John Lingard.

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During Edward's reign several alterations were made
in the laws respecting the transmission or alienation

•Stat, of Realm, 96.

+ Rot Pari L 178. Ryley. 280. Rym. ii. 960. Several fandful expl».
nation! of the name have been given. But ai Sir F. Pa]grave remarks
(Chron. Aba. 66.) the coromuciou it docketed, de transg* nominatia trail-
uacton audiend' et t^rminand' ; and consequently the word apolies to tiie
offender or the offence. The offenders are described as muroerers, rob-
bers, and incendiaries* wandering ih>m place to place, and lurking in
wouds and parks. ParL Writs, i. 40& Perhaps they were generallv
- armed with clubs ; whence tlie offiBnce might be called an met of trait*
bastoo.



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dP tM property, which are wholly or ptrtially ia Jbroe
i^ the present day. Qriginally bndi were given to a
man and the heirs of his hody, in failure of which heirs
they were to return to the donor : hut it had heen held
hy the judges that on the hirth of an heir the condition
was fulfilled. The feoffee could then aliene as he
pleased, and he was generally carefUl to make his fee-
simple ahsolute, so that it might descend hy common
law to his heirs general. The harons complained that
l^ this expedient the will of the donor, and the rights
of his successors, were unjustly defeated ; and a law
was enacted, taking fh>m the feoffise the power of dis-
posing of his lands, and ordaining that they should
descend in the terms of the original grant, and in iailure
of issue revert to the donor, or the heirs of the donor.
The ohject of this statute was to preserve the rights of
the lord : its effect, though that does not appear to
have l>een contemplated hy the legislature, was to se-
cure the transmission of estates through the different
generations of the same family, hy depriving the actual
possessor of the power of alienation*.
A* T^ Another very important alteration regarded the con-
1290,ygyj^jj^5^ of lands. At the commencement of Edward's
reign, every tenant, who possessed freehold lands of
inheritance, could convert his property into a manor,
with manorial courts, profits, and immunities, by grant-
ing or selling a portion of it to two or more individuals,
to he held by them and their heirs for ever, under free
or military service. By this system of sub-infeudation
manors were multiplied beyond measure ; and the great
harons discovered that they were deprived of the es-
cheats, r'feliefs, and wardships, of the lesser freeholders,
which by the condition of their tenures were reserved
to the immediate lords of whom they held their lands.
Repeated complaints gave birth to the statute of the
eighteenth of this prince, by which the creation of new

•Stot of Realm, 7L



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a: v. 129^.] STATUTSS OF ±OBTIlAliX. 273

miBLnoiti wks prohibited; and it was enacted, that m
all sales or grants of land for the future, the ne% feoffee
should hold hfs land, not of the individual froib whom
he received or purchased it, hut of the chief lord of the
fee. Hencie it is, that at the present day no claim of
manorial rights is admitted, unless they have existed
ad such since the year 1290 ^.

I shall notice only one more alteration, which tbd
king appeara to have had much at heart, and in which
be was in a great measure defeated by the ingenuity
of his opponents ; I mean the statute enacted to pre-
vent corporate bodies, ecclesiastical or siecular, from
acquiring lands in mortmain. For as such bodies
cannot die, the iminediate lords of those lands Were
deprived of the escheats, reliefs, wardships, and other
feudal profits, which they derived from the decease of
individual proprietors. To remedy the inconvenience
bodies corporate had long been incapacitated from ac-
quiring lands without the previous consent both of the
mesne lord, and the king : but they had found means
to evade the prohibition by taking leases for very long
terms of years, or by purchasing estates, which were
held bona fide of themselves. In 1279 a statute was
passed, by which all alienations in mortmain, by what-
ever art, or under whatever pretext they might b^
effected, were forbidden on pain of finrfeiture to the
iHiittodiate lord, or, in his default during a year, to the
lord paramount, and in default of both, to the kingti
But an expedient was soon discovered by which the
provision^ of the statute were eluded. A secret under-
standing took place between the parties': the body
wishing to obtain the land set up a fictitious title ; and
the real proprietor, by collusion, suffered judgment to
be given against him. This was the origin of common

• Stat, of Realm, lOe. Rot ParL torn. L ip. 41.

i SiaU of Realm, 5L There are* however, several instancea in which
the king nanted lieenaei for the alienation of lauds in ntortmain. S«0
Ryra. IL €0. 1004.



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S74 XiyWARD V. LCUAP. III.

neovieriM, which are itill in use. The king was in-
dignant when he saw himself foiled in this manner,
and in 1285 a new statute was passed, hy whidi all such
cases were sent to a jury, and wherever fraud was dia-
covered, the land was forfeited to the immediate lord *.
Still the ingenuity of the clergy, who were principally
interested in the contest, was not exhausted. They
distinguished between the possession and the use;
estates were no longer conveyed to the body corporate,
but to others for ito use; and thus, while the seizin of
the land was in the nominal feoffee, all its pirofits and
emoluments came to the possession of those for whom
the vendor or grantor originally intended itt.

It had employed Edward thirteen years to forge the
fetters of Scotland : in less than six months she was
again free. To understand this important revolution,
we must advert to the rival houses of Baliol and Bruce.
Baliol was dead; and before his death he had more
than once renounced for himself and his posterity all
right to the crown. As the renunciation had been made
in captivity, and was the effect of compulsion, it would
probably have been disregarded by the Scots : but his
only son was a prisoner in the Tower of London, and
the task of supporting the rights of the family devolved
on the next heir, John Comyn of Badenoch, the son
of Marjory, Baliol's sister, a nobleman already dis-
tinguished by his efforts to recover the independence
of his country. From the fotal battle of Falkirk to
the last expedition of Edward, he directed as guardian
the councils of Scotland. To the king of England he
had long been an object of peculiar jealousy : at the
late pacification a sentence of temporary banishment
was pronounced against him ; and, though that sen-
tence had been recalled, he had still been fined in thrice
the amount of his yearly income.

The pretensions of Robert Bruce, the original com*

•SUt of Realm, 87. t Set SUt 15 Ricli. II. e. fi.



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CHAP. III.] M URDIR OF COXYN. 275

petitor, had descended to his grandson, of the same
name and about twenty-three years of age. The Braces,
animated by a spirit of opposition to the Baliols, had
hitherto done little for their country. The grandfather
had been the first to acknowledge the superiority of
the king of England : the son, when Baliol drew the
sword of independence, hastened to join the hostile
banners of Edward ; and the grandson, unable to dis-
cern his real interest, had continually oscillated between
the two parties. As often as a gleam of success en-
livened the hopes of tlie patriots, he became a willing
eonyert to the same holy cause: at the approach of
Edward, the apostate was always eager to make his
peace with the conqueror, and to redeem his past dis«
loyalty by new services. At the present time he en-
joyed the favour and confidence of that prince, who
had consulted him on the late settlement of Scotland,
and remitted to him the payment of the relief due for
the lauds which his father had held in England.

It chanced that both Comyn and Brace arrived at ^ "*•
Dumfries about the same time, probably to meet the p^
new justiciaries who were holding their court in the iq
town. Bruce requested a private conference in the
choir of the church of the Minorites ; and the very
selection of the place warrants a suspicion that the two
chiefs had reason to be on their guard against each
other. Whether it were the consequence of premeditated
^ treachery, or only the sudden impulse of passion, will
be for ever unknown : but they met ; the conversation
grew warm ; and Brace plunged his dirk into the breast
of Comyn, saw him fall, and hurried to the church-door.
He appeared pale and agitated; and to the inquiries
of his attendants replied: *' I think I have killed
•• Comyn.** — " You only think so !" exclaimed one of
the number, and hastened with his companions into
the church. Comyn still breathed, and with proper
care might have lived. The friars had conveyed him
behind the altar; and his uncle, sir Robert Comyn,



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trS EDWARD I. [cflXP. in

had been cdled to bis assistance. At the approadi of
the assassins sir Robert drew his sword, and was slain
by Christopher Seaton, the brother-in-law of Bruce.
Kilpatric springing fbrwards to Comyn, plunged his
dagger into the heart of the unresisting victim *.

This is all that is known, perhaps more than is really
known, respecting the cause, and the circumstances
of the murder. But the Scottish historians are better
informed. They tell us, that Gomyn had bound him-
self by oath and indenture to support the claim of
Bruce to the crown ; that he afterwards betrayed the
secret to Edward, who one evening over the bottle re-
vealed his intention of putting the whole famQy to
death ; that the earl of Gloucester gave Bruce a hint
of his danger, by sending him a pair of spurs and twelve
silvt^ pennies ; that the patriot, to prevent his being
tracked in the snow, ordered the shoes of his horses to
be inverted, rode through bye ways from London to
Lochmaben in seven days, and meeting on the road a
foot-traveller, of suspicious appearance, killed him, and
found on his person letters from Comyn to Edward ;
that he went immediately to Dumfries, sent for Comyn
to the church, showed him the intercepted letters, and,
receiving from him the lie, despatched the traitor t.
This romantic tale was long believed by the gratitude
and partiality of the people : but later writers of the

• Compare Hem. 219. West 453. Knyffht. 2494. Waiting. 91. Fofd. ♦
zil. 7. Haiieo. i. S9j. The cause atsigned by the oM poet, whose lioes
ire pieaenred by Fonlun, ic the ancient quarrel between the two lamiliea.
Causa suaB mortis est vetus discordia fbrtis.— Ford. xiL 7.

+ ForduD, xii. 5—7. Boece. xli. Buch. vili. Tlie genius of Hume Iiaa
teproved and embellished this tale. He first gilds the spurs sent by tbo
•art of Gloucester, and changes into a purse of gold the paltry present of
twelve pennies. Then, having conducted the hero to Dnifcfries, with tb«
Scottish writers, he adopts the opinion of the Enslish, that Um disput*

J rose respecting the'snccessiun to the crown, and therefore introduces
Iroce to a council of Scottish nobles roost providentially assembled at th«
Tery aumeut, astonishes them with the brauty, the address, and the elo>
quence of the youni; patriot, composes for him an elegant harangue, and
^its a string of eautiout objections into the mouth of Comyn. The a»-
semUy breaks up: Bruce, in a fit of indignant patriotism, pursues Comya^
4ad the murder u perpetxated.— But aU thii again is fletioa !



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%. D. 1366.] SDWARSt tows BBYINGX. t77

■ame nation have proved that iu all its eireamslahcte
it is liable to strong objections, in many is oontradieted
by satisfactory evidence. There can be little doubt that
it is a fiction, purposely invented to wash the guilt of
blood from the character of Robert I., and to justify a
transaction, which led to the recovery of Scottish in«
dependence.

Edward was rather irritated than alarmed at the in-
telligence. That 80 foul a murder eould overturn his
superiority was an idea which never entered his mind :
but, enfeebled as he was by years and disease^ he looked
Ibrward with reluctance to the possibility of a war.
Orders were sent to his lieutenant, Aymar de Valence. Apr.
earl of Pembroke, to chastise the presumption of •Bruee ; ^«
and all the young nobility of England were summoned
to receive, in company with prince Edward, the honour Apr.
of knighthood. The more distinguished he admitted ^
into the palace: for the accommodation of the others. May.
tents were erected in the gardens of the Temple ; and **•
alhreceived from the royal wardrobe vests of silk, and
mantles of purple and gold. The king was too weak
to expose himself to the heat caused by the crowd.
He knighted his son in the hall of the palace ; and
the young prince, in the abbey church, conferred the
same honour on his two hundred and seventy com-
panions. It was the custom for the new knight to make
a vow, the object of which was generally suggested by
the circumstances of the time : the vows of chivalry,
however, were not taken on the gospels, but, ridiculous
as it may appear, in the presence of a peacock, or phea-
sant, or other bird of beautiful plumage. During the
royd banquet, the minstrels placed on the table two
swans in nets of gold. The king immediately vowed
before God and the swans, that he would revenge the
death of Comyn, and punish the perfidy of the rebels;
and then addressing the company, conjured them in
the event of his death on the expedition, to keep his
body unburied, till they had enabled his son to accom-



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ITS XDWARDI. [chap. Ill*

plith his TOW. The son swore that he would not sleep
two nights in the same place till he had entered Soot-
land to execute his Other's commands ; the rest i^
plauded his oath» and imitated his example. The next
morning the prince, with his knights companions, de-
parted for the herders: Edward himself followed hy
easy journeys ; and his military tenants received writs to
join him at Carlisle in the beginning of July *.

Mar. Bruce, by the murder of Comyn, had staked his life :
29. he could save it only by winning a sceptre. He assumed
the title of king, summoned the Scots to his standard,
and was crowned without any opposition at Scone.
When his wife, the daughter of the earl of Ulster, was
informed of the coronation, she ventured to express
a hope that he, who was a king in summer, might not
prove an exile in winter. These words were noticed
as a prediction : but it required not the spirit of pro-
phecy to foretell the disasters which attended the first

JTvne efforts of the new monarch. In the wood of Methuen,
19. and the neighbourhood of Perth, six of his bravest
knights were made prisoners by Pembroke ; and Bruce
himself, thrown from his horse, must have shared their
lot, had he not been rescued by Seaton. The Grampian
hills offered a retreat to the fugitives : the deer of the
forest and fish of the stream supplied them with food ;
if occasionally they descended to the lowlands, they as
often returned at the approach of the English; and
during two months they wandered like outlaws through
Breadalbane and Athole. But their sufferings were
lessened by the attentions of their female relatives, who,
under the guidance of Nigel, a brother of Bruce, had
arrived to share the lot of their fathers, brothers, and
husbands. Near the banks of Loch Tay, they were



• Weft ^3. Trhret. 34a Kym. ii. 1052L Ad. Murinu 37. Th« Idm^
hud not ft>rgotten the feudal right ofderoauding an ud ttom hie tenants oa
this oeeaeiou; but he chose to do it in pnrliamvnt, which anembled oath*
aothof liny, and inanted him a thirtieth and twentieth. Pari. Writs.
1S4178.



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A. I>. 1306.] PimiSRiaHT OF THl PEI80NXR8. S70

d]§ooT«ned by Alexander lord of Lcnn, who bad married
a Ck>myn. He summoned his clan: Bruce and hisAogw
followers were defeated; and it became necessary to '^*
separate for their safety. The ladies were conducted
on horseback to the castle of Kildruinmy : the king,
with only two or three companions, proceeded on foot
to Loch Lomond, crossed it in a boat, and received an
hospitable welcome at the castle of Dunavarty, from
the lord of Kintyre. After three days* rest, he em-
barked in a small ship, steered to the north of Ireland,
and in the unfrequented island of Rathlin, buried
himself during the winter from the knowledge and the
pursuit of his enemies *.

Edward, through weakness, was unable to leaye the
neighbourhood of Carlisle : but he could attend the
deliberations of his council, and issue instructions for
the punishment of the prisoners. It was determined
that the murderers of Comyn, their abettors and con-
cealers, should be drawn and hanged ; that all rebels
taken with arms in their hands should be hanged or
beheaded ; that of those who surrendered, t}ie most
dangerous should be imprisoned during the king's
pleasure ; the rest, with such as had joined the insur-
gents by compulsion, and the common people, should
be punished according to the discretion of the king's
lieutenant. In consequence of these orders, a few
priioneri were tried, condemned, and executed, among
whom the most distinguished were the earl of Athole,
Nigel the brother of Bruce, Christopher Seaton, with
his brother Alexander, both Englishmen, Simon Fraser,
and Herbert de Norham. If we consider these un-
fortunate men as the champions of freedom, they may
demand our pity ; but their execution cannot sub-
stantiate the charge of cruelty against Edward. Some

• BarlMur. 29-61. Ford. x\\. S. Wett 455. Heming. SS3. The ad-
Tenturea of Bruce are romantic and interesting in Barbotur. Fordun bears
testimony to his accuracy ; but Barbour was a poet, and cTide&tly atalls
kimseif w the privilege oihU professiou.



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290 SBtl^APO t* [cttAP. 11^.

were murderers : all \itA repedtedljf broken their 6tAhB
of fealty, and had been repeatedly admitted to pardon ^.
Among the prisoners were three ^celieiBiastics, the
abbot of Scone, and the bishops of St. Andrew'* and
Glasgow, and most of the females, who had so heroically
joined the outlaws in the highlands. Thfe former had
been taken in complete armour, and were confined in
fetters in sepairate castles in England. The latter fell
into the hands of the king, by the sarrender of Kil^
drummy, or the violation of die sanctuary at IVitn m
RoM-shire. To the wife of Bnice Edward assigned hm
manor of Bnistvrick for her residence, with an establish-
ment suitable to her rank as countess of Carrickf.
Many were dispersed in different convents, and placed
A. D. under the custody of the nuns. Two, the countess of
13U7. Buchan, who in ri^t of her fkmily had placed the crown
on the head of Brace, and his sister Mary, who by her
conduct must have merited the distinction, were treated
with greater severity. They were confined, the first
in the castle of Berwick, the other in that of Roxburglk
At the end of fbur years Mary was exchanged for nine
English prisoners of rank ; and about die same time
the countess was transferred to a less rigorous confine*
ment in the Carmelite convent in Berwick^ from whieh
She was liberated three years afterwards t.



•Rylev. 510. Trivet. 344, 345. We>t. 455, 456.

t The king's ditecttbni are cUrtoiUL The bisHoi

each in a cfli in the iowjer. every door leading to whidi was to \» kept



locked* and the draw bridife raised. No one was ever to see tliem besides
a val<>i« a boy. and k ehaptain for each, for whose fidelity the sheriff wag
to be security. New Rymer, 966. With respect to tiie countess, her
estublishmeut wa« to conHist of— 1. Two females of the country, of a good
age, very sedate, and of npproved condact, one at a companion, the other
as a waiting-maid. 9. Two valeta of good age and sedate, one belonglbg
to her father the earl of Ulster, the other of the country, to carve for lier.
8. A footman " to sta^ in her chamber, a sober man, and not riotous, to
** make her hed ana do other thinss fitting for the chamber." 4. A
house steward to take care of her Keys, pantry, and butlery. Also «
cook.— She was moreover to have three greyhounds to hunt in the warren
and park, when she wished; as much veuiscu and fish as she wanted ;
the house she likt-d best, and liberty to fide to any part of the manor.
Eym. il 1013. 1014.

t See Rot. Soot L 85. W, They were confined in cages; on which ae-
ooont soma writers say that they were ex^ioaed in cages to the gate of



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A. Ob 1307.] OXAtS or XDWARD. f81

About the «nd of winter the exOes issued from their
retreat. Thomas and Alexander Bniice with a body of
Irishmen entered Loch Ryan, but were opposed by Dun-
ean Macdowal, made prisoners, and executed at Carlisle.
The king was more fortunate than his brothers. He Feb.
sailed to the coast of Carrick, surprised the English ^*
in the vicinity of Turnberry, and hastened for security
to the hills and forests. By degrees he was joined by M«y
his former vassals, defeated Pembroke^ and drove Ralph ^^*
de Monthermer to the castle of Ayr. He even laid
siege to the place, but had the wisd(»n, at the approach
of the English forces, to retire once more to the moun-
tains*.

To Edward the success of his antagonist, trifling as
it was, became a continued source of vexation. In July
he felt a marked improvement in his health, and ordered
the army to advance into Scotland. But the very ex-
ertion of mounting on horseback threw him back into
his former state of weakness ; his progress in four days
was confined to six mUes; and Uie next evening he July
expired at Burgh on the sands, in the sixty -ninth year 7.
of his age, and the thirty-fifth of his reign t.

Edward was twice married. His first wife was Elea-
nor of Castile, daughter of Ferdinand III., and, after
the death of her mother, heiress of Ponthieu. Eleanor
deserved and possessed the affections of her husband.
She is described as elegant in her person, and gentle
in her manners; pious, prudent, and charitable; ab-
staining firom all interference in matters of state ; and
employing her authority to relieve the oppressed, and
reconcile those who were at variance. She bore Edward

tite people. The contfiiry is evident from the king*8 orders. The cage was
to be built within one of the torrets of the castle } and the priaoner was on
no account to come out of it. Ooe or two female servants of English birtb
were to be allowed to speak with ihem. In each cage was to be the " con-
** venience of a Atceat chamber.** Rym. ii. 1014. The troth is, cage meani
a cell or room in a prison j and, for the accranmodation of these ladies, their
cages were formed by- wooden partitions within the walls of the castle.

* Barbom-, 9^-157. West. 457, 458. Uem. 225. Trivet, 346.

t &ym. ii. 1059.

VOL. III. 24



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282 SDWAID I. [CBAP. m.

four fODB, and deren dftu^ten, of whom oevenl ^Bed in
thmi iaSaincjy aad noli more than three are known to hxve
florvived their &ther. Her death happened at Haidley,
near linooln, in 1290. The king's affection induced him
to foUow the funeral to Westminster, and to erect, wher-
ever the corpse rested for the night, a magnificent croes
to her memory*. Bib second wife was Margaret c^
France, hj whom he had a daughter, who cKed in her io-
fiuicj, and two sons who survived him.

* SonM of these crosses still remain, and are of considerable «J^n c^nog.
^ His objeei in titeee erections was not merely to preserve ber memory, hmt
to induce passengers tu stop sjid offer up their prayers for iMr sonL Wala.
54. Inthecircularletterwhichhe sent on the occasion to different pre-
lates and abbots, he describes the ot]jeet of these prayers to be. ut si qnid
macnbe non pui^;at« in ipsa. Ibrsau oblivionis defeeta vel alio modo, ro-
tnandt, per ntilia orationum suflrafia, Juxta dirius MiaerieordiM pWiiiln
dinem aUtergatur. Kym. ii. ^iS. I may add, that to raise crosses where
the dead body had rested was a custom in £aj{land as old at Ctaiiatiaiiitiw
fUelt fiee Ang. Sac. it 2S.



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CHAPTER IV.

EDWARD II.
CONTBMPORAB.Y PIUNCSS.



Bmf, tf Otr,

Albait 1308

Henry VII. ..1313
LouialV.



K.ofScUUuti.
Robert L



K.ofrrane9. I KofSfttm,
PhUip IV. .. l3i4^F«nliiuttd IV.
Louis X. ...1316 Itll

Philip V. . . . 13S8lAlphoii«» XL
CkarlM IV.



CleoMiit V. 1314. J<^n XXIL



CoroaatioDof Edward->Elefvatkni, Exile, and Death of Gavetton—War la



Online LibraryJohn LingardA history of England, Volume 3 → online text (page 26 of 32)