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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 195



refusal, and used her utmost endeavours against them. Castle after castle now fell into the King's hands. The people rushed to the standard of the King for no other reason than because his cause was in the ascendancy ; and as the barons could raise no forces to defend themselves, they gave way to despondency. Some were taken prisoners, some threw themselves on the King's mercy, some sought safety on the continent, and the Earl of Lancaster, with the remains of his faction, fled to the north, assembled an army, and avowed his long-suspected connection with Scotland. In the spring of 1322, the King, at the head of a powerful army, marched to the north against the confederate barons, won the battle of lioroughbridgc on the sixteenth of March, and took prisoners the Earl of Leicester, one hundred and one knights, and fourteen ba-[ ronets. The Earl, on being summoned to surrender, entered the chapel, and kneeling before the crucifix with clasped hands, exclaimed, " Good Lord, I surrender myself to thee, and put me unto thy mercy!" His captors stripped off his noble attire, clad him in the livery of one of his own vassals, and carried him to Pontefract Castle, where the King, the elder Spencer, the Earls of Kent, liichmond, Pembroke, and aftw others, condemned him as a traitor, to be hanged, drawn, and quartered; but Edward afterwards, in consideration of his royal blood, commuted the sentence to that of decapitation. A few hours after his doom was pronounced, he was led to execution on an old hack, without trappings or bridle. At the instigation of the royalists, the rabble pelted him with mud, and heaped all conceivable indignities on him, which so overcame him, that with eyes cast upwards, as if in prayer, he fervently cried aloud, "King of heaven, do thou have mercy on me, for the king of earth hath forsaken me !" Then kneeling down on an eminence, just without the town, with his face towards the north, in allusion to his having leagued against his sovereign with the Scotch King, he was beheaded amidst the cheers of the spec tators. Badlesmere and upwards of twenty more of the leaders of this revolt were taken and executed ; and as every one now was, or pretended to be, a loyalist, the parliament, which met at York, three weeks after Easter, annulled the sentence of banishment against the two Spencers, and granted the King a tenth of the movables of the lords and commons, and a sixth part of those belonging to cities, boroughs, and ancient demesnes. Whilst Edward was fighting the barons in the north, Isabella, who, it appears, was not aware of the fate of her uncle, the Earl of Lancaster, till after his death, took up her residence in the Tower of London, where she brought into the world her last born, the Princess Joanna, the precise period of whose birth has not been chronicled. About this time, the two Mortimers, undo and nephew, were taken in arms against the King, sentenced to death, and brought to the Tower as state prisoners. The unele being aged, and brutally treated by his gaolers, after a few weeks' captivity, died of want and anguish. The nephew, a finely-proportioned, handsome noble, highly-energetic and enterprising, and with a hardy constitution that could not be injured by the rigours of severe imprisonment, was the husband of Jane, the heiress of Sir Peter Join ville, a French nobleman, and in carriage and manners as polished and polite as a French courtier. As this Itold rebel had been the first to commence civil war against Spencer, and as that favourite—his deadly foeman—completely ruled the will of the victorious King, his decapitation was hourly expected by the whole nation. Not so, however, with himself. Aware of the impression he had made on the heart of isabella, at the secret interviews he had held with her, under the pretence of bringing about the downfall of Gaveston, he now slept calmly and confidently within the same fortress where she reposed. Nay, he hud been confined to his dungeon but a few days, when his finesse and good stars procured him an interview with the Queen. The means that he used to obtain this interview are no •


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