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

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 80



His consort he still retained in captivity, and his sons he still viewed with feelings of jealous hostility. The prison of the unfortunate Eleanora was the palace at Winchester, where she was confided to the charge of Ranulph de Glanville, the lord justiciary of England, a person devoted to the interests of her husband, but who treated her with all the respect and kindness within his power. In February, 1177, the Princess Joanna, the youngest daughter of King Henry and his consort, was married to William the Good, King of Sicily, at Palermo, then the capital of that king dom. Although peace and happiness found no resting-place in the palace of royalty, the repose of the land was not disturbed, and the English people enjoyed a rapidly increasing prosperity. Many excellent laws were passed for the advancement of morals and trade. The land was divided into nine circuits, and three judges were appointed to each circuit. An assize of arms was likewise established, by which all persons, according to the property they possessed, were compelled to provide themselves with certain war implements for the defence of the kingdom. Trade and manufactures flourished, and commerce sent forth her merchant ships, which returned laden with gold, silver, precious stones, frankincense, spices, wines, costly silken garments, beautiful satin velvets and brocades, and other riches and delicacies from the south of Europe, and from Asia. London, the great commercial sea-port, was also abundantly supplied with rich furs and other articles of merchandize from the northern parts of Germany, from Norway, and from Russia. The city of London was at this period surrounded by an embattled wall, of which a remaining fragment still exists in the ancient churchyard of St. Gileswith out-Cripple gate. It was guarded in the south by the Tower of London, and entered by several gates, the chief being Aldgate, Bishopsgate, Cripplegate, Aldersgate, Newgate, Ludgate, Lowgate, and Billingsgate ; the two latter being water gates opening on to the Thames. Each of the numerous streets within the city were appropriated to tradesmen of only one calling : thus, all the bakers-resided in one street, the butchers in another, the shoemakers in another, and so forth—a plan which continued for several centuries afterwards. The great Bchools were the Holy Trinity at Aldgate, St. Paul's cathedral school, and the convent school of St. Martin's le Grand. There appears to have been no want of public worship in the city, and the suburbs boasted of thirteen conventual, and a hundred and twenty parochial churches. The western suburbs were, as now, for the most part occupied by the nobility. On the Strand road stood the old Temple, surrounded by beautiful gardens that sloped down to the Thames, then the thoroughfare of the metropolis. Further to the westward was the Abbey of Westminster, the old and the new palaces of royalty, and other stately structures. Nearer to the city were the silvery fountains of St. Clement's well, Holywell, and Clerkenwell. Whilst to the' eastward lay the manor of Finsbury, and the spreading swamp known as Moorfields, to which the Londoners resorted in winter, to skate on the ice, by means of bones fastened to the soles of their shoes, and to partake of other sports. At Smithfield, or Smoothfield, as it was then called, a market was held on every Friday, for the sale of horses, where persons of all ranks, from the proud baron to the needy citizen, were accustomed to resort. Such was the world's metropolis in the middle of the twelfth century, an era when science was as a dead letter, and the principles of government, of trade, and of commerce were obscured by the thick veils of ignorance and superstition. But wrhilst the nation was rapidily ad vancing in wealth and refinement, King Henry and his sons were engaged in a bitter strife, which lasted for several years, and which it would be alike tedi ous and uninteresting minutely to detail. However, be it observed, matters would doubtless not have been carried to the length they were, but for the hatred of


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