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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 172

E ergy he dreaded, had been betrayed by one of his countrymen, and already sent prisoner to London. He therefore disbanded his wearied troops, and accomanied by the Queen, returned to Engrad in triumph. On reaching London, he, to strike terror into the Scotch, caused the patriot Wallace to be tried for treason, murder, and robbery, and executed as a traitor. For this act, some historians brand Edward as a blood-thirsty tyrant, whilst others, leaping to the opposite extreme, declare, that although Wallace was, strictly speaking, not a traitor, as he had never sworn fealty to the King of England, still, being by his own acknowledgment a robber and a murderer, he fully merited the death he suffered. But whatever view may be taken of the conduct and fate of this heroic Scotchman, it must be admitted that there was something peculiar in his case which rendered him less worthy of mercy than the other Scotch patriots, as towards them Edward displayed a lenity and moderation rarely indeed granted by a conqueror to the vanquished. About this period, several events occurred worthy of mention. "In 1300," says the chronicler, "King Edward forbade the passing of divers false moneyes made by art of copper and sulphur silvered, such as crockards, pollardes, rosaries, and others coined in partes beyond the seas, and uttered here for stirlings, so that many thereby were deceived. These monies, the King at first commanded to be current for halfpence, which was but half the value they were coined for, but on Easter even, next following, the same monies were forbidden throughout England ; after which they were called in, and a new sterling money eoined unto the King's great advantage." In the subsequent year, the bakers of London were, by a royal decree, allowed to hold four hallmotes a vear to determine of offences committed in their business, and were restricted to selling bread in the market, then kept on the site of Bread Street, which gave name to Bread Street Ward. The year 1303 was rendered remarkable by one of the most daring and successful robberies on record. During the absence of Edward in Scotland, it was discovered that a burglarious entry had been effected into the exchequer at Westminster, the door of the apartment containing the royal treasure battered in by sheer force, the chests and coffers wrenched open, and plate, jewels, and money abstracted to the amount it was computed of a hundred thousand pounds. Suspicion first fell on the ecclesiastics of Westminster, and the abbots, forty-eight monks, and thirty-two other persons connected with the abbey, were arrested by order of the King ; the clergy being sent to the Tower, and the laymen to the " new prison near to New Gate." They were subsequently tried by the King's justices, and as the charges against them could not be substantiated, ultimately acquitted. The most probable perpetrators of this daring deed were one Richard de Podlicote, and William, a gardener at the royal palace. Podlicote, it appears, sold to the London goldsmiths the great bulk of the stolen treasure. Amongst other valuables so disposed of, are enumerated a superb silver dish, weighing fifteen pounds, two gold cups of five pounds weight each, besides gold clasps, rings, and rubies, pearls, emeralds and other precious stones, by the lap-full. How this audacious thief could sell these valuables without suspicion is indeed surprising, especially as, after completely glutting the London market with his plunder, he boldly marched off to Northampton, Winchester, and other places, where, poor in purse as we are told our forefathers were, he found ready purchasers, and at good prices too, for the right royal treasures. Doubtless this robbery occasioned Edward no very agreeable recollections of the period when he himself ruthlessly broke open and pillaged the treasury chests of the Knights Templars. A great sensation was created at the English court in 1305, by the public punishment of Prince Edward. This Prince, from his earliest boyhood, harì been fond of low, riotous company, and advancing step by step in the evil road, at length committed most unwarrantable outrages. One day, after indulging

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