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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.


Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet (Sir John Froissart's Chronicles continuation) in 13 volumes 

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Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 105

river "Wellatream, suddenly overflowed the marsh lands, and swallowed up part of his army and all his baggage. His splendid regalia, his jewels, and his treasures, were all swept away by the rushing waters, and he himself, after a narrow escape from drowning, arrived in the dead of the night at Swineshead Abbey, so overcome by fatigue and vexation at his irreparable loss, that he fell into a violent fever, of which he shortly afterwards died. Some historians assert that the King's death was caused by poison. They state, that whilst taking- hia dinner in Swineshead Abbey, John, on hearing it said how cheap corn was, spleenishly exclaimed, " that he would ere long make the penny loaf cost a sliilling ;" which so exasperated one of the monks, that he went and put the poison of a toad into a cup of wine, and after first partaking thereof himself, as the King's taster, presented the cup to John, who, little suspecting harm, drained it of its envenomed contents. When the sorelysiek John was told the monk who had partaken of the poisonous draught was dead, he answered, i l God have mercy upon me! I expected as much." According to another narrative, the King had defamed the sister of the monk, who, to be revenged, placed before the offending monarch, at the dessert, a dish of fine pears, all of which, excepting three, he had poisoned. The King desired him to taste the pears, which he did by eating the wholesome fruit, whilst the King partook of the others and died. However, whether through poison or disease, certain it is, that John was attacked with a fatal illness at Swineshead Abbey, whence, sick as he was, he caused himself to be conveyed on a litter to Newmark, where, perceiving death at hand, he sent for the abbot and monks of Caxton. Before these ecclesiastics, he named Pope Honorius as guardian to his children ; willed his crown to his eldest son, Henry ; confessed his sins—a terrible task to one so deeply guilty—took the eucharist, pronounced forgiveness to his enemies, and on the eighteenth of October, 1216, ended his earthly career, after a wretchedly wicked reign of seventeen years, seven months, and ten days. In compliance with his own wish, he was buried in Winchester Cathedral, close to the burial place of the canonized Saxon, Bishop St. Wulstan, and afterwards a stately marble tomb, with his effigy as large as life, was erected to hie memory over his grave. This monument remains to this day in a tolerable state of preservation. Although during the reign of John, the Pope laid the nation under interdict, and excommunicated the King, who afterwards became so bitterly embroiled with the barons, that the French were invited over, and for a period became the masters of the land; the onward progress of the people appears to have been hut slightly, if at all, checked. Not only did trade and commerce advance during the rule of the ruthless tyrant, but by the edict of Hastings, in 1200, the naval supremacy of England was for the first time asserted, all the ships of foreign power being ordered to strike their topsails to the British flag, under penalty of seizure and confiscation. Shortly afterwards, many privileges were granted to the Cinque Ports. Standard money was for the first time coined. The building of the Old London Bridge was completed. The great ditch which surrounded the City of London walls was commenced. London, Liverpool, Newcastle, Yarmouth, and other cities received a confirmation and extension of their rights and privileges. The law3 and customs of England were established in Ireland, and several churches and religious houses were erected, and numerous schools established. Queen Isabella was in Gloucester when her husband died. Her first measure, on learning the sad news, was, in conjunction with the Earl of Pembroke, to cause Prince Henry, then in his tenth year, to be crowned King. The coronation was solemnized in Gloucester, only ten days after the death of John, by the legate Guaio, assisted by the Bishops of Winchester, Exeter, and Bath, who, as the regalia belonging to John had been lost in the Lincoln washes, and the crown of Edward the Confessor was in London—

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