The French Chronicle of London: Henry III

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.


, 'The French Chronicle of London: Henry III', in Chronicles of the Mayors and Sheriffs of London 1188-1274, (London, 1863) pp. 231-237. British History Online [accessed 30 May 2024].

. "The French Chronicle of London: Henry III", in Chronicles of the Mayors and Sheriffs of London 1188-1274, (London, 1863) 231-237. British History Online, accessed May 30, 2024,

. "The French Chronicle of London: Henry III", Chronicles of the Mayors and Sheriffs of London 1188-1274, (London, 1863). 231-237. British History Online. Web. 30 May 2024,

Henry III

44 Henry III. [A.D. 1259, 60]. William Fitz-Richard, Mayor. Henry de Coventre and Adam Broning, (fn. 1) Sheriffs.

In this year two (fn. 2) Romans were slain in Westchepe, namely, Master John le Gras and Beisantyn, by persons who were strangers. This year a disagreement took place between Sir Edward and Richard, Earl of Gloucestre, by whom the gates of London were shut, and guarded by men-at-arms full five weeks and more; because that the King was then beyond sea to make terms with the King of France.

45 Henry III. [A.D. 1260, 1]. The said William, Mayor. (fn. 3) John de Norhamtone and Richard Pikard, Sheriffs.

In this year, on Saint John's Night [27 December] at Christmas, there escaped from Neugate Roger de Clere, Geoffrey de Toucestre, John de Saint Auban, John de (fn. 4) Euerwik, and three others; and for this escape, Roger, the gaoler, was taken and imprisoned in Neugate.

46 Henry III. [A.D. 1261, 2]. The said William, Mayor. Philip le Tailour and Richard de Walbrok, Sheriffs.

47 Henry III. [A.D. 1262, 3]. Thomas Fitz-Thomas, Mayor. Robert de (fn. 5) Mounpelers and (fn. 6) Hubert de Suffolk, Sheriffs.

In this year began the war between the King and his Barons, for the (fn. 7) Provisions of Oxford. Then the (fn. 8) Bishop of Hereford was taken by the Barons. In this year the New Hall at Westminster was (fn. 9) burnt.

In this year the Queen was shamefully hooted and reviled at London (fn. 10) Bridge, as she was desiring to go from the Tower to Westminster; and this, because she had caused a gentle damsel to be put to death, the most beauteous that was known, and imputed to her that she was the King's concubine. For which reason, the Queen had her taken and stripped all naked, and made her sit between two great fires in a chamber quite closed, so that this very beauteous damsel was greatly terrified, for she thought for certain that she should be burnt, and began to be in great sorrow by reason thereof.

And in the meantime, the Queen had caused a bath to be prepared, and then made the beauteous damsel enter therein; and forthwith, she made a wicked old hag beat this beauteous damsel upon both her arms with a staff; and then, so soon as ever the blood gushed forth, there came another execrable sorceress, and brought two frightful toads upon a trowel, and put them upon the breasts of the gentle damsel; whereupon they immediately seized her breasts and began to suck. Two other old hags also held her arms stretched out, so that the beauteous damsel might not be able to sink down into the water until all the blood that was in her body had run out. And all the time that the filthy toads were sucking the breasts of this most beauteous damsel, the Queen, laughing the while, mocked her, and had great joy in her heart, in being thus revenged upon Rosamonde. And when she was dead, the Queen had the body taken and buried in a filthy ditch, and with the body the toads.

But when the King had heard the news, how the Queen had acted towards the most beauteous damsel whom he so greatly loved, and whom he held so dear in his heart, he felt great sorrow, and made great lamentation thereat:—"Alas! for my grief; what shall I do for the most beauteous "Rosamond? For never was her peer found for beauty, disposition, and "courtliness." And after he had for long made such lamentation, he desired to know what had become of the body of the beauteous damsel. Then the King caused one of the wicked sorceresses to be seized, and had her put into great straights, that she might tell him all the truth as to what they had done with the gentle damsel; and he swore by Almighty God that if she should lie in any word, she should have as shocking a sentence as man could devise.

Then the old hag began to speak and to relate to the King all the truth, how the Queen had wrought upon the most beauteous body of the gentle damsel, and where and in what place they would find it. And in the meantime, the Queen had the body of the most beauteous damsel taken up, and commanded the body to be carried to a house of religion which has "Godestowe" for name, near Oxenford, at a distance of two leagues therefrom; and had the body of Rosamond there buried, to colour her evil deeds, that so no one might perceive the horrid and too shameful deeds which the Queen had done, and she might exculpate herself from the death of this most gentle damsel.

And then King Henry began to ride towards Wodestoke, where Rosamonde, whom he loved so much at heart, was so treacherously murdered by the Queen. And as the King was riding towards Wodestoke, he met the dead body of Rosamonde, strongly enclosed within a chest, that was well and stoutly bound with iron. And the King forthwith demanded whose corpse it was, and what was the name of the person whose dead body they bore. Then they made answer to him, that it was the corpse of the most beauteous Rosamond. And when King Henry heard this, he instantly ordered them to open the chest, that he might behold the body that had been so vilely martyred. Immediately thereon, they did the King's command, and shewed him the corpse of Rosamond, who was so hideously put to death. And when King Henry saw the whole truth thereof, through great grief he fell fainting to the ground, and lay there in a swoon for a long time before any one could have converse with him.

And when the King awoke from his swoon, he spoke, and he swore a great oath, that he would take full vengeance for the most horrid felony which, for great spite, had upon the gentle damsel been committed. Then began the King to lament and to give way to great sorrow for the most beauteous Rosamonde, whom he loved so much at heart. "Alas! for my grief," said he, "sweet Rosamonde, never was thy peer, never so sweet nor so beauteous a creature to be found: may then the sweet God, who abides in Trinity, on the soul of sweet Rosamonde have mercy, and may he pardon her all her misdeeds: very God Almighty, Thou who art the end and the beginning, suffer not now that this soul shall in horrible torment come to perish, and grant unto her true remission for all her sins, for thy great mercy's sake."

And when he had thus prayed, he commanded them forthwith to ride straight on to Godestowe with the body of the lady, and there had her burial celebrated in that religious house of nuns; and there did he appoint thirteen chaplains to sing for the soul of the said Rosamonde, so long as the world shall last. In this religious house of Godestowe, I tell you for truth, lieth the fair Rosamonde buried. May Very God Almighty of her soul have mercy. Amen.

48 Henry III. [A.D. 1263, 4]. Thomas Fitz-Thomas, Mayor. Gregory de Rokesle and Thomas de la Forde, Sheriffs.

In this year, upon the fourth and fifth of the Ides [9 and 10] of April, there was a (fn. 11) massacre of the Jews in London. In the same year, upon the 6th of the Ides [10] of May, there was a great conflagration in Milkstrete and Bredstrete in Westchepe. And on the next day was the Battle of Lewes, that is to say, the Wednesday next before the (fn. 12) Feast of Saint Dunstan. In this year there was seen in the firmament a star that is called a "comet." At this time there were great conflagrations in England, and (fn. 13) Istelworthe was burnt, and the (fn. 14) Jewry destroyed.

49 Henry III. [A.D. 1264, 5]. The said Thomas, Mayor. Edward le Blount, Draper, and Peter Aunger, Sheriffs.

In this year there were great storms of thunder and lightning in England, and by a flash of lightning a part was struck down of the belfry of Saint Bartholomew's in London. In this year, upon the day of the (fn. 15) Gule of August [1 August], part of the Barons who held with the Provisions of Oxenford were taken at (fn. 16) Keningworthe, being there in company with Simon de Mountfort the Younger; and upon the Tuesday after, was fought the Battle of Evesham, on the Vigil of Saint Oswald [5 August].

50 Henry III. [A.D. 1265, 6]. Sir Hugh Fitz-Otes was made Warden of London, and the Mayor and Sheriffs put down for five years, because that the City had held with the Barons. In this year, Stephen Bokerel, Thomas de (fn. 17) Peuleslond, Michael Thovy, Goldsmith, John the Capper of Flete, and others, were sent for by letter of King Henry, that they should come to him at Windesore; and so soon as they had come, the King commanded them to be put in prison, and delivered them to Sir Edward, his son; and he detained them in prison, each by himself, until such time as they had been ransomed; wherefore, they gave a large amount of property to Sir Edward that they might be released, and part of their lands Sir Edward caused to be given to knights of the land, in disherison of them and of their heirs for ever, in case they should not buy back the same with their own money.

51 Henry III. [A.D. 1266, 7]. William Fitz-Richard, Warden. John Adrian and Walter Hervi, Bailiffs. And this William Fitz-Richard was Warden for the King only from the Feast of Saint Martyn [11 November] until Ascension Day [30 December]; when the said John Adrian and Walter Hervi were made Bailiffs under Sir John de la Lynde and Sir John Walravene, who was then Constable of the Tower, until Saint Michael. In this year, upon the (fn. 18) Day of Saint Cross in August, Sir Edward had Gerveys Skyret drawn, who was taken from the Churchyard of Saint Sepulchre's, for the death of Giles de Wodeham; for which reason, Master (fn. 19) Godfrey de Saint Dunstan was in great tribulation for the franchise of Holy Church. In the same year, after the Trinity, began the siege of (fn. 20) Kilingworth, and continued until the Day of Saint Lucy [13 December] next ensuing, when the castle was surrendered. In the same year, about Saint Michael, the disherisoned conquered the Isle of Ely.

52 Henry III. [A.D. 1267, 8]. Still there was no Mayor in London, but John Adrian and Luke de Batencourt were Bailiffs under Sir John de la Lynde. The same year, on the Monday before Candlemas [2 February], the King removed from Westminster to Waltham, to go to Saint Edmund's for the purpose of besieging the Isle of Ely.

53 Henry III. [A.D. 1268, 9]. William Fitz-Richard, Warden. Walter Hervy and William de Durham, Bailiffs.

In the same month, at the Parliament at Winchester, Philip le Tailour and Walter le (fn. 21) Porter were made Sheriffs. And by assent of the Prelates, Earls, and Barons, the King transferred his (fn. 22) cross to Sir Edward his son, that he might go, as well for him as for himself, to the Holy Land; and granted him the twentieth pennies that were collected in England. And after the 20th day of August, he and.his wife, and many of the great lords of the land, on the Crusade, crossed the sea at Dover. And then were removed Walter and Philip from their Sheriffwicks, and Gregory de Rokesle and Henry Waleis were made Sheriffs by the citizens.

54 Henry III. [A.D. 1269, 70]. Sir Hugh Fitz-Otes, Warden. Thomas de (fn. 23) Basingges and Robert de Cornhill, Bailiffs.

55 Henry III. [A.D. 1270]. Sir Hugh Fitz-Otes, Warden. Walter le Porter and (fn. 24) Philip le Tailour, Sheriffs.

56 Henry III. [A.D. 1270, 1]. (fn. 25) John Adrian, Mayor. Gregory de Rokeslee and Henry le Waleis, Sheriffs.

In this year the belfry of [Saint Mary] (fn. 26) Arches fell to the ground.

57 Henry III. [A.D. 1271, 2]. Walter Hervy, Mayor. John de Bodele and Richard de Parys, Cordwainer, Sheriffs.

This Walter Hervi was made Mayor by election of the commons against the will of the Aldermen, and he continued Mayor the year next ensuing. In this year died King Henry, on the Day of Saint (fn. 27) Edmund de (fn. 28) Pounteneye [16 November], and on the Day of Saint Edmund the King [20 November] he was buried at Westminster. And as soon as the interment had been made, Sir Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, and all the other great men of England, did fealty and homage to Sir Edward, son of King Henry, who was at that time on pilgrimage in the Holy Land, as is before stated.


  • 1. Elected at the end of 43 Henry III., for the following year.
  • 2. Followers of Richard, Earl of Cornwall, King of the Romans.
  • 3. Alderman of Aldgate Ward.
  • 4. York.
  • 5. Montpellier.
  • 6. In the Liber de Antiquis Legibus, 'Osbert.'
  • 7. Extorted from Henry III. by Simon de Montfort.
  • 8. Peter de Egeblaunch, a Savoyard. He was expelled from his Cathedral, and sent to the Castle of Erdesley.
  • 9. Mentioned in the Liber de Antiquis Legibus, s. a. 1262. See pp. 54, 55, ante.
  • 10. From Wikes' Chronicle, we learn that on this occasion, upon her barge approaching the Bridge (14th June), curses and imprecations were launched against her, and she only escaped from a shower of mud, broken eggs, and stones, by a speedy retreat to the Tower. This indignation of the Londoners was aroused by the avarice of Eleanor of Provence and her countrymen. The writer has, by mistake, applied the story of Fair Rosamond, according to a peculiar version of his own, to the wife of Henry III. instead of Henry II.
  • 11. On the ground, according to Fabyan, that a Jew had extorted more than legal interest from a Christian: upwards of 500 Jews were killed on this occasion. See Liber de Antiquis Legibus, p. 66 ante.
  • 12. I. e. the Deposition of Saint Dunstan, the 19th May.
  • 13. The Earl of Cornwall's mansion at Isleworth. See p. 65 ante.
  • 14. Or Jews' quarter, near the Guildhall, London.
  • 15. 'Gula Augusti.' Probably meaning 'the 'Throat of August,' though there is some doubt as to the origin of the name.
  • 16. Kenilworth.
  • 17. Called 'Piwelesdon,' in the Liber de Antiquis Legibus.
  • 18. The Exaltation of the Holy Cross is probably alluded to, 14th September, and not in August.
  • 19. Gustos, or Warden, of the bishopric of London.
  • 20. Kenilworth.
  • 21. More correctly, 'Poter.'
  • 22. The cross worn as a badge by the Crusaders.
  • 23. Alderman of Candlewick Ward. The family of the Basings gave name to the Ward of Bassishaw, their mansion house (Basing's Haugh, or Hall) being there situate.
  • 24. Alderman of Bishopsgate Ward.
  • 25. Alderman of Walbrook Ward.
  • 26. Bow Church.
  • 27. Archbishop of Canterbury, died 16 Nov. 1242.
  • 28. 'Seint Edmund the Confessor, that lith 'at Pounteneye.' Cott. MS. Jul. D. ix. fol. 175.