Front Page Titles (by Subject) A SONG ON THE DEATH OF SIMON DE MONTFORT 1 - The Collected Papers of Frederic William Maitland, vol. 3
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A SONG ON THE DEATH OF SIMON DE MONTFORT 1 - Frederic William Maitland, The Collected Papers of Frederic William Maitland, vol. 3 
The Collected Papers of Frederic William Maitland, ed. H.A.L. Fisher (Cambridge University Press, 1911). 3 Vols. Vol. 3.
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A SONG ON THE DEATH OF SIMON DE MONTFORT1
The following poem is written on a fly leaf in a manuscript belonging to Caius College (No. 85, formerly 167). That volume contains several treatises on the canon law—to wit, (1)the “Ordo Iudiciarius” of Tancred, archdeacon of Bologna (ob. circ. 1234); (2) the “Summa de Matrimonio” (written between 1234 and 1245) of Raymund de Pennaforte (ob. 1275); (3) an imperfect copy of the “Summa Aurea” of the Oxford canonist William of Drogheda (ob. 1245). In the last of these treatises, as here presented, the years 1262 and 1267 are mentioned as the dates of certain imaginary documents. If we may judge from marginal notes, this volume belonged about the year 1270 to a certain Walterus de Hyda. His name is introduced into various legal formulas, written in the margin, which may represent real or may represent imaginary transactions. If they are founded on fact, then we may gather from them that Walter had taken degrees in arts and canon law at Paris (tam in artibus quam in decretis laudabiliter rexit Parisius); also that though of gentle he was of illegitimate birth; also that some unnamed person had written to the pope asking that Walter might have a dispensation enabling him, though a bastard, to accept a bishopric in case one was offered; also that, on the presentation of a certain M. de B., knight, the bishop of Chichester instituted him in the church of N.; also that in 1272 he gave a bond to the lady A. Salvage, widow of R. Salvage; also, though this is less clear, that on the Monday before Easter in 1274 Adelinya1 La Savage, lady of Brawatere (Broad-water), presented him to S[tephen Berkstead], bishop of Chichester, for institution as rector of Brawatere. Some of these would-be facts may well be true. Between 1262 and 1287 the bishop of Chichester’s initial was S. A family named Salvage held Broadwater2 . In 1278 a Master William (so the Vatican register has it) de Hyda, being then an acolyte and a proctor of certain English prelates, was sojourning at Rome and received a dispensation from the impediment caused by his illegitimate birth3 .
On a fly leaf at the beginning of the volume occurs our song. After this song was written there a legal formula was added, which supposes that W. de Hyda is bringing an action for defamation. A good many other notes stand on the same page. There is a short poem about St Nicholas, and there are some tags of jurisprudence and of moral and natural philosophy (e.g. Nota quod fetor candele extincte iumentis et mulieribus dat aborcionis causam). The poem is written in minute letters, and hardly fills half the page. I must not pretend to have read through the whole of the Caius MS., but all that I have seen of it seems to favour the belief that this copy of the song was written within ten or twenty years after the battle of Evesham, while the last verses suggest that the song itself was composed very soon after the fatal day.
In substance and in form it is not unlike some of those other songs that have been printed by Mr Wright, Mr Halliwell, and Mr Prothero, though it is somewhat ruder than they are. Its Montfort is the Montfort of popular hagiology, who wears a hair shirt, treads in the footsteps of Becket, and fights for the ideas of Grosseteste. Its most distinctive traits seem to be the following: (1) Not content with Biblical heroes, such as Abel, Samson, and Nebuzaradan (the allusion to whom I do not understand), it introduces Hector, Achilles, and Ulysses. Cadit Hector, Rachel flevit is a charming specimen of mixed mythology. (2) It avoids naming or even describing the men against whom Montfort was fighting, except where it speaks for a moment of the fierce Welsh marchers. No word is said of any king. (3) It devotes no less than six stanzas to Simon’s standard-bearer, Guy de Balliol, of whom we may, indeed, read a little, but not very much, elsewhere, and, on the other hand, it passes by in silence some more famous men who fell by the earl’s side. For a moment I thought that these stanzas might send us to the newly founded Aula de Balliol at Oxford to find our poet; but its founder, John de Balliol, the lord of Barnard Castle, was a royalist, and Guy seems to have sprung from some more purely Scottish branch of the great family1 . (4) The appearance of the Northumbrian king in company with the braves of Greek and Hebrew legend is explained by the calendar: Earl Simon was slain on the vigil of St Oswald1 .
English Historical Review, April, 1896.
The end of this name is not very plain.
Dallaway, Sussex, vol. II. part II. p. 22.
Register of Papal Letters, I. 454.
See for Guy, Blauuw, Barons’ War, p. 278.
French Chronicle of London, p. 7: “Mardi ...la veille de seint Oswold.”