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CHAPTER IV

EDWARD I, EDWARD II, AND EDWARD III

AUTHORITIES CITED.

(1) Chronicle of Lanercost: annals compiled at the Monastery of Lanercost in Cumberland, or at Carlisle. The authors were honest but had a naturally violent bias against the Scots, besides taking a peculiarly monkish view of men and events.

(2) JEAN FROISSART (1337-1410) wrote in French the famous chronicle which was translated by Lord Berners in the reign of Henry VIII. The first passage cited from his chronicle was taken from the chronicle of Jean le Bel, who was in England in 1327.

(3) LAURENCE MINOT, a contemporary poet, wrote a number of war-songs dealing with the events of Edward III's French war.

(4) WILLIAM LANGLAND wrote the Vision of Piers Plowman, an allegory which incidentally throws much light on the social conditions prevalent in the latter years of Edward III.

(5) GEOFFREY CHAUCER wrote the Canterbury Tales during the reign of Richard II, but he was about 37 when Edward III died, and his descriptions of contemporary characters apply equally to the latter years of that reign.

1. DEATH OF ALEXANDER III
[Lanercost Chronicle]

Alexander III was the last king of Scots in the direct male line from Malcolm Canmore, who was king at the time of the Norman Conquest. He came to the throne while Henry III was king of England. Under his rule and that of his predecessors Scotland prospered; but his death ushered in a period of storm and stress his heiress being his youthful grand-daughter Margaret the "Maid of Norway," who followed him to the grave four years later, leaving the question of the succession undecided. The chronicler tells the story of Alexander's death.

In the course of that year Alexander, king of Scotland, was carried off by sudden death; having

reigned for thirty-six years and nine months. He departed from this world upon the nineteenth day of March being the vigil of St Cuthbert bishop and Confessor; of whose see he and his had for three years past troubled the liberties. And since the Lord had suffered him to live, but for his chastening took away both his offspring and his wife, yet amended him not, we may perceive that in him was made perfect that prophecy of the Holy Job who saith, "God shall reserve for the sons the trouble of the father and when he hath rendered it then shall he know." Yea, it had been foretold to him by certain just men that "the Lord hath stretched forth his sword against him, he hath bent his bow and made it ready and hath made ready many arrows." Moreover through all that year there went abroad through the province a saying of the Scots that on that day should be the Day of Judgment, whereat many trembled though some mocked.

Moreover in the December next preceding, under the Sign of Capricorn, fearful thunders were heard and lightnings were seen, which in the opinion of the wise portend the fall of princes, for whose sake it is foretold, that they might take heed to themselves. Yet since all these warnings and more could not profit him to the chastening of his spirit, God punished him even through his own handiwork. For it was his wont to heed neither the season nor the weather, nor perils of waters nor stony rocks, so that by night even as if it had been day when it was his will, sometimes in changed garments, often with a single companion, he would visit with no good intent the dwelling of matrons and nuns, maidens and widows. Now on that day, when there was a very great storm, the king was in the high Maiden's castle, holding

counsel with a great number of the lords of the land. concerning the answer to the messengers of the king of England; who on the third day were to be at Norham with Thomas of Galloway in bodily presence, whose freeing from prison was then desired by the Lord John Balliol, the younger.

When they were come to dine, while they were eating and drinking, he with a cheerful countenance sent a portion of fish to one of the barons, bidding him by the squire enjoy his dinner and he should know this was the Day of Judgment. He, returning thanks, made answer merrily to the king, "If this be the Day of Judgment we shall rise with full stomachs." Now when after a long time the feasting was over and the evening was drawing on, he would not be withheld by the violence of the storm, nor would he hearken to the persuasions of others but made haste forthwith to Queen's Ferry; being bent on visiting his bride, the daughter of the count of Drew, whom he had but lately brought from parts over-seas, whose name was Yoleta; to his own grief and the lasting woe of the state. For it is generally affirmed that before the contract she had already taken the veil in a nunnery, but had looked back, moved by feminine. fickleness and the desire to be a queen.

Now as he came to a village which was hard by the ferry, there met him one of his officers who warned him of danger and urged him to go back; whereupon the king asking whether he feared to abide with him. "Nay my lord," quoth he, "it beseems me well to meet my doom beside your father's son." He came therefore in mirk darkness to the borough of Inverkineyn, being accompanied only by three esquires; where, recognising his voice, there met him his fishmaster, a married

man and an inhabitant of the place. "My lord," quoth he, "what do you here at such time and in this black darkness? I have often urged you that you will have no profit of your late journeying; stay with us; we will provide you with what is needful; accept our hospitality until the morning." Then said he, laughing, "There is no need; but let me have two of your folk on foot to shew the way." So when they had gone some two miles, by reason of the darkness they could none of them in anywise recognise the way, except that the horses by natural instinct kept track of the trodden way. While they thus became separated one after the other, the esquires picking the path, the king at last, to cut short the story, was thrown from his horse and bade farewell to his kingdom, in the sleep of Sisera. So it befell him according to the proverb of Solomon, "Woe unto him that is alone, because when he hath fallen he hath none to sustain him."

2. THE TREATY OF NORHAM
[Lanercost Chronicle]

Edward I of England was invited by the Scottish magnates to arbitrate between the various magnates who claimed the Scottish crown on the death of the Maid of Norway. Edward first demanded his own recognition as "suzerain" of Scotland, a title which his predecessors had habitually claimed and the Scots had regularly repudiated. Historians still differ as to which was technically in the right. The magnates however accepted Edward's conditions. The Chronicler, it must be remembered, is a north-country Englishman with a violent bias against the Scots though he is not intentionally dishonest.

Now when the Holy Pentecost was past after the feast of the Holy Trinity, when, by the citing of many and various chronicles of Scotland as well as of England

[Edward] had manifestly shewn what rights he and his ancestors possessed towards Scotland, he was accepted by universal consent of the Scottish nobles as overlord of all Scotland, homage being rendered to him by all, and the writing thereof was confirmed by the seals of all.......

In the same year for the purpose of enquiring upon whom the crown of Scotland ought by hereditary right to devolve, King Edward IV1, the son of Henry III, gave order that whosoever claimed the said kingdom by hereditary right should set forth the grounds shewing the justice of his claim.

Now there had been a certain earl of Chester whose name was Ranulph. This earl had a sister named Matilda who had been wedded to David, the brother of the king of Scotland. This Matilda bore to David one son who was called John, and three daughters; the eldest Margaret, the second Isabella and the third and youngest Aldith. Margaret was afterwards wedded to Alan the earl of Galloway, to whom the said Margaret bore one daughter named Dervorgilla, who in turn was wedded to John Balliol; whose son was the lord John Balliol who claimed and obtained the crown of Scotland because his mother's mother was the elder daughter of the Prince David, who left no male offspring surviving. Isabella the second daughter of Prince David was given in marriage to the earl of Carrick whose name was Robert the Bruce, who also claimed the crown of Scotland on account of his wife who was the second daughter of Prince David. Aldith the third and youngest daughter of the aforesaid prince was given in marriage

1 Edward the Elder, Edward the Martyr, and Edward the Confessor were the three earlier Edwards.

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