the foresaid Baldwin the leper, son of Alinaricus, being thus feeble and infirm, as is said, called his nobles together, with his mother and the patriarch, declaring to them his inability, and by the consents of them committed the under-government of the city unto Guido, the husband of Sibylla his sister. But he being found insufficient, or else not lucky in the government thereof, the office was translated to another named Raimundus, earl of Tripolis. In the mean time, the soldan with his Saracens mightily prevailed against the Christians, and overran the country of Palestina; in which mean time Baldwin the king departed. Whereby the kingdom fell next to Baldwinus, the son of Sibylla by her first husband Willermus; the which Baldwinus, being but five years old, was put to the custody of Raimundus aforesaid. Who also in his minority, before he came to his crown, died; where by the next succession by descent fell to Sibylla, the wife of Guido above mentioned. The peers and nobles, joining together in council, offered unto the said Sibylla, as to the lawful heir to the crown, that she should be their queen, with this condition, that she should sequester from her by solemn divorcement the foresaid Guido her husband; but she refused the kingdom offered to her on that condition, till at last the magistrates, with the nobles in general, granted unto her, and by their oaths confirmed the same, that whomsoever she would choose to be her husband, all they would take and obey as their king. Also Guido her husband, with like petition among the rest, humbly requested her, that the kingdom for his sake, or for his private loss, might not be destitute of government. At length she, with tears consenting to their entreaty, was contented, and solemnly was crowned their queen, who after the manner again received their fidelity by their oath. Whereupon Guido, without all hope both of wife and kingdom, departed home quietly to his own. This done, the queen, assembling her states and prelates together, entered talk with them about the choosing of the king, according to that which they had promised and sworn unto her, and to obey him as their king whom she would name to be her husband. Thus, whilst they were all in great expectation, waiting every man whom she would nominate, the queen with a loud voice said to Guido that stood amongst them, Guido my lord, I choose thee for my husband, and yielding myself and my kingdom unto you, openly I protest you to be the king. At these words all the assembly, being amazed, wondered that one simple woman so wisely had beguiled so many wise men. And worthy was she, no doubt, to be commended and extolled for her singular virtue, both of faithful chastity and high prudence: so tempering the matter, that both she obtained to her husband the kingdom, and retained to herself again her husband, whom she so faithfully loved, A.D. 1186.