Vergil, Polydore. Anglica Historia, Books 23-25.
London: J. B. Nichols, 1846.
HTML markup and proofing by Jeff Wheeler, San Jose State University
POLIDORE VIRGILL OF THINGLISHE HISTORY THE XXVte.
RICHARD duke of Glocester, at the self same time that his brother king Edward departyd this lyfe, was in Yorkeshire, unto whom William Hastings his chamberlaine sent from London trusty messengers in post to certify him of his brothers death, and from himself to signify, that the king at his death had commyted to him onely, wyfe, chyldren, goodes, and all that ever he had, and therfor to exhort him, that he would with all convenient spede repare unto prince Edward into Wales, and coom with him to London to undertake the governement. Whan Richard had intelligence hereof, he began to be kyndlyd with an ardent desyre of soveraigntie; but for that ther was no cause at all whereby he might bring the same to passe that cowld cary any colour of honestie, so much as in owtward shew and apparance, he differryd the devise thereof presently unto an other time, and the meane while sent most looving letters to Elyzabeth the quene, comforting hir with many woords, and promysing on his behalf (as the proverbe is) seas and mountaines, and, to increase the credit of his carefulnes and naturall affection towards his brothers children, cawling togythers unto York thonorable and worshipfull of the countrie therabowt, he comandyd all men to sweare obedience unto prince Edward; hymself was the fyrst that tooke the othe, which soone after hee was the fyrst to vyolate. So all the resydew planely pronowncyd and sware the same. These thinges doone, having gatheryd no smaule force of armyd men, he preparyd to
[p.174]set forward when time showld serve. Prince Edward, being but a child in yeares not hable to rewle hymself, lay the same time within his princypalytie at Ludlow, under the tuytion of his uncle Anthony earle Ryvers, Thomas Vaughan chief of his chamber, and Ricard Gray, knights. Elyzabeth the quene, and Thomas marquyse Dorset, hir soonn by John Gray hir former husband, who was at London, advysyd these men by often messages to conduct the prince furthwith to London, that after the funeralls of his father solemnyzed, he might, after the maner of his auncesters, be crownyd king. They according to the quenes and marquyses commandment tooke there journey not long after towardes London. Richard also hastenyd thyther, whom Henry duke of Buckingham met at Northampton, with whom the duke of Glocester had long conference, in so muche that as is commonly beleeved he eaven then discoveryd to Henry his intent to usurpying the kingdom, and especyally for because the duke folowyng afterwards his humor, whether yt were for feare or for obdeience, held ever with him. And so Richerd from thencefurth determynyd to assay his purposyd spytefull practyse by subtyltie and sleight, which yf by that meane showld not faule owt so fartunately as he hopyd, than lastelye, with malice apert, to attempt the same; not myndyng, myserable man, that he could offend therin withowt extreme detryment of the commonwelth, and thutter subvertion of his howse. Surely so yt happeneth to graceles people, that who seketh to overthrow an other, his owne frawd, wicked and mischevous intent, his owne desperate boldenes, maketh him frantyke and mad. And thus whan they had taken cownsell Rycherd made haste unto the prince, who journayd on before with a smawle trayne, and was now coomyd to Stony Stratfoorth (so ys the towne caulyd) whan he, togyther with Henry the duke gardyd with a bande of soldiers, overtooke the prince and receavyd him into his
[p.175]rewle and goverment; but he apprehendyd Anthony and Thomas Vawghan, and dyvers other, whom after he had taken, supposyng that they wold not assent to his intent and purpose, he sent bak to be kept in ward at Pounfrayt castle. But whan the fame of so owtrageous and horryble fact cam to London, all men wer woonderously amasyd, and in great feare, but especyally Elyzabeth the quene was much dismayed, and determynyd furthwith to fly; for, suspecting eaven than that ther was no plane dealing, to thintent she might dlyver her other children from the present danger, she convayed hirself with them and the marquyse into the sayntuary at Westmynster. The very same dyd other noble men who wer of hir mynde for the safegard of hir chyldren. But the lord Hastinges who bare pryvy hatryd to the marquis and others of the quenes syde, who for that cause had exhortyd Richerd to take upon him the government of the prince, whan he saw all in uprore and that matters fell owt otherwyse than he had wenyd, repenting therfor that whiche he had doone, caulyd togerther unto Powles churche suche frindes as he knew to be right carefull for the lyfe, dygnytye, and estate of prince Edward, and conferryd with tham what best was to be doone. Here divers of them who wer most offendyd with thys late fact of Richerd duke of Glocester, adjudgyd yt mete with all spede to procure the lybertie of prince Edward, whom they accowntyd as utterly oppressyd and wrongyd by force and violence, that so the fyre, which was kyndling, myght be put owt before yt showld sprede further abrode; affirming that from thencefurth no devyse wold by voyd of danger except the wicked enterpryse, which gave good testymony that duke Richard had inwardly no good meaning, wer with present force avoydyd. All the resydew thowght that ther was no nede to use war or weapon at all, as men who little suspectyd that the matter wold have any horryble and cruell end. Wherfore they concludyd to tary whyle duke Richard
[p.176]should coom and declare what the matter was, why he had cast them who had the prince in government into prison. And this resolution fynally lyked them all, because in apparance yt stood with the profyt of the commonwelth that every of the nobylity, as much as might be, showld avoyd varyance and contention. Not long after arryvyd the duke Richard and Henry with the prince, and lodgyd at the bishopp of Londons howse besydes Powles, wher ther will was the prince showld remane tyll other matters myght be put in readynes. Than dyd duke Rycherd assume the governement wholy; but yt grevyd him spytefully that he might not receave into his tuition, without some great stere, his brothers other soon Richerd duke of York, whom his mother kept in sayntuarye; for, except he might get them both togethers into his powr and custody, he uterly desperyd to compasse that which he longyd for. Conceaving therfor soome hope therein, he bent all the forces of his wyt hot to wrest and bereve him from his mothers lap. And so, as he had purposyd, he laboryd to bring abowt by sleyght which by force he could not, who cawling to him a good number of the nobylytie, sayd: ‘I pray God that I never lyve yf I be not carefull for the commodytie of my nephews, whose calamytie I know well must nede redownd lykewyse to the commonwelth and myself also. Therfor, seing that my broother Edward owr king dyd uppon his death-bed constytute and appoint me Protector of the Realme, I had more regard of nothing than to repare hyther and bring with me prince Edward his eldest soon, that in time convenyent all thinges might be doone by thadvise of cownsaile; for I am determynyd to do nothing withowt your authoryties, whom I am willing to have myne assocyates, ayders, and partakers in all dealinges, that you thereby may well beare wytnes what soever I shall from hencefurth do as touching the government of the realme, the same wholy to be employed, feythfully, and without fraud, for thutylytie
[p.177]of the commonwealth, and the commodytie of prince Edward, the charge and government of whom I suppose you know suffycyently that his father commyttyd to me for that onely cause. But Antony Rivers attemptyd of late to hinder me, that I showld not accordeyng to my dewty take on hand that charge, whom therfor we have bene compellyd to commyt with others who also made resystance therein, that by ther examples other men might learne not to have owr commandments in contempt. But what shall we say of the evell cownsayle which they who most maligne and hate me have geaven to quene Elizabeth? who, withowt any just cause, cownterfayting feare so folyshly, hath enterprysyd to cary in all haste the kings children as wicked, wretched, and desperate nawghtie parsons into saynctuary, thonly refuge in earth of povertie, det, and lewd behavyor, as thoughe we went abowt to destroy them, and that all owr doinges tendyd to violence. Which thyng, thowghe yt be exceding great dishonor to us and the whole realme, yet the sex ys to be borne withall, from the which suche rages readyly procede. But we are to provyde remedy betimes for this womanishe disease creping into owr commonwelthe, to the woorst example trewly that may be. What a sight I pray you shalle yt be to se the day wherin the king shalbe crownyd, yf, whyle that the solemnytie of tryumphant pomp is in doynge, his mother, brother, and sisters shalbe remane in sayntuary? What manner of concurse of people shalle ther be, by whose authoryty he is to be creatyd king? What signe of rejoicing shalle that assemble geave unto the soveraigne, the same being more full of hevynes than exultation? Surely ther is not one amongest all the people who may not justly be in feare of himself, and think that all majestie of lwis is already violated, yf the Quene and hir chyldren shalle reamine any longer in sayntuary! May yt lyke yow therfor that soom of yow go to the quene hirself, and procure the reducyng of hir and hir children as soone as may be into the
[p.178]palace, whom, yf peradventure yow shalbe hable by no meane to withdraw from hir opynyon, as seducyd by them who loove mee not, who study to stirre up envy against mee, to lay some fault uppon me, yeat at the least to deale that she may uppon generall assurance yealde Richerd thother soon into your handes, so that he may be present with other noble men at his brothers coronation. Yow have already my mynde, do now what yow think best in the behalf of the commonwelth; for at my hand yow both may and owght to expect all that is good and honorable.’ Whan he had spoken these woordes all men who suspectyd no subtyltie thowght duke Richardes advyse both mete and honest. And so yt was agreyd that Thomas archebisshop of Canterbury, Henry duke of Buchyngame, John lord Hward, and sundry other grave men should deale in that cause, who reparing unto the sayntuary began to perswade the quene with many fayre wordes and perswations that she wold returne with hir children into the palace, unto whom they gave both pryvate and publyke assurance; but the woman, forseing in a sort within hir self the thing that folowyd furthwith after, could not be movid with any perswations to commyt hir self to the credyt of duke Rycherd, which whan they understoode, fynally they demandyd to be delyveryd to them hir soon richard onely, which they obtaynyd hardly after many fayre promises. And so was thinnocent chyld pullyd owt of his mothers armes.
Richard having by this meane obtaynyd almost his hartes desire, convaighed his nephewys from the bysshop of Londons howse unto the Towr; and yeat all this causyed no suspytion, for that thusage ys at the kings coronation for the whole assembly to coom out from thence solemly, and so procede to Westmynster. This doone, Richerd, whose mynde partly was enflamyd with desire of usurping the kyngdom, partly was trubblyd by guyltynes of intent to commyt so haynous wickednes (for a guiltie con-
[p.179]science causeth thoffendor to have dew punishment alway in imagination before his eyes), thowght aftireward nothing better than to mollyfy the multitude with largesse and lyberalytie, than to wyn the hartes of his adversaryes with gyftes, rewardes, and promyses, than in the Towr, wher himself and his nephews remayned, to consult, conferre, and delyberate of new with the noble men dayly in most craftie and subtyle maner for the dealing and disposing of suche thinges as wer furthwith to be doone. And this way his dryft, that, whyle stayng and tarying made the people desyrus of this solemne sight, he, by consultinge from poynt to poynt, might sound and serche out how the nobylytie was affected, saying alway that he did not seke the soveraigntie, but referryd all his dooings to the profyt of the realme. Thus covering and cloking certane days his desire, under the colour and pretence of common welthe, he so enveglyd the myndes of the nobilitye, that they all, few only exceptyd who wer not ignorant from the beginning what marke he shot at, dyd by no meane espy the cause of his lingering, or to what ende his practyses wold faule owt, so many matters dyd he so often propone and so few explane, according as a guyltie conscyence ys wont to be of many myndes. But in the mean time perceaving that William lord Hastings was most vehement and earnest to have prince Edward once crowned king, who chiefly amongst all the nobylytie was, for his bountifulnes and lyberalytie, much beloved of the common people, bearing great sway emong all sores of men and parsons of best reputation, whether yt wer that he fearyd his powr, or despearyd yt possible to draw him to his syde and opynyon, he determynyd to ryd the man owt of the way before his purpose showld be discoveryd to the resydew, whom he did not yeat fully trust. Wherfor, burning with rage incredible to bring to effect the thing which in mynd was resolvyd, he drew a plot for the lord Hastinges as foloweth: he placyd pryvyly in a chamber adjoyning to that with
[p.180]himself and other lords sat usually in cownsayll a sort right ready to do a mischiefe, geaving them in charge that when he showld geave a signe they showld suddaynly rushe owt, and, compassing about them who should syt with him, to lay handes specyally uppon William lord Hastinges, and kill him forthwith. This trayne thus layd, abowt the day before the ides of June he commanded to be sent for specyally by name Thomas Rotheram archebisshop of York, John Morton bysshop of Ely, Henry duke of Buchingham, Thomas lord Stanley, William lord Hastinges, John lord Howard, and many others whom he trustyed to fynde faythful ether for feare or benefyt. The resydew of the nobylytie, togethers with John Russell bishop of Lincoln, lord chancelor of England, whom his will was not to have present at suche an owtrageous and fowle spectacle, he commanded to be the same day at Westminster haule, with other magistrates, to proclame the day of prince Edward’s coronation. But the nobles who wer cawled came well early all into the Towr as to delyberate of the whole matter. Here, whan the doores was shutt, whyle they thus alone without testimony of any other than onely God, had goodwill to consult of the most weyghtie affayres, Richard duke of Glocestre, who thowght of nothing but tyranny and crueltie, spak unto them in this sort: ‘My lords, I have procuryd you all to be caulyd hyther this day for that onely cause that I might shew unto you in what great danger of death I stand; for by the speace of a few days by past nether nyght nor day can I rest, drynk, not eat, wherfor my blood by lyttle and lyttle decreaseth, my force fayleth, my breath shorteneth, and all the partes of my body do above measure, as you se (and with that he shewyd them his arme), faule away; which mischief veryly procedeth in me from that sorceres Elyzabeth the quene, who with hir witchcraft hath so enchantyd me that by thanoyance thereof I am dissolvyd.’ To these sainges whan no man gave answer, as making lyttle to the purpose, William
[p.181]lord Hastings, who hatyd not duke Richerd, and was woont to speke all thinges with him very frely, awnsweryd, that the quene deservyd well both to be put to open shame, and to be dewly punysshyd, yf yt might appeare that by use of witchecraft she had doone him any harme. To these Rycherd replyed: ‘I am undone (I say) by that very woomans sorcery.’ Whereunto William made the same awnswer that befor. Than Rycherd, to geve a sygne for them who wer withowt layd pryvyly for the nonce, spak with more shirle voyce: ‘What than, William, yf by thine own practises I be brought to destruction?’ He had scarce utteryd these woordes whan as they to whom charge was commyttyd in that behalf yssewyd, and with open assault apprehendyd all at once William lord Hastinges, both the bysshops of York and Ely, and also the lord Stanley. These thre last wer cast ther into severall prisons; but William lord Hastinges had scarce leysure to make his confession before his head was stryk from his shoulders. So that lord Hastinges learnyd, by his owne losse at the last, that the law of nature wherof the gospell speaketh (what soever you will that men do unto yow, do you so also unto them) can not be broken without punishment. He was one of the smyters of prince Edward, king Henry the vjths. soon, who was fynally quyt with like maner of death. Would God suche kind of examples might once be a learning for them who think yt lawfull to do whatsoever lyketh them. Now I returne to the matter. As soone as this dede was doone they cryed treason, treason throwght the whole towre; which noyse whan it sprede abrode throwght the cytie the citecyns and all other people, takyng the fyrst rumor to be trew, and ignorant of that which was doone within, began to cry owt lykewyse; but after that they understoode, by terryble speache brutyd abrode, the truthe of the matter doon within, then began every man on his owne behalf to feare the hart of inward enemyes, and to look for nothing els but cruell slawghter or myserable flight; and all
[p.182]men generally lamentyd the death of that man, in whom both they and the nobles who favoryd kinge Edwardes children had reposyd their whole hope and confydence. Now perceavyd they well that duke Richerd wold spare no man so that he might obtayn the kingdom, and that he would convert the regall authoritye into tyranny. But the duke after this, being satisfyed with the death of William lord Hastinges, delyveryd Thomas lord Stanley safe and sownd, fearing, perchance, least yf he showld have doone him any wrong George lord Strange his soon showld have stirred upp the people to armes soomwher agaynst him. As for John Morton bysshop of Ely, who dyd farre excede them all in wysdome and gravytie, him he commyttyd to the duke of Buckingham, whom the duke sent furthwith into Wales to his castle at the towne of Brechnoch. But Thomas Rotheram archebishop of York he committed to the custody of sir James tirrell, knight. His meaning was to make those bisshops sure whom he thought wold not alow uppon his purposyd intent, until that, having gotten the soveraigntie, he showld nede to feare no man. Whan these thinges wer doone, Richard, knowinge then for certaine that ther was no cause why he showld any further dissemble the matter, sent his letters of warrant to the keper of Pontfreyt castle to behead in hast Anthony lord Ryvers, Richerd Gray, and Thomas Vaghan, which was doone soone after. In the meane whyle, himself at London, fearing now all thinges, garded first his parson with a company of armed men, then after sowght with all dylygence to wyn unto hym the chief of the nobylytie by large gyftes and fayre promyses, a good part wherof he drew unto his amytie, seducyd rather for feare than for hope of benefyt; by the suportation of whose puyssance and authorytie he determynyd to attempt soone after an other devyse. For surely he was owt of all hope to be hable so to bynde the comonaltie to him by rewardes, as that they wold willingly away with his government,
[p.183]who he knew well wold, for defence of lyberty and conservation of the royall right, be readyly stirryd to take weapon in hand, wherfor he feared them. Theruppon, revolvinge many matters in his mynde, at last he bethowght him of a devyse wherby the people, being seducyd by a certain honest pretence, should the lesse grudge at his doinges. And so the man, being blinde with covetousnes of raigning, whom no fowle fact cowld now hold bak, after that he had resolvyd not to spare the bloode of his owne howse, supposing also all regard of honor was to be rejectyd, devysyd and bethowght himselfe of suche a sleyght as foloweth: He had secret conference with one Raphe Sha, a divyne of great reputation as than emong the people, to whom he utteryd, that his fathers inherytance ought to descend to him by right, as the eldest of all the soones which Richard his father duke of York had begotten of Cecyly his wyfe; for as much as yt was manyfest ynowghe, and that by apparent argument, that Edward, who had before raignyd, was a bastard, that ys, not begotten of a right and lawfull wyfe; praying the said Sha to instruct the people therof in a sermon at Powles Crosse, wherby they might once in the ende acknowledge ther trew liege lord. And sayd that he greatly requyred the same, because he estemyd yt more mete to neglect his mothers honor and honestie than to suffer so noble a realme to be pollutyd with suche a race of kinges. This Raphe, whether dasyd with feare, or bereft his wyts, promysed to folow, and obey his commandment. But whan the day came, duke Richard, who, under the colour of serving another tourne, had made himself mightie, came in royal maner, with a great gard of men armyd, unto the churche of St. Paule, and ther was attentyvely present at the sermon, in whose hearing Raphe Sha, a learnyd man, taking occasion of set purpose to treat not of divyne but tragicall discourse, began to instruct the people, by many reasons, how that the late king Edward was not begotten by Richard duke of York,
[p.184]but by soome other, who pryvyly and by stelth had had knowledge of his mother; and hat the same did manyfestly appeare by sure demonstrations, because king Edward was nether in physnomy nor shape of body lyke unto Richard the father; for he was highe of stature, thother very little; he of large face, thother short and rownd. Howbeyt, yf suche matters were well consyderyd, no man could dowt but Richard, now in place, was the dukes trew soone, who by right owght to inheryt the realme dew to his father; and therfor he exhortyd the nobylytie, seing they presently wantyd a king, to make ther king Richard duke of Glocester, the trew yssue of the royall bloode, and to forsake all others basely begot. Whan the people herd these woordes, they wer woonderus vehemently trublyd in mind therwith, as men who, abasshyd with the shamefulnes of the matter, all to be cursyd and detestyd as well the rashnes, foolehardynes, and doltishnes of the preacher as the madnes of Richard the duks wycked mynde, who wold not se how great shame yt was to his owne howse and to the whole realme, how great dishonour and blot, to condemne, in open audience, his mother of adultery, a woman of most pure and honorable life; to imprynt upon his excellent and good brother the note of perpetuall infamy; to lay upon his most innocent nephews an everlasting reproche. Wherfor at the very instant yow might have sene soome, astonyed with the noveltie and strangenes of the thing, stand as mad men in a mase; others, all agast with thowtrageous crueltie of thorrible fact, to be in great feare of themselves because they war frindes to the kinges children; others, fynally, to bewayle the misfortune of the chyldren, whom they adjudgyd now utterly undoone. But ther ys a common report that king Edwards chyldren wer in that sermon caulyd basterdes, and not king Edward, which is voyd of all truthe; for Cecyly king Edwards mother, as ys before sayd, being falsely accusyd of adultery, complanyd afterward in sundry places to right many noble men, wherof
[p.185]soome yeat lyve, of that great inury which hir soon Richard had doon hir. But richard, whan his mother was thus openly defamyd as an adultress, and a slander publysshyd upon Edward his brother, was no whit ashamyd, as he owght to have bene, but, rejoysing that a matter was boltyd owt in the face of the world wherby he sought to make aparent to all men that he had good right to the realme, returnyd into the toure with a royal trane, as thowe he had bene of the magistrates proclamyd king. But Raphe Sha, the publisher of thabhomynablenes of so weightie a cause, (who not long after acknowledgyd his error, throwgh the grevous rebukes of his fryndes that wer ashamyd of his infamy,) so sore repentyd the doing therof that, dying shortly for very sorow, he suffered worthie punishement for his lewdnes. Now by these meanes was yt thowght that duke Richard had attaynyd the soveraygntie, and the same was every wher so reported, thowgh more for aw than good will; whan, for feare of perilles hanging every way over his head, he resolvyd that of necessitie yt was mete to stay a whyle, notwithstanding many of his frindes urgyd him to utter himself planely, and to dispatche at once that which remayned, yeat, least his doinges might easyly be myslykyd, his desire was that the people might be earnestly delt withall, and the whole matter referryed to the determynation of others as judges in that behalf. And so, abowt the xiijth calends of June, he commandyd the judges and magistrates of the cytie, Robert Bylles, lord mayr, Thomas norland and William Maryn, shyriffes, with thaldermen, to assemble in the yeald hawle, and to them he sent the duke of Buckingham, with dyvers other noblemen that wer of his counsayll, to deale in his cause, and in his name to requyre that they, hearing the reasons concerning the dispatche of so weyghtie affayer, wold decre that which stoode with the welthe of the whole realme and of thinhabytantes therof. The duke of Buckingham delyveryd, in long proces, duke Ry-
[p.186]chards mynd, and in his behalf declaryd that ther was not to enforce the cause any other thing but right, loyaltie, constancy, honesty, and equytie, seing he demaundyd the kingdom from the which he had bene defraudyd before by his broother Edward, and therfor prayed that by ther authorytie they wold deale and determyn of so weyghtie a matter, wherbie he might, with good will of the commonaltie, who wold be rewlyd by ther judgement, enjoy once at the last his royall right, which wold be for the profyt of the common welth; for as muche as duke Richard was of that wysdom and modestie that all men might well hope for, at his hand, both right and reason. This was the dukes demand and determynation also, agaynst which, because wher force ys right beareth no rewle, no man durst gaynsay. But Richard duke of Glocester, as thowgh the terryfyed judges had decreyd of his syde, rode the next day after from the Towr throwgh the myddest of the cytie unto Westmynster, in robes royall, and gardyd with fyrme force of armyd men, syttinge in the royall seat. He then fyrst of all tooke uppon him as king; for some matters he determynyd, others he promysyd he would hear; to the magystrats he gave in commandment that from thencefurth they showld do all thinges in his name; also he apoynted a day for all the people and nobylytie to mete, and be ready to sweare him homage. Whan the fame of these doinges wer spread abrode throwgh all partes of the realme, they wer dyversly taken: for who so wer of king Edwards and howse of Yorke part detestyd the presumptuous boldnes of duke Richard as a very pestylence that fynally wold consume and utterly ruynat that howse. Agane, who so held in hart with king henry the Sixt thowght that all those thinges wold be for ther advantage, because within short time yt wold fawl owt that the rigor of Rychardes government wold be intollerable to every man, and that the nobylytie, for the exterping utterly therof before yt showld take any depe roote, wold, withowt
[p.187]dowt, yeald ther allegeance unto Henry earle of Richemond, king Henryes brothers soon, and send for him to be king. Richard, in the meane time, according as his force and tyranny well requyred, was afeard least that many should becoome the quenes frynds, and procure the commonaltie to commotyon, whan they should see the crowne bereft from prince Edward; therfor he commandyd furthwith five thousand soldiers which wer levyed in Yorkshyre (for to them he most trustyd) to be sent unto him, under the conduct of Rychard Ratclyf, and gave to him in charge to dispatche dyvers thinges by the way. Hee, gardyd with that companye, stayed at Poyntfrayt, and commandyd the keper of the castle to put to death Anthony Lord Ryvers, Rychard Gray, and Thomas Vaughan, as the Glocestryan had commandyd (according as I have before wrytten), that by reason of his presence such an horryble fact might be executyd without uprore, which doone he conducted his company to London. Richard, thus garded with that number of faythfull and trsuty soldiers, attemptyd confydently to execute all other things. And so, having assemblyd togyther a company of the nobylytie, he was creatyd king at Westmynster the day before the nones of July, and adornyd with the regall diademe, togethyr with Anne his wyfe, the people rather not repyning for feare than allowing therof, and was cawlyd Rychard the iijrd. That was the yere of mans salvation M.CCCC.lxxxiiij.
Thus Richerd, without assent of the commonaltie, by might and will of certane noblemen of his faction, enjoyned the realme, contrary to the law of God and man; who, not long after, having establyshyd all thinges at London acording to his owne fantasy, tooke his journey to york, and first he went streight to Glocester, where the while he taryed the haynous guylt of wicked conscyence dyd so freat him every moment as that he lyvyd in contynuall feare, for thexpelling wherof by any kind of meane he determynyd by death to dispatche his nephewys, because so long as they lyvyd
[p.188]he could never be out of hazard; wherefore he sent warrant to Robert Brakenbury, lyvetenant of the towr of London, to procure ther death with all diligence, by some meane convenyent. From thence he departyd to York, wher he was joyfully receavyd of the cytecyns, who for his comyng mayd certane days publyk and open tryumph; but king Richard, that he might advance himself openly to all men, yea to the country people (so desyrus was he to prowle after vane plause and congratulation), denouncyd a day wherin the archbisshop of York, at his request, apoyntyd general procession, in the solemnytie wherof himself and the quene went crownyd. King Richard caryed with him Edward earle of Warweke, the soone of his brother George duke of Clarence, by reason of whom least any danger might to himself be deryvyd, he sent him to be kept in ward at a castle caulyd Shyriff Huton. But the lyvetenant of the towr at London after he had receavyd the kinges horryble commyssion was astonyed with the creweltie of the fact, and fearing least yf he showld obey the same might at one time or other turne to his owne harme, dyd therfor dyffer the dooing therof in hope that the kinge wold spare his owne bloode, or ther tender age, or alter that heavy determynation. But any one of those poynts was so fur from taking place, seing that the mynd therin remanyd immovable, as that when king Richard understoode the lyvetenant to make delay of that which he had commandyd, hee anon commyttyd the charge of hastening that slawghter unto another, that is to say James Tyrrell, who, being forcyd to do the kings commandment, rode sorowfully to London, and, to the woorst example that hath been almost ever hard of, murderyd those babes of thyssew royall. Thys end had Prince Edward and Richarde his brother; but with what kinde of death these sely chyldren wer executyd yt is not certainely known. But king Richard, delyveryd by this fact from his care and feare, kept the slaughter not long secret, who, within few days after,
[p.189]permyttyd the rumor of ther death to go abrode, to thintent (as we may well beleve) that after the people understoode no yssue male of king Edward to be now left alyve, they might with better mynde and good will beare and sustayne his governement. But whan the fame of this notable fowle fact was dispersyd throwgh the realme, so great griefe stroke generally to the hartes of all men, that the same, subdewing all feare, they wept every wher, and whan they could wepe no more, they cryed owt, ‘Ys ther trewly any man lyving so farre at enemytie with God, with all that holy ys and relygyouse, so utter enemy to man, who wold not have abhorryd the myschief of so fowle a murder?’ But specyally the quenes frinds and the chyldrens exclamyd against him, ‘What will this man do to others who thus cruelly, without any ther desert, hath killyd hys owne kynsfolk?’ assuring themselves that a marvalous tyrany had now invadyd the commanwelth. Emongest all others the news herof was unto thynfortunate mother, who yeat remanyd in sayntuary, as yt wer the very stroke of death: for as soone as she had intelligence how her soons wer bereft thys lyfe, at the very fyrst motion therof, the owtrageousnes of the thinge drove her into suche passion as for feare furthwith she fell in a swowne, and lay lyveles a good whyle; after cooming to hir self, she wepeth, she cryeth owt alowd, and with lamentable shrykes made all the house ring, she stryk hir brest, teare and cut hir heire, and, overcommyd in fyne with dolor, prayeth also hir owne death, cawlyng by name now and than emong hir most deare chyldren, and condemning hirself for a mad woman, for that (being deceavyd by false promyses) she had delyveryd hir yownger soon owt of sayntuary, to be murderyd of his enemy, who, next unto God and hir soons, thought hir self most injuryd; but after long lamentation, whan otherwise she cowld no be revengyd, she besowght help of God (the revenger of falshed and treason) as assuryd that he wold once revenge the same. What man ys
[p.190]ther in this world, who, yf he have regard unto suche noble children thus shamefully murderid, wyll not tremble and quake, seing that suche matters often happen for thoffences of our ancestors, whose faults doo redownd to the posterytie? That fortunyd peradventure to these two innocent impes because Edward ther fathyr commytted thoffence of perjury, by reason of that most solemne othe which (as we have in the former booke mentionyd) he tooke at the gates of the cytie of York, meaning one thing inwardly and promysyng an other in expresse woordes outwardly, as furthwith appearyd: and for that afterwardes, by reason of his brother the duke of Clarence death, he had chargyd himself and his posterytie before God with dew desert of grevous punysshement.
Whyle this stere was abrode otherwher, the day of generall procession was at hand, wherin ther was great confluence of people, for desire of beholding the new king. In which procession very solemly set furth and celebratyd by the clergy, the king was present in parson, adornyd with a notable riche dyademe, and accompanyd with a great number of noble men: the quene folowyd also with a crowne uppon hir head, who led by the hand hir soon Edward crownyd also with so great honor, joy, and congratulation of thinhabytants, as in shew of rejoysing they extollyd king Richard above the skyes. Whan this solemne pomp of prayer was fynysshyd, the king not long after cawlyd a parlyament, in the which, after many matters wer establishid towching the state of that province, his only soon Edward, about ixne yeres owld, was made prince of Wales, and John Haward, a man very pollytyke and skilfull in warres, was made duke of Norfolk, and his soon Thomas, a lusty and noble young gentleman, earle of Surrey. Also the number of the kinges cownsayll was augmentyd with soom noble men of that countre, because king Richerd had in ther fidelytie most confydence as we have before declaryd. Fynally, because ther was no myschyef, none adversytie, which the kinges
[p.191]head, guiltie of so many crymes, dyd not mystrust, provysyon was made that the ings enemyes, desyrus to disturb all things, might not be hable to caule home againe into England henry earle of Richemond. And so Thomas Hutton, a man of pregnant wyt, was appoyntyd ambassador to deale with the duke of Bryttayn by all force of fayre woords and money that he wold detane the earle in perpetuall pryson at the least, according as he had doone hytherto at the request of his brother Edward, who transportyd furthwith into Brytayny. Whan these thinges wer doone the king returnyd to London, whom all the cyty for dewties sake came furth to mete. Thus had kinge Richerd by a strange kinde of owtrageous creweltie attayned the type of glory and promotion, and in the eye of the people was accountyd a happy man, whan as soon after he perceavyd himself to declyne from his state by lyttle and lyttle, that he could not kepe fast therein by any pollycy. Surely after the murder of king Edwardes soons as oft as any evell storme was presently immynent or lyke to ensew, the people, remembring suddaynly the kings late abhomynable fact, layd the blame thereof only uppon him, exclaming that God did revenge the kinges wickednes uppon the powr Englishe people; whom therfor they accusyd, detestyd, and fynally besowght God to take extreame vengeance uppon. Thus when king Richard was spoken of at all hands, and thought hee [p.was] not ignorant from whom these speaches dyd procede, eat for all that durst not by violence revenge the same, supposing yt an unwayse part not to beare soom time with suche as towld him of his fault, he fell agane from so great felycytie into a feare and heavynes of hart, and, because he could not reforme the thing that was past, he determynyd to abholishe by all dewtyfulnes the note of infamy wherwith his honor was staynyd, and to geave suche hope of his good governement that from thencefurth no man showld be hable to lay any calamytie that might happen to the commonwelth unto
[p.192]his charge. But hard yt ys to alter the naturall disposition of ones mynde, and suddaynly to exterp the thing therin settlyd by dayly conversation. And so, whether yt wer for that cause, or (as the brute commonly goeth) because he new repented of his evell dedes, he began afterward to take on hand a certane new forme of lyfe, and to geave the shew and cowntenance of a good man, wherby he might be accowntyd more righteous, more mylde, better affectyd to the commonaltie, and more lyberall especially toward the powr; and so first might meryte pardon for his offences at Gods hand; than after appease partly thenvy of man, and procure himself good will, he began many woorks as well publick as pryvate, which (being prevented by death before his tyme) he perfyted not. He fowndyd a colledge at York of an hundreth priests. Also he began now to geave eare to the good admonition of his frindes. But anon after yt appearyd evydent that feare, which seldom causeth continewance of dewtyfull dealing, made king Richard so suddainly good, for as much as the bowntyfulnesse of the man beinge but counterfayt waxed cold agane quickly; by reason wherof all his proposyd practyses began straightway to coom to naught. For fyrst he lost Edward his only soon the third month after he had bene made prince of Wales; after that, a conspyracy was contryvyd agaynst him by meane of Henry duke of Buckingham, which, though yt wer by one of the conspyrators discoveryd before yt grew great, yeat was he trublyd in suppressing therof. And for as muche as we be now coommyd to this place, yt is nedefull to make convenyent rehersall of certane thinges premysyd wherby we may explane the first cause of the discord begun betwixt the king and the duke: for Humfrey soomtyme erle of Hereforde, of whose death we have made mention before in the xviiith. booke, left of his body begotten two dawghters, and them he made his heyres; that ys to say, Mary who maryed to Henry erle of Darby, theldest soon to John duke of Lancaster,
[p.193]who aftirward having gotten the crowne was caulyd Henry the Fourth, and Alyenore whom Thomas of Woodstok duke of Glocester and erle of Buckingham tooke in maryage. Of this Thomas and Alyenore yssewyd and remanyd onely alive one dowghter caulyd Anne, to whom by right discendyd after the confiscation of hir fathers possessions in the time of Richard the Second, who put the duke to death, hir mother Alyenors inherytance. This lady was first handfast to Thomas Stafford, but he dying before marriage, she also beinge but very young, was afterward maryed to Edmund brother of the sayd Thomas erle of Stafforth. He begot Humfrey duke of Buckingham, and Humfrey Henry. And so by the maryage of Anne and Mary was therle of Herefoords inherytance devydyd, thone moytie to thowse of Lancaster, thother to the bloode of Staffoords, from whom the dukes of Buckingham deryve ther pedygre. And after a few yeres all the rase of king Henry the Fourth faylyd in prince Edward, Henry the Syxtes soon: which howse extynguyshyd, Henry of Buckingham thowght that he might by good right demand that part of therle of Herefords patrimony which in the right of Mary had coommyd to the howse of Lancaster, which whan king Richard held the right of the crown, with thother possessions of the howse of Lancaster. Therfor the duke within few days after, having gotten fytt occasion to talke of the matter, demandyd of king Richerd that part of the therle of Herefoordes patrymony that to him by right of inherytance was dew. To this king Richerd, who supposyd that matter to have bene now forgotten, ys reportyd to have awnswered furthwith in great rage: ‘What now, duke Henry, will yow chalenge unto you that right of Henry the Fourth wherby he wyckedly usurpid the crowne, and so make open for yourself the way therunto?’ Which king Richerds awnswer settlyd depe into the dukes breste, who from that time furth, movyd muche with ire and indignation, began to devyse by what meane he might thrust
[p.194]owt that ungratefull man from the royall seat for whose cause he had right often doone many thinges agaynste his owne conscyence otherwise than before God he lawfully might. The duke thus affectyd accompanyed king Richerd not long after as he journeyed towardes Yorke unto glocester, from thence with his consent he repayred into Wales, wher a great part of his lyvings lay. Heare the while of his tary, provokyd partly by freshe memory of the late receavyd injury, partly repenting that hitherto of himself hee had not resystyd king Richardes evell enterpryse, but much had furtheryd the same, he resolvyd to separate himself from him (though in dede he showld so have doon in the begynnyng), and to bring to passe the thing which he had long revolvyd in mynde: and so he began to discover his intent to John bishop of Ely, whom (as we have before remembryd) he had in Brechnoch castle. The bisshop suspecting treason, demandeth why he goeth abowt that matter, and prayeth to do him no harm; afterward whan he understood his just cause of hatred, which king Richerd had well deservyd long ago, he refusyd not to conferre of the conspiracy. Than the duke unfoldyd all thynges to the bisshop of Ely, and dyscoveryd himself wholy, shewing how he had devysyd the meane wherby both the bloode of king Edward and of Henry the Sixth that yeat was remaining, being conjoignyd by affinytie, might be restoryd to the domynion dew unto both ther progenyes. The meane was this, that Henry erle of Richemond, who (as the report went) was, after knowledge of king Edwardes death, delyveryd by Francys duke of Brytayne owt of prison, might be sent for in all hast possyble, and assystyd with all that they might do, so that he wold promyse before by solemne othe, that after he had once obtaynyd the kingdom he wold take to wyfe Elyzabeth, king Edwards eldest dawghter. The bishop of Ely alowyed as well the dukes devyse as the maner of performing the same, and procuryd one Renold Bray,
[p.195]servant to Margaret erle Henry his mother, who had maryed Thomas lord Standley, to coome unto the duke into Wales, and his pleasure knowen to returne spedely unto the said Margaret, and certify hir of all thinges which had bene delyveratyd betwixt him and the duke concernyng common saftie. This trewly was the matter for the which dissention sprang betwyxt the king and the duke, and wheruppon the conspyracy was made agaynst him. But the comon report was otherwyse; for the multytude sayd that the duke dyd the lesse disswade kinge Richerd from usurping the kingdome, by meane of so many mischievous dedes, uppon that intent that he afterward, being hatyd both of God and man, might be expellyd from the same, and so himself be caulyd by the commons to that dignytie, wherunto he asspyryd by all means possible, and that yerfor he had at the last stirryd upp warr agaynst kinge Rycherd: but let us returne to owr purpose.
Now before the duke all in a rage had begun to be alyenate in mynde from king Richerd, the same very time a plot of new conspiracy was layd at London betwixt Elyzabeth the quene, wyfe to king Edward, and Margaret mother to erle Henry, in this sort: This Margaret for want of health usid thadvyse of a physition namyd Lewys, a Welsheman born, who, because he was a grave man and of no smaule experience, she was wont oftentimes to conferre frely with all, and with him famylyarly to lament her adversitie. And she, being a wyse woman, after the slaughter of king Edwardes children was knowen, began to hope well of hir soones fortune, supposing that that dede wold withowt dowt proove for the profyt of the commonwelth, yf yt might chaunce the bloode of king Henry the Sixth and of king Edward to be intermenglyd by affynytie, and so two most pernicious factions should be at once, by conjoynyng of both the howses, utterly taken away. Wherfor furthwith not neglecting so great oportuniytie, as they wer consulting togythers, she utteryd to Lewys that
[p.196]the time was now coom when as king Edwardes eldest dowghter might be geaven in maryage to hir soon Henry, and that king Rycherd, accountyd of all men enemy to his countree, might easyly be dejectyd from all honor and bereft the realme, and therfor prayd him to deale secretly with the quene of suche affayre; for the quene also usyd his head, because he was a very learnyd physytion. Lewys nothing lyngeryng spak with the quene, as yeat remaning in sayntuarie, and declaryd the matter not as delyveryd to him in charge but as devysyd of his owne heade. The quene was so well pleasyd with this devyse, that she commandyd Lewys to repare to the cowntes Margaret, who remaynyd in hir husbands howse at London, and to promyse in hir name that she wold do hir indevor to procure all hir husband king Edwards frynds to take part with Henry hyr soon, so that he might bee sworne to take in maryage Elyzabeth hyr dowghter, after he shalle have gotten the realme, or els Cycyly, the yownger, yf thother showld dye before he enjoyed the same. Lewys, by and by, doing as he was commandyd, made up the matter easyly betwyxt the two women, who because of his scyence becam a messenger betwene them, and was assocyat unto them in this new conspyracy against king Richerd withowt any suspytion. Thus Margaret being browght in good hope apoyntyd Raynold Bray her servyteur, a man most faythfull and trustie, to be the chief dealer in this conspyracy, and commanded him to draw unto her partie, as secretly as might be, soom such noble or woorshipfull men as wer wyse, faythfull, and actyve, who wer hable to make help in the cause. Raynold within few days gathered unto the socyetie of that conspyracy Gyles Dawbney knight, Richerd Gylfoord, Thomas Ramney, John Cheney, and man mo, having taken an oathe beforehand of every man perticulerly. The quene also maket hir frindes partkaers of this devyse and busynes to be set forward with all spede convenyent. But Margaret the meane whyle took into hir famyly
[p.197]Christopher Urswyche, an honest, approovyd, and serviceable priest, and after he was sowrn unto hir, she discoveryd to him all hir intent, trustyng that she might so do safely because Chrystopher was alway a favorer of king Henry the vjth, and commendyd to hir by Lewys the physytion. Thus the mother, carefull for the well doing and glory of hir soon, gave Christopher in charge to go unto erle Henry into Bryttany, and to signyfy unto him all that was doone with the quene. But before he began to take his journey behold she was suddanely advertysid of the same practysepurposyd by the duke of Buckingham, as we have before remembryd; which whan she knew she alteryd hir intent, staying Christopher at home, and sent Hugh Conwey into Bryttane unto hir soon Henry with a good great sum of money, commanding him to utter all thinges, and exhort hys returne, and especyally to advyse him to arryve in Wales, wher he should fynde ayd in readines. Also, Richerd Gilfoord sent after him owt of Kent Thomas Romney with the same message. They having spedy passage cam unto erle Henry almost at one time, whom we have before sayd to have bene with the duke of Bryttany, now after the death of king Edward at his owne lybertie. Henry having receavyd the message gave thanks to God, supposing his whole harts desyre cowld not have happenyd without Gods speciall provydence; and therfor, rejoysing woonderusly, he conferryd all thinges with the duke, shewing that he had conceavyd an assuryd hope of obtanyng the realme of England, and prayd therfor that the same might be browght abowt both by his good help and assent, whiche whan so ever habylytie showld serve he wold not fale to requyte. The duke, althowgh he had bene laboryd from king Richerd both with money and muche sute by Thomas Hutton his ambassador, whom we have before declaryd to have bene sent thyther, that he wold thrust erle Henry agane into ward, yeat he promysyd ayd and willingly gave yt. Than Henry premysyd into England Hewgh
[p.198]Conway and Thomas Ramney to geve notice of his coomming, that his frinds might take order hedefully for all other thinges which by pollycy might be provydyd for; hys owne pleasure was to stay ther untill that all thinges nedefull for saling wer preparyd. In the meane time in England the heades of the conspyracy went abowt many matters; soome held furnyshyd fyt places with force of men; soome secretly solycytyd the commonaltie to sedytion; others earnestly mynded, and wer redy, so soone as they should know of Henryes arryvall, to begin the warre; others fynally, of which number John Morton bisshop of Ely was chief, provokyd, by secrete messengers, all men to this new conspyracy whom they knew assurydly to hate king Richerd no lesse than themselfes did.
While these thinges wer a doing king Richerd was informyd of the conspyracy of these noble men, who being dryven into perplexitie by dubble mischief, for because he nether had army in readynes, nether yeat, yf he showld make warre uppon the suddayn, knew suffycyently wher to encownter thenemy, wher to tary nor whyther to go, determynyd to dyssemble the matter a while till he might gather an army, and that by speache of the people, and dylygence of espyall, the devyses of his adversaryes wer searchyd owt, conceavyd, manyfestyd, and discoveryd, or that by thys kinde of sleyght he might apprehend soome of the conspirators; for that ther is no deceyt more depe and secrete than that which lurketh in the dissembly of understanding, or under soome colour of curtesy. And because he knew the duke of Buckingham to be the head of the conspyrators, therfor first of all he thowght best, ether by fraude or force, to cut of the same; and therfor he sent exceding curteous letters unto the duke that he wold coome unto him, and gave the messenger who caryed the letters in charge to make in his name many fayre promyses, and by soome good meane perswade him to coome unto the court. The duke, alledging infyrmytie of stomake, awnsweryd the messenger that presently coome
[p.199]he cowld not. King Rycherd wold admyt none excuse, but sent for him agane with threatening woords. Than the duke openly denyed that he wold coom to his enemy, and withall made ready for warre, and perswadid his confederates furthwith, soom one wher soom other, to rase the people. So almost at one moment and time Thomas marquyse Dorset, who was gone owt of sayntuary and preservyd from all danger by meane of Thomas Rowell, in Yorkshire, Edward Courtney, with Peter his broother, bisshop of Excester, in Devonshire, Richerd Gylfoord, with certane of great reputation, in Kent, rasyd upp the commons every wher to armor, and made a begynning of warres. But king Richerd the meane season having gatherid an huge host of armyd men, because he wold not dissypate his forces, the while he was willing to pursew every of the conspyrators, resolvyd to omyt the resydew, and turne his whole army agaynst the head, that was the duke, who removing from London tooke his journey towardes Salsbury, to thintent he might dyvert owt of that way agaynst the duke whersoever he could learne that he wer encampyd. And now was he coommyd within two days journey of the towne, whan the duke with great force of Walse soldiers, whom he, as a sore and hard dealing man, had brought to the feild agaynst ther wills, and withowt any lust to fight for him, rather by rigorus commandment than for money, which was the cause of the revolt, went earnestly abowt to encownter the king, but he was forsaken suddaynly of the more part of his soldiers, and compellyd thereby to fly, during which flight, being in great terror by reason of this suddane chaunge of fortune, whan he nkew not well what way to take, he got himself into the howse of a certane servant of his namyd Humfrey Banyster, whom because he had found an honest man eaven from his chyldehoode, therfor he trustyd to fynde him most faythfull, and commyttyd himself to hys fydelytie, meaning to remane secret with him untill the tyme that he might advyse
[p.200]ether how to repare for his owne defence a new army, either els to go unto therle Henry into Brytayn. But whan his confederates, who had now begoon warre, knew that the duke was forsaken of his people, and fled no man wyst whyther, they wer suddainly dismayd, every man fled without hope of saftie, and other got into sayntuaryes or wyldernes, or assayed to sayle over the seas, wherof a great part came safe soone after into Brytayne. Emongest that company was Peter Cortney bisshop of Excester, with Edward his broother, erle of Devonshire, Thomas marquise Dorcest, with Thomas his soon, a very chylde, John Bursher, John Welles, Edward Woodvill, a valyant man of warre, brother to quene Elizabeth, Robert Wylloughbie, Gyles Dabeney, Thomas Arundell, John Cheyney, with hys two brothers, William Barchley, William Brandon, with Thomas his broother, Rycherd Edgecombe, and all these almost of thorder of knighthoode: also John Halvell, Edward Peningham, chiefe captane of tharmy, Christopher Urswyche, and John Morton bysshop of Ely, with many other noble men, transportyd over abowt the same very time into Flanders.
But king Richerd, a man muche to be feared for circumspection and celerytie, who now was coomyd to Salsbury, after that he knew the duke and others of the conspyracy to be fled, determynyd to pursew them, and first sent soldyers anon to all the portes nighe therabowts, to take, kepe and hold all passinge owt by sea, and to let them that fled from transporting; than after, to any man that showld tell of the duke he proclamyd large reward; to the bond, libertie; to the fre pardon from punishment and a Mli. And because he had receavyd of late intellygence by Thomas Hutton, being returnyd owt of Brytayne, that the duke thereof was so farre from condiscending to kepe erle Henry in pryson for his sake, yea as that he was busyly abowtward to ayd therle with succor and supply against him, he disposed withall certane shipps well furnysshyd alongest the sea coste that
[p.201]tendeth toward Brytayne, to thintent that, yf erle Henry showld by chaunce coom, he might ether be interceptyd or kept from the shore. Moreover, to make marvalus strayt watche every wher, he disposyd some soldiers in places convenyent to beset ways, pathss, and all kynd of passages: he sent owt others every way, to seke yf yt were possyble to fynde and apprehend any wher the duke or any his confederats. To these men seking owt all thinges narrowly, Humfrey Bannister, whether for feare or money yt is soom dowt, betrayed his guest Henry the duke, who brought him furthwith to Salsbury unto king Richerd. The duke was dilygently examynyd, and what he knew uppon demand he tould without torture, hopynge because he frely confessyd, that therfor he showld have lybertie to speake with king Richerd, which he most sore desyryd; but after he had confessyd thoffence he was beheadyd. This death dyd the duke suffer of king Richerd, whom he had aydyd agaynst his own conscience (as the saing is), with whom he had by this meane conjoignyd socyetie of perill more trewly than of empire. Hereof surely may we marke, that he loseth his labor, and chargeth his owne lyfe with haynous offence, who helpeth an evell and wicked man, seing that he both receaveth of him for the most part an evell dede for a good, and of God alway in the ende condigne punishment.
Whyle these thinges were doone in England, Henry erle of Richemoond had preparyd an army of v.M. Bryttaynes, and furnyshyd a navy of xvtn. shipps, and now was approchyd the day of his departure, who began to sayle with prosperous wynd the vjth, ides of October in the yere of helth M.CCCC.lxxxiiij., and the second king Richerd began his raigne. But a little before even suddayn tempest arose, wherwithall he was so afflyctyd that his shipps wer constraygnyd by force of a crewell gale of wyne to turne ther course from one way from another; divers of them wer blowen bak into Normandie, others into Bryttany. The ship wherin
[p.202]Henry was, with one other, tossyd all the night long with the waves, cam at the last very early in the morning, whan the winde grew calme, uppon the south coast of the iland, agaynst the haven caulyd Pole. From hence erle Henry, viewing afur of all the shore beset with soldiers, which king Richerd, as we have before shewyd, had every wher disposyd, gave open commandment that not one man of them all showld take landing before the resydew of the ships showld come togythers; which, while he taryeth for, he sent owt a bote to try whether they wer his frindes which hoovyd so in the same place. Than those who wer sent wer earnestly desyryd by the soldiers from the shore to come a land, crying that they wer sent from the duke of Buchingham to be ready for the accompanying of erle Henry safe unto the camp, which the duke himself had at hand with a notable excellent army, so so that joigning ther forces they might they both might pursew king Richard who was fled. But erle Henry suspecting yt to be a trayn, as yt was in dede, after that he dyd see none of his owne ships within view, hoysyd upp sale, and with prosperus wynde came into Normandy, so that a man may think the very blast of the wynde drove him bak from danger. Here he, tarying uppon the shore the space of thre days for the refreshing of his soldiers after ther toyle and travaille, determynyd to returne with part of his retynew a foote into Brytayne, and in the meane time sent ambassadors to demand of Charles theight, king of Fraunce, who had succeeded Lewis his father lately dead, leave to passe throwghe Normandy. The king pytying therles fortune, dyd not onely grant him passage with good will, but also money to beare his charges. Howbeyt himself, trusting uppon the kinges courtesy, had sent his ships home before and was enteryd on his journey; yeat he had not gone fur whan thambassadors returnyd, so that greatly comfortyd by that benyfyt and replenshied with good hope he returnyd into Brytayne, supposing that from thencefurth he must take an other
[p.203]course. But being in Brytayne he had intelligence by his frindes that the duke of Buchingham was beheadyd in England; that the marquyse Dorset, with a well great number of thinglishe nobylytie, was commyd thither a little before to seke him, and remanyd at Vanes; which newys whan he understoode to be trew, he muche lamentid that the first attempt of those noble personages had fallen so evell owt, yet on thother syd rejoysing that he had so many notable captanes partakers of that warre, and withall conceaving eaven than almost an assuryd opynion that all his affayres wer firmly strengthenyd, and that his cause wold coome well to passe, he adjudgyd yt mete for him to use celerytie. Wherfor, going unto Reynes, he sent furthwith certane of his retynew to bring the marquyse and thother noble and woorshipfull unto him. They having knowledge that erle Henry was, after long wandering, returnyd safe into Brytayne, rejoysed woonderusly (for, being ignorant in what part of the world he was become, they fearyd least he had faullen into the handes of king Richerd) and so reparyed to him in all hast thick and threfold. Heare, after muche mutuall congratulation made, and that they had delyberatyd of dealyng in their causis certane days, the day of Chrystes natyvytee was coomyd uppon, which, meting all in the churche, they ratyfied all other thinges by plyghting of their trouths and solemne covenantes; and first of all erle Henry uppon his othe promysyd, that so soone as he showld be king he wold mary Elyzabeth, king Edwards dowghter; than aftir they swore unto him homage as thowghe he had bene already created king, protesting that they wold losse not onely ther landes and possessions, but ther lyves, before ever they wold suffer, beare, or permyt, that Richerd showld rewle over them and theirs. Whan this was done erle Henry reportyd all to the duke, and prayd him hartely to ayde him with more ample supply, that he might returne furthwith into his cowntry, much desyringe his presence, and especially to lend him money, for so
[p.204]much as that which he had already receavyd of his frindes was spent in furnishing of the former warre, and promysyd that he wold faythfully repay what soo ever he showld receave, and in time to coome plentyfully requyte the dukes singular lyberalytie with all indevor, care, and diligence. The duke promysyd him ayde, wheruppon trusting he took uppon him agane the care of preparing a navy, and made himself ready to the sea, that he showld not be hinderyd from any attempt by laches of time.
In the meane whyle king Richerd, being returnyd to London, commandyd certane that wer guyltie of the conspyracy who wer taken in sundrye places all at once, and emong them George Broune, Roger Clyffoord, Thomas Selenger, knightes, also Thomas Ramney, Robert Clyffoorth, and dyvers others, yea of his owne howsehold, to be put to death. Afterward he assemblyd a parlyament, wherin he procuryd all thexyles to be denoncyd traytors to ther countree by act of parlyament; then all ther goodes to be confiyscate, and not content with that pray, though very riche, he fynally causyd a great tax of money to be imposyd uppon the people, for he had bene of late so lavashing in rewards, seking by suche meane to purge himself, and win favor of the commonaltie, that he began now to be nedy. But yt went very hard that Thomas Stanley also was not accowntyd emongest the number of the kinges enemyes, by reason of the practyses of Margaret his wyfe, mother unto erle Henry, who was commonly caulyd the head of that conspyracy; but, for as muche as the woorking of a womans wite was thowght of smaule accounte, the cownsell therfor set downe and commandyd that Thomas, who proovid himself guitles of the offence, showld remove from his wyfe all hir servantes, and kepe hir so strayt with himself that she showld not be hable from thencefurth to send any messenger nether to hir soone, nor frinds, nor practise any thing at all agaynst the king; which was doone accordingly. Also by authorytie of the same
[p.205]parlyament a peace was made with the Scottes, who a lyttle before had run forrows about the borders. Whan these thinges wer thus concludyd, all the conspyracy semyd in a maner extinguyshyd; the duke beinge taken away and other his confederates partly executyd, partly exylyd into foreyn countreys. But king Richerd, as yeat more dowtynge thaan trusting in his owne cause, was vexyd, wrestyd, and tormentyd in mynd with feare almost perpetually of therle Henry and his confederates returne; wherfor he had a myserable lyfe, who to ryd himself of this inward gryefe, determynyd fynally to pull up by the rootes all matter of feare and tumult, and other by guyle or force to bring the same abowt. And so after suche resolution taken he thowght no way more fytt or commendable than to solycit agane the duke of Brytayne, for money, prayer, and reward, because yt lay in his hand to dispatche him quyte of all perill, and therfore he sent furthwith specyall messengers to the duke, who, besydes great gyftes which they caryed with them, showld promise to geave him yerely the whole revenues of all the lands appertaining to earle Henry, and the resydew of thinglishe nobylyte that wer with him, yf he wold from thencefurth kepe them with him in ward. The messengers being gone with this maner message could not deale this matter with the duke, for that he was becoome feble by reason of sore and dayly siknes and began to maddle; wherfor Peter Landofe his treasurer, a man both of sharpe wit and great authorytie, rewlyd all matters as himself lyst, who for that cause had stirryd upp grevously agaynst himself thenvy of the Bryttishe nobylytie. This man dyd thiglyshe ambassadors deale withall, and explaning ther commyssion besowght him earnestly that he, who might do all thinges as hym lyst, wold fulfill king Richerds dayly desire. Peter, who was in great hatryd of his owne countrymen, supposing that yf he showld satisfy king Richerd he showld be more mightie againe his adversaryes, awnsweryd that he wold do the thing which king Richerd requyrd, so that he
[p.206]wold kepe promyse. And all this dyd he by reason of cyvyll enemytie; for he hated not earle Henry, whom, as we have shewyd in the former booke, he had before delyveryd from danger, at saint Maloes. Thus ever with cause we offend. But the fortune of thinglishe commonwelth was the let why this mortall covenant was not performyd: for whyle that many messengers and often letters dyd fly to and fro betwixt Peter and the king, for dispatche of the busynes, John bysshop of Ely, who lyvyd in Flanders, being certyfyed of that practyse from his fryndes owt of England, gave intelligence to Henry furthwith of the plot that was layd, by Christopher Urswyke, who was coomyd to hym owt of England abowt the same time, and advysyd therle that he showld get himself and thother noble men as soone as might be owt of Brytayne into France. Henry was than at Vanes whan he had intelligence of the fraude, who, without any stay, sent Christopher as ambassador to king Charles, to pray that he myght lawfully passe into France; which thing easyly obtanyd, thambassador returnyd spedyly unto his prince.
Than earle Henry, thinking yt mete to provyde for his affaires with all dylygence, imparteth his purpose to few of his company, and, having learnyd the way, he sent before all thinglyshe nobilytie, faygnyng that he wold send them for supply of his pryvate causes unto the duke, who as than lay for his pleasure not farre from the boundes of Fraunce, and secretly warnyd therle of Pembruch, chief of thambassage, that whan they showld be at the borders of Brytayne, leaving suddaynly the right way, they showld get themselves into Fraunce; who, doing as they wer directyd, procedyd in ther journey contynewally withowt intermytting any one moment of time, and went unto the country of Angeow. Hymself two days after departing from Vanes, and accompanied with fyve onely servantes, feignyd to go unto a frind, who had a maner not farre of, and, because an huge multitude of Englishe people was
[p.207]left in the towne, nobody suspectyd his voyage; but whan he had journayed almost five myles he withdrew hastely out of the highe way into the next wood, and doing on a serving mans apparell, he as a servant folowyd one of his owne servants (who was his guyde in that journay) as thowghe he had bene his maister, and rode on with so great celerytie, keping yeat no certane way, that he made no stay any where, except yt were to bate his horses, before he had gotten himself to his company within the bounds of Angeow. Moreover, fowre days after that erle Henry had escaped by flight, Peters intent was to have set owt certane force of men, musteryd with ther captanes (which he had chosen owt to perform his wicked determynation), under pretence that he wold delyver them to erle Henry, as yt wer to accompany hym in his returne to his country, but in very dede meaning to have browght therle unwares, and suspectyng no guyle, with the resydew of the nobylyte, suddanly into pryson; that by suche haynous fact he might satisfy kinge Rycherd for the trybute which he had promysyd. But this Peter the treasurer, who wantyd no subtiltie, whan he understood that Henry was departyd, wherof his mynde gave him, sent owt horsemen incontinent every way to pursew, and if they cowld overtake him, to apprehend and bring the earle to him. The horsemen made such haste as that ther was never thing more nighe thachieving than thovertakinge of the earle; hee was scarse ne howre entryd the boundes of France whan they came thyther. But thinglishe men (abowt three hundreth in number), who remained at Vanes, whan they knew that erle Henry was fled, because they were not pryvy therunto, became so afeard that they wer no in utter despeare of safety; howbeyt the matter fell owt otherwyse than they demyd fyt for them to feare; for the duke, takinge yt in evell part that Henry was so uncurteously entertaynyd as that he was forcyd to fly owt of his domynyon, and for the same cause being very angry with Peter, uppon whom, thowghe
[p.208]himself was ignorant of all the practyse, he layd the blame of that offence, cawlyd unto Edward Ponings, and thother Edward Woodvyll, and geaving them money to beare the charges of ther journey, commanded them to conduct all thinglishe men to therle. And so earl Henry, having receavyd all his retynew, was woonderus glad, who, because he wold not be accowntyd unthankfull, sent back dyvars unto the duke tadvertyse on his behalf, that presently hee thankyd him for the saftie of himself and all his company, which thereafter in time he wold not fale to requyte. But hee within few days after reparyd unto king Charles, who was at a towne sytuate uppon the ryver of Loire caulyd Angiers; unto whom, after thankes geaven for the benefytes receavyd, he first explanyd the cause of his cooming, than he besowght ayd wherby, throwgh his immortal benyfyt, he might returne safely unto his owne nobylytie, of whom he was generally caulyd unto the kingdom, so muche dyd they abhorre the tyranny of king Richerd. King Charles promysyd him ayd, and bad him be of good chere, for he wold willingly shew his goodwill, who furthwith after departyd to Montarge, taking Henry with him and all the trane of his nobylytie. During the time of Henry his abode heare John earle of Oxfoord, whom we have above mentionyd to have bene holden in ward of king Edward in the castle of Hammes, togyther with James Blunt the captane therof, and John Fortescew knight, the gentleman porter of Calys, subornyd by the erle, cam unto him; but captane James, because hee left his wyfe in the castle, had furnissyed the same with new garryson before his departure thence. Whan Henry saw therle he was ravishyd with joy incredible that a man of so great nobilytie and knowledge in the warres, and of most perfyte and sownd fydelytie, most earnestly bent to his syde, was at the last by Gods assistance delyveryd owt of ward, and in so fyt tyme coommyd to help him, in whome he might repose his hope, and settle himself more safely than in any other;
[p.209]for he was not ignorant that others who had holden on king Edward syde yealdid unto him by reason of the evell state of time, but this man who had so oft foughte for king Henry was he thowght delyveryd from that ward by the hevenly help, that he might have one of his owne faction to whom he might safely commyt all thignes; and therfor rejoysing above all measure for therle of Oxfoorthis cooming, he began to hope better of his affaires.
Not long after king Charles removyd to Paris, whom erle Henry folowyd, and sowght there to bring to passe his sute, requesting king Charles agane to take him wholy to his tuytion, so that yf he and his confederates showld be in safetie they might all lykewyse also acknowledge the same receavyd at his hand. In the meane time very many Englishe men, who ether dyd flok contynewally owt of England, or were ther studyouse of learning, gae and vowyd upp themselves wholy to take his part. Emongest these was Richard Fox, priest, a man of an excellent wyt, a man learnyd, whom Henry receavyd immediatly to be of his privy counsaile, and browght within short whyle to great honor, who is now bisshop of Wynchester.
Richerd in the meane time having intelligence what covenants the confederats in Brytayn had made emongest themselves, and how they had all escapyd into France by the conduct of earle Henry, thowgh he wer greatly disapoyntyd because his craftie practyse had not procedyd, yeat he determynyd to prevent by an other way that thearle Henry showld not coom unto the kingdom by maryage of hys nece Elyzabeth. And because, in comparyson of thorrible factes which, blyndyd with desyre of soveraigntie, he had before enterprysyd, all other thinges that he showld do aftirward semyd in his estimation but smaule matters (according as the proverb putteth us in remembrance, He will lyft up an oxe that hath caryed a calfe), ther cam therfor into his mynde matter
[p.210]the most wickyd to be spoken, and the fowlest to be commyttyd, that ever was herd of. For whyle he revolvyd with himself how great heap of myschiefe wer immynent yf Henry should be avaunced by maryage of his nece, uppon thonly rumor wherof he herd of dyvers who semyd already carefull for therles affayres; he therfor determynyd, by all meanes possyble, to reconcyle unto him Elyzabeth the quene, that she myght yeald hir self and hir dowghters into his handes, and Henry by that meane defraudyd from thaffynitie of his nece; and yf yt wer not possible to salve the sores immynent otherwyse, and that by hap it myght fortune his wyfe too dye, than he wold rather mary his nece himself than by thaffynytie aforesayd to danger the state, as thowgh by his faule the ruyne of the realme must nede folow. And so he sent into the saintwary often messengers unto the quene to make unto hir purgation of his fact, and by promysing mountaynes both unto hir and hir soon Thomas the marquise to put the woman in passing great hope. The messengers being grave men, though at the first by reducyng to memory the slawghter of hir soonnes they soomwhat wowndyd the quenes mynde, and that hir gryefe semyd scarse hable to be comfortid, yeat they assayed hir by so many meanes, and so many fayre promisses, that withowt muche adoe they began to mollyfy hir (for so mutable is that sex), in so muche that the woman herd them willingly, and fynally sayd she wold yeald hir selfe unto the king; and so not very long after, forgetting injuryes, forgetting hir faith and promyse geaven to Margaret, Henryes mother, she first delyvered hir dowghters into the handes of king Richerd; than aftir by secret messengers advysyd the marquyse her soon, who was at Parys, to forsake erle Henry, and with all speede convenyent to returne into England, wher he showld be sure to be caulyd of the king unto highe promotion. Whan the quene was thus qualyfyed, king Richerd receavyd all his brothers dawghters owt of saintuary into the court. Thonely
[p.211]matter now remaning was to acquyte himself of marriage, which he adjudgyd best for him to do by all meane possible; but this savage and crewell mynde of his was no lytle fearyd from so great and owtrageous fact, for that (as we have before mentyonyd) he had of late counterfaytyd to be a good man, and therfor was afeard least by the untymely death of his wyfe he showld hinder the good opynyon which he belevyd the people had conceavyd uppon him. But the wickyd intent wan the mastery in the wyt wayward from all righteousnes; for first he forbare to lye with her, and withall began to complane muche unto many noble men of his wyfes unfruytfulnes, for that she browght him furth no children, and that chiefly dyd he lament with Thomas Rotheram archebysshop of York, because he was a grave and good man, whom he had a lyttle before let owt of prison (who thereuppon gatheryd and supposyd yt wold come to passe that the quene should not long lyve, and foreshewyd the same to dyvers his frinds). Than after he procuryd a rumor (uncertane from whom) to be spred abrode of the quene his wyfes death, that ether the woman being browght in great dolor, by report and fame of the matter, might faule into siknes, ether els that he might therby take a proofe yf the same showld happen afterward whether the people wold lay the blame therof unto his charge. But whan the quene herd of suche terrible rumors dispersyd already of hir wone death, supposing that hir days wer at an end, she went unto her husband very pesyffe and sadde, and with many teares demandyd of him what cause ther was why he should determyne hyr death. Hereunto the king, least that he might seme hard hartyd yf he showld shew unto his wyfe no signe of loove, kissing hir, made awnswer loovingly, and comfortyng hir, bad hir be of good chere. But the quene, whether she wer dispatchyd with sorowfulness, or poyson, dyed within few days after, and was buryed at Westmynster. This ys Anne that thone of the daughters of Richerd erle of Warweke who was soom
[p.212]tyme covenantyd to prince Edward, soon to king Henry the Sixt. The king, thus lowsyd from the bond of matrimony, began to cast an eye uppon Elyzabeth his nece, and to desyre hir in maryage; but because both the yowng lady hirself, and all others, did abhore the wickednes so detestable, he determynyd therfor to do every thing by leysure, for so muche especially as he was overwhelmyd with pinching cares on every hand; for that soom man of name passyd over dayly unto Henry, others favoryd secretly the parteners of the conspyracy. Emongest these principally was Thomas Stanley, William his brother, Gylbert Talbot, and others innumerable, whose inward mynde thowgh Richerd was ignorant of, yeat he trustyd never one of them all, and Thomas Stanley least of all others, because he had in maryage Henryes mother, as the matter yt self made manyfest shew; for whan he at that time wold have gone into his countrie, for his pleasure as he sayd, but indede that he might be ready to receave erle Henry as a frind at his cooming, the king forbad him, and wold not suffer him to depart before he had left George lord Strange his soone as a pledge in the court.
Whyle king Richerd was thus occupied in so great trouble of mynde and alteration of devyses for feare of stirre to coome, beholde he heard that the same was broken owt, for hee had intelligence that the castle of Hammes held with Henry by meane of therle of Oxfoorth, and that he, with James Blunt, captane therof, were fled to Henry himself; wherefore thinkinge yt best to withstand the begynning, he sent furthwith to recover the hold, a good part of the garryson which was at Calys. Those who wer within the castle, whan they saw thadversary approche, armyd themselves quikly to the defense, and anon sent messengers to erle Henry to demand ayd. Henry withowt delay commandyd therle of Oxfoorth with choyse soldiers to go and held his frinds, who in ther first arryvall encampyd themselves not farre from the
[p.213]castle; the whyle they held ther enemys intentyve uppon that part, Thomas Brandon, with thirtie valyant man, entryd the castle by the marishe, which joingneth unto the place. Than they who wer within, having receavyd new supply, skrymysshyd with thennemy from the waule more sharply than before. Therle of Oxfoorth also at ther bakes was no lesse earnest; wherby yt fell owt that thenemyes of ther owne free will gave unto the besegyd fre lybertie to depart with bagg and baggage, which condytion therle of Oxfoorth, who came for that ende to delyver his frindes from danger, and especally the wfe of James, the captane therof, dyd not refuse, but leaving the castle returnyd safe with his company to Parys. King Richerd after this understoode by his spyalls that Henry, hinderyd emongest the Frenche by reason of the time, grew weary with contynuall demaunding of ayd, that he profytyd nothing, nor that any thing went forward with him, but that all thinges which he dilygently had devysyd fell owt not well; which whan he belevyd to be so, as thowgh he had vanquisshed the whole warres, and had bene delyveryd from all feare, supposyd that ther was no cause why he showld take such care in a matter of no danger, caulyd his shipps from ther stations, and all the soldiers which he had before placyd heare and there to kepe of thenemy; but least he might be found altogether unready, he commandyd noble men and gentlemen dwellynge about the sea coste, and chiefly the Walshe men, to kepe watche by course after ther country maner, to thintent that his adversaryes showld not have ready recovery of the shore and coome a land; for thinhabytantes about the sea costes place, in the time of warre especyally, on the hylls adjoyning lampes fastenyd upon frames of timber, and whan any great or notable matter happeneth, by reason of thapproche of enemyes, they suddanely lyght the lampes, and with showtes through towne and fielde geave notice therof; from thence others aftirward receave and utter unto ther neighbors
[p.214]notice after the same sort. Thus ys the fame therof caryed spedyly to all villages and townes, and both country and towne arme themselves agaynst thenemy. And thus king Richerd, soomwhat easyd of his griefe, began to be more careles, least otherwise he might by dylygence have avoydyd the desteny that hang over his head; for suche is the force of the divine justice, that a man lesse seath, lesse provydeth, and lesse hede taketh when he ys nighe the yealding of punishement for his haynous offences.
At that time that Henry stayd in France for thobtaning of ayde very many noble men were, by reason of king Charles his age, rewlers of the realme, not muche agreing emong themselves, of which pryvy hatryd Lewys duke of Orleance was head, who, seing he had in maryage Joan syster to king Charles, strove to beare chief sway in the government of the commonwelth; by which occasyon yt cam to passe that the charge of thempire was commyttyd to no one man; and erle Henry, who day and night omyttyd no oportunytie of hastening his voyage into his country, was compellyd to go and make earnest sute unto every man particularly. So was the matter driven of, when Thomas marquise Dorcest, whom we have before sayd to have bene cauled home of his mother, partely despearing for the cause of erle Henryes successe, partly subornyd by king Richerds fayre promyses, departyd pryvyly in the night time from Parys, and with great journeys travalyd into Falnders; which thing as soone as therle and thother Englishe nobylytie understoode they were muche moovyd, and desyryd of king Charles that they might by his commandment stay the man who was pryvy to all ther purposes whersoever he should be fownd, and ther sute obteynyd began to ryde owt every way. But Humfrey Cheyney, savoring most subtilly the trace of him that went before, followyd the right way, and overtooke the marquise at the towne of Compiegne, and so perswadyd him that a little after he returnyd to his felowes. Erle Henry, easyd of that
[p.215]griefe, determynyd that yt was not for him to linger, but to use all the celerytie that might be, least by dowting and differring of time he should losse great oportunitie, or least longer looking for might trooble more the myndes of his frinds who awaytyd for his coomming. And so, obtaynyng of king Charles a sclender supply, and borowyng as well of him as of other pryvate frinds certane money, for the which he left sureties, or rather pledges, the marquyse and John Burschere, he departyd to Roan. While he taryed here, and riggyd his navy at the mouth of Seyne, a rumor came unto his eare that king Richerd, his wife being dead, was amyndyd to mary Elizabeth, his brother Edwardes dowghter, and that he had maryed Cecyly, Edwards other doughter, unto an obscure man of no reputation. This matter being of no smaule weyght, as the which cut away from the confederates all hope of executyng ther delyberat resolution, pinchid Henry by the veray stomak, because therby he saw that he cowld not now expect the marriage of any of king Edwardes dowghters, wherfor he thowght yt was to be fearyd least his frindes showld forsake him. The matter therfor being browght to consultation of a few, yt lyked them to prefer the same, before the profection, that they might assay if any other cowld be adjoygnyd, and yt was thowght to stand with ther profyt yf by affynytie they cowld draw into suryetie of that warre Gwalter Harbert, a man of ancyent authorytie emong the Welshe men, who had with him a sister marrageable; and to procure the same messengers were sent to Henry earl of Northumberland, who had in marriage Gualters other sister, that he wold deale in that cause; but the ways were so beset that none of them could coome unto him. But a better messenger came from John Morgan, a lawyer, who signyfyed the same tyme that Richerd, by surname Thomas, a man of great service and valyant, and John Savage, wer wholy geauen to erle Henryes affayres, and that Reynold Bray had made up no smaule summ of
[p.216]money to pay soldyers wages withall, and therfor advysyed him that as soone as oportunytie showld serve he wold take the streight way into Wales.
Than Henry, thinkinge yt nedefull to make haste, that his frinds showld not be any longer kept in perplexytie betwene hope and drede, uncertane what to do, after he had made his prayers to God that he might have an happy and prosperous journey, he lowsyd from the mowth of Seyne with two thousand onely of armyd men and a few shippes, the calends of August, and with a soft sutren wynde. The weather being very fayre he came unto Wales the 7th day after, a lyttle before soone set, wher, entering thaven caulyd Milford, and furthwith going a land, he took first a place the name wherof ys Dalley, wher he herd that certane companyes of his adversaryes had had ther stations the wynter by past to have kept him from landing. From thence departing in the breake of day he went to Haverforde, which ys a towne not xne. myles from Dalley, wher he was receavyd with great goodwill of all men, and the same he dyd with suche celerytie as that he was present and spoken of all at once. Heare he understandeth that Rycherd Thomas and John Savage, with al ther force and frindes, dyd help king Richerd to thuttermost of ther power, clene contrary to that he was certyfyed of in Normandy. But thinhabytants of Pembrough at the same very time comfortyd all ther dysmayed myndes, for they gave intelligence, by Arnold Butler, a valant man, demanding forgeavenes of ther former offences, that they wer ready to serve Jaspar ther erle. Henry, his army thus augmentyd, departyd from Hareford, and goeth forward v. myles toward Cardygan. The whyle the soldyers refreshyd themselves hear of rumor was suddaynly spred throwgh the whole camp, thautor wherof was uncertane, that Gwalter Herbert and those who wer in camp at the towne of Carmardyne wer at hand with an huge army. Wheruppon a stirre rose streightway, every man
[p.217]mayd ready his armor, assayd his weapon, and began to advance the same, and all men wer in feare therwith a lyttle whyle, whan as thorsemen sent owt before hand to scurrey by erle Henry brought home woord that all thynges (as they wer in dede) wer quiet, and that ther was no hinderance to ther voyage immynent; but one Gryfyne, a man of high parentage, did above the rest make them all mery, who, thowgh before he had joingyd with Gualter Harbert and Rycherd, yeat almost at the very same instant revoltyd with his company of soldiers, few thought they wer, to erle Henry. The same very day also John Morgan came to the sayd Henry. Thus Henry went forward without stay almost in any place, and that he might have more ready passage he set uppon dyvers fortresses furnyshyd with garryson of his adversaryes, and the same wan without any difficultie; and whan as after these thinges he understoode by the scowtts that Harbert and Rycherd wer before him in armes, he resolvyd to go agaynst them, and whan he had ether put them to flight or receavyd them into his obedience to make haste against king Richerd. But that he might advertise his frinds of his proceedinges, he sent unto Margaret his mother, to the Stanleys, to the lord Talbot, and others, certane of his most faythfull servants with secrete messages, theffect wherof was that he, trusting to the ayde of his frynds, had determynyd to passe over Severn, and throwgh Shropshire to go to London, and therfor desyryd them to mete him, with whom in place and time convenyent he wold impart more of his intent. Thus having dispatchyd the messengers with this message, himself procedyd forward toward Shewsbury, whom Richerd Thomas met by the way with a great bande of soldiers, and with assuryd promysse of loyaltie yealdyd himself to his protection. Two days before Henry had promysyd to Richerd Thomas the perpetuall lyvetenantship of Wales, so that he wold coome under his obedience, which afterward when he had obtanyd the kingdom he gave lyberally. In the meane time the
[p.218]messengers having executyd ther charge with dylygence, and Ioden with money which they had receavyd of every man to whom they wer sent, returnyd unto Henry the same very day that he came to Shrewsbury, and signyfyed that his frinds wold be ready to do ther dewties in time convenyent. Herewithall Henry beinge browght in good hope, contynewyd furth the journey he had begun and cam to a village which thinhabytants caule Newport, and, pightching his tentes uppon the next hill, taryed ther all the night. Ther came unto him in the evening Gilbert Talbot, with v.c. and more armyd men. After that he marchyd on to Staffoord, unto whom, the while of his abode ther, came William Stanley, with a smaule retynew, who, having short talk with him, returnyd to his soldiers, whom he gathered togythers. From thence departing he went to Lychefelde, and that night taryed withowt the waule. The next day after, very early in the morning, he enteryd the towne, and was honorably receavyd. The third day before, Thomas Stanley had bene at the same place, gardyd with few lesse than fyve thowsand men well armyd, who, understandinge of Henryes approche, went before, without delay, to a village caulyd Aderstone, meaning ther to tary till Henry showld draw nere. This he dyd to avoyd suspition, fearing yf before they showld coome to hand strokes he showld overtly shew himself to stand and hold with erle Henry, least that king Richerd, who as yeat did not utterly mistrust his loyaltie, might kill his soone George, whom, as we have before sayd, he held in custody as a pledge.
But Richerd in the meane time, being then at Notingham, was certyfyed that Henry and thother exiles who tooke his part wer coommyd into Wales, and that he was utterly unfurnyshyd and feble in all thinges, contrary wyse that his men whom he had disposyd for defense of that province wer ready in all respectes. That rumor so puffyd him upp in mynde that first he estemyd the matter not muche to be regardyd, supposing that Henry,
[p.219]having procedyd rashly, consydering his smaule company, should surely have an evell ende whan he showld coome to that place, wher ether he should be forcyd to fyght against his will, or taken alyve by Gualter Harbert and Richard Thomas, who rewlyd in Wales with equal authoritie. But afterward, waynge with him self that a smaule matter in the warres made soome time great stirre, and that yt was a poynt of wysdom not to contemne the forces of hys enemye, thoughe they wer but smaule, he thowght best to provyde in time for the event to coom; and therfor he commandyd Henry erle of Northumberland, and other noble men that wer his frinds, who he hoped wold prefer his safety before all that ever they had, to make furthwyth muster of soldiers, and with ther forces furnysshyd to repare spedely to him. Also by often messengers and letters he commandyd Robert Brakenbury, lyvetenant of the towr of London, to coome to him in all haste, and to bring with him, as felows in warr, Thomas Burshere, Gwalter Hungerfurd, and many other gentlemen of thorder of knighthoode, whom he had in suspicion. While these thinges wer a doing, yt was reportyd that Henry, withowt any annoyance receavyd, was coomyd unto Shrewsbury; with which message the king, much movyd, began with grief to be in a fervent rage, and cry vehemently out uppon the falshood of them who had broken promyse, and withall to have less confydence in others, in so muche that the very first day that oportunitie wold permyt he determynyd to go agaynst his enemyes, and suddanely sent furth scurryers to view what way they held. The scurryers, doing ther devoyr dilygently, returned not long after and advertysyd that Henry was encampyd at Lichefelde: which whan he knew, because an huge number of men in armes wer now assemblyd, his soldyers beinge brought furth into good aray, he commandyd the armye to marche forward in square battayll that way by the which they understoode ther enemies wold coome, and, all impedimentes being
[p.220]gatheryd into the middest of tharmy, himself, with his gard, dyd folow the wings of horsemen ranging on both sydes; so, keping ther aray, they came unto Leycester a little before the soone sett, whan as the meane while Henry, removing from Lichefelde, travalyd to go unto the next village, which is caulid Tamworth, whom Gualter Hungerford, Thomas Burscher, and many other met by the way, who yealdyd themselves to his obeyssance; for they, perceavynge that king Richerd had them in jelosy, because they wold not be brought to ther enemy agaynst ther willes, forsaking Robert Brakenbury a lyttle beyond Stony Stratford, went away to therle Henry in the night season. Ther flockyd to him also many other noble men of warre, who from day to day hatyd king Richerd woorse than all men lyving.
Ther happenyd in this voyage unto erle henry a chance worthy memory; for thoughe he wer of noble corage, and that his forces augmentyd every wher, yeat was he in great feare, because he thought that he cowld not assure himself of Thomas Stanley, who, as I have shewyd, for that he fearyd the danger that king Richerd might doo his soon, dyd enclyne as yeat to nether partie; and as touching king Richardes causes, yt was told him muche otherwyse than his frinds had signyfyed, which was, that nothing was more firme, nothing better furnysshyd: wherfor, consydering his feare was not for nothing, himself, accompanyed with xxtie armed men onely, stayed by the way, uncertane what was best as to delyberat what he might do. Moreover he herd that king Richerd, with an host innumerable, was at hand. While he thus, soomwhat sadd, folowyd alofe, all tharmy cam to Tamworth, and whan as by reason of the night which came uppon him he could not discerne the trace of them that wer gone before, and so after long wandering could not finde his company, he cam unto a certane towne more than thre myles from his camp, full of feare; who, least he might be betrayed, durst not aske questyons of any man, but taryed ther
[p.221]all that night, no more afrayed for the present than for the perill to coom; for he was afeard that the same might be a signe of soom maner plague to ensew. Nether was the army lesse heavy for the suddane absence of ther captane, whan as Henry the next day after, in the gray of the morning, returnyd to the hoste, excusing himselfe that he was not deceavyd in the way, but had withdrawen from the camp of set purpose to receave soome goode newys of certane his secret frindes. After that he went pryvyly to Adderstone, wher Thomas Stanley and William lay encampyd. Here Henry dyd mete with thomas and William, wher taking one an other by thand, and yealding mutuall salutation, eche man was glad for the good state of thothers, and all ther myndes wer movyd to great joy. After that, they enteryd in cownsaylle in what sort to darraigne battayll with king Rycherd, yf the matter showld coome to strokes, whom they herd to be not farre of. A lyttle before thevening of the same day, John Savage, Bryan Sanfoord, Symon digby, and many others, revolting from king Richard, came to Henry with a choyse bande of armyd men, which matter both augmentyd the forces of erle Henry, and greatly replenyshyd him with good hope.
In the meane time king Richard, hearing that thennemy drew neare, came first to the place of fight, a little beyond Leycester (the name of that village ys Boswoorth), and ther, pightching his tentes, refresshyd his soldiers that night from ther travale, and with many woords exhortyd them to the fyght to coome. Yt ys reportyd that king Rycherd had that night a terryble dreame; for he thowght in his slepe that he saw horryble ymages as yt wer of evell spyrytes haunting evydently abowt him, as yt wer before his eyes, and that they wold not let him rest; which visyon trewly dyd not so muche stryke into his brest a suddane feare, as replenyshe the same with ehavy cares: for furthwith after, being troublyd in mynde, his hart gave him theuppon that thevent of
[p.222]the battale folowing wold be grevous, and he dyd not buckle himself to the conflict with such lyvelyness of corage and countenance as before, which hevynes that yt showld not be sayd he shewyd as appallyd with feare of his enemyes, he reportyd his dreame to many in the morning. But (I beleve) yt was no dreame, but a conscyence guiltie of haynous offences, a conscyence (I say) so muche the more grevous as thoffences wer more great, which, thowght at none other time, yeat in the last day of owr lyfe ys woont to represent to us the memory of our sinnes commyttyd, and withall to shew unto us the paynes immynent for the same, that, being uppon good cause penytent at that instant for our evell led lyfe, we may be compellyd to go hence in heavynes of hart. Now I return to my purpose. the next day after king Richerd, furnysshyd throwghly with all maner of thinges, drew his whole hoste owt of ther tentes, and arraieth his vanward, stretching yt furth of a woonderfull lenght, so full replenyshyd both with footemen and horsemen that to the beholders afar of yt gave a terror for the multitude, and in the front wer placyd his archers, lyke a most strong trenche and bulwark; of these archers he made leder John duke of Norfolk. After this long vanward folowyd the king himself, with a choyce force of soldiers. In this meane time Henry, being departyd bak from the conference with his frinds, began to take better hart, and without any tary encampyd himself nighe his enemyes, wher he restyd all night, and well early in the morning commandyd the soldiers to arm themselves, sending withall to Thomas Stanley, who was now approchyd the place of fight, as in the mydde way betwixt the two battaylles, that he wold coom to with his forces, to sett the soldiers in aray. He awnsweryd that the earle showld set his owne folkes in order, whyle that he should coome to him with his army well apoyntyd. With which answer, geaven contrary to that was looked for, and to that which thoportunytie of time and weight of cause requyryd,
[p.223]thowghe Henry wer no lyttle vexyd, and began to be soomwhat appallyd, yeat withowt lingering he of necessytie orderyd his men in this sort. He made a sclender vanward for the smaule number of his people; before the same he placyd archers, of whom he made captane John erle of Oxfoord; in the right wing of the vanward he placyd Gilbert Talbot to defend the same; in the left veryly he sat John Savage; and himself, trusting to thayd of Thomas Stanley, with one troup of horsemen, and a few footemen dyd folow; for the number of all his soldiers, all maner of ways, was scarce v.M. besdes the Stanleyans, wherof about 3.M. wer wer at the battaill, under the conduct of William. The kings forces were twyse so many and more. thus both the vanwardes being arrayed, as soone as the soldiers might one se an other afur of, they put on ther head peces and preparyd to the fyght, expectyng thalarme with intentyve eare. Ther was a marishe betwixt both hostes, which Henry of purpose left on the right hand, that yt might serve his men instede of a fortresse, by the doing therof also he left the soon upon his bak; but whan the king saw thenemyes passyd the marishe, he commandyd his soldiers to geave charge uppon them. They making suddanely great showtes assaultyd thennemy first with arrowes, who wer nothing faynt unto the fyght but began also to shoote fearcely; but whan they cam to hand strokes the matter than was delt with blades. In the meane tyme therle of Oxfoord, fearing lest hys men in fyghting might be envyronyd of the multitude, commandyd in every rang that no soldiers should go above tenfoote from the standerds; which charge being knowen, whan all men had throng thik togethers, and stayd a whyle from fighting, thadversaryes wer therwith aferd, supposing soome fraude, and so they all forbore the fight a certane space, and that veryly dyd many with right goodwill, who rather covetyd the king dead than alyve, and therfor fowght fayntly. Than therle of Oxforth in one part, and others in an other part,
[p.224]with the bandes of men closse one to an other, gave freshe charge uppon thenemy, and in array tryangle vehemently renewyd the conflict. Whyle the battayll contynewyd thus hote on both sydes betwixt the vanwardes, king Richard understood, first by espyalls wher erle Henry was a farre of with smaule force of soldiers abowt him; than after drawing nerer he knew yt perfytely by evydent signes and tokens that yt was Henry; wherfor, all inflamyd with ire, he strick his horse with the spurres, and runneth owt of thone syde withowt the vanwardes agaynst him. Henry perceavyd king Richerd coome uppon him, and because all his hope was than in valyancy of armes, he receavyd him with great corage. King Richerd at the first brunt killyd certane, overthrew Henryes standerd, toygther with William Brandon the standerd bearer, and matchyd also with John Cheney a man of muche fortytude, far exceeding the common sort, who encountered with him as he cam, but the king with great force drove him to the ground, making way with weapon on every syde. But yeat Henry abode the brunt longer than ever his owne soldiers wold have wenyd, who wer now almost owt of hope of victory, whan as loe William Stanley with thre thowsand men came to the reskew: than trewly in a very moment the resydew all fled, and king Richerd alone was killyd fyghting manfully in the thickkest presse of his enemyes. In the mean time also the erle of Oxfoord after a lyttle bickering put to flight them that fowght in the forward, wherof a great company wer killed in the chase. But many mo forbare to fyght, who came to the fielde with king Richerd for aw, and for no goodwill, and departyd withowt any daunger, as men who desyryd not the safety but destruction of that prince whom they hatyd. Ther wer killyd about a M. men, and emongest them of noblemen of warre John duke of Norfolk, Gwalter L. Ferryse, Robert Brakkenbury, Rycherd Ratclyff and many moe. Two days after at Leycester, William Catesby, lawyer,
[p.225]with a few that wer his felowyd, were executyd. And of those that tooke them to ther fete Frauncis L. Loovell, Humfrey Staffoord, with Thomas his brother and muche more company, fled into the sayntuary of Saint John which is at Colchester, a toune by the sea syde in Essex. As for the number of captyves yt was very great; for whan king Richerd was killyd, all men furthwith threw away weapon, and frely submyttyd them selfes to Henryes obeyssance, wherof the most part wold have doone the same at the beginning, yf for king Rycherds scurryers, scowring to and fro, they myght so have doone. Emongest them the chiefe wer Henry erle of Northumberland, and Thomas erle of Surrey. This man was commyttyd to ward, wher he remaynyd long; he as frind in hart was receavyd into favor. Henry lost in that battayll scarce an hundreth soldiers, emongst whom there was one princypall man, William Brandon, who bare erle Henryes standerd. The feilde was fowghten the xjth. calends of September, in the yere of mans salvation M.CCCC.lxxxvj, and the fight lasted more than two houres.
The report is that king Richerd might have sowght to save himself by flight; for they who wer abowt him, seing the soldiers even from the first stroke to lyft up ther weapons febly and fayntlye, and soome of them to depart the feild pryvyly, suspectyd treason, and exhortyd him to flye, yea and whan the matter began manyfestly to qwaile, they browght him swyft horses; but he, who was not ignorant that the people hatyd him, owt of hope to have any better hap afterward, ys sayd to have awnsweryd, that that very day he wold make end ether of warre of lyfe, suche great fearcenesse and suche huge force of mynd he had: wherfore, knowinge certanely that that day wold ether yeald him a peaceable and quyet realme from thencefurth or els perpetually bereve him the same, he came to the fielde with the crowne uppon his head, that therby he might ether make a beginning or ende of his
[p.226]raigne. And so the myserable man had suddaynly suche end as wont ys to happen to them that have right and law both of God and man in lyke estimation, as will, impyetie, and wickednes. Surely these are more vehement examples by muche than ys hable to be utteryd with toong to tereyfy those men which suffer no time to passe free from soome haynous offence, creweltie, or mischief.
Henry, after the victory obtaynyd, gave furthwith thankes unto Almightie God for the same; than after, replenysshyd with joy incredible, he got himself unto the next hill, wher, after he had commendyd his solders, and commandyd to cure the woundyd, and to bury them that wer slane, he gave unto the nobylytie and gentlemen immortal thankes, promysing that he wold be myndfull of ther benyfyttes, all which meane whyle the soldiers cryed, God save king Henry, God save king Henry! and with hart and hand utteryd all the shew of joy that might be; which whan thomas Stanley dyd see, he set anon king Richerds crowne, which was fownd among the spoyle in the feilde, uppon his head, as thoughe he had bene already by commandment of the people proclamyd king after the maner of his auncestors, and that was the first signe of prosperytie. After that, commanding to pak upp all bag and baggage, Henry with his victorious army procedyd in the evening to Leycester, wher, for refresshing of his soldiers from ther travaile and panes, and to prepare for going to London, he taryed two days. In the meane time the body of king Rycherd nakyd of all clothing, and layd uppon an horse bake with the armes and legges hanginge downe on both sydes, was browght to thabbay of monks Franciscanes at Leycester, a myserable spectacle in good sooth, but not unwoorthy for the mans lyfe, and ther was buryed two days after without any pompe or solemne funerall. He raigned two yeres and so many monethes, and one day over. He was lyttle of stature, deformyd of body, thone showlder being
[p.227]higher than thother, a short and sowre cowntenance, which semyd to savor of mischief, and utter evydently craft and deceyt. The whyle he was thinking of any matter, he dyd contynually byte his nether lyppe, as thowgh that crewell nature of his did so rage agaynst yt self in that lyttle carkase. Also he was woont to be ever with his right hand pulling out of the sheath to the myddest, and putting in agane, the dagger which he did alway were. Trewly he hard a sharp witt, provydent and subtyle, apt both to counterfayt and dissemble; his corage also hault and fearce, which faylyd him not in the very death, which, whan his men forsooke him, he rather yealded to take with the swoord, than by fowle flyght to prolong his lyfe, uncertane what death perchance soon after by sicknes or other vyolence to suffer.
THEND OF THISTORY OF KING RICHERD THE THIRD.
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