The Chronicle of Adam of Usk

The Chronicle of Adam of Usk is in Late Medieval Books.

1381 Peasants' Revolt

1386 Wonderful Parliament

1395 Marriage of Richard II and Isabella of Valois

Our gracious king Edward (age 64) departing this life on the eve A.D. 1377. of the Nativity of Saint John Baptist1, in the fifty-second year of his reign, Richard (age 10), son of Edward, prince of Wales, the eldest son of king Edward—a boy of eleven years, and fair among men as another Absalom—came to the throne, and was crowned at Westminster on Saint Kenelm’s day2.

Note 1. This date is not correct. Edward III. died on the Sunday next before the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, the 21st of June, 1877, not on the eve of the feast, the 23rd of the month; and in the fifty-first, not the fifty-second, year of his reign.

Note 2. More correctly, the eve of St. Kenelm, the 16th July.

Peasants' Revolt

12 Jun 1381. During this king Richard’s reign great things were looked for. But he being of tender years, others, who had the care of him and his kingdom, did not cease to inflict on the land acts of wantonness, extortions, and unbearable wrongs. Whence sprang that unnatural deed, when the commons of the land, and specially those of Kent and Essex [Peasants' Revolt], under their wretched leader Jack Straw1, declaring that they could no longer bear such wrongs, and above all wrongs of taxes and subsidies, rose in overwhelming numbers against the lords and the king’s officers, and, marching to London on the eve of Corpus Christi (12th June), in the year of Our Lord 1381 struck off the heads of Simon Sudbury (age 65), archbishop of Canterbury, then the king’s chancellor, sir Robert Hales (age 56), the treasurer, and many others, hard by the Tower of London. And on the places where these lords were beheaded there are set up to this day two marble crosses, a lasting memorial of so monstrous a deed.

Wat Tyler is quite lost sight of. Knighton (Rolls series, ij. 137), in like manner, confuses the two men: "ductor eorum proprio nomine Watte Tyler, sed jam nomine mutato vocatus est Jakke Strawe."

15 Jun 1381. In this rising of the commons were many great men of the land in many places beheaded. The Savoy [Map], the palace of the duke of Lancaster (age 41) and the fairest in the kingdom, standing near London on the bank of Thames, was, from the commons’ hatred of the duke, utterly destroyed by them with fire; and the duke himself, for fear of them, fled into Scotland1. To appease them and to quiet their fury, the king (age 14) granted that the state of villeinage, as well in their persons as in their labour, should be henceforth done away, freedom fully given, and all prisoners set at large. And this he commanded and made to be openly proclaimed throughout the counties of the kingdom. And then what a throe of grief passed through the desolated land! For they boasted that they would slay all those of higher birth, would raise up king and lords from among themselves, would stablish new laws, and, in a word, would make new, or rather - disfigure, the face and estate of the whole island. Then every man struck off the head of his enemy, and despoiled his richer neighbour. But, by the mercy of God, when their leader, being in Smithfield near London, doffed not his hood before the king nor in anything did reverence to the king’s majesty, his head was deftly struck off, in the very midst of his flock of kites, by sir William Walworth, knight and citizen of London; and straightway, being raised on the point of a sword, it was shown before them. Then the commons in sore dread sought flight by stealth, and there and then casting away their rebellious weapons, as though unguilty of such riot and wickedness, like foxes into their holes, they pitifully crept home. But the king and the lords pursued them, and some they made to be dragged behind horses, some they slew with the sword, some they hanged on the gallows, some they quartered; and they destroyed thousands2.

Note 1. John of Gaunt was at this time in the north, negotiating a truce with Scotland. Knighton (ij. 143-7) tells us that so unpopular was his name that his duchess was refused admission into his own castle at Pontefract [Map], and that he himself was denied hospitality by the earl of Northumberland; and that it was reported that a large force of the insurgents was sent north in pursuit of him. He retired to Edinburgh on a safe-conduct from the Scots, by whom he was well entertained.

Note 2. The severity of the punishments inflicted after the suppression of the outbreak is fully set forth in the pages of Walsingham’s History. Richard, however, interfered to prevent indiscriminate slaughter of the insurgents when first beaten in the field.— Wals. Hist. Angl. (Rolls series), i. 466.

18 Dec 1381. In this same year there came into England one Pileus1, cardinal priest of Saint Praxedes, to treat, on behalf of the emperor of Germany and king of Bohemia, with the council of England of and about a marriage between our king and the lady Ann (age 15), sister of the same emperor2; who afterwards became thereby our most gracious queen, howbeit she died without issue. At his coming, this cardinal, falsely feigning himself legate a latere and as having the power of the pope, then did exercise the papal offices. And among other things he made me notary, though to no purpose, in the house of the friars preachers of London, where he was then dwelling. Thus did he gather to himself countless money, and, the treaty of marriage being settled, he departed from England with his gains, to his own condemnation; idly trusting that the pope would approve these his acts. And, after his departure, the said lady Ann (age 15) was bought for a great price by our lord the king (age 14), for she was much sought in marriage by the king of France3; and she was then sent over into England to be crowned queen.

Note 1. Pileo di Prata, bishop of Padua, and, in 1370, archbishop of Ravenna. He was one of the papal legates employed, at Bruges, in negotiating a peace between England and France, in 1375. At the papal schism, in 1378, he threw in his lot with Urban VI., by whom he was made cardinal, and was sent nuncio to Germany. In 1386, he seceded to Clement VII., who employed him in an unsuccessful attempt to break the power of Urban in Florence. But three years after, on the death of Urban, he deserted Clement for Boniface IX., who made him cardinal bishop of Tusculum. By these agile changes he got the nickname of ‘"Cardinalis trium Pileorum," the Cardinal of Three Hats. He was further appointed legate at Viterbo; but he exasperated the people to such a degree that they drove him out. He died in 1401.—Ciaconius, Vite Pont. Rom. ij. 637.

Note 2. Wenceslaus, or Wenzel, emperor of Germany, 1378.

Note 3. This is not stated by the other chroniclers. The idea was no doubt suggested by the intention of the king of France, Charles V., to waylay and capture her on the sea, out of hostility to England. He desisted on the remonstrance of Ann's uncle, the duke of Brabant (age 44). Ann landed in England on the 18th December, 1381, and was married on the 14th January, 1382. Knighton (ij. 150) says:— "dedit imperatori, ut dicebatur, pro maritagio decem mille libras, preter alias expensas in querendo eam et adducendo eam sumptibus suis propriis."

1382. According to the saying of Solomon: "Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child,"1 in the time of the youth of the same Richard many misfortunes, both caused thereby and happening therefrom, ceased not to harass the kingdom of England, as has been before said and as will hereinafter more fully appear, even to the great disorder of the state and to the last undoing of king Richard (age 14) himself and of those who too fondly clung to him. Amongst all other misfortunes, nay, amongst the most wicked of all wicked things, even errors and heresies in the catholic faith, England, and above all London and Bristol2, stood corrupted, being infected by the seeds which one master John Wycliffe sowed, polluting as it were the faith with the tares of his baleful teaching. And the followers of this master John, like Mahomet, by preaching things pleasing to the powerful and the rich, namely, that the withholding of tithes and even of offerings and the reaving of temporal goods from the clergy were praiseworthy, and, to the young, that self-indulgence was a virtue, most wickedly did sow the seed of murder, snares, strife, variance, and discords, which last unto this day, and which, I fear, will last even to the undoing of the kingdom. Whence, in many parts of the land, and above all in London and in Bristol, they, like the Jews at Mount Horeb on account of the molten calf (Exodus xxxij.), turning against each other, righteously had to grieve for three-and-twenty thousand of their fellows who suffered a miserable 3. The people of England, wrangling about the old faith and the new, are every day, as it were, on the very point of bringing down upon their own heads rebellion and ruin. And I fear that in the end it will happen as once it did, when many citizens of London true to the faith rose against the duke of Lancaster to slay him, because he favoured the said master John, so that, hurrying from his table into a boat hastily provided, he fled across Thames and hardly escaped with his life4. Such errors and heresies grew in the city of London to so great a height (seeing that from such cause spring strife and variance), that, when such as were accused thereof came to answer before their ordinaries, the people were wont to run together in thousands, some accusing, others defending, them, with clamour and strife, as if they were just rushing at each other’s throats5. So great, too, grew their malice, that, at the time of the second parliament of king Henry the fifth, hereinafter written, these Lollards, flocking to London from all parts of the land, thought to have utterly destroyed the clergy there at that time assembled6. But my lord of Canterbury (age 40), forewarned of their evil design, found fitting remedies, as will hereinafter be told.

Note 1. Eccles. x. 16.

Note 2. Adam of Usk, as a native of Monmouthshire, would naturally take an interest in what went on in the neighbouring city of Bristol. John Purvey, Wycliffe’s follower and part-translator of the Bible, preached there; and it is not improbable that Wycliffe himself also did so, as, in 1875, he was presented by Edward III. to the prebend of Aust, in the collegiate church of Westbury-on-Trym.—Seyer, Memoirs of Bristol, ij. 164.

Note 3. The round number of 23,000 may be intended to represent the total of sufferers down to the time when the chronicle was finished, that is, towards the close of the reign of Henry V.

Note 4. In February, 1377, when Wycliffe appeared in St. Paul’s to answer the charges brought against him. A quarrel arising between the duke of Lancaster (age 41), who was present as a supporter of Wycliffe, and William Courtenay (age 40), bishop of London, the duke made use of violent language, which roused the anger of the Londoners, who attacked the Savoy and would have done the duke mischief, had he not escaped by boat on the Thames.— Walsingham, Hist. i. 8325; Archeolog. xxij. 256; Chronicon Anglie, 13828-1388 (Rolls series), 119, 397. A.D. 1882. p. 4.

Note 5. Compare the passage in Walsingham: "Insuper nec illud esse silendum estimo, cum episcopi predicti cum isto schismatico in capella archiepiscopi apud Lambhith convenissent, non dico cives tantum Londonienses, sed viles ipsius civitatis, se impudenter ingerere presumpserunt in eandem capellam, et verba facere pro eodem, et istud negotium impedire."—Hist, Angl. i. 356, ij. 65.

Note 6. The MS. reads "Henrici quarti," but this is a clerical blunder, The gathering in St. Giles’s-fields, under sir John Oldcastle, is referred to. But Adam is not accurate: the actual date of the rising was in January, while Henry the fifth’s second parliament, which was held at Leicester, did not meet till April, 1414. See below, p. 300.

Wonderful Parliament

Sep 1386. Owing to the many ill-starred crises of king Richard’s (age 19) reign, which were caused by his youth, a solemn parliament was holden at Westminster, wherein twelve of the chief men of the land were advanced, by full provision of parliament, to the government of the king and the kingdom, in order to bridle the wantonness and extravagance of his servants and flatterers, and, in short, to reform the business of the realm; but alas! only to lead to the weary deeds which are hereinafter written1.

Note 1. The actual number of the commissioners appointed by the Wonderful Parliament of 1386 was eleven, or fourteen if the three principal officers of state be included. The eleven were: the archbishops of Canterbury (age 44) and York (age 45), the dukes of York (age 45) and Gloucester (age 31), the bishops of Winchester (age 66) and Exeter, the abbot of Waltham, the earl of Arundel, John de Cobham, Richard le Scrope, and John Devereux. Thomas Arundel (age 33), bishop of Ely, had replaced Michael de la Pole (age 25), earl of Suffolk, as chancellor; John Gilbert, bishop of Hereford, was treasurer; and John de Waltham, keeper of the privy seal. It will be remembered that John of Gaunt (age 46) was at this time in Spain, as a reason for his name not appearing on the commission.

1386. The king (age 18), bearing it ill that by this appointment the due freedom of his majesty should be bridled by his own lieges, and urged by his servants who were angered that their evil gains were thereby prevented, ceased not to thwart those who were thus set in authority, till the end came in the destruction of the king himself, his abettors, and many of these same rulers, And from thence alas! what griefs and weary deeds followed, and specially concerning the death of those nobles, the duke of Gloucester (age 30) and the earl of Arundel, it will appear more fully hereafter. To proceed: those who thus urged on the king, in order to the sudden suppression of the twelve rulers, planned that a general council should be holden in the Tower of London, wherein they thought suddenly and at one blow, by means of an ambush of armed men, to destroy the twelve when summoned to, the council. But the Almighty disposed the twelve, being forewarned of that wicked design, to come in such strength that the king and his abettors, disordered by their warlike preparation, feared that the kingdom would rise in their favour. Wherefore a peace was made, though a hollow one. Hearing this, our lady the princess, the mother of the king (age 18), with heavy grief in her heart, and not sparing to toil on even by night, hastened from Wallingford to London, to allay the discord. And on her knees she prayed the king, her son, as he looked for her blessing, in no wise to bend to the wishes of flatterers, and specially of those who were now urging him on; otherwise he would bring down her curse upon him. But the king with reverence raised her up and promised that he would willingly be guided by the counsel of the twelve. To whom his mother replied: "At thy coronation, my son, I rejoiced that it had fallen to my lot to be the mother of an anointed king; but now I grieve, for I foresee the fall which threatens thee, the work of accursed flatterers." Then the king passed with his mother to Westminster Hall, and there, seated on his throne of state, by her mediation, made his peace with the twelve guardians; yet did he it falsely and with deceit.1

Note 1. Adam has here mixed up several events in confusion. He tells us further on that we must not read this earlier part of his chronicle as consecutive history; and the hint is wanted nowhere more than in this his account of Richard’s attempt to cast off the thraldom in which the Wonderful Parliament had placed him. The stories of plots laid by Richard for the destruction of his enemies are so many, and told in so many different ways in the chronieles, that some confusion in the mind of the writer may be pardoned. Knighton (ij. 216) first reports the rumour that the king, who had retired to Eltham on the meeting of the parliament, in 1386, designed to assassinate a deputation of forty of the members whom he had summoned to appear before him. Walsingham (ij. 150) records a plot to invite the duke of Gloucester and the parliamentary opponents of the earl of Suffolk to a banquet in the city, and there slay them. The Monk of Evesham (75) repeats this story, adding, ‘Michael statuit (ne dicam, hoc esse regis commentum)." The commons themselves, in their petition against the duke of Ireland’s party, refer to some such design, saying that the traitors "‘firent que nostre seigneur le Roi commanda a Meire de Loundre de faire sudeinement lever un graunt poare de gentz de Loundre, d’occire et mettre au mort touz les ditz seigneurs et communs horpris ceux qui furrunt de lour coveine" (Rot. Parl. iij. 231, art. 15). Again, in 1387, after the council of Nottingham, when the revolted lords were invited by Richard to a conference at Westminster, they advanced with extreme caution on the report of an ambush in the Mews (Wals. ij. 165; Mon. Evesh. 91; Knighton, ij. 248). Unfortunately for the story of the intervention of the princess of Wales, that lady had already died in 1385. However, the fact remains that, not long before her death, she did undertake a fatiguing journey to reconcile Richard with his uncle, the duke of Lancaster; though the words which are placed in her mouth by our chronicler are not recorded elsewhere (Wals. ij. 126; Mon. Evesh. 60).

1387. Soon afterwards, the earl of Oxford1 went with royal letters into the county of Chester, and led back with him a great armed power of the men of those parts, for the destruction of the twelve. But the duke of Gloucester and the earls of Derby, Arundel, Nottingham, and Warwick, were forewarned thereof, and arrayed in a glorious host, before the men of Chester could reach the king, they routed the earl’s army on the eve of Saint Thomas the Apostle (20th December), at Radcot-bridge in Oxfordshire. And the earl himself they drove in flight beyond hope of return; for he died beyond seas. Then, too, fled before the face of the lords Alexander Nevill (age 46), archbishop of York, and the lord Michael de la Pole, earl of Suffolk, the king’s chief councillors ; and they came not back, but died in exile2.

Note 1. Robert de Vere (age 24), earl of Oxford, created successively marquess of Dublin and duke of Ireland. He was killed while hunting at Louvain, in 1392. Richard had his body brought to England, and opened the coffin in order to gaze upon the dead features of his favourite. The earl was buried with great honours at Colne priory in Essex.

Note 2. Alexander Nevill (age 46), archbishop of York, on his attainder, was translated by pope Urban to the see of St. Andrew’s. This dignity was, however, worth no more than a bishopric in partibus, as Scotland followed Clement VII. The archbishop showed his wisdom by retiring to a small cure at Louvain, where he died in 1392.

Suffolk went first to Holland, but was afterwards invited to Paris, where he died in 1389. Walsingham (ij. 187) cannot find words bad enough for this able minister of Richard II. A good sketch of his administration, viewed in a favourable light, will be found in the work of M. Wallon, Richard IT. (Paris, 1864).

At that time, I, the writer of this chronicle, was at Oxford, an "extraordinary" in canon law, and I saw the host of the five lords march through the city on their way to London from the battle-field; whereof the earls of Warwick and Derby led the van, the duke of Gloucester the main body, and the earls of Arundel and Nottingham the rear.

27 Dec 1387. The mayor of London, hearing of their coming, sent forth to them the keys of the city; and thereafter those same five lords did, on the feast of Saint John the Evangelist (27th December), blockade the Tower1 of London till it yielded; then straightway they placed the king, who lay therein, under new governance, and delivered his fawning councillors into divers prisons until the next following parliament1. On the morrow of the Purification of Our

Note 1. The confederate lords entered London on the 26th December, and immediately invested the Tower. Richard submitted, and summoned parliament to meet on the 3rd February, Lady (3rd February), they declared exiles those who had fled, and they banished into Ireland all the king’s justices, for that they had knowledge of the imagining of the death of the lords, as above written, and also the king’s confessor, the bishop of Chichester1. Others who had wrongfully fostered the king’s unruliness, if not the causers thereof, namely, sir Simon Burley (age 47), chamberlain, sir Robert Tresilian, chief justice, Nicholas Brembre, mayor of London, sir John Berners and sir John Salisbury, knights, and Thomas Usk and John Blake, esquires, and very many others were beheaded2.

Note 1. The judges who had taken a part in the council of Nottingham were—sir Robert de Belknap, chief justice of the Common Pleas; sir Robert de Fulthorp, sir John Holt, and sir William Burgh, puisne judges of the same; sir John Cary, junior baron of the Exchequer ; and with them, John Lokton, serjeant-at-law. Belknap and Holt were banished to Drogheda, Fulthorp and Burgh to Dublin, Cary and Lokton to Waterford. Thomas Rushook, bishop of Chichester and the king's confessor, was sent to Cork.—Rymer, Federa, 8th and 13th July, 1388.

Note 2. The execution of sir Simon Burley (age 47), the retainer of the Black Prince and Richard’s tutor, which was carried out in spite of all the king’s efforts to save him, made an impression on Richard’s mind which goes far to account for the fierceness with which he attacked his enemies in the parliament of 1397. Berners and Salisbury (as well as sir John Beauchamp, who was also executed) were of the royal household. Thomas Usk had been appointed undersheriff of Middlesex, with the view of influencing the elections to parliament; and John Blake had been commissioned to draw the bill of indictment which Richard, had he not been forestalled, would have brought forward against the confederate lords, in 1387, after the council of Nottingham. Usk has recently risen into a more interesting position than that which he holds in history, having been identified as the author of "The Testament of Love," a work which has been wrongly attributed to Chaucer. (Dict. Nat. Biogr. lviij. 60; Skeat, Chaucerian and other Pieces, 1897.)

1388. In this king’s reign, on account of the papal schism, the bishop of Norwich (age 47)1 crossed over into Flanders with a crusade, and there he destroyed in warfare some nine thousand men of that land who sided with the French heretics; but he was forced to withdraw thence and to return to his own country by the power of the king of Franee and his army, many of the English then dying of the flux.

Note 1. Henry Spencer or Despencer (age 47), the warlike bishop of Norwich, had fought in his youth for pope Adrian against Bernabo Visconti of Milan, and received for his reward the see of Norwich in 1370. But "vulpis pilum mutat, non animum," and the bishop did not lose his taste for fighting. He was distinguished at the time of Wat Tyler's rebellion for the vigour with which he repressed the uprising in his diocese: defeating, shriving, and executing the rebels with great zeal. His crusade in Flanders got him into trouble, for he had to pay the penalty of failure by the loss of his temporalities, which were, however, afterwards restored.—Godwin, De Presul. Angl.

17 Sep 1388. The duke of Lancaster (age 48) also, claiming the kingdom of Spain in right of his wife (age 34), sailed to that country two years after, with another crusade; and there he lost by the same sickness many of the nobles of the realm of England, and, I may say, the flower of its youthful chivalry. Yet he made peace with the king of Spain, receiving a duchy for the term of his life, and a large sum of gold for his outlay, and giving his daughter (age 15) in marriage to the king’s eldest son (age 8); and so he returned to England1.

Note 1. There is no mention of the duchy in the other chronicles. By the terms of the treaty, Catherine of Lancaster married Henry, prince of the Asturias, in 1393. The duke received the sum of 200,000 crowns and a pension for the lives of himself and his duchess.

May 1388. In these days there happened at Oxford a grave misfortune. For, during two whole years was there great strife between the men of the south and the men of Wales on the one side and the northerners on the other. Whence arose broils, quarrels, and ofttimes loss of life. In the first year the northerners were driven clean away from the university. And they laid their expulsion chiefly to my charge. But in the second year, in an evil hour, coming back to Oxford, they gathered by night, and denying us passage from our quarters by force of arms, for two days they strove sorely against us, breaking and plundering some of the halls of our side, and slaying certain of our men. Howbeit, on the third day our party, bravely strengthened by the help of Merton Hall, forced our adversaries shamefully to fly from the public streets, which for the two days they had held as a camp, and to take refuge in their own quarters. In short, we could not be quieted before many of our number had been indicted for felonious riot; and amongst them I, who am now writing, was indicted, as the chief leader and abettor of the Welsh, and perhaps not unrighteously. And so indicted we were hardly acquitted, being tried by jury before the king’s judge1. From that day forth I feared the king, hitherto unknown to me in his power, and his laws, and I put hooks into my jaws2.

Note 1. Anthony Wood, following the account given by Knighton, says:— "On the third of the Cal. of May (1388), arose a grievous discord among the scholars of Oxon, that is to say between the southern and Welsh on the one part, and the northern scholars on the other, and in very short time did it so much increase that the scholars for the most part (after several had been slain) departed to their respective counties." And again, under the year 1389, he tells us of a second outbreak of the rioting, in Lent, which was quelled by the intervention of the duke of Gloucester. "But," he continues, "you shall have from a certain inquisition taken by a jury that was appointed on purpose to take an account of the matter: —On Thursday in the fourth week of Lent, 12 Rich. II. (which is this year), Thomas Speeke, chaplain, and John Kirkby with a multitude of other malefactors, appointing captains among them, rose up against the peace of the king, and sought after all the Welshmen abiding and studying in Oxford, shooting arrows after them in divers streets and lanes as they went, crying out ‘ War, war, war, sle, sle, sle the Welsh doggys and her whelpys, and ho so loketh out of his howse, he shall in good southe be dead,’ &c., and certain persons they slew and others they grievously wounded, and some of the Welshmen who bowed their knees to abjure the town, they the northern scholars led to the gates," and dismissed them with certain indignities not to be repeated to ears polite. The inquisition further gives the names of the different halls which were broken into, and of the Welsh scholars who were robbed of their books and other chattels, including in some instances their harps.— Hist. and Antigg. of the Univ. of Ouford (ed. Gutch, 1792-6) i., 518.

Note 2. Ezek, xxix, 4; xxxviij. 4.

1376 or 1379?. Again, another misfortune happened. For that noble knight, sir John Arundel (age 40), being sent forth against the land of France to subdue it, with the flower of the youth of the country, had his fleet shattered alas! by an unhappy storm on Saint Nicholas’ eve (5th December), and perished1. The cause of his mischance was not unrighteously found in the taxes wrung from the clergy and the people.

Note 1. Sir John Arundel, of Lanherne, was in command of an expedition in aid of the duke of Brittany, and repulsed the French fleet off the coast of Cornwall. He was afterwards wrecked and drowned on the Irish coast. Walsingham (i. 418-25) attributes the disaster to divine vengeance for an outrage on a nunnery at Southampton. Arundel appears to have been one of the fops of the period. In his ship were fifty-two suits of clothes: "pro proprio corpore novos apparatus, vel aureos vel auro textos."

Ever from the time of such levying of tribute, called tax, do I remember the kingdom to have suffered misfortunes either from internal slaughter or foreign treachery.* Was it not so when the earl of Pembroke, carrying with him the tax levied to subdue France, was plundered with his men near Rochelle, and carried captive into Spain? The same befell king Edward, who, after taxing the clergy and the people, strove to invade France with a mighty host; but the winds were against him, and, though for six months long he lay near the shore awaiting: their favour, he returned unprofitably with his army, as is told above in this volume1. See what says the prophecy of Bridlington against the tax:

"While reigneth tax, large grace shall not abound ; So work begun shall foolish fall to ground."2

Note 1. The passage in the "Polychronicon" here referred to, is as follows: "Eodem anno, rex Edwardus cum magno exercitu mare intravit, ad removendum obsidionem de Rochell; sed ventus contrarius non permisit eum longius a terra recedere. Quare aliquamdiu prope litus maris commorans ventum prosperum expectavit ; sed nondum venit. Demum cum suis ad terram veniens, illico ventus ad partes oppositas se convertit." Walsingham (i. 315) has nearly the same words.

Note 2. The prophecy of John of Bridlington is a political review of the reign of Edward III., compiled in the form of an ancient text with a recent commentary. The author was supposed to have been John, prior of Bridlington, who died early in the reign of Richard II. In some MSS. the work is ascribed to John Ergome; but who he was does not appear. It is dedicated to Humphrey de Bohun, earl of Hereford and constable of England, 1361-1372, and was probably written about the year 1370. Its popularity is shown by the frequency of quotations from it by the writers of the fifteenth century, among whom Adam of Usk is not the most backward. As a specimen of the work: the passage quoted above, which more correctly is "Dum multat taxa non fiet gratia laxa. Sic opus inceptum laxum patietur ineptum" (dist. iij. cap. 2), has this commentary—" Dum multat taxa, id est, dum recipit taxam et exactiones de regno, gratia non fiet laxa sibi et larga, sed deficiet, et sic opus inceptum et laxum quod fuit de captione regis Francie, quando nos habuimus inceptionem et latam viam ad conquerendum regnum Francie, patietur ineptum, id est, deficiet seu destruetur."—T. Wright, Political Poems and Songs (Rolls series), i. 183.

1385. And thus alas! it is known to fall. Further, there fled before the face of this king Richard that most perfect man, William Courtney, archbishop of Canterbury (age 43), for that he was ready to stand up against such tax; and, pursued on Thames by the same king, he fled for his life in the garb of a monk, and sought safety in the parts of Devon1. Yet did they who were the movers of this persecution by the king die an evil death, of whom we have heard above, to wit sir Simon Burley (age 45) and others.

Note 1. William Courtenay (age 43), successively bishop of Hereford and London, and archbishop of Canterbury, was son of Hugh, earl of Devon. Walsingham, under the year 1385, tells us of the archbishop’s opposition to a tax being imposed upon the clergy; but on this occasion the king acted with him as against the designs of the nobles upon the possessions of the church. Earlier in the year, however, there was a quarrel between the king and archbishop, according to Walsingham, "ob leves occasiones" (ij. 128), when the latter was threatened with deprivation of temporalities. The Monk of Evesham (57) gives as the cause of his disgrace the king’s anger at his remonstrance against bad government, and adds that the archbishop had to hide himself. Has our chronicler confused the two events?

Thus far, good reader, set not in order of years such things as have been told; for what I saw and heard I stored up in my memory, rather with regard to the truth of the event than to the time when it took place.

07 Jun 1394. In the year of our Lord 1394, on Whitsun-day (7th June), died that most gracious lady Ann, queen of England (age 28), at the manor of Shene [Map], which lies on Thames near to Brentford. Which manor, though a royal one and very fair, did king Richard, by reason that that lady’s death happened therein, command and cause to be utterly destroyed. After the ceremony of her funeral, which was carried out with becoming honours on the morrow of Saint Peter ad Vincula (2nd August), the king, clad, with his train, in weeds of mourning, straightway passed over into Ireland with & great power, to subdue the rebellion of the Irish1. Yet he gained but little; for the Irish, then feigning submission to his will, straightway after his departure were in revolt, as all men know.

Note 1. Richard sailed for Iréland early in September, 1394, and returned in May of the next year.

Marriage of Richard II and Isabella of Valois

May 1395. The next year, at the end of May, the king returned to England, landing at Bristol; and forthwith he sent envoys into France to contract his second marriage, of which more anon. And so, a matter for wonder, he took to wife [Isabella Valois Queen Consort England (age 5)] a child not yet seven years old, rejecting the daughter and heiress of the king of Aragon, though very fair and of marriageable years1, But why he chose this young child,—and though a child she was married to him at Calais with much outlay of money and show—they say was that, eager to pour forth his pent-up venom, he thought by help and favour of the king of France to destroy his enemies. Yet this in the end turned to the ruin of himself and his confederates, as will afterwards appear2.

Note 1. The actual age of Isabella of France was eight years. The marriage took place at Calais, on the Ist November, 1396. The daughter of the king of Aragon, referred to above, appears to have been Yolande, daughter of John I (age 44). She married, in 1400, Louis II (age 17), titular king of Naples and count of Provence, and thus became grandmother to Margaret of Anjou, the wife of Henry VI.

Note 2. The surrender by Richard, in 1393 and 1397, of Cherbourg and Brest, which were held in pawn of the king of Navarre and duke of Brittany, was most distasteful to the English. Men recalled the conquests of Edward III. and their speedy loss, and had come to look upon even the givitig up of towns held in pledge as a national wrong. This, added to the French marriage, gave rise to various rumours of Richard’s designs in favour of the French: among others, that Calais, too, was to be handed over to them. See the story of Richard’s quarrel, on this score, with the duke of Gloucester, as told in the Chronique de la Tratson et Mort de Richart II., ed. B. Williams (English Hist. Soc.), 1846.

17 Sep 1397. A parliament was holden in London, at Westminster, on Saint Lambert’s day (17th September), a Monday, in the year of our Lord 1897; in which parliament I, the writer of this chronicle, was present every day1.

Note 1. It will be seen that the account of the proceedings of the parliament as given by our author is nearly the same as that found in the pages of the Monk of Evesham. One or two passages are given more correctly in this text. Whether the one copied from the other, or both from the same source, is not very material. But it is of importance to notice that Adam was present during the session, and that therefore the story which he tells may be looked upon as a true one.

In the first place, a speech, in the form of a sermon1, was made by Edmund Stafford, bishop of Exeter, then chancellor, wherein he kept his discourse to the one point: that the power of the king lay singly and wholly in the king, and that they who usurped or plotted against it were worthy of the penalties of the law. Wherefore, to this end was it ordained of parliament: first, to enquire after those who molest the power of the king and his royalty; secondly, what penalties such molesters shall receive; thirdly, that things be so ordered that henceforth such molesting do not ensue. And straightway the king bade the commons that then and there, before their departure, they agree upon a speaker, and present him on the morrow, at eight of the clock. The king also made proclaim his grace to all who might be among the aforesaid offenders, only excepting fifty2 persons and certain others to be impeached in this parliament, provided that they sued out in effect their letters of pardon before Saint Hilary. He caused, too, proclamation to be made that no man henceforth carry arms of offence or defence in parliament, save only our lord the king’s own retinue.

Note 1. The text was from Ezekiel xxxvij. 22, "One king shall be king to them all."—Rot. Parl. iij. 347.

Note 2. By a confusion of the abbreviation of 1. for quinquaginta, and t. for vel, Hearne, in his edition of the Monk of Evesham’s Life of Richard, has erroneously printed vel in this place. Otterbourne has the correct reading.

18 Sep 1397. On the Tuesday (18th September), sir John Bushy1 was by the commons presented to the king their speaker in parliament, he making first due declaration; and the king accepted him.

Then straightway spake he thus before the king: "In that, my lord the king, we are bound by your dread command to make known to your royal highness who they be who transgressed against your majesty and royalty, we say that Thomas, duke of Gloucester, and Richard, earl of Arundel, did, in the tenth year of your reign, traitorously force you, by means of him who is now archbishop of Canterbury2, and who was then chancellor, thereby doing you grievous wrongs, to grant to them a commission to govern your kingdom and to order its estate, to the prejudice of your majesty and royalty."

Also, the same day, that same commission was made of none effect, with all and every the acts thereon depending or thereby caused.

Also, a general pardon, granted after the great parliament by their means, and a special pardon granted to the earl of Arundel were recalled3. It was also prayed by the

Note 1. Bushy had been first elected speaker of the commons in 1394.

Note 2. Thomas Fitzalan, also called Arundel, was the third son of Richard, ninth earl of Arundel. He had been made bishop of Ely, in 1374, when in his twenty-second year, was translated to York in 1388, and to Canterbury in 1396. He was banished by the present parliament of 1397, and received from the pope translation to the see of St. Andrew’s in partibus infidelium, the same appointment which had been conferred upon Alexander Nevill, his predecessor at York. He was restored to Canterbury on Henry’s accession, and lived to the year 1413.

Note 3. This special pardon had been granted to the earl of Arundel on the 30th of April, 13894, and was the more binding on Richard as it was granted at a time when he was his own master and entirely free from coercion.

Before 11 Mar 1416. The king (age 29) with great reverence went on foot in pilgrimage from Shrewsbury to St. Winifred’s [Map] well in North Wales4.

Note 4. Holywell St. Winifred [Map], co. Flint. This pilgrimage of Henry V. does not appear to be recorded elsewhere. If Adam is correct in his statement, it probably took place early in 1416.

11 Mar 1416. The earl of Dorset, captain of Harfleur, marching out with five hundred men, slew of the French who assaulted him to the number of two thousand, and took many captive5.

Note 5. Dorset, being pressed for supplies, set out on a plundering raid, but was intercepted by the French, and only fought his way back to Harfleur with difficulty; 11th-18th March, 1416.