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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 311



district, and he conferred on him many estates and ample re venues, hoping by these means to render his whole family grateful to him, and to lay them under lasting obligations to him against the time when they should be able to requite him. When the time of Lent drew near, the lord the king visited the district about Winchester, which had a very infamous re putation, through the number of robbers and nocturnal plun derers which infested it ; through which country the justicia ries had made a journey a little while before, men who ought to have cleansed those parts from such a pestilence, but the aforesaid thieves were so banded together, that the justiciaries, although energetic men, were not in the least able to curb their wickedness, nor did their violent and unconcealed de predations cease, and outcries and complaints resounded, as cending up to heaven ; and even, that their iniquities might be multiplied to an intolerable extent, the very wines of the lord the king were not safe from the plundering hands of these vio lent robbers. So the lord the king was excited to bitterness of spirit not unnaturally, nor could he any longer repress his desire for revenge. Having, therefore, made a subtle scru tiny and a searching inquisition (because this step was neces sary, in order that the craft of these universal traitors might be encountered by craft), the lord the king suddenly ordered twelve men to be summoned before him in the hall of Christ church at Winchester, by whom he expected to be more accu rately informed of the truth, and he threatened them terribly, under penalty of being hanged, to reveal to him the names of those malefactors whom they knew. Accordingly, they retired, and held along consultation among themselves, and then deter mined in no degree to discover this band of robbers. There fore, the lord the king being very angry, having shut the gates of the castle, ordered them to be arrested immediately and thrown into prison, and to be bound with chains and fet ters, as criminals deserving of being hanged. And immediately afterwards, he summoned twelve more, and caused diligent en quiry to be made of them, and addressed exhortations, with the admixture of terrible threats to them, desiring them not to follow the footsteps of the former twelve, but plainly to reveal the names of those malefactors to the lord àie king, whose determined resolution it was to deliver the country from them ; and they, retiring apart, and taking long delibe ration on the subject, began to be greatly alarmed, lest they, t


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