The chronicle


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'The chronicle: 1187-1214', Annales Cestrienses: Chronicle of the Abbey of S. Werburg, at Chester (1887), pp. 36-49. URL: Date accessed: 21 November 2014.


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mclxxxvij Orta est in hoc anno magna werra inter Philippum cognomine Deo datum Regem Francie filium Ludovici et Henricum Regem Anglie, talis werra quidem congregatis ex utraque parte totis viribus, dum ad dimicandum venitur, Standardum in medio elevatur sed jubente Deo et miserante tanti sanguinis effusionem predicti duo Reges . . .
Obiit Urbanus papa in die Sancti Luce Evangeliste et subrogatus est Gregorius vi [octavus?] qui Gregorius viij dies ante natale domini obiit cui successit Clemens.
Eodem anno Baldwinus archiepiscopus Cantuariensis visitans ecclesias totius archiepiscopatus sui ex officio sue legationis venit Cestriam in die Sancti Johannis Baptiste in feria quarta et fuit in Abbatia Sancte Werburge usque ad Sabbatum ubi plurimis negotiis peractis in Sabbato post nonam (fn. 1) a Cestra recessit.
Item kal. Maii venerunt Saraceni in Sanctam terram Jerusalem primo et occidunt magistrum Templi nomine [Theodoricum] cum ducentibus militibus et Mille peditibus deinde infra octavas Apostolorum Petri et Pauli, id est, vij id. Julii venit Saladinus cum manu forti in terram Sanctam Jerusalem et omnia castella preter quatuor cepit, totamque terram vastavit . . . . S. et Sancta Crux capta est et asportata. Rex quoque nomine Galfridus [Guido?] cum quibusdam aliis captivis abductus est, occisis fere omnibus aliis Christianis qui illa bella interfuerunt, inter quos Comes Ebroensis nomine Simon vulneratus interiit et Hugo de Bello Campo coram Sancta Cruce occidit, et Roger de Munbrai cum rege captivatus: deinde in translatione Sancti Martini (fn. 2) Sancta Civitas Jerusalem capta est. Quibus auditis Christiani per universum mundum tam pauperes quam divites crucem domini assumpserunt et inter alios Ricardus filius Henrici II. Regis Anglie et c[..]c[..] (fn. 3) heres ejus crucem Domini assumpsit cum aliis multis.
1187In this year a great war began between Philip [Augustus] surnamed Dieu donné, king of France, son of Louis [VII.], and Henry, king of England; such a war, indeed, as that when the whole forces of each side were assembled together for the purpose of fighting, the standard is raised in the midst, but by the will of God, who looked with compassion on the effusion of so much blood, the two kings aforesaid [effected a truce].
Pope Urban [III.] died on S. Luke the Evangelist's day [October 18], and in his place Gregory VIII. was elected, who died eight days before Christmas day, and Clement [III.] succeeded him.
In the same year Baldwin, archbishop of Canterbury, in the course of his official visitation as legate, of the churches of the whole of his archbishopric, came to Chester on S. John the Baptist's day [Wednesday, July 1], and was at the abbey of S. Werburg until Saturday, when, after transacting very much business, he departed from Chester on Saturday afternoon.
Also on May 1 the Saracens invaded the kingdom of Jerusalem in the Holy Land, and in the first battle killed the grand master of the Temple [Theodoric] by name, and two hundred horsemen and a thousand infantry. Afterwards, within the octave of the Apostles Peter and Paul, that is to say on July 9, came Saladin with a strong force into the Holy Land of Jerusalem and captured all the fortresses except four, and laid waste the whole territory. And the Holy Cross was also captured and carried away. The king also, Gui [of Lusignan] with certain others was carried away captive, and almost all the other Christians who were present at those battles were killed; among whom Simon, count of Evreux, died after having been wounded. Hugh de Beauchamp was killed in the presence of the Holy Cross, and Roger de Mowbray was taken prisoner with the king. Afterwards on the feast of the Translation of S. Martin [July 4] the Holy city of Jerusalem was captured. When these events became known the christians throughout the whole world, rich and poor, assumed the Cross of the Lord. Among others, Richard, son and heir of king Henry II. of England, assumed the Cross of the Lord with many others.
mclxxxviijDominus noster Ihesus Christus visibiliter in crucis triumpho apparuit in aere hora xij diei usque ad noctem videntibus omnibus in Dunestapel et per centum infinitis poplorum milibus. Stella quoque, mire claritatis ultra crucem ad verticem paulatim in celum precedendo cum cruce et yconio domini aere. (fn. 4)
Philippus Rex Francie et Henricus II. rex Anglie et Philippus Comes Flandrie et multi alii comites Francie, archiepiscopus quoque Rotomagensis Walterus de Constantiis cum aliis episcopis quibusdam et aliis innumeris tam clericis quam laicis assumpserē crucem domini inter Gisors et Trie in die S. Angnetis feria quinta cohortante eos ad hoc archiepiscopo de Tyr qui ibi presens erat et ob hoc de sancta terra ierusalem venerat. Quibus actis rex Francie Philippus et Rex Anglie Henricus II. in firma pace confederati sunt, sicque rex anglie Henricus II. in anglia rediens post purificationem Beate Marie omnes primates totius Anglie et archiepiscopum Cantuariensem Baldwinus et omnes episcopos et abbates, aliosque primates regni sui apud Gaertune venire fecit. Quibus voluntate sua exposita, Baldwinus archiepiscopus Cantuariensis apud Briexcoc et Johannes episcopus Norwicensis crucem Domini assumpsere.
1188 Our Lord Jesus Christ in the triumph of the Cross appeared visibly in the air, from the twelfth hour of the day even until night, and was seen by all in Dunstable, and by an infinite number of people for a hundred miles round. There was also a star of wonderful brightness beyond the cross gradually preceding it to the highest point of the heavens, followed by the cross and the image of the Lord in the air.
Philip, king of France, and Henry II., king of England, and Philip, count of Flanders, and many other counts of France, and Walter de Coutances, archbishop of Rouen, with certain other bishops and innumerable other persons, as well clergy as laity, assumed the Cross, between Gisors and Trie, on Thursday the feast of S. Agnes [January 21] at the exhortation of the archbishop of Tyre who was present there, and had come for this purpose from the Holy Land of Jerusalem. And when this was done, Philip, the king of France, and Henry, king of England, became allied together in a firm peace; and thus Henry, king of England, having returned to England after the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary [February 2] called together all the chief persons of the whole of England including Baldwin, archbishop of Canterbury, and all the bishops and abbots, and other chief men of his kingdom at Geddington [in Northamptonshire]. And after he had explained his wishes to them, Baldwin, archbishop of Canterbury, and John [of Oxford], bishop of Norwich, assumed the Cross of the Lord at Bristol.
mclxxxviij Item anno revoluto Rannulphus comes cestrie factus est miles ab Henrico rege Anglie in die circumcisionis domini apud [Cadomum]. (fn. 5) Cuietiam dedit Henricus rex anglie in uxorem relictam v K1. Cui (fn. 6) comitissam britannie filia Alani Comitis britannie nomine Constancia et toto comittatu de Richemund quam ipse comes Cestrie Rannulphus desponsavit in die Sancte Werburge virginis, id est, tertia nonas Februarii apud . . . . . 1188 In the course of the same year Randle [Blundeville], earl of Chester, was knighted by Henry, king of England, on the feast of the Circumcision of our Lord [January 1, 1189 N. S.] at [Caen]. To whom also Henry, king of England, gave as a wife the countess of Brittany, widow of his son Geoffry, and daughter of Alan [Conan], count of Brittany, Constance by name, with all the county of Richmond; the said Randle, earl of Chester, married her on the feast of S. Werburg the Virgin, that is, February 3.
mclxxxix Obiit Henricus rex anglie filius Matildis imperatricis infra octavas Apostolorum Petri et Pauli.
Occisio iudæorum per totam angliam.
Item vjto (fn. 7) non. Septembris coronatus est Ricardus rex anglie filius Henrici regis.
Mocio imperatoris alemanie apud ierusalem.
Eodem anno in quadragesima ante Pascham Ricardus anglie cum archiepiscopo Baldwino et multis aliis transfretanis ierosolimam profecturus una cum Philippo rege Francie.
Imperator Constantĩ captus est ab imperatore alemanie. (fn. 8)
Rex Sicilie obiit.
1189 Henry, king of England, son of the empress Maud, died on the octave of the Apostles Peter and Paul [July 6].
A great slaughter of the Jews throughout England.
Also on September 3 (?) Richard, son of king Henry, was crowned king of England.
The start of the emperor of Germany [Frederic I.] for Jerusalem.
In the same year [1190 N. S.] in Lent, before Easter, Richard, king of England, with archbishop Baldwin and many others from beyond the seas, set out for Jerusalem, together with Philip, king of France.
The emperor of Constantinople was defeated by the emperor of Germany.
[William II.] king of Sicily died.
mcxcj Rex Francie reversus est de civitate Acres in terram suam Rex vero anglie dux totius exercitus Christi adhesit peregrinationi sue. 1191 The king of France returned from the city of Acre into his own country; but the king of England, the leader of the whole army of Christ, remained faithful to the object of his expedition.
mcxcij Rex anglie Ricardus audito rumore quod Rex Francie terram suam vastasset et castella sua preoccupaverat in Normannia cum Saladino et turcis triennio pacem fecit, et ita redire cepit cum paucis, id est, sex cum hominibus ut dicunt. Sed cum in terram ducis Austrie devenisset deprehensus quod rex Anglie esset captus a duce Austrie imperatori alemanie traditus et vinculatus diu detentus est. 1192 Richard, king of England, when he had heard a report that the king of France had devastated his territory, and had seized upon his castles in Normandy, made a three years' truce with Saladin and the Turks, and then undertook to return with very few followers- only six as they say. But when he had arrived in the territory of the duke of Austria, having been detected to be the king of England, and having been made prisoner by the duke of Austria, he was handed over to the emperor of Germany, and was detained in chains for a long time.
mcxciij Ricardus Rex Anglie multis marcarum milibus promissis vinculis exemptus est, non cum libertate donatus. Ad cujus redempcionem lana monachorum et canonicorum per totam Angliam data est necnon quarta pars redditus aliorum. Sed cum hoc non sufficeret decretum est ut episcoporum et abbatum anuli, vasa aurea et argenta calices quoque ubique per Angliam ob regis liberationem tribuerentur. Decrustata sunt et feretra necnon et cruces et philacteria (fn. 9) et coadjuncta est pecunia. 1193 On the promise of many thousand marks, Richard, king of England, was freed from his chains, but was not set at liberty. For whose ransom there was given the wool of the monks and canons throughout England, and also a fourth part of the income of other persons. But as this was not sufficient it was ordered that the rings of the bishops and abbots, and the golden vessels and silver cups wheresoever they could be found should be given up for the liberation of the king. The shrines were also stripped and the crosses and reliquaries, and so the money was got together.
mcxciiij Rex Ricardus ab imperatore dimissus sed potius centum sexaginta milibus marcarum redemptus est, relictis quibusdam obsidibus in Anglia rediit infra quadraginta dies die Veneris ante dominicam ramis palmarum apud Notingham venit. Eadem die . . . . . . . . . . insultum fecit acerrimum, die lune proxima reddiderunt castellum qui illud defenderant in manu regis se ponentes et rex ipse paschalem solempnizavit celebritatem, consilio autem instituto cum Huberto archiepiscopo Cantuariensi et Galfrido archiepiscopo Eboracensi et cancellario ejus episcopo Gulielmo Elensi, et Hugoni episcopo Dunelmensi, et rege Scotie et comitibus anglie et baronibus apud Wintoniam profectus est, ibique collecta regni nobilitate dominica in albis gloriose coronatus est. Reliquit apud Notingham Willelmum de Bruiare (fn. 10) ad custodiendum comitatus Notingham et Derby. 1194 King Richard was set free by the emperor, or rather was ransomed for a hundred and sixty thousand marks, and having left certain hostages returned to England in Lent, and came to Nottingham on the Wednesday before Palm Sunday [April 1]. On the same day he made a very sharp attack [on the castle]. On the Monday following, those who had defended the castle [of Nottingham against the king] surrendered it, and placed themselves in the king's power. And the king himself kept Easter with much solemnity. And after a council was held, in company with Hubert, archbishop of Canterbury, and Geoffry, archbishop of York, and his [the king's] chancellor W[illiam Longchamp], bishop of Ely, and H[ugh de Puiset], bishop of Durham, and the king of Scotland, and the earls and barons of England, he set out for Winchester, and there the nobility of the kingdom being collected together, he was gloriously crowned on the Sunday after Easter [April 17]. He left at Nottingham William Brewer in charge of the counties of Nottingham and Derby.
mcxciiij Confirmatus est abbas Galfridus in abbatia de Cestra disceptans et litigans coram archiepiscopo Huberto Cantuariensi contra Robertum de Hastinges quondam abbatem Cestrie tandem patrocinante Sancta Werburga et glorioso Comite Cestrensi Rannulpho Galfridus optinuit dignitatem suam reddendo annuatim supradicto Roberto de Hastinges xx marcas duobus terminis et sic pacificati sunt. 1194 The abbot Geoffry was confirmed in the abbey of Chester after much dispute and litigation with Robert de Hastings the former abbot, before Hubert, archbishop of Canterbury; at last, by the assistance of S. Werburg, and of the glorious earl Randle, of Chester, Geoffry obtained his dignity on the terms of paying an annual pension to the above-mentioned Robert de Hastings of xx marks by two half- yearly payments; and so peace was made between them.
mcxcv Fames maxima per totam Angliam ita ut summa bladi x solidis venderetur. 1195 A very great famine throughout all England, so that a load [or seam] of corn was sold for ten shillings.
mcxcvj Obsidio exercitus Regis et archiepiscopi circa Polam (fn. 11) ad festum exaltationis Sancte Crucis, cum reddiderunt polam et castellum domino Regi. Idemque non post longum tempus a Walensibus captum est. 1196 Siege of Welshpool by the army of the king and the archbishop [of Canterbury] on the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross [September 14] when [the besieged] surrendered Welshpool and the castle [of Powis] to our lord the king. The same, not long after, was re-captured by the Welsh.
mcxcvij Obiit Hugo Nonant episcopus Lichfeldensis. 1197 Hugh Nonant, bishop of Lichfield, died.
mcxcviij Infinitus numerus Walensium ut dicunt ad quatuor milia ije idus Augusti a Francis (fn. 12) apud castellum Paui occisi sunt multi nobiles totius Norwallie et precipue homines Lewelini interempti sunt omninoque dispersi et obsessum est castellum Moald et captum in die epiphanie domini a Lewelini.
Consecratus est Galfridus de Muschamp in episcopatum.
1198 A great number of Welshmen, amounting in the whole as they say to four thousand, were slain by the French at Powis castle. Many of the nobles of the whole of North Wales were killed, and especially the men of Llewelin were killed and altogether dispersed, and the castle of Mold was besieged and captured from Llewelin on the day of the Epiphany of Our Lord [January 6, 1199 N. S.].
Geoffry de Muschamp was consecrated to the see [of Lichfield].
mcxcix Obiit Ricardus Rex Anglie sagitta ictus cui successit Johannes sine terra coronatus est apud Londoniam. 1199 Richard, king of England, died, having been struck by an arrow. John Lackland succeeded him, and was crowned at London.
mcc Talagium Rex Johannes misit per omnes carucates terre totius anglie duo denaria propriis carucatis. (fn. 13)
Rannulphus comes Cestrie desponsavit uxorem filiam Radulphi de Feugis, nomine Clementiam, relicta comitissa Britannie, nomine Constancia.
W. de Waren meunch (fn. 14) fil Regis occiditur.
1200 King John levied a tallage upon all carucates of land throughout all England. Two pence for each carucate.
Randle, earl of Chester, having left the countess of Brittany, Constance by name, married the daughter of Ralph de Feugeres, Clementia by name.
W. de Warren, the mother of the king's son [Richard] is killed.
mccj Rex et regina simul coronantur in Pasca Cantuaria. 1201 The king and queen are crowned together at Canterbury at Easter.
mccij Rex Anglie Johannes cepit Arthurum nepotem suum et Hugo Brun et multos alios hostes suos apud castellum de Mirabel, et Fulco filius Warini de mari fugatus apud abbatiam de Stanleye vix evadere potuit cum paucis ibi regalibus obsessus et post per archiepiscopum Hubertum et clero multo abductus est et secum in curia sua moratus. Post apud regem Francie clam cum armis multis profectus est. 1202 John, king of England, took prince Arthur, his nephew, and Hugh le Brun, and many others of his enemies at the castle of Mirabeau; and Fulk Fitz Warin having fled by way of the sea to the abbey of Stanley, was hardly able to escape with a few followers thither, and being besieged by the king's forces, afterwards he was carried away by archbishop Hubert, with many of the clergy, and was kept by him some time in his court. Afterwards, with many armed men, he set out privately to join the king of France.
mcciij Rex Johannes terra et castella multa trans mare perdidit. 1203 King John lost much land and many castles beyond the sea.
mcciiij Due lune plene vise sunt in celo claro, adhuc jam die post vesperas.
Rex Johannes filiam suam Nocham Lewelino principi Wallie dedit et cum ea castellum de Hellesmer.
Item Rex Johannes nobili et maximo congregato exercitu apud Portesmue mare intravit sed cito rediit exercitum dimisit et ad sua quisque rediit.
Hoc anno celebratum est concilium la [Arelatense].
1204 Two full moons were seen in a clear sky after vespers, but whilst it was still daylight.
King John gave his daughter, Joan, to Llewelin, prince of Wales, and with her the castle of Ellesmere.
Also king John, having assembled a noble and very large army at Portsmouth, put to sea, but soon returned, and dismissed his army, and every one returned to his own home.
In this year the council of Arles was held.
mccv Hubertus Archiepiscopus Doroberniam obiit iiij idus Julii. 1205 Archbishop Hubert died at Dover [Teynham], July 12.
mccvij Kal. octobris natus est Henricus filius Johannis Regis. 1207 On the first of October, Henry, son of king John, was born.
mccviij Interdictum cepit in Anglia.
Nonis octobris obiit Gaufridus de Muschamp presul Cestrie.
Item Ricardus filius Regis natus.
Item Hugo abbatis cestrie electio. (fn. 15)
1208 The interdict began in England.
Geoffry de Muschamp, bishop of Chester, died October 7.
Also Richard, son of the king, was born.
Also the election [took place] of Hugh [Grylle] as [8th] abbot of Chester.
mccix Rome Othoni datus honor imperialis. 1209 The imperial crown was conferred on Otho [IV.] at Rome.
mccx Johannes Rex Anglie cum navigio transfretavit in Hiberniam et castellum Cracfergus fuit ei redditum et plures Hyberniensum fecerunt ei homagium. 1210 John, king of England, crossed the sea into Ireland with a fleet, and the castle of Carrickfergus was surrendered to him, and a great number of the Irish did homage to him.
mccxi Johannes rex Anglie cum exercitu in Nivenia[m] (fn. 16) montem ascendit et ibi venit Lewelinus princeps Wallie ad pacem ejus. 1211 John, king of England, with his army, ascended into the mountain region of Snowdonia, and there Llewelin, prince of Wales, made submission to him.
mccxij Londonia combusta est et multi igne extincti. 1212 London was burned down, and many persons were destroyed by the fire.
mccxiij Johannes Rex Anglie fecit homagium domino pape, solvens ei singulis annis mille marcas argenti. 1213 John, king of England, did homage to our lord the pope, agreeing to pay every year a thousand marks of silver.
mccxiiij Cessavit interdictum anglie et ceperunt celebrari divina infra octavas apostolorum Petri et Pauli. 1214 The interdict ceased in England, and [men] began to celebrate divine service within the octave of the apostles Peter and Paul [June 29-July 6].


1 "Nona" might be any time from 3 to 5 p.m.
2 The chronicler or the scribe has confused the dates of these events. The battle of Tiberias, where the wood of the true Cross was captured, and the king of Jerusalem taken prisoner, was on July 4, while the capture of Jerusalem was not until October 2.
3 c[..]c[..] is probably an abbreviation of "crucem" inserted by anticipation, and not afterwards struck out, though re-inserted in its proper place.
4 The word above printed "aere" and which seems necessary to make sense of the passage, is in the manuscript "eaaed." The appearance is recorded in the Polychronicon (viii. 74) and a similar one, also at Dunstable, 1190 (p. 88). It is noteworthy that the Annales de Dunstaplia make no mention of either. That of 1188 would not improbably be the comet mentioned in the Annales Cambriœ and elsewhere, as portending the approaching death of the king.
5 There is no break or stop in the MS. after apud and nothing to indicate any word or words omitted between apud and cui.
6 The three words written in the MS. "v Kl cui" clearly should be "Galfridi filii sui." In the Gastrell MS. they are "Gulielmi filii sui." A few words further on, "Alani" should be "Conani." Constance was the daughter of Conan (not Alan) count or duke of Brittany, and widow of Geoffry (not William), eldest son of Henry II.
7 "vi" is probably a mistake of the copyist for iii.
8 I have ventured here to translate captus by defeated, for certainly neither the emperor of Constantinople nor any pretender to that title was this year or about this time captured or made a prisoner by the emperor of Germany. Perhaps a better and less inaccurate translation of captus would be "reduced to subjection" or "gained over." Certainly after the forces of the emperor Isaac Comnenus had been repeatedly defeated in Bulgaria by Frederic, in the negotiations which followed at Philippopolis, the German Emperor obtained all that he wished, and the ambassadors of Isaac gave way on every point in dispute.
9 "Phylacteria. Appellant veteres amuleta ad arcendos vel pellendos morbos. Apud Christianos arculæ in quibus sanctorum reliquiæ reconduntur." (DUCANGE).
10 An excellent notice of William Brewer, Briwer, Briwerre, or Bruer, from the pen of Rev. W. Hunt, will be found in the Dictionary of National Biography under Brewer.
11 Pola seems to be used as well for the district of Welshpool as for the castle of Powis which adjoins that town. Caradoc, in his History of Cambria (1584, 248), calls it "the castell of Gwenwynwyn at the poole." See also the Brut y Twysogion, A.D. 1196.
12 A late instance of the Norman English being styled Franci.
13 A Carucate, or carvage, or hide , or plough land, is as much land as may be tilled in a year and a day by one plough. The quantity varied in different counties from sixty to one hundred acres. (It would seem also to vary according to the number of courses of cultivation to which the land was subject.) Hide, as generally used, is synonymous with carucate, though it sometimes seems as if carucate was confined to arable land, and that hide was used for the like extent of land whether arable or otherwise. The words above printed "duo denaria" are in the manuscript written "2 d," the only occasion on which I find an arabic numeral used. As the tallage was, in fact, three shillings for each carucate or hide (see Polychronicon, viii. 176), this may be a mistake of the copyist for the abbreviation of "tres solidos," or the word "propriis" may imply that the king only put two pence on his own carucates.
14 I have left this passage exactly as it stands in the MS. I know of no W. de Waren, nor indeed any Waren or Warren who was killed or died in 1200. I at first thought that meunch was intended for avunculus, and that the entry might refer to the death of Hamelin Plantagenet, who called himself De Warenne in right of his wife, and who was half-brother of Henry II., and consequently uncle of John, but in so reading it no force would be given to fil. The bishop of Chester has, however, called my attention to the fact that, according to Robert of Gloucester (p. 516), John had a natural son, Richard, by a daughter of the earl of Warenne, and he suggests, with much reason, that this entry may refer to the death of this lady, and that the word meunch is m[ate]r rich [ard ]. Robert of Gloucester's words are:-
"Sir Richard Fiz le Roi of wan we speke bivore
Gentil man was inou the he were bast ibore
Wor the erles douzter of Warenne is gode mother was
His fader the king Jon."
I have been unable to discover either the Christian name of the mother of Sir Richard Fitzroy or the date of her death. She seems to be ignored by Dugdale, as well as Watson.
It is, however, possible that meunch may be avunculus, and that the person whose death is recorded was the brother of the mother of Richard Fitz Roy, and consequently uncle to the king's son. (See also Carte's History of England, i. 845, citing, besides Robert of Gloucester, Claus. 7 H. III. m 26; and Sandford's Genealogical History of the Kings of England).
15 "Hugo, Abbas installatus 1214, iii Cal. Apr., die Pascha, ob. 1226, die S. Maria Magdal." (Wharton). The interdict was no doubt the cause of the long postponement of the installation of Hugh Grylle.
16 The word in the MS. may be either "Nivenia," or "Niverna," or "Umenia." The Annales de Waverleia and several other chronicles have "Snowdonia" as the mountain region into which the king marched. The word is probably Nivernia, intended as a Latin equivalent of Snowdon, though I have not elsewhere noticed this name given to Snowdonia.