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MATTHEW OF WESTMINSTER
The flowers of history, especially such as relate to the affairs of Britain. Vol. II. A.D. 1066 to A.D. I307.

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MATTHEW OF WESTMINSTER
The flowers of history, especially such as relate to the affairs of Britain. Vol. II. A.D. 1066 to A.D. I307.
page 129



pope, on the day of the Apostle Saint Andrew, formally excommunicated Louis, the eldest son of the king of France, and all the counts and barons of England, who, with their accomplices, were conspiring and rising up in insurrection against the king of England, the vassal of the church of Rome. War now increased in England from day to day, the barons first of all occupying, in a hostile manner, the whole county of Northampton, with the town of that name itself, with the exception of the castle, the garrison of which defended itself manfully. But the besiegers, being destitute of the necessary engines, retired without succeeding in their object. For before these events had happened, the king, providing for the future, had secretly fortified his castles. From thence, the barons came to London, and on the seventeenth of May they entered the city, and occupied it without meeting with any resistance ; for the citizens detested king John for the many unjust exactions with which he had incessantly oppressed them. Accordingly, having held a conference there, they sent some of their allies, both barons and citizens, beyond the sea, to Louis, whom they had elected king, to desire him to hasten and come with all speed to England, as he might then at once obtain the kingdom without any difficulty or opposition. And that he might not hesitate, they sent, both to the king of France and his son, letters patent, with the seals of the nobles affixed, and fifty hostages. The same year, after the feast of Saint Michael, king John besieged the castle of Rochester, in which were some gallant barons, namely, William of Albinet, and many others, whom Robert Fitz-Walter, who was lying lazy and inactive with his whole army in London, was bound to succour, but he would not do so. Owing to which, the aforesaid castle was miserably taken, and the nobles were taken prisoners, and thrust into Corfe castle to await the king's pleasure, and were at last ransomed when scarcely alive. After that, the king became a perfect tyrant, and a destroyer of his own kingdom, hiring, as his soldiers, a band of foreigners, to wit Savaric de Mallein, with his fickle Poitevins, and Gerard de Sotingin, with his inconstant Flemings, and Walter, surnamed Bue, with his vile troop. And then there arose unheard-of confusion in the kingdom, of so fierce a character, that sons were seen to rise in a hostile manner against the fathers, and fathers against their sons. Accordingly, king John, accompanied by that detestable troop of foreigners, whose


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