G. G. (George Gordon) Coulton.

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

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you, according as it hath been commanded to me."

At this judgment the Jews were so amazed that they
were ready to swoon with sorrow, and began to look
most piteously one upon the other, as men who would
rather have died than to do such hangman's work :
which indeed they made shift to escape by working
upon five or six favourites, to whom they gave great
presents for their intercession with the king, that it
might please him to absolve them from this execution
whereunto his Council had doomed them ; saying that
they would give this sum of twenty thousand florins
which they had before offered to save their fellow's
life ; whose death they left now to the sentence which
the king had pronounced, confessing that he had spoken
folly, and that they had been ill-advised in beseeching
his deliverance. The king therefore, advised by his
favourites of the device of his courtier who had con-
demned them, was well pleased and gave him good
thanks, accepting the promised moneys to quit these
Jews from the execution of the criminal. They held
themselves fortunate to have thus escaped ; and, that
same day, after dinner, that sentence was carried out
on the body of the unhappy Jew ; for he was flayed
alive by certain masked gentlemen who, to avenge the
injurious words pronounced against the glorious Mother
of God, willed of their own good zeal to execute the
sentence. So miserably did this wretched Jew die,
persisting to the last breath in his damned obstinacy.




720 A Medieval Garner,

331.— ct)e CnD of a Wotio.

(II, 329. A.D. 1521).

LL the country parishes in Anjou were eon-
strained to raise men-at-arms commonly
called francs-archers, which was a grievous
burden ; for each parish furnished one man
whom they had to fit out with cap, plumes,
doublet, leather collar, hosen and shoes, with such
harness and staff as the captain should command.*
. . . Which innovation and raising of francs-archers
was most grievous to the people of Anjou ; for, albeit
they were raised, fed, clothed and armed at so great
a cost, yet were they unprofitable both to prince
and to people ; for they began to rise up against the
common folk, desiring to live at ease without further
labouring at their wonted trades, and to pillage in the
fields as they would have done in an enemy's country ;
v/herefore several of them were taken and given into
the hands of the provost-marshals, ending their lives on
the gibbet which they had so well deserved.

This year also the country of Anjou was infested by
exceeding grievous rains, that did much harm to the
fruit : moreover the earth quaked sore, wherefrom
many had but evil forebodings. And certainly men
heard daily reports of follies and barbarities committed
by these franc-archers, to the great scandal of the
Faith and detriment of the people. For about this
season, after that the aforesaid miscreants had scoured
and rifled the province of Maine, beating and grieving
the people sore, then they feared not to do a

* It is interesting to compare this with the far more businesslike
militia system which worked so well in England from Ed. I. to James I.,
and which, instead of attempting to create by compulsion a small stand-
ing army, aimed at making each citizen responsible for his share of
home defence, thus creating a whole population of roughly-trained men
from which volunteer armies could be raised in times of emergency.
The Enghsh mihtia was always looked upon as a steady constitutional
force, and a valuable counterpoise to the danger of lawlessness which
attends the formation of standing armies.



The End of a World. 7- 1

most detestable deed ; for, by instigation of the Devil,
they took a calf and set it upon the holy font ordained
for the giving of baptism to christian folk ; and there
one of them, taking the church ornaments and holy
water, made a form and pretence of baptizing him and
giving him such a name as one vi^ould give to a christian,
all in scorn and disdain of the holy sacrament of bap-
tism, which was a strange thing to christian folk.

Again, in the village called St. Cosme de Ver, in the
said country of Maine, as the francs -archers aforesaid had
(according to their wont) done several insolences and
derisions against the holy relics in that church, and
against the sacraments and ceremonies of the Church,
finally one of them came behind the said church of St.
Cosme, hard by the [great] glass window which giveth
it light, where the said franc-archer found an apple-tree
laden with fruit, which apples he plucked one by one,
and threw them for his pleasure against the painted
window of the church. And, having thrown several
without being able to strike or break the glass, then it
befel that, cursing and blaspheming, he cast one where-
with he smote the crown on a pictured St. Cosmo that
was in the window ; which apple stuck there amidst
the glass for a whole year's space, in the sight of all
people, without decay or corruption ; yet on the other
hand all the other apples that hung on the tree fell to
the ground from that day forward, and rotted in the
twinlding of an eye, as though poisoned and infected by
the touch of that wretch who had laid hands on the
tree ; who nevertheless escaped not our Lord's judg-
ment and vengeance. For, in that night following, the
arm wherewith he had cast the said apples was stricken
with palsy, not without grievous pain and torment ;
whereof he was nevertheless afterwards cured to his
own confusion ; for, having done some deed that
brought him into the hands of justice, he was hanged
and strangled by the provost-marshal. Yet this shame-
ful death of his amended not his fellows, but that they
WTought many crimes and barbarities unwonted and
unheard-of before this time ; for they pillaged in their
own country as m a foreign land, forced mo men and

AS



722 A Medieval Garner.

maidens, beat priests and men of all estates, and took
horses or mares from the fields and meadows whereso-
ever they found them, to bear themselves and the
raiment which they gathered by their robberies through-
out the country ; feeding their horses and mares on
pure wheat which they took from the poor folk, and
giving them wine to drink. And it befel in one place
of Anjou that, after these miscreants had drunken
outrageously of the best wine that was in the house
wherein they lodged, then they began to cast the rest
away ; and as the master of that house, a man of holy
church far advanced in age, gently reproved them,
showing how it was a sin to waste the good things
which God giveth for our sustenance, then these evil
folk waxed wroth and constrained him to set a caldron
on the fire, and fill it with wine, wherewith, when it
was warmed he must needs wash their feet. And
many other barbarities were ^vrought by the rabble,
which would be tedious to tell of. . . . In the month
of November of this year it rained in so great abundance
that men thought the deluge had come (for some had
foolishly foretold this the year before) ; whereof many
men of light faith were sore afraid, both in Anjou and
in Touraine. The river Loire swelled into so great a
flood that it did much harm throughout the land ; for
in many places it brake the dikes and wrought piteous
havoc in the lowlands ; wherein some houses were
overthrown by the violence of the waters, and much
sown corn was lost, and many beasts drowned ; so
that the country folk were in sore poverty for many
years after. And this same year, on the twelfth day
of December, in the city of Freiburg in Germany, a cow
brought forth a monstrous birth shaped like a man,
yet hideous and deformed, bearing on his head a sort of
tonsure, both broad and white, his body and tail
shaped like a swine, and the whole colour as though he
had been smoked. Moreover the skin round his neck
was doubled and folded like a monk's cowl ; and the
shape thereof was soon afterwards brought into Anjou,
wherefrom many drew manifold interpretations ; and,
among others, they attributed the form of this monster



The End of a World. 723

to the Lutheran doctrine, seeing that there was then in
Germany a Friar, Martin Luther by name, who preached
and dogmatized many articles and propositions which
since by the Roman Church and the Sorbonne at Paris
have been declared false a.nd erroneous. Wherefore
many folk named this misbegotten creature the
Lutherick Monster, in mockery and derision of that
same Luther and those of his damnable sect. . . .

Moreover in the month of March, the moon being in
opposition, it was seen striped in many colours, to wit
white and yellow and black and red, whereat folk mar-
velled sore. And soon afterwards came certain news
of the enterprise which that unhappy enemy to the
Christian Faith, Sultan Solyman called the Great Turk,
had wrought upon the knights of Rhodes, whom we
call Hospitallers, taking from them their most mighty
and well-fortified city of Rhodes together with the
whole island, and banishing them from those parts,
to the great shame, confusion, and scandal of christian
princes and prelates, and to the irrecoverable loss of
all Christendom. Whereof the knights of that same
Order were much blamed ; for the common rumour
ran that (seeing how long warning they had received
of that which the Turk meditated) they had very ill
furnished their said town, both in victuals and in
soldiers, artillery, powder, and other munitions of war ;
and thus they had done but little good for the great
revenues which they gather wellnigh daily throughout
all christian kingdoms, which revenues (as we may well
believe), were given only to set the knights forward as
the bulwark and defence of Christendom, and especially
of the said city of Rhodes.



The End.



GLOSSAKY.

( The figures refer to Extracts, not to Pages J.

Barm-felt (253). Leathern apron.

Begiiincs (70). Associations of women for the religious life,

generally in a common house, but without lifelong vows.
Borrow (62). Pledge, or guarantor.
Bourg (238). Bastard.
Breii (63). Burn.
Breicis (153). Pottage.
Calefactory (8). Chamber in a monastery heated with a fire or

by hot air.
Canon (70). The most sacred part of the Mass.
Canons Regular (220). Canons bound to the lifelong observance

of :i Rule; the best known are the Austin Canons and the

Prcemonstratensians. They were in fact practically monks,

and are often so called by medieval writers, though modern

pedantry sometimes ignores this.
Catchpoll (72). Officer, constable.
Chapter (32). The assembled body of monks or canons. In

monasteries, this meeting was held daily for the correction

of faults, etc.
Chasuble (70). An ecclesiastical outer garment.
Clepe (273). Call.
Clip (62). Embrace.

Compline {Q5). The last of the Hours of Common Prayer.
Constitutions (70). Ecclesiastical bye-laws.
Corporal, or corporas (70). Linen cloth to cover the consecrated

elements at Mass.
Cote-hardie (264). Close-fitting gown for ladies, or tunic for

men.
Customary (275). Subject to certain manorial burdens ; moBt

customary tenants were themselves serfs.
Dalmatic (70). A wide gown, used by the clergy.
Discure {29\). Discover.
Donat (165). Latin Grammar; Donatus was the favourite

grammarian of the Middle Ages.
Duke (65). Leader.
Fautour (267). Favourer, abettor.
Fet (304). Fetch.



7^6 A Medieval Garner.

Friar Minor (70). Franciscan.

Friar Preacher (70). Dominican.

Grange (26). Out-lying farm or manor belonging to a monastery.

Griskin (79). Little pig.

Importable (62). Insupportable.

Impress (220). Quasi-heraldic personal insignia, with motto :

cf. Richard II, Act iii, Sc. 1.
Jape (267). Jest.
Kind (55 ). Nature.

Kiss of Peace (70). See note to pax, in extract No. 102.
Leasing (267). Lying.

Lector (298). "Reader," or Lecturer in a friary.
Lewd (267). Unlearned, common.
Letters Apostolic (135). Letters dimissory, permitting a cleric

to leave his diocese in order to appeal to the Papal court, or

for other reasons.
Liking tidings (58). This is Trevisa's translation of Higden's

gratus rumor, "tidings which gratified them."
Liripipe (235). Tail or streamer to a hood.
Maumetrg (267). Idolatry; our medieval ancestors imagined

Mahomedans to be idolaters.
Meiihle (263). Furniture.
Misericorde (216). Dagger.
Musterdevillers (293). A grey cloth made at Montivilliers in

Normandy, and very popular here in the 14th and 15th

centuries.
Penitentiary (248). Select Priest deputed by a Pope or Bishop

to hear and absolve reserved cases in confession.
Per Omnia (262). Part of the Canon of the Mass, designated

by its first words.
Preacher (222). See Friar Preacher.

Prime (183). A canonical hour of prayer, originally 6 a.m.
Proprietary (161). St. Benedict prescribed in his Rule, and

Innocent III reenacted under pain of excommunication and

damnation, that no monk should possess private money or

property. These and other repeated prohibitions were, how-
ever, generally neglected in the later Middle Ages.
Quarrif (289). Prize ; the game at which a hawk flies.
Rampe (261). Virago, vixen.
Reised (304). Raised, exalted in liquor.
Religion (99). Any order of Cloisterers (as Monks, Canons

Regular, Friars, Nuns, etc.)
Religious (99). The members of a Religious Order, as above.
Rere-eggs (261). The Editor of the E.E.T.S. volume offers no

explanation of this word ; it represents the oeufs moles, i.e.

" scrambled eggs '' of the French original.
Rown (281). Whisper.



Glossary. 7-7

Sad (296). Serious, responsible.

Scutage (215). A money-tax on lands in place of the original
tenure of personal military service.

Shcnt (2t51). Spoiled, discomfited.

Shrciccn (267). Curse.

Soler^ solar, or soller (216). A private room, generally in an
upper storey.

Tallies (77). Two exactly-corresponding pieces of wood, for
keeping and checking accounts. The buyer kept one, the
seller another ; at each fresh transaction the two were fitted
tofycthcr so that a single fresh notch with a knife left a
corresponding record on each tally.

To-hrcnt (62). Burnt.

Trecn (60). Wooden (tree-en).

Trist (304). Trust.

Unnethc {55). Scarcely.

JVafcrcr (53). Maker of Avafers, (Fr. yaufrcs) or thin sweet
cakes. It appears that they enjoyed no very good reputation,
see Piers Plorcman A. vi, 120.

Wiqge or PVig (327). A dry, crisp biscuit. More either means
that these biscuits were ordinarily washed down with strong
drink, or perhaps anticipates the modern ironical excuse
Avhich attributes certain irregularities of behaviour to "the
salmon."

IVorldly (161). In medieval parlance, all were in "the world"
who had not bound themselves to some " Religion " (see
above under Religion). The Latin word used for world in
this sense was seculum ; hence the phrases secular clergy for
non-monastic clerics, secular arm for the civil authorities, etc.

V-mcllyd (217 ). Mixed.

Y-pight (55). Fixed, fastened.



WORKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR.



Chaucer and his England. (Methuen & Co. -lad Edition.

lOs. 6d. net).

Timet. — ^'Oi Mr. Coulton's scholarship there is no need to speak. ... He
gives us a vivid and (in the true sense of the word) realistic picture of life in the
fourteenth century. ... It bears that unmiskable stamp of originality which
gives life to work of any kind."

Spectator.—" Seldom indeed do we find the burden of learning and scholar-
ship so easily and lightly carried as Mr. Coulton carries that of the fourteenth
century."

From St. Francis to Dante. (Duckworth & Co. 2nd Edition
revised. 12s 6d. net).
Tivies, — " A more enlightening picture than any we have yet read."
Dr. Rashdall in Independent Review. — " It will, I hope, be read by every one
who wants to know what the Middle Ages were really like."

Friar^s Lantern : A Medieval Fantasia. (Published bj
the Author, 40, Mill Road, Eastbourne. 3s. 6d. net).
Times. — " Written with undeniable ability."

Commonwealth. — "Worthy of a place beside the 'Cloister and the Hearth '
aa a true work of art."

Rhineland by Boat and Cycle. With 14 Illustrations.

(Published by the Author. 2s. 6d. 7iet).
Spectator. — " This is a very pleasant book of journeying."
St. Janies' Gazette. — "Uniformly agreeable and full of humour."
Speaker. — "Just the sort of companion we should take for odd moments of
a holiday. ' '

Public Schools and Public Needs. (PubHshed by the

Author. 2s. net).

Times. — " If the 'man in the street,' who and whoever he be, will take the
trouble to read it, his eyes will be opened."

Medieval Studies. Seven Essays mostly reprinted from the
monthly and quarterly reviews. (Simpkin, Marshall & Co.
3s. 6d. net).



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