Matthew Paris' Chronica Majora

Matthew Paris' Chronica Majora is in Early Medieval Books.

Written by Matthew Paris covering the period from Creation to the end of his life in 1259. Translated by John Allen Giles Historian and first published in 1851.

Early Medieval Books, Matthew Paris' Chronica Majora, Chronica Majora 1235

The Death of Robert Fitz-Walter and Roger de Sumeric

19 Dec 1235. In the same year, at the advent of our Lord, Robert Fitz-Walter, a baron of illustrious race, and renowned in feats of arms, went the way of all flesh; and in the same year, too, in the flower of his youth, Roger de Sumeric was taken away from amongst men, a man of singular elegance, respectable race, and of remarkable prowess. In this year, too, as a token of the continuation of his regard, the emperor (age 40) sent a camel to the king.

Early Medieval Books, Matthew Paris' Chronica Majora, Chronica Majora 1241

Chronica Majora

The confirmation of Master Nicholas of Farnhamy in the bishopric of Durham

On the 9th of June, in this year. Master Nicholas of Farnham, bishop elect of Durham, was consecrated bishop of that see in St. Oswald's church [Map] at Gloucester, by Walter, archbishop of York (age 61), in the presence of the king (age 33) and queen (age 18), with numerous bishops and abbats. But inasmuch as a question had been mooted concerning his profession, amongst some who wished to excite discord, the said Nicholas refused to claim a liberty that was not his due, or to show himself insolent or recalcitrant; he therefore, at his consecration, in public, before all the prelates and nobles, and in the presence of his metropolitan, the said Archbishop Walter, solemnly and distinctly made his profession in a loud voice, according to custom, as follows; "I Nicholas, bishop elect of the church of Durham, acknowledge canonical subjection, reverence, and obedience to the church of York, and to you, father Walter, its archbishop, and this I subscribe with my own hand." He then immediately, in the presence of all assembled, marked the sign of the cross in ink at the head of the charter, and delivered the same to the archbishop to be kept in his possession in his treasury.

Chronica Majora: The wretched death of Earl Gilbert marshal

"Whilst the mutability of time was thus sporting with and deluding the world with its variable occurrences, Earl Gilbert, marshal (age 44), had, with some other nobles, arranged a sort of tilting-match, called by some adventure," but wliich might rather be called a "misadventure;" they tried their strength about a crossbow-shot from Hertford [Map]; where he by his skill in knightly tactics, gained for himself the praise of military science, and was declared by all, considering his small size of body, to have justly distinguished himself for his valour. This was what the said earl chiefly aimed at; for he was, in the first place, destined to clerical orders, and was reported to be weak and unskilful in warlike exercises. He was, at this tournament, mounted on a noble horse, an Italian charger, to which he was not accustomed, accoutred in handsome armour, and surrounded by a dense body of soldiers, who soon afterwards, however, left him, and dispersed, intent on gain. Whilst the earl, then, was amusing himself by checking his horse at full speed, and anon goring his sides with his sharp spurs, to urge him to greater speed, and, as the case required, suddenly drew rein, both the reins suddenly broke off at the junction with the bit. By this accident the horse became unmanageable, and tossing up his head, struck his rider a violent blow on the breast. Some there were who imhesitatingly asserted that the bridle had been treacherously cut by some jealous person, in order that, being thus left at the mercy of his horse, he might be dashed to pieces and killed; or, at least, that he might be taken by his adversaries at will. Moreover, he had dined, and was nearly blinded by the heat, dust, and sweat, and his head was oppressed by the weight of his heavy helmet. His horse, too, could not be restrained by him, or any one else; but he, at the same time, fainted away, began to totter in his saddle, and soon after fell, half-dead, from his horse-with one foot, however, fixed in the stirrup; and in this manner he was dragged some distance over the field, by which he suffered some internal injuries, which caused his death. He expired in the evening of the 27th of June, amidst the deep and loudly-expressed sorrow of those who beheld him, at a house [Map] of the monks of Hertford. When he was about to breathe his last, having just received the viaticum, he made a bequest to the church of the blessed Virgin at Hertford, for the redemption of his soul. His body was afterwards opened, when his liver was discovered to be black and broken, from the force of the blows he had received. His entrails were buried in the said church, before the altar of St. Mary, to whom he had committed his spirit when dying. On the following day, his body-preceded by his brother (age 42), and accompanied by the whole of his family - was carried to London, to be buried [Map] near his father. At this same tournament, also, was killed one of the earl's retinue, named Robert de Saye, and his bowels were buried with those of the earl. Many other knights and men-at-arms were also wounded and seriously injured with maces, at this same tournament, because the jealousy of many of the parties concerned had converted the sport into a battle. The affairs of the cross and the interests of the Holy Land suffered great loss by the death of the said earl, for he had intended to set out for Jerusalem in the next month, without fail, having collected money from all in the country who had assumed the cross; for permission to do which, he had paid two hundred marks to the pope; following the prudent example of Earl Richard (age 32).

Chronica Majora: The bishop of Bangor entreats the king of England to procure the release of Griffin

During all this time Griffin, the son of Llewellyn, had been detained in prison by his brother David, who had treacherously summoned him to a friendly council. Griffin had gone there under the conduct of Richard, bishop of Bangor, and some other Welsh nobles; on account of which crime the said bishop left Wales, after excommunicating the said David. He now went to the king of England, and laid a severe complaint before him of this base crime, and earnestly entreated of the king to release Griffin, who was thus unjustly detained a prisoner by his nephew David, to prevent the taint of such an iniquitous transaction from reaching distant countries and the court of Rome, to the prejudice of his royal honour. The king, therefore, severely reproached his nephew David for his treachery, and both advised and ordered him to liberate his brother, and thus obtain a restoration of his good name, and absolution from the sentence of excommunication. This, however, David, obstinately refused to do, and told the king for certain, that if he were to release Griffin, Wales would never after enjoy security and peace. Griffin, being informed of this, secretly sent word to the king, that if he would release him from prison, he would in future hold his territory from him, the king; that he would faithfully pay him two hundred marks annually for it, with many thanks for his kind services; and he bound himself by oath to fulfil the same, and giving him at the same time a special hostage; besides this, that he would diligently assist him to subdue the Welsh at a distance, who were rebelling against him and were still unsubdued. Another most powerful Welsh chief, named Griffin, the son of Madoch, also promised the king trusty and unwearied assistance, if he would invade Wales, and make war against David, who was a false man, and acted unjustly to many of them.

Chronica Majora: The king of England marches into Wales with his army

Incited by these promises, the king made arrangements to enter Wales, He therefore issued royal letters, ordering all throughout England who owed him military service to assemble at Gloucester, in the beginning of autumn, equipped with horses and arms, to set out on an expedition which he had determined on. He next held a council at Shrewsbury, on the morrow of the feast of St. Peter "ad vincula," and within a fortnight he raised his standard, and turned his arms against his nephew David, as he had discovered him to be a traitor and rebel in every respect, and as he refused to come at any time to a peaceable conference at his, the king's, summons, even under a promise of safe-conduct; for in a stiff-necked and obstinate way he replaied that he would not, on any account, release his brother Griffin. The king then led his army, which was numerous and of great strength, in good order, towards Chester, as if about to make war immediately. David, however, feared to encounter his violence, both because the heat, which had continued intense for four months, had dried up all the lakes and marshy places of Wales, and because many of the Welsh nobles, especially the powerfid and prudent Griffin, the son of Madoch, who had become a great ally of the king's, loved Griffin more than him, David, and also because he was lying under an anathema, and feared lest he should become still worse off; he therefore sent word to the king that he would set Griffin at liberty, at the same time informing him with many reasonings, that if he did release him, he would excite renewed wars against him. David also imposed on the king the condition that he should receive him peaceably, on his binding himself by oath, and by giving hostages, and that he would not deprive him of his inheritance. This the king kindly conceded, and David thereupon released his brother Griffin, and sent him to the king, who, trusting to prudent advice, sent him, on his arrival, to London, under the protection and conduct of John of Lexington, to be there kept in the Tower [Map], with some other nobles of Wales, the hostages of David and other Welsh princes. All these events occurred between the day of the Nativity of St. Mary and Michaelmas-day.

Chronica Majora: Wales reduced to subjection to King Henry the Third, without a battle

David (age 29) had, as before stated, sworn to present himself before the king (age 34), saving his person and honour, and the persons and honour of his subjects, at London or elsewhere, as the king should determine; and had, moreover, given hostages to him for the fulfilment of his promise: he accordingly came to the king, at London, on the eighth day after Michaelmas, and after having sworn fealty and allegiance, and all security and good faith, he was dismissed in peace, as he was so near a relation of the king, and allowed to return home. Henry thus, under God's favour, triumphed over his enemies, and subdued Wales without bloodshed, and without having to tempt the doubtful chances of war. Wales, in this case, discovered that the words of our Lord, mentioned in the Gospel, were not without truth; namely, that "every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation."