« السابقةمتابعة »
BONI- be put into their custody, or into the hands of such as they Abp. Cant. should appoint.
4. They forced the king and prince Edward, under the menaces of perpetual imprisonment, to consent to this agreement; and made it death to any person, of what condition or quality soever, to oppose, or appear against, these provisions: and, that they might have the countenance of the spiritual authority, the bishops at this parliament, of which order there appeared about nine, denounced those excommunicated that should break in upon the articles above mentioned.
And here, Matthew of Westminster falls into some strains of satire against this liberty with the crown. He desires to know, with what modesty and conscience the bishop of Worcester, and the other prelates, could give their consent to such dishonourable and dethroning articles? That it was matter of admiration that these bishops, who had sworn with the rest of the barons to maintain the king's honour and government, should forget their engagements in so plain an instance.
To go on with the Oxford provisions. The twenty-four ordered there should be three parliaments in a year, and fixed the days for their sitting.
And here, upon a principle of frugality, the community, or barons, chose twelve to represent them, who, with the Annal. Bur- king's council, were to complete the parliament.
ton, p. 415, 416.
This Oxford parliament drew up an oath of association to maintain the provisions agreed on. In this oath there is 1d. p. 413. a clause for the saving their allegiance to the crown. The king's And to secure the king from receiving any counter imthers chased pressions from his four half brothers, Athelmar, elect of out of Eng- Winchester, Guy and Geoffrey de Lusignan, and William de Valencia, they chased these noblemen first from Oxford, and afterwards out of the kingdom.
Conventiones, Literæ, &c. tom. 1. p. 722.742. The battle at Lewes.
These articles lying heavy upon the crown, having been extorted by duress, the king was very desirous to disengage himself. To this purpose he procured the pope's bull to absolve him, and those who adhered to him, from the oath taken at Oxford.
The king's conscience being thus at liberty, he drew out
"' Paris, 995.
into the field against the barons, took Northampton, and HENRY went on with success till the battle of Lewes. In this dis- K. of Eng. pute, the royalists were defeated; the king, his brother Richard, king of the Romans, and many other barons, were taken prisoners; but the castle holding out for the king, Contin. prince Edward, who was at the battle, rallied his forces, and designed to try his fortune once more against the enemy. This resolution of the prince made the confederate barons doubt the issue, and brought them to a treaty. And tween the king and thus, the controversy was in a manner wholly referred to the the barons king of France. This prince, perceiving king Henry had referred to been overborne by the barons at Oxford, annulled all the Westminst provisions of that parliament.
p. 393. Conven
This decision was immediately seconded by the pope's tiones, Libull, and excommunication denounced against all those who teræ, &c. refused to comply with the French king's award.
tom. 1. p. 781.
Id. p. 782.
But Simon Montfort, who headed the rebellious barons, being possessed of the king's and prince's person, took no notice of his holiness's order. And here we are to observe, that while the king was in Montfort's custody, his name and seal were used for what purposes the earl thought fit.
To give one remarkable instance; this earl sent out writs in the king's name to summon the bishops, barons, abbots, and priors, to a parliament at London. There is likewise a writ directed to the sheriffs to send up two knights from each county, and the boroughs are ordered to send up the same number out of their corporations. By the way, this is the first time we meet with this representation of the com- Convenmons in parliament.
To give another instance of Montfort's abuse of the royal See Brady name to countenance his own disloyalty: after prince Ed- against ward had made his escape out of the barons' custody, this Montfort, earl of Leicester, forced the king to proclaim his son, the prince, and all his loyal subjects, rebels, and write to the bishops to excommunicate them.
Id. 810, 811, 812.
Prince Edward having gained his liberty, endeavoured to Contin. rescue the king out of the hands of the rebellious barons. Paris, p. 997, 998. To this purpose he marched his troops to Evesham in The rebels Worcestershire, where he was joined by the earl of Gloces- defeated at ter and the forces commanded by Roger Mortimer: and and the here, Montfort being blocked up in Evesham, was forced recovered.
BONI- to draw out his army and come to a battle. The rebels Abp. Cant. maintained the fight for some time with great obstinacy: but, at last, they were entirely routed, and Montfort their general slain.
This battle restored the government, and gave the king his liberty, who immediately after declared against Montfort's violence, and made void all his former grants and instruments made under duress. And thus I have brought the state period to the year 1265.
tom. 1. p.
A. D. 1261.
To return to the Church: in the year 1259, pope Alexander wrote a letter to the English barons, in answer to a letter to the late remonstrance they had sent him. The pope takes no
ander the Fourth's
tice the barons had suggested, that in regard of the piety of the monks, their ancestors had conveyed the patronage of several churches to the monasteries, in confidence these religious would present persons well qualified to the bishops; and that by this means, the parishes might be well supplied, and the poor relieved. But that the barons were disappointed in this pious design, partly by the pope's provisions, and partly by the avarice and mismanagement of the monasteries, which, by procuring appropriations from the apostolick see, furnished the parishes at discretion, overlooked the authority of their diocesans, and converted the profits of their livings to their own use. The pope endeavours to excuse himself upon these heads; tells them, that when he granted the monks the privilege of appropriations, it was done in hope of advancing religion; it was done to augment the slender endowments of some monasteries, and to put them in a better condition to assist the indigent: however, notwithstanding the integrity of his meaning, he might possibly be mistaken in some instances; for, though he had the honour to represent a person who was neither liable to error or falsehood, yet himself being a son of Adam, and having the infirmities of human nature about him, he might be imposed on by false suggestions, and surprised into a mistake, like other men.
And whereas the barons had complained of the low condition of learning and philosophy, and that in this respect, the English were much inferior to their predecesto this, the pope answers that they had a very flourishing seminary of arts and sciences: that no country
of Christendom had better opportunities for education: and HENRY that all parts of learning were carried to a great improve- K. of Eng. ment in their universities.
And as for their menacing to recall the munificence of their predecessors, and dispose of the patrimony of the Church, he gives them to understand that this liberty was altogether impracticable: that they had no right to overthrow the settlements made by themselves or their predecessors, or lay their hands upon that which was consecrated to God Almighty. At last, he promises to redress what was really amiss, and to refer the reformation in a great measure to the English bishops.
2. p. 305.
In the year 1261, there was a provincial council held at ton, p. 438. Lambeth. But the constitutions of this synod being much the same with those of Merton, I shall waive the recital. Spelman, These constitutions of Merton and Lambeth carried the Concil. vol. privileges of the Church too high, and bore too hard upon A. D. 1261. the common law in some instances. This overstraining the point made the king uneasy: however, he did not think it proper to refer the controversy to his own courts, but applied to the pope for a remedy.
In his letter, he informs the pope that the reverend The king moves the fathers, Boniface, archbishop of Canterbury, and his sufpope for a revocation fragans, had passed some synodical decrees to the prejudice of the conof his crown and kingdom, and therefore desires his holiness stitutions of would revoke those constitutions. This letter is addressed to pope Urban IV., and dated October 23, 1261.
H. 3. M. 19.
appears, was silent about two years:
The pope, as far as it after which time, he sent the king an answer to his request. A. d. 1263. In this letter he takes notice, that the Church of England had suffered great hardships by the maladministration of the king's ministers of justice. That, to provide against these encroachments, the archbishop of Canterbury and his suffragans had passed several commendable constitutions in defence of their liberties: and that they had since made application to the apostolick see, to confirm their provincial synod. These decrees, as far as it appears, the pope The pope had made no difficulty to confirm, had it not been for the defers the remonstrance of the king's ambassadors, who declared against tion. them as prejudicial to the rights of the crown. For this reason, the pope tells the king, he deferred the confirming
BONI- them, though otherwise he had nothing to object. In the close of the letter, he desires the king would be tender of from the privileges of the Church, and forbid his ministers encroaching upon them.
The next year, the king taking a progress through the diocese of Hereford, to secure the frontiers against the Welsh, happened to find the see without either bishop, A. D. 1264. dean, or official, to govern the bishoprick. Upon this occasion, he sent his precept or writ to the bishop of Hereford
Conventiones, Literæ, &c. tom. 1. p. 755.
The king's letter to the bishop of
to reprimand him for his neglect, and enjoin him residence. And here, amongst other things, he lets the bishop know, that the temporalities were settled upon the see by his preHereford to decessors for the benefit of religion: that unless the bishop enjoin him residence. would answer these ends, and discharge the functions of his station, he would stop the revenues, and seize the barony: being resolved that those who refuse to undergo the burthen, should never receive the profits and advantages of the office.
Spel. Concil. vol. 2. p. 316. Ex.
And here, though the bishop's neglect is not to be deBibl. Cot- fended, yet, it may be, those that drew up the king's order,
overstrained some of the expressions, and made his highness threaten too high: for first, the revenues of the Church being settled without any clause of revocation, they do not become liable to seizure or forfeiture for maladministration. Besides, had the misbehaviour of the bishop of Hereford been referred to the archbishop, or a provincial synod, it had been much more agreeable to the rights and discipline of the Church.
The next thing remarkable in the Church is, the national synod held at London under cardinal Othobon, the pope's legate; Matthew of Westminster reports, that besides all the M. West- English prelates, those of Wales, Scotland, and Ireland,
minster ad An. 1268.
were present at this council.
The learned sir Henry Spelman happens to be mistaken al council at twenty years in assigning the time of this synod. He
assigns it to the year 1248: whereas it is evident by the title and preface, that it was held in the pontificate of Clement IV., who was not advanced to the papacy till the year 1265. And then, as for Othobon, he was not sent Concil. tom. legate into England till two years after.
11. col. 907. The canons of this council were of great authority, and
under the legate Otho