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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 119

to trie palace, where, through the influence of his niece, the Queen, he justified himself to the King, who, believing his crafty tale, told the canons of St. Bartholomew they richly deserved the chastisement they had received. At this period, the kingdom was inundated with bands of ruffians, who, imitating the example of the court, lived by rapine and plunder. In Hampshire this state of things so prevailed, that no jury would find a bill against a robber, and the King, unable to pcrsuadea single judge to peril his life by committing the criminals, himself sat on the bench of justice, in Winchester Castle. Some of the cases determined by the King in person present a striking picture of the misrule and depravity of that period. In one instance, about thirty of the royal household were convicted of theft and murder, and, when about to be hanged, they declared that the King, by having so long withheld their pay, was the chief cause of their death: "For," said they, " Ave were obliged to rob or starve"—a difficult dilemma truly, and a spot of infamy on the heart and honour of their royal master. However, all the freebooters of this period were not goaded to the life of crime by sheer want, as it was soon discovered that many of the nobles, and even the judges themselves, belonged to the banditti. One of these, Lord Clifford, on being summoned to appear before the tribunal of justice, not only refused to do so, but actually forced the King's messenger to eat the summons, seal and all. In the summer of 1251, a terrific thunder-storm burst forth at Windsor. The lightning struck Windsor Castle, where Fleanora and the royal children were staying. After throwing down the chimney of the apartment where the Queen was, the subtle fluid entered the royal bed-chamber, threw the bed on the floor, and crushed it to powder. Fortunately, the Queen and her children were not hurt. Ere the fury of the elements was spent, much damage was done in the forest and the surrounding country. Trees were uprooted and torn limb from limb, houses and mills were crushed to the earth, whilst husbandmen, shepherds, travellers, and hun dreds of cattle, sheep, and swine, were washed away by the deluge of waters. About this time, the detestable claim of non-obstante (notwithstanding), long before used by the Pope in his bulls, was, for the first time, inserted in a royal order. The Bishop of Carlisle had a law-suit with a baron in his diocese, and being obliged to go to France, obtained an order from the King to stay proceedings till his return ; hut scarcely had he embarked when the baron obtained—it is helieved by a large bribe— a second order from the King, setting forth that, "notwithstanding the former order, the suit should not be delayed." After this, writs or orders, with that unjust addition of "non-obstante" became very frequent, which, being observed by the discreet justiciary, llogcr De Thurkeby, he exclaimed, with a deep sigh ; " Alas ! in what a corrupt age do wo live ! Behold, the civil court is tainted by the example of the ecclesiastical, and the river is poisoned from that fountain !" This year closed with the marriage of Henry's eldest daughter, Margaret, who had seen but ten summers, with her cousin, Alexander the Third, King of Scotland, then in the eleventh year of his age, The nuptials were celebrated with great magnificence, at York, whither the royal bride was conducted by Henry and Eleanora, accompanied by a numerous train of nobles and clergy. Early in November, the royal party reached JÏÎottingham Castle, where they tarried for several weeks, and where great preparations had been made for their reception. According to the liberate rolls, new wooden seats had been erected in the Queen's chamber, and in the walls, which were re-whitewashed, iron candlesticks placed. Over the altar, in the Queen's chapel, two pictures had been painted—the history of St. William and that of St. Edward ; whilst for the chapel were provided censers, cups, crosses, vials, a set of religious books, and many other needful things. From Nottingham the royal party proceeded by slow stages to York, where, on the twenty-second of December, they

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