Part X

The Croyland Chronicle: Part X
The Fourth Continuation of the History of Croyland Abbey: 1486 with Notes


Although the person who wrote the History immediately preceding, whoever he may have been, has brought his work to a close, at a point beyond which, for the reasons stated by him, he did not think it proper to proceed; still, as I find, each day, something worthy of remark, and of such a nature, that if it be not immediately committed to writing, it may either be lost in oblivion or suffer from an unfaithful relation, I do not hesitate to write what follows, by way of Continuation of the preceding History. In so doing, I have determined to set an example to those who shall come after us, to the end that they may be encouraged, in a similar manner, at once to commit to writing such events as may happen in their times.

After the coronation of king Henry had been solemnly performed on the day above-mentioned, a Parliament was held at Westminster, on which so many matters were treated of (wish I could say “allably treated of”), that the compendious nature of this narrative cannot aspire to comprise an account of the whole of them. Among other things, proscriptions, or as they are more commonly called, “attainders,” were voted against thirty persons; a step which, though bespeaking far greater moderation than was ever witnessed under similar circumstances in the time of king Richard or king Edward, was not taken without considerable discussion, or, indeed, to speak more truly, considerable censure, of the measures so adopted. Oh God! what assurance, from this time forth, are our kings to have, that, in the day of battle, they will not be deprived of the assistance of even their own subjects, when summoned at the dread mandate (1) of their sovereign? for, a thing that has been too often witnessed, it is far from improbable, that, deserted by their adherents, they may find themselves bereft of inheritance, possessions, and even life itself.

In this Parliament, the sovereignty was confirmed to our lord the king, as being his due, not by one, but by many titles: so that we are to believe that he rules most rightfully over the English people, and that, not so much by right of blood as of conquest and victory in warfare. There were some persons, however, who were of opinion that words to that effect might have been more wisely passed over in silence than inserted in our statutes; the more especially, because, in the very same Parliament, a discussion took place, and that, too, with the king’s consent, relative to his marriage with the lady Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of king Edward; in whose person it appeared to all that every requisite might be supplied, which was wanting to make good the title of the king himself. But more, perhaps, on this subject hereafter.

This general sitting of Parliament being concluded, the king kept the festival of Easter at Lincoln; whither news was brought of the death of the most noble father, cardinal, Thomas Bourchier, and archbishop of Canterbury. He died in Easter week, in the year 1486, A being the Dominical letter; just as, thirty-nine years before, under the same Dominical letter, and in the same week of the festival of Easter, a great cardinal of England, Henry Beaufort by name, bishop of Winchester, had departed this life, it being the year 1447. The following is the noble lineage of each of these prelates, each being, in pedigree, lineally descended from king Edward the Third: — Henry, bishop of Winchester, was descended from him in the second degree, through his father, John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, son of the said king Edward; while Thomas, archbishop of Canterbury, was descended from him in the third degree, through his mother, the countess of Stafford, and the father of the said countess, Thomas of Woodstock, duke of Lancaster, another son of the aforesaid king Edward the Third.

There recurs to my recollection, at the moment while I am writing this account of these circumstances, a praiseworthy deed, and one most deserving of all imitation by others, of that glorious and Catholic man, the said cardinal bishop of Winchester. When he was ill and at the point of death at his palace of Wolnesey, near his cathedral church of Saint Swithin, in the said year 1447, he caused all the ecclesiastics, religious, and laymen in the vicinity to be summoned to the great hall of the palace, on the Saturday on which the office Sitientes [those who thirst] is chaunted, and which immediately precedes the Sunday of the Passion of our Lord. Here he had a solemn funeral service and the mass of the Requiem performed in his presence, as he lay on his bed; and, on the fifth day after (2), the whole of the office was performed by the prior of that cathedral church in full pontificals. Shortly after the funeral service, his last will and testament wsa publicly read aloud in the presence of all; and, certain corrections and codicils (3) having been added by him thereto, on the morning after the mas was performed, publicly and in an audible voice he confirmed all his said testamentary dispositions, which were then once more read over; after which, he bade farewell to all, and departed this life at the time above-mentioned. For, he who wrote this account, was present, and both saw and heard all these things, and we know that his witness is true. Having thus digressed a little, we will hasten to return to the acts and fortunes of the king.

On passing from Lincoln on his way to York, by his castle of Nottingham, he there heard various rumours of a certain rising (4) of the people in the north; upon which, for the more securely establishing his position, he caused a great multitude of men, but all of them unarmed, to be summoned and collected from the county of Lincoln; it being his wish to appear rather to pacify than exasperate the people who were opposed to him. When he had come to York, and was intent upon his devotions, on the feast of Saint George, he was nearly slain by means of a stratagem on the part of the enemy. The earl of Northumberland, however, prudently quelled this insurrection at its first beginning, and caused certain of those who had prompted the movement to be hanged on the gallows: after which, the king returned in peace towards the southern parts.

While these commotions were still going on in the north, there came to the house of Croyland the reverend man, John Russell, bishop of Lincoln, and stayed there the space of a whole month, making payment every week for himself and a retinue of twenty persons, on such terms as were deemed satisfactory by both parties. During this period, a conference was held at Singlesholt with the abbat of the monastery of Burgh Saint Peter, as to the mode and order of proceeding in the matter of the appropriation of the church of Brynkhurst, otherwise Eston, and how much should be held to be payable each year by that church for indemnification due to the bishops, archdeacons, and the cathedral church; upon which, the said bishop, with the express desire and consent of the before-named abbat, appointed a day and place, in the parish church of Croyland, when and where the Proctor of the abbat and convent of Burgh, having received full powers to act as Proctor, would appear. This was, accordingly, done; and, at the prayer of the said Proctor, the matter of the said union or appropriation was in all respects discussed, and, by sentence of the bishop judicially pronouned, in all respects concluded; thereto, as well as the before-named abbat of Croyland, who, according to the force and effect of the said award, bore and paid throughout all and singular costs and expenses necessary in that behalf. We have here inserted the form of this act of impropriation:

“To all sons of Holy Mother Church, to whom these our present letters shall come, or to whom this public instrument shall come, John, by the Divine permission, bishop of Lincoln, health in the Lord everlasting. It behoveth all Catholic bishops, within the limits of their respective jurisdictions, to give their especial attention to those things which concern the peace and tranquility of convents of the religious; and more especially of those, the proximity of the confines of which may more readily give cause and occasion for dissensions; as also, at the same time, in every way to provide for the preservation of peace and tranquility in this behalf. For this reason we do bring it to the notice of all of you, that, in the matter under-written of the union, annexation, appropriation, incorporation, and consolidation of the parish church of Brynkhurst, otherwise called Eston, in our diocese of Lincoln, with the monastery of Burgh Saint Peter, in the same our diocese, it being the year of our Lord, one thousand four hundred and eighty-six, then current, and the fourth year of the indiction, and the second of the pontificate of the most holy father and lord in Christ, the Innocent, by the Divine Providence the Eighth pope of that name, on the twenty-second day of April, in the parish church of Croyland, within the conventual church of the monastery of Saints Bartholomew the Apsotle, and Guthlac the Confessor, of Croyland, in our said diocese, on the northern side of the said conventual church we publicly sitting, before us there judicially and in judgment seated, there did personally appear in court the religious man, lord John Croyland, a brother of the said monastery of Burgh Saint Peter, and Proctor thereof, appointed to act as Proctor in the name and behalf of the venerable and religious man, the abbat and convent of the monastery of Burgh Saint Peter aforesaid; and that, he having in his hands and actually producing his commission of Proctorship sealed with the common seal of the said monastery of Burgh, as also the royal letters containing therein the royal licence granted to proceed in the matter aforesaid, we were, often and urgently, and with no small importunity, entreated by the same lord John Croyland, the Proctor aforesaid, that we would deign to make inquisition and to proceed in the said matter of the union, annexation, appropriation, incorporation, and consolidation of the parish church aforeesaid, in such manner as should be canonical, and to examine the reasons for making such union, annexation, appropriation, incorporation, and consolidation, and duly expedite the said matter. Wherefor we, John, bisohp before-named, there sitting in judgment, and being of opinion that the requisition to the said effect was just and consonant with reason, at the instance and prayers of the Proctor before-mentioned, did determine so to make inquisition and to proceed, so far as should be duly canonical in the matter aforesaid; there being then present Masters Thomas Hutton, Doctor of Laws, and William Spencer and William Miller, clerks and notaries public, specially summoned and invited to be witnesses to the premises; and, all and singular the premises being so arranged, we, Johm the bishop before-named, still there sitting in judgment, did name and appoint the discreet man, Master William Spencer, clerk and notary public, before-mentioned, to act as our secretary in the said matter, so far only as setting forth the things to be done in this behalf, and did make him there to remain with us, for the purpose of faithfully writing down all and singular the things then done in this present matter, in the order and succession in which the same should take place. And forthwith, the said lord John Croyland, the Proctor before-named, in virtue of his Proctorship, then and there did actually produce the commission of his Proctorship, of which mention had been made above, in writing, and sealed in white wax with an impression of the common seal of the said monastery of Burgh; of which commission of Proctorship so granted to the said Proctor, the tenor was to the following effect: —

“Be it known unto all men in these presents, that we, William Ramsey, abbat of the monastery of Burgh Saint Peter, of the order of Saint Benedict, in the diocese of Lincoln, and the convent of the said place, having the advowson and the right of patronage of the parish church of Brynkhurst, otherwise Eston, in the said diocese, and well known to be patrons of the said parish church, do by these presents, name, obtain, make, and appoint our dearly beloved brothren in Christ, John Gente, John Croyland, and Richard Sutton, monks of our said monastery, jointly and severally, and each of them by himself, wholly and solely, that so any one of them who has begun to act may not have more force and effect than the others, but that what any one of them has begun, any other of them may be at liberty by himself to carry into effect and conclude, our true and lawful proctors, agents, factors, and managers of our business, and our especial deputies; and we do give and do grant, and by the tenor these presents do give and do grant to the same our Proctors, jointly, and to each of them, by himself, severally and wholly as before-stated, general power and special authority, for us, and in the names of us and of our said monastery, in a certain matter of union, annexation, incorporation, and consolidation of the parish church of Brynkhurst, otherwise Eston, with the before-named monastery of Burgh Saint Peter, canonically to be made, to appear before the reverend father and lord, John, by the grace of God, lord bishop of Lincoln, his commissary or commissaries in that behalf deputed or to be deputed; as also to give and propound, and pray, and obtain, to be admitted, any article or articles, and any other petitions, whatsoever, whether of a summary, solemn, or simple nature, and to declare, allege, propound, and prove the reason and reasons for the unions, annexation, incorporation, and consolidation aforesaid; and, as to the truth of the said reasons, to make oath required by law, as also to cause and procure the truth to be testified and declared as to the said reasons and validity thereof; and to produce and exhibit, and demand to be admitted, the testimony of witnesses, letters, and instruments, both public and private, and all other kinds of proof whatsoever; and to demand witnesses in this behalf to be produced to be sworn and examined, and see their words and evidence duly published; as also to swear, and to give and make any lawful oath whatsoever upon our souls, which shall be necessary or requisite in this behalf; and to demand that the parish church of Brynkhusrt, otherwise Eston, before-named, together with all the lands, tenements, revenues, rights, and appurtenances, to the said church pertaining, or in any way belonging, with the before-named monastery of Burgh Saint Peter and us, the abbat and convent aforesaid and our successors, may, under the authority of the reverend father before-named, be united, annexed, and incorporated; and that the said monastery and parish church, saving always the portion of the perpetual vicar of the said church from ancient times set apart, limited, and appointed, may be consolidated; and to ask, hear, and see that sentence or final decree of union, annexation, incorporation, and consolidation aforesaid, is pronouned and published; and likewise to ask and obtain the consent of all persons whatsoever having any interest in this behalf, the same to be really and effectually had and given, to the union, annexation, incorporation, and consolidation aforesaid, and to the final decree for the same, as also to the whole and entire process in this behalf to be had, and in its various steps and successively to be carried on: and after such union, annexation, incorporation, and consolidation aforesaid, to ask and to see that it is decreed, and is effectually ordered and enjoined that we, so empowering them as aforesaid, or our Proctors for us, shall be inducted and placed in real and bodily possession of the parish church of Brynkhurst, otherwise Eston before-named, and all other its and our appurtenances, saving always the portion of the perpetual vicar, as previously stated; and to obtain possession to that effect, and when so obtained to continue and preserve the same. We so also authorize them to ask for and obtain letters testimonial or other public instruments of and concerning the union, annexation, corporation, and consolidation before-mentioned, and that the same shall be ratified by the seal of the venerable father before-named; and to promote the matter of the said union, annexation, incorporation, and consolidation, unto the final and effectual conclusion thereof, and duly prosecute, manage, and complete the execution of the decree before-mentioned; and to treat of and communicate upon, the indemnifications, unto the before-named reverend father and lord in Christ, John, by the grace of God, lord bishop of Lincoln, and his future successors, as also, the lords the dean and chapter of the cathedral church of the blessed Mary at Lincoln and the archdeacon of Leicester, for the time being, and their future successors, such indemnifications being due by reason of the said union, annexation, incorporation, and consolidation; and, in our name, to consent and assent to the assignment, limitation, and transfer of any yearly payment for and in place of such indemnifications, by the before-named reverend father and lord in Christ, John, by the grace of God, lord bishop of Lincoln, to be agreed upon, and, by his authority, in this behalf to be made; as also to bind us and our monastery, when it shall be so, as already stated, united to the parish church aforesaid, to make payment of any sums whatever which shall in name of the indemnifications aforesaid, by the authority of the reverend father before-named, be assigned and limited, the same to be faithfully made by us and our successors in our said monastery; and in our name to offer, set forth, and give securities both by oath and by sureties for the payment of the said sums as already stated, as also all other securities whatsoever which shall be necessary and sufficient in this behalf; and likewise to make challenge and appeal, and to demand and receive oath upon the Apostles, and to substitute any other or others as Proctor or Proctors, in place of them or any one of them, and to revoke the substitution of such substitute or substitutes, and to resume to himself or themselves the office of Proctor, and exercise the same, so often as and when it shall seem best and most experdient to them or any of them, their present Proctorship in the meantime remaining valid and of full effect; and generally to make, do, and execute, all and singular other the things in and about the premises which may be necesseary thereto, or which may in any way at their pleasure seem desirable, although the same may demand of them an authorization more special than is in these presents set forth, and which we ourselves, so appointing them, would have made, done, or executed, or ought to have made, done, or executed, in case we had been personally present in the premises. We, the before-named abbat and convent, so appointing them, do also promise that we will for ever hold as ratified, good, and established, all and whatsoever our said Proctors, or those by them to be substituted, shall do, or any one of them shall do in the premises or any one of the premises; and will abide by the judgment, and will do what shall be adjudged, under pledge and obligation of forfeiting all our goods both present and to come; and in that behalf we do by those presents make offer to the said security. In testimony werheof we have to these presents set our common seal, the same being given in our Chapter-house, on the twenty-first day of the month of April, in the year of our Lord, one thousand four hundred and eighty-six.”

“Accordingly, we sitting there in judgment, in presence of the Proctor of the said abbat and convent of the monastery of Burgh aforesaid, appeared there, personally in court, the discreet man, Master William Miller, clerk and notary public, and Proctor, as he stated, of the venerable men, the lords the dean and chapter of our cathedral church of the blessed Mary at Lincoln, and before us actually produced the commission of his Proctorship by his said masters granted to him, and signed with the impression in green wax of their common seal, and made his appearance in behalf of the same his masters in the matter before-named. At the same time also, appeared there, personally in court, in presence of the Proctors before-named, the discreet man, Master Roger Wood, Master of Arts, who stated that he was the Proctor of the honorable man, Master Richard Langueder, Doctor of Laws, our archdeacon of Leicester, in our cathedral church aforesaid, within the precincts of whose archdeacoury is situate the parish church of Brynkhurst, otherwise Eston * * * and then and there actually produced the commission of his Proctorship, set forth in writing, and sealed with the impression in red wax of the seal of the before-named Master Richard Langueder, our official in the diocese of Lincoln, uses by right of his holding the said office, and made his appearance in behalf of the said archdeacon, his master, in the matter before-named. The terms of the commission of the Proctorship of the Proctors of the said dean and chapter, and of the archdeacon, of which mention is made above, were in words as follow:

“Be it known unto all men by these presents, that we, Philip Lipyat, Licentiate in Laws, Subdean of the Cathedral church of the blessed Mary at Lincoln, in the absence of the Dean of the said church, and with the unanimous consent of the Chapter of the said church, do by these presents ordain, make, name, and appoint our dearly beloved in Christ, Masters Thomas Hutton, Doctor of Laws, Canon of the Chathedral church aforesaid, Andrew Bensted, Master of Arts, William Spencer, John Bevyll, and William Miller, clerks and notaries public, jointly and severally, and each of them, by himself, wholly and solely, that no any one of them who has begun to act may not have more force and effect than the others, but that what any one of them has begun, any other of them may be at liberty by himself to conclude and carry into effect, our true and lawful proctors, agents, factors, and managers of our business, and our especial deputies; and we do give and do grant to the same, our Proctors, jointly, and to each of them by himself, as before stated, severally and wholly, general power and special authority, for us, and in the names of us and of the said cathedral church, to proceed and to view proceedings in a certain matter of union, annexation, incorporation, and consolidation of the parish church of Brynkhurst, otherwise Eston, in the diocese of Lincoln, with the monastery of Burgh Saint Peter, in the said diocese, and the abbat and convent thereof for the time being and all their future successors whatsoever in the said monastery, the same to be duly and canonically made, before the reverend father and lord in Christ, John, by the grace of God, lord bishop of Lincoln, or his commissary in that behalf deputed or to be deputed; as also to be present and to see that the witnesses, letters, instruments, and other documents in proof in that behalf necessary and requisite, are produced, and the said witnesses are admitted and sworn, and that their words and attestations are duly published:

(Transcriber’s Note.: Document continues, such as it is extant, in Part XI.)


Notes on Part X
 

  1. The text seems to be in a defective state here. He probably alludes to the desertion of Richard by his party at the battle of Bosworth.
  2. This account of the death of Cardinal Beaufort differs materially from the picture painted of that scene by Shakespeare in his King Henry VI., Part 2; and which is supposed, in some respects to have been founded on the account given in Hall’s Chronicle.
  3. These were added on the seventh and ninth of April. He died on the eleventh.
  4. Headed by lord Lovel, and Humphrey and Thomas Stafford.