Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 45. RICHARD I.<BR>

45. RICHARD I.

MASSACRE OF JEWS AT THE CORONATION
RIOT IN YORK CATHEDRAL

N this year of the Lord above recited, which was 1189, King Richard, the eldest son of Henry the Second, succeeding his father, entered his crown; at which time Pope Cle ment sat at Rome, succeeding after Gregory, which died a little before with sorrow for the loss of the holy cross.

    During the time of whose coronation it befell, that notwithstanding the king, the day before his coronation, by public edict commanded both the Jews and their wives not to presume either to enter the church, or else his palace, during the solemnization of his coronation, amongst his nobles and barons, yet (whilst the king was at dinner) the chieftain of the Jews, with divers other of his Jewish affinity and superstitious sect, against the king's prohibition, together with other persons, entered the court gates. Whereat a Christian man being offended, struck one of them with his hand or fist, and bade him stand further from the court gate, as the king had given in commandment; whose example others also following, being displeased against the Jews, offered them the like contumely. Others also, supposing that the king had so commanded indeed, as using the authority of the king, fell upon all the Jews that stood by without the court gate. And first they beat them with their fists, but afterwards they took up stones and such other things as they could get, and threw at them, and beat them therewith; and thus driving them from the court gates, some of them they wounded, some they slew, and some they left for dead.

    There was amongst this number of the. Jews one which was called the blessed Jew of York, which was so sore wounded and beaten with the rest, that, for fear of his life, he said he would become a Christian, and was indeed of William, the prior of the church of St. Mary of York, baptized; whereby he escaped the peril of death he was in, and the persecutors' hands. In the mean while, there was a great rumour spread throughout all the city of London, that the king had commanded to destroy all the Jews. Whereupon as well the citizens as in numerable people more, being assembled to see the king's coronation, armed themselves and came together. The Jews thus being for the most part slain, the rest fled into their houses, where for a time, through the strong and sure building of them, they were defended. But at length their houses were set on fire, and they destroyed therein.

    These things being declared to the king, whilst he with his nobles and barons were at dinner, he sendeth immediately Ranulfe de Glanville, the lord high steward of England, with divers other noble men, to accompany him, that they might stay and refrain these so bold enterprises of the Londoners; but all was in vain; for in this so great a tumult, none there was that either regarded what the nobility said, or else any whit reverenced their personages, but rather with stern looks and threatening words advised them (and that quickly) to depart. Whereupon they, with good deliberation thinking it the best so to do, departed; the tumult and insurrection continuing till the next day. At which time also the king, sending certain of his officers into the city, gave them in commandment to apprehend and present some such as were the chiefest of the malefactors; of the which three were condemned to be hanged, and so were; the one, for that he had robbed a Christian's house in this tumult, and the other two for that they fired the houses, to the great danger of the city. After this, the king sent for him that from a Jew was converted to Christianity, and, in the presence of those that saw where he was baptized, the king asked him whether he was become a Christian or not. He, answering the king, said, No: but, to the intent he might escape death, he promised to do whatsoever the Christians would have him. Then the king asked the archbishop of Canterbury (other archbishops and bishops being present) what were best to be done with him. Who unadvisedly answering said, If he will not be a man of God, let him be a man of the devil; and so revolted he again to Judaism.

    Then the king sent his writs to the sheriffs of every county, to inquire for the authors and stirrers of this outrage. Of whom three were hanged, divers were imprisoned. So great was then the hatred of Englishmen against the Jews, that as soon as they began to be repulsed in the court, the Londoners, taking example thereof, fell upon them, set their houses on fire, and spoiled their goods. The country again, following the example of the Loudoners, semblably did the like. And thus the year which the Jews took to be their jubilee, was to them a year of confusion; insomuch as in the city of York, the Jews obtaining the occupying of a certain castle for their preservation, and afterward not willing to restore it unto the Christians again, when they saw no other remedy but by force to be vanquished, first they offered much money for their lives; when that would not be taken, by the counsel of an old Jew amongst them, every one with a sharp razor cut another's throat, whereby a thousand and five hundred of them were at that present destroyed. Neither was this plague of theirs undeserved; for every year commonly their custom was to get some Christian man's child from the parents, and on Good Friday to crucify him, in despite of our religion.

    King Richard, after the death of his father, coming unto remembrance of himself, and of his rebellion against his father, sought for absolution of his trespass, and, in part of satisfaction for the same, agreed with Philip the French king, about Easter next ensuing, to take his voyage with him for the re covery of Christ's patrimony, which they called the Holy Land. Whereupon the said King Richard immediately after his coronation, to prepare himself the better towards his journey, set to sale divers of his manors, whereof Godfrey Lucy, then bishop of Winchester, bought a couple for two thousand marks, to wit, Wergrave and Melenge. The abbot of Bury bought another for a thousand marks, called Middlesay. Hugh Pusaz, bishop of Durham, bought the lordship of Seggesfield, or Sedberga, with the wapentake, and all the appurtenances thereto be longing; he bought also the earldom of Northum berland; whom when the king should solemnize after the manner of secular earls, merrily with a mocking jest, Lo, (said he,) of an old bishop I have made a young earl. And because the said bishop had professed before by a solemn vow to visit the Holy Land, to be released of his vow, he compounded with the pope for a great sum of money therefore, and moreover gave to the king a thousand marks to remain at home, as the chief justice of England, Over and besides, the king set out all that he had to sale, woods, castles, townships, lordships, earl doms, baronages, &c.; ordaining also divers new bishops, and not without some advantage (as appeared) to his purse; feigning moreover his old seal to be lost, that they which had lands to hold might be driven to renew their writings again by the new seal, whereby great substance of money was gained.

    Above all this, by the commandment of Pope Clement the Third, a tenth also was exacted of the whole realm, in such sort, as the Christians should make to the king seventy thousand pounds, the Jews sixty thousand. King Richard, after his coronation, sent certain earls and barons unto Philip the French king in the time of his parliament at St. Denis, desiring him to remember his promise made for the recovery of Christ's holy patrimony out of the Saracens' hands. Unto whom he sent word again in the month of December, certifying him how he had bound himself by solemn oath, deposing upon the Evangelists, that he, the next year following, about the time of Easter, had certainly prefixed to address himself towards that journey; requiring him likewise not to fail, but to be ready at the term above limited, appointing also the place where both the kings should meet together.

    The next year then ensued, which was 1190, in the beginning of which year, upon Twelfth even, fell a foul northern brawl, which turned well near to a fray, between the archbishop new elected of the church of York, and his company, on the one side, and Henry, dean of the said church, with his catholic partakers, on the other side, upon occasion as followeth: Gaufridus, or Geoffrey, son to King Henry the Second, and brother to King Richard, whom the king had elected a little before to the archbishopric of York, upon the even of Epiphany, which we call Twelfth day, was disposed to hear even-song with all solemnity in the cathedral church; having with him Hamon the chanter, with divers canons of the church. Who tarrying something long, belike in adorning and attiring himself, in the mean while Henry the dean and Bucardus the treasurer, disdaining to tarry his coming, with a bold courage lustily began their holy even-song, with singing their psalms, ruffling of descant, and merry piping of organs. Thus this catholic even-song with as much devotion begun, as to God's high service proceeding, was now almost half complete, whenas at length (they being in the midst of their mirth) cometh in the new elect with his train and guards, all full of wrath and indignation, for that they durst be so bold, not waiting for him, to begin God's service; and so eftsoons commanded the choir to stay and hold their peace. The chanter likewise by virtue of his office commandeth the same. But the dean and treasurer on the other side willed them to proceed; and so they sung on, and would not stint. Thus the one half crying ngainst the other, the whole choir was in a roar; their singing was turned to scolding, their chanting to chiding; and if instead of the organs they had had a drum, I doubt they would have sol-faed by the ears together.

    At last, through the authority of the archbishop and of the chanter, the choir began to surcease and give silence. Then the new elect, not contented with that had been sung before, with certain of the choir began the even-song new again. The treasurer, upon the same, caused by virtue of his office the candles to be put out; whereby the even-song, having no power further to proceed, was stopped forthwith. For like as without the light and beams of the sun there is nothing but darkness in all the world; even so you must understand the pope's church can see to do nothing without candle-light, albeit the sun do shine never so clear and bright. This being so, the archbishop, thus disappointed on every side on his purpose, made a grievous plaint, declaring to the clergy and to the people what the dean and treasurer had done, and so upon the same suspended both them and the church from all Divine service, till they should make to him due satisfaction for their trespass.

    The next day, which was the day of Epiphany, when all the people of the city were assembled in the cathedral church, as their manner was, namely, in such feasts, devoutly to hear Divine service (as they call it) of the church, there was also present the archbishop and the chanter, with the residue of the clergy, looking when the dean and treasurer would come and submit themselves, making satisfaction for their crime. But they, still continuing in their stoutness, refused so to do, exclaiming and uttering contemptuous words against the archbishop and his partakers. Which when the people heard, they in a great rage would have fallen upon them; but the archbishop would not suffer that. The dean then and his fellows perceiving the stir of the people, for fear, like pretty men, were fain to flee, some to the tomb of St. William of York, some ran unto the dean's house, and there shrouded themselves, whom the archbishop then accursed. And so for that day the people returned home without any service.

    After this, King Richard, preparing to set all things in an order before his going, committed the whole government of the realm principally to William, bishop of Ely, his chancellor, and to Hugh, bishop of Durham, whom be ordained to be the chief justice of all England in his absence, the one to have the custody of the Tower, with the oversight of all other parts of the land on this side of Humber, the other (which was the bishop of Durham) to have charge upon all other his dominions beyond Humber, sending moreover unto Pope Clement in the behalf of the foresaid William, bishop of Ely, that he might be made the pope's legate through all England and Scotland; which also was obtained. Thus the bishop being advanced in high authority, to furnish the king towards his setting forth, provideth out of every city in England two palfreys and two sumpters, and also out of every abbey one palfrey and one sumpter.

    These things and other thus set in a stay, the king, according to his former appointment, about the time of Easter, sailed into France, where the French king and he conferring together, because they could not make ready at that time of Easter, concluded to take a longer day, proroguing their voyage till after Midsummer. In which mean time, the king occupying himself in redressing and stablishing such things as further were to be ordered there determined that Gaufridus and John, his brethren, should not enter into England in three years after his departure; nevertheless he released that bond afterward to his brother John. Then he appointed the captains and constables over his navy, and set laws to be observed in his journey upon the seas; but especially his care was to make unity and concord between parties that were at variance, and to set them together at one. At which time the long contention began also to be appeased, which so many years had continued between Baldwinus, archbishop of Canterbury, and his monks of Christ's church; the discourse whereof, although it be somewhat tedious to be set forth at large, being enough to make a whole tragedy; yet to the intent the age now present may see what great conflicts and disquietness, upon what little trifles, have been stirred up, what little peace and unity hath been not only in this church, but commonly in all other churches under the pope's catholic regiment, I thought it not labour ill bestowed somewhat to intermeddle in opening to the eyes of the reader the consideration of this matter. Wherein first is to be understood, that the archbishops of Canterbury, commonly being set up by the pope, especially since the time of the conquest, have put the kings of this land to much sorrow and trouble, as appeared by William Rufus and Lanfranc, and also Anselm; by Henry the First and Anselm, King Stephen and Theobald, Henry the Second and Beeket, &c. For which the kings of this land have used the more care and circumspection to have such archbishops placed in the see, as either should stand with them, or at the least should not be against them.

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