G. G. (George Gordon) Coulton.

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

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vouchsafed to them to return home and die. At which
v/ords came all the monks of that convent and said to
these three : " What do ye here ? " And they told
their story. Then said the Abbot : " Ye say that ye
are of this house ; yet we, who have been here eighty
years or more, have never seen or known you. Why
then do ye tell us such follies ? " " Nay," said they ;
'* but or ever ye were monks of this monastery, we
were monks here before you ; seven hundred years
have past since we set out hence for the holy Paradise
of Delights, wherefore the Brethren our companions
are dead, and this house hath seven times been renewed
with fresh folk since then. If ye believe us not, seek
now within the high altar, where ye shall find the
missal-book and memorial wherein our names are
written, with the hour and day and month and year of
our departure hence." At these words the abbot and
monks marvelled ; then without delay they went and
searched within the altar, and found how those monks
had set forth seven hundred years agone. At which
miracle they marvelled, and said among themselves :
" How may it be that these men have lived so long,
seeing that each appeareth of the age of thirty years ? "
Then said those three : " Marvel not at God's power,
to Whom no thing is impossible. We have been all
this time in that holy place, and these eyes of ours
have seen the angel Cherub, and we have walked with
the holy fathers Elias and Enoch, who themselves
have walked and eaten with Jesus Christ and have
touched him : after which we heard the sweet and



474 A. Medieval Garner.

beatific song of the angels, and it seemed to us that we
had|not been there full eight days. What then must
be the life of bliss, and the court of heaven ? Moreover,
we give you yet another sign : for after forty days we
shall fall suddenly dead, and at that moment our bodies
shall be dust and our souls shall go up to heaven, to
a mansion of quiet, there to rest in the life of bliss and
everlasting glory ; and the angels of heaven shall see
through our souls with their own eyes." Then the
Abbot and all his monks, to the number of an hundred,
fell to the earth, weeping and doing obeisance to those
three monks who told these mighty marvels of God's
glory. So it came to pass that, at the end of forty
days, these three monks abode on their knees before
the altar and wept for very joy of heart, while the
Abbot with his monks watched and worshipped with
great devotion. Then, when the forty days were
fulfilled, those holy monks turned to dust, wherefrom
proceeded so mighty an odour as though all the musk
and all fragrant things in the world had been there
gathered together ; and the Brethren saw with their
own eyes how the angels of heaven bore away those
holy souls with a sound of many songs. At which
sight the Abbot and his monks were much comforted,
and wept for very sweetness of love ; and from that
da3^ forward they lived in all holiness, even more than
in the past, by reason of these great marvels that they
had seen. Thus they lived in God's grace and love ;
and at their deaths they came to life everlasting. Amen.



The Limhurg Chronicle, which contains more details about costume
and popular songs than any other of the Middle Ages, was written by
Tilman von Wolfhagen, a married clerk and notary, settled at Limburg
on the Lahn (see Frontispiece). From the year 1347 onwards, as he
tells us, he himself remembers the events he chronicles. The record
ends with the year 1398, and Tilman died in 1402. He was no historian ;
but his hvely interest in the small events within his purview lends to
his chronicle a very special value. The edition here used is that of A.
Wyss in Mon. Germ. Hist., Deutsche ChroniJcen, torn. I.



The Limburg Chronicle.



475



225.— a ^malMBcer Cbconiclc.



OREOVER at this time (a.d. 1336) the town

I and folk of Limburg stood in very great

JjBj(:|^B3l honour and prosperity in population and

i;^sjfe53l in wealth ; for all the lanes and corners were

full of folk and goods ; and, when they took

the field, the citizens were counted at more than two

thousand folk well armed with breastplates and harness

and all appurtenances ; and those who took God's




^i^^-^^'^^^l^^l^^P!^^.-:'M3^^:^H^SifSt^M



LIMBURG FROM THE SOUTH-WEST.

From a view by Merian, about 1650.

Body at Easter were counted more than eight thousan^l
folk.* Now thou must know that when so many folk
are under government of one authority, whether of
church or of state, he must needs have good sense and
honesty, as Aristotle saith in the first book of his
Politics : " Habentes rationem et intellectum utentes,
iiaturaliter aliorum domini fiunt et rectores ; which is
being interpreted, " Whoso seeketh honesty, and
practise it who can, To bear the rule o'er other folk he

* This would include all of both sexes above the age of 14 years ; in
English medieval parlance they were called housling-foUc. The Chantry-
certificates enrolled in the reigns of our Henry VIII. and Edward VI.
alwavs reckon populations in these terms : e.g. Sheffield is presented as
having 2,000 housUng folk, Beverley 5,000 and Halifax even 8,500.



476 A Medieval Garner.

is the proper man." Moreover the foundation of our
good lord St. George in that city stood then in great
honour and glory, so that it had a clear income of
settled rents and moneys of no less than one hundred
and twenty florins : and the foundation aforesaid was
also governed by canons who were all men of this
country and knight's sons.

In the year that men counted 1342, on St. Boniface's
day, well nigh half the city was burnt down. . . .

(1347.) King John's son of Bohemia, whom men
called Charles IT., and who was already King of Rome,
became now full Emperor. This same Charles was
wise and well-learned, so that he sought the disputations
of the Masters at [the university of] Prague, and could
bear himself well therein. And he had once a master
who led him to school ; to whom he smote an eye out,
for that the master chastised him. This he well
amended, creating him Archbishop of Prague and
afterwards Cardinal. This Charles ruled and governed
as a lion for more than thirty years. . . .

(1359. ) In this year men sang and piped this song : —

God give him a year of blight

Who made me to a nun,
Who bade me put this tunic white

And coal-black mantle on !
And must I be a nun in truth,

All against my will ? . . .*

(1367.) At the time of oat-harvest in this year, on
the eve of St. Peter ad Vincula, and in the Castle of
Dern, a Freiherr von Dern stabbed Junker Johann,
son of the Count of Dietz, so that he died on the spot.
And he was a young man of less than thirty years and
of goodly length, and had a long face with a lofty nose
and smooth hair plaited in a long tail, as was the fashion
of that time. And the said Johann would have been
Count of Dietz if he had lived ; but it came into other
hands, as is written here below. The said Freiherr

* Got gebe ime ein vurdrehen jar, Der mich machte zu einer nunnen,
Und mir den swarzen mantel gap, Den wiszen rock darunden. Sal
ich ein nunn gewerden Sunder minen willen. So wel ich eime knaben
jung Sinen komer stillen. Und stillet he mir den minen nit, Daran
mach he vurhsen.




ALBERT III, DUKE OF AUSTRIA, AND FOUNDER OF THE ORDER
OF TAILED KNIGHTS (1377).

From a window in the church of St. Erhard, Stvria, showinc the case in which the
tail was worn over his armour. (A. Schultz, Deutsches Leben, fig. 246).



478 A Medieval Garner.

vvas named Friedrich, a stout knight of fifty years,
and was a right Freiherr born of all his four ancestors.
And he was cast into prison in the castle of Dem and
brought to Dietz ; and Count Gerhart, Junker Johann's
brother, held a Land-Court at Reckenforst ; and the
aforesaid Freiherr was beheaded and buried forthwith
among the Barefoot Friars of Limburg. Wherefore
bethink thee when thou stnkest ; for Solomon saith :
Fremens ira nulli parcit* which is being interpreted :
" Grim anger leaveth no man free, Thus Solomon doth
counsel thee." Now shalt thou know the form arid
countenance of this Freiherr. He was a square-built
man with short crisp hair, and had a broad face with a
fiat nose. ...

(1374.) Moreover at this time, some five or six
years before, there was on the Main a Barefooted Friar
who was driven out from among the people, for he
was unclean [with leprosy]. He made the best songs
and carols in the world, both words and melodies,
wherein there lived not his like in Rhineland or in these
parts. And, whatsoever he sang, all men sang it
gladly after him ; all masters, pipers, and other
minstrels followed his songs and words. It was he
who made that song : —

Far from the village am I bann'd
All doors are closed to wretched me !
Unfaith, unfaith is all I see
On every hand.
And that other : —

May, May ! thy merry day
Quickeneth me to joyous life.
Tell me, what hath this to say ?

And this again : —

Unfaith hath made her sport with me ! I . . . .

(1384.) In this year it came to pass that lords,
knights, and squires wore short hair and crowns cut

* The nearest BibUcal passage to this is Prov. xxvii. 4, Ira non hahet
miser icordiam.

t (i) Des dipans bin ich uszgezalt, Man wiset mich armen vur di dure
Untruwe ich nu spure Z\\ alien ziden.

f (ii) Mei mei mei, dine wonnecliche zit Meuliche freude git, An mir ;
waz meinet daz ?

(iii) Der untruwe ist mit mir gespelet.



The Limburg Chronicle. 479

over the ears like lay-brethren ; and so also did
burghers in general and the common folk and peasants
after the fashion of the rest. . . .

(1386.) In these days was a Brother Minor, a
Barefoot Friar of Brabant, Jacob by name. He bare
himself as though he were a Bishop Suffragan, and
had forged letters thereof ; yet was he no bishop.
This man went far and wide throughout the bishoprics
of Mainz and Trier, and had consecrated and ordained
more than three thousand acolites, subdeacons, deacons,
and priests, who must needs now let themselves all
be ordained afresh ; and men called them all Jacobites,
after the name of this aforesaid rascal Jacob. This
same Jacob I esteem more wicked than Judas who
betrayed and sold Christ the Son of God ; for the
treason of Judas was made a balm and a salvation for
the seed of men ; but this other treason was a ruin
and destruction to Christendom ; for he caused mere
layfolk to sing and read masses, whom men deemed
to be priests, and yet were they none. For, whensoever
men weened that they held up the Body of our Lord,
then they held up a simulacrum, so that men called
upon and adored an idol,* and many foul matters thus
befel, which I cannot here write. Wherefore thou
shalt know the man's form and his face ; for I have
oftentimes seen him. He was a slender man of even
length, dark under the eyes, with a long face and a long
sharp pointed nose ; and his cheeks were somewhat
ruddy, and he writhed with his body and bowed up
and down in great courtesy. And he came to an evil
end when he was caught in this matter ; and that was
no more than justice. f . . .

* This is in strict accordance with scholastic theology : cf. Aquinas.
Summa, pars. III. Quaest. LXXX., art. 6. Sir John Maundeville
(chap, xviii.) draws a sUght distinction between a simulacre, and an
idol ; the former is an object of worship imitated from some natural
object, while the latter is " an image made of the lewd will of man, that
man may not find among kindly things, as an image that hath four
heads."

t The Magnum Chrmicon Belgicum (an. 1392) gives us further
details. " Many of the priests and clergy in Holy Orders, finding that
their ordination was false, married and lived as lay folk ; but many



480 A Medieval Garner.

(1394.) Moreover at this time a child was born at
Niederbrechen in the bishopric of Trier, that had
lower limbs of a man and shapen in the upper parts
somewhat like a toad. And this was a punishment
from God ; for, when men asked the woman whether
she bare a child, she answered thereunto that she bare
a toad ; and such was her answer at every time. . . .

(1394.) (From the hand of a continuator, p. 107.)
It was said that the lord of Arnburg was at ill accord
with his wife, who was untrue to him ; and his bitter
wrath drove him into a frenzy, so that he wandered
abroad to beg his bread, and passed the seas and
dwelt long in heathen lands, and bare always a naked
coat of mail upon his naked flesh. And all his friends
deemed him dead. And this endured so long until his
wife was dead, and his children begat children of their
own, and his sons died, and his grand-children begat
him great-grand-cliildren ; and in the days of his
grand-children he came again to his own land. And
the time was so long that few folk knew him, and they
were far advanced in age. And the lord of Arnburg
also was old and grisly, so that the old folk knew him
not well : yet by certain marks that he bare in his
body, thereby they knew him better. Moreover he
spake many true signs, whereof they knew part already,
and the rest they found to be true. Wherefore the
lords of Arnburg accepted him for their ancestor, and
set him apart his own lodging in the castle of Arnburg,
and did him great reverence. And he was sore bowed
with age and crabbed of mood, and might not endure
the lodging ; and then they gave him a village to his

were of a better mind, and let themselves be re-ordained by another
true Catholic Bishop. . . . The Bishop of Utrecht, having summoned
seven other Bishops to that city, brought this aforesaid forger of Papal
letters in bonds before the people, clad in full pontificals, whereof he
was despoiled again one b}'' one : first of his crozier, then his mitre,
then his chasuble, and so on even to his amice. Then the hair of his
head was shaven away, and the skins of his finger-tips, wherewith he
had been wont to handle the Lord's Body, were cut away down to the
bone with a shard of glass." He was condemned to be boiled alive,
but was finally beheaded instead, out of respect for his priesthood and
the Franciscan Order,



The Romance of Noah. 48 1

own, and a fair house therein. This also he might not
endure, and went out again to beg his bread in misery,
and came to Cologne, and died within a brief space.




The beautiful Manuscript commonly known as Queen Mary's Psalter
contains a series of illustrations of Old Testament subjects, mainly
drawn from the Bible but sometimes based on apocryphal legends ; to
each picture is appended a few lines of explanatory text. The book
dates from about 1320, and shows " the high cultivation and great
originality of the English School at this time." The page here given,
from plate X. of H. N. J. Westlake's edition, represents one of the many
legends which grew round the history of Noah. Mr. Westlake trans-
lates cleyes as nails (clous) ; but the picture itself, as well as the context,
seems to point plainly to the far more natural rendering of wattle-work
(claies).

226.— Cbe iRomancc of ii3oat).

(Text to the three upper scenes reproduced overleaf.)

OW the Devil came in man's shape to Noah's
wife and asked where her goodman was.
And she said that she knew not where.
" He is gone to betray thee and the whole
world ; take these grains and make a

potion and give it him to drink ; then will he tell thee

all." And thus she did.

(To the two lower.)

Here began Noah his carpenter's work ; and the
first stroke that he struck, all the world heard. Then
came an angel unto him : and Noah cried, " Mercy ! "
The angel said unto him, " Thou hast wrought ill ;
but take these withies and the wattle-work, and finish
thy ship as best thou mayest ; for the flood is at hand."

Text to the next foho but one in the MS., which comes after the raven
and dove incident, and represents the Devil falling head-foremost
through a hole in the bottom of the boat, while a writhing snake's tail
is plugged into the hole thus made.

And Noah at the entry of his ship cried Benedicite !
there as he sat at the helm. And The Devil fled away
through the bottom of the ship ; and the dove thrust
his tail into the hole.

12




fMolt-qittknf Mutou-ilfftalf purToi tra^ t rotr le mimo-WKynf cw <mti£




, ,. - ^- flfjnhnrtcprnjqilCenrttatr leTOOunbUornt
i^>pr5^ t La dw<i.''t djfut teTurflf nwu)( qc tttpurras ■. XBt U Col) M^



NOAH AND HIS ARK.

(From Queen Mary's Psalter, about 1320 a.d.)




^S HE (§H
QhS '■! s<rf'



The Bishop and his Mother. 483

Robert de Graystanes, subprior of Durham, was canonically elected
and actually consecrated to that bishopric in 1333 ; but the Pope had
meanwhile " provided " Richard de Bury with the prize, and the king
gave his assent. Bury, one of the most learned of the English bishops
and the probable author of the Phiolbiblion, honourably commends the
learning and worth of his unsuccessful rival ; and Robert himelf tells
the story wath great impartiality. He did not long outlive his disap-
pointment ; his Chronicle ends in 1336. The following extracts are
from the Surtees Society edition, Hist. Dunelm. Scriptt. Tres.

227.— cije T5isl)op ann bisi hotter.

(Robert of Holy-Isle, Bishop from 1274: to 1283, p. 57).

iT is said that, when raised to the bishopric,
he honoured his mother, who had been a
very poor woman, with menservants and
maidservants and respect and luxury. So
upon a time he went to visit her, saying,
" How is it with thee, Mother ? " " Nay, ill indeed,'*
quoth she. " What, dear Mother, is there aught that
you lack, in menservants or maidservants or necessary
expenses ? " " Nay," quoth she, " I have enough :
but when I say to this man ' 6^o / ' he hasteneth
thither ; and to another ' Come / ' then he will fall
on his knees before me ; and all are so obedient to my
slightest nod, that I have not wherewith to let my
heart swell. When I was a poor old woman, and
came down to the waterside to wash tripe or clothes
or the like, then some neighbour would come, and the
occasion would soon be given ; first we would scold,
and then tear each other's hair, and fight with fists
and chitterlings and monifauldes* ; nor can those
precious electuaries or syrups which you send unto me
work as those things worked for the expanding and
purging of my heart ; nay, when the poison is suppressed
then it is all the more harmful, but when we can belch
it forth we are relieved by the very act."

This same bishop came once to Norham, where the
Lord Scremerston sent him a present of ale ; which
though the Bishop had never drunk for many years

* " The intestines or bowels ; spec, the manyplies, or third stomach
of a ruminant." 0. E. D.



4^4 A Medieval Garner,

now past, yet for reverence of the sender and for the
noble report of the ale he tasted thereof : then, unable
to bear it, he was seized with a sickness and must needs
hasten from the table. Wherefore, after dinner, he
called together his familiars and said, " Ye know how
humble was my origin, and how neither my birth nor
my country taught me to love wine, but only use and
long custom. Yet now I am so accustomed thereunto
that I cannot taste this ale, my natural drink ; for
custom is a second nature." When he was Prior of
Finchale, he had a special friendship for a certain
forester, John Madur by name, who would oftentimes
bring him venison [from the bishop's parks] ; but,
when he was promoted to the see, and this same man
looked to have had some reward from the bishop for
the service that he had done to the prior, then his
lordship cast him forth from his office, saying, " He
would serve me as unfaithfully as he served my prede-
cessor : as the poet saith, ' Such base deeds as were done
yesterday, the same may be done to-morrow.' "




228.— a Lotnip T5isl)0p,

(p. 64).

^HIS Anthony [Bek, Bishop 1283-1311] was
great hearted, second to none in the realm,
save the king only, in pomp and bearing
and might of war, busy rather about the
affairs of the kmgdom than of his diocese,
a powerful ally to the king in battle, and prudent in
counsel. In the Scottish war he had once 26 knights-
banneret in his own train, and he had commonly 140
knights in his following, so that men deemed him
rather a secular prince than a priest or bishop. More-
over, though he delighted to be thus surrounded with
knights, yet he bore himself towards them as though he
heeded them not. For to him it was a small thing
that the greatest earls and barons of the realm should
kneel before him, or that, while he remained seated,
knights should stand long and tediously before him



A Lordly Bishop. 485

like servants. Nothing was too dear for him, if only
it might magnify his glory. He once paid forty
shillings* in London for forty fresh herrings, because
the other gi'eat folk there assembled in Parliament
said that they were too dear and cared not to buy them.
He bought cloth of the rarest and costliest, and made
it into horse-cloths for his palfreys, because one had
said that he believed Bishop Anthony dared not buy
so precious a stuff. Impatient of repose, and scarce
resting on his bed beyond his first sleep, he said that
they who turned from side to side deserved not the
name of man. He settled in no place, but would go
round perpetually from manor to manor, from north
to south and back again ; he was a mighty hunter
with hawk and hound. Moreover, despite his great
and manifold expenses, he was never in want, but
abounded m all things unto the day of his death. He
scarce ate in company ; he lived most chastely, scarce
gazing fixedly on any woman's face ; wherefore, when
the body of St. William of York was translated, while
the other bishops feared to touch his bones, their
conscience pricking them for past sins, he laid his hand
boldl}^ on the holy relics, and wrought reverently all
that the matter required. . . . On the second summons
[of the Pope], the bishop came to the court of Rome,
but with such magnificence and so lordly a bearing
that all marvelled at his retinue and his lavish generosity.
One day when he was riding through the city of Rome
to the court, a certain count of those parts, coming in
the other direction and passing the Bishop's train,
stood a while in admiration and asked one of the
citizens : " Who is this that goeth by ? " "A foe to
money," quoth that citizen. To a certain Cardinal
who desired one of his palfreys (for he had the fairest
in the world) he sent two, that the Cardinal might take
his choice ; and he, seduced by their beauty, retained
both. When this was reported to the bishop, he said,
" So save me God ! he hath not failed to choose the
better of the two ! " He was so high-minded that he

* i.e., £iO modern money.



4^6 A Medieval Gamer.

thought he might without blame do whatsoever he
would ; therefore he refrained not for the Cardinals'
presence from giving benediction, nor forjthe Pope's
presence from playing with his hawks. As he went
towards Rome, and lodged in a certain city, there arose
a discussion between his men and the townsfolk. At
last, when the whole city was risen up against him and
his men could not longer hold out in their lodging, then
the door of the Bishop's chamber was broken open and
the Podesta rushed in with the great men of that city,
bearing swords and staves as against a thief, and crying,
" Yield thee, yield thee ! " He therefore neither rose
from his seat nor deferred to them in any wise, but said,
" So save me God ! ye have failed to say to whom I am
to yield me : certainly to none of you." All his
followers looked for no issue but death ; yet he answered
as boldly as though there had been no danger, though
he would indeed have been slain but that there came
by chance [hiatus in MS.\ It was on this same journey
that, when one of his train asked of the price of a very
costly cloth, the merchant answered that he believed the
Bishop would not buy so precious a stuff ; which when
the Bishop heard, he bought the cloth, and under the
merchant's eyes made horse-cloths thereof for his pal-
freys. Wherefore the Pope and Cardinals honoured him
for his highmindedness and lavishness. . . . [He gained
his cause and] returned to England with an honourable
farewell from the Pope and his court.



229.— a iai0j)op's latin.

(p. IIS).

iHIS Lewis, [Bishop of Durham 1316-1333]

was of noble birth, sprung from the kings

of France and Sicily ; he was comely of

face but feeble in his feet, for he halted

with both legs ; so liberal that many called

him prodigal ; covetous of gain, but less scrupulous of

the means whereby he procured it. . . . He was

chaste, but unlearned, for he understood not Latin



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