Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 65. PRINCE EDWARD'S CRUSADE


    The same year, upon St. John's day the Baptist, Edward, the king's son, and divers other noblemen of England, took upon them the cross by the legate's hands at Northampton, to the relief of the Holy Land, and the subversion of the enemies of the cross of Christ. Which done, the legate the same year went out of England, not purposing after that to return again. This holy legate, (saith mine author,) which might well be resembled to a lynx, the monstrous beast whose quick sight penetrateth every thing, enrolled to perpetual memory the valuation of all the churches in the realm of England so narrowly, as by any means possible he might inquire the certainty thereof. The same was he that made all the cathedral and conventual churches to pay pensions; so that those churches which gave not the vacancy of their benefices to their clerks and strangers, should pay unto them a certain yearly pension, during the vacancy of the benefices which they should have.

    The same year died Pope Clement the Fourth, after whose death the Church of Rome was two years vacant; and then was chosen an archdeacon cardinal, whose name was Theardus, as he was taking his journey into the Holy Land, and they called him Gregory the Tenth.

    Then also did Edmund, earl of Lancaster and Leicester, and second son of King Henry, take to wife the earl of Albemarle's daughter, and the niece of the earl of Gloucester; at which marriage was the king and the queen, and all the nobility of England.

    The same year was the body of St. Edward the king and confessor, by Walter Gifford, archbishop of York, and other bishops, entombed in a new and rich shrine of gold and silver, beset with precious stones, in the presence of Henry the king of England. In which year also fell a great rain and inundation of waters, such as hath not lightly been seen, which increased and continued the space of forty days, and more.

    The same year died Walter de Laiwill, bishop of Sarum, the third day before the nones of January. After whom succeeded Robert of Northampton, the dean of the same church. And because the see of Canterbury was then vacant, he was confirmed by the chapter of Canterbury; which chapter had always the jurisdiction in spiritual causes, during the vacancy of that see, in as ample manner as the bishop himself had being alive. After this, the bishop elect coming thither, thinking to have had his consecration, was, notwithstanding, put back for two causes: one was, for that there was present then no more but one bishop; the other was, for that all the other bishops had appealed, that he might not be consecrated to their prejudice; that is, by the authority of the chapter of Canterbury, saying that they would not be under the obedience of the monks.

    After this, solemn messengers were for this cause sent to the cardinals of Rome, for that then the see of Rome was vacant; who received answer, that during the vacation of that see the confirmation and consecration of the bishop elect pertained to the aforesaid chapter of Canterbury.

    The same year also was the Lord Henry, the son and heir of the Lord Richard, king of Almaine, and brother to King Henry the Third, slain at Viterbium, in a certain chapel hearing mass, by the Lords Simon and Guido, the sons of the Lord Simon Mountfort, earl of Leicester.

    During this king's reign there was made a great and general expedition of divers and sundry Christian princes to Jerusalem, taking upon them the Lord's character, that is, the cross; among whom was also Edward the king's son, unto the which expedition was granted him a subsidy throughout all the realm. And in the month of May, in the year of our Lord 1270, or, as saith Florilegus, A.D. 1269, he set forward on his journey.

    About the time when Prince Edward was preparing his journey toward Asia, Boniface, of whom ye heard before, the archbishop of Canterbury, ended his life in the country of Sabaudia, going belike to Rome, or coming thence. After whose death the monks of Canterbury, proceeding to a new election granted by the king, agreed upon the prior of their house, named Adam Chelindon. But the king and his son Prince Edward, consenting and speaking in the behalf of Robert Burnell their chancellor, did solicit the matter with the monks, partly entreating, partly threatening them, to choose the said Robert to be archbishop. Notwithstanding, the monks being stout, would neither relent to their courteous request, nor yet bow to their boisterous threats; but, constantly persisting in their former election, appealed from the king and prince to the pope. Prince Edward being now on his journey, and seeing himself thus frustrated of the monks, writeth back to the king his father; devoutly praying and beseeching him in no wise to admit the election of the foresaid monks. And so, passing to Dover with Henry, the son of Richard his uncle, king of Romans, with their wives, they took their passage in the month of August. After this, the prior thus elected, as is foretold, but not admitted by the king to be archbishop, went up to Rome.

    In the mean time, the monks, in the absence of their elect, ordained one Geoffrey Pomenall to be their official; who seeing himself advanced to that dignity, and bearing belike some old grudge against the prior of Dover, caused him to be cited up to appear in the chapter house of Canterbury. The prior of Dover seeing this citation to be prejudicial to him and to the church of Dover, and knowing that the monks of Canterbury have no such jurisdiction, (the see of Canterbury being vacant,) but that all things appertaining to that church ought to be reserved whole to the consecration of the new archbishop; therefore, for the state both of him and of his church, he appealed up also unto Rome. But to return to the archbishop again.

    The second year after Chelindon, the foresaid archbishop elect, remaining all this while at Rome, at last resigned up his election to the pope's hand, being Gregory the Tenth; who then gave the same to Robert Kilwarby. Who then coming to Dover, restored again the prior of that house, being before excluded upon certain causes. By these contentions judge, good reader, of the religion of these men, and of these times. And now to return to our former story.

    About this time came out the great Concordance by an English friar, called John Dernington.

    It was above declared, how a general voyage being proclaimed to war against the. Turks, and a subsidy being collected in England upon the same, Prince Edward with others was appointed to take their voyage, and now were onward in their journey. Who, at Michaelmas following, with his company came to Egermorth, which is from Marsilia eight leagues westward; and there taking ship again, (having a merry wind and prosperous,) within ten days arrived at Sunes at Tunicium, where he was with great joy welcomed and entertained of the Christian princes that were to this purpose assembled, as of Philip the French King, whose father Louis died a little before, of Charles the king of Sicily, and the two kings Navarre and Arragon. And as the Lord Edward came thither for his father the king of England, thither came also Henry, the son of the king of Almaine, for his father; who, at his return from the voyage, was slain in a chapel at Viterbium hearing mass, by the Lords Simon and Guido, the sons of the Lord Simon Mountfort, earl of Leicester.

    When Prince Edward demanded of these kings and princes what was to be done, they answered him again, and said, The prince of this city, said they, and the province adjoining to the same, hath been accustomed to pay tribute unto the king of Sicily every year. And now, for that the same hath been for the space of seven years unpaid and more, therefore we thought good to make invasion upon him. But the king knowing the same tribute to be justly demanded, hath now according to our own desires satisfied for the time past, and also paid his tribute beforehand.

    Then said he, My lords, what is this to the purpose? Are we not here all assembled, and have taken upon us the Lord's character, to fight against the infidels and enemies of Christ? What mean you then to conclude a peace with them? God forbid we should do so; for now the land is plain and hard, so that we may approach the holy city Jerusalem. Then said they, Now have we made a league with them, neither is it lawful for us to break the same; but let us return again to Sicily, and when the winter is past, we may well take shipping to Acre. But this counsel nothing at all liked him, neither did he show himself well pleased therewith; but after that he had made them a princely banquet, he went into his closet or privy chamber from amongst them, neither would be partaker of any of that wicked money which they had taken. They, notwithstanding, continuing their purpose, at the next merry wind took shipping; and, for want of ships, left two hundred of their men ashore, crying out and piteously lamenting for the peril and hazard of death they were in. Wherewith Prince Edward, being somewhat moved with compassion, came back to the land, and received and stowed them in his own ships, being the last that went aboard. Within seven days after, they arrived in the kingdom of Sicily, over against the city Trapes, casting their anchors a league from thence within the sea, for that their ships were of great burden and thoroughly fraught. And from the haven of the city they sent out barges and boats to receive and bring such of the nobility to land as would; but their horses, for the most part, and all their armour, they kept still within board. At length, towards the evening the sea began to be rough, and increased to a great tempest and a mighty, insomuch that their ships were beaten one against another's sides; and drowned there were of them, at that tempest, lying at anchor, more than a hundred and twenty, with all their armour and munition, with innumerable souls besides; and that wicked money also, which they had taken before, likewise perished and was drowned. But the tempest hurt not so much as one ship of Prince Edward's, who had in number thirteen, nor yet had one man lost thereby, for that, as it may be presupposed, he consented not to the wicked counsel of the rest. When in the morning the princes and kings came to the sea-side, and saw all their ships drowned, and saw their men and horses in great number cast upon the land drowned, they had full heavy hearts, as well they might. For of all their ships and mariners, which were in number fifteen hundred, besides the common soldiers, there were no more saved than the mariners of one only ship, and they in this wise. There was in that ship a good and wise matron, (a countess, or an earl's wife,) who perceiving the tempest to grow, and fearing herself, called to her the master of the ship, and asked whether, in attempting to the shore, it were not possible to save themselves. Who answered, that to save the ship it was impossible, howbeit the men that were therein by God's help he doubted not. Then said the countess, For the ship force no whit, save the souls therein, and have to thee double the value of the ship. Who, immediately hoisting the sails, with all force ran the ship aground so near the shore as was possible. Thus, with the vehemency of the weather and force he came withal, he burst the ship, and saved all that was within the same, as the master of the same ship had showed and said before.

    Then the kings and princes (altering their purpose after this so great a shipwreck) returned home again every one unto their own lands; only Edward the king's son remained behind with his men and ships, which the Lord had saved and preserved. Then Prince Edward (renovating his purpose) took shipping again, and within fifteen days after Easter arrived he at Acre, and went a-land, taking with him a thousand of the best soldiers and most expert, and tarried there a whole month, refreshing both his men and horses, and that in this space he might learn and know the secrets of the land. After this, he took with him six or seven thousand soldiers, and marched forward twenty miles from Acre, and took Nazareth; and those that he there found he slew, and afterward returned again to Acre. But their enemies following after them, thinking to have set upon them at some strait or other advantage, they were by the prince premonished thereof, and returning again upon them, gave a charge, and slew many of them, and the rest they put to flight. After this, about Midsummer, when the prince had understanding that the Saracens began to gather at Cackhow, which was forty miles from Acre, he marching thither set upon them very early in the morning, and slew of them more than one thousand, the rest he put to flight, and took rich spoils, marching forward till they came to a castle named Castrum Peregrinorum, situate upon the sea-coast, and tarried there that night, and the next day they returned toward Acre. In the mean season the king of Jerusalem sent unto the noblemen of Cyprus, desiring them with speed that they would come and aid the Christians; but they would not come, saying they would keep their own land, and go no farther. Then Prince Edward sent unto them, desiring that at his request they would come and join in aid with him. Who immediately thereupon came unto him with great preparation and furniture for the war, saying that at his commandment they were bound to do no less, for that his predecessors were sometimes governors of their land, and that they ought always to show their fidelity to the kings of England. Then the Christians, being herewith animated, made a third 'viage' or 'rode,' and came as far as the fort called Vincula St. Petri, and to St. George's; and when they had slain certain there, not finding any to make resistance against them, they retired again from whence they came.

    When thus the fame of Prince Edward grew amongst his enemies, and that they began to stand in doubt of him, they devised among themselves how by some policy they might circumvent him and betray him. Whereupon the great prince and admiral of Joppa sent unto him, feigning himself under great deceit to become a Christian, and that he would draw with him a great number besides, so that they might be honourably entertained and used of the Christians. This talk pleased the prince well, and persuaded him to finish the thing he had so well begun by writing again; who also by the same messenger sent and wrote back unto him divers times about the same matter, whereby no mistrust should spring. This messenger, saith mine author, was one of the stony-hearted, that neither feared God nor dreaded death. The fifth time when this messenger came, and was of the prince's servants searched, according to the manner and custom, what weapon and armour he had about him, as also his purse, that not so much as a knife could be found about him, he was had up into the prince's chamber; and after his reverence done, he pulled out certain letters, which he delivered to the prince from his lord, as he had done others before. This was about eight days after Whitsuntide, upon a Tuesday somewhat before night; at which time the prince was laid upon his bed bareheaded in his jerkin, for the great heat and intemperature of the weather.

    When the prince had read the letters, it appeared by them, that upon the Saturday next following his lord would be there ready to accomplish all that he had written and promised. The report of these news by the prince to the standers-by liked them well, drawing somewhat back to consult thereof amongst themselves. In the mean time, the messenger, kneeling and making his obeisance to the prince, questioning further with him, put his hand to the belt, as though he would have pulled out some secret letters, and suddenly he pulled out an envenomed knife, thinking to have stricken him into the belly therewith as he lay; but the prince lifting up his hand to defend the blow, was stricken a great wound into the arm. And being about to fetch another stroke at him, the prince again with his foot took him sucha blow, that he felled him to the ground. With that the prince gat him by the hand, and with such violence wrested the knife from him, that he hurt himself therewith in the forehead, and immediately thrust the same into the belly of the messenger and striker, and slew him. The prince's servants, being in the next chamber not far off, hearing the bustling, came with great haste running in, and finding the messenger lying dead on the floor, one of them took up a stool, and beat out his brains; whereat the prince was wroth, for that he struck a dead man, and one that was killed before. The rumour hereof, as it was strange, so it soon went throughout all the court, and from thence amongst the common people; wherefore they were very heavy and greatly discouraged. To him came also the captain of the temple, and brought him a costly and precious drink against poison, lest the venom of the knife should penetrate the lively blood, and in blaming-wise said unto him, Did I not show your Grace before of the deceit and subtlety of this people? Notwithstanding, saith he, let your Grace take a good heart, you shall not die of this wound; my life for yours. But straightway the surgeons and physicians were sent for, and the prince was dressed, and within a few days after the wound began to putrify, and the flesh to look dead and black; whereupon they that were about the prince began to mutter amongst themselves, and were very sad and heavy. Which thing he himself perceiving, said unto them, Why mutter you thus amongst yourselves? What see you in me? Can I not be healed? Tell me the truth, be ye not afraid. Whereupon one said to him, And like your Grace you may be healed, we mistrust it not; but yet it will be very painful for you to suffer. May suffering, saith he again, restore health? Yea, saith the other, on pain of losing my head. Then, said the prince, I commit myself unto you, do with me what you think good. Then said one of the physicians, Is there any of your nobles in whom your Grace reposeth special trust? To whom the prince answered, Yea, naming certain of the noblemen that stood about him. Then said the physician unto the two whom the prince first named, the Lord Edmund, and the Lord John Voisy, And do you also faithfully love your lord and prince? Who answered both, Yea undoubtedly. Then saith he, Take you away this gentlewoman and lady, (meaning his wife,) and let her not see her lord and husband, until such a time I will you thereunto. Whereupon they took her out of the prince's presence, crying out and wringing her bands. Then said they unto her, Be ye contented, good lady and madam; it is better that one woman should weep a little while, than that all the realm of England should weep a great season. Then upon the morrow they cut out all the dead envenomed flesh out of the prince's arm, and threw it from them, and said unto him, How cheereth your Grace? We promise you within these fifteen days you shall show yourself abroad (if God permit) upon your horseback, whole and well as ever you were. And according to the promise he made the prince, it came to pass, to the no little comfort and admiration of all his subjects. When the great soldan heard of it, and that the prince was yet alive, he would scarcely believe the same; and sending unto him three of his nobles and princes, he excused himself by them, calling his gods to witness that the same was done neither by him nor his consent. Which princes and messengers standing aloof off from the king's son, worshipping him, fell flat upon the ground. You, saith the prince, do reverence me, but yet you love me not. But they understood him not, because he spake in English unto them, speaking by an interpreter. Nevertheless, he honourably treated them, and sent them away in peace.

    Thus when Prince Edward had been eighteen months in Acre, he took shipping about the Assumption of our Lady, as we call it, returning homeward, and after seven weeks he arrived in Sicily at Trapani, and from thence travelling through Palestina and Metmes, and so through the midst of Apulia, till he came to Rome, where he was of the pope honourably entertained. From thence he came into France, whose fame and noble prowess was there much bruited among the common people, and envied of the nobility, especially of the earl de Chalons, who sent unto him, and required him that he might break a staff with him at the tilt in his country. Which thing to do, for that the prince would not diminish his honour and fame, (although he might have well alleged a sufficient cause and excuse by means of his travel,) yet he would not, but willingly consented thereunto; whereupon it was proclaimed that Prince Edward, by such a day, with those that were with him, had challenged all comers at the tilt and barriers. Whereupon great assemblies were made in the country all about, and divers, as well horsemen as footmen, had conjured amongst themselves, and conspired against the Englishmen, selling their horses and armour beforehand, and drinking one to another good success in spoiling them whom they would take as their prisoners. Prince Edward in the mean time sent into England for divers earls and barons, which came unto him. When the day appointed was come, the prince had with him more than one thousand horsemen, which were knights, besides his footmen; but yet there were as many more on the other side, both in horsemen and footmen. When the parties should meet, the French footmen, which had before conspired, began both to spoil, rifle, and kill. The Englishmen resisted and defended themselves both with bows and slings; many of them they slew, and drave them to the gates of their city; the other they chased over a river, where many of them were drowned. In the mean season the earl, with fifty of his knights which followed him, came forth and joined together so many for so many, and a long time together they tried it with their swords, laying one at another. At the last the earl, perceiving himself not able to match with him at the arm's end, enclosed with him, and, taking him about the neck, held him with his arms very strait. What mean you, my lord, saith the prince, think you to have my horse? Yea, marry, quoth the earl, I mean to have both thee and thy horse. Hereat Prince Edward, being indignant, lifted up himself, and gave him such a blow, that therewithal he, forsaking his horse, hung still about the prince's neck, till that he shook him off to the ground. Herewith the prince, being somewhat in a heat, left the press to take the air, thereby to refresh himself. But when he saw the injury of the Frenchmen towards his men, and how they had slain many of them, he then said unto them, that they used rather the exercise of battle than of tourney. Spare ye not therefore (saith he) from henceforth any of them all, but give them again as good as they bring. Then they assailed to kill each other freely on either part, and let their swords walk.

    And when by this time the English footmen were again returned, and saw the conflict of horsemen, and many other Englishmen overthrown, they put themselves amidst the press; and some paunching the horses, some cutting asunder the girths of the Frenchmen's saddles, they overthrew the riders, and gave them holy bread. Then when the foresaid earl was horsed again by some of his men and amongst the throng, Prince Edward also rushed in amongst the thickest, and coupled again with him; to whom he often spake and cried, that he should yield himself as vanquished, but that he would not do. Notwithstanding, when his strength began to fail him, he was fain to yield himself unto a simple knight, according as Prince Edward him bade, and all the rest of his horsemen and knights fled and saved themselves. Howbeit, many of them in that place were slain, and our men returned, having the victory. But when after this they thought themselves to be quiet and at rest, they were killed of the citizens by two and by three at once as they went in the streets. Which thing, when the prince heard, he sent for the mayor and burgesses, commanding them to see the same redressed, and that immediately; for otherwise, of his knighthood he assured them, that upon the morrow he would fire the city, and make it level with the ground. Whereupon they went their ways, and set watchmen in divers places of the same to keep the peace, by which means the prince and men were in safety and quiet. Thus in this pastime of tourneying and barriers much blood was spilt, whereupon the name of the place was changed.

    From thence the prince came to Paris, and was of the French king honourably entertained; and after certain days he went from thence into Gascony, where he tarried till that he heard of the death of the king his father.

    In the year of our Lord 1272 died Pope Clement the Fourth: after whom succeeded Pope Gregory the Tenth; who, in the next year following, which was the year of our Lord 1273, called a general council at Lyons, about the controversy between the Greek Church and the Latin Church, and for the vacancy of the see apostolical, &c.

    Having thus accomplished the life and history of King Henry the Third, with such accidents as happened within this realm, I thought good to adjoin unto the same some other foreign matters, not unworthy the note, incident in other countries during the time of the said king; namely, from the year of our Lord 1217 unto this year 1272; which I thought the rather not to be omitted, for that, even from and about the beginning of this king's reign, sprang up the very well-springs of all mischief, the sects of monkish religious and other swarms of popish orders, which with their gross and horrible superstitions have encumbered the church of Christ ever since.

    First, to omit the repetition of Pope Innocent the Third, the great grandsire of that foul monster transubstantiation and auricular confession, with the friars Dominic, and Franciscan friars, Thomas Aquinas, Jacobus de Voragine, Vincentius, with Pope Honorius the Third, coiner of the canon law, and the Cardinal Postiensis, as also Bonaventure, Albertus Magnus, with Pope Urban the Fourth, first founder of the feast of Corpus Christi, and procurer of the adoration of the body of Christ in the sacrament, besides Durandus and many more; it followeth further to be noted, that the Tartarians, about the year 1240, issuing out of Muscovia into the parts of Polonia, made great waste in Christendom; so much the rather, because the princes about Polonia, being at variance amongst themselves, used none other remedy for their defence but heaps of masses, invocation of the dead, and worshipping of images, which indeed did nothing relieve them, but rather increase their trouble.

    The next year following, the whole nation of the Scythians, mustering like locusts, invaded the parts of Europe with two mighty armies; whereof the one, entering upon Polonia, made great havoc, and carried away many Christians from thence captives; the other, overrunning Hungaria, made no less spoil there. Add hereunto another fresh army of Tartarians, to the number of five millions, who at the very same time joining themselves together, entered into Muscovia and Cracovia, and made most horrible slaughter, sparing neither sex nor age, noble nor unnoble, within the land. From thence passing to Lower Sclavonia, they made great spoil there also; and thinking there to win the castle, were by the miraculous working of the Lord, at the instance and prayers of good people, discomfited beyond all expectation of man, by thunder and lightning falling upon them from heaven in most terrible wise.

    The same year, immediately after Easter, another army of Tartarians were gathered against Lignitz, drawing near to Germany; by the bruit whereof the Germans, being put in great fear, were altogether dismayed, but yet not able to help themselves, by reason they lacked a good guide and governor amongst them. All which came to pass, specially by the mischievous practice of the Roman popes, raising variance and discord among them. Notwithstanding, Henry, prince of Polonia and Silesia, gathering a power as well as be could, did encounter with him; but, in fine, his whole army was vanquished, and the king himself slain. Notwithstanding which overthrow of Christians, it pleased God to strike such a fear into the hearts of the said Tartarians, that they durst not approach any further or nearer into Germany, but retired for that time into their country again; who recounting their victory, by taking each man but one ear of every one of the Christians that were slain, found the slaughter so great, as that they filled nine great sacks full of ears. Nevertheless, after this, in the year 1260, the same Tartarians, having the Muscovites to their guides, returned again into Polonia and Cracovia, where, in the space of three months, they overran the land with fire and sword to the coasts of Silesia; and had not the princes of Germany put to their helping hand in this lamentable case, they had utterly wasted the whole land of Polonia, and the coasts thereabouts.

    This year also, in the month of April, Richard, king of Almaine, died at the castle of Berkhamsted, and was buried at the abbey of Hanes, which he built out of the ground. The same year also at Norwich there fell a great controversy between the monks and the citizens, about certain tallages and liberties. At last, after much altercation and wrangling words, the furious rage of the citizens so much increased and prevailed, and so little was the fear of God before their eyes, that all together they set upon the abbey and priory, and burned both the church and bishop's palace. When this thing was heard abroad, the people were very sorry to hear of so bold and naughty an enterprise, and much discommended the same. At the last, King Henry, calling for certain of his lords and barons, sent them to the city of Norwich, that they might punish and see execution done on the chiefest malefactors; insomuch that some of them were condemned and burnt, some of them hanged, and some were drawn by the heels with horses throughout the streets of the city, and after in much misery ended their wretched lives. The same year Adam, the prior of Canterbury, and bishop elect, in the presence of Pope Gregory the Tenth refused to be archbishop, although he was elect. Wherefore the pope gave the same archbishopric to Friar Robert Kilwarby, the provost of the Preaching friars, a man of good life and great learning. He was consecrated at Canterbury the fourth day of March by six bishops of the same province. The same year also, at Michaelmas, the Lord Edmund, the son of King Richard of Almaine, married the sister of Gilbert, earl of Gloucester. Also in this year of our Lord 1273, the sixteenth day before the kalends of December, upon St. Edmund's day, the archbishop and confessor, died King Henry, in the six and fiftieth year of his reign, and was buried at Westminster, leaving after him two sons and two daughters, to wit, Edward the prince, and Edmund, earl of Lancaster and Leicester, Beatrice, and Margaret; which Margaret was married to the king of Scots. This King Henry in his lifetime began the building of the church and steeple at Westminster, but did not thoroughly finish the same before his death.

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