66. KING EDWARD I.N the time of the death of King-Henry, Edward, his eldest son, was absent in Gascony, as a little before you heard; yet, notwithstanding, by Robert Kilwarby, archbishop of Canterbury, and other bishops and nobles, he was ordained heir and successor after his father; who, after he had heard of his father's death, returned home to his country, and was crowned in the year of our Lord 1274, who then laid down his crown, saying he would no more put it on, before he had gathered together all the lands pertaining to the same. This Edward, as he had always before been a loving and natural child to his father, whom he had delivered out of prison and captivity; and hearing afterward both together of the death of his son and of his father, wept and lamented much more for his father than for his son, saying to the French king, which asked the cause thereof, that the loss of his child was but light; for children might after increase and be multiplied, but the loss of his parent was greater, which could not be recovered: so Almighty God, for the same his piety to his father showed, rewarded him him again with great success, felicity, and long reign; insomuch that he being young, as he was playing at chess with a certain soldier of his, suddenly having occasion given, rose up and went his way; who had just voided the place, when incontinent fell down a mighty stone from the vault above, directly upon the place where he sat, able to have quashed him in pieces, if he had tarried never so little more. In the preservation of whom, as I see the present hand and mighty providence of the living God; so, in the king's order again, I note a fault or error worthy of reprehension, for that he, receiving such a lively benefit at the hand of the living Lord, going therefore on pilgrimage to Walsingham, gave thanks, not to our Lord only, but rather to a rotten block. Of the gentle nature of this courageous prince sufficient proof is given by this one example; that what time he, being in his disport of hawking, chanced sharply to rebuke the negligence of one of his gentlemen, for what fault I cannot tell, about his hawk; the gentleman, being on the other side of the river, hearing his menacing words, was glad (as he said) that the river was between them. With this answer, the courageous blood of this prince being moved, upon present heat he leaped straight into the flood, both of a swift stream and of a dangerous deepness, and no less hard in getting out. Notwithstanding, either forgetting his own life, or neglecting the danger present, and having a good horse, ventureth his own death to have the death of his man. At length, with much difficulty recovering the bank, with his sword drawn he pursueth his provoker. Who having not so good a horse, and seeing himself in danger of taking, reineth his horse, and returning back barehead unto the prince, submitteth his neck under his hand to strike. The prince, whose fervent stomach the water of the whole river could not quench, a little submission of his man did so cool that the quarrel fell, his anger ceased, and his sword was put up without any stroke given. And so both returned to their game, good friends again.
In the first beginning of his reign the king had much ado in Wales, where he had divers conflicts with the Welchmen, whom at last he subdued, and cut down their woods, suppressed rebellions; and, vanquishing their kings, Llewelyn and his brother, ordained his eldest son Edward, born in the same country, to be prince of Wales. This Llewelyn, captain of the Welchmen, here mentioned, rebelling against King Edward, asked counsel of conjuration, what event should come upon his attempt. To whom it was told, that he should go forward boldly; for doubtless he should ride through Cheapside, at London, with a crown on his head. Which so came to pass. For being slain, his head was carried through Cheap, with a crown of silver, to London bridge. Whereby men may learn not to seek nor stick to these vain prophecies, which though they fall true, yet are they trains of the devil to deceive men.
About this time was a great earthquake, and such a rot that consumed a great multitude of sheep in the land, through the occasion, as they say, of one scabbed sheep that came out of Spain. The king, returning from Wales to England, ordered certain new laws for the wealth of the realm. Among many others, this was one, that authority was given to all mayors, bailiffs, and other officers, to see execution and punishment of all bakers making bread under the size, with pillory. Of millers stealing corn, with the tumbrel, &c. And within two years after the statute of mortmain was first enacted, which is as much to say, that no man should give unto the church any lands or rents without a special licence of the king.
About which time also, being the seventh year of his reign, two hundred and ninety-seven Jews for money-clipping were put to execution. In which same year began first the foundation of the Black Friars by Ludgate. And the town of Boston was greatly wasted the same year with fire. The halfpenny and farthing began first to be coined the selfsame time, which was the eighth year of his reign. The great conduit in Cheap began the fourth year after to be made, A.D. 1284. And the next year following the new work of the church of Westminster, begun, as is afore premonished, in the third year of Henry the Third, was finished, which was sixty-six years in edifying. The Jews were utterly banished this realm of England the same time, for which the commons gave to the king a fifteenth, &c.
After that, the country of Wales was brought in a full order and quiet, by the hewing down of the woods, and casting down the old holds, and building of new; which all was brought to perfect end about the twenty-fourth year of this king's reign. Then ensued another broil, as great or greater, with Scotland, to the great disquiet of the king and the realm of England many years after. This trouble first began by the death of Alexander, king of Scots, who died without issue left alive behind him. Although Fabian, in the seventh book of his chronicles, affirmeth, that he left three daughters; the eldest married to Sir John Baliol, the second to Robert Bruce, the third to one Hastings. But this in Fabian is to be corrected, as which neither standeth with itself, and is clearly convicted by the witness and history of Rob. Avesbury, and also of Gisburne.
For, first, if King Alexander had left his eldest daughter married to Sir John Baliol, then what controversy might arise among the lords about succession, needing so diligent and anxious deciding by the king of England? Secondly, what claim or title could the king of Norway have to the crown of Scotland, which was one of the challengers, claiming the said crown in the behalf of Margaret, the niece of the foresaid King Alexander, her grandfather, if the eldest daughter of the father had been left alive? Thirdly, what can be more plain, when by the affirmance of the foresaid story it is testified, that King Alexander had two wives? Of the second whereof he had no issue. Of the first he had two children; Alexander, which died before his father, and Margaret, married to the king of Norway, which died also before her father, of whom came Margaret, the niece of Alexander, and daughter to the king of Norway, afore mentioned. And she also died in the journey between Norway and Scotland, the fourth year after the decease of her grandfather. Wherefore, as this matter standeth most clear, so let us now, returning from whence we digressed, prosecute the rest that followeth. After that Alexander thus, as is said, departed without issue, and also Margaret, his niece, in Norway was deceased, the matter came in a great doubt among the nobles of Scotland, especially twelve by name, to whom the right of the crown should next pertain. After much variance among parties, at length the election and determination of the matter was committed to the judgment of King Edward of England; who, after sufficient proof made to the Scots, and firm evidence brought out of all the ancient histories both of England and Scotland, testifying from time to time that he was chief head and sovereign of the realm of Scotland, first, by necessity of the law, and by all their consents, took full possession of the same; and, that done, adjudged the right of the crown to John Baliol, who descended of the daughter of David, earl of Huntingdon, brother to David, king of Scotland, in the days of King Henry the Second. This Earl David had three daughters: Isabella, married to Robert Bruce; Margaret, to Allen, earl of Galloway; and Ellen, to Henry Lord Hastings. Allen, earl of Galloway, had Ellen, married to Roger Quincy, earl of Winchester, constable of Scotland; and Dorvagile, married to John Baliol, father to Edward king of Scots.
When these things were thus finished in Scotland, and Sir John Baliol as most rightful inheritor had received the crown of Scotland at the hands of King Edward thankfully, and for the same in the presence of the barony of England and of Scotland did unto the said King Edward his homage, and sware to him fealty, the Scots with their new king returned into Scotland, and King Edward removed again to England.
But not long after the falseness of this Scottish king soon appeared. Who, repenting him of his homage done untruly, forsook his former oath and promise, and made war against King Edward, through the counsel of the abbot of Melrose. Wherefore the king with a great host sped him into Scotland, and in process laid siege to the town of Berwick, which the Scots did eagerly defend, not only to the discomfiture, but also to the derision, of the king and his English host. But, in conclusion, the Englishmen prevailed and won the town, where were slain of the Scots the number of twenty and five thousand. And while the king was there busied in winning other holds about the same, he sent part of his host to Dunbar, where the Englishmen again had the victory, and slew of the Scots twenty thousand; Gisburne saith but ten thousand; so that very few were lost of the English company. The king, with a great number of prisoners returning into his realm, shortly after sped him over unto Flanders, where he sustained great trouble by the French king, till truce for a certain time was between them concluded. But in the mean while that King Edward was thus occupied beyond the seas, the French king (resorting to his practised manner) set the Scots secretly against the Englishmen to keep the king at home. Which Scots, making themselves a captain, named William Wallace, warred upon the borders of Northumberland, where they did much hurt. At length the king, returning from Bourdeaux into England, shortly upon the same took his journey into Scotland. Where, meeting at York with his host, he marched into the realm of Scotland, winning, as he went, towns and castles, till at length, coming to the town of Frankirk on Mary Magdalene's day, he met with the power of Scotland, and had with them a sore fight, but through God's providence the victory fell to the right cause of Englishmen; so that of the Scots were slain in the field, as it is of divers writers affirmed, above the number of thirty and two thousand; and of Englishmen, but barely twenty-eight persons. Whereupon the king, again taking possession and fealty of the whole land, returned home.
And yet the false untruth of the Scots would not thus be ruled, but rose up in a new broil; so that the king was enforced to make his power again the year following into Scotland, where he so suppressed the rebellion of the lords and of the commons, that they, swearing to the king's allegiance, presented themselves by great companies, and put them wholly in the king's grace and mercy; so that the king, thinking himself to be in peaceable possession, and in a great surety of the land, caused to be sworn unto him the rulers of the boroughs, cities, and towns, with other officers of the land, and so returned unto Berwick, and so into England, and lastly to Westminster.
These martial affairs between England and Scotland, although they appertain not greatly to the purpose of our story ecclesiastical, yet so much by the way I thought briefly to touch, whereby that which followeth in the sequel hereof might the better be understood by these premises. As the Scots were thus warring and raging against the king, and saw they could not make their party good, they sent privily to Pope Boniface for his aid and counsel; who immediately sendeth down his precept to the king to this effect, that he should hereafter surcease to disquiet or molest the Scots, for that they were a people exempt, and properly pertaining to his chapel. And therefore it could not otherwise be, but that the city of Jerusalem must needs defend his own citizens; and, as the Mount Sion, maintain such as trust in the Lord, &c. Whereunto the king briefly maketh answer again, swearing with an oath, that he would to his uttermost keep and defend that which was his right, evidently known to all the world, &c. Thus the Scots bearing themselves bold upon the pope's message, and also confederating themselves with the Frenchmen, passed over that year. The next year after that, which was twenty-nine of the king's reign, the said Pope Boniface directeth his letters again to the king, wherein he doth vindicate the kingdom of Scotland to be proper to the Church of Rome, and not subject to the king of England. And therefore it was against God, against justice, and also prejudicial to the Church of Rome, for him to have or hold dominion over the same, which he proved by these reasons:
First, that when King Henry, the father of this king, received aid of Alexander, king of Scots, in his wars against Simon Mountfort, he recognised and acknowledged in his letters patents, that he received the same of King Alexander, not of any duty, but of special favour.
Item, when the said King Alexander, coming to England, did homage to the said King Henry, he did it, not as king of Scotland, but only for certain lands of Tyndall and Penreth, lying in England.
Item, whereas the said King Alexander left behind him Margaret, his heir, being niece to the king of England, and yet under age; yet the tuition of the said Margaret was committed, not to the king of England, but to certain lords of Scotland, deputed to the same.
Moreover, when any legacy was directed down from Rome to the realm of England, for collecting of tenths or other causes, the said legacy took no place in the realm of Scotland, and might well be resisted, as it was in King Alexander's days, except another special commission touching the realm of Scotland were joined withal. Whereby it appeareth that these be two several dominions, and not subject under one.
Adding furthermore, that the kingdom of Scotland first was converted by the relics of the blessed apostle St. Peter, through the Divine operation of God, to the unity of the catholic faith.
Wherefore upon these causes and reasons Pope Boniface, in his letters to the king, required him to give over his claim, and cease his wars against the Scottish nation; and to release all such both of the spiritualty and laity as he had of them prisoners. Also to call home again his officers and deputies which he had there placed and ordained, to the grievance of that nation, to the slander of all faithful people, and no less prejudice to the Church of Rome. And if he would. claim any right or title to the said realm, or any part thereof, he should send up his procurators specially to the same appointed, with all that he could for himself allege, unto the see apostolic, there to receive what reason and right would require.
The king, after he had received these letters of the pope, assembled a council or parliament at Lincoln; by the advice of which council and parliament he addressed other letters responsal to the pope again; wherein first in all reverent manner he desireth him not to give light ear to the sinister suggestions of false reports, and imaginers of mischief. Then he declareth out of old records and histories, from the first time of the Britons, that the realm of Scotland hath always from time to time been all one with England, beginning first with Brutus, in the time of Helt and Samuel the prophet; which Brutus, coming from Troy to this isle, called then Albion, after called by him Britannia, had three sons: Locrinus, to whom he gave that part of the land, called then of him Loegria, now Anglia; Albanactus, his second son, to whom he gave Albania, now called Scotia; and his third son Camber, to whom he gave Cambria, now called Wales, &c.
The year following, which was from Christ 1303, the said Pope Boniface, the eighth of that name, taking displeasure with Philip, the French king, did excite King Edward of England to war against him, promising him great aid thereunto. But he, as mine author saith, little trusting the pope's false, unstable affection toward him, well proved before, put him off with delays. Whereupon the French king, fearing the power of King Edward, whom the pope had set against his friendship, restored unto him again Gascony, which he wrongfully had in his hands detained. Concerning this variance here mentioned between the pope and the French king, how it began first, and to what end it fell out, the sequel hereof, Christ willing, shall declare, after that first I have finished the discourse begun between England and Scotland.
In the year 1303 the aforesaid William Wallace, which had done so many displeasures to the king before, continuing still in his rebellion, gathered great multitudes of the Scots to withstand the king, till at length the year following he was taken and sent up to London, and there executed for the same. After which things done, the king then held his parliament at Westminster, whither came out of Scotland the bishop of St. Andrews, Robert Bruce, above mentioned, earl of Dunbar, earl of Arles, and Sir John Comyn, with divers other; the which voluntarily were sworn to be true to the king of England, and to keep the land of Scotland to his use against all persons. But shortly after the said Robert Bruce, who, as is said, married the second daughter of Earl David, forgetting his oath before made unto the king, within a year or two after this, by the counsel of the abbot of Stone, and bishop of St. Andrews, sent up unto Pope Clement the Fifth for a dispensation of his oath made, insinuating to him that King Edward vexed and grieved the realm of Scotland wrongfully. Whereupon the pope wrote unto the king to leave off such doings. Notwithstanding which inhibition of the pope, the king prosecuting his own right, after he had the understanding of the doings of the Scots, and of the mischief of Robert Bruce, (who had slain with his own hands Sir John Comyn, for not consenting with him and other lords at his parliament,) arreared his power and strength of men, preparing himself toward Scotland; where he, joining with the said Sir Robert and all the power of Scotland in a plain, near unto St. John's town, put him to flight, and so chased the Scots, that of them were slain to the number of seven thousand. In the which victory such bishops and abbots as were taken he sent to the pope; the temporal lords and other Scots he sent unto London, &c. Sir Robert Bruce, after this discomfiture, when he had thus lost both the field and his chief friends, seeing himself not able to make his party good, fled into Norway, where he kept his abode during the time while King Edward lived. When this noble Edward had thus subdued the Scots, he yielded thanks to God for his victory; and so setting the land in a quiet and an order, he returned unto London, which was the thirty-fifth year and last of his reign, &c.