Edgcote [Hegge-cote] and the prospect of Croyland Abbey being plundered (Croyland Chronicle)

ninth year of king Edward, being the year of our Lord, 1469,
there arose a great disagreement between that king and his
kinsman, Eichard, the most illustrious earl of Warwick ; which
was not allayed without the shedding of the blood of many
persons. The reason of this was, the fact that the king, being
too greatly influenced by the urgent suggestions of the queen,
admitted to his especial favour all the relations of the said
queen, as well as those who were in any way connected with
her by blood, enriching them with boundless presents and al-
ways promoting them to the most dignified offices about hi9
person : while, at the same time, he banished from his presence
his own brethren, and his kinsmen sprung from the royal blood,
together with the earl of Warwick himself, and the other nobles
of the realm who had always proved faithful to him. Ac-
cordingly, seizing this opportunity for a storm, behold ! in the
same year, and in the summer season, a whirlwind again came
down from the north, in form of a mighty insurrection of the
commons of that part of the country. These complained that
they were grievously oppressed with taxes and annual tributes
by the said favourites of the king and queen, and, having ap«
pointed one Eobert de Eedysdale to act as a captain over
them, proceeded to march, about sixty thousand in number, to
join the earl of Warwick, who was then in London.

The king, on hearing rumours to this effect, first had recourse
to the Divine aid and to the prayers of the Saints, and, having
by way of pilgrimage, first visited Edmund the Martyr, has-
tened to the city of Norwich. After this, he passed through
Walsingham to Lynn, and thence through the town of Wis-
bech to Dovesdale ; whence he rode, attended by two hundred
horsemen, upon our embankment, and, the barriers having been
opened, and all obstacles removed, at last arrived at Croyland.
Here he was honorably received, as befitted the royal dignity,
and passed the night a well-pleased guest. On the monoWy
being greatly delighted with the quietude of the place and the
courtesy shown to him, he walked on foot through the streets
to the western outlet of the vill, and after praising in high
terms of commendation ths plan of the stone bridge and
the houses, there embarked together with his attendants, and
setting sail, made a prosperous voyage to his castle of Foderyn-
gey,’ where the queen was awaiting his arrival. Having stayed

* Fothering^y castle in Northamptonshire, where Mary queen of Scots
was afterwards beheaded.

-446 ooirriNirATiOK op the history of crotlaxd. a.d. 1469.

here a few days only, until such time as levies of txoops had
assembled fMm all parts of the kingdom in order to assist him
against the insurgents before-mentioned, he manfally prepared
to march into the northern districts. The above-mentioned
relatives, however, of the queen, her father, namely, and her
three half-brothers, who, as we have already stated, were at-
tached to the king*s person, were in great alarm for their safety,
and took refuge in different castles, some in Wales, and some
in Norfolk, with the connivance, however, of the king, as it is
generally said.

As for the king, when he had arrived with his army at the
town of Newark, he heard that the forces of the enemy were
more than threefold the number of his own troops, and, finding
that the common people came in to him more slowly than he
had anticipated, he turned aside and hastened with the utmost
speed to his castle at Nottingham. Here he stayed a short
time, intending to wait until a certain lord, William Herbert
by name, who had been lately created earl of Pembroke, should
come to meet him with the levies which he had raised in
Wales. While, however, the said earl of Pembroke was
hastening with all speed at the head of a considerable body
tof troops to meet the king, behold ! the army of the north-
men unexpectedly met him on the plain of Hegge-cote/® near
Banbury, in the county of Northampton ; whereupon, the two
armies engaging, a great battle was fought, and a most dread-
ful slaughter, especially of the Welch, ensued ; so much so,
that four thousand men of the two armies are said to have
been slain. The earl of Pembroke and several other nobles
and gentlemen of Wales were made prisoners, and were, by
order of the before-named earl of Warwick, without any op-
portunity of ransom, beheaded at Northampton. The truth is,
that, in those parts and throughout Wales, there is a cele*
.brated and famous prophecy, to the effect that, having expelled
the English, the remains of the Britons are once more to obtain
the sovereignty of England, as being the proper citizens thereof.
This prophecy, which is stated in the chronicles of the Britons
to have been pronounced b^ an angel in the time of king Cad-
wallader, in their creduhty, receives from them universal
belief. Accordingly, the present opportunity seeming to be
propitious, they imagined that now the long-wished-for hour
« 10 Or Edgecote*


had arrived, and used eveiy possible exertion to promote its
fulfilment* However, by the providence of God, it turned out
otherwise, and they remain ibr the present disappointed of the
fulfilment of their desires.

AVhen rumours to the above effect had now reached the kilig’s
ears, seeing that such great disgrace was, through this dis«
aster, reflected on him, he was greatly disturbed and moved
thereat. In addition to this, those who had hitherto remained
firm in their allegiance to him, now became greatly alarmed,
and basely deserting him by thousands^ clandestinely took to
flight. However, Thomas, archbishop of Canterbury, and
George, archbishop of York, together with the duke of Cla-
rence, the king’s brother, and the said earl of Warwick, most
duteously hastened with a laige escort to hold a conference
with the king, who was now left with but a very few adhe*
rents, for the purpose of soothing him in his distress. On
their flrst arrival, in consequence of the extreme indignation
which he felt, he presented a lowering countenance ; but after
they had &irly stated to him their intentions to remain firm
in their allegiance, and had resolutely exposed the treachery of
those who had adhered to him, he became more calm, and
received them more freely into his fayour and good will.

But in the meantime, while the stcxrms of this tempest were
increasing apace, you must know that we, who dwell in this
island, were smitten with no small degree of terror. For by
means of some spiteful enemies of ours, a most unhappy and
ill-timed rumour reached the ears of certain people in the
army, to the effect that those persons of whom they were in
pursuit were concealed in hiding-places in Croyland, and that
immense treasures were hidden in the vill and within the pre-*
cinct thereof. The consequence was, that the heedless race,
over ready and eager for plunder, at once declared themselves
•wishful, upon their return, to search our monastery and the
Till with the greatest possible care ; and this circumstance,
together with rumour and her numerous reports, as well as the
d^y threats that were launched against us, caused us no small
grounds for apprehension. But blessed be the Lord ! who did
not give us a prey unto their teeth ! for, through the merits of
our most holy father Guthlac, at whose tomb, each night, in
Psalms and in prayers we offered up our holocausts of devout
supplication, the Divine mercy d^t graciously with us ; in«

448 GoxTDnrATioN of the msroBt ov cboylakd. a.s. 1469«

asrauch as, through the prudent guidance of the earl of War-
wick so often mentioned, they returned from the expedition,
and retired, all of them, beyond the Trent, and so, taking the
shortest route, returned to tiieir own country.

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