FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
Jase doings of Archbishop Boniface—The land infested with banditti—The judges are afraid to commit the criminals—The King himself sits on the bench of Justice —Eleanora and her children narrowly escape death by lightning—The clause of Non Obstante first used in secular cases—Eleanora's daughter Margaret married to the Scotch King—The journey—The marriage festivity—Quarrels between the King and Leicester—Money levied on the clergy—Henry insults the Bishop of Ely —Is reproved by the Countess of Arundel—Baises money for a pretended crusade —7s accused by the parliament of extravagance and misrule—Jlatifies the greatcharter, and receives an aid—Henry proceeds to Gascony to quell a revolt—Eleanora Jtegent during his absence—Birth and death of the Princess Catherine—The
Queen s private expenses.
JN" 1250, Eleanora's
Archbishop of Can
terbury, proved him
self altogether un
worthy of the pri
matoship of Eng
land. After making visitations to the monasteries and other religious houses within bis own see, he obtruded himself in the dioceses of other bishops, and with pretended anger at the misdoings of the ecclesiastics, extorted large sums from them as fines. The monks of Feversham and Rochester feared to oppose his base doings, but in London he met with determined opposition. The canons of St. Paul's dared him to pay them a visitation, and dispatched an account of his infamous conduct to the Pope. Nothing daunted by this defeat, the bold Boniface went on the following day, M ay the fourteenth, to the priory of St. Bartholomew, where, although an unwelcome visitor, the monks, bearing lighted tapers in their hands, met him in solemn procession amidst the ringing of bells.
On perceiving this, the Archbishop angrily exclaimed, " I came not to receive honour, but to pay the canons an ecclesiastical visitation."
" But, holy primate," answered one of the canons, " we have a learned bishop of our own, and ought not, nay, will not, the be visited by any other, lest we should appear to hold him in contempt."
On hearing this, the primate became so enraged, that be dealt several violent blows on the sub-prior's face, exclaiming
fiercely, ''Thus it becomes me to deal with your English traitors!" and with a volley of unutterable oaths, he tore the sub-prior's valuable cloak to shreds, j trampled it underfoot, and pushing him with great violence against a pillar of the
church, did him mortal injury7.
The canons flewr to the rescue of their
sub-prior, when, on forcing the Arch
bishop back, they threw aside his robes,
and discovered that ho was clothed in
armour. " Mercy on us !" exclaimed the
horror-stricken canons, " the primate has
come hither, not to visit nor to correct
errors, but to excite a battle !"
Upon this, the Archbishop's attendants,
who were all fellow-countrymen of his,
rushed upon the unarmed canons and
severely maltreated them. Bruised, dis
ordered, maimed, and burning with rage,
the canons went and complained to their
bishop, who bade them go and tell their
wrongs to the King. The only four who
were well enough to get as far as "West
minster, went to the palace, in their
miry, blood-stained garments ; but the
King would neither see them nor hear
their tale of woe. The populace of Lon
don, however, heaped reproaches on the
Archbishop, and declared if they caught
him they would tear him to pieces, 'the
crowds, who were in search of him, pur
sued him in hisflight to Lambeth, loudly
cryingj out, " Where is this robber,
this pillager of priests, this money ex
tortioner? He is no gainer of souls,
but an illiterate, black-hearted foreigner,
unlawfully promoted to his dignity.
Down with him ! down with him !"
From Lambeth, Boniface secretly went