Cecil George Savile Foljambe Liverpool.

The house of Cornewall online

. (page 3 of 33)
Online LibraryCecil George Savile Foljambe LiverpoolThe house of Cornewall → online text (page 3 of 33)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

a portion of the Holy Blood with a fragment of the true Cross, reUcs certified
by Pope Urban 4th when Patriarch of Jerusalem. J The Shrine erected

* The Chronicle of Hayles — British Museum — fixes the date of consecration at 1246.

t The Bishops present were Ely, Lincoln. Worcester, London, Norwich, Salisbury, Exeter,
Chichester, Bath and Wells, St. David's. Rochester, and St. Asaph.

From Dr. Gasquet's " Hen. VIII. .iVD the Monasteries," II, 536.

The following portion of a letter from the .Abbot of Hayles to Cromwell (E. of Essex) upon
the subject of the celebrated relic preserved in his Abbey is of considerable interest : —

" It is not unknown unto 5'our honour how that there is in the Monastery of Hayles a ' blood,'
which has been reputed as a miracle a great season. And now I come to tell your Lordship plainly
that I have a conscience putting me in dread lest idolatry be committed therein, giving the very
honour of the blood of Christ to that thing, which I cannot tell what it is. For to put it away
of my own private authority I feared to do, lest I should condemn myself to be guilty in misusing
of it. as changing and renewing it with drake's blood, wherein I offer myself to suffer the most
shameful death, if ever it may be proved that it was either changed or renewed, or even looked
upon to try what it is. to my knowledge ; but it is there still, as far as ever I can learn or know,
as it was brought thither."

[After this protestation the Abbot — apparently to adapt himself to Cromwell's mood —
begs him to " send hither his commission, sc. of enquiry."]

In reply to the abo\'e communication the King's commission to examine the relic was,
Oct. 4, 1538, directed to Bishop Latimer, the Prior of Worcester, and the Abbot. On the 28th


to cover these objects of adoration is said have been an ark-like structure with
a vaulted roof and adorned with canopied figures. It was a coincidence that
within four years of this donation the Church was all but destroyed by fire, and
not until 1277 was it finally consecrated by Godfrey, Bishop of Worcester. In
consequence of this relic of the Holy Blood having brought great riches to the
Abbey, the foundation excited the extreme wrath of the reformers, and a vessel
of stone was recently discovered, which had been used for melting down the lead
of the roof. Hence, while fragments of the beautiful tomb of Earl Edmund
have been discovered, not the shghtest trace exists of the last resting-place of
the Founder. Tiles alone among the ruins perpetuate his memory — albeit, what
remains of a foundation, once the glory of Gloucestershire, reveals his more than
princely munificence. Unlike Tintern or Netley, the ruins themselves convey
the notion of pure wreckage rather than the grace of decay, but to one standing

they went, together with Richard Tracy, to the Abbey and viewed " a certain supposed relic called
' The Blood of Hayles,' which was enclosed within a round beryl, garnished and bound on e\ery
side with silver, which we caused to be opened in the presence of a great multitude. And the sup-
posed reUc we caused to be taken out of the said beryl, and have viewed the same being within
a little glass. We judged the substance and matter of the said relic supposed to be an unctuous
gum coloured, which being in the glass appeared to be glistering red, resembling partly the colour
of blood. And after we did take out part of the said substance and matter out of the glass, then
it was apparent gUstering yellow colour, like amber or base gold, and doth cleave to as gum or

Baker follows this account verbatim. Speed says "Time proved it a mere counterfeit ':
but, speaking of the reUc of Christ's blood at Ashridge College, Bucks (really the larger of two portions
of one great relic) he gives the same account as HoUinshed {i.e., clarified and coloured with
saffron). Later historians take a different Une which does not agree with the real facts. In sub-
stance the story, variously embellished is this : — "The Holy Blood was really the blood of a duck
renewed every week. It was kept in a crystal very thick on one side, and thin and transparent
on the other. If it was a wealthy person who had to confess, the thick side was turned to him,
and when he had paid for a sufficient number of Masses, ' One in a secret place behind the altar,
near which the relic was placed, turned the thin side, and then the blood appeared.' "

This account is given by Lord Herbert and Burnet on the authority of Wilham Thomas's
/; Pellegrino Inglese. What Thomas says is interesting. The relic was brought, he tells his readers,
"many years agone out of the Holy Land of Jerusalem," and adds "see here the devihsh craft
of these soul-queUers, for these Monks every Saturday killed a duck, etc."

HoUinshed (p. 275) gives an accurate account of the first coming of the relic. The Annalist
of the House of Hayles, who was contemporary of the event which he chronicles, writes under
the year 1267, in regard to his founders and patrons (Pertz. Scriptt xvi. p. 483), that it was they
who enriched the Abbey with the reUc. Richard of Cornwall, the founder, was King of the Romans,
and he and his son Edmund were in a position to obtain in Germany for such an oljject even a relic
held in the highest veneration. We may be quite sure that for the great relics of their houses of
Hayles and Ashridge they would do the best that in them lay. I have been unable to identify
the locality from which Edmund obtained the rehc. It is called by the Monk of Hayles Doilaunde
(so the M.S ; Pertz prints Dilaunde) but in all probability he never saw the name written but took
it down from the lips of others. StiU we may conjecture that the rehc of The Holy Blood obtained
by the Earl of Cornwall was one of the numerous relics, the spoils of the Imperial Chapels and
great Sanctuaries of Constantinople, brought into Germany after the sack of that city by the
Latins in 1204. It may be mentioned that Conrad von Krosigk, Bishop of Halbertstadt, one of
the chiefs of the Latin host, brought back, as apparently the chief of the relics. Sanguis Domini
Nostri Jhesu Chrisii, till then preserved in the Church of St. Sophia, and that this rehc was not among
those which on his resignation of the See in 1208 he bestowed on his Cathedral.

Knowing thus how the relic was obtained by the Monastery, and that, whatever may be
thought of the blood, the relic and reliquary were known to the Monks of Hayles as a venerated
trust and memorial of their founders, there can be no doubt among reasonable men that the object
which was opened and examined by Latimer was the same which had been placed in the Monastery
by Edmund of Cornwall and his father, and that it was no " craft of devilish soul-queUers."


beneath riven arches on broken and bestrewed ground, it might' well be
whispered concerning forgotten Earl Richard, Mommientiim si quceris circum-
spice. There he sleeps by the side of those nearest and dearest to him, we know
not where, but memories of the glories that were protest silently against the
cruel vandalism that could deprive the realm of England of one among her
noblest edifices, and in the sacred name of religion desecrate the tombs of
royal personages, who followed the inner light at least as faithfully as those
who broke down all their carved work with axes and hammers.

It should be noted that prior to the commencement of Hayles Earl Richard
had displayed his zeal for the Church by completing the Cistercian Abbey at
Beaulieu, where lay the mortal remains of Isabel de Clare. From that Founda-
tion he selected the first Abbot of Hayles, who took with him twenty brethren
of Beavdieu, and dedicated the daughter Foundation to the Blessed Virgin.
On the day of consecration the Earl handed to this band of ecclesiastics looo
marks, with an earnest wish that all his expenses on WaUingford Castle had
been as wisely bestowed.

In the meanwhile, i.e., 1239, the King, doubtless impressed by his brother's
splendid munificence, added yet more to the grants he had already given, in the
valuable forest of Dartmoor, with the Jlanors of Bensington, Lechlade, and
Oakham. As for the Earl, he verified the proverb " There is that scattereth yet
increaseth." He bestowed £1000 on the military orders in Palestine, and when
he paid a visit in 1250 to Pope Innocent 4th* at Lyons, the magnificence of his
train and equipage excited both the admiration and the envy of the French. He
let them see that he could afford the loss of Poitou, a poverty-stricken fief
which he had never valued. This was true. His wealth accumulated rapidly
owing to a bargain struck with the King, whereby for a sum down he was
granted the privilege of amercing the Jews. The evidence of his having
utilised this leverage harshly is untrustworthy and altogether foreign to his
character, indeed Mathew Paris accuses him of sheltering the Jews, especially
those who were falsely accused of crucifying an infant at Lincoln. On the
other hand the sorely oppressed Children of Israel were always more than
ready to display gratitude for protection in a practical form, so that the good
Earl's clemency must have proved in the long run profitable. They had fared
worse under the thumbscrew of impecunious King Henry.

* It %vas probably in consequence of the impression thereby created that in 1254 he was
offered the Throne of Sicily by this Pope — a worse than barren honour which he wisely declined ;
but the King accepted it for his son Edmund (Crouchback), then only nine years of age.


The time approached when that uxorious King and his Barons came
into collision. The occasion, as described by Mathcw Paris, reads like a repeti-
tion of the scene at Runnymede, and Earl Richard, as a possible heir to the
Throne, had to profess allegiance to the great Charter. We next, i.e., 1253-4,
find him acting as Regent of the realm during the absence of King Henry
in Gascony. These were but preludes to a grander episode in his career, one
that invested him wdth a picturesque, if somewhat shadowy sovereignty.

In 1250 the Emperor died and was succeeded as King of the Romans
by William Count of Holland, who indeed had been crowned at Aix by Conrad,
the powerful Archbishop of Cologne, two years before the Emperor's death.
His reign proved by no means tranquil, and at length he was killed in an
attempt to subdue the Frieslanders. At this juncture the wily Archbishop,
aided by the Archbishop of Mayence, resolved to sound Earl Richard. An
emissary accordingly having been despatched to England met with a gracious
reception from the Earl, who however with becoming caution sent the Earl
of Gloucester on a diplomatic mission to Germany in order to learn whether
the electors could be manipulated. He was quite astute enough to realise
that his success depended on largesse rather than on personal preference.
The French failed in an attempt to capture Earl Richard's envoy, and their
hostility evaporated in the mordent sarcasm :

Nummus ait pro me'.- nubit Cornubia Roma.

In the end the Archbishop of Cologne accepted 12,000 marks for his vote ;
the Archbishop of Mayence, 8,000 ; the King of Bavaria, 12,000 ; and similar
sums went to the other electors. That was in Dec, 1256. Thus Ntimmus ait,
but the Archbishop of Treves with a few other electors chose Alfonso of Castille,
who in consequence styled himself King of the Romans, but was never more
than a roi faineant — indeed later on, when the King of Spain threatened force and
appealed to the Pope, he received the sarcastic reply, that as soon as Alphonso
had been crowned at Aix, like Earl Richard, His Holiness would be in a position
to decide their rival claims. As King Richard — to give him his title — was
at the moment in Rome, and invariably acted on the principle res est ingeniosa
dare, we may surmise that the Vatican may have benefited. The Pope had
previously met with a rebuff, when he tried to borrow from Earl Richard,
who however, while unwilling to lend without a chance of repajmient, may
not have been indisposed to give. To give indeed seemed his fate ; e.g. when


the Archbishop of Cologne with other prelates and the Regent of Holland
came to do homage, they were loaded with presents, Conrad being awarded
a mitre stated by Mathew Paris to have been of pure gold. After he had
landed at Dort his progress was signalled by lavish largesse. He was crowned
at ALx, with his Queen Sanchia, on Ascension Day, 27 May, 1257.

Concerning his rule in Germany, he may be said to have purchased a
temporary popularity. His chief minister was Archbishop Conrad, his military
adviser a veteran warrior, John d'Avesnes. The King of Spain in the meanwhile
striving to detach his supporters, in order to secure the Archbishop of Mayence he
had to pay 10,000 silver marks, when that prelate had been taken prisoner by the
King of Saxony, after having invaded Gottingen. That he was a wise ruler
appears chiefly from his attempt to put dowTi brigandage, while endeavouring
to introduce into the German cities, which were hopelessly in debt, a sounder
system of finance. His loans, however, indirectly proved a source of peril to
himself, inasmuch as if he could be got rid of, they might be repudiated. More-
over Conrad's gorge could not be satisfied, and when he demurred to subsidising
that most avaricious of prelates, he found in him a double-faced friend. His
crown in two short years had become already insecure, when in 1259 events
in England summoned him home. Shortly after his return his Queen Consort
died at Berkhamstead, 9 Nov., 1261, and was buried at Hayles. Thus once
more he found himself a widower.

King Henry had now become almost the serf of his Barons, who objected
to the King of the Romans coming to his brother's assistance. He contrived
to reassure them, and though watching the trend of events, occupied himself
chiefly in raising money to support his German Crown and preserve the counten-
ance of the Pope. His ambition was to become Emperor, but in spite of
the grace of his gold, French intrigues and the pride of the German Princes,
who looked down on England, thwarted him. True, he performed a single
sovereign act by investing the King of Bohemia in the Duchies of Austria and
Styria, but mere money could not outweigh a sentiment of patriotism,
and he returned utterly impoverished to England to find a crisis between
the King and his heges imminent. At once he set to work by his usual diplo-
matic methods to avert civil war, but the arrogance of his nephew, afterwards
Edward the ist, precipitated it. The citizens of London wrecked his Palace
at Westminster and plundered his Manor of Isleworth. Early in 1264 we find


him fighting at Northampton, where Simon de Montfort's son was taken
prisoner, and a month later commanding a wing of the Royal anny at the
fatal field of Lewes. Defeated, he sought shelter in a mill,* and from that
hiding-place found himself ignominiously dragged forth to he in the Tower f
for a year and a half. De Montfort captured his Castle of Wallingford,
imprisoning his son by Isabel de Clare, Henry of Almaine, as he was styled, and
his nephew, the future King Edward, in Dover Castle.

Thanks to the prowess of that valiant young Prince the victory at Evesham
and death of de Montfort released him from captivity in August, 1265. At
once he displayed a chivalrous spirit— destined to be requited with the basest
ingratitude — by befriending! the young de Montfort, and as an act of thanks-
giving for the fortunate turn of events founded a Nunnery at Burnham.
Peace however was not yet restored, the Earl of Gloucester heading the mal-
content Barons and Burgesses, and with the consent of the latter assuming
possession of London. This Earl however proved easier to manipulate than

* According to Levien — " Barony of Burford " — an offer of £30,000 was made to Earl
Richard, if he would reconcile the King and the Barons, but that he demanded a higher price.
Now Professor Thorold Rogers put the multiplier of the valor EccUsiaslicus — Hen. viii. — at 20.
Dating back to Hen. III., it could scarcely have been less than 30. The offer therefore, from
%vhichever side it came, approximated a milUon sterling, and, inasmuch as peace was the highest
of his own interests, it seems incredible that he should have haggled over so beneficial a bargain.
Be that as it may, the winning party produced from the pen of some North-country scribe a scur-
rilous ballad reviling Earl Richard in the coarsest terms. We subjoin three of the stanzas of
this, said to be the earliest piece of satiric verse in the language : —

Sitteth all stille and herkneth to me.

The kyn of Alemaigne, by mi leaute,

Tritti thousent pound askede he

Forte make the pees in the countre
And so he dude more.

Richard, thah thou be euer trichard,

Trichen shal thou neuermore.

Richard of Alemaigne, whil that he wes kjmg.

He spende al his tresour opon swyuyng.

Haveth he nout of Walingford oferlyng

[i.e., He has not one furlong left of the honour of Wallingford)

Let him habbe. as he brew, bale to dryng
Maugre Wyndesore.

Richard, thah thou, etc.

The kyng of Alemaigne weude do ful wel
He saisede the mulne (mill) for a castel
With hare sharpe swerdes he grounde the stel.
He wende that the sayles were mangonel

To help Wyndesore.
Richard thah thou, etc.

We remark also that Robert of Gloucester, in his poem, tells the same story, " The King of
Alemaine was in a windmuUe inorae," etc.

t Another account makes Kenilworth the place of his imprisonment, but was that Castle
built in 1264 ?

J He also interceded on behalf of Llewellyn, Prince of Wales, who had fought against the


Simon de Montfort, and once more Earl Richard could cry, Nummus ait pro
me! The Earl of Gloucester surrendered, promising to join the 7th Crusade,
and the King of the Romans, virtuaDy master of the situation at home, felt
strong enough to levy a tax on his numerous tenants, the upshot being that
he returned to Germany with a full purse, and to secure the powerful interest
of the Archbishop of Cologne, married i6th June, 1269, as his third wife,
Beatrice, daughter of Thierry de Fauquemont* (Valkenberg, near Maastricht),
by Jane his wife, daughter of Amoul Count of Looz, and niece of Conrad's suc-
cessor, Engilbert de Fauquemont, Archbishop of Cologne. The result amounted
to utter disappointment, and in sheer disgust he turned his back for ever on
Germany and the Germans, a poorer and a wiser man.

From 1268 to 1272 he occupied himself in acts of benevolence. The
yoxmg Prince Edward with his own sons Henry and Edmund having assumed
the Cross, he became guardian of the sons of the former during his absence in
the Holy Land. Unhappily, as his own heir, Henry of Almaine, was on his
way home and engaged in devotions at Viterbo, he was assasinated by Guy de
Montfort in revenge for the death of his sire at Evesham. The young man's
heart was consigned to the tomb of Edward the Confessor, his body being
buried at Hayles. Edmund, however, reached home safely to become his
father's heir and Earl of Cornwall. On April 2, 1272, f the King of the Romans,
" Semper Augustus," as he is styled on his seal, passed away. He was stricken
by paralysis at Berkhampstead, where two of his three wives had breathed
their last. They carried his body to Hayles for interment, but his heart was
consigned in 1280 to the Monastery of the Grey Friars Jlinor in Oxford. In
Capgrave's Chronicle we find the following brief description of the actual cause
of the King of the Romans' departure, almost in his prime. " And in this year
Richard Emperoure (?) of Almayn died in this Maner. He was let blede
for the agu, which he had ; and that blod lost smet him in paralise, and after
that he dyed and Uth at Hailes." According to Ingram (Memorials of Oxford)
the King of the Romans by will bequeathed enough to found a Monastery
for three secular priests to pray for his soul. Earl Edmund exceeding his
father's instructions, created a large Cistercian Abbey under the shadow
of the greater Abbey of Oseney. The sole relic of that foundation is a gateway,

* Commonly, but erroneously, styled Von Falkenstein.

t According to Dugdale's Baronage he died on the 4th of the nones of April, 1272, which
would be the 8th of April.


the major portion of the site of Rewley Abbey being absorbed by the
L. & N.W. Station.

Beatrice de Fauquemont could not have proved acceptable to her step-
children, for she was compelled to sue Earl Edmund for a portion of her dower.
She died s.p. on the Vigil of St. Luke, 1277, and was buried at the Friars'
Minor in Oxford.*

Earl Richard, prior to his kingly dignity, elected to bear the arms of
Poitou, viz. : Arg : a lion rampant gu, crowned or, within a bordure of
the ancient Earls of Cornwall, viz. : sa. besantee.j He thus included the
ensigns of either Earldom in a single escutcheon. | The wreckage of the Re-
formation and civil war destroyed monuments of all kinds and stained glass
windows. There remain for identification encaustic tiles which religious
vandalism overlooked. Thus we have a tile at Tintern in red and yellow
giving the arms borne originally by Earl Richard, and at Worcester Cathedral
in chocolate and yellow the same, except that the lion rampant is not crowned.
Doubtless others of the same type, if not of the same pattern, could be found
in village Churches were a dihgent search made. Tiles with the Imperial
arms are rarer. Such exist in Exeter Cathedral, among the ruins at Hayles,
and at Great Malvern Abbey, while at Warblington, Hants,the coat of the
Earl of Cornwall is impaled with the Eagle displayed of the Roman Empire,
and in Dorchester Church, Oxon, the original coat of Richard as Earl may
be seen in a stained glass window, and also at Harwell, Berks, but whether
these refer to Richard Earl of CornwaU, or to his son Edmund, also Earl,
can only be surmised. The latter showed himself as munificent to the Church
as his father, and withal being childless had ample resources.

We have before us an imperfect catalogue of the possessions of Earl Richard.
It is not easy to fill up the blanks, which obviously exceed the total of those

* Another account makes her burial-place to have been S. Ebbe's Church in Oxford.

t This coat is in the Chapter-House and Nave of York Cathedral, and also given as "Argent
ung lion de gouh cronne or, ung borde de sable besant d'or," in a roll of arms of the reigne or tyme
of King Hen. III. stated to have been in the hands of Mr. Harvy of Liecestershire, A. D. 1586. — Re-
printed. London, 1829.

i In the Cottonian MSS. — Julius C. VII., fo. 239 — is the following with an illustration
of the banner, the border whereof bears alternately the arms of England with those of the Earls
of Cornwall and Provence.

Rot. Claus. 28 Henry III.
The King sendeth to Richard Fitz Odo a certain cloth of silk starred with gold. To whom it is com-
manded, that he do cause the border thereof to be made of green cendal with the arms of the King
and the arms of Earl Richard, and the arras of the Earl of Provence. So that when the Church
of Westminster shall be ornamented, it shall hang at the back of the Cross. Tested at Reading,
ist Feb.


given. Briefly the following list may serve as an index to show the extent of
possessions which yielded 400 marks per diem : —

Bedfordshire. — Bychendon.

Berks. — Stanford, Hanvell, the Honour of Wallingford with the
Manors included therein.

Bucks. — Hartwell, Horton, Ashridge, Burnham, Ouainton.

Cornwall. — Helston, Launceston, Lostwithiel, Brannel, Restormel,
Tintagel, Trematon, St. Wendron, and many other Manors,
besides mineral royalties.

Devon. — The great Forest of Dartmoor, Exeter, King's Nympnet,
Exmouth, Lydford, and mineral royalties.

Dorset. — Fordington, Forsall, Knighton, Whitwell.

Essex. — Newport.

Gloucester. — Lechlade, Longborough, Hayles.

Hants. — Deepdene, Norton, Warblington, Beaulieu.

Herts. — Aldbury, Berkhampstead, Hemelhempstead.

Hunts. — Glatton, Holm, Yateley.

Lincoln. — Ingoldsby, Kirton in Lindsey, Thonock, Laughton.

Middlesex. — Isleworth, Whitton, Twickenham.

Norfolk. — Baketon, Hemmings, Witton.

Northants.— Rockingham, Cosgrave, Carleton, Althorpe.

Oxon. — Beckley, Asthall, Mixbury, Dorchester, Nettlebed, Erding-
ton, Bensington, Studley, Cassington, Honour of St. Walery,

Online LibraryCecil George Savile Foljambe LiverpoolThe house of Cornewall → online text (page 3 of 33)