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EDMUND FITZALAN. — FESTIVAL OF KNIGHTHOOD.
and in various capacities appears to have done the state much acceptable service.
s During the life of EDMUND, the fourth Earl, the affairs of Scotland
| assumed a threatening aspect; and the King, exasperated by the murder of Comyn, resolved to march an army across the frontier. Great preparations were made to render the expedition, in all respects, worthy of the grand object in view. The royal armies were ordered from their cantonments, and hastened into the field under the command of Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke.
In preparation for the expedition, “ proclamation was made, that a grand national fete would solemnise the movement; that the Prince of Wales
would be knighted on the Feast of Pentecost; and all the young nobility of the kingdom were summoned to appear at Westminster to receive that honour along with him. On the eve of the appointed day (the 22nd of May,
270 noble youths, with their pages and retinues, assembled in the Gardens of the Temple, in which the trees were cut down that they might pitch their tents; they watched their arms all night, according to the usage of chivalry; the prince, and some of those of highest rank, in the Abbey of Westminster; the others in the Temple Church. On the morrow, Prince Edward was knighted by his father in the Hall of the Palace, and then proceeding to the Abbey, conferred the like honour on his companions. A magnificent feast followed, at which two swans covered with nets of gold being set on the table by the minstrels, the King rose, and made a solemn vow to God and to the swans, that he would avenge the death of Comyn and punish the perfidy of the Scottish rebels. Then, addressing his son and the rest of the company, he conjured them, in the event of his death, to keep his body unburied until his successor should have accomplished this vow. The next morning the prince, with his companions, departed for the Borders; Edward himself followed by slow journeys, being only able to travel in a litter.”
Such was the bright morning of Edmund Fitzalan's life; and the annexed gives us the dark contrast in his tragical end.
The citizens, says Froissart, seeing they had no other means of | saving the town, their lives, and their fortunes, acceded to the Queen's terms, and opened their gates to her. She entered the town attended by Sir John de Hainault, with all her barons, knights, and esquires, who took their lodging therein. The others, for want of accommodation, remained without. Sir Hugh Spencer and the Earl of Arundel were then delivered to the Queen to do with them according to her good pleasure. The Queen then ordered the elder Spencer and Arundel to be brought before her eldest son and the barons assembled, and said that she and her son would see that Justice should be done unto them according to their deeds. "Ah, madam," said Spencer, “God grant us an upright judge and a just sentence; and that if we cannot find it in this world, we may find it in another.” The charges against them being read, an old knight was called upon to pass sentence; and her son, with the other barons and knights, pronounced the prisoners guilty. Their sentence was, that they, the said Earl of Arundel and Spencer, should be drawn in a hurdle to the place of execution, there to be beheaded, and afterwards to be hung on a gibbet. “ The which was duly carried into effect on the feast of St, Denis," at Bristol-or, according to others, at Hereford.
RICHARD, the son and successor of Edmund, became highly distinguished among the great men of his time. His life and exploits make no inconsiderable figure in the national annals.
When a fleet of cruisers, sent out by the French for the annoyance of British commerce in the Channel, had made prizes of many of our best
EARL RICHARD. —VICTORY AT SLUYS.
merchant ships, pillaged several towns on the coast, and caused much consteruation to all who were interested in the prosperity of commerce, Arundel
hoisted his flag on board the “Admiral,” and put to sea. Another fleet was ordered to co-operate with him in the eastern coast; the first cruise checked the audacity of the enemy, and re-established public confidence and good order.
S His next public service was off the harbour of Sluys, where, in an
engagement with the French feet, he was second in command under King Edward the Third, and gained a complete victory.
“When the king's fleet,” says the chronicler, “was almost got to Sluys, they saw so many masts standing before it, that they looked like a wood. The king asked the commander of his ship what they could be, who answered that he imagined they must be that armament of Normans which the King of France kept at sea, and which had so frequently done him much damage, had burnt the good town of Southampton, and taken his large ship the Christopher.' The king replied, I have for a long time wished to meet with them, and now, please God and St. George, we will fight with them; for in trutli
they have done me so much mischief, that I will be revenged upon them if possible.”
The large ships under Lord Arundel, the bishop of Noiwich, and others, now advanced, adds Froissart, and ran in among those of Flanders: but they had not any advantage; for the crossbow-men defended themselves gallantly under their commander Sir John de Bucque. He and his company were well armed in a ship equal in bulk to any they might meet, and had their cannons on board, which were of such a weight, that great inischief was done by them. This battle was very fierce and obstinate, for it continued three or four hours; and many of the vessels were sunk by the “large and sharplypointed bolts of iron which were cast down from the maintops, and made large holes in their decks.” When night came on, they separated, and cast anchor to repair their damage and take care of the wounded. But at the next flow of the tide, they again set sail and renewed the combat; yet the English continually gained on the Flemings, and, having got between them and Blanquenberg and Sluys, drove them on Cadsand, where the defeat was completed.
So great was the disaster to the French monarch on this day, that none of his ministers would venture to communicate to bim the amount of life and property which had been sacrificed. What the minister, however, durst not reveal, the king's jester found means to divulge. “What arrant cowards are those English!” said the jester. “How so?” demanded Philip. “Because,', answered zany,“they had not courage to jump overboard, as the French and Normans did lately at Sluys *.” This opened the king's eyes, and prepared him for the disastrous tidings that were now poured in upon him.
Six years later, Arundel was appointed admiral of the king's feet, and conveyed the great military expedition from Southampton to Normandy. When the troops were disembarked at La Hogue, he was created constable of the forces; and with Northampton and other noblemen commanded the second division at the battle of Cressy t.
During the heat of the combat, when Prince Edward was surrounded by the enemy and in personal jeopardy, Arundel and Northampton hastened to his support; ordered their division forward, and closed with the enemy. The English rushed upon their assailants with renewed ardour; the French line was charged, broken, and dispersed; "earls, knights, squires, and menat-arms, continuing the struggle in confused masses, were mingled in one promiscuous slaughter.” When night closed, King Philip, with a retinue of only five barons and sixty knights, fled in dismay before the cry of “St. George
* Hume, 4to, 175; Wals. 148
+ Speed, fol. 689.
NAVAL VICTORY.—THE CONSPIRACY.
for England !" Eleven princes, twelve hundred knights, and thirty thousand soldiers, had fallen on the side of the French.
On another occasion, but on a different element, Arundel was present with the king, in his “chivalrous engagement with the French fleet, off Winchelsea;" and four years later was deputed to the court of Pope Innocent, then at Avignon, in the fruitless attempt to arrange the articles of a permanent reconciliation between the Crowns of England and France.
Arundel survived these brilliant events many years; and during the leisure secured to him by his great public services, appears to have found occupation for his active mind and munificent taste in repairing and embellishing his ancestral* Castle, where he died at an advanced age, and bequeathed immense possessions to his family.
The contrast presented in the life and destinies of his son forms a melancholy page in the family history. He was a brave man, and had per formed several gallant exploits. But it was his misfortune to fall upon evil times, of which intrigue, disaffection, private revenge, and outward violence were leading characteristics. Associating with the turbulent spirits who surrounded an imbecile and capricious monarch, his character took the complexion of the age.
[ He is said to
have been at the head of a conspiracy already mentioned in this work, page 39, and which is thus recorded by Holinshed, Grafton, and others of the old chironiclerst. The Earls of Arundel, Derby, Marshal, and Warwick; the Archbishop of Canterbury, Arundel's brother; the Abbot of St. Alban's, and the Prior of Westminster, met the Duke of Gloucesters in Arundel Castle, where, receiving first the sacra
• Froiss. C. 132.
therewith received the sacrament at the hands of + The fortunes and fate of the noblemen and the Archbishop of Canterbury, who celebrated prelates will be detailed in a future page of this mass before them the following morning, which work.
done, they withdrew into a chamber and fell into "They sware each to other to be assistant in conversation together. When in the end they light all such matters as they should determine; and upon this point-to take Kin; Richard, the Dukes