John Taylor, Wendy R. Childs, and Leslie Watkiss (eds), Oxford Medieval Texts: The St Albans Chronicle: The Chronica Maiora of Thomas Walsingham, Vol. 1: 1376–1394
f. 325r | Anno gracie millesimo trecentesimo nonagesimo secundo, qui est annus regni regis Ricardi, a conquestu secundi, quintusdecimus, tenuit rex Natale magnificum cum Anna regina, et quatuor episcopis, et tot comitibus, et uno duce, uidelicet Eboraci, multisque proceribus et quindecim dominabus, apud Langley iuxta Sanctum Albanum.
Ipso die Natalis delphin,a de mari ueniens, lusit Londoniis in Tamisia, perueniens usque ad pontem, presagiens fortassis tempestates, que mox infra ebdomadam sequebantur. Qui a ciuibus uisus et insecutus, set difficili interceptus, reuectus est Londonias, multis prebens spectaculum de sui corporis uastitate, nempe qui habuit in longitudine decem pedes.
Sunt autemb delphines marine belue que uoces hominum sequuntur, et gaudent cantibus tibiarum, et ad symphoniam solent gregatim aduenire. Hii, quando preludunt in fluctibus saltu precipiti, tempestates presignant, quibus nichil uelocius, nichil agilius, continent maria. Nam plerumque salientes transuolant uela nauium. Cum coeunt, coniuges euagantur, catulos edunt. Decimus mensisc mensuram partus facit, partum estiuus dies soluit, uberibus fetus alunt teneros, et iuuenes in faucibus receptant. Circa inualidos solicitantur, usque ad tricesimum annum uiuunt, quod exploratum est in experimentum caudis amputatis. Ora habent loco quo cetere belue, set in uentribus contra naturam aquatilium soli linguas suas mouent, pg 918aculeate sunt pinne dorsales; cum irascuntur inhorrescunt pinne, cum animi conquieuerint quibusdam receptaculis operiuntur. Spirare eos in aquis negant, set uitales auras nonnisi in aere superiorea spirare dicunt; pro uoce gemitus est illis similis humano. Certum habent uocabulum, quo accepto, uocantes sequuntur, nam proprie Simones uocantur. Voces hominum, cum uentus est in Aquilone, celerius audiunt; e contra flante Austro, auditus illorum obstruuntur.
Sub Augusto Caesare puer quidam, primo fragmentis panis, delphinum allexit, et in tantum consuetudo ualuit ut ad manum pueri alendus ueniret; mox puerilis audacia in tantum prorupit ut super dorsum eius ascenderet, et puerum delphinus per aquarum magna spacia uectitaret. Hoc tamen diu gestum est per annos plurimos donee assiduo spectaculo desineret esse miraculum. Set mox ut puer obiit, sub multorum oculis desiderii merore delphinus interiit. Apud Ypponem in Africa delphinus a ciuibus pastus est, qui et se manibus tractandum prebuit, et multos dorso impositos frequenter gestauit. Apud Iassum, urbem Babylonie, delphinus puerum adamauit. Quem, dum post assueta colludia, impaciencius sequitur recedentem, arenis inuectus hesit ubi et mortuus est. Alium puerum, similiter insidentem dorsum delphini, cum undosior fluctus necauisset, delphinus ad terram reuexit et, uelut fateretur reatum, penitenciam suam morte multauit, nec reuerti uoluit amplius in profunda.
Hec de natura delphinorum curauimus istic inserere, ut delectet quos latuit, et quos non latuit, non fastidiat.
De transfretacione ducis Lancastrie et magnifica eius suscepcione per regem Francie
Hoc anno Iohannes dux Lancastrie transfretauit in Franciam ad colloquium regis Francie tracturus de pace finali quam rex Francie summopere affectauit, missus illuc uidelicet per regem Anglie totumque regni consilium pro negocio memorato. Cuius aduentui rex Francie non minora parari fecit quam pro aduentu imperatoris cuiusque maximi prouidisset. Nempe suis sumptibus suscepit eum et pg 920episcopum Dunelmensem cum pene mille equis, et exhibuit a Calesia usquedum perueniret ad ciuitatem Ambianensem, nemine de ducis uel pontificis familia solicitante de quibuslibet uictualibus prouidendis, regis Francie prouisoribus et ministris cuncta comportantibus ad manus famulorum ducis et presulis que necessaria uidebantur.1080
Cumque ad regis presenciam dux accessisset, rex eum ultra quam credi potest honorauit, et gloriabundus semetipsum extulit quod colloquio ducis sapientissimi, honorabilissimi, atque potentissimi, eum perfrui contigisset. Occurrerunt Ambianis iussu regis ea uice duces illius regni, comites, et barones, ad deliberandum de tractatu et de pace componendum, ut, quo habundancior adesset in tractatu nobilium numerus, tanto rei felicior esset effectus. Tandem finito tractatu, dux rediit in Angliam, treugas unius anni reportans, ut per idem tempus deliberaret regni Anglie collecta potestas utrum expediret paci finali manus dare, pocius quam negocia dubia belli tractare.
Iccirco Stanfordiam accessere uocati, non solum regni domini, set et de qualibet ciuitate quidam, prout ad parliamenta solent accedere deliberaturi de tanto negocio quid agendum.1081 Set tamen nichil profuit ea uice tanta colleccio preterquam quod treugas susceperunt per anni circulum duraturas, ad quas seruandas inuiolabiliter uterque rex, scilicet Francie et Anglie, corporale prestiti sacramentum, senescallo Francie huc accedente ad capiendum regium iuramentum, et quibusdam de nostris militibus destinatis in Franciam ad idem exigendum de rege; quod et factum est.
f. 325v | Aduentus ducis Gelrie
Eo tempore uenit in Angliam dux Gelrie, cognatus regis Anglie,a 1082 uir clarissimus in milicia, Anglis honorabilis, et Francis formidabilis, qui strenue Francorum superbos motus compresserat in terra sua. Hic, magna animositate qua uiguit, consulit regi nostro ne pacem cum Francis aut Scotis faceret nisi quam deceret regiam maiestatem, promittens se paratum fore in auxilium regis, siue in pg 922Franciam transfretaret siue in Scociam arma moueret, cum nobiliori milicia terre sue; quamobrem a rege multipliciter honoratus, laudatus, muneribusque donatus, ac ducibus Lancastrie et Glouernie regnique nobilitate pari modo respectus, cum fauore cunctorum permissus est ad propria remeare.
Aduentus comitis de Ostrinans
Eodem tempore, set non eodem anno, uenit in terram istam comes de Ostrinans, tanquam amicus pacisque mediator inter regna, qui, sarcinatus donis uariis, cito recessit.1083
Acta regis Maurorum
Hoc anno rex Mauritanie intrauit terras magni Cataye, et non modicam stragem fecit ibidem, et non multo post intrauit terras regis Hungarie; set ibi reperit obstaculum exercitate milicie, rege uiuaciter eum, cum suis omnibus, repellente.1084
Nouum festum Marie et Elizabethe
Circa dies istos dominus papa, Bonifacius nonus, ordinauit nouum festum celebrandum in ecclesia de salutacione beatea Marie,1085 qua salutauit Elizabeth cognatam suam, componens lecciones et historiam competentem, plenam misteriis, refertam indulgenciis, exercitatiuam deuocionis. Nam et pares induisit remissiones interessentibus diuinis illis officiis in uigilia et in die, ac infra octauas, et in octauis, indulgenciis festo Corporis Christi preconcessis per Vrbanum quartum. Voluitque hunc diem haberi celebrem septimo Kalendas Iulii, id est, in crastino festi natiuitatis sancti Iohannis Baptiste, quia eo tempore sancta Maria mansit cum Elizabeth1086 et ministrauit ei.
Sub eodem tempore misit rex ad ciues Londoniarum, petens ab eis mutuo mille libras,1087 cui procaciter et ultra quam decuit restiterunt, et pecuniam se non posse prestare petitam unanimiter affirmauerunt, set et quemdam Lumbardum uolentem accomodare regi dictam summam male tractauerunt, uerberauerunt, et paulo minus occiderunt. Que cum rex audisset, iratus est ualde, et conuocans omnes regni pene maiores, aperit proteruiam ciuium Londoniarum, et de presumpcione conqueritur eorundem. Qui omnes infesti ciuibus propter diuersas causas, consulunt ut reprimatur cicius eorum insolencia, et superbia destruatur. Erant quippe tunc inter omnes fere naciones gencium datissimi, arrogantissimi, et auarissimi, ac male creduli in Deum et tradiciones auitas, Lollardorum sustentatores, religiosorum detractores, decimarum detentores, et comunis uulgi depauperatores. In tantumque excreuit eorum supercilium ut auderent leges condere, quibus aduentantes de circumiacentibus uillis et prouinciis contra racionem omnem humanam, Deum, et iusticiam, molestarent, grauarent, et fatigarent. Pretereo eorum inhumanitatem, sileo rapacitatem, reticeo infidelitatem, transeo malignitatem, quam indisciplinate in aduentantes populos exercuerunt. Qui si uellem cuncta describere que perpetrauerunt hoc tempore, librum scriberem qui foret horresco.
Consilium apud Notyngham
Rex igitur apud Notyngham tenuit super hiis consilium, ubi fuere congregati cum rege duces, comites, et barones, uicecomites, et plures aliarum ciuitatum procuratores et ciues;1088 et inter ceteros, uocati sunt Londonienses, non ut uenirent more solito ad parliamentum pro communitate quatuor electi de ciuitate, set ut ipse maior adesset, cum uicecomitibus Londoniarum, Aldermannis, et dicioribus ac ualencioribus ciuitatis.
Profecti sunt ergo de ciuitate, dubii quorsum tenderet hec euocacio, maiores, ut diximus, qui re uel nomine aliis prestare uidebantur. Cumque peruenissent Notyngham, ibi repererunt uicecomites et tribunos, urbium rectores, iurisperitos, et uillarum pg 926comprouincialium eminenciores, qui, si necesse foret, possent iuratas facere per bis senos.
Obiecta sunt eis igitur que contra regem fecerant, et ⟨in⟩a sue maiestatis notoriam lesionem; obiecta sunt que in conprouinciales commiserant ad regis ac dominorum regnique populi detrimentum; que si uellent inficiari, presto erant accusatores e patria qui sacramento suo eorum probare cuperent acta praua. Londinenses ergo in medio miseriarum subito constituti, et uelut uersati inter cudem et malleum, cum non esset locus excusacionis, decreuerunt se pocius submittere regis gracie, quam succumbere ueridicto uel iudicio duodene.
Arestatur maior et uicecomes
Regis ergo iudicio arestatus est maior Londoniarum1089 et uicecomites f. 326r cum quibusdam de maioribus, | ceteris domum redire permissis. Maior autem missus est ad castellum de Wyndeshores, ceteri ad diuersa castella destinati sunt, sub arta custodia conseruandi donec rex cum consilio deliberasset quid faceret de eisdem. Ibique decretum est, ne de cetero Londonienses maiorem eligerent uel haberent, set rex de suis militibus prouideret aliquem qui rector foret, et custos ciuitatis uocaretur, et esset, quem alio nomine uocamus uulgariter gardianum, ibi subsequenter, et eorum sunt priuilegia reuocata, libertates annullate, et leges, quas uel condiderant uel a diebus antiquis habuerant, abrogate.1090
Tunc primo rex constituit custodem ciuitatis, abrogato maioris uocabulo, quemdam militem dictum Edwardum de Dalyngrugge, qui ciues regeret et iusticie cunctorum eque prospiceret,1091 set is cito fuit per regem depositus, quia conuictus est ciuibus fecisse iuramentum uel de eorum consuetudinibus contuendis, uel certe pro posse suo subtiliter reuocandis. Fuerunt qui dicerent eum ex industria hoc fecisse, plusque regis comodo quam ciuium in hac parte prospexisse. pg 928Quod cum regi fuisset cognitum, penituit eum militem beneuolum sic tractasse. Nichilominus rex et alium militem loco suo constituit, nomine Baldewynum de Radyngtone, uirum certe prouidum et discretum, qui sciret delinire merorem ciuium, et eorum mentes erigere ad spem bonam. Nam ciues pene pre tristicia contabuerant et dolore.
Londonienses ad Windeshore euocantur
Interea multis mediantibus, set precipue duce Glouernie insistente, rex, factus animi equior, paulatim discedit a sui rigore propositi, reducens ante mentis oculos honores uarios quos per Londonienses acceperat, et magnifica dona per eos prestita, unde decreuit micius cum eis agere, et eos ad spem qualisqualis gracie euocare. Mittit nempe mandans Londoniensibus, ut ad castellum de Wyndeshore conueniant demonstraturi priuilegia, libertates, ac iura ciuitatis, noua et uetera, coram eo, consilio quoque suo, ut ibi decerneret que seruanda forent in ciuitate, uel que penitus abolenda.1092 Quibus ostensis, quedam ratificata, quedam permissa, quedam dampnata, fuere; maioris tamen nec personam nec dignitatem ea uice recuperauere, neque plenam regis graciam, donec satisfecissent regi de dampnis et iniuriis que uel sibi uel regis plebi ante intulissent. Equidem ea uice conuenit inter regem et dominos, ne eorum satisfaccionem acceptaret, nec cum eis quouismodo componeret, sine consilio dominorum.
Nempe rex, cum primo contra eos incanduisset propter causas quas supra notauimus, meditatus est exercitum congregasse, et in ciuitatem irruisse cum impetu, et ciues de sub celo deleuisse. Quod tamen propositum ducis Lancastrie oracione mutatum est, qui censuit eos, ut premittitur, euocandos et, ut prefertur, castigandos; uel, si obstinati fuissent, tunc iuxta regis propositum obsidendos et de terra uiuencium disperdendos.1093 Rex autem in hac colleccione apud Wyndeshores dominos temporales regni cunctos, et episcopos pene omnes, necnon exercitum talem contraxerat, qui merito terrori pg 930Londoniensium posset esse. In quos omnes incredibiles fecit expensas pro quibus certum erat Londonienses soluturos. Ipsi uero, non ignorantes quod horum finis esset exposicio argenti et auri, submiserunt se et sua regi uoluntarie, ei decem milia librarum uadiantes, dimissi tamen sunt domum redire, incerti quid soluerent, donec regis consilium et formam satisfaciendi et summam soluendi definisset.
Rex accedit Londoniis
Cumque et ciues regressi fuissent, et proceres qui cum rege fuerant ac reliquus populus ad propria remeassent, rex, audiens Londonienses in tristicia constitutos et mente lapsos, ait suis, 'Vadam', inquit, 'Londonias et consolabor ciues, nec patiar eos ultra de mea gracia desperare.' Que sentencia mox ut cognita fuit in ciuitate, incredibili iocunditate repleuit omnes, unde omnes et singuli ei generaliter statuerunt occurrere, et non minores expensas facere in exeniis et donatiuis quam fecerant in eius coronacione. Rex igitur, ut uenit Londonias, tanta gloria, tanta pompa, tanta uarietate diuersorum apparatuum est susceptus, quanta suscipi decuisset regem aliquem triumphantem.1094
Dona data regi
Nam equos et phaleras, tabulas aureas et argenteas, pannos aureos et olosericos, pelues et lauatoria de fuluo metallo, aurum in pecunia, gemmas et monilia, tam dicia, tam nobilia, tam speciosa, donauerunt eidem, ut cunctorum ualor, et precium, non posset facile estimari.
Sicque recuperauerunt ciues consuetudines et libertates antiquas, que saltem ciuitati possent esse fulcimento, nec extraneis detrimento. Indultumque fuit eisdem ut maiorem possent eligere sicut prius. Credebant autem Londonienses quod per hec dona domigerium euasissent, et in posterum quieti fuissent, set fefellit eos f. 326v eorum opinio, quia coacti sunt expost soluere regi decem | milia librarum de communitate collecta in amaritudine mentis magna.1095 Proceres uero regni qui regis consilio interfuerant, audientes quod rex contra pg 932pactum indulsisset Londoniensibus, offensi sunt ualide inter se, regis leuitatem et inconstanciam condempnantes. Nemo tamen palam regem redarguit de premissis, finemque cepit turba ciuium isto modo quem delphinus preludens in Tamisia die natalis Domini ultimo preterito; forsan significauit eminus affuturam.
Dux Glouernie profecturus in Hibernia reuocatur
Eo tempore dux Glouernie accepta a rege grandi summa pecunie iuxta condictum, disposuit se transfretare in Hiberniam cum forti exercitu pugnatorum, de cuius aduentu cuncti reguli illius terre tantum sunt territi ut de dedicione tractarent, talia conferentes, 'Adest', inquiunt, 'inuictus heros, sapiens et prudens dominus, miles audax, strenuus, et fortunatus, non de uulgari progenie procreatus, set regis proles et regis auunculus, cui non dedecet quemquam confederari. Occurramus ei cum pace, offeramus nos et nostra, et forsitan indulgebit nobis bona nostra et consuetudines nostras antiquas; uel si hoc non fecerit, saltem uiuamus sub eo, more Wallicorum, qui satis alta pace gaudent quociens pacifici uolunt esse.'
Placuit hoc consilium cunctis regulis qui palustria colunt, siluestria, uel montana, quorum regiones nullum dominum extraneum hactenus sunt expertae propter inaccessibilitatem et locorum notoriam difficultatem. Set illis metum dempsit illico ducis repentina reuocacio, qui, quorundam leuium in regno consilio, impeditus fuit a fructuoso proposito.1096
Ordines apud Sanctum Albanum
Hoc anno mense Septembris celebrauit ordines apud Sanctum Albanum in capella sancte Marie, iussu abbatis, dominus Milo episcopus Clunenensis.
De infirmitate regis Francie periculosa
Eodem anno rex Francie Karolus grauem infirmitatem incurrit frenesis, ut putatur, dum expedicionem moueret in Britanniam ad infestandum ducem, ut dicitur, minus iuste.
pg 934Nempe cum peruenisset Floriacum,1097 ubi corpus quiescit legislatoris monachorum, beati uidelicet Benedicti, et ingressus ecclesiam sanctis reliquis insignitam, scrinium in quo ossa sancti sunt recondita cepit sine humano ingenio tremere et moueri. Cumque rex hoc uidisset et uisum horruisset, quesiuit quid pretenderet tale signum. Cui loci custos, 'Domine mi rex,' inquid, 'progenitores uestri, illustres reges Francie, quociens in longinquam prouinciam uel ad bella fuerant egressuri, hunc locum deuotionis gracia uisitarunt. Quibus si quodlibet infortunium immineret, per signum commocionis reliquiarum in hoc feretro conditarum presciuerunt dampna uel dispendia affutura, unde frequenter mutantes propositum infortunia deuitabant. Nunc ergo pensate, mi domine, quid uobis expediat, et non contempnatis quod ostendit Dominus uobis signum.'
Rex tamen, nichil pendens uerba monentis, statuit peragere ceptum iter, cumque foret in itinere repente cepit furere, et in quemlibet uicinius propinquantem irruere, multos perimere, plurimos uulnerare, donec ingeniose captus et constrictus esset. Perseuerauitque in hac amencia, semet ipsum dilanians et discerpens, ac manus et brachia sua mordens, donec calor estiuus transisset. In hieme uero cepit paulatim infirmitas mitigari et ipse redditus est suo sensui et sobrietati priori.1098
De morte Roberti quondam comitis Oxonie
Circa presens tempus Robertus de Veer quondam comes Oxonie, qui per multos gradus saltauerat ad nomen ducatus Hibernie, in Louania diem clausit extremum, in mentis angaria et rerum penuria miseranda.1099 Qui equidem iuuenis aptus fuit ad cuncta probitatis opera, si non defuisset ei in puericia disciplina. Set ue presentis temporis puericie que permittitur sine doctore, siue magistro, pergere quocunque libet. Olim regni nobiles filios suos a balbutiente etate tradiderunt militibus uel armigeris ueteranis ad infirmandum litteris et facecia, ut scirent omne genus inhonestatis caucius euitare. Nunc quia res uersa est in contrarium, adolescentes presentis temporis doctore carentes, gaudent uigiliis protractis ultra noctem mediam, et sompnis usque meridiem, ludis pile et alie, horribilis pg 936iuramentis, et ceteris que non expediunt neque decent. Vnde contigit quod liberi ruricolarum plus proficiunt in facecia quam domi de parentibus audiunt quam filii dominorum qui continue in carnalitate uersari deberent.a
C p. 49 | Annalis conclusio
Transiit annus iste frugifer habundanter ut modius frumenti pro quatuor denariis uenderetur, set fructuum raritate notabilis; pacificus Anglis, Francis, et Scotis, regionibus ultra Danubium et Mare Magnum inquietus.
In the year of grace 1392, the fifteenth year of the reign of King Richard II after the Conquest, the king held splendid Christmas celebrations with Queen Anne, four bishops, as many earls, one duke, namely of York, many nobles and fifteen ladies, at Langley, near St Albans.
On Christmas day a dolphin, which came from the sea, sported in the Thames at London, coming right up to London Bridge, giving warning perhaps of the storms which soon followed within the week. The dolphin was seen and pursued by citizens, but it was caught, though with difficulty, and then brought back to London. Many were amazed at the sight of its huge body, which was, in fact, ten feet long.
Dolphins are sea beasts which are attracted by the voices of humans. They delight in the sounds of pipes, and are accustomed to come in shoals to listen to harmonious music. When they play in the waves, leaping and diving, they are predicting storms. The seas contain nothing which is swifter, nothing more agile, than dolphins. For generally as they leap, they fly across the sails of ships. When they have mated, the females swim away and have their young. Gestation lasts ten months, and they give birth in the summer. They give suck to their tender offspring, and the young take the teats in their mouths. They show concern for their sick, and they live for thirty years. This has been put to the proof by cutting off their tails. Their mouths are in the same place as other beasts, but contrary to the nature of sea-animals they alone move their tongues in their pg 919stomachs; their dorsal fins are prickly, and when they are angry their fins bristle, but when they are calm in mind, their fins are concealed in receptacles. Men say that they do not breathe in the water, but breathe their vital breath only in the air above the sea. Their voice is a cry like that of a human being. They have a certain call which, when it is heard, is followed by other dolphins. They have the special name of Simones. They speedily hear the voices of men when the wind is in the north, but on the other hand, when the wind blows from the south, their hearing is obstructed.
In the time of Augustus Caesar there was a boy who enticed a dolphin, at first with fragments of bread, and the practice was so successful that, when the boy fed him by the hand, the dolphin would come to him. Soon the boy became so bold that he climbed on its back and the dolphin would carry him long distances over the sea. This went on, however, for a long time, over many years, until it ceased to be something to wonder at, because it was a constant sight. However, the boy died, and immediately after, the dolphin died before the eyes of many, out of grief at his loss. At Hippo in Africa a dolphin was fed by its citizens, and it allowed them to handle it, and often carried many of them upon its back. At Iassus, a city of Babylon, a dolphin befriended a boy. However, one day after their accustomed play the dolphin followed the boy too impetuously when he swam away, and, swimming into the sandbanks, it grounded on the sand, and died there. Another boy who had similarly sat on the back of a dolphin died in heavy seas. The dolphin returned to the shore, and as if it were confessing that it was its fault, paid the penalty by its death, not wishing to return to the deep any more.
We have taken the trouble to insert these stories about the nature of dolphins here, in order to give pleasure to those who did not know the stories, and in the hope that it has not been tedious for those who did.
The duke of Lancaster crosses the Channel, and gets a magnificent reception from the king of France
This year John, duke of Lancaster, crossed the Channel to France to confer with the king of France, and negotiate a final peace which the king of France very greatly desired. He had been sent there by the king of England and the whole council of the realm to undertake these negotiations. The French king made preparations for his arrival which were no less than those he would have provided for the greatest of emperors. Indeed, he received the duke and the bishop pg 921of Durham at great expense to himself, with almost a thousand horses and provided this escort all the way from Calais to the city of Amiens, and no one from the duke's household or that of the bishop had to bother about making any provisions for food, as the French king's stewards and ministers transported everything that seemed necessary to the hands of the servants of the duke and the bishop.1080
When the duke came into the king's presence, the king honoured him beyond belief, and full of pride applauded himself, that it had been his good fortune to arrange a conference with the most wise, most honourable, and most powerful duke. The dukes, counts, and barons of France, at that time, met at Amiens, by order of the king, to discuss the negotiations and the arranging of peace terms, so that their greater number of nobles in the negotation might effect a more successful outcome. Finally, when the negotiations ended, the duke returned to England, having gained a truce of one year, so that those comprising the combined power of the kingdom of England might during that time discuss whether it was expedient to put their signature to a final peace, rather than to attempt the uncertain business of war.
Accordingly, not only lords of the realm but also certain men from every city who were accustomed to attend parliament came to Stamford on being summoned there, to discuss what action to take about this business.1081 However, nothing was achieved on that occasion by that large gathering except that they accepted the truce that was to last for the period of a year. So that it should be inviolably kept, each king, both of France and England, swore a corporal oath, the marshal of France coming here to receive our king's oath, and some of our knights being despatched to France to exact the same oath from their king. And that was what happened.
The arrival of the duke of Guelders
At that time the duke of Guelders came to England. He was a relative of the king of England,1082 was a knight of great distinction, honoured among the English, and feared among the French, having energetically suppressed impudent uprisings of the French in his land. With that great vigour of spirit with which he abounded, he advised our king not to make peace with the French or the Scots unless this conferred honour upon the royal majesty, promising to be ready to help the king pg 923(whether it meant crossing to France or leading his army to Scotland) with the noblest knights of his land. As a result he was honoured and applauded in many ways by the king, and presented with gifts; and being accorded respect equal to that given to the dukes of Lancaster and Gloucester, and to the nobility in the realm, he was permitted to return home, enjoying the high regard of them all.
The arrival of the count of Ostrevantz
At about the same time, but not the same year, the count of Ostrevantz came to this land, as a friend, and mediator of peace between the kingdoms. He was loaded with various gifts, and soon returned home.1083
Action taken by the king of the Moors
That year the king of Mauretania invaded the lands of the great Khan, and inflicted no small slaughter there. Not long after, he invaded the lands of the king of Hungary, but there he found resistance from an experienced force of knights, and was spiritedly repulsed by the king and all his forces.1084
A new feast for Mary and Elizabeth
About this time, the pope, Boniface IX, decreed that a new feast be celebrated in the Church, that of the Salutation of the Blessed Mary, in commemoration of Elizabeth's salutation of her cousin.1085 He appointed readings and an appropriate narrative, full of symbolic language, abundant in indulgences, and stimulating devotion. Indeed, he granted equal remission of sins to those attending those divine offices, on the eve of the octave, on the day, and during the days leading up to the octave and on the octave itself, indulgences previously granted for the feast of Corpus Christi by Urban IV. It was his will that the day of celebration of this feast should be 25 June, that is, the day following the feast of the Birth of St John the Baptist, for at that time St Mary 'remained with Elizabeth',1086 and cared for her.
At this same time the king sent to the citizens of London, asking them for a loan of a thousand pounds.1087 They refused him in an insolent and extraordinarily disrespectful manner, declaring unanimously that they could not produce the money that he requested, but when a man from Lombardy was willing to lend him that sum of money, they ill-treated him, and beat him to within an inch of his life. When the king heard about this, he was exceedingly angry, and, summoning almost all the magnates of the realm, he told them of the impudence of the citizens of London, deprecating their arrogance. All of those hostile to the citizens for one reason or another expressed the opinion that their insolence should be swiftly reproved, and their arrogance crushed. They were indeed the haughtiest, the most arrogant, and the most avaricious of all the peoples of the world; their belief in God and the faith handed down by their forebears was erroneous; they were supporters of the Lollards, disparagers of the religious, witholders of tithes, and impoverishers of the common people. Their pride had grown to such an extent that, against all human reason, against God and justice, they dared to pass laws by which they harassed, oppressed, and vexed visitors from surrounding towns and districts. I pass over their inhumanity, I say nothing of their greediness, I make no mention of their untrustworthiness, I remain silent about their malice, which they practised indiscriminately against people who came to London. If I were to describe every wrong which they perpetrated at that time, I shudder to think of the sort of book I should be writing.
A council at Nottingham
The king therefore held council at Nottingham to discuss these matters, and dukes, earls, barons, and sheriffs assembled there with the king with many proctors and citizens of other cities.1088 Amongst others, citizens of London were summoned, not for the four elected from the city on behalf of the community to come as they usually did to parliament, but for the mayor to be present with the sheriffs, aldermen, and the wealthy and the powerful men of the city.
The magnates, as we have said, who were distinguished from other citizens by their wealth or their reputation, therefore set out from the city, doubtful where this summons would lead. When they reached Nottingham they found there sheriffs and officials, governors of pg 927cities, lawyers, and the leading men of provincial towns, who, if it proved necessary, could form juries of twelve men.
The citizens of London face charges
Charges were made against the citizens of London, therefore, in connection with their actions against the king and their infamous offence against the king's majesty; they were charged with crimes committed against fellow-countrymen, detrimental to the king, the lords, and the people of the realm. If they should want to deny these actions, accusers from the land were at hand, who were eager to prove their wicked deeds. The men of London therefore, finding themselves suddenly placed in the midst of troubles, and, as it were, hovering between the hammer and the anvil, decided that, as there was no chance of their excusing their actions, they would prefer to submit themselves to the king's mercy than face a jury's verdict and punishment.
The mayor and sheriffs are arrested
By order of the king the mayor of London1089 was arrested along with the sheriffs and some of the magnates, while others were allowed to return home. The mayor was sent to Windsor Castle, and the others were dispatched to various castles to be kept under close arrest until the king and his council had discussed what was to be done about them. It was decreed there that the people of London should not in future elect or have a mayor, but that the king should provide a man from his knights to be their ruler, to be called Keeper of the City—whom we call more commonly by another name, the 'Warden'—and who would succeed the mayor in London. Their privileges were revoked, their liberties annulled, and the laws which they had passed or had had from times of old were abrogated.1090
Then the king, abandoning the name of mayor, appointed as keeper of the city for the first time a knight called Edward Dallingridge to govern the citizens and to dispense equal justice to all.1091 However, he was soon deposed by the king because he was convicted of having taken an oath before the people to protect their customs, or at least to the best of his ability to show some discretion in revoking them. There were those who said that he had done this intentionally, and that in this regard he was looking more to the interests of the king than the benefit of the citizens. When pg 929the king learned of this, he was sorry that he had treated this well-meaning knight so badly. Nevertheless, he appointed another knight in his place who was called Baldwin Raddington, certainly a man of foresight and discretion, who knew how to soothe the grief of the citizens, and to raise their spirits to hope for the best, for the citizens were almost wasting away from sadness and grief.
The men of London are summoned to Windsor
In the meantime many made appeals to the king on behalf of the men of London, the duke of Gloucester especially exerting pressure on him, so the king became calmer in mind and gradually relented from the severity of his former intentions, contemplating and recalling the various honours which he had received from the people of London, and the magnificent gifts which they had presented to him. Consequently he decided to act more leniently towards them and to restore to them some sort of hope of pardon. Indeed, he sent to them, commanding them to come to Windsor Castle to give evidence before him and his council of the privileges, liberties, and rights of their city, old and new, so that he could determine there which of these should be preserved in the city, and which completely abolished.1092 When they had revealed their evidence, some of these things were confirmed, some allowed to continue, and some were condemned. But they did not recover the person or office of mayor on this occasion, nor did they receive the king's full pardon until they had given satisfaction to him for the losses and the injustices they had previously inflicted upon the king and his people. Indeed, an agreement was made on that occasion between the king and the lords that the king would not accept satisfaction from them, nor reach any kind of agreement, without the approval of the lords.
Certainly, at the time of the king's first anger against the men of London for reasons which we have outlined above, he contemplated gathering an army, making a violent assault upon the city, and completely annihilating the citizens. The pleas of the duke of Lancaster had led him to change his mind about this plan: he then decided that they should be summoned, as we have said, and be castigated, as explained. Then, if they refused they were to be attacked in the manner the king had planned, and be obliterated from the land of the living.1093 The king had drawn together at this gathering at Windsor all the temporal lords of the realm, almost all the bishops, and an army of such strength as to strike terror with good pg 931reason into the hearts of the people of London. Such a gathering cost the king an enormous amount of money, and it was certain that the people of London would have to pay it. Well aware that the outcome would be that they would have to contribute their silver and gold, they voluntarily submitted themselves and their possessions to the king, and pledged to pay him ten thousand pounds. However, they were given leave to return home, uncertain what they would have to pay, until the king's council had determined the nature of the satisfaction they were to make and the sum to be paid.
The king comes to London
When the citizens had returned home, and the nobles who had been with the king and the rest of the people had gone back home, the king heard that the people of London were very downhearted and depressed. He therefore said to his men, 'I will go to London, and console the citizens, and will not allow them to despair any more of receiving my pardon.' As soon as the citizens heard about the king's sentiments they were all overcome with unbelievable joy; and as a consequence each and every one of them decided to go and meet him together, and they incurred no less expense in this entertainment and in presents to the king than they had incurred at his coronation. So when the king came to London he was welcomed with as much splendour, as much ceremony, and as great a variety of entertainments as would be right for a king coming in triumph to receive.1094
Gifts presented to the king
The citizens presented him with horses with their trappings, gold and silver tablets, cloths of gold and silk, basins and ewers of gold, gold coins, jewels and necklaces, that were so rich, so noble, and so splendid, that the value and the cost of them all could not easily have been estimated.
So the citizens recovered ancient customs and liberties, which could at least sustain the city and not harm outsiders. Permission was also granted to them to elect a mayor, as before. The citizens of London, however, thought that by these grants they had escaped their dues, and that in future they would be quit of them, but they were mistaken in their belief, for they were later compelled to pay the ten thousand pounds to the king from a community which was united by great bitterness of mind.1095 When the nobles of the realm who had sat on the king's council heard that the king, contrary to what they pg 933had agreed, had pardoned the citizens of London, they felt greatly offended amongst themselves, and condemned the king's fickleness and irresolution. Yet nobody openly rebuked the king about this, and the disturbance of the citizens produced an outcome like that produced by the dolphin that played in the Thames at Christmas the previous year, which perhaps portended what was to occur in the distant future.
The duke of Gloucester is recalled when he is about to go on an expedition to Ireland
At that time the duke of Gloucester received a large sum of money from the king, as had been agreed, and made arrangements to cross the sea to Ireland with a large force of fighting men. All the rulers of that land were so terrified about his coming that they began to have discussions about a surrender, saying such things as these: 'This invincible hero is coming, an intelligent, wise lord, a bold knight, who is energetic, fortunate, and of no common lineage, but the offspring of a king and the uncle of a king, and it is no disgrace for anyone to make an alliance with him. Let us meet him in peace, and offer ourselves and ours to him, and perhaps he will permit us to keep our possessions and our ancient customs, but if he does not do this, let us at least live in submission to him like the Welsh, who enjoy great peace whenever they are willing to be peaceable.'
All the rulers who inhabited the marshlands, the woods, and the mountains accepted this advice, though those regions had hitherto known no foreign lord because of their inaccessibility and notoriously difficult terrain. However, the sudden recall of the duke, at the instigation of certain capricious men in the king's council, freed them from their fear on that occasion, and the duke was prevented from benefiting from that profitable undertaking.1096
An ordination service at Saint Albans
This year in the month of September Dom Milo, bishop of Cluny, celebrated a service of ordination at Saint Albans in the Lady Chapel by order of the abbot.
The dangerous illness of the king of France
That same year Charles, king of France, became gravely ill with inflammation of the brain, so it is thought, when he was leading an expedition against Brittany to attack the duke, unjustly, it is said.
pg 935Indeed, when he had arrived at Fleury-sur-Loire,1097 where the body of the lawgiver of monks, the blessed Benedict, lay, and had entered the church distinguished by its holy relics, the reliquary in which the bones of the saint were contained began to shake and move without any human contrivance. When the king saw this, he was horrified by the sight, and asked what such a sign indicated. The warden of the place answered, 'My lord king, whenever your forbears, the illustrious kings of France, were on the point of setting off for a distant region, or to go war, they visited this place to pray. If any mishap threatened them, they had foreknowledge that there would be losses or injuries by the sign given of the movement of the relics contained in this reliquary, and because of this they frequently changed their plans and avoided misfortunes. Now, therefore, consider, my lord, what may be expedient for you, as you should not despise any sign which the Lord gives you.'
However, the king gave no importance to his words of advice, and decided to proceed on the march he had begun, but while he was on the way, he began suddenly to rave, and to rush upon one of his neighbours who was close to him, to kill many men, and to wound many more, until his men contrived to capture and restrain him. He persisted in this madness, wounding and maiming himself and gnawing his hands and arms, until the summer heat had passed. In the winter his illness began gradually to subside, and he returned to his senses and to his former sanity.1098
The death of Robert, formerly earl of Oxford
At that present time Robert de Vere, formerly earl of Oxford, who had jumped many ranks to gain the name of duke of Ireland, ended his days in Louvain in distress of mind, and pitiable penury.1099 He was indeed a young man who was the ideal person to undertake any task requiring honesty, had he not lacked discipline in his boyhood. But alas, the behaviour of boys at the present time! who are allowed to go their own way without the guidance of a teacher or master. Formerly, nobles of the realm handed over their sons from infancy to knights or experienced esquires to instruct them in letters and refinement, so that they might know with greater discernment how to avoid any kind of outrageous behaviour. Now because attitudes have changed completely, young people of the present time, who are without teachers, enjoy staying up until after midnight, and sleeping until noon; they delight in ball games and dice, in dreadful oaths, and pg 937in other behaviour which is neither good for them nor right for them. The result is that the children of countrymen have greater refinement, which they learn from their parents, than do the sons of lords, who have to endulge constantly in the pleasures of the flesh.
A summary of the year
The year passed after an excellent harvest, so that a bushel of corn was sold for fourpence, but it was also marked by its very poor fruit crop: it was a year of peace for the English, the French and the Scots, but a turbulent one for the regions beyond the Danube and the Mediterranean.