The Croyland Chronicle: Part III
from the final portion of The Second Continuation of the
History of Croyland Abbey: 1463-1465 with Notes
In the following year, that most abominable chieftain of the Turks, (of whom we have previously made mention, when speaking of the destruction of the city of Constantinople),after having subjected to his rule nearly the whole of the Eastern Church, namely, Jerusalem and Asia, Libya and Greece, with a very great part of Europe, was not contented therewith, but incessantly slaughtered the Christians, by reason of his insatiate desire to rule. Besides this, he even went so far as to send threatening letters to our most holy father pope Pius; in which he declared that he was about, with all speed, to wrest the Roman Church as well, the mother and mistress of all the faithful, from the Christians, and to subject her to his rule; and in so doing, would use his utmost endeavours to found a new monarchy, and render the whole world subject to the sole empire of the Turks, and, dreadful to relate! to the religion of Mahomet alone. The Apostolic man before-named, being disturbed and greatly moved by these ill-boding warnings, was afflicted and distressed thereby, and could not be quieted in mind until he had provided a suffiecient and opportune remedy against a calamity of this kind, and had ensured the preservation of Christianity and the protection of the sheep-fold of our Lord against these ravening wolves. For this purpose, he procalimed a general council at Mantua, where, in a mournful narrative, he disclosed to the Christian believers the wounds which the Church had received, and those she seemed shortly about to receive: after which, by means of a legates à latere, he summoned the princes of the earth to come to the aid of the Christian people. But alas! shocking to relate, these words were to no purpose; for each of them at once, pursuing the object of his own desires, passed by the voice of the shepherd with a deaf ear, and heeded it not.
Then, as a last resource, he sent letters full of lamentations to all the kings and princes of the kingdoms of the East, as well as to the prelates of the churches; in which he severely reproached them for their slothfulness and their desertion of the cause of Christ, and warned them that, by withdrawing that aid which was its due, they were allowing the bark of the Church to founder in the moment of its necessity, attended with such anxious fears. Besides this, in order that he might arouse and move the torpid hearts of Christians to still greater ardour in affording succour, the supreme Pontiff himself, using all possible exertions, and being ready to devote his own existence in behalf of the Lord’s flock, followed in the footsteps of the good Shepherd and the Best of teachers, and declared that he would give his own life for the sheep of Christ. Accordingly, though a weak and ailing old man, finding that he could in no other means arouse the minds of Christians to the defence of the Divine law, he took his departure from his see, with the full intention of confirming his wavering brethren by his own example. Directing his steps towards Ancona, he hastened to embark at that port, and, with a fleet, which, in the meantime, he had enbaled to equip at the joint expense of himself and some others, to enter the Adriatic Sea; nor did he hesitate in the least boldly to proceed straight against the enemies of the faith, and to engage them at sea. But he embarked in order to fight, like Moses, not by means of arms, but with prayers; and that, blessing our warriors, he might be enabled to shield them by his continual entreaties in their behalf, and at the same time, might fulminate his maledictions against our adversaries. There also attended him many veneralbe cardinals and bishops of the Roman Church, who feeling themselves sufficiently strong to do so, had voluntarily offered their services; as well as many other clerks and priests of lower rank, whose intention it was, not only to pray, but, when necessity demanded it, to fight manfully. They also led forth with them to battle experienced and stout bodies of troops, and youths of brave hearts, who had been levied from the lands of the Church; the standard of Our Lord’s Cross being raised on high, and the most holy body of Christ preceding them.
Attended by his naval forces, Philip, duke of Burgundy, a prince beloved of God, made all due preparations, according to his promise, to go and meet them: but being overtaken on the road by a severe illness, he promptly transferred the whole responsibility to his illustrious son Charles, and ordered him successfully to carry out all the prepartions which he had begun to make for the expedition; while at the same time, he placed under his command a chosen body of knights, as well as an army of considerable strength. Then besides, the great fleet of Christophorus Maurus, the renowned duke of the Venetians, a most formidable object to the enemy, did not fail to make its appearance, according to appointment; in order that, by the favour of the most High, it might ensure success in the warfare by sea. On the other hand, by land, the Hungarians speedily came to the rescue, with their illustrious king Matthias, a race of men of undaunted bravery in warfare, and who had oftentimes learned to conquer the Turks. Our lord the pope however, after staying a short time in Ancona, awaiting the troops who were there to meet him, was attacked by a severe malady, in consequence of which he took his departure from this world, to fight under the command of Christ. His successor in the Roman see was Paul; who, at the commencement of his Apostolate, finding himself unequal in strength to contend against the forces of so iniquitous a tyrant, made a truce with the before-named Turk, and obtained from him a treaty of peace for the present: this happened in the year of our Lord, 1463.
For the promotion of the success of a matter so holy and so important, a fourth part of a tenth, or, in other words, sixpence in the pound had been granted throughout the whole church of England; which sum was paid to keepers thereof appointed in each diocese for the purpose, to be by them faithfully delivered to the treasury of the supreme Pontiff.
In the meantime, while these things were going on, the venerable father, and much-loved of God, abbat John, was each day, just like some veteran soldier worn out in service, hastening onward, in a mature old age, towards the close of his life; and, weakness now coming upon him apace, he began to be gradually bereft of all vigour of body. Still however, in his infirmities, being, with the Apostle (1), made stronger and more powerful in spirit, he ably and skilfully continued the entire management of the monastery, even to the very end. For although, in accordance with the frailty of the flesh, he was surrounded with infirmities of the body, still, in spirit and in vigour of mind, he was always full of life. Amid doubtful matters, he was replete with good counsel, in acting circumspect, prudent in carrying out his plans, and most moderate in his daily food and in his clothing. To all such matters as bore reference to the praise of God, or the benefit of the flock entrusted to his charge, he gave every attention; while he expended little care upon the comforts of his own person. And thus did he, like one following in the footsteps of our holy father Benedict, devote his attention to the pursuit of no pleasures whatever. He constantly presented himself as a stout bulwark in defence of the liberties of his church, and, in conformity with the laws of the kingdom, manfully frustrated the furious attacks of insurgents, and all the attempts of malignants.
He also erected many buildings in the court of the abbey; while he singularly excelled all his predecessors in his care in repairing his manor-houses and tenements situate without. Indeed, with such wondrous skill did he adorn each of them, that the looker-on might almost be in doubt, whether he displayed more ability in constructing new buildings, or in repairing old ones. Then besides, having first paid no small sums of money, he munificently procured the charters to be re-granted and confirmed with the royal seal, together with the grant of privileges on vacation of our abbey, and of the liberties of the vill of Croyland, which had been, as already stated, recently annulled. He likewise built many tenements in the vill of Croyland, and, liberally bestowing them on the convent, endeavoured in no slight degree to amplify the resources of the inmates. In order, too, that he might always establish persons of the best character in the house of the Lord, in the case of nearly all those who, during his rule, entered upon a religious life in this monastery, he supplied them, at the commencement of their residence, with all furniture and necessary clothing at his own expense. In his time, the observance of the monastic rules flourished in this monastery to such a degree, that it might not unworthily have been styled a very castle of the Gospel, and one worthy to be entered by our Lord Jesus, and where mystically the sisters of Mary and Martha had together taken up their abode. For, while one part of the officers was diligently intent upon the careful performance of their respective duties, the others, bestowing all due attention upon the service of God, were occupying themselves in the quiet pursuits of contemplation, amid the mystic embraces of Rachael; and thus, while each of the brethren duly followed the guidance of the rules, did they studiously make it their endeavour to conform thereto, as though the same had been an example pointed out to them on the mount by the hand of heaven. For, armed by the salutary instruction, thereof, and embracing obedience, chastity, and voluntary poverty, they girded themselves for the worship of God, with the threefold rope, as it were, of a religious life, which is not easily broken.
In fine, I am quite at a loss for words to state how much the said father loved the glory of the house of God, and how greatly he adorned our church and vestiary with precious jewels and vestments. Still, to enumerate a few matters only out of many, he had nine copes made of gold, and exquisitely embroidered with feather-work; these are valued by persons skilled in this kind of workmanship at the sum of two hundred and forty pounds, and even then at less than really is their value. Besides these, he left as a lasting memorial, what deserves especial to be mentioned, a beautiful vestment or suit of red, inwrought throughout with gold, and consisting of three copes with a chasuble, and three tunics to match, for which he paid sixty pounds. It is also praiseworthy testimony in his favour, that he hired artificers and had a gilded table made, to the praise and honour of God, and placed above the high altar, with a screen becomingly fitted thereto, both before and behind. And then besides, the ceiling in the lower part of the church, so remarkable for its beauty and splendour, and most artistically, built and gilded at his expense, as well as the brilliant glazing of all the windows, and the arches of stone in the aisles on either side of the said church, publicly proclaim how magnificent were his conceptions in the carrying out of his plans.
But why endeavour to review them singly? Why recount the tithes and subsidies, or why make mention of the taxes and tributes, which he paid before anything else, uselessly I must admit, as an annual tribute to the royal treasury? I pass by the cloths of gold which had been procured by his venerable predecessor abbat Richard, and which he had exquisitely enriched with fringes of gold and other appurtenances, and then worked at no small expense into seven copes similarly ornamented. I omit too, a fine organ, becomingly placed on high at the entrance of the church, which, with all the appurtenances thereof, was made by his order in this monastery, and there played upon, to the praise of God. The smaller organ too, in the choir, I shall in the meantime pass by, which was purchased by him, and which two hired porters carried on their shoulders all the way from London to Croyland. Another table also, placed upon the altar of the blessed Virgin, I had almost omitted, which, in like manner, he caused to be sculptured and painted by artists. There also occur to my memory while I am writing, some other valuables which he replaced in the vestiary; a principal cross for use in processions, a chalice too of equal grandeur, with water-bottles, as well as candelabra of immense weight; upon all of which, being of silver and the best gilt, he expended a vast sum of money, and so replaced the old ones by others of much superior quality.
But now, while mentioning these matters, we believe that it will be by no means repugnant to the prescribed purpose of this narrative, if the names of some others of our brethren also are set forth in our writings, in order that we may thus hand them down to the notice of posterity. For in the days of our father before-named, these brethren, directing their attention to the promotion of the common welfare, seem especially, and indeed with a degree of liberality beyond the rest, to have contributed thereto at their own private expense. One of these was brother John Lyecester, who, in a spirit of holy devoutness, presented unto the church a costly suit of Venice colour, wrought wholly of silk, and embroidered on the surface with gold; having duly paid for the same a sum of forty pounds. Induced by pious considerations, he also voluntarily contributed forty marks toward the recasting of the larger bells in the outer belfry; in order that they might be brought to a state of more perfect harmony.
In like manner we deem Stephen Swynshed worthy of remembrance, who, also presented to the vestiary a choice cope with a similar alb, and which bore on the pectoral therof a device representing his name. This, if estimated a trusty valuer at its due price, would be equal in value to the sum of twenty pounds.
Then, too, another of our brethren, William Swynshed, will never be lost to the remembrance of the pious; for he munificently repaired at his own expense the chapel of the Holy Trinity in the Infirmary, which was every moment threatening to fall. He rebuilt the roof thereof, and had it covered with lead; while he most beautifully decorated it within with forms and boards carved for the ornament of the choir, together with a tabernacle for the Trinity, and other ornaments.
In the number also of these brother Thomas Walden ought deservedly be classed; who did not hesitate with a munificent hand to contribute twenty pounds for the purpose of gilding the tables which had been prepared with elegant carving and placed upon the high altar.
Nor yet ought brother John Laxton to fail to be registered in our memory; who rebuilt a tenement which he had lately purchased in the vill of Croyland, and bestowed it for ever, with the consent of the chapter, upon the office of taper-bearer of the blessed Mary, as a fund for providing for the refreshment of the brethren in the Infirmary, at the season of refreshment which is commonly known as ‘In nomine Domini.’
So likewise did brother John Wysbech, who had performed the duties of nearly every office in the monastery, and who afterwards, his merits fully deserving it, was summoned from the priorate of Freston and elevated to the pastoral office in this monastery, bestow another similar tenement in Croyland upon the office of Chamberlain; to the end that four shillings might be paid yearly therefrom for the refreshment of the convent, at the time of their being blooded at the Nativity of our Lord, by the hands of the chamberlain for the time being.
Moved also by similar feelings of devotion, brother Thomas Leverton bestowed another tenement, which had been lately built there, upon the office of Master of the works. This he did to the end that, each year, there might be faithfully supplied from the rents of the said tenement by the provident care of the master of the works, in the lower hall only, a cheese in summer for the supper of the convent, and another in winter at the season of ‘In nomine Domini.’
We have also deemed worthy to be enrolled in the list of our benefactors, that noble and pains-taking mane, Richard Benyngton, who proved himself in all respects most faithful towards our monastery, and liberally contributed forty pounds towards the glazing of the western window in the lower part of the church.
But now, desirous though we are to hand down to the notice of posterity an event that took place in our times, we feel ourselves oftentimes dissuaded from our purpose from a feeling of slothfulness, and an impression that the prolixity of our narrative may possibly cause considerable weariness to our readers. Still, however, being warned thereto by our fear of God, we are the more encouraged to proceed; and this the more especially, that those of our times may be edified thereby, and that we may give a lesson as to the necessity for caution to those who shall come after us. Now, in the year before-mentioned, that is to say, in the year from the Incarnation of our Lord, 1463, there was a certain man in the vill of Croyland, commonly known as John Wayle, a person then in his fortieth year, and who earned a meagre subsistence by his daily labour. At the instigation of the wicked one, this man had committed a certain crime of great enormity; but being the only person conscious of it, he did not wish to disclose it to any one. The solemn time of that sacred institution was now at hand, at which faithful people, by the purifying power of holy confession, cleanse themselves for the purpose of tasting of the health-giving banquet of the Paschal Lamb; upon which, impelled by shame, and not from any desire of his own, he hastened to church, along with the rest. Here, being admitted to the holy shrine of confession, he brought to light certain deeds of darkness, but still on no account would he disclose the deadly wound by which his wretched conscience was tormented, for treatment thereof by the spiritual physician.
To this he also added a still greater degree of prevarication, and, upon the glorious day of our Lord’s Resurrection, unworthily offering himself as a partaker of the holy communion, alas! did not hesitate to receive, to the destruction of his soul, the votive sacrament of our reconciliation [with God]. After this, on his return home, his wicked conscience was of course smitten with remorse, and he was shaken with such violent fits of trembling, that he even despaired of the safety of his life. This state of remorse waxing stronger and stronger during the next three days, he was unable any longer, through anguish of spirit, to endure it, and being seized of the Devil, as is generally believed, fell into a state of uncontrollable madness. In consequence of this, he greatly maltreated himself, and tearing his garments to peices, would allow neither wife nor children to approach his presence. His neighbours, upon seeing this, were afflicted with extreme sorrow thereat, and, seizing him by main force, bound him with manacles of iron, and then made his feet fast in heavy stocks. The report about this man soon reached the ears of all, the unhappy rumour drew the attention of many to the circumstances of the case. We ourselves repaired to the place with a becoming retinue, in order to visit the sick man; where we found him panting from the vehemence of his fit, and wearied out with his intense exertions. Accordingly, having first sprinkled him with water, upon which the holy benediction had been pronounced, we began to repeat the remarkable Gospel of Saint John. You might have seen the wretched man struggling, with repeated exertions, to interrupt the words that were pronounced; while, at another moment, he would gnash his teeth, and now grin like a wild beast, and try to bite at every thing within his reach. His body too, with all the furniture throughout the place, shook just as though he had been attacked by fever or had laboured under a fit of palsy. At last we ceased reading, and stood there, each of us in silence; upon which, he, in like manner, gradually ceased his frantic movements. When we again uttered unto him those admonitions which tend to our salvation, and disclosed to him hopes of pardon, he again became dreadfully afflicted with a like agonizing fit of passion. When the image of Him crucified was raised aloft and shewn to him, he shuddered with alarm and indignation, and would, on no account, be silent, and listen to a recital of the narrative of Christ’s Passion, or hear mentioned the other names of the Saints. After this, having bound his eyes with a linen cloth, we agreed to sprinkle some portion of the holy water upon his bare head. As soon as ever he felt this, suspecting some sinister design, he began to be agitated with a violent fit of trembling; and, a thing that we saw with our own eyes, alone and unaided, as he lay on his back, drew towards him from the ground and lifted up with his feet, the stocks, which were of immense weight, and in which, as we have already stated, his feet were enclosed. These could hardly have been moved by the exertions of four ordinary men.
On the day after this, his neighbours and friends, following salutary advice, first bound him with ropes, and then led him to the church. Here they fastened him to a pillar before an image of the holy Mother of God, which was becomingly placed in an elevated position in the northern aisle, and then left him. In the meantime, however, keepers were appointed to keep watch over him day and night, and attentively observe his movements. Each poured forth prayers in his behalf, and, with urgent entreaties, implored the grace of Almighty God, and the clemency of the Mother of Mercy. Accordingly, he was every day visited, now and then, by the monks, who uttered to him the words of consolation, and sweetly promsied him a remedy for his madness, and a full recovery of his senses. To all this, hanging down his head and sighing deeply, he gave a quiet hearing, but would make no answer whatever. For, in consequence of his excessive shouting, he had become quite hoarse, and through prolonged fasting, quite weak and attenuated.
In a few days after this, through the merits of the Holy Mother of God, he began to conduct himself in a more quiet manner, and, at the suggestion of others, to extend his hand towards the sign of the cross which stood before him while from the extremities of his lips only, he would produce a sort of hissing sound; though we were unable, by any means, to extract an single word from him. Still, however, by continually drawing repeated sighs from the very bottom of his breast, he clearly gave us to understand, that the weakness of his mind was entirely caused by a disturbed and self-accused conscience: in consequence of which, numerous examples of repentance were quoted to him, and, by dint of repeated suggestions, he was at last persuaded to have recourse to the remedy of confession. There was one of the brethren, who, more than all the rest, bestowed particular attention upon the saving of his soul, and endeavoured to console him with addresses and exhortations in private, and cherished in him a belief in the possiblity of his forgiveness. At the same time, also, he protested unto him that, in this life, there was no crime of ever such great enormity, but that it could be washed away in the font of confession, and in the pool of contrition. And further, in order that he might gain him, he endeavoured, with such earnestness, by dint of promises to allure him, as even to declare that he would willingly give his own soul as a pledge for his, if he would only conform to his suggestions. Words such as these moved the man, and behold! at last, with a mighty effort, he extended his hand, and, by signs, showed that he was ready so to do.
Having been loosened from the pillar in the meantime, he was now led to a bench, where, the formula of Confession being commenced, he could only emit groans and sighs, and was still unable so much as to utter a single word. They had now made repeated attempts together to gain that end, but all in vain; upon which, the brother, being much distressed that all his endeavours failed to produce the desired effect, and greatly moved thereat, with a considerable degree of earnestness, commanded him, at the same time using certain adjuration, to speak unto him. At last, the other, not absolutely speaking, but, in a sort of way, whispering his words, though in such a manner that they could scarcely be heard, declared that he was quite ready and willing to make confession, but was utterly unable to do so. Upon this, the brother before-mentioned at once understood, that through the pestilent hostility of some malignant spirit his voice was thus shut up within his jaws, in order that he might not openly make a confession: and, at the same time, he recollected the Gospel, where Jesus was casting out a devil, and they were many (2). It instantly suggested itself to his mind to present him before the tomb of our most holy father Guthlac. And not without good reason; for, with the leave of the Saints, and with all reverence and awe we say it, this Saint has been always distinguished beyond others for the possession of this one privilege, namely, the expulsion of unclean spirits.
Accordingly, he was now led by the hands of his keepers along the northern side of the church; but as soon as ever, from a distance, he had caught sight of the shrine, he began to tremble and to stop short, nor could be persuaded to advance one step further; and at the spot especially where the entrance to the sanctuary stands, he stretched out his feet and made every possible resistance, struggling with all his might not to enter it. On being asked why he acted thus, and why he showed himself so rebellious, in a low voice, as before, he timidly uttered words to this effect: “An evil spirit,” said he,” wishes to destroy me there.” The bystanders immediately comforted him, and encouraged him not to be in dread of the enemy; while those who had been dragging him, pushed him on with their hands by main force, and compelled him to approach the steps of the shrine. Here, on bended knees, all the others, together with him, at considerable length poured forth their prayers unto God, who alone worketh marvels, that, through the merits of the blessed Guthlac, He would deign to show upon the sick man the power of His might. After this, they led him back to his usual pillar, fortified with the sign of the holy cross, which he had in his own hand. In the same manner they frequently used to act towards him every day.
At last however, one night, after matin lauds had been finished in the convent, the brother, of whom we have made mention a little above, went to him alone, and calling him aside, repeatedly exhorted him to adopt the remedy of repentance; while, at the same time, he faithfully promised him that grace and pardon would be granted unto him by God, if, in the penitence of his heart, he would fully open his mouth in pronouncing the words of confession. When, however, he found that he gave him no answer, nor uttered even a word in conformity with his wishes, he most anxiously began to ply him with numerous questions, and set before him various kinds of sins, of which the inordinately brutal nature of some men is wont sometimes to be guilty; at the same time enquiring if he was ready, of his own accord, to acknowledge himself guilty of any one of them.
At last, by the inspiration of Divine grace, the bridle of his tongue was loosened; and in tones of lamentation he confessed that he had grievously sinned in one of the articles which had been so mentioned. The brother, upon hearing this, felt desirous in some degree to lighten the burden of his sins; and, therefore, by way of precaution, most urgently entreated him, on the morrow of the following day, once again to disclose this sin by making a full confession thereof to his own curate, at that time penancer of the lord [bishop] of Lincoln, who had it in his power to use the keys of the Church in his favour. This being agreed to between them, they took leave of each other with exceeding gladness of heart.
When morning had now come, and the darkness of error had been removed, the light of grace shone brilliantly upon him, and, returning to himself, he became more tranquil, and was found to be much more subdued both in gestures and appearance. After this, he was released from all his chains; upon which, he washed his face, arranged his clothes after the usual manner, and hastened, with the utmost alacrity, to the physician of his soul, for the purpose of making confession. After receiving from him a salutary penance, he returned to his home unattended and by himself. Being now alone and without a guide, he anxiously besought the rememmbrance of the Saints in his behalf. During the next seven days, in fact, he did not so much as depart from the church, but unceasingly offered up continual thanksgivings to Almighty God and the Saints, the patrons of the church. Fearing molestation, perhchance, on the part of his neighbours, he was now unwilling to return to his former home; so, feeling greatly ashamed of the misfortune which had befallen him, though, praised be God! restored in every way to his former tranquility of mind, he transferred his abode to another neighbourhood. Still, however, being far from forgetful of the benefits which he had received, every year from that time, so long as he lived, he returned to Croyland; where, rejoicing in the complete recovery of his health, he devoutly paid honor unto God and the blessed Mary, and Saint Guthlac.
But now, following the course of our narrative, I think that the fact ought here to be inserted, that Henry, lately styled king of England, who, from the time of the arrival of most illustrious prince, now king Edward, had, as we have already mentioned, taken refuge in Scotland or lurked in secret hiding-places in the bordering castles of England, was now taken prisoner. This happened in this present year, the same being the year of our Lord, 1465. Being captured in the northern parts, he was led by a strong body of men to the Tower of London, where king Edward ordered all possible humanity be shewn towards him, consistently with his safe custody; and, at the same time, gave directions that he should be supplied with all suitable necessaries, and treated with becoming respect.
In the meantime, at this period, many nobles and great men of the kingdom, as well as very many bishops and abbats, were accused before the king of treason; the ground being, that they had secretly solicited Margaret, the late queen, who was now living in parts beyond the sea, both by letters and with money, to return to the kingdom with a strong force, and had made her promises of their advice and assistance. Some of these persons were carried off by their deaths chancing to intervene, while others, through the payment of immense sums of money, were restored to the favour which they had formerly enjoyed.
After this, king Edward, prompted by the ardour of youth, and relying entirely on his own choice, without consulting the nobles of the kingdom, privately married the widow of a certain knight, Elizabeth by name; who, though she had only a knight for her father, had a duchess for her mother (3); and shortly after he had her solemnly crowned queen. This the nobility and chief men of the kingdom took amiss, seeing that he had with such immoderate haste promoted a person sprung from a comparatively humble lineage, to share the throne with him.
In the same year, also, the duchess, lady Margaret, relict of John, the illustrious duke of Somerset, one who had always proved gracious and favourably-disposed to our monastery, and who, as we have already mentioned, had received the manor of Depyng as part of her dower, while staying at her castle of Maxay, was desirous, in a spirit of extreme devoutness, to be commended to our prayers; upon which, she was readily admitted to be a sister of our chapter. Influenced by pious consideration, she also induced her daughter, the lady Margaret, countess of Richmond, and heir to the before-named manor of Depyng, (who had been married, as we have long before already mentioned, to the lord Henry, the illustrious son of the duke of Buckingham), to become a sister along with her, and in like manner enjoy the benefit of our prayers. This was done, to the end that, being bound to us by such ties as these, she might be rendered more benevolent to us hereafter, and more complacent in every respect.
Notwithstanding all this, however, so far as relates to our right to the marsh of Goggislound, from the day of her marriage, the lady Margaret, the mother, has remained in possession thereof, up to this present day. And then besides, but a very few years before this time, the stone crosses and other marks and boundaries which, at the last perambulation of the marsh, (made in the time of John Ashby, lord abbat of this place, by the advice and with the assistance of the lord John of Gaunt, the then most illustrious duke of Lancaster), had been placed for the purpose of dividing the districts of Hoyland and Kesteven, had been utterly thrown down and destroyed by the men of Depyng, in order that all knowledge and recollection thereof might be oliterated for the future. Accordingly, among other things, they pulled down by main force a stone cross at Wodelode-greynes, otherwise called Oggote, which had been placed in the said marsh, at our furthest boundary towards the north; and after breaking it to peices, iniquitously threw it into deep pits, and out-of-the-way places, where there could be no possiblity of finding it. Hence it is, that the boundary before-mentioned, being remembered by but very few persons, has by degrees been effaced from general knowledge, and has, in the course of a long space of time, through heedlessness been utterly swept away.
However, in all these matters, the venerable father, abbat John, although weighed down by length of years, and, through continued langour bereft of all strength of body, most ably, like some veteran soldier, ruled the monastery with prudence and foresight; and did not cease, even unto the end, to continue to add to his munificent works. For, towards the closing period of his life, he erected, from the foundation to the summit of the walls, the beautiful and sumptuous hostery, which extends along between the church and the gates of the abbey. This he did for the following purpose: his object was, that when guests worthy of higher considerations arrived, to whom it was fitting that due deference should be shewn, he might be enabled to receive and entertain them in the said hostery the more conveniently, from the circumstance of its being closer at hand. And, in order that nothing might remain undone which is considered to tend to the increase of the praise of God, he caused five fine and choice bells to be cast at London, and substituted for the three old ones, here to send forth their sweet sounds with their harmonious chimes. The cost of these, together with the expense of the carriage thereof to Croyland by land and water, amounting in all to a sum of one hundred and sixty pounds, was defrayed entirely by himself. These bells, while still lying below upon the ground, before they were hung, were solemnly consecarated by Nicholas, the venerable bishop of Elphin, who was at this time suffragan of the reverend father in Christ, John, lord bishop of Lincoln. They were inscribed from the smallest to the greatest, with the names in especial of the patron Saints in whose honor they were most devoutly dedicated; the names being Guthlac, Bartholomew, Michael, Mary, and Trinity.
- Alluding to 2 Cor. ix. 5, 9, 10.
- Alluding to St. Mark v. 9.
- Elizabeth Woodville was the widow of Sir John Gray, a Lancashire knight. Her mother, Jacquetta, duchess of Bedford, was married to Sir Richard Woodville, for her second husband.