Front Page Titles (by Subject) BOOK IX.: FROM THE ORIGIN OF THE QUARREL BETWEEN KING HENRY II. AND ARCHBISHOP THOMAS BEKET, TO THE MURDER OF THE ARCHBISHOP. 1160—1171. - History of the Conquest of England by the Normans; Its Causes, and its Consequences, in England, Scotland, Ireland, & on the Continent, vol. 2
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BOOK IX.: FROM THE ORIGIN OF THE QUARREL BETWEEN KING HENRY II. AND ARCHBISHOP THOMAS BEKET, TO THE MURDER OF THE ARCHBISHOP. 1160—1171. - Augustin Thierry, History of the Conquest of England by the Normans; Its Causes, and its Consequences, in England, Scotland, Ireland, & on the Continent, vol. 2 
History of the Conquest of England by the Normans; Its Causes, and its Consequences, in England, Scotland, Ireland, & on the Continent, translated from the seventh Paris edition, by William Hazlitt (London: H.G. Bohn, 1856). In 2 volumes. Vol. 2.
Part of: History of the Conquest of England by the Normans; Its Causes, and its Consequences, in England, Scotland, Ireland, & on the Continent, 2 vols.
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FROM THE ORIGIN OF THE QUARREL BETWEEN KING HENRY II. AND ARCHBISHOP THOMAS BEKET, TO THE MURDER OF THE ARCHBISHOP.
Adventures of Gilbert Beket—Birth and education of Thomas Beket—Thomas, archdeacon and chancellor of England—Political conduct of Thomas Beket—Disputes between the king and the Anglo-Norman clergy—Beket archbishop of Canterbury—Coolness between the king and him—First quarrel between them—Excommunication of an Anglo-Norman baron—Hatred of the Anglo-Norman barons to the archbishop—Council of Clarendon—New laws of Henry II.—Importance of the quarrel between the king and the archbishop—Policy of the pope in the affair of Beket—The archbishop seeks to withdraw from England—A new assembly at Northampton—Archbishop Thomas accused and condemned—Second citation of the archbishop—His firmness—Appeal of the king and the bishops to the pope—Counter appeal of Beket—Flight of Beket—Letter of Henry II. to the king of France—Beket cordially received by the king of France—Conduct of pope Alexander III.—Thomas retires to the abbey of Pontigny—Excommunications pronounced by Beket—Intrigues of the court of Rome—Interview between the king and the two legates—Beket driven from Pontigny—Congress of Montmirail—Thomas abandoned by the king of France—Negotiations of Henry II.—Persecution of the Welsh priests—Affection of the Welsh people for Beket—Reconciliation of the king of France with Beket—Two new legates arrive in Normandy—Conference between these legates and Henry II.—Complaints of Beket against the court of Rome—The pope is compelled to declare his real views—Negotiations between the king and the archbishop—Interview and reconciliation of the king and the archbishop—Departure of archbishop Thomas for England—Attempts of the Normans against him—Two bishops denounce him to the king—Conspiracy of four Norman knights—Murder of the archbishop—Insurrection of the inhabitants of Canterbury—Beket regarded by the native English as a saint—Girauld de Barri elected bishop of St. David’s—His banishment—His return and reinstallation—Persecution exercised upon him—He repairs to the court of Rome—He is condemned by the pope—Gratitude of the Welsh towards him—Petition of eight Welsh chieftains to Alexander III.—National motives for appeals to the pope in the middle ages.
In the reign of Henry I., there lived at London a young citizen, of Saxon origin, but sufficiently rich to associate with the Normans of that city, whom the historians call Beket.1 It is probable that his real name was Bek, and that the Normans among whom he lived, added to this a diminutive familiar to them, and made it Beket, as the English of race and language called it Bekie.1 About the year 1115, Gilbert Bekie or Beket, assumed the cross, either to accomplish a vow of penance, or to seek fortune in the Christian kingdom of Jerusalem. But he was less fortunate in Palestine than the squires and sergeants of Normandy had been in England, and instead of becoming like them, powerful and opulent by conquest, he was taken prisoner and reduced to slavery.
Degraded and despised as he was, the English slave inspired the daughter of a Saracen chief with love. He escaped by her assistance, and returned to his own country; and his deliverer, unable to live without him, soon abandoned the paternal roof and went in quest of him. She knew but two words intelligible to the people of the west: London and Gilbert.2 By aid of the former, she reached England in a ship laden with merchants and pilgrims; and by means of the latter, going from street to street, and repeating Gilbert! Gilbert! to the crowd who surrounded her, she found the man she loved. Gilbert Beket, after obtaining the opinion of several bishops on this wondrous incident, had his mistress baptised, changed her Saracen name into that of Matilda, and married her. This marriage made a great sensation by its singularity, and became the subject of several popular romances, two of which, preserved to our own times, exhibit the most touching details.3 In the year 1119, Gilbert and Matilda had a son, who was called Thomas Beket, according to the mode of double names introduced into England by the Normans.
Such, according to the narrative of some ancient chroniclers, was the romantic origin of a man destined to trouble in so violent and unexpected a manner the great grandson of William the Conqueror in the enjoyment of his power.4 This man, born to torment the Anglo-Norman race, received an education peculiarly calculated to give him access to the nobles and great men, and to gain their favour. At an early age he was sent to France, to study the laws, sciences, and language of the continent, and to lose the English accent, which was then considered in England altogether vulgar.1 Thomas Beket, on his return from his travels, was in a position to converse and associate with the most refined people of the dominant nation, without shocking their ears or their taste by a word or gesture recalling to mind his Saxon origin. He soon put this talent to use, and, still very young, insinuated himself into the familiar friendship of one of the rich barons resident near London. He became his daily guest, and the companion of his pleasures.2 He rode the horses of his patron, and sported with his birds and his dogs, passing the day in these amusements, forbidden to every Englishman who was not either the servant or associate of a man of foreign origin.3
Thomas, full of gaiety and supple address, ingratiating, refined, obsequious, soon acquired a great reputation in high Norman society.4 The archbishop of Canterbury, Thibaut, who, from the primacy instituted by the Conqueror, was the first person next after the king, hearing the young Englishman spoken of, sent for him, and, liking him, attached him to his person. Having induced him to take orders, he appointed him archdeacon of his metropolitan church, and employed him in several delicate negotiations with the court of Rome.5 Under Stephen, archdeacon Thomas conducted with pope Eugenius an intrigue of the bishops of England, partisans of Matilda, the object of which was to obtain from the pope a formal prohibition to crown the king’s son. When, a few years after, the son of Matilda had obtained the crown, Thomas Beket was presented to him as a zealous servant of his cause during the usurpation; for so was the reign of Stephen now designated by most of those who had before elected, crowned, and defended him against the pretensions of Matilda. The archdeacon of Canterbury made himself so agreeable to the new king, that a few years saw him raised by the royal favour to the high office of chancellor of England, that is to say, Keeper of the seal of three lions, the legal emblem of the power founded by the Conquest.1 Henry II. further confided to the archdeacon the education of his eldest son, and attached to these two offices large revenues, which, by a singular chance, were derived from places of fatal memory to the English: from the prebend of Hastings, the custody of the castle of Berkhamsted, and the governorship of the Tower of London.2
Thomas was the assiduous companion and the intimate friend of king Henry, sharing his most frivolous and most worldly amusements.3 Raised in dignity above all the Normans of England, he affected to surpass them in luxury and seigneural pomp. He maintained in his pay seven hundred knights completely armed. The trappings of his horses were covered with gold and silver; his plate was magnificent, and he kept open table for persons of high rank. His purveyors procured, from the most remote places and at great expense, the rarest delicacies. The earls and barons esteemed it an honour to visit him: and no person coming to his house left it without a present of sporting dogs or birds or of horses or rich vestments.4 The great lords sent their sons to serve in his house and to be brought up there; he kept them for a considerable time, then armed them knights, and, in dismissing them, furnished each with a complete military equipment.5
In his political conduct, Thomas demeaned himself as a true and loyal chancellor of England, in the sense which already attached to these words; that is to say, he laboured with all his might to maintain and even to augment the personal power of the king towards and against all men, without distinction of race or state, Normans or Saxons, priests or laymen. Although a member of the ecclesiastical order, he more than once engaged in a struggle with that order on behalf of the fisc or of the royal exchequer. When Henry undertook the war against the count of Toulouse, there was levied in England, to defray the expenses of the campaign, the tax which the Normans called escuage, the tax of shields, because it was payable by every possessor of an estate large enough to maintain a man-at-arms, who, within the time prescribed by the summons, did not appear at the muster, armed, and with his shield on his arm.1 The rich prelates and the rich abbots of Norman race, whose warlike spirit had mitigated since there had been no occasion for pillaging the Saxons, and no civil war among the Normans, excused themselves from obeying the military summons, because, they said, holy church forbad their shedding blood; they refused, further, for the same reason, to disburse the fine for non-appearance; but the chancellor insisted upon their paying it. The high clergy hereupon launched out in invectives against the audacity of Thomas: Gilbert Foliot, bishop of London, publicly accused him of plunging a sword into the bosom of his mother the church, and archbishop Thibaut, his former patron, threatened to excommunicate him.2 Thomas was in no way moved by these ecclesiastical censures; and shortly afterwards he again exposed himself to them, by fighting with his own hands in the war of Toulouse, and, deacon as he was, being the first to mount to the assault of the fortresses.3 One day, in an assembly of the clergy, several bishops asserted exaggerated maxims of independence as regarded the royal power: the chancellor, who was present, gainsaid them openly, and reminded the prelates, in a severe tone, that they were bound to the king in the same oath as the men of the sword were, by the oath to aid in preserving his life, his limbs, his dignity, and his honour.1
The harmony which had subsisted in the first years of the Conquest, between the Norman barons and prelates, or, to speak in the language of the period, entre l’empire et le sacerdoce, had not been of long duration. Scarcely installed in the churches that William and his knights opened for them with their spears, they became ungrateful to those who had thus given them their titles and their possession. Concurrently with the disputes between the kings and the barons, differences arose between the barons and the clergy, between this order and royalty: these three powers became disunited, when the power, hostile to all three, the Anglo-Saxon race, ceased to be feared. The first William was wholly wrong in his calculation of an enduring union, when he gave to the ecclesiastical power established by the Conquest, a power before unknown in England. He thought to obtain by this means an augmentation of personal power; perhaps he was right, as far as regarded himself, but he did a great injury to his successors.
The reader is already acquainted with the royal decree by which, destroying the former responsibility of the priests to the civil judges, and giving to the members of the high clergy the privilege of being judges, William had instituted episcopal courts, taking cognizance of certain lay cases and of all proceedings instituted against priests. The Norman priests, priests of fortune, if we may use the expression, soon exhibited in England the most disorderly habits; they committed murders, rapes, and robbery, and as they were only responsible to their own order, these crimes were seldom punished, a circumstance which multiplied them to a fearful extent. Not long after the accession of Henry II., men reckoned up one hundred murders committed by priests who still remained alive and at liberty. The only means of checking and punishing these disorders was to abolish the ecclesiastical privilege established by the Conqueror, the temporary necessity for which had ceased, since the rebellions of the English were no longer feared. It was a reasonable reform, and, moreover, from a motive less pure, for the extension of their own territorial jurisdictions, the men of the sword desired it, and loudly censured the law decreed by their ancestors in the great council of king William the First.
For the sake of the temporal power of which he was the sovereign depositary, and actuated also, we may fairly believe, by motives of justice and reason, Henry II. determined to execute this reform;1 but that he might effect it easily and without disturbance, it was necessary that the primacy of Canterbury, that species of ecclesiastical royalty, should be in the hands of a man devoted to the person of the king, to the interests of the royal power, and the cause of the barons against the churchmen. It was also necessary that this man should be insensible to the greater or less degree of suffering of the native English; for the absurd law of clerical independence, formerly directed especially against the conquered population, after having greatly injured it while it still resisted, had become favourable to it. Every Saxon serf, who managed to be ordained priest, was thenceforth for ever exempt from servitude, because no action brought against him as a fugitive slave, either by the royal bailiff or by the officers of the seigneurs, could oblige him to appear before secular justice; as to the other justice, it would not consent to allow those who had become the anointed of Christ to return to the plough. The evils of national subjugation had multiplied in England the number of these priests from necessity, who had no church, who lived upon alms, but who, at least, differing from their fathers and their countrymen, were neither attached to the glebe, nor penned up within the walls of the royal towns.2 The faint hope of this resource against foreign oppression was, at this time, next to the miserable success of servility and adulation, the most brilliant prospect for a man of English race. The lower classes were accordingly as zealous for the clerical privileges as their ancestors had been against the resistance of the clergy to the common law of the country.
The chancellor, having passed his youth amongst men of high birth, seemed likely to have lost all national interest in the oppressed people of England. On the other hand, all his friendships were with laymen; he appeared to know no other rights in the world than those of royal power; he was the favourite of the king, and the functionary best versed and most able in state affairs: the partisans of ecclesiastical reform, accordingly, thought him a peculiarly fit person to become the principal instrument in it; and long before the death of archbishop Thibaut, it was commonly rumoured at court that Thomas Beket would obtain the primacy.1 In the year 1161, Thibaut died, and the king immediately recommended his chancellor to the choice of the bishops, who rarely hesitated to elect a candidate thus introduced to them. On this occasion, however, they opposed an unwonted resistance. They declared that it would be against their conscience to raise to the see of the blessed Lanfranc a hunter and a war rior by profession, a man of the world and its turmoil.2
On their part, the Norman lords who lived apart from the court, and more especially those across the Channel, violently opposed the nomination of Thomas. The king’s mother used every effort to dissuade him from making the chancellor archbishop.3 Perhaps, too, many who had not seen Beket often enough or closely enough to place full assurance in him, felt a kind of presentiment of the danger of intrusting such great power to a man of English origin; but the king’s confidence was unbounded. He persisted against all remonstrances, and swore by God that his friend should be primate of England. Henry II. was at this time holding his court in Normandy, and Thomas was with him. In one of their daily conferences on affairs of state, the king told him he must prepare to cross the sea on an important mission. “I will obey,” answered the chancellor, “as soon as I shall have received my instructions.” “What!” said the king, in an expressive tone, “dost thou not then guess what I mean, and that I am firmly resolved that thou shalt be archbishop?” Thomas smiled, and raising the lappet of his rich dress—“Look,” said he, “at the edifying man, the holy man whom you would charge with such sacred functions.1 Besides, you have views as to ecclesiastical matters to which I could never lend myself; and I fear that if I were to become an archbishop, we should soon cease to be friends.”2 The king received this answer as mere badinage, and immediately one of his justices, sir Richard de Lucy, conveyed to the bishops of England, who for thirteen months had delayed the election, the formal order to nominate the court candidate without delay.3 The bishops yielding to what they then called the royal hand, obeyed with apparent readiness.4
Thomas Beket, the fifth primate since the Conquest, and the first of English race, was ordained priest, the Easter Saturday, June 2, of the year 1162, and the day after was consecrated archbishop by the prelate of Winchester, in the presence of the fourteen suffragans of the see of Canterbury. A few days after his consecration, those who saw him did not recognise him. He had laid aside his rich vestments, disfurnished his sumptuous house, broken with his noble guests, and made friends with the poor, with beggars, and Saxons. Like them he wore a coarse dress, lived on vegetables and water, and presented an humble and mournful air; it was for them only that his banquet-hall was thrown open and his money expended. Never was change of life more sudden, exciting so much anger on one side, so much enthusiasm on the other.5 The king, the earls, the barons, all those whom Beket had formerly served, and who had contributed to his clevation, deemed themselves betrayed and insulted. The Norman bishops and clergy, his old antagonists, remained in suspense, closely watching him; but he became the idol of the lower classes: the monks, the inferior clergy, and the natives of every rank saw in him a brother and a protector.
The astonishment and anger of the king passed all bounds when he received, in Normandy, a message from the primate, returning to him the royal seal, with a short message, “that he desired him to provide himself with another chancellor, for he could hardly suffice to the duties of one office, much less of two.”1 Henry regarded as hostile an abdication by which the archbishop seemed desirous of releasing himself from every tie of dependence on him; and he was all the more irritated at this that he had in no degree expected it. His friendship was converted into bitter aversion, and on his return to England, he received his former favourite disdainfully, affecting to despise, in a monk’s dress, him whom he had so often entertained in the habit of a Norman courtier, with a poniard at his side, a plumed cap on his head, and shoes with long points turned up like ram’s horns.2
The king at once commenced against the archbishop a regular system of attack and personal vexations. He took from him the archdeaconry of Canterbury, which he had continued to hold with the episcopal see; he next set up in opposition to him one Clerambault, a monk from Normandy,3 a man of daring character and ill life, who had cast aside his clerical habit in his own country, and whom the king now made abbot of the monastery of Saint Augustin at Canterbury. Clerambault, backed by the court, refused to take the oath of canonical obedience to the primate, in contravention of the order decreed by Lanfranc for the purpose of destroying the independence of the monks of Saint Augustin, when the Saxon monks still resisted the Normans. The new abbot grounded his refusal upon the plea that formerly, that is to say, before the Conquest, his monastery had enjoyed full and entire liberty. Beket asserted the prerogative which the first Norman kings had attached to his see. The dispute grew warm on both sides; and Clerambault, by the advice of the king and the courtiers, referred his cause to the judgment of the pope.
There were at this time two popes, the cardinals and Roman nobles not having been able to agree in their choice. Victor was acknowledged legitimate by the emperor of Germany, Frederick, but disowned by the kings of France and England, who recognised his competitor, Alexander, the third of that name, who, driven from Rome by his adversaries, was now in France.1 It was to the latter that the new abbot of Saint Augustin addressed a protest against the primate of England, in the name of the ancient liberties of his convent; and, singular circumstance, these same liberties, formerly annihilated by the authority of pope Gregory VII. in the interest of the Norman Conquest, were declared inviolable by pope Alexander III., at the request of a Norman abbot against an archbishop of English race.
Thomas, irritated at this defeat, returned the courtiers attack for attack, and as they had availed themselves against him, of rights anterior to the Conquest, he, too, proceeded to claim all that his church had lost since the invasion of the Normans. He summoned Gilbert de Clare to restore to the see of Canterbury the domain of Tunbridge, which his ancestor had received in fief;2 and he advanced pretensions of the same kind against several other barons, and against the officers of the royal demesne.3 These demands tended, indirectly, to shake to its foundation the right of property of all the Anglo-Norman families, and thus occasioned general alarm. Prescription was invoked, and Beket roundly replied that he knew of no prescription for injustice, and that whatever had been taken without a good title ought to be restored. The sons of the companions of William the Bastard thought the soul of Harold had descended into the body of him whom they themselves had made primate.
The archbishop did not give them time to recover from this first agitation; and in defiance of one of the customs most respected since the Conquest, he placed a priest of his own choice, one Lawrence, in the vacant living of Eynesford, in Kent, in the domain of the Norman knight, William d’Eynesford, a tenant-in-chief4 of the king. This William, in common with all the Normans, claimed to dispose and had hitherto in fact disposed, of all the churches on his fief, just as much as of the farms. He named priests at his pleasure, as he did farmers, administrating, by men of his choice, religious aid and instruction to his Saxons, freemen and serfs; a privilege called the right of patronage. In virtue of this right, William d’Eynesford expelled the priest sent by the archbishop; but Beket excommunicated William for having done violence to a priest. The king interposed against the primate; he complained that, without previous reference to him, one of his tenants-in-chief had been excommunicated, a man liable to be called to his council and his court, and entitled to present himself before him at all times and in all places; a circumstance that had exposed his royal person to the danger of coming unwittingly in contact with an excommunicated man. “Since I was not informed of it,” said Henry II., “and since my dignity has been injured in this essential point, the excommunication of my vassal is null; I require the archbishop, therefore, to withdraw it.”1 The archbishop gave an unwilling assent, and the king’s hatred grew more bitter than ever. “From this day forth,” he said, publicly, “all is at an end between this man and me.”2
In the year 1164, the royal justiciaries, practically revoking the ancient law of the Conqueror, cited before them a priest, accused of rape and murder; but the archbishop of Canterbury, as supreme ecclesiastic of all England, declared the citation void, in virtue of the privileges of the clergy, as ancient in the country as those of the Norman royalty. He ordered his own officers to arrest the culprit, who was brought before an ecclesiastical tribunal, deprived of his prebend, whipped publicly with rods, and suspended from any office for several years.3 This affair, in which justice was respected to a certain point, but in which the royal judges were completely set aside, created a great sensation. The men of Norman descent were divided into two parties, one of which approved, and the other greatly blamed the primate. The bishops were for him; the men of the sword, the court and the king, against him. The king, naturally self-willed, suddenly converted the private dispute into a legislative question; and convoking, in a solemn assembly at Westminster, all the lords and prelates of England, he set forth to them the numerous crimes committed daily by priests. He added, that he had discovered a means of suppressing these crimes, in the ancient customs of his predecessors, and especially in those of his grandfather Henry I. He demanded, according to custom, of all the members of the assembly, whether they did not think it were well to revive the customs and laws of his ancestors.1 The laymen replied in the affirmative; but all the priests, with Thomas at their head, answered: “Saving the honour of God and of holy church.”2 “There is poison in these words,” answered the king furiously, and immediately departed, without saluting the bishops, and the affair remained undecided.3
A few days after, Henry II. summoned separately to him, Roger, archbishop of York, Robert de Melun, bishop of Hereford, and several other prelates of England, whose purely French names sufficiently indicate their origin. By means of promises, long explanations, and perhaps insinuations, as to the presumed designs of the English Beket against all the nobles of England, and by various other reasonings, which the historians do not detail, the Anglo-Norman bishops were nearly all gained over to the king’s party.4 They promised to favour the re-establishment of the alleged customs of Henry I., who, in truth, had never practised others than those of William the Conqueror, the founder of ecclesiastical privilege. Moreover, for the second time since his differences with the primate, the king addressed himself to pope Alexander; and the pope, complaisant to excess, without investigating the affair, declared him perfectly in the right. He even sent a special messenger with apostolical letters, enjoining all the prelates, and especially him of Canterbury, to accept and observe the laws of the king of England, whatever they might be.5 Left alone in his opposition, and deprived of all hope of support, Beket was fain to yield. He went to the king at his residence at Woodstock, and, in common with the other bishops, promised to observe faithfully, and without any restriction, all the laws that should be made.1 In order that this promise might be renewed authentically amidst a solemn assembly, king Henry convoked in the village of Clarendon in Wiltshire, not far from Winchester, the great council of the Anglo-Norman archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons, and knights.2
The council of Clarendon was held in the month of March, 1164, under the presidency of John, bishop of Oxford. The king’s officers set forth the reforms and new ordinances which he chose to entitle the ancient customs and liberties of his grandfather, Henry I.3 The bishops solemnly gave their adhesion to all they had heard; but Beket refused his, and accused himself of insane weakness in having promised to observe, without reserve, the laws of the king, whatever they might be. The whole Norman council was in a state of excitement. The bishops implored Thomas, and the barons threatened him.4 Two knights of the Temple begged of him, with tears in their eyes, not to dishonour the king; and as this scene was taking place in the great hall, there were discerned through the open doors, men in the adjoining apartment, buckling on their armour and their swords.5 The archbishop grew alarmed, and gave his word to observe the customs of the king’s grandfather without restriction, only asking leave to examine them more at leisure and to verify them.6 The assembly appointed three commissioners to draw up these articles, and adjourned till the next day.7
Towards evening, the archbishop departed for Winchester, where he was sojourning. He was on horseback, with a numerous train of priests, who, on the way, talked of the events of the past day. The conversation, at first tranquil, grew animated by degrees, and at length became a dispute, in which every one took the side accordant with his views. Some praised the conduct of the primate, or excused him for having yielded to the force of circumstances: others blamed him warmly, saying, that ecclesiastical liberty was about to perish in England through the fault of one man. The most excited of all was a Saxon, named Edward Grim, who carried the archbishop’s cross; inflamed by the discussion, he spoke loud, and with great gesticulation: “I see plainly,” said he, “that now-a-days those only are esteemed who exhibit towards princes boundless compliance; but what will become of justice? who will fight for her when the general has allowed himself to be conquered? or what virtues shall we henceforth find in him who has lost courage?” The latter words were heard by Thomas, whose attention had been attracted by the agitation and vehemence of the speaker’s voice. “With whom are you angry, my son?” he said to the cross-bearer. “With yourself,” answered the latter, full of a sort of enthusiasm; “with you, who have renounced your conscience in raising your hand to promise the observance of these detestable customs.” This violent reproach, in which national feeling had, perhaps, as great a share as religious conviction, did not anger the archbishop, who, after a moment’s reflection, addressing his countryman in gentle tones, said: “My son, you are right; I have committed a great fault, and I repent me of it.”1
Next day, the pretended customs or constitutions of Henry I. were produced in writing, divided into sixteen articles, containing an entire system of regulations, contrary to the ordinances of William the Conqueror.2 Among them were several special regulations, one of which prohibited the ordaining as priests, without the consent of their lord, those who, in the Norman language, were called natifs or naifs, that is to say, serfs, all of whom were of native race. The bishops were required to affix their seals in wax at the foot of the parchment which contained the sixteen articles: they all did this, with the exception of Thomas, who, without openly retracting his first adhesion, demanded further delay. But the assembly completed the signatures, and this refusal of the archbishop did not prevent the new laws from being forthwith promulgated. Letters were sent from the royal chancery addressed to all the Norman judges or justiciaries of England and the continent. These letters ordered them, in the name of Henry, by the grace of God, king of England, duke of Normandy, duke of Aquitaine, and earl of Anjou, to have executed and observed by the archbishops, bishops, abbots, priests, earls, barons, burgesses, and peasants, the ordinances decreed in the great council of Clarendon.1
A letter from the bishop of Poitiers, who received one of these despatches, brought to his diocese by Simon de Tournebu and Richard de Lucy, justiciaries, gives us in detail the instructions they contained. It is curious to compare these instructions with the laws published eighty years before, in the name of William I. and his barons; for, on the two sides, we find the same threats and the same penalties sanctioning contrary orders.
“They have forbidden me,” says the bishop of Poitiers, “to summons before me any of my diocesans, on the demand of any widow, orphan, or priest, unless the officers of the king or of the lord of the fief, in which the cause in question arose, have made denial of justice; they have declared that if any one obey my summons, all his goods shall be forthwith confiscated and himself imprisoned; lastly, they have signified to me that if I excommunicate those who refuse to appear before my episcopal justice, such excommunicated persons may, without displeasing the king, attack my person or that of my priests, and my own property or that of my church.”2
From the moment when these laws, made by Normans in a village of England, were decreed as obligatory upon the inhabitants of nearly all the west of Gaul, upon the Angevins, Manseaux, Bretons, Poitevins and Aquitans, and all these various populations took sides in the quarrel between Henry and archbishop Thomas Beket, the court of Rome observed with more attention an affair which in so short a time had assumed such importance. This profoundly political court now meditated how to derive the greatest possible advantage, whether from war or from peace. Rotrou, archbishop of Rouen, a man less immediately interested than the Normans of England in the conflict between royalty and the English primacy, came on a mission from the pope to observe things more closely, and to propose, on speculation, an accommodation, under pontifical mediation;1 but the king, elevated with his triumph, replied that he would not accept this mediation, unless the pope would previously confirm the articles of Clarendon by an apostolic bull; the pope, who had more to gain than to lose by delay, refused to give his sanction until he was better informed on the subject.2
Hereupon, Henry II. soliciting, for the third time, the aid of the pontifical court against his antagonist Beket, sent a solemn embassy to Alexander III., soliciting for Roger, archbishop of York, the title of apostolical legate in England, with the power of making and unmaking, appointing and deposing.3 Alexander did not grant this request, but he conferred on the king himself, by a formal commission, the title and powers of legate, with supreme authority to act as he thought fit in all points but one, the deprivation of the primate. The king, seeing that the pope’s intention was to avoid coming to a conclusion, received this novel commission with displeasure, and at once sent it back.4 “We will employ our own power,” said he, “and we think it will suffice to make those return to their duty who assail our honour.” The primate, abandoned by the Anglo-Norman bishops and barons, and having only on his side poor monks, burgesses, and serfs, felt he should be too weak against his antagonist, if he remained in England, and he accordingly resolved to seek aid and an asylum elsewhere. He proceeded to the port of Romney, and twice went on board a vessel about to sail; but twice the wind was adverse, or the captain of the ship, fearing the king’s anger, refused to sail.5
Some months after the council of Clarendon, Henry II. convoked another at Northampton;6 and Thomas, in common with the other bishops, received his writ of summons. He arrived on the day appointed, and hired lodgings in the town; but he had scarce taken them, when the king filled them with his men and horses.7 Enraged at this insult, the archbishop sent word that he would not attend the parliament until his house was vacated by the king’s horses and people.1 It was restored to him, indeed, but the uncertainty of the result of this unequal struggle made him fearful of engaging further in it, and however humiliating it was for him to be a suppliant to a man who had just insulted him, he repaired to the king’s apartments, and demanded an audience. He waited vainly the whole day, while Henry was amusing himself with his falcons and his dogs.2 Next day, he returned and placed himself in the king’s chapel during mass, and when the latter came out he left it, and approaching him with a respectful air, asked his permission to proceed to France. “Ay,” answered the king; “but first you must give an account of several matters, and, especially, repair the injury you have done to John, my marshal, in your court.”3
This John, surnamed le Maréchal from his office, had some time previously appeared before the episcopal court of justice at Canterbury to demand an estate in the diocese, which he said he was entitled to hold in hereditary fief. The judges had rejected his claim as unfounded; whereupon the plaintiff had faussé the court, that is to say, protested on oath that it denied him justice. “I admit,” said Thomas to the king, “that John le Maréchal appeared before my court; but far from receiving any wrong there from me, it is I who received wrong and insult from him; for he produced a psalter, and swore upon it that my court was false and denied him justice; whereas, according to the law of the land, whoever desires to impugn the court of any man, must swear upon the Holy Gospels.”4 The king affected to regard this explanation as altogether frivolous. The accusation of denial of justice brought against the archbishop, was prosecuted before the great Norman council, who condemned him, and by their sentence, placed him at the king’s mercy, that is to say, adjudged to the king all that he might be pleased to take of the property of the condemned man.5 Beket was at first inclined to protest against this sentence, and fausser jugement, as it was then termed, but the sense of his weakness determined him on making terms with his judges, and he compounded for a fine of 500 pounds of silver.
Beket returned to his house; his heart saddened with the annoyances he had experienced, grief threw him into an illness.1 As soon as the king heard this, he hastened to send him an order to appear next day before the council of Northampton, to account for the public moneys and revenues of which he had had the management when chancellor.2 “I am weak and suffering,” he replied to the royal officers; “and besides, the king knows as well as I, that the day on which I was consecrated archbishop, the barons of his exchequer and Richard de Lucy, grand justiciary of England, declared me free and discharged from all bonds, all accounts, and all demands whatever.” The legal citation remained in force; but Thomas did not appear to it, alleging his illness. Officers of justice, who came on several occasions to ascertain whether he was really incapable of walking, brought him a schedule of the king’s demands, amounting to forty-four thousand marks.3 The archbishop offered to pay two thousand marks to relieve himself from this process, so disagreeable in itself, and so full of bad faith, but Henry refused any kind of accommodation, for it was not the money that influenced him in the affair. “Either I will be no longer king,” said he, “or this man shall no longer be archbishop.”
The delays allowed by law had expired: it was necessary for Beket to present himself, and, on the other hand, he had been warned that if he appeared at court, it would not be without danger for his liberty or his life. In this extremity, collecting all his strength of soul, he resolved to go forth, and to be firm. On the morning of the decisive day, he celebrated the mass of Saint Stephen, the proto-martyr, whose service commences by the words: “The princes sat and spoke against me.” After the mass, he put on his pontifical robes, and taking his silver cross from the hands of him who usually bore it, he set forth, holding it in his right hand and the reins of his horse in the left. Alone, and still bearing his cross, he entered the great hall of council, traversed the crowd, and seated himself. Henry II. was then in a more retired apartment with his private friends, occupied in discussing, in this privy council, the means of getting rid of the archbishop with the least possible disturbance. The news of the unexpected array in which he had appeared confounded the king and his counsellors. One of them, Gilbert Foliot, bishop of London, hastily left the private apartment, and advancing to the place where Thomas was seated: “Why dost thou come thus,” said he, “armed with thy cross?” and he laid hands upon the cross, in order to take possession of it, but the primate held it forcibly. The archbishop of York then joined the bishop of London, and said to Beket: “It is defying the king, our lord, to come thus in arms to his court, but the king has a sword whose edge is sharper than that of a pastoral staff.” The other bishops, manifesting less violence, contented themselves with counselling Thomas, for his own sake, to place his dignity of archbishop at the king’s mercy, but he did not heed them.
While this scene was passing in the great hall, Henry was greatly angered to find his adversary sheltered under his pontifical attire; the bishops, who, at first, had perhaps consented to projects of violence against their colleague, were now silent, taking care not to encourage the courtiers to lay hands on the stole or cross. The king’s counsellors were at a loss what to do, when one of them said: “Why not suspend him from all his rights and privileges by an appeal to the holy father? This were a way to disarm him.” This advice, hailed as a sudden inspiration, singularly pleased the king, and, by his order, the bishop of Chichester, advancing to Thomas Beket, at the head of his colleagues, addressed him thus:
“Some time thou wert our archbishop, and we were bound to obey thee; but because thou hast sworn fealty to our sovereign lord the king, that is, to preserve to the utmost of thy power, his life, limbs, and royal dignity, and to keep his laws, which he requires to be maintained, and, nevertheless, dost now endeavour to destroy them, particularly those which in a special manner concern his dignity and honour; we therefore declare thee guilty of perjury, and owe for the future no obedience to a perjured archbishop. Wherefore, putting ourselves and all that belongs to us under the protection of our lord the pope, we cite thee to his presence, there to answer to these accusations.”1
To this declaration, made with all the solemnity of legal forms, and all the emphasis of assured confidence, Beket merely replied: “I hear what you say!”2 The great assembly of lords was then opened, and Gilbert Foliot charged before it the late archbishop with having celebrated, in contempt of the king, a sacrilegious mass, under the invocation of the evil spirit;3 then came the demand of accounts of the revenues of the office of chancellor, and the claim of forty-four thousand marks. Beket refused to plead, alleging the solemn declaration which had theretofore released him from all ulterior responsibility. Hereupon the king rising, said to the barons and prelates: “By the faith ye owe me, do me prompt justice on this my liegeman, who, duly summoned, refuses to answer in my court.” The Norman barons having put the matter to the vote, pronounced a sentence of imprisonment against Thomas Beket. When Robert, earl of Leicester, charged to read the sentence, pronounced in the French language, the first words of the accustomed form: “Hear the judgment pronounced against you,” the archbishop interrupted him: “Son earl,” said he, “hear you first. You are not ignorant how serviceable and how faithful, according to the state of this world, I have been to the king. In respect whereof it has pleased him to promote me to the archbishopric of Canterbury, God knows, against my own will. For I was not unconscious of my weakness; and rather for the love of him than of God, I acquiesced therein: which is this day sufficiently apparent; since God withdraws both himself and the king from me. But in the time of my promotion, when the election was made, prince Henry, the king’s son, to whom that charge was committed, being present, it was demanded in what manner they would give me to the church of Canterbury? And the answer was, ‘free and discharged from all the bonds of the court.’ Being therefore free and discharged, I am not bound to answer, nor will I, concerning those things, from which I am so disengaged.” Hereupon the earl said: “This is very different from what the bishop of London reported to the king.” To which the archbishop replied, “Attend, my son, to what I say. By how much the soul is of more worth than the body, so much are you bound to obey God and me rather than an earthly king: nor does law or reason allow that children should judge or condemn their father: wherefore I disclaim the judgment of the king, of you, and of all the other peers of the realm, being only to be judged, under God, by our lord the pope: to whom, before you all, I here appeal, committing the church of Canterbury, my order, and dignity, with all thereunto appertaining, to God’s protection and to his. In like manner do I cite you, my brethren and fellow-bishops, because you obey man rather than God, to the audience and judgment of the sovereign pontiff; and so relying on the authority of the catholic church, and the apostolical see, I depart hence.”
After this sort of counter appeal to the power which his adversaries had first invoked, Beket rose and slowly traversed the crowd.1 A murmur arose on every side; the Normans cried: “The false traitor, the perjurer, whither goes he? Why let him to depart in peace? Remain here, traitor, and hear thy sentence.”2 At the moment of quitting the hall, the archbishop turned round, and, looking coldly around him: “If my sacred order,” said he, “did not forbid, I could answer in arms those who call me traitor and perjurer.”3 He mounted his horse, went to the house where he lodged, had the tables laid for a great repast, and gave orders to assemble all the poor people in the town. Numbers came, whom he fed. He supped with them, and that same night, while the king and his Norman chiefs were prolonging their evening repast, he quitted Northampton, accompanied by two brothers of the Cistercian order, one of English race, named Skaiman, and the other of French origin, called Robert de Caune. After three days journeying, he reached the marshes of Lincolnshire, and concealed himself in the hut of a hermit. Thence, under a complete disguise and the assumed name of Dereman, the Saxon turn of which insured obscurity, he reached Estrey, near Canterbury, where he stayed eight days; he then proceeded to the coast near Sandwich.1 It was now the 10th of November, a period at which to cross the Channel becomes dangerous. The archbishop went on board a small vessel, in order to avoid suspicion, and after a perilous transit, landed near Gravelines, and thence, on foot, and in a wretched plight, reached the monastery of Saint Bertin, in the town of Saint Omer.2
On the news of his flight, a royal edict was published in all the provinces of the king of England, upon both shores of the ocean. In the terms of this edict, all the relations of Thomas Beket, in ascending and descending line, even the old men, pregnant women, and young children, were condemned to banishment.3 All the possessions of the archbishop and of his adherents, or of those who were asserted to be such, were sequestrated into the hands of the king, who made presents of them to those whose zeal he had experienced in this affair.4 John, bishop of Poitiers, who was suspected of friendship towards the primate and of favour to his cause, received poison from an unknown hand, and only escaped death by chance.5 Royal missives, in which Henry II. called Thomas his enemy, and forbad any counsel or aid being given to him or his friends, were sent to all the dioceses of England.6 Other letters, addressed to the earl of Flanders and all the high barons of that country, requested them to seize Thomas, late archbishop, a traitor to the king of England, and a fugitive with evil designs.1 Lastly, the bishop of London, Gilbert Foliot, and William, earl of Arundel, waited on the king of France, Louis VII., at his palace of Compiegne, and gave him a despatch, sealed with the great seal of England, and conceived in the following terms:—
“To his lord and friend, Louis, king of the French, Henry, king of England, duke of Normandy, duke of Aquitaine, and earl of Anjou—
“Know that Thomas, late archbishop of Canterbury, after a public sentence, rendered in my court by the high court of the barons of my kingdom, has been convicted of fraud, of perjury, and treason towards me, and has since traitorously fled my kingdom, with evil designs; I earnestly intreat you, therefore, not to allow this man, laden with crimes, or any of his adherents, to dwell on your lands, or any of your subjects to lend to my greatest enemy help, aid or counsel; for I protest that your enemies, or those of your kingdom, should receive none from me, or from any of my people. I expect from you that you will assist me in the vindication of my honour and the punishment of my enemy, as you would have me to do for you, did you need it.”2
From his asylum at Saint Bertin, Thomas awaited the effect of Henry’s letters to the king of France and the earl of Flanders, in order to know in what direction he might proceed without peril. “The dangers are many, the king’s hands are long” (wrote one of his friends, whom he had desired to feel the ground with Louis VII. and at the papal court, then established at Sens). “I have not yet applied to the Roman church,” continues the same correspondent, “not knowing what to seek there as yet; they will do much against you, and little for you. Powerful and rich men will come to them, scattering money with both hands, which has ever greatly influenced Rome; whereas, poor and unaided as we are, what will the Romans care for us? You tell me to offer them two hundred marks; but the opposite party will propose four hundred, and I warrant you that—through love for the king and respect for his ambassadors—they will rather take the greater sum than wait for the less.”1 The king of France gave a favourable reception to Thomas Beket’s messenger, and after having taken counsel with his barons, granted to the archbishop and his companions in exile peace and security in his kingdom, adding graciously, that it was one of the ancient flowers of the crown of France to give protection to exile against their persecutors.2
As to the pope, who had then no interest in counteracting the king of England, he hesitated two days ere he received those who came to Sens on the part of the archbishop; and when they asked him to send Thomas a letter of invitation to his court, he positively refused.3 But, with the aid of the free asylum granted him by the king of France, Beket came to the papal court without invitation. He was received coldly by the cardinals,4 most of whom at first treated him as a firebrand, and said he must check his enterprising temperament. He set forth to them the origin and whole history of his quarrel with Henry II. “I do not boast of great wisdom,” said he, “but I should not be so mad as to oppose a king for trifles; for know, that had I consented to do his will in all things, there would now not be in his kingdom a power equal to mine.”5 Without taking any decisive part in the dispute, the pope gave the fugitive permission to receive assistance in money and provisions from the king of France.6 He allowed him also to excommunicate all who had seized and detained the property of his church, excepting only the king, who had distributed it.1 At length, he asked from him a statement in detail of the articles of Clarendon, which pope Alexander himself, at the solicitation of king Henry, had approved, as it would seem, without having very carefully read them, if at all. Alexander, however, now deemed the sixteen articles utterly opposed to the honour of God and of holy church. He denounced them as tyrannical usurpations, and harshly reproached Beket with the passing adhesion he had given to them on the formal injunction of a pontifical legate.2 The pope excepted from this reprobation six articles only,3 and among them that which deprived the serfs of enfranchisement on becoming priests; and he solemnly pronounced anathema against the partisans of the other ten.4
The archbishop then enlarged upon the ancient liberties of the church of Canterbury, to whose cause he said he had devoted himself; and then accusing himself of having been intrusively forced into his see, in contempt of those liberties, by the royal power, he resigned his ecclesiastical dignity into the hands of the pope.5 The pope reinvested him with it, saying, “that he, who had hitherto lived in affluence and delights,6 should now be taught, by the instructions of poverty, the mother of religion, to be the comforter of the poor when he returned to his see: wherefore he committed him over to one of the poor of Christ, from whom he was to receive, not a sumptuous, but simple entertainment, such as became a banished man and a champion of Christ.”1 Beket was recommended to the superior of the abbey of Pontigny, on the confines of Burgundy and Champagne, where he was, for the present, to live as a simple monk. He submitted, assumed the habit of the Cistercian monks, and followed in all its rigour the discipline of monastic life.2
In his retreat at Pontigny, Thomas wrote and received many letters, and among them several from the bishops of England and the whole body of Anglo-Norman clergy, full of bitter irony. “Fame has brought us the news that, renouncing for the future all plots against your lord and king, you humbly submit to the poverty to which you are reduced, and are expiating your past life by study and abstinence.3 We congratulate you hereupon, and counsel you to persevere in this good path.” The same letter reproached him, in humiliating terms, with the lowness of his birth and his ingratitude towards the king, who, from the rank of a Saxon and a nothing, had raised him high as himself.4 Such were the views of the bishops and lords of England with reference to Beket. They were indignant at what they called the insolence of the parvenu;5 but among the lower classes, whether of clergy or laity, he was beloved and pitied, and ardent, though silent prayers were offered up that he might succeed in all he should undertake.6 In general, he had as adherents all those who were hostile to the Anglo-Norman government, whether as subjects by conquest or as political opponents. One of those who most courageously exposed themselves to persecution to follow him, was a Welchman named Culin.1 Another, a Saxon by birth, was thrown into prison, and remained there a long time, on his account;2 and the poison given to the bishop of Poitiers seems to prove that there was fear entertained of his partisans in southern Gaul, whose population unwillingly obeyed a king of foreign race; he had also zealous friends in Lower Brittany; but it does not appear that he had any warm partisans in Normandy, where obedience to king Henry was regarded as a national duty. The king of France favoured the antagonist of Henry II. from motives of a less elevated character, wholly exempt from any real affection, and simply for the purpose of embarrassing his political rival.
In the year 1166, Henry II. went to Normandy, and on the news of his landing, Thomas quitted the abbey of Pontigny and proceeded to Vezelay, near Auxerre. Here, in presence of the people assembled in the principal church on Ascension-day, he mounted the pulpit, and with the greatest solemnity, amid the ringing of bells and the light of the tapers, pronounced a sentence of excommunication against the defenders of the constitutions of Clarendon, against the detainers of the sequestered property of the church of Canterbury, and against those who kept priests or laymen imprisoned on his account. Beket also pronounced, by name, the same sentence against the Normans Richard de Lucy, Jocelin Bailleul, Alain de Neuilly, Renouf de Broc, Hugh de Saint Clair, and Thomas Fitz-Bernard, courtiers and favourites of the king.3 Henry was then at Chinon, a town in his earldom of Touraine, and on the new sign of life given by his adversary, a fit of violent fury seized upon him; carried beyond all self-possession, he cried that the traitor sought to kill him body and soul; that he was most unhappy in having none around him but traitors, not one of whom thought of freeing him from the annoyances he endured at the hands of one single man.1 He took off his cap, and threw it on the ground, unbuckled his belt, divested himself of his clothes, and snatching the silk coverlid from his bed, rolled in it before all his nobles, biting the mattress and tearing the wool and hair with his teeth.2
Coming a little to himself, he dictated a letter to the pope, reproaching him with protecting traitors, and he sent to the clergy of Kent an order to write in their own name to the sovereign pontiff, saying that they repudiated the sentences of excommunication pronounced by the archbishop.3 The pope replied to the king—begging him not to communicate his letters to any living soul—that he was ready to give him full satisfaction, and that he had deputed two extraordinary legates to him with power to absolve all excommunicated persons.4 And, in point of fact, he sent to Normandy, under this title and with this power, William and Otho, cardinal-priests, the first openly sold to the king, and the second ill-disposed to the archbishop.5 While these two ambassadors were traversing France, announcing on their way that they were about to content the king of England and confound his enemy,6 the pope, on his return to Italy, sent word to Thomas to place all confidence in them, and begged him, in consideration of the care which he had shown in choosing men favourable to his cause, to employ himself with the earl of Flanders in obtaining alms for the Roman church.7
But the archbishop was warned of the little confidence these assurances merited, and bitterly complained, in a letter addressed to the pope himself, of the duplicity employed against him. “There are some,” said he, “who say that you have purposely prolonged my exile, and that of my companions in misfortune for a year, in order to make, at our expense, a more advantageous bargain with the king. I hesitate to believe this; but to give me as judges such men as your two legates, is it not truly giving me the chalice of passion and of death?”1 In his indignation, Thomas sent to the papal court despatches in which he did not spare the king, calling him a tyrant full of malice; these letters were given, and perhaps sold, to Henry II. by the Roman chancery.2 Before entering, according to their instructions, upon a conference with the king, the legates invited the archbishop to a private interview; he went to it full of a distrust, and a contempt ill concealed. The Romans conversed with him solely on the grandeur and power of king Henry, of the low estate from which the king had raised him, and of the danger he ran in braving a man so powerful and so beloved by holy church.3
Arrived in Normandy, the pontifical envoys found Henry II. surrounded by Anglo-Norman lords and prelates. The discussion opened with the causes of the quarrel with the primate; Gilbert Foliot, bishop of London, stated the case; he said that the dispute arose from a sum of forty-four thousand marks, of which the archbishop obstinately refused to give an account, pretending that his ecclesiastical consecration had exempted him from all debt, as his baptism had freed him from all sin. Foliot added to these witticisms other jests about the excommunications pronounced by Beket, saying that they did not receive them in England from pure economy of horses and men, seeing that they were so numerous that forty couriers would not suffice to distribute them all. At the moment of separating, Henry humbly intreated the cardinals to intercede for him with the pope, that he would deliver him from the torment caused him by one single man. In pronouncing these words, the tears came into his eyes; cardinal William, who was sold to him, wept as from sympathy; cardinal Otho could scarce refrain from laughter.4
When pope Alexander, reconciled with all the Romans by the death of his competitor Victor, had returned to Italy, he sent from Rome letters to Henry II., wherein he announced that Thomas should assuredly be suspended from all authority as archbishop, until he should regain the king’s favour.1 Nearly at the same time, a diplomatic congress was held at Ferté-Bernard in Vendomois, between the kings of England and France. The former publicly exhibited the pope’s letters, saying with a joyous air: “Thank Heaven, our Hercules is without his club. He can do nothing for the future against me or against my bishops, and his terrible threats are now merely ridiculous, for I hold in my purse the pope and all his cardinals.”2 This confidence in the success of his intrigues gave the king of England a new ardour of persecution against his antagonist; and shortly after, the general chapter of Citeaux, of which the abbey of Pontigny was a dependent, received a despatch, wherein Henry II. signified to the priors of the order that if they valued their possessions in England, Normandy, Anjou, and Aquitaine, they must cease to harbour his enemy.3
The reception of this letter caused great alarm in the chapter of Citeaux. The superior immediately set out for Pontigny, with a bishop and several abbots of the order. He came to Beket, and, in the name of the order, said to him mildly, but significatively: “God forbid the chapter should, on such injunctions, expel you; but it is a notification we give you, that you may in your prudence decide what is to be done.”4 Thomas replied, without hesitation, that he would prepare for his departure. He quitted the monastery of Pontigny in the month of November 1168, after two years residence there, and then wrote to the king of France to request another asylum. On receiving his letter, the king exclaimed: “Oh, religion! religion! what has become of thee? They who call themselves dead to the world banish, for the world’s sake, an exile in the cause of God!”5 He received the archbishop on his territory, but it was evidently as a matter of policy that he showed himself, on this occasion, more humane than the monks of Citeaux.
About a year after, a reconciliation took place between the kings of France and of England; a meeting was appointed at Montmirail in Perche, to settle the terms of the truce; for, since the Normans had reigned in England, there had been but brief intervals of peace between the two countries.1 Meantime frequent assemblies were held in or near the towns on the frontiers of Normandy, Maine, and Anjou; and the contending interests were discussed with the greater facility, that the kings and lords of France and of England spoke exactly the same language. The former brought Thomas Beket with them to the congress of Montmirail. Availing themselves of the influence which his state of dependence on them gave them over him, they had induced him to consent to make, under their auspices, his submission to the king of England, and to become reconciled with him,2 the archbishop yielding to their interested solicitations, from weariness of his wandering life, and of the humiliation he felt in eating the bread of strangers.3
When the two antagonists met, Thomas, quelling his pride, placed one knee on the ground, and said to the king: “My lord, the whole quarrel existing between us, I submit entirely to your judgment, as sovereign arbiter, in every point, saving the honour of God.”4 But the moment this fatal reservation passed the lips of the archbishop, the king, setting at nought his conciliatory proceeding and his humble posture, overwhelmed him with a torrent of abuse, calling him proud, ungrateful, and heartless; then, turning to the king of France: “Know you,” said he, “what would befal me, were I to admit this reservation? He would pretend that all that pleases me, and does not please him, is contrary to the honour of God; and by means of these two words, he would render me a nullity. But I will make him a concession. Certes, there have been before me in England kings less powerful than I, and, doubtless, also, there have been in the see of Canterbury, archbishops more holy than he; let him only act towards me as the greatest and most holy of his predecessors has acted towards the least of mine, and I shall be content.”1
To this evidently ironical proposition, comprehending fully as much mental reservation on the part of the king as Thomas had comprised in the clause, saving the honour of God, the whole assembly, French and English, cried out that it was quite enough, that the king humbled himself sufficiently; and, the archbishop remaining silent, the king of France, in his turn, said to him: “Well, why do you hesitate? here is peace offered you.” The archbishop calmly replied that he could not in conscience accept peace, yield himself up and his liberty of action, unless saving the honour of God. At these words, the whole assembly, of both nations, vied with each other in charging him with measureless pride, of outrecuidance, as it was then called. One of the French barons loudly exclaimed, that he who resisted the counsel and unanimous will of the lords of two kingdoms was no longer worthy of an asylum. The kings remounted their horses, without saluting the archbishop, who withdrew, deeply dejected.2 No one in the name of the king of France offered him food or lodging, and on his return he was compelled to live on the alms of priests and of the populace.3
That his vengeance might be complete, Henry II. only needed somewhat more decision on the part of pope Alexander. To obtain the deprivation, the object of all his efforts, he exhausted the resources which the diplomacy of the time placed at his disposal, resources far more extensive that we at all imagine at the present time. The Lombard towns, the national cause of which was then combined with that of the pope against the emperor Frederic I., almost all received messages from the king of England. He offered the Milanese three thousand marks of silver, and to defray the expenses of repairing their walls, which the emperor had destroyed; to the Cremonese, he offered three thousand marks; a thousand to the Parmesans, and as many to the Bolognese, if they would solicit from Alexander III., their ally, the degradation of Beket, or at least his translation to an inferior see.1 Henry also applied to the Norman lords of Apulia to employ their credit in favour of a king, issue of the same race with themselves. He promised to the pope himself as much money as he should require to extinguish at Rome the last remnant of schism, and, further, ten thousand marks for himself, with power absolutely to dispose of the nomination to the bishoprics and archbishoprics vacant in England.2 The last offer proves that, in his hostility against archbishop Thomas, Henry II., at this time, by no means aimed at the diminution of the papal authority. New edicts forbad, under extremely severe penaltics, the admission into England of the friends or relations of the exile, or of letters from him or his friends, or of letters from the pope, favourable to his cause, letters which might well be apprehended in the very probable event of some diplomatic manœuvring on the part of the pontifical court.3
To maintain a correspondence with England, despite this prohibition, the archbishop and his friends employed the disguise of Saxon names,4 which, on account of the low condition of those who bore them, awakened little disquietude in the Norman authorities. John of Salisbury, one of the ablest authors of the age, and who had lost his property from his attachment to the primate, wrote under the name of Godrik, and styled himself a knight in the pay of the commune of Milan.5 As the Milanese were then at war with the emperor Frederic, he put down, in his letters, to the account of the latter, all the reproaches he intended to apply to the king of England. The number of those whom the Norman authority persecuted on account of this affair was considerably augmented by a royal decree, couched in these terms: “Let every Welshman, priest or layman, who shall enter England without letters of licence from the king, be seized and thrown into prison, and let all Welsh persons be expelled the schools in England.”1 To understand the reason of this ordinance and the point which most sensibly wounded the interests of the king and the Anglo-Norman barons in the resistance of Thomas Beket, the reader must turn his attention for a moment to the territories recently acquired or conquered from the Cambrian nation.
Wales, overrun, as we have seen, by invasions in every direction, exhibited the same scenes of oppression and of national struggle which England had presented in the first fifty years of the Conquest. There were daily insurrections against the conquerors, especially against the priests who had come in the train of the soldiers, and who, soldiers themselves, under a peaceful habit, devoured with their relations, settled with them, what war had spared.2 Forcing themselves on the natives as spiritual pastors, they seized, in virtue of the patent of a foreign king, the sees of the former prelates, elected by the clergy and people of the country. To receive the sacraments of the church from the hands of a foreigner and an enemy was, for the Welsh, an insupportable affliction, perhaps the most cruel tyranny of the conquest. Accordingly, from the moment when archbishop Beket raised his front against the king of England, the national opinion in Cambria strongly declared itself for the archbishop, first for the popular reason that every enemy of an enemy is a friend, and next, because a prelate of Saxon race, struggling with the grandson of the conqueror of the Saxons, seemed in some measure the representative of the religious rights of all the men forcibly united under the Norman domination.3 Although Thomas Beket was entirely a stranger to the Cambrian nation in affection as in birth, although he had never manifested the slightest indication of interest for it, this nation loved him, and in the same way, would have loved also any stranger who, however distant, however indirectly, however uninfluenced by friendly views to it, had awakened in it the hope of obtaining once more priests born in its bosom and speaking its language.
This patriotic sentiment, deeply rooted in the people of Wales, was manifested with invincible determination in the ecclesiastical chapters, where foreigners and natives were mingled together. It was searcely ever possible to induce the latter to give their votes to any but a Welshman of pure race without any admixture of foreign blood;1 and, as the choice of such candidates was never confirmed by the royal power of England, and as, on the other hand, nothing could overcome the inveteracy of the voters, there was a sort of perpetual schism in most of the churches of Cambria, a schism more reasonable than many that have made more noise in the world. It was thus that with the cause of archbishop Thomas, whatever his personal motives, whether ambition, love of opposition and self-will, or the conscientious conviction of a great duty, was combined, in every direction, a national cause, that of the races of men reduced to servitude by the ancestors of the king whose adversary he had declared himself.
The archbishop, deserted by the king of France, his former protector, and reduced to subsist upon alms, lived at Sens, in a poor inn. One day, while seated in the common room, conversing with his companions in exile, a messenger from king Louis presented himself, and said to them: “The king my lord, invites you to proceed to his court.” “Alas!” cried one of the spectators, “it is doubtless to banish us, and so we shall be excluded from both kingdoms, and have no hope of assistance but from those thieves of Romans, who occupy themselves solely in seizing the spoils of the unfortunate and the innocent.”2 They followed the messenger, sad and thoughtful, as men anticipating a great calamity. But to their great surprise, the king received them with extraordinary marks of affection and even of tenderness. He wept on seeing them,1 and casting himself at Thomas’s feet, said to him: “It is you, my father, it is you alone who saw justly; all the rest of us were blind, in counselling you against God. I repent, my father, I repent, and promise, for the future, no more to desert you and yours.”2 The true cause of this sudden change was a new project of war on the part of the king of France against Henry II.
The pretext of this war was the vengeance exercised by the king of England upon the Breton and Poitevin refugees, whom the other king had given up to him on condition of his receiving them into his grace. It is probable that, in signing the treaty of Montmirail, king Louis had in no degree supposed that the clause in their favour, inserted out of very shame, would be executed; but shortly after, when Henry II. had put the richest of the Poitevins to death, the king of France, having reasons of self-interest for renewing the war, availed himself of the bad faith of the Angevin towards the refugees,3 and his first act of hostility was to restore to Thomas Beket his protection and support. Henry II. complained, by a special message, of this flagrant violation of the treaty of Montmirail. “Go,” said the king of France to the messenger, “go and tell your king, that if he adheres to the customs of his ancestor, I may surely adhere to my hereditary right to aid the exiled.”4
Ere long, the archbishop, resuming the offensive, hurled new sentences of excommunication against the courtiers, servants, and chaplains of the king of England, and especially against the retainers of the property of the see of Canterbury. He excommunicated so great a number, that, in the doubt whether the sentence had not been secretly ratified by the pope, there was not, in the king’s chapel, a single priest who at the service of the mass dared give him the kiss of peace.5 Thomas further sent to the bishop of Winchester, Henry, Stephen’s brother, and consequently a secret enemy of Henry II., a mandate interdicting in England all religious ceremonies, except the baptism of infants and the confession of the dying, unless the king, within a certain time, gave satisfaction to the church of Canterbury.1 One English priest, upon this mandate, refused to celebrate mass; but his archdeacon reprimanded him, saying: “If you were ordered by the archbishop not to eat again, would you abstain from eating?”2 The sentence of interdict not having obtained the sanction of any bishop in England, was not executed; and the bishop of London departed for Rome, with messages and presents from the king.3 He brought back, purchased at heavy cost, a formal declaration, affirming that the pope had not ratified and would not ratify, the sentences of excommunication pronounced by the archbishop. The pope himself wrote to Beket, ordering him to recal these sentences with the shortest delay.4
But the court of Rome, always careful to procure personal sureties on every occasion, required that each excommunicated person, on receiving absolution, should take an oath never to separate from the church.5 All of them, and especially the king’s chaplains, would readily have consented to this, but the king would not permit it, preferring to leave them under the sword of Saint Peter (gladius beati Petri, spiculum beati Petri, as the phrase ran) than to deprive himself of a means of disquieting the Romish church. To terminate this new dispute, two legates, Vivian and Gratian, went to Henry, at Domfront. He was hunting at the time of their arrival, and returned from the forest to visit them at their lodgings. During his interview with them, the whole band of hunters, with young Henry, the king’s eldest son, at their head, came to the inn where the legates were, shouting and sounding their horns to announce the taking of a stag. The king abruptly interrupting his conversation with the envoys from Rome, went to the hunters, complimented them, said that he made them a present of the animal, and then returned to the legates, who exhibited no anger, either at the strange incident, or at the cavalier manner in which the king treated them and the object of their mission.1
A second conference took place in the park of Bayeux; the king proceeded thither on horseback, with several bishops of England and Normandy. After some unimportant conversation, he asked the legates if they had clearly decided not to absolve his courtiers and chaplains without conditions. The legates said this was impossible. “Then, by the eyes of God,” exclaimed the king, “I never again in my life will hear speak of the pope,” and he hastened to his horse. The legates, after some show of resistance, granted all he asked.2 “Then,” said Henry II., “you will proceed to England, in order that the excommunication may be raised as solemnly as possible.” The legates hesitated to answer. “Well,” said the king, impatiently, “do as you please; but know that I take no account either of you or of your excommunications, and care no more for them than for an egg.” He hastily mounted his horse, but the Norman archbishops and bishops ran after him, calling to him to dismount and renew the conversation. “I know, I know as well as you what they can do,” said the king, still continuing his way; “they will place my lands under interdict; but I, who can take a walled town every day, can punish a priest who shall come and place my kingdom under interdict.”3
At last, the excitement on both sides being appeased, a new discussion was entered upon respecting the king’s quarrel with Thomas Beket. The legates said that the pope desired to see an end of this scandalous affair; that he would do much to obtain peace, and that he would undertake to make the archbishop more docile and tractable. “The pope is my spiritual lord and father,” said the king, greatly softened; “and I consent, for my part, to do much at his request; I will even restore, if necessary, to him of whom we speak, his archbishopric and my peace, for him and all those who, on his account, are banished from my lands.” The interview at which the terms of peace were to be agreed upon was fixed for the next day; but at this conference, king Henry practised the expedient of reservations for which he so reproached the archbishop, and sought to insert the condition, “saving the honour and dignity of his kingdom.”1 The legates refused to accede to this unexpected clause; but their modified refusal, though suspending the final decision of the affair, did not destroy the good understanding between them and the king. They gave full power to Rotrou, archbishop of Rouen, to go and by the pope’s authority relieve Gilbert Foliot, bishop of London, from his sentence of excommunication.2 They sent at the same time, letters to Beket, recommending him, in the name of the obedience he owed to the church, humility, gentleness, and circumspection towards the king.3
It will be remembered with what assiduity William the Bastard and his councillor, Lanfranc, laboured to establish, for the better maintenance of the conquest, the absolute supremacy of the see of Canterbury. It will also be remembered that one of the privileges attached to this supremacy, was the exclusive right of crowning the kings of England, least the metropolitan of York might one day be led, by the rebellion of his diocesans, to oppose a Saxon king, anointed and crowned by him, to kings of the conquering race. This danger no longer existing, after a century of possession, the politicians of the court of Henry II., to weaken the power of Thomas Beket, resolved to create a king of England, anointed and crowned without his participation.4
For this purpose, king Henry presented his eldest son to the Anglo-Norman barons, and set forth, that, for the welfare of his vast provinces, a colleague in the royalty had become necessary to him, and that he desired to see Henry his son decorated with the same title as himself. The barons offered no obstacle to the views of their king, and the young man received the royal unction from the hands of the archbishop of York, assisted by the suffragan bishops of the province of Canterbury, in Westminster Abbey, immediately dependent on the latter see. All these circumstances constituted, according to the ecclesiastical code, a complete violation of the privileges of the English primacy.1 At the banquet which followed the coronation, the king waited on his son at table, saying, in the effusion of his paternal joy, that from that day the royalty no longer belonged to him.2 He little expected, that in a few years, this phrase, so heedlessly uttered, would be raised up against him, and that his own son would call upon him no longer to bear the title of king, since he had solemnly abdicated it.
The violation of the ancient rights of the primacy took place with the consent of the pope; for previous to undertaking it, Henry II. had provided himself with an apostolic letter, authorising him to crown his eldest son how he pleased and by whom he pleased.3 But, as this letter was to remain secret, the Roman chancery did not scruple to send Thomas Beket another letter, equally private, in which the pope protested that the coronation of the young king by the archbishop of York had been performed against his will, and that equally against his will had the bishop of London been relieved from his excommunication.4 At these manifest falsehoods, Beket lost all patience; and he addressed to a Roman cardinal, named Albert, in his own name and that of his companions in exile, a letter full of reproaches, the bitterness of which passed all bounds:
“I know not how it is that at the court of Rome it is ever the cause of God that is sacrificed; so that Barabbas is saved and Christ is put to death. This is the seventh year in which, by the authority of that court, I remain proscribed, and the church in suffering. The unfortunate, the banished, the innocent, are condemned before you, for the sole reason that they are weak, because they are the poor of Jesus Christ, and that they demand justice. I know that the envoys of the king distribute or promise my spoils to the cardinals and courtiers; let the cardinals rise against me, if they will; let them arm for my destruction, not only the king of England, but the whole world: I will never swerve from the fidelity due to the church, in life or in death, placing my cause in the hands of God, and ready to endure proscription and exile. It is my firm resolve never again to solicit the pontifical court. Let those repair to it who avail themselves of iniquity, and who return full of pride at having trampled on justice and made innocence a prisoner.”1
This energetic attack had not the effect of making ultramontane policy retrograde one single step; but positive menaces on the part of the king of France, then at open rupture with the other king, lent efficacious aid to the remonstrances of the exile. “I demand,” wrote Louis VII. to the pope; “I demand that you at length renounce your deceitful and dilatory proceedings.”2 Pope Alexander, who found himself, as he expressed it, in the position of an anvil between two hammers,3 seeing that the hammer of the king of France was raised to strike, became all at once of opinion that the cause of the archbishop was really the cause of Heaven. He sent to Thomas a brief, suspending the archbishop of York and all the prelates who had assisted at the coronation of the young king; and even went so far as to menace Henry II. with ecclesiastical censure, unless he forthwith vindicated the primate against the courtiers who held his property and the bishops who had usurped his privileges.4 Henry II., alarmed at the good understanding between the pope and the king of France, yielded for the first time; but it was from motives of interest, and not from fear of a banished man, whom all his protectors abandoned and betrayed in turns.
The king of England accordingly announced that he was prepared to open definitive negotiations for peace. The archbishop of York and the bishops of London and Salisbury sought to dissuade him from this. Labouring with their utmost efforts to prevent any reconciliation, they told the king that peace would be of no advantage to him, unless the donations made out of the property of the see of Canterbury were permanently ratified. “And it is known,” they added, “that the annulling of these royal gifts will be the principal feature of the archbishop’s demands.”1 Grave reasons of external policy determined Henry II. not to adopt these counsels, though they perfectly agreed with his personal aversion to Thomas Beket. Negotiations commenced; there was an exchange of letters between the king and the archbishop, indirectly and by third hands, as between two contracting powers. One of Thomas’s letters, drawn up in the form of a diplomatic note, is worth giving as a curious specimen of the diplomacy of the middle ages.
“The archbishop,” said Beket, speaking of himself, “insists that the king, if the reconciliation take place, shall give him the kiss of peace publicly; for this formality is a solemn custom with all nations and all religions, and nowhere, without it, has any peace been concluded between persons previously enemies. The kiss of any other than the king, of his son, for example, would not answer the end, for it might be inferred that the archbishop had re-entered into grace with the son rather than with the father; and if once this idea were spread abroad, what resources would it not furnish to the malevolent? The king, on his part, might pretend that his refusal to give the kiss meant that he did not engage himself willingly, and might, therefore, afterwards break his word, without subjecting himself to the brand of infamy. Besides, the archbishop remembers what happened to Robert de Silly and the other Poitevins who made their peace at Montmirail; they were received into the grace of the king of England with the kiss of peace, and yet, neither this token of sincerity publicly given nor the consideration due to the king of France, mediator in the affair, secured to them peace or life. It is not, therefore, too much to demand this guarantee, in itself, even if given, so insecure.”2
On the 22nd July, 1170, in a vast meadow3 between Freteval and Laferté-Bernard, a solemn congress was held for the double pacification of the king of France with the king of England and of the latter with Thomas Beket. The archbishop proceeded thither, and when, after the discussion of political affairs, the assembly approached his own, he had a conference apart, in the centre of the field, with his adversary. The archbishop demanded of the king, first, that he should be allowed to punish the injury done to the dignity of his church by the archbishop of York and his own suffragans. “The coronation of your son by another than myself,” said he, “has enormously wounded the ancient rights of my see.” “But who then,” asked the king, warmly, “who then crowned my great grandfather William, the conqueror of England? Was it not the archbishop of York?” Beket replied, that at the period of the conquest the church of Canterbury was without a legitimate pastor; that it was, so to speak, captive under one Stigand, an archbishop repudiated by the pope, and, in this emergency, it was necessary that the prelate of York, whose title was better founded, should crown the Conqueror.1 After this historical reference, the worth of which the reader can appreciate, and some other arguments, the king promised to remedy all Beket’s complaints; but as to the demand for the kiss of peace, he politely evaded it, saying to the archbishop: “We shall soon meet in England, and will embrace there.”2
On leaving the king, Beket saluted him, bending his knee; and with a reciprocal courtesy, which astonished all present, Henry II., as he mounted his horse, arranged his robes, and held the stirrup for him.3 Next day some return of their old familiarity was remarked between them.4 Royal messengers conveyed to the young Henry, the colleague and lieutenant of his father, a letter couched in these terms: “Know that Thomas of Canterbury has made his peace with me, to my entire satisfaction. I command you then to give him and his all their possessions freely and peaceably.”5 The archbishop returned to Sens to make ready for the journey; his friends, poor and dispersed in various places, prepared their slight luggage, and then assembled to wait upon the king of France, who, in their own words, had not rejected them when the world abandoned them.1 “You are then about to depart?” said Louis VII. to the archbishop: “I would not for my weight in gold have given you this counsel; and, if you will believe me, do not trust your king until you have received the kiss of peace.”2
Several months had already elapsed since the reconciliation interview; yet, notwithstanding the ostensible order despatched by the king to England, no instance was known wherein the usurpers of property of the church of Canterbury had been made to restore it; on the contrary, they publicly ridiculed the credulity and simplicity of the primate, in thinking himself restored to favour. The Norman, Renouf de Broc, went so far as to say that, if the archbishop came to England, he would not have time given him wherein to eat a whole loaf.3 Beket further received from Rome letters warning him that the king’s peace was only a peace in words, and recommending him, for his own safety, to be humble, patient, and circumspect.4 He solicited a second interview, for the purpose of having an explanation upon these fresh points of complaint, and the meeting took place at Chaumont, near Amboise, under the auspices of the earl of Blois.5 On this occasion Henry’s manner was frigid, and his people affected not to notice the archbishop. The mass celebrated in the royal chapel was a mass for the dead, selected expressly, because, in this service, those present do not mutually give the kiss of peace at the gospel.6 The archbishop and the king, before they separated, rode some way together, loading each other with bitter reproaches.7 At the moment of leavetaking, Thomas fixed his eyes upon Henry, in an expressive manner, and said to him solemnly: “I believe I shall never see you again.” “Do you then take me for a traitor?” warmly exclaimed the king, who understood the meaning of these words. The archbishop bowed and departed.1
Several times on the day of reconciliation, Henry II. had promised that he would come to Rouen to meet the prelate, pay all the debts he had contracted in exile, and thence accompany him to England, or, at least, direct the archbishop of Rouen to accompany him. But on his arrival at Rouen, Beket found neither the king, nor the promised money, nor that any order to accompany him had been transmitted to the archbishop. He borrowed three hundred livres, and by means of this sum proceeded to the coast near Boulogne. It was now the month of November, the season of storms; the primate and his companions were obliged to wait some days at the port of Wissant, near Calais.2 One day that they were walking upon the beach, they saw a man running towards them, whom they at first took to be the master of their vessel, coming to summon them on board;3 but the man told them that he was a priest, and dean of the church of Boulogne, and that the count, his lord, had sent him to warn them not to embark, for that troops of armed men were waiting on the coast of England, to seize or kill the archbishop. “My son,” answered Thomas, “were I sure of being dismembered and cut to pieces on the other shore, I would not stay my steps. Seven years absence is enough both for the pastor and for his flock.” The travellers embarked; but willing to derive some advantage from the warning they had received, they avoided a frequented port, and landed in Sandwich bay, at the spot nearest to Canterbury.4
5 Notwithstanding their precautions, the report spread that the archbishop had landed near Sandwich. Hereupon the Norman Gervais, viscount of Kent, marched to that town, with all his men-at-arms, accompanied by Renouf de Broc and Renauld de Garenne, two powerful lords and Beket’s mortal enemies. At the same report, the burgesses of Dover, men of English race, took up arms, on their part, to defend the archbishop, and the people of Sandwich armed for the same purpose, when they saw the Norman horse approach.1 “If he has the audacity to land,” said the viscount Gervais, “I will cut his head off with my own hand.”2 The ardour of the Normans was somewhat modified by the attitude of the people; they advanced, however, with drawn swords, when John, dean of Oxford, who accompanied the prelate, rushed to meet them, exclaiming: “What are you doing? Sheathe your swords; would you have the king pass for a traitor?”3 The populace collecting, the Normans returned their swords to their scabbards, contented themselves with searching the coffers of the archbishop for any papal briefs they might contain, and returned to their castles.4
Upon the whole road from Sandwich to Canterbury, the peasants, artisans, and tradesmen came to meet the archbishop, saluting him, shouting, and collecting in great numbers; but scarcely any man of wealth, or rank, or simply of Norman race, welcomed the exile on his return;5 on the contrary, they avoided the places through which he passed, shutting themselves up in their houses, and spreading from castle to castle the report that Thomas Beket was letting loose the serfs in town and country, who were following him, drunk with frenzied joy.6 From his metropolitan city, the primate repaired to London, to salute the son of Henry II. All the citizens of the great city were collected in the streets to receive him; but he had scarcely entered it when a royal messenger stayed his progress in the name of the young king, and communicated to him the formal order to return to Canterbury and to remain there.7 At this moment, a London citizen, enriched by commerce despite the exactions of the Normans, advanced to Beket, and offered him his hand. “And you, too!” cried the messenger, “you, too, speak with the king’s enemy?—return at once whence you came!”1
The archbishop received with disdain the young king’s order, and said that, if he retraced his steps, it was only because he was recalled to his church by a great approaching solemnity—that of Christmas.2 Beket returned to Canterbury, surrounded by poor men, who, at their own peril, arming themselves with shields and rusty lances, formed an escort for him. They were several times insulted by men who appeared seeking to excite a quarrel, in order to furnish the royal soldiers with a pretext for interfering and killing the archbishop, without scandal, amidst the tumult. But the English bore all these provocations with imperturbable calmness.3 The order intimated to the primate to remain within the walls of the dependences of his church was published by sound of trumpet in every town, as an edict of the public authority; other edicts denounced as enemies to the king and kingdom all who should manifest any favour to him or his;4 and a great number of the citizens of London were cited before the Norman judges to answer a charge of high treason for their reception of the archbishop, “the king’s enemy,” in their city.5 All these proceedings of the men in power warned Beket that his end was nigh; and he wrote to the pope, asking him to have the prayers for the dying offered up in his name.6 He ascended the pulpit, and in presence of the people assembled in the cathedral of Canterbury, preached a sermon on this text: “I am come to die amongst you.”7
The court of Rome, pursuing its constant policy of never allowing disputes in which it could interfere completely to subside, after having sent to the archbishop an order to absolve the prelates who had crowned the son of the king, had given him a fresh permission to excommunicate the prelate of York, and to suspend the other bishops.1 This time, it was Henry II. who was deceived by the pope; for he was entirely ignorant that Beket had gone to England provided with such letters.2 The latter had at first intended to employ them merely as a minatory means of making his enemies capitulate. But the fear lest these papers should be seized on his landing, made him afterwards determine upon sending them on before him,3 and thus the pope’s letter and the new sentences of excommunication became prematurely public; the resentment of the bishops, thus unexpectedly attacked, exceeded all measure. The archbishop of York and several others, hastened across the Channel to Henry, who was still in Normandy, and presenting themselves before him:4 “We intreat you,” they said, “to protect the crown, the priesthood; your bishops of England are excommunicated because, according to your orders, they crowned the young king, your son.” “Ha!” cried the king, in a tone which showed his utter surprise; “then, if all who consented to the coronation of my son are excommunicated, by the eyes of God, I am so too!” “Sire, this is not all,” continued the bishops; “the man who has done you this injury is setting the whole kingdom in a flame; he marches about with armed bodies of horse and foot, prowling round the fortresses, and seeking to take them.”5
On hearing this grossly exaggerated statement, the king was seized with one of those fits of passion to which he was subject; he changed colour, and beating his hands together: “What!” he exclaimed, “shall a man who has eaten my bread, who came to my court upon a lame horse, lift his foot to strike me? shall he insult the king, the royal family, and all the kingdom, and not one of the lazy servants whom I nourish at my table do me right for such an affront?”6 These words went not forth in vain from the king’s lips; four knights of the palace, Richard le Breton, Hugh de Morville, William de Traci, and Renault Fitz-Ours, who heard him, making a vow together for life and death, suddenly departed for England, on Christmas day.1 Their absence was not perceived, or still less, its cause suspected; and even while they were galloping to the coast, the council of Norman barons, assembled by the king, named three commissioners to arrest and imprison Thomas Beket, on a charge of high treason;2 the conspirators, however, who were in advance of the royal commissioners, left them nothing to do.
Five days after Christmas-day, the four Norman knights arrived at Canterbury. This city was all excitement on account of new excommunications which the archbishop had just pronounced against persons who had insulted him, and, in particular, against Renouf de Broc, who had amused himself with cutting off the tail of one of his horses.3 The four knights entered Canterbury with a troop of armed men whom they had collected from the castles on their way.4 They first required the provost of the city to order the citizens to march in arms, on the king’s service, to the archbishop’s palace; the provost refusing, the Normans ordered him, at least to take measures that, throughout the day, no citizen should stir, whatever might happen.5 The four conspirators, with twelve of their friends, then proceeded to the palace and to the apartment of the primate.6
Beket had just finished dinner, and his followers were still at table; he saluted the Normans on their entrance, and demanded the object of their visit. They made no intelligible answer, but sitting down, looked fixedly at him for some minutes.7 Renault Fitz-Ours at length spoke: “We come from the king,” said he, “to demand that the excommunicated be absolved, that the suspended bishops be re-established, and that you yourself do penance for your offences towards the king.”8 “It was not I who excommunicated the archbishop of York,” replied Beket, “but the sovereign pontiff; it is he, consequently, who alone has the power to absolve him. As to the others, I will re-establish them if they will make their submision to me.”1 “But of whom, then,” asked Renault, “do you hold your archbishopric? from the king, or from the pope?”—“I hold the spiritual rights from God and from the pope, and the temporal rights from the king.” “What! it is not, then, the king who gave you all?”—“By no means,” replied Beket.2 The Normans murmured at this answer, denounced the distinction as a quibble, and became impatient, moving about on their chairs and twisting their gloves.3 “You threaten me, it would appear,” said the primate; “but ’tis in vain; were all the swords in England drawn against me, you would get nothing from me.” “We will do more than threaten,” answered Fitz-Ours, suddenly rising, and the others followed him to the door, crying: “To arms!”4
The door of the apartment was immediately closed behind them; Renault armed himself in the outer court, and taking an axe from the hands of a carpenter who was at work there, struck the door to force it open.5 The archbishop’s people, hearing the blows, intreated the primate to seek refuge in the church, which communicated with his apartment by a cloister or gallery; he refused, and they were impelling him thither, when one of the attendants remarked that the vesper bell had rung. “Since it is the hour for my duty, I will go to the church,” said the archbishop; and having his cross borne before him, he slowly traversed the cloister, and advanced towards the high altar, separated from the nave by an iron grating, the door of which was open.6 He had scarcely set foot on the steps of the altar, when Renault Fitz-Ours appeared at the other end of the church, in his coat of mail, his long, two-edged sword in his hand, crying: “A moi, à moi, vassaux du roi!” The other conspirators were immediately behind him, armed like himself from head to foot, and brandishing their swords. The persons who were with the primate proposed to shut the grating; he forbad this, and left the altar to prevent it; they earnestly intreated him to take refuge in the subterranean church, or to ascend the stairs, which, by many windings, led to the roof of the edifice. This advice was equally rejected. Meantime, the knights advanced; a voice exclaimed: “Where is the traitor?” No one answered. “Where is the archbishop?” “Behold him,” replied Beket, “but there is no traitor here; what came you to do in the house of God, in such attire? what is your object?” “Your death.” “I am prepared to die; you will not see me avoid your swords; but in the name of Almighty God, I forbid you to touch any of my companions, priest or layman, great or small.” At this moment he received a blow from the flat of a sword on his shoulders, and he who struck him said: “Fly, or thou diest.” He did not stir; the knights endeavoured to drag him out of the church, feeling scrupulous of killing him in it. He struggled with them, and declared firmly that he would not withdraw but would compel them to execute their intentions or their orders in the sacred place.1
During this struggle, the priests in attendance upon the primate all fled and abandoned him, with one sole exception, the cross-bearer, Edward Grim, the same who had so fearlessly expressed his opinions after the council at Clarendon. The conspirators, seeing that he was totally unarmed, took little notice of him, and one of them, William de Tracy, raised his sword to strike the archbishop on the head; but the faithful and courageous Saxon immediately extended his right arm to parry the blow: the arm was cut off, and Thomas received but a slight wound.2 “Strike, strike, all of you!” cried the Norman to his companions; and a second blow on the head prostrated the archbishop with his face to the earth; a third blow split his skull, the stroke being so violent that the sword broke on the pavement.3 A man-at-arms, named William Maltret, contemptuously kicked the motionless body, saying: “Thus die the traitor who troubled the kingdom and excited the English to revolt.”4
And, indeed, an historian relates that the inhabitants of Canterbury arose and collected tumultuously in the streets.1 Among them was seen not one rich man or noble; all these remained within their houses, and semeed intimidated by the popular excitement.2 Men and women, by their dress readily recognisable as Saxons, hastened to the cathedral church and rushed in at every door. At sight of the body, still extended near the steps of the altar, they wept, and exclaimed that they had lost their father; some kissed the feet and hands, and others dipped their garments in the blood which covered the pavement. On their side, the Norman authorities did not remain inactive; and an edict, proclaimed by sound of trumpet, forbad any one to say publicly that Thomas of Canterbury was a martyr.3 The archbishop of York ascended the pulpit to announce his death as an effect of the divine vengeance, saying that he had perished like Pharaoh, in his crime and in his pride.4 Other bishops preached that the body of the traitor ought not to repose in holy ground, but should be cast on a dunghill or left to rot on a gibbet.5 An attempt was even made by the soldiers to get possession of the body of the Norman king’s enemy; but the priests were warned in time, and hastily buried it in the vaults of their church.6
These efforts of the powerful to persecute even beyond the tomb the man who had dared to withstand them, rendered his memory still more dear to the oppressed population; they made a saint of him, in defiance of the Norman authority and without the sanction of the Roman church.7 As Waltheof before him, Thomas Beket worked, upon the spot where he had died, miracles visible to Saxon imaginations, and the report of which, hailed with enthusiasm, spread over England. Two years elapsed ere the new saint was acknowledged and canonized at Rome; and all that time it was with no slight danger that those who believed in him named him in their masses, and that the poor and sick visited his tomb.1 The cause he had maintained with such inflexible determination, was that of mind against power, of the weak against the strong; and, above all, that of the conquered of the Norman conquest against the conquerors. Under whatever aspect we view his story, this national attribute is discernible; it may be deemed subordinate to others, but its existence cannot be denied. It is certain that the popular voice associated in the same regret the memory of St. Thomas of Canterbury and the recollection of the conquest. It was said, incorrectly perhaps, but with a poetry, the meaning of which is unequivocal, that the death of the saint had been sworn in the same castle and in the same chamber, in which was sworn the oath of Harold, and the oath of the chiefs of the army to the Bastard, previous to the expedition against England.2
A circumstance worthy of remark is, that the only primate of Norman race who, prior to the English Beket, had opposed lay authority, was a friend to the Saxons, and, perhaps, the only friend they had found among the race of their conquerors. This was Anselm, he who pleaded against Lanfranc the cause of the saints of old England. Anselm, become archbishop, endeavoured to revive the ancient custom of ecclesiastical elections in lieu of the absolute right of royal nomination, introduced by William the Conqueror. He had to combat at once William Rufus, all the bishops of England, and pope Urban, who supported the king and the bishops.1 Persecuted in England and condemned at Rome, he was compelled to retire to France, and in exile wrote as Thomas Beket wrote after him: “Rome loves money more than justice; there is no help in her for him who has not wherewithal to purchase it.”2 After Anselm came other archbishops, more docile to the traditions of the conquest; Raoul, William de Corbeil, and Thibaut, Beket’s predecessor. None of them attempted to enter into opposition with the royal power, and union reigned between royalty and the priesthood, as in the time of the invasion, until the fatal moment when an Englishman by birth obtained the primacy.
A fact no less remarkable is, that a few years after the death of Thomas Beket, a priest arose in Wales, who, following his example, but from motives more unequivocally national, and with a less tragic result, struggled against Henry II. and against John, his son and second successor. In the year 1176, the clergy of the ancient metropolitan church of Saint David, in Pembrokeshire, chose for a bishop, subject to the ultimate approbation of the king of England, Girauld de Barri, archdeacon, the son of a Norman, and the grandson of a Norman and a Welshwoman.3 The priests of St. David selected this candidate of mixed origin, because they knew perfectly well, says Girauld de Barri himself, that the king would never allow a Cambrian of pure race to become the chief of the principal church of Wales.4 This moderation was vain, and the choice of a man born in the country, and Welsh by his grandmother, was regarded as an act of hostility to the royal power. The property of the church of Saint David was sequestrated, and the principal priests of that church were cited to appear before king Henry in person, at his castle of Winchester.5
Henry asked them menacingly how they had dared, of themselves and without his order, not merely to choose a bishop, but to elect him; then, in his own bed-chamber, he ordered them to elect forthwith a Norman monk named Peter, whom they did not know, who was not introduced to them, and whose name only was told to them. They accepted him tremblingly, and returned to their country, where shortly after bishop Peter arrived, escorted by a number of servants, and accompanied by relations, male and female, among whom he distributed the territorial possessions of the church of Saint David. He imposed a tax on the priests of that church, took the tithe of their cattle, and exacted from all his diocesans extraordinary aids and presents at the four great festivals of the year. He so cruelly afflicted the people of the country that, despite the danger they incurred in resisting a bishop imposed by the Anglo-Normans, they drove him from his church, after having endured him for eight years.1
Whilst the elected of king Henry II. was pillaging the church of St. David, the elected of the clergy of that church was living proscribed and an exile in France, without aid or encouragement, for the king considered, that by protecting an obscure bishop of the petty country of Wales, he could not do the king of England any material injury or annoyance. Girauld, destitute of all resources abroad, found himself obliged to return home, notwithstanding the danger he might incur there; and on the eve of quitting Paris he went to pray in the chapel which the archbishop of Reims, brother of king Louis VII. had consecrated to the memory of Thomas Beket, in the church of Saint Germain l’Auxerrois.2 Arrived in England, his powerless position secured him exemption from maltreatment; nay, by a private arrangement with the Norman prelate whom the Welsh had driven from Saint David’s, he was charged ad interim and simply as bishop’s substitute with the episcopal functions. But he soon renounced his office in disgust at the vexations to which he was subjected by his principal, who every day sent him orders to excommunicate one or more of his own partisans and most devoted friends.3 The Normans of England had just undertaken the conquest of Ireland. They offered Girauld, whom they did not wish to be a bishop in his native land, three bishoprics and an Ireland; but, though the grandson of one of the conquerors of Cambria, Girauld would not consent to become an instrument of oppression to a foreign nation. “I refused,” he says, in his narrative of his own life, “because the Irish, like the Welsh, will never accept or receive as bishop, unless upon compulsion, a man not born amongst them.”
In the year 1198, in the reign of John, son of Henry II., the Norman bishop of Saint David’s died in England; and hereupon the Welsh chapter, by an unanimous act of will and of courage, without awaiting the order of the king of England, again proceeded to an election, and, for the second time, nominated Girauld de Barri.1 On receiving this intelligence, king John flew into a violent passion. He had the election declared null by the archbishop of Canterbury, in virtue of the pretended right of religious supremacy over all Britain, which six hundred years before the Cambrians had so energetically refused to acknowledge. The elect of Saint David’s denied this supremacy, declaring that his church had been, from all antiquity, metropolitan and free, without subjection to any other, and that consequently no primate had power to revoke its elections.2 Such had, in fact, been the right of the church of Saint David’s, previous to the conquest of Pembrokeshire in the reign of Henry I. One of the first operations of Norman authority had been to abolish this prerogative, and to extend over the Cambrians the ecclesiastical unity established in England as a curb for the Anglo-Saxons. “Never in my life,” said Henry I., “will I permit the Welsh to have an archbishop.”3
Thus the dispute as to ecclesiastical privilege between Girauld and the see of Canterbury, was nothing more or less than one of the phases of the great question of the subjection of Wales. A strong army could alone settle the dispute, and Girauld had no army. He went to Rome to the pope, the common resource of men who had no other, and found at the pontifical court an envoy from the king of England, who had anticipated him, laden with magnificent presents for the sovereign pontiff and the cardinals.4 The elected of Saint David’s brought with him nothing but old, worm-eaten title-deeds, and the supplications of a nation which had never been rich.1
In anticipation of the decree to be procured from the Sacred College by king John’s ambassador, Regnault Foliot, (who, by a curious chance, bore the same name with one of Beket’s mortal foes,) that at no time had there been an archbishop of Saint David’s, all the possessions of that church and the private property of Girauld de Barri were confiscated. Proclamations denounced as traitor to the king the self-styled elect of the Cambrians, the audacious man who sought to raise against the king his subjects of Wales. Raoul de Bienville, bailiff of Pembroke, a gentle ruler, merciful to the conquered, was deprived of his office, and one Nicolas Avenel, notorious for his ferocious character, came from England to replace him.2 This Avenel published an address to the Welsh in these terms: “Know all that Girauld the archdeacon is the king’s enemy, and aggressor against the crown; if any of you dare to hold correspondence with him, such man’s house, his land, and his goods shall be given to the first comer.” In the intervals of three journeys that Girauld made to Rome, and between which he had to remain in concealment to avoid violence, menacing injunctions were conveyed to his former residence. One of them ran thus: “We order and counsel thee, as thou lovest thy body and thy limbs, not to hold any chapters or synods in any place within the king’s territory; and consider thyself warned that thy body and all that belongs to thee, wherever thou mayst be found, will be placed at the mercy of the lord king in good custody.”3
After a period of five years, during which the court of Rome, following its usual policy, prefaced its final sentence by vague decisions alternately favourable and unfavourable to both parties, Girauld was formally condemned, upon the testimony of some Welshmen, induced by poverty and fear to sell themselves to the Normans, and whom Regnault Foliot took to Rome with great ceremony to bear witness against their own country. Terror and bribes at length brought even the members of the chapter of Saint David to desert the bishop of their choice, and to acknowledge the supremacy of a foreign metropolis. When Girauld de Barri, after his deprivation, returned to his country, none dared open their doors to him; and the persecuted of the conquerors was shunned as a leper. The Normans, however, had no desire to make him undergo the fate of Thomas Beket, and he was only cited before a synod of bishops in England, to be censured and to receive his sentence of canonical degradation. The Norman prelates amused themselves with rallying him on his vast labours and their small success. “You must be mad,” said the bishop of Ely, “to take so much trouble to do people a good which they do not desire, and to make them free in spite of themselves; for you see that they now disown you.” “You say the truth there,” answered Girauld, “and I was far from expecting such a result. I did not think that the priests of St. David, who so recently were members of a free nation, were capable of bowing beneath the yoke like you English, so long since serfs and slaves, and with whom slavery has become a second nature.”
Girauld de Barri renounced all public affairs, and, devoting himself entirely to literature, under the title of Giraldus Cambrensis, Girauld the Cambrian, he obtained greater celebrity in the world as an elegant writer, than he had done as the antagonist of power. In fact, few people in Europe, in the twelfth century, took any interest in the question whether or no the last remnant of the ancient population of the Celts should lose its religious and civil independence among foreigners. There was small sympathy abroad in such a calamity; but in the heart of Wales, in that portion of the country whither the terror of the Norman lances had not yet penetrated, the exertions of Girauld for Wales were an universal subject of conversation and of praise. “Our country,” said the chief of Powis, in a political assembly, “has sustained great struggles with the men of England; but none of us ever did so much against them as the elected of Saint David’s; for he has stood as a rock against their king, their primate, their priests, against all of them, for the honour of Wales.”1 At the court of Llewellyn, the chief of North Wales, at a solemn banquet, a bard arose, and took his harp to celebrate the devotion of Girauld to the cause of Saint David and of the Welsh nation.2 “So long as our land shall endure,” said the poet, in extempore verse, “let his noble daring be commemorated by the pens of those who write and the mouths of those who sing.”1
We of the present day may well smile at these squabbles between kings and bishops, which made so much noise in centuries less enlightened than our own; but we must acknowledge that among these disputes there were some, at least, of a very grave nature. To the Roman chancery, the centre of the diplomacy of the middle ages, there often came appeals founded upon justice and upon truly national interests; and such, we must confess, were seldom deemed worthy of being the objects of a pontifical bull. Neither bull nor brief of pope Alexander III. menaced Henry II. when eight Welsh chiefs appealed to that pope against the foreign bandits whom the kings of England quartered upon them under the titles of priests and bishops. “These bishops, come from another land,” said the chiefs in their petition, “detest us, us and our country; they are our mortal enemies; how can they take an interest in the welfare of our souls? They have been placed among us, as in ambush, to shoot at us from behind, like Parthians, and excommunicate us at the first order they receive. Whenever an expedition is making ready in England against us, suddenly the primate of Canterbury places an interdict upon the territory they purpose to invade; and our bishops, who are his creatures, hurl anathema upon the whole people in a body, and, by name, upon the chiefs who arm to fight at their head. Thus all among us who perish in the defence of our country die excommunicate.”2
If the reader will picture to himself the horror of such a situation, at a time when catholicism reigned dominant from one end of Europe to the other, he will at once comprehend how fearful an engine of subjection the Christian conquerors possessed, who had a reserve of churchmen in the train of their steel-clad battalions. He will readily conceive how men of courage and natural good sense addressed themselves to the pope, supplicated him, and put their trust in him; he will conceive that men, who were neither prebendaries nor monks, rejoiced, in the middle ages, to see those who crushed the people under the feet of their chargers, themselves called upon to render an account to a power too often their accomplice in oppression and in contempt of man. He will feel less pity for the grandees of the age when the dart of excommunication chances to fall on their mailed cuirass; for they often applied it to strike unarmed populations. Having once planted in another man’s field their bandroled lance, they denounced for every defender of the paternal inheritance, death in this life, and, by the mouth of the priests, everlasting damnation in the next; over the body of the dying they held out their hand to the sovereign pontiff, and dividing with him the spoil of the vanquished people, nourished by voluntary tributes those ecclesiastical thunders which sometimes glanced upon themselves, but which, when hurled in their service, struck a sure and mortal blow.
[1 ] . . . Gilbertus, cognomento Beket. (Vita et processus Sancti Thomæ Cantuariensis, seu quadripartita historia, cap. ii. fol. 3.)
[1 ] Young Bekie was as brave a knight...
In London was young Beichan born...
(Jamieson’s Popular Ballads, vol. ii. pp. 117, 127.)
[2 ] ...Nichil aliud interrogare pro tinere noverat, nisi tantum Londonia, Londonia...quasi bestia erratica per plateas civitatis incedens...derisui liabebatur omnibus. (Vita et processus, &c. loc. cit.)
[3 ] Jamieson’s Popular Ballads, loc. cit. See Appendix No. IV.
[4 ] Parentum mediocrium proles illustris. (Gervas. Cantuar., Act. Pontif. Cantuar., apud Hist. Angl. Script., Selden, col. 1668.)
[1 ] Willelm. filius Stephani, Vita S. Thomæ, p. 11, apud Hist. Angl. Script., (Sparke) Lond., 1753.—Joh. Bromton, Chron., col. 1056.
[2 ] Joh. Bromton, ut sup.
[5 ] Subtilissima providentia et perquisitione cujusdam Thomæ... (Ger. Cantuar., Chron., apud Hist. Angl. Script., Selden, col. 1371.)
[1 ] The chancellor of England, at this time, had no distinct court of judicature, in which he presided: but he acted together with the justiciary and other great officers in matters of the revenue, at the exchequer, and sometimes in the counties, upon circuits. The great seal being in his custody, he supervised and sealed the writs and precepts, that issued in proceedings pending in the king’s court, and in the exchequer. He also supervised all charters, which were to be sealed with that seal. Mr. Madox observes, that he was usually a bishop or prelate, because he was looked upon as chief of the king’s chapel, which was under his special care. In the council his rank was very high. It seems that he had the principal direction and conduct of all foreign affairs, performing most of that business which is now done by the secretaries of state.”—Lyttleton, Life of Henry II., ii. 312, 313.
[2 ] Vita B. Thomæ quadripartita, lib. i. cap. v. p. 9.
[3 ]Ib. cap. iv. p. 8.
[4 ] Nulla fere die comedebat absque comitibus et baronibus. (Will. filius Steph., Vita S. Thomæ, ut sup. p. 14.)
[5 ]Ib. See Appendix No. III.
[1 ] Gervas. Cantuar., Chron., col. 1381.
[2 ] Turner’s H. of England, from the Norman Conquest to the accession of Edw. I., p. 202.
[3 ] Ipsemet clericus cum esset...loricus indutus et galea ... (Will. fil. Steph., ut sup. p. 16.) Quam audenter, quam strenue in partibus Tolosanis cum pauca manu militari, domino suo rege ab obsidiome Tholosæ tunc recedente, remanserit, captasque in terrâ illâ a rege munitiones conservarit aliasque in manu forti acquisierit. (Vita S. Thomæ quadrip., lib. i. cap. v. p. 9.)
[1 ] Wilkins, Concilia Magnæ Britann., i. 431.
[1 ] Rex etenim populi sui pacem..zelans..audiens talium clericorum immo verius coronatorum demonum flagitia non reprimi.. (Vita B. Thomæ quad., lib. i. cap. xvii. p. 33.)
[2 ] Clerici acephali.
[1 ] Williel. Fil. Steph., ut sup. p. 17.
[2 ] Vita B. Thom quadrip., lib. i. cap. vi. p. 13.
[3 ] Cleri Angliæ ad B. Thomam epist., apud Epist divi Thomæ, (Lupus) lib. i. p. 190.
[1 ] Vita B. Thomæ quadrip., lib. i. cap. vi. p. 11.
[3 ] Willelm. filius Steph., ut sup. p. 24. Vita B. Thomæ quadrip., lib. i. cap. viii.—xiii.
[4 ] Iid. ib.
[5 ] Willelm. filius Steph., ut sup. p. 27. Vita B. Thomæ, lib. i. cap. ix. p. 16, 17.
[1 ] Vita B. Thomæ, lib. i. cap. xvii. p. 32. Matth. Paris, i. 98. Radulf de Diceto, ut sup. col. 534.
[2 ] Order. Vitalis, Hist Ecclesiastica, apud Script. rer. Norm. passim.
[3 ] Monaclius fugitivus et apostata in Normannia. (Willelm. Thorn, Chron., apud Hist. Angl. Script; Selden, ii. col. 1819.)
[1 ] Gervas. Cantuar., Act. Pontif. Cantuar., apud Hist. Angl. Script., (Selden ii. col. 1669.)
[2 ] Id., Chron., ib. col. 1384.
[3 ] Id. ib.
[4 ] Radulf de Diceto, ut sup. col. 536.
[1 ] Radulf de Diceto, ut sup.
[2 ] Willelm. filius Stephani, ut sup. p. 28.
[3 ] Vita B. Thomæ quadrip., lib. i. cap. xvii. p. 33.
[1 ]Ib. Willelm. filius Stephani, p. 31.
[2 ] Roger de Hoveden, Annal. pars post, apud Rer. Anglic. Script., (Savile) p. 492.
[3 ] Willelm. filius. Steph., loc. cit.
[4 ] Roger de Hoveden, ut sup. p. 493. Vita B. Thomæ, lib. i. cap. xx. p. 35, 36.
[5 ] Roger de Hoveden loc. cit.
[1 ] Roger de Hoveden, loco supra cit.
[2 ] Matth. Paris, i. 100.
[4 ] Roger de Hoveden, loc. cit.
[5 ] Gervas. Chron., ut sup. col. 1386.
[7 ] Roger de Hoveden, loc. cit.
[1 ] Fleury, Hist. Ecclesiast., xv. 150.
[2 ] [The sixteen articles of the Constitutions of Clarendon, relating particularly to ecclesiastical affairs, run thus:
1. If any dispute shall arise concerning the advowson and presentation of churches, between laymen, or between ecclesiastics and laymen, or between ecclesiastics, let it be tried and determined in the court of our lord the king.
2. Ecclesiastics arraigned and accused of any matter, being summoned by the king’s justiciary, shall come into his court, to answer there, concerning that which it shall appear to the king’s court is cognizable there; and shall answer in the ecclesiastical court, concerning that which it shall appear is cognizable there; so that the king’s justiciary shall send to the court of holy church, to see in what manner the cause shall be tried there; and if an ecclesiastick shall be convicted, or confess his crime, the church ought not any longer to give him protection.
3. It is unlawful for archbishops, bishops, and any dignified clergymen of the realm, to go out of the realm without the king’s licence; and if they shall go, they shall, if it so please the king, give security, that they will not, either in going, staying, or returning, procure any evil, or damage, to the king, or the kingdom.
4. Persons excommunicated ought not to give any security by way of deposit, nor take any oath, but only find security and pledge to stand to the judgment of the church, in order to absolution.
5. No tenant in chief of the king, nor any of the officers of his houshold, or of his demesne, shall be excommunicate nor shall the lands of any of them be put under an interdict, unless application shall first have been made to our lord the king, if he be in the kingdom, or if he be out of the kingdom, to his justiciary, that he may do right concerning such person; and in such manner, as that what shall belong to the king’s court shall be there determined, and what shall belong to the ecclesiastical court shall be sent thither, that it may there be determined.
6. Concerning appeals, if any shall arise, they ought to proceed from the archdeacon to the bishop, and from the bishop to the archbishop. And, if the archbishop shall fail in doing justice, the cause shall at last be brought to our lord the king, that by his precept the dispute may be determined in the archbishop’s court; so that it ought not to proceed any further without the consent of our lord the king.
7. If there shall arise any dispute between an ecclesiastic and a layman, or between a layman and an ecclesiastic, about any tenement, which the ecclesiastic pretends to be held in frank almoigne, and the layman pretends to be a lay fee, it shall be determined before the king’s chief justice by the trial of twelve lawful men, whether the tenement belongs to frank almoigne, or is a lay fee; and if it be found to be frank almoigne, then it shall be pleaded in the ecclesiastical court; but if a lay fee, then in the king’s court; unless both parties shall claim to hold of the same bishop or baron; but if both shall claim to hold the said fee under the same bishop, or baron, the plea shall be in his court; provided that by reason of such trial the party who was first seized shall not lose his seizin, till it shall have been finally determined by the plea.
8. Whosoever is of any city, or castle, or borough, or demesne manor, of our lord the king, if he shall be cited by the archdeacon or bishop for any offence, and shall refuse to answer to such citation, it is allowable to put him under an interdict; but he ought not to be excommunicated, before the king’s chief officer of the town be applied to, that he may by due course of law compel him to answer accordingly; and if the king’s officer shall fail therein, such officer shall be at the mercy of our lord the king; and then the bishop may compel the person accused by ecclesiastical justice.
9. Pleas of debt, whether they be due by faith solemnly pledged, or without faith so pledged, belong to the king’s judicature.
10. When an archbishopric, or bishopric, or abbey, or priory, of royal foundation, shall be vacant, it ought to be in the hands of our lord the king, and he shall receive all the rents and issues thereof, as of his demesne; and when that church is to be supplied, our lord the king ought to send for the principal clergy of that church, and the election ought to be made in the king’s chapel, with the assent of our lord the king, and the advice of such of the prelates of the kingdom as he shall call for that purpose; and the person elect shall there do homage and fealty to our lord the king, as his liege lord, of life, limb, and worldly honor (saving his order) before he be consecrated.
11. Churches belonging to the fee of our lord the king cannot be given away in perpetuity, without the consent and grant of the king.
12. Laymen ought not to be accused unless by certain and legal accusers and witnesses, in presence of the bishop, so as that the archdeacon may not lose his right, nor any thing which should thereby accrue to him: and if the offending persons be such as that none will or dare accuse them, the sheriff, being thereto required by the bishop, shall swear twelve lawful men of the vicinage, or town, before the bishop, to declare the truth, according to their conscience.
13. Archbishops, bishops, and all dignified clergymen who hold of the king in chief, have their possessions from the king as a barony, and answer thereupon to the king’s justices and officers, and follow and perform all royal customs and rights, and, like other barons, ought to be present at the trials of the king’s court with the barons, till the judgment proceeds to loss of members or death.
14. If any nobleman of the realm shall forcibly resist the archbishop, bishop, or archdeacon, in doing justice upon him or his, the king ought to bring them to justice; and if any shall forcibly resist the king in his judicature, the archbishops, bishops, and archdeacons, ought to bring him to justice, that he may make satisfaction to our lord the king.
15. The chattels of those who are under forfeiture to the king ought not to be detained in any church, or church-yard, against the king’s justiciary; because they belong to the king, whether they are found within churches or without.
16. The sons of villeins ought not to be ordained without the consent of their lords, in whose lands they are known to have been born. Translated from the Cottonian MSS. Claud. B. fol. 26.]
[1 ] See vol. i. book vi.
[2 ] Joh. Pictav. Episc. ad Thomam Epist., apud Script. rer. Gallic., &c., xvi. 216.
[1 ] Roger de Hoveden, ut. sup.
[3 ] Ut sic per eum posset canturiensem archiepiscopum confundere. (Ib.)
[5 ] Willelm. filius Steph., ut. sup. p. 35. Vita B. Thomæ, lib. i. cap. xxiii. p. 42. Eduardus, Vita S. Thomæ, apud Lurium, De Probatis sanctorum vitis, mense Decembri, p. 357.
[6 ] Willelm. filius Steph., ut. sup. Vita B. Thomæ, cap. xxv. p. 46.
[7 ] Roger de Hoveden, ut. sup. p. 494.
[1 ] Roger de Hoveden, ut. sup. p. 404.
[2 ] Willelm filius Steph., ut. sup. p. 36—38.
[3 ] Roger de Hoveden, ut. sup.
[4 ] . . Attulit in curiâ meâ quendam Troper . . (Id. ib.)
[5 ] . . in misericordiá regis. . (Ib.)
[1 ] Propter tædium et dolorem . . (Ib.)
[2 ]Ib. p. 495.
[3 ] Episcop. et Cleri Angliæ ad Alexandrum papam, Epist., apud Epist. div. Thomæ, lib. ii. p. 364.
“To understand many passages which occur in this history, it will be necessary to settle as nearly as we can, what the nominal and real value of money then was, compared with the present.
“Bishop Fleetwood, who has written a book on this subject, quoting the words of an ancient historian upon the agreement made with king Henry the First by his eldest brother Robert, viz. that Robert, in lieu of his claim to the kingdom of England, should have 3000l. per annum in weight, says, ‘that the words in weight are put in to signify that the money should not be clipped: for a pound by tale was at this time, and long after, most certainly a pound in weight.’ He also calls Du Fresne to prove that the Libia Gallica was the same with the Libra Anglo-Normannica.
“Another learned antiquary, Sir Robert Atkyns, says, ‘that in the Norman times, and ever since, a shilling was accounted twelve pence, and every penny weighing threepence, there must be the weight of three of our shillings in one shilling of the Norman computation, and consequently ‘twenty Norman shillings do likewise make a pound weight.’
“Mr. Madox, in his History of the Exchequer, cites a short treatise touching sheriffs’ accounts, supposed to be written by Sir M. Hale, in which are these words: ‘The solutio ad pensum was the payment of money into the Exchequer by full weight, viz. that a pound, or xx shillings in silver numero, by tale, shall not be received for a pound, unless it did exactly weigh a pound weight Troy, or twelve ounces; and if it wanted any, that then the payer should make good the weight, by adding other money, although it amounted to more or less than sixpence in the pound (which was the solutio ad scalam.) And thus frequently occurs in the Pipe-iolls, In thesauro C. l. ad pensum, or full weight.’ Upon this passage Mr. Madox makes these observations: ‘There is frequent mention made in the most ancient Pipe-rolls of payment ad pensum; but not (that I know) of payment ad scalam. On the other part, his observation touching the payment ad scalam, viz. in the sixpence per pound advance, is, I believe, just.’ Which he confirms by authorities in the Exchequer, and shows it was so accounted from the reign of Henry the First, to the end of the reign of Edward the First.
“But Mr. Folkes, in his table of English coins, says, ‘that king William the First introduced no new weight into his mints, but that the same weight, used there for some ages after, and called the pound of the Tower of London, was the old pound of the Saxon moneyers before the Conquest. This pound was lighter than the Troy pound by three quarters of an ounce Troy, and did not very sensibly differ from twelve ounces of the weight still used in the money affairs of Germany, and there known by the name of the Colonia weight. And whereas the present standard of England, of eleven ounces two pennyweight fine, to eighteen pennyweight of allay, is called, in the oldest accounts of the mint extant, the old standard, or the standard of the old sterlings; it is most probable that these pennies were of that standard, and that the pound of the Tower of such standard silver was then cut into 240 of these pennies. Whence the weight of the penny will be found twenty-two Troy grains and a half, and the intrinsic value of twenty shillings, or of 240 such pennies of full weight, was the same as the value of fifty-eight shillings and one penny halfpenny of our present coined money.’
“Nevertheless, to avoid troubling the reader with fractions, I shall, with the above-cited authors, suppose, that from the beginning of the reign of William the First, till after the death of Henry the Second, the English pound must be understood to mean a pound weight of silver, containing three times the quantity of silver contained in our present pound sterling, the shilling and pennies weighing also three times as much as ours.
“It appears from a passage in Florence of Worcester, that the common mark in those days was two thirds of a pound of silver, that is, twice the value of our present pound sterling. His words are these, ‘Pacem inter fraties eà ratione composuere, ut ter mille marcas, id est, 2000 libras argenti, singulis annis rex persolveret comiti, &c.’ And agreeably to this Mr. Madox shows in his History of the Exchequer, ‘that nine marks of silver were equivalent to six pounds in the reign of king Stephen; that is, they were then, as they have continued ever since, 13s. 4d.’ He also observes from the Pipe-rolls, that, in the same reign, nine marks of silver were accepted in payment for one mark of gold. And that, in another instance un der the reign of Henry the Second, six pounds in silver were paid for one mark of gold.
“The Angevin pound, of which mention is sometimes made in the history of those times, was but a fourth part of an English pound, for Hoveden says, that by an ordinance of Richard the First, while he was in Sicily, during the crusade, one penny English was to go in all markets for four Angevin pence.
“Having thus shown how much silver was contained in the pounds and marks of those days, I shall next endeavour to show what proportion the value of silver then bore to the common value of it at present.
“This has been estimated differently by authors who have treated the subject, some thinking that it ought to be reckoned at twenty, some at fifteen or sixteen, and some at ten times the present rate.
“To form some conjecture, which of these computations is nearest the truth, or rather to show that they are all much too high, I shall transcribe a few passages from the contemporary authors.
“And first, with regard to the price of coin in those times, (which is thought the best standard to judge by in determining this question) I find that, in the year 1126, the twenty-fifth of Henry the First, six shillings a quarter was thought an excessive price to be given for wheat. Henry of Huntington says, ‘Iste est annus carissimus omnium nostri temporis, in quo vendebatur onus equi frumentarium sex solidis.’ And Henry of Hoveden, whose history is carried down to the year 1201, describes this with the same, and even stronger expressions, ‘Hoc anno (id est, 1126.) fames magna, et annonæ tanta fuit caritas, quantum nemo nostro in tempore vidit, quando vendebatur onus equi frumentarium sex solidis.’ By another passage in Henry of Huntington, it appears, that onus equi frumentarium was the same as sextarius, what we now call a quarter, containing eight bushels. His words are these, ‘Circa hoc tempus (Edwardi Confessoris anno quinto) tanta fames Angliam invasit, quod sextarias frumenti, qui equo uni solet esse oneri, venundaretur quinque solidis, et etiam plus.’ And six shillings a quarter is the highest price that I find to have been given for wheat, from the times of Edward the Confessor till after the death of Henry the Second. What was the common or middle price of wheat in those days, I find no account in the contemporary authors. But, from passage in Matthew Paris, it appears, that in the year 1244, when the value of money was certainly not lower than it had been in the times of Henry the Second, two shillings a quarter was thought a low price. ‘Transiit igitur annus ille frugifer abundantar et fructifer, ita quod summa frumenti ad precium duorum solidorum descendebat.’ Summa frumenti is a seam, or quarter of wheat. It must be observed, that according to the same author, the preceding year had also been sufficiently fruitful in grains of all kinds, frugifer satis et fructifer (V. M. Par. sub anno 1243.) So that before this fall in the price of corn by the produce of the year 1244, it could not have been very high. A mitting then that the silver, which was contained in two shillings when Matthew Paris wrote, weighed as much as six shillings of our present money, if we suppose that the value of silver was ten times as great, (which is the lowest computation of the three abovementioned) the price of wheat here set down as an indication of great plenty, was very little short of what we give now in a year of great scarcity, viz. eight shillings a bushel. But if we reduce the value of silver in respect to commodities, to only five times the present, the price mentioned by Matthew Paris will then be under four shillings a bushel. And by the same way of computing, six shillings a quarter will be equivalent to what is now an exceeding high price, and may well be called a famine, viz. about eleven shillings a bushel. Nevertheless it appears that, in the year 1351, workmen were to take their wages in wheat at the rate of 10d. a bushel, which is 6s. 8d. a quarter. But it must be observed, that before that time, viz. in the year 1346, the weight, of the penny was brought down to twenty graius Troy. (See Folkes on English coins, p. 11.) The increase of our trade, and of the specie in the kingdom, under Edward the First and Edward the Third, may have also occasioned a diminution in the value of silver with respect to commodities. Whereas money or bullion must have been more scarce in England under Henry the Third, than it had been from the Conquest till the death of Henry the Second, by the great drains made from thence in the reign of Richard the First, to support his crusade, and pay his ransom; and by the vast sums that were annually sent to Rome. Nor was any alteration yet made in the weight of the coin. The common or mean rate for wheat at Windsor market, for fifty years from 1696 to 1746, was 5s. 4d. a bushel.
“About the year 1145, the tenant of a certain place was to pay yearly twenty shillings, or seven oxen, each worth three shillings. These oxen must have been lean; for when they were to be fat, we find it so expressed in other agreements; and I suppose they were of a moderate size. Reckoning therefore three shillings of the money in those days as equal in weight to nine of ours, and multiplying the latter by five, a lean ox, of a moderate size, was then rated at a price equivalent to forty-five shillings of our present money.
“In the year 1185, the tenants of Shireborn were to pay either twopence, or four hens, which they would. If therefore we compute the twopence at sixpence, and multiply that by five, the price of these hens was equivalent to sevenpence halfpenny each at this time. And a hen not fatted is commonly valued at that rate in the country, or not much above it.
“By a treaty made in the year 1173, the earl of Toulouse agreed to pay to king Henry the Second, and to Richard his son, as earl of Poictou, 100 marks of silver per annum, or, in lieu thereof, ten war-horses of price, each of which was to be worth at least ten marks of silver. ‘Et præterea comes de sancto Ægidio dabit eis inde per annum 100 marcas argenti, vel ten destrarios de pretio, ita quod unusquisque eorum valeat ad minus ten marcas.’ (V. Benedict. Abb. sub ann. 1173.) The mark of silver being then two-thirds of a pound, and every pound equal in weight to three of our present pounds, according to all the authorities cited above, except Mr. Folkes, if we reckon the value of silver at five times the present, the price of each of these horses will be equivalent to one hundred pounds sterling of our money now; and good war-horses may have been usually sold at that rate. William of Malmesbury says, that William Rufus bought one for fifteen marks of silver, and seems to mention it as a high price, ‘Deturbatus equo quem eo die quindecim marcis argenti emerat.’ (V. Malmesb. lib. iv. de W. II. f. 68. sect. 20.) Yet in the year 1207, one Amph. Till, a foreign baron, imprisoned here by king John, was to pay, in part of his ransom, ten horses, worth thirty marks each, or in lieu of each horse, thirty marks; an incredible price, if we compute the value of money much higher than the rate at which I have put it. Indeed this Amph. Till must have been a man of great note; for his ransom was fixed at no less than ten thousand marks; but some of his knights, or men at arms, who were prisoners with him, were to be likewise set free on payment thereof. See the Record in Rymen’s Fœdera, tom. i. p. 446, 447, sub ann. 1207.
“Benedict, abbot of Peterborough, relates, that, in the year 1177, the abbess of Amesbury, being convicted of having three children after she had taken the habit, was degraded and turned out of the convent; but that the king, to save her from perishing by hunger and want, promised to give her ten marks a year. ‘Et ne predicta Abbatissa degradata fame et inopia pernet, et spopondit ei se daturum illi singulis annis decem marcas argenti; et permisit eam abire quo vellet.’ (Benedict. Abbas sub ann. 1177.) Computing therefore the value of this sum as before, her pension was equivalent to one of a hundred pounds sterling in the present times; an income very sufficient to maintain her with decency in a retired way of living, such as was proper for a woman in her situation.
“Ralph Flambard, bishop of Durham, having been imprisoned by the orders of Henry the First, in the Tower of London, was allowed by that king for the expense of his table there two shillings a day: Quotidie ad victum suum duos sterilensium solidos jussu regis habebat. V. Orderic. Vital. l. x. p. 786 sub ann. 1101. But there being the weight of three of our present shillings in one Norman shilling, this allowance amounts to six of our shillings a day: and then, if we estimate the value of silver at five times more than the present, this sum will be equivalent to thirty shillings a day, allowed in these times; a very sufficient provision for the table of a state prisoner, even of the highest rank.
“The scutage levied in England by Henry the Second for the war of Toulouse, was 180,000l. (as we are informed by Gervase of Canterbury, a contemporary historian:) ‘Hoc anno (1159) rex. Henricus scutagium de Anglia accepit, cujus summa fuit centum millia, et quater viginti millia librarum argenti.’ If therefore each of these pounds weighed three of ours, as Sir Robert Atkyns and others suppose, this sum will amount to five hundred and forty thousand pounds of our money at present; as much as one can imagine to have been raised by a composition, paid only by those of the military tenants who did personally attend the king to Toulouse: our present land-tax, at four shillings in the pound upon the whole kingdom, producing under two millions, and the before-mentioned sum being equivalent to two millions seven hundred thousand pounds, if we compute the value of silver at five times more than the present.
“I have observed before, that, in the reign of Henry the Third, the value of silver was probably greater, from there being less of it in England than in the times of which I write. Salisbury cathedral in that reign is said to have cost 42,000 marks. These Mr. Folkes, in his table of the standard of our silver money, computes to have contained as much silver as 81,368l. of our present money; which computation is somewhat lower than that I have followed. But admitting it to be right, this sum multiplied, as the other sums above-mentioned, only by five, will make the expense of this building equivalent to 406,840l. laid out in these days.
“The portion bequeathed to earl John, by king Henry the Second, was some lands in England, which produced four thousand pounds per annum, and the earldom of Mortagne, with all its appurtenances. Four thousand pounds containing then the same weight of silver as twelve thousand now, the lands in England were worth to him, by the above computation, as much as an estate of sixty thousand pounds a year would be in these days. The earldom of Mortagne must likewise have produced a considerable revenue. For it appears, by one of Becket’s letters, that Henry the Second agreed, by treaty, to pay the earl of Boulogne an annual pension of 1000l. sterling, in lieu of his claim to that earldom, and to some lesser fiefs, which had been granted to the house of Boulogne in this island.
“Upon the whole, it appears from the several passages above-cited, and from others which I have observed in history or records, that, from the death of Edward the Confessor to that of Henry the Second, the ordinary value of silver, compared with the present, could not be much above or below this computation.
“As to the weight of silver in the old money pound, if any of my readers shall think it worth while to reduce the calculations according to the proportion Mr. Folkes has laid down, it may be easily done; and, by putting the value of silver somewhat higher, the amount will, upon the whole, be nearly the same.
“It must be observed, that, before the eighteenth year of Edward the Third, it does not appear, that ever any gold was coined in England (except perhaps a few pieces in the kingdom of Northumberland, by the Saxons) or any silver, but pennies, halfpence, and farthings; all the other denominations being only imaginary, as a pound sterling is now. We find indeed, that gold and silver Bisants were sometimes received in payments here; but these were a foreign coin, and brought from the East, where they seem to have been as common as Sequins are now. Frequent mention is made of them by all the historians of the Crusades; but they are rarely spoken of by ours. Neither are they named in Domesday Book, nor in the public acts of Henry the First or Stephen, nor in the last will of king Henry the Second. But some mention is made of them in private deeds and leases, and also in the Exchequer Rolls under Henry the Second. The silver Bisant, in the twelfth century, was rated at two shillings English; but the value of the gold one, at that time, is doubtful.”—Lyttleton’s History of Henry II., i. 401—411.
[1 ] Gervas. Cantuar., Chron., ut sup. col. 1392.
[2 ]Ib.—Willelm. filius Steph., ut sup. p. 44.
[3 ] Roger de Hoveden, loc. sup. cit.
[1 ] Sharon Turner, ubi supra, p. 220.
[2 ] Roger de Hoveden, loc. cit.
[3 ] Gervas. Cantuar., Chron., ut sup. col. 1393.
[2 ] Vita B. Thomæ quadrip., lib. ii. cap. iii. p. 64.
[3 ] Roger de Hoveden, ut sup. p. 500. Gervas. Cantuar., Act. Pontif. Cantuar., ut sup. col. 1671.
“The adult persons among them were compelled to take an oath, before they departed, that they would go to the archbishop, wheresoever he was; which was done in order to load him with the charge of their maintenance, and also to grieve him with the spectacle of the distress they endured on his account.”—Lyttleton’s History of Henry II., iv. 89.
[4 ] Epist. Joh. Sarisb., ad. Joh. Pictav. Episcop., apud Script. rer. Gallic., &c., xvi. 521.
[5 ]Ib. 521, 522.
[6 ] Litteræ Henrici regis, apud Divi Thomæ Epist., lib. i. p. 26.
[1 ] Vita B. Thomæ, lib. ii. cap. v. p. 67.
[2 ] Epist. Henrici Angliæ regis ad Ludovicum, apud. Scrip. rer. Gallic., &c., xvi. 107.
“When he came to the words, ‘Thomas, late archbishop of Canterbury, the king asked the messengers whether the person there mentioned was no longer archbishop of Canterbury, and who had deposed him? They appearing embarrassed at the question, he said: ‘I am a king as well as the king of England; but I would not have deprived the lowest clerk in my kingdom, nor do I think I have power to do it. I know that this Thomas served your sovereign long and faithfully in the office of chancellor; and his recompence is now, that his master, after having forced him to fly out of England, would also drive him out of France.”—Lyttleton, ut sup. iv. p. 69.
[1 ] Epist. Joh. Sarisbur. ad Thomam, apud Script. rer. Gallic, &c., xvi. 507.
[2 ] Vita B. Thomæ quadrip., lib. ii. cap. vii. p. 71.
[3 ] Nuncii ad Thomam Epist., apud Divi Thomæ Epist., lib. i. p. 33.
[4 ] Vita B. Thomæ, lib. ii. cap. xi. p. 77.
[6 ] Epist. Hervei clerici ad Thomam, apud Script. rer. Gallic., &c., xvi. 240.
[1 ]Ib. p. 244.
[2 ] Arguens eum et dure increpans, (Vita B. Thomæ, lib. ii. cap. xi. p. 78.)
[3 ] [Articles 11—16.]
[4 ] Roger de Hoveden, ut sup. p. 496.
[5 ] Ascendit in ovile Christi, sed non per ipsum ostium, velut quem non canonica vocavit electio, sed terror publicæ potestatis intrusit. (Vita B. Thomæ, ut sup. p. 79.)—“My fathers and lords, it is unlawful to speak untruly anywhere, but more especially before God, and in your presence: wherefore with tears I confess, that my miserable offence brought all these troubles upon the church of England. I ascended into the fold of Christ, not by the true door, not having been called by a canonical election, but obtruded into it by the terror of secular power. And though I undertook this charge unwillingly, yet was I induced to it, not by the will of God, but of man. What wonder then, if it has prospered so ill with me? Yet, if, through fear of the menaces of the king, I had given it up at his desire, (as my brethren the bishops would fain have persuaded me to do,) I should have left a pernicious example to the catholic church: for which reason I deferred it till I could come into your presence. But now, acknowledging that my entrance was not canonical, and fearing from thence a worse exit; perceiving also my strength unequal to the burthen; lest I should ruin the flock, whose unworthy pastor I am made, into your hands, O father, I resign the archbishopric of Canterbury.”—Lyttleton, iv. 85.
[6 ] Ut diseas esse pauperum consolator, docente religiouis matre ipsa paupertate. (Ib. p. 80.)
[1 ] Vita B. Thomæ quadrip., lib. ii. cap. xii. p. 79.
[2 ] Non quidem splendide, sed simpliciter, ut decet exutem et Christi Athletam. . . (Gervas., Chron. ut sup. col. 1398.)
[3 ] Cleri Angliæ ad Thomam epist. ut sup. lib. i. p. 189.
[5 ] Arbitrantur aliqui. . .quod nescit opus vestrum de superbiâ, non de virtutis procedere veritate, (Epict. Arnolphi lexoviensis episc., apud Acheri Spicilegium, iii. p. 512, 513.) Quorum ope niti, quorum munire consilio, quorum fulciri suffragio debuistis a vobis, velut facto agmine, discesserunt. (Ib.)
[6 ]Ib. p. 514.
[1 ] Script. rer. Gallic. et Francic., xvi. 295; in nota a ad calc. paginæ.
[2 ] Epist. B. Thomæ ad Alexandrum papam, apud Script. rer. Gallic. et Francic., xvi. p. 267.
[3 ] Matth. Paris, i. 105. Epist. B. Thomæ ad episcopos provinciæ Cantiæ, apud Script. rer. Gallic., &c., ubi sup.
[1 ] Joh. Sarisb. Epist. ad Bartholomeum Exoniensem episcop. Ib. p. 519.
[2 ] Anonymi ad Thomam Epist., apud Script. rer. Gallic. et Francic., xvi. 257.
[4 ] Summarium Epist. Alexandri papæ ad Henricum. Ib. p. 279.
[5 ] Epist. Johan. Sarisb., ib. 578. Vita B. Thomæ quadripart., lib. ii. cap. xxii. p. 90.
[6 ]Ib. p. 91.
[7 ] Summarium Epist. Alexandri III., papæ ad Thomam, apud Script. rer. Gallic. et Francic., xvi. 277, 278.
[1 ] Epist. Joh. Sarisb. ib., p. 553.
[2 ] Epist. Johan. Pictav. Episcop. ad Thomam, ib. p. 282.
[3 ] Adjicientes multa de magnitudine principis et potentiâ, de amore et honore quem ecclesiæ romanæ exhibuit, de familiaritate et gratia et beneficiis quæ in nos exercuit. (Epist. B. Thomæ ad Alexand. III., papam, ubi sup. p. 297.)
[4 ] Anonymi ad Thomam, epist. ib. p. 301.
[1 ] Epist. Alexandri III., papæ ad Henricum, ib. p. 312.
[2 ] Epist. Joh. Sarisb ad magistratum Lombardum, apud Script. rer. Gallic. et Francic., xvi. 593.
[3 ] Vita B. Thomæ quadrip., lib. ii. cap xvii. p. 85. Thomæ ad Alexandrum papam et Alexandri ad universos Cisterciensis ordinis tratres Epist., apud Script. rer. Gallic., xvi. 267, 268. Gervas. Cantuar., Chron., ut sup. col. 1400.
[4 ] Gervas. Cantuar., Chron., col. 1401.
[5 ] Vita B. Thomæ quadrip., loco sup. cit.
[1 ] Simonis et Ingelberti priorum epist. ad Alexandrum papam, apud Script. rer. Gallic., xvi. 333.
[2 ] Ut se coram rege humiliaret et rigorem ejus humilitate precum et sedulitate obsequii studeret emollire. (Ib.)
[3 ] Arctatus regis consilio et omnium archiepiscoporum, episcoporum et baronum acquievit. (Ib.)
[4 ] Salvo honore Dei. (Vita B. Thomæ quadrip., lib. ii. cap. xxv. p. 95.)
[1 ]Ib. p. 96.
[3 ] Exinde nihil omnino sibi fuit exhibitum..vel aliquis alius super ejus miseria afflictus eum exhibuit ut mendicum. (MSS. cod. Biblioth. regiæ, 5320, quo continetur Vita quadrup. contractior, citatus apud Script. rer. Gallic. et Francic., xiv. in notâ a ad calc. pag., p. 461.)
[1 ] Anonymi epist. apud Script. rer. Gallic. et Francic., xvi. 602.
[3 ] Gervas. Cantuar., Chron., col. 1409.
[4 ] Script. rer. Gallic. et Francic., xvi. 580, in notâ e.
[5 ] Godwino filio Eadwini sacerdotis miles suus Godricus salutem. (Ib.) Qui me in Italiâ donasti cingulo militari..(Epist. Joh. Sarisbur., ib. p. 581.)
[1 ] Gervas. Cantuar., Chron., col. 1409.
[2 ] Plus militaris in multis quam clericalis existens. (Girald. Cambrensis, De jure et statu menevens ecclesia; Anglia Sacia, ii. 535.) Quo morbo laborant fere singuli ab Angliæ finibus hic intrusi, terras ecclesiæ suæ . . alienavit, ut ubi militaribus . . manu amplissima largiretur . . nepoti suo contulit. (Ib. p. 534.)
[3 ] Ecclesiasticam namque liberatem olim in regno perditam quam dictus martyr egregius caput ad hoc gladiis exponens. (Giraldus Cambrensis, De rebus a se gestis; Anglia Sacra, ii. 523.)
[1 ] Dici poterit quod ibicumque Walenses liberas ad eligendum habenas habuerint nunquam . . quempiam præter Walensem sibi prœficient, et illum gentibus ahis neque naturâ, neque nutriturâ, nec natione, sed nec educatione permixtum. (Giraldus Cambrensis, De jure. &c., ut sup. p. 522.)
[2 ] Vita B. Thomæ quadripart., lib. ii. cap. xxvii. p. 98.
[1 ] Obortis lacrymis projecit se ad pedes archiepiscopi cum singultu. (Gervas. Cantuar., Chron., col. 1406.)
[2 ] Vita B. Thomæ quadripart ut sup. p. 99.
[3 ] Gervas. Cantuar. Chron., ut sup.
[4 ] Vita. B. Thomæ quadrip., lib. ii., cap. xxviii., p. 100.
[5 ] Gervas. Cantuar., Chron., col. 1407.
[1 ] Epist. B. Thomæ ad Winton. episcop. apud Script. rer. Gallic. et Francic., xvi., 388, 389.
[2 ] Willelmi ad Thomam epist. ib. p. 357.
[3 ] Epist. B. Thomæ ad Joann. Neapolit. ib. p. 392.
[4 ] Epist. Alexandri papæ ad Thomam, ib. p. 368.
[5 ] Anonymi ad Thomam epist. ib. 370.
[1 ] Anonymi ad Thomam epist. ib. 370.
[2 ] Quo audito, archiepiscopi et episcopi quotquot erant, ad nuncios vene runt, et supplicaverunt eis quod hoc facerent, ipsi vero eam summa difficultate concesserunt. (Ib.)
[1 ]Ib. 371.
[2 ] Epist. Alexandri papæ ad rotomag. et nivern. episcop. apud Script. rer. Gallic et Francic., xvi. 413.
[3 ] Viviani legati ad Thomam epist., ib. p. 393.
[4 ] In odium archipræsulis et in læsionem dignitatis ecclesiæ cantuariensis, (Vita B. Thomæ quadripart., lib. ii., cap. xxxi. p. 102.)—Epist. B. Thomæ ad Winton. episcop. apud Script. rer. Gallic. et Francic., xvi. 429.
[1 ] Vita B. Thomæ, loc cit.
[2 ] ..pater filio dignatus est ministrare et se regem non esse protestari. (Ib.)
[3 ] Epist. B. Thomæ ad Alexand. papam, ubi sup. p. 414.
[4 ]Ib. 430.
[1 ] ... Atinam via romana non gratis peremisset tot miseros innocentes. (Epist. B. Thomæ ad Albert. Card. apud Script. rer. Gallic. et Francic., xvi. 417.)
[2 ] B. Thomæ vita quadrip. lib. ii. cap. xxxii. p. 104.
[3 ] Inter duos malleos positus ... (Epist. Joh. Sarisbur. apud Script. rer. Gallic. et Francic., xvi.)
[4 ] Epist. Alexand. III. papæ ad episcop. Cantiæ., ib. xiv. p. 449.
[1 ] Epist. B. Thomæ ad Alexandrum III. papam, ib. p. 463.
[2 ] Epist. B. Thomæ ad Bernardum nivern. episcop.; ib. p. 424, ut sup. p. 439.
[3 ] In prato amænissimo. (Vita B. Thomæ quadrip., lib. iii. cap. i. p. 107.)
[1 ] Epist B. Thomæ ad Alexandrum papam, ut sup. p. 439.
[2 ] Willelm. filius Steph., Vita S. Thomæ, ut sup. p. 68.
[3 ] Gervas. Cant., Chron., col. 1412.
[4 ] Epist. B. Thomæ ad Alex. III., ut sup. p. 441.
[5 ] Gervas. Cantuar., Chron., ut sup. p. 1413.
[1 ] Prout adhuc pauperes et exules poterant. qui deserente eos mundo, tam benigne susceperant. (Vita B. Thomæ quadrip., lib. iii. cap. iii. p. 110.)
[2 ] Epist. B. Thomæ ad Willelm. Senonens. archiep., apud Script. rer. Gallic., xvi. 400.
[3 ] Ranulfus de Broch..gloriatus est quod non diu gaudebimus de pace vestra, quia non comedemus panem integrum in Angliâ antequam ille, ut minatur, nobis auferat vitam. (Epist. B. Thomæ ad Henricum, ib. p. 455.)
[4 ] Summarium epist. Petri cardinalis ad Thomam, ib.
[5 ] Vita B. Thomæ quadrip., lib. iii. cap. ii. p. 109.
[6 ] Ne si forte archipræsue aln missæ interesset, in missa osculum pacis sibi offeret. (Ib.)
[7 ] ..uterque vicissim alter alteri collata pridem beneficia improperavit. (Ib.)
[1 ] Willelm. filius Steph., ut sup. 71.
[3 ] Epist. Joh. Sarisb., ubi sup. p. 613.
[4 ] Vita B. Thomæ quadrip., lib. iii. cap. iii. p. 110.
[5 ]Ib. cap. iv. p. 112.
[1 ] Gervas. Cantuar., Chron., col. 1413.
[2 ] Epist. B. Thomæ ad Alexand. pap., ubi sup. p. 464.
[3 ] Epist. Joh. Sarisb. ad Petrum abbat. St. Remigii, apud Script. rer. Gallic., xvi. 613.
[4 ] Et fortasse satellites vim parassent, nisi eos compescuisset tumultus popularis. (Ib. 614.)
[5 ]Ib. 615.
[6 ] Willelm. filius Steph., p. 76.
[7 ] Denunciavit ei . . ne progederetur, nec civitates ejus aut castella intraret, sed reciperet se cum suis infra ambitum ecclesiæ suæ. (Epist. Joh. Sarisb., ut sup. p. 614.) Roger de Hoveden, p. 521.
[1 ] Willelm. filius Steph., loco sup. cit.
[2 ] Vita B. Thomæ quadrip., lib. iii. cap. ix. p. 117.
[3 ] Willelm filius Steph., ut sup. p. 77.
[4 ] Roger de Hoveden, p. 521.
[5 ] Willelm. filius Steph., loc. sup. cit.
[6 ] Roger de Hoveden, loc. sup. cit.
[1 ] Vita B. Thomæ quadrip., lib. iii. cap. iv. p. 112. Guill. Neubrig., De reb. Anglie., p. 184, 185.
[3 ] Literas quas impetravimus a majestate vestra, nobis auferrent. (Ep. B. Thomæ ad Alexand. papam, ubi sup. p. 464.)
[4 ] Vita B. Thomæ quadrip., lib. iii. cap. viii. p. 115.
[6 ] Vita B. Thomæ quadrip., lib. iii. cap. xi. p. 119.
[1 ]Ib. cap. xii. p. 120.
[2 ] Willelm. filius Steph., ut sup. p. 78.
[3 ] Roger de Hoveden, p. 521.
[4 ] Vita B. Thomæ quadrip., lib. iii. cap. xii. p. 120, 121.
[5 ] Willelm filius Steph., ut sup. p. 81.
[7 ] Venenum aspidum quod sub labiis gerebant per moram aliquantulum compresserunt silentio. (Vita B. Thomæ quadrip., loc. sup. cit.)
[8 ]Ib. cap. xiv. p. 123.
[1 ] Vita B. Thomæ quadrip., cap. xvi. p. 123.
[2 ] Willelm. filius Steph., ut sup. p. 82.
[3 ] Chyrothecas contorquentibus brachia furiose jactantibus. (Vita B. Thomæ quad., ut sup. p. 126.)
[4 ] Willelm. filius Steph., p. 83.
[5 ]Ib. p. 84.
[6 ] ..quasi fugam erubescens, gradum fixit. (Vita B. Thomæ quadrip., lib. iii. cap. xv. p. 128. Willelm. filius Steph. p. 83.)
[1 ] Vita B. Thomæ quadrip., lib. iii. cap. xvii. pp. 129, 130.
[2 ] Edwardus, Vita S. Thomæ, ut sup. p. 362. Roger de Hoveden, p. 522. Vita B. Thomæ quadrip., lib. iii. cap. xviii. p. 131.
[3 ] Vita B. Thomæ, p. 133.
[4 ] Guill. Neubrig., p. 723, in notis.
[1 ] Roger de Hoveden, loc. sup. cit.
[2 ] Fleury, Hist. Ecclesiast., xv. 310.
[3 ] Epist. Joh. Sarisb., ad Johan. Pictav. episcop. apud Script. rer. Gallic. et Francic., xvi. 617.
[4 ] Epist. Joh. Sarisb. ad Guillelm. Senonens. archiepisc., ib. p. 620.
[5 ] Epist. Joh. Sarisb. ad Joh. Pictav. episc., ut sup.
[7 ] Ut martyris hujus gloria nec decreto pontificis, nec edicto principis atollatur, sed Christo præcipue auctore invalescat. (Epist. Joh. Sarisb. ad Guill. Senonens., ut sup.)
[1 ] Quod viri impii qui eum insatiabiliter oderant intuentes, inhibuerunt nomine publicæ potestatis ne miracula quæ frebant quisquam publicare præsumeret. (Epist. ejusd. ad Joan. pict., ut sup.) [The circumstance reminds one of the verses made upon a similar prohibition in France:
[2 ] (Vie de St. Thomas de Cantorbery, par Garnier de Pont-St.-Maxence, MSS. de la Bibliothèque royale, Supplement Français, No. 2636, fol. 84.)
[1 ] Eadmer, Hist. nova, p. 21—32.
[2 ] . . . Quid subventionis, quid consilii, quid solaminis ibi reperient, qui non habent quod dent? (Id. p. 32.)
[3 ] Girald. Cambrensis, De rebus a se gestis, Anglia Sacra, ii. 466.
[4 ] Id. De jure et statu Menevens. eccles.; ib. p. 521.
[5 ] Id. ib.
[1 ] Girald. Cambrensis, ib. p. 536-8.
[2 ] Id. De rebus a se gestis, p. 479.
[3 ] Id., De jure et statu Menevens. eccles., p. 614.
[1 ] Id. De jure et statu Menevens. eccles., p. 539.
[2 ]Ib. p. 534.
[3 ] Id., De rebus a se gestis, p. 475.
[4 ] Id. De statu, &c. p. 554.
[1 ] Curia Romana quam corrumpi (quod absit) posse putabat. (Ib. p. 568.)
[2 ] Ut atrocius ageret, quoniam crudelis extiterat. (Ib. p. 566.)
[1 ] Giraldus Cambrensis, De jure, &c., p. 559.
[2 ] Jura sancti Davidis contra Angliam totam. (Ib.)