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8. Impeachment of ROGER MORTIMER, Earl of MARCH, for Treason, 3rd Edward III. A. D. 1330. [Knighton, Coll. 2556. Walsingham. 3 Rapin, 419. 1 Cobb. Parl. Hist. 84.]
AT the parliament assembled at Westminster, on the 13th of March, 1330, the following Articles of Impeachment translated from the French original now on the Rolls in the Tower, were exhibited against Roger Mortimer, earl of March: viz.
"These are the treasons, felonies, and mischiefs done to our lord the king, and his people, by Roger Mortimer, and others of his company. -1st. Whereas in the parliament holden at Westminster next after the king's coronation, it was ordained, that four bishops, four earls, and six barons should remain with the king to advise him, and that four should still be with him, viz. one bishop, one earl, two barons at least, and that no great business should be done without their assent; after which parliament the said Roger not having regard to the said assent, usurped to himself royal power, and the government of the realm, above the state of the king, and put out and placed officers in the king's house, and otherwhere throughout the kingdom at his pleasure, such as were of his party, and set John Wyward and others about the king, to observe his actions and words; so as he was en compassed by his enemies, that he could do nothing as he would, but only as a man under guard or restraint.-2nd. Whereas the king's father was at Kenelworth, by order and assent of the peers of the land, to stay there for his ease, and to be served as such a great person ought to be; the said Roger by his usurped power, which he exercised over him at his pleasure, ordered that he should be sent to Berkley castle, where, by him and his confederates, he was traiterously, feloniously, and falsely murdered and killed.-3rd. The said Roger by his usurped royal power, forbad by the king's writ under the great seal, that any should come to the parliament at Salisbury with force and arms, under pain of forfeiting whatever they had to the king; yet thither he came with others of his party with force and arins to the said parliament contrary to the prohibition aforesaid; wherefore divers peers of the land, as the earl of Lancaster and others, knowing the manner of his coming, would not be there: and whereas the prelates were assembled in one house, to consult about the business of the king and realm, the said Roger broke open the doors of the said house with armed men, upon the prelates, and threatened them with life and meinber, if any of them should be so hardy as to speak or do any thing contrary to his pleasure in any point. And in the same parliament by the said usurped power, he caused the king to make him earl of March, and to give him and his heirs several lands in disherison of the crown; and afterwards the said Roger, and those of his
party, led the king armed against the said earl
his queen; and possessed her, that if she went to him, she should certainly be killed with a dagger, or otherwise murdered; and by this way, and his other subtleties, he so ordered it, that she would not come to her liege lord and king, to the great dishonour of her son and self, and great damage of the whole realm per chance in time to come, which God forbid.10th. The said Roger by his said usurped royal power, had caused to be taken for him and bis party, the king's treasure, as much as he pleased, without tale, in money and jewels, in destruction of the king, so that he had not wherewithal to pay for his victuals.-11th. The said Roger, by the said usurped power, caused to be shared between him and his confederates, the 20,000 marks which came out of Scotland, for the articles of peace, without any thing received by the king.-12th. The said Roger, by his above-mentioned royal power, received the king's duties and purveyance through the kingdom, as if he had been king: and he and his party had with them double the company of men and horse that were with the king, in destruction of the people, not paying for their quarters any more than they themselves pleased. -13th. The said Roger, by his said royal power caused the king to agree to the mounting of 200 Irish chevaliers, or horse, being of those that killed the great men of Ireland and others, who were in the king's faith; whereas the king ought immediately to bave revenged their deaths, rather than pardoned them, contrary to the statute and assent of parliament.-14th. The said Roger contrived to have destroyed the king's secret friends, in whom he had most confidence; and he surmised to the king, in the presence of the queen his mother, the bishops of Lincoln and Salisbury, and others of his council, that his said secret friends had excited him to combine with his (the said Roger's) enemies beyond sea, in destruction to the queen his mother, and of him the said Roger; and this he affirmed so impudently to the king, that he could not be believed against what he had said: and for these things and many others, not as yet fit to be declared, he had been apprehended; wherefore the king charged the earls and barons, the peers of the land, as these things concerned himself, themselves, and all the people of the realm, to do right and true judgment upon him for the crimes above written, as being notorious and known to be true, to themselves, and all the people of the kingdom."
Then the earls, barons, and peers, having examined these articles, came into parliament before the king, and they all delivered their opinion, by one of their body, that all things contained in the said articles were notorious, and known to themselves, and all the people; wherefore they, as judges in parliament by assent of the king did award and judge the said Roger
as a traitor and enemy to the king and kingdom, to be drawn and banged, and commanded the earl mareschal to execute the judgment, and the mayor, aldermen, and sheriffs of London, with the constable of the Tower, and those who had the guard of him, to be aiding and assisting with the earl marescha! at the execution; which was performed accordingly on the 29th of November at a place then called the Elms, and afterwards Tyburn.*-He was not brought to answer, but condemned without hearing, and for that reason this Judgment was reversed as erroneous, and made void by act of parliament, and his grandchild Roger restored to his title and estate, 28 Ed. 3.
The king, also, in his parliament charged the earls, barons and peers, to give right and true judgment against Simon de Bereford,kt. who had been aiding and advising with Roger Mortimer in all the treasons, felonies, &c. for which' he was afterwards adjudged to die, as was notoriously known to the said peers; whereupon they came before the king in parliament and said all with one voice, that the said Simon was not their peer, and therefore they were not bound to judge him as a peer of the land :' but since it was a thing so notorious and known to all, that he was advising, aiding and assisting the said Roger in all the felonies, &c. aforesaid; and that he was guilty of divers other felonies and robberies, and a principal maintainer of robbers and felons; they as peers and judges of parliament by assent of the king, do award and adjudge him, as a traitor and enemy to the king and realm, to be drawn and hanged; and the carl mareschal was commanded to do execution; which was done accordingly. But it appears by the same parliament roll, that it was then also declared, that though the lords and peers in parliament had for this time, in the king's presence, proceeded as judges to give judgment upon those that were no peers; yet hereafter this should be no precedent to draw them to give judgment on any other but their peers, in case of treason or felony.
"The earl of March left four sons, of whom Edmund, his eldest, died in the flower of his age, and left his son Roger, who was restored to his grandfather's estates and honours. The earl had also seven daughters, Katherine wife of Thomas de Beauchamp, earl of Warwick; Joan married to James lord Audley; Agnes to Lawrence de Hastings earl of Pembroke, Margaret to Thomas son and heir of Maurice lord Berkley: Maude, to John son and heir of John de Charleton lord Powis; Blanche to Peter de Grandison; and Beatrix first to Edward son and heir to Thomas of Brotherton, earl marshal, son of Edward 2, and afterwards to sir Thomas de Broose." Dugdale's Baron. 146.
9. Proceedings against THOMAS DE BERKELE, for the Murder of King Edward II. A. D. 1331. [Rot. Parl. 4 Edw. III. M. 16.]
PLEAS of the crown held before the lord king Edward, the 3d since the conquest, in his full parliament at Westminster on Monday next after the feast of St. Katharine the virgin, in the 4th year of the reign of the same king Edward.
"Thomas de Berkele, knight, comes before the lord the king in his full parliament assembled, and being spoken to concerning this, That whereas the lord Edward late king of England, father of the lord the now king, lately was in the custody of the same Thomas, and of a certain John Mautravers, being delivered to be safely kept in the castle of the same Thomas at Berkele, in the county of Glocester, and, in the same castle, in the custody of the same Thomas and John, was murdered and killed, how he would acquit himself of the death of the same king? He says, That he never was consenting to, assisting to, or procuring his death, nor did he even know any thing of his death, until that present parliament; and of this he is ready to acquit himself as the king's court shall adjudge. -And upon that it is enquired of him, Since he is lord of the castle aforesaid, and the said lord the king was delivered into the custody of them, Thomas and John, to be safely kept, and they took and accepted the custody of the same king, how he can excuse himself, that he should not answer for the death of the same king? And the aforesaid Thomas says, That true it is that he is lord of the castle aforesaid, and that he together with John Mautravers, took the custody of the same king, to keep him safely as is aforesaid; but he says, that at the time when it is said that the said lord the king was murdered and killed, he himself was detained at Bradelye without the castle aforesaid, by such and so great sickness, that he hath no ecollection of what happened.-And upon this it is said to him, That since he has acknowledged that he, together with the said John, obtained the custody of the said king to keep him safely as is aforesaid, and he placed keepers and servants under him, for such custody, can be by any sickness excuse himself that he should not answer in this respect? And the aforesaid Thomas says, That he placed under him such keepers and servants in the castle aforesaid, for maintaining such custody, in whom he confided as in himself; and who together with the aforesaid John Mautravers, had, by reason
thereof, the custody of the same king; Wherefore he says, That concerning the death of the same lord the king, by assistance, assent, or procurement of his death, he is in nothing guilty thereof; And as to this for good and bad he puts himself upon the country:-Therefore in this behalf let a jury come before the lord the king in his parliament at Westminster, in 8 days of St. Hilary next to be, &c: At which day came the aforesaid Thomas before the lord the king in his full parliament, and also a jury, to wit, John Darcy, John de Wysham, William de Trussell, Roger de Swynnerton, Constantine de Mortimer, John de St. Philibert, Richard de Rivers, Peter Huser, John de Brynnton, Richard de la Revere, Roger de Debenhale, and Richard de Croupes, all knights, who, on their oath, say, That the aforesaid Thomas de Berkele is in nothing guilty of the death of the aforesaid lord the king, father of the lord the now king, nor of assenting to, assisting in, or procuring his death: And they say, That at the time of the death of the same lord king Edward, father of the lord the now king, he was afflicted with such a sickness at Bradelye, without his castle aforesaid, that his life was despared of: Therefore the said Thomas is acquitted thereof.-And the jurors being asked whether the said Thomas ever withdrew himself on the aforesaid occasion? say, That he did not. And because the aforesaid Thomas placed keepers and servants under him, to wit, Thomas de Gurney and William de Ocle, for the custody of the said lord the king, by whom the said lord the king was murdered and killed, therefore, a day is given to him before the lord the king, now in his next parliament, to hear his Judgment, &c. And the aforesaid Thomas de Berkele in the mean time is committed to Ralph de Neville, steward of the household of the lord the king, &c."
What was done further concerning this Thomas de Berkele I do not find, but judgment to be drawn, hanged, and beheaded, was in this same parliament given against Thomas de Gurney and William de Ocle, for the death of king Edward, father of the king that then was, That they falsely, and traiterously murdered him; and he that could take Thomas alive was to have 100l. or bring his head, 100 marks; he that could bring William Ocle alive was to have 100 marks, or his head, 407.
10. Proceedings against JOHN STRATFORD, Archbishop of Canterbury, for Treason, 14 Edw. III. A. D. 1341. [Rot. Parl. 14 Ed. III. 17 Ed. III. 2 Brady, 211. 1 Cobb. Par. Hist. 100.] of the war had been granted to him for maintaining thereof; and by what means, and whose default be lost Tournay; and punish the offenders in all things according to law. And as to what concerned him, saving always the estate of Holy Church, and his own order, he was ready in all points to submit to the judgment of his peers. This letter was dated at Canterbury the first of January.—In the same month, he wrote to Robert Bouser (a lay-man) late made chancellor of England, in the place of the bishop of Chichester, to preserve the liberties of Holy Church, and the laws of the land entire: And to let him know, that the ninth had levied and destrained for it, upon prelates and others of the clergy, who were not bound to pay it, as those that paid the tenth granted to the clergy, and held nothing of the king by barony, or were obliged to come to parliament; and also exacted the tenth of such as were bound to pay the ninth, oppressing the clergy contra Deum & Justitiam, against God and justice: Exhorting and requiring him in the Lord not to permit the religious and clergy to pay otherwise than according to the form of the grant of the taxes, nor give his advice or assent to any thing in prejudice of the Great Charter, or that might tend to the subversion of church-liberties, declaring if he should make out any writ, commission, or precept to that purpose, he should not omit to exercise such power as Holy Church had permitted him.He wrote also to the king and his council after this manner: To our lord the king and his council, to all and every one of them; We John, by Divine permission archbishop of Canterbury, and the pope's legate, do declare all those that do arrest clerks, put them in prison, and detain them against their wills, are excommunicated by canon.' Which sentence he published in the church of Canterbury, and caused it to be published by all his brother suffragans, or bishops of that province. After the denunciation of which sentence, several clerks (there named) were taken and imprisoned in prejudice of God and Holy Church, against the law and privileges of all clerks, and to the danger of their souls, who did such things, or gave advice or assent to the doing of them. Wherefore he beseeched the king to preserve untouched the rights and privileges of Holy Church, and forthwith release the clerks, and others, that had been imprisoned against the Great Charter, the laws of the land, and privileges of such as were detained. And further beseeched all of the king's council, who had presumed to advise the king to commit such things, not to hinder the release of those that were kept in prison. He also declared, That the king's ministers or officers, of what condition soever,
IN the year 1340, king Edw. 3, finding himself distressed for money to carry on his war in France, and thinking that those who had the care of his revenues were in fault, suddenly returned from Ghent into England, on St. Andrew's day; about midnight he arrived at the Tower, and next morning he sent for the archbishop of Canterbury to Lambeth, but found him not there. He also sent for the bishop of Chichester his chancellor, the bishop of Lichfield and Coventry lord treasurer, and several others his great officers, clerks of chancery, and justices, and imprisoned them in the Tower, except the bishops, whom, says Robert of Avesbury, for fear of the Clementine Constitution, That bishops ought not to be imprisoned, he permitted to have their liberty. On the 3d of December, the archbishop went to Canterbury, and secured himself in his church, to escape future dangers. Thither the king sent Nicholas de Cantelupe with letters of credence, That he would come to him to London, where he might personally speak with him; but he came not, pretending some about the king bad threatened to kill him. Yet though he came not, he wrote to the king, and admonished him to take good advice, and make use of good and wise counsellors, and to remember that by evil counsel his father had, contrary to the laws of the land and Magna Charta, imprisoned some great men and others, adjudged them to death, seized their goods, or put them to grievous ransom and what happened to him for this cause. He also put him in mind, That by the circumspection and discretion of the prelates, the great and wise men of the nation, his own affairs had prospered, so as he possessed the hearts of the people; and had met more assistance from the clergy and laity than any of his progenitors. But at present, by the evil counsel of some English and others, who loved their own profit more than his honour, or the safety of the people, he had imprisoned clerks and others, against the laws of the land, his Coronation-oath, and against the Great Charter; the infringers whereof were, by the prelates of England and the Pope's bull, which he had by him, excommunicated. Which things he had done to the great danger of his soul, and detriment of his state and honour. He tells him, he had pronounced excommunicate all such about him that were favourers of Treason, flatterers of, and imposed upon him; and as his spiritual father beseecheth him to hold them as such, some of which by their sloth, and wicked service and advice, lost Tournay. And requested him to call together the prelates, great men, and peers of the land, to see and enquire in whose hands the Wool, Moneys, and other things then remained, which since the beginning
who entered the granges, houses, aud other places of archbishops, bishops, ecclesiasticks, or other religious without the consent of their bailiffs, and took and carried away their goods; and all those that commanded these things to be done, were involved in the same sentence of excommunication. He wished the king would vouchsafe to apply a fit remedy, for he could not dissemble; but that against such, as his pastoral office required it of him, by his brother bishops of the province, he should execute what was his and their bounden duty. Yet it was not his intention, that the king, queen, or their children, should be compre hended in this judgment or sentence of excommunication, as far as by law or right they might be excused.
As he had resolved, he wrote to all the bishops of his province, and commanded them to declare excommunicate all such as deprived churches of their rights, or by malice infringed or disturbed their liberties or free customs; and those especially that violated the ancient liberties and free customs of his church of Canterbury, or in any manner diminished them, or did any thing contrary to its privileges. Also those that disturbed the peace and quiet of the kingdom, or that gave advice or assistance to, or favoured them. Also those who by any art or trick whatsoever should violate, break, diminish, or change any of the liberties and free customs contained in the Great Charter, or Charter of the Forest, privately or openly, by word, deed, or advice, or the ancient liberties and free customs granted by them to the City of London, should be declared excommunicate. And then he directs them to proceed in the same manner against all such as imprisoned clerks, or entered into the houses, granges, &c. of archbishops, bishops, &c. as above. The king, moved with this behaviour of the archbishop, wrote to the bishop of London, and the prior and chapter of Canterbury, in harsh and severe language, how he had been used by the archbishop, and charged him with many great crimes; as, that being exalted to the throne in his nonage, desiring to be directed by sound counsel, believing him in fidelity and discretion to exceed all men, and using him as the director of his soul, and likewise the affairs of his kingdom, and receiving him into great familiarity; and seeing the kingdom of France devolved to him by right of succession, and was usurped by Philip of Valois, he with great importunity persuaded him to make a confederacy against Philip with the German princes, exposing us and our affairs to the charge and hazard of war; promising and affirming, That he would cause abundantly to be supplied the necessary expences from the revenue of our lands, and subsid ́es; adding further, That we need only take care to have ready expert and stout soldiers. Then he tells how he went beyond sea, and entered into a war at a vast expence, obliging himself to his confederates in great sums of money upon the promised aid; but trusting to a broken reed, and his assist
ance in money not coming to him, he was forced to contract improfitable debts under the greatest usury; and so as he could not prose cute his expedition, but must of necessity return into England: where declaring to the archbishop his streights and misfortunes, he called a parliament, which gave him the ninths as above, and the clergy a tenth; which if fully collected, and in due time, had probably been sufficient for the carrying on his war, and the payment of his debts, to the no small confusion of his enemies. Then he says the archbishop promised again to assist him effectually toward collecting the subsidy, and administring other necessaries: whence trusting to his promised assistance, he again passed over sea, and obtained his sea-victory, as before related; and afterwards besieged Tournay, as aforesaid; when every day expecting by the archbishop's management to be relieved, in so great necessities, with what had been promised him, his hopes failed: and though by many letters and messengers he had signified to him, and others of his counsellors his adherents, the wants and dangers he was in for want of money, being put off with frivolous excuses and fine words, by which they palliated their fraud and malice, he was forced unwillingly to consent to a truce, to his shame, and the hindrance of his expedition. At length his faithful friends, companions, and participants in his adventure and tribulation, with whom he discoursed how he might most aptly be delivered from his present misfortunes, all agreed the fault was the archbishop's, either by sloth or negligence, if not malice; murmuring against him, that he had not corrected the insolence of the archbishop and officers, which if he should not do speedily, they threatened to quit his service, and withdraw themselves from the confederacy. Whence thinking of the discipline and correction of his officers, he removed some from their offices for male-administration, by subversion of justice, oppressing the people, and taking bribes: others of less note he committed to prison; and believing he might have a more full account of the actions of his officers from the archbishop, to whom he had committed for a long time all the administration of all his affairs, he sent Nicholas Cantilupe to command him to come speedily to London, that he might have personal discourse with him; but being always proud, and fearful in adversity, he pretended danger from some about him, if he should stir out of the church of Canterbury. The second time he sent to him Ralph Stafford or Stratford, steward of his houshold, with letters of safe conduct, to come to, and inform him about the business of the kingdom: but contemning his requests and messages, with an haughty look he answered, That he would not meet, come to, or confer with him, but in full parliament; which at that time it was not ra tionally expedient to convene: then recounting his great bounty and beneficence toward him, his extraordinary respect and affection to him, and the mighty trust and confidence he had in