History of England, Part I For the use of Middle Forms of Schools

Tout, T. F. --Powell, F. York


CHAPTER III: Edward III 1327-1377

1. On the 29th January the young king was crowned, and on the 3rd February Parliament met. A Standing Council of fourteen was appointed, Henry, Earl of Lancaster (the late earl's brother and heir), being Warden of the realm, was its chairman; with him were the king's uncles and Norfolk, and his kinsman Warenne, the Bishop of Hereford (who was treasurer), the two archbishops, and the Bishop of Winchester, with six barons. The Parliament then blotted out the sentence against Earl Thomas, and the king confirmed the Charters, gave a full and new charter to London, made decrees for the better maintaining of justice, and set keepers of the peace in every county. In spite, however, of the Warden and the Council all real power lay in the hands of the queen-mother and of , who kept a guard of 180 knights and lived in such state that his own son warned him he was behaving like a May-day king. In the Scots war broke out again, and , with his mother and


, at the head of 8000 knights and squires, 30,000 men-at-arms, horse and foot, and 24,000 archers, marched north to drive back the Scots, who had already got into England. The Scottish army and its ways of warfare are thus described by one who saw them:

" The Scots are bold, hardy, and well inured to war. When they make their inroads into England they march from twenty to twenty-four miles without halting night or day, for they are all horsed save the camp followers. Knights and squires on large bay horses, and the common folk on Galloway ponies, which are never tied up or groomed, but turned out straightway after the day's march to graze on the moor or the meadows. They bring no carts with them because of the hills they have to pass, nor do they carry any bread or wine with them, for they are used to such plain living that in time of war they will live many days on halfsodden flesh without bread, drinking spring water instead of wine. They have therefore no need for pots or pans, for they boil the flesh of the cattle in their skins when they have flayed them. Nor do they drive cattle with them, for they are sure to find plenty in the land they are invading. Every man carries under the flaps of his saddle a broad plate of iron, and behind him a little bag of oatmeal. When they have eaten too much of the boiled flesh and feel weak and empty, they set their plate over the fire, mix a little oatmeal with water, and when the plate is heated put some of this paste upon it and make a thin cake like a biscuit, which they eat to comfort their stomachs."

In this way the Scots entered England, destroying and burning everything on their way. They were in number 4000 knights and squires and 20,000 soldiers. The king being now old and stricken with leprosy had set as captains over them his renowned nephew Randolf, Earl of Moray, and Sir James Douglas, who was held the bravest and most enterprising knight in the two kingdoms. And the Scots pillaged within five miles of the English host, yet the English could not bring them to battle nor discomfit them. For some time the two armies lay face to face, and one night

"Lord William Douglas took with him 200 men-at-arms and suddenly brake into the English host about midnight, crying,

'Douglas! Douglas! ye shall all die, thieves of England !'

And they slew ere they ceased 300 men, some in their beds, some half ready; and Douglas struck his horse with the spurs and came to the young king's own tent, always crying


and cut asunder two or three cords thereof with his sword."

The English guard


rallied and saved the king; however, Douglas got back unharmed to his own folk. At last the Scots army stole away during the night, and the next day the English found their camp empty, save that there were

"more than 500 slaughtered oxen lying there which they had killed, as they could not have driven them fast enough to take them with them, and more than 300 kettles made of hide with the hair outside, full of meat and water, hung on the fires ready for boiling, and more than 1000 spits of wood with meat on them for roasting, and over 10,000 pair of worn-out brogues of undressed hide which the Scots had left."

The English, who had been half starved as the country was stripped so bare, got a good meal that day, but they could not push on further. So the young king came back with sorrow and without honour, but men said

"that the Scots could have been brought to battle if


had not betrayed his lord, taking meed and money from the Scots to the intent that they might get away privily by night without fighting."

Soon after [March 17, ] was made the Shameful Peace at Northampton, by which gave up all claims over Scotland, promised to marry his sister Joan of the Tower to David, King Robert's son, and agreed to give back the Scottish crown jewels, while the Scots were to pay £20,000 for the hurt they had done the English by their raids.

2. This peace was made by the queen-mother and the Earl of March, and it displeased the English barons, who were already disgusted at the evil life these two led and at their greed, for they held all the estates of the Despensers and the most part of the Crown lands. It was not worth while to have overthrown former favourites to be ruled by a fresh one. Lancaster tried to get the king's uncles to rise against . And they promised him help, but left him in the lurch at the last, and he was obliged to make his peace with March. However, the Earl of did not escape, for he was tried, condemned, and beheaded, March 19, , by reason of certain letters which he had written to his brother, whom he believed to be still alive in Corfe Castle.

[2] But was now married to Philippa of Hainault, and felt himself old enough to rule alone; he therefore readily listened to Lancaster and his friends, who showed him the misdeeds of his mother and , and begged him to end their ill rule. Accordingly on 19th October the young king suddenly broke into the queen-mother's room at Nottingham, by a secret passage which had been left unguarded,


and arrested the Earl of March as a traitor, though Isabel prayed him to

"have mercy upon her gentle



The captive earl was soon tried and found guilty of the murder of , of taking upon himself the rule of the realm against law and right, of robbing the king of the money paid by the Scots, and of other crimes, and was put to death as a traitor. The queen-mother was sent to Castle Risings, where she spent many years quietly in safe keeping. The young king now for a while gave himself up to pleasure. There were splendid tournaments held at Dartmouth, Stepney, and Cheapside. At the second the king and fifteen knights challenged all comers for three days, riding through the city to the lists in kirtles and cloaks of green cloth lined with red silk, embroidered all over with arrows in gold, their squires following in white kirtles with the right sleeves green and gold-embroidered like their masters. In the third, in Cheapside, the king and fifteen knights appeared masked in Tartar dresses, with long furred gowns and tall caps, every knight having on his right hand a masked lady dressed in a gown of red velvet with a white camlet cape, who led him by a silver chain fastened to his wrist, while sixty squires in one livery went before, with a band of musicians playing trumpets and other instruments, as the company rode two and two through the city.

3. [3] In Robert the had died, and his son's Council would not fulfil the promises he had made to give back to the English nobles who had lands in Scotland the estates they had lost. The disinherited lords, the Earl of Athole, the Earl of Buchan, Lord Liddesdale, Lord Percy, Talbot, and others, at last chose as their leader , son of King John, and landed at Kinghorn, in Fife, August 7, , being in all 500 mounted men and 3000 on foot. Yet totally overthrew the Scottish Regent, Donald, Earl of Mar, at Dupplin Moor, August 12, and taking Perth, was crowned at Scone, 24th September. To win 's favour he agreed to hold Scotland of him and to give him Berwick. The party of King David, however, were not crushed; they sent the little king out of the way of danger to be brought up in France, and by a surprise at Annan, 25th December, drove into England. Here, however, he got help from King , who now openly joined in the war. Archibald Douglas, the new Warden for David, was beaten and slain at Halidon Hill by Tweed, July 19, with a dreadful


slaughter of Scottish knights and yeomen. The English song-maker Minot triumphs in this victory:-

"Scots out of Berwick and out of Aberdeen,

At the Burn of Bannock ye were far too keen.

Many guiltless men ye slew, as was clearly seen.

King Edward has avenged it now, and fully too I ween.

He has avenged it well I ween. Well worth the while !

I bid you all beware of Scots, for they are full of guile.

'Tis now, thou rough-foot, brogue-shod Scot, that begins thy care.

Thou boastful barley-bag-man, thy dwelling is all bare.

False wretch and forsworn, whither wilt thou fare ?

Hie thee unto Bruges, seek a better biding there !

There, wretch, shalt thou stay and wait a weary while;

Thy dwelling in Dundee is lost for ever by thy guile !

was once more received as king in Scotland, but when he gave up the Lothians to England in he was again driven out. And though the two kings marched in full force through the country as far as Inverness in , they could not hold it, and the Warden, Andrew Moray of Bothwell, son of 's friend, overcame and killed Athole, 's bravest leader, at Culbleen. Under the next Warden, Walter the Steward, castle after castle was taken by the Scots; while Randolf's daughter, kept her stronghold manfully against the English. So in left the country in despair, and two years afterward, when came back from France, he took over his kingdom almost as free from foes as his father had left it. 4. of England was however growing less and less inclined to busy himself at present with the reconquest of Scotland; he had wider plans. In his uncle Charles the Fair had died childless, and he had claimed the French crown in right of his mother; for though the French would not allow a woman to rule their kingdom, he held that descent through a woman was no bar to his right, and that he was nearer of blood to the late king than his cousin Charles of Navarre.

[4] However, the French peers judged the crown to another cousin, Philip of Valois, and , reserving his rights, had twice done homage for Aquitaine to him. But now Philip lent ships to the Scots, which they used to plunder English merchantmen; he was keeping David at his court, and in other ways openly taking the part of the Scots against the English. Edward tried again and again to get Philip to cease to uphold the Scots. He offered to join him in a crusade, to unite their houses by intermarriages; but all of



no avail, and at last, weary of the French king's covert enmity, he resolved upon open war. To this course many things combined to draw him. There was the old grudge between the English and French kings for several generations owing to their respective claims upon Normandy and Gascony. There were the persuasions of the French exiles at the English Court, especially Robert, Earl of Artois,
Philip's brother-in-law, who had done his best to get Philip chosen King of France, but had afterward been deprived of his inheritance and driven abroad by his kinsman. There was the danger of letting the French get hold of the great cities of the Low Countries, which were the chief markets for English wool and goods, and our traders were eager to help the men of Ghent, against their lord the Earl of Flanders, whose cause was upheld by Philip. Accordingly in gave out that he was about to go to war with Philip to recover his lawful heritage the crown of France, in spite of the warning letters of Pope XII. (who was afraid of his joining the Emperor Lewis of Bavaria against himself), and he soon afterwards took the title and arms of King of France. The English nobles were not at all displeased to follow a brave young knight to a war in which they ran no danger of hardship or famine, but had good hope of rich plunder and heavy ransom from wealthy prisoners, even if they did not win broad lands and high titles. The English merchants who had suffered by the French and Scottish sea-rovers were glad to think that piracy would be stopped in the Channel, and that they would be able to pay back the Norman privateers for the damage they had done to the coast towns. The English churchmen did not care for the popes, now that they were living at Avignon, away from Rome their own city, and in the power of the French king, and they were glad that they would not be obliged to pay these so much money or to see the


best preferments given to their foreign favourites. The Grey Friars and the Scholars had warmly taken the side of the Emperor Lewis of Bavaria in his struggle against . and . The English people, as far as they thought at all about it, were glad to help their young king to win a fresh kingdom, and liked the thought of having a blow at the French, their old foes. did not go to war without allies. The Emperor Lewis, who saw a chance of using him as a cat's-paw against France, agreed to aid him; the Low Country lords, the Dukes of Brabant and Guelders, the Earl of Hainault, the Archbishop of Cologne and others, wellwishers or kinsfolk, also joined him; and he made friends with James of Artaveldt, the Master-Brewer of Gaunt, who was the leader of the great towns of Flanders and a sturdy hater of the French. Philip on his part found friends in the Kings of Navarre, Sicily, and Scotland, who sided with him out of kinship or need, and in John, King of Bohemia, who was the rival of Lewis and head of the imperial house of Luxemburg.

5. The first campaign of a struggle which was to occupy three generations of Englishmen and Frenchmen was not very glorious to either side. landed in Flanders, went to Coblentz, when the Emperor sold him the Vicariate of the West of the Empire, and then with more than 30,000 men beset Cambray. But this city was too strong to be carried by storm; and when the English began to make raids into France the German nobles and knights refused to join them. The French king, who had 100,000 men in his host, would not fight a pitched battle, though the armies lay face to face for some days. By the end of , having spent all his money and exhausted his credit, was obliged to go home for more. His Parliament received him well, and granted him large supplies, while he agreed to several useful and notable statutes. The first orders the sheriffs to be yearly appointed in the Exchequer Court, and limits purveyance; the second completes the Confirmatio Cartarum by abolishing tallage of any kind, even on domain land, without consent of Parliament the third declaring that the English crown shall never be under the French crown, though both be held by one man ; the fourth- frees the clergy from purveyance and other royal exactions. Meanwhile Philip had set a large army on the Flemish marches, and gathered a fleet of 500 ships at Sluys under Sir Hugh Kiriel the Breton, Sir Peter Bahucet a Norman, and Blackbeard the Genoese corsair, to stop the landing of the English and cripple their


trade. Among them were the galley-men who had sacked Southampton and taken the king's own ship the Christofer in . On June 22nd sailed with 300 ships against them in spite of his Council's advice, and on the 24th,

" at the dawn when the sun was rising, he beheld his foes so strongly arrayed that they were very terrible to look at, for the ships of the French fleet were so strongly lashed together with great chains, and fitted with great castles, brettices, and barricades. Nevertheless Sir


our king spake to all those that were about him of the English fleet:

'Fair lords and brethren, be not dismayed for aught, but be all of good courage, for he that shall do battle for me to-day, and shall fight with a good brave heart, will have the blessing of God Almighty, and every man shall have whatever he can take.'

Then our sailors hoisted their sails half-mast high, and hauled up their anchors as if they were about to fly; and when the French navy saw this they unlashed their great chains to follow us, and with that our ships sailed back upon them, and the battle began with the sound of trumpets, drums, viols, and tabors and other kinds of music."

'And the wavering wind that rose out of the west,

Blowing blithely and fair in the breadth of our sails,

Drove the big burly cogs [great ships] aboard of each other.

So strongly our stems struck the bows of their galleys

That the breastworks and bulwarks were bursten asunder.

Then we cast across grapplings from one craft to the other,

And hewed at the head-ropes that held up their masts.

At the strokes of the sword-blades the masts swayed and tottered

And fell down on the foredecks, destroying all beneath them.

From the boats that lay by the stones beat on the foe,

And our archers and arblastmen kept shooting eagerly,

As fast as when hail falls fiercest in winter,

And our engineers ever their bullets were uttering,

Till the French dared not front us nor lift up their faces.

Then boldly on board sprung the barons in mail,

And to hand-fight they fell, fencing cruelly with spears,

With the royal rank steel the war-harness rending,

Breaking through breastplates, burnished helms cleaving,

And shredding the shields with well-sharpened blades.

Thus they dealt all that day those bold doughty champions,

Till their foes were all felled or flung into the waters."

"For the battle was so stiff and stern that the onset lasted from noon all day and all night and the morrow till the hour of prime, and when the battle was over there was no Frenchman left alive but Spaudfish, who fled with twenty-four ships and galleys."

This victory delighted the English merchants,


and proved that the English archers, rightly used, were better than any foot-soldiers who could be brought against them. It also forced Philip to give up all plans for carrying the war into England. then with his allies besieged Tournay,

"assaulting it six times a day, with his springalds and mangonels [catapults and war-slings] casting huge stones, and with engines of powder and fire [cannons], so that these engines with their huge stones broke down the towers and the strong walls, churches, belfries, strong halls, fine buildings, and rich dwellings throughout the said city; and the people within the city were all but perished by reason of the great famine that was in the city, for they were so straitly held that the quarter of barley was worth £4 sterling [equal to L50], the quarter of oats 2 marks, an egg 6d., two onions for a penny."

And they must have yielded up the town if had not been willing, for lack of money to go on with the siege, to make a truce, September 25, at Esplocin, at the prayer of the Countess Dowager of Hainault, 's mother-in-law and Philip's sister. Not being able to get silver from England, the young king hurried home secretly, November 30, leaving his cousin and other nobles with the Flemings in pledge for his debts. Next day he turned out all the ministers, the chief-justices, and other of his servants from their offices, believing them to have misused their power and kept back his moneys. John of Stratford, Archbishop of , the head of the ministry, fled to sanctuary, and denying the charges brought against him by the king's libellus famosus [pamphlet of accusations], refused to make answer save before his peers in Parliament. But the king denied him the entry to the House till a committee of lords reported that , when gave way, and was reconciled with John. Before fresh supplies were granted the king was obliged first to promise (a) that all moneys received should be audited by a board chosen in Parliament, and (b) that he would not choose ministers without consent of his Council, and (c) that at each Parliament ministers were to resign and be compelled to answer all complaints before they could be reappointed. But when he had got his money, October 1, , recalled the statutes he had made, saying that wherefore In Parliament itself revoked the statutes on the understanding that most of them were to be re-enacted.

6. A fresh dispute between Philip and arose in , upon the death of John, Duke of Brittany, whose duchy was claimed by his half-brother John, Earl of Montfort, and by Philip's nephew, Charles of Blois, husband of the dead duke's niece Joan. Charles was adjudged duke by the peers of France, but Montfort would not accept

their ruling, and crossing to England, claimed help of . Soon after his return he was taken prisoner, but his wife, Joan of Flanders, held out in Hennebon against the French and Charles of Blois till she was relieved by Sir Walter Mauny, the gallant knight of Hainault, whom sent to help her. This succour was followed by forces under Robert, Earl of Artois, who was made Earl of Richmond, and an army under himself; but the French party were too strong to be driven out, and Pope Clement VI. obtained a truce, , by which John of Montfort was to be freed. However, Philip kept him at Paris till he escaped in disguise to England, , whence he came back to Hennebon, where he died, leaving guardian to his son. It was clear that these truces would hardly lead to anything: the Normans were again privateering in the Channel, and the French king trying to seize Guienne, so Parliament begged to begin open war again or make a good peace at once. [1] An army was at once sent to Gascony under Henry Grismond, Earl of Derby, son of the Duke of Lancaster, while the king himself went to Flanders to try and win that earldom


for his son, July . But his friend James of Artaveldt was murdered in a town riot at Ghent, and he returned empty-handed. News now came that John, the French king's son (who had been sent to the south with a great host after the easy victory of Derby at Auberoche, June , over the Earl of Lisle), was pressing the English hard in Guienne. therefore sailed to his aid, but stopping on the way, by the counsel of Sir Geoffrey of Harcourt, a Norman outlaw, landed at La Hogue, intending to strike at the now defenceless north of France. Taking Cæn and other cities on his way, from which he sent much spoil and many prisoners to England, he marched east to join the Flemings, who had already broken into Picardy. But Philip had destroyed all the bridges on the lower Seine, and had to turn up the south bank in hopes of finding a crossing, the French king, with an army which grew bigger every day as 's dwindled with sickness and losses, following him on the other bank. At last by a feigned attack on Paris, gained a few hours to repair the broken bridge at Poissy, crossed it safely, and made north again to the Somme, with Philip close at his heels. After seeking some time for a ford, he luckily found one at Blanketake, hard by Abbeville, and got his army across in the teeth of a French force before Philip could come up. He now halted in a strong position at Crecy and rested his weary men. Next day Philip's army came up from Abbeville, marching through a terrible thunderstorm, and preceded by a cloud of birds frightened by the weather or by an eclipse which took place that morning. The men were so tired and wet that the leaders begged Philip to halt and get his army into good order that day, and attack on the morrow. But when he saw the English all drawn up in order on the hillside, under the banner of his rival, " he hated them, and bade the Genoese crossbowmen begin the attack." Their strings were slack with the rain, and they told the Constable of France that they were not fit to fight that day. But he called them cowards and told them to fall on. The sun shone out in the Frenchmen's faces as the battle began at five o'clock.

" When they drew near, the Genoese made a great leap and cry to abash the English, but they stood still and stirred not for all that. And a second time they made another leap and a dreadful cry, and stept forward a little, and the Englishmen removed not one foot. Again they leapt and cried, and went forward till they came within shot, then they shot fiercely with their crossbows. Then the English archers stept forward one pace and let fly their arrows so hotly


and so thick that it seemed snow. When the Genoese felt the arrows piercing through heads, arms, and breasts, many of them cast down their crossbows and cut their strings, and ran back discomfited. When the French king saw them flying, he said,

'Slay those rascals, for they will hinder us and block up our path for nothing.'

Then you should have seen the men-at-arms dash in among them and kill a great number thereof, and still the Englishmen kept shooting wherever they saw the thickest press; and the sharp arrows ran into the men-at-arms and into their horses, and many fell among the Genoese, and when they were down they could not get up again, for the press was so thick that one overthrew the other. Also among the English soldiers were certain


Cornishmen and Welsh that went afoot with great knives, and they went in among the French and slew and murdered many as they lay on the ground, earls, barons, knights, and squires, whereat the King of England was afterward displeased, for he had rather they had been taken for their ransoms."

Into this struggling mass the French knights


charged in vain, but some passing round it, pressed the two first English lines hard, so that the Prince's knights sent a message to the king on the windmill hill for help. asked . And they that heard it were mightily encouraged by the king's words. Our men fought on steadily in good order, and the French, who were broken up into small parties, were completely defeated by sunset, having lost nearly all their commanders. The King of Bohemia, who wished to strike a blow at the English, and was led into the fight between two of his knights, for he was dim of sight, was killed in the forefront of the battle. There fell also the King of Majorca, the Duke of Lorraine, and the Constable, with 1200 knights and more than 20,000 commoners. Philip was wounded in the throat and thigh, and had a horse killed under him, but he would not turn away till the battle was clearly lost. The English lit fires where they stood, and waited for the day gladly enough. And the king came down to the field and said to his son, But the Prince bowed and gave all the honour to his father. On the next morning the English defeated a fresh body of troops who stumbled upon them in the fog, and when the mist cleared they were able to cut off the French stragglers who had lurked about the woods and fields, so that there fell more that day than on the Saturday. 's way was now clear, and he resolved to lay siege to Calais; for all was going on well in the south, now that John of Normandy had been forced to withdraw from the siege of Aiguillon and hasten to the help of his father.

While lay in front of Calais the English had two more successes. , King of Scotland, who had come back from France, was led by 's letters to invade England. The knights and yeomen of the northern counties mustered under the Archbishop of and the Border Wardens, Lords Neville and , and set themselves in array at a place afterwards known as Neville's Cross, October 17, . The English archers completely foiled the attacks of the Scottish knights, and scattered them with great slaughter; King was made prisoner by Squire


John of Copeland, and the invaders fled in haste. The captive prince was sent to the Tower amid great rejoicing. Soon after this, June 20, , Charles of Blois was taken prisoner by Sir Thomas Dagworth at la Roche d'Errein and lodged in the same stronghold. Meanwhile all the French attempts to victual or relieve Calais were vain, and the governor, John of Vienne, at last wrote to Philip:-

The town suffereth great lack of corn and wine and meat, for know that there is nought but what hath been eaten, both dogs, cats, and horses, so that we cannot find anything else in the town to eat save we eat the flesh of men. Ye wrote us aforetime that I should hold the town as long as there was aught to eat, but now we are at the point of having no more to eat. Wherefore, my right dear and redoubted lord, provide such remedy as shall seem fittest to you; for if remedy and counsel be not shortly provided, ye will have no more letters from me, and the town will be lost and all we that are therein.

Philip led a great army to relieve it at Whitsuntide , but he dared not attack , and as would not leave his quarters to fight in the open, he retreated, leaving the town to its fate. John of Vienne thereupon yielded at 's mercy. The English king treated his prisoners well, and suffered all those burgesses who would swear fealty to him to stay in the town, the others he replaced by Englishmen. He further gave the city great privileges as a market-town, and it rapidly grew and flourished under his rule. It was probably in remembrance of its capture that made the Order of the Garter, a brotherhood of twenty-five knights. Calais was of the highest value to the English kings so long as the Hundred Years' War lasted, for it was one of the gates of the Channel and an open doorway into France. 'The French felt the loss heavily, and as early as December 31, , tried to regain it in time of peace by bribing 's governor; but he was angry at seeing his honour doubted, and lured his tempters into the castle, when after a short but deadly struggle, in which King himself took part, they were all taken or slain. As soon as Calais had surrendered, Pope Clement, who had done all he could to make peace, was able to get Philip and to agree to a truce, 28th September, which save in Brittany held till , the only exploit performed in the interval being the sea-fight off Winchelsea, August 29, . A fleet of privateers from Biscay under the Earl of la Cerda had on their way to Flanders plundered English ships and murdered their crews. put out in search of them, and came upon them as they were sailing back from


the Scheldt laden with cloth and bullion. The English vessels were small, and the Spaniards from their high decks were able to sink the king's and the Prince's ship with blows of beams and stones; but the English boarded their enemies and took twenty-four of them after a fierce fight. After this the Biscay towns were glad to make a twenty years' peace with , and the Channel was again open to English merchants.

7. [6] A more terrible ill than war itself suddenly fell upon Western Europe in -the Black Death, by whose attacks (repeated in , , ) at least half the population of England and France were swept away. Its first and worst visit lasted from August 1, , to Michælmas , and while it raged in London 200 bodies a day were laid in Smithfields New Graveyard, besides all those buried in the parish churchyards. These plagues brought about much change in England. For, owing to the great lack of labour, wages and prices rose rapidly, in spite of the Statute of Labourers and other decrees to fix maximum prices of food, and to allow the justices of the peace to settle the wages of day-labourers and craftsmen. Serfs ran away from their lords and hired themselves out as free workmen, labourers got what wages they chose at haymaking and harvest-tide, farms were left untilled, as the lords found it would not pay them to keep so much land under the plough, since the cost of tillage had doubled. They therefore in many cases freed and turned off their serfs, let out their farms at fixed money rates (as the bishops and monks had long been used to do), and took to sheep-farming and cattle-raising, which needed many less hands than tillage, and turned large spaces of land to good account in the cheapest way, for England was now wool-grower for all Western Europe. In a word, the rise of the serfs into free labourers, the replacing of customary tenants bound to labour by tenant-farmers paying money-rent, and the increase of the large estates needed for sheep-walks and grazing-meads are largely due to the Black Death. It also permanently lowered the value of gold and silver. The relative strength of the nations of Europe was little changed by it, as it treated all alike, but it had a great effect upon men's thoughts and ways for two generations.

8. Parliament was not idle during the truce. The growing discontent of the English king and people with the conduct of the popes was marked by the Statute of Provisors, , forbidding the Pope's encroachments upon the rights of


church patrons; the Statute of Pramunire, , threatened all who sued in foreign courts (viz. those at Avignon) without the king's leave with heavy penalties; and these were completed in by the refusal of Parliament to pay Pope Urban V. the yearly rent granted by John, on the grounds that his surrender of the kingdom to the Pope had not been agreed to by the nation.[7]  Nor were other matters overlooked: in the Statute of Treason was passed declaring exactly what that offence was; in the Ordinance of the Staple provided that wool, woolfells, leather, lead, and tin should only be sold at certain staple ports-London, , , Chichester, , , Newcastle, , , Cærmarthen, Dublin, Cork, Drogheda, Waterford, Middleburgh (in Zealand), and Calais-and by merchants enrolled in the Company of the Staple [selling scaffold]. In this way it was easy to regulate trade and to collect taxes on exports. In the Ordinance of Ireland was made, in which the king promises the people of the Pale the same rights and laws as the English, forbids government save by Parliament, orders yearly inquiry to be made into the behaviour of the sheriffs and royal officers, and commands the Deputy and other governors to tell the king the truth as to the state of things in Ireland.

King had a large family, and he provided for them by marrying them to his rich wards, and by appointing them as rulers over parts of his dominions. Thus he made of Woodstock, his eldest son, Duke of Aquitaine, and married him to his cousin the heiress of . His second son, Lionel of Antwerp, he married to the heiress of Ulster, named Duke of Clarence, and sent as Deputy to Ireland, where he passed the Statute of Kilkenny , in which he tried to stop the English of the Pale from mixing with or living like the wild Irish. For the English lords turned out their own tenants and replaced them by Irishmen, whom they had more power over, and who were more faithful to their interests, so that the Pale was falling back into lawlessness and private war. Lionel was also to have been King of Scotland if could have got his nobles to take him as his heir, and he might have striven for the crown at 's death if he had not died in Italy in . was first married to the heiress of Lancaster, the and from a second marriage (as will be seen) drew claims upon the crown of Castile. Of John's younger brothers, Edmund of Langley was espoused to the heiress of Flanders, and Thomas of Woodstock married to one of the heiresses of


the Earl of Hereford. Thus had got together in his own family all the older earldoms of England. He also bestowed greater dignity upon his kinsfolk than any king before him, by giving dukedoms to Henry, Earl of Lancaster, , and to his sons, (Duke of Cornwall, ) and Lionel (Duke of Clarence, ). His daughters he married to those whom he thought would be of service to him-Isabel to Ingelram of Coucy, created Earl of Bedford , Mary to John V. of Brittany, while Joan was betrothed to Peter of Castile, and Margaret to John Hastings, Earl of Pembroke.

9. [8] The French war broke out again in in spite of all Pope Innocent XI. could do, as the new king John II. refused to make peace. began by leading a Seven Weeks' Raid into South France as far as Carcassonne, threatening the Pope at Avignon, and coming back to Bordeaux unhindered with the plunder of 500 harried towns and villages. His father started on a similar foray from Calais, but was called home to fight the Scots, who took Berwick, but were repaid in kind by an invasion long talked of as the Burnt Candlemas, in which wellnigh every town in the Lowlands was fired. King then got his friend Edward to give him his rights to the crown of Scotland, which might be useful to him in the future, and turned homeward to hear the good news of his son's victory at Poitiers. had repeated his raid in , but towards the northeast. This time the French were ready, and when he turned back he found himself cut off from the sea by King John at the head of an army five times the size of his own. He would fain have made peace now, but John was so sure of his prey that he refused him fair terms. therefore prepared to sell his life as dearly as possible. He drew up his little company at the top of a cleft in the hills near Poitiers known as Maupertuis [the Ill-Chine], lined the vine-clad hedges along the sides of the lane that ran up the Chine with archers, and placed an ambush well in front of his right wing on a detached height. At nine o'clock the French made a headlong onslaught, but their first column was mown down in the steep lane by the English archers, while a flank attack broke their second line, and the Prince charging upon their main body completed their discomfiture. By noon the French were in full flight, most of their leaders slain, and King John himself, who had struggled bravely on foot to the last, a captive in the Prince's hands. So


many prisoners were taken that the English preferred to let them go at once on parole rather than risk guarding them with their small numbers. The Prince's army had fought
with the courage of despair, for few of the footmen had tasted food for three days. King John was taken to England and France was left at the mercy of her foes. The Estates of the realm met and appointed a council to govern under the Regent, John's eldest son, till the king could be ransomed. But the Regent was at odds with the Estates; his cousin Charles, King of Navarre, the favourite of the Commons of Paris, was trying to win the crown for himself; and the peasants, disgusted at the quarrels and cowardice of their worthless rulers, who dared to grind them down and murder each other, but were not able to defend their country, rose in the midst of France and massacred all the gentlefolk they could lay hands on, till the English Gascon and German knights went to help the French nobles and put down the Jacquerie, as it was called, from Jacques Bonhomme [James Goodman], the nickname of the French serf. The English meanwhile beset Rheims and Paris, and , to force the Regent to submit to their terms. At last, in , at Bretigny a final peace was signed, by which John was to be


ransomed at 3,000,00000 gold crowns and to give up all rights upon Calais and Guienne, while the English king was to let drop his claims on the crown of France.


10. So the main war ended, but there was no perfect peace in 's days. After Bretigny the Free Companies, bands of hired soldiers who had served the French and English kings in the last campaigns, became a terror to France, till they were got rid of in divers ways. Ingelram of Coucy brought one band of them, the Guglers, through Burgundy into Switzerland, where they were beaten by the men of Bern. Sir John Hawkwood took the White Company into Italy and served the city of Florence with them till his death. [9] The Great Company went to Avignon and made the Pope pay them a large sum before Bertrand . du Glesquin, the famous Breton captain, led them across the Pyrenees to help Henry of Trastamar against his half-brother, Peter the Cruel, King of Castile. Peter thereupon went to Bordeaux, espoused his two


daughters Constance and Isabel to and Edmund of Langley, and got to bring an army to aid him to win back his throne. In the decisive battle of 3rd April , when the river Najara ran red for a mile, the English overthrew Henry and took Bertrand prisoner; but Peter would not fulfil his promises of pay, and fever-stricken and disappointed, the Prince came back to Bordeaux. Peter, left to himself, was soon taken and slain by his brother Henry, and forthwith claimed the crown of Castile, in pursuit of which he was engaged ever and anon till . The end of 's career abroad was not happy; his harshness to the Gascons caused their appeal to John's son King Charles V. in , and led to breach of the treaty of Bretigny and French invasions in . This was repelled, and Limoges, which had gladly received the invaders, was retaken by the Prince himself, who ordered a massacre of the townsfolk as traitors, and saw it carried out. But the Spaniards balanced his successful defence of Gascony by the defeat and capture of the Earl of Pembroke off the port of Rochelle, which he was about to relieve from a French attack, June 23, ; and Bertrand du Glesquin (who had been ransomed by the Pope) drove John of Montfort the younger from the duchy he had held ever since Charles of Blois was slain at Auray in . In , being broken in health and unfit for war, Prince gave up his duchy of Aquitaine and came home, taking his place for a while as Captain-General. But though the French let the young Duke of Lancaster march through France from Calais to Bordeaux without giving him battle, they managed bit by bit to win castle after castle and town after town on the Gascon marches, and to drive Montfort out of Brittany a second time in . The English were fast finding out that it was easier to win battles than to hold what they already had, and that the expense of keeping up garrisons and feeding armies soon ate up all the profits of the most successful raids and the largest ransoms.

11. Struggles against misrule in Church and State fill the last years of 's reign. The growing feeling of laymen with regard to the former has been noticed, but there were not lacking churchmen who saw the evils in their midst. Richard, Archbishop of Armagh, had spent his life in preaching against the sins into which the orders of the friars had fallen. Ockham and others had taken their stand against the greed and abuses of the Pope and his court, and Thomas of Bradwardine, King 's chaplain, the "deep


doctor," Archbishop of , had written against what he thought the mistakes of theologians. [1] f, was now to take up these men's work and carry it into a wider field; for he was not content with teaching in the schools or preaching at the Church of S. Mary's, but continually appealed to the Government and to Parliament, and laid the points at issue before laymen in their own tongue by his pamphlets and his new order of Born about , he won fame at by his good life, fine lectures, and bold philosophical views. He was Fellow of Balliol College about , Master of Balliol , Warden of Hall , and Doctor of Theology about . His ability and learning led to his being named one of the commissioners who were sent to Bruges in to try and make a Concordat [agreement] with the Pope as to his rights over the English Church. On his return he began to write against the abuses of the Church, laying great stress upon the need of a holy life in all priests and bishops, setting forth his idea of what a true Church should be, and calling upon laymen to put the Church in order since it was clearly turning aside from its duties in the pursuit of wealth and honours. The friars were pleased with his praise of the poverty of the early Church, and , who had known him at Bruges, wished to use him against William of Wyckham and the other bishops who were withstanding his plans of government. So when in February was called before Convocation for his teaching, the Duke of Lancaster and the Earl Marshal spoke so threateningly to the Bishop of London that the enraged Londoners rose in riot, sacked the Savoy Palace, sought to slay the duke, and caused such confusion that the matter was obliged to be dropped, though the city was punished by having its rights taken away for a time. However the bishops got Bulls from to examine ; but they were not put into force till February , after King 's death, when he appeared in London and explained away the accusations against him. As the Princess of Wales forbade the Court to judge him, and the Londoners, with whom he was at this time very popular, broke into the room and took his part with warmth, he again escaped his foes.

12. In his latter days King gave less and less heed to the ruling of the kingdom, especially after the death of his good queen Philippa in , and left matters much in the hands of his favourites, chief of whom were the Earl of


Pembroke and , who were careful to trouble him as little as possible; for he shrunk from the task of helping his ministers, William of Wyckham the Chancellor and Brantingham the Treasurer (Bishops of and Exeter), in their thankless toil of getting money to carry on a war which was growing more costly and less glorious every day. He simply let matters take their course. In he had agreed to a law fixing the number and duties of the justices of the peace, who were now taking the place and doing the work of the old hundred courts touching all offences against the king's peace. In , willing to please his people, he ordered that English, not French, should be used in the courts of law, and that all records should be kept in Latin, and promised that he would lay on no tax whatever without the consent of Parliament; for hitherto he, like his father, had often got the merchants to agree to taxes on their goods so as to avoid being obliged to ask money of the Three Estates, whom they could not cajole so easily. In the Earl of Pembroke got the Parliament to beg of the king to dismiss his clerical ministers and take laymen in their stead, and he did so; and in an Act was passed forbidding lawyers or sheriffs to sit in Parliament. But the government by and his friends was growing unpopular-they spent as much and did no more than their foregoers-and in the former ministers, headed by the princes of Wales and William of Wyckham, regained power in the Good Parliament. Peter de la Mare, a follower of 's rival, the Earl of March, was chosen Speaker, and he headed the Commons in impeaching [accusing before the Lords] Richard Lyon and Barons Latimer and Neville for embezzling the government moneys, for buying the king's debts at low prices, and getting full and instant payment to the hurt of the king's credit, for lending the king money at thirty-three per cent. interest, and for making a profit out of the customs. They were all found guilty, sent to prison, and fined. The Commons then prayed the king to issue a decree against women meddling in the law courts, by which means they were able to have Alice Perrers, his favourite, banished from court, for she had abused her power overthe king to cause the judges to give unjust sentences on behalf of those who bribed her to speak for them. In the midst of this Parliament died, June 8, , to the great grief of his party, whereon the Commons, fearing lest should try to seize the crown when the old king died, got


to name , the Prince's little son, his heir, and to add nine lords named by them to his Standing Council. But directly the Parliament broke up overthrew all it had done, turned the Earl of March out of tie Marshalcy, had William of Wyckham tried and banished for misuse of public moneys, imprisoned Peter de la Mare without trial, recalled Alice Perrers and the impeached lords. Moreover, he managed to get the greater number of the Commons in the Parliament of chosen from among his friends, and so ensured their approval of his acts. He was able to do this because, besides those who feared or loved him, there were still many, such as and the friars, who upheld him as the enemy of the bishops.

13. [11] On June 2, , the old king died. Alice Perrers was with him all through his illness, for she was afraid of any one else winning influence over him. But when she saw that he was at the point of death, she pulled the rings off his cold hands and fled, while the servants were busy plundering the palace; and had it not been for a priest who came in and stayed with him till the last, the helpless sufferer would have been left to die unheeded and alone.

was a man of a wonderfully fair face and noble bearing, as his effigies witness to this day; of exceeding grace of manner and much good-nature, as his name of the "kindly king" testifies. He did not lack book-learning, and could speak five languages. That he was a brave knight and a prudent commander even his enemies allowed. He was singularly even-tempered, not easily cast down by trouble or roused to anger by opposition or puffed up by success. But, on the other hand, he was selfish, and so preferred to be generous to his enemies rather than pay his debts to his friends, would rather be popular at other men's cost than take the blame of his own mistakes, and was ready to sacrifice his faithful servants if he could save himself the trouble of taking an active and toilsome part in the work of keeping down his expenses. His passion for pleasure stained his latter days, and his thirst for fame led to much useless and wicked bloodshed both in England and France, and brought no small disasters upon those of his race whom his great deeds dazzled and example misled.


[1] Mortimer's rule. The Shameful Peace, 1327-1328.

[] [1328-1332]

[2] Mortier is overthrown, October 20, 1330.

[3] Edward Balliol wins and loses Scotland, 1332-1339.

[] [1337.

[4] The beginning of the Hundred Years' War, 1337.

[] [1337-1339.]

[] [1340-1341]

[5] The campaign of 1339 and 1340. Cambray Sluys, and Tournay.

[1] The campaigns of 1345-1347. Auberoche, Crecy, Nevilles Cross, Calais.

[] [1347-1351]

[6] The Black Death, 1349.

[] [1352-1356.]

[7] Edward's laws and family settlements.

[8] The campaigns of 1355, 1356. Poitiers.

[] [1356-1360.]

[9] The French and Spanish wars, 1360-1377

[] [1367-1378.]

[1] John Wyclif, his views and career, 1374-1378.

[] [1360-1377]

[10] Home affairs, 1360-1377. The Good Parliament.

[11] Edward III.'s character and death.

  • In-text illustrations for this text are cataloged in MS004/002.001#DO01.
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