G. G. (George Gordon) Coulton.

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

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A Bishop's Latin. 487

and could scarce pronounce it. When therefore, at
his consecration, he should have made his formal
profession, he could not read it, though he had been
instructed therein for many days beforehand ; and
having at last arrived, with many promptings from
others, at the word Metropolitan, which after many
gasps he yet could not pronounce, at length he said
in the French tongue " let that be taken as read ! "
All the bystanders were amazed, mourning that such
a man should be consecrated bishop. Another time,
when he was conferring Holy Orders, and could not
pronounce that phrase in aenigmate, [1 Cor. xiii. 12]
he said in French to those that stood by, " By St.
Louis, the man was a clown that wrote this word ! "
Throughout almost all the days of his bishopric, he
studied how he might extort money from the Prior
and monks. He had a papal bull empowering him
to promote to the dignity of prior whomsoever of the
monks he would, and another giving him a fourth
part of the priory revenues so long as the Scottish
war should last ; but, because these bulls had been
obtained by suppression of the truth and suggestion of
falsehood, therefore his council would not use them.
He made no account of the palfreys and gifts which
the Prior oftentimes gave him ; for whensoever the
prior made any request, he would answer, " 'Sdeath, ye
do naught for me, nor will I do aught for you ; pray
ye for my death, for so long as I live ye shall have
nothing." Yet at the end of his life he had obtained
a bull for appropriating the church of EUe^^yk, in his
own diocese and patronage, to the prior and convent ;
but death overtook him before he could complete this.



4^8 A Medieval Garner.



230.— a^anncrs at tfte 23nitiet0itp of Eome.

The University of Eome was founded by Boniface VIII in 1303.
The removal of Boniface's successors to Avignon, and the long-standing
lawlessness of the City, no doubt reacted unfavourably on the discipline
of the Roman scholars. The following petition from the Senators to
the absentee Pontiff is printed by F. Novati in Giorn. Storico. d. Lett.
Italiana, vol. II., p. 138, from a 14th-century manuscript ; it belongs
pretty certainly to the first quarter of that century.




O the most holy Father, etc.

The detestable infamy of crimes which
are continually committed by certain sons
of iniquity, who claim only in word the
distinction of the clerical character, being
themselves utter strangers to all honesty of morals and
knowledge of letters, hath moved us to write to the feet
of your Holiness. Know indeed, most Holy Father,
that many in the city, furnished only with the shield
and privilege conferred by the first tonsure, strive not
in honesty of manners, but rather are ordinarily guided
by the rule of horrible misdeeds ; wandermg armed
from tavern to tavern and other unhonest places ;
sometimes going on to quarrel or fight in arms with
laymen ; committing manslaughter, thefts, robberies
and very many other things that are far from honesty.
For which things no safeguard or remedy is applied by
the ecclesiastical judges holding the place of your most
Holy See ; but rather, when [these evildoers] are
accused of the aforesaid misdeeds in our courts, they
compel us to release them from our examination, saying
that they themselves will see to the infliction of a fine
upon them ; and thus, under the cloke of such asser-
tions, these so nefarious and most criminal men, hateful
both to God and to man, pass unpunished ; which is
known to redound no little to the dishonour of the Holy
See and to the damage of the Romans. Moreover, this
is imputed to our official negligence, when misdeeds so
enormous are not quelled by the rigour of our justice ;
and a most horrible and detestable belief haunts the
minds of the Romans, who will say at times, in our



The University of Rome. 489

presence or elsewhere : "" Alas ! these miscreants who
call themselves clerics and yet comport themselves as
layfolk, wherefore are the}^ not punished out of their
evil courses ? In this the Senators do ill ; for in the
past, when our lord Boniface of blessed memory sat on
the papal chair, the Senate made complaint to him
concerning like matters, and he not only commanded
their punishment but was as it were troubled in mind
against them, for those who had gone scot-free ; so
likewise, if our present Lord learned the truth, he also
would be displeased at their impunity." Wherefore
we most piously beseech your Holiness, with all humil-
ity and devotion, that if it should so befall that our
rigour should go so far as to punish them in virtue of
our office as judges, then you would vouchsafe (if it so
please you) to permit this unto us and to support us in
future with the authority of your Holiness. For let
not your clemency believe that we are on this account
minded to go so far as to touch clerics in possession of
church benefices, whom we are purposed and ready to
treat with all due reverence, since we are unwilling to
do anything derogatory to ecclesiastical liberties. For,
most Holy Father, we fear lest, if the aforesaid impious
fellows are not controlled to some extent by the secular
arm, then the people of Rome will grow to such horror
of these their misdeeds as to rise up in wTath and fury
not only against these, but even against the aforesaid
clerics who are zealous for the orthodox faith. Mean-
while we are ready from the bottom of our heart to
carry out cheerfully whatsoever may conduce to the
honour of the Papal See.



Sir Thomas Gray of Heton, son to the distinguished soldier mentioned
iu this first extract, and himself equally distinguished in due time, was
taken prisoner by the Scots in 1355, and spent his leisure in writing the
Scalacronica, a history beginning with the Creation, as usual, but
possessing very great value for mihtary and other matters during the
reigns of Edward I., II., and III. Joseph Stevenson edited the chronicle
for the Maitland Club from the Norman Conquest onwards ; the years
1274-1362 have been translated into EngHsh by Sir Herbert Maxwell,
Bart. (1907).




490 A Medieval Garner.

23i.~a i^nigbt^OBrrant,

(Ed. Stevenson, p. 145).

RUE it is that, after the town of Berwick was
taken from the English (1318) the Scots had
so gotten the upper hand, and were so
presumptuous, that they made scarce any
account of the EngHsh, who busied them-
selves no longer with the war but let it perish. In
these days, at a great feast of lords and ladies in the
country of Lincoln, a comely page brought to Sir
William Marmion, Knight, a warrior's helm with a
golden crest, and a letter from his lady withal, wherein
she commanded him to go to the most perilous place in
Great Britam and there make this helm knoMH. It
was there determined by the knights that he should go
to Norham, as the most perilous and adventurous place
in the country. Then the said Sir William went to
Norham ; where, within the fourth day of his coming,
my lord Alexander de Mowbray, brother of the lord
Philip de Mowbray who was then Warden of Berwick,
came before Norham castle with the doughtiest chivalry
of the Marches of Scotland, and arrayed more than
eight score men-at-arms before the castle at the hour
of noon. The hue and cry was raised in the castle, as
they sat at meat ; whereupon the Castellan, Sir Thomas
de Gray, went forth with his garrison without the
barriers,* where he saw the enemy arrayed for battle
hard by. Then he looked round and saw the said Sir
William Marmion coming on foot, all resplendent with
gold and silver, marvellously arraj^ed, and bearing that
helm on his head. Sir Thomas Gray had well heard of
the manner of his coming, wherefore he cried aloud to
him : " Sir Knight, ye are come here as a knight-errant
to make known this helm of yours ; wherefore it is
better and more fitting that your knighthood be shown
on horseback than on foot ; mount therefore your
horse ; behold there your enemies ; strike spurs into your
steed, and go break into their midst ; for I here deny

* For the barriers outside a fortification see the illustration to No. 256.



Chaucer's March. 49 1

my God if I rescue not your body alive or dead, but if T
die myself ! " Then that knight mounted a stout
charger, and struck spurs into his sides, and brake into
the midst of his enemies, who smote upon him and
wounded him in the face and drew him from his saddle
to the earth. Then came the said Sir Thomas with all
his garrison, lance in rest, and smote the horses in the
bowels so that they overthrew their masters. Thus
they drave back their mounted enemies, raised up the
fallen knight, mounted him again on his horse, and
chased after their enemies ; at which first encounter
seven were slain, and fifty horses of price taken. The
women of the castle brought the horses to their men,
who mounted and made chase and smote down all
whom they might overtake. Thomas de Gray slew in
the Yair Ford one Cryn, a Fleming, an admiral of the
sea and a robber, who was a great master with Robert
de Bruce. The rest who escaped were chased even to
the nunnery of Berwick.



When Chaucer was called as a witness in the Scrope case, he deposed
that, before his own capture, he had seen Sir Thomas Scrope bearing
certain arms " before the town of Betters." It has been debated
whether tliis was Retiers in Brittany or Rethel in the Ardennes ; the
question is decided by the following passage from the Scalacronica ;
for Chateau-Porcien is close by Rethel. The passage shows incidentally
that Chaucer was wath the Black Prince's division, which alone passed
tliis way. It started, Uke the other divisions, from Calais in October,
1359. (Ed. Stevenson, p. 188.)

232.— Cftaucer's Q^arcl).

I HE prince, son to the king aforesaid, took
the way by Montreuil and Hesdin, through
Ponthieu and Picardy, crossing the Somme
and passing by Neuilly and Ham into
Vermandois ; near which place Sir Baudouin
Daukin, knight. Master of the Crossbowmen of France,
with other French knights, was taken in fight by the
men of the Prince's train, as he would have overrun by
night the quarters of the earl of Stafford, who defended




492 A Medieval Gamer,

himself well. ... So the Prince held his way aforesaid
by St. Quentin and Retieris, where the enemy them-
selves burned their town to hinder the passage ; but
the Prince's men passed [the river] by main force at
Chateau-Porcien, and then passed through Champagne
and joined his father's host before Reims.



I had occasion to point out, on p. 199 of Chaucer and his England, how
much trade was done by the knightly and clerical classes, and how
thoroughly medieval is the surviving Florentine custom by which you
may buy a bottle of wine at the door of a princely palace. After many
attempts on the part of church councils to forbid trade, and especially
the liquor trade, to the clergy, this Council of Cologne set itself in 1333,
probably with more success, to regulate rather than suppress it. See
Hartzheim. Concilia Germaniae, vol. IV., p. 430.

233.— Clerical 3[nnkeeper0.



sl^l



jEEING that our predecessor Henry, of pious
memory, ordained by statute that no clerics,
secular or monastic, should ply the trade of
taverners — yet he would not that this
statute should altogether prohibit the selling
of such wine as a cleric may derive from his own benefice
or from any other source than trade, provided always
that this be done without deceit or fraudulent evasion
of the aforesaid statute, and in such manners as have
hitherto been used, and decent — yet some men call in
question what may be the accustomed and decent
manners of sale, to be kept by the clergy in this matter
of wine-dealing. We therefore by this present statute
have thought good to declare the following as customary
and decent fashions of selling wine : to wit, that such
sales should be conducted without vociferation or
clamour of taverners and (so far as in the sellers lieth)
without fraud ; without tarrying or stay of men
drinking such wines either within or at the door of the
house, or within the privileged premises wherein such
wines are sold ; nor, when men would fam drink such
wines, may any occasion be given of tarrying or staying



494 A Medieval Garner.

at that same place, by the lending of cups or jugs, as is
commonly done in taverns of laymen, nor may such be
supplied in any way ; and these manners aforesaid of
selling wine are, in virtue of this present statute, to be
used henceforth by clerics.



From an inventory of 1346, dealing with a single chapel, the Chapelle
du Marche. When the List comes to the Virgin's flower and Gabriel's
window, the modern editor notes " This article and those like it, curious
testimonies to the credulity of that epoch, have been marked off in this
and the following inventories, on the occasion of the successive revisions
to which they were subjected. In proportion to the more recent date
of these revisions, we find marginal notes such as ' naught ' ; ' it is
false ' ; ' worthless ' ; ' not to be found ' ; and at last these more than
suspicious reUcs end by disappearing from the lists, leaving room for
objects certainly more worthy of public veneration." {Mem. Hist, de
la Soc. des Ant. de la Morinie, t. VI,, pt. II., pp. XL. ff.) The inventory
is written on " a parchment roll several yards long " ; the printed list
is therefore far from exhaustive ; but it is given here as it stands.

235.— iReiics at ^t-HDmer of 31esus! Cfitist
anQ ©is passion.

PIECE of the Lord's sign of the Cross, of
His lance and His column. Of the manna
which rained from heaven. Of the stone
whereon Christ's blood was spilt. Item,
another little cross of silvered wood, con-
taining pieces of the Lord's sepulchre and of St. Mar-
garet's veil. Of the Lord's cradle in a certain copper
reliquary.

GIVEN BY THE LORD DEAN [BOCHEUX].

In a certain crystal vessel, portions of the stone
tables whereon God wrote the law for Moses with His
finger. Item, in the same vessel, of the stone where-
upon St. James crossed the sea. Item of the Lord's
winding-sheet. Item of Aaron's rod, of the altar
whereupon St. Peter sang mass, of St. Boniface ; and
all this in a glass tube.




Relics at St. Omcr. 495

OF ST. MARY.

Of the hairs of St. Mary ; item of her robe ; item a
shallow ivory box without any ornament save only a
knob of copper, which box containeth some of the
flower which the Blessed Virgm held before her Son,
and of the window through which the Angel Gabriel
entered when he saluted her. Item, of the blessed
Mary's oil from Sardinia. Item, in the same place, of
the blessed Mary's sepulchre in [the vale of] Jehosha-
phat, in a certain leaden case enclosed in a little ivory
casket. Item, of the wax which was miraculously
given to the play-actors, in a certain box with a glass
cover.

OF THE MARTYRS.

Of the tunic of St. Thomas of Canterbury, Archbishop
and Martyr ; of his hair shirt, of his dust, of his hairs,
of his cowl, of his seat ; again of his hairs. Again of
his cowl and of the shavings of his crown. Again of his
hairs, of the blanket that covered him, of his woollen
shirt ; again of the aforesaid St. Thomas's hair-shirt,
in a certain pouch contained in an ivory box. Item,
of the blood of the same saint Thomas of Canterbury,
item the staff of the aforesaid St. Thomas the Martyr,
Archbishop of Canterbury.



Henry Knighton was a Canon of Leicester Abbey ; liis Chronicle is
extremely valuable from the middle of Edward III.'s reign to that of
Henry IV. His evidence as to the Wychffite movement and the Black
Death has so often been quoted that I prefer to insert here two shorter
extracts typical of the time.

235.— Coutnep anD Q^asqucraDe.

(II, 57, A.i). 1348).

N those days there arose a great clamour and
outcry among the people, seeing that in
almost every place where tourneys were
held they were attended by a band of ladies
who formed part, as it were, of the spectacle.
These came in divers and marvellous men's garments,
to the number sometimes of forty, sometimes of fifty




49^ A Medieval Garner.

ladies, of the fairest and comeliest in the whole realm,
yet not of the most virtuous. They were clad in
motley tunics, half of one colour and half of another,
with short hoods and liripipes wound like cords round
their heads, and richly-studded girdles of silver or gold,
nay, even across their bodies they wore pouches contain-
ing those knives that are commonly called daggers ;
and thus they rode forth to the place of tourney on
choice chargers or richly-decked palfreys, thus wasting
their own goods and debasing their bodies with folly
and scurrilous wantonness, as it was commonly reported.
Thus they neither feared God nor blushed for the
modest outcries of the people, but made nought of their
marriage-vows. Nor did those in whose train they
followed consider how great favour and how splendid
a victory had been vouchsafed to the English arms by
God the giver of all good things, in despite of all the
enemies that beset us. But herein, as in all other
matters, God brought a wondrous remedy by scattering
their dissolute concourse ; for He showered upon the
places and times that had been appointed for such vain
sports, rain and thunder and flashes of lightning, with
all discomforts of wind and tempests.;






236.— ci)e jFrencf) pope.

(II, 93, 1356, after the battle of Poitiers).

N those days, discord arose between the clergy
and the Friars Minor concerning certain
opinions, and both parties appealed to the
Roman court : wherefore Master Richard
[Fitzralph], Bishop of Armagh, crossed the
sea with many other clerics to go to the Court in defence
of the clergy. And this same Richard had a subsidy
from the clergy, and the abbot of St. Albans was his
proctor. Moreover, seeing that the Pope ever favoured
the French, and supported them so far as in him lay
against the English, and that God had vouchsafed such
a miracle to us in granting victory to so few men against
so great a multitude of the French, therefore it was



The Spaniards on the Sea. 497

\\Titten in many places at Vienne [where the Pope
lodged] and in many other towns, " Now is the Pope
become French and Jesus become English ; now shall
we see who will do most, the Pope or Jesus."* And
this was written in derision.

* Ore est le Pape devcnu Franceys
E Jesu devenu Engleys,
Ore serra veou qe fra plus,
Ly Pape ou Jesus.



^


M


^




1


^



Extracts 237 and 238 are two of the most picturesque passages
omitted from the Globe edition of Froissart — an edition with which no
fault can be found except its necessary incompleteness. No. 237 is
wanting altogether in the text from which Lord Berners translated :
it mav be found in Buchon's edition, vol. I., p. 284, the other is on
p. 62 of vol. III.

237.— Ct)c ^paniarDs on tbe ^ca*

N those days there was great rancour between
the King of England and the Spaniards by
reason of certain misdeeds and pillages
which the said Spaniards had done upon the
English by sea. Wherefore it befel in this
year [1350] that the Spaniards who had come to Flan-
ders for their merchandise had warning that they could
not return to their own country but that they would
first be met by the English. Wherefore they took
counsel, and resolved not to take no too great account
thereof ; and they provided themselves at Sluys well
and plenteously, both their ships and their boats, with
all armour and good artillery ; and they hired all sorts
of people, soldiers and archers and crossbowmen, who
would take their wages ; and they waited one for the
other, and made their bargains and their purchases
even as their business demanded.

When the King of England, who hated them sore,
heard how plenteously they provided themselves, then
he said aloud, " We have long known the manner of
these Spaniards, and they have done us much despite.



498



A Medieval Garner.



and they come even yet to no amendment, but rather
fortify themselves against us ; wherefore we must needs
sweep them up as they pass." To this speech his men
gave ready assent, for they were glad to fight with the
Spaniards. Therefore the King made a great and
special levy of all his gentlemen who were then in
England, and set forth from London and came to the
county of Sussex, which sat upon the seaboard betwixt




= "sS -sa,/^



A SHIP OF WAR.
From a MS. of 1352 in Viollet-le-Duc, Diet, dtt Mobilier, v, 182.



Hampton and Dover, facing the country of Ponthieu
and Dieppe ; thither he came and kept house in an
abbey by the sea. . . .*

When the Spaniards had made their purchases and
had laden their ships with cloth of wool and of linen
and all that they thought good and profitable to bring
home to their country, (and they knew well that the
English would meet them, but thereof made they no
account,) then came they to the town of Sluys and
came aboard their ships, wherein they had made so
plenteous provision of artillery as it is marvel to think

* Probably Battle. The castle mentioned later would no doubt be
the queen's castle of Pevensey.



The Spaniards on the Sea. 499

of ; and withal they had great bars of iron ready forged
and fashioned for casting and for sinking of ships, with
launching of stones and pebbles beyond all number.
When they saw that they had a fair wind, they weighed
anchor ; and they were forty great ships all of one
fashion, so stout and fair that it was pleasant to see ;
and in the mast-trees they had built crows' -nests well
stored with stones and pebbles, and skirmishers to
guard them. Moreover their masts were hung with
standards emblazoned with their bearings, which bellied
and flew and fluttered in the wind ; it was a full fair
sight to see and imagine. And meseemeth that, if the
English had great desire to find them, they themselves
desired it yet more, as it appeared now and as I will
hereafter tell you. These Spaniards were full a ten to
one, what with the soldiers whom they had taken to
wages in Flanders. Wherefore they felt themselves
strong enough to fight by sea against the King | of
England and his power ; with which intent they came
sailing and scudding before the wind, for they had it at
their stern, past the towTi of Calais. The King of
England, who was at sea with his navy, had there
ordered all his needs, and commanded how he would
have his men fight and bear themselves ; and he had
made my lord Robert of Namur master of a ship that
they called King's Hall, wherein was all his household.
So the king stood at his ship's prow, clad in a jacket
of black velvet, and on his head a hat of black beaver
that became him right well ; and he was then (as I was
told by such as were with him that day) as merry as
ever he was seen. He made his minstrels sound before
him on their trumpets a German dance that had been
brought in of late by my lord John Chandos, who was
there present ; and then for pastime he made the said
knight sing with his minstrels, and took great pleasure
therein ; and at times he would look upwards, for he
had set a watch in the top-castle of his ship to give
tidings of the Spaniards' coming. While the King
thus took his pleasure, and all his knights were glad of
heart to see how merry he was, then the watch was
aware of the Spaniards' fleet, and cried : " Ho ! I see



500 A Medieval Garner.

a ship coming, and methinks it is a ship of Spain ! "
Then the minstrels held their peace, and it was asked
of him again whether he saw aught else ; then within
a brief space he answered and said : " Yes, I see two —
and then three — and then four." Then, when he was
aware of the great fleet, he cried, " I see so many, God
help me ! that I may not tell them." Then the king
and his men knew well that these were the Spanish
ships. Then the king let sound his trumpets, and all
their ships came together to be in better array, and to
lie more surely ; for well they knew that the battle was
at hand, since the Spaniards came in so great a fleet.
By this time the day was far spent, for it was about the
hour of vespers. So the king sent for wine and drank
thereof, he and all his knights ; then he laced on his
helm, and the rest did likewise.

Meanwhile the Spaniards drew nigh ; and they
might well have departed without battle, if they had
desired it ; for, being well equipped and in great ships,
and having the wind in their favour, they had no need
to speak with the English but if it had been their will.
Nevertheless through pride and presumption they
deigned not to pass by without hail ; wherefore they
sailed straight on in full array to begin the battle.



Online LibraryG. G. (George Gordon) CoultonA medieval garner; human documents from the four centuries preceding the reformation → online text (page 42 of 61)