Part III: Confrontation at Coventry through the Battle of Barnet

Part III: Confrontation at Coventry through the Battle of Barnet

Aftar this, the Kynge, yet levinge his hooste standynge still, with the sayd few persons went with his brothar of Clarence to his hoste, whome he hertily welcomyd, and promised hym largely of his grace and good love, and, from thens, they all come hoole togethars to the Kyngs hooste, when ethar party welcomyd and jocundly receyvyd othar, with perfect frindlynes; and, so, with greate gladnes, bothe hostes, with theyr princes, togethars went to Warwyke, with the Kynge, and ther lodged, and in the countrie near adioyninge.

Sone aftar this the Duke of Clarence, beinge right desyrows to have procuryd a goode accorde betwyxt the Kynge and th’Erle of Warwyke; not only for th’Erle, but also for to reconsyle therby unto the Kyngs good grace many lordes and noble men of his land, of whom many had largly taken parte with th’Erle; and for this the weale of peax and tranquilitie in the land, and in avoydynge of cruell and mortall were, that, of the contrary, was lykly, in shortyme, to enswe; he made, therefore, his mocions, as well to the Kynge as to th’Erle, by messagis sendynge to and fro, bothe for the well above sayde, as to acquite hym trwly and kyndly in the love he bare unto hym, and his blood, whereunto he was allied by the marriage of his dawghtar. The Kynge, at th’ynstaunce of his sayd brothar, the Duke, was content to shew hym largly his grace, with dyvars good condicions, and profitable for th’Erle yf that he woulde have acceptyd them. But th’Erle, whether he in maner dispaired of any good pardurable continuaunce of good accord betwixt the Kynge and hym, for tyme to come, consyderinge so great attemptes by hym comytted agaynst the Kynge; or els, for that willinge to enterteigne the greate promises, pacts, and othes, to the contrary, made solempnily, and also priuately sworne, to the Frenche Kynge, Qwene Margarete, and hir sonne Edward (26), in the qwarell of them, and of his owne sechinge, wherefrom he ne couthe departe, without grete desklaundar; or els, for that he had afore thwoght, and therefore purveyed, that, in caase he myght nat get to have the ovar-hand of the Kynge, his meanes were founden of sure and certayne escape by the sea to Calais, whiche was enswryd to hym selfe in every caas that myght hape hym (27), so that it myght fortwne hym to come thethar; or els, for that certayne parsons beinge with hym in companye, as th’Erle of Oxenforde, and othar, beinge desposed in extrem malice agaynst the Kynge, wolde not suffre hym t’accepte any mannar of appoyntment, were it resonable or unresonable, but causyd hym to refuse almannar of appointements; whiche as many men deme was the verray cawse of none acceptinge of the Kyngs [grace]; wherefore all suche treaty brake and toke none effecte.

In this meane season of the Kyngs beinge at Warwyke, cam to the Erle of Warwyke, to Coventrye, the Duke of Excestar, the Marques Mountagwe, th’Erle of Oxenforde, with many othar in great nombar, by whos than commynge dayly grew and encreasyd the felwoshipe of that partye. The Kynge, withe his brithern, this consyderinge, and that in no wyse he cowthe provoke hym to come owt of the towne, ne thingkynge it behoffoll to assayll, ne to tary for the asseginge therof; as well for avoydaunce of greate slaghtars that shuld therby enswe, and for that it was thowght more experdient to them to draw towards London, and there, with helpe of God, and th’assystaunce of his trwe lords, lovars, and servaunts, whiche were there, in thos partes, in great nombar; knowynge also, that his principall advarsarye, Henry, with many his partakers, were at London, ther usurpynge and usyinge the athoritie royall, which barred and letted (28) the Kyng of many aydes and assystaunces, that he shuld and mowght hav had, in divars parties, yf he myght ones shew himselffe of powere to breke their actoritie (29); wherefore, by th’advyse of his sayd brithern, and othar of his cownsell, he toke his purpos to London wards, and so departyd fro Warwicke; yet, efte sones, shewinge hym, and his hoste, before Coventrie, and desyringe the sayd Erle, and his felashipe, to come owte, and, for to determyne his qwarell by battayle, whiche he and they utterly refused, wherefore the Kynge, and his brethern kept forthe theyr purpos sowthewardes. And this was the v. day of Aprell the Friday.

On Satarday, the Kynge, with all his hooste, cam to a towne called Davantre, where the Kynge, with greate devocion, hard all divine service upon the morne, Palme-Sonday, in the parishe churche, wher God, and Seint Anne, shewyd a fayre miracle; a goode pronositique of good aventure that aftar shuld befall unto the Kynge by the hand of God, and mediation of that holy matron Seynt Anne. For, so it was, that, afore that tyme, the Kynge, beinge out of his realme, in great trowble, thowght, and hevines, for the infortwne and adversitie that was fallen hym, full often, and, specially upon the sea, he prayed to God, owr Lady, and Seint George, and, amonges othar saynts, he specially prayed to Seint Anne to helpe hym, where that he promysed, that, at the next tyme that it shuld hape hym to se any ymage of Seint Anne, he shuld therto make his prayers, and gyve his offeringe, in honor and worshipe of that blessyd Saynte. So it fell, that, the same Palme Sonday, the Kynge went in procession, and all the people aftar, in goode devotion, as the service of that daye askethe, and, whan the processyon was comen into the churche, and, by ordar of the service, were comen to that place where the vale shulbe drawne up afore the Roode, that all the people shall honor the Roode, with the anthem, Ave, three times begon, in a pillar of the churche, directly aforne the place where the Kynge knelyd, and devowtly honoryd the Roode, was a lytle ymage of Seint Anne, made of alleblastar, standynge fixed to the piller, closed and clasped togethars with four bordes, small, payntyd, and gowynge rownd abowt the image, in manar of a compas, lyke as it is to see comonly, and all abowt, where as suche ymages be wont to be made for to be solde and set up in churches, chapells, crosses, and oratories, in many placis. And this ymage was thus shett, closed, and clasped, accordynge to the rulles that, in all the churches of England, be observyd, all ymages to be hid from Ashe Wednesday to Estarday in the mornynge. And so the sayd ymage had bene from Ashwensday to that tyme. And even sodaynly, at that season of the service, the bords compassynge the ymage about gave a great crak, and a little openyd, which the Kynge well perceyveyd and all the people about hym. And anon, aftar, the bords drewe and closed toegthars agayne, withowt any mans hand, or touchinge, and, as thwoghe it had bene a thinge done with a violence, with a gretar might it openyd all abrod, and so the ymage stode, open and discovert, in syght of all the people there beynge. The Kynge, this seinge, thanked and honoryd God, and Seint Anne, takynge it for a good signe, and token of good and prosperous aventure that God wold send hym in that he had to do, and, remembringe his promyse, he honoryd God, and Seint Anne, in that same place, and gave his offerings. All thos, also, that were present and sawe this worshippyd and thanked God and Seint Anne, there, and many offeryd; takyng of this signe, shewed by the power of God, good hope (30) of theyr good spede for to come.

The Kynge from that towne went to a good towne callyd Northhampton, wher he was well receyved, and, from thens toke the next way towardes London, levynge alway behynd hym in his jowrney a good bande of speres and archars, his behynd-rydars, to countar, yf it had neded, suche of th’Erls partye as, peradventure, he shuld have t[o] have trowbled hym on the bakhalfe, yf he do had done.

Here it is to be remembred, that, in this season of the Kyngs comynge towards and beinge at Warwyke, and of the comynge to hym of his brothar the Duke of Clarence, Edmund callynge hymselfe Duke of Somarset, John of Somarset, his brother, callyd Marqwes Dorset, Thomas Courtney, callynge hym self th’Erle of Devonshire, beinge at London, had knowledge owt of Fraunce, that Qwene Margaret, and hir sonne, callyd Prince of Wales, the Countes of Warwyke, the Prior of Seint Johns, the Lord Wenloke, with othar many, theyr adherents and parte-takers, with all that evar they myght make, were ready at the sea-stde commynge, purposynge to arive in the West Contrie; wherefore they departyd owt of London, and went into the west parties, and ther bestryd them right greatly to make an assemblye of asmoche people for to receyve them at theyr comynge, them to accompany, fortyfy, and assyst, agaynst the Kynge, and all his partakars, in the qwarels of Henry, callyd Kynge, and occupinge the regalie for that tym. And trew it was that she, hir sonne, the Countes of Warwike, the Lords, and othar of theyr fellowshipe, entryd theyr ships for that entent the xxiiij, of Marche, and so continuyd theyr abode in theyr ships, or they myght land in England, to the xiij. day of Aprell, for defawlt of good wynd, and for grete temptests upon the sea, that time, as who saythe, continuynge by the space of xx dayes. But leve we this, and retorne agayne to the Kyngs progresse in his jowrney towards London, tellynge how that he came upon Twesday, the ix. day of Aprill, from whens he sent comfortable messagis to the Qwene at Westminstar, and to his trew Lords, servaunts, and lovars, beynge at London; wherupon, by the moste covert meanes that they cowthe, [they] avised and practysed how that he myght be receyved and welcomyd at his sayde city of London. Th’Erle of Warwike, knowenge this his iowrneynge, and approchinge to London, sent his lettars to them of the citie, willinge and chargynge them to resyste him and let the receyvynge of him and of his. He wrote also to put hym in uttarmoste devowr he cowthe, to provoke the citie agayns hym, and kepe hym owt, for two or three dayes; promisynge that he wolde not fayle to come with great puisance on the bakhalfe, trustinge utterly to dystresse and distroye hym and his, as to the same he had, by his othar writyngs, encharged the maior, and the aldermen, and the comons of the citie.

Hereupon, the ix. day of Aprell, th’Archbyshope callyd unto hym togethars, at Seint Powles, within the Citie of London, suche lords, gentlemen, and othar, as were of that partye, [with] as many men in harneys of theyr servaunts and othar as they cowthe make, which, in all, passed nat in nombar vj or vij{m} men, and thereupon, cawsed Henry, called Kynge, to take an horse and ryde from Powles thrwghe Chepe, and so made a circute abowte to Walbroke, as the generall processyon of London hathe bene accustomyd, and so returned agayne to Powles, to the Bysshops Palays, where the sayd Henry at that tyme was lodged, supposynge, that, whan he had shewed hym in this arraye, they shuld have provokyd the citizens, and th’enhabitants of the citie, to have stonde and comen to them, and fortified that partye; but, threwthe it is, that the rewlars of the citie were at the counsell, and hadd set men at all the gates and wardes, and they, seynge by this manner of doinge, that the power of the sayde Henry, and his adherents, was so litle and feble as there and then was shweyd, they cowld thereby take no corage to draw to them, ne to fortefye theyr partye, and, for that they fearyd, but rathar the contrary, for so moche as they sawe well that, yf they wolde so have done, ther myght was so lytle that it was nat for them to have ones attemptyd to have resystid the Kynge in his comynge, whiche approched nere unto the citie, and was that nyght at Seint Albons. They also of the citie in great nombar, and, namly, of the moaste worshipfull, were fully disposed to favowr the Kynge, and to have the citie opne unto hym at his comynge. They of the citie also consideryd, that he was notably well accompanied with many good, hable, and well-willed men, whiche, for no power, nor no resistence that myght be made, would spare to attempt, and suporte, the takynge the citie, by all wayes possible; whereof they ne shuld have failed, consideringe that the Kynge, at that tyme had many greate and myghty frinds, lovars, and servitors, within the sayd citie, whiche would not have fayled by dyvers enterprises have made the citie open unto hym; as this myght nat be unknowne unto right many of the sayde citie; and, also, as might appere by that was don aftar in that behalfe and to that entent. Thus, what for love that many bare to the Kynge, and what for drade that many men had, how that, in caas the citie shuld have bene wonne upon them by foarce, the citiesens shuld therefore have systeyned harmes and damagis irreparable, and for many othar great consyderations, the maior, aldarmen, and othar worshipfull of the citie, determined clerly amongs them selfe to kepe the citie for the Kynge, and to opne it to hym, at his comynge; as so they sent to hym that therein they would be gwydyd to his pleaswre. Th’Archebyshope of Yorke, undarstondynge the Kyngs commyng, and approchinge nere to the citie, sent secretly unto hym desyringe to be admittyd to his grace, and to be undar good appoyntement, promittynge therefore to do unto hym great pleaswre for his well and swertye; whereunto the Kynge, for good cawse and considerations, agreed so to take hym to his grace. Th’Archbyshope, therof assuryd, was ryght well pleasyd, and therefore wele and trwlye acquite hym, in observynge the promisye that he had made to the Kynge in that behalfe.

The same nyght followynge the towre of London was taken for the Kyngs beholfe; whereby he had a playne entrie into the citie throwghe all they had not bene determyned to have receyvyd hym in, as they were. And on the morrow, the Thursday, the xj. day of Aprell, the Kynge came, and had playne overture of the sayd citie, and rode streight to Powles churche, and from thens went into the Byshops paleis, where th’Archbyshope of Yorke presentyd hym selfe to the Kyngs good grace, and, in his hand, the usurpowr, Kynge Henry; and there was the Kynge seasyd of hym and dyvars rebels. From Powles the Khynge went to Westmynstar, there honoryd, made his devout prayers, and gave thankyngs to God, Saint Petre, and Saint Edward, and then went to the Qwene, and comfortyd her; that had a longe tyme abyden and soiourned at Westmynstar, asswringe hir parson only the the great fraunchis of that holy place, in right great trowble, sorow, and hevines, whiche she sustayned with all manar pacience that belonged to eny creature, and as constantly as hathe bene sene at any tyme of so highe estate to endure; in the whiche season natheles she had browght into this worlde, to the Kyngs greatyste joy, a fayre sonn, a prince, where with she presentyd hym at his comynge, to his herts syngluler comforte and gladnes, and to all them that hym trewly loved and wolde serve. From thens, that nyght, the Kynge retornyd to London, and the Qwene with hym, and lodged at the lodgynge of my Lady his mothar; where they harde devyne service that nyght, and upon morne, Good Fryeday; where also, on the morn, the Kynge took advise of the great lords of his blood, and othar of his counsell, for the adventures that were lykely for to come.

Th’Erle of Warrewike, callynge hymselfe lievetenaunt of England, and so constitute by the pretensed auctoritie of Kynge Henry, beynge at Coventrie, and undrestandinge well that the Kynge wolde moche doo to be received in at London, and wist nat, in certeyne, ye or no, isshued owt of Coventrie with a great puissaunce, the lords, and all that he might make with him, and, by Northhampton, tooke theire way aftar the Kynge, supposinge verrely to have had right great advantage upon hym by one of the two waies; eithar, that the citie shuld have kepte the Kynge owte, whiche failed; or els, in caas he were received in, he shulde there [have] kepte and observyd the solempnitie of Estar, and, if he do dyd, he thwoght sodaynly to come upon hym, take hym, and distroy hym, and his people [to have] disceaveyed, but the Kyng, well advartised of this yvell and malicious purpos, dyd grate diligence to recountre hym, or he might come nere to the citie, as ferre from it as he goodly myght; and, therefore, with a great armye, he departyd out of the citie of London towards hym, upon Saturdaye, Ester’s even; the xiij. day of Aprell. And so he toke in his companye to the felde, Kynge Henrye; and soo, that aftar none, he roode to Barnete, x myles owte of London, where his aforne-riders had founden the afore-riders of th’Erles of Warwikes hooste, and bet them, and chaced them out of the towne, more some what than an halfe myle; when, undre an hedge-syde, were redy assembled a great people, in array, of th’Erls of Warwike. The Kynge, comynge aftar to the sayde towne, and undarstanding all this, wolde [ne] suffre one man to abyde in the same towne, but had them all to the field with hym, and drewe towards his enemies, without the towne. And , for it was right derke, and he myght not well se where his enemyes were embataylled afore hym, he lodged hym, and all hist hoste, afore them, moche nere[r] then he had supposed, but he toke nat his ground so even in the front afore them as he wold have don yf he might bettar have sene them, butt somewhate a-syden-hande, where he disposed all his people, in good arraye, all that nyght; and so they kept them still, withowt any mannar langwuage, or noyse, but as lytle as they well myght. Bothe parties had goons, and ordinaunce, but th’Erle of Warwike had many moo then the Kynge, and therefore, on the nyght, weninge gretly to have anoyed the Kynge, his hooste, with shot of gonnes, th’Erls fielde shotte gunes almoste all the nyght. But, thanked be God! it so fortuned that they alway ovarshote the Kyngs hoste, and hurtyd them nothinge, and the cawse was the Kyngs hoste lay muche nerrar them than they demyd. And, with that, also, the Kyng, and his hoste, kept passinge great silence alnyght (31) and made, as who saythe, no noyse, whereby they might nat know the very place where they lay. And, for that they shulde not know it, the Kynge suffred no gonns to be shote on his syd, all that nyght, or els right fewe, whiche was to hym great advauntage, for, therby, they (32) myght have estemed the ground that he lay in, and have leveled theire gunns nere.

On the morow, betymes, The Kynge, undarstandinge that the day approched nere, betwyxt four and five of the cloke, nawithstandynge there was a greate myste (33) and letted the syght of eithar othar, yet he commytted his cawse and qwarell to Allmyghty God, avancyd bannars, dyd blowe up trumpets, and set upon them, firste with shotte, and, than and sone, they (34) joyned and came to hand-strokes, wherein his enemies manly and coragiously receyved them, as well in shotte as in hand-stroks, whan they ioyned; whiche ioynynge of theyr bothe batteyls was nat directly frount to frount, as they so shulde have ioyned ne had be the myste, whiche suffred neythar party to se othar, but for a litle space, and that of lyklyhod cawsed the bataile to be the more crewell and mortall; for, so it was, that the one ende of theyr batayle ovarrechyd th’end of the Kyngs battayle, and so, at that end, they were myche myghtyar than was the Kyngs bataile at the same [end] that ioyned with them, whiche was the west ende, and, therefore, upon that party of the Kyngs battayle, they had a gretar distres upon the Kyngs party, wherefore many flede towards Barnet, and so forthe to London, or evar they lafte; and they fell in the chace of them, and dyd moche harme. But the other parties, and the residewe of neithar bataile, might se that distrese, ne the fleinge, ne the chace, by cawse of [the] great myste that was, whiche wolde nat suffre no man to se but a litle from hym; and so the Kyngs battayle, which saw none of all that, was therby in nothing discoragyd, for, save only a fewe that were nere unto them, no man wiste thereof; also the othar party by the same distres, flyght or chace, were therefore nevar the gretlyar coragyd. And, in lykewise, at the est end, the Kyngs batayle, whan they cam to ioyninge, ovarrechyd theyr batayle, and so distresyd them theyr gretly, and soo drwe nere towards the Kynge, who was abowt the myddest of the battayle, and susteygned all the myght and weight thereof. Netheles upon the same litle distresse at the west end anon ranne to Westmynstar, and to London, and so forthe furthar to othar contries, that the Kynge was distressed, and his fielde loste, but, the lawde be to Almyghty God! it was otharwyse; for the Kynge, trusing verely in God’s helpe, owr blessyd ladyes, and Seynt George, toke to hym great haries and corage for to supprese the falcehode of all them that so falcely and so traytorowsly had conspired agaynst hym, wherethrwghe, with the faythefull, wellbelovyd, and myghty assystaunce of his felawshipe, that in great nombar deseveryd nat from his parson, and were as well asswred unto hym, as to them was possyble, he mannly, vigorowsly, and valliantly assayled them, in the mydst and strongest of theyr battaile, where he, with great violence, bett and bare down afore hym all that stode in hys way, and, than, turned to the range, first on that one hand, and than on that othar hand, in lengthe, and so bet and bare them downe, so that nothing myght stande in the syght of hym and the welle asswred felowshipe that attendyd trewly upon hym; so that, blessed be God! he wan the filde there, the perfite victory remayned unto hym, and to his rebells the discomfiture of xxx{m} men, s they nombrid them selves.

In this battayle was slayne the Erle of Warwyke, somewhat fleinge, which was taken and reputed as chefe of the felde, in that he was callyd amongs them lyvetenaunt of England, so constitute by the pretensed aucthoritye of Kynge Henry. There was also slayne the Marques Montagwe, in playne battayle, and many othar knyghts, squiers, noble men, and othar. The Duke of Excestar was smytten downe, and sore woundyd, and lafte for dead; but he was not well knowne, and so lafte by a lytle out of the fielde, and so, aftar, he escaped (35). The Erle of Oxenforde fled, and toke into the contire, and, in his flyenge, fell in company with certayne northern men, that also fled from the same filde, and so went he, in theyr company, northwards, and, aftar that, into Scotland.

This battayle duryd, fightynge and skirmishinge, some tyme in one place, and some tyme in an othar, ryght dowbtefully, becawse of the myste, by the space of thre howrs, or it was fully achivyd; and the victory is gyven to hym by God, by the mediacion of the moaste blessyd virgen and modre, owr lady Seint Mary; the glorious martire Seint George, and all the saynts of heven, mayntaynynge his qwarell to be trew and rightwys, with many-fold good and contynuall prayers, whiche many devout persons, religiows and othar, ceasyd not to yelde unto God for his good spede, and, in especiall, that same day and season, whan it pleasyd God t’accepte the prayers of people being confessyd and in clene lyfe, whiche was the Estare mornynge, the tyme of the servyce-doynge of the resurection, comonly, by all the churches of England. And, albe hit the vyctorye remayned to the Kynge, yet was it not without grete danger and hurt, for ther were slayne in the filde the Lorde Cromwell, the Lord Say, the Lord Mountjoies, sonne and heyre, and many othar good Knyghts, and squiers, gode yoemen, and many othar meneiall servaunts of the Kyngs. And it is to wete, that it cowthe not be judged that the Kyngs hoste passyd the nombar ixm. men; but, suche a great and gracious Lorde is Almyghty God, that it plesythe hym gyvythe the victory as well to fewe as to many, wherefore, to hym be the lawde and the thanks. And so the Kynge gave hym speciall lovinge, and all that were with hym. This thus done, the Kynge, the same day, aftar that he had a little refresshed hym and his hoste, at Barnette, he gathered his felowshipe togethars, and, with them, returned to his Citie of London, where into he was welomyed and receyvyd with moche ioy and gladnesse. And so rode he forthe streyght unto Powles at London, and there was receyvyd with my Lorde Cardinall of England (36), and many othar bysshops, prelates, lords spirituall, and temporall, and othar, in grete nombar, whiche all humbly thanked and lovyd God of his grace, that it plesyd hym that day to gyve to theyr prynce, and soveraygne lord, so prosperous a iowrney, wherby he had supprised them that, of so great malice, had procured and laboryd at theyr powers his uttar destruction, contrary to God, and to theyr faythes and leigeances.

On the morow aftar, the Kynge commandyd that the bodyes of the deade lords, th’Erle of Warwicke, and hys brothar the Marques, shuld be browght to Powles in London, and, in the churche there, openly shewed to all the people; to th’entent that, aftar that, the people shuld not be abused by feyned seditiows tales, which many of them that were wonnt to be towards th’Erle of Warwyke had bene accustomyd to make, and, paraventure, so would have made aftar that, ne had the deade bodyes there be shewyd, opne, and naked, and well knowne; for, dowbtless ells the rumore shuld have bene sowne abowte, in all contries, that they bothe , or els, at leaste, th’Erle of Warwyke, was yet on lyve, upon cursed entent therby to have cawsyd newe murmors, insurrections, and rebellyons, amongst indisposed people; suche, namely, as many dayes had bene lad to great inconveniences, and mischevs-doynge, moyenmaunt the false, faynyd fables, and disclandars, that, by his subtiltie and malicious moyvyng, were wont to be seditiously sowne and blowne abowt, all the land, by suche persons as cowthe use, and longe had usyd, that cursed custome; whereof, as it is comonly sayde, right many were towards hym, and, for that entent, returnyd and waged with hym.

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