64. QUARREL OF KING HENRY III AND THE NOBLES
This that followeth, concerning the pitiful and turbulent commotion between the king and the nobles, which lasted a long season, because it is lamentable, and containeth much fruitful example, both for princes and subjects, to behold and look upon, to see what mischief and inconvenience groweth in commonwealths where study of mutual concord lacketh, that is, where neither the prince regardeth the offending of his subjects, and where the subjects forget the office of Christian patience in suffering their princes' injuries by God's wrath inflicted for their sins; therefore, in explaining the order and story thereof, I thought it not unprofitable to occupy the reader with a little more tarriance in perusing the full discourse of this so lamentable a matter, and so pernicious to the public weal.
And first, to declare the occasions and first beginnings of this tumult, here is to be understood, which before was signified, how King Henry married with Eleanor, daughter of the earl of Provence, a stranger, which was about the year of our Lord 1234, whereupon a great door was open for strangers, not only to enter the land, but also to replenish the court; to whom the king seemed more to incline his favour, advancing them to more preferment, than his own natural English lords, which thing was to them no little grievance. Moreover, before was declared how the king by Isabella his mother, who was a stranger, had divers brethren, whom he nourished up with great livings and possessions, and large pensions of money, which was another heartsore to divers, and also a hinderance. Over and besides hath also been declared what unreasonable collections of money from time to time, as quindecims, subsidies, tenths, mercements, fines, payments, loans, and taxes, have been levied by the king, as well of the spiritually as of the lay sort, partly for maintaining the king's wars against Wales, against Scotland and France, to recover Normandy; partly for helping the king's debts, voyages, and other expenses; partly for the kingdom of Apulia, which was promised the king's son by the pope; partly for moneying and supporting the pope in his wars against the emperor. By reason of all which sundry and insupportable collections the commonwealth of the realm was utterly excoriate, to the great impoverishment of poor Englishmen. Neither did it a little vex the people, to see the king call in so many legates from Rome every year, which did nothing else but transport the English money unto the pope's coffers. Besides all this, what variance and altercation hath been between the king and his subjects about the liberties of Magna Charta, and De Foresta, granted by King John, and after confirmed by this king, in the former council holden at Oxford, hath been before declared.
Perhaps this might be also some piece of a cause that the king, considering and bearing in mind the old injuries done of the lords and barons to his father King John before him, did bear some grudge therefore, or some privy hatred unto the nobility, to revenge his father's quarrel; but of things uncertain I have nothing certainly to affirm. This is certain by truth of history, that the year next ensuing, which was 1260, thus writeth Nic. Trivet, that the king's justices, called itinerarii, being sent thither to execute their office, were from thence repelled; the cause being alleged, for that they were against the king in proceeding and enterprising against the form of the provisions enacted and stablished a little before at the town of Oxford.
In this year it pleased the king, after suit to him made, to license a university or academical school to be planted in the town of Northampton; and of a special favour which he pretended to bear, and like enough did indeed, unto the scholars that went there to seat themselves, and to prosecute the exercises of studies, wrote his letters mandatory unto the chief officers and others of the said borough in the said students' behalf; the tenor whereof followeth agreeing with the record.
The king's letter to the mayor, bailiffs, and others the inhabitants of Northampton, in the behalf of certain scholars minded to plant themselves there as in a university.
"The king to his beloved and trusty the mayor, bailiffs, and other honest men his subjects of Northampton, greeting. Whereas certain masters and other scholars do purpose to tarry in your town corporate, there to exercise scholarly discipline, as we hear; we hereupon regarding the service of God, and the great profit of our kingdom, taking in good part the coming thither of the said scholars, and liking well their abode there, do will and grant that the said scholars in the said town corporate, under our protection and defence, do safely and securely abide, and there exercise and do such things as to such scholars shall belong. And therefore we command you, and straitly charge you, that when the said scholars shall come unto you, to tarry in your said corporate town, you receive them courteously, and as becometh the state of scholars use them, not doing or suffering to be done unto them any impediment, molestation, or grievance. In witness whereof we have caused these our letters patents to be made. Witness the king at Windsor, the first day of February, in the five and fortieth year of his reign."
It befell moreover in the same year, above other times, as Walter Hemingford writeth, that a great number of aliens, coming out of France and other provinces, resorted into England, and had here the doing of all principal matters of the realm under the king; unto whom the rewards, and reliefs, and other emoluments of the land did most chiefly redound; which thing to see did not a little trouble and vex the nobility and baronage of England. Insomuch that Simon Mountfort, earl of Leicester, offering to stand to death for the liberties and wealth of the realm, conferred together with other lords and barons upon the matter, who then coming unto the king after a humble sort of petition, declared unto him how all the doings of his realm, and his own affairs, were altogether disposed by the hands and after the wills of strangers, neither profitable unto him, nor to the weal public; forasmuch as his treasures being wasted and consumed, he was in a great debt, neither was able to satisfy the provision of his own house, but driven to tally for his own cates, to no small dishonour unto his own state. And now therefore, said they, pleaseth your Highness to be informed by our advice, and to commit your house to the guiding and government of your own faithful and natural subjects, and we will take upon us to discharge your whole debt within one year of our own proper goods and revenues, so that we within five years may clear ourselves again. Neither will we diminish your family, but rather increase it with a much greater retinue; providing so for the safety and seeing to the custody of your royal person, as your Highness shall find and understand our diligence most trusty and faithful unto you in the end.
To these words so lovingly declared, so humbly pretended, so heartily and freely offered, the king as willingly condescended, assigning unto them both day and place where to confer and to deliberate further upon the matter, which should be at Oxford the fifteenth day after Easter. At which day and place all the states and lords, with the bishops of the realm, were summoned to appear at the said town of Oxford, for the behalf of the king and the realm convented together. Where first of the king himself, then of the lords, an oath was taken, that what decrees or laws in the said assembly should be provided to the profit of the king and of the realm, the same universally should be kept and observed to the honour of God, and utility of his church, and wealth of the realm. Besides these lords and the king, were also nine bishops, which, swearing unto the same, did excommunicate all such as should withstand the said provisions there made, the king holding a burning taper in his hand, and the lords openly protesting to rise with all their force against all them that shall stand against the same.
There were at that present in the realm four brethren of the king's, (most part of them by the mother's side,) which would in no case agree hereunto, but in anger departed privily unto Winchester. The nobles hearing thereof, in all speedy wise pursued them, fearing lest they should take the city of Winchester, and forcibly keep the same. Wherefore the lords preventing their purpose, and seeing them stiffly to persist in their stubborn sentence, wrought no other violence against them, but, returning to Oxford again, prescribed to them these conditions, that they, departing the realm, should repair to their own lands and possessions, which they had beyond the sea, and that forthwith they should put this injunction in execution. Notwithstanding that the king made for them great intercession, yet it took no place. And because this should seem to proceed of no special displeasure against them, they enacted, moreover, that all strangers, and aliens, of what state or condition soever, should forthwith avoid the realm on pain of death. Divers other provisions the same time were ordained and stablished, that if any did hold of the king in whole or in part, and should chance to depart, (his heir being under age,) the wardship of him should belong the king, as hath partly before been specified.
Moreover, it was there decreed that the wool of England should be wrought only within the realm, neither should it be transported out to strangers.
Item, that no man should wear any cloth but which was wrought and made only within the realm.
Item, that garments too sumptuous should not be brought in nor worn.
Item, that all excessive and prodigal expenses, wasted upon pleasure and superfluity, should be eschewed of all persons.
Many other laws and decrees (saith the author) in this assembly were ordained, wherein they continued the space of fifteen days, and many of them were impoisoned, of whom was the abbot of Westminster, a man in that order much commended. Also William, brother to the earl of Gloucester. Also the earl himself, being impoisoned, hardly escaped with life, his hair and nails falling off his body, whereof the author not long after was taken, and duly executed at Winchester. In the mean time, the nobles, considering those dangers and jeopardies, were constrained to break off for that time, appointing the fourteenth day of October next following to convent together at London with weapon and harness, to prosecute and finish the residue that was in the said council to be concluded. All which at the time and place appointed was fully accomplished, and the acts thereof in order of writing promulgated, and so committed to execution.
After the promulgation whereof many things therein displeased the king, and it began to repent him of his oath. But because he could not at that present otherwise choose, he dissembled for a season. Thus time passing on, within a year following, which was in the year of our Lord 1261, the king, seeing himself more and more to grow in debt, and not to be relieved, according to promise,made, but especially being egged (as may be thought) by his brethren, taking it to stomach, sent up to the pope both for him and his son Edward to be released of their oath made before at Oxford. The benefit of which absolution being easily obtained, (or rather bought at the pope's hand,) the king, stepping back from all that was before concluded, calleth another parliament at Oxford; where he before the lords and nobles declared, how in the late council of Oxford they had agreed among themselves, for the common utility of the realm and of the king, as they pretended, for the increasing of his treasure, and his debt to be diminished; and thereupon bound themselves with an oath, causing also himself and his son Edward to be bound unto the same. But now by experience proving and trying the matter to be otherwise than their promise was, and that they, contrary to their covenant made, sought not so much the profit of him and of the realm as their own, taking him not as their lord, but going about to bring him under their subjection as an underling; and for that moreover his treasure greatly decreasing, his debts increased, and his princely liberality was cut short and trodden under foot; they should not marvel therefore if he henceforth would be no more ruled by their council, but would provide himself of some other remedy, such as he might. And moreover, as touching the oath wherewith he and his son stood bound unto them, he had sent already to Rome, and had obtained absolution and dispensation of the same, both for him and his son Edward also, and for all others that would take his part. And therefore he required of them to be restored again to that state and condition he had enjoyed in times past.
To this again gave answer the state of nobility on the other side, being in the same place present; in the number of whom was Simon Mountfort, earl of Leicester, Richard Clare, earl of Gloucester, Humphrey Ronne, earl Ferrence, with a great number of barons, as Lord John Fitz-John, Lord Hastings, Lord Geoffrey Lucy, Lord John Vescy, Lord William Segrave, Hugh Spenser, Lord Robert Vespoint, with divers and many more; whose answer to the king again was this: That the provisions made at the council at Oxford (whereunto they were sworn) they would hold, defend, and maintain to their lives' end; forasmuch as they did sound, and also were agreed upon, both to the honour of God, to the profit of the prince, and stable wealth of the realm, &c. And thus parts on both sides discording amongst themselves, they would so have departed, had not certain of the bishops, coming between both, laboured between them to take up the matter. By whose means (saith Walter Gisburn) and procurement the determination of the cause was brought in compromise, and referred to Louis, the French king, to judge betwixt them, who, hearing both the allegations, (saith he,) like no equal judge, but a partial friend, inclined wholly and fully to the king's sentence, and condemned the nobles. But the author of Flores Historiarum saith, that by the mediation of discreet men two were chosen, one for one side, the other for the other, to whom the third also was annexed, who, hearing as well what was brought of the king's part, as also what was answered of the other, should define between them both, and so peace was between them concluded till the coming of Edward. All this while as yet the pope's absolution for the king, although it was granted and obtained at Rome, yet was it not brought down in solemn writing, neither was Prince Edward as yet returned out of France into England.
At length the writing of the king's absolution being brought from Rome, the king soon commanded the same to be published throughout the realm, and sendeth to the French king and other strangers for help; moreover, he seizeth all his castles into his own hand, rejecting the counsel of the lords, to whose custody they were before committed; also removing the former officers, as justices, and the chancellor, with others placed afore by the lords, he appointed new in their stead.
To this foresaid absolution, procured from Rome for the king and his, son, Edward, returning out of France, at that time did not give his consent, but held with the lords. Who then putting themselves in arms, with a great power repaired up to London, keeping there in the suburbs and places about, while the king kept within the Tower, causing the city gates to be watched and locked, and all within the said city, being above the age of twelve years, to be sworn unto him. But at length, through the means of certain coming between, this tumultuous perturbation was somewhat appeased, at least some hope of peace appeared; so that the matter was taken up for that time without war or bloodshed. Notwithstanding, some false pretended dissemblers there were, which, secretly disclosing all the counsels and doings of the lords unto the king, did all they could to hinder concord, and to kindle debate. By the means of whom the purpose of the lords came not to so good effect as otherwise it might.
In this year the archbishop of Canterbury, with his suffragans, (after their wonted manner,) standing against the king, had made their appeal to Rome; whereupon the king was fain to answer by proxy, as appeareth by this brief note drawn out of record: "The king hath appointed and made John Hemingford his proctor in a cause of appeal which is moved in the court of Rome, between the king on the one part, and the archbishop of Canterbury with his suffragans on the other part, about certain ordinances, constitutions, and decrees lately in a council provincial at London by them published, to the prejudice of the king's right, his dignity royal, the liberties, laws, and customs of his kingdom."
This matter no doubt was laboured very diligently by the said John Hemingford, who was to that end authorized by the king to make his abode at Rome, during the time that any manner of process was held and maintained against him, to the impeaching of his royalty. Whereof the king had a special regard, perceiving the waywardness of his own clergy, or rather rebelliousness, in daring to decree and ordain laws against him. And therefore he was the more careful to have all matters depending in the court of Rome, concerning him and his, to be earnestly followed. Inasmuch as he joined to the foresaid Hemingford, in the charge of procuration, one Roger Lovell; unto which two, residing at Rome, the king sent his letters, charging them so to manage his affairs, as that nothing might pass to the derogation of his royal title: the copy of the said letter followeth, agreeing with the prototypon or original.
A letter of the king sent to his proctors at Rome, concerning a case of his in the said court depending.
"The king to Master John of Hemingford, and Roger Lovell, his proctors, pleading in the court of Rome, greeting. Forasmuch as upon you our trusty and vowed servants, the defence of our right and honour doth lie, and (as we hear) certain of our realm, pleading in the court of Rome, do move divers matters to the prejudice of our right and honour, presuming and intending to prevail against us, we command you, and straitly charge you, that on our behalf you straitly forbid all and every of them, that they presume not any further to undertake such things as tend to the hurt of our majesty, and the derogation of our honour, but wholly forbear so to do, as they will avoid our indignation, and the peril of them and theirs. This inhibition also we will by you all and every of you (so often as you shall see needful) to be made known, and thereupon by you or some of you to be certified of the contemners of the same. Witness the king at Westminster the six and twentieth of March, in the six and fortieth year of his reign."
In this present year also (as affirmeth the forenamed author) it was rumoured abroad, (as Flores Historiarum reporteth,) that all the bishops of England went about to recover again, out of the hands of religious men, all such churches and benefices which were to them impropriated or appropriated; and that they, for the expedition of the same, had sent up to Rome both messengers and money, nothing misdoubting to obtain their purpose. But as little good fruit in those days used to spring out of that see, so I do not find that godly suit and labour of the bishops to take any fruitful effect. The same year died Pope Alexander, after whom succeeded Pope Urban the Fourth.
Of the which Pope Urban the king also obtained, or rather revived, a new releasement from his oath made to the provisions and statutes of Oxford. Which being granted, he commandeth incontinently all the foresaid laws and provisions through England to be dissolved and broken. This done, the king with the queen taketh his voyage into France, where he fell in great infirmity of sickness, and the most part of his family was taken with the fever quartan, of which many died. In the number of whom, besides others, died Richard, the worthy earl of Gloucester and Hereford, after whom succeeded Gilbert Clare his son.
The Welchmen this year, breaking into the borders of England, did much annoyance in the lands of Roger Lord Mortimer; but mightily again by him were expelled, not without great slaughter of the invaders. About which time the king, through some discreet counsel about him, inclined to peace and concord with his nobles, granting of his mere voluntary will the constitutions and provisions of Oxford to take place in the realm, directing his commandment to every shire. Albeit the realm yet was not altogether pacified for all that.
In the latter end of this year, the king's palace at Westminster was burnt, and for the most part was all consumed with fire, which seemed to many an evil prognostication against the king.
In some English chronicles it is also recorded, that the same year five hundred Jews at London were slain for taking usury more than twopence a week for twenty shillings, being before forbidden by the king to take above that rate by the week.
After this followeth the year 1263, in which the barons of England, confederating themselves together, for maintaining the statutes and laws of Oxford, and partly moved with old grudge conceived against the strangers, (maintained by the king and the queen, and Edward their son, in the realm of England,) joined powers in all forceable wise, and first invaded the said strangers, namely, them which were about the king. Their goods and manors they wasted and spoiled, whether they were persons ecclesiastical or temporal. Among whom, besides others, was Peter, a Burgundian, (bishop of Hereford, a rich prelate,) with all his treasure apprehended and spoiled; also his countrymen, whom he had placed to be canons of the same church. With like order of handling other aliens also, to whom was committed the custody of divers castles, as of Gloucester, of Worcester, of Bridgenorth, were spoiled, imprisoned, and sent away. Briefly, whatsoever he was in all the land that could not utter the English tongue was of every rascal disdained, and happy if he might so escape. By reason whereof it so came to pass, that a great number, as well of other foreigners as especially religious men and rich priests, (which here had gathered much substance,) were urged to that extremity that they were glad to flee the land. In the catalogue of whom was one most principal, named John Maunsell, a priest notoriously grown in riches and treasures not to be told, having in his hand so many and rich benefices, that near no bishop of this realm might compare with him in riches. Who, notwithstanding he kept with the king at London, yet was compelled privily to void the realm, and was pursued by Henry, the son of Richard, king of Almaine. Certain other strangers there were, to the number of two hundred and more, which having the castle of Windsor, there immured and intrenched themselves, to whom at length Prince Edward also adjoined himself.
In the mean time, while this stir was abroad, the king, keeping then in the Tower, and seeing the greatest part of his nobles and commons with the Londoners to be set against him, agreed to the peac eof the barons, and was contented to assent again to the ordinances and provisions of Oxford; albeit the queen by all means possible went about to persuade the king not to assent thereto; who, as it seemed, was a great worker in kindling this fire of discord between the king and the barons. Insomuch that when as the said queen Eleanor should pass by barge from the Tower to Windsor, the Londoners standing upon the bridge, with their exclamations, cursing, and throwing of stones and dirt at her, interrupted her course, causing her to return to the Tower again. Notwithstanding, the peace yet continued with the nobles and the king, the form whereof was this: First, that Henry, the son of Richard, king of the Romans, should be delivered by the king and queen. Secondly, that the castles again should be committed to the custody of Englishmen, not of strangers. Thirdly, that the provisions and statutes decreed at Oxford should,. as well by the king as by all others, inviolably be observed. Fourthly, that the realm henceforth should be ruled and governed, not by foreigners, but by personages born within the land. Fifthly, that all aliens and strangers should void the land, not to return again, except only such whose abode should by the common assent of the king's trusty subjects be admitted and allowed.
Illustration -- Windsor Castle
Thus the king and the nobles joining together after this form of peace above prefixed, although not fully with heart, as after appeared, put themselves in arms with all their power to recover the castle of Windsor out of the strangers' hands. But Edward, in the midway between London and the castle, meeting with his father and the barons, entered communication upon the matter. Which being finished, and he thinking to return into the castle again, by the policy of the earl of Leicester, and William, bishop of Worcester, he was not permitted to re-enter. Whereupon the strangers within the hold, destitute of all hope to withstand the great force approaching, rendered the castle unto the king and the barons upon this convention; That with horse and harness they might be suffered safe to depart the land, not to return any more. Which being granted, certain of the barons conducted them in their journey towards the sea-side, and there they left them.
In the same year, about the beginning of October, the king and queen made over to France, with Simon Mountfort and other nobles, to hear and stand to the arbitrement of Louis the French king, concerning the controversy between the states of England, and all through the procurement of Eleanor the queen. For she, not forgetting the old contumely of the Londoners, exclaiming against her upon the bridge, wrought always what revenge she could against them. Concerning the arbitrement of this matter put to the French king, partly hath been said before, and more shall be said (Christ willing) hereafter. Some stories do add moreover, that the king continuing long in France, word was sent to him out of England, that unless he returned again to the realm, they would elect a new king. Whereupon the king, returning out of France to Dover, would have entered the castle, but he was stopped. Wherefore the king in fierce anger and great indignation prepared his power towards London; where Simon Mountfort, the worthy earl of Leicester, through a subtle train, was almost betrayed and circumvented in Southwark, by the sudden pursuing of the king's army, had not the Londoners with more speed, breaking bars and chains, made way to rescue him, by the means of whom the earl at that time escaped the danger.
Now to come to the sentence of the French king. Forasmuch as the arbitrement of this matter was committed to him, as hath before been specified, he in a great frequency both of French and English persons about him, considering and poising the cause on both sides, between the king and the nobles, clearly and solemnly pronounced on the king's side against the barons, ordained that the king of England all this while had suffered wrong, and that he should be restored again to his pristine state, notwithstanding the provisions made at Oxford, which he ordained to be repealed and abrogated.
The sentence of the French king thus awarded, as it gave to the king of England with his retinue no little encouragement, so it wrought in the nobles'hearts great indignation; which, notwithstanding that partial decreement of the French king, sped themselves home out of France to defend themselves with all their strength and power. And not long after followeth also the king, by whose train Simon Mountfort, earl of Leicester, as is above recited, was well near circumvented in Southwark. Then the king, calling his council together at Oxford, from whence he excluded the university of students for a season, who were then at Northampton, as you have heard before, there consulted, conferring with his friends and counsellors what way best to be taken. And hearing that the barons were assembled in a great number at the town of Northampton, he went thither with his host and with his banners displayed, accompanied with Richard his brother, king of Almain, also with Edward his son, John Comp, of Scotland, with many other Scots, John of Dalliolo, lord of Galloway, Robert of Bruce, Lord Walter of Anand, Roger of Clifford, Philip of Marmion, John of Waus, Roger of Laiburne, Henry Percy, Philip Basset, Roger of Mortimer, and William of Wallace, and many others. Therefore the king commanded the barons that were within to yield unto him presently the city and the pledges, or else he would immediately destroy them. But they, counselling with the younger Simon de Mountfort, which by his father's commandment had got the residue thither to take counsel together, (for his father and the earl of Gloucester were not yet come,) boldly and with one mind answered, that they would not obey the king's will, but would rather defend themselves and the city, if need were, even to the death. Which the noblemen of the king's part hearing, sent word again, that at the least they should come to the wall of the city to speak to the king, if by any means peace might be made. And they, suspecting no deceit, followed their counsel, and leaving their holds, came to the wall towards the meadow, for there lay the king and his strong host hard by. But in the mean space, whilst divers matters were reasoned and treated of between the king and the lords, the Lord Philip Basset, (which before was appointed to work that feat,) with mattocks and other instruments of iron and men prepared for the onset, near to the monastery of St. Andrew, did undermine the wall of the city; and by this means the wall fell down lightly, and there was made a great plain, so that in one forefront there might have gone together on a row forty horsemen. And of this subtlety the alien monks that were there were thought to be the workers, because they made way and entrance for them that came in. But when they that passed by saw this, and the king's banners were erected ready to enter in, there was a great howling made, and the noise of the people came to the ears of the barons, and they made speed to resist them; but it was all in vain, because they were already prevented of a great company of their enemies. But Simon Mountfort the younger, after he had valiantly fought a while in the midst of his enemies with Peter Mountfort, and a few that were with him, when Edward the king's son came, was by his commandment taken and led away prisoner. But the clerks of the university of Oxford (which university by the barons' commandment was translated thither) did work against the king's men more hurt than the other barons, with their slings, long bows, and cross bows; for they had a banner by themselves, and that was set up on high against the king. Wherewithal the king being greatly moved, sware at his entering in that they should all be hanged. Which when they heard, many of them shaved their crowns, and they that were able ran away as fast as they could. And when the king entered the city, many fled in their armour into the castle, others left their horse and harness and ran into churches, and a few were slain, and those were of the common people; but there was not much bloodshed, because all things were done as upon the sudden. When the city was at length set in quiet, the king commanded his oath to be executed upon the clerks. But his counsellors said unto him, This be far from thee, O king; for the sons of thy nobles, and of other great men of thy kingdom, were there gathered together into the university; whom, if thou wouldest cause to be hanged or slain, even they that now take thy part would rise up against thee, not suffering to the uttermost of their powers the blood of their sons and kinsfolk to be shed. And so the king was pacified, and his wrath against the clerks was stayed.
In the same day, after little more than an hour, the king's host assaulted the castle, and the new hold-keepers were afraid, for that they had not victuals and other things necessary for their resistance; therefore they sent immediately messengers unto the king, and yielded themselves to the king's mercy. There were taken that day these knights and barons underwritten: Lord William de Ferrers, Lord Peter Mountfort, companion of the said Simon de Mountfort the younger, Lord Baldwin de Wake, Lord Adam de Newmarch, Lord Roger Bertram, Lord Simon, the son of Simon a valiant warrior, which first erected his banner against the king, Lord Berengarius de Watervile, Lord Hugo Gubium, Lord Thomas Maunsell, Lord Roger Botemlam, Nicholas Wake, Lord Robert de Newton, Lord Philip de Dribie, and Grimbald de Pauncefoot. All these did the king take prisoners,and many more, of whom he committed some to Lord Nicholas of Haversham, to be kept in the same castle well defended; some he led away with him, and some he sent to divers castles, and appointed Simon Mountfort to be cast into Windsor castle. And all these things, as touching the taking of Northampton, were done on the sabbath day in Passion week, being the third of April, in the year of our Lord 1264; and the king went forward even to Nottingham, burning and wasting the manors of the lords and other his enemies, and there he gathered together his nobles, and greatly increased his number.
When this ill luck was told, of them that there were run away, to the Earl Simon, which was coming towards Northampton with a great host, he was in a great rage, and yet was not discouraged; but immediately going to London, he caused a chariot to be made him after the manner of litters or coaches, wherein he might ride as though he were sick; for he feigned himself to be feeble and weak, whereas he was indeed a stout and valiant warrior: and there gathered to him other noblemen that were confederate with him, earls and barons, every one bringing with them their several armies; and preparing their engines of wood, they went to besiege Rochester; for the earl of Worcester in the king's behalf kept both the town and castle. When they had gotten the first gate and the bridge, they were partly wounded, and compelled to retire; and there that valiant knight, Roger de la Bourne, was wounded, and very ill handled. And whilst they continued siege there a while, it was told them that the king was coming towards London with a mighty host. And they said one to another, If the king at his coming should take London, we shall be shut in it as it were in a strait corner; let us therefore return unto London, that we may keep in safety both the place and the people. Therefore, appointing certain persons to keep the siege, they returned to London. At the length when the king came, they went forth with the citizens to meet him, not with flowers and palms in their hands, but with swords and spears. The king shunned them; and after he had the castle of Kingston, which was the earl of Gloucester's, he went from thence to Rochester, where, after he had killed a few, he brake the siege; and from thence the king went to Tunbridge; and the town and castle now being given up to him, he took there the countess of Gloucester, and put her into an abbey, not to be kept in hold, but to go at liberty whither she would. And he left for the custody of the castle and city a great part of his host, to the number of above twenty picked out ensigns, for that it was commonly said that the earl of Gloucester would come out of hand to assault them. Which being done, he continued on his journey to Winchester, where he received to peace the seamen of the haven towns. And three days after, upon the Sunday following, he came to the town of Lewes, and was received unto the abbey, and his son Edward into the castle. Then the barons sent letters to the king the twelfth day of May, the tenor whereof followeth.
"To their most excellent Lord Henry, by the grace of God king of England, lord of Ireland, and duke of Aquitaine, his barons and others his faithful subjects, being willing to keep their oath and fidelity to God and him, send greeting and due obedience with honour and reverence. Whereas by many experiments it is manifest, that some of your Grace's assistants have reported to your Majesty many lies of us, working mischief as much as in them lieth, not only against us, but against you also, and your whole realm; be it known to your Highness, that we have been always willing to defend the health and safeguard of your person, with all our power and fealty due to your Grace, purposing to vex to the uttermost of our power and estate, not only our ill-willers, but also your enemies, and the enemies of your whole realm. If it be your good pleasure, give no credit to them, we shall be always found your faithful subjects. And we, the earl of Leicester, and Gilbert of Clare, at the request of others, for us and them have put to our seals."
These letters being read and heard, there was a council called, and the king writ back to them, and specially to the two earls of Leicester and Gloucester, in manner and form following.
"Henry, by the grace of God king of England, lord of Ireland, duke of Aquitaine, &c., to Simon Mountfort, and Gilbert de Clare, and their confederates. Forasmuch as by the war and general disquietness by your means raised up in our whole realm, and also the burnings and other hurtful enormities, it appeareth manifestly that you keep not your fidelity to us-ward, nor care any thing for our health or safety; and for that ye have unorderly grieved our nobles, and others our faithful subjects, sticking faithfully and constantly to us, (as you have certified us,) we accounting their loss as our own, and their enemies as ours; and seeing these my aforesaid faithful subjects, for the keeping of their fidelity, do assist us manfully and faithfully against your unfaithfulness; we, therefore, care not for your fidelity or love, but defy you as our and their enemies. Witness myself at Lewes, the day and year aforesaid."
Also Richard, king of Almaine, and Lord Edward, the son of King Henry, writ to the barons in this wise:
"Richard, by the grace of God king of the Romans, always Augustus, and Edward, eldest son of the king of England, and all the other barons and nobles constantly and faithfully in heart and deed cleaving to the foresaid king of England, to Simon Mountfort, and Gilbert de Clare, and to all and singular others their adherents in their conspiracy. By your letters which you sent to our lord, the noble king of England, we have understanding that you defy us, although before any such word, your defiance towards us was apparent enough by your cruel persecution in burning our possessions, and spoiling our goods. We, therefore, give you to wit, that we all and every one of us, as your enemies, do defy you all as our open enemies. And further, that we will not cease, wheresoever it shall lie in our power, to the uttermost of our force and might to subvert your persons, and all that you have. As touching that you lay to our charge, that we give neither faithful nor good counsel to our lord the king, you say not the truth. And if your Lord Simon Mountfort, or Gilbert de Clare, will affirm the same in our lord the king's court, we are ready to get safe-conduct for you to come to the said court, to try and declare the truth of our innocency, and the falsehood of you both, as forsworn traitors, by some man equal with you in nobility and stock. All we are contained with the seals of the foresaid lords, the Lord Richard, and the Lord Edward. Dated the day aforesaid."
Both which letters being read, they drew near to the king; for they were not far distant from the place which is called Lewes. And for that there wanted to the king's store provision for their horses, it was commanded them on Tuesday to go forth to seek for hay and provender; which, when they were gone forth, were prevented of their enemies, and most of them killed; but the residue returning, saw their enemies coming very early on the Wednesday morning, and making outcries, stirred up the king and his host to arm themselves. Then the barons, coming to the full plain, descended there, and girding and trimming their horses, made fit their harness to them. And there the Earl Simon made the earl of Gloucester, and Robert de Vere, and many other new knights. Which being done, he divided and distinguished his host into four several battles, and he appointed noblemen to guide and govern every battle. And over the first battle were ordained captains, Henry Mountfort, the eldest son of the Earl Simon, and Guido, his brother, Lord John de Bruch the younger, and Lord Humphrey de Bohun. Over the second battle, Lord Gilbert Clare, earl of Gloucester, Lord John, the son of Lord St. John, and Lord William of Mountchersy. And over the third, in which the Londoners were, at their request, the Lord Nicholas Segrave was assigned; which required also very instantly, that they might have the first stroke in the battle, at the adventure, come what come would. But over the fourth battle the earl himself was captain, with the Lord Thomas of Pinelston. In the mean season came forth the king's host, preparing themselves to the field in three battles; of which Edward the king's son led the first, with the earl of Warwick, and Valence, the king's brother; and the second the king of Almaine, guided with his son Henry; but the king with his nobles guided the third; and the fourth legion the king appointed not, by reason he had left many of his chief soldiers behind him to keep the castle and town of Tunbridge against the earl of Gloucester. And the most part of the king's army were but young men, for the king thought not that his barons had been come so nigh hand. Their armies being on both sides set in array and order, they exhorted one another on either party to fight valiantly; and after they buckled together, the battle was great, and many horsemen were overthrown even in a moment. But by and by Edward, the king's son, with his band, as a fierce young gentleman and valiant knight, fell upon his enemies with such force, that he compelled them to recoil back a great way, so that the hindmost (thinking by reason of their giving back that the foremost were slain) ran many of them away; and, taking water to pass over, were almost threescore soldiers drowned, and a few of them being slain, all the rest fled. Straightway the Londoners, which had asked the first fight, knowing not how the battle went, took their heels; whom Edward pursued with his band, killing the hindmost of them the space of two or three miles; for he hated them, because they had rebelled against his father, and disgraced his mother when she was carried by barge upon the Thames from the Tower to Windsor, as is before touched.
Whilst that Prince Edward was thus in the chase of the Londoners, who had the vaward of the barons' battle, in the mean time the main battle of the barons set upon the king's main battle, of the which the king of Almaine, the brother of King Henry, had the leading; which being soon discomfited, and he with his son Henry, and Robert de Bruce, John Coven, with divers other captains, taken prisoners, the rereward, wherein the king himself fought, being immediately so hardly beset, and he seeing his knights and soldiers on every side about him beaten down and slain, and divers others of his soldiers to forsake the field and shift for themselves, thought good to take again the town, and so retired into the abbey from whence he came, shutting andrampering up the gates, and caused the same to be strongly warded with soldiers. To be brief, the barons thus getting the field, after a long fight, and many men on either side slain, entered also the town of Lewes, pursuing in chase such soldiers as thither fled for succour.
In the mean time Prince Edward, returning from the chase of the Londoners, as ye heard, who desired to give the first onset, and espying the chariot of the Earl Simon, (which he caused purposely to be made for him,) and the horses in the same, without either waggoner or any other to govern the same, fell immediately upon the chariot, and brake it all in pieces, and slew two burgesses that were within the same. But when be came nearer to the place where the bloody battle had been fought, and saw the great discomfiture and overthrow which in his absence with great mortality and slaughter had happened, his heart was much dismayed, and his countenance altered. Yet notwithstanding, comforting and encouraging his knights and soldiers, of whom he had a valiant company, in battle array he marched toward the town; against whom came the barons again with all their power. And thus was begun betwixt them a fresh field and new battle, and many men slain on either side. But at length the earl de Warenia, with the king's two brethren, forsook the field and fled; after whom went more than seven hundred chosen soldiers, which were of their house and family, who the same day came to Pevensy, and there took shipping over the sea. Also Hugh Bigot with divers others fled, and left the valiant prince fighting in the field; which thing he also perceiving took the town. And when he found not the king his father at the castle, he went from thence to the abbey where he was. In the mean season the town was divided in parts, some fighting, some spoiling, some getting of booties; neither could scarcely one of them know and discern another, whether he were his friend or enemy. But when within a while the barons had assembled some company, they gave an assault upon the castle, thinking to have rescued John Gifford and others, whom the king's soldiers had taken prisoners and put therein. But the soldiers within manfully defended the same, and in throwing out balls of wild-fire, as for the defence thereof they had, they also fired part of the town. Then the barons retired and left the castle, and purposed to have set upon the abbey, where the king and Prince Edward his son was, which also was set on fire by the assault given to the castle; but yet it was shortly recovered and quenched. Then Edward, the king's son, perceiving the bold enterprise of the barons, prepared with courageous knights and soldiers, as were yet remaining and within the abbey, to have issued out, and to have given a new charge upon them. But the barons, perceiving that, sent unto the king messengers to entreat a truce for that day, and on the morrow to talk and conclude of a further peace between them. This battle was fought upon the nineteenth day of May, being the year of our Lord 1264.
The next day, which was Thursday, there were sent on either side two Preaching friars between the king and the barons, with certain articles and demands of peace, so that with certain others these conditions were agreed on: That on the morrow, being Friday, the prince should give himself in hostage for the king his father, and others of his part. And Henry, the king's son, of Almaine, also should give himself the like for his father. That those things which should be concluded upon for the benefit and commodity of the realm, and peaceable quietness thereof, might be performed, and that all such prisoners as were taken on either side should be freely ransomed and sent home.
The next day, which was Saturday, the king discharged all his soldiers, and others that were with him in the abbey, licensing them to depart whither they listed. And furthermore, by the advice of his son and the barons, he gave commandment to those which he had appointed to the keeping of Tunbridge, that they should make no attempt to the prejudice or hurt of the barons, but, in hope of the peace which was now at the point to be concluded, they should also depart every man to their houses and habitations. But they, giving no credit thereunto, went with their furniture to Bristow, where they kept themselves in garrison, until the escaping of Edward the king's son out of prison. But first before that, when they heard at Tunbridge that the king was vanquished in battle, and that the Londoners in the foreward were put to flight by Prince Edward, (by a messenger that escaped from the same,) and that also the same Londoners were at Crowdown, they set upon them in the eveningtide, and, taking from them much spoil, slew also many of them.
But when Roger Mortimer's part began to decrease, and Simon the earl's part on the other side to increase, he bare himself more stout, for that both the king and all that was his did depend upon the good-will and favour of the earl, and led with him the king's son to such holds and castles as he thought to be most strong; as though all were in his hands to do as him liked; and he kept the hostages more straitly than he was wont to do. Insomuch that when it was blown abroad that the king's son was kept as prisoner, divers that were his friends counselled him that he should desire to disport himself at the barriers, that the people might have a sight of him. But he, being narrowly guarded, as he knew, and fearing some tumult to arise, thought good to refuse their counsel, and so did.
You are therefore to note, that at this time the prelates of England stood upon their pantofles, and jolly fellows (I tell you) they would be known to be. For in an inquisition made after the death of one Alfred of Lincoln, being, as is supposed, a baron of this realm, there is found (inter alia) as followeth: "That the aforenamed Alfred held a certain piece of the park of Dunetish and Tilei of the abbot of Cerne, by service of holding his stirrup when the abbot should take horseback, and to give him place in the shire at such time as he should be present." The circumstances hereof being considered, together with the time wherein it was done, giveth probable cause to conjecture that the occasion of this matter came by this means: viz. That whereas the said Alfred was desirous to enlarge his park, and could not so do but by purchasing of part of some other ground next adjoining, whereof the said abbot was owner, he was therefore constrained either to lack that he liked, or to admit such conditions as pleased my lord abbot; who, like a lord, (as you see,) was content to let him have his land, reserving such service as is above said. Wherein would be noted the pomp of prelates in those days, and how near they drew in imitation to the pope, in whose treading they traced.
But leaving these affairs of the church and churchmen, wherein we have been somewhat large, we will now enter into other troubles of the temporal state. You heard before of a pacification concluded between the king and his barons in the year of our Lord 1264, the same having been admitted by mutual and common consent of the temporalty and clergy. Nevertheless, as a sore not well searched and tented, but superficially and overly skinned, doth break out into a more dangerous botch; so it came to pass among the lords and barons, betwixt whom no such firm reconciliation was made as was like long to last. Whereupon ensued, after secret grudge and privy hatred, open arms and conflicts. For in this year 1265 the sons of Simon the earl, to wit, Henry, Simon, and Guido, being all puffed up, and with the pride of their success elevated, did that which nothing contented the earl of Gloucester; insomuch that he challenged Henry, the eldest son of the Earl Simon Mountfort, at the barriers, to be tried at Northampton. But that challenge was taken up, lest some further inconvenience might have risen thereof. But the earl of Gloucester, being moved therewith in his mind, sent unto his father the earl that he should deliver him such prisoners, being noblemen, as he took at the battle of Lewes; among whom the king of Almaine was named first. But he by countermand answered him, and said, that it might content and satisfy him, for that he had saved and preserved to him his lands that day the battle was fought at Lewes; and that furthermore he would not send him such prisoners as he demanded; and that he himself kept more noble than they in the castle of Dover; among whom was John Basset, which undermined and burst down the walls of Northampton at that conflict, as is said before and specified.
The earl of Gloucester being herewith displeased, so soon as he heard this answer, sent incontinently to the Lord Roger Mortimer, which always took the king's part, desiring that they two might talk together touching the benefit and commodity of the king. Who, doubting some deceit, desired sureties and pledges for his safe return, and he would come and talk with him, and so had. When they met, and had a while talked familiarly, the earl of Gloucester showed him all that he was purposed to do; and that further he lamented he had so much and so greatly offended the king; and that he would with all his power and ability make amends for that offence, in the restitution of the king again to his kingly dignity, as much as he possibly might. Therefore they sent secretly to Robert, the brother of the earl of Gloucester, which was near about the Earl Simon, and made him to consent with them therein. And to work this thing more circumspectly, when opportunity served thereunto, Roger Mortimer sent unto the king's son, a horse excelling all others in footmanship, unto whom he might be sure to trust, when he saw convenient time thereunto. After which things thus contrived, Prince Edward desired leave of the earl to prove his courser against such time as he should ride at the tilt, as they might when they listed. As soon as he had gotten leave, and that with gallopping and ranging the field he had wearied divers of their horses; at the last, getting up upon the horse which for that purpose was sent, and spying a servant on horseback coming toward him with two swords, he turned about unto his keeper, whose name was Robert de Rose, and to others his play-fellows that were with him, saying, My loving lords, thus long have I kept you company, and have been in your custodies; and now, not purposing to use your companies any longer, I betake you to God. And, quickly turning his horse about, put to the spurs, and away went he. The other pricked after apace, but yet came far gnough behind, and overtake him they could not. At last, when they saw Roger Mortimer coming from his castle of Wigmore, accompanied with many armed men, to meet him, as before it was appointed, they returned again home as wise as when they came forth. And when this the prince's escape was divulged, much people came unto him out of every quarter with great joy thereof. Amongst whom the first was the earl of Gloucester, and the other soldiers of the king, which had now long lien at Bristow, and thereabouts, and within a short space he had a great and a mighty host.
Which thing when the Earl Simon understood, he much doubted and mistrusted himself; and sending into Wales, he gat from thence a great many men, and augmented his power as strongly as he might from every part of England. He sent also Simon his son to the noblemen of the north parts, that with all possible speed he might bring them with him; who with a great company came with him, and at Kenilworth awhile they stayed, and there pitched their tents. But leaving Kenilworth for a certain time, they went to Winchester, and spoiled the same, and then returned again to Kenilworth. And when this was declared to Edward the king's son, who then was at Worcester, by a certain spial, which he had gotten after he came from Gloucester a little before, he prepared himself with his soldiers in the night season to go to the place where the spy should bring him, which was into a deep valley, near unto the place where Simon and his company had pitched. And when in the morning they were very early about to arm themselves, and prepare their horses, they heard a great noise of their enemies coming towards them. Then thinking that they had prepared themselves against their coming, and so had been betrayed, they set forth in battle-array, marching forwards, till that they met certain of their enemies straggling in long wings, thinking to have gone a foraging, and to have sought for victuals; whom they took, and with their fresh horses new horsed their soldiers that had their horses tired with long travel. And so, marching forward, came very early in the morning upon their enemies, whom for the most part they found sleeping; and laying lustily about them, they slew divers; some they took, the rest they put to flight; and fifteen of their chiefest ensigns they took, with many other rich spoils. But young Simon himself lodged in the castle, who with a few with him escaped and fled. And this was the fourth day before the nones of August, A.D. 1265.
But when Edward heard that Earl Simon was coming toward Kenilworth, to join with his son's battle, he marched forward to meet him the third day after at Evesham, where he divided his host into three battles, he himself having the leading of one, the earl of Gloucester the second, and Roger Mortimer the third, which came upon their backs. The king's son Edward came northward, as though he came from Kenilworth to Evesham; and because he would not be descried, he caused his own standards and ensigns to be taken down, and young Simon's which he had taken before to be advanced. But the Earl Simon's scurrier, whose name was Nicholas, showed the earl that such bands and companies were marching towards him; who thinking the same to have been Simon his son's power, not knowing of the overthrow which he had before, gave small credit thereunto, till that the said Nicholas, the better to view and descry them, went up to the abbey steeple of Evesham, where he might plainly discern them all and their standards; for by this time they were mounted the hill which they laboured to attain, thinking to have that vantage when they should give their charge as they had purposed; and had also advanced again his own standards, and pulled down Simon's, whereby they were the more easier descried and known. Then he cried aloud to the Earl Simon, and said, We are all but dead men; for it is not your son, as you suppose, that cometh, but it is Edward the king's son that cometh from one part, and the earl of Gloucester from another part, and Roger Mortimer from the third part. Then said the earl, The Lord be merciful unto our souls, forasmuch as our bodies and lives are now in their hands; commanding that every man should make himself ready to God, and to fight out the field, for that it was their wills to die for their laws, and in a just quarrel. And such as would depart he gave leave to go their ways, that they should be no discomfiture to the rest.
Then came unto him his eldest son Henry, and comforted him, desiring him to have no despair, nor yet mistrust in the good success of this victory, with other such cheerful words. No, my son, (saith he,) I despair not; but yet it is thy presumption, and the pride of the rest of thy brethren, that hath brought me to this end you see; notwithstanding, yet I trust I shall die to God, and in a righteous quarrel. After words of comfort given to all his host, and the oration made, as is the manner, they all armed themselves. The king also (whom the earl always kept with him) he armed in an armour of his own; and then, dividing their battles, they marched towards their enemies. But before they joined, the Welchmen ran their ways, and thinking to escape over the river of Dee, were there some drowned, and some slain. Then when the battles joined and came to handy strokes, within short space many of the earl's part fell and were slain; and the king himself being struck at, cried with a loud voice to them, saying, "Kill me not, I am Henry your king." And with these the king's words the Lord Adam Monthaut knew him, and saved him. At whose voice and cry came also Prince Edward his son, and delivered him to the guard and custody of certain knights. In the mean season the Earl Simon was hard bestead and beaten down, and also slain, before Edward the prince came at him. Howbeit, before he fell, whenas he fought for life, and Henry his son, and other noblemen on his part, were about him, he brake out into these words unto his enemies, saying, What, is there no mercy and compassion with you? Who again answered, What compassion should there be showed to traitors? Then said he, The Lord be merciful unto our souls, our bodies are in your hands. And so soon as these words were spoken, they mangled his body, and divided his members, and cut off his head, which head Roger Mortimer sent unto his wife. And not far off from him also was slain Henry his eldest son, the Lord Hugh Spenser, the Lord Radulph Basset, the Lord Thomas de Hestele, the Lord William Mandeville, the Lord John Beauchamp, the Lord Guido Baillofer, the Lord Roger Rowley, and many other noblemen besides, with a great multitude of people, the Lord knoweth how many. This battle was fought in the month of August, and continued from one of the clock till it was night; in the which was not so much as one man on the earl's part, of any estimation, fortitude, and courage, but in that battle lost his life; more than the Lord John, who by the great grace of God escaped death. Neither is this to be forgotten, that the same day, being Tuesday, at that instant hour when the battle began, which was at one of the clock at afternoon, there was such a darkness over all, such thunder and such tempest, that the like before tha time was never seen, being very calm and fair weather both immediately before and after; which seemed (saith mine author) to give a plain demon stration of that which afterwards chanced and followed.
After this great slaughter and overthrow, there was a parliament summoned at Winchester by the earl of Gloucester, and others of his part. Here by the way is to be considered, that the king, although he was in the camp of the earl of Leicester, being then in custody, and his son,Edward with the earl of Gloucester; yet the king was on that side against his will, and therefore in the said parliament the king was restored to his kingly dignity, which was before that time under the custody of the barons. But after the battle was ended and do certain of them that loved the earl upon an old ladder gathered up such parts of his body as remained, and, covering the same with an old gown, brought it to Evesham, where they putting the same in a fair linen cloth, buried it in the church. But not long after, such as thought not themselves sufficiently revenged with his death, (to wreak them of the dead corpse,) took up the same, and threw it in another place, saying that he which was both accursed and a traitor was not worthy of Christian burial.
The same year also died Walter Cantilupe, bishop of Winchester, after whom succeeded Nicolas of Ely, the king's chancellor.
Illustration -- Kenilworth Castle
The same year the king, perceiving that unless the castle of Kenilworth were recovered, and the boldness of them restrained that kept the same, many evils and inconveniences might ensue thereupon, to the prejudice of his kingdom; for that the number increased every day more and more, wasting and spoiling the country all about; therefore he gathered an army, and came down to Warwick, where he awhile tarried, expecting the meeting and assembling of his marquises and lords, with ensigns and other munition suitable. Who when their bands were furnished and mustered, and all things ready, the morrow after Midsummer day he displayed his banner, and began his voyage, marching towards Kenilworth, and besieged the same. During which siege, by the advice and counsel of the king, the pope's legate, and other noblemen, twelve persons were chosen which should have the disposing of those things that pertained to the state of the realm, and of those that had lost their lands and inheritances, who, amongst other things, made and established this one proviso, that was commonly called Kenilworth decree: That all those which had lost their lands by attainder (although not yet attainted) should fine therefore at the king's pleasure, and take their lands of him again; paying some three years', some, four years', some two years' revenues of the same, according to the quality of the crime and offence committed. All which provisos or provisions were established and confirmed, as well by the corporal oath as by signment of the same with the hands and seals of all the prelates and clergy of England, there assembled for that purpose by the pope's legate upon the feast of All saints. When these things were thus finished, messengers were sent on the king's behalf, as well to those that kept the castle of Kenilworth, as also to those that were assembled in the Isle of Ely; willing them to come under the protection of the king's peace, and yield to the foresaid provisos, established by the twelve commissioners. Who all together answered and said, that they would in no wise condescend thereunto, both for that it was done without their consents, not being called unto it, and also for that the said decree was over strait and intolerable. Within short space after great famine and pestilence chanced amongst them which kept the castle, insomuch that they were without all hope of keeping the same; wherefore, soon after, the king sending again to them to yield the castle and take their pardons, they, consulting together of their own estate, thus answered the king's messengers: If it please the king and his council to permit us to send our messenger to the Lord Simon Mountfort, which is beyond the sea, that he may come by a certain day to the defence of this his garrison and fort, and that in the mean space we be not disturbed by the king's army that hath environed us till the return of our messengers; if by the day appointed he come not, we will yield up the same, so that we may be pardoned of life, limb, and movables.
When the messengers were returned, and had declared to the king their answer, he, consulting with his nobles about the matter, agreed unto their petitions, and caused the truce to be proclaimed throughout all his camp, after that sufficient hostages were on either side given for the performance of the same; whereupon they set forward their messengers, as before was said they would. But after that, many of them within the castle being very grievously vexed with the bloody flux, and other diseases, insomuch that the whole men might not abide the corruption and annoyance of those that were diseased, they delivered up the castle before the return of the messengers again, and were permitted to go whither they would to refresh themselves, as men molested with great vexations and miseries. After the rendering up of the castle, the king committed the custody thereof to his son Edmund, and so with his host departing from his siege, came upon Christmas even to Osny, where he with great solemnity and triumph kept his Christmas during seven days, and from thence with his host came to Windsor, from whence after a few days he marched towards Ely; in which island he besieged those which were disherited, and sharply also assaulted them.
The same year Pope Clement the Fourth promoted Master Walter Gifford, bishop of Bath, to be archbishop of York.
In which year also the Church of England began to pay the tenths of all their revenues, as well spiritual as temporal, to the king, to continue for three years' space; and this was done by the authority apostolical.
Within a while after, the barons which were yet remaining gathered themselves together again; amongst whom John Daiwill, being a subtle and stout man of war, began to have a name, and was well esteemed amongst them, who all together did what mischief they might; and in the month of May they assembled at Chesterfield, under the said John Daiwill and the earl of Ferarence, upon whom the king's soldiers coming suddenly in the night, took them sleeping, and slew many of them. Then the said John Daiwill, quickly arming himself, came forth, thinking with more defence both to save himself and to escape. Who in the way struck the Lord Gilbert Humsard such a blow with his demi-lance, that he felled both him and his horse to the ground, and so fled with a few more after him. And thus, while the poor soldiers fought and were slain, the barons fled away and saved themselves. Also the Earl Ferarence fled, and hid himself in a church; but being bewrayed by a woman, he was taken forth, and led away prisoner. After this, the king kept a parliament at Northampton, where he disherited all those that took part with the Earl Simon and all their children. Where also the pope's legate Octobonus held a convocation, and excommunicated all such bishops as had taken any part with Simon against the king; of whom divers he sent up to Rome, to be absolved of the pope; and further, the said legate caused to be proclaimed certain decrees, which he himself had made, and also the new grant of Pope Clement to the king and queen of all the tenths for seven years to come. And shortly after, a tax also was fined upon the country of Norfolk, to the gathering whereof Walter, the bishop of Norwich, was appointed.
After this, in the year of our Lord 1267, King Henry besieged again the castle of Kenilworth, from the seventh day before the first day of July, until the beginning of December, whither came Octobonus, the pope's legate; by whose entreaty Henry Hastings delivered the same unto the king, which stoutly had defended the same, and resisted the king, having pardon granted, both for him and his, of his life, lands, goods, and cattle. In which time also the barons again assembled with John Daiwill, in the isle of Axioline, and so proceeded till they came to Lincoln, which they also took, and spoiled the Jews, and slew many of them; and entering their synagogue, tare and rent the book of their law, and burned the same, and all other writings and obligations which they could come by. Which thing when the king heard, he sent his son Prince Edward; but as soon as they heard that, they fled into the Isle of Ely, and fortified the same with bulwarks as strongly as they might at every entrance into the same. This was in the month of April when Edward the king's son came thither; who, for the great abundance of waters in the same, could by no means enter the island, till at length, by the counsel of the inhabitants of that province, he caused with a number of workmen great trenches and ditches to be made, somewhat to convey away the water; and so long they used the counsel of them, in making bridges with planks and hurdles, till at the last they entered the island, who, as soon as they were entered, the barons fled to London, where they were of the Londoners well entertained. The rest which were in the island yielded themselves, (amongst whom was Roger Wake, Simon the younger, and Peches,) saving their lives and members. After this, both the king and Edward his son came to London with a great power, but yet were kept out of the city by the barons and citizens for the space of forty days. And Octobonus, the legate, (who, for fear, was fled into the Tower,) they narrowly laid for, that he should not escape. At length, by the entreaty of the earl of Gloucester, and other earls that were his friends, both the barons and citizens were pardoned, and admitted to the king's favour. And four bishops and eight other noblemen were chosen, such as were at Coventry first nominated, that they should order and dispose all matters betwixt the king and such as had lost their inheritance, as also the form of their peace and ransom. And proclamation was made upon the feast of All-saints of perfect peace and accord throughout all the realm.
In the fifty-second year of this King Henry's reign, eight days after the feast of St. Martin, he held a parliament at Marlborough, in the year of our Lord above recited; where by the advice of wise and discreet men, and withal the consents of the nobles, he ordained and enacted divers good and profitable statutes for the reformation and bettering of the state of the realm and execution of common justice, which are called the statutes of Marlborough.
The same year, upon St. Gregory's day, Octobonus, the legate, called a council at London, where were five archbishops, and a great number of bishops, abbots, and other prelates; which council also within three days brake up again.