Hover the mouse over the coloured text for more information, click to go to the Pages. Hover over paintings for larger versions. Click on the Arms to go to the Heraldry pages. Click on Home in the Menu above to go to today's On This Day in History page.

Chronica Majora 1236

Chronica Majora: The ceremonies at the marriage of Henry the Third

Wedding of Henry III and Eleanor of Provence

Chronica Majora: The ceremonies at the marriage of Henry the Third. 14 Jan 1236. There were assembled at the king's (28) nuptial festivities such a host of nobles of both sexes, such numbers of religious men, such crowds of the populace, and such a variety of actors, that London, with its capacious bosom, could scarcely contain them. The whole city was ornamented with flags and banners, chaplets and hangings, candles and lamps, and with wonderful devices and extraordinary representations, and all the roads were cleansed from mud and dirt, sticks, and everything offensive. The citizens, too, went out to meet the king (28) and queen, dressed out in their ornaments, and vied with each other in trying the speed of their horses. On the same day, when they left the city for Westminster, to perform the duties of butler to the king (which office belonged to them by right of old, at the coronation), they proceeded thither dressed in silk garments, with mantles worked in gold, and with costly changes of raiment, mounted on valuable horses, glittering with new bits and saddles, and riding in troops arranged in order. They carried with them three hundred and sixty gold and silver cups, preceded by the king's trumpeters and with horns sounding, so that such a wonderful novelty struck all who beheld it with astonishment. The archbishop of Canterbury (61), by the right especially belonging to him, performed the duty of crowning, with the usual solemnities, the bishop of London assisting him as a dean, the other bishops taking their stations according to their rank. In the same way all the abbats, at the head of whom, as was his right, was the abbat of St. Alban's (for as the Protomartyr of England, B. Alban, was the chief of all the martyrs of England, so also was his abbat the chief of all the abbats in rank and dignity), as the authentic privileges of that church set forth. The nobles, too, performed the duties, which, by ancient right and custom, pertained to them at the coronations of kings. In like manner some of the inhabitants of certain cities discharged certain duties which belonged to them by right of their ancestors. The earl of Chester (29) carried the sword of St. Edward, which was called " Curtein", before the king, as a sign that he was earl of the palace, and had by right the power of restraining the king if he should commit an error. The earl was attended by the constable of Chester (44), and kept the people away with a wand when they pressed forward in a disorderly way. The grand marshal of England, the earl of Pembroke (39), carried a wand before the king and cleared the way before him both, in the church and in the banquet-hall, and arranged the banquet and the guests at table. The Wardens of the Cinque Ports carried the pall over the king, supported by four spears, but the claim to this duty was not altogether undisputed. The earl of Leicester (28) supplied the king with water in basins to wash before his meal; the Earl Warrenne performed the duty of king's Cupbearer, supplying the place of the earl of Arundel, because the latter was a youth and not as yet made a belted knight. Master Michael Belet was butler ex officio; the earl of Hereford (32) performed the duties of marshal of the king's household, and William Beauchamp (51) held the station of almoner. The justiciary of the forests arranged the drinking cups on the table at the king's right hand, although he met with some opposition, which however fell to the ground. The citizens of London passed the wine about in all directions, in costly cups, and those of Winchester superintended the cooking of the feast; the rest, according to the ancient statutes, filled their separate stations, or made their claims to do so. And in order that the nuptial festivities might not be clouded by any disputes, saving the right of any one, many things were put up with for the time which they left for decision at a more favourable opportunity. The office of chancellor of England, and all the offices connected with the king, are ordained and assized in the Exchequer. Therefore the chancellor, the chamberlain, the marshal, and the constable, by right of their office, took their seats there, as also did the barons, according to the date of their creation, in the city of London, whereby they each knew his own place. The ceremony was splendid, with the gay dresses of the clergy and knights who were present. The abbat of Westminster sprinkled the holy water, and the treasurer, acting the part of sub-dean, carried the Paten. Why should I describe all those persons who reverently ministered in the church to God as was their duty? Why describe the abundance of meats and dishes on the table & the quantity of venison, the variety of fish, the joyous sounds of the glee-men, and the gaiety of the waiters? Whatever the world could afford to create pleasure and magniiicence was there brought together from every quarter.

Chronica Majora: Heavy falls of rain

Chronica Majora: Heavy falls of rain. 10 Feb 1236. About the same time, for two months and more, namely, in January, February, and part of March, such deluges of rain fell as had never been seen before in the memory of any one. About the feast of St. Scholastica, when the moon was new, the sea became so swollen by the river torrents which fell into it, that all the rivers, especially those which fell into the sea, rendered the fords impasSable, overflowing their banks, hiding the bridges from sight, carrying away mills and dams, and overwhelming the cultivated lands, crops, meadows, and marshes. Amongst other unusual occurrences, the River Thames overflowed its usual bounds, and entered the Westminster Palace, where it spread and covered the whole area, so that small boats could float there, and people went to their apartments on horseback. The water also forcing its way into the cellars could with difficulty be drained off. The signs of this storm which preceded it, then gave proofs of their threats; for on the day of St. Damasus, thunder was heard, and on the Friday next after the conception of St. Mary, a spurious sun was seen by the side of the true sun.

Around 1747. Canaletto Painter 1697-1768. View across the River Thames to Westminster Abbey and Westminster Hall.

Around 1747. Canaletto Painter 1697-1768. Westminster Bridge, with the Lord Mayor's Procession on the Thames.

Around 1752. Canaletto Painter 1697-1768. Royal Hospital, Greenwich from the North Bank of the Thames.

Around 1754. Canaletto Painter 1697-1768. View across the River Thames to Eton College with the new Eton College Chapel, Eton College visible in white stone and the original Tudor buildings in red brick.

Chronica Majora: A messenger arrives in England from the emperor

Chronica Majora: A messenger arrives in England from the emperor. 11 Feb 1236. When the nuptial rejoicings were concluded, the king (28) left London and went to Merton, where he summoned the nobles to hear a message lately brought from the emperor, and to discuss the business of the kingdom. For messengers had come direct from the emperor to the king with letters, asking him without delay to send his brother Richard, earl of Cornwall (27), whose circumspect skill report had spread far and wide, to make war on the king of the French. He also promised, by way of assistance, to send all the Imperial forces, especially in order to enable the English king (28) not only to recover his continental possessions, but also, when they were regained, to extend his former possessions. To this, the king (28) and the nobles there assembled, after due deliberation, replied that it would not be safe or prudent to send one so young out of the kingdom and to expose him to the doubtful chances and dangers of war, since he was the only apparent heir of the king and kingdom, and the hopes of all were centred in him next to the king. For the king, although he was married, had no children, and the queen his wife (13) was still young, and did not know whether she was fruitful or barren. But if it was agreeable to his excellency the emperor to summon any other brave man he chose, from amongst the nobles of the kingdom, for the purpose, they, the king, and all his friends and subjects, in accordance with his request, would at once render him all the assistance in their power. The messengers, on receiving this reply, retiu'ned to inform their lord.

Chronica Majora: Certain new laws made by Henry the Third.

Chronica Majora: Certain new laws made by Henry the Third.. 12 Feb 1236. About the same time, king Henry the Third (28), for the salvation of his soul and the improvement of his kingdom, influenced by a spirit of justice and piety, made some new laws, and ordered them to be inviolably observed throughout his kingdom.
In the first place with respect to widows, who, after the death of their husbands were deprived of their dowry, or could not hold it and their quarentin without a plea, it was decreed, that whoever should deforce them from their dowry, from the tenements of which their husbands died possessed, and the widows should afterwards recover their dowry by plea, and the deforcing party shall be conNdcted of unjust deforcement, they shall make the damages good to the said widows, to the fall value of the dowry falling to them, from the time of the decease of their husbands to the day on which they recovered possession by judgment, and nevertheless the deforcers themselves shall be at the king's mercy. Also, all widows shall henceforth be at liberty to bequeath all the com on their land, as well from their dowries, as from other lands and tenements, saving the services which are due to their lords from their dowries and other tenements. Also, whoever shall have been disseised from his free tenement, and shall have recovered possession by assize of a new disseisin before the justiciaries, or shall have made a disseisin with their cognizance, and when disseised shall have held possession through the sheriff, if the said disseisers shall have disseised them after the circuit of the justiciaries or during the same, and shall be convicted thereof, they shall be taken and detained in a prison of our lord the king, until by him they are liberated, either by ransom or in any other manner. And the following is the form of conviction to be observed with regard to them : When the complainants come to the court, they shall have a brief from the king directed to the sheriff, in which shall be contained their evidence of the disseisin made on disseisin, and therein the sheriff shall be ordered to take with him the overseers of the pleas of the crown, and other legal officers, and to go in person to the tenement or pasture about which the complaint has been made, and in their presence, by jurors first, and by other neighbours and liege men, to make a careful inquisition in the matter, and if they shall discover it to be disseised as above mentioned, then they shall proceed according to the provisions before declared, but if not, then the complainants shall be at the mercy of the king, and the other party shall go away quit. The same shall be done in the case of those who recover possession by assize of the death of their predecessor ; the same also shall be done in the case of all tenements recovered by juries in the king's court. Also, whereas several of the nobles of England have enfeoffed knights and their free tenants of small tenements in their manors, and have com- plained that they cannot effect their conveniency as regarded the residue of their manors, as of wastes, woods, and pastures, so that the feoffees might have sufficient as was proper according to their tenements, it was provided and granted, that feoffees of this kind, from whomsoever they should hereafter bring an assize of a new disseisin, if before the justiciaries it shall be proved that they have sufficient pasturage, in proportion to their tenement, together with free ingress and egress from their tenements to that pasture, they shall be content with the same, and those of whom such com- plaint has been made shall be satisfied with having effected their will in the matter of their waste lands, woods, and pastures ; but if they say that they have not sufficient pasture or sufficient ingress and egress, then the truth shall be inquired into by assize. And if it is discovered by assize that there was any obstruction in the ingress or egress, or that the pasture was not sufficient, as aforesaid, then he shall receive possession after inspection by the jurors, so that at their discretion and on their oaths, the complainants may have sufficient pasture and free ingress and egress, in the form above stated. And the disseisers shall remain at the mercy of the king, and shall pay damages, as they used to be paid before this provision ; but if it shall be found by assize that the complainants have sufficient pasture and free ingress and egress, as aforesaid, then the other party shall be allowed to do what is right with the residue, and shall depart quietly. It is also granted by our lord the king, with the consent of the nobles, that from this time, interest shall not accumulate against a minor from the time of the decease of his predecessor, whose heir he is, till he lawfully comes of age ; but that on this account the payment of the principal shall not be delayed. Also, with respect to those who commit offences in parks and warrens, a discussion was entered upon, but not decided, for the nobles demanded to have each his own prison for offenders they might take in their parks and war- rens ; but this the king would not grant them, and therefore this remains as formerly.