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Title: English Wayfaring Life in the Middle Ages - (XIVth Century)
Author: Jusserand, J. J. (Jean Jules)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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(_From the MS. Harleian_, 1319, _painted circa_ A.D. 1400.)]




 _A new Edition revised and enlarged by the Author_


 _First Edition                       1889_

 _Second Impression                   1889_

 _Third Impression                    1889_

 _Fourth Impression                   1891_

 _Fifth Impression                    1896_

 _Sixth Impression                    1899_

 _Seventh Impression                  1901_

 _Eighth Impression                   1902_

 _Ninth Impression                    1909_

 _Second Edition (Tenth Impression)   1920_

 _Eleventh Impression                 1921_


[Illustration 2]

_We know Egypt, thanks to her tombs, and we know Rome, thanks to
Pompeii, in these modern days, better than we know the Middle Ages
of Europe and the life of an ordinary man during that period. We
cannot hope to find in any corner of France or England a Pompeii,
catacombs, or pyramids. In our countries the human torrent has never
ceased flowing; rapid and tumultuous in its course, it has at no time
ensured the preservation of the past by deposits of quiet ooze._

_Yet, this common life of our ancestors, is it indiscernible,
impossible to reconstruct? is that of kings and princes alone
accessible to our view through the remoteness of ages, like those
huge monuments which men see from afar when they cannot distinguish
the houses in a distant city? Surely not. But to reach the heart of
the nation, to get into touch with the greater number, a patient and
extended inquiry is necessary. To make this usefully, one must break
more or less completely with the old habit of taking the ideas of
every-day life in the Middle Ages only from the descriptions, the
satires, or the eulogies of poets. Literature is no doubt of valuable
help in these restorations, but it is not the only, nor even the
principal source of information. Poets embellish, imagine, colour, or
transform; we must not accept their statements without checking them._

_To check them is what we can do. We may have no such {8} burial
grounds to explore as in Egypt, nor a whole town to bring to light
as at Pompeii, but we have what is worth almost as much: the
incomparable depositories of the Records of old England. Immense
strides have been made, especially within the last hundred years,
to render their contents public. Thousands of documents have been
printed or analysed, and the work is still continuing; indeed,
looking at the progress made of late, a feeling of wonder cannot be
repressed at the premature alarm of historians like Robertson, who
wrote in 1769: “The universal progress of science during the two
last centuries, the art of printing, and other obvious causes, have
filled Europe with such a multiplicity of histories, and with such a
vast collection of historical materials, that the term of human life
is too short for the study or even the perusal of them.” The field
of research has never ceased to widen, while the boundaries of human
life scarcely recede at all; but students comprehend that the best
means of rendering service is to impose limits on themselves and to
study by preference separate points or periods of the immense problem
to the best of their power. The work of unearthing is so far advanced
that it is possible usefully to sift the riches drawn from these new

_At first sight all these petitions, these year-books full of reports
of lawsuits, these long rows of statutes and ordinances seem the
coldest things in the world, the most devoid of life. They are not
even mummies or skeletons, they look as if they were but the dust of
old bones. Yet to judge of them thus were to judge in a superficial
manner; no doubt it might seem pleasanter to keep to the descriptions
of tale-tellers; but how many chances of error do they not present!
With the year-books, and the petitions followed by inquiries, we are
on distinctly more solid ground; we soon grow accustomed to their
language, and, under the apparently cold dust, sparks of life appear,
we can then with little effort restore scenes, understand existences,
perceive the distant echo of imprecations or shouts of triumph._

_It was with this thought that the present work was {9} undertaken a
good many years ago. In it there is a little less mention of Chaucer
and a little more of the “Rolls of Parliament” than is sometimes
found in the works devoted to the same period; this does not arise
from want of admiration for the great man, far from it, but from the
need of a test and of means of control, which may perhaps be deemed
legitimate, and only increase, in the end, our sentiment for him. The
present writer has desired to confine himself in this work within
strict limits; one only of the many sides of the common life in the
fourteenth century is here studied, a side little enough known and
sometimes difficult to observe, namely, the character and the quality
of the chief kinds of nomadic existence then carried on in England.
And even in that reduced compass he is very far from making claim to
completeness; so that this work is presented to the public more as a
sketch than a treatise._

_In the remodelling of his text, which had appeared as a French book
in 1884 and as articles in English some years earlier, the author has
been assisted, he need hardly say, by his learned translator, to whom
he owes much for having assumed the task of turning into English a
work which she herself would have been so well qualified to write.
He has been helped too by friends, all of whom he does not mean to
name here. But though feeling that in this also his incompleteness
will be very apparent, he cannot deprive himself of the pleasure of
inscribing on this page with gratitude and affection the names of
Gaston Paris, of the Institute of France; of E. Maunde Thompson,
Principal Librarian of the British Museum; of F. J. Furnivall,
Director of the Chaucer and many other Societies; lastly, he ought,
perhaps, to have said firstly, of the poet and critic, Edmund Gosse,
to whose kind initiative and suggestion he owes it that his book is
published under its present form._


 _July 7th, 1889_.


_At the time of “les longs espoirs et les vastes pensées,” so far
back that I have but a hazy recollection of him, the young author of
these pages had formed so bold a plan that he kept it to himself,
which was to write, if a long life were granted him, a complete
description of the English people, during it is true a single
century, the fourteenth, that period, of unique interest, when, after
long years of probation, it became certain that England would be
English and nothing else, when the language was formed, the first
masterpieces were written, the chief traits of the national character
became permanent, the principal institutions were founded, and even a
first attempt at Reformation was launched._

_Old Barthélemy Saint Hilaire, the indefatigable translator of
Aristotle, used to say to me when he was our Foreign Minister: one
must select, early in life, a vast intellectual task, that will be
like a literary companion, a long-lived one, which you can never
lose, because it is sure to outlive you. The author of this study
thought the ampler work would be his literary companion._

_But his official duties thereupon became more exacting, and as they
had a first claim, he had to part with his companion, whom, as will
happen in life’s pilgrimage, others replaced at later stages of the
journey. He desired, however, that some trace be left of an early
comradeship: hence the present essay, illustrated in part from his
pen-and-ink sketches, also a token of comradeship._

_The need of this new issue has supplied the occasion for a revision
of the text, with numerous corrections and additions, written in a
land unsuspected by the best-travelled of the ever-moving heroes of
these pages, written too at a time when the Hundred years war of
Chaucerian days has been replaced by a Hundred years peace, and when
great deeds performed in common are, if we and our successors prove
in any way worthy of our dead, the harbingers of a friendship not to
be broken between France, England and America._















   • 183







     1. Pilgrimages, their motives: to fulfil a vow, to spite the
     king, to regain health • 338

     2. Principal English pilgrimages; the one of European
     celebrity, St. Thomas of Canterbury • 346

     3. Piety, merriment, abuses. Real and false relics. Signs and
     brooches. Pilgrim stories. Honest and false pilgrims • 357

     4. Pilgrimages beyond sea, Calais, Boulogne, Chartres,
     Rocamadour, St. James of Compostela, Cologne, Rome.
     Offerings left and indulgences gained. Helping gilds. Faith,
     superstition, and scepticism. Pilgrimages by proxy • 370

     5. The holy journey to Jerusalem. Pilgrims in the days of
     St. Jerome. Pilgrims in arms, the crusades. Itineraries and
     Journals. “Mandeville,” William Wey, the lord of Anglure • 395



   I. Patent of King John entrusting a French cleric with
   the completion of London Bridge, 1201 • 425

   II. Petition concerning an old bridge, with arches too
   low and too narrow to allow boats to pass, 1442 • 426

   III. London Bridge and its maintenance • 427

   IV. Inquests as to the maintenance of bridges, _temp._
   Ed. I and Ed. II • 429

   V. The King’s journeys. Petitions and statutes
   concerning the Royal Purveyors • 430

   VI. The recurrence of leet-days and visits of Justices
   • 431

   VII. The dress of the worldly monk • 432

   VIII. Noblemen’s exactions when travelling • 433

   IX. Passage of the Humber in a ferry • 433

   X. The right of sanctuary • 434

   XI. A monopoly of minstrelsy for the King’s own
   minstrels • 435

   XII. Popular English songs of the Middle Ages • 437

   XIII. Indulgences and the theory of the “Treasury”
   according to Pope Clement VI • 438

   XIV. Sermon accompanying the display of a pretended
   papal bull (on the occasion of the coming of Henry of Lancaster)
   • 439

   XV. Ecclesiastical documents concerning chiefly English
   pardoners • 440

   XVI. The first recorded crucifix in England sculptured
   from life • 445

   XVII. The pilgrimage of Reynard • 446

 INDEX • 449



1. Knights travelling, followed by their escort of archers. From the
MS. Harleian 1319, in the British Museum, fol. 25, painted circa 1400
(below No. 15). The two travellers are the Duke of Exeter and the
Duke of Surrey; they go to meet Henry of Lancaster at Chester, to
whom they are sent by King Richard II, August 1399. • _Frontispiece_ 4

2. A minstrel dancing and singing. From the MS. 2 B. vii., in the
British Museum, fol. 197_a_. English, early fourteenth century • 7

3. The three-branched bridge at Crowland, fourteenth century, present
state • 21

4. Old London Bridge. From an illumination in the MS. 16 F. ii. fol.
73, in the British Museum, containing the poems of Charles d’Orléans
(fifteenth century). This is the oldest representation extant of
the famous bridge built by Isembert and his peers. The painting, of
which the upper part only is here given, represents the Tower of
London with Charles d’Orléans sitting in it as a prisoner. In our
reproduction may be seen the chapel of St. Thomas Becket and the
houses on the bridge, the wharves along the City side of the water,
and the tops of the white turrets of the Tower of London. The view
was obviously painted from nature. A complete reproduction serves as
a frontispiece for Vol. I of my “Literary History.” • 29

5. The old bridge on the Rhône at Avignon, built by the friars
pontiff in the twelfth century, as it now stands, the four arches and
the chapel • 33

6. The old bridge at Cahors, thirteenth century, present state,
photographed by Prof. Enlart, director of the Trocadero Museum • 37

7. The bridge at Stratford-at-Bow, as it stood before its
reconstruction in 1839. From an engraving dated 1814 • 41

8. A part of London Bridge; None-such House, the drawbridge, and the
houses on the bridge, as they appeared in 1600. From a drawing in
Pepys Library, Magd. Coll., Cambridge, reproduced by Dr. Furnivall in
his edition of Harrison’s “Description of England,” 1877 • 45

9. The taking down of the houses on old London Bridge, from a
water-colour by C. Pyne (1800–1884), preserved in the Victoria and
Albert Museum • 51

10. Hugh of Clopton’s bridge at Stratford-on-Avon, fifteenth century
• 55

11. The chapel on the bridge at Wakefield, fourteenth century. From a
copyright photograph by G. and J. Hall, of Wakefield • 67

12. The bridge with a defensive tower at Warkworth, Northumberland,
fourteenth century. From a photograph by G. W. Wilson, of Aberdeen
• 71

13. The defensive tower on the Monnow Bridge at Monmouth, from a
photograph obligingly supplied by Mr. Oliver Baker • 75

14. The one-arched bridge on the Esk, near Danby Castle, Yorkshire,
built during the fourteenth century by Neville, Lord Latimer, the
arms of whom are still to be seen at the top of the bridge. From a
photograph obtained through the kindness of the Rev. J. C. Atkinson,
of Danby Parsonage, York • 77

15. The parliament sitting in Westminster. From the MS. Harl. 1319,
in the British Museum, fol. 57, painted circa 1400. This MS. contains
a chronicle of the last years of Richard II, written in his native
tongue by a French gentleman called Créton, who accompanied the king
in his last journey to Ireland. It is invaluable both for its text
and its pictures; in both the author seems to have been very careful
to adhere to facts. He begins writing in verse, but afterwards takes
to prose, stating that he is coming now to events of such importance
that he prefers using prose, to make sure that he shall not allow
himself to be led by fancy.

He must have himself superintended the painting with the greatest
care. There can be no doubt that the figures are actual portraits;
of this there are two proofs: first, when the same person appears
in several paintings he is always given the same features, and
can be easily recognized; second, the exact resemblance of one of
the persons can be put beyond a doubt, which makes it likely that
the others also resemble their originals. Richard II, the image
of whom constantly recurs in the pictures, is easily recognizable
as having the same features as in the bronze statue over his tomb
at Westminster. And we know for certain that this tomb and statue
were ordered by Richard himself during his lifetime; the indenture
with the seals attached, dated 18 Rich. II (1395), and binding two
apparently English artists, viz., “Nicholas Broker et Godfrey Prest,
citeins et copersmythes de Loundres,” is still in existence at the
Record Office.

The sitting of the parliament here represented is the famous one
when Richard was deposed, and Henry of Lancaster came forth to
“chalenge yis Rewme of Yngland” (“Rolls of Parliament,” iii. p. 422),
Oct. 1399, and the throne was then, as seen in the painting, left
unoccupied, “sede regali cum pannis auri solempniter preparata, tunc
vacua,” “Rolls,” ibid. On the right of the throne are seated the
spiritual lords; on the left the temporal lords, knights, &c. The
nearest to the throne left is Henry of Lancaster (wearing a tall fur
cap). Says Créton:

    “Entour le dit siége asez près
     Estoient les prélas assis . . .
     D’autre costé tous les seigneurs,
     Grans moyens petiz et meneurs (lesser ones) . . .
     Premiers seoit le duc Henry
     Et puis tout au plus près de ly
     Le duc Diorc (York) son beau cousin,” &c.       • 87

16. A common cart. From the MS. 10 E. IV., in the British Museum,
fol. 110 _b_, early fourteenth century, English • 90

17. A reaper’s cart going up-hill. From the Louterell psalter;
fac-simile of the engraving in the “Vetusta Monumenta,” Society of
Antiquaries, vol. vi.; see in that vol., “Remarks on the Louterell
psalter,” by J. G. Rokewood—“Dominus Galfridus Louterell me fieri
fecit.” English, first half of the fourteenth century • 93

18. Ladies travelling in their carriage with their dogs and pet
animals, one of which is a squirrel. One of the followers travelling
on horseback, to be more at his ease and to be able to defy the wind,
has covered his head with his hood, and carries his tall hat hanging
to his girdle. From the Louterell psalter. See preceeding No. • 97

19. A young squire travelling:

    “And he hadde ben somtyme in chivachie,
     In Flaundres, in Artoys, and in Picardie,
     And born him wel, as of so litel space,
     In hope to stonden in his lady grace.
     Embrowdid was he, as it were a mede
     Al ful of fressh floures, white and reede,
     Syngynge he was, or flowtynge al the day;
     He was as fressh as is the moneth of May.”

From the Ellesmere MS. of the “Canterbury Tales.” The Ellesmere cuts
are used by the kind permission of Dr. Furnivall • 100

20. Travelling in a horse-litter; a lady and a wounded knight are
carried in the litter; squires escort them. From the MS. 118
Français, fol. 285, in the Bibliothèque Nationale at Paris; “Romance
of Lancelot,” late fourteenth century, French. A good example of a
State horse-litter is to be found in the MS. 18 E. II, in the British
Museum, fol. 7; “Chronicles of Froissart,” French, fifteenth century
• 101

21–22. Ladies on horseback. Two drawings illustrative of both ways of
riding; sitting sideways: Chaucer’s prioresse, and riding astride:
Chaucer’s Wife of Bath. From the Ellesmere MS. • 105

23. A family dinner. From the MS. Addit. 28162, in the British
Museum, fol. 10 _b_, early fourteenth century; French. Note the
carver, the cup-bearer, the musicians, the marshal of the hall,
whose mission it is to expel objectionable intruders, whether men or
dogs. In the present case, while this officer is expelling a very
objectionable lazar, come under pretence of sprinkling the diners
with holy water, a little further a dog seizes his opportunity,
and gets hold of a fish on the table. The carver grasps the meat
with his left hand; forks then were unknown, but good breeding
was, nevertheless, not neglected, and it consisted in the server’s
touching the meat only with the _left_ hand. Writing later than the
time we speak of, John Russell, marshal of the hall to Duke Humphrey
of Gloucester (fifteenth century), adds one refinement more, that is
to use only three fingers of the left hand. This was, in his mind,
the acme of fine breeding:

    “Sett never on fysche nor flesche, nor fowle trewly,
     Moore than ij fyngurs and a thombe, for that is curtesie.
     Touche never with youre right hande no maner mete surely.”
                   “Boke of Nurture” (Furnivall, 1868, p. 137).

It may be seen from our picture that part of these niceties was
unknown yet to carvers in the first half of the fourteenth century.
The whole of the left hand is used to grasp the meat • 109


    “A cooke thei hadde . . .
     To boyle chiknes and the mary bones.”

From the illumination in the Ellesmere MS. of the “Canterbury
Tales.” The pot-hooks with three prongs, which he carries, were
the distinctive attribute of cooks and cookmaids, and appear on
all representations of such people: several are to be found in the
Louterell psalter; see “Vetusta Monumenta,” vol. vi., the Roy. MS. 10
E. IV., _passim_, &c. They used it to turn the meat and take it out
of the deep round-bellied pots, standing on three legs over the fire,
which were then in common use • 116

25. The new habits of luxury; a gentleman, helped by two attendants,
dressing before the fire in his bedroom. From the MS. 2 B. vii., in
the British Museum, fol. 72 _b_, English, early fourteenth century
• 127

Of this luxury, of the spread of the use of chimneys, &c., Langland,
as a satirist, complains; and this, as a marshal of the hall, John
Russell a little later recommends as the proper method of dressing
for a gentleman. He then thus addresses the attendant:

    “Than knele down on youre kne, and thus to youre soverayn ye say:
     ‘Syr, what robe or govn pleseth it yow to were today?’” &c.
                          “Boke of Nurture” (Furnivall, 1868, p. 178).

26. An English inn of the fourteenth century. From the Louterell
psalter • 129

27. The New Inn, Gloucester, originally built for pilgrims, middle of
the fifteenth century, still in use • 131

28. On the roadside; the alehouse. From the MS. 10 E. IV., in the
British Museum, fol. 114 _b_; English, fourteenth century • 133

29. The hermitage chapel of St. Robert, hewn out of the limestone,
at Knaresborough, Yorkshire, thirteenth century; the figure of
the knight, of a much later date. Similar rock habitations are
innumerable in France in the valley of the Loire and of certain of
its affluents, especially in Vendomois (at Troo for example); some
are still occupied; several were, in the middle ages, the place of
abode of hermits and still bear signs thereof • 139

30. A Hermit in his solitude, tempted by the devil; MS. 10 E. IV.,
fol. 113 _b_. The miniature reproduced is one out of several which
illustrate a well-known mediæval tale. Here it may be remarked
that though this MS., invaluable as it is for the study of English
customs, dresses, &c., during the fourteenth century has been often
made use of, it has perhaps never been so thoroughly studied as it
deserves. It contains Decretals, with marginal coloured drawings
of the highest value on account of their variety and the subjects
they illustrate. Not only a number of games and trades are there
represented, with many miracles of the Virgin, &c., but there are
also complete tales told by the draughtsman, without words, and
only with the help of his colours. He does not invent his stories,
but simply illustrates the _fabliaux_ which he remembered and
particularly relished. The drawing here belongs to the story of the
“hermit who got drunk.” As he was once sitting before his cell he was
tempted by the devil, who reproached him with his continual virtue,
and entreated him to sin at least once, recommending him to choose
either to get drunk or to commit adultery or to commit murder. The
hermit chose the first as being the least (see below, p. 133, the
picture where he is seen at his drink). But when he has once got
drunk he finds on his way the wife of his friend the miller; he
commits adultery with her, and then meeting the husband, kills him.
The text of the tale is in Méon, “Nouveau recueil de fabliaux,” 1829,
vol. ii. p. 173, “De l’ermite qui s’enyvra” • 144

31. Escaped prisoner flying to sanctuary. From the MS. 10 E. IV.,
fol. 206 _b_, in the British Museum, fourteenth century • 149

32. The Durham knocker (Norman), affixed to one of the doors of the
cathedral. Fugitives used it to be admitted to sanctuary. Cf. a
capital in the church at Saint Nectaire, Puy de Dôme, XIth century,
representing, in accordance with Professor Enlart’s interpretation,
a man who flies to sanctuary and embraces a column thereof, while an
angel with drawn sword stands by to protect him • 158

33. The stone _frith_ or _frid_ stool in Hexham Abbey, Northumberland,
dating from Saxon times, possibly the episcopal chair of St. Wilfrid, a
great church builder, bishop of Hexham in the early years of the VIIIth
century • 160

34. The stone fridstool at Sprotborough, Yorkshire, fourteenth
century, a view kindly procured by my British colleague at
Washington, Lord Grey of Fallodon • 161

35. An adventure seeker. From the MS. 2 B. vii., fol. 149, English,
early fourteenth century • 181

36. A blind beggar led by his dog. From the MS. 10 E. IV., fol. 110 • 182

37. A Physician (Chaucer’s Doctour of Phisik):

    “He knew the cause of every malady.”

From the Ellesmere MS. • 183

38. Playing upon the vielle (viol). From the MS. 10 E. IV., fol. 4 • 207

39. The “Minstrels’ gallery” in the Exeter cathedral, fourteenth
century. From a photograph by Messrs. Frith and Co. • 209

40. A fourteenth-century juggler. From the MS. 10 E. IV., fol. 5 • 216

41. Favourite dances of the fourteenth century; a woman dancing
head downwards, to the sound of a tabor and a double flute. From
the MS. 10 E. IV., fol. 58. Representations of such dances of
women, head downwards, are innumerable in MSS., painted glass, old
portals, &c. There is one in the album of Villard de Honnecourt,
thirteenth century, ed. Lassus and Darcel; the interest taken in such
performances is attested by countless examples • 219

42. Favourite dances in Persia. From a pencil-case in the possession
of the author. See also the life-size Persian paintings exhibited in
the Victoria and Albert Museum, where similar dances are represented
• 220

43. A performing bear. From the MS. 10 E. IV., fol. 154, in the
British Museum, English, fourteenth century • 222

44. A sham messenger carrying a letter. From the MS. 10 E. IV., fol.
53 _b_ • 223

45. A professional messenger. From the MS. 10 E. IV., fol. 302 _b_,
in the British Museum, English, fourteenth century • 228

46. A travelling pedlar; his bag robbed by monkeys. From the MS. 10
E. IV., in the British Museum, fol. 149 _b_ • 238

47. A rich merchant travelling (Chaucer’s Marchaunt):

    “A marchaunt was ther with a forked berd,
     In motteleye, and high on horse he sat,
     Uppon his heed a Flaundrisch bever hat . . .
     Ther wiste no man that he was in dette
     So estately was he of governaunce.”

From the Ellesmere MS. • 245

48. Forest life; wood-cutters. From the MS. 10 E. IV., fol. 100 _b_
• 254

49. Forest life; a shooting casualty. From the MS. 10 E. IV., fol.
203 _a_ • 258

50. Reaping time. Labourers reaping corn under the supervision of
the hayward. From the MS. 2 B. vii., fol. 78 _b_. English, early
fourteenth century. “They dwell in fayre houses, and we haue the
payne and traueyle, rayne and wynd in the feldes” (speech of John
Ball, in Lord Berners’ Froissart, chap. ccclxxxi). The overseer
shown in the drawing may possibly be a bailiff: “Supervidere debet
ballivus falcatores, messores, cariatores,” &c. (“Fleta,” cap. 73),
or a provost, who had about the same duties, but was practically
chosen by the peasants themselves. But it seems more likely to be a
hayward; the dress and attitude better suit a man in that station.
The care of seeing that “repemen . . . repe besili and clenli,” was
sometimes entrusted to such officers; see Skeat, “Notes to Piers the
Plowman,” Early English Text Society, 1877, p. 273. A horn, such as
our man bears, was always carried by haywards, who used to blow it to
warn off people from straying in the crops. The rough and commanding
attitude seen in the drawing would not be so readily expected from a
bailiff with his juridical knowledge and comparatively high function,
or from a provost appointed by the peasants themselves, as from a
hayward or _garde champêtre_ • 267

51. In the stocks. A woman and a monk are put into them; a gentleman
abuses them. From the MS. 10 E. IV., fol. 187, where it forms part
of a series of drawings illustrating a _fabliau_ of the same sort as
the one alluded to above (illustration No. 28). It is called, _Du
soucretain et de la fame au chevalier_; the author is Rutebeuf, and
it may be found in the works of this the most famous of the French
thirteenth-century poets (ed. Jubinal, or ed. Kressner) • 272

52. Stocks at Shalford, near Guildford; present state, a drawing by
Aug. de Blignières • 274

53. Beggars. A cripple and other beggars helped by a generous king to
his own garments. From the MS. 10 E. IV., fol. 261 _b_ • 275

54. A friar (Chaucer’s friar). From the Ellesmere MS. “And it shall
be lawful for such as shall be compelled by necessity to be shod,
. . . and they are not to ride unless some manifest necessity or
infirmity oblige them.” “The rule of the Friars Minors,” Dugdale’s
“Monasticon,” 1817, vol. vi. part iii. p. 1504 • 283

55. “When Adam delved and Eve span”—the text of John Ball’s harangue
(same idea in Wace’s “Roman de Rou,” l. 6027), illustrated from
the early fourteenth-century MS., 2 B. vii., 4 _b_, in the British
Museum. (English) • 287

56. A worldly ecclesiastic—

    “Ful wel biloved and familiar was he
     . . . with worthie wommen.”

(Prologue of the “Canterbury Tales”). From the MS. 10 E. IV., fol.
185. Belongs to the same story as No. 48 • 292

57. Psalm singing. The interior of a friars’ church. From the MS.
Domit. A. xvii., fol. 120 _b_, in the British Museum, early fifteenth
century. The splendour of this church, with its beautiful pavement,
its sculptured stalls, altar, roof, and pinnacles, very exactly
tallies with the contemporary criticisms against the wealth of the
friars, and may be taken as an illustration of the very words of
Wyclif and Langland • 299

58. Sprinkling people at dinner with holy water. From the MS. 10 E.
IV., fol. 108 _b_ • 304

59. A game of fox and geese. From the MS. 10 E. IV., fol. 49 _b_ • 312

60. Reading in Canterbury cathedral of a fabricated papal bull
granting pardons to those who will help Henry of Lancaster against
King Richard II. From the MS. Harl. 1319, fol. 12 _a_, containing
the chronicle of Créton; see _supra_ No. 14. The archbishop, Thomas
Arundel, the same who led Henry IV to the empty throne, shown in
No. 15, is represented saying: “My good people, hearken all of you
here. You well know how the King most wrongfully and without reason
banished your lord Henry; I have therefore obtained of the Holy
Father who is our patron, that those that shall forthwith bring aid
this day, shall every one of them have remission of all sins. . . .
Behold the sealed bull that the Pope of renowned Rome hath sent me,
my good friends, in behalf of you all.” John Webb’s translation of
Créton’s chronicle, “Archæologia,” vol. xx. • 319

61. A pardoner (Chaucer’s pardoner)—

    “A vernicle hadde he sowed on his cappe,
     His walet lay byforn him in his lappe
     Bret-ful of pardoun come from Rome al hoot.”

From the Ellesmere MS. of the “Canterbury Tales” • 336

62. Rocamadour, general view. From a photograph, obtained through the
kindness of Canon Laporte, of Rocamadour • 338

63. A pilgrim. From the MS. 17 C. xxxviii, fol. 39, in the British
Museum; travels of Mandeville, English, fifteenth century • 369

64. The fortified entrance to the sanctuaries of Rocamadour, built in
the eleventh century, recently restored. From a photograph obtained
as above, No. 62 • 373

65. Travelling by sea. From the MS. Harl. 1319, fol. 7 _b_. The
subject is the return of Richard II from Ireland to England • 377

66. The southern entrance to St. James of Compostela, twelfth
century, “Plaza de las Platerias” (silversmiths). The present
cathedral, replacing an older one, destroyed by the Moors, was begun
in the middle of the eleventh century, and dedicated in 1211 • 381

67. A sample of Pilgrims’ signs, as sold to them at Walsingham; from
the original in the British Museum • 418

68. A blind beggar and his boy. The trick played upon the blind
man by his boy is well known as being one of the incidents in the
first chapter of the sixteenth-century Spanish novel, “Lazarillo
de Tormes.” It has long been suspected that the materials for this
chapter were drawn by the Spanish author from an earlier tale. This
drawing and several others that follow it, never adverted to with
reference to “Lazarillo de Tormes,” put the fact beyond a doubt; they
tell in their way the same tale, and they are of the first part of
the fourteenth century. MS. 10 E. IV., in the British Museum, fol.
217 _b_; see above No. 30 • 419



English Wayfaring Life in the Middle Ages (Fourteenth Century)


 “_O, dist Spadassin, voici un bon resveux; mais allons nous cacher
 au coin de la cheminée et là passons avec les dames nostre vie et
 nostre temps à enfiler des perles ou à filer comme Sardanapalus. Qui
 ne s’adventure n’a cheval ni mule, ce dist Salomon._”


At the present day there are but few wayfarers. The small trades
plyed along the road, in every chance village, are disappearing
before our newer methods of wholesale manufacture; more and more
rarely do we see the pedlar unstrap his pack at the farm door, the
travelling cobbler mend by the wayside the shoes which on Sunday
will replace the wooden clogs, or hear the wandering musician drone
at the windows his oft rehearsed tunes. Professional pilgrims exist
no longer, even quack doctors are losing their credit. It was far
otherwise in the Middle Ages; many people were bound to a wandering
existence, and started even from childhood on their life-long
journey. Some trotted their strange industries in the broad sunshine,
through the dust of the highroads; others skulked in bye-lanes
or {24} even in coppices, hiding their heads from the sheriff’s
officer—may be a criminal, may be a fugitive, “a wolf’s head that
anyone may cut down,” according to the terrible expression of an
English jurist of the thirteenth century. Among these, many labourers
who had broken the villeins bond, unhappy and oppressed in their
hamlets, and who wandered through the country in quest of work, as
though flight could enfranchise them: but “service est en le sank”
(“service is in the blood”), the magistrate warned them.[1] Among
them also, pedlars laden with petty wares; pilgrims who from St.
Thomas’ to St. James’ went begging along the roads, living by alms;
pardoners, those strange nomads, who sold to the common people the
merits of the saints in paradise; mendicant friars and preachers of
all sorts who, according to the times, delivered ardently liberal
harangues or contemptibly selfish discourses at the church doors.
All these had one character in common, namely, that in the wide
extent of country where they passed their lives, ever on the move,
they served as links between the separated groups of other men who,
attached to the soil by law or custom, spent the whole of their days,
irremovable, under the same sky, on the same ground, at the same toil.

Pursuing their singular work, these wanderers, who had seen and
experienced so much, served to give some idea of the great unknown
world to the humble classes whom they met on their way. Together
with many false beliefs and fables they put into the heads of the
stay-at-homes certain notions of extent and of active life which
these would hardly otherwise have acquired; above all, they brought
to the land-bound men news of their brethren in the neighbouring
province, of their condition of misery or of happiness, and these
were pitied {25} or envied accordingly, and remembered as brothers
or friends to call upon in the day of revolt.

At a period when, for the mass of mankind, ideas were transmitted
orally and travelled with these wanderers along the roads, the nomads
served as a link between the human groups of various districts.
It would be therefore of great interest for the historian to know
what were these channels of the popular thought, what life was led
by those who filled such a function, what were their influence and
manners. We shall try to study the chief types of this race, and
shall choose them in England in the fourteenth century, in a country
and at an epoch when their social importance was considerable.
The interest which attaches to them is of course manifold; the
personality of these pardoners, professional pilgrims, and minstrels,
extinct species, is in itself curious to scrutinize; but not more
so than their state of mind and the mode in which they carried on
their businesses, both reacting on the social condition of a great
people which had just been formed and was acquiring the features and
the character still its own at the present day. It was the period
when, thanks to the French wars and the incessant embarrassments
of royalty, the subjects of Edward III and of Richard II gained a
parliament similar to that which we now see; the period when, in
religious life, the independence of the English spirit asserted
itself through the reforms of Wyclif, the statutes for the clergy,
and the protests of the Good Parliament; when, in literature, Chaucer
inaugurated the series of England’s great poets, and instead of one
more commonplace dream, Langland, like Dante, gave to his compatriots
_Visions_; when, in short, from noble to villein was felt a stir
which led without excessive revolution to that true liberty for
which we, the French, had long to envy our neighbours. This epoch is
decisive in the history of the country. It will be seen that in all
the great questions debated in the cloister, in the castle, {26}
or on the market-place, the part played by the wayfarers, though
scarcely visible at times, was not insignificant.

We must first examine the place of the scene, afterwards the events
that happened there; see what were the roads, then what were the
beings who frequented them.





[Illustration 4. OLD LONDON BRIDGE.

(_From MS. Roy. 16 F2 in the British Museum._)]



The maintenance of roads and bridges in England was in the fourteenth
century one of those charges which weighed, like military service,
on the whole of the nation. All landed proprietors were obliged,
in theory, to watch over the good condition of the highways; their
tenants had to execute the repairs for them. The religious houses
themselves, owners of property given in _frank almoigne_, that is
to say, with a purely charitable object, were dispensed from every
service and rent towards their benefactor, no other charge being
usually left but that of saying prayers or giving alms for the repose
of the donor’s soul. It remained, however, for them to satisfy for
public weal the _trinoda necessitas_, or triple obligation, which
among other duties consisted in the repairing of bridges.[2] {30}

There existed in England a very considerable network of roads,
the principal of which dated as far back as the Roman times. The
province of Britain had been one of those where the greatest care
had been bestowed upon the military and commercial ways by the Roman
emperors. “The network of roads in the island,” says Mommsen, “which
was uncommonly developed, and for which in particular Hadrian did
much in connection with the building of his wall, was of course
primarily subservient to military ends; but alongside of, and in
part taking precedence over the legionary camps, Londinium occupies
in that respect a place which brings clearly into view its leading
position in traffic.”[3] In many places are yet to be found remnants
of the Roman highways, the more important of which were called
in Anglo-Saxon times, and since, Watling Street, Erming Street,
the Fosse, and Ikenild Street. “These Roman ways in Britain have
frequently been continued as the publick roads, so that where a
Roman military way is wanting, the presumption is in favour of the
present highroad, if that be nearly in the same direction.”[4] There
are two reasons for that permanence: the first is that the roads
were built by the Romans to supply needs which have not ceased to be
felt; being cut, for instance, from London to the north through York;
towards Cornwall along the sea coast; towards the Welsh mines, &c.;
the second reason is the way in which they were built. “A portion of
the Fosse Road which remains at Radstock, about ten miles south-west
of Bath, and was opened in February, 1881, showed the following
construction: {31}

“1. Pavimentum, or foundation, fine earth, hard beaten in.

“2. Statumen, or bed of the road, composed of large stones, sometimes
mixed with mortar.

“3. Ruderatio, or small stones well mixed with mortar.

“4. Nucleus, formed by mixing lime, chalk, pounded brick or tile; or
gravel, sand, and lime mixed with clay.

“5. Upon this was laid the surface of the paved road, technically
called the _summum dorsum_.”[5]

All Roman roads were not built with so much care and in such an
enduring fashion; they were, however, all of them substantial enough
to resist for centuries, and they remained in use during the Middle
Ages. Other roads besides were opened during that epoch to provide
for new fortified towns and castles, and to satisfy the needs of
great landowners, religious or otherwise.

The keeping of roads and bridges in repair, the latter included
in the _trinoda necessitas_, was not considered as worldly, but
rather as pious and meritorious work before God, of the same sort as
visiting the sick or caring for the poor;[6] men saw in them a true
charity for a certain category of sufferers, namely, travellers; this
is why the clergy submitted to it. The pious character of this kind
of {32} labour may suffice to prove that the roads were not so safe
or in such a good state as has been sometimes maintained.[7] The
noblest outcome of the religious spirit prevalent in the Middle Ages
was that disinterested enthusiasm which, as soon as some distress of
humanity became flagrant, created societies for help and rendered
self-denial popular. One of these distresses was seen, for example,
in the power of the infidel, and the Crusades were the consequence.
The forsaken condition of the lowest classes in the towns was noticed
in the thirteenth century, and St. Francis sent for the consolation
of the neglected, those mendicant friars at first so justly popular,
and who so promptly fell into disrepute. After the same fashion
travellers were considered as sufferers deserving pity, and help
was given to them to please God. A religious order with this end in
view had been founded in the twelfth century, that of the _Pontiff_
brothers, or makers of bridges (_pons_, bridge), which spread into
several countries of the Continent.[8] In France they built over the
Rhône the celebrated bridge of Avignon, which yet preserves four
arches of their construction; and the one at Pont St. Esprit, which
is still in use, nineteen out of its twenty-five arches dating from
the years 1265 to 1309 when it was erected. To break the force of
such a current as that of the Rhône they built, near together, piers
of oblong form, ending in a sharp angle at the two extremities of
their axis,[9] and their masonry was {35} so solid that in many
places the waters have respected it to the present day, that is, for
eight centuries. They also had establishments on the banks of rivers,
and helped to cross them by boat. Their most memorable accomplishment
was, however, the replacing of the same ferries and of short-lived,
often dangerous timber bridges by stone ones, the normal progression
for river crossing being, throughout ages, the ford, the ferry, the
timber bridge, the stone bridge. Laymen learnt the secret of their
art and in the thirteenth century began to take their place. Bridges
multiplied in France; many still exist, such, for example, as the
fine fourteenth-century bridge at Orthez, the two at Limoges, of the
thirteenth century, one of them with its chapel, the beautiful bridge
at Cahors, where even the machicolated turrets which formerly served
to defend it are still preserved, restored, it is true, by the clever
but strong hand of Viollet Le Duc.[10]


(_Twelfth Century; present state._)]

In England, as in France, wooden bridges had in most cases preceded
stone ones. The former were built of oak, like the one over the
river Lune, in the city of Lancaster, for which we find John of
Gaunt writing to “monsire Adam de Hoghton, nostre chief forestier de
Wyresdale,” to hand to John Ermyte of Singleton, who had actually
paid for them, one hundred and twenty oak trees from the said forest
of Wyresdale, “selected among the properest and aptest, such as the
said John will designate. And {36} mind not to fail to act thus,
nor cause that the before mentioned work be thereby delayed in any

There is no trace in England of establishments founded by the Bridge
Friars, but it is certain that there, as elsewhere, the works for
constructing bridges and highways had a pious character. To encourage
the faithful to take part in them, Richard de Kellawe, Bishop of
Durham from 1311 to 1316, remitted part of the penance for their
sins. The registry of his episcopal chancery contains frequent
entries such as the following: “Memorandum . . . his lordship grants
forty days indulgence to all who will draw from the treasure that God
has given them valuable and charitable aid towards the building and
repair of Botyton bridge.” Forty days are allowed on another occasion
for help towards the bridge and the highroad between Billingham and
Norton,[12] and forty days for the {39} great road from Brotherton
to Ferrybridge. The wording of this last decree is characteristic:

“To all those, &c. Persuaded that the minds of the faithful are more
ready to attach themselves to _pious works_ when they have received
the salutary encouragement of fuller indulgences, trusting in the
mercy of God Almighty and the merits and prayers of the glorious
Virgin his Mother, of St. Peter, St. Paul, and of the most holy
confessor Cuthbert our patron, and all saints, we remit forty days
of the penances imposed on all our parishioners and others . . .
sincerely contrite and shriven of their sins, who shall help by their
charitable gifts, _or by their bodily labour_, in the building or in
the maintenance of the causeway between Brotherton and Ferrybridge on
which _a great many people pass_.”[13]


(_Thirteenth Century; photographed by Mr. Enlart, director of the
Trocadero Museum._)]

Causeways, owing to the abundance of marshy ground, since drained,
were scarcely less needed than bridges and were also considered a
meritorious work. A passage in Leland well shows what they consisted
of, how much wanted, and what a proper object they were, for generous
minded, pious benefactors: “This cawsey by Skipbridge towards Yorke
hathe a nineteen small bridges on it for avoydinge and overpassynge
carres cuming out of the mores thereby. One Blackeburne, that was
twys maior of Yorke, made this cawsey and a nothar without one of
the suburbs of Yorke. This Blakeburn hathe a solemne _obiit_ in the
Minstar of Yorke and a cantuari at Richemond.”[14]

Municipal bodies, as well as gilds, those lay brotherhoods imbued
with the religious spirit, took care also in many cases of roads and
bridges. The Gild of the Holy Cross in Birmingham, founded under
Richard II, did this, and their intervention was most valuable, as
the {40} Commissioners of Edward VI remarked two centuries later. The
gild then “mainteigned . . . and kept in good reparaciouns two greate
stone bridges, and divers foule and daungerous high wayes, the charge
whereof the towne of hitsellfe ys not hable to mainteign. So that
the lacke thereof wilbe a greate noysaunce to the kinges ma^{ties}
subjectes passing to and from the marches of Wales and an vtter ruyne
to the same towne, being one of the fayrest and most proffittuble
townes to the kinges highnesse in all the shyre.”[15]

An example of municipal action can be found in the Ordinances of
Worcester, prescribing that “the Brugge (bridge) may be overseyn at
alle tymes for the surete of the cite. And that the reparacion of the
saide Brugge be overloked by the chamberleyns every quarter.”[16]

Whether Queen Mathilda (twelfth century) got wetted or not, as is
supposed, on passing the ford of the river at Stratford-atte-Bow—that
same village where afterwards the French was spoken at which old
Chaucer smiled—certain it is that she thought she was doing a
meritorious work in constructing two bridges there.[17] Several times
repaired, Bow Bridge was still standing in 1839. The queen endowed
her foundation, granting land and a water-mill to the Abbess of
Barking with a perpetual charge thereon for the maintenance of the
bridge and the neighbouring roadway. When the queen died, an abbey
for men was founded at the same Stratford, close to the bridges, and
the abbess hastened to transfer to the new monastery the property
in the mill and the charge of the reparations. The abbot had them
done at first, {41} then wearied of it, and delegated the care of
them to one Godfrey Pratt. He had built this man a house on the
causeway beside the bridge, and paid him an annual grant. For a long
time Pratt carried out the contract, “getting assistance,” says an
inquiry of Edward I, “from some passers-by, but without often having
recourse to their aid.” He also received alms from travellers, and
his affairs prospered. They prospered so well that the abbot thought
he would withdraw his pension; Pratt indemnified himself the best
way he could. He set up iron bars across the bridge and made all pay
who passed over, except the rich, for he prudently made exception
“for nobility; he feared them and let them pass without molesting
them.” The dispute only ended in the time of Edward II; the abbot
acknowledged his fault; resumed the charge of the bridge, and
suppressed the iron bars, the toll, and Godfrey Pratt himself.


(_From a print dated 1831._)]

This bridge, over which no doubt Chaucer must have passed, was of
stone, the arches were narrow and the piers thick; strong angular
buttresses strengthened them and broke the force of the current;
these formed at the upper part a triangle or siding which served as
a refuge for foot-passengers, for the way was so narrow that a cart
sufficed to fill it. When it was pulled down in 1839, it was found
that the method of construction had been very simple. To ground the
piers in the bed of the river the masons had simply thrown down
stones and mortar till the level of the water had been reached.
{42} It was remarked also that the ill-will of Pratt or the abbot or
their successors must have rendered the bridge almost as dangerous
at certain moments as the primitive ford. The wheels of the vehicles
had hollowed such deep ruts in the stone and the horses’ shoes had so
worn the pavement that an arch had been at one time pierced through.

No less striking as a case where pious motives caused the building of
a bridge is the contract of the thirteenth century, by which Reginald
de Rosels allowed Peter, Abbot of Whitby, to erect a permanent bridge
on the river Esk, between his own and the convent’s lands. He pledged
himself in that act to permit to all comers free access to the bridge
through his own property. “For which concession the aforesaid Abbot
and convent have absolved in chapter all the ancestors of the same
Reginald of all fault and transgression they may have committed
against the church of Whiteby and have made them participant of all
the good works, alms, and prayers of the church of Whiteby.”[18]
Numerous other examples of the same sort might be quoted; but it will
be enough to add, as being perhaps more characteristic of the times
than all the rest, the recommendations which Truth in the “Vision
concerning Piers the Plowman” makes to the wealthy English merchants,
the number of whom had so largely increased during the fourteenth
century. Truth bids them to do several works of charity, which he
considers of the highest importance for their salvation; they ought,
among other things, to “amenden mesondieux,” that is, hospitals for
sick people and for travellers; to repair “wikked wayes,” that is to
say, bad roads; and also

    “ . . . brygges to-broke · by the heye weyes
     Amende in som manere wise.” {43}

For this and for helping prisoners, poor scholars, etc., they will
have no little recompense. When they are about to die St. Michael
himself will be sent to drive away devils that they be not tormented
by evil spirits in their last moments:

    “And ich shal sende yow my-selve · seynt Michel myn Angel
     That no devel shal yow dere · ne despeir in youre deyinge,
     And sende youre soules · ther ich my-self dwelle.”[19]

The pious character of the bridges was also shown by the chapels that
stood on them. Bow Bridge was thus placed under the protection of
St. Catherine. London Bridge had a chapel dedicated to St. Thomas of
Canterbury;[20] a roomy Gothic building of apsidal form, with high
windows and wrought pinnacles, almost a church. A miniature in a
manuscript, of which a reproduction on a reduced scale is given at
the beginning of this chapter, shows it fixed on the middle pier,
whilst along the parapet are houses with gabled roofs, whose storeys
project and overhang the Thames.

This was a famous bridge. No Englishman of the Middle Ages, and
even of the Renaissance, ever spoke but with pride of London
Bridge; it was the great national wonder; until the middle of the
eighteenth century it remained (with the exception of some small
ones which have disappeared as well as the narrow waters that they
crossed)[21] the only bridge of the capital. It had been commenced
in 1176, on the site of an old wooden {44} structure, dating back
to Saxon times,[22] by Peter Colechurch, “priest and chaplain,” who
had already once repaired the wooden bridge. The whole nation was
stirred by this great and useful enterprise; the King, the citizens
of London, the dwellers in the shires endowed the building with lands
and sent money to hasten its completion. The list of donors was still
to be seen in the sixteenth century, on “a table fayre written for
posterity,”[23] in the bridge chapel.

A little while before his death in 1205 another had taken the place
of Peter Colechurch, then very old, as director of the works. King
John, who was in France, struck with the beauty of the bridges of
that country, and having heard of the magnificent bridge of Saintes
which lasted till the middle of the nineteenth century, and which
was approached by a Roman triumphal arch, chose, as successor to
Colechurch, a Frenchman, called Isembert, “master of the Saintes
schools” (1202). Isembert, who had given proof of his capacity in
the bridges of La Rochelle and of Saintes,[24] set out with his
assistants, furnished with a royal patent addressed to the mayor and
inhabitants of London. John Lackland therein vaunted the skill of the
master, a man, he said, “of both knowledge and honesty,” and declared
that the revenue arising from the houses that he would build upon
the bridge should be consecrated for ever to the maintenance of an
edifice “so necessary for you and for all those passing thereby.”[25]


(_As it stood about_ A.D. 1600.)]


The bridge was finished in 1209, when four “worthy marchants of
London” had become “principall maisters of that work.”[26] It was
furnished with houses, a chapel, and defensive towers. It immediately
became celebrated, and was the admiration of all England. The Scot,
Sir David Lindesay, Earl of Crawford, having fallen out with Lord
Welles, ambassador at the Scottish Court, a duel was decided on,
and Lindesay chose London Bridge as the place of combat (1390). He
crossed the length of the kingdom, supplied with a safe-conduct from
King Richard II, and the duel solemnly came off at the place fixed in
the presence of an immense concourse. The first shock was so violent
that the lances were shivered, but the Scotchman remained immovable
in his saddle. The people, fearing for the success of the English
diplomat, shouted that his adversary was tied to his horse against
all rules. Hearing this Lindesay, by way of reply, leapt lightly to
the ground, with one bound returned to the saddle and, charging his
adversary anew, overthrew and grievously wounded him.[27]

The houses built on the bridge were several storeys high; they had
cellars in the thickness of the piers. When the inhabitants needed
water they lowered their buckets by ropes out of the windows and
filled them in the Thames. Sometimes they helped with their ropes
poor fellows whose boat had capsized: the arches were narrow, and it
was not uncommon in the dark for a boat to strike against the piers
and be dashed to pieces. The Duke of Norfolk and several others were
saved in this manner in 1428, but some of their companions were
drowned. At other times the inhabitants themselves had need of help,
for it happened occasionally that the houses, badly repaired, leaned
forward and fell in one {48} block into the river. A catastrophe of
this kind took place in 1481.

One of the twenty arches of the bridge, the thirteenth from the City
side, formed a drawbridge to allow boats to pass,[28] and also to
close the approach to the town; this was the obstacle which in 1553
hindered the insurgents led by Sir Thomas Wyatt from entering London.
Beside the movable arch rose a tower on the summit of which the
executioner long placed the heads of decapitated criminals. That of
the Lord Chancellor, Sir Thomas More, bled for a time on the end of
a pike on this tower before it was redeemed by Margaret Roper, the
daughter of the thinker who had written—“Utopia.”

Travellers wondered at the gruesome sight. “In London,” wrote Joseph
Justus Scaliger, who visited the city in 1566, “there ever were many
heads on the bridge. . . . I have seen there, as it were [masts] of
ships and at the top of them quarters of men’s corpses.”[29]

In 1576, this tower of sombre memories was splendidly reconstructed;
the new one, containing fine rooms, flooded with light by innumerable
windows, was entirely of wood, carved and gilt, in the “paper worke”
style popular in Elizabeth’s time, censured by steady Harrison. It
was called “None-such House.” The heads of the “traitors,” sometimes
traitors, sometimes saints, were no more to pollute a building
so cheerful in aspect; they were placed on the next tower on the
Southwark side. Four years after this change, fashionable Lyly the
{49} Euphuist ended one of his books with a triumphal praise of
England, its products, its universities, its capital, adding: “Among
all the straunge and beautiful showes, mee thinketh there is none so
notable as the Bridge which crosseth the Theames, which is in manner
of a continuall streete, well replenyshed with large and stately
houses on both sides, and situate upon twentie arches, whereof each
one is made of excellent free stone squared, euerye one of them being
three-score foote in height, and full twentie in distaunce one from
an other.”[30]

The same arrangement prevailed in the case of important bridges in
many countries. In Paris the “Notre Dame” bridge had the appearance
of a street with sixty-eight houses built on it.[31] The bridge at
Poissy[32] and others were of the same sort, the most famous of those
which remain being the “Ponte Vecchio” in Florence.

Even at the time when Lyly praised London Bridge as deserving a
place among the “straunge and beautiful {50} showes” of the city, and
Stow described it as “a worke verie rare,” the structure was giving
more and more frequent signs of decay. Ben Jonson describes a little
later his Pennyboy senior as minding

    “A curtesie no more then London-bridge
     What arch was mended last.”[33]

Upon which that sour-mouthed reformer of poetry, and of bridges,
William Gifford, observed in his day: “Two hundred years have nearly
elapsed since this was written, and the observation still holds. This
pernicious structure has wasted more money in perpetual repairs than
would have sufficed to build a dozen safe and commodious bridges, and
cost the lives, perhaps, of as many thousand people. This may seem
little to those whom it concerns—but there is blood on the city, and
a heavy account is before them. Had an alderman or a turtle been lost
there, the nuisance would have been long removed.”[34]

Without specifying whether it was out of fear of Gifford, or interest
in the aldermanic turtle, or perhaps some higher motives too, the
proper authorities took radical measures as to the bridge in the
first part of the nineteenth century. An attempt was first made to
preserve it with the houses taken down, and broad, solid arches
replacing the old ones in the centre of the stream; it had finally to
be removed altogether. The present bridge, built near the site of the
old one, replaced the “straunge and beautiful showe” of Lylyan days,
the “pernicious structure” of Giffordian ones, and was opened to
circulation in 1831, the expense having been £1,458,311. It must now
live five centuries more to equal the longevity of its predecessor.


(_From a water-colour painting by C. Pyne._)]

This had been, all its life long, an exceptional bridge, {53} with
a biography of its own, worthy of a biographer, which it got;[35]
the others presented a less grandiose appearance. People were even
very glad to find bridges like the one at Stratford-at-Bow, in spite
of its want of width and its deep ruts; or like the wooden bridge
over the Dyke with arches so low and narrow that all water traffic
was interrupted by any slight rising of the level of the water. The
state of this last bridge, which, in truth, was more of a hindrance
than a help to communications, at length excited the indignation of
neighbouring counties. During the fifteenth century, it was granted,
therefore, to the inhabitants upon their pressing request, that they
might reconstruct the bridge, with a movable arch for boats.[36]

In the same way disappeared, also in the fifteenth century, a bridge
described by Leland in his “Itinerary” as having been a “poore bridge
of tymber and no causey to come to it,” which crossed the Avon at
Stratford. It was in such a state that “many poore folkys and othar
refusyd to cum to Stratford when Avon was up, or cominge thithar
stoode in jeoperdy of lyfe.” The rich Sir Hugh of Clopton, sometime
mayor of London, who was born at Clopton near Stratford, and died in
1497, moved by the danger of his compatriots, and “having never wife
nor children, convertid a great peace of his substance in good workes
in Stratford, first making a sumptuus new bridge and large of stone,
wher in the middle be a vi great arches for the maine streame of Avon
and at eche ende certen smaul arches to bere the causey, and so to
passe commodiously at such tymes as the ryver risith.”[37] This same
bridge is still in use, and well deserves the praise bestowed upon it
by Leland. But fine as it {54} is, one would have less regretted its
disappearance than the destruction of a “praty house of bricke and
tymbre,” built by the same Hugh of Clopton with the purpose of ending
his days in it. That house was purchased afterwards—also with the
intent of ending his life in it—by a certain countryman of Hugh, who
has since become famous enough, William Shakespeare, who repaired the
house, then called New Place, and died in it in the year 1616.

The calling in of the foreign cleric Isembert to superintend the
works of London Bridge seems to have been exceptional. The building
of ordinary bridges was usually entrusted to local craftsmen or
masons; and it would have been strange indeed if the people who could
raise such splendid cathedral naves all over England, had been at
a loss to span rivers with bridges. One of the few indentures for
the building of a bridge which have come down to us concerns the
re-construction of Catterick bridge, Yorkshire, in 1422, on the great
Roman road, the Erming Street, and the contractors seem to have been
English. The document is curious in many respects.

The contract binds several authorities on the one hand, and “Tho.
Ampilforde, John Garette, and Robert Maunselle, masons,” on the
other. It is stated in it “yat y^e foresaides Tho., John, and Rob.,
schalle make a brigge of stane oure (over) y^e water of Swalle atte
Catrik be twix y^e old stane brigge and y^e new brigge of tree (of
wood), quilke forsaid brigge, with y^e grace of God, salle be made
sufficiant [and war]kmanly in mason craft accordand in substance
to Barnacastelle brigge, aftir y^e ground and y^e watyr accordes,
of twa pilers, twa land stathes (abutments), and thre arches.” The
deed goes on to give a minute account of the way in which every
part of the work must be performed, of the material that will be
used, and of the time when the bridge must be entirely finished and
open to circulation: “And y^e {57} saides John, Tho., and Rob.,
schalle this forsaid brigge sufficiantly in masoncraft make and
fully perfurnist in all partiez and holy endyd be y^e Fest of Seint
Michille y^e Arcangelle quilk y^t shalle fall in y^e yere of our
Lorde Gode M^{le} ccccxxv.” It is understood besides that they will
receive in payment, at certain fixed dates, “gounes,” and also sums
of money, the total of which will be 260 marks sterling.[38]


(_Fifteenth Century._)]

The bridge built by the three masons, John, Thomas, and Robert,
is still in existence, but it has undergone great and grievous

We have already seen some examples of the means employed at this
period to secure the maintenance of these valuable constructions,
when that maintenance had to be ensured by something more than
the charges incident to the ownership of the neighbouring lands
(_trinoda necessitas_); we know that it was sometimes provided
through “indulgences” promised to benefactors, sometimes by the
action of gilds, or municipalities, sometimes also by the endowments
with which one of the great would enrich the bridge founded by him.
But without speaking of occasional gifts,[39] several other methods
were employed with success, even with profit, such as the lawful
levying of those tolls which Godfrey Pratt had arbitrarily imposed
on his fellow citizens, or the collection of pious offerings made at
the chapel of the bridge and to its warden. The right of toll was
called _brudtholl_ (bridgetoll) or _pontagium_; the grantee, to whom
the benefit went, bound himself in return to make all the necessary
repairs. Sometimes the King accorded the right as a favour during a
certain period, as appears, for example, from the {58} following
petition, which is of the time of Edward I or Edward II:

 “To our lord the king, prays his vassal William of Latymer lord
 of Yarm,[40] that he will grant him pontage for five years at the
 bridge of Yarm, which is broken down, where men were wont to pass
 with carts and with horses on the king’s highway between the water
 of Tees towards Scotland. May it please him to do this for the soul
 of Madame his consort, who is to God commended, and for the common
 profit of the people who pass.” The King’s reply was favourable:
 “The King grants the pontage for the term.”[41]

Some of the tariffs in force at certain bridges during the fourteenth
century have come down to us and have been printed; the most detailed
of these is of the year 1306, and concerns London Bridge. It is
annexed to a patent of Edward I, and enumerates not only passengers,
carriages, and animals of every quality or description, but also
every sort of “saleable” ware which may pass either on or under
the bridge: though it may seem somewhat unfair to have drawn money
from shipmen towards the expenses of a structure that was their
most formidable competitor.[42] This list, which is a great help in
forming an exact idea of the commodities brought {59} to London by
land or by river, covers no less than four pages of printed matter:
including coal, timber, beer, wines, horses, cattle, pigs, grain,
sheep, butter and cheese, fish, furs and skins, metal pots and cups,
millstones, silk and other cloths, etc.; the place they come from is
sometimes mentioned: Northampton, Flanders, Normandy.

Another very curious petition (1334) will show the use of the other
mode, that is, the collection of voluntary offerings from charitable
passers-by. The share of the clergy in the care of these buildings,
the greediness with which the profitable right of collecting the
gifts was disputed, and the embezzlements sometimes resulting
therefrom are to be noticed:

 “To our lord the king and his Council showeth their poor chaplain,
 Robert le Fenere, parson of the church of St. Clement, of
 Huntingdon, of the diocese of Lincoln, that there is a little
 chapel lately built in his parish on the bridge of Huntingdon, the
 keeping of which chapel our lord the king has granted and delivered
 during pleasure to one Sir Adam, warden of the house of St. John
 of Huntingdon, who receives and takes away all manner of offerings
 and alms without doing anything for the repair of the bridge or of
 the said chapel as he is bound to do. On the other hand, it seems
 hurtful to God and Holy Church that offerings should be appropriated
 to any one except to the parson within whose parish the chapel is
 founded. Wherefore the said Robert prays, for God and Holy Church
 and for the souls of our lord the king’s father and his ancestors,
 that he may have the keeping of the said chapel annexed to his
 church, together with the charge of the bridge, and he will take
 heed with all care to maintain them well, with better will than any
 stranger, for the profit and honour of Holy Church, to please God
 and all people passing that way.”[43]


This jumble of human and divine interests (from the birthplace,
that was to be, of Oliver Cromwell) was submitted to the usual
examination, and the request was set aside, with the following note:
“Non est peticio parliamenti”; it is not a petition for Parliament.

In many cases, the bridge was itself at once proprietor of real
estate and beneficiary of the offerings made to its chapel, and
sometimes also grantee of a right of toll; it had income from both
civil and religious sources. Such were notably the bridges of London,
of Rochester,[44] of Bedford, and many others. John de Bodenho,
chaplain, explains to Parliament that the inhabitants of Bedford hold
their own town at farm from the king, and have undertaken to maintain
their bridge. For this they “assigned certain tenements and rents in
the said town to support it, and with their alms have newly built
an oratory on the side of the water belonging to Lord Mowbray, by
leave of the lord, adjoining the said bridge.” The burgesses gave to
the plaintiff the charge of the reparations, together with the whole
revenues. But the priest, John of Derby, represented to the king that
it was a royal chapel which he might dispose of, and the king has
given it to him, which is very unjust, since the chapel is not the
king’s; even those who founded it are still living. All these reasons
were found good; the judges were ordered to grant the plaintiff’s
plea, and {61} were reprimanded for not having done it sooner, as
had already been prescribed to them.[45]

Enriched by so many offerings, protected by the _trinoda necessitas_,
and by the common interest of the landed proprietors, these bridges
should have been continually repaired, and have remained sound.
But there was nothing of the sort, and the distance between legal
theory and actual practice was great. When the taxes were regularly
collected and honestly applied, they usually sufficed to support
the building; even the right of collecting them, being in itself
profitable, was, as has been seen, strongly contested for; but the
example of Godfrey Pratt and of some others has already shown that
all the wardens were not honest. Many, even in the highest positions,
imitated Godfrey. London Bridge itself, so rich, so useful, so
admired, was in constant need of repairs, never done until danger
was imminent, or even a catastrophe had happened. Henry III granted
the farm of the bridge revenues “to his beloved wife,” who neglected
to maintain it, and appropriated to herself without scruple the
rents of the building; none the less did the king renew his patent
at the expiration of the term, that his said beloved might benefit
“from a richer favour.” The result was not long awaited; it was soon
found that the bridge was in ruins, and to restore it the ordinary
resources were not enough; it was necessary to send collectors
throughout the country to gather offerings from those willing to
give. Edward I, in January 1281, begged his subjects to hasten;
the bridge would give way if they did not send prompt assistance.
He ordered the archbishops, bishops, all the clergy, to allow his
collectors to address the people freely with “pious exhortations,”
that the subsidies should be craved without delay. But nevertheless
the supplies arrived too late; the catastrophe had already happened,
a “sudden {62} ruin” had befallen the bridge, and to repair this
misfortune the king established a special tax upon the passengers,
merchandise and boats (February 4, 1282), which tax was imposed
again and the new tariff afore mentioned was put into force on May
7, 1306. What this sudden ruin was we learn from Stow’s “Annales”;
the winter had been very severe, the frost and snow had caused great
cracks in the floor of the bridge, so that towards the Feast of the
Purification (February 2), five of the arches fell in. Many other
bridges, too, in the country had suffered damage, Rochester Bridge
had even entirely fallen.[46]

It may be imagined what fate awaited unendowed country bridges. The
alms from the passers-by proved insufficient, so that little by
little, nobody repairing them, the arches wore through, the parapets
were detached, not a cart passed but fresh stones disappeared in
the river, and soon carriages and riders could not venture without
danger over the half demolished building. If moreover a flood should
occur, all was over with the bridge and often with the imprudent
or hurried travellers who might be crossing late in the evening.
An accident of this kind was brought up for his justification by a
chamberlain of North Wales, from whom Edward III claimed a hundred
marks. The chamberlain averred that he had duly sent the money by
his clerk, William of Markeley; but, alas, “the said William was
drowned in Severn, at Moneford bridge, by the rising flood of water,
and could not be found, so that he was devoured by beasts; thus the
said hundred marks chanced to be {63} lost.”[47] At that time there
were still wolves in England, and the disappearance of the body, with
the 100 marks, though even then wolves did not feed on marks, would
appear less unlikely than at present.

In those days neglect attained a degree now impossible and which we
can scarcely imagine. The Commons of the counties of Nottingham,
Derby, and Lincoln, and of the town of Nottingham, declare to the
Good Parliament of 1376, that there is near the town of Nottingham a
great bridge over the Trent, called Heybethebridge, “to the making
and repair of which nobody is bound and alms only are collected,
by which bridge all the comers and goers between the north and the
south parts should have their passage.” This bridge is “ruinous,” and
“oftentimes have several persons been drowned, as well horsemen as
carts, man, and harness.” The complainants pray for power to appoint
two bridge wardens, who shall administer the property that will be
given in view of its maintenance, “for God and as a work of charity.”
But the king did not accede to their request.[48]

Or maybe it happened that the riverside proprietors let their
obligation fall into oblivion, even when it was at the beginning
formal and precise enough. The legislator had, however, taken some
precautions; he had inscribed bridges on the list of the articles
for those inquiries periodically opened in England by the justices
in Eyre, sheriffs and bailiffs, as we shall see further on[49]; but
those concerned found means to defraud the law. People had been so
long used to see ruin menace the edifice, that when it actually did
give way no one could say who ought to have repaired it. It then
became {64} necessary to apply to the king for a special inquiry,
and to seek on whom lay the service. Parliament thus decides in 1339,
on the demand of the prior of St. Neots: “_Item_, let there be good
and true men assigned to survey the bridge and causeway of St. Neots,
whether they be broken down and carried away by the rising of the
waters, as the prior alleges, or not. And in case they are broken
down and carried away, to inquire who ought and was used to have it
repaired, and who is bound of right to do it; and how the bridge and
roadway may be re-made and repaired. And what they[50] find they
shall return into the chancery.”

In consequence of such inquests the persons charged with the
maintenance being determined by the findings of a jury convened on
the spot, a tax is levied upon them for the carrying out of the
repairs. But they often protest and refuse to pay; they are sued,
they appeal to the king; horse, cart, anything that may come to
hand and which belongs to them is promptly seized to be sold for
the benefit of the bridge; the dispute drags on, and meanwhile the
edifice gives way. Hamo de Morston, for example, in the eleventh
year of Edward II, complains that his horse has been taken from him.
Called to justify themselves, Simon Porter and two others who have
made the seizure, explain that there is a bridge at Shoreham, called
the Long bridge, which is half destroyed; now it has been found that
the building ought to be restored at the expense of the tenants
of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Hamo, who is one of them, having
refused to pay his part of the contribution, Simon and the others
took the horse. They acted by order of a bailiff, and their conduct
is vindicated. Another case of the same period is that of the Abbot
of Coggeshall who, after a similar inquest, refused to execute any
{65} repairs to a bridge near his lands under pretext that within
memory of man there had been no other bridge over the river “than
a certain plank of board,” and that at all times it had been found
sufficient for horsemen and pedestrians. Innumerable are the examples
of inquests of this sort and of the difficulties in executing the
measures decided on.[51]

Owing to these several causes the chronicle-history of even the most
important English bridges, when it is possible to trace it, is a long
tale of crumblings into the river, rebuildings, and repairs, and
ever-recurring catastrophes. Sometimes when the damage was great,
and much money was needed and was not forthcoming, a ferry was
established as a substitute for the late bridge, and remained in use
for years and years together.

Such a series of events is offered by the history of the bridge on
the Tweed at Berwick, which was one of the longest in England. The
first time we hear of it is in the year 1199, and the news is that it
gave way at that date, owing to a rise of the river. It was rebuilt
and gave way again. Sometimes it was rebuilt of wood and sometimes of
stone; occasionally it fell altogether from end to end, and then a
ferry was established, and was maintained for a long period. This was
the case in 1294, when great harm was done by the inundations. “Where
the bridge fell at this time,” says the latest historian of Berwick,
“there it lay for many years. The only method of crossing was by
ferry boats, worked from both sides of the river; while the ferry in
times of danger was defended by soldiers. Thus, in Sir Robert Heron’s
(the controller) ‘Book of Bills’ for 1310, there is allowed one half
quarter of pease to each of six crossbowmen (one of them being John
Sharp Arewe) guarding the ferry of the Tweed at Berwick.”[52] The
ferry {66} follows vicissitudes scarcely less numerous than the
bridge itself, and disputes arise as to the right of working it, or
rather of collecting its tolls. The revenues of the bridge, now that
there is no longer any bridge, are also a matter of difficulty, and
the king has to interfere to settle the question of the rents of
houses and of fisheries belonging to the ruined monument.

In 1347 at last the citizens of the town began to think seriously
of rebuilding their bridge, and the king granted them the right of
collecting towards the expenses a toll of sixpence on every ship
entering their harbour. The bridge was then rebuilt, but not in such
a way as not to fall again, which has since happened to it many times.

Not less doleful is the story of the bridge on the Dee at Chester, of
which we hear in the chronicles for the first time in 1227 and 1297,
on account of its being carried away by the water,[53] and the same
may be said of many of the bridges of mediæval England, especially
the longer ones.

When rebuilding had to be done people generally did not care to
remove what remained of the old monument, for which reason, when a
bridge has broken down in our time, it has been often found that it
was made of an accumulation of superimposed bridges. Of this the
bridge over the Teign, between Newton Abbot and Teignmouth, rebuilt
in 1815, is an example. It became, in this case, apparent that four
successive bridges at least had been at various times erected with
or over the remains of previous constructions. Mr. P. T. Taylor, who
investigated the matter at that time, gave as his opinion “that
the last or upper work was done in the sixteenth century, and that
the red bridge had been built on the salt marsh in the thirteenth
century; since which time there has been an accumulation of soil to
the depth of ten feet. He supposes the wooden bridge to be as old
{69} as the Conquest, and the white stone bridge to have been a Roman


(_Fourteenth Century; present state_)]

Given these circumstances, it is rather a matter of surprise than
otherwise to find that a good number of mediæval bridges still
subsist in England; the more so as the nineteenth century has been
a great destroyer of bridges. The enormous increase of population
and the proportionate want of means of communication during that
period has proved fatal to many bridges, and especially to the more
famous and important ones which had been built in the more largely
populated districts. Owing to such necessities London Bridge itself
has disappeared, and even the recollection of the long years, during
which it had been, so to say, a factor in English history and
associated with the life of the nation, could not save it.

Many others had the same fate, or were, at least, as at Norwich,
Durham, Chester, Wakefield, Monmouth, and elsewhere, partly rebuilt
or enlarged, not always in such a way as to retain much of their
pristine appearance. For all that, however, enough of them remain
to give an accurate idea of what they were, without having recourse
merely to descriptions or drawings in contemporary manuscripts.
None, it is true, can for elegance and completeness compete with
such bridges as are still to be found in France; for example, with
the magnificent thirteenth-century bridge of _Valentré_ at Cahors,
of which a picture has been given above (p. 37). Those that remain
are sufficient, nevertheless, to testify to the skill of old English
architects in that branch of their art. As might have been expected,
these bridges abound chiefly in those parts of the country where the
increase of traffic and population has been the least conspicuous, on
roads little more frequented to-day than in the Middle Ages, which
then led to strong castles or flourishing monasteries, and only lead
now to {70} ivy-clad ruins. For this reason they are more numerous
in some parts of Wales than anywhere in England.

In several cases the chapels which placed them under the protection
of a saint and where offerings were collected have escaped the
hand of the restorer and are still extant. There is one, of the
fifteenth century, at Rotherham, Yorkshire, “a chapel of stone wel
wrought,” says Leland[55]; another, a fine small one, is to be
seen on the bridge at Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire; a third, a very
tall structure, stands on the middle of the bridge at St. Ives,
Huntingdonshire; but the finest example by far is the chapel on
the bridge at Wakefield, both chapel and bridge dating from the
fourteenth century. Leland mentions them as “the faire bridge of
stone of nine arches, under which runnith the river of Calder, and on
the east side of this bridge is a right goodly chapel of our lady and
two cantuarie preestes founded in it.” This foundation was made about
1358; Edward III, by a charter dated at Wakefield, settled “£10 per
annum on William Kaye and William Bull and their successors for ever
to perform divine service in a chapel of St. Mary newly built on the
bridge at Wakefield.”[56]

In our century the bridge has been widened towards the west, the
arches being round on that side and having been left Gothic on the
other. The chapel, the foundations of which rest on an island in the
river, was repaired in 1847, but its original style was carefully
respected.[57] The greatest change is in the surroundings, where
nothing recalls either Dr. Primrose or the clear {73} waters
of Plantagenet times; and the smoke and refuse of innumerable
manufactures blacken the bridge, the chapel, the river, and even the
sky itself.


(_Fourteenth Century; present state_.)]

Several specimens also remain of bridges with the triangular recesses
we have mentioned, left on the top of the piers for the safety
of foot passengers. Among many other examples may be quoted the
beautiful fourteenth-century bridge at Warkworth, Northumberland,[58]
which also deserves notice for another characteristic much more
rarely to be met with, that is, the preservation of the tower built
at one end for its defence. Most of the bridges of any importance
were protected in this way, which, as the country became quieter,
was found useless; the consideration that they were ornamental
rarely sufficed to prevent their being pulled down. Those at Chester
were removed in 1782–1784; those at York were demolished with the
bridge itself, of the thirteenth century, at the beginning of
the nineteenth; the Durham one, built on Framwellgate Bridge, in
1760; the beautiful fortified entrance to one of the two bridges
at Shrewsbury disappeared in the same century, as well as the
whole structure, with the picturesque old houses it bore. It must
be conceded that those towers were sometimes very inconvenient. A
witness of the fact told me that, quite recently, a gipsy’s caravan
was stopped at the tower on Warkworth Bridge, being unable to pass
under it owing to the lowness of the arch. The pavement had to be
hollowed out to allow of the caravan’s proceeding on its way.

The best example of a defensive tower is the machicolated one at
Monmouth, on the Monnow Bridge; except for the opening of passages to
be used by people on foot, the fortified gate looks as it did in the
Middle {74} Ages. The bridge itself, familiar to the Monmouth-born
“Prince Hal” of Shakespeare, and of England, has, been, however,
widened, as at Wakefield and elsewhere. The ribs of the ancient
arches are still visible within the modern ones.

In Elizabethan times defensive towers for bridges continued to be
built, but in poetry only. Spenser raised, in his lines, a beautiful
structure, of Doric style, as befitted the Renaissance days in which
he lived, at the entrance to the island of Venus:

      It was a bridge ybuilt in goodly wize,
      With curious corbes and pendants graven faire,
      And arched all with porches, did arize
    On stately pillours, fram’d after the Doricke guize.

    And for defence thereof, on th’ other end
      There reared was a castle faire and strong,
      That warded all which in and out did wend,
      And flancked both the bridges sides along.[59]

But, except as castles in the air, such fortifications were no longer
in demand.

The rarest of all bridges are, nowadays in England, those having
houses on them, as was the fashion in the Middle Ages. The
picturesque High Bridge at Lincoln, originally built in the 12th
century, still preserves the lodgings built over it[60]; a solitary
house remains on Elvet Bridge at Durham, and the only bridge of some
length, with a complete row of houses, is a comparatively recent one,
being the familiar Pulteney Bridge built at Bath by William Pulteney
in the eighteenth century. {75}



The more numerous of the mediæval bridges still in existence are
those of one arch; there are many of them in Wales, some being most
elegant and picturesque, such as the famous Devil’s Bridge over the
Mynach, near Aberystwith. In England the largest is the one over
the moat of Norwich Castle; and the most curious the three-branched
one at Crowland, this last belonging in its actual state to the
fourteenth century. It is no longer used, as no road passes over it
and no water under.[61] Another of the finest, and one of the least
known, crosses the Esk, near Danby Castle, Yorkshire. Its date is
about 1385; the arms of Neville, Lord Latimer, who had it built, are
yet to be seen at the top of the parapet.


(_Fourteenth Century._)]

Lastly, a word may be said of the larger bridges, most {78} of
which have unfortunately undergone great alterations and repairs.
Besides the Wakefield Bridge above mentioned, there is one over the
Dee, at Chester, part of which is as old as the thirteenth century,
thoroughly repaired since Ormerod disrespectfully described it as “a
long fabric of red stone extremely dangerous and unsightly.”[62] At
Durham there are the Framwellgate and Elvet bridges, both originally
built in the twelfth century. A six-arched bridge, rebuilt in the
fifteenth century, exists at Hereford; another, repaired in 1449,
with the help of indulgences, remains at Bidford.[63] A four-arched
one, built in the fourteenth century, over the Dee is to be seen at
Llangollen, being “one of the _Tri Thlws Cymru_, or three beauties
of Wales;”[64] the arches are irregular in size, for the builder, in
this and many other cases, minding more the solidity of the structure
than its regularity, erected the piers at the places where the
presence of rocks in the bed of the river made it most convenient. A
very noteworthy one is the thirteenth-century bridge over the Nith,
at Dumfries, in Scotland, which had formerly thirteen arches, seven
of which only are now in use. It was long considered the finest after
that of London. Other mediæval bridges of several arches remain
at Huntingdon,[65] at St. Ives, at Norwich (Bishop’s Bridge), at
Potter Heigham (a most picturesque one), at Tewkesbury, etc.[66] The
Tewkesbury one, with the middle arch enlarged in modern times, but
the {79} triangular recesses for foot passengers still in use, dates
back to King John, _teste_ Leland, whose biography of the bridge
shows that it went through the vicissitudes usual in the life of such
buildings: “King John beyng Erle of Glocester by his wife caussid the
bridge of Twekesbyri to be made of stone. He that was put in truste
to do it first made a stone bridge over the gret poure of booth the
armes [of the Avon] by north and weste: and after, to spede and spare
mony, he made at the northe ende a wodde bridge of a greate length
for sodeyne land waters, putting the residue of the mony to making of
the castel of Hanley . . .

“King John gave to the mayntenance of this bridge the hole tolle
of the Wensday and Saturday markets in the towne, the which they
yet possesse, turnyng it rather holely to their owne profit then
reparation of the bridge.”[67]

The maintenance of the roads much resembled that of the bridges;
that is to say, it greatly depended upon chance, opportunity, or the
goodwill or piety of those to whom the adjoining land belonged. In
the case of roads, as of bridges, petitions were sent to Parliament
asking that a tax be levied for the repair of the road upon those who
used it: an early attempt at the establishment of that toll system
which survived in England until the highways were “disturnpiked”
in the second half of the nineteenth century. “Walter Godelak of
Walingford, prays for the establishment of a custom to be {80}
collected from every cart of merchandise using the road between
Jowermersh and Newenham, on account of the depth and for the repair
of the said way. _Reply_: The King will do nothing therein.”[68]
Again, a lady arrogates to herself the right to levy a tax on all
comers: “To our lord the King show the commonalty of the people of
Nottinghamshire passing between Kelm and Newur, that whereas the
King’s highway between the said two towns has been wont to be for all
persons freely to pass, on horseback, in carts, and on foot from time
immemorial, the Lady of Egrum has got hold to herself of the said
road in severalty, taking from those passing along there grievous
ransoms and exactions, in disheritance of the King and his crown and
to the great hurt of the people.” The king orders an inquest.[69]

Even a bishop would occasionally set a bad example, though bound
more than any to set a good one. The inhabitants of Huntingdonshire
and “the Island of Ely” remonstrate in 1314–15, because the men of
those parts, either on foot or on horseback, have always used the
Horketh causeway, “which causway the bishop of Ely is bound to repair
and maintain, they say, for certain rents which he gets; and the
causway is broken by the fault of the bishop, and the same bishop
does not allow ships to pass there under the bridge without levying a
heavy water tax (“theolonium”), which tax ought to be applied to the
reparation and maintenance of the same bridge and causway, and they
crave remedy.” An inquest is ordered.[70]

Sometimes the sheriffs in their turns ordered the levy of taxes on
those who did not repair the roads; the law, as we have seen, allowed
it; but those who were fined protested before Parliament under
the pretext that the {81} roads and the bridges were “sufficient
enough”:—“_Item_, humbly pray the Commons of your realm, as well
spiritual as temporal, complaining that several sheriffs of your
kingdom feign and procure presentments in their turns that divers
roads, bridges, and causways are defective from non-reparation, with
purpose and intent to amerce abbots, priors, and seculars, sometimes
up to ten pounds, sometimes more, sometimes less, and levy the said
amercements by their officers called out-riders, without delay or
any reply of the parties, in places where the said roads, bridges,
and causeys are sufficient enough, or perhaps are not in charge of
the said amerced men.” _Reply_: “Let the common law be kept, and the
amercements reasonable in this case.”[71]

Where negligence began, the ruts, or rather the quags, began. Those
numerous little subterranean arches, which the foot-passenger now
does not even notice, made to carry off rivulets dry during a part
of the year, did not exist then, and the rivulet flowed through
the road. In the East at the present day, the caravaneers talk in
the bazaars of the town about the roads and pathways; we speak of
them ourselves on returning home, as books of travel show. There,
however, a road is often nothing else than a place along which men
are accustomed to pass; it little resembles the dignified highways
the idea of which the word road evokes in European minds. During
the rainy season pools of water cut off the ordinary track of the
horsemen and camels; they increase little by little, and at {82}
length overflow and form temporary rivers. At evening the sun sets
in the heavens and also in the empurpled road; the innumerable
puddles along the way, dotting the ground, reflect the red flaming
clouds; the wet horses and splashed riders shiver in the midst of
all these glimmerings, while overhead and underfoot the two suns
approach one another to meet on the horizon. The roads of the Middle
Ages sometimes were like those of the modern East; the sunsets were
magnificent after showers, but to face long journeys one had to be a
robust horseman, inured to fatigue, with unshakable health. The usual
education and training prepared people, it is true, for all these

The roads in England would have been entirely impassable, and
religious zeal would, no more than the indulgences of the Bishop of
Durham and his peers, have been sufficient to keep them in condition,
if the nobility and the clergy, that is to say, the mass of the
landed proprietors, had not had an immediate and daily interest in
maintaining possible roads. The English kings had had the prudence
not to form great compact fiefs like those which they themselves
owned in France, and which made of them such dangerous vassals.
Their own example had taught them, and, from the beginning, they are
found distributing to the shareholders in that great undertaking,
the Conquest, domains scattered in every part of the island. This
kind of chequered proprietorship, still subsisting in the fourteenth
century, was noticed by Froissart: “And several times,” he says,
giving an account of a talk with his friend and patron, Edward le
Despenser,[72] “it happened that when I rode about the country with
him, _for the lands and revenues of the English barons are here and
there and much scattered_, he called me and said: ‘Froissart, do you
see that great town with the high steeple?’ {83}

“‘Yes, my lord,’ I answered, ‘Why do you say so?’

“‘I say so because it should be mine, but there was a bad queen in
this country who took all from us.’

“And thus, on one occasion or another, did he show me, here and there
in England, more than forty such places.”[73]

The tragic fated Despensers were not alone in having the lands which
they owed to the prince’s favour sown haphazard in every county; all
the great of their rank were in the same case. The king himself,
with all his court, as well as the landed nobility, ceaselessly
went from one country place to another,[74] partly from choice and
partly because they could not do otherwise. In times of peace it was
a semblance of activity that was not displeasing, but especially it
was an economical necessity. All, however rich, were obliged, like
landowners of every age, to live upon the produce of their domains,
first of one, then of the other, and as they went from place to
place, it was very important for them to have passable roads, where
their horses would not stumble and where their baggage wagons, which
served for veritable removals, might have a chance of not being

Military necessity, Scottish wars, French wars, Welsh or Irish wars
had a similar effect, and so had, to a degree, nowadays incredible,
the kings’ passion for hawking. They did not want to be stopped when
following their birds by a broken bridge, and they would order the
commonalty, whether or not it was bound to do so, to make prompt
repairs in view of their coming. Hence Article 23 in the Great
Charter, meant to check this {84} propensity: “Let no community or
man be constrained to make bridges on rivers except those who were
legally bound from old to do so.” As late, however, as October 6,
1373, we find that Edward III commanded “the sheriff of Oxfordshire
to declare that all bridges should be repaired and all fords marked
out with stakes for the crossing of the King ‘with his falcons’
during the approaching winter season.”[75]

In the same way the monks, those vast-landed husbandmen, were much
interested in the proper maintenance of the roads. Their agricultural
undertakings were of considerable extent; an abbey such as that of
Meaux, near Beverley, had in the middle of the fourteenth century,
2,638 sheep, 515 oxen, and 98 horses, with land in proportion.[76]
Besides, as we have seen, the care of watching over the good
condition of the roads was more incumbent on the clergy than on any
other class, because it was a pious and meritorious work.

All these motives combined were enough to provide roads sufficient
for the usual needs, but in those days people were content with
little. Carts and even carriages were heavy, lumbering, solid
machines, which stood the hardest jolts. People of any worth
journeyed on horseback, the use of a carriage being exceptional.
As to those who travelled on foot, they were used to all sorts of
misery. Little then sufficed; and if other proofs were wanting of
the state into which the roads were liable to fall, even in the most
frequented places, we should find them in a patent of Edward III of
November 20, 1353, which orders the paving of the highroad, _alta
via_, running from Temple Bar to Westminster. This road, being almost
a street, had been paved, but, the king explains, it is “so full of
holes and bogs . . . and the pavement is so damaged {85} and broken,”
that the traffic has become very dangerous for men and carts. He
orders, in consequence, each landowner on both sides of the road to
remake, at his own expense, a footway of seven feet up to the ditch,
_usque canellum_. The middle of the road—_inter canellos_—the width
of which is unfortunately not given, is to be paved, and the expense
covered by means of a tax laid on all the merchandise going to the
staple at Westminster.[77]

Three years later a general tax was laid by the City of London on
all carts and horses bringing merchandise or materials of any kind
to the town. The regulation which imposed it, of the thirtieth year
of Edward III, first states that all the roads in the immediate
environs of London are in such bad condition that the carriers,
merchants, etc., “are oftentimes in peril of losing what they bring.”
Henceforth, to help the reparations, a due will be levied on all
vehicles and all laden beasts coming to or going from the city; a
penny per cart and a farthing per horse each way; reductions were
granted in case of constant traffic: a cart bringing sand, gravel, or
clay, paid only threepence a week. By an article the unfairness of
which had nothing exceptional, the richer were made to pay less than
the poorer: “But for the carts and horses of great people and other
folks that bring their own victuals and other goods for the use and
consumption of their own hostels, nothing shall be taken.”[78]

The environs of Paris about the same time presented roads and
bridges quite as badly kept as those in the neighbourhood of London.
Charles VI, in one of his ordinances, states that the hedges and
brambles have greatly encroached on the roads, and that there are
even some in the midst of which trees have shot up: {86}

“Outside the said town of Paris, in several parts of the suburbs,
_prévosté_ and _vicomté_ of the same, there are many notable and
ancient highways, bridges, lanes, and roads, which are much injured,
damaged, or decayed and otherwise hindered, by ravines of water and
great stones, by hedges, brambles, and many other trees which have
grown there, and by many other supervening hindrances, because they
have not been maintained and provided for in time past; and they are
in such a bad state that they cannot be securely used on foot or
horseback, nor by vehicles, without great perils and inconveniences;
and some of them are entirely abandoned because men cannot resort
there.” The Provost of Paris is ordered to cause the repairs to be
made by all to whom it pertained; and, if necessary, to compel by
force “all” the inhabitants of the towns in the neighbourhood of the
bridges and highways to help in the work.[79]


(_From the Harl. MS. 1319, painted circa_ A.D. 1400.)]

But what makes us understand better than ordinances the difficulty
of journeys in bad weather, and enables us to picture to ourselves
flooded roads resembling those of the East in the rainy season,
is the impossibility sometimes acknowledged in official documents
of responding to the most important royal summons, owing to the
inclemency of the elements. Thus, for example, it might happen that
the bulk of the members called to Parliament from all parts of
England would fail at the appointed day, for no other reason than
bad weather having, as the event showed, caused the roads to be
impassable. The record of the sittings of the second Parliament of
the thirteenth year of Edward III (1339) show that it was necessary
to declare to the few representatives of the Commons and of the
nobility who had been able to reach Westminster, “that because
the prelates, earls, barons, and {89} other lords and knights of
the shires, citizens and burgesses of cities and boroughs were so
troubled by the bad weather that they could not arrive that day, it
would be proper to await their coming.”[80]

Yet these members were not poor folks, they had good horses, good
coats, thick cloaks covering their necks up to their hats, with large
hanging sleeves falling over their knees;[81] no matter: the snow or
the rain, the floods or the frost, had been the stronger. Battling
against the weather that hampered their journey, prelates, barons,
or knights, halted their steeds at some roadside inn, and as they
listened to the tap of the sleet on the wooden panels closing the
window, with their feet at the fire in the smoky room while awaiting
the subsidence of the waters, they must have thought on the royal
displeasure which soon, no doubt, would show itself in the “painted
chamber” at Westminster. In short, though there were roads, though
land was burdened with service for their support, though laws from
time to time recalled their obligations to the owners of the soil,
though the private interest of lords and of monks, in addition to
the interest of the public, gave occasion to reparation now and
then, the fate of the traveller in a snowfall or in a thaw was very
precarious. Well might the Church have pity on him, and include him,
together with the sick and the captive, among the unfortunates whom
she recommended to the daily prayers of pious souls.[82] {90}

[Illustration 16. A COMMON CART.

(_From the MS. 10 E. IV. in the British Museum. English; Fourteenth




Thus kept up, the roads stretched away from the towns and plunged
into the country, interrupted by rivulets in winter and dotted with
holes; the heavy carts slowly followed their devious course, and the
sound of creaking wood accompanied the vehicle. These carts were
numerous and in very common use. Some were square-shaped timbrels,
simple massive boxes made of planks borne on two wheels; others,
somewhat lighter, were formed of slatts latticed with a willow
trellis. To add to their solidity, the wheels were studded with
big-headed nails.[83] Both sorts were used for labour in the {91}
country; they were to be found everywhere, and as they abounded
their hire was not expensive. Twopence for carrying a ton weight a
distance of one mile was the average price; for carrying corn, it
was about a penny a mile per ton.[84] All this does not prove that
the roads were excellent, but that these carts, indispensable to
agriculture, were numerous. They did not cost much to the villagers,
who usually were the makers thereof; they were built solid and
massive because they were easier to set up thus and resisted better
the jolts of the roads; a modest remuneration would suffice for their
owners. The king always employed a number; when he moved from one
manor to another, the brilliant _cortège_ of the lords was followed
by an army of loud-creaking borrowed carts.

The official purveyors found the carts wherever they went and freely
appropriated them; they exercised their requisitions ten leagues
on either side of the road followed by the royal convoy. They even
took without scruple the carts of travellers who had come perhaps
thirty or forty leagues distance, and whose journey was thus abruptly
interrupted. There were indeed statutes against forced loans, which
specifically provided that suitable payment should be made, that is
to say, “ten pence a day for a cart with two horses, and fourteen
pence for a cart with three horses.” But often no payment came. The
“poor Commons” renewed their protests, the parliament their statutes,
and the purveyors their exactions.

Besides the carts they required corn, hay, oats, beer, meat; it was
a little army that had to be fed, and the requisitions caused the
villagers painful apprehension. People did what they could to be
exempted; the simplest way was to bribe the purveyor, but the poor
could not. Yet numberless regulations had successively promised
{92} that there should never be any further abuse. The king was
powerless; under an imperfect government, laws created to last for
ever rapidly lose their vitality, and those made at that time died in
a day.

Purveyors swarmed; impostors gave themselves out as king’s officers
who were not, and did not prove the least greedy. All bought at
inadequate prices and limited themselves to fair promises of payment.
The statute of 1330 shows how these payments never came; how also
when twenty-five quarters of corn were taken only twenty were
reckoned because they were measured by “the heaped bushel.”[85] In
the same way, for hay, straw, etc., the purveyors found means to
reckon at a halfpenny what was worth two or three pence; they ordered
that supplies of wine should be held in readiness for them, kept the
best for themselves in order to sell it again to their own profit,
and exacted payment for returning a part to the original owners,
which was a strange reversal of things. The king acknowledged all
these evils and decreed reforms accordingly. A little later he did so
again, with no more result. In 1362 he declared that henceforth the
purveyors should pay ready money at the current market price; and he
gravely added, as an important guarantee, that the purveyors should
lose their detested name and should be called buyers: “that the
heinous name of purveyor be changed, and named achatour.”[86] A word
reform, if any.[87]

[Illustration 17. A REAPER’S CART GOING UP-HILL.

(_From the Louterell Psalter; Fourteenth Century; “Vetusta
Monumenta,” vol._ vi.)]

The same abuses existed in France, and numerous ordinances may be
read in the pages of Isambert, conceived in exactly the same spirit
and corresponding to {95} the same complaints; ordinances of Philip
the Fair in 1308, of Louis X in 1342, of Philip VI, who willed that
the “preneurs pour nous” (takers for us), should not take unless
they had “new letters from us,” which shows the existence of false
purveyors as in England. John of France renews all the restrictions
of his predecessors, December 25, 1355, and so on.

The king and his lords journeyed on horseback for the most part,
but they had carriages too. Nothing gives a better idea of the
awkward, cumbersome luxury which gave its splendour to civil life
during this century, than the structure of these heavy machines. The
best had four wheels, and were drawn by three or four horses, one
behind the other, one of them mounted by a postilion provided with a
short-handled whip of many thongs; solid beams rested on the axles,
and above this framework rose an archway rounded like a tunnel;[88]
an ungainly whole. But the details were extremely elegant, the wheels
were carved and their spokes expanded near the hoop into ribs forming
pointed arches; the beams were painted and gilded, the inside was
hung with those dazzling tapestries, the glory of the age; the seats
were furnished with embroidered cushions; a lady might stretch out
there, half sitting, half lying; pillows were placed in the corners
as if to invite sleep or meditation, square windows opened on the
sides and were hung with silk curtains.[89] {96}

Thus travelled the noble lady, slim in form, tightly clad in a
dress which outlined every curve of the body, her long slender hands
caressing the favourite dog or bird. The knight, equally tight in
his _cote-hardie_, looked at her with a complacent eye, and, if he
knew good manners, opened his heart to his nonchalant companion in
long phrases imitated from romances, themselves supposed to imitate
the language of his peers. The broad forehead of the lady, who has
perhaps coquettishly plucked out some of her hair as well as her
eyebrows, a process about which satirists were bitter,[90] brightens
up occasionally, and her smile is like a ray of sunshine. Meanwhile
the axles groan, the horse-shoes crunch the ground, the machine
advances by fits and starts, descends into the hollows, bounds all
of a piece at the ditches, and comes down with a heavy thud. The
knight must speak pretty loud to make his dainty discourse, Round
Table flavoured, heard by his companion. So trivial a necessity ever
sufficed to break the charm of the most delicate thought; too many
shocks shake the flower, and when the knight presents it, it has lost
its perfumed pollen.


(_From the Louterell Psalter._)]

The possession of such a carriage was a princely luxury. They
were bequeathed by will from one to another, and the heirloom was
valuable. On September 25, 1355, Elizabeth de Burgh, Lady Clare,
wrote her last will and endowed her eldest daughter with “her great
carriage {99} with the covertures, carpets, and cushions.” In the
twentieth year of Richard II Roger Rouland received £400 sterling
“for making the Queen’s chariot”; and John le Charer, in the sixth of
Edward III, received £1,000 for the carriage of the Lady Eleanor.[91]
These were enormous sums. In the fourteenth century the average price
of an ox was thirteen shillings, one penny farthing; of a sheep, one
shilling and five pence; of a cow, nine shillings and five pence; and
a penny for a fowl.[92] Lady Eleanor’s carriage thus represented the
value of a herd of sixteen hundred oxen.

Scarcely less ornamented were the horse-litters sometimes used by
people of rank, especially by ladies. They were of the same shape as
the carriages, being covered with a sort of rounded vault, in which
were cut more or less large openings. Two horses carried them, one
before, the other behind, each being placed between the shafts with
which the contrivance was provided at both ends.[93]

Between these luxurious carriages and the peasants’ carts there was
nothing analogous to the multitude of middle-class conveyances to
which we are now accustomed; the middle class itself being as yet
but imperfectly developed. True, there were some not so expensive as
{100} those belonging to the princesses of Edward’s Court, but not
many. Every one at this time knew how to ride on horseback, and it
was much more practical to use one’s mount than the heavy vehicles
of the period. One went much faster, and was more certain to arrive.
“The Paston Letters” show that matters had changed little in the
fifteenth century. John Paston being ill in London, his wife wrote
asking him to return as soon as he could bear the horse-ride; the
idea of returning in a carriage did not even occur to them. Yet it
was a serious case, “a grete dysese.”


(_From the Ellesmere MS._)]

Margaret Paston writes on September 28, 1443, “If I might have
had my will, I should have seen you ere this time; I would ye were
at home, if it were your ease, and your sore might be as well looked
to here as it is where {103} ye be, now liefer than a gown though it
were of scarlet. I pray you if your sore be whole, and so that ye
may endure to ride, when my father comes to London, that ye will ask
leave, and come home, when the horse shall be sent home again, for I
hope ye should be kept as tenderly here as ye be at London.”[94]


(_From the MS. 118 Français, in the Bibliothèque Nationale, late
Fourteenth Century._)]

Women were accustomed to riding almost as much as men, and when they
had to travel they usually did it on horseback. A peculiarity of
their horsemanship, which we have seen of late becoming again the
fashion after a lapse of five centuries, was that they habitually
rode astride. The custom of riding sideways did not spread in England
before the latter part of the fourteenth century, and even then it
was not general. In the invaluable manuscript of the Decretals in the
British Museum,[95] ladies on horseback are constantly represented,
always riding astride. At one place[96] horses are shown being
brought for a knight and a lady; both saddles are exactly the same;
each have tall backs, so as to form a sort of comfortable chair.
The numerous ivories of the fourteenth century in the Victoria and
Albert Museum and in the British Museum often represent a lady and
her lover, both on horseback, and hawking. In almost all cases the
lady unmistakably rides astride. Both ways of riding are shown in
the fifteenth-century illuminations in the Ellesmere manuscript of
Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.” The wife of Bath rides astride, with
large spurs; the prioress sits sideways.


There were few places in England where the sight of the royal train
was not familiar. For the motives {104} mentioned above, the Court’s
journeys were incessant. The royal itineraries that have come down
to us throw a flood of light on this continual need of movement. The
itinerary of King John shows that he rarely passed a month in the
same place, most frequently he did not even remain there a week.
Within a fortnight he is often found at five or six different towns
or castles.[97] The same with Edward I, who, as we have seen, would
change his abode three times every fortnight.[98]

And when the king moved, not only was he preceded by twenty-four
archers in his pay, receiving threepence a day,[99] but he was
accompanied by all those officers whom the author of “Fleta”
enumerates with so much complacency. The sovereign took with him
his two marshals, his outer marshal (_forinsecus_) who in time of
war disposed the armies for battle, selected the halting-places on
his journeys, and at all times arrested malefactors found in the
_virgata regia_, that is to say, within twelve leagues around his
dwelling;[100] and his inner marshal (_intrinsecus_), who guarded
the palace and castles, and cleared them as much as possible of
courtesans. He collected from every common harlot (_meretrice
communi_) four pence by way of fine the first time that he arrested
her; if she returned she was brought before the steward, who solemnly
forbid her ever to present herself at the dwelling of the king,
queen, or their children; the third time she was imprisoned and the
tresses of her hair were shorn off; {107} the fourth time one
of those hideous punishments was resorted to which the Middle Ages
in their brutality tolerated; the upper lip of these women was cut
off, “ne de cætero concupiscantur ad libidinem.”[101] There was
also the chamberlain, who took care that the interior of the house
was comfortable: “He has to arrange decently for the king’s bed,
and to see that the rooms be furnished with carpets and benches;”
the treasurer of the wardrobe, who kept the accounts; the marshal
of the hall, whose mission it was to eject unworthy intruders and
dogs,—“non enim permittat canes aulam ingredi,”—and a crowd of other


(_From the Ellesmere MS._)]


(_From the Ellesmere MS._)]

Overtopping all the rest, there was, moreover, the king’s seneschal
or steward, first officer of his household, and his great justiciary.
Wherever the king went the apparatus of justice was transported
with him; when he was about to start the steward gave to the
sheriff notice of the place where the Court would stop, in order
that he might bring his prisoners to the town where the prince was
to be stationed.[103] All the cases amenable to the jurisdiction
of the justices in eyre were then determined by the steward, as
the king’s justiciary, who prescribed, if necessary, the judicial
duel, pronounced sentences of outlawry, and judged in criminal
and civil cases.[104] This {108} right of criminal justice even
accompanied the king abroad, but he only exercised it when the
criminal had been arrested in his own royal place of abode. One such
case happened in the fourteenth year of the reign of Edward I. This
sovereign being at Paris, Ingelram de Nogent came into his house
to steal, and was caught in the act. After some discussion it was
acknowledged that Edward, by his royal privilege, should remain judge
in the matter; he delivered the robber over to Robert Fitz-John,
his steward, who caused Ingelram to be hung from the gibbet of St.

For a long time the chancellor himself, and the clerks who made out
the writs, followed the king on his journeys, and Palgrave notes
that frequently a strong horse was requisitioned from the nearest
convent to carry the rolls;[106] but this custom came to a close in
the fourth year of Edward III, when the Chancery was permanently
established at Westminster.

The tribunal moving on, a crowd of suitors moved with it. No matter
though they were not inscribed on the rolls, they followed without
losing patience, as gulls follow the ship, hoping that something may
come their way. Parties with a lawsuit, petitioners of every kind,
women “of ill life” (_de fole vie_), a whole herd of individuals
with no one to vouch for them, persisted in escorting the prince
and his courtiers. They quarrelled among each other, robbed by the
way, sometimes committed murders, and, as may be imagined, did not
contribute to render the news of the king’s arrival welcome to his


(_From the MS. Addit. 28162 in the British Museum. Fourteenth

In the ordinances of his household, Edward II enumerates and deplores
all these abuses; he orders that masterless men who follow the Court
shall be put in irons for forty days on bread and water, and that
the women of ill life shall be likewise imprisoned and branded with
a {111} hot iron; he forbids his knights, clerks, squires, valets,
grooms, in short, all who accompany him, to bring their wives with
them, unless these have any post or employment at Court, this host
of feminine beings increasing the chances of trouble. He also limits
the number of persons who should accompany the marshal, which had,
as will happen, increased little by little beyond all bounds. His
ordinances, like so many others in the Middle Ages, were conspicuous
for their wisdom, their minuteness, and their prompt decay.

Justice did not travel only in the king’s suite. She was peripatetic
in England, visiting the counties in the company of the royal
itinerant judges and going from hundred to hundred with that
governor, military chief, police magistrate, financial agent, the
sheriff, a functionary of great local, and sometimes tyrannical,
power, appointed and dismissed at will by the king during certain
periods, elected at others.

Both kinds, at fixed times, were on the move and caused a
considerable portion of the inhabitants to leave their work, take
to the road and be on the move too, in order to come to the court
that was to be held. Both kinds put before the jurors a number of
questions which the twelve men had to answer under oath, some of
those questions being obviously quite uncomfortable to reply to.

The sheriff goes about the hundreds[107] in his shire and holds the
“view of frank pledge,” chiefly established for the maintenance
of that ancient system of enforced solidarity which obliged,
theoretically at least, every male {112} to belong to a particular
group of inhabitants of ten or more (tithing), jointly responsible
for the misdeeds of any of their number in case the culprit cannot
be found, fined, jailed or hanged, according to the occasion. By
degrees the old “articles of the view,” greatly varying from place to
place,[108] had increased in number, and the jurors had to answer as
to a variety of smaller offences often duplicating the justices’ own

The “turns” or “tourns” of the sheriffs might, according to the
Great Charter, only take place twice a year, not oftener, because
their coming occasioned loss of time and money to the sworn men and
others who had to leave home and attend the court, and to the king’s
subjects at whose houses these officers and their train went to
lodge.[110] In spite of institutions which, as we shall see, had made
the very men placed under the jurisdiction of the sheriffs, bailiffs,
etc. themselves the censors of these same officials, abuses were
numerous, the Commons were ever complaining, and frequent statutes,
one after the other, denounced corrupt practices and stopped them—for
a time.[111] {113}

The itinerant justices’ inquiry covered a much larger field;
their “Articles of the Eyre,” or _Capitula Itineris_, included
every imaginable misdeed from highest to lowest, from “crimen læsæ
Majestatis,” above which nothing could be imagined, to fishing by
means of “kidels” (weirs) or the using of nets to capture pigeons
without the owner’s permit.

Coming four times a year in accordance with Art. 18 of the Great
Charter, sitting in the full court of the county, growing in
importance, while that of the sheriff as a judge went diminishing
and the system of the frankpledge was falling into disuse, the
itinerant justices submitted to the jury a ceaselessly increasing
number of questions, a whole quire of them in the first half of the
fourteenth century.[112] They asked what crimes, what misdemeanours,
what infractions against the statutes had come to their knowledge.
And in these minute interrogatories at every moment came up the
names of the sheriff, the coroner,[113] the bailiff, the constable,
of all the royal functionaries, whose conduct was thus placed under
popular control. Has any of these officers, says the judge, released
some robber, or counterfeiter or a clipper of coin? Has he for
any consideration neglected the pursuit against a vagabond or an
assassin? Has he unjustly received fines? Has he been paid by men
who wished to avoid a public charge (for example, of being sworn
as member of a jury)? Has the sheriff claimed more than reasonable
hospitality from those in his jurisdiction, in tourns held too oft?
Has he come with more than five or six horses? And {114} the juror
was obliged in the same way to denounce, under his oath, the great
who had arbitrarily imprisoned travellers passing through their
lands, and all those who had neglected to assist in arresting a
thief and running with the “hue and cry;”[114] for in this society
each man is by turns peace officer, soldier, and judge, and even
the humbler ones, menaced by so many exactions, have their share
too in the administration of justice and the maintenance of public
order. Highly important were, therefore, from a social point of view,
these judicial tourns, which periodically reminded the mere man that
he was a citizen, and that the affairs of the State were also his

Juries could at times, like so many other picturesque groups of
inhabitants, become one of the sights of the road. If they perjured
themselves or accepted bribes, they would be sent to London and be
jailed in the Tower; they were to travel along, not by night, but “by
clear day, in the view of all, so that the country people might see
the pain and shame of those guilty men who will be thereby the better

Or else, if that unanimity which became obligatory in the latter
part of the fourteenth century had not been secured, the itinerant
justices, in order to get it any way, {115} were free to place the
twelve men in carts and carry them about wherever they went, until
the twelve chose to agree.[117]

When monks came out of the cloister and travelled, they wilfully
modified their costume, and it became difficult to distinguish them
from the great. I saw, writes Chaucer:

    “I saugh his sleves purfiled atte hond
     With grys, and that the fynest of a lond,
     And for to festne his hood undur his chyn
     He hadde of gold y-wrought a curious pyn,
     A love-knotte in the gretter end ther was.”[118]

But the councils are still more explicit, and do more than justify
the satire of the poet. Thus the Council of London in 1342,
reproaches the religious with wearing clothing “fit rather for
knights than for clerks, that is to say short, very tight, with
excessively wide sleeves, not reaching the elbows, but hanging
down very low, lined with fur or with silk.” They made themselves
conspicuous by their long beards, rings on their fingers, costly
girdles, purses or bags whereon figures were embroidered in gold,
knives resembling swords, boots red or party-coloured, or slashed
long-pointed shoes (the Polish-born poulaine); in a word, all the
luxury of the magnates of the land. Later, in 1367, the Council of
York renewed the same criticisms; the religious have “ridiculously
short” clothing; they dare publicly to wear those coats “which do
not come down to the middle of the legs, and do not even cover the
knees.” Severe prohibitions were made for the future, though on a
journey tunics shorter than the regulation gown were tolerated.[119]


(_From the Ellesmere MS._)]

A bishop did not start on a journey without a great train; and the
bishops, besides their episcopal visitations, {116} had, like the
nobility, to travel to visit their lands and to live on them. On
all these occasions they took with them their servants of different
kinds and their followers, as the king did his court. The accounts
of the expenses of Richard de Swinfield, Bishop of Hereford, give an
idea of the lordly life led by well-to-do prelates. He was a bishop
of some importance, and rich in proportion; many manors belonged to
his bishopric; he could hold his rank as prelate and as lord, be
hospitable, charitable to the poor, and spend much on requests and
suits at the court of Rome and elsewhere. He had constantly in his
pay about forty persons of different ranks, the greater part of whom
accompanied him in his numerous changes of residence. His squires
(_armigeri_) had from a mark (13s. 4d.) to a pound a year; his
_valleti_, that is, the clerks of his chapel and others, his carters,
porters, falconers, grooms, messengers, etc., had from a crown to
eight {117} shillings and eightpence. In the third category came the
kitchen servants, the baker, with two to four shillings a year; in
the fourth, that of the boys or pages who helped the other servants,
and whose wages greatly varied, being from one to six shillings a
year. All the household was dressed alike, in striped cloth (_pannus
stragulatus_), supplied by the bishop, besides the fixed salary.
One of the most peculiar retainers of the bishop belonged to a now
extinct race, and was his champion, Thomas de Bruges, who received
an annual payment to fight in the prelate’s name in case any lawsuit
should have to be terminated by a judicial duel.[120]


At eventide, monks, great men, and travellers of all degree sought
shelter for the night. When the king, preceded by his twenty-four
archers, and escorted by his lords and the officers of his household,
was expected in a town, the marshal selected a certain number of the
best houses, which were marked with chalk. The chamberlain asked the
inhabitants to make room, and the Court settled as well as it could
in the lodgings. Even the capital was not exempt from the annoyance
of this burden; the marshal had, however, to come {118} there to an
understanding with the mayor, sheriffs, and city officers for the
selection of the habitations. Sometimes the royal agent chose to
forget this wise proviso, and trouble followed. In the nineteenth
year of Edward II, that prince having come to the Tower, the people
of his household quartered themselves on the citizens without the
mayor and aldermen having been consulted; the very sheriff’s house
was marked with chalk. Great was the wrath of this officer when he
found Richard de Ayremynne, the king’s own secretary, established in
his house, the stranger’s horses in his stable, his servants in the
kitchen. Undaunted by the thought of a royal secretary’s importance,
the sheriff, counting on the privilege of the city, drove out the
secretary and his suite by force, rubbed off the marks of the chalk,
and became once more master of his own abode. Cited to appear before
the Court steward, and accused of having contemned the king’s orders
to the extent of at least £1,000, he stoutly defended himself, and
appealed in defence to the mayor and citizens, who produced the
charters of the city privileges. The charters were clear, their
purport could not be denied; the sheriff’s boldness was excused;
Ayremynne consoled himself as best he could, and did not receive any

In the country, if the king did not happen to be within easy reach
of one of his own or his lieges’ castles, he often went to lodge at
the neighbouring monastery, sure of being received there as master.
The great on their journeys did their best to imitate the prince in
this respect.[122] In {119} the convents hospitality was a religious
duty; for the order of St. John of Jerusalem the first of duties.
This order had establishments all over England, and it was a piece
of good fortune for the poor traveller to come to one of them. No
doubt he was treated there according to his rank, but it was much
not to find the door closed. The accounts of the year 1338,[123]
show that these knight-monks did not seek at all to avoid the heavy
burden of hospitality; in their lists of expenditure are always to
be found charges occasioned by _supervenientibus_ (strangers). When
it was an affair of kings or princes, they outdid themselves; thus
the Prior of Clerkenwell mentions “much expenditure which cannot be
given in detail, caused by the hospitality offered to strangers,
members of the royal family, and to other grandees of the realm who
stay at Clerkenwell and remain there at the cost of the house.” In
consequence, the account closes with this sad summing up: “Thus
the expenditure exceeds the receipts by twenty-one pounds, eleven
shillings and fourpence.” The mere proximity of a great man was a
source of expense, for, even if he did not go himself, he would
send his suit to profit of the hospitality of the convent. In the
accounts for Hampton, the list of people to whom beer and bread have
been furnished ends by these words: “because the Duke of Cornwall is
staying in the vicinity.”[124]

It should be noted that most of these houses had been endowed by
the nobles, and each one, recognizing his own land or that of a
relative, a friend, or an ancestor, {120} felt himself at home in
the monastery. But these turbulent lords, friends of good cheer,
abused of the monks’ gratitude, and their excesses caused complaints
which came to the ears of the king.[125] Edward I forbade any one to
venture to eat or lodge in a religious house, unless the superior had
explicitly invited him, or he were the founder of the establishment,
and even then his consumption should be moderate. The poor only, who
more than any one lost by the excesses of the great, might continue
to be lodged for nothing: “The king intendeth not that the grace of
hospitality should be withdrawn from the destitute.”[126] Edward
II, in 1309, confirmed these rules, which had apparently fallen
into abeyance, and promised again, six years later, that neither he
nor his family would make inordinate use of the hospitality of the

All in vain; these abuses were already comprised among those which
the _Articles of the Eyre_ had for their object to discover, but
failed to suppress. Periodically the magistrate came to question the
country folk on the subject. Have “any lords or others gone to lodge
in religious houses without being invited by the superiors, or gone
at their own expense, against the will of the same?” Have any been so
bold as to “send to the houses or mansions belonging to the monks or
others, men, horses, or dogs to sojourn there at an expense not their
own?” The application of these rules did not go without difficulty or
even danger, for the magistrate questioned also the jury about “any
who may have taken revenge for refusal of food or lodging.”[128]

The Commons in parliament, mindful as they were in such matters of
the fate of the poorest, were not unmindful of their own, and took
steps to prevent, in a general way and without reference to the
impecunious, {121} the falling into disuse of monachal hospitality.
The non-residence of the clergy, which was to be one of the causes of
the Reformation two hundred years later, occasioned bitter protests
during the fourteenth century. The Commons object especially because
from this abuse there results a decay of the duties of hospitality.
“And that all other persons advanced to the benefices of Holy
Church,” they request of the king, “should remain on their said
benefices in order to keep hospitality there, on the same penalty,
exception made for the king’s clerks and the clerks of the great of
the realm.”[129] Parliament protests also against the bestowal by
the pope of rich priories on foreigners who remain abroad. These
foreigners “suffer the noble edifices built of old time when they
were occupied by the English to fall quite to ruin,” and neglect “to
keep hospitality.”[130]

Only people of high rank were admitted into the monastery proper.
The mass of travellers, pilgrims and others, were housed and fed in
the guest-house, a building made on purpose to receive passers-by;
it usually stood by itself, and was even, sometimes, erected outside
the precincts of the monastery. Such, for instance, was the case in
Battle Abbey, where the guest-house is still to be seen outside the
large entrance gate. These edifices commonly consisted of a hall with
doors opening on each side into sleeping rooms. People slept also
in the hall; old inventories, for instance the one concerning the
Maison-Dieu or hospital at Dover, show that beds were set up in the
hall and remained, it seems, permanently there.[131] {122}

It is hardly necessary to recall that hospitality was also exercised
in castles; noblemen who were not at feud willingly received one
another; there were much stricter ties of brotherhood among them
than now exist among people of the same class. We do not often
now give lodging to unknown persons who knock at the door; at the
most, and but rarely, do we permit a poor man passing along in the
country to sleep for a night in our hay-loft. In the Middle Ages, men
received their equals, not by way of simple charity, but as a habit
of courtesy and also for pleasure. Known or unknown, the travelling
knight was rarely refused the door of a country manor. His coming in
time of peace was a happy diversion from the monotony of the days.
There was in every house the _hall_, or large room where the meals
were taken in common; the new-comer ate with the lord at a table
placed on a raised platform called the _dais_, erected at one end
of the room; his followers were at the lower tables disposed along
the side walls. Supper finished, all soon retired to rest, people
went to bed and rose early in those days. The traveller withdrew
sometimes into a special room for guests, if the house were large;
sometimes into that of the master himself, the _solar_ (room on the
first storey), and spent the night there with him. Meanwhile, in the
hall, the lower tables were taken out, for in general these were not
standing, but movable;[132] mattresses were placed on the ground
over the litter of rushes which day and night covered the pavement,
and the people of the household, the suite of the traveller, the
strangers of less {123} importance, stretched themselves out there
till morning. Such a litter of herbs or rushes was in constant use,
and was to be found in the king’s palace as well as in the houses of
mere merchants in the city: it was spread in lieu of a carpet, to
keep the room warm and to give a feeling of comfort. It is still to
be met with, and this is, apparently, the last place where it has
found refuge, in old-fashioned French provincial _diligences_; the
straw in English country omnibuses is also its lineal descendant.
So it was at least when, in pre-automobile times, these lines were
originally written.

Prices paid for the purchase of rushes constantly recur in the
accounts of the royal expenses.[133] They were so largely used in
towns as well as in the country, that people in cities did not know
what to do with the soiled ones, and the local authorities had to
interfere over and over again, especially in London, where the
inhabitants were apt to throw them into the Thames, with the result
of greatly damaging and polluting the water.

Through a window opened in the partition between his room and the
hall, over the dais, the lord could see and even hear all that was
done or said below. In the king’s house itself the hall was used for
sleeping as is shown by the ordinances of Edward IV;[134] at a period
much nearer our day (1514), Barclay still complains that at Court the
same couch serves for two:

    And never in the court shalt thou have bed alone,

and that the noise from the comers and goers, from brawlers, {124}
coughers, and chatterers never ceases, and prevents sleep.[135] At
the first streak of dawn, sending through the white or coloured panes
of the high windows shafts of light on the dark carved timber-work,
which, high above the pavement, supported the roof, all stirred on
their couches; soon they were out of doors, horses were saddled, and
the clatter of hoofs sounded anew on the highway.

Towards the latter part of the fourteenth century a change became
noticeable in the use of the hall. It was first pointed out by that
acute observer of manners, William Langland, the author of the
“Visions.” Life was becoming, by degrees, less patriarchal and more
private; people were less fond of dining almost publicly in their
halls. Well-to-do individuals began to prefer having their meals by
themselves in rooms with chimneys, which last particular Langland
is careful to note as a sign of the growing luxuriousness of the
times. “Elyng” (dull, silent) “is the hall,” he said, in a well-known

    “There the lorde ne the lady · liketh noughte to sytte,
     Now hathe uche riche a reule · to eten bi hym-selve
     In a prive parloure · for pore mennes sake,
     Or in a chambre with a chymneye · and leve the chief halle,
     That was made for meles · men to eten inne.”[136]

Less and less inhabited, the hall gradually became little more than
a sort of thoroughfare leading to the rooms where people were living
a life more private than before. It decreased in size as well as in
importance, until it was nothing in ordinary houses but the vestibule
which we now see.

It must have been chiefly to the very poor, or the very rich or
powerful that the monastery served as a hostelry. Monks received the
former out of charity, {125} and the latter out of necessity, the
common inns being at once too dear for the one and too miserable
for the other. They were intended for the middle class: merchants,
small landowners, itinerant packmen, etc. A certain number of beds
were placed in one room, and a certain number of men in each bed,
usually two, but sometimes three, the latter number being in any
case frequent in Germany, according to Chaucer’s friend, Eustache
Des Champs, sent to those parts as “ambassador and messenger” by the
French king: “No one lies apart, but two and two in a dark room, or
oftener three and three, in the same bed as it chances.” He regrets
the better manners and more refined customs of his own country, “doux
pays, terre très honorable.”[137]

Travellers bought separately their food and drink, chiefly bread, a
little meat, and beer. Complaints as to excessive prices were not
less frequent than now. The innkeeper’s extortions were supplemented
by those of his assistants. Chaucer’s good parson, branding those
men who encourage the evil practices of their subordinates, does not
forget “thilke that holden hostelries,” and who “sustenen the theft
of hir hostilers (ostlers).”[138] The people petitioned parliament
and the king interfered accordingly with his wonted useless good
will. Edward III promulgated, in the 23rd year of his reign, a
statute to constrain “hostelers et herbergers” to sell food at
reasonable prices; and again, four years later, tried to put an end
to the “great and outrageous cost of victuals kept up in all the
realm by inn-keepers and other retailers of {126} victuals, to the
great detriment of the people travelling through the realm.”[139]

To have an example of ordinary travelling, we may follow the warden
and two fellows of Merton College, who went with four servants from
Oxford to Durham and Newcastle in 1331.[140] They travelled on
horseback; it was in the dead of winter. Their food was very simple
and their lodging inexpensive, the same items constantly recur; they
comprise, on account of the season, candles and fire, sometimes a
coal fire. One of their days may give an idea of the rest: for a
Sunday spent at Alreton they write down:

 Bread                4d.
 Beer                 2d.
 Wine               1 ¼d.
 Meat               5 ½d.
 Potage               ¼d.
 Candles              ¼d.
 Fuel                 2d.
 Beds                 2d.
 Fodder for Horses   10d.


(_From the MS. 2 B._ vii., _in the British Museum_. _Fourteenth

Beds, we see, were not expensive; our men did not spend more for them
than for their beer. Another time, the servants alone are at the
inn, and the sleeping of the four comes to a penny for two nights.
Generally, when the party is complete, the whole of their beds cost
twopence; at London the price was a little higher, that is {129}
a penny a head.[141] Sometimes they have eggs or vegetables for a
farthing, a chicken or a capon. When they had sauce or condiments,
they put them down separately, for example: fat, ½d.; gravy, ½d.;
pickle, the same price; sugar, 4d.; pepper, saffron, mustard. Fish
recurs regularly every Friday. Evening comes, the roads are dark;
the way is lost, they take a guide, to whom they give a penny: “In
famulo ducenti nos de nocte, 1d.” On crossing the Humber they pay
eightpence, which may appear much, compared with the other prices;
but we must remember that the river was wide and difficult to cross,
especially in winter. The annals of the Abbey of Meaux frequently
tell of the ravages caused by the river’s overflow, of farms and
mills destroyed, of entire domains submerged, and of crops swept
away. The ferry owners benefited by these accidents, in continually
augmenting their prices, and at last the king himself was obliged to
intervene in order to re-establish the normal rate, which was a penny
for a horseman; this is what the warden and fellows {130} with their
company paid.[142] Sometimes our travellers furnished themselves
beforehand with provisions to carry with them; a salmon was bought,
“for the journey,” eighteenpence, and for having it cooked, doubtless
with some complicated sauce, they pay eightpence.


(_From the Louterell Psalter._)]

Life-like specimens of dialogues on arrival, between traveller and
innkeeper, and discussion as to the price of victuals, may be read
in the Manual of French Conversation, composed at the end of the
fourteenth century by an Englishman, under the title of “La Manière
de Language que t’enseignera bien à droit parler et escrire doulz

Chapter iii is particularly interesting. It shows “how a man who is
going far out of his own country, riding or walking, should behave
himself and talk upon the way.” The servant sent forward to engage
the room utters the fond hope “‘that there are no fleas, nor bugs,
nor other vermin.’ ‘No, sir, please God,’ replies the host, ‘for I
make bold that you shall be well and comfortably lodged here—save
that there is a great peck of rats and mice.’”

The provisions are passed in review, the fire lighted, supper
prepared: the traveller arrives, and it is curious to note in what
unceremonious fashion he assures himself before dismounting that he
will find at the inn “good supper, good lodging, and the rest.”[144]

[Illustration 27. THE NEW INN, GLOUCESTER.

(_Built for Pilgrims, Fifteenth Century, still in use._)]

Further on (chap. xiii) another hostelry is described, and the
conversation between two travellers who have just slept in the same
bed shows what a trouble the fleas were: “William, undress and wash
your legs, and then dry them with a cloth, and rub them well for
love of the fleas, that they may not leap on your legs, for {133}
there is a peck of them lying in the dust under the rushes. . . . Hi!
the fleas bite me so! and do me great harm, for I have scratched my
shoulders till the blood flows.”


(_From the MS. 10 E. IV.; English; Fourteenth Century._)]

Beer was drunk along the way, and was found in other places besides
the inn where travellers slept at night. At the cross-roads, in
the more frequented parts of the country, alehouses, with a long
projecting pole above the door and a bush at the end of it, invited
the traveller to have a rest and a drink. Chaucer’s pilgrims, riding
on the way to Canterbury, dismounted at a house of this kind. The
pardoner, who had his habits, would not begin his tale without a
little comfort:

    “But first, quod he, her at this ale-stake
     I wil bothe drynke and byten on a cake.”

A miniature of the fourteenth century, of which we give a
reproduction, represents the alehouse with its long horizontal
pole holding its bush well out in front above the road. The house
consists but of one storey, a woman stands before the door with a
large beer-jug, and a hermit is drinking from a large cup. It was the
fashion to have extremely long poles, which offered no inconvenience
in the country, but in town they had to be regulated, and a maximum
length fixed. According to the wording of the Act, poles so long were
used, that they “did tend to the great deterioration of the houses
in which they {134} were placed,” and they reached so far and had
signs so low, that they were in the way of the riders’ heads. The Act
of 1375 relating these grievances orders that in future poles shall
not extend more than seven feet over the public way,[145] which was
enough to give picturesqueness to streets not so wide as ours.

There were taverns of ill-fame, especially in towns, so bad some of
them, that they might almost have gone by another name. In one of
the Latin dramas of Hrotsvitha,[146] tenth century, is shown the
holy hermit Abraham, who, learning that the girl Mary, whom he had
reared in virtue, lived as a courtesan in a hostelry, goes to her,
pretending love, and converts her. In most mediæval story books
telling of the prodigal son, he is usually represented sowing his
very wild oats at the inn or tavern. Musicians of the meanest order
would entertain the sitters at the table with their pipings, and then
pass the hat.[147] Having to answer before Archbishop Arundel for his
disparaging statements concerning pilgrimages, the Lollard William
Thorpe declares in 1407 that pilgrims are frequenters of ill-famed
hostelries, “spending their goods upon vitious hostelars, which are
oft uncleane women of their bodies.”[148] In some such inn, the
“Cheker of the Hope” (hoop) in Canterbury, the continuator of Chaucer
leads his pilgrims, and shows how the pardoner’s advances to Kit the
tapster had the edifying result of getting for him many more blows
than caresses.[149]

In London it was forbidden by the king to keep open {135} house
after curfew, and for very sufficient reasons, “because such
offenders as aforesaid, going about by night, do commonly resort and
have their meetings and hold their evil talk in taverns more than
elsewhere, and there do seek for shelter, lying in wait and watching
their time to do mischief.”[150]

It was for fear of such dangers that when the sheriffs and bailiffs
held their Views of Frankpledge, they asked the juries of their
hundreds to say upon oath what they knew “of such as continually
haunt taverns, and no man knoweth whence they come; of such as sleep
by day and watch by night, eat well and drink well, and possess

Langland’s life-like picture of a tavern in the fourteenth century
is well known. With a vivid realism worthy of Rabelais he makes us
hear and see the tumultuous scenes at the alehouse, the discussions,
the quarrels, the big bumpers, the drunkenness which ensues; every
face is plainly visible, coarse words, laughter and attitudes strike
the on-looker in that strange assembly, where the hermit meets the
cobbler and “the clerk of the churche,” a band of cut-purses and
bald-headed tooth-drawers:

    “Thomme the tynkere · and tweye of hus knaves,
     Hicke the hakeneyman · and Howe the neldere,[152]
     Claryce of Cockeslane · the clerk of the churche,
     Syre Peeres of Prydie · and Purnel of Flanders,
     An haywarde and an heremyte · the hangeman of Tyborne,
     Dauwe the dykere · with a dosen harlotes,
     Of portours and of pyke-porses · and pylede toth-drawers. . . .
     Ther was lauhyng and lakeryng and ‘let go the coppe!’
     Bargeynes and bevereges · by-gunne to aryse,
     And seten so til evesong rang.”[153]


Peasants, too, are found there. Christine de Pisan, that poetess
whose writings and character so often recall steady John Gower, shows
them drinking, fighting, gambling; they have to appear before the
provost, and fines accrue to augment their losses:

“At these taverns each day will you find them established, and
enjoying long potations. As soon as their work is over, many agree to
go there and drink, and they spend, you may be sure, more than they
have earned all day. Do not ask if they fight when they are tipsy,
the provost has several pounds in fines from it during the year.
. . . And there also are to be seen some of those idle gallants who
haunt taverns, handsome and gay.”[154]

Art, literature, the trend of thought were changed at the time of
the Renaissance, but taverns remained the same; witness Skelton’s
description of an alehouse on the highroad, quite similar to those
which Langland had known a century and a half earlier. The ale-wife,
who brews, God knows how, her beer herself, is a withered old crony,
not unlike the “weird sisters” who were to welcome {137} Macbeth on
the heath. She keeps her tavern near Leatherhead, in Surrey, on a
declivity by the highroad, and there gathers as motley a crowd as
that in the “Visions,”

    “Her nose somdele hoked,
     And camously croked. . . .
     Her skynne lose and slacke,
     Grained like a sacke,
     With a croked backe. . . .
     She breweth noppy ale,
     And maketh therof port sale
     To travellars, to tynkers,
     To sweters, to swynkers,
     And all good ale drinkers.”

Passers-by and dwellers in the neighbourhood flock to her house:

    “Some go streyght thyder,
     Be it slaty or slyder;
     They holde the hye waye,
     They care not what men say,
     Be that as be may;
     Some, lothe to be espyde,
     Start in at the back syde,
     Over the hedge and pale,
     And all for the good ale.”

The reputation of the houses with a long pole and bush had not
improved, and many of those who frequented them had, as we see,
little wish to be “espyde.” As for paying the score, there was the
rub! Devotees of drink whose purse was empty would not deprive
themselves, however, and they paid in kind:

    “Instede of coyne and monny,
     Some brynge her a conny,
     And some a pot with honny,
     Some a salt, and some a spone,
     Some their hose, some theyr shone.” {138}

As to the women, one brings:

           “her weddynge-rynge
    To pay for her scot,
    As cometh to her lot.
    Som bryngeth her husbandes hood,
    Because the ale is good.”[155]

The worst-famed of these houses began a little later to receive the
visits of the most illustrious of their customers, one who held his
court under their smoky rafters and came there to his earthly end,
“babbling of green fields,” immortal Sir John Falstaff.


Other isolated houses along the roads, by the fords or the bridges,
on sacred spots, on the cliffs by the sea, had also much to do
with travellers, those of the hermits. Such holy men would tell
the way, help to cross a river, sometimes give shelter, sometimes
absolution.[156] One shrives passers-by in that gem of mediæval
French stories, “Le chevalier au barisel”; another, in the “Roman
de Renard,” being favoured with a visit from no less a person than
the hero of the romance. Led by a peasant through the pathless wood,
Master Reynard reaches the secluded spot; the mallet was hanging
before the door, and the peasant having given with it a loud knock
the hermit hastened to draw the bolt: {141}

    Tant ont erré par le bocage
    Qu’ils sont venu à l’ermitage.
    Le maillet trovèrent pendant
    A la porte par de devant.
    Li vileins hurte durement
    Et l’ermite vint erraument (promptly),
    Li fermai oste de la roille (bolt).[157]


(_Hewn out of the rock, Knaresborough; the knight of a much later

Most holy in early times, living examples of renouncement, teaching
virtue and piety by their words and deeds, hermits became, some of
them, canonized saints, like St. Robert of Knaresborough,[158] or
devotional writers of fame like Richard Rolle, the hermit of Hampole;
pilgrims flocked to their cells in order to be sanctified by their
advice and presence. An “officium de Sancto Ricardo eremita” was
composed after Richard Rolle’s death, in the thought that he would
surely be canonized some day:

    Letetur felix Anglorum patria . . .
    Pange lingua graciosi
    Ricardi preconium,
    Pii, puri, preciosi,
    Fugientis vitium.[159]

These men fasted, had ecstasies, were tempted by the devil, who in
the case of Richard, instead of clumsily taking some hideous shape
(see further, p. 290) took the much more enticing one of “a faire
yonge womane, the whilke,” wrote the hermit, “I had sene be-fore and
the whilke luffed (loved) me noght a little in gude lufe.”[160]

The cave or hermitage in which Saint Robert spent {142} most of his
life still exists at Knaresborough, entirely hollowed out of the
rock, with a later-date perpendicular window.[161]

Persuaded, rightly or wrongly, that they had much to atone for, the
kings included among the redeeming good works to be performed by them
aid to holy hermits. One of the pilgrims who visited St. Robert was
King John, who came unheralded and who, according to the metrical
life of the saint, had some trouble in making him notice his presence:

    Roberd he fand knelan prayand,
    Hys orysons contynuand,
    That for nai noyse that thai couth maike
    Nay mare he mowed than dose ane ake (oak).[162]

Edward III gives to “three hermits and eight anchorite recluse
persons within the city of London and in the suburbs thereof, to wit
to each of them, 13s. 4d. in aid of their support.”[163] Welcomed on
his landing, in 1399, by a seaside hermit called Matthew Danthorp,
“in quodam loco called Ravenserespourne” (Ravenspur), Bolingbroke,
{143} soon to be King Henry IV, grants him and all the hermits
his successors a variety of favours, including the right to any
waif or wreck cast by the sea on the sand for two leagues about his
hermitage: “Cum wrecco maris, et wayfs et omnibus aliis proficuis
et commoditatibus super sabulum per duas leucas circa eundem
locum contingentibus imperpetuum,” in spite of any statute to the

Less brilliant fortunes and less holy a fame usually fell to the lot
of English hermits of the fourteenth century. Those like Rolle of
Hampole, doing ceaseless penance, consumed by divine love, were rare
exceptions; they lived by preference in cottages, built at the most
frequented parts of the highway, or at the entrance to bridges.[165]
They throve there, like Godfrey Pratt,[166] on the charity of the
passers-by; the bridge with its chapel was in itself almost a sacred
building; the presence of the hermit sanctified it still further. He
attended to the keeping in order of the building, or was supposed
to do so, and was willingly given a farthing.[167] A strange race
of men, which in that century of disorganization and reform, when
everything seemed either to die or undergo a new birth, multiplied in
spite of rules and regulations. They swelled the number of parasites
of the religious edifice, cloaking under a dignified habit a life
that was less so. These evil growths {144} clung, like moss in the
damp of the cathedral, to the fissures of the stones, and by the slow
work of centuries threatened the noble structure with ruin. What
remedy was there? To mow down the ever-growing weeds was scarcely
possible; a patient hand, guided by a vigilant eye, was needed to
pluck them out one by one, and to fill up the interstices: saints can
do this, but saints are rare. Episcopal prescriptions might often
seem to do great work; a mere seeming. Though the heads were beaten
down, the roots remained, and the lively parasite struck yet deeper
into the heart of the wall.


(_From the MS. 10 E. IV; English; Fourteenth Century._)]

Solemn interdictions and rigorous rules were not wanting, bowing
down heads which ever rose again. To become a hermit a man must be
resolved on an exemplary life of poverty and privations, and, that
imposture should be impossible, he must have episcopal sanction, that
is, possess “testimonial letters from the ordinary.”[168] These {145}
rules were broken, however, without scruple. Inside his dwelling the
not very devout creature in hermit’s garb could lead a quiet, easy
life, and it was so hard elsewhere! The charity of passers-by was
enough for him to live upon, especially if he was not harassed by an
over-exacting conscience and knew how to beg; no labour, no pressing
obligation, the bishop was distant and the alehouse near. All these
reasons caused a never-ending growth of the mischievous species of
false hermits who only took the habit to live by it, without asking
any permit from any one. In the statutes they were bracketed with
beggars, wandering labourers, and vagabonds of all kinds, pell mell,
to be imprisoned awaiting judgment. There was exception only for
“approved” hermits: “Except men of religion and approved hermits
having letters testimonial from the ordinary.” A statute like this
is enough to show that Langland did not exaggerate; his verse is but
a commentary on the law. The author of the “Visions” is impartial
and does justice to sincere anchorites: true Christians resemble
them.[169] But what are these false saints who have pitched their
tent by the side of the highroads or even in the towns, at the door
of the alehouse, who beg under the church porches, who eat and drink
plentifully, and leisurely pass the evenings warming themselves?

    “Ac eremites that en-habiten · by the heye weyes,
     And in borwes a-mong brewesters · and beggen in churches.”[170]

What is that man who rests and roasts himself by the hot coals, and
when he has drunk his fill has nothing to do but go to bed? {146}

                          “lewede eremytes,
    That loken ful louheliche · to lacchen[171] mennes almesse,
    In hope to sitten at even · by the hote coles,
    Unlouke hus legges abrod · other lygge at hus ese,
    Reste hym and roste hym · and his ryg (back) turne,
    Drynke drue and deepe · and drawe hym thanne to bedde;
    And when hym lyketh and lust · hus leve ys to aryse;
    When he ys rysen, rometh out · and ryght wel aspieth
    Whar he may rathest have a repast · other a rounde of bacon,
    Sulver other sode mete · and som tyme bothe,
    A loof other half a loof · other a lompe of chese;
    And carieth it hom to hus cote · and cast hym to lyve
    In ydelnesse and in ese.”[172]

All these are unworthy of pity, and, adds Langland, with that
aristocratic touch which now and then recurs in his lines, all these
hermits were common artisans, “workmen, webbes and taillours, and
carters’ knaves”; formerly they had “long labour and lyte wynnynge,”
but they noticed one day that these deceitful friars swarming
everywhere, “hadde fatte chekus” (cheeks); they thereupon abandoned
their labour and took lying garments, as though they were clerks:

    . . . “Other of som ordre, other elles a prophete.”

They are seldom seen at church, these false hermits, but they are
found seated at great men’s tables because of their cloth. Look at
them eating and drinking of the best! they who formerly were of the
lowest rank, at the side tables, never tasting wine, never eating
white bread, without a blanket for their bed:

    “Ac while he wrought in thys worlde · and wan hus mete with treuthe,
     He sat atte sydbenche · and secounde table;
     Cam no wyn in hus wombe · thorw the weke longe,
     Nother blankett in hus bed · ne white bred by-fore hym.
     The cause of al thys caitifte · cometh of meny bisshopes
     That suffren suche sottes.”[173]


These rascals escape the bishops, who ought to have their eyes
wider open. “Alas!” said, in charming language, a French poet of the
thirteenth century, Rutebeuf, “the coat does not make the hermit; if
a man dwell in a hermitage and be clothed in hermit’s dress, I don’t
care two straws for his habit nor his vesture if he does not lead a
life as pure as his frock betokens. But many folk make a fine show
and marvellous seeming of worth; they resemble those over-blossoming
trees that fail to bring forth fruit.”[174]

Under the eyes of the placid hermit, comfortably established by the
roadside, calmly preparing himself by a carefree life for a blissful
eternity, moved the variegated flow of travellers, vagabonds,
wayfarers, and wanderers. His benediction rewarded the generous
passer-by; the stern look of the austere man did not disturb his
sanctimonious indifference. The life of others might rapidly consume
itself, burnt by the sun, gnawed by care; his own endured in the
shade of the trees, and continued without hurt, lulled by the murmur
of human passions—

    Et je dirai, songeant aux hommes, que font-ils?
    Et le ressouvenir des amours et des haines
    Me bercera pareil au bruit des mers lointaines.
                                            (Sully Prudhomme.)


Good or bad, the whole race (still surviving in the East)
disappeared in England at the Reformation, leaving but a memory, and
surviving only in poetry:

    It is the Hermit good!
    He singeth loud his godly hymns
    That he makes in the wood.
    He’ll shrive my soul, he’ll wash away
    The Albatross’s blood.



(_From the MS. 10 E. IV._)]



These roads, thus followed in every direction by the king and the
lords moving from one manor to another, by the merchants and peasants
going to the fair, the market, or the staple, by sheriffs, monks and
itinerant justices, by ladies in carriages and villains driving their
carts, were they safe? The theorist studying the legal ordinances of
the period, and the manner in which the county police and the town
watch and ward were organized, might come to the conclusion that
precautions were well taken for the prevention of misdeeds, and that
travelling did not present more danger than it does at present. If
we add, as Mr. Thorold Rogers has shown, that common carriers plied
their trade between Oxford and London, Winchester, Newcastle, etc.,
and that the price of transport was not dear, we might be persuaded
that the roads were quite safe, and we should be wrong; wrong too, if
on the faith of romantic tales, we pictured to ourselves brigands in
every thicket, a hanged man on {150} every branch, and robber barons
at every cross-road. But _accident_, or the unexpected, must be taken
into account.

Accident played a great part in the social life of the fourteenth
century. It was the moment when modern life began, the outward
brilliancy of a novel civilization had recently modified society from
top to bottom, the need to be constantly on the watch had become less
apparent; the moated castle with its drawbridge, battlements and
loop-holes, had begun to change into a villa or a mansion, while the
hut was growing into a house. Confidence was greater, but not always
justified: accidents are unexpected mishaps.

More means were taken than formerly to hinder ill-doing; but numerous
occurrences happened to destroy this incipient security. Society was
in reality neither calm nor quite settled, and many of its members
were still half savage. The term “half” may be taken literally. If a
list were made of the characteristics of such or such an individual
of the time, it would be found that some belonged to a refined,
and some to a barbarous world. Hence these contrasts: on one side
order, which it would perhaps be unjust not to consider as the normal
condition; and on the other, the frequent ebullitions of the untamed
nature. Let us select an example of such accidents which could take
at times remarkable proportions. Here are a knight and his men at the
corner of a road, waiting for a troop of merchants. The text itself
of the victims’ petition gives all the details of the encounter.[175]

The facts happened in 1342. Some Lichfield merchants state to their
lord, the Earl of Arundel, that on a certain Friday they sent two
servants and two horses laden with “spicery and mercery,” worth
forty pounds, to Stafford for the next market day. When their men
“came beneath Cannock Wood” they met Sir Robert de Rideware, Knight,
waiting for them, together with {151} two of his men, who seized
on the servants, horses, and goods, and took them to the priory of
Lappeley. Unfortunately for the knight, during the journey, one of
the servants escaped.

At the priory the band found “Sir John de Oddyngesles, Esmon de
Oddyngesles, and several others, knights as well as others.” It was
evidently a pre-arranged affair, carefully devised; all was done
according to rule; they shared “among them the aforesaid mercery and
spicery, each one a portion according to his degree.” That done, the
company left Lappeley and rode to the priory of Blythebury, a nuns’
priory. Sir Robert declared that they were the king’s men, quite
exhausted, and begged for hospitality. But the company had obviously
a suspicious appearance, and the abbess refused. Indignant at this
unfriendly reception, the knights burst open the doors of the barns
and lofts, gave hay and oats to their horses, and so passed the night.

But they were not the only people to have made a good use of their
time. The escaped servant had followed them at a distance; when he
saw they had taken up their quarters at the priory he returned with
all speed to Lichfield and warned the bailiff who hastened to collect
his men for the pursuit of the robbers. The latter, men of the sword,
as soon as they were met, stood their ground, and a real battle took
place, in which they had at first the upper hand, and wounded several
of their pursuers. At length, however, they were worsted and fled;
all the spices were recovered, and four of their company taken, who,
without further ado, were beheaded on the spot.

Robert de Rideware was not one of the latter, and did not lose heart.
He met his relative Walter de Rideware, lord of Hamstall Rideware,
with some of his followers, while the bailiff was on his way back to
Lichfield; all together veered around in pursuit of the bailiff. A
fresh fight. This time the king’s officer was routed and fled, {152}
while the highway gentlemen once more captured the spices.

What resource remained for the unhappy William and Richard, authors
of the petition? Resort to justice? This they wanted to do. But as
they were going for this purpose to Stafford, chief town of the
county, they found at the gates some retainers of their persecutors,
who barred their passage and even attacked them so hotly that they
had difficulty in escaping without grievous hurt. They returned
to Lichfield, watched by their enemies, and led there a pitiable
existence. “And, sir, the aforesaid William and Richard, and several
people of the town of Lichfield, are menaced by the said robbers and
their maintainers, so that they dare not go anywhere out of the said

This legal document, the original of which has been preserved, is, in
many ways, characteristic, and shows us local tyrants not unlike the
latter day ones in the _Promessi Sposi_ and their terrible _bravi_.
One may, especially, notice the coolness and determination of the
knights, not disconcerted by the death of four of their number; the
attack under cover of a wood; the selection of the victims, “garsuns”
belonging to rich merchants; the request for hospitality in a priory
under pretext of journeying in the king’s service; the expeditious
justice of the bailiff, and the persistent surveillance to which the
victims were subjected by their lordly robbers.

These, though remarkable, are not quite exceptional facts, and Robert
of Rideware was not the only man on the look out in the copses along
the roads. Other noblemen were, like him, supported by devoted
retainers, ready for any enterprise. Capes and liveries of their
masters’ colours were given to them, and they went about as the {153}
uniformed soldiers of their chief; a lord well surrounded with his
partizans considered himself as above the common law, and it was no
easy matter for justice to make herself respected by him. The custom
of having a number of resolute followers wearing one’s colours became
universal at the end of Edward III’s reign and under Richard II; it
survived in spite of statutes[177] during the whole of the fifteenth
century, and contributed to render even more embittered and bloody
the War of the Roses.

But even outside the periods of civil war, the misdeeds of certain
barons and their retainers, or of retainers acting on their own
account under cover of their lord’s colours—“notoirs meffesours et
meintenours of meffesours,” the statute said of both,[178]—were at
times so frequent and serious that parts of the country seemed to
be in a state of war. Throughout the fourteenth century, the abuse
called _maintenance_, which word meant in old French _protection_,
was on the increase, in spite of all the efforts of king and
Parliament. The great of the land, and some lesser people too, had
their own men, sworn to their service and ready to do anything they
were commanded, which consisted sometimes in the most monstrous
deeds, such as securing property or other goods to which neither
their masters, nor any claimant paying their master in order to be
thus “protected,”[179] had any title. They terrorized the rightful
{154} owners, the judges and the juries, ransoming, beating and
maiming any opponent.[180]

Statutes were, as usual, numerous, well-meant, peremptory, and
inefficient. The evil was so general that Edward III had to forbid
the people nearest him, the chief officers of his court, his “dearest
consort, the queen,” his son the prince of Wales, the prelates of
Holy Church,[181] to thus interfere with the regular course of the
law. The will of the king is that “the poor should enjoy their right
just as the rich.”[182] But they do not; great ladies practice
maintenance, one among others even dearer to the king than his dear
consort, namely his mistress, Alice Perers.[183]

A new reign begins; maintenance flourishes better than ever before.
The preamble of a statute of the second year of Richard II[184]
gives a perhaps somewhat exaggerated picture of these disorders so
as to better justify rigorous measures, but the description must
have been at least partly true. We there see—and the king, it is
stated, has learnt it both from the petitions addressed to parliament
and by public rumour—that certain people in several parts of the
kingdom claimed “to have right to divers lands, tenements and other
possessions, and some espying women and damsels unmarried, and some
desiring to make maintenance in their marches, do gather together
to a great number of men of arms and archers, _to the manner of
war_, and confederate themselves by oath and other confederacy.”
These people, having no “consideration to God, nor to the laws
of Holy Church, nor of the land, {155} nor to right, nor justice,
but refusing and setting apart all process of the law, do ride in
great routs in divers parts of England, and take possession and
set them in divers manors, lands, and other possessions of their
own authority, and hold the same long with such force, _doing many
manner apparelments of war_; and in some places do ravish women and
damsels, and bring them into strange countries, where please them;
and in some places lying in await with such routs do beat and maim,
murder and slay the people, for to have their wives and their goods,
and the same women and goods retain to their own use; and sometimes
take the king’s liege people in their houses, and bring and hold
them as prisoners, and at the last put them to fine and ransom _as
it were in a land of war_; and sometimes come before the justices in
their sessions in such guise with great force, whereby the justices
be afraid and not hardy to do the law; and do many other riots and
horrible offences, whereby the realm in divers parts is put in great
trouble, to the great mischief and grievance of the people.”[185]
Which shows how vainly the Good Parliament had worked, for, in 1376,
the Commons had already made exactly similar complaints: “Now great
riot begins anew by {156} many people in different parts of England
who ride with a great number of armed men,” etc.[186]

Besides these organized and quasi-seignorial bands, there were
ordinary robbers, numerous enough for chantries to have been founded
“for the safety of travellers who were in danger from thieves.”[187]
Against those people who impeded travelling much more grievously
than ever the floods and broken bridges, Edward I had taken, in
1285, special measures in the Statute of Winchester. These men were
described there as accustomed to crouch down in the ditches, coppice,
or brushwoods near the roads, especially those linking two market
towns. This was, of course, the passage-way of many easy victims,
richly laden. The king orders therefore that, for a space of two
hundred feet, the ground on each side of the road should be cleared
in such a manner that there remain neither coppice nor brushwood,
nor hollow nor ditch which serve as shelter for malefactors: “où
leur peut tapir pur mal fere.” Only large trees such as oaks might
be left. The owner of the soil had to do the work; if he neglected
it, he would be responsible for robberies and murders, and have to
pay a fine to the king. If the road went through a park, the same
obligation lay on the lord, unless he consented to close it by a wall
or a hedge so thick, or by a ditch so wide and deep, that robbers
could not cross them: “qe meffesurs ne pussent passer ne returner pur
mal fere.” The king sets the example and orders such clearings to be
made at once on the lands belonging to the crown.[188]

After which, things continued pretty much as before: “Meanwhile,”
writes a chronicler for the years 1303–05, {157} “certain
malefactors, bound together, four, six, ten or twenty went in
company to fairs and markets, rifled the houses of honest people
and were not ashamed to capture through their misdoings the goods
of the faithful and rich people.”[189] Worse than that: we find as
we progress in the fourteenth century, that these common thieves
had improved their methods and increased their profits. They allied
themselves, sometimes secretly, sometimes openly, to the seignorial
bands, and were not henceforward unticketed men for whom no one was
responsible. The Commons were aware of the fact, and complained
accordingly: “Whereas it is notoriously known _throughout all the
shires of England_ that robbers, thieves, and other malefactors on
foot and on horseback, go and ride on the highway through all the
land in divers places, committing larcenies and robberies: may it
please our lord the king to charge the nobility of the land that none
such be maintained by them, privately nor openly; but that they help
to arrest and take such bad ones.”[190] In the preceding parliament
the same complaints had been made, and the king had already promised
that he would order “such remedy as should be pleasing to God and
man.”[191] But neither God nor man had had apparently cause to be

In addition to the support of the great, these evildoers enjoyed
various privileges. Some of them could be met along the roads, cross
in hand; both king and church forbade seizing them, they were men
who had forsworn the realm. When a robber, a murderer, or any felon
found himself too hard pressed, he fled into a church and found
safety. In almost all societies having reached a certain stage of
civilization the same privilege has existed or still exists. It
was known to the Romans, {158} was legislated about by Theodosius
the Great, Justinian and the early councils,[192] and is still in
constant use in many parts of the East. A church in the Middle Ages
was an inviolable place: whoever crossed its threshold was under
the protection of God, and many wonderful miracles, the history of
which was familiar to everybody, attested with what particular favour
the right of sanctuary was regarded especially by the Holy Virgin.
At Walsingham, one of the most famous British pilgrimages, people
never failed to go and see the “Gate of the Knight,” a gate which
had stretched itself so as to give miraculous shelter to a man on
horseback, hard pursued by his enemies, and who found himself thus
opportunely placed beyond the reach of men as well as beyond the
reach of law.


Several interesting relics of old English sanctuaries are still in
existence, such as stone sign-posts which helped the fugitive to
avoid either vengeance or justice: “Even to-day, in various parts
of England, curious stone crosses, {159} inscribed with the word
SANCTUARIUM, are to be met with. Such crosses probably marked the
way to a sanctuary and served to guide fugitives.”[193] At Durham is
to be seen a beautiful bronze knocker, cast and chiselled in Norman
times, still affixed to the cathedral door through which malefactors
were admitted to the sanctuary.[194] As soon as they had knocked,
the door was opened, the bell in the Galilee tower was rung, and
after having confessed before witnesses their crime, which was at
once put into writing, the culprits were allowed to enjoy the peace
of St. Cuthbert. Several churches had a chair or stool called the
_fridstool_, or peace chair (originally, in some cases, a presbyteral
or episcopal seat) the reaching of which by the fugitive secured for
him the maximum protection. Beverley has one of the oldest, in stone,
perfectly plain, formerly accompanied with a Latin inscription,
saying: “This stone seat is called _freedstoll_, that is, chair
of peace, on reaching which a fugitive criminal enjoys complete
safety.”[195] The Beverley sanctuary was the most celebrated and
safest in England.[196] In this case, and in some others, at Hexham
for example, the privilege extended not only to the church, but to
one mile or more round it, the space being divided into several
circles, usually marked by stone crosses, and it was more and more
sinful to remove fugitives violently from the sanctuary the nearer
{160} they were to the inner circle. If they were dragged from the
altar or the fridstool, no money atonement was accepted from the
abductor, who thus apparently forfeited his life. Describing the
several circles around the Hexham sanctuary, Prior Richard, who wrote
between 1154 and 1167, says of the inner one: “If any one, moved by
a spirit of madness, ventured with diabolical boldness to seize one
in the stone chair near the altar which the English call _fridstol_,
that is a chair of quiet or peace, or at the shrine of the holy
relics, back of the altar, no compensation will be determined for
such a glaring sacrilege, no amount of money will serve as an
atonement, for it is what the English call _botolos_ (bootless), that
is a thing for which there can be no compensation.”[197]



_Fourteenth Century._]

That same fridstool has been preserved, being not improbably the
original episcopal seat of the famous St. Wilfrid, born about 634,
the builder of the old church {163} at Hexham, a crypt of which,
with some Roman stones used for the walls, is still in existence.

Near the fridstool was to be seen a queer, short, stone statue now
moved to another place in the church, of a man, with brutal features,
“wearing a long coat, buttoned in front from the neck to the waist,
having three coils or clumsy ligatures . . . round his ankles; and
he holds erect with both hands a staff or club as tall as himself.”
A. B. Wright, author of an “Essay towards the history of Hexham,”
expresses the opinion that, “it was intended to represent an officer
of justice, with his staff and plume, his feet bared and manacled, to
show that within the bounds of sanctuary he dared not move towards
his design and that there his authority availed him not.”[198]

A confirmation of this opinion may be found in the figures carved
on the little known but very curious fridstool at Sprotborough,
Yorkshire, apparently of the fourteenth century: the fugitive
who could not be properly represented seated in the chair, since
this would have made it impossible of use, is shown protected and
covered by it, while a clumsy and much deteriorated image of some
law official, carrying his staff, stands at one of the sides of
the chair, but unable to move, being bound to it by a collar or

Among the most curious remembrances of the English sanctuaries figure
the registers still preserved in some few places, in which were
entered the confessions of the criminals at the moment they asked
for admittance. The Beverley and the Durham ones have been printed;
both date from the fifteenth century; that of Durham covers the years
1464 to 1524; it includes, besides other crimes, 195 murders and
homicides, in which 283 persons {164} are concerned, and which are
divided as follows, according to the trades and avocations of the

 “Husbandmen             8
 Labourers               4
 Yeomen                  4
 Gentlemen               4
 Ecclesiastics           3
 Merchants               2
 Tailor                  1
 Plumber                 1
 Carpenter               1
 Tanner                  1
 Baxster                 1
 Glover                  1
 Sailor                  1
 Apprentice              1
 Under-Bailiff           1
 Servant                 1
 Knight (an accessory)   1

 “The occupations of the remainder are not mentioned.”[200]

The entries in the two registers are much alike; the formalities are
of the same kind; the Galilee bell is tolled, the culprit confesses;
witnesses are called to hear him, and the names of all concerned
are given in full. Here is an example translated from the Latin
original: “To be remembered that on the 6th day of October, 1477,
William Rome and William Nicholson, of the parish of Forsate, fled
to the cathedral church of St. Cuthbert in Durham, where on account,
among other things, of a felony committed and publicly confessed by
them, consisting of the murder by them of William Aliand, they asked
from the venerable and religious men, Sir Thomas Haughton, sacristan
of the said church, and William Cuthbert, master of the Galilee
there, both brothers and monks of the same church, to be admitted to
the benefit of the immunity of the church, according to the liberties
and privileges conceded in old time to the most glorious confessor
Cuthbert. And by the ringing of one bell according to custom, they
obtained this benefit. There were present there, seeing and hearing,
the discreet men William Heyhyngton, Thomas Hudson, John Wrangham,
{165} and Thomas Strynger, witnesses called in especially for the

At Beverley there were no witnesses: the culprit swore, his hand on
the Book. Besides stating the cause of his flying to sanctuary he
took his oath to remain peaceful, to help in case of fire or strife,
to be present at mass on the commemoration day of King Athelstan,
benefactor of the church, etc.:

 “Also ye shall bere no poynted wepen, dagger, knyfe, ne none other
 wapen, ayenst the kynges pece.

 “Also ye shalbe redy at all your power, if ther be any debate or
 stryf, or oder sodan case of fyre within the towne, to help to
 surcess it.

 “Also ye shalbe redy at the obite of Kyng Adelstan, at the dirige,
 and the messe, at such tyme as it is done, at the warnyng of the
 belman of the towne, and doe your dewte in ryngyng, and for to offer
 at the messe on the morne,”[202] etc.

To drag men out of the sanctuary was a sacrilege punished with
whipping, heavy fines, excommunication, or even death. Nicholas le
Porter had helped to snatch from the church of the Carmelites of
Newcastle some laymen who had taken refuge there “for the safety
of their lives,” and who, once delivered to the civil authority,
had been executed. Only the Pope’s nuncio could secure for him his
pardon, and he had to submit to a public penance very little in
accord with our present customs:

“We order,” wrote Bishop Richard to the parson of St. Nicholas of
Durham, “that on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of the Whitsun-week
just coming, he shall receive the whip from your hands publicly,
before the chief door of your church, in his shirt, bare-headed,
{166} and barefoot.[203] He shall there proclaim in English the
reason for his penance and shall admit his fault; and when he has
thus been whipped the said Nicholas will go to the cathedral church
of Durham, bareheaded, barefoot, and dressed as above, he will walk
in front, you will follow him; and you will whip him in the same
manner before the door of the cathedral these three days, and he will
repeat there the confession of his sin.”[204]

Excommunication was the punishment meted out to Ralph de Ferrers, one
of the retainers of the then all-powerful John of Gaunt, for having
dragged from the Westminster sanctuary, at mass time, two prisoners
escaped from the Tower where his master had sent them, and for having
killed one in the process, 1378. The Duke of Lancaster, in alliance
then with Wyclif, caused the reformer to write one of his most
virulent treatises against the right of sanctuary, asking for its

The right was, however, maintained; the king himself did not dare to
infringe upon it, and, though unwilling, had to let traitors escape,
by such means, his revenge or justice. In a case of this kind, one of
the Henries wrote to the Prior of Durham, and careful as he was to
state that he bound himself only “for the present occasion,” there
is no doubt that his acknowledgment of the full immunities enjoyed
by St. Cuthbert’s church had nothing {167} exceptional: “Trusty and
welbeloved in God,” says the king,[205] “we grete you well. And
wheras we undirstand that Robert Marshall late comitted to prison for
treason is now escapid and broken from the same into youre church of
Duresme, we havyng tender zele and devocion to ye honour of God and
St. Cuthbert, and for the tendir favour and affection that the right
reverend father in God our right trusty and welbeloved the Bisshop of
Duresme our chauncellor of England we have for his merits wol that
for that occasion nothyng be attempted that shud be contrarie to
the liberties and immunities of [your] church. We therefor wol and
charge you that he be surely kept there as ye wol answere unto us
for him.” As there could be very little need for the king to declare
such an obvious feeling as his respect for St. Cuthbert, the earnest
recommendation by which he ends his epistle is most likely to have
been the real cause of his writing to his wellbeloved the Prior of
Durham. Another characteristic instance is the rebellion of Jack Cade
in 1450, when one of his accomplices fled to St. Martin-le-Grand, the
most famous of the London sanctuaries. The king in this case wrote to
the Dean of St. Martin’s ordering him to produce the traitor. This
the Dean refused to do, and he exhibited his charters, which being
found correct and explicit, the fugitive was allowed to remain in
safety where he was.[206]

The right of sanctuary was most valuable, not only for political
offenders, but also, and more frequently, for robbers. They escaped
from prison, fled to the church, and saved their lives. “In this
year,” 1324, say the “Croniques de London,”[207] “ten persons
escaped out of Newgate, of whom five were retaken, and four escaped
{168} to the church of St. Sepulchre, and one to the church of
St. Bride, and afterwards all for-swore England.” But when the
refugees were watched in the church by their personal enemies, their
situation, as evidenced by the statute of 1315–1316, became perilous.
The authors of a petition[208] to the king set forth in that year
that armed men established themselves in the cemetery, and even in
the sanctuary, to watch the fugitive, and guarded him so strictly
that he could not even go out to satisfy his natural wants. They
hindered food from reaching him; if the felon decided to swear that
he would quit the kingdom his enemies followed him on the road,
and in spite of the law’s protection dragged him away and beheaded
him without judgment. The king reforms all these abuses,[209] and
re-enacts the old regulations as to abjuration, which were as
follows: “When a robber, murderer, or other evil-doer shall fly unto
any church upon his confession of felony, the coroner shall cause the
abjuration to be made thus: Let the felon be brought to the church
door, and there be assigned unto him a port, near or far off, and
a time appointed for him to go out of the realm, so that in going
towards that port he carry a cross in his hand, and that he go not
out of the king’s highway, neither on the right hand, nor on the
left, but that he keep it always until he shall be gone out of the
land; and that he shall not return without special grace of our lord
the king.”

The felon took oath in the following terms: “This hear thou, sir
coroner, that I, N., am a robber of sheep, or of any other beast, or
a murderer of one or of more, and a felon to our lord the King of
England, and because I have done many such evils or robberies in this
land, I {169} do abjure the land of our lord Edward King of England,
and I shall haste me towards the port of such a place which thou
hast given me, and I shall not go out of the highway, and if I do I
will that I be taken as a robber and felon to our lord the king; and
at such a place I will diligently seek for passage, and that I will
tarry there but one flood and ebb, if I can have passage; and unless
I can have it in such a place I will go every day into the sea up to
my knees assaying to pass over; and unless I can do this within forty
days, I will put myself again into the church as a robber and a felon
to our lord the king. So God me help and his holy judgment.”[210]

Dover was the port oftenest assigned to abjurors. The time limit
varied, being on occasions so brief, that it must have been almost
impossible for people on foot to fulfil the condition: which was most
probably what the coroner had in view, for he would assign sometimes
different delays to different refugees for the same distance. “The
distance from York to Dover over London Bridge was nearly 270 miles,
and there are several entries of eight days being the allotted time,
thus maintaining a rate of over 33 miles a day.”[211] {170}

In the church robbers found themselves side by side with insolvent
debtors. These before seeking refuge were usually careful to make
a general donation of all their property, and the creditors who
cited them to justice remained empty handed. In 1379,[212] Richard
II enacted remedial legislation. During five weeks, once a week,
the debtor is to be summoned, by proclamation made at the door of
the sanctuary, to appear in person or by attorney before the king’s
judges. If he does not choose to appear justice shall take its
course; sentence will be passed, and the property that he had given
away will be shared among the creditors.

This, however, served, as usual, only for a time. In the first years
of the following reign the Commons are found lamenting the same
abuses. Apprentices who have plundered their masters, tradesmen in
debt, robbers, flee to St. Martin-le-Grand and live there in quiet
on the money they have stolen. They employ the leisure which this
peaceful existence leaves them in patiently forging “obligations,
indentures, acquitances,” imitating the signatures and seals of
honest city merchants and of other people. Felons, murderers and
thieves avail themselves of this restful seclusion for preparing new
crimes; they go out at night to commit them, and safely return in the
morning to their inviolate retreat. The king, apparently puzzled as
to what to do, when the abuse is so great and the privilege {171} so
sacred, vaguely promises that “reasonable remedy shall be had.”[213]

Some years later (A.D. 1447) the Goldsmiths’ Company of London was
startled on finding that a quantity of sham gold and silver plate
and jewellery had been issued from the privileged precincts of St.
Martin-le-Grand’s sanctuary, to the great detriment of their own
worshipful company. They brought the facts to the notice of the
king, who wrote to the Dean recommending him to check this abuse if
possible: “Trustie and welbeloved, we grete you wel, and let you
to wote that we be informed that there be divers persons dwellinge
within our seinctuarie of St. Martin’s that forge and sell laton
and coper, some gilt and some sylverd for gold and silver, unto
the great deceipt of our lege people. . . . ”[214] The tone of the
king’s letter is very moderate; he seems to write only to please the
Goldsmiths’ Company, while realizing that he is powerless in the
matter, and that his recommendations will come to nothing.

A priest who took refuge in a church was not obliged to quit England;
he swore that he was a priest, and “enjoyed ecclesiastic privilege,
according to the praiseworthy custom of the kingdom.”[215] But the
church, who accorded to all comers the benefit of sanctuary, reserved
to herself the power of removal from it. “In this year (1320), a
woman who was named Isabel of Bury, killed the priest of the church
of All Saints, near London Wall, and she remained in the same church
five days, so that the Bishop of London issued his letter that the
church would not save her, wherefore she was brought out of the
church to Newgate and was hanged on the third day afterwards.”[216]

In those days, when riots and rebellions were not uncommon,
the right of sanctuary might be valuable for any one; reformers
like Wyclif vainly protested against this exorbitant but useful
custom.[217] A bishop even, however sacred his person, might have
to spur his horse and fly towards a church to save his head. The
Bishop of Exeter tried and failed when Isabella and her son came
to overthrow Edward II:[218] “The same day came one Sir Walter de
Stapleton, who was Bishop of Exeter, and the king’s treasurer the
previous year, riding to his house in Elde Deanes lane to his dinner,
and there he was proclaimed traitor; and he seeing that fled on his
horse towards the church of St. Paul’s, and was there met and quickly
unhorsed, and brought to Cheap, and there he was stripped and his
head cut off.”

Under Richard III might be seen a queen and a king’s son refuse
to quit the sacred enclosure of Westminster, in which their lives
were safe, thanks to the sanctity of the place. Sir Thomas More has
left in his history of the usurper, the first real history in the
national language, a moving picture of the plucky defence of Edward
IV’s widow and of the persistent efforts of Richard to snatch the
second child of the late king from the abbey. To reiterated demands
the queen replied: “In what place coulde I recken him sure, if he
be not sure in this the sentuarye whereof was there never tiraunt
yet so develish, that durst presume to breake. . . . For soth he
hath founden a goodly glose, by whiche that place that may defend a
thefe, may not save an innocent.”[219] The “goodly glose” of Richard
III consisted simply in having the right of sanctuary abolished.
In a speech in favour of {173} the measure, which was aimed
especially at the places of refuge of St. Paul’s and Westminster,
the Duke of Buckingham is represented by More drawing a very lively
as well as an exact picture of the disorders there: “What a rabble
of theves, murtherers, and malicious heyghnous traitours, and that
in twoo places specyallye. . . . Mens wyves runne thither with
theyr housebandes plate, and saye, thei dare not abyde with theyr
housebandes for beatinge. Theves bryng thyther theyr stolen goodes,
and there lyve thereon. There devise thei newe roberies; nightlye
they steale out, they robbe and reve, and kyll, and come in again as
though those places gave them not only a safe garde for the harme
they have done, but a license also to doo more.”[220]

This privilege endured, however, and even survived the Reformation;
but from that hour it was less respected. Lord Chancellor Bacon
speaks of the sanctuary of Colnham, near Abingdon, as being
considered “insufficient” for traitors, under Henry VII; several
political criminals who had taken refuge there, were seized,
therefore, and one of them was executed.[221] Sanctuaries were
suppressed, legally at least, in the twenty-first year of the
reign of James I: “And be it alsoe enacted by the authoritie of
this present parliament that no sanctuarie or priviledge {174} of
sanctuary shal be hereafter admitted or allowed in any case.”[222]
But they lingered on in England as well as on the continent. Cromwell
complains, in one of his most famous speeches, of the difficulties
his Government sometimes experience on that account when they have
to ask from foreign potentates that justice be done. He alludes to
the recent assassination of an English messenger, and says: “It is
the pleasure of the Pope at any time to tell you that though the man
is murdered, yet his murderer has got into the sanctuary.” Another
proof that, after the statute of James I, the right of sanctuary
did not fall entirely into disuse in England is that it had to be
re-abolished in 1697; sanctuaries are to be found even so late as
the reign of George I, when the one at St. Peter’s, Westminster, was

With all their penal severity, law and custom still gave other
encouragements to malefactors. They often received charters of
pardon which the royal chancery willingly granted because they must
be paid for, while the Commons unweariedly renewed their complaints
against this abuse. The priest, John Crochille, states to the king
in parliament that while he was at the Court of Rome he has been
outlawed, and was imprisoned on his return. The chancellor has
granted him a charter of pardon, but he is “so impoverished that he
has not wherewith to pay for the said charter.”[223]

Charters were thus given to the innocent for money, and to “common
felons and murderers” also, which had two results: the number of
brigands increased by reason of their impunity, and men dared not
bring the most formidable criminals to justice for fear of seeing
them return pardoned and ready to wreak a terrible revenge.

Most unluckily, the interest that the great had in {175} the
continuance of this abuse tended also to its maintenance. In league
with their retainers, they wanted to defend them from justice as
they themselves were defended by them in the street or on the road;
and the best means of saving these _bravi_ from the consequences of
some assassination was to obtain or buy for them a charter of pardon.
The Commons knew it, and reminded the king that often the protectors
of such criminals secured charters for them on the representation
that these men were abroad, occupied in fighting for the prince. The
charter once obtained, the malefactors returned and renewed their
ill-deeds, without fear of being troubled by any one.[224]

For all these reasons the traveller would not have been prudent if
he had not foreseen on starting the chance of some untoward meeting,
and if he had not armed himself in consequence. This was such a
recognized necessity that the Chancellor of the University of Oxford
allowed the students, on the occasion of a journey, to carry arms,
otherwise strictly forbidden.[225]

There was, then, at best, but moderate safety against robbers, and
there was not always much against the sheriff’s officers themselves.
At a time when prowlers were so numerous, it was enough to be a
stranger in the district, especially if it were night, to be sent to
gaol on suspicion, {176} as shown by a statute of Edward III.[226]
Nothing more general than the terms of this law; the power to arrest
is almost unlimited: “Whereas, in the statute made at Winchester
in the time of King Edward, grandfather to the king that now is,
it is contained, That if any stranger pass by the country in the
night, of whom any have suspicion, he shall presently be arrested
and delivered to the sheriff, and remain in ward till he be duly
delivered; and because there have been divers manslaughters,
felonies, and robberies[227] done in times past, by people that
be called roberdesmen, wastors, and draw-latches . . . ” whoever
suspects any to be one such, “be it by day or by night,” shall cause
him immediately to be arrested by the constables of the towns; the
man shall be kept in prison till the justices of gaol delivery come
down, and meanwhile inquiry shall be made.

Think now of a stranger passing through the town by night; some
constable feels suspicious and wants to arrest him; imagining himself
already in prison “till the justices come down,” the man runs away
instead of allowing himself to be taken. The statute has provided
for his case.[228] “If they will not obey the arrest, hue and cry
shall be levied upon them, and such as keep the watch shall follow
with hue and cry with all the town, and the towns near, and so hue
and cry shall be made from town to town until that they be taken and
delivered {177} to the sheriff.”[229] A singular picture: night wraps
in its shadows the crooked lanes of the unlit city; the stranger is
perhaps a robber, perhaps an honest man, who has lost his way, not
knowing the place; his fault is not to be within doors by curfew; he
gropes his way as best he can; the watch perceives and challenges
him; fearing the result he takes to his heels, and behold! the hue
and cry begins, the watch runs, the town wakes up, lights appear, and
one after the other the more zealous join in the chase. If the town
is fortified, the postern gates have long been closed, and he will be
surely taken. Scarcely can he hope to cast himself into some unshut
doorway at a turning of the street, behind which he will cower,
listening with trembling hand and beating heart to the watch who pass
heavily along at a charging pace, followed by a crowd of furious
shouters. The number of steps lessen, and the shouts become fainter,
then die away, lost in the depths of the city.

If the place is not important enough to be enclosed by walls, the
first thought of the fugitive will be to gain the open, and then
he must not fear marshes, ditches, hedges; he must know how, at a
bend of the ground, to leave the high-road and profit by any place
where the Statute of Winchester has been negligently applied. But
for that he is lost, the constables follow, the town follows, the
“cry” continues, and at the next village the scene of the start will
begin over again. The inhabitants, warned by the clamour, light their
lanterns, and see, they are already in the chase. Before he reaches
the end of the high-street some peasant will be found on the alert,
ready to bar the passage of the road to him. All have an interest
in it, all have been robbed, or their friends, or relatives; {178}
someone of their kin may have been wounded or murdered on the road
as he returned from market. Every one has heard of such misfortunes,
and feels himself personally menaced. Hence this zeal in joining the
chase with the hue and cry, and the conviction that, running so hard
and making so many folk run, the fugitive must be a famous brigand
ready for the gibbet.[230]





[Illustration 35. AN ADVENTURE SEEKER.

(_From the MS. 2 B._ vii; _English; early Fourteenth Century_.)]


 “_Qui ne s’adventure n’a cheval ni mule, ce dist Salomon.—Qui trop
 s’adventure perd cheval et mule, respondit Malcon._”


We have seen the aspect and usual condition of English roads; we must
now take separately the principal types of the wandering class and
see what sort of a life the wayfarer led, and what was his importance
in society or in the State.

Wayfarers belonging to civil life were, in the first place, quacks
and drug-sellers, glee-men, tumblers, minstrels, and singers; then
messengers, pedlars, and itinerant chapmen; lastly, outlaws, thieves
of all kinds, peasants out of bond or perambulating workmen, and
beggars. To ecclesiastic life belonged preachers, mendicant friars,
and those strange dealers in indulgences called pardoners. Lastly
there were palmers and pilgrims, whose journeyings {182} had a
religious object, but in whose ranks, as in Chaucer’s book, clerk and
lay were mingled.

Many of these individuals, the friars for instance, had, it is true,
a resting-place, but their existence was spent, for the greater part,
on the roads; when they left their abode their purpose was not to
reach this or that place, they had no fixed itinerary, but spent
their time in ceaseless rambles about the country, begging as they
went. They had, in the long run, caught the manners and the language
of true nomadic wayfarers, and in common opinion were generally
confounded with them; they belonged to that caste or family of beings.

As for the strange race which we still see at the present day
wandering from country to country, and which, later than any, will
represent among us the caste of wanderers, it had not yet made its
appearance in the British world, and are outside the limits of the
present work. The Bohemians or Gipsies remained entirely unknown in
England till the fifteenth century.

[Illustration 36. BLIND BEGGAR AND HIS DOG.

(_From the MS. 10 E. IV._)]



(_From the Ellesmere MS._)]



The most popular of all the wanderers were naturally the most
cheerful, or those held to be the most beneficent. These latter were
the folks with a universal panacea, very numerous in the Middle
Ages; they went about the world selling health. They established
themselves in the village green, or the market place, on holidays,
spreading a carpet or a piece of cloth on the ground; they displayed
their drugs, and began to harangue the people. Their numbers go
diminishing nowadays, for the laws are more and more unkind to them,
but they have not yet entirely disappeared, so natural to man {184}
are credulity and the longing for health. One may still hear at the
present day discourses not very different from those they spoke in
the fourteenth century in England, France, or Italy; their profession
is one that has changed less than any. In the thirteenth century
the herbalist of Rutebeuf spoke like Ben Jonson’s mountebank of the
seventeenth, like the charlatan who yesterday a few steps from our
door attracted the crowd to his trestle, limiting however his sales,
on account of the churlishness of the legislator, to tonics, tooth
pastes and the like. Big words, marvellous tales, praise of their
noble and distant origin, enumeration of the extraordinary cures
they have made, ostentatious display of an unbounded devotion to the
public good, and of entire pecuniary disinterestedness: all this is
found, and always will be found, in the talk of these insinuating
itinerants, as it is also found to-day in the advertisements, on
walls or in newspapers, of wondrous cures discovered by a priest,
by a convent, by a gentleman of worth and disinterestedness; which
advertisements have, to some extent, replaced the itinerant healer of
olden times.

“Good people,” said Rutebeuf’s medicinal herb-seller six hundred
years ago, “I am not one of those poor preachers, nor one of those
poor herbalists who stand in front of churches with their miserable
ill-sown cloak, who carry boxes and sachets and spread out a carpet.
Know that I am not one of these; but I belong to a lady whose name is
Madame Trote de Salerno, who makes a kerchief of her ears, and whose
eyebrows hang down as silver chains behind her shoulders: know that
she is the wisest lady that is in all the four parts of the world.
My lady sends us into different lands and countries, into Apulia,
Calabria, Burgundy, into the forest of Ardennes to kill wild beasts
in order to extract good ointments from them, and give medicine to
those who are ill in body. . . . And because she made me swear by the
saints when I {185} parted from her, I will teach you the proper
cure for worms, if you will listen. Will you listen?

“. . . Take off your caps, give ear, look at my herbs which my lady
sends into this land and country; and because she wishes the poor as
well as the rich to have access thereto, she told me that I should
make pennyworths of them, for a man may have a penny in his purse who
has not five pounds; and she told and commanded that I might take
pence of the current coin in the land and country wherever I should
come. . . .

“These herbs, you will not eat them; for there is no ox in this
country, no charger, be he never so strong, who if he had a bit the
size of a pea upon his tongue would not die a hard death, they are
so strong and bitter. . . . You will put them three days to sleep in
good white wine; if you have no white take red, if you have no red
take fine clear water, for one may have a well before his door who
has not a cask of wine in his cellar. If you breakfast from it for
thirteen mornings you will be cured of your various maladies. For if
my father and mother were in danger of death and they were to ask of
me the best herb I could give them, I should give them this. This is
how I sell my herbs and my ointments; if you want any, come and take
them; if you don’t, let them alone.”[231]

This herbalist was of those early maligned in France and England
by royal ordinances for the illegal practice of medicine. Philip
the Fair in 1311, John the Good in 1352, had issued severe decrees
against them. They were berated with being “ignorant of men’s
temperament, of the time and mode of administering, of the virtues
of medicines, above all, of laxative ones in which lies danger of
death.” These people “often come from abroad,” go through town and
suburbs, and venture to administer to the confiding sick, “clisteria
multum laxativa et alia {186} eis illicita,”[232] at which the royal
authority was justly indignant.

In England the itinerant drug-sellers had no better reputation; the
popular songs, satires and farces always show them associating in
taverns with the meanest rabble, and using—true to nature—the most
ridiculous rant. Master Brundyche’s man, in a play of the fifteenth
century, thus prepares the minds of the hearers for the advent of the
“leech,” his master, deriding both:

    What dysease or syknesse y^t ever ye have,
    He wyl never leve yow tylle ye be in your grave.[233]

To have an idea of what their recipes might be, one must recall what
the medicine was that the statutes of the kingdom protected. John
of Gaddesden, court doctor under Edward II, got rid of the marks of
the small-pox by wrapping the sick man in red cloths, and he thus
cured the heir to the throne himself.[234] He had for a long time
been troubled how to cure stone: “At last,” says he, in his “Rosa
Anglica,” “I bethought myself of collecting {187} a good number of
those beetles which in summer are found in the dung of oxen, also of
the crickets which sing in the fields. I cut off the heads and the
wings of the crickets and put them with the beetles and common oil
into a pot; I covered it and left it afterwards for a day and night
in a bread oven. I drew out the pot and heated it at a moderate fire,
I pounded the whole and rubbed the sick parts; in three days the pain
had disappeared”; under the influence of the beetles and the crickets
the stone had broken into bits.[235] It was almost always thus, by a
sudden illumination, bethinking himself of beetles or of something
else, that the learned man discovered his most efficacious remedies:
Madame Trote de Salerno never confided to her agents in the various
parts of the world the secret of more marvellous and unexpected

The law, however, made a clear distinction between a court physician
and a quack of the cross-ways. Kings and princes had their own
healers, attached to their persons, whom they trusted more than they
did their ministers. Securing by indentures of 1372 and 1373 the
services of “frere William de Appleton, phisicien et surgien,” and
of “Maistre Johan Bray,” granting them forty marks yearly pension
with the “bouche en court,” or right to be fed at his tables, and
other advantages, John of Gaunt, “roy de Castille,” was careful
to bind those men of learning to attend on him “in peace and in
war, _so long as they lived_,” a pledge which his brother, King
Edward, never exacted from his chancellors. A Gaddesden had the
support of an established reputation to apply any medicament to his
patients, and he offered the warranty of his high position. He had
studied at Oxford, and he was an authority; a grave physician like
Chaucer’s “doctour,” who had grown rich during the plague, his wealth
increasing his repute— {188}

    “For gold in physik is a cordial,”

had not neglected to pore over the works of “Gatesden.”

With lesser book-knowledge but an equal ingenuity, the wandering
herbalist was not so advantageously known: _he_ could not, like
the royal physician, rely on his good reputation and his “bouche
en court” to make his patients swallow glow-worms, rub them with
beetles and crickets, or give them “seven heads of fat bats”[236] as
remedies. The legislator kept his eye on him. In the country, like
most of the other wayfarers, the man nearly always found means to
escape the rigour of the laws; but in towns the risk was greater.
The unhappy Roger Clerk was sued in 1381 for the illegal practice of
medicine in London, because he tried to cure a woman by making her
wear a certain parchment on her bosom. Though such a nostrum could
not possibly be more hurtful than the use of fat bats, he was carried
to the pillory “through the middle of the city, with trumpets and
pipes,” on a horse without a saddle, his parchment and a whetstone
round his neck, unseemly pottery hanging round his neck and down his
back, in token that he had lied.[237]

Uneasy at the increase of these abuses, Henry V issued in 1421
an _Ordinance against the meddlers with physic and surgery_, “to
get rid of the mischiefs and dangers which have long continued
within the kingdom among the people by means of those who have
used the art and practice of physic and surgery, pretending to be
well and sufficiently taught in the same arts, when of truth they
are not so.” Henceforth there would be severe punishments for all
practitioners who have not been approved in their speciality, “that
is to say, those of physic by the universities, and the surgeons by
the masters of that art.”[238] The mischief {189} continued just
as before; which seeing, in order to give more authority to the
medicine approved by the State, Edward IV, in the first year of his
reign, erected the Company of Barbers of London using the faculty of
surgery, into a corporation.[239]

The Renaissance came and found barbers, quacks, empirics, and
sorcerers continuing to prosper on British soil, and still the
subject of song, satire and play. John Heywood’s Pothecary is a
lineal descendant of Rutebeuf’s herbalist; he sells a wonderful
_Syrapus de Byzansis_, and advertises it in such a way that, anything
that happens, he is right:

    “These be the thynges that breke all stryfe
     Betweene mannes sycknes and his lyfe;
     From all payne these shall you delever
     And set you even at reste for ever.”[240]

Henry VIII deplored the hold those men kept on the common people, and
on some of their betters too; he considered it his duty to enact new
rules. “The science and connyng of physyke and surgerie,” said the
king in his statute, “to the perfecte knowlege wherof bee requisite
bothe grete lernyng and ripe experience, ys daily within this Royalme
exercised by a grete multitude of ignoraunt persones, of whom the
grete partie have no maner of insight in the same nor in any other
kynde of lernyng; some also can no lettres on the boke, soofarfurth
that common artificers, as smythes, wevers, and women boldely
and custumably take upon theim grete curis and thyngys of great
difficultie, in the which they partely use sorcery and which-crafte,
partely applie such medicine unto the disease as be verey noyous and
nothyng metely therfore, to the high displeasoure {190} of God . . .
and destruccion of many of the kynge’s liege people, most specially
of them that cannot descerne the uncunnyng from the cunnyng.”[241]
The examples above have shown how difficult it must often have been
to “descerne” between them.

Consequently, the king continues, every one who may wish to practise
in London or seven miles round, must previously submit to an
examination before the bishop of that city, or before the Dean of
St. Paul’s, assisted by four “doctors of phisyk.” In the country the
examination will take place before the bishop of the diocese or his
vicar-general. In 1540, the same prince united the corporation of the
barbers and the college of surgeons, and granted each year to the new
association the bodies of four condemned criminals “for anathomies.”

Hardly were all these privileges conceded than doubts filled the
mind of the legislator himself, and who, it may be wondered, did he
regret? precisely those old unregistered quacks, those possessors
of infallible secrets, those village empirics so harshly treated
in the statute of 1511. A new law was enacted, which is but one
long enumeration of the guilty practices of qualified doctors; they
poison their clients as thoroughly as the quacks of old, the chief
difference is that they take more for it, refusing even to interfere
if the patient is poor:

“Mynding oonelie theyre owne lucres, and nothing the profite or ease
of the diseased or patient, [they] have sued, troubled and vexed
divers honest persones aswell men as woomen, whome God hathe endued
with the knowledge of the nature, kinde, and operacion of certeyne
herbes, rotes, and waters, . . . and yet the saide persones have not
takin any thing for theyre peynes and cooning, but have mynistred the
same to the poore people oonelie for neighbourhode and Goddes sake,
and of pite and {191} charytie; and it is nowe well knowen that the
surgeons admytted wooll doo no cure to any persone, but where they
shall knowe to be rewarded with a greater soome or rewarde than the
cure extendeth unto, for in cace they wolde mynistre theyre coonning
to sore people unrewarded, there shoulde not so manye rotte and
perishe to deathe for lacke of helpe of surgerye as dailie doo.”
Besides, in spite of the examinations by the Bishop of London, “the
most parte of the persones of the said crafte of surgeons have
small coonning.” For which cause all the king’s subjects who have,
“by speculacion or practyse,” knowledge of the virtues of plants,
roots, and waters, may as before, notwithstanding enactments to the
contrary, cure any malady apparent on the surface of the body, by
means of plasters, poultices, and ointments “within any parte of the
realme of Englande, or within any other the kinges dominions.”[242]

A radical change, as we see; the secrets and “speculacions” of
country people were no longer those of sorcerers, but precious
recipes which they had received from God by intuition; the poor,
subject to die without a doctor, rejoiced, the quacks breathed once
more—but were led again onto the boards of the comic stage just as
before. Ben Jonson, that bold pedestrian who walked all the way from
London to Scotland, and who, in his long rambles through villages
or cities, had become familiar with the variegated characters
haunting their market places, painted, in his turn, the portrait of
the “mountebank doctor,” one of the best, not better however than
Rutebeuf’s, and very similar to it, for, as we said, the type passed
on from century to century, unchanged.

Old Ben, as usual, paints from life, having seen and heard more
than once at Bartholomew and other fairs the drug-seller pacing his
scaffold and exclaiming, “O, health, health! the blessing of the
rich! the riches of the {192} poor! who can buy thee at too dear a
rate, since there is no enjoying this world without thee.” Upon which
the man makes game of the despicable “asses” his rivals, boasts of
his incomparable panacea, into which enters a little human fat, which
is worth a thousand crowns, but which he will part with for eight
crowns, no, for six, finally for sixpence. A thousand crowns is what
the cardinals Montalto and Farnese and his friend the Grand Duke of
Tuscany have paid him, but he despises money and he makes sacrifices
for the people. Likewise he has a little of the powder which gave
beauty to Venus and to Helen; one of his friends, a great traveller,
found it in the ruins of Troy and sent it him. This friend also sent
a little of it to the French Court, but that portion had become
“sophisticated,” and the ladies who use it do not obtain from it such
good results.[243]

Three years later, an English traveller, finding himself at Venice,
was filled with wonder at the talk of the Italian mountebanks, and
describing them, he too, from life, gave another copy of the same
immutable original. “Truely,” wrote Coryat, “I often wondered at
many of these natural orators. For they would tell their tales with
such admirable volubility and plausible grace, even _extempore_,
and seasoned with that singular variety of elegant jests and witty
conceits, that they did often strike great admiration into strangers
that never heard them before.” They sell “oyles, soueraigne waters,
amorous songs printed, apothecary drugs, and a common-weale of other
trifles. . . . I saw one of them holde a viper in his hand, and play
with his sting a quarter of an houre together, and yet receive no
hurt. . . . He made us all beleeve that the same viper was lineally
descended from the generation of that viper that lept out of the
fire upon St. Paul’s hand, in the island of Melita, now called
Malta.”[244] {193}

No doubt the loquacity, the volubility, the momentary conviction,
the grace, the insinuating tone, the light, winged gaiety of the
southern charlatan were not found so fully or so charmingly at the
festivals of old England. These festivals were, however, merry and
boisterous, attended by large crowds, among which moved many an
artful character so full of jest and guile that Shakespeare thought
them worthy of immortality; he gave it them indeed in creating,
as a model of those men whose “revenue is the silly cheat,” his
incomparable “Autolycus, a rogue.”

Country labourers went in numbers to these meetings, to stand jests
which, aimed at them, were an amusement even to themselves, and to
buy some drug which would do them good: they are to be seen there
still. At the present day they continue to collect before the vendors
of cures for the toothache and other troubles. Certificates abound
round the booth; it seems as though all the illustrious people in
the world must have been benefited by the discovery; the man now
addresses himself to the rest of humanity. He talks, gesticulates,
gets excited, leans over with a grave tone and a deep voice. The
peasants press around, gaping with inquisitive eye, uncertain if
they ought to laugh or to be afraid, and in the end get confident.
The large hand fumbles in the new coat, the purse is drawn forth
with an awkward air, the piece of money is held out and the medicine
received, while the shining eye and undecided physiognomy say plainly
that the cunning and the habitual practical sense are here at fault;
that these good souls, clever and invincible in their own domain
when it is a question of a sheep or a cow, are the victims of every
one in an unknown land, the land of medical lore. The vendor bestirs
himself, and now, as formerly, triumphs over indecision by means of
direct appeals.

In England the incomparable Goose Fair at {194} Nottingham should
be chosen as the place to see these spectacles, which shine there in
all their infinite variety, with quacks as racy as those of pristine
days, scenes reminding one of Rubens’ great “Kermesse” at the Louvre,
and at every turn and before every shop living confutations of St.
Evremond and others’ ideas of the temper of the English, ever lost in
their thoughts, as if merry England were no more.[245]

Greater still was, in the Middle Ages, the popularity of those
wayfarers, numerous too at the Goose Fair, who came not to cure, but
to amuse, and who, if they did not offer remedies for diseases, at
least brought forgetfulness of troubles; the minstrels, tumblers,
jugglers, and singers. Minstrels and _jongleurs_, under different
names, exercised the same profession, that is, they chanted songs
and romances to the accompaniment of their instruments, as is still
done in the East, in Persia for instance, where poems are not told
but chanted, in various keys according to the subject. At a time
when books were rare, and the theatre, properly so called, did not
exist, poetry and music travelled with the minstrels and gleemen
along the roads; such guests were always welcome. They were to be
found at every feast, wherever there were rejoicings; it was expected
from them, as from wine or beer, that care would be lulled to sleep,
and merriment would replace it. They had many ways to fulfil the
expectation, some dignified, some not. Of the first sort was the
singing and reciting, either in French or English, of the loves and
deeds of ancient heroes.

This was a grand part to play, one held in much reverence; the
harpers and minstrels who arrived at the castle gates, their heads
full of war stories, or sweet tales, or lively songs to excite
laughter, “ad ridendum,” were received with the highest favour. On
their coming they announced themselves without by some “murie {195}
singing” overheard in the house; soon came the order to bring them
in; they were ranged at one end of the hall, and every one gave ear
to them.[246] They preluded on their instruments, and then began to
sing. On what subject?

    “Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
     For old unhappy far off things
         And battles long ago:
     Or is it some more humble lay
     Familiar matter of to-day?
     Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain
     That has been and may be again?”[247]

Like Taillefer at Hastings, they told of the prowess of Charlemagne
and of Roland, or they spoke of Arthur, or of the heroes of the wars
of Troy, undoubted ancestors of the Britons of England:

    “Men lykyn jestis for to here,
     And romans rede in diuers manere
     Of Alexandre the conqueroure,
     Of Julius Cesar the emperoure,
     Of Grece and Troy the strong stryf,
     There many a man lost his lyf, {196}
     Of Brute that baron bold of hond
     The first conqueroure of Englond,
     Of kyng Artour that was so riche,
     Was non in his tyme him liche,
     *  *  *  *  *
     How kyng Charlis and Rowlond fawght
     With Sarzyns nold they be cawght,
     Of Tristrem and of Ysoude the swete
     How they with love first gan mete,
     Of kyng John and of Isombras,
     Of Ydoyne and of Amadas,
     Stories of diuerce thynggis
     Of pryncis, prelatis, and of kynggis,
     Many songgis of diuers ryme,
     As english, frensh, and latyne.”[248]

In the fourteenth century most of these old romances, heroic,
forceful, or touching, had been re-cast and put into new language;
florid descriptions, complicated adventures, marvels and prodigies
had been added to them; many had been turned into prose, and instead
of being sung they were read.[249] The lord listened with pleasure,
and his taste, palled by surfeit, caused him to take delight in
the strange entanglements with which every event was henceforth
enveloped. He now lived a more complex life than formerly; being more
refined he had more wants, and grand, simple pictures in poems like
the Song of Roland no longer satisfied his imagination: he preferred
variety to grandeur. The heroes of romance {197} found harder and
harder tasks imposed on them, and were obliged to triumph over more
and more marvellous enchantments. As the hand became more alert the
modelling improved; the softer-hearted heroes of amorous adventures
were endowed by the poet with that charm, at once mystic and sensual,
so characteristic of the sculptured figures of the fourteenth
century. The author of “Sir Gawayne” takes a scarcely concealed
pleasure in describing the visits which his knight receives, in
painting his lady, so gentle, so pretty, with easy motions and gay
smile; he puts into his picture all his art, all his soul; he finds
words which seem caresses, and verses which shine as with a golden

These pictures, not rare in the thirteenth century, greatly
multiplied in the fourteenth, but toward the end thereof passed from
the romance into the tale, or into poems, half tale, half romance,
such as the “Troilus” of Chaucer. After many transformations the
metrical romance was gradually giving way to new forms and styles
which better suited the tastes of the hour. A hundred years earlier
such a man as Chaucer would have taken up the Arthur legends in his
turn, and would have written some splendid long-winded poetical
romance for the minstrels; but he left us tales and lyric poems
because his own taste and that of the age were different, and he
felt that people were still curious but not enthusiastic about old
heroic stories, that few any longer followed them with passion to
the end, and that they were rather made the ornament of libraries
than the subject of daily thought.[251] Thenceforward men liked to
find separately in {198} ballads and in tales the lyric breath and
the spirit of observation formerly contained with all the rest in
the great metrical romances, the poetical _summæ_ of earlier days;
and these, abandoned to the less expert of the itinerant rhymers,
became such wretched copies of the old originals that they were the
laughing-stock of people of sense and taste.

Many of the grand French epics were thus abridged and put into
skipping, barren English verse, the epics being out of fashion, their
substitutes valueless. So, when Chaucer, surrounded by his fellow
pilgrims, favoured them with a story of Sir Thopas, popular good
sense, personated by the host, rebelled, and the performance was
rudely interrupted. Yet from Sir Thopas to many of the romances which
ran the streets or the roads the distance is small, and the laughable
parody was hardly more than a close imitation. Robert Thornton, in
the first half of the fifteenth century, copied from older texts a
good number of these remodelled romances. In turning their pages one
is struck by the excellence of Chaucer’s jesting, his caricature
being almost a portrait.

These poems are all cut after one and the same pattern, tripping
and sprightly, with little thought and less sentiment; the cadenced
stanzas march on, clear, easy, and empty; no constraint, no effort;
one may open and close the book without a sigh, without regret, with
no positive weariness nor really-felt pleasure. Were it not for the
proper names, the reader might pass chancewise from one romance to
another without noticing the change. Take no matter which, “Sir
Isumbras” for example: {199} after a prayer for form’s sake, the
rhymer vaunts the valour of the hero, then praises a quality of
especial value, with which he was happily endowed, his fondness for
minstrels and his generosity towards them:

    “He luffede glewmene well in haulle
     He gafe thame robis riche of palle (fine cloth)
       Bothe of golde and also fee;
     Of curtasye was he kynge,
     Of mete and drynke no nythynge,
       On lyfe was none so fre.”

Isumbras, his wife, and his son, are without peers; he is the most
valiant of knights, his wife the most lovely of women:

    “I wille yow telle of a knyghte
     That bothe was stalworthe and wyghte,
       And worthily undir wede;
     His name was hattene syr Ysambrace.”

So is also Sir Eglamour:

    “Y shalle telle yow of a knyght
     That was bothe hardy and wyght,
       And stronge in eche a stowre.”

So is also Sir Degrevant:

    “And y schalle karppe off a knyght
     That was both hardy and wyght,
     Sire Degrevaunt that hend hyght,
       That dowghty was of dede.”[252] {200}

So is also Chaucer’s Sir Thopas:

    “. . . I wol telle verrayment
         Of myrthe and of solas,
     Al of a knyght was fair and gent
     In batail and in tornament,
         His name was Sir Thopas.”

And though Sir Thopas almost comes within the scope of the present
work, being an adventure seeker, “a knight auntrous,” ever on his
way, never sleeping in a house—

    “And for he was a knight auntrous,
     He nolde slepen in non hous,
       But liggen in his hode;
     His bright helm was his wonger (pillow),”

yet must we abide by the ruling of mine host and leave him alone:

    “No more of this for Goddes dignitee.”

But, even at a comparatively late date, the inmate of an out of the
way castle usually proved more lenient. He welcomed the minstrel, his
verse and his viol as he welcomed change; he lent a complacent ear to
his commonplace romances, his ballads on every subject, his praise
of flowers, women, wine, spring, heroes and saints, his _goliardic_
dispraise of women,[253] monks and friars, his tales of love or
laughter, his patriotic songs the rarest of all, for the Hundred
Years War was for the English chiefly a royal and not a national
war, and this alone can explain the scant place occupied in the
songs of the time by Crécy {201} and Poictiers, never mentioned by
Chaucer, never mentioned by Langland (who disapproved of the war),
celebrated only by one solitary songster known by name and otherwise
unknown, the unimitated and ungifted Laurence Minot.[254] The noble
listened; he had few intellectual diversions; he gave little time
if any to reading, which was not for him then an unmixed pleasure,
and needed effort; there was no theatre for him to go to. At long
intervals only, when the great yearly feasts came round, the knight
might go, in company with the crowd, to see Pilate and Jesus on the
boards. There he found sometimes not only the crowd but the king too.
Richard II, for example, witnessed a religious play or mystery in the
fourteenth year of his reign, and had ten pounds distributed among
several clerks of London who had played before him at Skinnerwell
“the play of the Passion and of the creation of the world.”[255] A
few years later he saw the famous York plays, at the feast of Corpus
Christi, performed in the streets of that city.[256] In ordinary
times the knight was only too happy to receive in his home men of
vast memory, who knew more verse and more music than could be heard
in a day.

The king himself liked their coming. He had them sometimes brought
up to him in his very chamber, where he was pleased to sit and hear
their music. Edward II received four minstrels in his chamber at
Westminster and heard their songs, and when they went he ordered
twenty ells of cloth to be given them for their reward.[257] No
one thought in those days of rejoicings without minstrels; there
were four hundred and twenty-six of them {202} at the marriage of
the Princess Margaret, daughter of Edward I.[258] Edward III gave
a hundred pounds to those who were present at the marriage of his
daughter Isabella,[259] some figured also at his tournaments.[260]
When a bishop went on his pastoral rounds he was occasionally greeted
by minstrels, hired on purpose to cheer him; they were of necessity
chosen among local artists, who were apt to fiddle cheap music to
his lordship. Bishop Swinfield, in one of his rounds, gave a penny a
piece to two minstrels who had just played before him; but on another
occasion he distributed twelve pence a piece.[261]

When men of importance were travelling they sometimes had the
pleasure of hearing minstrels at the inn, and in that manner
whiled away the long empty evenings. In the curious manual already
quoted, called “La manière de langage,” composed in French by an
Englishman of the fourteenth century, the traveller of distinction
is represented listening to the musicians at the inn, and mingling
his voice at need with their music: “Then,” says our author, “come
forward into the lord’s presence the trumpeters and horn-blowers
with their frestels (pipes) and clarions, and begin to play and blow
very loud, and then the lord with his squires begin to move, to
sway, to dance, to utter and sing fine carols till midnight without

In great houses minstrels’ music was the usual seasoning of meals.
At table there are only two amusements, {203} says Langland, in his
“Visions”: to listen to the minstrels, and, when they are silent,
to talk religion and to scoff at its mysteries.[263] The repasts
which Sir Gawain takes at the house of his host the Green Knight
are enlivened with songs and music. On the second day the amusement
extends till after supper; they listen during the meal and after it
to many noble songs, such as Christmas carols and new songs, with all
possible mirth:

                            “Mony athel songez,
    As coundutes of kryst-masse, and carolez newe,
    With all the manerly merthe that mon may of telle.”

On the third day,

    “With merthe and mynstralsye, with metez at hor wylle,
     Thay maden as mery as any men moghten.”[264]

In Chaucer’s “Squire’s Tale,” King Cambynskan gives a

                  “Feste so solempne and so riche
    That in this worlde ne was ther noon it liche.”

And this prince is shown sitting after the third course among his
nobles, listening to the music:

    “. . . So bifelle after the thridde cours,
     Whil that the kyng sit thus in his nobleye,
     Herkyng his mynstrales her thinges pleye
     Byforn him atte boord deliciously. . . .”

During all these meals the sound of the viol, the voice of the
singers, the “delicious things” of the minstrels, were interrupted,
it is true, by the crunching of the bones {204} gnawed by the dogs
under the tables, by the quarrels of the same, or by the sharp cry
of some ill-bred falcon; for many noblemen kept during dinner these
favourite birds on a perch behind them. Their masters, enjoying their
presence, were indulgent with the liberties they took.

The minstrels of Cambynskan are represented as attached to his
person; those belonging to the King of England also had permanent
functions. The sovereign was seldom without them, and even when
he went abroad was accompanied by them as well as by his hawks
and hounds, a complete orchestra. Henry V engaged eighteen, who
were to follow him to Guyenne and elsewhere.[265] Their chief is
sometimes called _king_ or _marshal_ of the minstrels.[266] On
May 2, 1387, Richard II gave a passport to John Caumz (? Camuz),
“rex ministrallorum nostrorum,” who was setting out for a journey
beyond the sea.[267] On January 19, 1464, Edward IV grants a pension
of ten marks “to our beloved Walter Haliday, marshall of our
minstrels.”[268] The Roll of Thomas Brantingham, treasurer to Edward
III, bears frequent mention of royal minstrels, to whom a fixed
salary of seven pence-halfpenny a day is paid.[269] King Richard II
had in the same manner minstrels in his pay, and enjoyed their music
{205} when travelling. When he went for the last time to Ireland he
had to wait for ten days at Milford on account of contrary winds.
That French gentleman, Créton, who was with him, and wrote afterwards
a most interesting account of what befell the unfortunate king during
the last year of his reign, states in his chronicle that the time was
merrily passed at Milford while expecting a change in the weather,
and that day and night they had music and songs of minstrels.[270]

The richer nobles imitated, of course, the king, and had their own
companies, whom they allowed to play at times in various parts
of the country (as was the case later with regular actors), and
whom they supplied with testimonial letters vouching for them and
their artistic ability.[271] The accounts of Winchester College
under Edward IV show that this college recompensed the services of
minstrels belonging to the king, the Earl of Arundel, Lord de la
Ware, the Duke of Gloucester, the [Earl] of Northumberland, and the
Bishop of Winchester; these last often recur. In the same accounts,
time of Henry IV, mention is made of the expenses occasioned by the
visit of the Countess of Westmoreland, accompanied by her suite. Her
minstrels formed part of it, and a sum of money was given them.[272]

When visiting towns and performing before the citizens, itinerant
troups made a collection among the bystanders, having, however,
themselves a fee to pay for the privilege. A curious example of this
is recorded in John of Gaunt’s register,[273] where his seneschal
of Newcastle-under-Lyme is ordered to see to it that 4d. be paid to
William de Brompton a burgess of that city and Margery his wife, “by
every minstrel coming there to make his minstralcy against the feast
of St. Giles the Abbot,” and that a payment be also made to the same
for every bear brought there to be baited, a regular inquest having
shown that such fees had been paid to that couple and to Margery’s
ancestors from time immemorial.

Like lords and princes, from the early fifteenth century at least,
cities themselves had their troups of minstrels: “London, Coventry,
Bristol, Shrewsbury, Norwich, Chester, York, Beverley, Leicester,
Lynn, Canterbury, had them, to name no others. They received fixed
fees or dues, wore the town livery and badge of a silver scutcheon,
played at all local celebrations and festivities and were commonly
known as _waits_.”[274]

Besides money and good meals, those musical wanderers often received
a variety of gifts, such as cloaks, furred robes, and the like.
Langland alludes more than once to these largesses, which proves
that they were considerable, and he regrets that all this was not
distributed to the poor who go, they too, from door to door, and are
the minstrels of God: {207}

    “Clerkus and knyghtes · welcometh kynges mynstrales,
     And for love of here lordes · lithen hem at festes:
     Much more, me thenketh · riche men auhte
     Have beggers by-fore hem · whiche beth godes mynstrales.”[275]

But his advice was not heeded, and long after his time the minstrels
continued to be admitted to the castle halls. In erecting the hall
the builder took into account the probable visits of musicians, and
often raised a gallery for them above the entrance door, opposite
to the dais, the place where the master’s table was set.[276] This
custom long survived the Middle Ages. At Hatfield a minstrels’
gallery of the seventeenth century adorns the hall of that beautiful
place, and is still, on great occasions, put to the use it was
originally intended for.

[Illustration 38. PLAYING UPON THE VIELLE.

(_From the MS. 10 E.IV; English; early Fourteenth Century._)]

The classic instrument of the minstrel was the _vielle_, a kind of
violin or fiddle with a bow, something like ours, a drawing of which,
as used in the thirteenth century, is to be found in the album of
Villard de Honnecourt.[277] It was delicate to handle, and required
much skill; in proportion therefore as the profession lowered, the
good performer on the _vielle_ became rarer; the common tambourine
or tabor, which needed but little training, replaced the _vielle_,
and true artists complained of the music and the taste of the {208}
day. It was a tabor that the glee-man of Ely wore at his neck when
he had his famous dialogue with the King of England, which proved
so bewildering for the monarch: “He came thence to London; in a
meadow he met the king and his suite; around his neck hung his tabor,
painted with gold and rich azure.”[278]

The minstrels played yet other instruments, the harp, the lute, the
guitar, the bag-pipe, the rota (a kind of small harp, the ancient
instrument of the Celts), and others.[279]

[Illustration 39. _Cittern._ _Bagpipe._ _Clarion._ _Rebec._
_Psaltery._ _Syrinx._ _Sackbut._ _Regals._ _Gittern._ _Shalm._
_Timbrel._ _Cymbals._


(_Fourteenth Century._)]

The presents, the favour of the great, rendered enviable the lot
of the minstrels; they multiplied accordingly, and the competition
was great, which made the trade less profitable. In the fifteenth
century, the king’s minstrels, clever and able men, protested to
their master against the increasing audacity of the false minstrels,
who deprived them of the greater part of their revenues. “Uncultured
peasants,” said the king, who sided with his own men, “and
workmen of different trades in our kingdom of England have passed
themselves off as minstrels; some have worn our livery, which we
did not {211} grant to them, and have even given themselves out to
be our own minstrels.” By means of these guilty practices, they
extorted much money from the king’s subjects, and although they had
no understanding nor experience of the art, they went from place to
place on festival days and gathered all the profits which should have
enriched the true artists, those who had devoted themselves entirely
to their profession, and did not exercise any low trade.

The king, to protect his men against such unlawful competition,
authorized them to reconstitute and consolidate the pre-existing
gild of minstrels; no one could henceforth exercise this profession,
whatever his talent, if he had not been admitted into the gild. A
power of inquiry was granted to the members of the society, who had
the right to have false minstrels fined, the money to be applied
to candles lit in the chapel of the Holy Virgin at St. Paul’s and
in the “royal free chapel of St. Anthony.” For a pious motive was
associated then with most actions, and minstrels, so badly treated
by the generality of religious writers, were in this case bound,
says the king, to pray in those two chapels for him while alive and
for his soul when dead, for his “dearest consort Elizabeth queen of
England,” and for the soul of his “dearest lord and father”; this
till the end of time. Women were, as well as men, admitted into the

Such was the will of the king; in the same manner, and without any
better success, the price of bread and the wage for a day’s labour
were lowered by statute, all of which had but a limited and temporary
effect. {212}

The authorities had other reasons for watching over singers and
itinerant musicians; while they showed indulgence to the armed
retainers of the great, they feared the rounds made by those glee men
with no other arms than their vielle or tabor, but sowing sometimes
strange disquieting doctrines under colour of songs. These were more
than liberal, and went at times so far as to recommend social or
political revolt. The Commons in parliament denounced by name, at the
beginning of the fifteenth century, the Welsh minstrels as fomentors
of trouble and causes of rebellion. Their political songs encouraged
the insurgents to resistance; and parliament, who bracketed them with
ordinary vagabonds, knew well that in having them arrested on the
roads, it was not simple cut-purses whom it sent to prison. “_Item_:
That no westours and rimers, minstrels or vagabonds, be maintained
in Wales to make kymorthas or quyllages on the common people, who
by their divinations, lies, and exhortations are partly cause of
the insurrection and rebellion now in Wales. _Reply_: Le roy le

Popular movements were the occasion for satirical songs against the
great, songs composed by minstrels and soon known by heart among the
crowd. It was a popular song which furnished to John Ball the text
for his famous speech at Blackheath in the revolt of 1381:

    “When Adam delved and Eve span,
     Who was then the gentleman?”

Again, under Henry VI, when the peasants of Kent rose, and their
allies the sailors took and beheaded the Duke of Suffolk at sea,
a satirical song was composed, became popular and has come down
to us. As before killing him they had given a mock trial to the
king’s favourite, so in the song they present the comedy of his
funeral; {213} nobles and prelates are asked to come and sing their
responses, and in this pretended burial service, which is in reality
a hymn of joy and triumph, the minstrel calls down heavenly blessings
on the murderers. At the end the Commons are represented coming in
their turn to sing a sarcastic _Requiescant in pace_ over all English

The renown of the popular rebel, Robin Hood the outlaw, who lived
in the twelfth century if he ever lived at all, went on increasing.
His manly virtues were extolled; picturesque companions were, later,
invented for him: Friar Tuck, Maid Marian, Little John and all the
imaginary inhabitants of Sherwood Forest; listeners were told how
this pious man, who, even in the worst danger, waited till mass
was over before thinking of his safety, boldly robbed great lords
and high prelates, but was merciful to the poor;[283] which was an
indirect notice to the brigands of the time that they should be
careful to discern in their rounds between the tares and the wheat.

The sympathy of the minstrels for ideas of emancipation, which had
made such progress in the fourteenth century, was not only evinced in
these songs, but also in the remodelled romances recited by them in
presence of the nobles, and which henceforth were full of high-flown
declarations on the equality of men. The hearer did not take offence;
the greater poets, favourites of all that counted, the king himself
in his public statements proclaimed liberal truths which it was
hardly expected would be acted upon literally. Thus Chaucer {214}
celebrates in his most eloquent verse the only true nobility in his
eyes, that which comes from the heart.[284] Thus also King Edward
I, on summoning the first true English parliament in 1295, declared
that he did so inspired by the old maxim which prescribes that what
concerns all should be approved by all, proclaiming a principle
whence have since issued the most radical reforms of society, and on
which the American insurgents founded, centuries later, their claim
to independence.[285]

Such direct appeals from the king to his people contributed early to
develop among the English the sense of duty, of political rights and
responsibilities. In days of trouble, when parliament scarcely yet
existed, the same king thought he should explain his conduct to the
people and allow them to form an opinion: “The king about this, and
about his estate and as to his kingdom, and how the business of the
kingdom has come to naught, makes known and wishes that all should
know the truth of it; which ensues . . .”[286]

In France the enunciation of liberal principles was frequent
in royal edicts, but the emptiness of these fine words and the
interested motives which caused them to {215} be used were scarcely
veiled at all. Louis X, “le Hutin,” in his ordinance of July 2, 1315,
declares that, “as according to the law of nature every one is born
free,” he has resolved to enfranchise the serfs on his own estates.
He adds, however, that he will do so for money. Three days later,
fearing that his benefit is not sufficiently prized, he supplements
his first statement by a new one in which his exalted ideas and
his present needs are boldly intertwined: “It may be that some,
ill-advised and in default of good counsel, might misunderstand such
great benefit and favour and wish rather to remain in the baseness of
servitude than to come to free estate: wherefore we order and commit
to you that, _for the aid of the present war_, you levy on such
persons according to the amount of their property, and the conditions
of servitude of each one, as much and sufficiently as the condition
and riches of those persons may bear and as the necessity of our war
may require.”[287]

Well then might the minstrels imitate the king himself in repeating
axioms so well known, and which, according to appearance, there was
so little chance of seeing carried out. But ideas, like the seeds of
trees falling on the soil, are not lost, and the noble who had gone
to sleep to the murmur of verses chanted by the glee-man waked up
one day to the tumult of the crowd collected before London, with the
refrain of the priest John Ball for its war-cry. And then he had to
draw his sword and show by a massacre that the time was not yet come
to apply these axioms, and that there was nothing in them save song.

Still were the trees dropping their seeds. Poets and popular singers
had thus an influence over social movements, less through the
maxims scattered throughout their great works than by those little
unpolished pieces, struck off on the moment, which the lesser among
them composed and sang for the people, at the cross-roads in {216}
times of trouble, or by the peasants’ hearth in ordinary times, as a
reward for hospitality.[288]


(_From MS. 10 E. IV._)]

Minstrels, however, as singers of songs, propagators of thoughts,
tellers of romances, were to disappear. An age was beginning when
books and the art of reading spread among the people, and a more and
more numerous public would read and cease to listen; the theatres
were, moreover, about to offer a spectacle much superior to that
of the little troop of musicians and wandering singers, and would
compete with them more powerfully than the “rude husbandmen and
artificers of various crafts,” against whose impertinence Edward IV
was so indignant. Replaced, unwanted, the minstrels proper ceased to
exist as a class, leaving however behind them a variety of men who
could claim them as ancestors, street musicians, mirth mongers, or
the “blind crouder with no rougher voice then rude stile,” who sang
for Sir Philip Sidney “the olde song of Percy and Douglas.”

In fact, the period of the Taillefers who would go to death in the
fight while singing of Charlemagne was a limited one; the lustre
which the jongleurs or trouvères of the twelfth and thirteenth
centuries, who confined themselves to the recitation of poetry,
had shed on their profession, was effaced in proportion as they
associated {217} more closely with the mannerless bands of tumblers,
jugglers, leaders of performing bears (_ursinarii_, the Latin
documents of the time name them),[289] conjurors, and ribalds of all

These bands had always existed, but the chanters of romances,
tellers of knights’ high deeds, and of saints’ edifying examples,
admitted even into the cloister, finding grace before St. Thomas
Aquinas,[291] had, in the heyday of their fame stood above them, or
apart from them. At all times, however, in castles and at fairs,
were to be found buffoons and jugglers, whose coarseness exhilarated
the spectators. The precise details which the contemporaries give
as to their performances show not only that their jokes would not
be tolerated among the rich of to-day, but that there are even few
out of the way villages where {218} peasants on a festival would
accept them without disgust. The great of former days found pleasure,
however, in them, and in the troop of mummers and tumblers who went
about wherever mirth was wanted, there always were some who excited
laughter by the ignoble means described in John of Salisbury’s
“Polycraticus”—“so shameful that even a cynic would blush at seeing
them.”[292] But people of high degree did not blush, they laughed.
Two hundred years later, some sacrilegious clerks, out of hate for
the Archbishop of York, made themselves guilty of the same monstrous
buffooneries in his very cathedral, and the episcopal letter relating
their misdeeds with the precision of a legal report, adds that they
were committed _more ribaldorum_.[293] Langland, at the same epoch,
shows that one of his personages is not a true minstrel, either of
the higher or of the lower sort, since he is neither able to “telle
faire gestes,” nor to practise those welcome turpitudes.[294]

The greater was the feast, the coarser were often the deeds and
songs of the mirth-mongers. In this way, in particular, were they
accustomed to celebrate Christmas. Thomas Gascoigne, in the sort of
theological dictionary compiled by him, beseeches his readers to
abstain from hearing such Christmas songs, for they leave on the mind
images and ideas which it is almost impossible afterwards to wash
out. He adds as a warning the story of a man he personally knew: “I
have known, I, Gascoigne, Doctor in Divinity, who am writing this
book, a man who had heard at Christmas some of those repulsive songs.
{219} It so happened that the shameful things he had heard had made
such a deep impression on his mind that he could never in after time
get rid of those remembrances nor wipe away those images. So he
fell into such a deep melancholy that at length it proved deadly to


(_From MS. 10 E. IV._)]

The representations of the dance of Salome to be found in mediæval
stained glass or manuscripts give an idea of the sort of tricks and
games considered the fittest to amuse people of importance while
sitting in their hall or having their dinner. It is by dancing on her
hands, head downwards, that the young woman gains the suffrages of
Herod. As the idea of such a dance could not be drawn from the Bible,
it obviously arose from the customs of the time. At Clermont-Ferrand,
in the stained glass of the cathedral (thirteenth century), Salome
dances on knives which she holds with each hand, she also having
her head downwards. In a window at the Lincoln cathedral she has no
knives, but her “dance” is of the same sort and her red-stockinged
feet touch the upper line of the glass panel. At Verona, she is
represented on the {220} most ancient of the bronze gates of St.
Zeno (ninth century) bending backwards and touching her feet with her
head. Those standing by are filled with surprise and admiration, one
puts his hand to his mouth, the other to his cheek, in an involuntary
gesture of amazement. She may be seen in the same posture in several
manuscripts in the British Museum; Herod is sitting at his table
with his lords, while the young woman dances head downwards.[296] In
another manuscript, also of the fourteenth century, minstrels are
shown playing on their instruments, while a professional dancing girl
belonging to their troop performs as usual head downwards, but this
time, as at Clermont, her hands rest on two swords. The accounts of
the royal exchequer of England sometimes mention sums paid to passing
dancers, who, no doubt, must also have performed surprising feats,
for the payments are considerable. Thus, in the third year of his
reign, Richard II pays to John Katerine, a dancer of Venice, six
pounds thirteen shillings and fourpence for having played and danced
before him.[297]


(_From a pencil-case._)]

In the East, where, in our travels, we have sometimes the surprise
of finding ancient customs still living {221} which we can at home
only study in books, the fashion for buffoons and mimics survives,
and even remains the great distraction of princes. The Bey of Tunis,
when I was there years ago, had fools to amuse him in the evening,
who insulted and diverted him by the contrast between their permitted
insolence and his real power. Among the rich Moslem women of the
same city, few of whom could read, the monotony of days spent by
them till death came under the shadow of the same walls, behind the
same gratings, was broken by the tales of the female fool, whose
duty was to enliven the harem by sallies of the strangest liberty.
As for dances, they frequently consist, in the East, in performances
similar to that of Salome, such as shown in our manuscripts. Women
dancing head downwards constantly appear in Persian pictures; several
examples may be seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the same
subject often occurs on the valuable pencil-cases formerly made with
so much taste and art in Persia.

If our ancestors of the fourteenth century could enjoy such
pleasures, no wonder that moralists declared more and more openly
against both minstrels and mimics and ranked them with those rogues
and vagabonds denounced as a public danger by parliament. As years
pass the discredit grows. In the sixteenth century Philip Stubbes
saw in minstrels the personification of all vices, and he justified
in bitter words his contempt for “suche drunken sockets and bawdye
parasits as range the cuntreyes, ryming and singing of uncleane,
corrupt and filthie songes in tavernes, ale-houses, innes, and other
publique assemblies.” Their life is like the shameful songs of which
their heads are full, and they are the origin of all abominations;
the more dangerous because their number is so great:

“Every towne, citie, and countrey is full of these minstrelles to
pype up a dance to the devill: but of dyvines, so few there be as
they maye hardly be seene. {222}

“But some of them will reply, and say, What, sir! we have lycences
from justices of peace to pype and use our minstralsie to our best
commoditie. Cursed be those lycences which lycence any man to get his
lyving with the destruction of many thousands!

“But have you a lycence from the archjustice of peace, Christe
Jesus? If you have not . . . than may you, as rogues, extravagantes,
and straglers from the heavenlye country, be arrested of the high
justice of peace, Christ Jesus, and be punished with eternall death,
notwithstanding your pretensed licences of earthly men.”[298]

Such was the state of degradation the noble profession of the old
singers had reached; the necessity either of obtaining a licence or
of joining a gild, as prescribed by Edward IV, had been powerless
to check the decay. With new manners and inventions their _raison
d’être_ disappeared; the ancient reciters of poems, after having
mingled with the disreputable troops of caterers to public amusement,
saw these troops survive them, and, regular players apart, there
henceforth only remained upon the roads those coarse buffoons,
bearwards, and vulgar music makers whom thoughtful men held as

[Illustration 43. A PERFORMING BEAR.

(_From MS. 10 E. IV._)]


[Illustration 44. A SHAM MESSENGER.

(_From MS. 10 E. IV._)]



All his life long, kind, loving, merry Chaucer, a good observer, a
good listener and good talker, was fond of travels and travellers,
of roamers and tale-tellers, of people who came from afar, bringing
home with them many stories if little money, stories in which much
invention no doubt was mingled with a little truth: but what is
the good of raising a protest against harmless invention? Is not
sometimes their mixture with “sooth” a pleasant one? Thus, he said:

    “Thus saugh I fals and sothe compouned
     Togeder fle for oo (one) tydynge.”

Interested in all that was human he studied ordinary types and
rare ones; he observed mine Host, and looked also for seekers of
adventure, and was never tired of hearing their tales: {224}

    That is the moder of tydynges,
    As the see is of welles and of sprynges.”

No greater pleasure for him than to see:

    “Winged wondres faste fleen,
     Twenty thousand in a route,
     As Eolus hem blew aboute.”

He was in this a real _connoisseur_, fully appreciating the merit of
a well-told fable and knowing how useful and pleasant some such may
be found to beguile slow-winged time. Long before he started from
the Tabard, “faste by the Belle,” for a journey which millions of
Englishmen have since performed at his heels, allured by the music or
merriment of his word, he had this same taste for “unkouthe syghtes
and tydynges,” as well as for “thinges glad.” Finding himself once
in great “distresse” of mind, with a heavy heart, “disesperat of all
blys,” what did he dream of to “solace” himself, but of meeting and
hearing the whole innumerable tribe of tale-tellers, wayfarers, and
adventure seekers, by fancy assembled in an immense house, “made of
twigges, salwe, rede and green eke?” He wanted us to know, and he
wrote of the “House of Fame,” where after having met the bard “that
bare of Thebes up the fame” (Statius), and “gret Omere,” and “Venus’
clerke Ovide,” “Englyssh Gaunfride” (of Monmouth, of Arthurian fame),
and many more, he thought that there was no room for him, and feeling
his distress as keen as ever, dreamed of something else, willing

    “Somme newe tydyngis for to lere,
     Somme newe thinge, Y not what,
     Tydyngs other this or that,
     Of love, or suche thinges glad.”[299]


In this he had full satisfaction; his dream took another turn, and
he was led towards the place he wanted, where things glad were to be
found, a temple not of fame, but of tales and tidings, of noise and

    “And theroute come so grete a noyse,
    That had hyt stonde upon Oyse,
    Men myght hyt have herd esely
    To Rome, Y trowe sikerly.”

The noise went up to the sky from innumerable apertures, for

          “This hous hath of entrees
    As feele (many) as of leves ben on trees,
    In somer whan they grene ben.”

Never for one instant is the place quiet nor silent; it is always

            “Filde ful of tydynges,
    Other loude or of whisprynges;
    And over alle the houses angles,
    Ys ful of rounynges and of jangles,
    Of werres, of pes, of mariages,
    Of restes, of labour and of viages.”

War and peace, and love and travels, all this he was to make in
after-time the subject of his “Canterbury Tales,” and he represents
himself in this earlier poem as if coming to the well and spring of
all tales, placed somewhere in the land of dreams and fancy, yet
surrounded by people who were neither fanciful nor dreamy creatures,
but bony beings, on the contrary, with strong muscles and alert
tongues, and the dust of the road to Rome or the East on their feet;
surrounded, in fact, by these very roamers we are now trying to call
up one by one from the past, and who receive in the “House of Fame”
such an apotheosis as befits their quaint if rather questionable
character. Good Chaucer {226} lends a willing ear, and the ways of
speech of these people are carefully preserved in his verse for those
who after him may find interest in them. In this manner they spoke:
every person, says the poet,

        “Every wight that I saugh there
    Rouned (muttered) in eche others ere,
    A newe tydynge prevely,
    Or elles tolde alle oppenly
    Ryght thus, and seyde; ‘Nost not thou
    That ys betyd, late or now?’
    —‘No,’ quod he, ‘Telle me what.’
    And than he tolde hym this and that,
    And swore therto that hit was sothe;
    ‘Thus hath he sayde’ and ‘Thus he dothe,’
    And ‘Thus shal hit be’ and ‘Thus herde Y seye.’”

And the delight is that the tale repeated by many is always new, for
it is never exactly the same; the fib fattens as it grows old, so
that it may serve your pleasure many a time and oft:

    “Whan oon had herde a thinge ywis,
    He come forthright to another wight,
    And gan him tellen anon ryght,
    The same thynge that him was tolde,
    Or hyt a forlonge way was olde,
    But gan sommewhat for to eche (increase)
    To this tydynge in this speche
    More than hit ever was . . .
    As fire ys wont to quyk and goo
    From a sparke sprongen amys,
    Tille alle a citee brent up ys.”

That there may be no mistake about the sort of people to whom the
pleasant art of stretching a lie is so familiar, Chaucer is careful
to name them, and there we find almost every one of our friends
already mentioned or hereafter described, the sea or land wayfarers:

    “And lord! this hous in alle tymes
     Was ful of shipmen and pilgrimes,
     With scrippes (bags) bret-ful of leseyngs (lies)
     Entremedled with tydynges, {227}
     And eke allone be hemselve,
     O many a thousand tymes twelve
     Saugh I eke of these pardoners,
     Currours, and eke of messangers
     With boystes crammed ful of lyes.”

What Chaucer gathered from these shipmen, pardoners, couriers, and
messengers, he assures us it was not his intention to tell the world,

    “For hit no nede is redely;
     Folke kan hit synge bet than I.”

Whether or not some doubt may have afterwards entered his mind about
the great poetical faculty of “folke,” certain it is that, for the
delight of future ages, he did not stick to his word, as every reader
of the “Canterbury Tales” well knows.


(_From the MS. 10 E. IV._)]

These “boystes” which Chaucer represents, carried by messengers and
couriers, were filled in the way he describes only in a metaphorical
sense, and this left room for more solid ware, for letters and
parcels too, since in those old simple days, the messengers were
the only equivalent for mail and for parcels post. They were to be
found in the service of abbots, bishops, nobles, sheriffs, courts
of justice,[300] and of the king. Such a costly forerunner of the
post was not, of course, available for everybody; people did as they
best could. The poor man {228} waited till some friend was going a
journey; the rich only had express messengers, entrusted with their
errands to distant places and with the carrying of their letters,
generally written at dictation by a scribe on a sheet of parchment,
and then sealed in wax with the master’s signet.[301] The king kept
twelve messengers with a fixed salary; they followed him everywhere,
in constant readiness to start; they received threepence a day when
they were on the road, and four shillings and eightpence a year to
buy shoes.[302] They were entrusted with letters {229} for the kings
of France and Scotland; sent to call together the representatives
of the nation for Parliament; to order the publication of the papal
sentence against Guy de Montfort; to call to Windsor the knights of
St. George; to summon the “archbishops, earls, barons, and other
lords and ladies of England and Wales” to London to be present at the
funeral of the late queen (Philippa); to prescribe the proclamation
in the counties of the statutes made in Parliament; to command the
“archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, deans, and chapters of the
cathedral churches of all the shires to pray for the soul of Anne,
late Queen of England, deceased.”[303]

Edward III sends messengers or heralds to foreign parts, viz.,
France, Germany, Brabant, Flanders, Scotland, to call the nobility
of these countries to a great tournament, a sort of international
match to be held on St. George’s Day. The amount of the expense so
incurred, which is not less than thirty-two pounds, shows that the
messengers must have had long protracted journeys and must have had
to visit every part of the countries allotted to each of them.[304]

Sometimes the king got into trouble with his Commons on account of
expenses for messengers, which he did not always feel inclined to pay
from his own purse. Such a case happened in 1378, and the Commons
took this opportunity to once more assert their views about {230}
the French and other foreign possessions of their sovereign, Ireland
being included among them. They plainly state, as they had before,
that these countries and the expenses concerning them are a matter
for the king, not for them; it is a sort of kingly luxury with which
they will have nothing to do. They remonstrate, therefore, that about
forty-six thousand pounds sterling have been spent and entered as an
item of national expense “for the safeguard of certain countries,
places and fortresses, for which the Commons ought in no way to be
charged. These are partly in the march of Calais and partly at Brest,
Cherbourg, in Gascony, and in Ireland; and also expenses over certain
messengers to Flanders, Lombardy, Navarre, and Scotland.”

The Government peremptorily refuses to accept this kind of reasoning,
and returns a spirited reply: “To which it was answered that Gascony
and the other forts which our lord the king has in the parts beyond,
are and must be as barbicans for the kingdom of England, and if the
barbicans are well kept, with the safeguard formed by the sea, the
kingdom will be secure of peace. Otherwise we shall never find rest
nor peace with our enemies; for then they would push hot war to the
thresholds of our houses, which God forbid. Besides, through these
barbicans our said lord the king has convenient gates and entrances
towards his enemies to grieve them when he is ready and can act.”
Telling reasons are also given for retaining among public expenses
the costs of the journeys of messengers north and south.[305] None
the less did the Commons of England long continue to consider the
French wars, glorious perhaps, but undoubtedly expensive, as a
personal quarrel of their sovereign, and as, in fact, little more
than a rivalry between two French sovereigns speaking the same
language and belonging to the same family. {231}

Besides letters, couriers and messengers had many strange parcels
to carry from one place in the country to another: presents to fair
ladies, commodities of all sorts for their own masters. Thus, in
the year 1396, we find a servant of the Duke de Berri sent as a
messenger to Scotland, and travelling all the way thither from France
across England to fetch certain greyhounds of which his master was
especially fond. He is accompanied by three men on horseback, to help
him in taking care of the hounds, and he carries a safe-conduct from
Richard II, to travel without hindrance through the English dominions
with his followers and their belongings.[306]

Among the missions given by the king to his servants are some which,
at the present day, would seem singularly repugnant. He might, for
instance, charge one of his faithful retainers to carry the quarters
of a criminal’s body executed for treason to the great towns of
England. In this case he did not employ simple messengers; they were
personages of trust, followed by an escort to convey the remains.
Thus Edward III, in the fifty-first year of his reign, paid not less
than twenty pounds to “Sir William de Faryngton, knight, for the
costs and expenses he had incurred for transporting the four quarters
of the body of Sir John of Mistreworth, knight, to different parts of

Of all travellers, the messenger was the swiftest; first, because
travelling was his business; he was a good horseman, an experienced
person, clever in getting out of trouble on the road and at the inns;
then he had the right of way; woe to whoever thought to stop him;
there were immense fines if the master were powerful, still more if
the man were the king’s messenger. A messenger of the queen, who had
been imprisoned by {232} the constable of Roxburgh Castle, did not
hesitate to claim £10,000 sterling for contempt of his sovereign, and
£2,000 as indemnity for himself.[308]

When, on August 7, 1316, Jacques d’Euse, cardinal-bishop of Porto,
was chosen pope at Lyons, and assumed the name of John XXII, Edward
II being at York learnt the news ten days afterwards through Laurence
of Ireland, messenger of the house of the Bardi. And indeed we
find by the accounts of the king’s household that this prince paid
Laurence twenty shillings on the 17th of August to reward him for his
trouble. It was only on the 27th of September that, being still at
York, the king received by Durand Budet, a messenger of cardinal de
Pelagrua, the official letters announcing the election; he gave five
pounds to the messenger. Finally, the pope’s nuncio having arrived in
person shortly afterwards, bearing the same news no longer so fresh,
the king made him a present, inversely proportionate to his speed, of
a hundred pounds.[309]

Such was the custom, presents were made to the bringers of good
news; royal messengers had thus a chance of casually increasing
their meagre pay of threepence a day. Most fortunate were those who
brought word to the king himself of happy events. Edward III gave
a forty marks pension for life to the queen’s messenger who came
announcing the birth of the Prince of Wales, the future Black Prince;
he gave thirteen pounds, three shillings and fourpence to John Cok
of Cherbourg, who told him of the capture of King John at Poictiers;
he settled a pension of one hundred shillings upon Thomas of
Brynchesley who brought him the good news of the capture of Charles
of Blois.[310] {233}

Sometimes messengers, in spite of their privileges and cleverness,
were liable to find themselves in very difficult plight. In time of
war they had to conceal their real function, and were in constant
danger of being stopped and having their bag searched and their
letters opened. People felt strongly about foreigners living in
England, many of them being friars who might disclose the secrets
of the realm in their private correspondence. The Commons therefore
asked for very strict rules to be passed in order to remedy this
possible evil, and we find them, in the year 1346, when England was
at war with France, recommending the creation of something like the
_cabinets noirs_ of a later date.[311]

Langland in his “Visions” graphically compares the different modes of
travelling of messengers and such other wayfarers as merchants going
with their goods from one place to another. The one is the swiftest
of all, no one would dare to stop him; the other is retarded by his
pack, his debts, his fear of robbers which prevents his travelling
at dark, the impossibility for him to use short cuts across the
fields, while short {234} cuts are freely allowed to messengers: no
hayward would disturb them; no man in his senses, no “wys man” would
“wroth be” on account of his crops being spoiled by a messenger; the
messenger shows his letters and is free to go:

    “ . . . Yf a marchaunt and a messager · metten to-gederes,
    And scholde wende o way · where both mosten reste . . .
    The marchante mote nede be lette (kept) · lengere then the messagere;
    The messager doth na more · bote with hus mouthe telleth
    Hus erande and hus lettere sheweth · and is a-non delyvered.
    And thauh thei wende by the wey · tho two to-gederes,
    Thauh the messager make hus wey · a-mydde the whete,
    Wole no wys man wroth be · ne hus wed (pledge) take;
    Ys no haiwarde yhote (bidden) · hus wed for to take:
                    _Necesitas non habet legem._
    Ac yf the merchaunt make hus way · overe menne corne,
    And the haywarde happe · with hym for to mete,
    Other hus hatt, other hus hode · othere elles hus gloves
    The marchaunt mot for-go · other moneye of hus porse . . .
    Yut thauh thei wenden on way · as to Wynchestre fayre,
    The marchaunt with hus marchaundise · may nat go so swithe
    As the messager may · ne with so mochel ese.
    For that on (one) bereth bote a boxe · a brevet (letter) ther-ynne,
    Ther the marchaunt ledeth a male (trunk) · with meny kynne thynges,
    And dredeth to be ded there-fore · and (if) he in derke mete
    With robbours and revers (thieves) · that riche men dispoilen;
    Ther the messager is ay murye · hus mouthe ful of songes.”[312]

Wayfarers there were in whom both characteristics were united, the
slowness of pace of the merchant and the lightness of heart of the
messenger. These were the pedlars, a very numerous race in the Middle
Ages, one of the few sorts of wanderers that have not yet entirely
disappeared. A jovial race they seem to have been; they are so now,
most of them, for their way to success is through fair speech and
enticing words; and how could they be enticing if they did not show
good humour and jollity? “Gaiety” mends their broken wares, and
colours the faded ones, and blinds customers to otherwise {235}
obvious defects. They have always been described thus; they were
merry and sharp-tongued; such was Shakespeare’s Autolycus; such is,
in a novel of our time, the jovial owner of the dog Mumps, Bob Jakin
of “The Mill on the Floss.” “‘Get out wi’ you, Mumps,’ said Bob, with
a kick; ‘he is as quiet as a lamb, sir’—an observation which Mumps
corroborated by a low growl, as he retreated behind his master’s
legs.” About the exact scrupulousness prevailing among the tribe the
opinion has perhaps not been quite so consistent, which is the best
that can be said for it.

One good point about them, however, is that in mediæval England,
whatever may have been their reputation, they entirely escaped
legislation. Very possibly they were impliedly included in statutes
against vagrants and rovers; but they may at least argue that as
a matter of fact they are not named in any Act of Parliament, and
pass unobserved or nearly so by the Westminster legislator down to
a comparatively recent date. They are for the first time named in a
statute during the reign of Edward VI, in which, it is true, they are
treated in a contemptuous manner, being described as more “hurtful
than necessary to the common wealth.” This is called “an acte for
tynkers and pedlers,” and is to the following effect: “For as muche
as it is evident that tynkers, pedlers and suche like vagrant persons
are more hurtfull than necessarie to the Common Wealth of this realm,
Be it therefore ordeyned . . . that . . . no person or persons
commonly called pedler, tynker or pety chapman shall wander or go
from one towne to another or from place to place out of the towne,
parishe or village where such person shall dwell, and sell pynnes,
poyntes, laces, gloves, knyves, glasses, tapes or any suche kynde of
wares whatsoever, or gather connye skynnes or suche like things or
use or exercise the trade or occupation of a tynker,” except those
that shall have a licence from two justices {236} of the peace; and
then they will be allowed to travel only in the “circuyte” assigned
to them.[313]

Queen Elizabeth, too, had a word for pedlars, and it was not
more complimentary than what her brother had to say about them,
although “scollers of the Universityes” joined them on her list of
disreputable roamers. They figure in her “Acte for the punishment of
vacabondes”; and a very curious list of wanderers is found in it: “It
ys nowe publyshed,” says the queen, “that . . . all ydle persones
goinge aboute in any countrey of the said Realme, using subtyll
craftye and unlawfull games or playes, and some of them fayninge
themselves to have knowledge in phisnomye, palmestrye, . . . and all
fencers, bearwardes, comon players in interludes and minstrels not
belonging to any baron of this realme . . . all juglers, pedlars,
tynkers, and petye chapmen . . . and all scollers of the Universityes
of Oxford or Cambridge y^t goe about begginge . . . and all shipmen
pretendinge losses by sea . . . shalbee deemed roges vacabounds
and sturdy beggers intended of by this present act.”[314] But the
case of pedlars was not seriously taken in hand before the reign of
William III who put a tax upon them and, ominously enough, bound them
to certify commissioners for transportation how they travelled and

The late date of this statute of pedlars, if it may be called so,
is the more remarkable that they swarmed along the roads in the
Middle Ages, more numerous than tinkers or any other wandering
representatives of petty trades. There were not then as now large
shops in every village with all the necessaries of life ready
provided for the inhabitants. The shop itself was itinerant, being
nothing else than the pack of travelling chapmen. In the same way
{237} as the literature propagated by the minstrels, as news,
tales, and letters, pardons from Rome and many other commodities,
so household wares were carried about the country by indefatigable
wayfarers. A host of small useful things, or sometimes useless, but
so pleasing! were concealed in their unfathomable boxes. The contents
of them are pretty well shown by a series of illuminations in a
fourteenth-century manuscript, where a pedlar is represented asleep
at the foot of a tree, while monkeys have got hold of his box and
help themselves to the contents. They find in it vests, caps, gloves,
musical instruments, purses, girdles, hats, cutlasses, pewter pots,
and a number of other articles.[316]

As to the means by which pedlars came by their goods, a variety seem
to have been used by them, and purchase was only one among several. A
proverbial saying preserved for us by Langland shows how they secured
furs for their country customers. The author of the “Visions” states
how Repentance came once to Avarice, and examined him as to his
usurious doings:

    “‘Hastow pite on pore men · that mote nedes borwe?’
    ‘I have as moche pite of pore men · as pedlere hath of cattes,
    That wolde kille hem, yf he cacche hem myghte · for coveitise of here

a practice which cannot fail to be deeply resented by all lovers of

The regular merchants whom Langland and Chaucer describe, so
splendid to look at that no one knew they were “in dette,” adorned
with Flaundrish hats and “botes clasped faire and fetisly,” were a
very different sort of {238} people; but though no mere wanderers,
they were, too, great wayfarers. Many of them had had to visit the
continent to find markets for their goods, and for their purchases.
Through them too, and it was in fact, perhaps, the safest and most
reliable among many such channels of information, ideas of what was
going on in the outer world and how things were managed in France and
elsewhere, points of similitude and comparison, were introduced into
England and made the subject of thought and discussion.


(_From MS. 10 E. IV._)]

During the fourteenth century the foreign trade of England had
greatly increased; there was a constant intercourse with Flanders,
with Bruges above all other towns, for the sale of home produce:
wools especially, and woolfels, cheese, butter, tin, coal,[318]
etc., with the {239} Rhine country, with Gascony, with Spain, for
the purchase of wines;[319] with the Hanse towns, Lombardy, Venice,
and the East. Unintelligent regulations constantly interfered, it
is true, with this development, but so strong was the impulse that
it went on steadily. One of the most persistent and most noxious of
these regulations was the prohibition to export money or bullion,
which governments were never tired of renewing.[320] English
merchants were forbidden, when purchasing goods in foreign countries,
to pay for them with money; they had to pay in kind, with wools,
cheese and other home produce, which of course might or might not be
found acceptable by the vendor. It was, in other words, forbidden
to use money as a means of facilitating exchange, which is its very
_raison d’être_, and people had to return to the primitive practice
of _troc_, or exchange in kind. It had sometimes worse effects than
that of impeding transactions; foreign merchants might, as once
did the Flemings, show their appreciation of the rules imposed on
their English purchasers by answering their proffer of wools and
cheese with a beating and imprisonment until they would alter their
laws or their minds. For {240} which treatment, English merchants
sent doleful complaints to Parliament. In such cases retaliation
upon Flemings in England might be demanded, but no thought was
entertained, even by the injured party, of repealing laws considered
as an indispensable safeguard for the kingdom.[321]

Not much wiser were the rules applied to merchant shipping, made
worse by constant change, a defect which was noticeable in every
trade regulation of that time. Some are curious as being an attempt
to establish the long lived, but more moderate rules devised by
Cromwell in 1651: “Item, to increase the navy of England which is
now greatly diminished, it is assented and accorded, that none of
the king’s liege people do from henceforth ship any merchandize in
going out or coming within the realm of England in any port, but
only in ships of the king’s liegeance.” But the very next year this
impossible statute was altered so as to practically annul it: “It
is ordained and granted that the said ordinance only have place
as long as ships of the said ligeance in the parts where the said
merchants happen to dwell be found able and sufficient.”[322] The
same unsteadiness of purpose was shown in almost every branch of the
yet unbaptized science of political economy.

Not less worthy of notice than this attempt at a Navigation Act
is the claim made, even then, by the Commons of England to a
traditional supremacy over the seas. In one of their innumerable
petitions concerning the decay of the navy, which seems to have
been a favourite complaint in England from the remotest period down
to our own time, they state that the rash and often {241} useless
pressing of ships for the king’s service had brought about a most
dangerous decrease of the navy; many mariners addicting themselves
to other trades, while only “twenty years ago, _and always before_,
the shipping of the Realm was in all the ports and good towns upon
the sea or rivers, so noble and plenteous that all the countries held
and called our said sovereign: the King of the Sea (_le Roi de la
Mier_).”[323] As these were trading ships, only occasionally used for
war purposes, this gives an idea of the importance to which British
merchant shipping had risen in the fourteenth century and which it
desired to recover.

The rules concerning foreign merchants coming to England were in the
same manner constantly changed; sometimes the hardest restrictions
were put upon them, and sometimes everything was done to allure
them to come. The result was the same; trade was impeded doubtless,
but it went on, and in spite of the unsteadiness of legislation, of
retaliatory measures (as when, for instance, Hanse merchants were
imprisoned in England and their goods seized on account of misdeeds
committed by Prussians, “ceux de la seigneurie de Pruys,” no reason
of complicity being alleged, but only it seems one of geographical
vicinity[324]), in spite of restrictions innumerable, the intercourse
steadily increased, to the great benefit of the community and the
wider diffusion of ideas. In the ninth, the twenty-fifth, the
twenty-seventh, and other years of his reign, King Edward III again
and again stated that he took foreign merchants under his special
protection: “To replenish the said realm and lands,” he said on one
of these occasions, “with money and {242} plate, gold and silver
and merchandises of other lands, and to give courage to merchants
strangers to come with their wares and merchandises into the Realm
and lands aforesaid, we have ordained and established that all
merchants strangers which be not of our enmity, of what land or
nation that they be, may safely and surely, under our protection
and safe conduct, come and dwell in our said realm and lands, where
they will, and from thence [freely] return,” selling their goods to
whom they please, being exempted from purveyance and only paying the
ordinary customs.[325] If war is declared between England and their
country, they will have forty days to quit the realm, during which
time they shall be allowed to continue their sales, and even more
delay will be allowed them in case they are ill, or are detained
by bad weather. This last was, as we have seen, a very necessary
proviso, for a merchant coming with his goods in the depth of winter
to a broken bridge might be stopped a rather long time; as also if,
reaching the sea-coast, he found contrary winds. The statute of the
twenty-fifth year provided that the liberal intentions of the king
towards foreign merchants should be brought by way of proclamation
to the notice of the officers and inhabitants of all the English
counties, trading cities, seaports, etc.[326]

Thus protected and impeded by turns, foreign trade jogged on, and
as common interest was, after all, stronger than popular prejudice
and narrow regulations, it managed to thrive in England. Foreign
gilds were established in London; foreign settlements were created
in several trading towns,[327] foreign fleets visited the English
coasts {243} at regular intervals, none with more important results
than the fleet of the Venetian Republic. It began to call regularly
at the ports of Flanders, England, and the North, in the year 1317;
each ship had on board thirty archers for its defence, commanded
by young Venetian noblemen. There was in the fourteenth century a
Venetian consul at Bruges, and the commander of the galleys did
not fail to put himself in communication with him. The fleet, or
“galleys of Flanders,” as it was called, brought to England cotton
from Egypt, cloth of silk from Venice, cinnamon, pepper, cloves,
saffron, camphor, musk, and other drugs or spices from the East,
sugar from Egypt and Sicily, etc. The trade of Venice in the
eastern Mediterranean was very extensive; it was carried on freely,
except during occasional wars with the Saracens, and the commercial
interest that the Italian Republics had in the continuation of a good
understanding with the infidel was one of the principal causes of the
cessation of crusades. From England the Venetian galleys took back
wools and woollen cloths, leather, tin, lead, sea-coal, cheese,[328]

The importance of this intercourse with the continent, which
fortunately the variations in the laws of the land were unable to
check, gave prominence in the community to the English merchant. He
is already in the fourteenth century, and has been ever since, one
of the main supports of the State. While the numerous applications
of Edward III to Lombard bankers for ready money are well known,
it is sometimes overlooked how often he had recourse to English
merchants, who supplied him with that without which his archers’
bows would have remained unstrung. The advice and goodwill of the
{244} whole class of merchants could not be safely ignored; therefore
their attendance was constantly requested at Westminster to discuss
money and other State matters. Some families among them rose to
eminence, like the De la Poles of Hull, who became earls of Suffolk
with descendants destined to die at Agincourt, to be checked by Joan
of Arc at Orleans, to be made dukes, and to be impeached for high
treason. It was, too, the time of “thrice Lord Mayor of London”[329]
Dick, afterwards Sir Richard Whittington, who, if we trust the
legend, did not entertain the same feeling as the above-mentioned
pedlars for cats. Another man of the same sort a little later was the
famous William Canynge, of Bristol, who made a large fortune there
in trading with foreign countries. One of his ships was called the
_Mary Redcliffe_, a name as well as his own since associated with the
memory of the Bristol boy-poet, Thomas Chatterton.

The feeling that the king of England should be _le Roi de la Mier_
goes on increasing. The “Libelle of Englyshe Polycye,” a sort of
consular report, written however in verse, about 1436, is quite

    “Kepte (keep) than the see about in specialle,
     Whiche of England is the rounde walle;
     As thoughe England were lykened to a cité,
     And the walle enviroun were the see.
     Kepe than the see that is the walle of Englond,
     And than is Englonde kepte by Goddes sonde (decision).”[330]

And those traditions having been continued, Montesquieu was able
to write, in his “Esprit des Lois”: “Other nations have made the
interests of commerce yield to political interests. England has
always made her political interests yield to her commercial ones.

“This is the people in the world that has best known how to avail
itself of these three great things: religion, commerce, and


(_From the Ellesmere MS._)]

Below men in such exalted situations as a Whittington (praised to
the skies in the “Libelle”) or a Canynge, the bulk of the merchant
community throve as best they could. One of the necessities of their
avocation was constant travelling. They were to be met along the
roads almost as much as their poorer brothers the pedlars. They also
made great use of the water-courses, and carried their goods by boat
whenever possible. Hence the constant interference of the Commons
with the erection of new mills, weirs, and other hindrances on rivers
by the owners of the adjoining lands. The “Rolls of Parliament” are
full of petitions asking for the complete suppression of all new
works of this sort as being detrimental to the “common passage of
ships and boats on the great rivers of England,” or stating that
“the merchants who {246} frequent the water between London and Oxford
used to have free passage on the Thames from London to Oxford, with
their ships to carry their goods and to serve the commonalty and the
people, but now they are disturbed by weirs, locks, mills, and many
other hindrances.”[332] The reasons why merchants preferred such a
conveyance were that the cost of carriage was less; that, save for
the occasional meeting of unexpected locks and weirs, they were more
certain than on ordinary roads to find before them a clear course;
and that they were better able to protect themselves against robbers.

They could not, however, go everywhere by water, and willingly or
not they had then to betake themselves to the roads, and incur all
the mischances that might turn up on the way or at the inn. In his
“Visions,” Langland describes how one of his mischievous characters
once rifled at the inn the boxes of travelling chapmen:

 “‘Thus, ones I was herberwed,’ quod he · ‘with an hep of
 I roos whan thei were arest (having their rest) · and yrifled
     here males’” (their trunks).

Repentance, who had just been asking if his interlocutor had never
made “restitucioun,” wonders at this strange statement as to how
things went on at the inn:

 “That was no restitucioun, quod Repentance · but a robberes

To which the careless creature retorts in a way that reminds one of
Chaucer’s French of Stratford-atte-Bow:

 “‘I wende (believed) ryflynge were restitucioun,’ quod he · ‘for
     I lerned nevere rede on boke,
 And I can no Frenche in feith · but of the ferthest end of


Between the “male” of these chapmen and the mere pack of the pedlar
the difference is not considerable; it is not very great either
if compared to the “male” of the merchant we have met before, who
travels slowly on account of an encumbrance represented by the poet
as the emblem of “men that ben ryche.” So that these three links kept
pretty close together the chain of the itinerant trading community.
They all had to go about and to experience the gaieties or dangers of
the road, the latter being of course better known to the richer sort
than to the poor Bob Jakin of the day. The reasons for this constant
travelling were numerous; the same remark applies to merchants of
the fourteenth century as to almost all other classes: there was
much less journeying than to-day for mere pleasure’s sake, but very
much more, comparatively, out of necessity. We cannot underrate the
causes of personal journeys suppressed by the post and telegraph (and
telephone, unheard-of when the present work was first published),
with the money and other facilities they have introduced. But besides
the lack thereof, the staple and fairs were, in the fourteenth
century, potent causes impelling merchants to move about.

The staple was the subject of constant regulations, complaints, new
regulations and new complaints. The fundamental law concerning it is
the well-known statute of 1353, the mechanism of which the following
extracts will show:

“We (i.e. the king and Parliament) have ordained . . . first,
that the staple of wools, leather, woolfels, and lead, growing or
coming forth within our said realm and lands, shall be perpetually
holden at the places underwritten, that is to say, for England at
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, York, Lincoln, Norwich, Westminster, Canterbury,
Chichester, Winchester, Exeter, and Bristow; for Wales at Kaermerdyn;
and for Ireland at Dublin, Waterford, {248} Cork, and Drogheda, and
not elsewhere; and that all the said wools, as well old as new,
woolfels, leather, and lead, which shall be carried out of the said
realm and lands shall be first brought to the said staples, and there
the said wool and lead, betwixt merchant and merchant or merchant and
others, shall be lawfully weighed by the standard; and that every
sack and sarpler of the same wools so weighed be sealed under the
seal of the mayor of the staple.”

Any English may bring and sell wool at the staple; but only foreign
merchants are allowed to take it out of the realm. It is prohibited
to stop carriages and goods going to the staple. It is ordained
also “that in every town where the staple shall be holden, shall
be ordained certain [streets] and places where the wools and other
merchandises shall be put; and because that the lords or guardians
of the houses and places, seeing the necessity of merchants do
set percase their houses at too high ferm, we have ordained that
the houses which be to be leased in such manner, shall be set at
a reasonable ferm,” after the estimation of the local authority,
assisted by four discreet men of the place.[334] It need scarcely
be said that the staple was often removed from one town to another,
from England to Calais and from Calais to England, etc., according to
inscrutable whims and fancies, and with very detrimental results for
all traders.

The fairs, the very name of which can scarcely fail to awaken ideas
of merry bustle, gay clamour, and joyous agitation, were subjected
to no less stringent regulations, so that the word reminded many
people not merely of pleasure but also of fines, confiscations, and
prison. {249} When the time came for a fair, no sale was permitted in
the town except at the fair, under pain of the goods exhibited being
seized. All the ordinary shops were to be closed. Such regulations
were meant not only to insure the largest possible attendance at the
fair, but also to secure for the lord of it the entirety of the tolls
he had a right to.

An inquest holden at Winchester, famous for its St. Giles’s fair,
gives an idea of the manner in which these commercial festivities
were solemnized. The fair belonged to the Bishop of Winchester.
On the eve of St. Giles’s Day, at early dawn, the officers of the
bishop went about the town announcing the conditions of the fair,
which were these: no merchant was to sell or exhibit for sale any
goods in the town, or at a distance of seven leagues round it, except
inside the gates of the fair. The same proclaimed the assise of
bread, wine, and ale; tasted the wine, broke the casks where they
detected “insufficient” wine. They proved all weights and measures;
they destroyed false ones and fined the owners. All merchants were
to reach the fair not later than a certain time (the feast of the
Nativity of the Virgin Mary); if they came later they were not
admitted except with a special licence from the bishop. The usual
allowance is made in case they may have been kept back by a storm at
sea, or by some mischance on land, “infortunium in terra,” which in
this time of bad roads, and of such determined robbers as Sir Robert
de Rideware, was not infrequent. A court of “pie powder,” that is,
“of the dusty feet,”[335] was held in the fair itself, and any suit
arising from transactions or trouble there was determined {250}
by this tribunal at once, and without appeal. Similar rules were
in existence at the Westminster fair, and at many others.[336] The
importance of these meetings is shown by the constant recurrence in
the “Rolls of Parliament” of petitions concerning them, beseeching
the king to grant a fair to a certain lord or to a certain town, or
to suppress a neighbouring town’s fair, for fear it may hurt the
petitioners’ own.

People from the counties and from the continent flocked to the fairs.
The largest and the more widely known were those of Winchester,[337]
Abingdon for cattle, Bartholomew fair[338] in Smithfield (London),
Stourbridge fair, the most important of all, Weyhill, mentioned in
Langland’s “Visions,”[339] etc. In the time of Elizabeth, {251}
Harrison, describing England, could not help expressing his pride
in the importance and renown of English fairs, about which he writes
thus: “As there are no great towns without one weekelie market at
the least, so there are verie few of them that have not one or two
faires or more within the compasse of the yeare, assigned unto them
by the prince. And albeit that some of them are not much better than
Lowse faire or the common Kirkemesses beyond the sea, yet there are
diverse not inferiour to the greatest marts in Europe, as Sturbridge
faire neere to Cambridge, Bristow faire, Bartholomew faire at
London, Lin mart (Linne), Cold faire at Newport pond for cattell,
and diverse other.” In all of which people were kept merry with ales
and beers of various flavour and strength known by as significant
names as those of present day dances, fox-trot, mother’s rest, and
others, which to-morrow will, they too, need interpretation: “Such
headie ale and beere in most of them, as for the mightinesse thereof
. . . is commonlie called huffe cap, the mad dog, father whoresonne,
angels food, dragon’s milke, go by the wall, stride wide, and lift
leg. . . . Neither did Romulus and Remus sucke their shee wolfe (or
sheepheards wife) Lupa, with such eger and sharpe devotion, as these
men hale at huf cap, till they be red as cockes and little wiser than
their combs.”[340]

Stourbridge fair belonged to the city and corporation of Cambridge,
and was held in September, lasting three weeks. Tents and wooden
booths were erected at that time on the open fields, so as to form
streets; each trade had its own street as in real cities, and
as may still be seen now in the bazaars of the East. Among the
principal articles sold at this fair were: “ironmongery, cloth,
{252} wool, leather, books.” The last article became in several
fairs an important one when the art of printing spread; there was
in the North Hundred of Oxford, in the sixteenth century, a fair at
which an extensive sale of books took place, and this, as Professor
Thorold Rogers has observed, is the only way to account for the
rapid diffusion of books and pamphlets at a time when newspapers and
advertisements were practically unknown. “I have more than once,”
adds the same authority, “found entries of purchases for college
libraries, with a statement that the book was bought at St. Giles’
fair.”[341] No reader of Boswell needs to be reminded how the
father of Dr. Johnson had a booth for book selling on market days
at Uttoxeter, in doing which he was merely keeping up, as we see, a
mediæval tradition of long standing. How young Samuel refused once to
accompany his father to the market, and, in after-time, repaired on
a rainy day to the spot, and there did penance, has been alluded to

Even at the present day books continue to be an article of sale at
the fairs in many French villages, and sheets of printed matter are
taken from thence to cottages, where, under the smoky light burning
in winter by the fireside, people, not very dissimilar to their
forefathers of five hundred years ago, look at the image of mediæval
heroes and of the worthies of the world, by the side of whom now
begins to appear that of the heroes of the Great War.

To the fairs, along with mummers, jugglers, tumblers, beggars, and
the whole of the catchpenny tribe, the pedlar was sure to resort,
in the approved Autolycus fashion. “He haunts,” says the clown in
“Winter’s Tale,” “wakes, fairs, and bear-baiting.” There he might
exhibit “ribands of all the colours i’ the rainbow; points, more
{253} than all the lawyers in Bohemia can learnedly handle, though
they come to him by the gross; inkles, caddisses, cambricks, lawns.
Why, he sings them over, as they were gods or goddesses; you would
think a smock were a she-angel, he so chants to the sleeve hand, and
the work about the square on’t.”[342] So that everybody might remark,
as does the honest clown to fair Perdita, “You have of these pedlars
that have more in them than you’d think, sister.” A favourable view,
adopted, magnified, sublimated by another great poet whose Wanderer
is a pedlar, but what a pedlar and what a part does he not play in
the community!

    “By these Itinerants, as experienced men,
     Counsel is given; contention they appease
     With gentle language; in remotest wilds,
     Tears wipe away, and pleasant tidings bring;
     Could the proud quest of chivalry do more?”[343]

Less aspiring most of them, not unsatisfied with their lot, careless
of robbers, having few wants, pedlars of the past plodded the miry
roads of Plantagenet England, as they did in the time of Shakespeare,
merrily singing some “Winter Tale” ditty:

    “Jog on, jog on, the foot-path way,
       And merrily hent the stile-a:
     A merry heart goes all the day,
       Your sad tires in a mile-a.”


[Illustration 48. FOREST LIFE. WOOD-CUTTERS.

(_From the MS. 10 E. IV._)]



The mountebanks, the musicians, and their fellows have stayed us at
the street corners, in the castle halls and courtyards; the pedlars
have led us to the peasants’ cots, the fairs and markets. With the
outlaws we must leave the highroad for the pathless woods, fens and

England at that time was not the immense meadow, furrowed by
railways, of the present day; there still remained much of those
forests spoken of by Cæsar in his Commentaries, and where the
Plantagenet kings and their predecessors had so jealously maintained
their rights of the chase. The woods were not so well policed as they
are now; they offered to bandits and men fleeing from justice a more
extensive asylum than any six-circled sanctuary. In the popular mind
the idea of the great rustling forest, and the idea of the free life
{255} that the outlaws led there, were often mingled in one and the
same sentiment of sympathy. Besides, therefore, the praise of the
Arthurian heroes, is found in the poetry of the time that of the
trees and bushes, that of the valiant men who, dwelling in the copse,
were supposed to have struggled for the public liberties, Hereward,
Fulk Fitz-Warin, Robin Hood. Were a man pursued, if the sanctuary was
too far or not to his taste, he took to the forest; it was easier to
get there, he remained nearer to his kin, and was about as safe as if
he had crossed over to the continent.

Robbers, bandits, poachers, knights in trouble might thus meet as
comrades in the depths of the wood. The forest is the first thought
of the proscribed squire in the “Nut Brown Maid,” the masterpiece of
English poetry in the fifteenth century, a musical duet of love, full
of the wild charm of the great forest, with a well-accented cadence,
frequent rhymes and assonances charming the ear as the oft repeated
rustling of the forest leaves. On the verge of capture, the poor
squire is fain to choose between a shameful death and retreat into
“the grene wode.” His betrothed, who is nothing less than a baron’s
daughter, wishes to follow him; and then, in every couplet, her
lover, in order to try her, pictures to her the terrors and dangers
of the fugitive’s life; she may perhaps see him taken and die a
robber’s death:

    “For an outlawe this is the lawe, that men hym take and binde
     Wythout pytee, hanged to bee, and waver with the wynde.”

With this, a thrilling description of the life in the woods, of the
brambles, snow, hail, rain; no soft bed; for roof the leaves alone:

 “Yet take good hede, for ever I drede, that ye coude not sustein
  The thorney wayes, the depe valeis, the snowe, the frost, the reyn,
  The cold, the hete; for drye or wete we must lodge on the playn;
  And, us above, noon other roue (roof), but a brake, bussh or twayne.”


No delicate food, but only such as the wood affords:

    “For ye must there in your hande bere a bowe redy to drawe,
     And as a theef thus must ye lyve, ever in drede and awe.”

Worse even, and the trial becomes harder; the young girl must cut
off her lovely hair; life in the forest does not allow of that
ornament. Lastly, to crown all: I have already in the forest another
sweetheart, whom I love better, and who is more beautiful. But, as
resigned as Griselda, the betrothed replies: I shall go none the less
into the forest; I will be kind to your sweetheart, I will obey her,
“for in my mynde, of all mankynde, I love but you alone.” Then the
lover’s joy breaks out: “I wyl not too the grene wod goo, I am noo
banysshyd man,” I am not an obscure squire, but the son of the Earl
of Westmoreland, and the hour of our wedding is now come.[344]

All the fugitives whom the forest received into its depths were not
romantic knights, followed by baronesses patient as Griselda and
brave as Bradamante. To pass from poetry to real facts, they were
for the greater part formidable rovers, the same against whom Edward
I and Edward III had enacted the rigorous law for suspects[345]
mentioned above. This caste was composed, first of the organized
bands of brigands whom the statute calls Wastours, Roberdesmen, and
Drawlatches, then of thieves, sharpers, and malefactors of all kinds,
of outlaws of various sorts, suffering that civil death alluded to by
the lover in the “Nut Brown Maid.”

The sentence of outlawry was usually the starting-point for a
wandering life, which by necessity became a life of brigandage. To
be declared an outlaw, a crime {257} or a misdemeanor must have
been committed; a private suit of a purely civil character was not
enough;[346] but to come within sight of the gallows, no great guilt
was necessary; hence the large number of outlaws. In a criminal
lawsuit of the time of Edward I[347] the judge explains from his
bench that the law is this: if the thief has taken anything worth
more than twelve pence, or if he has been condemned several times
for little thefts, and the total may be worth twelve pence or more,
he ought to be hanged: “The law wills that he shall be hanged by the
neck.” Still, as the judge observes in the case of a woman who had
stolen a carpet lying on a hedge, worth eightpence, the law is milder
than in the days of Henry III, for then a theft of the value of
fourpence would hang a man.[348]


(_From the MS. 10 E. IV._)]

The man became an outlaw, and the woman a _weyve_, that is, abandoned
to the mercy of every one and unable to claim the protection of
justice. The author of “Fleta” expresses with terrible force the
condition of persons so punished; they have wolves heads which may
be cut off with impunity: “For she is a weyve whom no one will own,
and it is equivalent to outlawry so far as penal consequences go. An
outlaw and a weyve bear wolves {258} heads, which may be cut off by
any one with impunity, for deservedly ought they to perish without
law who would refuse to live according to law.”[349] The outlaw lost
all his property and rights; all the contracts to which he was a
party fell void; he was no longer bound to any one nor anybody bound
to him. His goods were forfeit: “the chattels of an outlaw shall
belong to our lord the king”; if he had lands the king kept the
usufruct for a year and a day, at the end of which he restored them
to the chief lord (_capitalis dominus_).[350] There were also hard
legal rules on this subject; a man accused of murder and acquitted
suffered confiscation nevertheless, if he had fled, fearing justice.
Listen to the magistrate: “If a man be acquitted of manslaughter and
of assent and help, the justices shall thereupon ask the jury if the
prisoner took to flight; if they say No, let him go quits, if Yes,
the king shall have his chattels.”[351] It may be {259} readily
believed that the draconian severity of such regulations was not
calculated to lessen the audacity of those whom they concerned, and
that the excessive rigour of these penalties would often transform
the fugitive of a day, who had doubted the clear-sightedness of the
judge, into a professional brigand and highway robber.

Besides people of this kind there were the rovers, who, without
being threatened with outlawry, had fled the village or the farm to
which they belonged. The villein who, without special licence, left
his master’s domain, could resume his previous life and intercourse
with his kin, only by placing himself at his lord’s mercy, or, which
was less risky, after having passed a year and a day in a free town
without leaving it and without the lord, often unaware of the place,
having interrupted the prescription. In this latter case he became a
free man, and the ties which bound him to the soil were broken. But
if he confined himself to wandering from place to place he might be
re-taken any day that he reappeared at his own door.

An example of this may be seen in a characteristic lawsuit of the
time of Edward I, a report of which has come down to us:—_A_ presents
a writ of imprisonment against _B_. Heiham, counsel for _B_, says:
It is not for us to defend ourselves, _A_ is our villein, his writ
cannot take effect against us. This is verified, it is found that
_A_ is the son of a villein of _B_, that he ran away, and several
years afterwards returned home, “to his nest,” where he was taken
as a villein. The judge declares that this seizure was legal; that
a villein might wander about during six, seven years or more, but
if at the end he were found “in his own nest and at his hearth,”
he might be seized as continuing to be his lord’s lawful property;
the fact of his return put him into the condition he was {260} in
before his departure. On hearing this decision the delighted counsel
appropriately cites the scripture, “He fell into the pit which he
hath digged.”[352]

At that period a villein could still be sold as chattel, given away
as a present, donated to a convent for the benefit of one’s soul: “I
Hugo de Ringesdon . . . gave and conceded . . . to God and Blessed
Mary and the Abbot and convent of Sulby, for the salvation of my soul
and that of my ancestors and successors, in perpetual frank almoigne,
Robert son of Juliana de Walton, with all his sequel and all his
chattels, nothing remaining of any bond with me or my successors for

Or again: “Be it known to all, now and hereafter, that I John, son of
Thomas [of Wurtham], have sold . . . to Hugo abbot of Saint Edmunds
. . . Serval, son of William of Wurtham with all his sequel . . . and
all the tenement which he held from me . . . for sixteen shillings of
silver which the said abbot gave me.”[354]

If the actual sale of a man, sold as such, was infrequent, the
transfer of a tenement, tenant included, {261} was of constant
occurrence; the man and his kin changed hands as the plot of land to
which he was bound. The monastery of Meaux, near Beverley, having
claimed, against the abbot of St. Mary of York, the right to fish
in the Wathsand and Hornsey meres, and no satisfactory proof being
available on either side, recourse was had by the two religious
disputants to judicial duel. The combat was severe: “It took place
at York and lasted from morning to evening, our champion,” says
the Meaux chronicler, “slowly succumbing.” Before complete defeat,
however, “the duel was interrupted by the cleverness of a certain
judge, Roger de Thurkelby, a friend of ours”; Meaux yielded the
fishing rights to York, but York “granted us one toft, with a man
holding that toft in villeinage, and his sequel.”[355]

The change in customs made the separate sale of the man himself
practically impossible in the fourteenth century,[356] but the
_adscriptio glebæ_ remained imperative, and every means was taken to
prevent the villeins from uprooting themselves and ceasing to be,
like their own trees, fixtures liable to change masters with the

The villein’s highest desire was of course manumission and complete
independence: a dream so ambitious that most of them scarcely dared
to form it, up to the time of the peasants’ revolt, when it became
general, {262} and was realized—for a day. Second to that he wanted
the commutation for a cash payment of the harassing personal labour
due by him to his lord, a change which went on increasingly in the
course of the fourteenth century.[357] When neither was possible
and the burden became unbearable, he would, happen what may, try to
escape and live elsewhere unknown and masterless.[358]

The villein, when in this mood, had two great temptations, the
cities with their franchise, which even his master did not dare
infringe,[359] and the forest, where he was out of reach. Noblemen
sometimes allowed their villeins to become merchants and go from city
to city. They were very near freedom, but not quite free; they had to
pay “chevage” to their master as a sign of subjection, and if these
serfs ceased to pay, the mere fact made them runaways, “just like
domestic _cerfs_ (red deer),” says Bracton, indulging in an, even
then, antiquated pun. They can be run after and captured like any
domestic animal.[360] {263}

Scarcely less tempting was the forest. Escaped peasants provided the
wandering class with its most numerous recruits. In England several
causes, the chief of which was the great plague of 1349,[361] had in
the fourteenth century upset the relations of the working classes
with the rich, and the proportions between the rate of wages and the
cost of necessaries. Confronted with a longing for emancipation which
arose on all sides, parliament—the House of Commons as willingly as
the king—passed stern laws for the maintenance of the _statu quo ante
pestem_. Thence came among the various sorts of peasants, both the
villeins bound to their plot of land (“theirs” with the understanding
they should perform the customary services due to the lord), and the
landless labourers free to hire themselves out for wages, an immense
desire to move about and see other parts. In their own hamlet, they
found, nothing was to be got but the same obligations and the same
wages as before the plague; but in such another county, they heard
or supposed, there were better pay and less exacting masters[362];
besides, why not mingle with the class of free labourers? It was
numerous and increased {264} unceasingly, in spite of the law.
All did not succeed in concealing their past; and when the danger
of being “put into stocks” and sent back to their masters became
great, they fled again, changed county and became roamers. Others,
discontented with or without cause, only quitted their place to
become straightway homeless vagabonds of the most dangerous kind.
Thus in the precincts of Westminster, the chapter house of the Abbey
where the Commons sat, resounded with ever new complaints against the
increasing lawlessness of peasants and labourers of all sorts. The
Commons, who, generally speaking, represented the landowners of the
country, and a trading bourgeoisie[363] with somewhat aristocratic
tendencies, rose with force against the wishes for freedom of a
class of workers whom they in no way represented. They were for the
re-establishment of all the old laws and customs, and the strict
rejection of new demands. But the current was too strong, and it
swept by the laws, ever renewed and ever inefficient.

The plague was still raging, Parliament could not meet; the thinning
of the ranks of the workers by death, and the excessive wage demands,
or refusals to work at all, of the survivors, who preferred to live
on alms, created such a dangerous state of confusion that the king
issued, on his own authority and that of his council in June 1349, an
ordinance which formed the basis of the famous Statute of Labourers
of 1351[364] and of all the subsequent ones. {265} The most striking
of its dispositions aimed at an outright conscription of labour,
something like what we have seen of late, under the pressure of
necessity, on the occasion of what has been for the world an even
greater calamity:

“Any man or woman, in our realm of England, of whatever condition,
either free or servile, sound in body and under the age of sixty
years, living not by merchandise nor practising a definite craft,
nor having personally wherewith to live, nor possessing land which
he would cultivate, nor being somebody else’s servant, if he is
requested to serve in a service congruent to his status, shall be
bound to serve the one that shall thus request him.” He is moreover
forbidden to receive any wages or compensations different from those
of the twentieth year of the King’s reign, that is those which were
barely sufficient before the plague and were entirely inadequate
now. Later in the year, a new ordinance forbade any one to leave the
desolated realm, “unless he were a merchant, a notary or an undoubted

The Commons could not imagine that, for mere villeins, there might
be such a thing as necessity, and they uniformly attributed the
new requests to the “malice of servants,” who exacted both higher
wages and other terms of engagement than before. They would not work
“without taking hire that was too outrageous.”[366] {266} Formerly
they hired themselves for a year; now they wanted to remain their own
masters and to hire themselves by the day: the statute forbids them
to do so.

Three years later the complaints are renewed;[367] the value of corn
is very low and labourers refuse to receive it as payment; they
persist also in desiring day hire; all these doings are condemned
once more. The quarrel continues and grows embittered. In the
thirty-fourth year of his reign Edward III threatens to have the
guilty branded on the forehead with an F, as a sign of “fauxine”
(falsehood).[368] In 1372, Parliament declares that “labourers and
servants flee from one county to another, some go to the great
towns and become artificers, some into strange districts to work,
on account of the excessive wages, none remaining for certain in
any place, whereby the statute cannot be put in execution against

[Illustration 50. REAPING TIME.

(_From the MS. 2 B._ vii. _Fourteenth Century._)

“We haue the payne and traveyle, rayne and wynd in the feldes.” (John
Ball’s speech in Berner’s Froissart.)]

The Commons of the Good Parliament of 1376 secured the confirmation
of all the previous statutes. Prohibitions were renewed against any
going out of their “own district” (_pays propre_), whether they were
villeins proper, or “labourers and artificers and other servants.”
The economic changes that had taken place had rendered possible,
however, what was not so formerly; labourers were wanted, and it
was not rare to find landowners who employed them in spite of the
laws, even by the day, and at other wages than those of the tariff.
The parliamentary petitions declare that “they are so willingly
{269} received in strange places suddenly into service, that this
reception gives example and comfort to all servants, as soon as they
are displeased with anything, to run from master to master into
strange places, as is aforesaid.” And this would not go on, observe
the Commons, if when they offered their services in this fashion they
were “taken and put in the stocks.” True, indeed, but the landowners
who needed help, and whose crops were waiting on the ground, were too
happy to meet with “servantz corores” (runaway), whoever they might
be; and instead of taking them “to the nearest gaol,” to pay and use
them. The labourers knew it, and their traditional masters had to
show less severity. For on some unreasonable demand or over-strong
reprimand, instead of submitting as formerly, or venturing a protest,
the workman said nothing but, “par grande malice,” went away: “As
soon as their masters challenge them with bad service or offer to pay
them for their service according to the form of the said statutes,
they flee and run away suddenly out of their service and out of their
own district, from county to county, from hundred to hundred, from
town to town, in strange places unknown to their said masters.”[370]

Worse still, and inevitable, many among them, unable or unwilling to
work, took up begging or robbing as a profession. These “wandering
labourers become mere beggars in order to lead an idle life, and
betake themselves out of their district commonly to the cities,
boroughs, and other good towns to beg, and they are able-bodied and
might wel ease the community if they would serve.” {270}

So much for the beggars;[371] now for the robbers: “And the
greater part of the said wandering servants commonly become strong
robbers, and their robberies and felonies increase from one day
to another on all sides,” acting in small bands of “two, three
or four together,” and plundering “simple villages.” Energetic
measures must be taken; let it be prohibited to give alms to this
sort of people, and “let their bodies be put in the stocks or taken
to the next gaol,” to be sent afterwards to where they belong.
Edward III had already condemned to prison, by his ordinance of
1349, those who, under colour of charity “sub colore pietatis vel
elemosine,” came to the aid of sturdy beggars, those vagabonds who
went through the country “giving themselves to idleness and vice,
and sometimes to theft and other abominations.” The same complaints
recur in the time of Richard II. Hardly is he on the throne than
they are repeated from year to year: 1377, 1378, 1379, revealing
to us the existence of early unions and federations of villeins
and labourers who, advised by men better informed than themselves,
“lours counseillours, meyntenours et abettours,” defend their assumed
freedom sometimes by force—“menassent les ministres de lours seignurs
de vie et de membre”—sometimes by law, invoking written texts and
“exemplifications” whose value they have learnt, and swear to remain
“confederated” and to help each other at all cost against their
masters.[372] {271}

Statutes multiplied to no purpose; the king had to recognize in
his ordinance of 1383 that the “feitors (idlers) and vagrants”
overran the country “more abundantly than they were formerly
accustomed.”[373] In 1388 he renewed all the orders of his
predecessors, re-enacting for rustics rules similar to those of the
_Inscription maritime_ still applied to-day in France, for what
concerns seafaring, to the seaside population: any one who reached
the age of twelve without having done anything else than “working at
the plough and cart or other labor or service of husbandry,” will
have to continue in this state his life long, “without being allowed
to learn a trade or handicraft,” and if one is found to be a party to
a contract of apprenticeship, the contract shall be void.

The king reminds, at the same time, the mayors, bailiffs, stewards,
and constables of their duties, and asks them in particular to repair
their stocks and keep them always ready for wanderers to cease in
them their wanderings.[374]

No vain threats nor light penalties. The prisons of those days little
resembled the well-washed buildings now to be seen in most English
towns, at York for instance, where the guilty ones are apt to find
more cleanliness and comfort than they ever knew before. They were
mostly fetid dungeons, where the damp of the walls and the stationary
position compelled by the irons corrupted the blood and engendered
hideous maladies.

Many a wandering workman, accustomed to an active life and the open
air, came thus, thanks to the incessant {272} ordinances of king and
Parliament, to repent in the dark for his boldness, and during days
and nights all alike, to regret his liberty, his family, and his
“nest.” The effect of such a treatment on the physical constitution
of the victims may be guessed or imagined, but without any imagining
the reports of justice show it only too clearly. A roll of the time
of Henry III reads, for instance, as follows:

“Assizes held at Ludinglond. The jury present that William le
Sauvage took two men, aliens, and one woman, and imprisoned them at
Thorlestan, and detained them in prison until one of them died in
prison, and the other lost one foot, and the woman lost either foot
by putrefaction. Afterwards he took them to the Court of the lord the
king at Ludinglond to try them by the same Court. And when the Court
saw them, it was loth to try them, because they were not attached for
any robbery or misdeed for which they could suffer judgment. And so
they were permitted to depart.”[375]

[Illustration 51. IN THE STOCKS.

(_From the MS. 10 E. IV._)]

How in such a condition the poor creatures could “depart,” and what
became of them, the Assize Rolls do not say. Certain it is that no
sort of indemnity was given {273} to help them out of trouble in
their horrible condition. The justice of our fathers did not stop at

The stocks, which according to the laws of Richard II were always
to be kept in good condition ready for use, consisted of two beams
placed one on the other. At proper intervals round holes were cut;
the upper beam was raised, and the legs of the prisoners were passed
through the holes; sometimes there was a third beam, in the openings
of which the wrists of the wretches were also caught; the body
sometimes rested on a stool, sometimes on the ground. In certain
places the stocks were pretty high; the sufferer’s legs were placed
in them and he remained thus, his body stretched on the ground in the
damp, his head lower than his feet; but this refinement of cruelty
was not habitual.[376]

Stocks are still to be seen in many places in England; for instance,
in the picturesque village of Abinger, where they stand on the green,
near the churchyard. Others in a very good state of preservation are
in existence at Shalford, near Guildford. They have not long ceased
to be used in England; vagabonds and drunkards were seen in them
within the memory of men who were not old when the present book was
written. According to their remembrance people when released felt so
benumbed that they were scarcely able to stand, and experienced great
difficulty in getting away.


(_Present state._)]

But the threat of prisons so unhealthy and of stocks so unpleasant
did not hold back the labourers more and more weary of being tied to
the soil. Every pretext for leaving their place was welcome; they
even dared to use that of a devotional journey. They set out, staff
in hand, “under colour of going far on a pilgrimage,” and {274}
never returned. But a new restraint was to be applied to tame this
turbulent spirit, the obligation for every one to furnish himself
with a kind of letter of travel or passport, in order to move from
one county to another. None might leave his village if he did not
carry a “letter patent stating the cause of his going and the date
of his return, if he were to return.” In other words, even with the
right to go and settle definitively elsewhere, a permit for moving
had to be procured. These letters would be sealed by a “good man”
(_prod homme_), assigned in each hundred, city, or borough, by the
justices of the peace, and special seals were to be expressly made,
said the statute, bearing the king’s arms in the centre, the name of
the county around, and that of the hundred, city, or borough across.
Even the case of fabricating false letters was foreseen, which shows
how well was realized the ardent desire of many men of this class
to {275} leave the place where they were tied. Every individual
surprised without regular papers would be sent to jail.


(_From the MS. 10 E. IV._)]

Beggars were treated as “servants” who had no “testimonial
letters.”[377] What was wanted was to impose immobility upon as many
people as possible, and thus hinder the disquieting peregrinations
of so many rovers. As for beggars incapable of work, they must
nevertheless cease frequenting the highroads, and must end their
days in the cities where they chance to be at the time of the
proclamation, or at most in some town near the spot where they were
born; they shall be taken there within forty days, to stay “for the
rest of their lives.”

What is stranger, and lacking other proofs, would show to what
class students then belonged, is that they are included in the same
category; they were accustomed, on returning to their homes, or on
making pilgrimages, or going to the university, to hold out a hand
for the charity of passers-by and to knock at the door of possible
givers. They were ranked with the beggars, and put in irons if they
lacked the regulation letter; this document was to be given them by
the Chancellor, and that {276} was the only difference: “And that
the scholars of the universities that go so begging have letters
testimonial of their Chancellor upon the same pain.”[378]

Again, in the following year (1389), a new statute reproves the
custom of “artificers, labourers, servants,” etc., who keep for
their own use harriers and other dogs, and on “feast days, when
good Christians are at church hearing Divine service,” get into the
parks and warrens of the nobility and destroy the game. Much more,
they avail themselves of these occasions when they meet together
armed, without fear of being disturbed, to “hold their assemblies,
conversations, and conspiracies, to rise against and disobey their
allegience.” The thickets of the seignorial forests must have
sheltered many a meeting of this kind during church services on the
eve of the great revolt of 1381;[379] in such retreats no doubt
were brought forth some of the living and stirring ideas which,
transported from place to place by the wanderers, made the people
of different counties understand that they were the same people,
suffering from a variety of abuses, longing for relief.

In a revolt like this, the part played by the wandering class is
considerable, and the historian should not neglect it. If we do not
take this element into account, it is hard to explain the extent
and importance of a movement which came near having consequences
comparable to those of the French Revolution. “I had lost my heritage
and the kingdom of England,” said Richard II {277} on the evening
of the day when his presence of mind had saved him, and he was
right. Why was the French Jacquerie a commonplace, powerless rising
compared to the English revolt? The reasons are manifold, but one
of the chief was the absence of a class of wayfarers as strong,
active, and numerous as that of England. This class served to unite
all the people: by its means those of the South learnt the ideas of
those of the North, what each suffered and desired; the sufferings
and wishes were not always identical, but it was enough to know
that all had reforms to demand. Thus, when the news came that the
revolt had begun, the people rose on all sides, and while it was
apparent that the desires of each were not absolutely similar, yet
the basis of the contention being the same, and all wishing for
more independence, they went forth together without being otherwise
acquainted than by the intermediary of the wayfarers. The kings of
England, indeed, had perceived the danger, and on different occasions
had promulgated statutes bearing especially on the talk indulged in
by these wanderers about the nobles, prelates, judges, and all the
depositaries of public power. Edward I had said in one of his laws:

“Forasmuch as there have been oftentimes found in the country
devisors of tales, whereby discord, or occasion of discord, hath
many times arisen between the king and his people, or great men of
this realm; for the damage that hath and may thereof ensue, it is
commanded, that from henceforth none be so hardy to tell or publish
any false news or tales, whereby discord, or occasion of discord, or
slander may grow between the king and his people, or the great men of
the realm; and he that doth so, shall be taken and kept in prison,
until he hath brought him into the court who was the first author of
the tale.”[380]

The danger of such speeches, which touched the acts {278} and even
the thoughts of the great men of the kingdom, became menacing anew
under Richard II, and in the first years of his reign the following
statute was enacted, reinforcing that of 1275:

“Item, Of devisors of false news and reporters of horrible and false
lyes, concerning prelates, dukes, earls, barons, and other nobles
and great men of the realm, and also concerning the chancellor,
treasurer, clerk of the privy seal, steward of the king’s house,
justices of the one bench or of the other, and of other great
officers of the realm about things which by the said prelates, lords,
nobles, and officers aforesaid were never spoken, done, nor thought
. . . whereby debates and discords might arise betwixt the said lords
or between the Lords and the Commons, which God forbid, and whereof
great peril and mischief might come to all the realm, and quick
subversion and destruction of the said realm, if due remedy be not
provided: it is straitly defended upon grievous pain, for to eschew
the said damages and perils, that from henceforth none be so hardy to
devise, speak, or to tell any false news, lyes, or other such false
things, of prelates, lords, and of other aforesaid, whereof discord
or any slander might rise within the same realm; and he that doth the
same shall incur and have the pain another time ordained thereof by
the statute of Westminster the first.”[381] In vain: two years later
broke out the revolt of the peasants, and the depositions of the
rebels when brought before the judge leave no doubt as to the part
played by wayfarers in the carrying of political news from one county
to another.

The mason John Cole, of Lose, in the parish of Maidstone, Kent, turns
informer, betrays twenty-seven of his companions, giving their names
(some proved innocent), and saving his own head. Their plan was to
make the otherwise unpopular John of Gaunt, king of England, {279}
on the mere report that he had freed his “natives.” The rebels had
decided to send to him in order to ascertain, and if the news proved
true, to depose his nephew young Richard II. The report had been
brought to the city of Canterbury by pilgrims, _peregrini_, arriving
from the North, obviously to worship at the shrine of St. Thomas.[382]

In mediæval France during the endless wars, and the brief intervals
between them, the roads were held by plundering brigands: labourers
or knights by birth. Soldiers, the dregs of the lowest or highest
classes, considered the rest of society as their devoted prey, the
highway resounded with the noise of arms, the peasant fled. Troops
originally equipped for the defence of the land attacked without
scruple all whom they thought less strong than themselves and worth
robbing. Such people “turned French,” as Froissart puts it, and
“turned English” according to the interest of the moment.

The vagrants threatened with the stocks by the English law were
of another kind, and whatever the number of brigands among them
these were not the majority; the peasants mostly sympathized with,
instead of fearing, them. Thus the English revolt was not a desperate
enterprise; it was conducted with extraordinary coolness and
practical sense. The insurgents showed a calm {280} consciousness of
their strength which strikes us, and struck much more the anxious
knights in London; they went with their eyes open, and, if they
destroyed much, they wished also to reform. It was possible to treat
and come to an understanding with them; truth to say, the word and
pledge given them will be broken, and the prison, the rope and the
block will quickly put an end to the revolt; but whatever the Lords
and Commons sitting at Westminster may say,[383] the new bonds will
not have the tenacity of the old ones, and a great step towards
freedom, one with which the continent has nothing comparable, will
have been made.

In France, the beast of burden, ill-nourished, ill-treated, fretted
by the harness, trudged wearily along with shaking head, wan eye and
a halting gait; his sudden bolts only caused new loads to be added to
his fardel, and that was all; centuries were to pass before the day
of accounting came and, in blood too, the account would be settled.






(_From the Ellesmere MS._)]



While the inward consciousness of common wants and longings for
better days spread everywhere, by means of that crowd of work-people
whom we find in England ceaselessly on the move in spite of statutes,
the guiding ideas were sown broadcast by another kind of roamer,
the preachers. Sprung also from the people, they had studied; as we
have seen it was not necessary to be rich in order to go through the
course at Oxford; the villeins even sent their children there, and
the Commons, of scant liberalism as we know, protested against this
emancipation of another kind, this advancement by means of learning,
“avancement par clergie.” Preventive measures, they thought, were
indispensable to save “the honour” of the freemen of the realm, by
which they meant privilege; ideas of honour have changed. But, even
then, it was going too far, and the king, who had after all learnt a
lesson in 1381, rebuked the Commons with a “le roi s’avisera” which
{284} was then, and is to-day, the form of royal refusal.[384] These
clerks knew what was the condition of the people; they knew the
miseries of the poor, which were those of their father and mother and
of themselves; the intellectual culture they had received enabled
them to transform into precise conceptions the general aspirations of
the tillers of the soil. The former are not less necessary than the
latter to every important social movement; if both are indispensable
to the making of the tool, handle and blade, it is these definite
views which form the blade.

The roaming preachers knew how to sharpen it, and they were numerous.
Those whom Wyclif sent to popularize his doctrines,[385] his
“simple priests,” or “poor priests,” did just what others had done
before them; they imitated their forerunners, and no more confined
themselves to expounding the difficult and not always democratic
theories of their master than the mendicant friars, or monks, or
secular priests, friends of the revolution, strictly kept to the
precepts of the gospel. Their sympathies were with the people,
and they showed it in their discourses. Wyclif contributed to the
increase of these wanderers; his people came from the same stock as
the others; if it was easy for him to find clerks ready to act as his
missionaries, the reason was that many in the kingdom were already
prepared for such a task, and only awaited their opportunity.[386]
The revolutionary {285} leader John Ball was a secular priest, and
so was the well-known Lollard, William Thorpe.

All, in fact, did the same kind of work. For different motives and
with different aims, they led to the same results: the belief that
the State, the Church, the Government, the Court, the rule of the
masters, whether spiritual or temporal, were not what they should be,
and that a change _must_ come. Doubts and discontents always help
each other; whoever strikes at the tree shakes the tree. Wyclif’s
theory, “both before and after the rising, was that temporal lords
had a right to their property, but that churchmen had no right to
theirs.”[387] His teachings helped, however, to spread doubts as to
the legitimacy of both. Though it had nothing to do with Lollard
tenets, the diffusion thereof was facilitated by the papal schism of
1378: another great tree that was shaken.

Men able to address a crowd scoured the country, drawing together the
poor and attracting them by harangues filled with what people who
suffer always like to hear. The statute passed just after the revolt
clearly shows how much the influence of the wandering preachers
was feared. Their dress even and manner of speech are described;
these malcontents have an austere aspect, they go “from county to
county, and from town to town in certain habits under dissimulation
of great holiness.” They dispense of course with the ecclesiastical
papers which regular preachers ought to carry; they are “without
the licence of our Holy Father the Pope, or of the Ordinaries of the
{286} places, or other sufficient authority.” They make themselves
heard, and their successors to this day have never ceased to follow
suit, “not only in churches and churchyards, but also in markets,
fairs, and other open places where a great congregation of people
is.” Their real subject is not dogma, but the social question;
on their lips the religious sermon becomes a political harangue.
“Which persons,” the statute says, “do also preach divers matters of
slander, to engender discord and dissension betwixt divers estates
of the said realm as well spiritual as temporal, in exciting of
the people, to the great peril of all the realm.” They are cited
to appear before the ecclesiastic authority, the ordinaries, but
refuse to “obey to their summons and commandments.” Let the sheriffs
and others of the king’s officers henceforth watch with care these
wandering orators and send to prison those unable to show proper

We may gain an idea of their speeches by recalling the celebrated
harangue of the priest John Ball,[389] the most stirring of these
travelling orators. Certainly, in the Latin phrase of the “Chronicle
of England,” his thoughts are given too solemn and too correct a
form, but all that we know of the circumstances matches so well his
undoubted purports, that his actual speech cannot have differed, in
its trend at least, from what the chronicler has transmitted to us.
The popular saying quoted before serves as his text, and he developes
it in this manner:

“At the beginning we were all created equal; it is the tyranny of
perverse men which has caused servitude to arise, in spite of God’s
law; if God had willed that there should be serfs He would have said
at the beginning {289} of the world who should be serf and who should
be lord.”[390]

[Illustration 55. “WHEN ADAM DELVED AND EVE SPAN.”

(_The motto of John Ball’s speech illustrated from the MS. 2 B._ vii.
_Fourteenth Century_).]

What made Ball powerful was that he found his best weapons in the
Bible; quoting it he appealed to the good sentiments of the lowly, to
their virtue, their reason; he showed that the Divine Word accorded
with their interest; they would be “like the good father of a family
who cultivates his field and plucks up the weeds.” The same ideas
are attributed to him by almost all the chroniclers. Froissart uses
to describe his doings almost the same words as the statute already
quoted. He represents him when he found a congregation of people,
especially on Sundays, after mass, preaching in the open air sermons
similar to that in the “Chronicon Angliæ”: “This preest,” says
Froissart, “used often tymes on the sondayes after masse, whanne
the people were goynge out of the mynster, to go into the cloyster
and preche, and made the people to assemble about hym, and wolde
say thus: A ye good people, the maters gothe nat well to passe in
Englande, nor shall nat do tyll every thyng be common, and that there
be no villayns nor gentylmen. . . . What have we deserved or why
shulde we be kept thus in servage? we be all come fro one father and
one mother, Adam and Eve: whereby can they say or shewe that they
be gretter lordes than we be, savynge by that they cause us to wyn
and labour for that they dispende . . . They dwell in fayre houses,
and we have the payne and traveyle, rayne and wynde in the feldes;
and by that that cometh of our labours they kepe and maynteyne their
estates. . . . Lette us go to the kyng, he is yonge, and shewn hym
what servage we be in. . . . Thus Johan sayd on sondayes whan the
people issued out of the churches in the vyllages . . . and so they
wolde murmure one with another in the feldes and in the wayes as
{290} they went togyder, affermyng howe Johan Ball sayd trouthe.”[391]

So the enthusiastic multitude promised to make him archbishop and
chancellor of that kingdom in which he dreamed there should be “equal
liberty, equal rank, equal power” for all; but he was taken, drawn,
hanged, beheaded, and quartered,[392] and his dream remained a dream.

Meanwhile, politics apart, there might yet be found in the fourteenth
century some of God’s elect who, alarmed by the crimes of the
world and the state of sin in which men lived, left their cells or
the paternal roof to go about among villages and towns and preach
conversion. There remained some, but they were rare. Contrary to
others, these did not speak of public affairs, but of eternal
interests; they had not always received sacred orders; they acted
as volunteers to the celestial army. Of this sort was the before
mentioned Richard Rolle, of Hampole, whose life was partly that of
a hermit, partly of a wandering preacher. He was neither monk, nor
doctor, nor priest; when young, he had abandoned his father’s house
to go and lead a contemplative life in solitude. There he meditated,
prayed, and mortified himself; crowds came to his cell to listen to
his exhortations; he had ecstatic trances; his friends took off his
ragged cloak, mended it, and put it back on his shoulders without
his perceiving it. He later left his retreat, and for a long time
travelled over the north of England, becoming a wanderer, “changing
place continually,” preaching to lead men to salvation. He finally
settled at Hampole, where he ended his life in seclusion, writing
incessantly, and edifying the neighbourhood by his devotion; he
died the year of the great plague, 1349. Scarcely was he dead than
his tomb attracted pilgrims, pious people brought offerings there,
miracles were performed. In the {291} nuns’ convent at Hampole,
which drew from the vicinity of his tomb great honour and profit, an
“Office of St. Richard, the hermit,” was composed, as we have seen,
to be sung when he should be canonized. But the office of the old
hermit and itinerant preacher has never had occasion to be sung down
to the present day.[393]

The wandering preachers met with in the villages were not always
Lollards sent by Wyclif, nor inspired men who, like Rolle of Hampole,
held their mission from their conscience and from God; they were
often members of an immense and powerful caste sub-divided into
several orders, that of the mendicant friars. The two principal
branches were the Dominicans, Preachers, or Black friars, and the
Franciscans, Friars minor or Grey friars, both established in England
in the thirteenth century,[394] the “men of this [world] that most
wide walken,” said Langland.[395]

The immortal satires of Chaucer should not blind us to the initial
merit of these orders, nor cause us to see in the members thereof, at
all times, nothing but impudent and idle vagabonds, at once impious,
superstitious, and greedy—

    “A Frere ther was, a wantoun and a merye;
     *  *  *  *  *
     Ful wel biloved, and famulier was he {292}
     With frankeleyns overal in his cuntre,
     And eek with worthi wommen of the toun;
     *  *  *  *  *
     Ful sweetly herde he confessioun,
     And plesaunt was his absolucioun.
     He was an esy man to yeve penance,
     Ther as he wiste to han a good pitance;
     For unto a povre ordre for to geve
     Is signe that a man is wel i-shreve.
     *  *  *  *  *
     He knew wel the tavernes in every toun,
     And every ostiller or gay tapstere.”[396]


(_From the MS. 10 E. IV._)]

In Chaucer’s days, such friars were many, but some better ones could
also be met; not only those, rare indeed in the fourteenth century,
who continued the traditions of their founder, living among the poor,
poor as they, and withal wise, devout, and compassionate: Chaucer’s
friar was of a different sort; he avoided acquaintance with “a lazer
or a beggere,” unwilling to deal “with such poraile.” But even
among those who lived careless of the rule, some were at work whose
thoughts, dangerous {293} as they might be, were not so base, those
friars namely who, when the moment came, could be confounded with
the simple priests of their enemy Wyclif, and who were certainly
comprised along with them in the statute of 1382. Certain it is
that many friars, in their roaming career, preached in the market
place, just like John Ball, the new doctrines of emancipation. Hence
they alone among the clergy, at the hour of the great revolt, still
preserved a certain popularity among the lowly; and the monastic
chroniclers, their natural enemies, complacently paraded in their
narratives this new grievance against these detested orders.[397]
Langland, who cursed the revolt, cursed also the friars for having a
share of responsibility in it. Envy has whispered into their ears and
said: study logic, law, and the hollow dreams of philosophers, and
go from village to village proving that all property ought to be in
common—the very teaching of John Ball:

                          “and proven hit by Seneca
    That alle thyng under hevene · ouhte to beo in comune.”[398]

Always armed with good sense, Langland plainly declares that the
author of these subversive theories lies; the Bible says, “Thou shalt
not covet thy neighbour’s goods.” Formerly the life of the friars
was exemplary, Charity dwelt among them; this was in the days of the
great saint of Assisi, the friend of men, the friend of birds, the
friend of all that had been created and could suffer.[399] {294}

And, indeed, what a holy mission their founder had given them!
Coarsely dressed, barefoot, getting only such food as was freely
offered them, they were to go into the towns and visit the poorest,
most densely populated and unhealthiest suburbs, to seek out the lost.

“And all the brothers,” said Francis, in his rule, “are to be clad in
mean habits, and may blessedly mend them with sacks and other pieces;
whom I admonish and exhort, that they do not despise or censure
such men as they see clad in curious and gay garments and using
delicate meats and drinks, but rather let every one judge and despise
himself.” They must never quarrel, but be “meek, peacable, modest,
mild and humble. . . . And they are not to ride unless some manifest
necessity or infirmity oblige them. Whatsoever house they go into,
they shall first say, ‘Peace be unto this house,’ and, according to
the Gospel, it shall be lawful for them to eat of all meats that
are set before them.” They must beg in order to get the necessaries
of life, but they must receive them in kind, never in money. “The
brothers shall not make anything their own, neither house nor place,
nor any other thing; and they shall go confidently to beg alms like
pilgrims and strangers in this world, serving our Lord in poverty and

All the miseries, all the hideous blemishes of humanity, every
kind of outcasts, the physical or moral lepers, were to have their
sympathy; and the lower classes in return would love and venerate
them, and grow morally better, owing to their word and example.
Eccleston relates that a friar minor once put on his sandals without
permission to go to matins. He dreamt afterwards that he was arrested
by robbers, who cried out, “Kill him! Kill him!”

“But I am a friar minor,” said he, sure of being respected. {295}

“Thou liest, for thou art not barefoot.”[401]

The first of their duties was to remain poor, in order to be able,
having nothing to lose, fearlessly to use firm language to the rich
and powerful of the world. When on his death-bed, in 1253, wise and
courageous Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, a great friend of
theirs, and because a friend of theirs, reminded them of their rule,
appropriately quoting a line of Juvenal’s:

    “Cantabit vacuus coram latrone viator.”

The friars were to be like the traveller without money, whose peace
of mind is never disturbed by meeting robbers.[402]

St. Francis had not wished his friars to be men of learning and
study; he was afraid especially of those subtle theological and
metaphysical researches which uselessly absorbed the life of so many
great clerics. Others enough, he thought, would devote themselves to
such speculations; he wanted to fill a gap and in this line there
was no gap. His rule was so strict that the famous Roger Bacon, who
belonged to his order, had to apply to the pope to be permitted
to use ink and parchment.[403] What the saint desired was to send
throughout the world an army of missionaries who would devote
themselves materially and morally to the welfare, body and soul, of
all the weary, the derelict, the dregs of humanity. Thus practised,
with no room left for the pride of knowledge, disinterestedness was
the more absolute, servitude the {296} more voluntary, and the
effect on the masses the greater. The subtlety of teachers was not
necessary for the fulfilling of this task; and the striking example
of the poverty of the consoler, heedless of his own troubles, was
the best of consolations. Above all, the vanity of the apostle must
be killed, the greatness of his merit must be apparent to God only.
With a heart so purified he would necessarily have a sufficient
comprehension of the problems of life and of the high moral aims
accessible even to the lowest to be naturally eloquent; the study of
the “Summæ,” in repute, was useless.

But too many dangers surrounded the sublime foundation, and the first
was knowledge itself. “The Emperor Charles, Roland and Oliver,”
once said the Saint, “and all the paladins and all strong men, have
pursued the infidel in battle till death, and with great pains and
labour have won their memorable victories. The holy martyrs died
struggling for the faith of Christ. But in our days there are people
who seek glory and honour among men simply by the narration of the
deeds of heroes. In like manner there are some among you who take
more pleasure in writing and preaching on the merits of the saints
than in imitating their works.” This reply St. Francis made to a
novice who wished to have a psalter. He humorously added, “When you
have a psalter you will wish to have a breviary, and when you have a
breviary you will sit in a chair like a great prelate, and will say
to your brother, ‘Brother, fetch me my breviary.’”[404]

The popularity of the friars had soon become immense,[405] {297} and
it was found that they had monopolized in England everything that
concerned religion.[406] By a quite human contradiction—let Brutus
be Cæsar—their poverty had invited riches, and their self-denial
power; the hovels where they lodged at first had become sumptuous
monasteries with chapels as large as cathedrals; the rich wanted to
be buried there, in tombs chiselled with the latest refinements of
the florid Gothic. Their apologists of the fifteenth century relate
with admiration that in their fine library at London, for in spite of
the rule they had a fine library, there was a tomb adorned with four
cherubims;[407] that their church, begun in 1306, was three hundred
feet long, ninety-five wide, and sixty-four feet high, with the
columns all of marble as well as the pavement. Kings and princes had
enriched the building; some had given the altars, others the stalls;
Edward III, “for the repose of the soul of the most illustrious Queen
Isabella, buried in the choir” (who had ended her immoral life in the
habit of the Santa Clara nuns), repaired the great middle window,
blown down by the wind. In the same church was preserved the heart
of Queen Eleanor, mother of Edward I. Relating that it was there,
Rishanger, a monk of Saint Albans and a contemporary, made thereupon
a remark, which Walsingham, also a monk of St. Albans, gleefully
reproduced in his “Historia Anglicana”: “Her body was buried in
the monastery of Ambresbury, but her heart in London, in the church
of the Minorites, who, like all friars of every order, claim for
themselves something of the bodies of any powerful persons dying;
after the manner of the dogs assembling {298} round corpses, where
each one greedily awaits his portion to devour.”[408] Gilbert de
Clare, Earl of Gloucester, had given for the same building twenty
trees from his forest of Tunbridge. Rich merchants, the mayor, the
aldermen, followed suit. The names of the donors were inscribed on
the windows, and Langland was indignant, and recalled the precept,
“Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.” We learn thus
that the third window on the west had been given by Walter Mordon,
“stoke-fyschmonger,” and Mayor of London. The second window on the
south was due to John of Charlton, knight, and his wife, whose arms
figured in it; the fourth to Walter de Gorst, fellmonger of London;
the fifth to the Earl of Lancaster; the fourth on the west to
“various collections, and thus it does not bear a name.” One of the
donors is styled the special father and friend of the friars minor.

It could be but a delight for the Wyclifites to reproach the friars
with all these mundane splendours; Wyclif revels in it:

“Freris bylden mony grete chirchis and costily waste housis, and
cloystris as hit were castels, and that withoute nede. . . . Grete
housis make not men holy, and onely by holynesse is God wel served.”
Those convents are “Caymes Castelis.”[409]


(_From the MS. Domit. A._ xvii. _in the British Museum_.)]

Interminable lists, too, of cardinals, bishops, and kings who have
belonged to the order are drawn up, not forgetting even “certain
persons of importance in the world,”—the very antithesis of their
founder’s intent. Finally, they enumerate the dead who at the last
moment assumed the habit of the friars: “Brother Sir Roger {301}
Bourne, knight, buried at Norwich in the friars’ habit, 1334.”[410]

The pride and riches of the Dominicans are just as great. The author
of “Pierce the Ploughman’s Crede,” towards the end of the fourteenth
century, accurately describes one of their monasteries, the splendid
columns to be seen there, the sculptures, paintings, and gildings
that adorn the chapter house, so beautiful that it obviously reminds
the author of the one at Westminster, or of the painted chamber, “la
chambre peinte,” where at times Parliament sat:

    “As a Parlement-hous · y-peynted aboute,”

the magnificent stained glass windows ornamented with the arms of
the nobles or the mark of the merchants who have given them (“merkes
of marchauntes”), and “lovely ladies,” their bronze figures lying on
the slabs, “in many gay garmentes,” the imposing tombs of knights
heightened with gold.[411]

The proportions are reversed; as great as the modesty required by
the holy founder was now the pride. The faults Chaucer reproaches
them with creep in among them; they become interested, greedy, coarse
men of the world. The necessity for them to live among the laity had
been one of their chief dangers; they were to save the laity, but
were instead corrupted by it; they caught the plague that they were
to cure. Before even the middle of the {302} thirteenth century, one
of them had had a revelation that “Demons celebrated every year a
council against the order, and had found three means (to pervert it),
that is, intercourse with women, the receiving of useless persons,
and the handling of money.”[412]

Mendicity is now their trade, which some practice well, others
better; miracles of self-denial were demanded of them, and behold, on
the contrary, prodigies of selfishness. It is no longer religion, it
is their order which must be promoted; they preach not on behalf of
Christ, but on behalf of their convent; the reversal is complete. All
borrow largely from the treasure of good works amassed by their first
apostles and spend it madly. The respect of the multitude lessens,
their renown for holiness declines; they cast into the other scale of
the balance so many faults and disorders that it overweighs. And what
remains henceforth? Superstition replaces devotion; some, in spite of
the rule, have studied metaphysics and sciences, the _trivium_, the
_quadrivium_[413]; for a larger number, however, it is not learning
but a gross materialism that veils the superhuman ideal of Francis
of Assisi. Contact with their habit is equivalent to a good deed; if
the dress is assumed on the death-bed the demons will take flight.
Numberless visions have revealed to them these articles of a new
faith: “Thei techen lordis and namely ladies,” says Wyclif, “that if
they dyen in Fraunceys habite, thei schul nevere cum in helle for
vertu thereof.”[414] {303}

And so it came to pass that, not only poets like Chaucer
and Langland, not only reformers like Wyclif, but also the
universities[415] and the monks of the old-established orders,
waged open war against the friars. To which the monks were moved
partly, it is true, by jealousy, when they saw these newly created
brotherhoods rising in importance, in numbers and in wealth, but
partly, also, by the sight of undeniable abuses and worldliness.
In such an authoritative work as the “English History,” written in
St. Albans Abbey by Chaucer’s contemporary, Thomas Walsingham, the
present state and behaviour of the friars is thus described: “The
friars, unmindful of their profession, have even forgotten to what
end their orders were instituted; for the holy men their law-givers
desired them to be poor and free of all kind of temporal possessions,
that they should not have anything which they might fear to lose on
account of saying the truth. But now they are envious of possessors,
approve the crimes of the great, induce the commonalty into error,
and praise the sins of both; and with the intent of acquiring
possessions, they who had renounced possessions, with the intent of
gathering money, they who had sworn to persevere in poverty, call
good evil and evil good, leading astray princes by adulation, the
people by lies, and drawing both with themselves out of the straight
{304} path.” Walsingham adds that a familiar proverb in his time was,
“He is a friar, therefore a liar.”[416]


(_From the MS. 10 E. IV._)]

The sanctity of the institution and the unworthiness of many of its
members caused it to be at once venerated and detested; however
contemptible be the man, what if, after all, the keys of heaven were
in his hand? Respect mingled with fear in the feeling for him. Thus
poets laughed at the friars, popular story-tellers scouted them;
distrust, doubt, contempt spread, extending from the lowly friar
to the reverend bishop himself; churchmen were caricatured on the
very stalls upon which they sat; Master Reynard was represented
delivering a sermon while wearing episcopal insignia, and neither
the miniaturist, charged with illuminating an imposing volume of
Decretals, nor those who had entrusted him with the work, found
anything improper in his satirising on the margin the whole
ecclesiastical hierarchy, from bishops to monks or clerks. One of the
latter is shown forgetting in the kitchen his sprinkler and bucket of
holy water; {305} then remembering what he has come for and going
to sprinkle the masters at table, then returning to the kitchen
maid.[417] In the same ironical spirit the author of a popular song
of the fourteenth century wrote:

    “Preste ne monke ne yit chanoun,
     Ne no man of religioun,
     Gyfen hem so to devocioun
       As done thes holy frers.
     For summe gyven ham to chyvalry,
     Somme to riote and ribaudery;
     Bot ffrers gyven ham to grete study,
       And to grete prayers.”

Several stanzas follow which cannot be quoted.[418]

The people, therefore, fitfully saw in the friars their protectors
and allies in case of revolt, while at other times they pursued them
in the streets with stones, struck them and lacerated their garments:
angels or else devils? they were not sure. “At the same time the
preaching friars took to flight because they feared to be maltreated
and ruined, because the commonalty bore with them very reluctantly,
on account of their proud behaviour, for they did not behave as
friars ought.”[419]

“Know ye,” says the king, “that we have understood, that some persons
of our kingdom of England, by the instigation of the evil spirit,
. . . do and daily strive to do harm and scandal to our beloved in
Christ, the religious men, friars of the order of minors, . . .
openly and secretly stirring up our people against them to destroy
the houses of the said friars, tearing their habits from them,
striking some, and ill-treating them, against our peace.”[420]

From another point of view, that of public safety, the {306} Commons
were indignant at the number of foreigners among the friars, whom
they considered a permanent danger to the State. They requested
“that all the alien friars, of whatever habit they might be, should
void the realm before the Feast of St. Michael, and if they remained
beyond the said feast they should be held as out of the common law,”
that is, outlawed.[421]

The friars kept their assurance, they were blessed in the days of
their good deeds; now they speak loud and make themselves feared; to
the Pope alone they are amenable; they carry their heads high, their
power is independent, they have become a church within the Church.
Along with the priest who preaches and confesses in his parish is to
be seen the wandering friar, who preaches and confesses everywhere;
his universal presence and power are sources of conflict; the parish
priest finds himself abandoned; the religious wayfarer brings the
unknown, the extraordinary, and everybody runs to him. He lays down
his staff and wallet and begins to talk; his language is that of the
people, the whole parish is present; he busies himself with their
eternal welfare, and also with their earthly interests, for lay life
is familiar to him, and he can give appropriate advice. But his
teaching is sometimes suspicious. “These false prophets,” says not
Wyclif, but the Council of Saltzburg in 1386, “by their sermons full
of fables often lead astray the souls of their hearers”; they make
game of the authority of the parish priests.[422]

To stop their progress proved impossible. The tide rose and swept
away the embankments; the excellent had become the worst, _corruptio
optimi pessima_, and the old adage was verified to the letter. In
spite of grievances, protests, derisive songs and stories, they
were met everywhere, in the hut and in the castle, begging from the
rich {307} and knocking also at the door of the poor. They sat at
the board of the noble, who treated them with consideration; with
him they played the part of the fashionable man of religion; they
interested, they pleased. Wyclif shows them creeping into familiarity
with the great, liking “to speke bifore lordis and sitte at tho mete
with hom, . . . also to be confessoures of lordis and ladyes.”[423]
Langland, in “Piers Plowman,” is equally severe on “frere Flaterere.”
In a Wyclifite treatise of the same period we read, “Thei geten
hem worldly offis in lordis courtis, and summe to ben conseilours
and reuleris of werris, and also to ben chamberleyns to lordes and

Courting popularity among all people, they were different men and
acted differently in the villages where they made their rounds; to
their wallet they added store of thread, needles, ointments, with
which they traded:

“Thei becomen pedleris, berynge knyves, pursis, pynnys and girdlis
and spices and sylk and precious pellure and forrouris for wymmen,
and therto smale gentil hondis (dogs), to gete love of hem.”[425]

They were more and more the subject of song and cause of mirth, but
they did not mind, being the better advertised thereby:

        “Thai wandren here and there,
    And dele with dyvers marcerye,
         Right as thai pedlers were.
    Thai dele with purses, pynnes, and knyves,
    With gyrdles, gloves, for whenches and wyves.”[426]


The anonymous author, a contemporary of Chaucer, adds:

    “I was a frere ful many a day,
       Therefor the sothe I wate (know).
     But when I sawe that thair lyvyng
     Acordyd not to thair preching,
     Of I cast my frer clothing,
       And wyghtly went my gate” (my way).[427]

Between the scepticism of the century and blind credulity,
superstition flourished. The friars pretended they could sell the
merits of their order at retail. They were so numerous and prayed
so devoutly, that they had a surplus of piyers in store. Why not
distribute this superfluous wealth to men of faith and good will?
They did so, for cash of course; it was an exchange of wealth; like
will to like. The friars went about the country discounting these
invisible riches, and selling to pious souls, under the name of
_letters of fraternity_, drafts upon heaven. What is the use of these
parchments? they were asked. They give a share in the merits of the
whole order of St. Francis.—What are they good for? Wyclif was asked.
“Bi siche resouns thinken many men that thes lettris mai do good for
to covere mostard pottis.”[428]

Discredited as they were at the end of the century, the friars had
not, however, lost all hold over the people. Henry IV usurped the
throne, and soon found that he must reckon with the friars. A good
many among them were indignant at his enterprise, and some preached
here and there, during the first years of his reign, that Richard
II was still living and was the true king, and this was one more
case, and a very important one, of political ideas vulgarised by
wayfarers throughout the country. Henry IV sent them to gaol. One
who was brought before him {309} reproached him violently for the
deposition of Richard: “But I have not usurped the crown, I have been
elected,” said the king.—“The election is null if the legitimate king
is living; if he is dead he is dead by thy means; if he was killed by
thee, thou canst have any title to the throne.”—“By my head,” cried
the prince, “I will have thine cut off!”

The accused were advised to throw themselves on the king’s mercy;
they refused, and requested to be regularly tried by a jury. Neither
in the city nor in Holborn could any one be found to sit on that
jury; inhabitants of Highgate and Islington had to be fetched for the
purpose. These men declared the friars guilty; the poor wretches were
drawn to Tyburn, hanged, then beheaded, and their heads were placed
on London Bridge (1402). The convent was permitted to gather their
remains, and bury them in holy ground. The Islington and Highgate
jurors came weeping to the Franciscans to implore their pardon for a
verdict of which they repented.

For several years, in spite of these punishments, friars continued
to preach about the country in favour of Richard II, maintaining
that he still lived, although Henry IV had taken care to have a
public exhibition in London of the corpse of his assassinated

In the fifteenth century the reputation of the friars only grew
worse. The abuses of which they were the living personification were
among those which best served {310} to draw later adherents to
Luther. If there remained in their ranks men who knew how to die,
like that unfortunate friar Forest, who was hung alive by chains
above a wood fire and slowly roasted, while Bishop Latimer, himself
to be burnt later, addressed the dying man “with pious exhortations”
to repentance,[430] the mass of them remained the object of universal
contempt. This was one of the few points on which it sometimes
happened that Catholics and Protestants agreed. Sir Thomas More,
beheaded for the Catholic faith, spoke of the friars in the same
strain as his adversary Tyndal, strangled for the Protestant faith.
In his eyes they were but dangerous vagabonds. He relates, in his
“Utopia,” the dispute between a friar and a fool, on the question of
pauperism. “‘You will never,’ said the friar, ‘get rid of beggars,
unless you also make an edict against us friars.’ ‘Well,’ said the
fool, ‘it is already made, the cardinal passed a very good law
against you when he decreed that all vagabonds should be seized and
made to work, for you are the greatest vagabonds that can be.’ When
this was said, and all eyes being turned on the cardinal, they saw he
did not disown it; every one, not unwillingly, began to smile, except
the friar.”[431]

A class, as historians have observed, which no longer justifies its
privileges by its services, is in imminent danger; if it reforms in
time, it may be saved; if it does not, it is doomed. In England, the
friars were doomed. But nothing is ever entirely lost, and while,
for centuries, Chaucer’s merriment made people merry at the expense
of the begging orders, it is only fair, before parting with them, to
recall such an unprejudiced testimony as that of {311} Bacon, in his
essay “Of Love”: “There is in man’s nature a secret inclination and
motion towards love of others, which, if it be not spent upon some
one or a few, doth naturally spread itself towards many, and maketh
men become humane and charitable; as it is seen sometime in friars.”


[Illustration 59. A GAME OF FOX AND GEESE.

(_From the MS. 10 E. IV._)]



“Indulgence” was at first simply a commutation of penance. The
punishments inflicted for sins were of long duration; fasting and
mortification had to be carried on for months and years. The faithful
were permitted to transform these interminable chastisements into
shorter expiation. Thus a clerk might exchange a year of penance
against three hundred lashes, reciting a psalm at each hundred.[432]
Tables of such exchanges were drawn up by competent prelates.
The learned and autocratic Theodore, born at Tarsus, Cilicia,
an encyclopædic mind and a strong disciplinarian, archbishop of
Canterbury from 669 to 690, who left on the British church a
permanent mark, had published a tariff allowing people to be excused
of a month’s penance on bread and water if they sang instead twelve
hundred psalms with bended knees; for a year’s penance the singing
was increased, and each course of psalter singing was accompanied
with three hundred strokes in the palm of the hand (_palmatæ_). But
it was possible to compensate {313} a year’s penance and escape
at the same time the psalms, fasts and strokes by paying a hundred
shillings in alms.[433] In another such table, drawn up in the ninth
century by Halitgarius, bishop of Cambrai, is found this additional
facility, that if the sinner, sentenced to a month’s penance on bread
and water, chooses rather the singing of psalms he may be allowed not
to kneel while he sings, but then instead of twelve hundred he will
have to sing fifteen hundred and eighty psalms. He may in the same
manner be excused of more than one month, up to twelve, in which last
case, if he chooses not to kneel, he will have to sing no less than
twenty thousand one hundred and sixty psalms.[434]

Laymen, who had their choice, frequently preferred a payment in
money, the rich having to pay more than the poor, and the sums
thus obtained were usually well employed. We have seen them serve
for the support of roads and bridges; they were also applied in
reconstructing churches, in helping the sick of a hospital, and in
covering the expenses of numerous public enterprises. The entirety of
punishments was taken off by a plenary indulgence; thus the French
pope, Urban II, at the Council of Clermont, in 1095, granted one to
all those who, through pure devotion and not to acquire booty or
glory, should go to Jerusalem to fight the infidel; and this was the
first crusade.

Little by little the idea of an actual commutation vanished, and
was replaced by a different system, known as the theory of the
“Treasury.” It had indeed become obvious as the use of indulgences
spread, and they were more and more easily gained, that they could
no longer be justified as offering to the sinner only his choice
between {314} several sorts of even penances. They were something
else. A short, well selected prayer, a small gift in money, would now
exempt devout people from the greatest penalties and from numberless
years of a possible purgatory; the one could scarcely be considered
as the equivalent of the other; how was the equilibrium established
between the two scales? The answer was that the deficiency was made
up by the application to the sinner of merits, not indeed his own,
but of Christ, the Virgin, and the saints, of which there was an
inexhaustible “treasury,” the dispensation of which rested with the
Pope and the clergy.

This theory was acted upon long before being put forth in express
words; it does not appear to have been more than vaguely alluded to
before the fourteenth century, when Pope Clement VI, the “Doctor
Doctorum,” gave a perfectly clear definition and exposition of the
“treasury” system. In a bull of the year 1350, he explains that
the merits of Christ are infinite, and those of the Virgin and
the saints, superabundant. This excess of unemployed merit has
been constituted into a treasury, “not one that is deposited in a
strong room, or concealed in a field, but which is to be usefully
distributed to the faithful, through the blessed Peter, keeper
of heaven’s gate, and his successors.” However largely employed,
there ought to be “no fear of an absorption or a diminution of this
treasury, first on account of the infinite merits of Christ, as has
been said before, then because the more numerous are the people
reclaimed through the use of its contents, the more it is augmented
by the addition of their merits.”[435] The treasury had therefore no
chance of ever being found empty, since the more was drawn from it
the more it grew. Such is in all its simplicity the theory of the
“treasury,” which has ever since been maintained, with no change in
the theory but much in the practice. {315}

With so much to distribute among the faithful, the Church had
recourse, for insuring its repartition, to certain people who went
about, supplied with official letters, and who offered to good
Christians a particle of the heavenly wealth placed at the disposal
of the successors of Peter. They expected in return some portion of
the earthly riches their hearers might be possessed of, and which
could be applied to more tangible uses than the “treasury.” The men
entrusted with this mission were called sometimes _questors_, on
account of what they asked, and sometimes _pardoners_, on account of
what they gave.[436]

Many a man lives in our remembrance owing to his portrait. If his
image had not been preserved by an artist of genius his memory would
have been abolished. Who would remember, but for her tomb at Lucca,
lovely Ilaria del Carretto? Many among us would not suspect that the
long vanished pardoner ever existed if the master-painter, Chaucer,
had not drawn, from life, his unlovely portrait. “Lordyngs,” says the
one in the “Canterbury Tales”:

    “Lordyngs, quod he, in chirches whan I preche,
     I peyne me to have an hauteyn speche,
     And ryng it out, as lowd as doth a belle,
     For I can al by rote which that I telle.
     My teeme is alway oon, and ever was;
     _Radix omnium malorum est cupiditas_.”

In the pulpit he leans to the right, to the left, he gesticulates,
wanders in his talk; his arms move as much as his tongue; it is a
wonder to see and hear him:

    “I stonde lik a clerk in my pulpit,
     And whan the lewed people is doun i-set,
     I preche so as ye have herd before,
     And telle hem an hondred japes more. {316}
     Than peyne I me to strecche forth my necke
     And est and west upon the people I bekke,
     As doth a dowfe (pigeon), syttyng on a berne;
     Myn hondes and my tonge goon so yerne,
     That it is joye to se my businesse.
     *  *  *  *  *
     I preche no thyng but of coveityse.
     Therefor my teem is yit, and ever was,
     _Radix omnium malorum est cupiditas_.”

The description may seem to-day improbable and exaggerated, but it is
not. A verifying from authentic sources and a search for documents
only shows once more Chaucer’s marvellous exactness; not a trait
in his picture that may not be justified by letters from papal or
episcopal chanceries.

These _quæstores_, or _quæstiarii_, as they were officially called,
were, says Boniface IX, speaking at the very time that the poet
wrote his tales, sometimes secular clerics and sometimes friars,
most of them extremely impudent. They dispensed with ecclesiastic
licences, and went from place to place delivering speeches, showing
their relics and selling their pardons. It was a lucrative trade and
the competition was great; the success of authorized pardoners had
caused a crowd of self-appointed ones to issue from the school or
the priory, or from mere nothingness, greedy, with glittering eyes,
as in the “Canterbury Tales”: “suche glaryng eyghen hadde he as an
hare”; true vagabonds, infesters of the highroads, who having, as
they thought, nothing to fear, boldly carried on their impostor’s
traffic. They overawed their listeners, spoke loud, and unbound upon
earth without scruple all that might be bound in heaven. Much profit
arose therefrom; Chaucer’s pardoner got a hundred marks a year, which
was easy enough for him, since, having received no authority from any
one, to no one did he render any accounts, but kept all the gains for
{317} himself. In his measured language the Pope tells us as much as
the poet, and it seems as though he would duplicate, line by line,
the portrait drawn by the story-teller, his contemporary.

First, says the pontifical letter, these pardoners swear that they
were sent by the Court of Rome. “Certain religious, who even belong
to one or the other of the mendicant orders, and some secular clerks,
even endowed with privileged benefices, affirm that they are sent by
us or by the legates or the nuncios of the apostolic see, and that
they have received a mission to treat of certain affairs, . . . to
receive money for us and the Roman Church, and they go about the
country under these pretexts.”

From Rome also comes Chaucer’s personage; he moves about the country,
and in exchange for his pardons tirelessly asks for goods and money,
which certainly will not go to Rome:

                        “a gentil pardoner . . .
    That streyt was comen from the court of Rome . . .
    His walet lay byforn him in his lappe,
    Bret-ful of pardoun come from Rome al hoot.”
    *  *  *  *  *
    “What! trowe ye, whiles that I may preche
    And wynne gold and silver for I teche,
    That I wil lyve in povert wilfully?
    *  *  *  *  *
    For I wol preche and begge in sondry londes,
    I wil not do no labour with myn hondes . . .
    I wol noon of thapostles counterfete,
    I wol have money, wolle, chese, and whete.”

“Thus,” continues the Pope, “they proclaim to the faithful and simple
people (“the lewed people,” says Chaucer’s man) the real or pretended
authorizations which they have received; and irreverently abusing
those which are real, in pursuit of infamous and hateful {318} gain,
they carry further their impudence by mendaciously attributing to
themselves false and pretended authorizations of this kind.”

What does the poet say? That the charlatan has ever fine things to
show, that he knows how to dazzle the simple, that he has his bag
full of parchments with awe-inspiring seals, maybe genuine, maybe
not;[437] that the people look on and admire, and the parson gets
angry but holds his tongue:

    “First I pronounce whennes that I come,
     And thanne my bulles schewe I alle and some;
     Oure liege lordes seal upon my patent
     That schewe I first, my body to warent,
     That no man be so hardy, prest ne clerk,
     Me to destourbe of Cristes holy werk.
     And after that than tel I forth my tales.
     Bulles of popes and of cardynales,
     Of patriarkes, and of bisshops, I schewe,
     And in Latyn speke I wordes fewe
     To savore with my predicacioun,
     And for to stere men to devocioun.”

As for that “turpem et infamem quæstum” branded by the Pontiff, it is
the ever-recurring burden of the unholy discourse:

    “Now good men, God foryeve yow your trespas,
     And ware yow fro the synne of avarice.
     Myn holy pardoun may you alle warice (redeem),
     So that ye offren noblis or starlinges,
     Or elles silver spones, broches, or rynges.
     Bowith your hedes under this holy bulle.”


PAPAL BULL, A.D. 1399.

(_From the MS. Harl. 1319._)]


The effect of solemn parchments and large seals displayed from the
pulpit rarely failed upon the crowd, and in some circumstances of
more importance than the retail selling of the merits of saints in
heaven, recourse was had to such exhibitions. When Henry of Lancaster
came to turn his cousin Richard II out of the English throne, the
first thing he did, according to Créton, was to have a pretended
papal bull, granting a plenary indulgence, read from the pulpit of
Canterbury cathedral and commented by Archbishop Arundel (whose
brother, the earl, King Richard had caused to be summarily executed).
As Créton was not present when this scene, which he describes only on
hearsay, took place, the speech he gives is the more interesting, for
it may be considered an average speech, such a one as was usual and
likely to have been pronounced on the occasion.

“My good people,” the Archbishop is supposed to have said, “hearken
all of you here: you well know how the king most wrongfully and
without reason has banished your lord Henry; I have therefore
obtained of the holy father who is our patron, that those who shall
forthwith bring aid this day, shall every one of them have remission
of all sins whereby from the hour of their baptism they have been
defiled. Behold the sealed bull that the Pope of renowned Rome hath
sent me, my good friends, in behalf of you all. Agree then to help
him to subdue his enemies, and you shall for this be placed after
death with those who are in Paradise.”

“Then,” continues the narrator, describing the effect of the speech,
“might you have beheld young and old, the feeble and the strong, make
a clamour, and regarding neither right or wrong, stir themselves up
with one accord, thinking that what was told them was true, for such
as they have little sense or knowledge. The archbishop invented this
device . . .”[438]


The burst of eloquence of Chaucer’s pardoner is a caricature, but
not an unrecognizable one, of the grave discourses of this sort.

The Pope has still more to say: “For some insignificant sum of money,
they extend the veil of a lying absolution not over penitents, but
over men of a hardened conscience who persist in their iniquity,
remitting, to use their own words, horrible crimes without there
having been any contrition nor fulfilment of any of the prescribed
forms.” It almost seems as if the Pope himself had listened in
disguise, on the road to Canterbury, to Chaucer’s man saying:

    “I yow assoile by myn heyh power,
     If ye woln offre, as clene and eek as cler
     As ye were born.
     *  *  *  *  *
     I rede that oure hoste schal bygynne,
     For he is most envoliped in synne.
     Come forth, sire ost, and offer first anoon,
     And thou schalt kisse the reliquis everichoon,
     Ye for a grote; unbocle anone thi purse.”[439]

Boccaccio, in one of the tales which he represents himself as telling
under the name of Dioneo, pictures, he too, an ecclesiastic of great
resemblance, moral and physical, to Chaucer’s man. He was called Frà
Cipolla, and was accustomed to visit Certaldo, Boccaccio’s village on
the hill top, still very much now as it was then, with the writer’s
house conspicuous in the main street. “This Frà Cipolla was little of
person, red-haired (Chaucer’s pardoner had “heer as yelwe as wex”)
and merry of countenance, the jolliest rascal in the world, and to
boot, for all he was no scholar, he was so fine a talker and so ready
of wit that those who knew him not would not only have esteemed him a
great rhetorician, but had {323} avouched him to be Tully himself,
or maybe, Quintilian; and he was gossip, or friend, or well-wisher,
to well-nigh every one in the country.” If his hearers gave him
a little money or corn or anything, he would show them the most
wonderful relics; and besides they would enjoy the special protection
of the patron saint of his order, St. Anthony: “Gentlemen and ladies,
it is, as you know, your usance to send every year to the poor of our
lord Baron St. Anthony of your corn and of your oats, this little
and that much, according to his means and his devoutness, to the
intent that the blessed St. Anthony may keep watch over your beeves
and asses and swine and sheep; and, beside this, you use to pay,
especially such of you as are inscribed into our company, that small
due which is payable once a year.”[440]

Such people had few scruples and knew how to profit by those of
others. They released their customers from all possible vows, and
remitted any penance, for money; they were a living encouragement
to sin, making it so easy to atone for. The more prohibitions,
obstacles, or penances were imposed, the more their affairs
prospered; they passed their lives undoing what the real clergy
did, the richer for it, and the clergy the poorer. The Pope again
tells us: “For a small compensation they remit vows of chastity,
of abstinence, of pilgrimage beyond the sea to Sts. Peter and Paul
of Rome, or to St. James of Compostela, and any other vows.” They
allow heretics to re-enter the bosom of the Church, illegitimate
children to receive the sacred orders, they remove excommunications
and interdicts; in short, as their power comes from themselves alone,
they see no reason to restrain it and they use it to the full and
without stint. Lastly, they affirm that “it is in the name of the
apostolic chamber that they take all this money, and yet they are
never known {324} to give an account of it to any one: ‘Horret et
merito indignatur animus talia reminisci.’”[441]

They went yet further; they had formed regular associations for
systematically speculating on public credulity; thus Boniface IX
orders in 1390, that bishops should make an inquiry into everything
that concerns these “religious or secular clerics, their people,
their accomplices, and their associations”; that they should imprison
them without other form of law, “de plano ac sine strepitu et
figura judicii”; should make them render accounts, confiscate their
receipts, and if their papers be not in order hold them under good
keeping, and refer the matter to the sovereign pontiff.

There were indeed authorized pardoners who paid the produce of
their receipts into the treasury of the Roman Court. The learned
Richard d’Angerville, otherwise de Bury, Bishop of Durham, called by
Petrarch, whom he had met at Avignon in 1330, “vir ardentis ingenii,”
speaks, in a circular of December 8, 1340, of apostolic or diocesan
letters, subject to a rigorous visa, with which the regular pardoners
had to be furnished.[442] But many did without them, and the bishop
notices one by one the same abuses as the Pope and as Chaucer.
“Strong complaints have come to our ears that the questors of this
kind, not without great and rash boldness, of their own authority,
and to the great danger of the souls who are confided to us, openly
setting at nought our jurisdiction, distribute indulgences to the
people, dispense with the execution of vows, absolve the perjured,
homicides, usurers, and other sinners who confess to them; and, for
a little money paid, grant remission for ill-atoned crimes, and are
given to a multitude of other abuses.” Henceforward all curates,
vicars and chaplains must refuse to admit these pardoners to preach
or to bestow indulgences, {325} whether in the churches or anywhere
else, “if they be not provided with letters or a special licence”
from the bishop himself. And this was a most proper injunction, for
with these bulls brought from far-off lands, adorned with unknown
seals “of popes and of cardynales, of patriarkes and of bisshops,”
it was easy to make people believe that all was in order. Meanwhile
let all those who are now wandering round the country be stripped of
what they have taken, and let “the money and _any other articles_
collected by them or on their behalf,” be seized: the common people
not being always possessed of actual cash, Chaucer’s pardoner
contented himself with “silver spones, broches, or rynges.” One more
allusion is to be noticed in this text to those associations of
pardoners which must have been so harmful.

They employed, in fact, inferior agents; the general credulity and
the widespread wish to get rid of religious trammels which men had
imposed on themselves, in the shape of vows or otherwise, or which
had been imposed on them on account of their sins, were a mine for
the perverse band, the veins of which they carefully worked. By means
of these subordinate representatives of their fanciful power, they
easily extended the field of their operations, and the complicated
threads of their webs covered the whole kingdom, sometimes too strong
to be broken, sometimes too fine to be perceived.

Occasionally, too, the bad example came from very high quarters;
all had not the Bishop of Durham’s virtue. Walsingham relates with
indignation the behaviour of a cardinal who made a stay in England
when the marriage between Richard II and the emperor’s sister, Anne
of Bohemia, was being negotiated. For money this prelate, just like
the common pardoners, removed excommunications, dispensed people of
pilgrimages to St. Peter, St. James, or Jerusalem, and had the sum
that would have been spent on the journey duly computed and given
{326} to him;[443] and it is much to be regretted from every point
of view that the curious tariff of the expenses of a journey thus
estimated has not come down to us.

The list of the misdeeds of pardoners was in truth enormous, and
it is found even larger on exploring the authentic ecclesiastical
documents than in the work of Chaucer himself. Thus in a bull of Pope
Urban V, dated 1369, mention is made of practices apparently untried
by the otherwise experienced “gentil pardoner of Rouncival.” These
doings were customary with those employed by the Hospitallers of St.
John of Jerusalem in England. Helped by the connivance of the “very
priors” of the order, they pretended to be “privileged” and exempted
from the formality of showing apostolic letters before they were
allowed to proceed with their preachings and to offer to the people
their “negotia quæstuaria.” The parish rectors and curates naturally
enough objected to such pretensions, but their complaints were ill
received, and the pardoners, to get rid of them, sued them before
some distant authority for contempt of their cloth and privileges.
While the suit was being determined they remained free to act as they
liked. Sometimes they were so lucky as to secure sentence against the
priest who had tried to do his duty, and even succeeded in having
him excommunicated: which could of course but be a cause of great
merriment among the unholy tribe.

“Very often, also,” adds Pope Urban, “when they mean to hurt a rector
or his curate, they go to his church on some feast-day, especially
at such time as the people are accustomed to come and make their
offerings. They {327} begin then to make their own collections or to
read the name of their brotherhood or fraternity, and continue until
such an hour as it is not possible to celebrate mass conveniently
that day. Thus they manage perversely to deprive these rectors and
vicars of the offerings which accrue to them at such masses.” They
have, on the other hand, Divine service performed “in polluted or
interdicted places, and there also bury the dead; they use, as helps
to their trade, simple and almost illiterate subordinates, who spread
errors and fables among people as ignorant as themselves.”

Such abuses and many others, constantly pointed out by councils,
popes, and bishops, moved the University of Oxford to recommend, in
the year 1414, the entire suppression of pardoners, as being men
of loose life and lying speeches, spending their profits “with the
prodigal son,” remitting to sinners their sins as well as their
penances, encouraging vice by the ease of their absolutions, and
drawing the souls of uneducated people “to Tartarus.” But this
request was not listened to, and pardoners continued to prosper for
the moment.[444]

At the same time that they sold indulgences, the pardoners showed
relics. They had been on pilgrimage and had brought back pieces of
bone and fragments of all kinds, of holy origin, they said. But
although the credulous were not lacking among the multitude, the
disabused among the better sort were numerous and they scoffed
without mercy. The pardoners of Chaucer and Boccaccio, and in the
sixteenth century of Heywood and Lyndsay,[445] exhibited the most
unexpected trophies. The Chaucerian one, who possessed a piece of the
sail of St. {328} Peter’s boat is surpassed by Frate Cipolla, who
had brought back much better from Jerusalem. “I will, as an especial
favour, show you,” said he, “a very holy and goodly relic, which I
myself brought aforetime from the Holy Lands beyond seas, and that
is one of the Angel Gabriel’s feathers, which remained in the Virgin
Mary’s chamber, whenas he came to announce to her in Nazareth!”[446]
The feather, which was from the tail of a parrot, through some joke
played upon him was replaced in the holy man’s box by a few coals;
when he perceived the metamorphosis he showed no embarrassment, but
began the narrative of his long voyages, and explained how, instead
of the feather, the coals on which St. Lawrence was grilled would be
seen in his coffer. He had received them from “My Lord Blamemenot
Anitpleaseyou,” the worthy patriarch of Jerusalem, who also showed
him “a finger of the Holy Ghost as whole and sound as ever it was,
. . . and one of the nails of the cherubim, . . . divers rays of
the star that appeared to the three Wise Men in the East, and a
vial of the sweat of St. Michael whenas he fought with the devil”;
he possessed also “somewhat of the sound of the bells of Solomon’s
Temple in a vial.”

Poets’ jests; but less exaggerated than might be thought. Was there
not shown to the pilgrims at Exeter a bit “of the candle which the
angel of the Lord lit in Christ’s tomb”? This was one of the relics
brought together in the venerable cathedral by Athelstan, “the most
glorious and victorious king,” who had sent emissaries at great
expense on to the Continent to gather these precious spoils. The list
of their treasure-troves, which has been preserved in a missal of the
eleventh century, comprises also a little of “the bush in which the
Lord spoke to Moses,” and a lot of other curiosities.[447] Some {329}
of the Virgin’s milk was, as all know, venerated at Walsingham and
in various other places.

Matthew Paris relates that, in his time, the friar preachers
gave to Henry III a piece of white marble on which there was the
trace of a human foot; nothing less, according to the testimony
of the inhabitants of the Holy Land, than the mark of one of the
Saviour’s feet, left by Him as a souvenir to His apostles after His
Ascension. “Our lord the king had this marble placed in the church of
Westminster, to which he had already lately offered some of the blood
of Christ.”[448]

In the fourteenth century kings continued to set the example to the
common people, and to collect relics of undemonstrable authenticity.
In the accounts of the expenses of Edward III, in the thirty-sixth
year of his reign, a hundred shillings are put down for a messenger
who had brought him a vest of St. Peter’s.[449] In France, at the
same period, King Charles V “le sage” had one day the curiosity
to visit the cupboard at the Sainte Chapelle, where the relics of
the passion were kept. He found there a phial with a Latin and
Greek inscription indicating that it contained some of the blood
of Jesus Christ. “Then,” relates Christine de Pisan, “that wise
king, because some doctors have said that, on the day that our Lord
rose, nothing was left on earth of His worthy body that was not all
returned into Him, would hereupon know and inquire by learned men,
natural philosophers, and theologians, whether it could be true that
upon earth there were some of the real pure blood of Jesus Christ.
Examination was made by the said learned men assembled about this
matter; the said phial was seen and visited with great reverence
and solemnity of lights, in which when it was hung or lowered could
{330} be clearly seen the fluid of the red blood flow as freshly as
though it had been shed but three or four days since: which thing
is no small marvel, considering the passion was so long ago. And
these things I know for certain by the relation of my father who was
present at that examination, as philosophic officer and counsellor of
the said prince.”

After this examination made by great “solemnity of lights,” the
doctors declared themselves for the authenticity of the miracle;[450]
which was not in reality more surprising than that at the cathedral
at Naples, where the blood of the patron saint of the town may still
be seen to liquify several times a year, and for several days each

In every country of Europe the pardoners enjoyed, not to say endured,
the same reputation and acted in the same manner. Be it France,
Germany, Italy, or Spain, they were found living, so long as there
remained any, as Chaucer’s pardoner did. In France, Rabelais has the
cheaters cheated by his beloved Panurge. The clever _vaurien_ used
to place his penny in their plate so skilfully that it seemed to be
a silver piece: for which he made bold to take change, leaving only
a farthing. “‘And I did the same,’ said he, ‘in all the churches
where we have been.’—‘Yea, but,’ said I, ‘you . . . are a thief, and
commit sacrilege.’—‘True,’ said he, ‘as it seems to you; but it does
not seem so to me. For the pardoners give it me as a gift when they
say, in offering me the relics to kiss: _Centuplum accipies_—that
is, that for one penny I take a hundred; for _accipies_ is spoken by
them according to the manner of the Hebrews, who use the future tense
instead of the imperative, as you have in the book, _Diliges Dominum,
id est, dilige_.’”[451] {331}

Pardoners, of course, never appear on the boards of the old French
theatre, but to be derided:

“_Pardoner_: I mean to show you the comb of the cock that crowed
at Pilate’s, and half a plank of Noah’s great ark. . . . Look,
gentlemen, here is a feather of one of the seraphs near God. Don’t
think it is a joke; here it is for you to see.

“_Triacleur_: Gogsblood! ’tis the quill from a goose he has eaten at
his dinner!” and so on.[452]

The same in Spain. Lazarillo de Tormes, the page of many masters,
happens, at one time, to be in the service of a pardoner: the very
same individual Chaucer had described two hundred years before. He,
too, knows how to use Latin when profitable: “Hee woulde alwayes bee
informed before he came, which were learned and which not. When he
came to those which he understood were learned, he woulde be sure
never to speake worde of Latin, for feare of stumbling: but used in
suche places a gentle kind of Castilian Spanish, his tong alwayes
at libertie. And contrariwise whensoever hee was informed of the
reverend _Domines_ (I meane such as are made priestes more for money
than for learning and good behaviour), to hear him speake amongs
suche men you would saye it were St. Thomas: for hee woulde then two
houres together talke Latin, at lest which seemed to bee, though it
was not.”[453] A trick which, as is well known, Sganarelle, many
years after, did not disdain to use when put upon his last shifts as
the “Médecin malgré lui.”

Pardoners lived merrily; certain it is that after a busy day they
must have been cheerful companions at the inn. The thought of the
multitude of sins they had pardoned, of excommunications they had
removed, {332} of penalties they had remitted—themselves mere
vagabonds threatened with the jail or gallows—the knowledge of their
impunity, the strangeness of their existence, the triumphant success
of the mad harangues in which they attributed to themselves the keys
of heaven, must have made their hearts swell with uncontrollable
merriment. Their heads were filled with anecdotes, sacred or profane;
native coarseness and assumed devotion, the real and the artificial
man, jostled each other to the sound of jugs and vessels clattering
on the table. See in the margin of an old psalter the lean figure of
Master Reynard[454]: a crozier between his paws, a mitre on his head,
he is preaching a sermon to the wondering crowd of ducks and geese of
the poultry yard. The gesture is full of unction, but the eye shaded
by the tawny hair has a cruel glitter, which ought to give warning of
the peroration. But no, the poultry yard clucks devoutly and fears
nothing; woe to the ducks when the mitre has fallen: “And Thou, Lord,
shalt laugh at them,” says the psalmist on the same page.

A singular knowledge of the human heart those individuals must have
had, going through such strange experiences day by day. Never were
more unworthy beings supposedly clothed with greater supernatural
powers. The deformed monster squatting on the apse of the cathedral
laughs and grimaces hideously on his airy pedestal. And up to the
clouds rise the fretted spires; the chiselled pinnacles detach
themselves like lace upon the sky; the saints pray their eternal
prayer under the porch; the bells send forth their peals into space,
and souls are seized with a thrill, with that mysterious awe caused
by the sublime. The monster laughs; hearts believe themselves
purified, but he has seen their ugly sores, a sinister hand will
touch them and prevent their cure; the edge {333} of the roof
reaches the clouds; but his look goes through the dormer window, he
detects a cracking beam, worm-eaten boards giving way, and a host
of obscure creatures slowly pursuing under the wooden shafts their
secular labour of destruction: he laughs and grimaces hideously.

On the tavern bench the pardoner is still seated. There come Chaucer,
the knight, the squire, the friar, the host—old acquaintances. We
are by ourselves, no one need be afraid to speak, the foaming ale
renders hearts expansive; and the unseen coils of that tortuous
soul unfold to view, he gives the summary of a whole life, the
theory of his existence, the key to his secrets. What matters his
frankness? he knows that it cannot hurt him; time and again has the
bishop brought his practices to light, but the crowd always troops
around him. And who knows if his companions—who knows if his more
enlightened companions, to whom he shows the concealed springs of
the automaton—will, to-morrow, believe it lifeless? their memory,
their reason will tell them so, yet still their heart will doubt. If
custom is the half of belief, theirs is well-rooted; how much more
that of the multitude! And the pardoner himself, do you suppose that
he always sees clearly what he is, do you think that his scepticism
is absolute? he for whom nothing is holy, whose very existence is a
perpetual mockery of sacred things, he also has his hours of doubt
and terror, he trembles before that formidable power which he said
he held in his hands, and of which he has made a toy; he does not
possess it, but others may, and he stands aghast; the monster looks
upon himself and is afraid.

Very easy it was to lead the popular belief into the channel of
the marvellous. Decrees had been deemed necessary to prevent the
conjuring up of spectres or ghosts in those long watches passed with
the dead; disobedience {334} was attempted, people believed they
succeeded. In presence of the horrible a strange reaction of the
heart would take place, a wind of madness passed predisposing men to
see and believe anything, a nervous and demoniacal merriment seized
upon all, and dances and lascivious games were started. Dancing went
on in the cemeteries during the solemn vigils of religious feasts,
there was dancing also during the watch for the dead. The Council of
London, in 1342, prohibited “the superstitious customs which cause
prayer to be neglected, and unlawful and indecent meetings” held in
such places.[455] The Council of York, in 1367, also forbade “those
guilty games and follies, and all those perverse customs . . . which
transform a house of tears and prayers, into a house of laughing
and excess.” The palmers’ gild of Ludlow allowed its members to go
to night-watches of the dead, provided that they abstained from
raising apparitions and from indecent games.[456] As to professional
sorcerers, the belief in them was so profound that they were sent
to the stake, as happened to Petronilla of Meath, convicted of
having manufactured powders with “spiders and black worms like
scorpions, mingling with them a certain herb called milfoil, and
other detestable herbs and worms.”[457] She had also made such
incantations that “the faces of certain women seemed horned like the
heads of goats”; {335} therefore she had her due punishment and “was
burnt before an immense multitude of people with all the accustomed
ceremonial.” Such facts explain the existence of the pardoner.

Let us add that the search for the philosopher’s stone was the
constant occupation of many renowned doctors; every one had not
that clear good sense, good humour and penetrating spirit which
permitted Chaucer to smilingly unravel before us the mysteries
of the alchemist, shaking the alembics and retorts, and in the
odd-shaped apparatus which frightened the imagination, showing not
the newly created ingot of pure metal, but the mixture prepared
beforehand by the impostor.[458] Not a plant or a stone without
supernatural virtues; the vain beliefs inherited from the ancients
had been rejuvenated and expanded. People thirsted for such pretended
learning. Gower thinks he does well to insert in a love poem all he
believes he knows on the constitution of the world and the virtues
of things;[459] even with professionally learned men the mass of
fabulous statements fills volumes. Bartholomew the Englishman, whose
work is an encyclopædia of scientific knowledge in the thirteenth
century, is positive that the diamond destroys the effect of venom
and of magic incantations, and that it reveals its wearer’s fear;
that the topaz prevents sudden death, etc.[460]

A pleasure it is, and like a whiff of fresh air when emerging from
a damp cellar, to remember that in an age not totally exempt from
these weaknesses no one condemned them with more eloquence than our
Molière: “Without speaking of other things,” said he, “I have {336}
never been able to conceive how even the smallest peculiarities of
the fortune of the least man could be found written in the skies.
What relation, what intercourse, what correspondence can there be
between us and worlds separated from our earth by so frightful a
distance? and whence can this fine science have come to men? What
god has revealed it? or what experience can have shaped it from the
observation of that great number of stars which have not been seen
twice in the same arrangement?”


(_From the Ellesmere MS._)]

Trouble and eloquence lost; there will always be a Timocles to
observe with a wise air: “I am incredulous enough as to a great many
things, but for astrology, there is nothing more certain and more
constant than the success of the horoscopes which it draws.”[461]

So vanished into smoke the tempests which Chaucer, Langland, and
Wyclif raised against the hypocritical pardoners of their day. They
lingered on till the {337} sixteenth century, and then were entirely
suppressed in the twenty-first session of the œcumenical council of
Trent, July 16, 1562, Pius IV being Pope. It is stated in the ninth
chapter of the “Decree of Reform,” published in that session, that
since “no further hope can be entertained of amending the questors
of alms” (_eleemosynarum quæstores_), otherwise pardoners, “the
use of them and their name are entirely abolished henceforth in
all Christendom:”[462] the first of old-time wayfarers to entirely



(_Present state._)]




In spite of the merits of physicians, soothsayers, and sorcerers,
maladies sometimes resisted the best remedies, and the patient would
then vow to go on a pilgrimage, ride, walk, or have himself carried
there, and pray for his cure. He went to our Lady of Walsingham, for
example, or to St. Thomas of Canterbury, whose medical powers were
considered, beyond comparison, the best of all: “Optimus egrorum,
medicus fit Thomas bonorum,” was the motto stamped on some of the
pewter ampullæ, with miraculous water in them, which pilgrims brought
back as a souvenir from Canterbury: “For good people that are sick,
Thomas is the best of physicians.” And surely praying at his shrine,
after an open-air journey on foot or horseback, was a better way of
preserving one’s health than swallowing the black beetles and fat
bats of John of Gaddesden, the court physician. {339}

Pilgrimages were incessant; they were made to fulfil a vow as
in cases of illness or of great peril, or in expiation of sins.
Confessors frequently gave the going on a pilgrimage as penance, and
sometimes ordered that the traveller should go barefoot or in his
shirt. “Commune penaunce,” says Chaucer’s parson in his great sermon,
speaking of atonement which must be public, “commune,” because the
sin has been public too, “is that prestes enjoynen men comunly in
certeyn caas, as for to goon, peradventure, naked in pilgrimage or
barfot,” that is to say, naked in their shirts. In accordance with a
vow made during a tempest, Æneas Sylvius Piccolomini, later Pope Pius
II, walked ten miles barefoot on the frozen ground, to White Kirk,
near North Berwick, and had, on his return, “to be born, rather than
led by his servants.”[463]

Another motive for pilgrimages, and, more than any other,
characteristic of the times, was to annoy the king. Thus in the
fourteenth century English people flocked to the tomb of the selfish,
narrow-minded and vengeful Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, of whom popular
prejudice had made a saint.[464] The crowd hastened through a spirit
of opposition to Pontefract, where the rebel had been decapitated, by
order of his relative, King Edward II, and the pilgrims became every
year more numerous, to the great scandal of the sovereign and of the
Archbishop of York. A letter of this prelate shows the uselessness of
the {340} prohibitions: the idea of a semblance of persecution of
believers devised by an archbishop only excited zeal and devotion;
men hoped to please the martyr by allowing themselves to be slightly
martyred. Thus, while awaiting a canonization that never came,
though insisted upon by the next king, crowds collected near the
tomb, so numerous and tumultuous that there happened “homicides and
mortal wounds, . . . and that greater dangers yet and doubtless most
imminent are to be feared.”[465]

All this began the very year after the execution of the “saint.” The
official was enjoined to hinder these meetings by any means, and to
disperse them until the Pope should pronounce. But the gatherings
continued, and Henry of Lancaster wrote in 1327 to the Archbishop of
York asking him to refer the matter to the Sovereign Pontiff, and
“bear witness to the fame of the miracles which God works by our
very dear lord and brother.”[466] The same year the Commons took the
question in hand and petitioned for the canonization of the same
Thomas, which was scarcely parliamentary business.[467] In 1338, a
London pepperer had for sale a mazer bowl ornamented with an “image
of St. Thomas of Lancester.”[468] Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford
and Essex, who died in 1361, bequeathed money for pious men to make
a variety of pilgrimages on his behalf, and he specially recommended
that “a good man and true” should be {341} hired and charged to go
to “Pountfreyt and to offer there, at the tomb of Thomas, late earl
of Lancaster, 40s.”[469]

To make a saint of a rebel was the most energetic means of protesting
against the king, and the people would not miss this opportunity
under some of their sovereigns. Henry III, in 1266, had been obliged
to forbid Simon de Montfort being considered as a saint, although
Simon having died under excommunication, as was represented to the
king by the bishops and barons, authors of the petitions comprised
in the “Dictum de Kenilworth,”[470] had little chance of ever being
canonized. Latin hymns were nevertheless composed in his honour, as
for a saint.[471]

The rebel was hardly dead than popular feeling, often unfavourable
to him during his life, forthwith recognized in him nothing else than
the hero who had fought against a tyrant, and, through sympathy for
the man, or antipathy for the king, assigned therefore to him a place
in heaven. The active revolt, rudely interrupted {342} by punishment,
continued thus in the latent state, and every one came to see God
Himself take the part of the oppressed, and proclaim the injustice
of the ruler by working miracles at the tomb of his victim. The
sovereign defended himself as he could; he dispersed the rabble and
prohibited the miracles.

    De par le Roi, défense à Dieu
    De faire miracle en ce lieu,

read an ironical distich written in France in the “Diacre Paris”
days. Similarly disposed, Edward II, on October 2, 1323, wrote “to
his faithful John de Stonore and John de Bousser,” ordering an
inquiry which would be followed by graver measures. He recalled to
them that “a little time ago Henry de Montfort and Henry de Wylynton,
our enemies and rebels, on the advice of the royal Court, were drawn
and hanged at Bristol, and it had been decided that their bodies
should remain attached to the gibbet, so that others might abstain
from similar crimes and misdeeds against us.” But on the contrary,
the people made relics of these bloody and mutilated remains, and
surrounded them with respect. Reginald de Montfort, William de Clyf,
William Curteys, and John his brother, and some others, in order to
render the king odious to the people, had organized false miracles
at the gibbet where the corpses of these rebels were still hanging,
which was nothing short of “idolatry.”

Severe measures were required in several places at the same time;
while these bodies were venerated at Bristol, a mere image of Thomas
of Lancaster, in the Cathedral of London, was attracting pilgrims and
working miracles. In this same year, 1323, on June 28th, Edward II is
found writing with great irritation to the Bishop of London:

“It has come to our ears—and it is very displeasing to us—that
many among the people of God, confided to your charge, victims of
a diabolical trickery, crowd round {343} a panel placed in your
church of St. Paul’s, where are to be seen statues, sculptures, or
images, and among others that of Thomas, late Earl of Lancaster, a
rebel, our enemy. Silly visitors, without any authorization from the
Roman Church, venerate and worship this image as a holy thing, and
affirm that it there works miracles: this is a disgrace for the whole
Church, a shame for us and for you, a manifest danger for the souls
of the aforesaid people, and a dangerous example to others.”[472]

The bishop knows it, continues the king, and secretly encourages
these practices without any other motive than that of profiting
by the offerings, thus making “shameful gains. . . . By which,”
adds Edward II, “we are deeply afflicted.” The usual prohibitions

These were occasional pilgrimages. Others were in favour for a much
longer time owing to the reputation of the departed for sanctity,
and not to political motives. For many years crowds came, as we have
seen, to visit the tomb of Richard Rolle, the hermit of Hampole. Even
in this, fashion ruled; some relics or tombs of hermits or of saints
enjoyed for a period universal favour; then all of a sudden, through
some great miracle, another saint rose to pre-eminence, and the
others, by degrees, sank into obscurity.

Convents, which had neither relics nor bodies of illustrious saints
to attract pilgrims, nor a marvellous thorn-tree like that of
Glastonbury, would have sometimes a pious artist to fabricate an
image fit to draw visitors; it would be inaugurated with solemnity,
work miracles, it was hoped, and enjoy a more or less wide fame.
Thomas of Burton, Abbot of Meaux, near Beverley, relates in the
chronicle of his rich monastery, written by himself at the end of
the fourteenth century, one of the most remarkable facts of this
kind. Abbot Hugh of Leven, one of his {344} predecessors, had in the
first half of the century ordered a new crucifix for the choir of
the chapel: “And the artist never worked at any fine and important
part, except on Fridays, fasting on bread and water. And he had all
the time a naked man under his eyes, and he laboured to give to his
crucifix the beauty of the model. By the means of this crucifix, the
Almighty worked open miracles continually. It was then thought that
if access to this crucifix were allowed to women, the common devotion
would be increased and great advantages would result from it for our
monastery. Upon which the Abbot of Citeaux, by our request, granted
us leave to let men and honest women approach the said crucifix,
provided, however, that the women did not enter the cloister, the
dormitory, and other parts of the monastery. . . . But profiting by
this license, to our misfortune, women began to come in increasing
numbers to the said crucifix, while in them devotion is cool, and all
they want is to see the church, and they increase our expenses by our
having to receive them.”[474]

This naïve complaint is interesting from several points of view;
it plainly shows what was done to bring such or such a sanctuary
into favour with the pilgrims;[475] in the present case the effort
did not succeed, the prodigies do not seem to have long responded
to the expectation, {345} and people came only from curiosity to
visit the church and the fine crucifix of the monastery. From the
artistic point of view the fact is still more important, for this
is the most ancient example of sculpture from the nude living model
to be found in mediæval England; and this anonymous sculptor ought
to be remembered, which he is not, as one of the precursors of the
Renaissance in his country.

Another attempt to make a chapel popular had been tried in the
parochial church of Foston; but the Archbishop of York, William
Grenefeld, was scandalized, and by a letter full of good sense put
an end to the “great concourse of simple people who came to visit a
certain image of the Holy Virgin recently placed in the church, as
if this image had something more divine than any other images of the

The fact was, as may be noticed even in our days, that, with or
without the co-operation of the clergy, some statues had a far better
reputation than others; wonders were expected of them, and they were
worshipped accordingly; the same vicissitudes were observable for
images as for relics and tombs of saints. This statue had healed sick
people without number, and that one was known to have moved, to have
made a sign, to have spoken a word. Pictures of miracles worked by
statues constantly recur in manuscripts; one, for instance, is to
be found in several English books of the fourteenth century.[477]
It shows how a poor painter, being busy colouring and gilding {346}
a statue of the Virgin, with a most ugly devil under her feet, the
Evil One, angry at such an unflattering portrait, came and broke the
ladder on which the artist was standing; but as he was falling and
about to be killed, the stone Virgin bent towards him, and extending
her arm held him safe until help came.

Statues did not always act so graciously, but were guided by
circumstances, as was seen in the church of St. Paul-extra-muros at
Rome. A visitor, according to the relation of the learned Thomas
Gascoigne, chancellor of Oxford, had insulted the image of the saint,
saying: “‘Why hast thou got a sword, I mean to have thy sword,’ and
he was trying to take it out of the hands of the statue. But through
God’s doing, the statue raised its sword on the impious man, and
clove his head to the chin; and then death followed. This happened at
the time when Eugene IV was Pope of Rome, and a witness of the scene
reported it to me; this witness was a beadel of the said Pope, called
Master Erasmus Fullar, a priest of the kingdom of Hungary.”[478]


Apart from pilgrimages, in fashion but for a time, English people
usually went to Durham to visit the tomb of the holy Confessor
Cuthbert, and the place where was kept his ever-victorious banner;
to the shrine of King Edward the Confessor in Westminster; to St.
Albans, St. Edmund’s Bury, St. David’s, on account of the saints
after whom these towns are named; to Chichester, to worship the body
of St. Richard the Bishop; to Glastonbury, with its holy thorn-tree,
and its church founded {347} by St. Joseph of Arimathea; to Waltham,
where a cross of black marble had been miraculously found in the
time of King Knut. Lincoln, York, Peterborough, Hayles with its Holy
Blood, Winchester (for St. Swithin, who, among other merits, had had
that of being a bridge builder), Holywell, Beverley with its St.
John, and a number of other places,[479] shrines and miraculous and
wishing wells had also attractions for the pilgrim; but none could
stand comparison with Walsingham and Canterbury.

At Walsingham there were a church and a chapel, now destroyed, the
latter with a miraculous bejewelled statue of the Virgin, and some
of her milk, the chapel being exactly similar, it was said, to the
Santa Casa of Loretto, which was a wonder in itself, for the English
copy had been built in the eleventh century, long before the Casa was
heard of. Owing to innumerable gifts the place was resplendent with
gold and precious stones. Visiting Cologne and the famous shrine of
the wise men of the East, Roger Ascham writes: “The three kings be
not so rich, I believe, as was the Lady of Walsingham.”[480] People
came in crowds; many among the British kings came too;[481] the road
leading to Walsingham was called the palmers’ way, and chapels were
built along its line. The town was full of inns, hospitals, and
religious buildings, as was usually the case with the more famous of
these places.

The milk and the image, as most of the pilgrimage statues, were
destroyed at the Reformation, some of the wooden ones being burnt
like the heretics, or with them, at Smithfield, as happened when
Friar Forest died at {348} the stake.[482] The gold and silver
ones were turned to more practical uses. “I have pullyd down,” Dr.
London, one of the Visitors of religious houses, writes to Thomas
Cromwell, “the image of our Lady at Caversham, wherunto wasse great
pilgremage. The image ys platyd over with sylver, and I have putte
yt in a cheste fast lackyd (locked) and naylyd uppe, and by the next
bardge that commyth from Redyng to London yt shall be browght to your
Lordeschippe. I have also pullyd down the place she stode in with all
other ceremonyes, as lights, schrds (shrouds), crowchys (crosses),
and imagies of wex hangyng about the chapel, and have defacyed the
same thorowly in exchuyng of any farther resortt thedyr. . . . At
Caversham ys a propre lodginge wher the chanon lay, with a fayer
garden and an orchard mete to be bestowed upon som frynde of your
lordeschip’s in thees parties.”[483]

In especially large numbers people hired horses at Southwark, with
relays at Rochester, and set out for St. Thomas of Canterbury. This
was the highroad to the continent; a regular service of hired horses
had been established along it. Twelvepence was paid from Southwark to
Rochester, twelvepence from Rochester to Canterbury, sixpence from
Canterbury to Dover. The horses were branded in a prominent manner,
so that unscrupulous travellers should not be tempted to quit the
road and appropriate their steeds.[484] The sanctuary of St. Thomas
had, indeed, a world-wide reputation.

We can scarcely realize now the thrill of horror that went throughout
Christendom, as far as the Levant, as far as Iceland, when the news
came that Archbishop {349} Thomas Becket,[485] Legate of the Pope,
former chancellor of England, had been massacred in his cathedral of
Canterbury by four knights of Henry II, on the evening of Tuesday,
December 29, 1170, his brain and blood splashing the pavement.
Everything combined to increase the enormity of the crime; the
holiness of the place, which should have afforded sanctuary, even to
a murderer, the rank of the victim in the hierarchy of the Church,
the dying man’s brave and pious words, the presence of the cross born
at his side by his assistant, Edward Grim, himself severely wounded,
and, above all, the fame and character of the prelate, an archbishop
Turpin of real life, who, like the companion of Roland, and while
already engaged in holy orders, had proved a plucky military leader,
unimpeachable, moreover, from the moral point of view, and fearless
throughout his life. Like the Archbishop of Reims of the “Song of
Roland,” whose brain had flowed down his face,[486] he had died at
the hands of barbarians, who had not, however, the excuse of being

Rarely did a single act cause such universal indignation. Public
opinion proclaimed Thomas a saint even before the Pope could take
action, which he did, however, with a promptitude rare in such
cases, canonization being proclaimed in February, 1173. The body was
scarcely buried in the crypt of the cathedral,[487] than pilgrims
came to it, their numbers ceaselessly increasing. The life of the
archbishop was the subject of numberless miniatures,[488] {350}
sculptures,[489] painted windows. Some of the latter, dating back to
the thirteenth century, still remain at Canterbury, Sens, Chartres,
and other places. Matthew Paris wrote and illuminated with his own
hand, Walsingham tells us, a biography of the archbishop; churches
dedicated to him multiplied in England and out of England: “On the
heights of Fourvières,” wrote Dean Stanley, “overlooking the city
of Lyons, is a chapel dedicated to Saint Thomas of Canterbury. Four
years before his death, it is said, he was walking on the terraced
bank of the river underneath, and being asked to whom the chapel
should be dedicated, he replied, ‘To the next martyr,’ on which his
companion remarked, ‘Perhaps, then, to you.’”[490]

The prophecy was fulfilled. Entirely renovated, and forming now part
of the pilgrimage church at Fourvières, such a chapel still exists,
still dedicated to St. Thomas; it has been allotted to the fraternity
of “Notre Dame de Compassion” for their exercises, which consist
chiefly in praying for the conversion of England. On the threshold
are engraved four riming Latin lines: “Happy the place, happy the
church where Thomas’s memory survives; happy the land which gave
birth to the prelate, happy that which received him, an exile.”[491]

Churches dedicated to him were especially numerous in Normandy,
from which his family came, a chapel at {351} Caen bearing the
grim name of “Saint Thomas l’Abattu” (the stricken down). His life
was told in verse and prose, in Latin, French, Icelandic, the most
noteworthy of those lives being that in French verse by Garnier
de Pont-Sainte-Maxence, as remarkable for its literary as for its
historical value, the author, a contemporary, having taken as much
pains to ascertain the truth as would the most conscientious of the
historians of to-day.[492] He had begun writing two years after
the event, and had remodelled several times his poem because new
documents, of which several are versified into his text, or new facts
had come to his knowledge. He established himself at “Chantorbire,”
where every man, every stone had been a witness, and he appealed, in
order to learn the truth, to the friends, the servants, the sister of
Saint Thomas. His work was thereby delayed, but he preferred that:

    A Chantorbire alai; la vérité oï;
    Des amis saint Thoma la vérité cuilli,
    Et de cels ki l’aveient dès l’enfance servi,
    D’oster et de remettre le travail en suffri.

Proud of the trouble he had taken, he was proud also of the good
French he spoke, far better, of course, than that of ordinary
Anglo-Norman writers: “My language is good, for I was born in
France.” He thereupon submits to the custom, not yet quite obsolete,
of abusing those who write on the same subject. Don’t forget, he says
to his readers in the first lines of his poem, that “all physicians
are not good healers; and it is not all clerks who know how to well
sing and well read. . . . Some claim to be the best, and are in
reality the worst.” He, however, claims to be the best; and though
his boast may incline us to be the more critical, yet we must needs
grant that it is not groundless, considering his accuracy, {352} the
excellence of his French, the lifelike vividness of his scenes and
dialogues, the interest of the views and sentiments, at times very
liberal, expressed by him: “God loves the humble and the poor, who
live by their work, whose every day is a hard one . . . and who lead
clean lives; God will exalt them.”

To the mass of pilgrims who from the earliest moment had begun to
visit Canterbury, Garnier, “standing by the tomb, a number of times
read his sermon about Saint Thomas the martyr and his passion. And
they heard nothing but truth absolute.”[493]

Great and small, by land and by sea, from every part of Christendom,
“men of foreign countries, of a variety of languages,” says Garnier,
flocked henceforth to the place in such numbers, that the road,
followed by pilgrims from the West of England, or by foreigners
from abroad, landing at Southampton, to reach Canterbury by way of
Winchester, was, and is still, called “The Pilgrims’ Way.”[494]

Kings and emperors came with the rest; first of all, the cause of
the tragedy, Henry II, who, to avoid excommunication, after a first
penance at Avranches, in the course of which he had promised to
go on a pilgrimage, at the Pope’s choice, to Rome, Jerusalem, or
St. James’s, appeared for a severer test at the shrine of his dead
enemy, on July 12, 1174. Walking the streets barefoot, dressed in
haircloth and a woollen shirt, looking a “mendif” (beggar), having
fasted for days on bread and water, the bells in the minster tolling
a funeral knell, he kissed the {353} pavement of the cathedral at the
place where Thomas had fallen. Led, then, to the crypt, the proud
Plantagenet, the ruler of England and of half of France, conqueror of
Ireland, suzerain of Scotland, was flogged on his bare shoulders by
the prelates present, beginning with Gilbert Foliot, Bishop of London:

    “Li evesques de Lundres tint el puing le balai.”

Thus, “beaten and punished,” he spent the night, on the cold
pavement, “in psalms and orisons,” before the tomb, and gave to the
sister of the saint a mill, well worth ten marks of revenue—

    “Bien valt dis mars par an la rente qu’ele en a.”[495]

Henry’s rival and suzerain, the King of France, the former crusader,
brave, pious and inefficient Louis VII, came shortly after; a
prodigious and unparalleled event, the first time a king of France
had ever set foot on British soil. Feeling that for him death was
near, and having had, although three times married, only one son, he
decided in 1179 to have the young prince crowned at once, but before
the ceremony, Philip, aged fourteen, while boar hunting, lost his
way in the forest of Compiègne, and, separated from his companions,
endured for days such hardships before a charcoal-burner found him
and led him out of the maze that his life was despaired of. The
king, in his anguish, had at night a vision of St. Thomas Becket,
whom he had well known, promising life for his son if he himself
went to Canterbury as a pilgrim. Louis’s advisers recommended not to
risk a journey which would place him at the mercy of his enemy, the
Plantagenet king. But again, and yet again, St. Thomas appeared at
night, now threatening disaster. Louis started then with a brilliant
retinue, and no untoward event marred the journey. Henry II, on
the contrary, very meek {354} now when his former chancellor was
in question, came to meet the French monarch at Dover; both went
together to Canterbury; Louis remained two days in prayer, and
offered the monks a gold cup and a magnificent gem shown henceforth
to pilgrims as the “regale of France.” By a special charter he
granted them, besides, one hundred casks of wine to be taken yearly
for ever, at vintage time, from his cellars of Poissy-sur-Seine.

He returned to find his son on the way to recovery; and, having had
him crowned, died within a year. The son, one of whose first acts
was to confirm his father’s hundred casks’ charter, was that famous
Philip August whose victory at Bouvines, in 1214, settled the fate of
France and made it certain that she would be a great nation.[496]

It became henceforth a sort of tradition for British kings to make
this pilgrimage. Back from Palestine and his Austrian prison, Richard
Cœur-de-Lion went, on his return, to Canterbury out of gratitude for
his recovered freedom. When king in his turn, his brother, John, went
too; so did Henry III, Edward I, and nearly all English monarchs; so
did the French king, John the Good, when a prisoner in England[497];
so did, in {355} December 1400, Manuel II, Palæologus, emperor of
Constantinople[498]; so did, in 1416, Emperor Sigismund, grandson
of the blind King Jean de Luxembourg, who had been killed at Crécy,
himself then the dominant figure in Europe, a quick-witted and, for
the time, liberal-minded sovereign, who, present one day in the Paris
Parliament, when justice was being rendered, and seeing a plebeian
about to lose his suit simply because he was a plebeian, rose from
his seat, and, to the wonder of the assembly, touching him with
his sword, made him a knight. A remarkable man was that Canterbury
pilgrim, as a man as well as an emperor.

Accompanied by another emperor, Charles V, King Henry VIII came too,
but having changed his mind later about a great many matters, he
ordered every shrine to be destroyed, showing especial vindictiveness
towards all that recalled Thomas Becket. If alive, he thought, the
archbishop would have probably been, just as the recently beheaded
More and Fisher, opposed to the new dogma of the royal supremacy:
most probably, indeed. No mercy should therefore be shown to his
bones and to that shrine, where Henry must have seen in former days
a silver image of his own father bequeathed to be placed as near the
tomb as it could possibly be. The monument was razed with particular
care, and the long venerated bones scattered. Having appointed
himself Head of the Church, Henry considered that he was free to
undo what another Head of the Church, a Pope of long ago, had done,
and, if it so pleased him, to un-canonize a saint. While, therefore,
allowing many other British saints to remain on the calendar, he
issued in 1539 “certain injunctions,” in which, after having informed
his {356} priests that if they continued to marry he would send
them to jail, he reviewed the life of Becket, showed to his own
satisfaction that he was no saint, but rather “a rebel and a traitor
to his prince,” that “he gave opprobious names to the gentlemen which
then counselled him to leave his stubornness,” that a scuffle ensued
with these “gentlemen,” and so “in the throng Becket was slain.”

The King, therefore, commands English people to cease calling the
most famous of all the saints they had a saint, “and that his images,
and pictures, through the whole realm . . . be plucked down . . . to
the intent his grace’s loving subjects shall be no longer blindly
lead and abused to commit idolatry”; if they persist, they will go
to jail, “at his grace’s pleasure.”[499] In the same way had they
been recommended shortly before not to call this one, or that one, of
their loving sovereign’s daughters legitimate, so long as he himself
chose to call them bastards; there was a gradation in the penalties,
and in the case of the daughters it was death.

Equally inimical dispositions were shown during the next reign by
Archbishop Cranmer towards his predecessor, and one of the articles
of his “Visitation to be had within the diocese of Canterbury” had
for its object to ascertain “whether they have put out of their
church books this word Papa and the name and service of Thomas

Times had changed. But,

    “Whan that Aprille, with his showres swoote,”

had long before, in the year 1388, caused spring flowers {357} to
bloom, matters were different, and, as all know who can read English,

                      “from every schires end
    Of England, to Canterbury they wende,
    The holy blissful martir for to seeke,
    That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.”


In those holy journeys, as in Chaucer’s book, all ranks of society
were mingled together. The majority of these pilgrims were sincere
and in good faith; they had made a vow and came to fulfil it. With
such dispositions, the knight who found a pilgrim like himself upon
the road would not be inclined to keep haughtily aloof; besides, if
the distances were great between class and class at this period,
familiarity was still greater. The distance has indeed diminished at
the present day, and familiarity also, as though in compensation. The
noble felt himself sufficiently raised above the common people not to
be afraid of using a kind of jovial intimacy with them on occasion;
at the present time, when superiority of rank is of less importance,
many are more attentive and take care not to overstep a limit which
is not now so patent as before.

Arrived at the end of the journey, all prayed; prayed with fervour in
the humblest posture. The soul was filled with religious emotion when
from the end of the majestic alley formed by the great pillars of the
church, through the coloured twilight of the nave, the heart divined,
rather than the eye saw, the mysterious object of veneration for
which such a distance had been traversed at the cost of such fatigue.
Though the practical man galloping up to bargain with the saint for
the favour of God, though the emissary sent to make offering in
the name of his master might keep a dry and clear eye, tears {358}
coursed down the cheeks of the poor and simple in heart; he tasted
fully of the pious emotion he had come to seek, the peace of heaven
descended into his bosom, and he went away consoled.

Such was the happy lot of humble devout souls. Pilgrims, however,
were undoubtedly a very mixed race; no reader of Chaucer needs to
be reminded that the talk on the way was not limited to edifying
subjects, and that pilgrims themselves, even allowing the greater
number to have been sincere, were not all of them vessels of
election. Some went like gypsies to a fair and tried to gather money
by begging; some went for the pleasures of the journey and the
merriments of the road; so that reformers and satirists, paying more
attention to the abuse than to the less visible good that came along
with it, began to raise a cry which grew louder and louder until,
at the time of the Reformation, it was something like a storm. Whom
did Langland see on Palmers’ way, near Walsingham? Those same false
hermits we have already met by the highroads and at the corner of
bridges, and in what objectionable company!

    “Eremytes on an hep · with hokede staves,
     Wenten to Walsyngham · and hure (their) wenches after:
     Grete lobies and longe · that loth were to swynke,
     Clothede hem in copis · to be knowe fro othere,
     And made hem-selve eremytes · hure eise to have.”[501]

Wyclif denounced pilgrimages most persistently, so much so that,
when later some of his followers had to renounce their heresies,
belief in the usefulness and sanctity of pilgrimages was one of the
articles they had to subscribe. Thus, in his vow of abjuration, the
Lollard William Dynet of Nottingham, on December 1, 1395, swears
in these words: “Fro this day forthwarde I shall worshipe ymages,
with praying and offering unto hem, in the {359} worschepe of the
seintes that they be made after; and also I shal nevermore despyse

But other Lollards refused to recant. Questioned by Archbishop
Arundel the irreconcilable enemy of his sect, William Thorpe
confesses in 1407 having preached against that passion “to seek
and visit the bones or images . . . of this saint and of that,” so
uncontrollable that, “ofttimes divers men and women of these runners
thus madly hither and thither into pilgrimage, borrow hereto other
men’s goods (yea, and sometimes they steal men’s goods hereto), and
they pay them never again.”[503]

For “divers men and women” those journeys being chiefly pleasure
trips, nothing, Thorpe continues, is forgotten that may make them
more pleasurable, “and finding out one pilgrimage, they will ordain
beforehand to have with them both men and women that can well sing
wanton songs; and some other pilgrims will have with them bagpipes:
so that every town they come through, what with the noise of their
singing, and with the sound of their piping, and with the jangling of
their Canterbury bells, and with the barking out of dogs after them,
they make more noise than if the king came there away, with all his
clarions and many other minstrels.”

Chaucer’s pilgrims had not, perhaps, quite so magnificent a record,
and when they crossed Dartford or Rochester did not outnoise the king
himself; they had, in any case, no women singers; but their miller
was provided with a sonorous bagpipe:

    “A baggepype wel coude he blowe and sowne,
     And ther-with-al he broghte us out of towne.”

Their monk’s bridle was heard jingling “as loude as {360} dooth the
chapel-belle”; they talked boisterously, wrangled, and made merry,

    “For trewely, confort ne mirthe is noon
     To ryde by the weye doumb as a stoon,”

and dogs, of course, did not remain “doumb” for them any more than
for the king.

One more objection of Thorpe’s to those journeys was that, “if these
men and women be a month out in their pilgrimage, many of them shall
be, a half-year after, great janglers, tale-tellers, and liars.”
Chaucer’s pilgrims were certainly, in their way, and no one nowadays
objects, great “tale-tellers.”

Archbishop Arundel, who seems at times to be the one interrogated
(but we must not forget that we have only Thorpe’s version, unrevised
by the other party), makes a more picturesque than telling answer:
“Lewd losell! thou seest not far enough in this matter! for thou
considerest not the great travail of pilgrims. . . . I say to thee
that it is right well done, that pilgrims have with them both singers
and also pipers: that when one of them that goeth barefoot striketh
his toe upon a stone, and hurteth him sore and maketh him to bleed,
it is well done that he or his fellow begin then a song or else take
out of his bosom a bagpipe to drive away with such mirth the hurt of
his fellow.”

Lay writers of a reforming mind objected to pilgrimages, not so
much on account of the worship of images, but because they thought
these travels an encouragement to laziness and idle living. We
know the opinion of Langland. The same views are expressed by an
author of a quite different turn of mind, the one who wrote the
“Roman de Renart,” and who has a special chapter to inform us “of
the pilgrimage of Reynard and how he went to Rome.” Reynard cannot
but consider that he has greatly {361} and many a time sinned,
and feeling some anxiety about his misdeeds, goes to a hermit and
confesses himself. Such are the faults he has to declare that the
holy man does not dare absolve him, but advises him to go to Rome and
ask the absolution of the Pope. Reynard accordingly “takes his scrip
and burdon [that is, his wallet and staff, as did all pilgrims], and
begins to move on, and takes his way; he looks quite like a pilgrim,
his scrip fits his neck beautifully.” But travelling alone is not
pleasant; he meets Belin the Sheep, and persuades him to come with
him, and a little farther “Bernart the arch-priest,” a donkey, who
was eating thistles in a ditch; he also secures this new companion.

As night is coming, the three, finding themselves near the house
of Primaut the Wolf, enter without ceremony and make themselves at
home, while the owner of the place is away. They find there “salted
meat, cheese, and eggs . . . and good ale. Belin drinks so much that
he loses his head, and then begins to sing, and the arch-priest
to organ-bray, and Master Reynard sings in falsetto.” But their
merriment is soon at an end. The alarm has been given; Ysengrin,
Hersent, and a number of other wolves, relations, friends, compeers
of Primaut, who all of them owe grudges to Reynard, come round and
besiege the pilgrims. They escape with great difficulty. Ill-pleased
with these grievous adventures, they agree not to go to Rome at all,
and Reynard, to whom, rather against likelihood, the author here
lends his own thoughts, winds up the enterprise with a speech: “‘My
lords,’ says he, ‘by my head, this wandering is loathsome and tiring.
There is in the world many a good man that has never been to Rome;
such an one has come back from the Seven Saints who is worse than he
ever was. I mean to take my way home, and I shall live by my labour
and seek honest earnings; I shall be charitable to poor people.’ Then
they cried, ‘Be it so, {362} be it so,’ and they betook themselves
homewards,” converts to better lives, for a time.[504]

The same mode of reasoning was used later on, at the time of the
Renaissance, by no less a man than Erasmus, who has described in his
most satirical vein the vanities of pilgrims and pilgrimages. He
supposes a meeting of two friends, Menedemus and Ogygyus, the latter
just back from Compostela, and, what is more interesting for us, from
Walsingham, “the most holy name in all England. . . . The towne is
almost susteynyd by the resort of pylgrymes.” The faithful believer
Ogygyus goes on describing the wonders of the place, the gold and
silver and precious stones offered to the miraculous statue of our
Lady, the marvels worked at the holy wells, the miracle of the knight
towards whom the portal of the church stretched out, the beautiful
relics, and especially the crystal phial containing the Virgin’s
milk. “Whan ye sexten sawe us, he dyd runne to the aultre, and put
apon hym his surplese and his stole about his nekke, knelyd downe
relygyously and worshipyd it, and streghtforthe dyd offre the mylke
to us to kysse.” The same ceremony with surplice and kneeling, though
it has disappeared at Walsingham with the phial itself, may still be
seen elsewhere any day, in Milan, for example, at the tomb of San
Carlo Borromeo.

Ogygyus and his friends make their offerings, not without remarking
that some unscrupulous visitors, by a clever trick, pick money out of
the plate instead of leaving in it any of their own: a trick which,
as we have seen, was used by Panurge on a certain day when he was
somewhat “escorné et taciturne” for lack of pence.

Erasmus ends his dialogue in the same strain as the author of
“Reynard”: {363}

“I have enough to do,” says sceptical Menedemus, “with my statyons of

“_Ogygyus._ Of Rome, that dyd never see Rome?

“_Menedemus._ I wyll tell you, thus I go my statyons at home.
I go in to the parler, and I se unto the chast lyvynge of my
doughters; agayne frome thense I go in to my shope, I beholde what
my servauntes, bothe men and women, be doynge. From thense into the
kytchyn, lokynge abowt, if ther nede any of my cownsell; frome thense
hyther and thyther, observynge howe my chylderne be occupyed, what my
wyffe dothe, beynge carefull that every thynge be in ordre: these be
statyons of Rome.

“_Ogygyus._ But these thynges saynt James wold dow for yow.

“_Menedemus._ That I shuld se unto these thynges holy Scripture
commaundethe; that I shuld commyt the charge to sayntes I dyd rede yt
never commaunded.”[505]

Thus far Menedemus, whose task in life seems to have consisted in
seeing to it that others fulfilled theirs. The friend of Erasmus, Sir
Thomas More, took the opposite view, and wrote a dialogue in defence
of images, relics, and pilgrimages, but in vain.[506] The time of the
Reformation had come; doubt was becoming general, and from peasant to
baron all the people assimilated arguments like those of Latimer:

“What thinke ye of these images that are had more then their felowes
in reputation? that are gone unto with such labour and werines of the
body, frequented {364} with such our cost, sought out and visited
with such confidence? what say ye by these images, that are so
famous, so noble, so noted, beying of them so many and so divers in
England. Do you thinke that this preferryng of picture to picture,
image to image, is the right use, and not rather the abuse of

These times were yet to be. In the Middle Ages pilgrims came to offer
their prayers, and also money, each one according to his means. When
the king, in his perpetual goings and comings, turned aside to visit
a revered shrine, he usually gave seven shillings, as shown by the
ordinances of Edward II for his household.[508]

Before going away the pilgrims, who had admired, besides the shrine
and its jewels, the stained glass of the church, the monumental
curiosities of the place and sometimes its fortifications,[509]
bought, just as now, medals or signs as remembrances of their
journey.[510] The author of the supplement to the “Canterbury Tales”
at the beginning of the fifteenth century, shows the pilgrims
purchasing in the town various sorts of _sygnys_ or _brochis_, so
{365} that people who saw them might know where they had been:

    “Then, as manere and custom is, signes there they boughte,
    Ffor men of contre shulde know whom they hadde [s]oughte.”[511]

They were of lead or pewter, and perforated to be more easily sewn
on the breast or cap, like those sold at the present day at St. Anne
d’Auray in Brittany, but larger. At Canterbury they represented St.
Thomas, or were in the shape of an ampulla or tiny flask, containing
water from the miraculous well; at St. James’s they represented
shells; at Amiens the head of St. John the Baptist: “Ecce signum
faciei beati Johannis Baptiste”; at Rome the holy sudary, called
the vernicle;[512] at Rocamadour the Holy Virgin.[513] The right of
selling these signs was a source of profit, and it sometimes belonged
exclusively to a convent or to a private family. At Rocamadour this
{366} right had been conceded in return, it seems, for military
services, to the De Valon family, lords of Thegra.[514] They and the
Bishop of Tulle appointed a deputy to superintend the sale, and the
product was divided by halves between them and the bishop. Such were
the benefits derived from these sales that clandestine manufactories
of pewter medals were established by the inhabitants, who sold
numbers of them, to the great detriment of the authorized shop and in
defiance of ever-recurring prohibitions. Once, however, in 1425, free
sale was allowed to all the people of the place; the country had been
reduced to such poverty that the bishop renounced his privilege for
two years, out of charity and for the benefit of his flock.

Pilgrims when going home were careful to wear prominently sewn on
their garments these testimonials of their holy travels. In the
above-quoted dialogue of Erasmus, the sceptical Menedemus wonders at
the appearance of his friend: “I pray you, what araye is this that
you be in; me thynke that you be clothyd with cockle schelles, and
be laden on every side with bruches of lead and tynne. And you be
pretely garnyshed with wrethes of strawe, and your arme is full of
snakes eggs,” thus uncivilly designating the beads of his chaplet.
The French king Louis XI, of grim memory, was never without some
such pewter medals and brooches, and wore them on his hat. “And
truly,” writes his contemporary, Claude de Seyssel, “his devotion
seemed more superstitious than religious. For to whatever image or
church of God and the saints or of Our Lady that he heard the people
were devoted, or where miracles were worked, he went there to make
offerings, or sent a man there expressly. He had, besides, his hat
quite full of images, mostly of lead or pewter, which he kissed on
all occasions when any good or bad news arrived, or that his fancy
prompted him; casting himself upon his knees so {367} suddenly at
times, in whatever place he might be, that he seemed more like one
wounded in his understanding than a rational man.”[515]

Professional pilgrims outshone in this respect all the others. For,
beside the occasional pilgrim who came to make an offering to such or
such a shrine in accomplishment of a vow and afterwards returned to
take up again the course of his ordinary life, there was the pilgrim
by calling or by penance (for such a life-long penance was sometimes
inflicted), whose whole existence was spent travelling from one
sanctuary to another, always on the road, and always begging. With
the professional pardoner, the professional palmer, back from many
countries, adorned with many tokens, the witness of many wonders,
the hero of many adventures, was the most curious type of the
religious wayfaring race, with hardly any equivalent in our days.
Like the pardoner and the friar, the palmer could not but have a
great experience of men and things; he had seen much, and he invented
more. He too had to edify the multitude to whom he held out his hand
for alms, and the fine stories, in which he rarely missed giving
himself a part to play, were his livelihood; failing this, his daily
bread failed too. By dint of repeating his tales, he came to almost
believing them, then quite; and his voice henceforth took that accent
of certitude which alone begets conviction in audiences. Besides, he
came from so far that he might indeed have seen marvels; around us,
of course, life flows on without prodigies, almost without events in
its flat monotony; but it is common knowledge that in distant parts
things are quite different. And the best proof is that none of those
who have undertaken the journey comes back disappointed, quite the
contrary; the {368} pleasure of believing them is moreover innocent
enough, why should we deprive ourselves of an enjoyment exhilarating
for the mind and good for the soul?

Clever people, poets, men of the world, deprived themselves of this
pleasure, and made up for the loss by laughing at pilgrims and
story-telling travellers. So did Chaucer, as we have already seen,
who held up to ridicule in his “House of Fame,” shipmen and pilgrims,
with their bags “brimful of lies.” To the same effect but in graver
mood, Langland wrote in his “Visions”:

    “Pylgrimis and palmers · plyghten hem to-gederes,
     To seche saint Iame · and seyntys of rome,
     Wenten forth in hure (their) way · with meny un-wyse tales,
     And haven leve to lye · al hure lyf-tyme.”[516]

The crowd felt otherwise; they listened, laughed perhaps sometimes,
but more often recollected themselves and remained attentive. The
pilgrim was so interesting! he was a play in himself, a living story,
he had on his feet the dust of Rome and of Jerusalem, and brought
news of the “worshippers” of Mahomet. He was a picture too, with
his bag hung at his side, not for lies, but for provisions, and his
staff, at the top of which was a knob and sometimes a piece of metal
with an appropriate motto like the device on a bronze ring found at
Hitchin, a cross with these words, “Hæc in tute dirigat iter” (“May
this safely guide thee on thy way”).[517] The staff had at the other
end an iron point, like an alpenstock of the {369} present day; as
may be seen in numerous drawings in mediæval manuscripts.

[Illustration 63. AN ENGLISH PILGRIM.

(_From the MS. 17 C. xxxviii._)]

The whole race of wanderers was, however, as we know, looked at
askance by the king’s officers; these goings and comings disquieted
the sheriff. We have already met labourers who, weary of their
lord, left him under pretext of distant pilgrimages, and laid down
without scruple the pilgrim’s staff at the door of a new master who
would pay them better. False pilgrims were not less numerous than
false pardoners and false hermits; they were condemned to repose,
under pain of imprisonment, by the same statutes as the beggars and
wandering workmen. Henceforward, orders Richard II in 1388, they
too must have permits with a special seal affixed by certain worthy
men.[518] Those without a permit should be forthwith arrested, unless
infirm and incapable of work, for their good faith is then evident,
and it is not for the love of vagabondage that they painfully go
and visit “optimum ægrorum medicum,” Saint Thomas. Even greater
severity was shown when it was a matter of {370} crossing the sea;
would-be pilgrims must be furnished with regular passports; and the
law applied to “all manner of people, as well clerks as other,” under
pain of confiscation of all their goods. The exceptions made by the
king show besides that it is wanderers of doubtful status and motives
whom he has in view, for there are dispensations for the “lords
and other great persons of the realm,” for the “true and notable
merchants,” and lastly, for the “king’s soldiers.”[519]

This passport or “licence,” this “special leave of the king,” could
only be available at certain ports, namely, London, Sandwich,
Dover, Southampton, Plymouth, Dartmouth, Bristol, Yarmouth, Boston,
Kingston-upon-Hull, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and the ports of the coast
facing Ireland. Heavy penalties were laid on all port wardens,
inspectors, ship captains, etc., who were neglectful, or so bold as
to show favour to roamers. In the year 1389, the king restrained
pilgrims from embarking anywhere else than at Dover or Plymouth. To
put to sea elsewhere, an “especial licence from the king himself” was
necessary.[520] A number of such licences, as will be seen further,
are still in existence.


But the attraction of distant pilgrimages was great,[521] especially
the three without equal: Rome, Jerusalem, and St. James’s of
Galicia, held so sacred that, while most {371} of the vows taken
by the benefactors of the great bridge at Avignon could be remitted
on account of their gifts to this useful structure, exception was
made if the question was of a pilgrimage to be performed to one of
those three places.[522] With or without letters men crossed the
Channel, for which they paid sixpence, or if they had a horse, two
shillings.[523] They arrived at Calais, stopping there some time in a
“Maison-Dieu,” or hospital, which had been built and endowed by pious
souls with revenues “for the sustenance of the pilgrims and other
poor folks repairing to the said town to rest and refresh them.”[524]

Setting out again, they went to Boulogne to pray to a miraculous
virgin, whose hand still exists enclosed in a reliquary. The statue
itself was thrown into a well by the Protestants in 1567, replaced
on the altar in 1630, pulled down again at the Revolution and burnt,
but one of the faithful saved the hand, which the church of Notre
Dame preserves to this day. Chaucer’s travelled gossip, the Wife of
Bath, had among other pilgrimages, made this one to Boulogne.[525]
People also went to Amiens to venerate the head, or rather one of
the heads, of St. John the Baptist.[526] Great was their wonder
when, {372} continuing their journey, they fell in with another
at Constantinople. Perhaps, let us hope, they were content with
remarking as “Mandeville” does: Which is the true one? “I wot nere,
but God knowethe; but in what wyse than men worschipen it, the
blessed seynt John holt him a-payd.”[527] Then also people went to
the shrine of the three kings at Cologne, to Paris where innumerable
relics were kept, to Chartres, where, besides a famous statue of the
Virgin, was shown the tunic she wore on the day of the Annunciation
(preserved in the cathedral since 861),[528] to Vezelay, Tours, Le
Puy, and to many other places in France, among which the celebrated
and to the present day most frequented church of Our Lady of
Rocamadour in Guyenne. The fame of this pilgrimage among Englishmen
is attested by Langland, when he advises people belonging to the
religious orders to cease pilgrimage-making, and rather practice
virtue at home:

    “Right so, if thow be religious · renne thou never ferther
    To Rome ne to Rochemadore.”[529]

ROCAMADOUR. (_Restored._)]

It was a shrine of great renown. Roland, according to a legend, went
there before starting for the ill-fated expedition in which he met
his death, and a large piece of rusted iron is still shown in the
old church as part of the famous Durandal. Henry II of England came
there, too, as a pilgrim, as did many other illustrious travellers,
Simon de Montfort among them.[530] The place was fortified; it had
a part to play in the Hundred Years’ War, {375} and Froissart
has told us “howe Sir Robert Carrol and Sir John Chandos . . . toke
Guaches, Rochemador, and diuers other townes, the which wer newly
turned frenche.”[531]

Then there were Spanish pilgrimages, and especially the world-famous
one at Compostela, where English travellers went in large numbers,
most of them direct by sea, though some preferred the lengthy,
picturesque land road, dotted with famous shrines good for the soul,
and where all sorts of adventures might be expected.[532] Licences
authorizing the owners and the captain of such or such a ship to
carry to St. James’s a fixed number of pilgrims fill pages in Rymer’s
“Fœdera.” They were granted pursuant to the before-mentioned statute
of Richard II, and are all drawn after one or two models, the text
in Latin, with the name of the ship in French, like the one here
translated, of the year 1394:

“The king, to all and each of his Admirals, etc., greeting.

“Know you that we have given licence to Oto Chambernoun, William
Gilbert, and Richard Gilbert, to receive and embark in the harbour
of Dartmouth a hundred pilgrims in a certain ship belonging to the
same Oto, William, and Richard, called la Charité de Paynton, of
which Peter Cok is captain; and to take them to Saint James’s, there
to fulfil their vows, and from thence to bring them back to England,
freely and without hindrance, notwithstanding any ordinances to the
contrary.”[533] {376}

A few provisos are added, the keeping of which the pilgrims should
swear to before leaving England; they must upon their oath bind
themselves to do nothing contrary to the obedience and fealty they
owe the king; they must not take out of the realm gold or silver in
money or bullion beyond what is necessary to their journey, and they
must not, it is sometimes added, reveal the secrets of the kingdom.

During the following century these licences became innumerable, or
maybe they have been preserved in larger numbers. They show that, in
fact, fleets loaded with English pilgrims plied towards St. James’s.
We find that “Le Petre de Darthmouth” is allowed to carry sixty
pilgrims; “La Marie de Southampton,” a hundred; “La Sainte Marie de
Blakney,” sixty; “Le Garlond de Crowemere,” sixty; “La Trinité de
Wells,” forty; “Le Thomas de Saltash,” sixty; and so on. Numbers
usually vary from thirty to one hundred.[534]


(_From the MS. Harl. 1319._)]


It must not be thought that these ships, carrying as much as a
hundred passengers besides their crew on this rather long journey,
were great, well-appointed vessels. They very much resembled the
pilgrim-ships of the present day, which carry every year to Jeddah,
on the Red Sea, crowds of Arabs on their way to Mecca. The travellers
were huddled together in most uncomfortable fashion, and had ample
opportunities to do penance and offer their sufferings to the saint.
This is no surmise, for one of those English pilgrims duly allowed to
go to Galicia, provided they did not reveal the secrets of the realm,
has rimed an account of his experiences, so we know what they were.
Do not think of laughing, says he, when you go by sea to St. James’s;
there is sea-sickness; the sailors push you about under pretext that
you hinder the working of the ship; the smell is not pleasant: {379}

    “Men may leve alle gamys
     That saylen to Seynt Jamys!
     Ffor many a man hit gramys (vexes)
         When they begin to sayle.

     Ffor when they have take the see,
     At Sandwych or at Wynchylsee,
     At Bristow, or where that hit bee,
         Theyr hertes begyn to fayle.”

The mocking remarks of the seamen are painful to bear. Says the

    “Some ar lyke to cowgh and grone
     Or hit be full mydnyght;”

and then turning to his men:

    “‘Hale the bowelyne! now, vere the shete!
     Cooke, make redy anoon our mete,
     Our pylgryms have no lust to ete,
         I pray God yeve hem rest!’

     ‘Go to the helm! what, howe! no nere?
     Steward, felow! A pot of bere!’—
         ‘Ye shalle have sir, with good chere,
            Anon alle of the best.’”

Sick pilgrims could not eat, and were jeered at, they found the time
long; some, with a book on their knees, tried to read, but then they
felt as if their head would burst:

    “Som layde theyr bookys on theyr kne,
     And rad so long they myght nat se;—
     ‘Allas! myne hede wolle cleve on thre!’”

When at their worst, comes a facetious sailor to bawl out in their
ears: Cheer up, in a moment we shall be in a storm! {380}

    “Then cometh oone and seyth: ‘Be mery;
     Ye shall have a storme or a pery’ (a squall)
     *  *  *  *  *
     Thys mene whyle the pylgryms ly
     And have theyr bowlys (basins) fast theym by,
     And cry after hot malvesy.”

In short, they were very unhappy, and as the narrator said at first,
little inclined to games and laughter.[535]

Votive offerings plentifully adorned venerated sanctuaries; if, by
striking a wax statuette while making appropriate incantations an
enemy might do you great harm, on the other hand, by placing your
image in the chapel of a saint, great favours might be gained for
you, especially in cases of sickness.[536] Thus were to be seen
prisoners’ irons, warriors’ swords, cripples’ crutches, jewels and
precious stones, sculpted or painted images representing devotees
or actual miracles performed for them, tablets and offerings of all
sorts.[537] At Rocamadour tresses of women’s hair were shown as a
threat as well as an admonition. “They were,” relates the knight
of La Tour Landry, those of “ladies and gentille women that had
be[en] wasshe in wyne, and in other thinges for to make the here of
colour otherwise thanne God made {383} it, the whiche ladies and
gentille women that aught (owned) the tresses were comynge thedirward
on pilgrimage, but they may never have powere to come withinne the
chirche dore unto the tyme that thei hadde cutte of the tresses of
her here,”[538] which, says he, were still there in his day.

_Twelfth Century._]

Another story to the same effect is told by Miélot, who reports
how a very fair lady, who had led an ill life, lost her sight as a
punishment, through the will of Heaven. She went on a pilgrimage to
Rocamadour, prayed to the Virgin, and was healed, but could not,
however, enter the sanctuaries. She then confessed on the spot to a
priest, who, “looking at her fair face,” said: “Dear friend, I well
know that with these fair tresses of your hair you have done great
hurt to those to whom you have shown them. I decide that they must
be cut off in honour of God and of our Lady.” This was done; “the
tresses were cut, and the priest had them carried inside the church
on a pole, on which were placed the tresses of women who would be
saved.” Then the lady was able to enter the church, and she praised
the Virgin. But as she was going away she could not help thinking “of
her fair hair that she had left,” and she exclaimed: “Holy Mary, my
heart is sorrowful for my hair that I leave you, and I cannot well
make up my mind to it.” She had scarcely spoken when the tresses
were at once restored to her “as fair as they were before;” but the
blindness came back too, and blind she remained for ever, which is
a good example, “ung bel exemplaire,” for ladies that “seek false
pleasures in their fine waists and faces.”[539]

Indulgences were an immense attraction; they had {384} been freely
granted on a large scale to every important shrine, and popular
imagination still further magnified them. The pilgrim from Rome,
back in his village, exaggerated as willingly their amount as that
of the marvels which he had seen, or thought he had seen. One such
pilgrim, an Englishman of the fourteenth century, dazzled by his
recollections, has rimed his impressions of a journey taken by him
to Italy. As a poet he does not rank high, but he does not pretend
to, and his only aim is to supply precise figures and definite
information. His strong narrow devotion allowed him to pay attention
to nothing except thousands of bodies of martyrs that he never
tires of enumerating. By thousands also are reckoned the years
of indulgence which he flashes in the eyes of his stay-at-home

    “Gif men wuste (knew), grete and smale,
     The pardoun that is at grete Rome,
     Thei wolde tellen in heore dome (in their opinion),
     Hit were no neod to mon in cristiante
     To passe in to the holy lond over the see
     To Jerusalem, ne to Kateryne.”[540]

His readers will have first a brief and simplified history of Rome;
it is a city to which came long ago the Duchess of Troy with her
two sons, Romulus and Romulon, who afterwards founded the town. The
duchess thus seems to have chosen to settle in a city which did not
yet exist, but Rome is a land of wonders. It was pagan, until Peter
and Paul (and then the very facts inject their eloquence into our
traveller’s lines):

                    “Hit hedde i-bought,
    With gold ne selver, ne with no goode,
    Bot with heore flesch and with heore blode.”

The enumeration of the churches thereupon begins, and for each of
them are invariably told the amount of {385} indulgences attached
to it and of relics kept there. The benefits are proportioned to the
merits; thus when a man sees the _vernicle_, that is, the holy sudary
which received the image of the Saviour, he gets three thousand years
of pardon if he dwells in Rome, nine thousand if he comes from a
neighbouring country,

    “And thou that passest over the see,
     Twelve thousend yer is graunted to the.”

When you enter Sts. Vitus and Modestus, the third of your sins are
remitted. Then, you descend into the catacombs:

    “But thou most take candel liht,
     Elles thou gost merk (dark) as niht,
     For under the eorthe most thou wende,
     Thou maight not see bifore ne bihynde,
     For thider fledde mony men
     For drede of deth to saven hem,
     And suffrede peynes harde and sore,
     In hevene to dwelle for ever more.”

The bodies of martyrs are countless;[541] four thousand of them at
Saint Prudence, thirteen hundred at Saint Prassede, seven thousand at
Sts. Vitus and Modestus. From time to time a famous name brings up an
historic glimpse, such as the account of the foundation of Rome, or
an abridged life of Constantine; at first a pagan and a leper,

    “In Mahoun was al his thouht.” {386}

But according to our author’s information, he was converted and cured
by Pope Sylvester. The church of St. Mary the Round formerly bore
another name:

    “Agrippa dude hit make
     For Sibyl and Neptanes sake. . . .
     He gaf hit name Panteon.”

He placed there a magnificent golden idol sitting, of a peculiar form:

    “Hit looked forth as a cat,
     He called it Neptan.”

This idol had a cap or cover of brass which was one day blown off by
the wind, and carried to the church of St. Peter. Then Pope Boniface
asked the Emperor Julian to give him the Pantheon, to which that
prince consented; and one year, on November 1st, the hatless cat
having been removed, the sovereign pontiff consecrated the building,
and baptized it St. Mary the Round.

As for relics, there are few objects mentioned in Holy Writ which
have not been recovered, and may not be venerated at Rome.[542] The
table of the Last Supper is there, as well as Aaron’s rod, fragments
of the multiplied loaves and fishes, hay from the stall at Bethlehem,
a swaddling-cloth of the infant Jesus, and several other things, some
of which are strange enough. Part of these relics are still in the
same churches, for instance, at Santa Maria Maggiore,[543] “Seinte
Marie the Maiour,” the portrait {387} of the Virgin painted by St.
Luke. This is not, however, according to our pilgrim, a picture
really made by St. Luke; he was going to do it, and had prepared his
colours, when he suddenly found the portrait before him, finished by
the hands of angels:

    “Seint Luik while he lived in londe,
     Wolde have peynted hit with his honde,
     And whon he hedde ordeyned so
     Alle colours that schulde ther to,
     He fond an ymage al a-pert,
     Non such ther was middelert,
     Mad with angel hond and not with his
     As men in Rome witnesseth this.”[544]

More complete and conscientious in his descriptions, an educated
Englishman of the following century, a voracious reader, and active
writer, of books, no other than the chronicler and theologian,
John Capgrave, prior of King’s Lynn, having gone to Rome on a
pilgrimage, about the year 1450, composed, on his return, a “Solace
of Pilgrimes,” wanting to imitate, he said, Pythagoras, Plato, St.
Jerome, Marco Polo, and him whom he considered as his compatriot,
the then unmasked Mandeville, who, all of them, having travelled,
wrote of their journeys: {388} “Also there was a man of Venys whech
they called Marcus Paulus; he laboured all the Soudane’s londe and
descryved on to us the nature of the cuntre, the condiciones of the
men and the stately aray of the great Cane (khan) houshold. Eke Jon
Maundevyle Knyth of Yngland, aftir his laboure, made a book ful
solacious on to his nacyoun. After all these grete cryeris of many
wonderfull thingis I wyl folow with a smal pypyng of such straunge
sitis (sights) as I have seyn and swech straunge thingis as I have

This justice must be rendered him that, while his book is full of
“straunge thingis,” he never adds any of his own invention; when he
says, this I have seen, it can, if not afterwards destroyed, still
be seen to-day; when he copies an inscription, his copy, as can be
easily verified, is accurate. But, fond of books, he believed in
them; who ever failed to believe in what he loved? The “Mirabilia
Romæ” are the guide of this guide-book maker;[546] so that to the
enumeration of the holy places with their relics and indulgences,
and his description of the ancient, now vanished, church of St.
Peter, and all the famous sanctuaries of the papal city, he adds the
wonders of fabulous Rome, with the temple on Capitol hill, and in
it, “a mervelous craft, that of every region of the world stood an
ymage made all of tre and in his hand a lytil belle; as often as ony
of these regiones was in purpos to rebelle a geyn the grete mageste
of Rome, a non this ymage that was assigned to that regioun schulde
knylle his bell.” This device, so celebrated in the middle ages, was
due to that great enchanter “Virgil,” the magic of whose lines had
been appreciated for different motives in Roman days. {389}

The attractions of Rome were, for the pilgrim, without peer in
Italy, but other cities could almost rival it; Venice especially was
full of wonders, and was admired and visited accordingly, witness,
for example, the travelling notes of a troop of French pilgrims in
the year 1395. In this “most excellent, noble, great and fine town
all seated in the sea,” may be seen, they aver, the arm of “our
Lord St. George,” the burdon (staff) of St. Nicholas, one of the
water-pots of Cana, one ear of St. Paul, some of the “roasted flesh
of St. Lawrence turned to powder,” three of the stones thrown at
St. Stephen, the body of St. Mark, “which is a very fine and noble
thing.” There is, besides, “in the Maison-Dieu of Venice one of the
molar teeth of a giant that was called Goliath, which giant David
killed, and know you that this tooth is more than half a foot long
and weighs twelve pounds.”[547]

Thus did returning travellers relate their recollections, to the
delighted wonderment of their countrymen. The wish to set out in
their turn was awakened in them, and those who remained in their
village associated themselves to the pious journey by their prayers
and some small gift of money. All along his road the pilgrim found
similar dispositions; to receive and help him was to share in his
merits, and thus it was that people in the humblest ranks, assisted
from place to place,[548] could accomplish distant pilgrimages. The
rules of several gilds provided for the case of a member setting
out to fulfil a vow. In order to participate in his good work, all
the “bretheren and sisteren” accompanied him out of the town, and
on bidding him farewell offered him their gift. {390} They watched
their friend go off with his deliberate step, beginning a journey
across many countries, to last many months, sometimes several years.
They returned to the town, and the elders, who knew the world, no
doubt told what strange things their friend was like to see in those
distant lands, and what subjects for edification he would meet with
on his way.

The gild of the Resurrection at Lincoln, founded in 1374, had among
its rules, “If any brother or sister wishes to make pilgrimage to
Rome, St. James of Galicia, or the Holy Land, he shall forewarn the
gild; and all the bretheren and sisteren shall go with him to the
city gate, and each shall give him a half-penny at least.” The same
rule was observed by the Fullers’ gild of Lincoln, founded in 1297;
the pilgrim going to Rome was accompanied as far as Queen’s Cross,
outside the town, if he left on a Sunday or a feast-day; and if he
could let them know of his return, and it were not a working day,
all went to meet him at the same place and accompanied him to the
monastery. The tailors of the same city also gave a half-penny to him
among them who was going to Rome or St. James, and a penny to him
who went to the Holy Land. The ordinances of the Gild of the Virgin,
founded at Hull in 1357, had: “If any brother or sister of the gild
wishes, at any time, to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, then,
in order that all the gild may share in his pilgrimage, he shall be
fully released from his yearly payment until his return.”

Some gilds kept open house for pilgrims, always with the same object
of having a part thereby in the merits of the traveller. Thus the
gild-merchant of Coventry, founded in 1340, maintained “a common
lodging-house of thirteen beds,” to receive poor travellers who cross
the country going on pilgrimage or from any other pious motive. This
hostelry was managed by a governor, aided by a woman who washed
the feet of the {391} guests and took care of them. The annual
expenditure on this foundation was ten pounds sterling.[549]

When one of the king’s servants had a pilgrimage to make, the prince,
in consideration of his motive, willingly authorized him to depart,
and even helped him with money. Edward III gave to William Clerk,
one of his messengers, one pound six shillings and eightpence, to
help him in his expenses during the pilgrimage undertaken by him to
Jerusalem and Mount Sinai.[550] If the man were of great importance,
and especially if he intended to fight the unbelievers, public
prayers were offered for his journey, his “triumphal fighting,” and
his safe return, as was done when Henry of Lancaster, cousin to
Edward III, went “to the parts beyond sea with certain great and
noble men of this realm” to attack the enemies of the cross, in this
case, the pagans of Prussia. The prayers were prescribed for Sundays
and fête days, when there would be “the greatest multitude of people
in the churches.”[551]

All this in spite of the fourteenth century’s not being, as we
have seen, an age of deep and true devotion. The Popes lived at
Avignon, their prestige was declining, particularly in England; even
bishops showed at times scant respect for the Roman Court. Nowhere
can be found, not even in Wyclif, more daring accusations and more
scandalous anecdotes concerning the Pope than in the chronicle
written by Thomas of Burton, Abbot of Meaux, near Beverley. He even
speaks with a tinge of irony of indulgences. As a special favour
to the faithful who died during a pilgrimage to Rome, Clement VI
“ordered the angels of Paradise,” writes the abbot, “to lead their
souls straight to the gates of heaven without {392} making them pass
through purgatory.” The same Pope granted what the pilgrim of the
“Stacions” seems to have ignored, that those who looked upon the
holy sudary should return to the state they were in before baptism.
Lastly, “he confirmed all the indulgences granted by two hundred
sovereign pontiffs his predecessors, which are innumerable.”[552]
Clement was, indeed, the two hundredth.

At the period when monastic chroniclers did not scruple to record
anecdotes on the Roman Court like those in Thomas of Burton’s,
general devotion was not merely lessened, it was disorganized,
unbalanced. The chroniclers show, indeed, that excesses of impiety
coexisted with excesses of fervour; the false pardoner, retailer of
the merits of the saints, fell in upon the highway with the bleeding
flagellant.[553] The papacy might show commendable good sense by its
condemnations of both;[554] its decrees did not suffice to restore
the equilibrium of {393} men’s minds, and the bounds of reason were
continually being passed; in ardent piety as in impious revolt men
went to the verge of madness. The account of the repulsive sacrileges
committed in York Cathedral by the partisans of the Bishop of Durham
seems unbelievable, yet the facts cannot be doubted, being reported
by the archbishop himself.[555] Faith weakened or went astray; men
became at once sceptical and intolerant. It was not in them the
modern, serenely cold and imperturbable scepticism, but a violent
movement of the entire being, impelled to burn what it adores. The
man acts by fits; he doubts his doubt, his burst of laughter dazes
him; he has had his revel and his orgy, and when the white light
of morning comes he will be the prey of despair, shed tears, be
racked with anguish, proclaim his conversion and vow maybe to go on
a pilgrimage. Walsingham sees one of the causes of the peasants’
revolt in the incredulity of the barons: “Some among them believe, it
is said, that there is no God, they deny the sacrament of the altar
and resurrection after death, and consider that as is the end of the
beast of burden, so is the end of man himself.”[556]

Such incredulity did not exclude superstitious practices. To go
straight forward was the privilege of the happy few; the many,
instead of opening the gates of heaven with their own hands, imagined
they could have it done by that of others; they had Paradise gained
for them by the neighbouring monastery, as they had their {394} lands
tilled for them by their tenants; eternal welfare had become a matter
of commerce and could be bought with the letters of fraternity of the
mendicant friars and the lying indulgences of false pardoners. Men
lived at their ease, and when the sad hour came, made pious donations
in their wills, as if they could, according to the strong words of
the French historian, Claude de Seyssel, “corrupt and win over by
gifts God and the saints, whom we ought to appease by good works and
by penitence for our sins.”[557] Very instructive reading is that of
the last wills and testaments of the rich lords of the fourteenth
century. Pages are filled with devotional bequests; gifts are left to
shrines, convents, chapels, and hermits; testators who had abstained
from going in their lifetime, made pilgrimages by proxy after their
death, paying the proxy. The same Humphrey Bohun who sent “a good man
and true” to the tomb of Thomas of Lancaster, also ordered that after
his demise a priest should be sent to Jerusalem, “chiefly,” said he,
“for my lady mother, and for my lord father, and for ourselves,”
with the obligation to say masses at all the chapels which he might
meet on his way.[558] Elizabeth de Burgh, Lady Clare, ordered by her
will, that five men-at-arms should fight in her name in case there
should be a “comune vyage,” otherwise a crusade, within seven years
following her death. They would receive one hundred marks each, and
the merit of their fights would accrue to their employer, and not to
themselves, their own recompense being of this world, and consisting
in the hundred marks.[559] {395}


Most difficult and holiest of all, the pilgrimage to Jerusalem
remained, in spite of so many indulgences attached by the Popes to
the churches in Rome, the one without peer, as well as it was the
oldest established; it dated back, indeed, from, at least, the days
of Constantine. Settled in Palestine during the fourth century, St.
Jerome writes to Paulinus: “From all the world people are flocking
here. The whole of mankind fills the city.”[560]

This is confirmed by his friend the enthusiastic Paula, in whose
veins flowed the ardent blood of the Scipios and the Gracchi, and
who trying to persuade her beloved Marcella, a rich and pious Roman
matron, to join them there, tells her that all the greatest and
best, those from Gaul, those from Britain, “divisus ab orbe nostro
Britannus” (for she, too, knows those classics whom Jerome constantly
quotes), without speaking of the Persians, the Armenians, and all
the East, are to be met in the Holy Land: “A variety of languages,
but one only religion.” There are “so many places of prayer that one
cannot visit them all in one day.” And such places! “What sentences,
what words would be appropriate to tell you of the cave of our
Saviour? and of that stable where, as a babe, He cried: a spot to
be honoured rather by silence than by inadequate words. Where are
the vast porticoes, the gilt canopies? . . . In this poor earthly
place the Maker of heaven was born; here He was wrapped in swadling
clothes, here seen by the shepherds, here revealed by a star, here
adored by the Magi.” Come, Oh come! “Will not the moment arrive
when a breathless traveller shall announce to us that our Marcella
has reached Palestine . . . Will not the day come when we can visit
together the Saviour’s grotto, {396} weep at His tomb, kiss the wood
of the cross, and be raised in our minds with the rising Lord on the
Mount of Olives?”[561]

But even then, thoughtful, level-headed St. Jerome feared that
enthusiasm might be carried too far, and everyday duties neglected
for the excitement of the Palestine journey. It was, of course, in
itself a pious and laudable thing, if one could properly do so,
to come and venerate “the places where the feet of our Lord had
stood, and the almost recent traces left of His nativity and His
passion.” But this should not be considered a Christian’s chief
duty: “Do not think that something is lacking in your faith because
you have not seen Jerusalem. I do not consider myself any better
because I live here.” To lead a good life is the chief thing: “What
is praiseworthy is not to have been at Jerusalem, but to have lived
righteously there. . . . The places where the cross was and the
Resurrection occurred, benefit those who bear their cross and who,
with Christ, rise again every day. . . . The palace of heaven is just
as accessible from Britain as from Jerusalem.” To thousands who have
never seen the holy city “the gate of paradise is wide open. . . . A
grand thing it is to be a Christian, not to seem one.”[562]

The movement, however, once started never stopped. On the contrary,
it gathered strength; hospices for pilgrims going to Jerusalem
dotted the roads leading to their usual places of embarkation
(chiefly Marseilles and Venice), several being built at the principal
crossings of the Alps, the Great and the Little Saint Bernard, the
St. Gothard, Mount Cenis, etc. A “Confrérie des Pélerins {397} de
la Terre Sainte” had been founded in Paris for them by Louis, first
Duke of Bourbon, who, greatly interested, like his grand father Saint
Louis, in the freeing of the Holy Sepulchre, and bearing for a time
the empty title of King of Thessalonica, had been chosen as leader of
one of those numerous crusades that never took place.[563]

During a period of two hundred years pilgrimages to Jerusalem had
had, indeed, for their object a conquest and not simply an inspection
of the holy places. All nations had taken part, from the first of
those prodigious attempts, the crusades, in 1096, to the last one in
1270, in which St. Louis died before the walls of Tunis, while his
companion, young Edward of England, loth to give up, had sworn not to
go home without having struck a blow at the Saracens in Holy Land,
and returned as King Edward I, wounded, but having occupied Acre and
kept his word.

The crusade, after those great expeditions, eight in number,
continued to be talked about as much as ever; mere talk, it is true,
in most cases. In the midst of their wars the kings of France and
of England berated each other for being the only hindrance to the
departure of the Christians, for neither would go, leaving his rival
behind, free to act in his absence. Philip VI of Valois and Edward
III both protest that, but for the other, they would go and fight the
Saracen. “It is the fault of the English,” writes Philip, “that the
holy journey beyond sea has been hindered.” It is the doing of the
King of {398} France, solemnly proclaims Edward III to the world,
which has turned him from the “sancto passagio transmarino.”[564]

The utmost that was usually attempted,[565] now consisted in small,
ineffectual expeditions, so ill-conceived at times as to cause
the wonderment and even the merriment of the infidel: such as the
Franco-Anglo-Genoese crusade of 1390, with Louis, third Duke of
Bourbon, as commander-in-chief, and which, on the recommendation
of the Genoese, who suffered more than any from the inroads of
the Barbaresques, went to lay siege, of all places, to the city
of Mahdia, the “Aufrike” of Froissart,[566] on the east coast of
Tunisia. The French were apparently the most numerous, but, says
Froissart, “Also the Duke of Lancastre had a bastarde sonne called
Henry of Lancastre: he had devocion to go in the same voyage, and
he provided him of good knightes and squiers of Englande that
accompanyed him in that voyage.” The comte de Foix had also, ready
at hand, a “bastarde sonne” of his own, whom he sent with a large
retinue. The English prince was not, however, the future Henry IV,
who was no bastard, but his half-brother, John Beaufort, who being an
adulterine son well answered to the description. Henry had intended
to go, hence Froissart’s mistake, but he went instead to fight the
pagans in Prussia and Lithuania, and, being fond of pilgrimages and
shrines, performed, as a pilgrim, the journeys to Rome and Jerusalem,
before he assumed the crown and had, in spite of his religious
dispositions, his cousin Richard assassinated. {399}

The start from Genoa for the new Tunisian expedition was splendid
to see; so the starts usually were: “Great pleasure it was,” says
Froissart, “to beholde their departynge, and to se their standardes,
getornes (banners) and penons, wavynge in the wynde, shynynge against
the sonne, and to here the trompettes and claryons sowning in the
ayre with other mynstrelsy,” so that the whole sea rang with the

The Saracens were dumbfounded at this visit: what had they done,
and what could be the object? That the Genoese had grudges against
them was natural enough; but what ailed the others? Ready for the
stoutest defence of their walled Mahdia, they were, however, curious
to ascertain the reason, and they sent one of their number, who spoke
Italian, to explain “howe we have in nothynge trespassed them; of
a trouthe, afore this tyme, there hath been warre bytwene us and
the Genovoys,” but that does not concern Christians from “farre
countreys.” The Genoese “are our neighbours, they take of us and we
of them; we have been auncyente enemyes and shall be, excepte whan
treuce is betwene us.” But why are the others interfering?

The leaders of the army agreed that a reply should be sent; they held
council, twelve of them, “in the duke of Burbons tent,” and gave an
answer to the effect that the reason why they made this war “was
bycause the Sonne of God, called Jesu Chryst . . . by their lyne and
generacyon, was put to deth and crucyfyed,” and also because the
Saracens did not believe in baptism, nor “in the Virgyn Mary, Mother
to Jhesu Cryst. . . .”

“At this aunswere the Sarazyns dyd nothinge but laugh and sayd
howe that aunswere was nothynge {400} reasonable, for it was the
Jewes that put Chryst to dethe and not they. Thus the siege still

The usual ally of the infidel did not fail him: sickness, fevers,
and epidemics worked havoc among the besiegers, who had, of all
months, selected July for their attempt. They tried to storm the
city, but were repulsed with great loss, and after some eight weeks
of fruitless labour, brilliant combats, and many deaths, accepted a
patched-up treaty granting the Genoese some slight advantage; raised
the siege, and returned home, with probably less “trompettes and
claryons sowning in the ayre” than when they had started.

The acceptance of a discussion with the infidel during this abortive
crusade was characteristic of the time. More prone than before
to examine inherited beliefs, a good many men were found in the
fourteenth century to question the very principle of the crusade.
We crush the infidel, why not convert him? Is it not wiser, more
reasonable, and even more conformable to the religion of Christ?
Were the apostles whom He sent to us Gentiles covered with armour
and provided with swords? Reflections like these occur in the works,
not only of reforming minds like Wyclif or Langland,[569] but of
pious well-meaning conservative thinkers like Gower, who says in his
“Confessio Amantis”:

    “To sleen and fighten they us bidde
     Hem whom they shuld, as the boke saith, {401}
     Converten unto Cristes feith.
     But herof have I great merveile
     How they wol bidde me traveile;
     A Saracen if I slee shall,
     I slee the soule forth withall,
     And that was never Cristes lore.”

Failing crusades, then, just as before those great military
undertakings had begun, small troops of pilgrims, privately formed,
started on the road to Jerusalem, still in their eyes, in spite of
all St. Jerome might have said, the best road to heaven. They were,
however, many of them, inspired by mixed motives, for this was also
the road to adventure, and there, again, were very apparent the
chivalric and restless instincts of the period.

A good number of such caravans came from England; the English were
already, and had been even before, and continue to this day, great
travellers. They were to be met everywhere, and their knowledge of
French stood them in good stead in most of the countries they went
through. This was, as “Mandeville” states, the common language of the
upper classes everywhere;[570] it was also that spoken in the East
by the European, the “Frank.” Trevisa, finding that the English were
forgetting that language, deplores it; how will they do if they go
abroad? “That is harme for hem and they schulle passe the see and
travaille in straunge landes and in many other places.”[571] They
tried to acquire notions of it before setting out on their travels,
and employed competent persons to compose manuals of conversation for
them to learn, in the words {402} of the author of one such work,
an Englishman of the fourteenth century, “how to speak and pronounce
well, and to write correctly sweet French, which is the finest and
most graceful language, the noblest to speak of any in the world
after Latin of the schools, and is better prized and loved than any
other by all men; for God made it so sweet and lovable chiefly to His
own praise and honour. And therefore it may well compare with the
language of the angels in heaven, on account of its great sweetness
and beauty.” So spoke this teacher of what he had to teach.[572]

The English went much abroad; every author who draws their portrait
lays stress on their taste for moving about, and their love of
distant travel; the moon is considered, in consequence, as their
planet. According to Gower, the moon’s influence is the cause why
they visit so many far-off countries:

    “Bot what man under his [_i.e._, the moon’s] pouer
     Is bore, he schall his place change
     And seche manye londes strange;
     And as of this condicion
     The Mones disposicion
     Upon the lond of Alemaigne
     Is set, and ek upon Bretaigne,
     Which nou is cleped Engelond,
     For thei travaile in every lond.”[573]

Wyclif places them under the patronage of the same planet, but
draws different conclusions therefrom;[574] {403} Ralph Higden the
chronicler expresses himself in these terms, most of which seem
prophetic, they have proved so exact: “That people are curious
enough that they may know and tell the wonders that they have seen;
they cultivate other regions, and succeed still better in distant
countries than in their own, . . . wherefore it is that they are
spread so wide through the earth, considering every other land that
they inhabit as their own country. They are a race able for every

A number of those adventure seekers were established in Italy,
where they had become _condottieri_, and went fighting up and
down the peninsula according to the will of whomsoever paid them.
Such were John Hawkwood, whose tomb still adorns the cathedral at
Florence,[576] William Gold, and several others. Fierce folk they
were, with ardent passions, ready sometimes, as in Homeric days,
to do and sacrifice as much to recover a fugitive girl as to take
a town. One letter of William Gold may give an idea of the temper
of these bellicose wanderers. On August 9, 1378, he wrote to Louis
Gonzaga, lord of Mantua, concerning the girl Jeannette, of France:

 “. . . Let her be detained at my suit, for if you should have a
 thousand golden florins spent for her, I will pay them without
 delay; for if I should have to follow her to Avignon I will obtain
 this woman. Now, my lord, should I be asking a trifle contrary to
 law, yet ought you not to cross me in this, for some day I shall
 do more for you than a thousand united French women could effect;
 {404} and if there be need of me in a matter of greater import, you
 shall have for the asking a thousand spears at my back. Therefore,
 in conclusion, again and again, I entreat that this Janet may be put
 in a safe place unknown to anybody, and there kept until I send some
 servant of mine for her with a letter from myself, for I would do
 more for you in greater matters. And I pray you, thwart me not about
 putting her in a safe place, for you alone, and no one else are lord
 in Mantua.

 “_The Camp under Verona, August 9, 1378._

 “P.S.—I beseech by all means that [the] said Janet may not quit
 Mantua, but be in safe custody, and so you will have obliged me for

No less determined as a warrior than as a lover, and accustomed, as
it seems, in both cases, to put people to flight, William Gold was
made a citizen of Venice in recognition of his services on April 27,
1380, and in July of the same year received from the Doge Andrea
Contarini a pension of 500 gold ducats for life.[577]

Thinking less of the Jeannettes to be met on the way, troops of
pilgrims sailed from England, beginning their long journey towards
the Holy Land, usually provided with letters from their sovereign, to
serve both as passports and as recommendations in case of need. The
tenor of these documents, written in French or in Latin, was usually
similar to that of the following letter granted by Edward III in 1354
to one who, it is true, was more of a fighter than a pilgrim: “Know
all men that the noble Jean le Meingre, knight, otherwise Bussigand
[Boucicaut], our prisoner, is about to set forth, duly licensed by
us, with twelve knights to St. James, and thence to march against the
enemies of Christ in the Holy Land; and that we have taken him and
his twelve companions, {405} their servants, horses, and harnesses
under our protection and safe conduct.”[578]

Such travellers were well received by the French King of Cyprus,
of the famous Lusignan family; they brought him news of the outer
world, with them came variety and hope; they also were sometimes able
to actually assist him in his difficulties, which were ceaseless,
and the king showed his pleasure in his letters. Thus James I of
Lusignan, “King of Jerusalem and Cyprus,” writes from Nicosia,
in 1393, to Richard II, that a knight has no need of a personal
recommendation to be welcome in the island; his subjects always are.
It was for him an honour and delight to be visited by “your noble
relative the lord Henry Percy.”[579] In the same manner the troop of
French pilgrims, to which belonged the lord of Anglure, was welcomed
in Cyprus, by the same king, in 1396. They reached the island on
their way home, after a fearful storm, in which they nearly lost
their lives.[580] As soon as James heard of their having landed he
sent to them {406} provisions in plenty: a hundred chickens, twenty
sheep, two oxen, much good red wine and good white bread. Then he
asked them to his Court, where they were delightfully entertained
by him, by the queen, and their four sons and five daughters. Being
himself a great huntsman, James asked them to go hunting with him, a
pleasant offer after so many trials, and one not to be refused.

Combats, hunts, storms, encounters of all sorts, in a word,
adventure, were thus associated with the idea of the voyage, the
holiness of which sometimes disappeared in the midst of so many
profane incidents. Well may one wonder whether Saint James was
the real attraction, for a De Werchin, Seneschal de Hainaut, who,
about to start on a pilgrimage to the shrine of this saint, in
1402, would make it publicly known that, “in the name of God, of
our Lord St. George, and of his own lady,” he would accept during
his whole journey the friendly combat of arms with any knight for
whom he should not have to turn from his road more than 20 leagues.
He announced his itinerary beforehand, so that any one might make

The strange man, Jean de Bourgogne by name, who chose to sign his
book of travels “Jean de Mandeville,”[582] {407} gives somewhat
similar reasons to explain why he undertook his journey to the East
in 1322 through perilous seas and countries—or rather, according to
modern discoveries—through the books of his library. He started, or,
anyhow, he studied and wrote, partly, says he, to sanctify himself,
partly to know the world and its wonders, and to be able to speak of
them; for many persons, he observes, are much pleased with hearing
the marvels of distant regions described. The reason he publishes
his impressions is, first, because numbers of people like stories of
the Holy Land, and find great consolation and comfort in them; and,
secondly, to make a guide, in order that small companies or caravans,
like that of Boucicaut and others, may profit by his knowledge.

His ideas as to the road to be followed are not unreasonable. Thus,
“to go the direct way” from England to Palestine, he advises the
following itinerary: France, Burgundy, Lombardy, Venice, Famagusta
in Cyprus, Jaffa, Jerusalem. Very often people went to Jerusalem by
way of Egypt. It was a tradition of long standing that the greater
part of the difficulties concerning the Holy Land had their root in
Egypt; many tombs of saints also attracted the pilgrims there, so
that crusaders, or mere pilgrims, often took that road to Jerusalem.
“Mandeville” says he himself followed this itinerary. In 1422 Gilbert
de Lannoy wrote, “at the behest of King Henry of England, heir and
Regent of France,” that is, Henry V, a description in French of the
places through which a crusade might be led against the infidels,
for this prince, like his predecessors, continued dreaming of a
crusade. Lannoy, a practical soldier and diplomat, who speaks only
of what he has seen, gives a detailed account of all towns, stating
which are protected by walls, {408} towers and ditches; he notices
the Venetians’ warehouses for cotton at Acre, and the presence at
Beirut of a great number of Christian merchants, Venetians, Genoese,
Greeks, and others. He carefully mentions what sorts of provisions
in wood, water, etc., may be found in each part of the country, in
what plains an army can be easily arrayed, in what ports a fleet
shall be safe. He pays the greatest attention to Egypt, and describes
its several cities: “Item. There is Cairo, the chief town of Egypt,
on the river Nile which comes from Paradise.”[583] But the crusade,
in anticipation of which he wrote, never took place, and the next
military expedition to reach Syria through Egypt was destined to be a
French one, headed by that extraordinary pilgrim, Bonaparte.

Besides his account of a journey to Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Central
Asia, and China, “Mandeville” gives a description of a number of
countries peopled by imaginary monsters. This fantastic part of his
work, where he anticipated no less famous a traveller than Gulliver
himself, did not diminish its success, quite the contrary; it was
translated into several languages, and above three hundred MSS. of
it now remain. But we, less confiding than our fathers, are loth to
accept the excuse he gives as a guarantee of, at least, his good
faith: “Things that are long past away from sight fall into oblivion,
and the memory of man cannot all retain and comprehend.”[584]

Many books, beginning with that of Lannoy, came after his, more
practical, less fantastic, and, of course, less famous.[585] While
the renewal of the crusades became {409} less and less probable, the
number of individual pilgrimages was on the increase. The word of
the priest which could no longer uproot and set on the move entire
nations, still detached here and there little groups of pious men or
adventure seekers, who went to visit the holy places under favour of
the Saracen’s tolerant and practical spirit. For the mass of them no
longer set out to fight the infidel, but to ask his permission to see
Jerusalem, which was the more readily granted that it had to be paid

From the fourteenth century onwards, a regular service of transports
existed at Venice for the use of pilgrims: “It is the rule,” says a
traveller of the fourteenth century, “that the Venetians send every
year five galleys to the Holy Land. They all reach Beirut, which is
the port for Damascus in Syria; thence two of them bring the pilgrims
to Jaffa, which is the port for Jerusalem.”[586]

Many particulars about this service of transports, the purchases to
make before starting, and the provisions to take, are found in a
book written in the following century by William Wey, Fellow of Eton
College, an experienced pilgrim with a passion for such journeys.
He recommended that the price of the passage be carefully settled
before starting, and that a bed with its pillows, sheets, etc., be
procured. This was bought at Venice, near St. Mark’s, and cost three
ducats; after the journey the whole could be sold back to the vendor
for a ducat {410} and a half: “Also when ye com to Venyse ye schal
by a bedde by seynt Markys cherche; ye schal have a fedyr bedde, a
matres, too pylwys, too peyre schetis and a qwylt, and ye schal pay
iij dokettis; and when ye com ayen, bryng the same bedde to the man
that ye bowt hit of and ye schal have a doket and halfe ayen, thow
hyt be broke and worne.”[587] Such settled customs and fixed prices
show better than anything else the frequency of the intercourse.

William Wey is as obliging for his traveller as are modern guide-book
makers; he devises mnemonics of names to remember, a vocabulary of
the Greek words most important to know, and ready-made questions
which our manuals still repeat in more correct language:

 “Good morrow.                _Calomare._
  Welcome.                    _Calosertys._
  Tel me the way.             _Dixiximo strata._
  Gyff me that.               _Doys me tutt._
  Woman, haue ye goyd wyne?   _Geneca esse calocrasse?_
  Howe moche?                 _Posso?_”

He does not omit a sentence which must have been, and still is, of
especially frequent use: “I understond the not—_Apopon kystys_.” Wey
also gives a table of the rate of exchange for moneys from England
to Venice, Crete, Rhodes, Cyprus, and Syria; and a programme for the
employment of time, as now very parsimoniously distributed; he only
allows “thirteen or fourteen days” to see {411} everything and start
back again, specifying what should be seen each day. Lastly, he gives
a complete list of the towns to be traversed, with the distance from
one to the other, a map of the Holy Land with all the remarkable
places duly inscribed thereon,[588] a considerable catalogue of the
indulgences to be gained, and full details as to what is sacred or
curious in Palestine, or on the way thither, not forgetting the dogs
at Rhodes, who keep watch at night outside the castle, know perfectly
how to distinguish a Turk from a Christian, and who, if one of their
number “sleeps instead of taking his watch at night outside the
castle, kill him themselves,”[589] so great is their detestation of a

Wey foresaw all the disagreeables to which the boorishness of the
captain of the galley might subject you; he recommends engaging a
berth in the highest part of the boat, “for in the lawyst [stage]
under hyt is ryght smolderyng hote and stynkynge.”[590] You must
not pay more than forty ducats from Venice to Jaffa, food included,
and should stipulate that the captain stop at certain ports to take
in fresh provisions. He is bound to give you hot meat at dinner and
supper, good wine, pure water, and biscuit; but it is well besides
to take provisions for private use, for even at the captain’s table
there is great risk of having bad bread and wine. “For thow ye
schal {412} be at the tabyl wyth yowre patrone, notwythstondynge,
ye schal oft tyme have nede to yowre vytelys, bred, chese, eggys,
frute, and bakyn, wyne, and other, to make yowre collasyun; for sum
tyme ye schal have febyl bred, wyne and stynkyng water, meny tymes ye
schal be ful fayne to ete of yowre owne.” It would even be prudent
to take some poultry: “Also by yow a cage for half a dozen of hennys
or chekyn to have with yow in the galey;” half a bushel of seed to
feed them must not be forgotten, nor what you will want to fry your
own bacon and drink your wine: “Also take with you a lytyl cawdren
and fryyng pan, dysches, platerrys, sawserys of tre (wood), cuppys
of glas, a grater for brede and such nessaryes.” You must also have
remedies, “confortatyvys, laxatyvys, restoratyvys,” saffron, pepper,

On arrival at a port it is well to leap ashore one of the first, in
order to get served before others, and not to have the leavings;
this counsel of practical selfishness often recurs. On land heed
must be taken as to the fruits: “beware of dyverse frutys, for they
be not acordyng to youre complexioun, and they gender a blody fluxe
(dysentery), and yf an Englyschman have that sykenes hyt ys a marvel
and scape hyt but he dye thereof.”

Once in Palestine, one must be careful about robbers; beware of
Saracens coming to talk familiarly with you: “Also take goyd hede of
yowre knyves and other smal thynges that ye ber apon yow, for the
Sarsenes wyl go talkyng wyth yow and make goyd chere, but they wyl
stele fro yow that ye have and they may.” At Jaffa you must bestir
yourself and be quick, in order to have the best donkey, “Also when
ye schal take yowre asse at port Jaffe, be not to longe behynde yowre
felowys; for and ye com by tyme ye may chese the beste mule, other
asse, for ye schal pay no more fore the best then for the worst.
And ye must yeve youre asman curtesy {413} a grot.”[592] This last
recommendation shows the high antiquity of “pourboires,” one of the
best preserved of mediæval traditions. At last the caravan leaves the
seaside and proceeds towards the Holy City; and then it is prudent
not to straggle too far from your companions for fear of evildoers.

Worthy of notice is the fact that these visits to the Holy Land
were in great part performed on donkeys; knights themselves did not
disdain mounting these modest animals: “At this said inn did we
dismount from our asses,” says the narrator of the travels of the
lord of Anglure, who, as we have seen, visited Jerusalem at the end
of the fourteenth century; which tends to show that if there was, as
there still is, some danger of attacks by robbers, it was not very
serious. If there had been any chance of real fight knights would
hardly have ventured getting into it on donkey-back. In fact, many
of those reports of travels in the Holy Land give the impression
of mere tourists’ excursions, and what comes out most clearly from
them is the before-mentioned spirit of tolerance, coupled with the
spirit of profit, displayed by the Saracen. He did not forbid the
entry into Palestine of all these pilgrims, who often came as spies
and enemies, and he let their troops do very much as they liked,
provided they did not forget to pay.[593] The companions of the
lord {414} of Anglure, and half a century later of William Wey, go
where they will; returning when it is convenient, and making plans
of excursions beforehand as they would do at present. They admire
the beauty of the “muscas” or mosques, the quaint appearance of the
vaulted streets with light coming from apertures at the top of the
vault, and with shops for Saracen merchants on both sides, in other
words, the bazaar; they are led by and receive explanations from
their “drugemens;” at certain places they meet officers entrusted
with the permit of the “Soudan,” as to all affairs concerning
foreigners: these officers are called “consulles.” They find European
merchants established and doing much trade in the ports of the
infidel; they have, in fact, nothing to fear seriously but local wars
(about which they were pretty sure to get timely information), or
possibly calamitous encounters at sea. William Wey and his companions
learn with much uneasiness on their return that a Turkish fleet with
dubious purpose is ready to quit Constantinople, but happily they do
not meet it.

A comparison between the experiences of both troops of pilgrims, the
French and the English, is instructive, precisely because they are,
in so many cases, similar. The lord of Anglure[594] had no trouble in
reaching Jerusalem, being provided with the proper authorization:
“Shortly after, we started thence on foot, and with the license
of the lieutenant of the Sultan we entered the holy city of {415}
Jerusalem at the hour of vespers, and were all received and lodged
in the hospital where it is customary now for pilgrims to stay.”
Having bought tents, they travel by land without difficulty from
Palestine to Egypt, crossing the desert, noticing the places where
Moses performed his miracles, visiting Cairo, which deeply impresses
them by its beauty, its greatness, its gardens and monuments, and the
immense number of Saracens living there. They go partly by water,
partly on camels, observing on their way “two great black-feathered
ostriches trotting along,” to the places where St. Anthony had lived
with his “porcellet,” and where churches and abbeys prosper under the
rule of the unmeddling Saracen. They navigate the Nile, a large river
which “comes from Paradise,” and where “live several serpents called
cokatrices,” otherwise crocodiles, of which they see one “very great
and hideous” that dived into the water when they came near. There
only they have a rather narrow escape, being attacked in their boat
by “Arab robbers,” and some of their troop are wounded with arrows,
but none is killed.

Needless to say that, if Rome was full of relics, there was no want
of them in Jerusalem. All the places named in the Gospel, and some
others, had been identified with precision: “Item, continuing to go
up towards this mountain on the right hand side, there is a house
where the sweet Virgin Mary learnt at school.” Near the church of
the Holy Sepulchre is a large square “with two big stones on the one
of which our Lord used to sit when He preached to His disciples, and
our Lady sat opposite on the other.” The place is shown “where St.
John the Evangelist sang mass every day in the presence of our Lady
after the Ascension of our Lord.” You may see, too, the spot where
was roasted the paschal lamb; “even here was warmed the water with
which our Lord washed the feet of His apostles.” There is also a
cave or well “where King Herod had the Innocents {416} thrown, out
of spite.” At Bethlehem is a church of St. Nicholas, “in which place
the sweet Virgin Mary hid herself to draw her milk from her worthy
breasts when she would fly to Egypt. In this same church is a marble
column against which she leaned when she drew her worthy milk, and
this pillar continues moist since the time she leaned against it, and
when it is wiped, at once it sweats again; and in all places where
her worthy milk fell, the earth is still soft and white and has the
appearance of curded milk, and whoever likes takes of it, out of
devotion.”—Hence the milk at Walsingham?

In Egypt, too, the wonders are numerous, but many are of a different
order. Besides the churches and hermitages there are the “granaries
of Pharaoh,” namely the pyramids, which seem to the lord of Anglure
and his companions “the most marvellous thing they had yet seen in
all their travels.” They are cut “in the shape of a fine diamond,”
but inside they are full of animals, who stink horribly. Mandeville,
who had seen them some years before, gives them the same origin, and
utterly discards the belief that they might have been tombs of high
personages. He mentions the hieroglyphics, about the only thing in
all his book that he does not try to explain; he also has a word
for the grim inhabitants of the pyramids: “Thei ben alle fulle of
serpentes. And aboven the gernerers with outen ben many scriptures
of dyverse languages. And sum men seyn that they ben sepultures of
grete Lordes, that weren somtyme; but that is not trewe; for all
the comoun rymour and speche is of alle the peple there, bothe far
and nere, that thei ben the garneres of Joseph. And so fynden thei
in here scriptures and in here cronycles. On that other partie, yif
thei werein sepultures, thei scholden not ben voyd with inne. For yee
may well knowe that tombes and sepultures ne ben not made of suche
gretnesse ne of suche highnesse. Wherfore it is not to beleve that
thei {417} ben tombes or sepultures.”[595] This powerful mode of
reasoning did not, however, convince such sceptics as Mariette and

Besides the pyramids, the companions of the Lord of Anglure notice
and greatly praise the houses with their terraces, the mosques and
their “fine lamps,” these same ornamented glass lamps which, after
having been admired by our pilgrims in 1395 when they were fresh and
new, can be seen now without going so far, in the Victoria and Albert
Museum. The Egyptian animals, too, are noted by our travellers as
being very striking; besides the crocodiles there are the long-necked
giraffes, so tall that “they could well take their provender on
the highest lances that it is the custom now to use,” and then the
elephants. A very strange beast an elephant: “It could never bend to
the ground to get its food on account of its great height, but it
has in its snout something like a bowel, put at the further end of
its snout,” and this bowel “hangs down almost to the ground,” and
with it the beast “takes its food and carries it to its mouth.” He
uses it also to drink, and “when he blows air through it the noise
is greater than that of any buccina,” and the sound “is terrible to
those unaccustomed.”

At last the time came when our pilgrims had seen everything, and they
had to wend their way homewards. Twice did William Wey undertake
the great journey, happy to have seen, fain to see again. When he
came back to England for the last time he bequeathed to a chapel,
built on the model of the Holy Sepulchre, the souvenirs which he had
brought back, that is to say, a stone from Calvary, another from the
Sepulchre itself, one from Mount Tabor, one from the place where the
cross stood, and other relics. As for the French troop of pilgrims
who had left Anglure-sur-Aube on July 16, {418} 1395, they came
back in the following year, complete in their numbers but for Simon
de Sarrebruck, who had died of fever in Cyprus during the journey
home, and lies interred in a church there. “And on Thursday, the
twenty-second day of June, and the day before the eve of the feast
of St. John the Baptist, in the year of grace of our Lord, 1396, we
found ourselves again dining in Anglure.”


(_Original in the British Museum._)]



(_From MS. 10 E. IV._)]


We have followed the race of roamers in many places: on the road, at
the hostelry, in woods, in taverns, in churches; we have seen them
exercising a host of different trades, a motley crew, minstrels,
buffoons, quacks, messengers, pedlars, pilgrims, wandering preachers,
beggars, friars, vagabonds of all sorts, labourers broken loose
from the soil, pardoners, knights in search of adventure. We have
accompanied them here and there over the highroads of England, and
followed them to Rome itself, and the Holy Land; there we shall
leave them. To the wandering class also belong the representatives
of many other professions, such as scribes, tinkers, cobblers,
masons, showers of animals or bearwards, like those whom Villard de
Honnecourt visited one day in order to draw “al vif,” a lion. But the
more important members are those above described.

The current of life represented by the multiplicity of these
wayfarers is powerful; notice has been taken of the great though not
very apparent part they played in the State. The labourer breaks
the bonds which for centuries have attached him to the manor, and
henceforward means {420} to be the master of his own person and
of his service, to hire himself by the day if he chooses, and for
a salary corresponding to the rise in prices and to the demand
there may be for his work. The reform is an inevitable one, which
will be realized by degrees, in spite of the laws and of the will
of the authorities. There is none more important, and its how and
wherefore are to be studied not only in the castle, but on the road
and by-ways, in the brushwood, where armed bands meet together during
church service, and on those unfrequented paths where the false
pilgrim throws down his staff to take up his tools and look for work
out of the reach of his hereditary master. These people promote
by their example and success the emancipation which the wandering
preachers justify in their discourses, showing it to be not simply
desirable, but rightful.

The great questions of the age, social and religious, move towards
their solution, partly on the road, through the influence of the
wanderers, a direct influence from the sincere ones, indirect from
the others. Begging friars go from door to door, pardoners grow
rich, pilgrims live by alms and by the recital of their adventures,
always on the way, always at work. What is this work? By constantly
addressing the crowd, they in the end make themselves known for what
they are, and cause their listeners to pass sentence upon them; by
disabusing them they render reform inevitable. Thereby, too, will the
rust and superstition of the middle ages drop away, and another step
be made towards modern civilization.

Each of these strange types has, moreover, the advantage of showing,
very apparent in his own person, some characteristic side of the
tastes, the beliefs, and the aspirations of his time. Each of those
groups corresponds to a need, an eccentricity, a vice, or a merit of
the nation; through them we may examine, as it were, and reconstitute
piecemeal the souls of the men of long ago, and have those {421} men
stand before us, mind and body, complete, just as the nature of the
soil may be guessed from the flora of a country.

The general impression is that the English people then underwent
one of those profound transformations which present themselves to
the historian’s view like the turning of a highway. Coming out from
gorges and mountains the road suddenly leads to an opening, and the
rich, sunny, fertile plain is perceived in the distance. It has
not yet been reached, many hardships are still to be endured; it
will disappear again from sight at intervals, but the traveller has
seen it, and knows at least in what direction to tread in order to
attain it. During the age which was then beginning the emancipated
peasant was to enrich himself in spite of fierce wars especially
deadly for the nobility, and the Commons were to be possessed of an
instrument of control over the royal power, which would be used,
according to the period, more or less well, but which is the best
one invented up to our day. The Parliament sitting at Westminster
now is in its essential elements identical with the one that,
under the Plantagenets, drew up the statutes of the kingdom. In
the fourteenth century, despite ultra severe judgments from some
thinkers of fame (an age, says Stubbs, “of heartless selfishness and
moral degradation”), mankind did not recede, witness the host of
truly modern ideas which gained a hold on the mass of the people;
among the upper classes under the influence of higher education and
wider intercourse with foreign countries, which weakened the notion
of the immutability of custom; among the lower classes through the
effects of abuses long experienced by men who, though patient, were
no weaklings; ideas made popular and rendered practical by the
wayfarers, illiterate workmen, single-hearted preachers. All those
mad freaks, all the extravagance of the religious spirit, those
incessant revolts and follies which have been noticed, were sure
to cause a reaction, and a longing for something nearer that {422}
reign of reason which mankind, though less remote from the goal,
still continues to look for in the far distance.

On a number of questions, whether as the promoter or the object
of reform, as working man or as pardoner, whether an unconscious
instrument or not, wanderers will always have much to teach whoever
will question them. For good or evil it may be said that they
acted in mediæval history as “microbes,” a numerous, scarcely
visible, but powerful host. They will perhaps reveal the secret of
almost incomprehensible transformations, which might have seemed
to necessitate a total overturn, like the one that took place in
France at the end of the eighteenth century, a new or rather a first
_contrat social_. England, for many reasons, has not required this;
one among those reasons is the action of the roamers which, exerting
itself on a population temperamentally steadier than many others,
more persistently resolute, and less constantly troubled by wars on
its territory, united the people and, thanks to that union which made
it strong, allowed it to snatch in time the necessary concessions.
And as, however, the calmest changes cannot take place without some
disturbance, as also among the English there have been, in the course
of centuries, more than one bloody fray, the nomad may perhaps end
by answering his interrogator in the words of a common proverb of
certain, yet unhackneyed wisdom, which should prevent pessimism and
lack of hope: “Le bois tortu fait le feu droit”—Crooked log maketh
straight fire.




(p. 44)


“Literæ patentes, etc. de edificatione et sustentatione pontis
Londinensis. Patent Roll 3º Iohannis, m. 2, no. 9.

“Iohannes Dei gratia rex, etc. dilectis et fidelibus suis majori
et civibus Londinensibus salutem. Attendentes qualiter circa
pontem Xanctonensem et pontem de Rupella Deus a modico tempore
sit operatus per sollicitudinem fidelis clerici nostri Isenberti,
magistri scolarum Xanctonensium, viri utique literati et honesti,
ipsum de consilio venerabilis patris in Christo H. Cantuariensis
Archiepiscopi[596] et aliorum, rogavimus et monuimus et etiam
coegimus ut pro vestra et multorum utilitate, de ponte vestro
faciendo curam habeat diligentem. Confidimus enim in Domino, quod
idem pons tam necessarius vobis et omnibus transeuntibus, ut scitis,
per ejus industriam, faciente Domino, poterit in proximo consumari.
Et ideo volumus et concedimus quod salvo jure nostro et conservata
indempnitate civitatis Londinensis, census edificiorum quæ super
pontem prædictum idem magister scolarum faciet fieri sint imperpetuum
ad eundem pontem reficiendum et operiendum et sustentandum. Quia
igitur idem pons tam necessarius sine vestro et aliorum auxilio
perfici non poterit, mandamus vobis, exhortantes quatinus memoratum
Isenbertum et suos pro vestra utilitate pariter et honore sicut {426}
decuerit benigne recipiatis et honoretis in hiis quæ dicta sunt,
consilium et auxilium vestrum eidem unanimiter impendentes. Quicquid
enim boni et honoris eidem Isenberto feceritis, nobis factum reputare
debetis. Si quis vero eidem Isenberto vel suis in aliquo foris
fecerit, quod non credimus, vos illud eisdem faciatis, quam citius
ad vos pertinet emendari. Teste meipso, apud Molinellum, xviii. die

“Sub eadem forma scribitur omnibus fidelibus per regnum Angliæ

Hearne, at the end of “Liber niger Scaccarii,” London, 1771, vol. i.
p. 470*; Thomas Duffus Hardy, “Rotuli Literarum Patentium in Turri
Londinensi asservati,” London, 1835, fol. p. 9.


(p. 53)


“Unto the ryght wise and discrete comons of this present Parlement;
besecheth mekely the comons off the countees of York, Lincoln,
Notyngham, and Derby; That whereas ther is, and of longe tyme hath
been, an usuall and a commune passage fro dyvers and many parties of
the seid countees unto the citees of York, Hull, Hedon, Holdernes,
Beverley, Barton, and Grymesby, and so forth, by the hie see, by
the costes, unto London and elles where, with all maner of shippes
charged with wolle, leed, stone, tymbre, vitaille, fewaille, and many
other marchandises, by a streme called the Dike, in the counte of
York, that daiely ebbith and floweth: over whiche streem ys made a
brigge of tymbre called Turnbrigg, in the parisshe of Snayth in the
same counte, so lowe, so ner the streem, so narrowe and so strayte
in the archees, that ther is, and of long tyme hath been a right
perilous passage, and ofte tymes perishinge of dyvers shippes; and
atte every tyme of creteyne[597] and abundaunce of water, ther may
no shippes passe under the seid brigge, by the space of half a yere
or more, and also a grete partie of the countees to the seid ryver
ajonyng, is yerely by the space of xx^{ti} myles and more surrownded,
by cause of the lowenes and straitenes of the said brigge, to the
grete hurt and damage as well to the kyng in his customes {427}
and subsidys, that shuld growe to him of the seid marchaundises,
chargeable with suche diverse, as to the seid shires, countres, cites
and burghes, and the inhabitants of theim. . . . .

“Please hit unto your right wise discretions, consideryng the
premisses, to pray and beseche the kyng our soverayn lord to graunte
. . . that hit shall be lefulle to what sum ever person or persons of
the seid shires, that will atte theire owne costages take away the
seid brigge, and ther with and profites therof, and in othir wise,
newe edifie and bilde anothir brigge there, lengere in lengthe by the
quantite of v. yerdes called the kynges standard, and in hieght a yerd
and a half by the same yerd heigher then the seid brigge that stondes
ther nowe, aswell for passage of all maner shippes comyng therto, and
voidaunce of water under the seid brigg as for passage of man, best
and carriage over the seid newe brigge so to be made, with a draght
lef[598] contenyng the space of iiij fete called Paules fete in brede,
for the voidying thorugh of the mastes of the shippes passinge under
the seid new brigg; and that every shipmen that wol passe under the
seid brigge with their shippes, may laufully lifte up and close the
seid lef att their pleser; and that the mayster of every shippe paie
for every liftyng of the seid lef 1d. to the lord of the soille for the
tyme beyng . . . for the lofe of Godd and in waye of charite. . . .

“_Responsio._ Le roy de l’advys et assent de lez seignurs espirituelx
et temporalx et lez communes esteantz en cest present parlement, ad
graunté tout le contenue en icell petition en toutz pointz.”

“Rolls of Parliament,” vol. v. p. 43; 20 Henry VI, A.D. 1442.


(p. 62)


At the end of his edition of the “Liber niger Scaccarii,” London,
1771, vol. i. pp. 470*-478*, Hearne printed a series of curious
Letters Patent relating to London Bridge. That of John, commending
Isembert to the city, is given above (Appendix I.). There follow, an
order of John applying the tax paid by foreign merchants established
in London to the support of the bridge (Close Roll, 15 John, m. 3); a
patent of Henry III addressed “to the brothers and chaplains of the
chapel of St. Thomas on London Bridge, and to the other {428} persons
living on the same bridge,” to inform them that the convent of St.
Catherine’s Hospital, near the Tower, would receive the revenues and
would take charge of the repairs of the bridge for five years (Patent
50 Hen. III m. 43, No. 129); grant of the same revenues and charge
to the queen for six years (54 Hen. III m. 4, No. 11); patent of
Edward I (January, 1281), ordering a general collection throughout
the kingdom to ward off the danger resulting from the bad condition
of the edifice (9 Ed. I m. 27); patent of the same king ordering the
levy of an extraordinary tax on account of the catastrophe which,
after all, had happened.

“Rex majori suo London’ salutem. Propter subitam ruinam pontis
London’ vobis mandamus quod associatis vobis duobus vel tribus de
discretioribus et legalioribus civibus civitatis prædictæ, capiatis
usque ad parliamentum nostrum post Pasch’ prox’ futur’, in subsidium
reparationis pontis predicti, consuetudinem subscriptam, videlicet,
de quolibet homine transeunte aquam Thamisiæ ex transverso ex utraque
parte pontis London’ de London’ usque Suthwerk et de Suthwerk usque
London’, occasione defectus reparationis pontis predicti, unum
quadrantem, de quolibet equo sic transeunte ibidem unum denarium, et
de quolibet summagio sic ibidem transeunte unum obolum. Set volumus
quod aliquid ibidem hac occasione interim capiatur nisi in subsidium
reparationis pontis supra dicti. In cujus, etc. Teste rege apud
Cirencestr’, iiijº die Februarij” (10 E. I m. 18).

The same year, on 6th July, the king prolonged the term during
which this exceptional tax should be levied to three years (p.
476*); he also, “understanding that it would hurt neither himself
nor the city,” granted to the mayor and commonalty of London three
empty spaces, one near the wall of the churchyard “de Wolchurch,”
the two others near the wall of St. Paul’s churchyard, for them to
build thereon and let the buildings for the benefit of the bridge
(10 Ed. I m. 11). Then, in the thirty-fourth year of his reign,
Edward I established a detailed tariff of the tolls which all
merchandise passing under or over the bridge should pay during the
next three years (34 Ed. I m. 25). Even this was not enough, as we
find Edward II asking all the archbishops, bishops, rectors and
other ecclesiastical authorities of the kingdom to well receive the
wardens of London Bridge or their delegates and allow them to piously
persuade the people to make offerings for the repair of the bridge:
“Eos populum ibidem piis suasionibus excitare et suarum elemosinarum
subsidia ad reparationem Pontis predicti caritative invocare
permittatis.” (14 Ed. II pt. i. m. 19, p. 477*). {429}


(p. 65)


A great many examples of these inquests may be found in the
collection published by the Record Commission, “Placitorum in domo
capitulari Westmonasteriensi asservatorum abbreviatio,” London, 1811,
fol. Here are references to some of the more interesting ones:

Case where an abbot is explicitly obliged, as one of the conditions
of his tenure, to repair a bridge, p. 205; 11 and 12 Ed. I.

Agreement between the abbot of Croyland and the prior of Spalding for
the construction of several bridges, p. 205; 12 Ed. I.

Discussion as to the building of a bridge at Chester, p. 209; 13 Ed.

Refusal by the abbot of Coggeshall to repair a bridge: “Per
juratores, Abbas de Coggeshale non tenetur reparare pontem de
Stratford inter Branketre et Coggeshale, eo quod de tempore memorie
non fuit ibidem alius pons quam quedam planchea de borde super quam
omnes transeuntes salvo et secure transire potuerunt,” p. 303; 1 Ed.

Measures taken to constrain the inhabitants of two towns to repair
the bridges of a highway in their neighbourhood: “Distringantur
villate de Aswardeby et Skredington ad reparandum pontes in pupplica
strata inter Lafford et ecclesiam de Stowe juxta inquisicionem inde
captam anno lvi. Henrici iij. coram Gilberto de Preston et sociis
suis in comitatu Lincolniensi itinerantibus, per breve ejusdem
regis,” p. 305; 2 Ed. II.

Finding out of the person who is to repair Chesford bridge, p. 314; 6
Ed. II.

Refusal of the abbot of Fountains to repair Bradeley bridge, p. 318;
7 Ed. II.

Hamo de Morston’s case, p. 328; 11 Ed. II, referred to above, p. 64.

Repair of the bridges of Exhorne, Hedecrone, and Hekinby, in the
county of Kent, p. 339; 15 Ed. II.

Inquest as to Claypole bridge. It is found that the inhabitants
of Claypole are bound to repair it: “Ideo preceptum est vicecomiti
Lincolniensi quod distringat homines predicte ville de Claypole ad
reparandum et sustentandum pontem predictum in forma predicta,” p.
350; 18 Ed. II, etc. {430}


(p. 92)


“Nullus vicecomes vel ballivus noster vel aliquis alius capiat equos
vel carettas alicujus pro cariagio faciendo, nisi reddat liberationem
antiquitus statutam; scilicet pro caretta ad duos equos decem
denarios per diem, et pro caretta ad tres equos quatuordecim denarios
perdiem.” Magna Charta, first confirmation by Henry III, art. 23,
A.D. 1216. “Statutes of the Realm,” 1810, vol. i. p. 15. This article
is found in successive confirmations of the great charter; the germ
of it was contained in John’s original text, of 1215, art. 30.

“Item pur ceo qe le poeple ad esté moult grevé de ceo qe les bledz,
feyns, bestaill, et autre manère de vitailles et biens des gentz
de mesme le poeple, ont esté pris, einz ces houres . . . dont nul
paiement ad esté fait, . . .” etc. Preamble to the statute 4 Ed. III,
ch. iii. “Statutes of the Realm,” A.D. 1330. See also statute 36 Ed.
III, ch. ii.

Petition of the Commons, 25 Ed. III, 1351–52 (“Rolls of Parliament,”
vol. ii. p. 242): “Item prie la commune qe là où avant ces heures les
botillers nostre seigneur le roi et lour deputez soleient prendre
moult plus de vyns à l’oeps le roi qe mestier ne fust; desqueux ils
mettont les plus febles à l’oeps le roi et les meliours à lour celers
demesnes à vendre, et le remenant relessont à eux desqueux ils les
pristerent, pur grantz fyns à eux faire pur chescun tonel, à grant
damage et empoverissement des marchantz. . . .”

The inhabitants of the counties of Dorset and Somerset complain in
the same way that the sheriff of these counties had taken of them
“cynk centz quarters de furment et trois centz bacouns, à l’oeps
le roi, come il dist, et il ne voillast pur sa graunt meistrie et
seigneurie allower pur vintz quarteres fors qe pur sesse quarters,
et c’est assaver bussell de dit blee fors que dis deniers, là où
il vendist après pur xv deniers. Par quey vos liges gentz sount
grauntement endamagé et vous, chier seigneur, n’estes servy des
blées et des bacounes avauntditz. . . .” 4 Ed. III, 1331, “Rolls of
Parliament,” vol. ii. p. 40.

Petition of the Commons to the Good Parliament of 1376: {431} “Item
prie la commune qe come le roi de temps passé et ses progenitours,
nobles princes, soleient avoir lour cariage, c’est assaver chivalx,
charietz et charettes pur servir leur hostiel: et ore les purveours
de l’hostel nostre dit seigneur le roi pur défaut de sa propre
cariage et de bone governance prenont chivalx, charietz et charettes
des povres communes, la environ par x leukes où le roi tient son
hostel, si bien des gentz de loigne pays par xxiiii leukes ou lx
passantz par la chymyne come des gentz demurrantz en mesme le pays,
en grande arrerissement et poverisement des dites communes. . . .”
“Rolls of Parliament,” vol. ii. p. 351.

Complaint of the clergy at being subjected to the exactions of
the purveyors (1376): “Item provisores et ministri regis pro
provisionibus regiis faciendis feodum et loca ecclesiastica, invitis
viris ecclesiasticis seu eorum custodibus non intrent, nec animalia
aliaque res et bona inde auferant, prout fecerint et faciunt nunc
indies, contra ecclesiasticam libertatem et constitutiones sanctorum
patrum et statuta regni edita in hac parte. Nec in via extra feoda et
loca predicta predictorum virorum cariagium carectasve capiant vel

“_Resp._ Le roi le voet.”

“Rolls of Parliament,” vol. ii. p. 358.


(p. 112)


The Commons petition as follows the Good Parliament of 1376: “Item où
de ancien temps ad esté custume qe les presentours dussent presenter
les articles du lete et de vewe de frank plegg tan soulement deux
foitz par an, . . . les baillifs avaunt ditz fount les povres gentz
et les husbandes de pais, qeux dussent travailer en leur labours et
husbandriez et pur le commune profit, venir de trois semaignes en
trois à lour wapentachez et hundredez, par colour de presentement
avoir, et rettent leur labours et leur husbanderiez au terre, sinoun
q’ils leur veullent doner tiels ransons et fyns q’ils ne purront
sustener ne endurer. . . .

“_Resp._ Il y ad estatutz suffisamment.”

“Rolls of Parliament,” 50 Ed. III, vol. ii. p. 357.

Again, the Commons having pointed out that the visits of the {432}
justices in eyre are a very great cause of trouble and expense to
the people in time of war, the king suppresses the visits of those
magistrates while the war lasts, except when any “horrible” case may

“Item priont les communes au roi leur seigneur q’il ne grante en
nulle partie de roialme eire ne trailbaston durante la guerre, par
queux les communes purront estre troblez ne empoveres, fors qe en
horible cas.

“_Resp._ Le roi le voet.”

“Rolls of Parliament,” vol. ii. p. 305, 45 Ed. III, 1371.


(p. 115)


According to the Council of London (1342): “. . . Militari potius
quam clericali habitu induti superiori, scilicet brevi seu stricto,
notabiliter tamen et excessive latis, vel longis manicis, cubitos non
tegentibus [tangentibus in Labbe] sed pendulis, _crinibus cum_ [two
words not in Labbe] furrura vel sandalo revolutis, et ut vulgariter
dicitur, reversatis, et caputiis cum tipettis miræ longitudinis,
barbisque prolixis incedere, et suis digitis annulos indifferenter
portare publice, ac zonis stipatis pretiosis miræ magnitudinis
supercingi, et bursis cum imaginibus variis sculptis, amellatis
[annellatis, L.] et deauratis, ad ipsas patenter cum cultellis,
ad modum gladiorum pendentibus, caligis etiam rubeis, scaccatis
et viridibus, sotularibusque rostratis et incisis multimode, ac
croperiis [propriis, L.] ad sellas, et cornibus ad colla pendentibus,
epitogiis aut _clocis_ [this word not in L.] furratis, uti patenter
ad oram, contra sanctiones canonicas temere non verentur, adeo quod a
laicis vix aut nulla patet distinctio clericorum.” Wilkins’ “Concilia
Magnæ Britanniæ,” London, 1737, vol. ii. p. 703; also in Labbe,
“Sacrosancta Concilia,” year 1342, vol. xxv. col. 1170.

According to the Council of York (1367): “Nonnulli . . . vestes
publice deferre præsumpserunt deformiter decurtatas, medium tibiarum
suarum, seu genua nullatenus attingentes . . . ad jactantiam et
suorum corporum ostentationem.” Labbe, ibid. vol. xxvi. col. 467–8.


(p. 120)


Petitions of the Commons, “Rolls of Parliament,” vol. i. p. 290 (8 Ed
II), A.D. 1314: “Item par là où asquns grantz seignurs de la terre
passent parmi le pays, ils entrent en maners et lieus de Seint Eglise
et des autres, et pernent saunz congé le seignur et les baillifs
gardeyns de meisme les leus, et encontre lour volunté, ceo q’il
voillent saunz rien paer encontre la lei et les ordenaunces, non pas
eaunz regard à l’escomenge (excommunication) doné encontre tutz tels.
Et si homme les devi rien, debrisent les eus par force, et pernent et
emportent ceo qe beal lour est, et batent les ministres et destruent
les biens, plus qe il ne covendreit, et autres grevouses depiz
ultrages fount.

“Item il prenent charettes et chivaux de fair lour cariages à lour
voluntez saunz rien paer et des queux nientefoitz james n’est faite
restoraunce à ceux qi les devient; ne il n’osent suire ne pleindre
pur le poair de diz seignur qar s’il le facent ils sont honiz ou en
corps ou en chateux; par quoi ladite comuneauté prie qe remedie soit
fait en tels ultrages.”


(p. 130)


“Ad peticionem hominum de Estriding petenc’ remedium super nimia
solucione exacta ad passagium de Humbr’ ultra solitum modum.”
The king directs the opening of an inquest, with power to the
commissioners to re-establish things in their prestine condition.
“Rolls of Parliament,” i. p. 202, 35 Ed. I, 1306.

Another petition under Edward II: “A nostre seigneur le [roi] et à
son consail se pleint la comunauté de sa terre qe par là où homme
soleit passer Humbre entre Hesel et Barton, homme à chival pour
dener, homme à pée pur une maele, qe ore sunt il, par extorsion,
mis à duble; et de ceo priunt remedi pur Dieu.” The king, in reply,
orders that the masters of the ferry shall not take more than
formerly: “vel quod significent causam quare id facere noluerint.”
Ibid., p. 291; 8 Ed. II, 1314–5. {434}


(pp. 165 and 171)


Examples of entries in the Durham sanctuary register: “Memorandum
quod vj die mensis octobris, Aº Dⁱ M. CCCC LXX VIIº Willielmus Rome
et Willielmus Nicholson parochiæ de Forsate, convolarunt ad ecclesiam
cath. Sancti Cuthberti Dunelm., ubi inter cætera pro feloniâ per
eosdem commissâ et publice confessatâ, in, de, et pro occisione
Willielmi Aliand, per eosdem antea occisi, pecierunt a venerabilibus
et religiosis viris dominis Thomâ Haughton sacristâ ipsius
ecclesiæ et Willielmo Cuthbert magistro Galileæ ibidem, fratribus
et commonachis ejusdem ecclesiæ, immunitatem ecclesiæ, juxta
libertates et privilegia gloriosissimo confessori Sancto Cuthberto
antiquitus concessa, favorabiliter eis concedi, et per pulsacionem
unius campanæ, ut est moris, favorabiliter obtinuerunt. Ibidem
præsentibus, videntibus et audientibus, discretis viris Willielmo
Heghyngton, Thomâ Hudson, Johanne Wrangham, et Thomâ Strynger,
testibus ad præmissa vocatis specialiter et requisitis.” “Sanctuarium
Dunelmense,” ed. J. Raine, Surtees Society; London, 1827, No. V.

On the question of sanctuaries the councils are explicit: “Firmiter
prohibemus ne quis fugientes ad ecclesiam, quos ecclesia debet tueri,
inde violenter abstrahat, aut ipsos circa ecclesiam obsideat, vel
eisdem substrahat victualia.” Concilium provinciale Scoticanum, A.D.
1225, in Wilkins’ “Concilia Magnæ Britanniæ,” London, 1737, vol. i.
p. 616.

As shown by the reports of cases in the Year Books, good care was
to be taken by the refugee to flee to a church duly “dedicated by a
bishop.” Here is a case of the time of Edward I:—

“Quid[a]m captus fuit pro latrocinio, et ductus coram justiciariis
et inculpatus, dixit: Domine, ego fui in ecclesia de N. et dehinc
vi abstractus, unde imprimis peto juris beneficium quod mittar
retro unde ibi fui vi abstractus.—_Justiciarius._ Nos dicimus quod
ecclesia illa nunquam fuit dedicata per episcopum.—Priso. Sic,
domine.—_Justiciarius._ Inquiratur per duodecim:—Qui dixerunt quod
illa ecclesia nunquam fuit dedicata per episcopum.—_Justiciarius._
Modo oportet te respondere.—_Priso._ Sum bonus et fidelis: ideo de
bono et malo pono, etc. (formula of submission to the decision of a
jury, _patria_).—Duodecim nominati exiverunt ad deliberandos {435}
(_sic_).” “Year Books,” edited by A. Horwood, 1863, vol. i. p. 541,
Rolls Series. The final result is not given. The Year Books not
infrequently give accounts of cases where the right of sanctuary is
invoked by mere thieves as ready as any to avail themselves of the

The abuses resulting from the right of sanctuary, especially with
reference to St. Martin’s le Grand in London, are described as
follows in one of the Commons’ petitions: “Item prient les communes,
coment diverses persones des diverses estatz, et auxi apprentices
et servantz des plusours gentz, si bien demurrantz en la citée de
Loundres et en les suburbes d’icell, come autres gentz du roialme al
dite citée repairantz, ascuns en absence de lour meistres, de jour
en autre s’enfuyent ove les biens et chatelx de lour ditz mestres à
le collège de Seint Martyn le Grant en Loundres, à l’entent de et
sur mesmes les biens et chateux illeoqes vivre à lour voluntée saunz
duresse ou exécution du ley temporale sur eux illeoqes ent estre
faite, et là sont ils resceux et herbergéez, et mesmes les biens
et chateux par les ministres du dit collège al foitz seiséez et
pris come forffaitz à le dit collège. Et auxi diverses dettours as
plusours marchantz, si bien du dite citée, come d’autres vaillantz du
roialme, s’enfuyent de jour en autre al dit collège ove lour avoir à
y demurrer à l’entent avaunt dit. Et ensement plusours persones au
dit collège fuéez et là demurrantz, pur lour faux lucre, forgent,
fount et escrivent obligations, endentures, acquitances, et autres
munimentz fauxes, et illeoqes les enseallent es nouns si bien de
plusours marchantz et gentz en en la dite citée demurantz, come
d’autres du dit roialme à lour disheriteson et final destruction.
. . . Et en quelle collège de temps en temps sount receptz murdres,
traitours, come tonsours du monoye del coigne le Roy, larons,
robbours et autres diverses felouns malfaisours et destourbours de
la pées nostre seignur le roy, par jour tapisantz et de noet issantz
pur faire lour murdres, tresons, larcines, robbories et félonies.
. . . Et après tieuz murdres, tresons, etc., faitz, al dit collège
repairent.” “Rolls of Parliament,” vol. iii. p. 503, A.D. 1402.


(p. 211)


“_Pro Fraternitate Ministrallorum Regis_” (Rymer, “Fœdera,” 24,
1469). “Rex (etc.) . . . Sciatis quod ex querelosa insinuatione
{436} dilectorum nobis Walteri Haliday, marescalli, Johannis Cliff
(and six others) ministrallorum nostrorum accepimus qualiter
nonnulli, rudes agricolæ et artifices diversarum misterarum Regni
nostri Angliæ, finxerunt se fore ministrallos, quorum aliqui
liberatam nostram eis minime datam portarent, seipsos etiam fingentes
esse ministrallos nostros proprios, cujus quidem liberatæ ac dictæ
artis sive occupationis ministrallorum colore, in diversis partibus
regni nostri prædicti, grandes pecuniarum exactiones de ligeis
nostris deceptive colligunt et recipiunt, et licet ipsi in arte vel
sive occupatione illa minime intelligentes sive experti existant, et
in diversis artibus et operationibus diebus ferialibus sive profestis
utuntur et victum suum inde sufficienter percipiant, de loco tamen
ad locum, in diebus festivalibus, discurrunt, et proficua ilia
totaliter percipiunt, e quibus ministralli nostri prædicti, et cæteri
ministralli nostri pro tempore existentes, in arte sive occupatione
prædicta sufficienter eruditi et instructi, nullisque aliis
laboribus, occupationibus sive misteris utentes, vivere deberent.”

For which cause, permission has been granted: “Ministrallis nostris
quod ipsi, ad laudem et honorem Dei et ut specialius exorare
teneantur pro salubri statu nostro et præcarissimæ consortis nostræ
Elizabethæ reginæ Angliæ, dum agimus in humanis et pro animabus
nostris cum ab hac luce migraverimus, necnon pro anima carissimi
domini et patris nostri . . . tam in capella Beatæ Mariæ Virginis
infra ecclesiam cathedralem sancti Pauli Londoniæ, quam in libera
capella nostra regia sancti Anthonii, in eadem civitate nostra
Londoniæ, quandam fraternitatem sive gildam (quam ut accepimus
fratres et sorores fraternitatis ministrallorum regni nostri
prædicti, retroactis temporibus inierunt. . . .) stabilire,
continuare et augmentare ac quascumque personas, tam homines
quam mulieres eis grato animo adhærentes, in fratres et sorores
fraternitatis sive gildæ prædictæ recipere . . . possint et valeant.”

And for the good of the reconstituted gild, “volumus . . . quod
nullus ministrallus regni nostri prædicti, quamvis in hujusmodi arte
sive occupatione sufficienter eruditus existat, eadem arte . . . de
cætero, nisi de fraternitate sive gilda prædicta sit et ad eandam
admissus fuerit et cum cæteris confratribus ejusdem contribuent
aliquo modo utatur.”

The beneficiaries of his monopoly will have a right to inquire
throughout the realm, “de omnibus et singulis hujusmodi personis
fingentibus se fore ministrallos,” and to impose fines to be used
“pro continua et perpetua sustentatione certarum candelarum cerearum
vulganter nuncupatarum _tapers_,” in the before-mentioned chapels.


(p. 213)


The following collections may be consulted:

 “Ancient Songs and Ballads from the reign of Henry II to the
 Revolution,” collected by John Ritson, revised edition by W. C.
 Hazlitt, London, 1877.

 “Political Songs of England from the reign of John to that of Edward
 II,” edited by Thomas Wright; Camden Society, London, 1839.

 “Specimens of Lyric Poetry composed in England in the reign of
 Edward I,” ed. Th. Wright, Percy Society, 1842.

 “Reliquiæ antiquæ, scraps from ancient MSS. illustrating chiefly
 early English literature,” ed. Th. Wright and J. O. Halliwell, 2

 “Songs and Carols now first printed from a MS. of the xvth Century,”
 edited by Thomas Wright; Percy Society, London, 1847.

 “Political Poems and Songs, from Edward III to Richard III,” edited
 by Thomas Wright; Rolls Series, London, 1859, 1861.

 “Political, Religious, and Love Poems,” edited by F. J. Furnivall;
 Early English Text Society, London, 1866.

 “Catalogue of MS. Romances in the British Museum,” by Henry L. D.
 Ward, vol. i., London, 1887. See as to Robin Hood ballads, pp.

 “Bishop Percy’s folio MS.—Ballads and Romances,” edited by J. W.
 Hales and F. J. Furnivall, Ballad Society, London, 1867.

 “The English and Scottish popular Ballads,” edited by Prof. F. J.
 Child, Boston, U.S.A., 1882, ff.

Many satirical songs are to be found in those collections on the
vices of the times, the exaggerations of fashion, the ill government
of the king, the Lollards, the friars, the women, with some songs in
a higher key urging the king to defend the national honour and to
make war. See for example Dr. Furnivall’s collection, p. 4. In this
work is printed the song referred to in our text on the death of the
Duke of Suffolk (pp. 6–11): {438}

_Here folowythe a Dyrge made by the comons of Kent in the tyme of
ther rysynge, when Jake Cade was theyr cappitayn_:

     *  *  *  *  *
    Who shall execute y^e fest of solempnite?
    Bysshoppis and lords, as gret reson is.
    Monkes, chanons, and prestis, withall y^e clergy,
    Prayeth for hym that he may com to blys.

    And that nevar such anothar come aftar this
    His intersectures, blessid mot they be,
    And graunt them to reygne with aungellis!
    For Jake Napys sowle, placebo and dirige.

    “Placebo,” begyneth the bisshop of Hereforthe;
    “Dilexi,” quod y^e bisshop of Chester.


(p. 314)


“Quantum ergo exinde ut nec supervacua, inanis aut superflua tantæ
effusionis miseratio redderetur, thesaurum militanti Ecclesiæ
acquisivit, volens suis thesaurizare filiis pius pater, ut sic
sit infinitus thesaurus hominibus, quo qui usi sunt, Dei amicitiæ
participes sunt effecti. Quem quidem thesaurum non in ærario
repositum, non in agro absconditum, sed per beatum Petrum cœli
clavigerum, ejusque successores, suos in terris vicarios commisit
fidelibus salubriter dispensandum, et propriis et rationabilibus
causis, nunc pro totali, nunc pro partiali remissione pœnæ temporalis
pro peccatis debitæ tam generaliter quam specialiter (prout cum Deo
expedire cognoscerent) vere pœnitentibus et confessis misericorditer
applicandum. Ad cujus quidem thesauri cumulum, beatæ Dei genetricis,
omnium electorum a primo justo usque ad ultimum merita adminiculum
præstare noscuntur, de cujus consumptione, seu minutione non est
aliquatenus formidandum, tam propter infinita Christi (ut prædictum
est) merita, quam pro eo quod quanto plures ex ejus applicatione
trahuntur ad justitiam, tanto magis accrescit ipsorum cumulus

“Dictionnaire dogmatique, historique, ascétique et pratique des
indulgences,” by Abbé P. Jouhanneaud, Paris, 1852, pp. 123–4, being
vol. xxvii. of Migne’s “Nouvelle encyclopédie théologique.” {439}


(p. 321)


    “‘Mes bonnes gens, entendez tous ici.
    Vous savez bien coment le roy banny
    A, à grant tort, vostre seigneur Henry,
        Et sans raison;
    Et pource j’ay fait impetracion
    Au saint père, qui est nostre patron,
    Que trestous ceulx auront rémission
        De leurs péchiez
    De quoy oncques ilz furent entachiez,
    De puis l’eure qu’ilz furent baptisiez,
    Qui leur aideront tous certains en suez
        Celle journée;
    Et vesenci la bulle seellée,
    Que le pappe de romme la louée
    M’a envoié, et pour vous tous donnée,
        Mes bons amis.
    Vueilliez lui donc aidier ses ennemis
    A conquerre, et vous en serez mis
    Avecques ceux qui sont en paradis
        Après la mort.’
    Lors veissiez jeune, viel, feble, et fort
    Murmure faire, et par commun accort,
    Sans regarder ni le droit ni le tort,
        Eulx émouvoir,
    Cuidant que ce c’on leur fist assavoir
    Feust vérité, tous le courent de voir;
    Car de sens n’ont guères ne de savoir,
        De telz y a.
    L’arcevesque ce conseil cy trouva.”

“French metrical history of the deposition of King Richard II,”
by Créton, edited and translated into English by Rev. J. Webb.
“Archæologia,” t. xx. p. 310.

This speech is attributed by the chronicler to Thomas Arundel, {440}
Archbishop of Canterbury, and is supposed to have been delivered at
the time of the landing of Henry of Lancaster in 1399 (Henry IV).


(pp. 324, 327, 337)


Richard de Bury on the Pardoners, A.D. 1340:

“Cum sit statutum in canone ne qui eleemosynarum quæstores ad
prædicandum aut indulgentias clero et populo insinuandum sine
literis dioecesanis aut apostolicis admittantur, literæque
apostolicæ quæstoribus hujusmodi concessæ ante admissionem eorum per
diocesanos examinari debeant diligenter: ex gravi tamen multorum
querela ad nostrum pervenit auditum, quod nonnulli ex hujusmodi
quæstoribus, non sine multa temeritatis audacia, motu suo proprio,
in animarum subditorum nostrorum periculum et jurisdictionis nostræ
elusionem manifestam, indulgentias populo concedunt, super votis
dispensant, et perjuriis, homicidiis, usuris et peccatis aliis, sibi
confitentes absolvunt, et male ablata, data sibi aliqua pecuniæ
quantitate, remittunt, ac alias abusiones quamplurimas faciunt et
exponunt, vobis in virtute obedientiæ, firmiter inhibemus et per vos
omnibus rectoribus, vicariis et capellariis parochialibus, vestri
archidiaconatus, inhiberi volumus et mandamus, ne aliqui quæstores
hujusmodi, cujuscumque extiterint conditionis, ad prædicandum aut
indulgentias aliquas insinuandum clero et populo in ecclesiis
parochialibus ac locis aliis vestri archidiaconatus memorati, absque
literis nostris et licentia speciali de cætero admittantur; pecuniam
etiam et res quascumque, per hujusmodi quæstores, aut ad eorum
instantiam collectas . . . indilate faciatis sequestrari. . . . Datum
in manerio nostro de la Welehall’ octavo die mensis Decembris, Aº Dⁱ
mºcccºxlº et consecrationis nostræ vii^{mo}.”

“Registrum Palatinum Dunelmense,” edited by T. D. Hardy, vol. iii. p.

Provincial Synod of Dublin, 1348:

“Cap. xxii. _De quæstoribus._ Item, quia eleemosynarum quæstores
nonnullas abusiones in suis prædicationibus proponunt, ut decipiant
simplices tantum, et nonnulla alia bona subtili vel fallaci {441}
potius ingenio extorqueant, nonnulla etiam mala in deceptionem
animarum multiplicem perpetrentur; statuimus et ordinamus, quod
nullus amodo quæstor sine literis archiepiscopi vel dioec. admittatur
quovismodo. . . . Sacerdotes vero qui alio modo quam supra dicto,
quæstores ad prædicandum voluntarie et scienter admittunt, per
annum a celebratione divinorum ipso facto sint suspensi; et ipsi
quæstores, si contra præmissa aliquid attentaverint, ipso facto
sint excommunicati. Et si per quadraginta dies perseveraverint, ad
significationem episcoporum capiantur et incarcerentur, quousque de
talibus aliud fuerit per loci dioecesanum dispositum. Quascunque
literas hujusmodi quæstoribus hactenus concessas revocamus,
præmissarum sententiarum relaxatione sine absolutione loci dioecesani
reservata. Et capellani pecuniam ea occasione receptam ecclesiis
cathedralibus restituant triplicatam.”

Wilkins, “Concilia,” 1737, vol. ii. p. 750.

Bull of Pope Urban V, “contra quæstores hospitalis Jerusalem in
Anglia,” 1369:

“Urbanus . . . archiepiscopo Cant. ejusque suffraganeis, salutem.
. . . Nuper dilectis filiis Johanne Sancti Dunstani West., Ricardo
B. Mariæ Wolnoth, rectoribus, et Philippo de Braunton, ac Willelmo
de Eya, perpetuis vicariis parochialibus ecclesiarum London. Exon.
et Norwicen. dioec. ac nonnullis aliis rectoribus . . . nobis
referentibus percepimus, quod quæstores priorum, præceptorum et
confratrum domorum hospitalis S. Johannis Jerusalemitani in Anglia,
de voluntate, conniventia, ratihabitione, seu mandato dictorum
priorum . . . in pluribus contra juris et rationis metas impudenter
excedunt. . . . nonnulli tamen quæstores priorum et confratrum
prædictorum, gratia quæstus hujusmodi . . . ad rectorum et vicariorum
hujusmodi ecclesias accedentes, et se ad prædicandum seu exponendum
populo hujusmodi negotia quæstuaria offerentes, licet congrue et
legitime requisiti, literas sedis apostolicæ vel dioecesani loci
eisdem rectoribus seu vicariis sic requirentibus, ostendere seu
exhibere penitus non curarunt neque curant; quin verius de voluntate,
conniventia seu mandato de quibus prædicitur, denegarunt expresse
contra constitutiones canonicas . . . prætendentes ipsos priores
et fratres pro se et eorum quæstoribus in ea parte fore notorie
privilegiatos, licet hoc neque notorium fuerit neque verum; et ut
quadam astutia colorata ipsos rectores, et vicarios exhibitionem
literarum hujusmodi sic petentes, acrius fatigent laboribus et
expensis, ipsos eo quod exhibitionem literarum hujusmodi sic
{442} deposcebant et deposcunt, tanquam injuriatores contra eorum
privilegia manifestos, et quæstuum suorum impeditores proclamarunt
et proclamant, ipsosque ea occasione coram eorum conservatoribus
seu subconservatoribus ad loca diversa et quandoque valde remota
fecerunt et faciunt ad judicium evocari, et per conservatores sive
subconservatores hujusmodi contra eosdem processus indebitos fieri,
eosque nonnunquam excommunicari, aggravari et denunciari licet
de facto, ac alia eis gravamina quamplura inferri procurarunt et
procurant, in ipsorum rectorum et vicariorum grave præjudicium et
scandalum plurimorum: et insuper quæstores prædicti frequenter et
potissime, quando satagunt alicui rectori seu vicario nocere, ad
ipsius rectoris seu vicarii ecclesiam in aliquo die festo, præcipue
quando populus solitus est offerre, accedunt, et ibidem quæstuare,
seu nomina fratriæ seu fraternitatis suæ legere incipiunt et
continuant usque ad talem illius diei festi horam, qua missa ibidem
pro illo die convenienter non potest celebrari; sicque rectores et
vicarios hujusmodi suis faciunt oblationibus, quæ eis in missis
hujusmodi obveniunt, nequiter defraudari. Insuper in ecclesiis et
locis ad eos seu dictum hospitale nullatenus pertinentibus, licet
publice interdictis seu pollutis divina faciant etiam publice
celebrari, et in eis pro eorum libito per se et alios sepeliunt
corpora defunctorum; officium quoque seu negotium quæstuandi
personis simplicibus et quasi illiteratis committunt, qui simplices
aliis simplicibus erroneum præstantes ducatum, generaliter, ut de
spiritualibus taceamus, in populo diffundunt errores.”

Wilkins, “Concilia,” London, 1737, vol. iii. p. 83.

Letter of Simon Sudbury, Archbishop of Canterbury, A.D. 1378:

“Simon, etc., dilecto filio commissario nostro Cantuar. generali,
salutem, etc. Ad nostrum audientiam est perlatum, quod licet
eleemosynarum quæstores, nisi apostolicas vel dioecesani episcopi
literas exhibuerint, admitti non debeant, vel permitti indulgentias
sibi concessas insinuare, et populo prædicare; nonnulli tamen
quæstores, qui non sine multa temeritatis audacia, et deceptione
multiplici animarum, ac elusione populi christiani, indulgentias
remissionesque falsas et frivolas, et alia erronea . . . prædicant
abusive, tam per vos, quam per official. archidiaconi nostri Cantuar.
de diebus in dies indifferenter illicite admittuntur, nos, abusus
hujusmodi omnimodo abolere volentes, vobis . . . inhibemus et per
vos dicto officiali ac omnibus aliis nobis subditis . . . inhiberi
volumus et mandamus ne quæstores hujusmodi absque nostris literis
{443} sufficientibus in hac parte, ac vobis et ipsis liquere possit
literas apostolicas quæstorum hujusmodi si quas habent, per nos
examinatas primitus extitisse, admittatis ibidem de cætero vel

Wilkins, “Concilia,” vol. iii. p. 131.

Bull of Pope Boniface IX, A.D. 1390:

“Ad audientiam nostram, non sine magna mentis displicentia
fidedignorum quamplurimum relatio perduxit quod quidam religiosi
diversorum etiam mendicantium ordinum et nonnulli clerici sæculares
etiam in dignitatibus constituti, asserentes se a nobis aut a
diversis legatis seu nuntiis sedis apostolicæ missos, et ad plura
peragenda negotia diversas facultates habere per partes, in quibus
es pro nobis et Ecclesia Romana thesaurarius deputatus, discurrunt,
et veras vel prætensas, quas se habere dicunt, facultates fideli
et simplici populo nunciant et irreverenter veris hujusmodi
facultatibus abutentes, suas fimbrias, ut vel sic turpem et infamem
quæstum faciant, impudenter dilatant, et non veras et prætensas
facultates hujusmodi mendaciter simulant, cum etiam pro qualibet
parva pecuniarum summula, non pœnitentes, sed mala conscientia
satagentes iniquitati suæ, quoddam mentitæ absolutionis velamen
prætendere, ab atrocibus delictis, nulla vera contritione, nullaque
debita præcedenti forma (ut verbis illorum utamur) absolvant; male
ablata, certa et incerta, nulla satisfactione prævia (quod omnibus
sæculis absurdissimum est) remittant; castitatis, abstinentiæ,
peregrinationis ultramarinæ, seu beatorum Petri et Pauli de urbe
aut Jacobi in Compostella apostolorum, et alia quævis vota, levi
compensatione commutent; de hæresi vel schismate nominatim aut
incidenter condemnatos, absque eo quod in debita forma abjurent
et quantum possunt debite satisfaciant, non tantum absolvant, sed
in integrum restituant; cum illegitime genitis, ut ad ordines et
beneficia promoveri possint, et intra gradus prohibitos copulatis
aut copulandis dispensent, et eis qui ad partes infidelium absque
sedis prædictæ licentia transfretarunt, vel merces prohibitas
detulerunt, et etiam qui Romanæ aut aliarum ecclesiarum possessiones,
jura, et bona occuparunt, excommunicationis et alias sententias et
pœnas, et quævis interdicta relaxent, et indulgentiam quam felicis
recordationis Urbanus Papa VI prædecessor noster, christifidelibus
certas basilicas et ecclesias dictæ urbis instanti anno visitantibus
concessit, et quæ in subsidium Terræ Sanctæ accedentibus conceduntur,
quibusvis elargiri pro nihilo ducant, . . . et quæstum, quem exinde
percipiunt, nomine cameræ apostolicæ se percipere asserant, et nullam
de illo nihilominus rationem velle reddere videantur: Horret et
merito indignatur animus, talia reminisci. . . . {444}

“Attendentes igitur quod nostra interest super tot tantisque malis
de opportunis remediis salubriter providere, fraternitati tuæ de
qua in iis et aliis specialem in domino fiduciam obtinemus, per
apostolica scripta committimus et mandamus, quatenus religiosis et
clericis sæcularibus hujusmodi, ac eorum familiaribus, complicibus,
et collegiis, et aliis, vocatis qui fuerint evocandi, summarie,
simpliciter, et de plano, ac sine strepitu et figura judicii,
etiam ex officio super præmissis, auctoritate nostra, inquiras
diligentius veritatem, et eos ad reddendum tibi computum de receptis
et reliqua consignandum, remota appellatione, compellas, et quos per
inquisitionem hujusmodi excessisse, vel non verum aut non sufficiens
seu ad id non habuisse mandatum inveneris, capias et tandiu sub fida
custodia teneas carceribus mancipatos, donec id nobis intimaveris.”

Baronius’ “Annales ecclesiastici”; continuation by Raynaldus, ed.
1752, vol. vii. p. 525.

Opinion of the University of Oxford on Pardoners, A.D. 1414:

“_Articulus tricesimus nonus; contra falsas prædicationes
quæstorum._—Quia inverecundi quæstores turpissimos suos quæstus
ad firmam emunt cum Simone, indulgentias vendunt cum Gyesi, et
adquisita consumunt cum filio prodigo inhoneste, sed quod magis est
detestabile, cum non sint in sacris ordinibus constituti, publice
prædicant, ac false prætendunt quod absolvendi a pœna et a culpa
tam superstites quam defunctos plenam habeant potestatem, cum aliis
blasphemiis, quibus populum spoliant ac seducunt, et verisimiliter
ad tartara secum trahunt, præstantes spem frivolam et audaciam ad
peccandum. Abusus igitur hujusmodi sectæ pestiferæ ab ecclesiæ
limitibus deleantur.”

_Articuli concernentes reformationem universalis ecclesiæ, editi per
universitatem Oxon._ Wilkins, “Concilia,” vol. iii. p. 365.

Suppression of pardoners by the Council of Trent, A.D. 1562:

“Cum multa a diversis antea conciliis, tam Lateranensi ac Lugdunensi,
quam Viennensi, adversus pravos eleemosynarum quæstorum abusus
remedia tunc adhibita, posterioribus temporibus reddita fuerint
inutilia, potiusque eorum malitia ita quotidie magno fidelium
omnium scandalo et querela excrescere deprehendatur, ut de eorum
emendatione nulla spes amplius relicta videatur, statuit ut posthac
in quibuscumque christianæ religionis locis eorum nomen atque usus
penitus aboleatur, nec ad officium hujusmodi exercendum {445}
ullatenus admittantur; non obstantibus privilegiis, ecclesiis,
monasteriis, hospitalibus, piis locis et quibusvis cujuscumque
gradus, status et dignitatis personis, concessis, aut consuetudinibus
etiam immemorabilibus. Indulgentias vero aut alias spirituales
gratias, quibus non ideo christifideles decet privari, deinceps per
ordinarios locorum, adhibitis duobus de capitulo, debitis temporibus
populo publicandas esse decernit. Quibus etiam eleemosynas, atque
oblata sibi charitatis subsidia, nulla prorsus mercede accepta,
fideliter colligendi facultas datur, ut tamdem cœlestes hos Ecclesiæ
thesauros, non ad quæstum sed ad pietatem exerceri, omnes vere

“Conciliorum generalium Ecclesiæ catholicæ, Pauli V Pont. Max.
auctoritate editus.” Tomus iv, Rome, 1628, second paging, p. 261.


(p. 344)


Thomas of Burton, Abbot of Meaux, near Beverley, writes: “Dictus
autem Hugo abbas xv^{us} crucifixum novum in choro conversorum fecit
fabricari. Cujus quidem operarius nullam ejus formosam et notabilem
proprietatem sculpebat nisi in feria sexta, in qua pane et aqua
tantum jejunavit. Et hominem nudum coram se stantem prospexit,
secundum cujus formosam imaginem crucifixum ipsum aptius decoraret.
Per quem etiam crucifixum Omnipotens manifesta miracula fecerat
incessanter. Unde tunc etiam putabatur quod, si mulieres ad dictum
crucifixum accessum haberent, augmentaretur communis devotio, et in
quam plurimum commodum nostri monasterii, redundaret. Super quo abbas
Cistercii a nobis requisitus, suam licentiam nobis impertivit ut
homines et mulieres honestæ accedere possent ad dictum crucifixum,
dum tamen mulieres per claustrum et dormitorium seu alia officina
intrare non permittantur. . . . Cujus quidem licentiæ prætextu, malo
nostro, feminæ sæpius aggrediuntur dictum crucifixum, præcipue cum in
eis frigescat devotio, dum illuc ut ecclesiam tantum introspiciant
accesserint, et sumptus nostros augeant in hospitatione earundem.”

“Chronica monasterii de Melsa,” edited by E. A. Bond, 1866–68, vol.
iii. p. 35, Rolls Series. {446}


(p. 141, 362)


Tired of his sins, duly shriven, ordered by the hermit to go to Rome,
and there receive absolution, Reynard,

    “Escrepe et bordon prent, si muet,
     Si est entres en son chemin,
     Molt resemble bien pélerin,
     Et bien li sist l’escrepe au col.”

He does not care to travel alone and, like most pilgrims, prefers

    “Mes de ce se tint il por fol
     Qu’il est meüz sans compaignie,
     Le grant chemin n’ira il mie,
     Ançois l’avoit laissié à destre,
     Une sente torne à senestre,”

and leads him to a place where he finds

                    “dan Belin
    Le moton qui se reposoit,”

and whom he persuades to go with him, thus avoiding, he suggests,
being eaten by his owners. A third member, the donkey, is soon added
to their party:

    “En lor chemin en sont entrè,
     Mes il n’orent guères erré,
     Qant trovent Bernart l’archeprestre
     En un fossé les cardons pestre,”

and he is easily persuaded to follow. They enter the forest. Night
comes. Where shall they find shelter? Why should we, Reynard remarks,
look for any other “ostel” than the fine grass under this tree?

    “Et nos queil ostel querrion
     Fors la bele erbe soz cest arbre?
     Meus l’eim que un paleis de marbre.”


Appealing as must have been the fine grass to him, Belin objects, the
wood being so dangerous. So they continue their journey until they
reach the “ostel Primaut,” that is the house of Primaut the Wolf, who
was away. There they find

    “Char salée, formache et oes . . .
     Si i trovent bone cervoise.
     Tant boit Belins que il s’envoise;
     Si a commencié à chanter
     Et l’archeprestre à orguaner,
     Et dan Renart chante en fauset.”

Concluding speech of Reynard, after the siege of the house by the
wolves, and the miscarriage of the pilgrimage:

    “Segnor, dist Renart, par mon chef,
     Cest eires est pesant et gref;
     Il a el siécle meint prodome
     Qu’ onques encor ne fu à Rome:
     Tiex est revenuz de sept seinz
     Qui est pires qu’il ne fu einz.
     Je me voil metre en mon retor,
     Et si vivrai de mon labor
     Et gaaignerai léelment,
     Si ferai bien à povre gent.
     Lors ont crié: outrée, outrée!
     Si ont fete la retornée.”

“Le roman de Renart,” ed. Ernest Martin, Strasbourg and Paris, 1882
ff, 7 vols.; i. pp. 269 ff.



[1] “Year Books,” 30, 31 Edward I. Edited by A. J. Horwood, for the
Rolls Series, 1863.


[2] And possibly, in early times, of roads also; see McKechnie,
“Magna Carta,” Glasgow, 1905, p. 353. On the _Trinoda_ or _Trimoda
Necessitas_, see W. H. Stevenson, in the “English Historical Review,”
Oct. 1914.

[3] “History of Rome,” translated by W. P. Dickson, London, 1886,
book viii. chap. v.

[4] J. Horsley, “Britannia Romana,” London, 1732, p. 391.

[5] H. M. Scarth, “Roman Britain,” S.P.C.K., London, 1883, p. 121.
Cf. T. Codrington, “Roman Roads in Britain,” S.P.C.K., 1903.

[6] When Henry VIII gave the lands of the dissolved monastery of
Christ Church to Canterbury Cathedral, he declared that he made this
donation “in order that charity to the poor, the reparation of roads
and bridges, and other pious offices of all kinds should multiply
and spread afar.” Elton, “Tenures of Kent,” London, 1867, p. 21.
The gift is made “in liberam, puram et perpetuam eleemosynam.” This
pious character was long continued: “As late as the period of the
Commonwealth land and money devoted to the maintenance of bridges
and causeys were definitely included among the charitable uses which
were to be unaffected by the sequestration of Bishops’ land and other
ecclesiastical revenues.” C. T. Flower, “Public Works in Mediæval
Law,” Selden Society, 1905, i. p. xxi.

[7] Thorold Rogers, “History of Agriculture and Prices in England,”
Oxford, 1866, vol. i. p. 138.

[8] See “Recherches historiques sur les congrégations hospitalières
des frères pontifes,” by M. Grégoire, late Bishop of Blois. Paris,

[9] This practice was inherited from the Roman builders, whose
formularies continued to be transcribed throughout the middle
ages. See Victor Mortet: “Un Formulaire du VIII^e siécle pour les
fondations d’édifices et de ponts d’après des sources d’origine
antique,” in “Bulletin monumental . . . de la Société française
d’Archéologie,” vol. 71, 1907, p. 443. The brief chapter in the
“Mappæ Clavicula” (still copied in the twelfth century), entitled
“De fabrica in aqua,” recommends that, “Si fabricam in aqua necesse
fuerit erigere, facis arcam triangulam,” _arca_ meaning _caisson_. In
this we see, Mr. Mortet writes, “la disposition venue de l’antiquité,
transmise et maintenue au moyen-âge, de la forme prismatique
triangulaire des avant-becs des ponts” (p. 461). This characteristic
was conspicuous, _e.g._ in the Avignon and London bridges (see the
picture, p. 45) as well as in the famous Roman Pont du Gard.

[10] On French mediæval bridges still in existence, their dates,
modes of construction, crosses and chapels, see C. Enlart, “Manuel
d’Archéologie Française,” Paris, 1902, ff. vol. ii. p. 264.

[11] May 17, 1373, original in French. “John of Gaunt’s Register,”
ed. S. Armitage Smith, London, 1911, vol. ii. p. 179. The work
was apparently in progress in 1374, since we find, on the 15th of
September of that year, an order to deliver to the same “trois
cheisnes covenables” from Okeden forest. _Ibid._, p. 240.

[12] “Ubi frequens habetur populi transitus.” “Registrum Palatinum
Dunelmense,” ed. Hardy, Rolls Series, 1875, vol. i. pp. 615, 641,
A.D. 1314. This was a quite usual practice. The popes, who had
every reason to be interested in the welfare of the great bridge at
Avignon, published numerous bulls granting indulgences and other
spiritual favours to the benefactors of the edifice. See “Bullaire
des indulgences concédées avant 1431 à l’œuvre du Pont d’Avignon,”
published by the Marquis de Ripert-Monclar, Paris, 1912. The
work contains the Latin text of papal bulls of 1281, 1290, 1343,
1353, 1366, 1371, 1397, 1430, 1431. The bull of 1343, issued by
Pope Clement VI, at Avignon, grants to givers “tres annos et tres
quadragenas,” and, under certain conditions, a plenary indulgence at
the time of death: “Siquis vero catholicus dictis fratribus . . .
secundum quantitatem substancie et qualitatem . . . de bonis sibi a
Deo collatis dederit vel transmiserit quoquo modo ad reparacionem
dicti pontis, . . . si talis infra annum . . . vere penitens ac
confessus ab hac luce decesserit, volumus et gratia speciali
concedimus quod ab omnibus peccatis suis remaneat absolutus.” As for
those who should be so bold as to hamper in any way the collections
made by the brothers for their bridge, their punishment would be
nothing less than excommunication (p. 6).

[13] “Registrum Palatinum Dunelmense,” ed. Hardy, Rolls Series, 1875,
vol. i. p. 507.

[14] “Itinerary,” ed. L. T. Smith, vol. v. p. 144.

[15] Certificates of Chantries, quoted in “English Gilds, the
Original Ordinances from MSS. of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth
Centuries,” ed. Toulmin Smith. E. E. T. S., 1870, p. 249. Gilds in
Rochester, Bristol, Ludlow, &c., did the same.

[16] Text of the time of Edward IV, but “copied from laws still
older.” “English Gilds,” as above, pp. 374, 411.

[17] “Archæologia,” vols. xxvii. p. 77; xxix. p. 380.

[18] “Cartularium Abbathiæ de Whiteby,” edited by J. C. Atkinson,
Durham, Surtees Society, 1881, vol. ii. p. 401. The original of the
Rosels contract is in Latin.

[19] Skeat’s edition, Text C, pas. x. l. 29, _et seq._

[20] Most of the French ones were dedicated to St. Nicholas, patron
of travellers.

[21] Fleet bridge outside Ludgate, Oldbourne (Holborn) bridge, both
of stone. Fleet bridge had been repaired by the mayor, John Wels, in
1431, “for,” says Stow, “on the coping is engraven Wels imbraced by
Angels.” “Survey of London,” ed. Kingsford, Oxford, 1908, 2 vols.,
vol. i. p. 26. The “Survey” had appeared in 1598, and been reprinted,
with important additions in 1603.

[22] “The earliest proof [of the existence of a timber bridge] is in
the record of the drowning of a witch at ‘Lundene brigce’ in King
Edgar’s time.” Kingsford, Stow’s “Survey,” as above, vol. ii. p. 273.

[23] Stow’s “Survey,” i. p. 23. Stow, who examined the accounts of
the bridge wardens for the year 1506 (22 Hen. VII), found that the
bridge expenses were at that time £815 17s. 2d.

[24] King John became personally acquainted with those works only
at a later date, viz. June 1206, when he landed at La Rochelle. He
visited Saintes in July and August, and made again some stay at La
Rochelle in October and November before sailing back to England. See
his _Itinerary_ in “A Description of the Patent Rolls in the Tower,”
by Thomas Duffus Hardy, London, 1835.

[25] See Appendix I. p 425.

[26] Stow’s “Survey,” ed. Kingsford, I. p. 23.

[27] Ibid., same edition, I. 25; II. 274. “Chronicles of London
Bridge,” by an Antiquary [Richard Thomson], London, 1827, pp. 187–193.

[28] As to the toll collected there from certain foreign merchants
A.D. 1334, see “Liber Albus,” ed. Riley, Introduction, p. l.

[29] “Scaligerana,” under the word “Londres.” The editions I have
seen give “mers de navires,” the true reading being certainly “mâts.”
An enlarged portion of Visscher’s panoramic view of London, 1616,
showing the “Bridge Gate” towards Southwark, with numerous mast-like
poles and heads on the top of them, serves as a frontispiece for vol.
iii. of my “Literary History of the English People.”

[30] “Euphues and his England,” 1st ed. 1580; Arber’s reprint, 1868,
p. 434. See besides the large coloured drawing of about the year
1600 (also the sketch above, p. 45), in the third part of Harrison’s
“Description of England,” edited by F. J. Furnivall for the New
Shakspere Society, 1877; and Mr. Wheatley’s notes on Norden’s Map of
London, 1593, in vol. i. p. lxxxix of the same work. Visitors coming
to London never failed to notice the bridge as one of the curiosities
of the town. Dunbar, the Scottish poet, in his “London,” written in
the early years of the sixteenth century, compliments the city on its
beauties, and especially its bridge:

    “Upon thy lusty brigge of pylers white
    Been merchauntis full royall to behold.”

The Greek Nicander Nucius of Corcyra, who visited England in 1545–6,
writes in his note-book: “A certain very large bridge is built,
affording a passage to those in the city to the opposite inhabited
bank, supported by stone cemented arches, and having also houses and
turrets upon it.” “Travels of Nicander Nucius,” Camden Society, 1841,
p. 7.

[31] F. de Belleforest, “L’ancienne et grande cité de Paris,” ed.
Dufour, 1882, p. 274.

[32] See woodcuts in “Le livre des Ordonnances de la ville de Paris,”
published by Vérard, 1500, reproduced by Claudin, “Histoire de
l’Imprimerie,” 1900, vol. ii. pp. 498, 499.

[33] “Staple of News,” ii. 4; acted 1626, ed. De Winter, 1905, p.

[34] In “Works of Ben Jonson,” London, 1816, v. 215.

[35] “Chronicles of London Bridge by an Antiquary” [Richard Thomson],
London, 1827.

[36] See Appendix II. p. 426.

[37] “The Itinerary of John Leland,” edited by Miss Lucy Toulmin
Smith, London, 1907, vol. ii. pp. 27, 49.

[38] “The North Riding Record Society,” edited by the Rev. J. C.
Atkinson, London, vol. iii. part i. p. 33.

[39] Edward III gives the not insignificant sum of £15 for the
reparation of the bridge at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. “Roll of Thomas de
Brantingham,” ed. Devon, p. 392, 44 Ed. III.

[40] Yarm on the Tees, 44 miles north-north-west of York. The “king’s
highway” in question is the highroad from Scotland, leading to the
south, through York and London. The bridge was re-built in 1400 by
Skirlaw, Bishop of Durham.

[41] “Rolls of Parliament,” vol. i. p. 468. The right of pontage is
frequently mentioned in the “Liber Custumarum,” edited by Riley,
Rolls Series.

[42] “Sciatis quod, in auxilium Pontis London, reparandi et
sustentandi, concessimus vobis quod . . . capiatis ibidem de rebus
venalibus ultra pontem predictum et subtus eundem transeuntibus
consuetudines subscriptas, videlicet . . .” Then follows a very long
list of dues. Text in Hearne’s “Liber niger Scaccarii . . . Accedunt
chartæ antiquæ,” London, 1774, vol. i. p. 478*.

[43] “Rolls of Parliament,” vol. ii. p. 88.

[44] See Hist. MSS. Commission, 9th Report, part i. p. 284. On the
Rochester bridge, at first a wooden one, later rebuilt in stone,
and on its upkeep, see “Rolls of Parliament,” vol. iii. p. 254, 21
Ric. II, 1397. A view of the bridge appears on several seals, some
reproduced in De Gray Birch, “Seals in . . . the British Museum,”
London, 1887, 2 vols., No. 5336. On this important bridge and its
_biography_, see C. T. Flower, “Public Works in Mediæval Law,” 1905,
Selden Society, I., p. 203. Like many others, this very frequented
bridge, on the road from London to Canterbury, and which existed long
before the Conquest, was first of wood, then of stone, and is now
(since 1856) of iron.

[45] “Rolls of Parliament,” vol. ii. p. 100, year 1338.

[46] “King Edward kept his feast of Christmas (1281) at Worcester.
From this Christmas till the purification of Our Lady, there was
such a frost and snow, as no man living could remember the like,
wherethrough five arches of London Bridge, and all Rochester Bridge
were borne downe, and carried away with the streame, and the like
hapned to many bridges in England.” Stow’s “Annales,” London, 1631,
p. 201. See Appendix III.

[47] “Rolls of Parliament,” vol. ii. p. 91 (9 Edward III), 1335.

[48] Ibid., p. 350.

[49] “De pontibus et calcetis fractis et communibus transitibus, quis
ea reparare debeat et sustinere.” “Fleta” (end of thirteenth century,
below p. 111), I. ch. 20, § 41.

[50] _I.e._ the jury “of good and true men.” “Rolls of Parliament,”
vol. ii. p. 111.

[51] Several instances will be found in Appendix IV. p. 429.

[52] John Scott, “Berwick-upon-Tweed,” London, 1888, p. 408, _et seq._

[53] Ormerod, “History of Chester,” 1819, vol. i. p. 285.

[54] “Archæologia,” t. xix. p. 310.

[55] The date is shown by a will of the 24th of August, 1483, in
which a sum is left towards the building of the chapel to be erected
on Rotherham Bridge. See J. Guest, “Historic Notices of Rotherham,”
Worksop, 1879, fol., pp. 125–6. Two views of the bridge and chapel
are given, pp. 126 and 581.

[56] Camden’s “Britannia,” ed. Gough, vol. iii., Lond., 1789, pp.

[57] T. Kilby, “Views in Wakefield,” 1843, fol.; J. C. and C. A.
Buckler, “Remarks upon Wayside Chapels,” Oxford, 1843.

[58] “Twenty marks were left towards the rebuilding of this bridge,
by John Cook, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 2 Rich. II, 1379.” E.
Mackenzie, “View of the County of Northumberland,” 1825, vol. ii. p.

[59] “Faerie Queene,” Bk. iv. canto x.

[60] Mentioned by Leland: “High Bridge hath but one great arch, and
over a pece of it is a chapelle of St. George” (“Itinerary,” ed. L.
T. Smith, i. 29), which chapel had been first dedicated to St. Thomas
of Canterbury, but had apparently just been rebaptized, when Leland
saw it, Henry VIII having decided by a proclamation of November 16,
1538, that other saints might be saints, but this one was not.

[61] See a sketch of it, above, p. 21.

[62] “History of Chester,” London, 1819, vol. i. p. 285.

[63] Dugdale, “Warwickshire,” 1730, ii. 724.

[64] J. G. Wood, “The Principal Rivers of Wales,” London, 1813, vol.
ii. p. 271.

[65] The Countess of Norfolk complains to Parliament that, contrary
to their franchise, her tenants have been compelled to contribute
towards the building of the bridge at Huntingdon. “Rolls of
Parliament,” 1 Ric. II, year 1377.

[66] See F. Stone, “Picturesque Views of the Bridges of Norfolk,”
Norwich, 1830. Rough sketches of more than thirty old English bridges
appear in a curious engraving by Daniel King (seventeenth century),
bearing as a title: “An orthographical designe of severall viewes
vpon ye road in England and Wales,” and as a subscription: “This
designe is to illustrate Cambden’s Britannia, that where he mentions
such places the curious may see them, which is the indeavour, by Gods
assistance, of

 “Y. S. Daniell King.”

A copy is bound in the MS. Harl. 2073, as fol. 126. Catterick Bridge
(_supra_ p. 54) is among the bridges there represented.

[67] “The Itinerary of John Leland,” ed. Lucy Toulmin Smith, London,
1907, 5 vols., iv. p. 137.

[68] “Rolls of Parliament,” vol. i. p. 48, 18 Edward I, A.D. 1289.

[69] Ibid., vol. i. p. 424; 18 Edward II, 1324.

[70] Ibid., vol. i. p. 314; 8 Edward II.

[71] “Rolls of Parliament,” vol. iii. p. 598; 7 and 8 Henry IV.
In the same way as for bridges, taxes were sometimes levied but
misapplied. See, in C. T. Flower, “Public Works in Mediæval Law,”
1905, i. p. 25, how William Caldecote of Aylesbury had been duly
authorized to levy a tax of one penny or one half-penny on carts of
various sorts, and one farthing on “every horse carrying goods for
sale that should pass along Walton street which leads from Walton to
Aylesbury for the maintenance of the said road, and that whereas the
said William so received in 11 Rich. II over and above the sum spent
on the repair of the road 24s. which remain in his hands, the road is
flooded and dangerous by his default.”

[72] Grandson and great-grandson of the two Despensers who had been
executed in 1326 by order of Queen Isabella, their estates being

[73] Ed. Siméon Luce, vol. i. p. 257.

[74] Royal Itineraries show, for instance, that in the 28th year
of his reign, Edward I changed seventy-five times his place of
abode, that is about three times each fortnight. “Liber quotidianus
Garderobæ,” London, 1787, p. lxvii.

[75] McKechnie, “Magna Carta,” 1905, p. 357.

[76] “Chronica monasterii de Melsa,” ed. E. A. Bond; Rolls Series,
1868, London, vol. iii. preface, p. xv.

[77] Patent Roll, 27 Edward III, in Rymer (ed. 1708), vol. v. p. 774.
See as to the repair of this same road in 1314, thirty-nine years
earlier, “Rolls of Parliament,” vol. i. p. 302 _b_.

[78] Riley’s “Memorials of London,” London, 1868, p. 291.

[79] Ordonance of March 1, 1388, “Recueil d’Isambert,” vol. vi. p.
665. On the state of roads and bridges and on travelling in France,
see d’Avenel, “L’Évolution des Moyens de Transport,” Paris, 1919.

[80] “Rolls of Parliament,” ii. p. 107.

[81] See frontispiece of this volume, and p. 14.

[82] To give shelter (“tego,” I shelter, in the enumeration devised
by St. Thomas Aquinas) was one of the seven “Works of Charity.” In
the evening prayers at home, in my childhood, part of which had been
handed down from remote times, travellers were still remembered, as
well as those who had been “bitten by venomous beasts.”

[83] See representations of these carts in the manuscripts of
the fourteenth century, and especially in MS. Roy., 10 E. IV, in
the British Museum, fol. 63, 94, 110, &c., and in the Louterell
psalter. We give above a facsimile of one of them, and further a
representation of a reaper’s cart from the Louterell psalter. See
also Bodl. MS. 264, fos. 42, 84, 103, 110.

[84] Thorold Rogers, “History of Agriculture and Prices,” i. pp.

[85] “Statutes of the Realm,” 4 Edward III, ch. 3. Eight bushels
make a quarter. [The Act 25 Edward III, stat. 5, ch. 10, A.D. 1351,
provided that every measure of corn should be striken without heap,
and that the royal purveyors should use this measure. Hence the name
_strike_ for a bushel. L. T. S.]

[86] Statute 36 Edward III, stat. 1, ch. 2.

[87] See several texts in Appendix V. p. 430.

[88] A shape in use from the remotest times. Carriages quite similar
to those painted in our mediæval MSS. are to be seen on the alabaster
funeral chests of Etruscan days, for example at the Guarnacei Museum,
Volterra, in Italy, where there is an abundance of them, showing the
dead, in their own round-topped, richly ornamented carriage, on their
way to the other world.

[89] Representations of carriages of this kind are frequent in
manuscripts. Many are to be found, with two wheels and an abundance
of ornamentation, in the romance of King Meliadus (MS. of the
fourteenth century in the British Museum, Add. 12,228, fos. 198,
243). The celebrated four wheeled carriage of the Louterell psalter,
also of fourteenth century, is here reproduced. It is drawn by five
horses harnessed single file. On the second sits a postilion with a
short whip of several thongs; on the fifth, that is, the nearest to
the carriage, sits another postilion with a long whip of the shape in
use at the present day.

[90] La Tour-Landry relates a story of a holy hermit who saw in a
dream his nephew’s wife in purgatory. The demons were pushing burning
needles into her eyebrows. An angel told him that it was because she
had trimmed her eyebrows and temples, and increased her forehead, and
plucked out her hair, thinking to beautify herself and to please the
world. “Le livre du Chevalier de La Tour-Landry,” ed. Montaiglon,
Paris, 1854. An English translation of the fifteenth century was
published by the Early English Text Society in 1868.

[91] The king’s sister. Devon’s “Issues of the Exchequer,” 1837, p.
142. As Englished by Devon, the Latin text referred to would mean
that the receiver of the money and maker of the carriage was Master
la Zousche, but la Zousche was the clerk of the wardrobe, who had
the money from the Exchequer to give it to John le Charer, “per
manus John le Charer.” _Per_ has here the meaning of _pro_, a use of
the word of which several instances may be found in Du Cange. This
indication of Devon’s mistake is due to the late Mr. Bradshaw, of

[92] Thorold Rogers, “History of Agriculture and Prices,” i. pp.

[93] Curious representations of such litters are to be found in
mediæval manuscripts; for instance, the one here reproduced from
the MS. 118 Français, in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, fol.
285, where two persons are to be seen using the litter, a lady and
a wounded knight (Romance of Lancelot, fourteenth century); or in
the MS. Roy, 18 E. II, in the British Museum, fol. 7 (Chronicles of

[94] “Paston Letters,” 1422–1509, edited by Jas. Gairdner, 1872, vol.
i. p. 49; spelling modernized.

[95] Roy. 10 E. IV.

[96] Fol. 310.

[97] “A Description of the Patent Rolls . . . to which is added an
Itinerary of King John,” by T. Duffus Hardy, London, 1835.

[98] 1299–1300. “Liber quotidianus Garderobæ,” Society of
Antiquaries, London, 1787, p. 67.

[99] “Archers. And xxiiij archers on foote for garde of the kinge’s
body, who shall goe before the kinge as he travaleth thorough the
cuntry” (“King Edward II’s . . . Ordinances,” 1323, ed. Furnivall, p.

[100] “Fleta, seu commentarius juris Anglicani, editio secunda,”
London 1685, lib. ii. cap. 2, 4. This treatise is believed to have
been composed in the Fleet prison by a lawyer in the time of Edward
I. It is later than 1292, for mention is made in it of the submission
of Scotland.

[101] Lib. ii. cap. 5. The ordinance of Edward II mentioned further,
p. 108, speaks only of the brand by a hot iron on the forehead. “King
Edward II’s Household and Wardrobe Ordinances,” A.D. 1323, Chaucer
Society, ed. Furnivall, 1876.

[102] Lib. ii. cap. 14, 15.

[103] He sent a _mandatum_ to this effect, and he withdrew it
when the king changed his mind as to the place where he wished to
go, which happened often enough. “Debet autem senescallus nomine
capitalis justitiarii cujus vices gerit mandare vicecomiti loci ubi
dominus rex fuerit declinaturus, quod venire faciat ad certum diem,
ubicumque tunc rex fuerit in ballivia sua, omnes assisas comitatus
sui et omnes prisones cum suis atachiamentis.” “Fleta,” lib. ii. cap.
3, § 4.

[104] “Habet etiam ex virtute officii sui potestatem procedendi
ad utlagationes et duella jungendi et singula faciendi quæ ad
justitiarios itinerantes, prout supra dictum est pertinent faciendi.”
“Fleta,” lib. ii. cap. 3, § 11.

[105] “Fleta,” lib. ii. cap. 3, § 9.

[106] “Original authority of the King’s Council,” p. 115.

[107] “The county is divided into hundreds or into wapentakes or
into wards, the term wapentake appearing in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire,
Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, the term ward in the northernmost
counties.” (“History of English Law before Edward I,” by Sir
Frederick Pollock and F. W. Maitland, Cambridge, 2 vols., 1895, vol.
i. p. 543.) At the head of the hundred was the bailiff, appointed
by the sheriff, acting under him, and giving also rise to numerous
complaints. See, e.g. “Rolls of Parliament,” ii. 357, a petition of

[108] The lists which have reached us “leave us doubting whether any
of them had received a solemn sanction from the central power.” Same
“History of English Law,” ii. 508. On the origin, growth, decay, uses
and abuses of the institution, see W. A. Morris, “The Frankpledge
System,” London, 1910.

[109] In many places great people, lay or ecclesiastic, had somehow
secured for themselves the properly royal privilege of holding the
“view”; it became attached to some manors and was conveyed with them.
See the petition of an abbess who claims the view of frankpledge
attached to the manor of Shorwalle, Isle of Wight, which had been
given her; Isabella de Forte disputes her this right, the real object
of the quarrel between the two ladies being the fines levied when the
view was held.

Towards the end of the fourteenth century the frankpledge had fallen
into decay.

[110] “Magna Carta,” cap. 42 of the second confirmation by Henry
III (1217); Stubbs’ “Select Charters,” p. 337. “Nec liceat alicui
vicecomiti vel ballivo tenere turnum suum per hundredum nisi bis per
annum;” “Fleta,” Lib. ii. cap. 52.

[111] See Appendix VI, p. 431.

[112] “The articles for the London eyre of 1244 are in ‘Munimenta
Gildhallæ,’ i. 79; those for the eyre of 1321 are in ‘Munim. Gild.,’
ii. 347. The latter are fully seven times as long as the former and
fill fifteen octavo pages.” Pollock and Maitland, “History of English
Law,” ii. 519; cf. “Fleta,” i. cap. 19 and 20: “De Processu coram
Justiciariis itinerantibus—De capitulis Coronæ et Itineris.”

[113] Originally, _custos placitorum coronæ_, record keeper of the
pleas of the Crown.

[114] In existence also in France and Germany from the earliest
times, thus defined in the “Grand Coutumier de Normandie,” chap. 54:
“Il ne doit être crié fors pour cause criminelle, si comme pour feu
et pour larcin ou pour homicide ou pour autre évident péril, si comme
si aucun court sus à un autre le couteau trait. Car cil qui crie haro
sans apert (obvious) péril le doit amender au prince . . . A ce cri
doivent isser tous ceux qui l’ont oui.” This custom remained in use
in Normandy until the French Revolution. Glasson, “Origines de la
clameur de haro,” Paris, 1882. In England the statutes concerning the
“hue and cry” were repealed only in 1827.

[115] “Fleta,” lib. i. cap. 19, 20. See also “Local Self-Government
and Centralization,” by Toulmin Smith, 1848, pp. 220–232, 298.

[116] “Mais de cler jour, à la veue de toutz, issint qe gentz de
pays puissent veer la peine et la hounte que les ditz atteintz ount,
et par tant en soient les meuz chastiez.” Year, probably, 33 Ed. I;
Palgrave, “Original Authority of the King’s Council,” p. 56.

[117] Reeves, “History of English Law,” ed. Finlason, ii. p. 408.

[118] Prologue to the “Canterbury Tales;” The Monk.

[119] See Appendix VII, p. 432.

[120] “Household Expenses of Richard de Swinfield,” ed. J. Webb,
1854, Camden Society, vols. i. p. 125, ii. pp. xxx–xxxvi. The duels
of Thomas de Bruges were not those of the cases of felony and crime
which resulted in the death of the vanquished; it was merely the duel
with staff and shield, _cum fuste et scuto_, which required, as may
be imagined, the replacement of the champion much less frequently. In
the twenty-ninth year of Edward III, a duel took place by means of
champions between the Bishop of Salisbury and the Earl of Salisbury.
When the judges, conformably to the laws, came to examine the dress
of the combatants, they found that the bishop’s champion had several
sheets of prayers and incantations sown in his garments (“Year Books
of Edward I,” Rolls Series, 32–33d year, preface, p. xvi, note). This
examination of the clothing was always made with the intention of
discovering frauds of this kind, which were considered as the most
dangerous and disloyal of all.

[121] See Riley’s “Liber Albus,” p. 303, where the case is entered in

[122] One has only to peruse Froissart to notice the extreme
frequency of this custom. Jean de Hainaut arrives at Denain: “There
he lodged in the abbey that night” (lib. i. part i. ch. 14); the
queen disembarks in England with the same Jean de Hainaut, “and then
they found a great abbey of black monks which is called St. Aymon,
and they were harboured there and refreshed for three days” (ch. 18);
“there the king stopped and lodged in an abbey” (ch. 292); “King
Philippe came to the good town of Amiens, and there lodged in the
abbey of Gard” (ch. 296), etc.

[123] “The Knights Hospitallers in England,” edited by Larking and
Kemble, Camden Society, 1857. It is the text of a manuscript found at
Malta entitled, “Extenta terrarum et tenementorum Hospitalis Sancti
Johannis Jerusalem in Anglia, A.D. 1338.”

[124] “Knights Hospitallers,” pp. 99, 101, 127. The effect of the
Scottish wars on the possessions of the Knights is strikingly set
forth: “Omnes possessiones hospitalis in Scocia sunt destructa,
combusta per fortem guerram ibidem per multos annos continuatam unde
nil his diebus potest levari. Solebat tamen, tempore pacis, reddere
per annum, cc marcas” (p. 129).

[125] See Appendix VIII, p. 433.

[126] Statute 3 Edward I, cap. 1.

[127] Statute 9 Edward II, cap. 11, _Articuli Cleri_, A.D. 1315–1316.

[128] “Fleta,” lib. i. cap. 20, § 68, 72.

[129] “Rolls of Parliament,” iii. p. 501, A.D. 1402.

[130] Ibid., iii. p. 82, A.D. 1379–80. The clergy, on the other hand,
complain that the sheriffs sometimes come “with their wives and other
excessive number of people on horseback as well as on foot,” to stay
in monasteries, under pretext of collecting monies for the king.
Ibid. p. 26, A.D. 1377.

[131] “Inventories of St. Mary’s Hospital, or Maison Dieu, Dover,” by
M. E. C. Walcott, “Archæologia Cantiana,” London, 1869.

[132] “Mensæ de medio removentur,” or, in the English version by S.
Bateman, of 1582, fol. 81, “when they have eaten, boord, clothes,
and reliefe bee borne awaye”—description of a dinner in England, by
Bartholomew the Englishman (de Glanville), 13th century. “Bartholomi
Anglici de proprietatibus rerum,” Frankfort, 1609, lib. vi. cap. 32.
Smollett, in the eighteenth century, notes the existence of similar
customs in Scotland; people dine, then sleep in the hall, where
mattresses are stretched, replacing the tables (“Humphrey Clinker”).

[133] “Hall and chamber, for litter, 20d.; hall and chamber, for
rushes, 16d.; hall, &c., for litter, 1d., &c.” Extracts from the
“Rotulus familiæ,” 18 Ed. I, “Archæologia,” vol. xv. p. 350. The king
was then at Langley Castle, Buckinghamshire.

[134] Turner and Parker, “Domestic Architecture in England,
from Edward I to Richard II,” Oxford, 1853, p. 75. See also in
“Archæologia,” vi. p. 366, the illustrated description of the royal
hall at Eltham.

[135] Eclogue III in the edition of the “Cytezen and Vplondyshman,”
published by the Percy Society, 1847, p. li.

[136] “The Vision concerning Piers the Plowman,” ed. Skeat, Text B,
passus x. line 96.


    “Chascuns ne gist mie a part soy,
     Mais deux et deux en chambre obscure,
     Ou le plus souvent troy et troy,
     En un seul lit à l’aventure,”

with fleas as big as those of the monks of Citeaux. “Œuvres
Complètes,” ed. de Queux de St. Hilaire, vol vii. pp. 79, 117.

[138] “Works,” Skeat, iv, 595.

[139] Statutes 23 Ed. III, ch. 6, and 27 Ed. III, st. 1, ch. 3.
As to the inns of the Middle Ages, see Francisque Michel and Ed.
Fournier, “La Grande Bohème, histoire de classes réprouvées,” vol.
i, “Hôtelleries et cabarets,” Paris, 1851; d’Avenel, “L’évolution
des Moyens de Transport,” Paris, 1919. There is in the “Vetusta
monumenta,” vol. iv, 1815, pl. xxxv., a fine view of the George
Inn at Glastonbury (fifteenth century). The New Inn at Gloucester,
Northgate-street, is a good specimen of an English inn of the
fifteenth century (below, p. 131). Charming sketches of several by
Herbert Railton adorn an article on “Coaching Days and Coaching
Ways,” in the “English Illustrated Magazine,” July, 1888. See also
Turner and Parker, who mention several, of the fifteenth century,
“Domestic Architecture,” vol. iii. pp. 46 ff.

[140] The Latin text of their account of expenses was published by
Thorold Rogers in his “History of Agriculture and Prices,” ii. p. 638.

[141] “Liber Albus,” ed. Riley, Introduction, p. lviii. Cf. the
journey from Cambridge to York of a party of twenty-six scholars,
in 1319. The beds, wherever they sleep, uniformly cost 8d. for the
twenty-six. W. W. Rouse Ball, “Cambridge Papers,” London, 1918, ch.
ix. “A Christmas Journey in 1319.”

[142] See Appendix IX.

[143] Published by Prof. Paul Meyer in the _Revue Critique_ (1870),
vol. x. p. 373.

[144] “Bon souper, bon gîte, et le reste” (La Fontaine).

[145] Riley’s “Memorials of London,” p. 386.

[146] Ed. Barack, Nurenberg, 1858; Fr. translation by Magnin, Paris,

[147] F. Michel and E. Fournier, “La Grande Bohème” I, pp. 200 ff.

[148] Furnivall, “Tale of Beryn,” Early English Text Society, 1887,
p. viii., or Arber, “English Garner,” vi. 84.


    “When all this ffreshe feleship were com to Cauntirbury . . .
     They toke hir In, and loggit hem at mydmorrowe, I trowe,
     Atte ‘Cheker of the hope,’ that many a man doith knowe.”

Prologue to the “Tale of Beryn.” E.E.T.S., 1909, p. 1.

[150] Statutes for the City of London, 13 Ed. I, “Statutes of the
Realm,” vol. i. p. 102, A.D. 1285.

[151] Articles of the View of Frankpledge, of probably 18 Ed. II,
“Statutes,” vol. i. p. 246 (French text).

[152] Hugh the needle-seller.

[153] “Piers the Plowman,” Skeat’s edition, Text C, passus vii. ll.
364–370, 394.


    “Par ces tavernes chacun jour,
     Vous en trouveriez à séjour,
     Beuvans là toute la journée
     Aussi tost que ont fait leur journée.
     Maint y aconvient aler boire:
     Là despendent, c’est chose voire,
     Plus que toute jour n’ont gaigné.
     *  *  *  *  *
     Là ne convient il demander
     S’ilz s’entrebatent quand sont yvres;
     Le prévost en a plusieurs livres
     D’amande tout au long de l’an.
     *  *  *  *  *
     Et y verriés de ces gallans
     Oyseux qui tavernes poursuivent,
     Gays et jolis.”

“Le Livre de la mutacion de fortune,” Bk. iii, MS. Fr. 603,
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. Christine de Pisan’s “Œuvres
poétiques,” are being published by the “Société de Anciens textes
Français,” ed. Maurice Roy, 1886 ff.

[155] “Elynour Rummynge.” “Poetical Works of John Skelton,” ed. Dyce,
1843, vol. i. p. 95.

[156] Jurors find in 1375 that the bridge in the midst of the causey
between Brant Broughton and Lincoln was primarily made “by a certain
hermit after the first pestilence,” and consisted “in a board placed
above the ford” which had to be waded through: “Jurati dicunt supra
sacramentum suum . . . quod pons predictus post primam pestilenciam
ibidem primo per quendam heremitum factus fuit, ponendo tabulam ultra
quoddam vadum in medio calceti predicti.” Complete text in C. T.
Flower, “Public Works in Mediæval Law,” Selden Society, 1915, i. 263.

[157] “Roman de Renart,” Branch viii. ed. Martin i. p. 267. On the
outcome of this confession, see further, Part iii. chap. iii.

[158] The son of a mayor of York; d. about 1235. Miracles are said to
have been worked at the Knaresborough hermitage, Yorkshire, where he
had lived and was buried.

[159] “English Prose Treaties,” ed. Perry, E.E.T.S., 1866, pp. xv,
xvi. Rolle died in 1349.

[160] Ibid. p. 5.

[161] Another example still in existence is the hermitage at
Warkworth, Northumberland, partly of masonry and partly scooped
out of the rock. It was apparently enlarged by its successive
inhabitants, but seems from the style of the windows and carvings to
belong mostly to the fourteenth century.

[162] “The Metrical Life of Saint Robert of Knaresborough,” ed.
Haslewood and Douce, Roxburghe Club, 1824, p. 36. Cf. “Rotuli
Chartarum in Turri Londinensi asservati,” ed. T. D. Hardy, 1837, p.
158, where King John is seen bestowing on one Robert, in 1205, “locum
in quo heremitorium sancte Wereburge sedet” (the famous St. Werburga,
abbess of Ely, seventh century). He does so “pro amore Dei et pro
salute anime nostre.” He grants, “in puram et perpetuam elemosinam,”
the “heremitorium de Godeland” to the monks of Whitby, Oct. 26, 1205,
ibid, p. 159.

[163] Both sorts generally lived by themselves, but the recluse
never left his cell while the hermit could roam about. “Issue Roll
of Thomas de Brantingham,” ed. Devon, p. 393, 44 Ed. III; the same
king gives also 20s. “in aid of her support” to “Alice de Latimer a
recluse anchorite,” ibid. p. xxxvi.

[164] “Teste Rege, apud Westmonasterium, 1º die Octobris [1399].”
Rymer’s “Fœdera.”

[165] See, for an example of a hermit settled at the corner of a
bridge, an Act of resumption which formally excepts a grant of 14s.
yearly to the “Heremyte of the Brigge of Loyne and his successours,”
4 Ed. IV, “Rolls of Parliament,” v. p. 546. Another example is to be
found in J. Britton, “On Ancient Gate-houses,” “Memoirs illustrative
of the History of Norfolk,” London, Archæological Institute, 1851,
p. 137, where hermits are mentioned who lived on Bishop’s Bridge,
Norwich, in the thirteenth century and after.

[166] See before, pp. 41 ff.

[167] See above as to the part taken by the clergy in the collection
of offerings, and in the care and maintenance of bridges, chap. i.

[168] 12 Rich. II, chap. vii, “Statutes of the Realm.” A sample
of a hermit’s vow, with an analysis of a fourteenth-century text
describing the ceremony for the consecration of a hermit, is in E. L.
Cutts, “Scenes and Characters of the Middle Ages,” 1872, pp. 98, 99.
A list is given, p. 111, of the still subsisting English hermitages.

[169] “Piers Plowman,” Skeat’s edition, Text C, passus i. l. 30;
passus x. l. 195.

[170] Ibid., passus x. l. 188.

[171] Look humbly to gain alms.

[172] “Piers Plowman,” Skeat’s edition, Text C, passus x. ll. 140–152.

[173] Text C, passus x. ll. 251–256.


    “Li abis ne fet pas l’ermite;
     S’uns hom en hermitage abite
     Et s’il en a les dras vestus,
     Je ne pris mie deus festus
     Son abit ne sa vesteure,
     S’il ne maine vie aussi pure
     Comme son abit nous démonstre;
     Mes maintes genz font bele monstre
     Et merveilleux sanblant qu’il vaillent:
     Il sanblent les arbres qui faillent
     Qui furent trop bel au florir.”

Le Dit de frère Denise. “Œuvres complètes de Rutebeuf,” ed. Jubinal,
Paris, 1874, vol. ii. p. 63.

[175] Printed in the “Archæological Journal,” vol. iv. p. 69.

[176] “E, sire, les avant ditz William e Richart e plusours gentz de
la ville de Lichfield sount menacé des ditz larons e lour maintenours
qu’ils n’osent nule part aler hors de la dite ville.”

[177] Richard II had several times to renew and confirm them, but
without effect. In his first statute upon this subject he condemns
the superabundance of retainers which many men, though of indifferent
means, delight in; he declares “that divers people of small revenue
of land, rent, or other possessions, do make great retinue of people,
as well of esquires as of other, in many parts of the realm” (1
Richard II, cap. 7, A.D. 1377). The third statute of 13 Richard II,
that of his 16th year (cap. 4), that of his 20th year (cap. 1 and 2),
are likewise directed against the abuse of liveries and the number
of retainers of the “lords spiritual and temporal.” Henry VI renewed
these statutes, also without result.

[178] 10 Ed. III, year 1336.

[179] Those who divided among themselves the prospective profit of a
lawsuit “maintained” in this way, were called “champertors,” _campi
participes_, which was forbidden by numerous statutes. See e.g. the
“Ordinacio de Conspiratoribus,” 33 Ed. I, year 1305.

[180] 4 Ed. III, chap. 2, year 1330.

[181] 20 Ed. III, chap. 4, 5, 6, year 1346.

[182] “Le Roi désire que commun droit soit fait à toutz, auxibien à
povres come à riches.” 1 Ed. III, stat. ii, ch. 14.

[183] In the petition to the Good Parliament, 1376, she is included
among “les femmes qui ont pursuys en les Courtz du Roi diverses
busoignes et quereles par voie de maintenance et pur lower (gain) et
part avoir.”

[184] Statute 2 Richard II, stat. i. cap. 6, A.D. 1378.

[185] The picture in this statute is so complete that there is
scarcely need to quote other texts; they are, however, numerous. In
the petitions to parliament will be found many complaints by private
people for acts of violence of which they had been victims, for
imprisonment by their enemies, robberies, arson, destruction of game
or fish in the parks. Examples: petition of Agnes Atte Wode, she and
her son beaten and robbed (ibid. i. p. 372); of Agnes of Aldenby,
beaten by malefactors (“Rolls of Parliament,” i. p. 375); of the
inhabitants of several towns of the county of Hertford, who have been
imprisoned and forced to pay ransom by the knight John of Patmer (i.
p. 389); of John of Grey, who was attacked by fifteen malefactors so
resolute as to set fire to a town and storm a castle (i. p. 397);
of Robert Power, who is robbed and his mansion sacked, his people
beaten, by “men all armed as men of war” (i. p. 410); of Ralph le
Botiller, who has seen his mansion pillaged and burnt by eighty men,
who came with arms and baggage, bringing ropes and hatchets on carts
(ii. p. 88), etc. In France, it is well known, the misdeeds of this
kind were still more numerous but then a continual state of war was
raging there.

[186] “Rolls of Parliament,” ii. p. 351.

[187] One founded with that object by Matthew of Dunstable in 1295,
and “known as the chantry of Biddenham bridge in Bromham parish.”
“Victoria History of the Counties of England,” Bedfordshire, vol.
iii. p. 49.

[188] “Statutes of the Realm,” year 1285.

[189] “Chronica Monasterii de Melsa,” Rolls Series, ii. 275.

[190] “Rolls of Parliament,” vol. ii. p. 201 (22 E. III, 1348).

[191] Ibid., vol. ii. p. 165.

[192] Earliest reference in England: that in the laws of Ethelbert,
King of Kent, later part of the sixth century, where it is said that
“the penalty for violation of church _frith_ is to be twice that
exacted for an ordinary breach of peace.” Trenholme, “The Right of
Sanctuary in England,” University of Missouri Studies, 1903, p. 11.

[193] Trenholme, as above, p. 48.

[194] R. W. Billings, “Architectural Illustrations . . . of the
Church at Durham,” London, 1843, p. 20.

[195] “Erant hujusmodi cathedrarum multæ in Anglia . . . Beverlaci
autem celeberrima, quæ priscorum regum benignitate (puta Æthelstani
vel alterius cujuspiam) asyli nacta privilegium, tali honestabatur
inscriptione: ‘Hæc sedes lapidea _Freedstoll_ dicitur, i.e. pacis
cathedra, ad quam reus fugiendo perveniens, omnimodam habet
securitatem.’” H. Spelman, “Glossarium Archaiologicum,” 3rd ed.,
London, 1687, p. 248.

[196] Though every consecrated place was a sanctuary, some of them
afforded far more safety than others, the penalties for abductors
being much greater. A list of the safest of the English sanctuaries
is in S. Pegge, “A Sketch of the History of the Asylum or Sanctuary,”
in “Archæologia,” 1787, vol. viii. p. 41.

[197] “Brevis annotatio Ricardi, prioris Hagustaldensis ecclesiæ de
antiquo et moderno statu ejusdem ecclesiæ,” ed. Raine, “The priory
of Hexham,” Surtees Society, 1864–5, 2 vols. illustrated, i. 62. The
prior has also a chapter v, “De pace inviolabili per unum milliare
circumquaque ipsius ecclesiæ,” p. 19, and a chapter xiv on the
privileges, granted by the king, to the Hexham Sanctuary, p. 61.

[198] Raine, as above, II, p. lxiv. Wright’s “Essay” appeared in 1823.

[199] Usually worn by the accused, but the law officer’s intrusion
would have made him a guilty man. “Carcannum,” says Du Cange,
“collistrigium, vinculum quo rei collum stringitur, nostris,

[200] J. Raine, “Sanctuarium Dunelmense et Sanctuarium Beverlacense,”
London, Surtees Society, 1827, p. xxv.

[201] See Appendix X, p. 434.

[202] “Sanctuarium Dunelmense et Sanctuarium Beverlacense,” p. 111.

[203] Penance of this kind was not applied only to men. Women of all
ranks were obliged to submit to it. In the same Register Palatine
of Durham may be seen the case of Isabella of Murley, condemned
for adultery with her sister’s husband, John d’Amundeville, to
receive publicly “six whippings around the market of Durham” (vol.
ii. p. 695). The case was not one of people of the lower sort; the
Amundeville family was powerful and old-established in the county.
Particulars about them from the thirteenth century may be found
in Surtees, “History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of
Durham,” London, 1823, vol. iii. p. 270. Another example is in the
“Constitutiones . . . Walteri de Cantilupo” (Bishop of Worcester),
A.D. 1240; Wilkins’ “Concilia Magnæ Britanniæ et Hiberniæ,” London,
1757, vol. i. p. 668.

[204] “Registrum Palatinum Dunelmense,” ed. Sir T. D. Hardy, London,
1875, vol. i. p. 315, A.D. 1313.

[205] Henry IV or Henry V. Raine, “Sanctuarium Dunelmense,” p. xvii.

[206] “Historical Notices of the Collegiate Church or Royal free
Chapel and Sanctuary of St. Martin le Grand, London,” by A. J. Kempe,
London, 1825, p. 136.

[207] “Croniques de London,” edited by G. J. Aungier, Camden Society,
1844, p. 48; written by a contemporary of the events.

[208] “Articuli cleri,” statute 9 E. II, cap. 10.

[209] He forbids those on guard to stay in the cemetery, unless there
is imminent danger of flight. The felon may have the “necessaries of
life” in the sanctuary.

[210] “Statutes of the Realm,” i. p. 250, text of uncertain date,
but probably of the reign of Edward II. All this was classified
as “Abuses” by the not very trustworthy author of the “Mirror for
Justices” (Andrew Horne?), early fourteenth century, ed. Whittaker
and Maitland, Selden Soc., 1895, p. 158. At all events it was the
law. According to “Fleta,” lib. i. cap. xxix, at the end of forty
days in sanctuary, if the malefactors have not abjured the kingdom,
food must be refused to them, and they will no longer be allowed to
emigrate. On the road to the port, according to the same, the felon
wore a garb which would cause him to be recognized, being “ungirt,
un-shod, bare-headed, in his bare shirt, as if he were to be hanged
on the gallows, having received a cross in his hands,” “discinctus et
discalceatus, capite discooperto, in pura tunica, tanquam in patibulo
suspendendus, accepta cruce in manibus.” “Fleta” stated that he must
try to cross, till he got into water, not up to the knees, but up to
the neck. On the “Abjuratio Regni,” see the capital article, with a
complete bibliography of the subject by André Réville, in the “Revue
Historique,” Sept. 1892.

[211] “The Sanctuaries and Sanctuary Seekers of Mediæval England,”
by the Rev. J. Charles Cox, quoting a coroner’s roll of the time of
Edward III. London, 1911, p. 28.

[212] Statute 2 Rich. II, stat. 2, chap. 3. These frauds had been
already complained of under Edward III. A petition of the Commons
in the parliament of 1376–77 (“Rolls of Parliament,” ii. p. 369),
declares that certain people, after having received money or
merchandise on loan, and having made a pretended gift of all their
property to friends, “flee to Westminster, St. Martin’s, or other
such privileged places, and lie there a long time, . . . so long that
the said creditors are only too pleased to take a small part of their
debt and release the rest.” Then the debtors return home, and their
friends give them back their property.

[213] See Appendix X, p. 435.

[214] A. J. Kempe, “Historical Notices of . . . St. Martin le Grand,”
London, 1825, p. 135.

[215] Statute 9 Ed. II, cap. 15.

[216] “Croniques de London,” Camden Society, 1884, p. 42.

[217] See Appendix X.

[218] “Croniques de London,” Camden Society, 1844, p. 52.

[219] “The History of King Richard the Thirde (unfinished), writen by
Master Thomas More, than one of the Under Sherriffs of London: about
the yeare of our Lorde, 1513,” “Workes,” London, 1557. Reprinted by
S. W. Singer, Chiswick, 1821, p. 55.

[220] “The History of King Richard the Thirde,” pp. 44, 45. A list of
the “contents” of the same Westminster sanctuary, in 1532, has been
printed by the Rev. J. C. Cox, showing that “there were then fifty
fugitives, including one woman under the protection of the abbey, as
life prisoners, one of whom had been there for twenty years. Sixteen
were there for felonies, probably all robberies, eleven for murder
or homicide, eighteen for debt, and two for sacrilege,” the church
having particular merit in protecting the latter. One was a priest:
“Sir James Whytakere, preste, for murdre”; some were there for a
matter so small as to inspire pity: “John ap Howell for felony; a
poore mane, for stellynge of herrings.” “Sanctuaries,” 1911, pp. 72

[221] “History of the reign of King Henry VII,” Ellis and Spedding’s
edition of Bacon’s Works, vol. vi. p. 43. Bacon says that Henry “was
tender in the privilege of sanctuaries, though they wrought him much
mischief” (p. 238).

[222] 21 James I, cap. 28, § 7; “Statutes,” vol. iv. part ii. p. 1237.

[223] “Rolls of Parliament,” 21 Ed. III, vol. ii. p. 178. See also
the petition of the Commons in 1350–51, 25 Ed. III, vol. ii. p. 229.

[224] “Our lord the king by untrue recommendations has several
times granted his charter of pardon to notorious robbers and to
common murderers, when it is given him to understand that they are
staying for his wars beyond the sea, whence they suddenly return
into their country to persevere in their misdeeds.” The king orders
that on the charter shall be written “the name of him who made the
recommendation to the king;” the judges before whom this charter
shall be presented by the felon to have his liberty shall have the
power to make inquiry, and if they find that the recommendation is
not well founded, they shall hold the charter of non effect. “Rolls
of Parliament,” vol. ii. p. 253, A.D. 1353.

[225] Regulations of 1313. “Munimenta Academica; or documents
illustrative of academical life and studies at Oxford,” edited by H.
Anstey, London, 1868, Rolls Series, vol. i. p. 91. The penalty was
prison and the loss of the weapons.

[226] 5 Edward III, cap. 14.

[227] A characteristic example of thief-catching, the man being a
vagabond, is in Thorold Rogers: William atte Lane had “feloniously
bereft Richard [de Herbarton] of a striped gown, worth ten
shillings.” Richard ran after him, “cum hutesio et clamore,” and the
man was caught “by the bailiff of the liberty of Holywell, Oxford.”
William pleaded not guilty and asked for a jury, “ponit se super
patriam.” The jury found him guilty, ordered that he restitute the
gown to Richard, and as he had no goods to make atonement, and was “a
vagabond belonging to no ward,” he be hanged, “suspendatur,” (Dec. 8,
1337); the marginal note “susp.” shows that he was actually hanged.
“Hist. of Agriculture,” ii. 665.

[228] Statute of Winchester, 13 Ed. I, cap. 4.

[229] “Clamor patriæ” in the Latin texts, “Fleta” for example;
“clameur de haro” in France, where the practice existed even before
the time of Childebert, sixth century, and was still in use, in
Normandy at least, until the Revolution. See above, p. 114, note 1.

[230] This power of running down the first comer was, like many
practices of the time, at once a guarantee for public safety and
a dangerous arm in the hands of felons. Robbers used it, and it
happened sometimes that they imprisoned by this means their own
victims. Alisot, wife of Henry of Upatherle, sets forth to the king
that her husband was made prisoner by the Scotch at the battle of
Stirling, remained their captive more than a year, then returned
after having paid forty pounds ransom. In his absence, Thomas of
Upatherle and Robert of Prestbury seized on the fields which he
possessed at Upatherle, divided them, pulled down the houses and
acted as the owners, taking to their own homes all the goods they
could move. The prisoner’s return surprised them; as soon as they
knew that he had re-appeared on his lands, “the said Thomas, by false
agreement between him and the said Robert, raised hue and cry on the
said Henry and put upon him that he had robbed him (Thomas) of his
chattels to the value of £100.” They were believed; “the said Henry
was taken and imprisoned in Gloucester castle for a long time,”
waiting for the coming of the justices, exactly as the statute said.
Henry recovered his liberty in the end, and obtained a writ against
his enemies; but they brought force and came to meet their victim,
“and beat the said Henry in the town of Gloucester, that is they
bruised his two arms, both his thighs, and both his legs, and his
head on both sides, and quite wrecked and vilely treated his body, so
that he barely escaped death.” The king’s reply is not satisfactory:
“If the husband be alive, the plaint is his, if he be dead the wife’s
plaint is nothing.” “Rolls of Parliament,” vol. ii. p. 35, A.D. 1330.


[231] “Diz de l’Erberie.” “Œuvres complètes de Rutebeuf,” Jubinal’s
edition, 1874, vol. ii. p. 58.

[232] Isambert, “Recueil Général des anciennes lois Françaises,” vol.
iii. p. 16, and iv. p. 676.

[233] “The Play of the Sacrament,” “Philological Society
Transactions,” ed. Whiteley Stokes, 1860, p. 127.

[234] “Let scarlet cloth be taken, and let him who is suffering
small-pox be entirely wrapped in it or in some other red cloth; I
did thus when the son of the illustrious King of England suffered
from small-pox; I took care that all about his bed should be red, and
that cure succeeded very well.” Original in Latin, “Joannis Anglici,
Praxis Medica Rosa Anglica dicta,” Augsburg, 1595, lib. ii. p. 1050.

To which Gaddesden, I now make humble apologies: for since the above
lines were written years ago, modern discoveries, those especially of
Niels Finsen, of Copenhagen, a man of the truest worth, whom I saw at
work, have justified him. Red light, it has been found, really has
an influence on the healing of the scars left by small-pox, and even
of the disease itself. So, biding the time when his beetle remedy,
mentioned next, may prove operative too, I hold Gaddesden justified
in turning, from above, the laugh on his deriders: and I submit to
the penance in the same contrite spirit as Dr. Johnson once did at

[235] “Rosa Anglica,” vol. i. p. 496.

[236] A remedy for diseases of the spleen (“Rosa Anglica”).

[237] “Memorials of London,” documents relating to the thirteenth,
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, edited by H. Riley, London, 1868,
p. 466.

[238] “L’ordinance encontre les entremettours de fisik et de
surgerie,” “Rolls of Parliament,” 9 Hen. V, vol. iv. p. 130.

[239] Their charter of 1461 is given in Report and Appendix of the
City Liveries’ Commission, 1884, vol. iii. p. 74. [L. T. S.]

[240] “The Foure P.” London, 1545.

[241] Statute 3 Hen. VIII, cap. 11.

[242] Statutes 32 Hen. VIII, cap. 42; 34 and 35 Hen. VIII, cap. 8.

[243] “The Fox,” Act II, sc. 1 (1605).

[244] “Coryat’s Crudities,” reprinted from the edition of 1611,
London, 1776, vol. ii. pp. 50, 53. Coryat set out from Dover, 14 May,

[245] Visited in 1875, not since.

[246] Horn and his companions, in the romance of “King Horn,”
disguise themselves as minstrels, and range themselves at the gate of
Rymenhild’s castle:

    “Hi yeden bi the gravel
     Toward the castel,
     Hi gunne murie singe
     And makede here gleowinge.
     Rymenhild hit gan ihere
     And axede what hi were:
     Hi sede, hi weren harpurs,
     And sume were gigours.
     He dude Horn inn late
     Right at halle gate,
     He sette him on a benche
     His harpe for to clenche.”

“King Horn,” ed. J. R. Lumby, Early English Text Society, 1866, l.

[247] Wordsworth, “The Solitary Reaper.”

[248] “Cursor Mundi,” a Northumbrian poem of the fourteenth century,
edited by R. Morris for the Early English Text Society, vol. v. p.
1651 and vol. i. p. 8.

[249] It began to be customary to read aloud verses too, instead of
singing them. Chaucer foresees that his poem of “Troilus” may be
indifferently read or sung, and he writes, addressing his book:

    “So preye I to God, that non myswrite the,
     Ne the mys-metere, for defaute of tonge!
     And red wher so thow be, or elles songe,
     That thow be understonde, God I beseche!”
                       (“Troilus,” book v., l. 1809.)

[250] “Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight,” ed. R. Morris, Early
English Text Society, 1864, pp. 38, ff.

[251] Brilliantly illuminated manuscripts of romances continued,
however, to multiply; they were very well paid for. Edward III
bought, in 1331, of Isabella of Lancaster, nun of Aumbresbury, a
book of romance for which he paid her £66 13s. 4d., which was an
enormous sum. When the king had this book he kept it in his own
room (Devon’s “Issues of the Exchequer,” 1837, p. 144). Richard II
(ibid. 213) bought a bible in French, a “Roman de la Rose,” and a
“Roman de Perceval” for £28. To give an idea of these prices we must
recall, for example, that a few years before Edward bought his book
of romance, the inhabitants of London entered in the City accounts £7
10s. for ten oxen, £4 for twenty pigs, and £6 for twenty-four swans,
which they had given to the king. Year 1328, Riley’s “Memorials of
London,” 1868, p. 170.

[252] The “Thornton Romances,” edited by J. O. Halliwell for the
Camden Society, pp. 88, 121, 177. The romances in this volume are,
“Perceval,” “Isumbras,” “Eglamour,” and “Degrevant”; the longest
scarcely reaches 3,000 lines, “Isumbras” not 1,000. The manuscript,
which is in Lincoln Cathedral, is a collection containing many other
romances, especially a “Life of Alexander,” a “Mort d’Arthur,” an
“Octavian,” and a “Diocletian,” besides numerous prayers in verse,
recipes for curing toothache, prophecies of the weather, etc.

[253] From Golias, the type of the debauched and gluttonous prelate,
made famous by Latin poems attributed to Walter Map, twelfth century,
ed. Th. Wright, Camden Society, 1841; cf. “The Cambridge Songs,
a Goliard’s song book of the eleventh century,” ed. Karl Breul,
Cambridge, 1916.


    Help me God, my wit es then,

he says himself. “Poems,” ed. T. Hall, Oxford, 1887, p. 21.

[255] “Issues of the Exchequer,” p. 244.

[256] “Extracts from the Municipal Records of the City of York,” by
Rob. Davies, London, 1843, p. 230.

[257] Wardrobe Accounts; “Archæologia,” vol. xxvi. p. 342.

[258] Thomas Wright, “Domestic Manners and Sentiments,” 1862, p. 181.

[259] 40 Ed. III, Devon’s “Issue Rolls of the Exchequer,” p. 188.

[260] See two examples of like cases in the introduction to the
“Issue Roll of Thomas de Brantingham,” p. xxxix.

[261] “Roll of Household Expenses of Richard de Swinfield, Bishop of
Hereford,” ed. J. Webb, Camden Society, 1854–55, vol. i. pp. 152,
155. On the condition of minstrels, jugglers, bear-wards, etc., in
France, see e.g. “Histoire économique de la Propriété, des Salaires
. . . et de tous les Prix,” by Vicomte d’Avenel, Paris, 1914, vol. v.
p. 264, and Bédier, “Les Fabliaux,” 1895, p. 389.

[262] Ed. P. Meyer, in “Revue Critique,” vol. x. (1870), p. 373.

[263] “Piers Plowman,” Text C, pass. xii. ll. 35–39.

[264] “Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight,” ed. R. Morris, Early
English Text Society, 1864, ll. 484, 1652–1656, and 1952. In the same
manner Arthur, after an exploit by Gawain, sits down to table, “Wythe
alle maner of mete and mynstralcie bothe.”

[265] “This indenture, made 5 June in the 3rd year of our sovereign
lord King Henry the fifth since the Conquest, witnesseth that John
Clyff, minstrel, and 17 other minstrels, have received from our said
lord the king, through Thomas, Earl of Arundel and Surrey, treasurer
of England, forty pounds as their wages, to each of them 12d. a day
for a quarter of a year, for serving our said lord in the parts of
Guyenne or elsewhere.” Rymer’s “Fœdera,” ed. 1704–32, year 1415, vol.
ix. p. 260.

[266] The chief of the minstrels of Beverley was called _alderman_.

[267] “Fœdera,” year 1387, vol. vii. p. 555. In Sir John Hawkins’
“History of Music,” London, 1893, vol. i. p. 193, John of Gaunt’s
charter to the king of his minstrels in Tutbury, dated 4 Richard II,
is given at length. [L.T.S.]

[268] “Fœdera,” year 1464, vol. xi. p. 512.

[269] “Issue Roll of Thos. de Brantingham,” ed. Devon, pp. 54–57 and
296–298. These pensions were granted for life.


    “La feumes nous en joie et en depport
     Dix jours entiers, atendant le vent nort
         Pour nous partir.
     Mainte trompette y povoit on oir
     De jour, de nuit, menestrelz retentir.”

MS. Harl. 1319, in the British Museum, printed in “Archæologia,” vol.
xx. p. 297.

[271] Of which letters, models have come down to us, “and judging by
the lavish eulogy they employ, the minstrels themselves must have had
a hand in drawing them up.” E. K. Chambers, “The Mediæval Stage,”
Oxford, 1903, 2 vols., i. p. 53; three chapters on minstrels of
great interest and importance, beginning with a bibliography of the
subject, i. 23.

[272] Warton’s “History of English Poetry,” Hazlitt’s edition, 1871,
ii. p. 98. John of Gaunt orders £16 13s. 4d. to be paid to “various
minstrels of his very dear cousin the count of Flanders,” and £65 to
various heralds, etc., of “our most redoubted lord and father, the
king at Eltham.” “John of Gaunt’s Register,” ed. S. A. Smith, 1911,
vol, ii. p. 279. Langland notices the good reception given, when they
were travelling, to the king’s minstrels, in order to please their
master, known to be sensible of these marks of good will.

[273] November 26, 1372. “John of Gaunt’s Register,” ed. S. A. Smith,
1911, ii. 98.

[274] Chambers, ibid. i. 51.

[275] “Piers Plowman,” Text C, pass. viii. l. 97.

[276] See a drawing of such a gallery in a miniature reproduced by
Eccleston, “Introduction to English Antiquities;” London, 1847, p.
221. To the sound of the minstrels’ music four wild men or mummers
are dancing with contortions; sticks lie on the ground, no doubt for
their exercises; a barking dog is jumping between them.

[277] “Album de Villard de Honnecourt,” edited by Lassus and Darcel,
1858, plate I.


    “Si vint de sà Loundres; en un prée
     Encontra le roy e sa meisnée;
     Entour son col porta soun tabour,
     Depeynt de or e riche azour.”

“Le roi d’Angleterre et le jongleur d’Ely,” edited with “La riote
du monde,” by Francisque Michel, Paris, 1834, p. 28.—“_Viola._ Save
thee, friend, and thy music: Dost thou live by thy tabor?” And the
tabor player, in “Twelfth Night” (iii. 1) is the Clown.

[279] At Exeter Cathedral may be seen many of the musical instruments
used in the fourteenth century, sculptured in the “Minstrels’
Gallery,” where angels are performing (see the plate). The
instruments they use have been identified by M. Carl Engel as being:
the cittern, the bag-pipe, the clarion, the rebec, the psaltery,
the syrinx, the sackbut, the regals, the gittern, the shalm, the
timbrel, the cymbals. “Musical Instruments,” South Kensington Museum
Art Handbook, p. 113. [The duties of the court minstrels of Edward IV
are declared in the Black Book of the Orders of that king’s household
(Harl. MS. 610, fol. 23), and their instruments are enumerated; “some
vse trumpetts, some shalmes, some small pipes, some are stringe-men.”
L. T. S.]

[280] Rymer’s “Fœdera,” April 24, 1469. See Appendix XI. On
minstrels’ gilds in various English cities, the Beverley one being
perhaps the most famous (none, however, possessing documentary
proofs of its existence so old as the French ones, the Paris gild,
for example, which was reformed in 1321 and lasted till 1776),
see Chambers, “Mediæval Stage,” ii. 258. Having known various
vicissitudes, the royal or London gild “still exists as the
Corporation of the Master, Wardens and Commonalty of the Art and
Science of the Musicians of London.” Ibid. ii. 261.

[281] “Rolls of Parliament,” iii. p. 508, A.D. 1402.

[282] See Appendix XII, p. 437.

[283] The songs about him were collected by J. Ritson; “Robin Hood
Ballads,” London, second edition, 1832. Most of them are only of the
sixteenth century, but a few are of an earlier date. Robin Hood’s
popularity was, however, well established in the fourteenth century,
as shown by a line in “Piers Plowman,” Skeat’s edition, Text B,
passus v., l. 79. On Robin Hood as the hero of popular songs, of many
games and of plays, see Chambers, “Mediæval Stage,” i. 174.

[284] “The Wyf of Bathes Tale” (sixty-eight lines on the equality
of men and on nobility); again, in the “Parson’s Tale”: “Eek for to
pryde him of his gentrye is ful greet folye . . . we ben alle of o
fader and of o moder; and alle we been of o nature roten and corrupt,
both riche and poure” (Skeat’s edition of the “Canterbury Tales,”
vol. iv. p. 596). Not less striking, these lines of a French poem of
the same century, quoted in the Discourse upon the state of letters
in the fourteenth century, “Histoire Littéraire de la France,” vol.
xxiv. p. 236:

    “Nus qui bien face n’est vilains,
     Mès de vilonie est toz plains
     Hauz hom qui laide vie maine:
     Nus n’est vilains s’il ne vilaine.”

[285] “Sicut lex justissima, provida circumspectione sacrorum
principum stabilita, hortatur et statuit ut quod omnes tangit ab
omnibus approbetur, sic.,” etc. Rymer’s “Fœdera,” year 1295, vol. ii.
p. 689.

[286] “Fœdera,” year 1297, vol. ii. p. 783.

[287] Isambert’s “Recueil,” vol. iii, pp. 102, 104.

[288] A not at all rare occurrence. See in the _fabliau_, “Le povre
Clerc,” how the itinerant verse teller is asked by the peasant who
receives him to say, while the supper is cooking: “Some of those
things that are in writing, either a song or a story of adventure.”
Bédier, “Les Fabliaux,” 2nd ed., 1895, p. 391.

[289] Performing animals or wild ones in cages enjoyed a popularity
which proved more constant than that of minstrels, since it has
continued unabated from the early middle ages to the present time.
_Ursinarii_ frequently appear in the accounts of the Shrewsbury
corporation quoted by Chambers who gives, e.g. this noteworthy entry:
“In regardo dato ursinario domini Regis pro agitacione bestiarum
suarum ultra denarios tunc ibidem collectos. . . .” (Mediæval Stage,
ii. 251; year 1517). The English kings, as is well known, had their
ménagerie in the Tower, as the French ones had theirs in Paris.
St. Louis sent, “as a great gift,” in 1255, an elephant to Henry
III; “and we do not believe any had been seen before in England,”
wrote Matthew Paris who, good draughtsman as he was, painted the
portrait of the wondrous beast. The miniature in MS. Nero D I, in the
British Museum, fol. 169, is by him, according to Madden, “Historia
Anglorum,” Rolls, Preface.


    “There saugh I pleyen jugelours,
     Magiciens and tregetours,
     And phitonisses, charmeresses,
     Olde wiches, sorceresses
     That use exorsisaciouns
     And eke thes fumygaciouns.”
                (Chaucer’s “House of Fame,” l. 169.)

[291] Chambers, “Mediæval Stage,” i. 58, quoting, the “Summa
Theologiæ”: “Sicut dictum est, ludus est necessarius ad
conservationem vitæ humanæ,” etc. On the distinction between the
higher and lower minstrelsy, see ibid. pp. 59 ff.

[292] Lib. i. chap. viii.

[293] “Historical Papers from the Northern Registers,” ed. Raine,
Rolls Series, p. 398. Cf. Bodleian MS. 264, fos. 21, 51, 56, 91, etc.


    “Ich can nat tabre ne trompe · ne telle faire gestes,
    Farten ne fithelen · at festes, ne harpen,
    Japen ne jogelen · ne gentelliche pipe,
    Nother sailen ne sautrien · ne singe with the giterne.”
           (“Piers Plowman,” ed. Skeat, Text C, passus xvi. l. 205.)

[295] “_Loci e libro veritatum_; Passages selected from Gascoigne’s
Theological Dictionary” (1403–48), ed. Thorold Rogers, Oxford, 1881,
p. 144.

[296] For instance, MS. Add. 29704, fol. 11. This particular
illumination seems to be of the fourteenth century.

[297] Devon’s “Issues of the Exchequer,” p. 212.

[298] Phillip Stubbes’ “Anatomy of Abuses,” ed. F. J. Furnivall, New
Shakspere Society, 1877–79, pp. 171, 172. Stubbes’ opinion was shared
by all the religious writers or moralists of the sixteenth century.

[299] All the extracts here are from the “House of Fame,” book iii.
“Complete Works,” ed. Skeat, Oxford, 1894, vol. iii. pp. 33 ff.

[300] “A suit respecting civil matter was commenced in this reign
(Ed. I), as in earlier or subsequent reigns, by the purchase of
a writ and sometimes by bill. . . . The writs were committed to
messengers who had to travel into the different parts of the kingdom
and deliver them to the sheriffs or other proper officers to be
served on the defendants.” Horwood, “Year-books of Edward I,” years
30–31, p. xxv. Against the _purchase_ of the writs the Commons
protested, claiming (35 Ed. III, year 1351–2) that this was contrary
to Magna Charta, according to which the king “ne vendra ne deleiera
droit à nulli.” The king refused to give up what he considered as a
legitimate profit, but promised that the tariff would be lowered.
“Rolls of Parliament,” ii., 241.

[301] See the representation of lords and ladies dictating their
letters to scribes, and of messengers carrying them to their
destinations in the MSS. at the British Museum, Royal 10 Ed. IV, fol.
305, 306, etc., and Add. 12228 fol. 238.

[302] “King Edward II’s Household and Wardrobe Ordinances,” 1323, ed.
Furnivall, 1876, p. 46. The French kings had a much larger number:
“Les riches personnages entretenaient des messagers de pied et des
chevaucheurs: de ces derniers le roi de France en avait une centaine
. . . de moindres seigneurs se contentaient de deux ou trois. Les
chevaucheurs étaient payés à forfait: au XIV^e siécle, 18 francs
par jour (present value) pour un parcours de 55 kilomètres environ.
. . . Les messagers de pied, par journée de 30 kilomètres en moyenne,
touchaient 9 francs chez le Roi (1380); à la solde des particuliers
ou des villes leur salaire variait de 5 à 10 francs. Un voyage de
nuit valait le double: 20 francs: de même les courses périlleuses.”
D’Avenel, “L’évolution des moyens de transport,” Paris, 1919, p. 142.
Cf. Thorold Rogers, “History of Agriculture and Prices,” i. 665, iv.

[303] Anne of Bohemia, first wife of Richard II, born at Prague in
1366, grand-daughter of blind King John of Bohemia killed at Crécy,
herself dying of the plague at Shene, 1394, leaving her husband
almost crazy with grief. “Issue roll of Thomas de Brantingham,”
ed. F. Devon, London, 1835, pp. xxxii, xxxvii, xliv, 408; “Issues
of the Exchequer,” 1837, pp. 220, 255. Whole pages of Thomas de
Brantingham’s roll (e.g. pp. 154–155) are filled with payments
received by messengers, which show the frequent use made of their

[304] 32 Ed. III, “Issues of the Exchequer,” p. 169.

[305] 2 Rich. II, year 1378, “Rolls of Parliament,” vol. iii. p. 36.

[306] Rymer’s “Fœdera,” April 3, 1396 (19 Rich. II).

[307] “Issues of the Exchequer,” p. 202.

[308] “Rolls of Parliament,” i. p. 48 (18 Ed. I).

[309] “Wardrobe Accounts of Edward II,” Archæologia, xxvi. 321, 336.

[310] Extract from a letter to the author: “Yesterday I was reading
your ‘Vie Nomade,’ and that portion of it which speaks of the rewards
given in fourteenth and fifteenth centuries to messengers who brought
good tidings to the king. It may interest you to know that a remnant
of this custom still survives. The officer sent by a general after
a victory to convey the despatch to the Queen, receives besides a
promotion in rank (or a decoration), a pecuniary reward. The officer
who brought the news of the fall of Sebastopol to the Queen received
the rank of Colonel, and a present of 500 guineas.

“My brother A.D.C., Major Anson, who carried home from China the
despatch announcing the fall of Pekin, was promoted Colonel, and
received a present of 500 guineas.—St. James’ Club, May 30, 1890.—F.

What happened, in our less ceremonious days, when the news was
brought of the Marne, of Ypres, of Messines? Doubtless it was not
brought; it came.

[311] “Item, be it prohibited everywhere that any alien send letters
beyond the sea, or receive letters which come thence; unless he shew
them to the chancellor or to some other lord of the Privy Council, or
at least to the chief wardens of the ports or their lieutenants, who
shall further show them to the said Council.” “Rolls of Parliament,”
vol. ii. p. 163, 20 Fd. III.

[312] Text C, pas. xiv. ll. 33–59.

[313] 5 and 6 Ed. VI, ch. 21. Statutes, vol. iv. part i. p. 155.

[314] 14 Eliz. ch. v. “Statutes,” vol. iv. part i. pp. 590 ff.

[315] 8 and 9 Will. III, ch. 25.

[316] Cf the contents of the pack of a French “porte-balle” of the
eighteenth century: “ . . . Un de ces merciers ambulants qu’on
appelle porte-balles et qui lui crie: Monsieur le chevalier,
jarretières, ceintures, cordons de montre, tabatières du dernier
goût, vraies jaback, bagues, cachets de montre. . . .” Diderot,
“Jacques le Fataliste.” Ed. Asseline, p. 30.

[317] Text B, pas. v. l. 257.

[318] The English coaling trade had greatly increased in the
fourteenth century; large quantities of coal were brought by water
from Newcastle and other places to London and partly consumed on the
spot, partly exported. The importance of coal mines did not escape
the notice of the Commons, who stated in the year 1376–7 that, “en
diverses parties deinz le Roialme d’Engleterre sont diverses miners
de carbons, dont les communes du dit partie ont lour sustenantz
en grande partie.” 51 Ed. III, “Rolls of Parliament,” ii. 370. Cf
Salzmann, “English Industries of the Middle Ages,” 1913, ch. I, and
H. Hall, “A select Bibliography for the study, sources and literature
of English Political Economy,” London, 1914.

[319] The trade in wines was enormous, especially with Gascony, and
subjected to the most minute regulations. Not only the importation of
it was the occasion of ceaseless interfering, but the retail sale in
towns was perpetually regulated anew by local ordinances. Woe to the
vintner who was detected meddling in any unfair way with his liquor;
he might experience the chastisement inflicted upon John Penrose,
who for such an offence was sent to the pillory in 1364, was made
to drink publicly there his own stuff, had what he could not drink
poured over his head, and was besides sentenced to renounce his trade
for ever. Riley, “Memorials of London,” 1868, p. 318.

[320] Same rules in France: “Que nul billon, vaissellemente, joyaux
d’or et d’argent ne soint traits hors dudit royaume par personne
quelle que ce soit, si ce n’estoit vaissellemente de prélats ou de
nobles ou d’autres gens d’église pour lour service.” Ordinance of
Jean le Bon, dated from London, 1358; Isambert, vol. v. p. 39.

[321] “Rolls of Parliament,” 45 Ed. III, year 1371, vol. ii. p. 306.
While this legislation was strictly enforced in England, the royal
government, according to petitions of the Commons and with remarkable
_naïveté_, often wrote to princes on the continent, recommending them
to allow their own subjects to bring to England money, bullion, and

[322] Statute 5 Rich. II st. i. ch. 3, and 6 Rich. II, year 1381–2.

[323] “Rolls of Parliament,” 46 Ed. III, year 1372, vol. ii. p. 311.

[324] Ibid., 11 Rich II, A.D. 1387, vol. iii. p. 253. The penalties
are removed for the Hanse merchants but not for the Prussians, “Et en
le mesne temps soient lettre du privé seal envoié al Mestre de Pruys
de repaier et due redresse faire as merchantz Engleis des arestes et
autres tortz et damages à eux fait deinz la seigneurie de Pruys, come
reson demande.”

[325] Statute 27 Ed. III st. ii. ch. 2.

[326] 25 Ed. III stat. iii. ch. 2.

[327] See, for particulars about the “Gildhalda Teutonicorum” in
Dowgate Ward, Thames Street, and afterwards in the Steel-house,
Herbert’s “Livery Companies,” London, 1837, vol. i. pp. 10–16. The
importance of Italian settlements of money-changers and money-lenders
(whence the “Lombard streets” or “rues des Lombards” surviving in
many towns) are well known.

[328] These and many other particulars about English trade with
Venice are to be found in Rawdon Brown’s “Calendars of State Papers
. . . in the Archives of Venice,” London, 1864 (Rolls); see also J.
Delaville le Roulx, “La France en Orient au XIV^e siècle,” Paris,
1886, vol. i. p. 199.

[329] For the first time in 1397–98. He was a liberal lender of money
to Kings Henry IV and Henry V.

[330] Th. Wright, “Political Poems,” Rolls Series, ii. 202; also
edited by Herzberg and Pauli, Leipzig, 1878.

[331] Bk. xx, chap. 7: “Esprit de l’Angleterre sur le Commerce.”

[332] “Rolls of Parliament,” 25 Ed. III, year 1350, and Ed. I or II
_anno incerto_, vol. ii. p. 232 and vol i. p. 475.

[333] Text B, pas. v. l. 232.

[334] Statute 2 of 27 Ed. III, A.D. 1353. Canterbury was made a
staple town “en l’onur de Saint Thomas,” “Rolls of Parliament,” vol.
ii. p. 253, same year. As an example of the changes affecting the
staple system, see the statute 2 Ed. III, chap. 9 (A.D. 1328), by
which all staples were abolished—for a time.

[335] “_Pedis pulverisati curia._ Ea est quæ in nundinis constituitur,
ad nundinalium rixas litesque celerrime componendas. . . . Dictum
præcipue de mercatoribus vagabundis, qui nundinas pagatim insectantes
omnes discurrunt provincias, nec sistendi locum agnoscunt, sed de his
etiam qui ex omni parte ad nundinas confluunt.” H. Spelman, “Glossarium
archaiologicum,” ed. tertia, Londini, 1687, p. 455.

[336] These and other particulars about the way in which fairs
were managed at Westminster and Winchester are to be found in a
petition with an inquest of the year 1302, 30 Ed. I, in the “Rolls of
Parliament,” vol. i. p. 150. The Winchester Fair on St. Giles’ hill,
“Montem sancti Egidii,” was one of the most famous English fairs.
Langland mentions it, and gives a graphic account of the cheating
that went on among unscrupulous merchants. “Visions,” Text C, pas.
vii. l. 211.

[337] See “Charter of Edward III [as to] St. Giles’ Fair,
Winchester,” ed. G. W. Kitchin, London, 1886.

[338] This fair, immortalized by Ben Jonson, disappeared only in
1855. See H. Morley’s “Memoirs of Bartholomew Fair” (2nd ed. 1874).

[339] Mentioned as “Wy,” text C, passus vii. l. 211. Weyhill fair,
near Andover, Hampshire, “is a famous one to this day, and lasts
eight days. The fair for horses and sheep is on October 10th, that
for cheese, hops, and general wares, on October 11th and the six days
following.” W. W. Skeat, “Vision concerning Piers the Plowman,” ii,
83. See a list of English fairs in Mr. Elton’s Report, Market Rights
Commission, 1889, vol. i. 5. There were fairs established especially
for herrings and other fishing produce at Yarmouth, Scarborough, and
other towns on the sea-coast. The rigours of Lent and the number of
fasting days throughout the year gave particular importance to these
articles of consumption. Hence, too, the attention paid to fisheries
and the regulations to prevent the catching of small fish, the
destruction of spawn and bait, etc. Great complaints are made against
the use of the net called “wondyrchoun,” which drags from the bottom
of the sea all the bait “that used to be the food of great fish.”
Through means of this instrument fishermen catch “such great plenty
of small fish that they do not know what to do with them, but fatten
their pigs with them.” “Rolls of Parliament,” 1376–7, vol. ii. p.
369. As to salmon fishing in the Thames, see ibid., vol. ii. p. 331,
A.D. 1376.

[340] Harrison’s “Description of England,” ed. Furnivall, 1877, first
published 1577, part i. book ii. chap xviii. pp. 295, 302.

[341] “History of Agriculture and Prices in England,” vol. iv. chap.
iv. p. 155. As to Stourbridge fair, ibid. vol. i. chap. vii. p. 141.

[342] “Winter’s Tale,” iv. 3. Cf. “The foure Ps,” by John Heywood,
London, 1545, one of the “Ps” is a pedlar, whose wares are enumerated
in full.

[343] Wordsworth, “The Excursion,” Bk. viii.

[344] “The Nut Brown Maid,” in Skeat’s “Specimens of English
Literature,” Clarendon Press, 1887, p. 96.

[345] Statute of Winchester, 13 Edward I, chap. iv., confirmed by
Edward III. See before p. 156.

[346] “Item videtur nulla esse utlagaria si factum, pro quo
interrogatus est, civile sit et non criminale.” Bracton, Rolls
Series, vol. ii. p. 330.

[347] “Year Books of Edward I.” Rolls Series, years 30–31, p. 533.

[348] “Year Books of Edward I,” Rolls Series, years 30–31, pp.
537–538. In the case of this woman, freedom was granted “propter
parvitatem delicti,” and because she had been one year in prison;
and no confiscation took place, because her husband was absent in
Paris, and it would have been inappropriate to, maybe, wrong that man
who was, like every husband, the owner of his wife’s chattels. “Et
nota,” beautifully adds the judge (or the reporter), “quod melius est
nocentem relinquere impunitum quam innocentem punire.” But the court,
at the same time, fines an innocent, known to it as such, for fear
of displeasing the king; a circumstance that the recorder is bold
enough to note down: “Et nota quod fecerunt hoc Justiciarii magis ad
appruyamentum (profit, for the king got the money) Regis faciendum
quam ad legem manutenendum, quia hoc dixerunt in terrorem.” Ibid. pp.

[349] “Fleta,” lib. i. chap. xxvii.

[350] “Bracton,” vol. ii. pp. 340–342.

[351] “Year Books of Edward I,” year 30–31, p. 515. Sometimes a man
would profit by the absence of an enemy on the continent and affirm
to a magistrate that he was in flight, and cause him to be declared
an outlaw; thus the priest, John Crochille, complains to parliament
of having been unjustly outlawed during a journey which he had made
to the Court of Rome, in 1347 (“Rolls of Parliament,” vol. ii. p.
178); the priest, Robert of Thresk, is also declared outlaw during
his absence from the kingdom, “by the malice of his accusers” (ibid.,
1347, vol. ii. p. 183). John of Gaunt orders the restitution of his
goods to “nostre tenant neif, Johan Piers,” whose belongings had been
seized, “à cause q’il deust estre utlagé, à ce q’est dit, et ore il
nous est certifié par recorde, q’il n’est pas utlagé.” Oct. 12, 1374.
“John of Gaunt’s Register,” ed. S. Armitage Smith, document 1544.

[352] “Cecidit in foveam quam fecit.” Psalm vii. 16: “cecidit” should
be “incidit.” “Year Books,” Edward I, year 21–22, p. 447. In another
case, counsel delighted at a statement of the judge, exclaims in his
joy: “Beatus venter qui te portavit.” Ibid. p. 437. Judges sometimes
indulged in familiar speech, bets and witticisms: “I will wager a
cask of wine on it.” “If you find it, I will give you my hood.” “Year
Books of Edward II,” ed. G. J. Turner, Selden Society, 1914, years
1310–1311, pp. 44, 168.

[353] Late thirteenth century, in Madox, “Formulare Anglicanum,”
London, 1702, fol., p. 416.

[354] “Sciant presentes et futuri quod ego Johannes filius Thome
vendidi et quietum clamavi de me et heredibus meis domino Hugoni
abbati Sancti Edmundi et successoribus suis inprimum Servalum filium
Willielmi de Wurtham cum tota sequela sua et omnibus catallis suis et
cum toto tenemento quod de me tenuit in Wurtham sine ullo retenemento
pro sexdecim solidis argenti quos idem abbas michi dedit. Et ut hec
mea vendicio . . . firma sit . . . presentem cartam meam feci . . .”
_Temp._ Ed. I, MS. Addit. 14850, in the British Museum fol. 59. “The
existing evidence,” says Vinogradoff, “entitles one to maintain that
a villain could be lawfully sold, with all his family, his _sequela_,
but that in practice such transactions were uncommon.” “Villainage in
England,” Oxford, 1892, p. 151.

[355] “Chronica Monasterii de Melsa,” Rolls, ii. 97 ff., the case
being of the second half of the thirteenth century. The duel was, of
course, one _cum fuste et scuto_, the fighters clubbing each other to
their best, as in the case of the before mentioned Thomas de Bruges.
Above, p. 117.

[356] The year books of Edward I show a marked tendency in the judge
to interpret the laws and customs in a sense favourable to the
freeing of the villein. One of the harsh theories of former days
is declared by him “pejus quam falsum pur ce qe ce est heresie.”
“Year Books of Ed. I,” years 30–31, A.D. 1302, ed. Horwood, Rolls,
p. 167. See also, in the vol. for the years 34–35, the suit p. 13.
But the judge could act thus only in doubtful cases: a man having
acknowledged, in the presence of his master, that he was a villein,
the judge says to the master: “Prenez le par le cou, comme votre
vilain, lui et sa descendance à toujours.” Vol. for the years 30–31,
p. 201.

[357] See an example of such commutation, with a tariff established,
“ex antiqua et usitata consuetudine,” for various services according
to the season, for oats to be supplied to the lord (the abbot of
Bury), etc., in MS. Addit. 14850, British Museum, fol. 143; year 1438.

[358] This was a last resort, more and more frequently adopted
however, especially after the plague. As Mr. Oman has justly
observed, by natural disposition the villeins “were reluctant to
abscond and throw up their share of the manorial acres, for only in
extremity will the peasant, who has once got a grip on the soil,
consent to let it go.” “The Great Revolt of 1381,” Oxford 1906, p. 9.

[359] “A . . . n. S^r le Roi et Seigneurs de Parlement monstrent
les chivalers des countees en ycest present Parlement, que come les
Seigneurs parmy le Roialme d’Engleterre eient plusours vileins queux
s’enfuont de lour Seigneurs et de lour terres en diverses citees et
burghs enfranchisez, de jour en autre, et la demuront tout lour vies,
par cause desqueux franchises les ditz Seigneurs ne pount aprocher
lour ditz vileins. . . .” They want to be enabled to forcibly take
them back. Their petition is rejected: “Le Roi s’advisera.” 15 Rich.
II, “Rolls of Parliament,” iii. p. 296.

[360] “Ad similitudinem cervorum domesticorum.”—“Henrici de Bracton,
De Legibus et Consuetudinibus Angliæ Libri V,” ed. Travers Twiss,
London, 1878, i. p. 48.

[361] According to Seebohm (“The Black Death and its place in English
History,” two articles in the _Fortnightly Review_ in 1865), more
than half of the population died during the epidemic which had begun
in July 1348 and lasted till the end of 1349. Three archbishops
of Canterbury died in one year. Knyghton, a contemporary, gives a
striking picture of the plague at Leicester. “There were scarcely any
who took heed of riches or cared for anything. . . . And sheep and
oxen wandered through the fields and among the crops; there was no
one to go after and collect them; but there perished an untold number
in out of the way ditches and under hedges.” In the autumn the price
of labour was so exorbitant that a large part of the crops were left
on the ground (Twysden’s “Decem Scriptores,” col. 2599). “Through
this pestilence,” say the Commons in Parliament, “cities, boroughs
and other towns and hamlets throughout the land have decayed, and
from day to day are decaying and several are entirely depopulated.”
25 Ed. III, A.D. 1351, “Rolls of Parliament,” vol. ii. p. 227.

[362] See a concrete example of such reports being brought from the
north to the south by pilgrims, further, p. 279.

[363] As shown by the surnames of the members, at that period; in
numerous cases, a mere indication of profession: Johannes le Baker,
Galfridus le Fisshere, Johannes le Carpenter, Robertus Chaundeler,
Ricardus Orfevre, Radulphus le Taverner, etc. “Return of the names of
every member returned to serve in every Parliament,” London, 1878, a
blue book, pp. 18, 31, 146 and _passim_; on p. 229, duly appears, as
a knight of the shire, for Kent, “Galfridus Chauceres.”

[364] Both documents, the first in Latin, the second in French, in
“Statutes of the Realm”; a text, revised on the originals, is in the
Appendix to Miss Bertha H. Putnam’s “Enforcement of the Statutes of
Labourers during the first Decade after the Black Death,” New York,
1908, pp. 8* and 12*.

[365] The taking of money out of the realm was especially feared:
“Quamplures ejusdem regni nostri cum pecunia quam in eodem regno
habere poterunt, ad partes exteras in dies se transferunt et
transferre proponunt.” Dec. 1, 1349, Rymer’s “Fœdera,” vol. v. p. 668.

[366] “Rolls of Parliament,” vol. ii. p. 233. Compare the French
ordinances; that of John the Good, January 30, 1350 (Isambert,
“Recueil général des anciennes lois françaises,” iv. p. 576), orders
the idle people of Paris, picturesquely described as “gens oiseux
ou joueurs de dez ou enchanteurs (singers) es rues ou truandans ou
mandians, de quelque estat ou condition qu’ils soient, ayans mestier
ou non, soient hommes ou femmes,” to either work or go away, which
was less radical and still less to the point than the English rules.
Another order of the same king (Nov. 1354, ibid. p. 700) was directed
against the workmen who since the plague were exacting exorbitant
wages, and, in addition to that, “wine, meat and other unwonted
things.” If denied, they preferred to do nothing but would go to
taverns and there had been heard to say that, “owing to the great
price they are accustomed to take, they will work only two days a
week,” a kind of difficulty which, dating back six centuries, is not
entirely of the past.

[367] “Rolls of Parliament,” vol. ii. p. 261, parliament of 1354.

[368] Statute 34 Ed. III, chap. 10, A.D. 1360–1.

[369] “Rolls of Parliament,” ii. p. 312.

[370] “Rolls of Parliament,” ii. p. 340, A.D. 1376. To have them
outlawed brings no relief to their masters, for they manage not to be
caught and carefully avoid the places where they are known: “Et si
les ditz servantz corores soient utlagez à la sute de la partie, il
n’est profit al sutour, ne damage ne chastiement al servant futyf,
par cause q’ils ne poont estre trovez ne jà ne pensent repeirir en
pays là cù ils ont ensi servi.” Same petition.

[371] Langland shows, in the same way, the shameless beggar who goes,
bag on shoulder, asking from door to door, who may very well if he
pleases gain his bread and beer by work; he knows a trade, but he
prefers not to exercise it:

    “And can som manere craft · in cas he wolde hit use,
     Thorgh whiche craft he couthe · come to bred and to ale.”

“Piers Plowman,” Text C, pass. x. l. 155; see also ibid., pass. i. l.

[372] “ . . . Par colour de certains exemplificacions faitz hors
de livre de Domesday des manoirs et villes deinz queux ils sont
demurantz, et par vertue d’icelles exemplificacions et lour male
interpretacion d’icelles, ils s’aferment (affirm) d’estre quites et
outrement deschargez de tout manere de servage due sibien de lour
corps come de lour tenures. . . . Et qe plus est, ils se coillient
ensembles à grantz routes et s’entrelient par tiel confederacie qe
chescun aidra autre à contester lours seignurs à fort mayn.” Rich.
II, chap 6, year 1377; “Rolls of Parliament,” vol. iii. pp. 17, 46,

[373] Statute 7 Rich. II, cap. 5.

[374] Statute 12 Rich. II, cap. 3.

[375] “Gleanings from the Public Records,” by Mr. H. Hewlett, in the
“Antiquary,” March, 1882, vol. v. p. 99. Concerning ill-treatment
inflicted on prisoners, see a petition of the Commons, 1 Ed. III,
A.D. 1326–7, “Rolls of Parliament,” vol. ii. pp. 9, 12.

[376] See, besides the plates here, representations of these
instruments of punishment in, e.g. Foxe’s “Actes and Monuments.”
London, 1563, fol. pp. 390, 1272, etc., and in Butler’s “Hudibras,
adorned with cutts designed and engraved by Mr. Hogarth,” London
1761; at p. 140, the knight and his squire, “check by joul,” says the
poet, in the stocks.

[377] 12 Rich. II, cap. 7.

[378] 12 Rich. II, cap. 7. Cf. above, p. 236.

[379] On which see, e.g. André Réville and Ch. Petit-Dutaillis, “Le
soulèvement des travailleurs d’Angleterre en 1381,” Paris, 1898; G.
M. Trevelyan, “England in the age of Wycliffe,” chapters vi and vii;
“The Peasants’ rising and the Lollards, a collection of unpublished
documents,” edited by E. Powell and G. M. Trevelyan, London 1899,
with data not only on the great rising, but on some later troubles
(1392, 1398) of lesser magnitude, but important as signs; C. Oman,
“The Great Revolt of 1381,” Oxford, 1906.

[380] Statute 3 Ed. I, stat. 1, cap. 34, A.D. 1275.

[381] Statute 2 Rich. II, chap. 5.

[382] Document published (but only in an English translation) by
W. E. Flaherty: “Sequel to the great rebellion in Kent, of 1381,”
“Archæologia Cantiana,” vol. iv. pp. 67 ff. The author interprets
_peregrini_, at one place by strangers, at another by pilgrims; the
latter is the real meaning.

Some traces of kindness to his tenants, on the part of John of Gaunt
are found in his Registers. He orders wood and charcoal to be carried
to the castle of Tutbury where his wife was to spend the winter, and
insists that the work be done in summer, so that his tenants and
bondmen be not grieved by the carrying thereof in the bad season. . .
“Si voullons et vous mandons que vous faces faire et carier à nostre
dit chastel ccc quarters de carbons, et aussint vous faces carier
tout la boys abatuz par vent que vous bonement pourrez en nostre dit
chastel pur fuaille, et que ce soit fait toute voies en ceste saison
d’estée, issint que noz tenantz et bondes ne soient pas tariez ne
grevez ove la cariage d’ycelle en temps de yver.” “John of Gaunt’s
Register,” ed. S. A. Smith, 1911, vol. ii. p. 203, year 1373.

[383] And they said it in the most peremptory language, highly
approving of the king’s breaking his word and revoking the sweeping
manumissions (“manumisimus universos ligeos et singulos subditos
nostros,” Walsingham, ii. 467, Rolls) he had granted out of fear;
the lords and the commons answer: “à une voice qe cele repele fuist
ben faite, adjoustant que tiele manumission ou franchise des neifs
ne poast estre fait sanz lour assent q’ont le greindre interesse:
a quoy ils n’assentèrent unques de lour bone grée, n’autrement, ne
jamais ne ferroient pur vivre et murrir touz en un jour.” “Rolls of
Parliament,” iii. p. 100; year 1381. So they would rather die, all of
them in a day, than assent to a freedom granted “without the assent
of those most interested”: and it never occurred to them that those
most interested could possibly be the villeins themselves and not the
villeins’ masters.


[384] “Item priont les communes . . . de ordeiner et commander que
null neif ou vileyn mette ses enfantz de cy en avant à Escoles
pur eux avancer par clergie, et ce en maintenance et salvation de
l’honour de toutz Franks du Roialme.” “Rolls of Parliament,” vol.
iii. p. 294, 15 Rich. II, 1391.

[385] Beginning at an uncertain date: before the papal schism, i.e.
1378, according to Shirley, Introduction to “Fasciculi Zizaniorum,”
1858, Rolls series; “several months before the revolt of 1381 broke
out,” according to Oman, “The Great Revolt,” 1906, p. 19.

[386] Their activity as wandering preachers is well shown by “The
tenor of the complaint made to the Kinge and his councell against
John Fox, Maior of Northampton, and others exhibited in French by
Richard Stermersworthe, a wolman,” year 1392–3. According to the
deponent the Mayor who welcomes every “errant Lollard,” has caused
“the whole towne in manner to become Lollardes. . . . All ribauds
infected with Lollardry, that come to the said towne are all
courteously received and maintayned as yf they were prophetts before
all others.” The day after Christmas, the Mayor “brought with him
. . . an errant Lollard to preach within All Saints Church.” He did
the same later, bringing the “parson of the church of Wynkpole, an
errant Lollarde, to preach.” Powell and Trevelyan, “The Peasants’
risings and the Lollards,” London, 1899, pp. 45 ff.

[387] G. M. Trevelyan, “England in the age of Wycliffe,” 1899, p. 199.

[388] Statute 5 Rich. II, 2, cap 5.

[389] He has often been considered as an adherent of Wyclif, for no
reason save that both, at the same time, wanted radical reforms, not
a few however of a different kind. Ball had some religious ideas
peculiar to himself; thus, according to him, natural children could
not go to heaven.

[390] “Chronicon Angliæ,” 1328–1388, ed. E. Maunde Thompson, 1874,
Rolls Series, p. 321.

[391] Lord Berners’ “Froissart,” cap. ccclxxxi.

[392] “Chronicon Angliæ,” 1328–1388, Thompson’s edition, 1874, p. 322.

[393] “English Prose Treatises of Richard Rolle of Hampole,” edited
by Rev. George Perry, 1866, Early English Text Society, Preface, pp.
ix, xv–xix. See before, p. 141.

[394] The Dominicans in 1221; the Franciscans in 1224. See Dr.
Jessopp, “The Coming of the Friars,” London, 1888, pp. 32–34, a work
in which shine the ample knowledge and wide sympathies of the late
rector of East Dereham, the “Arcady for better for worse” where he
spent so many years. When Taine made his last visit to England I
wanted, if I may be permitted to recall a personal souvenir, to give
him a lunch where each of those invited would be a representative
Englishman. Robert Browning represented poetry; Augustus Jessopp, who
deeply impressed the chief guest, the country clergy.

[395] “Vision,” Text C, pas. xi. l. 14.

[396] Prologue to “Canterbury Tales.”

[397] Jack Straw, according to the confession which his contemporary
the monk Thomas Walsingham relates of him, would have liked to keep
no other ecclesiastics on earth but the mendicant friars: “Soli
mendicantes vixissent super terram qui suffecissent pro sacris
celebrandis aut conferendis universæ terræ.” “Historia Anglicana,”
vol. ii. p. 10, Rolls Series.

[398] “Piers Plowman,” Skeat’s edition, Text C, pass. xxiii. l. 274.


    “Ac it is ferre agoo · in seynt Fraunceys tyme.”

Text B, pass. xv. l. 226.

[400] “The Rule and Life of the Friars Minors,” in Dugdale’s
“Monasticon Anglicanum,” London, 1817, vol. vi. p. 1504.

[401] “Liber de adventu Minorum in Angliam,” in “Monumenta
Franciscana,” ed. Brewer, Rolls Series, 1858, p. 28. The author,
Thomas of Eccleston, himself a Franciscan, saw the most flourishing
period of the mendicant orders; his book, of extreme _naïveté_,
abounds in visions and tales of wonders.

[402] Matthew Paris, “Historia Anglorum,” London, 1866, vol. iii. p.
145, Rolls Series.

[403] “Monumenta Franciscana,” Rolls, p. xxix.

[404] “Speculum Vitæ B. Francisi et sociorum ejus, opera fratris
Guil. Spoelberch,” Antwerp, 1620, part i. cap. 4.

[405] Thirty-two years after the friars had appeared in England,
they already possessed forty-nine convents (“Monumenta Franciscana,”
ed. Brewer, 1858, p. 10). In Matthew Paris will be found a good
description of the behaviour of the friars minor in England on their
arrival, of the poor, humble, and useful life that they first led.
“Historia Anglorum,” ed. Madden, 1866, vol. ii. p. 109.

[406] See “Defensionem curatorum contra eos qui privilegiatos se
dicunt” (4to, undated), a speech made in 1357, by Richard Fitz-Ralph,
Archbishop of Armagh, in which are denounced the successive
encroachments of the mendicant friars to the detriment of the secular

[407] “Monumenta Franciscana,” _ut supra_, pp. 514, etc. This library
had been founded by the celebrated Richard Whittington, who was Mayor
of London in 1397–98, 1406–07, and 1419–20.

[408] “More canum cadaveribus assistentium, ubi quisque suam
particulam avide consumendam expectat.” Rolls Series, vol. i. 38;
_sub anno_ 1291–92.

[409] Wyclif’s “Select English Works,” ed. Thos. Arnold, 1869, vol.
iii. pp. 348, 380.

[410] “Monumenta Franciscana,” p. 541. Hence the reproaches the

    “Of these frer mynours me thenkes moch wonder,
     That waxen are thus hauteyn, that som tyme weren under.”

Thomas Wright’s “Political Poems and Songs,” 1859, vol. i. p. 268,
Rolls Series.

[411] “Pierce the Ploughman’s Crede,” ed. Skeat, 1867, Early English
Text Society, pp. 7–9; written about 1394; author unknown, the
same possibly who composed “The Plowman’s Tale,” e.g. in Wright’s
“Political Poems,” both works strongly influenced by Langland’s

[412] “Liber de adventu Minorum,” in “Monumenta Franciscana,” p. 52.

[413] Grammar, logic, rhetoric—Arithmetic, geometry, music, astronomy.

[414] “Select English Works,” vol. iii. p. 382. A satire of the
fourteenth century states in the same way:

    “Isti fratres prædicant per villas et forum
     Quod si mortem gustet quis in habitu minorum
     Non intrabit postea locum tormentorum,
     Sed statim perducitur ad regna cœlorum.”

But if burial is requested for a pauper in one of their privileged
churches, “the keeper is absent,” is the answer, and admittance is

    “Gardianus absens est, statim respondetur
     Et sic satis breviter pauper excludetur.”

Wright’s “Political Poems,” Rolls Series, vol. i. pp. 256–57.

[415] The complaints of the University of Oxford against the
friars, stating how they wrongfully attracted with fruit and
drink mere children, and taught them how to beg and to ingratiate
themselves with the great, were among the severest: “Nam pomis et
potu, ut populus fabulatur, puerulos ad religionem attrahunt et
instigant, quos professos non instruunt sicut exigit ætas illa,
sed mendicationis discursibus permittunt intendere; atque tempus,
quo possint addiscere, captandis favoribus amicorum, dominarum
et dominorum, sinunt consumere, in offensam parentium, puerorum
periculum et ordinis detrimentum.” Year 1358, “Munimenta Academica,”
Rolls Series, i. p. 207.

[416] “Hic est frater, ergo mendax.” “Historia Anglicana,” 1867–69,
vol. ii. p. 13, Rolls Series.

[417] Brit. Mus. MS. Roy. 10 E. IV, fol. 100, ff. See also in MS. 17
C. xv. in the British Museum a satirical picture of a “ffryer.”

[418] Wright’s “Political Poems,” vol. i. p. 263.

[419] 20 Ed. II., “Croniques de London,” ed. Aungier, Camden Society,
p. 54.

[420] Proclamation of Richard II, year 1385; Rymer’s “Foedera,” ed.
1704, vol. vii. p. 458.

[421] “Rolls of Parliament,” 20 E. III, vol. ii. p. 162, A.D. 1346.

[422] Labbe, “Sacrosancta Concilia,” Florence, vol. xxvi. col. 729.

[423] “Select English Works,” vol. iii. p. 396.

[424] “The English Works of Wyclif, hitherto unprinted,” edited by
F. D. Matthew, Early English Text Society, 1880, p. 13. Most of the
pieces in this collection are only attributed to Wyclif, this one
among them. See also Gower’s “Vox Clamantis,” Roxburghe Club, 1850,
p. 228.

[425] “English Works of Wyclif hitherto unprinted,” p. 12.

[426] So also in Chaucer’s “Prologue”:

    “His typet was ay farsud ful of knyfes
     And pynnes, for to yive faire wyfes.”

[427] Wright’s “Political Poems and Songs,” 1859, vol. i. pp. 264 and

[428] “Select English Works,” vol. i. p. 381. See also Wright’s
“Political Poems and Songs,” 1859, vol. i. p. 257.

[429] “Eulogium historiarum,” ed. Haydon, Rolls Series, London, 1858,
vol. iii. p. 392. What the condemned friars were accused of was thus
explained to them: “Similiter vos in hypocrisi, adulatione et falsa
vita audivistis falsas confessiones in quibus injunxistis populo
pro pœnitentia ut quærerent regem Ricardum in Wallia. Vos etiam in
hypocrisi, adulatione et falsa vita collegistis magnam summam pecuniæ
mendicando et misistis ad Audeonum (Owen) Glendour proditorem, ut
veniat et destruat totam linguam Anglicanam,” a language which Henry
prided himself in speaking and which he had used in parliament to
claim the crown. “Rolls of Parliament,” iii. 422.

[430] Year 1533, Holinshed, “Chronicles,” London, 1587, vol. iii. p.
945. Friar Forest had refused the oath of supremacy.

[431] “Libellus vere aureus . . . de optimo reipublicæ statu deque
noua Insula Vtopia . . . cura P. Ægidii . . . nunc primum . . .
editus,” Louvain, 1516, lib. i.

[432] Hardy, “Registrum palatinum Dunelmense,” vol. iii. p. cxxxiv.

[433] “Theodori archiepiscopi Cantuariensis pœnitentiale,” in Migne’s
“Patrologia,” vol. xcix. col. 938 and 940.

[434] “Halitgarii episcopi Cameracensis liber pœnitentialis,” in
Migne’s “Patrologia,” vol. cv. col. 706.

[435] See Appendix XIII, p. 438.

[436] The two words were used as interchangeable. Du Cange quotes a
text of 1389, reading: “Come il fust venu en la ville de Necie près
Faloise un questeur ou porteur de pardons.” _Sub verbo_ “Perdonantia.”

[437] In England as elsewhere forgers were busy. One is captured at
great expense in the year 51 Ed. III: “To John Compton, one of the
king’s archers of his crown. In money paid to him for the expenses
of himself and other archers in his retinue, coming from Gloucester
to London, to conduct and deliver up Thomas Pardoner and Reginald
Clerc, forgers of the seal of the Lord the Pope . . . also for hire
of horses for the same Thomas and Reginald and for divers other
costs occurred in their safe conduct, £6.” Devon, “Issues of the
Exchequer,” 1837, p. 203.

[438] “Archæologia,” vol. xx. p. 53, John Webb’s translation. See
Appendix XIV, p. 439.

[439] Prologue to the “Canterbury Tales,” and Prologue to the
“Pardoner’s Tale.”

[440] “The Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio” . . . done into English
. . . by John Payne, London, 1886, vol. ii. p. 278, tenth Tale, sixth

[441] See Appendix, XV p. 440.

[442] Same Appendix.

[443] “Excommunicatis gratiam absolutionis impendit. Vota
peregrinationis ad apostolorum limina, ad Terram Sanctam, ad Sanctum
Jacobum non prius remisit quam tantam pecuniam recepisset, quantam,
juxta veram æstimationem, in eisdem peregrinationibus expendere
debuissent, et ut cuncta concludam brevibus, nihil omnino petendum
erat, quod non censuit, intercedente pecunia, concedendum.” “Historia
Anglicana”; Rolls Series, vol. i. p. 452.

[444] See Appendix XV, p. 444.

[445] Lyndsay, “Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estaits” performed at
Linlithgow, 1540; Early English Text Society, 1869; John Heywood,
“The Pardoner and the Frere, the Curate and Neybour Pratte,” 1533;
“The foure Ps,” 1545.

[446] Payne’s “Boccaccio,” vol. ii. pp. 280, 287.

[447] “The Leofric Missal” (1050–1072), edited by F. E. Warren, 1883,
Clarendon Press, pp. lxi, 3, 4.

[448] “Historia Anglorum” (Historia minor), ed. Sir F. Madden,
London, 1866; vol. iii. p. 60, Rolls Series.

[449] Devon’s “Issues of the Exchequer,” 1837, p. 176.

[450] “Le livre des fais et bonnes mœurs du sage roy Charles,”
by Christine de Pisan, chap. xxxiii. vol. i. p. 633; “Nouvelle
Collection de Mémoires,” ed. Michaud and Poujoulat, Paris, 1836.

[451] “Pantagruel,” book ii. chap. xvii., “Comment Panurge gagnoit
les pardons.”

[452] “Farce d’un pardonneur, d’un triacleur et d’une tavernière,”
Viollet le Duc, “Ancien théâtre français,” Paris, 1854–57, vol. ii.
p. 50.

[453] “The Pleasaunt Historie of Lazarillo de Tormes, . . . drawen
out of Spanish by David Rouland, of Angelsey.” London, 1586, Sig. G.

[454] A favourite subject among miniaturists, and to be found in
several manuscripts (2 B. vii; 10 E. IV) in the British Museum. See
the headpiece of the present chapter.

[455] Labbe, “Sacrosancta concilia,” Florence edition, vol. xxv. col.
1177, and vol. xxvi. col. 462. In 1419, Henry Chicheley, Archbishop
of Canterbury, ordered public prayers, litanies, and processions,
to protect the King of England and his army against the wicked
operations of magicians. Wilkins, “Concilia Magnæ Britanniæ,” vol.
iii. p. 392.

[456] “Si vero masculus quisquam voluerit, ut est moris, ejusdem
defuncti vel defuncte nocturnis vigiliis interesse, hoc fieri
permittatur, dumtamen nec monstra larvarum inducere, nec corporis vel
fame sue ludibria, nec ludos alios inhonestos, presumat aliqualiter
attemptare.” Toulmin Smith, “English Gilds,” p. 194.

[457] “Araneis et aliis vermibus nigris ad modum scorpionum, cum
quadam herba quæ dicitur millefolium et aliis herbis et vermibus
detestabilibus.” Thos. Wright, “Proceedings against Dame Alice
Kyteler, 1324,” Camden Society, 1843, p. 32.

[458] “The Canons Yeomans Tale.”

[459] The whole of book vii of his “Confessio Amantis” is devoted to
the exposition of a system of the world and to the description of the
inner nature of beings and substances. The “Roman de la Rose” is not
less explicit on these matters (confession of Nature to Genius).

[460] “De Proprietatibus Rerum,” lib. xvi, a work of immense repute,
translated into English by Trevisa in 1398, into French, Spanish,

[461] “Les Amants magnifiques.”

[462] “Conciliorum generalium Ecclesiæ Catholicæ,” vol. iv. p. 261,
“Pauli V. Pont. max. auctoritate editus,” Rome, 1623. See Appendix
XV, p. 444.

[463] Winter of 1435; he was coming on a mission to James I of
Scotland. “Romance of a King’s Life,” pp. 52, 97.

[464] First cousin to Edward II, executed in 1322. Froissart had
no doubt as to the authenticity of his miracles. “Thomas erle of
Lancastre, who was a noble and a wyse holy knyght, and hath done syth
many fayre myracles in Pomfret, where he was beheeded” (vol. i. chap.
vi. in Lord Berners’ translation). The body of Charles de Blois,
killed at the battle of Auray in 1364, but this one an undoubtedly
pious warrior, also worked miracles, and Froissart imagined that
Urban V had canonized him: “His body [was] after sanctifyed by the
grace of God and called Saynt Charles, and canonized by Pope Urban
the V; for he dyde, and yet dothe many fayre miracles dayly.” Vol. i.
cap. 226 of Lord Berners’ translation.

[465] “Non absque homicidiis aliisque lætalibus verberibus . . .
et de majoribus periculis verisimiliter imminentibus multipliciter
formidatur . . .” A.D. 1323, “Historical Papers from the Northern
Registers,” ed. Raine, 1873, p. 324, Rolls Series.

[466] The archbishop did write to this effect to the Pope (John XXII)
on February 24, 1327, asking him to make inquiry with a view to
canonization. “Historical Papers from the Northern Registers,” p. 340.

[467] Petition to Parliament, 1 Ed. III, 1326–7. “Rolls of
Parliament,” vol. ii. p. 7.

[468] “Memorials of London,” Riley, 1868, p. 203. The miracles worked
by the same are also noted in the contemporary “Croniques de London”
(Camden Society, ed. G. J. Aungier, p. 46), and by many others.

[469] J. Nichol’s “Wills of the Kings and Queens of England,” 1780,
p. 54. A chapel had been built on the hill where the earl had been
beheaded. The offerings brought there by the pilgrims were, in
1334, the subject of a curious debate between the prior and the
convent of Pontefract on the one hand, and the Lord of Wake on the
other; this lord had “taken possession of the said chapel and the
offerings brought there, and had taken the keys with him.” The prior
and the convent in a petition to Parliament requested to have the
“administration of these offerings,” as “spiritual things within
their parish and belonging to their church,” “Rolls of Parliament,”
vol. ii. p. 84.

[470] “Ne . . . pro sancto vel justo reputetur, cum in excommunicatione
sit defunctus, sicut sancta tenet Ecclesia.” “Dictum de Kenilworth,” §
viii., in “Select Charters,” ed. Stubbs, 1870, p. 410.


    Salve Symon Montis Fortis
      tocius flos militie,
    Duras penas passus mortis,
      protector gentis Angliæ.

“Ora pro nobis, beate Symon, ut digni efficiamur promissionibus
Christi.” Hymn composed shortly after the death of Simon; Warton,
“History of English Poetry,” ed. Hazlitt, 1871, vol. ii. p. 48.

[472] Rymer’s “Fœdera,” edit. 1704, vol. iv. p. 20.

[473] Ibid., vol. iii. p. 1033.

[474] See Appendix XVI, p. 445.

[475] On the _advertising_ of certain pilgrimages by means,
sometimes, of the most famous of mediæval romances, see the capital
work of Joseph Bédier, “Les Légendes épiques, Recherches sur la
formation des Chansons de Geste,” Paris, 1908, 4 vols. On the
especial veneration of saints who had been road and bridge builders,
see III, p. 72, where, speaking of the immense popularity of the
pilgrimage to Saint James of Compostela in the eleventh century,
Bédier says: “Ce fut l’époque héroïque du pèlerinage. C’est alors que
la route romaine commence à se peupler d’asiles pour les voyageurs;
c’est alors qu’exercent leur activité les saints que l’Eglise vénère
parce qu’ils furent de bons ingénieurs, réparant les chaussées,
desséchant les marécages, jetant des ponts sur les rivières et les
torrents, saint Dominique de la Calzada, et ce Français, saint
Aleaume de Burgos, ancien moine de la Chaise-Dieu.”

[476] “Sane nuper ad aures nostras pervenit quod ad quandam imaginem
beatæ Virginis in ecclesia parochiali de Foston noviter collocatam
magnus simplicium est concursus, acsi in eadem plus quam in aliis
similibus imaginibus aliquid numinis appareret.” Year 1313, Wilkins’
“Concilia,” vol. ii. p. 423.

[477] See e.g. MS. 2 B. vii. in the British Museum, fol. 211, and
10 E. IV., fol. 209. The story of this miracle has been told by
numberless authors in the Middle Ages; the text of one version of the
tale, with references to the others, will be found in G. F. Warner,
“Miracles de Nostre Dame,” Roxburghe Club, 1885, pp. xxxiv and 63.

[478] “_Loci e libro veritatum_, passages selected from Gascoigne’s
Theological Dictionary” (1403–1458), edit. Thorold Rogers, Oxford,
1881, p. 206. This Fullar is known to have come to England, where he
saw Gascoigne. Eugene IV was Pope during the second quarter of the
fifteenth century.

[479] “No fewer than thirty-eight of these pilgrims’ Meccas in the
County of Norfolk alone.” Sidney Heath, “Pilgrim Life in the Middle
Ages,” London, 1911, p. 30.

[480] To Edw. Raven, Jan. 20, 1551. “Whole Works,” Giles, 1865, p.

[481] “Henry III, Edward I, Edward III, David Bruce, Q. Catherine
after Flodden, Henry VII and Henry VIII visited the famous shrine.”
Walcott, “English Minsters,” 1879, II, 229.

[482] The “Image of Darvell Gathern,” greatly venerated by the Welsh,
was burnt with him. Ellis, “Original Letters,” 1st series, II, 82 ff.

[483] Ellis, _ibid._, pp. 79, 80, Sept. 1537 (?).

[484] Patent of 19 Richard II in the appendix to Mr. Karkeek’s essay,
“Chaucer’s Schipman and his Barge, ‘The Maudelayne,’” Chaucer Society
“Essays,” 1884.

[485] Becquet or Becchet, of Norman blood, both on his father’s side,
who was from Thierceville, as on his mother’s, who was from Caen.


    Desuz le frunt li bullit la cervelle.

A real Turpin, but who long survived the event, was Archbishop of
Reims at the time of the Roncevaux disaster.

[487] Moved in July, 1220 to Trinity Chapel, behind the high altar.

[488] A beautifully illustrated fragment of a life of the saint,
in French verse of the thirteenth century, has been published with
facsimiles by Paul Meyer: “Fragments d’une vie de saint Thomas de
Cantorbéry,” Paris, 1885. A remarkable thirteenth-century picture of
the murder, with obvious attention to historical exactitude, is in
one of the MSS. of the Yates Thompson Collection, reproduced in the
Catalogue of the sale (March 23, 1920), lot xxxiv.

[489] Something yet remains of the bas relief representing his life
above the portal of the southern transept of the cathedral at Bayeux.

[490] “Historical Memorials of Canterbury,” chap. iv.


    Felix locus, felix ecclesia,
    In qua Thomæ vivit memoria,
    Felix terra quæ dedit præsulem,
    Felix illa quæ fovit exulem.

[492] “La vie de Saint Thomas le Martyr, par Garnier de
Pont-Sainte-Maxence, poète du XII^e siècle,” ed. C. Hippeau, Paris,

[493] Epilogue, p. 205.

[494] On which see, e.g. “The Old Road,” by H. Belloc, London, 1904;
Sidney Heath, “Pilgrim Life in the Middle Ages,” London, 1911, chap.
viii. A characteristic decree of the Venetian Senate, showing the
popularity of this pilgrimage abroad, authorizes on Aug. 3, 1402,
Lorenzo Contarini, captain of the Venetian galleys setting sail
for Flanders, to visit St. Thomas’s shrine, in accomplishment of a
vow, to go thither and return in one day while the galleys would be
at Sandwich, but not to sleep away from his vessel. “Calendar of
Venetian State papers relating to English Affairs,” ed. Rawdon Brown,
Rolls series, 1864, I, 42.

[495] Garnier, ibid. pp. 210 ff.

[496] The original charter of Louis VII has disappeared, but the
confirmation by his son still exists. It reads: “Noverint igitur
universi, presentes pariter et futuri, quod intuitu beati martiris
quondam Cantuariensis Archiepiscopi, ad cujus tumulum pro salute
anime et sanitate corporis impetranda, pater noster in multa
devotione fuerat profectus, conventui monachorum Sancte Trinitatis
ibidem Deo servientium centum modios vini, ad mensuram Parisiensem,
singulis annis tempore vendemiarum, in castellaria Pissiaci
accipiendos, in elemosynam concessit . . . quod factum patris
nostri ne aliqua possit oblivione deleri et aliqua malignantium
invidia violari, manu nostre confirmationis apposita, precipimus
immutabiliter custodiri.” Given at Nantes, year 1180. Text, facsimile
and comment in “Archæologia Cantiana,” vol. IV, 1861, p. 127.

“Muids” (modii) were of a different sort, according to places; those
“of the Paris measurement” contained 270 of our litres and were
therefore quite goodly casks.

[497] Berners’ Froissart, ed. Ker, I, p. 393.

[498] On the extraordinary voyage of the “basileus and autocrator”
and his stay of four years away from his besieged capital, see
Schlumberger, “Un Empereur de Byzance à Paris et à Londres,” “Revue
des Deux Mondes,” Dec. 15, 1915.

[499] Wilkins, “Concilia Magnæ Britanniæ,” vol. iii, 1737, p. 847.
On the discovery in 1888 of bones supposed to be those of the
archbishop, see Canon A. J. Mason’s “What became of the Bones of St.
Thomas? A contribution to his fifteenth Jubilee,” London, 1920.

[500] 2 Ed. VI, “Miscellaneous Writings of Thomas Cranmer,” Parker
Society, Cambridge, 1846, p. 147.

[501] “Piers Plowman,” ed. Skeat, Text C, pass. 1, l. 51.

[502] Printed in “The Academy,” Nov. 17, 1883, p. 331.

[503] “The Examination of Master William Thorpe,” 1407, Arber’s
“Engl. Garner,” vi, 84. Cf. “Anecdotes . . . tirées . . . d’Etienne
de Bourbon, XIII^e siècle,” ed. Lecoy de la Marche, “Sextus titulus,
De Peregrinatione.”

[504] See Appendix XVII, p. 446. On Reynard, the date, composition
and sources of this work, see Léon Foulet, “Le Roman de Renard,”
Paris, 1914.

[505] “A Dialoge or communication of two persons, deuysyd and set
forthe in the laten tonge, by the noble and famose clarke, Desiderius
Erasmus, intituled ye pylgremage of pure deuotyon. Newly translatyd
into Englishe.” London (1540?), 16º.

[506] “A Dyaloge of syr Thomas More knyghte . . . wherin be treatyd
dyuers maters, as of the veneration and worshyp of ymagys and
relyques, praying to sayntys, and goyng on pylgrymage, wyth many
othere thyngys touchyng the pestylent sect of Luther and Tyndale.”
London, 1529, 4º.

[507] “The sermon . . . made . . . to the conuocation of the clergy”
(28 Henry VIII), in “Frutefvll sermons preached by the right reverend
father and constant martyr of Jesus Christ, M. Hugh Latymer.” London,
1571, p. 10.

[508] Ordinance for the state of the wardrobe and the account of
the household, June, 1323. “King Edward II’s Household and Wardrobe
Ordinances,” ed. Furnivall, Chaucer Society, 1876, p. 62.

[509] In the continuation of Chaucer’s tales, the Knight is
represented interpreting to his son the strong and weak points in the
continuous wall at Canterbury, and discussing whether it was proof
against gunshot:

    “And a-poyntid to his sone the perell and the dout,
     Ffor shot of arbalast and of bowe, and eke for shot of gonne.”

“The Tale of Beryn,” ed. Furnivall and Stone, E.E.T.S., 1909, p. 9.

[510] C. Roach Smith has described a number of them in his
“Collectanea Antiqua,” London, 1848, vol. i. p. 81, and vol. ii. p.
43. He has given drawings of many which had been “discovered chiefly
in the bed of the Thames, and in making the approaches to new London
Bridge.” See also “Guide to mediæval room, British Museum,” 1907, p.
69; Heath, “Pilgrim Life,” 1911, ch. VI. A specimen is given below,
p. 418.

[511] “Tale of Beryn,” _ibid._ p. 7.

[512] Among the ornaments worn by Chaucer’s pardoner was a “vernicle”
on his cap, as may be seen above in the plate, p. 336. Sir Thomas
More, in his “Dialogue,” describes as follows the vernicle
represented on pilgrims’ medals: How, says he, can it be maintained
that Christ blames images, “where he lykyd to leve the holy vernacle,
thexpresse ymage also of hys blessid vysage, as a token to remain in
honour among such as lovyd hym from ye tyme of hys bytter passyon
hytherto, whych as it was by the myracle of hys blessid holy hand
expressed and lefte in ye sudari: so hath yt bene by lyke myracle in
that thyn corruptyble cloth kepte and preservyd uncorrupted thys xv.
C. yere freshe and well perceyved, to ye inwarde cumforte, spyrytuall
reioysyng and grete encreace of fervoure and devocyon in the harts of
good crysten people” (Sig. B. iii.).

[513] Most of them mentioned by Garnier in his “Vie de Saint Thomas,”
where, after stating that men of all sorts flocked to Canterbury, he
adds (ed. Hippeau, p. 205):

    “Et anpules raportent en signe del veiage,
      Mès de Jerusalem en est la croix portée,
     Et de Rochemadur Marie en plum getée,
     De Saint Jame la scale, qui en plun est muée;
     Or à Deus saint Thomas cele ampule donée,
     Qui est par tut le mund chérie et honorée.”

[514] “Guide du pélerin à Rocamadour,” by M. le Chanoine Laporte,
Rocamadour, 1862, chap. viii.

[515] “Les louenges du roy Louys xij^e. de ce nom, nouvellement
composées par maistre Claude de Seyssel, docteur en tous droits.”
Paris, 1508, sign. f. iii.

[516] Skeat’s edition, Text C, pass. i. l. 47.

[517] See the drawing of this ring in vol. viii. of the
“Archæological Journal,” p. 360. The long stick, or pilgrim’s staff,
and the bag or “scrip” were the characteristic signs of pilgrims. In
the romance of King Horn, the hero meets on his road a _palmer_, and
to disguise himself changes clothes with him; in this transformation
the author only points out the chief particulars, that is to say,
the staff and the bag. “Horn took burdon and scrippe.” (“King Horn,
with fragments of Floris and Blauncheflur,” ed. by J. H. Lumby, Early
English Text Society, 1866.) We have seen above, p. 362, that Reynard
on his way to Rome took just the same implements.

[518] Statute 12 Rich. II, cap 7.

[519] Statute 5 Rich. II, st. 1, c. 2. Restrictions on pilgrimage-making
existed also in France. See an ordinance of Charles VI, February 27,
1399, prohibiting pilgrimages to Rome. “Recueil d’Isambert,” vol. vi. p.

[520] “Rolls of Parliament,” 13 Rich. II, vol. iii. p. 275, and
statute 1, cap. 20 of 13 Rich. II.

[521] As to the number of pilgrimages, their origin, and history, see
the “Dictionnaire géographique, historique, descriptif, archéologique
des pélerinages anciens et modernes,” by L. de Sivry and M. de
Champagnac, Paris, 1850, 2 vols. 8vo, forming vols. xliii. and xliv.
of Migne’s “Encyclopédie théologique.”

[522] Ripert-Monclar, “Bullaire du Pont d’Avignon,” 1912.

[523] Statute 4 Ed. III, c. 8.

[524] Petition of the Calais burgesses, “Rolls of Parliament,” vol.
iii. p. 500, 4 Henry IV, A.D. 1402. In Dover too, on the opposite
shore, there was such a house, the inventory of which has been
printed: Walcott, “Inventories of St. Mary’s Hospital or Maison-Dieu,
Dover,” London, 1869. In the diary of his travels, during the
sixteenth century, the Greek Nicander Nucius observes that the town
of Dover seemed to be made almost entirely of inns and hotels. “The
Travels of Nicander Nucius of Corcyra,” Camden Society, 1841.

[525] See Prof. J. W. Hales’ letter to _The Academy_ of April 22,
1882, p. 287. A view of the old church, of which very little now
remains, could be seen, Mr. Enlart writes me, in a picture by Van der
Meulen, but it was destroyed by the Germans in one of their air raids
during the late Great War, when they shelled the Museum.

[526] This relic so greatly attracted the English that they had
founded in the cathedral a chapel of “Notre Dame Englesque” (Sancta
Maria Anglica), and the leopards of England, writes Prof. Enlart, are
still to be seen in the stained glass.

[527] Halliwell’s edition, 1866, p. 108.

[528] See the remarkable articles by Emile Male, on “L’Art du Moyen
Age et les Pélerinages,” in the “Revue de Paris,” 1920; in the number
of Feb. 15, an article on “Les Routes de France et d’Espagne.”

[529] Text B, p. xii. l. 37.

[530] A. B. Caillau, “Histoire critique et religieuse de Notre Dame
de Roc-Amadour,” Paris, 1834, pp. 73 ff.

[531] Berners’ Froissart, vol. i. ch. cclviii.

[532] William Wey, in the fifteenth century, notices the large number
of English ships at “Grwne” (Coruña), the usual port of landing for
Compostela: “In porto Grwne erant de Anglicis, Wallicis, Hibernicis,
Normannis, Francis, Britonnibus et aliis LXXX^{ta} naves cum
topcastellis et quatuor sine topcastellis; numerus navium Anglicarum
erat XXX^{ij}.” He notes the words and music of a song sung by little
Spanish boys, dancing before pilgrims and offering good wishes, in
exchange for which they hoped to get some small coin. “Itineraries,”
Roxburghe Club, 1857, pp. 154, 156.

[533] “Fœdera,” ed. 1704, vol. vii. p. 468, 17 Rich. II.

[534] “Fœdera,” 12 Hen. VI, 1434, vol. x. pp. 567–569.

[535] “The Stacions of Rome and the Pilgrim’s Sea Voyage,” ed.
Furnivall, Early English Text Society, 1867, p. 47. This complaint
on the Compostela pilgrimage is of the fifteenth century. On the
Compostela sanctuary and on the propagation of certain artistic
notions through the influx of pilgrims, see the before quoted article
by E. Male, “Revue de Paris,” Feb. 1920.

[536] “The Paston Letters,” ed. Jas. Gairdner, vol. i. p. 48. Letter
of Margaret Paston of September 28, 1443.

[537] Especially noteworthy in this respect at the present day is the
Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, near Mantua (in which the famous
author of the “Cortegiano,” Baldassare Castiglione, is buried),
where life-size, realistic wax figures, wearing real garments or
armour, form a continuous series above the arches on both sides of
the nave. Each scene commemorates a miraculous intervention of the
Virgin: innocents saved at the moment of their execution, the halter
breaking, the axe stopped, etc. The “custode” also directs attention
to a stuffed animal, dangling from the roof, and which he describes
as a “crocodilo” which used to desolate the country.

[538] “The Book of the Knight of La Tour Landry,” translated from the
French, ed. Thomas Wright, Early English Text Society, 1868, p. 70.
The original French is of the fourteenth century.

[539] “Miracles de Nostre Dame,” collected by Jean Miélot, ed. G. F.
Warner, Roxburghe Club, 1885, p. 58. This version of the tale is of
the fifteenth century, but the story itself is much older.

[540] i.e. St. Catherine of Mount Sinai.

[541] William Wey, in the fifteenth century, thus mentions the
catacombs: “Item ibi est una spelunca nuncupata Sancti Kalixti
cimiterium, et qui eam pertransit cum devocione, illi indulgentur
omnia sua peccata. Et ibi multa corpora sanctorum sunt, que nullus
hominum numerare nequit nisi solus Deus,” “The Itineraries of William
Wey,” Roxburghe Club, 1857, p. 146. Wey, like the author of the poem,
sometimes mentions prodigious numbers of bodies of martyrs; at the
church called Scala Celi, “sunt ossa sanctorum decem millia militum;”
in one single part of St. Peter’s at Rome, are “Petronella et xiii
millia sanctorum martyrum.”

[542] William Wey said of the church of the Holy Cross: “Item, ibi
sunt duo ciphi, unus plenus sanguine Ihesu Cristi, and alter plenus
lacte beate Marie Virginis,” “Itineraries,” p. 146. Those who drink
at the three fountains which gushed out at the death of St. Paul are
cured of all maladies; those who visit the church of St. Mary of the
Annunciation will never be struck by lightning; at the church of St.
Vivian there is “herba crescens quam ipsa plantavit et valet contra
caducum morbum.” At the church of St. Sebastian is shown a foot-print
of Jesus; and it is, in fact, still to be seen there at the present
day. Ibid. pp. 143–148.

[543] In the Borghese chapel.

[544] “The Stacions of Rome,” fourteenth century, ed. F. J.
Furnivall, Early English Text Society, 1867. Another version of the
“Stacions,” with variants, was printed by the same in “Political,
Religious, and Love Poems,” Early English Text Society, 1866, p. 113.
See in this last volume notes by W. M. Rossetti on the “Stacions,”
pp. xxi–xlviii, paralleling the information furnished by the English
author with that given by the Italian Francino, who wrote on the same
subject in 1600, and whose numbers are much less exaggerated. Mr.
Rossetti states also what is still shown at Rome of the relics named
in the “Stacions.”

The Saint Luke legend appears in a somewhat different form in William
Wey, according to whom the saint was about to paint when he fell
asleep, and the angels made the picture for him, “Itineraries,” p.
143. A similar legend is attached to the great wooden crucifix of
Byzantine workmanship, called in the middle ages the “Saint Vou”
(the Holy Face, _vultus_), at Lucca, begun by Nicodemus after the
Ascension, and miraculously finished during his sleep. Bédier,
“Légendes épiques,” 1908, II. 210.

[545] “Ye Solace of Pilgrimes, a description of Rome _circa_ A.D.
1450, by John Capgrave,” ed. Mills and Bannister, Oxford, 1911, 4º.

[546] As well as that of the author of the poem. This immensely
popular work of unknown date was in existence anyhow in the XIIth
century. See “Mirabilia Urbis Romæ, the Marvels of Rome,” with notes
by F. M. Nichols, London, 1889.

[547] “Le Saint Voyage de Jhérusalem du Seigneur d’Anglure,” ed.
Bonnardot and Longnon, “Société des Anciens Textes Français,” 1878,
pp. 3, 4.

[548] On the normal cost of such journeys (from Rouen to St. James
of Compostela, in 1377, 343 fr. of our present money), see d’Avenel,
“Histoire économique,” vi. 621.

[549] Toulmin Smith, “English Gilds,” pp. 157, 177, 180, 182, 231.

[550] Devon’s “Issues of the Exchequer,” 1837, p. 159.

[551] Mandate from the Archbishop of York, Feb. 1, 1351–2, in Raine,
“Historical Papers from the Northern Registers,” p. 402.

[552] “Chronica monasterii de Melsa,” ed. E. A. Bond, 1868, vol. iii.
p. 88, Rolls Series. The Abbot declares that Clement VI replied to
the reproaches of his confessor as to his bad life: “Quod facimus
modo facimus consilio medicorum.” About his theory of the “treasury,”
see _supra_, p. 314. The Pontiff, Pierre Rogier, a Frenchman, of
great learning and extraordinary memory, of knightly manners, fond
of festivities and amusements, had been an opponent of Edward III in
the matter of benefices, which may have still increased the Abbot’s
animosity. His decision as to the angels was inserted in his bull
on jubilees, which were to recur every fifty years instead of every
century; it concerns pilgrims coming to the jubilee.

[553] “In which year (1350) there came into England certain
penitents, noblemen and foreigners, who beat their bare bodies very
sharply, to the effusion of blood, now weeping, now singing; yet, as
was said, they did this too unadvisedly, being without licence from
the apostolic see.” Walsingham, “Historia Anglicana,” Rolls Series,
vol. 1. p. 275. See also Robert de Avesbury, “Hist. Edwardi Tertii,”
ed. Hearne, Oxford, 1720, p. 179. The flagellants whipped themselves
with knotted cords furnished with nails, they prostrated themselves
to the ground singing, with their arms extended cross-wise.

[554] The flagellants were condemned by Clement VI in 1349; he
ordered the archbishops, bishops, &c., to have them imprisoned.
Labbe, “Sacrosancta Concilia,” Florence ed., vol. xxv. col. 1153.

[555] Letter of the Archbishop of York to his official, “Historical
Papers from the Northern Registers,” ed. Raine, pp. 397–399. The
guilty were not worthless vagabonds; one has the title of _magister_,
another is professor of civil law.

[556] “Nam quidam illorum credebant, ut asseritur, nullum Deum esse,
nihil esse sacramentum altaris, nullam post mortem resurrectionem,
sed ut jumentum moritur, ita et hominem finire.” “Historia
Anglicana,” vol. ii. p. 12. Langland also complains of the scepticism
of the nobles, who question the mysteries, and make these grave
matters the subject of light conversation after meals. “Piers
Plowman,” Text C, pass. xii. l. 35.

[557] “Les louenges du roy Louys xij.,” by Claude de Seyssel, Paris,

[558] “A Collection of the Wills of the Kings and Queens of England,”
&c., printed by J. Nichols, London, 1780. Will of Humphrey Bohun,
Earl of Hereford and Essex, who died 1361, p. 54.

[559] She died November 4, 1360. Nichols, ibid. p. 29.

[560] From Bethleem, last quarter of the fourth century. Migne,
“Patrologiæ Latinæ tomus XXII,” col. 582.

[561] “Epistola XLVI Paulæ et Eustochii (one of her daughters)
ad Marcellam, De Sanctis Locis.” Migne, ibid., col. 483 ff. From
Bethleem, same period.

[562] From Bethleem, same period. Migne, ibid. To Paulinus col. 580
ff.; to Desiderius, col. 493 ff.

[563] He and numerous companions had received the Cross at the hands
of the Patriarch of Jerusalem in 1316, and the plan seemed for a
time so near realization that nobles and villeins sold their lands
and houses, to take part in the crusade. A plan thereof and a draft
of the contract with the Marseilles shipowners has been published
with excellent notes, by A. de Boislisle, “Annuaire-Bulletin de la
Société de l’histoire de France,” 1872, pp. 230 and 246. The latest
date suitable for the start is stated to be the middle of April. Full
details are given as to the supplies of every sort, to be provided
for the galleys, food and the rest: “panis biscoctus,” i.e. biscuit.

[564] Robert of Avesbury, “Historia Edwardi Tertii,” ed. Hearne,
Oxford, 1720, pp. 63, 115.

[565] The single and last attempt on a grand scale was the
ill-starred campaign against Sultan Bajazet which ended in the
disaster and massacre of Nicopolis, September, 1396; on which and on
all those latter-day attempts, see Delaville le Roulx, “La France en
Orient au XIV^e Siècle,” Paris, 1886, 2 vols.

[566] Built on Cape Africa, hence her name in the chronicles of the

[567] Berners’ Froissart (Ker, v. 361), where, however, the following
passage does not appear: “Et autres ménestrels faire leur mestier de
pipes et de chalemelles et de naquaires, tant que du son et de la
voix qui en yssoient la mer en retentissoit toute.”

[568] Berners’ Froissart, ed. Ker, 1902, vol. v, chap. 165, 167,
170. Cf. Delaville le Roulx, “La France en Orient au XIV^e Siècle,”
Paris, 1886, chap. iv. At p. 14, vol. ii, a list of all the chief
participants in this crusade.

[569] Langland speaks of the Saracens without cursing them; they
might be saved, but for Mahomet who deceived them in anger at not
being made pope; Christians ought to convert them; the pope makes
indeed bishops of Nazareth, Nineveh, etc., but they take care never
to visit their indocile flocks; let us not forget that “Jews,
Gentiles and Saracens” are sincere in their beliefs. “Piers Plowman,”
Text C, pass. xviii. ll. 123 ff.

[570] In his book is written (in French): “And know you that I would
have put this little book into Latin for brevity, but because many
understand Romance better than Latin, I have put it into Romance,
that it be understood, and that the lords and knights and other
noblemen who do not know Latin, or but little, and who have been
beyond seas, may know and understand whether I speak truth or not.”
Sloane MS. 1464, fol. 3, at the British Museum, a French MS. of the
beginning of the fifteenth century.

[571] In his translation of Ralph Higden’s “Polychronicon,” ed. C.
Babington, vol. ii. p. 161, Rolls Series.

[572] “La Manière de Langage,” ed. Paul Meyer, “Revue Critique,” vol.
x., 1870, pp. 373, 382; dedication dated May 29, 1396.

[573] “Confessio Amantis,” “Complete Works,” ed. G. C. Macaulay,
Oxford, 1899, ff. four vols., vol. iii. p. 253.

[574] According to him, the English, who, as history shows, have
certainly improved, are wanting in perseverance, “Et hinc secundum
astronomos lunam habent planetam propriam, quæ in motu et lumine est
magis instabilis.” “Fasciculi Zizaniorum,” ed. Shirley, p. 270, Rolls
Series. Caxton later also considers the moon as _par excellence_
the planet of the English: “For we englysshe men ben born under
the domynacyon of the mone, whiche is never stedfaste but ever
waverynge.” Prologue to his “Boke of Eneydos compyled by Vyrgyle,”

[575] “Polychronicon Ranulphi Higden,” edited by C. Babington, 1869,
vol. ii. pp. 166, 168, Rolls Series.

[576] He appears in John of Gaunt’s accounts: “Item à Esmon de Wyght
esquier à monsire Johan de Haukewode, de nostre doun, lxvj s. viij.”
“John of Gaunt’s Register,” ed. Armitage Smith, 1911, vol. ii. p.
299; no date, but of 1372, or shortly after.

[577] Rawdon Brown, “Calendar of State Papers relating to English
Affairs . . . at Venice,” London, 1864, vol. i. pp. 24, 29; original
in Latin.

[578] Rymer’s “Fœdera,” vol. v. p. 777; in Latin. As to Boucicaut
and his more famous son, both marshals of France, see Delaville le
Roulx, “La France en Orient, au XIV^e Siècle,” Paris, 1886, vol. i.
pp. 160 ff. Such letters being delivered pretty frequently, were
drawn up after a common form like our passports. See the one given
by Rymer in vol. vii. p. 337, A.D. 1381. In November, 1392, the Earl
of Derby, future Henry IV, was at Venice, and set out thence to go
to the Holy Land. He had letters for the Republic from Albert IV,
Duke of Austria, and the Great Council lent him a galley for his
voyage. Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, also set out from Venice for
Palestine, in February, 1398–9. He was the bearer of a letter from
Richard II to the Venetian Senate. “Calendar of State Papers . . . at
Venice,” ed. Rawdon Brown, p. lxxxi.

[579] “Historical Papers from the Northern Registers,” ed. Raine,
Rolls Series, p. 425.

[580] “En celle malle fortune perdy nostre nafve l’un de ses tymons
dont elle estoit gouvernée en partie, et fut renversée nostre voille
par plusieurs fois en la marine, malgré tous les mariniers.” The
darkness was complete, and they thought their end had come; but they
were saved, reaching Cyprus where they had not intended to go. “Le
Saint Voyage de Jérusalem du Seigneur d’Anglure,” ed. Bonnardot and
Longnon, “Société des Anciens Textes Français,” Paris, 1878.

[581] “Chronique de Monstrelet,” bk. i. chap. viii.

[582] The voyages called “Mandeville’s Voiage and Travaile” were
assuredly written in the fourteenth century in French, then were
translated e.g. into Latin and English. Only the portion relating
to Egypt, Palestine, and Syria, _may_ have been founded on a real
journey. The article “Mandeville,” by Mr. E. B. Nicholson and Colonel
Yule in “The Encyclopædia Britannica”; a paper, “Untersuchungen über
Johann von Mandeville und die Quelle seiner Reiseschreibung,” Berlin,
1888 (printed in “Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Erdkunde,” bd.
xxiii. p. 177), and Mr. G. F. Warner’s “The Buke of John Maundevil,”
being the travels of Sir John Mandeville, Kt. 1322–56, Roxb. Club,
1889, fol., with the French and English texts; the notice by the same
on Mandeville in the “Dictionary of National Biography,” notices
by H. Cordier in his “Bibliotheca Sinica” and in “Revue Critique,”
Oct. 26, 1891, represent the actual state of the question. English
text in modern spelling, ed. Pollard, London, 1900. Earliest dated
MS., a French one in the National Library, Paris, A.D. 1371; the
identification of Mandeville with Jean de Bourgogne, _alias_ “à la
Barbe,” or “ad Barbam,” a physician of Liège, who died there in 1372,
seems certain.

[583] “A Survey of Egypt and Syria undertaken in the year 1422, by
Sir Gilbert de Lannoy, Kt., translated from a MS. in the Bodleian
Library,” “Archæologia,” vol. xxi. pp. 281, 319, giving also the
French original. Born in 1386, employed by the Duke of Burgundy, then
by the King of England, Lannoy died in 1462.

[584] Sloane MS. 1464, fo. 3, British Museum.

[585] And a very large quantity, beginning as early as the fourth
century (to which century belongs the “Itinerarium Burdigala
Hierosolymam”), had preceded those. See, among others, “Itinera
Hierosolymitana et Descriptiones Terræ Sancta,” ed. Tobler and
Molinier, 1879, ff.; “Itinéraires à Jérusalem, rédigés en français
aux XI^e, XII^e et XIII^e Siècles,” ed. Michelant and Raynaud, 1882,
both works forming part of the publications of the “Société de
l’Orient Latin.” One of the best among the older guide-books was due
to the French monk Bernard in the year 870. The monk, who went by way
of Egypt, is brief, accurate, matter of fact, as little emotional
as possible, discards all wonders, and is often careful to add:
“asseritur,” “dicitur.”

[586] “Le Saint Voyage de Jérusalem du Seigneur d’Anglure,” ed.
Bonnardot and Longnon, 1878, p. 99.

[587] “The Itineraries of William Wey, Fellow of Eton College, to
Jerusalem, A.D. 1458 and A.D. 1462, and to Saint James of Compostela,
A.D. 1456.” London, 1857, Roxburghe Club, pp. 5, 6. In his first
journey to Palestine, duly “consecratus ad modum peregrinorum,” Wey
started from Venice with a band of 197 pilgrims embarked on two
galleys. Born about 1407, a graduate of Oxford, Wey became after the
last of his journeys an Augustinian monk at Edington, Wiltshire,
and died there in 1476. He wrote his Itineraries “rogatus a devotis
viris” (p. 56); the text in Latin, the “prevysyoun” for travellers in

[588] Pages 102–116. Such a map is exhibited in one of the glass
cases of the Bodleian Library at Oxford. It is probable, but
not quite sure, that this is really the map of William Wey, the
one he calls “mappa mea” in his book. It has been reproduced in
_fac-simile_: “Map of the Holy Land, illustrating the Itineraries
of W. Wey, Roxburghe Club, 1867.” It is seven feet in length and
sixteen and a half inches in breadth. See also: “De passagiis in
Terram Sanctam,” edit. G. M. Thomas, Venice, 1879, folio, “Société
de l’Orient Latin.” This work contains extracts from a “Chronologia
magna,” compiled in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, with
maps and plans, one especially of Jerusalem and adjoining places.

[589] P. 95.

[590] “A good preuysyoun,” “Itineraries,” p. 4.

[591] “A good preuysyoun,” “Itineraries,” pp. 5, 6.

[592] Ibid. The same scramble for asses is going on even now in
Palestine and Egypt, and modern “Saracens” are careful to ingratiate
themselves with the traveller by addressing to him a few words in the
language of his supposed nationality; one such at the foot of the
Pyramids some years ago, would keep repeating to us, as a sesame for
our purses, these three magic words: “Bonaparte, quarante siècles.”
We had not, however, to deplore the disappearance of any “knyves and
other smal thynges.”

[593] William Wey and his companions pay to the “Saracen lords”
fifteen ducats: “Et sic in Terra Sancta fuimus xiij diebus, pro
quibus solvimus pro conductu nostro dominis Saracenis xv ducatus.”
But there were two rival sultans at war with each other, each
claiming the Holy Land; and just as the pilgrims were about to
leave, the one of those potentates whom they had not paid got the
upper hand, and they had to give fifty ducats to his new governor of
Jerusalem. “Itineraries,” p. 99. The second Boucicaut going around
the holy places for the second time within a few months in 1389, is
made by the Saracens to pay again. Delaville le Roulx, “La France en
Orient,” i. 165.

[594] Ogier VIII, lord of Anglure, part of whose castle on the Aube
river still remains, died about 1402. One of his companions held
the pen for the troop during the journey and wrote the account of
it entitled, in the MS. at the National Library, Paris: “Cy après
s’ensuit le contenu du saint voyage de Jherusalem et le chemin pour
aller à Saincte Catherine du Mont Synay et ainsi à Saint Anthoine et
Saint Pol ès loingtains desers de Egipte,” 1395; best ed. the above
quoted one by Bonnardot and Longnon.

[595] “Voiage and Travaile of Sir John Maundeville,” ed. Halliwell,
1866, p. 52.


[596] The famous Hubert Walter (or Walter Hubert) who had accompanied
King Richard to Palestine and crowned King John; archbishop from
1193 to 1205; for a number of years, as much the ruler of England as
those kings themselves. His tomb in Canterbury Cathedral has been
identified in our days.

[597] _Creteyne_, increase, rising flood; in French, _crue_

[598] A “movable” part, just for the passage of masts.



 Aaron’s rod, 386

 Aberystwith, 77

 Abingdon fair, 250

 Abinger, 273

 _Abjuratio Regni_, 168, ff.

 Acre, 408

 Adam and Eve, 287, 289

 _Adscriptio Glebæ_, 261

 Adventure seekers, 181, 200, 406, 419

 Agincourt, 244

 Alchemists, 335

 Aldenby, Agnes of, 155

 Aleaume, St., of Burgos, 344

 Ale, of various sorts, 251

 Alehouses, 17, 133 ff., 136 ff.

 Alexander, romance of, 195, 199

 Aliand, W., 434

 Alreton, 126

 Amadas, romance of, 196

 “Amants Magnifiques,” Molière’s les, 336

 Amiens, 118, relics at, 365, 371

 Amundeville, John d’, 166

 Ampilforde, Th., a mason, 54 ff.

 Anchorites, 142

 “Ancient Mariner,” 148

 Andover, 250

 Angerville, Richard d’, or de Bury, 324, 440

 Anglure, Ogier VIII, lord of, his journey to Palestine, 389, 405,
   409, 413 ff., to Egypt, 415

 Anglure-sur-Aube, 415, 417, 418

 Animals, performing, 217

 Anne of Bohemia, Queen, 229

 Anson, major, 233

 Anthony, St., 415

 Appleton, friar W. de, a physician, 187

 Apprentices, in sanctuary, 170 ff.

 Apulia, 184

 Archers, the King’s, 104

 Ardennes, forest of, 184

 Arewe, J. S., a crossbowman, 65

 Aristotle, 10

 Armenians, 395

 Arthur, King, 195, 197, 224

 Articles of the Eyre, 120

 Articles of the View, 112

 _Articuli Cleri_, 120, 168

 Arundel, Archbishop Thos., 20, 134, 321, on pilgrimages, 359 ff.;

 Arundel, Earl of, 150, 205

 Ascham, Roger, 347

 Asses, the usual mount in Palestine, 413

 Assisi, 293

 Aswardeby, 429

 Athelstan, King, 165, 328

 Atkinson, J. C., 14, 77

 Aufrike, i.e. Mahdia, 398 ff.

 Aumbresbury, 197

 Auray, battle of, 339

 Austria, Albert IV, Duke of, 405

 Autolycus, 193, 235, 252 ff.

 Avenel, Viscount d’, on travelling in France, 86, 126, 202, 229,

 Avesbury, Rob. d’, 392, 398

 Avignon, 32, 33, 36, 371

 Avon, bridges on the, 53 ff., 79

 Avranches, 352

 Aylesbury, 81

 Ayremynne, Rich. de, 118

 Bacon, Francis, 173, on friars, 311

 Bacon, Roger, 295

 Bailiff, 111, 151, 431

 Bajazet, 398

 Baker, John le, M.P., 264

 Baker, Oliver, 14

 Ball, John, 19, 20, 212, 215, 285, his views, 286 ff., Froissart
   and 289; 290, 293

 Ball, W. W. R., 129

 Barbers, company of, 189

 Barclay, Alexander, 123


 Bardi, the, 232

 Barking, Abbess of, 40

 Barncastle, 54

 Bartholomew fair, 250, 251

 Barton, 426, 433

 Bateman, S., 122

 Bath, 30

 Battle Abbey, 121

 Bears and bearwards, 18, 206, 216, 222, 236

 Beauty powder, 192

 Becket, Thos., 349 ff.; _see_ Thomas, St.

 Bedford Bridge, 60

 Bédier, Joseph, 202, on pilgrimages, 344; 387

 Beds, 125 ff.

 Beer, 133, 251

 Beggars, blind, 18, 182; 19, 20, 181, students as, 236, 276; 252,
   labourers as, 269 ff., to cease wandering, 275, friars as, 294,

 Beirut, 408, 409

 Belleforest, F. de, 49

 Belloc, Hilaire, 352

 Bernard, a Fr. monk, 409

 Berri, Duke de, 231

 Berwick, 65 ff.

 Bethleem, 386, 395, 396, 416

 Beverley, sanctuary at, 159, 163 ff., its minstrels, 206, 211;
   347, 426

 Billingham, 36

 Billings, R. W., 159

 Birch, de Gray, 60

 Birmingham, 39

 Bishops, travelling, 115

 Blackburn, 39

 Blackheath, 212

 Blignières, A. de, 17

 Blois, Charles de, 232, 339

 Blythebury, 151

 Boccaccio, his fralipolla, 322, 327 ff.

 Bodenho, John de, 60

 Bohemia, 252

 Bohun, Humphrey, Earl of Hereford, 340, 394

 Boislisle, A. de, 397

 “Boke of Nurture,” the, 17

 Bonaparte, 408, 413

 Boniface, Pope, 386

 Boniface IX, on pardoners, 316 ff., 324, 443

 Bonnardot, 389

 Books, sold at fairs, 252

 Boston, 370

 Boswell, James, 252

 Botiller, Ralph le, 155

 Boucicaut, Jean le Meingre, Marshall de, 404 ff., 407

 Boucicaut, the younger, 414

 Boulogne, 371

 Bourbon, Louis, 1st Duke of, 397; Louis, 3rd Duke, his crusade,
   398 ff.

 Bourbon, Etienne de, 359

 Bourgogne, Jean de, alias Mandeville, 406 ff.

 Bourne, Sir Roger, 301

 Bouvines, 354

 Bow Bridge, 40 ff., 43

 Brabant, 229

 Bracton, Henry de, 257, 258, 262

 Bradamante, 256

 Bradeley Bridge, 429

 Bradshaw, 99

 Brant Broughton, 138

 Brantingham, Thos. de, 142, 202, 204, 229

 Braunton, Philip de, 441

 _Bravi_, 152, 175

 Bray, Master John, a physician, 187

 Brest, 230

 Breul, Karl, 200

 Bridges, at Crowland, 13, 21, London, 13, 14 (_see_ London
   Bridge), Avignon, 13, 32, 33, 36, Cahors, 13, 37, 69,
   Stratford-at-Bow, 13, 14, 41, Wakefield, 14, 67, with defensive
   towers, 14, 71 ff., 75; at Monmouth, 14, 75, on the Esk, 14,
   30 ff., Pont St. Esprit, 32, Roman, 32, 69, Orthez, Limoges,
   Lancaster, 35 ff., Botyton, 36; pious character of, 36 ff., how
   repaired, 36 ff., 42 ff., 57 ff.; Bow, 40 ff.; bad state of, 41
   ff., chapels on, 43 ff., Fleet, Holborn, Saintes, La Rochelle,
   43, 44; houses on, 47 ff., 74 ff., at Paris, Poissy, Florence,
   49 ff., wooden, 53, Hugh of Clopton’s, 53, Catterick, 54, built
   by Englishmen, 54, at Yarm, 58, Huntingdon, 59, tolls and gifts
   for the maintenance of, 58 ff., at Rochester, 60, 62, Bedford,
   60, dangerous, 60 ff., 65, Moneford, 60, Heybethebridge, 61,
   and the Justices in Eyre, 63, at Shoreham, 64, Berwick, 65 ff.,
   revenues of, 66; at Chester, 66, remodelled, 69, at Rotherham,
   St. Ives, 70, Bath, 74, Norwich Castle, 77, near Danby Castle,
   77, at Durham, Hereford, Bedford, Llangollen, Dumfries,
   Huntingdon, {451} Potter Heigham, Tewkesbury, 78; the Great
   Charter and, 83; hermits and the, 143, consisting in a plank,
   429, at Chesford, Bradeley, Exhorne, etc., 429; too low, 426;
   who should repair, 429 ff.

 Bristol, 206, 244, staple, 247, fair, 251; 370

 Broker, Nicholas, a coppersmith, 14

 Brompton, Wm. and Margery, 206

 Brotherton, 39

 Browning, Robert, 291

 Bruce, David, 347

 Brudtholl, 57

 Bruges, 238, 243

 Bruges, Thos. de, a champion, 117

 Brutus, the Trojan, 196

 Brynchesley, Thos. of, a messenger, 232

 Bucker, J. C. and C. A., 70

 Budet, Durand, 232

 Buffoons, 217 ff.

 Bull, Wm., a priest, 70

 Bullion, export of, forbidden, 239 ff., 241 ff., 265, 376

 Bulls, papal, 20, 319 ff., 439, against pardoners, 443 ff.

 Burgundy, Duke of, 408

 Burton, Thos., 343, 391 ff., 445

 Bury, Isabel of, a murderess, 171

 Bury, Richard de, on pardoners, 324, 440

 Butler, Samuel, 273

 Cade, Jack, 167, 438

 Caen, 351

 Cæsar, 254, 297

 Cahors, 13, 35, 37, 69

 Cairo, 408, 415

 Calabria, 184

 Calais, 230, staple, 248; 371

 Caldecote, Wm., 281

 Calder, bridge on the, 70

 Cambridge, 129, 236, 251

 Cambynskan, 203 ff.

 Cana, 389

 Cannock Wood, 150

 Canterbury, 20, 34, 60, 133, 134, has minstrels, 206, staple,
   247, 248; 263, 279, 312, 319, 321, 322, 347, chief English
   pilgrimage, 348 ff.; fortified, 364; 425

 “Canterbury Tales,” 15, 16, 20, 103, 115, 214, 227, 292, 315,
   supplement to the, 364

 Cantilupo, Walter de, 166

 Canynge, Wm., 244, 245

 Capgrave, John, a pilgrim to Rome, 387 ff.

 Carpenter, John le, M.P., 264

 Carretto, Ilaria del, 315

 Carriages, 15, 84, for the wealthy, 95 ff., etruscan, 95, for the
   queen, 99

 Carriers, common, 149

 Carrol, Sir Rob., 375

 Carts, 15, 84, London tax on, 85, common, 90, hired, 91, reaper’s,

 Castiglione, Baldassare, 380

 Castles, their halls, 122, hospitality, in, 122, become mansions,

 Catacombs, 385

 Catherine, chapel of Saint, 43; Queen, 347

 Cats, 237

 Catterick Bridge, 54, 79

 Caumz, John, a minstrel, 204

 Causeways, 39, 64, 80, 138

 Caversham, Our Lady of, 348

 Caxton, 402

 Cenis, Mount, 396

 Chaise-Dieu, 344

 Chamberlain, the royal, 117 ff.

 Chambernoun, Oto, 375

 Chambers, E. K., 205, 206, 211, 213, 217, 218

 “Champertors,” 153

 Champions, for duels, 117

 Chandos, Sir John, 375

 Chantries, 39, 40

 Chapels on bridges, 43 ff., 57, at Wakefield, 67 ff., at
   Rotherham, Bradford-on-Avon, St. Ives, 70

 Chapmen, 181, 236, 246

 Charcoal, 279

 Charer, John le, a carriage-maker, 99

 Charlatans, 182 ff.

 Charlemagne, 195, 196, 216, 296

 Charles St. Borromeo, 362

 Charles V, Emperor, a pilgrim to Canterbury, 355

 Charles V, King of France, 329

 Charles VI, King of France, 85

 Charlton, John of, 298

 Chartres, 350, relics at, 372

 Chatterton, Thos., 244

 Chaucer, 9, 15, 16, 18, 20, 25, 40, 41, 100, 103, 105, 125, 133,
   187, 195 ff., 201, 203, on nobility, 213; 217, fond of news,
   223; 246, M.P., 264; 283, on friars, 291 ff., 301, 303, 307,
   310, his pardoner, 315 ff., 322, 327, 330, 333, 336; 339, 348,
   357, 358, 359, 365, decries pilgrims, 368; 371


 Chaundeler, Rob., M.P., 264

 “Cheker of the Hope,” 134

 Cherbourg, 230, 232

 Chesford Bridge, 429

 Chester, bridge at, 66; 69, 73, 78, its minstrels, 206; 408

 “Chevalier au Barisel,” le, 138

 Chicheley, Archbishop H., 334

 Chichester, staple at, 247; 346

 Child, F. J., 437

 Childebert, 177

 Chimneys, in greater use, 124

 China, 408

 Cicero, 323

 Cirencester, 428

 Citeaux, 125, 344

 _Clamor Patriæ_, 177

 Clare, Elizabeth de Burgh, Lady, her carriage, 96; her crusade by
   proxy, 394

 Claypole, bridge at, 429

 Clement VI, 36, on indulgences, 314, 391 ff., 438

 Clerc, Reginald, 318

 Clergy, non-residence of, 121, foreign, 121

 Clerk, Roger, a quack, 188

 Clerk, William, a messenger, 391

 Clerkenwell, 119

 Clerks, diffusion of ideas through, 283 ff.

 Clermont-Ferrand, 219

 Cliff, John, 436

 Clopton, Hugh of, 14, 53 ff.

 Clyf, William de, 342

 Coal, 238

 Codrington, T., 31

 Coggeshall, Abbot of, 64, 429

 Cok, John, a messenger, 232

 Cok, Peter, a ship master, 375

 Cokatrices, in the Nile, 415

 Cole, John, a mason, 278

 Colechurch, Peter, bridge-builder, 44

 Cologne, 347, 372

 Commons, their illiberal tendencies, 264 ff., 283

 Communism, propagated by John Ball, 289, by the friars, 293

 Compiegne, 353

 Compostela, St. James of, 21, 24, 323, 344, 352, 362, 365, 370,
   licences for pilgrims to, 375; 381, 389, 390, 404, 406, 443

 Compton, John, an archer, 318

 “Condottieri,” English, 403 ff.

 “Confessio Amantis,” 335, 400, 401

 Conjurors, 217

 Constantine the Great, 385, 395

 Consuls, in the Levant, 414

 Contarini, Andrea, 404

 Contarini, Lorenzo, 352

 Cook, Chaucer’s, 116

 Cook, John, 73

 Copenhagen, 186

 Cordier, H., 406

 Cork, staple at, 248

 Corn, 266

 Cornwall, 30

 Cornwall, Duke of, 119

 Coroner, 113

 “Cortegiano,” 380

 Coruña, 375

 Coryat, Thos., 192

 Councils, of York, 115, on the right of sanctuary, 158, 434; of
   Salzburg, 306, of Clermont, 313, of Trent suppressing pardoners,
   337, of Dublin, 440, of Lateran, Lyons, Vienne, Trent, 444,
   London, York, 432

 Coventry, 206, 390

 Cox, J. C., 169, 173

 Cranmer, Archbishop, on Becket, 356

 Crécy, 200, 229, 355

 Crete, 410

 Créton, 14, 15, 20, 205, 321, 439

 Crochille, John, a priest, 174, 258

 Cromwell, Oliver, 60, on sanctuaries, 174

 Cromwell, Thomas, 348

 Crowland, bridge at, 13, 21, 77, 429

 Crucifix, a miraculous, 343 ff., 445

 Crusades, 32, 313, 394, 397 ff., 407

 “Cursor Mundi,” 196

 Curteys, John and Wm,, 342

 Cuthbert, St., 39, 159, 164, 167, 346, 434

 Cuthbert, Wm., 164

 Cutts, C. L., 144

 Cyprus, 405 ff., 410, 418

 “Dais,” 122

 Damascus, 409

 Danby Castle, 14, 77

 Dances, fourteenth century, 18, tumbling, 218 ff., in cemeteries,

 Dante, 25

 Danthrop, Matthew, a hermit, 142

 Dartford, 359

 Dartmouth, 370, 375

 “Darvell Gathern,” 348

 Davies, Robert, 29

 Debtors, in sanctuary, 170 ff.

 Dee, bridge on the, 78


 Degrevant, romance of Sir, 199

 Delaville le Roulx, 243, 398, 405, 414

 Denain, 118

 “De Proprietatibus Rerum,” 335

 Derby, 426

 Derby, John of, a priest, 60

 Des Champs, Eustache, 125

 Despenser, Edward le, 82

 Devil, tempting a hermit, 114

 Devil’s Bridge, 77

 “Dictum de Kenilworth,” 341

 Diderot, 237

 Dinners, fourteenth century, 16, 20, 109, 304

 “Diocletian,” 199

 “Diz de l’Erberie,” 185

 Doctors, or physicians, 186, 187

 Dogs, 276, 297

 Dominic, St., de la Calzada, 344

 Dominicans, Preachers, or Black Friars, 291, 301

 Dover, 121, 169, 354, 370, 371

 Drawbridge, 45, 48, 53

 “Drawlatches,” 176, 256

 Dressing, before a fire, 16

 Drogheda, staple at, 248

 Drug-sellers, 184 ff.

 Dublin, staple at, 247

 Du Cange, 315

 Duel, by champion, 117 261

 Dumfries, bridge at, 78

 Dunbar, William, 49

 Durham, knocker, 18, 158, bridges, 62, 73, 74, 78; 126, sanctuary,
   163 ff., 434, pilgrimage to, 346, sacrilege at, 393; 440

 Dyke, bridge on the, 53

 Dynet, William, a Lollard, 358

 East Dereham, 291

 Eccleston, Thos. of, 295

 Edington, 410

 Edward the Confessor, 346

 Edward I, 62, 63, 83, his itineraries, 104; 120, 156, 202, 214,
   256, 257, 261, 277, 299, 347, 354, at Tunis, 397; 428

 Edward II, 120, 186, receives minstrels, 201, 202, 232, 339, 342,
   his offerings to shrines, 364; 428

 Edward III, has bridges repaired, 57; 84, 125, gives to hermits,
   142; 153 ff., 176, 187, buys MSS., 197, his minstrels, 204, his
   messengers, 229; 231, 241, borrows from merchants, 243 ff.; 256,
   266, 270, 297, 347, helps a pilgrim, 391, and the crusade, 397;

 Edward IV, 123, 189, has minstrels, 204, their monopoly, 208, 222;

 Edward VI, 40, 235

 Eglamour, romance of Sir, 199

 Egrum, the lady of, 80

 Egypt, 7, 8, cotton from, 243; 406, as the road to Jerusalem, 407;
   415, its strange monuments and animals, 416 ff.

 Eleanor, Queen, 293

 Eleanor, Lady, 99

 Elephants, 217, 417

 Elizabeth, Queen, 9, 48, 236

 Eltham, 123, 206

 Elton, on tenures, 31, on markets, 250

 Ely, 80, 208

 “Elynour Rummynge,” 138

 Emancipation, longings for, 212 ff.

 Engel, Carl, 208

 England, supreme on and protected by, the sea, 240 ff., 244,
   undergoes transformation, 421 ff.

 English, the, like change and travels, 402

 Enlart, Prof. C., 18, 371, 372

 Erasmus, on pilgrimages, 362 ff., 366

 Erming Street, 30, 54

 Ermyte, John, 35

 Esk, the river, 42, 77

 “Esprit des Lois,” 244

 Ethelbert, King, and sanctuary, 158

 Eugene IV, 346

 “Euphues and his England,” 49

 Euse, Jacques d’, 232

 Eustochius, 396

 “Excursion,” the, 253

 Exeter, 18, its minstrels’ gallery, 208 ff., staple at, 247,
   relics at, 328; 441

 Exeter, Duke of, 13

 Exhorne Bridge, 429

 Eya, Wm. de, 441

 Eyre, articles, or justices of the, 63, 113, 120, 432

 Fabliaux, 17, 19, 202, 216

 “Færie Queene,” a bridge in, 74

 Fairs, the goose, 193 ff.; 248 ff.

 Falaise, 315

 Falcons, 204

 Falstaff, 138

 Famagusta, 407

 Farnese, Cardinal, 192

 Faryngton, Sir Wm. de, 231

 Fashions, 96

 Fencers, 236


 Fenere, Rob. le, 59

 Ferrees, Ralph de, 166

 Ferries, 35, 65, 129, 433

 Ferry bridge, 39

 Finsen, Niels, 186

 Fisher, Bishop John, 355

 Fishes, 129, 250

 Fisshere, Geoffrey le, M.P., 264

 FitzJohn, Robert, 108

 FitzRalph, Archbishop Richard, 297

 FitzWarin, Fulk, 255

 Flagellants, 392

 Flaherty, W. E., 279

 Flanders, 59, 229, 230, trade with, 238; 243

 Flemings, 239 ff.

 “Fleta,” 63, 104, 108, 113, 169, 177, on outlaws, 257

 Flower, C. T., on public works in Middle Ages, 60, 81, 138

 Foix, Comte de, 398

 Fords, 35

 Forest, friar, 310, 347

 Forests, life in, 19, 254, 258, 263 ff., wood from the, 279

 Forgers of seals, 318

 Forsate, 164

 Forte, Isabella de, 112

 Fosse, the, 30

 Foston, 345

 Fountains, Abbot of, 429

 “Foure Ps,” the, 253, 327

 Fournier, Ed., 126, 134

 Fourvières, its chapel of St. Thomas, 350

 “Fox,” Volpone or the, 191 ff.

 Fox, John, mayor of Northampton, 284

 Foxe, John, 273

 France, misery in, owing to the wars, 279; _see_ Roads and Bridges.

 Francino, 387

 Francis, St., 32, 293, his rule and ideals, 294 ff.

 Franciscans, Friars minor, or Grey Friars, 291 ff.

 “Frank almoigne,” 29, 142

 French, the, of Stratford-atte-Bow, of Norfolk, 246; manual to
   teach, 130 ff., importance to know, 401 ff.

 Friars, 20, 24, 181, 182, travelling, 283, Langland and Chaucer
   on, 291 ff., 298, 307; preaching emancipation, 293, why founded,
   294 ff., Matthew Paris on, 296, wealth and buildings of, 296
   ff., burials in their churches or habits, 297, 302, Wyclif on,
   298, begging, 302, Walsingham and Oxford on, 303, derided and
   maltreated, 305, the secular clergy and councils on, 306, are
   everywhere, 306 ff., their pedlar’s wallet, 307, their letters
   of fraternity, 308, Sir Thomas More on, 309, doomed in England,
   310, Bacon on, 311, 396, 419 ff.

 _Fridstool_, 159 ff., at Beverley, 159, Hexham, 159, 160,
   Sprotborough, 161, 163

 Frith, the church, 158 ff.

 Froissart, 15, 82, 99, 118, 279, on John Ball, 289; 339, 355, 375,
   on the crusade of 1390, 398 ff.

 Fullar, Erasmus, 346

 Furnivall, F. J., 9, 13, 15, 16, 17, 49, 134, 437

 Gaddesden, John of, 186 ff., 338

 Garette, John, a mason, 54 ff.

 Gascoigne, Thos., 218 ff., 346

 Gascony, 230, 239

 Gaunt, John of, 35, 36, 166, his physicians, 187; his minstrels,
   205; 206, 258, to be King of England, 278 ff., kind to tenants,
   279; 403

 “Gawaine and the Green Knight,” 203

 Genoa, 399 ff.

 George, St., 389, 406

 George I, re-abolishes sanctuary, 174

 Gifford, Wm., 50

 Gilbert, Wm. and Richard, 375

 Gilds, repair bridges, 39 ff., of minstrels, 211, 435 ff.;
   foreign, 242, help pilgrims, 389 ff.

 Gipsies, 182

 Glanville, Bartholomew de, 122, 335

 Glasson, 114

 Glastonbury, 126, 343, pilgrimage to, 346

 Glendower, Owen, 309

 Gloucester, inn at, 126, 131; 178, 318

 Gloucester, Gilbert de Clare, Earl of, 298

 Gloucester, Humphrey, Duke of, 16

 Godelak, Walter, 79

 Godeland, 142

 Gold, William, a condottiere, 403 ff.

 Goldsmiths, and sanctuary, 171

 Golias, and goliardic poetry, 200 ff.

 Goliath, his tooth, 389

 Gonzaga, Louis, lord of Mantua, 403

 Gorst, Walter de, 298

 Gosse, Edmund, 9


 Gower, John, 136, 307, 335, 400, 401

 Grant, F., 233

 Great Charter, on bridges, 83; 112, 113

 Greek, manual of, 410

 Grégoire, Bishop Henry, 32

 Grenefeld, Wm., 345

 Grey, Lord, of Fallodon, 18

 Grey, John of, 155

 Grey friars, 291

 Greyhounds, 231

 Grim, Edward, 349

 Griselda, 256

 Grosseteste, Robert, 295

 Grymesby, 426

 Guaches 375

 Guest house, 14

 Guest, J., 70

 Gulliver, 408

 Hadrian, Emperor, 30

 Hainaut, Jean de, 118

 Hales, J. W., 371, 437

 Haliday, Walter, a minstrel, 204, 436

 Halitgarius, Bishop, on indulgences, 313

 Hall, the, in castles, its uses, 122 ff., its changes, 124 ff.,
   with a gallery for minstrels, 207

 Hall, Hubert, 238

 Halliwell, J. O., 437

 Hampole, 290 ff., 343; _see_ Rolle of Hanse towns, 239, merchants,

 Harlots, following the court, 104 ff., 108

 “Haro, clameur de,” 114

 Harrison, Wm., 17, 48, 49, 251

 Hastings, battle of, 195

 Hatfield, 207

 Haughton, Sir Thos., 164, 434

 Hawking, and good roads, 83, 84

 Hawkwood, Sir John, 403

 Hayles, holy blood of, 347

 Hazlitt, W. C., 437

 Hearne, Thos., 58, 427

 Heath, Sidney, 347, 352

 Hedecrone Bridge, 429

 Hedon, 426

 Hekinby Bridge, 429

 Henry II, and Becket, 349 ff., his penance, 352, revisits
   Canterbury, 354, at Rocamadour, 372

 Henry III, 61, 112, 217, 257, 272, 329, 341, 347, 354

 Henry IV (or Henry of Lancaster), 13, 14, 20, 143, 244, opposed by
   the friars, 308, 309; 321, fights Prussians, 398, 439 ff.

 Henry V, regulates surgery, 188 ff., his minstrels, 204; 244, 407

 Henry VI, 153, 212

 Henry VII, 153, 173, 212, 347, 354, 405

 Henry VIII, 74, regulates surgery, 189 ff.; 347, a pilgrim to
   Canterbury, destroys St. Thomas’s shrine, 355

 Herbalists, 182 ff., Rutebeuf’s, 184 ff., laws about, 188

 Herbarton, Richard de, 176

 Hereford, bridge at, 78; 116, 438

 Hereward, 255

 Hermits, 17, 138 ff., should have testimonial letters, 144, judged
   by Langland, 145 ff., by Rutebeuf, 147; Coleridge on, 148; 358

 Herod, King, 415

 Heron, Sir Robert, 65

 Hesel, 433

 Hewlett, H., 272

 Hexham, “fridstool” and sanctuary at, 18, 159 ff.

 Heyhyngton, Wm., 164, 434

 Heywood, John, 189, 327

 Higden, Ralph, 401, 403

 Highgate, 309

 Hogarth, 273

 Hoghton, Adam of, 35

 Holborn, 309

 Holderness, 426

 Holinshed, 310

 Holy Land, 329, 390, pilgrimages to, 395 ff., described by Lannoy,
   407, guide books to, 408 ff.; service between Venice, and, 409
   ff.; diseases in, 412; 419, 443

 Holy Sepulchre, 417

 Holywell, 347

 Homer, 224

 Honnecourt, Villard de, 18, 207, 419

 Horn, King, 195, 368

 Hornsey mere, 261

 Horse litter, 15, 99, 101

 Horse riding, 100 ff., by women, 103

 Hospitality, its limits, 113, in monasteries, 118 ff., abused, 120
   ff., in castles, 122 ff.

 Hostelries, 125 ff., in France, 126, ill-famed, 134 ff.

 “House of Fame” 217, 224 ff.

 Houses, on bridges, 47, 49, 50 ff., 74

 Hrotsvitha, 134

 “Hudibras,” 273

 Hudson, Thos., 164, 434

 Hue and cry, 115, 176 ff.

 Hull, 390, 426

 Humber, crossing the, 129, 433

 “Humphrey Clinker,” 122


 Hundred years’ war, 10, royal not national in the fourteenth
   century, 200, 230

 Hundreds, the, 111, 431

 Huntingdon, bridge at, 59 ff., 78

 Iceland, 348

 Ikenild Street, 30

 Incredulity, on the increase, 393

 Indulgences, in favour of bridges, 36, origin, development and
   abuse of, 312 ff., plenary, 313, attract pilgrims, 383 ff.,
   Clement VI, and, 392 ff., for Palestine pilgrims, 395; 438

 Inns, the, 17, 125 ff., dialogue at, 130 ff., music at, 134,
   minstrels at, 202

 “Inscription maritime,” 271

 Ireland, 205, 230, staple in, 247

 Ireland, Laurence of, a messenger, 232

 Isabella, Queen, 82, 297

 Isabella, daughter of Ed. III, 202

 Isembert, a bridge-builder, 13, 44, 54, 425 ff.

 Islington, 309

 Isumbras, romance of, 196, 198 ff.

 Jacquerie, 277

 “Jacques le Fataliste,” 237

 Jaffa, 411, 412

 James I, abolishes sanctuary, 173

 Jean de Luxembourg, King, 355

 Jeannette of France, 403 ff.

 Jeddah, 376

 Jerome, St., 387, on pilgrimages, 395

 Jerusalem, 313, 352, 365, 368, 370, 384, 391, pilgrimages to, the
   holiest, 395 ff., itinerary to, 406 ff., 415 ff.

 Jessopp, Dr. Augustus, 291

 Joan of Arc, 244

 John the Baptist, St., 371 ff.

 John, St., of Beverley, 347

 John, St., the Evangelist, 415

 John, King of England, 44, a bridge-builder, 79, 425 ff., his
   itinerary, 104, visits St. Robert, 142; 354, 427

 John the Good, King of France, 95, 185, 232, 239, 265, 354

 John XXII, Pope, 232, 340

 Johnson, Samuel, 186, 252

 Jongleurs, their repertory and behaviour, 194 ff.

 Jonson, Ben, his mountebank, 184, 191 ff., 250

 Joseph, of Arimathea, 347

 Jowermersh, 80

 Judges, witticisms of, 260

 Jugglers, 18, 183, 216 ff., their coarseness, 217; 252

 Julian, Emperor, 386

 Julius Cæsar, romance of, 195

 Jury, 111, 113 ff., their fate if perjured, 114; 176

 Justices in Eyre, 63, 107, 113 ff., 432

 Justinian, Emperor, 158

 Juvenal, 295

 Kaermardyn, staple at, 247

 Karkeek, 348

 Katerine, John, a dancer, 220

 Kaye, Wm., a priest, 70

 Kellawe, Bishop Richard de, 36

 Kelm, 80

 Kempe, A. J., 167

 Kenilworth, 347

 Kilby, T., 70

 King, Daniel, 78

 “King Horn,” 195, 368

 King’s Lynn, 387

 Kingston-upon-Hull, 370

 Kitchin, G. W., 250

 Knaresborough, hermitage at, 17, 139, 141 ff.

 Knights, travelling, frontispiece, 13, 15, 97, 101, at table,
   109, seek and grant hospitality, 119 ff., as highwaymen, 151,
   practice maintenance, 153 ff., listen to songs and romances, 194
   ff., have music during meals and keep minstrels, 203 ff., enjoy
   tumblings and ribaldry, 217 ff., refugees in the forest, 255
   ff., and their villeins, 259 ff., buried in friars’ churches,
   297 ff., as pilgrims, 357, 364, pilgrims by proxy, 393,
   crusaders, 397 ff., pilgrims to the Holy Land, 404 ff.

 Knights Hospitallers, 119 ff.

 Knut, King, 347

 Knyghton, 263

 Kyteler, Dame Alice, 334

 Labour, conscription of, 265

 Labourers, free or not, 262 ff., statute of, 264 ff., become
   artificers, 266, hold assemblies, 276, informers among, 278,
   freed, 419 ff.

 Lafford, 429

 La Fontaine, 130

 Lancaster, Henry of, cousin to Edward III, 340, 391

 Lancaster, Isabella of, a nun, 197

 Lancaster, Thomas, Earl of, 339 ff., 342 ff.


 Lancelot, romance of, 15, 99

 Lane, Wm. atte, a thief, 176

 Langland, William, 16, 20, 25, 42, 43, 53, 124, 135, 136, 145 ff.,
   201, 203, 206, 207, 218, 233 ff., 237, 246, 250, on friars, 291,
   298, 307, 336, on pilgrims, 358, 360, 368, on scepticism, 393,

 Langley Castle, 123

 Lannoy, Gilbert de, 407

 Laporte, Canon, 21, 366

 Lappeley, 151

 Latimer, Alice, a recluse, 142

 Latimer, Bishop Hugh, 310, on miraculous statues, 363

 Latimer, Neville, Lord, 14, 77

 La Tour Landry, 96, 380

 Latymer, Wm., lord of Yarm, 58

 Lawrence, St., 328, 389

 “Lazarillo de Tormes,” 21, 331

 Lecoy de la Marche, 359

 Leet days, 431 ff.

 Leicester, minstrels at, 206, plague at, 263

 Leland, John, 39, 70, 74, 79

 Le Puy, 372

 Letters, dictating and sending of, 228

 Leven, Hugh of, 343

 “Libelle of Englyshe Polycye,” 244 ff.

 Liberalism in England and France, 213 ff.

 Lichfield, 150 ff.

 Liège, 407

 “Life of Alexander,” 199

 Limoges, 35

 Lincoln, bridge at, 74; 138, 199, dance of Salome at, 219, staple
   at, 247, 347, 390, 426

 Lindesay, David, Earl of Crawford, 47

 Linne, 251

 Lithuania, 398

 Little John, 213

 Liveries, given to retainers, 152 ff.

 “Livre de la mutacion de Fortune,” 136

 “Loci e libro veritatum,” 346

 Lodgings for the king and others, 117 ff.

 Lollards, 284 ff., 298, and pilgrimages, 358 ff.

 Lombards, 242 ff.

 Lombardy, 230, 239, 407

 London, Dr., 348

 London, a hermit in, 142, its common carriers, 149; 169, its
   minstrels, 206; 246, friars church in, 297; 342, 348, 370

 London Bridge, 13, 14, 43 ff., duel on, 47, houses on, 47, 50 ff.,
   heads on, 48, praise of, 48 ff., dispraise of, 50, new, 50,
   tolls at, 58, disrepair of, 61 ff.; 309, 425 ff., maintenance
   of, 427 ff.

 Longnon, 389

 Loretto, 347

 Louis VII of France, a pilgrim to Canterbury, 353 ff.

 Louis IX (St. Louis), gives an elephant to Henry III, 217; 397

 Louis X, le Hutin, 95, 215

 Louis XI, his wearing of medals, 365 ff.

 Louterell psalter, 15, 16, 17, 90, 93, 95, 97, 115, 116

 Lucca, 315, 387

 Luce, Siméon, 83

 Ludinglond, 272

 Luke, St., paints the Virgin, 387

 Lune, 35

 Lusignan, James I of, King of Cyprus, 405

 Luther, 310, 363

 Luxury, habits of, 124, 127

 Lyly, John, 48, 49

 Lyndsay, or Lindesay, Sir David, 327

 Lynn, minstrels at, 206

 Macbeth, 137

 Madden, Sir F., 217

 Madox, 260

 _Magna Charta_, 227, 430

 Mahdia, 398 ff.

 Mahomet, 368, 385, 400

 Maidstone, 278

 “Maintenance,” 153 ff.

 Maitland, F. W., 111

 Male, Emile, 372, 380

 Malta, 192

 Mandeville, Sir John, 21, on pilgrimages, 372; 387 ff., 401, 406
   ff., 416

 “Manière de language,” la, 130, 202, 402

 Mantua, 380, 403, 404

 Manuel II, Palæologus, 355

 Manuscripts, illuminated, 197

 Map, Walter, 200

 “Mappæ Clavicula,” 32

 Marcella, 395, 396

 Marco Polo, 387 ff.

 Marian, maid, 213

 Mariette, 417

 Markeley, Wm. of, 62

 Markets, weekly, 251

 Marne, the, 233

 Marseilles, 396

 Marshall, Robert, 167

 Martin, Ernest, 447


 Maspero, Gaston, 417

 Mathilda, Queen, 40

 Matthew, F. D., 307

 Maunselle, a mason, 54 ff.

 Meath, Petronilla of, a sorceress, 334

 Meaux (Melsa) near Beverley, 84, 129, 260, 343, 391, 445

 Mecca, 376

 “Médecin malgré lui,” le, 331

 Meliadus, romance of King, 95

 Ménageries, 217

 Merchants, 42, their perils when travelling, 150 ff., 156, 233,
   dresses of, 237, 245, impeded by regulations, 239 ff., foreign,
   239 ff., protected by Edward III, 241 ff., lend to the king, 243
   ff., use rivers, 245, the male of, 246 ff., villeins become, 261

 Merton College, 126

 Messengers, 18, 116, 181, 223 ff., their “boystes,” 227, whom
   serving, 227 ff., writ bearers, 227, professional, 228, their
   missions and salaries, 228 ff., parcel carriers, 231, travel
   fast, 231 ff., presents to, 232 ff., run risks, 233, Langland
   on, 233 ff.; 391, 419

 Messines, 233

 Meyer, Paul, 130, 349

 Michael, St., 43, 338

 Michel, Francisque, 126, 134

 Middle Ages, life in the, 7, religious spirit in the, 32

 Miélot, Jean, 383

 Milford, 205

 “Mill on the Floss,” 235

 Minot, Laurence, 201

 Minstrels, singing, 7, 13, gallery for, 18; 183, repertory and
   behaviour, 194 ff., received by the king, 201 ff., by a bishop,
   202, at the inn, 202, the king’s, 204 ff., for colleges, lords
   and cities, 205 ff., gifts to, 206, their instruments, 208 ff.,
   monopoly of the royal, 208 ff., 435 ff., gilds of, 211, spread
   liberal ideas, 212 ff., disappear, 216 ff., tolerated by St.
   Thomas Aquinas, 217, execrated by Phil. Stubbes, 221 ff.; 419

 “Mirabilia Romæ,” 388

 Miracles, at Walsingham, 158, sham, by Thos. of Lancaster, 339
   ff., at Meaux, 343 ff., at Rocamadour, 380 ff., at Santa Maria
   delle Grazie, 380, at Rome, 386, by Moses, 415, in Bethlehem, 416

 “Mirror for Justices,” 169

 Mistreworth, Sir John, 231

 Molière, 335

 Mommsen, 30

 Monasteries, hospitality in, 118 ff.

 Monks, great agriculturists, 84, their worldly dress, 115, 432

 Monmouth, bridge at, 14, 73

 Monmouth, Geoffrey of, 224

 Monnow Bridge, 14, 73

 Montalto, Cardinal, 192

 Montesquieu, 244

 Montfort, Guy de, 229

 Montfort, Henry de, 342

 Montfort, Reginald de, 342

 Montfort, Simon de, 341, 372

 Moon, the planet of the English, 402

 Mordon, Walter, a stockfishmonger, 298

 More, Sir Thomas, 48, 172, on friars, 310; 355, 363, 365

 Morley, Henry, 250

 Morris, W. A., 112

 Morston, Hamo de, 64, 429

 “Mort d’Arthur,” 199

 Mortet, Victor, 32

 Moses, 328, 415

 Mosques, 414, 417

 Mountebanks, 184 ff., 191

 Mowbray, Lord, 60

 Murley, Isabella of, an adulteress, 166

 Mynach, bridge on the, 77

 Mystery plays, 201

 Naples, 330

 Navarre, 230

 Nazareth, 328, 400

 Nets, certain, prohibited, 250

 Newcastle-on-Tyne, 126, 149, staple at, 247; 370

 Newenham, 80

 Newgate, 167, 171

 Newport fair, 251

 Newton Abbot, 66

 Newur, 80

 Nichol, J., 341

 Nicholas, St., patron of travellers, 43, 389, 416

 Nichols, F. M., 388

 Nicholson, E. B., 406

 Nicholson, Wm., a murderer, 164, 434

 Nicodemus, 387

 Nicopolis, 398

 Nicosia, 405

 Nile, comes from Paradise, 415

 Niniveh, 400

 Nith, bridge on the, 78


 Nobles, their lands scattered, 82, who are truly, according to
   Chaucer, 214, their literary tastes, 196 ff., slandered, 277,
   sceptic, 393; _see_ Knights

 Nogent, Ingelram de, a thief, 108

 None-such-house, 13, 45, 48

 Norden, 49

 Norfolk, 347

 Norfolk, Countess of, 78

 Norfolk, Duke of, 47, 405

 Northampton, 59, 284

 North Berwick, 339

 Northumberland, Earl of, 205

 Norton, 36

 Norwich, bridge at, 69, 78; 143, minstrels at, 206, staple at,
   247; 441

 Nottingham, 63, its goose fair, 193 ff.; 353, 426

 Nucius, Nicander, 49, 371

 Nuncio, remits penance, 165; 232

 “Nut Brown Maid,” 255 ff.

 Oaks, preserved, 156

 “Octavian,” 199

 Oddyngesles, Sir John and Esmon de, 151 ff.

 Okeden forest, 36

 Oliver, 296

 Olives, Mount of, 396

 Oman, C., 262, 276, 284

 Orfevre, Richard, M.P., 264

 Orléans, 244

 Orléans, Charles d’, 13

 Ormerod, 66, 78

 Orthez, 35

 Outlaws, 107, 174, 181, 254 ff., 269

 Oxford, 126, its common carriers, 149; 176, 187, 236, to London by
   water, 246; 252, university, on friars, 303, on pardoners, 327,

 Palestine, pilgrimages to, 395 ff.

 Palgrave, 108, 114

 _Palmatæ_, 312

 Palmers, professional, 181, 367, 368, gild, 334, way, 347, 358

 Palmistry, 236

 “Pantagruel,” 330

 Pantheon, the Roman, 386

 Panurge, gaining pardons, 330

 Pardon, charters of, 174 ff.

 “Pardoner and the Frere,” the, 327

 Pardoner, Thomas, 318

 Pardoners, 20, 24, 133, 181, 312 ff., Chaucer’s, 315 ff., 336,
   Boniface IX on, 316 ff., greed and misdeeds of, 316, their
   associations, 324, the authorized, 324, collect various goods,
   325, Urban VI on, 326 ff., hated by the secular clergy,
   326, Oxford and the, 327, on the stage, 331, in Spain, 331,
   suppressed, 337; 367, 394, 419 ff., documents concerning, 440
   ff., 444

 Paris, roads leading to, 85, 86; 257, its minstrels, 211, its
   idlers, 265, its relics, 372

 Paris, the diacre, 342

 Paris, Gaston, 9

 Paris, Matthew, portrays an elephant, 217, on friars, 296; 329, 350

 Parliament, the good, 9, 25, 154; sitting at Westminster, 14, 87
   ff., members of, detained by bad roads, 86; on what principle
   created, 214, its development, 421

 Parson, Chaucer’s, 125

 Paston letters, 100 ff., 380

 Patmer, John of, 155

 Paul, St., 199, 384, 386, 389

 Paul V, 445

 Paula, St., 395 ff.

 Paulinus, 395, 396

 Payne, John, 323

 Peasants, out of bond, 181, 254 ff., 259 ff., 421; at the tavern,
   136, at the drug sellers’, 193, revolt of the, 212, 276 ff.,
   compared with French, 277, 279, results of, 280, cursed by
   Langland, 293, and the scepticism of the nobles, 393

 Pedlars, 181, their temper, 234 ff., long ignored by statutes,
   235 ff., content of their packs, 236 ff., at the fair, 252,
   Wordsworth’s 253; 307, 419

 Pegge, S., 159

 Pelagrua, Cardinal de, 232

 Penrose, John, a vintner, 239

 Perceval, romance of, 198, 199

 Percy, Henry, 404

 Percy, Bishop Thomas, 437

 “Percy and Douglas,” song of, 216

 Perers, Alice, 154

 Persia, dances in, 18, 220, 221; poetry of, chanted, 194

 Persians in Palestine, 395

 Peter, St., 314, his vest, 329; 384

 Peterborough, 347

 Petit-Dutaillis, Ch., 276

 Petrarch, 324


 Petronella, St., 385

 Philip II, Augustus, 353

 Philip IV, the Fair, 95, 185

 Philip VI, of Valois, 95, 397

 Philippa, Queen, 154, 229

 Physicians, 18, 183 ff., laws about, 188 ff.

 Piccolomini, Æneas Sylvius, 339

 Pie powder court, 249

 “Pierce the Ploughman’s Crede,” 301

 Piers, Johan, 258

 “Piers Plowman” (Visions about), 19, 25, 42, 124, 135, 137, 145
   ff., 203, 207, 213, 218, 233 ff., 237, 246, 250, 293, 301, 307,
   358, 368, 393, 400

 Pilate, 201

 Pilgrimages, vows of, remitted, 323, 325; chief, 338, motives for,
   338 ff., by proxy, 340, 357, 394; various English, 342 ff.,
   346 ff., how advertised, 344 ff., Reynard’s, 360, 446; Erasmus
   on, 362 ff., More on, 363, restrained, in England and France,
   369 ff., various French, 370 ff., to Compostela, 375 ff.,
   indulgences attached to, 383, to Rome, 384 ff., cost of, 389
   ff., to the Holy Land, 395 ff.

 Pilgrims, 21, 24, inns for, 131; 181, 226, as news bringers, 263,
   270, escaped villeins as, 273; how attracted, 343 ff., on the
   road to Canterbury, 348, royal and imperial, 352 ff., their
   mixed troups, their prayers, 357 ff., their amusements on the
   way, 359 ff., tale tellers, 360, visit the curiosities and buy
   signs, 364 ff., 418, professional, 367, their speeches and
   livelihood, 367, their staffs and scrips, 362, 368 ff., false,
   369, 420, permits for real, 369, oaths before leaving, 376,
   uncomfortable at sea, 376 ff., offerings by, 380, attracted by
   indulgences, 383 ff., how helped, 389 ff., go to Palestine and
   have to pay the Saracen, 395 ff., 409, 413; 419

 Pilgrims’ Way, 352

 Pisan, Christine de, 136, 329

 Pius II, 339

 Pius IV, 337

 Plague, the great, effect on labour and wages, 263 ff.

 Plato, 387

 “Play of the Sacrament,” 186

 Players, common, 236

 “Plowman’s Tale,” 301

 Plymouth, 370

 Poictiers, 201, 232

 Poissy-sur-Seine, 354

 Pole, the de la, Earls of Suffolk, 244

 Pollock, Sir Frederick, 111, 113

 “Polycraticus,” 218

 Pompeii, 7, 8

 _Pontagium_, 57

 Pont du Gard, 35

 Pontefract, 339, 341

 Pont-Sainte-Maxence, Garnier de, 351, 365

 Pont-Saint-Esprit, 32

 Pontiff brothers, 32 ff.

 Popes, and bridge building, 36, and sanctuary, 174, condemn
   pardoners, 316 ff., at Avignon, are abused, 391

 Porter, Nicholas le, 165 ff.

 Porter, Simon, 64

 Porto, 232

 ’Pothecary, Heywood’s, 189

 Potter Heigham, 78

 “Povre Clerc,” le, 216

 Powell, E., 276

 Power, Robert, 155

 Prague, 229

 Pratt, Godfrey, 41 ff., 57, 61, 143

 Preachers, wandering, 181, 283 ff., Wyclif’s, 284 ff., Rolle of
   Hampole as a, 290, 419, 421

 Prest, Godfrey, coppersmith, 14

 Prestbury, 178

 Preston, Gilbert de, 429

 “Promessi Sposi,” 152

 Prussia, hampers British trade, 241, the pagans of, 391, 398

 Pulteney, Wm., 74

 Purveyors, royal, their exactions, how remedied, 91 ff., 95 ff.,
   430 ff.

 Putnam, Miss Bertha, 264

 Pyne, C., 14, 51

 Pythagoras, 387

 Quacks, 24, 181, laws about, 188 ff., 419

 Questors, or pardoners, 315 ff., 440

 Quintilian, 323

 Rabelais, 135, 330

 Railton, Herbert, 126

 Raven, Edward, 347

 Reading, 348

 Reapers, 19, 267


 Recluses, 142

 Reims, 349

 Relics, pardoners’, 327 ff., at Exeter, Westminster, the
   Ste-Chapelle, 328 ff.; 343, at Walsingham, 362, in various
   places, 365, at Amiens, Paris, Chartres, etc., 371 ff., at Rome,
   386 ff., Venice, 389, in Holy Land, 415 ff.

 Réville, André, on _Abjuratio Regni_, 169; 276

 Reynard, his pilgrimage, 138, 360 ff., 446 ff., as a preacher,
   304; 332

 Rhine country, the, 239

 Rhodes, dogs at, 410, 411

 Richard, St., 346

 Richard I, Cœur de Lion, 354, 425

 Richard II, 13, his portrait, 14; 20, 21, 47, 153 ff., 170, buys
   MSS., 198, sees mystery plays, 201, his minstrels, 204, pays a
   dancer, 220; 229, 231, 270, and the peasants’ revolt, 276; 278,
   279, 280, 308, 309, 321, 369, 375, 398, 405, 439

 Richard III, 172

 Richard, prior, of Hexham, 160

 Rideware, Sir Robert and Walter de, 150 ff., 249

 Ringeston, Hugo de, 260

 Ripert-Monclar, Marquis de, 36

 Rishanger, 297

 Ritson, John, 213, 437

 Rivers, to be clear of hindrances, 245

 Roads, 29 ff., Roman, 30 ff., repair of, 42, 79 ff., excessive
   taxes, 80, in the East, 81, good, of interest for the king and
   monks, 82 ff., security of, 149 ff., cleared of bushes, 156

 Robbers, in sanctuary, 156 ff.; 176

 “Roberdesmen,” 176, 256

 Robert, St., of Knaresborough, 17, 139, 141 ff.

 Robertson, Wm., 8

 Robin Hood, 213, 255

 Rocamadour, 21, 365 ff., 372 ff., fair tresses at, 380

 Rochester Bridge, 60, 62; 359

 Rogers, Thorold, 32, 91, 99, 126, 149, 176, 219, 229, 252, 346

 Rogier, Pierre (Clement VI), 392

 Roland, 195, song of, 196, 296, 349, at Rocamadour, 372

 Rolle, Richard, of Hampole, 141 ff., 290, 342

 Romances of Troy, Rome, Arthur, etc., 195 ff.

 Roman de la Rose, 198, 335, de Perceval, 198, de Renard, 136, 360
   ff., 447, de Rou, 20

 Rome, 225, 317, 352, pilgrimages to, 361, 363, 368, 370, 384,
   390, 398, a pilgrim’s history of, 384 ff., relics at, 386 ff.,
   wonders of, 388, 398

 Rome, Wm., a murderer, 164, 434

 Romulus, and Remus, 251

 Roncevaux, 349

 Roper, Margaret, 48

 “Rosa Anglica,” 186 ff.

 Rosels, Reginald of, 42

 Rossetti, W. M., 387

 Rouen, 389

 Rouland, David, 331

 Rouland, Roger, a chariot matter, 99

 Round Table romances, 96

 Roxburghe Castle, 232

 Rubens, 194

 Rushes, as carpets, 122

 Russell, John, 16

 Rutebeuf, 19, on hermits, 147, his herbalist, 184 ff.

 Rymer, 375

 Sacrilege, at York, 393

 St. Alban’s Abbey, 297, 303, 346

 St. Anne d’Auray, 365

 St. Bernard, the Great and Little, 396

 St. Catherine of Mount Sinai, 384, 414

 St. Davids, 346

 St. Edmundsbury, 346

 St. Evremond, 194

 St. George’s Day, 229

 St. Giles fair, 249, 252

 St. Gothard, 396

 St. Hilaire, Barthelemy, 10

 St. Ives, bridge at, 78

 St. James of Compostela or of Galicia, 370 ff.; _see_ Compostela

 St. John of Jerusalem, order of, 44, their pardoners, 119, 326

 St. Martin’s le Grand, London, 167, 170 ff., 435

 St. Nectaire, 18

 St. Neots, 64

 St. Paul’s, London, its sanctuary 172 ff.; 342, 428, 436

 St. Prassede, 385

 St. Prudence, 385

 St. Sebastian, 386

 St. Thomas chapel, 427

 St. Vitus, 385

 St. Vivian, 386

 “Saint Vou,” the, 387

 Saintes, 44, 425


 Salerno, Mme. Trote de, 184 ff., 187

 Salzburg, 306

 Salisbury, Earl of, 117

 Salisbury, John of, 218

 Salome, head downwards, 219 ff.

 Salzmann, L. F., 238

 Sanctuary, 18, prisoner flying to, 149, privilege of, 157 ff.,
   seats or fridstools, 159 ff., registers, 163 ff.; violation of,
   165 ff., at Westminster, etc., 166 ff., watch outside, 168,
   refugees to, forswear the realm, 168 ff., various kinds of
   refugees to, 170 ff., St. Paul’s, 172 ff.; suppression of, 173
   ff.; 434 ff.

 Sandwich, 370

 Santa Maria delle Grazie, 380

 Santa Maria Maggiore, 386

 Saracens, 397, of Tunis, 399 ff., should be converted, not killed,
   400 ff., tolerant and practical in Palestine, 409, 413, 415;
   robbers among, 412 ff.

 Sarrebruck, Simon de, 418

 “Satyre of the Thrie Estaits,” 327

 Sauvage, Wm. le, 272

 _Scala Celi_, 385

 Scaliger, J. J., 48

 Scarborough, its fish fair, 250

 Scarth, H. M., 31

 Scotland, wars with, 119, 178; 229, 230, 231

 Sculpture, from the nude, 344, 445

 Seebohm, 263

 Seneca, 293

 Seneschal, the King’s, 107 ff.

 Sens, 350

 Serfs, 215, 262

 Servants, 269 ff.

 Seyssel, Claude de, 366 ff., 394

 Shakespeare, 54, 74

 Shalford, 19, 273, 274

 Shene, 229

 Sheriff, the, 80, 107, his functions, 111 ff., exactions of, 121,

 Sherwood forest, 213

 Shipmen, 226, 236, 376

 Shipping, alternate growth and decay, 240 ff.

 Shorwalle, 112

 Shrewsbury, 206

 Sidney, Sir Philip, 216

 Sigismund, Emperor, 355

 Sinai, Mount, 391, 414

 “Sir Gawayne,” 197

 “Sir Thopas,” 198, 200

 Skeat, W. W., 250, 301

 Skinnerwell, 201

 Skirlawe, Bishop, 58

 Skredington, 429

 Smith, C. Roach, 364

 Smith, Miss L. Toulmin, 9, notes by, 92, 208

 Smithfield, 250, 347

 Smollett, T., 122

 Snayth, 426

 “Solace of Pilgrims,” 387

 “Song of Roland,” 349

 Songs, satirical, 212, chief collection of, 437 ff.

 Sorcerers, 334

 Southampton, 352, 370

 Southwark, 48, 428

 Spain, pardoners in, 331; _see_ Compostela

 Spalding, Abbot of, 429

 Spelman, H., 159

 Spenser, Edmund, 74

 Spoelberch, Wm., 296

 Sprotborough, fridstool at, 18, 161, 163

 “Stacions of Rome,” 387

 Stafford, 150

 Stanley, Dean, 350

 Staple, the, 247 ff.

 “Staple of News,” 50

 Stapleton, Walter, 172

 Statius, 224

 Statues, 344 ff., 363, 371, burnt, 347 ff.

 Statutes, of Winchester, 176, 177; well meant but inefficient, 154
   ff., 211; proclaimed, 229; on pedlars, 235 ff., on the staple,
   247; on labourers, 264 ff., 271 ff., on slanderers, 278, of
   Westminster, 278

 Stephen, St., 389

 Stermersworthe, Richard, a woolman, 284

 Steward, the King’s, 107, 108

 Stocks, the, 19, 264, 269, 270 ff.

 Stone, F., 78

 Stourbridge fair, 250, 251

 Stow, J., 43, 44, 47, 50, 61, 62

 Stowe, church of, 429

 Stratford-at-Bow, 40, 53

 Stratford-on-Avon, bridge at, 53

 Straw, Jack, 293

 Strynger, Thos., 165, 434

 Stubbs, Bishop, 421

 Stubbes, Philip, on minstrels, 221 ff.

 Students, travelling, 125 ff., 175, begging, 236, 276

 Sudbury, Simon, 442 ff.

 Suffolk, Duke of, 212, 457 ff.


 Suitors, follow the court, 108

 Sully Prudhomme, 147

 Superstitions, 302, 308, 333 ff., 393

 Surrey, Duke of, 13

 Surtees, 166

 Swall Bridge, 54

 Swinfield, Bishop Richard, 116 ff., 202

 Swithin, St., 347

 Sylvester, Pope, 386

 Syria, 408, 409, 410

 Tabor, Mount, 417

 Taillefer, 195, 216

 Taine, 291

 “Tale of Beryn,” 134, 364 ff.

 Taverner, Ralph, M.P., 264

 Taverns, 134 ff.

 Taylor, P. T., 66

 Teign, bridge on the, 66

 Teignmouth, 66

 Temple Bar, 84

 Tewkesbury, bridge at, 78, 79

 Thames, 43, 47, polluted, 123; 251, 428

 Thebes, 224

 Thegra, 366

 Theodore, Archbishop, on indulgences, 312

 Theodosius the Great, 158

 _Theolonium_, 80

 Thieves, 156 ff., 176, 181, labourers become, 270

 Thomas, St., Aquinas, 89

 Thomas, St., Becket, 13, 47, 74, 248, 279, the best healer, 338,
   pilgrimage to, 348 ff., life and death of, 348 ff., his cult and
   shrine destroyed, 355 ff.

 Thomas, G. M., 411

 Thompson, Sir E. Maunde, 9

 Thompson, Richard, antiquary, 47, 53

 Thompson, Yates, 350

 Thorelstan, 272

 “Thornton romances,” 198 ff.

 Thorpe, Wm., 134, 285, on pilgrimages, 359 ff.

 Thresk, Robert, a priest, 258

 Thurkelby, Roger de, a judge, 261

 Tinkers, 236

 Tours, 372

 Trade, arbitrarily regulated, 239 ff., foreign, 243 ff., in the
   Levant, 408, 414

 Travelling, a merchant, 19, by sea, 21, dangerous, 30; royal
   and lordly, 82 ff., 103, 430 ff.; 89, ordinary, 90 ff., on
   horseback, 95, 100 ff., 105; in carriages, 95 ff., in horse
   litters, 99, 101, monks and bishops, 115, from Oxford to
   Newcastle and Cambridge to York, 126 ff., students, 175, its
   dangers, 149 ff., fast and slow, 232 ff., merchants, 233 ff.,
   245 ff., sea, 376 ff., the English fond of, 402

 Trees, taken down, 156

 Trenholme, 158, 159

 Trent, Council of, 337, 444

 Trevelyan, G. M., 276, 285

 Trevisa, 335, 401

 _Trinoda Necessitas_, 29, 31, 57, 61

 Tristram, romance of, 196

 _Tri Thlws Cymru_, 78

 _Trivium_, 302

 “Troilus,” Chaucer’s, 196, 197

 Troo, 17

 Troy, Duchess of, 384

 Tuck, friar, 213

 Tulle, 366

 Tumblers, 181, 183, 194, 252

 Tunbridge, 298

 Tunis, 221, 397, 398 ff.

 Turnbrigg, 426

 Turns, of the sheriff, 112

 Turpin, Archbishop, 349

 Tutbury, 279

 Tweed, bridge on the, 65

 Tyburn, 135, 309

 Tyndale, W., 363

 Upatherle, H. and Th. of, 178

 Urban II, 313

 Urban V, on pardoners, 326, 441

 Urban VI, 443

 “Utopia,” 48, 310

 Uttoxeter, 186, 252

 Valentré Bridge, 37, 69

 Valon, de, 366

 Van der Meulen, 371

 Vendomois, 17

 Venice, mountebanks of, 192; 239, fleets and trade of, 243; 388,
   relics at, 389; 396, 405, 407

 Vérard, Antoine, 49

 “Vernicle,” the, 365, 385

 Verona, 219, 404

 Vezelay, 372

 “Vie de Gargantua,” 23, 181

 Vielle, the, 18, 207 ff.

 View of Frankpledge, 111, 113, 135, 431 ff.


 Villeins, 24, how emancipated, 259 ff., sold, 260, services
   due by, 262, leave their district, 266 ff., federated, 270,
   interpret texts, 270 ff., send their children to school, 283

 Vinogradoff, 260

 Viollet le Duc, 35

 Virgil, 388

 Virgin, the, milk of, 347, 386, 416, unworshipped by Saracens,
   399, relics of, in Palestine, 415 ff.

 Vissher, 48

 Volterra, 95

 Vows, remitted, 323, 325

 “Vox Clamantis,” 307

 Wace, 20

 Wages, 263 ff., excessive, 265 ff.

 Waits, 206

 Wake, the lord of, 341

 Wakefield Bridge, 14, 67

 Walcott, 347

 Wales, 40, bridges in, 70, 77, minstrels in, 212; 229, staple in,
   247; 309

 Wales, Prince of, the Black Prince, 154, 232

 Walsingham, 21, its sanctuary, 158, its pilgrimage, 329, 338, 347
   ff., 358, 362, 392 ff., 416

 Walsingham, Thomas, 293, 297, on friars, 303; 325, 350, 393

 Walter, Hubert, 425

 Waltham, 347

 Walton, Robert de, a villein, 260

 Walton Street, 81

 Wapentakes, 111, 431

 War, state of, caused by abuses, 154 ff., necessitates good roads,
   83, Scottish, 119, of the Roses, 153

 Ward, Henry, L.D., 437

 Ware, Lord de la, 205

 Warkworth, bridge at, 14, 71 ff., hermitage at, 142

 Warner, G. F., 345

 Warton, Thos., 205, 341

 “Wastours,” 156, 256

 Waterford, staple at, 247

 Wathsand mere, 261

 Watling Street, 30

 Wayfarers, carriers of news and ideas, 263, 277 ff., 279,
   religious, preach emancipation, 285 ff., conclusion about the
   work of, 419 ff.

 Webb, John, 20, 439

 Welles, Lord, 47

 Wels, John, 43

 Werburge, St., 142

 Werchin, de, 406

 Westminster, road to, 84, parliament sitting at, 86 ff., 301, 421;
   sanctuary at, 166, 170, 172 ff.; 247, fair at, 250; 264, 329, 346

 Westmoreland, Countess of, 205

 Wey, Wm., his pilgrimage to Compostela, 375, on catacombs and
   relics, 385 ff., on the Holy Land and how to go there, 409 ff.;
   his souvenirs from Palestine, 417

 Weyhill fair, 250

 Wheatly, 49

 Whitby, 42, 142

 Whitekirk, 339

 Whittington, Sir Richard, 244, 245, 297

 Wife of Bath, 103, 105, 371

 Wilfrid, St., 160

 William III, King, 236

 Wills, devotional bequests in, 394

 Winchester, 149, 247, fair at, 249, 250, pilgrimages to, 347

 Windsor, 229

 Wines, trade in, 239

 “Winter’s Tale,” 252

 Wode, Agnes atte, 155

 Wolves, 63

 Wood, F. G., 78

 Worcester, 40

 Wordsworth, 253

 Workmen, perambulating, 181

 Works of charity, the seven, 89

 Wrangham, John, 164, 434

 Wright, A. B., 163

 Wright, Thos., 200, 437

 Wurtham, Thos. of, 260

 Wyatt, Sir Thos., 48

 Wyclif, 20, 24, 166, 172, 266, his poor priests, 284, influence
   of, 285; 286, 293, on friars, 298 ff.; 336, on pilgrimages, 358
   ff.; 391, 400, 401

 Wylynton, H. de, 342

 Wyresdale, 35

 Yarm, 58

 Yarmouth, its fish fair, 250; 370

 Ydoine, romance of, 196

 York, 30, 39, bridge at, 73; 129, 169, minstrels at, 206; 232,
   staple at, 247; 261, prison at, 271; 347, 393, 426, plays, 201

 Ypres, 233

 Yule, Col., 406

 Zousche, Master la, a clerk of the wardrobe, 99

 _Printed in Great Britain by_



Original spelling and grammar have been generally retained, with
some exceptions noted below. Original printed page numbers are shown
like this: {52}. Original small caps are now uppercase. Italics
look _like this_. Footnotes have been relabeled 1–598, converted
to endnotes, and moved to just ahead of the Index. Illustrations
have been moved from within paragraphs to nearby locations between
paragraphs. Page numbers for dislocated full-page illustrations are
removed. The transcriber produced the cover image and hereby assigns
it to the public domain. Original page images are available from
archive.org—search for “englishwayfaring00jussmiss”.

Page 19, description of illustration 51. The last three letters of
‹fabliau› were invisible on the printed page.

Page 48n. The latin small letter _l_ in ‹Introduction, p. l.› is

Page 49n. ‹Belleforset› was changed to ‹Belleforest›, to agree with
the index.

Page 69. The link ‹(p. 47)› was changed to ‹(p. 37)›.

Page 82. Single right quotation mark was substituted for the double
quotation mark after ‹with the high steeple?›.

Page 83. Double quotation mark after ‹Why do you say so?› was changed
to single right quotation mark.

Page 107n. The link ‹p. 110› was changed to ‹p. 108›.

Page 126n. The single quotation mark in ‹‘Domestic Architecture› was
replaced by double left quotation mark.

Page 136. Changed ‹Rennaissance› to ‹Renaissance›.

Page 206n. Note 1 had no anchor in the text; a new one was placed
after ‹A curious example of this is recorded in John of Gaunt’s

Page 222. The illustration, judging by its location on the original
page, appears to belong to the footnote. But judging by the content
of footnote and illustration, they are not related. Therefore, the
illustration has been retained on page 222.

Page 226. Changed ‹almost eve y one› to ‹almost every one›.

Page 261n. Changed ‹Prenez le par le ccu› to ‹Prenez le par le cou›.

Page 265n. Added right double quotation mark after ‹Rolls of

Page 289. Changed ‹af er masse› to ‹after masse›.

Page 301n. Retained ‹Hence the reproaches the satirists:›. From the
looks of the page, there should possibly be another word between
‹reproaches› and ‹the›, such as ‹of›.

Page 340. Changed ‹Humphry de Bohun, Earl of Hereford› to ‹Humphrey
de Bohun, Earl of Hereford›.

Page 356. Retained ‹gave opprobious names to the gentlemen which then
counselled him to leave his stubornness›.

Page 389n. Changed ‹Societé› to ‹Société›.

Page 449 INDEX. The original punctuation is strange, particularly in
 the use of semicolons. There was seemingly a method for this, but it
 was a complicated one, imperfectly applied. The original punctuation
 and structure of the index has been retained, with a few exceptions
 mentioned below.

 Key phrase [Amants Magnifiques]: changed ‹Moliére’s› to ‹Molière’s›.
 Keyword [Austria]: changed ‹Albert W.› to ‹Albert IV›.

Page 450, keyword ‹Boccacio› changed to keyword ‹Boccaccio›. The link
for ‹Bridges, Roman› to page 68 (which was blank) was changed to page

Page 451, keyword [Canterbury]: changed ‹piilgrimage› to
‹pilgrimage›. Also, one of the links was to page ‹34›; but that page
was blank in the original. There is mention of Thomas of Canterbury
on page 43, so that might be the intended reference.

Page 452, keyword [Dances]: changed ‹cemetries› to ‹cemeteries›.

Page 454, keyword [Forsate]: changed ‹162› to ‹164›.

Page 457, keyword ‹Liége› changed to ‹Liège›.

Page 458, keyword [Nicholson, Wm.]: changed ‹162› to ‹164›.

Page 460, keyword [Poictiers]: changed ‹231› to ‹232›. Under keyword
[Purveyors], changed ‹94› to ‹95›.

Page 464, keyword [Wales]: changed ‹219› to ‹229›.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "English Wayfaring Life in the Middle Ages - (XIVth Century)" ***

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