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CHARLES G. ADDISON, ESQ. The history of the Knights Templars, Temple Church, and the Temple

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CHARLES G. ADDISON, ESQ.
The history of the Knights Templars, Temple Church, and the Temple
page 331



shortly afterward the king ventured upon the hold step of seizing and imprisoning the earl and his father-in-law, Aubrey de Vere, whilst they were unsuspectingly attending the court at Saint Alban's. The earl of Essex was compelled to surrender the Tower of London, and several of his strong castles, as the price of his freedom ;* but he was no sooner at liberty, than he collected together his vassals and adherents, and raised the standard of rebellion. He was joined by crowds of freebooters and needy adventurers, and soon found" himself at the head of a powerful army. H e laid waste the royal domains, pillaged the king's servants, and subsisted his followers upon plunder. He took and sacked the town of Cambridge, laid waste the surrounding country, and stormed several royal castles. He was afterwards compelled to retreat for a brief period into tbe fens before a superior force led against, him by king Stephen in person. The most frightful excesses are said to have been committed by this potent earl. He sent spies, we are told, to beg from door to door, and discover where rich men dwelt, that he might seize them at night in their beds, throw them into dungeons, and compel the payment of a heavy ransom for their liberty.+ He got by water to Hamsey, and entering the abbey of St. Benedict at morning's dawn, surprised the monks asleep in their beds after the fatigue of nocturnal offices ; he turned them oat of their * Triveti annales apuli Hall, p. 12, 13,ad arm. 1143. G util. Nevbr. lib. i. cap. ii. p. 44. ad ann. 1143. Jloveden, p. 486, Hist. Minor. Matt. Par. in bib. reg. apud S. Jacobum. t Henry llnntinydon, lib. viii. Rer. Anglicar. script, post Bedam, p. 393. Chron. Gervatii, apud script. X. col. 1360. Itudulpb de Dieeto, ib. col. S08. Vir aulem iste magnanimità, veiut equus validus et infneuus, maneria, villas, cœtexaque, proprietatem regiam contingentes, invasit, igni combussit, Ac. Ac. MS. in Hibl. Animi., A. n. 1647, a. 43. cap. ix., now in tbe Library of tbe Rovai Society. Annales Dunstaple apud Hearne, torn. i. p. 23.


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