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much. But a certain clerk of the courts, called Adam de Straton paid thirty-two thousand marks of old and new money, besides jewels without number, and precious vessels of silver, which were found in his house, together
with a king's crown, which some said was King John's. After this the King constrained the judges to swear that for the future they should take no pension, fee, or gift of any man, except a breakfast, or some such small kindness.'
In the fourteenth year of Edward II. the King allowed to the prisoners in the Tower, two pence a day to a knight, and a penny a day to an esquire for their diet. In 1320, the King's justices sate in the Tower, for trial of divers matters, at which time John Gissors, late Lord Mayor of London, and several others fled to the city, for fear of being charged with things they had presumptuously done. The next year the Mortimers yeilding themselves to King Edward II. he sent them prisoners to the Tower, where they were condemned to be drawn, and hanged. But Roger Mortimer of Wigmore, by giving his keepers sleepy drink, made his escape, but his uncle Mortimer died there, above five years afterward.
In 1326, the citizens of London took possession of the Tower, and taking away the keys from the constable, they discharged all the prisoners, and kept both the city and tower for the use of Queen Isabel and her son Edward (who was afterward Edward the III.)
In 1330, Roger Mortimer Earl of March, was taken, and committed to the Tower, from whence he was drawn to the Elms, and there hanged on the common gallows, where he hung two days and nights by the King's command, and was then buried in the Grey Friar's church; this Earl was condemned by his peers, and yet was never brought to make his defence before them. He himself having procured a law to that purpose, by which the Earls of Lancaster, Winchester, Gloucester, and Kent were put to death, and now he himself suffered by the same law.
In the third year of Edward III. 1344, the King commanded Florences of gold to be coined in the Tower; Perceval de Port, of Lake, being then master of the Mint, and this is the first coining we read of there; we read likewise that the same year the King appointed bis exchange of money to be kept in Sernes 'l'ower, being part of the King's house in Buckles (or Bucklers) Bury. And we find that in former times all great sums were paid by weight, that is, so many pounds or marks of gold or silver cut into blank pieces without any stamp upon them, and smaller sums were paid in Starlings which were pence so called, for they bad no other monies; this Starling, or Easterling money, took
its name, as it is judged, from the Easterlings which first made it in Engerland in the reign of Henry II. though others imagine it so called from a star stamped in the ring or edge of the penny; or of a bird called a starling stamped on it; others yet more unlikely, of being coined at Striveling or Sterling, a town in Scotland, but the first opinion seems the most probable.
In 1360, a peace being concluded between England and France, Edward 111. came back into England, and went to the Tower to visit the French King, who was prisoner there, setting his ransom at three millions of Florences, which being paid, he was discharged from his imprisonment and the King conducted him with honor to the sea-side.
In the fourth year of Richard II. 1381, a grievous tax was laid upon the subjects, which caused much trouble. For the courtiers, greedy to inrich themselves, informed the King that the tax was not so care. fully gathered as it ought; and therefore they would pay a great sum of money to farm it, which they would raise above what it was before, by being more severe in gathering it. This proposition was soon accepted, so that having the King's authority, and letters, these farmers or commissioners, met in several places in Kent and Essex, where they levied this tax of groats, or pole-money, with all manner of severity, which so discontented the people, that they combined together, and resisted the collectors, killing some, wounding others, and making the rest fly.
The tumult began first in Kent, upon this occasion, (as it is related in the chronicles of St. Albans) one of these exactors coming to the house of Jolin (others say) Wat Tyler, living at Dartford in Kent, demanded of Tyler's wife, a groat a piece for her husband, herself, and servants, and likewise for a young maiden her daughter; the woman paid for all but her daughter, alledging she was a child, and under age to pay; that will I soon know, (quoth the collector) and shamefully turned the young maids coats up, to see whether she was come to ripeness of age; (these villians having in divers others places made the like base, and uncivil trials.) Hereupon the mother crying out, divers of the neighbours came in, and her husband being at work in the town, tiling a house, hearing of it, taking his lathing staff in his hand, ran home, and finding the collector, asked him, who made him so bold? the collector returned ill language and struck at Tyler, who avoiding the blow, gave the collector such a home-blow with his lathing-staff, that his brains flew out of his head; which made a great uproar in the streets, and the people being glad at what had happened, they prepared to defend and stand by Tyler.
And thereupon a great number of them being got together, they went from thence to Maidstone, and then to Black-Heath, persuading, and exhorting all the people as they marched along to join with them in this common cause, and setting guards upon all the ways to Canterbury, they stopped all passengers, compelling them to swear ; that they would keep allegiance to King Richard, and to the Commons; that they would accept of no King whose name was John, (because of the hatred they had to John Duke of Lancaster, who called himself King of Castile.) And that they should be ready when they were called, and should agree to no tax to be levied from thenceforth in the kingdom, nor consent to any, except it were a fifteenth.
There joined with them one John Ball a factious clergyman, who took occasion to rip up the grounds of the mis-government, telling the people, that this difference of mens, estates, where some were potentates and others bondmen, was against christian liberty, taking for bis text this old rhyme,
When Adam delv'd and Eve span,
This so incensed the commons that their number daily increased, 30 that when they were come as far as Black-Heath, they were esteemed to be an hundred thousand, so that fearing no resistance, they began to commit all manner of violence, sparing none whom they thought to be learned especially if they found a pen or inkborn about him, for then they pulled off his hood, and then with one voice cried out, hale him out and cut off his head. The King sent some knights to them to know the cause of their assembling, to whom they answered, that for certain causes they were come together, and desired to talk with the King, and therefore willed the knights to tell him, that he must needs come to them, that he might understand the desire of their hearts. The King was advised by some to go presently to them, but Simon Sudbury Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Chancellor, and Robert Hales of St. Johns, treasurer, affirmed, that it was not fit for the King to go to such a rude company, but rather to take order to suppress them.
This the commons hearing, were so enraged, that they swore, they would go seek the King's traitors, and cut off their beads; and thereupon they marched into Southwark, and ruined the Archbishop's palace at Lambeth, out of spite to him. The Lord Mayor and Aldermen fearing they would do the like to the city, ordered the gates to be
shut, but the commoners of the city, especially the poorer sort, favouring the commoners of the country, threatened death to all that should attempt it; so that the rebels had free egress, and regress in
and out of London, and daily encouraged the citizens to favour their | cause, declaring, their purpose was only to bring the traitors of the
land to justice, and then they would lay down their arms; and hereby they won them to stand by them.
The first thing they did when they came to London was to send for one Richard Lyon a grave citizen, who had been Tyler's master, and having struck off his head, they carried it upon a pole in triumph before them. The next day they came to the Savoy, the Duke of Lancaster's house, which they set on fire, burning all his rich furniture breaking in pieces all his plate and jewels, and throwing them in the Thames, saying, they were men of justice, and would not like robbers inrich themselves with any man's goods, for they only were for destroying traitors; and when one of their fellows was espied to thrust a fair piece of silver into his bosom, they took him, and cast both him and it into the fire; neither took they any thing from any man but at the just price. Two and thirty of them were got into the Duke's winecellar, where they stayed drinking so long, till the rafters of the house, which was on fire, fell upon them, and so covered them, that not able to get out, they were heard cry seven days after, and then perished.
From the Savoy they went to the Temple where they burnt the lawyers' chambers, with their books, and writings, and all they could lay hands on. Also the noble house of St. John's, by Smithfield, they set on fire, which burnt for seven days together, not suffering any to quench it, and likewise the manor of Highbury, and other places belonging to St. John's. After this they came to the Tower, where King Richard lodged, and sent to command him to come to them, without delay, unarmed, and without any guard, which if he refused they would pull down the Tower, and he should not escape alive. The King finding no other remedy though he had six hundred armed men, and as many archers about him, yet durst not but to suffer them to enter, so that in great fear the King went toward them on horseback, his own guards standing as men amazed. Being come in the Tower, these rusticks presumed to enter into the King and his mother's chambers with their weapons, and laid themselves on the King's bed, sporting and playing thereon, yea they abused the King's mother, offering to kiss her in such a rude manner that she fell into a SWOON,
They then proceeded with rage and fury to search for the Archbishop of Canterbury, and finding one of his servants, charged him to bring them to the traitor bis master; the servant being afraid, brought them to the chapel where his master was at prayers, who being aware their coming, had continued there all night; and when he heard they were come, he said with great constancy to his servants, let us now go, of surely it is best to die, when it is no pleasure to live; upon which the rabble cried, where is the traitor? who answered, I am the Archbishop whom ye seek, not a traitor. Whereupon they dragged him out of the chaple to Tower-hill, where being encompassed with many thou. sands, and seeing many drawn swords about his head, he said,
What is it (dear brethren) you purpose to do? what is mine offence committed against you, for which you will kill me? you were best take heed, that if I be killed, who am your pastor, there come not on you the indignation of the just revenger, or at least for such a fact all England be not put under interdiction, or the Pope's curse. But they cried out with a great noise, that they did not fear the interdiction, neither did allow the Pope to be above them. The Archbishop seeing death at hand, spoke then fairly, and granting forgiveness to the executioner, he kneeled down and offered his head to be cut off ; the hangman struck him on the neck but not deadly, he putting up bis hand, said, ah! it is the hand of God; and being struck again before he removed his hand, his fingers ends were cut off, and part of the arteries, with which he fell down, but died not, till they had mangled bim with eight several strokes in the neck and head. His body lay two days unburied, none daring to do it; his head they cut off, and nailing his hood thereon, fixed it upon a pole on London Bridge. This Simon Sudbury was eighteen years Bishop of London, and being translated to Canterbury, he in 1375 repaired the walls of London from the West-gate, (which he built) to the North-gate, which bad been destroyed by the Danes, before the conquest of William the bastard. He was at last buried in the cathedral at Canterbury.
Sir Robert Hales lord treasurer of England, suffered with him at the same time, a most valiant Knight, and Lord of St. John's; together with John Leg, one of the serjeants at arms, and William Apledore a Franciscan friar who was the King's confessor ; many more. were beheaded daily, for no cause but the pleasure of the commons, for it was pastime to them, to take any who were not sworn of their party and pulling off their hoods, behead them; they took thirteen Flemings out of the Augustine Friars, seventeen out of another church, and thirty-two in the Vintry, and beheaded them all.; and to make a