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end, but neither design was completed. Both the crypt or lower chapel,
and the upper chapel, used as the present School-room, were consecrated,
and in both masses for the dead were said and other services performed.

Eobert de Baldock, Lord Chancellor and Archdeacon of Middlesex, was
chosen Bishop of Norwich in 1325, but in a year after, being informed
that the Pope had provided for the see, before he was elected, he resigned
it. Being accused of treason in 1326 by Edward II. and his Queen
Isabel, he was apprehended and committed to Newgate, where he died of
grief, and was buried in St. PauFs, London, May 2nd, 1327.

William de Ayremyn was chosen Bishop of Norwich in 1325. He was
a great pluralist, holding no less than ten prebends, besides other high
preferments ; he was also Lord Treasurer and Keeper of the Great Seal.
He died March 27th, 1336, and was buried before the high altar in
Norwich Cathedral. He was succeeded by Thomas de Hemminghall, a
monk of the Priory of the Cathedral. He was elected, but not conse-
crated, he being translated to Worcester by the Pope.

Anthony de Beck, in 1336, Dean of Lincoln, was the next bishop ; he
was so haughty and imperious that he was hated by the monks, who
caused him to be poisoned December 19th, 1343, and he was buried in
the Cathedral.

REIGN OF EDWARD III., 1327 TO 1377.

Edward III. was the eldest son of King Edward II., by Queen Isabella,
and as the Kings of France died without male issue, this Prince chal-



580 HISTORY OP EASTERN ENGLAND.

lenged the Crown of France, as the next male heir, according to the Salic
law, peculiar to France. This led to many wars with that country. After
a long reign, glorious in the annals of military fame, of fifty years and
four months and twenty-eight days, this King died at Shene (now Rich-
mond), in Surrey, July 21st, 1377, aged sixty-four years, and was buried
at Westminster.

Edward III., in his first Parliament, held in 1327, had an Act passed
by which all cities, boroughs, and franchised towns were to enjoy their
franchises, customs, and usages as they were wont to do.

In 1328 there was a statute made by which all the staples, both beyond
and on this side of the sea, ordained by Kings in former times, were to
cease ; and all merchants whatever had liberty of coming into and going
out of England. It appears that this wise King was very desirous to
encourage the trade of his subjects in every respect.

In 1832 great disputes took place between the barons of the Cinque
Ports and the bailiffs of Yarmouth, concerning the free fair, which the
former made an attempt to remove. A compromise, however, took place,
in consequence of the royal interference, and the regulations of the fair
were preserved. These disputes were very frequent, and sometimes
resulted in acts of open hostility, which both parties practised to an
unwarrantable extent. The barons of the Cinque Ports were always
jealous of the increasing importance of the town of Yarmouth. A
proposition was made to constitute this town one of the ports, but for
some reason it was not carried out.

At the commencement of the reign of Edward III., Yarmouth was a
naval station of considerable importance, and had eighty ships with fore*
castles and forty without. In 1337 the Yarmouth fleet consisted of twenty
men-of-war, and conveyed the plenipotentiaries of King Edward III. to
the Court of Hainault. The King embarked on board of this fleet in
1342 on his expedition into Brittany, but while he lay entrenched before
Viennes, Prince Lewis of Spain dispersed the fleet, and thus drove Edward
to great straits from want of provisions.

Although the early Kings of England had been accustomed to encourage
the migration of foreigners hither, it was not till the reign of Edward III.
that any decided progress was made in manufactures. That sagacious
monarch desired that the people of his realm should be as independent as
possible of foreign supply. He accordingly invited the distressed Flemish
artisans to come over and settle in England, with the view of teaching
his people the art of spinning, weaving, and dyeing the best kinds of
cloth. He sent abroad agents to induce them to emigrate, promising
them protection, and holding out liberal offers to such as should accept his
invitation.



EASTERN ENGLAND IN THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. 581

The representations of the King's agents were effectual. But another
circumstance contributed to hasten the exodus o£ the Flemings. This was
the outbreak of the war between France and England in 1336. Philip de
Valois, the French King, stirred up Louis do Nevers, the Count of Flan-
ders, to strike a blow against England in his behalf, and an order was
issued for the arrest of all the English then in the Low Countries. The
order was executed, but it was soon felt that the blow had been struck at
Flanders rather than against England. Edward IIL at once retahated by
entirely prohibiting the export of English wool, as well as the import of
Flemish cloth. The Flemings found themselves at once deprived of their
supply of raw material, and shut out from one of their chief markets for
the sale of their goods. At the same time the King repeated his invita-
tion to the Flemish artisans to come over to England, where they would
be amply supplied with wool, and provided with a ready market for all the
cloth they could produce. He granted a charter for the express purpose
of protecting such foreign artizans as might settle in England. These
measures proved successful in a high degree.

The value of our English wool was not unknown to our ancestors even
at the time of the Conquest, as appears from Domesday Book, where the
sheep of every manor are exactly registered; but yet the manufacture of
it was done by foreigners, and the value of it then consisted in the goods
that were imported in exchange for it, and this so continued till the reign
of Henry L, when an inundation in Holland drove numbers of Dutch
people into Norfolk, where they first settled at Worstead, and introduced
the art of weaving stuffs.

In the reign of Edward IH. a great many Flemings, being encouraged
by that King, came over the sea, and landing at Yarmouth, settled at
Norwich, Worstead, Lavenham, and Sudbury, and extended the worsted
or stuff manufacture. Soon after this, Norwich became one of the most
flourishing towns in all England, in consequence of its great trade in
worsted, fringes, fustians, and other goods, so that many thousands
were employed in the manufacture, and being well paid could live well.
Indeed this trade became the chief support of the citizens for centuries.

The year 1336 is memorable for the great increase of Flemish stuffs or
worsted manufacture, which proved the most advantageous trade to the
nation in general, and to Norfolk in particular, that was ever introduced
amongst any people. There is is no doubt that it was first introduced at
Worstead from its name, which occurs in the most ancient notices of it.
No doubt the goods being made at Worstead, caused them to be called
Worstead stuffs, just as similar goods made at Norwich afterwards were
called Norwich stuffs.

In 1336 Edward III.j in order to promote trade, appointed divers



582 HISTORY OF EASTEEN ENGLAND.

staples for wool and sheep skins and other commodities, among which
Norwich was the only one appointed in Norfolk and Suffolk. They were
so called from the Saxon word staple which signifies the stay or hold of
anything, because by command the merchants of England were obliged
to carry their wool, wool fells, clothes, &c., thither for sale, no one daring
to dispose of such goods but in such staple towns, so that all trading '
places were very desirous of being staple in order to increase trade.

The Flemish weavers, who had been the victims of monopoly in
Brabant, had scarcely established themselves in Bast Anglia ere the hard
lessons which their fathers had learned were forgotten and the trades
unions of the Low Countries were copied to the letter. The usual
methods of maintaining prices and wages were enforced, long apprentice-
ships, limitation in the number of apprentices, and vigorous exclusion of
all strangers ; and when the native population at length came to learn the
secrets of the trade, they, too, in their turn sought to exclude the very
Flemings who had taught them the trade. At last the King was obliged
to interfere for the protection of the foreigners. He issued a proclama-
tion declaring the Flemish workmen to be under his protection, and the
native violence was for a time held in check. The evils arising from the
absurd restrictions of the Norwich guilds were, however, less easy of
correction, but they brought their own punishment and in course of time
wrought their own cure. They drove away many workmen who could
not or would not comply with their regulations ; and they prevented other
workmen from settling in the city and carrying on their trade. The
consequence was that the foreign artisans proceeded to other places,
mostly in the north of England, and these laid the foundations of the
great manufacturing towns of Manchester, Leeds, and Sheffield ; whilst
the trade of Norwich itself languished, and many of its houses stood
empty. To remedy these evils, which the cupidity of the Norwich guilds
had brought upon the city, the Flemish artisans were again induced to
settle in it, as the guildmen could not yet dispense with the skill and
industry of the strangers. Thus the prosperity of the city was again
restored.

In 1336 John de Warrenne, the last earl, of Castleacre, Norfolk, made
a grant of his patrimony to Edward III., but that monarch returned the
lands to the earl with the express stipulation that in the event of his
decease, as he had no children, the property should revert to Eichard, son
of Edward, Earl of Arundel, and Alice his wife ; and in 1347 the castle
and manor of Acre, with the greater part of the possession of the De
Warrennes, passed to Richard Fitz Alan, Earl of Arundel, a nephew of
the last De Warrenne, in conformity with the prudent arrangement of
the King to that effect,



EASTERN ENGLAND IN THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. 583

In 1339 Edward III., being on a ^nsitto Walton, confirmed the charters
of Ipswich and granted further immnnities, but in 1845 he for some time
disfranchised the borough, on account of an insult received there at the
assizes by a judge named Sharford from some sailors, who thinking his
lordship stayed too long at dinner, one of them in a frohc took his seat
upon the Bench and caused another to make proclamation, requiring
William Sharford to come into court and save his fine, and as the judge
did not appear, ordered him to be fined. The judge, who was a morose
man, so highly resented this joke, that because the magistrates refused to
apprehend the sailors, he prevailed upon the King to seize the borough
and to place it under the government of the Sheriff" of Norfolk and
Suff'olk ; but before the end of the year it was again under the control of
the baih'ffs.

In 1340, the fifteenth year of this reign (Edward III.), the King
appointed a tournament to be held at Norwich, and at the same time
prohibited all such tournaments from being held elsewhere, and writs were
accordingly directed to all the sheriff's in England. This tournament
began on February 14th, 1340, being St. Valentine's Day, and continued
till Easter. The King and Queen PhilHppa, his wife, came to Norwich to
see it and stayed some time, for then Sir Robert de Bourchier, his Lord
Chancellor, came fi-om London to him in the city, leaving the great seal
behind him, and did not return till the 3rd of March following, soon after
which the King, Queen, and court left the city, where they had lodged in
the monastery. They visited the city again in 1342 and 1344. In 1350
there was another grand tournament in the city, on Monday, being the
feast of St. Nicholas. The bishop, and Edward Prince of Wales,
commonly called Edward the Black Prince, from the colour of his armour,
were present at the tournament, as appears by the treasurer's accounts of
that year, the Prince being then invited by the city to a grand entertainment
provided for him at the public expense, which came to £37 4s. 6d. Sir
William de Uffbrd and many others of the nobility were with him, but
the Qugen is not mentioned in the accounts of that year. The tourna-
ment is said to have taken place at the Gildencroft, so named from the
gorgeous pageantries then displayed when Edward the Black Prince
showed his knightly prowess in the presence of great crowds of admiring
spectators. The Gildencroft was an enclosed green on the north side of
the city. In subsequent times it was converted into a burial ground.

Sir Robert Sail of Oxnead, Norfolk, was one of a family of good
repute, and knighted by Edward III. for his singular stature. He was in
person one of the stoutest knights in England, and he was governor of
the Castle of Mark near Calais. He purchased all the reversion of
lordships in Bucks, Essex, and in Middlesex, after the death of lady



584 HISTORY OP EASTEEN ENGLAND.

Margaret Trussell. In 1381 lie was treaclierously killed by the rebels in
a barbarous manner.

In 1340, Jobn Perebournej a burgess of Yarmouth, was made Admiral
of the King's North vSea Fleet of 240 sail, which, whilst conveying King
Edward III. on his intended invasion of France, met with the French
Fleet of 400 ships near Sluys, assembled to oppose Edward's progress,
and a furious battle ensued on June 13th, in which the French were
entirely defeated, with the loss of 230 ships and 30,000 men.

In 1340, the manor of Ingoldisthorpe devolved to the family of Sir
Richard de Walkefare. Of this family Sir Thomas de Walkefare signalised
himself at the Battle of Poictiers in France, and in the thirty-first of
Edward III. had from that King a safe conduct for his prisoner. Sir
Tristram de Mugalies for Bromard, Gerrard de Brois and Megerdos, the
scuten or esquires of the said Sir Tristram, or for his three valets, to go
on horseback or on foot to France, to procure his ransom.

In 1346, at the taking of Calais, Yarmouth assisted the King with
forty -three ships, having on board 1075 mariners ; more than came from
any sea port in England.

In the twentieth year of the reign of Edward III., 1347, we find the
bailifis, burgesses, and other inhabitants of Yarmouth, presenting a
petition to the King for liberty to cut a haven nearer to the town than the
old channel at the North End, it having been nearly silted up. The King
immediately granted their request in consideration of their worthy service
at Sluys in Flanders, they having supplied fifty-two ships for the King's
service. The new haven thus obtained was but a temporary relief, for
though it cost a large sum to keep up, in twenty-six years it was so
choked with sand, that no ships could enter it, so that they were under
the necessity of being unloaded at Kirkley Road. This being stated to
the King (Edward III.), he was pleased to unite Kirkley Road to the port
of Yarmouth, on payment of 100 shillings per annum, and to grant
power to the port to receive the same duties at Kirkley Road as at
Yarmouth.

But this union of Kirkley road to Yarmouth was not efiected without
great opposition on the part of the inhabitants of Lowestoft, on account
of the advantages that attended the unloading of ships there, the owners
of the ships refusing to pay the ancient customs due to the port of
Yarmouth, which occasioned the burgesses to apply to the King, who
thereupon granted a writ of ad qiiod damnum, in his forty -fourth year,
directed to the escheator of Norfolk and Suffolk, and two inquisitions
were accordingly held, and a charter was granted for uniting Kirkley
Road to Yarmouth.

Notwithstanding this encouragement given to the burgesses, and their



EASTERN ENGLAND IN THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. 585

troubles and expenses in making tliis second haven, in sixteen years after
tliey found it as bad as the former, and navigation was again at a stand.

In this fourteenth century Lynn stood high among our seaports with
regard to shipping. Hence, as long ago as 1347, when Edward III. was
fitting out an expedition against France, and required his principal seaports
to furnish him ships, he had nineteen ships from Lynn, when London only
sent twenty-four, Bristol twenty-five, Plymouth twenty-six. Sandwich
twenty-two, Dover twenty-one, Weymouth twenty, Newcastle seventeen,
Hull sixteen, Harwich fourteen, and Ipswich only twelve. Thus Lynn
appears then to have been one of the first seaports as to the number of
its ships.

In 1347 the port of Dunwich sent six ships with 102 mariners to assist
in the siege of Calais during the war -snth France, but most of the ships
were lost with the lives of all the men and goods, to the value of £1000.
During the twelve months' siege of Calais by Edward III. the seamen of
the eastern coast took an active part. Colchester alone sent five ships
and 170 mariners, and after the celebrated battle of Cressy, the custody
of some of the prisoners was committed to the bailiffs of that town.

A chapter of horrors might be written descriptive of the plagues,
pestilences, famines, floods, and fires which devastated the Eastern Counties
for two hundred years after the Conquest. The darkness and gloom of
the physical world seemed to correspond with the superstitions and vices
of the people. The dark ages were ages of terrible calamities, and
England was then a terrible country to live in. Plagues and pestilences
now and again desolated the whole land. Norfolk and Suffolk did not
escape the ravages of diseases, emphatically named the '''Black Death.''

A dreadful plague broke out in the year 1349 in the Eastern Counties,
and 57,000 persons died in the diocese of Norwich, including Norfolk and
Suffolk. Upwards of 7000 persons died of this malady in Yarmouth, and
were buried in St. Nicholas' Churchyard. In every part of the town
desolation prevailed, most of the houses were shut up, and all commerce
was suspended. In Norwich about one-third of the inhabitants were
swept away by the plague, and all trade was destroyed. Bishop Bateman
collated 800 persons in his diocese to vacant benefices, so that at least
one-half of his clergy must have died or fled away during the prevalence
of the malady.

Soon after, the city rapidly prospered, and was visited by the most
distinguished personages in the state, to many of whom loans were
advanced. Its walls and towers were kept in a state of completeness
and repair and constantly guarded, and the political influence of the
citizens was felt throughout the country.

In 1351 the city was fined 100 marks for using false weights and



586 HISTORY OP EASTERN ENGLAND.

measiires_, and this practice had become so general that the fines in
Norfolk alone for this fraud amounted to more than £1000. Such was
the dishonesty of the county in that age.

The great pestilence of 1349 led to such a dearth of labourers that
those who survived demanded exorbitant remuneration^ and it became
necessary that the government should at least attempt to regulate the
price of labour. Of course rulers were ignorant of the true laws of
supply and demand_, and were not anxious to legislate in favour of the
white slaves of England. The statute of labourers (twenty-third Ed. III.)
made it imperative on every able-bodied person to do some work for
small pay ; but there is no doubt that working people were better lodged
and fed in that long reign than they have been ever since.

The statute of labourers proves^ however, that they were exposed to
great annoyances, and were in a condition far below the state of political
independence which they now enjoy; they were often compelled to do
certain work, as is shown from such writs as the following, referring to
the erection of Windsor Castle : — " Know ye that we have charged our
friend William of Walsingham to take from our city of London as many
painters as he shall need, to set them to work in our pay and to keep
them as long as they are needed. If any be refractory let him be
arrested and kept in one of our prisons, there to abide till further orders."
On January loth, 1361, there arose so furious a storm of wind from the
south-west as to throw down the tower of Norwich Cathedral, which
falling on the choir, demolished a great part of it. The storm raged vio-
lently for six or seven days, and was followed by a prodigious fall of rain,
which caused incredible damage by inundations. Where the inundations
occurred is not stated in the local histories, but it in Norwich the damage
must have been great indeed. The same year there happened a great
dearth, attended by the plague. This was called the second pestilence.

In 1369 the plague broke out afresh in Norwich and Norfolk and in all
the Eastern Counties, and carried off great numbers of people very sud-
denly. Yet in 1371 the citizens of Norwich were commanded to furnish
the King with a good barge sufl&ciently equipped for war to serve against
his enemies, the Spaniards and French.

About 1390 a great mortality broke out in Norwich, caused by the
people eating unwholesome food, not from a scarcity of corn, but from
the want of money to buy it. The plague raged greatly in Norfolk and
in many other counties, and was nearly equal in severity to the first great
pestilence.

In the fourteenth century, forty years after the date of the London
charter, the city of Norwich, emulous of the example of the Metropolis,
fancied that it would add to their importance if they, too, possessed in-



EASTERX ENGLAND IN THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. 587

signia emblematic of their dignity. Having favoured the pretensionf? of
Henry, Duke of Lancaster (son of John of Gaunt), he presented them
■with a sword, which on his ascending the throne, he permitted the Mayor
and Sheriffs to have carried before them with the points erect, in the pre-
sence of all lords or nobles of the realm, whether they were of the Eoyal
blood or not, excepting only in his' own presence and that of his heirs.

The use of the sword as an emblem of municipal authority is not
traceable in this country before the Norman Conquest, and indeed it is
doubtful whether an object of any kind or shape was employed until the
example was set by the Metropolis in the fourteenth century. The most
ancient and general symbol of authority was the mace, which was
originally an implement of war, invented for the purpose of breaking
through the steel helmets or armour of the cavalry in the middle ages.
About 136G, the Serjeants of the City of London were empowered by
Royal charter to carry maces of gold or silver, or plated with silver and
ornamented with the Royal arms.

In the reign of Edward IIL lived John Baconthorp, commonly called
the subtle doctor. He was born at an obscure village in Norfolk, and
educated in a monastery of Carmelites at Blakeney, after which he went
to Oxford and thence to Paris, where he distinguished himself by his
metaphysical knowledge. On his return to England, he was appointed
principal of his order, and was sent to Rome to deliver his opinion on
some points then in dispute concerning marriage, when he declared that
the Pope had an inherent right to dispense with the laws of God, for
which he was severely censured by his brethren, and obliged to sign a
formal recantation. He was a strong supporter of the philosophy of
Averrves, and wrote many books, which are all forgotten. He died in
London in 1346.

In this reign of Edward HI., the manor of Docking, Norfolk, was
possessed by Wilham Zouch, Lord Haringworth, in right of his wife, the
daughter and heiress of John, Lord Lovell. This William, Lord Zouch,
was a great warrior, and accompanied the King in many of his expeditions
into France and Scotland. From John, Lord Zouch, this manor passed
to Sir Thomas L^Estrange in the twenty-first of Henry VIIL, and it
remained in the family of L'Estrange till the end of the reign of
Elizabeth. It then came to the female heirs of Sir John Zouch of
Derbyshire, and from them to the family of the Hovells in the time of
James I.

Sir Oliver Hingham, of Hingham in Norfolk, flourished in the reign of
Edward III. He was a valiant man, whom that King left governor of
Aquitaine, in France, with but a few men against a numerous enemy, yet
he gave a good account of his trust, for when the French lay before



588 HISTORY OP EASTERN ENGLAND.

Bourdeaux, the citizens there set open their gates^ and raised the golden
lilies upon their towers as if they surrendered, but brave Oliver, who was
governor of the city and country, gave them so warm a reception, '' that



Online LibraryA. D BayneRoyal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 67 of 70)