Chronicles of the Mayors and Sheriffs of London 1188-1274. Originally published by Trübner, London, 1863.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
At the Feast of Saint Michael, in the year of our Lord 1266, William Fitz-Bichard, Warden of the City and of Middlesex, still continued in his bailiwick; but being removed on the Feast of Saint Martin [11 November], by election of the citizens, John Addrien and Luke de Batencurt were made (fn. 1) Bailiffs of the City and of Middlesex.
In this year, about the Feast of Saint Michael, there were chosen twelve men of the nobles of the realm, ecclesiastics as well as laymen, in whose arbitration and ordinance were placed such matters as touched the state of the realm, and of those more particularly who had been disherisoned; that so, whatever decision they might give thereon, the same should be strictly observed. Accordingly, their ordinance was published on the Sunday before the Feast of All Saints [1 November] at (fn. 2) Warewyc, before his lordship the King and his Council, and a countless multitude of Earls, Barons, and others, by the Legate, after his sermon; who declared that no one of those who had been disherisoned should lose his lands ; but that those who had most offended against his lordship the King, should be ransomed at the value of their lands for five years, and certain others at the value of theirs for two. As to those whose offences had not been so great, the sum was to be the value of their lands for half a year; such ransoms to be the property of those who then held such lands. It was also provided, that if any one could immediately make payment of his ransom, he was immediately to have back his lands; and if unable to do so, he was to have back his land in proportion to such part of his ransom as he was able to pay; the residue thereof remaining unto him who was then in possession of the land, until the periods before-mentioned, unless in the meantime he should make payment of the residue of his ransom. After the like form, it was granted unto those who were in the Castle of Kenelworthe, if it should be their wish, with the exception of Sir Henry de Hastinges, Sir John de la Ware, and the person who had cut off the hand of an envoy of his lordship the King. Those however who had been disherisoned, but had been guilty of no offence, were to have their lands free, and their damages by award of court. It should also be noticed that, first of all, the Legate declared that the Charter which the King had granted unto the Barons, and of which mention has been previously made, should in all its points be strictly observed, etc.; as is set forth in a certain writing made thereon, a copy of which was sent to every County in the kingdom of England, under seal of his lordship the King, there to be read.
After this, the messengers of the City returned from the Court, bringing with them letters from his lordship the King, both close and patent, on the Vigil, namely, of Saint Martin [11 November]; whereby it was granted unto them, that they should elect two Bailiffs of their number to take charge of the City and the Sheriffwick of Middlesex, upon payment of the ancient ferm. Wherefore, on the morrow there were elected unto that office in the Guildhall, before all the people, (fn. 3) John Addrien and Luke de Batencurt, who, being presented at the Exchequer, were admitted and sworn.
After, this, on the Feast of Saint Lucy the Virgin [13 December], the Castle of Kenel worthe was surrendered to his lordship the King; upon the siege of which castle, his lordship the King had been engaged, with a great army, from the Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist [24 June] until that day; his enemies and those who had proved unfaithful, holding the said castle against him by force of arms.
In this year, before the Feast of Saint Michael preceding, those who were called the (fn. 4) "disherisoned," threw themselves into the Isle of Ely, fortifying it with arms; and repeatedly sallied forth therefrom, laying waste and burning manors in divers places in Esex, Norfolch, and Suthfolch, as also in the County of (fn. 5) Cantebrigscire: they also took and plundered the City of (fn. 6) Norewych, and compelled the vills and boroughs to pay ransom.
In this year, when the Earl of Gloucester, who by command of his lordship the Legate was coming to London, was at Windleshores, the citizens went to the said Legate, to advise with him as to whether the Earl ought to enter the City; who said, that he was certain that the Earl was the King's friend, and that it would be a disgrace to deny him admission into the City. Afterwards, on the Friday next before Palm Sunday, the citizens sent certain of their fellow-citizens to the Earl, who was approaching the City, to request him not to take up his quarters within the City, by reason of the great number of his troops; which request he acceded to, and, passing through the middle of the City, took up his quarters in (fn. 7) Suwerk, with his people. But on the morrow, as the Legate would not come to him on the other side of the Bridge, by command of the Legate he came into London, to hold a conference with him in the (fn. 8) Church of the Holy Trinity; and so remained in the City with his people. From this it is clear that the Earl had entrance into the City by counsel and assent of the Legate; by whose counsel the citizens, by order of his lordship the King and of the Queen, were required to abide. On the Monday following, John de Eyvile and his confederates, who were called the "disherisoned," came to Suwerk and took up their quarters there: the citizens understanding which, put the City in a state of defence, and for greater safety drew up the drawbridge, that they might not enter the City. For the citizens themselves had not the means of attacking them without the assistance of the Earl; who declined to give them such assistance; as in fact it was through him, and at his instigation, that they had come so near the City, and had committed much mischief in divers places.
After this, soon after Easter, the Earl took all the keys of the City Gates, and delivered them to such of his own people as he thought proper, for the purpose of watching all entrance into, and exit from, the City; and always, in the meantime, they who had taken up their quarters in Suwerk, had free admission, day and night, by the Bridge into the City. Upon this, many citizens departed from the City, through fear of his lordship the King; and their goods the Earl ordered to be carried off.
Thereupon, the low people arose, calling themselves the "Commons of the City," as had been the case in the time of the Earl of Leicester, and had the chief voice in the City; so that many persons of the City, and of the principal men even, were seized by them and put in the Earl's keeping, because they had manifestly maintained their fealty towards his lordship the King; their goods being either sequestrated by the Earl or made away with. And then, by election of the said populace, Robert de Lintone and Roger Marshal were made (fn. 9) Bailiffs; Sir Richard de Culeworth being also made High Bailiff of the City by the Earl. Then all those who had been, as it were, outlawed from the City in the time of the Earl of Leicester, for breach of the peace of his lordship the King, came into the City and were spontaneously admitted; and all those who had been imprisoned in Newgate for the cause aforesaid, were set at liberty.
Afterwards, on the Wednesday after the close of Easter, the Legate issued a prohibition of bells being rung in the City, and of divine service being celebrated with song; but the same was to be performed in silence; the doors of the churches being closed, that so the enemies of the King, known as the "disherisoned," might not be present at the celebration of divine service. After this, at the end of three weeks after Easter, his lordship the King came with his army to Hamme, and took up his quarters there, in the Abbey of the monks; and soon after, the Legate left the Tower and took up his abode in the same Abbey, where for some time he turned the cloister of the monks into a stable for his horses.
After this, from day to day his lordship the King and the Earl held conference, through envoys, as to making peace; the Earl however, always in the meantime, protecting the City and the entrance thereto with armed men, against the army of his lordship the King.
Be it remarked, that during these commotions, the Earl did not allow those who had come with him to commit acts of depredation without the City; though still, the persons who had their quarters beyond the Bridge, committed depredations and many acts of mischief in Sureye, Kent, and elsewhere. And even,—alas for such wickedness!— they went so far as to repair to Westminster and there despoil the Palace of his lordship the King, breaking the seats, windows, and doors, and carrying off whatever they could. And although the Earl had daily caused proclamation to be made, that no act of depredation should be committed, still, many persons in the City were plundered; whereupon, the Earl had judgment executed upon some of his own people. For, on one occasion, where four men-at-arms of Sir William de Ferers had been concerned in an act of depredation where one of the citizens had been slain, he had them bound hand and foot and cast into the Thames, and there drowned. And such was the sentence executed during all this period upon those who were condemned.
Afterwards, in the week after the Feast of the Holy Trinity, peace was made between his lordship the King and the Earl through the King of Almaine and Sir Henry his son, and Philip Basset, who had frequently intervened, as also through some other persons: so that the Earl and his people withdrew thereupon from the City, and took up his quarters in Suwerk; and his lordship the King, on the Saturday before the Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist [24 June], came to London with all his army, and took up his quarters there. And immediately thereupon, he had his peace proclaimed, and granted to the disherisoned a truce for eleven days from that day, that in the meantime they might treat for peace; and at the same time also, by precept of his lordship the King, John Addrien and Luke de Batencurt were replaced in their bailiwick, and all the Aldermen in their Wards, in which the Earl had previously placed new Wardens [in their stead].
On the Monday following, about the (fn. 10) sixth hour, the Legate laid a general interdict upon the City; which however was taken off about the third hour on the following day, upon two men making oath before commissioners of his lordship the Legate at Saint Paul's, and swearing upon the souls of all the commons, that they would abide by the award of Holy Church. Also, at this time, the whole of the covered way which the Earl had made between the City and the Tower, was entirely broken up, and the timber carried away. At this time also, on the Vigil of Saint John the Baptist [24 June], Sir Alan la (fn. 11) Suche was made Constable of the Tower and Warden of the City by his lordship the King, in presence of all the people, at Saint Paul's Cross.
On the Sunday after this, his lordship the King gave orders that on the morrow twenty men should come from each Ward, in readiness to level the foss which the Earl had had made, that so the place thereof might not be seen.
Be it remembered, that peace was made between his lordship the King and the Earl of Gloucester in form underwritten, namely; his lordship the King remitted unto him and all of his household, fellowship, and friendship, and unto all the people of London, all anger, rancour, and indignation, and all ill-will, which he entertained towards them by reason of trespasses and other things by them committed by land or by water, since the said Earl had last departed from Wales, and while he was making sojourn in the City. And his lordship the King was to hold them acquitted thereof as towards all persons, and not to permit any one of them to be molested or appealed by reason of the trespasses aforesaid; save only, that such merchants as had not intermeddled with the war were to have full right of action for recovery of chattels, only their own, without amercement on behalf of his lordship the King, according to the law of the land. Also, that grants of lands, houses, and rents, which had been made, as well by the King as by the Earl, after the aforesaid departure of the Earl from Wales, were to be wholly revoked. The said Earl also bound himself by oath, that he would not wage war against his lordship the King, and made letters thereupon, and found sureties in a penalty of ten thousand marks. And this penalty was to hold good, until it should be known from his lordship the Pope, whether the same should appear to him to be a sufficient penalty; and whatsoever his lordship the Pope should ordain thereupon, the said Earl was held bound to observe. And this ordinance was to be made before the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Mary [2 February] then next ensuing.
On this occasion his lordship the King, by his letters patent and under-written, agreed to forego as against the Londoners all the ill-will which for the reasons aforesaid he had entertained towards them. At the same time, at the instance of the King, the citizens promised the King of Almaine one thousand marks for the damages which he had sustained at Istleworthe.
(fn. 12) Henry, by the grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, and Duke of Acquitaine, to all those who this letter shall see or hear, greeting. Whereas by reason of the commotions that have of late existed in our territory, we have been moved to anger against the people of London, because of the sojourn of Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester and of Hertford, in the City aforesaid, and for other things which have been done since the late departure of the Earl from Wales for the City, and since his entry into the same; as also, for things which have been done by the Earl and on part of others of his household, and of his fellowship, and of his friendship, and by those of London within the City and without, in divers counties and lands, as well by water as by (fn. 13) land; we have, by the counsel and by assent of our dear brother the King of Almaine, and of the Earls, and Barons, and Commons, of our land, remitted and foregone, as against all those of London, all manner of wrath and of rancour, and of ill-will, and have granted and accorded, that unto them no harm or mischief we will do or will cause to be done, or will suffer to be done; and that they shall not be molested or impleaded for the matters aforesaid, save only by merchants who have not interfered in the war, the which shall have their action according to the law of the land, if they shall so wish; (fn. 14) but that nevertheless, as regards them, or as regards others against whom they shall have offended, all the people of London shall be quit, so far as we and our heirs are concerned, of all forfeits and amends; and that, upon suit by such merchants, no one impleaded shall suffer any harm or damage, such merchants being solely to receive their chattels. Besides this, we do will and do grant, that those of London, who are not in London upon the day on which this acquittance is made, shall go acquitted the same as the others; that so, if they do nothing against our peace, between now and (fn. 15) then, they may of the peace that is now so made, be fully assured. And we have also granted and accorded, that all lands in London which have been seized by reason of this commotion since the time aforesaid, shall be now restored unto them, and returned. And if there shall be any land that has been taken since the time aforesaid, by reason of the commotions aforesaid, the same shall forthwith be delivered. In witness of which thing, we, and our dear brother, Sir Richard, by the grace of God, King of Almaine, have unto this writing set our seals. Done at (fn. 16) Est Ratford, the sixteenth day of June, in the one and fiftieth year of our reign."
Soon after this, his lordship the King received into his peace John de Eyvile, Nicholas de Segrave, William Marmeyun, and their confederates, who had taken up their quarters on the other side of the Bridge. About the same time, while his lordship the King was staying at London, in a Parliament held at Wyndleshores, there being present his lordship the King of Almaine, Sir Henry his son, Sir Philip Basset, and other nobles of the realm of England, a reconciliation was effected between Sir Edward and the Earl of Gloucester.
At the same time also, the Isle of Ely was surrendered to Sir Edward, who received those whom he found there into the peace and favour of his lordship the King, his father, and caused all the covered ways and fortifications, around it and within it, as well by land as by water, to be levelled with the ground. In the same manner, all the fortifications, the barbican, and the covered way, which had been made around Suwerk, his lordship the King caused to be destroyed and levelled, even so, that the place where they were is no longer to be seen.
After this, his lordship the King, departing from London, set out for (fn. 17) Salopesbery with many Barons, and knights and others, foot and horse, to hold a conference at Salopesbery with Lewelin, the Prince of Wales.
This year was more fruitful than any year in times past, in memory of persons then living, as well in reference to fields, abundance of corn, trees, and plenty of fruit, as well in woods and (fn. 18) spinneys, as in gardens and vineyards.
Be it remarked, that on the Monday next before the Feast of Saint Michael, when the commons had met in the Guildhall to elect the Sheriffs according to their usages, there was sent a writ of his lordship the King to Sir Alan la Zuche, Warden of the City, and to the citizens, commanding that John Addrien and Luke de Batencurt should continue to be (fn. 19) Bailiffs until his arrival in London; and accordingly, they continued to be Bailiffs until the Easter next ensuing.