« ZurückWeiter »
Queen Elianor, the king's mother, was sore against her nephew Arthur, rather moved thereto by envy conceived against his mother, than upon any just occasion given in the behalf of the child ; for that she saw, if he were king, how his mother, Constance, would look to bear most rule within the realm of England, till her son should come to lawful age to govern of himself.
• When the doing of the queen was signified unto the said Constance, she, doubting the surety of her son, committed him to the trust of the French king; who, receiving him into his tuition, promised to defend him from all his enemies.
' About the same time, King Philip made Arthur duke of Britaine knight, and received of him his homage for Anjou, Poictiers, Maine, Touraine, and Britaine. Also, somewhat before the time that the truce should expire, the iwo kings talked by commissioners. Within three days after, they came together personally, and communed at full of the variance depending between them. But the French king showed himself stiff and hard in this treaty, demanding the whole country of Veulquessine to be restored unto him, as that which had been granted by Geffry, earl of Anjou, the father of King Henry the Second, unto Louis le Gros, to have his aid then against King Stephen. Moreover, he demanded that Poictiers, Anjou, Maine, and Touraine should be delivered and wholly resigned unto Arthur, duke of Britaine.
• Upon some mistrust and suspicion gathered in the observation of the covenants on King John's behalf, Arthur with his mother, Constance, the viscount of Tours, and divers others, fled away secretly from the king, and got them to the city of Angiers, where the mother of the said Arthur, refusing her former husband, the earl of Chester, married herself to the lord Guy de Tours, brother to the said viscount, by the Pope's dispensation. The same year, Philip, bastard son to King Richard, killed the viscount of Limoges, in revenge of his father's death, who was slain in besieging the castle of Chalus Cheverell.
• About the month of December there were seen in the province of York five moons, one in the east, the second in the west, the third in the north, the fourth in the south, and the fifth as it were set in the midst of the other, having many stars about it, and went five or six times encompassing the other as it were the space of one hour, and shortly after vanished away.
'In the year 1202, King John held his Christmas at Argenton, in Normandy, and in the Lent following he and the French king met together near unto the castle of Gulleton, and there, in talk had between them, he commanded King John, with no small arrogance, and contrary to his former promise, to restore unto his nephew, Arthur, duke of Britaine, all those lands now in his possession on that side the sea, which King John earnestly denied to do, whereupon the French king immediately after began war upon him.
‘Hugh le Brun, earl of March, joined himself with Arthur, and found means to cause them of Poictou to revolt from King John, and to take armour against him ; so that the young Arthur, being encouraged with this new supply of associates, first went into Touraine and after into Anjou, compelling both those countries to submit themselves unto him, and proclaimed himself earl of those places by commission and grant obtained from King Philip. Queen Elianor, that was regent in those parts, being put in great fear with the news of this sudden stir, got her into Mirabeau, a strong town situate in the country of Anjou, and forthwith despatched a messenger with letters
unto King John, requiring him of speedy succour in this her present danger. King John was marvellously troubled with the strangeness of the news, and with many bitter words accused the French king as an untrue prince and a fraudulent league-breaker, and in all possible haste speedeth him forth, continuing his journey for the most part day and night to come to the succour of his people. To be brief, he used such diligence that he was upon his enemies' necks ere they could undertand anything of his coming. For so negligent were they, that having once won the town they ranged abroad over the country hither and thither at their liberty without any
So that now being put in a sudden fear they were in a marvellous trouble, not knowing whether it were best for them to fight or to flee, to yield or to resist. This their fear being apparent to the Englishmen, they set upon them with great violence, and having put them all to flight, they pursued the chase towards the town of Mirabeau, into which the enemies made very great haste to enter; but such speed was used by the English soldiers that they entered and won the said town before their enemies could come near to get into it. Arthur, with the residue of the army that escaped with life, was taken ; who being hereupon committed to prison, first at Falaise, and after within the city of Rouen, lived not long after. Thus by means of this success the countries of Poictou, Touraine, and Anjou were recovered.
'Shortly after, King John coming over into England, caused himself to be crowned again at Canterbury by the hands of Hubert, the Archbishop there, and then went back again into Normandy, where immediately upon his arrival a rumour was spread through all France of the death of his nephew, Arthur. It was reported that King John, through persuasion of his councillors, appointed certain persons to go unto Falaise, where Arthur was kept in prison under the charge of Hubert de Burgh, and there to put out the young gentleman's eyes.
"But through such resistance as he made against one of the tormentors that came to execute the king's command (for the other rather forsook their prince and country, than they would
consent to obey the king's authority therein) and such lamentable words as he uttered, Hubert de Burgh did preserve him from that injury, not doubting but rather to have thanks than displeasure at the king's hands, for delivering him of such infamy as would have redounded unto his highness, if the young gentleman had been so cruelly dealt withal. For he considered, that King John had resolved upon this point only in his heat and fury (which moveth men to undertake many an inconvenient enterprise, unbeseeming the person of a common man, niuch more reproachful to a prince), and that afterwards, upon better advisement, he would both repent himself so to have commanded, and give them small thank that should see it put in execution. Howbeit, to satisfy his mind for the time, and to stay the rage of the Britains, he caused it to be bruted abroad through the country, that the king's commandment was fulfilled, and that Arthur also, through sorrow and grief, was departed out of this life. For the space of fifteen days this rumour incessantly ran through both the realms of England and France, and there was ringing for him through towns and yillages, as it had been for his funerals. It was also bruted, that his body was buried in the monastery of Saint Andrews of the Cisteaux order.
• But when the Britains were nothing pacified, but rather kindled more vehemently to work all the mischief they could devise, in revenge of their sovereign's death, there was no remedy but to signify abroad again, that Arthur was as yet living, and in health. Now when the king heard the truth of all this matter, he was nothing displeased for that his commandment was not executed, sith there were divers of his captains which uttered in plain words, that he should not find knights to keep his castles, if he dealt so cruelly with his nephew. For if it chanced any of them to be taken by the King of France, or other their adversaries, they should be sure to taste of the like cup. But now touching the manner in very deed of the end of this Arthur, writers make sundry reports. Nevertheless certain it is, that in the year next ensuing he was removed from Falaise unto the castle or tower of Rouen,
out of the which there was not any that would confess that ever he saw him go alive. Some have written, that as he essayed to have escaped out of prison, and proving to climb over the walls of the castle, he fell into the river of Seine, and so was drowned. Others write, that through very grief and languor he pined away and died of natural sickness. But some affirm, that King John secretly caused him to be murdered and made away, so as it is not thoroughly agreed upon in what sert he finished his days; but verily King John was had in great suspicion, whether worthily or not, the Lord knoweth.
There was in this season (1213) an hermit whose name was Peter, dwelling about York, a man in great reputation with the common people, because that either inspired with some spirit of prophecy, as the people believed, or else having some notable skill in art magic, he was accustomed to tell what should follow after. This Peter, about the first of January last past, had told the king, that at the feast of the Ascension it should come to pass, that he should be cast out of his kingdom. And he offered himself to suffer death for it, if his words should not prove true. Hereupon being committed to prison within the castle of Corfe, when the day by him prefixed came, without any other notable damage unto King John, he was, by the king's commandment, drawn from the said castle unto the town of Warham, and there hanged together with his son. Some thought that he had much wrong to die, because the matter fell out even as he had prophesied ; for the day before Ascension-day King John had resigned the superiority of his kingdom (as they took the matter) unto the pope, and had done to him homage, so that he was no absolute king indeed, as authors affirm. One cause, and that not the least, which moved King John the sooner to agree with the pope, rose through the words of the said hermit, that did put such a fear of some great mishap in his heart, which should grow through the disloyalty of his people, that it made him yield the
About the same time (1216), or rather in the year last past, as some hold, it fortuned that the Viscount of Melune, a