The French Chronicle of London: Edward III

Chronicles of the Mayors and Sheriffs of London 1188-1274. Originally published by Trübner, London, 1863.

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'The French Chronicle of London: Edward III', in Chronicles of the Mayors and Sheriffs of London 1188-1274, (London, 1863) pp. 267-291. British History Online [accessed 13 April 2024]

Edward III

Edward the Third.

These are the Names of the Mayors and Sheriffs in the time of Edward the Third, born at Windesore, and other Marvels that have happened in the same time.

1 Edward III. [A.D. 1326, 7]. Richard de Betaigne, Mayor. Richard de Rothingge and Roger Chaunceler, Sheriffs.

This Edward of Windesore was made knight and crowned king, all in one day, and was only fourteen years of age on the Day of Saint Bryce [13 November] then last past; after which, he held a great Parliament at Westminster. In this Parliament the King granted to the citizens of London all their franchises which they had before lost, and also granted unto the City other franchises which the king had never before granted; to the effect that the Mayor should be Justiciar in the Guildhall, and that before him should be condemned those who should be taken for felony or for larceny within the liberties; by reason whereof, on the eighth day of May three persons were condemned to death, it being the Friday next after the Feast of Saint John Port Latin [6 May].

At this time, at the Ascension, the young King, with a great force of his land, prepared himself at Newcastle to go against the Scots, and had from London 200 men mounted and well armed. At this period the Scots had invaded England, as far as (fn. 1) Stannowe Park. And when our young King came there, he pitched his tent and pavilions, and besieged the Park for fifteen days. And by reason of the hatred that the great men of England entertained against the Hainaulters, by consent, the Scots escaped from the Park by night, whereas they might all have been taken, killed, and overthrown. Also, by sanction of some traitors, James Douglas effected an entrance among the pavilions of our young King, to carry him off to the dominions of Scotland. But the said James Douglas was descried by the watch in the host, and so took to flight; and his chaplain, a strong and vigorous man, was stopped and slain. And then, the King and his people returned to (fn. 2) Euerwik; and in the meantime there arose a great dissension between the English and the Hainaulters, by reason of which many of our English people were slain in their houses. And from thence the King went to (fn. 3) Nichole, and there held his Parliament. And at this time the death of Sir Edward of Carnarvan, his father, was made public, who had been traitorously murdered in the Castle of Berkle, as God knows. And then the Lady Philippa, (fn. 4) daughter of the Count of Henaude, came to London, to be married to our young King; and soon after, the King espoused her at Euerwyk, and held his Parliament there. And then came thither messengers from Scotland, to treat of peace, and our young King sent his messengers to the great men of Scotland, to know all their will thereon.

2 Edward III. [A.D. 1327, 8]. Hamo de Chikewell, Mayor. Henry Darcy and John Hauteyn, Sheriffs.

And then it was granted, ordained, and cried and published throughout the two realms, by assent of the Lady Isabel the Queen, the King's mother, and Sir Roger Mortimer, and others of their covin, that David le Bruis, son of Robert le Bruis, late king of Scotland, should espouse Lady Joanna of the (fn. 5) Tower; which espousals were celebrated with great solemnity on the Sunday next before the Feast of Saint Margaret [20 July], at Euerwyk. And then the Queen, Lady Isabel, and Sir Roger Mortimer, assumed unto themselves royal power over many of the great men of England and of Wales, and retained the treasures of the land in their own hands, and kept the young King wholly in subjection to themselves; so much so, that Sir Henry, Earl of Lancaster, who was made chief guardian of the King at the beginning, at his Coronation, by common consent of all the realm, could not approach him or counsel him. Wherefore, Sir Henry the said Earl, by advice of many great men of the land, and of the (fn. 6) Archbishop of Caunterbury and other Bishops, was greatly moved against the Queen, Lady Isabel, and Sir Roger le Mortimer; with the view of redressing this evil, that so the King might be able to live upon his own, without making extortionate levies to the impoverishment of the people.

3 Edward III. [A.D. 1328, 9]. (fn. 7) John de Grantham, Mayor. Simon Fraunceis and Henry Combemartin, Sheriffs.

In this year our young King crossed the sea, with a noble retinue, to meet the King of France, and do homage for the territories of Gascoygne; and did not remain there long, but returned into England, and at Caunterbury had grand jousts held; and then after that, at London, in (fn. 8) Chepe. Never were there held in England any such famous jousts as these.

4 Edward III. [A.D. 1329, 30]. (fn. 9) Simon Swanlond, Mayor. (fn. 10) Richard Lacer and Henry Gisors, Sheriffs.

In the same year the Lady Philippa, the Queen, was crowned at Westminster, on Sunday at the beginning of Lent: and in the ensuing week, the King held his Parliament at Winchester. And there was Sir Edmund de Wodestoke, Earl of Kent, arrested; who was son of a (fn. 11) king, brother of a king, and uncle of our young King; and right or wrong, he was there condemned and (fn. 12) beheaded, and so put to death. And then after this, in the same year, the King held his Council at Notingham; and there he perceived in divers manners that he had evil counsel, and that his kingdom was on the point of being ruined, and the people as well. Wherefore, the King took this greatly to heart. For the Queen, his mother, and Sir Roger Mortimer, had all the land in their own hands, and had collected a great host out of Wales and England, and committed great havoc wherever they came; so much so, that there was no woman, wife or maiden, in all the country forty miles and more about, who was not forsworn and undone before the very eyes of her lord, greatly in his despite. And thus did they hold the young King and John of filtham, his brother, quite under.

And at this same time, as God willed it, the King, with his Council, had Sir Roger le Mortimer privily seized in his bed in the Castle of Notingham, and some others with him, and had them sent to the Tower of London; whereas they themselves thought to have undone the King and all of his blood. And then after this, Sir (fn. 13) Roger Mortimer, and Sir Symon de Bereford, who was of his counsel, were drawn and hanged at London.

5 Edward III. [A.D. 1330, 1]. John de (fn. 14) Polteneye, Mayor. (fn. 15) Robert de Ely and Thomas Horewod, Sheriffs.

In the same year, the King, with a great host, invaded the parts of Scotland near Berwyk, and gave battle to the Scots, and fought them foot to foot, and discomfited and slew of the Scots 60718 men. And when they of Berwyk saw how that the battle was lost, they cried with a loud voice unto Sir Edward, our young King, that they might of his grace have life and limb; and the King granted them life and limb; and they forthwith surrendered unto him the town of Berwyk, whereat the whole of England had great joy; and he then returned into England to maintain the peace and to chastise misdoers.

6 Edward III. [A.D. 1331, 2]. John de Polteneye, Mayor. John de Mokkinge and Andrew Aubri, Sheriffs.

7 Edward III. [A.D. 1332, 3]. John de Prestone, Mayor. Nicholas Pike and John Husbonde, Sheriffs.

8 Edward III. [A.D. 1333, 4]. John Polteneye, Mayor. John Hamond and William Haunsard, Sheriffs.

In the same year, the Duke of Bretagne came into England to do homage to our young King, that he might hold his lands in (fn. 16) England in peace. And in the same year the King made another expedition into Scotland, because the people there would keep no peace, but would always be at war; and so the King passed through the land, but the Scots always took to flight, so that no encounter could then take place. Wherefore the King was very angry, and all his people then returned into England, and he had the laws established, and the false and disloyal, and the misdoers of his land, chastised.

9 Edward III. [A.D. 1334, 5]. (fn. 17) Reginald del Conduyt, Mayor. John de Hinggestone and (fn. 18) Walter Turke, Sheriffs.

10 Edward III. [A.D. 1335, 6]. (fn. 19) Reginald del Conduyt, Mayor. (fn. 20) Walter de Mordone and Ralph de Uptone, Sheriffs.

11 Edward III. [A.D. 1336, 7]. John de Polteneye, Mayor. (fn. 21) William Brikelesworthe and John de Northall, Sheriffs.

12 Edward III. [A.D. 1337, 8]. (fn. 22) Henry Darcy, Mayor. (fn. 23) Walter Nele and Nicholas Crane, Sheriffs.

In the same year, the Scots began once again to wage war against our King; and the King, the third time, assembled a great host, and made an expedition throughout the territories of Scotland, but could find no one to oppose him; whereat the King and all his host were very indignant. And on his return towards England, the King laid siege to the Castle of Dunbarre, and there remained full fifteen weeks; until the King of France wrongfully began to levy war against Sir Edward, our young King. And then, messengers were sent to the King of France, that is to say, the (fn. 24) Archbishop of Caunterbury, the (fn. 25) Bishop of Durham, (fn. 26) Sir Geoffrey Scrope, and Sir William de Clinton, Earl of Huntingdon, to treat of peace between the two realms of France and England; and they proffered him great gifts, marriage, and great treasure, but the King of France would in no wise consent thereto, or grant any terms, but would wage war in every way, and seize the land of Grascoigne into his hand, and all the lands that our young King had beyond the sea. And then, when our young King perceived that the King of France would not do otherwise, he sent for all the great men of England, and held a Parliament at Westminster, and took counsel to cross the sea and lead an expedition against the King of France, who would have no peace: and so he asked aid of all his land; whereupon, there was granted unto him, for carrying on his war, great treasure, and a great multitude of men-atarms, as also all the wool of England for two years, to be kept from the commencement of his expedition.

13 Edward III. [A.D. 1338, 9]. Henry Darcy, Mayor. William Pountfreit and Hughe Marberer, Sheriffs.

In this year, our young King provided himself with a great force of English and of Welsh, and crossed the sea from Orewelle in Essex, and arrived in Flanders; and his people passed on unto the isle of (fn. 27) Cagent and (fn. 28) slew all who could be found therein; and there they obtained great riches, and then ravaged the whole of the said island with fire. And then our young King took his host, and went into Brabant, and sojourned a long time at Andwerp, and there held his Parliament; and there made oath unto him all those of Flaundres, of Brabant, of Henaud, and of Almaine, that they would live and die with him, our young King, in his cause against the King of France. Also, our young King agreed that he would be their liege lord, to live and die with them, and to defend and maintain them at all times against all people in the world.

And when the alliance had been made by assent of the lands aforesaid, Sir Edward, our young King, took his host and removed from Andwerp, and began to make incursions in the territory of the King of France, and ravaged it with fire on every side, and conquered more than 160 miles of his land. And then was a certain day appointed for a battle to be fought between the two kings. And when the time came that the battle should have been fought, as to Philip de Valoys, the King of France, his mind changed, and he began to shudder when he saw our people all ready in the field in battle array; whereupon he retreated, like a disloyal knight, and said, like a coward, that his heart misgave him that he should be discomfited in any battle fought on that day. Wherefore, he retreated with his host towards Paris; to his own perpetual disgrace, and to the lasting honour and victory of our own King of England. And at this time did Philip de Valois lose the name and appellation of King of France; and to Sir Edward, our King, was given the (fn. 29) name and appellation of rightful King of France and of England; and the same was acceded to by all the chivalry of Christendom.

And then our young King, the (fn. 30) Duke of Brabant, the (fn. 31) Count of Henaud, the (fn. 32) Count of Julers, the Count of (fn. 33) Gerle, and many other great men of divers lands, returned, each to his own country. But before that the host had departed, the (fn. 34) men of Almaine rifled the English of what they had gained in that expedition, and slew many of our people. But Sir Edward, our King, and the Duke of Brabant, and other great men, caused this great strife to be put an end to and appeased, so that all were reconciled. And then the King, with his people, returned to Andwerp in Brabant, and sojourned there a long time, together with a great council of all the great persons who had made oath unto him.

And never in the meantime, did Philip de Valoys dare, with all his proud vauntings, to approach our young King; but said to all who were about him, that he would suffer him to lie in peace and spend all that he had, and more too than all his realm of England would be able to supply; so that he should make him either the richest king or the very poorest in all the world. And then our young King took his leave of the Duke of Brabant, and of all the great men of those parts who had made oath unto him, to return to England, in order to regulate the state of his realm, until a certain hour should come when they should be better able to be revenged upon Philip de Valois, King of France. Then our King returned unto England, and left the Queen, Lady Philippa, there as a hostage, as also his children, in the custody of the Duke of Brabant, and other great personages associated with him; and she sojourned at (fn. 35) Gaunt until the return of her lord. Also, at the same time were taken prisoners Sir William Mountagu, Earl of Salesbury, and (fn. 36) Sir Robert de Offorde, Earl of Suffolk, and brought to Paris in mean guise. And then the King of France said to them, "Ah! traitors, you shall be hanged; seeing that you cannot make amends for the damage that your king and you have done in my land." "Certes, Sire," said Sir William Mountagu, "you are in the wrong and our King in the right, and this will I prove against whosoever shall gainsay the same, as a loyal knight should do in a strange land." And then spoke the Queen of France, and swore that never again should she be glad or joyous, if they were not disgracefully put to death. "Sire," said the King of (fn. 37) Beame, "it would be a great wrong, and a folly, to slay such lords as these; for if it should so happen that the King of England should again invade your realm of France, and take any peer of your realm, then might one of these go in exchange for another, who is one of our own friends."

And so our Lord the King arrived at (fn. 38) Herwiz in Suffolke, and came to London before the beginning of Lent, and sojourned there, and held a Parliament at Westminster of all the great men of the land. And to this Parliament there came messengers from Scotland, to sue for peace, but no peace was granted them. At the same time also, Philip de Valoys had as great a navy prepared as could be arrayed, of galleys, (fn. 39) pinnaces, great barges, and all the large ships of Spain and Normandy, and wherever else they could be found; in order to prevent our young King from coming back again into his land, and to seize and put all the realm of England to the sword. At the same time also, he inflicted great damage and great destruction upon England. For at this time the towns of Suthamton and Portesmouthe were burnt by night, spoiled, and the plunder carried off. Also, the (fn. 40) Castle of Gerneseye was taken, and the people therein slain, through treason on part of the Constable of the said castle. But when our young King heard this, and perceived the great felony and compassing of his enemy, Philip de Valoys, he commanded in haste that all his navy of England should be made ready, and every ship well equipped and victualled by a certain day named.

14 Edward III. [A.D. 1339, 40]. (fn. 41) Andrew Aubry, Mayor. William de Thorneye and Roger de Forsham, Sheriffs.

In this year, all the mariners of England, by commission of our Lord the King, had all their ships speedily assembled and victualled, and hardy and vigorous men from all parts well equipped and armed at all points, in every place to fight for life or death. And when the fleet of ships of England was assembled in manner aforesaid, Sir Edward, our King, and his people, were in the parts of Bury Saint Edmund's; and from thence he passed on to Orwelle, where he put to sea, with his people beyond number, upon the Thursday next before the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist [24 June], which was on a Saturday; and upon the [next] Friday morning, our King espied his enemies upon the sea, and said, "Because our Lord Jesus Christ was put to death on a Friday, we "will not shed blood upon that day."

The wind had then been in the East for the whole fortnight before the King put to sea, but by the grace of Him who is Almighty, the wind shifted immediately to the West; so that, by the grace of God, the King and his fleet had both wind and weather to their mind. And so they sailed on until sunrise at break of day; when he saw his enemies so strongly equipped, that it was a most dreadful thing to behold; for the fleet of the ships of France was so strongly bound together with massive chains, castles, (fn. 42) bretasches, and bars. But notwithstanding this, Sir Edward, our King, said to all those who were around him in the fleet of England,—"Fair lords and brethren of mine, be nothing dismayed, but be all of good cheer, and he who for me shall begin the fight and shall combat with a right good heart, shall have the benison of God Almighty; and every one shall retain that which he shall gain."

And so soon as our King had said this, all were of right eager heart to avenge him of his enemies. And then our mariners hauled their sails half-mast high, and hauled up their anchors in manner as though they intended to fly; and when the fleet of France beheld this, they loosened themselves from their heavy chains to pursue us. And forthwith our ships turned back upon them, and the melee began, to the sound of trumpets, (fn. 43) nakers, viols, tabors, and many other kinds of minstrelsy. And then did our King, with three hundred ships, vigorously assail the French with their five hundred great ships and gallies, and eagerly did our people exert great diligence to give battle to the French. Our archers and our (fn. 44) arbalesters began to fire as densely as hail falls in winter, and our engineers hurled so steadily, that the French had not power to look or to hold up their heads. And in the meantime, while this assault lasted, our English people with a great force boarded their gallies, and fought with the French hand to hand, and threw them out of their ships and gallies. And always, our King encouraged them to fight bravely with his enemies, he himself being in the (fn. 45) cog called "Thomas of Winchelsee." And at the hour of (fn. 46) tierce there came to them a ship of London, which belonged to (fn. 47) William Haunsard, and it did much good in the said battle. For the battle was so severe and so hardly contested, that the assault lasted from noon all day and all night, and the morrow until the hour of (fn. 48) prime; and when the battle was discontinued, no Frenchman remained (fn. 49) alive, save only Spaudefisshe, who took to flight with four-and-twenty ships and gallies.

And after this great battle gained, Sir Edward, our King, always maintained himself stoutly upon the sea, and would in no manner disembark on land; and there he held his (fn. 50) Parliament for a whole fortnight, to see if any one of his enemies might think proper again to assail him. And then did our young King disembark, and rode on to Bruges with a very fair company, and there held festival for one whole week. And then after this, Sir Edward, our King, took his host, with a very fair company of Dukes [and] Earls of great lordship, and began to invade France against King Philip de Valois, until he came to the strong city of (fn. 51) Tornaye; and he besieged the said city with a great host for a quarter of a year; that is to say, from the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist until the Feast of Saint Michael. And there, there came to him the Duke of Brabant, with (fn. 52) 150 men, mounted and well armed; the Count of Henaud also came with as many; so that his host all about covered seventeen miles of the same country, it being a finer army than had ever yet been seen.

And while the siege of the strong city of Torneye was being carried on, Sir (fn. 53) Robert the Count of Artoys, Sir Walter de Manny, (fn. 54) Jacob de Artefelde, and many other great men, assembled a great host of good people, horse and foot, well armed, and took their way to the city of (fn. 55) Saint Thomer, and hastily assailed the said city, and began to throw great stones with their engines, to destroy the city. And when those within the city saw the compassing of our people without, they took counsel among them to open the gates and give battle to our people. And when our people perceived this, they withdrew, and with a good will allowed a great multitude of people to come out of the city. And when the people were all come forth from the city, our men, with hearty good will, turned back, and boldly gave battle to the French; and all those who had taken the field met their death by evil mishap, for of the French there were slain 5210; among which dead were found ninety-five with (fn. 56) gilt spurs. So that our people pursued the French as far as the gate of Saint Thomer, and there, right at the portcullis, were the Frenchmen all slain. And as for those who had (fn. 57) escaped within the gate, they did not dare come any more out of the city, until our people had taken their departure for the siege of Torneye. And in the meantime while the siege lasted, that is to say, for a quarter of a year, our people from day to day made incursions in the parts of France, and burnt, and took prey and prisoners, knights and esquires of great renown; and beasts, and corn, and other provisions had they, belonging to the King of France, so that the country, all round about the siege, was ravaged, burnt, and brought to destruction.

At this time, while the siege lasted, Sir Edward, our King, had assault made upon the said city of Torneye six times each day, with springals and mangonels, throwing huge stones, [and employing] engines with (fn. 58) powder [and] wildfire; so that the engines with the great stones broke down the towers and stout walls, churches, belfries, strong walls, fine mansions, and rich habitations, throughout all the said city of Torneye. Also, the people within the town were all but destroyed by the great famine which prevailed in the said city. For the water, running in a fine stream, which used to pass through the city, was dammed up and withheld from them, so that neither horse nor other beast was retained alive in all the said city; for so closely were they pent within the city, and so great was the famine, that the quarter of wheat was worth four pounds sterling, the quarter of oats two marks, a hen's egg six pence, and two onions one penny. And as for our people besieging it without, throughout all the host of the King of England they had so great a plenty of victuals, wine, bread, and flesh of every kind, that nothing was wanting; praised be sweet Jesus Christ therefor!

Also, at this same time, those within the city of Torneye caused a letter to be written to their king, Philip de Valoys, to the effect that he must aid them with his forces with all haste, or that otherwise they would be compelled of necessity to surrender the said city to the King of England; for that their people, whom they had had in the city, were killed, dead, and destroyed, and their provisions all consumed; so that they had nothing upon which to subsist, nor could any longer hold the city against their adversary, the King of England. And when their letter was written, they took a (fn. 59) vadlet, and arrayed him in poor cloth like a (fn. 60) Jacobin, and delivered him their letter, to carry to their King, Philip de Valoys, and sent him by night out of a postern privily. And when he had proceeded fully two miles from the city, at daybreak (fn. 61) Sir Henry de Lancaster, Earl of Derby, met him away from the road, and had him arrested and interrogated him; and the vadlet varied in his words. And forthwith, Sir Henry had him searched, and found the letter upon him; and then at once they brought this Jacobin before the King of England, and he was put upon peril of life and limb to tell all the truth as to the strong city of Torneye. And the messenger forthwith began his speech before the King; "Sire," said he, "in nothing will I lie unto you; certes, all their men-at-arms are slain, and there are left not more than two hundred men capable of defence; nor victuals have they to sustain themselves beyond a fortnight."

And the same day, the Count of Henaud took a great force with him, and rode to forage full twenty miles in the land beyond the siege, and took great prey in beasts belonging to France, and slew men-at-arms in great numbers, and took six-and-twenty of the most valiant knights whom Philip de Valoys at that time had, and had them taken as prisoners to the King of England; beasts and provisions also without number. For a person might then have had a good beeve for forty pence, a swine for eighteen pence, a mutton for twelve pence, bread and wine in great plenty; blessed be God therefor!

And when the news came to Philip de Valois, how that he had lost his valiant knights, and his people had been slain, his beasts and his provisions taken and carried to his enemy, the King of England, he began to sigh and be in great sorrow thereat. For he did not dare give battle to our King of England; but, like a coward and a recreant knight, he made a lady, the (fn. 62) Countess of Henaud, his messenger to come to our King and his Council, and pray that he would cease, and no more spill the blood of Christians or destroy their goods; that so, peace might be between the two realms, with truce otherwise at his will, and in such manner as the parties might agree upon. And the said Philip de Valoys was also to agree at the same time, that he should hold in peace Gascoigne, (fn. 63) Peyto, Normandy, (fn. 64) Aungeo, and all the lands that had ever belonged to any one of his ancestors in those parts, which he claimed of right to hold; so that there should be no further slaughter of people by land or by sea, no burning or destruction, on the one side or the other, so long as the truce should last; as also, that merchants in either kingdom should be able safely to pass in every place until a certain day named. Also, that no town, city, or castle, was in the meantime to be better victualled, or more strongly provided with men or with arms, than they were at that hour, under the ordinance in such indenture made. And this covenant, in form aforesaid, loyally to observe, Philip de Valoys made oath upon the Saints of God; and every point in the indentures, between him and our King ordained, loyally to observe, and in all things on his part to perform the same.

And then, when they had done this, all the prisoners of the great lords, on the one side and on the other, were liberated, until a certain day in the truce named; upon condition, that if peace could between the two kingdoms be maintained, in such manner as is in the indentures more fully contained, then in such case, all the aforesaid prisoners, of the one side and the other, should, without ransom given, be for ever quit; and further, that if the parties should not be able to agree, nor by a certain day from the truce to establish peace, in such case each prisoner, on the one side and the other, should upon that same day deliver himself up at the place where he was before imprisoned. Then were Sir William de Mountagu, Earl of Salesburi, Sir Robert de Offorde, Earl of Suffolk, and many others, released ; and came to the [royal] abode before that our Lord the King returned into England. All these things were provided, by counsel of our Lord the King, by the great lords beyond sea; who would no longer give their sanction to the great war, nor yet to the destruction of the land or to the loss of Christian blood. And further, our Lord the King had no treasure anywhere wherewith to maintain and pay his people, except at a great loss, wholly by borrowing of merchants and paying great usury therefor. For he had no treasures whatever of his own, nor yet arising from the wool which had been granted him by the commons of England, to aid him in maintaining his war against the King of France; for during all the time since his last passage, when he conquered his enemies in battle at sea, never since could he obtain any thing whatever of his treasure from England; and this, through the covin and abetting of bad traitors who of his Council were sworn.

15 Edward III. [A.D. 1340, 1]. Andrew Aubry, Mayor. (fn. 65) Adam Lucas and (fn. 65) Bartholomew Denmars, Sheriffs.

Then was raised the siege of Turneye, which had been continued for a quarter of a year; and our people made great lamentation thereat, for they fully thought to have had the treasure and fine things as their own for ever, and then was it all lost. And when the host was all broken up, our King, with his people, took the road until he came to the city of (fn. 66) Gaunt; and there he sojourned a long time, and held his Parliament there, and took counsel which it would be best to do, to remain there or to return to England. For every week he was sending letters to his false guardians in England, requesting them to aid and succour him with his own treasure which had been granted to him by all the commons of England. And these false traitors, who had made oath unto him, sent him back letters enough, to the effect that the collection of the tenths of England, which had been granted to him, could not be made, nor could the number of sacks of wool throughout all the realm be raised; and that they did not dare to act more rigorously through fear of war, and lest the people might choose rather to rise against them than give them any more. Also, that the collection of such monies as they had received, did not suffice for the wages or for the fees of the servants and officers of the King; nor yet to clear off the debts which he himself owed for the expenses of his household; to the payment of which they had been assigned by command of the King himself.

And when they had sent their letters to such effect to their liege lord the King, it so happened that there was one of them who had made oath to the King, better disposed towards him than any of the rest; and, knowing all their private doings and contracts, he privily put them in writing and all their affairs, as among themselves they had ordered them; as also, that unless he himself should privily come over to England, it would be of no use to him to send them any more letters; and further, that no one ought to know it, by day or by night, until he should have entered the Tower of London; immediately upon which, he was to send for the Mayor of the said city, and his own serjeants-at-arms; and then, without any longer delay, the whole of such certain persons ought immediately to be seized and be brought into the Tower before him; and as for himself, he was to be no more spared than any of the others; and that then, the King would find treasure enough for carrying on his war, and gaining the victory over his enemies.

And when the King had understood the letters that had so come to him, he considered what would be the best to do, and immediately sent for the Duke of Brabant and Jacob de Artefeld of Flaunders, and many others of his Council, and prayed them most tenderly, with clasped hands, that they would act faithfully for him as concerned his revenue, which must be [collected] as speedily as ever he could arrange. For that it behoved him to make a journey to England, by reason that there came no treasure to pay his people, out of that which with good will had been granted to him.

And when he had thus said, he mounted his palfrey and rode until he came to (fn. 67) Esclus in Flaunders, and there put himself on board ship, and came privily to England. And the night after the Day of Saint Andrew [30 November], the King with his company reached land, and with lighted torches entered the Tower of London, so that no one there knew of his coming. And immediately, he enquired for Sir Nicholas de la Beche, the then Constable of the Tower, and guardian of the Duke, son of the King of England. And the Under-Constable fell upon his knees at the King's feet, and said,—"Sire, he is out of town." Whereupon, the King was very angry; and commanded that the doors should be instantly opened throughout, so that he himself might see all the things that were within the Tower. And when the King had viewed all the things, he hastily sent for Andrew Aubry, the then Mayor of London; who immediately came to speak with him. And when he came before the King, he fell upon his knees and saluted him; and the King commanded him to rise, and, under pain of losing life and limb, to have brought before him the same night, without receiving any respite, the Lord de Wake, Sir John de Stonore, Sir William de la Pole, Sir John de Polteneye, Sir Richard de Wyleby, Master John de Saint Paul, Master Henry de Stratforde, cousin of the Archbishop of Caunterbury, Master Michael Wathe, and Sir John de Thorp.

And all these were taken the same night by the Mayor and the King's serjeants, and brought to the Tower of London before the King, and by his command were put in different rooms, each by himself, and with each a keeper for his safe custody. And on the morrow, the King gave prompt orders that Sir Nicholas de la Beche, the then Constable of the Tower, should be sought for, as also Sir John de Molins, and brought to him, wheresoever they might be found. Accordingly, they executed the King's commands; and Sir Nicholas de la Beche was found and brought to the King, and Sir John de Molins took to flight.

And when all this had been done, on the Monday next after Saint Andrew's Day [30 November], at sunrise, he took his way with certain knights, and rode as far as Saint Alban's; where he took up his quarters in the Abbey, and forthwith sent for the Abbot of the house, and commanded him to shew him his buildings. And the Abbot did not dare gainsay him, but opened the doors throughout, and shewed the King his rooms. And one door, which stood in a private corner, he concealed, instead of shewing him; whereupon, the King asked him why he had not opened that door. And the Abbot made answer, that he had not the keys. "And who then has them?" said the King. And the Abbot answered him that the property of Sir John de Molyns was therein, in safe keeping, and that he had the keys with him. "By Saint Mary, "my Lady," said the King, "I will take keys of my own." So he made a blacksmith open the locks, and entered; and there he found great riches and a great plenty of treasures, all of which he retained in his own possession. And from thence he rode into the country around, to his private friends, to learn news from them; and then returned to London.

And then were arrested Sir William de Sharshille, and Sir John Chardelowe, Justiciars in (fn. 68) Bank, as they were sitting on the Assizes at (fn. 69) Cauntebrigge, and were brought to the Tower of London. Then also was Sir Thomas Ferreres taken; and they were placed, each of them, in different rooms. And then after this, by counsel of Sir William de Killesby, they were all separated from one another into different castles; that is to say, Sir Nicholas de la Beche was sent to the Castle of (fn. 70) Tikhille, Sir John de Stonore to the Castle of Notingham, Sir John de Pulteneye to the Castle of Somertone, Sir William de la Pole to the Castle of Devyses, Sir Richard de Willeby and Master Henry de Stratforde, cousin of the Archbishop, to the Castle of Corf, Sir William de Scharshille to the Castle of (fn. 71) Kerfilii, Master Michael de Wathe and Sir Thomas Ferreres to the Castle of Windesore; and the others, Sir John de Chardelowe, Master John de Saint Paul, and Sir John de Thorp, remained in prison in the Tower of London.

And then after this, the King removed his Treasurer, Sir Roger de Northboruh, Bishop of Chester, and put in his place a knight, Sir Robert Pervinke by name; and also removed his Chancellor, the Bishop of Chichester, brother of the Archbishop of Caunterbury, and put in his place a knight, Sir Robert (fn. 72) Bouser by name. And then the King swore an oath, that never in his time should man of Holy Church be his treasurer or chancellor, or in possession of any other great office which unto the King pertains; but that if any such persons should ever be attainted of knavery, he would have them drawn, hanged, and beheaded. And when he had done this, the King and Queen, and all the household, removed from London to Gildeforde, and there he kept his Christmas. And from thence the King removed to (fn. 73) Stokebogeys, which belonged to Sir John de Molyns, and held a great feast there with all the great men of the country, for three days. And from thence he removed to Dittone, a very fine manor that also belonged to the said Sir John de Molyns, and there the King found armour for eighty men, and of plate and treasure great plenty; which the said Sir John de Molyns had put into little bags well tied, and then into other great sacks well corded, and plunged them into a deep pond; for he fully intended another time to have returned to it; but his design and purpose was wholly frustrated, for the King retained it all as his own property, in his own possession.

And when the King had done this, he returned to London, on the Wednesday next after New Year's Day, and began to hold his Privy Council. And then orders were given to search and examine all the rolls of offices held under the King, that is to say, the office of Treasurer, Chancellor, Cofferers, Justiciars, Sheriffs and their clerks, taxors throughout England, collectors of the tenths and of the wools which had been granted unto the King for carrying on his war, and of all other ministers; that so, they might be ready with their rolls on a certain day appointed at Westminster, before the King's auditors thereunto assigned throughout England to hear and determine. And then, after the Wednesday following the (fn. 74) Tiffany [6 January], Sir Richard de Willeby, one of the King's Chief Justiciars, stood at the bar at Westminster, for two days, before six persons, to make answer to divers articles as to which he had been accused by Sir John Pervinke, Sir Robert de Sadingtone, Sir William Scot, Sir Thomas de Wake, the Baron de Stafford, and Sir John Darcy, who accused him of divers matters which he had done against his liege lord the King.

And the said Sir Richard made answer to all their enquiries, until he had become so weak that he could no longer speak, but as a favour, prayed to have the assistance of a man of the law, associated with him to aid him in speaking: and with great difficulty would they grant him this suit. And when he could no longer hold out in making answer to them, the said Sir Eichard threw himself upon the King's favour, and was remanded to the Tower of London to await the King's pleasure. And the same night there was so dreadful a tempest of wind and rain, of lightning and thunder, that it battered to the ground and destroyed the very fine work of the Church of the (fn. 75) Friars Minors at London.

Then, after the Tuesday next before the Conversion of Saint Paul [25 January], all the officers in the King's Court were ousted and removed by Sir William de Killesby, and on the Sunday next ensuing proclamation was made throughout London that every one, both high and low, who owed fealty or service unto the King, should be ready at the Tower of London, for the first time, on the second Monday in Lent, before Sir Robert Pervinke and his companions, Justiciars in Eyre assigned. Then were certain points ordained by Sir William de Killesby and others of the King's Council; in the first place, that enquiry should be made as to all manner of oppressions, wrongs, damages, grievances, and molestations, committed by each person who had been minister of the King, and as to their behaviour towards our Lord the King and the common people; that is to say, as to Justiciars of the one Bench and the other, assigned to hold pleas of the Forest, Justiciars for holding the assizes and for gaol delivery, and all other Justiciars; also, as to escheators and sub-escheators, coroners, sheriffs, their clerks and their servants; also, as to taxors, sub-taxors, and their clerks; as to admirals of fleets of the navy, and others with them associated; also, as to wardens, constables of castles for keeping the peace; as to takers and receivers of wools, and others with them associated; as to assessors and vendors of the King's wools, and others them assisting, the same at divers times granted; as to Barons of the King's Exchequer, and as to clerks, as well of the Chancery as of the Exchequer, and other places of the King; as to wardens of forests of vert, their clerks and the officers of the forests, chases, and parks; as to collectors of customs, controllers, (fn. 76) troners, (fn. 77) butlers, and their associates; as to receivers of the King's monies in the country, and as to those who conceal the same; as to seneschals and marshals, and their clerks; also, as to keepers of the King's horses, and their grooms; as to purveyors for the King's hostel and for Sir Edward, Duke of Cornewaile; as to warders of gaols; as to those (fn. 78) who hold traitorous converse; as to men-at-arms, (fn. 79) hobelers, and archers, and as to their associates; as to bailiffs in Eyre, and as to all other bailiffs, whosoever they may be; also, as to those who have falsely carried wools or other merchandize out of the realm, against the prohibition, without paying custom unto us; as to those who maintain false pleas in assizes, and other false suits; also, as to misdoers within the Marches and other remote places, in arms beating and wounding persons, until they have exacted fines from them by way of ransom; as to all manner of oppressions, duresses, and grievances, by any person whatsoever committed, whether archdeacon, dean, official, or sequestrators, and their commissaries and officers; also, as to those who make change of money or of other goods, or do in any other manner colourably practise usury; as to those who have falsely done anything by colour of their office, or in other manner, for doing their duty, have either partaken with any other person, favoured other persons, or of other persons have taken tortiously.

Also, at this time (fn. 80) Trailebastoun lay throughout England, and certain Justiciars were assigned to sit in every county for enquiry and examination upon all the points before-named; and thus was great duress inflicted upon the people throughout England. Then after this, one Griffyn of Wales, who had slain the brother and the wife of Jacob de Artefelde of Flanders, and who had been taken and brought to the Tower of London, and put in strong prison, and fettered with two strong pairs of gyves and manacles, upon the evening of Saturday the Octaves of Easter, filed through his irons, and broke out of prison, and made his escape from the Tower. And a woman, "Ibote atte Knolle" by name, was taken on account of the said Griffyn, as a felon against the King, because that she had come to him daily and had brought to him privily the things which he wished to have; and so, she was put in prison for him.

And at the end of a fortnight after Easter, the King began to hold his general Parliament at Westminster, and the Iter was then adjourned until such time as the Parliament should be ended. And at this time Sir Hugh d'Audelee, Earl of Gloucester, was appointed envoy to carry in writing the message of the King and his Council, of England, to the Parliament of France, then sitting at the city of Turnaye, to the effect that if Philip de Valois and his Council would establish and grant the points comprised in the written message of the King of England, there should be peace between them for ever; and if not, that there should be war forthwith, every man for himself, and that, without any further respite beyond the day of the truce agreed to between the two realms.

Then came all the great men of England to the King's Parliament, but not the (fn. 81) Archbishop of Caunterbury, or his brother the (fn. 82) Bishop of Chichester, or the Bishop of (fn. 83) Chester, who were excluded from Parliament for a whole week by the abetting of Sir William de Killesby, by reason of the enmity that existed between him and the Archbishop. Then, in the second week after this, the Earl of Warenne came to the Parliament before the King, and found there Sir Robert Pervinke, the Baron de Stafforde, Sir William Killesby, and Sir John Darcy, and others who were not qualified for sitting in Parliament; and he began his speech and said, "Sir King, how goeth on this Parliament? In former days it used not to be thus; now it is all changed in quite another manner: for those who ought to be the principal persons are excluded, and others, persons in trade, sit here in Parliament, who ought not to be at such Council; but only the peers of the land who may aid you, Sir King, and maintain you in our great need. And on this, Sir King, you ought to think." And forthwith Sir John Darcy quietly arose and went out; and then, after him, Sir William de Killesby and all the others before-named, without saying a single word. Then arose the Earl of Aroundel, and said to the King, "Sire, let the Archbishop enter into your presence, and if he can exculpate himself on certain points that are imputed to him, well be it: and if not, we will ordain thereupon what is best to be done." The King granted his request, and there were put in writing thirty-two articles against him: and the Archbishop denied them all, and said that he was in no way guilty as to any one point that had been alleged against him.

16 Edward III. [A.D. 1341, 2]. John (fn. 84) d' Oxenford, Mayor; which John died in the same year, and then Simon Fraunceis was made Mayor. Richard de Berking, Draper, and John de la Rokele, Grocer, Sheriffs.

At the Feast of Saint Michael after this, our King caused to be assembled a great host of vigorous men well armed, and all the navy of England well victualled, in the parts of Sandwiz, Dovere, and Portesmouthe; and remained there two months and more, wholly to collect his host and his fleet of the ships of England. For these had been granted to him from all the land, in aid of his war against his enemies. And at the same time, Philip de Valoys had assembled on the other side a great host of each nation, Basques, (fn. 85) Bydouese, Spaniards, Genoese, and people of many other countries; so much so, that it would be a tremendous thing to say what was the amount of the people whom he had gathered together against our King Edward, for the purpose of preventing him from crossing beyond sea, so much in fear did he hold him; for battle against our King he dared not give.

Then our King, when he saw the malice and great wickedness of Philip de Valoys, and that he had gathered together so great a multitude of people of divers countries for the purpose of preventing our King from going beyond sea, speedily issued commands unto his host; which was so noble a one and so fine, that no king in the world had ever had such before; for he had three hundred large ships, besides (fn. 86) farcosts and galleys for carrying provisions; [in obedience whereto] the fleet of ships passed on to Portesmouthe. This done, they all set sail with great gladness for the coast of (fn. 87) France, and took all that they could find before them, by land and by sea, until they came to Bretagne, to a country therein that is called "Little Cornewaille:" and there our people landed, and stoutly prepared themselves to give battle to their enemies.

The same night that our lord the King landed, he came to a royal manor, belonging to the Lord of Chalouns, where he found abundance of all things; but the people of the manor had all fled, so much so, that there was not a single person remaining. And from thence, the King and his host came to a rich abbey [the people of] which, invested with cross and mitre, came to meet him, and knelt before him, crying mercy; and our lord the King granted them his peace. And there also was a very noble forest, in which our lord the King took his recreation, and hunted for a fortnight, and captured such prey of divers beasts that it was quite marvellous to tell of, that is to say, stags, does and roes, bulls, wild fowl, wild boars, bears, (fn. 88) swans, foxes, and wolves, savage and wild, in such great plenty there, that there was no numbering them.

And then he passed on with his host day by day through Bretagne, until he came to the city of Nauntes; but no damage did he do thereto, for the said city he would not destroy. But there he turned aside towards Philip de Valoys by another way, to know whether he would dare give battle on his own territory. And then Philip de Valoys caused to be broken down all the bridges in the country, so much so, that neither our King nor his host could approach any nearer to him; but like a coward he requested of our King by his letters that he might have a three years' truce. And hereupon, there were fourteen wise persons to be chosen, of great renown, that is to say, seven for our King and the other seven for Philip de Valois, to go to the Pope and there treat for peace between the two realms of France and England, and come to terms thereon. And if the same should not be concluded, at the end of the truce so made, they were to be ready for waging war of deadly battle for all future time. In such manner was the truce granted for both parties, France and England.

17 Edward III. [A.D. 1342, 3]. Simon Fraunceis, Mayor. John Lovekyn, and Richard de Keslingbury, Draper, Sheriffs.

In the same year, our King, Edward, returned to England, but great buffeting had he at sea, he and all his host, from a dreadful tempest, by reason whereof he lost many of his ships and a great part of his people. And, on the morrow of (fn. 89) Hokkeday he began to hold his Parliament at Westminster, with all the great men of England. And then Sir Edward, the King's son, (fn. 90) Duke of Cornewayle, by assent of all the great men of England, was made Prince of Wales.


  • 1. Stanhope Park; in the Bishopric of Durham.
  • 2. York.
  • 3. Lincoln.
  • 4. Youngest daughter of William III., Count of Hainault, Holland, and Zealand, and Lord of Friesland. She was married to King Edward at York, January 24, 1328.
  • 5. So called from having been born in the Tower of London. In consequence of her marriage with David Bruce, she received in derision, the name of 'Joan Makepeace.' She died without issue in 1357.
  • 6. Simon Mepham.
  • 7. A member of the Guild of Pepperers.
  • 8. It was on this occasion that the Queen and her ladies fell from a stage, erected near Soper's Lane. The carpenters, however, through whose carelessness the accident had happened, were pardoned at her intercession.
  • 9. The same person probably, that in Devon's Issue Roll p. 133, is mentioned as selling large quantities of cloth for the King's household, 10 Edward II.
  • 10. Mercer, and Mayor in 1345.
  • 11. Edward I., II., and III., are here alluded to.
  • 12. 21 March 1330, his estates being given to Geoffrey, Mortimer's youngest son.
  • 13. Mortimer was executed 29 November, 1330, and is said to have been the first person executed at Tyburn; but according to Roger of Wendover, William Fitz-Osbert, or Longbeard, was executed there in 1196.
  • 14. Or Pountney. He was born at the village of Poutenei, or Pultonheath, in Leicestershire. He was a member of the Drapers' Company, and four times Mayor, but never served the office of Sheriff.
  • 15. A member of the Fishmongers' Company.
  • 16. In Yorkshire and Northumberland, and elsewhere.
  • 17. Member of Parliament for the City in 1322 and 1327, and a member of the Vintners' Company.
  • 18. Mayor in 1350, and a member of the Fishmongers' Company.
  • 19. According to a more correct account, Nicholas Wotton was Mayor in 1335, 6.
  • 20. Member of the Fishmongers' Company.
  • 21. MS. Harl. 4199 f. 33b and Stowe (Survey) give the names of John Clarke and William Curtis as Sheriffs.
  • 22. Member of the Drapers' Company.
  • 23. Bladesmith. He was a man of opulence, and left lands for repair of the highways about London, between Newgate and Wycombe, Aldgate and Chelmsford, Bishopsgate and Ware, Southwark and Rochester.
  • 24. John Stratford.
  • 25. Richard Aungerville, or De Bury.
  • 26. Chief Justice of the King's Bench.
  • 27. Cadsand, an insulated tract of land between Sluys and Flushing, at the mouth of the Scheldt.
  • 28. On the contrary, they took as many prisoners as they could, and then burnt the town.
  • 29. By the advice, it is said, of Jacob van Arteveldt, the celebrated brewer of Ghent.
  • 30. John, Duke of Brabant.
  • 31. Count William, father-in-law of Edward.
  • 32. William, 5th Marquis of Juliers; created Earl of Cambridge 7 May, 1340, by Edward III.; whose niece, Mary, daughter of Reinold, second Duke of Gueldres, by Alianor,Edward's sister, he had married. The earldom was afterwards surrendered by him into the King's hands.
  • 33. The Duke of Gueldres, above-mentioned.
  • 34. Or Germans.
  • 35. Ghent.
  • 36. According to Dugdale, it was Robert de Ufford, son of the Earl of Suffolk, and not the Earl himself. The two Earls were captured in the vicinity of Lille, and confined in the market-place there.
  • 37. Bohemia.
  • 38. Harwich, in Essex.
  • 39. This is probably the meaning of spynagtz.
  • 40. Probably, Castle Cornet in Guernsey, which was held by the French for three years at this period.
  • 41. Member of the Pepperers' Company, three times Mayor, and Member for the City in 1337.
  • 42. See page 220 ante.
  • 43. A kind of drum, probably resembling our kettledrum.
  • 44. Or cross-bowmen.
  • 45. A kind of vessel so called in the Middle Ages. This word is still preserved in the term 'cock-boat' (cog-boat).
  • 46. About 9 in the morning.
  • 47. Probably, the same person who was Sheriff in the eighth year of this reign.
  • 48. Six in the morning.
  • 49. This battle was fought off Sluys in Flanders, on the Eve of St. John the Baptist [23 June]. From ten to fifteen thousand of the French were slain, and 4000 English.
  • 50. This expression must be regarded probably as somewhat strained, and a liberty taken by the narrator.
  • 51. Tournay.
  • 52. This number is probably incorrect.
  • 53. Count of, Beaumont le Roger, a prince of the blood royal of France, descended from Louis VIII. Being accused of employing forged writings, in order to obtain the county and peerage of Artois, he was banished by his brother-in-law, Philip of France, and was hospitably received by Edward III. See the Poem, Vows of the Heron, Wright's Political Poems (1859).
  • 54. The popular and wealthy brewer of Ghent, a powerful ally of Edward III. against Philip of Valois.
  • 55. Saint Omer, in Picardy.
  • 56. I.e. knights; esquires wearing silver spurs.
  • 57. The writer, in the simplicity of his narrative, is guilty of a contradiction here; for he has twice said that they were all killed.
  • 58. This early allusion to the use, no doubt, of gunpowder, is deserving of notice.
  • 59. Or serving man.
  • 60. The Dominicans, or Friars Preachers, were so called, from the fact of their monastery in Paris having been previously occupied as a hospital for the pilgrims to Saint James (Jacobus) of Compostella, in Spain.
  • 61. Son of Henry, Earl of Lancaster.
  • 62. Jane,Countess of Hainault, sister of Philip, King of France, and mother of Philippa, Queen of England.
  • 63. Poitou.
  • 64. Anjou.
  • 65. The residences of both these persons will be found mentioned in the printed Liber Custumarum, pp. 447, 8.
  • 66. Ghent.
  • 67. Sluys.
  • 68. I. e. of the King's Bench.
  • 69. Cambridge.
  • 70. Tickhill, in the South of Yorkshire.
  • 71. Caerphilly.
  • 72. 'Bourchier,' more correctly.
  • 73. Stoke Pogis, in Bucks.
  • 74. Or Epiphany.
  • 75. Or Grey Friars; on the site of the present Christ Church, Newgate Street. It was completed A.D. 1327, and dedicated to St. Francis. The great western window was destroyed on this occasion by the storm.
  • 76. Weighers by the King's Tron, or Great Beam.
  • 77. Persons who received the King's prisage on butts of wine.
  • 78. This is probably not the meaning of 'de 'choysours traiterousment;' but it seems difficult to divine what is.
  • 79. Light-horsemen, who rode on the horses known as 'hobbies.'
  • 80. See page 246 ante.
  • 81. John de Stratford.
  • 82. Robert de Stratford.
  • 83. Roger de Northburgh.
  • 84. Or John of Oxford. He was a member of the Vintners' Company; and was buried in the Church of St. James, Garlick-Hythe.
  • 85. People, apparently, of Bedous, a town on the Freneh side of the Pyrenees.
  • 86. Coasting vessels used for traffic.
  • 87. 'England,' erroneously, in orig.
  • 88. This is perhaps the meaning of 'cinge:' monkeys can hardly be meant.
  • 89. Hock Tuesday, the second Tuesday after Easter. See p. 10, ante. Matthew Paris, in the middle of the 13th century, is probably the first who makes mention of it.
  • 90. Edward the Black Prince, was created Duke of Cornwall 17th March, 1337, it being the first creation of that title in England. He was created Prince of Wales 12 May, 1343; the latest date alluded to in this Chronicle.