G. G. (George Gordon) Coulton.

A medieval garner; human documents from the four centuries preceding the reformation online

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resurrection, that is to say, those who rose again with

Clirist and came into the Holy City and appeared unto

many. He will tell also of the Apostles' Creed and

how tlie}^ separated and how they preached ; and all

this without laughter or any levity of speech, without

any note of blame or rebuke, as one who is rather busied

with weeping and the fear of the Lord, ever hearing

and ever bearing in mind the coming of Jesus Christ

with fire to judge the world, lest he may find Him

wroth at that Last Day of trial. Whom as He hastened

on to His Passion he mocked and provoked to that

merited vengeance. Many come to him from the

farthest parts of the world, delighting to see him and

speak with him ; and if they be trustworthy men he

will briefly solve their questions on doubtful matters.

He refuseth all gifts offered to him, contenting himself

with moderate food and raiment. Therein lieth ever

his hope of salvation, that he erred in ignorance ; seeing

that the Lord said and prayed : ' Father, forgive

them, for they know not what they do.' For Paul,

after sinning in ignorance, obtained grace, and likewise

Peter also, who denied his Lord through frailty, that

is, through fear ; but Judas, who betrayed Him

through the iniquity of covetousness, hanged himself

with a rope and his bowels burst forth, and he ended

his unhappy life without hope of heaven. Upon such

reasons does this Cartaphilus set his hope of indulgence,

and thus doth he defend his error." Again we enquired

of the aforesaid archbishop concerning Noah's ark,

which is said still to rest on the mountains of Armenia,

and of many other things. He said that this is true,

and gave his testimony to the truth ; for the reverence

of his person, and his testimony, sealed as it were witii

the seal of his honour, impressed faith upon the minds

of his hearers, and confirmed his story by the seal of

reason. Moreover, the full truth of these things is

testified by a certain noble knight, valiant in war,

284 A Medieval Garner.

Richard d'Argenton, who devoutly visited the east in
his own person as a pilgrim, together with many others,
and died afterwards as a bishop.

In the earliest version of the following story, immortalized by Burne-
Jones, the hero is St. John Gualbert, founder of the Order of Vallom-
brosa, who died in 1073. For other forms see A. G. Little, Liber Exem-
florum (1908), pp. 155-6 : but this of Matthew Paris is perhaps the
most vivid narrative of all.

137— Clje i^nigtjt anu tfte Crucifir.

|.D. 1232. In the reign of the said King
Richard [I.], a certain English knight who
dwelt in the New Forest, and had long been
wont to hunt the King's deer by stealth, was
caught one day with his stolen venison and
banished by sentence of the King's court. For thus
had this King, most merciful in time of peace, tempered
the law of deerstealing ; whereas under his predecessors
all who were taken in this misdeed lost their eyes, their
hands, or their feet, or suffered other nameless mutila-
tions. But to the good King Richard such a sentence
seemed too inhuman, that men made in God's image
should stand in peril of life or limb for the sake of
beasts which are by natural law common to all men ;
nay, he thought that in this he would himself be more
than a beast. . . . The knight therefore was banished
as aforesaid ; and he, who had before rejoiced in
choice delicacies, must needs beg his bread now among
strangers with his wife and children. Coming there-
fore at length to himself, he thought to implore the
king's mercy, that he might earn the restoration of
his inheritance ; wherefore, coming to the King in
Normandy, he found him at early morn in a certain
church, whither he was come to hear mass. Into which
church he entered trembling, not daring to raise his
eyes to the king, who, being one of the comeliest of
men to see, was yet terrible to behold at such times.
The knight therefore betook himself to the crucifix,

The Knight and the Crucifix. 285

before which he bowed again and again on his knees
with bitter tears, beseeching that Crucified One with
all humility that He, in His ineffable clemency, might
mercifully restore him to the king's grace, and that
he might recover his lost heritage. The king, seeing
how earnestly the knight prayed, with what tears and
unfeigned devotion, beheld in him a marvel worthy of
record. For as often as the knight (whom he knew
to be none of his own train) bowed his knees to adore
that image, the crucifix for his part inclined his head
and neck most humbly to his genuflections ; which the
king marvelled to see agam and again, and was moved
to admiration. When therefore the mass was ended,
the king straightway summoned that knight to speak
with him, and enquired closely who and whence he
might be. To whom he answered trembling : " My
lord, I am your liegeman, as were all my ancestors " ;
and told in jrder how he had been caught stealing the
deer, and deprived of his inheritance, and banished
with all his family. Then said the kmg, " Didst thou
ever in thy life any good deed for reverence and honour
of the Holy Cross ? " Then the knight, casting care-
fully back m his memory, told the king what he had
once done in such reverence. " My father," said he,
" once divided a certain village with another
knight, each possessing his moiety by inheritance.
My father abounded in all riches ; wherefore the other,
ever poor and needy, was moved by envy to lie in wait
and slay him. I therefore, being then a boy, when I
was come of age and had been confirmed in the posses-
sion of mine heritage, purposed immoveably to slay
that Imight in revenge for my father's murder ; but
he was forewarned, and craftily kept himself for many
years against the snares which I had carefully laid for
him. At last, on a Good Friday, whereon Christ Jesus
suffered the cross for the world's salvation, as I hastened
to Church for divine service, I saw mine enemy before
me and bent upon the same purpose ; wherefore I
drew my sword and ran after him. But he, looking
beliind by chance and seeing how swiftly I hastened
towards him, fled to a wayside cross ; for he was

2 86 A Medieval Garner.

broken with age and unable to defend himself. When
therefore I had raised my sword and would have slain
him while he embraced the arms of the cross, as I was
even ready to scatter his brains on the earth, then he
adjured me to spare his life, in His name Who hung
that day on the tree for the whole world's salvation ;
vowing the while and solemnly promising that he would
endow a chaplaincy for ever to sing funeral masses
for the soul of my father whom he had slain. The
sight of this weeping greybeard stirred my bowels ;
wherefore, overcome with pity, I returned my sword
to its sheath and forbore to touch him. Thus then,
for love and reverence for that life-bringing cross, I
pardoned my father's murderer." Then the King
answered and said, " And thou didst wisely : for now
hath the Crucified made thee a full return." Then,
calling the bishops and barons who were there present,
he revealed to all men the vision that he had seen :
to wit, how the crucifix had humbly bent his head and
neck at each genuflexion of the knight. Then, calling
forthwith for his Chancellor, he bade him send letters
patent to the Sheriff whom that knight should name,
commanding him, as soon as he should have read them,
to restore all his lands as fully as he had received them
when the knight had been banished ; and (as we believe)
this merciful act of pious King Richard, with other
deeds of his, freed him from the peril of damnation
and released him the sooner from torment.

138.— an Drfotn IBxmi

N this year [1238] the pope's legate came to
Oxford and was received as was fitting with
the highest honours ; he was lodged in the
house of the canons, that is, the Abbey of
Oseney. Now the clerks of the University
sent him before dinner-time an honourable present of
meat and drink : and after dinner, they came to his
lodging to salute him and pay him a visit of respect.










An Oxford Brawl 287

But when they came to his lodging, a certain Italian
doorkeeper, with most unbecoming and deplorable
levity, holding the door just ajar, and raising his voice
as these Romans are wont to do, cried : " What seek
ye here ? " To which the clerks replied : " We seek
the lord legate, for we would fain salute him " ;
believing naturally that they should receive honour in
return for honour. But the porter railed at them,
refusing rudely, and with proud and evil words, to
admit any one. The clerks, seeing this, forced their
vray in by an impetuous rush. Then the Romans,
wishing to drive them back, began to smite them with
rod and with fist ; and while these contending parties
exchanged abuse and blows, it fell out that a certain
poor Irish chaplain w^as standing at the kitchen door,
begging importunately enough, in God's name, for a
morsel of food, like a poor half-starved \vretch that he
was. Now the legate, to guard against poison, which he
feared greatly, had appointed his own brother, as one
w^hom he could trust, to the post of chief cook ; which
man now hearing the poor chaplain, yet in his wrath
not Vv'aiting to hear him to the end, cast into his face
hot water from the caldron in which fat flesh was
seething. At this outrage, a certain clerk from the
Welsh marches cried aloud : " For shame, w^hy endure
we thus far ? " and, drawing the bow which he bare
(for, as the tumult waxed hotter, some of the clerks
had caught up such arms as lay to hand) he smote the
cook (whom the clerks called in jest Nabuzardan, that
is, the chief cook)* with an arrow through the body.
The man sank dead to the ground, and a tumult arose.
The legate, dismayed, caught up his canonical cope and
fled to the church tower, locking all the doors behind
him. . . . The infuriated clerks ceased not to seek him
even in the secret recesses of the private chambers,
shouting as they went : " Where is that usurer, that
simoniac, robber of revenues and insatiate of money,
who, perverting our king and subverting our kingdom,

* II Kings, XXV. 8 ; but both A.V. and Douay translate this as a
military office.

288 A Medieval Gamer.

plunders us to fill strangers' coffers ? " While the
fugitive legate, in his hiding-place, heard still the
shouts of such as sought him, then he said within him-
self in the words of the poet : " When madness hath its
course, yield to the course of madness " : and, bear-
ing all in patience, he became as a man that heareth

not, and that hath no reproofs in his mouth

So when, as we have said, he had with difficulty crossed
the river with few followers, since the ferry was small
and the rest of his men hid in the abbey, then came he
breathless and troubled to the king's presence, and
set forth all things in order as they had happened both
to the king and those that sat with him, with tears and
sobs that interrupted his speech, complaining most
bitterly of those things. The king was amazed ; and,
moved to great pity by his lamentable speech, he sent
Earl de Warenne with a troop of armed men to Oxford
to rescue the Romans from their hiding-places, and
to arrest the scholars, among whom Master Odo,
Doctor of Laws, was truculently seized and cast
ignominiously into chains, with thirty others, in the
castle-dungeons of Wallingford, which is hard by
Oxford. Meanwhile the legate, having broken the
snare and escaped, called together certain bishops and
laid Oxford under an interdict, and excommunicated
all those who had consented to so enormous a misdeed.
Afterwards these scholars were carried to London in
tumbrils, like robbers, at the legate's command, where
again they were cast into prison and bonds and strict
guard, and despoiled of their revenues, and smitten
with excommunication. The legate, though his purpose
had been to ride northwards, turned now and came
back to London, and scarce dared to dwell in the royal
hostel of the bishop of Durham, where he was commonly
lodged. The King, for his part, sent word to London
that the mayor and all the citizens should keep that
legate by a sure and armed watch, as the apple of their
eye. Meanwhile the legate, in virtue of his authority
from the Pope, commanded straitly that the archbishop
of York and all the bishops of England should assemble
in London to treat in common of the perilous state of

An Oxford Brawl. 289

the church and clergy on the 17th of May ; on which
day they came together, and the bishops sought
earnestly how they might safeguard the clerical status
of the University as scarce less precious than the church i
itself ; to whom the legate consented, saving always
the honour of the Roman church, lest it should be said
to his dishonour that he who had come to reform the
clergy and church AA-^as rather deforming them. At
length the bishops and all the clergy present pleaded
that the riot had been begun by his own household,
and that the scholars had at last been worsted in the'
struggle. " Already," said they, " many of them are
east into prison at your will ; and the rest, obeying
your commands, are ready humbly to submit in any
place not more than three days' journey from Oxford.
Ye should therefore lean to mercy at the petition of
so many and so grave men. At length it was agreed
that the legate should forgive them on these terms
following : that all the scholars there assembled,
attended by the bishops on foot, should go themselves
on foot from St. Paul's Cathedral, which was about
a mile distant from the legate's lodging : then, as soon
as they came to the house of the bishop of Carlisle,
from that spot onward they should advance even to
the legate's lodging without their copes and mantles,
ungirt and barefooted, begging humbly for pardon,
whereupon they should have pardon and mercy : and
thus it was done.

Odo Rigaldi (Eudes Rigaud) was of noble birtli ; he joined the
Franciscans in 1236 and studied at their convent in Paris, where he
became Professor of Theology in 1242. In 1248 he was chosen Arch-
bishop of Rouen, a dignity which he accepted only after much hesitation.
He earned the personal friendship of St. Louis, whom he accompanied
on his second Crusade (1269) and who named him one of his executors.
Contemporary anecdotes show him not only as a saint but also as a wit.
A clerical buffoon once ventured to ask him across the table, " What is
the difference, my lord, betwixt Rigaud and Ribaud [rascal?] " "Only
this board's breadth," rephed the Archbishop. In 1274 he was one
of the three great churchmen chosen by Gregory X. to preside at the
Ecumenical Council of Lyons, one of his colleagues being his fellow-

290 A Medieval Garner.

Franciscan St. Bonaventura. He died in 1275. Odo's work in his
ovm diocese earned liim the title of The Model of Good Life ; he has
left a voluminous diary of the years 1248-1269 which is the most
interesting of all existing episcopal registers, and from which, even if
all other documents had perished, we could reconstitute pretty exactly
the inner history of a medieval diocese. See St. Francis to Dante,
pp. 289 ff. and 428 ff. (2nd Edition), where among other data I give a
full translation of his first visitation of a rural deanery. I give here his
report on the next six deaneries, containing 217 parishes and 1 chapelry
— that is, as many as small modern dioceses like Llandaff (225) or St.
Asaph (204), and half as many as Lichfield (456). The reports give of
course only the seamy side ; but I omit all Odo's threats and discipli-
nary measures, and also his reports on habitual incontinents, who
amounted to about 15 in every 100 parishes. With his monastic visita-
tions I hope to deal fully in another book.

139.— ji^otman parisf) Priests.

AN. 16, 1248-9. Deanery of Bures. The priest
of Pomerevalle is in evil repute and still ill-
famed of tavern-haunting ; he confesseth
not to the Penitentiary, and is drunken.
Item, William, priest of Mesnieres, is ill-famed
of trading, and keepeth farms to which he goeth often-
times, so that divine service is diminished in his church.
Item, the priest of Lortiey weareth his cassock* but
seldom, and confesseth not to the Penitentiary, and is
drunken. Item, the priest of Aulayge is grievously
ill-noted of drunkenness and tavern-haunting. Item,
we found that a certain chaplain of Meulers sang a
certain mass for hire on Christmas Eve.

Jan. 18. Deanery of Aumale. The priest of Morville
is ill-famed of drunkenness and haunteth taverns,

* Church synods attempted constantly but vainly to compel the
clergy to wear decent attire— i.e. a cafa clausa, or closed cassock, reach-
ing at least below the knees, of neither red nor green, which were spe-
cially worldly colours. Some ten years before this date, the Council of
Rouen fuhninated afresh against clerics who neglected their tonsure,
and who went about in tabards or jackets : the offending garments
were to be confiscated and given to leper-houses. Odo, strict discipli-
narian as he was, shows no sign of having carried this rule into practice :
the Rouen synods of 1279 and 1313 were compelled to deal again with
the same matter.

Norman Priests. 291

item of exacting money for the marriage-benediction.
Item, Peter, priest of St. Valery, hii'eth land to sow.
Robert de Poys, priest, is ill-famed of trading ; he hath
promised us to desist.

Jan. 19. Deanery of Foucarmont. We found the
priest of Neuilly ill-famed of trading, and ill-treating
his father who is the patron of his benefice ; and he
fought bodily with drawn sword against a certain
knight, with hue and cry and the help of his kinsfolk
and friends. Item, the priest of Bazinval haunteth
taverns. Itein, the priest of Vieux-Rouen goeth about
with a sword at his side and in unhonest garb. Item,
the priest of Bouafles weareth no cassock and selleth
his corn at a dearer price on account of a certain day.*
Item, the priest of Hamies is a leper, as it is thought.
Item, the priest of Ecouis is a dicer and a player of
quoits t ; he refused to take the pledged faith of
espousal from a man, because he had not restored a
legacy of his father ; he haunteth taverns. Item, the
priest of Petra hath celebrated mass, though suspended
from his functions, t Iteiyi, the priest of St. Remy is
ill-famed of drunkenness, weareth no cassock, playeth
at dice, haunteth the tavern and is there oftentimes
beaten. § Item, the priest of Gilemerville dwelleth not

* i.e. makes usurious bargains out of other men's necessities, which
rendered him ij)So facto excommunicate : see Busch. No. 298.

t Many most respectable games enjoyed an evil reputation in the
Middle Ages on account of the gambling and quarrels which accom-
panied them. With regard to dicing, Odo's friend St. Louis discour-
aged it even among the laity : in this same year 1248 Joinville tells us
(§405) " One day he asked what the Count of Anjou was doing ; and
they told him he was playing at tables with my lord Walter of Nemours.
And he went thither tottering, for he v.'as weak by reason of sickness ;
and he took the dice and the tables, and threw them into the sea ; and
he was very wroth with his brother because he had so soon taken to
playing at dice. But my Lord Walter came ofi best, for he threw all
the moneys on the table into his own lap — and they were very many —
and carried them away."

I This again entailed excommunication ipso facto : see the first
extract from St. Bonaventura, No. 16i'.

§ Et ihi multitociens verberatiir. It is very probable that this is a
Gallicism meaning simply that he often fights there.

292 A Medieval Garner.

in his parish, as he should, nor weareth the cassock,
and sometimes he loseth his garments in taverns.*
Item, Robert, priest of Campneuseville, hath no cassock.
Item, the priest of St. Martin du Bois is htigious and
a wanderer {vagdbundus). Item, the priest of Pierrepont
is drunken, and playeth at dice and quoits. Item,
Master Walter, priest of Grandcourt, is ill-famed of
overmuch drinking. Item., from Robert, priest of S.
Mary's church at Mortemer, (whom we found grievously
ill-famed of misbehaviour, litigiousness, and tavern-
haunting,) we have the letters here below, f Item,
the priest of Realcamp, corrected by the archdeacon,
had promised that in case of relapse he would hold his
benefice as resigned ifso facto, and hath since relapsed,
even as he sometimes also loseth his garments in
taverns. We have denounced the aforesaid priest as
i'pso facto deprived of the aforesaid church. Item.,
we found that the priest of Mesnil-David, oftentimes
corrected by the archdeacon, hath relapsed, and it is
said that he hath celebrated in spite of suspension,
wherefore we have bidden him purge himself in form
of law from these accusations, or we would proceed
to an inquisition against him.t To which he answered
that he would take counsel hereupon : we therefore
have assigned him a day to answer these things.

* i.e. at dice. Cf. Caes. Heist. Dial. IV. 44, and the two parodies of
Church Services in Carmina Burana, Nos. 189, 196 ; and again the
songs 193, 195 : — " When a man hath drunk his tunic. Let him dice
away his shirt ! " This is illustrated in the sketch-book of Villard de
Honnecourt, from which the accompanying illustration is facsimiled :
another similar picture may be found in Wright's Homes of Other Bays,
p. 230.

f From the worst sinners — for these priests of Mortemer and Real-
camp were habitually unchaste also — Odo exacted letters promissory
that they would resign their benefices in case of relapse,

\ The allusion is here to the process called compurgation. A
clerk accused in the bishop's court could clear himself by bringing a
certain number of fellow-clergy (or sometimes, of neighbours) to swear
with him to their belief in his innocence. This procedure was notori-
ously a great temptation to perjury : see Rashdall, Universities of
Europe in the Middle Ages, II., 410, 417, and From St. Francis to Dante
(2nd Ed.), p. 430.

294 A Medieval Garner.

Jan. 20. Deanery of Neufchdtel. Adam, priest of
Neuilly, hath been corrected for drunkenness by the
Archdeacon. Item, the priest of Sommery resideth not
in his parish as he should, and rideth abroad like a
vagabond. Item, Thomas, priest of Mesnil-Mauger, is
said to buy and sell horses and to trade in other ways.
Item the priest of Fosse cometh not to [ruridecanal]
chapters, nor to the synod. Item Master Robert de
Houssaye, parson of Conteville, is ill-famed of drunken-
ness and dHapidation [of church property] ; he vexeth
folk and dwelleth not in his parish. Item the priest of
Malacopula frequenteth assizes and lay courts. Item
the priest of Lucy exacteth from each woman 13 pence ;
even though the child die before the churching, he
will not church the mother until she pay 13 pence.
Item the priest of Haucourt buyeth and holdeth land
on farm from the abbess of Buieval. The priest of
Nogent hath no cassock. The priest of Louvechamp
keepeth hunting hounds. Item the priests of Salicosa
Mara and Beaubec have no cassocks.

Jan. 22. Deanery of Eu. We found the priest of
Panliu ill-famed of drunkenness ; he selleth his wine
and maketh his parishioners drunken. The priest of
Auberville resideth not in his parish as he should.
The [rural] Dean is ill-famed of exacting money, and
it is said that he had forty shillings from the priest
of Essigny for dealing gently with him in his inconti-
nence. The prior of Criel is ill-famed of trading : he
selleth rams. The priest of St. Aignan is unhonestly
dressed ; item the priest of Berneval is a trader in
cider, com, and salt. Item the priest of Bouville
selleth wine, as it is said.

Jan. 27. Deanery of Envermeu. Renier, priest of
Jonquieres, is ill-famed of drunkenness ; so also William
and Ralph, priests of Bailly, who have been corrected
by the Archdeacon. Item Robert, priest of Derchigny,
of trading and taking farms. Item the priest of St.
Sulpice is drunken ; item the priest of Sauchay-in-
the-Forest celebrates though suspended ; item in that
parish are wakes every Saturday ; we enjoined that
the church should be closed at nightfall, and no m.an

Norman Priests. 295

should hold wakes there.* Item the priest of Sauchay
by the Sea is drunken ; so also is the priest of St. Mary
at Envermeu. Item, the priest of St. Martin-en-
Campagne, of selling hemp ; iteyn the priest of Belleville
hath ships on the sea, and haunteth taverns. Item
Vinquenel, chaplain of Bracquemont, is drunken.
Item the priest of Martin-Eglise is drunken ; he hath

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